Front Page
May 24, 2001

Ninety seven will graduate Pagosa High Saturday

By Richard Walter

Ninety-seven young people will march down the aisle Saturday morning to accept diplomas signifying their graduation from Pagosa Springs High School.

The Class of 2001, chose the motto:

"We came as strangers,

We grew as friends,

We'll leave as one."

Graduates, including those who completed their work in the alternative school - the Archuleta County High School - will hear their commencement address from teacher and former boys basketball and track coach Kyle Canty. He will be introduced by Annah Rolig after the class welcome is given by Tiffanie Hamilton and the administration welcome is delivered by outgoing superintendent Terry Alley.

Following Canty's address, the class history will be given by Gretchen Bergon, Daniel Crenshaw, Makina Gill and Garret Tomforde; the mixed choir will sing "I Hope You Dance," and a slide presentation, the class song, "Free Bird" and music will be presented by Meigan Canty, Makina Gill, Tiffanie Hamilton, Amber Mesker, Annah Rolig and Catherine Tharpe.

Honorary addresses will be made by co-valedictorians Meigan Canty and Theresa Hostetter and scholarship awards will be made by Mark Thompson, school counselor. Co-salutatorians will be Tiffanie Hamilton, Travis Laverty, Annah Rolig and Garret Tomforde.

Principal Bill Esterbrook will present the class, school board president Randall Davis will accept the graduates and Catherine Tharpe will deliver the benediction.

Junior escorts will be Aubrey Volger, Ashley Gronewoller, Darin Lister and Eric Mesker and the honor guard will include Luke Boilini, Ronnie Janowsky, Caleb Mellette, Trent Sanders, Cord Ross and Ross Wagle.

Class sponsors have been Sean Downing, Nancy Esterbrook, Leigh Gozigian, Gloria Hohrein, Curtis Maberry and Pete Peterson.

County sued over handling of batch plant

By John M. Motter

Archuleta County and owners of Hard Times Concrete, Inc. are being sued by San Juan River Valley Friends of the Environment in connection with an action the county took in March allowing the concrete company to begin operation.

Named as defendants in the civil complaint filed May 17 in the Sixth Judicial District office in Archuleta County are the Board of County Commissioners of Archuleta County, Archuleta County, Weber Ranches of Pagosa, LLC, a Colorado limited liability company, and Hard Times Concrete, Inc., a Colorado Corporation.

On behalf of the county, Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, and County Attorney Mary Weiss declined to comment on the suit. They said Tuesday they had not had time to study it as yet.

The plaintiff is San Juan River Valley Friends For the Environment, represented by the law firm of Sullivan Green LLC based in Boulder.

SJRVFFE is a registered Colorado non-profit corporation made up primarily of residents of San Juan River Village, a residential development lying along the river just north of the batch plant, according to spokesman Doyle Smith.

As many as 40 people attend SJRVFFE meetings, Smith said, but a lot of meetings are attended only by about five people who make up the inner circle of the organization. The corporation was organized last year to provide a mechanism for dealing with the proposed batch plant.

The core group meets at least weekly, Smith said. Communication with other organization members and residents of the area is through an active e-mail network, according to Smith. Allison McKinney-Smith, Doyle's wife, is president of the organization and psychiatrist Jim Knoll, is vice president.

Underlying the group's decision to file the suit is the belief that a county commissioner action April 17 allowing the batch plant to throw the 'on' switch was beyond commissioner jurisdiction, amounted to a change in interpretation of county laws without proper public hearings, and constituted a "slap in the face," for those who took part last fall when a conditional use permit for the plant was approved.

Voting in favor of the motion to allow the plant to operate with certain conditions during the April meeting were Crabtree and Commissioner Alden Ecker. Voting against the same motion was Commissioner Bill Downey. Voting in favor of the conditional use permit last September were commissioners, Crabtree, Downey and Ken Fox. Subsequently, Fox was not re-elected and Alden Ecker was elected in Fox's stead.

The defendants have 20 days to answer the complaint after they receive legal notice, according to Pam Thompson, clerk of the Sixth Judicial District office in the county courthouse in Pagosa Springs. The case is expected to follow ordinary civil court procedures. Although injunctive relief is being sought, no attempt is being made to obtain an injunction shutting down the plant immediately.

Hard Times Concrete is located about six miles north of Pagosa Springs on the southeast side of U.S., 160 and adjacent to the San Juan River. Permission to operate the business was the subject of an almost year-long process conducted by the county and county planning office. Public hearings were conducted by the planning office and by the commissioners during the process. A conditional use permit, the county's process for dealing with this kind of land use, was approved by county commissioners Sept. 12.

At that time, 10 conditions were established which Hard Times was required to complete before "operation of the concrete batch plant can commence." Among the conditions were certain landscaping requirements designed to block vision of the plant, limitation of dust transmission and sound emissions; certain paving requirements were included as was construction of a catch basin for housing fuel storage tanks; installation of a trash dumpster housing was a condition; and noise level readings were to be made within 30 days after operations commenced at the plant.

During October, Hard Times submitted information to the planning staff concerning the required improvements. On Oct. 31, the commissioners discussed an $18,806 bond for landscaping requirements and an accompanying improvements agreement.

On March 31, 2001, Hard Times wrote a letter to the commissioners asking that the CUP conditions be modified. On April 17, representatives of Hard Times appeared before the commissioners and requested approval of the improvements agreement and a $43,046 performance bond in lieu of completing certain CUP conditions to allow opening the batch plant before all conditions set Sept. 12, 2000, were met.

At the April 17 meeting, commissioners were told that Hard Times had not completed landscaping requirements, paving requirements, constructed a fuel containment basin, or provided a dumpster enclosure.

At that time, planning staff, County Attorney Mary Weiss, and Downey recommended against approval of the improvements agreement or changing any of the original conditions under which the CUP was first granted because those conditions had been established as part of a process involving public input.

Crabtree and Ecker voted in favor of the bond and improvements agreement and gave Hard Times until Oct. 17, 2002 to comply with all of the conditions. Since the commissioners are a three-member board, two votes are sufficient to pass a motion.

The complaint brought by SJRVFFE asks the court to reverse commissioner approval of the amendments to the CUP and subsequent execution of the improvements agreement, to determine the commissioners acted arbitrarily and capriciously, and then issue an order prohibiting operation of the batch plant until all conditions connected with the Sept. 17, 2000 CUP are met. The plaintiffs also want to be reimbursed by the defendants for legal costs.

"We were considering a suit last fall because we believed operation of the batch plant at that location was not compatible with the uses already existing in the neighborhood and approval of the plant would be contrary to county law," said Doyle Smith. "Finally, we went along with the public process and agreed to compromise. When I saw what was happening in April when they changed what they had approved in September without even getting public input, it was like a slap in the face. They changed the rules. They lied to us."

Disappearing cycles, smokes cases broken

By Tess Noel Baker

Cases of missing motorcycles and vanishing cigarettes eased closer to a conclusion in Pagosa Springs this week.

A motorcycle stolen from a Pagosa Springs garage was recovered Monday following an accident in the Denver area. The suspect, a 17-year-old juvenile wanted for escaping from a Durango detention center, was apparently riding it at the time of the crash.

According to Pagosa Springs police reports, two motorcycles, both dirt bikes, were stolen sometime during the night of May 18 or early May 19 from the 300 block of Sixth Street.

The first one, a 1972 Honda dirt bike, was parked on the street. It was later recovered behind the Piano Creek Ranch office building on Lewis Street - abandoned most likely because of an already broken clutch.

A 1989 Yamaha street legal dirt bike, worth an estimated $1,800 was stolen the same night from inside a garage. According to police reports, that bike was recovered by a Colorado State Patrol officer following an accident in Jefferson County May 21 about 8 p.m. The bike received minor damage.

The suspect was arrested on a warrant for escaping the DeNier facility in Durango, and is currently being held at the Mountview Youth Service Center in the Denver area.

In a separate case, Pagosa Springs police have been working since the first week in May to locate suspects involved in the theft of over $1,600 worth of cigarettes and lighters taken from the Ampride Station, First and Pagosa streets. So far, three local juveniles have been charged.

According to Pagosa Springs police reports, about 42 cartons of cigarettes and 200 cigarette lighters were taken from the gas station. The thieves broke in a window and removed the items sometime during the night on May 5.

A subsequent investigation led police to charge the suspects, all male juveniles from Pagosa Springs. Two of the juveniles are 17 years old, and one is 14.

George Daniels, Pagosa Springs police investigator said, although charges have been filed, the investigation is ongoing.

Community plan wins county endorsement

By John M. Motter

County commissioners here Tuesday unanimously endorsed the Community Plan adopted by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission during March.

The Community Plan, which also functions as the County Master Plan, is a written attempt to describe the land-use desires of a majority of the county population. It is an advisory document written with guidance from Four Corners Planning and Design Group, a Durango land consulting firm hired by the county, and after almost 30 meetings designed to collect public input.

Each of the commissioners described his personal reaction to the plan, his reason for approving it, and each pointed to the need to get on with the next step - adoption of rules for implementing the Community Plan's concepts.

Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, was chosen to contact Mike Preston of Fort Lewis College for help writing enacting regulations. Preston helped Montezuma County develop a land use implementation concept identified as "Landowner Initiated Zoning." Crabtree's charge is to learn how, if in any way, Preston can help Archuleta County develop implementation procedures for the Archuleta County Community Plan.

Presenting the Community Plan to the commissioners Tuesday were Kathy Ruth, the county planner, and Lynn Constan, chairman of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission board. Constan is a former professional planner.

"This is a broad policy document which contains statements in eight categories," Constan said in her introductory remarks. "It contains no force of law. Implementation is the next step. We're (USJRPC) meeting with you (commissioners) June 27 to learn how we can work together to develop rules for implementation. The Community Plan is a planning tool. Zoning is implementation. This document allows for the development of zoning."

"My perspective, and I attended all eight meetings," said Commissioner Alden Ecker, "is this plan contains a lot of work by a lot of people. I have some concerns, which does not mean I am against the plan. We've had plans before in the county and they just sit on the shelf. We need to go further than that with this plan. If we have the money, we need to get Mike Preston of Fort Lewis College to help us implement these items. I don't like some of the things we saw last year with the county split by people into different areas."

"The planning commission is waiting for the next step," said Constan. "We want the commissioners' support. Some people fear zoning because it takes away some rights. Zoning also grants some rights in advance."

"I agree that people should control their own destiny up to a point," Ecker said. "We need to set up committees to zone ourselves. Some people want to protect the scenery, but until we work with the ranchers and farmers . . . I want us to work with that group as well as this group."

"The impetus for the Montezuma plan came from the ranchers," Constan said. "They, too, were concerned about the loss of development rights if zoning was put in to preserve open space."

"We have $60,000 in the 2001 planning department budget for this purpose," said Cathie Wilson, director of the county finance department.

"I'm pretty much in agreement with Commissioner Ecker," said Downey. "The process for developing the Community Plan was proper. Everybody had an opportunity for input and there was a good turnout. There are some things I don't like in this plan, but that is always the case. In response to Commissioner Ecker about previous plans being put on the shelf, I'll say it is up to us as commissioners to put this plan to use. Overall, I like the plan."

"You guys said it all," said Crabtree. "I'd like to see us go to the next step, see if anything from the Montezuma plan can be integrated into our plan to give it teeth. Let's get on with it."

Downey moved that "this board endorse, support this Community Plan." Ecker seconded and the vote was unanimous in favor of endorsement.

County Attorney Mary Weiss suggested that the county solicit proposals for developing implementing legislation in addition to talking to Mike Preston.

From the audience, Marty Margulies urged the commissioners to not waste time in adopting implementing legislation and suggested Ecker and Crabtree place too much emphasis on pleasing ranchers, an emphasis that doesn't match current county demographics. Margulies suggested the commissioners set a specific deadline for writing implementation rules.

"There are a lot of other citizens who need to be considered," Margulies said.

"We should say landowners, not ranchers," Crabtree said. " Everybody has a stake, but people with larger acreages were not heard from. It's their own fault."

"If ranchers cooperate, we'll preserve more open space," said Ecker.

"Concerning time constraints," said Constan, "even if you retain Mike Preston, the process could require two years or more. You can't set a specific time. I don't want the county under pressure to adopt something, to move too quickly. Concerning ranchers, this Community Plan was divisive. We need to step back, bring everybody together."

Blasters get more rock than expected; pass closed early

By Richard Walter

Regional radio stations would have had you believe there was a major, unexpected and indefinite closure of Wolf Creek Pass beginning at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

As late as 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, police dispatchers were attempting to determine if the pass was, in fact, closed.

It seems there was an incident late Tuesday in which a controlled blast at the east side construction site triggered a higher fault which released an unexpected rock fall onto the highway area.

A spokesman at the Colorado Department of Transportation hot line confirmed the accidental rock fall but said it had been cleared by 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Regular daily closures of up to 45 minutes are still being encountered in the construction zone and the pass is still closed for blasting activity from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

"It was just an act of God," the CDOT spokesperson said. "It took us all night, but we had it cleared in time for regular daytime traffic flow."

However, at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the sheriff's dispatch office was still reporting it was getting conflicting signals from the construction area and that it appeared the pass was still closed.

Inside The Sun
Sunny skies, warm weather makes weekend inviting

By John M. Motter

Pagosa Country should bask under sunny skies and warm weather through the coming weekend, according to the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"A high pressure ridge across eastern Nevada is controlling Four Corners weather right now," said Chris Jones, a forecaster from the Grand Junction office. "The high pressure ridge is preventing disturbances from moving in from the West Coast. The ridge will remain into Saturday, then begin shifting east. By Monday and Tuesday there will be a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms."

