Representatives from Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs are huddling together these days, their objective to avoid a showdown in court over which will collect a 2 percent sales tax starting Jan. 1, 2003.
Both entities have voter approval to collect the 2 percent tax, a replacement for a 2 percent tax enacted in 1994 and expiring at the end of 2002.
The problem is, state law limits the total sales tax rate in any county to 6.9 percent. The state already collects 2.9 percent. The county collects another 2 percent in perpetuity. When the 1994 2-cent tax expires at the end of this year, a 4.9 percent tax rate remains in effect.
Consequently, if the town's up to 3 percent tax and the county's 2 percent tax were enacted Jan. 1 of next year, the total would be close to 9.9 percent, well above the 6.9 percent limit. That can't happen. Somehow, a choice must be made, either by agreement between the two entities or in a court of law.
Each of the entities aver they want to split the tax fifty-fifty with the other. But there is more. Each wants maximum assurance for their constituencies that the sales tax income they have been receiving for years will continue.
Casting a shadow on the reliability of the traditional, fifty-fifty distribution of sales taxes was a petition filed during 1995 by a group of county citizens calling themselves the County Road Users Association. The petition asked the commissioners to place on the ballot a proposition that sales tax revenues be distributed 25 percent to the town and 75 percent to the county. When the commissioners refused to act on the petition, the County Road Users took to the courts in an attempt to force the county to act. The issue did not leave the courts until 1998 when the Colorado Court of Appeals found in favor of the county.
"What bothers the town about the court decision," said Jay Harrington, the town manager, "is the court based its decision on the petition process, not on the appropriateness of using a petition in regard to sales taxes. Our attorneys advised us that a future petition by county citizens is possible. In order to protect the town's revenue stream, we took the issue to town voters. County petitioners cannot alter the distribution of taxes lev ied by the town."
Town voters approved a town sales tax of up to 3 percent during April of 2000. The town ballot question said nothing about a fifty-fifty split with the county. Town officials avowed that the town would, indeed, continue the fifty-fifty split. The town's tax was to take effect if the 1993 county tax was repealed, repealed and readopted, determined not to be effective, or expired in whole or in part.
In November of 2001, county voters approved a 2 percent sales tax to take effect Jan. 1, 2003. Language on the ballot asserted that this would be a continuance of the 2 percent tax already in effect. In addition, the county ballot question stipulated that the 2 percent tax would be divided on a fifty-fifty basis with the town, as in the past.
"We put the issue on the ballot to give our constituents the best assurance possible that the county's sales tax income will continue as in the past," said Bill Downey, chairman of the board of county commissioners. "If we leave it up to the town, we only have their word that they will continue to split with us. What if they get new board members who change their minds?"
Shortly after both entities realized they had conflicting taxes, they asked the Department of Revenue for an opinion as to which entity's tax would prevail. The DOR said the county's tax would be viewed as a continuance and collected for the county. If the DOR decision is not satisfactory, the next step would be to go to court, according to the DOR answer.
Currently, legislation titled House Bill-1218 on behalf of Carbondale is being considered by the Senate Public Policy and Planning Committee. A summary of the bill states, "Requires any extension of an expiring tax to be deemed effective from the date of first imposition of the tax when calculating the total sales tax or total use tax imposed by the state of Colorado, any county, and any city or town in any locality in the state."
The town decided HB-1218, with an amendment, would help their position. The proposed amendment states, "Any referendum or initiative measure, including an extension of an expiring tax, that changes the distribution of tax revenue among local governments provided in a preexisting revenue-sharing ballot measure shall be deemed to be a new tax, in effect from the date of the change in distribution of the tax revenues, and subject to any other validly adopted sales or use tax proposal.
The county had assumed a position of silent tolerance for HB-1218, according to Downey. Concerning HB-1218 with the attached amendment, Downey said, "We don't like it but we won't oppose it."
What is next? County and town officials are huddling, hoping to find language for a HB-1218 amendment satisfactory to both.
What if the town and county don't agree, or if HB-1218 fails?
There are always the courts.
How well is the local economy doing? Two local economic indicators provide mixed answers to that question. Those indicators are the number of building permits issued by Archuleta County, and the volume of sales taxes collected.
Through the end of February, the number of building permits is up and the volume of sales tax collections is down when compared with the first two months of 2001.
Through Feb. 28, the county building department had issued 51 permits, 34 percent more permits than were issued through February of 2001.
Also through February, the county had received $790,696 in sales tax revenues, 5.56 percent less than the total received last year for the same time frame.
The building permit increase might be attributed to unusually mild weather for the winter. Builders have been able to work outside throughout the winter.
Pinning down the reason for slower sales tax collections is more difficult. The answer might be purely statistical, or perhaps a matter of collection practices. Sales taxes are collected by local merchants at the point of sale. They are then forwarded to the state on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Several situations could cause the collections to show up during a month other than the true month of sales. The merchant could be late sending in the monthly or quarterly report. The state could, for whatever reason, not include the total remitted with the proper month, especially if the remittance arrives late during the month. In any case, a review of sales tax results over several months provides a more accurate picture than any month by itself.
"The records we get from the state don't tell us very much," said Kathy Wendt, assistant to the county administrator. "There has been an ongoing problem. The Department of Revenue has investigated. I haven't noticed much, if any, change since the investigation."
Worse than the slowness of their reporting, the state is even more laggard about returning the money collected. Sales tax returns are typically two months later than the collections.
The January 2002 report shows collections of $430,861, 7.81 percent above the $399,651 collected in January of 2001. The February 2002 report shows collections of $359,836, 17.8 percent less than the $437,609 collected during February of 2001. The year-to-date total for 2002 is $790,696, 5.56 percent less than the 2001 end-of-February total of $837,259. As a point of comparison, the February 2001 year-to-date total was 28 percent ahead of the February 2000 year-to-date total.
Sales tax collections are directly related to retail sales. When the numbers go up, the economy is thought to be doing well. When the numbers go down, the health of the economy is suspect.
Sales tax revenues also make up a large proportion of town and county revenues. Last year the county and town split $5.1 million in sales tax revenues. Half of the county's portion is devoted to the general fund, the other half to a road improvement fund. The town's share is dedicated to capital improvements.
The number of building permits issued by the county building department is used as a barometer to gauge the willingness of people to invest large sums of money in new residential or commercial buildings, or in major rehabilitation of buildings. Again, increasing numbers indicate a healthy economy, decreasing numbers indicate a suspect economy.
This year, the county issued 51 building permits through February. Last year at the same time the county had issued 38 building permits. The estimated value of permits issued through February is about $4.4 million.
The increase in building permits issued this year might be attributed to weather, according to Julie Rodriguez, director of the building department.
"February was a big month," said Rodriguez, "but nothing really jumps out as to why. I guess it must be the weather, plus some of these may have been waiting to see what the new year brings."
Classified by categories established by the county, the number of permits issued this year are: house - 29, up from 23 last year; mobile home - eight, up from two last year; other - 14, up from eight last year; commercial and timeshare - 0, as in the previous year.
The category of other includes major modifications or additions such as new bedrooms, carports and such.
If willingness to subdivide property depends on confidence in the economy, then Archuleta County developers seem to possess considerable confidence. Since the first of the year, the Archuleta County planning office has been dealing with the paperwork for eight new subdivisions containing 1,316 acres and 324 lots.
About 100 citizens with a desire to learn how to influence local governments gathered Monday at the Pagosa Lakes Vista Clubhouse for a workshop conducted by Citizen's Voice.
The gathering was initiated by Archuleta County Citizen's Forum, a group of local citizens who met three times last year on the same subject.
"This all started when I read some things in the newspaper about our local government and wondered if they were true," said Karen Aspin, spokesperson for the Citizen's Forum. "I started investigating last year. The public meetings last year and the Citizen's Forum are the result. We had over 200 people turn out last year. We found we weren't making any progress with local elected officials. When I learned about Citizen's Voice and learned they were willing to come here, that seemed to be the way to go."
Following the two-hour Citizen's Voice presentation Monday, Aspin said, "I was impressed with the caliber of training. I personally will be excited to see our elected officials held to higher standards of accountability. I hope we will be able to affect this year's election results. We have people signing up to serve on various committees."
One result of the Monday meeting was general agreement to ask the county and town gov ernments to adopt an ethics code. A model for the code is being provided by Citizen's Voice.
Citizen's Voice is Denver-based and registered as a Colorado non-profit corporation, according to Stacey Brown, the organization's project organizer. Financial support for Citizen's Voice is provided by the Common Cause Education Fund, Brown said. The organization is modeled after the successful New Jersey Citizen's Army, she added.
"Citizen's Voice's goal is to re-engage citizens in government by providing training and access to powerful activist tools and resources," Brown said.
A large group of non-profit organizations provides those tools and endorses Citizen's Voice. Included in the group are Colorado Common Cause, League of Women Voters of Colorado, the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, the Colorado Environmental Coalition, and the American Friends Service Community.
A group of lawyers is donating legal assistance, Brown said.
Guiding principles claimed by the organization are non-partisan, non-blaming, and taking responsibility.
Citizen's Voice conducts workshops centered on issues such as growth and development, the influence of money in politics, and government ethics.
"Citizen knowledge and participation is essential to ensure the strength of our democracy," Brown said. "Tonight the Colorado Citizen's Voice will empower you with information and vital skills to be involved and active in your local government. You'll leave here tonight knowing you have the ability to effect change."
Topics covered in Monday's workshop included activist training segments, passing reform, and community dialogue.
Under activist training segments were time slots devoted to monitoring your government, lobbying your officials, and working with the media. Under passing reforms were discussions on how to use Citizen's Voice model ordinances and a menu of model ordinances including addressing growth and development, controlling the influence of money, and improving government ethics.
At the conclusion of the workshop, citizens were enrolling on sign-up sheets titled research, conditions, lobbying candidates, and media.
County Administrator Bill Steele has been given the responsibility of organizing a task force whose purpose is to investigate ways of financing a proposed new county administration building.
The appointment of Steele came at Tuesday's regular weekly meeting of county commissioners.
A request for proposals has already been issued by the county for the new building. Included in the RFP should be a general description of the proposed building's appearance and layout, and the estimated cost of construction.
Earlier space needs studies performed for the county estimated that a building answering all needs might cost as much as $14 million. The proposed building site is along Hot Springs Boulevard opposite the new town administration building and the community center currently under construction. The county purchased the four-acre parcel during 1999 for a cost of $750,000 cash. The purchase price was taken from capital investment funds set aside for the purpose.
Initial studies and discussions indicate the county may apportion county functions between the proposed new building, and the existing courthouse. One proposal suggests moving all county functions to the new location, excepting those dealing with the courts and law enforcement.
Currently, the county is paying rent to the Town of Pagosa Springs to house certain county departments. The county social services department is housed in the new town administration building. County senior citizens functions will occupy space in the new community center when that building is completed.
The proposed task force should contain from three to five members, include county finance director Cathie Wilson, and include at least one commissioner, according to instructions given Steele.
About $30,000 is the estimated price tag for the proposed conceptual study.
During 1999, the county paid about $35,000 for an Archuleta County Facilities Audit conducted by Daniel B. Smith and Associates and Coover-Clark & Associates, Architects and Planners.
According to that study, the county then had about 85 employ ees serving from 475 to 550 customers on a daily basis in the current courthouse.
Estimated costs in the study prepared by the consultants amounted to almost $14 million to construct the new facility on Hot Springs Boulevard, plus renovation of the existing courthouse including expansion of jail and court facilities.
The 1999 study included an analysis of space requirements for each county office based on the kind of work done and storage space needed.
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
€ Announced that Fred Chavez has been appointed superintendent of the county road and bridge department. Chavez has been employed in the department since 1987 and is a former superintendent of the same department. Prior to hiring Chavez, the county advertised for applicants for the position. Two finalists were interviewed. Of the two, the county rejected one and the other rejected the county.
€ Set a public hearing for 7 p.m. April 4 concerning a conditional use permit for the Ridgeview Center. The owner contemplates construction of a bowling alley and other facilities within the existing 36,000 square-foot site located just west of the town limits on U.S. 160
€ Set April 4 at 7:30 p.m. for a public hearing for the Nielsons Gravel Pit located about 8 miles north of town along U.S. 160. Both the Ridgeview Center and Nielsons Gravel Pit hearings will be conducted in the commissioner meeting room in the county courthouse
€ Approved in concept a Federal Emergency Management Authority grant application to purchase a $175,000 fast attack fire truck to be used by county fire fighters to combat fires in the county. The county will provide $17,500 as a local match if the proposal continues to fruition.
We like to label ourselves "free" people but, in reality, we do our business in a social environment in which rights and privileges are defined by law, in which the field of acceptable action is determined by convention and regulation. Few actions are unfettered and we hope for a situation in which most of the rights to which we presume we are entitled are circumscribed in as broad a fashion as possible.
With too narrow a prescription, a right is no right at all.
The desired condition, "freedom" occurs when the possibilities are numerous, the range of acceptable action wide. But, just as tight restrictions have a price, so does flexibility and "freedom."
Take, for example "rights" related to private property.
Recent controversy concerning a proposed gravel pit operation northeast of town on U.S. 160, in proximity to a residential subdivision, within a short distance of another property with an industrial use, serves as an example of rights, the effect of restraints, and what some members of the community must accept given the reality of the situation.
Many voices heard protesting the application to operate the gravel pit and attached asphalt plant raise concerns about noise, traffic safety, air and water pollution. Many note the possibility that too much industrial use is being allowed in a particular part of the county - an area they say has special aesthetic values and natural attributes worthy of protection.
An application for a permit came before the planning commission last week and commission members did an admirable job, with county planning department members, of rationally assessing the situation - considering the regulations that define the property owners' rights, and the objections from members of the community. The conclusion was to recommend acceptance of the application and to recommend some very reasonable variance requests. All considerations were made within the confines of existing law and a major factor in the commission decision was a limited term for activity at the site.
Next the request will be entertained by the county commissioners. They have little or no reason to deny the request in light of current regulations, considering the process defined for permitting the business has been followed to the letter. If the commissioners entertain the matter in a public meeting, make their decision in the full light of day and with regard to existing regulations, then they will have done their duty well. If they avoid controversy, meetings with property owners in restaurants, and decisions made behind closed doors, there can be little valid argument with their action. Owners of the property and the applicant are "free" to do what they ask on the property. Those who do not agree must abide by the decision.
Does this mean the protests are out of line?
Not at all.
The voices that protest this industrial activity should not be silent. They serve to remind of us of two very important things: the need to be constantly vigilant when it comes to activities with potential negative environmental and aesthetic effects; and, more importantly, to illuminate possible shortcomings in our regulations - the way in which the community defines the "right" to use private land.
Once again, the need for an expedited Community Plan, with more precise land use regulations defining different uses of land in different parts of the county, is clearly evident.
Under the current rules and regulations, the gravel pit and asphalt plant are a reasonable use of land (for a limited period of time), but the call to determine if those uses, or similar uses, are acceptable over the long run is loud and clear - for the San Juan River valley northeast of town, for every other part of our county. There must be places for industry; there must be oil and gas operations; there must be commercial activity. We need to say where and how, in no uncertain terms ... and soon. Karl Isberg
Operation Clean Attic got underway last weekend. By late Sunday afternoon, almost 100-square-feet of floor space around the doorway could once again see the light of day. Some tools, fishing gear, clothing and so forth are yet to be sorted, prioritized, boxed and relocated.
Most folks use photo albums as remembrances of their family history. I hold on to certain items my four boys either played with, built, whittled, collected on travels, read, "invented," or that they might want some day. They were memories from the past.
In no wise does the attic above our garage compare to the Passover upper room in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago. But my mind wandered there Sunday afternoon.
Did Mary and Joseph hold memories in their heart of hearts after Jesus, their oldest son, left home? Once the time came for him to be about his Father's business, he probably left behind the rustic fishing gear from his youth. By example and explanation, he set the groundwork for his followers to become fishers of men. During this process Jesus would take two fish and feed about 5,000 people.
The clay water jug that once helped quench his thirst during hot days in his father's carpentry shop probably remained hanging on its peg. Jesus would soon proclaim, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.' " Rather than needing a water jug, he would offer living water that would become "a well of water springing up to eternal life" for those who drank of it.
Except for those on his back, Jesus probably left some clothes behind. Eventually even the clothes on his back would be discarded. Roman soldiers would divide his garments among themselves, totally unaware that if they would simply believe in the one they had disrobed, he could robe them in righteousness.
He left behind his carpentry tools. He longer purchased rough-cut timbers from a supplier or carried them through the streets to his father's shop before sawing them into boards. Nor would he use the boards to build doors. Instead, Jesus would knock on the doors of men's hearts with the promise that "if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him. ..." Yet one last time he would carry a crudely hewn timber on his whip-lashed back as he walked through the streets of Jerusalem on the pre-Passover Day.
Yes, Jesus probably left behind his hammer and nails. However, he would be made to lie on a cross-beam while others hammered nails through his hands prior to raising and fastening the beam atop a tree-like upright.
A Roman centurion standing at the foot of his cross when Jesus breathed his last breath contended that "... truly this man was the son of God!"
