Front Page
October 11, 2001

Hospital board members trace faults, see fresh chance
By Tess Noel Baker

Hindsight is easy.

Longtime members of the Upper San Juan Hospital District Board agree, looking back, they could have asked more questions and then pushed harder for the answers and maybe - maybe - the financial crisis of today leading the board to ask voters to approve a 2 mill levy increase to bring approximately $346,000 into the budget Nov. 6 could have been avoided.

"The proper way to do this is to say there are needed medical services that we don't have. To provide those we need a 2 mill levy," Bob Huff, a 12-year veteran of the board, said. "We got it backwards. Now, to continue providing needed medical services we need 2 mills."

That's the problem, and it's clear. The board voted to approve budgets and programs, new programs, and current revenues couldn't and can't support them. The questions now are - "How did it happen?" and "Why won't it happen again?"

Dick Babillis, acting district manager and chairman of the board, said the how can be traced to a weak financial system and poor business practices that left board members without good budget information.

For instance, he said, some late accounts were over 12 months old when finally sent to collections, other accounts were not written off in a timely manner, and some, when written off, were not properly charged to the cause, for instance Medicare or medically indigent. Claims were rejected because of procedure miscoding, and then not resubmitted. Some budget items were significantly understated.

Available computer programs were not used at all or misused resulting in an inability to track accounts payable and accounts receivable. Initial bills were typically not sent until 4-6 weeks after the call.

At the same time, the district was expanding. In 1990-91, EMS responded to between 200 and 250 calls a year. In 2000, the calls numbered over 1,000. Paramedics were added in 1997. The next year, the district grew to include the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center which required some tax support initially. Round-the-clock in-quarters facilities started being staffed in the summer of 1999, and the Urgent Care facility opened January 2001.

With those additions, Huff, and board member Bill Downey said, longtime dreams were realized.

"We started so small," Huff said. "We never thought about having paramedics until the last very few years."

An Urgent Care Center and 24-hour in-quarters EMS service were other goals that had been in the works for years, things needed in the community, but unable to get off the ground.

"We had a good cushion of reserves for 3-5 years," Huff said. "Those started to get eaten up, and the money was gone a lot faster than we thought. The intent was always that revenue would go up."

Downey gave the example of the in-quarters expansion.

"We all wanted that," he said. "We felt the community wanted and needed it. We should have looked a lot closer at whether or not we could have afforded it. I think we were to quick to ask the question 'Can we afford it?' and they said yes and we said let's go for it."

Without proper billing practices, the numbers on the table were never realized and reserves dried up.

"I'm not really comfortable going back over that ground and pointing the finger," Huff said. "The board was at fault for believing what they were told."

And the board did a good job turning things around, he said.

"The board has a responsibility to recognize incompetence and it has a duty to correct incompetence. The board was pretty slow in recognizing incompetence, but since we found it has been corrected."

Babillis, speaking at the League of Women Voters meeting Monday night, listed just a few of the changes already in place to help shore up revenue and improve financial accounting practices, including a raise in ambulance fees and a 6 percent increase in clinic charges, an increase in staff and public involvement in the district and a better budget preparation process.

The 2002 financial plan, on which the request for a mill levy is based, was prepared by a committee made up of board members, department heads and employees and the acting district manager, he said.

In the past, a preliminary budget was prepared by the department head and taken to the district manager who plugged in final numbers and presented the document to the board for approval.

The new process, Laura Rome, clinic administer said, requires more time and detail with explanations on each line item.

"This is the first time other people have been involved in the overall financial plan," she said. "It's been a lot more diligent."

The staff and the board have also undergone some changes. The former district manager and the former office manager/bookkeeper are no longer employed by the district. The board has changed with the most recent vacancy being filled by a CPA last spring. Billing is now fully automated, follow up on claims is being done in a timely manner and old claims are being researched for possible recovery.

Board member and former part-time employee of the district, Patty Tillerson pointed to the appointment of Rod Richardson as EMS operations manager last spring as a positive for the future of the organization.

"I have all the confidence in the world in him from square one," she said. "Rod has made a tremendous effort to rebuild personnel."

Babillis was praised for his efforts to improve business practices.

And other changes are on the horizon.

"I don't think you ever have the whole solution in place," Downey said. "I think you're always needing to implement changes in policy, add something, take something away."

Both Huff and Downey said their terms on the district board will expire in May 2002 and both encouraged others to run.

"Twenty years or close to it is probably more than enough for anybody," Downey said. "I think some new blood is needed, new ideas, new ways of thinking. There are some intelligent, knowledgeable people in the community that could do a great job if they were willing to."

Huff said as he passes his seat on to someone else he hopes future boards would avoid the pitfalls of complacency.

"I think I'm a good board member and a better board member now," he said.

Citizens urged to stay on alert for terrorism
By John M. Motter

"We're maintaining heightened awareness," is how Russell Crowley, the Archuleta County Director of Emergency Preparedness, describes the county's response to the threat of local terroristic attacks.

"There isn't much more we can do," Crowley said, "We don't know what form an attack will take, if it comes. We're pretty much in a position of reacting, rather than taking the initiative."

Crowley's county office is connected with the Colorado Office of Emergency Preparedness. If anything threatening happens locally, Crowley will call the state headquarters of the COEP. Officials there will decide on an appropriate response. The state office is linked with state and national responders trained for action relevant to the conditions creating the emergency.

Other than a televised general admonition to be alert, local officials have received no messages or instructions from state or federal officials concerning the War on Terrorism, according to Crowley.

Local citizens who observe unusual activities that may be connected to terrorism are urged by Crowley to call the Archuleta County Sheriff or the Pagosa Springs Police Department. Each incident will be evaluated on an individual basis and a response selected.

"Do not call 911," Crowley said, "unless the urgency is extreme. It won't take many calls to overload 911 phone lines. Use the regular sheriff or police telephones." The dispatch number for both departments is 264-2131.

In the event of attack, terrorists are not likely to give community water or electrical systems a higher priority than any other local target, according to Crowley. If an attack occurs locally, it is likely to be aimed at the general population.

A public meeting to discuss local response in the event of terror attacks was conducted by the county commissioners last week. A number of community leaders attended the meeting. It was generally concluded to review the Y2K plan adopted by the county on the eve of the century change and consider adopting similar measures.

That plan calls for the establishment of a command center located in the county commissioner meeting room. The commissioner room is linked with county dispatch, the communications center of the county. Provision has been made for telephone communications associated with dispatch and the commissioner command room, configured in such a way that the radio dispatch center will not be jammed. Emergency radio communications can be arranged through ham radio operators located at strategic points throughout the county.

The Y2K plan contained provisions for electrical backup at medical centers, emergency food and water, and community housing in local schools. Specific action was not taken Thursday to re-implement the Y2K plan. Tentative agreement was reached to meet again and continue to work on developing more specifics for a plan.

In addition to discussing the effects of local problems, consideration was given to providing a local response for caring for victims fleeing from disaster in another area, such as Albuquerque or Denver.

"One of the situations I am noticing the most is the deterioration of the economy," Crowley said. "What happens if the building industry here slows dramatically and people lose their paychecks? That could amount to disaster."

Discussion was conducted on the topic of advising citizens to stockpile food and to take other Y2K-related measures to facilitate self-sufficiency and survival in case of shortages and power loss precipitated by terrorism or economic failure.

General election ballots to be mailed next week
By John M. Motter

Ballots for the Nov. 6 general election will be mailed early next week, according to Noreen Griego, Archuleta County's deputy elections clerk.

This year's election is being conducted entirely by mail ballot. Ballots to active voters must be mailed no earlier than Oct. 12 and no later than Oct. 22, Griego said. The ballots are being mailed from the printer directly to voters, saving the county at least one handling step.

"We're hoping the ballots will go out early next week," Griego said. "People who do not receive a ballot by Oct. 25 or 26 should come to the county clerk's office. There may be an address change or some other problem that prevented the ballot from reaching its destination."

The post office is likely to return a number of undeliverable ballots to the election clerk, Griego said. The clerk will alphabetize these ballots and hold them at the clerk's office for their owners. Persons who do not receive a ballot by Oct. 25-26 should come to the courthouse. Clerks there will first search through the alphabetized undeliverable ballots.

If a person's missing ballot is found among the undeliverables, it can be filled out and cast at that time. If the original ballot is not found and the person is eligible to vote, a replacement ballot may be filled out and cast.

Ballots are being mailed only to active voters. Active voters are those who cast ballots during the 1998 general election. Persons who did not vote during the 1998 general election are not considered active voters. Registered voters not active because they did not vote in 1998 may vote by visiting the county clerk's office and activating their voting status. Voters who have registered since the 1998 election are considered active and are eligible to vote.

Instructions are included with each mail-out ballot, as is a return envelope. After marking the appropriate ovals, the ballot should be enclosed in the envelope. The return envelope must contain the signature and birth date of the voter written only with a pencil, or it will not be counted, Griego said. The envelope can be returned to the election clerk by mail, or it may be personally dropped off in the clerk's office in the county courthouse.

Ballots must reach the county clerk's office by 7 p.m., Nov. 6, in order to be counted.

A number of local issues plus two statewide issues are on this year's ballot. Included are a county sales tax question; a hospital district property tax increase; removal of term limits for school board members; Initiative 26, a proposal to begin work on a monorail system connecting Denver with Vail, and continuing around the state following the Vail connection; and Referendum A, a statewide proposal allowing the Greater Outdoors Colorado trust funds to issue bonds.

First big game rifle season will open Saturday - for elk only
By John M. Motter

Blaze orange will be the color of choice over the next few weeks as big game hunters flock to Pagosa Country in pursuit of their trophy of choice.

Only elk need run for cover during the first rifle season, starting Saturday at daybreak. The first season spanning from Oct. 13 through Oct. 17 is for elk only.

Hunting season traditionally provides Pagosa Country with a significant financial shot in the arm, according to figures released by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Last year Archuleta County cash registers rang to the tune of about $2.2 million from deer hunters and another $5 million from elk hunters.

Archuleta County annually ranks among the busiest Colorado hunting counties in terms of license sales and number of hunters. For example, the leading license vendor in Archuleta County, Ski and Bow Rack Inc., sold $447,621 worth of licenses last year, according to DOW sources. That volume ranks the business fourth in Colorado among all license vendors and first in Colorado among independent license vendors.

The average out-of-state hunter in Colorado spends about $3,000, said a spokesman from the Denver DOW information office. Only a small portion of those expenditures can be attributed to license fees. Even so, the ratio of out-of-state fees to resident fees is larger than it has ever been in Colorado.

For the top five major game species, the following rates are in effect: deer - resident $23.25, non-resident $273.25; elk - resident $33.25, non-resident $453.25; bear - resident $33.25, non-resident $253.25; antelope - resident $23.25, non-resident $273.25; moose - resident $203.25, non-resident $1,503.25.

Persons interested in hunting Colorado should obtain copies of state hunting regulations or talk with Division of Wildlife officials in order to obtain specific information concerning hunting options in each of the state's more than 170 big game management units.

Game management units in the Pagosa Springs vicinity include 77, 78, 751, and 771. Although these units have similar geographical characteristics and animal populations, there are some legal hunting differences among them, especially when related to which sex may be hunted, or special seasons on private land. Those who intend to hunt on these units are encouraged to obtain information from local game licensing agencies or local DOW officers.

Now that archery and muzzle loading hunting seasons are concluded, hunters have the option of participating in one of four rifle seasons.

The elk-only season opener is the first of the four rifle seasons on this year's hunting calendar. Remaining seasons for combined deer and elk are scheduled Oct 20-Oct. 26, Nov. 3-Nov. 9, and Nov. 10-Nov. 14.

Deer licenses must generally be obtained through a draw, while elk and bear licenses may often be purchased across the counter. The deadline for license purchases is midnight before the Saturday dawn season opening.

New for 2001 are the following changes:

Non-resident license fee increases

Unlimited either-sex deer licenses are available in Unit 9

Unlimited either-sex elk over-the-counter licenses are available in northeast plains for specific units

Chronic wasting disease&emdash;All deer and elk licenses in endemic units are limited. These restrictions apply to northeast Colorado game management units

There is a preference point hunt code for bears

Auction and raffle licenses are available for deer, elk, and antelope

Some units are offering additional licenses.

Some regulations are old standbys. Hunting is allowed only between one-half hour before sunrise and one-half hour after sunset. It is illegal to have a loaded rifle or shotgun in a car, motorcycle, or off the highway vehicle. Shooting from or across a public road is banned.

Every hunter in pursuit of deer, elk, antelope, bear, or moose must wear at least 500 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange material in an outer garment above the waist. Part of the fluorescent orange must be a hat or head covering visible from all directions.

Consequently, blaze orange is the color of choice during hunting season.


