Water rationing was a major topic of discussion at the Tuesday night meeting of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors.
How much longer will residents have water running from their home taps? It was a question that occupied the attention of directors at the meeting.
A double whammy accompanies this year's water shortage, according to Carrie Campbell, the district general manager.
First, the two storage reservoirs supplying district water to subdivisions west of town are lower to begin this season than anyone remembers them being in the past. When both Hatcher and Stevens reservoirs are full at the beginning of the year, they may contain enough water, combined with good conservation practices, to see everyone through the summer. Because both reservoirs are down more than three feet as the season begins, that isn't the case this year.
Secondly, because the spring has been so dry, ranchers with hay fields have already begun irrigation. Normally at this time of year, ranchers would not be irrigating. Consequently, water would be running through Dutton Ditch, filling Hatcher and Stevens reservoirs. This year with irrigation already underway, no more water is likely to flow through Dutton Ditch into the reservoirs. Lake levels will only go down as the season progresses.
The district is taking a two-fold approach in an attempt to mitigate possible water disaster.
As a first measure, PAWS is calling for water users throughout the district to practice voluntary water conservation so as not to draw the storage reservoirs down more than necessary. Practicing water conservation means using common sense, according to Campbell. Water lawns and gardens only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., she said, when evaporation will be minimized. Water deep, but less frequently. Make sure the water hits its intended target and not a driveway or parking lot where it does no good.
The district is studying the possibility of ordering mandatory water rationing, which could involve every-other-day watering, or even no watering at all if the shortage of water becomes severe. To that end, engineering review of the district emergency water plan has been ordered. A report relevant to implementation of mandatory water conservation will be delivered at the regular May meeting.
As a second measure, PAWS is taking advantage of a water source just now coming on line. The new source is the San Juan diversion located south of town. The San Juan diversion pumps water from the San Juan River to a new water treatment plant located on the Vista PAWS office complex grounds.
Currently, when storage tanks in the Vista area are full, the San Juan diversion water is pumped into Lake Forest, the lake across the road from the Vista complex. Lake Forest is being used as a storage reservoir.
An engineering study has started to determine the cost of pumping water from Lake Forest to Village Lake. If that happens, Village Lake could serve as a second storage reservoir. In addition, Village Lake can be used to supply irrigation water for the golf courses and lawns in nearby condominium and timeshare residential areas.
Additional plans are being considered for compartmentalizing the distribution of water. In that event, Lake Hatcher water will only be used to supply home owners in the immediate vicinity. Mandatory water restrictions could be applied to the Lake Hatcher area only. Water from the San Juan diversion will be used for the remainder of the subdivisions.
District directors are also considering the possibility that the San Juan River may run dry. Water for users in and around town is supplied by the Snowball treatment plant. The Snowball treatment plant receives its water from the West Fork of the San Juan River. The town is linked with the subdivisions west of town making it possible to run water in either direction. Consequently, water stored in reservoirs located at Lake Pagosa could supply water to town residents if the need arises.
In any case, directors are concerned about the threat of no water and are acting to mitigate the possibility. Mandatory water rationing is a real possibility in the near future.
Wild fire, always a serious threat, could destroy an untold number of homes around Pagosa Springs this year, according to local fire authorities.
"We're prime for a big fire this year," said Warren Grams, chief of the Pagosa Fire Protection District. "There has been no logging and the woods are overgrown and full of deadfall. We have lots of high-risk areas such as Cabezon Canyon, Aspen Springs, the Upper Blanco Basin and the rim of Martinez Canyon."
Representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, Pagosa Fire District, and county commissioners are plotting activities to counteract the threat of wild fire burning residential structures. The likelihood of fire is especially scary this year because of the lack of winter snow and rain.
Compounding the problem, a number of subdivisions and individual homes have been constructed in areas supporting thick stands of underbrush and trees.
A program dedicated to creating defensible space is being pushed by local fire officials. The thrust of the defensible space concept is to remove things that will burn from around homes. Those things include domestic shrubs, wild shrubs such as oak brush, and in some instances, trees. Firewood and other combustibles should not be stacked on decks or at other locations adjacent to a home where they could be ignited by a wild fire.
"Defensible space means to trim the lower branches of trees to a height of 8 or 10 feet for a distance of from 30 to 60 feet from the house," said Grams. "No branches should touch the house. Oak brush should be thinned to clumps so there is not a continuous ring of fuel around the house. Use sidewalks and driveways as fire breaks."
A program designed to reduce fuel for fires was explained by local Forest Service officials during a meeting shared with the Archuleta County commissioners last Friday.
