Real property values in Archuleta County continue to climb, according to reports recently released by Archuleta County Assessor Keren Prior.
"We've seen an increase in property values, though in most cases it hasn't been substantial," Prior said. "The biggest increase has been in vacant commercial land along the highway and in town. Based on sales of comparable property, we've raised this category from $2.50 per square foot to $5 per square foot, even though we've been as conservative with our appraisals as the law allows."
Notices of real property values have been mailed to property owners within the county, notifying them of this year's valuation and giving them the opportunity to protest until June 30. The date for protests started May 2. So far, 120 protests have been lodged. The assessor's office has received a far greater number of calls asking about the tax notices.
"We getting fewer formal protests this year, probably because we've been able to explain over the telephone how the process of using comparables works," Prior said.
Every odd year, including this year, is a reassessment year, according to Prior. During reassessment years, appraisers from the office visit the sites of all vacant land sales to compare sale prices with appraisal guidelines. For example, a lot with trees and a view may be valued higher than a nearby parcel with no trees or views.
In addition to site visits related to vacant land sales, the values of existing real properties already on the books are compared with sales recorded for like properties. If sales over the past year show higher market values than the prior year's appraised value, the value may be jumped up for this year's appraisal.
State law rigidly governs the appraisal of property in Colorado. Appraised values are based on the money received for actual sales of property similar to the property being appraised. Appraisers from the state sample local sales, compare them with appraised values, then compare their samples with values used by the local office. Local values for classes of taxable property must be within 5 percent of sample values taken by the state.
One change this year is the lowering of the rate residential property is assessed at for tax purposes. State law governs that rate using a formula comparing residential property values with commercial property values. Since the formula was first adopted, the residential multiplier has dropped from 21 percent to its current value. This year the multiplier is 9.15 percent, down from 9.74 percent last year. That means a tax rate is levied against 9.15 percent of the value of a home. For a home valued at $100,000, the tax rate will be levied against $9,150.
The assessor's office establishes property values, but not tax rates. Tax rates are set by taxing entities, again within guidelines established by the state.
Real property values published by county assessors at this time are only the first stage of establishing property values for tax purposes. Those values will change as the appeals process progresses and as the assessor's office continues to refine numbers. The office must provide preliminary taxable values to the various taxing entities by Aug. 15. A final, certified value is submitted to taxing entities in time for final budget preparation in December.
Following are the assessed values of taxable property by taxing entity, comparing final values for 2000 with 2001 with the 2000 values listed first: Archuleta County - $158,191,477, $169,617,467; School District 50 Joint - $151,357,521, $163,997,511; School District 10 Joint - $515,220, $511,736; School District 11 Joint - $6,318,736, $5,108,220; Alpha Rockridge Metropolitan District - $3,391,024, $3,981,146; Aspen Springs Metropolitan District - $8,036,927, $8,241,801; Town of Pagosa Springs - $29,093,256, $29,504,426; Pagosa Springs Sanitation District - $23,074,778, $22,610,645; Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District No. 1 - $58,016,354, $64,6732,744; Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District No. 2 - $57,169,851, $58,716,463; Pagosa Area Fire Protection District - $134,261,94, $145,480,699; Piedra Park Metropolitan District - $2,011,304, $2,004,143; San Juan River Village Metropolitan District - $2,219,680, $2,719,628; San Juan Water Conservancy District - $125,682,419, $133,988,556; Southwest Water Conservancy District - $158,191,327, $169,617,317; Upper San Juan Library District - $157,679,257, $169,108,731; Upper San Juan Hospital District - $151,357,491, $163,997,481.
Motorists using the Piedra Road-U.S. 160 intersection may face some inconvenience when the Colorado Department of Transportation begins installation of traffic lights and a traffic island June 11.
"They'll be doing everything they can to make it easier for motorists," said Kevin Walters, the county road superintendent. "It will be impossible to avoid creating some inconveniences."
Several rules are contemplated for the road work that should ease the burden on motorists, according to Walters.
For example, no work is planned over the July 4 holiday celebration. More specifically, no work will be performed June 30 through July 4, according to construction specifications attached to the Piedra Road-Eagle Drive portion of work being conducted as a joint project by the town and the county.
"Since CDOT used the same engineer as the town and county, it is reasonable that the same work and traffic control guidelines will be followed by CDOT," Walters said.
Relief will also be available for workers commuting through the intersection to and from jobs. The same agreement asserts that, "The contractor shall not perform any work which affects traffic on the roadway between 7 and 8:30 in the morning and between 4 and 6 in the evening, or as directed by the engineer."
In addition, one lane of traffic must remain open at all times, according to the agreement, and in no case will traffic be delayed more than 5 minutes unless so directed by the engineer in charge.
Professional flaggers to direct traffic will be hired from a company other than the construction company.
Access to the businesses located along Eagle Drive will be maintained at all times. That means all current entrances to Eagle Drive will remain open until the new portion connecting with Piedra Road is complete. At that time the old connection with Piedra Road on the west end will be removed. Eagle Road is the frontage road located on the north side of U.S. 160 in that area.
Three simultaneous projects will be underway at or near the intersection, involving CDOT, the county, and Pagosa Springs. CDOT is installing traffic lights and building an island demarcating a turn lane at the intersection, the county is widening Piedra Road from the CDOT work to just beyond the entrance to Pepper's Restaurant, and the town is moving the intersection of Piedra Road and Eagle Drive in a northerly direction. The entrance to Fred Harman Art Museum is being moved into alignment with Piedra Road. Turn lanes will be installed as required.
Four Corners Materials, Inc. is the contractor doing CDOT's work. The state budgeted something over $1 million for its portion of the project.
Strohecker Excavating of Bayfield is contractor for the town and county through a joint bid. The county is spending about $172,000 for its portion of the work plus an undetermined amount for installing curb and gutter along the northwest corner of the intersection. The town is spending about $115,000 for the Eagle Drive work. The Eagle Drive cost is being shared equally by the town, FS Enterprises, and Giant Corp.
Bechtolt Engineering of Durango is providing construction supervision for all the projects at state expense as long as CDOT work is being conducted. If CDOT finishes before the other two entities, or if the town and county work at times other than when CDOT is working, then those entities must pay for engineering supervision.
"I look forward to finishing this," said Jay Harrington, the town administrator. "It's time to go forward to the next issue, which is traffic lights at the North Pagosa-South Pagosa intersection with 160. That's not scheduled, but it is very much needed."
Dick Babillis, chairman of the Upper San Juan Hospital District, was officially appointed interim executive director for the district at the board's regular meeting Tuesday.
At the same meeting, the board approved a motion to begin the search for someone to fill the open position. Both decisions follow the board's move to request that Bill Bright, who served as the executive director and head of EMS from July 1997 to mid-March, resign.
The board agreed to ask for his resignation at a special meeting May 9. Subsequently, a letter was sent to Bright, but, as of Tuesday, he had not responded.
"He (Bright) has not been invited to come back to the district in any capacity," Babillis said. "It's just a matter of how it ends."
Details regarding the resignation request, including why the move was necessary, were not available.
"It's a personnel matter," Babillis said on advice from counsel, "no other comment can be made at this time."
If the considerations of the resignation agreement are accepted, it will be retroactive to May 2. That date was set after analyzing the number of sick days, vacation days and personal leave available to the employee under district guidelines, Ken Morrison, a board member, said, responding to a question from a member of the audience of about 15.
Taking the next step toward finding a permanent replacement was a matter of discussion.
"Are we open to discuss the possibilities when we don't have a finalized decision?" Sue Walan asked.
"I view it as finalized," Babillis said.
Because the Mary Fisher Clinic and the recently created Urgent Care Facility were added to the district since the last search, revising the job description will be the first step.
Keeping the process as open and public as possible throughout the search will be key, Babillis said.
The board granted Babillis, who will serve in a volunteer capacity in the interim, all of the powers of the office, except the ability to hire and fire staff. Those decisions must continue to go through the board until the search for a new director is complete.
Before the official action Tuesday, the board had informally asked Babillis to take on the duties of executive director in mid-March. At that time, Bright became incapacitated and could no longer fill his position. However, the uncertainty surrounding the powers granted with the informal appointment caused some initial concern among the staff.
Throughout the night, the board mentioned several times that staff stability and morale are vital and that it is important for people to feel secure in their positions during the time of transition.
"I don't think anybody should have to fear for their job," Walan said.
Having someone overseeing the financial and business aspects of the business was an equally vital concern.
"Certainly someone needs to assume the responsibilities of an acting director and that person has to have the authority to act in that capacity," Bill Downey, a board member, said.
In related business, the board appointed H. Wayne Wilson, a CPA, to fill a vacancy on the board created last month when John Weiss resigned to devote more time to his job.
"Because of my job, I just do not think I can devote the amount of time needed to be an effective director. It really is time for me to give up my position on the board and let someone else take my place," Weiss said in his resignation letter.
Board members considered two applicants for the vacancy Tuesday, Wilson and Kay Grams. Board secretary Patty Tillerson said it was flattering to have two candidates with such exceptional qualifications apply for the empty spot.
During discussion, Board Member Bob Huff and a couple members of the audience commented that having a CPA on the board would be a benefit. The vote was taken by secret ballot, and the winner announced a little later.
"Wayne, thank you first and congratulations second," Babillis said. Wilson will remain unable to vote until he takes the oath of office at the June meeting.
The Community Plan approved by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission during March should be on the county commissioner agenda for consideration May 22.
This Community Plan is designed to serve as a summary and consensus of county residents' desires concerning land use planning. As such, it is intended to be used to guide the writing of land use regulations.
Commissioners Bill Downey and Alden Ecker asked at the May 15 meeting of county commissioners that consideration of the plan be placed on the agenda for the coming meeting.
"This (the plan) has been to the commissioners" Downey, the board of county commissioner's liaison with the county planning department, said Monday during a telephone interview. "It's up to the chairman of the board to address. I'm going to ask about it under unfinished business at tomorrow's meeting."
Downey said he has read the document and is ready to act.
Also interviewed by telephone Tuesday was Ecker.
"I was going to try to put it on the agenda for Tuesday," Ecker said. "We need to put it on the agenda, talk, see where everyone is."
Ecker said he has read the document and also attended all of the hearings while the document was being developed and changes made.
"I'm ready to get on with it," Ecker said.
When contacted by telephone Monday Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, said when asked about the status of the document, "Basically, I guess we're going through and marking questions. We'll bring it in and discuss it in open workshop. Myself, I'm trying to see if there are some things in the Montezuma Plan we can use to put teeth in it. Maybe we can co-mingle, integrate the two plans if possible. If that is not possible we'll do something with teeth."
Crabtree said he has not completely read the document.
The Community Plan was adopted by the USJRPC after approximately a year of public hearings and with the help of a private consulting firm hired by the county. It is an advisory document. County commissioner approval of the document is not necessary.
Since the Community Plan is only advisory and is conceptual in nature, it contains no laws. Any land use laws connected to the plan remain to be adopted by the county commissioners if they choose to do so. The Montezuma Plan, identified as owner initiated zoning, is not a community plan. Montezuma County also has a Community Plan. Landowner initiated zoning is the Montezuma County Commission answer to implementing that county's Community Plan.
Owner initiated zoning could be used by the Archuleta County commissioners as an implementation device for the Community Plan adopted by the USJRPC in March, according to Lynn Constan, chairman of the USJRPC. Constan is a former community planner.
The sounds of construction will hardly miss a beat on Hot Springs Boulevard this summer.
Work on Town Hall is scheduled for completion sometime around the end of May with a move-in date during the first two weeks of June, and construction of the Community Center to begin shortly thereafter.
On May 10, members of the Pagosa Springs Community Facilities Coalition, a non-profit organization in charge of managing the center, approved June 16 as the ceremonial groundbreaking date for the proposed 20,000 square foot facility. Festivities will begin at 9 a.m.
Bids for the first phase of the project, including site preparation and foundation work, are being advertised. Under the proposed schedule, construction will begin June 18 with a finish date projected for sometime during the 2002 construction season.
Parking availability and some of the building aesthetics still concerned members of the coalition. Under the current plans, 86 parking spaces are available between the Town Hall and the Community Center - short of what will be needed when the center becomes fully operational.
Mark Garcia, town building department administrator, said some shared parking possibilities with neighboring land owners and future development of the area will ease the problem over time.
"To maximize the footprint on the building, we used up some of the parking spaces," he said.
Members of the building committee and town staff are still working with the architects to design a pleasing facade for the wall of the multi-purpose room which will face Hot Springs Boulevard. Working drawings show the 160-foot concrete-block wall being broken up using a variation on a federalist design of multi-colored blocks, textured blocks and a series of glass block windows.
This final design detail is important because the town wants to set a precedent for the rest of the buildings in that district, Garcia said.
However, the discussions on design for the multi-purpose room will not interfere with the start of construction, Chris Bentley, town planner, said. She encouraged members of the committee to look at the proposed drawings and offer suggestions.
Garcia said the architect, R. Michael Bell, is researching flooring for the multi-purpose room, acoustic material for the walls in the same area and a proposed glass block dedication wall somewhere near the main entrance. The dedication wall is proposed as one of the final, and possibly ongoing, fundraisers for the project.
Funding has been secured for the first two phases of the estimated $3.2 million project through a CDBG grant and a lease purchase agreement with Wells Fargo Bank. Now, the coalition is applying for other private grants and developing fundraising options to secure the remaining $500,000 for detail and finish work.
The glass block dedication wall is one option for fundraising. Garcia said the glass blocks can be sold to donors. Each one would have a dedication etched on the outside, and provide room for mementos to be tucked inside. Taken as a whole, the wall becomes almost a work of art created by individual members of the community.
Pauline Benetti, a coalition member who has been working on the grant writing, said the Gates Family Foundation board will be reviewing the Community Center grant proposal in June. A proposal has also been sent to El Pomar and one is in the works for the Boettcher Foundation.
"The big question on all of these is 'will they or won't they?' and we don't know yet," she said.
Members of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors want their constituents to know how complaints to their organization are handled.
A May 10 discussion opened with director Gerald Smith telling staff the material presented for consideration was not what the board was seeking.
"We want to see something like a flow chart for each investigation, with the outcome reported back to the person who initiated the complaint or suggestion. That person deserves an answer and we want to be sure they get one," said Smith.
Walt Lukasik, general manager, said, "In the 15 months I've been here, there have been only two complaints of that nature (that they did not get a report on the outcome)."
Smith was adamant, however. "We said we were going to fix this and I want to be able to look our members in the face and say, 'we did it.' "
Director Fred Ebeling said he had personally investigated one of the two cases referenced by Lukasik and the person filing the charge "gave neither a name nor a telephone number."
Director Thomas Cruse said, "What was asked for was a pictorial display of the working process in handling a complaint. Maybe all we need is to see a flow chart on how complaints are answered."
Director Richard Manley, board president, agreed. "Any holes in the process would show up in a flow chart," he said.
"Give us a detailed complaint procedure," he told Lukasik. "Every complaint should get a response on disposition."
Smith concluded, "We just want people to know they have a right to an answer and that we have established the procedures to supply them with one."
