Front Page

February 8, 2001



Commissioners study changing subdivision codes

By John M. Motter

A waiver from subdivision regulations and ultimate change of those regulations allowing a developer to sell lots before improvements are completed is being studied by the Archuleta County commissioners.

The three commissioners met Tuesday afternoon with Jim Mudroch and Guiseppe Margiotta of Land Properties Inc.; Mike Mitchell of Colorado Timber Ridge; Richard Gustafson of Gustafson Consulting Group, a firm specializing in real estate development services; and Tim Blanchard, a bonding agent with Blanchard Insurance Group Inc., of Grand Junction.

Followers of county government activities who rely on county agendas to know when to attend commissioner meetings would have missed the workshop Tuesday afternoon. The agenda for Tuesday called for a number of items, then a 1:30 workshop titled "Commissioners work session with Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Assoc. regarding road maintenance." The meeting with the PLPOA board of directors began about 1:30 and lasted until about 3:10. Then the session with the developers, a session never mentioned on any agenda, began and lasted until about 4:30. No actions were taken during either work session.

Members of the county planning staff were not invited to the work session with the developers.

"I did not know about the meeting. It was not on any agenda," said Mike Mollica, the director of county development. "I wish we could have been there because we could have added a lot to the meeting. We have been working with those people for over a year. We have concerns. There are procedural issues."

"We didn't invite the planning staff because the commissioners wanted to meet with these guys first," Crabtree said. "We will meet with the planning staff on this, maybe Thursday (today) morning."

Mudroch asked at some time last week to meet with the commissioners, Crabtree said. The item was not placed on the agenda because "we were not planning to take any action until we consulted with our attorney and conducted other research," Crabtree said.

Mudroch is asking for a waiver from county regulations concerning subdivision requirements that must be met before developers can sell lots in a new subdivision. Current county regulations require the developer to post a maintenance bond underwriting improvements such as roads and utilities defined in an improvements agreement approved by the county commissioners, and to complete those improvements before being allowed to sell lots.

Once the maintenance bond is obtained and the improvements completed to county satisfaction, the developer is permitted to file the subdivision's plat and improvements agreement with the county clerk. Starting with the plat filing, and not before, the developer is permitted to sell lots.

Those meeting with the commissioners at the workshop Tuesday claim that county regulations amount to double jeopardy because they require both a bond for the improvements and completion of the improvements before lots can be sold.

"Why do you need a bond if you require completion first," they ask, or "if you have a bond guaranteeing completion, why do you require completion?"

All the county needs is the bond, said Blanchard.

"If I write a bond guaranteeing performance," Blanchard said, "I am going to do one of three things if there is a default. In any case, the public is protected."

Bond performance could include a check to the county large enough to pay for completing the work, the hiring of a firm by the bonding company to complete the work, or the bonding company working with the current builder to complete the work, according to Blanchard.

A bond amounting to 125 percent of estimated insurance cost would adequately protect county interests, Blanchard said.

Beneath the double jeopardy issue is cash flow for the developer. Until lots are sold, the developer pays for all improvements out of pocket. If a developer could post a bond and sell lots before the improvements are put in, the developer could use the money from lot sales to pay for installing the improvements.

Mudroch and Land Properties Inc., are involved in the Elk Park development across U.S. 160 from Aspen Springs. Improvements at Elk Park were almost completed when winter weather hit the area stopping work. Depending on weather, work might not resume until May or June. In the meantime, because the improvements are not completed, Mudroch cannot file a plat and lots in the development cannot be sold. If the county accepted bonding only as a guarantee for improvements, then lot sales could be taking place now and the property would be generating cash flow.

The up-and-down cycles of county building would be eliminated if only bonding were required, argue Gustafson and Mitchell. In addition, since projects would be completed sooner, more developments could be finished each year and the county economy would benefit by receiving more money.

Gustafson said his firm had been caught in a situation similar to that described by Mudroch and lost about $2 million in sales as a result.

"I have heard the county needs this level of protection because of things that happened in the past," Blanchard said. "As nearly as I can find out, in the past the county took land as security and that land lost its value during an economic downturn. Either that, or the county failed to notice when bonds expired or had the wrong kind of bonds. Those things don't need to happen today."

"With the level of expertise and protection you have in the courthouse today, those kinds of thing cannot happen again," said Mitchell.

The commissioners took no action at the workshop, but promised to conduct an investigation and place the issue on the commissioner agenda, perhaps later this month.

Action could consist of a waiver providing immediate relief, and over the long run changing subdivision regulations, a process which could require several weeks including public notice and public hearings before changes are made.

"I'm concerned at how long it takes for things to go through the process," said Alden Ecker, one of the county commissioners. "At the same time we have to protect the public interest."


Loan plan could provide start for community center

By Karl Isberg

Financial decisions made by Pagosa Springs trustees at their Feb. 6 meeting will expedite the completion of the new Town Hall on Hot Springs Boulevard and hasten the beginning of construction of a community center on an adjacent site.

Town Administrator Jay Harrington explained a proposed ordinance to trustees that, if passed, would allow the town to secure a short-term "bridge loan" of up to $800,000 in order to pay contractors working on the new Town Hall.

Harrington said the money is needed to meet obligations prior to the anticipated late-June opening of the new building. According to Harrington the loan money, secured at 4.3 percent interest, would prevent the town from using reserves that now garner 6 percent or more interest as investments. Capital improvement money for the project, in the form of sales tax revenues, will not be collected until next fall, he said.

Trustees approved the ordinance and the loan.

The trustees also directed town staff to put together a lease-purchase agreement involving the town, the Community Center Fundraising Committee and Wells Fargo Bank - an agreement which, if complete, would allow for work to begin on the construction project this summer or fall.

Harrington told trustees that nearly $800,000 has been raised so far to pay for construction of the 23,000-square-foot center. Part of that money is a Community Development Block Grant of $500,000 promised by the state of Colorado.

Project costs, however, are expected to be in the range of $2.3 to $2.7 million and, as Mayor Ross Aragon explained, "Major foundations apparently do not consider $800,000 a significant enough commitment to make donations at this point."

Town counsel will be put to work developing a complex lease-purchase plan involving the three entities. In the plan, Wells Fargo would pay for a portion of the community center then lease it to the town of Pagosa Springs. The town, in turn, would lease the center to the non-profit Community Center committee for a nominal amount.

Such a lease-purchase agreement with the financial institution, with no penalty for early payment, said Harrington, would involve an interest rate of 4.5 to 6 percent - less than the current construction index. Lease-purchase payments would be made by the town over a proposed 10-year period with money from the town's capital improvements fund. Payments could be in the range of $200,000 per year, from a fund that totals approximately $1.2 million.

A lease purchase proposal will be presented to town trustees at their March 6 meeting.


Portable heater suspected in Aspen Springs blaze

By Karl Isberg

A mobile home and its contents were destroyed by fire Feb. 1 at a location in the Aspen Springs subdivision adjacent to U.S. 160 west of Pagosa Springs.

A crew of 20 firefighters from the Pagosa Fire Protection District responded at approximately 3:30 p.m to the fire at a single-wide mobile home located 300 yards east of the intersection of Oak Brush and U.S. 160. They found the structure completely engulfed in flame.

According to Fire Chief Warren Grams, his crew used seven pieces of equipment to fight the blaze, including three tankers needed because of a lack of a central water supply at the site.

"The trailer was a total loss," said Grams "and, as yet, we don't have any estimate of the cost of the damage. The trailer was used as a rental property."

While investigators have not made a final determination concerning a cause of the fire, Grams said, "We suspect there was a portable kerosene heater in use. When the fire was discovered by the tenant in the living room, the fire was near a heater."

Grams cautioned anyone using a portable heating device to take certain precautions. "People need to be careful where they place portable heaters," said the chief. "They need to make sure the heater is at least three feet from any combustible material and make sure there is adequate ventilation in the space being heated."


Winter storm watch is in effect for area

By John M. Motter

A winter storm watch with the promise of as much as 10 inches of snow is in progress in Pagosa Country, according to Doug Baugh, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

The storm was expected to blast into Pagosa Springs last night and continue through tonight, Baugh said. Wind gusts could be between 15 and 30 miles per hour. The effects should start decreasing tonight.

Friday will be an "in between the storms town" day with cloudy skies, but little if any precipitation, Baugh said. Saturday there is a slight chance that snowfall will resume. By Sunday and Monday, the chance for snowfall increases.

Because the storms are rolling in from the Pacific Ocean and not from the Arctic, temperatures will be relatively warm, according to Baugh. High temperatures will range from 20 degrees today into the low 40s by this coming weekend. Lows should remain above 10 degrees and possibly climb into the 20s.

Above the 10,000 foot level at Wolf Creek Ski Area, the snowfall total for this season has reached 271 inches, more than 22 feet. Only two inches of snow have fallen during the past week. Snow depth at the summit is 99 inches, at midway 85 inches.

No measurable snow fell in town this last week. High temperatures ranged from a balmy 48 degrees Tuesday down to a not-so-balmy 21 degrees Jan. 31. The average high temperature was 37 degrees.

Low temperatures ranged from minus 10 degrees Jan. 31 to 13 degrees Tuesday. The average low temperature for the past week was one degree.

Average February snowfall since 1938 is 18.8 inches. A record 61 inches of snow fell during February of 1961. No snow fell during February of 1945. The lowest temperature recorded during February since 1938 is minus 46.1 degrees during February of 1951. The extreme maximum February temperature is 70 degrees recorded Feb. 26, 1986.


County promises complete road inventory

By John M. Motter

Roads were the main topic of discussion as the county commissioners and members of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association met in a work shop Tuesday afternoon in the commissioners meeting room.

"What are your plans for our roads?" the PLPOA wanted to know. Several answers by the commissioners followed.

Snow removal will continue as it has been performed in the recent past, all of the commissioners agreed. Presently, all public roads are plowed, some sooner than others depending on priority considerations.

Each of the three commissioners said the county needs to develop a road inventory and a county maintenance plan. Beyond that, little agreement was apparent.

"We are not in agreement," said Commissioner Bill Downey. "My thinking is, (the county should maintain) those roads that are main arterials, high volume, provide access to the town or a state highway plus some historic roads in the county system prior to 1965-1970.

"This is arbitrary and subject to change but some examples I think of," Downey said, "are Snowball, Fourmile, Edith, Montezuma, Trujillo, Cat Creek, Pagosa Boulevard North and South, Mission Boulevard, Cascade.

"I have a different take," said Commissioner Alden Ecker, "especially concerning roads repaired in the Fairfield settlement. We have a responsibility to do something there.

"I like 'metro' (metropolitan) districts," Ecker said. "Let the subdivisions take care of themselves. I live in Alpha. It's worth the extra $50-$75 (Alpha Metropolitan District taxes). They plow the roads and clean every driveway. No berms are left in driveways. I don't feel we can arbitrarily turn the roads over to citizens along the roads. I want a list of roads with maintenance priorities and a five-year plan."

"I have been saying the commissioners need to drive the roads," said Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners. "We need to make a list and maintain the primary roads. The secondary roads we can blade once or twice a year depending on how much money we have. We should plow snow from all of the roads."

All of the commissioners agree that a county moratorium against maintaining subdivision roads is temporary and should be reviewed and possibly repealed.

"People don't want you to waffle," the PLPOA board members said. "Even if your decision is not popular, you have to make it known to the public."

"Since the county has already accepted about three-fourths of the roads at Fairfield Pagosa, it may not make sense for all of the people living there to form a metro district and pay taxes for maintenance on the remaining one-fourth of the roads," said Fred Ebeling, a member of the PLPOA board.

Ebeling argued for county maintenance of PLPOA roads based on a past county commitment, even if the county does not accept roads from current and future subdivisions for maintenance.

Ebeling also asked that a portion of the road property tax levied by the county be forwarded to metropolitan districts.

The commissioners took no action during the work session, but in general promised to complete a road inventory with road classification and to develop maintenance levels and schedules, all shortly after weather conditions permit.

At the end of the meeting, the PLPOA board offered help, pointing out that, "There is too much for three commissioners to do. You need committees, experts, help in formulating a plan. How can we help?" they offered.

In other business Tuesday the commissioners:

- Tabled action on a proposed law enforcement agreement with Hinsdale County

- Authorized additional expenditures for snow removal at Stevens Field. Money allocated for that purpose for this year has already been spent.

- Agreed to spend about $204,000 for widening Piedra Road between Ace Drive at Pepper's Restaurant and U.S. 160. The work will be performed in conjunction with work planned by the town and the state along that same stretch of road.

- Agreed to spend approximately $5,000 to print a brochure containing a simplified version of the county budget for distribution to the general public

- Approved an intergovernmental agreement with La Plata County for wildlife services. The actual contract defining services performed will be on the agenda within a couple of weeks

- Agreed by consensus to allow Intercare, the county's self insurance administrator, to talk with county employees concerning an optional flexible benefit service plan. By formal vote, the board authorized the chairman to sign the agreement

- Listened to the monthly progress report presented by Erlinda Gonzalez, head of the county social services department

- Approved a new hotel/restaurant liquor license for Loredana's Italian Restaurant

- Listened to an update on Beanpole Funding by Region 9 Director Ed Morlan

- Listened to a report on services provided by San Juan Basin Health presented by Wano Urbano

- Conducted a two and one-half hour property tax abatement hearing by telephone, then denied the abatement.


Decorative street lighting will be replaced by town

By Karl Isberg

Since a 1995 redevelopment project for the U.S. 160 corridor at the east end of Pagosa Springs put 52 decorative street lights in place, Pagosa Springs officials have received a stream of critical comments ranging from complaints about light pollution in the night skies to asides about the corridor's resemblance to an "airport runway."

Following a Feb. 6 decision by Pagosa Springs trustees, the airport runway in the 100 block of San Juan Street will be closed.

"From comments received during the Community Plan process," Town Administrator Jay Harrington told trustees, "we received enough feedback to lead us to make changes along the corridor. We decided to consider those changes at the same time we developed a lighting plan for Hot Springs Boulevard and the new Town Hall site."

According to Harrington, new street lights with hooded fixtures hanging from a curved mast arm, will be placed along Hot Springs Boulevard, and at the new Town Hall site. The same type fixture will replace the globe lights now in place along the U.S. 160 corridor on the east end of town. New lights along the highway and street will be on 20-foot poles; lights at the Town Hall will be on 12-foot poles.

Town Planner Chris Bentley told trustees 25 of the hooded fixtures will replace lights in the corridor, with 27 of the globe fixtures removed and not replaced. She said illumination from new fixtures, placed every 100 feet along both sides of the highway corridor, will meet lighting standards and cut both glare and light pollution.

Harrington said globe fixtures taken from the corridor will be used by the town to maintain similar lighting in the 400 block of Pagosa Street, and at the front of the county courthouse.

