"How much is enough?" is a question asked about many things.
Across the nation that question is often asked concerning water. In fact, water concerns are important enough on a national scale that May 6-12 has been declared National Water Week.
Locally, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District has in progress two engineering studies designed to answer the questions, "How much water do we have?" and "Who will it serve?"
PAWS provides water, and in some instances sewage service, to those included within district boundaries. Water users located outside district boundaries must petition and be accepted by the district for inclusion in order to obtain PAWS water.
Currently, the district serves 3,737 taps in a 64.7 square mile area. Since 1995, 230 new taps have been turned on each year.
Troubled that, as the area grows, future demands by those already included in the district might exceed district raw water supplies or the district's ability to provide treated water, the PAWS board has placed a moratorium on granting new inclusions until results from the engineering study are tabulated and analyzed.
"I'm convinced we have enough water rights for current needs and for the foreseeable future," said Carrie Campbell, the PAWS general manager. "We don't know if our treatment and storage capacities are sufficient. The studies should tell us that. In addition, they should help us decide where and when to add treatment and storage facilities and how big to make them."
The PAWS board initiated the moratorium against new inclusions in order to buy time to complete the studies. They don't want to add consumptive areas outside the district until they know areas already included can be supplied.
"This isn't an anti-growth step," Campbell said. "It's just that we feel obligated to fill needs we've already assumed before taking on new needs. The law requires us to fill new water needs if we have the ability. We're trying to find out what that ability is before we promise any more water."
PAWS has hired Davis Engineering to develop information for formulating a master plan as a guide for future board decisions. Harris Water Engineering is correlating the district's water rights with population growth projections. Both studies should be completed this fall, according to Campbell. Both will help the district determine where they are and where they need to go.
PAWS revenues are derived from property taxes and a variety of user fees. For taxing purposes, PAWS is subdivided into District 1 and District 2. District 1 generally includes the Fairfield Pagosa subdivisions west of Piedra Road and north of U.S. 160. District 1 includes water and sewer services. District 2 generally includes the Fairfield Pagosa subdivisions west of Pagosa Springs and south of U.S. 160. This is generally a water service-only area. District 2 also includes water service for Pagosa Springs and surrounding developments.
PAWS water is obtained from four sources. The subdivisions west of town are generally supplied from Four Mile Creek through storage reservoirs and treatment plants located at Hatcher and Stevens reservoirs.
Also being developed for the subdivisions west of town is a diversion from the San Juan River south of town. Water from the San Juan diversion is pumped to a treatment plant now under construction at the PAWS Vista headquarters facility on Lynn Avenue.
The final source takes water from the San Juan River West Fork, feeds a treatment plant on Snowball Road, then supplies potable water for Pagosa Springs and the immediate vicinity.
As soon as the south San Juan supply and treatment plant are operational later this year, current plans call for enlarging Stevens Reservoir. In conjunction with the Stevens Reservoir enlargement, the district also plans to encase in pipe much of the supply ditch from Four Mile Creek.
Also underway is enlargement and updating of the Vista sewage treatment plant, and a number of other capital improvements including a telemetry system for metering and controlling system performance.
The district is working with town and school district officials to provide raw water for irrigating parks and the sports complex in town. PAWS has applied to the state for conditional water rights to be used for in-town irrigation purposes.
"Irrigating in town requires a lot of water and right now most of that is expensive treated water," Campbell said. "If we can substitute raw water it might prolong the life of the Snow Ball Treatment Plant another five years or so."
As summer approaches and water consumption increases at the same time water supplies decrease, Campbell urges local water consumers to conserve water by using common sense: such old time ideas as water lawns only when the sun is down, direct water at grass and such and not at paved walks and roadways, repair all leaks, and don't let water run continuously while brushing teeth or performing other toilet functions.
Finally, Campbell urges locals to learn and apply the principals of xeriscape gardening and landscaping, principals involving the use of local plants that require less water than plants from wetter climates. A sample xeriscape garden is available for viewing at the PAWS Vista site. Handouts on xeriscape techniques are available at the nearby PAWS headquarters.
County;s planning department under heavy development load By John M. Motter
Buildings and developments, like May flowers, are springing up at a furious pace across the Archuleta County landscape.
"It's very, very busy," said Kathy Ruth, the county planning director. Adding to the pressure on planning office staff, is the vacancy created by the resignation of former Director of County Development Mike Mollica. The county commissioners are currently laboring to fill that vacancy.
"I guess what takes up a great deal of our time this time of year is answering the telephone," Ruth said. "We get calls from folks anticipating moving to the area. They want to know what kinds of rules and regulations they will face if they buy property here. I guess a lot of time is spent educating. We also have other counties calling trying to find out how we handle land use problems."
Meanwhile, Ruth and Marcus Baker, the planning technician, are handling an almost record number of applications for subdivisions, conditional use permits, planned unit developments, minor impact subdivisions, and replats and changes for a number of the above that were approved in the past.
In their spare time, the planning staff is writing new regulations relevant to permits for gas wells and preparing for commissioner acceptance of the Community Plan adopted by the USJRPC. If that plan is adopted by the commissioners, planning staff will probably be charged with drafting enforcement regulations. The conditional use permit needs revision, and a limited use policy needs to be codified, Ruth said.
Some of the land development proposals are large and some small, but all require planning staff to scrutinize the proposals to make sure they comply with county regulations. Almost as an aside, but nevertheless time consuming, the planning department assigns addresses throughout the county and is responsible for census data.
Among the more extensive developments under consideration is the Reserve at Pagosa Peak and South Village Lake.
Located on a 239-acre parcel about three miles north of U.S. 160 on Piedra Road, the Reserve at Pagosa Peak is between the sketch plan and preliminary plat stages. The developers contemplate subdividing the parcel into 140 single family lots varying in size. Most of the lots, 135, will contain 10,600 square feet. The remaining five lots will contain from 2.5 to 6 acres. Developers of this project anticipate preserving about two-thirds of the acreage as open space.
South Lake Village, as proposed, contains 23 single family lots averaging just less than one-half acre each. It is located on Lakeside Drive approximately 1,000 feet from the junction of Lakeside Drive and Park Avenue, and 300 feet from the junction of Lakeside Drive and Driftwood Avenue The preliminary plat for South Lake Village is scheduled to come to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission May 9.
Expected into the planning office soon are the plans for Phase IV of Colorado Timber Ridge. This phase is expected to contain about 38 lots on 300 acres that will also include four multi-family units and an equestrian facility.
In the offing is Whispering Times Townhomes to be located near Eaton and Talisman along Park Avenue. This 8.5-acre project anticipates two phases. Phase 1 contemplates eight buildings with 42 living units. Phase 2 anticipates six buildings with 28 living units.
A commercial venture, the Econo Lodge Motel is being proposed for construction near the commercial core area at Fairfield Pagosa.
Behind the larger projects enumerated are a parade of minor impact subdivisions, townhomes, and alterations to existing subdivisions. The June USJRPC agenda is already full and the May meeting hasn't yet been held. Public planning commission meetings are conducted once a month to review applications. A second public meeting is held each month to review and update regulations. Special meetings are also conducted. All public meetings are held at night.
The usual process for obtaining land development approval in Archuleta County involves a pre-application meeting with planning staff, a sketch plan, a preliminary plat, and a final plat. The paperwork normally runs through the planning office, past the USJRPC, and to the county commissioners for final approval. The number of steps in the process and time required for completion varies according to each project's complexity. In any case, the planning staff reviews all paperwork and is involved in project review during each step of the procession.
During the past year, the planning staff has also been involved in developing the community plan, including participation in almost 30 public meetings conducted during the evening after normal business hours.
And so, anyone racing down a local highway and peering through a car window who exclaims, "Boy, there is a lot of building going on," is looking at a project that received many hours of the Archuleta County Planning staff's attention.
Loma Linda metro district seeks interim county road aidBy John M. Motter
How to keep trucking across Loma Linda roads is causing a lot of head scratching for residents of the subdivision located in the shadows of Eight Mile Mesa south of Pagosa Springs.
During the 20-plus years since the development was first conceived, road construction and maintenance has been an issue. The county eventually reached an agreement with the most recent owner of the development, Loma Linda Ltd., calling for the owner to set aside proceeds from the sale of certain designated lots for the purpose of road improvements.
The money set aside was placed in a joint account shared by the county and the development owner. No rules were established directing funds to be spent on any specific road within the development.
Tuesday, the county commissioners issued a deed of trust on the last of the dedicated lots adding about $25,000 to the few dollars remaining in the joint fund. Because the last dedicated lot is sold, no more funds will be added to the joint account.
Property owners Tuesday asked the commissioners to obtain a "more formal" plan detailing how the funds will be spent before allowing their release. Fred Schmidt has been acting on behalf of the subdivision owner. In the past, Schmidt has allocated funds and contracted for road work according to his own judgment.
The property owners pointed out that $25,000 will not begin to cover the amount of road work needed.
Anticipating the time when funds from the joint account will no longer exist, Loma Linda property owners last year voted approval of Loma Linda Metropolitan District, thereby creating a vehicle to finance road maintenance.
The district is authorized to levy a 9-mill property tax. In addition, the county will forward state derived Highway User Tax Funds to the new district. The mill levy is expected to raise about $24,731 and the HUTF source could amount to about $18,000 based on nine miles of roads within the development and a $2,000 per-mile rate.
A major problem exists because these funds are not going to trickle into district coffers until some time next year. With that idea in mind, Jim Kahrs, representing the district, asked the county commissioners Tuesday for backup help.
Many of the subdivision's roads are not up to county standards, Kahr said, and some income is expected this year.
"We'll need help this summer and with snow removal this winter," Kahr said. "We figure it will take five years to bring the roads up to specifications."
"We've agreed to take care of the snow plowing until you get HUTF," said commissioner Alden Ecker. Ecker is the board of county commissioners' liaison for roads.
"I can't promise a miracle," Ecker continued. "The county will be busy with mag chloride over the next two months. If you have any emergency, we'll help you. That's about all I can say for now. We're obligated in case of an emergency."
Before the district was formed, property owners spent about $6,500-$7,000 on road maintenance, Kahr said.
Ecker's promise to provide emergency help was the extent of the county's Tuesday commitment to Loma Linda for roads.
Hesperus farmer selected to replace Dyer in the Senate
La Plata County resident James Isgar has been selected to fill the Senate District 6 seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Dyer, D-Durango.
Isgar will replace Dyer, who is resigning from his seat in the state senate to take a position on the Public Utilities Commission at the end of the current legislative session on May 9. Isgar will be sworn into office sometime after the end of the session.
Isgar, 49, is a rancher living in the Hesperus area west of Durango and a former president of the State Board of Agriculture. He currently sits on the Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy Board of Directors and is a longtime member and former president of the La Plata County Cattleman's Association.
"It won't be an easy task to replace Jim Dyer," said Isgar, "but I'm honored to be selected by the members of the vacancy committee from a list of qualified people. I promise to work hard to make sure the issues of southwestern Colorado are heard loud and clear at the statehouse."
As provided in Colorado law, Isgar was appointed by a vacancy committee comprised of officers of the Democratic party from the nine counties in Senate District 6: Archuleta, Delta, Dolores, La Plata, Montrose, Montezuma, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel.
According to Bev Rich, Senate District 6 Vacancy Committee Chair, the move to replace Dyer "was an amazing citizen process and the vacancy committee members spent a lot of time evaluating these excellent candidates. But in the end, Jim Isgar's name was clearly at the top of the list."
Isgar is a graduate of Durango High School and Fort Lewis College and attended graduate school at CSU. His wife Brenda works as a home health care nurse for San Juan Basin Health Department. They have five children between the ages of 19-23.
He has been active in many community organizations including being the current President of the La Plata Water Conservancy Board of Directors and the Basin Cooperative Board of Directors. He served on the Colorado Board of Agriculture from 1988-1997, which oversees Colorado State University, Fort Lewis College and the University of Southern Colorado. He is also a certified public accountant.
Batch plant controversy refuses to dieBy John M. Motter
Hard Times Concrete's delivery trucks are jogging down local highways, but the county commissioner decision to approve the company's batch plant is still the subject of brickbats thrown by opponents of the operation.
Brickbats could turn to lawsuit, depending on the outcome of actions being contemplated by the Friends of the Environment, a group opposed to the batch plant.
Some of those opponents showed up at last Tuesday's meeting of county commissioners and spoke under a "public comment" agenda heading.
The opponents' primary objection centers on the commissioner action two weeks ago allowing the plant to operate before completing certain landscaping, paving, and fuel spill conservation measures contained in the conditional use permit the commissioners approved last fall.
By a 2-1 vote two weeks ago, the commissioners allowed Hard Times to open, allowed them one and one-half years to complete the prescribed work, and required a bond as assurance the work will be completed.
Voting to allow Hard Times to open were commissioners Gene Crabtree and Alden Ecker. Voting against was commissioner Bill Downey.
Opponents argue that the most recent decision changes the agreement reached last fall. Ecker argues the conditions of last fall's agreement have not been changed, that they have been extended and bonding added.
Representative of the position of the opponents Tuesday was a statement made by Dr. James L. Knoll III, MD. Knoll said he represents Friends of the Environment.
Knoll made the following points:
- The Hard Times Batch plant went through a process approved by the county in order to receive a conditional use permit
- The process included multiple opportunities for open comment to the county planning department, planning commission, and county commissioners at special and regular meetings
- The planning department only recommended approval if certain mitigations were included
- Because of a tie vote, the planning commission did not recommend approval, even of the mitigations
- The county commissioners voted 3-0 last fall to approve the mitigations. No bond or completion date was set. The only ruling was that Hard Times could not begin operations until the mitigations were fully completed and the planning department approved them as completed
- The present commissioners two weeks ago voted to undo and overturn the above work without public comment, without adequate public announcement, (one day before the meeting is not adequate), and in what I consider not only bad faith, but illegal action
- Two of your members, Mr. Downey and Ms. Weiss went on record as being against this hasty, illegal, and unannounced action
- They did so for good reason - liability and even more important, good faith to all Archuleta County citizens
- Our group of citizens called the Friends for the Environment chose to follow the Archuleta County process
- We chose not to litigate when the commissioners, by voting in the mitigations, assured us this ill positioned concrete plant would not pollute our environment. We now have no assurance. We now worry that another coffee meeting, another day, faulty memories, faulty loyalties, etc., could all undo any agreement made by this board at any moment. Our trust in you is now gone
- We will now gather our group of Archuleta County voting citizens to decide what further legal action to take.
County offers top planning job to Mark S. SmithBy John M. Motter
Archuleta County's commissioners have offered Mark S. Smith the position of Director of County Development.
