Front Page

March 15 , 2001

Three finalists selected for superintendent
By Richard Walter

First there were only three, then eight and finally, 14. Now the total is back to three.

They are the finalists for the replacement of Terry Alley as superintendent of schools for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

There was unexpected agreement Tuesday between the 15-member superintendent search committee appointed by the board of education and the board members themselves on the number-one selection.

That person is Steve Burkholder, currently superintendent of schools in Cheney, Kan., a community about 40 miles west of Wichita.

Burkholder ascended to the superintendent's post in Cheney on July 1, 1998 after his predecessor was killed in an auto accident. Prior to that time he served as an assistant superintendent in Abilene, Kan., and as a teacher and supervisor in three other Kansas elementary school districts.

The Cheney school enrollment as of Sept. 1, was 789 compared to 1,661 in the local district.

Ranked as the number-two choice by the board was Duane Noggle, a person with previous superintendent experience, who is now director of personnel for the Window Rock, Ariz., school district with a home address in Sanders, Ariz.

The final contender for the Pagosa Springs job, which carries a minimum salary of $80,000, is Neil Hollingshead, now superintendent of schools in the Marsh Valley School District in Downey, Idaho, a small community south of Pocatello in the southeastern corner of the state.

The field was narrowed when the board went into executive session at 9:44 p.m. after the search committee had made its recommendations based on evaluation of applications studied.

Each school board member, too, had examined all 14 applications and had formulated his or her own top three for consideration.

The final three were ironed out in the executive session and announced when the board returned to open session at 9:57 p.m.

Each of the finalists will be notified of the fact they are among the finalists and will be invited to come to Pagosa Springs at school district expense, for personal interviews by the search committee and the school board.

Because of conflicting schedules, it is expected the first interview will not be scheduled until the first week in April.

Each candidate will be interviewed on a different day, and on each interview day available members of the search committee will meet with the prospect at 9 a.m. in Chamber of Commerce offices. School board interviews will be conducted in the early evening.

The search committee and school board have pared to 12 their lists of prospective questions to be asked each candidate. Both will refine their lists in the next few days and but will not release them before the interviews.

Alley said this is because it is possible a candidate could read the questions on-line in advance and perceivably gain an advantage over another candidate by having advance knowledge of the queries and having time to prepare an answer.

The board continues to hope to be able to name the final choice at the April 10 school board meeting.

Alley announced last summer that he would step down from the post as of July 1 this year. He has indicated he will remain available to help his replacement get oriented to the district and its operations.

Board president Randall Davis said, "We were impressed with almost all the applicants, but these three seemed to hold the best promise for the educational philosophies we are nurturing in Pagosa Springs."

Building inspector hire splits leadership
By John M. Motter

County Manager Dennis Hunt's move this past week to hire two of six applicants for two openings in the county building department fanned the flames of difference among the three county commissioners.

Commissioner Bill Downey agrees with Hunt's action, while commissioners Gene Crabtree and Alden Ecker disagree. Even though they disagree, Crabtree and Ecker are not making an issue of their disagreement. They are allowing the hiring process initiated by Hunt in this instance to follow its course.

Last month, Hunt resigned as county manager after accepting a similar position with Montrose County. In accordance with his contract with Archuleta County, Hunt gave 30-day notice of his intention to leave, and continues to serve until the 30 days is up March 23.

A difference of opinion concerning Hunt's duties during his last days countdown is at the root of the problem. Crabtree and Ecker say they want to be involved in the interviewing process for hiring key employees. Downey says he believes Hunt should continue with the hiring as long as he remains here. Hunt said, in the absence of other instructions, by making the hiring decision he carried out his duties the same as in the past and according to his contract.

Events this week trace back to an executive session scheduled March 6 during which the hiring was to be discussed. Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, announced last week that the executive session would not be held because the hiring committee was not ready to make recommendations. Crabtree announced that only two of seven employment interview committee members had interviewed all six applicants.

As a result, at last week's meeting, Crabtree and Ecker suggested that recommendations of the two committee members be taken under advisement by the commissioners, and after reaching agreement, jobs be offered by the commissioners. The two interviewers who talked to all of the candidates are Julie Rodriguez and Michael Crofts. Both currently work in the building inspections department, but Crofts has given notice he is leaving. According to Crabtree and Ecker, Rodriguez and Crofts rated all of the applicants and gave three a nine rating. Apparently, Crabtree and Ecker assumed the three with nine ratings were recommended equally for the two positions.

Downey disagreed with Crabtree and Ecker last week, suggesting that Hunt make the selection.

Hunt asked last week if he was being terminated or if he should continue to carry out his duties. He received no formal, as in a vote, reply from the commissioners.

Following last week's meeting, Hunt submitted employment offers to two of the three candidates with nine ratings. At Tuesday's meeting, he justified his action, saying he believes he is carrying out his duties according to contract and according to the will of the commissioners. He said the commissioners had not ended his responsibilities at the March 6 meeting

Crabtree and Ecker expressed disappointment that Hunt made the final decision on hiring instead of reserving that decision for the commissioners. Nevertheless, they said, since the prospective employees received the job offers, the best approach is to go along with Hunt's action.

Some dispute was aired over whether Rodriguez and Crofts recommended two or three applicants. Hunt and Downey argue that two applicants were recommended by Rodriguez. From the audience, Tim Horning, a member of the interviewing committee, argued first that three had been recommended and second, that the recommendations of the entire advisory committee should have been used in the process.

Crabtree and Ecker both observed that their actions last week assumed the cooperation of all county employees and concluded they should not have made such assumptions.

At the end of the session, in response to Hunt's question, Crabtree advised Hunt to hire a new Veterans Service officer.

"In the future when we hire a new planning director, the county commissioners will make the selection - no ifs, ands, or buts," Crabtree said.

"Are you making a unilateral decision on your part?" Downey asked.

"I concur, (with Crabtree)," Ecker said.

"We have to step up to the plate," Crabtree said, indicating he believes it is too late to re-interview for the building inspector positions, adding he doesn't want to be in that position when the planning director position is filled.

Ecker said his only agenda is to establish stability, to stop the turnover in the building inspection department.

Ecker did not take part in the interviews, saying he has a possible conflict of interest. Downey represented the commissioners during the interviewing process.

An additional issue emerged because, when the executive session at the March 6 meeting was canceled, the commissioners continued to discuss the subject. In the past, County Attorney Mary Weiss has advised that, when an executive session is canceled, no agenda item remains, and therefore the subject should not be discussed until a new meeting is scheduled with a posted agenda. Using Weiss' advice as a guideline, no discussion of the hiring process should have been held March 6.

Discussion Tuesday of the building inspector hiring process was conducted under an agenda item labeled, "Unfinished Business." Anyone with a desire to be in on the discussion would have had no clue, based on the March 13 agenda, that this issue would be discussed.

Sidewalk soliciting foes plan petition
By Richard Walter

The fervor of Pagosa Springs parents outraged over solicitation of their children outside public schools by purveyors of religious tracts grew into a petition drive Tuesday night.

As the Board of Education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint reviewed a report from the Pagosa Springs Trustees on their evaluation of a problem which developed last month outside the intermediate and junior high schools, the parents were prepared to demand further action.

They were armed with copies of a letter from town legal counsel outlining existing codes which might be used to combat the perceived problem.

When district superintendent Terry Alley told directors the town board, if it feels there is sufficient disruption by such solicitation activities, can require permitting and restriction of such actions to specific locations, the fuse was lighted.

The question of whether the action is disruptive to school operations and endangering to student safety along with the number of persons complaining, he said, may give the town board impetus to act, "but only in the narrowest of language. If permitting is required, and siting designated, it must be in an equally accessible public place."

Randall Davis, school board president, said he had discussed the issue with Jay Harrington, town administrator, and, "I feel if enough citizens showed alarm and asked the town to intervene, there might be something they can do."

Town Attorney Bob Cole, addressing the town board last week, said the community has five sections in the existing code dealing with obstruction or harassment on city sidewalks.

"As written, those are constitutional," he said. "The difficulty of resolving this conduct is that it involves freedom of religion."

When it comes to issues of religious freedom, the courts have, in the past, given governmental bodies a very narrow avenue for restricting that conduct. In fact, laws restricting such activities on public streets must be content neutral and leave alternative channels for the distribution of those materials.

In order to attempt to control this particular activity, the Trustees would have to rely on the obstructing and harassment ordinances rather then banning a particular group of people.

"From my understanding of the situation, these people are not obstructing the people on the sidewalk or harassing them," Cole said. "It's probably conduct the town doesn't really want to regulate unless you want to go to the Supreme Court again."

Harassment is particularly difficult to prove.

"It usually takes two or three witnesses willing to testify before we take a harassment case to trial," Harrington said.

At their last meeting, the town board also discussed the possibility of having an officer on the school grounds if people attempt to distribute materials outside the school again.

"What we've tried to do is, if the school requests it, we have an officer there," Harrington said.

Harrington said another possible solution the town offered the school involves vacating a portion of the sidewalk and deeding it to the adjacent land owners, the school.

"It's another thing that was tossed out at the parent meeting," he said.

With that interpretive background, the school board, spearheaded by Davis, agreed in a motion by director Carol Feazel, to adopt a resolution stating "It is the Board of Education's position that soliciting of students on sidewalks adjacent to the Intermediate and Junior High schools should be banned."

Asked if she wanted the resolution even though the board has concluded it is unable to do anything unilaterally about the situation, Feazel answered with an emphatic, "Yes!" Her motion was then seconded by director Clifford Lucero. But there was more discussion before the formal vote.

Asked about the possibility of school control if the sidewalks were turned over to the district, Davis said, "Even if it was deeded to the school, it would still be public right-of-way. We'd have no more control then than we do now."

What it boiled down to, after extensive repartee between members of the board and parents in the audience, is that the parents will initiate a petition drive to raise as many signatures as the town might deem necessary to constitute "citizen alarm."

Alley, asked by Davis if he would assist, agreed to help parents draft wording for the petition to be circulated.

As support for a signature drive grew in the audience, several women volunteered to circulate the petitions. When it was suggested 40 or 50 signatures might be secured, one said, "I'm sure we can get 400 or more."

Director Russ Lee said, "I'd like the board to stay out of it and let the citizens take the initiative." After director Jon Forrest agreed, Lee continued, "We've told them how we feel. Let them take the ball."

When audience members asked for statement of position by the board, Davis told them, "In actuality, there just isn't anything the board can to about it."

"An official board position statement," they replied, "would help us in gathering signatures."

It was then that Feazel's motion was made.

But still, the vote was delayed.

Forrest said, "I have no use for such solicitations, but I guess I'm not seeing this as specifically soliciting. It's been going on for years and I've never seen any of them get pushy - but some here feel they were this time.

"With my kids I would believe that whatever values I have instilled would allow them to react responsibly and to simply refuse to accept the material," he added.

That said, he agreed to "go along with the position statement since there is so much public concern."

The motion, finally, was adopted unanimously.

The parents in the audience told the board they will begin as soon as possible to circulate the petition.

Elk Park Meadows denied
plat plea
By John M. Motter

A request allowing Elk Park Meadows Phase I to file a subdivision plat before improvements agreements are completed was denied by the Archuleta County Commissioners while meeting in regular session Tuesday.

The request was presented by Jim Mudroch representing Colorado Properties, Inc., owner of the development.

If the request had been granted, the way would have been cleared to sell lots in the development before all improvements are completed. County regulations do not allow subdivision lots to be sold until a final plat is filed with the county clerk. The final plat cannot be filed until all work required in improvements agreements is completed and bonds posted. Improvements agreements generally cover roads, drainage, utilities, and similar provisions.

Only a small portion of the improvements required of Elk Meadows Park Phase I remain, according to Mudroch, and the value of those improvements is more than covered by a performance bond. Bad weather stopped completion of the work last year and will continue to prevent work until weather conditions improve. Consequently, several months are passing during which lots cannot be sold, negatively affecting the developer's cash flow.

Mudroch argues that the security bond is sufficient to protect the county's interest should completion of the improvements go astray. He argues that requirement of the bond plus completion of the improvements constitutes unnecessary double jeopardy.

"I understand your dilemma," said commissioner Alden Ecker. "The problem I have is, I don't think we can do anything at this table today. My understanding is, you'll have to obtain a variance. I feel for you. I know you are losing money and the weather is holding you up. I understand your problem. You have to understand our problem. According to state statute we cannot do anything without a variance. We cannot bypass the regulations."

"I'm impressed with what commissioner Ecker had to say," said commissioner Bill Downey. "We established our regulations. State law requires us to follow them."

An earlier report that Colorado's Timber Ridge Ranch, another development, had been allowed to bypass the plat filing requirements is not true, according to Ecker.

Mudroch's alternative is to apply for a variance, a process that could require several weeks and could be denied. Over a longer period of time, subdivision regulations could be changed eliminating the dual need for a bond and completion of improvements agreement tasks.

Even with a bond, the county could be forced to go to court with the bonding company in order to cover the costs of defaulted improvements agreements, Ecker said.

"I think we need to stand firm, protect the county," Ecker said. "I think we've all seen what has happened in the past."

"From my standpoint, I appreciate what Ecker said," said Downey. "I will not approve changing the regulations. I will kick, scratch, bite, scream to support the current regulations."

Oil, gas commission outlines drilling control procedures
By Tess Noel Baker

Water and noise pollution. Surface rights versus mineral rights. County controls. Scenic vistas. Road damage. Financial considerations.

Questions on these topics and others peppered the air at a meeting between the public, the Archuleta County Commissioners and the state oil and gas commission at the Extension Building March 7.

Around 40 people attended the two-hour public forum which opened with a general information presentation by Morris Bell, operations manager for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a division of the Department of Natural Resources, and closed with a long question and answer session.

The Oil and Gas Commission, with its two-sided purpose - to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public and to promote development of the state's oil and gas resource - rarely finds itself making everyone happy, Bell said.

"It's easy to say, but it's hard to do," he said. "The commission has spent six or seven years trying to develop a series of rules trying to balance promotion and protection."

Within that purpose, the commission, made up of a seven-member board and dozens of staff, enforces state laws involving drilling, testing, safety, data collection, construction, spills, clean-up, abandonment and reclamation of oil and gas wells. For instance, he said, the commission performs random tests on well casings, the primary protection against groundwater contamination to ensure that the casings were constructed correctly.

The commission also controls about $400,000 annually to use to investigate complaints and plug abandoned wells, Bell said. Another estimated $1 million is available through an Environmental Response Fund to be used in an emergency.

These statewide regulations represent 110 years of oil drilling in Colorado.

Currently, the state has over 20,000 active oil and gas wells, making it about seventh in the U.S. for gas production, Bell said. Another 40,000 oil and gas wells have been plugged and abandoned.

Archuleta County's oil and gas wells, producing about 2,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day and around eight barrels of oil per day from about 40 wells, make up a small piece of the total pie, he said. For instance, in 2000, the commission processed a total of 1,500 oil and gas permits. Seven of those came from Archuleta County.

No guarantees

Following his presentation, Bell and Commissioner Alden Ecker, fielded questions from the public. Some of the first dealt with water contamination.

Bell said statewide few water problems have surfaced in the recent past. He outlined safety guidelines, including rules that require cement casings to surround the well and prevent leakage.

"Of the over 20,000 active wells in the state, there were two in recent drilling that I considered to be a problem," he said. Neither one was in Archuleta County.

To mitigate one of those cases, water was pumped out of the aquifer for clean-up and reinjection. In another past case, the producer hauled water in to the surface property owner after a well had been contaminated. Despite the safety regulations, and the small number of problem wells in recent years, Bell offered no guarantee when it came to water safety.

Bell also replied to several questions from Ecker regarding possible avenues for stricter county control, such as setbacks, with no guarantees.

"The question is - for instance we have different setbacks for different parts of the state," Bell said. "Counties all want different things."

In the case of surface rights versus access rights, he said the commission requires the mineral rights owner to give notice to the surface owner and to make an effort to consult with the surface owner on wellsites and access roads. However, the power the surface owner has over the final decision depends entirely on how title to the rights was written.

Noise pollution was another concern raised by the audience. Bell said the commission has adopted sound rules that incorporate the same levels of sound specified in the state noise law.

Several people in the audience commented that this was another instance where what works in one part of the state doesn't necessarily work in another.

In regard to Archuleta County's effort to develop a specific set of rules for oil and gas production, Bell suggested considering regulations used in Weld County northeast of Denver where over 40 percent of the state's current active wells are operating.

"There's an enormous well-density and those wells seem to get along well with the people who live there," Bell said. Later, he added that regulations in Garfield County might also be a useful template.

Cost of drilling

Commissioner Ecker voiced some concerns about following in the footsteps of Garfield County.

"Garfield has 20-acre spacing, do you have any idea what that would do to our scenery?" he asked. Ecker said potential road damage from the heavy equipment and construction involved in oil and gas drilling was another concern.

In contrast to tourism, oil and gas production in Archuleta County makes up a tiny part of the annual budget, less than half of one percent, Gloria Duran, the county's personal property tax administrator, said in an interview after the meeting.

In 2000, revenues from all production and personal property connected with the oil and gas business were just under $59,000, she said. A total of 16 wells in the county, 13 gas and three oil, were assessed for production.

Since 1998, when a larger well field in the county shut down, production revenue from between 16 and 18 wells has been about average, Duran said.

As far as the collection of ad valorem taxes on severed mineral rights, Duran said the most the county could have collected on the 143 severed mineral rights voluntarily reported was approximately $1,500.

