Front Page

March 14, 2002

County orders plans for new building
By John M. MotterStaff Writer

Archuleta County will advertise for bids for architectural plans for a new county administrative building based on an action by the board of county commissioners at a Tuesday meeting.

Voting for the proposal were commissioners Gene Crabtree and Alden Ecker. Voting against was Bill Downey, chairman of the board.

"I suggest we put out a request for a proposal to show us what a building would look like and how much it would cost," said Crabtree. "We need to look ahead over the next 15 years or so. The courts are moving in on us. There is money in the budget for this. This will save a lot of time, stop guessing. The cost of a request for a proposal will be from $25,000 to $30,000. Steele (county administrator William Steele) will be the project contact person."

"It's time to look," Ecker echoed Crabtree. "We're short of room and parking."

"In my opinion," said Downey, "we're getting the cart before the horse. We need to build up our capital reserve funds in order to get money to issue bonds."

"We need an idea of the cost," said Crabtree. "We don't have to bond, there are other avenues of financing."

"We need to move forward," Ecker said. "It's time to do something, not just talk. At some point in time, somebody has to make a decision to explore the possibilities. Maybe that time is now. There is no parking, no room for planning and building, the courts. We can explore other areas of financing."

From the audience, Mamie Lynch suggested leasing office space. She also suggested the commissioners consider building new law enforcement offices, jail facility and court building elsewhere.

"We looked at leasing space," Crabtree said. "It's too costly." Because of various complications, Crabtree said moving the jail seems impractical.

When asked what the county will get, Crabtree said, "architectural drawings and some ground analysis."

"We're talking of an advertisement for bid," said Steele, "that includes a provision allowing us to refuse the proposal."

If the county chooses to build and chooses general obligation bonds to finance the building, voter approval will be required. If the county chooses to build and chooses other financing methods, such as revenue bonds or a lease-purchase agreement, voter approval is not required.

In other business Tuesday the commissioners:

Waived a $200 fee normally levied by the county assessor in connection with an invoice for mapping services provided by the Southwest Land Alliance. Assessor Keren Prior said the county commissioners have no right to waive the fees of another elected official. County attorney Mary Weiss said the county has the right to waive fees when those fees are not mandated by the state. In this instance, the fee was set by Prior, according to Weiss

Approved, in concept, an intergovernmental agreement between the county, Pagosa Springs, and Colorado Department of Transportation involving work on U.S. 160 that could begin this summer. The county's concern relates primarily to traffic lights at the intersection of North and South Pagosa boulevards and U.S. 160

Scheduled a work session March 25 at 9 a.m. to discuss user and impact fees

Approved spending $6,500 to purchase office furniture for new senior transportation quarters in the soon-to-be-completed Community Center

Scheduled a public hearing April 24 at 7 p.m. in the extension building to consider a proposed dog control resolution

Approved a letter of agreement with the Archuleta County Fair Board providing assurance that Archuleta County will guarantee cleanup following demolition derby events at the fairgrounds

Approved a letter requesting Southern Ute approval for county water trucks crossing Ute land in the southern part of the county

Approved renewal of a hotel/restaurant liquor license for Timbers of Pagosa

Approved a letter of support allowing Pine Ridge Nursing Home to receive Medicaid funding for additional beds

Approved a letter of support for the San Juan Basin Recycling Association program dealing with the recovery of electronic parts contained in computers and other appliances.

Facilities plan pact approved by school board
By Richard WalterStaff Writer

Surprised by the price and impressed by the sample materials submitted, the school board of Archuleta School District 50 Joint approved a contract Tuesday with a firm from Englewood to develop a facilities master plan for the district.

At the same time, after approving two change orders for the new concession stand-restroom facility at Golden Peaks Stadium, the board signaled approval of final payout for substantial completion of the project.

The change orders added just over $4,200 to the price, putting the final construction cost at $200,268. Involved in the add-ons were site work, electrical load increase and flow controls.

The facility master plan contract went to Lantz-Boggio Architects, the low bidder on the project with a quote of $5,000.

Superintendent Duane Noggle said the bids ranged from that low to a high of $58,400.

"We had planned to interview three more firms," said Noggle, "but when this bidder promised all the things we asked, and admitted they'd be doing the job at a loss to gain additional exposure in this area of the state, we decided it would be best to go with them."

He said such plans usually run "a minimum of $20,000. A $5,000 cost for what we want is unbelievable, especially for something this detailed."

Involved will be a complete review of all existing facilities, projected enrollments, special class needs, possible building expansion needs, means of funding any recommended changes, and a vast array of district detail which will be used to formulate a planned development of facilities.

Nothing will be mandated by the report which is produced, but it is expected to give the board and administration a complete picture of what they have, what can be anticipated as probable early needs, what can be seen as long-range needs, where changes may be needed, and how they can be accomplished.

Noggle said the firm has done one job in the Four Corners area and is well known among school people in the Denver metropolitan area.

In conjunction with the Golden Peaks development, Noggle announced plans are moving ahead for receipt of bids in mid-April for the first part of Phase II, the complete underground drainage and electrical system for a modern track facility, and attendant site work.

The contract, he said, should be ready for award April 29 and construction is expected to be completed before the opening of school this fall.

Schools say solicitations are
a 'scam'
By Richard WalterStaff Writer

School officials issued a warning this week that someone is soliciting donations by telephone in the Pagosa Springs area, ostensibly in conjunction with Pagosa Springs police, to finance a drug and alcohol prevention program at the high school.

Bill Esterbrook, high school principal, after notified of the request by a suspicious parent who received one of the calls, said, "There is no such program and anyone receiving such a call should decline to donate and then notify the police first and then the school."

It is the second time in recent years, Esterbrook said, that a telephone scam has been aimed at Pagosa residents with the implication it will benefit a school program.

"All of our programs are widely publicized," he said. "We have not, are not and do not plan any kind of telephone solicitation to support activities on this campus by anyone from outside the community."

Esterbrook said the person who called the school to report the solicitation did not give a name but the call seemed fully credible.

Police chief Don Volger agreed there is no such program being contemplated. "We don't endorse any solicitation for any program in conjunction with the schools," he said.

He said Law Publications does solicit advertising from area merchants for booklets dealing with similar subjects. "But they go directly to the business owner with a letter of introduction from me," he said. "They do no telephone solicitation and are a legitimate organization."

He said there was a similar call to central dispatch about a week ago but there was some question about validity of that call.

"If anyone gets such a call," he said, "they should reject the plea and then notify either my department or the sheriff's office immediately."

Area snowpack just 30 percent of normal
By John M. MotterStaff Writer

Chances for a normal snowpack in the San Juan Mountains diminish with each tick of the clock, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

NRCS is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture with Colorado offices in Denver. Measurement of snow water equivalents at selected manual snow courses and automated SNOWTEL sites, along with precipitation, antecedent stream flow, and indices of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation are used in computerized statistical and simulation models to prepare runoff forecasts. These forecasts are coordinated between hydrologists in the NRCS and the National Weather Service.

Colorado's snowpack continues to lag well behind the long-time average based on the latest snow surveys conducted by NRCS. Statewide, the snowpack is only 56 percent of average, based on data collected March 4. In the San Juan River Basin, the snowpack is only 30 percent of average.

"Last month's snowfall was the third consecutive month below average," said Allen Green, state conservationist with NRCS. "Since we peaked at about 72 percent of average in early December, the state's snowpack, as a percent of average, has steadily declined."

Because the state's typical seasonal maximum snowpack is reached around April 1, any chance for a full recovery this season is negligible, according to the report.

"We can still hold out for a cold and very wet spring, with May, as our last hope," Green said.

Armed with the knowledge that 80 percent of the state's water supplies originate from the melting winter snowpack, water managers are being encouraged to plan for reduced supplies this coming summer.

This is the fifth consecutive March with below average statewide snowpack. The current snowpack is the lowest since 1981.

Forecasts for spring and summer runoff volumes are well below average statewide. Runoff in the San Juan, Animas, and the upper Rio Grande basins is expected to be less than 50 percent of average this season.

The lowest volumes, as a percent of average, are anticipated across southwestern Colorado. In this area, the water year total is 49 percent of average and combined reservoir storage is 70 percent of average.

Locally, the weather forecast promises some precipitation during the coming week, according the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"Today is expected to be partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain or snow showers," said Norvan Larson, a forecaster from the Grand Junction office. "Daytime temperatures should peak between 53 and 45 degrees. Lows at night should dip into the teens. The chance for snow should peak during the afternoon."

Tomorrow and Saturday should see continued clouds with a 20 percent chance for rain or snow showers Saturday. Another slight chance for showers returns Monday and Tuesday.

Conditions will remain unsettled through the coming week, according to Larson. The jet stream remains south of the Four Corners area, but may shift far enough north to bring moisture today and at other times during the week. A series of west to east disturbances will pass through Pagosa Country during the next few days.

It was the final meeting, maybe,

for Pagosa's Sanitation District
By Tess Noel BakerStaff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Sanitation District board may have had its final meeting March 6. All in all, it went off without a lot of fanfare.

The audit report was heard and approved. Basically, the outlook was good.

Capital improvements, including the U.S. 160 East project and fixes on some of the current lines, were discussed.

When asked, board members declined a last chance to speak for posterity. Instead they are waiting - waiting to celebrate what might have been the final meeting - until after the April 2 election.

The board has been trying to dissolve since November 2000, when voters were asked to allow the town to form a Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District and transfer debt from the current district to the GID. The change would actually decrease the size of town government, eliminating one board of directors, some legal fees and an annual separate audit. Already, the Town of Pagosa Springs provides the management services under an agreement from 1996 - it's just not official on paper.

Back in 2000, voters approved the idea of forming the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District under the direction of the Pagosa Springs trustees. However, the questions to transfer the debt from one heading to the other failed - all five by different margins.

This time, voters only face three transfer-of-debt questions; the other debts have been retired. It doesn't make the questions any less confusing, however.

Town administrator Jay Harrington said the questions are required to be worded a certain way under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. That wording makes it sound as if taxes would increase above and beyond the current level. For instance, Ballot issue A starts out: "Shall the Town of Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District taxes be increased $19,500 annually in the first full fiscal year, and by such amount as may be generated in succeeding years, by the imposition of a mill levy of 0.9 mills on all taxable property within the boundaries of the district ... "

In reality, this is only a debt transfer, a paper shuffle. The old sanitation district taxes will disappear, then reappear on paper at exactly the same level in the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District books.

Ballot issue B is more of the same. It begins: "Shall the Town of Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District debt be increased up to $546,190 ... "

This is also a debt transfer, a paper shuffle. The old sanitation district taxes will disappear and then reappear at exactly the same level for the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District.

Ballot issue C reads, in part: "Shall the Town of Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District debt be increased up to $200,000 with a repayment cost ... "

This is yet another debt transfer, a paper shuffle. The old sanitation district taxes will disappear and then reappear at exactly the same level in the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District. Nothing changes for the taxpayer. In fact, under the town's agreement with the current district board, town staff has been responsible for billing and bookkeeping for years.

Right now, the current mill levy for the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District is 3.4 mills, about $73,375 in property taxes. Of that, 0.9 mills is used for operating expenses and the balance goes toward paying off debt. Approval of the three issues on the ballot in April would not change these numbers. No new tax is involved.

But until April 2 comes and goes, the current sanitation board must bide its time, waiting to see if voters will choose to downsize government, opting for the transfer of monies, rather than to hang on to an extra board.

The decision as to the transfer of debt from the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District to the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District will be handled as a separate ballot at the town election, April 2, because of differences in town and district boundaries. All Pagosa Springs registered voters and property owners with land inside the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District boundaries are eligible to vote. The election will take place at Town Hall, 551 Hot Springs Boulevard, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Blood shortage here; urgent bid issued for type-O donors

United Blood Services has announced an urgent request for type O positive and O negative blood donors. Inventories, as of Tuesday, had dropped to extremely low levels. Over the next 48 hours, said Randy Hubbs of UBS, "we must draw an additional 20 units of type O blood to insure manageable inventories."

United Blood Services will hold a regularly scheduled blood drive March 28 at Community United Methodist Church, 443 Lewis St. from 12:30-5 p.m. A second drive will be April 1 at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center 119 Bastille Dr. from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Call United Blood Services about scheduled drives, 385-4601.

Two viable parties

A gathering of Archuleta County Democrats last weekend drew at least 150 people, come together to discuss party potential in upcoming elections, to meet local and regional candidates, to discuss ideas and issues. It was a good omen for all of us, and implies a call to action.

Had the dominant local party for several decades been the Democratic party and the weekend's event hosted by a reorganized Republican party, the lead sentence would note the revitalization of that party and its significance. As it is, our Republican neighbors have had little trouble marshaling effective political forces.

What the weekend meeting indicates is we again have two viable political parties in the county. It is a sign that organized political discourse could receive a boost, that a productive dialogue is possible, that the county's political battery can be recharged after being partly dormant for too long.

According to event organizers, the Democrats who gathered Saturday included old-timers from all parts of the county, and as many new faces, people who have arrived on the scene recently. All want to get involved in the party process.

This is imperative. For them and for their Republican counterparts.

What members of both parties are about to enter is a potentially turbulent local political season, with controversial candidates and issues, and campaigns certain to heat up before primary and general election ballots are cast.

The roles the parties will play is tempered by local political reality. Few upcoming races and issues at the county level are clearly partisan, no matter what some diehards might say. Few things in Archuleta County can be legitimately colored with the partisan brush.

The value of a recharged local two-party system is not to provide a sharp division on all local issues. Listen to candidates carefully; often it will be hard to distinguish traditional partisan rhetoric. We have Republicans who, given the issue, sound liberal. There are Democrats cut out of old Southern Democrat cloth.

The value of a second vital party will be to provide another established avenue, other opportunities for qualified and creative candidates to make their way to the ballot with organized support. It will provide another forum for the development of ideas and solutions to problems most members of both parties recognize in a similar way.

This is a key time for members of both parties to amp up their efforts. The pages on the political calendar are turning quickly and to make registration as a member of a party meaningful, a voter must be prepared to take action soon.

Participation at a party caucus is perhaps the most important contribution a rank-and-file party regular can make. While the exact day of precinct caucuses remains unset due to uncertainty at the state level, (they could occur April 23), it is at a precinct caucus that the initial inspection and judgment of ideas and candidates takes place. It is there that delegates to the party county assembly are picked, where the groundwork - be it blessed with integrity or stained by tomfoolery - is established by a party.

If the system works effectively, assembly seats should be hotly contested, not a matter of rote selection or crude manipulation. The only way to ensure this happens is for registered party members to get involved and to participate with open minds.

Now, fortunately, there are two viable parties available to host that involvement.

Whether you are a member of the old guard or a brash young Turk, it is time to bring your concerns, your vision and passions to one or the other.

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

I've slurped my words for years

Dear Folks,

There's obviously no reason to say it, but it goes without saying that words make a newspaper.

Photo journalists probably would argue that pictures must be included in the equation. Their contention is somewhat logical until the value of pictures is taken into consideration. Unlike Enron, the value of pictures have remained rather constant for as long as I can remember. Actually, much longer than that. Lately my memory keeps turning up in the lost and found department.

Though the math or economic portions of the CSAP tests probably don't address it, everyone knows that a picture is worth, or equal to a thousand words. While non-distinguishable to the naked eye, folks in reality are viewing a thousand words whenever they look at a photograph - "I see a tree, a mountain, an eagle, etc."

It's equally well established that the imagery created by a skilled wordsmith can produce a "word picture." Their craftsmanship enable folks to visualize a photo-like picture as they read the artistic arrangement of words.

For some writers, the ability to script appealing word imagery is an inherent gift. To others it's an acquired ability that was obtained through years of study, training and practice.

Then there's the rest of us. We move a couple of fingers around our keyboards much like we once spooned a bowl of Campbell's Alphabet Soup. Even before my mind was capable of dredging the simplest of words from among the flotsam of green peas, chopped celery, diced carrots and potatoes and other garden offerings, Mom served the floating letters as repetitive reminders to "always watch your P's and Q's" in her futile efforts at helping me develop good manners and proper behavior.

In time, the tasty searches for P's and Q's led to a lasting appreciation for soda crackers and nurtured a limited awareness of the alphabet. This awareness raised my curiosity whenever treated to store-bought soup. Rather than obediently stemming my slurping, I instead slowly spooned the starchy components in search of letters that would form a word if arranged in the necessary order. (Mom rejected my logic of it being "food for thought" the time I unilaterally opened a can out of curiosity. To this day, I still don't know if a 10-ounce can of alphabet soup contains all 26 letters.)

