Front Page
November 21, 2001
Aspen Springs man dies after pet rattler's strike
By Tess Noel Baker

Head injuries and a snake bite combined to cause the death of an Aspen Springs man earlier this month.

According to sheriff's reports, David Been, died of accidental causes the day after being bit by a rattlesnake he was keeping as a pet. Archuleta County Captain Bob Grandchamp said Been had been drinking and teased the snake which bit him. After asking another person to call 911, the man stood up and fell, hitting the back of his head on a concrete floor. The fall was apparently caused by thinning of the blood - stemming both from alcohol consumption and the snake's venom.

Emergency Medical Services was paged to the accident about 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 9. Crystal Coughlin, the paramedic on-call that night, said when rescue workers arrived on the scene the 38-year-old patient was unconscious and unresponsive, lying on the floor of an unheated shop. Besides sustaining a bite on his left hand from the rattlesnake, the man had a head injury and was hypothermic.

"It's unknown how long he was down before we got there," Coughlin said. "It was very cold on the scene."

The man regained consciousness only long enough to tell responders his first name. The snake was nowhere to be seen. Coughlin said they were told on the scene that the snake had been contained. Apparently, it was being kept in a heated tank.

"We had to move the patient and move him quickly," Coughlin said. "It was basically a scoop and run."

On the way to the scene, Air Care 1 had been launched and met emergency personnel at Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. The patient was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center, and later transferred to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction because of an unusual blood condition causing complications. He died Nov. 10.

"This (a snake bite) is highly unusual in the winter," Coughlin said. By this time, snakes in the wild are usually too cold to move.

Undersheriff Otis May said the snake was destroyed at the scene.

Poor hunting, no snow bring economic blows
By John M. Motter

When the Twin Towers disaster struck New York City, an already soft national economy shuddered. What else could happen? Plenty, especially in Pagosa Springs.

Much of Pagosa Springs' economy is propped up by the twin towers of successful hunting and successful skiing. Both depend upon successful weather. Successful weather has missed us. Specifically, we have no snow, high or low. Have our local twin towers tumbled for this season? How has no snow hurt us economically?

Everyone knows you can't ski without snow. Almost everyone knows that deep snow in the high mountains moves elk and deer downslope, concentrating them in areas where hunters can reach them more easily.

The Jekyll-Hyde influence of weather on the ski area has never been more evident than this year. Wolf Creek Ski Area obviously exists because of a weather phenomena - prodigious amounts of snow at that location. Because of the predictability of that snow, the ski area attracts thousands of skiers year after year. Those thousands of skiers lubricate the local economy by spending millions of dollars. Until, unpredictably, along comes a year such as this one, a year when the snow does not come. No snow, no skiers, no dollars.

Despite the lack of natural snow, Wolf Creek Ski Area promises to be open during the Thanksgiving holiday. A little natural snow augmented by the output of an artificial snow maker is allowing Wolf Creek officials to open Nova Run for beginners tomorrow, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and on weekends thereafter.

"The restaurant and sports shop will be open," said Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcher, in charge of marketing and sales at Wolf Creek. "The idea is to allow people visiting over the Thanksgiving holidays to get away, maybe catch something to eat at the restaurant, visit the sports shop for some ski togs, and watch beginners on Nova run."

Of course, if the heavens open and snowflakes once again waft earthward in copious quantities, the ski area will return to business as usual.

The lack of snow played a major role in hunter success, or lack of success, this year. Across the state, as well as locally, the number of big game license purchases was down as much as 40 percent. Most hunters feel having a large number of hunters moving through the woods causes game to abandon hiding places and move around. Moving game is easier for hunters to see, improving hunter success.

Blame for the decreased number of hunters is placed on an 80-percent increase in the cost of out-of-state big game licenses. Fewer hunters and no snow led to poor hunter success and what many feel has been a poor hunting season.

Local business analysis of the hunting seasons just completed agrees with statewide observations.

Ski and Bow Rack owner Larry Fisher is the most optimistic local businessman. Fisher depends on hunting and ski industry success in order to make a living.

"The season turned out okay. I can't complain" Fisher said. "The number of license sales was down, but the revenue from license sales was up. Retail sales are probably down a little."

As to skiing, Fisher says, "We want snow."

It is too soon to judge the success of the ski season, but with opening day here and no snow in the mountains, it is not too soon to be nervous.

"Very poor" was Art Million of Sports Emporium's succinct description of hunting season as seen from his business. Retail sales at the Sports Emporium were down, license sales were down, but revenues from license sales were probably not down.

"Hunter success was also poor," Million said. "The weather definitely didn't help and having fewer hunters in the field made hunting harder. The animals were up high and hunters couldn't find them."

Ponderosa Do It Best is one of the leading local license sales agencies.

"The number of licenses sold was down, maybe in the 40 percent range," said Tony Stephens of that firm's sporting goods department. "Income from the sale of licenses was about even-up, but retail sales were down 15-20 percent."

"Hunter success was down because of no snow and fewer hunters," Stephens said.

Louise Jagger has operated the Chimney Rock Cafe west of Pagosa Springs for six years. The business includes a restaurant, gift shop, RV park, game dressing station, and other amenities.

"We need to get a lawyer and sue the state," Jagger said. "This is the worst year we've ever had."

Many hunters did not come this year because of the big increase in out-of-state licenses fees, according to Jagger. Next year will be worse, she warns.

"One hunter explained to me that he used to come to Colorado in preference to other western states. 'I've always wanted to hunt in Wyoming or Montana,' he said. 'Now I might as well go there. It's all the same.' "

All of Jagger's businesses have been affected.

"I'll have to run the cafe myself this winter," she said. "I won't be able to afford a waitress."

Kevin Schuchart who owns The Buck Stops Here, a game processing business, said this year did not go very well.

Business this year was way down when compared with last year, according to Schuchart, but about average when compared with the past several years. Last year was a record harvest in Colorado, he said. This year the number of animals processed was down about one-third below 2000.

Fewer elk were brought in, according to Schuchart, but deer were plentiful and included some large bucks. Few bear were brought in, and those during the early seasons.

Pagosa Country has a tourist business that predates the creation of hunting seasons and the construction of a ski area: the hot springs business.

How did the drop-off in hunters and a lack of snow affect this sector of the economy?

According to Marsha Preuit of The Spa Motel, the establishment's traditional hunter clientele was not present this year.

"Normally," she said, "all our kitchen units, at least, are booked during hunting season, and this year, they weren't. I would guess we had at least a 50-percent decline in our hunter business. And even many of those hunters who, for years, have stopped in to use the hot baths during the day, weren't here this year."

Fortunately, said Preuit, the regular users of the hot bath facilities and the pool at The Spa have continued their treks to Pagosa. "We're lucky in that way," said Preuit. "We're blessed to have the hot water. Our Fridays and Saturdays have been almost totally booked with people coming for the water."

Matt Mees, co-owner of the Spring Inn Hot Springs Resort said lodging business was affected during the hunting season and by the delay of the start of ski season. He said he has also seen an effect on the hot spring business at the facility.

"We are affected," said Mees. "Our November is down from projections. We're about equal to last year in our lodging operation, being off about five percent. We are off about 15 percent in our hot spring business, but that is 15 percent off of a pretty aggressive projection. I think it is fair to say our hot spring business is fairly indicative of how other lodging businesses do, since many of their clients use the springs. We're feeling it now. We lost most of the bookings of Thanksgiving skiers, but we have rebooked a lot of our vacancies, refilling the slots with people who are coming for the good weather and the springs. It's real encouraging. In the past, we have relied on a smooth transition from a strong hunting season to ski season. Now, it seems we are building a base with people who come here for other reasons."

Sewer, water fees, tax rate stable, but PAWS faces

growth challenge
By John M. Motter

Water and sewer users are not likely to see rate increases this coming year, if the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District budget follows its present course.

Neither is the property tax rate likely to increase for residents living within the two tax districts under PAWS purview. The property tax check written by any individual may rise, however, because of increased property values.

A given that user fee and property tax rate increases are not likely to increase does not mean that preparation of the 2002 budget has not stacked a pile of puzzling questions in front of the utility's board of directors, questions that demand answers.

First among those questions is how to fund the expansion of facilities needed to take care of growth. In many ways, PAWS resembles a snake whose body has outgrown its skin. It's time to shed the old skin to make room for the new, larger body.

Some of PAWS' original facilities are no longer adequate to meet demands today and in the immediate future. Among those facilities are wastewater treatment plants located at Vista and in the Lake Hatcher area.

In order to meet the growth challenge, PAWS has commissioned Davis Engineering and Camp Dresser McKee, Inc., to complete a 20-year growth plan. The plan's purpose is to compare current PAWS capabilities with current demands and future demands at the end of 20 years, or at full buildout if that happens sooner. Full buildout is the point at which a home or business using water sits on each lot within PAWS boundaries.

PAWS' board has assumed that current resources and facilities are obligated to serve existing platted developments. Before accepting additional demands on the infrastructure created by new development, PAWS wants to be certain that existing facilities will meet future demand at buildout.

To that end, the board has adopted a moratorium against including any new water-demanding properties within district boundaries until the engineering study is complete.

A financial modeling plan has also been ordered to complement the engineering plan. Bernstein and Associates of Denver is developing the financial model based on the engineering plan and a perception of needs and capital requirements over the next 20 years. The same considerations bear on adoption of a budget for the coming year.

Three capital projects being considered in order of their priority are: encasing the Dutton Ditch, increasing wastewater collection and treatment capacity, and enlargement of Stevens Reservoir.

Connected with the proposed capital improvement projects is the question of funding. One funding measure to help capital development has been adopted, a second is still under consideration.

PAWS' board recently adopted a capital investment fee, conceived to help fund future growth. The capital investment fee replaces the facilities upgrade fee. The purposes of the two fees are similar. The capital investment fee applies to a broader range of properties and is more universal in its application and will raise more money. The new CIF will be levied on any application for new water service within PAWS boundaries, regardless of which subdivision contains the property. The new CIF applied to residential construction is based on square footage. The old facilities upgrade fee exempted properties within subdivisions started before 1983, and had other exclusions. It was predicated on a formula not based on square footage.