"If the wells aren't producing, we won't get the money, but we'll still have the problems," Windsor Chacey, a member of the League of Women Voters, who attended the public forum said. "Taxpayers pay for the loss of roads, and the loss of tourism. We need to ask ourselves - Is it really an economically viable industry or is it just going to benefit a few people?"

More questions

Last Wednesday's meeting closed at around 9 p.m. with several hands remaining in the air. According to some, it was a good start.

"I was very pleased with the presentation," Chacey said. "We're always interested in getting factual information out there."

David L. Snyder, representing several property owners from Arboles agreed, but said most of the presentation came from a pro-oil and gas slant.

"The people down there are concerned with encroachment on land, their water, noise - some people's main concern is that the gas companies are creating the shortage," he said. "A lot of people feel its a step back and they should be spending more money and time researching non-invasive energy options."

Snyder came to the meeting with a list of 20 questions he'd collected from people in the southwest corner of the county. Some, but not all were answered.

"If the public wants another meeting, I'll stand up here as long as you want me to," Ecker said.

In fact, the commissioners have a work session scheduled for an oil and gas regulations presentation by La Plata County staff on March 20 at 1:30 p.m. This meeting had been scheduled once before but was postponed because of poor weather.

Need for rules

The heart of the activity in this county lies near Arboles. It's in that area that permits for three new wells are pending. Those three permit applications are pushing the county commissioners to design some county regulations specific to oil and gas which, in turn, spurred the public meeting.

Commissioner Bill Downey said in an interview after the meeting changes in the population around Arboles and an increase in drilling activity are bringing the issue of oil and gas production to the forefront.

"It used to be it was pretty much just farmers and ranchers in the southwest corner of the county," he said. "Now a number of people have gone down there to live for a different reason, there's some subdivisions, some 35-acre plots."

The challenge now is to balance the concerns of those residents with the rights of the oil and gas producers within the boundaries of state law.

Under the current land-use regulations, oil and gas companies coming into Archuleta must go through the conditional use permit process which was not set up to handle that type of use, Downey said.

"The conditional use permit has some control, but it's not very good," he said. "With new regulations, we could both be stronger in our position on what they can and can't do, and we could also expedite things."

Inside The Sun
Community Center taking shape
By Tess Noel Baker

The future Community Center began taking shape on paper last Thursday when the non-profit Pagosa Springs Community Facility Coalition approved a basic set of architectural drawings and appointed a Building Advisory Committee.

Architect R. Michael Bell, of Durango, and associate Julia Donoho, presented drawings of the 20,335 square foot structure which included space for a senior center, teen center, conference rooms, a computer room, community kitchen, two art rooms, and an approximately 7,300 square-foot multipurpose room.

The multipurpose room, 32 feet tall at its peak, drew the most attention.

"It's going to be the biggest space around," Donoho said. As an example, she said, the space will be about double the size of the Extension Building. Ceilings will be high enough to accommodate most sports.

"If you want to do square-dancing in here you can," Bell said. "If you want to have a small concert, you can, you'd just have to bring in chairs."

What it won't have is bleachers.

Members of the coalition asked about sound quality in the large space and plans for decorative brickwork on the exterior facing Hot Springs Boulevard.

"That's exactly what we're going to be working on next, finishing touches and details," Bell said. Of course, details, such as brick with a waffled surface to absorb sound, materials for flooring, and decorative touches on the outside, all depend on the available money.

The architects were also questioned on the building's footprint, specifically, why the long wall of the multipurpose room was designed on the street-side of the structure.

"The beauty is really in the park and that's where the people should be," Bell said. Following that scheme, the building's main entrance and the teen entrance face south, and the senior center entrance opens to the west.

Space allocated to the senior center includes offices, a conference room, kitchen, lounge, bathroom, physical therapy room and dining area. Outside the building, the senior center, with an entrance on the west, will have a covered drop off area.

The teen center, planned for the opposite corner of the building adjacent to the multipurpose room, has a quiet room for studying, a game and video room and bathroom.

The coalition's approval of these plans was contingent on some minor changes being made and approved by the building advisory committee: Bill Dawson, Karen Wessels, Darrel Cotton, Ralph Gould and Ross Aragon.

In other business, the coalition hired Colorado Jaynes as the construction management firm for the project, approved a mission statement and three basic goals. Mark Garcia, town building department administrator, said the official action on the statement and goals was needed because both would be submitted as part of future grant applications, including one that needed to meet an April 1 deadline.

The mission statement reads: "The Pagosa Springs Community Facility Coalition is a not-for-profit organization comprised of community leaders who plan, build, operate and manage multi-use community facilities designed to provide needed services for local residents, groups and organizations."

The goals approved are as follows: to build a Community Center with community ownership; make the Community Center available to all community residents, groups and organizations; and establish the Community Center as the focal point of numerous activities in the Pagosa Springs area.

Banner year sign of violations
By Tess Noel Baker

Signs, signs, everywhere signs. Too many may not be a good thing for Pagosa Springs.

In response to observation and community complaint, the town planning commission will consider some new regulations regarding signs, specifically banners, at its next meeting, March 20 at 5 p.m.

Temporary banners, those brightly-colored plastic rectangles draped on several storefronts around town, are staying up too long and becoming an eyesore according to some.

"We've had brought to our attention many, many loopholes in our sign code," Chris Bentley, town planner, said at the March 6 town board meeting. "It allows them [banners] to be entirely outside the regulations."

The problem, she said, is partially economics driven. Currently, special events banners, like those advertising hunting season, Winterfest, Pagosa Fiesta and similar events, are exempt from a permit because they are not permanently affixed. They are also cheaper than permanent signs. However, similar banners that advertise particular products or services have cropped up all around town. These technically require a permit.

Despite the added burden it would put on staff, the commission is considering an amendment to the current sign ordinance that would require permits for all banners and streamers.

Under the proposed ordinance, banners would be free of charge for the first 14 days. After that, a fee of $1 per square foot would be assessed monthly. Evidence of compliance would be posted, possibly in the form of a tag, on all permitted signs.

"We're hoping this provides some disincentive for people to put up banners and leave them up until they disintegrate," Bentley said.

If the planning commission approves the proposed changes at its next meeting, an ordinance will come before the Town Board in April for a public hearing and vote.

The current sign ordinances were adopted in 1989. The Planning Commission is considering a major overhaul of those ordinances, which can be difficult and cumbersome as written, sometime in the next two years.

Silt warning: $10,000 work needed
By Richard Walter

The lakes in Pagosa Lakes are gradually filling - not with spring runoff, but with silt.

"We have to do mitigation work very soon to prevent the lakes from becoming filled with silt," said Pierre Mion, drainage committee chairman, addressing the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association Board of Directors last week.

He told the board hydrologist Dave Rosgen has offered his services for the project and has an employee "who already is doing some free work for us."

Mion told the board "the Linn and Clark ditch needs work and needs it now."

He estimated costs for a preventive program at $10,000.

While the board approved the concept, members asked Mion and Walt Lukasik, general manager, to develop plans, specifications and cost breakdowns for the work they feel is needed.

They were also told to involve Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District in the discussions because "they own the water which is being forced out by the silt. We only own the bottoms of the lakes."

In other actions last week, the board:

- Told the Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee, which had requested a joint working session, to e-mail their schedules to board members who will reciprocate and then a mutually agreeable date and time will be decided

- Appointed Robert E. Grandchamp to the hearing panel and at the same time noted the resignation from the panel of Gene Cortright who was named to chair the roads committee. In conjunction with that action, the board agreed to advertise for a fifth member of the panel while directors Jim Carson, Gerald Smith, Fred Ebeling and Francesco Tortorici volunteered to serve as the fifth member on an availability basis until a full-time member is named.

County, Humane Society still at odds on dog care
By John M. Motter

Dogs and the costs of caring for them continue to occupy the time of Archuleta County commissioners and officials from the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs.

The two boards met in a work session Tuesday afternoon revealing the latest position of each. The Humane Society provides housing, euthanasia, and other services for stray dogs and other dogs for which the county is responsible.

At issue is the amount of money the county should contribute to the Humane Society budget in exchange for caring for dogs that are a county responsibility.

When negotiations began, the Society asked for $47,200, then $42,000. The county started the year by earmarking $34,500 in the 2001 budget for the Humane Society. Last year, the county contributed $35,274 to Humane Society coffers.

At a Feb. 24 meeting between county commissioners and Humane Society representatives, the county asked that a per-dog per-day formula with a five-day guarantee be used as the basis for county funds. The daily number of $14.42 was chosen, guaranteeing at least $72 for each dog brought to Humane Society facilities and attributable to the county. Humane Society officials agreed to take the county proposal back to their board for consideration.

The dog-per-day formula won't work, Humane Society representatives told county commissioners Tuesday.

"Following our meeting last week we went to the advisory board," said Julie Paige, president of the Humane Society Board of Directors. "We can't do the per-dog, per-day approach. That's not how we run our business.

"The numbers from our last meeting are absolutely flawed," Paige continued. "We can't live with those figures."

Commissioner Bill Downey reminded Humane Society representatives that the figures in question had been provided by the Humane Society.

The Humane Society budget is about $178,000, Paige said, and contains a lot of expenses for which the county is not being charged. Those expenses include a spaying and neutering program, caring for cats, and medical expenses and treatment for newly admitted dogs.

Another flaw is the five-day limit, according to Paige. She pointed out that Colorado law specifies retaining dogs at least five working days. In addition, puppies cannot be adopted out until they are at least eight weeks old. If a bitch whelps shortly after being brought in, that means caring for the mother and litter eight weeks or more.

"If we were to attempt the dog-day approach, we'd have to hire a person to do the cost accounting," Paige said. "We can't afford that."

County law enforcement has delivered some stray cats to Society quarters, Paige said. Through March 13, 42 cats had been handled.

Concerning cats, retired veterinarian Deb Shaw said, "On the issue of cats, Social Services has called us in. We've been administering the feline leukemia test and finding stray cats with terminal diseases that could be transmitted to household pets. It's going to get worse, not better."

Paige said the Humane Society wants the county to pay a percentage of the budget based on the number of dogs handled for the county.

"We ask ourselves, what would the county be mandated to do if we weren't here and they had their own facilities," Paige said. "Since the county is responsible for 55 percent of the dogs, we figure their portion of the budget should be $47,200. We know our expenses are higher than yours would be, since we prepare animals for adoption, you would prepare them for euthanasia."

A major Humane Society argument is, if Humane Society services were not available, state law would require the county to provide those services at a cost at least twice as great as the amount sought by the Humane Society. They also argue that dog control is a necessary service akin to the services provided by the county sheriff.

In the end, Humane Society representatives agreed to take the county's original budget figure of $34,500 back to their board for consideration with the stipulation that the Society can ask for more money during the fourth quarter of this year if funds run low. The county commissioners agreed to the stipulation, but insisted they cannot guarantee funds will be available at that time.

Madrid stepping down as Intermediate principal
By Richard Walter

Butch Madrid, a Pagosa Springs High School graduate and 31-year veteran of administrative services, has resigned as the Intermediate School principal, effective at the end of this school year.

Madrid, in the audience when the school board formally accepted his resignation, has served in a number of jobs for the district since he took his first job here in 1970.

At the same time, the board accepted the resignation of Monette Jefferson, a 29-year veteran of school district service currently serving as a physical education teacher.

Superintendent Terry Alley lauded both as "long-term, very dedicated employees who have served the district with distinction. We will be sorry to see them go."

Madrid broke into laughter when a board member quipped, "Of course that means you are finishing the year without pay."

In a related move, the board renewed the contracts for four other administrators: high school principal Bill Esterbrook, high school assistant principal and athletic director Kahle Charles, junior high principal Larry Lister, and elementary school principal Cyndy Secrist.

Other board action Tuesday included:

- Agreeing with an administration recommendation to expel a student for the balance of the school year. The family, which had initially steadfastly argued the student's innocence, decided not to seek a formal board hearing. The motion to expel was by director Russ Lee, seconded by Carol Feazel

- Adopted a new school calendar on the basis of staff recommendation. For the first time this year, two calendars were proposed. The first, with traditional spacing of semesters and breaks, was selected by teachers on a 75-67 vote over one which would have started school earlier, had semester break at Christmas time, and would have ended the last week in May.

- Approved an easement for La Plata Electric for installation of an underground line across the southwest corner of the high school property. The line is designed to provide a tie line back into town from a rural substation and construction is expected this summer. Lee, district manager for LPEA, abstained from voting on the measure.

- Conducted an executive session to cut the list of 14 applicants for the superintendent's post to a final three (see separate story on Page 1).

More snow on the way for the weekend
By John M. Motter

Local sports fans who braved snow and ice this past weekend by driving over Wolf Creek and La Veta passes to attend the state 3A basketball tournament in Colorado Springs will not be surprised to learn that 1.5 inches of snow fell in Pagosa Springs Saturday.

Above 10,000 feet on Wolf Creek Pass, 28 inches of snow fell during the past week, 381 inches this season, according to measurements taken at Wolf Creek Ski Area. Spring break revelers will be happy to know that the ski area reports 116 inches of snow at midway, 130 inches at the summit as of Wednesday.

More snow is on the way, according to Norman Larson, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"Thursday (today) will be mostly clear and sunny with a high temperature of about 45 degrees," Larson said. "A progressive front will move in tomorrow bringing clouds and a chance for afternoon rain showers. Temperatures should drop to highs in the low 40s and lows from 20 to 25."

A good chance of rain or snow remains Saturday and Sunday, Larson said, with high temperatures dipping into the 30s and lows bottoming in the 20s. Monday and Tuesday should be dry and warmer.

Controlling Four Corners weather is a series of progressive fronts moving in from the Pacific Coast, according to Larson. A new system will invade the area tomorrow, when the Arctic jet stream will drop down over or south of the Four Corners area. By Monday, that jet stream should be further north, allowing a high pressure ridge to bring clear skies and warmer temperatures to Pagosa Country.

February total snowfall reached 17.25 inches in town, slightly below the long-time average of 18.8 inches.

Saturday's snowfall in town brought the March total to 1.5 inches. In town, March snowfall has averaged 16.8 inches since record keeping started in 1938. The most snowfall recorded in town since 1938 was during 1975 when 47 inches fell.

Because of warming temperatures with the onset of spring, rain is a common March weather feature. March precipitation averages 1.61 inches since record keeping began. By comparison, even though February snowfall averages 18.8 inches, February precipitation averages a lesser 1.29 inches.

March's average mean temperature of 32.5 degrees climbs above February's below-freezing 25.2 degrees. The extreme low March temperature was minus 25 degrees recorded March 4, 1986. The hottest March day of record was March 21, 1940, when the mercury soared to 80 degrees.

Meanwhile, temperatures last week, if not exactly tropical, at least indicate a move to warmer conditions. Last week's highs ranged between 43 degrees March 8 and 34 degrees March 10. The average high temperature was 39 degrees.

Nighttime lows ranged between 18 degrees March 8 and March 11 up to 21 degrees March 13. The average low temperature was 19 degrees. So far this year, the nightly low temperature has remained above freezing only once. On Feb. 7, the low was 34 degrees.

Health Fair backers plead for school fee break
By Richard Walter

A 20-year public service in the community could come to an end after next year because of high school facilities use fees.

Lily Pearson, site coordinator for 9Health Fair in Pagosa Springs, told the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint that she was dismayed to learn of the $100 per-hour fee for this year's fair, in addition to the $200 fee for janitorial service.

"When we learned of the new fees, we almost had to cancel the fair this year, she said. "In desperation we ran an ad in the newspaper saying the fair was in jeopardy. Thankfully, two donors responded and we are covered through next year."

"We want to keep this event going but don't want to have to ask for emergency support every year," she said. "As a non-profit organization, we cannot charge an entry or service fee. Only three of the 35 screenings available at the fair have fees and they in no way cover the actual cost if they were done in a private physician's lab or a clinic," she said.

She told the board there is no other facility available in the community of sufficient size to handle the health fair, and that only one other school in the state charges the organizers for use of its space.

She pleaded for some form of help from the school board to keep the community from losing the fair.

She noted over 500 residents took advantage of the event last year and they are geared for 800 or more this year during a four-hour time period April 7.

School board members explained the use-fee structure was adopted last year after a long period in which the district chart curve on expenses involved with use by outside organizations was putting them in a serious financial loss pattern.

Randall Davis, board president, said, "We found ourselves using citizen tax dollars intended for the support of education to subsidize community events. Not only was that wrong, it was illegal."

"We drew up the policy to protect school properties and we feel it was fair. We have no argument that yours is one of the most beneficial of community activities and it doesn't seem that $400 beyond the janitorial fee would be too much."

Pearson reiterated the organization's being barred from asking for fees or donations at the door and pleaded for a break.

When Nancy Schutz, district business manager, told the audience utilities costs for the high school run between $20,000 and $25,000 per month, the understanding began to dawn on health fair supporters.

Superintendent Terry Alley told them the policy was adopted after an extensive study of wear from building use, the cost of heat, lights and water and the needs of the community without sacrificing tax dollars.

Director Clifford Lucero told the health fair officials, "we support your effort 100 percent. But we could have a non-profit organization in there every weekend and if we made a concession to you, we'd set a precedent we would not want to have to live with."

"We believe the use rate has a reasonable fee scale," he said, "and I would be against any deviations from it."

Davis agreed, saying, "It would set a precedent we could not objectively deal with."