Current weather patterns are in an interim state between winter Pacific storms and summer subtropical rains, according to Jones. Characteristic of the interim period are sudden changes including temperature shifts and unforeseen rain or even snow, such as occurred last week.

As wet as it seemed, last Saturday's rain only amounted to 0.03 of an inch as measured at the local National Weather Service gauging station located at Stevens Field.

Moisture for the area seems assured, according to a Colorado Basin outlook issued by the Natural Resources Conservation Service May 1. On that date, the snowpack in the San Juan Basin amounted to 108 percent of average. April precipitation totaled 149 percent of average.

Reservoir storage in the area, however, remains low. The combined reservoir storage for six major reservoirs in Southwestern Colorado is 74 percent of average.

High temperatures last week ranged between 74 degrees May 18 and May 22 down to 69 degrees May 19. The average high temperature was 72 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between 37 degrees May 20 to 43 degrees May 17 and 19. The average low temperature for the week was 40 degrees. At no time did the thermometer in town drop to freezing.

Temperatures should climb into the low to middle 80-degree range during the coming week. Low temperatures are expected to remain above freezing and range between 35 and 45 degrees.

All bids rejected; schools readvertise for IS principal

By Richard Walter

The search for a replacement for Butch Madrid as Intermediate School principal has hit a dead end and is getting a kick toward a restart.

After Madrid announced his resignation effective July 1, the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Jt. advertised the position and ultimately received 17 applications.

As recently as May 8, the search committee was able to recommend only two of those candidates for board consideration and was instructed to review all the applications and attempt to come up with a third.

When that search was fruitless, Supt. Terry Alley said, the administration decided to start the entire process over.

As a result, new advertising began this week.

There is no deadline for applications to be filed and, Alley said, "The job will remain open until filled." He said he does not expect action before the end of this school year.

That means the person finally selected will come in with a relatively short time to become acquainted with the job and the system.

The school has an enrollment of approximately 250 in fifth and sixth grades.

Applicants must possess or be eligible for a Colorado principal license and previous experience as an elementary teacher or principal is preferred.

On a separate staffing front, Alley said the district is still looking for a new boys head basketball coach.

"Kahle (athletic director Charles) is talking to several candidates," Alley said, "but so far nothing is definite."

The position was opened several weeks ago when Kyle Canty vacated it along with his duties as head track coach in order to concentrate on teaching and church commitments.

PSHS counselor Thompson named to state council

By Richard Walter

Mark Thompson, Pagosa Springs High School guidance counselor, has been appointed to serve on the Colorado Council on High School and College Relations.

Thompson said the council will meet once a month for 10 months of the year and represents the state's high school and college counselors.

Among other activities, the council coordinates the College Fair, with regional shows in which 40 collegiate facilities are represented.

"This allows the student to go to one site and sample the offerings of every school represented," Thompson said. The group also produces the Colorado Handbook, a reference material used by all the high school guidance counselors as a primary source of college data for each school in the state.

Purposes of the council are to foster and encourage cooperation between collegiate institutions and secondary schools in the state; to promote ethical standards of conduct in the relationships of personnel in both collegiate institutions and secondary schools; to provide assistance in the development and maintenance of continuous education guidance programs from junior high school through college; to serve as a collection and dissemination agency for information pertinent to colleges and high schools; to promote and encourage research and evaluation of factors regarding the transition of students from high schools to institutions of higher learning and other problems common to both high schools and colleges; and to provide an annual forum for college and secondary school personnel to discuss issues and trends and to further their professional development.

County property value $169.6 million; up 7.22%

By John M. Motter

The value of taxable property in Archuleta County amounts to $169,617,467 for 2001, up 7.22 percent from the $158,191,477 reported last year by the county assessor's office.

County property is divided by the assessor's office into six categories for assessment purposes: vacant, residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, natural resources, state assessed, and exempt.

While residential values are climbing, commercial and industrial values have fallen below last year's values. The exempt category has risen dramatically because of an increased effort to list all exempt properties and because those properties are now being appraised at market value.

"The people in my department are making a tremendous effort to make sure that every category of land is included and awarded its proper value according to law," said Keren Prior, the county assessor. "We've cleaned up a lot of areas that were troublesome in the past."

In the midst of meeting face-to-face with real property owners protesting values assigned their property, Prior noted many people have a misconception that a fee instead of mass appraisal method is used.

A fee method would involve individual appraisal of each piece of property. The mass method used involved appraising large numbers of similar property en masse.

"It doesn't get personal until they come in here," Prior said. "When a person protests and comes into the office, we look at the individual aspects of their property before coming to a decision."

Property in each category is subject to specific appraisal and assessment guidelines with allowance for best, average, and worst conditions in each category.

Compared with 2000, this year's values show the vacant category climbing from about $44 million to $53.3 million; residential climbing from $110.8 million to $120 million; commercial dropping from $31 million to $26.4 million; industrial dropping from $1.3 million to $852,600; agricultural rising from $3.8 million to $4.2 million; and exempt from $47.3 million to $206.8 million. Some categories have not been calculated yet.

Colorado law mandates that every other year be a reappraisal year and the task fell on the local office this year.

The assessor's office appraises property within the county in accordance with state guidelines. Appraised values are established based on the money paid for similar properties in similar neighborhoods.

Those appraised values are then evaluated, again according to state guidelines, and an assessed or taxable value established. No real property is taxed at full market value in Colorado. Instead, some proportion of the market value is used to calculate the assessed value.

Only 9.15 percent of the assessed value of residential property is used when calculating the amount of property taxes due. Other properties are taxed at 30 percent of assessed value.

Tax rates are not established by the assessor's office, but by each taxing entity. Even those rates are subject to certain constraints established by state law.

In an article concerning real property taxes last week, the SUN erred in saying the deadline for real property tax protests is June 30. The deadline is June 1. We also stated that appraisers from the state sample local real estate sales in order to verify local appraisals. We should have said auditors from the state instead of appraisers. We apologize if the errors created any inconvenience.

EMS wins grant to install new transmission repeater

By Tess Noel Baker

In the next few weeks, a silence over parts of southern Archuleta County will be broken.

With the help of a state grant, local Emergency Medical Services personnel will soon have access to a second repeater, located near Chimney Rock for radio transmissions.

"We want to see if we can get communications in that area up and clearer," Rod Richardson, EMS operations manager for the Upper San Juan Hospital District, said. "Lots of spots out there are dead totally."

The grant from the Colorado State Department of Pre-Hospital Care and Emergency Services is for about $11,000, Richardson said, enough to cover the entire cost of the project. The new repeater will be installed on an existing forest service tower on Devil Mountain north of Chimney Rock Archeological Area.

Installation is expected to begin in the next week, but securing FCC approval could take a little longer, Richardson said. The district will have to apply for an upgrade to its current FCC license, a process that could take 90 days.

The other EMS repeater is at Oak Brush Hill, about three miles south of U.S. 160 and Vista Boulevard. It is also on a forest service tower.

Commissioners delay Loma Linda improvement

By John M. Motter

A request to release funds to pay for extending electrical service for a prospective home builder in the Loma Linda subdivision, has been put on hold by the county commissioners.

About $32,000 rests in a fund established by developer Loma Linda Ltd. for use in making subdivision improvements. The fund is the result of an agreement between the county and developer to fund certain improvements, such as streets and utilities. Release of the funds requires signatures from the county and the developer. The developer recently asked that funds be released to pay for the electrical extension.

The county questions whether that is the best use for the money, since there will be no more money in that fund when the current amount is spent. The $32,000 is the residual amount remaining from the proceeds of 10 lot sales dedicated by the developer for improvements through an agreement with the county.

Gary Hopkins, president of the Loma Linda Property Owners Association, encouraged the county to withhold releasing the funds until the POA meets. Attention should be devoted to several roads in longstanding need of improvement before spending the money for the electrical extension, Hopkins said.

Even when all of the $32,000 is spent, an additional $300,000 will be needed to bring Loma Linda roads up to an acceptable standard, Hopkins said.

Residents of Loma Linda voted last year to form a metropolitan district for the purpose of taking care of the development's roads, estimated to have a total length of between 9 and 10 miles. The district will receive no income from property taxes or the state Highway Users Tax Fund until next year.

The commissioners decision Tuesday was to wait until the Loma Linda property owners meet and develop a recommendation before allowing withdrawal of money from the fund.

In other business Tuesday the commissioners:

- Postponed action on reaching agreement with Alpha Engineering for consulting services

- Waived 50 percent of landfill dumping fees for a Chromo resident whose home burned. The waived fees are only in connection with disposing of trash created by the fire

- Declined to purchase bleachers for a demolition derby at the Archuleta County Fair because the bleachers are too cumbersome and expensive to move around

- Approved spending $10,000 to purchase firefighting gear and accessories for county road crews who respond to fire calls in the county

- Delayed approval of a request to sell county map books from the planning office

- Renewed a liquor license for Arboles Store

- Renewed a 3.2 percent retail liquor license for Arboles Store

- Renewed a retail liquor license for Turkey Springs Trading Post

- Approved a special event alcohol permit for the Pagosa Area Chamber of Commerce Colorfest celebration

- Waived an annexation impact report as requested by Mark Garcia on behalf of the Town of Pagosa Springs. Properties proposed for annexation to the town are the former sawmill property located at the intersection of U.S. 160 and 84 east of town, Goodman property near the same intersection, and property located at the Fred Harman Art Museum west of town near the intersection of U.S. 160 and Piedra Road

- Approved a maintenance of effort report for Colorado Works presented by Erlinda Gonzalez, of the county Social Services Department director. The report specifies a Colorado Works allocation for Archuleta County of $295,761 from the state plus a 15 percent, $50,062 match from the county

- Accepted a report from Stevens Field manager Tim Smith establishing the county's position as a minority employer in accordance with state and federal law

- Authorized County Administrative Assistant Kathy Wendt to issue raises "as necessary" for county employees under commissioner jurisdiction

- A discussion was held concerning connecting county fairgrounds property to Pagosa Sanitation District collection lines. It was reported the county must pay a $2,000 tap fee to Pagosa Area and Water Sanitation District and another $2,000 tap fee to the Pagosa Sanitation District. Crabtree and Ecker said the developer of the nearby former sawmill property said it would be okay to connect to his sewage line. The county contemplates construction restroom facilities on the property.

NRA/Friends of Wildlife group offering scholarship

The Friends of NRA/Friends of Wildlife for Tomorrow Scholarship offers financial assistance and recognition to a high school senior or college student who has demonstrated an interest in wildlife biology, environmental law, wildlife management or related field.

Any recipient of the scholarship must be planning to attend or currently be enrolled at a two-year community college or four-year college or university in Colorado.

Applicants must have a minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA for all high school work to qualify for the scholarship. College freshman applying for the scholarship must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 for all college work. College sophomores, juniors and seniors must have a cumulative college GPA of 2.8. All applicants may be subject to an interview by the scholarship committee.

The deadline for receiving applications is July 1. The recipient will be selected and notified by the Friends of NRA/Friends of Wildlife for Tomorrow on or before July 15. The funds will be awarded prior to the fall quarter or semester.

A complete application form and a copy of high school or college transcripts must be submitted together when applying.

Applications received without the accompanying materials will not be considered. Applications can be picked up at Pagosa Veterinary Clinic or Eddie's Repair. Application materials should be sent to: Friends of NRA/Friends of Wildlife Tomorrow Scholarship Program, P.O. Box 3961, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


Connection woes

Dear Editor,

I've just read the letter Mr. Tom Cruse sent about internet problems, and had to smile. I'm e-mailing from Madrid (Spain), and I must say I'm, the most of the time, wrestling with my connection speed, though I have an RDSI line (digital line). But it seems to me that, though you could have the best "highway," if there are so many people there, you will get a nice jam anyway.

As we used to say in Spain, "The same bad thing for a lot of people, is the consolation for a fool."

Best greetings,

Maria Dolores Maeso Cholbi

WWII Memorial

Dear Editor,

During the past year I have been honored to serve as the field representative for the World War II Memorial in Archuleta County. Local supporters have been generous in their financial support of this long overdue memorial to be placed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Now, however - despite all final approvals and an official ground breaking - supporters of the memorial face another imminent hurdle. A legal challenge has necessitated another hearing on June 14, 2001 before the National Capital Planning Commission. We are asking all our local supporters to devise their own letter of support or copy the one below and send it at once to the following: Richard L. Friedman, chairman, The National Capital Planning Commission, 401 9th Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20576. Email:

Suggested letter:

"I have learned recently that your commission will hold a hearing on June 14, 2001 in which a challenge to location of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall will be presented. I wish to lend my strongest support to reaffirmation of your earlier approvals of the WW II Memorial between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

No other location would be so appropriate as the positioning of this symbol of the 20th century defeat of worldwide tyranny between that recognizing the 18th century leader in our fight for independence and the tribute to the 19th century president who led the fist significant achievement toward racial equality.

The designer of the WW II Memorial presents a visually low-key recognition of not only the sacrifices of 16 million service personnel, but also the contributions of the millions who provided overwhelming quantities of war materials while enduring the limitations of rationing and the heartbreak of the deaths of over 400,000 loved ones lost in service. The line of sight between the two existing features is preserved and the dignity of the Mall will be enhanced.

I request that your commission speedily grant full approval to the planned site for the WW II Memorial. Hopefully, many of the five million surviving WW II veterans will yet be able to visit this long overdue recognition of their service to their country."