Town crews will be used to install the new street lights and the project will be funded with $40,000 included in the current town budget.

According to Harrington, lights at the new Town Hall will be operational when the building opens this summer. No time schedule has been set for installation of lights in the east highway corridor or on Hot Springs Boulevard.


Rosary, Mass celebrate life of Jaun Ribera

Juan Mauricio Ribera, 88, of Carracas, Colo., died Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2001 at the home he and his wife, Maria shared. He was born Sept. 22, 1912 in Cimarron, N.M., the son of Eutimio and Dolores Rivera. He was a lifelong resident of the area.

From the age of 16 he went out on his own and worked on ranches, construction, mines found along the San Juan Mountains and the San Luis Valley.

On June 2, 1942, he was inducted into the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He was stationed in Shepard Field, Texas; Lowry Field, Colo.; Big Spring, Texas; and northern France. During his service in World War II from 1942-1945, he received the American Service Medal, European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. At the time of his honorable discharge, he was a Technician 5. He was a member of the American Legion Post 36 in Ignacio.

On April 9, 1947, he married Maria Maximiana Gomez in Rosa, N.M. They lived in Rosa, Allison, Chimney Rock, and Arboles areas until 1956 when they moved to Carracas. He worked in lumber mills, as a sheepherder and lastly a mechanic.

Mr. Ribera is preceded in death by infant daughter Mary Anna, grandson Gabriel, and two infant great-granddaughters Angel and Alexis-Rose Balderas. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Maria Maximiana and six sons and five daughters: Mauricio Ribera and wife, Inez of Corvallis, Ore.; Maxine Sena and husband, Larry of Layton, Utah; Waldo Gomez of Pagosa Springs; Daniel Ribera of Carracas; Patrick Ribera of Denver; Ramona Perue and husband, George of Laramie, Wyo., Irene Ribera and Arabella Ribera of Westminster; Chris Ribera and wife, Stephanie of Tiffany; Val Ribera and wife, Sandy of Bloomfield, N.M., and Josephine Petterson and husband, David of Arvada; 27 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

The recitation of the Rosary was held on Friday, Feb. 2, 2001, at 7 p.m. and mass of Christian burial was held on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 11 a.m. both at St. Peter-St. Rosa Catholic Church in Arboles. A military interment followed at Rosa Cemetery with a daughter playing taps. Celebrant was Father John Bowe.

Per his request, his sons served as his pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers were life time friends Ray Lopez, Bob Cox, Tom Gallegos, Valentin Ortiz, Sy Candelaria and Felipe Enriquez.

Since family was very important to Mr. Ribera, three of his daughters had the honor of reading the readings at mass and one the eulogy. Also, a four generation procession of carrying the gifts that included his wife, one daughter, a granddaughter, and great-granddaughter, and as altar server was one granddaughter, and Eucharistic ministers a son and his wife.

Inside The Sun


Town invites proposals for site redevelopment

By Karl Isberg

The town of Pagosa Springs is asking for proposals from qualified developers who wish to purchase the existing Town Hall site at 486 San Juan Street and redevelop the property.

The move is being made in light of the anticipated move of town offices in June to the new 13,000-square-foot Town Hall on Hot Springs Boulevard.

Developers submitting a proposal for purchase and redevelopment of the existing Town Hall must include a letter of introduction describing a redevelopment plan and identifying the firm's qualification to redevelop the site. A firm must also include a proposed purchase price for the property; a scaled drawing showing proposed use of the property; a time frame for redevelopment; and a statement concerning the ability of the firm to complete the project on time and within budget.

According to documents available to prospective developers, town officials intend to sell the existing 5,700-square-foot Town Hall with "the site redeveloped within a reasonable time frame. This building will occupy an important and focal location as the entry into downtown Pagosa Springs, a potential historic district. The site plan and architectural features of this redevelopment should be consistent with the historic flavor of downtown Pagosa Springs and recognize the gateway and corner location in its design. The Town intends to bind the property purchaser to their representations through deed restrictions and other legally acceptable means."

Submittals from prospective developers are due at Town Hall no later than April 16 at 5 p.m.

After April 16, town staff will review proposals and make a recommendation to the town trustees to aid the board in acceptance of a bid for the property.


World Day of Prayer service March 2

Christians in over 170 countries around the world will gather on Friday, March 2, in observance of the World Day of Prayer 2001 service. In Pagosa Springs the service will be sponsored by Community United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. with a potluck salad luncheon in the Fellowship Hall at noon.

Begun in 1887 by Presbyterian laywoman Mary Ellen James, World Day of Prayer brings together in informed prayer and prayerful action, international women from a myriad of backgrounds, cultures, and Christian traditions. Since 1941, World Day of Prayer has been sponsored in the United States by Church Women United, a grassroots ecumenical movement of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian women.

This year's service, written by Christian women of Samoa, focuses on the theme, "Informed Prayer, Prayerful Action," and is based on the scriptural passage found in Esther 4:1-16. Esther was summoned during a time of crisis to pray and act according to her faith. She first sought to be informed, and later engaged in fasting and prayer as she discerned God's will for herself and her people. The women from Samoa welcome us with the greeting, Talofa (tah-loh-fah), which means welcome and invite us to share in the traditional Kava Ceremony as a way of coming to know their unique history and profound faith. It is through this experience that we also are invited to become informed, from our particular contexts and backgrounds, in prayer and finally to act to bring about the Kingdom of God.

The local organizers invite you, your friends, families and community of faith to join us in the World Day of Prayer 2001 celebration and worship. The organizers invite you to come and support women's ecumenical ministries toward peace and justice through your generous offering. The offerings received on World Day of Prayer enable the ongoing work of Church Women United, the national committee of the United States for World Day of Prayer. Thirteen percent of the offerings will be designated toward women's projects both internationally and in the U.S. An additional four percent of the offerings will go to support the ongoing work of the World Day of Prayer International Committee, which each year works with women in different countries in the preparation of service materials and resources.

For more information, contact Connie Glover, program director at 264-2850 or call the church office at 264-5508.


Fun Race Series draws 57 skiers to Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek Ski Area on Saturday held the fourth race of its 2000-01 Fun Race Series. The all-comers races attracted 57 area and out-of-state skiers.

Myles Evans of South Fork won the boy's 3-to-5-year-old race with a time of 44.16.

Jacob Ormonde of Pagosa Springs won the boys' 6-to-8-year-old race with a time of 54.46 seconds. Pagosa's Logan Secrist finished in second place at 54.77. Garrett Stall posted a 76.00 to take third place.

Seth Rizzo of Pagosa Springs won first place in the boys' 9-to-11 race with a time of 31.81 seconds. Wade Orick (38.51) and Wes Orick (38.99) of South Fork placed second and third respectively.

Nuapure Toulorond of Alamosa won first place in the boys' 18-to-20 division in 37.50 seconds.

Kyle Mullins of Pagosa Springs won the men's 21-to-25 race with a time of 32.16. Kevin Deziendorf of Pagosa Springs placed second with a 36.50.

Scott Wilger of Conifer won first place in the men's 26-to-30 division with a time of 28.05 Phil Valdez of Colorado Springs placed second with a 33.90. Kyle Seicries of Durango was third at 37.97.

Bryan Burgan of South Fork won first place in the men's 36-to-40 age bracket with a time of 31.77 seconds. Kevin Ames of South Fork placed second with a 34.53. Tom O'Rourke of South Fork placed third with a 36.86.

Lynn McCullagh of Monte Vista won first place in the men's 41-to-50 age bracket with a time of 30.67. Paul Orr of South Fork placed second at 32.55 seconds. Gordon Stone of New Jersey finished third at 33.75.

Duncan Cullman of South Fork posted the day's fastest time overall as he took first place in the men's 51-to-60 division with a time of 27.54. Mike Evans of South Fork placed second at 27.92. Bob Filice of Pagosa Springs took third place with a 34.80.

Sam Selters of Center won the men's 61-and-over race with a 29.21. Bryant Lemon of Pagosa Springs finished in second place with a time of 30.16. Dick Bond of Pagosa Springs placed third with a time of 33.72 seconds.

Women's race results

In the girls' and women's races, Shannon Rogers of Pagosa Springs won the girls' 6-to-8-year-old race with a time of 2 minutes, 16.0 seconds.

Mackenzie Kitson of Pagosa Springs won the girls' 9-to-11 race with a time of 39.79. Alison Hart of Pagosa Springs placed second with a 39.99. Dell Greer of Pagosa Springs was third with a 42.55.

Alexis Loewen of Pagosa Springs won first place in the girls' 12-to-14 age bracket with a time of 28.17 seconds.

Traci Dowd of Pagosa Springs won first place the women's 21-to-25 division with a time of 31.24 seconds.

Kimmens Heytens of Durango won the women's 31-to-35 division with a time of 37.38. Sherry Wilger of Conifer placed second with a 45.77.

Joanne Evans of South Fork won the women's 36-to-40 division with a time of 44.38. Pam Monte of Pagosa Springs finished second with a 59.80.

Cynthia Florimont won the women's 41-to-50 race with a time of 31.67. Sharle McCullogh was second with a 36.84. Marrie Haydet placed third at 37.95.

Dianne Addelson of Cortez posted a 35.67 to win the women's 51-to-60 race. Sveta Mazurav of Lamar placed second with a 38.45.

Wolf Creek Ski Area will host the fifth running of its 2001 Fun Race Series on Saturday, Feb. 10. The free registration for the all-comers races will be conducted in the Base Camp Lodge from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. The races will get underway at the starting gate on Lower Charisma Trail at 10:30 a.m.

The races are open to skiers of all skill levels.


Developmental screening set

A developmental screening for infants, toddlers and preschoolers will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Community Methodist Church on Lewis Street in downtown Pagosa Springs.

The free screening includes assessment in the areas of motor skills, speech/language development, cognitive skills, hearing and vision.

The event is being hosted by the San Juan Basin Health Department, San Juan BOCS, San Juan Kids and Community Connections, Inc. Parents who would like to have their children screened by these professionals should call the health department at 264-2409 to schedule an appointment.

Space is limited, so those interested should call as soon as possible.

A health department spokesman said the best time to help children with developmental delays is as early as possible. If, during this screening, it is found that further evaluation of your child is recommended, professionals will be on site to discuss this further.

In addition, information will be available regarding community resources which aid young children, including infants, with special needs.


Volunteer orientation

San Juan Mountains Association has scheduled a volunteer orientation session in Pagosa Springs for local summer programs.

The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Parish Hall on Lewis Street.

Volunteer opportunities on public lands will be discussed. A few of the volunteer opportunities which will be discussed include wilderness information specialists, "Ghost Riders," rail rangers, cultural site stewardship, Chimney Rock interpretive program and the adopt-a-road programs.

For more information, call Kathe Hayes, volunteer coordinator at 385-1310 or e-mail


Ex-Pagosan missing; could be headed here

Joshua Hughes, a former resident of Pagosa Springs, was last seen on Thursday, Jan. 18, near the Tiki Island. Apparently his pickup truck had run out of gas on I 25 near Galveston, Texas.

Bloodhounds subsequently traced his scent to the nearest business, Dimitri's cabaret, where witnesses said Hughes had entered the establishment about 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 18, ordered a Diet Coke, told of his car trouble and asked for help calling a cab to get home. (He lives in Galveston.) Hughes was reportedly advised to use the pay phone next door since the phone at Dimitri's was out of order. The bloodhounds then traced his trail to the Oceanside cabaret next door, but the trail did not lead inside the building. The dogs instead followed Hughes' scent to the establishment's front parking lot and then to a nearby feeder road where the trail ended.

When Hughes' locked and abandoned pickup was found the morning of Jan. 20 it was completely out of gas, stuck in the mud and the battery dead.

The Galveston County Sheriff's Department reportedly conducted a 2-hour helicopter search soon after Hughes' disappearance and was to conduct a more thorough search on horseback around the marshlands near the clubs which are on Galveston Bay.

Hughes' disappearance may be related to a bipolar episode, according to his mother Kay (Hughes) Burnett who lives in the Galveston area. She said it is therefore possible that he may travel to Pagosa Springs.

Persons having any information regarding Hughes' whereabouts are asked to phone the Galveston Sheriff's Department at (409) 766-2322 at any hour.




Leadership woes

Dear David,

In reference to oil and gas drilling in Archuleta County: In order to make it easier to get permits and make the county "user friendly" the environmental regulations must be weakened.

Did the county commissioners stop to think that the reason La Plata County has problems with methane leakage poisoning water wells and streams forever is that they did away with such trivial things as environment impact statements and permit time to properly study the request? I don't think these county commissioners are even qualified to deal with this issue. When permits are given out like permits for the transfer station, (another poorly run county program), and regulations weakened, something is seriously wrong with our leadership.

Ron Alexander

Job well done

Dear David,

Let's see; it's time for me to renew my subscription to the newspaper. I want you to know that I could have renewed a few days ago and saved myself the $3 rate increase, but I've decided that you deserve the extra money for what I consider to be an improved front-page coverage of our county representatives' activities this past month. Let me pass on my gratitude to you and your staff for this job well done.

Regardless whether we approve or disapprove of the commissioners' actions, a lot of people I know would not be aware of what they're doing without your good reporting. I realize that with a small staff such as yours that appropriating time for investigative journalism is no easy task. However, I appreciate it absolutely every time that I don't have to feel like I'm the last one to know what's going on. Believe me, I have heard many local citizens express this same sentiment.

Unfortunately, most citizens cannot attend weekly commissioners' meetings or the newly established afternoon work sessions on Tuesdays, so we are at your mercy for whatever news you choose to pass on to us. Although we have elected these officials to work on our behalf, it is nice to keep up on their activities, so we can determine whether or not they are keeping their campaign promises to us. After all, how else can we evaluate if they are truly representing our best interests. Keep up the good work.

Sincere thanks,

Karen Aspin

Salutes courage

Dear editor,

Thank you for placing the "Student's Concern" letter in the conspicuous location in Feb. 1 edition of the SUN.

Thank you parents for doing a tremendous job with your young people. I know it is tough raising children today. I also know from experience that some day in the future, either verbally or by example, they will thank you.

Most of all, thank all of you young people for speaking out. It takes courage to do that sometimes, particularly if your point of view is not the most popular at the time.

I have always enjoyed young people, they keep me "young at heart."

Cindy Gustafson

Not wealthy

Dear Editor,

In regard to "Forests Manage" - Maggie Valentine Inskeep's, Feb. 1 letter:

I tend to agree with most of what she said concerning the ban on construction of new roads in the forest. I also prefer hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, etc., over motorized vehicles in the forest.