Director Russ Lee told fair backers the school board "believes what you are doing is a great service to the community. A lot of people, if they knew about your situation, would be willing to help pay your costs. Figure out a way to accept donations and I'll personally donate to it. I think most of those benefiting from the services would, too."

Lucero suggested the 9Health Fair promoters approach both the Town Board and County Board of Commissioners for support, along with community businesses.

Davis concluded the discussion with a formal defense of the policy.

"It is a question of precedent," he said. "We spent a lot of man hours determining what we need to charge to break even. We have determined the policy is reasonable as it is. I have been a volunteer myself, and support the fair. But as representatives of the school taxing body, we must remain fiscally responsible. To do that, we must leave the fee schedule as it is."

Donoho gets sports complex pact
By Richard Walter

A local architect is saving the school district about $10,000.

When the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint was surprised by the total bid it received last month from DLR of Durango for upgrading facilities at the high school sports complex, members decided to seek competitive bids for the work from local architects.

From that decision, the board received two quotes Tuesday night, but only one of them considered all the work desired in the first phase - a new concession stand, public restroom facilities and walkways specifically designed to accommodate the handicapped.

The other bidder, Envelopment, Inc., proposed instead a consultation fee for development of a specific site plan and oversight of design and bids for development.

Superintendent Terry Alley told the board Donoho and Associates bid the full project, with a quote of $12,000 for Phase 1 to be completed by fall, and an additional $11,000 for Phase 2 which will include completion of full track facilities, a new north-side ticket stand, team dressing rooms, and other minor amenities for the public.

The SLR bid for Phase 1 alone was $19,000, plus $500 per site visit during construction.

When director Carol Feazel asked director Jon Forrest, a contractor, if the bid figures looked normal, he said they did.

"And," he added, "we're more likely to get better service from a local architect. The logistics are more manageable. I'd feel more comfortable as a protector of the public's taxes, with one of these local firms."

When Feazel asked, "Does Donoho have time for the project . . . she seems to be pretty busy around town?" Alley said Donoho had assured him she could handle the project and that it will be ready for use in the fall when football season starts.

On Feazel's motion, seconded by Clifford Lucero, the board voted unanimously to award the contract to Donoho and Associates.

Commissioners endorsed housing preservation grant
By John M. Motter

The Archuleta County commissioners meeting in regular session here Tuesday endorsed a $27,720 housing preservation grant sought by Southwest Community Resources.

If the grant is received, the money will be used in conjunction with revolving loan funds and other funds to improve the livability of low-rent housing, particularly housing owned by senior citizens.

The money will be spent in Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores, and San Juan counties.

An additional $2,000 from Archuleta County was approved as a grant match to be used by SCR for a Division of Housing Grant.

SCR spent $192,417 in Archuleta County last year, according to Tim Nader, the executive director. Of that amount, $27,000 was used for building rehabilitation, $43,800 for weatherization, $93,000 for housing assistance payments, $2,580 for emergency loan assistance, $6,710 in support of Casa de los Arcos senior housing in Pagosa Springs, and $19,327 for children's dental assistance.

In other business the commissioners:

- Approved a hotel, restaurant liquor license renewal for Pepper's Mexican Restaurant

- Approved a club liquor license renewal for V.F.W. Post 9695

- Accepted the resignations of Rhonda Logan, Anita Hinger, Cindy Waring, and Tammy Searle from the Archuleta County Fair Board. Reviewed the applications of Donna Modarelli and Charlene White to serve on the Fair Board and invited the applicants to visit with the commissioners

- Announced the following meetings: March 19, Blue Creek Inn at Creede, 11 a.m., with the Hinsdale County commissioners; March 20, a 1:30 work session with Adam Keller of the La Plata County Planning Commission in the commissioner meeting room in the Archuleta County Courthouse. The subject is gas and oil. On March 21 from 11:30 to 2, the commissioners meet with the Southern Ute Tribal Council in Ignacio at an undisclosed location.

Home-based commercial activites bug neighbors
By Richard Walter

Short-term rentals, rental lodging, pet grooming, alpaca raising and small engine repair.

What do these diverse items have in common?

All are considered by some to be commercial activities. And many members of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association believe they are activities which are, or should be, barred from residential areas.

The rub is this: There are 26 separate subdivisions in the Pagosa Lakes umbrella organization and each of them has its own set of declarations and restrictions. What might be considered illegal in one could be perfectly acceptable in another.

The board of directors for PLPOA has been put on the spot by a group of homeowners demanding association-wide enforcement of bans against "commercial activity" in residential neighborhoods. In the end, a legal opinion is being sought.

The demands continued at last week's board meeting when several residents renewed pleas for action.

Dick Akin, apologizing "if my demeanor is perceived as antagonistic" took more than the allotted time for all public comment to rail against short term rentals. He charged the board violated declarations of restrictions by entering into an agreement with a commercial property user.

He charged the board violated Environmental Control Commission regulations by allowing such activity, charged that as a result of his protests he has been threatened, suggested the board is allowing commercial lodging - a commercial endeavor - in single-family residential areas and finally suggested putting the "commercial lodging" question before all owners in each of the 26 subdivisions.

Akin's attack drew support from George Esterly of Lake Forest Estates who said the association needs to update the definitions of items contained in the declarations and neighborhood regulations.

"You should use existing rules that work in other subdivisions," he told the board, adding, "We must have ECC enforcement of the covenants to prevent this commercial activity (referring to short-term rentals)."

The attack was joined by Tim Shumaker of Lake Pagosa Park who decried a dog grooming business being conducted in his neighborhood.

He said repeated calls to the PLPOA office went unanswered. Walt Lukasik, PLPOA general manager, said the caller never left a name or number to facilitate callback.

And, Shumaker was told, the hearing panel conducted a public session on the dog grooming complaint and ordered the operation closed within six months.

Shumaker complained that Lukasik told him he couldn't go to the hearing panel. What actually happened, Lukasik said, was that Shumaker was told he had missed the cut-off date for that month's meeting but could appear at one the following month.

And Jim Waters, who had appeared before the board two months ago with reference to continued dog barking at an alpaca operation in his neighborhood, complained that hearing panel minutes were incorrect and that penalties were not correctly reported.

He was told then, and again last week, that if the violating party does not protest, there is no need for the complainant to attend the hearing.

Waters argued the complaining party should still be able to come to the hearing panel and voice a complaint. Director Richard Manley, the board president, told Waters the code states the complainant needs to appear only if the charge is being contested by the alleged violator.

With reference to Shumaker's complaints, the board said staff should attempt to be more responsive to members.

Lukasik said the staff will establish set procedures for responses, including formalizing an information-response loop defining who is included, how the report, request or complaint is handled, response time needed and procedures suggested.

But the citizens were not done.

Director Jim Carson introduced Mrs. M. Stern, a homeowner in Twin Creek Village who also owns land in Meadows.

Mrs. Stern suggested additional language is needed in restrictions to deal with the invasion of off-road vehicles such as ATVs, snowmobiles and off-road motorcycles. She suggested the PLPOA and Fairfield Properties jointly agree to a ban of such vehicles in green belt areas.

Akin said such bans already exist as the basis of past actions by the board.

When the board suggested people have a right to utilize such machines on their own land, Mrs. Stern said the noise disturbance to neighbors should be a consideration.

She asked board permission to appear again next month with a packet of materials from other associations outside of Colorado showing how they deal with the problem.

Finally, the board directed Lukasik to seek legal opinion on exactly what constitutes commercial activity in a residential area.

"We need to have the backing of statutes and case law. We need something enforceable," he was told.

One board member suggested the decision will create a legal challenge because of the wide use of the Internet, e-mail and computer-based commerce. "One might consider, for example," he said, "that a person buying stocks on line is, in fact, conducting business for profit from his home. The question is, is that illegal? And, if it is, how do we enforce a restriction?"

Lukasik said it may be legally possible for the association to adopt a specific set of regulations which overrule any existing declaration in an individual subdivision, but that is one of the questions corporation counsel will be asked to clarify.

Dog restaurant

Dear Editor,

I learned lately of a new growing business in dog restaurants. I am thinking of opening up just such an establishment in the Pagosa area called The Drooling Spot as I think one is sorely needed.

It will be a Tex/Mex combo, as I thought Pagosa needed a good Mexican restaurant combo, so the dog owners can eat too. There will be a window for the human food. Do you know of any regulations as to restrooms being he/she and handicapped accessibility?

Our runners-up for restaurant names were: Dog Gone Good, and One Leg Up, (males only), my personal favorite, but eventually we decided on The Drooling Spot as it has a more Southwest flavor like other successful restaurants of our area in the past, such as The Ember Glow and Cheep Charlies and The Squat and Gobble to name just a few.

Ron Alexander

Paving woes

Dear Editor,

At this time while the county commissioners are attempting to reorganize most of the administrative services for the county, I believe it would be worthwhile to get a closer look at one major project that was managed by the county in the immediate past, and the results that are now appearing.

I refer to the Fairfield Bankruptcy settlement and the six million dollar plus road construction project in Pagosa Lakes administered by the county. By the spring of 2000 it became apparent that the paving project on North Pagosa Blvd. was deteriorating and that major repairs would be required. The prime contractor hired by the county was still completing some of the smaller individual contracts that were part of the project and had no more than cleared the North Pagosa Blvd. area, when rumors began to circulate that there had been no Completion Bond on the paving contract. This rumor was apparently true because in the late fall of 2000 the county started a halfhearted attempt to repair major sections of North Pagosa. Early snow stopped the repairs and it appears that when the spring melt comes there will be even more of North Pagosa to repair.

There were a number of letters that appeared in the SUN including one of my own that raised questions about the paving project. Subsequently I appeared at a "communications town hall meeting" at PLPOA and raised the same general questions and was assured that an "investigation" of the facts would be undertaken. For some reason the whole matter seems to have fallen through the cracks. I was able to get copies of the original Bankruptcy Court Order approving the settlement and the Agreement between the County and PLPOA on the project administration. I also prepared a list of the records that I thought should be reviewed to get a reasonable picture of what transpired. On Jan. 22 I again advised the PLPOA Board of the Colorado State Statutes that seemed to apply to the county administration of the project. Once again, no response.

I am not suggesting anything more dire than benign neglect perhaps but the bottom line is that there may be the same lack of concern for effective use of tax money being spent countywide as for the Fairfield road trust money.

Glenn Bergmann

Work load worries

Dear Editor,

It's time to illustrate what's going on from another viewpoint. The current county commissioners are planning to split the so-called work load amongst them, but they don't know the duties, responsibilities and obligations of their positions, much less do they care. Heck, only one of them can read anyway, and he doesn't know what to do with it. They are also putting themselves in a further position of hiding things from the public. Are they going to go out to their various "job sites" and have "good-old-boy" tailgate sessions with the hired department heads? Are they going to bark orders at employees since there is no chain of command? This will further remove them from public accountability and create chaos at the same time. Incidentally, these department heads go to the commissioner meetings if they want something so there's no need of this derangement of duties. It's a shield to protect the commissioners from being involved in productive ideas. Are concerned members of the public supposed to go to all of these open-work-executive-session-whatever meetings at their various locations? That's a tall order for people who work.

None of the big three mud hens wants to do anything except milk the county. They have no positive forward-looking view of Archuleta County at all. No real plan: no nothing. None of them is a leader and none of them has courage of personal convictions long enough to take a solid direction in anything. This keeps Archuleta County wide open for rolling in the meantime.

Here's an alert: Does anybody really think that these hand-picked hiring committees, some of whose members are conflict-of -interest and special-interest people, will hire any personnel who are any more gifted or brilliant than they are?

Another important item is that people who work are supposed to "shut up and mind their own business" according to the commissioners. As long as they're in charge, nothing is supposed to matter. Politicians claim that the public is apathetic, but look who's causing it. They are because the people have no say and no rights and are losing everything to these sell-outs. They are unwitting agents for international corporate conglomerates and big government.

If they don't get it together, somebody from the outside will do it for us, but we won't like it.

The status quo dysfunctional "can't do" is their motto and MO while they're busy chasing their tails and wasting time and money. They have paralyzed themselves with their own miasmic policies and procedures. Gee, they're such "nice guys."

The only thing they have going for them is that incompetency isn't illegal.

Sincerely watching,

John Feazel

Previous attacks

Dear Editor,

Upon returning from spending a few days at Mardi Gras, I was reading a back issue of the Pagosa Springs SUN.

The first message to have an impact was a letter from Mojie Adler. I was struck by the bitterness expressed. This is a trait that can be all-consuming and evidently it is at work here. I hope that Mojie does not spend too much time thinking along these lines and conjuring up vindictive attacks.

I hope the one being attacked will not lower herself to respond.

By the way, I love the new format in the editorial page.

Cindy Gustafson

Long struggle

Through the grace of God, Debbie Swenson was able to return to work part-time last week. Due to the generosity and love of this community, she has been able to pay down some of her hospital bills. As a family, we are thankful for your support, love and prayers. She still faces a long struggle to full recovery, but with God's help and yours, she will make it back to 100 percent. Donations may still be made to her medical fund at Rio Grande Savings and Loan. Thank you and God bless all who have helped us to get to this point.

Diane Pancoast

Inspired moves

Dear Editor,

Reluctantly, looks like I'll have to pass Gene Crabtree a possible kudo. Maybe he is demonstrating a significant change of title; there are some signs that a correction from "Majority Gavel" to "Majority Nurturer" is warranted. Could it be that he does realize that the ultimate responsibility of a leader is to facilitate other people's development as well as his own?

It appears that Crabtree is now attempting to be a caregiver to his flock, a Kleenex for the other two "compadres" in turmoil, a cuddly Beanie Baby in the hard cold halls of County Power. At least he's gotten Ecker and Downey to agree that the three can in fact run Archuleta County and place 70K plus to work in a better place. But I'll still keep my eye glued on those cracks in reputation.

It's somewhat amusing that Mr. Downey seems to go bonkers at the pending loss of Dennis Hunt. What is Downey afraid of? Or is Hunt doing all of Downey's paperwork and thinking? Sooner or later Mr. Downey might just comprehend that for 42K-plus perks you are expected to contribute more than physical presence in the building. There is much more to the position than Cokes and candy bars at a desk. His "learning the job" curve is over.

It was encouraging to read Alden Ecker's statement in the SUN, "Commissioners, or at least one commissioner, should respond to all public complaints." A correction, Mr. Ecker: All three amigos should be present to respond. It's a five-day-a-week job, eight hours a day, just like any other county employee. You cannot function as a commissioner and deal with all the problems of our rapid growth while attempting to run your personal business or ranching enterprise. If the desire is to respond, I want to see you in the arena - full time.

So, I'm really thankful to the good old boys as my heart is full of their recent inspirational moves. Now I can dream of more New Beginnings, a fresh spring rainbow of Crayola colors. They are my sunshine. Could even be my moonbeam; but I do "recall" that they are far from being anything groovy.

Jim Sawicki


Dear Editor,

Congratulations to the young men and women of the high school basketball teams. They can be very proud of their accomplishments. It's great entering 'March Madness' being able to think about Pirates, as well as Blue Devils, Hoosiers and Tar Heels.

Your No. 1 Pirate fan in Montana,

Clark Sherman

Not in favor

Dear Editor,

I attended the March 7 meeting with Mr. Bell of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

COGCC exists to promote development of oil and gas resources. COGCC's authority to prevent and mitigate environmental harm does not negate its obligation to encourage development of the resources. In simple words, COGCC exists to promote the gas industry, often at the expense of the surface land owner. This is why House Bill 1068 was passed and awaits Senate approval in Colorado. H.B. 1068 states if gas and oil rights have not been exercised for 20 years, they go back to the surface land owner.

COGCC seems too understaffed to thoroughly regulate all aspects of the gas companies in Colorado, but has a "county-liason" program to make certain there is compliance to COGCC rules and county regulations. Archuleta County is not taking advantage of this program. Why not?

When gas and oil activity ruins water wells, gas companies make sure those parties have water delivered by truck. This was the answer to the question, "What if my well goes bad?" Our county should insist that water samples be taken prior to exploration activity so there is no doubt how gas activity affects aquifers.

COGCC deals with noise pollution in quiet Archuleta County by applying "City of Denver decibel standards." Who wants the City of Denver plopped in their backyard?

Archuleta County receives little revenue from gas and oil activity. Gas and oil rights are not taxed in our county. Gas companies ruin roads, cause noise pollution, ruin water aquifers, destroy our environment and cause wildlife decline, and often have conflict with the surface land owner. This is why H.B. 1068 was initiated.

Mr. Bell would not address increasing concerns that gas shortages are created by companies to jumpstart gas and oil exploration, even though public opinion concedes the small percentage of self reliance gained would mean a loss of environmental quality.

San Juan Citizens Alliance was at this meeting offering assistance to Archuleta County in establishing gas development regulations. The Alliance believes in a need for more surface-owner authority.

The Continuous Use Permit (CUP) adopted in Archuleta County defines regulations to be followed before starting a project that threatens environment and property values. Under no circumstance should we allow commissioners to circumvent, delete, or water-down this process. Why would they even think about doing this?

I felt good after the meeting. It was apparent most in attendance do not favor being "user friendly" to this "user unfriendly" industry. One commissioner said we should look to La Plata county for some guidance in dealing with gas exploration in our county. Since La Plata county just won a decision against COGCC, strengthening its position regarding gas exploration and protection of surface owners, we must not let the three "apparently" pro-gas industry commissioners and the pro-gas industry COGCC con us into more exploration until this important decision making process is mandated properly.