Adding impetus to PAWS' endeavors to charge new growth for new demands is a request for inclusion by the proposed Reserve at Pagosa Peak Subdivision. PAWS is analyzing the impact acceptance of the proposed development on water transmission and wastewater collection lines in the Lake Hatcher area. Acceptance of the development is likely to require expansion of the wastewater treatment plant and wastewater collection lines near the Hatcher subdivision. The wastewater treatment plant expansion could cost $1 million.

A preliminary discussion suggests if the developer is required to pay the full cost for expanding existing facilities, that cost would make the development economically unfeasible.

A foundational premise driving board decision-making is that new growth should pay for itself. While new growth is easy to define, measuring and estimating the dollar value of new growth impacts is not so easy.

Representatives of the Reserve at Pagosa Peak argue their development should only pay a portion of the expansion costs. PAWS' challenge is to develop a procedure that requires new construction to pay its own way, but not to pay for development for which it is not responsible.

All of the studies ordained by PAWS should be finished by early December. Information gathered from the studies will be used to formulate the 2002 budget.

A decision on the second capital improvements funding measure will likely be made by December budget adoption. The second measure calls for placing a general obligation bond on the May, 2002 ballot. Funds from sale of the GO bonds, if voters approve, will be used to finance capital improvements.

Arrests made, warrants out in theft spree
By Tess Noel Baker

A California man has been arrested in connection with one recent burglary. Warrants on another three suspects linked to a string of burglaries, forgeries and fraud have been issued.

Captain Bob Grandchamp, of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, said a tip Friday night led deputies to Dennis McKee, 29, of Selma, Calif. According to sheriff's department reports, McKee is suspected of a burglary that occurred in the Fairfield area six weeks ago. Several pieces of jewelry and a gun were stolen during that burglary.

Grandchamp said McKee was arrested along with Glen Godfrey, 30, also of Selma. Apparently, Godfrey, who is wanted in California on a parole hold, burglary and assault charges, hooked up with McKee sometime after the Pagosa Springs burglary.

The two are suspected of stealing a vehicle in California, and driving it to Utah, where the vehicle broke down. Law enforcement officials suspect the two are responsible for the theft of another vehicle in Utah, and several burglaries in Moab. They were arrested in Pagosa Springs about 45 minutes after arrival here. Officials are working to extradite Godfrey to California to face charges there.

So far, four pieces of jewelry stolen in the Fairfield burglary have been recovered, Grandchamp said. The location of the remaining stolen property is known, and a full recovery of an estimated $6,100 in lost items is expected.

The other three warrants have been issued for a series of five or six burglaries in residential areas, Grandchamp said. The suspects are charged with burglary, fraud, forgery and receiving stolen property. In these cases, the burglars got away with credit cards, checks, rifles and several pieces of property obtained using forgery or fraud.

Grandchamp said losses in these cases could total an estimated $8,000 once all the credit card bills and forgeries are totaled.

One of the warrants was served on a man already imprisoned in Archuleta County for unrelated crimes, and deputies are searching for the remaining two suspects. Grandchamp said names of the three suspects are being withheld because of the ongoing investigation.

Editorials

Three championships

To quote Pagosa Springs High School Principal Bill Esterbrook, "the school played for three state championships last week, and won them all."

Unexplained, the comment will puzzle most readers who remember only two recent school events.

Yes, the Lady Pirate volleyball team finished second in the state two weeks ago.

And the Pirate football team reached the quarterfinals of state competition before its season ended the same weekend.

But, what was the principal talking about? Three championships?

He referred to one of the most delightful, entertaining activities put on by high school students this year. If you missed it, it is a shame.

Musical theater.

Esterbrook reflected on the three performances of the musical "Annie Get Your Gun" at the high school auditorium last week.

Unlike sports - and this is not intended to demean the accomplishments of local school athletes - the activity was unsullied by parental and public interference and agitation. There were no attempts to organize a witch hunt to fire a coach; there was no grumbling, even after a victory, about who got to play too little or too much; there were no angry calls to coaches and administrators, no attempts to manipulate the process, no frantic nonsense uttered about scholarships and statistics. No one attempted to fill a vacant life with the efforts of a child; no one distorted the meaning or import of the event.

The musical did not manifest any of the characteristics that have, increasingly, sullied youth sport. Performances were pure, innocent, exciting. They were impressive collaborative efforts, involving a wide cross-section of the student body, of the community.

Like the sports teams, the team that put together the musical production, under the tutelage of teachers Lisa Hartley and Kathleen Isberg, had its stars and its journeymen players. To paraphrase one of the teachers, the theater team "has its varsity, its JV and its C-team. The difference is they all play the same game at the same time, together." They played on stage, in the orchestra, and behind the scenes.

Cast and crew worked long hours over many weeks, including weekends when they constructed the sets. A support staff of parents and members of the general public helped assemble costumes, assisted with set construction and, on the nights of performances, gathered backstage hours before the curtain rose to apply makeup, style hair, feed and prepare the youngsters for the night ahead.

It was with unbridled enthusiasm that the members of the cast and crew undertook their tasks. Seen from backstage, their delight in the venture was contagious.

Cast and crew members represented every type of student in the school population. Many participated in their first extracurricular activity - the type of activity that can ignite a youngster's desire to remain in school, to continue to participate, to learn.

The musical was long and complicated, a daunting undertaking for any company.

Our kids pulled it off. With great style.

Each night of the three-night run was, indeed, a championship to equal any.

Each performance illuminated the need for our school district to pay as much attention to arts activities as it does to sport. Visual arts, music, theater, speech are, along with physical excellence, the basis of a classical education - an education we are steadily eliminating from the American agenda. It takes as much work or more to produce an excellent musician, singer, painter or actress as it does to produce a basketball player or a golfer. Our school system has produced as many skilled young artists as it has athletes. It must continue to do so.

It was a gratifying experience to watch local youngsters sing, dance and provide technical support as part of the recent show. It illustrated why we must preserve, support and nurture this kind of activity, demanding it and other artistic pursuits in our schools be funded at the same level as athletics.

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Thanksgiving still makes sense

Dear Folks,

I'm thankful it's Thanksgiving.

It's my favorite holiday. It brings together family and friends. It resurrects memories.

Unlike many national holidays, the labor unions and politicians have not made Thanksgiving into a three-day weekkend. And Thanksgiving has resolutely retained its original significance.

Unlike Christmas and Easter, Thanksgiving has escaped distorted commercializing factors such as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

About three dozen English settlers on the James River celebrated one of America's first Thanksgiving days on Dec. 4, 1619, near current-day Charles City, Va. The observance was in compliance with their charter which required that the day of their arrival to America would be observed yearly as a day of thanksgiving to God.

Whereas the James River settlers offered thanks for their safely arriving in the new land, the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving in the autumn of 1621 for their surviving their first winter above the Plymouth harbor of the Cape Cod Bay and for the successful harvest of their crops.

My desk dictionary defines thanksgiving as "a formal public expression of thanks to God." Rather than being a public expression, to me it is more of an evaluation of our personal blessings. Folks can base their thanks on nothing more than the blessings of their senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste or smell.

I'm thankful for the pleasure of seeing sunrises, fog-filled valleys, rainbows, beavers at work, cattle at rest, four-point bucks at alert, wild flowers waterfalls, eagles soaring on unseen thermals, snow-capped mountain peaks, sun-bleached clouds cascading across blue skies, golden aspen and ruby red oak, freshly mowed meadows dotted with rows of baled hay, soft alpenglow accompanied by stunning winter sunsets, sparkling stars frozen in midnight skies, snow-covered rail fences and the predawn comfort of the bright morning star.

For the joy of hearing voices sing, youngsters laughing, folks strumming stringed instruments, water running over rocks, old folks reminiscing, applauding audiences, falling snow, firewood burning, coyotes howling, dry leaves rustling, fans cheering, friendly greetings, a heartfelt thank you, bands playing, elk bugling, geese honking, killdeers' songs, nighttime stillness, and hymns of thanks and praise.

For the touch or feeling of firm handshakes, cool mountain breezes, children's hugs, warm water, worthwhile sweat, clean sheets, dry boots, a wedge splitting a log, sore muscles relaxing, acceptance by others, a pat on the back, a headache disappering, a heartache subsiding, tears of joy rolling down your cheeks and the reassuring feeling of being forgiven.

For the treat of tasting fresh broiled trout, sweet juicy apples, salty peanuts, wild raspberries, cold watermelon, crisp celery, warm oatmeal, peanut butter, pumpkin pie, cheese and crackers, barbecued ribs, potluck suppers, oatmeal cookies, birthday cakes, spiced tea, fresh tomatoes, broken bread and a cup of wine.

For the invigorating smell of burning piñon, fresh-cut lemons, wild mint, saddle leather, rain-rinsed forests, baby powder, familiar perfume, baking bread, sun-dried laundry, suntan oil, fresh paint, furniture polish, shampooed hair and the fragrance of incense and altar candles.

Regardless of the length of my list of remembered blessings that I'm thankful for, it falls short of the blessings that I've failed to recognize or have already forgotten. So it makes it easy for me to agree with the Psalmist that "It is good to give thanks to the Lord . . ."

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

David

Legacies
By Shari Pierce

91 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era of November 18, 1910

There is an effort being made to have a post office established in Blanco Basin with Mrs. J.T. Morgan as postmistress.

A man said to be a white slaver who has been in Pagosa several weeks was given a gentle hint a few days ago to quit the town forthwith. He followed the advice and Pagosa knows him no more. A woman companion accompanied him.

Conductor Otis Orme of this city expired suddenly yesterday evening about a mile and a half out of town while investigating a derailment of his train. Heart failure, due it is supposed to an injury received some weeks ago while jumping from his train as it was leaving the track, was the immediate cause of his death.

 75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 26, 1926

While riding for cattle for R.M. Farrow up the Piedra River Saturday after, Jas. Leach had a narrow escape from death when his horse slipped on the icy trail and fell over a high cliff with him. Mr. Farrow came along the trail shortly after the accident and found Mr. Leach unconscious over the cliff and that the horse had been instantly killed when it plunged into the river below.

The state game and fish commissioner is advocating a closed season on deer for one year, and in its place an open season on elk. The elk, particularly the old bulls, it is claimed are doing much damage to the crops in certain sections of the state. The department is of the opinion that too many deer are being killed.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 23, 1951

A scrap drive for the benefit of the school band has been organized with Fred Nossaman as the chairman. All residents of the county are asked to gather their scrap iron and bring it to town or take it to the town park where it will be stockpiled. The need for scrap in the defense effort is great.

