Front Page

January 18, 2001

Four teens confess school safe theft

Juveniles, two 13, two 16 held with charges pending; $300 cash split between suspects

By Karl Isberg

Pagosa Springs police officers apprehended two local juveniles and are set to move forward with charges against two others for their parts in the burglary at the School District 50 Joint administration office during the early morning hours of Jan. 1.

According to Pagosa Springs Chief of Police Don Volger, officers developed information that led them to four juvenile suspects in the administration office burglary. Volger interviewed two of the suspects and obtained confessions. Officer George Daniels interviewed a third suspect and, likewise, obtained a confession.

A fourth suspect, who left the area for Phoenix, Ariz., was interviewed by Volger in a telephone conversation and the youngster admitted his part in the incident.

Following interviews with suspects, police officers went to a location south of the Sports Complex grounds in South Pagosa and located the floor safe taken from the administration building.

"Three of the suspects entered the building on Lewis Street shortly after midnight," said the chief. "The fourth suspect was driving and waited outside. Three of the suspects also went on the roof of the junior high and unsuccessfully attempted to enter that building. They took the safe down past the Sports Complex and broke into it using hammers, a tire tool and a crow bar. There was approximately $300 in cash in the safe. They took the cash and divided it between them and also took some credit cards." Other items kept in the safe, including investment documents, were left untouched.

Volger said Wednesday that one suspect, a 13 year-old Pagosa resident, was detained Jan. 12 and transported to a juvenile facility at Durango. The youngster was taken to the Durango facility in light of previous offenses and had a hearing yesterday before a district court judge to determine how and where he will be held until further hearings occur.

A second 13 year-old Pagosa boy was ordered held in home detention until an as-yet unscheduled court hearing occurs.

"We have charges pending against the other two suspects," said Volger. "Each of them is 16 years old; one is in Pagosa and the other is in Phoenix."


One dead, 18 hurt in 160 crash

By Karl Isberg

A 27-year-old woman from Mexico was killed Jan. 15 when a pickup truck in which she and 18 others were riding crashed next to U.S. 160, 26 miles west of Pagosa Springs.

The accident occurred at 8:30 a.m. just east of the summit of Yellowjacket Pass and 3 miles east of the Archuleta County line, resulting in the death of Edith Hernandez of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and serious injuries to five other passengers.

According to an investigation conducted by Colorado State Patrol Trooper Nick Rivera, a 1993 Ford pickup was eastbound on the highway at an estimated 70 miles per hour when it left the south side of the road, traveled along an embankment for 335 feet, hit a culvert and rolled four times, ejecting all 19 occupants before it came to rest on its wheels, facing north.

Rivera said Wednesday he believes the driver of the truck, Manuel Aragon Rodriquez, 31, of Chihuahua, Mexico, fell asleep at the wheel. "The driver claims a wheel came off the truck," said Rivera, "but we had no evidence of that at the scene. We think the truck drifted off the road and any damage to the wheel occurred during the crash."

Rivera said Hernandez was probably a passenger in the "king cab" section of the truck behind the driver and was killed when she was ejected from a side window of the vehicle.

The trooper said there was a female passenger in the seat next to the driver and and two youngsters, ages 2 and 4 in the section of the king cab with Hernandez. The remaining 14 Mexican nationals involved in the wreck were riding in the bed of the pickup, beneath a camper shell.

A multi-agency response began when CSP Sergeant Tom Thompson of the Durango office drove up on the scene while on the way from Durango to Pagosa Springs. An unidentified off-duty paramedic from Denver also happened by and assisted victims prior to the arrival of emergency equipment.

Bill Bright, of Emergency Medical Services, said his organization responded with three ambulances, a Quick Response Vehicle and the service's rescue vehicle.

"We called for mutual aid from the Upper Pine River District at Bayfield, from Ignacio, from the Animas District at Durango and from Mercy Medical Center," said Bright. Those agencies responded with ambulances.

"We also called Air Care for helicopter response," said Bright, "and they flew two patients to Mercy."

All 18 survivors of the wreck were taken to Mercy Medical Center. "We took seven of the walking wounded in one ambulance," said Bright. "We got all the critically injured victims out of there within 10 minutes of the time the first ambulance arrived."

Mercy Medical Center scrambled its forces to deal with the victims. A hospital spokesman said Wednesday that 11 victims, including the two youngsters, were treated Monday and released. One victim refused treatment. Once released from the hospital, the illegal immigrants were taken into protective custody by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The Mercy spokesman said three critically injured victims were flown Monday to Denver Health Medical Center. He said two of three victims remaining at Mercy were scheduled to be released yesterday, with one patient remaining under care at the hospital.

Rivera said Wednesday the passengers in the truck apparently had a variety of destinations.

"We believe the truck left Phoenix (Ariz.) the day before the accident," said the trooper. "We think the passengers met in Phoenix and had different destinations. Some were going to Denver; the woman killed in the accident had family in Indiana and it appears she and two others were going there. Others seemed to be on their way to Oklahoma and to Georgia."

Rivera said a charge of careless driving causing death was filed on Rodriquez who was released from Mercy Medical Center and taken into custody by the INS.


A week of sun will follow latest 17 inches of snow

By John M. Motter

A 36-hour snow storm slammed into Pagosa Country Monday transforming the mountains around town into a winter wonderland and complicating driving conditions in the area.

Officially, 11 inches of snow fell during the deluge, unofficially it was "over my knees" in Schick's pasture. As much as two feet of snow was reported near town. The official National Weather Service gauging station for Pagosa Springs is located at Stevens Field.

Local residents can expect at least a week of respite from the wintry onslaught, according to Paul Frisbie, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office located in Grand Junction.

"Basically, it's going to be sunny and dry through the coming week," Frisbie said. Temperatures will get warmer during the week, according to Frisbie, with lows ranging from plus to minus 5 degrees today and tomorrow and highs in the low 30s. By Saturday, daytime highs could be in the upper 30s with lows in the single-digit range.

A high-pressure ridge over much of the western United States continues to control Pagosa Country weather, Frisbie said. An occasional closed low sneaks in beneath the upper-level high creating brief storms such as the one which dumped on the Pagosa area Monday and Tuesday.

"All of the conditions needed for a heavy snowfall converged on Pagosa Springs," Frisbie said of the recent storm. "The same thing could happen again by Wednesday of next week, but my confidence is very low in predicting anything that far into the future."

With the 6.5 inches of snow that fell Saturday, last week's snowfall brings the January total to 20.25 inches in town, still below the historic January average of 27.1 inches and far below the record setting 108.9 inches which fell in January 1957. This week's 11-inch storm contained only 0.5 inches of moisture, a very dry condition. The earlier 6.5-inch fall was wetter, containing 0.6 inches of moisture.

The lowest temperature recorded in town last week, minus 8 degrees, is the lowest reading for 2001. The lowest reading this winter season was minus 10 Nov. 13. The mercury dipped to a record January low of minus 42 degrees on Jan. 13, 1963. The average high temperature last week was 35 degrees, the average low temperature five degrees.

Wolf Creek Ski Area received 31 inches of snow during the recent storm. Snow depth at the ski area summit is 91 inches, at midway 80 inches.


Community Plan slated for hearing

By John M. Motter

A public hearing on the third draft of the proposed Archuleta County Community Plan is scheduled next Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

This latest version of the plan is the result of more than a year of meetings conducted in various parts of the county during which citizen input was gathered from all sectors of the county.

"I think we have gotten real close to a plan the planning commission will want to adopt," said Lynn Constan, chairman of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission. "I hope we will adopt it at this meeting."

Constan said, "I think this plan defines community vision. We haven't had any negative comments concerning the vision statement and overall desired future conditions."

Work on the plan was initiated by the county commissioners more than a year ago after citizens told the commissioners in public session that, "The county needs a community vision to guide future growth."

In response, the commissioners authorized a survey designed to learn what county residents want to do, if anything, about growth in Archuleta County. Durango consultants Tosch and Associates were hired to conduct the community survey.

A general desire for growth management was expressed by those surveyed. Armed with that knowledge, the commissioners continued in the direction of developing a community plan. A citizen steering committee was appointed to advise the county planning staff, the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, and the county commissioners.

Members of the steering committee were John Applegate, Karen Aspin, Tim Horning, Jo Bridges, Mary Kay Carpenter, Mary Madore, Lynn Constan, Julia Donoho, Bob Formwalt, Dick Moseley, Lynda Van Patter, Wayne Pippinger, Ken Seibel, Jay Harrington (staff), John E. Baker Jr., and Mike Mollica (staff).

Members of the Upper San Juan Planning Commission were Lynn Constan, chairperson, Bob Lynch, vice-chairperson, Julia Donoho, secretary, Bobra Schaeper, Betty Shahan, Brian Lewis and David Durkee.

Another consulting firm was hired, Four Corners Planning and Design Group. The consultant's job was to continue to probe public wants, then write a model community plan.

In the process, the county was divided into geographic regions and public meetings were conducted in each of the regions. Altogether, hundreds of people attended the meetings and provided input. Finally, Four Corners Planning and Design Group wrote a draft community plan incorporating what was learned at the public meetings.

A vision statement based on the first series of public workshops seemed to summarize the direction people wanted to go. The statement reads: "Archuleta County should retain its outstanding scenic and natural qualities while providing quality employment, housing, education, and recreation to its residents. Tourism, recreation, and agriculture will remain major segments of the economy, but attempts will be made to diversify and encourage other types of economic development. The majority of youth should be able to have a career and eventually raise a family without being forced to leave. A healthy and vibrant community will continue to evolve and the rural character and small town atmosphere will be preserved."

Provisions in the first draft of the plan designed to protect scenic and natural qualities attracted the most opposition. Those provisions sought to discourage building along ridge tops where building might be considered a visual blot on the landscape, building along river valleys and scenic corridors traversed by major highways, and building in areas considered valuable for wildlife habitat.

An additional feature of the original draft was to encourage future growth in clusters where higher population densities already exist, and to encourage the maintenance of open spaces and scenic vistas between those clusters. Future building was to be limited to existing subdivisions, or to parcels of from 10 to 35 acres or larger. Building would be allowed only in areas with proven sources of water and sewage disposal.

Following a series of public meetings, most of the language protecting ridge tops and scenic corridors was removed. As recently as Jan. 10, at a public meeting conducted in Arboles by the county commissioners, wildlife protection provisions contained in Draft 3 were attacked under the perception that they might interfere with individual rights to build according to choice on property owned by the individual.

Opposition to the ridge top, scenic corridor, and wildlife provisions of the plan has been promulgated mostly by land owners who say implementation of those provisions would be a property value taking, depriving them of the right to make money by developing that property if they choose to do so.

A way around that opposition might be the promotion of conservation easements, a recommendation contained in the proposal. Conservation easements take many forms, but in general the owner of property is compensated in return for signing a legal agreement prohibiting certain development of that property. An uncertainty regarding conservation easements is, who will provide the money to purchase the easements?

The USJRPC could adopt Draft 3 as the Archuleta County Community Plan at the Jan. 24 meeting. Since the plan is advisory in nature, it does not require county commissioner approval.

Implementation of the plan depends upon the county commissioners, however. Even if the plan is adopted by the USJRPC, actual laws for implementation can be adopted only by the county commissioners.


Gas drilling plea triggers time constraint debate

By John M. Motter

County regulations governing the drilling of oil and gas wells have attracted the scrutiny of county commissioners Gene Crabtree and Alden Ecker.

Such drilling in Archuleta County is governed by conditional-use permit regulations approved by the county commissioners last March, according to the county planning department.

A meeting has been scheduled at 9:30 this morning involving the county commissioners and planning office staff to discuss action on drilling concerns voiced by Ecker at the Tuesday commissioner meeting.

Bringing the issue to the front this week is a facsimile - dated Tuesday, Jan. 16 - sent from Michael James Clark, president of PETROX Resources Inc., to the county commissioners.

Text in the fax claims that the senders want to drill wells on property owned by Steve Jaramillo and Jake Candelaria in the southwestern part of Archuleta County. The drillers also claim they have drilling permit approval from the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission.

They say they only recently learned that Archuleta County regulates oil and gas drilling.

"My company is more than willing to comply with county regulation as we do in La Plata County," the fax reads. "However, La Plata has a two week approval process and a set of streamlined forms. Since drilling rigs are at a premium due to the natural gas shortage we only have a 7-day window starting from today to drill the above subject wells. As a result, is there any way my company can get administrative approval and fill out the county forms?" According to Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, the remainder of the last sentence is garbled but apparently means "while we're drilling."

"We've found out from La Plata County and from the state oil and gas commission what the county can do," Crabtree said. "The driller has said if he can't drill within the 7-day window, he might not be able to drill at all. There may be more wells to follow which will be an asset to the county. My idea is to grant a waiver and work out the details later."

When the concern was placed on the floor Tuesday by Ecker, he said he had been told by the county planning office that from three to six months might be required before a drilling permit decision would be reached.