David Lee Snyder

Veneice D. Clark

Veneice Donna Clark, 80, died March 9, 2001 at The Valley Inn in Mancos. A graveside service was held March 13 at Pine River Cemetery. Chaplain Myron Darmour presided.

Clark was born Feb. 13, 1921 in Provo, Utah. Her family, the Carters, moved to Ignacio when she was 7 years old where she attended and graduated from Ignacio High School. She married Curtis Carl Clark Aug. 15, 1940 at Aztec, N.M. She enjoyed the outdoors, horses, and time with her family and grandchildren.

She is survived by sons, Carl Clark of Romeo, Gary Clark of Durango, Robert Clark of Ignacio, Charles Clark of Aztec, Kenneth Clark of Durango, and Rick Clark of Durango; daughters, Margaret Cross of Ft. Smith, Ark., Donna Faris of Denver, Kathy Maynard of Albuquerque, Patsy Hatch of Phoenix; sister, Ruth Coy of Denver; brother, Harold Carter of Orem, Utah; and three generations of grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband on July 3, 1989, a brother, Lon, and a sister, Emily.

Newton B. Gorbutt

Newton Blake Gorbutt of Etna, Wyo. and Pagosa Springs, passed away Feb. 27, 2001 at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, Calif. He was 70 years of age. Cause of death was congestive heart failure.

He was born Oct. 9, 1930, in Lovell, Wyo. the third child of Mearl C. and Martha Ann McArthur Gorbutt. After completing high school in Lovell, he attended Weber State College in Ogden, Utah on an athletic scholarship.

On Dec. 29, 1950 he was married to Dione A. Kinnan of Cody, Wyo. They had three sons and a daughter.

Gorbutt was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and served in many callings. In 1981, Newton was called to locate and purchase the land for the Dallas LDS Temple. In 1995, Newton and Dione served a Mission for the Church as Public Affairs Missionaries in the North America, North East Mission.

Throughout his life, he worked as a land developer and building contractor. He developed land, built custom homes, housing tracts and commercial buildings in seven western states. He was an avid hunter, fisherman, sports player and traveler. He was happiest when he was doing these things with his children and grandchildren. Newton loved life and lived it to the fullest, believing nothing was impossible. He will be greatly missed.

Gorbutt is survived by his wife, Dione; sons Vee Kinnan of Bountiful, Utah, Tawn Brent of Springfield, Va., and Joel Kinnan, of Avondale, Ariz.; one daughter, Dione Croysdale of Olympia, Wash.; seventeen grandchildren; sisters, Bette Low of Farmington, Utah and Merry Ann Asay of Las Vegas, Nev.; and one brother, Bruce M. Gorbutt of Hemet, Calif. A brother, Richard Edmon, and his parents preceded Newton in death.

Burial took place on March 2 in the Lovell Cemetery, Lovell, Wyo., under the direction of Haskell Funeral Home. A memorial is planned for later.


Derek C. Dahlke

Sgt. 1st Class Derek C. Dahlke, a 1989 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, has been chosen as the U.S. Army's Career Counselor of the Year.

Dahlke won the competition in late January, a few days before his 30th birthday, among entrants from the Army's 15 major commands. The Secretary of the Army will award the honor at a Pentagon ceremony in April.

Dahlke is the fourth career counselor from the ranks of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command to win the award.

As an Army retention noncommissioned officer, Dahlke conducts retention and reenlistment interviews, provides career counseling to soldiers, determines their eligibility to immediately reenlist or extend their tours of duty, coordinates retention ceremonies and keeps the unit commander informed on all aspects of the retention program.

His commander attributes Dahlke's success to his commitment to troops. "Sgt. 1st Class Dahlke is an NCO who demonstrates daily the Army values and exemplifies the Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer by meeting the needs of the Army and its soldiers and their families, creating a win-win situation to ensure the success of the Army of the future," said Col. Ammon Sink III of the 115th Military Intelligence Group at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Taking care of soldiers and setting an example for them is Dahlke's goal. With the idea of motivating soldiers in mind, he attends and on occasion leads the unit's physical training sessions, deploys to the field with soldiers and visits their duty sections. "I like to get out there (with soldiers)," he said. "They know you're not just there for retention. You do anything that they do and hopefully they'll do it a little better."

Dahlke's long-term goal is to complete a 30-year career in the Army as a sergeant major. He is the son of Jeffrey P. Dahlke of Seabrook, Texas.

The U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command conducts dominant intelligence, security and information operations for military commanders and national decision makers.

Sports Page
Lady Pirates bow to Eaton
in semis
By Richard Walter

A sparkling first round victory over the Lady Lions from Colorado Springs Christian gave Pagosa Lady Pirates' fans reason to hope for a state title last Thursday.

The Ladies dashed that hope Friday with their worst shooting performance of the year in a semi-final clash against the Eaton Lady Reds, a game in which they stopped Val Koester, Class 3A Miss Colorado Basketball, with a lone field goal and four free throws.

Finally, the Pagosans led for three quarters Saturday against Denver Christian in the battle for third place, taking a 31-28 lead into the final period, only to be outscored in the stanza 23-16 with 13 of the DC points coming from the charity stripe.

Colorado Springs Christian, which had knocked off then number 1 ranked Faith Christian to gain entry to the finals, was a victim of IML foes all the way. After the 51-35 loss to Pagosa, they came back to defeat Estes Park 53-36 and then fell to Centauri's girls 50-43 in their final consolation bracket game.

Centauri's boys also made the consolation bracket finals, but fell to Platte Valley 63-36 in what many regarded as their worst shooting performance of the year.

Platte Valley beat Eaton for the girls' state 3A crown and Buena Vista toppled Denver Christian for the boys' title, making a complete shutout of urban metro schools in the classification.

Pagosa vs. CSC

Colorado Springs Christian controlled the opening tip but soon found themselves completely outclassed, failing to score a field goal in seven first-period attempts and limited to four first-quarter points, all from the free throw line by 6-foot-2 senior center Steph Thompson.

In the meantime, Pagosa was scoring the first six points of the game, all by junior forward Katie Lancing. Her first came after a Lady Lions' turnover. Then, she was fouled on a field goal attempt and converted one of two from the line.

On the ensuing play, Lancing stole the ball, drove coast-to-coast for the score and was fouled again. She again converted and Pagosa was up 6-2.

After Thompson was successful on her first two free throws, junior center Ashley Gronewoller scored for Pagosa on an assist from senior power forward Tiffanie Hamilton. Seconds later, Gronewoller scored again off an offensive rebound to stretch the lead to 10-2 with 3:44 left in the period.

Both Gronewoller and Lancing picked up their first fouls in the balance of the quarter but Gronewoller added a free throw and Hamilton scored the first of her five field goals for the game to give Pagosa a 13-4 lead at the quarter break.

Pagosa's second period effort opened with senior guard Meigan Canty scoring on an assist by Lancing and Gronewoller hitting a putback of an offensive rebound after CSC guard Jen Hutcherson scored her only field goal of the game in five attempts. Shannon Charles, a 5-foot-5 junior cut into the Pagosa lead with a driving layup and 6-foot-1 junior Courtney Jackson chipped in with the first of her game-high 12 points.

With Pagosa leading 19-10, Gronewoller scored again on an assist from senior guard Andrea Ash and Thompson replied with a free throw on a foul by Gronewoller to make the halftime score 21-11 in favor of Pagosa.

And then the eruption.

Like Vesuvius blowing uncontrollably, the Lady Pirates poured in 17 third-quarter points while holding the Lady Lions to a single field goal and three of six free throw attempts by Jackson.

One of those free throws was the first point of the half.

And then, for four minutes, it became the Tiffanie Hamilton show. She hit a 14-foot jumper off a nice lead pass from Ash and converted the next time down the floor on an assist by Lancing and a drive to the basket.

Then Gronewoller fielded an offensive rebound and kicked the ball back outside where Ash hit a 12-footer. Canty drove the lane, dished an inside pass to Gronewoller for two more and the rout was on. Hamilton scored again from 14 feet on an assist by Canty and was fouled but missed the charity toss.

After Jackson hit another free throw, Pagosa was up 32-16 with 2:32 left in the period.

Sophomore Pagosa guard Shannon Walkup stole the CSC inbound pass and fed a racing Gronewoller for an easy two and then Hamilton scored again from inside on an assist by Lancing and it was 36-16 with a minute left in the period. Walkup closed out the scoring with a jumper from the top of the key and a 38-16 Pagosa lead after three periods.

Jackson opened third quarter scoring with the first of her three field goals in the period, Gronewoller answered with a pair on an assist from Canty and Jackson scored again.

With 6:19 left the Pagosa crowd's exuberance was stilled when Ash was bumped hard and went into the balustrade at the northeast end of the court. After being down for a couple of minutes she limped off court holding her head, with an Air Force Academy trainer assisting her.

She did not suffer a head injury, as many had feared, but did bruise both knees and the palm of one hand.

On the first play after the injury time out, Lancing drove left and then kicked the ball back to Walkup who hit from 10 feet. Then it was Canty's turn from 14 feet and Walkup again, converting an offensive rebound. She was fouled on the play but missed the free throw. Shannon Charles then scored a pair of field goals for CSC and the lead was 48-26 for Pagosa with 2:55 remaining as coach Karen Wells began clearing her bench.

As the time ran down, Lancing added a free throw to give her nine points for the game and junior forward Nicole Buckley converted her only field goal attempt.

The final score was 51-35 and Pagosa was in the championship hunt.

Pagosa vs. Eaton

As hot as Pagosa was against Colorado Springs Christian - shooting .639 on 23 of 36 from the field - the Lady Pirates were in a deep freeze the following day against the Eaton Lady Reds.

They hit only nine of 38 field goal attempts in the game for a shooting percentage of .236 and yet had a chance to win with a 15-9 fourth quarter surge which was stopped when they had to resort to fouls to halt the clock and Eaton converted five of nine from the line.

Eaton plays a slow-down, ball control game, and with Koester bottled up by Lancing, had to try to work inside to the forwards.

The result was a first half that featured 4-point first quarters for each team with Pagosa field goals by Gronewoller and Lancing, and Eaton scores by Koester - her only field goal of the game - and two free throws by Maggie Ledall who was to finish with 15 for the game.

The second quarter was 9-3 in favor of Eaton with Pagosa limited to three free throws in eight attempts (Lancing 2 for 4, Gronewoller 1 for 2 and Hamilton 0 for 2) and Eaton getting a lone field goal, a long trey by Alycia Butler, four free throws from Koester (her final points of the game) and two more from Terin Ledall and Eaton led 13-7 at the half.

The Lady Pirates got seven points in the third quarter, all from Gronewoller, on three field goals and one of two from the line but missed 11 field goal attempts in the period. At the same time, Eaton was countering with 13 points, paced by Maggie Ledall with six, including a long trey and Katy Winter with her only five points in the game to take a 26-14 lead into the final period.

The Pagosans surged back as Andrea Ash hit two field goals, Gronewoller converted five of six free throws, Lancing two of three from the stripe and Walkup fired in five points including a long trey at the buzzer.

Statistically, the Lady Pirates, in addition to their poor shooting from the floor, converted only 11 of 23 free throw attempts for 47 percent, their lowest game average for the season. They out-rebounded the Lady Reds 25 to 18 but only six of those were offensive rebounds.

The 35-30 loss put Pagosa into the battle for third place against pre-tournament favorite Denver Christian which was ousted from championship contention by Platte Valley, the eventual tourney winner.

Pagosa vs. DC

After two early Pagosa turnovers, Denver Christian got on the scoreboard first with a long trey by senior guard Amber Templeton and moments later junior guard Missy Van Sickle matched the effort and DC led 6-0.

Sandwiched around two more Pagosa turnovers, Gronewoller hit a pair of field goals, both on assists from Lancing. Then Canty found Lancing free in the corner and she drove, then pulled up for a soft jumper and a 6-6 tie.

Lancing gave Pagosa its first lead at 9-6 with a long trey from the right side with 1:10 remaining in the period.

Then Gronewoller scored on an assist from Hamilton and Lancing took Walkup's lead pass to the hole for two more and Pagosa had fashioned a 13-6 lead at the quarter.

The Lady Pirates scored only four in the second quarter, on field goals by Gronewoller and Canty, and missed four of four from the free throw line in the period.

DC cut the lead to 33-31 after three periods with a 17-point quarter featuring Templeton's second trey and another by Jessica Vriesman, four points from Joanna Reitz, and two each by Van Sickle, Dykhouse and Katie Van Essen.

Dykhouse and Van Essen scored back-to-back field goals to open the fourth period and give DC the lead at 35-33. Lancing, fouled shooting, hit one of two from the line to cut it to 35-34 with 6:30 remaining.

Ash then scored her only points of the game to give the lead back to Pagosa at 36-35. Templeton snatched the lead right back with 5:04 remaining then Reitz converted the front end of a one and one after being fouled by Gronewoller and DC's lead was back to two, a margin erased shortly on a pull-up jumper by Canty which put the two squads back into a tie at 38.

The rest of the game was at the line.

Gronewoller fouled Vogelzang who hit two, Dykhouse hit a field goal and then Lancing fouled Dykhouse who hit the front end of a one-and-one but missed the second. Walkup was whistled for a foul on Van Sickle and the Crusader hit both shots. DC was up 47-38 with 2:09 left.

Then Ash fouled Templeton and she converted a pair. After Lancing answered with a field goal, she fouled Van Sickle who missed a pair from the line.

That paved the way for Pagosa's final threat, a 6-0 run.

Hamilton drilled a 15-footer, Canty stole the inbound pass and drove for two and then, following a Lady Crusader turnover, Lancing scored her final points of the game to cut the lead to 51-47 with 46.6 seconds left.

Shawna Hartman was fouled by Ash and converted both free throws. After a double foul on Canty and Templeton, Hartman fouled Hamilton on a three-point shot, sending the senior to the line for three free throws.

The fiery forward calmly canned all three shots to cut the lead to 53-50 with 15.5 seconds left and keep the Lady Pirates' trophy hopes alive.

After a Pagosa time out, Canty fouled Hartman who again converted a pair of free throws and a 55-50 lead. Then Hamilton fouled Templeton who hit both shots for the final 57-50 score.

For the game, Pagosa was 22 of 48 from the field for .458 percent, but hit only four of nine from the free throw line.

In the three games, Ash scored eight points, Canty 12, Hamilton 20, Gronewoller 45, Lancing 31, Walkup 13 and Buckley 2.

Pagosa outrebounded Colorado Springs Christian 37-14, had a 26-18 edge on the boards against Eaton and had a 34-16 margin against Denver Christian.

Lions, Broncos stop Pirates
By John M. Motter

The eight best boys 3A basketball teams in Colorado slugged it out at Air Force Academy's Clune Arena last weekend.

When it was all over, the Pagosa Pirates proved, if they weren't best, they could certainly play with the best. Seeded eighth for Thursday's opening round match with the top-seeded Colorado Springs Christian Lions, Pagosa gave the favorites all they could handle before falling 59-48. The halftime score was 28-28.

By losing in the opening round, the Pirates dropped into the consolation bracket where they tipped off against Platte Valley Friday morning. Pagosa took an early lead against the Broncos, but finally succumbed to a stronger bench and lost 53-45.

"Overall, I was really pleased with how we played," said Kyle Canty, head coach for the Pirates. "We were in the tough side of the bracket. We showed that we belonged with the best teams in the state."

Canty is especially appreciative of the support shown by Pagosa fans.

"The send off they gave us was wonderful," Canty said. "Pagosa fans are the best in the state. At home they are such a factor, it makes it hard for visiting teams to win."

Pirate hopes for next year are not yet on Canty's mind.

"I know by reaching the final eight the past two years we've laid the foundation for a winning program," Canty said.

First-round action

If the gaudy 21-2 record of the Lions was supposed to intimidate the 16-7 Pirates, it didn't. Pagosa opened with an in-your-face defense and a confidant attack on the basket. The only problem was, Pirate shots just wouldn't fall.

"I was pleased with the way we played Colorado Springs Christian," Canty said. "Except for taking some quick shots in the third period, we played them close. Their size was a big factor. Defensively, it was hard to match up with them. It was hard to shoot over their big men. Then we had everybody in foul trouble."

The Lions started fast. Colorado Springs' Delbert Young had six points by the time Daniel Crenshaw hit Pagosa's first basket after three and one-half minutes of play. The Lion lead stretched to 8-2 before a pair of buckets by Micah Maberry, a field goal by David Goodenberger, and a free throw by Jason Schutz closed the difference to 10-9 for the Lions as the first period ended.

Schutz's driving layup to start the second period gave the Pirates an 11-10 lead. The Pagosa sophomore followed with a pair of free throws to stretch the Pirate lead to 13-10. A see-saw battle followed through the remainder of the second period, which ended with a 28-28 tie.

Schutz led first-half Pagosa scoring with 11 points, mostly inside baskets forced through the outstretched arms of defenders. Goodenberger added eight first-half points, Crenshaw five, and Maberry four. Maberry picked up three first quarter fouls. Several Pirates flirted with foul trouble throughout the game. When the final buzzer sounded, Maberry had five fouls, and Darin Lister, Tyrel Ross, Goodenberger, and Crenshaw, four fouls each.

A pair of free throws by Lister and a deuce by Ross gave Pagosa a 32-31 lead with about five minutes left in the period. It was to be Pagosa's last lead. The wear and tear of the fast-paced struggle began to show as deeper bench helped the Lions inch ahead.