Possibly it was such idle childhood winter meals of the unnamed generations that today nourishes the popularity of Scrabble as a way to fill the empty loneliness that often accompanies the inevitable condition known as senior citizenship. Our childhood meals, toy wooden blocks, nursery rhyme books all emphasized letters. And letters made words. And words were our keys to reading, to obtaining an education and to learning. (Restricted to radio broadcasts, our electronic forms of entertainment and news broadcasts depended on the spoken word.)

In light of this year's county elections, local voters should stay focused on the importance of words. Whether spoken by an incumbent or a challenger who is seeking their party's nomination, it's time to pay close attention to what these folks are saying. Otherwise it could go unnoticed when an office holder or an office seeker says one thing one week and then makes a substantially different statement or takes a substantially different position regarding the same topic a week or so later. (The same holds true for current office holders who are in the middle of their elected terms.)

Pagosa has been plagued with a number of Jello officials and Jello candidates during the past four years - it's impossible to nail them down. They will say one thing during one meeting or interview, and say something else the next time they are confronted with the same topic or question.

During their childhood they probably were raised with a concern for honesty, integrity and proper manners. Now in their adulthood as vacillating politicians, it appears that watching their P's and Q's comes in the form of "quid pro quo."

Mark my word, it should be an interesting election year in Pagosa.

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


By Shari Pierce 25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 10, 1977

Many students have been taking an enforced vacation the past several days because of the flu. Last week saw more than 200 students absent one day, most of them laid up with the flu.

Construction work on the installation of new boxes is underway at the local post office this week. Work is expected to be completed by the weekend when the number of boxes will be twice as large as it has been in the past. Work is also underway on Universal Telephone Company's building in that area. Installation of new lines and equipment is scheduled to start very soon.

March snow reading throughout the San Juan Basin and San Luis Valley indicate that both areas are faced with an acute water runoff shortage.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 14, 1952

The snow has been going off with great speed these last few warm days. The blue birds are back, the bees are out, and the farmers are beginning to get things lined up. Another ten days of nice weather and business will really begin to 'pick up.'

The weather the past week has been typical March weather, altho a bit wet. According to the almanac, spring will arrive officially next Friday, March 21. Anyone want to bet on it?

Snow started falling here in town Sunday and continued intermittently until late Tuesday with about 10 inches of the "beautiful white" here in town. Since the figures of 600 inches of snow on Wolf Creek have been announced, a little better than 6 feet more has fallen.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 18, 1927

J.P. Craig, wife and daughter, departed about three o'clock yesterday morning on a three weeks' visit to California. The early start was made in an attempt to cover the muddy roads while frozen, and it is believed they have succeeded.

It may not be news, but nevertheless a storm appears to be brewing.

Last month at the Bayles School, the attendance dropped to 89%, which was very good considering the deep snow in February.

That kid brother of ours, who labors under the impression that he is running a newspaper at Ignacio, must be very much ashamed of his product as he has ceased to mail us a copy.

91 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era of March 10, 1911

Mayor Patterson is working to get a couple hundred of Wyoming's starving elk brought to Archuleta County and placed on the government game preserve on East Fork. That section is a natural elk country and there are a few there yet part of the time.

Frank Matthews has moved his barber shop into the building next to the Hatcher Hardware Store. The building vacated by him was purchased by Dave Hersch, who is moving onto a lot on Lewis Street near the New Era.

This week Harry L. Sparks purchased the Catchpole interest in the Sparks-Catchpole Hardware Co. store and as sole owner will conduct the business under the name of the Sparks Hardware Co.

Inside The Sun
Feature Story
Volunteers add volumes to library
By Tess Noel BakerStaff Writer

The Ruby Sisson Library is a resource mecca.

From dictionaries to phone books, computers to one of the largest genealogical sections in the Four Corners, information is at the fingertips of the community. Yet perhaps its best and brightest resources aren't found between the title pages and The Ends.

Instead, they come in the form of local volunteers who take care of the little things and save the library thousands of dollars annually.

"They do practically everything," librarian Lenore Bright said. "Their main job and most critical is shelving books in their proper place so patrons can come and find them."

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. These assistants, mostly retired women, also help with fund-raisers, organize and update the magazines, cull books for the annual sale, train new volunteers, read to children, water the library plants (35 in all), create scrapbooks for grant writing, "read the shelves" to ensure books are in the right order and once or twice a year clean all the shelves. They are currently 36 strong and growing. In 2001 alone, their hours totaled 1,678 - the near equivalent of a full-time staff member.

"And those are just the hours that got counted," Bright said. Volunteer trainer, Maureen Covell, a volunteer herself, was showing a couple of new recruits around the shelves just Tuesday.

Obviously, what can seem at first glance as a fairly repetitious, mundane task has its perks.

"Almost right away, as soon as I unpacked the boxes, I came down here," Covell said. That was eight years ago. She's still committed to helping out one afternoon a week, besides serving as secretary/treasurer of the Friends of the Library board.

"I just figured I loved books and that gives me one common denominator with the people I'd meet here." And she continues to find that future friends - staff, volunteers or patrons - walk through the door all the time.

Donna Geiger was recruited back in 1993 by Kate Terry, one of the library's original volunteers.

"She grabbed me and said I've got some work you can do," Geiger said. Now the retired nurse helps keep the subscriptions up-to-date on the magazines and is officially in charge of watering the plants, "once every two weeks whether they need it or not."

"It's nice to feel needed," she said. "I think that's what volunteering is all about. When you quit working on the outside you feel less needed. This way you still seem productive."

Margaret Wilson started helping the library through the Civic Club. At the time, she was living in a travel trailer behind the San Juan Motel waiting for construction on a house to finish. One of the hotel owners asked her to sew a tree skirt for an annual raffle. Then it was putting hair and eyes and felt shoes on a doll. Those early crafts were the beginnings of an annual library fund-raiser sponsored by the Civic Club. Wilson is now in charge of organizing the raffle. She also continues to make her own crafts, crocheting chickens for an Easter fund-raiser one year, rabbits the next. They sell for $1 or $2 at the library and the money goes back to the books.

To keep connected and for a chance to visit, the volunteers gather once a month for lunch. From time to time they bring treats for the staff and there might be a couple of potlucks a year.

"For all of us, I think it's the camaraderie with other women," Covell said.

A large picture in the children's section, featuring Kate Terry hard at work among the stacks, clipboard in hand, commemorates in its way over 20 years of hard work by all these dedicated volunteers. The attached tag reads, "A library is the most important building in a town, and so it is appropriate that this photograph was made at Sisson Library." It's also appropriate that the volunteers remain among the books providing an invaluable service to the community.

"I tell people Lenore inherited me," Terry said. Over the years, the job has helped fill her time and kept her close to the emotion, adventure and knowledge found cover to cover in all of the thousands of books, as it has for many.

With a possible future expansion, the constant addition of new books and dedicated readers in and out of the library every day, it seems the work, and the joy, will never end.

Local group forms LASSO
By Larry SimmsSpecial to The SUN

A group of local residents have formed a large animal support organization, LASSO. Dedicated to the well-being of all animals, the group's focus is to offer assistance to individuals who find themselves in crisis while caring for a large animal. This organization is made up of lay people, business owners, veterinarians, real estate professionals, members of local law enforcement and retirees.

The primary objective of LASSO is to provide educational material, rescue networking, and rehabilitation provisions for any large animal. Horses, cattle, llamas, goats, and others are the focus. Support will be provided to any large animal should an accident occur. The group has the manpower and expertise to assist a large animal in an accident situation. The goal is to extend support to any animal of voluntary surrender, neglect or abuse. Communication and cooperation are the key elements that provide this group unlimited potential for connecting need with solution.

Animal owners and information seekers can obtain basic care guidelines, alternative placement possibilities and medical referral from the group. LASSO commits to supply current and accurate written information. The group has "hands on" clinics planned throughout the year. Topics include the handling, basic care and problem solving in the care of large animals. The clinics include the latest technology and information presented by local experts.

As with many non-profit organizations, LASSO relies on grants, gifts, and fund-raising by members to finance group efforts. LASSO will host a consignment sale March 23 at the Ridgeview Centre, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Garage, yard and barn items, whether new or used, can be sold with a 20-percent donation of the profits going to the group.

LASSO welcomes new members. The group meets the third Tuesday of the month in the evening. All interested persons are encouraged to share in the group's activities and desire to make a difference in the community. For additional information, call Lyn Rogers, 264-2264, or DiAnn Hitchcox, 264-0095, to participate in the March 23 sale. For membership information, contact Hitchcox or Larry Simms, 731-3664.

No busses for this bus; it's a candidate for lemon law
By Richard WalterStaff Writer

The bus from hell may rest there forever.

The vehicle, an $85,000 state-of-the-art school transport, has been a bone of contention between Archuleta School District 50 Joint and the Denver dealership from which it was purchased almost since the day of delivery.

It has never performed as expected, district officials said, and generally has had one breakdown after another. After months of alleged repairs and unending new problems, the bus was returned to Denver for final complete updating of all problems.

Last week school personnel, notified the bus was ready for return, went to Denver to pick it up.

Fifteen miles outside the city the driver became aware there still are a number of problems, mostly electrical, and struggled to get back to the dealer with it.

Needless to say, school board members and the administration are displeased by both the product and the service, or lack thereof, the district has received.

"There still has been no response from the manufacturer to our insistence that there is a warranty issue," said superintendent Duane Noggle. "We believe we now have enough factual evidence to invoke use of the state's lemon law. We are corresponding, and we are getting tougher with each incident."

In other action Tuesday the board:

After an 83-minute executive session, announced renewal of contracts for all building principals: Bill Esterbrook at the high school, Larry Lister at the junior high school, Mark DeVoti at the intermediate school, and Kahle Charles at the elementary school. "Well done, it has been a great job by all of you," said Randall Davis, board president

Studied suggested redistricting maps drafted by the county on the basis of population distribution. The suggested districts ranged in population from 1,854 to 1,892, but are far from being equal in geographic size. The town of Pagosa Springs would constitute a single district in the suggested change. Board members asked Noggle to continue working to fine tune the map so boundaries are realistic for all residents. "There is a good start here," said Davis

Heard Noggle report on the strategic plan public hearing held last week. Citizens, he said, had pointed desires for the district. "I will be meeting with staff of each building for their input, too," he said. Then the administration will put together a suggested plan for a board work session. "Parents are consistently telling us of their pride in the school system and the programs it provides for students," he said. "But they also let us know they want more and it is up to us to decide when and how to provide it"

Listened as Noggle reminded parents that CSAP testing is underway and that they should be sure their students are well-fed and present on assigned test days.

Royalty owners intended victims of drillers' bill
Rep. Larson's Report

Rural legislators do not have it easy in the legislature. Not only are we significantly outnumbered by urban legislators, we face many obstacles while serving.

As I write this article, I am sitting in my Denver apartment fuming that I was unable to fly home this weekend due to weather and so many flight cancellations. With the changes that Great Lakes Airlines has made in its operations, I found out that I can no longer try to fly to Durango if the limited flights to Cortez are canceled. My only option was to fly to Farmington and those flights were booked. Great Lakes has done a good job over the past several months so I really can't complain. And while I may be fuming about not getting home and being able to share quality time with my wife (time that refurbishes my spirit and determination), the fact that we are finally getting some much-needed moisture will offer some consolation. Have I told you lately how much I hate Denver? This weekend will reaffirm just how much I love our southwestern corner of the world.

SB02-141 is history, at least for this session. The bill sponsors received so much resistance they decided the subject needs more study and are now promoting an ad-hoc committee to meet over the interim with the intent of coming back next year with a "new" bill. Friday, the bill sponsors held a meeting at the capital to hear comments on SB02-141 and to unveil their plan. What struck me as odd was that, despite all of the calls, letters, e-mail and press this bill has received, the sponsors continue to say that the furor behind the bill was due to "misunderstandings" or "mistruths" and opposition attorneys causing hysteria and irrational behavior.

Excuse me? This bill was drafted in seclusion without any input from royalty owners. It was attempted to be pushed through the Senate unnoticed ... or at least until Sen. Isgar got hold of it. Then, when it came over to the House, my efforts were dismissed as ill-informed and hysterical, or driven by attorneys who were fighting amongst themselves over a completely unrelated subject of the McElmo Dome. The fact is that this bill was special interest from the beginning and never gave one bit of consideration to royalty owners. So, as we watch the ad-hoc committee work through the interim, we must remember how this bill was originally worked and be ever mindful that the sponsors continue to demonstrate absolute support of the bill as introduced. It will be very interesting to see the committee appointments. With the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House both being co-sponsors of the bill, I will urge that they seriously consider some of the bills major detractors (such as Durango attorney Bob Miller) serving on the committee to assure it is comprehensively considered.

There was so much going on this week, I overlooked a very important aspect of my HB02-1180, "Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing." When a bill is sent to the Appropriations Committee, staff prepares a report called "JBC Staff Fiscal Analysis." This document validates the fiscal assumptions in the Fiscal Note and either concurs or disagrees with the fiscal impact. At 11:30 p.m. the night before the bill was due to be heard, I found an error in the staff analysis. After a sleepless night kicking myself for having missed this problem earlier, I was able to rectify the problem with a forgiving committee and passed the bill out unanimously. Sometimes we get going so fast that even the most obvious things are missed.

Oil-gas bill scaled down to provide task force study
Sen. Isgar's Report

The lion may not be slain, but he's been effectively declawed. After weeks of debate and hundreds of phone calls and e-mails, the infamous oil and gas bill was gutted this week. The bill will now just create a task force to address the issues. My focus will be on making sure the right people are involved and that the right issues are addressed. It has become apparent to me that the people who need protection are the individual royalty owners, not the oil and gas companies.

The first bill with my name on it was signed into law this week, giving owners of any fleet of vehicles the ability to obtain special license plates that do not require annual validation. This is good news for any business that operates such a fleet of vehicles because it will save time and money on the renewal process. I was the sponsor of a joint resolution that encourages national country-of-origin labeling for meat, fruits and vegetables. It also addresses the issue of meat packers owning the cattle they process.

Another bill that I sponsored with Rep. Larson passed out of the House and Senate and is now on its way to the governor for final approval. Currently in Colorado, if a person is delinquent with their child support payments, their driver's license may be revoked. This bill does not change that but it prevents an insurance company from canceling or failing to renew your insurance in such cases. The intent of this statute was not to affect people's ability to get insurance but we've seen rates rise and coverage shrink in certain cases.

The successful drug courts in Durango and Cortez are one step closer to continued funding from the state. There are 11 drug courts around the state that will lose their federal dollars unless Senate Bill 18 makes it through the House. The measure, which I co-sponsored with my colleague Sen. Doug Linkhart, gained final approval from the Senate this week. It would increase the monthly probation supervision fees and generate enough money to fund these drug courts without seizing any cash from the already tight state budget. The bill passed out of the Senate and will be up for consideration in the House this month.

Earlier this week, Democrats introduced a balanced, comprehensive transportation plan that will not endanger education, health care and other state programs in a slumping economy. Funding for the transportation plan would come from the "growth dividend" that allows the state budget to grow with its population and general fund money as the economy recovers. The final plan will probably be a combination of the governor's plan and the Democrat plan. The main sticking point will be that the governor's plan calls for a transfer of $100 million out of the general fund. The JBC's concern is that it will not be possible to do that without cutting into existing programs.

As we move into the second half of the session, in addition to other bills and issues that I am personally concerned about, the Legislature still must address some serious fiscal issues for the remainder of this year and the next. Money must still be cut from the budget and a balanced budget must be presented. We learned that it appears that the gymnasium improvements ($3.6 million) at Fort Lewis College will be delayed. These improvements were originally scheduled for this year.

I continue to keep my eye on the Fort Lewis College governance issue. The future of Fort Lewis College is critical to the future of southwest Colorado.

Former commissioner Chavez seeks return to County Board
By John M. MotterStaff Writer

Chris Chavez, an Archuleta County Commissioner from 1976 through 1988, has filed an affidavit with the county clerk affirming his intention to run for commissioner from District 3. Chavez is a Democrat.

"I have observed how things have gone in the county since I left office," Chavez said. "Early on, I noticed that things were going wrong, county offices mismanaged, problems in road and bridge, law enforcement, weed control, sewage, you name it."

Born in Durango in 1937, Chavez attended grade school in Pagosa Junction and high school in Ignacio, where he graduated in 1957.

After graduating from high school, Chavez worked in gas and oil fields in New Mexico for a year, then drove trucks for Allied Van Lines from coast to coast. In 1961, Chavez entered the U.S. Army, serving as company clerk.

