Front Page

January 24, 2002

Police arrest suspect accused of stealing brother's identity

By Tess Noel Baker

Russell Leroy Taylor, of Mason, Ohio, has a criminal record he's never earned, a car he's never purchased and tax returns he can't file.

His identity has been stolen and the suspected thief, his own brother, was jailed in Pagosa Springs Monday - caught after an investigation into a bad check took some unexpected turns.

Pagosa Springs Investigator Carl Smith said the case began when Officer Gilbert Perales picked up checks at Alco that had been returned for insufficient fund violations. One of those checks was signed by a Russell Leroy Taylor of Pagosa Springs. A quick check with dispatch showed no outstanding warrants on the name. A second call came in later regarding the same name and connecting it to a couple living in Ohio.

The dispatcher, Smith said, alerted police to the second report and they linked up with an Ohio case dating back to when the real Russell Leroy Taylor tried to file his 2000 tax return.

According to police reports, Taylor and his wife attempted to file the return electronically, but were refused because a return had already been accepted under his name. That led to a check with the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles which showed Russell Taylor's license suspended and reopened in California.

The couple also received a call from a bank in California asking why payments had stopped on a vehicle purchased there. The real Russell Taylor knew of no such vehicle. Further digging showed that a request had been made, and filled, for a new Social Security card under Taylor's name.

Investigation into the driver's license issued to Russell Taylor in California showed a photograph, not of Russell, but of Walter Joseph Taylor, Russell's brother. He apparently began using his brother's name some time after running away to California as a juvenile in 1982. As a California resident, he applied for and received a certified copy of Russell's birth certificate from Ohio.

Walter Taylor was interviewed and arrested at the Pagosa Springs Police Department offices Tuesday. He had been living in the Pagosa area for about a year, Smith said, and was jailed on charges of criminal impersonation. Another warrant for Walter Taylor was discovered Tuesday.

County devising building plan for courthouse

By John M. Motter

County officials conducted a discussion of a proposed $12-$13 million county administration building at a commissioner workshop Tuesday afternoon.

Leading the discussion was Commissioner Gene Crabtree, who has listed construction of the building as a top priority if he is re-elected to a second four-year term.

Also present at the workshop from the county were commissioners Bill Downey and Alden Ecker, County Administrator Bill Steele, Director of County Development Greg Comstock, Finance Director Cathie Wilson, and County Attorney Mary Weiss.

"I was thinking when I proposed this that a time is coming very soon when we will have to look at this," Crabtree said. "The courts are overloaded, the county is growing, every department is adding staff. As the courthouse gets more crowded, health and safety become an issue. The building can only accommodate so many people.

"We need to be progressive," Crabtree added. "We need to get a conceptual model of the building with parking on the four acres, figure what it will cost, then look at our finances and decide whether we really can or can't do it."

A discussion of financing should consider whether to use bonding, a lease purchase program, or some other financing device, Crabtree said.

A discussion ensued involving all of those present. Ecker agreed with Crabtree that the time has come to consider increasing courthouse space. Some of the discussion centered on how many people the county employs and how much space will be needed.

Additional discussion focused on what kind of guidance will be needed by any firm responding to a county request for a proposal regarding construc tion of a new facility. The commissioners concluded that additional workshops be held to develop guidelines for writing the Request for proposals.

Crabtree estimated that about $30,000 will be needed to pay for the RFP.

"About $100,000 has been placed in the budget in anticipation of that kind of need," said Wilson.

Related to the current discussion, during 1999 the Board of County Commissioners authorized an Archuleta County Facilities Audit. Prepared by Coover-Clark & Associates, Architects and Planners, the study projected the numbers of future county employees department by department, estimated the amount of space needed given the employee projections, and provided scenarios and recommendations concerning future county building. Generalized cost estimates were included.

The study concluded that every department housed in the courthouse is overcrowded and that the overcrowding will worsen as the county continues to grow.

Among suggested solutions was that of retaining existing courthouse and jail facilities as a justice, law enforcement, detention center. All other courthouse functions such as the administrative offices, treasurer, clerk, assessor, and building maintenance would be moved to a new building to be constructed. The space needs study stopped just short of architectural renderings.

During 1997, the county purchased, for $750,000, four acres located on Hot Springs Boulevard across the street from the new Pagosa Springs Town Hall. The stated purpose of the purchase was to own a site for a future courthouse.

Additional workshops will be held during which an RFP will be prepared. The RFP will then be advertised, asking for bidders to prepare the plans.

Special district elections May 7

By John M. Motter

Elections for the 15 or so special districts in Archuleta County will be held May 7. On that date, board of director members, bond proposals, and other issues important to a district may be placed on a ballot and voted on by qualified voters from the district.

Special districts are organized in a variety of fashions that dictate a variety of governing privileges and responsibilities. The form of any district is specified at the time that district is chartered by the state.

Generally, voting eligibility in special district elections extends to all property owners and renters living within the district. Property owners living outside of district boundaries may also vote if they are qualified Colorado voters. Property owners who live outside of Colorado may not vote, because they do not meet residence requirements needed to be qualified Colorado voters.

The special district election calendar is established by the state and contains all important dates relevant to elections. Persons who want to run for office in a special district election or to be eligible to vote should note the date requirements included on the calendar. For example, candidates to serve on special district boards must file by March 1. Filing forms are available at the appropriate special district office.

Each special district has a designated election official and must select a polling place. Special district elections may be held jointly with other special districts or they may be conducted by the county if the special district chooses that option. All special district elections in Archuleta County this year are being run by the districts. All candidates for special district office are required to file statements with the county clerk regarding campaign receipts and expenditures.

The following dates are noted on the elections calendar.

Jan. 7 - The county clerk and recorder, no later than 120 days prior to a regular special; district election, shall prepare a map of the county showing the location of polling places.

Feb. 21 - This is the last day for call for nominations for a regularly scheduled special district election, not less than 75 days before a regular special district election.

March 1 - No later than 67 days before a regularly scheduled special district election, candidates must file self-nomination papers/acceptance forms.

March 1 - Special district self-nomination and acceptance forms that are not sufficient may be amended once, any time prior to 3 p.m. this date.

March 13 - The election official responsible for conducting a special district mail ballot election shall notify the secretary of state and submit the plan no later than 55 days before the election.

March 22 - No later than 45 days prior to a regularly scheduled special district election, the designated election official shall appoint election judges.

March 28 - No later than 40 days preceding a scheduled nonpartisan election, the designated election official shall appoint judges.

March 28 - No later than 40 days preceding a scheduled nonpartisan election, the designated election official shall order a list of property owners from the county assessor.

April 8 - The designated election official may order a complete list of electors from the county clerk as of 30 days prior to the election with a supplementary list provided on the 20th day prior.

April 8 - County assessor shall deliver a list of property owners in special district elections to the designated election official.

April 8 - Last day to register to be eligible to vote in a regularly scheduled special district election, 29 days prior to the election.

April 17 - No later than 20 days before a regularly scheduled special district election, a supplemental property owner list will be supplied by the county assessor to the designated election official.

April 22 - Last day to appoint canvassers for a regularly scheduled special district election, at least 15 days before a non-partisan election.

May 7 - Special district election day, the first Tuesday succeeding the first Monday in May.

County's 286 home permits boost 5-year total to 1,306

By John M. Motter

The year just completed was a near record year for the Archuleta County Building Permit Department.

Inflated by an end of the year rush for building permits classified as "other," the department issued 490 permits during 2001, compared with 485 permits during 2000.

The all-time record number of permits for one year is 501, the number of permits issued during 1999. Next high is 1995 when 496 permits were issued. This year's total is the third highest ever and only 11 permits behind the all-time record for one year.

"Other" is a catchall category of permits not fitting the specific headings of house, mobile home, or commercial. Remodeling projects such as adding rooms, porches, garages, carports, and similar tasks are included under the heading of other.

The largest permit category for 2001, as it is every year, is house permits for single family residences. The number of house permits issued during 2001 was 286. In past years, that number has been 308 for 2000, 235 for 1999, 253 for 1998, and 224 for 1997. Over the past five years, the county has issued 1,306 single family residence permits.

Mobile homes are another popular mode of living that requires a permit. In the county permit classification system, modulars are not included in the mobile home category, but are included as single family residences.

Last year, 49 mobile home permits were issued. The number of mobile home permits issued over the past five years including 2001 is 57 for 2000, 93 for 1999, 71 for 1998, and 73 for 1997. The total number of mobile home permits issued over the past five years is 343.

Only eight commercial building permits were issued during 2001. The number of commercial permits issued since 1997 is: 1997 - 42, 1998 - 13, 1999 - 15, and 2000 - 8. The total number of commercial building permits issued over the past five years is 86. Almost half that number was issued during 1997. The number of commercial building permits issued for the three-year period from 1995 through 1997 is 89, more than have been issued in the subsequent five years including 1997.

Over the last five years, the number of other permits issued is: 2001 - 147, 2000 - 105, 1999 - 146, 1998 - 101, and 1997 - 118.

A building permit category labeled "timeshares," included in previous years, is not included on the 2001 report.

Within a few weeks, the building department will issue a summary of building activity accomplished during 2001 that includes an analysis of building costs and the average cost of a new home in Archuleta County for the year.

County eyes fairgrounds use advisory panel; four named

By John M. Motter

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners is studying the idea of appointing an advisory committee to help decide future policy and activities at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.

Ownership of the 40-acre fairgrounds property is divided between Pagosa Springs Enterprises, Inc., a Colorado non-profit corporation, and the county. Formerly, PSE owned all of the property. Last year, PSE deeded about five acres to the county. PSE retained ownership of the rodeo grounds and much of the parking lot. The county assumed ownership of the county extension building and an adjacent parking area where the county fair is conducted.

PSE retains control of the Red Ryder Roundup activities and other activities associated with the rodeo grounds. A citizen committee appointed by the county plans the county fair and some other activities. One of the reasons PSE donated the land to the county was to make the property eligible for Great Outdoors Colorado, known as GOCO, grant funds. Money is being sought to upgrade the potable water supply system, build public restrooms, and connect a sewage collection system to the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District.

The county is recommending that Emzy Barker, Donna Modarelli, Lisa Scott, and Carrie Toth be appointed to the proposed Fairgrounds Improvement Committee. They are all members of the Archuleta County Fair Board. PSE is being asked to recommend additional committee members from its board of directors.

Appointment of the final committee is likely to be made by the county in order to extend to the new committee the privileges and obligations inherent in being an extension of county government.

The contract between PSE and the county restricts the county to western heritage uses of the property including extension offices, Archuleta County Fair, 4-H activities, and community functions.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:

Approved the expenditure of up to $2,000 to purchase a computer for the new county administrator

Appointed Dori Blauert to the County Fair Board

Tabled action on a request that employees of the Victim's Advocate Program be included under the county medical and dental insurance program

Approved renewal of the retail liquor store license for the Chimney Rock Liquor Store

Concerning Cloman Industrial Park Phase II and based on recommendations from the county planning department, the commissioners released an improvements agreement; approved lots 11, 12, 16, 17, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31; and approved a $51,710 warranty bond concerning development of those lots

Instructed County Attorney Mary Weiss to compose a letter from the commissioners saying the county knows little or nothing about the status and closure of Turkey Springs Road. The letter is to be given to Diane Lupe who has asked the county for all of the information they possess concerning the road.


Accomplishment noted

Shine the spotlight on accomplishment. For a number of years, that's what the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce has done with its annual Volunteer of the Year and Citizen of the Year awards. The awards, determined by a vote of the membership, have consistently lauded deserving individuals and organizations for their work in improving life in Pagosa Country. This year was no different and may, in fact, have sounded a high note in the history of the program. The Chamber hit the bullseye this time around.

Awards were announced Jan. 19 at the annual Chamber meeting. Volunteer of the Year went to the firefighters of the Pagosa Fire Protection District. The Citizen of the Year is Ross Aragon.

The many volunteer firefighters who serve without pay for the PFPD have done so over the years in a selfless and self-effacing manner. And in a highly effective manner, enhanced every year by dedication, enthusiasm and an ongoing training regimen.

Currently, there are 62 volunteer firefighters active in the department, working out of and maintaining four stations and 15 pieces of equipment. Volunteers mesh harmoniously with a small professional staff. Among the volunteers are 24 who have attained the rank of state-certified Firefighter 1. Every month a general meeting is held by the PFPD and training is provided monthly, including Firefighter 1 and 2 instruction.

The PFPD was summoned 284 times in 2001, nearly all of the calls involving members of the volunteer force. Not only do volunteers respond to fire and emergency calls, they put in significant time laboring at the stations. They save property, they save lives, they deal with every problem imaginable.

When the alarm sounds, our volunteer firefighters answer. Our thanks goes out to each and every one of them.

The Citizen of the Year award given to Ross Aragon is one of the most authentic local awards in recent memory. If there is any person who stands at the center of the positive changes that have occurred not only in Pagosa Springs but in Archuleta County during the past two decades, it is Aragon.

A town trustee in 1976, Aragon was elected Mayor of Pagosa Springs in 1978 and has served there since, with no remuneration. During his tenure, Pagosa Springs has been transformed, for the better. In particular since the late '80s, Pagosa Springs under Aragon's guidance has become a shining example of how a small town can take steps to improve the experience of residents and visitors alike. Hiring and trusting in competent administration, armed with farsighted vision and a pragmatic sense of how to set and reach goals, Aragon and successive town boards have given the town a face lift, made it subject to controlled growth, improved the infrastructure, and worked to enliven the economy.

Nothing stands as a better symbol of the excellence of town government under Aragon's guidance than the new Town Hall at the end of Hot Springs Boulevard and the building now risen from the ground on an adjacent lot.

As mayor and private citizen, Aragon led the move to create a Center for Pagosa Springs and the entire Archuleta County community. His knowledge of how to accomplish such a massive task is illustrated by the fact he instigated the process, discussing the project as early as 1995, then formed a committee of prominent citizens in 1996. That group received non-profit status in 1999 and with Aragon as its chairman, began planning and raising funds. Nearly $400,000 in donations are in the coffers to date.The building is up, the roof is on and the new Community Center is set to open in August. It is Aragon, with his ability to gather the right people, and to keep those people motivated and productive, who is at the heart of this Pagosa success story and so many others.

Aragon is our Citizen of the Year, perhaps a Citizen of the Decade. Without him, without his constant maturation and development as a political leader and organizer, Pagosa would be a lesser place today.

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

Sorting good news from bad news

Dear Folks,

Thankfully the four North Carolinians were able to walk away from their Jan. 14 plane crash. The SUN's front page last week would have read like a financial or tax journal had it not been for the report of the fortunate outcome of their mishap. However, anytime a plane crash is the good news, you're rather apprehensive about reading the rest of the front page.

