Front Page

December 13, 2001

Builders balk at PAWS' new use-growth fee
By John M. Motter

A new, user-pay, growth fee recently adopted by the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District is being challenged by certain local builders and developers.

PAWS has scheduled a public meeting Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the Trails Clubhouse during which the new, capital investment fee will be explained by PAWS staff and members of the board of directors. As many as 100 protesting builders may attend the meeting.

Adopted by the PAWS board of directors after more than a year of deliberation, the capital investment fee is an attempt to gather money for water and sewer needs triggered by new construction. Consequently, the fee is levied on all new construction.

Currently, the fee amounts to $1.87 per square foot for water and $1.21 per square foot for sewer. The fee will be levied starting Jan. 1, 2002.

It replaces the facilities upgrade fee amounting to a fixed $2,300 regardless of square footage involved. The facilities upgrade fee will be discontinued.

"The facilities upgrade fee was designed for the same purpose as the capital investment fee, but it wasn't working," said Carrie Campbell, general manager of PAWS. "We have been in danger of falling behind in our ability to finance new construction. This fee follows the universally accepted practice that growth should pay for itself."

A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into developing the capital improvements fee, according to Campbell. An engineering study of district resources and needs is underway with the idea of identifying future capital improvements needs and costs. A financial guidance firm has been hired to add dollar signs to engineering facts, enabling PAWS to adjust its fee structure to realistically meet needs.

Results of the engineering, financial management studies should be available in January, Campbell said.

"This is as close as we can get right now to a realistic fee," Campbell said, "but it isn't locked in stone. When we get new data we may find we need to fine tune the fee schedule. We can do that."

A give-and-take between a developer, a home builder, and PAWS' board and staff took place following last Tuesday's meeting.

The developer and builder charged PAWS with failing to "adequately inform the public about the new fee."

They also accused PAWS with trying to hide the change, with delivering a "sucker punch," and with sounding the death knoll for local building.

Todd Shelton is the developer, Darrell Brueckner the builder.

Brueckner pointed out that if the entire $3.08 is levied on a 3,000 square-foot house, the cost of the new fee will total $9,240, compared to the old fee of $2,300.

"Building here already costs about $120 a square foot," Brueckner said. "If you add the new fee, the cost will be prohibitive. I think you will shut down the building industry in this county with this fee."

A member of PAWS staff pointed out that, if building already costs $120 a square foot, the maximum new fee of $3.08 per square foot represents an insignificant increase. It was also pointed out that the $3.08 will be only levied in District 1 of the PAWS service area, where both water and sewer services are provided.

"You should have talked with us, invited us in," Brueckner said. "We could have helped you work something out that would be more fair. These costs should be spread across the entire county."

PAWS also charges other fees including an availability of services charge, an availability of tap fees charge, service charges, and inclusion charges, not to mention the monthly user fees.

"I feel good about this fee. We should have adopted it 10 years ago," said Bob Frye, vice chairman of the PAWS board of directors and presiding over Tuesday's meeting. "It's a user pay philosophy and has growth paying for itself. In my opinion, we erred in the past because we didn't charge enough. My opinion is that for the first time we're being fair to all of the citizens of the county."

Brueckner promised that at least 100 builders will attend the Monday meeting to protest the new fee.

Hospital district reduces shortage
By Tess Noel Baker

In the last six months, the Upper San Juan Hospital District's fight for additional revenue and cuts in expenses have apparently arrested the latest budget plunge short of the dire "Avast, iceberg ahead!" warning in July.

Back then, the district board faced an apparent $130,000 shortfall in the 2001 budget - a $177,000 shortfall if they wanted to last until the first tax check of 2002, to be issued in February. That would be the situation "if business continued as usual." The scenario sent the board of directors scrambling toward cuts and then to seek a bailout from the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation.

A combination of budget actions - raising revenue or reducing spending - and improved cash flow has slowed the scramble. Predictions for 2001 as of Oct. 31 provided by Dick Babillis, board president and interim district manager, show the district has managed to chop down the deficit from $130,000 to about $50,000 for the year.

Babillis pointed out several areas of improvement in both the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center (which includes the Urgent Care Center) and at Emergency Medical Services. He looked first at the clinic and Urgent Care.

In the area of expenses, a $5,000 training program for newer employees was deferred until 2002.

Where revenues are concerned, a contract with the jail was renegotiated, adding $1,200 to the coffers.

The Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center and Urgent Care lost one physician near the middle of the year, Babillis said. This resulted in savings of around $43,000 in wages and benefits, but also meant a loss in patient revenue. To recoup the losses, physicians attempted to increase the number of patients seen per day. That, coupled with the annual 6-percent increase in clinic fees activated in September, fell short.

The net reduction in patient billing due to a reduction in providers is projected at around $12,000 for the year, but should come up again in 2002, Babillis said, with the addition of family nurse practitioner Dan Keuning who is expected to begin work at the clinic in January.

Billing practices at the clinic were restructured in April.

"Adding a part-time person to pursue insurance claim processing has reduced the current unpaid claims from around $32,000 to under $12,000 and has maintained it at that level," Babillis said. The change in billing practices also improved cash flow and allowed the clinic to repay $25,000 in tax dollars originally forwarded from the district's general fund to cover payroll and supplies.

On the EMS side, the numbers have changed dramatically over the past few months. EMS originally faced a $80,000 predicted budget shortfall through the end of 2001, and another $47,000 shortfall through February when the next tax payments will reach district accounts. Now, the shortfall is under $10,000 through the end of December.

Babillis said a large chunk of the savings, $67,000, was saved through a reduction in personnel and the board's decision to wait until 2002 to fill the vacant district manager position. Anticipated legal expenses of $30,000 projected in June to meet a challenge to the district's efforts to de-Bruce have not been realized, adding to the savings.

A $10,000 state grant for communications equipment came through.

Ambulance fee increases that started June 1 have resulted in an additional $83 in net billing per call, Babillis said. If the projected number of calls is reached by the end of December, that will result in an additional $50,000 billed.

Billing practices at EMS have also improved, Babillis said. Billing is now being done electronically. Increased attention to detail has meant fewer rejected claims and more rapid payment over the past several months.

Add all that to a taxpayer approval of a mill levy increase that will add $346,000 in district revenue next year and once again it appears that the district could be standing on firmer financial ground.

"The combination of budgetary factors and cash flow improvements has led to the district needing only a $45,000 cash infusion from the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation so far, with no more currently forecast through the year end," Babillis said.

However, the district's first check from tax revenues won't reach the bank until February.

A line item totaling $80,000 in possible repayment of funds to the Foundation has been built into the 2002 budget as a precaution. Although the district is not required by law to pay back the funds it has drawn on the $100,000 credit line set up by the foundation in August as a bailout measure, the board decided to make a good faith effort at repayment.

The two-year-long roller coaster ride at USJHD took off back in the summer of 2000 with the discovery of a $230,000 accounting error that left the district budget in shambles. An anonymous donation of $125,000 set the budget back on track, and the district reinstated two full-time paramedics dropped to part-time status in the midst of the crunch.

The 2000 audit of the district, presented in Feb. 2001, was positive, predicting that it might be possible to break even without donations in 2001, providing the district met its adopted budget constraints. These included cutting $30,000 from the EMS, an increase of $50,000 in tax income and a jump of $67,000 in EMS operating revenues. The auditor also suggested that billing and collection efforts in EMS be improved.

Then, the district manager resigned in May, and Babillis was appointed to fill the position on a volunteer basis during the interim. A closer look at the budget in June and July showed that actual and expected expenses were outpacing predictions in several areas because of apparent budget miscalculations.

For instance, legal expenses were budgeted at $7,200, but a defense of a de-Brucing lawsuit brought against the district by county resident Fitzhugh Havens totaled nearly $15,000 by May 31.

At the same time, some of the auditor suggestions were not being met. EMS expenses totaled $757,987 in 2000. Current projections for 2001 put that same total at $774,985 - a $20,153 increase instead of a $30,000 cut.

On the net revenue side, 2001 projections through December 31 show EMS revenues for user fees up just $55,431, not $67,000, over 2000 actual figures even with the ambulance fee hike in June.

The Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center and Urgent Care were projected to break even in 2001. Once again, budget miscalculations in expenses caused problems with that scenario. Projected numbers for 2001 as of Oct. 31, show net user fees are up $70,410 over 2001 budgeted figures. However, projected end-of-the year expenses are up $96,727 over the district's approved 2001 budget.

County Community Plan awaits implementation action
By John M. Motter

Archuleta County has a Community Plan adopted by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission during March of this year and endorsed by the Board of County Commissioners in May.

The Community Plan is the result of more than a year of meetings held in various parts of the county, involving the input of hundreds of people. Its primary purpose is to capture and define what the people of Archuleta County want in the way of land use controls in connection with growth.

Next in the process is developing county legislation needed to transform the Community Plan from a passive to an active document. The Community Plan contains certain action steps to guide the process. Developing legislation to enforce the action steps is a task the county planning department is dealing with now.

"The Community Plan is a decent document," said Greg Comstock, Director of County Development. "It will give us good guidance and direction for future growth. Now we need to implement the action items contained in the Community Plan."

So far, none of the action items contained in the Community Plan have been implemented. Several of those items are being studied and a rough draft to guide enabling legislation could be ready within two or three months, according to Comstock.

Those items are quite specific and deal with signs, lighting, and landscaping regulations. Concerning more comprehensive issues, such as land use designation, no action has been taken. When the time comes to write enabling legislation for land use regulations, the county may decide to hire outside consultants. About $30,000, a carry-over from last year, remains in the planning department budget for that purpose,

Archuleta County has no specific land use controls, no zoning. Is the county in danger from unguided development while waiting for land use controls to be written?

"Given our state of development, we're not too late," Comstock said. "We already have some regulations that are effective, for example, the conditional use permit. A public hearing and Board of County Commissioner approval is required before commercial or industrial development can take place. The conditional use permit is a good tool.

"I think we have surprisingly good regulations for processing subdivisions," Comstock continued. "The fact of no zoning doesn't concern me as much as when I first came on the job. We're not experiencing a lot of wild land use or development in inappropriate areas."

Even so, Comstock believes the county needs land use regulations. To those who say land use regulations usurp private ownership rights, Comstock says, "If we develop proper land use regulations, they will be more of a benefit than a negative to private property owners. They could eliminate some cases of going through the conditional use permit."

In the meantime, Comstock invites local citizens to help write sign, lighting, and landscaping regulations by serving as volunteers on committees.

The suggested committee membership includes two or three citizens, two or three business people, and a planning commission member. Those interested in serving on planning committees are urged to call the county planning office.

Many land use control methods will be looked at, Comstock said, including owner initiated zoning as adopted by Montezuma County.


It will happen

It is the time of year for a boilerplate editorial: the holiday season is here and it is not appropriate for intense criticism, for attacks on the plans or performances of politicians. It is time to radiate pleasant sentiment, to broadcast cooperation, concern.

Instead of casting a jaundiced eye on local boards, rather than loosing a broadside on budgets, let's consider the weather.

As this piece is being written, the elements are in place for the Big One. If it doesn't happen today or tonight, rest assured it will happen: later in the week, in the month, next year. It isn't a matter of if, it is a matter of when.

It has been a while since we experienced a severe Pagosa Country blizzard. There are many people here who have never experienced this phenomenon. A majority of residents who moved here in the last decade have not had the experience but once or twice.

Don't worry, it will happen.

You know it when flags are pushed out by a stiff wind, a wind from the southwest - almost always the key element in a real winter storm. Rarely does the big dump arrive from the north, almost never from the east. Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, from California, is pushed to the northeast, and the clouds rise. Upslope, the weather buffs call it. When conditions are prime - direction, moisture content, temperature, the right position of low and high pressure areas - clouds park themselves against the Divide and winter demands our utmost attention.

A real storm? Two feet or more in one dump.

When it happens, there are several things to remember.

Have enough food in the house for a couple of days. A great storm kills the electricity, though LPEA has worked wonders cutting down the outages. If the juice goes out, you need candles or other light sources, plenty of batteries. Hopefully, there is a heat source in your home other than a forced air furnace. If not, learn to turn off the water supply to the house and drain the pipes inside your residence. Make a list of friends and neighbors who will take you in should the electricity stay off longer than 24 hours.

Those who have built their dream homes in remote locations should be prepared to wait a while before roads are plowed. Local plow crews - town, county, state - are expert in dealing with the situation, but it takes time. Fire up the snowmobile in an emergency.

Once roads are open, put your children on a school bus for the trip downtown. Local bus drivers know what they are doing; the buses are made for winter travel, chained up and ready to go. Taking the kids to school can create more problems than it solves: the more drivers on the roads, the more chances for trouble.

Those who drive SUVs should remember it is usually an SUV you see overturned next to the highway. An SUV or 4-wheel drive does not make you a competent winter driver. The fact a vehicle is in 4-wheel drive does not mean it cannot slide. Carry a shovel in a vehicle along with something to provide traction should it leave the roadway. Carry basic survival gear, especially items designed to keep you warm.

If you live or work downtown, observe snow route parking restrictions. If you reside or own a business downtown, observe the town ordinance requiring you to clear snow from sidewalks within a prescribed period of time.

Be careful when shoveling snow; it is strenuous, sometimes lethal work.