Smith was recommended by a five-member screening committee which reviewed the resumes of seven applicants and narrowed the list to two before offering Smith the job.
The county is filling a vacancy created when Mike Mollica, the former director of county development, resigned this past March.
At Tuesday's regular meeting, after coming out of executive session, the commissioners moved to authorize Kathy Wendt, the administrative assistant, to negotiate with "the applicant recommended by the screening committee."
After first refusing to name the person chosen, the county released the name and resume of Smith to The SUN.
If Smith accepts the position, he will be responsible for directing the county planning department. That includes processing all applications for various kinds of land uses including subdivisions, conditional use permits, and planned unit developments; writing land use rules; advising the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission on land use issues; and advising the county commissioners concerning land use issues. One product of the position is the county master plan.
The related building permit department is not under the planning department umbrella and consequently will not be supervised by the director of county development.
Smith obtained a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Johnson State College in Johnson, Va. in 1983. He followed that up with a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin located at Madison, Wis. in 1986.
He is a member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners.
"I called him. He (Smith) will get back with us next week." Wendt said. "He is also looking at a position in Clear Creek County and wants to know what they have to say."
According to his resume, Smith has more than 12 years experience in local government and other land use planning positions.
Most recently, from Oct. 2000 through March of 2001, Smith was temporarily employed as interim senior planner for Bonney Lake, Wash. He was responsible for an array of current and long-range planning duties.
Prior to that, he was a lead and senior planner for North Bend, Wash. from March 1995, through June, 2000. Work experience from June of 1985 through November of 1994 involved the position of associate planner at URS Consultants, Seattle, and King County Parks Division, Seattle; assistant planner for Pierce County in Tacoma, and Agency of Natural Resources in Vermont; project manager/planner for Office of State Planning in New Hampshire; assistant town planner for Mashpee, Mass.; park and open space project planner for Falmouth, Mass.; and conservation assistant for American Rivers, Washington, D.C.
Members of the employment screening committee for the planning position are Bill Downey, county commissioner; Mary Weiss, county attorney; Kathy Ruth, county planning director, Lynn Constan, chairman of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission; and Bob Lynch, vice chairman of the USJRPC.
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
- Scheduled a work session Monday morning to establish guidelines for choosing a new county administrator. So far, 27 applications have been received for the position
- Under the consent agenda, the commissioners approved the sale of eight pieces of property for back taxes; a letter supporting reappointment of Colorado Department of Transportation commissioner for District 8; and approved county payable warrants for April 17-27
- Approved a $500 scholarship matching grant for a Pagosa student attending Pueblo Community College
- Postponed action on a contract relating to the application of magnesium chloride on county roads. Application of the surface stabilizing and dust inhibiting salt is being delayed until the agreement is completed. Application will begin in the southern part of the county and progress in a northerly direction over a period of two months until all targeted roads are completed
- A 3.2 percent retail liquor license was renewed for Chromo Mercantile Co.
Town, county schedule back-to-back clean-up weeks
Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County have scheduled back-to-back clean-up weeks during the two weeks prior to Memorial Day weekend.
The town's clean-up will run from May 13-19. Archuleta County efforts begin May 19 and end May 25.
The county landfill will be open for free dumping of non-commercial items only, on the overlapping day, May 19, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To help facilitate the community's clean-up efforts, dumpsters for trash will be located in the Town Park and on South Ninth Street May 13. These dumpsters will be relocated after a few days. Anyone needing the location of the receptacles should call Town Hall, 264-4151.
Junk cars can be cleared by calling Town Hall and requesting removal prior to May 11.
Town staff will be removing junk from along street rights of way throughout the week. On May 14, crews will cover North Pagosa from the Western Addition to Third Street, including the downtown alley and the portion of Pagosa Hills inside town limits. The May 15 route takes them back to North Pagosa from Third Street to the River Center.
On May 16, crews will head east of the river, picking up junk from San Juan Street to the south town border. The next day's route will go around South Pagosa from west of the river to Eighth Street and Piedra Estates. Pickup in South Pagosa from Eighth Street to the Garvin Addition will be April 18.
These pickups are for large items such as old lumber or appliances placed along the road right of way. Anyone with a hardship should call the town prior to the pickup date. Town crews will enter property and remove junk only when a hardship exists and the owner is present. Household trash isn't part of this pickup and should be placed in the free dumpsters.
The town staff cannot accept hazardous materials. That means motors and freon must be removed from old refrigerators prior to pick up.
As part of clean-up week, the town will continue its residential tree program. Under the program, the town pays half the price of a tree planted between the front of a house and the town street. Restrictions do apply, so call the Parks and Recreation office at Town Hall for details.
The county's clean-up efforts begin with the open landfill May 19. Dumpsters will be provided in five different locations through the week as listed:
- May 19-21, Lower Blanco at the entrance from U.S. 84 on the south side of the road
- May 19-21, Holiday Acres on U.S. 84 opposite the north entrance
- May 21-23, San Juan River Resort on Alpine Drive near the treatment plant
- May 23-25, Aspen Springs, possibly across from the Turkey Springs Trading Post.
The dumpsters listed above are for public use. Residents should avoid dumping in private dumpsters
- May 23-25, Vista on Lynn Avenue at the south entrance of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District facility.
Large items, such as car bodies or large freezers should be taken to the landfill. Hazardous wastes and liquids should not be placed in the dumpsters or the landfill. Freon must be removed from refrigerators and freezers before dumping.
For more information on clean up week in the county, contact the Archuleta County Solid Waste department at 264-0193.
Town police restructured, 2 positions createdBy Tess Noel Baker
The Pagosa Springs Police Department has implemented a new chain of command by eliminating the captain's position and creating two new positions, patrol supervisor and investigator.
Police Chief Don Volger said the move was made to prepare for future growth and to improve efficiency within the department. Having just one captain in charge of investigations, with some administration duties and patrol supervision, was becoming too much.
Instead, he said, after discussions with town staff, it seemed more reasonable to divide responsibilities along the general lines of administration, patrol and investigation in use in other departments.
"We're still going to cross over some," he said. "It's not like we're in little compartments, but it does further define responsibilities."
Two current members of the department have been appointed to the new positions. Chuck Allen, the former captain, is the patrol supervisor, and George Daniels has been appointed investigator.
According to their job duties, Allen will supervise patrol, routine investigations, traffic and other functions as assigned. He will also "assist in planning, directing and supervising ongoing law enforcement and crime prevention activities and policies of the town."
The investigator's duties include conducting and coordinating the investigation of major cases, as well as assisting in the planning and directing of crime prevention activities.
Both Allen and Daniels will continue to act as patrol officers as part of their new jobs and their job descriptions include performing the duties of the chief as directed, in the chief's absence.
Since the two positions have a similar level of responsibility, it was determined compensation should also be similar, Volger told the town trustees at their regular meeting Tuesday. To achieve that, the board approved a salary increase of about $3,088 for Daniels which will come out of the current police budget.
"I could take it out of several line items and still, bottom line, be OK at the end of the year," Volger said. Some money has also been saved this year because of a two-month vacancy in the parking enforcement officer position.
The choice of titles was based on clarity.
"Right now we're going to get away from military ranking stuff and give titles based on job descriptions to eliminate confusion," Volger said.
The restructuring has been in the planning stages for two years, in development for about a year, and went into effect May 1.
Besides updating the town board on the restructuring move, Volger provided an update on police activities at the May 1 board meeting.
The police activities update was requested by board member Stan Holt. He said it might be helpful for the board to hear reports from the police department quarterly, instead of the current annual report, to better understand the needs of the department.
"I don't want to burden you," he told Volger at the meeting. "I do read the police reports in the newspaper, and you get an idea of what's going on there, but I'd just like to get a little feedback from time-to-time to get an idea of what's happening."
He specifically asked about the recent rise of incidents of underage possession of alcohol.
Some of that increase can be attributed to the addition of two officers on patrol at night and an officer on the grave-yard shift some nights, Volger said. "We are trying to be pretty aggressive about that," he added. "I'm hoping the message gets out that this is not a good thing to do."
Recycling program marks first anniversaryBy Patti Exster
Recycling in Archuleta County celebrated its first anniversary March 1, and the program continues to prosper and expand.
In the first months of 2001 the recycling program has diverted approximately 440 cubic yards of recyclables away from the county landfill. This includes 240 cubic yards of cardboard, 150 cubic yards of newspaper, 20 cubic yards of plastic and 30 cubic yards of aluminum. To illustrate this better, picture a parade of 48 gravel trucks full of recyclable materials that are not getting dumped in our landfill.
The recycling program has also expanded to include No. 1 and No. 2 plastic and household batteries. This expansion has met an enthusiastic response from local residents. Number 1 and No. 2 plastic is most often used in food and beverage containers such as milk jugs and soda bottles. Check the bottom of the container for this number. Household batteries include flashlight batteries of any size, nine volt batteries, lantern batteries, watch and camera batteries. The Recycling Center does not accept automotive batteries, but auto parts stores around town do.
Taking materials to the Recycling Center costs nothing and can be done Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. County residents can also recycle on Mondays by special appointment. The Recycling Center is located at the transfer station on Trujillo Road. Give the Solid Waste Department a call at 264-0193 for more information.
The Recycling Center accepts the following recyclable: No. 1 and No. 2 plastic, household batteries, aluminum beverage and food cans (rinsed out), steel and tin food and beverage cans (rinsed-with the open end squeezed together), paint and aerosol cans (empty and dry with lids off), metal lids, newspaper, white and pastel copy paper, magazines and catalogs, envelopes (light colored), cards, notebook paper, advertisements printed on light colored paper, and cardboard.
Remember Clean Up Week 2001 is May 13-19. Also, there are plans for a hazardous waste clean-up sometime this summer, so start collecting cans of paint and insecticide to dispose of properly.
Sign ordinance loophole closedBy Tess Noel Baker
A former loophole in the town's sign ordinance has been closed by a vote of the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees.
At the regular monthly meeting May 1, board members approved an ordinance amendment recommended by the planning commission requiring permits for all signs inside town boundaries. Prior to the change, temporary signs tended to slip through the cracks and onto the sides of businesses with little regulation.
Now, those signs, including any display not permanently affixed to the ground or a building, will also be counted in the aggregate square footage allowed for signage in a location.
The revisions allow temporary signs to be displayed free for 14 days in each calendar year. After that, a fee of $1 per square foot per month will be charged until it is removed. The maximum time any temporary sign can be displayed is 10 weeks in a calendar year.
Temporary signs are defined in the ordinance as "any device used for the purpose of advertising, attracting attention, or accenting a business location that is intended to be displayed for a limited period of time . . . and for which a permanent sign permit under Ordinance 415 Section II is not required."
During the board meeting, town planner Chris Bentley said the town's attorney suggested that other towns had even shorter maximum display times while reviewing the amendment. However, she said, the commission didn't intend the amendment to place any undo hardship on business owners, and so stayed with the 10-week limit.
The review of the sign ordinance began back in February when citizen complaint at the number and appearance of these signs, including plastic banners and pennants, caused the planning commission to consider amending the ordinance.
"The Planning Commission has chewed this ordinance over," Bentley said. "They went back and forth over the definitions and time limits."
Now that the ordinance amendment has passed, education is the next step, Bentley said in an interview Wednesday morning.
"We'll begin contacting business owners, making sure everybody knows what the new requirements are and everyone is up to speed before we start requiring people to remove things," she said. No specific timeline for the start of enforcement has been set.
A more complete revision of the sign ordinance remains in the plans for the next couple years, she said. At the public hearing on the proposed changes which was continued over two town board meetings, no one spoke in favor or against the amendment.
In other business, the board:
- Approved conditional-use permits for a daycare facility on North 4th Street, a single-family residence on San Juan Street and recreational vehicle parking for work crews at the First Baptist Church construction site. All three were recommended for approval by the Pagosa Springs Planning Commission
- Approved ordinance 569 designating 414 Pagosa Street, the building that currently houses the Taminah Gallery, as a local historic landmark. A permanent plaque announcing the designation will be presented to the building owners at a May 12 open house.
The open house, set to start at 1 p.m. will include refreshments, music, an artist at work, and a bird release. At 3 p.m., members of the Pagosa Springs Historical Preservation Board will lead a short historical walking tour through downtown starting from the gallery
- Approved the intergovernmental agreement with Archuleta County for joint administration of road projects at the intersection of Piedra Road and U.S. 160. The town will be responsible for costs related to the relocation of Eagle Drive, made necessary because of the Colorado Department of Transportation's project to put a traffic signal at the intersection. Archuleta County will handle costs tied to the widening and reconstruction of Piedra Road from the highway intersection to Ace Court
- Approved Resolution 01-13 finalizing the lease purchase arrangement on the proposed Community Center
- Reviewed proposals for the purchase of the current Town Hall building and a lease to create a downtown park on Pagosa Street between the Taminah Gallery and the Irish Rose.
Water units urge patrons to practice conservancy
National Drinking Water Week is May 6-12. Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District with the San Juan Water Conservancy District encourages everyone to get involved in protecting and conserving one of our most precious resources - water.
Drinking Water Week is an educational campaign aimed at helping people understand the importance of safe drinking water. A key element of the campaign is to show how individuals can affect the quality and quantity of the water they are drinking. What goes into the trash, down the pipe and drain, up into the air, and onto the ground can pollute your drinking water source.
Providing safe drinking water is everyone's business - through watershed source protection, use of all water sources available and adequate storage, new methods of water treatment, and ways to prevent harmful pollution by industrial, agricultural, and daily life activities we can have a safe and adequate water supply for the future.
To learn more about how you can protect the quantity and quality of your drinking water, visit the Drinking Water display in the Ruby Sisson Library May 5-18. The display contains maps that show where your drinking water comes from, many free pamphlets on water resources and water rights, treatment methods, and conservation and pollution prevention activities.
Water information is also available at the PAWS office, as well as at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, Archuleta County Extension Building, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association offices, Town Hall, and the county planning office.
To encourage water protection and conservation, local schools and Head Start have been provided with water education materials and activity books with activities and experiments of all ages.
PAWS invites newcomers and old timers alike to visit a xeriscape garden, next to the district office. Pick up a brochure on the garden's plants, and starting June 20, talk with garden designer Patty Renner about landscaping with native plants Wednesdays, 9-11 p.m.
Town moves toward U.S. 160 annexationsBy Tess Noel Baker
The Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees took a first step toward additional annexations along U.S. 160 east and west of downtown Tuesday night.