No limit to apathy

The November 6 election features key local issues, none blessed with clarity. While it does not seem as critical as other issues, there is a term limit question on the ballot concerning the local school board. Voters are being asked to dispense with a limit of two consecutive terms for directors.

The clearest thing about this question is that is posed against a backdrop of indifference; no one petitioned to be on the November ballot to oppose incumbent board members.

How to make a decision? And will the preferred option cure the underlying problem?

One can ask whether the school district has been guided in a desirable fashion, whether the district has improved measurably under the watch of current board members. Does one approve the ideas advanced by board members and want these ideas to influence our public school system for an indeterminate period of time?

Will the ideology pressed on the district by elected leaders produce the general type of citizen we require, or will it foster an environment in which students receive an average educational experience?

In short, how well has the board done? If the answer is positive, vote to remove the limit. If the answer is negative, vote against the question.

There are other perspectives on the issue.

A common argument rests on the idea that the election process already provides a term limit - voters can reject an incumbent. This, of course, works only when there is credible opposition.

Some who advocate no limit say the position of school board director is without remuneration and, therefore, it is difficult to produce candidates at election time. The position requires lengthy tenure, they say, in order for directors to familiarize themselves with the complexities of public education. Term limits, they say, hamper the ability of directors to do a proper job.

Offered in opposition is an argument that a lengthy tenure, unaccompanied by ongoing experience as an educator, produces superficial knowledge and allegiance to fad and fashion. A long stay in office encourages interference in areas of the educational enterprise where directors do not belong - a dilettantism fertilized by comfort and complacency. A term limit is a necessity, concludes this argument; it brings fresh energy to our public education system.

Regardless of how one votes, it is the backdrop of the situation that is meaningful. The effect of public apathy on a body as important as a school system is negative, and profound.

Despite their complaints about public education, most citizens don't care enough to get involved in its operation. They care to defend children who will not meet standards; they care to demand that standards be lowered, that excellence be redefined; they care enough to support solipsistic educational philosophies; they care enough to blame childrens' shortcomings on teachers and administrators. They do not care enough to run for office.

Perhaps this condition will be cured by retaining term limits.

Perhaps apathy can be corrected by eliminating limits, with limits imposed by the election process itself.

Then again, perhaps our lethargy is part of the necessary demise of public education, and we are waiting for its more effective replacement.

Regardless, we have an opportunity Nov. 6 to counter our passivity and make a minimal gesture.

Hopefully newcomers and inactive voters registered before the Oct. 9 deadline. Hopefully we will complete our mail ballots and make a choice on term limitation.

We can do that much, can't we?

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Unselfish commitment to duties

Dear Folks,

I never know what to expect when I drive to Alta Loma, Calif., for a weekend visit with my oldest grandson and granddaughter and their parents. All I'm sure of is that the trip will be worthwhile.

I had a great time over the weekend with Trey and Taige and their folks. The trip also provided two unexpected significant events that involved two families I've never met.

The first came Thursday afternoon while we were at Trey's flag-football practice. I divided my time between kicking a soccer ball with Taige on an adjoining field and watching Trey and his friends' practice.

Nearby was a mother who was dividing her time between watching her son's team practice on an adjoining field and helping her daughter with homework. Every so often, diverting her attention away from her son, mom would talk with her daughter about homonyms and the definitions of words that sounded alike but were spelled differently. Getting her daughter to understand fractions was tougher. But mom stayed with it and before long the pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters started to make sense as the daughter saw how the hundredths, twentieths, tenths, and fourths made dollars and cents.

By overhearing the mother's comments with her daughter, I learned that she was a single mom who had a full-time job. No, two full-time jobs. One full-time job involved her place of employment and earning a salary. Her other full-time job involved loving her children, giving them her time and attention, and helping them to become good students. Unknowingly, this mom was making some teacher's job a lot easier.

I'm no fan of standardized testing, but unlike McGuffy's reader, it's not going to go away. So it's becoming more important for parents of elementary students to work with their youngsters on reading, writing and arithmetic. Helping youngsters learn how to kick balls, catch passes, sink baskets, serve aces or hit home runs is great, but it doesn't help them become good students.

Friday night, I tagged along as Tom and his coaching staff scouted Chaffey High School, Alta Loma's next opponent. Santiago de Corona High School, Chaffey's opponent last Friday, included a unique presentation during its half-time ceremonies. Along with the marching band, flag twirlers and pep team performances, special recognition was given to a member of the Santiago faculty.

To the students and faculty, the honoree is known as "Mr. Poletti." For the past seven years he has taught biology honors classes at Santiago High School. To the U.S. Marine Corps, he is "Lt. Col. Poletti." A member of the Marine Reserves for the past 17 years following six years on active duty, his teaching contract has been superseded by orders to report for active duty to the Marine Forces Pacific Command on Oct. 22.

Lt. Col. Poletti stood at attention Friday night as the Santiago fans cheered him and his wife, Kathy, and their 15-year-old daughter, Amanda Kay, and 12-year-old son, Andrew Evan. It made real the saying, "Once a Marine, always a Marine."

Talking by phone yesterday, Lt. Col. Poletti matter-of-factly said the Marines called him up "because I have a specialty they're short on. So I've been assigned to an IMA (Individual Marine Augmentation) Detachment in Hawaii." He explained the Marines needed a lieutenant colonel "who was trained to efficently move people and equipment from Point A to Point B in the shortest amount of time."

As I listened to news broadcast while driving home to Pagosa Sunday, I kept thinking about that devoted single mom who's teaching her youngsters how to learn and about Lt. Col. Poletti's family and their unselfish dedication to duty. Being able to witness a brief segment of their lives made visiting my own family that much richer.

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


By Shari Pierce

91 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era of October 7, 1910

Welch Nossaman reports a good grain crop on his place this year. Although he did not measure the acreage he had in grain, he estimates that his oats threshed 60 bushels per acre and his wheat 40. His oats are of good quality, going about 46 pounds per bushel.

Out of 6,200 lambs shipped Tuesday from Sunetha, Geo. Babcock had top weights at 72 pounds. Domacio Garcia was a close second with 71 4/10 pounds average for his bunch. The entire lot averaged 66 pounds which breaks the record on lambs shipped from Sunetha.

Some of the finest potatoes we have ever seen were grown this year in O'Neal Park without irrigation.

If you desire to buy or sell Ranch Property or Town Lots see Harman and Emigh.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of October 15, 1926

The Upper Piedra stockmen will ship out their cattle to market tomorrow, while the Hersch Merc. Co. will again load out sheep Sunday.

The Geo. Crouse blacksmith and auto repair shop, about one mile west of town is commencing to assume proportions.

Two Pagosa students at Denver University, Earl Mullins and Vernon Cato, are members of the football squad, both playing in reserve and likely to be called into the game at any time.

Everett and Irwin Crowley are both recovering nicely from severe injuries - Everett with a broken ankle caused by a horse falling with him and Irwin in an auto smash.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of October 12, 1951

Hunting season opens on Monday of next week and from all advance information it appears that ranchers and farmers had better lock up the cows and go to town for a few days.

Earl Lattin, county assessor, reports the county valuation up this year in the amount of $72,695. This gives the county a $3,872,515 assessed valuation. The raise in valuation was mostly brought about by increased valuation of the railroad, the increased oil production and increased prices.

It appears as if the trend to higher taxes is gradually being reversed with more citizens realizing that every time they go before a governing board and ask for additional services, it means a hike in taxes if the request is granted.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of October 7, 1976

Local boards are still working on their budgets for the coming year and it looks as if all are having some difficulty in making ends meet.

This next week will see big game hunters arriving in large numbers. Because of a recent increase in hunting fees for out of state hunters there may be a few less than last year. However, this is one of the very best elk hunting areas in Colorado and it is doubtful that there will be any shortage of hunters on the local scene.

Fall weather seems to have set in. There are many beautiful fall colors in the mountains, big livestock trucks are on the highways moving cattle and sheep to other areas for winter pasture or to feedlots and local ranchers are fast getting their cattle out of the high country.

Inside The Sun
School directors see need to engender character development in crisis situation
By Richard Walter

What began Tuesday as part of an ongoing discussion of board of education goals for Archuleta School District 50 Joint, became a platform for unbridled patriotism and plea for unity education for all students.

Director Jon Forrest, saying "I realize this may anger some people," told fellow directors, "With everything that has happened recently in our country, I'd like to see us somehow increase patriotism and unity among all our students."

"Our children," he said, "need the tools to understand what unity is and what it means to them personally. They need to know how to stand together, to depend on each other, to understand that their little squabbles don't mean much when compared to the big picture."

He told the board the school staff spends as much time, or even more, with all the students as do the parents, "and we should be giving them the necessary learning benefits to realize what freedom means. I remember when I was in school we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning," he said, "but I don't see it done that much now. Some classes do, some don't."

Superintendent Duane Noggle said the steps Forrest wants will fall under a "character development" phase in his next set of goals. He agreed, "We need to help the children relate to society - all of it."

Board president Randall Davis suggested, "The district's theme for unity could celebrate the country's diversity and help our students develop character as a key in the concept of tolerance."

Forrest, however, said, "Some of the tolerance you're talking about has helped get us where we are right now. We're not at all standing on the principles this country was founded on. We need to unite under that banner of togetherness. Character training in our classrooms could go a long way toward that goal. I see more and more people being ostracized and that just is not acceptable.

"Our kids," he said, "need to see that we all can stand together."

Mark DeVoti, intermediate school principal, said "team building is working now at our grade level. But I, too, see a more global perspective. I see the difference as a values element, not a negative thing. If we can teach them to depend on each other, we engender the elements of patriotism."

Junior high principal Larry Lister said the intermediate school philosophy has carried over into his classrooms. Teachers are helping kids learn how to work together, to depend on each other. He cited the recent "Cooperation Day" on Reservoir Hill in which students had to depend on classmates to get through special obstacles.

He noted the school has a student newspaper and "we had to edit it closely. Many of the students, after the terrorist attacks, wanted swift punitive action . . . and weren't shy in their ideas of how to achieve it. We've redirected some of that national pride into letters to servicemen. We've talked in the classrooms about what happened, how it affects the country, Pagosa Springs and themselves as individuals."

Forrest pleaded, "Don't let that feeling die out. We must give the children the tools to understand what terrorism and freedom mean."

"From the student perspective," Lister said, "we found some very strong, some upsetting feelings. We are trying to channel those into a focus on what patriotism is."

Elementary school principal Kahle Charles said all pupils in that building recite the Pledge daily and are being instructed in what it means - both to the nation and to them as individuals.

"Each class," he said, " has a time to deal with questions about what is happening and why. We are attempting at the lowest grade levels to help them understand."

Director Russ Lee said, "I think we should have the Pledge in all classes from now on. We need patriotism now more than ever before."

Director Clifford Lucero added. "I have kids in elementary school and they are proud every day, when they are asked about what they did that day, to say 'the first thing was saying the Pledge of Allegiance.'

"It appears to me," he said, "that our principals and teachers are doing a good job. But, it is not a job we can let up on. We need to keep on giving them a sense of pride in this country and what it stands for."

Davis agreed with the need for unity but said, "We need to temper our position a little with a look at our (the nation's) responsibility in the way the world is right now. We are reaping the consequences of some of our foreign policy decisions. It is dangerous to say we're Americans and therefore we have to be right.

"The duke-it-out theory," he said, "will lead to something more terrible - on the playground or in the world arena."

Noggle summed up the discussion, saying, "Perhaps our goal here should be to encourage the fundamental values of our democratic society and promote responsibility as world citizens."

Audit hints insurance gap for schools
By Richard Walter

"The school district is in excellent shape and your professional staff is doing a good job of keeping it that way."

That was part of a summation Tuesday by CPA Michael Branch, reporting on his annual audit of the financial status of Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

Despite his glowing report, Branch also had a caution for the board of education.

"I am concerned," he said, "with the continued loss in the insurance fund. Last year the expenditures exceeded revenues by $265,000. The district should continue to monitor . . . insurance costs carefully."

Because the state's mandatory audit period and the district's fiscal year are not the same, he said, it is possible the picture may not be as bad as it looks on paper. "But," he said, "the last couple of years have shown a trend to have no surplus."

He said the board has "tried to keep staff premiums as slow as possible and medical costs have continued to rise. Your (the board's) insurance philosophy is much kinder than the HMOs would be. Your costs are higher than theirs because they try to find way to cut benefits and you don't."

If the trend continues, he warned, the board "may have to increase premium costs for employees or consider them part of compensation in lieu of wage increases in the next few years."

When Director Russ Lee asked what would happen if the district switched to a PPO, Branch cited the Bayfield situation where the board switched "and costs are running $560 per month per employee. What you are paying now is not that much different."

Branch said he is only cautioning the board to watch the situation closely, noting he is "aware the board has always looked at it as a major but necessary expense in a desire to provide the best possible care it can."