Lukasik was directed to report back to the board at its June 12 meeting.
A number of proposed bylaws changes will be submitted to the general membership at the July 1 annual meeting of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association as a result of May 10 actions by the board of directors.
Key items will include setting a limit on any special assessments the board can assess, amending the minimum insurance requirements, placing a percentage of membership property equity limit on capital expenditures, and establishing a more workable collections policy for annual dues.
A more contentious proposal to revise the method of determining number of votes allowable for individuals, joint, partnership and corporate lot ownership, was tabled after lengthy discussion, as was a companion measure defining voting privileges.
The special assessment proposal drew considerable comment before a unanimous vote to include it on the ballot.
After noting there is currently no limit on size of special assessments which can be assessed, no matter what the need determined, director Richard Manley, board president, responded to association member Dallas Johnson's comment from the audience saying the board already has the authority to borrow money without property owner approval.
Manley said, "This board is a responsible board. We could borrow to accomplish a special purpose, but to maintain that spirit of responsibility, we would not want to create a situation of indebtedness future boards would have to deal with."
Director Thomas Cruse said, "The average property owner is neither happy with nor, in some cases, able to meet major assessments which could be levied under current code."
Director Gerald Smith said it is conceivable, under current bylaws, "that a future board could decide 'we're going to pave every street' and then assess each property owner $15,000 as the prorated share of the overall cost."
"We won't allow that to happen if we limit the assessment size," he said.
Finally, on a motion by Smith, the board approved submitting the proposed amendment to the general membership with a limit of any assessment in excess of the annual membership dues (currently $140).
The minimum insurance question proposed reducing the current $3 million public liability coverage to $1 million. The proposal, as approved, would retain the current figures but allow the board authority to seek additional insurance if deemed necessary in the future.
The capital expenditures cap was proposed to be $100,000 or 3 percent of membership property equity, whichever is less.
Director Cruse said the rationale is that any substantive expenditure should go to the membership for a vote, even when the funding already exists in reserve, as in the case of the planned recreation center expansion.
The limitation as proposed would pertain to each single transaction and would not be on a yearly basis as some in the audience believed.
Cruse said, "The question is simply one of reducing the amount of our (the board's) authority for any one expenditure. And we should make it clear it does not apply to any reserve expenditure." The vote to put the question on the ballot was unanimous.
The one lot, one vote - despite the number of registered owners- proposal drew spirited comment.
Walt Lukasik, general manager, said there have been several interpretations of the rule over the years from one vote per lot to two votes (husband and wife) to more than that for multiple ownership. "We need to specify what constitutes a voting right," he said.
Johnson, from the audience, said the problem could be exacerbated by the single property owners who have 100 or more lots. "Do they get a vote for each lot?" he asked. "That could skew any election. They could sell those votes to undermine a good cause."
Cruse suggested "We could satisfy the problem by saying everyone with interest in a multi-ownership lot can vote only once."
Director David Bohl said he could "see no reason to change the code if we have an adequate data base properly maintained. We'd have a record of every eligible voter right at hand."
Smith said he felt "a lot of repercussion could arise from multiple lot ownership voting rights" and when Bohl moved to keep the issue off the ballot, he seconded the motion.
Cruse said, "I'm compelled to believe the vote balance is improper but think the proposed wording for change is inadequate. I, therefore, move to table the proposal which is awaiting a vote."
The board agreed unanimously and Manley summed up the feeling, saying, "We obviously need more research on the issue."
With reference to placement of the bylaws issues on the ballot, the board agreed no pro or con statement accompanying an issue will be in excess of 100 words.
Pagosa Country residents can look forward to warm and dry conditions through the coming week after surviving a sneaky snow storm that dumped six inches of the white and chilly last Thursday and Friday.
"Thursday (today) will be partly cloudy with a temperature near 80 degrees," said Brian Avery, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction. "You'll see clearing tonight, then dry and warm through next Wednesday. High temperatures should be 80 or so with lows in the upper 30s or low 40s."
A Pacific low stalled over the Four Corners last Thursday and Friday, substituting six inches of snow for the scattered showers that had been forecast.
"It just stalled out over the Four Corners," Avery said. "If it had kept moving, you wouldn't have received so much snow. The snow in your area was a last-minute thing. One place near Manila, Utah, near the south end of Flaming Gorge Reservoir, received 33 inches of snow."
A high pressure trough sitting over Western Colorado should divert any storm fronts to the north, bypassing Pagosa Country through the coming week, according to Avery.
Last week's snowfall boosted May's total to six inches, well above the historic average of one inch for the month. The water content was relatively high producing 0.93 inches of precipitation.
High temperatures last week ranged between 72 degrees Tuesday and 35 degrees Friday during the snow show. For the week, the average high temperature was 61 degrees.
Low temperatures ranged between 28 degrees Friday and 41 degrees Tuesday with an average low of 33 degrees.
"Some of our codes are out of date, some unenforceable, some where policy of procedure is vague, and some have diametrically opposed sections within themselves."
That was the comment May 10 of Richard Manley, president of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, as he told the board of directors the entire PLPOA code is under review by Walt Lukasik, general manager.
"The general manager will make recommendations on elements which need to be repealed, those which need to be amended, and those we need but don't have," Manley said.
"Obviously," he added, "some of these will have to go to the Rules Committee for action and we may not be able to get the work done before the annual meeting in July. But, rest assured, it will be a resolve of this board to get the codes properly enforceable and workable.
"We want any future board to have workable declarations of restrictions with which to operate," he said.
In conjunction with that pronouncement, director Jim Carson announced there will be a meeting of the Rules Committee at 9 a.m. June 24 and he invited any members of the association to attend.
Results of the Lake Forest subdivision survey are in and the errors expected are not nearly as bad as feared.
Walt Lukasik, general manager, told the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors, "No major errors like buildings constructed on someone else's property were found, but there were many, many minor errors, ranging from a few inches to, in one instance, six feet."
The surveyor, he said, "was shocked to find that many properties have no survey pins whatsoever, even though there have been four separate total surveys of the area in the past."
He told the board it is the surveyor's suggestion that corner pins be placed on those properties, based on the original map spotting, even if no physical pin site exists.
"He's preparing a cost estimate for us and the homeowners to see if that's a viable option," Lukasik said.
The only alternative for delineating exact property boundaries, if members deem it necessary, would be to get a 100-percent vote from all property owners in the subdivision for another complete resurvey.
Director Jim Carson, noting such a vote would probably be impossible, said the owners, spearheaded by Ernest Showalter, would like to have a copy of the original map with an overlay showing the specific problem areas and degree of difference noted, so individual property owners can be shown exactly "what they have or don't have."
Carson said, "I like the idea of having corner pins spotted based on the original map."
Lukasik noted that, as a last resort, the county is empowered by state law to unilaterally amend the map, if it can show that all other methods have failed.
Director Richard Manley, board president, ended the discussion saying, "Let's put it in the hands of the property owners and let them work it out."
In other action May 10, the board:
- Was told by Lukasik that the free month offer in April for dog registrations netted 243 new canine registrations in the Pagosa Lakes environs "and that gives us a much more adequate line of what animals are licensed, by type and location within the various developments"
- Noted the county's annual cleanup week is May 23-25 for the Pagosa Lakes area, but lamented the fact only one trash disposal receptacle will be provided for the entire Pagosa Lakes area. "Every year our staff ends up cleaning up a lot of overflow stuff and hauling it away," Lukasik said
- Learned that as of May 1, the total in outstanding dues stood at $245,000 and that a proposed collections resolution is still under review by legal counsel. In later action on proposed bylaws changes, the board agreed to put on the ballot for the July annual meeting a time schedule for dues collections that provides a charge of $20 added to unpaid accounts with dues statements mailed in December and payable Jan. 1. The late fee would be added starting May 2, a collection letter would go out June 1, and liens would be placed on properties for which dues are still uncollected on July 1
- Were advised that a proposed amendment to the Declaration of Restrictions for the Core Area was approved, with 53 percent of those voting in favor of the action. Lukasik advised one problem was in determining the number of actual property owners involved and the number of votes required for approval. The final data, he said, did not become available until the date the ballot decision was determined
- Learned the issue of "overdue interest in excess of $5,000" owed by Eaton owners has been resolved and "the check is in the mail"
- Learned there are no agreements in effect with Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District with reference to maintenance, costs and liabilities for facilities in the Pagosa Lakes area. "The only agreement we have is on water quality" Lukasik said. On a motion by Carson, the board directed Lukasik to meet with PAWS representatives and negotiate "acceptable agreements so that we are not suddenly faced with a huge water line liability"
- Heard association member and former director Mojie Adler complain about the growing problem of trash discarded along PLPOA streets. She noted she has volunteered responsibility for a mile of Meadows Drive and keeps it cleaned, but others in the area have not joined her. "Consequently," she said, "it often looks like a disaster area out there." She said she'd be willing to take an extra mile and the board agreed with her offer, while noting other residents should police their own areas of discarded trash
- Heard director David Bohl, association treasurer, report that the new in-house accounting staff has performed "above any expectable standard" and that such performance makes data much more readily available to any member who wishes access
- Heard director Thomas Cruse announce an open-to-the-public Recreation Center Committee meeting in the aerobics room at the center at 6 p.m. June 11
- Were introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Medford, new residents of the community who were in the audience. Medford, a former member of the board of directors for Sun City (which has 400 employees) is a volunteer for candidacy for the board of directors for PLPOA.
A proposed charter for, and special charge to, the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association Standing Road Committee was approved May 10 by the PLPOA board of directors.
The action, aimed at increasing viability of community road maintenance and stabilizing relations with Archuleta County, specifies in the charter that the committee be comprised of property owners empowered by the board to provide advice and counsel to the board on matters pertaining to roads within the Pagosa Lakes purview.
It also specifies the board will name the committee chairman who, in turn, will be responsible for naming committee members (no less than five, no more than seven), all members in good standing.
The board noted two long-serving members of the current committee are departing the area, leaving the panel already one member short and urged anyone interested to apply.
The committee charter directs it to meet with town, county and/or state road personnel concerning roads within the Pagosa Lakes community, seeking mutual understanding and cooperative outcomes.
It also will make recommendations to the PLPOA board concerning roads maintenance, signage, speed limits, etc., but cannot make any commitments that would obligate the PLPOA to any action or expense.
The special charge to the committee, which its members already had agreed to, notes a number of property owners in the area have clearly stated dissatisfaction with current road conditions and county road maintenance practices.
"They have expressed their expectations that the board be proactive with the county in seeking solutions to the current road situation," the charge says.
The board agreed a concentrated effort with the county is required and asked the committee, in the special charge, to keep the board informed of those issues, meetings, events, etc., that involve implementation issues for which the board would take responsibility.
Specifically, the charge says the committee will:
- Assure it has appropriate technical membership and/or consulting support for defining road usage, road maintenance standards and cost issues
- Work with county staff, county and state standards and other suitable reference materials in order to propose to the PLPOA board and through the Board of Country Commissioners, a road use classification plan. The classification system should consider to the extent appropriate, such road use data as contained in past county studies. Should county concurrence be deemed not possible, a Pagosa Lakes road classification system is to be proposed
- Apply the road classification system to Pagosa Lakes' roads, make use of any quantitative road usage data the county has and agrees to make available. Road population and connectivity may be used in determining classification
- Work with county staff to the extent possible to define recommended road maintenance standards (as differentiated from road construction standards). These standards should basically conform to levels of road classification defined. However, the two standards are to be independent for costing purposes in order to provide maintenance level options to the county or the property owners for future funding actions
- Based on road classification and road usage (frequencies and expected vehicle weight distributions), seek to define the minimum level of maintenance consistent with each classification level
- As the board itself continues to work with the county to get minimum maintenance level definitions for each road classification level, the committee will develop cost estimates for each defined level of classification and maintenance
- Identify those Pagosa Lakes roads whose current conditions are sufficiently below their classification level standards such that further study to determine reconstruction costs can be accomplished. This applies only to roads already constructed; and
- Provide an interim report on road status to the owners at the July 2001 annual meeting.
In conjunction with approval of both the charter and charge, Director Fred Ebeling told fellow board members the county, with volunteer outside assistance, is putting together a list of all county roads by length, style of current surface and degree of maintenance.
"Practically all of the roads out here have now been listed and we have received copies," he said, adding, "There are four separate subdivisions not yet included, all in the original Eaton and Fairfield developments."
A lot of sunshine with temperatures in the high 70s or even low 80s is forecast for Pagosa Country during the coming week, according to Dan Cuevas, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
The Four Corners area is presently in an interim weather pattern midway between winter storm surges from the West Coast and summer monsoon rains from the sub-tropics, Cuevas said.
A series of weather systems moving from west to east across the Rocky Mountains will generally remain north of Pagosa Springs during the coming week, Cuevas said. Today will be partly cloudy in the morning with increasing cloudiness into the evening. High temperatures should be between 75 and 80 degrees with lows between 35-45 degrees.
Tomorrow will be partly cloudy with a slight chance for afternoon showers and thunderstorms, according to Cuevas. Chances for rain showers and thunderstorms increase Saturday and Sunday, then slack off Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures over the weekend should range from the low 80s down to the low 40s at night. A slight cooling trend could set in Monday and Tuesday.
The highest temperature recorded so far this year is the 73 degrees showing on the thermometer May 13. The most recent freezing temperature was 32 degrees May 6. No freezing temperatures were recorded this past week.
High temperatures last week ranged between 73 and 68 degrees with an average high of 71 degrees. Low temperatures last week ranged between 39 and 42 degrees with an average low of 40 degrees.
All local weather data is supplied from the official gauging station located at Stevens Field. Local weather records date back to 1938 and are based on measurements taken within town. Conditions across the county can vary significantly from in-town readings.
Still facing openings in three key management positions, the county is reopening bids to fill the director of county planning slot, reviewing applications for county administrator, and hiring a contract engineer instead of supporting a full-time county engineer.
Regarding the planning department opening, the county had narrowed the list of applicants to two, then interviewed the two.
Following interviews, the position was offered to Mark S. Smith. Upon learning that Smith has decided not to come to Pagosa Springs, the decision was made to ask for more bids, instead of offering the job to the second finalist.
"Following the interview, we decided to not offer the job to the second man," said Bill Downey, a commissioner and member of the selection committee.
Also on the selection committee are County Attorney Mary Weiss, County Planner Kathy Ruth, Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission Chairman Lynn Constan and vice chairman Bob Lynch.
In pursuit of a county manager, the commissioners are still going through the 31 or so applications prior to selecting finalists and scheduling interviews. The first week of June has been targeted for interviews.
The commissioners have decided to hire an engineer on a contract, as needed basis, rather than hiring a full-time engineer.
The contract engineer will be used to complete inspections in accordance with county building and subdivision regulations.
Commissioners Gene Crabtree and Alden Ecker have said a full-time engineer is not needed in order to protect county interests. They say certified engineers hired by road builders and contractors adequately answer county needs.
A contract engineer will be hired on a case-by-case basis to sign off on planning department needs where county law says the county engineer will determine if requirements have been met.
