Front Page

February 1, 2001


Building/planning split violates Open Meetings Law

By John M. Motter

In an action apparently violating provisions of the Colorado Open Meetings Law, Archuleta County commissioners separated the county building inspection function from the county planning office during an executive session Jan. 16. At the same time the commissioners promoted Michael Crofts from building inspector to building official.

Executive sessions are conducted by public boards when they want to exclude the public. The Colorado Open Meetings Law contains specific rules and conditions for conducting executive sessions. Failure to abide by the rules and conditions contained in the Colorado Open Meetings Law is a violation punishable by fines and prison sentences.

The action was apparently taken during an executive session labeled "personnel" following the regular Jan. 16 commissioner meeting.

Timing of the action varies according to whose memory is being tested. The SUN did not learn of the action until Wednesday morning. A number of telephone calls and a face-to-face talk with Commissioner Bill Downey followed. Downey could not remember for certain when the action was taken, but thought it might have been during the Jan. 16 executive session. Downey said it was done by consensus.

Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners confirmed the change was made and said, twice, that it was done following the Jan. 16 executive session.

The third commissioner, Alden Ecker said he couldn't remember for sure, but thought it was done either during the Jan. 16 executive session or during a workshop that afternoon.

County Manager Dennis Hunt said the action was taken by consensus during the Jan. 16 executive session when he was directed by the commissioners to carry out the change.

The minutes for the Jan. 16 meeting were approved by the board of county commissioners at the beginning of the Jan. 23 meeting. The minutes read: "Commissioner Downey moved to enter into executive session at 10:45 a.m. with County Attorney Mary Weiss, the county manager, the county clerk, the county assessor, and deputy assessor to discuss legal strategy for the board of assessment appeals lawsuit and then enter into executive session with commissioners only to discuss personnel matters. Ecker seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously."

The next line of the minutes starts a new paragraph and reads: "Commissioner Downey moved to adjourn from executive session at 12 p.m. Commissioner Ecker seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously. Commissioner Downey moved to adjourn the regular meeting at 12:01 p.m. Commissioner Ecker seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously."

The next line and paragraph reads: "With no further business coming before the board, the meeting adjourned at 12:01 p.m."

According to the Colorado Open Meetings Law: "No adoption of any rule, regulation, policy, or position, or formal action shall occur at any meeting closed to the public."

The commissioners' decisions during the Jan. 16 executive session regarding the building inspection functions and Croft's position was clearly a violation of the Colorado Open Meetings Law according to Steve Zansberg, an attorney representing the Colorado Press Association.

"From what you have told me it seems there has clearly been a violation of the law," Zansberg said. "It doesn't matter if you call it a consensus or what. The law says 'adoption of a policy, position, or formal action.' "

Even if the commissioners had discussed the matter in executive session, then returned to open session and voted to carry the matter out, courts have ruled that "rubber stamping" a decision made in executive session violates the open meetings law, Zansberg said.

"I can't comment on what did or didn't occur during any executive session," said County Attorney Weiss.

The change to separate the county building inspection duties from the county planning office was made because the commissioners believed the work load on Mike Mollica to be excessive, Commissioner Crabtree said. Mollica is director of county development. Until the Jan. 16 change, Mollica was head of the county planning department and of the building permit department. He remains at the top of the planning department.

Following the change, the building permit department is a separate department headed by Crofts. The building department is seeking an additional inspector.


Corridors, views, wildlife rise as plan issues

By John M. Motter

A crowd in excess of 250 people crowded into the Pagosa Lakes Community Center last Saturday to comment on the latest version of a proposed county master plan.

"I don't know how many people were there, but I know 250 people signed the registration forms on their way in," said Mike Mollica, director of county development. "There had to be more people than that present."

No action to adopt the plan was taken by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission. That body did conduct a regular meeting which included the public comment time allotment.

Comment was received on Draft 4, the latest version of a proposed county master plan that has been more than a year in development. The meeting lasted from 7 p.m. until almost midnight. During that span of time, Colorado Division of Wildlife presented information on wildlife management in the area, a public comment session concerning the proposed plan was conducted, and the commission considered renovations to the proposed plan.

"I think we are making good progress at reconciling the differences represented by the various people in the county," Mollica said. "When all of this is over, I think we will have a plan acceptable to most of the people in the county."

Public comments focused primarily on three controversial elements of the plan: scenic corridors, ridge-top building restrictions, and wildlife enhancement measures. Widely polarized opinions concerning those three issues were revealed by the public comments.

On the one hand are a group of landowners who fear language recommending preservation of scenic corridors, ridge-top views, and wildlife habitation and migration routes will detract from the value of their property by preventing or restricting development of that property.

On the other hand are a group of people who fear that continued and unchecked development, especially of scenic corridors, ridge-tops, and wildlife lands, will seriously compromise the aesthetic characteristics valued by those living in this area.

"We're putting new language in the plan concerning scenic corridors - I think that is the main issue," Mollica said. "We were pretty bold in the beginning when we included maps showing scenic corridors. We didn't describe specific conditions attached to those corridors. Now we have taken a step backward. We're inviting input from those who live along each corridor. Working with them we'll write the specific details for that specific corridor, things like building heights and setbacks. That way each scenic corridor will be defined by the residents. It won't be one solution fits all. If there is not interest by the residents, we're not going to try to force a corridor in that locale." The new language is primarily related to Chapter 5, the land-use and growth-management portion of the plan.

Development of the community plan has been authorized by the county commissioners. The process has involved a poll designed to learn if people of the community want a plan defining community preferences and goals, a series of public meetings in various parts of the county, the writing of a community plan, and subsequent community meetings reviewing continually revised drafts of the plan. A new draft will follow the most recent meeting.

When a community plan is finally adopted, its nature will be advisory only. County regulations affecting land use can only be enacted by the county commissioners.

Ultimately, information compiled in the community plan will be used in a new county master plan. The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission will next discuss the proposed plan at the regular Feb. 28 meeting.


County acts to complete Enhanced 911

By John M. Motter

Steps were taken to hasten completion of Enhanced 911 this year during a Tuesday afternoon work session involving the county commissioners, the sheriff's department, and others involved with the program.

The first steps toward making Enhanced 911 available in Archuleta County were taken during 1994. Enhanced 911 means that the dispatch operator will have what amounts to caller ID for emergency calls. The address of anyone in the county calling the local emergency number will be known to the dispatcher.

Consequently, if anything happens to interrupt the call before the caller gives the dispatcher an address, the call can still be traced and emergency help sent.

The last step making local installation of Enhanced 911 possible was taken last week when Russell Crowley mailed in the addresses of all telephone owners in Archuleta County to SCC, the company responsible for compiling the Enhanced 911 database. Crowley's listing of addresses was made possible by satellite mapping of the county.

Tuesday's work session involved a telephone conference with Jan Waring, the president of Nine One One Inc., the company responsible for adapting local communications equipment in the county dispatch office so it will handle Emergency 911.

Waring advised the commissioners to write a letter to SCC asking them to complete their portion of the project by June 1.

"You have to be in their face," Waring said. "Enough is enough. Your problems are abnormal. Nobody else is going through this (time delay)."

Commissioners agreed to send the letter.

The local dispatch console will be set up with four trunk lines and two stations in order to handle Enhanced 911. When changeover occurs, the several entities involved must coordinate their changes on one day so that emergency services won't be interrupted.

Waring recommended getting Enhanced 911 functioning as soon as possible, then worrying about additions or changes later.

At the regular Tuesday meeting of Archuleta County commissioners, the following issues were addressed or acted upon:

- After hearing a request from Albert Lucero that the county occasionally plow snow from the entrance road to the Three Meadows Ranch, action was postponed until more information can be obtained. Lucero asserted the county regularly plows the road to the White Ranch, also located in the Fawn Gulch area. He said the White Ranch crosses Three Meadows property and he doesn't see why, if the county plows to the White Ranch, it doesn't plow to the Three Meadows Ranch as well. A decision on road ownership and questions on whether the roads discussed are public or private prompted postponement of any action until more facts can be learned.

- At an afternoon work session, the commissioners met with members of the newly formed building inspection department. The question was posed: "Should the county impose mandatory licensing on building contractors requiring them to provide the county with proof of liability insurance and workman's compensation coverage before being approved for building permits? It was concluded during the discussion that followed that public meetings will be needed in order to answer the licensing question.

- Action was tabled concerning a proposal to widen and enhance Piedra Road between the entrance to Pepper's and U.S. 160. Two plans are being considered, one costing about $51,000 and the other costing about $204,000. The discussion was postponed to enable the commissioners to obtain additional information.

- The commissioners certified a county road report prepared by road supervisor Kevin Walters for submission to the state in order to obtain Highway User Tax Funds - about $1.1 million annually.

- A work session with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner's Association was scheduled next Tuesday afternoon.

- A proposal is being sought to hire a consultant for developing a county transit plan.


Stats show moderate crime rate increase

By Karl Isberg

Statistics released last week showed moderate increases in most activity levels at the Pagosa Springs Police Department last year, compared to levels charted in 1999.

Pagosa Springs police officers worked 14,320 hours last year, spending 7,963 of those hours on patrol and driving 95,069 miles during patrol duties. In 1999, town officers worked 13,228 hours, with 7,646 hours on patrol and 97,310 miles on the road.

There were 2,245 calls dispatched to town officers last year, compared to 1,948 dispatched calls in 1999. Officers made 3,328 on-site calls in 2000 (calls initiated by an officer on patrol), compared to 3,226 on-site calls the year before.

According to Police Chief Don Volger, his officers maintained a fairly high closure rate in all but a few categories.

"When I analyzed our year-end statistics," said the chief, "I found we had 74 incidents of criminal mischief, of which 25 cases were closed. We had 146 thefts and we closed 57 cases, or 39 percent. There were 24 reports of burglary and we closed half those cases. Of 10 cases of check fraud or forgery, we closed eight. There were 39 reports of harassment and we closed 33 of those cases for a closure rate of 85 percent. Of 24 cases of disorderly conduct or disturbance, we closed 23, and we closed 13 of 22 cases of criminal trespass. We had 24 assaults last year and we closed 22 of those cases.

"We're addressing the situation well," he said. "Where we don't have a high closure rates, it's with cases where a suspect is hard to identify - such as hit and run, or criminal mischief. Otherwise our people are doing a good job and we continue to work for an even better performance."

Officers made 19 felony arrests last year, compared to 21 felony arrests in 1999. Misdemeanor arrests were up to 208 from the previous year's total of 195.

Eleven juveniles were apprehended last year on felony charges (eight in 1999) and 38 juveniles were apprehended for misdemeanor offenses compared to 56 the year before.

Last year, town police conducted 878 field interviews, compared to 1,060 such interviews in 1999. There were 586 written warnings issued in 2000 (558 the previous year) and 1,652 verbal warnings issued - down from 2,079 the year before.

Officers' actions led to 547 penalty assessments last year, compared to 306 in 1999. There were 366 summons issued last year and 342 issued in 1999.

The number of house checks performed by officers in 2000 went up slightly when compared to the 1999 figure - 241 and 193 respectively - while the number of business checks (5,448) was down from 6,072 in 1999.