The signs outside today might not signal the Big One. Nonetheless, it seems there will be some accumulation of snow here at lower altitude, with more of the white stuff falling where it is most needed - in the high country, to be cherished by skiers and snowmobilers.

But the Big One will come. It is guaranteed. Be ready.

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Paying for an early Christmas gift

Dear Folks,

Let the records show that on Tuesday, Dec. 11, I presented the Archuleta County finance office with a personal check for $7.07.

For 39 years I've known that having children involved unexpected expenses. I mistakenly thought that eventually there would be an end to them. I was wrong.

My latest surprise expenditure started Friday afternoon when our No. 3 son, Dan, phoned from Santa Cruz, Calif. Like many of the phone calls and letters that I've receive during the past 20 years, Danny's involved a complaint.

A brown paper sack supposedly had blown in front of the camera atop the county courthouse. The obtrusion was partially blocking the view the camera usually provided of Pagosa Springs and the Continental Divide. Dan wanted me to do something about it - now.

Apparently, besides showing a northeasterly portion of the San Juan Mountains in the background, at about 30-minute intervals the camera focuses on the downtown segment of Pagosa Street. While providing the Colorado Department of Transportation with its desired information every half hour, the view also appears on the SUN's Web site. It's understandable former Pagosans, part-time Pagosa residents or folks wanting to know about the local snow conditions log onto the site at the prescribed intervals.

My explanation that a sack had not blown against the camera, but that it was a decorative luminaria, failed to pacify Dan. He insisted that like himself, hundreds of other Pagosa Country addicts depend on the camera for their "scenic San Juans" fix.

As with the numerous phone calls, e-mails and letters about the wayward monitor that I've received during the past few years, I patiently explained that CDOT had installed and maintains the surveillance camera. Its intended purpose is to enable CDOT folks to observe the surface condition of that portion of U.S. 160 that runs northeasterly from the courthouse curve to in front of the junior high school building. The camera is neither the SUN's nor the county's equipment. Therefore, if folks are bothered that the camera is out of focus, a bird has left a deposit on the lens, the lens is covered with dust, a sack is partially blocking the view of the mountains, etc. "don't call the county, you need to contact CDOT."

I should have known better.

Dan called back about 15 minutes later. Rather than CDOT, he had phoned the county commissioners' office. Oh well. When was the last time one of your youngsters followed your advice?

Unconcerned that his dad is about as popular in the commissioners office as an activist circulating recall petitions, Dan had told "Jan" of his concerns and had sought her assistance. Though having never read Jan's job description or a list of her assigned responsibilities, I pointedly explained to Dan that even on a Friday afternoon she surely has more important things to do than worry about a CDOT monitor that is doing what it is supposed to do.

About 30 minutes after his first call, Dan once again was on the line. The offending bag was gone and the "mountains looked great." I suggested that rather than phoning me, he should be calling Jan and offering her a big thank you. Including an apology for disrupting her afternoon duties would also be nice.

Just about then I realized that I owed the county for about a half hour of salaries that are paid with taxpayers' dollars. So though I forgot to go over Monday morning, I did reimburse the county Tuesday morning. For the remainder of the winter, when Dan enjoys the spectacular scenery of the snow-capped San Juans, he can consider it as an early Christmas present that his dad paid for.

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


By Shari Pierce

91 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era of December 9, 1910

Ed Kuhn, merchant prince of Dyke, reports business good in his town. Mr. Kuhn has had many honors thrust upon him since he located in Dyke. He is now mayor, board of aldermen, deacon in the church, editor of the Cat Creek Howler and assistant postmaster.

Dr. Schumacker, the government stock inspector for this district, has about concluded to try the goat business a whirl and is now negotiating for the Speelman bunch of 640. The business is sure to become popular in this country, for the animals can be kept at small expense and once bred up to long hair producers they give big profits. Hair 12 to 30 inches long brings $3.00 to $6.50 per pound, while hair under 12 inches in length sells as low as 12 cents per pound.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 17, 1926

All those having old toys about the house will please collect them. The Campfire Girls will call for them on Monday, Dec. 20. These toys are to be mended, re-decorated and distributed by the Campfire Girls.

Doll Pargin of Piedra has just returned from Denver, where he marketed two carloads of yearling steers which were raised at his place on the Piedra. The shipment topped the market, both for weight and price. Mr. Pargin's shipment of last year also took the same honors. This is some glory, both for Mr. Pargin and for the San Juan Basin.

Fire destroyed the two-story dwelling and contents on the C.R. Boone ranch in Coyote Park, occupied by Lonnie Darling and family. A defective flue was no doubt the cause of the fire.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 14, 1951

The new emergency system for the town water works was installed the first of the week and is now in operation. This is a permanent feature of the water works and is operated by electricity. Installation plans were made last fall but all necessary material had not arrived at the time the main supply line became clogged with ice a couple of weeks ago.

The town kind of slipped back to not so modern times this past week when the lights and the water were both off at the same time.

Real winter arrived on the heels of last week's snowstorm and the mercury slid to a frigid 24 below on Sunday night. It has been rising slowly since that time but long handles are still advised if you plan on sticking much more than your nose outside.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 9, 1976

A truck driver and a woman passenger narrowly escaped death in a spectacular accident on Wolf Creek Pass Saturday night about 8:30 p.m. A large transport, loaded with potatoes, overturned about a mile above the San Juan Overlook, skidded on its side, and then plunged down a steep embankment for 960 feet. The woman was thrown clear near the top, but the driver wasn't thrown out until the wreckage reached the bottom of the canyon. They are in a Durango hospital and their condition is described as fair.

There is still no snow to speak of on Wolf Creek Pass. The ski area has a snow depth of approximately eight inches.

It was chilly up on Wolf Creek Pass last week. The weather station there reporting a reading of 28 degrees below zero the morning of November 28.

Inside The Sun

10% value hike meanso 9% levy cut for schools
By Richard Walter

Property owners in Archuleta School District 50 Joint got some good news from the district's business manager Tuesday - the mill levy for 2001 is dropping from 33.25 to 30.4.

Nancy Schutz told the board of education the district's assessed valuation increased to $15,787,691 (10 percent), allowing the 9-percent (2.850) reduction in the mill levy.

The reduced rate, she said, will still result in a revenue increase of $44,661 from the new levy.

Broken down to specifics, the total levy reflects 25.563 in the general fund, down from 26.886 last year, and 4.837 in the bond fund, down from 6.364 last year. The new levy will be extended against assessed valuation on the district of $167,011,718 (up from $151,357,521 last year) in Archuleta County and $1,507,503 (up from $1,374,009 last year) in Hinsdale County.

Schutz said the levy will produce $4,307,857 (up from $4,106,340 last year) for the general fund and $815,127 (down from $971,983 last year) in the bond fund, a total of $5,122,984 in income from local property taxes.

Board members were pleased with the figures and voted unanimously to certify the levy and forward it to the Board of County Commissioners for adoption and extension of taxes.

Director Russ Lee said, "It is good to see our promise to the taxpayers that rates will decrease is being kept. At the same time," he said, "we need to be aware of rising operational costs and declining returns on investments as we consider the entire financial picture for the district."

Schutz noted, outside the board meeting, that local school support, once nearly 90 percent, had declined into the upper 30 percentile but has been gradually creeping up for the past three or four years.

She said taxpayers should know that the state makes up in support funds the difference between what the district's taxpayers provide and the actual cost of school operations within state-mandated levels.

On a related financial topic, Schutz told the board the employee insurance program is not as bad off as might have been indicated by Michael Branch in his audit of district finances earlier this fall.

"While he showed a better than $240,000 shortfall, she said, "that figure was based on data which only presumed insurance company paybacks. That has now been achieved, and the shortfall currently is less than $40,000."

"But," she cautioned, "there have been several large claims in the past year and we will be taking a close look at the policy, options and costs." (The staff insurance committee was to meet Wednesday).

"We have healthy reserves in the insurance fund" she said. "We always pay claims up front in order to achieve top discounts, and then recoup when the insurance companies pay off."

Lee said the board needs to be sure employees are aware of the changing status in insurance coverage. "We have a good program," he said. "We need to keep it that way. Employees need to be aware that with increasing costs and payouts, something will have to change. They need to be aware that at some future point there may have to be cost-sharing change."

Dealing with one final unexpected payout, the board approved a change order of less than $500 for the contract on the new concession-restroom facility at Golden Peaks Stadium. The funds will cover addition of two 220-volt electrical service outlets and an additional hot water line for the concession stand.

David Hamilton, athletic director, said the lines were not included in original plans but were needed for coffee service operations in the new sports complex amenity.

Good chance for snow here
this weekend
By John M. Motter

A good chance exists for snow in Pagosa Country tomorrow and Saturday, according to Dan Cuevas, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"Thursday (today) will be partly cloudy with high temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees and lows between 10 and 20 degrees," Cuevas said. "Friday will be partly cloudy with up to a 20-percent chance of snow. Saturday will see up to a 50-percent chance of snow. There is a good chance for snow both days, especially in the mountains."

Pagosa skies should be dry Sunday through Tuesday, Cuevas said, with high temperatures ranging between 25 and 35 degrees and low temperatures ranging between 5 and 15 degrees.

Two inches of snow dropped on Pagosa Country Dec. 10, bringing December's total snowfall to 3 inches. The longtime December average snowfall is 22.2 inches.

The average high temperature last week was 37 degrees, the top of the thermometer ranging between 30 and 41 degrees.

Last week's low temperature ranged between 0 and 12 degrees with an average low of 8 degrees. Pagosa Country has not experienced a nighttime low temperature above freezing since Nov. 5 when the thermometer soared to 34 degrees.

PHS graduation rate soars over
state average
By Richard Walter

Pagosa Springs High School has a graduation rate well above both the state average and the state goal and an almost minuscule dropout rate compared to the state average.

That was the initial portion of Superintendent Duane Noggle's report Tuesday to the Board of Education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

Despite "facts" that were promulgated earlier in the year by a regional charity, Noggle said, the state has certified Pagosa's graduation rate at 95.4 percent compared to a statewide average of 80.4 percent and a state Board of Education goal of 90 percent.

At the same time, the superintendent said, the school dropout rate stands at six-tenths of one percent compared to a statewide average of 2.9 percent.

"The state figures," he said, "reflect positively on the district."

"It should be noted," he said, "that in many cases the retention of students who might have joined the dropout rolls means lower skill levels get a chance for improvement. Initial CSAP scores may not be as high, but the kids are staying in school and giving themselves a chance."

Student records

Noggle told the board regional school administrators have been jointly discussing law enforcement and the release of student records.

He said it is agreed that under new statute interpretation, law enforcement must release data on students to the boards of education of the respective district. "This is particularly true of sex offender data," he said.

"We are working on developing forms for common district use that will share data between law enforcement and school administrations," he said.

Vocational classes

Noggle said area administrators have also continued their search for ways of adding vocational education classes to their offerings and will meet again next week.

Currently, he said, there appear to be three alternatives:

€ Have each district go it alone as their individual funding will permit

€ Have Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, Durango and Ignacio combine to offer programs with each district having a specialty field. Students would be bused from one district to the other where a specialty field is provided. That busing, he said, might involve just transporting students to county or district boundary lines where they would be picked up by the neighboring district and students exchanged for varied programs

€ Work with San Juan College in Farmington, "an alternative which seems to be out of reach right now because of commitments and border charges in a different state."

Later in the session, director Russ Lee said he had heard there might be some change to that interstate challenge. He said delegates to BOCS (Board of Cooperative Services) were told there may be as many as 40 openings for area VocEd students at a cost of $700 to $800 per student.


Noggle told the board the special education class roll is rising areawide and Pagosa Springs is no exception.

"We have 144 students in special education classes this year," he said, "and that's up 11 from last year. We will have to keep an eye on the possible need for additional special ed classroom help."

He told the board the district's new Emergency Procedures Manual is in final form for board review and that copies will be sent to the sheriff's office, police department and other area emergency services agencies for review before the final booklet is readied for publication.

Once approved, it will be distributed to every classroom teacher in each building with color-coded tabs to give specific information on handling any probable emergency situation.

Finally, Noggle invited all board members to the staff breakfast scheduled at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 21 with the new administrators - himself, Mark DeVoti and David Hamilton - doing the cooking.

Student expelled, staff
assignments made
By Richard Walter

Following a two-hour executive session Tuesday, the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint announced the expulsion of a student for the balance of the school year.

As is the custom, the student was not identified, and the administration said the student's family had initially requested a hearing on the decision but later rescinded that request.

The board also approved a number of staff recommendations on personnel issues, including:

€ Accepting the retirement of Ralph Hamilton, intermediate and junior high school counselor

€ Accepting the resignation of bus driver Justin Martin

€ Naming Dale Haskamp a junior high recreation teacher

€ Naming Bill Nobles a junior high wrestling coach

€ Approving Ronald Bloomquist as a volunteer high school wrestling coach

The board neither approved nor disapproved Kate Kelley's request for a leave of absence from the elementary school staff, voting instead to have the superintendent review the request and make a recommendation to the board.

Directors, as required by law following last month's election, held their own election of officers and retained those already serving: Randall Davis as board president; Russ Lee as vice president; and Clifford Lucero as secretary.

"It seems everyone's happy with the status quo," quipped Davis.