Down through the years, Chavez worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Reclamation, and Colorado Department of Highways as a heavy equipment operator and dirt foreman. He also worked on the San Juan-Chama transmountain diversion project, Frying Pan Arkansas diversion project, and the Eisenhower Tunnel. Positions held included miner, foreman, shift superintendent, ironworker, concrete foreman and general foreman.

Later, Chavez started and operated his own concrete and excavation business in Archuleta County, an activity he still enjoys.

Chavez operates a 480-acre ranch near Pagosa Junction where he raises Angus breeding cattle. He has owned property in Pagosa Springs since 1974 and also owns property in Aspen Springs.

"My biggest concern with the county is management," Chavez said. "Since the day I left, road and bridge has had a turnover of 57 employees and five supervisors, law enforcement maybe more than that. It's not all management, part of it is salaries. We have become the training center for other counties and the state."

The county formerly paid road and bridge workers a bonus based on seniority, according to Chavez. The bonus was paid at the end of the year.

"We had career employees," Chavez said. "We paid for a three-day funeral leave. They have eliminated the bonus and funeral leave. These are just a few of the things. There is friction among employees, between employees and supervisors, bad management affects everything."

Chavez says it is the commissioners' job to protect all county employees.

"If there are problems in other departments, it is up to us to offer to help," Chavez said. "We're not getting as good a service as we could because of the turnover."

Chavez favors what is taking place with the county Community Plan, but says it does not go far enough toward protecting the rights of farmers and ranchers.

"The other big issue facing the county is roads," Chavez said. "They say they are developing a plan, but what good is a plan if you don't know the roads? I have a plan plus I know every square foot of road in the county. That is what counts."

"As to my administrative skills, for 12 years I was one of three commissioners who, with an administrative assistant, put the budget together. Since I left, they have a finance director and the commissioners are not on top of the budget."

During his 12 years in office, according to Chavez, he was instrumental in starting and completing a new runway at the airport, transfer station, the landfill, county fair building, addition to the courthouse, and new ambulance building. He trained personnel in the building of bridges and roads.

Chavez served as a member of the Southwest Community Corrections Board and the Southwest Criminal Justice Board. He was the Colorado representative on the National Indian Task Force under the National Association of Counties. He was on the Senior Citizens Board, and represented Archuleta County at Colorado Department of Transportation annual meetings. He served as a member of the board for San Juan Basin Health Department.

If elected, Chavez promises competence, integrity, hard work, fairness, accessibility and accomplishments.

PAWS prepares to set water, sewer rates for year
By John M. MotterStaff Writer

It's showdown time for the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors; time to set water and sewer rates for the coming year.

Late last fall, the utility approved a budget and prepared to move on to other problems. An unexpected storm of protest erupted, led by members of the local building, contracting, and real estate communities. Directors backed water and agreed to reconsider the fee structure supporting the budget.

Now, three months and several workshops and public meetings later, the board is about to make a final decision for this year's budget. After pouring over mountains of data and the advice of hired experts and a volunteer citizens' committee, directors will likely vote April 2 on this year's fee structure. The April 2 meeting will begin at 6:30 in the district's Vista office.

One more discussion concerning the fee structure will be held March 19 at the same time and place. Two documents available at Tuesday's meeting provide the basis for the proposed fee structure. One is called Financial Plan and Rate Analysis. The second is a financial model prepared by consultant Stan Bernstein.

"I anticipate a thorough discussion next week, then a board decision April 2," said Carrie Campbell, managing director of the utility.

A major tenet of the December disagreement concerning the district fee structure was the distribution of anticipated capital construction costs between existing users and anticipated new growth.

The district based the fee structure at that time on the assumption that existing users have paid for their portion of capital needs and that "new growth should pay for itself." Protesters argued that existing users should be liable for a portion of new growth costs. That portion should be reflected in user fees, they argued.

"Things have not changed that much," Campbell said in reference to the new- versus-old distribution of costs. "To some extent this is a philosophical issue. This board feels that the fee structure they are considering reflects the philosophy that growth should pay for itself."

The proposed fee structure contains a number of fees, each adopted for a specific purpose.

User fees are the monthly fees paid by users of sewer and water services. A water user fee of $13.50 per month is being proposed, reflecting no increase over last year. Last year, the base fee applied to up to 10,000 gallons of water consumed. The ceiling is being lowered to 8,000 gallons per month. Consumption exceeding 8,000 gallons and up to 20,000 gallons will be charged at a $3.50 per thousand gallons rate. A new, third tier has been added. Consumption in excess of 20,000 gallons per month will be billed at $4.50 per thousand gallons. The increased rate for increased consumption is expected to encourage water conservation.

The proposed monthly sewer fee is $15.50 per month, again the same as last year.

The proposed fees presume a 2001 cost of $1.61 per 1,000 gallons to produce potable water.

The inclusion fee levied against those wanting to be added to the district has been radically altered. In the past, a single fee of $8,125 was levied regardless of the size or scope of the inclusion. If the current proposal is adopted, the proposed inclusion will be assigned the number of equivalent units requested by the owner. Currently, an equivalent unit is 10,000 gallons of water. Under the proposed fee structure, an equivalent unit will be 8,000 gallons of water. The base water inclusion fee will be $2,900 per equivalent unit, the base sewage inclusion fee $1,420 per equivalent unit. The base fee will be multiplied by the number of equivalent units to arrive at the final inclusion fee.

A capital investment fee has been added, replacing the facilities upgrade fee. The capital investment fee will be levied against all new development within district boundaries, a change from the past when the facilities upgrade fee was not levied against subdivisions included before 1983. The proposed capital investment fee will amount to 83 cents per square foot of building space for water and $1.27 per square foot of building space for sewer. A minimum charge will be made based on the cost for a 1,000 square foot building. Only the living space within the building will be considered.

The capital investment fee levy will equal the facilities upgrade fee levy for a 1,950 square foot building. Larger buildings will be charged more than in the past, smaller buildings less.

Those who have paid availability fees for vacant lots will generally be credited with half the total value of availability fees paid when applying for a capital investment fee at the time they decide to build.

Ultimately, when certain revenue bonds financed with availability fees are retired, the district anticipates ending the availability fee.

A major change at the district involves substantial alteration of accounting procedures. The changes enable interested parties to better identify and allocate costs specific to water or sewer functions.

Deadline has passed for special district filings
By John M. MotterStaff Writer

The door closed March 1 for anyone wishing to become a candidate for a special district board position, according to June Madrid, the county clerk and election official.

Special district elections will be held May 7. Names of candidates wishing to serve on special district boards of directors will be on ballots presented by many such districts in Archuleta County. Also on the ballots will be proposed bonds, boundary changes, and other district issues requiring voter resolution.

In districts where no one has registered to challenge existing board members, and where no other issues are on the ballot, the board of directors is allowed to cancel the election.

Concerning county, state and national voting venues, uncertainty still surrounds the dates for local party precinct caucuses and county assemblies, according to Madrid.

"Right now, it looks as if precinct caucuses will be April 23," Madrid said. "That could change because the Legislature still hasn't acted on the redistricting issue. The secretary of state said she will call as soon as she knows."

A number of other election dates hinge on when the Legislature acts on redistricting. An example is the residency and party registration requirement for those planning to take part in precinct caucuses.

County precinct caucuses are normally held in each voting precinct in the county, by both Democrat and Republican parties. Precinct caucuses are a means of choosing supporters to represent specific party candidates at county assemblies.

In order to take part in a precinct caucus, a voter must be registered with that party and live within the precinct at least 60 days prior to the caucus, according to Madrid. If precinct caucuses are held April 23, participants had to be registered and to have established residency by Feb. 27.

Candidates for county office must make their candidacies known by the time precinct caucuses are held, according to Madrid. Candidates who receive support at the caucus can submit the required paperwork to the county clerk following the caucus if they have not previously done so, Madrid said.

Delegates chosen at precinct caucuses attend county assemblies between April 19 and May 9. At the county assembly, voting is conducted among the delegates to determine which candidates qualify for the August primary ballot.

In addition to the caucus process, prospective candidates can reach the Aug.13 primary ballot through a petition process; June 4 is the last day for petition candidates to turn in their paperwork to the county clerk.

Petitions and information on how to use them are available at the county clerk's office.

State tax refund based on adjusted federal gross

Taxpayers who were full-year residents of Colorado during 2001 will receive excess state revenue collected during the fiscal year in the form of a state sales tax refund.

For the fifth consecutive year, Colorado's budget surplus requires the state to return this excess revenue to all full-year residents. This year, excess revenues total $927 million. The sales tax refund for individuals is a large part of the amount to be refunded, but refunds also go to Colorado businesses.

Individual state taxpayers may claim the sales tax refund on line 35 of the 2001 Individual Income Tax Form 104.

Anyone applying must be a full-year Colorado resident 18 or older as of Dec. 31, 2000. Full year residents under 18 qualify only if they report a tax liability on their state income tax return or are recovering Colorado wage withholding for 2001.

Even if the taxpayer had no Federal Adjusted Gross Income for the year 2001, the sales tax refund may be claimed as long as the 104 form is filed by April 15, the taxpayer qualifies by age and can prove full-year Colorado residency.

Part-year and nonresidents do not qualify.

Colorado residents who are eligible for the 2001 sales tax refund but who did not file a 2000 Colorado income tax return must show proof of full-year residency on the state income tax form to claim the refund. Filers must write their Colorado driver license or Colorado Identification card number in the box provided at the bottom of the 104 form or, attach copies of utility bills for the first and last months of 2001. Persons who did qualify for the 2000 sales tax refund need not provide proof of residency for the 2001 refund.

The amount of refund is based on an individual's federal adjusted gross income. Again, if you had no income for 2001, but meet the full-year residency criterion, you may still file for the sales tax refund, but must do so by the April 15 deadline.

On that basis, refunds could range from $144 for a single filer reporting $27,000 or less in federal adjusted gross income to $902 for a married couple filing jointly and reporting in excess of $135,000 adjusted gross income.

The refund is claimed on the state form 104 or on the Property Tax/Rent/Heat Rebate form 104PTC, if you qualify for the PTC rebate. Filers cannot claim the refund on both forms.

If someone is filing only for the state sales tax refund or they are filing for the PTC and sales tax refund, they must file by April 15. No extension is available.

If someone is required to file a Colorado income tax return, they must file by April 15 unless they take advantage of the automatic extension, in which case they will have until Oct. 15 to claim the refund. Note: An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay the tax. If at least 90 percent or more of a taxpayer's net tax liability is not paid by April 15, a late payment penalty plus interest will be added to the tax due. If 90 percent or more of your net tax liability is paid by April 15, and the balance of the tax is paid when the return is filed (by Oct. 15) only interest is assessed.

The income tax interest rate this year is 10 percent. Penalty range is from 5 to 12 percent.

For more information about the TABOR sales tax refund, visit the CDR Web site at

New service, credits available to state taxpayers

Colorado income tax filers should be aware of several new services and tax credits when they file their 2001 Colorado income tax return.

Take advantage of Direct Deposit for your Colorado income tax refund. This is the first year Direct Deposit is available for individual income tax filers. Those who file for the Property Tax/Rent/Heat Rebate for low-income elderly and disabled full-year residents can also take advantage of this convenience. Direct Deposit is a fast, secure alternative to receiving a paper check because the money goes directly into the taxpayer's bank account - no lost check in the mail and no extra trip to the bank.

This year the amount of interest, dividends or capital gains income subtracted on the 104 Individual Income Tax return increases from $1,200 to $1,500 per person.

Taxpayers who claim federal standard deductions rather than itemizing their deductions on the federal return may be able to subtract a portion of their charitable contributions made during the year. Filers should only enter the amount in excess of $500 that could have been deducted on federal Schedule A under "Gifts to Charity" if they had itemized their federal deductions.

Payments or contributions made in 2001 to a qualified state tuition program administered by the Colorado Student Obligation Bond Authority can be deducted, but only if the payments or contributions are included in federal taxable income.

If you were a Colorado resident when you joined the armed forces, you remain a Colorado resident unless you change your residency status with the military. Therefore, you must still file a Colorado tax form as a Colorado resident even if you were stationed in another state. However, if you were stationed outside of the United States for at least 305 days during 2001 you may file as a nonresident of Colorado if you choose to do so. If you are in Colorado on military orders but you're a nonresident, Colorado will not tax your military pay but will tax any other income earned in Colorado requiring you to file a return as a nonresident.

Colorado assets that were held for one year or longer may now be exempt from Colorado taxation. See line 14 of the 2001 Colorado 104 individual income tax return.

A donation for the new Pet Overpopulation Fund will support local efforts toward low-cost spaying and neutering services and community education. This and the other six voluntary checkoffs are on the back of the 2001 Colorado 104 form.

Colorado Tax Information and forms are available through a Web site at Forms may also be obtained by fax or by mail through a 24-hour line at (303) 238-FAST.

Assistance is also available by calling (800) 811-0172. This number is valid Jan. 2 to April 15, 2002 only.

Time running out to claim unpaid 1998 refunds

Approximately 28,800 Colorado taxpayers who failed to file their 1998 income tax return may lose their share of $39,614,000 in refunds.

That's an average refund of $453. Nationwide, unclaimed refunds totaling more than $2.3 billion are awaiting about 1.7 million people who did not file a 1998 income tax return, the Internal Revenue Service said. In order to collect the money, a return must be filed with an IRS office no later than April 15 this year.

"Time is running out for individuals to take steps to claim this money," said IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossoti. "If no return is filed to claim the refund within three years, then this money will become property of the U.S. Treasury."

The IRS estimates that about half of those who could claim refunds would receive less than $498. Some individuals had too little income to require filing a tax return but may have had taxes withheld from their wages. Others may not have had any tax withheld but would be eligible for the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit.

In cases where a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. For 1998 returns, the window closes on April 15. The law requires that these returns be properly addressed, postmarked and mailed by that date. There is no penalty assessed by IRS for filing a late return qualifying for a refund.

The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 1998 refund that their checks will be held if they have not filed tax returns for 1999 or 2000. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS and may be used to satisfy unpaid child support or past due federal debts such as student loans.

By failing to file a return, individuals stand to lose more than refunds of taxes withheld or paid during 1998. Many low-income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Although eligible taxpayers may get a refund when their EITC is more than their tax, those who file returns more than three years late would be able only to offset their tax. They would not be able to receive refunds if the credit exceeded their tax.

For 1998, individuals qualified for EITC if they earned less than $30,095 and had more than one qualifying child living with them; less than $26,473 with one qualifying child or less than $10,030 and had no qualifying child.

Current and prior year tax forms are available on the IRS Web site ( or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Taxpayers who need help preparing prior year returns or gathering income records may call the IRS help line at (800) 829-1040. To allow time for processing, forms and/or tax help should be requested by mid-March.

$30,000 grant boosts self-help home ownership

The Boettcher Foundation of Denver recently announced a three-year, $30,000 grant to Colorado Housing, Inc. (CHI), a local non-profit group that sponsors a self-help home ownership program in Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan and Dolores counties.

In its six years of operation, CHI has helped over 97 low-income families and individuals become homeowners. CHI builds ranch-style homes of 1,000-1,250 square feet with a one-car garage for approximately $75,000-$95,000, depending upon the cost of the land. This is almost 20 percent below market value for similar contractor built homes. CHI, through self-help, is providing home ownership to those who otherwise could not qualify for a conventional mortgage.

Additionally, CHI's youth program provides local youth with the opportunity to learn more about the construction field, work off community service hours imposed by a court, and earn a modest stipend.

Boettcher Foundation funds will support CHI's general operations. The Foundation supports education, civic and cultural programs, community and social services, and hospital and health services throughout Colorado. The foundation is committed to cultivating the prosperity of Colorado and its citizens.

To apply for CHI's program home ownership or youth programs, or to volunteer, call 264-6950.

DOW sets Monday session here on big game rules

The Colorado Division of Wildlife will hold several hunting license application workshops in southwest Colorado to inform big game hunters on "What's new for 2002" and to assist hunters with their big game applications. Other topics covered will include the common errors that get people "kicked" out of the drawing, and "tricks" to maximize the chances of drawing a limited license.

There were several changes that will affect hunters in the Game Management Units around Pagosa Springs.

Some of the changes specific to the Pagosa Springs area are:

All elk licenses in the fourth rifle season in the Pagosa Springs Game Management Units are limited; that is, they must be applied for in the draw. Second and third rifle seasons will still have over-the-counter sales. Bull elk licenses available.

Also, in the fourth rifle season, there will be antlered deer licenses available through the draw for the Pagosa units.