Mrs. Corrigan's 4th grade, in keeping with Education Week, made a trip to the city public library last week to learn more about the library operations and books.

The Rod and Gun Club turkey shoot which was held Sunday at the grounds was well attended and 9 turkeys were won.

Basketball season is just about to begin. The boys are starting practice. Around thirty have gone out for it.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 18, 1976

The area stays free of snow as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. The State Patrol warns, though, that travelers away from the area may find storms coming or going.

Retail sales in Archuleta County were up 20.1% in the second quarter of 1976 over the same period in 1975. At the same time service sales were up 58.8%.

Pagosa Fiesta is the big attraction at the high school gymnasium this Friday night. Intercultural awareness is the theme of Pagosa Fiesta and there will be various forms of entertainment including music and skits.

The Rev. J.C. Wood was honored by the local Beta Sigma Phi Sorority as the Community Man of the Year last Saturday for his long service to the Methodist Church as well as his participation in many community organizations.

Inside The Sun
County is studying computer upgrades
By John M. Motter

Archuleta County is studying the idea of seeking a grant to purchase an $87,600 computer software package for the county sheriff's department. Added to approval last week of a $50,000 software package to be used by the finance department, county software upgrade expenses could rise to $137,600 in the near future.

A final decision will not be made on the $87,600 proposal until county commissioners consult with town authorities and other interested parties. The proposed software is said to be compatible with county GIS mapping software, 911 software, jail software, and able to better serve the needs of the sheriff's department. Pagosa Springs will write the grant application if everyone decides to move ahead with the idea.

In other business Tuesday the commissioners:

Postponed action on a request to pay for $6,676 of road work at Loma Linda pending county engineer approval of the work and other considerations

Agreed to continue participation in the Region 9 Transportation Planning Commission. Commissioner Alden Ecker represents Archuleta County on that board, Commissioner Bill Downey is the alternate representative

Endorsed a letter of support and $5,000 for a local master trails plan

Waived the town's obligation to provide an impact report on recent town annexations along U.S. 160 east and on 2nd Street

Postponed action on a request to issue a resolution opposing U.S. Forest Service use fees for activities on designated recreation sites within Forest Service boundaries

Approved a variance for the Reserve at Pagosa Peak allowing construction of three cul de sacs to standards outside of normal subdivision requirements. The variance was granted because the layout of land and wetlands within the development precludes following usual guidelines. County planning staff and the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission have recommended approval of the variances.

'Chance' for snow in holiday forcast
By John M. Motter

Snow and rain showers are likely and colder temperatures a certainty for the coming holiday weekend, according to Brian Avery, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office at Grand Junction.

Winter weather conditions featuring west to east winds are finally moving into the Four Corners area, Avery said.

"The change in upper level flows is creating straight west to east winds," Avery said. "The result will be a series of moisture-bearing disturbances moving through the area. Precipitation should be consistent, but not heavy."

Thursday will be partly cloudy with an increasing chance of rain or snow showers as evening approaches, according to Avery. High temperatures should approach 45-50 degrees with lows bottoming in the 25-30 degree range.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will welcome continued rain and snow showers with day temperatures dropping to 40 degrees and nights bottoming around 20 degrees. By Monday and Tuesday, the chance for rain and snow showers remains, while high and low temperatures may fall another 5 degrees.

Trio of quilters take on volunteer project
By Tess Noel Baker

Two sewing machines. Several bags of fabric. Scissors. Thread. A little imagination. And, oh yes, a seam ripper. Put these in the hands of three teenagers and the result is - fun and some volunteer hours.

Pagosa Springs High School sophomores Randi Pierce, Lauren Felts and Anna Bishop are each committed to spending 15 hours making quilts for Bright Beginnings - a program that supports first-time moms. Their project is a tiny part of the overall goal of earning Gold Awards, the highest honor in Girl Scouts.

"We originally set aside the month of October for the project, and then said the girls could work on their own time," Shari Pierce, group leader, said. "But when you're as busy as they are, it's hard to find time that's your own."

The trio cuts through hours whenever they have a chance, working around jobs, schoolwork, and other extra curricular activities, usually gathering at the Pierce home.

"It was more Shari's idea," they admitted. "We all thought that it was pretty cool so we went with it."

So far, five quilts, approximately 3-feet by 3-feet each, have been completed with another handful still under construction. Some are traditional pink and blue. Others use fabric covered in the alphabet, Dalmatians, safari animals, deer or Sylvester the Cat patterns.

"You want them to look nice and you want them to match," Randi Pierce said. That can involve a lot of experimentation with fabrics when using donated scraps.

Each quilt starts with mixing and matching those fabrics to find combinations that work. Then the fabric must be ironed and a design chosen. At first, the girls stuck with basic squares, but have started to branch out as they accumulated hours. Right now, Bishop is working with triangles and Felts has cut a stack of 72 pink, blue, green and purple rectangles for yet another design.

Once the pattern is determined, the pieces are sewn together to make the quilt top.

"They've been machine quilting because it just takes too long by hand," Shari Pierce said.

Sewing the top is followed by "sandwiching." This is not a lunch break all three girls explained, but the process of combining the top, back and batting with safety pins. Finally, the quilting is done, requiring one more pattern choice, and the binding added for a finished product.

"It's a lot of fun, but it's hard and time consuming, too," Bishop said. The volunteer experience has been her first in quilting, and Shari Pierce urged her to keep her first one even though that meant starting over on volunteer hours. Both the other girls have been quilting for several years.

"The seam ripper is my best friend," Bishop admitted.

Both Bishop and Pierce have finished close to 10 of their volunteer hours. Felts has already accumulated over 15 hours, but with two more quilts started she continues to work along with the other two.

"I think they've learned something because they've asked me questions less and less," Shari Pierce said. The girls agreed the project has its challenges.

"Getting all the blocks right in the first place," Randi said.

"Learning to sew in a straight line," Bishop said. Then, a little later, "I shouldn't be allowed to sew before noon."

"Sewing it right so you don't have to use a seam ripper," offered Felts.

The group isn't sure how many quilts they'll have to donate when the project is all said and done, but somewhere around 10 seems to be a good guess. Once complete, the quilts will be given to Archuleta County Department of Social Services for distribution.

Isabel Willis, Bright Beginnings Coordinator, said the quilts will become part of a larger gift bag sent to first-time moms in the county. The bags include helpful gifts from several local service organizations, everything from diaper wipes and clothing to information covering local family resources and childhood development.

"It's kind of a way to help the families all the way around," she said.

As for the girls, they will be ready to tackle the next task on their road to a Gold Award.

"It's going to take them about three years to do it all," Shari Pierce said. Achieving the Gold Award in Girl Scouts is equivalent to becoming an Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. It takes hours and hours of hard work culminating in a final major project in service to the community.

59 with 4.0 averages pace high school honor roll

Pagosa Springs High School has 59 students with a 4.0 grade-point average leading the first midterm honor roll for 2001, including 20 freshmen, 7 sophomores, 12 juniors and 20 seniors.

Freshmen with perfect marks are Jessica Harms, Rachel Schur, Christine Morrison, Hanna Kraus, Molly Kraus, Audrey Miller, Levi Gill, Christena Lungstrum, Kelli Ford, Brett Garman, Landry Ward, Randi Andersen, Victoria Stanton, Brianna Scott, Lori Walkup, Chris Nobles, Melissa Maberry, Janna Henry, Mollie Honan, and Rachel Watkins.

Sophomores topping their class are Jenna Finney, Liesl Jackson, Clinton McKnight, Randi Pierce, Amy Tautges, David Kern and Malonie Thull.

Leading the juniors were Sarah Riley, Travis Reid, Clay Pruitt, Justin Smith, Katie Bliss, Sara Aupperle, Marylou Villalobos, Holly Gustafson, Kimberly Hitchcox, Jolyn Rader, Jessi Marlatt and Pirmin Schanne.

Topping the senior academic list are Ashley Gronewoller, Heather Beye, Kerilyn Frank, Ross Wagle, Matthew Ford, Aubrey Volger, Hank Wills, Katie Lancing, Kari Eden, Kelly Kay, Josiah Payne, Amie Smith, Ethan Sanford, Tiffany Thompson, Alysha Ranson, Hillary Wienpahl, Nora Fabris, Megan Squier, Devin Higgins-Miller and Ashley Kiister.

Freshmen named with 3.75 grade point averages were Kyrie Beye, Meagan Martinez, Kelcie Mastin, Ryan Ranson, Courtney Steen, Laura Tomforde, James Anderson, Ellen Emmanuel and Jesse Morris.

Sophomores with the 3.75 averages are Melissa Diller, Sierra Fleenor, Jordan Goodman, Danielle Jaramillo, Melissa Martinez, Michael Quintana, Leslie Shepard, Jessica Stevens, Ryan Wienpahl, Jon Howison, Melissa Wollenweber, Kyle Sanders, Kevin Muirhead, Jennifer Lucero, Dan Lowder, Lauren Felts and Cassidy Chatham.

Juniors coming in at 3.75 were Robin Willett, Drisa Carizzo, Jordan Kurt-Mason, Jeremy Marquez, Clayton Mastin, Jason Schutz, Brandon Charles, Kristina Elledge, Alexandra Rigia, Hannah Emanuel and Benjamin Raab.

Alina Mendoza was the only senior at 3.75.

Freshmen listed at 3.50 were Kelly Bartholomew, Brittany Corcoran, Caitlyn Jewell, Marlena Lungstrum, Eric Rivas, Amanda Huang, Timothy Martinez, Benjamin Loper, Danny Stuckman, David Yerton and Jesse Bauer.

Three additional freshmen were named with 3.25 averages. They were Jacob Smith, Manuel Madrid and Derrick Rader.

Sophomores with 3.50 averages were Anna Bishop, Roxanna Day, Monica Fehrenbach, Drew Fisher, Aaron Hamilton, Kelly Johnson, Alexis Loewen, Daniel McGinnis, Stephanie Smith, Ben Marshall, Somer Evans, Valerie Myers and Gregory Hudnall. Sophomores Ashley Lord and Clayton Spencer had 3.33 averages and coming in with 3.25 were Jeremy Gallegos, Dominic Maez, Ashli Winter, Daniel Durfee and Cayce Brown.