All other areas, Branch said, are looking great and noted, "You have been able to decrease the debt service mill levy every year and still have revenues exceed debt obligations."

Noting the food service fund showed a small excess of revenues over expenditures, he said few school districts in the state can claim to even break even. "Thus, your's is a unique position to be proud of."

And, he said, the district's financial policy has wisely "resulted in the Capital Improvements fund being rebuilt. The philosophy of regularly contributing more than the minimum means you don't have to go to the voters every time something is needed."

What you have achieved financially, he said, "is a textbook case on the way fixed asset controls should work in a school district."

After his presentation, business manager Nancy Schutz told the board the insurance committee will study the coverage needs when it meets next month. "It may not be as bad as it looks in the audit," she said. "There are some returns not yet back in our coffers. But, there is need for caution and close examination of where we are and where we need to be in terms of insurance costs."

School bus route extension on 151 denied
By Richard Walter

A plea for extension of a school bus route nearly nine miles south on Colorado Route 151 from U.S. Route 160 was denied Tuesday by the board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

Residents of the area had appeared last month, urging extension of the route, but school officials had said they would do so only if at least seven riders, on a regular basis, could be guaranteed.

Dolly Martin, new transportation supervisor was directed then to survey parents of potential riders to see if the minimum count could be guaranteed.

That survey completed, she told the board parents had said they could provide that many regular riders, "but we've been averaging only two or three."

The board agreed to notify parents by letter of the decision and tell them the plea can be reconsidered if sustained ridership is achieved in the future.

Martin also told the board she has been riding some of the longer routes and has discovered there are several which do not have the minimum seven riders. "I think there are several routes we need to examine closely," she said.

Director Jon Forrest said, "We need to be fair. If one route is denied because of insufficient riders, others with the same profile should be considered. Maybe we need to revise our policy."

County couple shuns court system, imprisoned
By Tess Noel Baker

"I will examine the witness. What is your name? Do you have a claim against me? Do you know anyone who has a claim against me? I request the order of the court be released to me immediately."

This litany was repeated by Wanda and Harry "Butch" Bowman to every prosecution witness called at the couple's trial in August. Wanda, once a local legal secretary, faced charges of first-degree trespass and presenting a false instrument for recording. Harry, a residential contractor, was charged with first-degree trespass only.

The charges were filed against the couple after they illegally repossessed property that had once belonged to them, but had since been seized and sold by the U.S. Marshall's service to pay back income taxes, an action the couple apparently doesn't accept as legal.

The Bowmans represented themselves at trial, presented no witnesses, no defense of any kind, and never verbally answered any questions asked by Chief District Judge Gregory Lyman.

Craig Westberg, assistant district attorney for the Sixth Judicial District, prosecuted the case, calling it "easy" from a legal standpoint but difficult to understand personally.

"They seem to be motivated to make some type of statement, but to this day I don't know why," he said.

The story began, at least in the courts, back in the late 1990s.

In 1998, the federal government filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Denver, alleging that Wanda Bowman owed back income taxes for the years 1980 and 1982 totaling about $45,000 with interest and other fees.

In July of that year, U.S. District Judge Edward W. Nottingham issued a default order against the Bowmans for failure to pay their taxes. Their house, on Buttress in the Meadows subdivision, was ordered seized and sold to pay the debt.

The U.S. Marshall's service took the first step toward carrying out the order on Jan. 21, 2000, evicting the Bowmans along with their property and rekeying the house. In March, the Marshall's service held an open house and sale of the property on back-to-back days. According to testimony by Wendy Santeramo, Deputy U.S. Marshal, prior to the sale Wanda Bowman approached John Ritchey, the eventual successful bidder on the property, and handed him a flier. According to the flier, the property was not for sale by the "real" owners and it was exempt from levy.

Ritchey and Gary Ruggera, both of Durango, purchased the property at auction from the U.S. Marshall's Service for $150,001, $1 above the minimum bid.

The sale was confirmed in April.

Then, sometime in early May, the Bowmans moved back into the home, rekeying the locks despite "No Trespassing" signs posted on the property. Mary Weiss, the attorney representing Ritchey and Ruggera, filed suit against the Bowmans and Archuleta County Magistrate James E. Denvir ordered the couple removed from the home a second time.

Throughout their ordeal, the Bowmans were given the opportunity to pay off their debt to avoid losing their home or going to jail.

"This was a crime of a non-violent nature by people who had absolutely no criminal history," Westberg said. "We generally try to accommodate people like that if they make restitution. The Bowmans never allowed the system to show them any compassion."

At the trial in August, it took a jury of their peers about 10 minutes to return a guilty verdict.

"It was very quick," Westberg said. "The fastest one I've been involved with in a felony case."

The Bowmans each received a suspended sentence of three years in prison provided they paid approximately $7,000 in restitution to Ritchey and Ruggera by Sept. 28. Once again, the Bowmans refused to pay, and will now serve the three years in a Colorado Department of Corrections facility pending appeal.

"Judge Lyman treated them with nothing but respect and dignity and they chose to treat him with nothing but contempt," Westberg said. "They have a belief system that's something I've never seen before."

The Bowmans refused the SUN's request for an interview.

Light turnout for LWV forum
By John M Motter

Attendance was lighter than usual Monday night for a League of Women Voters forum concerning issues on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Observers attributed the light turnout, estimated to be 30 to 40 people, to the absence of candidates on the ballot, and to the lack of controversial issues. LWV forums have become standard local fare each year prior to elections.

"There was a lot of competition for time Monday night, said Carolyn Ullrich, the local LWV president. "Things like Columbus Day, Monday night football, rain, and there were no burning issues or candidates."

Ullrich was not discouraged.

"I thought it was a good forum," she said. "It was informative and not too long or boring. I remember last year when there were 11 candidates for commissioner and all of those issues. It seemed to go on and on."

League members read prepared statements concerning the arguments for and against ballot items not represented by specific proponents or opponents.

Monday's format allowed a four-minute opening talk by ballot issue speakers, questions from the audience addressed to specific issues, and a one-minute summary by each speaker.

Ullrich opened the meeting by pointing out that the purpose was to inform, not debate. She then turned the gavel over to moderator Windsor Chacey.

Ballot issues discussed included two statewide issues, a county sales tax proposal, a hospital district property tax issue, and a school board proposal to end term limits for directors.

Ron Chacey opened the four-minute talks by advocating passage of Referendum A allowing Great Outdoors Colorado to borrow money to assist local governments, state agencies, and nonprofit land conservation organizations with the preservation of land for open space, parks, and wildlife habitat. GOCO will be limited to borrowing $115 million.

Chacey urged a yes vote, arguing funds might be used to protect open space and wildlife habitat in Archuleta County as well as across the state. He said the money may be used to purchase conservation easements allowing landowners, including farmers and ranchers, to continue to work their land after receiving payment in exchange for surrendered development rights. The issue has bipartisan support from the Colorado House and Senate and from Gov. Owens, Chacey said.

League member Patrick Ullrich read the statement opposing Referendum A. GOCO already receives $40 million from the lottery and needs no more money, Ullrich read. Depending on market conditions, interest on projects could cost more than outright purchase. Placing land in conservation easements reduces the pool of land available for development. Consequently, the price of land remaining will go up, punishing future home buyers and developers.

On the second statewide issue, Miller Hudson, representing the Colorado Alliance for Rapid Transit, spoke as an advocate. Called Amendment 26, if approved, it will allow the expenditure of $50 million of surplus state revenue to plan and test a monorail system for the I-70 corridor linking Denver International Airport with the Eagle County Airport. It further exempts Colorado Fixed Guideway Authority, the enacting body, from state constitutional revenue and spending limits.

According to Hudson, the monorail is needed to provide access to communities along the I-70 corridor without expanding I-70. The monorail will be less expensive than more highway construction, he said. Estimates place the system cost at $25 million per mile, he said. User cost could be about 20 cents a mile. As a highway alternative, it could replace from 6,000-8,000 cars per hour. The initial stage calls for research and development. If research and development results are encouraging, voters will be asked in 2004 to approve funding for initial construction.

League member Ann Van Fossen read a prepared statement opposing the monorail. Opposing arguments point out use of surplus state funds will reduce tax-payer rebates, that the monorail is an unproven solution and testing could delay highway construction that ultimately may be needed, that it will not serve most people in the area it is entering, and that only one of 10 transit projects are consummated.

The monorail issue elicited more questions from the audience than any other issue on the Monday night agenda.

Gene Crabtree spoke in favor of County 1A, a proposal to extend a 2 percent countywide sales tax for seven years. Crabtree's position is presented in a separate article in this week's issue of The SUN.

No one spoke against the county's proposal.

Dick Babillis, board chairman and acting district manager for the Upper San Juan Hospital District spoke in favor of the proposed hospital district property tax increase. No one opposed. The district's position on this issue is presented this week in The SUN in a separate article.

Randall Davis, the school board chairman, spoke in favor of removing term limits for school board members. No one spoke against the proposal.

Davis argues that allowing board members to serve multiple terms increases the experience level which benefits the school system. He argues if school board members are doing a good job, they should be re-elected; if they are doing a bad job, they should be defeated at the discretion of local voters. Term limits are a state requirement. Elimination of term limits removes control of school board member terms from the state, and places it in the hands of locals, a desirable situation according to Davis.

'Hit lists' include Wolf Creek's tunnel funding
By State Senator Jim Isgar

It's crunch time.

It was difficult enough to return to a second special session following the devastating events of Sept. 11, but the shortfall in projected state revenues for this fiscal year (made before the Sept. 11 attacks) makes a difficult session even tougher.

Estimates released just before legislators returned to work showed that the economy slumped suddenly in July and August, reducing what looked like a significant surplus to an unknown but much lower figure. The grim news will no doubt be grimmer in the next few months. These latest figures do not include the sharp economic drop that followed the terrorist attacks. Legislators will be seeing lots of numbers over the next weeks.

Like any family would do in times of a tight budget, it is time to sit down and talk about where we need to cut back and prioritize our needs. Residents of southwestern Colorado no doubt have seen some of the "hit lists" that included the funding of Wolf Creek tunnel construction and various Fort Lewis College projects. This list includes the renovation of the Biology wing at Berndt Hall and others that may become victims of revenue shortfalls. More items may be included.

Legislators are trying to take a fair and fiscally responsible approach to the budget and are looking at the priorities. While the governor has said he wants to freeze all higher education capital projects that are in the pre construction stages (he has instructed that projects under construction should continue) at the same time he wants to maintain funding of prisons and transportation projects. Members of the Joint Budget Committee have asked that higher education projects that involve private/public partnerships be reexamined for possible funding so that the private money tied to the projects is not lost. We may see new priority lists next week.

Also, the JBC asked Colorado Department of Transportation Director Tom Norton to reprioritize his "wish list" of projects and structure the highway projects so they fit within the budget. It seems both fair and fiscally responsible that everyone takes a little of the economic "hit" in the budget, not just higher education.

That's why, as a member of the Government, Veterans and Military Relations & Transportation Committee, I voted last week to kill Senate Bills 17 & 18. These bills were designed to increase funding and remove triggers starting in fiscal year 2003-04. There is just too much uncertainty to obligate funding that far out now. My action does not affect current CDOT spending on highways. The governor's plan was proposed before the Sept. 11 tragedy and before we received the recent bad state revenue forecast. The governor's plan called for taking money from other programs in the general fund, $100 million from higher education capital projects and removing spending constraints or "triggers" that currently leave CDOT last on the spending list behind higher education and capital construction. I recognize that we have underfunded transportation in Colorado for years and years. But, I believe times like this require a great deal of caution and the consideration of revenue shortfalls before we can proceed on a transportation proposal of this magnitude. I think this is correct no matter what one's political affiliation is. The tradeoffs are not worth it and potential revenue shortfalls are just too dangerous right now.

We plan to have all of our work done by next Friday. It's a daunting task, looking at the growth bills while economic growth seems to be slowing. We will solve the funding problems for breast and cervical cancer. This needs to be done for all low income Colorado women. State redistricting is still tied up in knots because of political bickering and attempts at gerrymandering on the Eastern Slope. I remain firmly supportive in keeping a federal representative district that keeps the Western Slope intact. I remain committed to getting the sensible things done for western Coloradoans in a fiscally responsible way.

I remain firmly behind efforts to find funding, as budget limitations permit, for tourism development and affordable housing. This special session is not the place for additional legislation and we will know with more certainty about our abilities to fund tourism development and affordable housing by the beginning of the regular session in January, 2002. I will work hard on these issues. We need additional help, especially with a slowing economy, to keep our economy strong both at the state level and in District 6.

Dry, nice weekend should follow season's first snow
By John M. Motter

Pagosa Country residents viewed snow blanketing the surrounding mountains Monday, the first such vision for this season. It won't be the last. National Weather Service is predicting a 20-percent chance for snow tonight and tomorrow at lower elevations in the Four Corners area.