No cost analysis has been performed to measure how much, if any, money the county will save by not filling the engineer slot. Contract engineering will be paid for from funds budgeted for a county engineer in the 2001 budget. The 2001 budget contains $49,431 allocated to the engineering department.
In a move designed to increase public attendance at meetings, the Archuleta County commissioners are scheduling night meetings twice a month starting in June.
"We've talked about holding night meetings for several months," said Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners. "It will give people who work during the day a chance to attend our meetings. I don't know how long we'll continue, but we'll try it as long as people come to the meetings."
Starting June 5, commissioner meetings will be held at 7 p.m the first and fourth Tuesday of each month. The meetings will be conducted in the commissioners' meeting room in the county courthouse. Day meetings will begin at 9 a.m. the second and third Tuesday of each month at the same location.
While establishing the night meeting format, the commissioners also resumed a policy of conducting meetings in Arboles. The next Arboles meeting will be June 6, held as a town meeting at 7 p.m., probably in the Arboles Catholic Church.
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:
- Postponed action on a payment requested for work proposed in Loma Linda under the subdivision improvements agreement. The request was made by developer Fred Schmidt to pay for work Schmidt wants done. Since only about $32,000 remains in the fund, the commissioners want more details about the work Schmidt contemplates before releasing the money. The fund is a joint account requiring permission from Schmidt and the commissioners before money is released
- Approved a conditional agreement to provide Highway User Tax Fund moneys to the Loma Linda Metropolitan District. The funds will not be available for spending until 2002
- Renewed an agreement with the Pagosa Area Chamber of Commerce through which the organization pays the county about $191 a month to lease a copier
- Renewed a hotel/restaurant alcohol license for Bob's Cabin
- Approved a special event alcohol license for the Chamber of Commerce Colorfest Sept. 22
- Renewed a beer and wine license for Chili Mountain Cafe
- Approved a contract with Strohecker Excavating for work on Piedra Road and Eagle Drive, and a contract for applying magnesium chloride to county roads
- Approved the expenditure of about $15,000 to finance moving the County Social Services Office from the courthouse to the new Town Hall set to open next month on Hot Springs Boulevard.
The racquetball courts at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center will get a new cooling system, but not the one managers had expected.
Walt Lukasik, general manager for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, told the board of directors May 10 that with more and more complaints coming in with regard to the heat in the racquetball courts, the issue tabled last fall needed action.
He said consultants recommended a refrigeration system rather than an evaporative cooling system as had been considered.
He said the building's construction would lend itself to mildew, rot and warping if the evaporative system were used.
He recommended a bid for system installation by PBS of Pagosa Springs totaling $4,765 be approved.
Director Gerald Smith asked if the expenditure was a building line item and director David Bohl, treasurer, echoed him, adding, "Where is the money coming from?"
Lukasik said, "We'll have to look for a source."
Bohl said, "The rec center budget does not have the funds."
But, on the suggestion of Smith, endorsed by board president Richard Manley, the board voted approval, earmarking unexpected past-due interest payments to cover the project cost.
Raising rates and reorganizing office space are in the works for the Upper San Juan Hospital District over the next few weeks.
At the district board's regular meeting Tuesday night, moves to approve a hike in ambulance services rates and to restructure the billing office at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center were both approved.
Rod Richardson, EMS office administrator, requested the raise in ambulance charges to meet state and industry standards. He said current rates, which haven't seen an increase in at least three years, are much lower than in some of the surrounding districts.
"The state of Colorado has recently raised their standards to prompt insurance companies to also raise the amounts they allow to pay for our services," Richardson wrote in a letter to the board. "With the price of gasoline going higher and higher, we feel the need for a higher rate in mileage is needed."
Under the new rate structure, the base rate for advanced life support receives the greatest increase, jumping from $350 to $550. Rates for basic life support move from $300 to $425, and the EMS response rate increases from $50 to $75. The rate per mile for patient-loaded mileage will go up to $11 per mile from $9 per mile.
The changes in base rate alone will mean an estimated revenue increase of between $67,000 and $100,000 annually for the district, Richardson said.
Any resident of the county who is worried about the increase, or who is without insurance, can still purchase a subscription to the ambulance service for $35. The subscriptions provide a member or a member of their immediate family one ambulance trip.
The board's approval of the rate increase, set to begin June 1, is contingent on review by legal counsel.
Laura Rome, office administrator for the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, presented the idea of reorganizing the billing department to the board as one way to recoup what could otherwise be lost revenue from insurance claims and provide increased privacy for patients regarding billing.
In the past, Rome said, the duties of billing insurance claims and providing follow-up when claims are denied was included in her job description.
"I just don't have the time to do the rebills," she said. "We're getting between three and 10 rejects a day, and it's difficult for me to follow up on those."
Rome said just one call to insurance companies to determine the problem takes an average of 20 minutes.
By using existing staff to take over that part of the billing, and separating it away from main office duties, the whole process could become more efficient, she said.
As it stands now, around $30,000 in insurance claims are over 120 days due. Between 30 and 50 percent of the money due could probably be collected if follow-ups could be made on rejected claims, Rome said.
"If we don't follow it up until the bitter end, we don't get paid," Dick Babillis, chairman of the board and acting executive director, said.
The move gives patients a place to discuss billing or payment plans with some privacy and frees up needed space in the front office, said Rome. Under the plan, two of the clinic's six phone lines will be dedicated to the billing department to help reduce the number of calls coming through the front office.
The board's motion also included approval of a wage increase for billing staff to bring the compensation up to between $9 and $12 per hour, a range in line with competition. Currently, Rome is advertising one open full-time position. Another part-time assistant may be added.
Both the ambulance rate hike and the reorganization are part of the board's efforts to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness in a district which went through a tough period last year when a $230,000 shortfall was discovered in the budget. Although the shortfall was traced to an accounting error, and the majority of the difference recouped through a large anonymous donation, the board has been encouraging the staff to determine areas where improvement is possible.
For the first quarter of 2001, the hospital district has a general fund budget shortfall of about $40,000, according to materials available at the May 15 meeting. However, the district's largest checks from tax revenue are just coming in, and are not reflected in the first quarter numbers, Mary Fletcher, USJHD office manager and bookkeeper, said. At this point, projected revenues are still expected to cover expenses.
Still, she said, the current budget is confusing.
"I have no idea how some of the amounts for the budget are derived," she said. "There are several that are thousands of dollars off."
Understandably, it's difficult to predict certain items, she said, but in some cases even though bids were in place, the budgeted amount is short by several thousand.
Babillis said plans are to begin looking at the 2002 budget from the bottom up starting as early as next month to prevent similar problems in the future.
A recent rabies incident in Weld County is a reminder about the dangers of "rescuing" wildlife.
In late April a person picked up a young fox in Fremont County and took it home to Weld County. Within a week the animal bit four people, scratched several more and exposed a half dozen others to rabies.
As a result, the people went through a regimen of anti-rabies vaccinations.
Rabies can be present in a variety of wildlife species. Bats are the most common carriers of rabies in Colorado; but skunks, raccoons, squirrels, foxes and other animals can be infectious.
During spring and early summer, people encounter newborn animals in urban areas, in the mountains and on the plains. In all locations, the rule of thumb is - Leave them alone.
According to Dean Riggs, of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, most people have good intentions when they pickup wildlife, but are unaware of the risks associated with handling wild animals. Wild animals can carry rabies, distemper or other illnesses. It is also possible for the animals to carry fleas that might subsequently spread disease to humans or pets.
Picking up wildlife is not only risky for people, but more often than not is bad for the animal. "If several hours go by and the mother does not return, only then may people reasonably assume the newborn was abandoned or the mother is dead," Riggs said. "The fact is, there are very few cases of abandoned wildlife. If you are absolutely certain that the parent animal is dead (hit by a car, for example) report it to the Division of Wildlife, but don't try to take matters into your own hands."
The Division of Wildlife has a network of licensed wildlife rehabilitators and trained volunteers who specialize in caring for young or injured wild animals, but experts say that many of the animals brought in for care would have been better off if left alone.
Every spring people are quick to scoop up baby wildlife and bring them to rehabilitation facilities, veterinary clinics or Division of Wildlife offices.
According to Cec Sanders of the Wet Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Wetmore, "The best thing to do is to quietly observe the situation for a few hours without disturbing the newborn."
Deer, elk, foxes, raccoons, antelope and other mammals often leave their young while feeding, relying on the young animal's natural camouflage to protect them. Sanders says that people shouldn't assume the animal is abandoned just because they cannot see the parents.
"Most of the animals we get should have never been picked up in the first place," said Sanders. "They would have had a better chance for survival if left in the care of the parent animal."
In cases where newly hatched birds have fallen from their nest, Sanders recommends returning them to the nest if you can do so safely, or placing them on a high branch to keep them away from pets.
It is an old wives tale that birds will reject their young if people touch them. Birds have little sense of smell.
"If you are not able to reach the nest, put the bird in a small box and attach it as close to the nest as you can. It is a lot easier, and more successful, when the parent birds feed and care for their babies than when humans try to do so," she said.
Keep in mind that when young birds begin to fly, they often spend some time on the ground before they perfect their flying skills. If this appears to be the case, leave them alone and let them learn.
Points to ponder
- It is illegal in Colorado to possess most species of native wildlife
- Wild animals are fascinating creatures to observe. And, while they are intriguing to some, and hopelessly cute to others, they do not make good pets
- Wild animals are difficult to keep alive in captivity. Moreover, they usually cannot fend for themselves if they are confined for any length of time and then later released
- Despite the fact that wildlife is best left alone, there are instances when people pick up injured or orphaned wildlife. Unless handled properly, the young animals do not survive
- Sanders says the most common mistake people make is trying to feed them. "They usually end up doing more harm than good," she said
- Do not try to give them food or water unless an animal is severely dehydrated. Baby birds and animals can easily aspirate (take liquid into the lungs) if fed improperly
- Each animal has a highly specialized digestive system. Giving store-bought cow's milk to wild animals can result in diarrhea - which causes the animal to die from dehydration
- Another misconception is giving seeds or bread crumbs to birds. Not all birds are seedeaters
- The other mistake people make is handling them too much. Small animals and birds should be put in a covered box with shredded newspaper, or soft towels, and kept warm. Put small holes around the upper sides and top of the box for ventilation. Do not put birds in wire cages. Keep them in a warm, dark and quiet place until the bird can be brought to a licensed facility
- Remember that it is illegal to attempt to rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife without the proper state and federal permits. Contact the Division of Wildlife to be put in touch with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area.
With spring comes smoke, the desire to plant, and the itch to get to our favorite parts of the forest.
Winter's cold is a recent memory; so many are anxious to get a start on next year's supply of firewood. This is a spring update from Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest on prescribed burning, transplant and fuelwood permits, trails and roads.
District personnel completed prescribed burns on approximately 1,740 acres of Pagosa Ranger District this spring. Moisture and the growth of moist green vegetation have effectively closed the window of opportunity for burning at this time.
The district has had an aggressive prescribed burn program since the mid-1970's. In that time, over 20,000 acres have been treated with prescribed fire. This project is part of the National Fire Plan underway across the nation to make public and private lands safer from wildfire by reducing natural fuels buildup. The goals are to reintroduce the role of fire to this fire-dependent ecosystem, to reduce ground fuels, prune lower branches of trees, provide for nutrient cycling, prepare seed beds for pine regeneration, and encourage biological diversity.
Areas burned include portions of Confar Hill, Valle Seco, Kenney Flats and Mule Mountain. Some planned burns did not occur because conditions were not favorable. The burn in Kenney Flats was shut down early one day due to winds. Lefthand Canyon and Benson Creek areas were too moist and green to burn. The Fawn Gulch area would have burned, but it was very green and would have produced more smoke than we felt was acceptable for our neighbors in the area. If you are interested in a tour that shows the effects of prescribed burning, please call Phyllis Decker at Pagosa Ranger District, 264-2268.
With a personal-use firewood permit one can gather down and dead trees, standing dead trees and green oak from the National Forest or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. The cost is $10 per cord. The minimum sale is one cord and the maximum number of cords per year per household is ten.
Permit conditions are printed on load tags. Certain areas are closed to cutting and removal of fuelwood. Do not cut standing dead trees that have bird cavities or nests nor trees that are marked with wildlife signs. Within Pagosa Ranger District, you may not cut green trees with the exception of green oak less than 6 inches in diameter. A dollar bill is 6 inches long.
A valid fuel wood tag for each half cord of wood must be securely and visibly attached to the back of each load of wood removed from the Forest or BLM lands. An average 4'X8' longbed pickup will carry a half-cord of wood. A full cord of wood can be hauled in a long-bed pickup with extended side rails, if loaded to top of cab. Tags may not be reused.
Permits for aspen and white fir transplants for personal use are sold for $5 per tree. The minimum sale is $20. There is a limit of 20 trees per individual per year. Transplants removed from the national forest must be less than 3 inches in diameter, less than 10 feet tall and must be dug out by hand. Use of mechanized tree spades and other mechanized equipment is not permitted. Additional conditions are included with the permit.
Few trails are currently clear of snow. Contact our office for suggestions for hiking. When you are out and about, please make note of trail conditions and let us know about downed trees on trails, where snow covers the trail and the depth of the snow. We can then pass the information on to others. Trail condition information helps us set priorities as we clear trails.
During winter, most forest service roads are not plowed and do not allow for safe travel with wheeled motorized vehicles. Some of these roads are still closed to motorized wheeled vehicles, including ATVs to protect road surfaces and for public safety. However, they are open to non-motorized uses including bicycling, hiking, and horseback riding.
Roads will remain closed until most of the road surfaces can withstand traffic without damage. Damage to roads and other areas is not allowed. Please drive only as far on roads as you can without causing ruts. Most areas within the Pagosa Ranger District are closed to off-road travel. You may drive up to 300 feet off the road to park, if you can do so without causing damage to soils and vegetation. Please do not leave road surfaces where the ground is still wet from the spring thaw.
As of Monday, May 14, 2001 the following roads are closed to wheeled motor vehicles:
- Black Mountain, FDR 661
- East Fork, FDR 667 (at Forest Boundary)
- Fourmile, FDR 645 at Forest Boundary
- Mosca, FDR 631 at Weminuche Valley
- Nipple Mountain, FDR 665 (closed beyond Echo Canyon Road)
- Plumtaw, FDR 634
- Trail Ridge, FDR 639
- West Monument, FDR 630
- Williams Creek, FDR 640 (closed beyond boat ramp entrance at the reservoir)
- Willow Draw, FDR 722.
Roads that have been opened:
- Blanco River, FDR 656
- Blue Creek, FDR 012
- Buckles Lake, FDR 663
- Castle Creek, FDR 660 (closed at Opal Lake junction)
- Devil Mountain, FDR 626
- Eight Mile Mesa, FDR 651
- First Fork, FDR 622
- Jackson Mountain, FDR 037
- Kenney Flats
- Left Hand Canyon, FDR 024
- Middle Fork, FDR 363 and Toner, FDR 637 to Piedra Falls
- Price Lake Road, FDR 731
- Snowball, FDR 646
- Turkey Creek
- Turkey Springs, FDR 629
- Snow Springs, FDR 628
- Valle Seco, from U.S. 84 to private property
- West Fork, FDR 648.
