As the morning sun pierced an early cloud cover sending eerie shadows across the parade ground, the Stars and Stripes were raised to the top of the flag pole and then slowly lowered to half staff.
It was a signal moment in the first of two American Legion-sponsored Memorial Day ceremonies Sunday, events which drew young and old to hear remarks saluting the men and women who have died in war that we Americans might celebrate freedom.
Perhaps 50 persons attended the opening ceremony at the Mullins-Nickerson Legion Hall in Town Park, an event serving as a warmup for the full ceremony to be held just 45 minutes later in Hilltop Cemetery.
With two buglers sounding the call to arms, a rifle squad fired the traditional salute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and the names of each of those county residents known to have died in battle were sounded by members of the audience.
Prayers, short statements of purpose and memorial comments at the early observance set the stage for more formal ceremonies at the cemetery.
And the list of deceased veterans was amended with the reading of the names of those known to have passed since a similar ceremony last year. Those Archuleta County names added to the list included Arthur Peterson, Howard Parmenter, Carl Bolt, Louis Ortega, Alfred W. Dowell, Lloyd J. Anderson, Sigrid Solis, Dallas Masco, James Blevins, Wesley Bakewell and Joseph B. Archuleta.
Later, in the cemetery ceremony, the crowd of 200 or more was asked if there were other names which should be added and those of Jacob Ribera and Samuel Kravitz were reported.
Several persons keynoted the somber ceremony with the same latest deceased names repeated and a floating candle lighted for each of them by members of the American Legion Auxiliary.
The scene was set the day before when Legionnaires, along with Girl Scout and Boy Scout assistants, placed flags on every veterans' grave in the cemetery, including some not marked by stones.
One grave in the Civil War section got two flags, the American flag and a Confederate flag. It was the grave of Joseph Isam, born in 1827, who served with Gen. Hood's Division of the Longstreet Corps, South Carolina Regiment, artillery battery, Company A, Confederate Army. He is one of three confederate soldiers known to be buried in Hilltop, but has the only grave marker indicating such service. He was buried in Hilltop in 1923.
Legionnaire Roy Vega put the ceremony in perspective with his reading of John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields," a tribute penned by a Canadian physician, soldier and poet who witnessed the World War I struggles and death of many of the 368 servicemen now buried in a U.S. military cemetery near Waregem, Belgium.
The second stanza of that famous poem, as read with breaking voice by Vega, says:
"We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields."
Retired Col. Roy Bartlett, told the throng, "We are the lucky ones, for we are here."
"Let's not forget those who did not come back, those buried in other nations where they carried the flag of the United States into battle for liberty for all," he said.
"May we never forget what was done for us," he continued. "They responded when called and served their country when needed."
"Don't forget the homeless veterans," he pleaded. "For many of them the phrase 'War Is Hell' is an ongoing trauma. Don't pass them by. Don't ignore them. Reach out to help them as they reached out to help a world facing disaster."
"We are gathered here to honor all veterans," he added, "those who served with distinction, those who gave their lives, those who were wounded, those who came back to serve their countries in hundreds of different ways and those who are still lost in the struggles of the mind and the events of battle."
Father John Bowe of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church expounded on the theme of hope and thanks to fallen comrades.
"This scene brings us together as one, helps us fathom the depths of memory that hide in our minds. Memories of those who went and never came back, and of those who served with distinction and came home to serve again.
"Hope springs eternal from the human breast," he said.
"We see it all around us here with material and physical worlds meeting in a mental and emotional melding of thoughts.
"The magnificent ponderosas here are sentinels pointing the way up," he said. "What more profound guards could we have for the resting places of our loved ones.
"Our father above," he said, "told us his children will be like the grains of sand - and we all are part of that endless beach of the human race.
"How can there be room for all the people who ever existed in heaven?" he asked.
"It is there because God told Abraham all his children would find a home in heaven!" he answered.
"There is silence here but there also is beauty," he said. "Take time to notice this and to reflect on the sacrifices we're remembering today. And recall that though they died in the ravages of war, God's promise springs eternal."
Not all the tributes came from shipmates and fox hole sharers of those who died in war. One was from the grandson of Reuben Marquez who died just over a year ago. Jeremy Marquez said his grandfather "was proud to be a soldier and of being a patriot. I pray that some day I can be half the man that he was."
But the most touching statement of the day came from Legion Post Commander Raymond Taylor who told a story that brought him to tears and caused his voice to break before he finished.
The story involved a Civil War battle after which a Union officer heard a plea for help from a wounded man somewhere in the dark. He crawled out, found the man and dragged him back into camp.
A flash of light startled him because it illuminated the figure of a man he had pulled in and it was that of a Confederate soldier.
By morning the man had died but the surprise was incomplete.
Looking at the victim, the Union soldier realized it was his son. The young man had gone south to study music and, unknown to his father, had enlisted in the Confederate Army.
Among his effects, the father found some music scribbled onto a tattered piece of paper. He sought permission of his superiors to have his son buried and to have the music played.
Today, that short composition is played at every Memorial ceremony. It closed the one at Hilltop Cemetery.
It is known worldwide as "Taps."
There was a strange silence as the ceremonies ended. Even the children in attendance were subdued.
As families grouped to visit graves one last time this Memorial Day, former soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines talked quietly among themselves.
Father Bowe's majestic ponderosas towered over the cemetery and never was the peace so many Americans have died for more evident.
Magnesium chloride - is it good or bad?
Ike Oldham of the Upper Blanco Basin thinks the salt is good. In fact, Oldham wanted the salt on the road in front of his house so desperately, he wouldn't take no for an answer. When he learned county crews were instructed to not spray the road where he lives, Oldham defiantly parked his pickup in the middle of the road, blocking all traffic.
"That upset me," Oldham said. "I called the county. When I didn't get an answer I left a message that I would sit there until I got some action. Then I called Gene Crabtree (chairman of the board of county commissioners). He was having lunch or something. He came up and told me they were going to put gravel on the road, things like that. I told him that is not what today is about. I want the road sprayed."
Crabtree gathered the county road and bridge crew that was working about 5 or 6 miles down the road, along with magnesium chloride application contractor Desert Mountain Corporation, and ordered them to spray the road in the subdivision where Oldham lives.
Crabtree's action satisfied Oldham - who later apologized for his actions - but left others upset. Among those upset are Bill Downey, county commissioner, and Kevin Walters, county road superintendent.
"The man on the Blanco shut us down because he wanted his road sprayed," Walters said. "His road is not on our list for this year. He stopped four maintainers, five water trucks, a tanker distributor, and more. We did over a mile of road that is not in this year's budget. I know it cost us at or over $1,000 that was not budgeted."
Walters said Crabtree's arbitrary actions are compromising his integrity with property owners in the county.
"I have a lot of people, especially at Pagosa Lakes, asking me for mag chloride," Walters said. "I've been telling them they are not scheduled this year, that I can't do their roads because they are not in the budget. This is not a hit-or-miss proposition. I carefully plan the length of roads to receive mag chloride, the number of gallons needed, and how much it will cost. I made a schedule, and went out for bids. The commissioners approved the schedule and accepted the bids. Then someone makes an arbitrary commitment without approval of the board of commissioners and the budget is blown. Now, who do we not spray that we already committed to spray? What about the other people who want mag chloride, but who are not in the budget? What do I tell them?"
Walters makes a second argument against applying the salt to the area where Oldham lives. He says it is unimproved road not amenable to magnesium chloride application.
"Basically, that is a waste of magnesium chloride," Walters said. "It won't do any good there because the road is basically just river-run gravel."
Downey argues that Crabtree acted arbitrarily without consulting other commissioners when he decided to go over the budget approved by the board of county commissioners. He also argued that Crabtree made an error in judgment when he decided to mitigate the road blockage personally instead of calling the sheriff.
"You should have called the sheriff," Downey told Crabtree at the Tuesday meeting of county commissioners. "We can't have individuals telling us how to run the county. That's a mild form of terrorism. We've agreed to make decisions as a group. You didn't bother to inform me about this before making a decision."
When asked why he handled the situation himself instead of calling the sheriff, Crabtree replied: "Well, because I thought before we called the sheriff we should try to work things out. Sometimes we can work out legal issues and get things settled. That is why we are here. I knew the gentleman and figured we could talk it out without causing trouble. I did and we got it settled.
"I promised the year before - Kevin was with me - that we would do his road. A former commissioner told us those roads were part of the system (of roads maintained by the county). People deserve something other than just promises."
Conflicting testimony attends the issue of whether the county applied mag chloride to that specific section of road.
Walters says he visited that area with Crabtree last year and, even though they discussed applying mag chloride to the road, it was not actually done. The county did some work there, Walters said, and a water truck may have sprayed some of the road, but no mag chloride was applied.
Oldham and Crabtree insist the county sprayed the road with mag chloride "in front of homes and to the end of the road" last year. They insist Walters knew about it.
"It bothers me that they say we sprayed up there last year," Walters said. "I went back to my records. I have no record that the contractor billed us for that section of road."
The way the system works, after the contractor sprays a section of road he submits an invoice to Walters. The invoice identifies the section and length of road sprayed, the amount of magnesium chloride used, and the cost.
"They may be confused," Walters said. "We did some work up there with water trucks and they may have thought that was mag chloride. Also, we sprayed some roads in the Upper Blanco that we hadn't done before, but not in that subdivision. That may be confusing things."
Belief in Crabtree's promise is what angered Oldham and prompted him to block the road, he says. Crabtree says he promised Oldham they would do the road and Walters was with him when he made the promise.
The question of whether that portion of road has been included by the county for maintenance has been in front of the commissioners for several years. Oldham says the county accepted the road for maintenance in 1980 and said he has papers to prove it. The commissioners and Walters agree that Oldham has proven to them the county accepted the road into the county system. Still being debated is, what level of maintenance will the county perform?
Everyone agrees the county will plow snow from the road. The county snow plowing policy requires the road be bladed before snowfall in order to make it easier for the snowplows to do their work. The county has done some blading and culvert work in that area, according to Walters. On the other hand, the roads are not built to county standards.
"The way it's getting now, I do almost anything anybody asks for roads," Walters said.
The cost of applying magnesium chloride is a growing portion of the county budget. The salt is used for three purposes: road stabilization, dust abatement, and snow and ice removal. All or parts of approximately 70 roads with a length of almost 130 miles will receive 609,789 gallons this year. The dust abatement supplies line item in the county budget has grown from $154,773 in 1999 to $185,872 in 2001.
One man was hurt and several businesses burglarized early Wednesday morning.
Archuleta County Sheriff Deputy Rob Galin said the co-owner of Bear Buffalo Too in Aspen Springs was struck on the head, possibly with a hammer, after surprising burglars in the store and struggling with one of the suspects. The suspects left the store with an undisclosed amount of cash and several miscellaneous items.
Following the incident, his wife reported the burglary and assault.
According to Pagosa Springs Police Department reports, three businesses in town reported burglaries early Wednesday: the Ampride on U.S. 160 on the east end of the downtown area, Sonoco at the highway and Seventh Street, and Appraisal Services Inc. in the 300 block of Lewis Street. The three, plus the burglary at Bear Buffalo Too are thought to be related.
Police are also investigating the theft of an automobile from the parking lot of the Sears store on South Sixth Street possibly used in the crime spree.
Pagosa Springs Police Investigator George Daniels, said Pagosa police first responded when a citizen reported sighting the suspects from the county burglary inside town boundaries. Officer Tony Kop and Deputy Galin were responding to the citizen report when the alarm went off at Sonoco. Further investigation led to the discovery of the burglary at Ampride.
Investigation continued when a citizen called in a suspicious vehicle at Echo Lake. The vehicle turned out to be the Ford Escort stolen earlier from Sears. Law enforcement officials subsequently recovered a cash box taken in the burglaries from the lake.
The report of a break-in at Appraisal Services Inc. came later in the morning. Reports show that burglars took some miscellaneous merchandise from Ampride, an undisclosed amount of cash and the cash drawer from Sonoco, and some money as well as a piece of office equipment from Appraisal Services Inc.
As of Wednesday afternoon, police officers and sheriffs deputies were continuing to talk with witnesses and gather evidence in the case. Suspects have been indicated.
A highlight of every graduation ceremony is the presentation of scholarship awards.
Saturday's commencement exercise for 97 Pagosa Springs High School seniors was no exception.
Scholarship awards totaling $192,236 were presented to 43 members of the class with 64 different sources of scholarship funding included.