The page 1 article about the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board rejecting the county commissioners' earlier request for $40,000 was one of those good news-bad news scenarios. The good news is that the PLPOA directors declined the county commissioners' request for $40,000 of PLPOA funds that the county hoped to use to apply magnesium chloride on 17 miles of residential streets in the Pagosa Lakes area. Though not a statutory or taxing entity, the PLPOA's current board and general manager are proving to be some of the more effective representatives in the county. (I miss the days when effectiveness and impartiality were descriptive of the leadership in the county commissioners' office.)

The bad news is that the county commissioners had considered their request for PLPOA monies as a legitimate way to fund a function of the county road and bridge department.

The good news is that the PLPOA directors could make a clear distinction between their responsibility of representing the membership of a property owner's association and the commissioners' duty of representing the county's citizens.

In accordance to the covenants and restrictions imposed on their properties, Pagosa Lakes property owners pay an annual assessment to fund the operation of the association. In addition, like all other property owners in the county, Pagosa Lakes property owners pay an annual property tax to help fund the overall operation of the county and the services it should provide. Since many of the individuals who own property in the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions are full-time residents, they depend on the county for road maintenance, social services and other such functions the PLPOA is not charged with providing its members.

It's difficult to understand the commissioners' thinking. It's unreasonable to expect members of a property owners association to pay an annual assessment to their association and then divert part of those monies to cover the cost of a county service that should be provided through the tax monies they paid to the county.

The good news is that the multitude of property owners who daily drive their automobiles over the 17 miles of county roads in question didn't receive the same unbudgeted spontaneous response to their needs as did the 30-something taxpayers who have built private hangars on the county's land that they have leased at Stevens Field. The bad news is that evidently it's easier to find an extra $200,000 to resurface an exclusive airport taxiway than it is to locate $40,000 to fund a dust abatement program on heavily-used streets.

The good news during the past year or so has been the increasingly effective leadership that the PLPOA directors and their general manager are providing the association. During the same timeframe, the bad news has been the inept leadership that the county commissioners have fostered under their guise of being "liaisons" to the building and planning offices, the road and bridge department and other county offices.

I'm not sure if it's good news or bad news, but Commissioners Crabtree and Ecker have accomplished what many folks considered to be an impossibility - they have revived the Archuleta County Democratic Party.

Also, they've alerted the directors of the other local taxing entities that the PLPOA board does not make indiscriminate donations. Apparently it would be a waste of time for the school board to ask the PLPOA for $40,000 in order to purchase a school bus that would service the children of families who live along 17 miles of roads within the association's boundaries . . . even if the school board supplied the manpower and materials needed to operate and maintain the bus.

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



By Shari Pierce

25 Years Ago

Taken from SUN files of January 20,1977

Mrs. Ruby Sisson, a life-long Democrat, received a large, handsomely engraved invitation to the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter. She was unable to attend, however, but is proud of the beautiful invitation. She told the SUN that she had been a registered Democrat ever since she became of voting age. She is a staunch believer in the principles of the Democratic party and was at one time elected as County Superintendent of Schools. Mrs. Sisson is a teacher in the local high school.

A reminder was issued this week by the TV committee of the Lions Club that annual dues for TV viewers are now due and needed. The local rebroadcast of television is sponsored by this committee and the funds are needed to keep the rebroadcast stations operating.

50 Years Ago

Taken from SUN files of January 25, 1952

Directors of the Red Ryder Round-up met on Saturday night to begin formulating plans for the coming year's rodeo. They voted to change the dates for the show this year to July 4-5, and also voted to again make it a professional show with amateur events for local contestants. The Red Ryder Round-up, which was organized in 1948 as a successor to the various 4th of July celebrations of the past, presented its first rodeo in 1949 and has grown steadily since that time. The first show was presented at the old rodeo grounds in South Pagosa and the next year the present grounds were purchased.

A dance will be held at the Piedra school house on Saturday night. The dance is for the benefit of the March of Dimes. Music will be furnished by the Chimney Rock band and the Timber Tramps.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 28, 1927

The Sunday Magazine Section of the Wichita Beacon recently gave a thrilling write-up headed "No Dude Fisherman Need Apply" followed by pictures of last summer's Pagosa tourists from Wichita each holding a string of trout. Under the pictures these lines appear, "Immediately upon publication of these pictures a rush may be expected to Pagosa Springs in Archuleta County, Colorado. Front row, numerous excellent specimens of mountain trout." Throughout the article references are made to the number of fishless dudes they met asserting "No self respecting fish wants to be caught by a dude."

The case of the People vs. Chas. Pearson, charged with the unlawful possession of a still, has been transferred to the district court by Justice J.T. Morgan.

91 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era of January 20, 1911

A. Simpson will open his grocery store about the first of February in the Archuleta building. He has purchased the Sparks-Moore bankrupt stock and will add to it until he has the most up-to-date grocery in the county.

On the first page of this issue we show a handsome picture of Pagosa's high school. There are eight rooms in the building, seven of which are in use.

The Baptist Church will soon have a bell to call members to worship. The bell ordered weighs 600 pounds and being composed of 78 percent copper and 22 percent India tin, insure volume, depth and sweetness of tone.

Mrs. Mote, the new superintendent of schools, has rented the building next door to the New Era office and will move into it on February 1.

Inside The Sun

Forest Service invites comments on planned timber cuts

By John M. Motter

Public comments are being sought by the U.S. Forest Service concerning three projects proposed for the Columbine and Pagosa Ranger districts.

The projects involve thinning ponderosa pine trees on Chris Mountain, cutting green Gambel oak along Sawmill Road, and harvesting Aspen from Aspen Creek along Missionary Ridge.

"These projects comply with objectives of the forest plans in these areas," said Rick Jewell, Environmental Coordinator working at the Pagosa Ranger District office. "The work should begin this summer."

Chris Mountain is located about eight miles west of Pagosa Springs and north of U.S. 160, basically between the western portion of Turkey Springs Road and Devil Creek. The work proposed is on the western side of Chris Mountain.

Contemplated is the thinning of ponderosa pine trees eight inches or less in diameter from 760 acres along Chris Mountain Road, also known as Forest Service Road 681.

The purpose of the thinning is to provide pole-sized trees to the public for use as firewood and poles, to improve the vigor and growth of the remaining trees, and to improve the horizontal and vertical diversity of the forest.

Currently, the area is dominated by patches of dense, pole-sized young trees. Thinning will increase the clumpy structure of the forest, allowing the remaining trees to grow faster and bigger.

Sawmill Creek is located just east of Bayfield. The Sawmill Creek project involves harvesting green and dead Gambel oak less than three inches in diameter from approximately 162 acres. The purpose is to provide the public with commercial or personal use firewood. An additional benefit will be reduced wildfire potential because of the reduction of fuel in the area.

The Aspen Creek project is located north of Durango. Included in the project are cutting two three-acre openings across 30 acres. Approximately 10 acres will be harvested. In addition to providing poles to the public, the project will encourage regeneration of aspen.

If the projects receive a green light, fire wood and pole access will be available for commercial and private users. Commercial users will have to place their names on Forest Service bidding lists by visiting the appropriate Forest Service office. Private users must purchase fire or pole permits from the appropriate office. For permits and information concerning the Chris Mountain project, visit the Pagosa Ranger District office. For permits and information concerning the other two projects, contact the Columbine Ranger District office in Bayfield.

Those who contemplate acquiring firewood or poles for either commercial or private production will have to do their own cutting.

Private firewood permits cost $10 a cord. Private pole cutting costs $12.50 for 100 cubic feet of wood, approximately 50 20-foot poles.

Public comment must be made by Feb. 18. Address comments to: Pagosa Ranger District, P.O. Box 310, Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147, attention: Gretchen Fitzgerald. Comments can also be e-mailed to

Lyn & Clark ditch project will aid Lake Pagosa

By Richard Walter

An increasingly serious problem at Lake Pagosa signals a need for agencies and organizations involved to begin planning for correction and control to prevent additional loss of usable water volume.

A relatively small joint project by Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association and Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District could be the harbinger of combined efforts in the future to save the lakes around which some of the subdivisions of PLPOA were constructed.

That project is reconstruction of the Lyn and Clark Ditch, a waterway draining from Stevens Lake into Lake Pagosa. The problem is not overflow and resultant sedimentation of the lake. Rather, it involves a meandering stream which picks up huge amounts of silt and deposits them in the lower lake.

Walt Lukasik, general manager of PLPOA, said the heavy siltation already has extended perhaps 100 feet into the lake and "has shallowed it all."

He and Larry Lynch, PLPOA property and environment manager, had hydrologist Dave Rosgen do a study of the problem and possible solutions. His recommendation was a series of stone battlements in the ditch at opposite angles to each other to slow the water's rate of descent, thus slowing the rate of siltation.

The PLPOA managers took the study to PAWS seeking a joint approach toward correction and got a "share-equally commitment". That means a project cost of up to $9,000 for each entity. Both groups have provided for that spending in current budgets.

But this is only creating a small ripple on the long-range potential for lake problems.

Sometime in the near future, probably in 2003 or 2004, PAWS will drain Stevens Lake for the purpose of dredging and deepening the storage facility. The result is that it will be dry for up to two years and the flow into Lake Pagosa will be minimal. If weather in that two-year period is dry, and runoff not substantial, Lake Pagosa could be threatened.

PLPOA members have been studying when they should commit to a dredging and deepening operation for it similar to the one PAWS plans for Stevens.

"Inflow to Lake Pagosa during the Stevens project will drop to about 20-percent of normal," said Lukasik, "and it could drop significantly more depending on the weather during that period."

One fact to keep in mind when considering all the lakes and the water in the area, is that the Fairfield settlement division of properties gave the lake bottoms, dams and gates to PLPOA and all the water they control to PAWS, which as a taxing body has legal water rights.

While there is another small inlet to Lake Pagosa at the north end, it is possible PAWS would divert that water to Hatcher Lake during the construction phase at Stevens.

"We're beginning to think, though its still just in the talking stage," Lukasik said, "that the time to consider dredging in Lake Pagosa would be when it reaches its low point during the Stevens project."

"Over the long range," he said, "we have to look at funding and appropriate times for action."

On the surface, therefore, it would seem logical that in two to three years there will be a concentrated amount of resurrection of waterways action in the whole PLPOA community.

"We're looking at possible cooperation with PAWS in other phases of the projects," Lukasik said. "For example, they are planning some blasting in connection with other projects and it is possible they could produce the size stones we need for the ditching program."

And, he said, "If they need fill for their project and we are doing ours on Lake Pagosa simultaneously, it would be only good sense for our dredged material to go to their project."

Right now, he said, "the thought process says deepen Lake Pagosa - at least along the shoreline - for sure," and to work for additional joint action between the two groups to ensure long-lasting water and recreational facilities for all the area.

In a short discussion of the topic at the Jan. 10 PLPOA board meeting, director Richard Manley, board president, said "dredging is inevitable. What we need is to have a time line and a master plan for Lake Pagosa and any other lakes which may be similarly affected in the future."

At the same time, director David Bohl, board treasurer, said "any shutdown of any of our lakes will have a direct impact on all the others. We need to be prepared to act in a timely manner to get the work we need done, done."

Other members of the board suggested the annual fish stocking program be planned with the lower water levels and dredging in mind so that fish are not wasted in an unfishable and non-nourishing atmosphere.

"It is our hope," said Lukasik, "that additional joint ventures based on the ditch project will be beneficial to both entities. We both will have limited funds and must work to see those we have available are spent wisely."

Attorneys directed to have updated PLPOA rules, regs ready for March board session

By Richard Walter

Representatives of Orten and Hindman, legal counsel for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, will be directed to have available for the March agenda as many as possible of the proposed revised rules and regulations for the association.

That directive was issued Jan. 10 by board president Richard Manley after a lengthy board discussion spurred by director Gerald's Smith's complaint that "simple things should be done simply."

"The community has been wondering," Smith said, "what tasks remain to get these changes back here for approval. They appear to be in limbo at counsel's office."

Noting the administration had been given a list of 20 easily workable changes worked up by himself and former director Fred Ebeling, he lamented the fact all the changes seem to be "lumped into one action factor and that's on hold."

When Walt Lukasik, general manager, said he had been in almost daily contact with the attorneys on "commercial vehicle and maintenance standards regulations," Smith was unimpressed.

"All the work that has been done on these other rules will never see the light of day if they're all lumped together," Smith intoned. "Let's get done what we can by a date certain and deal with the others as legal ramifications are settled."

Told the problems go back to enforcement policies which have been in effect for 30 years - but never reviewed by counsel - Smith replied, "Then let's get the slam dunks down now and wait for the full game statistics later. It is point simple," he said. "If we wait until all the questions on all the rules are resolved, we'll never address the top 20 which encompass 90-percent of our everyday problems. We need to deal with today's problems today, tomorrow's tomorrow, and finally, if the past decisions were erroneous, move to correct them.

"We've talked for months about this," Smith said. "Mr. Manley has asked that it be put on the fast track. We gave a means to accomplish that with our top 20 list. But that's not what happened."

Manley said it was his understanding there were some items from the committee report which were going to be contentious and others which would be simple, mostly administrative in nature.

"If that is the case, and I believe it is, the attorneys should send us those immediately and allow work to continue on the others. We want to see action this year on correcting those rules and regulations that are easily correctable," Manley said.

"I'd hate to see us come up to the annual meeting in July and not be able to report progress and give the members something to vote on," said Smith. "If we have covenants with no way of enforcement, we have no property owners association. People have been getting fined for violations for 30 years and suddenly we can't do anything. Let's stop talking and get it done. We can't promulgate and enforce rules we don't have."

When Lukasik said he'd been assured the drafts would be in hand within a month, Manley issued his directive that all possible drafts be available for the March meeting agenda.

Fire destroys ranch cabin

By Tess Noel Baker

Firefighters hauled 12,000 gallons of water over a single-lane road in an attempt to squelch a structure fire late Monday night.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said district firefighters were paged to the Janice Fraser Ranch 8 miles up Piedra Road at 12:40 a.m. A single-story guest cabin was already fully involved when firefighters arrived on scene.

"Half the building is still standing, but all of it is fire damaged," Grams said. Most likely, it will be a total loss.

A total of 24 firefighters and nine trucks responded. Grams said four trucks made at least two trips apiece to fetch water over a single-lane snowpacked road before the blaze could be contained. District crews left the scene at 5:40 a.m. Tuesday.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

That wasn't all the work for the local volunteers Tuesday.

Later that same morning, four firefighters and a pair of trucks responded to a call at 173 South 7th Street in downtown Pagosa Springs where a fire in the trash can had spread into the walls of a shop building.

Grams said the fire started in the trash can Monday evening and was extinguished by local residents. However, some fire apparently remained in the walls which burned a little more before putting itself out during the night. Tuesday morning, the residents noticed smoke and called Central Dispatch.

Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to locate hot spots in the walls and destroyed the remaining embers.