For more information on these or other aspects of your National Forest, please contact our office at 264-2268, 180 Pagosa Street, P.O. Box 310, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.
New regulations will give some Colorado landowners opportunities to increase their chances of obtaining vouchers for hunting licenses valid for their property.
House Bill 1098, which became law in 2000, required the Division of Wildlife to formalize new landowner preference regulations by July 2001. Regulations giving some landowners additional preference based on acreage will go into effect for the 2002 big game hunting season.
"The new regulations do not replace the old landowner preference program," said Henrietta Turner, License Services Manager for the Division of Wildlife. "The new preferences are supplemental to the old system."
Additional regulations allocating applications based on habitat improvements will go into effect next year on a two-year pilot basis.
H.B. 1098 takes the first 15 percent of the licenses in totally limited units and sets them aside for a special hunting voucher drawing for landowners. The vouchers can then be redeemed for licenses or they can be sold or given to other hunters who can then purchase a license for the limited area using the voucher.
For the last 10 years, the Landowner Preference Program has provided landowners a hunting preference to increase the likelihood of landowners being able to hunt on their own property. The old system allocated up to two license applications per landowner of 160 acres or more, regardless of the amount and quality of the land.
The new regulations will allocate applications based on acreage. For example, one application would be allocated for a 160-acre property and six applications for properties of 5,000 or more acres.
"This program assigns preference to the participating ranch, not to the hunter," said Kim Burgess, Public Involvement Coordinator for the Division of Wildlife.
To receive their hunting preference according to the new regulations, landowners must fill out a property deed registration form with the division by the second Friday in January. If landowners do not submit a property deed form and application in the first year, they will have difficulty drawing a voucher because they will be a year behind in the application preference point curve. Registration forms are currently available at all Division of Wildlife service centers.
Under the new system, providing valuable wildlife habitat, improving habitat, increasing public access or other factors can earn landowners additional applications. As part of the pilot program, local committees comprised of landowners, sportsmen and other interested parties will recommend the number of applications such efforts should merit on a case-by-case basis.
The Private Land Licensing Group - a working group comprised of landowners and sportsmen - designed the pilot program to recognize landowners who provide quality wildlife habitat and improve public access to private land. The group's recommendations for the details of the program were made unanimously to the Wildlife Commission.
Other considerations notwithstanding, applications will be allocated by total acreage as follows: 160-639 acres, one application; 640-1,199, two applications; 1,200-2,399, three applications; 2,400-3,999, four applications; 4,000-4,999, five applications; 5,000-more, six applications.
For more information on the Wildlife Landowner Hunting Preference program, contact the Division of Wildlife at (303) 297-1192.
As the rain and snow stop and warm weather arrives, state health officials are warning Coloradans to be careful to avoid exposure to hantavirus when doing spring cleaning and opening up cabins, buildings, sheds and barns in the rural part of the state.
John Pape, a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment epidemiologist who specializes in animal-related diseases, urged people to be particularly careful where there are mouse droppings and evidence that mice have been in and around the buildings or nearby wood or junk piles.
"As warm weather approaches, people begin cleaning out barns, garages, storage buildings, sheds, trailers or cabins that have been closed up all winter. Coloradans need to be very careful and to take precautions before beginning such work, particularly if there are accumulations of mouse droppings and other signs of mice," Pape said.
"If live mice are still occupying the structure, rodent control should be done before extensive cleaning efforts. The structures should be ventilated thoroughly and any accumulation of dust, dirt and mouse droppings should be wet down with a mixture of bleach and water before any cleaning begins."
Pape emphasized that just vacuuming an area without first wetting it down doesn't provide the necessary protection. He said the warning is particularly important this year because in 2000, Colorado had a record number of eight hantavirus cases, the largest number to be registered in one year in the state since hantavirus became a recognized disease in 1993. Of the eight cases in 2000, three individuals died.
In 1993 there were five cases and four deaths in Colorado; in 1994, one case and one death; in 1995, one case and one death; in 1996, one case and no deaths; in 1997 two cases and no deaths; in 1998, five cases and three deaths; in 1999, four cases and one death. A retrospective test confirmed that a 1985 death also resulted from the disease.
Pape said, "It's important for people to understand that this disease is carried by deer mice, which are rural mice, and the individuals who have contracted hantavirus in Colorado have been exposed in rural areas. The small gray house mice commonly found in urban areas don't carry the disease."
"If you are living or staying in rural areas and have deer mice around, you can assume you and members of your family are at risk. The more live mice that are present, the greater the risk although some people have been infected by directly handling a single mouse. You should rodent proof your house; eliminate food sources for rodents; remove abandoned vehicles and wood, brush and junk piles where rodents hide; and take the proper precautions when cleaning up areas infested with mice."
Deer mice are brown on top and white underneath. They have large ears relative to their head size. House mice on the other hand are all grey and have small ears.
Hantavirus, which is deadly in nearly half of the cases, begins with high fever, severe body aches, a headache and vomiting. The onset of these symptoms begins from one week to six weeks after exposure.
However, initially, there are no respiratory symptoms present. Symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, sinus congestion and a cough that produces phlegm, are not associated with hantavirus infection. Within one to five days the illness progresses quickly to respiratory distress, including a cough and difficulty breathing, as the lungs fill with fluid.
According to Pape, prevention is the key to avoiding hantavirus because no effective treatment exists for the disease. When hantavirus infection is suspected or confirmed, early admission to a hospital where careful monitoring, treatment of symptoms and supportive therapy can be provided is most important.
To protect against hantavirus, take these precautions:
- Rodent proof buildings by plugging holes or other mouse entryways. Conduct year-round rodent control, using traps or poisons, or hire a professional exterminator
- Make home or work areas unattractive to rodents. Keep indoor areas clean, especially kitchens. Store food in rodent-proof containers and properly dispose of garbage in sealed containers. This includes pet, livestock and bird food
- Remove rodent hiding places such as wood, junk and brush piles. Store firewood at least 100 feet from the house. Keep vegetation around the house well trimmed
- Use caution when cleaning out enclosed areas such as trailers, cabins, barns or sheds. Open doors or windows to provide good ventilation for 30-to-60 minutes before cleaning out structures. Avoid stirring up dust by watering down areas of mouse infestation with a mixture of bleach and water. A bleach mixture of one cup of bleach per gallon of water is recommended
- Thoroughly soak down potentially contaminated areas with the bleach mixture
- Use rubber gloves to pick up saturated waste, including nesting materials or dead mice. Double bag the waste using plastic bags, and bury or dispose of it in an outdoor garbage can or landfill
- Disinfect gloves with bleach and water before removing. Wash hands afterward
- In cases of severe infestation, or when ventilation and dust suppression are not possible, use a rubber face mask equipped with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter
- People camping in rural areas should avoid sleeping on bare ground. Instead, use tents or ground covers.
The State Department of Public Health and Environment has established a recorded, hantavirus hotline with more information on the disease and prevention measures. The hotline is (303) 692-2667.
Colorado residents can also call the State Department of Public Health and Environment at (800) 886-7689 to receive a brochure on hantavirus. Answers to frequently asked questions about hantavirus, including a picture of a deer mouse, can also be found on the department's web page at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/zoonosis/hantafaq.html.
Last Saturday was a beautiful morning in Pagosa, especially at the playground area of Seeds of Learning Family Center.
Members of the Upper San Juan Builders Association worked together to put in a climbing structure that will build strong muscles and coordination in the children. A special thanks to Tim Horning, Pat and Wendy Horning, Randall and Judy Denny, Dick Neyen, Dusty Pierce, Bobby Salyers, Chuck Merriman, Steve Schwartz, Bob Hart, Thomas Gallagher and Bob Escude. Pagosa Materials, Sawmill General Contractors and UBC donated materials. Everything looks great and our infants, toddlers, and preschoolers love it. We couldn't have done it without you.
Our children are the most precious gift we will ever be given. Every time someone stops to talk to a child, smile or wave, the spirit of caring is spread. These volunteers and many others in Pagosa are generous in giving of their time. Seeds of Learning wants to especially thank these volunteers for sharing their skills on a beautiful Saturday morning. To all who extend themselves to make this a comfortable community for our children to live, thank you. I think that we can call agree that Pagosa is one of the best places to raise a child.
Teddy Adler Finney
We have completed our environmental analysis for the Dutton (formerly Cade) timber sale and prescribed fire project. In mid-June we anticipate the release of the pre-decisional environmental assessment (EA) document for this project and begin the 30-day public comment period. To receive a copy, please call the office at 264-2268 and give your name, address, phone number and what media format you would prefer: hard copy, CDROM format (MS-Word 2000) or it can be downloaded from the San Juan National Forest web-site. The San Juan National Forest web site referenced is at www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan/. Once released, the EA will be under Reading Room, click on Forest Planning, scroll down to Dutton Timber Sale EA. Please feel free to call me should you have any questions. Thank you for your cooperation in advance.
U.S. Forest Service
Since spring has finally arrived and I'm trying to take care of both my aging physical and spiritual selves, I've been spending my lunch hours in the City Park. I really enjoy the beauty and serenity of the park and think the young people who maintain it should receive some thanks. So, thanks for the hard work and beautiful results you have achieved. I hope the riverwalk will soon be extended.
As an adjunct to the Scholarships in Escrow article in last week's SUN, I would like to add an ingredient that is very important to the success of the program.
Several years ago, three of the local title companies (Colorado Land Title, Great Divide Title and High Country Title) agreed to match dollar-for-dollar the realtors' contributions. This has certainly been a huge boost to the program and not one to be overlooked.
Congratulations to all the participating realtors and title companies.
Jann C. Pitcher
'Good old days'
One had to chuckle at Joan Polulech's letter to the SUN of May 10. Kinda brought back fond memories of the "good old days" when Ron "The Baker Man" Levitan led the Democratic charge in the county.
Thankfully Joan, and I'll bet ya two bits to a greenback, Mr. Sterling is a Democrat. And I think he is still the current president of the local BDA (Brain Dead Association). Sterling probably voted for Clinton in '92 but not for the Democrat's hero, Al Gore in 2000.
I think you can remember Gore? That's the guy who stated, "Bill Clinton will go down in history as the greatest president of the last century," the day after Clinton was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Can't rightly say if the SUN's editor is a Democrat. But should you toss him a bag of Tootsie Rolls this 4th of July, he could fess up.
That's just the way we all do things here in the "ol West" Joan. And remember: "Ya gotta ride with the brand that brung ya."
Hello from Ft. Collins.
I'd like to thank Ming Steen for her thoughtful article about me in the paper last week! That was so nice of you Ming.
Yes, I walked the 3.5 mile MS Walk last weekend and along with my two wonderful daughters, Traci and Kara, we raised over $1,000. I had a most wonderful surprise visit of having Nancy Rea walk alongside me! I'll never forget the day and I'll never forget the wonderful friends who make up the beautiful town of Pagosa Springs.
Hopefully Ron and I will see you in September when we return for our vacation. Thank you again for all your support.
Middle of the road
Re: The magnesium chloride issue, I, as usual, find myself in the middle of the road.
Upon weighing the factors I vote we continue judicious use of the substance. Please note that I have not researched this matter to any scientific degree; I am merely responding to what I read in the paper and observe on our roads.
Although there may be some debate about the dangers of magnesium chloride, it seems clear it creates a pollution problem. The immediately visible biological or mechanical damages usually represent only the tip of the iceberg; thus we must worry that the problem may turn out way bigger than expected. I am not aware of direct danger to humans, but there may be some. Damage to plants and therefore wildlife is of high concern. On the other hand, the dangers of silica dust as air pollution are well documented, and I believe the improved air quality here in the last few years has really been healthy for all of us.
I suspect the corrosive damage to autos may equal the mechanical damage that the potholes, washboard surfaces and dust cause if we don't treat the roads.
1. Long term goal is to pave most of the roads, certainly all the very busy ones.
2. Cut our use of magnesium chloride by 30-50 percent by treating some less-traveled roads every other year (such as my county road) treating only the central 3/4 of the roadways (perhaps decreasing runoff of magnesium chloride), treating limited areas of roads (only curves, hills, obvious residential areas, etc.). We can go back to using water daily for the first week after roadways are re-groomed.
3. Needless to say, don't run your pets, or ride your bikes on the freshly treated roads and drive minimally for several days.
The winter use of magnesium chloride is a more difficult issue because the run-off and aerosolization of the liquid is so much greater. I would favor going back to sand here in our area where ice problems are less frequent than in many communities.
Mark Wienpahl, MD
Juliet Virginia Ryals died May 6, 2001, in Pagosa Springs. She was 83 years old. Juliet was born in Fullerton, Calif., to John Bastanchury and Julia Marie (Darvfeiulle) Bastanchury on August 16, 1917.
Juliet married her husband, William G. Ryals, in 1930 in California. Juliet attended business school at Sawyer College and then served as secretary for the Civil Service in Los Angeles. Later in life she moved to Farmington where she enjoyed many friends over the years.
Juliet moved from Farmington to Pagosa Springs in March of this year to be near her nieces, Leslie Davis and Linda Schmitz.
Juliet Virginia Ryals was preceded in death by her husband, William G. Ryals; her son, William G. Ryals Jr.; and a daughter, Julia A. Ryals. She is survived by one son, Robert Ryals of Albuquerque and several nieces and nephews including Leslie Davis and Linda Schmitz of Pagosa Springs.
Funeral services are pending.
"That's like a hundred years old, huh," Pagosa Springs third grader Steven Weed said, pointing to the wall of a Ancient Puebloan pit house at Chimney Rock.
"Oh, older than that," his teacher, Mary Kay Fautheree, replied with a smile.
"Like 800?" he asked, moving up the trail.
Five Pagosa Springs third grade classes made their annual field trip to Chimney Rock Archeological Area May 10-11, participating in tours of the ruins and some hands-on activities designed to add experience to their classroom work.
"We study Chimney Rock. We've had a unit on ancient peoples, and a desert unit," Fautheree said.
On May 10, two classes of third graders arrived at Chimney Rock around 9 a.m. They piled out of yellow school buses, some laden with backpacks full of bulging pockets. Others carried just the essentials - water and sun block tucked into pants pockets. Nearly all wore sturdy walking boots, hats and glasses and looked oddly like an average tourist.
While one class took off downhill for some hands-on activities, the other was corralled by Chimney Rock volunteer Peggy Linnemeyer for a trip along the ridge top's winding trail for a tour of the archeological sites.
"It looks like a pool," one of the students said, approaching a pit house.
"It's not a pool," Linnemeyer answered, explaining that the round walls were built hundreds of years ago to provided a home for people. She also pointed out the remains of a ventilator shaft that helped keep smoke out of the home when a fire was going.
"That was cool," a student commented.
At other stops on the tour, Linnemeyer pointed out some of the challenges of life on Chimney Rock.
"Where do you see water?" she asked when the group stopped for a water break on the trail. Looking way down to the valley floor, the group finally spotted a glint of blue in the distance and pointed.