The largest individual total, $14,150 from eight different sources, went to Marisol Villalobos; the second highest total, $10,580 from four sources, went to Meigan Canty, one of the co-valedictorians for the class of 2001.
In the long run, Brett Kahn could be the biggest grantee. He qualified under the U.S. Navy College Fund program for $40,000 in scholastic stipend should he successfully complete four years of active duty.
But it wasn't all a hands-out event. There were, too, the thoughtful and insightful comments of Theresa Hostetter and Meigan Canty in their joint valedictory address:
"Life is full of cycles and steps. As we graduate today we can fully realize the gravity of the changes we experience as we grow and learn. During these phases of our lives, we as graduates must remember to improve the quality of our lives, not just the quantity. Many people in our modern society focus too much on the amount of things or goals they attain rather than the true worth and value of that which they accomplish. But, even in the midst of a world of materialistic ideals, there have been three groups of people who have helped us to see what's really important.
"First, we would like to thank our teachers. There is a quote in one of our teacher's rooms that says, 'Give a man a loaf of bread and you feed him for a day; but teach him to sow his own wheat and you feed him for a lifetime.' They have put up with us as we have grown and changed, and we are so glad that they have seen past our mistakes and kept in mind that today's struggling seed just barely holding on will be tomorrow's mighty oak.
"Next, we would like to thank our families. Most of us would agree that families are a lot like fudge - mostly sweet, with a few nuts. From kindergarten to this, our senior year, our families (nuts included) have given us support, love, care and understanding. Without those emotional pillars, we would not have had the strength to achieve what we have already gained, nor would we be prepared to face the challenges of adulthood.
"Lastly, we would like to thank our friends. There is a story by Aesop of a certain man who had several sons. They were always quarreling with one another and, try as he might, he could not get them to live together in harmony. So he determined to convince them of their folly by the following means: Bidding them fetch a bundle of sticks, he invited each in turn to break it across his knee. All tried and all failed, and then he undid the bundle. He handed them the sticks one by one, and when they had no difficulty at all in breaking them, he said, 'There, my sons: united you will be more than a match for your enemies, but if you quarrel and separate, your weakness will put you at the mercy of those who attack you.' Union is strength.
"From this anecdote, we see that friendship is one of the most unifying forces we know. Throughout our experiences in school, we've seen friends come and go.
"All of these people - our teachers, friends and families - have left a mark, made an impact on our hearts and minds. They have helped us to see how important it is to add life to years, not just years to life
"So thank you teachers, families and friends and Congratulations to the Class of 2001."
Archuleta County's population is 9,898 with a median age of 40.8 years, according to the year 2000 census.
The county has until August to challenge the number if they think it is in error, said Kathy Ruth, the county director of planning. A decision to challenge or not challenge will be made after the planning department has had time to review the number and methodology used by the Census Bureau. County census data is handled in the planning office.
Demographic categories contained in the census report include information on sex and age, race, relationships, households by type, housing occupancy, and housing tenure.
In the sex and age category, 50.7 percent of county residents are female, 49.3 percent male. Males age 18 and over constitute 37.2 percent of the population, females age 18 and over 37.4 percent of the population. The largest population by age is the 45 to 54 year group with 1,809 people. Close behind is the 35-44 year group with 1,639 people.
At the upper extreme by age, 11.9 percent of the population is age 65 or older. On the lower extreme by age, 27.6 percent of the population is age 19 or younger.
By race, 90.9 percent of the population is listed as white, 0.6 percent as black or African American, 2.4 percent as American Indian or Alaskan Native, 0.4 percent as Asian, 0.1 percent as native Hawaiian or other Pacific islander, and 8.4 percent as some other race.
Included in the Hispanic or other Latino category are 1,659 people, 16.8 percent of the population. Of that group, 472 list themselves as Mexican and 1,179 list themselves as other Hispanic or Latino.
The county contains 2,872 family households, 1,257 households with children under age 18. The average household size is 2.47, the average family size 2.89. There are 2,381 married couple families and 325 female householders with no husband present.
Housing units in the county total 6,212, 64.1 percent occupied, 35.9 percent vacant. Occupied housing units amount to 3,980 - 3,057 of those owner occupied. There are 923 renter-occupied housing units.
U.S. Forest Service, Public Affairs
Pagosa residents may notice some smoke in the air as a ground fire moves slowly through a remote portion of San Juan National Forest about 20 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs. The Second Box Fire has burned just less than 300 acres on slopes above the Piedra River about one mile east of Hunter Camp at the end of the First Fork Road.
The fire was ignited by lightning on the afternoon of May 25. Because of its remote location and low fire danger, fire crews have chosen to monitor the fire at this time instead of working to immediately suppress it. This strategy has been determined as safe and appropriate because the fire is burning between 7,600-8,400 feet in elevation where relative humidity and fuel moistures are high, keeping the fire at ground level.
The fire is contained within the natural boundaries of the Piedra River, another steep-side drainage with water at its bottom, and moist aspen stands.
No private property or structures are threatened in this very remote area. A low-intensity fire will help clear the area of ground fuels, such as downed logs, branches, litter and needles that could later contribute to a more intense wildfire. The fire is burning in the Piedra Area, which has managed to retain its wilderness qualities.
Historically, such low-intensity fires have helped maintain forest health and play an important role in natural ecological processes.
Fire officials have been monitoring the fire on a regular basis by ground and air. Over the weekend, the fire spread slowly through stringers of ponderosa pine that extend up into moist aspen and spruce/fir stands. It is consuming pine needles and ground fuels, and some of the white fir and Gambel oak trees within pine stands. The fire is not expected to burn through the surrounding aspen stands.
Smoke is traveling to the north and east toward the O'Neal Park area. Some diffuse smoke has been reaching the Pagosa Springs area.
For more information, contact the Pagosa Ranger District, 264-2268.
Archuleta County may surrender to La Plata County the lead position in managing Beanpole funds allocated by the state to Region 9 to facilitate development of a high-speed internet network.
Just last year, the county signed a contract with Region 9 the other counties in Region 9 giving it the lead in administering $1.375 million granted by the state.
At that time, the Archuleta County commissioners hoped acceptance of the leadership position would give the county priority in upgrading computer communication capabilities. That hasn't happened.
Of the five Region 9 counties involved, La Plata and Montezuma counties have been given top priority. Archuleta and Dolores counties are a step below; San Juan County is at the bottom of the list.
La Plata County is expected to assume the leadership mantle being abandoned by Archuleta County.
Local commissioners expressed the opinion that, as the situation is developing, Archuleta County's work, expenses, and liability because of leadership obligations is without compensating benefits.
The Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Utes are members of Region 9, along with the five counties.
Beanpole funding is part of a state effort to encourage development of a high-speed, statewide computer network. The total state effort contains two thrusts. One - the Beanpole Project - involves developing communications capabilities among government-related entities within municipalities and counties. The second thrust, the State Multiuse Network, also known as MNT, involves installation of fiber optic carriers along major rights of way linking the various towns and counties in the state.
Region 9, with Ed Moreland as director, has contracted to supervise Beanpole efforts and expenditures within the Region. Moreland recommends that La Plata County be given the lead as the fund-receiving agency and bookkeeper because that county is more advanced than Archuleta County in terms of interior communication capabilities.
La Plata and Montezuma counties have estimated MNT completion dates of May 1, 2001, and June 15, 2001 respectively, ranking them in Phase 1.
Archuleta and Dolores counties have estimated MNT completion dates of Jan. 15, 2002, and Aug. 15, 2002, respectively, placing these counties in Phase II. San Juan County is in Phase III with no estimated completion date.
Fiber optic cable is in place from Bayfield to Durango, from Durango to Cortez, from Cortez to Grand Junction, from Grand Junction to Denver, and from Denver to the remainder of the nation. Cortez is also connected to Albuquerque.
Pagosa Springs is connected to the Allison area, but a gap remains between Allison and Bayfield. A complete right of way has not been obtained for that route.
A working budget for Region 9 proposes allocating $500,000 for La Plata and Montezuma counties, $150,000 for Archuleta and Dolores counties, and $75,000 for San Juan County.
Beanpole funding is intended to encourage private business within communities to hook up with government entities already connected to the state system.
Archuleta County is thinking of boosting residential building permit fees by as much as 300 percent, based on a report submitted by Tom Breed, the county auditor.
The commissioners are looking at the idea as a means to afford additional building inspectors in the department and in other ways speed up and improve the department's performance.
Current fees were adopted in 1994 and have been devalued approximately 75 percent due to inflation, according to Breed.
The county charges 18 cents per square foot for living space and 12 cents per square foot for non-living space, Breed said. Other entities in the area and most counties in Colorado base building permit fees on a formula contained in the Uniform Building Code. The UBC publishers allow adjustment of their basic fee structure by a multiplier which changes the base to fit regional variations in building costs.
A sample chart prepared by Breed compares Archuleta County fees with fees charged by adjoining counties and cities for a typical 3,000 square foot home. The sample first estimates building costs at $100 per square foot, then at $175 per square foot.
In Archuleta County, the current fee would be $540 in either case. In La Plata County the fee would be $1,500 in either case. San Miguel County's fee would be $1,340 at the rate of $100 per square foot, $1,592 at $175 per square foot.
The fee in Pagosa Springs would be $1,615 in either case. Durango's fee would be $2,154 in either case.
Breed points out that:
- County fees are below area standards
- The present fee structure has not been updated since 1994. Inflation has devalued fees by approximately 25 percent in the last seven years
- The present fee structure does not distinguish between high- and low-cost homes
- The method of using a set rate per square foot as used in the UBC is simple to compute and explain.
The UBC guide is based on many years of research and knowledge gathered from all parts of the county, according to Mike Howell, the county building official. While addressing the commissioners at a May 15 workshop, Howell recommended the county adopt UBC guidelines.
Basically, UBC recommends a schedule assessing a particular fee for a particular block of estimated building expenses. For example, for a house with an estimated building cost between $100,001 and $500,000 the fee would be $993.75 for the first $100,000 plus $5.60 for each additional $1,000 or fraction thereof.
The Archuleta County correction factor could be 81 percent, according to Howell. That means the fee computed using the UBC guide would be multiplied by 0.81 to arrive at a local fee. The actual local multiplier will have to be set by the county commissioners at a future date if this method of levying a fee is approved by the commissioners.
Arguing against the change were Tim Horning and Dusty Pierce of the San Juan Builder's Association. Horning is president, Pierce past president, of the organization. Both argue that Archuleta County is a depressed area and that raising building permit fees will discourage building and hurt the local economy.
Both argue that fees currently levied by the building department exceed the department's expenses by 200 percent. Based on that assumption, according to both men, a raise in fees is not justified.
Current accounting methods used for the building department do not include space costs, vehicle and travel costs, and many other expenses, according to Howell. The department's budget would show no profit and might show a loss if expenses were properly tracked, said Cathie Wilson, the county finance officer.
"We want a commitment," said Pierce, "that you won't use this as a revenue generator. We want you to go beyond a promise that you'll establish a percentage of how much you make and not go beyond that. We're asking for something reasonable, we suggest a one-year reserve."
Pierce was suggesting that a reserve figure equal to one year of the building department budget will be adequate to cover building department expenses under foreseeable circumstances.
Pierce then suggested the commissioners get together with the Builder's Association to work out details for changing fees in the building department.
"You work with us, we will work with you," said Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners. "We're going to need help in selling a sales tax issue we need to take to voters this fall."
A 2-percent sales tax shared equally between the town and county expires in 2002. Crabtree and Commissioner Alden Ecker suggest that an election is needed this fall in order to continue the sales tax.
No action was taken at the May 15 workshop. County building permit fees remain unchanged for the present.
Summer hasn't reached Pagosa Country, but weather conditions this past week have been a satisfactory substitute.
Daytime high temperatures averaged 74 degrees while nighttime lows were a balmy 41 degrees, well above freezing. The last freezing temperature in town was the 32 degrees recorded May 6.
The mercury is expected to climb above the 80-degree mark this coming week for the first time during 2001. The highest temperature recorded so far this year is the 76 degrees captured last Friday.
Today through Sunday will be mostly sunny and dry, according to Doug Baugh, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction. High temperatures could climb into the 80s and maybe reach the low 90s Saturday.
A Pacific front should start moving into the area late Sunday bringing cooler temperatures, partly cloudy skies, and isolated thunderstorms, according to Baugh. The front should control local weather through Tuesday.