The memories did not end with Jesus' crucifixion. His friends removed him from his cross, buried him in the carved-out tomb of a rich man, and sealed it with a large rock. Returning three days later to a now abandoned tomb, his followers heard angels proclaim the first Easter message: "Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but he has risen."
Yes, it was Easter. Jesus had come unto "his own and those who were his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.
Taken from SUN files of March 24, 1977
Great interest is being shown in the school bond election scheduled for next Tuesday, March 29. Voters must be registered to be eligible to vote but need not be property owners.
Work has started on a project to improve the town water distribution system. It is expected to take approximately 90 days, weather cooperating.
There are seven candidates for three school board positions. The deadline for filing is past, but the deadline for registering is April 1. The election will be held May 3rd. School board members are elected for four-year terms.
Weather has stayed mild in town, but a storm and cold weather is forecast for this weekend.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of March 28, 1952
The meeting held last Friday night by the Town Board for discussion of the proposed zoning ordinance was attended by approximately 100 people, most of whom expressed themselves as either being against zoning in any fashion or against the proposed ordinance for Pagosa Springs. On Tuesday night of this week the Town Board met to consider the proposed ordinance and as a result of the opposition expressed the ordinance was referred back to the zoning committee for further consideration.
The L.J. Goodman home was destroyed by a fire that started late Friday night or early Saturday morning. The house was a complete loss and very little of the contents were saved.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 1, 1927
The Pagosa Springs Motor Company is today having shipped from Alamosa two new Fordson tractors, equipped with Oliver plows, one of which is consigned to Whitney Newton at Pagosa Springs and will be used in extensive farm work by the purchasers.
Three new cases of chicken pox were reported among high school students this week.
Pagosa's streets underwent a nice working-over the past week in the way of grading and dragging.
You will find in this issue another good financial statement of the Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs.
Doc Waggenschieffer of Eureka was a pleasant visitor the past week at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Theodore Lattin.
91 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era of March 24, 1911
The population of Pagosa Springs was announced this week as 669. This is an increase of 302 in ten years. The population of Pagosa Springs does not include what is known as South Pagosa, which although outside the town limits, is really a part of the town. Including the population of South Pagosa the town has a population of about 1,000.
The idea advanced by Mayor Patterson to secure some of the Wyoming elk for Archuleta County is meeting with much encouragement.
A new list of Ute lands is advertised for sale in this issue. Look it over and make a purchase while the price is reasonable, for in a few years these lands will quadruple in value.
In the cold morning hours of a night in February, the Walsh's phone rang - the call that every parent dreads. A sheriff's deputy, asking if they were Michael's parents, asking to come to their home. In the darkness, he came, along with the county coroner to tell them their only son was dead at 22, killed by a self-inflicted gun-shot wound.
The following days would be a blur of pain. The couple operated on autopilot, in shock, in tears. But right away, one thing was clear. In those early morning hours, they knew their devastating loss could provide hope for others, people they didn't know who suffered from cancer, heart problems, car accident injuries and could only get better with the donation of organs and tissue.
"As I was thinking it, Frank was saying we need to donate Michael's tissue and organs," Jeto Walsh said. A victim's advocate from the Archuleta County Victims' Assistance Program helped make all the arrangements, finding a phone number and calling the funeral home.
Because time was of the essence, the Walshes gave permission for the "harvest" of organs via a recorded conference call with donor offices in Denver. A doctor from Colorado Springs and a harvest team of medical students from Denver flew into Pagosa. The first arrived by military medevac helicopter, coming to claim Michael's corneas. The harvest team arrived late that night. They took Michael's heart valves, skin tissue and bone marrow. In hours they would be back on the Front Range, meeting doctors and patients who could use the tissue.
"This is something we all talked about as a family," Frank Walsh said. "That was typically Michael, too. If he could help you out, he was right there."
Michael Walsh arrived in Pagosa Springs a little over a year ago, following Frank and Jeto here from California. He worked off-and-on for his parents at Pagosa Power Sports, as an instructor at Wolf Creek Ski Area and as a cook at the Greenhouse, the Irish Rose, Paradise Pizza and The Timbers. And he played the guitar, sometimes jotting down lyrics in a journal.
"He was a typical free-spirit kid," Frank said.
"Music was his passion, snowboarding was his joy and cooking was his profession," Jeto added. Michael received his first guitar in kindergarten and was hooked from then on, jumping between styles of music, loving it all. His mother plays the flute, and Jeto remembered evenings when Michael was young when the two of them would get so absorbed in music, dinner was almost forgotten.
The family moved around quite a bit when Michael was growing up, traveling with Frank's job, growing close with the time spent together.
"He was not only our son," Frank said, "but he was a friend."
At about 13, Michael convinced his parents to make the move from skis to snowboarding. Caving in, Jeto and Frank rented boards and took a half-day lesson. They were still doing a lot of falling when Michael caught up with them later in the day.
"He came over and watched us for five minutes and said this is what you're doing wrong and boom that was it," Frank said.
Michael had an easy way about him as a teacher or a mentor, giving of himself to guide others. "Money wasn't important to him, but people were," Frank said. "It was so easy for him to meet people. They just liked him."
But Michael, like all of us, wasn't perfect. He had an alcohol problem. One that dated back to junior high. Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, school was sometimes difficult, and, of course, it was important to be just one of the crowd.
"He was on medication," Frank said, "but he didn't like to have to take that because it made him different."
Instead he turned to drugs in a bottle. His parents tried to head off disaster, helping him find clinics and treatment programs, practicing tough love when needed. In fact, there was a time not long before his death when he'd been dry for two months.
"He just wasn't ready," Jeto said. In the past, when Michael had been drinking and got into trouble, or got a little down, he'd call his father. On February 2, he didn't. And instead of a phone call from their son, Frank and Jeto received one from law enforcement.
"We believe it was an alcohol-related accident," Jeto said. "We feel, had he thought about it for two minutes, if there hadn't been a gun in the house, he would still be with us. It was an incredibly bad choice of judgment, one that took his life."
When Frank and Jeto first heard the news of their son's death, the coroner asked if they would like to talk with someone.
"We're normally very private people," Jeto said, "but I heard myself saying yes." Patty Tillerson, a victims' advocate with the Archuleta County Victims' Assistance Program was sent. As a victim's advocate at a scene where a family experiences an instant death, Tillerson's job was to provide comfort and build a bridge from the event to others who can help the family. In such cases, that may mean making phone calls, answering questions or just talking to move the family toward decisions they will have to make in the following days.
In Tillerson's case, phone calls were in order. Jeto said from the moment they voiced the decision to donate Michael's tissues, everyone around them worked with great professionalism and compassion to make things happen. First, they had to connect with Donor Alliance Inc. in Denver to complete a social and medical screening to help determine whether or not the tissues and organs were harvestable.
Major organs, like the heart and lungs, can only be harvested at a hospital when the donor is kept on life support. However, tissues such as bone, connective ligaments, tendons, skin and cardiovascular tissue can be donated soon after death providing certain time parameters are met.
Then there were issues of availability, transportation and weather for the team coming to Pagosa Springs. Costs are handled by the Donor Alliance, but many variables come into place, such as access to a pilot and the number of hours a donor team has been on the job. And a clock ticking. Even with tissue, timing is everything. Still, the thought was always for the family.
"It wasn't a rush, rush, get this done," Frank said. "They were concerned about us."
Louis Day, director of Pagosa Springs Funeral Options, said once the harvest team arrived, the respect continued.
"There's an awareness the whole time that this person might be viewed," Day said. "From my professional point of view, they were very, very good to his body. They knew this was not just an object."
Meanwhile, the community came together to treat the family to a dose of small-town comfort. Jeto said friends and neighbors, even regular customers covered the store for two weeks, brought over extra food and blankets for incoming guests, helped with details for the memorial service and continuously checked on the family to make sure they were OK.
"If we needed something, before we could even think, we got it or it was done," Jeto said. "We were on autopilot. We relied on everyone around us. They walked us through it. I believe we were in shock two weeks later."
"There are still times during the day we're on autopilot," Frank said.
They're surviving together, one day at a time, knowing that the "firsts," seeing someone for the first time after Michael's death, are getting fewer. They are facing the harsh light of reality of life without their son, accepting the tears and the heartache.
Early on, the couple decided one thing. The phrase "I'm sorry," for the emotions, the bad moments, was out. Instead, every time they felt like apologizing for their actions, they'd say, "I love you."
And then there are the letters. At the Walshes' request, the Donor Alliance sends them a letter when Michael's gifts are used. A 20-year-old in Denver has his eyes. A teenager has his heart valves. The list goes on. And it gives them a slice of light in their darkness, a salve for the hole in their hearts that used to be full of Michael.
"I remember when we lived in Colorado Springs," Jeto said. "We were driving one day and Michael yelled at me to stop the car. There was this indigent man, and Michael said 'he doesn't have any gloves.'"
Michael got out of the car, and put his own gloves on the man's hands, dumping money in his pockets at the same time.
"That's why there was no question about him being a donor," his mother said, "that was Michael. We know in our hearts, that would have been what Michael wanted."
The fate of the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District will be in the hands of voters for the second time April 2. Its future, and the future of the proposed Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District, is wrapped up in three ballot questions written in complicated legalese.
Stan Holt, a member of the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees, attempted to unravel the language for voters Tuesday at the League of Women Voters' candidate forum.
"Basically, what the town is asking for, is not an increase in taxes," Holt said, "but that the user fees and debt from the sanitation district all be transferred to the town."
No one would pay any more money. The taxes and fees that the people in the district currently pay to the district for sewer services would remain the same. Those monies would just flow into the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District rather than the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District. One would be traded for the other.
It's nothing more than a change in the paper trail, really.
As Holt explained, years ago when the sanitation district was formed, the sewer lines served people who were outside platted town boundaries. That meant, under state law, a separate district with a separate board, budget and audit had to be formed to oversee management. More recently, state law changed, allowing municipalities to operate general improvement districts and eliminate the extra layer of government.
That's an advantage to taxpayers, Holt said. One less layer of government, means one less audit and less time involved in preparing extra paperwork and a separate budget. That could translate to savings for the people.
Back in November 2000, voters approved the idea of forming the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District. However, all of the money transfer questions failed. It's no surprise considering the wording required under The Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
"The legalese in these ballot issues is scary," Holt said.
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 ... "
The words "shall," "taxes," and the phrase "be increased" are frightening for most taxpayers. But the reality is - since voters already approved dissolving the sanitation district in favor of the GID back in 2000 - all a yes vote accomplishes is a transfer from one set of books to the other. It's a paperwork thing. And the irony is, it's all done by town staff already. Under a contract signed in 1996, the town is responsible for the operation, maintenance and administrative services, including billing, for the sanitation district.
A yes vote on these issues merely maintains the status quo as far as money is concerned. According to the 2002 budget, the current mill levy for the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District is 3.4 mills, representing $73,375 in property taxes. Of that, 0.9 mills is used for operating expenses, and the balance goes toward paying off debt.
The other two issues are just as confusing.
The transfer of fees and debt to the GID is supported by members of the current Pagosa Springs Sanitation District Board and the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees.
"I urge every voter to vote yes on all three of these issues," Holt said.
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 on town election day, April 2, because of differences in 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 Blvd., from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
After presenting a detailed study of association finances and reserves, the chairman of the Finance Advisory Committee for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association recommended to the board of directors that his committee be returned to ad hoc status.
Jim Corboy, who has guided the panel since it was elevated from ad hoc to standing committee status, said, "We believe we have done all the things set out for us to accomplish and the report filed tonight (March 14) culminates that activity. We have developed some fantastic schedules and dumped them in your lap. It may have seemed on first reading that we left you to swim alone.
"That is not the case and we did not intend it to be. We have inventoried all association assets by original costs, remaining useful life probability, applied an inflation factor and given you a document which can provide a 25-year guide for fiscal operations if regularly updated. You can now maintain a super overview of all assets and funds, and where they will be at any given point in time," he said.
A "Funding Study Cash Flow Analysis" in the report will allow future personnel to trace interest income, estimate expenditures and correlate them with actual payouts for an up-to-date financial picture at any given time.
Using the chart properly, Corboy said, means, "You'll know years in advance of any potential threat to financial stability and can take action to prevent it.
"This document will save you," he said, "from what has happened in some of the other geopolitical organizations in the county."
Director Gerald Smith said, "Someone needs to capture the process so we have it in perpetuity. It should become a part of the finance and policies manual."
"I believe your adopting it will make it so," said Corboy. "The manual requires the committee recommendations to be supplemented with the procedures we develop. If accepted, it becomes a guiding factor for the future."
Director Tom Cruse moved for acceptance of the report with Smith giving the second.
And then Corboy suggested the committee had fulfilled its purpose, some members are tired of serving "and one even threatened to move out of town to get off the panel."
"We . . . see no need for a continuing standing committee. I will be willing to continue serving on an ad hoc panel to meet when needed. In the meantime, I feel the panel should be disbanded and each of the long-serving members congratulated and thanked for their service."
Director Richard Manley, board president whose term ends with the annual meeting in July, said he, too, feels the panel has given the association a workable program to follow and added, "I, too, will be willing to serve on an ad hoc committee after my term expires. I, therefore, want to make the motion myself to disband the standing committee and return to an ad hoc committee status."
The motion was seconded by Director Cruse and approved unanimously.
In response to a proposed amendment to SB02-156 in the state senate last week, Club 20 has taken a position in support of giving the Colorado Water Conservation Board more flexibility in receiving and managing instream flow rights.
The bill, carried by Sen. Ken Gordon, D-Denver, and now commonly referred to as "The Gordon Bill," originally proposed much broader changes to Colorado's historic instream flow legislation, including elimination of the board's exclusive authority to administer such rights.
The proposed amendment, crafted by Sen. Gordon and others, would replace the original bill with narrower language which would essentially expand the water conservation board's authority to receive instream flow rights.
Those rights were created in 1973 with the passage of landmark legislation which recognized that leaving water in the streambank could legally be considered a "beneficial" use in the same way as the other previously defined "agriculture, municipal and industrial" uses.
However, that original 1973 legislation limited the board's authority to administer such instream rights to "amounts required for minimum stream flows ... to preserve the environment to a reasonable degree." The proposed amendment would give the board the flexibility to administer such rights "in such amount as the board determines is appropriate ... to preserve or improve the environment to a reasonable degree."
"Club 20 has always been a staunch defender of Colorado's historic water doctrine," said T. Wright Dickinson of Maybell, club chairman. "We continue to be concerned about any fundamental changes to the existing law which might result in adverse impacts on existing users or inhibit Colorado's ability to fully utilize its water resources afforded it under the law of the river (the 1922 Interstate Water Compact).
"However," he said, "Club 20 also recognizes the changing demands on Colorado's finite water resources, and we understand the need to provide the board with the necessary flexibility to adapt to those changing demands while still preserving the historical integrity of our water appropriation process. While we could not support Sen. Gordon's original proposal, we think the proposed amendment strikes that balance that we have insisted upon."
Club 20 is a non-profit coalition of Colorado's 22 western counties and the municipalities, businesses and individuals who live in them.
Taxpayers may now use any of the four major credit cards - VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Card - for federal tax payments.
The IRS also expanded the credit card program this year to include installment agreement payments for tax year 1998 or later, and extension related payments for taxpayers who live outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Taxpayers can make these payments, or pay taxes due for 2001 or estimated taxes for 2002, by using either the phone or Web site services of private credit card processors.
There is no IRS fee for credit card payments, but the processors charge a convenience fee. Payment types and credit cards accepted by the processors may vary. Some tax software packages also include an option for e-filers to pay with a credit card. Tax form instructions and IRS publications such as Form 1040, Form 1040-ES, Form 4868 (for extensions) and Publication 17, have details on making credit card payments.
The IRS electronic payment program also includes an electronic funds withdrawal option. Taxpayers who e-file their returns may authorize an EFW from a checking or savings account. They may schedule the payment for a future date, up to and including April 15. E-filers may schedule electronic funds withdrawal for the 2001 tax due and one 2002 estimated tax payment. Taxpayers who request filing extensions by phone or computer may also make an electronic funds withdrawal payment.
As of mid-March, the IRS had received more than 20,000 credit card charges, up 13 percent from nearly 18,000 for the same period last year. The charges totaled more than $55 million. There had been nearly 100,000 electronic funds withdrawal authorizations, a 19 percent increase from last year's 84,000. About 40 percent of the electronic funds withdrawals have already occurred and totaled more than $33 million. The remainder are for future dates. Credit card charges are processed immediately.
Taxpayers may also use electronic funds withdrawals to pay taxes on line by enrolling in the Treasury Department's Electronic Federal, Tax Payment System. For information on enrolling, visit www.eftps.gov.
The direction of county planning in regard to updating building code standards appeared to change at a public hearing conducted Tuesday night by the board of county commissioners.
When the meeting started, the county's intent was to gather public input concerning updating the county building inspection standard from the 1994 Uniform Building Code to the 1997 Uniform Building Code.
During the meeting, it was suggested the county skip the 1997 UBC and adopt the International Building Code. No action was taken, but Gene Crabtree and Alden Ecker, county commissioners present at the meeting, expressed a desire to look into adopting the IBC. Final action on the proposed adoption is unlikely to take place this year.