USFS slates three firefighter

job fairs

By John M. Motter

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs will host job fairs in Ignacio, Durango and Cortez early next month to recruit potential firefighters for seasonal positions.

All job fairs will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Agency personnel will be on hand to visit with applicants about the jobs and to assist with filling out the applications. The job fair schedule is:

€ Feb. 5 in Cortez at the Hovenweep Room of Cortez Conference Center

€ Feb. 6 in Ignacio in Rolling Thunder Hall of Southern Ute Casino

€ Feb. 7 in Durango at the Durango Mall Community Room, 800 S. Camino del Rio.

Wildland firefighters can be a member of an engine crew, a hotshot crew, a helicopter crew, or an organized hand-crew. Crews often travel throughout the country to fight fires in other locations. The positions will begin in May and last approximately six months. They pay from $8.64 to $11.84 per hour.,

Applicants must be U.S. citizens at least 18 years old. Strength and agility are required for these positions, which frequently require long hours of arduous work in steep, mountainous terrain. Applicants will be required to pass a physical condition test and may be required to undergo random drug testing. Commercial drivers licenses may be required for some jobs.

For more information, contact San Juan Public Lands Center 247-4874.

Crabtree files for second term in District 3 seat

By John M. Motter

Gene Crabtree has filed with the Archuleta County Clerk to run for a second term as Archuleta County Commissioner. A Republican, Crabtree was elected from Commissioner Precinct 3 in 1997 and has served three years on the board of county commissioners.

"The reason I am running again," Crabtree said, "is I want to accomplish some of the goals I have set for myself and the commission in preparing for the growth that has descended on Archuleta County.

"Planning for the future is one of my primary goals," Crabtree continued. "I'm trying to build a bridge so those who come after me will have an easier road to travel."

Crabtree and wife Susan have lived in the Southwest most of their lives. For the past 10 years they have lived at Saddleback Ranch, operating five ranch properties in Archuleta County owned by family interests.

After obtaining a bachelor of science degree from Eastern New Mexico University, Crabtree earned a masters degree from the University of New Mexico.

Crabtree began his New Mexico public school career as a teacher and coach, then advanced to a high school administrative position. He retired from Albuquerque Public Schools after 28 years. Following that, he was appointed by the University of New Mexico to work with the North Central Accreditation Association evaluating schools, a position he still holds.

The specific goals Crabtree hopes to accomplish if re-elected are:

"I would like to build a new county administrative services building

"I would like to develop more cohesiveness among all departments in the county

"I would like to see a substation at Arboles for the sheriff's department

"I would like to see a road and bridge substation at the airport so that department would not have to move heavy equipment through town

"I will work with subdivisions to find solutions for their problems, either long or short term. They need county help and I'd like to provide it

"I'd like to work out a good arrangement between the county, oil and gas drillers, and the citizens they affect, whether it be roads, water, or noise.

"My strongest point is that I'm always available," said Crabtree, "always in public listening and communicating people's ideas back to the commissioners."

Crabtree's campaign brochure from the 1997 election contains a long list of New Mexico public leadership positions held after retirement from the public school system.

Central to those activities was working in the recycling arena. He was appointed executive director of the New Mexico Soft Drink Association with the task of finding solutions in solid waste reduction.

Crabtree claims responsibility for passage of the 1989 New Mexico Solid Waste Act and the City of Albuquerque's recycling programs. Crabtree was employed as Albuquerque's first director of the Solid Waste Department's Office of Recycling.

Other leadership activities listed by Crabtree are:

Professional lobbyist for Albuquerque in the New Mexico State Legislature

Chairman of the Bernalillo County Ethics Board

Mayor's representative to Southwest Marketing and Development, a six-state combination searching for markets for recyclable materials

Advisor to the New Mexico State Fair Board, New Mexico Highway Department, and New Mexico Environmental Protection Division

President of the New Mexico Horse Council

President and horse leader for local 4-H club

Assistant director of the "Overseas Teach Corp.," 1964-67, teaching in West Africa

Recipient of the 1987 Volunteer Service Award from the Carson National Forest.

Locally, Crabtree is a past president of the Rotary Club, chairman of the finance committee for the Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center, advisor for the Archuleta County Recycling Committee, and a member of the Colorado Governor's Task Force on Recycling.

Crabtree has served on the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic board of directors, Archuleta County Airport Authority board of directors, and on the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission.

Meaningful snow continues to avoid Pagosa

By John M. Motter

Snow lovers who wistfully watched a few snowflakes waft into Pagosa Country yesterday are likely to be disappointed by the weather forecast for the coming week.

"Today through late Sunday should be mostly sunny," said Doug Baugh, a forecaster for the National Weather Service Grand Junction office. "By late Sunday a weak storm front should move in from the Pacific, bringing with it a slight chance for snow. A slight chance for snow remains through Tuesday. High temperatures should top out in the mid-40s, low temperatures between 5-15 degrees."

Pagosa weather last week did not resemble the forecast. Baugh blamed the missed forecast on faulty computer models. According to Baugh, the expected storms spread out by the time they reached the Rocky Mountains from the Pacific Coast. The result was a weakening that left little energy in the form of precipitation.

The chance for snow starting Sunday night fits that same pattern, according to Baugh.

Last Wednesday, 0.25 inches of snow were recorded in town, the only snowfall recorded during January of 2002. Normal January snowfall in town is 27.1 inches, normally the most for any month of the year.

High temperatures last week ranged between 30 and 36 degrees with an average high temperature of 32 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between minus 4 and 14 degrees with an average of low temperatures of 4 degrees.

Education Center luncheon focuses on 'Making a Difference'

By John M. Motter

Public comments are being sought by the U.S. Forest Service concerning three projects proposed for the Columbine and Pagosa Ranger districts.

The projects involve thinning ponderosa pine trees on Chris Mountain, cutting green Gambel oak along Sawmill Road, and harvesting Aspen from Aspen Creek along Missionary Ridge.

"These projects comply with objectives of the forest plans in these areas," said Rick Jewell, Environmental Coordinator working at the Pagosa Ranger District office. "The work should begin this summer."

Chris Mountain is located about eight miles west of Pagosa Springs and north of U.S. 160, basically between the western portion of Turkey Springs Road and Devil Creek. The work proposed is on the western side of Chris Mountain.

Contemplated is the thinning of ponderosa pine trees eight inches or less in diameter from 760 acres along Chris Mountain Road, also known as Forest Service Road 681.

The purpose of the thinning is to provide pole-sized trees to the public for use as firewood and poles, to improve the vigor and growth of the remaining trees, and to improve the horizontal and vertical diversity of the forest.

Currently, the area is dominated by patches of dense, pole-sized young trees. Thinning will increase the clumpy structure of the forest, allowing the remaining trees to grow faster and bigger.

Sawmill Creek is located just east of Bayfield. The Sawmill Creek project involves harvesting green and dead Gambel oak less than three inches in diameter from approximately 162 acres. The purpose is to provide the public with commercial or personal use firewood. An additional benefit will be reduced wildfire potential because of the reduction of fuel in the area.

The Aspen Creek project is located north of Durango. Included in the project are cutting two three-acre openings across 30 acres. Approximately 10 acres will be harvested. In addition to providing poles to the public, the project will encourage regeneration of aspen.

If the projects receive a green light, fire wood and pole access will be available for commercial and private users. Commercial users will have to place their names on Forest Service bidding lists by visiting the appropriate Forest Service office. Private users must purchase fire or pole permits from the appropriate office. For permits and information concerning the Chris Mountain project, visit the Pagosa Ranger District office. For permits and information concerning the other two projects, contact the Columbine Ranger District office in Bayfield.

Those who contemplate acquiring firewood or poles for either commercial or private production will have to do their own cutting.

Private firewood permits cost $10 a cord. Private pole cutting costs $12.50 for 100 cubic feet of wood, approximately 50 20-foot poles.

Public comment must be made by Feb. 18. Address comments to: Pagosa Ranger District, P.O. Box 310, Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147, attention: Gretchen Fitzgerald. Comments can also be e-mailed to

Teachers, therapists work through challenges of day treatment program

By Tess Noel Baker

At first glance, it looks like a normal classroom, if a bit smaller.

A blackboard and bulletin board cover the front wall. Computers and bookcases take up space on the other walls, and heat ducts up above create a constant dull roar. Students here work five days a week at academics, life skills and character.

The difference is in the student to teacher ratio, near-constant supervision and a strong focus on behavior training. Just three students - ages 11, 12 and 14 - and three adults - a teacher, therapist and aide - are in attendance.

It is the home base of the Pagosa Springs Community Day Treatment Program, an intensive behavior treatment center for students ages 9 to 14 who have been unsuccessful in the regular classroom. Their background can include discipline problems at school or at home, or run-ins with law enforcement.

"It's the most restrictive environment you can have in school," teacher Don Weller said. Students are escorted going to and from the classroom. They and their families generally meet with a therapist at least once a week. Community groups are involved. Family, social services and possibly a parole officer are consulted regularly to prevent duplication of services.

"The challenge isn't just to provide them with an education, but to empower them to choose their own destiny," Weller said. The overriding long-term goal is to integrate students back into the regular classroom and keep the students in the community. Day to day goals are much simpler.

"Any minor behavior change is rewarding," Ina Noggle, classroom aid and caseworker, said. That can mean an apology to a teacher, or completion of an assignment when asked. Focus is constantly placed on making good choices.

"For the most part, they've never been taught how to cooperate," Weller said. "They've never been told no and had it mean no." As a result behavior in the classroom can be sporadic and difficult.

"If we have one student at a time, it's very calm in here," Weller said, "but when personalities clash and mesh the energy that results can be disruptive."

Adding structure

Starting about two weeks ago, the program staff implemented a points system to reward students for good behavior. The move was made to clarify the goals of the program and give students a basis for consistency over time. It was based on a similar system used at the Denver Children's Home, a day treatment and residential facility.

Each student starts at the New Beginnings White Level. Students then have the opportunity to earn points each day. Obtaining at least 80 percent of the available points for five straight days makes the student eligible to request, in writing, to move to the next level and earns them tokens for the "day treatment store."

Students may move up a total of three levels. Each level up equals an opportunity to earn more tokens and gain privileges. For instance, students at the orange level, two steps up from white, may be able to eat at their regular class time, or bring an adult of their choice to lunch paid for by the day treatment program.

Poor behavior or consistent failure to obtain at least 80 percent of the available points results in students being dropped into two lower levels with fewer privileges.

To add another level of accountability, the students are required to take points sheets home at the close of each day for a parent or guardian signature.

Establishing structure like the level system is important, Weller said, because over the program's nearly three-year history, little consistency is evident. Students have seen at least two different teachers every year, and about the same number of therapists. Caseworkers have come and gone. In fact, of the three current instructors, only one has been with the program since the beginning of the fall semester, leaving the students reluctant to trust or accept the rules.

Wanted: Consistency

Erlinda Gonzalez, director of social services which provides funding for the program, said personal reasons more than reaction to the program caused a series of staff to leave. One person had to go take care of a family member, and another moved to China.

"Honestly, I felt like throwing in the towel a couple of times," she said. "I said let's give back the money." But discussions with school administrators and staff coming on board convinced her to give it another try.

"I'm glad I did," she said. "The therapy is not only for the kid, but for the family."

Her philosophy is that whole family benefits more when the children can be treated in the community versus sending them to a residential treatment program somewhere else - the general alternative to day treatment.

"What can they do in the Metro Denver area that we can't do here?" she asked. Keeping the child in the community can be more cost effective and allow for more one-on-one care.

"They're going to have to come back to the community eventually, so we might as well keep them here," she said. And, despite the staff fluctuation, the day treatment program has had some success.

"We have had a couple kids - one I can think of - who went on to high school and is doing OK there," she said. A couple others found success at the alternative high school based at the Education Center.

The day treatment program is paid for through a state grant to social services. Gonzalez said the three staff contracts cost about $107,000 annually.

The opportunity for a day treatment program actually surfaced several years ago, Gonzalez said, when the State of Colorado and the ACLU reached a legal agreement concerning welfare services available to young students.

Following the settlement, the state began tapping into some federal funds to provide every county with monies for five core areas: home-based therapy, alcohol and drug treatment, life skills, treatment for sexually abused children and the perpetrators, and day treatment programs.

"We could pick and choose depending on what was needed in the community," she said.

Gonzalez said Archuleta County was already receiving about $20,000 annually from the federal Title 4E monies. With the state's agreement, more was available.

About a year later, the idea of starting a day treatment program surfaced, and when the schools agreed to provide the classroom and supplies it picked up momentum. It took several attempts from there to actually secure the money, but everything finally came together in the Spring of 1999.

Toward the future

All three current staff members are excited with the recent acceptance of the levels/points system and look forward to the results of the rest of the year.

"It's really hard to gauge success," Weller said, "because they haven't had any consistency to this point."

"But these kids do want to succeed," Therapist Jeff Versaw added, noting that all three showed consistently good attendance at school. Although at different grade levels, the students work each day to keep up with their class and all must pass the same requirements as the rest of the student body to move ahead. Breaking through the emotional or behavioral problems to get the students pointed toward academics is the difficult part.

"I think when we started out and told them they had choices, they didn't see that," Versaw said.

All three staff members agreed that the challenges involved in modifying behavior while teaching academics and working with families become, in turn, the joys that make the program so rewarding.

"I enjoy the kids," Versaw said. "There's never a dull moment. They keep you constantly on your toes. It's fun to see the changes, and it's good to remember the changes when you have a bad day."

Weller said simply the chance that some of the students might be helped by the program is enough.

"Every person has worth and the intelligence to learn," he said. Weller is on his second stint as special education teacher for the program, finishing out the year after the first instructor left. This is his second time completing an unfinished year for another teacher. On Jan. 15 he was officially named to the post by the board of education.

Volunteers needed for 9Health Fair in April

By Pauline Benetti

An activity very important to the community is on the calendar in Pagosa this spring - the annual 9Health Fair is scheduled April 6.

This is an activity that is totally volunteer-driven and some 200 volunteers are needed to pull it off. All types of skills are needed - from dishwashers to doctors. All a person needs is the will and organizers can find something for them to do.

Those with medical training are, of course, most critical to an activity such as this. The Fair can offer a health screening or heath information if there is the expertise to do it. This year, Fair organizers need a dermatologist, a podiatrist, an ENT specialist and doctors who can do cancer screening, as well as health care professionals who can screen for hearing problems and vision problems. The list goes on.

Last year almost 600 people visited the Pagosa Springs High School between 8 a.m. and noon to receive educational and screening help. This year there may be more because organizations have taken care not to schedule conflicting events. Give the idea of volunteering some thought and then call and leave your name and phone number.

Lili Pearson, event coordinator for the last four years, is taking a break and two people are taking her place as site coordinators: Pauline Benetti (264-5232) and Sharee Grazda (731-0666). Non-medical volunteers should call Sharee; medical volunteers should call medical coordinator Carl Jolliff at 731-3887.