June weather is historically warm and dry in Pagosa Country. June precipitation averages 0.91 inches with no measurable snow in town since record keeping started in 1938.
The monthly mean June temperature is 57.6 degrees, compared with 49.4 degrees in May and 41.5 degrees in April.
July's monthly mean temperature is 64.2 degrees - the warmest month of the year.
The Archuleta County commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. this coming Tuesday in the commissioners meeting room at the county courthouse.
By meeting at night the commissioners hope to attract more attendance at their regular, weekly meetings. For at least the next two months, they will meet at night on the first and fourth weeks and during the morning on the second and third weeks.
If attendance at the night meetings is good, the practice may be continued indefinitely. If attendance is not good, the commissioners may revert to the former practice of meeting at 9 a.m. each Tuesday.
A longstanding practice of conducting occasional meetings in Arboles will be renewed with a town meeting there June 6 at 7 p.m. in the Arboles Catholic Church.
A progress report by Kevin Walters, the county road superintendent, given at last Tuesday's regular meeting included the following facts:
- Repaving of North Pagosa Blvd. was 90-percent complete, and should be totally finished by the end of this week. Walters estimates the county could face a $10,000-$15,000 cost overrun on the $157,000 project
- The application of magnesium chloride on county roads is 25 percent complete. Crews are now working on roads in the Pagosa Springs area. Completion could require as much as two months work
- Walters pointed out that several new roads constructed in the Fairfield Pagosa collection of subdivisions may require striping, a cost not foreseen in this year's county road maintenance budget. Most of the new striping requirement is for roads in the Village Center commercial area where lack of center lines and other markings could create hazardous conditions, Walters said. County practice is to use a La Plata County striping machine in exchange for services provided by Archuleta County. Walters was instructed by the commissioners to return with a cost estimate following a meeting tomorrow with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners road committee. He was instructed to urge the PLPOA to contribute toward meeting striping expenses in that area
- Walters was authorized to assist Hinsdale County with magnesium chloride application on Piedra Road in exchange for help from Hinsdale County during the snow plowing season
- A resident living on Antelope Drive in Fairfield Pagosa asked the county to lower the speed limit from the state-specified 30 miles per hour to 15 miles per hour. The commissioners said they cannot make the change without first ordering a traffic study. They agreed to replace a 30-mph sign on the street with a sign urging motorists to slow their vehicles.
Solid Waste Director Clifford Lucero reported the recently completed clean-up week was a huge success. According to Lucero, about 1,110 yards of refuse equaling 277 tons was collected. The program, in its third year, collected more trash than ever before. Lucero suggested a fall clean-up be added to the schedule to reduce the amount of refuse accumulated for the spring project.
Two access points to Piedra Road were requested by the Reserve at Pagosa Peak, a 239-acre development located on Piedra Road about six miles north of its intersection with U.S. 160.
A clustered, residential development is anticipated containing 135 single family lots, five lots ranging between 2.6 and 6 acres, and 159 acres of open space. The commissioners urged the planning department, road and bridge department, and developer to work out a solution for the two-access points request and return.
Action was postponed concerning approval of a final plat for Zinser Minor Impact Subdivision. The subdivision is located adjacent to Lake Hatcher. Commissioner Downey expressed concern that the property allowed horses on the shores of Lake Hatcher with a potential for contaminating one of the sources for Fairfield Pagosa area drinking water. Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District has also expressed concern. The issue was referred to County Attorney Mary Weiss. She said she isn't certain if the county has jurisdiction, since the development's covenants allow horses. Action was postponed while Weiss investigates the issue.
The commissioners authorized payment of $4,292.50 for road work in the Loma Linda Subdivision covered under an improvements agreement contracted between the county and developer Fred Schmidt. The commissioners refused to authorize payment of $7,197 for an electrical line extension because they say the improvements agreement does not authorize payment for electrical work from the funds collected. About $25,000 remains in the fund. Future county policy will be to learn what improvements are contemplated before releasing funds.
The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association is holding two open meetings in early June. The first is the third Town Meeting of the current fiscal year. The Town Meeting will be held in the Vista Club House June 4 starting at 6:30 p.m.
The business part of the meeting starts at 7 p.m. and will concern covenant compliance issues including policy and procedures. Key staff and volunteers will be there to provide an overview. Questions and concerns from all property owners are invited for this open discussion of the central reason for having a property owners association.
The second meeting, on June 11, concerns possible expansion and improvements to the recreation center. An architect hired to develop a staged development plan for the future will conduct a workshop to solicit input from recreation center users and interested property owners.
The meeting will start at 7 p.m. providing an opportunity for members to express their desires or concerns regarding expansion of the facility.
Doors, windows, siding, cabinet facings, even a bidet once headed for the landfill, or into storage oblivion, are back on the market as part of the Habitat for Humanity Mini-Restore program.
The program, started in mid-April, allows contractors or individuals to donate new or used construction items to Habitat for Humanity for resale at discounted prices. The profits are used to help fund construction of local Habitat homes.
"Looking at all of the stuff we've seen end up in the landfill, and at the other Habitat Restore programs, we felt there was a need here," David Conrad, Habitat for Humanity Mini-Restore Community chairperson, said. The local Habitat for Humanity chapter is in the process of building its ninth home and recently won an award for constructing the most homes in a town of under 50,000 people in the Mountain States Division. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit group organized to construct new homes for low-income people.
Currently, donations to the Mini-Restore program line three walls and the center of a 1,000 square foot storage locker in west Pagosa Springs, a big jump from the 10x20 locker the program first used.
"It was so full we couldn't really get at anything," he said. That Mini-Restore initially opened one Saturday last October. When donations increased, the store moved to its current location in the Summit Commercial Park and reopened this spring with weekly hours.
A handful of volunteers staff the Restore, at Summit Commercial Park, 398 Bastille No. B1, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturdays. New materials are generally discounted 50 percent off the original value and used items are marked down even more depending on their condition.
Doors and windows have been selling well, Conrad said. In fact, on the best day so far, the store grossed over $900. Other Saturdays have been slower, depending on the other activities in town, the weather and the variety of inventory available.
"It really depends on people donating material to us, whether it's general contractors or individual homeowners," Conrad said. "We really need donations from everybody right now. We've gone through a lot of stuff." To make a tax-deductible donation, people should call 264-6960 to arrange a drop-off time.
The Mini-Restore will accept nearly all construction items, including cabinets, windows, doors, electrical, bath fixtures, plumbing, siding and carpet. Everything is sold as-is.
"We really want to stay away from paint because it's a toxic material and we have to pay to get rid of it," Conrad said. To get started, the committee contacted the local builders association and advertised through the newspaper. Since then, word-of-mouth has resulted in several more donations.
Over the next several years, the goal is to build the store into something more permanent, the Mini-Restore Chairman said.
"We'd like to have our own building, with staff and our own truck and longer store hours," Conrad said. All that, depends on results this summer.
On Tuesday, May 22 President Twila Brown and Treasurer Amy Bishel of the Friends of Archuleta County History announced a $3,000 donation to the local World War II Memorial campaign.
This generous gift raises the Archuleta County total to $7,915, surpassing the goal of $7,000 established by the national headquarters. The Memorial is to be erected on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
To commemorate locally the contributions of the citizens of the country during World War II the Friends set aside another sum of $500. The organization hopes that an area in the rotunda of the new Town Hall can be used to display an artist's rendering of the WWII Memorial and an appropriate plaque recognizing the contributions of the citizens of Archuleta County in the armed forces, the production of war materials, and on the home front.
Sixty-two local donors have earned the gratitude of all those involved in the WWII Memorial fund-raising efforts. The most generous gift from a group was that of the Friends of Archuleta County History, while Richard D. Murray led the individual donors. As field representative, I would like to express my gratitude to the donors, those who participated in the publicity efforts, and those who wrote letters of support for the memorial site.
Congressional action concluded on May 22 has resulted in the cancellation of a June 13-14 hearing scheduled before the National Capital Planning Commission. The bill, when signed by President Bush, essentially dictates construction of the World War II Memorial on a "fast-track" basis, invalidating a pending federal lawsuit. Thus, as previously given all final approvals, the Memorial will be built between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
I was privileged to participate last weekend in the Women's Firearm Safety and Education workshop at the Archuleta County Coop extension building, organized by Sandy Caves.
Every aspect of the program was top-notch, emphasizing the responsibilities, problem-solving and risk-awareness necessary for the safe use of handguns, rifles, shotguns and more. Among our excellent instructors were the Pagosa Springs Chief of Police, three Division of Wildlife officers and 4-H Shooting Sports leaders. Ms. Caves could not have assembled a finer team to make such a serious undertaking so enjoyable.
The parents of Archuleta County should be immensely grateful that their children have the opportunity for this caliber of instruction through school and 4-H programs.
The only disappointment with last weekend's workshop was that too few women took advantage of the chance. If it's offered again - don't miss it. You won't be sorry.
Putting up walls
I read with interest the column in this week's Pagosa Sun where the Editor takes aim at all of the changes here in Pagosa Land. Yes, life here was better before humankind came along a few thousand years ago. And, it got a lot worse when horses started filtering in with the Spanish and people here had mobility like never before. Then those folks from the East started showing up and things really went downhill. Too bad the original settlers here were not able to stop immigration and the downhill slide towards who knows what.
Here's to putting up walls. Certainly, the sooner the better.
When I saw "We Love Our Seniors" on the theater marquee and realized that all Pagosa Springs High School seniors were being invited to free pizza, soda and the late movie the night before graduation, I knew I had to thank those who made it possible.
Any community that honors its students (including my grandson) in such a generous way gives them a place to get together as an option to the streets deserves recognition, just as its kids do. I hope it's an annual event.
Visitor from Maine
In regards to Betty Feazel's May 3 letter about the use of Magnesium Chloride as a dust suppressor. A couple of years ago, I read an article in one of our local newspapers about the use of a soybean product (oil maybe) that was being developed (or already in use, I can't remember) that would, or could be used as a dust suppressant.
I cut it out and sent it to someone that works for the county. If not soybeans, I would think that there may be other alternatives, but the cost would probably be a big factor.
On another note, awhile back there were one or two letters written about the use of chemical(s) fertilizer on the proposed golf course up on the East Fork Valley, can't remember name of development and possible contamination of the water. I agree, but it got me to wondering. Does the golf course at Fairfield Pagosa use chemical fertilizers? And, if so, what effect, if any, has it had on the surrounding area and/or watershed?
Mr. and Mrs. John Detzler
Anyone interested in petitioning the county commissioners to include accepting glass in the recycling program so that we don't have to take it to Bayfield, please call 731-5529 so that we can put a petition together.
In regards to your editorial of 5/24/01:
"Better" means our elected leaders following the laws, rules and regulations, process and procedures of the state, county and local governments instead of ignoring them or changing them without adequate public hearings whenever they (or their friends) personally are inconvenienced by them.
As to the sewage lagoons built next to the highway, once again I am in full agreement with you that this was not appropriate. And had I been in Archuleta County at the time, I suspect I would have opposed the location.
Of course these lagoons have a long history. The story starts (not unusual for our county) with a developer who did not have the knowledge, capital, experience or wisdom to develop a subdivision correctly. He was allowed to do so because there was no mandatory Conditional Use Permit (CUP), Master Plan, etc. existing at the time. His development eventually went bankrupt and was pouring raw sewage directly into the formerly "pristine" San Juan River.
Fortunately some local residents took it upon themselves to correct this disaster. (They are my local heroes). They formed a Metro District that rebuilt roads, fixed the water supply and and cleaned up the sewer problem.
This was all while under the direct vision of the State of Colorado which was about to close down the subdivision. Unfortunately, the present location was selected for the lagoons. This story should also sound familiar to the residents of Loma Linda and no doubt many other subdivisions in our county.
This is a beautiful example of what happens when our local elected officials do not take charge, do not pass mandatory plans, laws and rules, do not have adequate follow up and penalties, do not have enough planning staff, and do not expect newcomers and old residents alike to follow them.
Prevention is a lot less costly than trying to fix it later.
Toxic waste dump
As we enter the town of Pagosa Springs from Route 84, we see on the left hand side what has amounted to a toxic waste dump. Clearly visible from the highway are mounds of industrial waste which include drums of old oil and crankcase residue. Some of these drums are leaking into the topsoil. An optical malignancy festering at the entrance of our community. If this is what the current board of county commissioners refer to as the rights of the individual, I, for one, want no part in it. It is the type of total disrespect for God's given earth, which breeds militant environmentalists. I implore the current board of county commissioners to insist that those responsible be brought to justice.