Bill Downey, chairman of the board of county commissioners, was ill and did not attend the meeting.
The IBC is easier to read and follow than the UBC, according to Mike Howell, the county building inspector. The IBC is contained in two books, Howell said, one focusing on residential construction and one on commercial construction.
By way of contrast, the UBC contains intertwined instructions for residential and commercial construction, Howell said. Mixing residential and commercial confuses residential builders who have to sort out the differences when using the UBC, Howell said.
A proposal that the county adopt fee guidelines contained in the UBC met opposition from builders present. No action was taken to adopt new fees. If the IBC is adopted, the county will have to develop an independent building permit fee and inspection fee schedule, because the IBC contains no guidelines in that area.
Builders pointed out that, if the UBC fee guideline had been adopted, the cost of permits would have jumped more than 100 percent.
Builders argued that, if fees increase, services should also increase. Increased service could mean hiring an additional full time inspector instead of the current practice of having two inspectors on the payroll. Howell said many inspection functions are not being met because one inspector does not have time.
No action was taken on an announced hearing for adopting the 1997 Universal Fire Code. It was generally agreed that, if the county is considering the IBC, it should also consider the International Fire Code so the building code and fire code would jibe. Action on the fire code was delayed allowing Fire Chief Warren Grams time to review the IBC and voice his recommendation and preferences.
Action was tabled concerning adoption of a mechanical code. A mechanical code would provide guidelines and inspections for building heat and air conditioning installations. The county currently requires no mechanical inspections.
A reason given for tabling adoption of a mechanical code was the announcement that building inspector Raul Garcia has resigned. The commissioners said they want to postpone action on the mechanical code until a new building inspector is hired.
Finally, no action was taken on a proposal from the county building department concerning snow load and frost depth requirements in the Arboles area and generally south of CR 500 in Archuleta County. The proposal is to reduce the frost depth in that area from 42 inches to 32 inches. A second, house-cleaning, action would recognize the snow load bearing requirement in the county as 65 pounds, applicable in the same area proposed for a 32-inch frost depth, a 45-pound requirement.
Items listed in the Police Blotter report where an alleged incident occurred, the nature of the incident, the officer involved and the status of the incident. Readers should not assume employees or owners of a place of business or a parking lot reported as the scene of an event are involved as perpetrators of the incident, or that individuals cited will be found guilty by the court.
The Archuleta County Sheriff's Department logged eight incidents March 20 to March 26.
March 20 - Third degree assault, harassment, obstructing a peace officer. North Pagosa Boulevard near Village Drive. Deputy Tim Walter responded.
March 22 - Theft, trespassing. 400 Block Cool Pines. Deputy Galin responded. Case open.
March 22 - Second degree trespassing. 200 Block Sam Houston. Deputy Walter responded.
March 23 - Sexual assault. Aspen Springs. Deputy Galin responded.
March 23 - Burglary. Stevens Lake Road. Deputy Walter responded. Case open.
March 23 - Criminal mischief. 100 Block Brookhill. Deputy Galin Responded.
March 24 - Theft. 400 Block Buecler Lane. Deputy Denison responded.
March 24 - First degree criminal trespass. Turkey Creek Road and East U.S. 160. Deputy Denison responded.
March 19 - Justin Lamar Kairath. DUI. Posted surety bond.
March 19 - Jonathan Martin Montoya. Driving while license restrained for express consent, operated unregistered vehicle. Posted surety bond.
March 19 - Joseph Schoemer. Menacing. Posted surety bond.
March 20 - Larus Gary Durnell. Third degree assault. Posted surety bond.
March 20 - Joshua W. Mylius. Third degree assault, harassment, stalking. Posted surety bond.
March 21 - Caycntano Avila-Aguilar. DUI, driving without valid driver's license, weaving, failure to use turn signal.
March 21 - Daniel E. Schofield. Driving motor vehicle while license under restraint. Posted surety bond.
March 23 - Katherine Lavean Martinez. Court-ordered jail-stay. DUI.
March 24 - Jim Russell Siegwald. DUI, speeding, failure to present insurance upon request. Posted surety bond.
March 26 - Dominic Lee Swanson. Violation of bail/bond conditions.
Pagosa Springs Police Department
The Pagosa Springs Police Department logged 14 incidents March 19 to March 26.
March 19 - DUI. River Center. Officer Kop responded. Case closed by arrest.
March 19 - Menacing. 400 Block Pagosa Street. Officer Kop responded. Case closed by arrest.
March 20 - Criminal mischief. 800 Block South 8th Street. Officer Allen responded. No suspects indicated. Case active.
March 20 - DUI. U.S. 160 at Mile Marker 142. Officer Valdez responded. Case closed by arrest.
March 21 - Child abuse. 500 Block South 10th Street. Officer Rockensock responded. Case closed by summons.
March 21 - Possession of cocaine. 500 Block Hot Springs Boulevard. Officer Allen responded. Case closed by arrest.
March 21 - Driving under denial. 500 Block Hot Springs Boulevard. Officer Allen responded. Case closed by arrest.
March 22 - Theft. 800 Block South 8th Street. Officer Perales responded. No suspect indicated. Case active.
March 22 - Possession of cocaine. 500 Block Hot Springs Boulevard. Officer Allen responded. Case closed by arrest.
March 25 - Theft. U.S. 160 and North Pagosa Boulevard. Officer Perales responded. Suspect indicated. Case active.
March 26 - Theft. U.S. 160 and Trinity Lane. Officer Smith responded. Suspect indicated. Case active.
Archuleta County Court: Judge James Denvir
March 20 - Keith Hamilton, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of speeding. One hundred and eighty dollars costs.
March 20 - Jose Adolfo Valdez, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of underage consumption or possession of alcohol. One hundred and ninety eight dollars, 24 hours public service, complete alcohol treatment program.
March 21 - David Herbert Moore, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of disorderly conduct. Five days jail - suspended, letter of apology, eight hours public service, $78 costs.
March 21 - Daniel Jose Aguilar, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of driving without a license. Eighty-two dollars costs.
March 21 - Marlena Charmaine Hunter, Denver. Guilty of speeding. Seventy-two dollars costs.
March 21 - Leroy Cotton, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of hunting under the influence. Fifty days jail - 30 days suspended, 24 hours public service, evaluation and comply, $228 costs.
March 21 - Jarl Jenzui Vanness, Levelland, Texas. Guilty of DUI, second offense. Ninety days jail - 65 suspended, 48 hours public service, evaluation and comply, $350 costs.
March 21 - Chester Custer Nez, Kirkland, N.M. Guilty of DWAI. Six months jail - credit for time served, costs waived.
Pagosa Springs Municipal Court: Judge William Anderson
March 20 - Juvenile, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of assault. Six months probation, 150 hours community service, drug testing, counseling, drug/alcohol class, $200 costs.
March 20 - Juvenile, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of disorderly conduct by fighting. Six months probation, 200 hours community service, drug testing, apology letter, $135 costs.
March 20 - Juvenile, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of harassment by striking another. Six months probation, 50 hours community service, apology letter, no contact, $135 costs.
March 20 - Juvenile, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of shoplifting. Six months probation, 50 hours community service, drug testing, $310 costs.
March 20 - Juvenile, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of two charges of probation violation. Twelve months probation, 300 hours community service, attend victims impact panel, drug testing, 90 days curfew, $375 costs.
March 25 - No court.
Emergency Medical Services
EMS responses were not available at press time for March 13 to March 20.
We're broke, and every week it seems we get a little broker.
Up to now, the Joint Budget Committee has been able to do some refinancing to put off making budget cuts that will affect programs and people. But now, it seems there will have to be some significant cutbacks.
Last week, the legislative staff told us that revenues are down another $232 million and the budget must be slashed again between now and the end of the fiscal year (June 30). This week, the governor's office offered its revenue projections, which are more dramatic: $310 million down. Either way, it's not good.
The Senate passed a package of bills last week that made an initial round of cuts. More will come in the next couple of weeks. We are looking at all the possibilities for cuts, including trimming back any legislative costs possible.
One change I successfully made to the budget bills on the Senate floor was to save the reserve fund for the Branding Inspection Division. I objected to the Brand Inspection's reserves being raided because the division operates like a business enterprise, completely funded by fees levied to livestock owners and brand registration fees levied every five years. The money from this fund is used to administer the brand inspection program. My amendment takes the $2.5 million from the Species Conservation Trust Fund instead, because it had a larger reserve. I suspect that we will have to fight this battle again in the next round of cuts.
Also this week at the Capitol, the Southern Ute and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribes were in town to bring attention to many of their issues that come before the legislature: state funding for the Animas-La Plata Project, Indian Child Welfare Act provisions, the Southern Ute Air Quality Commission, funding for the Four Corners Monument and others. In addition, I co-sponsored the resolution to honor the Colorado Indian Commission's 25th anniversary. The commission serves as the liaison between the tribes and state government.
In a year when we've seen too much political activity, I'm pleased to report that I have received bipartisan support on several of my bills:
€ Unanimous support in the Senate Judiciary Committee for a change in the Indian Children Welfare Act that directs all Colorado courts to ensure that tribes receive adequate and timely notice of custody proceedings concerning their children
€ Overwhelming support for my "prompt pay" bill, which requires insurance companies comply with deadlines, allow electronic claims and penalizes companies that do not comply
€ Bipartisan support for a bill I sponsored that gives grants to veterans to attend the dedication of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. The money for the grants comes from private contributions
€ Unanimous support for the Colorado Water Conservation Board 2002 Water Projects Bill.
The governor has signed the bill I co-sponsored with Rep. Mark Larson that prohibits insurance companies from increasing auto premiums or denying coverage for a household when one member has failed to comply with child support payments.
Brenda, my wife, traveled to Denver and spent the week helping me in my office. It was great to have a period of semi-normal family life. Ann Brown from Durango and Cortez also visited and we got caught up on all the local "happenings" in southwest Colorado.
Also visiting was a group of Montrose and Olathe FAA students. We had a good time discussing Montrose County ag topics. They were able to attend different ag legislative meetings and meet several legislators.
It was an especially good week because we got to see people from both the northern and southern parts of the senate district.
The Division of Brand Inspection's cash reserves will be spared in the budget bill package passed March 20 by the state Senate, said Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus.
The bipartisan Joint Budget Committee used cash reserves from numerous departments to help refinance the current fiscal year's budget, to have enough funds available through the end of June. The funds are scheduled to be paid back in the next fiscal year.
Sen. Isgar objected to the brand inspection reserves being raided, because the division is an "enterprise" fund, completely funded by fees levied to livestock owners and brand registration fees levied every five years. He asked that the $2.5 million come from the Species Conservation Trust Fund, instead, because it had a larger reserve.
"I don't think we should punish a division that runs efficiently, pays its own way and is supported by livestock fees," Isgar said.
The Brand Inspection Division administers more than 37,000 livestock brands to identify ownership of cattle, sheep, mules, burros, horses, elk and deer. Brands are used to verify ownership of livestock and to trace animals to their herd of origin when there are health issues.
Sen. Isgar's amendment to the JBC budget package was one of only two amendments allowed on the Senate floor.
"We need a medical Peace Corps to get people into the outlying areas of the state where health concerns are growing and service dwindling."
That was one of several opinions voiced Monday by Rollie Heath, Democratic gubernatorial candidate, as he made a whirlwind tour of Southwestern Colorado with a stop in the SUN offices.
Heath said affordable health care is "one of the biggest issues facing this and all other states. Costs are rising rapidly and the few insurance carriers serving the state are leaving it."
He said the incumbent administration of Gov. Bill Owens "has not dealt with the problem and it is something that we, the people of the state, have to take control of. We have to find a way to get care into rural areas, to get prescriptions that families don't have to sacrifice meals or heat for."
"We need to keep our doctors and nurses working," Heath said. "We need to help them overcome their disdain of an over-burdened, over-controlled system which they vowed to serve for betterment of their fellow Coloradans."
On a separate, but related subject, Heath said, "We need to find ways to create jobs for people, not just jobs, but jobs with a livable income, jobs that make people a part of an ongoing fellowship of citizens serving each other."
It should be a governor's job, he said, "to create a vision, motivate the people to get involved in obtaining that vision and then utilize their talents to make sure it works for all the state's residents."
His tour was part of what he called a special effort to let people know there is more than one way to see how government should be run. "We've heard that Southwestern Colorado has been ignored in the past," he said, "but it won't be by me."
Already that day, he'd been in meetings in Pueblo, Walsenberg, Alamosa and Monte Vista and additional sessions were planned in Durango, Cortez, Rico and Telluride.
On highway funding, Heath said "We're in a mess with construction projects without funding and funded projects that seem to have no source of the cash being spent."
The highway plan now being slashed to stay within budget, he said, "will still be in excess of $600 million over TABOR. We've got to be more careful of special interest tax cuts and other moves that leave us desperate to get even minimal road maintenance across the state."
"Even without the effects of 9/11," he said, "we were going to be in trouble in this state in terms of highway budget. The funds planned for spending just weren't there."
He said the state needs a fiscal management priority for whoever is elected to serve as governor the next four years "and I'm convinced I have the experience and foresight to develop plans that will work for all Coloradans."
Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District water and sewer fees will be discussed at a public meeting April 2 at the district office at Vista. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.
The PAWS board of directors will discuss proposed water and sewer rates, along with various fees.
The utility provides potable water for Pagosa Springs, the subdivisions west of town, and various subdivisions in and around the central population core of Archuleta county.
It also provides sewage collection and treatment for users generally living west of Piedra Road and north of U.S. 160.
In addition to changes in fees, PAWS is asking voter approval on the May 7 special district special election ballot to sell about $5 million in general obligation bonds. If the bonds are approved, the proceeds will be used to finance a number of capital improvements, including expansion of the Vista waste treatment plant.
A second $5 million bond issue may be placed on the November ballot this year. Money from the second bond would be used to finance capital improvements connected with water collection, treatment, and distribution.
Rates for monthly water and sewer users served by PAWS remain little changed in the proposed fee structure. The monthly user fee, called a service charge, is designed to cover current operating expenses plus some capital expenses. Expenses and revenues funded from other sources, such as bond issues, are not included in the monthly fee structure.
Proposed water rates remain $13.50 per month. What has changed in connection with water rates is the maximum permitted monthly consumption before a higher rate per gallon kicks in. Last year the $13.50 was charged for the first 10,000 gallons consumed per month.
This year the 10,000 gallon monthly limit has been dropped to 8,000 gallons. From 8,001 gallons to 20,000 gallons, $3.50 per one thousand gallons will be added to the initial charge for the first 8,000 gallons. For consumption from 20,001 gallons and up, the rate per 1,000 gallons will be $4.50.
The increased charge for increased consumption is designed to discourage such use, thereby encouraging water conservation.
Sewer fees proposed in the new budget have climbed from $14 to $15.50. In part, the new, higher sewer fee reflects more accurate tracking of sewer expenses when compared with water expenses. Last fall, PAWS invested in a new computer budgeting system. The new system provides better cost accounting, enabling the district to more accurately distinguish between water and sewer costs.
PAWS budgeting is complicated because the district budget includes an enterprise fund. Enterprise funds are generally supported from fees as opposed to tax revenues. Enterprise funds are not subject to TABOR income and expenditure limits.
Colorado State Parks camping reservations open at 7 a.m. April 1.
Whether you're dreaming of a waterfront campsite at Navajo Lake State Park or mountain views from Mancos State Park, summertime will soon be here. What better way to spend your summer than enjoying Colorado's great outdoors?
All state parks will open camping reservations at 7 a.m. Monday with reservations available online at www.coloradoparks.org or by calling (800) 678-2267 outside the Denver metro area.
Online reservations will be available around the clock, seven days a week, making it easier than ever to reserve a site at one of the 33 state parks offering camping. For those of you who do not know exactly where or when you want to pitch your tent, visit the state parks Web site prior to opening day and set up an account through ReserveAmerica, the company that processes online camping reservations.
Reservation office hours are 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reservations can be made a minimum of three days and a maximum of 90 days in advance. Complete information on park amenities, fees and regulations and frequently asked questions are available on the Web site.
Colorado's state parks are busiest on weekends and holidays during the summer season. To enjoy more solitude while lessening the impact on our breathtaking natural resources, state park visitors should consider planning their trips during the week. Or, visit one of the state parks located off the beaten path. The Web site offers Fun Finder to help match a park with the amenities you are looking for your next Colorado outing.
With 40 state parks throughout Colorado, there is something for everyone. Do everything or do nothing at all in a state park this summer.
A $50 state parks annual pass is available at each state park and at Division of Wildlife offices. They also may be purchased at City Market stores.
Daily entrance fees and camping rates vary by park and campsite.
Gary Hedinger, who works in construction locally, decided last year he would throw in his hat for mayor of Pagosa Springs.
"It's just one of those things," he said. "I follow my intuition. I believe that God talks to us."
Hedinger moved to Pagosa Springs 3 1/2 years ago from Texas. He was born in San Jose, Calif., and grew up on a farm in Ohio. He started working at age 6 as a sheepherder and later moved up to building fences. In high school, Hedinger participated in the vocational agriculture program, earning the top spot at state as an agronomy team member his senior year.