Five-year strategic plan sets 42 goals for DOW

The Colorado Wildlife Commission has unanimously approved the Division of Wildlife's Strategic Plan, which will chart the Division's course for the next five years. The plan, which took eight months to develop, was adopted Jan. 11 at the Commission's meeting at Division headquarters in Denver.

"The Strategic Plan process was an opportunity for us to step away from our daily press of work to do some unrestrained, longer-view thinking about who we are, what we are doing and what we should be doing," said Division Director Russell George. "We'll keep an eye and a hand on this document as we make our management decisions over the next four or five years. We'll be guided by its spirit, its vision and its instruction."

The plan identifies 42 goals that are important to the fulfillment of the Division's mission of protecting, preserving, enhancing and managing wildlife and habitat as developed by four work groups, which were asked two questions in relation to four areas: hunting, fishing, species conservation and stewardship and awareness. Those were "What do you want the Division to do?" and "How do you want the Division to do it?"

The work groups consisted of equal members of the public and employees of the Division, and their recommendations were evaluated by a steering committee made up of the Division's leadership team, three wildlife commissioners and a representative from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the Division. The committee also considered public comment and input from Division employees who weren't part of the work groups.

Although achieving all the goals is important to the Division, the plan identifies 10 items of the highest priority in coming years. Those goals were determined to be essential and could not be postponed without serious detrimental consequences to the Division's mission. Those are:

Aggressively research, identify, detect, contain and eliminate, when possible, diseases in free-ranging and captive wildlife that could negatively impact wildlife populations

Manage mule deer populations to meet DAU (data analysis unit, a geographic area where a particular herd resides) objective

Protect, enhance and acquire high-priority deer and elk habitat (i.e. migration corridors, transition range and winter range). The Division will also strive to maintain, create and manage habitat to support the broadest sustainable wildlife populations

Increase hunter satisfaction by providing responsive customer service

Provide the number of fish needed to meet recreation objectives though natural and captive productivity

Protect coldwater habitats and fish from the whirling disease parasite

Expand wildlife conservation partnerships with private landowners

Preserve, protect and enhance wildlife species at risk of becoming threatened or endangered

Prioritize, develop and implement recovery plans for species listed as threatened or endangered

Through school-based programs, increase the number of Colorado students who learn about wildlife management and issues and how human actions affect wildlife and habitat.

These goals will come first in terms of resource allocation, and budget requests will be developed in accordance with the plan.

Each achievement in the plan has at least one "performance indicator," which will be used by the Division, the Wildlife Commission and the public to gauge progress, and recommended means to meet the goal.

For example, there are two performance indicators for the high-priority goal to eliminate diseases in free-ranging and captive wildlife. Those are to contain chronic wasting disease to game management units where wild deer and elk have tested positive as of January 2002 and to reduce CWD prevalence to 1 percent of the animals in a DAU and 2 percent of the animals in a GMU. (The DAU figure is lower because some GMUs have a particularly high prevalence of CWD.) There are several recommended means, one of which is to create statewide surveillance and pursue research to identify diseases that could potentially affect wildlife populations.

The plan is not intended to be an exclusive list of activities to be undertaken by the Division. In fact, the vast majority of the Division's activities are not covered in the plan. The plan is intended to highlight those issues that will be at the forefront of Colorado’s wildlife management in the next five years.

To achieve all of the objectives covered by the plan, the Division may have to find additional revenue sources, shift existing resources and reduce or eliminate nonessential activities. As part of the plan, the Division will work with interested members of the public and organizations to help evaluate the need for additional funding.

The Division will also work to make sure diverse views are sought and considered in decisions that affect the state's wildlife.

The Strategic Plan was developed after the Wildlife Commission early last year directed the Division to update its 1994 Long-Range Plan. The Commission agreed that the time had come to analyze the previous plan and take the opportunity to re-evaluate resource allocation consistent with the changing landscape of wildlife management, said Director George. Wildlife resource demands have changed dramatically in the years since the last plan was developed, as have methods for funding the Division, George said.

"Scores of DOW employees and members of the public donated their time and brainpower to this project over the past few months, and the Strategic Plan is the blueprint that evolved from this work," George said.

Mike King, of the Division's Human Dimensions section, helped get the new plan put together. He said a number of people deserved "sincerest gratitude" for their efforts. Work group members received no compensation, but attended a number of intense meetings over the course of four months. King said the public was also helpful, providing 80 formal comments, as were Division employees who weren't part of the work groups but reviewed the plan and shared their thoughts.

The complete plan will be available on the Division's web site at beginning in February.

Bears climb to top of contentious issues list

Sen. Isgar's Report

At the end of our first full week of work in Denver, of all the issues - the declining economy, cutting spending, transportation, growth, education, etc. - the most contentious issue was, you guessed it, bears.

Senator Lew Entz's bill on shortening the time during which bears cannot be hunted attracted, by far, the most attention. His bill would reduce this time period by a month and a half. The ban on hunting would run from March 1 through July 15 under Lew's bill rather than through Sept. 1. Nine years ago voters banned hunting from March 1 to Sept. 1 by voting on a statutory change (not a constitutional change). The arguments of those for the bill centered on the "bear problems" around towns and homes. Since I am chairman of the Ag. Committee my colleagues and I initially heard the bill.

I voted for it and it passed through the committee and now goes to the floor of the Senate. I have always felt that decisions that require technical expertise should be in the hands of those trained to make them. Thus, I voted the way I did to allow the Colorado Division of Wildlife more leeway in making their decisions. We are not changing the bear hunting season, we are just giving the DOW the flexibility they need to establish earlier seasons in problem areas should they so choose. They have the expertise and training and responsibility for establishing the hunting seasons. I have always felt that decisions by professional groups should be in the hands of those trained to solve those issues. For example, I feel that the state (CCHE) should not be involved in micro managing Higher Education. Likewise, I believe that local school boards, who have the expertise to solve local problems, should have control over their schools, not the state. A lot has changed in terms of bear populations since the statewide vote in 1992 and this change gives the DOW another tool to use in meeting bear management issues. If the bill passes and is signed into law, we will need to watch the DOW and see how they use this flexibility.

I introduced my very first bill, which had to do with allowing the liquor industry to make contributions to institutions of higher learning. It was amended twice but passed through committee. This bill clarifies existing law and practice and just allows the liquor industry to be treated just like any other business. It felt good to get my first bill passed.

A bill was introduced to set salaries for elected county officials. Among them was the county coroner. This may not sound like a big issue except that some counties (San Juan, Dolores, San Miguel, Ouray, Archuleta) do not use a coroner enough to justify having one on a full time basis. This is a big issue with small counties because they just don't have the financial ability to pay a full time salary. In spite of my efforts and my "no" vote, the bill passed through committee. I am drafting an amendment to allow counties to contract out the coroner's duties on a case-by-case basis. By the way, the state's responsibility for setting these salaries is written into our state constitution! Another example of the state getting involved in issues better solved at the local level.

We also worked on and got through committee a bill to clean up the language in Irrigation District law. This bill does not negatively affect our local districts such as the Pine River Irrigation District north of Bayfield.

Keep in touch!

Peer mediation project begins in high school

By Richard Walter

The addition of a half time counselor at Pagosa Springs High School last year was meant to lighten the load on Mark Thompson but it also created an opportunity to reintroduce a concept which did not work when first tried a dozen years ago - peer mediation.

Principal Bill Esterbrook told the board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint the addition of Lisa Hudson to staff coincided with a board request to investigate the system and with a new state operated Colorado Mediation Project.

Hudson was sent to Boulder for training and the local district is now prepared to initiate the project on a trial basis.

Basically, Hudson told the school board, the project allows students to settle personal differences with the assistance of a trained student (peer) mediator.

Hudson said 80 percent of adolescents report being bullied during their school years and 15 percent of those report constant harassment. "This is a complete program with both preventive and treatment actions," she said.

"Students will strive for a win-win resolution to conflict, coached in their action by other students we will train as mediators. Initially, we will train four students and they, in pairs, will lead the mediation process in each case."

She said the system includes five steps, the first being agreement by the disputants to solve the conflict under the ground rules of the mediation process. Next will be the "story telling" with each person allowed all the time necessary to tell his or her side of the conflict. Then follows study of the issue with input by both sides, generation from the interchange of ways to solve the dispute, and finally, written agreement by all parties to the dispute to accept the decision on settlement.

"Both will be required to sign a one-page agreement that should make future confrontation less likely," Hudson said.

The first students to be trained will be among those already serving as office or teacher aides. "This fall," she said, "I hope to train 16 more and in the next school year to have two peer mediators available for every class period."

She said she will be meeting Jan. 29 with a consortium of local mental health providers and hopes to be able to use them as a training resource for peer mediators in the future.

"Resolution of strife by mediation rather than by conflict or administrative discipline," Hudson said, "provides a means of identifying and dealing with and hopefully eliminating the underlying causes of the conflict."

"We may be able to skirt discipline by dealing with the base causes," she said.

Entry to the process can be by the students themselves, staff, administration or anonymous reports of other students indicating a problem exists.

When director Russ Lee asked if the court system, too, would be utilized by the project, Hudson said, "Maybe, eventually. But we want to start within the system and when comfortable with what we are able to do, begin looking down the road at additional services."

Another special project at the high school, outlined by principal Bill Esterbrook Jan. 15, involves participation in a new On-Line Academy utilizing Internet capabilities for classes for special students.

Seven students, he said, will be involved in the new program in the second semester. All seven gave up aide classes to participate. The initial cost was $500 for the school to join the system and an additional $100 for each student in excess of six.

There is a state governing board for the classes, Esterbrook said, and the advisors are from Monte Vista and Creede. At least one AP (Advanced preparation) class, in physics, is among the offerings, he said.

He said the courses are rigorous, aligned with the Colorado Model Content Standards and conducted fully online. Master teachers have been selected for having demonstrated exemplary teaching abilities within their own classrooms.

Students enroll in an online course because:

the course is somewhat unique and not offered in the home school

the student could not fit a particular course into his/her regular schedule

the student needs to make up for lost credits

the student wants to take more credits than his/her school allows; and

the student is home-schooled or homebound.

Class of '82 seeks 27 classmates Members of the Pagosa Springs High School class of 1982 are planning their 20-year reunion to be held next summer.

Help is needed in locating the following classmates and teachers: Robbie Bloss, Bruce Buhler, Ernie Caldera, Mary Callan, John Childers, Kevin Cummings, John Davies, Tina Dotson, Chris Foster, Andy Garcia, Cliff Hill, Kamma Kamm, Keith LaMay, Dorothy Lucero, Melvin Martinez, Jeff McBride, Seldon McIntosh, Terri Millard, Lisa Norris, Patrick O'Neal, Tammy Quinn, Audrey Reeves, John Sabel, Tom Schroeder, Dennis Moddlemog, Patty Wilson, and Roy Moats.

If you have information on one of these classmates, contact JoJo Sorenson Charles, Box 1022, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, phone 970-264-2718, or email


Need to be heard

Dear Editor,

I was horrified when I read Mojie Adler's earlier letter, and then the one in last week's paper, about her so-called "parenting class."

I am fifteen years old and have been exposed to a lot of different goings-on at school, and I know that many of the problems kids face today are caused by people like her telling them that they are worthless parasites. Kids don't need that on top of everything else that they have to go through these days.

I know that when a person, minor or not, is told repeatedly that he or she is just baggage for someone to haul around, just another mouth to feed, as they say, just another problem in this world, they begin to wonder. They start to think that maybe the person is right. If they are cut down too many times, they start believing it themselves.

To each particular person, it may be a parent, a relative, a fellow student, or just some off-the-deep-end lady in the newspaper that has convinced them that they don't deserve their place on this planet. People start to believe that they are useless. This is what leads to drugs, alcohol, depression, and even suicide in some desperate cases. Kids need to hear that we can do the things we dream of doing. That we are needed here. That our opinion really does count, because, contrary to her obvious belief, it does. We need to be heard.

Less than a dozen years from now my generation will be running this country, and in reality, the world; in every country there will be a new wave of ideas and leadership.

She thinks we are useless. That's not my problem - it's hers. And it's going to stay her problem as long as we stay strong in spite of her bashing and slamming. I know this isn't what Mojie wants to hear, but if I were old enough to be a parent, I sure wouldn't want to take parenting classes from a woman who calls our children worthless blights on society.

We are not worthless. What is worthless are the labels people like her put on us to try to crush us down to believing that she is right. "Juveniles" is such an impersonal term. Don't we deserve more than just a label? There are kids who have it tough. Those kids need help, as do all of us. They do not need to be told that their lives are meaningless. They need to be told that they can turn themselves around and get it right, because anyone can.

I believe entirely in myself, and her opinions can't change that. But it hurts to be judged by someone who knows very little about what kids are really facing behind their tough outer shells.


A very disgusted member

of the future generation

Randi Ellene Andersen

Your vote counts

Dear Editor,

If you are one of the many people who attended the public meetings regarding county planning and read in last week's Sun the letter from Karen Aspin, like myself, you may feel hurt or angered - or both - by the treatment she described accorded this effort by the county commissioners.

The worse thing, in my opinion, was the arrogant attitude demonstrated by Chairman Crabtree's remark demeaning the work as though petitions from the people to their public servants are out of place.

The manner in which elected officials, "public servants," view their work greatly concerns me. I don't respond well to a lock-step Sieg-Heil command. In the preelection rhetoric during the next eight months we can certainly expect the tiger to change his tune, but can we count on him to change his stripes?

The political party caucuses are where candidates are actually chosen, and this is where those who believe their voice and vote can make a change need to participate. To do so you must not only be a registered voter, but registered as affiliated with one of the parties.

If you are not presently registered or wish to change your affiliation you must do so at the county clerk's office before the deadline, Feb. 9. Otherwise, you may not participate in choosing the candidates for the November election.

If this means something to you, DO IT!

Henry Buslepp

Black hole for ideas

Dear Editor,

I want to thank Karen Aspin for her great devotion to the betterment of Archuleta County. Her letter last week was a wonderfully clear summary of another frustrating effort to fill in the leadership void at the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

Too bad that she has encountered what is known as "black hole governance." That is a "leadership" style where good ideas and energy coming from the outside are absorbed and nothing ever comes back out. Certainly, this style avoids the difficulties of demonstrating vision and commitment to such issues as planning, growth management, roads, and the like. It will be interesting to see how the BOCC deals with ideas and initiatives coming from the new County Administrator. I wonder how he will cope with Archuleta County's "black hole governance."

T.A. Cruse

Self-serving action

Dear Editor,

As reported in The SUN, Jan. 17, the PLPOA board of directors apparently voted to give themselves, and their families, free recreation center passes and free fishing licenses. It is safe to assume they consider this not-so-little bonus will help compensate them for the time they give to the association.