Pagosa Springs officers made 2,562 traffic stops last year, down from an all-time high of 2,742 in 1999.

The number of parking tickets issued in town went up to 282 from 214, while animal impounds were down to 87 in 2000 from the previous year's total of 104.

There were 931 reports filed by Pagosa Springs officers last year. Of those, 103 were felony reports and 493 were misdemeanors. Forty-nine reports involved injury or death, 133 involved the use of alcohol, 17 involved weapons, and 12 were cases of domestic violence.

Police reported 123 motor vehicle accidents involving injury or damage exceeding $1,000 in Pagosa Springs last year, with another 79 accidents involving damage less than $1,000.

Of 931 cases generating reports during the year, 719 were closed.

Of 555 criminal cases last year, 334 were closed - a 62-percent closure rate. There were 211 cases deemed open and carried over to the new year.


Rosary Friday, Mass Saturday for Juan Ribera

Mr. Juan Mauricio Ribera, 88, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2001. Rosary is scheduled on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Arboles, St. Peter-St. Rosa Catholic Church.

Mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 11 a.m. at St. Peter-St. Rosa Catholic Church, with Father John Bowe officiating. Internment will follow at the Rosa Cemetery.

A complete obituary will be published in next week's SUN.

Inside The Sun

Legion activities coverage nets award for SUN

Their service to the community and to the family of American war veterans have produced dozens of SUN stories in the past year and those efforts led to an award for the newspaper.

Activities of Mullins-Nickerson American Legion Post 108 of Pagosa Springs last year included placing flags on the graves of all veterans in Hilltop Cemetery for all specially significant national holidays; hosting Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies both at the Legion Home and in the cemetery; locating, documenting eligibility and securing and installing headstones for the unmarked graves of veterans; participating in the annual Red Ryder 4th of July parade with both a marching color guard and a float filled with veterans; hosting a special dinner and awards presentation for veterans of the Korean War; and providing members whose stories of glories past have filled SUN columns on special occasions.

The result of those stories and of additional SUN coverage of events of concern to veterans and their families led to presentation to the SUN Saturday night at ceremonies in Longmont of The American Legion 2000 Small Community Newspaper Media Award.

The plaque states the award is "For your active support of The American Legion and veterans in the Pagosa Springs community; for your weekly column devoted to veterans (by Veterans Service officer Mike Diver); for your extensive coverage of Veterans Day and Memorial Day events and for your ongoing efforts to tell the story of American veterans through the pages of The Pagosa Springs SUN."

The presentation was made at the Department of Colorado Legion convention by Jeff Luginbuel, state commander.

Accepting for the SUN was staff writer Richard Walter. The SUN tied for the small market award with the newspaper in Estes Park. Other recipients were the Longmont Daily Times-Call in the daily newspaper medium market and The Denver Post in large market coverage.


9Health Fair scheduled here April 7

The Pagosa Springs 2001 9Health Fair is scheduled for Saturday, April 7, at Pagosa Springs High School.

Persons interested in participating in the Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair, as an interactive screener, a supplemental screener or conducting a learning center must have their paperwork in Denver for approval no later than the Feb. 15 deadline.

Interested individuals or persons with questions regarding the 9Health Fair should contact Kathy Conway at 731-5811, Lili Pearson at 731-5159, or 9Health Fair headquarters at (800) 332-3078 and speak with Kris or Betty. The e-mail address for 9Health Fair is

Learning centers need to have their exhibits approved beforehand. Last year several participants turned in their information or called past the deadline date. According to Pearson, who is the organizer of the local 9Health Fair, "You do not want to be one of these participants."

If 9Health Fair in Denver approved you in 2000 and no changes are being made and you would like to participate, please call Pearson at the phone number listed above. Such contact is needed in order to plan for the needed space.

"We are always looking for volunteers both medical and non-medical," Pearson said. Those interested should call her at 731-5159.

Additional information on Pagosa's 2001 9Health Fair will be forthcoming.


Blood draw set Feb. 22

Got Cabin Fever?

United Blood Services says they have the cure: Donate blood.

Services technicians will be taking blood in Pagosa Springs from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at Mountain Heights Baptist Church, 1044 Park Ave.

Identification is required for all donors.


Social Services finds home for donated car

By Richard Walter

Needy people are not always the unemployed living off government funding.

Some are hard workers who have run into problems that are no fault of their own.

They are among those assisted every year by Archuleta County Social Services.

A key element in that service is the family advocacy division headed by Isabel Willis.

About three months ago a 1989 Honda Civic was donated to Social Services by Dick Babillis and his wife, Bonnie Masters. Willis went to work with a special committee of community residents to find a worthy recipient for the vehicle.

On Monday morning, keys and title were presented to Angela Davidson, a mother of three who lives in Aspen Springs, works for Absolute Travel, and had to find transportation every day for the 26-mile round trip.

Willis said the committee scrutinized the needs of several qualified persons and selected Davidson.

Ben Johnson, Pagosa Auto Sales owner, provided storage for the vehicle during the recipient search period and donated a set of snow tires to make winter driving easier for Davidson.

Willis said it has not been widely known that the Archuleta County Social Services Department has and can accept public donations of goods which are then distributed to the persons deemed most in need of the specific item.

The vehicle Davidson is now driving "needed no repairs. It had been remarkably well-maintained," said Willis, who lauded Babillis and Masters for their concern for fellow members of the community.




Level the field

Dear David,

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission's meeting on the 24th, seeking public input on the "Scenic Corridor" portion of the most recent county growth plan drew a large turn out, which I hope is good news. The old issue of private property rights was once again the justification for a minority of large parcel landowners, with the support of the County Commissioners, attempting to veto this critical provision of the plan.

A majority of the public comments once again supported establishment of the corridors and acknowledged that development and non-development rights are valuable, and that there should be compensation to an affected landowner. A cooperative effort to this end was proposed.

This did not seem to solve the problem for those individuals who spoke at length about "constitutional rights" about to be violated and state statutes that prevented "the government" from acting against the individual (?). Listening to their presentations sounded like some version of the "divine right of kings." They seem to have forgotten the history of continuing government subsidies received by "agricultural" land owners, starting with the original "homestead acts," then subsequent grazing permits set well below market value that were overgrazed with resulting destruction of the habitat. Tax subsidies continue today for agricultural land use. These and others were intended to encourage agricultural production not personal enrichment.

It is time for the taxing authority to assess on the full value of the potential development rights in those areas included in the proposed corridors including the extra costs for developments that never pay their own way and then tax that private property at its value for development. Finally, add a premium to the tax on the acres to be taken out of agricultural production that would no longer contribute agricultural products into the local economy. This should help to level the playing field.


Glenn Bergmann


Welcome sound

Dear Editor,

Twas a cold, snowy night and all through the house/ Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse./ When out in the road there arose such a clatter/ I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter./ When what to my grateful eyes should appear/ But a great big snowplow - a sight we hold dear!/ Its sound is quite welcome, morning, noon or night,/ To rescue us poor folk from our snowbound plight./ The valiant snowplows come through in a pinch/ And everyone's thankful - except for a grinch.

Ken and Jan Brookshier


Duke's picture

Dear Editor,

I am looking for a picture from the June 3, 1971 issue. It was on the front page and it was of Bill Gallant and John Wayne taken during the filming of the Cowboys. If there is a way I could get an original or an electronic file, I would greatly appreciate it! Just let me know what the costs would be.


Mary Gallant

(865) 482-4455 ext. 24

(865) 482-4465 Fax


Forests 'manage'

Dear Editor,

Much fuss has been made in recent weeks over Bill Clinton's ban on construction of new roads in certain forest areas, including parts of San Juan National Forest.

Rick Jewell, of the Forest Service, states (SUN, Jan. 11) that "our experts are still analyzing the action. It is a little early to speak with assurance about the impacts of the ban." The article then says that, "The major impact will be the cessation of traditional Forest Service management techniques such as thinning and logging." The ban would not only restrict the building of new roads and logging, but also the use of all motorized vehicles in these areas. Loggers and snowmobile/all terrain vehicle enthusiasts are up in arms over the ban.


The thought doesn't appear to have occurred to many that forests "manage" themselves quite nicely, that one could actually get off a snowmobile or out of a truck and walk/hike/snowshoe/ski through the forest, or that we could recycle building materials, experiment with alternative building materials, or even restrict new homes to, say, 500 square feet per person (Yes, yes, Mr. and Mrs. Wealthy Retiree, I know you need a 4,000-square-foot custom retirement home, but let's, just for the moment, look at reality, okay?)

And jobs lost? Spare me. Exploring new and alternative methods of acquiring energy efficient building materials would produce thousands of jobs.

In his, Edward Abbey's, precious name,

Maggie Valentine Inskeep


Handout challenge

Dear Editor,

It has been brought to our attention that on Friday, Jan. 26, unknown adults handing out literature approached our child at the intermediate school while getting on the school bus.

We are asking that this group of gentlemen identify themselves. We do not know who you are and do not give permission for you to approach our child in any way without prior consent.

To the school administration, we have been informed that you had prior knowledge of this event and are appalled at your willingness to not only allow this situation to occur, but did not inform us as parents/guardians. These children are "minors."

We would like you (school administrators) to take a moment and think of where this leaves us as parents. Are we to feel confident of a school that, No. 1: Lets unauthorized adults get within "arms reach" of our children? and No. 2: Provides literature that has not been approved by us?

One other point: We are not lawyers, but because of the content of the literature, does this cross the boundary of "separation of church and state?" Having it distributed while our child is in the care and legal custodianship of School District 50 joint staff, have our rights and the rights of our child been violated?

We certainly hope this will be handled differently in the future.


John and Cindy Laner



Dear Editor,

Friday afternoon as I went to the junior high school bus stop to pick up my children, I noticed a man by the bus loading zone passing out literature to students as they were boarding the busses to leave the school grounds. This gentleman did not offer me one as I too passed him and this immediately created a very uncomfortable feeling in me. I then turned around and went to the administration office to ask what was going on and expressed my following concerns:

Our public school children were being approached by strangers, receiving literature from people whom I did not know in an area I perceived as being a safe and protected area of the school district.

I, as a parent, view this as solicitation of a minor, regardless of the content of the literature they were passing out to public students as they were traveling the designated paths between the school doors and the school bus loading zone.

I was informed that last year when this same group approached the administration office to pass out literature in this manner the school district contacted their attorney and were told this group was within their legal rights as long as they did not obstruct the flow of traffic of students boarding the busses, they did not preach to the students and they remained on the public sidewalk. I was also told the school had been informed of their intent to approach the children and the day this would happen.

As a parent of three children I feel I should have been informed along with all other parents who have children in our public school system of this planned activity before it occurred as we are of other activities that our children are invited to participate in. I have also learned that this form of solicitation would not be allowed at the bus loading zones of the elementary school or the high school because that is public school property. To protect our children from this in the future do we now approach the town to install a no solicitation sign at these bus loading zones?

As one individual in our community of roughly now 10,000 people, I strongly believe we each have the right to share our views and maintain our personal beliefs in whatever religious choices we make. As a parent of children in our public school system I support the creation of prayer groups for children who choose to attend them in our public school classrooms as they meet outside of normal school hours.