Bill Clark

Field representative

WW II Memorial


Dear Editor,

I fully agree with the recent editorials pointing out (directly and indirectly) the shortcomings of our present county commissioner leadership. Should we call it mis-leadership; or just lack there of?

There are so many issues that have been on the table for years that our county commissioners have not solved nor even developed a plan to solve. Each election year we get promises of fixing the growing problems; but only get more "studies" - if we are lucky. To name a few:

Roads: This has been studied to death by at least three different boards over 10 years. Nothing ever seems to happen except for more campaign promises. With 3 -5 years of increases in property tax appraisals and uncontrolled new growth of residential and commercial property, why can't we get our county roads maintained, asphalted and documented? (Loma Linda citizens - good luck on your promises from the commissioners. But don't hold your breath.)

Growth: Our commissioners do not want to follow the will of the people in this area. The multiple meetings throughout the county of hundreds of citizens who worked out a County Vision Plan and presented to the commissioners this growth plan (already approved by the Planning Commission) is being ignored as our leaders either neglect to read it or try to find alternate plans to destroy it. Perhaps another study or meeting will help?

And what is wrong with making it mandatory? Why shouldn't our leaders have to follow laws and rules and regulations like the rest of us?

Staff: The arrogance of our leaders in thinking they can micromanage our county personnel and their work is beyond belief. Maybe we should just let all of them go and let the commissioners do all the work. At least then they would have no one to humiliate and disrespect at public meetings. Without a full and competent staff that is allowed to do their jobs, then our roads, environment, moral, etc. will continue to deteriorate.

Animal shelter: Duh! Give them the money so it will not cost us as taxpayers 2-3 times as much when it gets dumped in the county's lap.

Environment, Magnesium Chloride, East Fork - and on and on. It is time for the citizens of Archuleta County to take a stand. It is your money that is being wasted.

It is your community that has poor roads. It is your river that is being polluted. You are the solution.

"Bad things happen when good people do nothing."

Jim Knoll

Gas well warning

Dear Editor,

I'm apologetic that I missed both citizen meetings in regard to Archuleta County's proposed rules and regulations on the oil and gas wells in this county.

However, there is a possibility that those who are looking for suggestions may read this letter.

I live in Pagosa but have a small ranch just inside La Plata County. Unfortunately, there is a methane gas well operated by Mark West Industries (out of Denver) on the property.

Worse yet, Mark West last December moved onto the property to redrill that well. They moved onto the property without "by letter" informing me. The letter came Feb. 13, 2001, after they had mostly completed the drilling - and done damage to my property. In my opinion about half of what they assured me would be done was never completed.

I was warned by John Beaty, longtime Allison rancher with gas wells on some of his property, "not to believe everything they tell you."

That same warning I pass on to the county commissioners.

My property was taken over by Mark West Industries, or their subcontractors, to such a degree that I had to postpone buying calves.

My personal experience in dealing with Mark West is 100 percent negative. And there are many, many more landowner citizens in La Plata County who can tell even worse stories about the oil and gas industry.

I was warned by a Colorado state official of the futility of taking on the industry in court.

Let our commissioners be forewarned of what I see as a greedy, very powerful industry that has a tendency to run over landowners. They did it to me.

Paul Lerno

P.S. To make propane gas wells work the gas companies have extracted millions, possibly billions, of gallons of water out of the ground. Mark West Industries had a motor operating day and night on my property pulling water out for several months. I don't think anyone knows the long-range consequences of this action.

Special credit

Dear Editor,

Last week Karl commented on the town "fathers" acumen for good government over the past decade or so. If I recall there was a town "mother" serving as a trustee as well. I would like to give special credit to town administrator Jay Harrington for doing an outstanding job in advising the town board during this period. He is a visionary and more importantly a do-er. The town owes him much gratitude for his hard work. What he has helped accomplish is visible, literally, everywhere you go in the town.

My advice for Joan Polulech is to come to Pagosa Country even if you are an unabashed Democrat. Don't worry Joan, Jim Sawicki is just a lovable old "ditto head." (Love you, Jim).

I can only say nice things about Lee Sterling. But really Dave, you never could keep your cards close to your vest.


Ron Levitan

Blocked view

Dear Editor,

Now that the owners of the Spring Inn have successfully eliminated any and all references to and views of our "Hot Springs" it is time for them to replace the arch and sign that designates and identifies that the Springs are even there. Their building has blocked out the view and even the steam from the Spring.

Previously, the arch over the walkway to the Spring guided a visitor to the sight of our local "treasure" and the signs describing its history, source and geology. As a matter of fact, our status as a state historic site has been jeopardized by the location of the new building.

Please reinstall the arch and walkway along with appropriate signage so our visitors can find the Hot Springs - not just the people at your motel - out of the rear windows.

Lolita Manring

Salute them all

Dear Editor,

Each year, the nation sets aside May 30 as a time to honor and remember the heroism and sacrifice of America's military, past and present. Memorial Day is the time we recall the courageous legacy of those men and women who fought in our nation's wars, from the War of Independence to the Persian Gulf. It is also a moment for all of us to pause and express our appreciation for the fierce dedication and tenacity of the many defenders of liberty who serve in those ranks today.

Today, each member who serves is a trusted warrior who saves lives. They uphold the values that made America great and staunchly defend the principles of democracy. They are carrying on a legacy of valor and service that heroes before them established through the long years of our nation's history. They are a shining example of all that is best in America; they are the vessel that embodies our nation's virtues; they are the strong right arm that shields our freedoms; and they are the mortar that helps bind our nation together in common purpose.

We cherish and honor those who wear and have worn a uniform. We remember that they are the American protectors who answered the country's call, doing the hard work of preserving the peace and freedom all American's enjoy, and bringing hope and justice to people throughout the world. Whatever achievements our nation has attained, whatever bounty we have been granted, we owe to the men and women who have stood guard at the front lines of our Republic.

And so on this day of reflection and decoration, a very grateful nation thanks our patriots - young and old, those yet living and those who fell on foreign battlefields or are buried in the hallowed ground of cemeteries across our land - for all they have done and continue to do for the citizens of our great country. Proudly America, salute them all.

Jim Sawicki


Dear Editor,

Ms. Polulech's letter of May 10 was greatly appreciated, and the Archuleta Democrats look forward to meeting her and introducing her to some like-minded folks here in the community. She should watch this paper in coming weeks and months for some of the exciting events we have on our agenda.

We Democrats sometimes feel a little outnumbered, but she should by no means feel that she is "the only one." Incidentally, we hope the rumors she heard, that "the editor of the SUN might be," turns out to be the case. Given its name, the SUN's mission ought to involve shedding light into the darkness, and a Democratic perspective will go a long way to brightening the dark corners of our current local political scene.

Probably Mr. Sawicki's strange little response last week will give Ms. Polulech some sense of what we're up against. In any case, we look forward to welcoming her to the community.

Burke Stancill, Chair

Archuleta County Democratic Party

Firmly a democrat

Dear Editor,

(To Jim Sawicki with a copy to the SUN)

James, if I had any doubts about my party affiliation, our commissioners' party affiliation has alleviated the indecision. You hit the nail on the head, if I can coin a phrase. I'm now firmly a Democrat and again you are right: though this time not far right.

From Texas with affection,

Lee Sterling

Positive experience

Dear Editor,

I keep finding myself amazed at all of the opportunities for learning that are available in Pagosa Springs. I recently enrolled in the "Women's Firearm Safety" course offered at the Fairgrounds Extension Building and could not have been more impressed.

I had only handled a firearm twice in my life and found them very intimidating. I wanted to take this course to increase my awareness of gun safety and gun handling. I reached both of those goals. Upon leaving the class I reflected on what a great opportunity I had been given. The instructors involved had the kind of experience and knowledge that one can only feel fortunate to have worked with them. Everyone had a tremendous sense of humor as well as a straightforward respect for firearms that gave us, as students, confidence and knowledge in our new endeavor. We learned everything from safety, laws, history, and varieties, to handling and cleaning. We spent eight hours on Saturday handling and firing different varieties of handguns, rifles and shotguns under the direct supervision of our instructors. By the way, we had two instructors to every four students - talk about personal attention.

I really want to thank the people involved with this program. I'm sure that the $35 paid by the students didn't come close to covering the costs of the ammunition, targets, food and other expenses . . . not to mention the 15 hours each that Mike Reid, Doug Purcell, Don Volger, Charlie Rogers, Emzy Barker and Melody Miller donated.

I recommend this course to anyone who has an opportunity to attend. The experience was nothing but positive.

Kristin Wilkinson


Rodger Stumpf

Rodger Louis Stumpf, 57, died May 15, 2001 at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. Mr. Stumpf moved to Pagosa Springs a year ago to be near family. A memorial service will be held June 1, at Santa Cruz Bible Church in California.

Mr. Stumpf was born Oct. 6, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois. He married Cherie Jean Mason on Oct. 12, 1961 in Santa Cruz. Mr. Stumpf was a brick mason for many years and owned Santa Cruz Fireplace Company. He was a volunteer fireman with Live Oak County Fire Department. He was devoted to the care of his family.

He is survived by daughters Heather Winder of Hollister, Calif., Robin Dill and Kathleen Anderson of Pagosa Springs; brothers Max Stumpf of Virginia Beach, Va. and Ottie Stumpf of Santa Cruz; sister, Pat Cope of Fresno; and seven grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife Cherie in 1983, brother Ted Stumpf, Jr. and sister Margie Strate.

Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society, 3801 N. Main Ave., Durango CO 81301. The family wishes to thank the home health care people of San Juan Basin Health Department for the care given to Mr. Stumpf.



Joseph McCormick

Joseph Patrick McCormick, son of Larry and Cindy McCormick of Pagosa Springs graduated from Colorado Christian University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems on May 5. He is presently on staff full-time with Colorado Christian University as manager of technical support network administrator as well as teaching a computer class.

Ethan Sanford

Ethan Sanford, a junior at Pagosa Springs High School, has been chosen to participate in the University of Colorado's High School Honors Institute exchange with Project Headstart, part of England's Royal Academy of Engineering.

The program will be held at the University of Southampton in England June 30 through July 8.

Sanford's acceptance was based upon high academic performance, above average aptitude in mathematics and science and a demonstrated interest in engineering or science as a possible career.

He will be in a group of 10 high school students from Colorado and two university advisors joining a select group of students from across England and Scotland in a program of lectures, labs, seminars, practical projects and presentations as well as industrial site visits.

The Institute will also offer an opportunity to meet with members of the engineering faculty, students of the university, and practicing engineers from industry. In addition to exploring engineering, sightseeing will include trips to Winchester, Brighton and London.

Upon Sanford's return from England, he will participate in the University of Colorado's 34th annual High School Honors Institute in Engineering on the Boulder campus College of Engineering and Applied Science from July 28 through Aug. 1.

The Institute is an intensive four-day academically oriented program.

Sanford will join a select group of 2009 of his contemporaries throughout the state in a program of lectures, laboratories, seminars, panels, discussion groups, field trips and have an opportunity to experience college life as an engineering or science student.


A cozy patio recognizes a family and its 50-year, multi-generational relationship with Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, with a plaque on the wall, three polished black engraved granite benches and special inscribed bricks on the patio floor.

Joe B. and Eva L. Baumgardner, now of Pagosa Springs, raised eight children together on their farm in the panhandle of West Texas near Wellington. "The parents appreciated the value of education and had a lifestyle and home environment which nurtured learning, inquiry and problem-solving," said Dr. Marion Baumgardner, Purdue University, who addressed the family group at the dedication.

Each of the eight children, including Barbara Lindley of Pagosa and Sherrie Haynes of Ignacio worked his or her way through Texas Technological College and received one or more degrees.

The patio at the southeast corner of the Merket Alumni Center was dedicated to the family May 12, with about 70 relatives attending the dedication ceremony.

Pagosa Profile

Get to know the people who make Pagosa work.

The Profile puts a face to the name of one of the many neighbors who serve our community.


Phyllis Decker

Visitor Information Assistant

U.S. Forest Service


Where were you born and raised?

"I was born in Bell, California, and lived there until I was six. We moved to Boise, Idaho, and that's where I grew up."


Where were you educated?

"I graduated from Borah High School in Boise in 1963. I went to Idaho State University in Pocatello. I'm one of those people who have lots of credits and no degrees."


When did you move to Pagosa country?

"I came here in 1996."


Tell us about your domestic situation.

"I've been married to my husband Ron for three years. Between us, we have five children from previous marriages, including Warren Decker who lives in Pagosa."


What work experience did you have before your employment at the Pagosa Ranger district?

"I was a housewife for several years. I was in the restaurant business for 10 years in California - north of Yosemite. As a result of that experience, I became a Wilderness Ranger and got out of the kitchen and as far away from it as possible. I started as a volunteer, then became a seasonal employee of the Stanislaus National Forest. I worked there for eight years then came to Pagosa."


What do you like best about your work?

"People. The forest is important to many people, including me, for many different reasons. I go to the mountains to recover, to refresh, and I enjoy connecting people to the experience they seek. The challenge is to encourage people to take care of the forest while they use and enjoy it."


What do you like least about your job?

"There is simply not enough time. I get frustrated with things that slow us down - paperwork and process."

Sports Page
Pirates claim two medals in state track competition

By Tess Noel Baker

The Pagosa Pirates claimed a pair of medals at the state track meet Friday and Saturday.

Sophomore Jason Schutz started the ball rolling Friday with a fourth place finish throw of 148-foot 5-inches in the discus among familiar competition. All five athletes from this region who qualified for state in the discus, placed in the top eight. The same group also claimed three of the top four spots.