"I was told by Mike Mollica to tell them that they need a conditional-use permit," said Kathy Ruth of the county planning office. "They need to come to a pre-application meeting. In addition, 30 days will elapse before they come to a planning commission meeting. Following that, they have to go to the county commissioners. A lot of how much time is required will depend on how quickly they carry out their end of things."

"If it takes 30 days to get to the planning commission, something is wrong with this picture," said Ecker.

County Commissioner Bill Downey, Ruth and County Attorney Mary Weiss pointed out the conditional-use permit process had been recently adopted and at its adoption, it was noted that needed changes would become apparent with its continued use.

It has become apparent that a number of things related to the conditional-use permit need changing, Ruth said.

Right now the conditional-use permit process is the county law, Weiss said, and should be followed. A waiver or exemption also requires 30 days or more. No provision has been made to totally bypass the process.

Ecker pointed out that because of the the current high cost of natural gas, success for the current drillers could lead to a lot of drilling in the county.

"I don't know the current process because I haven't had time to study it," said Ecker. "I see this as a long time and a stumbling block for the citizens of Archuleta County. This is a private project on private land."

"You have to tell them to comply with our current regulations," Weiss advised. "A variance will require at least 30 days. It could take from 45 days to two months to adopt new regulations."

"I see a lot of problems." Ecker said.



'Lou' Ortega dead at 51

Luis Ortega, known to most as "Lou," passed away at his home on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2001.

Mr. Ortega, 51, was born to Pablo and Floripa on June 20, 1949. Except for two years of his life, Mr. Ortega lived in Pagosa Springs. After his mother passed on, his oldest sister took him and his father to live with her in California since his brother Tony was serving in the U.S. Army.

Mr. Ortega worked at several service stations in Pagosa Springs as well as driving a propane delivery truck for Bob Sivers (Bob's LP Gas). During those years Sivers became a mentor in Ortega's life. He then learned the sheet metal profession and in time became the owner/operator of Lou's Sheet Metal. When times were lean he worked as a carpenter, developing skills varying from framing a house to being a finish carpenter.

Mr. Ortega married Lucy Ann Chacon, out of that union they became proud parents of two children, Paul and Angela, and a step-daughter Leslie Ann whom he adored along with his own. Later he married Isabel Martinez and they became the proud parents of Natalie Rose.

Mr. Ortega is remembered for being faithfully dedicated to the three most important things in his life - his children, his Christian faith, and his business. He served two years in the U.S. Army, undergoing basic training in Texas prior to being sent to Germany where he finished his tour of duty. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, baseball and boxing, and most of all teaching Sunday school at First Baptist Church.

Everyone who knew him would always walk away with a smile and laughter in their heart as Louie touched many lives, and many lives touched his.

Mr. Ortega was preceded in death by both his parents, two half-sisters, Julia and Delores, and a half-brother Frank. He is survived by his brother Tony Ortega, and sister-in-law, Sue of Colorado Springs; his children Paul, Angela and Leslie, grandchildren Julia and Zachary, all of Tulsa, Okla.; and Natalie Ortega of Pagosa Springs.

Funeral services will be held at Community Bible Church, 264 Village Drive on Friday, Jan. 19, at 10 a.m.

Inside The Sun

Environmental panel decisions spur complaints

By Richard Walter

Director Franceso Tortorici has "recently, perhaps more accurately, constantly, as a member of the building community been getting negative feedback on actions of the Environmental Control Commission."

Tortorici told fellow members of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners board of directors Thursday that he feels there is a great degree of inconsistency in ECC decisions.

"One month a ruling is made and a decision rendered. The next month an exact duplicate proposal will get an opposite ruling," he said.

The way the declarations are written, he said, "makes the ECC decision final. What the building community would like to have is some course of appeal for someone who feels an ECC decision was unfair."

Director David Bohl said there was once an appeal process but it was removed by a previous board "in an attempt to take politics out of the operation.

"There were instances," Bohl said, "when the 'good old buddy' system ruled. If someone objected to an ECC decision, he just went to his pal on this board and the ruling was magically overturned."

Director Richard Manley, board president, noted, "We appoint the members of the commission. If there is a lack of consistency or less than professional performance by those appointed, it is within our purview to call that board in and let them know our concern.

"We want decision making to be an honest attempt to manage the specifics of our covenants," Manley said. "And we have the right to fire if we don't condone performance."

On the other hand, he said, "I've not seen too much that requires change. I don't like the idea of us becoming an appeals panel. If they are not performing correctly, it is our responsibility to talk to them about how we view the process of collecting data and consistent application of rules."

Director Gerald Smith, stating he doesn't receive such complaints, said however, "We need to know. You bring us examples and of the inconsistent application of rules and we'll not hesitate to take the pulse of that group to determine why a decision was made."

Tortorici said the ECC policy manual is subject to board review and that there have been a number of changes in it this year.

"I suggest we as a board need a working session with the ECC on interpretation of rules and policy application," Tortorici said.

Bohl and Manley agreed, the latter saying, "It's an excellent idea and would give us an opportunity to see how consistent they are. We don't control their regulations, but it is our responsibility to see how well they are serving us."

Toward that end he directed Walt Lukasik, general manager, to "set up a round table work session, with me chairing, and with no fewer than five of the ECC members participating." (The committee has three full time and three alternate members).

In other action Thursday, directors:

- Learned from Lukasik that nine resumes have been received and an initial interview scheduled, in response to readvertising for a lead accounting supervisor for the new in-house financial system. An earlier hire for the position had to turn it down when her teen-aged daughter was stricken with a serious illness. As a result of the hiring delay, Lukasik told the board, the current contract for financial services with Colorado Management will have to be extended one additional month, through February, at $6,000 per month

- Were told that a woman slipped on ice outside the recreation center recently and suffered a broken arm. PLPOA insurance, Lukasik said, will cover the cost

- Learned that miscellaneous equipment from the former Public Service Office was auctioned in Durango Dec. 16, with PLPOA netting $928.40 from the sale after expenses

- Approved a motion by Smith, on a recommendation by Bohl, the treasurer, that the association's primary operating account be moved to Bank of Colorado and that a minimum balance of $50,000 be maintained. Bohl said the services offered by the bank included no-charge checking and a no-fee lock box.


Town, county, state crews report few problems

By Karl Isberg

With as many as 17 inches of snow falling on parts of Pagosa Country between Jan. 12 and Jan. 16, local plow operators had chances to hone their skills for a time when the area gets hit by a substantial storm.

Reports from the town of Pagosa Springs, Archuleta County and the Colorado Department of Transportation indicate activity was business-as-usual during the two-storm cycle.

Pagosa Springs Town Administrator Jay Harrington said town crews dealt easily with snow that fell during the Jan. 12 storm.

"Everything got plowed and cleared out by Saturday morning," he said. "We did a little clean-up on Monday morning."

Just in time for the second, larger storm.

Harrington said town crews composed of members of the streets and parks staffs started to work Tuesday at 7 a.m. "They worked to 4:30 p.m.," said Harrington. "We had four people work from 2 a.m. Wednesday until about 2 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. By 2 p.m. Wednesday, we had everything plowed and we were going back to do some clean-up work. We'll continue to do clean-up throughout the week. We had no major problems."

Archuleta County Manager Dennis Hunt said county crews responded to the Jan. 12 storm "with some plowing, but mostly sanding. We have three sanders now, on 10-wheel dump trucks."

When the snow fell again, county crews hit the roads Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. Like town employees, some county workers pulled a late shift. "We let some of our people go home in the afternoon," said Hunt, "then brought them back at night. We had people working until 3 a.m. Wednesday morning."

County crews worked Wednesday on clean-up jobs such as removing berms from driveways and clearing snow from cul-de-sacs.

"Our crews didn't have too many problems," said Hunt. "We had some problems with cars, with people parking their vehicles in the streets."

Local CDOT spokesman Dave Lucero said the state crews had few problems during the storms, listing cars parked along U.S. 160 in the downtown area. He indicated the deicing compounds applied to U.S. 160 in Pagosa Springs helped retard snowpack on the highway.

"We also received a delivery of a new compound that works at lower temperatures," said Lucero. "We used it on the highway Tuesday night and it helped with the traffic flow Wednesday morning."

According to Lucero, CDOT plow operators faced their biggest challenges on U.S. 84, south of Pagosa Springs. "It snowed more in that area than it did out in the western parts of the county," he said, "and the wind blew more. We had more snow pack to deal with down south."

Lucero and other CDOT crew members spent time Wednesday on Wolf Creek Pass, working on avalanche control. "We shot a lot of avalanches," said Lucero. "We had a little movement, but none of the slides went to the highway. Everything seems pretty stable right now."


Aid fund established for Jasper Hammond

A fund has been established at a local bank to assist Jasper Hammond, 23, a local man critically injured Jan. 2 in a Denver car crash.

According to Hammond's father Steve, the young man is making significant progress in his recovery at a Denver hospital after suffering massive internal injuries and a broken pelvis when his Mazda pickup truck was struck head-on by a stolen sport utility vehicle involved in a high-speed police chase.

Hammond and his fiance are expecting the birth of their first child in the near future.

Local contributions can be sent to The Jasper Fund c/o Wells Fargo Bank, account No. 0850941501, P.O. Box 660, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

A benefit will be held at Boulder tomorrow night to raise funds to assist Hammond.


Barking dog complaint turns up a loophole

By Richard Walter

How many animals are too many?

It might just be a matter of interpretation.

Then, again, it might be spelled out in 29-year-old regulations as far as members of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association are concerned.

The problem is how to read the original regulation and how it can be adapted to relate to a growing barking dog problem in the community.

A delegation of residents from Meadows II complained to the PLPOA board of directors Thursday about an ongoing barking dog problem at all hours of the day in their area and of what they perceive to be a violation of the declarations of restrictions by the owners of the dogs.

Specifically, the question boils down to: "What animals are permitted where and how many of them are allowed there?"

Introducing the topic were Dave and Glenna Jackman and neighbor Jim Waters.

After an impassioned presentation by the Jackmans, Waters brought up the 29-year-old PLPOA code.

"It allows," he said, reading from a copy of the code, "not more than two goats, two sheep, two horses and two cows on any PLPOA property."

"The question is," he said, "Are those the only animals allowed or does the code loosely interpreted mean that any other animals in any number would be allowed?

Putting the question into the perspective of the barking dog problem, both Waters and the Jackmans pointed out the dogs are a pair of Great Pyranees which are used as guard dogs for a herd of 25 alpacas being raised on a neighboring 5-acre tract.

The Jackmans said they had filed a formal complaint after months of barking dog woes and that they were dissatisfied with both the attitude and conduct of the two enforcement commission members who heard their complaint and with the decision the pair rendered.

Jackman said, "We felt that Mr. (Gene) Cortright was rude and contentious and he even had the audacity to question our integrity. Mr. Cortright seemed incensed by our having taken the action to bring the case to the panel's attention."

"He told us his is a volunteer position and if we didn't like the action taken we should try volunteering ourselves," Jackman said.

"For his information, and yours," Jackman told the board, "My wife and I contributed over 575 volunteer hours last year alone to various charitable activities. But that is not the point. The point is that panel represents this board and there is a growing problem in this community and countywide with barking dogs and proliferation of other animals in residential areas.

"Someone," he said, "needs to step forward and start the ball rolling on animal control. PLPOA could set the example for the county. And they are going to be forced to do something as the population explosion continues."

PLPOA Director Richard Manley, board president, was upset by the allegations of improper conduct by a board appointed panel but said, "Since all the parties are not here, I hesitate to allow a full-blown discussion.

"However, some of the things you cite definitely warrant investigation. The board you went before represents this duly elected panel and we are concerned if their conduct is not of the highest caliber. You may rest assured we will discuss this with them - not only the decision which said you should just call the sheriff's office every time, but the alleged conduct you refer to."

Jackman said that at least two members of the board were in attendance at the hearing on his complaint, "and I'm sure they'll relate substantially the same story I've told you."

And Waters told the board, "Your regulations need to be updated. This is a far different community today than it was 29 years ago when the regulations were drafted, probably to aid no one but the developer in selling properties to parttime residents. Today you have more and more year-round residents and less and less need for areas which can accommodate herds of farm animals."

Director David Bohl told the complainants they had, indeed, discovered a loophole in regulations. However, he said, "Each of the 26 subdivisions which make up PLPOA have their own sets of declarations. We can't change those individual subdivision rules. You need to petition for change within each subdivision."

Director Gerald Smith said the fact the "other animals are not mentioned in the declarations would seem to exclude them by language alone."

And Manley told the complainants, "You handle what you have to handle (on a subdivision by subdivision level) and we'll take care of our responsibilities."

Smith said the alpaca owners' position "would allow any number of tigers, elephants or any other kind of animal. We need to address this problem from a legal basis."

"None of us are lawyers," said Manley. "We are not putting you off. We will seek legal opinion on how this growing problem should be handled and we'll deal with it."