Nine straight Colorado Springs Christian points over the next three minutes stretched the margin to 40-32 for the Lions, before Schutz again scored for the Pirates. When the period ended, the Colorado Springs school was on top 43-34.

Pagosa played catchup through the final period, but was unable to narrow the gap.

Schutz topped Pagosa scoring with 15 points, followed by Goodenberger with 13 points, Crenshaw with 10 points, Ross and Maberry with four points each, and Lister with two points. Pagosa shot a paltry 33 percent from two-point range by making 15 of 45 attempts. From three-point range the results were even worse, 17 percent on three of 18 shooting. From the free throw line, Pagosa made nine of 12 attempts for 75 percent shooting.

Goodenberger led the Pirates in rebounds with 11, and tied with Lister for the lead in assists with three. Goodenberger and Crenshaw each had one blocked shot. Crenshaw also turned in five steals and six rebounds.

Pirates vs. Broncos

The Pirates and Broncos met in the opening round of the consolation bracket. Platte Valley, 18-4, had lost 63-58 to Denver Christian in their opening game.

Everything went right for Pagosa in the opening period. Maberry found his jumper and dropped in six points. Goodenberger hit a trey. Brandon Charles buried a layup, and Ross and Schutz sank field goals to give Pagosa a 15-9 lead at the end of the period.

Scoring during the second period was more evenly matched, but Pagosa went to the locker room at halftime with a 28-21 margin. Crenshaw continued to score during the second period and had 10 points by the half. Charles, Ross, Crenshaw, and Schutz rang up points for Pagosa.

Platte Valley upped the intensity of the defensive effort during the third period, and coupled with poor Pagosa shooting, crept into a 32-32 tie at the end of the period. Lister and Ross managed field goals during the period, the only Pagosa scores.

With only 2:47 remaining in the game, Maberry's soft jumper pulled the Pirates within two points, 45-43. There was still hope, but the Cowboys took over once again by scoring six unanswered points. With 44 seconds left, Platte Valley was on top 50-43, a margin Pagosa couldn't shave.

Maberry, despite a swollen left hand, was the leading Pirate scorer with 14 points. Ross contributed eight, Charles seven, Goodenberger six, Schutz and Crenshaw four each, and Lister two. Pagosa shot a respectable 47 percent from two-point range by making 17 of 36 attempts. The Pirates were only two of 14 from three point range, 14 percent shooting. From the free throw line, Pagosa made five of 11 attempts for 45 percent. The Pirates were outscored 16-5 at the free throw line.

Pirate leaders were Goodenberger in rebounds with 10, Charles in steals with two and assists with four. Pagosa committed 22 turnovers, compared with five turnovers in the Colorado Springs Christian game.

When the game ended Charles, Ross, Goodenberger, and Crenshaw all had four personal fouls.

Playing their last game for Pagosa Springs were seniors Micah Maberry, Tyrel Ross, David Goodenberger, and Daniel Crenshaw.

"It's hard emotionally to retain your momentum and intensity for the next game," Canty said. "I was proud because we played very hard. Except for a defensive lapse in the third period, we pretty much outplayed them."

Pirate track squad opens season March 24
By Tess Noel Baker

It's nine days and counting until the Pagosa Springs varsity track teams begin pounding the pavement for the 2001 season.

Assistant Coach Connie O'Don-nell said a total of 45 students, 15 girls and 30 boys, have committed to be a part of the team so far.

"Our goal as a whole is to get people excited about the sport," O'Donnell said. "Another goal is to get kids to reach their personal goals. It seems winning track meets tend to go along with that."

With a number of great athletes coming out for the team this year, a girls returning state qualifying relay team and a returning state 800 meter qualifier for the boys, O'Donnell said she is excited about the team's prospects.

The Pirates open the season March 24 with the Bloomfield Relays. A week later, the team will compete in the Shiprock Invitational. They follow that with an appearance at the Pine River meet at Bayfield, April 13.

On April 21, Pagosa will attend the Bloomfield Invitational. The San Luis Valley meet is next, April 28, at Adams State College starting at 9 a.m.

Districts are set for May 5 at Bayfield, and regionals will follow May 11 at Adams State. Colorado State meet events are scheduled May 18-19 in Pueblo. Leading the Pirates are Head Coach Kyle Canty and O'Donnell.

O'Donnell said her personal goal for the next few years of track at Pagosa Springs High School is to have so many athletes qualify for the state track meet they have to take a bus rather than a Suburban.

All track events are on the road. Most Saturday meets will begin at 9 a.m., O'Donnell said. Other times have yet to be announced.

Lady Pirate soccer has home on road
By Richard Walter

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason's Lady Pirates soccer team was scheduled to open its league schedule with a home game at 3 p.m. today against Ridgway.

One look at the athletic complex will give anyone the news that Pagosa's field is not playable. Remarkably, perhaps, the Ridgway field is ready and the game has been transferred there.

A second league contest, scheduled Saturday between Pagosa Springs and Telluride in Pagosa will be played at 1 p.m. on a neutral site in Cortez. The field, for fans who wish to attend, is in a municipal park at Mildred and Montezuma streets.

Kurt-Mason's charges competed last weekend in a four-team scrimmage in Cortez and the coach - minus several players involved in one way or another with the state basketball championships - was a little perturbed by their performance.

"Our fitness level was good," he said, "but many of the girls choked under the pressure of the first actual contact. They had obvious opening day jitters and seemed to lose confidence in themselves as the pressure mounted."

Kurt-Mason said he has several starting openings and may rotate a number of girls before settling on a more or less permanent lineup. One factor affecting his decisions is that six girls, including two of three all-conference players from last year are injured and unable to participate.

Individually, Kurt-Mason was impressed in the scrimmage by the efforts of freshman Charlotte Souza in net, and veteran wing Meagan Hilsabeck. IML all-conference players Alysha Ranson and Jennifer Gross are both out with injuries and the time of their return uncertain.

The coach said his team showed a lot of individual talent, but failed to capitalize as a team on the opportunities they were presented.

He will take 14 varsity and 14 junior varsity players to Ridgway, along with a C-team contingent. Intending to maintain a roster of about 16 for each team level, he said, leaves two swing positions at varsity and junior varsity levels for players who progress as the season goes on.

Named to the varsity for the Ridgway trip were Lori Whitbred, Lindsay Schmidt, Amy Moore, Tiffany Diller, Cassie Pfiefle, Charlotte Souza, Megan Hilsabek, Kelli Patterson, Sara Aupperle, Chelsea Mansanz, Tricia Lucero, Gross (who will be replaced by a swing player from the jayvees), Hope Koppelman and Cathy Thorpe.

Junior varsity players challenging for swing positions are Sara Smith, Jayme Lee, Melissa Diller, Nicole Dominguez, Amber Beye, Amanda Snyder, Jessica Quick, Jenelle Newberg, Jolyn Rader, Ashley Wagle, Emily and Jenna Finney, Hannah Lloyd and Sky Fehrenbacher.

Pagosa diamond squad faces huge rebuilding job
By Richard Walter

It's beginning to look like old times for Pagosa Springs High School baseball.

That means snow, more snow, unplayable fields, and in the case of a scheduled double-header last weekend in Aztec, a rainout.

Pagosa players have been able to practice only indoors - in the Worthe Crouse Vocational Arts building - and several potential players were involved in prep basketball playoffs which ended Saturday.

Two of those players, Darin Lister and Brandon Charles, will take a week off before joining the team for practice. The Pirates have been able to scrimmage another live team once - two weeks ago in Aztec.

And before the regular season gets underway April 7 with a home game against the Centauri Falcons (weather permitting), the Pirates will probably be tired of seeing the Tigers from Aztec.

They're scheduled to compete in the Aztec Invitational Tournament today, tomorrow, and Saturday, beginning with a 5:30 p.m. game today against the hosts. Others in the tournament are New Mexico schools Piedra Vista of Farmington, Grants, West Las Vegas, Kirtland, and Cortez.

If Pagosa wins today they'll play at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow against the winner of the West Las Vegas-Kirtland game. If they lose today, they'll play at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow against the loser of that game. If Pagosa were to win its first two games, it would play at 4:30 p.m. Saturday for the championship.

Coach Tony Scarpa faces a rebuilding season, having lost starting senior outfielders Keith and Kraig Candelaria, shortstop-pitcher Lonnie Lucero, catcher Clinton Lister, pitcher Kyle Keelan, first baseman and relief pitcher Brandon Thames, and reserve outfielder-pinch runner Josh Trujillo. Another letterman, Anthony Maestas, chose not to play this year.

Returning lettermen are pitcher Lister, who also played at shortstop, second baseman Charles, third baseman-outfielder Nate Stretton, first baseman-pitcher Ronnie Janowsky and infielder-relief pitcher Ross Wagle. Lister and Charles will not be available this week, having just competed in the state basketball tournament. A third basketball player, Chris Rivas, may also join the diamond squad.

The Pirates have had one outdoor scrimmage, against Aztec two weeks ago, and Scarpa says its hard to tell how good his team might be. "We've had just that one experience of seeing the ball coming at us from 60 feet, 6 inches, and I can't tell how our batters will do when they face real conditions."

He was surprised by the team's defensive performance in the scrimmage setting, and by the development this early of pitchers Janowsky and Wagle who allowed a single run in five innings of work.

Scarpa said his team has "a lot of new faces but a lot of talent waiting to develop. I think we have great potential, but will need to develop it as the season progresses."

His probable starting lineup for Thursday's opener will include Justin Kerns leading off and playing either shortstop or second base; Wagle at second or third; freshman Texas transfer student Ben Marshall catching; Janowsky on the mound; Stretton in center field; Lawrence Lopez, another transfer student via Los Angeles and Ignacio, who plays both the outfield and first base; Chris Young at third base; junior Dustin Spencer; and Justin Caler.

Others on the varsity squad for the opener are relief pitcher Jarret Frank, outfielder Robert Kern and freshman pitcher Clayton Spencer.

Scarpa said he may take two others from the junior varsity to fill the spots Lister and Charles will claim next week.

The balance of the Pirates schedule includes games at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Bloomfield; 4 p.m. Thursday at Piedra Vista in Farmington; 3 p.m. April 3 in Durango; a doubleheader at home against Centauri starting at 11 a.m. April 7; a doubleheader in Bayfield April 10 starting at 2 p.m.; a doubleheader at home April 14 against Monte Vista, starting at 11 a.m.; Bloomfield at home April 17 at 3 p.m.; and a doubleheader in Ignacio April 24 starting at 2 p.m.

The IML league tournament is scheduled April 28 in Pagosa Springs, weather and field conditions permitting.

Center skier has top time in Wolf Creek race

Wolf Creek Ski Area held the seventh race of its 2000-01 Fun Race Series on March 11. The all-comers races attracted 59 area and out-of-state skiers.

Top woman's time for the day was 30.43 seconds recorded by Traci Dowd of Pagosa Springs competing in the 21-25 bracket. Top overall time for the day was 27.65 recorded by Sam Selters of Center competing in the men's 61 and over bracket.

In the girls' and women's races, Erika Pitcher of Pagosa Springs had a time of 1 minute, three seconds in the girls 6-to-8 bracket. Alexa Midgley of Pagosa Springs won the girls' 9- to 11-year-old race with a time of 47.60 seconds. Kaitlin Walker of Albuquerque was second at 1:14:00 and Maddie Bergon of Pagosa Springs third at 1:20.

Laura Montoya of Colorado Springs won the girls 12-to-14 race with a time of 44.23.

In the girls 15-to-17 bracket, the winner was Heather Schallfol of Phoenix with a time of 36.13. Second was Laura Kramp of Tyler, Texas in 1:20.64.

Following Dowd in the women's 21-to-25 division were Erin Ruege of Gallup, N.M. in 36.61 and Kelly Lewis of Gallup in 42.82.

Linda Kramp of Tyler, Texas won the women's 31-to-35 division with a time of 2:24.90.

Stephanie Tassen of Early, Texas won the women's 36-to-40 bracket in 53.09 and Roseanne Pitcher of Pagosa Springs topped the womens' 41-to-50 bracket in 1:01.

Men's race results

Ian Walker of Albuquerque won the boys 6-to-8 bracket in 1:22.

Brandon Poteet of Waco, Texas, won the boys 9-to-11 bracket in 36.16. Keith Pitcher of Pagosa Springs was second in 42.27 and Evan Tassen of Early, Texas third in 46.26.

Blain Barby of Denver won the boys 15-to-17 race with a time of 29.55. Thomas Hampton of Pagosa Springs was second at 30.39 and Luke Willson of Pampa, Texas was third at 35.19.

Aaron Ellis of Oklahoma was first in boys 18-to-20 with 30.17. Chanse Williamson of Dallas was second in 36.24 and Matt Braslow of Philadelphia, Pa., third in 43.11.

Seth Turner of Boulder was first in the 21-to-25 race with a time of 32.24.

Kirk Johnes of Dallas won the men's 26-to-30 race with a time of 28.84. Scott Dunning of Florida was second in 31.92 and Kyle Clinkscales third in 33.26

Gary Smith of Albuquerque was first in men's 31-to-35 with 30.27 and Tim Lebouf of Colorado Springs second in 42.70.

Brian Newton of Pagosa Springs was first in men's 36-to-40 in 32.92. Casey Swinsen of Phoenix second in 35.07 and David Walker of Albuquerque third in 1:15:00.

Rod Jakubs of Arizona won first place in the men's 41-to-50 age bracket with a time of 30.76. Gerry Riggs of Pagosa Springs placed second at 31.32 and Phillip Burris of Fort Worth was third in 35.54.

Mark Chacon of Santa Fe won the men's 51-to-60 division with a time of 30.27. Bob Filice of Pagosa Springs was second at 31.63 and Paul Midgley of Pagosa Springs third in 33.60.

Following Selters in the men's 61-and-over race were Bryant Lemon of Pagosa Springs in 30:13 and Dave Bryan of Pagosa Springs in 30.63.

PeeWee wrestlers score
By Lori Lucero

Pagosa's PeeWee wrestlers attended their third tournament March 10 in Farmington.

In Division 1, Christopher Rivas placed second at 40 pounds, and Lane Chavez took fourth place.

In Division 2, E.J. Romero was fourth at 50. In the 55 lb. bracket, Michael Rivas placed first while Terrence Campbell and Cody Snow placed second; Levi Wilkins and Austin Miller were third and Michael Silva fourth.

In Division 3, Antonio Espinosa was first at 50. Waylon Lucero placed first at 65. In the 70 lb. bracket, Shelby Chavez was second. Thayne Sanford took second at 80, and Justin Johnson was fourth at 85.

In Division 4, Robert Radar was top man in his bracket. Gabe Gallegos took first at 100 lbs., Steven Smith placed first at 60 and Bradley Rivas took second at 80.

Community News
Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Put some humor in your health regimen

Today is your deadline if you are thinking of entering the Chamber of Commerce's St. Patrick's Day Parade. The parade will take place tomorrow at 4 p.m., from 6th Street to 2nd Street.

Line-up starts at 3:17 p.m. on 6th Street. Green clothing is the only requirement and the entry fee is only $3.17.

There will be prizes in three categories: $25 for Best Float, $15 for the Most Green Costume, and $10 for the Most Bizarre Costume. This is a great little parade, with much silliness throughout. So, if you don't enter the parade, mark your calendar and cheer on those of us wearin' the green!

Humor in health

Tonight you can attend the Pagosa Springs Health Partnership free public educational program on "Healing Your Amuse System" presented by Lynn Grasberg.

Lynn is a professional comic actress, clown and diversity trainer. She will examine the role of humor in health, a subject that has drawn increasing attention from health professionals, and motivated some physicians to give it their undivided attention.

One of those physicians, Patch Adams, has included Grasberg in his programs for groups of health professionals. She has also appeared in Whoopi Goldberg productions.

This is a free public program that begins at 6:45 p.m. at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street tonight.

For additional information, contact Sharon Porter at 731-4553.

Casino Royale

Rotary Casino Royale will host the grandest party in Pagosa Springs 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday at Ridgeview Mall.

You will find almost everyone there is out to have a good time. This year there will be a swing dance band - The Jeff Solon 1940s Big Band- the Rio Jazz Band, a dance contest, funny money gambling, hors d'oeuvres and desserts, and a Texas beer garden. Black tie is optional.

For the price of a $50 ticket, you get $50,000 in funny money for use at 20 blackjack tables, five craps tables, a wheel of fortune, roulette table or in the bingo ballroom. There will be a Grand prize drawing at 11 p.m. for a trip for two to Las Vegas. There will also be over 20 silent auction items worth over $100 each.

Tickets can be purchased from a Rotarian, at the door, or at the Chamber of Commerce.

Space Oddity

You still have another chance to catch the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theatre presentation "2001: A Space Oddity" at the high school auditorium, tomorrow and Saturday at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Library, the Wild Hare, WolfTracks, the Arts Council and at the door.

Food for Friends

Curves for Women is proud to announce its participation in the nationwide "Food For Friends" annual food drive. Donations of non-perishable food donations will be accepted during March and can be dropped off at the Chamber of Commerce or at Curves, located behind the Hogs Breath.

As a group, Curves franchisees have donated over a quarter million pounds of food. Last year local food banks and Casa de Los Arcos senior housing received donations. This year, donation targets include Archuleta County Social Services, the Victims Assistance program, Casa de Los Arcos, and local church food banks.