In some parts of the state regular season cow licenses will be "additional," but this does not include the Pagosa Springs units. The only additional cow tags in this area will continue to be the private land only (PLO) licenses in unit 771.

There will be a meeting in Pagosa Springs March 18 at the Extension building, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Anyone interested in applying for a limited big game license is welcome.

DOW personnel will be on hand to answer questions and assist hunter applicants. The 2002 big game brochures/applications include bear, elk, deer, antelope and moose and are currently available at the DOW offices and at local hunting license agencies. The deadline to submit an application for a limited big game license is April 2. For further information, call the Durango DOW office at 247-0855.

Professional turkey caller plans April 5 seminar here

For anyone who enjoys turkey hunting, an April 5 seminar by J.R. Keller will be a great opportunity to learn some tips from a professional. The free program will be in Ridgeview Centre, 525 Navajo Trail Drive at 7 p.m.

The class will include information about wild turkey habitat, ways to approach them, how and when to use various calls, as well as many amusing stories of successful and not so successful hunts.

Keller, a member of the National Wild Turkey Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, has won numerous turkey calling awards, including four Colorado state championships, two Utah open championships and the 2000 Colorado Western Slope Open. He is a pro staff member of Hunter's Specialties who travels the country conducting seminars and sharing his knowledge and experiences with other hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.

An avid turkey hunter who acquired his love of the outdoors from his father, Keller has appeared on several national television outdoor shows and instructional video tapes where he teaches that knowledge is the most important piece of equipment to take into the woods. Because he stresses hunting ethics, skills and safety, this class is considered an excellent one for young hunters.

For more information, call 731-4111.

Tests show wasting disease halted from spreading to wild elk herds

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has completed its efforts to eradicate chronic wasting disease in Colorado's domestic elk herds.

Test results on the first 542 animals have been completed with two animals testing positive for the disease. Both animals were among the 337 elk in Del Norte.

"We expected a low number of the animals to have the disease, so this isn't a surprise," said Wayne Cunningham, state veterinarian at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "We can all breathe a little easier because we've stopped the spread of the disease to the wild."

Last week, state and federal officials completed the process of depopulating about 1,500 elk at nine facilities in the state, which began Feb. 8. Testing for the disease is required of all domestic elk mortalities in Colorado. Since there is no reliable live test on elk, the animals are killed so samples of their brains can be taken for the test.

During the depopulation, the state used an air curtain incinerator to burn the carcasses and inactivate the disease prion, which classifies the disease in the family of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The mobile incinerator helped process the remains, leaving about a 2-percent residue.

In Colorado, CWD testing has been required of all domestic elk deaths for nearly four years. The Colorado Department of Agriculture was the first to require mandatory surveillance of domestic elk herds. In addition, during the past six years, Colorado elk ranchers have been required to identify and inventory all domestic elk.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disease that attacks the brains of infected animals, causing them to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose bodily functions and die. At this time, there is no evidence the disease is a risk to human health.

Objective grades

Dear Editor,

This letter is prompted by Richard Bolland's letter, "Dumbing down," March 7. It caused me to read again Richard Walter's article, "School board mixed on mandates vs. 'no test' philosophy" (SUN, Feb. 21). We should thank the board members for their serious and thoughtful answers to the five questions that Walter posed to them on ". . .the Alfie Kohn theory that grading demoralizes students and takes away the drive for individual achievement. . ."

Bolland's letter makes several good points, but there is much more to the series of questions and answers than he acknowledges.

On SUN question 5, which specifically addresses Kohn's argument that grades should never be given, Directors Clifford Lucero and Jon Forrest left no doubt where they stand on the subject. It is clear to me that they understand the importance of meaningful communication between teacher and student; and that grades are an important factor in achieving it.

In my 10 years teaching at Pagosa Springs High School (1974-84), I found that written responses to assignments and tests, carefully evaluated by me and returned, marked up, to the students with an overall grade or score was the only fair and objective way I could carry out my responsibility to let them know how they were doing. And they do want to know that. Many other factors were taken into consideration at report card time.

Earle Beasley

Rob Snow Road

Dear Editor,

I would like to congratulate those families and businesses along Rob Snow Road on winning the Commissioners Lottery. It is not everyone who gets a royal dispensation.

The property owners in Archuleta County may have a few questions however about taxes paid to the county.

It was enlightening to have commissioner Ecker advise us that there was no cost to the manpower and equipment time or to the stock-piled base material in the possession of the county, free goods if you will. I could have sworn that there was an item on my tax bill that looked like a cost to me. Or perhaps that is just a suggested good will offering to the Commissioner Lottery fund.

It was further enlightening to find out that the crews employed by road and bridge department are not on a planned work schedule, interrupted only by emergency snow removal, but are available on paid standby to fulfill any whim of the commissioners.

One final thought, to those who live along Rob Snow Road, beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Remember what the county accomplished the last time they received a windfall of $6.5 million for the "Fairfield Road Project." The county may "upgrade a little bit" just like they paved North Pagosa Boulevard and the maintenance will cost you more than the total project.

Glenn Bergmann

Election forum

Dear Editor,

The League of Women Voters of Archuleta County will hold a Pagosa Springs mayor and town trustee election forum March 26 in the Town Hall chambers. Meet the candidates at 6:30 p.m. and the forum starts at 7 p.m.

Candidates for mayor are Ross Aragon, Gary Hedinger, David Pokorney and Paul Nobles. Candidates for the three trustee positions are Darrel Cotton, Stanley Holt, Jerry Jackson and Judy James. The forum will also present information and speakers concerning the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District non-tax issue that will be on the April 2 election ballot.

This is an opportunity for the town citizens and businesses to listen to the candidates for office, and to ask those important questions about their plans for the future of the town.


Windsor Chacey

Loss of confidence

Dear Editor,

I appreciate the detailed comments on my letter of two weeks ago. I do regret that in reducing my letter to fit the 500 word limit I deleted the fact that PAWS is working a new accounting system. I also did not cite that the Upper San Juan Hospital District was under new operating management and that they are committed to improved financial planning. Finally, I did not cite the ongoing study of county finances undertaken by the League of Women Voters. I do not wish to speak for the terrific work being done by the LWV study committee, but Mr. Ebeling's comments on understanding county finances are way off target based on the public information he refers to.

I am well aware of all of these matters but the issues raised by Mr. Ebeling were not the relevant issues in my letter. Rather, my point was that without better practices by all of the taxing districts, the districts risk the total loss of confidence in their finances by the voters. We will see what the public reaction will be to yet another major mill levy increase, this time for the Pagosa Fire Protection District. While I was trying to be a bit facetious regarding county commissioner authority, I do wonder when someone with some clout in this county will get the message that the voters want all of these taxing districts run in a professional manner. Just because each board of each district is volunteer - just as I volunteer to serve on the PLPOA board - does not excuse the need for good accounting and good financial planning. We need higher standards of financial accounting and planning for all boards. If you think it is hard (especially for those of us still working) to go to half a dozen or more taxing district board meetings, wait until we have a bunch more collecting our taxes and spending our money. I certainly hope for all of us that the recent changes at the hospital district and the ongoing changes at PAWS will give us confidence that when these boards ask for a higher mill rate that they have done their financial planning and operations management job well.

I certainly enjoy a good insult. But, Mr. Ebeling, a set of accounts - even if the sums are right - does not guarantee a good financial operation.


T.A. Cruse

Citizens before oil

Dear Editor,

I read in The SUN where the Archuleta County Commissioners want to adopt "user friendly" regulations in order not to inconvenience the oil and gas companies. I wonder who is supposed to represent the citizens of the county?

The oil and gas company that is drilling illegally in the county is going to drill on my place, no matter what I say or do. It's the law. All I asked of them was to clean up their mess, properly fence the well site, silence the pumps with the best available technology, and a modest fee for coming onto and using my land. They offered me a few hundred bucks for "full and final payment for any and all damages to the land, growing crops, pasture, reseeding, timber, fences, buildings ..." In plain English I was to be liable for anything they did, up to, I suppose, burning down the county. Naturally, I did not and will not sign such an agreement.

The kind of work the oil and gas companies do is showcased along "Dump Road" (County Road 973). The pipe line right-of-way is covered with stumps and brush. A water pond on the well site is fenced with posts located about every 100 feet with a few strands of barbed wire hanging between the posts. This fence is a hazard to both domestic and wild animals.

My dealings with the oil company have not been all bad. I did enjoy watching the sidewinder from the oil company drive his wife's brand new SUV up on a stump.

I suggest it's time for those Old Boys stabled up in the county courthouse be put out to pasture. Let us hope that we get some new county commissioners who put the people ahead of the oil companies. County commissioners with at least a modicum of environmental sensitivity would be nice.

Bob Dungan


Domestic violence

Dear Editor,

Domestic violence has been a major topic at the state capitol over the past week and a half.

Should women be allowed to take time off from work to deal with the violence in their lives? Does it empower battered women to give them guns? Would keeping the records of who can carry a concealed handgun confidential help battered women? Is domestic violence a myth?

The Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program is a non-profit organization that provided services to 290 domestic and sexual violence victims, adults and children, last year. Crisis intervention, court advocacy, emergency transportation, food and shelter are only a few of the services provided to victims, services provided with limited funds.

To not believe that domestic violence exists, is to ignore an epidemic that continues through generation after generation. Every day women and children are forced to leave their homes, their families, and their support to flee from abuse. Children witness this violence every day, extremely traumatized by its power and rage. Employers are forced to pay for time off, lack of productivity and loss of employees. Our courts are overridden with cases of violent crimes. This is no myth; this is reality of the effects of domestic violence on everyone.

The Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence speaks for the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program as well as the 590 other member organizations in the state of Colorado when they address support or opposition to legislation affecting battered women. CCADV gives us a voice at the capitol as one of their membership services. This year, CCADV has spoken out about the perils of equal parenting time, pre-divorce counseling, and making it easier for people to get guns.

These bills, if passed, could have grave consequences for the clients in our program. CCADV has also worked to pass legislation to provide workplace leave for people to take off to deal with the violence in their lives and to ensure that battered women do not have to pay to obtain restraining orders. These are the issues that the legislature is considering that effect battered women, and CCADV has been in the forefront of addressing these concerns on behalf of our program and the women we serve.

We believe that if every member of the Legislature took the time to visit a domestic violence program, they, too, would agree: domestic violence is no myth.

Carmen Hubbs

Competitive world

Dear Editor,

Anyone involved in the decision to continue or discontinue testing and formal grading in Pagosa schools should be required to read "Dumbing Down our Kids," by Charles Sykes, "The Feel Good Curriculum, The Dumbing Down of America's Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem," by Maureen Stout, and "The Bell Curve," by Richard Hernstein. The trend for kinder, gentler education (which isn't new, by the way) isn't doing our kids any favors, as these books will show. It's a mean, competitive world out there, and those who have been taught nothing more than how to have warm, fuzzy feelings and how to warm chairs at support group meetings are going to be left out.

My oldest daughter, who has a bachelor's in psychology, will graduate again in May with a masters in occupational therapy, a growing and increasingly competitive field. The requirements for the degree are much more stringent than even a few years ago. Who's to say what they'll be in a few years more? Will kids who haven't been taught to strive be able to enjoy this rewarding career?

My second daughter also graduates this year, this one with a degree in English and a double-minor - technical writing and marketing. She hopes to make a career in computer design and technical writing, another constantly changing field.

One of my sons, at the age of 22, has just completed his third movie. He intends to head to California to film school this year.

My other son is studying history and intends to take it to the doctorate level. He wants to teach military history.

Now, I'm not one to boast (well, maybe I am - they're great kids.), but these guys didn't come from schools that encouraged them to "explore their inner selves" and become narcissists. They came from schools and teachers who encouraged them to think, explore, discover, and yes, to compete. "Good feelings about themselves," or "good self-esteem," to coin a much over-used psycho-babble phrase, are natural products of knowing that honest effort and hard work are rewarded with an "A" (and later, a healthy paycheck), and don't have to be "taught."

I'm not saying that my kids are perfect, or that their lives have been easier than anyone else's. It's been tough and one of them has had to overcome a severe brain injury. But they are struggling to make it, just as most of us are, and they're doing well. They're competing. They didn't get where they are from being taught to paint pretty pictures. Before my own health forced me to leave the corporate world and simplify my life a bit, I worked in the fiercely competitive field of purchasing/marketing/merchandising. Only those of us who were aggressive and worked long hours "made it," and we were offered regular promotions. We didn't get there by saying, "I feel," but by saying, "I think," and by backing up that "thinking" with facts.


Maggie Valentine Inskeep

County concerns

Dear Editor,

I would like to address three issues that appeared in your newspaper in the last two editions:

Oil and gas - I am amazed that our commissioners are still trying to make our county laws "more user friendly" for the oil and gas industry after they have blatantly ignored our county rules and have infuriated many affected county property owners. I really don't see how two of our county commissioners could make rules any more friendly to them. The oil and gas companies already drill when, where and how they want to now without asking. The environmental sensitivity of these two commissioners is zero. Their efforts to get rid of the conditional use permit or render it ineffective is never ending; and yet that is the only legal document that presently protects us from their capriciousness and lack of foresight.

Rob Snow Road - The same two commissioners break their own moratorium, jump their friends to the head of the line, don't collect a money bond from the residents and they still vote to go ahead with the project. Must be more use of the previous "chairman's rules." They think manpower and equipment usage and already-paid-for supplies don't cost anything. Did I read this correctly? Did these guys ever run a business? If every business in town behaved this way, they would go broke in days. But then, we don't want to get too "technical" for them. It might tax their thinking power beyond their capacity. So much for businesslike government, attention to conflicts of interest, and a real road policy.

T.A. Cruse letter - I wonder if Mr. Fred Ebeling ever sat down with the present county budget and read it through?

If so, then he must have access to another set I was not able to see. The one I saw was unreadable to the average educated citizen. There are multitudes of accounts and categories and there is no real plan or financial discipline behind the budget. The county shows little concern about large variances between budgeted and actual expenses as long as the variance can be solved by transfer into (or out of) another account. There is a lack of earmarked reserve accounts that should indicate long-term planning for either improvements or emergencies. Unexpected operating costs are sure to arise and that is the purpose of a contingency reserve. And remember that this contingency account was eliminated by the current board. Mr. Cruse was, unfortunately, very correct in his assessments.

Mr. "Two Vote" and Mr. "Yes Man" continue to be consistently inconsistent. I never cease to be amazed and appalled at their official public actions. If more people read the newspaper, they would quickly be laughed out of office.


Jim Knoll

Road plan

Dear Editor,

I see our two loose cannons are at it again, fiddling while Rome (read Archuleta County roads) burns.

Instead of working toward a comprehensive road plan for the county, they are worrying about a Band-Aid ad hoc temporary fix for one road. It appears (based on the report in The SUN, March 7) that if anyone needs road work done commissioner Ecker believes that the county can do it at no cost. "It's always in the budget. There will be no cash outlay. It's an in-kind service of men and equipment. Everything costs money, but the equipment and manpower are always in the budget. It's a matter of where they work."

I am thinking about coming down and schmoozing with the commissioners in a work ses sion to see if they will offer to grade and gravel the road I live on for free.

A. J. Mac Millan

Success in school

Dear Editor,

I read with interest the letter from Rev. Bolland. Although I definitely agree with his last paragraph, I am confused that he would elect to discuss Dr. Kohn's ideas when he clearly has no understanding of them. However well-intended, it appears that once again the people in this community are satisfied to shoot off their months on the basis of hearsay and rumor without doing any research or making the effort to educate themselves.

Had he educated himself as I have, he would realize that it is only the traditional grading system, frequently based on the cumulative score from an endless series of tests and page after page of repetitive homework assignments that Dr. Kohn views as flawed, not assessment itself. Dr. Kohn is keenly interested in helping to improve education for all children. He does not reject assessment, disparage competition or place little value on achievement. He has suggested ways to make achievement possible for more children, encouraged self-assessment and placed competition in context. His "flawed educational theories" have been accepted and in practice in school systems around the country for years.

One can agree with Dr. Kohn and see nothing wrong with the Olympics and their standards for competition and achievement. Here we have competition in context. In sports competition, generally considered to be an optional part of life, the purpose is to test one's mettle, strive to be the one, the best, the winner. School, unlike the Olympics, is mandatory. I would not like to see participation in the Olympics become mandatory and be put in a position where I would surely fail.