This year's program involves Forest Service property located in three areas near residential homes. Those areas are located on Turkey Springs Road, in the Log Park area and in Kenney Flats.
Several subdivisions are threatened from fires originating in the Turkey Springs area, including many in the Pagosa Lakes collection of subdivisions west of town. Additional threatened subdivi sions are located off of Fawn Gulch Road in the Log Park area, and near the Kenney Flats project area.
Forest Service plans call for removing or thinning brush in the project areas through prescribed burns, mechanical means, or a combination of the two methods.
"We're drawing back from controlled burns at this time," said Bob Frye of the Pagosa Ranger District. "It is already extremely dry and the windows for managing controlled burns are very limited. Usually by the time grass starts turning green in the spring, it is too late for controlled burns."
Meanwhile, local, state and Forest Service officials have developed a wild fire plan that promises immediate help in any area threatened by conflagration. Local fire fighting equipment will be first to arrive at the scene. If conditions warrant, outside help can be called in from Durango or other firefighting staging areas. Help could mean manpower or equipment, including air support.
In certain instances, county subdivision regulations require foliage thinning as a condition of subdivision approval. The purpose is to remove natural fuel from areas where homes will be built.
And people are taking notice.
Tammy Tyner, owner of Timber Tech West LLC, a Durango wild fire mitigation and forest restoration company, said 65-70 percent of their work right now is in Archuleta County. Already this year, they have wild fire mitigation work scheduled, or in the process, in three subdivisions, on U.S. Forest Service land and on Reservoir Hill in town.
Since the company first started in 1997, Tyner said, people have become increasingly more aware of the need to protect their property from fires by reducing underbrush, clearing lower branches off trees and restoring the forest back to a natural state.
A hundred years ago, before total fire prevention became the over-riding theory, small forest fires happened fairly frequently, burning out underbrush and weak or diseased trees, she said. That helped keep the forest healthy. Once prevention became the goal, the forest grew unchecked, increasing the number of trees in some places from 60 per acre to 600. Tyner said, today, she works to educate people on what can be done to bring the forest back to its natural state and create barriers to fire.
This year is so dry, it has her scared, and she's hoping people take notice before something terrible happens. "The mountains look like late June," she said.
Grams said anyone who would like to have their property evaluated for possible fire danger, should call Station 1 at 731-4191 to make an appointment to have a member of the department come out and check the situation.
County assemblies are the next item on the local political agenda. At the assemblies, candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties will be chosen for placement on Aug. 13 primary ballots.
To be placed on the primary ballot through the caucus process, a candidate must receive at least 30 percent of the votes from delegates chosen at precinct caucus meetings Tuesday night.
The Democratic Party county assembly is scheduled tonight at 7 p.m. in the Extension building at the county fairgrounds. The Republican Party county assembly is May 4 at 9 a.m. in the Extension building.
The Pagosa Fire Protection District is asking voters to approve a $2.8 million bond issue May 7.
Bill Clark, chairman of the district board of directors, said the money would fund equipment and facility needs to help the district keep pace with area growth.
Since 1989, the district has expanded from 21 square miles to 160 square miles, adding 3 1/2 employees, 3 1/2 fire stations and eight fire trucks. And they have done it while keeping a close eye on the budget.
Today, there are 63 volunteer firefighters who donate thousands of hours annually, fighting fires, training and maintaining equipment and structures. Community volunteers have also helped construct fire stations valued at over $350,000 and donated land worth over $100,000. Just last week, an addition to one station was dedicated. The cost was over $60,000 and it came to the district debt free.
In another effort to keep costs down, Clark said, the district has required each inclusion of land to come with trucks, employees and/or buildings to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the budget.
Last year, district officials began taking a hard look at the future. The finding was that equipment and facility enhancement and replacement needs have reached a point where an additional infusion of money is needed, Clark said. Currently, five employees and office machines are crowded into two offices. Seven vehicles are over 15 years old, including one from 1956 that still operates in a reserve capacity. Newer equipment is needed to keep pace with the technology and protect the volunteers. And the district wants to improve its service.
Part of the bond would be used to construct a live-fire training facility in town. Right now, members must spend a 15-hour day to complete training, driving to Farmington, hauling their own fuel and equipment. Plans also include construction of living quarters for three volunteers at Station 1 - a move to improve response time, placing people on-scene with the necessary equipment faster.
Clark said it can all probably be done cheaper than expected, but under state law for ballot language, the district must project the maximum. That's $2.8 million. The state also requires that numbers be figured based on 6.5 percent interest, equaling a $3.9 million repayment cost over 10 years. The district expects the actual interest rate will be about 4.6 percent, saving taxpayers even more.