Three juniors checked in with 3.67 averages. They were Jared Earley, Sky Fehrenbacher and Sara Smith. Listing 3.50 averages were Susie Rivas, Jeremy Oertel, Jared Lincoln, Todd Mees, Stacey Smith, William Feht, Ceth Carnley and Annette Sause.

Juniors listed with 3.33 averages were Kiley White, Jeremy Buikema, Jessica Buikema, Kyle Frye, Tricia Lucero, Jerry Parker, Andrew Knaggs and Erin Fahey. Listed with 3.25 marks were Jamie Turner, Kira Lekos, Shannon Walkup and Tiffany Noggle.

Fifteen seniors came in with 3.67 averages. They were Amanda Markland, Jeffrey Johnson, Robert Kern, Aaron Perez, Natalie Ortega, Lori Whitbred, Jenelle Newberg, Darin Lister, Keith Frank, Michael Martinez, Tiffany Dollar, Callie Smock, Dorothy Brinton, Todd Henry, and Reuben Coray.

Joetta Martinez was the only senior with a 3.50 average. Listed with a 3.33 were Cord Ross, Michelle Ferguson, Carlena Lungstrum, Nicole Buckley, Ronald Janowsky, Deborah Meyer, Joy Sanders, Layne Williams, Toby Gunzinger, Caleb Mellette and Jennifer Johnston. B.J. Jones had a 3.25 average.

Letters

Never as honored

Dear Editor,

I had the pleasure and honor to be invited to the veterans breakfast served by the eighth grade class on Nov. 12. In the 56 years I have been a veteran there has never been an occasion when I felt more honored to be a vet.

The breakfast was served by the most delightful group of young people I have met in many years. My thanks to the class, the teachers, the administrators and to the parents. Our future is going to be in good hands, and we can all take pride in our community.

Glenn Bergmann

Veterans Day

Dear Editor,

This letter is addressed to Pagosa's students.

It was very impressive to see your attendance and attention at the Veterans Day celebration at the high school on Monday, Nov. 12. We need to honor our veterans, those who served and died and those who served and by the grace of God came home to raise families and serve our country as good citizens. Your parents and grandparents have given you a great country with many rights and freedoms.

The special thing is that we are passing our country on to you. Very soon you will have the responsibility and the honor of being the leaders of our country. The United States is one of the best countries in the world. I say one of the best because there are other good countries that give their people opportunity, human and civil rights. We need to respect all people and nations. Soon it will be your responsibility to lead.

What our speakers did not do on Monday was give you your "homework" so you could prepare yourselves to be those future leaders. You are already doing most of it. Stay in school; study hard. Pick something that you are interested in and learn it well. Pick a teacher or another adult that you respect and tell them of your dreams and ask them to help you reach those dreams. Read the newspaper and watch the news on TV. Learn what is going on, read some history or background on what has gone on in different places like Asia, Latin America, and The Middle East. Someone once said, " We need to listen to History so it does not have to repeat itself." When you find something that is important to you, write your elected representative or the editor of the local newspaper. Take a stand; be heard.

Lastly, aim high. When I was there on Monday I thought, who out there is a future senator or representative, military officer, doctor, teacher, mechanic, good honest person? Every one of you is important and you will have something to offer to lead our nation and our world. Wars come about when diplomats and presidents and normal people fail to figure things out. We need your skill, wisdom and insights to help figure out the future.

God Bless you all. Hopefully you will do an even better job in leading, creating and sacrificing than we have.

Sincerely,

Raymond P. Finney

Students thanked

Dear Editor,

We want to express our thanks to Pagosa Spring's eighth graders for the great Veterans Day breakfast event at the Parish Hall - with special thanks to Heather, our hostess with the mostess. They all deserve a medal.

Mike Greene

Service appreciated

Dear Editor,

On November 12, the eighth grade students and their teachers from the Pagosa public schools invited veterans to breakfast. Wow! What a memorable and heart-warming experience.

Just imagine over one hundred kids and teachers all friendly, caring and solicitous doing all they could to make veterans feel appreciated. In all of the fifty years or more that I have been a veteran, I have never experienced anything like it.

Certainly Pagosa Springs is a wonderful place to live. And just as certainly these eighth grade young people are one of its more valuable resources. They and their teachers reflect much credit on this community. We are fortunate indeed to have them.

Thank you again. Your effort was, and is, much appreciated.

Wes Huckins

More gratitude

Dear Editor,

As a high school language teacher I can stomach the occasional filet of solecism: "Geez, Ms. Marcus! It don't hardly matter none." What I find repellent, however, is sporadic, teenage misconduct at patriotic assembles - but this Veterans Day was different.

Attributable perhaps to my having been on a home turf, my exponential gratitude to PSHS students for their self-disciplined, propitious behavior Monday, Nov. 12, fortifies my confrontation with the arithmetic of life without Dad.

Sincerely,

Arlene Marcus

Pagosa Springs

Gas price news

Dear Editor,

The purveyors of gasoline in Pagosa seem to have missed the news that the price of gas has dropped - drastically.

On a Veterans Day weekend trip to Denver, I paid $1.16 per gallon in Golden and $1.20 per gallon in Del Norte for Texaco's Power Plus (mid grade). Prior to leaving Pagosa, I paid $1.53 per gallon for the same grade of gas. That's 33 cents per gallon higher than Del Norte!

Such a disparity in price does not encourage me to shop Pagosa for gas. I'll make sure I have just enough to get over the pass to buy in Del Norte or elsewhere.

I wonder if travelers in general, upon seeing the high price of gas here, might believe that they can get a better price for all services, such as food, lodging and gifts, somewhere other than Pagosa.

Yours very truly,

J. Robert Outerbridge

Playing with fire

Dear Editor,

On Sunday, Nov. 11, around 4 p.m. my wife and I observed two children in Dutton Canyon playing with matches and sparklers. Remembering the fire near here a couple of weeks ago, we immediately called 911. Prior to fire and police arrival, a small fire started but was quickly extinguished by the two youngsters.

Fire personnel arrived on the scene within 5 minutes from the time we called, with a sheriff's deputy only 2 minutes after that.

I was very impressed by the quick response of emergency personnel. I was even more impressed by one of the firemen who took the time to fully explain to the children the danger of a fire in such an inaccessible area and how easily it could have burned out of control. He showed them how the ground was still hot to the touch even though the fire had been out for 7 to 10 minutes. The children were very frightened, polite and sorry, promising never do such a thing like this again.

We are very thankful to be lucky enough to live in such a beautiful area and to have such a great bunch of fire personnel, both regulars and volunteers, who are well trained and who really care. I might add, the deputy who interviewed the children was very professional especially in such a sensitive situation. Both kids, I'm sure, will always remember this police interview as a positive contact. Next time you see any emergency personnel please take the time to thank them . . . they truly deserve it.

D.C. Paige

Breakfast tribute

Dear Editor,

In these 55 years of being WWII vets, last week's breakfast tribute by the involved teachers and the amazing eighth graders is the most memorable of all. These people inspire confidence in their generation as guardians of the future. What a bunch of friendly, accomplished kids. We know their school and parents are rightfully proud of them. We are.

Patty and Lee Sterling

Helpful friends

Dear Editor,

Just over a week ago, I was involved in a potentially very serious accident on U.S. 84, just south of town. There are several people whom I need to thank for their help to me at the scene:

The unknown man from Texas and his younger companion who helped me climb out of my upside-down car; The off-duty paramedic (maybe there were two) who called for help while checking me over; The sheriff's deputy named Rob, who bandaged one of my small cuts; The two EMT people who responded to the emergency call, Crystal and Josh, and who took excellent care of me to the point of delivering me to the Mary Fisher Clinic;

Steve Orr, a friend, who notified my priest and my husband;

Annie Ryder and Bob Woodson from my church who left a lunch gathering to be with me until I was taken to the clinic.

My seatbelt saved my life, but these folks gave me reassurance, made me comfortable, and gave me back my sense of reality. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.

Ann Van Fossen

History project

Dear Editor,

My name is Alec Vasquez, I am 11 years old and in the fifth grade at Akron Elementary and Junior High School in Akron, Colorado. I am working on a Colorado History project and would like your help. If you have any information on Colorado that you would be able to share with me, I would appreciate it. The information can be on anything, it just has to be about Colorado History. I would like to get something from every county in the state. If you have anything that would be of help, please send it to me. I am working really hard to make my project the best in the class. Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Alec Vasquez

663 W. 10th Street

Akron, CO 80720

Sports Page
New coach opens hardcourt practice with 42 hopefuls
By John M. Motter

It's time for change. Many Pagosa Springs High School varsity athletes are changing from football to basketball. And none too soon.

New head Coach James Shaffer's Pirate basketball team has almost too much work and too little time, while getting ready for the season opener Nov. 30 in the Cortez Classic.

About 42 bodies showed up for the initial day of practice Nov. 5, but noticably absent at that time were eight members of the Pirate football squad, still locked up in postseason play.

Shaffer gets a look at those players this week, as he sorts out candidates for varsity, junior varsity, and C-squad competition.

No newcomer to high school coaching ranks, Shaffer faces a stiff test in his first year at Pagosa Springs, a test that may demand all of his experience. He replaces Kyle Canty, the former coach who led Pagosa to the Intermountain League championship and to the Colorado 3A tournament the past two years. Not only is Canty gone, four starters graduated from last year's squad.

Returning players with varsity time include Darin Lister, Jason Schutz, and Brandon Charles - a short list. Further complicating Shaffer's task are football injuries suffered by Schutz and Lister. Schutz strained a knee and may not be ready to play until after Christmas. Lister hurt a leg in the quarterfinal loss to Eaton. The extent of Lister's injury is unknown at this time.

As if Shaffer's first year at Pagosa problems aren't big enough, his boys face a potentially devastating pre-season schedule. On tap are Cortez and probably Monticello, Utah, in the Cortez Classic; Aztec, Bloomfield, Gunnison, Montrose, and Thoreau N.M. in the Wolf Creek Classic; probably Montrose, Gunnison, Olathe, and Rifle in the Black Canyon Classic; and neighboring Durango. All of these schools, with the exception of Thoreau, boast enrollments far in excess of the 3A Pirate enrollment.

League play starts Jan. 18 when Pagosa hosts Ignacio. Other IML opponents for Pagosa are Bayfield, Centauri, and Monte Vista.

Shaffer served as an assistant coach on Pagosa's football team this past season, so he has had a chance to get acquainted with some of his players.