It is disturbing that the members who voted in favor of this motion are not familiar with the Bylaws of the Association which prohibit this action. Sec. 6, Officers, states: (f) Remuneration - All officers and directors shall serve without pay except that expenses incurred in the service of the Association may be reimbursed. The American College Dictionary defines remuneration as "the act of remunerating; that which remunerates; REWARD; pay."

Having watched the actions of PLPOA boards the past 16 years, I cannot recall any action by any Board as self-serving as this. I don't know which directors voted for the motion but it is incumbent upon all directors to be totally familiar with the documents that govern their actions.

Let's hope, in their infinite wisdom, they will reverse this decision at the February meeting.

Pat Curtis

Community thanks

Dear Editor,

Since we have begun a new year, I felt I should express some thanks and some thoughts.

Thanks to Sally, Doug and Morna for providing many special moments at all of the wonderful events the Chamber sponsors during the year.

Thanks for all of the interesting and enjoyable musical performances and Whistle Pig presentations Ron and I have enjoyed, especially the Four Corners Folk Festival when we camp on Reservoir Hill for five days of the Labor Day weekend.

Thanks to the Arts Council and the people who give so much of their time so that we can enjoy the talents of so many creative people in all sorts of mediums. And the Music Boosters, the Pagosa Players and Kings Men and the Pretenders. And also ARSE (John Porter's Baby).

What a superb library we have in this town. And the service organizations and charities and the good work that they do.

Then there is the good food. And the activities at all levels in the schools.

So what if we are growing - and fast? Because of the most important element, the people, I feel that we will retain these blessings and continue to be able to say "We live here because we want to, and are thankful for it."

Cindy Gustafson

Fair share

Dear Editor,

I have been following the stories about the PAWS efforts to cope with funding for capital improvements with some interest. I purchased a lot in the Pagosa Springs area last summer with the intention of building there in a couple of years. That may or may not happen because I, like most people, have to watch my funds. I would like to offer a few comments from an outsider's perspective.

I have been involved in our local government in Claremore, Okla. (county seat of Rogers County in northeastern Oklahoma) first holding the office of freeholder to help write a new city charter, then serving as a council member for six years. Coping with growth and providing for the services required to support growth is indeed the greatest challenge for most communities. It is not easy, and it is not inexpensive.

A perspective I have held for some time is that each utility service should pay its own way. However, that perspective departs from the PAWS proposal in that I believe that all of the users of a service should pay their fair share for maintenance, operation and expansion of the service. Grants should not be ignored. (Grants are the participation of a larger number of citizens in the provision of a service from which they probably will not benefit.) The basic tenet of that perspective is that the united effort of many users can provide for services that many if not most individuals could not afford. The backbone responsibility of any government or government agency is the provision of services in such a manner that the needs of the citizenry (local, state or national) are met, and that groups of people are not excluded by design. My experience has been that a carefully crafted rate structure places the least burden on most recipients of a particular service. In the case of water, those who use more should pay a progressively higher rate for it. That kind of rate structure also promotes conservation of resources and places less demand on the system.

An additional observation I have made is that in the Pagosa Springs area, the sale of real estate and the building industry seems to dominate the local economy. An excessive financial burden on new construction would seem to be counter productive for the area economy. Tourism injects much money into the economy, but it can be very temperamental and it does not touch many of the citizens of the area.

Thanks for the sounding board. I like your newspaper for its balanced content and coverage of community events.

Joe Henry

God's place

Dear Editor,

Last Monday morning a TV news/talk show had Gary Bauer on as guest, and asked him if he could explain why God had allowed the events of the infamous Sept. 11. Gary's answer was interrupted by a commercial break, and subsequently he was never permitted to finish.

A better question would have been: "Are we able to acknowledge and thank a long-suffering God who has shielded us until now from our offshore enemies, by his grace, while we've doubted and refused Him?"

We haven't forgotten that back in 1962 and 1963 the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed prayer in schools and the Bible in the classroom. The ruling was explained as a noble and necessary acknowledgment of the plurality of American society. The fear of God has no place in the public forum of American experience if peace is to prevail, they tried to convince us. The mantra of "separation of church and state" has been repeated ad nauseam ever since.

Roe v. Wade, back in 1973, opened the floodgates to allow the casual massacre of 30 million unborn human beings in an unconscionable sacrifice to the gods of convenience. The gospel of relativism has replaced the assumption of divine accountability in the halls of "justice" and in the public school classroom.

Some of my secular friends have quietly explained to me in a worldlywise tone of voice that "God is not knowable." They wonder if I will get the hint: The Bible is fraudulent and its message a deception, in their estimation. Official government memos tell me that Biblical faith is the sad crutch of the naive and the weak among us.

As a nation we seem to have embraced the new "gospel of relativism and freedom from religion." Hasn't it given free rein to our most vulnerable and disturbed young people to take guns and other weapons and execute their perceived persecutors in public schools? Where now is our moral anchor? Confused defendants of the 9/11 terrorists try to persuade us and themselves that these "martyrs" were freedom fighters.

Strangely, it is only now that I'm hearing news media personalities question the goodness of God. Where have they been for the last forty years? They look bewildered, and I detected in the questions they asked a sense that they suspect God isn't real after all.

Claire Hughes

Request for return

Dear Editor,

To whoever stole our sign.

Last fall someone took a sign we had put up on our property on the Navajo River Ranch. We named four gulches on our property after our three children and our grandson. The sign that was taken said, "Andy Gulch."

What the person who took our sign didn't know was that the sign was a tribute to our son Andy who was killed on March 16, 1995.

We're appealing to the girl friend or wife of the person who took our sign and has seen it in their home. The person who took the sign thought that it's OK to steal something that wasn't theirs. We'd be happy to give you the name of the sign company in Pagosa who made it for us so you can have your own made.

Please contact us at 264-5717 or drop off our sign with the folks at the Chromo Merc. If you choose to do nothing, we hope that you are never faced with having to bury one of your children.

Hopeful in Chromo,

Kathy and Rich Muth

Relay for Life

Dear Editor,

On Sept. 11 last year, we were all horrified by the terrorist acts which resulted in almost 3,000 deaths.

On that same day, another tragedy occurred which did not make the papers. More than 3,000 Americans were diagnosed with cancer. That did not make the papers because it also happened on Sept. 10, on Sept. 12 and every other day of the year. The major fundraiser to fight this ongoing tragedy is the Relay for Life program, the largest private fundraiser in the world.

On behalf of the American Cancer Society, the Pagosa Springs Relay for Life Committee would like to invite everyone in the community to a Relay for Life rally on Monday night, Jan. 28, at Pagosa Lakes Vista Clubhouse.

Prizes will be offered and one lucky person will leave the party with a balloon ride for two during the Balloon Festival.

Refreshments will be served from 5:30-6 p.m. followed by a short program about the Relay for Life and how cancer affects our community. It is our sincere hope that many will attend, and that some of you may be motivated to help us with the 2002 Relay for Life.

Cheryl Nelson and Joe Donovan

Committee Co-chairs

Light pollution

Dear Editor,

This summer we were able to see the stars even though there were lights on the timeshares and homes in the area. The street light on Park Avenue and Holiday in Pagosa Lakes, for whatever reason, was off.

Several months ago there was a change; the street light came on at dusk and off about 7. The problem is that the light is an extremely bright yellow and shines in our windows. You can no longer see the stars and it shines in the bedroom window and makes it difficult to sleep.

Personally, I like the shades up at night so that the stars and beautiful sky can be seen. This light is a real polluter. I drove around the timeshares and they have environmentally friendly lights that shine down as does the PLPOA parking lot and streets in the downtown area.

I have talked to the county and PLPOA and they talked to LPEA at the end of November but nothing has changed.

It sure would be appreciated if something could be done to make it environmentally friendly or take that blasted bright yellow bulb out.

Thank you,

Lili Pearson

Fair fee structure

Dear Editor,

We are part-time residents of Pagosa Springs, and are landowners within the PAWS district. When we bought our land, we paid a hefty fee called a "Tap Fee" which we were told was our share of the cost of extending infrastructure into our area. Fair enough, we have no problem with the concept that new development should pay for itself and should not burden the existing rate payers with the cost of new infrastructure. Then there is the quarterly "Availability Fee" which we understand goes into a savings account to ensure the district will have funds to provide the agreed-upon services at the time we choose to hook on. And finally (?) there is the "Facilities Upgrade Charge" which is another hefty bite at the time we choose to build which is supposed to cover the cost of new plant facilities to meet future demand.

If I understand the current PAWS proposal correctly, the proposed increase in the Facilities Upgrade Charge is needed so that new development will be able to pay for all of the proposed improvements to PAWS facilities projected over the next 20 years. My comments then are as follows: 1) Isn't the Availability Fee supposed to be used to pay for such capital improvements, at least in part? And why isn't there a healthy bank account of collected Availability Fees sitting somewhere to draw upon? My understanding is that PAWS doesn't have such an account, and apparently the money has just gone into the general operating fund. For those landowners within the PAWS district who pay the Availability Fee but have not built a home, these people appear to be subsidizing those who do own homes, homeowners who should have been paying higher rates all along. And 2) No infrastructure lasts forever. The existing homeowners should recognize that some portion of future facilities upgrades will be their responsibility. I would hope that the PAWS board would acknowledge this fact and consider this in any proposed rate structure changes. I hope I speak for homeowners and landowners alike when I say that this debate should conclude with a rate structure where everyone pays their fair share, and where there is better accountability by PAWS for the funds they collect going for the intended purpose.

Chris Philips

Stop complaints

Dear Editor,

This is in response to all the folks complaining about growth, move!

Growth is the foundation of this great country. Unless you are Ute or Anasazi you moved here or your family did. Quit your complaining and enjoy what you have; 20 years from now it will be different and the question is, will it be what we are looking for?

Let's work together.

Mike Smith

Sports Page
Grapplers find tough going in high-profile Alamosa tourney

By Karl Isberg

When the team lineup for the Jan. 19 Alamosa Invitational wrestling tournament was announced, it was obvious the competition would be formidable.

On the day of the tournament, additions were made and the picture came into sharp focus: this year's field would be, in all likelihood, the toughest the Pirate wrestling team would face during the season.

At day's end, Pagosa finished at the bottom of the 10-team card, but not as a result of a disappointing performance. The reason, rather, was that some of the best programs in the region and state were in attendance, and the depth of competition was as impressive as a fan will see.

The tournament was won by the host 4A Mean Moose. Alamosa edged out perennial powerhouse Aztec, N.M. for the crown. Also in the field were other tough Colorado 4A squads: Broomfield, Montrose, Centaurus and Pueblo East. Two 5A teams were in attendance - Douglas County and Thunder Ridge. Pagosa joined Rocky Ford, a regional rival, as the 3A representatives at the tourney. Pagosa finished a scant four points behind the Meloneers in the final standings.

"While we were last in the team standings," said Pirate coach Dan Janowsky, "it wasn't because we had a bad day. Out of 40 matches, we gave up only five pins and one technical fall. We lost a lot of matches by one to five points."

The deciding factor in the event was the fact all of the programs were good and many were superior. "Every team at that tournament comes from a solid program," said the coach. "The worst are solid, and the others are among the best in the region or state. We found out we're not quite up to that level of competition yet. The sooner we find this out, the better because we aspire to be among that group. We were competitive, but not victorious, so we clearly have some things to work on. But, to put the day in perspective, I've had worse showings with teams I thought were more advanced at this point in the season. We did not do badly at Alamosa."

Sophomore Michael Martinez led the way for the Pirates with a second-place finish at 112 pounds. Martinez drew a bye in the opening round then defeated a Thunder Ridge wrestler 12-7 to advance to the semifinals. A Montrose athlete was the next to fall, as Martinez crafted a strong 9-1 win by decision. In the final, Martinez lost an 8-5 decision to Anthony Gutierrez, a two-time state placer from Broomfield.

"In that championship match, the guy got up on Michael early," said Janowsky. "Michael wore him down but ran out of time. The most positive thing about the match is it was apparent Michael's bottom work is improving. The kid from Broomfield was able to take Michael down, but he couldn't keep him down. Michael just ran out of time."

Freshman Darren Hockett took fourth place at 103 with a 2-2 record. A first-round bye and an 8-5 decision put Hockett in the semifinals where he lost to the eventual tourney champ, Matt Salazar, of Alamosa. Hockett nailed a 9-1 decision to advance to the fight for third place, which he lost in a tight 7-6 call.

Senior Luke Boilini took his game to a new level at Alamosa, finishing third at 189. Boilini rode a bye into the second round where he beat a Thunder Ridge wrestler 4-1. A slim 6-5 loss to one of the tougher 3A competitors, Val Perez of Rocky Ford, put Boilini into the consolation round. The Pirate got a 1-0 decision over the athlete from Douglas County by fashioning a second-period escape, then riding his opponent through the third period. An emphatic 6-0 decision over Pueblo East's Richard Ortiz gave Boilini third place.

"It was a good day for Luke," his coach said. "It got him back on the right track."

Sophomore Kory Hart finished fourth at 135 with a 2-2 record. Hart began with a second-round 11-3 decision over a Douglas County wrestler then lost a 6-4 decision in the semifinal. Hart's first consolation bracket match resulted in a 6-4 win in overtime before a loss to Todd Flores of Broomfield put the Pirate in fourth.

Several other Pirates won matches at Alamosa.

Cliff Hockett won twice at 130. Hockett won his first consolation bracket match with a fall at 2 minutes 57 seconds. The Pirate went on to defeat an opponent from Pueblo East 6-1 to round out a 2-2 record at the tournament.

Trevor Peterson fought at 145 for Pagosa and took a 5-1 decision over a wrestler from Thunder Ridge.

Jordan Kurt-Mason won a match at 160. The junior won a consolation-bracket match, pinning his Douglas County opponent at 2:26.

"This tournament came at the end of a tough week," Janowsky said. "The flu was going around and I canceled one practice and shortened our others because it was finals week. We wanted the guys to concentrate on their grades and staying eligible. But, the bottom line is this was just a tough tournament. It was very useful to us; it's essential to know what we need to work on at this point in the season, and now we certainly know. No one was discouraged and, with hard work, we'll keep making progress."

Next on the schedule is Saturday's Ignacio tournament.

"The quality of the Ignacio tournament has gone up the last few years," said the coach. It's become a good tournament and there are 10 teams expected this year." Beside the host and the Pirates, Durango and Farmington will send teams to Ignacio, as will Piedra Vista, Kirtland, Shiprock, Dolores, Dolores County and Mancos.

Ignacio is the last tournament of the year for the Pirates. Only a tri-meet and three dual meets remain on the regular-season schedule before the Feb. 15 and 16 regional tournament.