Finally, the board approved four policy revisions designed to bring the district in line with state requirements. They dealt with executive sessions/open meetings; character education, dealing with violent and aggressive behavior and actively dealing with bullying prevention and education.

The directors also established a policy dealing with hazing, approved a plan for allowing students to do tutoring, spelled out probationary status for classified staff and amended the evaluation policy for classified staff members.

PAWS ends growth moratorium
By John M. Motter

A moratorium banning inclusions was lifted by the Pagosa Area Sanitation District board of directors at a special meeting Tuesday night.

Approval was also given the 2002 budget, including certain changes in the PAWS fee schedule.

The moratorium had been adopted during the fall of 2000 to limit expansion of demands on PAWS water and sewage treatment facilities pending an engineering evaluation of current resources and demands expected from build-out on lots already contained within district boundaries.

Inclusion is the name given to the process wherein PAWS agrees to include within district boundaries land formerly outside the district. Normally, the new property contains new development with new and additional demands on PAWS' capability to deliver potable water and offer sewage collection and treatment services.

Even with the moratorium lifted, inclusion will not be automatic. Each application will be evaluated on an individual basis. A new computer analysis tool, or water model, will be used to help PAWS decide yes or no on any specific inclusion request.

Two applicants await inclusion, more are in the wings, according to Carrie Campbell, general manager of PAWS.

The 2002 budget contains no water or sewer consumption rate changes, but does include the adoption of a Capital Investment Fee designed to help provide up-front money for growth demands on PAWS services. The CIF will be levied on all new construction.

Also included in the budget is funding needed for certain capital improvement projects. Among those projects are continued expansion of the Vista sewage treatment plant and encasement of the Dutton Ditch.

PAWS directors have discussed a May bond election to raise funds for the proposed capital projects. Revenue and expenses from the anticipated bond election are included in the budget.

The water and sewer utility is separated into District 1 and District 2. District 1 is generally the area north of U.S. 160. Residents of District 1 receive both water and sewer services. The District 1 general operating expense mill levy of 6.09 mills is expected to produce income of $401,740. The District 1 debt service mill levy of 1.10 mills is expected to produce income of $72,564. The combined mill levy for District 1 is 7.1 mills.

District 2 generally includes the PAWS service area south of U.S. 160, the Town of Pagosa Springs, and the residential strip south along U.S. 84 to Loma Linda. District 2 provides water only and includes no PAWS sewer services. The District 2 general operating expense mill levy of 1.949 mills is expected to produce income of $112,931. The District 2 debt service mill levy of 1.10 mills will produce income of $63,737. The combined mill levy for District 2 is 3.049 mills.

The PAWS enterprise fund budget, funded largely from fees and earned revenues, contains revenues of $11.4 million and expenses, including capital expenses, of $12.2 million.

Included in the PAWS operating fund are revenues of $618,171 and expenses of $646,450.

Public hearing set Tuesday on
county budget
By John M. Motter

The public is invited to a 10 a.m. airing of the 2002 county budget next Monday in the commissioner meeting room at the county courthouse. Adoption of the budget is likely to take place the following day at the regular meeting of county commissioners.

This year's budget amounts to $22.5 million, about $17.9 million if certain double entries such as sales tax revenues, the Fairfield Settlement Fund, self insurance fund, and others, are reduced to single entry items.

"We used the $17.9 million as a basis to calculate the three-percent reserve mandated by TABOR," said Cathie Wilson, director of county finance. "That is a fair measure of the actual budget amount."

That 3-percent reserve is documented in a special fund called the TABOR Fund. Total reserves in the coming year's budget amount to about $7.3 million, according to Wilson. The reserves are documented in fund balances throughout the budget and in certain dedicated funds such as the Capital Improvement Fund and Road Capital Improvement Fund.

Also included in the total is the $5.2 million Federal Aviation Agency grant for work at Stevens Field. The state and county are matching the federal grant with about $290,000 each. Grants are often viewed as budget pass-throughs, since they don't directly cost local taxpayers.

County employees will be given an across-the-board 3.7 percent cost of living increase. Additional money is allocated to the various departments, allowing department heads to grant merit increases or bonuses as they see fit.

Traditionally, the county has maintained the value of about three months' expenditures in reserve. That amount is included in the various fund balances.

"Our software won't allow a contingency line item, so we are placing reserves and surplus in the fund balances," Wilson said.

The overall temporary property tax rate is 17.623 mills. That includes 13.634 mills dedicated to the general fund, 3.5 mills dedicated to road and bridge, and 0.489 mills dedicated to social services. The first should generate income of $2.4 million, the second income of $609,829, and the third income of $85,202.

In other business Tuesday the commissioners:

€ Adopted a resolution creating the position of county administrator to replace the former position of county manager. The county administrator's job description remains the same as the county manager job description, excepting the addition of grant writing responsibilities. In addition, an employment agreement with the newly-hired administrator, William R. Steele was approved

€ Approved a letter of support for Colorado Housing

€ Approved the expenditure of $38,235 from 2000 budget funds to purchase software for the county clerk

€ Appointed Heather Hunts to the Archuleta County Fair Board

€ Concerning county involvement in constructing pedestrian/biker trails at Fairfield Pagosa, agreed to contribute $4,000 toward engineering costs estimated at $17,000. The county anticipates the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association will pay the balance.

Geothermal discharge
impacts sewer
By Tess Noel Baker

There's a hole in the sidewalk, dear Pagosa, dear Pagosa. A hole.

It's been there, in front of Jackisch Drug Store, for a few weeks now, covered in boards, surrounded by warning cones all because of a sewer line problem.

About 30,000 gallons of geothermal water a day has been entering the sewer line somewhere under the toothpaste display, Town Administrator, Jay Harrington, said. That amount of hot water is corrosive to the lines, reduces the number of taps that can be added, and can dilute the organic matter content used in the lagoons downstream.

"We're losing about $246,000 in tap capacity," Harrington said. Correcting the problem is a challenge because there's no way to get under the building to stop the flow at its source.

Where the water is entering the town's lines can be pinpointed, Harrington said, but tracing that back to its exact source has been impossible because of the buildings resting over the site. The only clue is a 1964 report that indicates several hot springs were evident on the lot when a well was capped and plugged.

To remedy the problem, the town plans to divert the geothermal flows out of the sewer system, redo the sewer lines going into the building and then put a vault in place under the sidewalk to allow for easier and safer access to the lines should any future problems occur.

However, implementation of the remedy has been rocky going so far.

An attempt at boring under U.S. 160 to divert the water into the San Juan River by one contractor has failed. Harrington told the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District board this month that the contractor lost several thousands of dollars worth of pipe and equipment under the road when the bore failed.

The attempted bore also collapsed a sewer main which runs under the highway. Repairs to that main were expected no matter what the result of the bore, Sanitation Supervisor, Phil Starks, said. Repairs have since been made.

A second contractor is expected to attempt a bore sometime this week using a larger drilling machine.

Boring under the highway is a challenge because of the variety of sizes of rock used in the cobblestone under the current pavement. That variety means combining both dirt boring and rock boring techniques, a touchy business.

Once the bore is completed, work will start on new sewer lines going into both Jackisch Drug and the Below Wholesale Store.

Starks said to avoid tearing up too much of the building and the street, a small lift station will be added inside the building to allow for a forced main. The vault will be added under the street for safety reasons.

Total cost of the project is undetermined at this time. It appears the town will pay for the cost of diverting the geothermal stream and construction of the vault. A possible 3-way split to cover the cost of redoing the lines to the buildings is under negotiation.

SJMA welcomes new archaeologist
By Kathe Hayes

The newest member of the San Juan Mountains Association staff is Sean Larmore, program archaeologist for the Cultural Site Stewardship Program. Sean replaces Amy Wise who is now working for the Bureau of Land Management.

Larmore comes to SJMA from the University of Denver with a pending master's degree in archaeology. He is, however, not new to the area, having received his undergraduate degree from Fort Lewis College.

"I have always wanted to come back to the Southwest and especially the Durango area," Larmore said.

He brings experience in Western and Southwestern archaeology to the program. Most recently, he was field director for a long-term project in Rocky Mountain National Park which involved surveying the park for historic and prehistoric cultural sites. He has also worked in culture resource management throughout Wyoming, Colorado and Utah with private environmental companies.

Larmore's plans for the CSSP program are to expand public outreach to other institutions such as Fort Lewis College and area Native American tribes. In addition he plans to dovetail the volunteer's training with the State Historical Preservation Office's certification program.

Fire chief issues carbon monoxide warning; deartment tests offered
By Warren J. Grams
Pagosa Fire Protection District

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is colorless tasteless and odorless. This gas, when inhaled can cause sickness, long term neurological damage and even death.

What is carbon monoxide, and where does it come from? Carbon monoxide is a product of combustion. Most people associate carbon monoxide with the gas that comes out of the tail pipe of their automobile. However, this poisonous gas may exist in your home. Carbon monoxide can be caused by faulty gas or oil furnaces, refrigerators or clothes dryers, water heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, charcoal grills, gas ranges and space heaters.

As strange as it may seem, today's energy efficient homes put their inhabitants at a great risk. This phenomenon occurs because air tight construction can trap the deadly gas inside the structure. Another producer of carbon monoxide is wood stove ashes. When emptying a wood stove, never leave the ashes in the house. They must be put on the outside of the house.

Carbon monoxide attaches itself to the hemoglobin in the blood stream when breathed in. It displaces the oxygen needed for the body's cells to function. If it accumulates in the blood, it can actually displace enough oxygen to suffocate you and cause brain damage or death.

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are difficult to detect because they are very similar to flu or cold symptoms. The warning signs include, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells and confusion. If more than one family member experiences one or more of these symptoms, contact a doctor and have the home tested.

The Pagosa Fire Protection District has metering equipment to detect CO and will come into resident's homes and run tests. Carbon monoxide is measured in PPM (parts per million). It only takes 35 PPM to recommend evacuation of the home. Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased at a local hardware store. They range in price from inexpensive to expensive. Digital readouts are recommended.

Anyone suspecting problems with carbon monoxide, or just wanting to play it safe, is welcome to call the district office at 731-4191.

LPEA supplier hikes rates by 10.1 percent
By Richard Walter

As predicted last month by Davin Montoya, president of La Plata Electric Association, the power distributor's supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, has approved a rate increase.

Montoya had anticipated an 8 percent hike. The supplier announced the increase will be 10.1 percent, noting it is the first rate increase to its member distribution system in 17 years.

The Tri-State board of directors said the increase will bring its wholesale rate to approximately 39 mills or 3.9 cents per kilowatt-hour.

In the 1986-2001 service period, Tri-State had instituted rate reductions totaling 23 percent. The current average rate is still lower than the amount the association was charging in 1986 (4.6 mills per kilowatt-hour.)

Rates charged by each of Tri-State's 44-member distribution systems, including La Plata Electric, are set independently of each other and of Tri-State, depending on the specific financial and operational circumstances faced by each member system. Wholesale power supply normally makes up the largest component of retail costs, Tri-State said.

Along with the rate adjustment, the board approved an immediate allocation of $7.5 million in patronage capital credits to be returned to the member systems, divided according to how much power each of the members purchased from Tri-State in 1994. It is Tri-State's eighth consecutive year of capital returns to members.

Montoya had said the rate increase would be passed on to LPEA consumers. If a user currently has a bill of $50 per month, the increase could range from $4 to $5.50 depending on LPEA's cost and service analysis. If the capital returns to La Plata warrant, when prorated, it could mean the increase to local electricity users will be less than the 10.1 percent total increase by Tri-State.

The Tri-State member system, headquartered in Westminster, supplies power to a 250,000 square mile area in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and New Mexico and the system, in turn, serves over 486,000 meters, translating to a population of approximately a million end-use consumers.

One in five state families must choose between heat and food

About 335,000 Colorado families - almost 20 percent of the state - are low-income and at times in need of emergency financial assistance to help pay their energy bills, according to a report released by the Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation.

Titled "Keeping Coloradans Afloat on the Sea of Home Energy," the report was presented to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. It details the state's low-income population and outlines the significant challenges these families face in their fight to remain self-sufficient.

Also included are statistics illustrating the considerable obstacles emergency assistance organizations face in ensuring all low-income families can meet their home energy needs.

"This winter, high heating bills and the recession will force one in five Colorado families to choose between heat and food. That should be unacceptable to us," said Karen Brown, executive director of the Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation. "We need to do more to help our neighbors and friends keep themselves above water."

According to the report:

€ More than 25 percent of families asking for assistance last year had children under the age of five

€ On average, utility bills consume 16 percent of a low-income family's total earnings

€ Nearly half of all Low-Income Energy Assistance Program recipients do not need help paying their energy bills after two years

€ The statewide energy assistance network distributed $56 million in emergency assistance last year. This year, it is anticipated only half of that amount will be available

€ Of the 335,000 low-income families in Colorado, only 82,000 requested assistance paying their heating bills last winter. It is anticipated an additional 10,000 families will seek assistance this winter

€ Depending on the number of eligible families who ask for assistance, Colorado could see an energy assistance shortfall of nearly $125 million.

"The current system to assist Colorado's less-fortunate families only addresses part of the problem," Brown said. "We have to pursue other avenues to help these residents heat and power their homes, pay their own bills, and get themselves back on the road to self-reliance."