"I've had a chance to get to know some of the kids," Shaffer said. "Going to the football playoffs is a good thing because it gives us momentum. We may start a little slow, but I expect to be in the chase for the league title by the time league play starts in January."

As to basketball style, Shaffer likes to play a transition offense, pressure defense.

"I will take a look at the material, watch them work," Shaffer said. "Until then, I won't know exactly what we are going to do. Style of play is usually dictated by the specific skills of the players."

Shaffer brings a 217 wins, 135 losses, high school coaching record to Pagosa Springs, having been a high school coach every year but one since 1983-84, when he coached Del Norte to an 8-7 record. He is no stranger to state championship play.

While coaching 3A schools at Newcastle and Leander, Wyo., Shaffer teams were state tournament runners-up twice, state tournament consolation champions twice, and qualified for the state tournament five times.

In three years as head coach at 5A Grand Junction, his teams were conference champions twice and a Colorado 5A tournament semi-finalist once. At 4A Evanston, Wyo., his teams were a state tournament semifinalist, state tournament runner-up, and state tournament third place finisher.

Shaffer has plenty of personal honors as well. In 1992, he was head coach in the Wyoming North-South All Star Game. During 1999, he was assistant coach in the same game. In 1993 he was Wyoming 3A coach of the year and 3A Northwest League coach of the year. Last year he was Wyoming South 4A conference coach of the year.

He is a past president of the Wyoming High School Basketball Coaches Association.

Shaffer earned a B.S. Cum Laude in May of 1971 from Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis., with a major in physical education, minor in health education. He has done graduate work at the University of Wyoming and the University of Northern Colorado, where he was also assistant men's basketball coach.

Following is the Pirate schedule for the coming year:

Nov. 30, Dec. 1-Cortez Tournament in Cortez

Dec. 7, 8-Wolf Creek Classic in Pagosa Springs

Dec. 14, 15-Black Canyon Classic in Montrose

Dec. 20-host Durango High school

Jan. 11-at Bloomfield

Jan. 18-host Ignacio

Jan 25-host Bayfield

Jan. 26-at Monte Vista

Feb. 2-at Centauri

Feb. 7-at Sangre de Cristo

Feb. 9-at Ignacio

Feb. 15-at Bayfield

Feb. 16-host Monte Vista

Feb. 23-host Centauri

March 1,2-District tournament at Monte Vista

March 5-state tournament, tba.

Bevy of honors accrue for Lady Pirate senior spikers
By Karl Isberg

Three Lady Pirate volleyball seniors provided the leadership to their team on its way to a second-place finish at this year's Colorado 3A state tournament.

The three - Nicole Buckley, Ashley Gronewoller and Katie Lancing - were the core of a team that compiled a 26-4 record, won its eighth consecutive district championship, its sixth regional championship in seven years, and finished a sixth season without a loss to an Intermountain League opponent.

For their efforts, the three were named to the Intermountain League All-Conference team, first team. Named to the first team with the three Lady Pirates were Erin McCarroll and Jacque Loch of Centauri, and Corey Tirrell of Monte Vista.

Lancing was tabbed as the Intermountain League Player of the Year.

Co-Coaches of the Year in the IML were Brian Loch of Centauri and Rebekah Harrison of Monte Vista.

Following their performances at the state tournament, Gronewoller and Lancing were named All-State players by the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports and the two played for the winning team in the annual match held in the Denver area Sunday.

Gronewoller and Lancing also signed letters of commitment indicating their intent to play college sports: Gronewoller to play basketball at Colorado Mines, Lancing to play volleyball at the University of Wisconsin.

Nine Pirates named to IML all-conference grid squads
By John M. Motter

Nine Pagosa Pirates have been named to the 2001 Intermountain League All Conference team by the league coaches. All-conference selections are made at the end of league play and before state playoff games begin. The names of all-conference selections are withheld from the public until no league team continues to compete in the playoffs.

During the season just completed, Pagosa Springs, coached by Myron Stretton, won the IML title for the third consecutive year. Last year Stretton was named coach of the year and Pirate end Tyrel Ross was named player of the year.

Coach of the year for 2001 is Shawn Tucker, the first-year coach at Ignacio. Player of the year is running back Marco Tortorelli from Monte Vista.

Pagosa's senior Ronnie Janowsky was named quarterback on the first-team offensive unit for the second consecutive year. Also named to the first-team offensive unit from Pagosa Springs were senior running back Caleb Mellette, junior receiver Brandon Charles, junior lineman Pablo Martinez, senior lineman Ethan Sanford, and place kicker senior Darin Lister.

Junior receiver Jason Schutz was named to the offense honorable mention list.

Pagosa players named to the first-team defensive unit were Pablo Martinez and Jason Schutz as linemen/linebackers, Ross Wagle as a defensive back, and Darin Lister as punter.

Senior Michael Vega was named to the honorable mention defensive team.

Named to the first-team offensive unit from other IML teams were running backs Tyler McLaughlin from Bayfield and Tortorelli from Monte Vista, receiver Lorenzo Rodriguez from Ignacio, linemen Jason Schneider, Jason Salazar, and Josh Pace of Monte Vista, and return specialist Tortorelli of Monte Vista.

Honorable mention offensive selections in addition to those from Pagosa were Ignacio running back Rodney Hocker, and linemen Eric Nelson of Bayfield, Josh Thomas of Centauri, and Steven Huerta of Ignacio.

Named to the defensive team first unit from schools other than Pagosa are linemen/linebackers Jay Miller, of Bayfield, Laramie Miller of Ignacio, Jason Schneider, Jason Salazar, Titus Trujillo, and Josh Pace of Monte Vista, and defensive backs Eric Nelson of Bayfield and Ben Carlucci of Monte Vista.

Honorable mention defensive players not from Pagosa were defensive backs Miguel Ortiz of Centauri and punter Bobby Simon of Ignacio.

Bramwell makes PRCA National Rodeo finals
Forest Bramwell

Forest Bramwell, 24-year-old son of Gary and Faye Bramwell of Pagosa Springs has qualified for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas Dec. 7-16.

He comes in fifth in the world riding bareback horses with almost $77,000 in winnings.

Forest started his professional rodeo career in 1999 where he ended up Bareback Riding Reserve Rookie in the PRCA. The year 2000 was cut short for Bramwell in August of 2000 when he broke his leg.

The 10 rounds of the National Finals rodeo will be televised on ESPN 2 starting the evening of Dec. 7, and will change to ESPN starting with the eighth round.

Weather Stats
Sorry, no weather stats this week!
Community News
Chamber News
By Sally Hameister

Dandy gifts available at Visitor Center

Keep in mind that we have some dandy gift items for the holidays right here at the Chamber, so come on down and check 'em out.

Most recently, we have added the beautiful Pagosa Springs poster to our inventory and, framed or unframed, it makes a gorgeous gift for family and friends. We also have the Pagosa Springs video, cups, mugs, pins and the Rio Jazz CD, all of which make the best stocking stuffers ever.

Lili Pearson has brought us some simply stunning Christmas cards of Pagosa scenes that you can buy individually for those special people who will turn green with envy that you live here and they don't. Just a reminder that we do have some dandy items here and that we encourage you to do all your shopping locally for all your holiday needs.

"Shop Pagosa First" becomes even more important during these times of economic unrest, so please help us circulate all the green stuff in Pagosa throughout the holidays and ever after.

Inserts

Remember to bring us your 725 inserts sometime next week for inclusion in our upcoming Chamber Communiqué.

It's ever so easy to be included in this inexpensive, popular marketing scheme. Just bring us 725 flyers with all the information about your great December special, your move to a new location, additions you might have made to your inventory, etc., and a check for $40, and we will take care of the rest and mail it out to our entire membership.

This edition is especially popular because it gives everyone a big jump on advertising for the holidays and costs so little. I'm giving you an early heads-up because I know the time crunch we all begin to experience as Christmas approaches, so you have plenty of time to get those babies in here.

Just give a call if you have questions and we'll be happy to answer them at 264-2360.

Christmas Bazaar

You will be able to run over to the Community United Methodist Church tomorrow and order your ever-so-lovely holiday wreaths and centerpieces beginning at 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Dec. 7 Monday through Friday. This is the 42nd year for this huge philanthropic endeavor, and you can arrange to have the wreaths shipped all over the world to make someone's holiday even more festive. Small wreaths ranging from 12" to 15" cost $19 plus $7 for shipping; medium wreaths ranging from 18" to 24" in diameter cost $27 plus $8 for shipping and large wreaths ranging from 26" to 30" in diameter cost $35 and cannot be shipped. Don't miss this opportunity to put smiles on many faces of those you love. Imagine how pleased and surprised they will be to receive a beautiful wreath from Pagosa Springs.

Holiday Home Tour

Don't forget to pick up your tickets for the first-ever Holiday Tour of Homes to be held on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 6-9 p.m.

The tour includes five beautiful homes decked out in fine style for the holidays and gives you the opportunity to "borrow" some ideas for your own holiday decorating schemes.

Keep in mind that there are only 150 tickets available for this tour, so please pick up your tickets soonest. Seeds of Learning is sponsoring this event, and you can pick up your tickets at the Chamber of Commerce, Seeds of Learning Family Center, The Pagosa Kid and Wolftracks Bookstore and CoffeeHouse. They are $8 and will be sold until 3 p.m. on the day of the tour. Please join us for what promises to be a wonderful annual event.

Whoops

Last week I congratulated the winner of the ALCO Cute Baby Contest, and the information contained a mistake or two. The major mistake, a real beauty I might add, is that I assumed that the winner was a girl when, in fact, it was a guy. The name of our cutest baby is LeAndre Maestas and he is, indeed, all boy. I heartily apologize for the mistake and hope that LeAndre will forgive me.

Christmas Choir

The annual Community Christmas Choir Concert will be at the Community Bible Church on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9. The Saturday performance will be held at 7 p.m. and the Sunday concert will be at 4 in the afternoon. Admission is free as well as nursery care for your little ones if you so desire. This is a magnificent part of our season, and I hope you will plan to attend. You better believe I will be there.

Christmas in Pagosa

Please look elsewhere in this issue of the SUN for a Christmas Event Calendar including all the activities we know about right now. We have been feverishly decorating here at the Chamber for Santa's arrival Dec. 1, and we know that our favorite Cookie Lady, Sally Theesfeld, has been slaving away in her kitchen day and night baking cookies for this very special day.