However, this approach of solicitation of all minors boarding public school busses on their way home from public school is unacceptable.

A sincerely concerned parent,

Pam Miller


Deeply appreciated

Dear David,

A recent letter to the editor (SUN, Jan. 25, "Plowing at 3 a.m.") has prompted me to write and briefly share my point of view on snowplowing. I hear plows clearing the road at all hours of the night and the first thing that I think of is its driver. This driver is out working so that my way will be clear to travel when it's time to get up. The buses will be able to pick up the children for school. The skiers and boarders can get up the mountain to enjoy new snow. The ambulance can reach someone in need. Sometimes I think of the driver's family - home alone at all hours. Sometimes I think of the danger involved with this job. Sometimes I think how glad I am to be in my bed and not driving that plow. But, mostly, I say a prayer that the driver will be protected in his travel and that he will be especially blessed for the service that he is providing to everyone who needs to continue life as usual during the long, Colorado winters. Sure, it would be especially nice for snowplow operators if they could plow between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. but until snowfall can be turned off and on like an irrigation system, it's not likely to happen.

Snowplow operators - Thank you and keep up the 'round the clock good work. You're deeply appreciated.

Nancy Rea


Plowing support

Dear David,

Responding to the letter "Plowing at 3 a.m." Diane (Pancoast), can you imagine how long it would take to clear all county roads if plowing would be done only during daylight hours. We never would make it to work on time, and the children would not make it to school on time. I do very much appreciate the men working day and night to get our county roads cleared of snow - no matter at what time of day. And also: we do not have snow every day.

Thanks to the men for working so hard and so many hours during the times when it snows.

Liz Schnell


'Life isn't fair'

Dear Editor,

My friend Marie sympathized with the person unceremoniously awakened by those noisy snow plows thoughtlessly coming around in the morning when it's still sleeping time, except for the kids going to school or a parent to work. Marie says it is almost as annoying as those pesky firefighters working on a nearby burning house in the middle of the night. Who was it that said "Life isn't fair?"

One would think our commissioners would do something about this. Or wouldn't you?

Lee Sterling


Don't agree

Dear Editor,

Diane Pancoast demonstrates a flair for charming poetry (Jan. 25) but we don't all agree with her bottom line. I was up reading at 4:30 a.m. several days ago when the snowplow came by and my thought was bless those road crews out in the dark so our roads are navigable that day.

It's extremely difficult to see the edge of the road in certain areas on Pagosa Boulevard in daylight. How do the crews know where to plow at night with a thick layer of snow? I'm sure most of us appreciate their efforts.

Shows to go, you can't please all the people all the time.

Arline Stiles


For Juan Ribera please see front page.



Ronald Davidson

Navy Chief Petty Officer Ronald R. Davidson, son of Nancy and Audie Davidson of Pagosa Springs, recently received his second Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Davidson is assigned to the Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific, homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

While assigned as underway damage control instructor, Davidson designed and implemented a program to train teams to repair damage on Navy ships and Coast Guard cutters. He also revised and updated the training packet and implemented new philosophies for his section.

Davidson, a 1987 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, joined the Navy in August 1987.


Dean's List

Three Pagosa Springs High School graduates, Sarah Huckins, Seth Kurt-Mason and Tiffany Wiggers, earned places on the Dean's List for the fall semester at Western State College in Gunnison. To qualify for the Dean's List, each student earned a grade-point average of 3.7 or higher for at least 12 credit hours.

Sarah is the daughter of Debbie Reynolds, Seth is the son of Lindsey and Mary Kurt-Mason, Tiffany is the daughter of Curt and Lynell Wiggers, all of Pagosa Springs.


Jason Mitchum

University of Wyoming officials announced Jan. 25 that Jason Mitchum of Pagosa Springs was named to Tau Beta Pi, the national honor society in engineering which recognizes "engineering students of superior scholarship and outstanding character."

Mitchum, a junior, is majoring in mechanical engineering.


Resha Watkins

Resha Watkins of Pagosa Springs has been named to the Oklahoma Baptist University President's Honor Roll for the 2000 fall semester. Requirements are a 3.70 grade point average with no grade below a "B" in at least 12 or more semester hours.

Resha is the daughter of James and Linda Watkins of Pagosa Springs.




Sports Page

Lady Pirates' defense stymies Bobcats

By Richard Walter

When Julia Valdez hit a long 3-pointer on the first shot of the game with less than 15 seconds gone off the clock, some Ignacio fans thought the time had arrived - that long-anticipated moment when they'd knock off the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates.

But the early joy dissolved into a 16-9 deficit at the end of the first quarter Friday as Pagosa's attack wilted the Lady Bobcats, and the Ladies smothering defense then limited Ignacio to only three field goals in the middle two quarters.

The key to Pagosa's success? It is becoming repetitious. Pound the ball inside to your two prolific scorers, Ashley Gronewoller and Katie Lancing. They had 20 and 18 points respectively, many of them coming on assists from Tiffanie Hamilton who had 10 for the game to go along with six points and eight rebounds.

So complete was the Lady Pirates' dominance, that coach Karen Wells was able to get valuable playing time for reserves for most of the fourth quarter, a period in which Pagosa was outscored 16-12 as Valdez added six of her 13 points to lead the Bobcats.

Percentages jumped dramatically for the Lady Pirates. Gronewoller, for example, got her 20 points on 10 of 12 shooting from the floor and Lancing scored her 18 points on 7 of 10 from the floor, including her first 3-pointer of the season. Lancing also contributed 3 for 5 from the foul line. Strangely, she was the only Pagosa player to go to the line in the entire game.

Senior guard Meigan Canty contributed another 3-pointer to the Lady Pirates' cause, but took only two other shots in the game.

Sophomore guard Shannon Walkup had four points on 2 of 5 shooting and chipped in with two steals, three assists, a blocked shot, four rebounds and sterling defensive play, rotating in and out with senior guard Andrea Ash, against Katie Whiteskunk, Ignacio's veteran three-point artist.

Whiteskunk was so hounded that she attempted only one field goal in the game and scored it for three. She did go 6 for 6 from the charity stripe for a game total of nine points.

Speaking of defense, Lancing was a blanket on Ignacio's Arla Velasquez, the young woman who almost single-handedly destroyed the Bayfield Wolverines last week with a 27-point performance.

After Velasquez picked up two quick baskets in the first quarter, she disappeared from the stat sheets until getting an insignificant field goal with only seconds left in the game. At one point, Velasquez was so disturbed by her inability to get a shot off that she asked her coach to take her out.

Lancing meanwhile, in addition to her 18 points, had five steals, four assists and more importantly, 11 rebounds, seven on the defensive end.

Another interesting stat for the game is that for the first time in several outings no Pagosa player was in foul trouble. Lancing finished with three, Hamilton, Gronewoller and Walkup with two each and Canty and Buckley both had one.

The Lady Bobcats, who had scored 60 points in a loss to Centauri two weeks ago, could find no cure for the Pagosa defensive blanket. Starters and normally strong scorers Roegena Thompson and Crystal Young were held to a single field goal by the latter. Other Ignacio scoring came on a third-quarter trey by Stephanie Rivera and a driving layup in the same period by Nancy Weaver. For each, it was their only scores of the game.

Ignacio coach Duane Odom kept substituting freely, looking for a combination that would produce some offense, but the suffocating Pagosa defense kept turning away most Bobcat efforts. Even when they were able to shoot, every attempt was contested.

The one bright spot for the Lady Bobcats was their performance at the foul line where they canned 8 of 10 attempts. The only misses came late in the game when Weaver misfired on both shots after being fouled while shooting by Nicole Buckley.

Perhaps the most telling illustration of the futility of the Ignacio offense came late in the third quarter when Young broke free on the left side and went up for a jumper with a clear shot at the basket.

But she hadn't reckoned with Walkup who rotated from defense of Whiteskunk and leaped high to block the shot from behind. It was the play which most dramatically emphasized the Lady Pirates' defensive effort.

This week the Pagosans put their 12-2 season mark on the line with a home game Friday against Bayfield at 6:30 p.m. and a 2:30 p.m. contest Saturday against Monte Vista in Monte Vista.



Pirates drop 51-50 heartbreaker to Ignacio

By John M. Motter

Ignacio proved anything can happen in an Intermountain League contest by edging Pagosa Springs at the buzzer 51-50. Friday's loss to Ignacio was Pagosa's first loss to the Bobcats since 1996 when Ignacio won 51-48 and 52-48 during regular season games.

The loss was also Pagosa's first IML loss since 1998.

Meanwhile, winter snows continue to wreak havoc with the IML season. The schedule calls for each team to meet twice during the season. If that had happened, the first half of the season's games would have ended last weekend and the second half of the season would start this weekend.

What has happened is that each team has at least one makeup game. Monte Vista faces three makeup games. At the end of one-half the IML season, Monte Vista is on top with a 1-0 record, followed by Pagosa Springs and Ignacio with 2-1 records, Centauri with a 1-2 record, and Bayfield with a 0-2 record. Every team is still in the race to capture the IML title.

Pagosa hosts Bayfield Friday at 8 p.m. in the first game of the second half of the season, then buses across Wolf Creek Pass Saturday for a 4 p.m. game with Monte Vista. The first Pagosa Springs-Monte Vista game was canceled due to bad weather and has been rescheduled Feb. 16 at 5:30 in Pagosa Springs.

Monte, those other Pirates, plays an in-your-face defense trying to force teams to run with them. When the strategy works, Monte usually wins. Pagosa's challenge will be to force Monte into a half-court game, Pagosa's strength.

"Right now, we're focusing on Bayfield first," coach Kyle Canty said.

Pagosa won its first encounter with the Wolverines when Micah Maberry sank a bucket as the final buzzer sounded. The final score was 58-57 for the Pirates.

"We're going to have to change the way we play against Bayfield," said Canty. "They were driving through the key almost uncontested in the last game. We have to stop that.

"We still control our destiny," Canty said. "If we win the rest of our league games, we'll come out on top because Ignacio will have two losses."

Ignacio lost to Centauri earlier this season. Pagosa has beaten Centauri, as has Monte Vista.

The team which comes out on top in regular season play in the IML is guaranteed a berth in the first round of the post-season state playoffs. A second team will emerge from the IML post season tournament. The second team will either win the tournament or finish second to the tournament winner if the tournament winner is also the league leader at the end of regular play.

Last year Pagosa ran through the regular season without a loss, including two wins over Monte Vista. Pagosa and Monte collided in the championship game at the IML tournament. Monte won that game and thereby joined Pagosa Springs in post-season play. They met again in the consolation championship game of the state Class 3A tournament. Again Monte won.

Ignacio 51, Pagosa 50

Strange things happen when teams play in Ignacio. Officiating at games in Ignacio is legendary. Canty won't say so, but the whistle blowing, or lack thereof, at Thursday's game in the Bobcat den may have enlarged the bounds of officiating creativity to undreamed of dimensions.

Even so, as the final seconds on the clock ticked off, the Ignacio boys scored when they had the opportunity, Pagosa didn't.