"I'm hoping we'll get some extra rest and some training time between this weekend and regionals," Janowsky said, "with enough competition, of course, to keep us sharp and give us a measuring stick to keep watch on how we're doing. This is a bit different for us this year. We won't have the drain of those long tournament days on the weekend as we approach the end of the season."

The Ignacio tournament is set to begin at 10 a.m.

Special Olympics fund raiser set

for Saturday

By Richard Walters

Special Olympics in Pagosa Springs will hold the second and last of its public solicitation drives Saturday at the Pagosa Country Center City Market.

The first, conducted last Saturday downtown, netted just over $100 for the program designed to benefit members of the handicapped population.

Coordinators say regular corporate gifts nationwide have been lower this year in the wake of 9/11 but said Proctor and Gamble has agreed to match funds raised locally on a dollar-to-dollar basis, so whatever is raised here will, in effect, be doubled. All funds raised here will stay here.

Special Olympics backers will be selling mock gold medals at $1 each from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in hopes of raising at least $500 locally.

The Association sponsors sports activities for the participants, including ski meets, and a swimming meet in which several state chapters participate. The youngsters train for these games as intensely as do the more recognized Olympians.

These Special Olympics competitors are visible signs to everyone that handicap is only in the eye of the beholder.

Programs like this offer special youth a chance to perform, to be recognized, to put their talents on the line. Even if their efforts can't match up to the real Olympians, they get to experience the same joy of competition, of knowing "I Can Do It."

Ignacio finds Lady Pirates unbeatable on home court

By Richard Walter

Playing perhaps their best "team" game of the season, Pagosa's Lady Pirates blitzed the visiting Ignacio Lady Bobcats with a first period 20-6 offensive show and then concentrated on a pattern offense for a 61-42 victory.

That first quarter uprising had Ignacio down so far they could never close the gap, although 5'10" post player Raegena Thompson was outstanding in defeat, scoring 14 including two of three 3-point attempts.

The trey, in fact, was Ignacio's biggest weapon. The 'Cats hit 5 of 11 3-point tries. Pagosa, on the other hand, attempted only two treys and hit on one, by Tricia Lucero.

Senior power forward Katie Lancing had eight of her game high 22 points in the fateful first period and also hauled down four defensive rebounds in the stanza.

Center Ashley Gronewoller scored four in the period, freshman guard Lori Walkup added a pair as did new starter Katie Bliss, and senior reserve forward Nicole Buckley came off the bench to add four of her season-high seven points.

Only Thompson, with an offensive rebound and putback and the first of her treys, scored from the field for Ignacio against a surprise 1-2-1 and chaser zone. The sixth Bobcat point was a free throw by forward Kyra Bartley.

With Lucero's trey and two 12-foot jumpers by Walkup, the second period was a 14-14 standoff. Katie Whiteskunk, Stephanie Rivera and Thompson each canned a trey for the 'Cats, Thompson adding three from the charity stripe and reserve guard Mary Jo Kerrigan hitting a pair from the foul line. Gronewoller countered with one field goal for Pagosa and Lancing was four-for-four from the foul line, leaving the half time mark 34-20 in favor of Pagosa.

The Pirates got only 10 points in the third period but still outscored Ignacio 10-8 as coach Karen Wells substituted freely and had all reserves on the floor from the 2:16 mark until there were just over four minutes left in the game.

Keying the period for Pagosa were Lancing with six points and Gronewoller with four, figures which were exactly reversed in a 17-13 Pagosa fourth quarter.

Key to the Pirates' success was the chaser zone with Walkup the chaser playing whomever had the ball. Her defense and that of both Lucero and Joetta Martinez coming off the bench, kept the shorter Ignacio players from inside shots and forced them to fire from 3-point range.

The fourth period also featured three more points by Buckley, two by Lucero and two by Martinez. For Ignacio, Thompson was limited to one field goal, Whiteskunk a field goal and three from the foul line, Kerrigan two field goals and a free throw and Bartley a charity toss.

Wells was extremely pleased by the play of her reserves, and the success of the zone the team had not yet shown this season. Noting she had only reserves on the floor for over six minutes of the second half, she said, "We needed to find out if we could run with a fast team and proved we can, from top to bottom in the lineup."

"I was especially heartened by the performances of Buckley, Lucero and Martinez," she said. "And Lori's defense was as intense as any performance we've had all season."

Ignacio was able to capture only 12 rebounds in the game, just two of those at the offensive end. Pagosa had 38 total, 16 of them offensive. Leading the pack was Lancing with 13. Gronewoller had eight and Martinez added four. Gronewoller had the game's only two blocked shots and Lancing led in assists with three.

Pagosa had 16 turnovers for the game, eight in each half, compared to 26 for Ignacio.

The victory put Pagosa back in a familiar position - first place in the Intermountain League as they defend their league title and hope for a return to state playoff action.

The following night, Ignacio upset the Monte Vista girls, a team Pagosa will meet on the road Saturday after a home match Friday against Bayfield. Most conference observers expect the league title to come down to the perennial Pagosa-Centauri head-to-head meetings. Centauri beat Bayfield last weekend 74-31.


Scoring: Pagosa - Lancing 9-12, 4-5, 22; Gronewoller, 8-9, 0-2, 16; Walkup 3-6, 6; Lungstrum 0-1, 0; Buckley, 2-5, 3-6, 7; Bliss, 1-1, 2; Lucero 2-2, 0-2, 5; Scott 0-2, 0; Martinez, 1-3, 1-2, 3; Honan, 0-1, 0. Team rebounds: Off. 16, Def. 22. Rebound leaders: Lancing 13, Gronewoller 8, Martinez 4. 3-point goals: Lungstrum 0-1, Lucero 1-1. Assist leaders: Lancing 3, Lungstrum 2. Steals leaders: Lancing 3, Buckley 3, Martinez 2. Blocks: Gronewoller 2.

Lady Pirates treat Piedra Vista to myriad milestones

By Richard Walter

It was a night for seasonal milestones.

First, Lady Pirate power forward Katie Lancing needed just 18 points to reach the 200 plateau for the season. She made short work of that goal during Tuesday's game against Piedra Vista, hitting 11 for 11 from the floor and adding a free throw for a game-high 23 points.

Center Ashley Gronewoller needed just 10 points to hit the 300 mark for the season, and had them by halftime.

The reserve backcourt duo of junior Tricia Lucero and freshman Bri Scott produced Pagosa's best three-point blitz of the season, and except for a missed free throw in the final seconds, could have given Pagosa its first four players in double figures game of the year.

The guests had defeated Ignacio 58-50 and the Bobcats lost to Pagosa last week 61-42 in what was the only common opponent clash. Coach Karen Wells was not sure what to expect from the guest Lady Panthers, but her team quickly took away any doubts about the eventual outcome.

Lancing poured in 10 of her 23 points in the first period, Gronewoller added six and Carlena Lungstrum a deuce for her only points of the game as Pagosa raced out to an 18-3 lead at the end of the period.

The high-percentage Pagosa shooting and an almost impenetrable zone defense limited the Panthers to one field goal in 10 tries in the period. The third Piedra Vista point came on a charity toss by forward Calan Ward who would eventually be the point leader for her team with 14.

With Wells substituting freely in the second period, the Pirates got six points each from Lucero and Scott, including three treys, four each from Lancing and Gronewoller and a driving layup by Nicole Buckley to build a 40-13 half time lead and put the game out of reach.

With the regular starters playing only three minutes of the third period, the lead kept building. Lancing and Gronewoller had six and four points respectively before they went to the bench to allow reserves to get experience.

Their sitting had little effect. Lucero drilled a pair of treys and Scott added a reverse layup. Pagosa had an 18-13 edge in the period and a 58-26 margin after three.

Reserves played the bulk of the final period for Pagosa and it was the one stanza they did not outscore their foe. Piedra Vista carried a 12-8 edge, half of it built on a pair of treys by Analiz Hernandez and Theresa Redman as the Panthers bombed away from deep on the court in their quest for a more respectable final score. That count was 66-38.

Wells was thrilled by the three-point blitz by her reserve guards. "When we can hit outside with that frequency (Lucero was three for four and Scott two for three) we can force defenses to come out and loosen up the inside lanes for our premier tall players. Once we get that combination working like it did tonight, we can play with anyone."

Still a concern for the home team, however, was the turnover rate. Though they cut the total to 14, Wells still feels they should "have no more than 10 a game with the kind of ball handlers we have. Still, we've improved in each of the last two games."

While freshman point guard Lori Walkup had only a fourth period field goal and single foul shot, she led the team in assists with five and pulled down three rebounds while, as Wells said, "turning into a dynamo on defense working the front line in a 2-1-2 zone and as the chaser when they periodically switched to a 1-2-1 zone."

Freshman Scott, in addition to her nine points and two rebounds, led the team in assists on the night with five. Only Lungstrum and Joetta Martinez failed to rebound for the Pirates, Lancing and Gronewoller leading in that statistic with 13 each.

All in all, coach Wells said, "We're looking more like a team learning to play together every game. All the reserves seem to know exactly what is required of them when they go in and I have no reservations about subbing for a starter at any time."

"As long as we keep in the team-game concept," she said, "our chances to score and stop the other team continue to rise. We're at a point where things seem to be coming together. We'll know better after this week's conference games against Bayfield and Monte Vista."

The Pirates host Bayfield Friday with the first game at 5:30 p.m. and then go on the road to Monte Vista Saturday for a late afternoon encounter.

The Piedra Vista victory, despite what is being reported in other venues, gives the Lady Pirates a 10-2 record for the season and their victory over Ignacio put them in a familiar first-place position in the Intermountain League, a post they share with perennial co-favorite Centauri.


Pagosa scoring: Lancing 11-11, 1-2, 23; Gronewoller 6-7, 2-3, 14; Lucero 4-5 (3-3s), 1-1, 13; Scott 3-5 (2 3s), 1-2, 9; Walkup 1-7, 1-1, 3; Lungstrum 1-5, 2; Buckley 1-2, 1-2, 3. Team rebounds: Off. 14, Def. 23. Rebound leaders: Lancing 13 and Gronewoller 13. Assist leaders: Walkup 5, Bliss 3, Lancing 2. Steals leaders: Scott 5, Lancing 2, Buckley 2, Lucero 2.

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Community News
Chamber News

By Sally Hameister

'Citizen of Year' honor to Ross Aragon; Theesfeld, Rowe, Eggleston win seats

Our congratulations to our newly-elected Board Directors, Bob Eggleston, Sally Theesfeld and Nan Rowe.

As always, it was a race and a half, but these three finished on the top. We are delighted to welcome them to the wacky fold and will give them a hearty dose of their new positions at our annual retreat to be held tomorrow at Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat. We will be the all-day guests of our gracious hosts, Bob and Mary Hart, who are generously giving up their largest cabin to accommodate this rowdy group.


Our warm congratulations to winners of the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards presented Saturday night.

Hizzoner Mayor Ross Aragon was more than surprised and somewhat speechless to learn that he had won the Citizen of the Year award. His grateful acceptance left us all a little misty. Likewise with Warren Gram's acceptance of the Volunteer of the Year award when it went to the (over 60) Pagosa Fire Protection District volunteers for their perpetual contributions to our community. Worthy recipients, indeed.

Whatta party

We had such a wonderful time at the Mardi Gras on Saturday night at the Ridgeview Centre and hope you did as well. From all the phone calls I've received this morning, I'm thinking it was a rip-roarin' success, and we couldn't be more pleased. As always, we have so many people to thank and will go about doing that right now.

Anyone who has been in the Centre knows how large it is and what a decorating challenge it presents, but I had a team who scoffed at the challenge and created a place that would be the envy of the Mardi Gras planners in New Orleans. These folks devoted about 15-16 hours of their time over a two-day period, and I honestly can't thank them enough. We, thankfully, had a good time together, and our undying gratitude to the following decorators extraordinaire:

The Evil One once again single-handedly created the flashiest stage in all the universe and costumes that were not to be believed. For those who were not in attendance that night, Betty Johann and I were dressed as "Bloomin' Idiots" replete with flowerpot purses, daisy wands and Astroturf bonnets sporting three flowerpots. Herself secretly creates these costumes and doesn't share the theme with me until the eleventh hour when she presents the ensemble with detailed instructions on what goes where. She outdid herself on both the stage and costumes leaving me wildly anticipating the next theme event.

The other busy hands belonged to Ken and Jan Harms, Sheila Hunkin, Liz Marchand, Bonnie Masters, Sara Scott, Angie Dahm, Kerry Dermody, Michelle Martinez, Mark and Erica DeVoti, Linda Clark Schmitz, Will and Christie Spears, Robert Soniat and Dick Babillis. It goes without saying that Doug and Morna Trowbridge have been working on this party since last year and were there from beginning to end (close to midnight on Saturday night) making sure everything was done. I haven't a clue what I would do without them consistently covering my back.

Our sincere thanks to Vince and Jennifer Sencich with Enzo's Catering and their entire staff for doing such a fabulous job on all the Cajun food served that evening. As always, both presentation and quality were as perfect as one can expect from a mortal. We have received raves about the food and are grateful to Vince and Jennifer for all the hard work they devoted to this evening. Kathy Keyes of Pagosa Baking Company did a beautiful job on the King Cakes, and Dick Warring was the lucky soul who found the baby in his piece of cake. Dick was pretty pumped to learn that he won a year's free Chamber membership just for eating a piece of cake. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Thanks to musicians Debbee Tucker Ramey, Bruce Andersen, Joe Gilbert and Susanna Ninichuck for providing the lovely music and to Sheila Hunkin, Sara Scott and Nettie and Bruce Trenk for counting the votes for us following the meeting. Thanks again to Bill and Clarissa Hudson and Whistle Pig for loaning us a stage for the evening and to Mark DeVoti and Will Spears for schlepping it to and from the Centre. We just got word late Saturday about Bill's appendix disaster and wish him the speediest recovery ever.

For a second time, Kathey and Dick Fitz won best female and male costume honors in a year when the competition was extremely, well, competitive. To our delight and amazement, folks are really getting into the costume thing making it very challenging for our judges. Kathey and Dick were the "Your Royal Highnesses, the Sublime King and Queen of Hearts" with elaborate costumes to die for. Congrats again, kids.

On a brief personal note, I want to thank Ken and Jan Harms for creating the wonderful video surprise presented on Saturday night. It was, indeed, a total shock and one I will always treasure. Many thanks, too, to Mary and Don McKeehan for the time and creative juices expended on this project as well as Bill Hudson for titles and editing and unusual, and my scepter and crown were as imaginative and breathtaking as anything you've ever seen. Toby and Renae Karlquiest of K.K. Paddywhacks created fabulous designs on the "royal robe" and the Education Center donated the huge television needed for the night. Terry Smith, our former director and friend, donated the wheelbarrow used to cart me around, and Mary DeVoti and Robert Soniat did the honors. I will personally thank all those groups and individuals who so graciously performed the cameos on the video, and I can only hope you all know how much I appreciate such a lovely gift.