During the early part of the week a heavy cloud cover hid the mountains east and north of Pagosa Springs, even as cold rain pounded town. On the few occasions when the clouds parted, snow was visible on all of the mountains.

Today will be mostly cloudy and breezy, according to Becky Klenk, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction. Starting tonight and continuing tomorrow morning, there is a 20-percent chance for snow with continued breeziness, Klenk said.

Late Friday and on Saturday, conditions should shift to partly cloudy, breezy, but no snowfall. Saturday and Sunday should be dry and warm, Klenk said. By Tuesday, another storm front could be moving into the area.

High temperatures early today should range between 58-63 degrees, according to Klenk, with tonight's low ranging between 27-32 degrees. Tomorrow's high should drop to the 48-53 degree range. Saturday through Monday highs should warm to between 55-65 degrees with lows between 25-35 degrees. By Tuesday, the temperature could start falling again, Klenk said.

A series of disturbances from the Pacific Northwest has been moving through the area, Klenk said. Today's and tomorrow's disturbances and the disturbance coming Tuesday are part of the continuing pattern.

The traditional winter pattern for this area has not yet started, Klenk said. When winter sets in, the traditional pattern begins with storms in the Gulf of Alaska. Those storms travel down the Pacific Coast, turn inland along Southern California and enter the Four Corners area from a southwesterly direction.

Sustained low temperatures last week reflect the approach of late fall and winter. Low temperatures ranged between 30 and 41 degrees with an average low of 34 degrees. The thermometer dropped to 32 degrees or colder four consecutive nights, Friday through Monday.

High temperatures also dropped, averaging 65 degrees for the week. Daily highs ranged between 60 and 67 degrees.

October's mean temperature for Pagosa Country is 45.4 degrees. The average mean maximum temperature is 64.3 degrees and the average mean minimum temperature is 26.5 degrees. The hottest October temperature recorded in town during the record keeping period is 85 degrees Oct. 14, 1940, while the lowest temperature is 5 degrees measured Oct. 31, 1954, and 1971.

Rainfall the past week amounted to 0.54 inches at the National Weather Service gauging station located at Stevens Field. October precipitation averages 2.03 inches. The most precipitation recorded during October in town since record keeping started 54 years ago is 7.8 inches during 1972. The most precipitation recorded on one day during October during the same time frame was 2.04 inches Oct. 19, 1972.

Pagosa Country seldom receives much snow during October. The long-time monthly average is 2.9 inches. During October of 1961, however, 31 inches of snow descended in town.

Emergency workers learn to beat adrenaline buildup
By Tess Noel baker

The emergency page goes out - a two-vehicle collision on the highway minutes ago, at least one vehicle is on fire and people are trapped.

Ambulances roll, taking emergency responders to a scene both horrible and dangerous. With adrenaline running high and senses amplified, paramedics and EMTs work quickly to save lives, their first thoughts on the victims of a tragedy.

Yet each time they must work to save a heart attack patient with tearful family watching over, attempt to extricate a severely injured person quickly and without further harm, run on a series of devastating calls or arrive on scene only to find it's already too late for someone, these EMS personnel experience a level of stress that takes a toll both emotionally and physically.

To keep this stress level under control, the Upper San Juan Hospital District drew on a local resource with a national background in working with emergency responders and contracted with Jean Souza, director of the Pagosa Springs Counseling Center and director of crisis services and special populations for Southwest Colorado Mental Health, to create a Critical Incident Stress Management Team.

Her program helps paramedics and EMTs process what happened, understand their own reactions and shed excess levels of ACTH, the hormone that triggers the body to release adrenaline into the system.

Debriefing and defusing

It begins within 24-hours after a "critical incident," a particularly bad call which can mean a fatality, multiple fatalities, a series of back-to-back calls, or possibly a severe injury to a child.

Members of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team, Souza plus three EMS employees - Kathy Conway, Kate Jackson and Larry Escude - gather together as many people who worked the call as possible to begin to process the incident.

"When she hears of a tough call, she just shows up because she has years, if not decades of experience with this," Conway said. "We just got our training last fall. Or, if one of us sees a need, we'll give her a heads up."

Discussions include a cognitive process, reaction time and a caretaking element, Souza said. In the first segment, the group identifies where everyone was physically in the incident and their roles. Next, reactions at the scene are processed to get past the automatic "I'm fine."

The prescription

Finally, suggestions are made to help people work through the emotional and physical responses. For this Souza recommends a simple four-step trauma survival prescription: water and lots of it, psyllium fiber twice a day, 20-30 minutes of percussive exercise using the large muscle groups, and play at least once a week.

All four steps are designed to help remove the elevated levels of adrenaline in the body that can lead to digestive discomfort and sleep disturbances among other problems. The release of adrenaline into the system is a healthy response to stressful situations, Souza said, but people in emergency response positions tend to operate at a constant state of being "on guard" which has a lifelong impact on health.

Eight to 12 glasses of water per day and a daily dose of water-soluble fiber helps to flush the adrenaline out of the system, she said. Exercising the large muscle groups for at least twenty minutes a day - walking, running, biking or lifting weights - fools the lower brain that a survival response has been fulfilled. Play, any activity that allows a person to lose track of time, two to three hours a week, signals the body that everything is okay again.

Souza also works with people individually when needed.

"For about 4-6 weeks I follow people around and kind of bug them," Souza said. "They'll say, 'I'm fine.' That's the ticket to have me follow them around."

By starting with the group, Souza said, it's easier to make sense of the incident and to get clarification which helps to combat the, "What if," and "If only I had ..." doubts people internalize. It also gives Souza the chance to explain what's happening on a cellular level.

"It's not a counseling session process per se," Conway said. "It's to get people focused in the right direction."

"It helps people get out their emotions, not let them fester inside," Escude said.

Survival mode

Fires, shootings, unimaginable scenes of destruction, floods or difficult rescues are just some of the abnormal situations that emergency responders must put themselves into on purpose. In these situations, the mind and body are triggering a survival mode, Souza said.

"Underneath all that fineness, you want to run, fight, get out of there."

In survival mode, fine motor skills shut down as the body sends all available energy to the large muscle groups for a flight response, senses heighten and tunnel vision is common. That can lead to reactions that seem illogical when looking back, but may have been perfectly normal under the circumstances.

Finding the expert

Souza, who used to travel nationwide talking to firefighters, police, pilots and EMS personnel about adrenaline management, said she moved to Pagosa Springs two years ago to take time to be with family and take a break from the national picture. But it wasn't long before word of her work got around.

"I thought in a small town it would be something I could do in my 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. hours," she said.

The three EMS personnel, two funded by the district and another paid for by the EMS Association, then went to a four-day training.

There had been an attempt to have a crisis team in-house before, Kathy Conway said, but it disbanded. Then, for a few years, a team from Durango responded when needed.

At least for Conway, it was Souza's training on the science behind certain symptoms of stress that finally made sense.

"The symptoms you go through are an unconscious thing," she said. "You almost don't notice them because they're a chemical thing. We never knew the why and how it happened. She taught us how it affects the cells, and it became real after that."

Normal reactions to a critical incident, according to Souza, can include: sleep disturbances, flashbacks of the event when asleep or awake, racing or pounding heart during flashbacks, physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, depressed appetite, nausea or vomiting, headaches, self-doubt, feelings of sadness, frequent crying, periods of emotional numbness, feelings of betrayal by the department, a feeling that others see a person as "falling apart," irritability with loved ones, short temper, feelings of unworthiness, feelings of needing to be punished, sexual dysfunction, aggressive behavior, increased or excessive sick leave, thoughts of resigning, retiring.

All of these are natural for people dealing with very abnormal situations, but they can't be ignored. If internalized, they can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other possibly permanent physical and emotional problems, Souza said.

"I remember the first time Jean talked with me," critical incident stress management team member Kate Jackson, said. "She came into quarters and I had no idea I had brought anything back from a call. She made one simple statement and I burst into tears." Those tears proved to be the release Jackson needed to go home with a clear conscious and a better understanding of the day's events.

"What I wanted to do is stay away from everybody, and I wanted to be alone," Conway said. "I didn't want anybody to see those emotions, but now I can see that the emotional and physical response is dissipated a little bit by talking about it with other people."

Expressing sadness, anger, and self-doubt among other emotions was once strictly frowned upon among emergency services people because of a superman ideal.

"On the surface, it looks like a weakness," Jackson said, "instead of something that's changed your being as the result of this experience."

Effect on America

Since the attack on America Sept. 11, many people experienced a horror similar, but on a much larger scale, to the scenes emergency personnel must process as a part of their jobs.

The impact of the stress that America has internalized may not be known for several weeks yet, but it's obvious people are sensitized right now, Souza said. Sounds of sirens, explosions, even planes flying overhead heighten that adrenaline flow.

"We can talk through all the facts right away, but two to four to six weeks later something might happen to trigger a reaction. I'm not sure any of us are in touch yet with all of those triggers that have loaded in."

What people can do, Souza said, is follow the four-step trauma survival prescription to help offset the stress build-up as the country continues to react to the tragedy.

"It does make a difference," Kathy Conway said. "You just all of a sudden feel better. You don't realize until you don't do the regimen the next time that it does help."

Conway and the other critical response team members hope, in the future, to be able to take their debriefing program to other agencies within the county and perhaps within the region.


Donation thanks

Dear Editor,

Although the nation has experienced tragedy, fear and anger these past four weeks following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, we have also seen the people of our nation coming together to provide aid to the victims of that tragedy.

This was witnessed right here in Pagosa Springs as the Pagosa Springs High School Student Council worked to raise donations for the American Red Cross to help with the National Disaster Relief Fund.

I want to thank all members of the community who donated money while visiting the school for "Fiddler on the Roof" and for various athletic events or for sending a donation from home with their students. I also want to thank students and staff for their liberal donations, and especially note Jace Johnson and the Liberty Theater for donating proceeds from the Sept. 20 show.

Several individuals wrote checks for very generous amounts, and the Intermediate School collected a considerable amount to contribute to the high school's efforts. We greatly appreciate those donations.

I thank and commend the Student Council members for the extra time they took to attend events and man the boxes, and to go around town and solicit donations.With our community's combined efforts, we raised nearly $3,000 to send the Red Cross.

Although Pagosa is miles away in both distance and lifestyle from new York and Washington, D.C., we have all learned that no one is removed from duty to one's countrymen or detached from compassion to those in need. Thank you Pagosans for acting on your patriotism and helping the young people of our community learn about leadership and service. God Bless America.

Yours truly,

Nancy Esterbrook,

Student Council Sponsor

Get out and vote

Dear Editor,

We may be the only nation in the world that declares (among life and liberty), the "unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness." The terrorists of Sept. 11 were surely jealous.

Let us really show our patriotism by setting an all time record for voting. Pass it on, please: Rally Round our Rights - register to vote, and do it at the very next opportunity.

Thanks and Cheerio,

Mary A. Hannah

Goose poop returns

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to the letter "Small Outrage" printed in the Sept. 27 issue.

Goose poop has about the consistency of tooth paste; it sticks to golf shoes, golf balls, golf carts and golf clubs. It is very much an unsanitary nuisance. Geese are becoming a larger problem every year.

No customer should be presented with this problem after paying substantial golf fees. Some courses have resorted to using trained dogs to rid the course of geese.

The men chasing the geese in the golf cart were showing their frustration at having to deal with this situation.

Gil Johnson

Inspiring billboard

Dear Editor,

I would like to tell you about a new billboard planted on U.S. 84, south of the junction of 84 and 160. The picture is in memory of Ginnye Donavan and others who have battled cancer and other hideous diseases. I mention Ginnye Donavan specifically because it was her battle with cancer that prompted the idea for the billboard back in 1998.

Ginnye was dying of cancer. She and her husband Patrick had a print of a painting in their home, which was frequented by the hospice nurses who cared for her. One of those nurses, Edna Elder, was deeply touched by the picture and inquired how a print might be obtained. Ginnye told her that my wife Rebekah was the artist. She contacted us and, in passing, she said, "This picture is so powerful and meaningful to me, I would love to plant them along the freeway in Cincinnati had I the funds to do so." These few words gave rise to the idea to make the picture more visible to more people.

The initial idea for the picture came in a vision of the many people living behind bars, both real and imaginary. The hand holding the keys represents the scarred and pierced hand of Jesus who now has the keys to any and all prison gates. Real hands at a real jail in Creede, Colorado, modeled the hands inside the cell. The gate was inspired by the gate on the grizzly bear enclosure at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park. The first grizzly to enjoy the hospitality at the park was named "Frederick the Great." He had come from another zoo, where he had always lived in an enclosure with a cement floor. The first time he was permitted to roam in a larger enclosure on grass and real dirt at the park, he was reluctant to leave his confining, customary prison cell. Does that remind you of someone you know?