The idea that self-esteem can be built by having high standards, which are worth achieving and are obtainable by all through excellent motivation and assistance is great rhetoric. Who could want anything less? Who will set the standards? Who will test us? Who will design the test? What will happen to our self-esteem if we fail? How many times will we try again? Why is there only one "Gold?"

When, in the context of education, we continually "raise the bar" and fewer and fewer students can succeed, I believe that we have lost perspective about what we are trying to accomplish. Success in school should not be about individuals in competition. Recognizing excellence and achievement can quite effectively be done as part of appreciating each person as an individual.

If our goal is to educate as defined in the last paragraph of Rev. Bolland's letter, how will our school system best succeed to prepare the most students? I believe that Dr. Kohn's suggestions will help Pagosa Springs public schools better educate all of their students. I applaud the desire of the School Board members to acknowledge all of the research. This is how to give our children the best possible chance to step into a future none of us can imagine and the tools to achieve success in the endeavor.

Jamie Sharp

'The Sane One'

Dear Editor,

If you can't remember Bill Downey's name - just refer to "The Sane One." They'll know who you mean.

Lee Sterling

Take care

Dear Editor,

I would like to use this method to warn women to be extra alert and be more aware of their surroundings - even in broad daylight, in local parking lots, in our quiet little town.

On March 1, a panhandler approached my car at 2:30 in the afternoon at the west City Market parking lot just as I was ready to get out of the vehicle. He wanted my money. When he was told to "get away from me," he reached for the door handle. Thanks to modern technology, the electric locks engaged only a split second before the handle was raised.

Blowing the horn constantly was successful, as a gentleman from the next row of cars came to see what was wrong. Although he tried to hang onto the panhandler, he wasn't able to hold tight enough and the man twisted away, disappearing among the cars and trucks.

A special thanks to this concerned citizen who was not afraid to help a woman, even going into the store with me to report the incident to customer service. The young lady at the service desk then called the store manager.

If this happens to you, report it to the police yourself, immediately. Don't mistakenly assume - as I did - that the management of this store reports these things to the police. Because of the lack of a Police Blotter in the March 7 issue of The SUN, I personally checked with the Pagosa Springs Police Department to see if a report had been turned in. There had been no report made.

To all women: Please be very alert and cautious.

To all men: Please show this to your wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

It just might be the bit of information that saves you and your families a lot of heartache - or worse.

Karen Wood

Sports Page
Ladies' dream ends 63-47 in Basalt's 'Big House'
By Richard WalterStaff Writer

Pagosa's ongoing dream of a state championship in girls basketball will wait for another season.

The Basalt Longhorns drilled home that reality with a 63-47 victory Friday in the gymnasium they call the "Big House."

The hosts, ranked fourth in the state prior to the game, will carry a 23-2 record into state tournament action today, facing Pagosa's season nemesis Centauri, the Intermountain League and district tournament champions.

Threatened with a major winter storm, Pagosa school officials decided to transport their team to the Roaring Fork Valley Thursday, allow them to stay overnight in Glenwood Springs and work out there Friday before traveling the additional 22 miles to Basalt.

The opening moments of the game gave every evidence that schedule might have been a boon to the Lady Pirates.

Katie Lancing controlled the opening tip, Ashley Gronewoller rifled a pass to Lori Walkup and her lead to Lancing was on the mark. But Lancing missed the layup. Moments later, however, she atoned with a steal and fed a streaking Walkup for a layup and 2-0 Pagosa lead.

The next Basalt possession ended with a Lancing defensive rebound and as she brought the ball up court, she spotted Walkup open in the right corner. The result: A long pass and a 3-pointer by the freshman guard to give Pagosa 5-0 lead.

It was a short-lived advantage. All five Basalt starters were averaging over 10 points per game for the season and they quickly showed why. Sophomore Lauren Redfern and seniors Molly McGrath and Stephanie Kemp scored successive baskets and the lead went to Basalt at 6-5, never to return, though the Lady Pirates would stay within striking distance through three quarters.

Basalt's two forwards, junior Mariah Mulcahy (who would be the game's leading scorer with 29, twice her season average) and sophomore Autumn Caughern went on scoring binges after their team took the lead. Mulcahy had two field goals and a free throw for five points in the period and Caughern hit a pair of 3-pointers and a driving layup for eight points in the stanza. The result was a 21-13 Basalt lead at the end of one.

Pagosa got four points from Gronewoller, two from Lancing and a pair from freshman Bri Scott to go with Walkup's five in the period.

The Pirates were outscored 13-12 in the second period, with Mulcahy hitting nine of Basalt's markers, including the first of her three treys for the game. The Pirates could muster only a pair of field goals on 2-for-12 shooting in the period, but converted eight free-throw attempts to stay close, 34-25, at halftime.

The visitors came out for the second half seemingly intent on scrambling back into contention.

Lancing scored the first four points of the period on drives up the middle, whittling the Basalt lead to five. Mulcahy answered with five points of her own to build the advantage back to 10. McGrath made it 12 before Lancing hit a 14-foot jumper and senior forward Nicole Buckley scored on a drive from the right side. Redfern got a pair for Basalt but Gronewoller answered with a layup and a free throw to cut the home-team lead to seven at 44-37 after three periods.

Gronewoller scored five points, Lancing added four and Walkup one in the fourth period, but the stanza was basically the Mulcahy show. She drilled two more treys, added a tricky reverse layup, then canned a 12-foot jumper for 10 points in the period.

Redfern added four, McGrath two and Makenzie Holmes one for Basalt before a teammate fired in a trey for the final score of the game. It was a 19-10 period for Basalt and the game final margin was 63-47.

Basalt shot 53.4 percent from the field, canning 23 of 43 shots including seven treys. Pagosa shot 42.5 percent on 20 of 47 with just one trey in four attempts.

As has been the routine for the season, Pagosa out-rebounded their shorter foes 28-24, but only nine of those came at the offensive end. Basalt, on the other hand, had 14 offensive rebounds, indicating a remarkable effort of shorter players blocking out Pagosa rebounders and providing the hosts with second and third chances.

The Lady Pirates outscored Basalt from the free-throw line, hitting 13 of 22 as three members of the winning team fouled out. Basalt was perfect at the line, but went there only eight times.

The loss ends the Pirates' season with a 17-6 mark and a Sweet Sixteen or better finish for the seventh consecutive year. For five Pagosa seniors, all captains for the game, it was the final appearance on the hardwood. Included were Lancing, Gronewoller, Buckley, Carlena Lungstrum and Joetta Martinez.


Pagosa scoring: Lancing 6-12, 5-7, 17; Gronewoller 6-16, 3-5, 15; Walkup 2-5, 3-4, 8; Lungstrum 0-6, 2-3, 2; Buckley 1-9, 1-2, 3; Scott 1-2, 2. 3-point shots: Walkup 1-2, Lungstrum 0-2, Lancing 0-1. Rebounds: Lancing 8, Gronewoller 12, Walkup 2, Lungstrum 2, Buckley 4, Scott 1. Steals: Lancing 3, Walkup 4, Lungstrum 3, Buckley 1. Assists: Lancing 2, Walkup 2, Gronewoller 1, Scott 1. Blocks: Gronewoller 2.

Pirate track squads open Friday in Aztec Relays
By Tess Noel BakerStaff Writer

The Pagosa Springs High School track season has started off on the right foot.

At the close of the first two weeks of practice, 62 students are out, nearly triple 2001 numbers.

"It's kind of exciting to have the numbers so we can put people in every event," coach Connie O'Donnell, said. So far, the roster includes 36 boys, including one returning state medalist, and 26 girls. Junior Jason Schutz placed fourth in the Class 3A state shot put event in 2001.

The squad has spent the first days of practice focusing on field events and the technical aspects of the sport, such as handoffs and start blocks.

"We've been dedicating a specific amount of time each night to field events," O'Donnell said, a change that will continue through the balance of the year.

To aid in that quest, the team has access to another coach - Scott White. He joins assistant coach Sean O'Donnell and volunteer coach J.D. Kurz.

"Having four coaches, we'll be able to give each kid individual attention and I think that will help keep kids out," O'Donnell said. In the past, numbers have sometimes dwindled as the season progressed.

The team's first test comes at 3 p.m. Friday at the Aztec Relays in New Mexico. The Pirates travel back to New Mexico March 23 for an 8 a.m. start at the Bobcat Relays in Bloomfield. Then the freshmen and sophomores will compete in Monte Vista April 2 starting at 1:30 p.m.

In mid-April, the Pirates will come closer to home, competing in Bayfield at the Pine River Invitational, April 13. Events start at 8 a.m. On April 18, the squad will run in the Bayfield quad fun meet starting at 4 p.m. It's back to Bloomfield for an invitational April 20 at 8 a.m, and then on to the San Luis Valley Invitational in Alamosa April 27.

Districts will be held in Bayfield May 4 starting at 8 a.m. followed by regionals in Alamosa, May 10 at 9 a.m. The state track meet is set for May 17-18 in Pueblo.

Along the way, the Pirates will be pushing toward one overall goal.

"We want to take a bus to state," O'Donnell said. "We want to qualify so many kids we can't fit in a Suburban."

Lady kickers show 'potential,' need to channel skill
By Richard WalterStaff Writer

With Saturday scrimmages against Cortez and Glenwood Springs under their belts, coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason's Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates soccer squad is preparing for its home league opener at 4 p.m. Friday against ninth-ranked Telluride.

Kurt-Mason said he saw "a lot of potential" in the Saturday action at Cortez, but recognized a number of areas in which the girls need work, particularly in consistent movement.

"We started each scrimmage as if we could stay with anyone," he said, but in each case, in the last 10 minutes, "we got into a defensive mode and it became a contest of us chasing them."

With his squad limbering up for practice Monday, it was evident the players knew what they had done wrong. Asked if they could pick one fault from Saturday's performance, to a player they yelled "lack of movement."

"They're right," said Kurt-Mason. "We need to learn to move without the ball."

Defensively, he said, "we played well for the most part. I was pleasantly surprised by the defensive play of Kyrie Beye, a freshman."

Kurt-Mason said he plans to carry 14 players on both the varsity and junior varsity squads, and four members of the Jayvees will be swing players with the varsity. On Monday he picked up three players from the Lady Pirates basketball squad, veterans Tricia Lucero and Carlena Lungstrum and freshman Bri Scott, whose brother, Ty, was one of the leading players for the boys' team last year.

Current plans call for sophomore Sierra Fleenor to open in goal for Pagosa, with Charlotte Sousa, a keeper for last year's junior varsity as the backup. However, Kurt-Mason noted, both Lucero and Lungstrum played in goal last year, as well as at the wing positions, giving him greater depth and offensive flexibility.

While nine players are gone from last year's squad there are a number of returning veterans, most noticeably all-conference wing Meagan Hilsabeck, midfielders Cassie Pfeiffle, and Chelsea Mansanz, and attackers Sara Aupperle and Lori Whitbred.

Also returning, after a year's stint on the track team, is speedy wing Aubrey Volger. She'll be joined on the varsity by Melissa Diller - who scored the lone Pagosa goal Saturday, a score called back much to Kurt-Mason's chagrin - and by Jenna Finney and Sara Smith.

The coach said he believes, at least initially, the swing players will be Brittany Corcoran, Ashley Wagle, Christina Lungstrum and Emily Finney. Scott could be in the same mix, he said, but as of Monday he had not yet seen her play.

Others who are out for the squad are Brett Garman, Rachel Schur, Ana Valdez, Lacie Reim, Emily Campbell, Kylie White and Arly Johnson.

The home opener against a ranked team will "give us an idea where we are and where we have to go," the coach said. "I've got some dependable returning starters, lots of new players and lots of enthusiasm. It will be a matter of channeling them into specific roles, getting them settled as a team and they will learn quickly."

They got caught sleeping last weekend, he said, "but I guarantee you it won't happen again."

After Friday, the girls return to Cortez for a full game at noon Saturday and then play their second league game at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Bayfield.

Pirate batters come alive in Aztec; record at 1-1

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Victimized by a brilliant pitching performance Saturday in Kirtland in which 15 Pagosa batters struck out in a 12-2 loss, the squad rebounded Monday with a 16-hit 18-3 victory over a combination varsity-junior varsity lineup for Aztec.

"The Kirtland game was the first time this season that our players got to see real pitching. We've been practicing, when possible, on the football practice field and there is no mound there," said coach Tony Scarpa.

Still, he found reason to be pleased with the Kirtland performance. "We stayed even with them through three innings, he said, "a point at which the score was tied 1-1."

The hosts erupted for five runs in the fourth, however, and after being blanked in the fifth, posted six more runs in the sixth to enact the 10-run lead mercy rule.

Pagosa managed only three hits in the game, a double by third baseman Ross Wagle, and singles by catcher Ben Marshall and second baseman Justin Caler. Wagle also drew two of the four walks issued to Pagosa.

Senior hurler Ronnie Janowsky walked seven, struck out seven and gave up 10 runs, six of them earned on four hits in five innings on the mound.

Wagle, in relief, allowed two runs, one earned, and gave up three walks but no hits.

With senior standout Darin Lister returning from basketball wars to shortstop for the Kirtland game and then making his first appearance on the mound against Aztec Monday, fortunes looked up for Pagosa.

Lister's teammates made his season debut easier with 10 runs in the first two innings, spotting him a 10-0 lead. When he gave up a pair of runs in the third inning, the team responded with eight in the fourth. Lister surrendered one more marker in the fifth to make the score 18-3 and was relieved by Marshall who shut down the Tigers and struck out two in the fifth.

Marshall and Janowsky led the way at the plate. Marshall was 3-for-4 with a home run and Janowsky 3-for-3. Third baseman Lawren Lopez was 2-for-2, including a home run, and also walked twice. Lister supported his own cause with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate and also drew a walk.

Wagle, playing shortstop in this game, was 1-for-3 and drew a walk. Right fielder Robert Kern turned in a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, left fielder David Kern had a double and a walk, second baseman Justin Caler was 1-for-2 and Jared Frank, in a relief role in the outfield, was also 1-for-2.

For the game, the Pirates had 16 hits in 28 at bats, drew seven walks, and struck out only four times.

Scarpa said the squad has been rapidly working into shape physically, and the fact a number of players worked out heavily on their own prior to the official opening of practice made conditioning a much easier task early in the season.

The Pirates continue their non-league play with an 11 a.m. game Saturday at Bloomfield.

Scarpa said the Pirate home field is in better condition than it has been at this time of the season in years. "One big factor," he said, "in addition to the warmer weather, was the volunteer use of snowmobiles supplied by Ken and Eric of Ken's Performance to break down the snow on the field and make it melt away quicker."

The first scheduled home game is March 30 at 10 a.m. against Montezuma/Cortez. "With any luck," Scarpa said, "the field should be in top condition by then."

Joining Scarpa this year is assistant coach Rick Schur, who has charge of the junior varsity, and volunteer coaches Mark Young, Mike Marshall and Mike Sexton. "Having that many coaches makes it easier for each player to get one-on-one work when needed," Scarpa said.

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Community News
Chamber News
By Sally Hemeister

Friday's our day for paradin' o' the green

Tomorrow is the day for the world's cutest ever Pagosa Springs St. Patrick's Day Parade.

We're sure to see some splendid sights, green items aplenty, a few candidates for this and that, and lots and lots of kids just having a great time. Pagosa loves a parade, and this one is particularly geared for just the fun of it. The registration fee is $3.17, and line-up begins 3:17 on 6th Street. What is especially appealing about this parade are the huge cash prizes awarded for the Best Float ($25), Most Green Costume ($15) and Most Bizarre Costume ($10).

Call Doug O'Trowbridge at 264-2360 with questions, or just stop by the Chamber to pick up your registration form. Don't miss this time-honored Pagosa tradition, the silliest parade on the planet.

It's a beauty

Don't miss the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theatre production of "Sleeping Beauty" playing for two more nights at the high school auditorium beginning at 7 p.m. It is a perfectly delightful event and especially pleasing to the eye with colorful costumes and a whimsical, charming cast of characters. I have no idea how Susan Garman and Callie Smock contained that many young people and adults for such an extended period of time, but they did a beautiful job. Hats off to the wonderful cast and crew, musicians and volunteers who obviously contributed a prodigious amount of their time and talent. Tomorrow and Saturday nights are the final opportunities to experience this family production, and tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce, Sisson Library, WolfTracks Bookstore and The Plaid Pony.

David Taylor

Monday, March 18, the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters will proudly present Denver's David Taylor Dance Theater at the high school auditorium in a 7 p.m. performance. For the first 50 people interested, there will be a champagne reception held in the room at the top of the new Spring Inn bathhouse immediately following the performance. Tickets for both the reception and performance are $45 and tickets for the performance only are $29. Since this is reserved seating only, you can purchase tickets only at The Plaid Pony, so I would encourage you to do so right away so you can sit where you like. Please give Michael a call at 731-5262 with any questions, and we hope to see you there Monday night.