Ignacio never led until the final minute of the game. At one time early in the second quarter, Pagosa built a 24-2 lead. Pagosa scoring came on well executed cuts for the basket which resulted in layups. Ignacio responded by changing their defensive strategy. Instead of a hand on the back of a jersey, the defenders shoved with hands, hips, or shoulders throwing Pagosa boys off of their routes, or interrupting shooting aim. The officials didn't see or didn't call the Ignacio shoving.

The score by quarters tells the rest of the story. Pagosa led 15-2 at the end of the first quarter, 25-20 at the half, and 40-37 at the end of the third quarter. In the final quarter, the Pirates were outscored by Ignacio 14-10.

"I guess I should take the blame," Canty said. "They were driving in to the basket and we were staying with them. Then they'd kick the ball back out and somebody'd hit a three. I should have adjusted so we could get more pressure on those outside shots."

The Bobcats outshot Pagosa 5 to 1 from three-point range. At the end, with the score knotted or only separated by one point, the Pagosa boys failed to make uncontested layups that would have saved the game despite the officiating.

Micah Maberry led all scorers with 18 points. Tyrel Ross followed with 10 points, David Goodenberger with eight points, Daniel Crenshaw, Chris Rivas, and Darin Lister with four points, and Brandon Charles with three points.

Pagosa converted 18 of 40 field goal attempts for a shooting percentage of 45 percent. From three-point range, the Pirates hit 1 of 5 for 20 percent effectiveness. At the charity stripe, Pagosa shot 61.5 percent by making 8 of 13 attempts.

Ross and Charles with five assists each and Goodenberger with four assists led Pagosa in that department. Goodenberger set the pace in rebounding by pulling down 14 rebounds. Maberry blocked two shots; Crenshaw blocked one.


Pirate grapplers get 'must' pins, dump Bayfield

By Karl Isberg

A dramatic win over Bayfield Jan. 25 gave Pirate wrestlers their first dual meet victory since early season trips to tournaments at Rocky Ford and Buena Vista.

The Bayfield dual was a close affair heading into the final contested matches of the evening. Pagosa was set to forfeit at 189 and 275 pounds and only Josh Richardson (171 pounds) and Luke Boilini (215 pounds) could give Pagosa the meet victory.

And only a pin in each match would do the trick.

The wrestlers did what they needed: each Pirate pinned his man and their team went home a 38-37 winner.

Michael Martinez started the evening right for the Pirates, nailing a technical fall at 103 pounds.

Other Pirates who put points on the score board against the Wolverines included Ryan Lee, who scored a pin at 119 pounds; Cliff Hockett, who fashioned a 4-0 decision at 130 pounds; and Trevor Peterson, who pinned his man at 145 pounds.

Richardson faced Eric Stone at 171 pounds and put Stone's shoulders to the mat just over two minutes into the match.

Boilini pinned the Wolverine's 215-pounder Matt Vandenberg with nearly four minutes elapsed.

"This was a fun meet," said Pirates coach Dan Janowsky. "It was a good win; the kids responded, especially Josh and Luke. We started six points down, knowing we would forfeit three matches and Bayfield would forfeit only one. I would consider the win an upset. Our kids keep plugging away, and they were rewarded for their efforts."

An appearance at the Jan. 27 Ignacio Tournament did not yield the team-score results Janowsky and his athletes anticipated, but numerous individual performances were encouraging.

Pagosa finished last among eight teams at the tournament. The meet featured some high-powered squads from New Mexico - Farmington, Bloomfield and Piedra Vista - and those teams finished in the top three spots, in that order.

Several Pirates finished among the top four placers in their weight divisions.

Richardson took second place at 171 pounds. The Pirate senior won two matches with pins. First to go was a wrestler from Aztec, N.M., whose shoulders went to the mat in the first period of the match. Next down was a competitor from Bayfield; Richardson scored the pin in the second period. In the tourney finals, Richardson lost by a fall to his Farmington opponent.

Martinez took fourth place at 103 pounds. Martinez began action with a 9-3 decision over a Piedra Vista athlete, then dropped to the consolation bracket with a 6-3 loss to a Bloomfield wrestler. Martinez pinned an Aztec competitor in the second period and advanced to the third-place match which he lost in the third period to a wrestler from Mancos.

Jesse Trujillo was fourth at 112 pounds. He started with a second-period pin against Mancos then lost 11-5 to a Bayfield wrestler. Trujillo pinned his man from Aztec in the second period then lost a decision to an athlete from Piedra Vista.

Boilini was fourth at 215 pounds. A 5-1 decision over a Piedra Vista wrestler put Boilini on the mat against the Farmington entrant. A 5-3 loss sent Boilini to the consolation bracket where he pinned Bayfield's man in the second period. In his final match of the day, Boilini lost to the Piedra Vista wrestler, 5-3.

Other Pirates won single matches at the Ignacio tournament: Ronnie O'Brien won with a pin at 125 pounds; Cliff Hockett earned a decision at 130 pounds; Clayton Mastin got a decision at 140 pounds; Trevor Peterson nailed a fall at 145 pounds; Zeb Gill also wrestled at 145 pounds and forged a decision; Jordan Kurt-Mason crafted a consolation-round decision at 152 pounds.

"This year's field was as tough as we've seen at Ignacio in years," said Janowsky. "It was a classic wrestling day: everybody else was home, drinking coffee or shoveling snow. We were in a small gym, knocking heads. The top three teams were pretty stout. As I saw it, that left it to us, Ignacio and Bayfield. The bad news is that we finished behind them, with no champions. We didn't get the team points because we didn't have the medalists."

Pirate wrestlers had a good first round at the tournament, said the coach. "We tended to draw the top one or two guys in each division," he said, "and they were tough. We won every match we could possibly win and fought tooth-and-nail in the others. We came back strong in the second round, but it was the consolation semi-final round that was disappointing."

The Ignacio tournament marked the end of regular-season competition, with the Intermountain League district tourney set for Saturday at Centauri.

IML action will be in a dual-meet format and Pagosa has beaten only Bayfield in a dual meet this year. In other words, the Pirates have their opponents right where they want them - confident and, perhaps, looking past this young team.

"Our guys have been wrestling hard," said Janowsky, "and they've been taking their lumps. They've been struggling, but they're starting to accept the struggle and do the best they can. They are really stepping up to the sport. At Centauri, we will have to turn some matches around; some of our guys will have to beat people who beat them earlier in the year. We are going to stick together and fight it out to the end."

Tourney action at Centauri begins at 10 a.m.


Pee Wee wrestling sign-up February 8 at high school

Registration for the Pagosa Springs PeeWee Wrestling program will be on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at the high school commons area, at which time there will be a mandatory parent meeting. The $18 registration fee covers the cost of secondary insurance and a team T-shirt. Team singlets (uniforms) are available with a $35 deposit. A copy of the child's birth certificate as well as the registration form and parent release form are required prior to the child practicing with the club. If your child participated in wrestling in the past, the registrars should still have the birth certificate on file.

Practices for PeeWee Wrestling (ages 5 to 14) will begin on Monday, Feb. 12. Practices will be held at the junior high, upstairs in the mezzanine of the gymnasium. Divisions 1 and 2 (those children who will turn 8 years old during the year 2001, and younger children) will practice from 5 to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Divisions 3, 4 and 5 will practice from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Please enter the gym through the side doors on 4th Street (opposite Mountain Greenery and Goodman's Department Store), and please do not park in businesses private parking lots.

The first competitive tournament is scheduled for Feb. 24 in Durango. Saturday tournaments throughout the Four Corners Region will follow every Saturday and end in April. Pagosa will host its own tournament on March 31, which require a great deal of parental assistance.


Community News
Chamber News

By Sally Hameister

Snow cover promises WinterFest fun

Looks like we got enough of the white stuff to have a proper Winterfest this weekend with some events we haven't had for several years.

Unless we have a sudden heat wave or other weather aberration, we will have our Snow Sculpture Contest Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Visitor Center. We have some rather healthy piles of snow lining the parking lot inviting you and yours to create something prizeworthy. Registration fee is $20 if you preregister, or $30 Saturday. You can pick up registration forms at the Visitor Center.

Juan's Mountain Sports will sponsor a Snowboard Jumping Contest on Reservoir Hill Saturday at 11 a.m. You can call for more information on this event at 264-4730.

Weather permitting, 30 to 35 balloons will ascend from behind the Ralph Eaton Recreation Center in Pagosa Lakes Saturday and Sunday mornings around 8 a.m. Ascensions are particularly magnificent in the snow, so you won't want to miss these. A glow will be held at dusk Saturday in the arena at the fairgrounds, if weather allows.

Saturday night, two performances of the Rotary Follies will be presented at the County Extension Building, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. This is a must-see performance for everyone who lives and works in Pagosa Springs and offers us all a great opportunity to laugh at ourselves. Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Center and at all local banks.

The Photo Contest reception will be held at Moonlight Books from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday evening and is open to the public.

You're invited to join the fun out at High Country Lodge Sunday for their annual open house and for the "Almost Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race." Kathey and Dick Fitz will hold the open house from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the race will be held at 1 p.m. You can preregister for the race at the Visitor Center for $15, and we hope you will because it will cost you $25 the day of the race. Remember, the sled must be home-made with a steering mechanism and brakes. Prizes will be $75, $50 and $25 for first, second and third places.

Give us a call at the Chamber with questions about any of these events at 264-2360.

More awards

As I promised last week, there were a few more awards presented at the Mardi Gras that I want to share with you. I just ran out of time last Monday with all the madness, but I don't want to forget to mention these very worthy winners.

Pagosa Pride Awards went to Bank of the San Juans with Sue Gast accepting, Mountain Run Mall with Kenny King accepting, and Cool Water Plumbing with John DiMuccio accepting.

Honorable Mention honors went to Poma Ranch and Outfitting, Mountain Landing Guest Quarters, Ridgeview Mall, Unique Mountain Log Homes, Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Center, Bootjack Management Company, and the Archuleta County Education Center.

Congratulations to all these businesses for making our community a "purtier" place in which to live.

Best Female and Male Costume prizes stayed in one family with Kathey and Dick Fitz garnering the award for their wildly original and wacky "Voo Doo Couple" attire. One just had to see Kathey's fake long, red toenails to really appreciate them. They were quite a sight to behold and more than worthy of the prize.

We also want to congratulate John Porter for discovering the infamous baby in his piece of King cake. John wins a free Chamber membership for the year 2002 and just has to let us know which business he's chosen. We also want to thank John and his Reading Ensemble gang for performing "A One Stoplight Town" for us. John authored the piece, and it was performed by Beth Porter, Pat Rydz, Pamela Novack, Sam Matthews and Steve Rogan. If you were not fortunate enough to hear it that night, I hope they will consider performing it time and again.

Lotsa TLC

Our new directors, Matt Bachus, Angie Dahm and Will Spears were given a more than healthy dose of their new responsibilities last Friday when they spent the entire day at our annual board retreat going over all things Chamber.

Mary Jo Coulehan was kind enough to host our unruly bunch at TLC's and made us ever so comfortable. We can't thank MJ enough for the warm hospitality and delicious lunch she prepared for us. We are ever so grateful.