However, I would like to dispel her notion of "Mr. and Mrs. Wealthy Retiree." I am a Mrs. Retiree and believe me, we are not wealthy! We both worked for over 40 years, raised and educated three children and were very frugal in all our spending because we had a dream - to retire in the mountains where we could enjoy all the outdoor activities.

Our dream also included being able to have a home that was large enough to accommodate our children and their families. Incidentally, when we built our home we used recycled wood floors, doors and hardware.

Have you given a thought to the thousands of volunteer hours that the retirees contribute to the various organizations in the Pagosa area? What about the hundreds of thousands of dollars we pay in property taxes on these "4,000 foot" homes? We also do not crowd the schools with children - don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly support education and don't begrudge one tax dollar that goes for that purpose. A large portion of us don't even get our streets "maintained" with out tax dollars.

Also, what about all the jobs that have been created by the building of these homes? Many people in the Pagosa area make their livings from the construction boom in the past few years.

You pushed my buttons, lady. Retirees are contributing members of this community and not conspicuous consumers of large homes. Give me a break.


Barbara Jacobs

Favors Folk Fest

Dear Editor,

I live in Winfield, Kan., and have visited Pagosa Springs several times. I was there last summer for the Four Corners Folk Festival and have already ordered tickets for the next festival. It is a very well run weekend and I found the size to be most enjoyable.

Here in Winfield we have the prestigious Walnut Valley Festival. I have been a fan of "our" festival for a number of years and am now looking forward to your festival as well. I belong to a group called "The Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance" and last fall I wrote a very favorable review of your festival for our monthly newsletter. I hope my writing will encourage some of our group to attend your festival.

I am a friend of your great group, the "Pagosa Hot Strings" and have been since 1995. They represent your community extremely well.

I check out the SUN every week. You have some very talented writers on your staff.

Frank Johnson

Hit miss laws

Dear David,

Were we sufficiently outraged by the Columbine massacre today? The one yesterday? Or the one that will happen tomorrow?

Thirteen children under the age of 18 died today from handguns. Thirteen will die tomorrow. Thirteen die each day in our country. Time goes by and we become complacent until the next "massacre" when we recall the second amendment as if it were the second commandment.

Where are all the gun-rights advocates when we waive our Fourth Amendment rights as we and our bags are searched (x-rayed) at the airport? We have yielded our rights, by being quite reasonable, so that we don't get blown out of the sky.

Guns are the only major U.S. product exempt from consumer protection laws. Teddy bears are covered by four categories of federal safety regulations, guns are covered by zero. The teddy bear lobby must not be doing something right.

Most federal, state and local gun laws are a hit-and-miss collection that do little to curb the build up and movement of sales. The focus is on punishment rather than prevention because it is the political and NRA smokescreen to dodge the issue that a vast majority of Americans want addressed. Fifty percent of all sales are in the secondary (unlicensed) market that can not even be subject to registration. The gun lobby (NRA) would like for you to think that registration is to identify who has guns but in fact it is to know where guns are going. That is where we will begin to get a grasp on the problem. Registration holds gun owners responsible for whom they sell or give their guns to and licensing ensures they have basic safety training and knowledge of the gun as well as a background check. This is not outlawing guns so that only outlaws will have guns.

It must be Hollywood and the moral decay of our society you say? Citizens in Great Britain watch the same movies, play the same violent video games, listen to the same Marilyn Manson, have the same sick Internet addresses we can surf on, and the same pornography available to them as we do, and in a country of 50 million people had 30 hand gun murders last year. Thirty murders and sensible gun laws. I do not see their freedoms being eroded, the government lobotomizing the citizenry or the rise of the next Hitler forthcoming. Another myth of the NRA is dispelled.

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people" is another NRA myth. Sorry, it's the guns, folks.

Sincerely, Ron Levitan


Get the joke

Dear David,

To brighten long winter days I did write/ about noises that go bump in the night./ So great the furor I see,/ so many angered by me./ Lest others I truly offend,/ perhaps fences I should mend./ The driver still plows my street,/ he even waves whenever we meet./ The trash service, meter readers,/ chamber, city council, all public leaders,/ the sheriff, police and EMT's who answer my call,/ the firefighter, postal worker, public servants all./ Is there anyone I missed?/ Any service or worker not on my list?/ Your services I truly do need,/ when you go out, I wish you God speed./ I pay my taxes, salute the flag,/ about my hometown I often brag./ So come on Pagosa, get the joke,/ It was only in fun I did poke./ Lighten up, relax, take a chill pill/ I must say the response was really a thrill.


Diane Pancoast

Golf waste

Dear Editor,

If you have any concerns about the negative impacts of the golf course proposed by Piano Creek Ranch, the time to act is right now.

Here are some facts to consider, according to Audubon magazine (October 1993): The average golf course uses almost seven times the amount of pesticides per acre as agricultural land. In addition to pesticides, multiple herbicides and fungicides are used in large quantities as well. Biologist Joseph Okoniewski says, "If you scraped a golf green and tested it, you'd have to cart it away to a hazardous waste facility."

Wake up, folks. These meadows to be turned into golfing greens leach directly into the headwaters of the San Juan River, which flows right through town, the same water we use for our drinking supply.

Comments to the Army Corps of Engineers are due in just a few days - Feb. 19.

Send your comments to: Colonel Michael J. Walsh, Sacramento District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1325 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814-2922, email: mwalsh@spk

Send a carbon copy to: Ken Jacobson, Chief, Southwestern Colo. Regulatory Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 402 Rood Avenue, Room 142, Grand Junction, CO 81501-2563, email: kjacobson@spk

Thank you,

Kurt Raymond

Editor's note: Another fact to consider is that in 1989 the U.S. Forest Service, based on an approved environmental impact statement that was determined to satisfactorily address the multiplicity of concerns related to the development a golf course, six ski lifts, one gondola and varied residential and commercial areas on neighboring private property for the proposed East Fork Ski Area, issued a special use permit that would have allowed construction to begin July 1, 1992.

Recession looms

Dear Editor,

In any analysis of our current economic problems we must include the inability or unwillingness of our trading partners to buy products made in the U.S.

We must consider the mathematics of economics which are as complicated as those necessary to design an electrical circuit. The decreased demand for goods and services is creating a recession.

We must realize the conversion of the U.S. economy from an industrial economy to a service economy and the resulting decrease in the amount of capital to demand products and services is resulting in a severe economic slow down. This fact joined with dramatic increases in the cost of energy and other inputs will increase the cost of transportation of products.

Thus we must consider the concepts of fair trade and the concepts of a localized economy so we can begin to build a sustained economy.

Don Reid

'Good old boys'

Dear Editor,

I was a little surprised that it took so long for comment on the county commissioner executive sessions held the past 24 months, which now appear to be the habitual norm. Especially when you also contribute to their newly established stipend of $41,725 plus 3 percent retirement package and very lucrative medical/dental benefits.

I'd like to think that you'd be hitting those computer keys much sooner demanding a lot more "bang" for your hard earned tax "buck." If commissioner salaries keep increasing, you'll have to once again, raise SUN prices just to keep your employees sub-par with commissioner compensations.

No wonder Archuleta County has such a poor turn out in the 2000 primaries. Why should anyone vote? The three "good old boys" will just call an executive session when they do not want the taxpayer to know how and why they make their decisions concerning our welfare. And why should they care if they violate the Colorado Open Meeting Law? They have the sage guidance and counsel of the county attorney, Mary Weiss, also participating.

Should the commissioners continue these arcane tactics? A solution: Recall all three "good old boys" - clean house. Its not that difficult. Many counties have done so. It is the American way. But the voting public has to get involved, or nothing happens. Representative government of the people does not work when conducted behind closed doors.

How is it possible that a majority of our commissioners can approve the typed minutes of a meeting they conducted and be unable to "recall" what they approved? That just will not equate to a test of memory. A majority of the "good old boy's" are grossly overpaid and under-worked. A "recall" movement will help to improve their dire lack of retention.

If Mr. Ecker said it once, he said it a hundred times during his campaign, "Ya gotta ride with the brand that brung ya." Well, Mr. Ecker, I sure didn't bring you to participate in branded meetings held behind a barricade while I contribute to your 401K plus wages. Your "good old boy" philosophy is hypocrisy and it smells. If you're going to gleefully gallop into public service saddled up with two-faced thoughts, eventually, you just may find yourself astride a "dead horse." Why not have the strength of character to never blindly follow the blind. If nothing else, at least remove the blinders from your horse.

If commissioners cannot conduct open meetings according to state law, they are hiding something. I don't care if their decisions in the open forum hurt a few feelings or even ruffle some feathers. That's tough. They will at least "retain" public respect.

Jim Sawicki

Views in question

Dear Dave,

Your editorial of Jan. 25 was disturbing to me.

Mr. Joseph Lieberman's "Jewishness" does not exclude or limit the rights of democracy to others. Mr. John Ashcroft's behavior and views are what were in question in the Senate confirmation hearings. He is a man who, among other things, has granted interviews with an extremely racist magazine which celebrates Confederacy and the ways of "The Old South," including slavery.

He is seen as a supporter of a university which is anti-Catholic. If you believe the reluctance to approve his nomination for attorney general was due to his religion, you are doing a great disservice to "Christianity."

Cate Smock




Sharon Marler

Sharon Laurine Marler passed away on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2001 at her home in Pagosa Springs.

Mrs. Marler was born Aug. 15, 1944, in Los Angeles, Calif., to Gilbert and Laurine Adams. She was married Nov. 29, 1992, to Rod Marler. In 1993, she moved from Lake Tahoe, Calif., to join her husband in Pagosa Springs and to support his construction business.

She loved gardening and flowers, interior decorating, cooking and entertaining. She was a business owner as well as being a loving wife, mother and grandmother.

Mrs. Marler was preceded in death by her brother, Gary Adams; her stepfather, Claude Oyler, and her grandson, Dakota Lemmons. She is survived by her husband, Rod Marler of Pagosa Springs; her son and daughter-in-law, Gilbert and Becky Fulbright and grandchildren Jessica and Jamie Fulbright of Los Osos, Calif.; her son and daughter-in-law Bill and Lisa Fulbright and grandchildren Alyse, Hailey and Garrett Fulbright of La Habra, Calif.; her daughter, Carrie Lillo and grandchildren Crystal Davis and Brent Dugan of Atascadero, Calif.; her stepson, Sean Marler and his fiance, Jessica Hughey of Grand Junction; her sisters, Donna Morales and Rhonda Norelius of Los Osos; her brother and his wife, Mike and Stephanie Adams of Long Beach, Calif.; her father and his wife, Gilbert and Dottie Adams of Lake Elsinore, Calif.; and her mother, Laurine Oyler of Sun City, Calif.

Visitation is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in the chapel at Pagosa Springs Funeral Options. Please call to confirm the time.

Funeral services for Mrs. Marler will be on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 10 a.m. in Community Bible Church. Rev. Louis Day will officiate. Burial will be in Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.




PSHS junior in all state choir

Justin DeWinter, a junior at Pagosa Springs High School, performed Monday through Wednesday this week with the Colorado High School All-State Choir.

Justin, son of Gena and Michael DeWinter, had tried out for the elite choir in October. Lisa Hartley, Pagosa Springs High School choir director, said he was selected from a field of 2,500 high school vocalists who tried out.

For tryouts, students are required to perform a classical vocal solo, major and minor scales, aural recall, rhythm reading and sight reading.

Justin was named to perform in the All-State Mixed Choir whose participants joined in Fort Collins to prepare and rehearse selected music and then perform it with a guest clinician.


Breedlove marks 90th birthday

"Win" Alme, a former resident provided the following information about another former Pagosan, Farris Breedlove.

According to Alme, Breedlove, a long-time resident of Pagosa Springs, celebrated his 90th birthday Sunday, Jan. 28, 2001, with family and friends in Tucson, Ariz. Breedlove moved with his family to Pagosa Springs in 1947. He owned and operated the former Pagosa Hardware until 1970. After selling the hardware store Breedlove sold real estate at Eaton International, now known as Fairfield Pagosa. He was also a partner in Pagosa Realty.

Alme said, "Farris loved the area and promoted it every chance he had. He was a 'true seller' of Pagosa Springs, whether it was hardware, hunting licenses, tickets to the Red Ryder Round Up, scenery, or real estate . . . he was selling."

Breedlove was involved in many community projects over the years. Two of the most evident are Stevens Field and the landfill project that resulted in the downtown parking area next to the San Juan River.

He and his wife, Billie are retired and now reside in Tucson, at Voyager RV Resort.

According to Alme, Breedlove "makes between 400 to 1,200 cups of coffee every Saturday morning and is a supervisor in stained glass."

Anyone who would like to join in the celebration of Breedlove's 90th birthday may do so by sending him a greeting at 8701 S. Kolb Road, Space 5-227, Tucson, AZ 85706.


Sports Page

Pirates retake IML lead with in at Monte

By John M. Motter

Pagosa Springs and Centauri each grabbed a pair of Intermountain League victories over the weekend, setting the stage for a showdown shootout tomorrow night.

Pagosa rides into La Jara with a 4-1 Intermountain League record, including a 45-25 victory over the Falcons earlier this year. This week's question is, can Pagosa beat the Falcons on the Centauri court? Earlier this season, Monte Vista edged Centauri by three points in Monte Vista. Last weekend in Centauri, the Falcons hammered Monte 65-35.

If Pagosa loses to Centauri, 2-2 for the IML season, both teams will have two losses in the IML. If the season ends that way and the two teams are tied for the league lead at the end of the regular season, then both teams entitled to enter the state playoffs will be chosen from the year-end league tournament. The problem with the tournament, according to Pagosa coach Kyle Canty is, it's sudden death - one loss and you're out.

"We'd a lot rather win the league title outright," Canty said. "Then we're guaranteed a spot in the playoffs."

It was not a good weekend for Monte, which lost to Pagosa Springs 59-45 last Friday night. The twin losses dropped Monte out of the unbeaten ranks in the IML. Monte got back on the winning track Tuesday night by topping Ignacio 80-56 upping its record to 3-2. Ignacio handed Pagosa its only loss. The Bobcats are 2-3. Bayfield is in the league cellar with a 0-4 record after dropping four games by a combined total of 13 points.

At this time it is too early to guess at final standings in the IML. In addition to the game with Centauri tomorrow night, Pagosa hosts Monte Vista and Ignacio the following weekend. Clearly, with only one loss while all of the other teams have at least two losses, Pagosa is in the driver's seat if it can win its remaining games. A loss anywhere for Pagosa and the playoff picture gets muddy.

This year's postseason tournament will be played in Bayfield.

"Obviously, we'd rather capture the league championship in order to reach the playoffs," Canty said. "This is a well-balanced league and any team can win any game during the tournament."