La Junta's Joe Trainer topped the discus standings with a throw of 153-3. He was followed by Mike Cochrane, of Rangley with a 152-10 toss, and Jesse Reece, of La Junta, with a 150-11 throw.

In the finals of the 110 meter hurdles Saturday, Junior Caleb Mellette ran neck-and-neck with the leaders, finishing in 15.2 to claim third place. An Eagle Valley runner won the race with a time of 15.0, and an Eaton athlete finished second in 15.1. Mellette set himself up for the final by winning his preliminary heat under blue skies Friday with season-best speed, holding the second best time heading into the finals.

"It's always nice to bring home medals from state," Assistant Coach Connie O'Donnell said. "We bring home more every year, so that's good."

Sun block and the search for shade were the name of the game for Friday's events in Pueblo at the 2A and 3A meet in Dutch Clark Stadium when many of the Pirates competed. With a threat of thunderstorms predicted for late afternoon, officials kept the meet running ahead of schedule most of the day. In the end, temperatures reached into the upper 70s and skies remained clear.

On Saturday, cloudy skies spit rain occasionally, but the wind remained calm. In the 3A boys 800 meter run, senior Daniel Crenshaw posted his best time of the season, 2:04, despite not finishing high enough to medal.

Other Pagosa Springs tracksters competing at state were: Aubrey Volger in the long jump; Volger, Annah Rolig, Tiffanie Hamilton and Meigan Canty in the 800 meter medley, the first running event in Friday's schedule; and Schutz, Crenshaw, Tyrel Ross and Josh Postolese in the 800 meter relay. Schutz also competed in the 400 meter run, and Mellette competed in the long jump.

O'Donnell also praised the Pirates for their sportsmanship throughout the meet. In the future, she said, it will be important to encourage more students to come out for track and increase the number qualifying for state.

"I'd like to see us be able to compete for a team championship and that, to me, would be the ultimate goal." O'Donnell takes over as head coach for the Pirates in 2002.

Huff's 75 nets low gross in Men's Golf Leauge opener

Wayne Huff shot 75 to become the low gross winner in Men's Golf League competition May 16. Burley White shot a 79 for second low gross and Malcolm Rodger was third with an 81. There were 40 men in the competition.

Low net victory went to Dave Prokop with a score of 67. Otis May also shot 67 for second low net (after a score-card playoff) and Harold Stokes was third with a 69 net.

Paul Midgley and Jon Brewer took closest-to-the-pin honors.

The Men's League is open to golfers of all levels. Lou Boilini, newly elected president of the group, pointed out that the league has golfers with handicaps ranging from 2 to 36. "We vary the format from week to week, with the emphasis on playing well versus your handicap," said Boilini.

League dues are $25 for the season payable in the pro shop.

Competition begins every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Sign up in the men's locker room before 5 p.m. the Tuesday afternoon before each play day.

"The course is in the best early-season condition in many years, so come on out and enjoy a great round of golf along with some fun competition," said course professional Bobby Hart.

Johnson-Martin team helps Pagosa women to second place

Eight women from Pagosa Women's Golf Association traveled to Aztec, N.M. to represent Pagosa in the area's first team-play event.

Fifty-six women from seven area golf courses competed on the new Hidden Valley Golf Course in Aztec. The golf course was in great shape considering it has only been open since April. It is a difficult course; nonetheless, Pagosa women played outstanding golf. Newcomers to team play, Audrey Johnson and Sue Martin, defeated the Aztec team and helped secure a second-place position for Pagosa. The Pagosa team is only a half point behind the leaders from Pinion Hills.

There are six more tournaments to be played this summer. The next event will be played at Conquistador Golf Course in Cortez.

The May 15 play day was a game of low putts. Barney Storm came in first with 32 putts. Jane Stewart placed second with 33 . Sue Martin, Carrie Weisz and Marlyn Smart tied for third with 36.

The golf season is just beginning. All lady golfers are encouraged to join.

Outdoor guides needed for disabled

Volunteer outdoor guides are needed for the Adaptive Sports Association's fourth season of offering outdoor recreational activities to people with disabilities.

Activities include whitewater rafting, flatwater canoeing, kayaking, hiking, fishing and jeep tours as well as nature education programs offered in conjunction with Durango Nature Studies.

Volunteers are needed to assist participants in varying capacities. Training is provided and no experience is necessary.

For people interested in volunteering, there will be a June 2 orientation meeting, 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Association of Realtors office at 125 E. 32nd Street, Durango. For more information, or to register, call Adaptive Sports Association at 259-0374.

Boat, OHV, snowmobile owners get e-mail licensing

Owners of boats, off highway vehicles (OHVs) and snowmobiles have reason to rejoice this summer with the unveiling of Colorado State Parks e-Registration, available at

Annual registration renewal can now be done online, meaning life for the 192,000 boat, OHV and snowmobile owners just got a whole lot easier.

"Colorado State Parks e-Registration is another example of how we're trying to make government smarter and more efficient," State Parks Deputy Director Tom Kenyon said. "By automating the renewal process and making it available online, we can make more efficient use of our resources while improving service to Coloradans. That's smart e-government."

Registered owners receive an annual renewal notification card via the mail. All the information they need to renew online is available on their renewal card. Once users of e-Registration have entered their payment information, they receive a printable, temporary permit that allows them to get out and enjoy the outdoors immediately. Registered owners will receive their registration certificate and decals in seven to 10 business days.

"Colorado State Parks e-Registration provides a quick and easy way to renew registrations and will cut down on the lines at our over-the-counter service centers during the Memorial Day weekend rush," State Parks Field Services Manager David Hause said. "That frees up our resources to process first-time registrations more efficiently."

Under Colorado law, operators of these vehicles and vessels must renew their registration every year. The revenue from these registrations is used to fund boat safety programs, trail improvements and many other services. Registered owners can also renew their registration via mail.

Community News
Chamber News

By Morna Trowbridge

New web site debuts and is operational

At long last, we would like to announce that the new Chamber of Commerce web site is up and running.

When you have a chance, go to and take a look at the new site. WebDurango has spent hours on this new site and we're quite proud of it.

We are now able to make changes to the membership listings and the calendar of events in-house, so you should see those happening much quicker in the future. We are still updating the membership and making additions to some of the information, so please be patient. Also, those of you who have linked your web sites to us, you'll want to make the appropriate changes to connect with the new site.

Furry Friends

Just a reminder, this Memorial Day Weekend will host the first Pagosa Furry Friends and Fiber Arts Festival at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds, Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.

You'll see all kinds of fiber animals, from yaks to angoras, sheep, llama and goat shearing, free how-to fiber art seminars, over 50 vendors, fiber art demonstrations, and one-of-a-kind, natural fiber creations for sale.

For more information, call Dave and Suzy Belt at Echo Mountain Alpacas, at 731-2729.

Museum opens

Memorial Day Weekend also marks the season opening of the San Juan Historical Society Pioneer Museum. Opening day (May 28) will be Senior Citizen Appreciation Day and seniors will get in free that day. Light refreshments will be served 9 a.m.-4 p.m. If you have never been to the museum, this is a great time to go check out the wonderful exhibits from Archuleta County's pioneer past.

The museum will be open until Labor Day, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Depending upon the museum traffic, they may stay open through September.

Remember that the museum's only income is from membership dues, book sales, and donations. So, heck, while you're there why don't you just join up? Also, the museum is always looking for more volunteers to help staff during the summer months. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Ann Oldham at 731-5080.

And speaking of books, the museum's newest book will be available this summer. The book, which includes cooking recipes from some of our pioneer families, will be available at the museum for $25 per copy. If you have the first five books, you will want to add this one to your collection. If you don't have them, it's time to get started on the collection.

50th anniversary

Commitments are needed by the May 25 for donations and/or sponsorship of events for the 50th anniversary of the Archuleta County Fair.

Pledge forms were distributed to local merchants about two weeks ago and you'll need to have these in by tomorrow if you want to be included on the "thank you" page in the Anniversary Commemorative Program. If you need a pledge form or more information, please contact Marti Gallo at 264-3890.

Flower baskets

If you have not returned your order for flower baskets this year, you'll need to hurry and get that in; the deadline for the orders is June 1. For $22 you'll receive a beautiful 12" hanging flower basket, delivered to your door, from the Chamber of Commerce. You can pick up an order form at the Chamber, or we'll be happy to fax one to you also. But hurry, the deadline for orders will be here before you know it.

July 4 parade

Just a reminder, the theme for this year's Fourth of July parade will be "Land That I Love." The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club has an added incentive for the parade, offering a $100 prize for the most patriotic entry. So get to work and you'll be able to pick up a parade entry form at the Chamber of Commerce soon.

Newsletter deadline

Don't forget, tomorrow is the deadline for newsletter inserts for the next issue of the Chamber Communiqué.

We'll need 725 copies, 8 1/2 x 11, not folded. You can print your information on colored paper or white, and print on both sides if you'd like. The cost is a mere $40 for this great advertising opportunity. The newsletter is scheduled to go out the first of June, so hurry and get those inserts to us.

Chamber Diplomats

The summer is already in full force with visitors coming through our doors.

The core group of Diplomats started last week and all three of us were ever so grateful to have them back again. If you are still considering becoming a Chamber Diplomat, it's never too late to start.

I have some regular scheduled times still available to fill and we're always looking for alternates too. So if you would like to join our team, give me a call at 264-2360 or just stop by and we'll discuss all the benefits of being a Diplomat.


We have two new members to welcome this week and four renewals.

Greg Coffey and Marlene Taylor join with Photo Real Watercolor, at 202 Moonshadow Lane in Ignacio, (970) 884-7968. Photo Real Watercolor offers paintings of Colorado Mountains, cowboys, wildlife and old barns as well as prints and originals, custom order paintings, Christmas cards, business cards, and painting classes. Thanks to Doug Schultz for recruiting this new member. Doug will receive a card to attend one of the Sundowners on the Chamber.

Michael and Becky Shields join with Jump River Mercantile Co., at 169 Pagosa St., 264-1900. This is a gift/furniture shop, with unique gifts, antiques, clothing, jewelry, a little of everything. Thanks to Kathryn Heilhecker for recruiting this new member. She will receive a card to attend one of the Sundowners on the Chamber.

Renewals this week include: Buck Moody with Rocky Mountain Cypress Log Homes; Kent Gordon with MasterWorks in Bronze; Pagosa Springs Health Partnership; and Cindy LeVrier with Clear Channel Communications (formerly AMFM, Inc.).

Senior News

By Janet Copeland

Cellist's concert draws rave views

Yea! Hooray! A big thank you to Philip Hansen and Melinda Baum.

For those who missed the concert last Friday night, presented by cellist Philip Hansen and pianist Melinda Baum, you truly missed a magnificent performance. Both of these wonderful musicians donated their talents and time to help raise funds for the Archuleta Senior Citizens, Inc., which supports the needs of our seniors.

Philip also presented a little preview of the concert to our senior group on Friday at lunch, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Also, we truly appreciate the untiring efforts of Musetta Wollenweber, our Administrator of Senior Services, who took care of all the arrangements for the concert, tickets, business supporters, advertising, obtaining use of the school auditorium, etc. Thanks so much, Musetta.

We also extend a big thank you to Sally Hameister for her help in advertising this event, to include having Philip in her radio presentation, and the wonderful article/photo she presented in the paper last week.

It is such a privilege to be a part of such a wonderful community, one which supports the projects that help those with special needs.

On Monday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. it will be Seniors Appreciation Day at the Pioneer Museum. It is free for those 65 or older, and refreshments will be served. I hope there will be a good attendance. We appreciate the folks at the Museum offering this treat to our seniors.

We appreciate our new members and visitors this week. Welcome to Tony and Dolores Hansen, Jimmye and Vernon Day, Carolyn Beech, Ruth and Clayton Watson, Misha Valdez, John Montoya, Iris Clark and Sylva Rayburn.

Our next trip to Durango for shopping and appointments is scheduled for June 7. Please sign up in advance if you desire to take advantage of this service. We had to cancel several trips recently due to lack of participation (we must have 10 folks sign up or the trip can't go). The $10 fee is not much, considering the cost of gasoline, pay for the driver, insurance and van expenses.

Don't forget the free Yoga classes, presented by Rich Harris, which take place between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. I understand there were several folks present for last week's session. We really appreciate Rich donating his time and talents for this class.

Cindy, our lady in charge of planning social activities, has several interesting and fun plans in the works so stay tuned for upcoming events.

Our Senior of the Week is Dody Smith. Congratulations, We thoroughly enjoy Dody and her sister, Gwenn Woods, when they come to the center.

Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Swim lessons begin June 18 at recreation center

Just one more day, and our children are out of school. Summer vacation. Are your children's summer programs ready? It's time to start planning.

Swim lessons at the recreation center will begin June 18. These are two week sessions, with eight lessons per session. Lessons are Monday through Thursday.

Session 1 is from June 18 to June 28. It will be followed by Session 2 from July 9 to July 19, Session 3 from July 23 to August 2, and the fourth and last session Aug. 6-16.

Lessons are a half hour in duration so the young tykes do not tire. Students will be placed in age and ability-appropriate groupings. Please come by the recreation center to register your child. Certified instructors will work with students in small groups. Lessons will be in the mornings from 10:30 a.m.-noon.

It's not just the young ones who get to enroll in fun classes for the summer. The recreation center offers a number of popular dry-land exercise programs - aerobics, kick-boxing, step classes, yoga, tai chi and personal training. The facility is adding a new instructor - Kimberly Budd. Kimberly is offering an exciting combination of classes to attract clientele of different physical abilities.

Starting May 29, new classes offered will include Cardio Kick-boxing Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Steppin' Out and and Kicking Step, a step combination to give you a fat-burning workout, will be conducted. For more information on the new classes, please call Kimberly at 731-8012.