The proposed annexations include the remainder of the Fred Harman property on Put Hill, the old Sawmill site at the intersection of U.S. 84 and U.S. 160 and Bob Goodman's property across from the Sawmill site. The Sawmill annexation would include a large block of land on the southeast corner of the intersection, and a narrow piece of land between U.S. 160 and the river on the opposite side of that highway.
All three property owners approached the town with requests for annexation, Town Administrator Jay Harrington said in an interview after the meeting.
In the case of the Harman property, the annexation would allow the town to close a gap in an area already surrounded by town property. In fact, a strip along the highway side of the property was annexed in the early 1990s.
The undeveloped Sawmill site annexation provides additional opportunities for the town.
Harrington said, because of the location, development on the site will make it a focal entry point to the town in the future. By negotiating an annexation now, the town will have the opportunity to work closely with the property owners on that development.
Annexation of Goodman's property is necessary to establish the contiguity needed under state law for the town's borders to reach the 110-acre former sawmill site.
Harrington said the board's action was a preliminary step only and future actions would include a public hearing.
"I personally think that this is moving forward although it might be perceived by others as gobbling up," Mayor Ross Aragon said at the end of the discussion at the meeting.
The town will be reviewing preannexation agreements which cover negotiations between the town and property owners on issues outside general zoning regulations and town ordinances, at the June meeting. A public hearing on all proposed annexations will probably be included on the July 3 agenda, he said.
Thirty percent chance of rain showers today, tomorrowBy John M. Motter
There is a 30 percent chance for rain showers today and tomorrow, according to Jerry Smith, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
"Thursday and Friday will be mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance for rain and thunderstorms," Smith said. "Day temperatures should range from the mid-50s to the low 60s. Lows at night should be in the 30s."
Saturday through next Tuesday should be partly cloudy and dry, according to Smith, with temperatures warming into the mid-70s. A low pressure trough may develop in the Four Corners area by mid-week bringing unsettled conditions and the possibility of rain, Smith added.
Local weather last week was mostly balmy with only .02 of precipitation altering otherwise dry conditions.
High temperatures ranged from 71 degrees Monday down to 65 degrees April 25 and 29. The average high temperature was 68 degrees. Low temperatures ranged from 32 degrees April 25 up to 39 degrees Monday. The average low temperature was 36 degrees.
The monthly mean temperature for May averages 49.4 degrees, compared to 41.5 degrees for April for the same reading.
During April, snowfall totaled 7 inches, creating a precipitation total of 1.85 inches. The average snowfall for April is 5.5 inches, the average precipitation 1.29 inches. For May, expect 1 inch of snow and 1.21 inches of precipitation, based on long time averages.
So far during 2001, 70 inches of snow have fallen in town. The long time average snowfall for January through April is 68.2 inches.
Last year, the last freezing day was May 20 when 31 degrees was the low reading.
The local official National Weather Service measuring station is located at Stevens Field. All readings are considered Pagosa Springs town readings.
I never thought of our propane tanks that give us warmth and food each day as unsightly. Fairfield Pagosa has become one big eyesight. Too bad we can't put a fence around it. How much will all those little fences around the propane tanks in Fairfield cost the residents and our forests? This is an example why PLPOA will always have big problems as they create problems if they don't have any to keep the residents on their toes. I think they should bring clothes lines back so people can cut electricity and gas prices. That'll be the day.
On April 24, 2001, Planning Commission Chairman Lynn Constan did a fabulous job, as usual, in making a case to the BoCC to move forward with implementation of the newly adopted community plan. Constan closed with, "The county is under a lot of pressure from development. If we allow the status quo to go on, we may have a place nobody is happy with."
Many public comments were made in support of implementation - none against. Public inquiries included whether the allocated $30,000 in the planning budget would be used before fiscal year-end to expedite implementation, as intended; and whether they anticipated using the funds to hire a consultant, or whether a new Director of Community Development would take this on "in-house." Commissioners were counseled to not "sit on it" or use "delaying tactics," and received recommendations to farm the task out, so as not to overload a new director, or slow down the project.
Here are the commissioners' comments regarding the adopted plan, which they had in their possession for over a week, but none had yet read:
Ecker was happy that the planning commission had taken out a lot of the concerns people had, but said he still had concerns, yet he was "not sure what they were." Ecker said, "We should not delay, we need to move forward, we shouldn't set on it." One expressed worry of his was about a "House bill maybe making the community plan mandatory." Still, he asserted that he was "not trying to prolong this at all." Ecker advocates letting the people "control their own destinies in the area they reside. I do not agree that one size fits all." He thinks "we can look at adopting," if we allow adequate public input to continue. He also agreed with Constan that there are plenty of things we can do that have nothing to do with the zoning aspect.
Downey said he "liked the process" and thought it was "well done. What I've read in the drafts, by and large, I liked. Some things I didn't get 'tickled' by have been changed, I believe." Downey said he generally liked and agreed with previous document drafts, but wants to see it in final before "blessing it with full support."
Crabtree said he feels the same way as Downey and wanted to listen to the upcoming presentation on Montezuma's LIZ tool to see if we can integrate, or not. Prior to hearing public input regarding who would write the regs, Crabtree thought the regs could be done in-house, since we'd have the expertise.
Downey thought the point regarding delaying the budgeted expenditure of $30,000 was a worthy public concern.
Both Ecker and Crabtree expressed their disappointment in the ag community turnout. Aside from Commissioner Crabtree, only one rancher showed up at the LIZ presentation - thanks to former county commissioner, Chris Chavez, for attending! I would appreciate hearing attendees' impressions of the LIZ tool and ideas on how we might proceed.
Lungs of steel
Many local residents may not know of reports published recently (Denver Post, April 12, 2001) on magnesium chloride.
This chemical has come into widespread use as a de-icer and dust suppressor. Now the results are known.
When the de-icer dries and gets into the air, it has coated power transmission equipment to the point of setting fire to the power poles. So what does it do to the people who have to breathe it!
Truckers, wherever magnesium chloride is used, complain that it is destructive to their equipment. Even the highway department has said that magnesium chloride has damaged highway equipment.
So what does it do to people who must breathe it? Even if your lungs were made of stainless steel, they would suffer damage.
If others share my concern about this issue, I hope you will get in touch with our county commissioners and ask them to stop the use of this dangerous substance, and find a way to destroy or decontaminate any stockpiles remaining.
'The last straw'
"We don't follow Roberts Rules of Order around here, we follow the chairman's rules" - Gene Crabtree as quoted in the Pagosa SUN 4/19/01.
One wonders what his rules are, as they certainly are not conducive to order. Also, it appears that his rules change depending on different issues brought before the BoCC and who brings them. And is our esteemed Chairperson going to publish Crabtree Rules of Order? I am sure that they will quickly replace Roberts Rules of Order which have been in use for most every organized meeting of Homosapiens for decades in most every civilized society. But of course, our learned Commissioner, by his deep thinking alone, has come up all by himself an entirely new set of rules. We would all quickly try to learn them if they weren't so variable.
This last episode of the Commissioners and the Batch Plant should be the last straw.
The agenda item wasn't published until the day before the meeting and the item title was innocuous and misleading.
I suspect that if one of the members of the FFE had not shown up, that most of the Mitigations would have been tossed out all together.
The Mitigations went through public hearings in the Planning Dept., The Planning Commission, and the County Commissioners. They were approved by the County Commissioners after a large public hearing at the Vista Meeting House. They were agreed to by the owners of the Plant. And if memory serves me right, Mr. Crabtree directly addressed one of the owners and made him say he agreed to get these Mitigations in place. Mr. Downey and Mary Weiss remembered and went "on record" opposing any changes to these Mitigations without more public hearings.
Now he tries to place himself as the friend of the owners who wants to help them out of some alleged hardship.
What about the hardship of the rest of Archuleta County as we worry about pollution from this plant?
Pollution that the Mitigations were suppose to prevent!
Citizens of Archuleta County - this is your water source, your clean air, etc. that could be polluted. I hope you are also appalled and will remember that there are several legal ways to remove elected officials.
(Editor's note: In Colorado, agenda items must be posted publicly 24 hours prior to a meeting, when possible.)
Call for candidates
The PLPOA Board seeks to encourage diverse membership participation in its deliberations and its leadership. One of the most important needs is for quality candidates for membership on the elected Board. The last year has seen responsible deliberations where property owner needs and concerns were paramount and where individual agendas were not. It has been a good year to be a Board member and to focus on major issues that concern the future strength of our Association. The task has not been an onerous one and we have enjoyed working together.
The Board actively encourages other property owners to stand for election. The process of candidating is an important one in identifying the major property owner issues and concerns. We very much hope that a number of individuals will consider placing their names in nomination for the board openings this year. The deadline is May 14 and we stand ready to help individuals who are interested to be considered candidates for this year's election to be held on July 28.
Please contact Walt Lukasik or Lauren Lee at 731-5635 if you are interested.
The current PLPOA board
I would like to respond to the man from Chandler, Ariz. who wants to keep Pagosa Springs small. One cannot fault people for wanting to live in a beautiful, small town. Frankly, the only way to prevent the migration of people is for individuals to quit procreating so much. I do not believe that this man or others are willing to give up their families to control the population. People who move to small towns and then expect and demand that growth cease simply because they have arrived are unfair and selfish. All of us have an equal right to live where we choose.
I sincerely appreciate those folks who take their personal time to attend the weekly county commissioner meetings and make the supreme effort to assist some of the "good old boys" with their ongoing "recall."
After commissioner Crabtree and Ecker's extraordinarily incompetent and apathetic handling of the Hard Times Inc. concrete plant approval. I'm not overly confident that I could presently sit through one of those meetings. I would have to liken attendance to dealing with that dreadful, disgusting and reviling 45K post nasal election drip.
Crabtree and Ecker have now lost all moral stature. They are finished; overplayed a stupid hand. The "big con" is over. The truth and facts are incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may decide it, but in the end, there it is. Resign. Now!
Rules of duplicity
Has anyone heard of a legitimate corporate or governmental entity conducted by other than Roberts Rules of Order? Our county commissioners seem to have replaced the rules with duplicity.
I am bothered that the commissioners hadn't read the Community Plan before it was presented to them. I am bothered that they seem to not want to make it an enforceable document. I am bothered that a public meeting was held to explain the Montezuma County Plan, and no ranchers attended to hear whether or not that plan was something that could be incorporated into our plan. I am bothered that the commissioners are dragging their feet on hiring a county administrator. Perhaps the only things I can do is to continue to attend their meetings, ask questions and keep the pressure on them to act responsibly. Hopefully, there are other citizens in our community that will do the same. Thank you for your recent editorials on this subject. How much are we going to put up with until something changes?
Lynda Van Patter
Joseph D. Archuleta passed away April 30, 2001.
Funeral services will begin this evening with public visitation from 5 to 7 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Rosary is at 7:30 p.m. and burial mass at 10 a.m. Friday.
Burial will be in Ignacio following services officiated by Leo Gomez and Father John Bowe.
You might call it the sweet spell of success.
You could spell it Lister, or Janowsky.
You could spell it Kerns, or Wagle or Lopez.
But for sheer drama, you'd have to spell it Kern - as in Robert Kern.
There were many keys to Pagosa's doubleheader sweep of Ignacio on the Bobcats' baseball field Tuesday.
On a team with two Kern brothers and a Kerns, Robert drew varsity action for the first time Tuesday when a regular starter was ejected in the first inning and another came down with a migraine headache.
A junior rehabbing from a rotator cuff injury, Kern has been seeing designated hitter duty with the junior varsity but not playing much afield because of problems throwing.
On Tuesday he became a right fielder - and a hitter - going 3-for-3 in the first game, all singles, and 3-for-5 in the second, including a double, scoring two runs and picking up three runs batted in for the day.
Coach Tony Scarpa was very pleased with the performance. "I knew he could hit, he just needed a chance to play," he said.
That chance came in the second inning of the first game when center fielder Nathan Stretton was ejected after bumping the Ignacio first baseman while running out a pop fly on the infield.
Stretton and Scarpa protested that the fielder was in the basepath. The base umpire ruled Stretton had lowered his shoulder intentionally to impede the fielder's access to the ball.
The ejection meant Stretton also had to sit out the second game. State high school rules require an ejected player to miss the next regularly scheduled game.
Justin Kerns gave the Pirates a short-lived first inning lead with a home run over the left field fence after pitcher Darin Lister was out on a screaming line drive to the shortstop. After Kerns' blow, catcher Ben Marshall grounded to short and Ronnie Janowsky flied to left.
Ignacio took the lead 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning with two Pagosa errors contributing to the Bobcat effort.
The inning began innocently enough with Ray Cundiff grounding out to short. The second baseman, C. Holladay, sent a routine fly to left but the fielder dropped the ball, Holladay going to second. Catcher Lawrence Cloud singled to drive in Holladay, stole second and scored from there when Marshall's throw to third went wild. When Kevin Hronich walked, it appeared Pagosa's fortunes were declining.
But Lister bore down and recorded the first two of his 12 strikeouts for the game, getting LeRoy Martinez on a called third strike and S. Waymen swinging.
Pagosa went meekly in the second, with Wagle fanning, the Stretton incident, and Brandon Charles grounding out to third.
Ignacio threatened to add to its lead in the bottom half of the inning.
After pitcher Duane Reynolds struck out - the third in a row for Lister - Abeyta singled but was cut down 6-to-4 on a fielder's choice ground ball by Jesse Hererra. Cundiff singled him to third and Holladay walked to load the bags for Cloud. Lister bore down again and got him on strikes to end the uprising with no damage.
The big inning has been a Pagosa trait this season and it was about to come into play.
Robert Kern led off the inning and drew a walk. His younger brother, David, followed with a single but Robert was out when he overslid the bag at third and the fielder dived to tag him before he could get back.
Lister reached on a fielder's choice and Kerns singled to drive in one and set the stage for Marshall. The freshman catcher responded with a ringing double, driving in two runs; Janowsky reached on an error by the first baseman and Ross Wagle singled to drive in a pair. The 5-run inning ended with Lawren Lopez popping to first and Charles grounding to second.
The third for Ignacio seemed to have some steam building, thanks to another Pagosa error, but the momentum quickly dissipated. Hronich reached on an error by Janowsky who dropped a throw at first. Hronich was out at second when Martinez grounded into a fielder's choice. The stage was set for damage when Waymen drew a walk. But again, Lister went into high gear and fanned Reynolds and Abeyta in order.
The Pirates threatened again in the fourth but Reynolds wiggled free.
The Kern brothers opened with successive singles and the Pirates had runners on first and third with no outs. But Lister popped out to second, Kerns struck out and Marshall bounced back to the pitcher to end the inning.