It has been reported that local food banks are dangerously low. If you would like to show your community how much you care, call Kathryn, 731-0333, Isabel Willis, 264-6012, or just drop in to Curves or the Chamber with your generous contribution.

Spring cleaning

Start your spring cleaning early this year. Bring your donations to the United People Help Ministry Thrift Store, or call the store to schedule a free pick-up.

United People Help Ministry started a new food drive to replenish their food pantry. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at the UPHM Thrift Store at the River Center. Volunteers for work at the store can contact Debi, 264-UPHM, for information and assistance.

Thank you

I would like to thank Sylvia Murray and Judy Galles for helping me at the Visitors Center last Friday and Monday while Sally and Suellen were away at a travel show in Denver. They were able to give me a break for lunch and to check the mail at the post office and I do appreciate their minding the store for me. Thanks ladies.

Members and renewals

We have three new members to report this week and five renewals.

First we have Jim Plant with Alco Department Store, 105 Country Center Drive, 731-6204. As you know, the store opened Tuesday and is located in the new City Market Shopping Center area. It is a full-line discount department store.

Our second new member is Peter Coe with Peter Coe - Cabinetmaker, 563 Buckboard Place, 264-0563. With 20 years of experience, Peter builds custom furniture, kitchen cabinets, bookcases, and media centers, using his own designs or those of customers, interior designers and architects.

Ron Arrington, with The Timbers of Pagosa, 249 Navajo Trails Dr., 731-2620, is our third new member. Ron recently bought the old Sports Page Restaurant and is looking to open in April. Timbers of Pagosa will offer excellent dining and dancing, a full bar plus juices and espressos, and the largest dance floor in the Four Corners. There will be a private dining room for special occasions and it will be a non-smoking facility.

Renewals this week include Willie Swanda with his two businesses: Crazy Horse Educational Expeditions and Crazy Horse Outfitters and Guides; Daron Selph with Mesa Propane; Richard Alspach with Alspach's Antiques - Fine Furniture Refinishing; and Real Estate Associates David and Mary Helen Cammack.

Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Prayers, thank yous, art, visitors and new carpet

We are sad to learn that Ted Cope fell over the weekend and, though lucky she didn't break any bones, she is pretty sore and will be unable to come to Seniors for a while. Our prayers are with you, Ted - hurry and get well. We miss you when you are away.

A big thank you to Sheila Casey of the La Plata Senior Center for her donation of 49 Senior Safety Kits.

Musetta and Payge have created a very informative bulletin board in the lobby of the Senior Center, and we encourage everyone to check it out when you visit the Center. There are fliers available for pick-up and lots of other information.

One of our members, Kent Schaefer, has his art on display at the gallery in the new Ridgeview Mall. We hope everyone will stop in to view the display. Kent is a man of many talents - some we are just now discovering.

We were happy to have Clara Kelly back with us this week, and are glad she is feeling better. We also welcomed Joan and Jerry Sager's daughter, Christina, and her family Dan and Sage Bilderback, who visited with us Friday.

Monday, we were glad to have Bill and Sherry Ulery back with us, and we are glad they weren't injured in the earthquake in the Seattle area, which they experienced while there.

We welcome Pam Stone as a new driver for our seniors.

Donna Pina from Social Services visited with us again Friday so she could get acquainted with our seniors and answer any questions they might have. Donna and Kathy Kulyk will be taking turns visiting with us. We really appreciate these ladies and the services they offer.

Our Senior Center will soon be installing new carpet in the living room area so we are requesting that folks not take drinks and food into that area. Our staff works very hard to keep our facilities clean and attractive. We need to help them out whenever possible.

Speaking of our facility, we are thrilled to learn that they will break ground for the new Community Center (which will house the Senior Center, Teen Center, Arts Center, etc.) this coming June, and the building should be completed in the Spring of 2002. Yeah! This has been a long time coming and has required a lot of effort from the Community Center Board. We really appreciate these folks. Now we hope folks who have hesitated to donate to the project until they saw progress will help us out. Ross Aragon, Sylvia Murray, Jan Brookshier and Eugene Copeland are just a few of the folks on the board who would be happy to accept donations.

We have been announcing that the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program is available at our Center. This is the nation's largest free and confidential tax counseling and preparation service. The volunteers who perform this service have a lot of important information regarding taxes (such as the fact the Colorado sales tax refund provides a minimum refund this year of $182 for an individual and $364 for a couple). Requirements for qualifying include being a Colorado resident for all of 2000. Please contact Musetta or Payge, 264-2167 or 264-2250, to set up an appointment with one of the very knowledgeable volunteers.

Cruising with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

A season of change, new life and hope

Spring is coming.

We always knew it would happen, but now you can almost see the progress. Let me amend that: You can see it coming, no almost about it.

On the drive to Durango, which is now part of my daily routine, the willow tree branches are a deeper yellow, the tips of the cottonwood branches are thickening and reddening, there is a green haze to the pastures.

The fact that you can see grass at all is another sign. The snow is receding as fast as the hair on a middle-aged man's forehead. That rain last week helped it along.

Other signs of spring - the prairie dogs are out. I saw a muskrat waddling up a slope the other day. Some of the cows have new calves at their sides.

If you have to go to Durango every day, this is a good season for it. A season of change and new life and hope.

Some days I drive myself. The independence feels good.

When you get diagnosed with cancer, one of the first things that changes is the pattern of your life. You become dependent on doctors, on X-ray and lab technicians, on radiologists and the specialists who analyze tissue that the surgeons have removed from your body. You make appointments and wait for them; you wait for test results.

You become dependent on others for transportation, especially right after surgeries, when you feel so crummy.

You meet with oncologists who want to make decisions for you, and you get beat down while standing up for yourself. Even words meant to comfort serve to remind you that your life has gone out of control.

A friend who went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments several years ago warned me. "Be prepared to give up the illusion that you have any control," she said.

Probably this is more true for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, because there can be unexpected setbacks and unanticipated delays all during that treatment. I chose not to undergo chemotherapy, but I'm currently receiving radiation treatments for my cancer.

"Why," asked a friend. "If the last mammogram showed no more cancer, why are you having radiation?"

This is the tradeoff for not having a mastectomy. The accepted treatment for a cancerous lump in the breast is either mastectomy or lumpectomy plus radiation. The survival rate is about equal for the two procedures.

Radiation significantly reduces the risk of cancer recurring in the same breast. Because nobody knows if there are any cancerous cells still lurking about.

There is no accurate test, yet, to say, Yes you've still got cancer in your body, or, No you don't. The researchers are working on it. I'll bet that some day a simple blood test or maybe a saliva test will tell us. But not yet.

So I go to the Luter Cancer Center in Durango every day, Monday through Friday, for six weeks. Cancer doesn't grow on weekends, probably to give the radiation technologists time off.

This radiation treatment is high tech stuff.

First you go for a preliminary workup. You lie on a table and they mould a form under your back and shoulders. This will insure that you're in the same position every time. For the same reason, they draw reference marks - Xs and lines - on your body with Sharpie pens.

Okay, so that part isn't so high tech.

They take fluoroscopic pictures and X-ray pictures. I remember the fluoroscope machine in the shoe store, back in the '50s, when we looked through our shoes and saw the bones in our feet.

The next step is a CAT scan, to plot an accurate picture of your bones and the soft tissue inside, under your skin. Along with killing cancer cells, radiation damages your good cells. The point of all this is to lay out a pathway for the radiation that misses, as much as possible, your heart and your lungs and your bones.

All this information goes to the physicists at the cancer center, who determine the best angles to aim the radiation beams.

In treatment, the radiation is aimed at the breast from two directions, from across the chest and from the side. Each dose takes about 30 seconds. A third 30-second dose is aimed at my collarbone and shoulder, to hit the lymph nodes there. The whole procedure, from when they call your name to when you put your coat back on and walk out the door, takes about 20 minutes.

They say that many radiation patients begin to feel tired, really tired, after a couple of weeks, and that this fatigue can continue for several weeks after treatment ends. This isn't true for everyone; some people tell me they weren't bothered by it.

The fatigue is mostly a result of the body working to rebuild and replace cells that are damaged by the radiation. And partly, I think, it's caused by the need to be there every day, undergoing what amounts to a psychological invasion of the self.

I'm doing what I can to stay on top of it. I eat nutritious foods. I drink lots of water. I take vitamins and avoid stress. Like a lot of other people with cancer, I meditate and try to surround myself with positive images.

And I have asked for help. We are fortunate here in Pagosa to have a program called Road to Recovery, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. A host of wonderful people, coordinated by Mamie Lynch, volunteer their time and their vehicles to drive cancer patients to Durango for radiation or chemotherapy.

Lee Sterling persuaded me to become a Road to Recovery volunteer myself when I moved to Pagosa. The training took a couple of hours.

I helped others a few times. I never expected to be on the receiving end.

Thanks, all of you.

Pagosa Lakes
By Ming Steen

Snow melt reveals litterbugs' winter activity

I am amazed at how quickly the snow is melting.

Visions of daffodils and crocuses dance before my eyes. Sadly, before I see the beautiful blooms, the retreating snow uncovers the winter's accumulation of trash. . . ugly, disgusting collections of paper, styrofoam, cigarette butts. You name it and it's all out there.

Can you help by picking up around your home, and the roadways nearby? If we can all do a little, we will greatly beautify the environment and discourage further trash buildup. I believe we can send a message to the offenders when they see the neighbors take pride in a clean environment. Besides, our children learn from our actions.

Should you need assistance with garbage bags and pick-up of the full bags, please coordinate with Larry Lynch at the PLPOA office, 731-5635. He and his able crew can help.

The incident last week involving the dogs that fell into the lake is a reminder to us that the ice is dangerously thin. Please keep children and pets off the lake. Soon enough the ice will be gone and fishing will be at its best.

Speaking of fishing, lake use permits are available from the recreation center and the PLPOA administrative office. These are permits for the 2001-2002 season which will run through Feb. 28, 2002. Season permits purchased last year are good through March 31, as printed on the permit. A mail-in application form is included in the spring issue of the PLPOA newsletter which will be mailed out later in the week. Simply fill out the form and submit it with your check, and the permit will be sent through the mail.

Free dog licensing will be available the month of April at the PLPOA administrative office, for dogs that belong to property owners and renters. Proof of current shot records are required. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

I saw the first performance of "2001: A Space Oddity" last Friday. It was very entertaining. The costumes were outstanding and dance choreography very nicely done. I encourage you to see the show as it is one of the best of the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater productions.

Rotary Casino Royale is Saturday 6 p.m. to midnight at the Ridgeview Mall. This is a big party time with dance, food, funny money, gambling and a chance to bring out those fancy threads from the back of the closet. Buy your tickets from Rotarians, or at the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.

Library News
By Lenore Bright

Friends garage sale benefit is Saturday at Fairgrounds

You're invited to come to the Indoor Garage Sale this Saturday at the Archuleta County Extension Building, at the fairgrounds on U.S. 84. The doors will open promptly at 8 a.m. - not before - and close at noon. The Friends of the Library sponsor this annual event.

We thank all of the members of the Friends who continue to support library activities with their dues and fundraisers.

The major Friends activity is the annual meeting and book sale in July. Members get first chance at the many fine books to be sold. Annual memberships are $5 for an individual, $10 for a family, $2 for a student. Friends help with many library activities.

For more information, stop by the Friends booth at the sale on Saturday, or come to the library.

Information resource

We subscribe to NewsScan a daily news digest touching on the effective management and appropriate use of information technology.

They often issue warnings about scams. The latest scam says the FBI reports that an organized ring of hackers based in Russia and the Ukraine has stolen more than a million credit card numbers from 40 sites in 20 states in the U.S. over the last few months.

The crooks are attempting to blackmail businesses by threatening to embarrass them publicly. The hackers made use of the vulnerability existing in a Windows operating system. Free patches to prevent this can be found at

The most fun story from the March 9 edition of NewsScan announces the dolphins at Hawaii's Sea Life Park now use a touch-screen computer to "talk" to scientists and play. Dolphins touch the screen with their snouts to change pictures or start music, and they can also whistle to operate the program.

The Macintosh computer recognizes different whistles. This opens up a whole new language possibility between humans and dolphins.

Research may be adapted between other species too. I told you Macintoshes were lots more fun than those other things.

If you are interested in subscribing to NewsScan, come by and we'll share the address.

Other friends

Congratulations to Twila Brown and the Friends of Archuleta County History on their first newsletter. Twila is president of this newly-formed organization and is working hard to find and preserve Archuleta County History. Twila invites everyone to join her in the pursuit.

For more information on how you can become involved, call Twila at 264-5092.

In case you haven't seen the newsletter, it reports that Pagosa Springs was the target of Japanese air attacks during World War 11. Want to know more? Get in touch with Twila.

New books

We thank Kay Grams for donating "Debate on the Constitution." This is an ongoing series from the Library of America. The first two volumes have arrived and they deal with speeches, articles and letters covering the fights over the ratification of our great document.

Students of American history will find this an excellent resource. Many volumes will follow the original two.

Kids' Fair

The annual Kids' Fair will be April 7. Saturday is the last day to sign up for a booth. The Fair will take place at Our Savior Lutheran gym, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information call Amy Hill at 731-9152.


Thanks for financial support from Elizabeth Leach, and materials from Carole and Bob Howard, Bob and Diane Outerbridge, Patsy Wagner, James Bruff, Julie and Bill Reardon, Betty Feazel, Scotty Gibson, Paul Matlock, Peni Jones, and Broch Gorman.

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Barbershoppers welcoming new members

The Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop quartet is planning a show Aug. 10 at Community United Methodist Church. The theme will be Cowboy Western.

In the meantime, the group is having a guest night March 26- a time for prospective new members to socialize with present members. So, if you would like to join them, do so at 7 p.m. at the Methodist Church. The new music will be handed out and refreshments served. Rehearsals will start April 2.

Around town

The AARP 55 Alive Safety Program is the only accident prevention course designed specifically for the mature motorist. The program takes just eight hours to complete, in two half-day sessions. Many automobile insurance companies grant premium discounts following successful completion of the program. Call Don Hurt 264-2337 if interested. Sessions are planned in the future for June 6-7, and Sept. 12-13. Cost is $10.

The Fiber Guild in Pagosa will only meet on even months. The Durango Spinners and Weavers meet on odd months. Call Jamie Sharp at 264-6616 for more information.

Fun on the run

Do you remember the Burma-Shave signs? Those little white signs were along the highways all over the country between 1925 and 1963. They were a wonderful marketing device for a new company to begin with, and now a few are in the Smithsonian. A last one read:

"Shaving brushes

you'll soon see 'em

on the shelf

in some museum.

Burma Shave."

Judy Wood contributed this one, go on-line to find more.

Veterans Corner
by Mike Diver

Local care givers earn veterans' salute

I recently received a number of reports from veterans citing instances where local doctors, nurses and pharmacy personnel have suggested VA health care to patients and customers who may be veterans and in need of cost savings. I would like to offer a special thanks to these local health care professionals for spreading the word on VA health care and for truly having to best interest of their patients and in mind.

While the VA can provide comparable care, the true benefit to most veterans, especially those over 65 and those without adequate health insurance, is the reduced cost of care and medications.

For 2001, the cost of a one-month prescription of any medication has remained at $2 and the cost of an outpatient visit or physical has remained at $50.80, including doctor fees, radiology, and lab procedures.

Prescriptions are mailed to the patient in 90-day increments, renewable for a year through a toll free number. Low-income veterans are eligible for consideration of waivers of both the pharmacy and medical co-payments. Our nearest VA Community Based Clinic is in Farmington; however, a new VA Clinic will open in Durango this summer. Specialty care is referred to the VA Hospital in Albuquerque.

A veteran needs to meet the following criteria to be eligible:

- Discharged from active duty under honorable conditions

- Served a minimum of 2 years if discharged after September 7, 1980. Prior to this date there is no time limit

- If a National Guardsman or reservist, served the entire period for which called to active duty other than for training purposes only.

Veterans who are unsure of their eligibility may call or visit the Archuleta County Veteran Service Office for a determination.

I also want to offer special thanks to a second category of supporter: our volunteer drivers who take veterans who don't or can't drive to medical appointments in Farmington and Albuquerque. Recently, I asked a number of volunteers to assist and they have come through with flying colors. Without them, many veterans would not be able to take advantage of the VA health benefits program.

Archuleta County has provided a sedan for veterans and volunteers to drive to medical appointments for the cost of gas. The sedan currently averages 3,500 miles per month. If you are a veteran who receives benefits from this program, send a note to your county commissioners or tell them in person how much you appreciate their support. Without them, this vital program would not be possible.

For information on these and other veterans 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 The office is open 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 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

Parelli wins women's basketball league

The adult basketball season is drawing to a close and the women's league will end Monday night with a tournament championship game scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

The men's league will finish this week and start tournament games Monday. Both men's tournament games will conclude March 22.

The women's league concluded last week with Parelli Natural Horsemanship taking the championship with a 6-0 record. Silver Dollar-Pagosa Bar finished second with a 3-3 record; Ken's Performance/J.R.'s Concrete finished at 2-4, and Wolf Creek/Summit Sports finished at 1-5.

In the men's action, Tim Miller is winning the recreation league with a 7-0 record, followed by Citizens Bank and Lord Electric at 5-2. Paint Connection and GMAC Realty are at 2-5, and Viking Construction has a record of 0-7. The competitive league is lead by Bear Creek at 7-0, followed by Lucero Tire and J.R.'s Concrete at 5-2. Buckskins is at 1-5 and Wolf Creek is winless at 0-6.