It took almost three years to plant the billboard. A number of people in this community rallied around this project and gave of their time and money. A sign company from Santa Ana, Calif., donated talents and resources to create the graphics. A sign company in Farmington constructed the billboard, and local hands donated tools, material, and time to install it. We thank John and Janna Ranson for making their property available, Ben Franklin for setting the steel posts into cement, and Denver McCabe for welding the sign onto the posts. We erected the billboard last Saturday morning. Michael Ybanez assembled the work crew and the sign was standing tall and strong. For the many gifts, large and small, we say "God bless all of you."

We intend for this billboard to be a memorial to Ginnye and to the many others who have valiantly battled hideous diseases like cancer. May this memorial inspire others to raise up similar billboards along our nation's highways.

Peter D. Laue

Let a jury decide

Dear Editor,

Every American should be outraged that the seven suspected (or should I say "alleged") terrorists are going to be allowed to walk, when our FBI caught them trying to obtain false truck drivers' licenses. Not just any truck, but chemical toxic waste trucks.

Please, please allow a grand jury of reasonably prudent men and women to decide if there is enough evidence for a jury trial. Please let a jury decide . . . not some lawyer who only takes open and shut cases. Because of his pride, lives of thousands of people could be on his hands.

Our FBI, God bless them, caught these seven men of Arab descent with irrefutable evidence. I strongly believe an American jury will rule fairly on the evidence; if only given the chance.


David E. Maynard

American woman

Dear Editor,

I am an American woman who grew up during the Vietnam War. In those days the flag was in dispute. That war did not unite us, our men were not thought of as heroes, they did not have the America that we are experiencing now.

I must say as a teen the Vietnam War left me with many mixed emotions, none of which were pride in America.

Now, with this attack on America, I am for the first time really experiencing that Proud American feeling. Never before this terrible attack has the National Anthem touched my very soul; now, every time I hear it, my eyes fill with tears.

I guess I just needed to share some of my emotions with all of yours. America is the land of the beautiful and home of the brave. I salute you my fellow Americans and stand firm with pride behind my country.

God Bless America my home sweet home. United We Stand!

With deepest repect,

Sheri Peed

Outfitter rebuttal

Dear Editor,

In reference to Cruising with Cruse, several past articles have depicted every outfitter as a garbage monster in the wilderness. This is far from true. The statement "it must be an outfitter" is a tired and outdated cliche.

I also believe that in an area supported by hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and outfitters, this type of article was not properly researched and was not depicted as the entire truth.

Outfitters are one of the most regulated of all visitors to the backcountry. The U.S. Forest Service, through the letting of permits, requires that an outfitter use the same camping site year after year. This accomplishes several things: 1) Should a specific camp site become trashed, the forest service knows who to look to for answers; 2) This also provides for the control of usage in each area, based on impact.

The outfitter clears trails where hikers walk. He packs out trash found in camp sites and along trails. He assists lost and injured hikers. He responds to the needs of county Search and Rescue calls. The outfitter is an expert in the wilderness environment.

Hikers and private stock owners are the less regulated. The hiker or private user can camp wherever they desire in pristine areas, build new fire rings, cut trees, make new social trails and leave marks for you to see. By the time their damage is found the users have gone, never to return.

In a past Cruising with Cruse article (only a selected sentence) was quoted from the Wilderness Act of 1964. However, there is much more to the act.

For instance:

wilderness areas shall be devoted to public purposes of recreation, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation and historical use

manage wilderness in a natural and "untrammeled" condition while accommodating human uses

services provided by outfitter/guides provide access to the wilderness for persons who otherwise could not experience it by themselves. For such persons commercial wild land support services may be viewed as minimizing impact for the inexperienced or unskilled backcountry visitor.

(Quotes taken from U.S. Forest Service, SJ-RG Wilderness Direction 1998 edition)

Public awareness is growing at a rapid rate. Outfitters as well as the public are attending educational courses such as Leave No Trace. There they learn how to protect the land and minimize impact.

There is little need for Cruse to continue badgering. Environmental impact is an educational problem which will take time to correct. After all it took decades of misuse by many people to create what we are now trying to repair.

Happy hiking,

Willie Swanda, outfitter

Sports Page

Ladies beat Ignacio and their usual distractions
By Karl Isberg

Rebounding from a less than credible performance against Cortez Oct. 2 the Lady Pirate volleyball team traveled to Ignacio Thursday, ripped off a 15-10, 15-10 victory, extended the overall record to 11-2 and advanced to a 3-0 record in Intermountain League play.

Pagosa was still without the services of senior outside hitter Nicole Buckley when the team took the floor at Ignacio, but junior Tricia Lucero filled the gap admirably and the Ladies secured their victory in front of a noisy Bobcat crowd.

"Before the game," said Coach Penné Hamilton, "I told them Nicki isn't going to be with us, so just cowboy up and play the game. We've been starting slow lately, and we did it again against Ignacio. There were a lot of distractions. The folks at Ignacio did a dog-and-pony show with parent and boyfriends night and when Katie (Lancing) got blocked at the start of the game, the crowd acted like they'd won the state championship. We settled down though, and took it back."

At one point the Bobcats were ahead 7-5, but Pagosa maintained composure and tied the game at 9-9 and 10-10. At that point Shannon Walkup took the serve and stayed for three points. "Shannon was steady," said Hamilton, "and that run broke it up."

In the second game, the Bobcats again took the early lead, going ahead 4-1. The Lady Pirates tied the score before Lori Walkup went to the serve for Pagosa and scored three points. Lucero did the same after a sideout, extending the Lady Pirate point total to 9. The Bobcats never caught up. Lancing went to the serve at match-point and put a jump serve down at the back line for the win.

"Ignacio is pretty scrappy," said Hamilton. "I don't think anyone in the league should take them lightly. We had some good performances against them: Shannon played a real strong game in the backcourt, and Ashley (Gronewoller) served very well, real tough, with only one error." Lancing had a fine evening on offense, clicking regularly with freshman setter Lori Walkup, then providing sets for 6'3" Gronewoller in the middle.

The Lady Pirates return home for a non-league Homecoming match against Farmington this weekend. Action is set to begin at 3 p.m. With the Farmington contest out of the way, it's time for the race to the barn in the IML.

In one week's time, beginning Tuesday, the Ladies face their four IML foes in the second of two regular-season matches with each. Bayfield is in town Tuesday for a match scheduled at 6 p.m. On Thursday, Ignacio travels to Pagosa for a 6 p.m. battle and Monte Vista visits Pagosa Friday for a 6 p.m. contest. A critical 7 p.m. match at Centauri Oct. 20 ends the regular season.

"It's a killer of a way to end the season," said Hamilton. "Four matches in five days is a heavy load, but, when it's over, we will be ready for the district tournament the next weekend."


Pagosa Spgs. def Ignacio 15-10, 15-10.

Kills: Lancing 10, Gronewoller 8, Lucero 4

Assists: L. Walkup 11, Lancing 9

Digs: S. Walkup 10, Lancing 9, Gronewoller 7

Aces: Gronewoller 3

Solo blocks: Lancing, L. Walkup 1


Volger steals top spot from Bayfield runners at Mancos
By Tess Noel Baker

Aubrey Volger turned the tables on a pair of Bayfield runners Saturday, grabbing first place on a last -minute sprint to the finish at the Mancos cross country invitational.

Volger ran third most of the day, Coach Scott Anderson said. After passing Jackie Shaw to take second, the senior saw an opportunity to take the lead in a physical finish against Michelle Miller and came up victorious. Volger won the race in 21:54.

Pirate Amanda McCain finished ninth in 24:36, to edge out teammate Tiffany Thompson who closed for 10th place with a time of 24:44.

"Amanda ran an excellent race," Anderson said.

Rounding out the Pagosa girls' team were sophomore Lauren Caves, finishing 21st in 28:36 and junior Hannah Emanuel who crossed the line 23rd in 30:14. Emanuel was running her first race for Pagosa Springs.

In the boys' race, junior Todd Mees had his top finish of the season, crossing the line in second with a time of 19:40 behind a runner from Navajo Prep.

"We're looking forward to seeing him run against the rest of the league in our meet this weekend," Anderson said. Senior Trevor Peterson also ran well, finishing fifth in 20:37. He was followed by Nick Hall in 13th, with a time of 21:15. A 24:33 effort by senior Ryan Beavers was good enough to claim 24th.

Although the Pirates faced a small field at Mancos, it proved to be a confidence builder, Anderson said.

"Bayfield was there, which is what we can use as our measuring stick. It was a gorgeous day to run. It was our first time on this course, a fun course to run, and it offered us some new challenges. We were pleased with how everybody ran."

This Saturday, Pagosa Springs will travel to Monte Vista for the Intermountain League meet where they will be put to the test on a fast course.

"It's a flat course - what we call a track meet - two laps around an extremely flat golf course," Anderson said. "There will be some faster teams there for them to try their stuff against."

Pirate kickers score first but bow 4-2 to Telluride
By Richard Walter

Telluride's Miners survived a first minute Pagosa Springs goal, a first half tie and offsetting brilliant efforts by goal tenders on both sides to put together a second half comeback and a 4-2 soccer victory over their hosts at Golden Peaks Stadium Friday.

In the end it appeared Telluride had just too much firepower for the game Pirates, although the two Pagosa goals were just one fewer than Telluride had allowed in the whole season until then.

The high-flying Miners were shocked early when, just 38 seconds into the game, Ty Scott scored unassisted for the Pirates, a lead that was to stand up until the final seconds of the half.

In the meantime, the Pirates put on an offensive blitz featuring headers off the crossbar, three shots that hit the post, and save after save by the Miner's top ranked keeper Tyler Hawk Erskine.

The first of his victims was Kyle Sanders, whose header off a corner kick by Zeb Gill was swatted aside like an irritating gnat. Then, Gill's header on an outlet pass from Jordan Kurt-Mason was snared out of the air by Erskine, Trent Sander's long blast was stopped, Kyle's left-footer from the corner was snared in the crease and Gill's header went over the net. That was all in the first 9-plus minutes.

Pirate keeper Matt Mesker stopped Telluride's Erik Andrews on a breakaway at the three minute mark, but so dominating was the Pirate attack - and so smothering their midfield defense - that Telluride did not get another shot on goal until Andrews' long drive in the 14th minute was wide left. Four minutes later, his blast from midfield was off the crossbar.

In the 28th minute, the first of four Pagosa penalty kicks, by Kyle Sanders, sailed over the net and five minutes later his second penalty kick was stopped by Erskine. A Telluride penalty kick was wide in the 32nd minute.

Despite all the Pagosa heroics in the half, Telluride pulled even at 1-1 with just 10 seconds left when Alex Smith scored unassisted after recovering an errant Pagosa outlet pass at the 30 yard marker and driving unabated on Mesker.

The first nine minutes of the second half were as much an all-Telluride show as most of the first half had been all-Pagosa.

Andrews gave the Miners a 2-1 lead in the 47th minute, a lead they were never to surrender. Still, it could have been worse if not for Mesker's acrobatics. He had seven saves in the time frame while Erskine was turning away five Pirate blasts. Jordan Kurt-Mason's booming drive in the 55th minute was a prime example of Erskine's prowess as he dived far to his right to make the save.

In the 71st minute, Erskine took a crossing lead from Hanza Kolar and ripped it past Mesker for a 3-1 Miner lead.

But, just 37 seconds later, Kyle Sanders pulled the Pirates back within one point, scoring on a header off a drop lead from Benjamin Raab and the home crowd was back in the game. Three minutes later, however, Kolar scored unassisted off a bungled Pagosa outlet pass and the scoring was complete.

Three Pirate shots in the last minute were stopped by Erskine and the Miners were winners over Pagosa for the second time this season.

It is possible they could meet again in district playoffs to be hosted at Golden Peaks Oct. 20. Teams for that first round of playoffs will be announced later.


First half scoring: PS-Scott, unassisted, 1st minute; T-Smith, unassisted, 40th minute; Second half, T-Andrews, 46th minute, unassisted; T-Andrews, 71st minute, assist Kolar; PS-K.Sanders, 72nd minute, assist Raab; T-Kolar,74th minute, unassisted; Saves: PS-Mesker, 15; T-Erskine, 16; Penalty kicks, P-4; T-4; Yellow card, PS-Z. Gill.

Sanders brothers team up to make victory a Family Affair
By Richard Walter

Family Affair.

The old television show of that name had nothing on the Pagosa Springs Pirates soccer team as they blanked Crested Butte 8-0 at Golden Peaks Stadium Saturday behind six goals from the Sanders brothers.

Kyle Sanders opened the scoring parade for Pagosa, converting a rebound of Ty Scott's shot in the 8th minute and the Pirates never looked back.