Sponsor thank you
We are writing this to thank all of our sponsors for the seventh grade Chaco Canyon Trip. All of the people that came with us were actively involved with our hikes, supervision, and activities we did. They took time out of their busy schedules to come with us on this trip. We all benefited from them and the knowledge they brought with them.
This three day trip in early May helped us to get to know our teachers, staff, parents, and students better. Without these people to come with us, this trip would be impossible. They supervised us, but helped us to know that we needed to do the work ourselves. This provided for a hands-on type learning experience. All of us kids needed someone to help us out at times, so the sponsors really were needed.
Because of all these things, we would like to thank all of our sponsors. Our sponsors for this trip were Mary Helen and David Cammack, Dave and Pam Spitler, Terri Andersen, Nancy Sandoval, Mike Marshall, Barbie Voorhis, Liz Marchand, Mary Madore, Melinda Baum, Cindy Snarr, Eydie and Don Thompson, Martha Zeiler, Randy Talbot, Ed Weddle, Mark Devoti, Pam Martin, Mike Reid and Rick Monks. Thanks again to all of these people who made our Chaco Canyon Trip a blast!
Pagosa Springs Junior High
seventh grade students
I had to wonder why the Democratic Chair of Archuleta County, Mr. Burke Stancill, believes that it will necessarily require a Democratic perspective to brighten the dark corners of our current local political scene? I don't think he's been here long enough to be paying attention - must be asleep in "the Chair."
By the way Mr. Stancill; should you ever get down river in the Arboles area. I think Bob Dungan is one of those Democratic fossils who undoubtedly voted for Clinton both times and Al Gore. But I'd be terrified to guess his sentiments about the current "three Amigo's" controlling Archuleta County and wasting his tax dollars on batch plant lawsuits. You can usually find Dungan on the prowl somewhere in that early morning Navajo Lake shoreline haze working his 4WD relic in the carp muck and concrete residue.
Personally, I'm convinced there is a non-partisan resident who could do a far better job than that trio we have now. And he would perform for a lot less than 45K. All ya gotta do is produce "the beef." A couple cases of ALPO choice cuts should do the trick.
Let's save Archuleta County and keep us all from "ridin with da brand" - elect the man, Arnie Isberg, that handsome, loyal, forthright - dog.
There are no obituaries this week.
At a May 23 school awards program, 10 students were honored with a Certificate of Completion for the Colorado Business Education program at Pagosa Springs High School.
Business education standards are set at the state level and students must show competency in a variety of business skills to be awarded a certificate.
There are two certificate programs: Administrative Assistant and Accounting. Each certificate requires three business classes to qualify for a state-recognized award.
Amie Smith received an Administrative Assistant certificate while Tiffany Diller, Jeff Johnson and Marisol Villalobos received Accounting certificates.
There are times when students qualify for both certificates and this year Diller, Justin Caler, Kari Eden, Valerie Lucas, Maria Azucena (Susie) Nevares, and Cassandra Pfeifle received both the Administrative Assistant and Accounting certificates.
Completion of business competencies not only helps students receive electives for high school graduation but also provides valuable skills for entering the work force or obtaining a job in a professional setting while attending college. In addition, many students use their skills to successfully compete in Future Business Leaders of America events.
For a small town, Pagosa Springs has always seemed to draw an unusual amount of talent and celebrities. The POWER House Basketball Camp is excited to have Joe Odhiambo, a ball handling and juggling wizard, back for the third year in a row. Odhiambo is the current Guinness world record holder for dribbling basketballs simultaneously for one minute.
His record stands at five balls, but he is presently working on six, and will demonstrate how he will do it at this year's camp, July 22-26.
Odhiambo is not only a great entertainer and master of ball control, but also the author of "Triple T Basketball," and one of the top instructors on low post moves.
Other coaches for this year's camp include Pagosa resident, Pete Caruso, who is a former Denver University star, ex-Denver Bronco, and ex-European pro basketball player. He also coached college ball in New York for several years. Caruso, along with longtime resident and ex-NBA player, Bay Forrest, will be the co-directors of the camp. Joining them will be high school and college coaches from Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California, and here in Colorado.
Camp is divided into four separate instructional groups of girls and boys, sixth through 12th grade. All Pagosa residents receive a $30 discount, and a few openings remain available in all four groups.
Anyone interested in more information can call the POWER House at 264-4403, or check out the web site at www.highhoops.com.
Al Helvey and Geary Taylor shot an impressive 16 under par 55 to win the net competition in a two-man best-ball Men's Golf League May 23. David Prokop and Fred Campuzano were second net at 57, with Ben Lynch and Dean Gray taking third with a 59.
Low gross winners were Ray Hensley and Wayne Huff with a 70, followed by Malcolm Rodger and Ray Laird (71) and John Dennis and Lindy Bauer (75).
Dalas Weisz and John Wilson took closest-to-the-pin honors.
Forty-six men participated in this league event. That figure is significantly up from early season participation of the past few years, according to assistant course professional Alan Schutz.
"In addition to their weekly competitions, Men's League members have traditionally supported the high school golf team with cash donations and used golf equipment," said Schutz. "Although participation is voluntary, every golfer chips in a dollar each week for the school team. This season we expect to be able to turn over almost $1,500 to the team."
The Men's League is open to golfers of all levels. League dues are $25 for the season, payable in the pro shop. Competition begins every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Sign-up is in the men's locker room before 5 p.m. the Tuesday afternoon before each play day.
Flower basket orders needed soon
Don't forget to get your order form to us soon so we can deliver your ever-so-lovely flower baskets to you when they come in.
If you have lost or misplaced your order form, just give us a call at the Chamber, 264-2360, and we will send or fax you what you need.
These are 12-inch baskets filled with a variety of very hearty and colorful flowers. The baskets were ordered in January, so the nursery has planted and nurtured them all these months so they will arrive at your door in marvelous condition. Have I mentioned that they will be delivered to your door by a Chamber staff member or board director? That's such a bonus, you know - unless someone sends you flowers, they are not normally brought to you by special messenger.
The baskets are $22 and will arrive sometime the first two weeks of June (we have learned the hard way that any sooner than that time is too early for the plants with the winds of spring). Get your order in today.
Just so you know, by the way, any proceeds realized from the sale of the baskets goes right back into the purchase of flowers and plants for downtown and Visitor Center flower boxes. We urge you to be a part of the Pagosa Beautification Team.
It is the goal of every business to somehow cultivate a customer base of folks who will shop with them forever. Take advantage of the opportunity for your employees to learn the skills that will keep your customers and clients coming back again and again over the years. Our spring workshops are just around the corner, and we hope you will jump on the this chance to train your new and/or seasoned employees how to deal with your customers in a warm and friendly fashion that will make your business even busier.
Service has become quite the buzz these days because most people feel it is more or less disappearing. I have a number of articles addressing this dilemma that have appeared in Time Magazine, The Readers' Digest, The Denver Post, etc., all of which were lamenting the dearth of good service out there today. We can be a part of the solution by training our employees how to deliver the goods in the service area and enhance your business as well as the economic stability of the entire town.
Workshops are being offered at the Chamber June 5 from 9-11 a.m., June 6 from 1-3 p.m. and June 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. We have tried to schedule at the three different times of day to make it easy for those businesses that deal in shift work or those who simply can't spare an employee during regular hours. The cost is minimal so absolutely everyone can afford to send their entire work corps: $5 per person for Chamber members and $10 per person for non-members. Give us a call or just drop by to let us know how many employees we can expect from your business. Just call 264-2360 with questions. Oh, I almost forget to mention that we always have a great time during these workshops - I insist upon it.
Just one more reminder that the Rotary Club has set the theme for their July 4 parade, and that theme is "Land That I Love." In addition, they will award $100 to the float designated as the most patriotic entry. We hope to have the entry forms real soon, so put on those creative hats and start putting that float together.
I have one new member to welcome this week and two renewals. We love this part, you know.
We extend a warm welcome to new member, Nancy Green, who brings us the Spirit Elk Gallery located at 117 Navajo Trail Drive, Suite A (formerly the Claire Goldrick Gallery). This is a fabulous and fun gallery/gift shop featuring fine art, Navajo folk art, jewelry, sculptures, pottery, stained glass, wool rugs, garden sculptures and much, much more. Please stop by to say hello to Nancy or give her a call at 731-4565 to learn more.
We want to thank the Harts, Bob and Mary, for our next two renewals. Bob rejoins us with Hart Construction Company, and both Bob and Mary rejoin with Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat. We also want to take this opportunity to thank Mary for her service as a Diplomat at the Visitor Center for a second year.
Museum reminiscing was a big Memorial Day treat
What a beautiful Memorial Day weekend.
I hope everyone kept in mind the reason for this holiday and honored our veterans and their families. They can never be appreciated enough.
One of the Memorial Day treats was the free tour of the Pioneer Museum for Seniors. We thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about early days in Pagosa Springs and certainly appreciate the opportunity extended by these folks. This is definitely a place everyone should visit if they want to learn something about the history of Pagosa.
Frances Belarde is the newest member of our Archuleta Senior Citizens, Inc. Welcome Frances. There are many advantages to membership and we hope more folks will take advantage of the nominal $3 fee.
Several fun activities are planned by our wonderful staff. On June 8 we will have a picnic in the park. A shopping trip to Durango is scheduled June 10. The number required to travel to Durango has been lowered to six, so we hope this will help keep this service available. We will visit the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park June 14; transportation will be provided, leaving at 9:30 a.m. from the Senior Center or you may request to be picked up at your home by calling for reservations. The charge for transportation and admission to the park is $6.75. The bus still transports seniors to and from the Lodge for free swimming on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. For a complete list of upcoming activities and menus, please pick up the Summertime Super Bulletin prepared by Cindy and Musetta at the Senior Center. It is awesome.
John Larson is our Senior of the Week. Congratulations. We are proud to honor such a nice gentleman who is a regular attendee.
On Friday we were pleased to welcome Karen Feldt, daughter of Dotie Smith, and Salvatore Martinez. We honored the May birthday folks on Friday. A belated happy birthday to Jan Hartzell, Edith Dame, Ilse Hurt, Pauline Castillo, Sophie Jacobson, Salvatore Martinez, Cindy Gustafson, Muriel Cronkhite, Kurt Killion, Betty James, James Archuleta, Bruce and Mary Muirhead, Marion Baker, Raymond James, Jack Constant and Phil Ives.
The Senior Center has some requests for donations, if some of you desire to help. We need photo albums, a long table for setting up our three computers, a couch table (long, narrow) to serve for a sign-up station, and video tapes for our planned video library. The Archuleta Senior Citizens, Inc. is a 501-C-3 organization so donations are tax deductible.
Dona Piña from Social Services visited us Friday and asked that we publicize the need for volunteers to cut and gather fire wood, to be donated to needy folks this winter. The folks at Elk Park have donated the trees so she just needs help getting it cut and stacked. Please contact Dona at 264-2182 if you can help.
Water-based programming becoming summer must
Water is the most abundant resource on our planet. Humans, early on in their embryonic development, boast webbed fingers and toes. And even when we abandon the womb, we don't abandon water. The substance composes most of our body makeup.
Small wonder, then, that water-based programming is so popular at the recreation center. With warm weather fast approaching - a sizzling three month stretch - the center is gearing up with new pool hours and more creative aquatic programs.
The recreation center will begin its summer business hours June 4. The hours will be: 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
During the week, open swimming begins at noon. Morning hours are reserved for scheduled classes, swim team training and group swim lessons. Lap swimming is available daily during morning and evening hours except from 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday when the swim team uses the whole pool.
To keep our members from being stuck on the same-old, same-old water exercise routine, two energetic demonstration classes will be offered June 6 at 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. Both classes are free to recreation center members. A second and third demonstration class will be offered June 9 at 9 a.m. and June 10, also at 9 a.m.
These classes are great low-impact alternatives for people with joint aches, weight problems, and the older set. Get a high intensity, fat-burning workout in an environment that manages and displaces body weight.
Many diehard landlubbers may be hesitant to try water exercises. Why? Quite simply, they think it's a wimpy workout. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Water exercise, though more gentle on the joints, packs quite a punch. We have a number of senior women who have said their doctors tell them never-ever give up on water exercises because of the strength it's given them.