Pagosa 42, Bayfield 37

The Pirates led all of the way in a defensive struggle with Bayfield Friday night. Pirate hopes were threatened when 6-foot-6 senior David Goodenberger left the game early in the first period with a damaged ligament on his right thumb. Goodenberger saw no more action Friday.

Pagosa got five first quarter points from sophomore Brandon Charles to fight the Wolverines to a 9-9 standoff for the first period. Bayfield opened up a 15-12 second quarter lead. Pagosa then scored 10 unanswered points during the last six minutes of the quarter to lead 22-15 at the half. Micah Maberry and Jason Schutz with four points each and Daniel Crenshaw with a trey paced Pirate scoring during the period.

Maberry started second half scoring with a layup before Doug Farman ended a seven-minute Wolverine scoring drought by banking a bucket from the left side of the key. Behind Crenshaw's five points, Pagosa ended the period on top by 31-26.

Darin Lister's 2-pointer gave Pagosa a seven-point spread to open the final period. Bayfield cut the lead to 33-30, but the Wolverines' comeback try sputtered before it got off the ground. Tyrel Ross and Chris Rivas each scored for Pagosa, Rory Martinez sank a trey for the Wolverines, and Pagosa remained on top 37-33 with almost five minutes remaining. Down the stretch with Bayfield in a must-foul situation, Crenshaw, Lister, and Charles all hit free throws cementing the Pirates' victory.

"I think we played better against Bayfield than in the first game," Canty said, "but I don't think we played our best basketball. We stopped their drive-and-dish-off game. Bayfield played well. They are going to win before the season is finished."

Crenshaw led Pagosa scoring with 12 points including a pair of treys. Next were Maberry with eight points, Ross with six points, Charles with six points, Schutz and Lister with four points, and Rivas with two points. Pagosa made 16 of 45 field goals for a 35.6 shooting percentage, 2 of 10 trey attempts for 20 percent shooting, and 4 of 6 from the foul line for 66.7 percent shooting.

Ross topped Pirate rebounding with 13 boards followed by Maberry with 11 rebounds. Ross turned in one blocked shot. Charles and Lister each had four assists, Ross three assists. Maberry had three steals followed by Lister and Crenshaw with two steals apiece. Pagosa committed eight turnovers.

Pagosa 59, Monte Vista 45.

Monte opened with a full-court press against Pagosa, but it was Pagosa's defense which shut the door. Ross's field goal put Pagosa on the score board first after about one minute of play. Monte's Thomas Ross got the next basket almost two minutes later to knot the score at 2-2. After another two minutes, Monte's Marco Tortorelli sank a trey to give Monte its only lead of the game 5-2. Before the first period ended Ross and Maberry each rang up deuces and Charles popped a trey and a deuce to give Pagosa a 11-5 first quarter edge.

Pagosa continued to hold the San Luis Valley Pirates scoreless until only three minutes remained in the half. In the meantime, Maberry bucketed 10 straight points for Pagosa to open the second quarter. Maberry's baskets came mostly on layups as Pagosa cracked the 1-3-1 Monte pressure defense.

"It doesn't matter who you put in that spot, they're going to score against that defense," Canty said.

By the end of the first half, Pagosa had built a 23-13 lead. Monte opened the second half with a run by scoring the first three points. Maberry again hit for two, Thomas Ross scored for Monte Vista, Maberry hit two more buckets for Pagosa, and the third-quarter Monte run was finished. By the end of the third Pagosa was on top 40-29.

Pagosa's league-leaders outscored their opponents 19-16 during the final period to nail their fourth IML win.

Maberry's 24 points led all scorers. Also lighting up the score board for Pagosa Springs were Crenshaw with 11 points, Schutz with nine points, Charles with five points, Ross and Goodenberger with four points each, and Rivas with two points. While playing the entire game with a heavily taped right hand, Goodenberger pulled down nine rebounds and made four assists and a steal. Crenshaw contributed six rebounds, three blocks, three assists, and three steals. Maberry had four rebounds and three blocks. Ross contributed four rebounds, four assists, and one steal.

Pagosa shot 47.8 percent from two-point range, 20 percent from three-point range, and 82 percent from the foul line. Pagosa committed 13 turnovers against the pressure Monte defense.


Ladies defense, depth sink Bayfield

By Richard Walter

In high school girls' basketball there is no substitute for depth and when you can give those players who come off the bench meaningful playing time you enhance the value of that depth.

That is the welcome position Lady Pirates coach Karen Wells has found herself in lately.

Some observers may be wondering why the scoring for the premier players is lower than they would expect. The reason is obvious: they are not on the court as long as might be expected because the reserves are getting game experience under pressure.

Case in point? Friday's home court victory for Pagosa over Bayfield's Lady Wolverines, a 47-37 final score which is not at all indicative of the dominance shown by Pagosa's squad.

For example, at the end of the first period, Pagosa was up 13-2 and might have had a whitewash quarter if not for a last-minute shot by Bayfield's Michelle Miller which broke the scoring drought.

In the meantime, 5-foot-10 senior forward Tiffanie Hamilton and 6-foot-3 junior center Ashley Gronewoller scored three and four points respectively while senior guards Andrea Ash and Meigan Canty and junior forward Katie Lancing all chipped in with single field goals.

Hamilton had the first three points of the game, the first two rebounds, the first assist and the first steal.

The second period was more of the same, although the home team was outscored 8-6. Four of the six came from Gronewoller and two from Hamilton (her final two of the game).

The telling phase of the game was the third quarter when the Lady Pirates exploded for 19 points, keyed by eight more from Gronewoller, seven from Lancing and five by sophomore point guard Shannon Walkup to take a commanding 38-21 lead into the final stanza.

Gronewoller, Lancing, Walkup and junior forward Nicole Buckley each scored a pair of points in the final period and senior guard Amber Mesker converted 1 of 3 free throw attempts.

All 11 Pagosa players saw extensive action in the game, particularly in the fourth quarter, when the reserves played most of the period and Bayfield outscored Pagosa 16-9, four of those coming from Kimberly Piccoli and four more from Jessica Randolph, Bayfield starters who had not been able to go to the boards with Pagosa's starters on the floor.

Aside from balanced scoring, the key to Pagosa's effort was rebounding. Gronewoller grabbed 12 boards, eight on the defensive end, and Hamilton added 11, six coming on the offensive end to keep scoring chances alive. Lancing added six, four on the defensive end, Ash had three; Canty, Walkup, Mesker, Joetta Martinez and Tasha Andrews each had one. Final tally on the boards: 37-13 for Pagosa.

Canty and Walkup each dished out four assists for Pagosa, Hamilton and Lancing each had a pair and Ash, Gronewoller and Mesker each had one.

Another telling statistic for the Lady Pirates was 15 steals, five of them by Lancing who seemed continuously to be in the Bayfield passing lanes. Walkup added three, Hamilton and Gronewoller each had a pair and Mesker, Martinez and junior guard-forward Carlena Lungstrum had one.

The victory moved the Lady Pirates' season record to 13-2, enhancing their statewide No. 3 ranking in Class 3A.

Gronewoller paced the Pagosa scoring with 18 points, Lancing added 11, Walkup seven, Hamilton five, Ash, Canty and Buckley each had two and Mesker one.

The Lady Pirates went to the free throw line only eight times, but those were by five players and they hit on six of their eight attempts. In the two preceding games, Lancing was the only Lady Pirate to go to the foul line.

The Ladies were 27 of 47 from the field for a game shooting percentage of .574 and only Walkup, with four, was in foul trouble. In fact, Walkup, Gronewoller and Andrews were the only players with more than two fouls for Pagosa.

Coach Wells was pleased with the performance but said she still sees need for defensive awareness on the part of the reserves. "Sometimes," she said, "they seem to forget their assignments and tend to leave opponents open near the basket.

"But they're learning with every game," she said. "The more experience I can get for them the more seasoned they'll be if forced into action in crunch time."


Win over Monte sets up IML showdown

By Richard Walter

The die is cast.

It's Intermountain League showdown time for the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates.

They'll take a 14-2 overall record and an unblemished 5-0 league slate into the Centauri Lady Falcons aerie Friday night with victory virtually assuring the Lady Pirates an outright league title even though two contests remain next week.

Centauri's only league loss was to Pagosa on the latter's home court Jan. 19 and the Lady Falcons were playing without all-state candidate Cindy McCarroll, who had been felled by the flu. That victory moved Pagosa up to No. 3 in state Class 3A rankings, a position the Ladies have clung to since that time.

With Cindy and Erin McCarroll and outstanding shooter Sara Reynolds, Centauri appears to be the only league team which can match up with the Lady Pirates' inside threesome of Katie Lancing, Ashley Gronewoller and rebounding demon Tiffanie Hamilton.

The stage for this encounter was set Saturday when the Lady Pirates took on the unknown factor, Monte Vista, on the latter's home court. Though coming in with a 4 and 9 season record, the homestanding Lady Pirates were expected to present some new challenges, especially on their home court.

And, they stayed close for a quarter, trailing only 14-11 after the opening period.

But the writing was on the wall.

Ashley Gronewoller and Katie Lancing each had six points in the first period and Andrea Ash scored two with a soft jumper from 14 feet. Monte's point guard, Heather Sims, answered with a trey and a traditional basket to get five of those points back, Rebecca Longseth and Michelle Keck each added their only points of the game and Angela Santistevan hit two of her four game points.

And then, it was lights out.

Pagosa's visiting Lady Pirates turned the clash of similarly nicknamed teams into a route in the second period, outscoring their hosts 16-3 en route to a halftime lead of 30 to 14. Guards Meigan Canty and Shannon Walkup and center Gronewoller each had four points in the period and both Lancing and Hamilton added a pair.

The third quarter was more of the same, a 15-2 blitz by Pagosa featuring six more points from Gronewoller, four from Walkup, three from Lancing and two more by Ash giving the visitors a 45-16 lead after three periods.

With coach Karen Wells playing the reserves most of the fourth period, Monte Vista outscored Pagosa 17-13 for a final score of 59-33 in favor of Pagosa.

Gronewoller's 16 points led Pagosa. Lancing was right behind with 15, Walkup added eight, Nicole Buckley had five, Ash and Canty (all from the foul line) each had four, and Hamilton (both from the foul line), Carlena Lungstrum and Amber Mesker each had two.

Strong rebounding was again a key factor for the Pagosa Springs entry. Gronewoller had 10 and Lancing and Hamilton each added seven. Walkup had three, Ash and Canty two apiece and Lungstrum added 1.

For the game, Pagosa shot 24 of 45 from the field for .534 percent and hit 10 of 16 from the charity stripe.

Canty led the team in assists with four and in steals with six. Lancing had five steals and two assists. Walkup had three assists and three steals and Ash, Hamilton, Gronewoller, Lungstrum, Mesker and Andrews each had one assist.

Monte Vista was lead by Sims with seven and Amanda Mile with six (four in the fourth quarter), Jessica Javeleri with six, all in the final period and Jen Sisneros with five, four in the final period.

Lancing, with four, was the only Pagosa player in foul trouble and she, Gronewoller and Hamilton all sat out most of the fourth quarter.

The clash with Centauri Friday night is scheduled for 6 p.m. on the Lady Falcon's home court in La Jara.

The balance of Pagosa's season prior to the district tournament in Bayfield on Feb. 23 and 24, includes home games with Ignacio (a 51-36 loser on the Lady Bobcats' home court Jan. 25) on Thursday, Feb. 15 and a makeup contest against Monte Vista Feb. 16. The game originally scheduled Jan. 13 was canceled because of inclement weather.


Five wrestlers score for Pirates

By Karl Isberg

As a team, Pirate wrestlers lost four dual meets at the Feb. 3 Intermountain League tournament at La Jara to finish last in the standings, but five Pagosa wrestlers were in the top three places in their weight divisions as they head to the all-important regional qualifying tourney Feb. 9 and 10 at La Junta.

Michael Martinez continued his stellar freshman season, capturing the IML crown at 103 pounds.

The Pirate freshman started his march to the championship by pinning Phillip Weaver of Ignacio in the second period of the match.

Next up for Martinez was Joel Polkowske, of Centauri. Martinez won the match with an emphatic 8-3 decision over the Falcon freshman.

A forfeit by Monte Vista put Martinez in position to take the title with a win. He put a Bayfield wrestler's shoulders to the mat in the second period to accomplish his mission.

Cliff Hockett (130 pounds), Josh Richardson (171 pounds) and Luke Boilini (215 pounds) took second place in their divisions respectively.

Hockett, a sophomore, had one of the best outings of his short high school career, beginning the tourney with an 8-7 decision over an Ignacio opponent.

In his second match of the tournament, Hockett held a 4-3 lead over Centauri's Jared Rogers before the Falcon took control and won the match with a fall.

Hockett faced Tim Carothers of Bayfield in the fight for second place. Hockett had defeated Carothers 4-0 a week before and, this time, destroyed the Wolverine with a 19-4 technical fall.

Richardson started strong at 171 pounds earning a 20-5 tech fall over an Ignacio wrestler.

An 8-0 loss to Jorge Cortez of Centauri put Richardson's back to the wall and he responded in excellent fashion. The Pirate senior destroyed his Monte Vista opponent, nailing the pin in the first period of the match.

In the battle for second place, Richardson overwhelmed Eric Stone of Bayfield, pinning the Wolverine in the second period.

Boilini, a junior, asserted himself at 215 pounds. He opened the tournament with a 6-3 decision over Adam Seibel of Ignacio.

The Pirate's one tournament loss was a close 3-2 affair against Centauri's Andrew Arellano. A win by forfeit in the Monte Vista dual put Boilini in a fight for second place against Matt Vandenberg of Bayfield. Boilini forged a 15-1 major decision to secure his tourney standing.

Jordan Kurt-Mason took third place at 160 pounds. The Pirate sophomore missed the first half of the season with an injury, and since has put together a series of impressive performances as the schedule draws to a close.

Kurt-Mason defeated an Ignacio opponent 8-4 in the first match of the tournament. A loss to Centauri's Bobby Lopez evened the Pirate's record.

Kurt-Mason then earned a 7-6 decision over Isidoro Martinez of Monte Vista but lost to Kevin Black of Bayfield to finish third.

Several Pirates won single matches during the IML competition.

Jesse Trujillo pinned an Ignacio wrestler at 112 pounds.

Ryan Lee pinned Matt Marchase of Bayfield in the second period of the match.

Mike Maestas got a victory at 125 pounds when he pinned an opponent from Monte Vista.

Cameron Cundiff pinned Lane Malouff of Centauri at 135 pounds.

Trevor Peterson earned points at 145 pounds when he pinned a wrestler from Bayfield.

"I thought, with our best day, we could have been the second-place team at the tournament," said Pirate coach Dan Janowsky. "You can't be real pleased when you know you could finish better than you did. But, despite the team standing, we made improvements this last week."