Ignacio got one run back in their half of the inning, aided by three more Pagosa errors.
After Herrera popped up to the first baseman, Cundiff rapped one to third. Wagle misplayed the hop for an error, then threw wild to first for another error on the play. Holladay struck out but Cloud singled to drive him in and Charles dropped a throw attempting to cut down Cloud at second. Hronich ended the threat grounding into a fielder's choice.
Janowsky opened Pagosa's fifth inning with a single and promptly stole second on the first pitch to Wagle who later grounded out to second. Lopez drew a walk and Charles grounded to first, Janowsky scoring. Robert Kern singled again driving in Lopez but David struck out to end the inning with two runs scored and the lead at 8-2.
Lister was at his pinpoint perfect best in the bottom of the inning, fanning Martinez, Weymen and Reynolds on a total of 12 pitches.
Pagosa got another run in the sixth when Lister opened drawing a walk. Kerns flied to left, but Marshall responded with his second double of the game to drive in Lister before Janowsky flied to center and Young popped out to first.
Lister opened the bottom of the sixth walking Abeyta who was wiped out when Herrera hit into a fielder's choice. Cundiff popped to short and Holladay fanned for the second consecutive time.
The Pirates weren't done yet.
After Lopez popped to second to open the seventh, Charles doubled and went to third on a passed ball. Johnny on the spot was Robert Kern again. He singled to drive in Charles. His brother then tripled to drive him in and David scored himself when a wild throw from the right fielder went into the Ignacio stands. Lister and Kerns both grounded out to third to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, no earned runs given up by Lister to this point, Cloud ended that statistic with a long home run. When Hronich followed with a single, Lister appeared to be tiring. But he still had some gas in the tank.
He induced Martinez to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and then got Waymen on strikes for the third time in the game.
Final score, 12-4 for Pagosa.
A new mound version of Ronnie Janowsky took the field for Pagosa in the nightcap. For the past week coaches had been working on his delivery, removing excess motion and helping him focus on the target.
He responded with an 11 strikeout performance and, like Lister in the first game, gave up a lone earned run in a 15-3 Pagosa victory halted by the mercy rule after six innings.
Lister opened the game reaching on an error by the first baseman who dropped his popup. Darin stole second and stayed there as Kern drew a walk. Marshall hit into a fielder's choice with Lister moving to third. Both were left on base when Janowsky popped to short and Charles grounded out to second.
Cundiff popped to second to open Ignacio's first and Holladay followed with the first of his three consecutive strikeouts. Hronich doubled and went to third on a wild pitch by Janowsky and scored on an errant throw. Cloud walked but Martinez popped to Lopez at first and Ignacio took a 1-0 lead.
By now, you might expect it was time for another Robert Kern hit. It was - a double to open the Pagosa half of the second. But Lopez, Jaret Frank and David Kern all struck out to leave him on base and Ignacio clung to the lead.
Pagosa took a 3-1 lead in the third with Lister and Kerns both drawing walks. After Marshall was out on a fly to left, Janowsky doubled in a run to tie the score and Charles followed with a double plating two runs. He, however, was out attempting to steal home.
Showing a nasty curve and gaining more and more confidence, Janowsky got Cundiff on a pop up, fanned Holladay, gave up an infield single to Hronich and fanned Cloud in the bottom of the inning.
The Pagosa fourth was another three-run outburst keyed by Wagle's long home run to right following a walk to Lopez. After David Kern struck out, Lister drew another walk. Kerns, too, walked and but was cut down at second as Marshall grounded into a fielder's choice. Janowsky, however, singled to drive in Lister with the third run before Charles bounced out to the pitcher.
The Bobcats got a run back in the fourth on a home run to left by Reynolds, but Janowsky recorded two more whiffs in the inning, cutting down both Cruz and Abeyta.
Pagosa went scoreless in the fifth despite getting another single by Robert Kern who also stole second and was wild-pitched to third but was left there when Lopez flied to short right. Wagle walked, but David Kern struck out and Lister popped to short to end a scoreless frame.
Ignacio got their final run in the next frame when Herrera walked to lead the inning and scored on Cundiff's double. Holladay and Hronich both went down on strikes and Cloud flied to right to end the mild uprising.
The Pirate's sixth would not be so mild. Pagosa sent 14 men to the plate in the inning, scoring nine runs on seven hits, three walks and three stolen bases.
It began with Kerns being hit by a pitch and promptly stealing second. Marshall followed with an RBI double and scored on Janowsky's single. Charles hit into a 4-3 force play, drawing an RBI, and Robert Kern followed with another single and RBI.
That set the stage for the muscular Lopez who ripped a massive drive to left that cleared the fence by at least 30 feet. Wagle and Lister both drew walks and Kerns singled for another run. Marshall picked up two more RBIs with another single. Janowsky walked and Charles singled for another run before Robert Kern grounded out to end the damage.
Could Ignacio come back in the bottom of the frame to avoid a mercy ruling end of the game?
Not likely with Janowsky on the hill.
He fanned Martinez and walked Cruz. But Marshall cut down Cruz at second on an attempted steal and then Janowsky struck out Reynolds and Martinez with three of the meanest curves you'd ever want to see.
Mercy ruling enacted, Pagosa won 15-3 with the game called after six innings.
Janowsky gave up only four hits in his route-going performance and his control made him appear to be a totally different hurler from the one bounced around two weeks ago by Monte Vista.
Pagosa's 15 runs came on 13 hits and a happy bunch of Pirates headed home to prepare to host the league tournament Saturday.
Pagosa hosts IML district tournament SaturdayBy Richard Walter
The Intermountain League will bring its playoff tournament to Pagosa Springs this weekend, with the top two teams advancing to "extended district" playoffs.
Bayfield's Wolverines, with a 7-1 league mark, come in as the top seed. Pagosa Springs, at 6-4, is the second seed and will play Monte Vista. Pagosa swept a double-header from the San Luis Valley Pirates two weeks ago with Darin Lister picking up both victories.
Bayfield's foe, the fourth seed in the tournament, will be Centauri, with that game opening the playoffs at 10 a.m.
Immediately following that game there will be a one-hour intermission for selection of the All-League team.
At approximately 1 p.m. Pagosa Springs will host Monte Vista. The two winners will play for the league championship at about 3:30 p.m.
Both of those teams will advance to "extended district" play the following Saturday in Monte Vista.
Kahle Charles, Pagosa athletic director, said the state this year, for the first time has combined the IML and the Southern League for district playoff activity.
The two first place teams will play each other for state playoff seeding position. Both will advance. The two second place teams will meet to determine which will be the third combined district team to advance.
Teams in the Southern League are La Junta, Las Animas, Lamar, Rocky Ford, Rye and Trinidad.
The schedule has the IML No. 2 team playing Southern's No. 2 at 1 p.m. and the two No. 1 seeds playing at 3 p.m. The winner of the second game will advance as a first seed, the loser as the second seed. The winner of the first game will advance to regional play as the No. 3 seed while the loser of the first game is eliminated.
Lady Pirates push 4-A Cortez to the limit in 3-0 lossBy Richard Walter
They came to town as underdogs, especially when judged on the basis of an early season scrimmage in which they were sorely outclassed.
Even the officials were wary of the outcome, one asking coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason before the game if he was familiar with how the 'mercy' rule works.
And then the Lady Pirates soccer team took the field for Pagosa Saturday in Cortez and it soon became clear this was no pushover and was a far cry from the team the Panthers had handled so easily early in the year.
In fact, shots on goal in the first half were about even with just one finding the net for either team and that one coming on a questionable no-call by officials. Amber Beye, in net for Pagosa, had stopped a Cortez shot and had control of it with her hand atop it as she moved to position it for an outlet kick.
A Cortez striker attacked what Kurt-Mason believed was a controlled ball, kicking Beye in the hand and forcing a substitution in goal, with Sierra Fleenor coming in for her first varsity action in the nets.
Within two minutes after the change of goalkeepers, a Cortez striker chipped one over Fleenor's head and moments later Fleenor, on the ground after a stop, was kicked in the head.
"I don't want to say their attack was dirty," Kurt-Mason said, "but when a goalkeeper is down and has possession of the ball, and gets kicked by an attacker, that doesn't say much for sportsmanship."
The coach said Fleenor's injury came on another chip shot when she went down trying for the save and was kicked in the head, forcing him to return Beye to goal in the second half.
The shot margin was definitely in favor of Cortez, 24 to 8, but the control of the game "was all ours in the first half," said Kurt-Mason.
"In fact, had it not been for that questionable goal, we'd have been knotted at nil at half time."
Beye turned in 17 saves and Fleenor two before she was injured.
For Pagosa, the shots on goal were by the most recent offensive threats Meagan Hilsabeck (3), Tricia Lucero (2) and Tiffany Diller and Cassie Pfeifle, each with one.
The Pirates played without regular sweeper Alysha Ranson who has been nursing a leg injury but Kurt-Mason was ecstatic about the play of Aupperle in the position.
"She was easily the fastest person on the field," Kurt Mason said, "and time after time she broke up Panther attacks. They'd think they had a breakaway working and suddenly, as if from nowhere, there was Sara sweeping the ball away from them."
The 3-0 score is not indicative, he said, of the type of game his Pirates played. "They expected a blowout and we controlled the ball. They expected to run over us and we stood our ground. These girls played a great game, never letting up even when scored upon."
"Their shots were not deadly and all their goals came off breakaways," he said. "If they had been counting on our defense to crumble, they soon learned they were wrong."
The coach also had high praise for Amy Moore who, he said, "played absolutely her best game of the year. She was awesome at midfield, continually being the aggressor."
The contest against the Class 4A Panthers for Pagosa's 3A Pirates was a non-league contest setting the stage for Pagosa's final two league contests this week.
The Ladies meet Ignacio's Lady Bobcats in Ignacio at 4 p.m. today then travel west again Friday to confront the Bayfield Lady Wolverines in a game scheduled for 3 p.m.
Then it will be on to the Region's tournament Tuesday with the top two seeds as host teams. Pagosa was tabbed the third seed and was to play the number six, Center.
However, Kahle Charles, Pagosa athletic director, was notified Tuesday that winless Center has dropped out of the competition. Thus, he said, it appears Pagosa will not play Tuesday but will advance by default.
The Lady Pirates next game, time and location, cannot be determined until after the games which are played Tuesday. Telluride and Ridgway are the two seeds.
Schutz, Rolig, Volger pace track squads at BloomfieldBy Tess Noel Baker
The Pagosa Pirates faced some fierce competition Saturday at the Bloomfield Invitational, competing against about 20 other schools, including some Class 4A and 5A squads.
Under the added pressure, Jason Schutz scored the team's only first place award, continuing to improve his personal times in the 400 meter run. The sophomore captured this one in 50.96 seconds.
Assistant track coach Connie O'Donnell said, because of the addition of preliminaries in the 400 individual run, Schutz had to run the 400 three times at the meet. Twice for the individual medal and once as a leg of the relay team.
"He was really worried, but he did a great job," O'Donnell said.
Other strong efforts from the Pirates included two individual top four finishes for the girls and a pair of relay places for the boys.
Senior Annah Rolig ran the 400 in 66.15 to take third place, and teammate Aubrey Volger captured fourth in the long jump with a leap of 14-feet 10.75 inches.
The boys 4x400 relay team, including Schutz, senior Josh Postolese, freshman Aaron Hamilton, and sophomore Ryan Wendt, finished sixth in 3:47.62.
The 4x200 relay team of junior Caleb Mellette, junior Tyler Kirtley, sophomore Brandon Rosgen and Postolese, captured fifth in 1:37.48. The four probably would have placed higher, but had to recover from a dropped exchange, O'Donnell said.
This Saturday, the team travels to Adams State College for the San Luis Valley Meet. O'Donnell said as the season has advanced, effort at practice continues to pay off.
"We're getting to the point where you can see that the people who have worked hard at practice are really starting to come through for us," O'Donnell said.
Another first: Furry Friends, Fiber Arts fest
Here comes yet another first for Pagosa: the Furry Friends and Fiber Arts Festival being held over Memorial Day weekend, May 26 and 27 at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.
This event is co-sponsored by Dave Belt and friends at Echo Mountain Alpacas, Inc. and the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. Dave had this great idea to fill the existing void of activities over this weekend, and we are delighted to include it in our Calendar of Events for the year and hope it will become an annual thing. This will present a unique opportunity for all of us to see and experience all aspects of the fiber industry and, for me in particular, to see all the "furry friends" up close and personal. I do love those critters. Dave has had a remarkable response to this first-time event and will have lots of vendors for your information and enjoyment.
We will all have ample opportunities to see the fiber artists demonstrate how they transform fiber from these animals into finished goods, and further to purchase a wonderful array of fiber-related products to include raw fleece, yarn, spinning wheels and one-of-a-kind handmade fashions.
Hours for this event are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and admission is free. Visitors can see the entire process from fleece to fashion.
Please call Marcia at 264-6680 with questions.
We are very excited about this Sunday when Rio Jazz will conduct their very first live recording session at The Timbers Restaurant (formerly The Sports Page) and they've been good enough to invite all of us to share a unique evening of recording the Rio Jazz brand of fabulous music. Friends and fans of Rio Jazz have long pined for their own CDs of this special quartet, and it will become a reality May 6.
You'll want to pick up your tickets ASAP because I've talked with lots of folks who plan to attend, and you won't want to be left out in the cold.
Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce, Diamond Dave's and WolfTracks Coffee Company and Bookstore. Tickets purchased prior to May 4 will be $7 and allow you to pre-purchase the Rio Jazz CD, "Live at The Timbers of Pagosa," with a special autographed insert, for $8.
Tickets at the door will be $10, and CDs purchased at the concert will be $10 and also include the autographed insert. This promises to be evening of great music and fun, and further offers you the opportunity to be a part of Pagosa history. You'll be able to say, "I was there when the internationally-acclaimed Rio Jazz recorded their very first CD." Join us on Sunday for a big ol' Rio Jazz party.
Another first in Pagosa will take place May 18 when Portland, Oregon, cellist Phillip Hansen, accompanied by local pianist Melinda Baum, comes to the Pagosa Springs High School for a concert to benefit the Archuleta County Senior Citizens, Inc.
Mr. Hansen is the artistic director of Fear No Music, Oregon's premier contemporary ensemble and was featured with this ensemble last September in New York's famed Merkin Hall.
Before moving to Portland, he was principal cellist of the Knoxville Symphony and frequently featured as a soloist. Tickets will go on sale soon here at the Chamber for this unique evening for $10, and we will announce other ticket outlets when that information becomes available.