Indoor soccer

Registration forms are available at Town Hall for the indoor soccer program set to begin April 3 and conclude April 26. The program will be held Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6-7:30 p.m. for youth and 7:30-9 p.m. for adults (18 and over). Registration fees are $10 for youth and $15 for adults. Call the recreation department if you are interested in refereeing or for more information, 264-4151.

Women's volleyball

The women's spring volleyball league will get underway with a mandatory 8 p.m. meeting for all managers at the middle school gym March 22. Complete rosters and team fees are due at the meeting.

Games will be played Monday and Wednesday evenings starting April 2. Team fee is set at $200 and the player fee is $10. Practice times will be available for March 28 and 29.

Youth baseball

Two teams of Pagosa baseball players are being formed to play in the La Plata Youth Baseball Sandy Koufax league.

Registration forms are available at Town Hall, with the registration fee set at $50 per child until the March 30.

Practices will begin when fields are available. Games are slated to start at the beginning of May.

Call the recreation office at 264-4151 with any questions

Commission meeting

At the last Park and Recreation Commission meeting, a representative from PLPOA was in attendance and helped the commission determine the future of the Town recreation department.

Other items on the agenda were a discussion of an abandoned tower on Reservoir Hill, a basketball wrap-up, and information about the 2001 baseball season. The commission has a vacancy on the board. Interested people should send a letter of interest to the commission or attend a commission meeting. Meetings are held at Town Hall and begin at 6 p.m.

Four Corners Cup

Last Saturday was the first race of the Four Corners Cup mountain bike race point series.

Though the triathlon in Monticello was hampered by mud and snow, 150 people attended, several from Pagosa Springs.

The first true mountain bike race of the series will take place March 25 in Aztec, N.M. The new, single-track course was designed to circle the Aztec 1948 UFO crash site.

A host of events are planned for the fourth annual UFO symposium, surrounding the 28-mile bike race. On March 21, a play about the story of the crash will be staged at San Juan College. Pre-ride and course inspection will take place March 24 at 11:30 a.m. at Hart Canyon. Sunday's race starts at 10 a.m. at the Aztec Town Hall and will last until the barbecue and awards lunch at noon in Pioneer Park.

For more information or to obtain a race registration form, contact the Aztec Library (505) 334-7658.

In Sync with Isabel
by Isabel Willis

Family/Nurse Alliance aids first time moms

It's not easy to function as a first-time mom or first-time mom-to-be.

So many changes to your life and body are occurring, it's difficult to carry out even simple tasks. Managing your checkbook seems exhausting; remembering to feed the cat is challenging. Your friends think it's contagious and suddenly you're alone with only a glimpse of what's yet to come.

There is hope though. There are people out there who want to help.

Some of those people are from the Healthy Kids Program. It's a family/nurse partnership. Their focus is to work with first-time moms and help them with daily tasks. They don't just offer advice on pregnancy and child-rearing - they build lasting friendships. They want to help each family focus on its strengths. With that comes capabilities, opportunities and most importantly, successes.

"It's obvious that a solution already exists, even if only as a seed," said one Healthy Kids nurse. "You work with it and follow your heart's desire."

The nurses believe the family leads the way and the central focus is on what family members want. It's obvious we all are an expert in our own lives and can create solutions to our problems better than anybody else. Not only that, but the experience of one small success in life gives us hope for bigger, better changes.

Nurses start helping mom when she is between 12 and 28 weeks pregnant. They work with the family until the baby reaches his or her second birthday. At this point, the nurses may not be utilized as much as in the beginning, but it's nice to know that someone cares and there is somebody to call in a crisis situation.

How do you get in touch with a Healthy Kids nurse? For starters, their office is located at San Juan Basin Health Department and they can be reached by calling 264-2409. Most of their time is spent out in the field, giving moms support and guidance. If they don't have the answer to your questions, they are collaborating with local agencies to gather information. The nurses expressed to me that they are very fortunate to work in a strong community. They stated that it certainly makes it a lot easier to network with others in the field. Some challenges still exist regarding the identification of community resources and locating the proper channels for referrals. We all struggle with that one. As with anything else, it just takes time to educate ourselves on what's available in the our community.

The Healthy Kids Program has just expanded to Healthy Kids Plus. This enables nurses to work with moms after the 28th week of pregnancy. Furthermore, they are able to enroll families with babies up to three months old and moms carrying their second child. Perhaps some of these families needed help the first time around, but the program wasn't in existence. The goal all along was for the program to expand, but now program organizers are hoping to receive funding to welcome more nurses on board.

If you would like to make a donation to this program, to local families, need, or to an elderly or disabled adult, contact me at 264-2182 ext. 212. A tax receipt will be prepared for you.

Arts Line
by J.J Lawlis

Color and Contrast' animal art

After an election process that began with a social and ended with an uncontested decision, the Pagosa Springs Arts Council is pleased to announce its new Board for 2001.

Jennifer Harnick will serve as president, Clare Burns as vice president and Doug Schultz as secretary. Rounding out the Board are Jannai Bachus, treasurer, and Doris Green, Stephanie Jones and Susan Garman, board members at-large.

Congratulations to one and all.

Volunteer needed

PSAC is looking for a volunteer to help coordinate the Petroglyph Newsletter published four times a year.

For more in-depth information about the duties involved, contact Joanne at the Gallery, 264-5020.

Space oddity

The "warped ride through space" titled "2001: A Space Oddity" will be presented by the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater group Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

PPFT's Susan Garman has borrowed from a wealth of sci-fi classics to bring us this glimpse into outer space, Pagosa-style. Whether your idea of a "space oddity" is a black hole or a friendly alien, you're sure to enjoy this highly entertaining evening.

Tickets are still available at Sisson Library, the Wild Hare and WolfTracks. Cost is $5.50 adults, $3.50 seniors and children under four. PSAC members can purchase their tickets at a discount at the gallery in Town Park.

Current exhibit

The current exhibit at PSAC's gallery in Town Park is entitled "Color and Contrast" and presents bold and interesting oil paintings of animals.

Artist Amanda Taylor's interest in animals began during her childhood in Snohomish, Wash. She followed her passion for art by attending the Northwest College of Art in Poulsbo, Wash., where she recently received a BFA in visual communication with a double major in fine art and graphic design. Her current exhibit of animal portraits successfully combines her childhood love of animals and her artistic passion.

"There is something precious and unique about animals that makes me love them so much," Taylor said. "Animals do not have to deal with politics or worry about paying rent. They listen to what there instincts tell them and live life accordingly. I admire that deeply."

Come see this interesting first exhibit of the 2001 schedule, through March 28 at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council gallery.

Basket weaving

Jill Choate of Talkeetna, Alaska, will conduct one of her outstanding basket weaving classes April 21. Jill has been weaving contemporary baskets since 1993. She began by designing rustic garden baskets using natural materials which she harvested and prepared herself and then moved on to antler basketry. Jill's basketry has been received with enthusiasm in fine art galleries throughout Alaska and the lower 48 with many of her works being incorporated into major exhibits.

The April 21 basket class in Pagosa Springs will be Jill's only Colorado class during 2001. The cost of the class is $95 and that cost includes materials.

Contact Barbara Rosner, 264-2564, or Mary Ann Sayre, 264-5754, to register. Class size is limited so register as soon as possible to confirm your place.

Angel Box painters

This dedicated group creates beautiful hand-painted boxes to be presented to parents who have lost infant children. The boxes are used to contain mementos of the brief lives of these beloved children.

If you are interested in becoming part of this caring effort, contact Rosie Hatchett at 264-6987.

Gallery notes

Fall/Winter hours are still in effect at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council gallery and gift shop: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Volunteers are always needed to help with the many projects undertaken by PSAC. If you have time to give, contact Joanne at 264-5020. Your help will be much appreciated.

To become a member of PSAC and receive your member's discounts just stop by the gallery and fill out a membership form. Individual membership is only $20 per year; family memberships are $30.

While you're there, ask about the arts council's participation in the City Market Cares Electronic Fundraising program. By signing up, you'll help the arts council every time you shop.

Last but not least, don't forget the March 31 garage sale. Donations of your used, but good items are needed as well as your attendance at the sale. Volunteers to help on Thursday, Friday or Saturday are also needed. Drop off day is March 29, but if that is not convenient for you, call Joanne to arrange another time. See you at the sale.

From the Bully Pulpit

Some comments heard or read last week. First - in an unsigned letter to the editor - a lament, layered amid misconceptions, to the effect the SUN should not provide a "Bully Pulpit" for criticism of Archuleta County Commissioners.

The letter found its way to the round file, where it belongs.

A Bully Pulpit - on an editorial page, as letters to the editor, in personal columns - is what this newspaper is designed to provide. It is the only such forum for criticism, and praise, open to everyone in our community. The pulpit will be occupied as long as the newspaper exists.

Pro or con, regarding any issue, related to the activities and ideas of any official, public figure or organization -including the SUN itself - an opinion that does not libel an individual or business can be delivered from our Bully Pulpit. Have the courage to sign your name to a letter of 500 words or less, and the pulpit is yours.

A second remark: that there is "too much controversy" attendant to the activities of the commissioners. True - as is the fact much of the controversy has been created by the officials themselves, while some has been levied on them. In most cases, both types have been unnecessary.

Local government is not complicated.

It is time to simplify the process by eradicating unnecessary controversy. There will be controversy enough, with the problems that await the commissioners.

What is not needed is the kind of controversy created by actions like that taken last week by outgoing county manager Dennis Hunt and by the conditions that permitted the action. Following a flawed interview process for new building inspectors, Hunt offered employment to two candidates selected as finalists by members of an interview committee. Instead of surrendering his perceived contractual right, and handing the job of final selection to the commissioners - knowing he would soon be gone and the appointees would have to work for and get along with the commissioners - Hunt made the move. There is a palpable sense of rancor attached to the process.

But why were the conditions that allowed such a move in place? Why assemble a committee to conduct a flawed interview process? Why do simple governmental business by committee, when recommendations by professional staff would suffice? Why not tell your manager you will do the job, and do it your way?

A third comment, from a cafe statesman to one of our commissioners: Ignore the criticism from the pulpit and "make a hand."

It is unwise for commissioners to arbitrarily ignore criticism, but the idea it is time to "make a hand" is right on the money. The advice applies as well to several local boards.

Make a hand by hiring competent professionals. Clearly and realistically define your roles and theirs. Rely on staffers, and trust them to put you in position to make the best choices you can make. Make a hand, please, by being scrupulously honest, by conducting business in a legal way, in the clear light of day. Make a hand the right way and you can live with reactions from the Bully Pulpit.

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Bodacious thoughtfulness

Editorial privilege is a journalistic term I never understood. However, during the past 20 years I've learned a weekly newspaper editor enjoys unique opportunities to meet some wonderful individuals and to collect some marvelous memories.

These benefits came to mind recently while cleaning my desk and emptying its drawers.

My reclamation project uncovered a number of syndicated cartoons. Their common theme of freedom of the press were intended for the 1982 National Newspaper Week edition. The collection of included Fred and Tom Johnson's "Moon Mullins", Bil Keane's "The Family Circus", Dik Browne's "Hagar the Horrible," Mort Walker's "Beetle Bailey", Charles Schulz' "Peanuts" and a three-panel drawing of "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith" by Fred Lasswell.

During the late '30s, "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith", "Red Ryder and Little Beaver", "Li'l Abner", "Popeye", "Chief Wahoo", "Alley Oop", "Der Captain and Der Kids", "Henry", "Joe Palooka", "Dick Tracy", "Moon Mullins", "Little Orphan Annie", and others were on my required reading list. They were my best friends.

So recovering the 1982 National Newspaper Week collection added to the satisfaction of "Operation Clean Desk." Seeing the Snuffy Smith panel typified the story-book aspect of my tenure at the SUN.

My folks could hardly believe it when I called home following the July 4, 1974, Red Ryder Roundup to announce that I had met Fred Harman, the creator of Red Ryder and Little Beaver.

While at the SUN a few years later, I met Mrs. Shirley Lasswell who owned Red Ryder Enterprises Inc. and the copyrights to the Red Ryder comics. Even more astounding to someone with a comic strip background such as myself, her husband Fred Lasswell had created Snuffy Smith.

Whereas I was glad a few weeks ago to find Uncle Fred's freedom of the press cartoon, I was saddened Monday to learn of his passing away.

Never one to take himself seriously, Uncle Fred once wrote of himself: "Folks call me live wire because I was born on Electric Street. That was back on July 25, 1916 in Kennett, Dunklin County, southeastern Missouri, down in the boot heel."

Intent as a youth on becoming a cartoonist, Uncle Fred worked part time as a free lancer for the Tampa Bay Daily Times and as an illustrator for an advertising agency. By chance a poster drawn by the 17-year-old caught the eye of noted cartoonist Billy De Beck and led to Uncle Fred becoming the assistant to the creator of Barney Google. Uncle Fred recalled that "Billy was a city slicker from Chicago and I was a hayseed from the flatlands of Missouri." About seven months later Billy De Beck introduced the city slicker Barney Google to Hootin' Holler's most famous hillbilly, Snuffy Smith.

After Mr. De Beck passed away in 1942, King Features Syndicate contracted with Uncle Fred to continue the comic strip. His assignment was to "keep the same general look and flavor . . . and gradually inject your own ideas and characters into the strip."

With bed being one of Snuffy's favorite spots, it's fitting Uncle Fred passed away painlessly the morning of March 4, 2001, while asleep in his bed. He left almost 50 completed Snuffy Smith comic strips and a "bodacious" void in the cartoon world. Humor and thoughtfulness were his life. Along with his talents, they were a blessing to many.

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

By Shari Pierce100 years ago

Taken from The Weekly Times of March 14, 1901

Denver Latham attempted to draw a load of lumber from town last week, but the roads were so bad that he was compelled to leave his load at J.S. Brown's ranch.

Phillips Hall is well lighted with gasoline lamps. Be sure to attend the Necktie Ball Saturday evening and pass a pleasant time in a cheerful room with good music.

Friday afternoons Dr. Clark has been giving lectures to the pupils in Prof. Barnard's and Miss Huff's rooms. One week from tomorrow he will lecture on the blood and present microscopic observations. The lectures are instructive and beneficial.

Jas. Johnson arrived Tuesday evening from Mosca and will immediately take charge of the Shields blacksmith shop.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 12, 1926

G.S. Hatcher this week entered into a contract with I.H. Jones for the drilling of a hot water well on the rear of the Hatcher Hdw. Co. property. The natural hot water will be used to heat the Hatcher Hdw. Co. building, which is already equipped for same, but which has been getting its supply of artesian water from the Arlington hotel well.

Last Saturday night the high school and town teams clashed in a basketball game. The score was 35-29 in favor of the high school.

Geo. Crouse recently purchased 120 acres of land from Harry Sharp a mile west of Pagosa Springs, and is now building a blacksmith shop and residence thereon. It is located on the south side and adjoining the state highway.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 16, 1951

The services offered by the Pagosa Spring SUN in its modern newspaper and commercial plant were considerably improved this past week with the installation of a new casting box. This machine is used to make lead molds and illustrations which are used in the news and advertising columns of the SUN. With the addition of this new machine, the SUN is proud to state that its casting department boasts of equipment equal to that found in any news and job plant.

Archuleta County was among seven counties which signed a $50,000 rainmaking contract with the Water Resources Development Corporation at Cortez on Monday. The share of this amount which is to be raised by Archuleta County residents is a little more that $5,000.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 11, 1976

All three principals in the local system were re-hired Tuesday night at a regular school board meeting. Those re-hired were Ron Shaw, high school principal; Terry Alley, mid-school principal, and Henry Smith, elementary principal.

Colorado State Patrol Officer Tom Richards was presented with a safe driving award by Colorado Lieutenant Governor Brown. The award was in recognition of a record of one-half million accident-free miles of driving. Officer Richards has been with the State Patrol for 17 years.

Snow has been heavy for March on Wolf Creek Pass, totaling 80 inches for the first eight days. This brings the season's fall to 390 inches. Last year 187 inches fell in March, and this was a record snowfall for any March of record.

Pacing Pagosa
By Richard Walter

Pagosa students shine off court, too

Behind the scenes, the state basketball tournament is a study in contrasts.

On the court you have male and female prep athletes trying to prove their team is the best in the state in their classification.

Off the court you have bands, cheerleaders and fans exhorting those athletes to perform to the utmost of their ability.

But there are others who play a part.

For example, the Class 3A tournament, staged in Clune Arena at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs Thursday through Saturday, offered the best in medical care for players injured on the floor.

Cadet medical specialists were on hand, for example, when Lady Pirate senior guard Andrea Ash crashed into the lower seat balustrade in Pagosa's opening round game against Colorado Springs Christian.

An Academy trainer was one of the first on the scene.

She treated Ash for damage to both knees and to one hand. Fans in the stands were worried that Ash had also suffered a head injury because she came off the floor holding a hand to the right side of her head.

Later, she said her head was not injured. "I just didn't want people to see my hair disheveled," she said.

The trainers got another workout for a Pagosa player in the second round game against Eaton when sophomore guard Shannon Walkup was stampeded at midcourt by Eaton's Val Koester who had been named Colorado Class 3A Miss Basketball just before the tournament began.