Relay for life

Please plan to attend the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life Rally to be held Monday evening, Jan. 28, at the Pagosa Lakes Vista Clubhouse from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Hors d'oeuvres will be served and you are asked to RSVP at 731-9296.

Open house

Your new gas company, Kinder Morgan, will hold open house Jan. 29 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and invites you to join them to learn more about them and their services. This is your chance to learn all about their 24-hour service number, billing options, appliances, and other products and services they will be offering. Please join them at the Ridgeview Mall to get acquainted with your new gas company.


Two new members join us this week along with five renewals, and we are delighted to include all of them in our happening Chamber gang.

James K. Shugart joins us with Leeland Corporation located at 80 Eagle Crest Place here in Pagosa. Owner Jim is a quality home builder who creates energy efficient homes to fit your lifestyle and property requirements and needs. Jim incorporates Feng Shui for orientation and design. He will be happy to answer your questions at 264-5065.

Our second new member, Beverly Arrendell, joins us as an Associate and jumped right into it by attending our Mardi Gras Saturday night. Welcome, Beverly.

Renewals this week include John and Carol Frakes with Eagle Eye Inspection Service; Gail Hershey with Mountain Time Designs Pottery; Linda Clark Schmitz with The Shirt Outlet; David Petit with Tara Mandala Buddhist Retreat Center; and Real Estate Associate renewal, Paul A. Nobles. Happy to have each and every one.


Senior News

By Janet Copeland

John Porter wins TV for giving Senior Center new name

A big Thank You to Ralph Valdez (of Ralph and Son Enterprises) for his very informative presentation on the safe use of fireplaces. Some suggestions included: burn pine with aspen wood for less soot buildup; don't use inflammable fluids; don't burn coal in a wood stove unless the manufacturer recommends it; don't use artificial logs as they contain chemicals and dirty up the chimney; don't burn trash or treated lumber in your fireplace; be sure to have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your home. For more information you may contact Ralph at 264-4585.

At noon Friday there will be a WaterPik demonstration by Terri Beecher. Musetta purchased several units to sell ($22) to our folks, so this presentation will help us make better use of them.

The Archuleta Seniors Citizens Inc. board meeting will be at 12:45 p.m. Friday at Town Hall. We welcome guests, so please feel free to join us if you are interested.

The monthly potluck dinner is Friday from 5-7 p.m. The theme this time will be Mexican food so we hope folks will bring their favorite Mexican dish. Of course, any dish will be welcome, so come join us.

I want to remind everyone that er are available for $3 which provides 10-percent discounts offered by Rainbow Gifts, Edelweiss, Wolf Tracks, Ski and Bow Rack and Colorado Skies (on selected items); Methodist Thrift Shop (on items over $10). Other benefits are one night free boarding at Pagosa Pet Parlor; $1 discount on admission to Fred Harman Museum; special rates at Park Place Barber Salon and at The Spa Motel/pool; a matinee show at Liberty Theater for seniors at $3; and access to the recreation facility at Pagosa Lodge at no charge. We really appreciated the generosity of these businesses.

We also want to thank Daylight Donuts for their continuing donation of donuts to our center. Folks line up for these delectable goodies.

Beginning Feb. 7, AARP will offer free income tax preparation of simple tax returns. Contact Musetta or Laura to make an appointment with tax preparers.

Harry Martin has just joined us as our bus driver. Welcome, Harry.

Guests and returning members this week included Charlene and Robert Baumgardner (new members), Paul Cronkhite, Adrienne Barnett, Frank and Nadine Shrier, Jim and Jean Sitton, Louise and Kurt Diedring, Sepp Leppitsch, Doris and Bob Kamrath (absent because they went to help decorate floats for the Rose Parade - sounds like fun).

Donna Cooper recently had surgery and Helen Girardin sustained an injury in a fall, so we want to keep them in our prayers.

Thanks to Mae Goughan for the craft boxes she donated.

On Jan. 30, students from the Alternative School will be at the Center between 8 and 9:30 a.m. to interview seniors regarding their lives, interests, etc. - hoping to bridge the gap between our young people and seniors. We look forward to visiting with these young people.

Updated information on what is happening at the Senior Center can be obtained by dialing 264-NEWS (6397).

Other upcoming events include:

€ Yoga at 9:30 on Tuesdays

€ On Wednesdays swimming is at 9 a.m., art class at 12:45 p.m., card games at 1 p.m. and a matinee at Liberty theater at 3 p.m. Call 264-4578 to let them know how many will be attending the show

€ Shopping trip to Durango Jan. 31

€ Bridge, every Friday, at 1 p.m.

Crusing with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Downhill skiing now more fun than anxiety

I used to say, when people asked me if I skied cross country, that I was saving that activity for when I could no longer ski downhill. I had real debilitation in mind, things like broken bones. Now, considering the aerobic workout involved in cross country skiing, I'm thinking that maybe by the time I'm ready for this safer form of skiing, I won't have the stamina.

We Gray Wolf Ski Club members have a regular joke when we pull on our ski boots. When you finish bending over and latching all those buckles, the hardest part is over. And you're already exhausted.

This is my third year to ski downhill. And finally, I have reached a point where it's more fun than anxiety. I used to stop at the top of a steep part, look down, and start having second thoughts. And third thoughts. I'd think how steep the slope below me looked, or how narrow, or worst of all, how steep AND narrow.

I'd wait for the skiers coming behind me to go past. Don't want to get in their way, I told myself. I'd wait for the person ahead of me, the one who'd fallen or merely stopped, to get up and move on. Afraid that I'd run into him.

And after I had thoroughly psyched myself into a negative state, I'd start. If the slope was as steep as I feared, I might find myself doing the snowplow again, the position you start out in, the position you don't want to still be doing.

This year, it's coming together. This year, I might pause at the top to see if one side of the slope ahead of me looks bumpy or icy. And then I just ski down. All fun. No fear.

Of course, I'm not on black runs yet. Not doing the steep face from the top of the Treasure chair. Not going off the spot known as The Nose. But this year even those hills no longer seem forever out of my reach.

On Thursday mornings the ski area has clinics for men and women. It's not quite a private lesson, but close enough. Last week I signed up for the women's clinic, along with a dozen others. The instructors watched us start out and then broke us into groups. Most were more advanced than I but a few were not. Three of us were placed with Julie, and the lesson started.

Here's how I know I've come a long way. I had a lesson with Julie two years ago. We rode up on the lift together and she gave me tips on how to get off the chair without falling down.

Last Thursday there was new snow, about 6 inches, over old packed hard surface. As more skiers hit the slopes the surface became very irregular, part ice, part powder. So we practiced maneuvers for skiing on that kind of surface. "The trick is to be loose," said Julie. "Bend your knees. Feel the tongue of the boot against your shins. Keep your hands forward."

She had us doing little jumps - with our skis on. She had us try to skate on the flat part - with our skis on. Want to feel like a klutz? Try skating in your skis. Hey, it's the cross country skiing that's supposed to give you the aerobic exercise, not the downhill kind.

One woman in my little group has also been skiing for three years, but, poor thing, she only gets to do it on her vacation. Two weeks a year. That's really not very much time. She must feel like she's taking two steps forward and one step back. Considering that she has so little opportunity to practice, she's doing very well.

We practiced our loose and flexible skiing through the morning. And then we got back together with the rest of the clinic attendees and the instructors videotaped us going down the wide steep and fairly short hill called Caution Corner. Our group waited while the men finished doing the run, one at a time.

Then the faster women went down, one at a time. When it was finally her turn, poor Melissa had psyched herself out. Watching and waiting, she'd played that mind game that I knew so well. We tried to make her laugh and relax. We told her there really wasn't any film in the camera. Didn't matter. She'd done the run with confidence earlier; now she was stiff as a signpost.

And me? Like I said: I have great confidence this year. This year it's fun.

At lunch time the instructors ran the video in the building known as Base Camp, filled with skiers. There we were on the screen high overhead. Usually the video shows super skiers, flying down incredibly steep and white hills of virgin snow. Sometimes there's a video running of incredible crashes and falls, set to the music of a Straus waltz. This time we were the show.

When you're in your ski clothes - padded jacket and pants, helmet or knit hat, goggles covering half your face - you're only recognizable by the color of your clothing. We watched each other to the sound of "Is that Walter?" and "Helen, I think that's you." And Melissa didn't have to worry about negative comments; most of us were only interested in seeing ourselves.

Me, I looked okay. Better than I expected. Like I was having fun.

Parks and Rec

By Douglas Call

Adult basketball season set; first games Feb. 4

The adult basketball season started with a meeting held last night. Rosters for the upcoming season were due at the meeting.

Games will begin Feb. 4 and continue until spring break. Game schedules will be available Jan. 30. Individuals needing more information about getting on a team can call the recreation office at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Adult basketball open gym will continue tonight and next Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30-9:30 in the upper gym at the junior high. No fee, registration or team affiliation is required. Players must be 18 and older to participate in open gym.

Youth basketball

Youth basketball continues this week with league games concluding next week. Coaches can sign up for practice Saturday morning by calling the recreation office or at the gym tonight.

A single-elimination tournament for the 9-10 division will be held Feb. 2 at the junior high gyms. This is a one-day tournament and will conclude the season. Tournament games for the 11-12 division will be played Feb. 4-6.

Pagosa Lakes News

By Ming Steen

Relay for Life aims high - 30 teams and $60,000

Pagosa Springs' organizational committee for the annual American Cancer Society's Relay for Life has been busy getting geared up for this year's event, scheduled for June 21-22 (remember the summer solstice).

This year's Relay for Life has a huge goal of fielding 30 teams and raising $65,000. Relay for Life was first held in Pagosa Springs in 1999. During that inaugural event, there were eight teams that raised a total of $8,000. The following year there were five teams and $12,000 was raised. Last year there were 12 teams and a total of $33,000. This included, for the first time, event sponsors who donated money.

You are invited to get involved in this year's mega-effort to raise money for American Cancer Society. You are invited to attend the American Cancer Society's Pagosa Springs Relay for Life Rally Jan. 28 at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Hors d'oeuvres will be served at 5:30 p.m., followed at 6 p.m. by a half-hour rally. In addition to good food, information on this year's Relay, meeting other event participants, there will also be a drawing for a hot-air balloon ride for two donated by Rocky Mountain Adventures. If you plan to attend, R.S.V.P. at 731-9296.

Attention all students between the age of 15-18. The Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs is seeking students who are interested in applying for Rotary-sponsored short term (4- to 6-week) youth exchange program. Students who are selected will spend the exchange overseas in a host home with a youngster of similar age. At the end of the stay, the Pagosa Springs student will return to our community with the "foster brother/sister" who will then spend about the same period of time here. The short-term exchange is suitable for students who enjoy travel and cross-cultural experiences but who are unable to participate in the longer and more involved year-long program, also available through Rotary.

This year, our Rotary exchange student in Pagosa is Henrique Diaz from Brazil. Henrique arrived in early August of last year and he's adjusted marvelously to school, peers and host families. Fans of our local high school soccer and basketball know Henrique. He's an outgoing and athletic young man who has captured the affection of his host families; the Pitchers, Jann and Todd, and the Cammacks, Mary Helen, Dave, Jake and Dan.

For more information on the short-term exchange through the Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs, call Maggi Dix-Caruso at 731-3394. Maggi has the application paper work. You can also check out the exchange information at

Education News

By Livia Cloman Lynch

Extended after school events fill community gap

In a small community like ours, a common complaint from youth and adults alike is the oft-heard lament; "there's nothing to do around here." The reality is that this is often true. One of the ways the Education Center looks to fill this gap in our community is through a youth activity we call Friday Night Live.

As part of our ongoing program to involve youth in after-school programs, we stretch into the early evening hours with an activity that is geared toward open Friday Nights. We plan these activities for 5th and 6th graders from 6 to 8 p.m. and for junior high students from 6 to 9 p.m. on alternating dates. There is one Friday Night Live event for each age group during each quarter of the school year. The next scheduled activity will be Jan. 25 for the 5th and 6th grade group.

Friday Night Live is designed to be fun, with food and games, along with some well-disguised learning activities. The staff of the Education Center supervises the activities along with qualified volunteers from the community. Students are informed about the upcoming schedule at school and need only register at the door of the junior high at 6 p.m. on the night of the event. The fee is $3.

We plan each Friday Night Live to include stimulating and fun age-appropriate activities. We always have an open gym for basketball and volleyball. In addition, cultural awareness and just plain cool activities like Hip-Hop dance are part of the mix for the next event. Please call the Education Center for details at 264-2835.

Center funding

While we work hard to receive grants that support our major programs, we also rely on local support to fill significant gaps in our annual budget. We are very pleased to note that both the Town of Pagosa Springs and the Archuleta County Commission have approved funding for this year for the Education Center.

As a prelude to our local fundraising event scheduled for Jan. 22, these two amounts are being viewed as positive omens. It is also very significant to note that United Way, a great supporter of our programs, will not be reducing the funds appropriated for this year. As you may know, fundraising around the country has been below expectations following the events of Sept. 11. We are fortunate to live where we do.

Thanks to everyone who has been involved in planning our first annual fundraising "Making A Difference" Luncheon. It is especially gratifying to be part of an organization with such a dedicated board and such loyal local support. Ticket sales to the luncheon are going quite briskly, and a full house looks assured. In fact, we are looking forward to the opportunity to use the new Community Center next year and sell even more tickets. We feel very good about the organization, effort and cooperation that has created such positive momentum for this first time event.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the luncheon and look forward to an entertaining and inspiring event that will punctuate the many reasons for a local Education Center.

Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

Emergency appendectomy creates fund need

When a well-known and well-thought-of citizen goes to the hospital and doesn't have medical insurance coverage, it's time to do something about it.

Bill Hudson had an emergency appendectomy at Mercy Medical Center last Thursday (Jan. 17). Because he doesn't have medical insurance coverage, friends have opened an account at Bank of the San Juans in his name - the monies to go toward his medical expenses.

Bill Hudson and his wife, Clarissa, who have lived here since 1993, are artists - exceptionally gifted artists - who give of their expertise to the community in many ways without fanfare and in soft voice.

Bill started The Pretenders - plays performed by kids and adults who write their own script based on a fairy tale of history. (As a teacher for 25 years, I'd never seen this done). And he started the elementary school's Summer Fine Arts Camp, now run by Tessie Garcia.

Bill and Kent Greentree started Whistle Pig, a venue for local musicians and performers. These evenings are now a part of the Hudson House Concerts.

Local artist Carol Fulenwider, who worked with Bill on the Pagosa Springs Arts Council board of directors, says Bill is the most analytical-creative person she's ever known. This is a rare combination, and he has used his marvelous talents and diplomatic ways to enhance the education of our kids and entertain us. I cannot say enough.