Officers for the year were elected at the retreat, and I am delighted to announce that Ken Harms is our new president. Mark DeVoti is the new veep and Will Spears is now secretary/treasurer. Will was especially happy with this position when he learned that as secretary, he wouldn't be asked to take a note (Morna does that for us) and as treasurer, he wouldn't have to mess with money or bills (that's my job!). Congrats, guys.

PSAC social

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council invites you to attend "Sweets, Entertainment and Good Company" Feb. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Piano Creek office, 468 Lewis Street.

You will be treated to luscious desserts, fabulous entertainment and great company. Several local restaurants will supply the desserts, and different divisions of PSAC will provide entertainment. The Pagosa Players and Kings Men will offer a presentation, and Bruce Andersen will provide the music. There is no charge for this terrific evening, and everyone is invited. If you would like more information, please call the PSAC gallery at 264-5020.

Free series

The Pagosa Springs Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Mercy Home Health/Hospice, Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center and the Pagosa Springs Health Partnership invite you to attend a free family education series where you will be able to view six one-hour segments of the Bill Moyers' videos on end-of-life choices.

Children over age 14 can attend at their parents' discretion.

At the seventh session, copies of legal paperwork choices will be available to be filled out with suggestions and local information from hospice doctor Pam Kircher, M.D. and local attorney Mary Weiss. These sessions will be held in the county commissioners' room at the courthouse from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 8 and 22, March 8 and 22 April 12 and 26, and May 10.

For more information, call Marilyn Moorhead at 731-2323.


We have one new Associate Member - Mr. Shannon L. LaRue - to introduce this week and 12 renewals.

Our renewals include Scott Quick with Holiday Inn Express; Krista Baxley with The Greenhouse Restaurant and Bar; Mona Herrmann with Mona's Home; Steve Henderson, General Manager, KOBF-TV; Dennis Gallegos with Waste Management of New Mexico, Inc.; Alden Ecker with Ecker Construction, LLC; Carolyn Hamilton with Juicy Jerky; Karen Cox, Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker; Donnie Dove with Canyon REO, Inc. with offices in Flagstaff, Arizona; and Brenda Eaves with Rainbow Gift Shop. Our Associate Member renewals include Gil and Lenore Bright, and Jane and Richard Cook.

Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Wilderness first aid is Outdoor Club's topic

San Juan Outdoor Club will meet tonight at 7 at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. The program on wilderness first aid will be presented by Pete Peterson. Everyone is welcome. San Juan Outdoor Club members are avid cross country skiers and the club itself is instrumental in the maintenance of a number of our area's nordic tracks. If you are new to the sport or to the area, the San Juan Outdoor Club and the Gray Wolf Ski Club are both invaluable resources for outdoor recreation opportunities.

"Yoga for the Young at Heart" - a yoga workshop for all levels will be taught by internationally recognized instructor Susan Winter Ward at the Recreation Center tonight from 5:30 to 7:30. Please bring your yoga mat or a large towel. There is a class fee. For additional information, call 731-9500.

Swiss-ball exercise class, following a well-attended demo session last week, will begin next Tuesday. Class will be from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center. Instruction will be provided by staff members of Mercy Orthopedic and Sport Therapy. For more information, please call 731-2051.

With snow being an abundant commodity this winter, are you getting out to enjoy it? Conditions are superb, the best in many winters for alpine skiing, nordic skiing, snowshoeing and sledding. A winter like this one is a smile bringer.

Nordic or cross country skiing is an excellent form of exercise - very much like running, but without the hard impact on joints. Cross country skiing is great for losing weight, hitting high intensities and increasing muscle strength around the hip area. Since cross country skiing engages the upper body as well as the legs, you get a terrific whole-body workout.

Dressing for cross country skiing - the multi-layer principle applies. Most experienced cross country skiers recommend polypropylene or capilene garments for the first layer, since they draw or "wick" perspiration away from the skin. By retaining this moisture, the material allows the next layer, perhaps a turtle-neck sweater, to entrap your body heat. Your hands can be similarly layered - light glove liners covered by wool or other mittens. Keep your outer garment light, windproof and made of a breathable material. Unlike downhill or alpine skiing, your body will be working hard and perspiring. Headband or hat will keep your ears warm. Many skiers find that lycra tights or traditional knicker pants allow them a maximum of freedom for knee movements. If you use knicker pants, make sure your socks reach above the knees. Avoid denim trousers (jeans). Besides their propensity to cause chaffing, they become irritatingly cold when wet and nearly impossible to dry while being worn.

Compared with more expensive and heavier downhill ski gear, cross country equipment - including skis, boots, bindings (which keep your boots attached to the skis) and poles - is not only much lighter, but also generally less expensive. Since there are a bewildering variety of models and brands from which to choose, I advise you to rent your equipment until you have a little more time to research the market.

Your proper equipment and high-tech clothing mean nothing when it comes to athletic performance if you forget the most important piece of equipment - water. Your body needs water to exercise, work, think and live. Seventy percent of muscle tissue is composed of water. A lack of water makes the muscles and joints less flexible and more prone to injury. When you work out in cold weather or at high altitude (above 3,000 feet - you are definitely at high altitude in and around Pagosa), your need for water increases as well. That's because you breath more rapidly, losing more water vapor. So the next time you go out to play take along water - the healthiest and cheapest piece of equipment you can get.


Senior News

By Janet Copeland

More firms honoring memberships with discounts

Our potluck dinner on Friday night only had 10 attendees but those of us who were there were treated to a slide show - Glen Kinum showed some pictures taken in Spitzburgen, Norway, in the Arctic Circle, where he and others were studying and placing bands on Barnacle Geese. The scenery was beautiful and their living conditions while roughing it in the primitive unpopulated areas made for an interesting presentation.

Our membership is growing. We welcome Marrion Swanson as a new member. LaKiva Gifts and Wolf Tracks Coffee House are now honoring our membership cards with a 10 percent discount on items purchased. We sincerely appreciate all of our businesses who honor our membership cards with discounts.

Eva Darmopray is our Senior of the Week. Eva is a vital member of our organization, serving on the Senior Board as well as volunteering to help others.

There has been a change in the transportation services offered to seniors. Members with medical appointments may ride the shopping shuttle to Durango for the $10 fee. Call Payge at the Senior Center for information and to sign up for the trip.

We are happy to hear that Mary Lucero's health is improving. Friends may send cards to: Mercy Hospital, attention Mary Lucero, 375 East Park Avenue, Durango CO 81301.


Cruising with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Winter driving credo: Expect the worst

Wow! Have we got snow!

I'm not wild about driving in it. My theory has always been, if you don't have to drive in snow, then stay home. Leave the roads and streets to them what has to get out. That way, there's at least one car less to worry about.

Last year, each time it snowed there'd be a few inches of the white stuff, and then by afternoon the sun would come out and warm the roads and melt the stuff.

Meadows Road, our route to Highway 160, was a constant mess.

Over the summer, the county paved Meadows. "Hooray," said the neighbors. "No more dust in the summer, when those big belly-dump trucks roar down the road. No more sliding in the mud, come winter."

Well, they got part of it right.

I guess the county did a good job. They raised the roadbed and ran metal culverts underneath it to connect the drainage ditches on either side. They laid several courses of stone in graded sizes before the final coat of asphalt.

But, they forgot to create any shoulders. I guess there wasn't enough money to widen anything. The road is a strip of asphalt just two lanes wide. It's high above the surrounding land and lined on either side with ditches that are at least 3 and 4 feet deep.

There's no room to pull over. If your car were to slide off the pavement into one of those ditches, you'd know it.

Now that we've got snow, it's a trap for the unwary. The plows come along and do their thing. The road is cleared, sort of, and the ditches are filled with snow until they're level with the road bed. You'd think you could pull over onto terra firma.

But you'd be wrong.

Last week the pickup truck ahead of us got too close to the edge. Both wheels slid down the bank. He traveled for the length of a city block, with the vehicle tilted about 45 degrees, trying to get up enough momentum to drive back up onto the pavement. No go. Finally, the front wheels turned down just a bit, and he was stopped.

The driver climbed up out of the cab. We pulled up and asked if he needed a ride anywhere. "Naw," he said, "I got cell. I can make a call."

Another day, Hotshot watched another pickup turn onto Meadows from 160. The back end of the truck slewed sideways on the packed snow and slid right off the road and into the ditch.

I tell you, the tow truck operators in Pagosa must be glad the county paved this road. I drive it like an old woman, creeping along, hugging the center.

Of course, up on Wolf Creek Pass, cars and trucks can get into trouble even when the road is clear. It doesn't have to be snowing.

We were coming over the Pass last week, about 6 o'clock on a Monday evening. It was already almost full dark. Tuesday's expected snow hadn't started yet, and the pavement was free of snow and ice. A couple of trucks were pulled over at the top, and I guess the drivers were checking their brakes and equipment. I know I'd do that, if I drove a big rig over Wolf Creek.

The road down was almost empty, except for another truck, which we passed.

And then, just above the lower of the two runaway truck ramps, we came upon a newly crashed semi. I mean, the accident had just occurred. The flatbed trailer was upside down, and the burning brake pads glowed orange in the dark.

Just beyond, also on the side of the road, was the cab of the truck, lying on the passenger door.

We passed the cab and pulled off the road. Another car nosed in beside us. A big truck stopped behind us and the driver leaped out, yelling, terribly upset. He'd been talking with the driver of the crashed truck when the brakes had failed.

"Do we have a flashlight?" Hotshot asked me, as he started for the wreck. I dug around in our stuff, looking for the little flashlight I had happened to bring along.

We approached the overturned cab. We could see and hear the driver moving around inside his cab, which seemed to be filling with smoke. "Are you all right?" called Sandy, the driver of the other car. There was a mumbled answer.

Without further conversation, people divided up the jobs. Hotshot and I drove down to the Overlook to get a clear path for our cell phone. The trucker and Sandy climbed onto the cab and pulled open the driver's door. They had to talk the driver into getting out of there.

"I gotta find my jacket," he mumbled.

"No. You have to get out. Step here. Climb here. Sit here. Slide down here." One step at a time, they directed him out of the crashed cab and over to the other truck. "Sit here," Sandy told him. "Don't move."

She went back up the road with reflectors from the other truck's tool box, to alert any traffic coming down from the pass, while the other driver got busy with a fire extinguisher.

Meanwhile, Hotshot was trying to talk to the 911 dispatcher. The connection was fuzzy. He walked out farther into the Overlook parking lot and repeated the information. Then the battery on our little phone ran out of juice. We plugged it in and he stood on the car and called back, hoping they'd be able to hear him.

"Okay," said the dispatcher. "We've got the information. The emergency vehicles are on the way."

We drove back to the wreck and told the two drivers that the help was coming, and then we headed on home.

We learned later that the driver was bruised and had taken a blow to the head, but he didn't have to go to the hospital. Sandy suffered from smoke inhalation and was seen by the EMS people later that evening. She didn't have to go to the hospital either.

The incident got me thinking about what we might keep in the car for emergencies. A cell phone to call for help is great, if you can get a connection. But what if you can't?

I asked a few friends what they carry. A shovel for digging out. Some people keep a sack of sand or kitty litter. A flashlight. Water and maybe some food. I bring blankets and boots if we're going any distance - like to Durango, in the winter.