Please bring your family to the Visitor Center on Dec. 1 to visit with Santa, enjoy Sally's delicious selection of cookies along with some hot spiced cider, listen to and join in with the caroling of our lovely Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus and help Santa with the countdown to the annual Chamber Lighting Ceremony. You don't even have to cook that night because you can enjoy all of the above and then head on over to Parish Hall on Lewis Street for their annual "Infamous Chili Dinner." They have extended their hours this year from 4-7 p.m. to assure that everyone has a chance to experience this yummy meal. We hope to see you all on Dec. 1.

Parade of Lights

You will be receiving a form for our third annual Parade of Lights very soon, and we hope you will join the fun on Friday, Dec. 7.

This has become quite the deal and one of the prettiest things you will ever witness. There's nothing quite like a jillion lights, Santa, elves, horses, cars going down Main Street on a December night. We will award $100 to the Best and Brightest Float in the three categories of Family, Business and Organization, and you could have some extra moolah for that holiday shopping. Please call us with questions at 264-2360. Entry fee is $25, and we would love to see you sparkle plenty on Dec.7.

Membership

One new member to introduce to you this week of turkey, dressing and indigestion, and 13 renewals. The fun never stops here, and we love it.

We're delighted to bring you Dr. Jim Latham and Dr. Patty Latham with Mill Creek Veterinary Service located at 3006 Mill Creek Road. These folks offer a full-service equine-only veterinary practice emphasizing advanced dental care, lameness diagnosis, pre-purchase exams, and fiberoptics endoscopy. Farm calls or haul-in. For more information on Mill Creek Veterinary Service, please call 264-6334. We thank our own Erika DeVoti for recruiting the Lathams and will reward her with a free SunDowner. Thanks, Erika.

Renewals this week include Debra Brown with the award-winning Colorado Dream Homes; Joy Downing with Joy's Natural Foods; Jim Laydon with Peppers Mexican Restaurant and Cantina; Rhonda Ward with Wolf Creek Outfitters, LLC; Chris and Bernie Schuchart with The Buck Stops Here and Cabin Fever Homes; Kathi DeClark with United Way of Southwest Colorado; Crista Munro with Folkwest Inc.; Kerry Dermody with Kerry Dermody Management; Anthony and Veronica Doctor with the Alpen Glow Guest House; Ben Fernandez with the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio; Mary Marugg with the SonLight Christian Camp; R. Michael Bell with R. Michael Bell & Associates, Inc. in Durango; and Stephen Saltsman with Flexible Flyers Rafting in Durango. We're grateful to each and every one of you.

Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Turkey, ham donors draw sallute from members

Attention: The Senior Center will be closed Friday for Archuleta County Heritage Day.

A big thank you to Muriel Deson for the donation of a turkey and a ham, and to Eve Kirton for the donation of a turkey to our seniors. Dawnie and the kitchen crew made good use of the turkey, as everyone who ate at the center on Wednesday can attest to.

We have really enjoyed having Dale and Gerry Schwartz from Lubbock, Texas, join us this week and hope they will continue to be a part of our group.

Carolyn Hansen is our Senior of the Week - Congratulations, Carolyn.

We currently have a contest in process for the naming of the new senior center, which will open approximately next August when the new Community Center is completed. You may call Musetta or Cindy at 264-2167, or submit your suggestion in writing and mail it, along with your name, address and phone number, to Archuleta County Senior Center, PO Box 1532, Pagosa Springs, Co. 81147. The prize is a wonderful 13-inch color TV so it is certainly worthwhile to come up with some good suggestions.

On Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. there will be a Candlelight Service at the Ridgeview Center. We hope folks will take some time out before the holiday season to remember those who have passed away by attending this service. It is non-denominational and open to the community. Refreshments will be served. John Graves will perform on the piano and Duke Martin, an Alaskan performer, will sing.

Friday, Nov. 30, is a busy day at the Senior Center. At noon we will celebrate the birthdays of all members born in November. At 12:45 the Archuleta Senior Citizens, Inc. board will meet at the new Town Hall for our monthly meeting. And at 5 p.m. our monthly potluck will kick off, after which will have very special entertainment by the Mountain Harmony Womens Barbershop Choir. This is truly a treat so we hope everyone will bring their favorite dish and join us for a good time.

Cindy and Musetta have provided some information on our bulletin board regarding the upcoming Nutcracker performance in Durango, at the Fort Lewis Concert Hall Dec. 8 ; the opportunity to attend the U.S. Olympics (800-842-5387); and the phone number for Michael Buderus, Retirement and Estate Advisors, Inc. (877-452-0120). Contact the Senior Center for more information regarding any of these items.

Sue Fletcher (4 Corner Senior Travelers) has put together a very interesting trip to Biloxi and New Orleans for April 19-29, 2002. The price for this 11 days/ 10 nights is $680 per person, with an added $275 for single occupancy. Payment of $75 is due upon signing with final payment due Feb. 12. For information and reservations, contact Sue at 565-4166.

We hope all you bridge players will join us Fridays at 1 p.m. to start up a group to play bridge. And don't forget the movie matinees for seniors on Wednesday, 2 p.m., at the Liberty Theater - $3 is the fee. Please call the theater to let the Johnson's know if you plan to attend the movie.

More craft classes are planned for the next few weeks. These are simple projects and free of cost (even most of the supplies are furnished) so all you folks who would like to be creative, please join us. Dates and times will be published when available.

The CPR class has been rescheduled to Dec. 10. Kathy Conway from EMS will provide a non-formal, nuts and bolts, non-certified CPR class. Sign-up sheet for this class is in the lobby, or you may call the center at 264-2167 and have them sign you up. There is no charge for the class, though donations will be appreciated.

Also, at 9 a.m. on Dec. 10, Ben Lynch, Jackisch Drug, will provide a very valuable service to our seniors - everyone should bring a bag containing all of their medications and Ben will analyze them for compatibility and reactions.

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Our newspapers offer service

This is the one week in the year we traditionally gather with family and friends to give thanks for our blessings. And one of the thanks we can include is the privilege of living in a country with its privileges and freedoms.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, surely make this important.

When the Twin Towers were hit people stayed glued to the T.V. - some for days. This form of communication is instant. The only thing about it, though, is that there is just so much news, and so reports get repeated over and over. But it offers a service protected by our Constitution.

Our newspapers offer a service. The traditional service of communicating information to a reading public. The pictures included can be cut out and saved and so can the articles. For some people, newspapers are a part of their lives! There is something about handling a newspaper.

The National Newspaper Association has initiated discussions with core publishers across the nation to talk about positive things that papers can do in the days ahead to help the nation heal from the Sept. 11 wounds.

In October, during National Newspaper Week (Oct. 7-13), the theme was "Hometown Newspapers: We're here when you need us. We're here when you read us."

Geneva Overholster, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group says, "The more you let your newspaper know that you depend upon it, the more dependable it's likely to become - for you and the many others in your community who are reading it. And even for those who aren't."

Indeed, we, as Americans, can be thankful for our privileges and freedoms.

Fun on the run

What do you call a row of 50 rabbits walking backwards?

A receding hare line.

Veteran's Corner
By Andy Fautheree

More details on vets' health care options

Last week I wrote about Veterans Affairs emergency health care provisions and the 10 points that must be met to qualify for emergency care at a non-VA medical facility.

Here is some additional information about this little-known program.

If you are covered by a program or plan that would pay for the emergency care received, you do not qualify for this new benefit. However, VA encourages you to keep all current health insurance. Remember that spouses of veterans generally do not qualify for VA health care. If you cancel your current insurance, your spouse may not retain health insurance coverage. If Medicare Part B covers you and you decide to have it canceled, it cannot be reinstated until January of the following year.

VA will reimburse health care providers for all medical service necessary to stabilize your condition up to the point you can be transferred to an approved VA health care facility.

No approval is required before going to an emergency room. If you are an eligible veteran, a VA facility is not feasibly available and you believe your health or life is in immediate danger, report directly to the closest emergency room. You, your representative, or the treating facility should then contact the nearest VA office as soon as possible (within 48 hours) to arrange a transfer to VA care, if hospitalization is required.

If you are hospitalized, VA will be in regular contact with your physician at the private hospital. As soon as your condition stabilizes, VA will arrange to transport you to a VA, or VA-designated, facility.

VA will pay for your emergency care services in a private facility only until your condition is stabilized. If you choose to stay beyond that point, you will assume responsibility for the payment of costs associated with your treatment.

VA will assist with transportation arrangements and may be able to pay for such expenses. You would need to contact the nearest VA hospital for current guidelines.

If you are billed for emergency care services, contact your local VA and a representative will assist you in resolving the issue.

To resolve claims issues, VA has established official appeals process to make sure your case is thoroughly reviewed. Please contact your local VA health care facility for current procedures.

Again, I would like to list the 10 points mentioned last week. All of these criteria must be met in order to be eligible for this benefit.

1. You are enrolled in the VA Health Care System

2. You have been provided care by a VA clinician or provider within the last 24 months

3. You were provided care in a hospital emergency department or similar facility providing emergency care

4. You have no other form of health insurance

5. You do not have coverage under Medicare, Medicaid, or a state program

6. You do not have coverage under any other VA programs

7. Department of Veterans Affairs or other Federal facilities are not feasibly available at time of emergency event

8. A reasonable layperson would judge that any delay in medical attention would endanger your health or life

9. You are financially liable to the provider of the emergency treatment for that treatment

10. You have no other contractual or legal recourse against a third party that will pay all or part of the bill.

For information on these and other veteran's benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. Active Internet website for Archuleta County Veterans Service Office can be found at www.geocities.com/vso_archuleta. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and E-mail is vsoarch@pagosa.net. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Friday, or 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

Need management program set Nov. 14

Nov. 29 - National Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century, Extension Office, 6 p.m.

Reading for pleasure

What one thing can parents do to ensure their child's success? While no panel of experts would agree on the answer, none would dispute the importance of reading to a child.

"It is a cornerstone for a child's success in school and, indeed, throughout life," claims a report of the Commission on Reading.

Parents and caregivers who begin reading to a child at a young age - even well before age one - are doing the child a tremendous service. For starters, reading gives parent and child a chance to spend some quality, one-on-one time together. Reading also enhances vocabulary and imagination, broadens a child's view of the world and leads to life-long learning.