He attended community college in Texas, choosing theater as his major. Throughout school, he worked two jobs, still finding time in his schedule to be sophomore class president. Hedinger is an alumni member of Phi Theta Kappa. He made the Who's Who list twice in college.
After college, he opened his own lawn maintenance, landscaping and irrigation company, and again made the Who's Who list. He said moving to Pagosa Springs was a fresh start, a way to meet new people.
"I love people," he said. "I believe when I look at somebody, meet somebody, I can always find something good in them. I always say, 'Once in the hand, always in the heart.'" Here, Hedinger does construction, remodeling, landscaping and irrigation projects.
As mayor, Hedinger said he would like to see a community college built in Pagosa to improve programs for young people. Starting a tipsy taxi service and enhancing and expanding the disaster plan are other goals.
Hedinger said "the situation dictates" what the major issues in town will be and wants to continue the status quo.
"I'm not against anybody," he said. "I admire Ross Aragon. In fact, I would appoint him city godfather. I would be seeking his advice."
When asked why he would run against someone he admired so much, Hedinger said he sees it more like running a relay. "I want to take the baton and go with what he's done and expand upon his accomplishments. To me, there's nothing but honor in that."
Paul Nobles is running for mayor of Pagosa Springs.
The local Realtor has lived here for 20 years and is a member of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce.
He was born in Prescott, Arizona, and graduated from Mingus Union High School in Jerome, Ariz. in 1967 as president of the senior class. He was also voted the best all-around vice president of the junior class. Nobles went on to Grand Canyon College in Phoenix on a baseball scholarship.
In 1969, he volunteered for the Vietnam War and served as a sniper in the demilitarized zone south of the North Vietnam border. After his first year of duty, he volunteered to help the Marines. He was flown out of the country by medevac helicopter after a grenade blew up under his feet. He received the purple heart.
Since then, his favorite saying has been, "I should have died in '69." That helps make every day a good day, he said.
Upon returning from the war, he joined a local carpenters' union in Phoenix, working for 11 years as a finish carpenter and superintendent of WRAY Construction. He moved to Pagosa Springs in 1982, joining Ralph Eaton's "Four Seasons" Pagosa Lakes.
In 1987, he was hired as an architectural consultant, and helped to build the King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Nobles worked on the project for four years. He is currently a Realtor with Four Seasons Land Company/GMAC in downtown Pagosa, and recently ended a 3-year term as a director on the board of realtors.
He said his record of military service and job experience has prepared him to be mayor.
"I love my country, I love Colorado, and I love Pagosa," Nobles said.
As far as individual issues, Nobles said he has some ideas, but would rather wait until after the election to present them.
"It is not what Paul Nobles wants for Pagosa Springs, but what the people of Pagosa Springs want through the mayor," he said in a written statement. "Due to my daily job endeavor I meet people all over Archuleta County and downtown Pagosa Springs from every walk of life; all economic backgrounds; every social strata; natives to newcomers; and I need to fairly represent each of these people."
I was taught a valuable lesson last week in the House Finance Committee on the subject of "tight titles." Unlike Congress, the Colorado legislature allows only one subject under each title. Normally, a bill is titled to reflect the true substance of the measure and what the bill is intended to address.
The more limited a title is the less subject matter can be changed in the bill and, importantly, the bill will be harder to amend for unintended changes in the law. With a loose title, all sort of issues can be "Christmas treed" on a bill ... meaning that "ornaments" (amendments) that you may not want can be "hung" on your bill. This tactic is common in any legislature and members are normally wary when titling their bills.
Last week, I carried a bill through two committees that came out of this summer's Transportation Legislative Review Committee (TLRC), the interim committee charged with review of transportation issues that possibly need legislative address. This bill is intended to allow civil penalties against intrastate carriers once a compliance audit has been performed and the carrier does not correct deficient findings.
The bill was conceptually agreed to by the TLRC and the Colorado State Patrol promised to work through the many issues carriers had with the concept. Consequently, and since the bill was still "conceptual" at the start of this session, it was purposefully given a rather broad title. SB02-011 is titled "Concerning Motor Carrier Regulations."
Any member, whether they know how to drive a semi or not, could drive a truck through that title! I was okay in the Transportation and Energy Committee since all the members had heard the issue during the summer and were aware of the bill's intent. However, when I got to the Finance Committee, I was quickly reminded of the "tight title" rule.
It seems that several Colorado Springs legislators have severe heartburn with local law enforcement entities who have made it a practice of padding their coffers with revenue raised by penalties assessed against the trucking industry.
My bill, which had been carefully and arduously worked by Sen. Ron Teck, R-Grand Junction, in the senate with an agreement being forged between all parties, IF the bill went through the House unamended, became the targeted "Mother of all Christmas Tree" bills for possibly rectifying this brouhaha in Colorado Springs.
Hard as I tried to assure the committee that this bill in no way impacted, either positively or negatively, those heinous and unwarranted roadside stops and inspections, a member who owns trucks for use in his business made it painfully clear that I had a bill title that would allow a virtual rewrite of all motor carrier regulations! Oops! He was absolutely correct. I didn't see that one coming.
The committee asked many well founded questions and received reassurances from the Colorado State Patrol Legislative Liaison that the Colorado Springs issues were indeed being addressed. Thankfully and after much discussion, the bill passed out of the committee unamended.
Monday was the seventy-sixth day of the session leaving 44 days until Sine Die. The budget, which we should be hearing next week, will be delayed two weeks due to the extreme downturn in revenue projects. The legislature has many tough choices to make during the Long (budget) Bill debate. This year the battle of pushing funds from one program to another will probably not amount to much. The issue will probably center around philosophical fiscal debates and promises to be lively.
There is a 30-50 percent chance for rain or snow in Pagosa Country on Saturday, according to Dan Cuevas, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
The likelihood for precipitation increases with elevation, according to Cuevas, as does the probability that the form of precipitation will be snow instead of water.
Local residents should discover clear, sunny skies when they look out of the window this morning. By tomorrow, clouds will begin moving in and by Saturday, odds are almost even that some precipitation will fall.
Sunday through Tuesday, the skies should return to clear and dry.
Local temperatures continue to rise week by week as spring-like conditions try to take over. Last week's average high temperature was 50 degrees. On Friday, the thermometer scrambled up to 60 degrees.
On Saturday last week, 1.50 inches of snow equaling 0.25 inches of precipitation were recorded at the official weather gauging station located at Stevens Field. For March, the total snowfall in town has amounted to 4.50 inches. The long time average snowfall for March in town is 16.8 inches. Total precipitation this year in town amounts to 0.73 inches. The long time average March precipitation in town is 1.61 inches.
The snow falling this March seems to be wetter than average. This year the water content of the snow is about 16 percent, that is, six inches of snow makes about one inch of water. The long time March water to snow percentage is 9.5 percent meaning about 10 inches of snow is required to make one inch of water.
Increasing wetness of snow is one of the heralds of spring and approaching summer in Pagosa Country. Snow during the depths of winter is much drier.
The average monthly mean temperature for March is 32.5 degrees, up considerably from 25.2 degrees, the average monthly mean temperature for February. Look for another jump next month. The average monthly mean temperature for April is 41.5 degrees. Since 1938, snowfall during April has averaged 5.5 inches, precipitation 1.29 inches.
Meanwhile, snow continues to fall on the slopes of Wolf Creek Ski Area. The resort is generally situated between 10,000 and 11,000 feet above mean sea level. The ski area has received 10 inches of snow over the last seven days, 238 inches of snow for the season. The summit snow depth is 79 inches, the midway snow depth 62 inches.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife will continue netting fish at three reservoirs - Chatfield, Cherry Creek and Pueblo - in order to harvest walleye eggs.
At these three reservoirs, fishing from the dam or within 100 feet of the dam is closed overnight from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. through April 15 to avoid interfering with the walleye egg harvesting. Boaters should be aware that nets are in place and avoid the netting area.
The eggs will be transported to state hatcheries in Wray and Pueblo where they will be incubated and hatched to be stocked throughout the state. The tiny walleyes can be stocked in warm and cool waters when they are just a few days old and as small as two-tenths of an inch long. In addition to the tiny "fry," some walleyes are grown to one to three inches before release.
The DOW's goal is to collect more than 200 million walleye eggs this year. Most of these eggs, approximately two-thirds of the total, are destined to be returned to Colorado waters for fishing opportunities, but the remainder may be traded to other states.
A mature female walleye can produce as many as 25,000 eggs per pound of body weight. With a typical walleye tipping the scales between five and 10 pounds, the take can easily approach several hundred thousand eggs per fish.
Walleyes can grow to be more than 20 pounds and 34 inches long, but a typical Colorado catch might be in the 14 to 18-inch range. Walleye are noted for their delicious flavor and are considered great table fare, as well as a challenging sport fish.
"It isn't easy to catch an 18-pound walleye," said Dave Nesler, aquatic biologist for the Northeast Region. "You've got to commit some time to outwit a walleye, which are known to be strong, clever and elusive."
The egg-harvesting project at Pueblo, Chatfield and Cherry Creek Reservoirs will take several weeks to complete. Aquatic biologists and crews take eggs from females and milt from males. After harvesting, all walleye, as well as non-targeted fish species, are returned to the water.
"An operation like this is important to sustain sportfishing around the state," Nesler said. "It's amazing to see the entire process from gathering eggs, to releasing tiny fry, to the end result when someone brings in a keeper walleye."
Scott Regan caught the state record walleye in 1997 at Standley Lake in Westminster. The fish weighed in at 18 lbs. 13 ounces and was 34 inches long.
The following information is submitted for the consideration of all persons owning property in the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions. First a question: What do you expect of your PLPOA Board of Directors to whom you submit $1 million dues each year?
When Fairfield, Inc. filed a petition for bankruptcy in 1990, before completing promised road and utility improvements, the then PLPOA Board of Directors filed claims in the Bankruptcy Court on behalf of the property owners. Subsequent boards continued the litigation until 1997 when an agreement was reached with Fairfield for joint payment to PLPOA and the county of $6.5 million dollars to cover defaulted road improvements.
PLPOA and the county entered into two agreements: The first was for the joint disbursal of Road Construction Funds (PLPOA board never exercised its right to approve payouts); the second appointed a joint "Road Advisory Committee" to recommend priorities for the road project, but gave the county complete authority to make all final decisions.
The county prepared construction documents and awarded a contract to Weeminuche Construction Authority. Paving of North Pagosa Boulevard was an early phase of the work. Within months that paving began to deteriorate in large sections. The contractor did not replace or repair the failed sections and I questioned the existence of a completion bond.
In October 2000, I appeared before a PLPOA "Town Meeting" and requested that PLPOA take action on the paving failure. I was assured by two attending board members that PLPOA would investigate. I received no further response and over the following eleven months I submitted all of the information I could gather on the road project to PLPOA. When county and contractor representatives gave conflicting stories, I reviewed county records (public) and prepared two reports. The reports were given to both the county commissioners and the PLPOA board in June and July 2001. The time was critical because I had found a bond that would expire in October 2001. Neither the county nor PLPOA took any action. (See PLPOA "Rejection" of my first report in the June 21,2001 Pagosa SUN). County records are clear that the county agreements with PLPOA were breached, and state statutes violated.
In September 2001 I filed a lawsuit against the PLPOA board for failure to represent my interests as a property owner and for not fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities. After five months the court dismissed the case without addressing the issue of board duties to property owners.
The problem grows because the roads continue to deteriorate and the county or PLPOA (by promoting a metro district) will come to the property owners for funds to repair or replace a failed road project.
This information is not presented to create an aura of futility about getting redress for problems neglected by our county and PLPOA representatives. It is to point out an urgent need for every property owner to have their voice heard by participation in upcoming county and PLPOA elections.
Tom Strickland, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in next November's election will make his second visit to Pagosa Springs Thursday, April 4, hoping to meet as many friends as possible between 3-4 p.m. in front of the stores on Pagosa Street. Strickland's previous visit was last Sept. 23 at the Pagosa Lakes Club House where he received a very enthusiastic welcome.
Whether or not you are registered to vote as a Democrat, you really should take an hour to meet this man and see why he will be a great senator for Colorado.
I am the chair of the board of the local non-profit land trust called the Southwest Land Alliance (SLA). We are very appreciative of the SUN and last week's article on land trusts concerning the various ways that landowners can volunteer to protect their open space and receive various benefits for doing so.
For anyone who would like to have more information or further explanation, I would like to extend an invitation to them to contact any of the directors of SLA including myself.
One very minor correction to the article is that the SLA does not require a self-addressed and stamped envelope for us to mail out brochures and other information. Just contact us and we will be sure to get you whatever information we have available.
The SLA is planning a public information meeting, for which we will be providing advance notice, once the date is set. At these meetings, landowners can have their questions answered concerning preserving their land with conservation easements and what benefits they might receive, including tax benefits.
Also, a new SLA office will be opening soon and we hope to have an open house sometime in May. When the office is fully operational, interested community members and landowners will be able to visit us for information and brochures.
The office will be in Suite 101 of the Adobe Building, 475 Lewis St., downtown.
I was really touched by Dick VanFossen's kind words and grateful for his and Ann's support of the Pagosa Pretenders for many years. But please let me say, although I was tempted to get involved again this show, I was actually relieved to just sit and watch. My three children cried to be missing out for the first time in 10 shows but when I see a cast and crew of over 100, I think it's good to give some new folks a chance in the spotlight.
I am delighted to see PPFT continue and thrive under the Garmans' brilliant creative skills and passionate drive.
It is obvious that the children, and plenty of adults, of Pagosa Springs want to participate in this type of theater art. I think the only negatives are that Susan can't be paid a salary and that the kids are "stuck" in the band room during performances - which means they only see the show they've worked on for months once during the dress rehearsal.
Ah but, as usual, the good outweighs the bad and "the show must go on." I would kindly ask for continued support of Pagosa Pretenders because there is a need for the good that comes from creating entertainment with the teamwork of local talent, and we learn and grow together in many ways through the experience.
Pastor Ford's Shepherd's Staff column was a breath of fresh air in the contemporary liberal versus conservative Christian dialogue. God's big umbrella, a.k.a. the big tent, is a wonderful analogy of who might fit under it and is there room enough for all.
I searched the article diligently to see just how big God could be in light of how small we are in comparison. Once again, sadly, this God's umbrella is only held out for Christians. Is it too small because we have made it that way or because God has made it that way?
Being willing to get wet yourself so that others may stay dry is something Jesus taught us to do.
Just another liberal,
Gas and oil
I am concerned about what I consider the shortsightedness of the gas and oil development in the Four Corners area. At a meeting I attended last fall in Ignacio, the speaker, a representative of the gas and oil commission, said that they wanted to get the gas out as fast as they could and that's why they need to double the amount of wells in this area. She also stated that it was "wasting our natural resources not to pump the gas out as fast as we can."
When will enough be enough? When will the people who represent the people and the land stand up and "just say no" to big business destroying the very reasons that people moved here in the first place.
I moved here for the pristine mountains, the quiet valleys, the cool running water and the biodiverse desert regions. These basic things are being severely threatened for all by further gas and oil development. There doesn't seem to be anyone who can stop the drilling companies. They drill without permits in some cases, and without environmental impact statements done in the proper manner in others.
Right now, before the Forest Service, there are six wells that the gas and oil companies claim don't need to wait for an environmental impact statement to drill. I ask those in the Forest Service, please defend the process of the EIS and tell the gas and oil industry that they do have to play by the same rules that everyone else does. Please wait until all of the facts are on the table before making a decision.
Also, they want to drill in roadless areas that are under consideration to be designated wilderness this year. If the gas and oil industry has its way, the drilling will be done before the Forest Service realizes the potential for a pristine wilderness that is Ignacio Creek in the HD Mountains to the east of Bayfield. The HD Mountains are an important north-south corridor into New Mexico and the San Juans for wildlife to travel and live.
The Forest Service and the BLM have the power to say no. The BLM states that they are in the business of sustaining the health and diversity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of the present and future generations. If all of this drilling goes through in the HD's as proposed, we will have lost a very important habitat link, for the short-term gain of one industry.
Is this what we want?
On March 10 many people came together to have a special day in honor of Bill Hudson and to entertain the audience that came to support him.
Bill had recently had an unexpected medical emergency that landed him in the hospital and this gave us good reason to have a big jam session at the Parish Hall land help "Hudson" out a bit. But I felt it most necessary to let people know at this time what a fine person he has been for the community - that is why those who know him were there, to thank him for all he has done in Pagosa.
Most parents in Pagosa know Hudson was founder of the Pagosa Pretenders and the fantastic productions started in Pagosa a few years ago that have filled our hearts with joy and given our children an opportunity to learn the art of acting, including my child. That is how most people in Pagosa came to know Hudson and his talented family.
But there is much more you probably don't know about these folks that I would like to share.
Hudson, his wife Clarissa and three children moved here from Juneau, Alaska in 1993. They were involved with the Music Boosters and the production "Brigadoon." In 1994 he began the summer fine arts camp for children along with Tessie Garcia and Lisa Brown and that was the year Pagosa Pretenders began with its first production, "Snow White and the 7 Coyotes" with Clarissa Hudson, Addie Greer and Connie Wienpahl dedicating time and talent. Addie and Clarissa played a major role in following years to make Pretenders successful. Susan Garman is currently directing productions, most recently, "Sleeping Beauty."