We have a couple of items to keep in mind as you are planning your summer road trips and vacations that might cause a little delay here and there.
Daytime work has resumed and delays of up to 45 minutes are in effect, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on U.S. 160 east of the Wolf Creek Pass summit. Work ends late afternoon on Fridays. On May 7, night-time closures of the pass will resume between mile markers 173.9 and 174.7, Monday through Thursday, 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Crews will continue blasting and excavating to construct a new highway alignment through a 950-foot tunnel.
U.S. 160 in Bayfield will be experiencing improvement construction from May 21 until mid-August from just east of CR 501 (Saul's Creek Road) extending west to the Florida River. This section has been patched and paved a number of times, and CDOT feels it's time for a major rehabilitation. Motorists can expect delays up to 20 minutes, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning May 21. To maintain a safe and efficient traffic flow, motorists will be escorted through single-lane work zones by a pilot car. However, the use of alternate routes is encouraged.
The Spanish Fiesta Club will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with La Ultima Parranda (The Last Party) at La Cantina Saturday, from 9 p.m. until the party ends. Music will be provided by The Ladters, and all proceeds will benefit this year's Pagosa Fiesta.
You can also plan on attending the Fiesta Royalty Coronation and potluck dinner tomorrow evening, 6 p.m. at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. We hope you will give your full support to both of these events so we will have a fabulous Fiesta in June.
Death and the Law
On May 10, the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, in conjunction with the Pagosa Springs Health Partnership, Mercy Home Health and Hospice and the Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center is sponsoring a seminar addressing the complexities of death, dying and the law.
Pam Kircher, M.D., and Mary Weiss, attorney, will be the presenters and will guide the participants through the completion of their personal "Medical Durable Power of Attorney" and "Declaration as to Medical or Surgical Treatment."
This meeting is open to the community and will be held in the county commissioners' meeting room at the courthouse at 7 p.m. Sponsors will need to know in advance if you wish to have legal documents available to complete yourself, so please call Biz Greene at 264-5181.
It's the time of year that we put our best foot forward and clean up our beautiful little town after Old Man Winter has played his dirty little tricks on us by hiding all the debris and junk at the sides of the highway and, basically, in every nook and cranny.
This year, Clean-Up Week will be held May 14 through May 20. Many groups and organizations have already "adopted" portions of the highway to clean, and I have the paperwork here at the Chamber for those who might be interested in the Adopt-A-Highway program.
Everyone is free to individually or collectively clean up as much or as little as you wish - along the highway, in your parking lot, in your neighborhood, anywhere and everywhere. In order to facilitate that, we at the Chamber will be delighted to provide you with the large orange bags to fill with all the litter you are sure to find. Just come by the Chamber beginning May 7, and we will give you the clean-up bags of your dreams and encourage you to fill them to the brim.
As we move into the spring/summer thing, we've slowed down a bit with folks clamoring for new memberships, but we are delighted to share our four renewals with you this week.
Dennis and Sabra Spence renew with Mountain Landing Guest Quarters; Julia Ann Donoho renews with Donoho and Associates, Architects; Rosemarie Feirn renews with Bodo Quality Cleaners, Inc. in Durango; and Brian M. Rigg renews with United Country Rigg Ranches and Resort Properties, LLC. Thank you all for your renewed membership and support.
Auction high bidder need to pick up purchases
Holy Cow, the chili supper was a blast! This was my first chili supper and I really enjoyed myself.
My husband, Dan enjoyed watching the pie and cake auctions and got a great laugh out of one cake in particular that was bought and donated back and bought again for almost twice as much as the first time.
Just a reminder to those of you that were high bidders on auction items, please pick up your items by May 15.
Thank you to all who came and enjoyed the good food, participated in the silent auction (that sure was a hoot), and to everyone who donated the wonderful items and those who volunteered their time.
This event would not have been a success without the help of all of you. The money raised will be used to benefit the eye glasses program, medical shuttle costs, maintenance and other budget items.
Please join us in an evening filled with music.
We are pleased to announce a benefit concert featuring cellist Philip Hansen with local pianist Melinda Baum May 18, 7 p.m. at Pagosa Springs High School. Tickets are available at the Senior Center and the Chamber of Commerce for $10, $8 for senior members and children, and 5 and under are free.
Hansen has a variety of wonderful music selected and incorporates the audience in a part of his performance; we look forward to a great time. Stay tuned for more information on this fun night. The proceeds will help fund medical shuttle costs and eye glasses program and provided enough funding becomes available a much needed dental program will be implemented.
The folks over at Casa de los Arcos have been kind enough to share their gardening space with any of us interested in doing some gardening. If you are interested in growing vegetables or flowers please see me. There is nothing like home grown veggies.
With spring almost in full bloom it is time to start getting ready for spring cleaning. We have some funds available for any seniors who may need assistance with home chores. For a nominal fee we can provide assistance with many things. Need some help with mowing your lawn, cleaning up the yard, minor repairs around the house? Give me a call and we'll get the ball rolling. Volunteers are also needed for this program. If you find that you have some spare time and are interested in helping out please call me at 264-2167.
We were pleased to welcome some new folks this past week: Marge and Ted Foster, and Bobbie and Carol Carruth.
The week of May 7 we look forward to swimming at 9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tuesday at 10:30 cards, games and puzzles will be available for your enjoyment. Wednesday at 11, enjoy a 10-minute chair massage courtesy of Massage at the Springs.
Thursday we are headed for a shopping trip to Durango. If you have medical appointments that day you may hop on the bus as well. The cost is $10 for senior members, other pricing available for non-members and non-seniors.
Friday at 11:30 Patty will be available to check blood pressure and social services will be available for questions and information.
Trails council sponsoring volunteer work day Saturday, May 12
The Pagosa Area Trails Council and the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association will sponsor a volunteer workday to construct a new foot and bike trail in the area Saturday, May 12.
The trail is part of the Pagosa Area Trails project, which will include hard surface pedestrian pathways adjacent to Park Avenue and Village Drive, as well as a couple of miles of natural surface trails around the Vista Lake open space area and into the high pressure gas line easement. The work day will involve working on a short section of the pipeline trail that will connect into the Vista Lake Trail that Southwest Youth Corps constructed last September.
Bring plenty of drinking water, dress appropriately in work clothes, sun hat, boots or heavy shoes, work gloves and rain gear (if it rains). Lunch will be provided. These people really know how to feed their volunteers.
For more information, contact John Applegate at 731-9325 or just show up at the job site at 9 a.m. To get there, go west on U.S. 160 to Trails Blvd., turn right on Trails and turn right again on Bonanza (the first right). Turn right at the top of the hill at the stop sign for Prospect Blvd. Continue on Prospect, beyond the houses to Pipeline Corridor and park your vehicle.
Some of you remember Patti Stickler who authored this column for some years, then went on to start up Sassy's Brownies which launched certain regular customers on a fast growth track.
Patti, her husband Ron and their two girls, Traci and Kara moved to Fort Collins in 1998. Late last year, Patti was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
This Saturday, Patti will be participating in the Fort Collins annual MS walk. In her letter, Patti said, "My new passion in life is to spread the word about MS and to help others with this life struggle. I have become a newly diagnosed group leader and have been asked by the Northern Colorado MS chapter to become trained to be a peer counsel for MS. I guess my positive perky Attitude can truly now do some good for others."
Patti reports that in general her health is good with some days of dizziness, off balance and walking difficulties. She's lost strength in her legs and left arm.
If you would like to drop Patti a line or two of encouragement and support, call me for her address.
Legislators want libraries to do dirty work
I want to share some more information about how Internet filters work and the false sense of security filters may give you. And from the librarian's point of view - showing how your access to information will be surreptitiously censored under the current CIPA law.
As this column is being written, the Colorado Legislature is passing yet another law to further limit your free speech rights. We as librarians are being told that we should decide what you can or cannot view on the computers in the library. We've never been in the business of policing what our customers read or view, and we shouldn't start now.
However, legislators have decided to let local librarians do their dirty work. We will soon be wearing "library police" buttons. We can decide whether your request for information is, in the legislators' words, "bona fide." This would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous. It is both.
It takes 50 to 100 years for new technologies to reach the affordable marketplace. The fax machine was invented during World War 11. It finally showed up in the discount stores in the 1990s.
The ramifications of the World Wide Web are so profound, we won't clearly understand all if its implications for decades.
What is the Web? It has four elements.
First, it is all of the phone lines, satellites, and other technology that physically link millions of computers together.
Second, it is all the information housed in those computers.
Third, and most important for our discussion, it uses "hypertext." Hypertext links are those underlined words in a web document. If one clicks on an underlined word, one is transported instantly to a new web site with more hyperlinks, and on and on ad infinitum. This simple act of clicking the mouse sends a coded request across the network of phone lines and operating systems providing access to billions of bits of information.
And this is where the fourth element kicks in. Somebody has to decide which of those words to underline. (Or in technical terms - which hyperlinks to include.) Behind every click is a human being that says, "We think you might also like to know about this other site, so if you click on this word, you will instantly go there."
Just as hyperlinks send you to new sites, one-way filters work by simply choosing words to eliminate. Hyperlinks or filters cannot make judgments about the meaning of the words. Filters arbitrarily block access to key words and sites someone has decided you should not see.
Filtered hyperlinks or keywords cannot make a determination between Shakespeare and Penthouse. The intentional blocking of some sites that have nothing to do with pornography raises issues of intellectual freedom, and your right to information.
Some examples of filtered words include: "breast," which prevents information about breast cancer; "XXX" prevented access to the Super Bowl site; "sex" prevented access to sites about "mars exploration," and "Essex County, New Jersey." The White House site was blocked because of the phrase, "first couple."
These are just a few of the many examples of blocking errors. There are many more disturbing examples including access to drug rehabilitation programs, and the Holocaust. Other blocked sites include Amnesty International, The Religious Society of Friends, the web site of Representative Dick Armey, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Dozens of websites of candidates in the last election were blocked as well as the American Association of University Women in Maryland.
Some companies hire college students for $6 an hour to think up words to filter. The companies refuse to tell what words they have decided are going to be blocked. This secrecy often seems to reflect a political basis rather than a worry about pornography.
Filtering programs are expensive, and few libraries can afford these ineffective solutions. The clamor for filtering is growing, and with the unfunded mandate from the governments there are many companies jumping into the market. And with any new tool, there is also a brisk underground network ready to disable or get around the filtering technology. Adults are at a disadvantage in this game as few of us are computer literate. Don't believe for a moment that teenagers today can't disable a filter mechanism.
Nevertheless, the governments say we have to filter if we want government funds - even if the filters don't work. And so we are at an impasse.
How do you feel about this? Does it matter that we may have to quiz you as to why you want some information? And then we get to decide if we think you should have that information? This goes against everything we hold dear. As of today, we are all losers.
Ironically, we will be closed Saturday as our computer network needs updating.
Resident brings bookbinding skill to area
If you have a favorite book that is falling apart - possibly a family Bible - you might be pleased to know that it can be fixed and that there is someone in Pagosa Springs who can do so.
Becky Porco is a professional bookbinder with fourteen years experience. She and her husband John moved to Pagosa from Columbia, Maryland, in November. He is an emergency management consultant with a federal government background and she, who has library experience, works part time at Sisson Library.
It was when Becky was working for the Howard County Library in Maryland as processing supervisor that she started taking bookbinding lessons. She needed to know how to fix books that needed repair. This "need to know" and her liking the craft kept her taking lessons, and when her teacher, William Cuba, died, he left her his business.
Becky, who is a curious person, loves bookbinding. She'll tell you that fixing a book that is falling apart is not a simple thing and that making a book "look like the old book" totally depends on the book.
She does not work with real leather or with gold leaf because they are so very expensive, but she can do gold lettering and decorations using a stamping machine. This can be done in gold, silver, red, black or white.
Maybe a book needs sewing. There are two ways to do this: side sewing and through-the-fold sewing. When side sewing is used, the book doesn't open fully. When through-the-fold sewing is used, the book opens totally flat.
There's a way to clean paper, there's a way to re-dye worn spots, there's a way to clean edges, and whenever pressure is needed, a sandbag is used.
But the glue is important for it has to be flexible when dry. Becky gets her glue from Baltimore Adhesive. Because it's important that it doesn't freeze, it has to be shipped in warm weather. When pasting two pieces of paper together, she uses a wheat paste.
The inside pages are called "the book block." To clean the edges, a sanding block is used, and to clean-cut the edges, a guillotine cutter is used.
The covering is called the book cloth. Some books need an adhesive binding and some, like art books, don't.
A flexible cardboard called Bible board is used for floppy covers - to stabilize them.
Klucel-G is a stabilizer for powdery leather.
And used for most everything, there is a little tool called a folder. It looks like a big ivory tongue depressor but, depending on how much money is spent, it could be made of ivory, plastic or Teflon, and the best is Teflon because it doesn't stain. But it just happens to be the most expensive. It's a tool to apply pressure.
Becky's studio is in her home. Her telephone is 731-1312.
She can tell you what needs to be done with an old book and what the options are.
Fun on the run
The following two pieces are original poems written by a woman in Idaho and contributed by her Colorado friend:
"I think that I shall never see a state that has more mud than we!
There's mud in front, and mud in back, and in both doors, on feet that track.
I sweep and shovel, scrub and dust it,
I almost broke right down and cussed it.
We have to walk, the car gets stuck in it, we almost lost the bloomin' truck in it.
It covers children's hands and feet with it, we have to sleep and even eat with it!
Some have tornadoes, fire and flood, but what do we get stuck with? Mud!"
"Californians, Here You Come
Our sister state declares her thirst,
The argument grows hotter.
We say, "It's ours, we got it first!"
But still they want our water.
With desert dwellers parched and sere,
We deeply sympathize,
But nervously we watch and fear
Their hot and greedy eyes.
They may not tap our river flow,
No matter how they woo it,
But some snap up our H2O
By moving up here to it!"
Canyonlands carry visitors back in time
Hotshot and I went to Moab a couple of weeks ago. A lot of you may have already been to this little town, "gateway" to both Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, but it was a first for us.
Moab is a busy place. The weekend we arrived, there was a mountain bike rally, with downhill and cross-country races. The town was full of people looking extremely fit and tanned.
We weren't there for the biking. A few years ago I replaced my ancient 3-speed with something more suitable for the hills of Nashville, and every time I went out the chain derailed. Experiences like that tend to leave you reluctant to bike. Why bother to have all those gears, if you can't use them easily.
No, Hotshot and I went for the parks.