Opening reception

After you participate in or, at the very least, watch the St. Patrick's Day Parade, please join Jeff Laydon at Pagosa Photography Studio and Gallery in downtown Pagosa across from the courthouse for "A Point of View" featuring photographs by Al Olson. You will see photos from Al's home state of Virginia, his visits to Pagosa and historic sites from his travels around the country. Music will be provided by The Wolf Creek Ramblers and refreshments will be served. The fun begins at 5 p.m., and Jeff invites you to join him for an evening of fun, food and entertainment. Please give Jeff a call at 264-3686 for more information.

Red Cross chapter

You are invited to attend a meeting to establish the ground rules for creating an Archuleta County Red Cross Chapter. This initial meeting will be held March 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the EMS building located on North Pagosa Boulevard just north of U.S. 160. Call Donna Modarelli at 731-0398 for more information.

Anniversary celebration

You could be a very busy person March 21 because Wells Fargo Bank is celebrating 150 years in the business and invites you to help them commemorate the occasion at an open house that evening. Please join them for refreshments and fun from 5-7 p.m. at the downtown branch located at 523 San Juan St. There aren't too many things around that began in 1852, (except maybe Lee Sterling) so this is an event well worth observing. Please call the bank at 264-4111 for more information.

Casino Royale

Saturday night marks the third Rotary Club Casino Royale, The Grandest Party in Pagosa Springs, beginning at 6 p.m. and continuing to midnight. You will be greeted by The Evil Twin and I once again wearing mystery costumes, (which means I haven't a clue what she has in mind, but I'm sure it will be outrageously colorful and bizarre). This exciting evening includes music by Rio Jazz and the Celtic Music Group, a Mexican food buffet, black jack, poker, craps, Wheel of Fortune, a roulette table, amazing prizes and more than 20 silent auction items valued at a minimum of $100 each. Donation for this evening is $50 advance and $60 at the door. For tickets and information, call Dennis Eichinger at 731-3022. Hope to see you there.

Grab bag

Community United Methodist Thrift Shop will hold its annual Winter-to-Spring Bag Sale March 21, 22 and 23. You're invited to get a head start on next winter's clothing needs and save bags of money at the same time. They want to clear out all the winter items, and in order to do so, encourage you to fill a paper grocery bag with as much as it will hold and pay only $2 for the whole blasted thing. Imagine how good you will feel next winter when you discover all the bags of inexpensive clothing items.

9Health Fair

The 9Health Fair is still looking for a few good folks in the health care field to participate in the Health Fair to be held April 6, from 8 a.m.-noon at the Pagosa Springs High School. If you are in the medical profession and would like to participate, they would love to hear from you, but they are specifically looking for the following: dermatologist, podiatrist, audiologist and an ears, nose and throat specialist. They are also looking for anyone interested in being a screener or setting up an interactive learning center. Contact either Carl Jolliff at 731-3884 or Sharee Grazda at 731-0666.

Food for friends

Please bring your non-perishable food items to the Chamber or to Curves for Women at 117 Navajo Dr. to make a difference in the community by helping those who are in need. Curves for Women sponsors this event annually and organizers are hopeful that this year will be the best yet in volume of contributions. We have been so impressed by the number of folks who have already responded to this drive this year and hope you will join their ranks soon. All food donations are distributed to our local food banks and given to those families who need our help year round. You can make your donations throughout the month of March at both of the above locations or call 731-0333 for more information.

Hansen returns

To our complete delight, cellist Philip Hansen is returning to Pagosa for another spectacular performance, and we invite you to join us March 28 at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium. I was extremely unhappy to have missed it last year due to a conference conflict, but I did get to hear him when he joined me on a Wednesday morning on KWUF for a tune or two. He will join me again on KWUF March 27 at 8 a.m., so please listen for a preview performance. Tickets are available at the Chamber, WolfTracks, Moonlight Books and the senior center. Individual tickets are $10 and a special rate of $30 is offered for families. All proceeds will benefit the Archuleta Senior Citizens, Inc., a non-profit organization enhancing the lives of senior citizens.


We have three new members to introduce to you this week and nine renewals. I am pleased to say that there was a good result from the "gentle reminder" phone calls I made last week. Those are so much more effective than sending Guido to make threats about renewal, or else.

We welcome Steven and Danna Mahaffey this week who bring us Pagosa Pastimes located at 100 Country Center Drive. If you enjoy being creative and having fun, Pagosa Pastimes is the place for you. You'll find art supplies, crafts, books, games, puzzles, models, kites, musical instruments and more. Please stop by to say hello to Steven and Danna and check out what sounds like a store that will appeal to the kid in every one of us. You can call them at 731-0369 for more information.

Next are two old friends who are now collaborating on a new business in town. Terrence (Terry) Smith of Circle T/Ace Hardware fame and Patsy Harvey, formerly with Interior Dreams, are joining forces to create Elements, a member of the Circle T family, located at 527 San Juan St. At Elements, you can expect to find finished and unfinished furniture, lighting, kitchen, pottery, baskets, wall decor accessories, pillows and throws, area rugs and stain and finish products. They hope to open their doors around the middle of April, so watch for that announcement. You can call with questions at 264-4190.

Our third new member this week is another old friend, Sherri M. Anderson, who brings us Vectra Bank Colorado Mortgage Group located at 190 Talisman Drive. Vectra Bank Mortgage offers professional service to meet your real estate mortgage needs - vacant land, purchase with single-close construction, conventional, FHA, VA, purchase and refinance. Please give Sherri a call at 731-4447 to see what she can do for you. We thank Kathie Lattin at Vectra Bank for recruiting Sherri and will cheerfully send her a free SunDowner pass for the helping hand.

Renewals this week include Ron Bubb with Switchback Mountain Gear and Apparel; Laura Daniels with Pagosa Central Reservations, Inc.; Isabel Webster with Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club; Jenny Iguchi with Absolute Travel; T.L. Shumaker with the Junction Restaurant; Louise Jagger with the Chimney Rock Restaurant and RV Park; and Lvonne D. Johnson with Home Again. Our associate renewals this week include sheriff Tom Richards and the lovely Wyoma, and valued chamber diplomats Ray and Sharon Pack. Many thanks to all.

Crusing with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Active life's not for the faint-hearted

"How ya doing, kiddo?" asks a friend, as he grabs my shoulder. "Ouch!" I wince. I've got another bruise.

Living the outdoor active life has some bumpy parts. Particularly the bumps that leave bruises.

For example, the chair lift at the ski area can leave bruises behind your knees. It took a while to figure out where those were coming from.

People work at either end of the chair lift, where you get on and where you get off. The ones who work where you get on the chair catch the chair and ease you into that chair as softly as settling into a feather bed. But sometimes they hold it back a little and then let go. Whoomp! Another bruise.

I've banged my arms and shoulders on the safety bar that pulls down in front of us as we ride in the chair.

It seems that just when one bruise starts healing, I pick up another.

Last month I fell. Well, that's not unusual. Falls are part of the fun, right? But this one did something unpleasant to one ankle, or maybe to the Achilles tendon. The pain kind of wandered, so it was hard to tell. I didn't even notice it much until the end of the day, when I took the boot off. Those ski boots support your ankles like casts.

So I did what the sports medicine and physical therapy people recommend - RICE, or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Exercise. That evening I put on an ice pack. Then I kept the ankle wrapped in an elastic bandage for two days. And gradually I started exercising it. In a week or two it was mostly back to normal.

Then Hotshot and Bruce and I went down to the San Juan River below Navajo Dam for a day of fly fishing. A nice, low-risk activity.

It was not a good day. You know how some days are: You wake up fuzzy and never get it together. You spill the coffee. You fry the eggs until they're like cardboard, when what you wanted was over easy. You can't find the flies you bought just yesterday for the fishing expedition. You forget things and have to go back to the house three times before you're finally on the road. It was that kind of morning.

The rest of the morning went like this. We park in the lot by the river. Bruce discovers that he's brought the wrong fly rod. But it's okay; he's got a spare.

We rig the rods. I put my reel on backward and have to re-rig. (Told you it was one of those days.) We tie on the flies. We are double rigging. So there is a little piece of lead, called a split shot, that weights down the line. A little beyond it is something that looks to the fish (you hope) like a larva. It could be a hairball, a San Juan worm, or a tiny shrimp. Finally at the end, or point, is a different hook and fly, one that floats near the surface.

With our rods rigged and ready to go, we pull on wool socks and those waders. I've got about five layers of clothing under my waders. Waders have belts around the waist, to keep out the water if you should happen to fall. They also have straps to tighten around your ankles, to keep gravel out of your boots.

Finally we don the all-important vest, which holds all those funny little tools, extra flies and tippet line, and magnifying glasses (the most important tool). We stick lunch and water bottles in various pockets, pick up our rods, and head off to the water.

On the very first cast, I snarl the line.

Fly fishing involves a lot of standing around in the water untangling snarls, but you'd rather not have to begin the day with a snarl. After I got going again, I lost the split shot weight. Again I got out the magnifying glasses, tucked the rod under my arm, and slowly got a new split shot clamped to the line.

Hotshot said, "I'm going over past the island. That way."

I beat the water for a while longer and then followed him.

Working my way around the island, over rocks slippery with algae, I slipped. Went down like a log. Backward. Bruised the hand that I flung out to break the fall. Bruised one hip, with a lump deep inside that I didn't really notice until later, every time I sat down. Soaked one arm; all those layers of fabric that were supposed to keep me warm were now wet to the elbow. There was water down my back, but not too much.

But I was lucky. Every year about eight or 10 fly fishermen drown in this country, falling in the water. I was in pretty shallow water, and the current wasn't all that fast.

The following week, about the time the fishing bruises were fading, it was back to the ski slope. Another skier and I crashed into each other. I can't tell you how it happened. Apparently we each zigged when we should have zagged. Fortunately, we were both wearing helmets, because our heads crashed together.

We both have new bruises. Her neck hurts. My knee hurts. But these are still minor.

This active life isn't for the faint-hearted. But so far my luck is holding.

No broken bones. No wild ride down the slope, strapped into a sled and pulled by the red-jacketed Ski Patrol

Bruises heal.

Pagosa Lakes News
By Ming SteenSUN Columnist

It isn't too early to get in shape for August's triathlon

It's mid-March and seems too early to be thinking of the Pagosa Lakes Triathlon in August. But balmy weather signals an opportunity to run and bike. Rather than wait until summer, start training now so you can spring into the summer with a good physical base.

Loosely defined, a triathlon is an event in which an individual completes a course comprised of three sports: An open-water swim, a bike ride and a run - no rests, no help, no fear, just lots of fun.

Triathlon courses and distances vary greatly from the short "sprint" distance to the long "ironman" distance seen in Kona (the most famous) each year.

Although triathletes are often called "crazies," "superhumans," or "tri-Zombies," virtually anyone is capable of completing a triathlon. It is one of the few adult participation sports where age and sex lines are gray - whether you're in your teens, in your 70s, male or female, you can happily coexist both in training and racing.

In a triathlon, you will race within an age/sex category, against close peers. Yet, many triathletes also compete against the goals they set for themselves. For your first triathlon, you must most definitely choose a sprint distance. We have one right here in Pagosa for you.

Here's the skinny on the Pagosa Lakes Triathlon. Date: Saturday, Aug. 17. Start time, 8 a.m.; Course and event order: a 7.2 mile run starting from the recreation center on asphalt until entering Martinez Canyon off San Jose Court in Lake Forest. Once in the canyon, the trail is single-track, packed dirt with some loose rocks and horse poop. That trail exits onto Monument Avenue and from there it's an easy, flat asphalt course all the way back to the recreation center. The triathletes then switch over to a mountain bike and repeat the run course twice, going in the opposite direction. The last leg, a half-mile swim is in the recreation center pool.

There aren't too many triathlons that finish with a swim but, hey, there's nothing sacred about the order of the three different sports. The fact that the Ironman Hawaii, the forerunner, started off with the swim was because the organizers did not want to have to try to keep track of athletes in open water after dark.

For us, the organizers of the Pagosa Lakes Triathlon, we like the mass start concept but cannot fit the annual average of 70 to 75 competitors in our four-lane pool all at once.

Many first-time participants choose to compete on a team. Now that is camaraderie at its best, both during the preparation phase and on race day. There is a sense of all being there to share the day with each other.

But soloing the triathlon isn't exactly lonely. Runners and bikers go side by side so they can chit-chat along the route. Because runners and bikers share a common cause, they see each other more often. Because the swimming is at the end, all of the completed competitors can witness, encourage and share the excitement of the final leg of the other competitor's race.

If you need more information to get you started, call the center at 731-2051.

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

The secret of the Hot Brown Sandwich

One of the most famous and popular Kentucky recipes is the Hot Brown Sandwich created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, probably for patrons in town for the Kentucky Derby. The classic recipe has become famous.

There are restaurants that claim to have the original recipe, but that could be conjecture.

In 1972 the Louisville Times was asked to settle a dispute between a woman in Lexington and one in Louisville as to the source of the Hot Brown. It seems that Lexington was claiming it. Research by a Times reporter established that the Hot Brown was the concoction of Laurent Gennari, the first chef at the hotel. Harold E. Harter, the last manager of the Brown Hotel (it closed in 1960), said that when he first started there in 1931, the Hot Brown had become an institution. He said the original recipe was probably lost to time, and that he gave Marian Flexner (for her cookbook "Out of Kentucky Kitchens," printed in 1949) the one used by the hotel's chef at the time.

This is the recipe in Mrs. Flexner's book:

Hot Brown Sandwich

4 slices of toast

4 slices of baked chicken or turkey (cut from the breast) about 1/4 inch thick

1/4 cup American cheese, grated

8 strips of bacon, fried crisp

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup cream sauce

Blend yellow cheese with cream sauce until cheese has melted. Place a piece of chicken on each piece of toast, and cover with 1/4 cup of sauce. Place two strips of cooked bacon on each sandwich and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Place sandwiches in a pan under the flame until the cheese melts and becomes a golden brown. Serve at once. This recipe makes four portions.

If you have individual shallow baking dishes, use them. This sandwich should really be served in the dish in which it was browned.

A note here: While in college, I went up to Louisville. My goal was to eat a Hot Brown at the Brown Hotel. I wanted to taste the Real Thing. My friend, Bob Spiller of Bowling Green, says that what some people call a Hot Brown is dreadful. They use dark meat, beef, terrible raunchy cheese - it just depends. But the thing to remember is that the Hot Brown Sandwich originated in Louisville.

Around town

The Hudson Benefit held at the Parish Hall Sunday was a rollicking success (to quote a guest who went and stayed the whole time). Cindy Gustafson did a terrific job of setting it up and running it. And Ron was right there behind the scene.

With words such as disaster and community emergencies in the news, it is time that Pagosa Springs has an organized Red Cross Chapter. If interested, meet at the EMS building Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

Fun on the Run

A missionary heard about a native who had five wives. He paid a visit to the native's hut, and sure enough, he had five wives. The two men stayed outside the hut and talked.

"You are violating a law of God. Man can only have one wife," the missionary said, "so you must go and tell four of those women they can no longer live here or consider you their husband."

The native thought a few moments, then said, "Me wait here. You tell 'em."

Veterans Corner
By Andy Fautheree

Service organizations aid the veterans

I would like to call attention this week to veterans' organizations in this area which provide many benefits to veterans, their families, and the community.

The Mullins-Nickerson American Legion Post 108 is familiar to our community. If you have been to Town Park by the river, you have probably seen their log building, just to the left of the park. This building, I am told, is a historic Pagosa Springs structure, that was originally a schoolhouse located elsewhere.

The American Legion meets the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. Membership is open to all veterans who served in the U.S. military during wartime.

The post also has an American Legion Auxiliary. Membership in the auxiliary can be any spouse, or immediate member of the family of a veteran, who would qualify for regular American Legion membership. The veteran does not have to be a member of the American Legion. The Auxiliary meets the second Wednesday of the month.

Post members are active in our community in a number of ways. They hold bingo games at 7 p.m. at the Legion Hall on the first, third and fifth (when it occurs) Wednesday of each month. Frequently the Legion holds potlucks that include not only members and their families, but also the community. I can personally attest to some fine food at these potlucks.