I attended last Saturday's Bicycle Clinic hosted by Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Therapy. It was well presented, and I benefited from it. On June 2, Bob Kaiser and Ellen King will jointly offer a free clinic for golfers. The clinic will focus on mechanics of the human body and its relationship to the mechanics of golf. You will also be shown some easy warm-up exercises and appropriate exercises that will improve your ability to play golf. Ellen King, director of Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Therapy will be joined by Pagosa's own Bob Kaiser. Bob is a two-time medalist of the United States Senior Amateur Qualifier, three-time Pagosa Springs Club Champion, and three-time northern New Mexico Senior Champion. Come out and let Bob analyze your golf swing and learn from him.

The clinic will be conducted at the Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Therapy Center June 2 from 3-5 p.m. An open box donation to benefit hospice will be available, in lieu of a class fee.

Many citizen groups have been working hard to clean-up along the roadway. Last Wednesday, a group of over 30 volunteers from the San Juan Outdoor Club and PLPOA staff, cleaned up two miles of U.S. 160. On Saturday, Rotarians picked up many bags of trash, also along U.S. 160. I know other groups and individuals are also pitching in. I thank you all.

Library News

By Lenore Bright

Two step-by-step guides for crafty patrons

Bev Worthman brought two books for our crafty patrons. "Fulling Around With Felting," by Maddy Cranley, gives a step-by-step guide to creating felted garments from handknitting.

Maddy tells us that once you know how to knit, you can transform the project into a "felted," "fulled," or "boiled wool" finish. This is done by knitting the yarn then, through a process, converting it into a tightly-woven fabric. This guidebook will get you started on a new easy-to-follow craft.

"The Knitting Goddess: Finding the Heart and Soul of Knitting" by Deborah Berman, tells us that beautiful knitting goes with beautiful stories. While there are new projects in this book, you'll also read stories that will make knitting come alive in a new way - even if you're just beginning.

Once you've encountered the secrets of the Knitting Goddesses, you become one. With the ancients at your shoulder, you will create projects endowed with special beauty. From the woven ladder from one world to the next created by Grandmother Spider to the Egyptian Goddess Isis and her sexy stole.


The May 14 issue of Time Magazine tells about a landmark study of nuns that sheds new light on what causes the disease and how to prevent it.

Genes predispose people to Alzheimer's; a history of stroke and head trauma can also bring it on. But the exciting news is the discovery that the way we express ourselves in language, even at an early age, can foretell how long we'll live and how vulnerable we'll be.

This is an excellent article and even has a short quiz to test your memory. The Time magazine may be checked out.

Good magazines

If you haven't looked over our periodicals lately, you're missing a lot of good information.

Donna Geiger, Helen Bartlett and Kate Terry keep tabs on our magazine section, and they have created an excellent collection. We subscribe to 60 magazines on a variety of subjects. Please look them over next time you're in.

Finance information

We subscribe to Value Line, Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Letter, Bloomberg Personal Finance and Colorado Biz. Patrons donate several other excellent business and investing magazines.

Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

Local Angel Box makers keep a good idea growing

Last week's Preview included a picture of Rose Hatchett holding two small boxes. The picture was to have been with this week's story. The mixup was my fault.

But I want to tell you about a group of women in town who decorate small boxes for a special purpose. They call them angel boxes.

To begin, Angel Boxes are keepsake boxes for parents who have lost an infant. The boxes are to hold an infant's mementos.

The program started in Pagosa Springs in November, 1999, when Cathy Magin who taught a tole painting class heard about it from a friend in another state.

When Cathy moved to California, she asked Rosie Hatchett to continue and these days Rosie opens her house to a group of caring artists who last year produced 106 boxes that were mailed to hospitals as far away as New York and Washington State. The group paints on Tuesdays between 3 and 10 p.m. and, if you would like to join them, please call Rosie at 264-6987.

Supplies are paid for with the help of a grant from the Community United Methodist Church, discounts from Ponderosa Do-It-Best, and money donations.

Members of the group include Carolyn Beach, Linda Sweigert, Connie Glover, Marilyn Harris, Lillian Steele, LaDonna Radney and Rosie Hatchett.

The history of this project is like many others: someone starts something, another hears about it, and because it is worthwhile the idea spreads and connects with a well-known affiliation. Since this project was launched in June, 1998, at the National Society of Decorative Painters Convention, Memory Box Painters have shipped 18,751 boxes to 365 hospitals in the US (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, England and Venezuela. In the U.S. and Canada alone, 1,300 boxes a month have been committed.

Marie Gemmil is the person who directs the national program. She lets the local groups know where the boxes are needed so that they can be sent directly to the hospitals.

The program gained prominence when a woman who'd heard about such a thing, from a Rosemary Armeste via the internet, decorated a box for a sister-in-law who had lost her child. She was profoundly affected by the reaction of her sister-in-law and the hospital staff.

Few hospitals have infant bereavement programs. When Marie and Rosemary, and other tole painters contacted hospitals to see if they had such a program, they often heard horror stories from nurses who had to scrounge for something to hold the child's birth and death certificate, wrist band, footprints, etc. The nurses were so overwhelmed that someone wanted to help, they would often cry.

This is the program for which these Pagosa painters have committed themselves. Call it Memory Boxes or Angel Boxes - for sure they are angels for doing this.

The Angel Box project is affiliated with the Pagosa Springs Arts Council.

Around town

The Special Olympics swim meet between Pagosa Springs and Cortez held at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center last Saturday was a wonderful and rewarding day for the athletes, coaches, volunteers and the visitors. One of the events was a wheelchair race in the water.

There followed the parade of fire trucks, police cars and athletes down to Town Park for a picnic.

A thank you goes out to everyone who helped: the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center, the Pagosa Fire Protection District, the Pagosa Springs police, and the coaches - Karen Prior, Rachel Howe, Saber Miller, Margie Martinez and Kathy Pokorney. And many thanks to all you who turned out to help these wonderful kids celebrate. It was obvious that the Special Olympics program is special in Pagosa.

Cruising with Cruse

by Katherine Cruse

Overlook a cattle feeding operation

Hotshot and I have been driving across the country. To the end of Long Island. To visit our kids and attend a cousin's wedding.

Along the way we stayed with relatives and friends. We mooched off anyone who extended an invitation, and sometimes we invited ourselves.

But we tried to be good guests. We held up our end of the conversations. We cleaned up after ourselves. We brought food.

We took a lot of stuff. When you're driving a Suburban, that's easy to do. Suitcases, tote bags, a few boxes of food, a coffee pot and the cooler. Folding chairs for picnic lunches along the way. There was still plenty of room.

In Kansas, we tootled along on old U.S. Highway 50, which is a lovely road. Straight as an arrow through the cattle ranches and wheat fields. The winter wheat was about a foot high and deep green in color, and it was beautiful.

Somewhere in the middle of western Kansas, a sign alerted us to a scenic overlook ahead. A scenic overlook? This wasn't Wolf Creek Pass, for Pete's sake. This was rolling hills. There was nothing to look out over.

The road widened slightly and painted lines indicated a wide spot in the road to pull over and take in the scenery. And what was the scenery?

A cattle feed lot.

I'm not kidding. There must have been 10,000 cows. I don't know why they'd call it a scenic overlook. You couldn't have stayed there and looked. Even driving past, our eyes were watering from the ammonia rising from the output of bodily waste.

Maybe that was an example of Kansas humor.

We spent the night with new friends in Kansas City, Missouri, where we learned the downside of having a big open vehicle that you can just throw everything into. Sometime during the night, our car was broken into. The thieves smashed the little vent window, reached in and popped the door opener button. Easy as pie.

They opened all four doors and rifled through our stuff. They took down the hanging clothes and went through the pockets. They opened the cooler. They dumped out the suitcase of fancy clothes and accessories for the wedding events.

They took what they wanted and quietly closed the doors on the first click. They made no noise. The car looked pretty much undisturbed. And then they went next door and across the street and repeated the process with someone else's car.

This took place in the driveway, not 10 feet from the front bedroom where Hotshot and I slept. We didn't hear a thing. We discovered it early the next morning. We also discovered that Hotshot's computer was one of the things they'd taken.

Well, what do you do? First, we woke up our hosts to give them the good news and get help calling the police. Then we called our insurance company.

Making the report took forever.

"What's missing?" asked the young man on the other end of the line. I told him about the computer.

"We don't know what else," I said. "We're staying out of the car until the police send someone."

Fingerprints, you know. Every time Hotshot went toward the car, I said, "Don't touch anything."

The police were reluctant to waste their time on a Sunday morning. This wasn't a big deal to them. I guess it happens all the time. But when our host called back and said there'd been another burglary just down the street a couple weeks before, maybe they decided that the only way to get him off their backs was to send a patrolman to look at the scene of the crime.

Or maybe they made that decision when the neighbor woke up and called in his own car break-in.

When the lone patrolman arrived, he was very nice. He got out the black powder and the brush and dusted the window glass for fingerprints. Only the glass.

"How about the door handles?" we asked. "They don't hold prints," he said.

"The surface is too irregular." Nothing shows up on porous surfaces, either, like all the molding around the windows.

"People watch too much television," he said. "They think we can get prints from everything. But glass is about the only surface that really holds prints."

And the thieves seldom touch the glass. Would you put your hand on the car window when you were in the middle of a grab and run? I don't think so.

We cleaned up the mess and inventoried the loss. Actually we got off pretty lightly. They took Hotshot's computer and a big plastic box of food. Strange food. Soy milk. Meusli cereal. Canned beans.

I can just imagine the fence opening that box. "What'd you bring me this [expletive deleted] for?"

They left my computer. It's so tiny they probably thought it was a toy.

We drove on to Indianapolis, where we got the glass replaced. Hotshot and the insurance company settled on the computer replacement. That technology is changing so fast that his new one will have more bells and whistles and still cost less than the stolen one.

Right now we're a little gun-shy. We're unloading the car completely at every stop. It takes several trips. As I said, it's a big car. It still holds a lot of stuff.

Veterans Corner

by Andy Fautheree

Civil War set stage for Memorial Day

"From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain." - Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address.

These famous words were spoken on the battlefield that saw the greatest loss of American life in a single battle ever, in a war that resulted in more casualties than all other American conflicts combined - the American Civil War. The stage was set on that solemn day, for all time, that America would never forget those who died in war to preserve America's Freedom and Heritage.

Memorial Day is exclusively for honoring those who died serving in uniform during wartime and times of peace-keeping around the world. This remembrance is all-inclusive, spanning 226 years and some 60 military actions that claimed 1.4 million lives.

Perhaps the most profound tribute of all was made on the first national memorial observance in May 1868 by then-Gen. James A. Garfield when he said: "They summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and virtue."


Attending commemorative ceremonies is the most visible way of demonstrating remembrance: placing flags at gravesites, marching in parades, sponsoring patriotic programs, dedicating memorials and wearing Buddy Poppies are examples.

American Legion Post 108 in Pagosa Springs is certainly one of our most visible local organizations to tirelessly ensure our veterans are not forgotten. The American Legion will hold Memorial Day services at the Legion building next to the Town Park at 9:15 a.m. on Monday, May 28. Following these services the American Legion will hold ceremonies at the Hilltop cemetery at 10:00 AM (following Catholic Mass). The public is invited to attend all of these activities.

The Memorial Day activities were still being finalized by Commander Raymond Taylor and other American Legion members at this time, and will include in the program guest speakers and music.

Veterans who passed away from May 2000 to May 2001 will be recognized. County war dead will be remembered with a calling of each name as the Auxiliary Unit places a floating candle in a memorial bowl in their honor. Memorial wreaths will be placed at both locations near the flagpoles.

All veterans and Legion members are invited and will assemble at 9 a.m. for final briefing and assignments. Uniforms are recommended but not required.

In other work of the American Legion a headstone for Civil War Veteran National L. Hayden was set in place at Hilltop Cemetery April 28 by Ernie Garcia, Ray Martinez and the Legion softball team. Hayden's family requested assistance from the Legion to obtain and set a military stone at his gravesite. The Veterans Service Office assisted Ron Gustafson in applying for the headstone last fall.

The American Legion has been busy in recognizing our local veterans who have passed away. Thirty-eight flag holders were placed on Veterans graves at Hilltop cemetery April 29 to replace those missing or damaged. There are 282 known veterans buried at Hilltop. Holders were place on the graves two years ago to make it easier to locate them for Memorial Day flags, but many were damaged or lost. All known graves now have flag holders. I know our community appreciates the special efforts and hard work of American Legion Post 108 in recognizing our veterans both living and deceased.

The American Legion elected officers for the coming year recently. Elected were Raymond Taylor, Commander; Joe Ferreira, Sr. Vice Commander; Ed Dailey, Jr. Vice Commander; Ron Willett, Adjutant; Carmen Miller, finance; Ernie Garcia, Sergeant-at-Arms; Ron Gustafson, Service Officer; Robert Dobbins, Chaplain; Rick Girardin, Historian; and Carmen Miller, Judge Advocate.

For information on these and other Veteran's affairs please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans' Service Office located on the lower floor of the County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and E-mail is The office is open from 8 to 12 and 1 to 4, Monday through Thursday, or Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the County, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

Parks & Rec

by Douglas Call

Softball, baseball seasons getting into full swing

The adult softball season started yesterday with a coaches' and managers' meeting. Games begin May 30 and will be played on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Teams wanting to start practice can do so by calling Summer at the recreation department, 264-4151.

Girls softball

The two girls fast-pitch teams - Pagosa Red Sox and Pagosa Astros - are off to an excellent start this season.