Many parents want someplace wholesome to bring their children during summer vacation. A pool is such a place. Some parents have already started planning their children's summer swim lessons. Swim lessons at the recreation center will begin June 18 for preschool and school-aged children. Since class size will be limited to four students for preschool age and five to six students for school age, please do not wait until the last minute to register your child. The first session will run June 18-28. Sessions 2 and 3 are July 9-19, and July 23 - Aug. 2. The fourth and last session for this summer will be Aug. 6-16.
One species here, more hummers coming
We have two major species of humming birds here in Archuleta County. The Broadtail, which is here now, and the Rufous, coming soon.
The Broadtail comes from eastern Guatemala, and goes clear up to Montana. It usually winters in Mexico. They like to breed in aspen, pine, spruce and fir trees.
Their migration depends on weather patterns, and flower availability during the migration. In spring, males reach Arizona in late February and get to Colorado in late April. Spring arrival dates are associated with the blossom appearance in various species of wildflowers.
Breeding begins in early May down south and early June up here. It ends by mid-August. Typically one, but possibly two broods are raised each year.
Nesting coincides with the availability of flower nectar. After mating, male and female go their separate ways. The female raises the young by herself. Males are promiscuous but many fail to mate each year. Males are aggressive in holding their territories in the summer.
Re-occupancy of nests has been reported with the same female returning in subsequent years. But different females are known to use the same site in succeeding years.
First egg dates vary depending on many factors including snow-melt. A usual clutch size is two eggs. Incubation lasts 14-17 days. Young leave the nest at approximately 23 days of age.
The males migrate northward as much as three weeks earlier in the spring than females. And in the fall, they leave earlier than the females and the babies. According to a great web site, "hummingbirds.net," the reason for the early scouting is to protect the females by finding good food sites early. The site also says that the average lifespan is 3 to 4 years, but one Colorado female is known to have lived 12 years.
The Hummingbird is the symbol of the spreader of life on the Earth according to the Taino Native American people who were the first to meet Columbus in 1492. They believe "The Hummingbird is very peaceful but protects its own homeland with the heart of an Eagle."
We have sphinx moths here that look and act very much like hummingbirds. If you'd like to know more about the sphinx moth, ask for a web address from us. The above information comes from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
We'll share information about the rude Rufous later.
"Once Upon a Time" will be the theme for this year's summer reading program. The six-week ongoing summer activity will begin June 11 and run through July 21. The final party will be July 25.
We encourage all parents to sign up their children for this fun program. In fact, we encourage everyone to sign up - age is no barrier. Last year our oldest participant was 69, and the youngest was still in the womb. This year we would love to see entire families sign up.
Come in any time during the week of June 11 and get all of the particulars. Each week, we have contests, games, crafts and drawings for prizes. Different activity sheets are available each week for the various age groups.
It is a proven fact that keeping reading skills up during the summer leads to better school work in the fall. We want reading to be fun, not a chore. We want the children to look forward to reading as a basic and joyful part of life. To this end, we try to have our summer reading program comfortable and enjoyable for all.
Don't worry if you can't get signed up the first week. Open registration runs for several weeks. Just be sure and get in as soon after June 11 as possible.
We plan to have the preschool story time each Tuesday and Friday morning at 11 a.m., the first one starting June 15.
For more information, call the Library at 264-2209.
Thanks for materials from Barr Bentley, Carl Jolliff, Paulette Mobley, Beverly Niesen, Carl Lungstrum, Linda Cobb-Reiley, Richard and Martha Hamilton.
Thermal imaging camera aids firefighters
One of the newest additions to firefighting technology is the thermal imaging camera, and the good news is that the Pagosa Fire Protection District has one, a hand-held model.
The camera also comes with a helmet mount.
This amazing invention, developed by the military, allows firefighters to see through smoke and darkness, to locate trapped individuals, and to assess temperatures in a room.
It can find the source of fires, detect hidden fires, assess hazardous material containers, and aid in the training of firefighters.
Seeing is believing when you see what the camera does. Without it, a firefighter enters a smoke-filled room and gropes. He can hardly see his hand in front of his face. But with the camera, a whole new world opens. A firefighter can detect where people are or might have been, can see hot spots, and structural damage such as holes in the floor.
The things to be spotted are white globs. When Fire Chief Warren Grams gave me a walk-through demonstration, I held the camera and turned and saw the white footprints I'd left.
The camera only weighs a little over five pounds.
Flashover is the sudden spread of flame in an area caused by high temperatures that can get to 1,100 degrees. This is the leading cause of death among firefighters on the job.
The temperature gauge on the side of the camera helps. A firefighter can point the camera to the ceiling and get a reading, but the turn-out gear firefighters wear protects them so well that at times it is hard to realize that the temperatures are reaching a dangerous level. And this is where another invention can help, a small transmitter that takes the image from the camera and transmits it to a television screen outside. Then if the situation is bad, the firefighter can be warned. This will be another purchase for PFPD and Chief Grams says the district will have one.
Cost is the drawback for small towns. The thermal imaging camera that PFPD has is a $23,000 camera that cost them $16,000.
I got interested in the thermal imaging camera last spring when I overhead a man who'd just moved here full-time say: "I'm so impressed with the fire department for they have a thermal imaging camera." And now that I have seen it, so am I.
The first ever Pagosa Fiber Fest held Saturday and Sunday was colorful, delightful and educational.
Attendance was full-house, both days. Thanks to Dave and Susie Belt who have Echo Mountain Alpacas and Colorado State University Cooperative Extension for providing us with such a wonderful weekend, and thanks (ahead of time) for doing the same next year.
Fun on the run
A reporter was interviewing Jack Nicklaus and said, "Jack, you are spectacular, your name is synonymous with the game of golf. You really know your way around the course. What is your secret?"
To which Jack replied, "The holes are numbered!"
Inanimate objects tease with perversity
I believe in the perversity of inanimate objects.
In fact, when it comes to being perverse, contrary, inanimate objects have it all over the animate ones. Things are totally unpredictable. They follow their own laws of behavior.
Your dog, now, he wants to please. Even when he's being a pain in the neck, you know he's trying. He wags that tail, six objects fly off the coffee table and smash to smithereens, but you can't really get mad. Old Fido was just being sociable.
And cats, well they may seem perverse, but they're really just letting you know the rules. As soon as you understand when to set out the food dish and what to put in it, why, Puff's pretty happy. You can give her a rub behind the ears, but only when she indicates that it's appropriate. Life is good.
Even the small-brained creatures, like the chickens our daughter-in-law is currently raising, are pretty predictable. Let 'em out of the hen house to pick at the grass and bugs, keep the dogs away, and they'll behave just like you expect.
But those inanimate objects, computers and cars and pens and washing machines, they're impossible to control. And it's hard to predict just when something will rear back and say, figuratively speaking, "I've had it" or "I'm mad and I'm not going to take it any more."
My computer for instance, periodically throws information out the window. Or into cyberspace. Or wherever. A friend sent me a new e-mail address. I entered it into the mail program's address book. I used it to communicate.
Suddenly this week it's gone and all I can find is the old, no longer valid, address.
Why did my computer revert to old information? I'll bet Hotshot my resident computer technician could figure it out, but I sure can't. And why isn't the problem; it's the what. This shouldn't happen.
Sometimes Ol'Paint, my Suburban, starts making a funny noise. You know, one of those chirps that sounds like a cricket's loose in the back. Or a tick-tick-tick up front, say, under the dashboard or in the steering column. What do you do?
Hotshot usually starts fussing with everything, reaching under the dash to those vague scary places where lots of color-coded wires gather together. Or he presses different places to see if the noise will stop.
Not me. I turn up the volume on the radio and hope the noise will go away. And sometimes it does.
Objects are perverse. I think sometimes that they just want to tease us a little, see if we're paying attention.
Hotshot and Ol'Paint and I took a trip recently. The car was really pretty good. Two years ago, the rear differential seized up, the universal joints snapped, or whatever it is that they do, and the drive shaft dropped to the road. The shop that rebuilt and replaced things did an okay job, except that they didn't balance the drive shaft properly.
So for two years, whenever you got the speed up to 65 mph, poor Ol'Paint shuddered and moaned and vibrated and thrummed and scared the whey out of whoever was in the car.
Since she's my car, I coped with this problem by not driving over 65. Simple solution. Also, I thought the problem couldn't be fixed; that it was just something I'd have to live with.
Actually, it meant that we never worried about going over the speed limit. When the brake lights up ahead went on, as other drivers suddenly realized there was a state trooper with a radar gun hiding behind that bit of scrub brush, we had peace of mind. We knew we weren't speeding, because our teeth weren't rattling.
We got the drive shaft balanced while visiting our kids back east. It seems a long way to go for a mechanical job. If I hadn't believed so strongly in the natural perversity of objects, we might have gotten the problem fixed sooner.
But we couldn't fix the problem with my eyeglasses. This was a true example of what I'm talking about. Those glasses didn't want to be with me anymore.
Fortunately, I just use reading glasses, so we're not talking big money here. But I'm always misplacing them. Hotshot's getting tired of watching me pad around the house, searching.
My solution is to have several pairs around the place. At the computer desks. In the cars. Beside the bed. I really liked this pair that went on the trip. They were comfortable and not bad looking. But, they had clear plastic frames. Darned hard to find, once I laid them down.
I lost them a couple of weeks before we left, picking up highway trash. The glasses fell out of my shirt pocket. Fortunately, I'd been wearing a sweater over the shirt until just a short while before I realized the glasses were gone. I had an idea about where to look for them. And amazing and wonderful to tell, I found them in the tall grass.
I guess they weren't quite ready to leave yet. They were still testing out the idea, like a two-year-old, who wants to run away but also wants you to chase and catch him.
One evening during the trip we went out to dinner with friends. I laid the specs on the table, and walked out of the restaurant without them. Not until we got back to the house did I miss them. Fortunately, it wasn't too long a drive back to the restaurant.
But they finally made the break, when we stopped for lunch at picnic table beside the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Maybe they got wrapped up with the garbage. Maybe they were knocked to the ground and hid in the grass.
Maybe they just sat quietly on the table while we gathered up our picnic things and took them back to the car. The table was gray concrete; my glasses could have blended right in, like an octopus on the ocean floor. he time I missed them we were 60 miles down the road and there was no turning back. They had made it. Escaped.
I don't know what they'll do with all that freedom. But I'm sure they'll have no trouble figuring out what to do next.
They'll go their own way, perversely. Like other inanimate objects.
Litigation over, WWII Memorial can begin
As many of you veterans know, especially World War II veterans, a rather extensive Memorial is being planned for the area between Lincoln and Washington Monuments in Washington DC.
Since we just celebrated Memorial Day, I thought it would be appropriate and interesting to bring you a progress report on how the memorial is coming along.
A recent development you may have seen in the news is some controversy and litigation concerning the memorial placement next to the reflection pools that separate the Lincoln and Washington Monuments. This has caused delays for some time in the memorial construction. The real victims of these delays are the members of America's WWII generation, who must wait even longer for their memorial to be completed. Of 16 million who served in uniform during the war, the Veterans Administration estimates that only 5 million are still alive, and we lose 1,100 each day!
I'm glad to report that as of last week, I have learned from Bill Clark, Archuleta County's WWII Memorial field representative, litigation and delays have finally been settled and construction and completion of the memorial may now proceed.
The National World War II Memorial will be the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during World War II. The memorial, which will be established by the American Battle Monuments Commission, will honor all military veterans of the war, the citizens on the home front, the nation at large, and the high moral purpose and idealism that motivated the nation's call to arms.
It will be located on the National mall in Washington, D.C. at the Rainbow Pool site at the east end of the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. This prominent location is commensurate with the historical importance and lasting significance of World War II to America and the world.
President Clinton dedicated the memorial site during a formal ceremony on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1995. The design was created by architect Friedrich St. Florian.
The memorial will be funded almost entirely by private contributions. Leading the fundraising campaign are the national campaign chairman former Senator Bob Dole, and co-chairman Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corp.
You can support the World War II Memorial by becoming a charter member of the World War II Memorial Society, and enrolling members of the World War II generation in the Registry of Remembrances.
You can write the memorial at: National World War II Memorial, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 501, Arlington, Va. 22201
A website for the memorial has also been created: www.wwIImem orial.com.
For information on this and other veteran's benefits 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, or Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
First BMX races slated Saturday at South Pagosa Park
The first BMX race at South Pagosa Park will start the bike season Saturday at 10 a.m. The day will begin with a track clean-up, racing will start after lunch at 2 p.m. People wanting to help or race can show up and take part in the activities. A free lunch will be served to everyone in attendance, compliments of the South Pagosa Park Committee.