As a long-term solution, the foundation will work with House Majority Leader Lola Spradley (R-Beulah) in 2002 to craft and pass legislation that better meets the needs of low-income residents. Colorado is one of several states where utilities are legally barred from creating a special rate for low-income customers. Brown said the ability to create a special low-income energy rate is an effective tool in combating the cycle of poverty for 30 other states.

"It's time for Colorado to enact energy policy that will directly improve the lives of our low-income neighbors," Brown said. "Our entire community will benefit by legislation that helps the less fortunate regain control of their lives."

The complete report is available on the foundation Web site -

The Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure all low-income Coloradans can meet their home energy needs. As part of the short-term solution, the foundation fundraises and distributes money for weatherization services and conservation education through the Energy Saving Partners program, Home Energy Assistance Team and other initiatives. In addition to educating low-income Coloradans about controlling their energy use, these dollars weatherize home to make them more energy efficient - thereby decreasing the need for emergency assistance.

The foundation also acts as a consumer advocate for low-income Coloradans by actively pursuing reasonable and fair energy policies.

High school broadcasters break ground with PHTV
By Tess Noel Baker

Today Pagosa Springs public school students will get to see the television debut of PHTV - a news magazine program produced by high school students.

The lineup this week includes a local look at patriotism, a discussion on heroes with teachers and grade school students and a peek behind the scenes of the year's fall musical "Annie Get Your Gun." It will be broadcast to all four public school buildings simultaneously using a line set-up by Rocky Mountain Cable.

The segments have been written, filmed and edited by a group of twelve students working on their own time after school, during lunch and on weekends.

The group gathered to brainstorm stories and organize themselves into several available positions - editor, anchor, camera person or reporter - about two months ago.

"We just brainstormed until we found ideas that interested us," Senior Callie Smock, an editor, said.

The students also tried to select stories that would garner local interest.

"And we wanted ideas that would still be relative in December because we started filming in late October," Junior Clay Pruitt, a reporter, said.

The learning curve

From there, they moved on to taping and interviews, writing their own voiceovers and introductions. All agreed, one challenge was making all the information fit into the tight time constraints of a news feature. Suddenly, seconds or even milliseconds of time on tape mean everything.

"It's neat because we get to put in a part of ourselves," Senior Nora Fabris, an anchor, said.

The goal, another student said, is "to make it fun to watch, but not too silly, not too dry."

Interviewing presented yet another learning opportunity.

"You've got to be on your toes," Pruitt said. "Do not ask yes or no questions."

"When you're working with kids, you never know when you're going to get someone picking their nose," Sophomore Cindy Neder, a reporter, added.

Editing on the school's one machine came next. Each step took patience and perseverance as students learned to manipulate equipment, lighting and sound for the best visual effect. Of course, that wasn't all they learned:

"Teamwork," one student said.

"Proper camera skills," Junior Justin Smith, a cameraperson and editor, added. "Patience. To shoot for the edit."

What does that mean?

"You don't want all this footage you're not going to use."

Still, "you have to give the camera plenty of extra time," Pruitt said. Taping for an extra few seconds before and after the take ensures that everything necessary is actually recorded.

"I learned a lot about editing," Junior Jessica Buikema, a reporter, said. "How to split and trim. Lighting. It takes a lot of experience to get it right." In one shot, the students covering the hero story even improvised, using a car sunshield to achieve the right look outside.

"You learn to bounce light off things other than faces," Neder said.

Then, just last week, the students found out a glitch in the editing equipment erased much of their work.

Around 25 hours of editing was simply gone, Instructor Curtis Maberry said. As a result, students played catch up last weekend, spending 12 hours or more at school replacing what had disappeared.

"They came in because they wanted to do this," the English and media teacher said. "This is all extracurricular because we don't have class yet."

In the classroom

Starting next semester, one elective course of broadcast journalism will be offered as part of the regular curriculum. According to the course plan, students involved in the class will learn all aspects of media literacy and television production, assume the different jobs required in a network broadcast station and obtain hands-on experience in the process of video storytelling.

The course is already full with three more broadcasts planned, Maberry said.

Only a couple of the current participants were able to secure a slot. For the rest, today's broadcast is a first chance to be part of something new.

The idea for a news program started with the editing equipment purchased by the school board for the 2000-01 school year, Maberry said.

"I was given the opportunity to use it in the class last year," he said. "Then last summer I went to a weeklong camp at Southwest Missouri State with all broadcast teachers. I'd been thinking of doing something like this, but that's when I saw all of the possibilities."

Some schools, he said, operate news shows from their own broadcast studio, a separate building on campus. Summer internships are another possibility.

"It's because of him this program is successful," Fabris said. The rest of the class added their combined appreciation with a flurry of adjectives describing Maberry's dedication to offering the course.

On their own

The fall extracurricular program gave seniors and other students who didn't have a chance to add the course to their schedule, giving them an opportunity to participate - an opportunity applauded by all involved.

"The seniors are glad we got this chance," Senior Shalaina Hamblin, cameraperson, said.

"It's fun to know we're part of this first product," Smock added.

All students were required to fill out an application before being accepted into the fall program.

"It was basically to weed out people who were not serious," Maberry said. "It was to give me a feel for what people were interested in, to give me some information on them. You have to be motivated to do this. People who turned in applications late, missed out."

To help overcome a limited funding situation, the group has been given clearance to sell copies of their news magazine for $7 a tape.

PHTV does not have its own budget allocation, Maberry said. To help the students get off on the right foot, he made a presentation to the other teachers who approved some spending for additional equipment. However, help from the community is also appreciated.

The program could use donations of functional media equipment including: a computer editor, microphones, video cameras, a VCR, one more television, and set equipment (something similar to what is seen in television news studios) for the anchors. For more information, to donate equipment, arrange for pickup of equipment or order copies of video tapes, people should call Maberry at 264-2231, extension 262.


Model railroading

Dear Editor.

Thanks for a great article on Model Railroading! Tess did a really good job of interviewing Dick Wholf and me and relating the true sense of our hobby.

I apologize for my being a week late in writing this but was reminded of how long I had procrastinated only when this week's issue arrived.

Thanks again,

Tim Bristow

County road woes

Dear Editor,

I have a few points to make that you seem to be ignoring.

I will start with country trucks hauling gravel from Bayfield, a tremendous cost to us taxpayers, when asphalt gravel can be crushed at county pits; county crews working part time when they should be working full time; gone home at 2 p.m. on 10/31 and at 1:45 p.m. on 11/2.

Two different weeks, county trucks hauled debris from the old city hall. This is great PR work but is this more urgent than putting down gravel on our muddy roads down south?

County funds were spent on Eight Mile Mesa for which Loma Linda was responsible. We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the airport, but no gravel for roads from Pagosa Junction to Arboles. This is a13-mile stretch which has sections that have not had gravel since 1986. The lower six miles of Cat Creek are also a muddy mess.

You did a great job of watering roads and putting down magnesium chloride this summer - when you should have been putting down gravel. I have talked to commissioners on three different occasions about filling in the sunken approaches to two new bridges on Cat Creek, to no avail.

The county spends thousands of dollars redoing the Light Plant road irrigation ditch, now you are going back in with a siphon? Why pave 1 1/2 miles of Mill Creek Road? Commissioners, the county taxpayers have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Four Mile road in the last nine years, paved one year, patched the next, chip and sealed three years later. Now, another $3.5 million? While us taxpayers in the southern part of the country are driving through mud.

Archuleta County taxpayers should know about and question the gravel contract you have with the landowner on the lower San Juan. The county has repaired and graveled roads on his property and spent thousands of dollars hauling dirt from the upper Navajo River, then spent many days spreading dirt on this particular land.

The county uses large irrigation (water) pumps to pump water from the river into the gravel pit so this landowner can water his fields. The county loader was seen going up the hill to repair erosion damage to this landowner's road. Those crews could be out putting gravel on muddy roads this fall and winter since they have no work without snow.

You appoint road committees as a ploy to pass the buck. They make recommendations and have no knowledge of road maintenance. The commissioners need to skip coffee shop meetings and get out and drive the roads when they are muddy.

Mr. Downey and Mr. Crabtree, it is very important that you go out and survey every road with Mr. Ecker. It is your duty and responsibility to do so.

Last year I told you how badly the county was being run; this year it is worse.

The county needs a road boss who cares and goes out regularly to check the roads. It was always done in the past; why not now? Please get us out of the mud.


Chris L. Chavez

Sports Page

Lady Pirates shut down Cortez, again, 45-24.
By Richard Walter

Familiarity breeds contempt, the saying goes.

And less than a week after dispatching Cortez in its home tournament opener, the Lady Pirates took what they had learned from that matchup and disposed of the Panthers 45-24 in the opening round of their own tournament Friday.

Utilizing her entire 11-player roster, coach Karen Wells got the usual offensive output from the usual leaders - Katie Lancing and Ashley Gronewoller with 15 and 18 points respectively - and a strong defensive performance which limited the opponents to only five field goals in the game, none in the first quarter.

The only negative for the game was the foul total recorded by the Pirates. They sent the Panthers to the line 33 times in the contest, but the guests hit only 14 of those opportunities. The Panthers all-tournament team representative, Stefanie Allison, converted only six of 14 from the stripe. She paced her team with 14 points including four of the five team field goals.

Pagosa opened the game with typical action - Lancing won the tip, Shannon Walkup took the ball four dribbles to the right, hit Lancing with a quick bounce pass and Lancing fed Gronewoller for a quick two.

From there it was downhill for the Panthers. Gronewoller hit two more first period field goals, Lancing added one and a free throw and freshman off-guard Lori Walkup hit one of her patented 14-foot jumpers as the Pirates moved out to an 11-2 lead at the end of the stanza.

Gronewoller, working the lane with her 6' 3" height advantage against Cortez' three 5' 10" inside players added three more field goals in the second period. Lancing chipped in with her first trey of the season and a pair from the charity stripe and Nicole Buckley and Katie Bliss each added a field goal coming off the bench.

Allison got the Panthers' first field goal of the game in the period and senior guard Nicole Stephens added another but the team was only four of 10 from the line in the period, establishing the trend of free-throw futility that was to be the big portion of their downfall. Reserve senior guard Hannah Mortensen was two for two from the stripe, her only trip to the line for the afternoon.

The 15-9 scoring edge for the Pirates in the period put them up 26-11 at the half but they outscored their guest by only a pair of points in the second half as poor ball handling led to 20 turnovers for the game and a warning from Wells that they "had better learn to take care of the ball or we're going to lose a game down the line."

Allison came alive for Cortez in the second half with 10 points, including three field goals, but she got scant support from her teammates - single free throws from Amanda Frazier, Sasha Yarbrough and Lindsey Wilson in the third period, the only points scored in the game by those three starters.

The Pirates, meanwhile, despite their seven turnovers in the period, got four points from Gronewoller, two from Lancing and two each from Buckley and Bliss for a 10-5 period and a 36-16 lead after three.

Lancing added five more in the final period and Gronewoller had a pair of field goals in a 9-8 Pirate stanza with reserves in for most of the time.

Gronewoller matched her 18-point offensive effort with 18 rebounds, 10 on the defensive end and Lancing had nine boards, five defensive. Lori Walkup had five, including three offensive. Buckley and freshman Bri Scott each had four, Joetta Martinez a pair and Shannon Walkup, Carlena Lungstrum and Mollie Honan each had one.

Despite their scoring edge, the Pirates shot only 34 percent from the field, hitting 17 of 50. Only Lancing and Gronewoller went to the line, Katie hitting four of seven and Gronewoller two of three. Lancing led the team in assists with four while Gronewoller, Martinez and Scott each had a pair and Lungstrum, Tricia Lucero and Honan each contributed one.

The victory ran Class 3A Pagosa's record to 4-0 for the season, all against Class 4A competition.

Gronewoller scorches Bloomfield for
40 points
By Richard Walter

Ashley Gronewoller is a 4.0 senior student at Pagosa Springs High School headed next year for the mathematical world at Colorado School of Mines in Golden.

She is now also a 40 scorer - as in points on the basketball court- after a brilliant 16 for 22 field goal attempt performance against Bloomfield Saturday in the Wolf Creek Classic in Pagosa Springs.

The 6' 3" senior opened the clash with a 13-point first quarter, scoring most from close inside on sharp assist passes from front court running mate Katie Lancing who also scored five first quarter points on her way to 15 for the game.

A cold shooting night by the balance of the Pirate roster made the 55 points from the two inside players barely enough to cover a spirited Bobcat comeback in the fourth period paced by Kayla Brown's 10 points on a pair of long treys and two putbacks off offensive rebounds. She was the Cats' top scorer for the game at 18.

Aside from Gronewoller and Lancing, the only Pirate field goals came from reserve forward Katie Bliss with two and freshman guard Bri Scott with one.

Pagosa parlayed Gronewoller's first period heroics into a 20-8 lead and when she added 10 more in the second quarter, the Pirates carried a 36-21 lead into the locker room at the half.

Gronewoller got seven more points in the third period, but only Lancing, with a lone field goal, joined her in scoring as the visiting Bobcats outscored Pagosa 12-9 and closed the lead to 45-33 as the quarter ended.

With Brown's fourth quarter performance, Bloomfield outscored the host Pirates 18-17 in the period, with Gronewoller adding her final 12 markers on five field goals and a pair of free throws.

