Pumped up 69-year-old relives thrill
A few minutes in a man's life can be its biggest highlight.
If you don't believe it, just ask Joe Donavan of Pagosa Springs.
His few minutes involved a short run, mostly uphill, with hundreds of school children watching and a handful of "the most beautiful, meaningful thing I've ever touched."
Donavan was describing his participation Jan. 31 in Littleton, running a quarter-mile lap with the Olympic torch as it made its way out of Denver toward Colorado Springs moving toward the opening ceremonies scheduled tomorrow in Salt Lake City.
How did a retired veterinarian who has lived in Pagosa Springs the last four-plus years get the honor of carrying the Olympic torch?
He was nominated by his family after the International Olympic Committee requested that those who were inspirational to others be recommended for the run.
He was one of 210,000 persons nominated and one of 7,500 picked. His part of the preliminary was to write a 500-word essay on why he should be selected.
In July he was notified he would be one of the runners but did not know where, specifically, he would be carrying the torch.
"Initially," he said, "I was to run in Woodland Park, but my daughter was in charge of brand protection for the event and pulled some strings to get me into the Littleton portion."
There was an ulterior motive for the switch, he said.
"Unbeknownst to me, my entire family was there. She had arranged it with them so that they all would fly into Denver and all be at the point where the van stopped to let me out.
"What a thrill to step out and hear 'Go, Joe, Go!' My kids were there from South Carolina, Illinois and Idaho and my four grandchildren were all waving signs. I can't describe the surge that went through me at that moment."
Adventures are not new to Donavan. He's done the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska, experienced free-fall sky diving, done deep sea diving and explored sunken ships, and has led expeditions into newly discovered caves.
"But nothing, nothing, could ever match the thrill of this," he said. "As I stepped off the van a committeeman announced my name and hometown. Thousands of people listening knew there was a runner from Pa Pahappened to the security personnel, but the 20-something physical fitness teacher who was my support runner told me about half way up 'we can slow down a little now'. When I said 'no', he said 'please slow down a little'."
Donavan, who ran his first marathon in January 2001, and now runs everyday, was asked if he added anything special to the training regimen for his torch run.
"I carried a weight in my right hand to approximate the weight of the torch and get used to the feeling," he said.
Donavan will not be attending the Olympics but, being a skier, will be watching skiing, "especially the downhill events."
Told about reports on national news media that indicated some runners are auctioning their torches and memorabilia on the Internet, he was chagrined.
"I could never do something like that," he said. "It is too symbolic and important an event in my life to let it go. I got to keep the torch I carried and even some of the ash from the flame is there. It will never be removed."
He said another of the highlights was the way the organizers pumped up the participants. "Just before I was handed the torch in front of my family, they began playing 'Chariots of Fire.' That got me ready."
He said a former 1988 Olympian who was on the van with him was so charged by the ceremony and the meaning that she commented to him, "This is more exciting than being in the Olympics themselves."
Donavan was impressed by the torch and its meaning. He described the glass flame guard at the top, the scrollwork which led down to a smooth shaft at the bottom and the point where they met was where the carrier's hand was placed. "It was symbolic of old (the scroll) and new (smooth surface) coming together to help transmit the always burning flame."
It was designed as an "Icicle of fire and ice, a staff to light the fire within."
"Being selected to participate in such an emotional event," Donavan said, "was the chance of a lifetime. The event was not physically challenging, but emotionally, symbolically, it is something those who have not experienced it cannot feel, no matter how hard you try to describe it for them."
As the Olympians parade in for the opening ceremonies, Pagosa Springs residents can get a touch of the feeling their neighbor had as he carried the torch part way to that signal moment.
The clock is ticking on a proposed $3.5 million U.S. 160 resurfacing project through Pagosa Springs this summer.
In fact, the Colorado Department of Transportation has a hurry-up offense in play, trying to put plans together in time to advertise for bids Feb. 28, said Town Administrator Jay Harrington in his report to the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees at their regular meeting Tuesday.
At this point, the project would include resurfacing from the intersection of U.S. 84 and U.S. 160 west to about Elk Park; traffic signals at North and South Pagosa Boulevard and Pinon Drive; right turn lanes at the elementary school and Great West Avenue on Put Hill; in-street lighting at the downtown crosswalks; and curb, gutter and sidewalk in place of the guardrail in the 300 Block of Pagosa Street above the football field adjacent to Town Park.
The intersection of Talisman Drive and U.S. 160 - site of the greatest number of traffic accidents in that area - would be reconfigured to eliminate left turns onto the highway.
Harrington said a right-turn lane at 8th Street remains under discussion.
The town received a draft of the state's plans Monday and immediately sent them off for a brief engineering review. Neither town nor county officials have seen an intergovernmental agreement from the state for the joint project, but following discussions it appears the town and county will each chip in $100,000 toward the traffic signal projects.
Harrington said the town's agreement would also include a fixed fee for curb, gutter and sidewalk work on Pagosa Street. Cost for that is estimated between $30,000-35,000.
CDOT is considering a late April or early May start date provided money is advanced from the legislature as expected. It is estimated the project will take 90-120 days to complete.
"No matter how we slice it, we're going to hit some big tourist weekends," Harrington said. Combine that with the special events calendar that includes Ride the Rockies on June 16 among other things, and construction stacks up into a traveler's nightmare.
In an attempt to alleviate some of that problem, Harrington received the board's approval to push for a nighttime work schedule on the resurfacing, especially from 4th Street to the western boundary of town.
"We don't want it to negatively impact our merchants, our community any more than we have too," Trustee Judy James said. Nighttime hours would help the project in town coincide with closings over Wolf Creek Pass.
County Commissioner Alden Ecker said he received the CDOT plans late Tuesday night and had just begun to review them.
Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District is conducting a meeting Tuesday night to consider public input on the utility's proposed fee structure for the coming year.
The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Extension Building at the county fairgrounds, said Carrie Campbell, general manager of PAWS.
"We wanted the Vista Clubhouse, but it was busy," Campbell said. "That's why we are going to the county building. If, for some reason, the Vista Clubhouse becomes available at the last minute, we'll shift to there. Persons planning to attend the meeting should call our office to get the last-minute details as to where the meeting will be held."
Tuesday's meeting is a response to a December outcry by members of the local building and real estate community who objected that a capital investment fee initiated by PAWS for the coming year penalized that community and would "end building and growth in the area."
In response to the outcry, the PAWS board of directors tabled implementation of the capital investment fee. A committee of citizens representing the community at large was appointed to study the issue and return with recommendations to the PAWS board.
The advisory committee is scheduled to report its findings to the PAWS board Tuesday night at the public meeting. Other public input will be accepted, as well.
At the bottom of the issue, PAWS is seeking means to finance capital improvement projects identified as necessary over the next 20 years. The capital investment fee, which replaced an earlier facilities upgrade fee, was anticipated as a revenue source for part of the money needed for capital improvements.
Income from the proposed fee was anticipated in the 2002 budget, already adopted.
"By delaying this, we've already lost several hundred thousand dollars," Campbell said. "People anticipating that the capital investment fee will be adopted in some form, have paid their fees in advance under the old system."
The proposed new fee differs from the former facilities upgrade fee in at least one major component. The former fee was levied on inclusions or subdivisions accepted by PAWS since 1983. Subdivisions started before that date were not subject to the former fee. The new fee will be levied against all new building and growth, regardless of when the development started or was included within PAWS boundaries.
Development in the formerly excluded areas accounts for most of the hundreds of thousands of dollars lost, Campbell said, as developers rush to get ahead of the anticipated change.
In any case, PAWS is under pressure to act soon in order to provide closure for revenues anticipated for the 2002 budget, and for development of the 20-year growth plan.
To test, or not to test, is the dilemma.
The state and federal governments say yes, and more.
Nationally-known testing foe Alfie Kohn, whose theories have been espoused by some members of the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint, feels schools are being forced to over-test and that there should be less concentration on letter or number grades and more on student achievement.
There are arguments on both sides. The governments say they are paying for public education - though local parents feel they never pay enough - and grade foes feel there is too much emphasis on competitive grading, a system which ranks students by how they score on a test and not, they say, by how much they may have learned.
That sets the stage for the beginning of Colorado Student Assessment Program testing for 2002 in Pagosa Springs schools.
Third grade teachers here are now bracing for three days of reading and writing tests Feb. 19-21 under state mandate.
Six teachers involved with students at the third-grade level have devised ways to expose them, within the regular teaching routines, to the format of the state tests.
Principal Kahle Charles said the teachers are not varying from the normal classroom subject matter, but are preparing assignments on that subject matter in the form used on the state-mandated CSAP tests. For example, many youngsters have not before been exposed to filling in a bubble to provide an answer.
And, while they have done written assignments, they have not until now been exposed to the idea of planning, writing and correcting essay question answers before submitting them.
The teachers, Charles said, are not teaching to the test as some testing opponents have charged, at the expense of the regular curriculum. They are, instead, teaching the curriculum in terms of the test format. "We have a mission to teach to the state standards," he said, "but we're not differing from our regular classroom content."
He said principals he has talked to across the state generally agree the CSAP tests are a decent measure of learning. What they don't agree with, he said, is the way the results are politicized.
The tests, he said, "show up our strengths and can help us pinpoint areas in which we need improvement. It is a fact that testing is mandated and our teachers are working to that mandate within the curriculum, not devoting time to it to the exclusion of other facets of learning."
Intermediate school students will be tested in reading, writing and mathematics beginning March 11. Principal Mark DeVoti said a second week will be used as makeup for those who, for one reason or another, were forced to miss the first week.
"Scores from last year indicated a marked penalty for those schools where absentees were never tested," he said.
DeVoti said fifth and sixth grade teachers are utilizing some of the test questions released by the state from last year's exam. "We know they won't be on the test," he said, "but they will give students an idea of how the testing is done, the format of the questions, and examples of what type of thinking is required to reach an answer."
Every year, he said, 25 percent of the questions on the test are replaced. The ones eliminated are released to the school districts to help them plan for the following year's testing.
In addition, he said, sixth graders will be using afternoon study hall periods as the test dates approach, to practice test-taking procedures. "We don't want the test to come as a big shock to them," he said. "We want them to regard it as just a part of their routine day."
Noting that a good night's sleep and a good breakfast are essential for all students, he said parents are being encouraged to make sure that happens before the tests. In addition, he said, the school will be distributing juice and granola bars to all students to help them keep their stamina up and wits sharp.
Junior high tests
At the junior high level, principal Larry Lister said teachers have been preparing students for tests, "not by teaching to the test but by stressing the state standards."
"I don't like teaching to the test," he said, "but I have no problem with a standards-based education when all students in the state are working with the same basic fundamental goals."
He said eighth graders will be tested March 11 through 14, with science an added topic this year. Seventh graders will take reading, writing and math tests March 12 through 14.
Lister said it is becoming more and more evident that a good reading background is necessary for students at all levels and the junior high this year has been "pushing reading skills, comprehension, and the accompanying analytical reasoning ability developed by that comprehension."
He hopes, next year, to add another teacher to both reduce class size and to enhance the reading skills program with more focus on analysis-based evaluation of subject matter.
High school tests
Bill Esterbrook, high school principal, said preparations for this year's CSAP testing actually began last October when a full curriculum review was conducted to make sure the school was meeting state standards with classroom offerings.
"It has been ongoing preparation since then," he said, "with staff looking at the data we got back last year, identifying the areas where we needed improvement, and incorporating standards upgrades into our lesson plans."
On Tuesday, March 5, and Wednesday, March 13, high school schedules will be on Friday mode except that only seniors will be dismissed early. The balance of students will go to class until 3:20 and the final two periods each day will be devoted to review of English and mathematics for freshmen and sophomores and for juniors to prepare for ACT testing.
Esterbrook said he will send a letter to all parents outlining the schedule so they will be sure their children are present that day.
Actual test dates are March 19 for sophomore mathematics and March 20 for freshman math; April 3 for sophomore reading and April 4 for freshman reading; April 5 for sophomore writing and April 9 for freshman writing; April 10 and 11 for makeups; and April 24 for juniors taking the ACT tests.
Late last month, a University of Colorado study found problems with one of the state tests administered last year, the 10th grade mathematics portion of the Colorado CSAP series mandated by the state legislature.
The CU study, commissioned by the Denver Area School Superintendents' Council, found that 31 percent of the questions on the test involved subjects not learned until the students take geometry, which is usually at the 10th grade level. Thus, the study says, Colorado students were being asked to answer questions on topics they had not yet been exposed to.
The study also said a student would need to rank in the top 10 percent of those taking the pre-ACT test nationwide to just rank proficient on the CSAP math test.
Laura Sheppard, education school dean at CU and the study's lead author, said many 10th graders identified as unsatisfactory on the state CSAP tests actually scored above average on the pre-ACT test. She also said this specific CSAP test was more difficult than either the SAT or ACT which are taken by high school seniors for college entrance.
At the same time, it must be noted, many colleges and universities are no longer requiring either SAT and ACT scores for entry.
While Colorado fourth and eighth graders performed above average on National Assessment of Education Progress tests last year, only 14 percent of Colorado 10th graders scored proficient or advanced on the CSAP test.
In Pagosa Springs, with 132 sophomores tested, the failure rate was 48 percent. The number rated partially proficient, however, actually topped the state average by a point, at 40. The upper level scores were almost exactly the same - 10 percent here and 11 percent statewide rated proficient or better. Both statistical sets showed two percent of those tested achieving an advanced level.
Most observers feel the low scores statewide were directly attributable to the lack of exposure to test topics and put the breakdown at the state level, not locally.
Next: Philosophical collision.
Archuleta County has been contacted by an attorney representing Petrox, Inc., concerning an unpermitted coal methane gas well drilled in the southwestern part of the county, but no one from the firm has applied for a county permit.
Petrox has drilled two gas wells this year and plans to drill more in the Arboles area. The Rifle-based firm has drilling permits from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, but has made no attempt to obtain county drilling permits.
Last year Petrox successfully went through the county Conditional Use Permit process and obtained permission to drill three wells in the Arboles area. This year, the firm has already drilled two wells, anticipates drilling more, and has made no known effort to contact the county.
The county commissioners have known of the drilling for about two weeks. At the regular commissioner meeting two weeks go, they instructed Director of County Development Greg Comstock to write a letter to Petrox informing the company of the county's requirements in the matter.
According to County Attorney Mary Weiss, Comstock's letter informed Petrox that the company had not complied with county regulations and invited them to participate in a preapplication meeting in accordance with county Conditional Use Permit rules. The letter also informed Petrox that it is in violation of county land use regulations and must cease the new activity until county requirements are met, Weiss said.
Weiss said Comstock received a reply Tuesday afternoon through attorney Michael Wozniak, representing Exok, Inc., apparently a partner of Petrox. In a general way, the reply pointed out that Petrox is in full compliance with state regulations, that Petrox's state drilling permit was issued before applicable county regulations were adopted, that the county has not yet adopted oil and gas drilling regulations, that COGCC regulations supersede county regulations, and that the issue is currently under consideration as the subject of a lawsuit.
Weiss is fashioning a response to the Petrox attorney late this week, then leaving on vacation for two weeks. The state drilling permits for the wells in question were issued late last year, well after the county adopted its Conditional Use Permit.
The suit referred to in the Petrox attorney letter has been brought by a number of Colorado counties, including Archuleta County, against COGCC. The suit seeks to overturn the effects of a recent COGCC rule that purports that, when there is conflict, COGCC rules supersede county rules pertaining to oil and gas wells. The counties insist they have jurisdiction over certain surface issues connected with oil and gas drilling and production. The suit has not yet reached the courts.