Now I think I'll add a first aid kit. Driving these roads, you have to be prepared.


Library News

By Lenore Bright

Tax forms, cyclist's cancer book available

We finally have all income tax forms, state and federal. We are the only place in town to get them. Copies are 15 cents each. The library opens Monday through Friday at 8:30 am.

The epidemic

Our dear friend and volunteer, Katherine Cruse, is one of many good friends suddenly faced with cancer. Her attitude is remarkable, and should be an inspiration to all of us.

She just returned Lance Arm-strong's book, "It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life." Katherine asked that I mention it here, and she urges everyone to read the story of a journey through cancer, recovery and survivorship. If any of you have suggestions on any specific books, we are glad to offer material on the subject. This disease challenges many. We are all in it together.

Other new books

"2001 Questions Every Home-buyer and Homeseller Must Ask," by Edith Lank, is a collection of questions and answers from her award-winning real estate column carried in more than 100 newspapers. She is heard weekly on public radio and has appeared on CNN and CNBC. Edith covers information needed when you are buying or selling real estate.

Ticket to ride

The latest "Colorado Rail Annual No. 24" by Herbert Danneman tells the complete story of the passenger trains on the narrow gauge lines of the Denver & Rio Grand Western and its predecessors from 1871 until 1981. Historical photographs, timetables and advertisements round out the book. The Pagosa connection is mentioned as well as Cumbres Toltec, Galloping Goose, and the Durango line.

Watercolor theory

"Fill Your Watercolors with Light and Color," by Roland Roycraft, is one of several painting books donated by Linda Bernard. Roycraft gives techniques using extensive masking and pouring. Pouring is a new way of glazing to capture color variations.

M. Scott Peck's new one - "Golf and the Spirit: a Lesson for the Journey" - explains that golf is a metaphor for life. It goes beyond the mechanics and explores the deeper issues: ways of managing the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of the maddening and inspiring game. Peck considers golf to be the greatest learning experience of life next to marriage and parenthood. He says that golf is life, and not only that, it is life condensed.

Second-hand books

We're frequently asked about a store in Denver. Linda Lebsack Books has moved to 32 Broadway. The phone is (303) 832-7190. Linda deals in special books on Colorado and the West. She puts out a catalog. The email address is: The phone is (303) 832-7190.


Do you have a current legal medical power of attorney and a living will? Is your CPR Directive on the refrigerator door?

Dr. Pam Kircher and local attorney Mary Weiss will take part in a family education series concerning end-of-life issues.

Six segments of Bill Moyer's videos on these issues will be shown, and at the seventh session, copies of possible legal paperwork choices will be available to be filled out with suggestions and local information from Dr. Kircher.

The seven meetings will be held at the county commissioners' room in the courthouse from 7 to 9 p.m. starting Feb. 8. Other dates will be Feb. 22, March 8 and 22, April 12 and 26, and May 10.

This series is sponsored by Mercy Home Health/Hospice, Southwest Colorado Mental Health, the Pagosa Springs Health Partnership, and the Pagosa Springs Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Call Marilyn Moorhead for further information at 731-2323.

The library has a number of books on the subject and will be getting more.

Valentine contest

The deadline for your valentine entry is next Monday.


Substantial financial help came from Don Geiger, and thanks to John Graves and the Film Society. Thanks for materials from Mary Lou Bartolomei, Sylvia Murray, Wes Huckins, Dr. Dohner, Terrence Wilson, Pris Severn, Carol Fulenwider, Susan Dussell, Meryle Backus, Linda Reams and Ron Graydon.


Local Chatter

By Kate Terry


Gray Wolf Ski Club: A 17-year fellowship

Seventeen years ago this April, an informal discussion meeting for what came to be known as the Gray Wolf Ski Club took place in the Wolf Creek Lodge, with 32 people present - 16 from each side of Wolf Creek Pass.

Among the key players in the club's formation were Pagosa residents Betty Lou Reid and Harry Young.

Membership was set at age 50 and over. Charter memberships closed with 70 paying their dues.

Downhill skiing was the initial focus of the club, at Wolf Creek and via trips to other ski areas. Minutes of the early planning sessions reflect that picnics and potlucks were always an integral part of the agendas as well.

Today, Gray Wolf Ski Club membership has grown to more than 525. While downhill skiing remains a vital part of the club's calendar, activities have broadened to include cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, golf, four-wheel drive outings and biking. Potlucks, picnics and parties remain ever-popular events as well,

"The Gray Wolves range in age from 50 to 87, and they have an enormous capacity for appreciating and enjoying life," said Carole Howard, editor of the club's monthly newsletter. "It's so inspiring to watch seniors in their 60s and 70s hike steep hills and ski difficult slopes better than most people in their 20s and 30s. What a difference from the stereotype of seniors as old folks just sitting around!"

Hiking is the most popular athletic activity by far, with an average of 35 members participating in the club's weekly summer hikes on the west side of the Pass. Similar hikes take place on the east side.

Special trips are organized for members. This year's travel includes a downhill ski trip to Copper Mountain, a cross country ski outing to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and golf tournaments in Laughlin, Tucson and Moab.

By tradition, each year the president and vice president come from different sides of Wolf Creek Pass, and the vice president automatically becomes president the following year. There are two business meetings each year - one on each side of the pass. Both are better known for their great food and camaraderie than for serious business.

The club achieved statewide fame last winter when 16 of the skiers were featured on the PBS TV program "Spirit of Colorado" in a segment called "The Ski Life." The show aired several times again this winter on Rocky Mountain PBS stations.

"We all got a big kick out of the filming process up at Wolf Creek, and then seeing ourselves in the final product, " Carole said. "Jean Claude Killey we definitely were not - but we were not disgraced either!" In fact, Carole said that the producer was amazed at how well the seniors skied and by what he called "a special sense of fellowship" that Gray Wolves share both on and off the slopes.

Gray Wolves are among the most active volunteers and caring contributors to their communities - as individuals, and through churches, service and civic clubs.

Club activities have become so popular that last year a resolution was passed restricting them to members only.

To join, send a check to Shields Daltroff, Gray Wolf Ski Club, Box 2394, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Annual dues are $10 singles or $15 couples. One person of the couple must be age 50 or over.

In addition to fitness, fun and fellowship, another bonus of membership includes reduced season ticket prices at the Wolf Creek Ski Area. Members also receive a monthly newsletter informing them of all the club activities.

Around town

New officers of the San Juan Outdoor Club are president Sue Passant; vice president Lynda Van Patter; secretary Larry Dunn; and treasurer, Charlotte Overley.


Old nylon stockings to stuff hospital pillows. Please leave them at Sisson Library.

Fun on the run

Only in America.

1. Only in America . . .can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

2. Only in America . . . are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.

3. Only in America . . . do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions when healthy people can get cigarettes at the front.

4. Only in America . . . do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries and a diet coke.

5. Only in America . . . do banks leave both doors open, then chain the pens to the counters.

6. Only in America . . . do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

7. Only in America . . . do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won't miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place.

8. Only in America . . . do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

9. Only in America . . . do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.


Arts Line

by Stephanie Jones

Don't miss annual meeting, election Feb. 13

Attention Pagosa Springs Arts Council members: Don't miss your annual meeting Feb. 13, from 5-7 p.m. at the Piano Creek Ranch office on Lewis Street.

"Sweets, Entertainment and Good Company" is the theme for the meeting. Entertainment will be provided by the Pagosa Players and Kings Men, with music by Bruce Anderson and Joe Gilbert.

Elections for two new arts council board officers will be held at the meeting. Nominees are Susan Garman, Leon Kelly and Doug Schultz. Look for information on the candidates and ballots in the current edition of "The Petroglyph."

Ballots can be dropped off at the PSAC gallery at Town Park Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. until Feb. 7. Better yet, bring ballots to the annual meeting. Refreshments will be served and this is an event you won't want to miss.

Whistle Pig

Whistle Pig Folk Nights is having a Valentine's Dance Feb. 10 at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, beginning at 7 p.m. Jazz and rock-n-roll dance music will be provided by the "Love Machine Band," featuring local talents D.C. Duncan, Stephen Tholberg, Bill and Clarissa Hudson, Mark Brown, David Snyder, Sharmin Alto, Chris Gallup and more. Teens and kids get in free and there is a $5 donation asked of adults at the door.

Pagosa Pretenders

Please note a correction from last week's Artsline article. The Pagosa Pretenders will perform "A Space Oddity" March 9, 10, 16 and 17 at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium.

Photo contest

The arts council photo contest reception will be held Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Moonlight Books. Photographs will be on display until Feb. 24.

Gallery goings-on

The current exhibit at the gallery is the Artists Liquidation Sale and, boy, what a sale it is, with unbelievably marked down prices. Be sure to stop by the gallery and see for yourself.

Applications for anyone interested in displaying work at the gallery can be picked up at Moonlight Books, WolfTracks and at the gallery.

The gallery will be closed from Feb. 8 to March 7. Anyone interested in renting the gallery during this time should call JoAnn at 264-5020.

The gallery will reopen March 8 with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. The featured artist will be Amanda Taylor, showing pastels, acrylics, oils, and animals.


Parks & Rec

by Douglas Call

No adult league basketball this week

The adult basketball league is underway with games scheduled Monday through Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m.

No adult league games are scheduled this week, due to junior high home games.

Three leagues are scheduled: men's competitive and recreational, and a women's league.

Only one game per night is played because of youth basketball. Once youth basketball is complete in March, three games per night in each gym will be scheduled.

League action will continue until spring break, the last week of March. Players interested in joining existing teams and anyone wanting to help officiate or keep score should contact the recreation office at 264-4151.

Youth basketball

The youth basketball league continues with games played four nights per week.

Tomorrow night, the Magic will play the Hawks, and the Bobcats will play the Bulls, at halftime of the Pagosa Springs High School basketball game - approximately 7:30 p.m.

Youth league players wearing their team shirts will be admitted to the game free; parents pay $2. Other youth teams will play at halftime of the Feb. 10 high school game.

Commission meeting

The next Park and Recreation Commission meeting is scheduled Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

The majority of the meeting will be used to discuss results of surveys distributed before Christmas to determine the five-year future of the recreation department in Pagosa Springs.

Other items on the agenda include rentals on Reservoir Hill and an update on the adult basketball program.

All commission meetings are open to the public and pizza is served at 6 p.m.

Ice skating

The ice skating rink at River Center Park is open as weather permits. As the sun gets higher in the sky and days get longer, the pond will close for the season. Please obey posted signs.

Hockey games and practices are also subject to change, as the rink is subject to weather changes.

Hockey practice is scheduled Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. for youth, and 7:30 p.m. for adults. Saturdays, adults skate at 8 a.m. and youth at 10 a.m. Sunday, everyone skates at 8 a.m.

Updates are available on the "Hockey Hotline" at 264-5810. This recording is changed twice each week and every time there is snow.


In Sync with Isabel

by Isabel Willis

Help in managing troubled lives

Welcome to the first edition of "In Sync with Isabel," provided as a service by the Archuleta County Department of Social Services.