In the meantime, he said, "I urge you to contact Mr. Lukasik (general manager Walt) for the proper petition forms and the details on how many signatures you will need to represent a majority of your subdivision in an effort to change declarations."

Finally, a disgruntled Waters, asked, "If I buy a lot and want to raise alpacas or orangutans, do I need a permit for them?

"No," answered Bohl. "But you would need one for the fence to keep them in."

"That's my point, exactly," said Waters. "You need updated regulations."


Health insurance bid rises sharply

By Richard Walter

Expecting a 60 to 80 percent rate increase on health insurance for staff, Walt Lukasik, general manager for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, was shocked when he saw the quotes offered.

Lukasik told the PLPOA board of directors Thursday the current carrier's bid for providing the service increased from $4,530 to $9,435 per month - "better than a 100 percent hike."

He said three bids were received for the contract which covers 17 employees. The current carrier, he said, increased deductions and in some instances lowered benefits. The other two bids, $6,500 and $7,100 are similar in coverage offered.

Lukasik said he would like to have a member of the board assist him in reviewing the competitive bids so that a contract can be approved before the next regularly scheduled board meeting.

Director Richard Manley, board president, said, "I don't believe full board approval is necessary, but some members of the board may want to assist in the review. I think this is an administrative decision for you.

"Just e-mail each of us and give us opportunity to comment on your recommendation. We'll allow you to make the decision," the president said.

On a separate but related matter, directors discussed at length whether the group's maternity benefit policy should be changed.

Director Gerald Smith, who had asked that the item be on the agenda, said he questioned the percent of obligation the association has. "Specifically, we have to grant 240 hours leave for maternity," he said, "but it can be enhanced with either full or not full time pay, as paid or not paid vacation, as sick leave or not sick leave. There is no final conclusion in Revised Personnel Manual which has been submitted for our approval."

Lukasik said the 240 hours maternity leave is federal law, "but that law does not specify amounts or types of remuneration."

"Our policy now, and the one recommended for retention by the Rules Committee, is 'with full pay,'" Lukasik said.

Asked for his own recommendation, Lukasik said he had no specific feeling on the matter. "One option, if you prefer, could be 15 days paid sick leave and then 15 weeks on disability. In that case the association would make up the difference between disability and regular pay."

Director David Bohl suggested the board should accept the recommendation of the committee which drafted the new personnel manual and keep the existing "full pay" specification. Smith agreed and on a roll call vote the measure was approved.


County transportation eyed for cost effectiveness

By John M. Motter

County transportation services are being analyzed with the intent of determining their cost effectiveness and future development.

A county transportation department was created in January of 1999. The department contains transportation services for senior citizens and transportation services for locals involved in the Colorado Works program and others. The transportation department is headed by Tina White, the Senior Citizens director.

This year's county transportation program budget anticipates revenues of $310,000 and expenditures of $277,240. Revenue sources cited are $132,000 from a federal transportation grant, $60,000 from Colorado Works, $27,000 from the Colorado Department of Transportation, $4,000 from Welfare to Work, and $85,000 from Archuleta County. Additional transportation funding is contained in the county Seniors Program Fund.

A major concern expressed by County Manager Dennis Hunt is that, in the past, all revenues and expenses have not been tied to the county transportation fund. The split between the transportation fund and the senior fund is an example.

Until all of the revenues sources and expenses are brought together, according to Hunt, the county will not have a true picture of the cost effectiveness of the program.

To solve the problem, the commissioners have directed that all revenues enter the county transportation fund. It is thought that by budget time this fall, a cost effectiveness picture might emerge as a result of the move.

"We provide senior transportation for doctor calls and medical shuttles, shopping, meals, and special events - the daily activities of life for seniors and those who are disabled," said White.

The local transportation service typified by the Mountain Express was started under the Colorado Works Program to help persons employed under the program to reach jobs, even if they do not have transportation.

Anyone, including tourists, can use the Mountain Express bus, which follows an hourly route through town to Aspen Springs and back. A grant application this year seeks to divide the route into two loops with two buses.

A concern voiced by White centered on transporting seniors to medical appointments in Durango. According to White, a driver could have to get up at 4:30 a.m., transport only one senior, then wait around all day while the examination is completed. Such service is not cost effective and should be stopped, White advised.

In the meantime, Archuleta County is applying for an $8,400 grant to do a Transportation Development Plan. Colorado Department of Transportation officials are encouraging Archuleta County to work with the town of Bayfield and Montezuma County to develop the regional plan and has offered a larger grant if that is done.

In other business Tuesday the commissioners:

- Announced the appointment of Kathy Wilson as county finance director

- Agreed to transfer $26,000 to the sheriff's budget enabling the sheriff to hire a new deputy to fill a vacancy. At budget time last year, the commissioners approved two replacement deputies for the sheriff's department, but retained funding for the positions under commissioner control until such time as the positions are filled

- Agreed to waive one-half of the estimated $3,000 in landfill tipping fees needed to clean up the debris from a fire which burned the home of a private citizen

- Listened to a request from Commissioner Gene Crabtree that the commissioners consider allowing a shooting range on landfill property south of town on Trujillo Road

- Listened to a request from Crabtree that model aircraft be allowed to fly on a location at Stevens Field if the Airport Advisory Board approves.


Littleton man seriously injured in skiing accident

By Karl Isberg

A Littleton man, Derrick Atencio, 28, was seriously injured Jan. 16 while skiing at the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

According to ski area spokesman Davey Pitcher, Atencio was in the vicinity of the Bonanza Crossover, just above the Crisscross run, when he was hurt. Pitcher said the details of Atencio's accident are not clear. He said the skier was "jumping, was airborne and maybe got too much air. He apparently landed on something or landed wrong, but we're still looking for the exact reason he was hurt."

Members of the Wolf Creek Ski Patrol tended Atencio on the slope. Once the victim was transported to the area's first aid station it was discovered he was bleeding profusely from injuries to his lower body.

Ski patrol personnel called for assistance from Emergency Medical Services and also called for the Air Care medical helicopter.

An EMS spokesperson said Wednesday that members of the ambulance crew estimated Atencio lost at least 500 cubic centimeters of blood and said they had trouble controlling his bleeding. The victim was loaded in an ambulance and transported to a site near the junction of U.S. 160 and East Fork Road where he was transferred to the helicopter.

Atencio was flown to San Juan Regional Medical Center at Farming- ton, then taken to University Hospital at Albuquerque. A University Hospital spokesman said Wednesday that Atencio was in critical condition and could offer no details concerning the man's injuries or treatment.


Water connection fees increased

By John M. Motter

Water connection fees levied by Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District were increased at a regular board meeting Tuesday.

"This is something we review at the beginning of each year," said Carrie S. Campbell, general manager for the utility district. "We look at current material costs and then adjust water and wastewater connection fees accordingly. This year we are raising water connection fees and leaving wastewater connection fees alone. There have been years when we've lowered instead of raising connection fees."

In general, water connection fees are being raised about 1.5 percent for the most common residential connections. Connection fees vary according to several factors determined by the amount of water supplied the building being connected. Normally, home connection fees are standardized. Fees may vary according to the application with uses involving larger amounts of water or wastewater.

More specifically, fees for a 5/8-by-3/4-inch service are being increased from $650 to $660, for 3/4 by 3/4 inch service from $675 to $700, for 1-inch service from $715 to $730, for 1-1/2-inch service from $1,980 to $2,155, and for 2-inch service from $2,500 down to $2,385. The wastewater connection fee remains at $160.

Last year, about 250 connections were made by the utility.

PAWS provides water for the town of Pagosa Springs and its environs, and for the subdivisions west of town. The utility also provides wastewater service for those subdivisions immediately west of town and north of U.S. 160.

Concerning bids sought by the district to implement computerized monitoring of certain water and wastewater functions, a bid of $454,000 was rejected. Negotiations to lower the bid have resulted in a new estimate of about $254,000 for the project.

The project is labeled "SCATA", an acronym for supervising controls and data acquisition. The system will be installed on the new San Juan River water supply source currently under development, and at certain other points in the existing water and wastewater system. The reduction was obtained by having PAWS perform some of the activities formerly included in the bid.

In other business, the PAWS board of directors:

- Agreed to continue posting meeting notice agendas at the county courthouse, in the Pagosa Springs Town Hall, and in the Pagosa Fire Protection District office

- Concerning three items that were "overlooked" and not placed on the agenda, the board voted to budget money for a raise for a specific employee, purchase a snow plow to be attached to a company pickup, and agreed to investigate allowing customers to use automatic bank withdrawals as a means of paying monthly user fees

- Progress reports on various capital projects indicate that the completion target date for the San Juan water project is "Junish," bids for a $1.9 million wastewater enhancement project may go out in May, and application may be made during the summer for conditional water rights which, if granted, will enable the watering of parks and athletic fields in town with water pumped directly from the San Juan River. Treated water is currently being used for that purpose. A February workshop will be held to discuss development of a master plan.



Unfair treatment

Dear David,

I am writing you in protest of the unfair treatment of parents by the Archuleta School District Jt. 50.

The school district policy No. 10.5 reads: "Mileage at the rate of .12 cents per mile, for the total miles traveled to the established route or school, per school day attended, will be allowed to all persons transporting their own students to school except those who live within 3 miles of the city limits, or an established bus route."

The language is a bit ambiguous concerning to what point the school will reimburse for - the school or the nearest bus route. I believe this has been "clarified" since I submitted my claim for reimbursement to the school.

What isn't fair is the reimbursement rate. Maybe when this policy was written, $.12 per mile was the state level of mileage reimbursement. When was that? Twenty years ago?

With a little research I have learned that the school district is being reimbursed $.37 per mile for those miles we parents are driving. Those of us who knew about the policy and asked for the information were asked to complete a form stating a number of miles driven on Oct. 1. That information was submitted to the State Department of Education to set the level of entitled funds from the state. Admittedly the school doesn't receive all of the state funds it is entitled to but last year $107,000 was received of the $109,000 that it was entitled for transportation.

Let's do some math. Last year 98 percent of the entitled transportation money was received. Therefore, of the $.37 per mile that the district was entitled it received $.3626. There would also be some cost to processing checks each month - shall we pay $.01 per mile. That means that for every mile I drive the school district receives about $.36, their cost is $.01 per miles to process my check, they paid me $.12 per mile and made a profit of $.2426 per mile that I drove. Oh yes, the school board has agreed that we should be paid $.15 per mile from now on. Good for them. Now they are only making $.2126 per mile that I drive. And I bear all of the expenses and they make a profit. Unfair.

To those parents driving their children to school because the school bus doesn't come near your home - think about the profit the school district is making off of your efforts. For those of you who didn't know about the "In-Lieu-Of Transportation" policy, I'm sorry your school district personnel failed to inform you.


Robin Ball

Choose path

Dear Dave,

Is there a connection between the Strategic Missile Defense System and Piano Creek other than the fact that I don't like either one?

Commonly known as Star Wars, this proposed defense system will render incoming missiles having evil intent useless. Surely a noble endeavor. And Piano Creek is only another proposed development. So what's the big deal? And what's the connection?

One obvious similarity is that both are proposed. They don't exist in reality except as an idea. Nor do they necessarily have to. They're a wanted thing, not a needed one. We've existed since the beginning without either.

Another connecting link is that they both benefit a small, special-interest sector rather than serving the common good. It's rather obvious that Piano Creek's existence will exploit the East Fork for limited individual gain, not only for founding members but for all those who hope to gain some material benefit.

It could be argued that Star Wars seeks to protect our nation, but I'm afraid it's more likely to endanger us by unnecessarily provoking and challenging a disgruntled entity to test its effectiveness. Why do we want to antagonize and dare someone to attack us? So we can prove our technology superior?

I know it's Superbowl season and I like football, but not as a national defense strategy. We're betting our defense is better than their offense and will win. What happens if North Korea or some enraged terrorist decides to lob one at us? We catch it. Then what? Do we retaliate and obliterate them as an example to the rest of the would-be giant killers? Or do we just say, "Don't do that again, please."

The missile defense system will stimulate a certain economic sector of our country, but that is not in our overriding best interest.

Let's face it, greed is at the base of both proposals. "I want what's mine. The heck with anyone else. I own this property. You have no right to tell me what I can, or can't do with it. It's mine." Is the message we want to teach our children: The world is my playground and I want to play, even at the expense of a local and national treasure (East Fork) or of those who do not have the basics of life's necessities.

The billions of dollars that would be spent on Star Wars could be better used to alleviate human suffering in countries who pose a threat to us. We could actually do the hard work of building a peaceful and more just world. Send them food, take care of the widow and orphan. Why then would they want to bite the hand that feeds them?

What we do, or don't do, sends the message. We can choose which path to walk. Let's choose to work for peace and justice, to better those less fortunate, to save the environment, to stabilize the world, to give of ourselves. The cry is there. Do we hear it?


Mark Bergon

Clarify closing

Dear Editor,

I would like to clarify information regarding the closing of the Valle Seco Road to public access. The U.S. Forest Service has never had a legal right-of-way through the two private properties. Access has been allowed through the courtesy of the private landowners.