In 1995 the Hudsons became involved with the popular "Whistle Pig" open mic-nights, a non-profit program to give local talent a chance to be heard. They soon became the coordinators and later that year he became an Arts Council board member. In the fall of 2000 the Hudsons opened their cozy old Victorian home for "Whistle Pig House Concerts" which are still going strong and always SRO. In the summer they hold concerts outside with the Continental Divide as backdrop.The talent comes from everywhere - the Hudsons have lots of talented friends here and there who seem ready and willing to support the cause and entertain for next to nothing.
Hudson stays quite busy with other talents in the video, arts and design fields.
The Hudsons go through life graciously giving time, talent and love to Pagosa, asking for nothing in return but to have fun and enjoy the arts.
It is with a heavy heart that we use this medium to express our farewells to the many friends that we have made in the past 22 years in and around Pagosa Springs. Medical problems have arisen for both of us and we feel that we must be closer to medical facilities.
It is difficult to leave the place and the people that we have enjoyed for so many years. Cajun cooking has brought many folks to our log cabin on the river in the San Juan Village and likewise, many local people have had us in their homes. We will miss the camaraderie of all the folks, old-timers, recent homesteaders and visitors who have come for a short time.
We hope our health improves so that we will be able to make short visits to the area in the future. Until that time comes, au revoir . . .
"Tiny" and John Thibaut
Schutz, Charles tabbed for boys' honors
By John Motter Staff Writer
Pagosa juniors Jason Schutz and Brandon Charles have been named to the Intermountain League All-Conference team for the basketball season just completed.
Players on the all-conference team are selected by league coaches following completion of the regular league season and prior to the district tournament and subsequent playoff games. Release of the names of selected players is delayed until all teams have completed playoff action.
Schutz was named to the first team, along with Michael Brady, a junior from Centauri; Jonathan Bush, a senior from Centauri; Laramie Miller, a junior from Ignacio; and Josh Bearss, a senior from Monte Vista.
On the second team, Charles joined Eric Nelson, a junior from Bayfield; Anthony Chacon, a senior from Centauri; Andre Mattox, a sophomore from Ignacio; Josh Pace, a senior from Monte Vista; and Tim Snyder, a senior from Monte Vista.
Chris Valdez of Ignacio was chosen coach of the year. Ignacio was the only league team to defeat Monte Vista during the regular season.
Bearss was chosen player of the year for leading Monte Vista to the regular season league championship. Pagosa Springs and Centauri finished the regular season tied for second place with identical records. Pagosa and Centauri split regular season games, but Pagosa was awarded second because the Pirates defeated Centauri by a bigger margin than Centauri defeated Pagosa. Consequently, Centauri finished third just above Ignacio during the regular season. Bayfield finished in the cellar without a win.
Ignacio, Monte Vista, and Centauri represented the IML in post-season play. Monte advanced because they captured the regular season title. Ignacio advanced because they defeated Monte and Centauri in the post-season tournament. Centauri advanced because they beat Pagosa Springs on the opening night of the tournament, thereby eliminating the Pirates from post season consideration.
Six of the 11 players selected on the first and second place squads will be back next year, giving promise that the title race next season will be hotly contested..
Gronewoller, Lancing on female squad
By Richard Walter
The power connection for the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates basketball team, forward Katie Lancing and center Ashley Gronewoller, have been named to the Intermountain League All-Conference first team.
The two were among the statistical leaders in state Class 3A in a number of categories.
In a 23-game season that carried them into the Sweet Sixteen, unofficial SUN statistics show Grone-woller scored 443 points for an average of 21.09 per game and Lancing hit for 352 points, an average of 15.30 per game.
Lancing was also one of the top foul shooters in the state, hitting 127 of 176 attempts from the line for a .721 percentage. She also lead the team in steals with 64 and in assists, with 143.
The 6-foot-1 senior topped the squad in rebounds with 259, 162 of them at the defensive end. She'll be attending University of Wisconsin next year on a volleyball scholarship.
Gronewoller, a 6-foot-3 senior headed for Colorado School of Mines next year, was second in rebounds with 216, 123 at the defensive end. She also turned in 59 blocked shots, 29 steals and 24 assists.
Lancing and Gronewoller were joined for all-conference honors by Kim Piccoli of Bayfield, Michelle Keck of Monte Vista and Centauri standouts Erin McCarroll and Sara Reynolds. McCarroll was named player of the year in the IML and her coach, Dave Forster, the coach of the year for the league.
While the two Pagosa seniors were the mainstays of their team, they were far from alone.
The third leading scorer for the season was freshman guard Lori Walkup who fired in 113 points, averaging 4.91 per game, a figure that was rising rapidly as the season closed down. She also had 43 steals, 58 assists, 52 rebounds and one blocked shot.
Next on the point list was senior forward Nicole Buckley with 80, an average of 3.47 per game. She had 27 steals, 28 assists and 52 rebounds and was 32 of 65 from the free throw line, a .492 percentage.
Freshman reserve guard Bri Scott chimed in with 64 points, a 2.78 per game average and added 18 steals, 22 assists and 52 rebounds, 25 of them at the offensive end.
Senior guard Carlena Lung-strum had 49 points, a 2.13 per game average, while turning in 21 steals, 25 assists, 33 rebounds and one blocked shot.
Junior forward Katie Bliss had 48 points, an average of 2.08 per game, hit nine of 18 free throws, had 18 steals and 22 assists and grabbed 52 rebounds.
Junior guard Tricia Lucero scored 44 points for a 1.91 per game average, was 10 of 17 from the free throw line, had 12 steals, 11 assists and 28 rebounds.
Senior guard Joetta Martinez scored five points but had five steals, eight assists and a dozen rebounds.
Freshman guard/forward Mollie Honan had four points for the season but chipped in with three steals, three assists, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots.
Coach Karen Wells, obviously, will face a rebuilding season next year with five seniors graduating.
Pagosa's varsity baseball team, short two injured players, one suspended for being expelled from the last regular game, and several on vacation, spotted Salida a 12-0 lead Saturday and then roared back to make it a close contest in an 18-13 non-league loss.
Coach Tony Scarpa said, "It was a day when we ran into better pitching early, and had some misfortune on balls hit hard, but right at someone."
Starting on the mound for Pagosa was Ross Wagle who was removed trailing 10-0 with two runners on base. Those two scored, putting Pagosa down before Jarrett Frank put out the fire. He would later give up six additional runs, but Pagosa came back to score 13 during his time on the mound.
"Actually," Scarpa said, "we hit well, better than I had expected with so many players missing from the lineup. Wagle, for example, was 3-for-4 and drew a walk and Dustin Spencer hit the ball very hard, going 2-for-3 and drawing two walks."
Others featured in the Pagosa attack were Lawren Lopez with 1-for-4 and a walk, David Kern 1-for-3 and two walks, Danny Lyon 1-for-4 and a walk, Frank 2-for-4 and a walk, Marcus Rivas 2-for-4 and a walk and Clayton Spencer 0-4 with a walk.
"On at least three occasions we had the bases loaded with one or two outs," Scarpa said, "and a batter either went for bad pitch or hit a ball hard but right at someone, causing us to strand the runners."
Walks were the downfall for Pagosa, he said, with Wagle passing six and Frank four. Wagle had six strikeouts and Frank five.
The Pirates are scheduled to return to action with their first home game of the season when they host the Cortez Panthers at Golden Peaks Stadium at 10 a.m. Saturday.
They were somber and determined.
The Pagosa Springs High School Ladies Soccer team had a moment of silence prior to Friday's game against highly-ranked Telluride on a neutral field in Cortez.
It was a moment in which each player had the number 25 marked on her right upper arm, a tribute to classmate and former teammate Jayme Lee who died earlier in the week from injuries received in a rollover accident near Chimney Rock.
The team had dedicated the game to her memory. Jayme played with them last year, wearing number 25, but chose not to go out for the sport this year.
That the Pagosans were not able to win for Jayme was a tribute to the Telluride defense.
In fact, the game was marked by tremendous defensive plays on both sides. But for two failures in Pagosa transition, the game might have ended in a 0-0 time and overtime. As it was, Telluride emerged with a hard fought 3-0 win over the team they had beaten 8-1 in Pagosa just a week earlier.
To set the stage, it needs to be known that Telluride played without Sydney Nelson, the striker who scored a hat trick against Pagosa in the first game, and the Pirates were without midfielders Carlena Lungstrum and Chelsea Masanz, both nursing ankle injuries.
Almost 12 minutes of back and forth defensive moves transpired before the Miners' Caitlin Kirst put her team on top 1-0. Her's was the third shot in a mass attack on Pagosa keeper Sierra Fleenor, the first two by Amy Palamar and Shelly Hale being turned aside by the sophomore keeper. She was unable to trap the rebound on the second shot and Kirst was in position to ram it in over her right shoulder.
At the 18:27 mark, Pagosa's Kyrie Beye got the Pirates' first shot on goal but it was turned aside by Telluride keeper Catherine Arnold.
The next legitimate scoring chance came almost six minutes later when Kirst's bid for her second goal smashed into the cross bar and careened out of play.
In the meantime, Pagosa defenders Cassie Pfeiffle and Lori Whitbred had been blunting drive after drive by the Miners with blocks, steals and kickouts. The pair were cited by both Pagosa and Telluride coaches after the game for their outstanding performances.
At 27:38, Pagosa got another chance on a left-footer from 20 yards by Meagan Hilsabeck, but Arnold made the stop. Pfeiffle came close to tying the score 41 seconds later when she was awarded a free kick and saw it hit the crossbar dead center and ricochet back into play.
Four minutes later, Fleenor made back to back saves on point blank drives by Kirst and reserve striker Bailey Orshau. The ensuing outlet, however, failed to clear the middle zone and Telluride's Carrie Lamb was wide open behind Pagosa defenders for a breakaway that resulted in the Miners' second goal. That held up for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Whitbred got the Pirate attack under way in the second half with just a minute and 34 seconds gone with a shot up the middle from 25 yards. Again, Arnold was able to make the stop.
Exactly four minutes later, Fleenor made a diving stop of a drive by Telluride's Britt Whitelaw but, in an almost carbon copy of her earlier score, Lamb came unimpeded out of the midfield pack to get the rebound and scored again on a breakaway to hike the lead to 3-0.
And there it stayed, as time after time both teams were turned back by sparkling defensive plays by their opponents. Joining the standouts for Pagosa in that time span were Sara Aupperle who consistently made speed moves from her sweeper position to stop attacks and Jenna Finney, playing a wing position.
The Pirates carried much of the offensive momentum in the period, but were unable to solve Arnold's defense.
First to be stopped was senior right wing Aubrey Volger whose bomb at 25:51 was fumbled but recaptured by Arnold before a rebound attempt was possible. Next came sophomore Melissa Diller with a penalty kick at 30:20. Again Arnold was able to bat it away and her support defenders stopped two rebound shots - by freshman Bri Scott and Beye - before the ball could get to Arnold.
At 31:26, Pfeiffle's free kick from 30 yards was right down the middle, but about an inch over the cross bar and the 3-0 shutout held.
After Fleenor came 20 yards out of net to stop a drive by Kirst, Pagosa attempts by Hilsabeck and Sara Smith were turned aside by Arnold. A defensive struggle had ended but the Pagosans can be sure Jayme would have been proud of their effort.
Shots on goal: Pagosa 9, Telluride 10; Scores, T-Kirst 1, T-C. Lamb 2; Saves, P-Fleenor 7; T-Arnold 9. Assists, none. Penalty shots: P 0-1.
The Pagosa Springs varsity football schedule takes on a new look this fall.
So will the coaching staff. Head coach Myron Stretton, after four years at the helm and three consecutive years of leading the Pirates to the Intermountain League championship, has resigned.
"We're taking applications right now for a replacement," said David Hamilton, the Pagosa Springs athletics director.
Stretton's assistants this past season were Sean O'Donnell, Scott White, Randy Sorenson, Jim Shaffer, and Mike Marshall.
Gone from the Pirate schedule are Kirtland and Piedra Vista, bruising 4A schools from across the border in New Mexico who administered annual whippings to the smaller, 3A Pirates. Also gone is Bloomfield, a 3A New Mexico school Pagosa has managed to defeat the past two years.
Remaining on the schedule is Taos, another large New Mexico school, but an eleven Pagosa has successfully pounded the past two years. The Pirates travel to Taos Oct. 4, a Friday, for a 7 p.m. game.
Because the schedule has changed, Pagosa fans should not assume it will be easier. According to the 2001-2002 Colorado High School Activities Association directory, Pagosa's non-league opponents in Colorado have the following enrollment: Montrose - 1,236, Cortez - 850, Alamosa - 633, and Delta - 615.
With an enrollment of 515, Pagosa is the largest school in the IML. The enrollment of other IML schools is Monte Vista - 400, Bayfield - 350, Centauri - 345, and Ignacio - 326.
Pagosa opens the season Aug. 3 on the road at Alamosa. The Maroons, or Mean Moose, are a 4A school and annual playoff contenders. Older Pagosa fans will remember when Alamosa was a Pirate league opponent.
On Sept. 9, the Pagosa gridders stay home to play Cortez in Golden Peaks Stadium. The Panthers are also a 4A school familiar to Pagosa fans.
The Pirates host another 4A Panther team Sept. 20, the green and white Delta Panthers. Delta plays in the Western Slope League.
Another 4A team is on the schedule the following week. This time Pagosa gets the privilege of crossing Red Mountain Pass to take on Montrose Sept. 20.
Finally, on Sept. 27, Pagosa opens IML play by hosting Monte Vista. For the first time in their schedule, Pagosa will be playing a 3A school.
After stepping outside the league to play Taos Oct. 4, Pagosa hosts Ignacio Oct. 11 for the second IML encounter, travels to Centauri Oct. 18 for a third IML game, and closes the regular season Oct. 25 by hosting IML opponent Bayfield.
Love for Pagosa bumper stickers here
Stop by and pick up your bumper sticker proclaiming your love for Pagosa Springs.
We're so pleased with the Ken Harms' design and the timely red, white and blue colors and especially pleased to offer them to you for only a buck.
Drop by today so you can let the world know just exactly how you feel about our Paradise for all Seasons.
Cellist Philip Hansen will once again appear on stage tonight with his beautiful cello music at the High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. This year, the charming, talented young man will be accompanied by pianist, Eleanor Elkins, a faculty member at Ft. Lewis College and recent performer at Merkin Hall in New York City. Hansen has been critically acclaimed around the country, praised by the L.A. Times for his admirable "virtuosity" and in The Oregonian for his "ferocious and honeyed" playing.
He has been the principal cellist for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and is currently the artistic director and cellist for Fear No Music, Portland's own source for newer works around the globe. He frequently performs live on Portland radio and is currently preparing for a tour in China.
Tickets are on sale at the Chamber of Commerce, WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee, Moonlight Books and the Senior Center. Adult tickets are $10, and a special rate of $30 is being offered to families this year regardless of the number. All proceeds will benefit the Archuleta Senior Citizens, Inc. Hope to see you all tonight at the concert.
Ross Basketball Tourney
It's time once again for the seventh Annual Dirk and Colt Ross Memorial Basketball Tournament to be held this year on April 18-21. There will be three divisions: Open, 6 Feet and Under, and 35 and Over, and fee is $175 per team with a ten-player maximum on each team.
Prizes will be awarded to first, second, third and fourth place teams, the All-Tournament Team, Tournament MVP, Mr. Defense, Mr. Hustle, Slam-Dunk Contest, 3-Point Shootout and door prizes aplenty. A $100 non-refundable deposit is payable by April 1 for the first 24 teams to quality. Proceeds from this event will go to a scholarship fund to benefit local youths of Pagosa and Ignacio. For more information, please contact Troy Ross at 264-5265.
Kathey and Dick Fitz, owners of High Country Lodge, are proud to announce that they will be flying a new flag this week, that of Best Value Inn & Suites, one of the fastest-growing national brands in the country with locations in 37 states, Canada and Mexico. Kathey and Dick acknowledge that joining the Best Value Inn offers them national brand recognition and comprehensive support services while maintaining a small-town, "home" feeling that they have worked very hard to achieve in the four years that they have owned the property. Located on U.S. 160 just east of Pagosa Springs, this property was just recently upgraded to the AAA three-diamond rating. Stop by and congratulate Kathey and Dick on their new name acquisition.
This year's Health Fair is right around the corner and will be offering three very important tests for minimal charges. A 32-component blood chemistry analysis will be available for only $30, a prostate test for $25 and a take-home test for colon cancer for $5. All other optional health screenings and educational centers are free. Please remember that you must be 18 years of age to participate in the Fair.
If you plan to have the blood analysis, please do not eat for 12 hours before having the blood drawn but drink lots of water. Diabetics should not fast, and everyone should take prescribed medications as directed. Kiwanis Club will be selling breakfast items for those who wish to eat after they have their blood drawn in an effort to keep people at the Fair to take advantage of the many offerings of the day. Hope to see you all at the 9Health Fair on Saturday, April 6, from 8 a.m. until noon at the Pagosa Springs High School.