In Canyonlands National Park you look down and across layers and layers of rock that have been carved by the Colorado and Green Rivers. It's like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, only this place is a lot wider.
The rivers themselves are 2,000 feet below you. You usually can't see them, because the whole cut in the earth is miles across.
The area is vast. You can drive miles into the Canyonlands. You can drive past Newspaper Rock, with its smooth face of dark red slickrock onto which hundreds of petroglyphs and pictographs have been pecked.
Maybe these were made by the Anasazi a thousand years ago. There are, after all, Anasazi ruins and remains all over the park. On the other hand, it doesn't take an archaeologist to figure out that "Hermann and Maria June 20, 1924’" is fairly recent in the timeline of man's occupation.
These late scratchings lack the finesse and the workmanship of what we presume are ancient representations of animals, people, hands and designs.
Then too, the pictures of men riding horses and wielding bows and arrows can't be of Anasazi origin. There were no horses in this part of the New World before Coronado brought them around 1540.
Well, the Park Service says we have no way of accurately dating rock carvings and that one of the neat things about Newspaper Rock is that you can make your own interpretations. They got that right.
There are other remnants of the early residents, like chinked and mortared stone granaries, tucked into hidden places where they would be safe from rains and from thieves. The granary we hiked to wasn't very large; it might have held the equivalent of two or three of my pantry shelves.
At the visitor center we pawed through large cards showing the various grasses and seeds that ancient residents ate. Tiny gramma grass seeds, for example. Probably the effort needed to gather and roast and store them just about equaled the energy that went into gathering them. Living here couldn't have been easy. No quick trip to the grocery store for the Anasazi.
In Arches National Park the bare landscape is surreal, alien. It might have been designed by Martians. What we saw took our words away. I mean, how many times can you say amazing, stupendous, awesome, astounding, marvelous, beautiful and gorgeous, before they cease to have any meaning?
Hotshot was reduced to "Huh’" and "Hmm," and I just kept repeating that eloquent word, "Wow."
The guidebooks made no mention of Anasazi traces here. Were they reluctant to enter the area, afraid it was inhabited by gods or ghosts? Or were they terribly practical and not inclined to waste their time in a region that offered no water and not much food?
There were plenty of people the day we were there. Boy scouts from Colorado. Physically fit young adults, who must have been taking time off from the mountain bike rally. Old people clutching their canes. Photographers with more gear than Ansel Adams. Cautious folks with hiking sticks, bent under day packs crammed with food, extra clothing, rain gear and water bottles all this for a half mile stroll along a paved trail.
Hotshot and I hiked to the Windows Arches, around the Balanced Rock, and to the upper Delicate Arch viewpoint. I am embarrassed to admit that by the time we stopped for lunch, out past the Fiery Furnace, I was content to just look from the car and not walk to the more remote arches. Can it be if you've seen one arch, you've seen them all?
Not at all. But we still wanted to drive out 30 miles on the high mesa to Dead Horse Point for its stupendous, astonishing, awesome, amazing view over the Canyonlands.
The Point is connected to the rest of the mesa by a very narrow neck of land. Indians or cowboys, take your pick, are supposed to have driven wild horses there and penned them up with a brush fence across the narrow neck. They'd pick out the good ones and turn the rest loose. Except one year they "forgot’" to release the herd, and the horses died of thirst.
A nice story, but I have trouble believing that the cowboys, or Indians, were so forgetful. What, they had more urgent business elsewhere? There was a bike rally back in Moab that they had to get to? They were late for dinner?
My own theory is that cowboys penned the wild horses out on the Point in order to let them die and thus rid the mesa of competition for cattle. It's not nice, but it makes more sense.
There was a different kind of gathering at Dead Horse Point the day we visited. A television crew was arriving to spend a week filming "Touched by an Angel."
In a way, that was just as surreal as the landscape.
Health care most common concern for vets
The most frequently requested veteran benefit is health care.
A veteran who has served any amount of active duty in the military at any time, war or peacetime, is entitled to basic VA health benefits.
This health care can include physicals, tests, X-rays, and most any other outpatient needs. It also includes very inexpensive prescription drugs.
The benefit includes access to any Veterans Affairs Hospital or clinic for medical needs and services, anywhere in the country, once the veteran is enrolled in the program. Enrollment in VA health care is accomplished by filling out a simple one-page form called 10-10EZ along with a copy of the veteran's DD-214 separation paper.
The forms are sent to the nearest VA health care facility and it usually takes about three weeks to process the paper work. The veteran is then advised of an appointment date for a physical examination, which is a requirement of the VA program. Once the physical examination is completed, the veteran is issued an ID card that is good at any VA health care facility in the country.
At present the nearest VA clinic is in Farmington. The nearest VA hospital is in Albuquerque. A new VA clinic is planned for an October opening in Durango. Archuleta County Veterans Service Office provides a vehicle for veteran use to drive to and from VA medical facilities. The only requirement is the veteran has a valid driver's license and pays for the fuel.
The VA health care facility will also reimburse veterans for their mileage travel expenses. This is applied for at the time of the clinic visit.
In the case of appointments at the VA hospital in Albuquerque requiring an overnight stay, the VA will provide a room at nearby lodging. If the veteran is unable to drive, accommodations can also be provided for a designated driver.
Archuleta County very generously provides all other costs involved with the vehicle including insurance and all vehicle maintenance.
Often, several veterans team up for their health care appointments and the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office keeps an appointment schedule for the veterans to coordinate the vehicle schedule.
Many of our local veterans are volunteer drivers for other local veterans unable to drive. We can always use more volunteer drivers and if you would like to participate in this program, please let this office know.
One of the most often encountered misconceptions about VA health care benefits is: "I have too much income to qualify". VA health care benefits are available to all veterans meeting some of the minimum military service requirements outlined above, and have nothing to do with an individual's income level. You earned this benefit by serving your country in the military.
Veterans pay "co-pay" for these medical services. Currently the clinic visit costs about $50, which is very reasonable considering today's skyrocketing health care costs. This clinic visit can include many levels of health care needs such as blood workup, X-rays, mental health problems, and many other services, at no additional costs.
Prescription drugs approved by the VA cost the veteran $2 co-pay for a 30-day supply. I say, "approved," because in some cases drugs prescribed by a non-VA doctor can also be approved by the VA and ordered through the VA drug pharmacy program. A veteran should take a copy of any medical records that pertain to his or her health care needs when they visit the VA clinic, for consideration in the VA program.
I'm often asked about VA health care for spouses and dependents. This is the rule on these services: In order for a spouse or dependent to receive medical care through the VA, the veteran of the family must meet one of the following conditions:
- Veteran must be 100 percent service-connected disabled
- Veteran must have died from service connected disabilities, or
- Veteran must have died during active duty with the military.
On another subject, in the near future I would like start a "Veteran of the Month" feature in this column. Candidates might be a veteran with some interesting military experiences they would like to share, someone currently in the military, or perhaps a veteran who has performed exemplary community service, or some other example of distinguishment. If you feel like you might be a candidate, or know of someone who is, please give me a call or stop by the VSO.
Written information would be a great help, such as notes, letters or a diary. Who knows, maybe The Sun, which has been such a strong supporter of veterans' affairs in our community, would even allow us to publish a photograph (in uniform?). This will be an informal feature, and might be a fun way to get to know the veterans who call Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County their home.
For information on these and other veteran's 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, or Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
Track meet winners, 9-14, will advance to state competition
The annual Pagosa Hershey's spring track meet for boys and girls 9 to 14 will take place May 12 at the Sports Complex. Winners of the Pagosa Springs meet will advance to the state meet on July 7 in Denver, at the Jefferson County Stadium. State finalists at that meet are then entered into a regional pool and become eligible for selection of a regional team, which will travel to Hershey, Pa., to compete in the North American final, held August 13.
Events next week in Pagosa will include the 50,100, 200, and 400 meter sprints; the 800 and 1600 runs; a 4x100 relay, standing long jump, and softball throw.
The Hershey's Youth Program has involved millions of youngsters from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the 10 provinces and three territories of Canada. Hershey's is sponsored by the National Recreation and Park Association, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, Athletics Canada, and by Hershey Foods Corporation.
Hershey's Track and Field Youth Program is designed to encourage physical fitness among youth and emphasize participation and sportsmanship. The town recreation department is currently looking for numerous volunteers to help this event run successfully. Please call the recreation office at 264-4151 if you're interested in helping.
All baseball teams started practice this week
Players 7 and 8 years old wanting to register can do so at Town Hall. Teams in other age divisions are currently full and players need to contact Summer at the recreation department, before registering.
Team practices can still be scheduled by contacting the recreation department.
Games for all youth leagues will begin the week of May 14 and continue through the end of June. Schedules will be available at Town Hall and posted at the Sports Complex next week. The season-ending party will be held July 2 at South Pagosa Park.
Older Pagosa Springs baseball players are playing on two teams, one in the Sandy Koufax league in Durango. The first game of the season for these players will take place May 6 at 2 p.m. in Pagosa. The other will be playing against Bayfield and Durango.
Pagosa Springs is hosting two girl's fast pitch softball teams this summer. The team of 12-year-olds and under will play against teams from Bayfield and Durango, starting May 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Bayfield. The older girls team (13-14) will play against Ignacio, Mancos, Cortez and Durango. Both teams still need players and girls wishing to play softball need to register at Town Hall immediately.
This year's baseball clinic will be held in conjunction with the Colorado Rockies Skills Challenge. The clinic will take place June 1-2. The Rockies Skills Challenge will be held on Saturday afternoon following the baseball clinic. Both events are free and no preregistration is required.
The adult softball league is currently taking rosters for this summer's program. Cost this year is a $250 per team with a $15 per-player fee. The $250 entry fee and rosters are due at the mandatory managers' meeting, May 23, 6 p.m. in Town Hall. Team registration forms are available at Town Hall and can be picked up during normal working hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Teams wishing to practice can do so by scheduling fields through the recreation department, 264-4151.
Park Fun, the Town's summer day camp, will start June 4 this year and continue through August. This year's program is tentatively scheduled for the junior high gym. More information and registration forms are available at Town Hall. Cost will be $65 per week for youth 5-8 years old.
Four Corners Cup
The next Four Corners Cup mountain bike race will be held May 12 in Bayfield. The course is set near Saul's Creek, only half an hour from Pagosa. For more information, contact the Bayfield recreation department at 884-9034 or pick up registration forms at Town Hall.
Youth baseball has started and adult softball will soon be in full swing. Information about field conditions, rainouts and other field information can be obtained at the Sports Complex Hot Line, 264-6658. This recording is updated daily and people wanting information about field conditions need to call this number during the afternoon.
The Town is currently searching for a vendor to work the snack bar at the Sports Complex for the baseball and softball seasons. Interested parties should contact Town Hall for a bid request. Bids are due Friday and concession selling can start as early as May 7.
Mental Health Center playing key role
Many individuals experience painful stresses related to family, relationships, jobs, finances, losses and other major changes in their lives. Feelings of depression, anxiety or fearfulness frequently result.
Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center is here to help these people. Their professionals help individuals and families deal with emotional stress as well as with more serious mental disorders.
SWCMHC is a private, nonprofit organization providing a full range of mental health services to residents in the community. As a private organization, the Center is governed by citizens who serve on the board of directors. Often they are mistaken as a government agency. But their funding comes from client fees, insurance, contracts and local and state government sources which include grants.
SWCMHC has a sliding fee scale. This makes services available based on income. Moreover, the Center accepts Medicaid, Medicare, and health insurance. Many health insurance plans require a written prescription for mental health services and may only pay for part of the full amount. It would be wise to contact your health care insurance provider before making an appointment with the center.
When local therapists were asked what the main objective of the program is, some said they would love to go out of business. Of course, this means they wish for healthy and happy lives for everybody. In an ideal world, nobody would need mental health services.
Knowing this is not a reality, SWCMHC is happy to give families guidance in order to allow them to experience normal lives. They want to give them the tools to become self-sufficient.
One of the therapists' most valuable resources is the fact they are agency-based. They are able to utilize a variety of programs. They maximize use of the psychiatrist that visits the Pagosa office twice a month.
One need at the Center is for space that would allow the hiring of a new case manager. This would expand the Center's ability to provide outreach services to clients who need a consistent reminder to take medications, or who need a boost to follow through with their goals and objectives. Right now, the Center has a list of people who are in need of case management. Staff members call the list the "warm line" and once a week they touch base with those clients.
One therapist said she is her most valuable resource. She said her job requires thinking skills. No matter how much she wants to help a family and have compassion and empathy, she needs to stay focused and rely on her knowledge in order to make an impact on the situation. She needs to zoom in on the problems in order to provide adequate treatment.
Let's not leave out the children in our community. SWCMHC has a lot to offer them as well.
Families seek direction and support dealing with issues such as running away from home, school problems, suicide attempts, divorce, child abuse, alcoholism and emotional behavioral difficulties. All of these issues, at one time or another, have been addressed at the Center.
An ongoing focus at the Center is to integrate with other programs. Collaborating with the Department of Social Services, the school district, San Juan Basin Health, and many other community programs has definitely been useful in fulfilling the needs of families and individuals, including the elderly.
SWCMHC is located at 311 San Juan Street in downtown Pagosa Springs. The Center be reached by phone at 264-2104.
Colors bathe viewer in tranquility
If you haven't seen Dr. William Sokolenko's photo exhibit at the Gallery, make it a point to get down there before it ends on May 16. There are photographers and then there are photographers, but Dr. Sokolenko is in a class by himself. It's hard to put into words why his photos draw you to them, eliciting a visual and emotional response not normally created by a collection of photos.
First, it's the colors. In some mysterious way, the hues and tones blend and contrast like a muted kaleidoscope of color, never garishly assaulting the visual senses, but bathing them in a sense of tranquility.
Second, the composition has been carefully created to capture the essence of the subject, whether it be a forest fern stretching toward the light or sunlight playing on a spray of water from a fountain. Each photo conveys an unique communication of mood and emotion to the viewer.
Third is the subtle use of shadow and shading which one would expect from an experienced artist. A full moon partly hidden by silvery clouds glows above the mist rising from Lake Baikal. The foreground is a dark silhouette of vegetation precisely outlined against the blues of the evening shadows. It seems to rivet the viewer's gaze with a hypnotic attraction.
A fourth feature is the excellent use of mat color to enhance the quality of the photo. The same photo with a different color mat changes the entire perception of the picture, and Dr. Sokolenko has used mat color with the skill of a true artist.
I consider it a privilege to own one of Dr. Sokolenko's photos and you will too, when you see all the wonderful subjects available. No matter what your artistic taste might be, there will be a photo in his collection that will speak to you alone. Offering a wide range of sizes as well as unframed prints makes his work available to everyone. And who wouldn't want to own a beautiful photograph by an eminent Russian scientist? Don't miss this opportunity.