Without rights of way, the Forest Service does not have the authority to direct property owners to keep a private road open or closed.

It has been the Forest Service's desire to acquire the two rights of way through the Valle Seco. The right of way through the southern parcel has been listed as one we would like to acquire. In the past we contacted the property owners of the southern parcel but were unsuccessful in securing permanent legal public access. We have discussed a land exchange proposal with the owner of the northern inholding.

We support access to public lands and have maintained the entirety of the Valle Seco road. Federal entities, including the Forest Service, do not have the legal authority to pursue prescriptive rights of access in the courts.

If anyone would like further information, please feel free to contact me, or Sonja Hoie at 264-2268 or Paul Beaber at 385-1205.


Jo Bridges

District Ranger

Make it a reality

Dear Editor,

Recently we had the distinct pleasure of attending a presentation of The Nutcracker by the San Juan Festival Ballet Co. Though the facilities were spartan, the show played to standing room only audiences, was highly entertaining, and did a wonderful job of showcasing the multi-talented people of Pagosa Springs.

This company is directed by Stephanie Jones, an energetic young woman who by virtue of her extensive training, varied experience and teaching method, appears to be very capable of bringing high quality ballet to our town. The method used is classic in its purity and style, teaching the basic principles of the art of classical ballet, and to grow and develop from within. In order for any program to continue, it must grow and flourish. To make that happen, Stephanie needs assistance in acquiring things like costumes, dance mirrors, better facilities, and the like.

We, the undersigned, are willing to work and make it a reality. Of course, we could use some help, and would welcome your participation. Donations may be made to the San Juan Festival Ballet Co. at the Citizens Bank, or scholarships could be arranged by contacting Stephanie at 264-5068.

Waco and Marilyn Hungerford

Lonny and Shelley Low

Carol Baughman

Elizabeth M. Mollica

Donna Hudson

Charlene Huang

Issues we face

Dear Editor,

The issues that face us (minimum wages, increases in funding education, increases in social security, inflation, etc.) would be very different if the United States had an economy based on increasing industrial efficiency of production.

Don Reid

Memorable trip

Dear Editor,

I recently traveled from Austin, Texas, to Pagosa Springs with a group from our church college group for a ski trip. We traveled on our 30-passenger bus to Pagosa Springs uneventfully, but on our third and final day of skiing, our bus had engine trouble getting us to Wolf Creek Ski Area.

The college minister and another driver took our bus into Pagosa Springs for some mechanical work while our group enjoyed the wonderful snow drifts on the ski slopes. We were supposed to meet our bus promptly at 4 p.m. as we were to travel overnight back to Austin. At a quarter to four, after most of the 13 skiers in our group had turned in their equipment, we discovered that our bus had not arrived.

We made several phone calls and could not locate our bus. The staff in the rental shop gave us the use of their phone and then they offered to drive us down the mountain to our lodge. This was done in five separate cars and one man also offered to take a couple sets of skis we had brought.

I know only a few of the people that offered their aid to us, but I wanted to take the time to thank all of those concerned for their assistance. It never occurred to me that the staff at the Wolf Creek Ski Area would go out of their way to help a group of abandoned skiers.

So, thank you for a wonderful and most memorable trip. There is no doubt in my mind which mountain I will be skiing next Christmas.

Matt Sheffield

Austin, Texas

Come to meeting

Dear David,

Thank you for alerting your readers to the important planning commission session on Jan. 24 at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. As a member of the Vision and Steering Committees I attended all but three of the meetings to develop the Community Plan. If there was one predominant idea put forth during those meetings, it was to preserve the scenic vistas that make our county the treasure that it is. Now there seems to be a special interest group that wants to eliminate any mention of scenic corridors in the final plan. If commercial sprawl and leapfrog development are what the public wants, then the public should do nothing, and the plan will probably be diluted to nothing of substance. If, on the other hand, anyone feels that there should be some regulations to control the sprawl, please make your feelings known to the planning commissioners and to the county board of commissioners. Come to the meeting on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.

It is ironic that the landowners who fear their property values will plummet under land-use planning are exactly the ones who will benefit greatly from increased values resulting from property and sound planning.


Lynda Van Patter

P.S. Maybe you should reverse the order you print letters.



Ted Marley

Friends and family of Ted Marley were saddened by his death on Christmas Day.

Mr. Marley, 56, was born and raised in Stringtown, Okla. He graduated from high school in Stringtown before attending college in Wulberton, Okla. He married Pam Sanders Marley on Feb. 17, 1963.

Mr. Marley moved to Pagosa Springs with his family in 1988, coming to the mountains of Colorado from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area. He worked in Pagosa Springs as a detention officer for the sheriff's department, as a rural route postal carrier, and as a carpenter. He enjoyed fishing, wood working and having long conversations with friends.

Mr. Marley is survived by his wife, Mrs. Pam Marley of Pagosa Springs; his sons, Timothy Marley and Eric Marley; his daughter, Denna Moore and two grandchildren, Pamela Moore and Lindsey Marley, all of Pagosa Springs. He also is survived by his mother, Lillian Holstein Marley of Stringtown, and his two brothers, J.D. Marley of Irving, Texas and Jim Marley of Stringtown. He is preceded in death by his father, Grandvil Eugene Marley.

Mr. Marley loved Pagosa Springs and had many friends who adored him. He loved his family and made many friends wherever he went. There was a special place in his heart for his family and friends. He will be missed greatly. All that knew him can smile having known such a good and warm hearted man.

Funeral services were held Saturday, Dec. 30, 2000, in Atoka, Okla., with burial taking place in the family cemetery in Stringtown.


Howard Parmenter

Howard L. Parmenter, 82 died Saturday, Jan. 13, 2001, in Durango.

Mr. Parmenter was born Oct. 29, 1918, in rural Archuleta County. He lived in Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan counties. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war he was employed by Durango Frozen Foods, Strater Hotel, Silverspur Motel, and then moved to Silverton in 1963 to work with the Grand Imperial Hotel. He then worked 20 years for Standard Metals Mining retiring to Arboles in 1984. He was a life member of Durango Elks Lodge No. 507, and VFW Post No. 4031.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Vivienne Parmenter of Arboles; step-sons Leonard Hofmann, Larry Estep, Johnny Hofmann, and Lelynn Guerin; sister Muriel Miller and her husband Del Miller of Florence, Ariz.; cousins, Robert Parmenter and Lee Parmenter; and several nieces and nephews.

No services are planned at this time.


Luis Ortega

Please see front page.



Missionaries will describe work in New Guinea

John and Suzanne Hatton will give a presentation on their ministry with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua, New Guinea, in a special 3 p.m. program Sunday at Our Savior's Lutheran Church.

The community has been invited to this slide presentation describing the Hatton's work in Papua and to hear about Wycliffe and how others can become involved in this ministry.

The Hattons are back in the United States on furlough following their first thee-year assignment overseas.

Suzanne, daughter of Sherwin and Shirley Iverson of Pagosa Springs, is a 1987 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School and a former member of Our Savior Lutheran.

She is a literacy consultant. Before translating the Bible into the mother tongue of millions of people, it is necessary to develop a written language and then teach the people to read their language. This is Suzanne's role with Wycliffe.

John is a software engineer and notes computer use has shortened the time taken to translate the Bible into a new language by many years.

A reception and refreshments will follow their presentation.


Sports Page
 Maberry's buzzer beater burns Bayfield

By John M. Motter

Micah Maberry's two-pointer at the buzzer lifted Pagosa Springs to a 58-57 victory over Bayfield in the Intermountain League season opener for both teams.

The Pirate's second IML encounter scheduled Saturday night against Monte Vista in Pagosa Springs was canceled because of severe weather conditions. A make-up date has been set for Feb. 16.

Friday's barn burner with Bayfield was anybody's game as the clock ticked down to the final buzzer. Bayfield led 57-56 after Wolverine Devon Catron sank 1 of 2 free throws with about 8 seconds left. Brandon Charles dribbled the in-bounded ball up court for the Pirates, pulled up short just inside the three-point arc, and lofted a do-or-die jumper. Before the Pagosa crowd could groan at the miss, Micah Maberry grabbed the rebound and thrust it through the rim, just as the buzzer signaled the end of the game. Pagosa was on top when it counted, at the end.

"I thought, over all, this was a good game for us to play," coach Kyle Canty said. "Bayfield played very well. We had a hard time defending against their high, two-two offense."

Pagosa couldn't stop the Bayfield offense and Bayfield couldn't prevent Pagosa from scoring, according to Canty.

"We'd get ahead by a few points, then get in a hurry with our offense and surrender the lead," Canty said. "I don't have any complaints. Everybody came through when they had to."

Pirate efforts were hampered when starting guard Darin Lister suffered an ankle injury early in the initial period.

"I don't know how serious it is," Canty said. "He's walking on it, but I don't know if he'll play Saturday." Chris Rivas and Charles performed the ball-handling chores for Pagosa and they did a good job.

The first period was a standoff with both squads getting to the net for 14 points. Bayfield tried to stall the Pirates' attack with a full-court press and traps during the period. Pagosa handled the press for the most part, often with a wide-open Maberry free for a layup. The 6-foot-4 senior threaded the hoop for 10 first-period points.

Pagosa's D put the squeeze on the Wolverines during the second period, staking the Pirates to a 31-19 point lead when the boys grabbed their half-time towels. Eleven of the 17 Pagosa points came from the free throw stripe during the period. Tyrel Ross and Daniel Crenshaw, with four points each, paced Pagosa scoring during the period.

Bayfield fought back during the third period to outscore Pagosa Springs 23-15. Leading the charge were Jon Qualls, their leading scorer for the season, with eight points, and Devon Catron, their leading scorer for the game, with nine points. Maberry contributed six points and Crenshaw five for the Pirates.

Heading into the final stanza, Pagosa was on top 46-42. The final period was almost a standoff, with Bayfield coming out on top 15-12. Catron continued to lead the Wolverines with seven final period points. Maberry and Ross each contributed four points for Pagosa Springs.

Maberry's 23 points paced the Pirates, followed by Crenshaw with 13 points, Ross with eight points, Charles and Goodenberger with six points each, and Jason Schutz with two points.

Leading Pagosa in rebounds with 11 was Goodenberger, followed by Maberry with five rebounds. Ross and Charles each had five assists, while Charles with four and Crenshaw with three, led in steals. Pagosa committed 12 turnovers.

Pagosa hit 22 of 53 attempts from two-point range for a shooting percentage of 41.5, sank 1 for 9 from three-point range for a shooting percentage of 11, and 11 for 16 from the charity stripe for a shooting percentage of 68.7. Pagosa won the game by outscoring their opponents at the free throw lane 11 to 3.

Pagosa Springs hosts Centauri tomorrow night at 7:30 in a battle of front runners, then draws a bye Saturday night.

The following week, Pagosa travels to Ignacio Jan. 25 for a 5:30 p.m. contest, then returns home Jan. 27 to host Bayfield at 8 p.m. in the beginning of the second half of IML action.

Around the IML

Following the first weekend of IML action, Centauri is 2-0, defending champion Pagosa Springs is 1-0, and Bayfield, Monte Vista and Ignacio are 0-1. Centauri bested Monte Vista in Monte Vista Friday night 60-57, then came back to beat Ignacio in the Centauri gym Saturday night 85-71.

Other IML encounters feature Bayfield at Ignacio Friday night and Monte Vista at Bayfield Saturday night.

"They are very good," Pagosa coach Canty said of the Centauri Falcons. "I expect them to do the same thing they've done for years - press, trap, and use the matchup zone. On offense, they'll use the flex against our man-to-man. They shoot very well from outside."

Canty cited the play of Falcons Kevin McCarroll, a 6-foot-2 senior, and Ryan Sutherland, a 6-foot-4 center. McCarroll was named to the IML all-league team last year as an honorable mention player. Pagosa defeated the Falcons last year 70-61 and 55-41. During those games McCarroll racked up 20 and 10 points, respectively, while Sutherland added 10 and 11 points.

Veteran Centauri coach and athletic director Larry Joe Hunt pointed to Pagosa Springs as likely to recapture the IML title.

"This is a tough league, but Pagosa's got it all," Hunt said. "They are good inside and their guard play is getting better."

Then Hunt tossed in this caveat: "But, this year in the IML is like every other year. This is a wild league. You have to work to win. The teams get better as the year progresses. We find out who is best during the tournament at the end of the year."



Gronewoller bears scars of Wolverine frustration

By Richard Walter

Game plan.

Team effort.

Ashley Gronewoller.

Battle scars.

Pick your own two word analysis from those choices and you'd have a pretty apt description of how the Lady Pirates defeated Bayfield on the Wolverines' home court Friday night.

The game plan part was easy. Bayfield had no one tall enough to compete in the lanes with Pagosa's 6-foot-3 center Gronewoller and 6-foot-1 forward Katie Lancing.

The Lady Pirates' team effort involved 8 of 11 players breaking into the scoring list as coach Karen Wells went full depth on her bench with every player contributing to the stats line.