Music in the Mountains
We are exceedingly excited about the two special Music in the Mountains classical musical concerts that will be offered here in Pagosa Springs at BootJack Ranch this July 17 and 22. This festival is in its 16th season in Durango, and David and Carol Brown, owners of BootJack, are sponsoring the performances in Pagosa. We are all so grateful to the Browns for bringing this fabulous event featuring world-renowned artists right here to River City.
The first event will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17, at the Lodge at BootJack with acclaimed violinist Vadim Gluzman and his wife, Angela Yoffe accompanying on the piano. The Lodge can accommodate about 150 people, so the event will be an intimate affair with dinner following the concert.
The second concert will feature pianist and Van Cliburn medalist, Aviram Reichert with soprano, Gemma Kavanagh-Sullivan and will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 22, followed by a wine and cheese reception. Tickets for the benefit concert and dinner on July 17 will be $100, and tickets for the concert and wine and cheese reception on July 22 will be $45.
Tickets will be available around the first of April at the Pagosa Chamber of Commerce or WolfTracks Bookstore & Coffee Company. Please call 264-2360 for more information. Jim Foster, President of Music in the Mountains, is hopeful that they will find support for classical music in Pagosa and expand the festival to this area every year, so let's get out there and support these two initial concerts.
In conjunction with the ACS Relay for Life in June, Paula Bain is asking for a few good, sturdy wooden chairs to be donated for a silent auction to benefit Relay. These chairs will be "artist embellished" and presented as "The Chair Event" during the Relay for Life. If you have some wooden chairs to donate, please contact Paula at 731-1009.
Week of the Young Child
Amy Hill has announced the annual Kid's Fair to be held in conjunction with the Week of the Young Child at the Pagosa Springs Elementary School from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. This is an opportunity for your business or organization to show support for the children in our community by providing a fun activity for them at your booth at the Fair. There will be several raffle drawings throughout the day, and raffle donations would be greatly appreciated. If you would like more information or a booth registration form, please contact Amy at 731-9152 and leave a message.
Fair volunteers needed
The Archuleta County Fair is looking for volunteers to help out with the Fair this year on August 1-4. Please contact Debra Zenz at 264-0393 or 946-5993 for more information. Volunteer registration forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce or the CSU Extension Office at the fairgrounds.
Food for Friends
There's still time to take your non-perishable food items to Curves for Women at 117 Navajo Trail Drive or the Chamber of Commerce to make a difference in your community. The drive will end on March 31, so do what you can to make this year the most successful yet.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council will be holding their big Garage Sale on Saturday, April 27, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Town Park Gallery and invite you to bring them your tax deductible items or at the very least, plan to attend and buy everything in sight. You can drop off your items at Town Park April 16 through 20 and April 23 and 24 from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. If you would like pick-up service or more information, please call 264-5020.
Once again, we are pleased as punch to bring a formidable list of new members and renewals to you and are ever so grateful for our excellent good fortune. We thank each and every new member for your confidence and every renewal for your continued support. Obviously, without you there would be no Chamber, and I would be off somewhere trying to get a job as a tap dancer or orange inspector. I just don't see that happening.
Martha Venn joins us this week with Venn & Maris-Interior Design Consultants located at 444 Lewis Street. Venn & Maris offers professional design service for both home and business with wall treatments, flooring, fabrics and accessories. Give her a call at 264-0506 to learn more about what she can do for you. We thank Chamber board director, Nan Rowe, for recruiting Martha and will be pleased to send off a bright yellow SunDowner pass.
Our third new member this week is Bill Queen who brings us Action Fire and Safety located in his home. Bill offers commercial and residential fire protection equipment and safety supplies as well as emergency lighting, safety classes, restaurant fire systems installation and inspection and oil field service. Bill has been servicing our fire extinguishers here at the Chamber for the past few years, and we are delighted that he has joined us. Give him a call at 731-1116 to learn more about Action Fire and Safety.
David Brackhahn joins us next with FOXFIRE Construction located at 63 N. Pagosa Boulevard, Ste. B3, PMB #4001. David offers "earth friendly" self-sustaining custom homes. Authentic adobe, straw bale, timber frame, conventional, off-grid and non-toxic methods. Solar heating/power concepts: sunspaces, Trombe walls and photovoltaics. David is also a founding member of the Southwest Natural Builders' Guild and can be reached on the web at www.foxfireconstruction.com. You can reach him the conventional way at 264-4923.
Renewals this week include Rusty Hector with City Market (West); Michelle Reyes with City Market (Downtown); George Johnson with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Steve Kinsey with Skinsey JetCraft, LLC; Ron Copple with Foundation Stabilizer Company doing business in his home; Mary Przyblski with the Holiday Inn Express; Stan Maddux with Foam Insulation Specialists, LLC; Barbara Harville with Alta Vista Town House Rental; Gwen Storey or J.R. Sorenson with the Mountain Heights Baptist Church; Mark E. Miller with Let It Fly, LLC, and Camille Cazedussus with Rendezvous Books and Art. Many thanks to all.
Benefit cello concert tonight at high school
Just a reminder that the Cello Concert featuring Philip Hansen and pianist Eleanor Elkins will take place tonight at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. It is very rare that we get musicians of this caliber to perform here so we hope to see a large crowd. Tickets are still available at the Chamber of Commerce. Wolf Tracks, Moonlight Books, the Senior Center and at the door for $10 each or $30 per family.
Wilma Weber is our Senior of the Week. Wilma is a very special lady and we really enjoy her and her little granddaughter, Cheyenne.
There were several guests/returning members who joined us this week. We welcomed Jean Brown (guest of Mamie Lynch), Kathy and Wes Jackson (guests of Bob and Doris Kamrath, who just retuned from a trip), Millie Johnson, Mary Carpenter, Helen Girardin, Lilly Gurule, Phil Heitz, Larry Russell, Ernestine Bowers, Joyce Richards and Leah Baines.
Thanks to April Merrilee and Anna O'Reilly who demonstrated breathing and self-massage techniques for relaxation.
We wish a speedy recovery to Dorothy Million and Louise Deidring, who are recovering from medical problems. We miss them at the Center and hope they return soon.
Musetta and Donna Pina (Social Services) have some scholarships, which will be given out on a first-come basis, for blood work and exams at the 9Health Fair. Seniors who would find it difficult to pay for such services should contact either of these ladies to see if there are any remaining.
A lady has contacted Musetta requesting someone to care for her Boxer dog during the week of April 12-18. If any of you dog-lovers are interested, please contact Musetta at 264-2167.
We received a note from Marrian Swanson stating she misses the hugs and friendships of our folks (we miss her, too) and would love to hear from us. Musetta has her address, for those who wish to write.
The AARP is offering free income tax preparation of simple tax returns. Contact Musetta or Laura to make an appointment with tax preparers.
Other upcoming events include:
On the third Tuesday of each month the Sky Ute Casino will provide free transportation for 6-13 seniors to travel from the Senior Center to Ignacio and enjoy the Casino. They will provide some gifts and reduced food vouchers, etc. Interested parties need to sign up at the Center.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9-11 a.m. - free swimming at Best Western (for members only).
Yoga at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and art classes are at 12:45 p.m. on Tuesdays.
On Wednesdays card games at 1 p.m., and a matinee show at Liberty Theater for seniors - $3 (call 264-4578 or let them know how many will be attending).
Try a dog show for spring break
For the Texas Spring Break, the second week of March, I went to Texas. Why not? There couldn't have been too many of them left at home, since Wolf Creek was expecting them all here to ski. I'd be traveling against the traffic. Seemed like a good time to go.
And for a while I thought those statements weren't an exaggeration. On the short stretch of road between Santa Fe and Clines' Corners, for example, all but seven of the 75 or so cars heading north bore Texas license plates.
"There won't be anyone left in the whole state," I thought, for a wild moment.
Of course, that's not true.
The real reason I went to Texas during their Spring Break was to attend a dog show. Really. This gets a little complicated. The Dalmatian Club of America was holding its annual show in Hutto, Texas, the second week of March.
Hutto is a tiny town. It's block of downtown businesses probably hasn't changed in the last 75 years. People who want to shop go into nearby Round Rock, or down to Austin.
But it does have a big dog training facility. There's a new, large shed-like building flanked by two smaller buildings. Plenty of parking. Lots of green space and woods. Someone told me the place owned several hundred acres. Dogs are brought there to learn how to act in the show ring. Police dogs go there to learn some of their ABC's. People who want to handle dogs also go there to be trained.
I'm sure there are other dog shows closer to Pagosa, but I only know one Dalmatian, and he lives with a good friend from my life in Nashville. The two of them would be at the show and competing in the agility trials. It would be a chance to see my friend and 101 Dalmatians at the same time.
Actually, 327 Dals were entered in the show. But I didn't see them all. A lot of them stayed in their traveling RVs in the side parking lot. Some of them stayed in big crates at one end of the main building. A few of them stayed in crates in their cars.
There were cars from all across the country in the parking lot. From California to South Carolina to New Hampshire. From Ontario. Even a few from Texas. Vanity license plates proclaimed things like DALS, DAL LVR, GO DALS, and other variations on the name of the spotted dogs.
Dalmatians are born white, which probably everyone already knew, except me and the six other people who didn't see the second Disney movie. They apparently keep getting spots all during their lives. Older dogs have lots of little spots, almost like freckles. The spots can be black or dark brown, a color called liver.
Dalmatians were originally bred to guard coaches. They ran beside the horses or under an axle, and stayed with the coach while the coachmen were inside some wayside inn. The dog show included road trials, where the dogs run along with their owners on horseback and encounter various difficulties along the way. They're not supposed to be distracted. No running off to say hi to other dogs, for example.
I did watch some of the conformation judging, held in a ring defined by white plastic expandable fencing in the center of the main building. The handlers kept treats for their dogs, called bait, in their pockets, their hands, their mouths. A dog looks up for the bait and thus appears lively and alert.
Handlers posed the dogs, they went around the ring with the dogs, they trotted toward and away from the judge so that she could see if their front and back legs were lined up. I think the judge tried to shuffle what she had the handlers do, just to keep them and the dogs off balance. When she finally arranged them in the order she liked, the audience clapped if they agreed with her ranking.
But I really went to see the agility trials, where the dogs have to follow a course designed by the judge. It includes jumping over hurdles, going through tunnels that look like giant slinky toys or maybe dryer vent hose. They have to go up a seesaw, balance in the middle, and down the other side. They have to do all this and more at a run, with the handler running alongside or in front or occasionally behind, calling and gesturing to show them which obstacle comes next.
They have to weave back and forth between a series of poles.
In the middle of the mad dash they have to jump onto a table and lie down and wait while the judge counts five seconds. If the dog stands up, the counting begins again.
This sounds very organized and disciplined, but there were a lot of false moves. Some dogs forgot to pay attention and went sailing off on their own over whatever jump took their fancy. Some became more interested in the scent of dogs who'd been there before them, especially on the table.
Those of us sitting in our folding chairs around the ring clapped and laughed and cheered and sometimes held our breath.
I've said dogs all the time here, but in the world of show dogs, dogs are males, and females are bitches. I asked one vendor if she had dogs, meaning did she own any Dalmatians, and she said, "Yes, I have two dogs ... And a bitch."
In my limited, pre-dog show world, that would have been three dogs.
Adopt-a-street program showing benefits in area
The PLPOA's adopt-a-street program, started in 2000, is turning out to be a very popular and successful program. Roadside trash is particularly bad this spring, but through the efforts of individuals and a number of groups, things should be shaping up nicely.
The adopt-a-street effort is administered through the PLPOA Department of Property and Environment. Interested families or individuals are provided with trash bags and a small sign that is posted on their adopted street. The PLPOA will then pick up full bags of trash that are left along the roadside and will dispose of them free of charge. If anyone is interested in the program, please call Larry Lynch at the PLPOA administration office, 731-5635.
When you are watching your favorite racquetball player do battle, your hero or heroine offers tons of excitement. Nobody likes to whoop it up more than racquetball players and the Recreation Center players are no different. In fact, they are happy to oblige every Wednesday, 5-8 p.m.
If you've never attended a challenge night and you are a little awkward about your game, no need to worry. There's always willing and able players who are happy to show you the how-to. But you need to at least know which end of the racquet to hold and which end of the court to serve to. One court is set for Class B/C matches and the other for A/open matches.,
Wolf Creek Ski Area will close on Sunday, April 7. To mark the occasion with its usual fanfare, there will be the annual costume contest beginning at noon on the deck of the main lodge (weather permitting or inside if it's snowing hard). Contestants will need a current lift ticket, a great costume and some pre-contest effort and creativity. The grand prize of a season pass will go to two winners, one adult and one child 12 and under.
This Sunday, ticketed young skiers and boarders will have a chance to participate in the annual Easter egg hunt at the ski area. The egg-hunting will begin at 1 p.m. The big bunny will surely be around to pass out goodies and add an additional splash of festivity to the Easter egg hunt.
The Recreation Center is now open at 6:30 a.m. Monday through Friday to help working folks who wish to get in some morning exercise before work. Evening hours, between 5-7 p.m., are a very busy time in the weight room. For the retired folks, a mid-day workout, either in the pool and/or weight room, is an ideal schedule. The facility is quieter at that time. We love to see you enjoy yourself.
Congratulations to coaches Andy Rice and Shelly Wedemeyer for the stellar accomplishments of their players at the Grand Junction volleyball tournament March 16-17. Local girls participating in the Four Corners Volleyball Club (based in Durango) include Katie Lancing, Nicole Buckley, Courtney Steen and Laura Tomford.
The 18-year-old girls came home with the first place trophy for Division I play. Doing just as well, the 16-year-olds placed second in the Division II category.
The story of why it's called Lent
Recently, a friend said to me that she had never understood "Lent," and so this column:
To start, Lent is a Christian observance. It is an observance to commemorate an important part in the life of Christ: his forty days in the wilderness, and it is therefore a 40-day celebration (not counting Sundays) of sacrifice and prayer to prepare for a celebration of the Easter Season. The season of Lent ends on Easter Eve.
The name "Lent" is not found in the Bible. It is an Anglo-Saxon word that means "Spring."
Observances vary from strict adherence to fasting, sacrifice and display of passion and prayer to daily devotionals, special services and programs.
The week before Easter, starting with Palm Sunday, is named Holy Week. Each day of the week is a special occasion - each leading to Easter Sunday. Good Friday is the day for special remembrance of Christ's Crucifixion.
When I taught in Florida in the 1940s, Good Friday was a holiday. Indeed, in many parts of the world and even here in our own country, it is still a holiday to allow those who choose to participate in services. Even our own county government offices close early on Good Friday.
The different Christian churches gives special attention to "Lent": some observe the time and some do not, depending on their custom, and this is no reflection on their Christian beliefs.
Fun on the run
A. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
B. On the other hand, the French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
C. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
D. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
E. Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. It's speaking English that kills you.
Health service options becoming limited
The VA Health Care program for our area is carrying an ever-increasing burden of veteran applicants for their services. With that, some of our options are becoming limited if we want to get into the system and obtain VA Health Care.
The Farmington VA outpatient clinic for new applicants is frozen. The Albuquerque VA Hospital is running 6-8 months behind in scheduling new applications for their first primary care appointment. The Durango VA outpatient clinic approved late last year won't be a reality until sometime late this year. The latest word is it will be a "contract" based VA Clinic. This means it will be contracted by the Albuquerque VA Hospital, which oversees all VA Community Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) in our VA health care district, with an existing medical facility in Durango. We don't know what facility that might be.
I will be attending a conference of VA health care with other county and state VA officials next week, and hopefully I will be given updates on the Durango VA Clinic progress. The last official word I was given in February was 6 to 8 months to get the Durango clinic up and running providing VA Health Care services.
Meanwhile, I have been doing some creative applications for Archuleta County veterans to try and get them into the VA health care systems in the shortest possible time. Many of our local veterans need health care now. Many of them need high priced medications and do not have alternative methods to obtain their prescriptions at a price they can afford. Often our veterans rely solely on Medicare for their health care needs, and Medicare does not provide help with prescription drugs.
The ticket for veterans to get low cost VA prescription drugs is getting into the system, being assigned a primary health care provider by the VA medical facility that is accepting new applicants, and receiving the first complete physical examination. Once that examination is done, the veteran is eligible to be considered for the VA prescription drug pharmacy program, currently at $7 per 30-day supply.
The only nearby VA health care facility that is accepting new enrollment in a reasonably short period of time is the Grand Junction VA Hospital. Waiting time to get that first appointment and physical examination at Grand Junction is currently about 4-6 weeks. The problem is Grand Junction VA Hospital is not in the same VA health care district as Albuquerque. They do share some common VA patient eligibility information, but medical records and such are not on a common computer system. So, if you are enrolled in Grand Junction, Albuquerque does not know much about the veteran, and vice versa.
Of late I have been enrolling our Archuleta County veterans in both places. Grand Junction as the primary health care provider, for the time being, and Albuquerque for enrollment purposes only, for the long term. This will ensure the veteran is getting health care and prescription drugs in the shortest possible time on a short-term basis, until the Durango VA clinic opens up. At that time, the veteran will already be in the Albuquerque enrollment system and we can transfer their primary health care to the new Durango clinic.