In part, Janowsky attributed his team's overall performance at the IML to the consequences of a tough training regimen leading up to the tournament. "Our kids looked awful tired," said the coach. "We went hard last week and I don't think they fully recovered. At this point of the season, we're dealing with the frustration of coming up short. You can only correct mistakes so fast, and we're making progress. At a certain level, our guys are trying as hard as they can and they are slowly getting where they need to be."

The problem is that time needed to correct mistakes is perilously short. The regional qualifying tournament kicks off tomorrow at La Junta and, barring a finish in the top four in a weight class that guarantees a trip to the state tournament, a wrestler's season is over.

Pagosa enters the 13-team tourney in an unfamiliar role: The Pirates are the youngest team at the event, with a sophomore-dominated squad. "We're the youngest overall team there this week," said Janowsky. "But, nowhere in the rules does it say you get to win just because you're older. It's okay to win if you are a sophomore, and our guys need to understand this. We'll back off at practice prior to the tournament, get rested, and give it our best shots. All our guys are capable of finishing in the top six, if they have the right attitudes."

Action begins at La Junta High School at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow. Wrestling resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday.

When the dust clears, fans will know which Pirates will make the trip to Denver Feb. 15 for the Colorado Class 3A championships.


Community News

Chamber News

By Sally Hameister

Mother nature smiled on WinterFest 2001

Mother Nature smiled on us this weekend and provided the perfect weather for all the activities, and we couldn't be more grateful. Blue skies, sunshine and smiling faces prevailed wherever I went throughout Saturday and Sunday, and one can hardly ask for more than that.

Many thanks, once again, to Mike and Liz Marchand of Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures for coordinating and organizing the balloon activities. This is the second year for the return of balloons in the winter and they are such a welcome and wonderful addition to our WinterFest. Last year, with no snow in sight, it was the balloons that provided the outdoor activity for all to enjoy, and I am so grateful to Liz and Mike for bringing them back. We want to thank the following folks for contributing goods, services, food, passes and time - all of which created a very successful balloon rally: The Spa at Pagosa Springs, Mountain Heights Baptist Church, Wildflower Ranch, The Choke Cherry Tree, the Hogs Breath Restaurant and Saloon and the folks at the County Fairgrounds.

Even though there was only one entry in the Snow Sculpture Contest, the team worked their little hearts out and created a charming family scene. Michelle Soniat and crew carved out an igloo with a mama and baby bear inside and a seal approaching on one side. We thank judges Joe Leal and Jeff Laydon for taking the time to come down and judge the work and Randall Davis for agreeing to do so. We gave Randall a call at the last minute to let him know he didn't have to come down because Jeff and Joe were real close. We also thank "Dr. Dirt", a.k.a. Bob Holthaus with Golf Course Construction International, for creating the piles of snow surrounding the parking lot for snow sculptures.

Juan's Mountain Sports enjoyed a fabulous success with their Snowboard Jumping Contest with 20 young men competing for prizes. Owner John Steinert was delighted with the number of contestants as well as the large crowd of enthusiastic spectators cheering the competitors on. Look for John's article in this issue of the SUN and expect this contest to be bigger and better next year.

Congratulations to the Rotary Club of Pagosa for another entertaining and memorable WinterFest Follies. Nearly fell off my chair laughing a number of times (Jere Hill is far too convincing in the role of the telecommunication lecher - I laugh just thinking about the look on his face). We discover annually that a number of our local men become the most beautiful women - and some of our women become stunning men via the miracles of make-up, clothing and wigs. Bob Eggleston (Alfred E. Newman) reminded us all how it was that silent movies could be so blasted funny; he said not a word and was absolutely hilarious. We thank you all for the prodigious amount of work that went into this production and for the wonderful projects you support with the proceeds. Already looking forward to next year.

Kathey and Dick Fitz, at High Country Lodge, hosted a whale of a party at their annual open house Sunday and fed lots and lots of folks at the same time. I would be curious to know the number of hot dogs and hamburgers Dick cooked on the grill. Once again, they were kind enough to allow us to use their hill for our "Almost Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race," and we had a ball with both contestants and crowd. We couldn't have been more pleased with the number of folks who just came out to enjoy the race, the open house and the beautiful day. Our four contestants played to quite a crowd and put on a great show for everyone there to include adults, children, horses and dogs. There were those in the crowd who were chomping at the bit to join in, so I will expect many more competitors next year. Congratulations to first-place winner Toby Gunzinger, second-place winners Josh Soniat and Caleb Bergon, third-place winner "Killer Soniat" (that would be Robert/Casper Soniat, and I encourage you to ask him about his "sled") and fourth-place winners Barrett Tennant, Shawn Wilkins and Terry Smith. We also want to thank Denny Merand for sharing his snowmobile to flatten the racing surface for our intrepid contestants.

Special thanks, as always, to Suellen and Morna for doing such a good job at being in ten places at once during our busy weekends. Suellen coordinates and oversees the snow sculpting and race, and Morna works closely with Liz on the balloon side of things. It's truly amazing how far you can stretch three people! Thank you, ladies, for doing your jobs so well and with such enthusiasm.

It was, all in all, a terrific weekend, and I sincerely thank each and every one who made it possible. I encourage everyone to "think snow" for next year. Many thanks to all.


Pamela Novack did a funny bit at the Follies alluding to the nonexistent kiosk that should have been in place months ago at the Visitor Center and hence created the perfect opportunity for me to tell you that it actually is in place and working.

I know, I know - you don't believe me, but it's true. I have never been through anything quite like the never-ending problems and delays, but it's in full swing now. I have asked the company to contact all the investors to let you know exactly what start and end dates are. Because the company ran into so many problems, all investors will receive another six months in addition to the contracted year. I'm hoping that this experience, like pain during childbirth, will be forgotten when we at long last reap the benefit of this rather slick machine. Come check it out - it's quite the thing.

Newsletter inserts

Yep, it's that time again to think about your flyer to include in our quarterly newsletter, the Chamber Communiqué. This issue will be coming out the first week in March, which means that you will need to have it in our hands by Feb. 28. You bring us 725 copies and a check for $30, and we will do the rest. For those who might not be familiar with this extremely inexpensive marketing tool, allow me to fill you in. Chamber members are invited to bring us 725 flyers with whatever information they would like to share with the entire membership. It's a very effective way to announce a new business, a new location, new products, new services or even just a reminder that you are still there and would like to have folks visit your business. Some businesses offer discounts with the flyer or use half the flyer for a coupon redeemable at their place of business. Use it however you like, of course, and we encourage everyone to display their info on colorful paper to capture more attention. Those of us who are responsible for marketing recognize this tool as one of the most cost-effective ways to get out the message about you and your business. Please call Morna at 264-2360 with any questions.


If you don't have tickets for this event, I would encourage you to run, not walk, to Moonlight Books or pick up the phone and dial 731-5582 to secure them pronto. There is limited seating for this first-time winter event and, when I last heard, there weren't many seats left. You can be sure that the WinterFolk Music Festival will be sold out, and you just don't want to miss the first of what we hope will be many more.

Crista and Dan are once again bringing in some awesome talent to include our old pals Eddie from Ohio, Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott, Lucy Kaplansky, Pierce Pettis and many more. Don't miss the exciting lineup Feb. 24 and 25 beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Please call FolkWest to secure your seat.

Boom, Bust and Battle

The two Johns, Graves and Porter, have collaborated to bring you a one-hour radio show, "Boom, Bust and Battle" scheduled to be aired on KWUF-FM, 106.3, weekly beginning Feb. 11, at 3 p.m.

"Boom, Bust and Battle" will present music from the 1920s, 30s and 40s plus stories and personal anecdotes from John Graves and remembrances of significant events. The format will include features about the very famous and the not-so-famous, and questions, stories and requests will be encouraged from listeners. Guest artists will perform live from time to time as contributions from the 20s, 30s and 40s are discussed and compared to current musical standards and perspectives.

Sweet social

Next Tuesday evening is the Pagosa Springs Arts Council annual social, aptly named "Sweets, Entertainment and Good Company." True to its name, you will be treated to luscious desserts, fabulous entertainment and great company 5 to 7 p.m. at the Piano Creek offices at 468 Lewis Street. Several local restaurants will supply the desserts, and different divisions of PSAC will provide the entertainment. Everyone is invited to enjoy this evening, and you can call the PSAC Gallery at 264-5020 for more information.

Valentine dance

You are invited to attend a Valentine Dance Feb. 16 from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Hall on Lewis Street. All proceeds from this evening will benefit the Pagosa Fiesta scheduled for June 15 and 16 this summer. Local musicians, The Ladters, will perform for your dancing pleasure, and refreshments will be provided by the Guadalupana Society. A royalty coordinator is needed for this year and volunteers are always needed. The Pagosa Fiesta provides a great cultural awareness of our area as well as college scholarship funds for Pagosa high school students. Please call Lucy Gonzales at 264-4791 or Jeff Laydon at 264-3686 for more information.

Business moves

We want to congratulate Jeff Laydon on his new portrait studio now located in beautiful, downtown Pagosa Springs. Jeff was formerly located upstairs at Studio 160. He invites you to visit him Feb. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and check out the new digs.


It has been many the week since we haven't had a new member, so I can't and won't complain.

I am delighted to share four renewals with you and am most grateful for each and every member. Renewals this week include George Johnson with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Durango; Kathy Koy with the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center; Robert A. Holthaus, "Dr. Dirt", with Golf Course Construction International; and Associate Realtor, Kim Moore, with Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate. (Kim cut quite the figure on Saturday night at the Follies with the glow-in-the-dark tights and unforgettable hat.)


Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Open 'town meeting' Mondy focuses on parks plans

Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association has scheduled an open "town meeting" for interested residents on Monday, Feb. 12. The session is the second of planned quarterly meetings designed to provide open and informal communication between property owners and the association's board of directors. The theme for this meeting is Parks and Recreation - Future Needs and Plans. A brief presentation will be made by the association's Parks and Recreation Committee dealing with the "Master Plan for Parks, Open Space, Trails and Recreation" that was proposed to the Board in 1999.

Past presentations and discussions have been held on the trails component of the master plan. Considerable work has already been done to implement early phases of that portion. Other sections of the master plan proposal include suggested needs for parks and open space and these will be the focus of this town meeting. The meeting will begin with a social period at 7 p.m. with the presentation beginning at 7:30 p.m. All Pagosa Lakes residents are invited. The meeting's format will facilitate input from property owners on subjects of concern to them. The meeting is expected to end by 9 p.m.

Larry Fisher, owner of Ski and Bow Rack and former director of Wolf Creek ski school, will be conducting the Ladies' Day workshop next Thursday, Feb. 15. Larry will share all the best tips to improve your skiing ability. Don't miss this one. Registration for the workshop will take place at 9 a.m. in the Prospector Grill. There is a very reasonable package price for the lift ticket and the workshop. Call 264-5639 for additional information.

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

- Call to order

- Approval of agenda

- Approval of minutes of Jan. 11 board meeting

- General manager's report

- Public comments

- Treasurer's report

- Committee Reports: Recreation Center, Rules and Regulations Committee, Road Committee

- Old business

- New business: Appointments to panels and committees, summary of work session help with county commissioners

- Announcements: Town meeting, working session with board of directors and the ECC, working session with board of directors and the Code of Enforcement

- Correspondence

- Adjournment.

For the second time, the U.S. Air Force Band of the Rockies will present a free performance on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the Fort Lewis Community Concert Hall. Their first performance in Durango was a couple of years ago. Although the concert is free, tickets are required. Please call 247-7657 to reserve your tickets. The concert is being sponsored by the First National Bank of Durango.

The U.S. Air Force Band of the Rockies supports military ceremonies and esprit de corps functions involving the men and women of our nation's armed forces. The band also presents free public concerts throughout the U.S. in support of Air Force recruiting, Air Force Academy admissions, and community relations efforts. The band's history can be traced back to its inception as a group called the "Flying Yanks," which was started by two American airmen in England in 1942. This band was eventually designated the 739th Army Air Force Band in March 1944 and it performed for radio shows, at public appearances, and for victory bond drives for the Eight Air Force. The band now is based in Colorado Springs and is proudly continuing its long-standing commitment to musical and military excellence in its service to the nation. Only the best musicians are chosen for this elite performing group. Don't miss this opportunity to see and hear their great sound. I enjoyed their performance the last time.



Senior News

By Janet Copeland

Valentine's Day birthdays are special

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. This is a wonderful celebration of love, and we love our seniors and staff at the Center. Of course, I am especially fond of Valentine's Day because my second daughter and her second daughter were born on that day, and they are very special Valentines.

Wednesday, Feb. 14, we will have a Valentine card exchange and party at noon, then the monthly potluck/Sweetheart Dance will be at 5 p.m. that evening. We hope a lot of folks will come to both events - single folks can have just as good a time as couples if they enjoy good food and good socialization so come one, come all. Also on the 14th, just before lunch at the Center, the folks from Massage at the Springs will give free massages. What a wonderful treat for Valentine's Day.

A reminder to everyone to call 264-6397 for the menu of the day, activities information, and general information relating to seniors, to include whether or not the Center will be open when we have snow. This is a very handy service and we hope everyone will use it.

The Center will be closed Monday, Feb. 19, President's Day, which is an official holiday.

We are happy to welcome new member Aloha Kemper and congratulations to Mae and Ray Boughan, who celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary on Feb. 7.

Patty Tillerson was here on the first and will be here again on the 16th to take blood pressures for anyone interested in this service. We are so grateful for Patty's generous donation of her time.

Mike Diver, the Veteran's Service Officer, visited with us on Friday, Feb. 2. This is a valuable service for those veterans and their spouses who have questions so we hope more folks will come to talk with Mike on the first Friday of each month.

Kurt Diedring is our Senior of the Week - congratulations Kurt. We enjoy having Kurt and Louise back with us after having been gone for a while.

The next two shopping trips to Durango are scheduled for Feb. 15 and March 1, so please sign up at the front desk if you are interested. The cost is $10 for members and there must be a minimum of 10 folks sign up for the trip to go.

Also, a reminder, Pagosa Lodge offers free swimming for seniors so our bus provides transportation for these outings on Mondays and Fridays of each week. This is a very much appreciated service - thank you Pagosa Lodge.

I have mentioned before that AARP volunteers are providing tax preparation assistance for seniors, but I need to clarify that this service is also offered to low and moderate income and disabled folks. If you have questions about this service or need to make an appointment, call Payge at the Center phone 264-2167.


Cruising with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Skiing, and humming, is a way of coping

Darn! Here we are, with some of the best snow in years, and I haven't been able to take full advantage of it. What with trips to doctors and recovering from some little surgeries, I'm going to have to hustle to get my money's worth on that season pass.

So Hotshot and I made it up to Wolf Creek last weekend.