The Ashley Gronewoller entry? She tallied 16 of her game high 24 points in the first quarter as the Ladies held off a stubborn Wolverine team that refused to quit and trailed only 18-16 at the break.

The battle scars? Gronewoller sat in the stands after the game with a cut under her right eye.

"I don't know for sure when it happened," she said.

And she sported the perfect imprint of an opponent's gym shoe sole on the lower front portion of her left thigh.

Despite the Wolverines effort to use Gronewoller as a ladder to get to the rebounds, the Pagosa junior had 11 boards in the game, the same as her running mate, Lancing.

Bayfield first led in the game at 12-10 with 3:42 remaining in the first quarter when Amber Layton hit the game's only three-pointer attempted. The Lady Wolverines stretched that lead to 16-12 with 1:34 remaining. But Gronewoller hit three quick buckets on feeds from Lancing and Shannon Walkup to put Pagosa in the lead for good as the quarter ended.

As the snows swirled outside and the winds howled a chilling accompaniment, Pagosa's Ladies turned on the heat in the Bayfield gym, unleashing a 20-point second quarter offensive barrage while clamping down at the defensive end to hold the Wolverines to 12, including only three field goals, and building a 38-28 halftime lead.

Gronewoller added eight more points in the period, capping her scoring for the night, and got balanced support from senior point guard Meigan Canty with her only three points of the game, senior guard Andrea Ash with her only four of the game, a field goal from Lancing for two points and three from sophomore Walkup.

And then came the third quarter, a scoreless effort for the Wolverines as the Lady Pirates deployed a smothering defense keyed by Walkup, Canty and Lancing, and blanked the home team. So intense was the defensive effort, in fact, the Lady Wolverines were able to get off only four field goal attempts in the period and all were contested.

With Lancing hitting three of four field goal attempts in the period and Walkup and senior guard/forward Amber Mesker adding a pair of points each, the Pirates padded their lead to 48-28 after three periods despite a 3-minute, 38-second scoring drought in the middle of the quarter when both teams went cold.

With Wells emptying the bench in the fourth quarter, the Ladies scoring output fell to six points, two each by Walkup, Tasha Andrews and Tiffanie Hamilton. At the same time, they allowed the Wolverines only six, five of them from senior Lindsay Dallison - her only points of the game.

Jessica Randolph, who kept the home team close in the early going, led the Lady Wolverines with nine points, all in the first half.

In addition to Gronewoller's 24 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, two assists and one blocked shot, Lancing was the only other Lady Pirate in double figures with 10 points and 11 boards to go along with one steal, four assists and three blocked shots. Hamilton added nine rebounds and six assists off her customary strong game crashing in from the wings.

Walkup had seven points to go with three steals, three assists and two rebounds. Ash had two steals, two assists and one rebound while Canty had one in each category. Carlena Lungstrum came off the bench to add three steals and Nicole Buckley, off the bench, added four defensive rebounds.

Mesker had two assists and three rebounds in limited fourth quarter action and Andrews had one defensive rebound to go with her 2 for 4 performance from the foul line.

The game, which was supposed to have started at 5:30 p.m., did not get underway until 7:45 p.m. thanks to two unusually long junior varsity games preceding it, games in which a total of 83 fouls were called and which took a total of 3 hours, 35 minutes.

No Pagosa players were in foul trouble in the game, the first time that's happened in several weeks. Canty, Hamilton, Gronewoller and Lancing each had three, Walkup two, and Ash, Buckley, Mesker, Martinez and Andrews each had one.

Wells was pleased with her team's first half offensive intensity, particularly how they recognized opportunities inside and worked the game plan she had outlined. And she was ecstatic about the defense throughout.

"It's the first time we've fully comprehended what was happening as a team and responded as a team," she said. "The result in that second quarter was obvious. When we play defense like that, the other team can't hurt us. We have to keep the pressure on and recognize the opportunities to score off our defensive efforts."

The victory opened the Intermountain League season and defense of their conference championship for the Lady Pirates. It also boosted their season record to 9-2, both losses coming to Class 4A Montrose in preseason tournaments.


Matmen eye weekend meets

By Karl Isberg

A winter storm and dubious road conditions on Wolf Creek Pass kept Pirate wrestlers from an appearance at the Alamosa Invitational Jan. 13, depriving the athletes of mat time and chances to participate in one of the toughest tournaments of the year.

"I was disappointed we couldn't get to Alamosa," said Pirates coach Dan Janowsky, "especially for our better wrestlers."

All is not lost, however, as the team wangled a last-minute entry in Saturday's Center Invitational and, with a tri-meet appearance tomorrow at Monte Vista, the Pirates could come out of the mix wrestling more matches than had they made the trip to Alamosa.

Action this week and next also gives the team chances to get glimpses of several opponents they will face at the Feb. 10 regional qualifying meet.

With Monte Vista and La Junta on the bill tomorrow night at Monte Vista, the Pirates will fight dual matches against regional foes.

Saturday, a surprisingly strong Centauri team will be at Center, along with another regional opponent, Trinidad.

"By the time we're finished with this weekend and our matches next week at Bayfield on Friday and a tournament at Ignacio Saturday," said the coach, "we will have seen every regional opponent but Lamar and Salida - two of the strongest teams in the region this year."

Janowsky said his team's practice schedule this week was lightened, allowing athletes to work on successful completion of final exams. Still, he said, there could be eligibility problems at a couple of slots on the roster. If so, he will make substitutions for upcoming action.

"It seems everyone is healthy," said the coach. "Weather permitting, we should recover the matches we lost, not going to Alamosa. Competing two days, back-to-back will be a good lead-up to tournament action, so this weekend will benefit us."

Tri-meet action begins tomorrow at Monte Vista with the host team fighting it out with La Junta at 6 p.m. Pagosa meets La Junta in the second dual of the evening, then goes against Monte to end the evening.

Matches at the Center tournament begin at 9 a.m.


Community News
Chamber News

By Sally Hameister

Watch for Evil Twins at Mardi Gras

You still have time to reserve your spot for the wonderful Mardi Gras party on Saturday night at Pagosa Lodge, so give us a call or run on down to the Chamber with your check. It promises to be a delightful evening filled with food, nonsense, fun, nonsense, music, nonsense and awards aplenty.

Bruce Andersen and Joe Gilbert will provide the live music throughout the "wandering" portion of the night with music one might expect at a Mardi Gras celebration. We're looking forward to the addition of these gentlemen and know you will enjoy it.

Let me just say that my Evil Twin, Betty Johann, has created matching costumes for us to wear Saturday night, and I still don't believe that I blindly agreed to wear anything she put together - what was I thinking? It all sounded so innocent several months ago when she suggested that it would be fun for us to wear "twin costumes." Suffice it to say that even though I haven't laid eyes on these beauties, I think it just might be worth the price of admission to see these creations close and up front. As a hint, I suggest that you think "snowstorm" or "blizzard." Heaven help me.

Once again, it is not at all necessary to wear costumes even though we encourage doing so because they're so much fun. You can wear anything at all just as long as you show up. Keep in mind, however, that we have some dandy prizes for best female and best male costumes. It is also possible to win a free year's membership if you are the lucky one to find the baby in your piece of the King cake. That could be a pretty hefty sum of dough for some businesses.

We will be honoring some very special folks Saturday with the presentation of the Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Pagosa Pride awards. We will also have the unpleasant task of bidding adieu to our three departing Directors, Lauri Heraty, Don McKeehan and Terry Smith. You can count on considerable silliness throughout the presentations, reminiscent of your days in junior high. We pride ourselves on our sophisticated sense of decorum and refined approach to all things Chamber. Count on us to epitomize the cultured and cultivated.

We are honored to end the evening with a presentation by John Porter and his Thursday Night Live group with an ever-so-clever poetic retrospective of the year in Pagosa Springs. I first saw this John Porter original work during one of the TNL presentations and knew immediately that it would be the perfect thing to top off our Mardi Gras celebration.

Don't miss the fun beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday night at Pagosa Lodge with our second annual Membership Mardi Gras. Tickets are $22 per person and can be purchased at the Chamber during business hours today and tomorrow. There will be wonderful Cajun food at all four stations, the Bayou, Bourbon Street, the French Quarter and the Red Hot Jazz Room. You can look for fried catfish, crab cakes, seafood stuffed mushrooms, Cajun spiced chicken strips, Jambalaya, hush puppies, King cake and bread pudding and, of course, peanuts and pretzels in the bar. There will also be three cash bars available to you. Come party with us. Call us at 264-2360 for more information.

Free counseling

Our friend, Jim Reser, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College will be at the Visitor Center Feb. 1 to offer free business counseling to Chamber members.

Jim has held this position for many years and has been an invaluable resource for many of our business owners and potential business owners. Jim has his finger on the pulse of the business community throughout the Four Corners and will be happy to help you make decisions about opening a new business, better ways to run your existing business, writing a business plan or anything at all connected to your business. Give Morna a call at 264-2360 to make an appointment for the 9 a.m. session.

Community plan

Please plan to attend the 7 p.m. Planning Commission meeting Jan. 24 at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Port Avenue. This will be the only meeting to discuss the Archuleta County Community Plan concerning land use and growth management. Specific policy language, scenic corridors and critical wildlife habitat will be included in the discussion, and individual comments are limited to two minutes, max.

Everyone is encouraged to attend this meeting, and you can call the Planning Department at 264-5851 for a revised plan copy and further information.

Health forum

The Pagosa Springs Health Partnership invites you to attend a free public forum tonight, 6:45 p.m. at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. "Nutrition, Supplements and Your Health" is the topic for this forum with local health professionals, Dr. Mark Wienpahl, herbologist Jennie Blechman and chiropractor Scott Anderson addressing questions about nutrition and supplements. You are invited to attend this free forum which is one in a series of public educational programs sponsored by the Health Partnership.

If you would like more information, call Sharon Porter at 731-4553.

Habitat openings

Once again we remind you that Archuleta County Habitat for Humanity is looking for four qualified and enthusiastic volunteers to fill key positions in their organization.

They are looking for someone to head up the Fundraising Committee, preferably an individual with a "sparkplug" type personality. They are also looking for chairpeople for the Human Resources Committee, the Building Committee and the Public Relations Committee.

If you are interested to learn more about any or all of these positions, call David Conrad at 264-6880 or call us at 264-2360.

Ski United Way

Take advantage of this chance to ski and save with United Way Jan. 24 at Wolf Creek Ski Area. This is a great opportunity for you to save money and to benefit United Way because all proceeds from adult full-day tickets benefit the organization.

You can ski all day for $29 with free ski rentals from Ski and Bow Rack, free gear demos from Switchback Mountain Sports and prizes presented every hour until noon. Prizes include hot springs passes from The Spring Inn, free board rental or ski rental from Alpen Haus Ski Center, ski goggles/half-price ski rental from Juan's Mountain Sports, ski apparel/accessories from Pagosa Ski Rentals, ski apparel, free demo coupons from Summit Ski & Sports, Timberland Euro-Traveler pack from Switchback Mountain Gear, $20 gift certificate from Steamworks Brewing Co, $25 gift certificate from J.J.'s Upstream Restaurant and a $25 gift certificate from Paradise Brew Pub and Grill.


We have three new business members to introduce this week, one new Associate Member and eight renewals. Life is good here at the Chamber of Commerce.

We welcome our friend, Bruce Anderson who brings us Bruce Anderson Photo Graphics dealing with everything photographic. This means that Bruce can pretty much take care of all your photographic needs in areas of artistic nature and assignment photography, computer manipulation, old photo restoration, large outdoor photo signs, indoor/outdoor exhibits, publications and websites. To learn more about what Bruce can do for you, call 731-4645. To learn more about what Bruce Anderson can do for you musically, plan to attend the Mardi Gras on Saturday night where Bruce and Joe Gilbert will entertain your little socks off. See how sneaky I can be.

Chamber Board Director Liz Marchand and Denise Mudroch join forces to bring us our next new business, CPC Enterprises, Inc. located right here in town. CPC stands for the Clay Pot Caddy, which is a custom shaped southern yellow pine plant hanger specifically designed to hang clay pots. The Clay Pot Caddy is available in 2-,4- or 6-inch potholder size. For more information on this intriguing innovation, call 731-5120 or 731-5268.

Barbara Harville brings us the Alta Vista Townhome Vacation Retreat located at 61 Lakeside Drive, Unit B-4. This fully furnished cozy retreat offers a mountain decor and was constructed in 1999. You will enjoy spectacular views, a wood stove with firewood furnished, three bedrooms, a loft, two bathrooms and a double garage in Pagosa Lakes, the hub for many activities. Call 979-289-4920 in the evening or 979-542-9271 during the day for more information.

Sara Scott joins us as a new Associate Member this week, and we are always delighted to add another Scott to our roster. (Sara is Bob Scott's mother.) Sara just may join our Diplomat corps, and we thank Bruce and Nettie Trenk for recommending Chamber membership to Sara. Bruce and Nettie are valued Diplomats and will receive a free SunDowner for their recruiting efforts.