In fact, "reading for pleasure" is identified among the 40 "developmental assets" - the essential building blocks of healthy youth development. Youth are more likely to grow up caring and responsible, say researchers, when they read for pleasure three or more hours each week.

Assets for Colorado Youth (ACY), an organization supporting community efforts to build developmental assets in youth, recommends that parents encourage their children to read for pleasure by establishing a daily reading time at an early age to set the stage for continued reading enjoyment.

Parents and caregivers will want to select age-appropriate books. For toddlers, rhyme, repetition and reader interaction are pleasers; preschoolers and early readers are ready for picture books dealing with relationships and overcoming fears.

Early readers are able to understand stories that exceed their own reading abilities. During these years, set aside time for them to practice their reading with you. Once children become independent readers, encourage them to begin a series, such as Nancy Drew mysteries or the Harry Potter books.

Advises María Guajardo Lucero, executive director of ACY, "As children begin to have many competing interests, try to maintain their daily reading time."

Following are some ways to help children become interested in reading and to continue reading for pleasure once they are reading on their own:

Bring books on all your outings, whether to the doctor's office or just running errands. If you end up having some time, escape with a story.

Make visits to the library a regular outing. The staff will be able to suggest popular, age-appropriate books.

Try to keep independent readers interested in fiction - boys, especially, love to read fiction. According to many Elementary School Librarians, "Fiction is the ideal reading material to build fluency because it is 'oral language' written on the page. The more fiction one reads, the better writer one becomes."

Crusing with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

The super-organized are super-confident

My golly, it's come round again. Thanksgiving. The all-American holiday. The old-fashioned one, where you don't have to do anything but cook and eat. The one holiday that isn't too competitive.

No sweating over costumes for the kids. How to help little Johnny look like his favorite space alien? One year our son wanted to be a jawa. In case you've forgotten, those were the little guys in the first Star Wars movie that traveled around the planet Tatooine, picking up old robots like R2D2 and reselling them.

The brown hooded robe wasn't too hard to make, a dyed sheet, some long straight stitching. But the jawas had glowing eyes deep inside the hood. That took a little doing.

Thanksgiving has another plus - there are no gifts to agonize over. Now, I know that a lot of people just love giving Christmas presents. Heck, I like giving presents, too. I just don't like selecting them.

The organized people shop all year long, picking out clever things and putting them away until it's time to wrap them. If I shop early, I forget what I've bought.

The organized people keep lists; I lose lists.

The super-organized people go ahead and wrap those perfect presents as soon as they're purchased, to "save time" when the holiday season finally gets here. I tried that one year. I had to unwrap the darn things to remember what was inside.

The super-organized are also super-confident, apparently. They have no doubts at all that the presents they choose will be happily received. Unfortunately, I've found that what was the perfect book for Aunt Mildred, purchased in July, seems silly, or out of date, or somehow inappropriate come December. Or else she's already bought it for herself. So off I run to the store to get something else, and now I'm stuck with a book nobody wants.

And forget about the preliminary work. What about the ritual known as the Opening of the Presents? There's some tension for you. Will they like it? Does it cost too much? Not enough? Will this gift make them think I'm the perfect mom/daughter/friend?

Or, if I'm doing the opening, in front of the donor, will I like it? If not, can I fake it? That Tyrolean door chime may be cute as can be, but if I'm not into cute, can I look and sound pleased anyway?

With Thanksgiving, none of that matters.

It's possible to create some Thanksgiving tension, if you work at it. You can listen to Martha Stewart, or read the food columns in the paper, or pay attention to the housewife magazines. You know the ones I mean, on display at the supermarket checkout lines. The ones that always feature the latest diet and the latest recipe for chocolate cake in the same issue.

Every year the food experts try to convince us to make exotic things to liven up the meal. Instead of plain old pumpkin pie, they want you to try pumpkin soufflé tarts. Or pumpkin cheesecake, a sure-fire way to mess up two excellent foods at once.

Instead of the same old roast turkey, they suggest theme dinners. Southwestern chili accents, or Asian vegetables. More fuss. More work. More tension.

They just don't get it.

Thanksgiving is the one meal you DON'T have to mess with. You have your turkey, your stuffing, your mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, and your pies. My must-have pie is pumpkin. Hotshot wants mincemeat. You can throw in a vegetable if you want. Something simple, yams, maybe, or green beans.

Anything else is just extra work.

Sure, it takes a while to stuff that bird and cook it, but think of the advantages. You don't have to plan anything for the rest of the week. You can do leftovers on Friday, good old turkey chow mein on Saturday, and turkey soup after that. Turkey sandwiches for lunch. A slice of pumpkin pie makes a great breakfast.

The whole point of Thanksgiving, the essence of the holiday, is getting together with family or friends, hopefully people you like. Since you don't have to put energy into the gifts and the food, you're free to give them your time and your attention.

You know people will like what you give them because it's so simple: food and company.

Okay, you can also take some time to reflect on things you're grateful for. Serious things. Me, I'm grateful just to be here, walking around and feeling healthy.

I'm grateful for my family.

And I'm grateful for my friends. My mother used to say, "You're stuck with your family, but you can choose your friends." I have a lot of wonderful friends, as I found out this past year. I hope that all of you are lucky enough to have good friends, too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Parks and Rec
By Douglas Call

Youth basketball season practice opens Nov. 26

This year's youth basketball program is underway with practices starting next week.

Last Thursday, 11 and 12-year-olds had group practices, and last night the coaches met to form teams. Coaches should call all players this week to arrange practices next week. Players not receiving a call from their coach should contact Summer at the recreation department, 264-4151 ext. 232. Games will begin Dec. 10 and continue into February.

Not registered for this year's basketball season yet? Registration continues at the $20 rate with forms available at Town Hall, the elementary school and at the intermediate school. This year's players will receive T-shirts as uniforms.

Elks Hoop Shoot

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department will host the annual Elks Hoop Shoot, sponsored by the Durango Elks Lodge, Dec. 1 at 9:30 a.m. in the intermediate school gym.

The Hoop Shoot is a nationwide basketball free throw shooting contest for boys and girls ages 8-13. Hoop Shoot winners are awarded T-shirts, patches and will advance to the regional playoffs at Escalante Middle School Jan. 12. Boys and girls compete separately in the following age groups: 8-9, 10-11, and 12-13.

Adult volleyball

The 2001 coed volleyball season concluded Monday night with Ski and Bow Rack and Colorado Construction facing off.

In the third night of play, Piano Creek Ranch excused American Family Insurance from the tournament and CPR Title ended Dulce's tournament play. Ski and Bow Rack beat Colorado Construction in the last game of the night.

In the fourth round, Piano Creek Ranch eliminated CPR Title and Colorado Construction eliminated Piano Creek Ranch from further play.

Arts Line
By Stephanie Jones

Entries open for 14th photo contest

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council office at the gallery in Town Park will be open for business hours Dec. 5 through the month of March on Wednesdays through Fridays from 10-2. The gallery will reopen in May with exhibits of multiple artists lasting three weeks each. Gallery hours will be Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10-6.

Any artist interested in applying to exhibit can pick up an application at the gallery in Town Park or phone 264-5020 for more information. Deadline for applications is Feb. 15.

Photo contest

Entry forms for the 14th annual Photo Contest at Moonlight Books can be picked up at Pagosa Photography, Mountain Snapshots, Focus and Sound, the PSAC office, and Moonlight Books.

All photographers, amateur and professional, are encouraged to enter. Deadline for entry is Jan. 30 at 5 p.m. and entries must be dropped off at Moonlight Books, ready to hang. The show will be on display Feb. 2-23.

Music Boosters

The arts council would like to express sincere congratulations to the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters. After several years of being a division of the arts council, the group recently obtained its own 501C3 status. The Music Boosters are a great asset to our wonderful community: providing local talent a venue to perform, enriching all our lives with wonderful music and theater, donating scholarships to students going on to higher education, and donating to the Pagosa Springs school system. Congratulations and best wishes in any future endeavors.

Thank you

The arts council is a non-profit organization that relies on membership, volunteers, and donations to help provide meaningful educational cultural programs for Pagosans and visitors to our area. We would like to thank everyone in our community who have given us their support through the years. We would like to extend a very special thank you to the Best Western Lodge and the Red Lion Inn for donating rooms for the Creede Repertory Theater actors. The arts council sponsored October performances at our local schools and an evening performance open to the public at the high school.

Thank you to Wells Fargo Bank for supporting the arts council by letting us use their copying machine.

Mountain Greenery has been very generous in its support by donating fresh floral arrangements at each of our gallery openings. Thank you Marguerite.

Whistle Pig

The Kreg Viesselman concert on Dec. 1 has been canceled.

"Correo Aereo" will perform Dec. 21 at the Hudson Home at 446 Loma Street. This is a very intimate venue and anyone interested in attending is encouraged to call Bill or Clarissa at 264-2491 to make reservations.

The Whistle Pig concert series is hoping to provide one concert a month through June. Anyone with suggestions for performers, call Bill or Clarissa. They can also be reached via e-mail at http://hudsonhudson/whistlepig.

Nutcracker

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company will perform the holiday classic "The Nutcracker" Dec. 7, 8, and 9 at Fort Lewis College in Durango. Congratulations to Pagosans Lila Burns, Jacqueline Garcia, Emma Donharl, Daisy Jones, Hayley Hudson, Leslie Baughman, and Kayla Walker, for being selected to dance with the company in the Dec. 9 matinee at 2 p.m. Amanda Huang was selected to perform in all four performances. Tickets can be obtained by phoning the Fort Lewis Box Office at 247-7320.

Artsline

Anyone who has information for Artsline, phone Stephanie Jones at 264-5068.

In Sync With Isabel
By Isabel Willis

Community diaper bank program opening

Q: What will cost you over $250,000 yet only weighs about seven pounds?

A: A baby.

A frightening fact about this Q & A is that the $250,000 does not include college, major health problems, or any other surprises that may arise.

Although happiness and rewards from your children cannot be measured in dollars, the cost of raising them can. All parents understand how hard it is sometimes to stay on track financially with the many ups and downs of raising those little tykes.

Are the phrases "refastenable tape tabs," "high quality fluff fiber," "leaking control shields" and "trim fit" a part of your vocabulary? They are if you have an infant or toddler and buy diapers on a regular basis.

Local community members and agencies recognize the need for helping parents as much as possible. Therefore there are several resources out there that assist families.