Water worries, waste
We are halfway through our snow season, and a paltry season it has been. Not once has a severe storm disrupted travel, communications, power transmission. Wolf Creek Pass has not yet been closed by avalanches. Town and county plow crews have rarely been called to their tasks and the traditional berm of snow has not blocked the driveway.
The overall lack of snow is, to many residents, a blessing. In another respect, it is ominous. While the absence of snow has made driving easy and has saved many a back from the stress of shoveling, the deficit of white stuff could catch up with us as the year progresses.
Without a change in local weather patterns we could be in for a season of water problems. The last serious water drought in this part of the world was 1996 and, without a major amount of snow in what remains of winter and in the early spring, we could see that situation again. We live in a semi-arid area, and a shortage of water can be disastrous.
According to reports from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the situation concerning precipitation and average snow-water equivalents is not encouraging.
As of Feb. 6, says the report, Snotel readings at the summit of Wolf Creek Pass showed the snowpack to be at 49 percent of average for snow-water equivalence and 43 percent of average for precipitation.These readings were boosted, no doubt, by the two feet of snow that fell on the Pass last week.
Yesterday, a Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District official reported the water level in two of the district's primary reservoirs is down considerably from the norm, though that official is not yet ready to express alarm.
The water level at Lake Hatcher is down 33 1/2 inches from normal.
The level of water at Stevens Reservoir is off 40 inches from normal.
In the drought year of 1996, the water level at Hatcher was off 48 to 60 inches from normal during the summer months. Water restrictions were put in place during that time.
It is too early to know if restrictions will be necessary this summer. PAWS, which furnishes water to residents of the town and of densely populated areas adjacent to the town in unincorporated Archuleta County, is taking steps to increase its ability to procure and process water. A new San Juan River intake and pumping station is expected to go on line this summer. But, the water must be there in the first place.
Drought or no, with the growth we've experienced in the last decade, more and more attention must be paid to water conservation. Many people move to this part of the country laboring under the illusion that water is abundant and available for lavish use. This is simply not true: water - its availability, it's ownership and its use - has always been and will always be a critical issue in the American West.
Now is the time for area residents to make their gardening and landscaping plans for the upcoming season with conservation in mind. It is also time to analyze other forms of home water use in an attempt to cut down on waste.
Apparently, Punxsutawney Phil, the notorious ground hog in Pennsylvania. emerged Feb. 2 only to see his shadow and scurry back in his burrow, and this brought with it a prediction of six more weeks of winter.
The ground hog is probably as able a forecaster as the meteorological mavens in Denver who consistently miss their calls on weather forecasts for southwest Colorado. Let's hope he is.
We need six weeks of winter, period. And a substantial spring snowfall as well.
And we need to start now to be mindful of how we use our water, this year and in years to come.
Voters to your marks ... get set ... go
A recent Rocky Mountain News article about the ongoing mayor's race in Dallas, Texas, reminded me of Archuleta County's August 2000 primary election.
The article reported that Laura Miller, Tom Dunning and Domingo Garcia finished as the top three vote-getters in the race for mayor. Neither of them received a majority of the total number of votes cast. Therefore a run-off election between Miller and Dunning, the top two vote-getters, will be held later this month.
It made me wonder about the August 2000 primary. With four Republican candidates vying for the nomination in District 1, and five others seeking the nomination in District 2, had a number of Pagosans mistakenly thought they would wait out voting in the primary and then select from a narrowed field in a run-off election?
No one knows. All that's known is that a strong majority of the registered Republican voters didn't vote in the August 2000 primary race for county commissioner.
The county records show that 3,930 registered Republicans were eligible to vote in the August 2000 primary. Only 1,649 of them (41 percent) voted. Neither winning candidate received a majority of the votes cast - in Colorado it's not necessary to gain a majority of the votes cast to win the election.
The winning Republican candidates in the county's 2000 primary election, Alden Ecker and Bill Downey, in accordance with Colorado's election laws, won their party's nomination for county commissioner by 40 percent and 31 percent of the votes cast respectively in their races.
Since the Democrats failed to field a candidate for District 1 in the general election, Downey ran unopposed. In effect, he was elected commissioner of District 1 thanks to the 503 votes he received in the primary election. The other 1,146 votes cast in the District 1 primary race were divided between four other contestants (Nan Rowe, 444; Mike Branch, 338; Julia Donoho, 281; Pat Horning, 83).
By somewhat the same token, Alden Ecker, in effect was elected commissioner of District 2 by winning the Republican primary election. In the District 2 race on the Republicans' side, Ecker received 665 votes. The other 981 went to his opponents (Ken Fox, 397; Ralph Goulds, 359; Jimmy Willingham, 137; John Feazel, 85).
This enabled Ecker to run against the local Democratic Party's token candidate in the general election.
The records show that 4,920 of the 7,700 registered voters voted in the general election. Ecker received 3,285 votes. His Democrat opponent received 1,053 votes. There were 582 ballots on which the electors voted for neither candidate.
From time to time folks ask me what my responsibilities are as editor and publisher of the SUN. Well, on one hand, as editor I take the blame for any errors or mistakes that are published in the SUN. For folks who feel compelled to holler, I'm the one who listens to folks who yell. On the other hand, as publisher I am responsible for establishing the policies that determine what is published and what isn't published in the SUN. One of these policies addresses letters to the editor that are received during an election year.
Readers are welcome to submit letters - of 500 words or less - that present their perceived pros and cons regarding referendum or initiative questions that will appear on the ballot.
Letters to the editor will not be published if they address the perceived pros and cons of candidates whose names will appear on the ballot. This policy was established many years ago due to letter writers who submitted smear letters for the Thursday edition that immediately preceded the polls opening on the following Tuesday. Such letters left no chance for the attacked candidates or their supporters to answer with a letter of response. However, incumbents who might be seeking re-election are already elected public servants. Therefore their performance of duty is accountable to the scrutiny of their constituents.
I wish the best of luck to Miller and Dunning in their race to be mayor of Dallas. I wish the same to Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County during the 2002 elections.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
25 Years Ago
Taken from SUN files of February 3, 1977
A bond election will be held February 22 by the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District. The district is asking voters to approve a bond issue of up to $135,000 to match Forest Service and state funds to upgrade the system to meet new federal regulations on sewage disposal.
At the present time the snowpack water content on the high elevation watersheds is under 30% of normal. This was revealed last week when Soil Conservation Service employees ran the end of January snow measurements. In most cases snow depths were about half of normal and water content one fourth for this time of year.
Plans are going ahead for the big winter carnival, Frosty Frolics. Snow depths are worrying the committee but members are hoping for more snow before the big event.
50 Years Ago
Taken from SUN files of February 8, 1952
The Game and Fish Department last week brought in a Sno-Cat for use in this area in connection with big game feeding and control. Game Warden Chas. Vavak in company with a game dept. pilot employee flew over all of this area checking game and feed conditions the first of the week. All game that were seen from the plane seemed to be in good shape for this time of the year and they found no large bunches that were isolated from any kind of feed.
The Town Board met on Monday night for their routing business session. The regular business matters were taken care of and a discussion of finances followed. Due to the large amount spent for snow plowing and on the water works, activities will be necessarily curtailed for the coming month or so.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of February 11, 1927
Norman, oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Hansen, swallowed a large copper rivet yesterday afternoon and was taken to Durango last night by his parents. All returned home this morning, the physician concluding to not remove the rivet at the present time.
Men from the Schoonover sawmill have been hauling baled hay from the Juanita station to the mill the past week. Talk about muddy roads!
Barnett and Huling, arrivals Monday from Denver and department of justice agents, at once commenced an investigation of the affairs of the First National Bank of Pagosa Springs, which closed its doors on March 1, 1926. Whether criminal prosecutions will follow their investigation has not been disclosed.
91 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era of February 3, 1911
The collection of water rentals for the past year or two have not been what they should be owing to a disposition on the part of the officials to not crowd anyone. But that system results in much loss to the town and hereafter the law will be rigidly enforced. Water rents must be paid when due or the delinquents will get no more water from the town system.
Just what we supposed - the reformers don't want any women on the town council - all the reformers want of the women in a political way is the woman vote to further the interests of the reformers. The women taxpayers or those whose husbands are taxpayers in the town should get together, nominate a ticket of business women and make an honest effort to elect it.
The Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department is changing hands.
Doug Call, the director, has resigned.
"The time I've spent here has been enjoyable," Call said. "The people have been fun to work with - the school administrators - people who have been here the eight years I've been here."
Jay Harrington, town administrator, praised Call for doing an excellent job in certain areas of the parks and recreation department at the regular board of trustees meeting Tuesday, adding that it was simply a good time for the department to take a little different track.
In an earlier interview, Call said some major expansion had taken place during his term as parks and recreation director, most notably in the number of local parks.
"When I first started, Town Park was basically the only park used," he said. "We've expanded from one or two parks to six or seven."
He gave special note to South Pagosa Park on South 8th Street, once just a drainage area.
"The board members, the volunteers, they helped raise the money to get that off the ground."
On the recreation side, the department grew from organizing three sports - baseball, basketball and volleyball - to a year-round calendar of events for both youth and adults.
Staff has also increased over the past eight years. Call said the department consisted of one when he started, now there are four full-time employees, including the director's position, plus several seasonal employees.
Call, who holds an undergraduate degree in youth leadership and an advanced degree in outdoor recreation added, "The biggest thing I'll miss is riding Reservoir Hill at lunch. I guess I can still do it, but it won't be right out my back door."
His last day is Friday.
Call's immediate future includes a trip to Salt Lake City for the Olympics and a chance to visit family. He has tickets to hockey, cross country, and biathlon events. Beyond that, he said, plans are to remain in Pagosa Springs at least through the summer.
To make the changeover complete, Summer Lemon, recreation supervisor, is leaving to take a new job in Colorado Springs. She will be replaced by Nancy Dickhoff. Ty Davidson, a former seasonal employee, has been hired as the new parks maintenance employee.
The town has begun running advertisements to fill the director's position. The application deadline is Feb. 22.
Before I discuss this last week's activities at the State Capitol, I need to correct an impression I might have left from last week's column.
I mentioned that I was working with Rep. Mark Larson on the Surface Damages bill having to do with oil and gas drilling and surface owners. I am the Senate sponsor and Mark is the House sponsor. But this is a House Bill and Rep. Larson has done most of the work so far on this bill and it has been substantial. He has had to re-write this bill and research this issue in depth. This is not an easy position for Mark to take and, in my opinion, he is to be commended for his tireless work on this issue. My hat is off to him.
Things started off with a rush. I have two bills dealing with the insurance industry and their customers. The PIP bill (Personal Injury Protection sections of your car insurance) is an attempt to allow persons who are injured to use some of their coverage to reimburse them for living expenses while they are receiving re-training. Being able to receive money for living expenses while being retrained makes all kinds of sense. This bill allows persons injured to receive money from their insurance company to pay for living expense while they go to school or get other training so they can get back to a productive life. Tim LaFrance from Durango came up and testified as well as a brave lady from Boulder who had been severely injured in a car crash south of Cortez two years ago. The bill was passed with a surprising majority (5 to 2) out of the Senate Business, Labor and Finance Committee. We are hopeful that it has equal support in the House.
The second bill, the Prompt Pay bill, is still being researched by all affected by the bill. It is my desire not to impose burdens on insurance companies that are already in compliance with the provisions of this bill. We are trying to make slow paying companies accelerate their processing of claims. Committee will hear this bill in coming weeks and I will keep you informed of its progress.
My bill to extend the Southern Ute Air Quality Commission and create a residency requirement for those members who serve on the commission passed the Senate Ag Committee but by a party line vote. The pressure was on by the Governor's office to stop my bills and for a variety of petty reasons; the lobbyists for the Colorado Petroleum Association were out in force against the bill. Ironically one of their arguments focused on the fact that they (the oil and gas people) were not participants in the drafting of this bill. It is ironic because those fee owners who live within the reservation boundaries were not included in drafting the bill that set up the commission in the first place. The petroleum industry's position against my bill was a signal for the Republicans to vote no in spite of Leonard Burch's, Southern Ute chairman's, testimony for the bill as well as support from those fee owners who live within the reservation. It did pass but on a party line vote of 5 to 4. Ah, politics!
We saw a number of District 6 people in Denver this week. Ken Francis is here today to applaud the historic preservation district designation of the Red Mountain Pass area. We saw and talked to Chairman Burch, Mr. Sam W. Maynes, several people attending the Farm Bureau meetings - Phyllis Snyder from Cortez and Lynn Harvey from Yellowjacket. Aaron Tucson from Durango was here. We said hi to Les Mergelman from Olathe and Becky Brown with the Delta Federal Credit Union. Jim Sower with Pine River Valley Bank in Bayfield had breakfast with me. I enjoy seeing people from our district - please stop by if you are here.
Since most of this week was consumed on mundane committee meetings, I will report about a most interesting meeting I attended Friday regarding higher education in our region.
The Blue Ribbon Panel on Higher Education was created by executive order to study the many higher education governing boards (eight of them) and look for efficiencies not currently enjoyed. The panel has met many times and is formulating its mandated report to the Governor due in December.
Durangoan Ron Pettigrew, through his position as a member of the State Board of Agriculture, was appointed to the Blue Ribbon Panel. The panel's Friday afternoon meeting proved very interesting. The first topic of discussion was the recommendation that certain institutions be established as Regional Education Providers. This designation is given to those four-year schools that serve geographic locations where higher education options may be limited or fragmented. The intent is to assure that all Colorado residents are afforded the opportunity to attend a variety of post-secondary programs. These Regional Education Providers, the report says, "shall deliver or enter into agreements with any other college or university to broker programs for delivery in its designated areas."
The focus here is that all FTE (full time equivalent) generating programs will come under the authority of the Regional Education Provider and that all cash programs will be delivered by whomever wishes to deliver them, coordinated through the Provider. Two year and technical vocational authority is also within the provider mission. Fort Lewis College is one of the designated Regional Providers.
The topic of index windows, the universal admission selectivity measurement, drew a lot of discussion, especially from those schools that have been violating the allowed 20 percent window. Basically, what this means is that many larger institutions are accepting students who have not met the index requirements to attend that school. The Colorado Commission on Higher Education allows a 20-percent deviation or "window" from this standard but many schools have created special programs where students can attend a school, not be counted as a student, and still potentially transfer into that same school after a certain grade point is met. This practice works counter to the index system and harms lower tier school enrollment. The Blue Ribbon Panel wants to close this loophole.
The most interesting topic, at least from Southwestern Colorado's perspective, was the discussion of making the University of Southern Colorado (USC) a branch of Colorado State University and calling it "CSU - Pueblo." The panel approved this change.
The question now becomes, "What about Fort Lewis College?" If USC becomes CSU - Pueblo, will there be a push to make our beloved FLC become CSU - Durango? Or will there be a push to put Fort Lewis into the State College System with Mesa State, Western State and Adams State Colleges, the other designated Regional Providers? With Metro State College becoming an independent school (thus leaving the State College System), that leaves a large hole in that system many feel Fort Lewis College would fill nicely. Neither of these options seem acceptable. Ron Pettigrew requested that the Blue Ribbon Panel come to Durango and hold a meeting to discuss Fort Lewis College's options. I weighed in and they agreed. I have steadfastly advocated that Fort Lewis College should become independent of any system. And since the CSU - Pueblo development, maintaining any autonomy within the CSU system becomes increasingly difficult.
The Blue Ribbon Panel has tentatively set the evening of Feb. 20 as the meeting date at Fort Lewis. This meeting will potentially determine the future of Fort Lewis College. Please plan on attending.
Pagosa Country folks looking for snow over the next week better turn on their television sets. The chance for snow locally is almost nil, according to Gary Chancy, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
A high pressure trough extending from San Diego to northeastern Montana is controlling weather patterns in the West, according to Chancy. That high pressure trough will probably remain through Tuesday, eliminating any chance for moisture in Pagosa Country.