There are many issues emerging in our community that affect children and their families, and at a faster pace than previously experienced - often without any known solutions to the problem. Each week I will tell you about a new or existing service, special event or project, geared to help us manage our lives a little easier.

We have all had to turn to someone for support at some time in our life. Often we turn to family and friends, but other times we need to find help elsewhere. Information from "In Sync with Isabel" will provide weekly highlights of what our local services can offer. In doing this, I hope to promote stronger collaboration between agencies and families.

In order to work together effectively, it is important to know what collaboration means. Community-based collaboration refers to the process through which citizens, agencies, organizations and businesses work together to accomplish a shared vision. The basic goal of collaboration is to bring individuals, agencies and organizations together in an atmosphere of support, to solve existing and emergency problems that could not be easily solved by one group alone.

Have you ever called an agency to ask for help, only to be directed to call five other numbers until you finally got the response you were looking for? If you call "In Sync with Isabel" at 264-2182, ext. 212, I will do my best to provide you with the right number, the first time. Part of my job is to know about our local community agencies.

Do you want to get "In Sync?" Your questions might also be on a lot of peoples' minds and could be a valuable element in the "In Sync with Isabel" column. Together we can build bridges in Pagosa Springs that lead to community collaboration.

I become aware of resources that a family, disabled adult, or elderly person in the community might need. I do my best to meet all requests, but I cannot do it alone and resources are often limited. You can help. This is your chance to share your talents or donations. Each week I will try to list two items I have had difficulty obtaining. Call the number listed in this article; your donation can be accepted and a tax receipt will be prepared for you.



Students' concerns

The following was submitted as a letter to the editor. It appears in this space because of its ongoing importance to our community. It is hoped that the students' words will make an impact on all who call Pagosa home.

Dear Community Members,

With the recent loss of a Bayfield High School student, result of a drunk-driving accident, and the presence of 10 intoxicated local high school students at our Winterfest dance the same weekend (Jan. 20), the Pagosa Springs Student Council felt the need to write a letter expressing our concerns about teen drinking.

To put it bluntly, there is not enough being done to curb underage drinking. Too many times, people turn a blind eye to this problem, claiming that "it's going to happen no matter what anybody does." Does this free our community from the responsibility of at least attempting to make a difference?

More people than not know where the main parties are taking place, and yet nothing is being done to stop them. Teenagers who go to such parties are taking the risk of losing their lives, not necessarily to death, but also to a prison sentence. How many parents allow their children to attend or even host these parties, thinking that there's nothing wrong with teens "having a little fun?" Whether or not your child drinks, you, as parents, are condoning underage drinking.

When all is said and done, teenagers are the ones who have to make the ultimate decision whether to drink or not. No law enforcement officer, parent, or teacher can make that decision for them. But, these adults can help students to make the right choice. It may have to be in a seemingly negative way, such as a party getting busted, and the teens present getting punished. Or it could be in a more positive manner, such as parents encouraging their children from a young age not to drink. If you need motivation, remember this: When there is a drunk driver on the road, your life is endangered, your family's lives are endangered, and anyone else who happens to be on the road is endangered.

No matter what, people need to get involved. Local law enforcement, it is not hard to find parties in a small town. Please don't ignore them. Parents of young children, begin talking with your kids now. Let them know your opinions on and the consequences of underage drinking. Parents of teens, know where your kids are, who they are with, and how long they'll be there. Do not accept it when they come home drunk. Encourage and make it possible for them to get involved in activities that are beneficial to them. Build their confidence so that they will be more likely to stand up to peer pressure. And last but not least, teenagers, we need to stand up and let our peers know that drinking, and especially drinking and driving, is wrong. Think before you act. That's all there is to it.

Thank you,

Pagosa Springs High School Council - Daniel Crenshaw, Amber Mesker, Nicole Buckley, Tiffany Thompson, Patrick Riley, Jessica Espinosa, Annah Rolig, Garret Tomforde, Makina Gill, Ashleigh Correll, Meigan Canty, Tiffanie Hamilton, Ross Wagle, Ashley Gronewoller, Clayton Mastin, Zeb Gill, Mylinda Blankenship, Aaron Hamilton, Melissa Diller and Lauren Caves.


Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

It's not the what, it's the how

Dear Folks,

I'm glad February finally arrived.

It's not that January wasn't enjoyable. Far from it. It was the most enjoyable month I've experienced in a number of years. It seemed like January would last forever. I'm serious, for too many years it seemed like the first of February arrived one week after New Year's Eve.

A week or two later it was time to go take photos of the bucking events at the Red Ryder Roundup.

About the time I had all the dust from the rodeo arena cleaned out of my ears, it was Labor Day weekend.

The too-soon arrival of Thanksgiving served as a reminder that it was time to order the SUN wall calendars for the coming year.

When most folks are ready to get out and find a Christmas tree, I'm sitting at my desk trying to find out where the year went.

Well I'm gad to report that January 2001 seemed like it would never end. Just like the calendar has been claiming all along, there actually were 31 individual days in January.

It would be wonderful if February slowly marches by at a similar one-a-day pace.

If February moves slow enough, I might remember to write some Cupid Classified ads in time for the February 5 deadline.

Besides Valentine's Day, February brings the annual Colorado Press Association Convention in Denver.

The SUN, thanks to the efforts and talents of Kim, Karl and Terri, receive awards in the competition for best classified sections, humorous column writing and advertising campaign categories respectively.

Folks at the SUN also are looking forward to the session on "FOI Challenges" that's scheduled for the afternoon of February 16.

The folks who made the titles for this year's seminars must have had Pagosa Springs in mind when they connected "challenge" with freedom of information.

During the past two years, it has been a real challenge to swallow the county commissioners disregard for the state's open meeting laws.

Though the commissioners evidently didn't want anyone to know about the decisions they made behind closed doors, and failed to mention in the minutes they subsequently approved as being accurate and complete; the information made its way into the public sunshine in little bits and pieces.

Had the executive session been recorded on tape, as is being sought in a bill being sponsored by Rep. Shaw Mitchell, R-Broomfield, (no relation); the SUN could have asked a judge to review the recording and determine whether a violation had occurred and could have made that portion of the tape available to the public.

This isn't to say that the commissioners were wrong to separate the county building inspection responsibilities from the county planning office and to promote the building inspector to building official. This could have been done a few years ago and been easily acceptable. But it never should have been done behind closed doors.

Based on the eventual noncommittal statements of the commissioners, it's hard to get a consensus of what went on behind the closed doors. Or whether an application process played a role in the decision making - or consensus reaching - procedure.

One thing about the latest closed-door development, it brought closure to January and provided an interesting start for February. Hopefully it will provide many sunny days at the many public meetings that will occur during its 28 days.

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



By Shari Pierce

Tale of the missing Trelores baby

In following with the last two week's stories from Cora Thayer's memories, I wanted to give another point of view of winter life in Pagosa Country. Unlike the Thayers who remained on their ranch throughout the winter and did not venture out to town, some others braved the weather. One of those was Welch Nossaman, who by his recollections came to Pagosa Springs in 1876. Among other things, he was a freighter and also had the mail contract from Del Norte to Summitville.

The mail contract caused Nossaman to venture out into the deep snows of the mountains on a regular basis. In his memories he tells of going one day to Summitville and spending the night there; the next day he would return to Del Norte.

The best I can determine is that this story took place in the 1880s when Nossaman was making one of his trips to Summitville. The current snow storm had added two feet to the existing snow and it was still snowing. Upon his arrival in Summitville, he was met by a group of people who wanted to get out of the mountains before the snow was too deep.

Nossaman agreed but decided that all must ride horses or mules or walk; the wagons could be brought out later. Included in the group were Mr. and Mrs. Trelores, their six- to eight-month-old baby and their poodle.

Part way down the group arrived at a toll gate. This would be a good place to stop for the night. They started a fire in the fireplace. After about 20 minutes Mrs. Trelores began looking for her baby. Here we pick up Nossaman's telling of this incredible tale.

"'Where is my baby?' I said, 'Didn't you bring it out with you?' 'No,' she said, 'I gave it to Mr. Hoover.' I said, 'Well, I will go and see Dan.' So I went out to the stable where Dan was taking care of the mules. I said, 'Dan, what did you do with Mrs. Trelore's baby?' He said, 'throwed it up in front of Joe Simmons on a mule.' I said, 'Where is Joe?' Mrs. Trelore thinks she left it up there to freeze. She is going wild.' Joe was down at the water hole. I went down there and I said, 'Joe what did you do with Mrs. Trelore's baby?' He said, 'I never brought no baby out.' I went back and says, 'Joe says you never gave him no baby to bring out, Dan, and he don't know anything about it.' Dan says, 'I did. I rolled it up in bedding and throwed it up ahead of Joe on the mule.' So I went back to Joe and said, 'Joe, what did you do with that roll of bedding?' 'Oh,' he said, 'a mule got down up here off the trail and I dumped it off a mile or two above here. I thought we could go back and get the bedding if we needed it, and I just left it laying there.'

"So I got on my snowshoes and struck out up the road. Joe told me where to look for the roll of bedding. I went there and found the roll of bedding and there was the baby, dry and not crying or anything, and I brought it on down. You never saw so tickled a woman in your life."


25 years ago

Taken from SUN files

of Jan. 22, 1976

Charter air service opened

Taken from SUN files

of Jan. 29, 1976

Tom Broadbent has announced that charter air service is now available in the community. His company, Pagosa Springs Aviation Inc., has a Cessna 182 plane available for flights to anywhere within the United States. Broadbent, a commercial licensed pilot, is also a licensed instructor, both fixed wing and helicopter.

C.W. McCall, of "Wolf Creek Pass" song fame and frequent visitor to southwestern Colorado, has been invited to visit Pagosa Springs and ski at Wolf Creek Pass. McCall and his wife were presented complimentary season passes by Glen Edmonds, president of the Wolf Creek Ski Area. The presentation was made during the Club 20 banquet in Grand Junction Saturday.

One of the larger real estate transactions in recent years was recorded at the county clerk's office last week. The transaction involved about 3,000 acres in the Dyke area. Buyers were listed as Keyah-Grande.

Fred Schmeir has been appointed as the new welfare director for Archuleta County. Having worked as a caseworker in the local department for the past two years, Schmeir took over his new duties Monday.





Pacing Pagosa

By Richard Walter


Snow jobs slow Pagosaland's tempo

Some times the pace of pacing can be slowed to a crawl.

So it was Thursday morning.

I knew light snow had been predicted overnight and was fully prepared to use my worn down broom to sweep the "light" away.

Imagine my surprise when I went out the front door and found five inches of "light" awaiting me, more falling profusely, and realized that obviously was too much for the broom to handle.

The trusty old coal shovel - which morphs into a snow shovel at times like this - was standing there all primed for use. In a flash I had the sidewalk to the car shoveled. I cleaned off the car and then shoveled my way back to the house through the inch of new snow which had fallen since I went outside.

No problem, right?

I got the two containers of bird seed for the back yard feeder and then realized I'd have to shovel a path to it, too.

For 30 feet it was easy. Then, for some reason, I found myself against an ice wall. "Whoa!" I thought, "where'd that come from?"