Linnemeyer explained that in order to get water up to the top of Chimney Rock the people had to carry it in heavy clay pots. Some archeologists also think they might have built catch basins closer to the top of the cliffs as a way to store rain water and snow melt.
She also told students to look carefully at both sides of the trail for round holes indicating the sites of other pit houses and to watch for fossils in the rock.
"This rock right here is my favorite rock," one girl said pointing along the trail.
Looking at the remains of the Great House at the top of the trail, the students asked several questions about the rocks, construction, what the people wore for shoes back then and how they kept snow and rain out of their homes when there had to be a hole in the middle of the roof for smoke to escape.
The second half of the morning was spent at lower pit house site where volunteers set up a mini-"Life at Chimney Rock" program for the students. Life at Chimney Rock is an annual event set for July 28-29 this year when artisans, volunteers and others set up demonstrations and activities for visitors of all ages based on the culture of Ancient Puebloans.
The students had a chance to draw petroglyphs on flat stones, create a needle and thread by pounding the leaves of a local plant, start a fire using only friction, watch how dog hair can be spun into wool, toss an ancient hunting weapon similar to a bow and arrow, and identify different kinds of animal pelts.
Tom Ferrell, one of the directors of Chimney Rock events, said offering an additional, but similar program focused on students as a kick-off to the this year's events seemed a natural step to take.
"I'd like to see this be a regular thing before the season starts," he said. "Our main concern is that it could get too big." On Friday, they were expecting about 75 students for the day, just about the maximum with the number of volunteers available.
Chimney Rock Archeological Area is open for regular tours May 15-Sept. 30. Daily guided tours are available at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., and 1 and 2 p.m. The tour takes about two and one-half hours and involves hiking along the spectacular ridge top to several pueblo archaeological sties dating from 950 to 1150 A.D. The cost of the tour is $5 for adults and $2 for children.
The Pagosa Lady Pirates added to the state track contingency at the regional meet in Alamosa Friday, qualifying four for the big event in Pueblo this weekend.
Aubrey Volger was the lone qualifier in individual events with a 15 foot 6.25 inch leap for a fourth place in the long jump.
The junior, along with three seniors, Meigan Canty, Annah Rolig and Tiffanie Hamilton, captured the girls second state berth in the 800 sprint medley. The team finished second behind Monte Vista, crossing the finish line in 1:56.43.
On the boys team, Daniel Crenshaw edged out the competition for a third place 2:07.34 finish in the 800 meter run and a second berth at state. The senior was already a member of the Pueblo-bound 800 meter relay team.
Although happy to reach the goal of qualifying some of the girls for state, assistant coach Connie O'Donnell said the Pirates success at regionals really stemmed from the individual improvements.
"Almost everyone ran their fastest times of the year which is what we wanted to see at the end of the season," she said. "I was really impressed with some of the young kids. They ran so much faster then they had at the beginning of the season, I hope that gives them some confidence for next year."
For instance, although they didn't place, the girls 4x800 relay team of two freshmen and two juniors shaved about 30 seconds off their fastest time.
Junior Caleb Mellette took the field by storm in the 110 meter hurdles, winning the race in 15.30 to smash the former meet record of 16.11. Mellette also finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 20-4.5, a little over three inches past the meet record, and eighth in the 300 hurdles. The boys 4x400 relay team claimed sixth in 3:36.26, setting a new Pagosa Springs High School record.
In the 400 meter dash, sophomore Jason Schutz also beat the regional meet record of 51.54, taking second with a time of 51.37. The winner, Tyler Hostetter, of Centauri, claims the new benchmark with a 49.23 performance in the race. Schutz finished to a similar tune in the discus, throwing 139-0 to claim the second spot and smash the former meet record by a foot. He was beaten by a throw of 147-08.
The boys 4x200 meter relay team claimed third in 1:34.07 behind Centauri and Monte Vista. Adding to the team score, the 4x800 team finished eighth, and the 4x100 team finished seventh.
In other Lady Pirates' efforts, Rolig finished seventh in the 400 meter dash with a time of 1:05.33, and Canty claimed sixth in the 300 meter hurdles finishing in 52.68. In the high jump, Katie Lancing cleared 4-6 to tie for eighth.
Both the girls 4x400 and 4x100 relay teams ended up sixth, crossing the line in 4:29.21 and 54.47 respectively. The 4x200 team finished seventh with a time of 1:56.21.
Four members of the Pagosa Springs Pirates baseball team which finished second to league champion Bayfield, were named this week to the Intermountain League All-Conference team.
- Outfielder-shortstop-second baseman Justin Kerns who led the Pirates in hitting with a .428 average and in home runs with three, drew 13 walks and struck out only five times
- First baseman-pitcher Ronnie Janowsky, who hit .409 with 18 hits in 44 at bats, with two home runs, drew four walks and struck out only six times
- Third baseman-pitcher Ross Wagle who hit .419 with 13 hits in 31 trips to the plate, had one home run, drew 12 walks and struck out only four times. Wagle was the Pirates' on-base percentage leader, too
- Pitcher-shortstop Darin Lister, mainstay of the pitching staff, who at one point picked up three wins in four days, including both ends of a double header against Monte Vista at Golden Peaks Stadium. His only league loss came in the district playoff game against Monte Vista. Lister made only one error in the field, and contributed offensively with 11 hits in 39 at bats for a .282 average, walked nine times and struck out only four times.
The All-Conference team was dominated by Bayfield Wolverines after their team won the league and district and advanced to state playoffs where they were defeated.
Wolverines named were Chris Carroll, Devon Catron, Matt Gonzales, Rory Martinez and Jon Qualls. Catron was named the IML player of the year and Wolverine coach Ken Hibbard the league's coach of the year.
Also named to the all-conference team were Craig Booth and Derrick Garcia of Centauri; Lawrence Cloud, Jesse Herrera and Kevin Hronich of Ignacio; and Ben Carlucci, Jacob Jones and Brian Wright of Monte Vista.
The two Pagosa strikers opponents feared seeing on a breakaway and a midfielder who set up many of their soccer field exploits this season have been named to the Intermountain/Mountain/Southern prep league all-conference team.
The double threat of senior Amber Mesker and sophomore Meagan Hilsabeck had opponents devising special defenses this season in attempts to keep them from scoring.
But those special defenses rarely stopped the speedy pair of attackers. Both were named to the all-conference squad, along with senior midfielder Tiffany Diller, whose pinpoint crossing passes and drop leads often opened attack corridors for her teammates.
Hilsabeck is a repeater on the all-conference squad. Mesker, who normally ran in track, decided in her senior year to try soccer instead and coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason was very happy she did.
Earlier in the year, the coach recalled having Mesker in the fifth grade. "I saw her and knew there's the striker I need," he said. "And then she disappeared until this year. It's nice to wonder where we'd have been if she'd played all four years she was eligible."
"Hilsabeck seems to have the knack," Kurt-Mason said, "of being where the pass dictates she should be. Her scoring ability was enhanced by the threat of Amber on the other side. Opponents couldn't double team either of them because their skill levels were too high, Kurt-Mason said.
League and district champion Telluride also had three players named to the all-conference squad. They were Sydney Melzer, Carrie Lamb and Erin Alegria.
Ridgway, which was second in the league and district and, along with Telluride, eliminated in state quarterfinals, had four players cited. They were Kelsey Bennett, Sam Henry, Heidi Ingram and Parker Fargrelvis.
Bayfield, fielding its first team independent of Ignacio this year, also had three named to the squad. They were Erin Cummins, Eileen Smith and Kellie Etz.
Ignacio, with several players lost to Bayfield, had two all-conference players - Wesley Jackson and T.J. Peters.
Six members of the Archuleta County 4-H Shooting Sports Club participated in the Southwestern Colorado Regional NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge at Bayfield May 5 and 6.
The youngsters competed against others in their age classes in eight different disciplines; Wildlife identification, orienteering, hunter safety trail, hunter responsibility exam, archery, shotgun, light hunting rifle, and the muzzleloader challenge.
In the Junior Division, Matthew McFarland took third in the shotgun and second in muzzleloading. Adam Jelinek took third in both orienteering and wildlife ID and second in shotgun. In the Senior Division, Ryan Versaw placed third in the light hunting rifle challenge. Travis Reid took third on the hunter responsibility exam and first on the hunter safety trail.
The club is waiting to hear results from the rest of the state's regional challenges to determine who will be eligible to compete in the statewide YHEC in Alamosa next month.
The Pagosa Springs Wrestling Club will sponsor a wrestling clinic May 28, 29 and 30.
Featured clinician will be Terry Brands, a two-time world champion and bronze medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Junior high and elementary age wrestlers will participate in a one-hour clinic beginning at 4:30 p.m. May 28 and 29. The fee is $15 for this age group. Sessions for high school wrestlers will begin at 6 p.m. May 28 and 29 and continue until approximately 9 p.m. On May 30 the high school session will be from 3 to 6 p.m. with a barbecue for all participants following the workout.
The fee for high school wrestlers is $50.
Camp registration forms can be picked up at the junior high and high school offices or at the gym May 28.
For more information contact Dan Janowsky at 264-2794 ext. 477.
Acclaimed cellist plays senior benefit
Tomorrow, you'll have the unique opportunity to attend a concert featuring acclaimed professional cellist, Philip Hansen, accompanied by local pianist, Melinda Baum, right here in Pagosa at the Pagosa Springs High School to benefit the Archuleta County Senior Citizens, Inc. 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. He has also played with the Eugene Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival, the Carmel Bach Festival and the Oregon Festival of American Music where he appeared as guest conductor. He has also performed in soundtracks for major motion pictures in Hollywood. The Portland newspaper, The Oregonian, acclaimed his playing as "dazzling," "honed" and "indefatigable," and the Los Angeles Times praised him for his "admirable virtuosity." His education includes cello and composition studies at the Eastman School of Music and University of Southern California. He was twice selected to participate in the prestigious Piatigorsky Seminar for Cellists, where he received master class instruction from, among others, Yo-Yo Ma and William Pleeth.
Tickets for this event are available at the Senior Center and the Chamber of Commerce for a minimum donation of $10, $8 for senior members and children, and children under five are free. Proceeds from the concert will be used for programs to assist seniors in need. Don't miss this rare opportunity.
Free raft trip
Canyon REO invites you to join them for a free whitewater raft trip Saturday and Sunday to show their appreciation to the community of Pagosa Springs for the support they have received.
To take advantage of this very generous offer for Local's Weekend, you need to call 264-3299 to make reservations. Seating is limited, of course, so you will want to be one of the first to call to assure your seat on what is sure to be an exciting trip. As I write this on Monday, that river is about as high and fast as I've seen it. Give Canyon REO a call right away, and remember that they will be available for the rest of the season for raft trips and tours.
Morna recently arranged two tours for our Diplomats at businesses that may or may not be new to the Chamber, to acquaint our precious volunteers with said businesses.
We want to thank the following host businesses for their hospitality and generosity to our Diplomats during these two days: Dr. Gretchen Pearson and staff at the Elk Park Animal Hospital; Dave, Suzy, Kiva and Collin Belt at Echo Mountain Alpaca Ranch; Betty Slade and staff at Ridgeview Mall and Gallery; Kent Gordon with MasterWorks in Bronze; Vince and Jen Sencich with Enzo's Catering; Michael DeWinter and staff at The Plaid Pony Gifts and Flowers; Mark Miller with Let It Fly; Bill Goddard and Connie Bunte with The Choke Cherry Tree; Gregg Jorgensen with Backcountry Angler; Doug Blair and staff at The Pizza Hut; Barbara Bauman and staff at The Timbers of Chama; Mary at Mountain Spirit Lodge; Bob and Mary Hart at Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat; Phyllis Decker at the Pagosa Ranger District; Eddie and Troyena Campbell and Selena at Branding Iron Bar-B-Q; and Wayne Walls at Wilderness Journeys and Pagosa Rafting Outfitters. Our thanks to each and every one for sharing all the information and food. Your efforts were much appreciated by all of our Diplomats.
This is, indeed, the official Clean-Up Week in Pagosa Springs, and we are happy to share all the orange plastic bags with the many folks who have already been in to pick them up. The Chamber board of directors will go out tomorrow to clean up their designated area which is the "Y" at the east side of town at the junction of highways 160 and 84. Because we have such a silly group, we actually enjoy the afternoon - go figure.
Another board of directors for the Pioneer Museum is looking for folks to help clean up the museum and grounds before opening day and are also looking for volunteers to help them out throughout the summer at the museum. The museum's actual clean-up day is Saturday, and they would greatly appreciate any help with that task. They are also looking for donations of bedding plants and two hanging baskets of flowers to perk up the place for the summer. Donors will receive may thanks and free admission on opening day, a tax reduction for 2001 and a 15 percent discount at Colorado Skies located upstairs at the River Center.
Volunteers are needed to work at the museum from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 to 4. If you are interested in filling any of these openings, please contact Ann Oldham at 731-5080 before Memorial Day so she can organize a work schedule. Imagine the added bonus of learning so much about local history.
Fiber animals, from angoras to yaks, sheep, llama and goat shearing, free "how-to" fiber arts seminars, 50-plus vendors, demonstrating fiber artists, and one-of-a-kind, natural fiber creations for sale are just some of the wonderful things you can expect to see and experience at the First Pagosa Furry Friends and Fiber Festival being held at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26 and 27, from 9-5 both days.
Saturday and Sunday events include continuous livestock displays, animal shearing every half hour, weaving demonstrations, a fashion show, spinning wheel demonstrations, felting demonstrations and a spinning angora rabbit.
Saturday only special events include Entrelock knitting, "Mushrooms to Dye For," and a sheep dog demonstration. Sunday special events will be lace knitting, rainbow dyeing and the announcements of silent auction winners.
Don't miss this premiere Pagosa event that offers fun and interesting things for every member of your family.
Please call Dave or Suzy Belt at Echo Mountain Alpacas, 731-2729, for more information about the Furry Friends and Fiber Festival.
We're happy to share three renewals with you this week to include Larry Bass with the Pagosa Youth Foundation; Debra Stowe with Great Divide Title; and Fred W. Schmidt with the San Juan Motel. Thanks to one and all for your continued support and membership.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary for our Archuleta County Fair which will be held this year Aug. 2-5, and the fair board distributed letters to our local merchants and business owners last week asking for an early commitment for donations and/or sponsorship of events. The letters were accompanied by pledge forms requesting that donors commit by May 25 in order to be included on a "thank you" page in the anniversary commemorative program. As this is a "buy now, pay later" effort, merchants and business owners who pledge donations will be contacted by a fair board member to pick up checks during late June or early July.
If you did not receive the letter and pledge form and are interested in donating or sponsoring an event, contact Marti Gallo at 264-3890 for information. The Chamber urges all local businesses to take part in this opportunity to help the fair board to provide a memorable 50th anniversary celebration to all our residents and visitors. Please support this endeavor which will insure that we will always have the "Best County Fair in the County."
Don't forget to stop by and pick up your ticket to redeem for the upcoming "Rio Jazz Live at The Timbers" CD. What was one of the most exciting nights in Pagosa will surely become one of the most exciting CDs we've ever heard. Don't miss out on this piece of Pagosa history and the opportunity to support and encourage our exceptional Rio Jazz musicians: Bob Hemenger, Lee Bartley, D.C. Duncan and John Graves. They are a credit to our community, and we are lucky to have them here. I feel very fortunate that they have agreed to be our concert entertainment for the Colorfest picnic and concert in September.