A weak low will slip across the West late Tuesday. Any precipitation from the front will likely be far to the north of the Four Corners area.
"It looks like a low pressure area containing a lot of moisture will be developing off of the Northern California coast a week from Saturday," Chancy said. "It remains to be seen where it will go and what will happen. That looks like the first chance for a break in the current weather pattern."
High temperatures should be in or around 40 degrees this coming week, Chancy said, with low temperatures in the teens.
Meanwhile, even with the help of 3.5 inches of snow Jan. 30, snowfall measured in Pagosa Springs for the month amounted to only 3.75 inches, far below the long-time average of 27.1 inches.
High temperatures last week ranged between 36 and 29 degrees with an average high temperature of an above freezing 33 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between minus 1 and 10 degrees with an average low temperature of a chilly 5 degrees.
A proposed bed and breakfast in Mesa Heights received a thumbs down from the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.
Three residents spoke in favor of denial of the conditional use permit.
"I'm wearing two hats on this proposal," Rice Reavis, a resident of the area and chairman of the Pagosa Springs Planning Commission, said. "I bought there because it was a residential area. I would like it to stay that way. As a planning commission member I think zoning allows us to live in a neighborhood with a character we like. If we allow this we undermine that trust in zoning. I don't think zoning should be changed in the face of strong opposition."
Paul Nobles, who requested the permit, said with a day care business operating in the area, the residential character of the neighborhood had already been compromised.
"I didn't mean to cause an uproar," Nobles said. "It is residential, but there is a day care center there. It seems very unfair to me that we can have a baby nursery there, and I can't have a bed and breakfast. I would have two cars maximum in the driveway, plus my car in the garage, so traffic wouldn't be a problem."
Chris Bentley, town planner, said the Conditional Use Permit process allowed the board to consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis. According to town records, when the day care center applied for its permit, demand exceeded the supply of childcare facilities.
"It was seen as a family support service," she said. The neighbors also voiced no strong opposition to the child care facility.
The trustees voted unanimously to deny the approval with one member abstaining.
The vote ended a discussion that began in November when Nobles first brought a request for a conditional use permit to the town planning commission.
The commission received seven comments, representing 13 individuals, in opposition to Noble's proposal. Most concerns centered on neighborhood compatibility and increased traffic. The commission tabled discussion at that time to give Nobles the opportunity to talk with some neighbors about their concerns.
Bentley told the trustees since then no one had called to retract their concerns, or to speak in favor of permitting the bed and breakfast. In fact, people called to reiterate their original positions.
With just three commissioners present at the January meeting of the planning commission, a motion to recommend denial of the permit failed for lack of a second. The proposal then came before the trustees for final approval or denial without a recommendation from the planning commission.
In other business the trustees:
approved a resolution to set the wording of three election questions that would, if approved by voters, transfer the debt of the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District to the Town of Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District. Dissolving the sanitation district into a general improvement district and making it part of the town was given the go-ahead by voters in 2000, but the question designed to transfer the debt failed.
Jay Harrington, town administrator, said it is important for town residents and property owners to understand that approval of the three questions equals a transfer of debt only, not new taxes. However, wording on the questions required by the state muddies the water for anyone trying to decipher the meaning.
"It's an incredibly complicated way to remove a layer of government," Harrington said, "but it's the only way under current state law"
approved a conditional use permit submitted by Francine Morris for a new 600-square foot vacation cabin in the 200 Block of San Juan Street on a 5-1 vote. Trustee Rick Kiister voted no on the project, voicing concerns on the size of the proposed structure during discussion.
"I hate to see something built now and added on here, added on there," he said, adding that the resulting structure is usually less than desirable.
A conditional use permit was required because the area is zoned D1-Downtown Business and Lodging. That zoning designation includes no minimum size requirements.
Approval was recommended by the planning commission
discussed the Ace Hardware Master Sign Program approved by the planning commission on Jan. 22. The plan includes three separate businesses on five parcels of land. A total of 23 existing or proposed signs would cover 912 square feet, bringing them under the maximum allowed.
The biggest addition in the plan is a proposed free-standing sign to be positioned about three-quarters of the way between the back of the main Ace Hardware building and the property line.
Mark Garcia, town building administrator, said creating the master plan provided consistency, documentation of existing signage, cleaned up paperwork and laid out future plans, a process that more businesses are expected to undertake because changes to the sign ordinance adopted last spring.
The last day to apply for an absentee ballot for the town election is March 28. Requests for an absentee ballot may be obtained at the Town Clerk's office. Last week's town election story on Page 1A contained the wrong date.
Considerable excitement has been stirred up by local elections over the past few years in Archuleta County. The 2000 election was especially memorable because 11 candidates entered the race for two county commissioner positions.
This election year may be equally exciting. In connection with this year's election, Monday is the last day for a qualified voter to affiliate with a political party in order to vote in that party's April 9 precinct caucus.
Those who want to get elected to county office must choose from among three routes: party caucuses, petitions, or write-ins. Even write-ins must complete petitions. All of the routes to candidacy fall under the purview of June Madrid, the county clerk and election official. Anyone seeking county office should check with Madrid as a beginning step. She has all of the necessary forms. Each route has its own deadlines.
The caucus route has been the method of choice for most candidates for county office. During the preceding election, several candidates for county commissioner chose to place their names on the primary ballot through the petition process.
Monday, Feb. 11, is but one of the many deadlines connected with the Nov. 5 general election. Many of those deadlines are connected with the caucus process.
Across the nation, party precinct caucuses are an integral part of the process for political aspirants who hope to have their names on the Nov. 5 ballot. It is through the party precinct caucuses and party county general assemblies that candidates gain endorsement from the county party machinery of their choice.
Put another way, anyone who wants to have their name placed on the Aug. 13 primary ballot as a Republican or Democrat with party endorsement must go through the Republican or Democrat party caucus and county general assembly procedure.
Anyone registered as a Republican or Democrat in Archuleta County may attend and vote in that party's precinct caucus. Caucuses and county assemblies are run by county party officers.
Important dates connected with the local election process are:
Feb. 11 - Last day to affiliate with a political party in order to vote in the precinct caucus
April 9 - Precinct caucus day
April 19-May 9 - First-last days to hold county assemblies
June 13 - Last day a candidate can withdraw from the primary election and the party can fill the vacancy
June 19 - Last date for the designated election official to certify ballot content to the county clerk
July 1-July 7 - Notification of lot drawings for ballot position for those who appear on the 2002 general election ballot
July 12 - Ballots for primary election must be printed and in possession of designated election official
July 15 - Last day to register to vote in the primary election
July 15 - Last day to change or withdraw from major political party affiliation; registered unaffiliated voters may declare a major party affiliation at the polls for the primary election
Aug. 3 - Early voting begins at the early voter's polling place for the primary election. Aug. 9 is the last day for voting at this place
Aug. 13 - Primary election
Sept. 5 - Last day a candidate can withdraw from the general election
Oct. 4 - Ballots for the general election must be printed and in possession of the election official
Oc. 21 - Early voting begins at the voter's polling place for the general election. Nov. 1 is the last day for early voting at this place
Nov. 5 - General election.
Chuck Allen, a Pagosa Springs policeman, has filed an affidavit with the Archuleta County Clerk affirming his intention to oppose incumbent Tom Richards for the county sheriff position. Allen is a Republican.
"It's time for a change," Allen said when explaining why he wants to be sheriff. "With the growth of the county, law enforcement needs to be more proactive instead of reactive."
Proactive measures Allen promises to make include "more patrols in the subdivisions," and "we will be more aggressive on apprehensions and prosecutions."
Allen cites his many years of law enforcement training and experience as proof that he is qualified for the position.
"I have 25 years of police experience in Colorado," Allen said, "that includes over 1,000 hours of training in personnel management, legal risk management, advanced major crimes investigation, supervisor liability issues, computer training, drug interdiction, hostage negotiation, liquor license processing, field training, arrest control, budget and grant writing, equipment ordering and maintenance, and more."
Allen has been in Pagosa Springs since 1995, serving at one time as captain in charge of investigations and now as Patrol Captain.
"I do most of the purchasing for department equipment," Allen said. "The department has always come in under budget. Since 1995, the department crime clearance rate has been between 60 and 64 percent. The national average is 14 percent."
Allen claims to be a strong advocate of community policing, another name for getting citizens involved.
"I believe in listening to problems and working out solutions," Allen said. "I attend training and teach in areas of self defense, arrest control, felony traffic stops, gun retention and take-aways, hunter education, gun safety, and shooting instruction. I look forward to new challenges and work hard at correcting problems."
A professed believer that he should be involved in every aspect of the department, Allen is a member of the Pagosa Fire Protection District board of directors. "
A new policy governing appointments to county boards was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners while meeting in regular session Tuesday.
Triggering the adoption was the perceived need to establish uniformity in the appointment process among the many boards.
The new policy points out what is already contained in state law: that all appointed county boards are extensions of the county governing body and are therefore subject to the same open meeting and freedom of information laws as the county commission.
As a beginning basis, the policy asserts that vacancies occur when a new board, committee, or commission is created, the term of an incumbent expires, or an incumbent leaves a position. When a term is unfulfilled, the BOCC shall declare a vacancy.
When a vacancy on any board occurs, it shall be the duty of the commissioners to post the vacancy and advertise in a newspaper of local circulation for a replacement a minimum of one week before any incumbent or new candidate is appointed.
Individuals seeking consideration for appointment shall complete and return a county appointment application to the commissioners' office.
The application process will include a background check for positions that involve children or public funds.
Once appointed, an incumbent is expected to attend meetings regularly. The BOCC can terminate the appointment if a member attends fewer than 75 percent of scheduled meetings during a year. Excused absences may be possible under the policy.
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
Approved the expenditure of $5,000 to help the San Juan Basin Recycling Association purchase a $90,000 glass crusher for the Durango recycling center. Once the center is operating, perhaps in September, white and green glass will be accepted for recycling. Materials recycled in Pagosa Springs are trucked to the Durango center
Appointed Debra Zenz to the 15-member county fair board
Approved a letter supporting the county emergency management services grant application for funding to purchase a new ambulance
Approved the Highway User Tax Fund annual mileage report
Approved liquor license renewals for Loredana's Restaurant and the Greenhouse Restaurant.
Like many Pagosans, the Kamraths left Colorado over Christmas to see family - only the gifts they received included a one-of-a-kind volunteer opportunity.
For one day, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Pagosa Springs couple joined the "Petal Pushers," a group of volunteers who help decorate the The Lutheran Hour's float for the 113th Parade of Roses in Pasadena.
The warehouse building the couple worked in housed 12 floats, aisles and aisles of flowers and hundreds of decorators, 30 per float, operating on three 8-hour shifts for the final days and nights before the parade.
A load of extra volunteers actually arrived to work on the Lutheran Hour float, sponsored by the Lutheran Laymen, so the Kamraths, plus their daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, found themselves farmed out to the American Society of Civil Engineers' entry - Building a Better World. The float's design modeled a futuristic city on one side and many of the world's most recognizable structures on the other, including the Sydney Opera House, the Great Wall of China and an Egyptian pyramid. The Golden Gate bridge connected it all together.
"They needed help," Rev. Bob Kamrath said, "so they hired us away and then paid the Lutheran Hour for our services."
Two women organized the "Building a Better World" recruits, Doris Kamrath said. To help, the Kamraths cut flowers, glued flowers and spent some time in detailed work, affixing individual leaves for special affect. For part of the day, Doris was assigned to cover one of the panels of the lighthouse at the front of the float with red carnation petals.
"The slowest job on there is gluing, petal by petal," Bob said. "You have to lay them on there like shingles on a roof. You don't just throw them on - it's one at a time."
It's painstaking work that begins again almost as soon as it ends.
"They've started right now for next year's parade," he said.
Steel frames are built and road-tested. Wire-mesh and other materials are added to give the forms their shape, and then the nonperishable vegetable material, seeds, peas, beans, etc. is applied. For instance, the entire Golden Gate Bridge was covered in orange lentils. Throughout this process, the floats are judged.
By the time the Kamraths arrived, the final days, only the perishable flowers, including thousands of roses in individual vials, remained. Rules were exacting.
"You could not leave any of the background show," she said. And every kind of growing thing is used to create the desired color and texture. According to the official program, creating the floats requires 600 tons of steel, 5,000 gallons of glue and 18 million flowers.
"It was mind-boggling all the stuff that went into it," Doris said.
Roses of every color were placed on the floats on Dec. 30 as buds, timed to reach full bloom by New Year's Day. Broccoli was used to represent background trees around a large dam on the engineer's float. Seaweed provided the black outlines. White was represented by rice, or coconut peels.
"Oh, it smelled so good in there," Doris, a self-proclaimed, "flower nut from way back," said of the huge warehouse that provided cover for a giant pink car, several dinosaurs, oversized candles and a fisherman catching "the big one."
"We're both gardeners," Bob Kamrath said. "She's the aesthetic gardener and I'm the practical one."
The couple signed-up for the program almost a year ago when their daughter and son-in-law moved to Lancaster, Calif.
"He is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church," Bob said. "They have a group of 30 who belong to the Petal Pushers." A pair of green sweatshirts were their tickets "backstage."
For them, the opportunity was really one more way to support the Lutheran Hour.
"We thought this would give us the opportunity to give not just with prayers and financial aid, but hands-on," he said. The Lutheran Laymen have been building a float for the parade for 52 years running.
And when their hard work was done, the Kamraths relaxed a little at their daughter's home.
"We sat in their living room and taped the whole thing," Bob said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Petal Pushers should call the Kamraths at 264-6279.
Register for caucus
A smile, a wink, a great platform thanks for reminding us to do our homework in this critical election year.
My search turned up Commissioner Crabtree's platform from 1998 - something readers might use in their evaluations. Goals: Maintenance of all roads; Expand recycling program; Economic development while maintaining the character of the county; Affordable housing; Retaining the beauty of the area through sound ecological management; To include all areas of the county in decision making.
To date, Crabtree's only challenger is Mamie Lynch, Archuleta County Commissioner from 1989-1993. How convenient to review her goals and successes, too, as we ask around, and study past public records and SUN accounts.
Might the SUN run a series of articles to refresh our memories on the reported community contributions these candidates have made?
November may seem a ways off, but the "real" voting process begins in choices made in the next few days. If one is unregistered, unaffiliated, or registered in parties other than Republican or Democrat, consider affiliating with one of these two parties, or, if not registered in the party offering the candidates you most want to see elected - switch parties, no later than Mon., Feb. 11, (drop-dead date), to vote in the caucus.
The caucus is where citizens can influence which candidates make it to the primaries, how likely they'll be to make it to the general election, and, sometimes even determine the outcome of the race.
Our seemingly complicated caucus system shouldn't scare voters off; it's pretty simple once they understand how to "play" the voting game in Archuleta County. There are four key voting events - the caucus, county assemblies, primaries, and general election.
Let's focus on the all-important April 9 caucus:
Here's where we vote for delegates, the chosen ones who will cast votes at the county assembly to determine who will be on the primary ballots. Generally, the candidates for offices have asked these people to run as delegates, because they are likely to vote for them at the assembly. The citizen goal is to elect delegates we think will probably cast their vote for our chosen candidate when they go to the county assembly
To vote at either the Democratic or Republican caucuses, we must affiliate with a party no later than Feb. 11 and remain in the party until after the April 9 caucus. After that we are free to stay in the party until after the Aug. 13 primaries, or can even switch to the other party by July 15, if their primary action is more compelling. Affiliation is quickly accomplished at the county clerk's office.