The Red Sox beat Ignacio 28-15 last Thursday and the Astros lost their opener against Bayfield, 16-8. The Astros played Bayfield again Monday evening. The next game for the Red Sox will be at the Sports Complex May 30. They play Ignacio at 6:30 p.m.

Youth baseball

The youth baseball program is underway with games played on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Game schedules have been posted at the Sports Complex and are available at Town Hall. Games are scheduled through the end of June with the season-ending party set for July 2.

Senior league baseball for player's ages 13-14 is also underway with two teams - the Pirate's and the A's. The Pirates are currently 1-4, with a win over Bayfield and three losses to Durango teams. The A's played their first game Saturday against Durango and lost 12-6. The two Pagosa teams will play each other tonight at 6 p.m.

Clinic and Challenge

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 Saturday afternoon following the baseball clinic. Both events are free and no preregistration is required.

Park Fun

The Town's summer day camp will start June 4 this year and continue through August. This year's program is scheduled to be held at 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.

BMX race

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, compliments of the South Pagosa Park Committee.

For more information about the inaugural race on the South Pagosa BMX track contact the recreation department at Town Hall, 264-4151.

In Sync with Isabel

by Isabel Willis

Law establishes Child Support Enforcement

The Child Support Enforcement Program was established by federal and state law to locate non-custodial parents and to obtain from them financial support for their children.

The CSE division of the Colorado Department of Human Services supervises the administration and operation of every county CSE Unit. They help locate non-custodial parents and their assets, establish paternity, and establish and enforce child support and medical support orders.

What is a custodial and non-custodial parent?

Custodial parent is the term used for the parent who has primary physical custody of a child. Typically the child resides with the custodial parent. The term non-custodial parent is used for the parent who has the child for a lesser amount of time. A child support amount is based on the gross income of both parents.

Even if the custodial parent doesn't allow the non-custodial parent to see the kids, support is still collected. Child support must be paid according to a court order. As a non-custodial parent, you have the right to take the case to court if you believe the custodial parent is violating the visitation order. Child support and visitation are two separate issues.

Another important question asked by non-custodial parents concerns income. If you are not making as much money as you once did, and cannot pay the support, you have the right to request a review of your order if the amount has not been adjusted in the last three years, or if you think the change in your income will cause a resulting change in the support amount of 10 percent or more. You need to write your technician and request a review and possible modification of your order.

If for some reason you think support money is not going to the children, you still have to pay it. The child support order is an order of the court and you must comply with it. If you feel misuse of the support money results in neglect or abuse of the children, you can contact Child Welfare and the Department of Social Services.

Maybe you think you're not the father of a child, so you're just not going to respond to a summons or deal with any other paperwork.

If the CSE Unit shows you have been served and have ignored the summons, a support amount can be ordered in your absence. You must respond to a summons to register your uncertainty concerning whether or not you are the father of a child. Essentially, the first time you have the chance, whether it is at the negotiation conference or at the hearing, you must let the CSE representative know you believe there are other possible fathers and request genetic tests. If you are later found to be the father, however, you will be responsible for the costs of the tests. In Archuleta County this cost is approximately $210.

Perhaps your worry concerns your employer getting involved in your situation. State and federal statutes require that every order in the state established or modified after Jan. 1, 1994, has an immediate income assignment. Employers are prohibited by law from firing or taking disciplinary action against an employee because of income assignment.

On the other end of the spectrum, who is eligible to receive child support services?

All parents with minor children who need or are owed child support can apply for CSE services. Helpful sources of information for the Child Support Technician are the non-custodial parent's social security number, date of birth, address, name of employee, bank account number, and property ownership documents. Usually you can find this information on federal tax returns, hospital or medical records, paycheck stubs, military records or insurance policies.

If the non-custodial parent lives in another state, all CSE agencies cooperate with each other in processing concerning location, paternity establishment, and enforcement of medical and support orders. When a non-custodial parent is located in another state, that state's CSE division will act on Colorado's behalf.

Other enforcement remedies that are available are income withholding, garnishment, interception of federal and state income tax refunds, liens and even driver's license suspension.

Just a reminder: Bill Boardman, through the Fatherhood Initiative Program, can offer individuals support and guidance through the steps of finding out what their rights are and how they are obtained. He is also able to assist you with necessary paperwork. Additionally, he spearheads a support group for single parents. For further information about his program, call him at 264-4133 ext. 26.

Locally, we have two CSE technicians - Julie Foster and Dolores Cugnini. They work out of the Department of Social Services and do an excellent job serving our community. For information regarding a child support issue or anything you've read in this article, call them at 264-2182.

Arts Line

By Pamela Bomkamp

Reception for 'inspirational artist's' show

A resident of Pagosa Springs for almost 30 years, Donna Cooper shares her gift of art with the community and state.

Donna, who has Down Syndrome, is the daughter of Bob and Peg Cooper. Their encouragement and support has given Donna the friendly spirit and outgoing personality she displays daily as she goes about her way in Pagosa Springs.

Though her communication skills are limited, her thinking and implementing skills surpass many "normal" learners. Donna's work, including postcards and Christmas cards, has been displayed at almost all the local shops. She has also exhibited at the Quartz Ridge Gallery.

Please plan on attending Donna's opening night, May 31, and meet this truly inspirational artist. The opening night reception will be at the PSAC Gallery in Town Park from 5-7 p.m.

Spanish Fiesta 2001

The Spanish Fiesta Club and the Pagosa Springs Arts Council will be sponsoring the Spanish Fiesta 2001. There will be lots of entertainment including an open mic, along with arts and crafts and delicious food booths. It all happens Saturday, June 16, 10 a.m. -6 p.m. in Town Park. A coordinating committee is needed for the 10 a.m. parade that will start off the activities.

The Arts Council now has applications available for vendor booth rentals as well as parade participants. Non-food booth rentals are $50 and food booths rent for $75. Vendors will be allowed to set up after 3 p.m. on Friday, June 15. Anyone interested in booth information can pick up an application at the Gallery in Town Park or call 264-5020.

PSAC Fundraising

The Arts Council is looking for silent auction items such as donated quality art or gift certificates of any kind for our special sun downer to be held June 27. Please call Jennifer Harnick, our PSAC president, at 731-3113, or Joanne at the Gallery, 264-5020.

PSAC recently qualified for the City Market Cares Electronic Fundraising Program. This program is for nonprofit organizations or other charitable organizations. When you shop at City Market, the Arts Council earns a portion. The money is distributed quarterly. All you have to do is stop by the Gallery in Town Park and sign up. Don't forget to bring your City Market value card. Help support the arts in our community. For more information, please call 264-5020.

Summer Arts Camp

Our Summer Arts Camp is for children who love art, can't get enough of it, and want to learn more about art, in a creative and supportive setting.

Students at the camp are exposed to a variety of art techniques and methods. At the same time, they are encouraged to explore their own creativity. Art Camp meets on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, June 11-June 29. All classes will be at Pagosa Springs Elementary's Art rooms. Register by May 31 and receive a 20 percent discount.

Full and partial scholarships are available based on financial need, thanks to Archuleta County Recycling Committee, Pagosa Rotary Club and Pagosa Springs Arts Council.

For more information, please call Tessie Garcia at 731-9244 or Lisa Brown at 731-3546.

Arts Council business

The PSAC is having a Hand-Made Bird House Contest on June 23. This contest will coincide with Pet Pride Day. For more information, you can call 264-5020.

If you or anyone you know donated a Harold Larson or Lois Silver print to our garage sale we had in March, please call Joanne at the Gallery.

Remember the Gallery in Town Park changes to summer hours May 25. The gallery will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.


When is 'better' too much

At what point does the need to make things "better" produce more problems than it solves?

We should ask ourselves this when we make demands on local government and service agencies, as we consider the lasting effects of our activities on the environment, as we wonder what this place will be like in the future.

The move to make things "better" in Pagosa Country is not unfamiliar. For more than a century new arrivals worked to better their situations - physical, economic, cultural. They arrived with standards, cultivated elsewhere, and used them to measure the adequacy of their new home, often finding the new home lacking.

Purveyors of change came in waves over the years - the last beginning 30 or so years ago, and this wave was different: it produced a new kind of development. It brought with it second homes, retirement homes, condos, timeshares, an economy resting on different foundations, increased demands for a "better" community.

Pagosa Country became a place to which many people moved in order to escape from somewhere else - not to make a living in a preestablished industry, but to flee circumstances that were unfulfilling, threatening, cramped, boring.

With this wave came new ideas of how to make things "better."

Over the past 15 years, "better" produced a tourist-oriented service economy, a plethora of restaurants, coffee shops, shopping centers and strip malls, fast food outlets that deliver, property owners associations, 35-acre tracts that masquerade as ranches.

"Better" gave birth to demands on local government to produce roads like those in places which immigrants fled - paved, smooth, free of washboard and hazard.

It brought fear of crime and the call to bolster law enforcement to meet a largely phantom challenge. It brought shrill cries for land-use controls from residents whose subdivisions use sewage lagoons built next to highways in "pristine" valleys. It brought avid protectors of wilderness, side by side with developers who wanted to find the easiest, most profitable ways to divide the wild into parcels.

"Better" is the clarion call of a sector of the community whose concerns about health led to a demand for increased services and responses, and to a taxing district grown beyond its means, with programs and policies it cannot afford, adding staff it cannot support with a budget buttressed with private donations. A new breed of parent arrives from school districts demolished by intrusion and weakened discipline, bringing a cancerous pressure to bear on teachers and administrators to "better" the system in accord with self-indulgent standards.

Demands are made for advanced water and sewage services, for fire protection, for animal control, for fiber optic lines that boost the speed of modems, for architectural covenants and controls that allow easy litigation against neighbors.

And as things get "better," this place lures more refugees. More people arrive and the need to "better" the place grows like a mold.

At what point do we realize an array of accelerating demands might not be met or, if they are, that it spells the end of the unique character this place once possessed?

Do we reach a point where we realize many of the demands should not be met?

Is it wrong to want less?

Is it wrong to tell newly-arrived champions of progress they should be cautious when they move to a rural community and try to alter it to fit their needs?

When is it counter to the ultimate best interests of people and the land to try to make too many things "better"?

Are we at that point?

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

They'll be gone but never forgotten

Dear Folks,

Saturday's commencement exercises will somewhat bring closure to the teaching and administrative contributions of Terry Alley, Monette Jefferson and Edward "Butch" Madrid. Combined, they have provided the local school district with almost 90 years of faithful service. Their individual influences on their former students and fellow faculty members will continue long after they depart their respective positions of responsibility.

It's fitting that Terry's retirement is drawing most of the attention. That's how Butch and "Miss Jeff" would want it. It's not what Terry would prefer.

Terry has served tirelessly in the school district 31 years, the past 21 as superintendent.

Butch and Terry grew up in Pagosa as boyhood friends, and were members of the Pirates graduating class of 1966. Page 1 of the May 19, 1966, edition of the SUN carried a photo of Butch receiving an academic scholarship from the then "Archuleta County Teacher's Association . . . in the amount of $150." The article reported Butch ". . . plans to make a career in high school teaching and coaching. He has been one of the outstanding students and athletes in the school . . ."

Fulfilling his teenage goals, in August, 1970 Butch returned to Pagosa as a special education teacher and as a coach. During the next 25 years he taught physical education in the upper grades and at the elementary school. For many of those years he also coached football, basketball and baseball for the Pirates. The district tapped his administrative and people skills in 1995 by naming him assistant principal for Pagosa Springs Elementary School. For the past three years he has served as principal of Pagosa Springs Intermediate School.

Terry returned to Pagosa in January, 1971 as a social studies teacher. Along with teaching, he thrived at coaching football, wrestling and track. Three years later he became the principal of the junior high school. He was named superintendent of the district in 1980.

The Colorado Association of School Boards and the Colorado Association of School Executives expressed it best in 1991 when they presented him an "Unsung Hero" award based on Terry's accomplishments with "limited resources."

The 1972-73 school year saw Monette Jefferson join the faculty at Pagosa Springs High School as the girls P.E. teacher. Her responsibilities also involved coaching girls "activities" - basketball and track. By her second year she also was coaching the Lady Pirates initial volleyball team in the girls "athletic" program. In time, her organizational skills played a major role in developing the school district's instructional skiing program with Wolf Creek Ski Area. The successful program became the pattern for other districts in this region.

Whether directing the high school's work-study program, drivers education program or coordinating and sponsoring some memorable senior trips; Monette provided the high school with the much-needed skill of relating to youngsters who needed someone to give them some attention and some time. Monette did not major in problem solving, instead, she unselfishly focused on befriending those who desperately needed a non-condemning listener. It was in this unofficial role of "sounding board for teens" that she excelled as an educator.

Butch, Terry and Monette's presence in the local schools for the most part will come to a close Saturday. Many of us have been privileged to have them as friends. Many youngsters have been fortunate to have them as their teachers and coaches. Their positive effect on the district and on our community will continue for years to come.

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

By Shari Pierce

100 years ago

Taken from The Weekly Times of March 21, 1901

The Colorado State Bank of Durango is pleased to advise its patrons and the public that it has opened a branch at Pagosa Springs, Colorado, under the title of "First Bank of Pagosa Springs," being the first and only bank established in Archuleta County. We would introduce and commend to the trade, Mr. F.A. Collins, a banker of sound experience and judgment, who, as the bank's cashier will be the local manager.

A bad wreck occurred near Navajo last week, resulting in the smashing of several cars and an engine. Engineer Warring was killed.