At first I had butterflies, as always. My little cowardly mind rabbited around, whining and asking, "Why do I have to go? It's hard. It's tiring. I might get hurt."

It's so much work to get ready. Layers of clothing. Pack the lunch. Fill the water bottles, find the sunscreen. Heck, even after you've parked the car, you have to haul the skis and boots and all that other gear to Base Camp, the part of the lodge where you can bring in your own food.

And then comes the really hard part, putting on your boots and fastening all those clamps and buckles. You're exhausted before you even head out the door to put on the skis.

But finally we made it. We carried the skis up the first little slope to put them on. A cardinal rule, never ski uphill if you can avoid it. We knocked the snow off the bottom of the boots. You have to do that or the bindings won't clamp tight. We slid down to the first chair lift and away we went.

Some neat people work at ski areas. I understand that helping us on and off the chairs isn't always a piece of cake, in fact those folks run the risk of getting whacked with a ski or a pole. But they always give me a cheerful greeting. Then there are the instructors, in their distinctive green jackets. I truly admire the ones who teach the Wolf Pup classes.

Little kids can start ski instruction when they're as young as four, taking half-day classes. I'm told that most of them are too tired for a full day of classes. I know better. It's the instructors who are too tired after a morning of working with four-year-olds. There's usually one who falls down a lot.

"You can get pretty tired, picking them up all morning," one instructor told me.

"I thought you weren't supposed to pick them up," I said. "Well, yes," said my informant, "but when you have one who falls constantly, you'd never get down the hill if you didn't."

Wolf Creek Ski Area has calmed down a lot since the holidays. It's busy but not packed. A couple of young men were wearing shorts, but nobody was shirtless. Not like the group we saw (and heard) between Christmas and New Year's, who whooped all the way down the hill and all the way back up again. Talk about a Rocky Mountain High!

I am thrilled to report that my skiing keeps improving, even when I don't get much chance to practice. Now, you have to understand that I was never a real athletic kid. I hated sports in school, especially the kind where the ball comes at you - softball, volleyball, basketball. I couldn't catch or throw or hit. I couldn't run. In softball the only advantage to having me on the team was that my left-handed batting stance always confounded the opposing pitcher.

It's always been the more contemplative activities for me - hiking and swimming, for example. The kind where you don't have to make any quick decisions. So my continuing prowess at skiing amazes me.

Not that I'm a great skier. Nor a daredevil, either.

For example, I'll never be in the same class as our friend Streak, who just won a medal, racing at some other ski area. In fact, he won two medals. Streak likes to ski fast. I'll bet when he was just a kid, he liked to go fast. I'll bet he gave his mother fits.

Me, I'm a slow skier. I like the wide runs, where you can swoop lazily back and forth, maybe humming or singing to make sure you remember to breathe. Currently my favorite tune on the slopes is "Toyland."

There's a lot of snow up there. Now that I don't need the padding quite so much, the terrain seems softer. Apparently the level of snow can really make a difference in other ways. For example, there's a short, narrow, steep stretch on a run called Legs. This spot terrified me last year. I'd make the mistake of stopping to look at it from the top. And then I'd wait for someone to go past. And then I'd wait some more, for courage. And then I'd snowplow down.

This year I've done a little better. And last week Hotshot and I sailed around the corner and down through that little section and my only question at the bottom was, "When did they make Legs wider?"

We skied with our friend Gregg, who likes to find new paths between the groomed runs. Maybe all ski areas are like this, but so far all my experience is at Wolf Creek. The mountainside is interlaced with runs, both the established ones and the new ones that get made by the skiers.

But you have to know what you're doing. The snow is pretty deep outside of the groomed runs. From the chairlift we watched a fellow ski into the deep powder and stop short. His skis sank below the surface. "Why are you stopping, Dad?" called the youngster with him. We watched another skier flounder in snow above his knees, trying to get back to more terra firma. We couldn't even see his skis under all that white stuff.

And finally, I rode up with a new friend, Kate, who voiced a couple of good reasons to ski. First, you're out in Nature, with the trees and the snow and the fresh clean air all around you.

Second, if you're the kind of person who worries about things, or if you've just got a lot of bothersome stuff on your mind, skiing will give you a break from that. You can't think about anything else when you're facing down a hill on those two little boards. You're totally "in the moment."

And that's a healthy situation.

Library News

By Lenore Bright

Economy worrisome? Keep current on trends

Do you have concerns over the current state of the economy?

We provide a number of financial management decision-making tools. We subscribe to ValuLine, Wall Street Journal, the Kiplinger Letter, and several magazines.

The latest Kiplinger discusses the energy power crisis and what may happen to our economy because of it.

Colorado Biz, another of our subscriptions, has an interesting article on the danger of junked computers. Toxic materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury and silver are all used in the manufacture of motherboards, monitors and other components.

An enterprising company in Denver - Technology Recycling - has collected and disposed of nearly 10 tons of obsolete computer systems and diverted roughly 10 to 15 tons of lead from landfills. The company went national in 1999.

The company charges $35 for each component for pick-up and disposal. It used to be easy to donate old computers to charitable organizations, but now technology is changing so fast even non-profits can't use old machines. Maybe this is an opportunity for someone in our area to start a new business.

Fuel economy

Thinking of buying a new car? Check out our Model Year 2001 Fuel Economy Guide. This government report lists the most fuel-efficient vehicles.

Campesino en el sol

Carole Howard donated "Working in the Sun," by Rafael Lobato. Carole's good friend Deborah Melendy Norman edited this work. El Rancho de las Golondrinas (Ranch of the Swallows) published the commemorative volume of poetry in Santa Fe. It has both English and Spanish translations.

The ranch is a living Hispanic history museum 15 miles south of Santa Fe. Lobato lived in the 19th century village house growing herbs, fruits and vegetables with little water and no electricity. He would carve wooden animals for children and compose poems as he talked with visitors. Mr. Lobato was passionate about preserving Hispanic history and culture for the younger generation.

Deborah Melendy Norman lives in North Carolina but often works in New Mexico where she is writing a book on turquoise.

Other new books

Cokie Roberts' best seller, "We Are Our Mothers' Daughters," is a collection of essays. Each one introduces us to the fascinating women Roberts has encountered during her career.

"The Public Domain: How to Find and Use Copyright-free Writings, Music, Art and More" by attorney Stephen Fishman, is full of tips on learning the legal methods to use previously created works. Did you know that the song, "America the Beautiful," is in the public domain? This book has a wealth of information on everything you need to know to use material without getting permission or paying fees.

"The Complete Book or Floor Cloths: Designs and Techniques for painting great-looking canvas rugs," tells about creating a floor covering which can be a fashionable alternative to an area rug.

Kathy Cooper and Jan Hersey have put together a comprehensive instruction book. Floor cloths began their renaissance during the 60s.

New baby

Congratulations to Suzanne and John Hatton on the birth of their son, Samuel. Shirley and Red Iverson are the very proud grandparents.


Financial help came from Bunk and Marsha Preuit and Nancy Giordano in memory of Terri Estep Smith, Ron Wedemeyer, Ernie Schutz and Mary Cloman.

Materials came from Dahrl Henley, Bill Pongratz, Ron Graydon, Lois Mees, Andrea Stanton, Mary Jo Hannay, Linda Bernard, Terrence J. Wilson, Nomad, Pam Marley, Betty Feazel, Don Mowen, Bill Miller and Brad Scott Room.


Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

Judges needed for Intermediate School Science Fair

The annual Science Fair for grades six and seven is Feb. 28. It will be held in the Pagosa Springs Junior High gym, beginning at 8 a.m.

Needed are judges for the Science Fair.

The first Fair was started by Peggy Jacobson, but now that she is retired and spending time in Bloomfield, New Mexico, the Archuleta County Extension Office is in charge of the Fair. The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club is another sponsor and gives a $50 savings bond to winners in eight categories: Botany, Earth and Environmental, Engineering, Health and Behavioral Science, Math and Computer Science, Physical Science, Zoology and Team Projects.

Bill Nobles is looking for judges. He needs to know by Feb. 14. If you can participate, call 264-5921 or 264-2388. Or call him at home at 731-2316.

The judging is in the morning, lunch is provided. Judges work in teams. Please call if you can help; it's a useful project, and it's fun.

Familiar dancer

For you who attended the American Indian Dance Theatre performance following the opening of the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College, you got to see the group led by Shaman Marty Pinnecoose.

Marty has danced in Pagosa Springs. He was guest performer at Patta's two fashion shows that benefited Sisson Library. Patta's high fashion designs are based on American Indian clothing. Neevie Cassidy, a Cherokee Indian who lived here for a number of years was their friend. When National Geographic Magazine did a feature on the dance theater, Marty was one of those featured.

New show

The radio show "Boom, Bust and Battle" makes its debut Feb. 11 on KWUF FM. The time is 3 to 4 p.m. John Graves and John Porter are doing this show featuring music from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and what a treat this will be. Besides music there will be John telling stories about the many artists that he's known and there will be music quizzes (and prizes) about old time radio. As said - what a treat is in store.


Veterans Corner

by Mike Diver

Financial scam threatens veterans' benefits

The Veteran's Administration (VA) is warning veterans about a financial scam that offers lump-sum payments in exchange for monthly VA disability or pension checks.

VA pensions go to wartime veterans incapable of self-support for reasons unrelated to their military service. VA disability compensation is paid to veterans with lingering health problems related to their time in uniform.

These schemes target veterans who are in financial difficulty and tempt them to forfeit a large percentage of their future monetary benefits for temporary debt relief today. Federal law outlaws the direct sale of VA benefits. VA is also prohibited from paying pensions and disability compensation to anyone other than a veteran, a family member or a lawful guardian. The latest schemes, however, attempt to avoid this long-standing federal prohibition by representing these transactions as loans.

Companies persuade veterans to give up their disability and pension checks for a specific period - up to eight years - in exchange for a lump sum cash payment typically worth 30 to 40 percent over the same period. In some cases, the veteran must also take out a life insurance policy naming the company as beneficiary.

In the case of a veteran with a disability rated at 50 percent, it could mean receiving a one-time payment of about $20,000, then forfeiting a $609 monthly payment that in the course of eight years would bring in nearly $60,000. VA lawyers are studying the fine print in these schemes to determine whether or not they are legal. Even if they are found to be legal, forfeiture of future benefits is not a good way to get out of debt. (Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs article 01/05/2001).

This scheme could also be targeted against widows of veterans receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation based on the service-connected death of a spouse. Consider carefully any solution you chose to solve temporary financial difficulties. The loss of future earnings and the dire financial consequences could be significant if you make the wrong decision.

Along the same lines, as many high school juniors and seniors are searching for ways to pay for college, government officials are warning of ongoing scholarship scams. If companies offer scholarship, grant or financial aid guarantees that sound too good to be true, they probably are. For legitimate scholarship information, visit the Federal Government Financial Aid Page at and Free Application for Federal Student Aid website at For more information on scholarship scams, go to

For information on your VA benefits, please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and E-mail is vsoarch@ The office is open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.


Parks & Rec

by Douglas Call

Three adult leagues formed

T Adult basketball action is underway with three leagues formed, including six recreational teams, five competitive teams and four women's teams.

Games scheduled next week will be played Feb. 12 and 13 at 8:30 p.m. Only one game per night is scheduled because of youth basketball.

Youth basketball will end Feb. 27 after which six adult games will be scheduled each night. The league will run until spring break, the last week of March.

For more information contact the recreation office at 264-4151.

Youth basketball

Youth basketball games are being played Monday through Thursday evenings, with the last games scheduled for Feb. 14.

A season-ending tournament will be held for 11- and 12-year-olds only. Games will begin Feb. 20 and last until Feb. 27.

This Saturday, the Rockets, Spurs, Heat and Suns will play between Pagosa Springs and Monticello high school basketball games. Action begins at 5:30 p.m. Players wearing team shirts will be admitted free; parents pay $2. Halftime games will also be held at the high school gym Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Commission meeting

Last Monday the Park and Recreation Commission met to discuss survey results and other activities. Survey results are available to the public at Town Hall. Contact the recreation department at 264-4151 for more information. The next meeting is scheduled for March 12. All meetings are open to the public and pizza is served at 6 p.m.

Ice skating

The ice skating pond behind the Malt Shoppe continues to be open, as weather permits. The pond will be closed for the season soon, depending on weather, so please obey posted signs when this happens.

Hockey games and practices are also subject to change due to weather. Call the Hockey Hotline at 264-5810 for an updated message.


In Sync with Isabel

by Isabel Willis

School counselors play a vital community role

As Ralph Hamilton, junior high and Intermediate School counselor, was preparing for this interview, he asked a group of students hanging out in his outer office, "What is the most important thing I do for kids here?"

Almost in unison, they said, "You listen to us."

Needless to say, that was a rewarding moment for Ralph, but for me it was the finest tribute to our school counselors as we honor them during National School Counseling Week, Feb. 5-9.

When you see Ralph, elementary school counselor Karyn Brughelli, and Mark Thompson, our high school counselor, let them know how much they are appreciated.

So what do school counselors do?

Aside from listening to students and their families, they act as advocates for them within the school system and with outside agencies, and provide them academic and career guidance. I know too often they provide crisis intervention for youth who are traumatized by their parents' divorce, by witnessing domestic violence, or experiencing child abuse and, in a few cases, to those who are thinking about ending their lives or the lives of others.

Yes, even in Pagosa Springs.

A major task for a school counselor is to provide information and referral to families in need of therapeutic services. For families without Medicaid or private insurance, school counselors can make exclusive referrals to two masters-level therapists funded by the Department of Social Services. The therapists are Kathy Allen and Nancy Miquelon and they too should be recognized during National Counseling Week as they often work on-site at our three schools.

Back to Ralph, Karyn and Mark: They amazed me with how much they do to serve our students and families. Ralph's focus is dealing with the emergencies involved in adolescent development and the significant change in youth - a full-time job. Parents' reactions to these changes often cause conflict. Ralph intervenes by helping decrease the conflict and the stress it creates for the family members.

Karyn spends about 40 percent of her time with classroom guidance, assisting teachers to help students adjust better in school. Karen facilitates students' growth groups, some with an emphasis on conflict management dealing with bullying. Many Pagosans are familiar with the "Love and Logic" parenting classes Karyn leads twice a year. The classes focus on effective communication between parent and child.

Mark facilitates five counseling groups involving 50 high school students. Some groups focus on stopping smoking and use of substances; others address support for students who have failing grades to help them become more successful in school. Mark also trains other teachers and school administrators to lead these groups to further enrich the students' experiences. Remarkably, these students voluntarily choose to participate, so Mark must be doing something right.

All three school counselors collaborate with community agencies. They participate on the Community Youth Task Force that provides recommendations to the Municipal Court for sentencing of first-time juvenile offenders.