Multi-talented musician and artist, Peter Sterling, will be the featured performer at the Whistle Pig, May 12, 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Lakes Community Center.
Student art exhibit
May 17 is the opening day for the Pagosa Springs High School Student Art Exhibit at the Town Park Gallery. These talented young people will be the basis of Pagosa's art community of the future. Show your support by attending the opening reception from 5-7 p.m. Talk with these delightful teenagers and you will be impressed by their obvious talent and enthusiasm. Their exhibit will continue through May 30.
The Conservation Fund, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and Busch Beer have launched the 2001 "Busch Beer Outdoors' Photo Contest. Amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to submit photos of local mountain ranges and forests. Approximately 30 winners will each receive $1,500 and the winning photos may be featured in a new Busch marketing campaign. The deadline for entries is June 1. Official contest rules are available on the following web sites: www.abenvironment.com, www.busch.comand www.conserv ationfund.org.
There are wolves in the woods.
When weakness beckons, the pack gathers, the howling begins. With no obstacles in the way, the pack will emerge to do its work.
Archuleta County Attorney Mary Weiss returned from a recent conference with a list of ethical principles applicable to elected representatives. The document details ways to avoid ethical weakness in public business or, if misread or ignored, ways to ensure a public official or entity is weak.
Principles in the document reflect codes adopted by quasi-judicial bodies - state, cities, districts - and guidelines derived from Colorado case law.
These principles can be of great value, both to Weiss' employers and to members of all governing boards in our county.
Two of the principles discussed are of particular importance, referring as they do to flaws exhibited by several local boards. These maxims should be observed by local elected officials, paid or unpaid, as part of a code of ethics, adopted by each our governing bodies. If they are not observed, weakness is likely, and trouble is imminent.
First, if an official acts ethically, conflict of interest is unacceptable.
No elected official should take direct action if he or she, or any member of the immediate family, is employed by the entity the official represents, or has contractual or financial interests in a matter being decided. There was a day in Archuleta County when there were few people available for public service; a degree of conflict of interest and nepotism was hard to avoid. That day is long gone.
An individual should not sit on a board governing an entity which provides income for a member of his or her immediate family. And we should not elect such a candidate. If anyone now in office violates this sanction, they should not cast a vote on a matter that even remotely concerns the employee-family member. This includes votes on financial or policy decisions that involve the family member. Any personal or private interest in an issue should be disclosed by elected officials prior to their excusing themselves from a vote.
Second, an elected official should not take a position on a pending issue prior to a public hearing. Decisions must be made, after a full and open meeting, based solely on evidence presented at the hearing.
With a legal as well as moral requirement that evidence pertinent to a question be presented at a public meeting, preliminary inquiries should be avoided by officials, with no information sought or received outside the public hearing process. If such information is received, it must be distributed to all other members of a board, and a record of that information be made available at a public hearing. If board members engage in an information-gathering venture together, it should be noticed to the public as a meeting.
To do otherwise is improper, as is the growing tendency of local officials to manage elements of government and make decisions best handled at the professional staff level.
Impropriety or the appearance of impropriety is a key element in all questionable behavior by elected officials.
Impropriety can legally undo the actions of a board. If improper behavior involves personal gain resulting from an official's actions in office, it can lead to criminal prosecution. Other forms of improper behavior that violate state statutes can also lead to court.
But, it is the appearance of impropriety that is most common and that can, in the end, do the most widespread and enduring damage. The appearance of impropriety corrodes the credibility of officials, taints the best of intentions, undermines the reputation and effectiveness of governing bodies.
A cancer of negative public opinion, fertilized by the perception that elected officials act improperly, can run riot, take on an hysterical edge, unnecessarily damage people and government. Local boards that have not addressed improper behavior by adopting a code of ethics, should do so immediately. If negative public opinion is encouraged by the flippant actions of elected officials, a public perception of impropriety by community leaders is something that will surely bring wolves from the woods.
When the wolves arrive, nothing good happens to the flock.
Stopping to ask for assistance
Some Americans are recognizing today as the "National Day of Prayer." Whereas others might question the designating of such a national day, our nation's history cites many instances of Americans relying on prayer, and the results.
History tells that on June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin addressed the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia regarding the significant power of prayer. His speech came at a time when the delegates were embroiled in a caustic, divisive argument over how each state, whether large or small, would be represented in the new government. As governor of Pennsylvania, and at the age of 81 the oldest delegate at the Convention, the well respected Franklin asked permission to address the delegates in hopes of stemming the hostile disagreements.
According to records kept by James Madison, a delegate for Virginia who history regards as the "Father of the Constitution," Franklin offered the following thoughts to George Washington, chairman of the Constitutional Convention, and his fellow delegates:
"The small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance and continual reasonings with each other - our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ayes, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding.
"We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which, having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all around Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable for our circumstances.
"In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding?
"In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible to danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor.
"To that kind of Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?
"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see this truth - that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it possible that an empire can rise without His aid?
"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves will become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.
"And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
"I therefore beg to move that - henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."
Following Franklin's speech, James Madison made a motion that Franklin's appeal for daily prayer at the Constitutional Convention be enacted. The rest is history.
So hopefully today, some folks will take time to pray for the effectiveness and integrity of America's homes and families, churches and clergy, schools and faculties, and its public offices and elected officials.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.
100 years ago
Taken from The Weekly Times of May 2, 1901
Garvin and Maber will erect a building on the Springs Co.'s ground east of Lewis' barber shop. The front part of the old Garvin residence will be moved and used as part of the structure and used for a saloon.
J.P. Fisher returned Tuesday from the ranch and lake which he located on West Fork and is in contest with Born. Mr. Fisher had been working there since the 23 of April. Mr. Fisher should and will hold the claim for he and he alone is entitled to it and swears nothing but the truth.
Reva Minnie Macht, infant daughter of Harry and Lenna Macht, died early Saturday morning. Mr. and Mrs. Macht attended the entertainment on Friday evening, leaving the child with the Fred Flaughs. It was here that the child fell as Mr. Macht was mounting his horse with her in his arms.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 30, 1926
A.A. Miller, who is in charge of the Wolf Creek Pass Highway work for the coming season, sent a man to the top of the pass yesterday on an inspection trip. He reports from five to eight feet of snow on the pass, which, considering the dirt and rock slides at various place, will delay opening the pass for auto travel until about May 20th.
The store of A.R. Leap, on the east side of the Piedra bridge, was completely destroyed, together with all contents, early Sunday morning. Mr. Leap who resided alone in the store building, had arisen early, built a fire and again retired. At about five o'clock he awoke and found the entire building in flames, barely having time to escape and unable to save any of the contents. Fortunately, the loss was partially covered by insurance in the sum of $1,600.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 4, 1951
Work was started this past week on additional seating facilities at the Red Ryder Round-Up grounds and is progressing rapidly. The present seating capacity will be more than doubled in the additional building and arrangements have been made for reserved seats.
The routine of changing from one postmaster to another has been completed and Dick DeVore is now the postmaster for Pagosa Springs. He replaces Thomas W. Chambers who recently resigned. Mr. DeVore is the former proprietor of the Boy's Market, which he closed to accept the position as postmaster.
On Friday of last week Governor Thornton appointed Earl Mullins, local businessman, to the Colorado State Game and Fish commission. Mr. Mullins' term is for five years.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 29, 1976
The Pagosa Springs High School Spanish Club was the first place winner at the Pan Am Days at Adams State College last week. This is the third time in recent years that the class, under the direction of Mrs. Ruth Marquez, has won the first place honor.
Construction is picking up at a rapid rate in the county. There are several new houses being built in Pagosa, in town, and at other locations throughout the county. Title X employees have just about completed the courthouse addition, the ambulance building is nearing completion as is the work under the high school gymnasium. In addition Forest Service crews are doing improvement work and planting trees. Spring seems to have arrived for the work force.
Pioneer spirit met challenge of survival
As the day's sunlight hours lengthen,
and sounds of spring enthrall,
one enters a season known to strengthen,
man's resolve to enjoy nature's all.
Those thoughts might be true elsewhere in this great land, but Pagosa Country seems to be a catalyst for dreams of the bounty of God's blessing.
Since the first prospectors and fur traders entered this area, anticipation of enjoying nature's bounty has been a trait of the true citizen of the now disappearing wild.
Gone are the days when spring meant the movement of vast herds of sheep to high country pasture immediately after the lambing season. Gone, too, are most of the vast fields planted in edible crops and hay to sustain families and livestock through the winter.
Throughout the better part of a century and a quarter immigrants into Pagosa Country found a challenge to survive and met it with a pioneer spirit that melded the area's natural bounty into a country lifestyle the envy of those in many other areas of our nation.
Timber was needed for homes and businesses and the lumber business was a key to development of the county. The railroad was needed to remove that sawn timber and it, too, brought modernity to the county.
When the lumber business was, except for small independent millers, driven out of economic feasibility by the conglomerate mills serving vast residential areas, Pagosa Country was stifled but not defeated.
A resilience exhibited first by the early settlers was passed down through their descendants to the people who made first mining, then cattle raising and farming, substitutes for lumber as a means of economic survival.
Then came another financial dry spell as farmers found no market for their crops and ranchers learned it was more profitable to lease their fields to summer grazing of cattle imported from Texas than to try to raise the beef themselves.
The area, long a haunt for traveling insiders who knew where fishing, hunting and just plain relaxing were treated as everyday enjoyments, became more and more a tourist attraction.
Those days, generally, can be traced to the Spring of 1950 as World War II personnel were first finding it possible to take vacations. Suddenly it was not unusual to walk through downtown and see every parking space filled, most with cars bearing license plates from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.
Spring streams were running high with trout and as the word spread the number of visitors' cars winding up still dirt mountain roads increased dramatically.
Long before the Mullins Dam created a reservoir in the Upper Piedra, spring meant family weekend fishing outings along the meandering streams which were to become the sources of the reservoir's singular body of water.
The streams weren't the only popular spots for both visitor and native.
Beaver ponds were key attractions in early spring because they had filled to capacity and were teeming with fish. One was Hatcher Lake (not the one in the Pagosa Lakes communities) up a narrow, overgrown trail on the side of a mountain above West Fork.
Another favorite was the Gooseberry Lakes, a series of beaver ponds descending down a peak on the east side of the Blanco Basin. It was habit for veteran fishermen to hike in to the upper (and largest) of the six ponds and fish their way down to the third before camping overnight.
The next day, awaking to the chill spring breeze on the side of a mountain, those same fishing families would eat some of their catch from the previous day, fried in cast iron pans over an open campfire after being dredged in a salt-pepper-cornmeal mixture which seemed to be present in every kitchen and every camp box in those days.
The second day would find the anglers dousing lines in the final three ponds, storing their catch in canvas bags lined with long grass to keep them fresh until they could be cleaned and frozen at home as food to take the families through lean times and provide special occasion fare for themselves and visitors.
All these nature-related habits were amplified as the area began to gather notice as a prime winter sports venue and fall hunting mecca.
All the attributes which drew visitors to Pagosa Country demanded some control - and promotion. Thus began the growth of Pagosa Area Chamber of Commerce, from a one-person parttime operation to a full-fledged Chamber which today is recognized as one of the finest in the state.
Promotion of the area brought new development. Homes grew in open fields and on high ridges. Retirees were invited to the area by the promise of spectacular vistas and friendly environment.
Movie makers found the area and several major films were shot in its environs. The Hollywood influence drew even more investors and development to the San Juan Basin where they hoped to sample the historic solitude its citizens had enjoyed.
As the demand for access grew, often impassable trails were turned into graveled access to mountain areas normally occupied only by wildlife. Roads were constructed to within hundreds of yards of fishing holes which had, in the past, required hours of walking to gain access.
It was the spring of a new era, an era many natives had feared. It brought more new residents, more building, more spending, more affluence, and less of the sylvan lifestyle natives had guarded for decades.
Today, spring days dawn bright with hope for the many neighborhoods which make up the county. A Community Plan designed to control growth within the means of the area to support it has been developed.
Unfortunately, it has not been adopted by the county government. Consideration was tabled last week to give commissioners "time to read the document."
These are the same commissioners who on many occasions this year have rushed into decisions without apparent consideration of their potential consequences.
It would be healthy to think they have made the decision to delay implementation on the basis of wanting to be sure they are doing the right and legal thing with respect to the desires of all the residents of the county. But the reality of prior decisions may mean they want only to personally control development.
It may be a spring of new revolt, new consternation on the behalf of county residents, and new uprisings of opposition to independent decisions which flout consideration of legal restrictions the commissioners themselves have enacted.
Should that be the case, Spring 2001 may be recalled as the time when:
A pair of men in a group of three,
brought weight to bear on you and me,
Our rights were not considered valid,
and their votes made some areas squalid.
We wanted them to defend our area's destiny,
with controls of those things we hated to see,
Instead we got some grand new rulings,
which deceived voters' with insider duelings.
Newsman's optimism beckoned settlers
Effusive promotion of Pagosa Country spread across the pages of editor Daniel Egger's Pagosa Springs News during the early 1890s knew no bounds. After reading one of Egger's promotions, any reader surely wanted to fill a satchel with personal belongings and climb on the next stage for Pagosa.
Keep in mind that the Pagosa Springs of the early 1890s had no running water, no community sewage system, no electricity, no telephones, and no paved streets. Summer dust and winter mud were facts of life.
The only connection with the outside world was a daily stage between Pagosa Springs and Amargo, the nearest railroad terminus. Amargo was something over 30 miles south of Pagosa in New Mexico and that road wasn't paved either.
Archuleta County had only been a county seven or eight years and Pagosa Springs a town for a couple of years. Fees for saloon licenses tended to support the town. The county collected a variety of small taxes. Public expenditures were slim to nonexistent.
Pagosa settlers were still experimenting with methods of earning a living. Cattlemen had prospered in the area since the 1870s, but cattle prices weren't particularly good during the 1890s and herds had to be driven cross-country to the railroad, maybe to Amargo or Chama or Pagosa Junction. Sometimes as far as Pueblo if the rancher couldn't afford train fare for his bovines.
Huge stands of ponderosa pines covered the lower elevations of the county, but again, it was more than 30 miles to the railroad and you couldn't drive trees across the landscape as you could cows. Folks experimented with various crops, but the growing season was short and there was still that problem of getting the goods to market.
Finally, the wonderful Great Pagosa Hot Spring beckoned, almost guaranteed to cure whatever hurt the most, that is if the jolting stage ride into town didn't kill you first.