In past years, many Archuletans affiliated with the Republican Party, as it was the only way to fully participate with our votes. This year, a revived Democratic Party offers the excitement of a two-party race of choices. That means we need to make some early decisions about which caucus party we want to go to. So, get moving, and let's party.
(Editors note: The suggestions made in last week's editorial pertain to all incumbents and challengers in upcoming local and state races.)
Calling all voters
I want to congratulate Burke Stancill and his committee for their efforts in bringing back to life a second political party to the county. Let us hope this will mean additional choices for county voters.
For local issues and offices however it is not the party that counts, it is the candidate. With the recent death of John Love a lot of history has been recalled of a time when the voters of Colorado crossed party lines to elect a three-term Governor who gave the state ten years of the most progress in recent history. This did not just happen by accident. I was a delegate to the State Assembly when Love was nominated. It required a lot of work by many people to get the nomination of a "moderate" from the then-emerging conservative "Goldwater" administration of the Republican Party.
On local county matters and candidates it does not matter if party lines get blurred, and concerned voters must pick the candidate they trust and do what they must to assure nomination. If the large body of registered Independents want a voice then a party registration is still open until Feb. 11.
The same is true for those who need to switch to support their candidate. This is a time in Archuleta County when county government is a major issue and concerned voters must come forth.
A response to "Worst nightmare" by Jeannie McIntyre.
I am also a property owner and operate a small business in Aspen Springs. That letter insults me, our community leadership, individuals and many fine families of Aspen Springs.
I have served my country, community and help many individuals, many times dealing with lawless lowlifes, renegades and have had friends murdered by them. My opposition to the drug dealers and pot growers is deadly.
As a citizen and federal employee (retired) I have assisted law enforcement in arrest and conviction of some criminals. I have been insulted, spit at, hit, assaulted and shot.
What has Jeannie McIntyre done for our country, community to help our community of Aspen Springs? When our local store owner and the community bought food for our locals here in Aspen Springs during the holidays where was Jeannie? There are many individuals here working with the fire, law enforcement and our community. Where is Jeannie? I suspect her property value is the priority in her letter, not our community?
This is still a rural area. Come on down to my local business and meet your neighbors. Some of those "third world wannabe or a haven for renegades and lawless lowlifes" may come also. We can have a community meeting. Your insults and inflammatory letter will solve nothing.
Here is an example of our young people from Aspen Springs we could all learn from. They went public and asked the following question for an English project: 1) How does your personal freedom differ from the freedoms you are given by your country? 2) Is the freedom your government tells you that you have true? 3) What is your definition of freedom? They were Leslie Shepard, age 16, and Jessica Stevens, age 15. Powerful questions from perhaps our future leaders of America.
W. L. Clifford/Basnett Sr.
Call for fairness
After reading the first paragraph, your staff will probably have to administer smelling salts to your dazed, semiconscious body. After 29 years, the retired manager and first employee of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District has decided to write a letter to the editor. This decision was not easy, but the need to dispel some popular misconceptions in the local rumor mill is overwhelming. In order to conserve words, I offer the following in semi-outline form:
1. The December 2001 public hearing on the Capital Investment Fee (CIF) was attended by mostly contractors, realtors and developers expressing their displeasure with the imposition of a fee on all new construction which would help offset present and future capital costs of water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plants, reservoirs, etc.
2. It has been suggested during and after the hearing that an alternative to the CIF would be to increase service charges to the point where new growth could be supported. Should the board of directors be convinced that this is the means by which new growth should be financed, then service charges could increase anywhere from 50 percent to 200 percent.
3. The concept of a CIF-type fee has been under consideration for at least seven years because total reliance on the sale of bonds to fund new growth is not the answer. Bond issues will be necessary in the immediate future, until monies are accumulated in the CIF fund. As monies are available in the CIF fund, they will be used to help pay the principle and interest on some current and future bond issues.
4. Monies derived from the CIF will be used for capital improvement projects such as water and wastewater treatment plants, construction of reservoirs, storage tanks, etc. These will be needed because of new construction no matter where it occurs, within the district boundaries.
5. There seems to be a preoccupation about who has the best crystal ball to determine the population growth over the next 20 years. The bottom line is that it does not make any difference. For instance, if growth accelerates, so does the CIF fund and capital projects will be done sooner. If growth slows, then the CIF fund grows at a slower rate and capital projects will not be needed until some future time when there is a need.
In closing, the district is not here for a select few, but for everyone. So let's practice some community fairness in structuring rates.
Jack B. DeLange
In his State of the Union address, the President announced that he wants to raise the military budget to $48 billion (the largest defense budget in 20 years) to fight the war on terrorism. He has lumped into this massive increase everything from smart bombs to star wars. As an ex-Navy man, I agree that we need well planned defense spending and we need to use common sense.
The question is, "Will all of this spending make us any safer." We need to ask, "Why are these people trying to kill Americans?" There is no "right" side in the Arab-Israeli conflict, however the unending and to some extent blind support of Israel against the Palestinians is a real issue that makes the United States look hypocritical and anti-Arab. Israel is the historic aggressor because they have occupied Palestinian territory and expanded settlements since the 1967 war. Violence on either side is not the solution. Israel should return to its 1967 borders and a defensible border between Israel and Palestine should be created. Jerusalem should be an international city administered by the UN or a neutral entity.
The United States has to be a leader and not a bully. There is not a military solution to every international problem. The United States has a history of supporting dictators and non-democratically elected leaders who support our oil, natural resources, or trade interests even if they are not fair to their own people. Somosa in Nicaragua, Pinochet in Chile and the Shah of Iran who was ousted by Islamic militants are examples. Colin Powell is an excellent Secretary of State, but the Bush administration does not seem to value his counsel. We must be willing to spend significant sums of money on foreign aid and the peaceful development of third world countries. If you want Peace, work for Justice.
President Eisenhower in his farewell address to Congress warned Americans that military expenditures come at a hidden price. "Every plane, every bomb, every missile takes away food, education, housing, health care and other opportunities from our citizens and those of other countries." The arms race is truly a race to nowhere. Deficit spending pits the American people against the federal government in the effort to borrow money. Higher interest rates will not help us get our economy back on track.
If any of this makes sense I would ask your readers to contact their elected officials who you list weekly in the paper and give their opinion. It is our world and our economy. Our foreign, domestic and defense policies should make economic and common sense.
Raymond P. Finney
In regard to Jeanine McIntyre's letter "Worst Nightmare," I to, have standards that I judge people by. In the category of compassionate human being, in my opinion, you have failed miserably.
Since our community is the cause of so much pain and unhappiness for you, may I suggest that you find residence in a community that is more to your standards.
Why am I not surprised that an oil and gas company began drilling without a county permit and cut across one of our county roads - red tag or green tag? - without permission? I am not surprised because two of our county commissioners have been doing cartwheels to help this industry ever since they received an unsigned and unofficial FAX from an oil and gas company many months ago.
Upon receipt of this strange fax, they immediately set about trying to speed up the drilling. They wanted to skip the planning department review. They wanted to get around the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process. And they wanted to do all this without any information, data, scrutiny or official application. So it should come as no surprise to anybody when an oil and gas company - or anybody else - would then think it is O.K. to ignore our county government. After all, Mr. "Two Vote" and Mr. "Yes Man" for a long time now have been bending over backward to ignore our laws, skip our processes and procedures and delete our rules and regulations. In fact, this is in sync with several other industrial enterprises in our county over the last few years. Pollution - who cares? Appropriate planning - who cares? Following existing rules and regulations - why? Long term consequences - never thought about them. Let's just follow "Chairman's Rules" and do whatever we want at the moment and get these things moving. The next generation can clean up the mess.
Now what I am surprised about is how with "two votes" we still have no community plan, no real plan for county roads, no updated dog laws, a budget that can't be deciphered, and a county government that can not even help Ms. Jeanine McIntyre (letter to the editor Jan. 31) get the laws already on the books enforced. But we can skip, bend and break laws when we feel the need. Sounds like some good candidates for the Enron Board of Directors.
On Jan. 30, our family left our home in Texas to travel to Pagosa Springs for a much-anticipated ski trip. For over ten years, we have considered your wonderful town our favorite vacation spot, summer, spring and winter. We have always thought the people of Pagosa were a huge part of what made the town so special and the acts of four wonderful people last week only proved our thinking to be true.
As we made our way to Pagosa Springs on U.S. 84 last Wednesday evening, our vehicle broke down and we were stranded without any way of calling for assistance. A kind gentleman in a white pickup stopped and offered to call a tow truck for us when he got home. I'm sorry that we did not get his name to thank him personally, but God knows his kind act and we pray will bless him for his deed.
To our rescue came Gerald Manzanares. The care and consideration he took with our specific problem and our safety went beyond a normal towing service. We certainly appreciated his commitment to seeing us delivered safe and sound to our destination and to assisting us the following day so quickly.
Not knowing anything about any automotive shops, we "lucked" into calling an automotive shop owned and operated by Fred and Debbie Sutton, who proved to be two of the kindest and most welcoming individuals a stranded family could hope to encounter.
The Suttons not only put aside other work to help us, they made us feel right at home while we waited.
For the professional jobs, courteous service and fair billings, we would like thank Gerald, and Fred and Debbie. You've kept us believing that good people do still exist in the world today. . .and the fact that they live and work in Pagosa Springs makes them even better.
With our sincerest thanks,
Berny and Teresa Mesman
Smoke and mirrors
Some of Burke Stancill's comments in the Jan. 31 SUN Letters prompted me to chuck-up my breakfast sausage. His spiel sounded like some area landshark attempting to push property next to Bangladesh Backwoods in Aspen Springs and trying to sweeten the deal with a box of "good old boy" county commissioner cigars.
Now there is a highly qualified and strong Democratic candidate running against a Republican deal-maker for county commissioner in November. That fact has zero weight in determining the "resurgence of the Democratic Party in Archuleta County as a force to be reckoned with."
That insinuation is an insult to any voter's intelligence. Hyping partisan politics will never - ever - be more important than seeking solutions and electing the best candidate regardless of party affiliation.
It is my fervent hope that the voting public does not fall for the - "very d" desperate - sell tactics of the chair; the chair spins smoke and mirrors.
Pagosa dropped a close 51-46 game at Centauri Saturday, closing the first half of Intermountain League play with two wins, two losses.
The win boosted Centauri's record to 3-1, tying them with Monte Vista for the league lead. Ignacio fell to Centauri Friday night, finishing the first half of play tied with Pagosa with a 2-2 record. Bayfield is in the cellar with no wins, four losses.
League play for Pagosa resumes Saturday when the Pirates invade the Bobcat's lair. Game time is 5:30 p.m. Tonight Pagosa steps outside of the league to play Sangre de Cristo High School, located in Mosca on the other side of the San Luis Valley. Sangre de Cristo is the defending state 2A champion. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Centauri 51, Pagosa 46
Coach Jim Shaffer's Pirates put a scare in Centauri by leading the favored Falcons until well into the third quarter. With five minutes remaining in the third, Pagosa was on top 30-23. Over the next two minutes, the Falcons scored nine unanswered points to take a 32-30 lead.
Pagosa battled back behind buckets by Jason Schutz, Caleb Forrest, and Brandon Charles to go ahead 40-36. Centauri's Michael Brady rang up the next 5 points, Falcon Jonathan Bush put in a deuce, and Centauri was back on top 43-40. From then on, Pagosa struggled with a must-foul situation. Centauri took advantage of the free looks by scoring their final 8 points from the charity stripe.
"Over a four-minute span we had a couple of breakdowns, two or three turnovers, a couple of missed baskets inside and we couldn't get back in the lead," Shaffer said.
Overall, Shaffer was proud of the game turned in by his young, but improving, squad.
"It was an encouraging game," Shaffer said. "We were in the game for 32 minutes, gave ourselves a chance to win."
Shaffer thinks the Pirates have a good chance of winning it all during the second half of league play.
"It's going to be a dog fight, but we're capable of beating anybody," Shaffer said. "Whoever wins the title probably won't finish any better than 6-2. We'll have to win all of our games in order to have a 6-2 record."
Pagosa looked like world beaters as the game opened. A free throw by Schutz and a trey by Charles gave Pagosa a 4-0 lead before Centauri got a look at the basket. By the time the quarter ended, Centauri was on top 12-11, but Pagosa was just getting started. A tough Pirate defense and balanced scoring helped the Pirates outscore Centauri during the second period 14-7 and go to the locker room with a 25-19 lead. While dominating the boards, the Pirates played maybe their best quarter of the year.
Schutz banked a deuce to open the second half, giving Pagosa an eight-point lead, their largest of the game. The combatants traded buckets for the next three minutes leading up to a nine-point Centauri run giving the Falcons a one-point lead. At the end of the third period the score was knotted at 36-36.
As the final period opened, it appeared the Pirates might run away with the game. Pagosa tallied the first four points on a free throw by Forrest and a deuce followed by a free throw from Charles. Then Centauri surged again, building a 44-41 lead before the Pirates woke up. Down the stretch, the scoring and the victory all came from Centauri free throws.
"We only shot about 32 percent from the floor," Shaffer said. "In order to win, we have to do better than that. We are almost a good team. We need to achieve a consistent effort for an entire game. Then we can beat anybody."
Scoring: Pagosa - Schutz, 6-14, 6-9, 18; Charles, 3-11, 2-4, 10; Spencer, 1-4, 5-6, 7; Lister, 1-2-4, 1-2, 6; Forrest, 1-3, 2-2, 4; Dias, 0-2, 1-2, 2; Goodenberger, 0-2, 0-0, 0. Team Rebounds: Off. 7, Def. 20. Individual Rebounds: Charles 5, Schutz 5, Spencer 5, Forrest 4, Dias 3, Ross 3, Goodenberger 2. Three-point goals: Charles 2-7, Lister 1-2, Goodenberger 0-1. Assists: Charles 4, Goodenberger 3, Lister 2. Steals: Ross 2, Charles 1, Goodenberger 1, Lister 1, Schutz 1. Team Turnovers - 21.
The Colorado 3A basketball postseason playoff format is to be different this year for Pagosa Springs fans.
One major change is that three, instead of the customary two, teams from the Intermountain League will qualify for postseason action.
Officials of the Colorado High School Athletic Association have adopted a 32-team playoff format for 3A schools, the same format used in past years by 4A and 5A teams. A pairings committee has been appointed by CHSAA to seed district qualifiers from 1 to 32.
According to IML rules, any team which wins the league title outright during regular season play automatically qualifies to advance into the state playoff system. If one team wins the league title outright, then the remaining two IML representatives must win their right to advance at the district tournament March 1 and 2. The district tournament this year is hosted by Monte Vista, but will be played in the Del Norte High School gym.
Because the IML contains five teams, at the end of the season a playoff, or pigtail, game between the fourth and fifth place finishers will be held. The winner becomes the fourth team in the district tournament, joining the three teams which finished highest in final district standings.
Across the state, the CHSAA seeding committee will seed the top eight teams based on overall record, league record, league standing, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, media polls, strength of leagues, and won-loss record for the last half of the season.
In placing the seeds in brackets, league affiliation is not a consideration. Teams from the same league may be in the same one-half of the bracket or may be paired in any round.
Designations are significant in that a team may not be seeded above a team from its own league with a higher seeding. A district composed of all teams from one league may protect the outright league champion and assign it a qualifying position at their own discretion. In districts with one or more outside teams, no league champion may be protected.
When possible, the committee will avoid pairings causing teams from the same district to meet in the second round.
After determining the top eight teams, the pairings committee will determine the eight weakest teams. The top eight teams will be seeded 1 through 8. The eight weakest teams will be seeded 25 through 32. The next step is to place the remaining seeds in the 9 through 24 positions.
Round 1 is played March 5 and March 6. The 16 survivors of Round 1 meet March 8 and March 9. The eight survivors of Round 2 meet at the Air Force Academy March 14, 15, and 16 for the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.