A program newly established for Pagosa Springs families is the Community Diaper Bank. This program was founded through a collaboration between Archuleta County Department of Social Services, Healthy Kids/A Family Nurse Partnership, and the Pregnancy Support Center. The program is running strictly by donation. Therefore community support is going to be a major factor is making the diaper bank successful.

On that note, all sizes from Stage one to Stage four will be accepted for donation and can be dropped off at the San Juan Basin Health Department, Social Services or the Pregnancy Support Center.

The intent of this program is to help parents who are not able to afford diapers between paychecks. Often, a family struggles for a few days when they could have simply benefited from a donation of five or six diapers.

That is exactly where the Community Diaper Bank will play its part. The location for the Diaper Bank is the Pregnancy Support Center on South 8th Street in downtown Pagosa Springs. Center hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

As of now, the program will offer diapers as-needed to families. However, until the program grows stronger, a limit of two visits in a three-month period of time is asked of families. This will give the bank an opportunity to receive donations that will benefit our entire community.

If you have any questions regarding this new program, you can reach somebody at the Pregnancy Support Center by calling 264-5963. You many also receive a referral from the San Juan Basin Health Department, or the Department of Social Services.

Library News
By Lenore Bright

New ideas for homemade gifts, decorations

We have many new books with ideas for home-made gifts and decorations.

It gets harder to find the unusual and we've pulled our many books on the subject and have the holiday cart ready to go. Time's a'wasting - five weeks and counting.

Three new titles are "Simply Christmas," with 201 easy crafts, food, and decorating ideas; "Simply Homemade Food Gifts" has more than 325 ideas for delicious foods and pretty packages; and we have "101 Wondrous Ideas for Christmas." That adds up to 627 new thoughts on an old subject.

Happy searching.

Baby Einstein

Julie Aigner-Clark produces a number of products for children. Her philosophy is simple: love, play, and respect. Engaging children in positive loving, play experience is the best way to teach them, and respecting that they can enjoy things typically "reserved" for adults is a way of understanding that they can truly delight in beautiful works of art.

Julie started a company called "Baby Einstein" which produces videos, CDs, flash cards, books and puppets to stimulate babies through the use of real-life images and objects. The Baby Einstein Company is located here in Colorado.

We just received four of the first board books for little ones age one month to four years. "Van Gogh's World of Color" suggests that your baby's potential is immense. You can expose your child to the greatest forms of human expression - language, poetry, music, science and art in a baby-friendly way.

"Poems for Little Ones" joins poetry, color and photography and suggestions of how to introduce the themes. This is a great series and we plan to get more of them for our patrons.

Another new addition is "Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages," by Harold Bloom. As television, video games, and the Internet threaten to distract young people from the solitary pleasures of reading, Bloom presents a volume that will amuse, challenge, and beguile readers.

Bloom chooses poems and short stories that will expand the mind and can help inspire a life-long love of reading. Bloom is a professor at both Yale and New York University.

Two new Colorado books are now available. "The Guide to Colorado Birds" by Mary Tyler Gray is an excellent piece with pictures that are truly recognizable. 236 species are listed. It even has a calendar showing the months of the year when the species can be seen.

Curious about our state? "The Colorado Almanac," by Thomas Noel is billed as the favorite fact book on the subject. Noel is the author of 25 books and a columnist for the Rocky Mountain News. He teaches history at the University of Colorado at Denver, and conducts tours for the Historical Society ad the Smithsonian Institution. He's known as Dr. Colorado.

Noel tells us 175 different railroad companies that laid track in Colorado. When the Union Pacific skirted us and went through Wyoming, we reacted by building our own.

Don't forget to come in and see our train exhibit sponsored by the Silver Division of the National Model Railroad Association.

Book collection

The San Juan College Library in Farmington announced that the Salmon Ruins collection can now be accessed by going to www.sjc.cc.nm.us.

This collection includes reports, dissertations and master's materials not found anywhere else. Works by Earl Morris, who was responsible for excavating the Aztec Ruins, and some in the Gobernador and Largo Canyon areas, are listed. We have the Salmon Ruins newsletter if you would like more information.

Holiday closing

The library will be closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. We are thankful for our good patrons and supporters.

Shepards Staff
By Jim Coats, pastor

Pagosa Presbyterian Church

A healthy family is the fountain of society

Family! What a marvelous word; what a wonderful experience! The most beautiful illustration of the meaning of "family" is found in the book of "Ruth." Many of you know the story.

Naomi, a citizen of Bethlehem, moved with her family, her husband and two sons, to the land of Moab. While there, the two boys married women from Moab. Naomi's husband died, and later the sons also. She decided to return to her home, in reality, her family, the community of Bethlehem. Upon her return with her daughter-in-law, Ruth, they were both well-received and cared for, even though Ruth was not a worshiper of God or a citizen of that community.

God never meant for people to live in isolation from one another, but in close, intimate relations where each person has the opportunity to grow and become whatever one can be, in the sheltered, accepting, loving context of a family, where each seeks the other's best. This is precisely what happened in Bethlehem. Ruth became part of the community and married into Naomi's family. She became part of that family which was to produce Israel's greatest king, David. How marvelously does God work in families where he is honored and the good of all is the ministry of all. Families come in all sizes, and often include persons who are not of our flesh and blood. In some cases, it grows to include the community.

But, regardless of the size or make up, it is vital to the wholeness of each person. "No one is an island, no one stands alone," at least not for very long. In the past several generations, the importance of the family has diminished in our nation. The context of a healthy family in which each person, especially children, can safely grow (even making mistakes) is no longer assured. Many of the earlier ministries of the family have been given over to "outsiders." Education is almost solely the responsibility of the school; parents are glad to give that over to someone else. Religious education, where there is any, is all too often the responsibility of religious institutions. Behavioral concerns become the problem of law enforcement agencies, and charity has often been turned over to the various levels of government. The strength of a healthy family is that each one cared on a personal level for other members. Now, while there is still caring, it is not in that loving, creative context of the family.

Whether or not sociologists or social psychologists with to acknowledge it, the healthy family is still the foundation of our society, its attitudes and behavior. It is here where the adults can encourage one another and continue their own growth, and where children are nurtured to become, in turn, good citizens of the community, the nation and the world. Here is where they learn right from wrong; here is where they learn trust, and forgiveness when they make a mistake. Here is where they learn the meaning of unconditional acceptance. It is in this context that children learn to value the lives of others because they come to know that their own lives are valued. And if that healthy "family" is large enough to include a healthy church, the benefits are multiplied.

I am not advocating merely a return to the "good old days," for some of them weren't so good! I am advocating the rethinking of the importance of a healthy family. No one should stand alone; no one can stand alone. Only within a loving family can any individual attain the full measure of his or her potential, becoming the person that God created him or her to be.

Who do you include in your family? Who are those with whom you have formed a mutual helping group? Your church is a good place to start.

Pagosa Lakes News
By Ming Steen

Humbled, hardened, we celebrate freedom with thanks

Thanksgiving is when we make time for conversation and sharing of food with people who know us best.

This year, like all the other years, we will gather. When we give thanks for the food and count our blessings, we will again be painfully reminded of the many families personally touched by the massacre of Sept. 11 who will face an empty chair at the table. Events of the past couple of months have left us humbled and to even a greater extent, hardened. Like the pilgrims who celebrated their freedom and survival in the new world by throwing a feast of thanks, we will likewise celebrate our freedom and national unity in the face of our present threats. Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you.

With the month of November closing on us and still not many snow clouds in sight, many of us are still doing our summer and fall outdoor activities and putting winter sports on hold. The San Juan Outdoor Club had, earlier this fall, planned a cross-country ski outing on Wolf Creek Pass with Gale Tuggle. This event is canceled, due to very obvious reasons. However, another outing has been scheduled for Dec. 8 and if we think snow and put all our collective thoughts into it, that ski outing may fly. Those folks at SJOC are not easily discouraged. They have planned an ice-skating outing on the pond behind the River Center for Dec. 14.

Congratulations to Erika DeVoti and her Arabian horse Omar for their stellar performance at the International Arabian Horse Association. (IAHA) National Championship Nov. 11 in Soccoro, N. M. Erika and Omar placed eighth in the 50-mile endurance ride south of Soccoro. Erika is an accomplished horsewoman and her many hours of training and meticulous preparation is paying great dividends - not in dollar sense but in satisfaction. You go girl!

The Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center will be closed for Thanksgiving. We wish all our members a happy reunion with family and friends. Eat right. With a little bit of self-control, you can enhance the experience with plenty of good leftovers for the rest of the month. This way, you won't wake up the day after Thanksgiving feeling disgusted with yourself for over-indulging . . . and we won't have to listen to you complain about the added pounds.

To avoid gorging, don't fast before the feast. Get a healthy breakfast and get some exercise before sitting down to the Thanksgiving meal. Avoid eating every type of food just to please the cook. If you must, take only a third or a fourth of your normal serving size. After the meal, get everyone together for a walk.

Business News
Biz Beat

Bo Warren is the new Operations Manager at Circle T Ace Lumber and Hardware in Pagosa Springs.

In his new capacity with the company, Warren directs and oversees all operations at Ace Lumber and Hardware, Ace Home and Garden Center, and American Southwest Log Homes. For the past three years, he has directed contractor sales and managed the lumber yard operation at the business.

Circle T Ace Lumber and Hardware is located at the base of Put Hill in downtown Pagosa Springs, open seven days a week. Phone 264-4154.

Obituaries
Morrell McCulley

Longtime Pagosa Springs resident, Morrell George McCulley, age 94, died at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center on Nov. 14, 2001. He was born Aug. 31, 1907 in Washington, Kansas.

Mr. McCulley married Mary R. Pate in Las Vegas on Aug. 21, 1948; 10 years later they moved to Pagosa Springs to make it their home. "Mac" enjoyed big game hunting, fishing and wood working. His woodworking skills spanned all types of work from furniture to houses. He was a master carpenter and a building contractor. He was adept at making his own blueprints.

Mac is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, three brothers, four sisters, one son and one grandson. He is survived by his daughters, Geneva, Velma and Joyce, of California; Virginia of Kansas; Aline, of Arkansas; and Helen Schoonover of Pagosa Springs; by 22 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren; four great great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews and many friends. He was greatly loved and will be missed by them.

A graveside service was held at Hilltop Cemetery on Nov. 15. Rev. Louis Day conducted the service.