Walkup was knocked to the floor and suffered a severe gash inside her jaw which led to continued bleeding that could not be immediately stopped. With Walkup on the bench, a Cadet trainer at her side, treating her until the cut was sealed, the bleeding stopped and the young guard - in her first state tournament - returned to action.

Another unusual performance for Pagosa came from junior reserve guard Joetta Martinez. She, as did the entire Pagosa bench, saw extensive playing time in the Colorado Springs Christian opener.

Minutes after the game, with the Pagosa boys' team preparing to take on the CSC boys, Martinez was spotted in the band, playing her heart out in support of the male contingent.

She continued in the band after each game the girls played, proving Pagosa students are multi-talented.

Speaking of the band, I heard a number of compliments from fans in attendance from other communities about both the Pagosa band's performance and the exemplary conduct of the band members.

Pagosa's cheerleaders, too, drew loud applause from both opposing and neutral fans for their routines. One representative of the Colorado High School Activities Association told the SUN the Pagosa cheerleaders were among the best trained she'd seen in the arena this year.

Pagosa fans brought their usual loud support to the massive arena and at one time even had a "wave" going around the northwest end of the building, led by unstoppable Pirate supporter Troy Ross.

Throughout the crowd at each game there were rowdy fans, obnoxious fans and fans dressed more for a masquerade ball. But they were not Pagosans.

Despite their team's losing to Eaton and then to Denver Christian in the game for third place, Pagosa's Lady Pirates' fans stayed with the action right to the end.

After the final defeat, a fourth place finish in the tournament and a 21-4 season record, there were tears, sagging shoulders and a promise from two stalwarts - juniors Katie Lancing and Ashley Gronewoller - that "we'll be back next year."

The only disturbing incident did not involve Pagosa or its players, but did involve their league. When the Centauri Falcons took the court in the consolation bracket against Platte Valley, the Centauri players, as they were introduced, each went to the Platte Valley bench to shake hands with the Bronco's coach.

Platte Valley's players were the only ones I saw in the tournament who did not return the gesture to the opposing coach.

Centauri coach Larry Joe Hunt, who had moved near midcourt to greet the foes, seemed surprised at first, but resigned to the snub after the first three members of the Broncos went only to the middle of the floor to shake hands with a Centauri player.

The several hundred Pagosa fans on hand included students, parents, school administration, just plain Pagosa fans, a member of the County Board of Commissioners, and one member of the school board of Archuleta County District 50 Joint.

Other key elements to a successful tournament were the security patrols, sweepers, ticket sellers and a staff of concession personnel who went out of their way to meet floods of orders (the prices were a little high, however).

In all, it was a disappointing finish to a great season on the floor for the Lady Pirates, an equally frustrating performance by the Pirates, but a feather in the cap for the town of Pagosa Springs and the people who displayed its brand of loud, supportive - but appreciative of others - kind of fervor.

I'm ready to go back next year.

Food For Thought
By Karl Isberg

Bam! Kaboom! Mr. Fix-it's line's busy

Home improvement projects are like explosions - blasts that start innocently enough, with a small event, a seemingly insignificant occurrence.

Remember, though, a thermonuclear detonation requires a small explosion to initiate the Big Bang, after which everything goes every which way with profound results, each particle colliding with other particles, propelling the disaster outward, ever more complex and chaotic, ever more destructive.

That's a typical home improvement project.

Consider me blown to bits.

With my project, the apparently insignificant event was a change of the plates that cover electrical outlets in the front room of my house. Kathy decided she liked some ceramic switch plates she saw at a store, so she bought them. They were expensive.

I put the new plates on the outlets, working my magic with a screwdriver, and thought my job was done.


Seems the color of the new, expensive ceramic switch plates did not match the color of the walls.

A quick bit of math - Kathy's, not mine - showed the cost of paint for the walls of the living room and adjacent dining room would be less than the cost of the switchplates.

Get it?

I went to the hardware store, procured paint chips, watched as Kathy made her decision, then drove back to the store and bought the paint. I dutifully moved furniture to the middle of each room, swathed everything in plastic sheeting, cut and rolled the walls.

The walls looked great, and the paint matched the switch plates. But . . .

Not only did the carpet look grungier once the walls took on a brighter tone, but the color of the well-worn pile did not match the newly painted walls or the switchplates.


This called for new flooring.

There's nothing I enjoy more than tearing up old carpet - carpet that's been the beloved playmate of a large Labrador retriever. The disintegrated carpet pad is a barrel of laughs, host to a variety of odiferous and dangerous organisms. I saved a square yard of the pad for any junior high student who wants to use it for a Science Fair project.

With the carpet removed, the carpet pad sent to an EPA facility in New Mexico and 800,000 rusty staples removed from the subfloor, it was time to install a new floor: some of that high-tech "gosh, in the right light, this looks almost like real wood" flooring. I got a bargain on a brand made of recycled, pulverized and compressed Chinese shoes. On a warm, humid day, our house smells like a podiatrist's waiting room in Shanghai.


A new, almost-wood floor led inexorably to another discovery: those darned kitchen cabinets. Too dark, Gothic. Need brightening, refurbishing.

With the cabinets fresh and sparkly, it quickly became obvious the countertops were inadequate - aesthetically out of harmony with the cabinetry.

Harmonious countertops mean only one thing, don't they? Actually, three things: a new stove, refrigerator and dishwasher.

Ever look at your old couches and living room chair once the surroundings are pepped up?

Is there anything better than leather furniture? Or, more expensive?

The situation was reaching critical mass.

As with so many cataclysms, the problem reached its apogee in the bathroom.

First, the decrepit one-piece acrylic bath and shower enclosure had to go; it was cracked, discolored, embarrassing. Turns out the enclosure was built in, the house constructed around it. It took me three weeks to hack the beast from its moorings, dismember it and cart it away.

New toilet? Sure, why not.

How about a fancy pedestal sink? Oh yeah, gotta have one of those.

Tile floor, with squares of simulated Italian stone? You betcha.

I sawed a hole through the wall of the bathroom and installed a glass brick window with ventilating louver. The cedar siding on the outside of the house looks like it was attacked by a maniac with a chainsaw. I'll get to it eventually.

Wouldn't it be nice to put down a shower base and hand-craft a shower stall, with tile from floor to ceiling?

Yes, indeed, that would be nice.

I'm now on month eight of the bathroom remodel. The explosion is at full force, the bits and pieces of my life, my pride, hurtling randomly at maximum velocity in all directions.

I've learned some interesting things during my months in the bathroom.

There is no such thing as a right angle. Not in my world.

Measure twice: cut once. Measure again, twice: cut again. Try it a third time; third time's a charm. Go to the hardware store and buy more stuff to replace the stuff you measured and cut.

Installation instructions are written by newly-arrived Bulgarian immigrants.

Water is not fun.

When you are engrossed in a total remodel of your home, you have little time to spend on things like food and cooking. You must prepare meals quickly so you can get back to caulking or shimming or cursing. A meal must provide the energy you need to stay up to four in the morning cutting ceramic tile backerboard or working the graveyard shift at a local convenience store to make the extra money needed to buy more supplies for the remodeling project. And cursing.

A perfect recipe for the home handyman involves significant quantity, the carbohydrates necessary for energy on demand, and protein to sustain muscle mass.

Macaroni and cheese.

For a handyman-size amount of mac and cheese take about three quarters of a stick of butter and melt in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add three tablespoons flour and cook long enough to get rid of the flour taste. Add a half cup cream and one cup milk and whisk as the mix heats and thickens. Wanna throw in an egg? Don't forget to temper the beaten egg with bits of the warm liquid before adding it to the pan. Remove from heat and add four cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese and a quarter cup fresh-grated Parmesan, a teaspoon or so of stone-ground mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Nail the mess with a splash of Worcestershire sauce if you want.

Cook 3/4 to one pound elbow mac or ziti until just south of al dente. Butter a baking dish, add the mac and cheese mix to the pasta and blend together. Melt more butter and mix with bread crumbs. Add the crumbs to the top of the mac and pop in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.

Save leftovers in meal-size portions so you can microwave them and eat as you work.

After I finished a portion of mac and cheese early this morning, I made a little chart and tacked it to the wall of the bathroom work-in-progress. It shows what has been finished and what remains to be done. My schedule projects completion of the bathroom project in late 2004, not counting the time I'll need to repair the hideous scars on the outside wall of the house.

Kathy scribbled a few notes at the bottom of my schedule: ideas for more projects, the offshoots of the work in the bathroom. I have no idea how a new roof relates to the bathroom, but when you're caught in an explosion, you go where the blast takes you.

You can call me Mr. Fix-it.

But if you call, expect a busy signal.

For a long, long time.

By John M. Motter

Spuds were early Pagosa survival staple

Living in Pagosa during the 1890s would have been an eye-opening experience, both exciting and boring. During the 1890s, Pagosa Country was in transition from Frontier West to the fast approaching age of technology.

Then, as now, the prosperity of an area depended on the economy. In those days, before extensive refrigeration, mass transit, paved highways, and the complicated supply systems we have today, local folks still generated much of what was consumed locally, especially food. More than one-half of all Americans still lived in the country.

Pagosa Country remained isolated, reachable from the outside only by stagecoach. That meant a grueling, 30-plus mile ride from Lumberton to the south, or a 60-mile stage coach ride from Durango to the west. No public transportation reached Pagosa from the east or the north.

Limited transportation was an axe that cut two ways. Roads and transportation were of immense importance to everyone. First, it was difficult to get people and supplies into Pagosa Springs. Second, it was difficult to get the products of Pagosa Country out to a market. And so, how did Pagosa folks make a living, except by selling to each other?

For one thing, local folks were still experimenting with the land and the climate, learning if anything of commercial value could be grown. Newsman Daniel Egger reported constantly on roads and items of commercial interest to a country people. The following items appeared in the Pagosa Springs News during 1890.

Newspaper item: Geo. F. Smith, a ranchman living ten miles west of town, brought a wagon load of potatoes to town on Monday, which he readily disposed of at two cents per pound. Mr. Smith knows when to dispose of his surplus produce so as to realize the most. Had he sold his potatoes last fall he would have received considerably less for them. His potatoes are grown without any irrigation although his farm is provided with ditches and water. Potatoes raised without the use of water are of a better quality, and Mr. Smith has had good success in raising them that way. Farmers in the vicinity of the Springs will always command a good price for their products, and as, by force of circumstances, we are bound to become a good little city, the market for the produce of the county will become still better and this will be a very prosperous community.

Motter's comment: Smith lived on the place west of town exhibiting the Hell's Hip Pocket sign. The place has a reputation for being well watered. Oldtimers remember the two-story log cabin visible from the highway at that location. That cabin remains at the Fred Harman Art Museum.

The Smith's were cattle people probably arriving in Pagosa Country during the late 1870s when troops manned Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs. The old Pagosa-Durango stage ran past their front door. Sometime during the first decade of the 20th century, the Smiths moved to the Gobernador area. Smith survivors remain in San Diego, and Ury Elam, still living in Hermosa Park north of Durango, was married to a Smith descendant. Eggers touted potato growing as much as he could, but spuds never became significant in an economy built around cattle, sheep and logging.

Newspaper item: Chromo siftings - This community is getting along in season with spring work. Grain all in and most of the potatoes planted. Of the latter there will be about fifty acres planted in this settlement. A large part of the oats and wheat is up and looking fine. The grass is just humping itself and stock is picking up and looking well after the winter's rustling.

Motter's comment: Grain was a big item in a local economy still using horses and oxen for transportation. Almost everyone owned horses, the only means of transportation. Consequently, oats and rye and wheat were big items for personal consumption and for sale to locals who couldn't grow their own.

Newspaper item: Clerk Taylor will plant three thousand pounds of potatoes this season. E. M. Taylor moved to Pagosa Springs early in the 1880s. He owned considerable property, raised sheep and cattle, and served at various times as county clerk, town clerk, and other public positions.

Newspaper item: This is the time of the year that the Archuleta County farmer plants potatoes (late May). It is claimed by many that around June 1 is the best time to plant.

Motter's comment: More spuds.

Newspaper item: Amargo will have another sawmill in a day or two.

Motter's comment: We talk about Amargo for several reasons, mostly because we like the place. During the 1880s and 1890s, Amargo was important because the Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge ran through Amargo on its way to Durango. Amargo was, therefore, the closest railroad connection for Pagosa Springs. A stage ran regularly from Amargo to Pagosa Springs, and, we assume, freight wagons. Amargo is no more. You have to be a pretty good historian to know where Amargo once was, today a flat, sage-brush covered plain between Lumberton and Monero.

Newspaper item: The railroad receipts at Amargo are increasing rapidly, due, no doubt, to the activity at Pagosa Springs.

Motter's comment: Sounds as if a lot of Pagosa folks and freight were passing through Amargo.

Newspaper item: The local land office has rendered a decision in the contest case of Amargo in favor of the town site.

Motter's comment: Here we see the beginning of the end of Amargo. More on that later. Have to build suspense, you know.

News item: It is getting very dangerous to ford the Blanco on the road to Amargo and the river has not reached its highest yet, either. The road on the north side should be repaired so the bridge can be utilized.

Motter's comment: Egger is talking about that stretch of the Blanco River paralleled by Highway 84 roughly south from the intersection of the Lower Blanco Road to the green bridge. I've never forded a river in a stage coach, but expect the experience could be exciting if the river is high.

Newspaper item: F.A. Byrne, the popular mail contractor, has repaired the road on the north side of the Blanco sufficiently to enable him to drive over it.

Motter's comment: Byrne owned the stage line to Amargo, having purchased animals and the coach from E.T. Walker. Byrne was probably the first public school teacher in Pagosa Country, having taught students in town in a log cabin near the Great Pagosa Hot Springs during the late 1870s while troops were stationed at Fort Lewis.

Newspaper item: A petition to the board of county commissioners, praying for a change in the Pagosa Springs and Amargo road, is being circulated and signed extensively. The petition asked that the road on the Blanco be changed from the south side to the north side so that the bridge can be utilized in crossing the river.

Motter's comment: Roads have always been a problem for county commissioners. Early on, road overseers were appointed to maintain the more heavily traveled roads. Citizens could pay a road tax, or, if they wanted to keep their hard earned money, work on roads in lieu of paying taxes.

Newspaper item: A.D. Archuleta recently purchased two car loads of horses at Denver and shipped them to Amargo. They are large draught horses and Mr. Archuleta will use them to draw ties to the river.

Motter's comment: This is the Archuleta family for which the county is named. At this time, A.D. was cutting thousands of ties for sale to the railroad, another way to make a living. I wonder how much grain those drought horses consumed per day, how many miles to the gallon?

Newspaper item: A telephone line between Pagosa Springs and Amargo would be a great convenience to the people of this popular resort.

Motter's comment: Pagosa's first telephone line to the outside was put in on this route by Welch Nossaman during the 1890s.

Newspaper item: A regular salvationist passed through town last Friday morning. His wagon was decorated with all kinds of mottoes. He evidently observed that Pagosa Springs was a moral town, for he lingered not with us, but steered his good ship toward the setting sun where sinners abound without number.

Motter's comment: Lest we think Egger was a heathen based on this comment, we should recognize that he was one of the founding fathers of this community's Methodist Church

Newspaper item: While the stage was coming down the hill just beyond the Halfway House last Friday, one of the breast straps broke and the tongue fell to the ground. The horses suddenly ran throwing Mr. Thompson to the ground, the driver escaping by jumping. Mrs. Thompson got out before the descent of the hill began and thus probably avoided adverse injury. Mr. Thompson being a heavy man he received quite a shaking up and several bruises. He now says that his wife knows more than he does for had he taken her advice he would not have come on the stage when the accident occurred.

Motter's comment: We're all familiar with wrecks. This pre-auto wreck took place just south of the intersection of Highway 84 and Valle Seco Road. The Halfway House formerly stood at that intersection. We don't know the exact routing of the road in 1890, but recognize the hill immediately south as still dangerous when icy.

Newspaper item: C.H. Harpst, station agent at Amargo, will resign his position and take charge of Bartholomew's mill, located near that place.

Motter's note: Harpst later moved to Chromo and ran a mill on his own. One of the Harpst's was also an early Baptist preacher in Pagosa Country.

Newspaper item: The Chama Northwest New Mexican slightly prevaricates when it says the News is the third paper born at Pagosa within a year, Herald, People's Advocate, and News. The editor of the first went to the penitentiary, the second to the poor house. Where are you bound for, Brother Egger.

Motter's comment: Just a bit of indirect information on the history of the newspaper business in Pagosa Country.

Newspaper item: W.H. Kern will soon run a stage line between this place and Durango.

Motter's comment: W.H. Kern was a good friend of Fil Byrne. We assume that after the railroad reached Durango in 1881, many Pagosa folks traveled to Durango by taking the stage to Amargo, then riding the train to Durango. Consequently, during that time stage service to Durango was an on-and-off proposition.

Newspaper item: H.C. Cooper has started a day herd and is ready to receive cattle or horses for herding at reasonable charges.

Motter's note: Another local business. Many downtown homes had a barn or stable behind the house where the owner kept a horse and or a cow. Cooper was offering to gather the animals and drive them out to the country for a little grass. The town herd concept survived into the 1930s in Pagosa Springs.

Business News

Biz Beat

Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon, left, joined ALCO store manager Jim Plant and a host of guests and dignitaries at a March 13 ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the opening of the Pagosa store.

ALCO is a full-line retailer offering apparel, sporting goods, auto care products, health and beauty products, film and film processing, and much more.

The Pagosa ALCO store is located in the Pagosa Country Center and is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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