During Rounds 1 and 2, the highest-seeded team is the host team.
Each of the IML team plays the other twice during regular league play. Since each team has played the other once this season, each team must play the other one more time to complete the season. Pagosa begins the second half of the season at Ignacio Saturday.
The gym was jammed, the crowd was loud. It was a great night for wrestling in Pagosa Springs and, but for one hitch, the evening was a triumph.
The Feb. 3 dual meet in Pagosa's gym pitted the Pirates against a revitalized Ignacio team.
Early in the season, Pagosa wrestlers took a dual meet victory from the Bobcats at Ignacio.
The Pirates beat the Bobcats by one point at the Ignacio Invitational Tournament.
On Feb. 3, it was the Bobcats' turn to win, eking out a 38-37 dual meet victory before an energized crowd at the Pagosa Springs High School gym.
The Feb. 3 dual was part of the new scheme to determine the Intermountain League champion. Rather then gathering for a league tournament as in years past, the five league teams meet each other one time in a dual meet format with the overall results determining an IML champion. Pagosa stands at 1-1 following the Feb. 3 meet, having beaten Bayfield on the road.
Ignacio jumped ahead 3-0 with a decision at 152 pounds, but Jordan Kurt-Mason gave the home team a 4-3 lead with a major decision over Gunnar Simon at 160.
The Bobcats got six points with a fall at 171 but Luke Boilini scored a 2-1 decision over rival Adam Seibel to close the gap to 9-7 Ignacio.
A Bobcat pin at 215 and a Pagosa forfeit at 275 put the visitors ahead 21-7.
Ignacio forfeited at 103 and Michael Martinez came up big for Pagosa at 112 pounds with a 19-4 technical fall over Phillip Weaver. Pirate losses at 119 and 125, however, put the Pagosa grapplers' backs against the wall.
Cliff Hockett responded at 130, nailing a 13-5 major decision worth four team points over Gordon Bulwan.
Kory Hart got five team points with a 17-1 tech fall over Chris Cundiff at 135.
Aaron Perez had one of the biggest victories of the evening, pinning Ignacio's Ryan Johnson at 140.
Ignacio got the last victory of the evening, and squeaked by with the one-point victory.
"I was a bit disappointed with the loss," Pirate coach Dan Janowsky said. "But, when I add some things up, we wrestled them better than we did in our first dual with them. In our first meet, seven matches were won by one point, so we knew this would be tough. As it turns out, they got three pins, one major decision, and two regular decisions. We got one pin, two technical falls, two major decisions and one regular decision."
Janowsky is pleased with the new Intermountain league system, pitting each IML team against its four rivals in a dual meet during the season.
"This is good for the sport," said Janowsky. "This new IML dual meet format gives our kids playoff pressure and intensity. It provides them a chance to see how they handle this kind of situation."
Pagosa fights its two remaining IML duals this week, starting with Monte Vista, 6 p.m. tonight at the Pagosa Springs High School gym.
"Monte will be another tight dual," said the coach. "They pose the toughest matchups for us in a dual meet. I hope the fans turn out; it should be a great meet."
Saturday, the Pirates travel to La Jara for an 11 a.m. dual with the Centauri Falcons, the last on the schedule before the Feb. 12-13 regional tournament at Salida.
If we can find a way to beat Monte and Centauri," said Janowsky, "we could have a chance to win the IML. The league is tight this year. At this point, we need to work on correcting our mental mistakes. Physically, we're in great shape but, at times, we have a tendency to beat ourselves or let down at an inappropriate time. We'll fine tune things this next week, because, after all, everything before the regional tournament is practice."
As the regular season comes to a close, Pirate wrestlers find themselves involved in a series of dual meets - an interesting change from previous years when the team fought its way through a heavy tournament schedule.
The team traveled to Del Norte Feb. 2 for two dual meets, one with the host, the second with 3A regional opponent Salida. The Pirates returned home with a 56-21 win over Del Norte and a 39-33 victory over the Spartans.
Del Norte started strong against Pagosa winning matches at 145 and 152 pounds and building a 9-0 lead.
The tide began to turn for the Pirates as 160-pounder Clayton Mastin pinned Thad Hill 3 minutes, 59 seconds into the match.
Pagosa took a 12-6 lead after Marcus Rivas pinned Nick Owsley nearly four minutes into their 171-pound contest.
Luke Boilini upped the advantage, scoring six points with a fall over Tory Kerr at 189.
A Tiger forfeit at 103 added another six points to the Pagosa total and Michael Martinez earned five team points with a technical fall at 112 over Joe Sandaug.
The Pagosa score went up to 32 points as Jesse Trujillo won his 119-pound match with a 13-6 decision.
Mike Maestas followed at 125, pinning Neal Valdez at 3:57.
Cliff Hockett put another six points on the team score at 130, pinning Allan Butler at 5:36.
Kory Hart kept up the momentum at 135, pinning Matt Adkinson at 1:41.
Aaron Perez ended the debacle, putting Michael Baker's shoulders to the mat at 3:38 in a 140-pound fight.
"Our best wrestling of the night was against Del Norte," said Pirate coach Dan Janowsky. "We dualed them earlier in the year and beat them, and we looked a lot better against them this time."
Salida, like Del Norte got the lead on Pagosa, going up 6-0 with a pin at 145. Zeb Gill knotted the score, however, winning at 152 with a fall over David Sheets at 1:56. Three wins - one pin and two decisions - put the Spartans back in front 18-6. Pagosa forfeits at 215 and 275 gave Salida a 30-6 advantage.
Darren Hockett jump-started the Pirate recovery, pinning Derek Switzer at 103 pounds 1:29 into the match.
Martinez pinned Justin Martinez at 3:43. Pagosa trailed 30-18.
The Pirate onslaught continued as Trujillo pinned Nate Nopol with just 41 seconds elapsed at 119.
Maestas kept the car on the tracks getting a fall against John Linza at 1:05 and the score was tied 30-30.
Pagosa jumped ahead with a Salida forfeit at 130 and Hart put together a 9-2 decision at 135. A Salida decision at 140 ended the match with Pagosa ahead 39-37.
"Salida had three very good wrestlers," Janowsky said. They are strong at 52, 89 and 275. In a way, they are the opposite of us: They are strong in the upper weights, we are strong in the lower weights. We will see them again at the regional tournament in a week, at Salida."
A sports axiom says you win as a team and you lose as a team.
For many seasons, Pagosa's Lady Pirates have been living proof of the first portion.
In a jam-packed Centauri gym in La Jara Saturday evening they also proved the second portion true.
And they didn't take long to demonstrate the evening of futility lying ahead.
The visiting Pagosans turned the ball over on each of their first six possessions and dug themselves an early 6-0 hole. All six Centauri points came from 6-foot consensus all-conference player Erin McCarroll who would be the game's leading scorer with 27 including 10 of 12 from the floor.
Shaken from their early lethargy by a scolding from coach Karen Wells on the sidelines, the Pirates clawed back to trail only 13-10 after one period, with eight of the points coming from Ashley Gronewoller inside. The only other Pirate to score in the period was senior forward Katie Lancing who converted a pair of free throws.
The Lady Falcons, meanwhile, working their own brand of falconry, got a trey from number-two scorer Sara Reynolds and a field goal apiece from Brittny McCarroll and Kacey McGinnis.
Despite 10 more turnovers in the second period, the Lady Pirates forged a 17-13 period advantage and a one-point, 27-26 halftime lead. It was built on two field goals each by Gronewoller and freshman guards Lori Walkup and Bri Scott, four free throws from Nicole Buckley and one from Katie Bliss.
Erin McCarroll opened the second half for Centauri just as she had the first period, reeling off six unanswered points on two field goals and two free throws and the Pirates never saw the lead again. With it went their undefeated IML record and first place at the midway point.
The team effort was reflected in 26 more turnovers in the second half - an unbelievable 42 for the game - with no player recording fewer than four. Before the third period nightmare was over, the Pirates had been outscored 16-4, the lone Pirate points coming on field goals by Lancing and Gronewoller, the last markers of the game for each of them.
Erin McCarroll, meanwhile, was adding six more to her initial burst for a 12-point quarter and Brittny McCarroll and Jamie Williams each added a single two-pointer. Both Gronewoller and Lancing picked up their fourth fouls in the period and went to the bench, hopefully to come back strong and lead a fourth-quarter rally.
That was not to be. The McCarroll cousins opened the period with a 13-point run, seven by Erin and six by Brittny. Then, with 5:10 left in the game, Gronewoller fouled out and 35 seconds later Lancing joined her on the pines, removing all the Pagosa height advantage.
The result was a 24-10 fourth quarter blitz by Centauri and a 66-41 drubbing for the Lady Pirates.
Coach Wells had a two-word description for her squad's performance: "Disgusting, embarrassing."
The Lady Pirates, though they had drilled against the full-court press, seemed unsure of how to attack it and often did the exact opposite of what the coach was telling them to do, leading to a major portion of the endless string of turnovers.
Neither team shot a high percentage for the game, but the Pagosa turnovers allowed Centauri to launch 14 more field goal attempts (a 49-35 Falcon margin) and a 22-13 margin from the floor. The shooting percentages were 44 percent for Centauri and a season low 37 percent for Pagosa.
While many in the Pagosa crowd were convinced the officials had been fully on the Centauri side, a look at the total number of fouls reveals 24 called against Pagosa and 23 against Centauri. The Pirates hit 14 of 22 from the charity stripe while the Falcons canned 21 of 30.
The lone statistical advantage for Pagosa was a 28-27 edge on the boards, led by Gronewoller's 10, eight of which came in the first half. Lancing had seven, all but one in the first half, while Buckley and Tricia Lucero each had five.
Pagosa had only three field goals in their 14-point second half second half. For the game, Gronewoller's 14 led the way, Scott and Buckley each had seven and Walkup added six.
Backing up Erin McCarroll for Centauri were Brittny with 15, Reynolds with 11 and six others with four or fewer points.
The now second-place Lady Pirates take their 12-3 season record on the road this week, traveling to Ignacio Saturday to face the Lady Bobcats who always prove dangerous on their home floor. Tip off time will be 4 p.m.
Pagosa scoring: Lancing 1-4, 2-2, 4; Gronewoller, 7-12, 0-2, 14; Walkup, 2-5, 2-2, 6; Lungstrum, 0-1, 0-0, 0; Buckley 0-6, 7-9, 7; Bliss, 0-0, 2-6, 2; Lucero, 0-4, 1-2, 1; Scott, 3-3, 7; Team rebounds: Pagosa 28, Centauri 27; Rebound leaders: Gronewoller 10, Lancing 7, Buckley 5, Lucero 5; 3-point goals, Scott 1-1, Lucero 0-1,Walkup 0-1; Assist leaders: Walkup 4, Buckley 3; Steals leader: Buckley, 2; Blocks, Gronewoller, 2.
Basketball is the big game in town right now, but in just over a month the Lady Pirates soccer team will take the field in action for the first time in 2002.
Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason released a preliminary schedule last week that shows the girls scrimmaging against Montezuma-Cortez and several other schools in Cortez March 9.
That, unfortunately, is the first day of state tournament basketball, should the Lady Pirates advance that far, and at least two members of the basketball team, Tricia Lucero and Carlena Lungstrum, are also expected to be top performers in soccer.
The following Friday, March 15, the Lady kickers will open their Intermountain/Southern Peaks League season against defending champion and state playoff contender Telluride with a 4 p.m. game at Golden Peaks Stadium, weather and field conditions permitting.
The basketball team, hopefully, will begin final round play that same day, and play the next, while the soccer team is scheduled to play Montezuma-Cortez in Cortez at noon.
Kurt-Mason said practice will begin Feb. 21 and that his team makeup will, obviously, be drastically revised from last year. Nine members of that squad graduated and others have indicated they will not play this year because of injury.
In addition to the two varsity basketball players, Kurt-Mason will be counting on all-conference striker Meagan Hilsabeck, midfielder Sara Auppele, Heather and Amber Beye, Emily and Jenna Finney, Lindsay Schmidt, Lori Whitbred, Melissa Diller and Sierra Fleenor for offense.
After the Telluride game will come road trips to Bayfield March 19, Telluride March 22 and Durango April 5.
The Ladies are scheduled to return home April 6 to host Montezuma-Cortez in a noon game; go on the road to Ignacio April 9 for a 4 p.m. contest; host Bayfield at 4 p.m. April 12; visit Center at noon April 13; travel to Ridgway for a 4:30 p.m. contest April 19 and return home to take on Salida at 11 a.m. the following day.
After visiting Durango for a 4:30 p.m. game April 23, they are scheduled to close out the regular season with three home games: April 26 at 4:30 p.m. against Ridgway; April 27 at noon against Center; and April; 30 at 4 p.m. against Ignacio.
It's Winterfest weekend - snow or not
Our fearless leader has once again fled town! Apparently, two full days of decorating followed by a night of Mardi Gras madness, several hours of tear-down, and a full day of dealing with the board of directors is more than she could handle. Actually, Sally is in Denver at a trade show, but I'm sure she's enjoying a little quiet time as well.
As I peer out my window, I find it hard to believe that Winterfest is upon us. The calendar, however, never lies, so let's get ready for some great fun with or without Mother Nature's cooperation. I only hope that you haven't made any plans for this weekend because here's what's going on.
Saturday morning will bring to fruition the dedicated efforts of Liz Marchand and the Chamber's own Morna Trowbridge as 35 hot air balloons take flight from the fields around the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center. Lift-off will occur around 8 a.m. and Pagosans looking for some quiet entertainment will love watching the myriad colors floating over the landscape as they enjoy their breakfast.
If, on the other hand, you prefer a more hands-on approach to your entertainment, then come out to the pilots' briefing around 7:30 a.m. and volunteer to crew with one of the pilots. You'll learn all about ballooning and just might earn yourself a free ride.
After the balloons are on the ground, head downtown for a little shopping. Take a few minutes to go to Moonlight Books to browse through the entries in the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photo Contest, and enjoy the amazing talent of Pagosa's local photographers, both professional and amateur. Our town is loaded with skilled shutterbugs who are more than happy to share their photos with all of us. If you missed the opening reception last Friday, then you owe it to yourself to stop by and check out this display of local genius. The photos will be on display until Feb. 23 so get by and see what Pagosa can do.
Saturday afternoon between 3 and 8 p.m. you'll want to drop by the Parish Hall at 451 Lewis St. to take part in our newest addition to the Winterfest fun - a Winter Carnival. More about this and other events later in this article.
Unfortunately, the lack of snow in town has forced the cancellation of both the Snow Sculpture Contest and the Snowboard Jumping Contest, but we'll work hard on our snow dance for next year.
Saturday evening is highlighted by our perennial favorite - The Rotary Follies. Shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. will be held at the County Extension Building. Between the shows, you can step outside and watch 10 of our visiting balloons glow at the fairgrounds. This is a sight that no one should miss.
Sunday morning will see the sky come alive with color once more as the balloons take to the air one last time. We'll be on the same schedule as Saturday morning, so plan accordingly. Sunday afternoon is another perennial favorite, the Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race. Dick and Kathy Fitz at The High Country Lodge are reporting a snow depth of just a few inches, but it's packed hard and icy for excellent speed. The Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race brings out the daredevil in many Pagosans and offers a thrill a minute to the contestants and spectators alike. The race takes place on the hill behind the High Country Lodge and gets under way around 1 p.m. Anyone wishing to participate can pick up an entry form and rules at the Chamber. Preregistration is only $15 or sign up the day of the race for $25. Monetary prizes will be offered for the top three finishers.
Yes, Pagosa, even without snow you can have a Winterfest.