This has been my way to get things going for our veterans in the shortest possible time. It is anticipated that when the Durango facility is able to accept applications, those enrolled within the Albuquerque district will be notified of the Durango opening and offered the option to transfer their primary health care to that facility. But those enrolled only in Grand Junction might not have that connection or opportunity without asking for it.
The various VA health care facilities can quickly share medical records on a patient within the VA system. So the transition from one primary provider to another should be accomplished in the shortest possible time. The veteran's eligibility will already have been established.
I was reminded recently by one of our local veterans that any veteran will be admitted to emergency services at a VA hospital, without first enrolling. This is the same as any hospital for that matter. They are required to provide emergency care to anyone. But, that does not insure you will receive long-term health care or be assigned a primary health care provider at that VA facility. You may still be required to wait for that availability. This is what I am told by the Albuquerque VA Hospital personnel. Obviously it is best if you are already enrolled to ensure the proper care, short or long term.
You can be assured I will be following the Durango clinic developments closely and will keep our veterans informed through this column as they progress. I urge all our veterans to stay in touch with this office. If you have never visited this office, I urge you to bring your DD214 separation document in and see me as soon as possible so I can get you into my veteran database. This will insure I will be able to keep you abreast of all the latest VA information. If you do not have that all important DD214 document, we can send off to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO for a copy. It can take as much as 6 months or more sometimes to get this all important document, so the sooner we send off for it, the better.
For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304.
Adult basketball tournament finals tonight
The adult basketball season came to an end last Thursday with JR's Concrete winning the Competition League and American Legion capturing the Recreation League.
JR's began the tournament with a first round bye then defeated Buckskin 70-53 in the second round. Then came a tough match against Bear Creek with JR's winning 64-60, putting them into the final.
Bear Creek ended up in the losers' bracket facing Lucero Tire which had defeated Buckskin. Lucero lost to Bear Creek pitting Creek and JR's in the final.
Two games determined the Competition League champions. In the first, Bear Creek was making three-pointers and at the end of regulation time the score was tied at 78. Bear Creek pulled away in the overtime period for an 88-83 win. In the second game, JR's beat Bear Creek 77-58.
In the Recreation League, American Legion went undefeated in tournament play, winning the championship by defeating JJ's/Pagosa Ski Rental 45-29 in a season they had dedicated to teammate Shawn Martinez.
The Legion rolled through tournament play relatively unchallenged by opponents. They defeated Citizens Bank 42-21 and then JJ's/Pagosa Ski Rental, sending both into the losers' bracket to fight for a return to the finals.
Citizens was matched against Ponderosa which was unable to hit its 3-pointers and fell 49-39. In the second game, Citizen's found themselves facing JJ's/Pagosa Ski Rental to determine which would face the Legion five again. It was a close game throughout but JJ's won 36-29.
In the championship final, Legion proved too strong an opponent, capturing the title with a 45-29 victory.
This basketball season turned out to be a pretty good one and special thanks goes to all the officials, time keepers and bookkeepers. And, of course, to Sue Jones and her dedication to these programs.
Congratulations to all the teams who competed in this year's program. We hope to see you all in softball season and of course, when next basketball season rolls around.
Field work day
Volunteers are needed for a field work day to make improvements to the baseball and softball fields. All interested parties who have an interest in improving the conditions of the sports complex are urged to attend.
The work day is scheduled April 20. Bring rakes, shovels, carpentry tools, work gloves and a lunch. If interested, please call Parks and Recreation at 264-4151, ext. 231.
Open gym for volleyball and indoor soccer will start after spring break. If you are interested in playing, contact Parks and Recreation, 264-4151, ext. 232 or show up at the junior high gymnasium, pay your fees and play. Volleyball will be played Monday and Wednesday evenings 6:30-8:30; indoor soccer for adults will be 7:30-8:30 Tuesdays and Thursdays; and youth indoor soccer for ages 6-14, will be 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Youth baseball and softball registration forms are available at Town Hall. If you need to register, please stop by and fill out the proper forms. If you are interested in coaching a team, please call the office at 264-4151, ext. 232.
Seed potato orders now being taken
April 1 - 4-H Woodworking, Extension office, 4 p.m.
April 1 - 4-H Leaders meeting, Extension office, 6:30 p.m.
April 2 - Leaders Appreciation Dinner Committee meeting, Extension office, 6 p.m.
April 2 - 4-H Electricity, Extension office, 6:30 p.m.
April 3 - Fair Royalty Pageant Rehearsal, Extension office, 6 p.m.
Mold and mildew
Although most of Colorado has a dry climate, mold and mildew may present problems in some households.
What is it?
Mildew is a thin, often whitish to bluish-green growth produced on many kinds of surfaces by molds.
Where does it grow?
Molds that cause mildew flourish in areas that are damp, warm, poorly aired and poorly lighted, such as in cellars and basements, closets, on draperies and rugs, on shower curtains and showers stalls, and even in newly built houses because of moisture in the building materials.
What harm does it do?
Other than the unpleasant musty odor, molds and mildew cause considerable damage to home furnishings if permitted to grow. They discolor fabrics and sometimes eat into them so severely that the fabrics rot and fall to pieces. Cotton, linen, rayon, silk and wool tend to be most affected. Leather, paper and wood also can become discolored and eventually damaged by mold and mildew.
The best and easiest way to prevent mildew from occurring is to let the sun shine in. Ventilation helps to remove excess moisture from the air, and when the air outside is drier than the air inside, it absorbs excess moisture. If natural breezes are not sufficient, use electric fans, air conditioners or dehumidifiers. If the house is very damp, it may be necessary to turn the heat on for a short time, then open the doors and windows to let the moist air our. An electric light burning in a closet may provide sufficient heat to prevent mildew. Chemical moisture absorbers such as silica gel, and activated alumina are particularly effective in a small closed areas such as drawers and closets since they do not harm fabrics.
The Archuleta County Extension Office is now taking orders for seed potatoes. There are two kinds available, the Sangre (red potato) and the Russet Nugget (white potato). Currently we are charging 30 cents per pound for both species. Those of you who are just starting out and experimenting, it is our suggestion that you order 2-3 pounds of each species instead of ordering a whole lot of them. This way you can experiment and see if you like them and then order more next year. When orders arrive at the Extension Office each person will be contacted to pick up their order. If you are interested in ordering seed potatoes, please call 264-2388, or stop by the Extension Office.
Growth brings need for library cards
We had to be closed two days this week for training on a new circulation system. We were part of a state and federal grant for this upgrade. Eventually, our collection will be "web based." What does that mean? All libraries are trying to get their collections "on-line" so that you can search for materials anywhere in the world from your home computer.
The grant we received is a major step to make this happen on our end.
I will be telling you more about it in the very near future.
It is the old "good news, bad news" situation. As we move closer to being part of the global network, it means we have to be better organized and we must issue real library cards, which you are encouraged to carry.
It has been very comfortable for all of our patrons not to have to worry about carrying a card. Computers demand those barcode numbers so we will have to provide them. The cards are coming and we'll give you plenty of notice. You will have a specific number.
Becky Porco, one of our new staff members worked with this system back in Maryland and has been most helpful in setting up our computer program. It is incredibly detailed and fortunately Becky was here to deal with it. The state sent a trainer this week to work with all of the staff.
Please bear with us as we learn this new language. I am in awe of the tasks this system will do once it is up and running. I think we've just moved to the 21st century for real.
Because of the inconvenience that all of this will cause, we are going to have an amnesty day. You won't be able to get a library card if you have overdue materials. Please bring in any overdues and your fines will be forgiven if you bring them in by April 15. We are asking that you bring a canned good in with your books. The food will be given to the Ministerial Alliance for the local food bank.
You will have to have a clean record to get a library card. Please note this amnesty will be over April 15.
I knew I would forget some very important helpers when I named our gentlemen volunteers. My apologies to Lee Bartley, you know him for his musical prowess. We know him as our wonderful recycler. Lee and his wife Nancy, who is on the library staff, weekly, make a run to recycle all of the materials we receive in the mail. It is a tremendous amount. Without Lee and Nancy's help, we would be inundated. Lee and Nancy are both welcome additions to our community. We are fortunate to have such talent here.
If you don't know about Lee's other talents, be sure to catch the play, "You Can't Take It With You," coming soon. Another member of the cast - Lee Sterling is also one of our volunteers who's helped through the years. I can't wait to see the play and applaud our two Lees.
David Copley has been volunteering off and on since we first moved in 14 years ago. He and his wife, Marilyn were here the very first day we moved in during the infamous snowstorm.
If I've forgotten anyone else of the gentlemanly persuasion, please let me know.
Thanks for materials from Patty Sterling, Sue and Andy Donlon, Marti Gallo, Windsor Chacey, Adrienne Barnett, June Geisen, Cynthia Sharp, Ben Bergeson, Lloyd Barnett.
The advertisement reads: JOB OF YOUR CHOICE AND GET PAID WHILE YOU LEARN. Most adults would say this ad sounds too good to be true. In fact, some of us might even suspect a scam artist at work.
But fortunately in this particular case, there is truth in advertising. Just ask any Junior High student in Pagosa Springs and they will tell you that the Archuleta County Education Center does indeed hire students to work and learn.
Seven new students in seventh and eighth grades will participate and benefit from the Education Center's Youth to Work program during the final quarter of the school year which gets under way after spring break.
Jenine Marnocha is the Youth to Work Coordinator and she has been involved with this program for the past five years. She has developed an incredible network of over 40 collaborating businesses in Pagosa Springs. These business partners are willing to mentor a young student for 36 work hours, where they teach them about their business, help the student to develop positive work habits, and explore career opportunities. In other words, these businesses are willing to help "build assets" in the youth of our community.
Each quarter, students in the Youth to Work program receive 20 hours of job skills training. Our student training covers topics such as interview skills, resume writing, telephone skills, administrative responsibilities, team building skills and job/education searches. The other important training component for all students in this program is in the assets framework, which involves the 40 developmental assets that I have been writing about in this column during the past few weeks.
Training time is also spent in discussing and developing a sense of cultural competency. A group project that is planned and implemented by the students is an important part of this learning process. The project's goal is to help students learn and appreciate the diversity in our community and our world.
This past school quarter one of our students, Adrienne Young had visited an orphanage in Mexico. Adrienne was able to share her experiences at the orphanage and help the whole group explore the Mexican culture. The students decided to become pen pals with some of the young children in the Casa De Hogar De Emmanual orphanage.
The Mexican group project culminated in a party held on March 16 at The Education Center. All the Youth to Work students invited their younger brothers and sisters to a party featuring Mexican food prepared by the students themselves. During the party, time was spent writing letters to the kids in the orphanage. Several parents assisted with the letter writing so that each letter was written in Spanish and English.
Goals and objectives for the Youth to Work program include not only exposing youth to a variety of different career possibilities but also providing the opportunity for kids and adults in our community to get to know each other and to develop positive relationships. Another important goal of this program and all of our "after hours" programs is to provide a safe, productive after-school experience for youth.
So a big thank you to all our collaborating businesses, Seeds of Learning, The Candy Shop, Jim Smith Realty, Elk Park Veterinary, Pagosa Photography, Mountain Greenery, the County Clerk's Office, San Juan Veterinary Services and many others, for contributing to the development of youth in Pagosa Springs.
So yes, it is true - Junior High youth can work at the job of their choice and get paid while they learn. For information about the Youth to Work program or any of our "After-Hours" programs please give us a call at 264-2835 or stop by to see us at The Education Center at 4th and Lewis streets.
Kathie and Doug Lattin own and operate DNK Auto and Truck Repair. The business moved to its new location two weeks ago at 160 N. 13th St., next to U.S. 160 on the west side of downtown Pagosa Springs.
DNK provides computer diagnostic testing, complete auto and truck repairs by certified technicians, and tire sales. DNK is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Call 264-1270.
The Lattins are preparing to open a Parts Plus store soon at the same location, featuring a full line of auto parts and accessories.
A July 6, 2002, wedding is being planned by Meredith L. Cook of Mendon, Mich., and Joseph M. Bunning of Pagosa Springs, Colo. She is the daughter of Ken and Pam Cook of Mendon and he is the son of Tracy and Karen Bunning of Pagosa Springs. The future bride is a 1992 graduate of Mendon High School, a 1996 graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in education, and a 2001 graduate of Wayne State University with a master's degree in library and information sciences. She is currently employed as a library media specialist at Lakeview Junior High in Battle Creek, Mich. The future groom is a 1990 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School and of Adams State College. He is currently a supervisor at American Axle & Manufacturing of Three Rivers, Mich.
Bob and Shelley Frye would like to announce the engagement of their daughter, Katherine, to Robert Gomez, son of James and Jeanette Gomez. Both are graduates of Pagosa Springs High School. Katherine is a graduate of Noble School of Cosmetology and is currently working at Current Inc., in Colorado Springs. Robert is serving in the United States Army with the 101st Airborne Division and is presently stationed in Fort Campbell, Ky. A June 22 wedding is planned in Pagosa Springs.
An ageless question: Who was first?
Who first built a cabin in the Four Corners area? And when?
Good questions without hard and fast answers. Personally, I like history based on facts. I don't care much for the guessing, hearsay, and interpretation that colors so much of modern history. Unless, of course, the writer lets readers know when facts are presented and when the information is not fact.
Many of the facts of history are gone. Sure things happened. A first cabin was built in the San Juan Basin. A first cabin was built in Pagosa Springs and a first cabin in Archuleta County. But, we can't be certain when or by whom. And so we speculate. What if? I enjoy speculation as long as everyone knows it is speculation and not history.
We've been writing about the history of the Allison-Arboles-Tiffany area. Who built the first cabin in that area? When? Let's have some fun and speculate. Let's compare the Allison-Arboles area with areas of known settlement in the San Juan.
Let's suppose I postulate that the first cabin built in Archuleta County, the Allison-Arboles area, the San Juan Mountains, and maybe even in Colorado was built at Carracas or somewhere near the junction of the San Juan and Piedra rivers.
Historically, the best evidence available at this time suggests the first cabins built in the San Juan River drainage were built at Baker's Park near what is today called Silverton. We define the San Juan area the same as the oldtimers defined the 'San Jon' before 1900 to include the entire Four Corners area, the entire San Juan Mountain Range, and the San Luis Valley or at least the western part of the San Luis Valley. I'm not sure if the Gunnison River drainage should be included, because that drainage tends to have a different history. Certainly the histories of Ouray and Lake City should be included with the San Juans.
Cabins were built in the Baker's Park locale, circa 1860-1861, but they were probably not continuously occupied. Settlement in that area and downstream on the Animas River began in earnest during the early 1870s.
In the San Luis Valley, Hispanics constructed cabins and attempted settlement during the 1840s prior to the Mexican American War. They were mightily resisted by the Utes and Jicarilla Apaches, who tended to allow parties to pass through their lands, but showed displeasure with settlement by burning cabins.
The first cabin in Pagosa Springs is said to have been built by Welch Nossaman in 1876. The only source for that information is the memoirs left by Welch. The Utes burned Nossaman's cabin. I'm convinced of the fact that Nossaman built the cabin as he claimed, but I'm not convinced there couldn't have been other, earlier cabins in the vicinity. My comment is speculation, not fact.
Local oldtimers talk of the Kit Carson cabin down on the Navajo River. Trappers worked the San Juan River and its tributaries as early as the 1820s. Carson would have been on the San Juan a little later than that, but well before Nossaman. I have no doubt Carson came through the San Juan Valley including Pagosa Springs, because he was a trapper, later an agent for the Southern Utes, because he moved back and forth between Taos and the trapping areas and rendezvous of the north, and because his memoirs recall using the Old Spanish Trail while traveling from California in an easterly direction.
Personally, I doubt that Carson ever built a cabin on the Navajo. I've read at least a half dozen books on Carson, including his memoirs, and never a mention of trapping or building a cabin in this area. The only source for the Carson cabin story is word of mouth from Pagosa old timers. I am guessing the story started with Will Price, whose family settled on the Navajo during the late 1870s. Will lived long enough to be remembered by people still alive. When Will was a boy, according to his writings, Lt. Ruffner of Fort Garland, stayed some time with the family and told Will many stories of the Old West. Ruffner surveyed or supervised the survey of the original Fort Lewis site in Pagosa Springs, the military road from Fort Garland to Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs, as well as the Cumbres Pass Route, the route over Stoney Pass from Del Norte to Silverton, and other routes across the San Juans.
Price was a great story teller and is especially remembered for his account of being mauled by grizzly bears near where the Bond House was later built on the upper Navajo. I think Price started the Kit Carson cabin story. Even though I've talked with old timers who pointed to the rotting logs and said, "That's where it was," I'd be more comfortable if another source confirmed the story.
The location is adjacent to the old Chama to Chromo road abandoned during the 1930s. Ruffner surveyed this route and called it the Chama cutoff. Before the Chama cutoff opened, the route from Chama to Pagosa dropped down to the Tierra Amarilla area before turning north and entering Colorado, I am guessing, through Edith. At one time the old Chama Hill route was operated as a toll road. My guess is the cabin referred to as the Carson Cabin belonged to the collector of tolls along the route. Just speculation, not history.