Kyle scored the second Pagosa goal in the 15th minute, heading in a crossing pass from Zeb Gill on the left wing and just over four minutes later it was Trent Sanders' turn, looping a 25-yard shot over keeper T.J. Brown for the third Pagosa goal and the rout was on.

With Trent playing a key midfield defensive role along with Jordan Kurt-Mason and the seemingly ever-present Reuben Coray, Crested Butte was unable to muster any offense in the first half.

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason shifted gears for the opening of the second half, moving Mesker from goal to right wing and inserting freshman Caleb Forrest in the nets. The youngster was tested immediately, coming out to cut down the angle on a rare offensive thrust by Crested Butte's Blake Babbitt, and turning his drive aside.

In the game's 45th minute, Raab got in the books with an unassisted goal after stealing an outlet pass and five minutes later it was Trent Sanders scoring again, this time unassisted from 30 yards, hiking the score to 5-0.

Still, the Pirates and the Sanders family were not done.

Kyle scored again in the 72nd minute, assisted by Raab and picked up his fourth marker in the 7th minute on an assist by Kevin Muirhead.

With five minutes left in the contest, coach Kurt-Mason revised his lineup again, moving Trent Sanders into net and pulling Forrest to a mid-fielder position. Trent was tested only once in goal and that resulted in a 60-yard outlet kick that sailed over the heads of all the players on the field.

His brother, however, was not yet finished for the day.

In the game's 79th minute, Kyle took a crossing lead from Forrest and converted it for his fourth goal of the day and eighth in the last three games.

The victory hiked Pagosa's season record to 7-2, both losses coming to Telluride.


First half: PS-K. Sanders, unassisted, 9th minute; PS- K. Sanders, assist Z. Gill, 15th minute; PS-T. Sanders, assist Z. Gill; Second half: PS-Raab, unassisted, 45th minute; PS-T. Sanders, unassisted, 50th minute; PS-K. Sanders, assist Raab, 72nd minute; PS-K. Sanders, assist Kevin Muirhead, 74th minute; PS-K. Sanders, assist Caleb Forrest, 79th minute; Saves: PS-Mesker, 4; Forrest, 4; T. Sanders, 1; CB-T.J. Brown, 7. Penalty kicks: PS-3, CB-1; No cards.

Multi -faceted Pirate attack sinks Bobcat gridders
By John M. Motter

Led by Jason Schutz' three touchdowns, Pagosa Springs opened their Intermountain League season by overpowering Ignacio 52-21 Friday.

The win gives the Pirates a 1-0 record in defense of the IML crown they have owned the past two seasons. Centauri's Falcons are next for Pagosa on the IML menu. The Falcons and Pirates joust tomorrow night in Golden Peaks Stadium. Drums will be beating and excitement will be high because the contest is Homecoming for Pagosa Springs.

Centauri's 1-0 IML record ties them with Pagosa Springs, just behind 2-0 Monte Vista. The Falcons stepped outside the league last week to lose to Las Animas. A week earlier, they topped Bayfield 17-15 to earn their IML win. Ignacio and Bayfield are deadlocked in the IML basement with 0-2 records. That deadlock will be broken tomorrow night when the Bobcats and Wolverines collide.

Pagosa's deadlock with Centauri will also be broken tomorrow night. So far this season, the La Jara school has relied primarily on a running attack while beating Lake County (Leadville), Rye, and Bayfield, and losing to Sanford, La Junta, and Las Animas.

Pagosa is 4-2 for the season after last week's route of Ignacio. Head coach Myron Stretton's charges again used the entire turf as a launching pad, scoring on passing plays of 16, 45, 45, and 25 yards and running plays of 1, 4, and 61 yards.

For good measure, Darin Lister booted a 40-yard field goal and Schutz found the handle on a pass he had just blocked and raced 21 yards to pay dirt.

"We made a good effort, but the concentration and execution weren't so good," said Myron Stretton, the Pirate head coach. "Everybody made some good offensive plays, but there were a lot of mental lapses, missed blocking assignments."

The passing of senior quarterback Ronnie Janowsky drew praise from Stretton. Janowsky completed 13 of 20 pass attempts for 235 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.

On the receiving ended, Stretton complimented the work of Schutz. The junior caught five passes for 90 yards, turned the interception into a TD, and made three tackles on defense.

Fullback Brandon Rosgen also earned praise from Stretton, this time for offensive and defensive play. Rosgen ran six times for 63 yards, caught two passes for 47 yards, made three tackles, and one assist.

Ben Marshall's work on the offensive and defensive lines was singled out by Stretton. In fact, the entire defensive unit played well, according to Stretton. By halftime, the 'D' forced Ignacio to abandon its heralded passing game.

"The defense played really well, probably the best they've played all year," Stretton said. "They covered their responsibilities. I think our defense is just beginning to mature."

A notable fact about the defense is that everybody is getting into the action. Michael Vega contributed six tackles, Caleb Mellette and Cord Ross five tackles each, and Janowsky four tackles. In addition, 17 other Pirates made at least one tackle.

Ignacio won the coin toss to start the game and elected to receive. Lorenzo Rodriguez returned Lister's kickoff to the 40-yard line, putting the Bobcats in good field position. Five plays later Pagosa reversed the field position by taking over on downs on the Ignacio 22-yard line when Brandon Charles tackled the punter.

It didn't take the Pirates long to get on the score board. Mellette romped for six yards, then Janowsky connected with Schutz for a 16-yard TD. Lister kicked the extra point to put Pagosa on top 7-0.

Ignacio's Rodriguez fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Coy Ross covered for Pagosa, and the Pirates had a first down on the Ignacio 28-yard line. Good field position again. When they couldn't move the ball in three plays, Pagosa called on Lister who responded with a 40-yard field goal.

After several exchanges, Pagosa drove to the one-yard line where Mellette punched over for a TD. Lister's kick boosted the Pirate lead to 17-0. Pagosa rang up one more first-half tally, a 45-yard pass from Janowsky to Schutz. Lister's kick was good again, giving Pagosa a 24-0 halftime lead.

Ignacio fans, hoping for a comeback, got louder when Pagosa fumbled the second half kickoff. Taking advantage of starting from the Pagosa 25-yard line, the Bobcats scored five plays later. The extra point attempt failed, but no matter for Bobcat fans. Their troops were on the scoreboard. Maybe the second half would be different.

Mellette soon took the wind out of their sails by racing 61 yards down the left side line and into the end zone on the first play from scrimmage. Lister's kick missed, but Pagosa was on top 30-7. Ignacio fans were quiet.

On their next possession, Ignacio picked up one first down, then turned the ball over on downs on the Pagosa 49. Two plays later, Janowsky connected with a streaking Lister and Pagosa scored again. After fumbling the snap, Janowsky passed to Schutz for two and Pagosa's lead stretched to 38-6. A 25-yard Janowsky to Charles pass followed by a successful Lister kick put Pagosa on the scoreboard yet one more time before the third period ended with Pagosa on top 45-6.

Pagosa's final tally came early in the fourth period on Schutz' interception. Pagosa's starters watched from the bench as Ignacio scored twice during the game's final minutes.

While the Pagosa air attack was lethal, eight rushers punctured the Ignacio D for an impressive 252 yards. Mellette was the pacesetter with 116 yards on 11 carries, followed by Rosgen with 63 yards on six carries, Charles with 57 yards on six carries, plus Janowsky, Cord Ross, Ryan Wendt, and David Kern.


Pagosa Springs 52, Ignacio 21

Pagosa Springs 10 14 21 7 52

Ignacio 0 0 7 14 21

PS: Janowsky 16 pass Schutz (Lister kick). PS: Lister 40 FG. PS: Mellette 1 run (Lister kick). PS: Janowsky 45 pass Schutz (Lister kick). I: Niel 4 run (kick fail). PS: Mellette 61 run (Lister kick fail). PS: Janowsky 45 pass Lister (Janowsky pass to Schutz for 2). PS: Janowsky 25 pass Charles (Lister kick). PS: Schutz 21 interception (Lister kick). I: Hocker 30 run (kick failed). I: Simons 6 run (Rodriguez run for 2)

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Yolanda Salas

Yolanda Fiedlia Grace Salas was born at Mercy Medical Center in Durango on Aug. 5, 2001. She weighed 6 pounds, 2.3 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long. Parents are Sue Hardin and Andrew Salas. The proud grandparents are Gilbert and Debra Perea of Pagosa Springs and Phil Perea of Grand Junction, Debra Salas and Dino Pacheco of Pagosa Springs. Her great grand parents are the late Sequiel and Fiedlia Perea, Abel Lister, Grace Vigil, Siegfredo Salas and Romonsita Salas. She is also the great-great granddaughter of Amanda Stollstimer.

Johannes Starks

Johannes William Starks was born Sept. 19, 2001 at Mercy Hospital in Durango to Liz and Phil Starks. He weighed 8 pounds 2 ounces and measured 20 1/2 inches. His grandparents are Ann and Rex Shurtleff of Pagosa Springs, and Agatha and Hennie Heerink of New Zealand.

Peyton Gronewoller

Peyton Ashley Gronewoller debuted July. 21, 2001 at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. The daughter of Brian and Morgan Gronewoller weighed in at 5 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 18 3/4 inches. Grandparents are Don and Paula Ford of Pagosa Springs; Don and Jean McGiffin of Beaverton, Ore., and Dave and Donna Gronewoller of Winston-Salem, N.C.

Community News
Chamber News
By Doug Trowbridge

With brass away there's little to say

Sally is likely on an airplane somewhere over Alabama and Morna is down in Albuquerque chasing balloons, which means that I am in total control of the Chamber today. The feeling of power is dizzying as I make decisions that will chart the course of the Chamber for years to come. For instance, not much has happened this week, so I've decided to write a very short article.

Pagosa Poster

As this issue of the SUN hits news stands all across Pagosa, the unveiling of the first official Pagosa Springs Chamber Poster is only one week away. Excitement is running high as everyone tries to imagine what the poster will look like. Since our informed source has not been heard from since last week's article, it would appear that interested parties will have to attend the Grand Unveiling to be held at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park, from 5 to 7 p.m. to find out about this closely guarded secret.

This event will also offer Pagosans a chance to see many of the images submitted by our local school kids during the early stages of the poster's development. Think about what photo would say "Pagosa" to you and then come out and see if that image caught the eye of one of the photographers who were faced with this challenge many months ago.

Stop by the unveiling for refreshments and a refreshing look at Pagosa through the eyes of others.


While getting ready to write this week's article, I came across a previously unseen memo regarding the 16th Annual Alco Cute Baby Contest. As you are aware, the contest is open to all babies, two years of age or younger. Photos of these babies will be displayed at the ALCO store all month long and shoppers are encouraged to vote for the cutest baby with their spare change. The baby collecting the most "votes" wins a $25 gift card from ALCO.

Last week, I reported that proceeds would be going to local charities. Normally, this would be the case, but as we all know, things have been less than normal lately. As a result, ALCO has decided to donate all proceeds to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

So get out there and vote for Pagosa's "cutest baby" and help a great cause at the same time.

Toys and Timbers

This Saturday, The Timbers of Pagosa and A.B.A.T.E., a local motorcycle club, are teaming up for the kids of Pagosa. The day will start with a motorcycle run to start around 3 p.m. at The Timbers parking lot. The ride will be followed by a concert and buffet at The Timbers of Pagosa, starting around 7 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Captain Rumbelly, one of the many alter egos of Pagosa's own D.C. Duncan. Admission to the concert will be $10 or a toy worth at least $10. The Timbers will be serving a special buffet for $12.50 to any hungry attendees. Toys and proceeds from the day's activities will go to Operation Helping Hand.


I told you I was going to write a short article this week and here we are at the final stop. But don't get too complacent because we have two new members, one associate member and 31 renewals this week!

Our first new member is Natalie Thomas with Columbine Deli & Catering, located in the rear of 162 Pagosa Street. They are open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The menu includes breakfast burritos and croissant sandwiches for breakfast with Philly cheesesteaks and hoagies for lunch. You'll also see their catering truck cruising the Pagosa area feeding all the hungry workers in town. For more info on their Lunch Wagon, Catering or Delivery, call 264-DELI (3354)

Next on the new member list is longtime associate member Barbara Rosner with Rosner Creative Communications & Design. Barbara provides graphic design and copy writing services for effective marketing communications. Projects range from logo design through to a complete system of integrated marketing materials. To reach Barbara, call 264-6502.

Ray and JoAnn Laird renew their associate membership this week. Usually, we'd put our associate members last, but with 31 renewals, I made one of those course-altering decisions and put them second.