For more information about the first race on the South Pagosa BMX track contact the recreation department at Town Hall, 264-4151.
The first adult softball games took place last Wednesday with games played at 6:30, 7:45 and 9 p.m. Game schedules are available at Town Hall, at the games, and are posted at the Sports Complex.
The two girls fast-pitch teams - Pagosa Red Sox and the Pagosa Astros - were in action last week. The Astros played Bayfield's Mining Equipment team last Monday and lost 14-11. The Red Sox played against Ignacio at the Sports Complex last night. Both teams also played this week at the Sports Complex. The next home game for the Astros is June 4 at 6 p.m.
The youth baseball program changed to the "non-school night" schedule this week which changes game times and length of games. Games are still being played on Tuesday and Wednesday 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 a season-ending party set for July 2.
Senior league baseball, for player's ages 13-14, is also underway, with two teams, the Pirates and the A's. The two Pagosa teams played each other twice last week with the Pirates winning both. Tonight the Pirates will play Kroeger's of Durango at 6 p.m. at the Sports Complex.
Clinic and Challenge
This year's baseball clinic will again be held in conjunction with the Colorado Rockies Skills Challenge. The clinic will take place Friday and Saturday mornings 9-11:30 a.m on June 1-2. The Rockies Skills Challenge will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. following the baseball clinic. Both events are free and no preregistration is required.
More information about the clinic can be obtained from Summer at 264-4151.
The Park Fun program will start June 4 for children ages 5-8. This year's program will be held in the junior high gym with summer activities including swimming, crafts, playground activities, hikes and much more.
Information and registration forms are available at Town Hall.
Adult Protection works for elderly
May is Older American Month.
Donna Piña is the Adult Protection Case Manager for the Archuleta County Department of Social Services. I'd like to take a moment to explain what Adult Protection is, what Donna does, and how it affects our community.
There are people in our community who are being abused through self-neglect, financial exploitation (illegal or improper use of an "At-Risk" adult's financial resources for another person's profit or advantage), caregiver or family neglect, physical and emotional abuse. These people include vulnerable adults who may be physically or mentally disabled, dependent or frail elderly, or adults who grew up in dysfunctional families with abusive situations such as alcohol or substance abuse or domestic violence.
Adult Protection intervenes with or on behalf of the adult who is unable to safely plan or care for themselves. Adult Protection also works with adults who may be in a crisis situation, without outside help, and need assistance to prevent serious consequences such as homelessness, financial or health issues.
For example: A client may have a mental disease or disorder and doesn't have any outside support, such as friends or relatives to rely on. Donna will establish a rapport with the client and assist with day-to-day needs through volunteers and/or resources available for the specific needs. She will work as a liaison between the client and other agencies. In some crisis situations it may be necessary to obtain a court-appointed conservatorship or guardianship (temporary or permanent) in order to stabilize the crisis.
How does Adult Protection find out about an "At-Risk" adult? They work through outreach programs and personal involvement with the public. Referrals are often made by the adult themselves, or concerned family members, neighbors, doctors, other health agencies and law enforcement.
How are referrals handled? Archuleta County Department of Social Services has established an Adult Resource Team that meets once a month. The team's mission statement is "To help and protect the elderly and at risk adults through resource and referral." The members are a group of volunteers from the lay community, Senior Center, law enforcement, San Juan Area Agency on Aging, South West Mental Health, San Juan Basin Health and the Department of Social Services.
The Adult Resource Team is set up to take reports on anyone who is concerned about a specific person or situation. Such reports can be made to any member of the team who will in turn report to the Adult Caseworker or Manager at Social Services. The collaboration of efforts between team members allows them to assist a client with the best resources available to meet the client's needs. They utilize resources from both Archuleta County and La Plata County. Additionally, to ensure the privacy of all parties involved, every report is treated with complete confidentiality.
Donna does public speaking at various churches and organizations to reach out and educate the community on the need for volunteers. While this has been successful, the need for volunteers is continual. Currently, Donna is working on recruiting volunteers for a large project. This project will help supply at risk adults and seniors with wood for this coming winter.
For more details on volunteering, call Donna at 264-2182.
Art an incidental skill for Donna Cooper
A lifetime resident of Colorado, and a resident of Pagosa Springs for almost 30 years, Donna Cooper shares her gift of art with the community and state.
Starting today, Donna will display her artwork at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery. The opening will be held 5-7 p.m.
Donna, who has Down Syndrome, is the daughter of Bob and Peg Cooper. Never treating Donna as a handicapped child or adult, many years were spent trying to find solutions for Donna. There were not a lot of programs available when Donna was a small child, so Bob and Peg made things happen. Because of their efforts, Community Connections Inc., which is a Community Centered Board for the State of Colorado, began services in Pagosa Springs for folks with developmental disabilities.
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 has been employed at Pizza Hut for eight years under the guiding hands of Angel Harris, Eric Booth, Kathy Clark and Doug Blair. For the past two years, Margie Martinez has been Donna's Community Interaction Job Coach, monitoring and encouraging her.
Community Interaction Jobs is one service of Community Connections Inc. This provides an example of corporate and employer support to persons who otherwise wouldn't enjoy such opportunities.
Donna participates in the CCI residential program which affords her a stable lifestyle. Living semi-independently has allowed her to discover her wonderful gifts and expand her horizons. She has the opportunity to learn homemaking skills, art, skiing, music and job skills. Donna is able to experience a life that might not be possible otherwise.
Because Donna has always excelled in sports, it is not surprising she has repeatedly won Special Olympics medals in bowling, skiing, snow shoeing and swimming.
Donna is very fortunate to live in such a warm, responsive hometown as Pagosa Springs. Besides her family being involved in her daily life, Donna is greeted by friends at local stores and restaurants. Her art has been displayed at many local shops, including her postcards and Christmas cards. She has had art shows at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery, and the Quartz Ridge Gallery. Her show at the Arts Council gallery will run until June 13.
The PSAC is sponsoring a summer arts camp June 11-29 at the Pagosa Springs Elementary School for students in grades one through nine.
The camp will feature pottery, drawing, painting, sculpture, fiber art, puppets, oil candles, kites, baskets, mosaics, jewelry and more.
Art instructors are Lisa Brown, Tessie Garcia and Michelle Smith. Information on the camp can be picked up at the Town Park gallery or by calling Tessie at 264-2229 ext. 357 or 731-9244.
Any artist interested in displaying work at the gallery in Town Park needs to know there is only one exhibit slot left for the entire year, Sept. 6-19, so call the gallery at 264-5020 if you are interested.
Pet Pride Day
The PSAC is sponsoring the first annual Pet Pride Day Bird House Contest. Each exhibitor may submit up to two individual birdhouses for display at the gallery. Commercially produced birdhouses or assembled kits will not be accepted.
There are three categories for participants: under 10 years of age, 10 to 18 years and adults. Prizes will be awarded for each category and the winning birdhouses will be on display at the gallery for two weeks.
Entries can be dropped off at the gallery by 5 p.m. June 22. There is a $5 entry fee. Judging will take place at 2 p.m. on Pet Pride Day.
The PSAC and Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club will celebrate Pagosa Fiesta June 16, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. in Town Park. There will be lots of entertainment, including open mic, arts and crafts, and booths featuring delicious foods. The event will kick off with a parade at 10 a.m.
Anyone interested in participating in the parade or renting booth space can stop by the gallery or call 264-5020.
A Chamber of Commerce/PSAC SunDowner will be held at Town Park June 27, 5-7 p.m. Please join us for an evening filled with good food, art and entertainment. We will have a silent auction; anyone interested in donating items, call the gallery at 264-5020 or Jennifer Harnick at 731-3113.
Don't miss Jeff Laydon and the PSAC radio show the second Thursday of each month, 8:05-8:35 a.m. Tune to 1400 AM and hear the latest art news.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, until Labor Day.
Would the persons who donated a Harold Larson or Lois Silver print to the rummage sale in March, please contact JoAnn at the gallery, 264-5020.
Praise where it's due
Like death and taxes, it's a certainty: whenever and wherever people have a comfortable economic life and plenty of time to burn, we will have property owners associations.
Usually, deservedly, these associations are objects of derision; when they go bad, they go very bad.
Not this time. At least for now.
When did you last read an editorial praising the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association?
Have you ever read an editorial praising the PLPOA?
Here's your chance.
With three directors leaving the PLPOA board this summer, it is time to give them and their colleagues credit for relative sanity and positive activity, for swimming against the tide, for a change of pace.
For many years, the PLPOA - important by virtue of thousands of property-owning, tax-paying members - operated under varying degrees of delusion.
Bedrock for the behavior was the belief held by many directors and staff members that there actually is a Pagosa Lakes. It is not found on a legitimate map of the state, nor is it recognized by the U.S. Post Office, but some people thought there was a community west of Pagosa Springs that was more than a loose collocation of subdivisions, residents bound together by deed-restricted inclusion in the association.
When delusion mixed with an enormous amount of money, you had an organization that pretended to be a government, that tried to operate services best left to statutory entities, that postured as if there was parity (and sometimes more) between it and legitimate local government.
Over the years, the organization tilted at a succession of windmills, jousted with a series of enemies - some real, some exaggerated by propaganda to comic proportions.
Factions developed that fought bitter and petty battles with each other. An expensive bureaucracy was fertilized and grew like a weed.
Internal battles reached a fever pitch several years ago and a major transition began. Out with the old, in with the new: the old administrative bureaucracy was dismantled, and a carpetbagger took its place with out-of-town management hired to run association affairs. Rancor developed again, with members of the board divided and venomous.
But the dust finally settled and, for the past year or so, change has occurred, a little at a time.
First, the carpetbaggers were sent packing and a manager who maintains a residence in the community was hired. The manager has shown himself to be moderate, sensible, not inclined to construct an empire.
The directors seem to realize they steer a property owners association - not a pseudo government. Their attitude, for the most part, has been cooperative, prone to compromise and rational discussion. They do not, as did previous regimes, seem willing, even eager to pick fights, to be abrasive, to thump chests, rattle sabers.
This group seems focused on providing constituents with meaningful services. There is no need to send out newsletters touting the often incompetent and dishonest actions of a pretend police force. Seldom are the persistent, pained howls of property owners heard as they are brought before the Inquisition of an architectural covenants committee bent on exerting its authority. There are no plans hatched for incorporation of a municipal entity.
This board seems to want to provide services where use is greatest. Efforts are afoot to enhance amenities for members - an expansion of the recreation center, work on lakes and trails. There appears to be an understanding that legitimate services include reasonable enforcement of covenants - enforcement unmarked by the heavy hand - dog control, maintenance of lakes and fisheries and clubhouses.
Fortunately - for association members, for the Pagosa community as a whole - the tent has been struck, folded and put in storage. The carnival has left town.
Hopefully, the new board seated this summer will see fit to continue the trend.
'Hair' to eternity to revisit Pagosa
When Barry McGuire performed in Pagosa in 1983, many still associated him with his lead role in the musical "Hair." The posters about his upcoming concert with Terry Talbot Saturday night in the high school auditorium indicate, that like many of us, hair is no longer a prominent part of his life.
Barry's earlier visit came to mind in November when our youngest grandchildren, Macey and Peyton, and their parents visited at Thanksgiving.
Our No. 3 son, Danny was about 11 years old when Barry sang at the old high school gym in November 1983. By the conclusion of the concert Dan said he just had to have a Barry McGuire tape. One that had ". . . bullfrogs and butterflies, they both been born again, bullfrogs and butterflies . . ." I forget what it cost, but that tape outlived two Chevy pickups and eventually established residency in the SUN's current Chevy van.
Whereas other tapes wore out or were "eaten" by the tape deck, "Bullfrogs and Butterflies" not only had "both been born again," their tape appeared to be destined to live forever. No matter how scratched, gritty and dusty the blue plastic cartridge became, the tape still reproduced Barry's jovial raspy voice and the various songs he had written.
With Danny eventually following Horace Greeley's advice and going west, the tape was played less but somehow escaped the litter bag and eventual disposal.
While cleaning the van in November to prepare it for our visiting royalty, I unearthed the "Bullfrogs and Butterflies" tape. Its gearwheels contained more lint than a fat man's navel, but after a good shaking and blast of air, the lyrics and music were still discernible when the tape was played in a tape deck.
Naturally my mind focused on the grandchildren once their plane landed at Durango and stayed there for the remainder of the week. It wasn't until we were driving to the airport for their return flight home that I remembered to play the tape.