Certainly very familiar to many are the patriotic duties American Legion members perform. This includes events such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, funeral honor guards for veterans and color guards for parades. They also maintain a stretch of U.S. 84 for cleanup and maintenance. American Legion members have also worked diligently on finding and marking unmarked veteran graves at Hilltop Cemetery.

Post Commander is Raymond Taylor. He can be reached at 264-6023 or 731-5765. Ernie Garcia is the Sergeant at Arms and, among his duties, coordinates honor guards for deceased veterans. He may be reached at 264-6481. American Legion address is: P.O. Box 1655, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9695 meets on the second Thursday of the month at member homes. Familiar to many was the VFW building near Aspen Springs which was sold in the past year. The local chapter is looking for a new location closer to town at this time. Post Commander is Robert Dobbins. You can reach Robert at 731-2482. VFW mailing address is P.O. Box 2543, Pagosa Springs.

VFW is well known for its contributions and help to local veterans. This includes scholarships, help to veterans with benefit claims, and representation at local veteran activities and observances.

Also very active is the VFW Auxiliary. The auxiliary meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month at the home of Juanita Martinez. You can call 264-6217 for further information. Bernice Brungard is the secretary for the organization. She can be reached at 731-4901. Membership in VFW and VFW Auxiliary is determined by guidelines similar to those of the American Legion, so I won't repeat them here.

Currently the VFW Auxiliary is working on several projects, including highway cleanup and the "Voice Of Democracy" scholarship. The group often provides help to needy veterans and their families.

The Retired Officers Association is comprised of men and women who are or have been commissioned and warrant officers in the U.S. military, some other organizations, and the surviving spouses of eligible veterans. The organization has one group in the Four Corners region of Colorado. Members hold frequent meetings that are casual, social and fun, with brief business discussions and special guest speakers at times. Picnic meetings are held during the summer. A Christmas party takes place in December, usually at the Strater Hotel in Durango.

As with the American Legion and VFW, The Retired Officers Association is engaged in numerous activities to benefit veterans' interests.

Pagosa resident Walt Geisen is the current head of the organization. You might recall seeing Walt at veterans' activities dressed in his authentic Civil War officer's uniform. He can be reached at 731-5429. TROA mailing address is 76 Navajo Circle, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

I am in frequent contact with members and leaders of these veterans' organizations, and they are a great help to me as I work with veterans and their families as part of my duties at the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office. They provide a much needed fellowship and support to our veterans. Many of the members belong to more than one of these organizations. I encourage veterans to contact the organizations and look into the benefits of membership.

For information on these and other veteran benefits call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. A Web site for the office can be found at The office number is 264-2304.

Sheperds Staff
By Donald A. Ford, local pastorCommunity United Methodist Church

God's umbrella has shelter for all

How many times have I been asked, "Are you liberal or conservative in your beliefs?" My answer is, "Does it matter?" If so, why? Why does one have to identify with one side or the other? Is there not room on this earth for both? Why must I be judged by one side or the other and then proclaimed right or wrong in my thinking? What, exactly, are the definitions of the words liberal and conservative? I went to the only neutral source I know, Webster's Dictionary.

A conservative is one who: 1. Tends to conserve 2. Tends to preserve established institutions, opposed to change. A liberal is one who is 1. Not literal or strict 2. Tolerant, broad minded 3. Favoring reform or progress. Using these definitions, it would seem to me that the Bible is full of both of these types of individuals and many who fall in between.

The prophets of the Old Testament were a group of people who, for the most part, endeavored to return the wayward people back to the basics of "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deut. 4:5). At the same time, the Bible is filled with those who "favor reform or progress."

Abraham, the father of three religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, was a reformer in that he believed in one God. A conservative Abraham would have kept to the tradition of many gods and many idols. Did not Jesus come to tell us of a New Covenant, a new way of life, a new relation with God, and a never before sacrifice of all sin? Was this reform? And then comes Paul. Was he liberal or conservative? He brought to us the new concept that one did not have to be Jewish before one became a Christian. Was this reform and/or progress for the time?

A look into history after the canonization of the Bible leads to more "liberal" people. If Martin Luther had not posted his reform measures on that cathedral door that day, would we all be Catholic? Did he not start the protestant reformation with that posting? If these represent the beginnings of Protestant Christianity, the Protestant Christianity was founded by liberals.

It would seem that most people do not fall into one side or the other, but somewhere in between. I am tired of being judged by both the extreme right or extreme left. Isn't there room under God's umbrella for everyone?

If there were a group of people caught out in a cloud burst downpour with no shelter around and only one person had an umbrella, what would the people do? Could they all fit under the one umbrella or would some be left out in the rain? What if the umbrella was big enough to protect all who were caught in the rain?

If God had an umbrella, how big would it be? Would those allowed under the umbrella be only those who wore white clothes, or those who could only stand on one foot, or those who only had blue eyes, or, or ,or . . . Could it be possible that all who seek protection under God's umbrella be welcomed?

Now suppose that you were facing the umbrella and on the right hand edge it said, "conservatives only" and on the left had edge it said "liberals only." So all gathered under their chosen edges and the middle was left completely open. Why would not some go to the middle? Or a little to the left from the right or a little from the right to the left? Why wouldn't God want all under the umbrella who sought shelter?

Parks & Rec
By Chris CorcoranTown Recreation Department

Blowouts: Theme for the week in adult basketball

Adult basketball games are played Monday through Thursday with starting times at 6:15, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. So, instead of watching your TV, come on down to the junior high and intermediate school gyms and see a live basketball game.

Monday's games resulted in a Ponderosa victory over Viking Construction 68-42, and American Legion topping Wolf Speed 63-55 in the recreation league. In the competition league it was Buckskin over U.B.C. 59-49, and although the final score was a 10-point difference it would have been much closer had shots been dropping for U.B.C. In the last game of the evening, Lucero Tire defeated Slim Shady 52-33.

Tuesday's games proved to be more of the same. In the recreation league it was the desk jockeys from Citizens Bank over Tom's Shot Callers 65-36, and JJ's/Pagosa Ski Rental clubbed Ponderosa 49-22. In the competition league, J.R.'s Concrete cruised to an 89-69 win over U.B.C. and Bear Creek punctured Lucero Tire 97-73.

In the recreation league Wednesday Wolf Speed got the best of Citizens Bank 54-42, and Tom's Shot Callers redeemed themselves for the loss to Viking earlier in the season with a 46-32 victory. In the competition league it was Bear Creek over U.B.C. 93-54, and in a very good game J.R.'s Concrete stopped Buckskin 72-63.

On Thursday, JJ's/Pagosa Ski Rental got a surprising 51-43 win over American Legion.

In another close game, Ponderosa slipped by Wolf Speed 44-39. The loser's tactic of fouling Ponderosa players at the close of the game failed as their foes were able to capitalize at the free throw line. In the competition league, Bear Creek topped Lucero Tire 81-71 and Slim Shady lost to Buckskin 51-50.

Tournament time

The adult basketball tournament begins tonight and continues Monday through Thursday. Games begin at 6:15, 7:15 and 8:30 p.m. with great basketball expected. Come on down.

Open gym

Volleyball and indoor soccer will begin after spring break. In addition, there will be a youth indoor soccer league. For more information, contact the recreation office at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Sandy Koufax

This is a baseball league for players 13 and 14 years old. If you are interested in learning more about this planned league, please contact the recreation office or Len Richey in the evenings at 264-4530.

Extension Viewpoints
By Bill NoblesSUN Columnist

One man's vision became Extension Service

Today - 4-H Oil Painting, Extension office, 4 p.m.

Today - Red Ryder, Extension office, 6 p.m.

Friday - Rabbit, Extension office, 2 p.m.

Friday - Goat, Extension office, 3:15 p.m.

March 16 - 4-H Cooking, Extension office, 9 a.m.

March 16 - Alternate weigh-in, Extension office, 10 a.m.

March 18 - 4-H Woodworking, Extension office, 4 p.m.

March 18 - Rocketeers, Extension office, 5:30 p.m.

March 18 - Fair Royalty rehearsal, Extension office, 6 p.m.

March 19 - 4-H Cake Decorating - Unit 4, Extension office, 3:45 p.m.

March 19 - 4-H Vet Science, San Juan Veterinary, 5:30 p.m.

March 19 - 4-H council meeting, Extension office, 6 p.m.

March 19 - Fair board, Extension office, 6 p.m.

March 19 - Livestock Committee meeting, Exhibit Hall, 7 p.m.

Cattlemen's association

La Plata/Archuleta County Cattlemen's Association membership drive and meeting will be held March 22 at the Extension building on U.S. 84. Activities begin at 9 a.m. with a continental breakfast. Guest speaker for the meeting will be Terry Fankhouser from Denver.

Albert B. Graham

Albert B. Graham was born in Champaign County, Ohio, on March 13, 1868, the son of Joseph A. and Esther P. Graham. He and his sister, Lettie were raised on a small farm near the village of Lena. He attended grade school at Carmony School.

In February of 1879, a fire destroyed the Graham home and his father was fatally burned. The family (Albert, his sister Lettie, and their mother Esther) moved into a new home shortly afterward in Lena.

Mr. Graham graduated from Lena-Conover High School in 1885. He then graduated from the National Normal School in 1888, with a bachelor of science degree. He then attended the Ohio State University 1889-90.

In 1890 A.B. Graham married Maud Keyte Lauer and together they raised a family of four children. From 1890 to 1896, Mr. Graham was a teacher/principal at Terre Haute School, and the superintendent of Southern Mad River Township.

In 1900, Mr. Graham became superintendent of schools in Springfield Township. While there, his time was given entirely to studying the problems of rural teachers and elementary boys and girls.

In 1902 he made an effort to organize some of the pupils into an agricultural club that was called a "Boys' and Girls' Agricultural Experiment Club." The first meeting of the club was January 15, 1902. To secure memberships, Mr. Graham made trips to district schools and presented the club plan directly to the boys and girls. As a result of teacher and parent approval, voluntary memberships of children 10-15 years of age were secured. Before the growing season had begun, 85 children had signified their willingness to participate.

It was decided that club meetings would be held monthly. In order that the work of the club members could be separated from the school authorities, a meeting place in the basement of the county courthouse was secured from the county commissioners. Saturday afternoon was chosen as the time for monthly meetings. Parents brought the members to the meetings when they came to the city for shopping or to visit markets.

The club organized by Mr. Graham did home "plat work" with corn, potatoes, and garden crops. Collections of weeds and weed seeds were made. Soils were tested for acidity, and bird studies and nature observations were carried on. Exhibits of corn and other products were made at farmers' institutes. In 1903 this work was made cooperative with the Ohio State University. In June of 1903, Mr. Graham took 100 club members and parents to visit The Ohio State University in Columbus.

As early as 1904, Mr. Graham, speaking of rural education, stated in his annual school report for that year that "Not only must provision be made for the three R's but for the three H's as well

The head for wealth of information and knowledge,

The heart for moral and spiritual strength, and

The hand for manual dexterity and skill."

Because of his work in the development of agricultural clubs in rural schools and his broad outlook on agriculture, he was made superintendent of Agriculture Extension at the Ohio State University in 1905. Likewise in the "History of The Ohio State University," by Thomas C. Mendenhall, it is related that when Mr. Graham assumed his duties as superintendent of extension in Ohio he formulated an Extension program as follows:

To elevate the standard of living in rural communities

To emphasize the importance of hard work and habits of industry, which are essential in building a strong character

To acquaint boys and girls with their environment and to interest them in making their own investigations

To give to the boys who will become interested in farm work an elementary knowledge of agriculture and farm practices, and to give girls the simplest facts of domestic economy

To cultivate a taste for the beautiful in nature

To inspire young men and women to further their education in the science of agriculture or domestic science

To educate the adult in the elementary science of agriculture and in the most up-to-date farm practices.

While at Ohio State University, Mr. Graham traveled widely over the state. He published a bulletin on centralized schools in Ohio in 1906 and he was a member of the committee that drafted plans for junior high schools in the United States in 1907. He published a bulletin on the country schools of Ohio in 1910.

He was a prolific writer of bulletins on various phases of agriculture, nature study, and rural life. He promoted the consolidation of rural schools in Ohio and helped to develop the farmers' institutes and fairs of the State.

In 1914 Mr. Graham resigned his work in Ohio and took up Extension work with the New York State School of Agriculture at Farmingdale, N.Y. Here he remained a little more than a year, resigning in 1915 to become a member of the staff on the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. In 1919 Mr. Graham was placed in charge of the subject matter section of the Federal Extension Service and continued in that work up to the time of his retirement. A. B. Graham retired March 31, 1938. For more that 35 years, Mr. Graham was engaged in various phases of agricultural extension works.

In 1938, C.B. Smith, assistant director of Extension at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wrote the following in an Extension publication: "Mr. Graham's life has been rich in accomplishment. There are better rural and consolidated schools in Ohio today because of the years of constructive school work of Mr. Graham. His early extension work with juniors is remarkably similar to the boys' and girls' club work of today, with similar records, similar subject matter, and similar ideals. In his educational work as a member of the Federal Extension staff, he has stood for the highest educational ideals. He has brought enthusiasm, imagination, and reality in to all his extension teaching. His friends and admirers are in every state. He brings his public career to a climax, knowing he has fought a good fight, pioneered in new educational fields, and made history. His thousands of colleagues, friends and students everywhere wish him well throughout all the coming years."

From 1938 to 1960, Mr. Graham lived in Columbus, Ohio. He resided in the suburb of Clintonville with his wife Maude. Over the years, Mr. Graham attended many national and state 4-H events and activities - including the 4-H Golden Anniversary activities in 1952.

He continued to receive volumes of written correspondence years after the Golden Anniversary of 4-H and actively responded to inquiries sent to him until shortly before he died. On Jan. 14, 1960, Mr. Graham passed away in Columbus.. He was laid to rest in Fletcher Cemetery in Miami County, Ohio.

Arts Line
By Carl Nevitt

Never too soon to plan for senior years

Productions of "Sleeping Beauty" will be presented tomorrow night and Saturday by the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater.

This play features a cast of over 100 talented local individuals and is directed by Susan Garman. As a special opening act, young dancers from the San Juan Festival Ballet school will perform. Both performances are at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $3 for children. Pagosa Springs Arts Council Members can purchase discount tickets at the gallery in Town Park, 314 Hermosa Street. Business hours at the gallery are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

2002 exhibits

Artists interested in a 2002 exhibit can pick up an application at the gallery in Town Park during business hours or by calling 264-5020. We will be happy to mail applications or they can be obtained from our new Web site at The postmark deadline for submitting an application has been extended, but don't delay.

PSAC workshops

Carl Nevitt will instruct stained glass workshops 1-5 p.m. March 16 and 30 at the PSAC gallery. Beginning students will learn the basics and complete an 8x10 stained glass project to take home. Intermediate level workshops are also being offered. Space is very limited and payment is due in advance to reserve a place in class. A discount is available for PSAC members. Call 264-5020 or 731-5374 for more information.

Denny Rose (Carol Fulenwider) will instruct two watercolor workshops for PSAC. The first is a beginning watercolor workshop for adults, March 23 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Kraftin' Post, Etc. located at 2083 East U.S. 160. Call 264-4192 or stop by to preregister and get a materials list.

The second workshop will deal with advanced techniques. "Painting Winter" will be held April 13 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the PSAC gallery. If you wish, you can bring a sack lunch; there will be a 30-minute break for lunch. Students will receive a special material list for both workshops after preregistration, so call 264-5020 or Jennifer at 731-3113 for more information.

Artists interested in conducting a workshop should call Jennifer at 731-3113 or Joanne at 264-5020.

City Market

At no cost to customers, City Market will donate a small percentage of a purchase to the Pagosa Springs Arts Council each time a shopper uses a City Market Value Card. All you need to do to sign up is come to the gallery during business hours.

Garage sale

Don't throw it out - donate it!

The annual PSAC garage sale needs your donations. Please start saving your miscellaneous items, furniture, clothes, etc. for our April 27 sale. Drop-off days at the gallery are April 16- 24 from 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. If you need help transporting any items to the gallery, call Joanne at 264-5020.

PSAC memberships

You can support the arts in our community and receive discounts to local events and workshops at the same time. It's easy: Join the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. Stop by the gallery and fill out a membership form or call 264-5020 and we will be happy to mail one to you. Individual membership is only $20 per year, and a family membership is $30.

Thank you

Thanks to Wells Fargo Bank for sharing a copying machine with the arts council.

Library News
By Lenore Bright

Never too soon to plan for senior years

Our library is one of 700 receiving five audio theater tapes thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts. The Library Access project by the Los Angeles Theatre Works was honored with the first annual Audiobook Hero Award.