And now, without further ado, I present our renewals for the week. In absolutely no particular order, we welcome back Craig Vrazel with Brighton Custom Homes; Kroegers Kitchen Center; John Porter with Clean As A Whistle; Will Spears with KWUF AM & FM Radio; Steven McKain with Pathfinder Construction of Southwest Colorado, LLC; A.J. McMillan with Accu-Tax Service, Inc.; Harold Kornhaber with Harold Kornhaber Master Painter; Paula Watson with Wolfwood Refuge; Lynn Johnson with Custom Homes By Curt Johnson, Inc.; Jon Reed with Sportsmans Supply Campground and Cabins; Hardworking Terri House sends us The Pagosa Springs SUN; James Hallock with Earth Block, Inc.; Linda and John DiMuccio with Cool Water Plumbing & Piping; both Subway and Subway West restaurants and Bonnie S. Thrasher with Dental Hygiene Clinic of Pagosa.

One second, while I catch my breath.

Now, on with our renewals. Roger H. Modrow with Eagle's View Cedar Homes & Sun Rooms; Al Baird with Coldwell Banker, The Pagosa Group; Lynn Albers with Lynn's Heating & Refrigeration; Dick Warring with Wolf Creek Logistics, Inc.; Diamond Dave Pokorney with Diamond Dave's Jewelry and Pawn, Inc.; Alan Kuderca with Heritage Custom Homes, Inc.; Lorri Hill-Bayger with Pagosa Springs Office Supply; and Peggy Ralston with Pagosa Land.

Finally, a few people who really want to stay busy. JoAnn Thigpen rejoins with both Indian Head Lodge and Paper Plate Buffet; Doug & Katrina Schultz are back with Spun Gold and Uncle Zack's; and Ken Harms with Harms Photo/Graphic Associates, SelecPRO Photography, and Harms PhotoGraphics.

There you have it. A relatively quiet week in Pagosa. But then, we've earned it. Our thanks to everyone who has helped the Chamber this summer! Go out and enjoy our gorgeous fall weather while it lasts.

Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Seniors spoil Morgan Chacon, honor Eva Darmopray

We finally got to spoil Selene and Al Chacon's baby girl, Morgan. Several of our group honored Morgan with a baby shower and pot luck lunch on Thursday. There was lots of good food and many, many beautiful gifts.

Selene's daughter Dixie, and sister Susie, joined us and a good time was had by all.

Our Senior of the Week is Eva Darmopray - such a very deserving lady who is always helping others. Congratulations, Eva!

The Archuleta Senior Citizens bake sale is next week, Oct. 18 and 19 at the Ski and Bow Rack. This organization provides a lot of support for our seniors, including the eye-glass program, paying for janitorial services at the Center, providing internet service for computers at the Center, helping those who are in need with funds to ride the senior bus, etc.

Donations of baked goods will be appreciated. They may be dropped off at the Center Wednesday, Oct. 17, or Thursday, Oct. 18 or at the Ski and Bow Rack on Thursday or Friday.

Natalie Gable told us the youth group from the Unitarian Church will provide snow removal services on a regular basis for two seniors this winter. What a wonderful service. Thank you. Seniors who need this service should call Musetta at 264-2167.

If other groups would like to provide this kind of help, we would really appreciate it. We have several seniors who are not able to shovel snow and do other heavy chores.

This week we were happy to have Angela Lind, John Arellano, George Golightly, Dee, Steve and Marilyn McPeek, and Shirley Horshaw join us for lunch. We hope you folks will join us again soon.

The Senior Center is also looking for volunteers to teach country western and/or square dancing so those of you who love dancing, how about sharing your talents?

Again, we say thank you to folks who have donated items to our Center. The Branding Iron donated cabbage and carrots for the kitchen; Robert Creech gave oranges and grapefruit; Tom Cruse donated a can of cookies; and the Knights of Columbus donated $200.

The HBO cable has been hooked up at the Senior Center so we hope folks will come and enjoy it.

Notice: This is to inform folks who signed up to purchase the "pie candles" that we were not able to place the order due to our being uncomfortable with some requirements of the selling company. Perhaps we can find something else folks will want.

There will be a conference in Denver Nov. 1-3 to train folks in how to enhance the qualify of life for individuals with disabilities through the appropriate selection and use of assistance technology.

The cost is $75. Anyone interested in attending should call the Senior Center for more information.

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

War loomed with no blanks for green eyes

When World War II broke out, I was a senior in college, anxious to get out and see the world. Teaching jobs were wide open and when I heard that a family friend of mother's was looking for teachers for his school in Florida, I said, "I'll be there."

The job was in Cedar Key, one of seven keys located in the Gulf of Mexico, a part of Levy County, west of Ocala. It was a fishing village connected to the main land by a causeway.

The school was small. Some of the kids opted to go barefoot because they were "fishermen" and they'd show me the money they'd made fishing the night before. Some of them made more in one night than I made in a week or more. I was fascinated.

The U.S. Coast Guard had established a base on the island. This was before "the tide turned," meaning the U.S. was losing the war. German submarines were all around Florida - in the Gulf of Mexico and along the eastern coast.

Sometime during the first month of school, we heard a big boom and someone said that it was probably the Coast Guard sinking a sub. As it turned out, it was a false alarm; the kids were disappointed.

One day into autumn the news spread that boats were coming in and that local Greek fishermen were going to guide them through the channel. And they did come, hundreds of LSTs (landing, sailing tanks). It was night. We watched the light of the fisherman's board as he guided each boat in separately. It took four or five hours - maybe more. They stayed three days before moving on. Later, much later, I learned they were to meet up with another flotilla, one coming down the Intracoastal Waterway, and were early. Therefore, the layover. This was the armada that landed in North Africa.

And then the captain of the Coast Guard called for everyone on the island to report to him and be issued an identification pass.

A high school senior questioned us first: height, weight, color of hair and so on, and when he got to color of eyes, I said "green." He took a good look at his form and said, "There's no place for green eyes."

"You look at them," I said, and he looked and said, "Green they are," and typed it in and passed it on to the chief petty officer with whom I went through the same thing. The chief agreed that my eyes were green and passed the form to the captain. When the captain checked the form and saw "green eyes," he roared.

"Look at them, sir," said the chief and when the captain looked, he swore and agreed that they were green.

I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. My mother had green eyes, my brother had green eyes and lots of cousins had green eyes. Anyway, the services now include a place for green eyes.

One of the Coast Guard staff took pictures. When I got to know the captain, he told me that if he hadn't seen me being photographed, he'd have arrested me as a spy because that picture didn't look like me. And it didn't. But I still have it as a souvenir "of my war effort."

We never had to use our passes but, in other parts of the country, identification was required and checked.

The local people were naturally clannish, and so when the Coast Guard got there, they didn't have much trouble with people babbling. Newcomers to the island were quickly spotted and accounted for.

I was dating a guy from the University of Florida. His dad had sent the car he used for hunting purposes back to Gainesville to be serviced. So he (the son) drove it over to Cedar Key. After supper we went for a drive. He wanted to show me how he used the side light on his car to spot deer. Although no one lived on the other islands, there were connecting roads, so we drove around for some time.

For Thanksgiving another teacher and I went inland for dinner with old friends of her. She was telling about the security on the island, and included a story that one night strange lights kept flashing over the water; that although the Coast Guard looked, they couldn't find a source.

If you think that I spoke up, you are wrong. I knew the source of those lights. I'd have told the captain but not my friend. She was a scold!

World War II was in the making for years. People knew that it was coming and when it did, people did what they had to do matter-of-factly. Doing for our country was a source of pride not to be taken lightly.

Fun on the run

A man was browsing in a souvenir shop when a stranger struck up a conversation. Just as he was saying that his wife was getting carried away with her shopping, a brief power shortage caused the lights to flicker overhead.

"Ah," he sighed, "that must be her checking out now."

Veteran's Corner
By Andy Fautheree

Proposed reg could hike co-pay for meds

The Federal Register recently published a proposed Department of Veterans Affairs regulation that will increase the co-payment some veterans make for outpatient prescriptions.

As discussed in last week's Veteran's Corner, veterans have paid $2 for each 30-day supply of medication furnished on an outpatient basis for treatment of a nonservice-connected condition. Under the proposed regulation, this would increase to $7 with a maximum annual out-of-pocket payment of $840 for veterans in certain enrollment categories.

Under the new regulation, copayments could increase with inflation, along with caps, based on the Prescription Drug portion of the Consumer Price Index.

Certain veterans currently are not required to make medication copayments, and the proposed regulation would not change that. The following veterans are exempt from the proposed regulation:

Veterans who have a service-connected disability rating of 50 percent or more

Veterans who are receiving medication for a service-connected disability

Veterans with incomes below the maximum amount of VA pensions;

A limited number of other veterans exempt by public law.

During fiscal year 2000, 1.1 million veterans received medication from VA, averaging 47 prescriptions (30-day supply) each. VA collected $101 million in fiscal year 2000 for medication copays. If the same number of veterans continued to use VA at the proposed new copayment of $7, it would generate an increase in payments of $250 million annually. Every dollar collected would be returned to the VA facility where the veteran received medical care.

VA believes that the proposed $7 medication copayment would be lower than or equal to most medication copayments charged by the private health care industry. The purpose of the annual cap is to help eliminate financial hardships for veterans who, in unusual circumstances, need a significant number of prescriptions. The cap is based on a veteran who averages more than 10 prescriptions a month.

The co-payment cap would not apply to veterans in priority category 7. Congress has determined that these veterans have sufficient resources to pay for VA inpatient and outpatient care.

These are significant changes proposed from the currently funded copayment health care programs. However, it should be noted these are only proposed changes and may not necessarily take place in future VA health care programs.

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

Extension Viewpoints
By Bill Nobles

Many beneficial wasps find home in county

Friday - Set-up for 4-H Open House, 2 p.m.

Saturday &emdash;Open House 10 - noon, rocket launch at 9:30 in the arena.

Oct. 19 - Colorado Kids 4-H, 5 p.m.

Open House

I encourage everyone interested in learning more about 4-H to come to the Open House Saturday at the fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to noon.

Many of our project leaders will be on hand to explain about their projects for the coming year. We will have 4-H members and leaders available as well to answer any of your 4-H questions.

We will be begin with a rocket launch with members from last year's project getting one more chance to launch. This will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the arena. You are also welcome to come to the Extension Office at the Fairgrounds at any time to talk with Sandy Caves about 4-H.


Many different wasps occur in the region, with the great majority having highly beneficial habits. Most wasps are predators of pest insects, feeding insects to their developing young.

Problems with wasps occur when nests are located near high traffic areas or in buildings. Also, late summer foraging by yellow jacket wasps can be a serious nuisance problem for outdoor restaurants and other areas where food is served outdoors. Also, wasps may enter homes and buildings during autumn in search of overwintering shelter.

Almost all of the serious stinging and nuisance problems actually involve the social wasps - primarily the yellow jackets and hornets. These insects annually produce new colonies that are constructed of paper. Those produced by yellow jackets are usually made under ground or in wall voids. Hornets make large aerial nests in trees or large shrubs.

Fertilized females winter in protected areas, including homes and begin to construct nests in spring. As the season progresses, more worker wasps are present to help with colony development and nests rapidly increase in size. By late summer, each colony may have hundreds of wasps. At this time, the colony starts to break up with many of the large females leaving. Following several hard frosts the nests are completely abandoned. Nests are not reused the following year.

Social wasps feed their young protein-rich foods, primarily insects, meat and dead animals. Late in the season, food preferences of some species of yellow jackets switch to include more sugary materials and they are attracted to soft drinks, syrup and other materials. During this period, they can be extremely annoying and persistent pests.

Wasp Control

Destruction of wasp colonies can be fairly easy if the nest can be located. Species that produce aerial nests are often very easily detected. However, the more pestiferous yellow jackets typically nest below ground or in wall voids with only a small external opening.

Wasps using aerial nests are best controlled with directed sprays forced into the opening. Often it is best to combine a fast acting 'knockdown' insecticide (e.g. pyrethrins, resmethrin) with a more persistent insecticide and many commercial "Wasp and Hornet" sprays contain this combination. Insecticide dusts are usually most effective for ground nesting yellow jackets, since these treatments are more readily tracked into the colony. Alternatively, liquid treatments that can be poured into the colony may be used. (Gasoline should never be used for this treatment since it poses an extreme fire hazard and can cause long-term contamination of soil and water.) Wasp colonies often are not completely killed for at least one week after application. Developing wasps remain in rearing cells and continue to emerge for several days. Colony entrances should not be blocked until nests are destroyed, since yellow jacket wasps may chew new entrances. (Note: Wasp nests can be safely collected in late fall or winter. They are not reused the following year.)

It is safest to control wasps very early in the morning or in the evening when their activity is reduced. Light-colored clothing and protective clothing is recommended to avoid stings.

In many cases it is best to wait out wasp infestations. Since colonies are abandoned at the end of the season, problems can be resolved without treatment if the colony is not causing too much of a nuisance problem.