For the game, the very busy Gronewoller had 12 rebounds, seven defensive, and Lancing soared for 17, 10 at the defensive end. Guards Lori Walkup and Carlena Lungstrum each had five boards, seven of the 10 coming at the defensive end. Katie Bliss added three, two defensive; Tricia Lucero and Mollie Honan each had two, and Bri Scott added one.

Lancing had 10 assists, Bliss had three, Scott and the Walkup sisters each had a pair, and Lungstrum, Lucero and Honan each had one.

As a team, the Pirates hit 23 of 50 from the field for 46 percent; from the free throw line, they were 16 of 29 for 55 percent.

Bloomfield's scoring, in addition to Brown's 18, included nine each from Calla Cox and Rochelle Finch, five each from Celesty Tsosie and Lindsey Sullivan, and a pair by Breanna Casaus.

The Pirates worst statistical area for the game was, again, turnovers, with the Ladies handing the ball over 16 times.

They also sent the Bobcats to the foul line 31 times on 21 fouls but the foes hit only seven of those charity tosses.

Senior forward Nicole Buckley missed the game, excused to take her SATs.

Montrose monkey returns, Ladies
bow 41-32
By Richard Walter

Sometimes getting the monkey off your back is impossible.

That is the feeling the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates may have this week after bowing 41-32 to Montrose in the championship game of the Wolf Creek Invitational Saturday. It was the Pirates fifth consecutive loss over three years to the Lady Indians.

The home team got in early foul trouble and eventually lost both Ashley Gronewoller and Katie Lancing, the inside twin towers, on fouls. With both of them sitting, the Class 4-A Indians, who trailed Pagosa 27-26 after three periods, put together a 15-5 final quarter, including 8 for 10 from the line, to hand Pagosa its first loss of the season.

Both squads are now 5-1 on the year, Montrose having lost its season opener 47-42 to Evergreen.

With Jenny Evans, Whitney Nershi, Sara Klippert and Katie Twehous each hitting one field goal, Klippert adding three from the line and Amy Martinson one free throw (her only point of the game), the Indians opened a 12-8 first period lead. Pagosa's scoring coming on four free throws by Gronewoller and a pair of field goals by Shannon Walkup.

The Pirates outscored Montrose 15-11 in the second period, paced by two field goals (one a trey) from Lori Walkup, to even the count at 23-23 at the break. Carlena Lungstrum had a long three in the period for Pagosa, Shannon Walkup added her third and final field goal, Gronewoller had her first field goal and Lancing chipped in with a field goal and two from the stripe.

The third period was a defensive struggle which featured horrendous shooting by both squads. Pagosa was 2 for 9 from the floor for four points and Montrose 1 for 10, a trey by Evans, giving the Pirates a 27-26 advantage after three.

It was all downhill for the Pirates after that. Gronewoller fouled out with 4:17 left after having sat out much of the second period with three fouls. Lancing followed her to the bench with 1:58 left and Pagosa's rebounding (12 for Lancing and seven for Gronewoller) ended.

Without those two in the game, Indian senior Janel Sutton scored eight of their 10 game points and Klippert added six, each hitting four for four from the line as the Pirates had to foul hoping to stop the clock and get the ball back.

The Pirates had balanced scoring, but not enough of it. Lancing led the way with 9, Gronewoller had 8, Shannon Walkup 6, and Lori Walkup and Lungstrum each had 5. The Ladies hit only 12 of 38 attempts for a 31-percent average.

The Indians were led by Klippert with 15, Sutton with 10, Evans with 5, Katie Twehous with 2, and Martinson, Jennifer Fellin and Krista Herr with 1 each. The Indians, with 13 of 35 from the floor, shot only 34 percent.

Pagosa, which had been chastised by coach Karen Wells for excessive turnovers in their first two games of the tournament, cut the total unforced errors to 11, but four of them led directly to Montrose scores, including Evans' trey in the third period. The nine points Montrose scored on turnovers was the margin in the game.

For the Pirates, only Lancing and Gronewoller went to the charity stripe, Lancing converting three of five and Gronewoller four of eight. Montrose, meanwhile, was converting 14 of 21 free throws awarded off 17 Pagosa fouls.

Sutton was named the outstanding player of the tournament. Lancing and Gronewoller were named to the all-tournament team.

The Pirates take their show on the road this weekend, heading for Montrose and the Black Canyon Classic. They will not, however, meet the Indians again. Their foes will be Class 4A Rifle in the tourney opener at 3 p.m. Friday; Class 4A Greeley Northridge at 10 a.m. Saturday; and at 4:45 p.m. Saturday they'll close the girls bracket with a game against Olathe, their first Class 3A opponent of the year.

Pirate grapplers snare second place at Buena Vista
By Karl Isberg

Pirate wrestlers returned from the Demon Duals at Buena Vista last Saturday with a second-place team finish and a roster of wrestlers brandishing more than credible records for the season to-date.

Pagosa ripped all three first-round opponents in the eight-team tourney - Estes Park, Buena Vista and Del Norte - before losing to Intermountain League foe Centauri in the championship dual.

The first three duals of the tourney provided little in the way of competition for the Pirates.

Estes Park had only seven wrestlers on the roster, with six getting matches against Pagosa. The Pirates won five of six, scoring on pins from Cliff Hockett at 135 pounds, Kory Hart at 140, and Zeb Gill at 152. A decision at 125 by Mike Maestas and a major decision by Michael Martinez at 112 added to the 30 points surrendered by Estes Park on forfeits and gave the Pirates the 55-9 win.

"Estes Park had some decent kids," said Pirate coach Dan Janowsky, "but they had only six wrestlers and we won five matches. It was a good start for the guys who got to wrestle."

Host Buena Vista fell to Pagosa 49-24.

Darren Hockett got a fall at 103 in the second period as did Maestas at 125. Ronnie O'Brien pinned his man at 130 in the first period and Hart nailed his second pin of the day at 130. Martinez got another major decision at 112; Trevor Peterson earned a 7-1 decision at 145; Marcus Rivas won 6-4 at 189; Luke Boilini wrestled to a 6-4 decision at 215. Of Buena Vista's 24 points, 18 were earned on Pirate forfeits.

Del Norte fell to the Pirates 48-27 with 18 of the 27 points donated by forfeit.

Maestas continued a good day with a first-period pin at 125; Cliff Hockett pinned his man at 135 in the first period; Gill earned a second-period fall at 152; Aaron Perez pinned a Tiger in the second period at 160; Boilini got a pin at 215 just 22 seconds into his match. Rivas added three points to the team total with a 13-11 decision at 189.

Though Centauri won the championship match 40-31, the outcome could easily have gone the Pirates' way.

Maestas put the first points on the board for Pagosa with a takedown in overtime to earn a 7-5 decision. Cliff Hockett got six points with a third period pin; Gill fought to a 14-4 major decision, and Boilini scored six points with a pin in the first period of his match. Pagosa got six points on a Falcon forfeit at 130, but gave up 18 points with no wrestler available at three weights.

"We came from our preliminary pool with some pretty decisive wins," Janowsky said. "So did Centauri. They beat Battle Mountain, St. Marys and Florence in the first round. Centauri has beaten us in duals the last two years and if you had asked me preseason how we compared to them I probably would have said they were ahead of us. When our dual was over, I was pleased it was so close, but kind of disappointed when I realized how a couple of small things would have caused the match to go our way."

Perhaps one of the reasons the Pirates succeeded as well as they did at Buena Vista was a pair of stout performances Dec. 6 in dual meets against Ignacio and Aztec N.M. The Pirates dropped the match to Aztec 46-12 then rebounded to defeat the host Bobcats 35-28.

Despite the score, the Pirate loss to Aztec was encouraging for two reasons: 12 points were surrendered with forfeits, and the Pirates stayed even with the Tigers up to 145 pounds. Martinez was an 8-7 winner but, after the 130-pound match, Pagosa trailed 13-3. Cliff Hockett stopped Aztec's momentum with a 10-9 decision. Hart also earned a 10-9 decision, and Peterson won a dramatic 21-16 decision with eight points in the third period.

"I think this was the most competitive dual we've fought against Aztec in a long time," the coach said. "Up through 145 it was close, and they were all hard-fought matches. I liked the spirit our kids showed; they didn't back down."

The Ignacio dual gave fans a taste of what dual meet action is all about: a tight battle, highlighted by several tense battles. Darren Hockett drew first blood with a 12-2 major decision at 103 and Martinez did the same at 112. The Bobcats drew to within one point with a major and a decision in the next two fights. O'Brien then turned the momentum to Pagosa with a 7-4 win at 130 and Cliff Hockett, in one of the most exciting matches of the evening, eked out a 5-4 decision with a third period takedown. Hart got a pin at 140 but the Bobcats made a 15-point run with wins in three consecutive matches. Ignacio then forfeited two weights and Boilini scored a 5-4 win over Adam Seibel with a last-minute takedown at 215.

"We were a little fatigued when we wrestled Ignacio," said Janowsky. "And I think they wrestled us a little tougher than they wrestled Aztec in the first dual of the night. This was an exciting dual: entertaining and, when you discount the forfeits, very close."

Pagosa ends the pre-Christmas schedule tomorrow and Saturday at the Bloomfield N.M. Invitational. It will be the first regular format tournament of the year for the Pirates, and Pagosa should be a very competitive tournament team. Competition should be sturdy, with the hosts, Aztec, Ignacio, Bayfield and a flock of capable New Mexico and Arizona teams in the field.

"This will be a decent tournament," said Janowsky, "with a bunch of upper division schools in attendance. Every weight will be hard to win. We should have a little stronger lineup and we hope some of our guys will have adjusted their weights. I think, so far, we've done a good job laying the groundwork for the rest of the year. Fundamentally, we've done well and the most notable thing at this point in the season is there's not a guy on our varsity with a losing record - no one below .500."

Action at Bloomfield begins at 10 a.m. tomorrow and 9 a.m. Saturday.

Pagosa returns to action after the holiday vacation with a Jan 10 dual meet at Bayfield and follows up by hosting the Rocky Mountain Tournament Jan 12.

Pirates enter win column 68-54
over Thoreau
By John M. Motter

Pagosa Springs' varsity boys entered the win column for the first time this season with a 68-56 victory over the Thoreau, N.M., Hawks Friday during the Wolf Creek Classic Tournament in Pagosa Springs.

Freshman Caleb Forrest with 19 points and junior Brandon Charles with 16 points paced the Pirate win. Junior Henrique Diaz was not far behind with 13 points.

"It was nice to get a win," said Jim Shaffer, the Pirate coach. "We got an early lead and were able to get the ball inside. Caleb had a good game with 19 points and 11 rebounds."

The win boosted Pagosa's record to 1-2 for the season and was the best offensive effort so far for the Pirates. As a team, Pagosa made 23 of 44 from two-point range, a 52.3 shooting percentage; one for two from three-point range, a 50 shooting percentage; and 19-31 from the foul line, a 61.3 shooting percentage.

Pagosa led 15-12 at the end of the first period and 33-26 at the half against the shorter Hawks. The front line of Forrest, 6'5," Dias at 6'5," and Clayton Spencer at 6'6" accounted for 22 of Pagosa's 33 first half points. Forrest is a freshman, Dias a junior, and Spencer a sophomore.

The third period was all Pagosa as they outscored their opponents 16-5. In a desperate comeback attempt, Thoreau won the final period 23-19, mostly on the three-point shooting of Eric Thomas.

For Pagosa, junior point guard Brandon Charles began to light up the score board during the second half. Charles knocked down a trey and two field goals during the third period, then added a pair of field goals and two free throws during the final period. When Charles wasn't scoring, Forrest was. The freshman piled up five points during the third period and six points during the final period.

Forrest also topped Pagosa rebounders with eight defensive boards and three offensive boards for a total of 11 rebounds. Charles was second in the rebounding column with six, followed by Spencer with five. Charles and Ryan Goodenberger led in assists with three each. Charles made four steals, Forrest and Dias three each.

Also scoring for Pagosa were Spencer with nine points, Cord Ross with six points, and Darin Lister with five points.

Shaffer is assisted by Sean O'Donnell, Charles Rand, and Randy Sorenson. Taylor Shaffer and Ryann Charles are the waterboys, Marylou Villalobos the manager.

Aztec edges Pirates; Black Canyon Classic next
By John M. Motter

Pagosa fell to Aztec 69-67 Saturday night in the final game of the annual Wolf Creek Basketball Tournament.

Tournament play for the Pirates resumes tomorrow when the Buccaneers trade bounces with Rifle at 4:45 p.m. in the Black Canyon Tournament at Montrose. During the same tournament on Saturday, Pagosa plays Montrose at 8:15 a.m., followed by Gunnison at 3:15 p.m.

Pagosa's final game before the Christmas holiday break is with Durango Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Pagosa High School gym. Intermountain League play starts Jan. 18 when Pagosa hosts Ignacio.

"We really played well during the first half," said Jim Shaffer, the Pirate coach. "We were getting up and down the court and our transition game was working. Then the officials took over. (Darin) Lister was hurt and because of foul trouble we had three starters on the bench most of the rest of the game."

The Pirate loss to Aztec was a game in which Pagosa enjoyed a commanding early lead, then watched the game slip away. Greasing the Pirate skid were the calls and non-calls of the officials. Pagosa was whistled down for violations 24 times during the game, Aztec 10 times. More astoundingly, Pagosa was cited 10 times during the second half, Aztec three times. Two of the three Aztec second- half calls came during the final minute on deliberate fouls by the Aztecs. Only one Pirate point came from the free throw line.