Abe Howe was down from his ranch on West Fork for the first time since the thaw, Tuesday, and says the roads are very bad.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 19, 1926

John Duncan and R.A. Dunn were arrivals in Pagosa Springs Monday. Mr. Duncan was the successful bidder on what is known as the West Fork federal aid project, which consists of about two miles of grading and gravel surfacing between Turkey Creek and the West Fork bridge. The project will cost about $22,000 and will be completed about the middle of July if favorable weather prevails.

State Engineer C.W. Harkness arrived from Durango this week and will supervise the construction work. Mr. Harkness brings the pleasing news that the two state projects knows as the "Catchpole Mistake" and "Laughlin Hill," both north of Pagosa Springs and on the Wolf Creek Highway and which seem to have gone a-glimmering are now slated to receive attention the coming season.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 23, 1951

The county commissioners announced the appointment of a three-man County Fair Commission this week with H. Ray Macht, Woodrow Dunlap and Glenn Kimball being named to the board. Mr. Macht will be chairman of the group. The commissioners stated that it was their intention for the committee to draw up a plan for a county fair this fall.

Dr. L. S. Andrus, local physician, and Fred Kipp, formerly of Denver, announced this week that they had entered into a contract for the lease of the Spring, with an option to buy. The property is at present owned by the Lynn family, which has owned and operated the resort for the past twenty years. Andrus and Kipp state that their plan is to make as modern and as attractive a resort on the property as is to be found anywhere.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 18, 1976

April 6 will be town election day in Pagosa Springs and there will be six candidates contesting for the three vacancies. Candidates that have filed nomination petitions are: Bennie Johnson, Edward (Butch) Madrid, Ross Maestas, all incumbents; and Roy Vega, Ross Aragon, and Nolan Emert.

Kurt Laverty, member of the Pagosa Springs High School ski team placed third in skimeister points in statewide competition. This is an accumulation of points in all four competitive events in high school skiing. These include cross country, jumping, slalom and giant slalom. Kurt has been a consistent point winner for the ski squad and will be counted on again next year as a mainstay of the ski team.

Pacing Pagosa

By Richard Walter

Seniors prepare for assault on adulthood

The days have dwindled down to a precious two.

Seniors will graduate Pagosa Springs High School Saturday, culminating twelve long years of physical, mental and societal development.

The community which has nurtured them through all those years, saluting their achievements and mourning their mistakes, will sound cheers as the mortarboards are tossed high.

For these youngsters, it is both an end, a middle and a beginning.

The preparatory years have concluded. Now begin the middle years of additional educational challenge, military service, marriage and family, or simply a search for identity.

It will be a momentous occasion when the seniors walk down the aisle Saturday. There will be tingling nerves, tears of both sorrow and joy, and smiles as they realize the marking of a major milestone on their just beginning journey into adulthood and the challenges of life in America today.

From this group may come ranchers, environmentalists, doctors, lawyers, nurses, physical therapists, mechanics or followers of professions we may not even know yet. Perhaps there will be among them a journalist who, like myself, will come back to the hometown with an eye on the past and a dream of the future.

They are the ones upon whom the community places its hopes and dreams. It is they who will carry the torch of Pagosa Country into the world. Some will be athletes, some great thinkers or designers, people whose ideas are valued and sought.

Success is their aim, but it is not easily won.

To achieve it, they will have to apply themselves as they've never done before. The complaints of too much homework will pale in comparison to that study level they'll be required to master as they enter the collegiate halls of our nation.

These seniors go into a challenging world where the United States is regarded both as savior and an interloper. Nations welcome our wealth of aid but decry our presence in their land. Some would suggest we need to pull back from international intrigue and contemplate more the needs of people in our own land.

That is one of the challenges which will face Saturday's graduates. Do they want to see a land full of promise for all people of all nations? Do they train themselves as governmental leaders? Do they design lifestyles that will influence the welfare of others?

Many thought they had answered the questions in their own minds during the past 12 years. Most believe they are ready to face the surprises coming their way as they move on into adulthood.

I'm sure they'll find battlements placed in their paths. They'll meet situations they've not been taught to deal with. They'll have to make decisions based on the accumulated knowledge they've gained not only in school but from family, from friends and from their own personal higher power.

One thing which helped students meet the challenge, when I graduated Pagosa Springs High School, was the baccalaureate service which generally was on the Sunday preceding commencement. It was held in one of the local churches and generally was a means of seeking the blessing of God on the future lives of the graduates.

That ceremony has passed into oblivion in most high schools, partly due to time constraints on the always busy families of the graduates, but also as a further delineation of the separation of church and state and the prohibition of the teaching of religion in the public schools.

It might also have been affected by the increasing number of graduates each year, making average church sanctuaries far too small to accommodate the graduates and their families.

My classmates and I (all 16 of us) looked forward to baccalaureate services as much as we did to the commencement exercise itself. It was a place to get a fundamental, inspirational kickoff into the real world.

The commencement, itself, will be a time for celebration, for recognition of achievement and for some, expression of fears about what lies ahead. For many it will be the last time they see classmates they've known all their lives. They'll go separate ways, into separate lifestyles, living separate dreams.

But each of them will carry with them the things they've learned in the classrooms of Pagosa Springs. Some have learned far more than they know and will draw upon the hidden knowledge when facing barriers to their goals. Others will find they haven't accumulated nearly as much knowledge as they thought they had and will have to work harder than expected to meet the demands which lie in their path.

Many of the great thinkers in America's past have commented on the progress of the student from childhood to adulthood. I offer some of those famous statements as standing the test of time for the seniors who will graduate Saturday:

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions," perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer." - Thoreau

"That which comes after ever conforms to that which has gone before." - Marcus Aurelius

"I believe the future is only the past again, entered through another gate." - Pinero

"I'll do and I'll do and I'll do." - Shakespeare

"No one knows what he can do till he tries." - Publilius

"Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum strong enough, and single-handed I can move the world." - Archimedes

And, in an age which is witnessing the mapping of the human genome and the probability that will lead to heretofore unknown cures for major diseases, it might be wise to remember these words of British writer Hector Munro, writing under the pseudonym Saki, who said:

"When once you have taken the Impossible into your calculations, its possibilities become practically limitless."

Or, perhaps, we might advise these young people to consider these words of the most famous word master, Daniel Webster:

"There is nothing so powerful as truth - and often nothing so strange."

So, graduates, go and find your own truths, built upon the possibilities presented you and the background you've been assembling for your foray into the still unknown. Go with our best wishes and fulfill those still-developing dreams


By John M. Motter

Life: Risky business in 1890s San Jauns

Pagosa Country was an isolated place during the early 1890s, reachable from the outside only by a jolting, 35-mile stage ride.

As isolated as it was, Pagosa Country was not shielded from the Panic of 1893 depression that swept the nation. Folks in the United States were trying to adjust to the effects of industrialization, that two-headed dragon which brought manufactured products to every home and at the same created and dehumanized a work force.

Muckraking, illustrated by the writings of Upton Sinclair and others, was in vogue as the still-young nation tried to find a path through uncharted waters. The frontier which had occupied the focus of the nation and created such heroes as Daniel Boone and Kit Carson existed no more, even in Pagosa Country.

And so, in 1893, a great depression struck the nation and even folks in Pagosa Country had to tighten belts. To make matters worse, a drought attacked New Mexico. Newspaper editor Daniel Egger recorded the impacts of these traumatic events on the front pages of the Pagosa Springs News.

Newspaper item July 21, 1893: All the sawmills in northern New Mexico have closed down, there being no demand for lumber. The situation is beginning to get serious. It is doubtful, though, if this immediate section is afflicted as badly as other editions in the state where mining was the chief and almost only occupation of the people. In many of these camps the people are on the verge of starvation. The continued dry season has a great deal to do with the hard times in this country.

Motter's comment: By 1893, the New Mexico Lumber Co. headed by E.M. Biggs had logged much of the big ponderosa timber in northern New Mexico between the Colorado line and the Tierra Amarilla area. Big lumber companies had not yet moved into Pagosa Country. Much of Colorado's wealth at that time depended on mining. A huge majority of the United States population still lived on farms or in rural areas.

Being laid off from work was a big deal because jobs were scarce. Unemployment compensation was nonexistent. One way to feed the family was to turn to crime as the following item illustrates.

Newspaper item July 21, 1893: Highway robbers are getting to be numerous in Durango. Last Saturday night a merchant was pounded into insensibility in his own yard, and a bullet also grazed his forehead.

Newspaper item July 21, 1893: Hundreds of people are on the move now, and "schooners" going in both directions are passing through town daily.

Motter's comment: No work where you live? Move on in the great American tradition. Although automobiles were invented before the early 1890s they weren't common and none had reached Pagosa Country. Families traveling by "schooner" - wagons pulled by horses or oxen - were a common sight into the 1930s, well beyond the time when automobiles became relatively numerous.

Newspaper item July 21, 1893: Three savings banks and seven national banks of Denver closed their doors this week.

Motter's comment: Depositing hard-earned money in a bank was considerably more risky during 1893 than it is today. Bank failures were not uncommon. Pagosa's first bank started in the early 1900s went belly-up in six or seven years. It's replacement, Citizens Bank, is still going strong, having survived even the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Newspaper item Aug. 4, 1893: The D.&R.G. has notified all its employees that beginning next month a reduction of 20 percent will take effect in their wages.

Motter's comment: It is hard to imagine, based on the economy we've experienced over the last generation or so, that an employer would instigate across-the-board pay cuts. Lots of folks still living and sporting severe gray hair have suffered from this method of budget balancing.

Newspaper item, Aug. 18, 1893: Watch your chicken coops if any Durango parties are near. The Durango Herald says: "Stealing chickens is generally considered a most reprehensible business. But the pangs of hunger will often tempt men to do most anything and in the cattle country to slay a yearling in order to allay these pangs is not considered as a high crime. We heard yesterday a story about the disappearance of fifteen tender spring chickens from a ranch located on the road to Pagosa Springs. Just who caused the depreciation of poultry we don't know but a party of young men from this city camped close to that ranch the night before.

Motter's comment: It's hard to recognize a connection between "a party of young men" and starving children, but I guess hunger knows no age limits. Durango's reputation obviously hasn't changed down through the years. Also, down through the years, there have been folks who regarded depreciating chickens as legitimate sport.

Newspaper item July 21, 1893: The only being having a snap at this time is the overworked burro. About 25 of them are keeping down the grass on the Pagosa Springs town site.

Motter's comment: Local government entities trying to get a handle on stray dog/cat problems should count their lucky stars. Imagine having to deal with stray burros? In those days a lot of prospectors with burros combed mountainsides around Pagosa Springs searching for El Dorado. When they got lonesome, thirsty, or needed a new grubstake, the prospectors returned to town. Their burros were loosed to fend for themselves. Roaming burros were enough of a problem to attract the focus of town fathers, as the following item makes plain.

Newspaper item, Aug. 11, 1893: At the town board meeting last Saturday night an ordinance was passed prohibiting burros from running at large in town. Owners of these animals will please take notice.

Motter's comments: Members of the town hierarchy were Mayor J.H. Hallett, Clerk and Recorder E.M. Taylor, Marshal James Waber, Street Commissioner John Cox, Treasurer D.L. Egger, Police Judge E. Keith, trustees Jewett Palmer, M.A. Patrick, N. Berard, J.V. Blake, H.B. McLean, P.A. Dellor.

Newspaper item Aug. 18, 1893: Since the burro ordinance went into effect many of the burros have made themselves scarce around town.

Motter's comment: This item speaks for itself. Burros be gone or burro burgers.

Newspaper item, July 21, 1893: The Coombs boys and Joe Lane have constructed a road to a coal bank on Coal creek, where they have opened a vein of coal which is fifteen feet in thickness and of excellent quality. They will deliver coal in town at $5 a ton.

Motter's comment: We mention this because we have been talking about the economy. Coal has always been an economic factor in Archuleta County. One of the bigger coal operations was probably the coal mine on Coal Mountain and near Coal Creek. Wonder where those names came from? Many Pagosans hauled coal from Coal Mountain to town, including Fred Harman II, the creator of Red Ryder.

Newspaper item, July 21, 1893: H.S. Votaw, formerly station agent at Amargo, and lately at Silverton, is at the Springs. Mr. Votaw is one of the unfortunate who got laid off recently.

Motter's comment: The great depression also hit Amargo. A lot of things took place in Amargo.

Newspaper item, Aug. 18, 1893: V. Blake has returned to his home in Kansas, while his nephew, Frank Blake, will remain during the winter and assist in J.V. Blake's store.

Motter's comment: We mention the Blakes because J.V. Blake probably erected the building owned by the Cox's and placed on the town's historic register last week. Blake apparently came to Pagosa Springs from Kansas in late 1892 or early 1893. By July of 1893, he was operating a general store, but we don't know in which building. He erected the building now on the town register in 1895.

The Ping Papers

Land of buffets, self-indulgence, greed

Great Kahn, cosmogrator, wise navigator of our destiny:

I remain at my post, ever-vigilant in this town where people point with their lips.

As per your command Golden One, I continue to change my residence each week, moving from unit to unit in the local timeshare complex, attracting no attention, working at a succession of menial jobs, all the while compiling information about this nation, its character, its fatal weaknesses. I am certain what I learn and pass along to you will be of great value to our strategists.

Convincing the management of this simple publication to retain me as a columnist was a stroke of genius. All thanks to you, Wise Suzerain: your ideas are more rare than rain at Zabahar. Our Intelligence Bureau furnished me with information about the managing editor and a sordid incident in Philadelphia in 1968; it was all I needed. Your realization I could never master e-mail was insightful. I procured a subscription to the newspaper for you; here's hoping you receive each edition in a timely manner and find my missives of value.