Several kinds of wasps do not produce a social colony, instead individually rear their young in nests they construct of mud or dig in the ground. These wasps are hunting wasps that collect spiders, cicadas, caterpillars and other prey for their young. Many are highly beneficial. Although solitary wasps sometimes appear rather fearsome, they rarely sting and their sting is less painful than the social wasps. If necessary, colonies of mud nesting species can be controlled simply by pulling down nests. Ground nesting can be deterred by disturbing the soil. In areas where nesting is frequent and a cause for concern, residual insecticide sprays can kill nesting wasps. Sometimes colonies may be killed by drenching the soil at night with soapy water.

Crusing with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Florence Self's life behind glass walls

As I write this, we are bombing Afghanistan, both with artillery and with food. A man has died in Florida of anthrax, and there may be more. Osama bin Laden has issued a chilling fatwa against our country and all its citizens, and we're told that the best thing we can do is go shopping. The humorous column I was working on seems irrelevant.

So instead I'm going to tell you about Florence Self. I learned about Florence from her daughter, Rose Smith, who lives here in Pagosa Springs. Florence Rae Self was born on the Piedra River south of Allison, on her father's 1906 homestead. Her parents had migrated to this region from Kansas in 1900, crossing the pass at Summitville in 1900 with four small children. Howard Self was also a local pioneer, whose parents' homestead was near Durango. Florence and Howard met when her brother was courting his sister.

The two couples were married in a double wedding ceremony on October 3, 1925. Florence and Howard established their home on his ranch near Durango, raising five children, until the Depression caught up with them in the late 1930's, and they had to sell the ranch.

The family moved to a house in Falfa, south of Elmore's Corner. Howard went to work for the state highway department and later a construction company. Florence ran a cafe in Ignacio. They both worked at other jobs in the area, until his work took them to live on the Towoac, Navajo and Ute reservation lands in New Mexico. There Florence began her painting, capturing on canvas the red mesas and the empty landscape, often containing tiny figures of Indians herding sheep.

In the late '50s, the Selfs returned to the ranch where Florence had grown up.

Then came the part of Florence Self's life that seized my imagination. In 1960 the couple were hired by the Forest Service to live at a lookout tower for six months and spot fires. Just two days before they were to start, Mr. Self suffered a heart attack and died. The Forest Service couldn't locate anyone else to take the job, and later that summer they approached Florence to consider going up there by herself.

She was 54 years old. She said yes. She agreed to spend the rest of the summer living in a glass-walled, 10 foot square room with a narrow catwalk around it, perched on posts above the edge of a cliff. For the next four months, that was her home. Six days a week. All day. All night. All alone.

I drove up to Eight Mile Mesa one afternoon last week, to see the fire lookout tower. The narrow dirt track snakes along up the side of the mesa. And then you get to the switchbacks. No guard rails. Just a few scrub oak and pine trees below you. And one long drop down to level ground. I was filled with apprehension. Would I meet another car? Who would back up, him or me? Would I run out of gas before I got back down again? Would I slide off the edge? Would that cloud sitting over the mesa really rain? Just how far was it anyway?

Of course, none of those things happened. I found the lookout tower, perched right on the edge. It must be 1,000 feet down, straight down.

The lookout tower site is one of the highest points around. From the ground you can see for miles. Then there's an additional 40 steps up to the room with the glass walls and the walkway around them. The wind hummed in the girders. A hawk spread its wings and rode a thermal up the cliff as though it were on an express elevator.

And this is where Florence Self spent her summers, spotting forest fires and reporting them, back in the 1960's. Where she lived six months of the year, with 8-Ball, her little black dog, and a cat named Mr. Clean.

Florence had quite a bit to do to occupy her time. She studied charts and topographical maps and became familiar with all the geographical landmarks.

She had to learn how to operate the short wave radio, so that she could communicate with the Service and report fires. There were special codes and routines to use when checking in or when reporting fires. She had to learn to focus the big round firefinder, the "aladade," so that she could pinpoint where the fires were. She had the authority to request additional fire fighters, if she saw that a fire was growing.

The first fire she spotted and reported turned out to be trash burning at the Pagosa Springs dump. There was another time that she called in firefighters to put out a hunters' campfire - and the hunters were still there. Probably heating a pot of coffee.

But she got better. In 1966 she called in 60 percent of the fires in Colorado. This was a very busy district. Most of the fires started because of lightning or because of hunters. Some things don't change.

It wasn't all fires, of course. There must have been a lot of hours when nothing was happening, when she had time on her hands. She watched the wildlife. She talked with hikers and hunters and tourists who found their way to the lookout. She kept a journal. She painted the mountains in all directions, capturing the changes from summer to fall.

But not winter. Her fire spotting contract ran from May to November, although there were times when she left before the end of the scheduled term. If a heavy snow was due in November, she got down off the mesa. Smart woman.

The lookout tower that Florence started out in had been built in 1928. It was in pretty rickety shape. The old wooden walls still popped and cracked in the wind. Florence said later that various summer rangers refused to stay in it, meaning that she often stayed there for weeks without a break. The wooden tower was replaced by a steel one in 1963. Besides being a sounder structure, it had some improvements. There was a refrigerator, for example. Before then, Florence had to store her food in a wooden box suspended under the floor.

Today the tower is closed, not in use. Although there are some places in the country where the Forest Service still hires people to staff lookout towers, around here the fire watch is kept by helicopter and airplane. And citizens with cell phones.

Florence Self continued living in the lookout tower and spotting fires for five more summers, and then she called it quits. She wanted to travel to Alaska. She wanted to build a greenhouse, fish in Navajo Lake and enjoy her grandchildren.

All pretty normal desires, for a pretty special woman.

Pagosa Lakes News
By Ming Steen

Yoga classes scheduled; swimming coach needed

Yoga will be offered at the recreation center Oct. 13 and Oct. 27 at no charge to all current members. Richard Harris will lead the classes. You are all invited to join Richard for an hour of gentle stretching.

The Pagosa Lakes Swim Club is looking for a swim coach to begin working with the team starting in January of this coming year. The team's training and competitive season goes from late January through mid-July with the months May, June and July focused on competing in swim meets around Colorado and New Mexico.

If you have a background in swimming and enjoy working with school age children, please contact Steve Elges at the recreation center at 731-2051. Steve coached the team last season, had a successful experience and will be missed by the swimmers.

Steve's declining of the swim coach position offer for next season is not a result of a relocation or a new job. He, and his wife Deanna are expecting their first child in May. Steve will continue to work at the recreation center but wants to save time for the demanding job of parenting.

The fishing in Pagosa Lakes has been seeing a lot more action with the rapid cooling of nighttime temperatures. Go out and enjoy the fall.

At the Comdex computer expo, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon." In response to Bill Gates' comments, Mr. Welch of General Motors issued a press release stating, "If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day

 Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car

Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart and drive on

Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine

Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought "Car 95" or "Car NT." But then you have to buy more seats. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on five percent of the roads

The oil, water, temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car default" warning light

The airbag system would say "are you sure" before going off

Occasionally for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna

GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need them nor want them

Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50 percent or more

Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department

Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car. You'd press the "start" button to shut off the engine."

The PLPOA directors will hold their monthly meeting at 7 p.m. tonight in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, 230 Port Avenue. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comments will be heard at the beginning of the meeting.

Library News
By Lenore Bright

The Cronkites put the newspaper on tape

It's time to laud the efforts of Paul and Muriel Cronkhite to provide the SUN to folks with vision problems.

Many volunteers read the weekly paper on tape, and send out copies free of charge to those in need. If you or someone you know needs this service, call 731-4727 to get on the mailing list. Thanks to the Cronkhites and all of people who participate in the worthy endeavor.

We also can put you in touch with the "Colorado Talking Book Library" that now offers a number of new services. Descriptive videos can be ordered, and you can do your ordering on the Internet. This service is available to people with vision problems or the inability to physically hold a book.

Descriptive videos can be played on a regular VCR. They have a narrator giving an audio description of the actions and characters in the movie.

Come by the library and pick up an application blank if you have a disability.

Kid friendly

This report offers a glimpse of the health and well-being of some 20 million children living in America's largest cities. Five Colorado cities are listed. It is not a relocation guide. Rather, it is a tool for change, providing information we can use to identify conditions that need improvement in our communities. While we are not listed, we can use the report to plan ahead as we grow. This is the eighth such report. This year they added two new categories - libraries and parks - two important aspects of children's lives.

Attractive, safe, and usable parks bolster neighborhoods. It has been noted that " a park exercises a very different and much greater influence upon the progress of a city in its general structure than any other ordinary public work." Parks improve the quality of life in a city. We have good parks.

Library circulation per child and children's program attendance counts are now part of the report. Denver got an A-plus with 25.7 checkouts per child. The median was 7.3 books checked out per child. Our average is 20.1 per child. We are very pleased with that statistic.

You're encouraged to look at this report and start thinking about ways we can make our community more "kid-friendly." Volunteer for an after-school program, mentor a child. There are many ways to engage young people in productive activities. One person can make a difference of a lifetime.


We had to look up the county population for the Kid Friendly story. We found a wealth of information on the Colorado Department of Local Affairs web site, They now have the latest census figures.

We found some surprising statistics - there are more men than women in the county. Fifty two percent of the population are between 30 and 64. Eighty-eight percent are 64 and under.

New book

"Along Colorado's Continental Divide Trail," by John Fayhee and John Fielder, depicts the most dramatic part of the 3,100-mile long trail that runs from Mexico to Canada. Fielder and Fayhee cover 740 miles from New Mexico to Wyoming. Fielder used llamas to carry his camera gear. The first chapter covers the trail from Cumbres Pass to Wolf Creek Pass. No doubt the most beautiful part of the whole trail.

In the introduction, they begin with a piece by e.e. cummings that speaks to the moment: "I thank you God most for this amazing day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes."

Parks and Rec
By Douglas Call

Littlest kickers wind up soccer league play today

Soccer games this week are being played at 4 and 5 p.m. until the season-ending tournament, Oct. 19 and 20.

The Kickers League, ages 5-6, will wrap up the season tonight at 4 and 5 p.m.

Team England leads the Scorer's League, undefeated at 7-0. Canada is in second at 4-3, Scotland in third at 2-5, and Ireland 1-6.

In the Striker's League, Argentina and Mexico are tied for first place at 6-1. Switzerland, Ecuador and Germany are tied for second at 4-4, France stands at 2-5.

In the Shooter's League Italy leads with a record of 5-0. Holland is in second at 4-1, Columbia and Spain are tied for third, and New Zealand is winless at 0-6.

Adult volleyball

This fall's adult coed volleyball league is in full swing with games played on Monday and Wednesday evenings. League standings are Piano Creek 4-1, Colorado Construction 4-1, Ski and Bow Rack 4-2, Dulce/Silver Dollar 3-2, CPR Title 2-3, Ace Hardware 1-4 and American Farm Insurance 0-5. League games will continue through the end of October and tournament games will begin in November.

Park Commission

The next Park Commission meeting is scheduled for Oct. 17. Items on the agenda are updates on the 10th Street parking lot, a financial report for the Colorfest bike race, a grant for a skate-boarding park, and the recreation report. All meetings are open to the public and take place in Town Hall at 5:30 p.m.

Baseball committee

The next scheduled baseball committee meeting will be held Oct. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

A sanctioning body will be elected for the baseball league for players ages 9-14. Rule revisions for the younger players will also be discussed.

At the last baseball committee meeting, it was decided to use AABC rules for all age groups except t-ball and coach pitch. The biggest difference from AABC and what is presently being used are base distances, pitching differences and the ability to lead off while on base. All meetings are open to those interested in the Pagosa Youth Baseball program. Call Summer at 264-4151 ext. 232 for more information.

Volleyball clinic

The third annual youth volleyball clinic has been scheduled Oct. 22- Nov.15 with sessions held twice a week. The clinic is open to all youth in fifth and sixth grades. Registration forms will be available next week at Town Hall, at the Intermediate School and at soccer games. Call the recreation office at 264-4151 ext. 232 with any questions or if you are interested in coaching.

Light poles

The people and organizations sponsoring the original downtown beautification program are being given the original light poles today at 2 p.m. at the Town shop on Fifth Street. Other people interested in buying poles for $50 each can contact Doug at Town Hall or show up at the town shop at 4 p.m. Light poles are being sold without guarantees.

Business News
Biz Beat

Nancy Pfeiffer, along with Susan Winter Ward, operates Yoga at the Springs, at 164 Hot Springs Boulevard.

Offering America's new fitness yoga, Yoga at the Springs also features daily classes at all levels, Pilates, meditation, Medical Qigong and Tai Chi instruction, and is the site for various guest speakers, lectures and workshops.

Yoga at the Springs can be reached at 264-YOGA.