Pagosa took an early lead and by the end of the first period seemed well in control of the game with a 24-12 margin. Caleb Forrest picked up a third foul with 7:37 remaining in the second period, Henrique Dias drew his third foul with 6:37 left in the same period and Pagosa leading 28-15. With two of Pagosa's big men on the bench with foul trouble, the tide shifted in favor of Aztec. Brandon Charles' trey at the buzzer gave the Pirates a 36-27 halftime lead.

Dias canned a layup to open the second half, Ryan Goodenberger followed with a trey, and the Pirate lead seemed comfortable at 41-27. Once again the momentum shifted. Dias returned to the bench with 6:09 left in the period, handicapped by his fourth foul. With Pagosa's reduced height, the Tiger's 6'4" Cody Pickard took over inside. By the end of the period, Pagosa's lead shrunk to 47-44.

Forrest opened the final period with a two-pointer, then was slapped with his fourth foul and returned to the bench. Minutes later Aztec knotted the score at 49-49, then moved ahead for the first time since their game-opening bucket. The lead switched back and forth during a see-saw battle down the stretch. Forrest fouled out with a little more than a minute remaining. Aztec's Michael Lambourne sank both free throws giving the Tigers a 66-64 lead. Aztec converted two more free throws stretching their lead to 68-64 before Charles' trey narrowed the margin to 68-67 with 10 seconds remaining on the game clock. Two free throws by Aztec and one by Pagosa ended the scoring.

A bright spot for Pagosa came when coaches of the teams playing in the tournament selected Charles as the tournament's most valuable player.

Charles scored a season-high 30 points against Aztec. His point total included 6-11 from three-point range, 6-11 from field goal range, and no free throw opportunities. The Pagosa junior scored 61 points during the three tournament games, made 12 assists, captured 10 steals, and hauled in 10 rebounds.

Against Aztec, Clayton Spencer contributed seven points; Gooden- berger, Forrest, and Brandon Samples six points each; Lister and Cord Ross four points each, and Dias and Ty Faber two points each.

Spencer topped the Pirates in rebounding with six. Ross was tops in assists with three and steals with five.

As a team, Pagosa made six of 16 three point tries for 37.5 percent shooting, 24 for 47 two-point tries for a 51 percent shooting, and one for two from the free throw line for 50 percent shooting.

Second quarter lapse spoils pirate upset bid
By John M. Motter

Pagosa Springs battled the Montrose Indians on almost even terms for three quarters during the Wolf Creek Classic Tournament this past weekend. A second quarter Pirate collapse led to a 70-52 loss to the eventual tournament champions.

Montrose captured the men's half of the tournament championship by beating three opponents without a loss: Aztec, Gunnison, and Pagosa Springs.

"Except for the second quarter, we played them about even," said Jim Shaffer, the Pirate coach. "I don't know what happened during the second period, we just didn't play hard. They outscored us 30-12 during that period. That was the difference in the game."

Even so, the Pagosa boys continue to progress, according to Shaffer. The loss dropped Pagosa's season record to 1-3. The first Intermountain League game is Jan. 18 against Ignacio. In the meantime, Pagosa travels to Montrose this coming weekend. They will play three games Friday and Saturday during the annual Black Canyon Classic Basketball Tournament. One week later Pagosa hosts Durango Dec. 20, then locks the gym doors until after the holidays.

The Indians controlled the opening game tip, but Cord Ross activated the scoreboard first by acing a trey for Pagosa Springs. Montrose followed with a full-court press that forced Pirate turnovers and helped the Indians take over the lead. Pagosa committed 20 turnovers during the game. After 8 minutes, Montrose was on top 14-11.

A combination of Montrose press and zone defense shut down Pagosa scoring during the second period. Especially ineffective for Pagosa was an attempt to operate a high-low post offense that resulted in a series of turnovers when Pagosa tried to get the ball inside. Montrose cashed in the turnovers for scores.

The busiest people on the floor were wearing black and white stripes. During the first quarter, Pagosa was whistled seven times, Montrose eight times. The pace slowed during the second period; only three fouls were called on each team. By the end of the game, Pagosa had been cited 22 times, Montrose 21 times.

Brandon Charles tallied 10 of his Pagosa-high 15 points during the second period. By the end of the half, Pagosa trailed 44-23.

Following the break, Pagosa came out of the locker room and played Montrose even up. The Pirates won third period scoring honors 13-8 and only trailed 18-16 during the final period. Pagosa scoring was well-balanced during the second half, which ended with a Ryan Goodenberger trey.

During the game, Caleb Forrest and Clayton Spencer each scored eight points, Henrique Dias and Ross each seven points, Goodenberger five points, and Darin Lister two points.

Ross' eight rebounds topped Pagosa in that department, followed by Forrest with seven rebounds. Leading Pagosa in assists with three was Charles, followed by Lister with two. Charles also led in steals with five.

As a team, Pagosa made 14 of 40 two-point attempts for 35 percent shooting, five of 10 three-point attempts for 50 percent shooting, and nine of 22 from the charity stripe for 41 percent shooting.

Pagosa gets another shot at Montrose at 8:15 a.m. Dec. 15 during the Black Canyon Tournament at Montrose.

Wienpahl nets two medals in state gymnastics meet

Hillary Wienpahl came full circle Saturday, competing in her last amateur gymnastics event in the state championships in the same gym where she made her first competitive appearance three years ago.

Representing Pagosa Spring Gymnastics, Wienpahl competed against 14 others from across the state in the 14-and-over age group.

A senior at Pagosa Springs High School, she placed seventh in the vault with an 8.60; fifth on the balance beam with a 7.95 and ninth in the all-around standings with a 32.30.

Competing in Level 6, she brought home two individual medals from the competition at Gymnastics Unlimited in Denver. Coach Jennifer Martin congratulated Hillary on "a stellar performance over the last three years and we wish her luck in the future."

Wienpahl has not yet decided on which college she will attend but did tour the University of Colorado while in the metro area for Saturday's competition.

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Community News

Chamber News
By Doug Trowbridge

Parade of Lights winners dazzled judges

I hope everyone took advantage of a beautiful evening last Friday and came out for the third annual Parade of Lights. If you weren't there, you missed an incredible show.

Thirteen entries cruised through downtown in a spectacular display of holiday cheer. I'm sure that everyone is looking forward to hearing the winners of our three categories, but first, a few thank-yous are in order.

Thank you to all our entrants; Timothy Miller Custom Homes, Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club, Pagosa Springs Intermediate School, Hi Mesa Truck and Auto Sales\Mrs. Pagosa Springs, Circle T Lumber\Ace Hardware, Snips\J.E. Sutherland Construction, the Orlinda Martinez Family, Pagosa Springs Downtown Merchants Assoc., Brownie Girl Scouts Troop 1355, Pagosa Springs Rotary Club, Pagosa Springs Fire Department, and Suzy and Kiva Belt (with Champ).

Thanks to our parade judges Annie Ryder, Don Ford and Pauline Bennetti for making some very difficult decisions. A big tip of the hat to Don Volger and the Pagosa Springs Police Department along with Troop F Mounted Rangers for traffic control and security during the entire event. We also want to thank Will Spears and KWUF Radio for providing the music that added just the right atmosphere for our little parade.

Once again, the Chamber thanks Terry Smith and Circle T Lumber for loaning us a truck and trailer for our float and to Jack our driver for doing such a great job leading the parade. We are also grateful to the kind folks at Pine Valley Rentals for donating the generator to power the small city's worth of lights on our float.

Finally, thanks to the volunteers who pitched in to help decorate our float: Ken and Jan Harms, Robert Soniat, Bonnie Masters, Angie Dahm and Terry Smith. To everyone who took part in our parade, thanks for making Pagosa shine.

And the winners areŠ

For the Best and Brightest Family: the Orlinda Martinez Family, who traveled all the way from Chama to join the parade.

For the Best and Brightest Organization: the Pagosa Springs Fire Department

For the Best and Brightest Business: Snips\J.E. Sutherland Construction

Our winners will collect $100 for their efforts. Congratulations.

Meet the artist

Taminah Gallery cordially invites everyone to an informal visit with Pierre Mion tonight, 5-9 p.m. Pierre has a long and distinguished career including freelance work with National Geographic, Look, Life and Smithsonian magazines. He has had the honor of private study with Eliot O'Hara and Norman Rockwell and served as a member of the Apollo 16 recovery team aboard the USS Ticonderoga.

Pierre Mion will be the first in a series of "Meet the Artist" events to be hosted by Taminah Gallery to introduce Pagosans to regional artists. Come on out and enjoy this opportunity to speak with the artist and admire his work. Stay tuned for information on future artists in this series.

More Christmas fun

Pagosa's ARSE (A Reading Society and Ensemble) will present a reading adaptation of "The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever" Dec. 21 at the Senior Center. The program will be preceded by a pot luck dinner at 5 p.m. with the presentation scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Admission is free, but please bring a dish if you plan to join the dinner. The emphasis will be on fun and audience participation will be encouraged during the holiday songs.

For more information, contact Cindy at the Senior Center at 264-2167.


Chamber Members will soon be receiving their December newsletter in the mail.

Included with the inserts this month will be ballots for the Volunteer and Citizen of the Year. Please take a moment to consider worthy applicants and get their names on the ballot and hand in the ballots by Jan. 1. Don't delay: I know next year seems a long way away, but it really is just around the corner.

You'll also find bios on our slate of 2002 Chamber Board of Directors candidates. In alphabetical order, they are Linda Delyria, Bob Eggleston, Scott Farnham, Marion Francis, Nan Rowe, and Sally Theesfeld. You can cast your vote at the annual meeting on Jan. 19 or stop by the Chamber.


We start with Rebecca Plemons, new owner of Coyote Creek Publishing. She publishes high quality guidebooks, menu guides and business guides. You can reach her at P.O. Box 1890 in Pagosa, call her at 264-2422, or e-mail her at

Next up is the very talented Denise Wilstead with Creations by Denise. Denise offers stained glass projects that make excellent gifts for Christmas, birthdays or anniversaries, to add just a little color into everyone's life. You can call or fax Denise at 731-2535, or e-mail her at

Our last new member this week is The Kraftin' Post run by Nana Smith. The Kraftin' Post is an arts and crafts supply store including paint supplies, scrapbooking supplies, silk florals and more. Stop by their store at 2083 E. Highway 160. You can call them at 264-4192 or fax them at 264-6070.

Along with our three new members, we are happy to add eight renewals. In no particular order we welcome back Goodman's Department Store; First Inn of Pagosa; Summit Lending; Anna O'Reilly at Massage at the Springs; Smithco Enterprises, LLC; Moore Chiropractic Health Centre; I Sell Pagosa, LLC with Lee Riley at Jim Smith Realty; and The American Cancer Society in Durango.

Thanks to all and may everyone find peace and happiness this holiday season.

Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Senior Citizens board election slated Dec. 14

Elections for the board of Archuleta Senior Citizens Inc. will take place tomorrow, Dec. 14. We welcome nominations for these positions so if anyone is interested in serving on this board, please contact Phil Heitz (731-2558) or Musetta at the Senior Center. The board meets after lunch the last Friday of each month and visitors are welcome to join us in order to become informed about what we do.

Thanks to Fire Chief Warren Grams who paid us a visit Dec. 5 and provided some valuable information:

€ If a puff of smoke comes out when you open the door of your wood stove, it's time to have it cleaned. Put all ashes in a metal covered container and place the container outside

€ If seniors have trouble replacing batteries on their smoke alarms, they may call the fire department. Members of the department will come out and replace the batteries. Also, they will check your smoke detector and, if it doesn't work, will replace it free with a new one.

Norma Richardson is our Senior of the Week. Congratulations, Norma.

We welcomed Irene Stine, Midge Rapp, Lucy Gonzales, Dora Kinum, Ellis Wilkins, Fidel Perea and John Montoya who joined us for lunch during the past week. We hope these folks will join us again soon.

Thanks go to Sister Badger and Sister McBride for leading the crafts class last week, which was fun. Folks made gift tags from felt, and next week they may finish that project or start on a new one.

Musetta has ordered some Waterpiks for dental care and will sell them to seniors for $22 each, a bargain price. Waterpiks are one of the preferred methods of dental maintenance by oral hygienists so we hope everyone will take advantage of this opportunity.

School within a school students will entertain us at noon on Dec. 21.

Everyone remember the December potluck will be at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21 (instead of the last Friday of the month). We will be treated to a wonderful play, "Best Christmas Pageant Ever," presented by the local ARSE (A Reading Society and Ensemble), which will take place around 6:15. We thank John Porter for putting this together.

Our annual Christmas party will be on Monday, Dec. 24 during the lunch hour. Enjoy the feast Dawnie and her wonderful kitchen staff will prepare for us, then those who wish to may take part in the gift exchange. Women should bring a gift for a woman, and men should bring a gift for a man. Call Cindy at 264-2167 if you have questions about this fun event.

Donna Boughan is providing manicures for some of our senior folks but she really needs a manicure table to make it easier to do the job. If anyone would care to donate a table or nail polish/supplies, she would really appreciate it.