Your suggestion that I purchase an automobile was excellent. I purchased a 1968 Studebaker Lark station wagon for a pittance from a gentleman who parked the vehicle next to the highway with a large For Sale sign over what was left of the passenger side window. There is no question I am on the roadway, since a cloud of oily smoke follows me wherever I go. This seems to enhance my popularity among the citizens of the area. When they see me, they gesture wildly and shout at me. I believe I am being accepted as a member of the community.

I observed that these people like to signal political and religious affiliations with brightly-colored stickers affixed to their autos. I've plastered the back of my Lark with stickers. As far as I can tell, I am in favor of Unitarians with cold dead fingers being pried from Bill Clinton's gun while they Californicate a government I don't trust. I fit right in. Our plan is working perfectly.

A great stroke of luck, Wondrous Leader: I made friends with some key members of the community and they invited me to accompany them on a spiritual journey, to a place similar to our Monument of the War Pony or our Grove of Fallen Elders - a venerated place to which they make a regular pilgrimage.

The Shrine at Las Vegas.

I was overjoyed when I was invited to accompany my new friends. They had a special role for me during the journey, something they called "The Caddy." I was honored.

I prepared mutton plivka for the journey and purchased three shirts for the trip. To ensure I was inconspicuous, I obtained shirts emblazoned with clever sayings. My favorite is bright yellow, with a large red arrow at the chest, pointing in a downward direction. Above the arrow, in red block letters is written "Baby." I make friends wherever I go.

My first impression of this Las Vegas was inaccurate, but emotionally rewarding. While in the aircraft, flying to the east of the city, I looked down on a vast desert and realized it was much like the route from Dalandzadgad to Buyant-Uhaa. A cloud of dust on the desert floor reminded me of a great formation of our cavalry, wheeling to the attack. I wept.

A desert location is the only thing the Shrine of Las Vegas has in common with our homeland, Fearsome One. But, as a microscope through which to view these people, it is unparalleled.

It is there you understand the great wealth of this society - a wealth the citizens forget was originally taken from someone else. Simultaneously, they forget others want the fortune they enjoy. It is clear how they disdain their wealth and remain oblivious to the fact of their dumb luck.

This country is a land of self-indulgence, its residents blinded by plenty, ignorant of history, heedless of the hunger that exists in others, neglectful of worlds in ascendancy, of multitudes that desire the ease they enjoy.

To our advantage, they now operate most aspects of their society - vital things such as their school systems, their politics - on the assumption their way of life will endure forever. They live as if tomorrow will be just like today, awash in a flood of prosperity where the only concerns are dilettantish hobbies, the increase in property values and the dividend return on investments. They have no inkling we are here, millions upon millions of us. They have no idea what we are willing to do to get what we want. I asked numerous pilgrims at the shrine of Las Vegas if they could locate Shaar-Baktu on a map. They could not.

Before my new friends and I embarked on our trip to the holy city, I saw immense columns of smoke to the west of our little town. For a few blissful moments, I thought our troops had arrived, that our horde was burning the cities past the horizon line. Alas, it was the forest service conducting what they call a controlled burn. When our legions arrive, no burn will be controlled.

Three experiences at the Shrine of Las Vegas tell us all we need to know about this nation.

First, they have what they call the "buffet." Do you recall the banquet at your coronation, Splendid Leader, held shortly after you assassinated your brother and purged the military? Imagine a hundred such banquets occurring at once. Numberless diners return again and again to long tables heaped with food - foods brought from faraway places, by endless convoys of trucks, countless flights of aircraft. The amount of food thrown away in a night at one of these buffets could feed the population of Ufgaar for a year.

I searched in vain for our national dish of mutton and onions. I regaled an attendant at a buffet with stories of how our serfs pack large clay urns with layers of gristly meat and onions then bury the urns in pits filled with fiery coals. I sang the praises of our hearty women - of how, while the meal cooks, they play a vigorous game of phlat with the head of an enemy. I think I made an impression.

While most of the foods at the buffet failed to pique my interest, there was one I took to immediately: an insect they call "shrimp." They heap the insects on platters and you take as many as you desire. I was gorging myself on these delights, when one of my traveling companions showed me how to separate the exoskeleton from the meat. So as not to attract undue attention I complied but, believe me, the insect is best devoured intact. When our troops overrun the Shrine, we will feed them shrimps. All they can eat.

Next is the money. People make huge donations at the Shrine, giving mind-boggling amounts of money to the monks who run this place.

There are immense buildings in which pilgrims find a bed for the night. Each of the buildings contains a gigantic space dedicated to alms-giving.

Many pilgrims prefer to put their donations in boxes. On the face of each box, similar to the prayer wheels used by the Tibetan Buddhists we annihilated during the last century, whirl images the pilgrims use to facilitate their meditations. A pilgrim sits for hour after hour in front of a donation box, putting money in the box and pleading to a higher power - occasionally calling out in ecstasy, often moaning in the grip of deep spiritual pain.

Sometimes the box refuses to accept a donation and returns coins to the donor. This causes great panic and the desire to feed even more money into a box.

Other pilgrims donate directly to monks who stand behind tables. The surfaces of the tables display arcane symbols and pilgrims place money or tokens on the symbols. At some tables, monks read fortunes with cards, then sweep the donations away. Some pilgrims divine the future with dice, while others focus their attention on a large spinning bowl around which rolls a ball. Where the ball falls, destiny is revealed and the donations disappear.

What is interesting about this religion is that many of the pilgrims are youngsters. Most are young males who wear their hats backward. They are generally in a fervent, intoxicated state, and they make huge donations to the shrine, bellowing and preening as they go. How they obtain such sums of money is a mystery. Perhaps they receive their funds as I do: every week or so an incredibly generous organization mails me a notice telling me I can request money at zero percent interest until June 1, 2001. I have no idea what this interest is, but the money is greatly appreciated. It just keeps coming.

My final insight is provided by a story told by my friends. After our experience at the buffet, and an uproar caused by my insistence that the servants provide a carafe of camel blood for a toast, I was left locked in a room while the rest of the party went to eat.

At a cafe, they say, a young man (presumably wearing his hat backwards) staggered into the establishment in a shameful state. He collapsed at a table and, after several barely coherent attempts to place an order, went face down on the table.

The waitress tried to revive him, with no success.

A call brought the manager and another attempt was made to rouse the young man. Again, no success. He seemed dead.

Security guards arrived and shook the youngster, trying to bring him to consciousness.

To no avail.

Finally, one of the security guards took the young man's wrist and checked his pulse.

Success, at last. The youngster was alive, though still unresponsive.

The guards took the youngster's wallet from his pocket. They searched the wallet and pulled out a card.

His identification? Looking for a way to contact a family member?


His credit card.

The guard took the card to the cash register where the manager pushed it through a machine, charging the young man for his meal.

Need we know more?

Now, I'm back to the little town where people point with their lips, eager to find material for my next column in the newspaper.

Each night, I stand on the veranda of my timeshare unit and stare toward the setting sun.

I know you are out there, Lustrous Conqueror. I know our forces are marshaled and ready to attack. This place grows slack, its people more self-satisfied by the moment. The time is right.

When you lead our armies through the deserts west of here, when you conquer the Shrine of Las Vegas, please think of me. I would like an order of shrimp. With shells.

Your devoted servant,


Sacrifices made in defense

of Liberty

". . . from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain."

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

By Richard Walter

As Memorial Day weekend looms with parties, picnics and an extra day off, thousands of Archuleta County residents are thinking about the real meaning of the day.

It is for remembering the sacrifices of war.

It is exclusively for honoring those who died serving in uniform during wartime.

"War is hell," said Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman as he waged economic warfare against a civilian society in his Civil War march "across Georgia from Atlanta to the sea."

The flag of the union troops moved through one southern citadel after another, leaving behind the beginning of the end of the war for the south.

Many of the participants in those battles which split our nation lie in Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs. One such final resting place was recently marked with a special Civil War stone thanks to efforts of Mullins-Nickerson American Legion Post 108.

The veteran, Nathaniel L. Hayden, was born Sept. 1, 1844, and died March 16, 1925. When the Civil War was at its height, he was a sergeant in Company F, 2nd Cavalry, Iowa Volunteers, and was wounded in action.

The Hayden family saw stories in The SUN about other Civil War graves receiving special markers and asked the same treatment for their ancestor.

The Legion and former Archuleta County Veterans Service Officer Mike Diver did the necessary research, prepared the paper work, and applied for the gravestone. It was delivered and placed in late April by members of the post. (Preview cover shows the final moment of that scene, a touch of the present for the contributions of the past).

That is part of the story of Memorial Day, the story of keeping alive memory of sacrifices made by men and women in uniform from every state, every county, every hamlet in the nation.

Those in uniform didn't choose where they would serve or what the foreign policy of the nation would be. Their role was only to serve their nation in whatever conflict it found itself embroiled.

Those conflicts have been many: Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Franco-American Naval War and intermittent tragedies involving terrorist attacks on American personnel around the world, most recently the attack on the USS Cole.

As a recent issue of VFW Magazine noted, "No American death is too insignificant to remember when that life was lost at the behest of society."

Memorial Day 2001 will be observed at the American Legion Hall in Town Park at 9:15 a.m. Monday, followed by a second ceremony at the Legion site in Hilltop Cemetery at 10 a.m.

When the stone was set on Hayden's grave last month, Legion members also put flag holders on 40 graves which were either not previously marked or on which the flag holders were missing. That brought to 282 the number of known veterans' graves in the cemetery.

In a special ceremony at 4 p.m. Sunday, American flags will be placed on each of those graves by members of Boy Scout Troop 807 and Girl Scout Troop 5098, assisted by Legion members.

The flags will remain in place for exactly 24 hours.

The Memorial Day service in Town Park will include raising and lowering the American Flag to half staff, guest speakers, roll call of the county's war dead and the playing of Taps. The Hilltop Cemetery service will include guest speakers and memorial music.

The Legion Auxiliary will conduct a special ceremony in honor the county's war dead and veterans who passed away in the last 12 months will be added to the rolls.

Flags at both locations will be lowered to half staff until noon in honor of all those who have given their service and ultimately their lives for their country.

All veterans have been invited to attend and take part in the service. Uniforms are suggested but not required. Those participating in the ceremonies will assemble at the Legion hall at 9 a.m. for assignments.

The public is invited and welcome at each service.


Museum opens with Senior Appreciation

By Shari Pierce

After a lot of elbow grease, dusting, vacuuming and weed cutting, it's ready. Volunteers had a busy weekend sprucing up the San Juan Historical Society Museum for its annual opening Memorial Day.

The museum will open for the season May 28 at 9 a.m. Summer hours will be Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located at the corner of First and Pagosa streets, near the bridge at the east end of town.

Opening day has been declared Senior Appreciation Day. All senior citizens will receive free admission that day. It is hoped that seniors will take advantage of this opportunity to come down to the museum with a friend and reminisce about days gone by. Cookies and punch will be served.

Regular admission charges for the museum are adults $3, children 6-12 $1 and children under age 6 admitted at no charge. Annual memberships are available at a fee of $15 for individuals, $25 for a family, $10 for a senior citizen, $50 for a contributor and $125 for a business. Membership benefits include admission to the museum for the season and a 10 percent discount on items purchased there.

The museum is sporting a new propanel roof courtesy of the Friends of Archuleta County History. Renovation of the front of the building, courtesy of the Men's Breakfast Club, is nearly complete.

So what will you see if you come to the museum? A unique collection depicting early-day life in Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area. There is a wood burning cook stove, an old food processor, other kitchen utensils, pots and pans. After seeing the collection of old irons, you'll appreciate even more today's wash and wear fabrics.

The schoolhouse display will bring back memories for some and be a lesson for others of school days past. There are old desks, books, maps, and eraser duster, a printing set and more.

In the blacksmith shop there are many metalworking tools. But, what people seem to enjoy most about this display is the metal art of Worthe Crouse. Mr. Crouse was one of the original members of the historical society and a talented artist. Included in the display is an anvil that was hand-polished to a beautiful shine. Another favorite display deals with farming and ranching. There are a variety of saddles, a corn shucker, cream separator and more.

And you won't want to miss the quilts, rock collection, Chromo post office boxes and the list goes on and on. Be sure to come down and view these wonderful artifacts.

In addition to preparing for the upcoming season, members of the San Juan Historical Society have been busy with several other projects.

The book committee has been hard at work preparing Volume 6 of the Remembrance series. This volume will be titled "Food on the Range" and will feature several recipes from pioneer families along with the usual stories of family history. Publication is expected by late June. Inquiries about purchasing this or any of the previous five volumes may be directed to the staff at the museum.

Members of the society have been working in conjunction with the town's Historic Preservation Board to develop a walking tour of the downtown area. The society has also entered into an agreement with the preservation board to provide periodic displays of historic interest for the new Town Hall upon its completion.

The society is working with the Pagosa Springs Interpretive Alliance to provide activities during the summer. The museum will have special hours from 7 to 9 p.m. the evening of June 20. Plans are for a few of Pagosa's natives to be on hand to answer questions about the history of this area.

Volunteers are needed to help with museum operations throughout the summer. If you can volunteer two hours, a half day each week, or maybe once a month, your help would be greatly appreciated. Training for volunteers is provided along with a chance to learn about the history of Pagosa Springs and the beautiful country that surrounds us. If you are interested in volunteering your time, please phone the museum, 264-4424, Monday through Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. or come down and visit us after Memorial Day.

The next meeting of the San Juan Historical Society will be June 14 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the museum. Visitors, as well as new and prospective members are welcome.

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