Renewals this week include Jane Downey with Head Quarters Salon; Camille Cazedessus with Rendezvous Books and Art/Pulpdom; J.Y. Poitras, "Mr. GMAC" with Four Seasons Land Co./GMAC Real Estate; Anthony Rivera with Citizens Utilities Company; Maria MacNamee with the Downtown Merchants Association; Bill and Yvonne Samples with the Spanish Inn Restaurant; Sally High and Jerry Smith with High Country Cowboy Company and Vincenso Sencich with Enzo's Catering. Thanks to one and all.

Hope to see you all at the Mardi Gras Saturday night.


Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Ski news a big boost for Pagosa Country

This past Sunday's issue of The Denver Post carried a front page article on Wolf Creek Ski Area. The story states, "Wolf Creek offers a winter wonderland of extremes, from gentle blues and greens to the steeps of the Knife Ridge on the Continental Divide." We are truly uniquely positioned in a beautiful corner of the country with abundant outdoor recreational opportunities year round.

Ski and save with United Way at Wolf Creek will take place next Wednesday. This is part of United Way's fundraising campaign in Archuleta Country. All proceeds from adult full-day lift tickets will benefit United Way. Free equipment rentals will be available at Ski and Bow Rack, plus free gear demos from Switchback Mountain Sports. Along with the free rentals and demo gear, donated prizes will be given out every hour until noon. There are many obvious benefits to supporting the United Way Ski Day. However, the additional bonus of a discounted lift ticket for that day is a great incentive. Ski all day for only $29 . . . and if you have a child, grandchild or friend in the Pagosa Springs Junior High School, take this opportunity to share a few runs together, have lunch together and have a special day on the mountains together. The junior high school, in collaboration with the ski area, provided a series of three ski days with ski lessons for the students at a greatly reduced cost. These ski days are a special treat for children who otherwise may not have the opportunity to experience alpine skiing. My thanks to Wolf Creek Ski Area for their contribution to our community.

Here's some exciting news for nordic skiers. Dan and Juanalee Park at the Alpenhaus were finally able to set 6 kilometers of superb tracks for both classical and ski skating. When I spoke to Dan on Tuesday morning, he was looking forward to setting an additional 4 kilometers of tracks with this latest snowstorm. Mark your calendar for Saturday, Jan. 27. Dan and Juana are tentatively putting together a ski-clinic at the Alpenhaus which operates out of the Pagosa Springs Golf Course Club House. The clinic will incorporate classic and ski skating techniques for varying levels of ability. Call Dan or Juana at 731-4755 for more information.

Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program will again bring laughter to us through the Improv-O-Rama program on Jan. 27. Improv-O-Rama is a professional comedy improvisation troupe based out of Denver. They have been performing since 1993 for groups around the state, including the Denver Museum of Natural History, Girl Scouts of America, and the Arapahoe Advocates for Children. Improv-O-Rama performed in Pagosa last year to an audience that left the high school auditorium happy and filled with laughter. The humor was clean and fun for all ages. Improv-O-Rama modeled their show last year after Drew Carey's ABC Television's "Whose Line is it Anyway?" Where they got suggestions from the audience and then skillfully transformed them into hilarious skits. Those who attended the performance last year enjoyed themselves and asked to have the performers back.

Improv-O-Rama will begin at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium. Advance tickets for adults 18 and older are $7, $5 for seniors and students, with children under the age of 5 free. Tickets at the door will be a dollar extra. Tickets are on sale at Ruby Sisson Library, Moonlight Books, Pack N' Mail Plus and Wild Hare Gift Shop. Please support this fundraiser for the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program. Funds raised will go directly to support services for victims of abuse. If you have any questions about this assistance program or about how you can help, call Carmen Hubbs, our local director of the program at 264-9075.

Ice-fishing season in the Pagosa Lakes area is officially underway. With colder temperatures over the last few weeks the ice has set up nicely on all four Lakes (Hatcher, Pagosa, Village and Forest). Nice-sized trout are being landed out of all four lakes. Best success has been on worms and brightly colored tear-drop or bead-headed jigs. I was out on Lake Forest ski-skating recently and local fishing aficionados Steve and Gary gave me the skinny on ice fishing. I successfully pulled out half a dozen perch, partially pulled out and lost a trout. It was pretty exciting.

Please be aware of aerator openings in each of the lakes. The aerators are there to provide oxygen to the fish during the winter months. Do not go within 50 feet of those openings as the ice can be very thin within that proximity.

A Pagosa Lakes fishing permit is needed to ice fish. Seasonal permits that were purchased on or after April 1, 2000, are valid through March 31, 2001. Daily or weekly permits can be purchased at the Recreation Center. Here's to good fishing.

A demo class on stretching and strengthening using physioball and mat will be presented by Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Therapy at the Recreation Center on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. The demo class will be presented by Ellen King, Jennifer Rosta and Kim Dennis. Ellen, director of Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Therapy, has 15 years experience as a physical therapist. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and former Olympic trainer. Jennifer's background includes three years of health and fitness teaching. Kim has 12 years in sports and orthopedic rehabilitation. There will be a charge of $5 for the demo class. Based on interest, the instructors hope to offer the class on a regular basis at the Recreation Center. Ellen says she'll share a fun and enjoyable way to exercise and help participants increase mobility, strength, stability, circulation, cardio-fitness, vital capacity, coordination and postural control.

The Recreation Center pool will be closed to open swim and lap swim on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. for swim team training. This schedule will apply except on school holidays.


Senior News

By Janet Copeland

Many members ill, your prayers welcomed

The New Year is well started now and we hope it will be a good year for everyone. The snow this week reminds us of how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful area - there is nothing prettier than the mountains when they are capped with snow.

We do have several folks who are ill and need our prayers. Mary Lucero has been in the hospital in Durango and, though improving, will continue to be hospitalized for a while. Ingrid Leppitsch broke her hip in a skiing accident and is recovering in St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver. Though she is not a member of our Senior group, many folks know Wilma Morrison, who is hospitalized in Durango. While we welcome Bob and Jenene Martin - a couple who recently moved to Pagosa - but are sorry to report Jenene is suffering with health problems and needs prayers. We wish a speedy recovery to each of these folks.

There are many valuable services offered to Pagosa residents, one in particular that I wish to remind everyone about. If you or a family member has a cancer-related illness and need transportation to and from Durango for treatment, you may contact Mamie Lynch at 264-5542 for free transportation. There is a network of about 60 folks who have volunteered to drive for this program and one or more of them makes the trip to Durango almost daily. These volunteers are true blessings for those in need of this service.

The shopping trips to Durango on the senior bus are coming up short of the required 10 folks necessary for the bus to go. Senior members pay $10 for this trip, which is quite reasonable considering the current cost of gasoline. If you are interested in signing up for this service, please contact Payge at 264-2167.

We are happy to honor Glen Kinum as our Senior of the Week. As well as being our new Treasurer for the senior organization, Glen volunteers a lot of time at the center and we appreciate him.

It was wonderful to have Lilly Gurule back with us on Friday. We miss Lilly when she is away but hope she enjoyed the holidays with her family.


Cruising with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Ol' Paint gets a new lease on life

I love Ol' Paint, my Suburban.

There's something about driving a Suburban. You sit up so high. You have all that space in which to toss stuff. My Suburban has a bench-style front seat. I'll bet you can't even get that anymore.

My Suburban is 12 years old. She's one of the last of the old-time Suburbans. Looks like a pickup truck with a permanent camper shell. No sleek modern window lines on her.

Hotshot grumbles that the doors have never really fit properly. I tell him, "It's a truck. Whaddya want from a truck?"

One time, back when I used to go camping with the Explorer Scouts and we didn't feel like setting up tents, four of us slept in Ol' Paint, crosswise, one on each seat and one on the back floor. Plenty of room. You couldn't have fit all of us in one of those bucket seat jobs.

"Wow! This is big," exclaim admiring friends, as they stare in through the open back doors.

"Yeah," I say. "If you take out the back seat and fold the middle one down, you can fit a coffin in there." Or a whole lot of stuff that your college age kid needs for the dorm.

Hotshot asks, "If you love that car so much, why don't you take better care of it?" What he means is, why don't I wash it occasionally.

I've got a good reason why not. My theory is, all that dirt protects the paint. Until this year, Ol' Paint had never been in a barn - I mean garage. Her original paint job deteriorated within 5 years of when we bought her, and we had to have the roof and the hood repainted. Here at 7,000 feet plus elevation, the UV radiation is more intense. Shucks. Who wants to do that again?

Ol' Paint's not perfect. Two years ago, she let me down. I was heading to Pagosa from Tennessee to check on the progress of the cabin renovations and clear out stuff before we moved here with our Nashville possessions. Ol' Paint broke down, about 5 miles north of an infamous intersection in the middle of New Mexico, known as Kline's Corners. There was a tremendous clattering underneath the car, like someone was shaking a bucket full of large metal pieces. I coasted to the side of the road and got out to take a look. What I saw was a long pipe dragging on the ground. Can you guess?

The garage in Moriarty replaced the rear differential and the drive shaft, and a week later she was ready to go. But, they couldn't get one with the same gear ratio, and they didn't do much to adjust the speedometer. After that I was never quite sure how fast we were going, but a good rule of thumb was 10 percent off. So in downtown Pagosa Springs, when that flashing sign said, "Your speed is 26," Ol' Paint registered 29. On the highway to Durango the speedometer showed 72 before I exceeded the 65 mph limit. That was pretty exciting.

There was another "defect" with this car. It's only got 2-wheel drive. Here in the land of 4-wheel drive vehicles, that's considered a handicap. People assume you've got 4-wheel, and when you admit that power only goes to the rear wheels of your vehicle, they look at you with pity.

They can't believe it. What's worse, they become condescending. "I thought you had 4-wheel," they say sadly. They almost pat you on the head.

Last winter we didn't drive Ol' Paint much. Hotshot took her to the Durango airport once, and three days later, on the way home in a snowstorm, he almost slid off the road.

"That's it," he decreed. "You need a different vehicle."

Well, I put it off. I drove the old gal all summer. Then I was away most of the fall. Then came the snow, and I started thinking maybe it was time to replace her.

But cripes, what with? Have you priced a Suburban lately? We'd need to take out a second mortgage. So I scaled down my expectations. I didn't really need such a big car to haul groceries around in.

I went looking for a replacement. Three different times. I tried out new cars. I test-drove used cars. Jeep, Subaru, GMC Jimmy, Blazer. And I came home disappointed each time.

Not that all those cars aren't fine. It's just that it's hard to give up that feeling of being Queen of the Road.

But Hotshot came through with a solution. After all, when we lived in New England we got around on snowy roads just fine, with 2-wheel drive. It was just a matter of adjusting our attitudes out of 4-wheel drive.

Turns out, you can get the rear differential converted to positraction, which as I understand it, means that the power goes separately to the two rear wheels. If one wheel is on ice, or in the muddy slop that the county defines as our road, the other wheel can do the work. It won't stop just because the one is spinning around like crazy. It may still get you moving out of there.

You can also get studded snow tires to put on those rear wheels, for better traction.

You can also get a thingey, a gizmo that makes the speedometer read accurately again. Now when the sign in town says, "Slow down, your speed is 28 mph," I'll believe it.

And you can get all these things for a lot less than a new vehicle. Or a used one, for that matter. So I'm sorry to say to those nice young men who showed me all those cars, Thanks, but I'm going to keep the one I've got.

Who knows, come spring I may even take her through the car wash.

Or maybe not. Then she'd probably need a new coat of paint.


Library News

By Lenore Bright

Ballroom Dance club makes a perfect anecdote

The local United Way fundraising goal this year is $55,000. Every bit of the donated money will be used locally by the benefited organizations.

A qualifier for any United Way organization is divulging how the money will be spent.

The Gary Morris concert was the first benefit. Now, Wolf Creek Ski Area is offering a second one - a whole day of skiing for $29 ($39 is the usual price) and all participants will be eligible for prizes. Larry Fisher at Ski and Bow Rack is offering free ski rentals. All this takes place Jan. 24.

Sisson Library wants you to enter its Valentine's Day contest. The poster says "Create a special valentine for someone you know or for someone you'd like to know."

Now, I think that making a valentine for someone "you'd like to know" would be the most fun. Anyway, you are to take your finished valentine to the library by Feb. 5 to be put on display. And then pick up your valentine before Feb. 13 to claim your prize.

The grand opening of the Center for Southwest Studies on the Fort Lewis College campus is Jan. 27. The hours are 3 to 7 p.m. A ribbon cutting will take place close to the starting time and there will be lots of refreshments.

This fine building is 48,000 square feet in size and will house a 100-seat lyceum, an exhibit gallery and a research center. It is located at the end of the campus next door to the concert hall and is handicapped accessible. Dr. Andrew Guilliford, author of the book "Sacred Objects," is the director of the center.