For a tape to sound gravelly and gritty is no problem when Barry McGuire's the vocalist. Or if the song is "Bullfrogs and Butterflies" and the "Danny and Dad Duet" are singing along. Talk about memories. By the time we reached Gem Village Macey was joining us on the chorus.
The rest of the story didn't surface until a few weeks later when Macey failed to rewind the tape after the bullfrog song ended.
Whereas McGuire's early music and lyrics reflected his thinking on the answers to life as he understood them prior to his becoming a Christian, the same held true after he read a copy of "Good News for Modern Man" - a then contemporary translation of the New Testament - and made a decision to become a Christian. So "Bullfrogs and Butterflies" was his means of describing the conversion - being born again - aspect of his faith. However, the next song on the tape, "Prince of Peace," offered an alternative to the chemically-induced peace offered by the "dropped out" life-style that he had embraced in the '60s and '70s.
No one explained all this to Macey until one evening she excitedly announced: "Daddy, Daddy come in here, something's wrong. 'The world's gone insane, people are blowing out their brains, flying off of bridges, lying down in front of trains, shooting dope to cope . . .' Daddy you've got to come find the bullfrogs and butterflies."
I'm not sure if Danny tried to offer an explanation, but he did buy a CD of Barry's song. Somehow he's able to program the CD player to keep repeating the same song. I'll be interested to see if it lasts as long as the 1983 tape. Even if it doesn't, I pray it's as good of an investment.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
100 years ago
Taken from The Weekly Times of May 30, 1901
General Lyons Camp of Sons of Veterans of Pagosa Springs will hold a declaratory contest in the near future to which the pupils of the public schools only are eligible. The declarations will all be of patriotic nature; the successful contestant will be presented with a handsome Lincoln Medal which will be placed on exhibition for sometime before the contest.
Dr. Clock was slightly hurt by his horse falling on him the fore part of the week.
Leon Montroy is building a residence on his lots east of the Park.
The dance at Phillips Hall Thursday evening of last week was well attended and a good time enjoyed. The clerk of the feed store was not there.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 28, 1926
At this late day we have been informed of a marriage that took place on last October 20th, when Mr. Ray Murray and Miss Blanche Putnam, both of Pagosa Springs, were united in marriage at Bernalillo, New Mexico. We have sufficient reason for keeping silent all these months, the young couple failing to inform anyone, even their immediate families until just a few days ago.
It has been proposed, and in good order too, that a restroom and comfort station should be established at Hilltop Cemetery for the benefit of the general public. Its distance from town makes the need the more urgent.
On last Saturday, May 22nd, the day being set for the annual clean-up day at the cemetery, about 200 people gathered there and spent the day working.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of June 1, 1951
The Belarde Brothers saw mill located on the Trujillo Road just south of town was damaged considerably last Friday when it caught fire from the slab pit. The Pagosa Springs Volunteer Fire Department and the county fire truck as well as a considerable number of people responded to call for aid and the mill was saved from total destruction.
The west side of Wolf Creek Pass was the scene of the fourth truck accident in as many weeks on Monday night of this week. According to the driver, the truck jumped out of gear coming down this side of the pass. He ran the truck into the bank once in an attempt to stop it, but the truck, a large transport loaded with four new cars bounced back into the highway. The men then jumped after the truck had attained a speed of more than 60 miles an hour.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 27, 1976
Pagosa Springs received its official bicentennial certificate, the county a community received an official bicentennial flag, and the San Juan Historical Society museum opened last Saturday. Approximately 150 residents turned out to witness the ceremonies at the museum.
Roy Martinez, Pagosa Springs High School, is included in the 1976 Prep Basketball "Athletes of the Year" annual, it was announced today by Coach and Athlete Magazine and Coach Rick Patten, Pagosa High School. The athletes are representative of the most outstanding basketball players in their school and community.
Most residents of Archuleta County have one asset that has weathered the depression in fine shape. It is the homes they own. They have zoomed in value in the last few years.
Special Olympics held the torch high
It's a saying we've all heard in one form or another:
"Don't complain until you've walked a mile in another's shoes!"
Those associated with Special Olympics in Pagosa Springs and elsewhere have full knowledge of the meaning of that phrase.
They work with youngsters whose handicaps we can barely fathom. But the youngsters, themselves, often seem not to realize they have an impediment.
They train for Special Olympics just as any "gifted" athlete would. They show joy over success and learn to accept failure just as the national Olympians do.
Watching them perform May 19 in the swimming lanes at Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center was an inspirational experience.
Take, for example, the girl who had no feet. Was this lack of "normal" bodily accoutrements an impediment? Not at all. This was a person with a mission: "Perform to the best of your ability."
It is a lesson each of us could take to heart.
How often have we done a lackluster job for our parents, our employer or our teammates? How often have we disappointed ourselves by not living up to the standards we set for ourselves.
These youngsters have no illusions about their best. They give everything they have in competition and in daily life. For some it is a life based on the assistance of others. For some it is a challenge they meet by themselves.
Depth of character is nowhere more evident than in the competitive smile, the full expenditure of available physical energy and the congratulatory handshake with a competitor that these athletes display.
Their joy in parading through town after their performance was evident. Those who could march the distance did. Others were in vehicles waving to a sparse public which obviously didn't know - or care - what all the sirens and fire truck horns were signifying.
The Olympic torch bearer held her flame high throughout the walk, a signal that she was entrusted with the emotional charge for all her teammates and opponents.
The few gathered along their path to find out what the noise was all about reacted with applause when they saw the banners signifying the identity of the participants. Some younger children watching did not understand the importance of these youths being able to take such a walk. Older folks came out of store fronts and applauded as the short parade passed. Few, however, had a real idea of why this parade was so important.
It wasn't just a passing in review of athletes who competed at the highest level possible for them. It was visible evidence that a handicap is only in the eye of the beholder.
These people refuse to accept the fact they may be different from others. To them it is all part of life. They deal with reverses. They live for their successes. They want to be known as true competitors.
It is too bad that many "normal" adults don't understand this basic philosophy of life. Too many of them think only in terms of financial betterment without considering the emotional and spiritually sensitive elements which go into life.
Instead of doing the best they can with the talents given them, they attempt to overachieve and often destroy their own efforts by trying to do more than is logically possible for them.
The Special Olympics participants have no accomplishment boundaries. They don't realize they're not supposed to be able to do the things they accomplish. They don't understand they are supposed to be handicapped.
The real handicapped, it seems, are those who can't understand why events like this one are so important.
There was advance notice the swimming competition, parade and park reception afterward were to take place. It would have been nice to see hundreds of spectators saluting the performers instead of the few dozen (total for all elements of the event) who actually acknowledged the performance of these Special people.
To the credit of the people of Pagosa Springs and Cortez, programs such as this one are offering Special Youth a chance to perform, giving them an idea that they are the equivalent of anyone else they might meet on the street and assuring them they have the capacity to deal with both success and defeat.
It would be remiss not to salute, too, the firemen and police officers who assisted in the parade, the fun they afforded the participants by allowing them to experience the thrill of using a fire hose and directing the spray or turret of water at a specific target. (Those who were soaked during the effort didn't seem to mind).
Those who coordinated, operated and worried about the event, as well as each of those who participated as a Special Olympics athlete, should be accorded as much thanks from the community as would the players on a state championship high school team.
This, truly, is one of those examples of behind-the-scenes Pagosa Country effort that go to make up the collective psyche of the best place to live in all America.
It is obvious many residents have learned not to criticize the effort or lack of effort of others until they have walked the same mile.
Congratulations to all involved with Special Olympics. You make Pagosa proud.
Pagosa Country map hasn't changed much
A map of Pagosa Country during the early 1890s would have shown little difference between the layout of the country then and the layout today. Generally, communities across the county are in the same place now as then, and so are the roads. A lot of minor road changes have been made, along with a couple of major road changes.
The biggest change concerning roads has taken place along the old government road up the East Fork of the San Juan River and across Elwood Pass to Summitville and the San Luis Valley. Until 1916, the Wolf Creek Pass road across the San Juan Mountains didn't exist. Instead, people from the east used either Elwood Pass or Cumbres Pass to reach Pagosa Springs. The road from Chama to the Navajo River also followed a different route, but we're not going to examine that difference in this article.
The road over Elwood Pass still exists, but you need a 4-wheel drive to use it. Lots of small mining communities came and went along that route. This week we note the community of Elwood, which grew large enough to merit a post office. Today, no Elwood.
To the south, a dirt road ran to Amargo. Along that road ran daily stage coaches connecting Pagosa Springs with the narrow gauge railroad which ran through Amargo. Today, no Amargo.
Over the past few weeks, we've been commenting on people and events of Amargo, whose residents were closely connected to Pagosa Springs. Today we have more news from the Amargo of 1893. Already we are seeing clues as to why today there is no Amargo.
Newspaper item, Sept. 8, 1893: If Ed Vorhang cannot get protection from the authorities of Rio Arriba County or the territory of New Mexico he should apply to the federal government. The government will protect a homesteader living on his claim, and The News hopes it will make it pretty warm for the parties implicated in the cowardly destruction of Vorhang's property, and the murderers who are seeking his life.
Motter's comment: Editor Eggers fails to mention what has been reported in the past, that Ed Vorhang's claim is the town of Amargo containing several bars, hotels, general stores, an assay office, train depot, livery stable, restaurants, and residences. Most of those people went into business before Vorhang's claim was recognized by the U.S. of A.
When Vorhang sent them notices of rent due or offered to sell them property they already believed they owned, even though they were upset they exhibited considerable restraint and attempted to reason with Vorhang. He does not seem to have been vulnerable to reason. We learned a few weeks ago that, even after they burned his house to the ground, Vorhang remained unreasonable. Being a persistent lot, as frontiersmen often were, they continued to apply frontier logic to their reasonableness, as the following items clearly show.
Newspaper item, Sept. 8, 1893: Ed Vorhang was stopping with Justice at Monero after he left Amargo, but he had not been there long when Mr. Tice received a communication that if he continued to harbor Mr. Vorhang his house would be blown up. The Vorhangs are now stopping at Chama.
Motter's comment: The Vorhangs seem to be acquiring some reasonability, although I don't know why they would make it known in the newspaper where they were sleeping. Sounds as if they were asking for trouble.
Newspaper item, Nov. 24, 1893: Ed A. Vorhang, in a letter to this paper from Creede, says that he is still unable to use his right hand, on account of the bullet wound received at the hands of an assassin several months ago.
Motter's comment: If Vorhang's tenants continue to increase the intensity of their arguments, as this item indicates they have, the next point may be terminal. Vorhang has shifted from Amargo to Pagosa to Chama to Creede. Hard to hit a moving target.
Newspaper item: Sept. 15, 1893: Mrs. E.A. Vorhang came up from Amargo Wednesday evening, and will immediately commence the erection of a dwelling on First Street.
Motter's comment: Mrs. Vorhang seems to possess more reasonableness than Ed. I guess she feels safer by not traveling with her husband.
Newspaper item, Dec. 8, 1893: Mrs. M. J. Voorhees is contemplating the removal of her large stock of general merchandise from Amargo to Pagosa Springs.
Motter's comment: Is the Amargo ship beginning to sink?
Newspaper item, Sept. 8, 1893: E.M. Biggs has located forty acres of land three miles below Amargo, on the line of the D. & R.G. railroad, and proposes to lay a portion of it off into town lots. One of his mills will be located there, and the Pagosa railroad will start from that point. The Chama New Mexican
Motter's comment: Biggs was the big deal lumber mogul of northern New Mexico at that time. He had a business office and store in Amargo. Why is he buying land three miles west of Amargo? Has he, too, failed to convince Vorhang?
Newspaper item, Sept. 8, 1893: The News erred last week in saying that C.C. Crawford had moved to the Navajo. He remains at the half way house.
Motter's comment: We mention the Halfway House because it was the halfway point between Pagosa Springs and Amargo for the daily stage. At that time, the stage line and the Halfway House were owned by Fil Byrne and his father-in-law, Billy Kern. Even though the building no longer stands, we know where it had been because it's location is noted on a 1916 county map drawn by county surveyor Robert Howe. It stood on what is now U.S. 84 right of way at the intersection with Valle Seco Road. We don't know when the building came down, but it apparently existed for the 1916 map. The stage to Amargo, then Lumberton, ceased to run after the railroad reached Pagosa Springs in late 1900.