"Elvis Returns" by the Pagosa Players will put on an additional performance at 7:45 Dec. 22 at Loredana's Restaurant. Tickets may be purchased at Wolftracks, Loredana's or the Chamber of Commerce. Seniors may purchase tickets for half price, $5, if they identify themselves as members of the Senior Center.

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

Some thoughts on personal philosophies

Ernie Pyle said, "There is no easy way to do your work. However, it may seem to you, writing is an exhausting and tearing thing."

And so it is. Some days are harder than others. So to come up with "something different," I have asked some people to write on thoughts they might have ("philosophies," I think I might have mumbled).

To begin:

This piece is from a synagogue daily prayer book. The contributor, who wishes to remain anonymous, considers this a deep glimpse into strength of spirit.

"We know not Lord whether the gifts for which we ask are for our good, whether our trials and tribulations may not be blessings in disguise, whether even the fragment of our shattered hopes and love may not minister to the upholding of our lives and the fulfillment of your unfathomable pain. So we do not pray unto you to make our lives easy, to give us happiness without alloy. Rather, we pray to you to aid us to be uncomplaining and unafraid. Teach us to face life with faith and courage that we may see the blessings hidden away even in its discords and struggles. Help us to wrest victory from the discipline of pain. May we realize that life calls us not merely to enjoy the fatness of the earth but to exult in heights attained after the toil of climbing."

Astrid Homan translates and edits anything to do with the Dutch language. Her company is "Dutch Language Resources." This is her submission.

"I believe we are the hands and feet of Christ here on earth, and as such are charged to do His Work. Whether this involves taking a friend to a doctor's appointment in Durango, visiting shut-ins, or going on a Search and Rescue mission with the Colorado Mounted Rangers, all are doing what I think are expected of me as a Christian.

"I further believe God has given me special skills, enabling me to be self-employed as a Dutch translator. By being self-employed, I have the flexibility in my schedule to meet the needs of my community. My work is interesting and highly variable - from translating a Safety Procedure Manual for Dow Chemical, to reviewing the translation of National Geographic Magazine into Dutch, to telephone interpreting for someone who needed to obtain registration papers of his German Shepherd from the Netherlands. I feel blessed to live here, in God's country, be able to make a good living with my job, and have the time to be of help when needed."

Luke Parks is the owner of the "Java Hut" located at the corner of San Juan Street and Sixth Street across the street from Sears. His offering is one of the two-line maxims from Proverbs: "A cheerful heart is good medicine."

John Graves needs no introduction. His musical contributions since moving to Pagosa have been outstanding.

"I love the magic of Christmas - the music (the Community Chorus concert was fabulous), the decorations, the warm fuzzy feelings that seeing happy children engenders - but I am always a little bemused by the disparity between the exulted celebrations of Jesus' birth and the general disregard of his teachings. Suppose He appeared in our mountain village and gave a reprise of the Sermon on the Mount. Would we really welcome his dictum to "... love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you ...?" Or, "... ye have heard that it hath been said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth': but I say unto you that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Probably wouldn't raise many cheers today. It seems to me that we focus on the mystique of the Man ... but not on his message."

Thanks to all of you.

Around town

For three months, the Sisson Library is getting trial issues of Book Page, a book-reviewing tabloid. Whether the library subscribes to Book Page (after it runs out in February) depends on the public, and whether people like it or not. The staff would appreciate your comments.

Do you remember the double page illustrations of the astronauts and the Titanic in National Geographic Magazine? Then you might like to meet the illustrator, Pier Mion, who lives in Pagosa Springs and will be the featured artist at Taminah Gallery Dec. 13, 5-9 p.m.

The Christmas Concert was exceptionally beautiful. All 90 voices blended as one.

Fun on the run

Walking through the hallways at the middle school where the teacher worked, she saw a new substitute teacher standing outside his classroom with his forehead against a locker. She heard him mutter, "How did you get yourself into this?"

Knowing that he was assigned to a difficult class, she tried to offer moral support. "Are you O.K?" she asked. "Can I help?"

He lifted his head and replied, "I'll be fine as soon as I get this kid out of his locker."

Extension Viewpoints
By Bill Nobles

Planning a simpler, healthier holiday

Dec. 14 - Colorado Kids, Extension Office, 2 p.m.

Dec. 17 - Rocketeers, Extension Office, 5:30 p.m.

Upcoming events

Jan. 10 - San Juan Basin Alfalfa and Irrigated Pasture Management Workshop, Cortez, 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Early registration on or before Jan. 4 is $15; registration after Jan. 5 is $20. Applications available at Archuleta County Extension office.

Jan. 31 - Four Corners Extension Beef Symposium, La Plata County Fairgrounds, Durango 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Early registration postmarked on or before Jan. 25 - $15; registration after Jan. 26 - $20. Applications available at Archuleta County Extension office.

Simpler, healthier holiday

The year-end holidays are upon us and so are thoughts of getting together with family and friends to give thanks, share gifts and enjoy each other's company. Why, then, do the holidays have a tendency to make us feel tired and depressed or frustrated and guilty, instead of energized and thankful? It may be our own unrealistic expectations! We may have special people visiting and we want to make each holiday occasion special. When the results are less than perfect, we're typically heartsick - sometimes to the point that guests feel it's their entire fault.

This year, as you plan your holiday gatherings, put your expectations in perspective. As you make your social and entertainment plans, be sure to include time for yourself and your immediate family. As you put together your holiday menus, be sure they're not so complex that you don't have time to enjoy yourself, your family and your guests. For example, consider whether you really need to serve a six-course, sit-down meal when a light buffet would be much easier and just as enjoyable.

Here are three resolutions to keep in mind while you make your holiday plans.

€ I am not going to overwork myself. Be kind to yourself. An exhausted host or hostess isn't good company. When planning your menus, consider simple foods that you know how to prepare. Consider items that can be prepared ahead and frozen or held in another manner. Think about having a potluck party where everybody brings a dish. Also, if holiday guests are staying over, don't be timid about serving leftovers or ordering out for pizza. A kitchen can seem like a dungeon if you're held captive cooking there day after day

€ I am not going to overspend. As you rummage through holiday recipes, keep your food budget in mind. How can you enjoy a dinner knowing a large portion of the month's food budget is sitting on the table? If served attractively, recipes made with common household staples and an occasional special ingredient can be just as elegant as those that call for many expensive ingredients

€ I am going to serve simple, healthful food. A conflict of interest often occurs when entertaining. We invite our friends into our homes as a way of expressing our friendship. We want to make sure they enjoy themselves and are well fed. Does this mean we need to serve elaborate, calorie-laden foods? Not at all. A better statement of love and friendship is to serve a variety of simple foods that are good for one's health.

These three resolutions complement each other beautifully. Simple, nutritious foods usually take less time to prepare and are less damaging to the budget than fancy gourmet-type foods. What more could you ask for a healthy, happy holiday?

Crusing with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Visitor from Tasmania teaches Aussie slang

A long-time friend came here for an extended visit. She's lived in Tasmania for the past 30 years. Tasmania - that large island south of Australia. Roughly heart-shaped.

We've known each other since we were 7 years old, though since we became adults we've only been together a handful of times. If it weren't for e-mail, we would only be exchanging cards during the holidays.

Although we grew up in the same city in California, you wouldn't know it now. She talks like a foreigner - an Australian.

She says, "That's not true. Well, maybe I have a bit of an accent."

"Yeah, right," I say, "Just a little bit." And she says, "But the Australians also think I sound foreign."

It's not just the way she pronounces words that's changed. It's the words themselves. "Just put that on the counter," I'll say as we haul in plastic grocery sacks.

"Sorry, luv - the what?"

"The counter," I say, indicating that broad expanse of horizontal surface in the kitchen. "Oh," she says, "In Oz we call that the bench."

Oz is Australia; Australians are Aussies, but the word is pronounced Ozzies. Women, aged 16 to 60, are lasses. "She's a nice lass." "The lass works in that shop." Men however, are not called lads.

We went swimming. I put on a swimming suit, but my friend wore her bathers.

During her visit we did things I don't normally do. We shopped. We must have hit every shop in Pagosa. Some I'd never been in. Everywhere we went, people were intrigued by my friend's chirpy accent.

"Oh, you're from Australia," they'd say. And a conversation would start. One friendly woman kept us there, lingering while she extolled the talents of some particular artist or craftsperson. "Cool," said my friend. "Well, you sure have picked up American slang in a hurry," said the woman. "What would you say in Australia?" My friend was stumped. "Cool" is what she would have said in Australia, and it means the same thing there as here - interesting or fine or good.

I think the woman was hoping that my friend would say "fair dinkum," which is what they say in Oz when they mean something or someone is true or genuine.

My friend works for the Australian civil service, and she was taking a long leave. Every 10 years government workers get a 3-month vacation. She also had some accumulated sickies, or sick days, so her leave from work was even longer. She spent a month here, and I got to know some of the more common terms. A jumper is a sweater. Knickers are underwear. Men wear dacks, or slacks. Hotshot carries small items around in a bum pack. Don't say fanny pack in Australia; fanny is a very rude term there.

If you have to look in several places for something, say in your backpack or among your suitcases, or in all the kitchen cupboards, you might be fossicking around.

During her stay here, my friend got to know some people and some parts of Pagosa better than I do. She's interested in animal welfare, and we visited the Humane Society's shelter. Back in Tasmania, my friend volunteers her time to work with the dogs at the "Dogs’ Home," a nice friendly term. I went with her to the shelter. Most of the dogs were "bitsers": mutts, dogs that are a bit of this and a bit of that.

It was hunting season and my friend gave a little shudder each time she saw a pickup with bright orange caps tossed on the dashboard and a rack of antlers in the back. Back home, a lot of her friends are "Greenies," or environmentalists.

My friend spent time in California before she came here, and while she was there she took up knitting. "You have to do something to keep busy," she says. She knit dishcloths, or as they say in Oz, dishrags. She knit one dishrag a day, using fat cotton yarn that looked like string. She knit white ones and pink ones and multicolored ones. She stacked them up to take home to friends. She gave two to Hotshot and me. She put one in an envelope and mailed it to her daughter in Oz. The daughter said, "What do I want with a dishrag?"

There are slang terms for people in different lines of work. We have a lot of chippies (carpenters) and a few sparks (electricians) in Pagosa. The garbo picks up the trash once a week. The postie leaves our mail in one of those groups of boxes about half a mile from the house.

After her Pagosa stay my friend was on her way to Kentucky to spend Thanksgiving with cousins and a great-uncle whom she'd never met. She was a little anxious about the visit; after all, she was to be with these "rellies" for two weeks. She was hoping there wouldn't be any "kafuffle" over politics or some other possible point of contention. I told her, "She'll be right," which means "It'll be okay."

And now she's off to see old friends in London, just in time for the Christmas holidays, which in Australia are called the Silly Season. I guess because they still try to have Christmas trees and all the trimmings, while Father Christmas is wearing shorts and everyone else is in bathers.

And then she goes back home to the Lucky Country.

Note: if you want to know more Aussie slang, try this web site.

Parks and Rec
By Douglas Call

Youth basket ball clinic scheduled 9:30-12 Dec. 22

The youth basketball season was off to a start with games played Monday night. Team pictures were also taken this week. In addition to week-day games, contests will also be played Saturday morning, Dec. 15.

Games will continue through February with schedules available for the first half of the season at Town Hall and at the games.

This year's youth basketball instructional clinic for coaches and players will be held 9:30 a.m to noon Dec. 22 in the junior high gym. No registration is required. Coaches should bring their teams for fun and to pick up some coaching tips from Pagosa Springs High School boys varsity coach Jim Schaffer and members of his team.

Adult open gym

The adult basketball program will start this month with open gym Dec. 26-28 and Jan. 2-4 from 6-8 p.m. in the junior high gym. No preregistration or fee is required.

Soccer open gym

Adult indoor soccer, open gym, will be held Dec. 26-28 and Jan 2-4 from 6-8 p.m. in the intermediate school gym. No preregistration or fee is required.

Ice hockey lessons

Power skating and skills lessons will be held at the River Center pond this month through mid-January. Lessons will be held Mondays and Wednesdays 5-6:30 p.m. and Sundays 8-9:30 a.m. Lessons will begin Dec. 17 and continue through Jan. 20. Lessons will not be held Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve.

Registration fee for the 13-lesson schedule is $20, with no discount for late registrations, and payment can be made at Town Hall or at River Center pond before a session. Skaters can rent skates from Summit Ski and Sports and may also bring hockey sticks, but pucks are not needed. Please call the recreation office at 264-4151, ext. 232, with any questions.

Ice skating lessons

Ice skating lessons will be held at the River Center pond Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5-6:30 p.m. Lessons are scheduled to begin Dec. 18 and run through Jan. 17. Lessons will not be held on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve.

Registration for the eight-session clinic is $20. Payment can be made at Town Hall or the River Center pond. Participants can rent skates at Summit Ski and Sports.

The town is currently looking for an instructor for the program.

For more information, contact Summer or pick up a job description and application at Town Hall.

Arts Line
By Stephanie Jones

Pagosa dancers a 'Nutcracker' hightlight

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council business office in Town Park is currently open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 to 2.

Any artist interested in applying to exhibit at the gallery during the 2002 season can pick up an application or call JoAnn at 264-5020 for more information. The 2002 exhibit season runs from May through October with exhibits of multiple artists lasting three weeks each.