The importance of the facility to some people in Pagosa Springs is that they will remember Mark Winter who owned and operated the American Renaissance Gallery located on U.S. 160 across from Ace Hardware. He is an authority on Southwest textiles and a source of information for Sotheby's. Mark and Lerin Winter and Richard and Mary Lynn Ballantine are co-owners of the Durango Collection, the finest private collection of Southwest Textiles every assembled. It was collected over a 25-year period.

Mark Winter now has a gallery in Santa Fe, "Relics of the Old West," and Richard Ballantine is the publisher of the Durango Herald.

In the late 1980s and early '90s when we were having fashion shows at the Best Western Oak Ridge Lodge to benefit the Sisson Library, a few of the textiles from the Durango collection were modeled. They made elegant drapery and required a tall model. It will be a treat to once again see some of these beautiful textiles.

Fun on the run

After a dinner speech, the speaker scolded his secretary: "Why did you write such a long speech for me? You saw how those people were feeling bored." The secretary replied, "Sir, it wasn't a lengthy speech at all; but I did make one mistake - I gave you all three copies of the speech."


Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

Many special events on week's agenda

The local United Way fundraising goal this year is $55,000. Every bit of the donated money will be used locally by the benefited organizations.

A qualifier for any United Way organization is divulging how the money will be spent.

The Gary Morris concert was the first benefit. Now, Wolf Creek Ski Area is offering a second one - a whole day of skiing for $29 ($39 is the usual price) and all participants will be eligible for prizes. Larry Fisher at Ski and Bow Rack is offering free ski rentals. All this takes place Jan. 24.

Sisson Library wants you to enter its Valentine's Day contest. The poster says "Create a special valentine for someone you know or for someone you'd like to know."

Now, I think that making a valentine for someone "you'd like to know" would be the most fun. Anyway, you are to take your finished valentine to the library by Feb. 5 to be put on display. And then pick up your valentine before Feb. 13 to claim your prize.

The grand opening of the Center for Southwest Studies on the Fort Lewis College campus is Jan. 27. The hours are 3 to 7 p.m. A ribbon cutting will take place close to the starting time and there will be lots of refreshments.

This fine building is 48,000 square feet in size and will house a 100-seat lyceum, an exhibit gallery and a research center. It is located at the end of the campus next door to the concert hall and is handicapped accessible. Dr. Andrew Guilliford, author of the book "Sacred Objects," is the director of the center.

The importance of the facility to some people in Pagosa Springs is that they will remember Mark Winter who owned and operated the American Renaissance Gallery located on U.S. 160 across from Ace Hardware. He is an authority on Southwest textiles and a source of information for Sotheby's. Mark and Lerin Winter and Richard and Mary Lynn Ballantine are co-owners of the Durango Collection, the finest private collection of Southwest Textiles every assembled. It was collected over a 25-year period.

Mark Winter now has a gallery in Santa Fe, "Relics of the Old West," and Richard Ballantine is the publisher of the Durango Herald.

In the late 1980s and early '90s when we were having fashion shows at the Best Western Oak Ridge Lodge to benefit the Sisson Library, a few of the textiles from the Durango collection were modeled. They made elegant drapery and required a tall model. It will be a treat to once again see some of these beautiful textiles.

Fun on the run

After a dinner speech, the speaker scolded his secretary: "Why did you write such a long speech for me? You saw how those people were feeling bored." The secretary replied, "Sir, it wasn't a lengthy speech at all; but I did make one mistake - I gave you all three copies of the speech."



Deadlines vs details

A seven-day deadline faxed to the county commissioners Tuesday regarding a conditional-use permit to drill for natural gas in Archuleta County should provide some valuable insight into the skills and abilities of the current board of county commissioners.

Because of the differing categories involved - the current demand and high costs for natural gas, etc. - the problems could be of varying consequences.

Developing patience and - depending who owns the mineral rights under their land - prospects of a higher tax bracket could be the major problems confronting the private land owners.

The drilling company obviously thinks the current demand-supply and resulting profitable scenario involving natural gas has a short life span. Like the familiar shill of the salesman pitching a final offer deadline on a deal that is too good to be true, there is "only" a "7 day window starting from today to drill" these particular wells. Surely there's a problem with this approach.

The county commissioners share a common problem. Each have sworn "to faithfully perform the duties of the office of Archuleta County Commissioner . . ." Commissioners Crabtree and Downey were part of a unanimous vote that approved county regulations involving the conditional-use permit process that went into effect March 14, 2000. (Commissioner Ecker had ample time after the Nov. 7 election and taking office Jan. 9 to familiarize himself with the county's permitting regulations.) Therefore it's surprising that Chairman Crabtree would foster the idea "to grant a waiver and work out the details later," in order to satisfy the alleged time-urgent needs of a drilling company.

The planning office has a problem in that its employees are responsible for complying with the established time frame of the permitting process that was approved unanimously (and apparently read beforehand) by the commissioners. Yet as of Tuesday, it appears a majority of the commissioners all of a sudden disagree with the county's established policy.

The county attorney has a problem in that it's her responsibility to advise the commissioners on how they might legally comply with the existing county laws. Apparently there is no provisions on record that would enable the commissioners to bypass the county regulations and afterwards resolve the details.

The county tax payers face an unfamiliar problem that their counterparts in neighboring La Plata County are already familiar with. The resulting above-ground installations and operations associated with producing gas wells provide a county with substantial revenues. The resulting demands and damage to county roads located in the areas surrounding such operations are costly during the drilling process is complete, and if successful, during the duration of the pumping, maintenance and delivery process.

If granting waivers on demand and working out the details later truly are the best solutions the commissioners can come up with whenever a driller, developer, contractor or what have you propositions the county with a deadline demand, whether by garbled fax or personal confrontation; then there's no reason to complain. Because as I recall, each of the commissioners have sworn to "faithfully perform the duties of the office" of county commissioner "to the best of my skill and ability."

Hopefully the best of Crabtree's and Ecker's skills and abilities were not on display during Tuesday's discussions. Let's hope they were saving their best for this morning's discussions with the planning office regarding the drilling of gas wells and the issuance of related conditional-use permits.

David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

A wordsmith turns to thuggery

Dear Folks,

By now you know that at the age of 12, Undersheriff Russell Hebert read "Prester John". The adventure novel so influenced the young lad that some 50 years later he serves as a fearless lawman in downtown Pagosa Springs.

Every Thursday morning he can be seen walking the sidewalk of Pagosa Street as he covers his adopted beat from the Irish Rose to the . . . but wait I'm getting a head of myself.

Raise your eyes slightly and gaze again at our faithful defender of law and order. Notice the tweed cap perched confidently atop his silver mane. The steel rimmed spectacles with their bullet-proof lenses. The firm jaw, the unsmiling, unflinching expression of total control. The face calmly exemplifies unending readiness for even the most dastardly of deeds.

Be assured those steely piercing eyes need only an unnoticeable glance to record an infallible image of even the slightest detail and the most telling clues unknowingly left behind by the most cunning and cleverest of "thugs".


It's unfathomable to think thug would be included in the vocabulary of a multi-lingual (not counting Cajun) product of southern Louisiana's finest parochial schools and Northwestern University.

That's a word you would expect to hear from someone who needed three years and one summer session to barely make his way through Houston's John J. Pershing Junior High School.

Granted Prester John deals with an Hebert-like character infiltrating a ruthless terrorist gang in India, and thug comes from the Hindi word "thag"; but I would expect more from someone who takes great delight in using his impeccable New York Times Crossword Puzzle vocabulary while brow beating a floundering, cowering, "sniveling" editor.

His weekly tirades bring to mind Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - no one "will little note, nor long remember" what is said during his impeccable pronunciation of words that only the brightest of my classmates could correctly spell during those self-esteem shattering "spelling bees".

That's why I read Russell's "Whaddaya think" response two or three times before hitting the save key and forwarding the column onto the proof readers.

Just as my inept hearing proves to be useful during Hebert's Thursday interrogations of the SUN staff, my questionable eye sight was wandering yesterday as I perused Russell's comments.

Initially I questioned if the quote was being attributed to the right person. After all, I have yet to hear Russell limit himself to two sentences in any question-and-answer exchange. Even when being sworn in on the witness stand - when asked "Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth . . ." he's been able to extend the customary "I do . . ." by adding "and I humbly assure your honor that I likewise affirm and furthermore attest to . . ." before the judge bangs his gavel for silence in the court.

So when I say the words Prester John as being the "one book" Russell would "recommend as must reading for today's teens," my eyes read Pester David.

Hopefully Lenore Bright has a copy of Prester John in the Ruby Sisson Library. My Thursday mornings put me in the mood for a good detective novel that's a "must read" for 12-year-olds.

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



By Shari Pierce

Preparing for winter and hardships in 1905

Tuesday's nice snowfall gave me cause to think back to a story I have in my files written by Cora Thayer. Mrs. Thayer, in her later years, wrote about her life, including coming to the San Juan Basin. The story is very enjoyable and enlightening about day-to-day life here. In particular I remembered this story for its details about preparing for winter and the some of the hardships they faced. It makes me grateful for how easy we have it now.

Some people may have to haul wood, others are able to turn up the thermostat a little and pay more on their gas bill. When it snows now, we may have to shovel a little, have someone plow our drive or wait for the town or county to clear our roads, but for the most part we are able to get around with minimal effort. Nothing like the Thayers and other early settlers had to do in 1905.

At this point in the Thayer's lives, they were working for George West on his ranch. They were helping with the cattle and living at the ranch. We take up the story in the fall of the year.

"After the cattle were gathered, some of the men drove the fat steers to Pagosa Junction, the nearest railroad, to be shipped, which took them three or four days. A chuckwagon with their supplies, bedding, etc., accompanied them. Of course, they had to 'night herd' them enroute. Del helped them get started the first day then came back before dark. He had to get things ready for winter. Get lots of wood in for fuel, our heater was a 'box' heater, about six-foot long. The door to it was at the front end, a large one, so we could put in large pieces after the fire was started; a hearth in front to pull ashes onto, a damper in the stove pipe to regulate the heat. The men had put up hay on Henry Gordon's place, too, so had to fence the haystacks. The cows with small calves were on the Gordon ranch, which was a short way from the West ranch. We also had to get in provisions for winter (we were not moving to town this year) as the roads were not kept open in the winter. We went to Pagosa and bought a cookstove, flour, cereal, canned corn, tomatoes, dried fruit, sugar, lard, coffee, etc. Oh I can't remember all, but a variety of things and of course Del got gloves, mittens, and tobacco for himself. When it got cold we ate beef as it would keep frozen then. We also went to the doctor's and got medicine for what we might have need for, as the winters then were severe; cold and lots of snow."


25 years ago

Taken from SUN files

of Jan. 8, 1976

Public Safety adds 2nd officer

Taken from SUN files

of Jan. 15, 1976

Pagosa Public Safety Department now has two full-time officers. Roy Vega, a former army military police officer, is the director of public safety office for the Pagosa in Colorado subdivisions. George Capehart, a former officer with the Midland, Texas, police department, is the newest member of the public safety office.

Mrs. Marcia Marquez has been named chairman of the 1976 Heart Fund Campaign in Pagosa Springs, according to officials of the Colorado Heart Association. The annual fund drive will be held during February which is National Heart Month.

Pagosa Springs Boxing Club under the coaching of Bill Lynn and Hoppo Yamaguchi will host its first boxing card of the season Saturday night at the high school gym. The visiting teams will be from Ignacio and Aztec, N.M. About 20 bouts are planned.

Colorado State Patrol officer William Downey reported a state highway department rotary snowplow went over the embankment just above the San Juan Overlook on the west side of Wolf Creek Pass last Friday morning. Downey reported a state highway department employee was operating the snowplow when it started sliding.


Pacing Pagosa

By Richard Walter


Grandfather came to Colorado in 1892

The German roots for both sides of my family are firmly recorded. The Hotz name dates well back into German, Swiss and Austrian records.

The family were foresters but with a musical bent. The Hotz Harmonica became one of the finest instruments of its type and is still highly valued if one can be found.

The Walter family, my father's side, was a deeply religious group in Germany and drawn to the new country of America in the late 1700s by the promise of religious freedom. This look at their arrival in the U.S. and in Colorado concludes my two-part look at the family history.

The family of Jacob Walter apparently was the first to arrive on these shores, landing in New York in 1777 and moving soon thereafter to Philadelphia, seat of the new nation's government.

A partial family history, compiled in the 1930s, indicates Jacob Walter had 10 sons and each of his sons had 10 sons. There are sure to have been daughters in the family but no reference is made to them in early records. On arrival in Philadelphia, Jacob bought a family Bible for each of the 10 sons and one of those has passed down through the generations to me.

One of the 10 sons of Jacob was Philip, father of another Philip born Aug. 11, 1781, and a daughter, Catharine, born Nov. 11, 1785. They are believed to have been the first Walters born in this country. The infant Philip was my great-grandfather.