Please bring us your newsletter inserts for the upcoming Chamber Communiqué, our quarterly newsletter coming out sometime the first part of June. Even though we were recently been forced to raise the rate (due to the postal increase) it's still the best marketing bargain around. It's simple: you bring us 725 copies of the advertisement/insert you intend to include and a check for $40, and we do the rest. Please don't fold the inserts.
There just isn't an easier way to share your opening, a special you're running, a change of location or basically anything newsworthy with the entire business community of Pagosa Springs than our newsletter. The deadline is May 27, and you can call Doug at 264-2360 with any questions. Don't delay.
Once again, we offer our sincere thanks to Mike Alley and the great crew of guys at LPEA for their continuing attention to our "cherry-picker" needs. We have finally thrown in the towel with the top flag on the Visitor Center, and just this morning, the LPEA gang removed the flag for the last time. It has become financially prohibitive to maintain that flag, not to mention dangerous for these guys to go up there all the time to remove and replace the flag. We will now fly the two Chamber side flags in addition to the Colorado and U.S. flags that we have always had in front. This way, we can replace them more often if need be and not ask anyone to risk life and limb. Mike Alley also helped our Doug remove the tree lights from the huge trees out front, while Jerry, Nathan, Jake and Boyce took care of flag removal. Thanks again, guys - you are truly the best.
Just to let everyone know, we will be placing the flower baskets we have used for the past two years on the lamp posts again this year, with some changes.
First of all, the Town will be changing out the lampposts, so I can't be quite sure of when we will be putting them up. You might remember reading that the lamps currently on the east end of town will be moved into town replacing the existing posts. When this is done, we will put up the baskets.
The second change will be that the flowers in the baskets will be of the silk variety. We have tried for three or four years to maintain live flowers with absolutely no success whatsoever. The poor things dry out in minutes after the watering and look really pathetic in no time at all. If we had the 80 cajillion dollars Telluride has to hire a company to water their baskets twice a day, there wouldn't be a problem, but the reality is that we don't and we can't. The ladies at Ponderosa have helped me select some real pretty things, and I truly think that these baskets will be the prettiest ones we've ever had and last through the summer with the greatest of ease.
July 4 theme
Our Rotary Club has selected this year's theme for their July 4 Parade which is simply the best parade in the United States. It is such a successful event that we have already had numerous inquiries about the theme, and I am pleased to announce this year's idea.
"Land That I Love" is the theme, with the added incentive of $100 to be awarded to the most patriotic entry. Now that you have this information, you can go back to your organization and start planning all the decorating sessions required to create your prize-winning masterpiece.
Flowers, shortcake made Mother's Day fabulous
Our wonderful staff deserves a standing ovation. They presented all the ladies with carnations in honor of Mothers' Day. And the kitchen crew treated us with a wonderful meal, to include strawberry shortcake. Thanks to all. You all are the best.
Don't forget. Tomorrow, May 18 at 7 p.m., Philip Hansen (cellist) and Melinda Baum (pianist) will perform at the Pagosa Springs High School. This will provide our community with the opportunity to hear beautiful music of a more classical nature. Tickets are $10, $8 for senior members and children ages 6 to 12, and free for those 5 and under. They may be purchased at the Senior Center, Chamber of Commerce, or from some of our senior members, and may also be purchased at the door. There will be some audience interaction, too.
Also, between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. May 22 we invite everyone to visit our center for refreshments and stay for lunch if desired to find out what our center has to offer. Transportation to and from the center will be provided at no cost to seniors on that day - but we do request that you make reservations in advance by calling 264-2167.
On May 28 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Seniors Appreciation Day will be held at the Pioneer Museum. It will be free for those 65 and older, and refreshments will be served. I hope there will be a good attendance. We appreciate the folks at the museum offering this to our seniors.
We also appreciate the folks at Colorado Skies (in the River Center) offering a ten percent discount to Senior members who present their membership cards.
We were happy to have Ralph Bartlett, Hanni Cohen, Yvonne and I.V. Johnson, Richard and Neva Aiken, Bill and Margaret Byers, Granny Flowers, David Maynard, and Echavarria Violet visit with us last week. Charlet Archuleta and Vera Metzler joined us on Monday. Welcome folks, we hope you will all come back soon.
Medina Hamilton is our Senior of the Week. Congratulations, Medina. You are a valuable member of our organization.
In thanking everyone for their help with the Chili Supper and Bazaar, I neglected to mention the Rotary Club - so sorry - we always appreciate your help more than words can express.
Our prayers are with Mary Archuleta and Adelina Lobato - their older sister passed away last week.
We have a new lady helping in our kitchen - Selene Chacon. We welcome Selene and hope she will enjoy working with our wonderful folks in the kitchen.
Wanna be a biker? Skills clinic a must for enthusiasts
Gear up this Saturday for a cycling skills clinic, hosted by Mercy Orthopedics and Sports Therapy.
This free clinic will start at 9 a.m. and run through noon. Several professionals from the Pagosa area will be contributing their expertise to help improve biking activities.
Pro mountain biker Shonny Vanlandingham will be sharing her training program. She will also give tips on an actual ride that will take place after the class.
Ellen King, P.T., will share how our body mechanics and strength affect our balance on the bike. Juan's Mountain Sports will demonstrate how to get your bike in shape for the summer. Scott Anderson, D.C., will explain the how to's of maintaining a good spinal alignment for a healthy back throughout the biking season.
So bring your bike and helmet and be ready for a fun and invigorating Saturday morning. The class is free, but a donation box will be available with all the proceeds going to Hospice Care of Pagosa.
Vanlandingham was featured in the April 2001 edition of Velo News for her win at this spring's Hedgehog Hustle in Goodyear, Ariz. This victory came two weeks after her win at the Chihuahuan Desert Challenge. The Hustle, held at Estrella Mountain Regional Park just outside of Phoenix, was the third event in the MBAA - NORBA Arizona State championship point series, and the first stop of the 20-race AMBC series.
There were 800 competitors at the Hustle and Shonny, sponsored by Sobe-Headshok, posted a time of 1:41:10 over an 18-mile pro course with nearly three-quarters of the total distance on single track. We wish you all the best Shonny as you continue to compete.
Next Wednesday through Friday, May 23 through May 25, Pagosa Lakes will hold a clean-up effort in conjunction with a county-wide clean-up. A dumpster will be located on the corner of Bonanza and Vista Blvd. in the Vista Subdivision. Everyone is encouraged to go through their garage, yard and house and haul out discarded items. Please do not use the dumpster for household garbage - meaning odoriferous kitchen byproducts.
Saturday morning, a special Olympics swim meet (dual team) will be conducted at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center, from 10 a.m. to noon. Spectators and supporters are encouraged to attend the swim meet. It will be a very good day for our athletes.
Web sites give close look at historic areas
May is Archaeology and History Preservation Month.
The theme this year is, "Embracing our future through our intriguing past." We are fortunate to have so many interesting sites close by.
The Salmon Ruins Research Center's latest newsletter gives some excellent web sites for those interested in the subject of Chaco Canyon, and some of the other close sites.
They also feature a site for kids interested in learning about digs. "Ask Dr. Dig" is a question and answer column that is fun for the younger set. It lists events for each state. Crow Canyon has some programs March through November that include actual excavating. Ask for a copy of the sites when you come in.
From one of these sites, we found Crow Canyon which has great pictures and takes you through three different historical trips to Castle Rock Pueblo, an ancient village. You can visit Castle Rock Pueblo via your computer. In each time period there is a mystery to solve.
The Crow Canyon Center studied the history of this fascinating place from 1990 to 1994. The story of Castle Rock is drawn from a variety of sources including insights shared by Native Americans, historic records, photographs, and excavations.
The Chaco site has aerial photos of the prehistoric roads. Over 200 miles have been detected. Several images can be seen on the computer site. The question always asked is why were the roads so straight built 20 feet wide and laid out by a people who did not even have beasts of burden in their lives?
We encourage everyone to celebrate Archaeology and History Preservation Month by getting involved one way or another with this noble effort. Visit some of our early Puebloan sites and get your children and grandchildren interested in protecting this heritage.
Cathy Dodt-Ellis, our resident archaeologist, has picked out some of our good books on the subject. Ask Cathy to recommend some to you.
"The Weather Factor - How Nature Has Changed History" by Erik Durschmied, delivers a dramatic history showing how the fate of humankind has been decided by the unpredictable power of weather. From the doomed campaigns of the Romans, the seemingly invincible Mongol hordes, Chief Tecumseh's dream of a United Indian Nation, to the U.S. forces in Vietnam - the elements often have decided who would conquer.
Durschmied is a military historian and award-winning war correspondent for the BBC and CBS.
"Living Well With Macular Degeneration," by Dr. Bruce Rosenthal and Kate Kelly gives practical tips and essential information on the most common cause of vision loss in the United States. Although there is no actual cure, new techniques offer immediate ways to maximize your sight.
"Parkinson's Disease: A complete Guide for Patients and Families," by Drs. Weiner, Shulman and Lang is a Johns Hopkins Press Health Book. In recent years, new treatments have vastly improved the lives of people with Parkinson's. This book will help you understand the disorder, develop effective coping skills, and make educated choices among an array of treatment options. The authors are leading authorities in this field.
The Library will be closed May 25 and May 28 for carpet cleaning and Memorial Day.
Retriever's social: Formal, of course
As usual, it would be the dog social of the year when Max and Mama Shirley Matter hosted the fifth birthday party for Pagosa's famous Golden retrievers last Sunday. As always, guests were asked to come formal. To be exact, the invitations read "Formal, of course." One can appreciate the subtleness of the invite - the taking for granted that one would have to know that the affair would be formal.
Be that as it was, the guests did arrive all dolled up in finery to make Pagosa proud.
To begin, Cedar, who belongs to Jim and Jean Carson, was dressed in a white satin tutu beaded with pink ruffles that nicely hid the fact that she is putting on weight (which concerns Mama Jean). Cedar now has a plate in her leg, but is doing well.
Shandy, who belongs to Bob and Jean Arnold, wore a big black ruffle. Very smart! The perfect outfit to wear to the opera. Black, you know, is so stunning.
Duchess, who belongs to Fred and Norma Harman, was casually dressed, wearing a bright blue print scarf in one of the new designs. Duchess, much to the chagrin of her mama and papa, is noted for jumping the chow line.
And then there was Saffie, who belongs to Sam and Gerlinda Snyder, all covered with silver stars and wearing a silver band around her neck. She was truly the day's diva to match her sparkling personality. She's just got a MDA in scuba diving from the University of Miami. While there she worked at the Hyatt Regency in the Caymans as head instructor.
Caisen, who belongs to Derek and Kitzel Farrah, was wearing her Miss America swim suit. She still has one of the finest figures even though she's officially a mature dog, being the mama of all the Golden.
Atticus came "naked" because she has just returned from a sabbatical with the Dali Lima and has "renounced all her worldly possessions." It would have gone against her principals to wear clothes. Atticus belongs to Steve and Shelby Marmaduke.
And then there was Max - the debonair host who was so sure that "his guests" would know how to entertain themselves, he slept the whole time refreshments were served. But he had made sure that the traditional cake had been flown in from the Three Dog Bakery in Kansas City - a wonderful chocolate cake with "Happy Birthday Golden" written on it.
(An aside here: A two-legged guest tasted the cake and said she could make a better one, and Max raised up his head and gave her a dirty look.)
Max, the only male among the Golden holds his own, though. He's the perfect host. Oh yes! He was wearing his Cayman Island shirt, one of his favorites.
The party was complete with games, gift exchange, party hats, take-home goodies and, of course, diplomas.
A new thing was added this year. Each Golden entered the play area by jumping through a hoop. And just as they do at Pagosa High School when the graduates "enter the limelight," mamas and papas were there to snap a picture.
The Golden sure know how to swing.
The historic landmark celebration at the Taminah Gifts Gallery last Saturday was well attended. The building that also houses Wagon Wheel Frame Shoppe has been designated a local historical landmark by the Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board. A tour of downtown historic buildings followed. More tours are promised for the summer.
Charlie Martinez, who plays the flute so beautifully, entertained the guests. He now has a CD out that can be purchased at Taminah Gallery, Moonlight Books and Howling Wolf Music.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery is looking for donations for the silent auction that will be held June 27 in conjunction with the SunDowner. Please call PSAC at 264-5020.
Fun on the Run
Three aspiring golfers were taking lessons from a pro. The first guy hit the ball far to the right. "That was due to loft," said the pro.
The second man hit his ball far to the left. "That, too, was due to loft," said the pro again.
The third golfer took a swing, and the ball just went a few feet and stopped. "Once again, it's loft," the pro claimed.
"Well, what exactly do you mean by loft?" asked the third golfer.
"Lack of fine talent," replied the pro.
Be mindful of campground neighbors
The travel season is upon us. The RVs are rolling down the highway, filling spaces at the City Market parking lots, arranging themselves row by row at RV parks. I've never traveled in an RV. Never traveled with one of those pop-up tent-trailers, either. Nope. It's been tents or motels for us. The tent stays were mostly on the trips we made from Texas to Pagosa, back in the years when we brought Explorer Scouts here to hike in the Weminuche Wilderness. When we were younger and more resilient. They've made the ground harder since those days.
We had some interesting times, tenting. One year we stopped at Fort Sumner State Park in New Mexico. The campsites were on a ridge, overlooking an enormous lake. That year we also had a pretty good view of the towering cumulus clouds in the area and the far-off thunderstorms.
We claimed a couple of adjacent sites. This wasn't hard to do; only one other site was occupied, and set up our various tents. During dinner the wind began to stir in our part of the Park. Our resident weather expert said the lake below us was affecting the unstable air and probably generating storms.
"Gonna rain on us tonight," said the kids. "Hope that's all," I thought. During the night, we awoke in the middle of a tremendous windstorm. We weighted down the corners of the tent with rocks, boots, packs, anything we could grab.
And we soon saw the folly in that. This wind was pulling at the tents and it was clear that soon they might start tearing under the strain. These were backpacking tents, made of ripstop nylon, great for shedding rain in the mountains, not so great for holding together in a windstorm.
"Okay," shouted Hotshot above the storm. "Let's take down the tents. Throw them into the truck." The truck was our Suburban, Ol' Paint's predecessor. Nearby was a line of shrubs a little below the ridge. We backed the truck onto the grass beside them, and laid out our sleeping bags in a long line between the bushes and the car. Sheltered from the worst of the wind, we crawled into them.
"What if it rains?" That was Jason, always one to bring up the negative. "Then we'll get back in the truck," said Hotshot.
It didn't rain. Stars winked off and on as the clouds dashed across the sky, whipped by the fierce wind. Eventually we drifted off to sleep, and in the morning the storm had died away and the sky was clear and blue.
Most years we stopped near Carlsbad Caverns, at White's City, a compound of stores and restaurant and motel and campground. There was a grassy area set aside for tent campers.