But, we were talking about the Allison-Arboles area and my postulate that a first cabin could have been built in that area. Why? My postulate is not based on any ruins in the area. It is based on geography and inferred from history.
My guess is, Indian travelers from time immemorial would have passed through the junction of the San Juan and Piedra Rivers because of the location. Our oldest documents recording European visitation to the San Juans relate to Juan Maria Rivera's visit to the area in 1765. Was he the first? Who knows? A better known visit by the fathers Dominguez and Escalante was made in 1776, the year the American Revolution started and well before the Louisiana Purchase or Lewis and Clark Expedition. Rivera helped guide the fathers Dominguez and Escalante.
I think it safe to assume that Rivera was guided by Indians already familiar with the best routes into the San Juans. Among those routes were trails up the Chama River Valley that divided as they moved north. One route probably led through Chromo, another through Edith, another across Carracas, and others through Canyon Largo and other canyons leading from the Espanola, N.M., area to the San Juan River near Aztec-Farmington.
We know that Dominguez-Escalante used the Carracas route, then turned west to the junction of the Piedra-San Juan rivers in 1876. We don't know how many Hispanic excursions followed, but by 1820 New Mexican traders were making regular trips to California by these routes. We suspect fur trappers used these same routes starting in the 1820s.
By the time miners were picking around on the upper Animas River, New Mexicans were settling in the Tierra Amarilla area. The nearest source of supplies for the miners was TA and the most direct route was across Carracas. I would not be surprised if a cabin or two serving this route had been constructed by the late 1860s, early 1870s. The cabin could have been somewhere between Carracas and Arboles.
Remember, it's all speculation, a postulate, not history. Just the same, I'd like to see someone dig into the archives and primary history sources to see what evidence remains to support this postulate. I'd like to hear from anyone on this subject. Just contact me at The SUN.
TARA, the Historical Society of Navajo Lake, has existed for 10 years according to a telephone call I received this week. Persons wishing to exchange history with TARA should write: TARA, P.O. Box 1853, Arboles, CO 81121, or call president Ida Theys at 883-5344 or treasurer Barbara Taborelli at 883-2308.
Parents push kids for vicarious thrills
One can fly over or drive through Pagosa Country and never experience the real feel of the area. Bicycling might get you closer to the spirit the area emits.
But walking it gives a whole new perspective.
There is a sense of oneness with nature, of belonging here and of being where God intended you to be.
It is a sense one cannot describe adequately without having felt it. Every time there's a new tree, a new flower, a new sighting of rare birds, the walker knows it is happening. It is a case of getting the scents of the land.
Every time the pace of life quickens to the point where you just want to get off in a corner by yourself, take a walk. Go around the block and concentrate on what's there. You're likely to see at least one thing you've never seen before. Add another block and you see more that's new to you. Add a mile and you feel you've entered another world. Go to six miles and the wonders of the area are so many you'll not understand why you've never noticed them before.
The pace of Pagosa is vibrant, pulsating, energizing - even when there is nothing on the surface to tell you life is better here.
It is always brought home when the needs of the job prevent an evening walk. When I'm free to do so, I can go to any part of town, any area surrounding it and always see something to make me glad I took the time to look.
Carrying a camera helps me record some of these happenings for the enjoyment of others. But it is just a secondary benefit.
The real winner in this love affair with Pagosa is me.
Whether it's strolling down Trujillo Road, returning waves from passing motorists, or walking eastward on U.S. 160 to hear the songs of various birds in the fields along the roadway, I feel at peace with Mother Nature.
Walking to the top of Put Hill and then circling over the ridge to the northeast before descending back into town not only works to keep weight down, but opens the senses to the beauties of nature. There are, of course, some hazards, but they are far outweighed by the aerobic charge one gets from taking such a hike.
Country trails, too, offer wide expanses of views and exposure to plant and animal life of all kinds.
I defy you to find that feeling on the streets of any metropolitan area. Too often, there, you wonder if you'll get back home safely, if you'll be a victim of an errant driver or an innocent in the wrong place at the wrong time for a gang fight to wipe out.
There are undercurrents of teen unrest here, too, but it is not the seething, roiling hatred you'll find in the big city. Police are constantly on the alert for youth who are obviously in areas they should not be or are obviously involved in actions they should not be participating in.
One of the big worries is teen drinking, a problem that is almost always common to every community in this era. But that's another story.
Even the minor skirmishes here are things we can live with as we strive to better the situations which cause them. And one cannot be better aware of the situations extant in any neighborhood than by walking it slowly, observantly and noting the changes since last you did so.
A new flag pole, an additional car in a neighbor's drive, a flower bed where none existed before, a vacant structure where only days before an apparently thriving business operated, or a pennant announcing a new arrival in a nearby family . . . these are the things one sees while walking the streets, paths and trails of Pagosa Country.
Before the roadwork made portions of it impassable - until the project is finished this year - a great six and a half mile walk from downtown was out U.S. 160 to U.S. 84 and south, past the rodeo grounds and rolling pasture land on the other side of Reservoir Hill to County Road 119, better known to old-timers as the extension of Light Plant Road. You see herds of cattle and horses grazing in summer, and deer, elk and sometimes bear along the same route in winter.
Turn onto 119 and head back toward the old light plant property. Geese and other fowl of nearly every mountain variety are almost everywhere. You might find an irrigation ditch overflowing its banks and hear the croaks of frogs as they sample the newfound food washed their way.
Keep going, across Mill Creek and up the hill to what is now Hot Springs Boulevard extended. At the top you'll curve toward town. But stop there and look down river. You'll see the spot where, some say, the first structures in the area were constructed, near the merger of Mill Creek into the San Juan. You'll see bluffs above the river where, legend has it, Indian scouts kept their lookouts on the natural approaches to the hot spring just over a mile upriver.
Now you turn toward town, noticing more hay fields and grazing land along the river and then wild animal habitat above. Keep going and you'll reach Apache Street, just south of the new Town Hall-Community Center complex. If you haven't been down that way recently, you'll see a bridge crossing the San Juan on Apache, a new direct route to the high school.
Go on northward and you'll soon be in the motel-post office-hot spring area and only a few steps from completing your walk back downtown.
This is an easy one. Almost all level or only gradually sloping land, and once off U.S. 84, far less than you would expect in the way of traffic. That, of course, is likely to change when the paving is completed this year. But, still, it is a pleasant, invigorating walk that can be completed in two hours or less, depending on your pace.
Come along Pagosans. Get out and see what's happening in your community. Put on your walking shoes and see what goes on at ground level, at walking speed, with all the senses alert to everything around you.
'Lefty' and I create a 'new' dish
After four hours of hard experimental work in the kitchen last week, aided by my cooking compatriot Tess, I am overly proud to say the world has a new dish.
Our labor and the culinary artifact that resulted, followed from a lengthy, internal pseudo-philosophical dialogue centering on the need to provoke change, and the concept that out of chaos comes great art.
Master of hyperbole, I lay claim to inventing this new dish, like an ancient explorer setting foot on soil claiming the new land for his king.
In reality, of course, cooking is like painting, or writing, or any other of the arts. Any "new" production is, in reality, merely a reshuffling of existent elements and, in most cases, as with the new painting, the new novel, the new poem, the new dish is a vague reflection of something that precedes it, much to the consternation of its creator.
I feel like a Duchamp of the kitchen.
Wasn't it Duchamp who declared himself perched at the short end of western art, his Nude Descending a Staircase the tradition's last painting?
He was French, of course; he was arrogant, of course; and he was wrong when he made his claim. Countless painters since have put together the elements in somewhat novel ways, content to reshuffle the deck and pass it off as unique. Just as unique as Nude Descending a Staircase.
Likewise, I am wrong, but, likewise, I forged ahead anyway. Propelled by the fuel of an enormous ego and applying a bastardization of the method of Derrida to the process of reading a recipe, I deconstructed, then reconstructed a classic - eggplant Parmigiana - grafted it to ratatouille, borrowed the convention of the stack, applied fungus and, voila, a "new" dish. In a semiotic sense, my reconstruction is a symbol of the bankruptcy of the idea of novelty in the kitchen and the pathos of those who adhere to the idea.
The development and debut of this minor gem provided yet another occasion to drag Tess into the kitchen. She has learned three or four things during our kitchen sessions over the past year and her husband, Marcus, was anxious for her to add to her repertoire.
Consider her repertoire expanded.
First, to the store for ingredients.
Eggplants. They were slightly mushy, but beggars can't be choosers. We purchased the firmest of a limp lot.
A head of garlic.
Cremini mushrooms. A bit frumpy, but serviceable.
A pound of hot Italian sausage, unnaturally rosy with a heavy dose of factory additives. Had there been time, we could have ground high-grade pork with my trusty Porkert Fleischacker 10 and seasoned our own sausage, omitting the carnival color. Alas, but for time, we could do so many things.
Julienned, oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, the little power-packed beauties ready to loose their concentrated flavor.
Half and half.
Extra virgin olive oil.
A ball of mozzarella cheese.
A wedge of imported, aged Parmesan cheese.
A large can of crushed plum tomatoes packed in tomato puree.
A can of tomato paste.
Fresh basil. Dried if fresh is not available.
Dried oregano and rosemary.
A can of Matzo meal. Since my wife Kathy can't eat ordinary bread because of the yeast and sugar, this nod to another cuisine seemed perfect.
Butter. Of course.
Then, back to the laboratory, Tess playing Igor to my frenetic Frankenstein.
Tess is a wonderfully talented person. She is a fine writer, a deft journalist. Ask her to peel an eggplant, however, and Lefty will keep you waiting an hour per vegetable. I watched her work on her eggplant for a few minutes, all thumbs. Since we had only four hours to complete our task, I peeled three of the fruits, then waited for her to finish.
We sliced the eggplants into rounds, approximately a half-inch thick. Any thicker and we chanced an undercooked concoction. I compare Tess slicing anything to a high wire walker, working without a net, teetering above the arena floor - on a very sharp wire. Luck was with us, she emerged with her important parts intact.
The rounds were lightly salted and put on a towel to drain.
Tess and I prepped all our ingredients prior to cooking. We diced half the onion and cut the rest into thin, half-moon slices; finely diced some carrot and celery; wiped the mushrooms clean and sliced them; sliced the Bell pepper into long, thin pieces; cut half-inch rounds of mozzarella, the approximate size of the rounds of eggplant; poured matzo crumbs into a shallow bowl and seasoned them with dried basil, salt and pepper. We peeled and thinly sliced half the garlic, peeled and smushed the other half.
First on the stove was the tomato sauce. A hefty amount of olive oil was heated in a deep pan. Into the hot oil went the diced onion, carrot and celery. Once the vegetables were limp the sliced garlic was added and cooked until soft, but not allowed to brown.
Next into the pot went oregano, some basil and rosemary - all crushed to release oils and flavors. The spices were cooked briefly then half a jar of sun-dried tomato slices was added. A bit of the oil from the bottle went in; it can't hurt. To that was added half a can of crushed plum tomatoes along with puree, a heaping spoon of tomato paste, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. The sauce was reduced to low heat, covered and left to cook with an occasional check and stir.
Next, the sliced onion and pepper were cooked in a bit of olive oil in a saute pan until limp. Mushrooms were added and the mix was seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked over medium high heat until the water from the mushrooms evaporated. The mix was kept over low heat while we prepared a bechamel. Yep, ultra high-fat goodness: half and half, butter and flour. We made a roux with melted butter and flour and added half and half, whisking all the while (Tess is a great whisker) until we had a sauce of desired consistency. The bechamel was seasoned with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. A bay leaf wouldn't hurt. Plop it into the bechamel and retrieve it prior to using the sauce. After the sauce was complete, we added a monster handful of freshly-grated Parmesan, stirring until melted.
We tasted the bechamel several times. Then several times more. There's nothing like a spoon or two of naked bechamel to perk up an afternoon.
Simultaneous to making our sauce, we parboiled the sausage in a bit of water then, with the water evaporated, we fried the crumbles of sausage and removed the rendered fat.
We tested the bechamel again by dipping little hunks of sausage in it. Like a fondue. Tess is from Nebraska; she is no stranger to the unholy alliance of meat and milk products. Granted, at some point an ox will have to be sacrificed for the trangression, but we didn't panic - all things will happen in their time.
A check of the sauce and it was deemed peachy; with about an hour on the stove, the flavors were melding wonderfully. We added the crushed garlic to the sauce, a bit of crushed rosemary and some more dried oregano and basil and covered the pot again.
Last element: eggplant. Again Tess performed in yeoman fashion, using a pair of tongs to deftly dip each round of eggplant first into flour, then into a simple egg wash, then into the matzo crumbs. I sauteed the rounds in olive oil over medium high heat until golden brown and put them on paper towel to drain.
At last, we were ready for assembly - two hours into the process. You can't hurry science.
In the bottom of a casserole went a film of tomato sauce.
A round of eggplant went down first, topped with a bit of the onion, mushroom and pepper mix. This was followed by a thin layer of bechamel and a round of mozzarella cheese. Over that went a dollop of tomato sauce and (if you can find them) a couple of fresh basil leaves. Then, another round of eggplant, vegetable mix, bechamel and tomato sauce. No mozzarella or basil in this layer. The stack was topped off with a third round of eggplant and a spoon of tomato sauce.
We made several of these vegetarian stacks for Kathy and Marcus. Kathy has her dietary restrictions which grow more numerous with each health-nutbook she reads; Marcus simply doesn't want to eat anything he can look in the eye and call by its name before it is readied for the pan.
Then, Tess and I - the complete gourmands - got down to the carnivore's version, building each stack the same way as before, but including a scattering of sausage crumbles on each layer.
Extra sauce went over the top of each stack and the casserole went into a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.
We served our stacks with a salad of mixed greens dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper.
Tess and I pounded down a couple of glasses each of a petite syrah, flush with the triumph of our kitchen adventure.
If Kathy wasn't avoiding bread and yeast and all things good, we would have served hot French or Italian bread, with a massive load of butter.
As we savored our creation, we pondered a name.
Considering the novel use of matzo crumbs, Eggplant Golanese seemed proper.
But, as I gazed to the kitchen, a better name came to mind. I looked at the mountain of dirty pans and utensils, at the tomato sauce flung far and wide, at the grease slathered on stove and counter tops, the bits of crud stuck to the walls.
Tess had noted early in the process that we should "clean as we go."
A novel idea but I cook, I don't clean.
I looked at Kathy. She too was staring at the debris and destruction in the kitchen. I recognized the look on her face. She doesn't cook, so she is forced to clean.
"I know," I announced, distracting my bride and lifting a glass of petite syrah on high. "I have the perfect name. A name to honor the most important person in my life, my love bunny, my wife." A name that, once bestowed will save my life.
"We will call it Eggplant Kathleen," said the explorer, foot touching alien ground. "Let future generations of food lovers rejoice."
My Nude Descending a Staircase.
Nathan and Sandra Mendoza are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Gavin Steele Mendoza at 11:08 a.m. Jan. 14, 2002. Gavin weighed in at 6 pounds, 3.2 ounces and was 18 1/2-inches long. He was welcomed home by his brothers, Daecen and Jordan, maternal grandmother Shorty Smith, great-grandma Fore of Cañon City, paternal grandparents Henry and Connie Medina and David Mendoza of Pagosa Springs.
Ed Weddle proudly announces the birth of his first granddaughter. Abigail Elaine Garcia was born Jan. 17, 2002. Parents are Lenny and Amy Garcia of San Diego, Calif.
Dr. John and Gayle Eustis welcomed the birth of their daughter, Kacey Victoria Eustis on March 15, 2002 at Mercy Hospital in Durango. Kacey weighed 9 pounds 5 ounces and was 20 inches long. She has one sister, Kailei Johanna. Grandparents are Richard and Karen Burick, of Los Alamos and Jean Eustis of Syracuse, N.Y.
Jayme Dee Lee, 17, died Thursday, March 21, 2002, at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, N.M. from injuries suffered in an auto accident that occurred March 17 west of Pagosa Springs.
A funeral service was held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, 2002, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Pagosa Springs Ward, with Bishop Kyle Canty presiding. Burial was in Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield.
Jayme was born Dec. 7, 1984 in Durango, Colo., the daughter of Russel and Charlotte Lee. She was a junior at Pagosa Springs High School. She was full of life, had a loving heart, a beautiful smile and a sparkle in her eyes. She enjoyed snowboarding, horses, hiking, soccer and driving. She was a loving aunt and had a deep love and devotion for her family.
She is survived by her father, Russel G. Lee and her mother, Charlotte Lee of Pagosa Springs; sisters Jennifer, Missy and Dena Lee, and brother, Brady, all of Pagosa Springs; two nieces, Alyssa and Mahri Lee of Pagosa Springs and her grandparents, Wallace Lee Sr., and Ione Lee of Red Mesa, Colo., and Thelma Eaton of Bloomfield, N.M.
Memorial contributions may be made to Jayme Dee Lee Memorial Fund, c/o Vectra Bank, P.O. Box 1447, Pagosa Springs, Colo., 81147.