Karyn represents the schools on the Child Protection Team that makes recommendations to the Department of Social Services regarding child abuse and neglect investigations.

The questions these school counselors are asked most often by community members are: "How do I get my child to get to school on time?" " How do I get my child to do homework?" "Does my child have friends?"

As a parent, I would love to know the answers to these questions, but that is another "In Sync with Isabel" issue.

How can you get in In Sync with the counselors and their work? You can do what school personnel do every day, by offering to put money in a school lunch account, buy school supplies or donate clothing to students in need.

To donate to other families, disabled adults or the elderly, call me at 264-2182 ext. 212 and your donation can be accepted and a tax receipt will be prepared for you.




An unpublicized forum

The following public announcement is brought to you through no thanks to the county commissioners: A public forum under the title of "Archuleta County Community Plan" will be held at 6:30 tonight in the Archuleta County Fair Building on U.S. 84. The agenda includes "Archuleta County Zoning and Presentation and Discussion of the Montezuma County Community Plan." The presentation will be made by Mike Preston, Montezuma County planning officer. It is uncertain as to who will lead the discussion.

If this is the first you have heard about the public meeting, you are not alone.

The phone log at the county extension agent's office shows that on January 26, Commissioner Gene Crabtree apparently scheduled the facility for the public forum. However, no mention was made of the public forum at the county commissioners regular public meetings and open work sessions on January 30 or on February 6.

The SUN did not learn of the public meeting until late Tuesday. A phone call from a friend provided the SUN with its first information about the public meeting.

Commissioner Crabtree, when asked yesterday morning about the public meeting, said the public meeting had been scheduled at the request of the folks in Arboles and Chromo who wanted an explanation of, and information about the Montezuma County Master Plan.

Though the public meeting had been scheduled for 12 days, members of the Upper San Juan Planning Commission were not advised of the public forum. Nor were the members of the steering committee for the Archuleta County Community Plan. Like many others, they learned of the meeting from sources other than county officials.

The same is true of Mike Mollica, the director the county planning office, who did not learn of the public meeting until yesterday morning. It's understandable that Mollica submitted his resignation once he confirmed with the commissioners that the Archuleta County Community Plan Public Forum had been scheduled without his knowledge or that of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission or the Archuleta County Master Plan steering committee.

No one has a logical explanation as to why no effort was made to inform the public about the public forum.

As with county the commissioners' consensus decision last week to create a county building inspection office separate from the county planning office, the commissioners have the power to schedule a public forum and then avoid publicizing it. They likewise had the authority last week to name Michael Crofts as the county's new building inspection official. It also was their prerogative earlier this week to accept Crofts' resignation.

The commissioners evidently are resigned to the concept that public officials are not accountable to the public.

If you attend tonight's public forum, please be courteous and respectful towards Mike Preston. Even with his successful experience as a county planning officer, he probably did not plan to be the presenter at a public forum that the public had limited opportunity to know about. Listen politely to the presentation. Ask questions or offer comments that are void of sarcasm. If you show disrespect or disregard for the best interest of the entire contingent in attendance, folks might think you are a county commissioner.

David C. Mitchell


Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

A barrel load of consequences

Dear Folks,

It's amazing what a difference seven days can make. Since this time last week, I've been reminded of two maxims:

One, beware of what you wish for - you might get it.

Two, choices cause consequences.

This time last week I was wishing February would pass slowly. Here it is seven days later and it still seems like its last Thursday.

Again, and I'll go slower this time - it's not what our county commissioners do that's bothersome, it's how they do it.

It's one thing to shade the Sunshine Law and make consensus decisions behind closed doors in hopes of keeping the public in the dark. It's lunacy to hope for a total eclipse and schedule a public forum yet fail to notify the public.

As opposed to our elected public servants, an event last Friday gave my February an interesting start and enhanced my appreciation of some true public servants. The event also provided our 15-year-old with a greater understanding of maxim No. 2 - choices cause consequences.

Rather than be a bull rider, kick boxer or other safe and sane activities many youngsters his age pursue, Drew's wintertime world revolves around being a free-style skier. He couldn't wait for Saturday's "Big Air" competition on Reservoir Hill.

Unable to wait until Saturday, last Friday afternoon Drew and a friend chose to wade through the snow to a high spot on our property to get in some practice air time. About two storms back Drew and associates had built a takeoff ramp and packed in the gap between a landing on the shaded northeast side of the ridge.

The afternoon went well until his left knee made a serious impression on his upper jaw while landing a barrel roll. Rather than rolling out the barrel and having a barrel of fun, Drew was retrieving a tooth and trying to stem the flow of blood.

By the time I got home the tooth was in an ice-filled plastic bag he was holding to his swelling, bleeding lips. Also, by the time I got home Friday afternoon, finding an open dentist office was as hard as finding a missing tooth in the snow.

Just when Gerlinde Ehni thought she was on her way home, her receptionist caught her in the parking lot and told her she had a phone call.

I've always struggled with pronouncing both "Gerlinde" and "Ehni." I now know that they're easy words to pronounce. All you have to say is "angel" . . . like in guardian angel.

During the three hours Gerlinde, and her assistant, Beth Walters, spent getting to know Drew, I watched and wandered and prayed. During my wanderings I noticed the following prayer above Gerlinde's desk, it's by one of the world's most recognized writers - "Author Unknown." It said: "Thank you, O Lord for the privilege of being a dentist, for letting me serve as your instrument in ministering to the sick and afflicted.

"May I always treat with reverence the human life which you have brought into being and which I serve.

"Deepen my love for people so that I may always give myself gladly and generously to those stricken with illness and pain.

"Help me to listen patently, diagnose carefully, prescribe conscientiously and treat gently.

"Teach me to blend gentleness with skill, to be a dentist with a heart as well as a mind."

My greatest lesson derived from the consequences of Drew's choice is an increased respect and thankful appreciation of Gerlinde, and a new friendship with Beth.The framed words above Gerlinde's desk are not part of her office's decor, they are her commitment to serving the public.

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



The tale of Annie Hyler: Buried alive in the snow

My thanks to everyone who mentioned to me that they enjoyed the story of the Trelore's baby as related by Welch Nossaman in his life story. That intriguing story ran in this space last week.

For one more week, I'd like to return to Nossaman's writing and another incredible tale of winter travel as only he could tell it.

Nossaman's sister and her family lived at Summitville in the late 1800s. His niece was Annie Hyler. At the time of this story she was about 15 or 16 years old. A doctor instructed Annie's parents that she needed to be at a lower elevation due to health concerns. Because of this, Annie went to Pagosa Springs to live with her Uncle Welch and his family.

In the winter, Annie's father cut his hand badly and her mother became ill. It was decided that Annie needed to go home to Summitville to help her parents.

Nossaman took Annie to Amargo, about 30 miles south of Pagosa. From there she went to Del Norte and caught a ride on the mail sled toward Summitville. At this point, we'll pick up Nossaman's telling of the tale:

"So Frank Newlett, the stage driver and mail contractor, started in with Annie. He had no other passengers. When he got 3-1/2 or 4 miles from Summitville, his team played out. There was a big storm on and they had been wallowing snow all day. It was night and the team was played out. So he unhitched his horses and single-filed them. They had been on that road all winter and they could scent their way. He dug a hole in the snow and buried Annie in it. She was chilled through almost anyway.

"Then Frank got into Summitville way in the night and there was an awful bad storm and he didn't see anybody getting in like that in the middle of the night. The next morning he said he had left Annie covered up there. He had put her under a big drift and dug a hole and covered her up with snow. He didn't know what else to do. So about 20 of them struck out and he showed them where he had buried her and they dug down and she was still alive. She was frozen all except her body. Her heart was going all right. They took her in on a sled and kept her packed in snow until they drew that frost out. She lived and married Grant Seavy. She was all scarred up when she peeled off like she had been burned after they drew the frost out.

"I have seen the range blocked for 42 days. Now it is never blocked for over 24 hours."

Next week, on to warmer subjects.


25 years ago

Taken from SUN files

of Jan. 22, 1976

Ebeling to seek state office

Taken from SUN files

of Feb. 1, 1976

Fred Ebeling, planner for the Upper San Juan Planning Commission, announced Wednesday his intention to seek the nomination on the Republican ballot for the position of state representative. Ebeling has been the county planner for two years. Prior to that he was employed by Eaton International at its Pagosa in Colorado (Fairfield Pagosa) project as its projects supervisor and inspector.

The town board Monday night discussed the lack of completion of a water main project in the Garvin subdivision, and voted to set up a central supply tank for gasoline for town vehicles. The board also voted to donate the building permit for the new ambulance building that is to be built next to the Dr. Mary Fischer Medical Center.

Residents of the Pagosa in Colorado subdivisions have asked the county commissioners to consider establishing a leash law for dogs in that area. The commissioners agreed to consider the matter.

The county commissioners, in January, appointed Mrs. Ruth Marquez and Jackie Schick to the library board. Harry Engler and Carl Macht were appointed to the fair board.






Pacing Pagosa

By Richard Walter

Handicapped deserve full opportunities

When I broke my left leg just above the ankle 11 years ago, I quickly learned the ins and outs of transporting myself on crutches.

One finds it hard not to lean on others for support at such times, but it becomes apparent early on that you can find other ways of locomotion to get you over the hump until the cast comes off.

I became a whiz at navigating the halls of a six-story newspaper building in my rolling desk chair, sometimes at speeds which were certainly not within what might have been OSHA guidelines.

Since all the doors opened inward, I had to approach them in reverse, move myself through backward, pirouette the chair into a forward motion and then zoom to whatever department needed my services.

I literally became the whirling dervish of the newsroom, the composing room, the production department, and the press room. People hated to see me get on the elevator because they weren't sure what floor was my next stop and whether they'd be in the way.

Being put in that circumstance is, I believe, akin to experiencing on a small scale the inconveniences which today's disabled persons meet in trying to access business houses, offices, sports stadiums or sometimes just the simple rooms in their own homes.

It was not as permanent as the disabilities which put people in wheelchairs, on crutches or make them dependent on walkers for the rest of their lives, but it was an illuminating experience.

America today is becoming more and more attuned to the needs of a growing population of people who are disabled but still, access to public facilities is a burden for many. And, as several letter writers have pointed out recently, Small Town America (read that Pagosa Springs and other older rural communities) have been slow to collectively meet requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act which passed Congress and was signed into law in 1991.

Handicapped people make strong contributions to society. Many are gainfully employed and filled with a desire to serve their communities. They pay taxes, buy homes, pay for insurance and groceries just like everyone else.

The main difference between them and us is that we can go anywhere we want in town. Into any store, any public building. Many of them cannot do so. Neither the doors nor the aisles in some structures will allow their passage.

They are interested in shopping at home as much as their next door neighbor might be, but being able to do so is often limited by the businesses they would patronize if they could.

Circumstances which can put a person in this position are often unexpected.

In my own case, I had warned building custodians earlier in the day that there was a serious ice condition on the east side of our building where icy winds off Lake Michigan turned roof melt into treacherous strips of sidewalk.

As my shift passed, I remarked to others about how the maintenance guys were doing everything possible to keep the walk open. After they had gone home for the day, the snows began again. When I left the building shortly before midnight, about five inches had fallen.

But I was sure the maintenance guys had prepared the walk adequately for my short walk to the parking lot.


I hit the same patch of ice I had warned others about. I flew up in the air, came down at an odd angle on the left leg, and fell atop my briefcase on the right hip. In severe pain, I tried to get up but could not support my weight. I initially thought I'd suffered a serious sprain.

I crawled to the edge of the building, away from the ice into a semi-dry spot but still could not stand. Two fellow workers found me there, helped me up and assisted me in getting to my car. They urged me to go to the hospital, four blocks to the north, and even offered to escort me there.

No, I argued. "I can make it on my own."

And I fully intended to do so. But as I approached the hospital, the pain decreased and I thought to myself, "You baby, you just over-reacted. Go on home and get off it."

Later, I was to realize I was in shock. But in the meantime, I drove the nine miles home and managed, with great pain, to walk into the house. When I went to remove my overshoe, however, I realized the leg was so swollen above the ankle that I cold not get it off.

My wife took one look at it and said, "Let's get you to the hospital."

"I walked into the house," I argued. "It must just be sprained," I insisted.

X-rays proved it was broken. And surgery was necessary after the swelling went down. I still carry two screws in the leg and when the weather is really cold, I can feel them there. But they cause no problem for my walking habit.

The point is that incapacitation can come to anyone at the most unexpected or inopportune time. And even after you've recovered as much as is possible, there are times when you can be disabled for the rest of your life.

My accident was minor in comparison. Others are not so lucky. They might be partially paralyzed, lose a limb, suffer a fragmentation of nervous system, or be blinded.

These people can - and want - to be contributing members of society.

We need to make sure they have the opportunity to do so, that they are not blocked from doing so by workplaces, governmental agencies and shopping venues which they cannot access.

Their numbers are few, percent-agewise, in our community right now, but those few are entitled to the same privileges the rest of us enjoy. And the numbers will continue to increase as the population does. In our tourist-driven economy, we must also remember there are visitors coming here who deserve the same right of access.

Whether the disability is temporary, as mine was, or permanent, the benefits of Pagosa Country life should be available to all, not just the unafflicted.




Old Timers

By John Motter


Bawling bovines signaled new economy

By John M. Motter

Pagosa Country underwent big changes during 1916. The era of big lumber companies ended. Once more, as in the early days of Pagosa Country settlement, the cattle industry was king.

The big Pagosa Lumber Company mill in South Pagosa shut down in 1916. Wolf Creek Pass opened up the same year. Those were the big news items. What were some of the every day events recorded in the Pagosa Springs SUN as 1916 drew to a close?

Livestock shipments were noted almost weekly during October, November, and December. The Pagosa & Northern railroad still served town. The railroad maintained stock pens near the depot in the general vicinity of south 8th Street. Stockmen had the privilege of shipping sheep and cattle by rail car.

Visualize herd after herd of bawling cattle driven through the streets of town to the stock pens by shouting, whistling cowboys. Imagine the dust - no town streets were paved in those days. Imagine the constant noise while the cattle were penned up, a noise surely audible from anywhere in town.

Cattle shipping was a big deal for the owners who often accompanied their herds to the Denver market. More than one took advantage of the outing to take a meal or two at the Brown Palace.

One of the oft-told stories coming to us from those early days involves a cattleman eating at the Brown Palace. Finding his steak ranging from red to bleeding, he threw the morsel on the floor, drew his six-shooter, and filled it full of holes.

"Waiter," he said. "I've killed it, now cook it."

During those years, M.O. Brown, a Pagosa Country pioneer, worked as a cattle buyer. The success of his efforts is apparent from the following news items.