The newest addition to Pagosa's Winterfest is the Winter Carnival hosted by the Upper San Juan Hospital District EMT Association and the Pagosa Fire Protection District. With games, food and entertainment to please young and old alike, this event promises to become a favorite. You'll find the carnival at the Parish Hall, 3-8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. Try your luck at the CakeWalk, FishPond or Wet Sponge Throw. Enjoy the antics of the "Pumper Family" Fire Clowns. Get your face painted. This event is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, Pagosa Springs Rotary and State Farm Insurance. Get the kids and come on out for a fun afternoon.
The Rotary Follies is back with its own unique brand of humor. Two shows, at 7 and 9 p.m., will be held at the county extension building on Saturday, Feb. 9. Whether you suffer from those typical Winter Blues or from an advanced case of the Lack of Winter Blues, the Rotary Follies offer the cure for whatever ails you. Those who have been to previous shows know that the follies are not to be missed. If you've never been there, make this the year you learn how Pagosa deals with those long winter months with a smile.
With the Pagosa Springs Community Center well on its way to becoming a reality, Pagosa's ARSE (A Reading Society and Ensemble) has put together a fete in honor of two of the main players in making this dream come true. Only 100 tickets are available for this tribute to Mayor Ross Aragon and Sylvia Murray and they are going fast.
The event will take place Saturday, March 2. Tickets cost $20 per person and are available at the Chamber and WolfTracks Coffee Company. Food, Music and a one-act play are on the bill for your evening's entertainment. More info will be forthcoming but get your ticket today.
With so many people to thank for so many things last week, Sally overlooked at least one couple who helped our board retreat go so smoothly: Bob and Mary Hart, owners of Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat, graciously donated the use of one of their spacious cabins for our full day board retreat. To the Harts and anyone else we may have inadvertently missed, our apologies and heart felt thanks. There truly are times when there are more people to thank then we can ever remember.
Pagosa Springs seems to be a hot spot for summer vacation planners. According to our records, 241 people requested summer vacation information packets during the month of January, 2002. This compares rather favorably with last year's total of 104 requests during the month of January. So keep your chin up Pagosa, we must look good in the eyes of vacationers everywhere.
Ride the Rockies
The phone calls have already begun and our lodging members have received a heads up to prepare for some 3,000-3,500 people will descend upon Pagosa Springs for a one night stay June 16. Now we are free to tell everyone that Ride the Rockies is returning to Pagosa Springs. Restaurants, gift shops, and everyone else in town needs to mark their calendars and be prepared for this event. While they won't spend a lot of time in town, they generally spend a good deal of money. Tour promoters tend to track where the riders have the best time and bring the tour back to those towns that receive good ratings. Let's make sure we put on a good show for this year's tour. We'd love to see them return.
Small business help
Jim Reser, with the Small Business Development Center will be in town Feb. 15. Small business owners can contact Doug at 264-2360 to schedule an hour appointment with Jim. This is a free service and I encourage you to take advantage if you own or are thinking of starting a small business.
One brand new member, several new owners and lots of wonderful renewals to mention this week. Let's get to it.
Our new member this week is Upscale Resale owned by Teri Matzdorf. Teri sells gently used family clothing, accessories, sporting goods, furniture and baby items on a consignment basis. You'll find Upscale Resale at 117 Navajo Trail Dr. in Silverado Center, phone number 731-4779.
Our new owners include Kinder Morgan, Inc. (formerly Citizens Utilities), your natural gas distributor in Pagosa. You'll find their local office at 457 Lewis Street. You can contact Gail Leben at (970) 947-0705, fax her at (303) 984-3146, or email her at email@example.com.
Elk Meadows Campground has a new owner and we are pleased to welcome Tony Gilbert to Pagosa. Located at 5360 East U.S. 160, Elk Meadows continues to offer a full service campground on the banks of the San Juan River with secluded tent camping, pull through RV sites, complete restroom facilities with shower and laundry. Contact them at 264-5482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You've probably already met Jace Johnson, but we're happy to welcome him into the Chamber family as the new owner of the Liberty Theatre. They're right on the main drag at 418 Pagosa St. and you can call them at 264-4578. Established in 1908, the Liberty Theatre is one of the oldest movie theaters in the state and offers daily shows with Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinees.
And now, our renewals in no particular order because we love them allMarcia And Rick Kraus with Dancing Winds Lodge; Ron Arrington with The Timbers of Pagosa; Harry C. Kropp, with Silver Mine Country Company; Bob Scott with Edward Jones Investments; Sharon Hermes with The Durango Herald; James Dickhoff with JJ's Upstream Restaurant; Peak Physical Therapy; Kim and Stuart Bishop with Skyview Motel; Marguerite Jackson with Mountain Greenery; and our lone associate member this week, Patsy R. Wegner.
Thanks to all our members for helping make this the best little town anyone could hope to live in.
Seniors and youth enjoy a wonderful week
This has been a wonderful "Week with the Kids."
On Wednesday, several students from the Alternative High School came to interview and visit with seniors who had volunteered to take part in this activity. From what I hear, the seniors enjoyed it as much or more than the kids did. They are a great group of young people.
Also on Wednesday, the children from Head Start entertained us with songs which we really enjoyed. We look forward to them returning for another performance.
At noon Feb. 13, the Head Start kids and seniors will have lunch and a Valentine exchange. This should be a fun event - everyone join us and bring your Valentine cards.
We wish a Very Happy Birthday (belated) to Musetta's mom, Sue Hansen, who came up from Albuquerque and joined us on Monday. She is a beautiful lady and I'm sure MUCH younger than Musetta claims.
A big welcome to Dolores (Dee) Sause who joined our talented kitchen crew last week.
What a wonderful surprise to have Helen Girardin join us on Monday and Ted Cope join us on Friday. We hope that both will be able to come more often now that their health is better. We also welcomed guests Florence Coopersmith, Radine Downey, Elizabeth Flowers, Winston Marugg and Kathy Jackson (guest of Bob and Doris Kamrath) and hope they will join us again soon.
Teresa Diestelkamp has been named Volunteer of the Month. Congratulations, Teresa. Not only does Teresa volunteer at the Center quite often, she is also one of our representatives on the Regional Area Council on Aging. Our Senior Center could never be as great as it is if not for volunteers like Teresa.
Joan Sager is our Senior of the Week. What a privilege for us to honor Joan, one of our dedicated volunteers for many years and treasurer of Archuleta Senior Citizens, Inc.
Thank you to Kurt Diedring, who has offered one-on-one computer training for any senior who is interested. Please set up an appointment through Musetta.
The Senior Center needs volunteers to help at the desk and with setting the tables. Anyone who is willing to help out, please call Musetta at 264-2167.
AARP Alive at 55 Driver Safety course will be offered again March 13 and 14 from 1 to 5 p.m., at Community United Methodist Church. Cost is $10. Completion of the course may reduce automobile insurance rates by as much as 10 percent. To sign up, call the Senior Center at 264-2167.
Beginning today, AARP will offer free preparation of simple income tax returns. Contact Musetta or Laura to make an appointment with tax preparers.
Other upcoming events include:
Feb. 11 - a simple bone-density test offered at a discounted price of $25
Feb. 12 - Roy Vega will give a presentation on long term care insurance at 12:45 p.m.
Feb. 15 - a presentation on long term care planning presented by Charlie Speno, Leslie Davis, Donna Pena and Nann McDonald
Feb. 14 - our next shopping trip to Durango
Feb. 21 - a trip to Sky Ute Casino. Sign up at the Senior Center soon if you are interested
March 2 - a benefit performance by ARSE for the Pagosa Springs Community Center (especially for the senior portion) presented at the Senior Center. More information to come later
March 28 - mark your calendars for the return of Philip Hansen who presented a cello concert last fall and was well received. Philip is a very talented musician who donates his time and talents to help raise funds for our Senior Center (he's Musetta's brother, so probably finds it hard to say no)
Tuesdays - yoga at 9:30 a.m.
Wednesdays - swimming at 9 a.m., art class at 12:45 p.m. card games at 1 p.m. and a matinee show at the Liberty Theater for seniors for $3 (call 264-4578 to let them know how many will be attending)
Fridays - bridge at 1 p.m.
Ah! The sweet sound of heat returns
"Lots of chocolates for me to eat, lots of coal makin' lots of heat, warm face, warm hands, warm feet, O, wouldn't it be loverly."
I thought of that song last Friday, shivering, wrapped in sweaters and scarves, while we tried to raise the temperature inside our house to a toasty 60 degrees and wondered if we should accept our friend's offer of a couple of space heaters.
We had come home to a cold house the afternoon before. The thermostat said the house was four degrees colder than the setting. The circuit breaker for the furnace was triggered.
Hotshot got to work, resetting the circuit breaker, opening up the furnace, and poking about among the brightly colored wires. No reset buttons that he could find. We ran the thermostat setting down and back up. Not a whimper from the furnace. Nothing.
Finally we called the furnace man. There was a long conversation while Tom tried various things, but it was finally clear that this problem wasn't going away easily. Not without a house call. Gordon came out, took a look at the main circuit board - which looked to me just like the mother board inside our computer - and pronounced it "fried."
"I may have one in the shop, and I can replace it tomorrow," he said. "If not, I'll have to order one from Denver. They have next-day service, but - oh, gee, tomorrow is Friday." He nodded sadly. "We won't have it here before Monday."
He left, promising to call in the morning. We crossed our fingers, watched a movie in the chilling living room, and went to bed, grateful that at least we had electricity.
No power and no heat tend to remind me of the ice storm that hit Connecticut in the winter of 1973, the first year we lived there. We lived in a woodsy suburb, filled with oaks and maples. The day of the storm was filled with the snap and thud of tree limbs breaking and crashing to the ground. Jerry, our neighbor, kept walking up and down the road, saying, "This is terrible."
His wife was frantic, worried that a heavy branch would fall on him. All over the state, power lines were ripped right off the houses. Most of Connecticut was without power for days, weeks in some remote areas.
Since it took electricity to run the well pump, we had no water. But there was a creek nearby, and I trudged over with a bucket and brought water for flushing the toilet. We dug out our camping gear and unrolled the sleeping bags in the living room. We boiled water for coffee and cooked hot dogs over the flames. The kids thought it was great fun. Hotshot and I took turns getting up all through the night to put more wood on the fire. We didn't think it was such a treat.
We listened on the portable radio to a local station, with one of those folksy, chatty guys, who must have played that dog-barking version of jingle bells every hour. I'm sure you've heard it - "Arf, arf, arf. Arf, arf, arf."
The third morning he told a long, rambling story about chopping up his dining room chairs to burn in the fireplace. For a while, I thought he was telling the truth.
The ice storm was followed by a fierce cold snap. We put frozen meat from the refrigerator freezer into an ice chest and buried it out in the snow, because that was eventually colder than the air in the kitchen.
The men in our neighborhood gathered out in front of the houses each day and discussed whether to drain their heating systems. On the third morning Hotshot said, "Well, I'm going to drain mine now," and all the men said, "That's a good idea, I will too."
A falling tree branch had taken down our phone line, so the first night I hiked over to the neighbor's to call my folks, who were planning to fly east to visit us the day after the storm hit. I told them the situation, and my mother said, "We'll come anyway." They landed in Hartford the next night and got the last available room in the Holiday Inn. We bundled up the kids and took them to stay with their grandparents, while we continued to hold down the icy fort.
The ice storm came on a Monday, and the utility crews reached our street on the Thursday evening. It was a party atmosphere. The thaw arrived about the same time, and we all stood outside and watched the crews working at the end of the block and estimated how long it would take them to reach our houses.
The people two doors down invited us in for a celebratory drink. We were sitting in their basement den about 8:30, when their frozen pipes started gurgling. We could hear the chunks of ice breaking up and flowing through the pipes, and suddenly water started dripping and gushing out of various spots in the walls. We said thanks for the hospitality and headed home to check for leaks of our own.
My folks brought the kids back the next day, and stayed through Christmas.
The day they flew home a rare snowstorm occurred in their part of California. Iced tree limbs broke and fell. Electricity was out everywhere.
"Tell us the next time your folks travel," said friends. "We want to be prepared for the weather."
There was an unexpected benefit to our four days under siege. We got to know our neighbors faster than if there'd been no crisis. Still, it's not a get-acquainted method that I wish to repeat.
Last week, we were lucky. After first reporting that he didn't have the part and had ordered one, Gordon eventually found another circuit board in his shop. We didn't have to go through the weekend without heat. He got the furnace going that afternoon. The sound was sweet.
Lakers stop Pacers 42-31 for 9-10 championship
This year's youth basketball league concluded this week with Saturday's tournament for the 9-10 year-olds and Wednesday with the start of the 11-12 playoffs.
In the first round Saturday the Rockets were eliminated by the Lakers by a score of 37-16; the Hawks lost to the Raptors 25-7; the Pacers outpaced the Pirates 32-14 and the Bulls beat the Timberwolves 27-22.
In second round play the Lakers doubled up the Raptors at 42-20 and the Pacers again outpaced the Bulls 27-23. In the final game of the day, the Lakers were victorious over the Pacers 42-31.
The 11-12 competition continued through Wednesday and results will be published next week.
The recreation department thanks the many coaches, volunteers and officials for their time and hard work in the season's leagues and offers a special note of gratitude to Sue Jones for her dedication to our department.
Adult basketball began Monday and games will be played each night of the week, when possible. League games will continue until March 14 when the tournament will start, ending just before spring break. Game schedules can be picked up at the Town Hall recreation office and will be available at the games.
League organizers are currently looking for officials for tournament games March 14 and 21. The adult leagues consist of six teams in the competitive division and seven in the recreation division.
This is a men's league, but with no women's league operating this year, women are welcome to play on existing teams. For more information about getting on a team or helping referee, call the recreation office at 264-4151, ext. 232.
The next Park and Recreation Committee meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Town Hall. Items on the agenda will be discussion of the adult basketball league and upcoming summer events and projects.
Ride the Rockies
Pagosa Springs will be the site of not one, but two major bicycle tours this year. On June 16, Ride the Rockies will again be coming through town. This year the tour will be housed at the high school and on the sports complex athletic fields. A major event, with music, meals and biking fun will be housed in Town Park on Sunday night.
On July 22, the Bicycle Tour of Colorado and 2000 more cyclists will invade Pagosa. This group will be housed at the junior high school and the intermediate school as well as at Town Park.
For more information and to find out details of trips contact the recreation department.
Pagosa Country fare leaves no time for cabin fever
Cabin fever? What cabin fever? There's so much going on in Pagosa there's no time to sit around the house and mope.
To start off the weekend, the Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club is presenting a pre-Valentines dance Friday at 8 p.m. The dance will be hosted by the Timbers and that huge beautiful dance floor will be hopping that night. It will be wholesome family dancing so bring the children. Latin Express, an exciting fast-paced band from Bloomfield will provide live music and a variety of sounds that will strike a chord with the old and the young. Ticket sales, in advance are $7 for a single and $12 for a couple. These can be picked up from Lucy Gonzales (263-4791), Mercy Korsgren (731-2855) or Jeff Laydon (264-3686).
Lucy Gonzales, one of the primary organizers of this dance, informs me that the community can and will have an enjoyable evening while lending support to the Spanish Fiesta Club scholarship fund. Proceeds from the dance will go toward the scholarship fund. Each year, three scholarships of $1,000 are awarded to three college-bound students. This is an equal opportunity scholarship.
After you have put on those high-heeled dancing tennies, keep them on for the following evening's entertainment. Not enough dancing Friday night? Step right up for the Valentine Sweetheart Dinner and Ball on Saturday, Feb. 9. This benefit gala will help to support the various community and transient needs provided by the Pagosa Ministerial Alliance. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. with the dancing beginning at 7 p.m. The dancing will be led by members of Simply Ballroom Dance Club. Location for the event: Our Savior Lutheran gym located on 56 Meadows Drive. Cost: $25 per couple and $15 for a single.