"Anna Christie" by Eugene O'Neill is read by Alison Elliot and Stacy Keach. "Camping with Henry and Tom," by Mark St. Germain features Alan Alda, Charles Durning and David Dukes. Noel Coward's "Present Laughter," "Young Man From Atlanta," by Horton Foote, and "Pretty Fire" round out the collection.

L.A. Theater Works was founded in 1974 and produces the world's finest audio theater recorded by today's most popular and acclaimed actors.

Horton Foote's play won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize. The audiotapes may be checked out, and are a welcome addition to our audio tapes collection.

New books

"If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates," by Jim Hightower spares no one in this political humor book. Hightower is a best-selling author and radio commentator from Texas. Both Molly Ivins and Arianna Huffington recommend this book.

"You're Fifty - Now What?" Charles Schwab offers advice on investing for the second half of your life. This is an excellent reference guide to help us understand options for economic security after retirement.

"Fear Less," by Gavin DeBecker tells the real truth about risk, safety, and security in a time of terrorism. The author answers questions many have been asking since Sept. 11. "Just as your imagination has placed you in frightening situations, it is now time to place yourself in empowering situations; time to see that you have a role to play, and contrary to so many TV news stories, it isn't just victim-in-waiting."

The book offers specific recommendations that can enhance our national security and our individual safety, and help put fear into perspective.

"Cracking the MAT," is for anyone planning to take a standardized exam such as the SAT, GRE or LSAT to get into college. MAT stands for Miller Analogies Tests. This book gives proven techniques to improve your scores by focusing on material most likely to appear on tests.

Easter chickens

Thanks to Margaret Wilson for the darling chickens and eggs that she made for us to sell at $1 each. There aren't many left so come by soon to get the choicest ones. Margaret keeps us in wonderful holiday items as fund-raisers.


Thanks for financial help from Lynda and Glenn Van Patter in memory of Glenn's Uncle John. Materials came from Lee Sterling, Elizabeth Leach, the Aspentree Animal Caring Center, Dr. Dohner, Wesley Vandercook, Ken Brookshier, Carol Hakala, Jenny Schoenborn, Carole Howard, Scott Hollenbeck, Mare Perouty, Bill McDaniel and Justin Dermody.

Education News
By Livia Cloman LynchSUN Columnist

We all can nurture our children's assets

Why do some kids grow up with ease, while others struggle? Why do some kids get involved in dangerous activities, while others spend their time contributing to society? Why do some youth "beat the odds" in difficult situations, while others get trapped?

Many factors influence why some young people have successes in life and why others have a harder time. Economic circumstances, trauma, and many other factors play a role. But these factors, which seem difficult if not impossible to change, aren't all that matters. In the past two Education News columns I have been discussing the importance of 40 developmental assets - assets that have been identified by research to be concrete, positive experiences and qualities that have a tremendous influence on young people's lives. And the good news is that each of us can help nurture these assets in our youth. We can all play a part in giving kids what they need to succeed.

The challenge facing our community, however, is the fact that while the assets are powerful shapers of young people's lives and choices, too few young people experience many of these assets. Twenty-five of the 40 assets are experienced by less than half of the young people surveyed. The average young person surveyed experiences only 18 of the 40 assets. And in general, older youth have lower average levels of assets than younger youth. It was also found that boys experience fewer assets than girls.

Ideally, all youth would experience at least 31 of these 40 assets. But research shows that only a small percentage of youth experience this level of assets. Sixty-two percent of our youth experience fewer than 20 of the assets.

What asset goal would you set for the young people in Pagosa Springs? Building assets in our youth should be critically important to us all. I challenge each of you to develop your own action plan.

This past Saturday I was fortunate to experience the action plan of one group of mothers. I attended the first annual San Luis Valley Parent, School and Community Involvement Conference held at Adams State College. One of the interesting programs of the conference was a performance by a group of mothers from Cheltenham Elementary School in Denver. This group of mothers learned about the asset-building philosophy and reflected on ways they could make assets "a way of life for themselves and their families, and a way to spread the assets message to Spanish-speaking communities across the state.

The group is known as Flores Indigenas (Indigenous Flowers) and they have created a very unique way of presenting the 40 developmental assets. Their presentation incorporates the culture and language to ensure that Spanish-speaking parents can connect to the asset-building philosophy. Parents artistically portray the eight categories of the assets on "huipiles" which are authentic Mexican dresses embroidered with many colorful symbols. The assets message was delivered bilingually through narration, dance and dichos (cultural sayings with strong moral messages).

The eight Asset categories are outlined below with the accompanying dichos provided by the Flores Indigenas:

Support - "It takes a village to raise a child"

Empowerment - "The most profound purpose of a human being is the desire to be appreciated"

Boundaries and Expectations - "Make sure you are on the right road and then follow it

He who pursues it acquires it"

Constructive Use of Time - "He who stands near a strong tree, is covered by great shade"

Commitment To Learning - "I have faith in my ideals, a purpose to make them a reality and love for humanity"

Positive Values -"Live in such a way that when your children think of justice, love and integrity, they will think of you"

Social Competencies -"Educate the children and it will not be necessary to punish the men"

Positive Identity -"Always strive to reach your goals and you will be a winner."

This article is the third and last on the topic of developmental assets for youth. But rather than an ending, I hope it is a beginning for many who seek to improve the lives of young people in our community. If you would like to receive more literature about the asset model, drop by the Archuleta County Education Center for an Asset Action Pack.

I believe we all have opportunities to make a difference. If we look for opportunities day-to-day to help build assets in our children and the youth we come in contact with, we will grow a community that is rich in its most important asset.

Business News
Biz Beat

DeDe Dietz owns and operates West Coast Log Homes with her husband, Gerald.

West Coast Log Homes has a number of established floor plans, but specializes in custom design work, centered on the imaginative needs of customers.

Homes are built of western red cedar logs, with bark pressure-removed to retain the character provided by nature. Construction styles include full scribe, half and half, and post and beam.

Western Log Homes can be reached Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at 731-9036 or 946-7191.


Steve and Sherilyn Mitchum are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter Lisa Deanne Mitchum, to Luke Dwain Unruh. Luke is the son of C.J. and Barbara Unruh of Dalhart, Texas. The couple will marry June 1, 2002 in Pagosa Springs.

By John M. Motter

Tracing Allison-Arboles history

Last week we interviewed Mr. and Mrs. Don Young, long-time residents of the Allison area. The Youngs currently live near Ignacio and were most gracious hosts. A highlight of the interview was watching through the front window as a herd of mule deer bedded down in the front yard for a noontime nap.

This week, we're following up the Young interview with a brief, general summary of the early history of the Allison area as recorded by Olive Frazier Cornelius.

A group using the acronym TARA - Tiffany, Arboles, Rosa, Allison - is compiling information relevant to the history of that area. They'd be grateful for information or old history. I'll attempt to locate and relay a phone number for the group in an upcoming column.

While the early history of the Allison area parallels that of southwestern Colorado in general, there is one major difference. Around the turn of this century, the area was subject to a land rush not unlike the Oklahoma land rush.

Prior to European settlement, the Allison/Arboles area was home to Anasazi culture. Anasazi artifacts and building remnants are plentiful in the area. The Anasazi were followed by Southern Ute and Navajo influences.

By the mid-18th century, Hispanic explorers and traders entered the region. The best known of these were Juan Maria Rivera in 1765 and the Fathers Dominguez and Escalante in 1776. The Dominguez-Escalante expedition entered Archuleta County at Carracas up the San Juan River from Arboles, followed that river down to its juncture with the Piedra River, then moved generally west-by-northwest through Allison and perhaps Tiffany to cross the Las Animas River south of Durango.

It is a fair assumption that pack trains of traders moved between New Mexico and California along this same route, especially between 1820 and 1848, during the time when Mexico was sovereign over what is now the southwest region of the United States. Early fur trappers used the same route, as did a few emigrants to California. As far as is known, wagons never traversed the entire route to California.

Entrance to the area from New Mexico was gained through the Carracas routes, maybe through Edith in the southern part of Archuleta County, or by way of Largo or other canyons leading from central New Mexico to the San Juan Basin.

Anglo and Hispanic settlement in the area seems to have been driven by two factors: the establishment of the Southern Ute Reservation at Ignacio, and construction of the narrow gauge railroad between Alamosa and Durango.

Hispanic settlement along the Colorado-New Mexico border in the San Juan Basin seems to have begun during the late 1870s. The first communities may have been in the Amargo-Dulce area of New Mexico, the Carracas area on both sides of the San Juan River, Arboles-Rosa, and perhaps on the lower Pine, Animas, and La Plata rivers near their junctures with the San Juan River. The population of these communities was largely, but not exclusively Hispanic.

The railroad was constructed between Chama and Durango during 1880-1881. Those were the years inviting the greatest population influx into the area. It is not known to me if rail stations were established at this time at Allison, Tiffany, Oxford, and other points along the line. A great many of the Hispanics living in the area came in anticipation of the railroad, because they worked on the railroad, or to work in the lumber mills created ancillary to the railroad.

In addition, many of the Hispanics had been acquainted with Southern Utes while still living in the Espanola, Abiquiu, or the Tierra Amarilla areas of New Mexico.

An important fact to remember is that a belt of Colorado stretching from the New Mexico border 15 miles north and stretching from the Utah border to near the San Juan River at Pagosa Springs was a solid block of Southern Ute Indian land. Any Anglo or Hispanic settling within that block first had to get permission from the Utes or obtain title to Ute land in some way. Some land was already settled before the reservation was created. We know of land near Dulce that was settled before the Jicarilla Apache Reservation was established in 1887. Theoretically, similar land could exist in the Allison-Arboles area.

One of the biggest factors breaking up the Southern Ute Reservation was a U.S. government document called the Dawes Act, approved by Congress in 1887. This legislation was also called the General Allotment Act. Its purpose was to break up tribal lands into smaller tracts of from 40 to 160 acres. Land that remained after eligible Indians received their tracts was sold to whites. By 1934, across the nation, Indian-owned acreage under this act dropped from 138 million in 1887 to 48 million in 1934.

On the Southern Ute reservation a vote was taken among the Utes asking if those queried wanted to submit to the Dawes Act or continue to own land as a tribe. A majority voted to take land in severalty. Also required was an accurate survey of the reservation. Finally, individual Utes filed for and received title to specific plots of land. Certain well-known locales such as Washington Flats and Talian received their names from the Utes who acquired these allotments.

The Weeminuche branch of Southern Utes refused to submit to the Dawes Act. Instead, they continued to hold land in common south of Cortez.

Finally, when all of the conditions of the Dawes Act were met and Ute families had their allotments, the remaining land was opened to whites for homesteading, much as had been done in the central part of Oklahoma.

According to Cornelius, a strip of Ute territory including some land in La Plata, Bondad, La Posta, Sunnyside, part of Florida Mesa, Oxford, Tiffany, and Allison were thrown open to settlement May 1, 1899. Her grandfather, James Frazier, and father John Frazier claimed land on Five Mile Mesa.

Methods of physically acquiring the land varied, according to Cornelius.

"Neighbors were few," she said, as the land was largely taken by bachelors or old soldiers who had to live on their land very little time in order to prove up.

Another old-timer who wrote about Allison was Georgeanna Etheridge, known by many as the sister of the late Worthe Crouse. In Pioneers of the San Juan Country, Georgeanna wrote, "In 1900 there was no town where Allison now basks in the sun. There were no farms, no homes, only a vast waste of sagebrush and scrub pinons met the wandering eyes."

Only the railroad tracks and a section house for railroad maintenance men was located at Allison, according to Georgeanna. Settlement began after the opening of the Ute strip. Among the first settlers, Georgeanna said, were Paul and Joe Mitchell, Ezie Hiatt, Bill Woodward, Roy Buck, F.M. Engler, Emmanuel Luchinie, M.J. Wicklem, Richard Swanemyr, William H. Babcock, D.W. Pollack and Frank Perino.

"After the opening of the Ute strip people began drifting through looking for homesteads," Georgeanna said. "Some of the people filed on claims, building crude cabins of the materials available. A few stayed to prove up, but many others became discouraged and either sold their relinquishments or just walked off.

"Before crops could be planted the land had to be cleared of sagebrush. Grubbing sagebrush is an enormous task even with modern machinery. In those days they had only horses, lows, and hand power.

"As fast as the land was cleared it was planted to crops. Oats, potatoes, and wheat were some of the first crops planted. There was no water for irrigation, for water was the scarcest item in the country. Even drinking water had to be hauled from the Piedra River."

More on settlement in the Allison area next week. The stories by Georgeanna Etheridge and Olive Frazier Cornelius are taken from "Pioneers of the San Juan Country" under the auspices of the Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the Daughters of the American Republic. The work was put together during the early 1940s and is a four-volume compilation of the remembrances of many of the pioneers of the San Juan Country. No serious student of Four Corners history can afford to skip this book, still in print.

Pacing Pagosa
By Richard Walter

Parents push kids for vicarious thrills

The fires of competition burn deeply in most young people.

They want to be the sizzling best at their chosen task, whether in the classroom, on the hardwood, the wrestling mats, the gridiron, the baseball diamond, the track, or soccer field.

They want to achieve in the science laboratory, the computer room, on the stage, or in the band.

They want to know they have done the best they could do with the talents given them by their creator and honed by the teachers and parents who have been charged with developing their potential.

Still, it often seems to be the parents who are competing most.

"My son's the best receiver they've ever had."

"My daughter's the finest female athlete the school's ever produced."

"Look at the statistics. What a brilliant performer John, or Jane, is."

Parental pride is understandable. After all, success of an offspring reflects grandly upon those who produced this remarkable specimen.

When all those outstanding young people meld effectively as a team in any prep endeavor, a valuable life lesson has been learned - teamwork can produce where individual performance may not.

Learning to depend upon other players for success of the team as a group, to perform within the game strategy for a team and not for individual glory is a step toward meeting the demands of the grown-up world they'll face when leaving high school.

Whether singing the national anthem prior to a game, performing as a cheerleader tossed high in the air to be caught on descent by those on the floor below, or standing before a crowd to deliver a personal best in a debate for Future Business Leaders of America honors, these youngsters are representing Pagosa Springs High School.

And, in doing so, they are the personal representatives of you, the taxpayers who make possible the facilities necessary for them to perform.

This community has been represented well in every sport, in every scholastic and skill endeavor.

And yet, there are those who will tell you competition is not good for the developing psyche, that students often are ostracized if they cannot perform with some outlandish level of individual skill.

They will say the student should not be put in the unenviable position of having to justify a decision or an answer on a test with the way they made that decision or reached that answer.

On the other hand, such actions in the classroom or on the playing field force youngsters to think for themselves, to evaluate the data available to them, to form a strategy for making a decision, to work with others as a team, a melding of many skills into a single element.

Grades are but one measurement of a student's success. They are the most obvious, but far from the single most important. Learning to exist in a multifaceted society must be added. Under standing the differences between community cultures has to be included. Learning to respect the rights and beliefs of others, no matter how much they may differ from your own is another part of the education progress.

Learning to speak so one can present a statement of personal goals can be a signal achievement. Learning to read beyond just a rudimentary level so one can enjoy the vast world of information available in literature can be an illuminating point in a young life.

Just as scoring a basket for the first time, getting your first hit on the baseball diamond, or pinning an opponent on the wrestling mat can give a competitor a personal high, so can understanding the Pythagorean theorem or seeing the sensitivity in a Wordsworth poem expand the limits of the mind.

Education is a tricky business. It requires dedication on the part of administration, staff and student. It requires parental understanding, assistance and training to make sure the values of what is revealed in the classroom are adapted into the real world of everyday life.

Learning is sometimes a hard process. Making an error can cost the team a run. Losing your defensive position can lead to a score for the opponent.

Believing you can't succeed is admitting you haven't tried your best or that someone who should have seen your struggle failed to recognize your need and let you down.

Parents, write down for yourselves the goals you wanted to achieve and the ones you actually realized. Then consider your youngsters' rights to the same learning experience.

You can't force a child to be an All-American sports performer. You can't make a child like your style of music or understand what you see as exceptional art. You can help the child understand there are varieties in every aspect of life, varieties they have to recognize in order to be contributors to their own dreams.

Students, put yourself in position to find the answers to all the questions developing in your minds. Talk to parents, to teachers, to classmates. Seek members of the community who have succeeded in a chosen field and find out how and why.

Most of all, parents and students alike, understand life is a teamwork event for all, that education can be an exciting time if it is not presented as dull, drab and must-do work.

The mind was made to absorb and share knowledge. Make yours work to achieve that purpose.