Newspaper item, Sept. 15, 1893; Trustee McLean has moved to the halfway house, and will attend to Byrne's stock this winter. This will cause a vacancy on the town board.
Motter's comment: An undetermined number of men drove the stage between the railroad and Pagosa Springs. To say that any particular person was "the stage driver" is incorrect. Stages clattered into Pagosa Springs from Chama on their way to Durango during 1880-1881. Once the railroad reached Durango in 1881, the need for that stage no longer existed. A stage was needed between Pagosa Springs and Durango and Pagosa Springs and Amargo or Lumberton until 1900 when the railroad reached Pagosa Springs. After 1881, the stage between Pagosa Springs and Durango performed at irregular times. Obviously, a large number of drivers were required over that span of years.
Newspaper item Sept. 15, 1893: The Farmers Ditch Company of Amargo had a meeting last week and decided to commence work immediately. They will take water from the Navajo about four miles up the river from the bridge on the Amargo road. The plan is to allow all stockmen to take stock in the ditch, and pay for it in work. They expect to have at least fifty teams at work by the first of October. When the ditch is completed, it will be of untold benefit to Amargo. The only water the people of Amargo now have for domestic purposes is secured from the railroad.
Motter's comment: Amargo is Spanish for bitterness, probably referring to water in the Amargo River, obviously alkaline. Down the river a few miles to the west is Dulce, meaning sweet, again referring to the water. I don't know if this ditch was completed, but do know folks who have offered to show me remnants. Fifty teams of work horses sounds like a huge work force.
Newspaper item, Sept. 15, 1893: An effort is being made to organize a company for the purpose of building a telephone line between here and Amargo by way of Chromo. A telephone line between here and Amargo would be a great benefit to Pagosa. We wish the gentlemen who are pushing the matter will meet with encouragement and that the line will be built this fall.
Motter's comment: Here is the beginning of the first telephone line into Pagosa Springs, appropriately enough, going to Amargo. This line was put in by Pagosa pioneer Welch Nossaman. Nossaman later worked for Ed Biggs for years as a timber cruiser. A few years ago some poles remained along the former stage route running between Eightmile Mesa and the Blanco.
Newspaper item, Nov. 24, 1893: Elwood, twenty miles above Pagosa on the San Juan, is destined to a winter of activity in its mining interests. A company of capitalists, represented by D.P. Hatch has just shipped in two car loads of concentrating machinery which will this week be put in position and begin operating on the gold product of the prospects and mines which have been worked partially and at a disadvantage by owners who have awaited the arrival of enterprising men with money and machinery to assist them in profitably handling the exposed mineral wealth of the Elwood district. The state road is now completed, and the wisdom of the measure and of the men who urged its adoption is apparent in the increased traffic and reduction in tariffs between Antonito and Pagosa Springs. It will result in the development of a number of wealth producing sources in Archuleta County now lying idle and unimproved. Durango Southwest.
Motter's comment: It's hard to appreciate today how the promise of instant mineral wealth excited folks during the 1890s. Elwood, exhibited just such a promise, but if any wealth was ever removed from Elwood's rocks, that fact is hidden from us. Elwood was located up the East Fork of the San Juan River just below Crater Lake. The last time I was up there, a few buildings still remained.
Newspaper item, Nov. 24, 1893: Pres. Archuleta informs us that he had thirty-five-hundred dollars insurance on his store that was destroyed by fire recently at Pagosa. The Chama New Mexican.
Motter's comment: We failed to learn of the fire from the Pagosa Springs newspaper. I believe the Archuleta store stood on the lot where the Pagosa Hotel stands today. I also believe the Archuleta building burned three times within a short span of years, possibly a coincidence and possibly because the Archuletas in Pagosa Springs were treated like the Vorhangs in Amargo.
Newspaper item, Dec. 8, 1893: The parties which took the lids belonging to the range which was in the fire are requested to return them to A.D. Archuleta.
Motter's comment: From this item we deduce that Archuleta had a wood burning kitchen range in the store and that during or after the fire someone took lids from the stove. Frontier looting, they called it.
Newspaper item, Dec. 8, 1893: Mrs. V. Macht took out her final naturalization papers in the county court on Monday.
Motter's comment: We repeat this item because Machts remain an important part of this community today. Victoria Macht was the widowed mother of three sons who moved from Del Norte to Pagosa Springs and homesteaded circa 1884. She was originally from Germany.
Newspaper item, Nov. 24, 1893: A party of gentlemen from Missouri with Mr. Price at the head are now making all preparations for boring for oil near the Kennedy ranch on the Navajo river in this county. The necessary machinery was moved there this week, and includes everything needed to bore a well 2,000 feet deep. Plenty of cash is also provided. A first-class machinist and oil expert accompany the outfit.
The first well will be sunk near the Navajo oil spring, and the gentlemen say if they are not successful in the first trial that other attempts will be made. The News hopes that the enterprise will not end in failure. There are many indications of oil in this county and this will be the first test to find it.
Motter's comment: The oil hunters were more successful on the upper Navajo than were the gold seekers. A minor gold rush (no pun intended) developed there and a hotel, the Bond House, was built. The gold rush fizzled. The oil folks had more success and oil was removed from the Grasps Field until just a few years ago. I don't know where the oil spring was located. Oldtimers talk of obtaining oil for wagon axles from the Navajo and from Blackhead Peak, sometimes called Engineer's or Oil Mountain.
Duration defined by edible discoveries
Food. Time. Memory.
Nabokov titled his autobiography "Speak, Memory."
In the off chance I do anything worth noting in an autobiography, I'll title mine "Eat, Memory."
Being of Bergsonian bent, I've never adjusted to temporal convention. I swim in the flow of things; no literalist, I have difficulty knowing what day of the week it is. I don't remember important calendar dates. Absent the encumbrances of employment and the television schedule, I would be hard pressed to tell you what time it is. I've never owned a watch.
I entertain existence in terms of duration.
I do not mark events in my life relative to the year or month or day when they happen. Even the place in which events occur is of secondary importance.
For me, duration is marked by food, by the flow of existence between poles marking the discoveries of favorite dishes.
Food is time and food experiences are my most effective mnemonic devices.
So, the other day, when someone asked my age, I had to engage in an extremely laborious process.
I excused myself, telling the person I would get back to her with the answer. I went home and made an elaborate chart that I thumbtacked to the wall.
On the chart were layer upon layer of time lines, each representing a certain duration defined by food discoveries. The length of a strip indicated the extent of a duration; the color of a strip - gold, silver, bronze - represented the quality of the terminus of the duration.
After the lines were in place, I would subjectively weight the quality of each duration then, with a calculator, work out correspondences between durations and linear time.
I began with the period between my discovery of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on buttered white bread (consumed with a glass of cold milk) and the first time I tasted a fresh berry tart, the berries embedded in a firm lemon curd. I figured that line should be about four inches long, and silver in color.
Next up: the period between my first terrifying encounter with school lunchroom macaroni and cheese, and the first occasion I experienced mac and cheese the way it should be made - the way my grandmother Mabel made it: al dente rigatoni baked with a bechamel rich with garlic, cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere and Parmesan, a breadcrumb crust golden brown from the broiler. That line: an inch and a half, but as gold as a rare sunset.
How about the duration defined by the transition from maudlin pancakes to Aunt Hazel's paupiettes? Oh those incredible crepes, filled with a mix of minced veal, mushrooms and spinach bonded in a custardy gel, the dish baked with a fresh tomato and basil sauce. A silver line of two inches.
Then there was the Middle Eastern duration, from Helen Habib's kibbeh baked each month when I was very young to falafal and hummus sampled at a stand on the Lower East side of Manhattan. The line is six inches long and, over its length, the color changes from bronze to high silver.
Raw things deserve a line. My old man made steak tartare tableside, the fresh-minced filet mixed ever so gently with an egg yolk, spots of Worcestershire and mustard, salt and pepper. Garnish with a bit of finely minced white onion, some capers and serve with toast points. From there to that first revelation of sashimi at the sadly defunct Mandarin in Denver. In fact, it was at the Mandarin, thanks to the deft touch of chef Ted Tani, that I first savored saba - broiled mackerelean bliss enhanced with a bit of shredded daikon mixed with shoyu, each bite delivered together with a thinly sliced round of serrano. That line: eight silvery inches.
From a helping of curried eggs manufactured in 1966 by Martha, a hippie princess in San Francisco, to a premiere vindaloo prepared by my dear friend Kirk from a recipe procured at a backwater restaurant in Toronto, to the transcendent masamam at J's Noodles - a line of eight inches. Gold as gold gets.
Crumbball button mushrooms to chanterelles, morels? Eleven inches. Maximum silver.
Dinty Moore beef stew from the can to a pot au feu prepared in a decrepit kitchen by the mother of a parisienne painter, four cuts and kinds of meat gracing a blend of humble vegetables, elevating them to perfection? Served with stone ground mustard and fresh baguette, the broth first as a soup, followed by the meats and vegetables? Fourteen inches, at least. Gold all the way.
Korv and lefse, the comfy lefse hot and runny with melted butter, all the way to rijsstafel in a seedy Indonesian restaurant in Holland? Twenty inches. Bronze that is sure to turn to silver.
The distance from a McDonald's hamburger served at an original Golden Arches to that first perfectly grilled porterhouse purchased for a chubby fourteen-year-old at Peter's Backyard in the West Village by friends of his father's from Rahway, New Jersey? A silverish nine inches.
The Colonel to coq au vin equals four inches. On a silver line.
Farcie de veau through schnitzel Holstein with runny egg yolk washing over anchovy fillets perched atop golden brown veal, hustling to a sea-fresh carpaccio of salmon taken al fresco at a cafe on the Champs d'Elysée? A time line eighteen-inches long, of burnished golden hue.
From that first pickled jalapeno eaten with my eight-year-old buddy Mark Vigil, fished from a huge jar on a countertop at a cheesy little restaurant on South Broadway in Denver, to chipotle in adobo sauce? Twenty inches. Silver. Polished by peppers of all kinds.
From grape juice to Malbec, a fruity pinot noir, syrah, a monster cabernet? Thirty inches of the most lustrous gold imaginable.
Canned tuna to lobster thermidor at the Mount Vernon Country Club; brutalized chunks of round steak to prime rib with green beans almondine at the Palace Arms; store-bought cupcakes to flourless chocolate cake with chocolate sauce at Place Igor Stravinsky - each worth twenty inches of peerless silver.
From strained peas spooned from a small glass jar and dribbled down the chin to the veal piccata I whipped up the other night - we're talking four-hundred thirty, very golden inches.
From Wonder Bread to garlic nan at Anwar's buffet in London; from bottled steak sauce to chimmichurri at an Argentine restaurant in Amsterdam, applied to everything - meat, bread, my hand; from do-it-in 5-minutes box stuffing to Hazel's corn bread dressing; from Kraft American slices to Maytag, Roquefort, Stilton, Brie, Robluchon; from bomb pops to Haagen Daz. Count three-hundred inches and put on your sunglasses: this line is thermonuclear bright!
From Secret sauce to Hollandaise, with an off-ramp to bernaise or paloise? Eighty-two inches of the finest gold. From bottled mayonnaise to learning to make Hollandaise? Seventy-six inches, as gold as you can get.
Actually, making Hollandaise, once you've done it, is not too difficult. And it's a hop, skip and a jump to bernaiseville.
The sauce should be made in a double boiler, over hot but not boiling water. Start with four egg yolks, a bit of kosher salt, a tad of freshly ground pepper, and a small splash of white wine vinegar. A tiny bit of lemon juice, if you like. Stir constantly with a whisk until the yolks begin to thicken. Do not get the mix too hot!
A dab at a time, begin to add butter, up to a stick and a third, whisking as each piece is amalgamated into the egg mix. Do this until all the butter is absorbed or until it tastes right. To make bernaise, add a bit more wine vinegar, teensy little pieces of minced shallot, and finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves. Keep it on the heat, again making sure the sauce does not get too hot. Reduce the sauce to a super-thick state. Use it on grilled meat, on grilled fish. Do as I do and eat it with a spoon.
It was a lot of work, this trip through the wreckage of my memory.
The lines told the story. I arranged them in an intuited order, evaluated the color scheme and got to work with the calculator. Taking into account a short-lived and unfortunate infatuation with Rice-a-Roni, the picture was clear.
I'm approximately 54 years old, earth time, with memories galore for my autobiography.
And I've got plenty of eating to do before I'm ready to write.