Egger's optimism may have provided a greater cure-all than the healing waters during those formative years of Pagosa Country. Witness the following newspaper entries.
Newspaper item Dec. 15, 1892: The News predicts that there will be some wonderful changes in Archuleta County in the next two years. The advent of the sawmills, railroads, and the removal of the Utes will cause a stir in this neck of the woods. Capitalists are today looking for investments in southwestern Colorado, and Archuleta county is the garden spot of this section. On account of its isolation, its resources have remained undeveloped. But there is bound to be a change, and we believe the day is not far off when it will take place.
Newspaper item: J.H. Walker was down on the Navajo last week, and while there had a talk with Ed Biggs, a member of the Biggs Lumber Co. The latter gave Mr. Walker the assurance that the firm would move one of their mills on the Navajo next summer, and possibly one in Coyote Park. A railroad will be built from Amargo to the mill site. It is understood that Mr. Biggs is contracting for the trees on the land of the settlers in the valley at one dollar per thousand feet. It is estimated that the moving of the mill into our county will increase the population of the county five hundred souls.
Newspaper item: Many citizens of the county are thinking of securing a quarter section of the fine timber land in this county. The cost is $2.50 per acre and we believe there are acres of it on which the timber is worth $20 or more on the stump.
Motter's comment: Mr. Biggs was a man of substance, well worth listening to. His New Mexico Lumber Co. had been logging in New Mexico just south of Pagosa Country for several years. With T.D. Burns of Tierra Amarilla, Biggs operated a general store in Chama and was stirring several other pots as well.
Concerning timber claims, a quarter section is 160 acres. Therefore, a land allotment under the Timber and Stone Act had the same acreage as an allotment under the Homestead Act of the time. Better yet for the logging company, if the company built a railroad, the government donated the timber adjacent to the railroad for nothing. Needless to say, poorly constructed narrow gauge railroads snaked up every river valley in Pagosa Country. The Timber and Stone Act invited fraud. Logging companies could enter a local saloon, convince one or more of the thirsty patrons to file a timber claim with money provided by the logging company representative, and for little more than the cost of a splash or two of booze, acquire title to the timber. Between 1900 and 1910, several Pagosa Country citizens visited Denver at the request of an insistent Federal grand jury interested in learning about certain Timber and Stone filings in Archuleta County.
Newspaper item Dec. 15, 1892: At the Sunday school session next Sunday the new library books will be given out as far as needed. These books are 48 in number and are the gift of a wealthy Methodist man who died in New York City. This is the first library in the county. If the officers of the Sunday schools on the Navajo and Blanco would like, Rev. Harpst will aid them in securing a like gift, according to the number of scholars. This should be done in time for the early opening of schools in the spring.
Motter's comment: Changing focus a little, historians are always looking for a first or a last. The preceding item seems to document the beginning of the first library in the area. It's interesting to note that books for isolated Pagosa Springs came from one the nation's premiere metropolitan areas. Also, there were no church buildings at the time. Folks of Methodist persuasion were meeting in the school house at the corner of 3rd and Lewis streets. People with other affiliations were meeting in homes. There were even good people meeting down on the Navajo and Blanco, in which buildings we don't know.
Newspaper item: M.O. Brown and J.L. Dowell disposed of their beef cattle at Pueblo for a good price. R.J. Chambers, who started to ship last week, sold his cattle before reaching the road. The Brown Bros. and E.T. Walker shipped seven car loads of cattle from Chama last week.
Newspaper item: John L. Dowell got left at Salida last Friday morning while on his way home from Pueblo. He was eating a lunch and on returning saw the train speeding across a bridge over the Arkansas. He came home the next day.
Motter's comment: Cattle were important locally during the early 1900s. To reach market, the herds were driven overland to Chama or Amargo or Pagosa Junction and loaded on narrow gauge railroad cattle cars. John L. Dowell was the Pagosa Springs mayor at the time. He homesteaded the ranch at the head of Mill Creek Road and owned other property in the area including a home in town. We know of no Dowells still living in this area. The family apparently moved to the San Diego area circa 1910-1920. I am puzzled as to why he was returning to Pagosa Springs from Pueblo by way of Salida.
Newspaper item Jan. 6, 1893: The old government buildings in this town were declared a public nuisance, and the clerk was order to notify the owners thereof to abate the nuisance within ten days.
Newspaper item Jan. 6, 1893: The order of the county board to destroy the old barracks in this town is timely. It would be more convenient for those occupying these buildings if it were summer instead of winter. Nevertheless these breeders of disease cannot be destroyed too soon.
Item from county commissioner minutes, Jan. 1893: Now at this time complaint having come to this board that the old government buildings in the town of Pagosa Springs known as the soldiers and officers quarters is infectious and a source of filth and cause of sickness and Dr. Wm. A. Parrish and Dr. Haxby both reputable physicians coming before the board and representing these facts to be true and also stating that one case of scarlet fever has now broken out and in their opinion caused by filth and germs in said building and the board going in person to visit the said premises in a body and it appearing to them that the said buildings are infectious and a source of disease, therefore this board in open session do at this time order the clerk to notify the owner or agents of the following buildings to remove the same by fire if possible within 10 days or show cause. Buildings specifically mentioned were on Block 21, Lots 27, 28, 29, 30; Block 22, two buildings each on lots 13 and 16; and "all log buildings on Lewis and near 4th Street known as government store houses and stables."
Newspaper item Jan. 20,1893: The board of commissioners was in session last Saturday. It was notified that application had been made to Judge Sumner for an injunction restraining the board from destroying the old barracks in this town. The case will be heard at Durango on Feb. 25.
Motter's comment: Fort Lewis, containing 10 log enlisted men's barracks, four log officer's quarters, and a few other buildings occupied today's main business block of Pagosa Springs from 1878-1882. When the Fort was vacated in 1882, the vacation order contained directions to destroy the buildings. That didn't happen. Therefore, we see during the early 1890s as the town began to grow, a move to get rid of the buildings. The action noted in these items was taken by the county commissioners. We don't know why the county assumed jurisdiction over buildings located within the town limits. We still don't know when the buildings came down. Watch for more on this subject in coming weeks.
Newspaper item Jan 6, 1893: By resolution the name of the creek in the western part of the county, known as Devil's creek, was changed to Angel creek.
Motter's comment: Those pesky commissioners were a busy lot. What I don't understand is, since the name change took place during 1893, why do we still call that stream Devil's Creek? Could our citizens have been so lawless as to disobey a commissioner order?
Newspaper item: The board of commissioners at last week's session passed a resolution favoring a change in the name of our county - from Archuleta to Pine. The sentiment of the American citizens of the county is unanimous in favor of the change, but the News believes that a large majority of them prefer to have it called Pagosa County. The name Archuleta was not satisfactory to the citizens at the time of the organization of the county, but the News is informed that it had to be Archuleta or there would be no county. In the eight years of the county's existence the name has refused to become popular.
Motter's comment: Those commissioners were on a name-changing roll. During recent weeks we've been writing about the conflict between Anglos and Hispanics for control of the county during its infant years. Here is more evidence of that friction and prejudice. Notice the reference to "American citizens," meant to exclude Hispanics. The county is, of course, named for Hispanic Sen. J.M. Archuleta Sr., clearly an American if several generations of being born in North America means anything.
Newspaper item: J.C. Campbell of Rico and J.P. Blackinger of Durango are guests at the Latham. Feb. 1893.
Motter's comment: U.S. Sen. Ben Campbell of Ignacio claims Pagosa Country roots. We have been publishing items which might throw light on those roots, although the connection has not been firmly established.
Newspaper item: Ed A. Vorhang of Amargo again made final proof of his homestead (Amargo) this week. Mr. Vorhang is meeting with considerable opposition in acquiring title to his land.
Motter's comment: Vorhang's homestead included Amargo. Operating in Amargo were a number of businesses. Could it be that these business owners objected to Vorhang claiming their business sites for his very own homestead?
More to come.
Birdies are tweeting. Can you hear them?
The berm of snow on the north side of the house has melted.
There's mud in the back yard and the sound of thunder is heard for the first time in months.
A woodpecker arrives after a difficult migratory journey and begins to demolish the cedar siding on the house.
Spring is here.
The arrival of spring motivates me and fellow members of the Society to action. I'm sure it has something to do with a rise in ambient air temperature, an elongation of the photoperiod, a subtle shift of the earth on its axis stirring us at the molecular level, stimulating tribal urges, precipitating testosterone-fueled eruptions of primal consciousness.
This change of season makes its demand: that we procure large hunks of dead swine and, with fierce determination, transform them into something sublime.
We are impelled to indulge in an archaic ritual that links us to a distant past - to produce an essential element for the impending season, the barbecue season, for the sake of manly being itself.
Chub (don't ask) and link.
As I reported in a column last year, the inaugural meeting of the Archuleta County Sausage Society produced an array of excellent products, but at a crippling cost, dollar-wise and in terms of a horrible toll on bodies and surroundings.
Last year the three original members of the Society attacked the task with an archaic Czech hand grinder - the Porkert Fleischhacker 10 - and a clumsily manufactured Chinese pot-metal stuffing horn. By the time the debacle ended, each member had a couple of pounds of sausage (delectable) at a cost (materials and labor) of approximately $24 per pound.
Undeterred, the Society inducted a new member and set back to work last Saturday.
Despite the nonsense recited above, there is an excellent reason to do this job: a love of high quality sausage. Quality is the key.
Next trip to the supermarket, pick up a pack of commercially produced sausage. Read the list of ingredients.
There must be a market somewhere in the non-Judaic and non-Muslim universe for pork snouts and pork glands. No doubt there are delicacies enjoyed by members of odd cults (including the French), that key on the pork snout and one if not all of a pig's glands.
Not at my house.
Beyond the nasty cuts of meat, the chemical additives to commercial sausage are staggering, in kind and number. I enjoy additives as much as the next guy, but enough is enough. Too much of the right stack of preservatives and we'll all grow tails.
So, here's the dilemma: an unacceptable product versus an uncontrollable need.
I need sausage. I contend we all need sausage. Pork sausage. Forget your dry, characterless sausages made of venison, etc. These are lame, pathetic excuses for the real thing, facsimiles ground out by hunters desperate to rationalize their hobby.
There is no need for sausage to be the dustbin of meat products, a carnivore's compost pile. It can be made of primo cuts of swine, packaged with loving attention, and emerge the keenest of treats.
Just not at $24 per pound.
With little margin money-wise, it was necessary to tackle the job with fully-modern equipment. Some of it made of stainless steel.
Thanks to Scott, the anal-retentive member of the group, we were prepared to demolish pork with an electric grinder, ready to stuff casings full of fragrant flesh with a 5-pound-capacity industrial worm-drive device. Scott believed we could whack out at least 40 pounds of sausage in several hours, with no strained muscles, no aneurysms and little waste. He was right.
The only similarity to our first Society meeting was the presence of a Labrador retriever to Hoover up spillage.
Sausage-making is serious, alchemical business. An animal that once had a name and served as some kid's 4-H project becomes one of the palate's best friends: meat blessed with grease-borne flavor, ready for caramelization over a hot flame, ready to accompany nearly any other food item. Ready to serve as a main attraction or as an essential ingredient in a blissful melange.
This is what Hermes Trismegistus meant when he spoke of the ultimate evolution - the leaden reality of decaying flesh, transmogrified into gold!
Mike and I dissembled the swine. Scott had purchased a mind-boggling mass of top-grade pork and, wielding our blades, Mike and I chunked the prima materia that Scott and Lindsey fed into the grinder. Into a large tub muscle fiber and fat fell, in perfect proportion.
To a precisely weighed amount of ground meat, Scott added a precise amount of ice water.
Then, the Philosopher's Stone - the ineffable essence, the catalyst that excites the blissful transformation - the spices.
For three different blends, three spice mixtures: each ramified and rare, each esoteric, each sublime. One for a subtle breakfast sausage, a cough of sage giving it character; another for a slightly sweet German sausage, nicked with nutmeg; the third, stinging and tangy for a muscular kielbasa. To the Polish entry, we added extra garlic: cloves freshly minced and mashed.
The lessons learned at the Society's first meeting paid dividends throughout the process.
With our new machinery, Lindsey would not lose consciousness after hours at the hand grinder, the victim of profound fatigue and a rotator cuff injury. A pyroclastic flow of meat would not escape from the ill-conceived Chinese stuffing horn, cascading lava-like across the tabletop, coating the floor with an impenetrable protein glaze. No more blowouts with broken hog casings (we switched to collagen).
An hour into the process, we had 15 pounds of breakfast sausage, five comfy in chubs with custom-made sleeves Scott had purchased from a sausage website; ten pounds in thin collagen-constrained links.
Two hours into the afternoon, we possessed fifteen pounds of kielbasa, absent the pork snouts, pork glands and nitrites that riddle the commercial product.
Three and a half hours from start time, we crammed the last large link of German - no artificial coloring - into a zip-lock freezer bag.
We left the event satisfied, complete, each in his own way offering quiet thanks to the hogs who gave their all. And to the brewery that produced the beer we consumed while we made sausage. Each Society member departed with a load of zip lock bags, each a caravan of one, heavily laden, heading home, bearing riches galore.
With the chance there will be a few more chilly evenings, I intend to use some of my sausage right away, as part of an experiment.
I'll buy a couple of packs of pre-made puff pastry shells and bake them according to directions.
While the shells bake and cool, I'm going to make a thick bechamel. Who knows, perhaps a velouté. Maybe I'll add a blast of shredded Gruyere and a trickle of white wine.
In a frying pan, I'll saute some crumbled sausage - I think I'll go with the German, adding red pepper flakes to provide some zip. Once the sausage is browned nicely and some of the fat is removed, in will go a clove of minced garlic, a minced shallot, and a generous bit of chopped parsley. Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste. I'll toss in several varieties of mushrooms, sliced.
When the mix in the frying pan is ready, flavors amalgamated, moisture evaporated, I'll add it to the bechamel. Some peas? Why not. Maybe try another veggie of some sort. Artichoke hearts?
I'll fill the pastry shells, put them on a lightly greased baking sheet and into the broiler they'll go sprinkled with a bit more cheese, just until the tops get brown.
As a herald of spring: a salad of baby greens, dressed simply with lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper.
As I eat. I'll gaze out to the deck, at my trusty grill. I'll think of the treasure secure in my freezer. I'll wait for the right evening, the perfect situation, some kraut and perfect chewy bread, some Swiss and stone-ground mustard, and...
Let the grilling season begin! I've done my work and I am ready.