After you have eaten your dinner and danced for a bit, go on over to the County Extension Building for the Rotary Club-sponsored Winterfest Follies. There will be two shows, at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from all local banks and the Chamber of Commerce ($12 each). Since seating is limited, please pick up your tickets in advance.
Winterfest Follies organizer, Mary Jo Coulehan has indicated that while the show is rated "R" it is a fairly tame "R" and will include some new talent, some "old standbys" and three acts from the Durango Snowdown Follies. A favorite returning group will be the Zink brothers and their comrades in a zany skit. On good authority I understand that some country and western stars will be joining us to celebrate Winterfest. I also believe that a group of the Chippendales will be here. . . and there will also be live musical performances. You'll have to come see for yourself who and what businesses will get roasted in an evening of laughter. Lacking stage presence, musical talent and chutzpah, I will be part of the back-stage crew instead.
The Winterfest Follies is also a fund-raiser for the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club. Proceeds from this event will go right back into the community through projects such as the scholarship fund, adopt-a-family program, purchase of equipment for Town Park and Rotary Park etc.
Tonight, the San Juan Outdoor Club will hold its general meeting at 7 p.m. in the Parish Hall. SJOC member Mary Miller will discuss her adventures in South America; a trip she took last year. If you are not a member of the SJOC, this is a good opportunity to meet some of the members, find out more about the club and consider being a part of this active group. Family membership is $20 per year and $15 for a single.
Blood supplies dip in January: Donate
The beautiful and talented Clarissa Hudson is featured in the Jan./Feb. 2002 issue of "Native People" as the winner of the Heard Museum 2001 Guild's Indian Fair and Market show held in Phoenix. This juried and invitation-only competition is probably second to Santa Fe's Indian Market.
Her entry, "Copper Woman," a woven Chilkat and Ravenstail dress design, swept the competition, winning best-in-division, best-in-classification, judge's choice and the prestigious best-in-show award.
It has five pieces and is handwoven with hand-dyed yarns, tightspun warp or merino wool and cedar bark. It took ten years to make - each piece finished separately.
The 45-year-old Hudson, a Tlingit, has created in many different forms of art. When in high school in Juneau, she was told she could pursue art for a living, but ignored this advice and became a clerk/typist. But the art prevailed with many years spent dabbling in things she liked.
Because she wanted to go to Haines, Alaska, (her favorite town) she attended a course in basket weaving; it was there that she met the renowned Chilkat weaver Jennie Thunet who chose Hudson as her apprentice.
Hudson has made 40 or 50 ceremonial robes, four of them woven.
Her woven prize-winning creation "Copper Woman," is now on display at the Stonington Gallery in Seattle.
Clarissa is married to Bill Hudson, also an artist, whom she met in Juneau. They coordinate their artistic talents for many art grants.
Sisson Library has a copy of "Native Peoples" with its article "Woman of the Cloth," about Clarissa Hudson. You can read it there.
January was National Blood Donor Month. Thirty people had signed up to donate at the blood collection held last Thursday at Community United Methodist Church, but eight people called in to report head colds.
Five others were deferred because of irregular heart beats or high blood pressure, so 22 people got to give blood. Lenore Bright was one of the first persons to donate blood. Christie at the United Blood Service reports that January was a good month. The Service comes to Pagosa on the fourth Thursday of the month. The next blood collection will be Feb. 28 at Mountain Heights Baptist Church. The winter hours are 12-5 p.m.
For more information about the blood collections, call Christie in Durango at 385-4601.
When Winterfest was started in 1981, the name was copyrighted. There were parades, queens and many events. The last good one was 1984. One of the events was a downhill sled race where the Post Office is now located. People slid down that hill in all kinds of contraptions. One entry was a participant riding a toilet mounted on a sled. When he got to the bottom, the only way to get off was to fall off. No one ever got hurt, but then the time came when stricter rules had to be insisted on.
Because of new buildings occupying lots where events happened, and inclement weather, those enterprising souls who started this winter carnival wore out - and no one would replace them.
Now, the Rotary Club sponsors the Winterfest Follies. The talent is wonderful, but it is strictly an "adults only" show.
It was time to party. It was the Super Bowl!
I used to belong to a church whose minister only gave a five-minute sermon on Super Bowl Sunday because - as he said - no one was listening to him.
This Super Bowl made up (maybe) for the lousy New Year's ball games.
Football's Super Bowl comes at the end of the season. In NASCAR racing, the big event, the Daytona 500, comes at the beginning of the season. This year the Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 17.
Fun on the run
The mess sergeant was lecturing about waste. "You men have got to make better use of our leftovers. For instance, what can we do with leftover carrots?" Nothing but puzzled shrugs came from the men.
"OK, so you can't figure. You can make carrot pie. That's what you can do with leftover carrots. Doesn't it make sense?"
The sergeant paused to give them a chance to absorb his words. Then he asked, "Any questions?"
A hand was raised and a voice asked, "Sergeant, what can you do with the leftover pie?"
Internet isn't creating homogeneous culture
Our local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts have some of their work on display. We're pleased to support the work of our Scouts. Thanks to Richard Wholf for arranging this exhibit. For information about joining the Scouts, call 731-2012.
The club sent us a copy of "A Dry Legacy, the Challenge for Colorado's Rivers." This report uses 10 case studies to highlight the impacts on our waterways. It describes the many reasons why water is in such short supply. It tells how depleted streamflows adversely affect the environment, and what we need to do about this problem. The report may be checked out, or you can get a copy at cotrout.org.
Library of Congress
"Portals of the World," provides data for 49 countries. By 2003, LC will offer a web site for each country in the world. Eventually you will be able to register for language courses in foreign universities, find interest rates in Peru, and truly surf the world. ( Try loc.gov/)
According to NewsScan, the Internet isn't making us one homogeneous culture. People are still maintaining their own identities and local cultures. As an example, 60-percent of German Turks had satellite connections in order to receive six Turkish Channels. These practices are likely to spread. From a distance, a person will be able to follow his or her home sports teams, politics, etc. One can even shop in his or her favorite foreign stores.
Science fair projects
Libraryspot.com/ has an excellent reference desk that provides not only science fair projects, but also many other educational resources for the home learner. From Libraryspot you can get to bordwell.com/deskreference that will keep you busy for the next twenty years just on that one web site.
Computer use warning
These wonderful sites are exacting a price. Computer use is causing vision problems for those who spend any amount of time in front of a monitor. Eyestrain, blurred vision, dry or red eyes and even neck and backaches are known collectively as Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS.
Statistics show that a growing number of people may experience CVS symptoms. Seventy-four million people use a computer at work a minimum of two hours per day. Millions more use a computer at home. A government study found that nearly 90-percent of people working at a computer more than three hours a day suffer from some type of eye trouble.
Getting correct glasses or lenses can help. Bifocals can increase the symptoms. Doctors are urging their patients to use good judgment if problems occur. Take frequent breaks. Look away from the monitor for a few seconds at regular intervals, and walk around for 10 to 15 minutes in between jobs.
"Even the Stars Look Lonesome," by Maya Angelou is a wise book and a continuation of the best selling, "Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now." Ms. Angelou talks of things she cares about most. She gives us her wisdom on a variety of subjects about the problems fame brings, and shares the lessons she learned about rage and violence.
"How To Write It," by Sandra Lamb is a time-saving compendium of over 250 samples of letters to suit any situation. It tells how to adapt traditional forms of letters to e-mail. This is the complete guide to everything you'll ever want to write.
Thanks for materials from Carole Howard, Anna O'Reilly, Dick and Ann Van Fossen, Jim and Margaret Wilson, Gwen Ray, Gail Salaway, Helen and William Miller, Jill Snider, and Michael Caldwell.
Our hurting is an act of God's love
I do not like pain. No one likes pain. Pharmacy shelves are filled with all kinds of painkillers, medicines that will get rid of your pain, or at least alleviate it; medicines that will keep you from having pain.
Some work better/faster on one ache or another. Over the counter or by prescription only, pain relief is a multi-million dollar industry.
If we believe all the commercials, life is supposed to be pain free. Those who, in any way, like pain or just grin and bear it, tough it out, are categorized as masochistic, one type of mental illness. Or maybe they are just considered weird.
Now don't misunderstand me. I have no desire to have a dentist do any serious work on my teeth without a touch of novocaine. I do not enjoy downhill skiing for the same reason. I know that it's going to be painful. Yes, there are times when aspirin (or whatever you take) is necessary. One of God's gifts to humanity is anesthesia. I know. I have appreciated it very much in surgical situations.
Pain is not good. It is evil, undesirable. It is the threat of pain in one form or another that encourages some folks to "toe the line", to obey parental wishes (whether that "parent" is our own, or the "arm of the law"). Yes, the possibility of being hurt in some way stimulates civil disobedience.
All of our thoughts about pain are negative. In our kinder moments it is not something that we would wish on our enemies. But let's reconsider. Is there anything good that we can say about pain? When we think about it, yes, there are some benefits.
Like when you put your hand accidentally upon a hot object; or when your appendix is about to burst; or you have a rotten tooth. I had a friend who had diabetes. One day, while on a trip, he had to be taken to a hospital because of a sore on one of his toes. A shoe nail had penetrated the sole of his shoe and stabbed him often enough that it created a large sore. He never realized it until it became very serious. he never experienced any pain, the body's way of getting his attention. His toe had to be removed.
Get the point? Sure you do. Pain is your body's way of warning you of danger or harm. It is God's built-in program to protect you from great damage.
When God warns of great damage in nonphysical areas of our life, it may not be painful, just uncomfortable enough to get our attention, or to make us angry. We may try to ignore it (to our greater hurt) or deny it, because "taking the cure" is not to our liking.
We find it hard to believe that our hurting is an act of God's love, his concern for our future, his way of warning us of grave danger ahead if we persist in our current behavior.
Before the Apostle Paul became a Christian, he took great pleasure in harassing Christians, arresting them and having them imprisoned. But as he continued in this activity, he became increasingly distressed. But he wouldn't change his "mission " for he knew he was doing God's will.
One day, while on a trip to arrest some Christians in a distant city, he had a strange experience.
He was thrown to the ground as by a strong wind. An exceeding bright light blinded him. Then he heard a voice. "Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts to resist my prodding you."
The mental and spiritual distress through which he had been going was nothing other than God's way of turning him to a better mission, a better life. He had been resisting the warnings of God that there was great danger ahead.
Are you "hurting"?
Maybe God is trying to warn you of "muddy roads ahead," to save you from great harm.
View photo entries for a spring lift
Need a lift? Be sure to stop in Moonlight Books, 434 San Juan St., during the month of February and enjoy the wide variety of submissions for this year's Pagosa Springs Arts Council photography contest.
Judging has been completed and the winners will proudly display their ribbons though Feb. 23. You may even find the perfect image to take home with you to brighten that dark corner in your study. Several entries are for sale and a portion of the sales price helps fund PSAC activities.
You can also beat the winter doldrums while adding a new skill. The latest workshop at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery features Carl Nevitt demonstrating stained glass techniques. The hands-on workshop begins Feb. 9. Each student will work through the basics by creating an 8"x10" stained glass project of their own. Call 264-5020 soon to register since space is limited. And if you're interested in sharing your talents through a PSAC workshop of your own, please call Jennifer at 731-3113 or 264-5020.
There are even more exciting ways to share your talent and creativity with the larger community - become an exhibitor at the PSAC Gallery.
If the idea tickles your fancy, pick up an application at the gallery in Town Park. Winter office hours are Wednesday through Friday, 10 to 2. Can't stop in? Call 264-5020 and the staff will mail an application. Your window of opportunity closes Feb. 5, so download an application from the PSAC website www.pagosa-arts.com. The exhibit season opens May 2.
Lend a hand
In addition to sharing your talent, providing financial support for PSAC has never been easier. In fact, you can help fund the Council without actually making a donation (although donations are welcome). Each time you shop for groceries and use your City Market Value Card, City Market/Kroger will donate a small percentage of your purchase to the PSAC. Hurry to the Gallery and sign up to participate in this no-cost-to-you program.
PSAC appreciates all the wonderful people who provide financial support to its activities, but the non-profit organization also extends a special thanks to Paula Bain, its newest volunteer column writer. That thank you includes all the other volunteers who contribute their time and talent to support PSAC programs which are a special part of the community. Another one of those special people is Marguerite at Mountain Greenery who supplies complimentary floral arrangements for each exhibit open house/reception.
If you hanker to become a volunteer, this may be your opportunity. Petroglyph, our quarterly newsletter is looking for a layout person. We also seek a business or two or three interested in sponsoring the newsletter. For an appropriate donation, we'll insert a flyer into the center of the newsletter and issue a public acknowledgment of your contribution in this very column.
If hardware is your specialty, you may be just the person to help PSAC with an equipment issue. The Council is looking for a hard drive to bring our gallery computer out of the dark ages and allow us to use newer computer software. If you cannot outright donate the equipment, suggest a reasonable price. For all these opportunities to contribute to the ongoing operation of PSAC, contact Jennifer at 731-3113 or Joanne at the gallery, 264-5020.
It's not all about giving. PSAC offers members an attractive discount at the gallery. If that appeals to you, stop in and fill out a membership form. For just $20 per individual or $30 per family, you can save on purchases at the gallery and receive a subscription to Petroglyph. Of course, all members of the community can receive PSAC information by listening to KWUF (1400 AM on your radio dial) the second Thursday of each month from 8:05 to 8:35 a.m.
If you have suggestions or ideas for new programs you'd like to see the PSAC take on, come to the annual meeting Feb. 20 at the Taminah Gallery, 414 San Juan Street. We will review the past year and present our annual budget as well as elect two new board members. You need not be a member to attend, but you will need an appetite for the delectable desserts following the meeting.
Pagosa Springs Arts Center Gallery is located in Town Park at 314 Hermosa St., on your way to the Post Office and Hot Springs. Winter office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Phone: 264-5020.
VA, CU eye joint hospital venture
The Veterans Affairs Department is expected to form a landmark partnership with the private sector that would set a new precedent for delivering health care to veterans.
If VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi approves the project, which he is expected to do, veterans in Colorado would get their surgeries and other care alongside civilians in a sparkling new state-of-the-art hospital the VA would build jointly with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. The department is viewing the collaboration with an eye toward other such joint ventures that would improve quality and reduce costs.
It's not as if Colorado's veterans dislike their autonomous health care network. Indeed, veterans have historically sought to maintain control over their unique care-delivery system. In 1992, Edward J. Derwinski, then VA Secretary, recommended opening several underused VA hospitals located in rural areas to poor civilians. Besieged by angry veterans, Derwinski eventually resigned.
But that was 10 years ago, before health care had become so expensive, and before the development of so much breakthrough - and costly - diagnostic and treatment equipment. It was also before many veterans hospitals started looking old and, some say, outdated.
To make matters worse, University of Colorado hospital, which is currently just down the block from the veterans facility, is moving. And when it goes, so do some of the sharing arrangements on which the VA depends. Moreover, university physicians who help staff the veterans hospital may decide not to make the longer commute.
Currently, one of the most-extensive collaborations is in New Mexico. At Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, the VA and the Defense Department share a common structure, but each maintains its own distinct health care operations, including separate staffs.
Congress will have to approve the partnership before Principi can give the go-ahead, and money is a big issue. Appropriators will have to come up with between $250 million and $300 million to help build the hospital and an outpatient clinic. But early cost studies indicate long-term savings from the collaboration. Indeed, the VA could save close to $1 billion over 20 years by moving its hospital to Fitzsimons instead of renovating its existing facility, according to a preliminary study jointly sponsored a year and a half ago by the University of Colorado and the VA. A new study with more precise numbers should be ready in the next month or two.