A little cursory examination provided the obvious answer. The warm temperatures of Wednesday afternoon had finally freed the snow from my multilevels of east side roof and it had all come tumbling down.

Hearty mountaineer that I am, I was undaunted by the challenge - but soon found I was unable to break through the ice wall with the shovel. Then I realized my best bet was to whiff the snow off the top and use the now elevated yard level as a winter deck to cross to the back yard.

Worked like a charm. However, on reaching the bird feeder, I found the same five inches of snow had turned it into a giant frozen snowball swinging in the wind. And a small gathering of winter songbirds perched in snowy branches of a nearby lilac loudly chastised me because their "free" breakfast was inaccessible.

So I cleaned off the snow, broke the ice out of the feeder holes, filled the tray and replenished the interior supply so they'd get their daily ration. And what did I get for thanks? A swooping crow squawking to me and the smaller birds that the food just delivered was for him and the flightmates he'd left swinging on power lines visible in the nearby alley.

"No," I shouted. "This food is for the little guys!"

I supposed I heard a round of chirping (read that applause) from the denuded lilac branches as the crow gave a disgusted "Squawk!" and headed back to the alley.

I was nearly late for work by that time, but I warned the black marauder not to come back until the awaiting flight of smaller birds had had their fill.

Now, I was ready to leave.

But Mother Nature had other ideas. In the time since I'd shoveled the walk and cleaned off the car, the snow had literally covered it again. I cleaned it off one more time and finally was ready to leave - just as the town's snowplow came by heading east.

"If I wait until he comes back the other way," I thought to myself, "I won't be able to get out of here until I shovel again."

So I quickened the pace, blasted out of the snow into the street and headed west toward downtown. Mission accomplished. I got to work on time. When I went home for lunch, however, my earlier hunch was proven correct. I had to shovel my way off the street and into my parking area.

Later I learned the crows didn't come back until nearly an hour after I left in the morning, squawking important messages in all directions. The six or 10 which had been perched on power lines had become 20 or more gathered on the ground under the feeder. The pace of the morning had moved inexorably toward chow time for them, no matter how much I dislike the fact they consume so much free seed.

The storm wasn't as bad as some of the ones which have - and will - hit Pagosaland, but it proved that when it comes to pace of life in terms of Pagosatime, Mother Nature is a controlling factor and we all need to set our stride to her beat.

For old journalists, snow has always been a news peg. Whether too much or too little, it seems to have a preordained spot in the headline lexicon. It's one of those things like famine and pestilence which just seems to have a reserved spot in the news columns.

We print predictions of how much we'll get and when and where it will fall. When we're wrong, we blame the weather man, not the capricious whims of an embittered Mother Nature. When the forecast hits right on the button, we gloatingly report that "We told you so!"

Driving in the snow itself is not the problem that some would have you believe. Often, you make your own tracks onto the more heavily traveled routes. It is there the problems arise. Surfaces scraped nearly clean by snowplows, aided in their task by snow-melting chemicals, can freeze more quickly when the snow begins to melt.

That produces the dreaded "black ice" syndrome, thin sheets of invisible ice turning seemingly clear black macadam into skating rinks for vehicles unable to stop on what their drivers can't see.

The moral: When driving - or walking - in Pagosa Country, be prepared for the worst and enjoy the best. If you do, your pace will meld easily into the one best suited for your chosen tasks.

And that is what life in Pagosa Country is all about: Challenge, accomplishment, satisfaction and then, a new challenge at a pace you can master in a climate most only dream about and surrounded by endless beauty, no matter what the season.

It was, after all, just another day in God's Country and the pace of life should be adaptable to whatever He provides.

Just to warm you up a little, I came across the following item on the front page of the SUN edition of Jan. 4, 1946. It reads, in part:

"Mrs. Harry Speelman informs The Sun this week that on Jan. 2, 1919, the thermometer at the electric light plant registered 57 degrees below zero at 8:00 o'clock in the morning. Mr. Speelman was employed on a logging project at the time and says they were forced to stop work on that date as the horses would not stand still and were uncontrollable. We'd say 57 below was quite frosty."

Yep, we could have it a lot worse.


Old Timers

By John Motter

1916: Mill closes, bank fails, pass opens

The Pagosa Lumber Company's steam whistle at the big mill south of town sounded reveille for the last time in August of 1916. The shrill tones signaled the end of one era and the beginning of a new one for Pagosa Country.

When the Pagosa & Northern's narrow gauge trains first chugged into Pagosa Springs in 1900, the iron horse brought a level of prosperity unmatched to that time in Pagosa Country. Town and county populations more than tripled during the next few years. New business doors opened all over town, including The First Bank of Pagosa Springs.

Greed accompanied prosperity. The First Bank of Pagosa Springs went broke amid local charges of corruption. Several local men, pillars of the community all, visited Denver at the request of a grand jury. While there they talked to the jury about their activities in connection with timber homestead filings in Archuleta County. And ultimately, in 1916, the Pagosa Lumber Co. shut down the 'biggest mill in Colorado.'

Starting with the departure of the Pagosa Lumber Co., Pagosa Country's economy slipped into a torpor that did not lift until the current land development boom started in the 1970s.

What happened to the First Bank of Pagosa Springs, anyway? Bank closings weren't that unusual in the days before the Feds intervened. On Jan. 11, 1907, everything about the bank appeared rosy when the Pagosa Springs New Era reported, "The statement just published of the condition of the Colorado State Bank, of which the First Bank of Pagosa Springs is a branch, shows the most prosperous condition in its history and that only two state banks in Colorado have a larger volume of business."

By December 13 the same year, the New Era reported: "The Colorado State Bank of Durango closes its doors and the First Bank of Pagosa, a branch, is forced to suspend operations. President B.N. Freeman reassured that assets after shrinkage are ample to pay all and $40,000 left over. Expect to reorganize soon."

Day guessed that deposits in the local bank ranged from $50,000 to $90,000. The bank had a capital of $75,000 and a surplus of about $15,000 and would be solvent if it could collect all of its loans.

"The First Bank of Pagosa Springs under the management of Elias Hampton was in model condition and had it been a separate institution it would not have hit the ceiling," Day pronounced. "The investigation of securities shows there was not enough bad loans to embarrass a much smaller business and if the depositors fail to get dollar for dollar it will be because the main office failed badly."

Just weeks after publishing an article extolling the virtues of the Pagosa Lumber Co., The Pagosa Journal published another article March 23, 1916, saying: "it has been semi-officially announced that the Pagosa Lumber Company's mill will be moved from this place during the coming summer.

"Although there is plenty of pine remaining in Archuleta County it is not in large accessible bodies and sawmilling in this section will hereafter be done by smaller mills. However, the big company is not moving its big mill because timber is scarce, but because it must get to sawing the government timber it purchased several years ago on the Apache reservation. The mill will be located at Dulce."

Subsequent newspapers described events connected with the mill's closing, such as "Luke Rock, who is a finished violinist, will also leave Pagosa. The music loving public of Pagosa will regret losing Prof. Rock." Rock had been sawyer at the mill.

And on Aug. 3, 1916, we read: "The mill whistle blowing for five minutes at a quarter to eleven this morning (Friday) acquainted all who heard it that the Pagosa Lumber Co. had sawed the last log at South Pagosa and that big mill was saying good-bye to Archuleta County. The work of dismantling the plant for its removal to Dulce will begin at once. It is expected that the new mill will be in operation December 1."

The end of an era for Pagosa Springs. And the beginning for Dulce. This new mill would be the first revenue producing enterprise other than a few sheep and cattle for Jicarilla Apache people struggling to survive.

In the next paragraph, editor Chas. Day wrote: "A number of cars came over the range (Wolf Creek Pass) last Sunday over the new road, but as there has been so much rain since, the cars coming and going over this route have been few. It is agreed that when the road is settled and dry it will be a pleasure to drive over."

Another beginning: Wolf Creek Pass opened in 1916 connecting Pagosa Country with the rest of the world by highway. Cars and trucks were coming into their own. Draft horses were about to qualify for unemployment checks and the Iron Horse was on its way out, at least in Pagosa Country.

Sign of the times when the horse and auto cultures overlapped: "Yesterday a four-horse team hitched to a wagon loaded with hay, grain, and groceries standing in front of Laughlin's store became scared at a passing auto and before the driver could gather up and tighten the reins plunged over the high bank on the opposite side of the street. The wagon was over turned and broke in three places and the load, including a case of now scrambled eggs, scattered along the foot of the hill. The horses were unhurt. The outfit belonged to Harvey Hill, but a hired hand held the reins at the time of the accident." Laughlin's store was located on Pagosa Street in the center of the main business block.

Despite their traumatic impact on equine transporters, cars had reached Pagosa Country to stay. The "Electric Garage and Machine Shop," located opposite the Arlington Hotel and managed by L. Hanson offered day and night service, heavy and light machine work done by expert machinist, expert oxygen-acetylene welding, tire vulcanizing and repairing, and improved methods in battery repairing and recharging. No mention of oats, hay, and overnight boarding.

Studebaker advertised cars anyone can drive - driver's licenses hadn't been invented yet- plus wagons and harness of every description.

Hortense Lowenstein - she was Bob Goodman's grandmother - "baptized her new car by making a trip last Saturday to Durango, doing the driving herself."

And, Jesse Majors and Alf Mees have joined the auto owners brigade, the former having purchased the 7-passenger Reo formerly owned by La Plata County and the latter having purchased the Ford offered for sale in these columns by Judge Morgan.

At the end of 1907, a New Era headline proclaimed: "Law Vindicated. Federal Judge Lewis Quashes the Archuleta County Timber Land Indictments. Charged with committing timber land frauds were 11 prominent Archuleta County men: E. 'Eudolphus' M. Taylor, E. 'Ephraim' K. Caldwell, Welch W. Nossaman, James S. Hatcher, Elias M. Hampton, Arthur T. Sullenberger, Edwin M. Biggs, C.D. McPhee, J.J. McGinnity, and C.H. Freeman.

Legal aspects of the case were not explained in the article, but the following statement provides a clue: "The law of the land does not make it a crime for a qualified person to purchase a timber claim of the government. Neither does the purchaser of a timber claim from the government commit a crime either in law or in morals by selling the land or timber or both to some other purchaser. "

Translated, we suspect persons purchased timber claims from the government at the legal rate of $3.50 an acre. Money for the purchase was borrowed. The timber was then sold to the large mill owners, in this instance Sullenberger, Biggs, McPhee, and McGinnity. It would not be far-fetched to imagine that the loan money originated with the ultimate owners. In any case, the issue ended without the indictment of any of the Pagosa men.

By the end of 1916, Pagosa Country had passed through one of the pivotal transition points common to the history of any locality. The pioneering era was dead, really dead. The horse and buggy days were gone, superseded by the auto and facilitated by the opening of Wolf Creek Pass. The big lumber mills were gone. The narrow gauge continued to puff and snort into town for another 20 years, but it was a losing proposition financially.

Pagosa's economy reverted to the twin pillars of its beginnings - cattle, tourism, small lumber mills, and subsistence farming by a rural population.

Next week's emphasis switches to the going of the railroad.


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