- Stock shipments from Pagosa Springs and other Archuleta County points will be unusually heavy this year. Hatcher Mercantile Company loaded out 5,000 head of sheep to market from Pagosa Tuesday.

- M.O. Brown, cattle buyer, made his initial shipment of 162 head to the Denver market yesterday.

- The big stock firm of Brown & Reavis shipped out 300 head of cattle for the Denver market yesterday.

- The cattle dealing firm of Brown & Reavis will soon ship 33 more cars of local stuff. The same firm this week purchased 50 head of fancy steers from Pagosa Lumber Co. at $80 per head. Narrow gauge cattle cars held about 27 head. In those years, most cattle were at least three or four years old when they were marketed.

- Otto Burster, Louie Harlan, and Doll Pargin delivered 100 head of fine cattle to Brown & Reavis today.

- The firm of Brown & Reavis shipped 400 head of cattle today.

- The Dowell sale held Wednesday was attended by a large crowd. The stock sold well, some of the cows with calves bringing $240. One cow brought $200. Pet Crowley bought a bunch of weaning calves for $85 each.

- Cyrus Arny shipped several carloads of cattle from Arboles.

- Brown and Reavis purchased from C.H. Bean five cars of cattle, the latter bought from A.T. Sullenberger and Ralph Flaugh. The top price of the season was paid for the bunch. They were started for Denver on Tuesday. The same firm shipped 28 more cars on Wednesday, 10 of them going to Alamosa parties.

Cows weren't the only important item of commerce in Pagosa Country. Potatoes were big. For example:

- Ranchers, are you aware that potatoes are retailing at $4 per 100 in town? Spud speculation hasn't reached its zenith, either.

- A.M. Packer informs us that his potato crop has reached the 34,000 pound mark, many of them weighing three pounds.

Politics, of course were important. All of us remember Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, don't we? Mrs. J.S. Cade apparently thought well of Wilson. SUN editor Bud Furrow reported, "Mrs. J.S. Cade rode horseback all the way to Pagosa, eighteen miles (from the Upper Blanco), through the snow storm just to vote for Wilson. She will be seventy-four years old her next birthday."

At the same November, 1916, election, Leslie E. Hubbard, formerly of Pagosa Springs, was elected Attorney General of Colorado. Furrow reported "From a humble lawyer in Pagosa Springs four years ago to the most important office is some jump." Hubbard had headed the state inheritance tax appraiser's office for four years prior to his election.

And just incidentally as 1917 began, Furrow left for Denver where he would spend three months attending to duties he inherited as the elected representative to the Colorado House of Representatives from this area.

In the miscellaneous news category:

- Fred Confar trapped a huge gray wolf near his Chromo ranch. The brute measured over five feet in length.

- The forest service has just completed the establishment of five public highway telephone booths for public use, one on the Devil Creek divide, one at the Boss Ayers Ranch on the Piedra, one on the east side of the road about a mile below the West Fork bridge, one on Sheeps Cabin, and one on Eight Mile Hill on Chromo Road.

- The Galbreath Tie & Lumber Co. will, in the near future, establish a big sawmilling plant on the lower Piedra to manufacture into ties and lumber their extensive timber holdings in that part of the county.

A social item reported:

"A golden wedding of more than ordinary interest was celebrated at Tiffany Dec. 19, 1916, by Jose S. Silva and wife Pablita Silva, who were formerly well and favorably known residents of Archuleta county, having lived at Trujillo for a number of years.

"Mr. Silva was born in New Mexico March 18, 1838, his wife being born in that state Feb. 15, 1850.

"The worthy couple was married at Conejos, Colorado, Dec. 19, 1866, and are the parents of 19 children, 10 of whom are living. They have fifty grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. There were nine children, 30 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren present at the ceremonies.

"Mr. Silva is a Civil War veteran, having served in the First New Mexico Volunteers under Col. Kit Carson and Capt. Abis. The old gentleman with his wife now resides in a pleasant home at Tiffany with the greater portion of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren residing in or near the vicinity."

Tiffany is located in La Plata County a short distance south of U.S. 151 between Allison and Ignacio. The narrow gauge railroad ran through Tiffany on its way to Durango. A few derelict buildings still mark the site.

Next week, the end of the Pagosa & Northern Railroad.


Food for Thought

by Karl Iseberg

Cult of the body luxuriates here: Ping

(Editor's note: Again, Isberg's shameful work habits prevented him from submitting his column. We continue to receive e-mail transmissions from the mysterious Ping and we reproduce one below. Should any of our readers make contact with Ping, we would appreciate hearing about the meeting and learning of the man's whereabouts.)



Re: Cultural insights


Golden Icon, Noble Khan:

I have learned much since my last report.

The information I pass to you should be relayed immediately to your most trusted advisors and strategists, to the commanders who will lead our glorious legions across the oceans, the deserts, over the mountains in our inexorable march to victory.

I remain undetected and I am flourishing here. This decadent caste society provides all but the lowliest prole the opportunities needed to earn enough money to guarantee civil order.

Our invading forces will not have trouble with organized resistance here; the fabric of the society is anything but coherent, yet the looseness of the weave of the culture does not result from discontent. It comes from the self-interest born of ease. An unusual ease of life marks a society at the peak of its arc and the nature of ease creates division, nurtures the illusion of the individual, while the whole hangs precariously above an unrecognized abyss. That abyss is thick with teeming masses, surging ever upward, acquisitive and aggressive. We are those masses, Oh Great One. Our time has come.

With the energy these people expend on personal needs and the demands of vanity, there is little left for unrest; there is scant inclination to examine actual political and social circumstances. Citizens are consumed by their immediate interests and are allowed by their rulers to attain a state of luxury that narcotizes them. In this narcotic haze, they spend their days looking at their own images and talking about themselves.

There is a cult of the body here, its adherents tinted by the pathos of the physical world, ignorant of the emphatic transience of each and every human thing, wary of the complexities of the mental life. I suspect this cult is fueled by a pervasive fear of death and its merciless engine, time. Raised as warriors, we expect doom and hope for a glorious demise. Here, they avoid the subject of their inevitable end; they struggle against it, seeking a meek expiration at an old age, wrapped in their accustomed superfluity.

The cult practices center on fascination with the activities and attachments of youth, on fixated efforts to grow stronger or thinner, on surgery designed to remold decaying flesh. While I am repelled by the lack of courage at the heart of this cult I must admit, Great One, I am fully involved with the rites they indulge.

Consuming common food products (most are soft, and there are no stones in the flours) I have gained six pounds since I began my mission. While I still weigh less than one leg of an "average" American male I am sluggish, unready for strenuous combat. When our great horde moves like a wave from the west, I must be ready to do my part.

I joined a local gym. It is an excellent laboratory in which to study the quirks of this body-conscious, youth-worshipping people.

While we struggle on our barren wind-ravaged plains to ready ourselves for the inevitable stresses of war and conquest, here they prepare themselves for the stress of superficial social interaction. They judge everything and everyone by appearance. It is veneer that attracts the opposite sex and, despite the unreality of their illusions, even the older members of the society seem obsessed with the quest.

After I moved to my new timeshare dwelling last week, I went to a fitness center and signed up for as many courses as my busy schedule as a real estate broker will allow.

I attend Funky Tae Bo class first thing every morning, beginning my day with a winsome lass named Carissa. She dresses in scanty elastic clothing and flies around the room like a dervish. During class, we imitate the martial and pugilistic arts. Carissa urges me to make whooping sounds as we move. In reality, a neophyte trooper from our Youth Brigade would make short work of Carissa and everyone in the Tae Bo group. As with everything here, the martial pose is just that - a pose.

Mid-morning, I leave my office and drive back to the recreation facility in my SUV, playing my CDs at top volume and talking animatedly on my cell phone. It is time for jazz aerobics - an hour of spastic body movements conducted in time with raucous, nonsensical music. Again, tight elastic clothing is the rule of the day. The colors of our exercise outfits are breath-taking.

Gwendolyn, the leader of the group, calls herself a "teacher." There are many, many "teachers" here. There are "teachers" in my Funky Tae Bo class, in my jazz aerobics class, in my step class, in my yoga class, and in the gym itself. Everyone here knows enough to teach.

Gwendolyn asks that I make whooping sounds when we do jazz aerobics.

In the evening, after a series of intensely complex but always successful real estate transactions, I repair to the gym. There is more to learn.

There are numerous experts at the gym. Everyone is an expert here.

Men and women gather at the gym to elevate weights and utilize machines designed to mimic the actions of manual labor. Since few people here do physical work, the machines fill a void. When our fierce battalions drive the survivors of our onslaught to labor camps, there will be several among the rabble who are familiar with basic physical movement. We will put them in charge of other prisoners.

The most prominent people at the gym make loud noises when they elevate weights. They huff and puff and exhale loudly. Occasionally one groans or lets out a frightening scream - a social gesture, designed to notify others in the gym to watch them.

When someone makes enough noise and struts around the gym between elevations of weight, others in the room realize the person is an expert. They ask the expert questions and he answers, pondering the query then dealing with the subject in endless detail. He offers advice about supplements to enhance the production of growth hormone. He recommends concentrates engineered to rush phlogiston to the atoms in the muscles.

Apparently, elevating weight is a monumental intellectual task, akin to quantum physics and organic chemistry.

Strangely enough, with all the noise and strutting, I have not met a single specimen at the gym who can match our great champion, Khrag. Never will I forget the day when I watched the venerated behemoth hoist four war ponies and their riders above his head. Our monumental warrior cast his sublime shadow across an entire continent.

When manic exercise does not suffice, when the crushing pressure of age begins to exact its toll, cult members turn to the surgeon. Medical doctors lacerate flesh and pull it to new locations to affect a hard, unnaturally smooth exterior. Physicians suck fat globules from unsightly parts of a body, then use the fat to fill in vacancies elsewhere. I see no reason why, once we dominate this wretched population, our physicians cannot continue the practice of extracting fat from these people. The immorally comfortable style of life here has produced a significant number of obese citizens. We can use their fat in our lamps.

After my evening visit to the gym, I make a trip to the local food store then hurry back to my timeshare unit to prepare a meal and watch my photon and sound box. I use a remote control unit to switch back and forth between exercise and cooking shows. I enjoy the irony of the juxtaposition of deltoid exercises and cajun spices. I savor the seeming contradiction of monkfish poached in seasoned thick milk and a session of spirited whooping and aerobics.

I love nothing more than to put a platter of steaming flesh on my TV tray and settle in for an evening of Emeril Live, Body Shaping and Iron Chef. I have cleared most of the furniture from the central living space in my timeshare unit and I spend the hours between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. leaping about the room, whooping, sweating, gulping creatine and amino acids, pausing only to write down a recipe.

Speaking of food, remind our generals to stock ample provisions for the troops; it is not easy to adjust to the foods here. My digestive system is slowly becoming accustomed to native food items. For example, I can now tolerate Secret Sauce and nuggets of all types.

When we have a gala birthday celebration at our real estate office, I make a show of enjoying what they call "pizza," and I have developed an affection for their "doughnut."

Yesterday Irene, the woman who works at my office answering telephone calls and doing everyone's work, asked me the date of my birthday. I was temporarily confused, remembering we calculate our special day using the probable date our mother was ravished by invaders, rather than the day we make our way down the birth canal to join the masses in a glorious collective venture.

I blurted out "My, yes, Irene. In very many ways, there are plausible reasons to believe the date of my arrival was in your month of January on the fortieth day."

By the expression on Irene's face, I knew I made a serious mistake.

"But, Ping," replied a concerned Irene. "There are only 31 days in January."

My training at the Bureau of Intelligence saved me. "Precisely," I responded. "And anyone with a mind capable of understanding the intricacies of country kitchens and big views knows I mean my birthday is on the ninth day of the following month, which you call November."

"February," said Irene. "The next month is February."

"Exactly," I replied. "You have passed the test. Return to your cubicle."

In my glee, I nearly slipped up a second time. Irene inquired what tasty treat I preferred for my opulent February birthday celebration and, sentimentalist that I am, I blurted out "a Borzhoi roast!"

Why would I not? How could I not recall the drama of the elders packing bits of Borzhoi on the bone into a clay urn, layering the Borzhoi with chopped onions and small rocks heated for hours in a fire? Why would I ignore the memory of the elders sealing the urn and placing it in a hole in the ground? How could I forget waiting for the Borzhoi to cook while the women of the village played a game with the head of an enemy?

How could I forget the sight, the smell, the taste of a heaping portion of Borzhoi and onions, consumed while the guests were entertained by the birthday serf toss?

Again, Irene's countenance clouded and I made a swift, saving move. "I very much like the doughnuts and frozen egg roll appetizers, please. Excuse me now, I have a closing."

Not to say I have been denied a taste of our national delicacy. In fact, the people here enjoy similar concoctions. What other reason could there be for the proliferation of dogs?

There are dogs everywhere. Fat, healthy dogs. People lure the animals into their confidence by anthropomorphizing the beasts, giving the curs human names and allowing them to rest (oh, so momentarily) inside their huts. There, they feed the animals and keep them clean and free of the many infections and parasites that haunt our meager canine population.

They also have a dog ranch here. There is a processing facility where they place the dogs in cages and feed them. A citizen can procure a dog by signing a piece of paper. I have availed myself of the service three times so far, and each time the friendly members of the staff helped me take the animal to my waiting SUV. One dog was named Snuffy. Another was called Mabel and the last - a whippet mix, I think - was named Sambo.

I enjoyed Sambo last Friday, sharing him with a family from Arkansas that occupied the timeshare unit next to mine. I find whippet mixes need marination, don't you?

My friends from the Ozark region and I dined, laughed, and watched MTV on my photon box and, comforted by my glib manner, my sated gusts divulged the location of several key military bases in their home state.

A good barbecue will do that.

When you arrive here at the head of our triumphant troops, rest assured a feast is in the offing. The people at the dog processing plant reproduced a photo in our local newspaper of a litter of newborn huskies.

They look delicious.

I cannot determine whether the brilliance here is decorative - not unlike a theatrical set in which the actors wander without reflection or analysis - or whether it is merely the intense glow that comes at the end of a long, clear and fruitful day.

Until my next message, I remain your faithful and observant minion,




Business News

Biz Beat

Bill Munro is the general manger and leasing agent for Ridgeview Mall, located at 525 Navajo Trail Drive, adjacent to U.S. 160 west of Pagosa Springs.

Ridgeview Mall opened its doors for business two weeks ago, featuring 36,000 square feet of space.

There are currently two tenants in the building, with commercial renovations taking place to enlarge one gallery space and to provide a "working artists' cubicle" area in Artists' Alley. Ridgeview Mall will work to provide tenants with customized space to suit retail needs as well as with lease prices to comfort the pocket book.

Munro can be reached at 731-3883, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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