Now if we can just get Congress and the VA to complete their promise of a VA Health Care Clinic in Durango. I attended a meeting on this issue last Wednesday in Ignacio with other veteran service group representatives and I will report on the meeting in next week's Veterans Corner.
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 Veterans Service Office can be found at www.geocities.com/vso_archuleta. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and E-mail is email@example.com. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, or Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
FGDM helps families help themselves
In the ideal world, families would make decisions for themselves all of the time. There would be no disruptions in our perfect lives and no interference from anybody outside of our immediate families.
However, today there are many circumstances in which many families cannot function the way they had anticipated. They can agree that some form of intervention is the only solution to their stressful situation.
Financial problems, housing situations, and even illness can cause a family a great deal of distress. Although we all may need help from our families or the community in these situations, bringing everyone together effectively is not an easy process.
A program that offers a new approach to working with families in such a way is called Family Group Decision Making. This process helps families build partnerships with their support systems to help protect their children and make important decisions and plans for the future.
Collaboration and communication is opened up between professionals and families in a way that empowers all who attend the meeting. Culture and strengths are identified. This is done to help capture different perspectives in keeping children from further maltreatment. As with all families, there are many unresolved issues that could easily disrupt a meeting. Having a facilitator who will keep everybody in focus in order to ensure effective accomplishments in the FGDM process solves this problem.
The facilitator is responsible for making sure all participants of the process fully understand their role before, during and after the meeting, as well as understand the FGDM process itself. He or she has the responsibility of staying impartial to the situation in order to help families prioritize their goals.
The steps in getting involved in Family Group Decision Making include a referral from the Department of Social Services after an investigation and assessment of child abuse or neglect. The facilitator then contacts all parties who play a part in the family's life. This could include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, therapists, clergy, etc. The idea is to involve as many people as possible who offer a support system to the family.
Then the process moves on to a group conference. Here, the facilitator makes it clear what everybody's goal is and asks everyone to reach agreement on what needs to be accomplished.
Next there is the information-sharing stage. At this stage everybody is able to be straightforward about the facts, respectfully, of course. Professionals are asked not to give their opinions concerning the family's future as this may alter the next stage.
The next step is a family meeting. Only family members remain in the room. This empowers them to put everything out on the table. The reason for having the professionals leave the room is that they may assume their traditional roles of facilitating and decision-making and not allow the families to collaborate successfully.
The family has two questions to answer. The first is whether or not the children in the family were abused or neglected. Then, the family must decide what needs to take place to ensure the children are cared for and protected from future injurious conditions.
Once the family reaches a mutual decision on how to take care of the children and protect them, the caseworker, facilitator and other support people return to the meeting and the family is able to present a plan.
Of course, there could be obstacles in making the plan a complete success. Often it's hard for a community to provide services that families identify in their plan. Professionals do whatever they can in carrying out this task with the resources that are available.
The theory is that families will more likely execute and monitor a plan that they develop. This helps families feel proud and put a value on something they have created through a recognition of their strengths.
Archuleta County Department of Social Services has contracted with a private counselor to provide this family service. It allows families to have favorable experiences with Human Services. Families have stated that the biggest benefit for them is having control. They can assume more responsibility and feel good that their future is their own decision. Often, families are skeptical about FGDM until they earn all of the information included here.
Of course, there is much more to be said about FGDM. If you have questions, give Social Services a call at 264-2182.
Harold and Joan Slavinsky, and Bill and Sandy Hudgins, from left, are the new owners of Sunetha Property Management.
Bill served as Long-term Manager for the previous owners and will continue in that capacity at the new company. Joan, likewise, served as company broker and will continue to work at that job.
Harold will take charge of building construction and maintenance; Sandy will be in charge of telecommunications and office management.
Sunetha Property Management provides rental and management services for owners of condos and homes as well as storage units. The company also provides management services for condo associations.
The office is located in the Village Center at 56 Talisman Drive and is open 8 to 5 Monday through Saturday, with extended summer and holiday hours. The phone number is 731-4344.
Real Estate Transactions
No Land Sales this week!
Mrs. Dorothy Eichvalds would like to announce the engagement of her daughter Nora Viktoria Eichvalds to Michael Anthony McCormick. Nora is also the daughter of the late Viktor E. Eichvalds.
Nora is an athletic trainer at Monmouth Regional High School in Eatontown, N.J., and Michael is a captain with the American Airlines.
They plan a June wedding and will remain living in New Jersey.
Sarah Joy, daughter of Petra and David Joy of Pagosa Springs, completed Army recruit training Jan. 24 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and is now undergoing training as a microwave communications technician at Fort Gordon, Ga. A private school graduate, she entered the Army on Sept. 11, 2001, as the World Trade Center attacks were taking place.
No Oldtimer Story This Week!
Stereotyping others leaves imprint on us
Have you ever heard a person's voice on the telephone and tried to picture the person's appearance in your mind's eye?
If so, I'll bet you were totally surprised when you finally met that person face to face.
Rarely does our preconceived image of a person actually fit the person.
We live in a world given to stereotyping other people. Though some of the mental images may change over the years, certain professions are always categorized, often without warrant.
Journalists, for example, have been pictured in the movies as hard drinking, hard swearing individuals, usually with an ax to grind. There are, in fact, some like that. But the majority are everyday people who are as concerned about their neighborhoods as you. They try to make the world a better place to live by telling people what is happening, where, why and what it means to them.
Used car salesmen are known as the pushiest and the most irresponsible of all professionals. Again, there may be a few that way, but the majority are just trying to make a living like the rest of us.
Doctors, no matter how good they are or how great they make us feel, are lumped together in a class as greedy and uncaring. Few give any consideration to how much and how many years it cost that doctor to get where he or she is, and how much it costs them annually just for modern equipment and mandatory malpractice insurance.
Boxers are conceived as monotonal bores with more muscle than brains. One listening to Mike Tyson's comments to the Nevada Boxing Commission as he tried to get his fight license back might have thought him somewhat erudite and apologetic. In reality, he has shown himself to be irresponsible in almost all his actions. He is not, however, the personification of most people in the fight game. Good fighters have a relatively short time in which to prove themselves before someone younger, faster, stronger comes along to dethrone them.
Tyson alone cannot be blamed for the pugilistic prognosis of perpetual usurpation of a man's talents to salve the monetary needs of the minority of others involved. The promoters are as much if not more to blame for the sorry state of the sport.
Politicians are regarded as profiteers, liars, pocket liners, pork barrelers. But you can't lump all politicians together. I've actually known honest ones who'd give the shirt off their back to a constituent in need and not just for that person's vote. I've also known several who appeared to be the most honest of office holders but ended up in prison for using their posts to feather their own nests.
Professional athletes' salaries are an insult to hard-working men and women of America. But the athlete has only his skills to market and if the market is willing to pay outlandish amounts, there's no reason he or she should turn it down.
Team owners lament the high cost of operation, baseball czars even want to eliminate teams because of what they call the dilution of talent and soaring salary and operational costs. Then one of them will pay $118 million for the services of another team's star so they can keep making money.
Categorizing all teenagers as inferior beings is just as bad as believing all adults are beyond reproach. There are, obviously, bad apples in every personality barrel. They should be culled out and made into sauce. The others ought to be given the chance they deserve to develop their own personalities and reactions to humankind. They need not nor should they be lumped together as teenage parasites.
Real estate brokers are sometimes regarded as money-grubbing, fact hiding leaches bent only on making a profit for themselves by unscrupulously hiding the faults of a property while pushing its merits. There may some who do that but the vast majority will follow the straight and narrow path of successful brokering.
In reality, they are people who live in the community, serve the community, and want what is best for that community.
Gasoline dealers are often accused of trying to gouge the public with out landish prices for the fuel we need to keep our economy running. Why, the question often comes, does gasoline cost so much more here than there? Sometimes the answer is obvious. The cost of getting the fuel here is higher than getting it to a community 60 miles from the refinery.
I've seen the invoices for one local dealer and the price he paid per gallon for a delivery. His markup at the pump was 2 cents per gallon. That seems a small profit to extract from the motoring public for providing a product they need to keep going. If you assume he sold 10,000 gallons, that's a profit of $200. The electricity for his pumps and the overhead lights might have cost him that much just to keep operating.
I constantly hear complaints of utility companies gouging the public for emergency survival services - electricity, natural gas, telephone - but find the prices here remarkably low compared to those in the Chicago metropolitan area. In fact, utility costs here are lower that in many areas of the nation. The only real problem with them is that most are headquartered outside the area and their billing schedule, combined with U.S. Postal Service delivery, rarely leaves the consumer time to get a payment back within the proscribed time limit unless they send it priority or express mail.
Pick a profession and you'll have heard derogatory comments about those involved, all of them lumped together under a single inflammatory stain.
The point is we can't tar and feather entire groups of population just because of the sound of their voice, the color of their skin or their profession.
We all deserve the right to do our jobs to the best of our ability without having to consider what jokes or slurs are leveled against us.
So, go you longshoremen, hang in there you sausage makers, give 'em hell you telephone linemen, and drive on you over-the-road truckers. You, and each of us, are part of the American conglomerate which makes a life of freedom to be what we wish it to be - something that many other nations can't understand.
Keying survival to weather, dog years
For the youngster: romance and parties that last to the early morn.
For the old-timer: weather forecasts.
A sure sign you're getting up in years is increasing attention to weather conditions. You know you're in the twilight of life when you subscribe to satellite or cable television just to get the Weather Channel. Back in the '50s you knew someone was getting old when they insisted on watching, and enjoying, The Lawrence Welk Show. Now, we fogies are parked in front of the TV screen getting updates on low pressure systems stalled over the Bering Strait and monsoon conditions in Sri Lanka.
Where once you worried about what hat you would wear on the big date, or if you would get the promotion at work, or what kind of car you drove, now that you are nearing the end of the ride you are obsessed with ambient air temperature, the jet stream, and the chance of precipitation in the seven-day forecast.
I know this. I regularly divert my increasing anxiety about my mortality not to existential considerations of authentic existence and the individual's responsibility for choices and consequences, but rather to the sixty-percent chance for snow Tuesday morning through Wednesday noon.
This fits my condition, namely that I am entering the fourth quarter of the game - two and a half dogs away from the final whistle. I figure an average dog lives 10 years (human years). Arnie is nearly six years old. Let's say he kicks off when he is ten, I buy another dog, it moves on to the Great Kennel Beyond when it is ten, I purchase another pooch and, by the time it is dragging its useless hind legs around the living room and urinating without warning . . . so am I.
I wonder if there will be a winter storm watch this week.
I was in the gym the other day lifting heavy objects and putting them back down and Wally mentioned the fact that, at his house out in San Juan River Village, the temperature was six below. Wally is about two dogs from the end, so he checks his thermometer regularly.
I get to work and, first thing, Richard (a dog and half from his last deadline) notes the temperature at his house on Hermosa Street was eight below. Both Richard and Wally live near a river bottom, so the temp at their houses is generally lower than average.
John (a dog and a half) is staying at his mother-in-law's place in the Central Core area and he consults a digital device she installed to measure the temperature outside the condo. Unfortunately, the sensor is placed on the north side of the house, thus clouding the accuracy of the readout. John said the temperature was five below.
Jack (two and half dogs from ground zero) watches the digital readout on the bank sign as he drives past in his truck each morning, then adds ten degrees in the winter or subtracts ten degrees at the height of summer to approximate the real temp.
I have a different way of assessing air temperature. I am a pragmatist and nothing, not even the scientific measurement of air temperature, means anything to me if it does not make a real difference in the way I live.
When I rise, the first thing I do is lift the window shade. If there is a sheet of ice on the inside surface of the window glass, the frozen remnants of our nocturnal exhalations, I have a hunch it is near zero outside. This affects the type of sweater I choose for the day. If it is zero or above, I can make it through the day relying on a sweater and a significant layer of body fat for warmth.
Next, I watch Arnie carefully as I take him outdoors to relieve himself after a long night on his dog bed. If Arnie balks and has to be pulled through the door, I know it is below zero. This prompts me to wear a coat that day.
Once outside, I check the north side of the house as Arnie does his business. If the frozen condensation from the crawlspace vents extends four feet or less up the side of the house, it is between zero and five below. If the ice extends beyond four feet, I know its been one cold mother of a night.
In each case, I then use the information to make a decision concerning how long I will warm up my truck.
If the truck fails to start after two attempts, it is ten below zero or more.
I call in sick.
So far this year, I have not called in sick, therefore I can say with relative confidence that the air temperature at my house on Jaunty Court, Archuleta County, State of Colorado, United States of America, North American Continent, Planet Earth, Our Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, This Corner of the Known Universe, has not dipped lower than ten below zero this winter.
Nonetheless, it's been cold on occasion and cold weather demands certain types of foods - again, a pragmatic decision. If Arnie refuses to leave the house when his bladder is the size of a basketball, it is no time for sorbet. When there is a plume of ice above the vent on the side of the house that nearly reaches the eaves, I am not in the mood for gaspacho.
Nope, cold weather demands Nordic fare. We need Mongolian taste-treats, German goodies, Slavic sustenance. Anything but muktuk.
When you have to ignite the internal burners, you need mass and the high-fat fare that keeps a Finnish lumberjack ready for heavy labor.
What would this be? Use your imagination: You're in the Gulag, standing in a clearing in the forest. You're swathed in layer upon layer of fur; there are long icicles on your mustache (and, in this scenario, you might be a woman!). You haven't seen the sun in three weeks and wolverines are gathering in the thicket yonder, preparing to do you great harm if you don't scurry back to your sod and log hut. Once you are safely inside your crude dwelling, what do you want to eat? A salad?
No, you go back in your memory to the days when you lived a comfortable upper-crust life in St. Petersburg, when you had a cook and a butler and threw dinner parties for your snobby bourgeois intellectual pals and you remember . . . stroganoff, beef paprikash, blini, pierogi filled with cheese and potato and onion, noodles, dumplings, snow goose, gravies, sour cream, cakes and pastries dense enough to break a plate. You do not remember a cold tuna salad served in a scooped out tomato.
You remember winter fare. Weather-watchers fare.
I have a version that veers a bit off course from the standard.
For this dish, you need top-grade beef. Tenderloin only, if you please. Slice the beef in thin strips.
In one pan, reduce a half cup or so of beef broth and a touch of sherry by three-fourths, until it is somewhat syrupy and coats the back of a spoon. Add a smidge of prepared mustard and incorporate. Salt and pepper to taste. This should be pretty flavorful stuff, deep, full of cow. Some would urge the addition of a bit of cracked caraway seed; use your judgment on this one.
In another pan, saute a sliced white onion and a batch of sliced mushrooms in butter. When the onion is limp, but not brown, and the mushrooms have given up their water and it has evaporated take the vegetables from the pan. Turn up the heat and add the meat. When the meat is brown, toss it, the onion and the mushrooms into the broth and sherry reduction. Stir well. When the mix is hot, slop in sour cream, tasting as you add, until you reach a mix you appreciate. Adjust seasonings.
Since the cold weather requires profound mass, serve the beef mixture over hot, buttered, parslied egg noodles. Vegetable? Who cares? Maybe something mild and green. Some would say, despite the caveat against a white wine with beef, that a crisp white would go with this dish. Me, I head for pinot noir.
I'm salivating as I write this, and it's been cold. I want stroganoff.
I'll procure the necessary supplies during my next trip to the market. Maybe I'll show Tess how to make this dish so she can amaze some of her relatives, regaling them with the Gulag image as they eat.
In any case, aging specimen that I am, I'll know when the time is right. I'll keep a close watch on the Weather Channel, the window, the siding and the dog.