The Bible, published in 1787 by Kimber and Sharpless of Philadelphia, Pa., has been repository over the centuries for oddities and bits of familial history. Inside I found a feather, a strip of homespun cloth, advertisements for early 1800s businesses, an 1879 receipt for post office box rent (25 cents for the year) in Harrisburg, Pa., numerous religious tracts and sermons, and my grandfather's marriage license.

Since he, Clark Judson Walter, is the first of the family that I know of who came to Colorado, I'll begin with him.

When word of Robert Womack's 1891 gold strike at Cripple Creek reached the eastern United States, the then 16-year-old C.J. (as we're told he preferred to be called) decided the frontier was the place for him.

History shows he arrived in this state in 1892 (there's no accounting for how he got here) and the first recorded evidence of his arrival is on the guest book of the historic Jackson Hotel in Poncha Springs.

There is evidence he arrived in Cripple Creek at the height of the gold fever and somehow amassed enough money to go into business with several other persons as outfitters to the miners.

When I was a child, he told the story of walking back into the family home in Harrisburg just over six months from the day he left with $200,000, his share of profits from the gold mining business.

Asked what happened to the money, he said he "spent it like any fool teen-age kid would." I don't know what he spent it on.

Later, he was to amass and lose other fortunes, one in the stock market crash and another in a failed insurance business. Always a shrewd and dedicated businessman, he just kept coming back from these downfalls.

With his first wife (name missing from current records) he sired sons Philip and Robert. With his second wife, Eulalia Bechtel whom he married on Dec. 21, 1904, in Kokomo, Ind., he sired my father, David, and a daughter, Catharine.

My dad must have inherited the wanderlust from his father. He left home at the age of 15, riding the rails around the country and learning several trades along the way. At 17, in 1925, he was declared dead of spinal meningitis in Savannah, Ga., and had morgue attendants aghast when he rose alive from the cart.

Returning to his family's home in Kokomo, he apprenticed as a mortician, but soon decided the trade was not for him. He studied electricity and mechanical repair in his spare time, learned carpentry from family friends, and was a master paper hanger by the time he decided Colorado was the place to go.

As close as I have been able to determine, he arrived in Colorado in 1923, finally migrating to Pagosa Springs in 1927. He made a living working on new homes and papering old ones.

Then he met my mother, who was working in the post office in Pagosa Springs, and after a whirlwind romance they were wed here.

He was hired by the Hersch family of Pagosa to run the general store and post office in La Boca (a small community serving stateline farmers and native Americans along the narrow gauge rail line south of Ignacio) which no longer exists.

That was my first home and one of my earliest memories is of being on a leash tied to the clothes line so I could romp outside but not get into the drainage ditch which ran along the rails. There was a steady stream of Indians to the trading post and of farmers to the depot.

One of the oldest Indians used to tell of his childhood in the area, of Spanish soldiers invading the camp, and of his family being wiped out while he and other children hid in reeds along the river.

An Indian woman befriended by my mother was so thrilled at being taught how to can food that she beaded a purse and presented it as a gift.

My father pumping gasoline into his tanker truck for delivery to farmers from Arboles to Falfa.

While working in La Boca, my father lost an eye in a welding accident. A chip of metal flew off as he was welding and lodged in the eye. Mr. Hersch had him transported to Denver where attempts to save his sight were unsuccessful and he returned with an artificial eye supposedly designed to match the other one.

My parents moved north to Ignacio in the late 1930s and my father began working for George Anderson in his Conoco Service Station. Later, he bought out the business and added a wholesale bulk plant from which he serviced farmers from Arboles to Falfa and dozens of points in between.

He was elected mayor of Ignacio and served during the early years of World War II. I can remember winter days as a child when the water intake valve in the river would freeze and he'd be called out at 2 or 3 in the morning to wade out or break through the ice to the valve to clear it.

He also got regular complaints about fish in the faucets when village ne'er-do-wells would remove the filter from the valve as a joke.

During that period, his father and mother moved to Ignacio and bought a home where they would spend their retirement. When his mother died of pneumonia, however, his father decided he still had some adventures to live.

He surprised everyone when he informed them he was leaving for Luling, Texas, where he had long before purchased mineral rights and intended to start wildcatting for oil.

After two or three wells came in, he moved to Killeen but hit a series of dry holes near there and decided the oil business was not for him. He then migrated to California, staying for a while with son Robert in San Francisco, before striking out on another career, then in his 80s.

My father received a letter from his dad informing him he was working as a bank guard and courier for an East Coast bank's West Cost branch. He died while I was in the Navy overseas and unable to get back in time for the services.

As mayor, my father fielded all the complaints and was also offered some unusual benefits.

At one time, he was offered 1,000 acres of Indian land lying southwest of the town for $1 an acre. In later years he told of examining the land and wondering what anyone would do with 1,000 acres of sagebrush. He obviously turned the offer down. Within 10 years, there were gas wells every 500 feet across that land.

To capitalize on the oil boom, he opened the Ranch Inn Hotel and Black Cat Bar in Ignacio and operated them for some time while maintaining the Conoco businesses. The stress, however, began to tell on his health and he was told by a physician to get out of the altitude.

My parents were divorced in 1944 and my mother and I returned to Pagosa Springs. He stayed in Ignacio, remarried and the couple adopted a daughter.

Since one of his hobbies was buying old buses and making them into homes on wheels, he did just that and the family began an odyssey throughout the Eastern United States, and finally the southern states. But, after two years, they decided to return to Kokomo where he worked in an electroplating plant for a while.

They then moved to Lake Village, Ind., where they operated a clothing store and where they were living when he died of a massive heart attack in 1968. That came three years after he had to have a leg amputated following a furniture moving accident.

This completes a two-part look at just a portion of more than a century of the Hotz and Walter families in Colorado.


Old Timers

By John Motter

Politics spiced early Pagosa news

With the coming of the railroad, Pagosa Country's economy flourished. Two big lumber mills with good-sized payrolls meant lots of spending money. Times were good. Times were also bad.

Across the nation, Populism refused to die. On top of that, muckraking was in vogue. Pagosa Country was not immune to the national wave of muckraking. From the beginning, Archuleta County politics radiated a certain unpleasant fragrance fanned by competition between certain Anglos and Hispanics for control of the county government.

Shortly after 1900, two newspapers published in the county with opposing political views. Allegations of misuse of county funds prompted the state to investigate Archuleta County finances, especially the office of treasurer. Pagosa's first bank, appropriately called the First Bank of Pagosa Springs, went belly up amid charges of corruption and skullduggery. The federal government investigated fraud charges connected with the acquisition of timber homesteads in the county. In that regard, most of Pagosa's leading citizens were summoned to Denver where they faced a grand jury inquisition.

Unfortunately, not many of the newspapers published between 1901-1909 survive. Consequently, tracking local events during that time frame is difficult, spiced with a scattering of tantalizing articles, but without enough follow up to learn all of the details.

The owners of the big lumber mills entered the local political arena. E. M. Biggs, head of the New Mexico Lumber Co. with mills at Edith and Blanco in Colorado, and El Vado, N. M., served as county commissioner at times. At other times, so did A.T. Sullenberger, head of the Pagosa Lumber Co.

By Oct. 11, 1905, Chas. A. Day, editor of Pagosa Springs' "only Republican newspaper," the New Era wrote: "It was hoped and expected that Archuleta county, or the people, had arrived at a new understanding of about what the new administration would have to contend with in placing the county's finances upon a business basis, but it seems we are in for another dose of high financing practiced by the unlamented gang."

Day went on to say that the state auditor's report for June of 1904 showed Archuleta County's indebtedness to the state at about $10,000 due to taxes collected by the old county treasurer and not remitted to the state. Consequently, F.A. Moss of the state treasurer's office was in Pagosa Springs going through the county treasurer's accounts.

The newly elected county officials were: John L. Gaylord, clerk; John M. Laughlin, treasurer; Elmer E. Hatcher, sheriff; W.J. Nossaman, assessor; E. 'Ephraim' K. Caldwell, judge; Mrs. B.E. McConnell, school superintendent; Dr. A.J. Nossaman, county physician; Robert A. Howe, surveyor; Gean Gross, coroner; A.L. Mollette, attorney; and commissioners John L. Dowell, A.T. Sullen- berger, and Samuel Teeson.

Meanwhile, the newly-created U.S. Forest Service, an organization we take for granted today, was just getting under way. An advertisement for forest rangers in the New Era explained that an employment application test containing written and field questions would soon be given Pagosa Country applicants. Concerning the field side of the exam, the announcement advised: "Applicants in the field examination, among other things, will be required to shoot at a target with rifle and with pistol and should bring with them these arms for this test."

On Oct. 20, Day reported: "The New Era devotes some space this week to a discussion of ex-treasurer M.M. Parr's letter denouncing treasurer Laughlin's conduct of his office."

In this discussion, it was pointed out that all records and paid vouchers prior to 1893 had been destroyed. Also noted was that $68,000 in warrants had been issued against a fund containing about $11,000.

In the same paper, Laughlin, in his capacity as newly-elected treasurer, published this announcement: "All owners or holders of outstanding warrants or orders of Archuleta county issued prior to January 10, 1905, are hereby notified that said warrants or orders are raised, forged, bogus, fraudulent, fictitious, and void, and will not be paid by Archuleta County."

We don't know if the county's financial affairs caused men's hair to stand on end, but the haircut business must have been good. We note this advertisement: "Tonsorial parlors - A first class 4-chair shop, where guaranteed work is done at popular prices. Only skilled workmen employed. Located on San Juan street near the bridge - W.W. Mullins, Prop." The Mullins sign still shows, now on Pagosa Street. How long has it been since Pagosa Springs had a 4-chair barber shop?

A notice to the public read:

"The bell at the town hall is dedicated for use as an alarm in the case of fire, and to call the Volunteer Fire Department. Rapid ringing of the bell signifies an alarm of fire; and one, two, or three slow strokes indicate a department call. All persons are hereby warned against the use of the bell for any other purpose than above specified, and notice is given that infringement will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Returning to politics, Day recalled the election of the fall of 1902: "At the election in the fall of 1902, a strong Republican precinct in this county was voted solidly against Mr. Brooks, the Republican candidate for congressman-at-large. It was a Mexican precinct and controlled by the gentleman who handled the Republican campaign funds. At the election in 1903 the gang voted pretty generally for the Democratic candidate for supreme judge. At the election last fall, the gang conspired and succeeded in preventing over a hundred persons from the Edith precinct from voting the national and state Republican ticket because they proposed to vote against the gang county ticket. These are some reasons why the Republican state central committee wisely chose to recognize the in and out of season Republicans of this county."

An item borrowed by Day from a Silverton newspaper read:

"Congratulations are due Charles Day, a former Silverton printer boy but now conducting the Pagosa Springs New Era, for the stand he is taking against past Archuleta county robbers-one time officials who believed in no evolution and that their's was a life legacy at the people's expense. Charley is now having lots of fun, although his fires are kept hot with Republican sulphur. It's the one brand that is now making ex-Republican office holders squirm and squeal."

In an editorial following the plaudits, Day wrote:

"For many years previous to the election of 1904 the county had been controlled by an endless chain gang, and although many honest men were placed in office, the gang succeeded in running things. Probably most of the original gang were honest in the political views they held, but a number of them, Republicans, Democrats, and Populists, gradually lost their political bearings and became just grafters. So unbearable became conditions under these circumstances that early last year a number of heavy taxpayers began to lay plans for the undoing of the gang. The Democratic county convention was the first of the two party councils to be called in the fall and after the reform element had won out and nominated a ticket composed of both Democrats and Republicans, the gang exerted its influence and caused a bolt of several delegates.

"The Republican party convention which followed was an even warmer proposition. Here also the reform element had been victorious at the primaries, but the wisdom of the gang came to the rescue and ordered the county central committee, which it controlled, to sit as a credentials committee and throw out enough reform delegates to give the gang control. This was promptly done and the reform delegates just as promptly bolted, held a convention of their own and nominated the ticket previously nominated at the Democratic convention.

"In the meantime the 'regulars' had consulted with the Democratic and Populist statesmen who hadn't lost any reform and wasn't looking for it and concluded to nominate a very fair ticket composed of Republicans and Democrats.

"Then followed the long battle for the right to be placed upon the official ballot under the party name, but the gang controlled the organization, had the prestige of years of power, had already received the campaign funds allotted to this county and its ticket went upon the ballot under the designation as 'Republican.' The state central committee had deemed it unwise to make a change while crossing a stream and the supreme court at the eleventh hour refused to intervene."

More coming on the coming of the railroad and early 1900 politics in Pagosa Country.


Business News

Biz Beat

Monte Leone owns HealthQuest, located in Suite 109 at the Mountain View Plaza on Put Hill at 2035 U.S. 160, west.

HealthQuest offers a variety of massage services, including deep tissue work, stone massage and bioelectric massage utilizing the most modern of equipment. The business provides biomechanical orthotics and reflexology. HealthQuest will offer colon hydrotherapy in the near future.

HealthQuest is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and at other times by appointment. The phone number is 731-0100.


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