Bill Hudson is a web designer and film maker. His wife, Clarissa, is an artist who is written up in the January-February issue of "Native Peoples" for an award she won for her weavings (just one of her skills). I will write about this in a future column.

We need Bill back home and maybe our donations can help in a little way with relieving the medical expenses. Thanks, good people for your donations.

Around Town

Last Saturday a memorial service was held for Dorothy Masco. Although she'd been out-of-pocket for a number of years suffering from Alzheimer's, she'd made such an impact on this community that people who knew her could or would have felt that she was "still active amongst us."

Dorothy was from Southern Australia, a city girl who married Charles Masco of Pagosa Springs. They met during World War II. She was a volunteer at the army hospital where Charles was a patient. He had malaria, the result of action on New Guinea.

They fell in love, married and settled in Pagosa Springs. It took a year to complete the paperwork, but when that was done, and she was "legal," to Pagosa she came - by bus, with luggage that included 14 hat boxes.

But this city girl learned how to be a country ranch wife. For years she was the mainstay of the Republican Party and she played a big part in hiring Dr. Mark Wienpahl for the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

The thing, though, that got her really out in the community was that she was the "Fuller Brush Lady." She worked at it and with her graciousness and enthusiasm she brought a lot of cheer to people. Many people still brush their hair with Dorothy's brushes, and I have a standing mirror and an ice scraper. But the thing I value most is the vegetable brush she gave out as a "freebie." Mine is wearing out. Dorothy, I miss you!

Film Society

The Pagosa Springs Film Society has now joined the Chamber of Commerce thanks to the people who attended the showing of "To Kill A Mockingbird" last Friday night and contributed the necessary funds.

Household hint

To save wear and tear on yourself when scraping the hard frost off your windshield, turn on the wipers and pour warm water (not hot water) on the windshield. Stand back because the water will splash. Warm water poured on the other windows will help. Hot water can cause the glass to crack.

Fun on the run

The temporary Sunday School teacher was struggling to open a combination lock on the supply cabinet. She had been told the combination, but couldn't quite remember it. Finally she went to the pastor's study and asked for help.

The pastor came into the room and began to turn the dial. After the first two numbers he paused and stared blankly for a moment.

Finally he looked serenely heavenward and his lips moved silently. Then he looked back at the lock and quickly turned to the final number - and opened the lock.

The teacher was amazed. "I'm in awe at your faith, pastor," she said.

"It's really nothing," he answered. "The number is on a piece of tape on the ceiling."

Library News

By Lenore Bright

New volume deals with challenge of aging

We start of the year with many new materials. As always we invite our patrons to request subjects, titles and authors.

Aging well

Doctor George Vaillant has given us a true gift. His new book on growing old is a treasure for all who look for guidance in how to deal with the challenges involved in living into our eighties and beyond.

This may be the most important book ever written on the last quarter of life. A prominent psychologist suggests, "It is considered important for anyone in their fifties or sixties to read this in order to ensure that the seventies and eighties will be joyful rather than tragic."

Harvard Medical School spent more than 50 years studying the basic elements of adult development looking at life choices, health and happiness in hundreds of individuals. Now the results of this unprecedented study are being made public. They reveal an extraordinary set of conclusions about how men and women can lead a happier, more fulfilling, healthier life.

Vaillant shows why some people turn out to be more resilient than others. Individual lifestyle choices play a greater role than genetics, wealth, race, or other factors in determining how happy people are in their later life. Vaillant shows which lifestyle choices truly make a difference.

Based on what is arguably the longest study of aging in the world, this book offers a framework for understanding how older people end up happy or not.

Old age is like a minefield; if you see footprints leading to the other side, step in them. This study offers significant, reliable data that tell us what successful aging is and how it can be achieved.

Senior law handbook

And to go along with "Aging Well," The Colorado Bar Association just sent us the latest comprehensive guide book that can help citizens of Colorado make good decisions about legal decisions for older adults. This is an excellent reference guide for all of us, and we appreciate the Bar Association for providing it free to our patrons.

One chapter covers protecting yourself from crime. There is a potential for all types of abuse of the aging, and here are short quizzes that may suggest vulnerability to financial abuse.

There are a few copies of this still available if you would like to own one. Call the Bar Association at (303) 824-5347.

Talking books

This special free service is available for anyone who can no longer read due to health problems. It is provided by the federal and state government. A person may receive tape-recorded material free of charge. A special tape recorder is provided, and free postage for the material is also included. If you, or anyone you know is unable to read for a variety of reasons, talk to the staff at the library and we can put you in touch with this resource.

In the latest newsletter, we found a list of web sites of suppliers of gifts suited for the visually impaired and physically limited. Ask for a copy at the desk.


Thanks for materials from Dennis Clark, Carol Hakala, Elaine Lewis, Betty Thomas, Bruce Muirhead, and Cindy Gustafson. Your donations are most appreciated and make the difference in our ability to provide good services to the community.

Shepherds Staff

Ron Taylor
Associate pastor,

Pagosa Bible Church

Some can't accept fact they're sinners

This is a continuation of my story. The story of how one man came to faith in Jesus Christ. I share this with you because it is my desire, it is my prayer, that this be your experience also. I left you with the question, "How does a person become a Christian, as the Bible defines a Christian?" We established that Jesus said you must be born again and the Bible often refers to a believer as one who has been saved. The question is how.

People have different stories of how it happened to them. From this we learn that God truly does work in various and mysterious ways. We can not put him in a box, nor can we reduce his ways to a set formula. All I can do is share how I came to be a Christian.

First, I rejected my man-made beliefs and purposed to have the Bible be the only source of determining what was real. Second, because of what the Bible said, I knew I must be born again. I had to be saved. I didn't know how to do it, I just knew it had to be done. Third, I learned from the Bible that I needed to acknowledge my own sinfulness. Here is what the Bible teaches about sin. There will never be scales weighing my goodness against my badness. I am a sinner, and even one sin is enough to label me a sinner. God will not tolerate nor excuse my sin. As a just God, my sins must be paid for - a penalty has been assigned and that penalty is eternal separation from Him - death. This is called the wrath of God. It does exist and there will be a day when it will be displayed against sin and all who ever engaged in sin, including myself. I needed to be saved. Saved from the wrath of God. According to the Bible, the only way I could ever be acceptable to God was if God himself declared me righteous. I had no way of making that happen. I had no way of paying the penalty for my own sins. I was totally unable. I was not created with the where-with-all to cleanse myself. I was truly between a rock and a hard place. I could not save myself.

Some people are stopped at this point. They refuse to accept that they are sinners. They refuse to believe that there is such a thing as the wrath of God, or that the wrath of God is coming, or that they deserve the wrath of God. This was not the case with me. I needed to go on. I now needed to acknowledge a few key facts about Jesus Christ. Facts that are revealed in the Bible. (To be continued.)

Arts Line

By Pamela Bomkamp

Arts Council seeks gallery exhibitors

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council is looking for exhibitors to fill the 2002 schedule. Exhibits will be held May through October. The exhibits will be for a period of three weeks each with a combination of theme exhibits and exhibits showing both two and three-dimensional art. Each exhibit will consist of 2 to 3 artists.

Interested artists may download and review an application at our web site,, and they are available at the PSAC gallery in Town Park, or by calling the arts council at 264-5020. We will be happy to mail you one. Don't delay - the postmark deadline for submitting your application is Feb.5.

We are currently looking for a volunteer to coordinate art workshops for the community. If you are interested, please call Jennifer at 264-5020 or Clare Burns at 264-6950 for details.

While we are on the topic of volunteering, the Petroglyph, our quarterly newsletter, is in need of a layout person. We are also looking for businesses interested in sponsoring the newsletter. In return we will insert a flyer into the center of the newsletter as well as a public thank you in the Arts Line column and the Petroglyph. Interested businesses should contact Jennifer at 731-3113 or Joanne at the gallery at 264-5020.

You can also call Jennifer if you have a hard drive you would like to donate. The arts council could use the hard drive to add computer programs to the gallery computer that the old drive will not accept. A donation would be great, but if someone has one they would be willing to sell at a reasonable price we will consider that as well.

Photo contest

Entries for the annual PSAC Photography contest will be accepted at Moonlight Books until 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30. You may pick up an entry form at Moonlight Books, Pagosa Photography, and Mountain Snapshots, plus, of course, at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council building in Town Park. PSAC and Moonlight Books would like to invite everyone to the opening reception Feb. 2 from 5-7 p.m. Photos will be on display through Feb. 23.

Other news

Watch for the February date of our annual PSAC meeting where you will get to meet our new treasurer, Georgia Dick. Thank you to Georgia for volunteering.

Pagosa Springs Arts Center and Gallery is located in Town Park, at 314 Hermosa Street. Winter office hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For information, please phone 264-5020 or checkout the web site

Veterans Corner

By Andy Fautheree

3-tier co-payment system in effect

As I wrote last week there will be new co-pay fees starting this year in the VA Health Care program. I will attempt to explain and expand on that information this week.

Veterans who currently make co-payments for outpatient health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs will have lower bills, and in some cases, no bills at all, under new rules recently published.

Effective in December 2001, the outpatient co-payment fee of $50.80 has been lowered. The decrease is part of VA's evaluation of co-payment on outpatient, medication and long-term care.

The new regulation sets up a three-tier co-payment system for outpatient care.

The first tier will be for preventive care visits and will cost veterans nothing. This care includes flu shots, laboratory tests, certain radiology services, hepatitis C screenings, and numerous other preventive services.

Primary care outpatient visits comprise the second tier and will require a co-payment of $15.

The last tier includes specialty outpatient care, such as outpatient surgery, audiology and optometry and will cost $50.

The co-payments do not apply for the treatment of problems that are officially recognized as "service-connected." For nonservice-connected conditions, the outpatient co-payments apply primarily to veterans enrolled in Priority Group 7.

Another VA regulation will increase the co-payment some veterans pay for outpatient medications from $2 to $7 for each 30-day supply, with maximum annual out-of-pocket payment of $840 for veterans in certain enrollment priorities. The medication co-payment regulation will be effective February 4, 2002.

According to VA sources the $7 medication co-payment will be lower than, or equal to, most medication co-payments charged by the private health care industry. On the other hand, the existing outpatient visit co-payment was too high compared to private health care. Consequently, VA is readjusting both to provide fair and equitable costs for veterans who must make co-payments.

VA is proposing no changes to the hospital care co-payments. Currently, some veterans pay $792 for each 90 days of hospital care. In addition to this, there is a $10 per diem charge. For each subsequent 90 days of care in the same fiscal year, the charge is $396, or half the cost of the first 90 days.

I would like to encourage all our local veterans to get enrolled in this VA Health Care program. Remember, this is not health care insurance; you pay no premium fees. It is an "as-used" fee-based program for all veterans with discharges as Honorable, or Discharge Under Honorable Conditions. I cannot speak too highly of the program and its benefits. For many of our veterans, this may be the only health care option available to them. Don't let your health decline for lack of care. Remember, the VA Health Care program is not income based, so it doesn't matter what you make for a living. In certain cases if your income is below certain levels, the VA may waive the co-payment fees, even for Priority 7 patients.

Lastly, I would like to correct a mistake I made in the articles concerning the veteran license plates a few weeks ago. I mistakenly referred to Donald Bartlett as Major, when in fact he retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel. My apologies Col. Bartlett.

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

Extension Viewpoints

By Bill Nobles

Extension services plan Jan. 31 beef symposium

Jan. 25 - Cloverbuds, Methodist Church, 4 p.m.

Jan. 25 - 4-H Oil Painting, Extension Office, 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 26 - Rabbit Orientation, Extension office, 2 p.m.

Jan. 26 - 4-H Ceramics, Extension office, 2 p.m.

Jan. 28 - Rocketeers, Extension office, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 30 - Deadline for YouthFest Enrollment

Seedlings and shrubs

Orders are now being taken by the San Juan Soil Conservation District for high quality, reasonably priced seedling trees and shrubs grown especially for conservation plantings.

Conservation plantings include windbreaks, hedgerows, shelter belts, living snow fences, erosion control efforts, reforestation and aforestation projects, and wildlife habitat enhancement practices. Seedlings sold through the program can also be used for Christmas tree plantations. To participate, landowners need to own at least two acres of land, use seedlings for conservation purposes and not landscaping, and agree not to resell seedlings purchased through the program as living plants.

Seedlings are from the Colorado State Forest Service Nursery in Fort Collins and include a wide variety of native and non-native shrubs, deciduous trees, and coniferous (evergreen) trees. Most species are still available, but orders should be placed soon before nursery inventories are depleted.

Trees and shrubs can be ordered as bare root, regular-potted, or small-potted planting stock, depending upon the species. Bare root shrubs and deciduous trees are available in bundles of 50 of the same species for $26, and 50 bare root evergreens for $27. Regular-potted and small-potted seedlings come in boxes of 30 of the same species for $32.10 and $23.40, respectively. There is a 10-percent discount for orders over 1,000 seedlings, and 6.9-percent sales tax is added to all purchases.

In addition, the San Juan Soil Conservation District offers several products to help seedlings survive and grow. These are water absorbing polymer and slow-release fertilizer tablets. Proceeds form the sale of these products helps to support the San Juan SCD.

Landowners with property in Archuleta, southern Hinsdale, and southwestern Mineral Counties can obtain seedling-ordering applications from either the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service or the CSU Cooperative Extension Service in the Archuleta County Fairgrounds Building in Pagosa Springs. Orders will be accepted through March 1, and will be available for pick up at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds April 18.

For more information, please call the Colorado State Forest Service at 247-5250, or the San Juan Soil Conservation District at 264-5516. Remember, there are two great times to plant trees - the first was 20 years ago, the other is now.

Beef Cattle Symposium

Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and New Mexico State University will present an educational program to the livestock producers of the San Juan Basin. The Beef Cattle Symposium will be held Jan. 31 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. You can pick up an application at the Archuleta County Extension Office located on U.S. 84. Cost for registration prior to Jan. 25 is $15 per person. Registration after Jan. 25 is $20 per person. Registration fees include lunch and materials. Some of the programs being presented are Beef Nutrition, Beef Marketing Trends, Trichomoniasis, Buying and Raising Replacement Females, Drug Update/Acupuncture, and Estrous.

Business News
Biz Beat

Nathan and Katrina Thomas own and operate H&R Block located at 190 Talisman Drive, Suite C5.

Nathan and Katrina offer tax preparation services at H&R Block as well as providing customers with accounting and bookkeeping services, financial services and mortgages.

H&R Block is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 Saturdays, and other times by appointment.

Call H&R Block at 731-1080.



Patricia and David Hauschild of Pagosa Springs wish to announce the recent marriage or their daughter Brielle Maria Misuraca to Scott Christopher Rubenstein, son of Irwin and Kathleen Rubenstein of Daytona Beach, Fla. on Nov. 12, 2001. The couple will continue to call Pagosa Springs home.