Usually the people there were quiet campers. We all went to bed early. Except the year that a tour bus loaded with young adults stopped at White's City for the night.
Fourteen identical green tents were set up beside the bus. The group had commandeered the central table area. Well, that made sense, since they were such a big group.
It made sense until darkness fell, and the party got started. This was an international bunch. We could distinguish accents from various parts of Europe and possibly Australia.
A couple of them had guitars. They led the group in singing every folk song any of them ever knew. They might not have known all the words, but they all had loud voices. They sang and talked and laughed and had a great time, bonding with each other.
The rest of the campers weren't so happy. We could hear grumbling in the tents nearest us. A baby started crying. A man yelled, "Shut up!" But I don't think the happy crowd even heard him.
Another man left his tent and went over and yelled at the party crowd to be quiet and let the rest of us have a little peace and quiet. That didn't work either.
It was almost midnight before quiet finally, slowly, grudgingly, descended over the campground. We began drifting off to sleep.
And suddenly we heard a shout. "Look! A fish! I caught a fish!" There was great excitement, as the rest of the gang tumbled out to see the fish. And then they built up the fire and prepared to cook it.
While your fish is cooking, what better way to while away the time than to sing? So out came the guitars again. And the party was back in full force. This time I was the one who went to confront the happy people. They were really friendly. "Do you want to sing with us?"
"No," I said. "It's late at night. There's a baby over there that you've waked up. The rest of us are trying to sleep. You can all rest on the bus tomorrow, but a lot of people here will have to drive."
And then I delivered my final argument, looking around at their various faces. "If I were a visitor in your country, I wouldn't be this rude." I went back to my tent. The party soon ended. The campground was quiet. We slept.
If you're spending time in a campground this summer, I hope your beds are soft, your weather always fair, and your neighbors quiet, no matter what kind of shelter you have.
Farmington clinic tour pleasant surprise
I had the opportunity to visit the VA Clinic in Farmington last week and must say I was very impressed with the friendliness and efficiency of the staff at the Clinic. They took me on a complete tour of the clinic and I was introduced to all the members of the staff who were on hand on that day.
I have heard time and time again from our local veterans how well they are cared for in this outpatient facility. I accompanied one of our local veterans to the clinic and shared the driving chores in the Archuleta County Veteran Service Office vehicle. Upon arrival at the appointed time, the physician saw our veteran almost immediately. No waiting.
Clinic director Ms. Bobby Kizer told me it has been the clinic's high priority to keep waiting time for patients to an absolute minimum. Their efforts have certainly paid off.
Other members of the clinic staff answered my many questions about Veterans Affairs health benefits. As many of you know, I am fairly new as the Archuleta County Veterans Service Officer and I have a lot to learn. I hope to gain more knowledge and add value to this office by visiting with the facilities that provide services to our veterans as often as time permits.
Ms. Kizer answered many questions I had about health care benefits. For instance I wasn't sure on some key points about costs for VA health care.
Most veterans with normal income levels and no service-connected disabilities are in Priority Group 7 and agree to co-pay for their health care. This includes an outpatient clinic charge of $50.80 (at current 2001 rates) and $2 per 30-day supply prescription medications authorized by the VA health care. Often the health care needs of the veteran exceed this charge, and the VA Health Care program will try to recover added costs from the patient's health care insurer if they have one. The out-of-pocket cost to the veteran, per-clinic visit, does not exceed the basic charge of $50.80 or the $2 for prescription drugs
Of course if the veteran is approved and authorized by the VA for service connected disabilities he may have a different priority group rating. In some priority ratings there is no charge to the veteran. Or, the veteran may not be required to pay these minimum charges if the veteran's income is below the established dollar thresholds. There are seven priority group ratings.
The Veterans Service Office should be contacted for a complete explanation of how these ratings may affect a veterans health care benefits and costs. In many cases there are far ranging variables that can affect health care costs for a veteran. The information I have outlined above should only be considered a general or basic idea of veteran health care costs and eligibility. VA health care is by far the most popular benefit for most veterans who have served active duty in any branch of the military and do not have any service-connected disabilities. In today's soaring health care costs this benefit is certainly worth signing up for. You can't beat the price.
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 email@example.com. 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.
Hershey's track meet winners announced
Last Saturday the annual Pagosa Springs Hershey's track meet was held at Golden Peaks Stadium for boys and girls, ages 9-14. Eleven children participated in seven events.
Drew Parnell won the standing long jump with a leap of 5 feet 9 inches, Laurie Thomas won the women's softball throw with a toss of 90-9, and Riley Aiello won the boy's softball throw with a toss of 95-10.
In the running events, winners in the 50 meter dash were Katie Thomas in the girls division and Drew Portnell in the boys division. In the 100 meters, Julia Adams won the girl's race and Riley Searle won the boys' clash. Adams won the girls' 200, and Portnell took the honors among the boys. Megan Bryant took first in the 400 and Portnell won the boys' race. The 800 was won by Chance Adams at 3:24. The 1600 was won by Briana Bryant for and Ryan Searle.
All participants received medals and ribbons and all are welcome to attend the state meet July 7 at the Jefferson County Stadium. State finalists are entered into a regional pool and become eligible for selection to a regional team that will travel to Hershey, Penn. to compete in the Aug. 13 North American Final.
A 6 p.m. mandatory managers' meeting for adult softball leagues will be held May 23 at Town Hall. Games will be played Monday and Wednesday evenings starting May 30.
Women wanting to join the league can contact Pam Lloyd at 264-4270. Cost this year for all softball teams will be $250 per team with $15 per-player fee. The $250 entry fee and rosters are due at the May 23 coaches meeting. 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 at 264-4151.
The girls' softball season began May 11 with an inter-squad game at the Sports Complex, and the winner was - Pagosa Springs. Official games will start at 7:30 p.m. in Bayfield for the 12 and under team. The Red Sox, the 13 and over team, will play May 24 at 6:30 p.m. in Ignacio.
The youth baseball program is underway with games played this week. Team pictures will be taken next Tuesday and Thursday before games. A picture and game schedule is available at Town Hall, and at the practices.
Schedules have been posted on the bulletin board at the Sports Complex. Games are scheduled through the end of June with the season-ending party set for July 2.
Senior league baseball, for players ages 13-14 is also underway, with two teams - the Pirates and the A's. The Pirates are currently 1-1, losing to Durango and defeating Bayfield. The Pirates' next games are in Pagosa Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. The games will be played against two different Durango teams. The A's will play the Pirates May 22 and 24 at 6 p.m.
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 June 2 following the baseball clinic. Both events are free and no preregistration is required.
The Town's summer day camp will start June 4 and continue through August. This year's program is tentatively scheduled for the junior high gym. Information and registration forms are available at Town Hall. Cost this year will be $65 per week for youngsters 5-8 years old.
Four Corners Cup
Last Saturday at the Saul's Creek mountain bike race in Bayfield, Pagosa Springs locals came away with three first-place places.
Top finishers were Steve Price in the beginner veterans category, Holly Langford as a veteran sport, and Doug Call as a master sport.
Mike Clinton made his first appearance at the Four Corners Cup and, with his new bike, finished third in the expert veteran division. Tre Metzler finished just behind him in fourth.
The next Four Corners Cup mountain bike race is scheduled for Sunday at Cove, Ariz. This is the only race of the series in Arizona and is truly a classic race. Last year. this race was voted as the best in the series. No preregistration is needed, so just show up in Cove and race.
Information about Cove, including directions on how to get there, are available at the Town Hall recreation office, 264-4151.
With youth baseball underway and adult softball soon in full swing, information about field conditions and rain-outs can be obtained at the Sports Complex Hot Line, 264-6658. This recording is updated daily and people needing information about field conditions can call this number after noon.
The town is currently searching for a vendor to work the snack bar at the Sports Complex during the baseball and softball seasons. Interested parties should contact Town Hall.
The BMX track at South Pagosa Park will host its first race June 2. The day will begin at 10 a.m. with a track clean-up. Racing will start at 2 p.m.
People wanting to help or race can show up and take part in the activities. Everyone in attendance will be served hot dogs and hamburgers, complements of the South Pagosa Park Committee. For more information about the first race on the South Pagosa Park BMX track contact the recreation department at 264-4151.
River Center Park was stocked with 600 fish Monday and is open for fishing daily. Fishing should be excellent in both ponds.
Foster parents serve youth in need
May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month and Archuleta County has 15 foster parents to be honored.
The Archuleta County Department of Social Services is primarily responsible for the certification of family foster homes, although there are some private child placement agencies that do the same. The main reason family foster homes are needed is to provide a safe, nurturing place for children who are at risk of abuse or neglect.
Naturally, foster parenting is a full-time job, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Financial compensation for this important work is not high, thus most foster parents commit to this vocation because they want to serve children.
Children come into foster care a variety of ways. Often law enforcement contacts Social Services, usually at night, and requests emergency placement for a child. A prospective foster parent might be awakened from a dead sleep and asked, "Will you care for this child?"
Likely, little has been done in the way of information collecting, so the foster parent is often at quite a disadvantage trying meet the child's needs. Other times a child is placed in a foster home after careful thought and planning and there is a lot of information and a lot of people involved in the case.
Sometimes the information on a child with complex needs can be overwhelming to a foster parent. In these situations foster parents may be asked to transport a child to medical or counseling appointments, to participate in meetings with community agencies, and even to help supervise visits between children and their families.
As challenging as foster care placement of children can be, foster parents in Colorado do come into this work with preparation. New foster parents are required to complete 12 hours of core training and then maintain 20 hours of advance training annually. Many foster parents have lots of life experience raising children and have professional or volunteer experience working with youth.
Recruiting and retaining foster parents is an ongoing job for the Archuleta County Department of Social Services. Fortunately the 15 foster parents in the community are meeting the department's need for home placement of children. These foster parents are a very valuable resource to the department and to the community and therefore great efforts must be made to retain them.
One way is to recognize their services annually is by doing something special to let them know they are appreciated. Of course that is not nearly enough, but it is a start. This year, J.J.'s Upstream Restaurant has donated to Social Services 25 percent of the cost for dinner for two to all of our foster parents who renew their family foster home certifications. Thank you J.J.'s for helping to honor our foster parents.
For more information about foster parenting, or to make a donation to support foster parents or foster children, call the Department of Social Services at 264-2182.
High school talent goes on display tonight
Opening Night festivities for the High School Senior Art Exhibit are scheduled tonight with refreshments and a gallery full of simply wonderful student art. This exhibit, featuring some of the best and brightest young artists from Pagosa Springs High School, will please your eye and warm your heart.
It's an opportunity to celebrate spring as we enjoy these blossoming talents. Tonight's opening reception at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park is 5-7 p.m. The exhibit will remain up until May 30.
Starting May 25 and running through Labor Day, the gallery at Town Park will be open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Stop by and see the latest exhibit and don't forget to browse the gift shop for works by local artists.
The Pagosa Players and King's Men presentation of "I Take This Man" scheduled tomorrow and Saturday at the Pagosa Lodge has been canceled. According to director Zach Nelson, productions are ready to go, but the company is searching for a new venue. When a site is found, announcements of performance times will appear in the Preview and SUN.
Following the great success of the original CD Sampler, work is in progress on Volume 2.
Like the original, this CD will feature local musical artists. Over 500 copies have already been pre-sold. The sales deadline for this volume is May 30, with a release date sometime this summer. Businesses or groups interested in purchasing nine or more CD's will have their logo featured on the cover. Anyone interested in either purchasing this wonderful CD or participating in it, please call Joanne at the Gallery, 264-5020.
Relay for Life
Once again the PSAC is interested in getting a team together for the Annual Relay for Life to be held July 27-28 in Town Park. PSAC is looking for people to donate walking time and/or support. For more details, call Joanne at 264-5020.
Pagosa Fiesta 2001, sponsored by PSAC and the Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club takes place June 16, 10 a.m. -6 p.m. in Town Park. The event features lots of entertainment (including open mic), arts and crafts, and booths with a wide variety of delicious food. Anyone interested in participating in the parade or renting booth space (food or non-food) please call 264-5020 for an application or stop by the gallery at Town Park.
PSAC is looking for silent auction items such as quality art or gift certificates to be donated for our special June 27 SunDowner. If you have a donation, please call PSAC President Jennifer Harnick at 731-3113 or Joanne at the gallery, 264-5020.
If you donated a Harold Larson or Lois Silver print to the PSAC Garage Sale at the end of March, please contact Joanne at 264-5020.
Any writer interested in donating time to write the Arts Line column in those months with five weeks, please call Joanne. A volunteer to do publicity is also needed.
Stop by the gallery soon and fill out a membership form to start receiving your discounts. Individual memberships are only $20 per year and $30 for a family.
PSAC is looking for businesses interested in sponsoring the quarterly newsletter, the Petroglyph. Your tax free donation of $200-$300 will help the arts council pay for the production and mailing of the newsletter. Business sponsors will have the option of inserting a flyer in the newsletter and will receive a public thank you in the Arts Line column and Petroglyph. Interested? Contact Joanne at 264-5020 or Jennifer at 731-3113.
To the folks at Wells Fargo Bank who generously let us use their copier.
To Marguerite at Mountain Greenery for the lovely floral arrangements that grace each of our opening night receptions.
To Nancy Greene for her excellent work in keeping the PSAC scrapbook up to date.
To the Pagosa Springs SUN for publishing the Arts Line column and occasional photos for us.
To the Piano Creek Ranch office for their support and help.
We appreciate the contributions made by each of you. We couldn't get along without you.
All is not lost.
Look no farther than Mayor Ross Aragon and the board of trust-ees of the Town of Pagosa Springs to find local political leaders who, over the past 15 years, successfully negotiated a course from the precarious to the positive.
Look to the Town of Pagosa Springs to find political leaders who learned from mistakes and matured to understand how local government works best.
Fifteen years ago, Pagosa Springs was tabbed by the EPA as one of three municipalities in Colorado with the worst particulate air pollution. The downtown business community was nearly dormant, infrastructure was marginal; the desirability of life in town - residential and commercial - was waning.
The turnaround has been impressive. An energized economy, a favorable sales tax sharing arrangement with the county, and the acquisition of grant monies, in part, allowed for a comeback. But, there was also wise leadership.
Gravel roads in town were paved and pressure from federal and state agencies diminished. Downtown improvement projects enhanced the environment for retailers and residents alike: an outdated bridge across the San Juan River was replaced, decorative lighting and improved parking was put in place, cooperation in formation of an improvement district at the east end of town changed the face of that neighborhood.
Recreational facilities were enhanced with added attention to ball fields and plans for the construction of others; a trail system and a park on Reservoir Hill were built, and a park in South Pagosa was created in cooperation with a citizen's group. The Riverwalk system was developed and expanded, Centennial Park was built behind the courthouse and town recreation programs serving all residents of the county were improved.
In the wake of change, property owners requested annexation to the town. New commercial areas were annexed to the west; residents of a residential subdivision voted for annexation and were taken into the town. Annexations are pending on the east end of town.