Ballet performance

It was wonderful seeing all of the people from Pagosa who made it over to Durango to see the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company's production of "The Nutcracker."

The ballet was absolutely spectacular with magnificent costumes, special effects, and top notch dancing. Local dancers Leslie Baughman, Lila Burns, Emma Donharl, Jacqueline Garcia, Hayley Hudson, Amanda Huang, and Daisy Jones did a fabulous job dancing with the company. Congratulations to all of those involved.

Mark your calendars for March 13 when the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will return to Fort Lewis College to perform "Apollo," choreographed by George Balanchine, "Vertical Dream," choreographed by Nicolo Fonte, and "Batucada Fantastica," choreographed by Vincente Nebrada.

If you would like to see more professional dancing and can travel to Montrose, Alpine Dance will be performing at The Pavilion Jan. 12. Alpine Dance consists of select members of the Joffrey Ballet Company, New York City Ballet Company, American Ballet Theater and Alvin Ailley American Dance Company. More information about the performance can be obtained by calling (800) 982-2518.

Whistle Pig

Whistle Pig will hold a house concert at the home of Bill and Clarissa Hudson at 446 Loma Street, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. "Correo Aerreo" will perform.

Ticket price includes coffee, tea and dessert. Seating is limited so please call the Hudsons at 264-2491 to reserve a seat.

Photo contest

The arts council's 14th annual Photo Contest at Moonlight Books will begin with an opening reception Feb. 2 from 5-7. The show will run through Feb. 23.

Amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to enter. Entry forms and rules can be picked up at Moonlight Books, the arts council business office at Town Park, Pagosa Photography, Focus and Sound, or Mountain Snapshots.

Board of directors

Our current Arts Council Board Members are: Jennifer Harnick, president; Clare Burns, vice-president; Doug Schultz, secretary; and directors Stephanie Jones and Susan Garman. We would like to welcome Georgia Dick as our new treasurer. Thank you for volunteering your time.


We are looking for a workshop coordinator to organize workshops at the gallery and the Community Center, and a computer-savvy individual to do the layout for our quarterly newsletter The Petroglyph. Please call JoAnn at 264-5020 if you are interested.

Library News
By Lenore Bright

Hary Potter: New life for imaginative fancy

The dictionary defines "imagination" as the gift of forming conscious ideas for the purpose of artistic or intellectual creation.

Literature demands imagining by both the author and the reader. As book lovers, we thrive on the fantastical explorations available to us. We feel sorry for anyone deprived of the enjoyments of imagination.

Thanks to Harry Potter for bringing renewed life to two other wonderful series of imaginative fantasy stories from British writers: Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," and Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia." They are even more timely because of their connection with World Wars One and Two, and consequently, our current war on Terrorism. Tolkien tells us, "One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression."

"Lord of the Rings" is a story of a Great War, the Hobbits, Middle Earth, and Frodo Baggins. The story begins by explaining about the ring held by the Hobbits, and eagerly sought by the Enemy who made it. Tolkien took thirteen years to finish the story, from 1936 to 1949. It is an allegory, and is considered as one of the greatest British books of the 20th Century. It will soon be released as a movie.

Tolkien was born in South Africa, raised in England and taught at Oxford. One day Tolkien was grading papers and was quite bored. He found a student had left a page blank. On this page, for some reason Tolkien wrote, "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit." He then decided he needed to find out what a Hobbit was, what sort of a hole it lived in, and why. From this investigation grew the tale that he told to his younger children, and eventually the world. Tolkien died in 1973.

"Chronicles of Narnia" offers you a passport to a most extraordinary excursion into magical lands and enchanted happenings. If you've never been to Noreen, you can enter it for the first time with any of the seven books.

The adventures of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy begin when they were sent away from London during the Second World War because of air raids. Lewis wrote this preface to his Godchild: "My Dear Lucy, Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again." It may be time to start re-reading the many books dear to us in our formative years.

Lewis was born in Ireland, and served in the British Army in World War One. He taught at Oxford for 29 years. He was a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkien. (Tolkien even criticized his first Narnia book as having too many elements that clashed - Father Christmas and an evil witch.)

Lewis began the series in 1950 and finished in 1956. They have sold more than 100 million copies. He died in 1963.

Brain tickler contest

Since we are in the realm of imagining, imagine that you have been transported to a future, devastated world. Tell us which three books you would take with you to help rebuild the future. Please submit the titles and authors of the three books you would take along. Deadline is Dec. 31. Prizes will be given.

USA Patriot Act

The law to defeat terrorism is 109 pages long put out by the 107th Congress. The fine print says it is to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world. We have the printed version if you would like to read it in its totality. It is of special interest to library staff because a section deals with what we must do if the authorities want to know what you've been reading or viewing.


We are grateful for financial help from Cecil and Barbara Tackett; also from Marian Gaudette in memory of Betty Feazel. And thanks for materials from Phyl Daleske, Robert Bledsoe, Patty Harris, Robert Garrigues, Jenny Schonborn, Betty Freeman, Robert Fisher, Roger Bush, Carol Stanfill, the Nell family, and Zellah Hoffman.

Shepards Staff
Ron Taylor

Associate pastor,
Pagosa Bible Church

Opportunities for believers to repent

Let's ask ourselves a question, "What do I want more than anything else in the world? I want it so badly I can almost taste it." I am compulsive, totally consumed with the desire that I just can not get it out of my mind. I wake up with it and go to sleep with it.

A passage from Luke 15 relates to two different people who wanted something very badly.

Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin."

In both cases, all energy is focused on getting something. Jesus is not saying this is bad, for that is just the way God made us. In fact, God is compulsive too. "We are created in God's image," means, among other things, that our desire to want things is just like his desire to want things. Like Father, like son. But, you know what God wants more than anything else in the world for you and I? The answer is in two other verses from the scripture quoted above.

"I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent, and in the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

God wants you and I to repent. Repent means to turn, agree with him, and then to do what he wants us to do. I know that the above teachings are often applied to a person coming to faith in Christ, but there are also many opportunities for believers to repent. He wants us to have a passion to do things his way. There is a promise in Matthew 6:33 that we can claim if we choose obedience; "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things (perhaps even those other things we want so badly) shall be added unto you."

Pagosa Lakes News

By Ming Steen

Rec Center memberships an ideal family gift

Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center memberships for the year 2002 will be on sale starting Monday, Dec. 17. If you are wondering what to get the family for Christmas, why not pick up an annual recreation center membership.?

It will be something the family can enjoy together, stretching the experience over the entire year and gaining benefits from healthy exercises.

Recreation center memberships for the year and for six months will continue to be offered at the same price as this year (and the last three years). Family memberships for the year will cost $182. This category of membership will be sold to a family, covering only parents and single dependent children who are living with and supported by the parents' income. Single and couple annual memberships will cost $102 and $142 respectively. Couples with grown children may purchase recreation center punch passes to cover facility use by their visiting children and grandchildren.

The following are costs of six-month recreation center memberships. For a single it will be $70, for a couple $100, and for a family $121. Six-month memberships can be purchased anytime during the year provided the expiration date does not go past year 2002. The same qualifying definition for a family membership from above applies.

Punch passes for 12 uses ($29), 20 uses ($40) and 32 uses ($60) will offer more flexibility to property owners visiting their second homes in Pagosa. All of the above-mentioned membership options are available only to property owners in Pagosa Lakes who are members in good standing with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association and their renters. Proof of rental will be required.

Sponsored guests of a Pagosa Lakes property owner are eligible for only these recreation center options: Sponsored guest punch passes for 12 uses ($36) and 20 uses ($55) will be offered. A daily use pass costing $5 will still be available. For more details, please call the recreation center at 731-2051.

The PLPOA board of directors will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. tonight in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comment will be heard at the beginning of the meeting.

In Sync With Isabel
by Isabel Willis

PCPs help meet the needs of our seniors

Older people living alone are a large and growing part of the elderly population today.

They have particular needs for home and community-based services. Some very serious demographics show that elderly people are prone to inadequate diets. They are living in unsafe environments due to the lack of knowledge of what resources are available to them. Furthermore, they are socially isolated and a greater risk of depression.

As a community, we need to include our seniors, not exclude them.

Some very important people in Pagosa Springs who are striving to meet the elderly population's needs are the Personal Care Providers (PCP's). They are hired and trained by San Juan Basin Health Department and assist in the daily personal needs of many elderly in our community. Personal assistance consists of helping the client with many tasks.

The goal of the Personal Care Provider is to keep the elderly in their home as long as possible. On that note, they encourage their clients to help themselves in order to maintain their independence and dignity.

As stressed by Theresa Lucero, supervisor of the PCP program, the providers are right up there on the most valuable resource list. Theresa has to be able to trust them completely. Each member of her staff is bound by staying private. In turn, dependability has to be another strong asset. Everybody likes to have a schedule in his or her life.

The PCP providers have to meet Medicaid guidelines. Theresa stays on top of meeting each one.

PCP provides only unskilled personal care. However, if a client is in need of medical assistance, an appropriate referral will be made at that time.

Theresa also noted that her providers have the most flexible job in Pagosa. She is willing to work around many schedules to utilize as much time as possible from her staff. The maximum time asked to work with each client is four hours. The minimum amount of time is two hours.

Although PCPs are not allowed to transport any of their clients, they are able to accompany them on any source of public transportation at no charge.

The referral system for this personal care program comes from the Home and Community Base Service program which is also provided to our community by San Juan Basin Health Department. This is also a great program, but I'll save that information for another article.

What's new or what's the focus of the PCP program right now? It's simply to provide outreach to our community for dependable, caring providers. If you would like to be a part of this heart-felt program, or would like more information, give Theresa a call at SJBH. She can be reached by calling 264-2409.

Veterans Corner
by Andy Fautheree, VSO

Military records copies a top request

One of the most common requests at the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office is for a copy of military records, usually the DD214 discharge record, to replace lost or misplaced records.

The DD214 is required for most VA benefits including health care, compensation claims, pension claims, death benefits and many others. This record, and other records such as complete service and medical records, can be requested from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Veterans Service Office can easily request a copy of these records on a simple one-page form called the Standard Form (SF) 180. All the form requires is minimal information of the veteran's name, social security number, birth date and place, and branch and years of service, etc if known. The veteran, or next of kin in cases of the veteran's death, can request these records.

However, it can take a while to obtain these records from the Personnel Center in St. Louis. Some records were lost in a fire at the Center in 1973 that destroyed all or part of the records of many Army veterans discharged or deceased between Nov.1, 1912, and Dec. 31, 1959. Records specifically lost also include Air Force veterans discharged, deceased, or retired before Jan. 1, 1964, whose names come alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.

Many of the records are physically stored in boxes and must be searched for by hand. In other words, many records are not just a matter of computer information or microfilm. I have actually received copies of DD214's that show scorched edges on the records from the fire damage.

According to a recent report, the backlog was at an eight-year high early this year. Some 228,000 requests were pending. As of July 15 that number had been reduced to 210,000. A physical re-engineering was complete in July, and the NPRC is starting to see improvements.

The report claimed NPRC is responsible for delays in VA claims processing. The NPRC provides 1,500 records to VA officials weekly with a two-to-three day turnaround. The director of the NPRC noted VA is frequently blamed for the backlog at NPRC since most veterans don't understand the two are separate entities.

With the new changes, by Oct. 1, the turnaround time for separation papers should be decreased to about 10 days. By 2005, NPR hopes to answer 95 percent of all of its requests within 10 working days.

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

Business News


William L. Clark

William L. Clark, 55, of Arboles, formerly of Pagosa Springs, died Dec. 6, 2001 in North Carolina, after a long illness.

His heroes had always been cowboys and he realized his dream of becoming one in 1986. He continued to embrace that lifestyle until shortly before his death.

He is survived by his beloved children Christopher and Carrie Clark of Durham,. N.C. and Baily Clark of Fort Worth, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Triangle Hospice, 1804 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, No. 112, Durham, N.C. 27707.

Helen Kelly Palmer

Helen Kelly Palmer died Nov. 18 at her home in Aztec, N.M. She had been living at the Atwood Apartment section of the Four Corners Good Samaritan Center for the last six years.

She was born in Baldwinsville, N.Y., on Feb. 10, 1910. She was a graduate of Syracuse University and taught secondary mathematics for years in the Elba, Syracuse and Batavia, New York schools.

Helen and Moody were married May 28, 1932 and had three children: Donald, David and Nancy (deceased). She had six grandchildren: Beth Harwood Van Etten, Wendy Harwood DelBello, Jeffrey Palmer, John Palmer, June Palmer Freiwald and Janice Palmer. She had six great grandchildren.

Helen and Moody spent some of their retirement years in Kingman, Ariz., Pagosa Springs, and Aztec, N.M. They were especially thankful for the many friends they made at both the Senior Center and United Methodist Church in Pagosa Springs. She was very appreciative of all the staff and the friends at Good Samaritan. Just recently she was grateful to have three caregivers in her home.

In lieu of flowers, the family has opened the Helen Palmer Memorial Fund at the Four Corners Good Samaritan Center; 500 Care Lane, Aztec, N.M. 87410.


Marlena Lungstrum

Freshman Pagosa Springs High School singer Marlena Lungstrum delivered a spirited version of the National Anthem prior to the opening game Friday in the Wolf Creek Classic basketball tournament conducted simultaneously in both the high school and junior high school gymnasiums.