Cooperative projects with state and county led to improvements in roadways and intersections. Town fathers backed moves to include the town in the Pagosa Fire Protection District and in the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District for water service. Town staff administrates the Pagosa Sanitation District sewer system and the town is poised to absorb that system.
In league with a local non-profit group and the local banking industry, the town made it possible for ground to be broken in June for a 20,000 square-foot Community Center at the south end of Hot Springs Boulevard - a site accessed by a new bridge over the river at Apache Street. Development along Hot Springs Boulevard seems inevitable.
Next to the community center site a new Town Hall will open mid-June. It is more than an office; it is a symbol .
A symbol of what Mayor Aragon and a succession of trustees have learned and put into place. Town political leaders know their roles, distinct from the roles of a highly talented staff. That staff - administration, police, street, planning, building and Municipal Court - was hired to conduct day-to-day town business, and to do so with minimal intrusion by elected officials. Competent, experienced staff provides mayor and trustees with information, options and advice when policy decisions must be made. The town board has enacted strong building, zoning and sign codes and allows staff to administer them. The board conducts business in light of conflict of interest and nepotism policies that are public record.
Granted, the town does not face problems as overwhelming as those confronting several other local governmental entities. Granted, too, the town has ample revenues to bring to bear on its problems.
But, it is undeniable: the mayor and his trustees know how to govern. Their style can serve as a model for all.
It's hard to discard habits and past
Since her death eight years ago, using a Mother's Day theme for this column for the second Sunday of May isn't the same. So I didn't use that theme.
However, old habits and pleasant memories are not easily discarded. So this week I find that Mother's Day is on my mind.
Mom started out as my best friend and earliest playmate. Before my first four years passed, she became my personal EMT and chauffeur who would drive me to "the clinic" to have my bones set and my head stitched. Having been there when I was 4, 8 and 12, it was only fitting that she would be watching 12 years later when my left collarbone was broken a fourth time.
I was 2 when my older brother entered kindergarten so Mom became the prototype of a Head Start teacher. She sang songs, read stories and rhymes, and recited poems and verses. She wanted me to color inside the lines rather than outside. When I colored on the wallpaper beside my baby bed she taught me about spankings. She taught manners and respecting others.
She would suck the blood out of the bottom of my foot when I stepped on a nail. She would make me get out of the noontime sun during the summer so that I wouldn't catch polio.
She taught me how to plant seeds, to "clear" weeds, to drink water from a garden hose. She taught me how to "pull" beets, turnips and carrots; and to "pick" lettuce, okra, tomatoes, squash, beans and black-eyed peas. She taught me how to "string" beans and to "shell" peas, to "peel" potatoes and to "skin" carrots.
After listening to the "noon livestock report" on the radio, she would tell stories about being "raised" on a cattle ranch in Canyon. About my aunts and uncles and cousins who lived way up in the Panhandle - a "costly' three-day drive at that time.
She loved Texas history - the Texas version. She told about Santa Anna, Sam Houston, Jim Bowey, Davy Crockett, Stephen F. Austin, Goliad, the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto.
She would read me the "Children's Biographies" of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver and others. She started me on peanut butter.
Once I was old enough for "real school", she cut up shirt cardboards to make flash cards. She had always hoped to complete her college education, but as she often said, "a lot of folk's plans wind up in a cradle."
She taught me how to hang clothes on the clothes line. To take them down without dropping the "pins" or wrinkling the sheets. She taught me to fold a diaper, by taking first base towards third base and the third-base corner towards first, bringing home plate past the pitcher's mound, moving second base down even with first and third, and then folding the results just so.
It wasn't until the fourth cradle - finally a girl - was empty and her daughter almost ready for college that Mom started her career as a nursery school teacher. By then she had completed some courses at the University of Houston in order to become familiar with the "modern thinking."
She loved teaching her "Little Ones." By that time much had changed. She loved her "beginner's box" of Crayolas - there were reds, yellows, blacks, browns and whites. In time, she received special invitations to sit in a front-row pew for many confirmations and Bar Mitzvahs.
During her final 10 years - during Dad's stroke and then Mom's aloneness - she taught me about commitment and contentment. Best of all, she provided me a lifetime of pleasant memories.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
100 years ago
Taken from The Weekly Times of May 16, 1901
Jas. Jones was so fortunate as to kill a silvertip bear which weighted 550 lbs. Friday. He was setting his trap for the bruin but he came along before Jones got away, thus he did what many a man would not do and that was stay there and shoot.
The Times comes out this week as an Eight Page Paper the only paper in the county of its size. It will now be run as an eight page paper. If you want all the news all the time both local and foreign subscribe for the Times.
J.M. Hall of Rico has had a cure from the hot springs. He came here April 30, and can now walk without aid, but when he came here he could not even walk with crutches.
Much talk of oil on the Navajo, but talk is cheap. It takes money to find oil.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 14, 1926
This week sees the culmination of a dream of the oldest resident of Archuleta County - to see a real, bona fide test made of one of the well defined oil structures within the county boundaries. We are pleased to announce that there have arrived at Sunetha from Ardmore, Okla., and Pennsylvania five carloads of piping, rigging, timbers, derrick, cables and other equipment to be used in drilling the Sunetha structure. Messrs. David Hersch and Whitney Newton have been working on the proposition for some months.
The Pagosa Springs Motor Co. has recently made the following sales of Fords: Harry Fitzhugh of Chromo, Fordson tractor; Marvin Snooks of Pagosa Springs, coupe; G.F. Wilson of Pagosa Springs, coupe; Mission School of Dulce, N.M., a roadster.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 18, 1951
At a meeting of the newly elected school board of District 50 Jt., last Thursday night, Harvey J. Catchpole was named president; Wayne Farrow secretary and Woodrow Dunlap treasurer. All of the new members were present at the meeting as was Mrs. Rachel Tishner, county superintendent of school and officials of the district.
The Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce held a general meeting on Monday night. Several members of the C of C expressed their approval and appreciation of the town park modernization program which is now underway. When completed this project will be a big improvement in the town. The project is under the supervision of Mayor Ben K. Lynch and when completed will include fireplace, tables, benches and sanitary restrooms.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 13, 1976
The teepee burner at San Juan Lumber Company's local mill will soon be smoke free except in case of breakdown of other equipment. In the past bark and sawdust have been fed into the burner but a new de-barker machine will allow these products to be used for fuel in the oiler room.
San Juan Lumber Company is the largest employer of local labor and at peak times has in excess of 200 men employed in all phases of the operation. It is the largest single payroll in this area and is one of the strong mainstays in the local economy.
The local post of the American Legion has started a campaign to encourage home owners and businessmen to display the American flag every day in Pagosa Springs. They are selling flag kits for those who do not have flags.
Attention: Run of the mill people must unite
Mother's Day has passed and Father's Day is on the horizon.
Millions of deserving moms were wined and dined or at least were recipients of fancy cards filled with appropriate thoughts or received long-distance calls from loving children.
The same treatment will be accorded millions of dads when Father's Day comes next month.
There is a Grandparents Day, too, though not so heavily promoted. It seems there is a day for almost everything - but not for everyone.
I propose, therefore, a National Others Day. Everyone who isn't a mom or dad and therefore not a grandparent, everyone who isn't a veteran, or a secretary or a boss, each of whom have a day dedicated to them, would be honored.
A panoply of eligibles would find, at long last, someone wants to honor them for being just plain old Jane or Jack or Hilda or Humphrey.
These are the people who make the engines of commerce run, the ones too busy to devote time to a personal life that might eventually lump them into one of the categories which already has a day its own.
But it would also include the homeless and abandoned, the outcasts of society who never had and never will have hope for the future.
The long distance, over-the-road trucker who's on the move too much to settle down and the professional soldier who sells his skills to the highest bidder and is, therefore, not the kind of person who'd make an ideal father - or mother - also would qualify.
The plain Janes and dull Dans whose personalities prevent them from even attempting a relationship would also be prequalified for Others Day honors.
In a time when everything has a day, from pickle relish to mushrooms, from chocolate to prunes, from flap jacks to cherry trees, it is high time for all OTHERS to be recognized.
Run of the mill people unite!
Tell your legislators you want a day of reckoning, a day which depicts you as what you are, a member of the great force of others who make this nation what it is today.
What more proper time to salute the Others than Feb. 29 - Leap Year day, the one which comes along only once every four years. Oh yeah, I know, a number of people have birthdays on that odd date, but they might even qualify for our Others Day celebration, assuming, of course that they met all the other criteria.
It is time for all those who fit the category to demand their rights.
They should be designated for recognition and placed in line with all the other Others.
Ceremonies marking the dedication of the Taminah Gallery building in downtown Pagosa Springs as a historic landmark last weekend reminded me of another phase of childhood in Pagosa.
The telephone company which once was housed in the building, was a gathering of old-fashioned party lines.
I remember that my grandmother's phone was a wall model in the kitchen. Each subscriber had a specific ring and hers was five shorts. There were very few incoming calls even with a teen-aged daughter still at home.
There were, however, lots of outgoing calls, when you could get a line. Often one picked up the phone to make a call - you had to get an operator first - and you'd find someone else on the party line already talking and unwilling to clear the line for your call, or exhibiting a tendency to eavesdrop on your private conversations.
When you did finally get an operator, it was usually someone you knew well, including at one time my aunt, the teenager referred to earlier.
But the history angle of this entry was the key to development of vast portions of what was then the John Stevens ranch, most of which is now in one or another of the subdivisions making up the Pagosa Lakes Community.
The first movie made there drew Hollywood types galore and their ready-to-spend dollars were seen as manna for the area. When several of them became involved as investors in the purchase of the Stevens Ranch, the die was cast.
The historic link to the Taminah building was that one of the telephone operators at the time of the movie - starring Barbara Stanwyck - was a skilled horsewoman.
As it turned out, the famed actress needed a double for her riding scenes.
That meant one less telephone operator.
Wanda Amyx was drafted for the extra's job and her operator equal, Twilah Montroy, a county born farm girl, was also considered.
Thankfully the movie makers took only one of the operators, or the system might have been struggling during peak calling hours.
There obviously were dozens of other young women who served the telephone-using public as operators in those days and each of them had a specific link to that portion of Pagosa's history.
The Taminah designation as an historic landmark linked the building and those who worked therein to at least one memory of how the county's development has progressed over more than half a century.
Life: Risky business in 1890s San Jauns
One of the big changes in Pagosa Country day-to-day life, when compared to the 1890s, is in the field of politics. As practiced in those days, politics at the local level was an in-your-face, stop-me-if-you-are-big-enough, adventure.
By the 1890s in Pagosa Country, the gun-on-your-hip, OK Corral mentality was largely a thing of the past, or was it? Remember, a lot of the folks who lived through the frontier violence of the 1870s and 1880s were still around. They may have hung their six shooters in the home closet, but hadn't forgotten where they hung.
For example, take a look at E.M. Taylor, one of the most prominent men in Pagosa Country history. Eudolphus M. 'Doc' Taylor was from New York. Apparently he visited Pagosa during the Fort Lewis days circa 1878-1880, liked what he saw, returned east to get his family, and settled down in town. Doc apparently had an adequate supply of money and influence. Down through the years he served as county clerk, town clerk, county judge, and bank.
To prove he hadn't misplaced his guns, Doc shot, but didn't kill, lawyer Victor McGirr, who happened to be married to Doc's daughter Hattie at the time. Some say McGirr was a skirt chaser and that avocation may have led to the shooting. Some say if Doc had intended to kill instead of warn the barrister, his aim would have been truer. Whatever the cause, at the hearing which followed no formal charges were filed against Doc. McGirr didn't even appear as accuser. I don't believe he spent one night in jail.
In the Pagosa Springs News of July 7, 1893, Doc's business card advertisement appears as follows: E.M. Taylor, real estate and loans, choice Pagosa lots at low prices, loans negotiated on deeded land at a low interest rate, office in court house.
Which brings us back to the politics of the day. At the time, Doc was both county and town clerk and recorder. Office in the court house? Wasn't there a conflict of interest there some where? For a different look at Doc, check this 1893 newspaper item:
Newspaper item: Fishing parties on the San Juan are numerous and many fish are being taken out. E.M. Taylor and J.V. Blake are two boss fishermen, as either one of them can yank out about twenty trout an hour.
Life in the San Juans could be dangerous during the 1890s. The following tragedy happened in the mountains west of Creede (Creede was a roaring mining camp in 1893. Some say the population in the area approached 65,000 people) and maybe 25 miles north of Pagosa Springs on the north end of Weminuche Country.
Newspaper item: Messengers arrived from Bear Creek yesterday evening with the news that H.C. Conn had been killed on Ute Creek by a bear. Conn until recently was employed as a miner on Bachelor mountain (near Creede). In company with F.M. McAdams and M.L. Barker, he started last week on a prospecting trip through the Bear river gold region. On Wednesday forenoon he left his companions at their camp on Ute creek and shortly afterward returned for his gun, saying he had seen a bear. Shortly after his departure they heard three or four reports from his Winchester, and later cries for help. They hastened his direction a distance of about five hundred yards, where they found their companion on the ground, a mutilated mass of humanitus. The upper part of his face was torn away; his left shoulder gone; his left thigh, hands, arms, and body lacerated and a mass of blood. They carried him carefully to the camp, where he lingered in life about three hours. He was conscious until he died. His story was to the effect that he was after a cub and the she bear came upon him suddenly. He attempted to climb a small tree, but she was too quick; succeeding in pulling him down. The shots he fired missed the monster, which, he said, was a silver-tip weighing about 1200 pounds. The tracks of the animal seen by McAdams and Barker verify his statement.
The remains of Conn were brought into Creede last night and were buried this afternoon. - Creede Chronicle.
Motter's comment: There has never existed anything more ferocious than a mother with a threatened child. Conn should have known better.
Newspaper item one week later: Matt. Stallard, of Spar City, went gunning for the bear which killed Conn last week. He managed to put nine bullets from a Winchester into its body before he killed the monster. The bear's paws measured sixteen inches in length. - Creede Chronicle
Newspaper item: The price of silver ranges from 72 to 76 cents. Many mines of the state will remain closed unless the price advances at least 15 cents.
Newspaper item: Welch Nossaman and W.C. Hyler have returned from Creede, on account of the mines shutting down.
Motter's comment: The stampede to Creede during the early 1890s was one of the last great mining rushes in Colorado. The rush, as with most San Juan rushes, was triggered by silver deposits, not gold. The price of silver got caught up in national politics and silver lost. Nossaman and Hyler were bona fide Pagosa pioneers who had already failed to tap pay dirt at the Summitville gold camp.
Newspaper item: The close times cause people to become desperate, and many robberies are committed on account thereof. Last week one man held up seven people in the Mancos railway station and secured $200 of money belonging to the railroad company. At the same time three men tried to rob the express office at the Rico station, but they were scared away by the agent and his wife. There was an express package in the office which contained $22,000 in currency.
Motter's comment: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Newspaper item: Parties from New Mexico report the drouth there is most complete. There is no grass on the range and very little water in the streams. Thousands of sheep and cattle are being driven in this direction, and this country will be overrun in a short time. It is a great imposition on our own people. (New Mexico was still a territory in 1893.)
Motter's comment: Weather has always been news.