The additional annual cost to taxpayers at the maximum would be as follows (all numbers are based on a $100,000 property value): Homestead exemption qualifiers $12.27, residential property $24.55, commercial or vacant land $77.81.
Two businesses and eight vehicles were damaged the night of April 19 or early in the morning April 20 in a string of thefts, criminal mischief and burglary.
The nine incidents covered both county and town jurisdictions. Archuleta County Sheriff's Department reports document one burglary at T-Bull Welding on U.S. 84 just south of the town limit, and damage to four vehicles parked at Stevens Field north of town.
At the welding shop, burglars damaged two doors and made off with a small amount of change, a tool bag and several tools worth about $650. In the airport lot, windows were broken out of at least two vehicles and damage done to two others. So far, the only thing reported missing is a CD changer.
Inside town boundaries, four vehicles were damaged at the Red Lion Inn on West U.S. 160. According to Pagosa Springs Police Department reports, the single burglary was reported at Lucero Tire. There, the criminals damaged doors and took cash.
So far, car owners have reported a missing CD changer, damage to vehicle windows, doors and dashboards, missing cash, sunglasses, clothing, and a camcorder. The incidents are thought to be related and are being investigated by both departments.
Caution at the polls
It's time to climb out of a hole and prevent ourselves from falling into others. Special district elections are on the horizon May 7, and we should keep the issues separate, closely evaluate them and the candidates who have tossed their hats in the ring for seats on boards of directors.
Controversy has come, in different degrees, to two of the three big districts bringing issues and board vacancies to the voters in May. The controversies must be kept separate so we do not allow our reactions to overlap.
Financial problems dog the Upper San Juan Hospital district, with one revelation after another surfacing concerning money woes and the need to take steps to bring the district - its clinic, Urgent Care Center and Emergency Medical Services - back to full health. Financial and management problems take center stage as we pick four directors to serve on the board. Before anything else, the new directors should exert will and insight, merging efforts with those of newly-hired administrator Dee Jackson, to pull the foundering organization to level ground. Pressures pushing in the other direction are strong: there are many people, immigrants to the area during the last decade, who bring with them unrealistic expectations, acquired in places with tax bases able to support advanced services. The expectations will continue to be voiced and the demands, as well as fears inspired by staff layoffs and budget cuts, must be resisted. The district should operate not on the basis of "This is what we will do, now let's find the money," but on the premise that "We have only so much money, what can we reasonably do?" Responsibility begins and ends with the board. Read the candidate profiles in this issue of the SUN and make a decision. We need to elect the right people for the job.
Controversy swirling around the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District has a different character. When the district imposed an impact fee on new development, the move stimulated a strong response from some sectors. The district will ask us to approve a bond issue of significant size May 7, nearly $5 million, primarily to create and bolster infrastructure. Supporters assert the infrastructure is necessary, not just to support further growth in and of the district, but to ensure service to customers already living within district boundaries.
We need to judge PAWS board candidates on their experience, their ideas concerning the future of the district, with or without the bond money - with or without the recently approved fee. No one should be put in office solely on the basis of their response to the fee question; emotions inspired by the fee decision must be kept separate from the question of the legitimacy of the bond issue.
A third large local district is asking for money May 7 - the Pagosa Fire Protection District. The district has grown over the past decade, much of its capital expansion helped by volunteers and donations of land. Insurance ratings within the district have improved.
A district study envisions needs that require revenue from the $2.8 million at stake at the polls, including equipment replacement, training facilities, remodeling. There has been a plan discussed that includes development of living quarters, for 24-hour in-station coverage.
Like the directors for the hospital district, newly-elected fire district board members will join their colleagues in the task of determining how money will be spent, whether or not the bond issue is approved. We must vote hoping our choices for directors are up to the task, have learned from mistakes made by other districts, and do not simply rubber-stamp ideas.
Keep the districts seperate and the issues clear May 7.
A 'pic' generates many memories
Saturday, April 20, marked the start of my 22nd year at the SUN. It also bore out the soundness of some advice I received before autographing a six-figure lease-purchase agreement with the then owners of the SUN.
The Pagosa Springs SUN was in its 72nd year of publication in 1981. This led a friend with a successful background in weekly newspapers to advise me that a lease-purchase agreement I was considering was a reasonable risk. His encouraging words were along the line of: "It's been in business for 72 years. Even with your lack of experience it would take at least three years to mess it up so bad that no one else would be willing to buy it for what you're paying for it." So it came about that my first week at the SUN and my involvement in the newspaper business started with the April 23, 1981, edition.
That date and a lot of others started spinning through my head Friday afternoon when I spotted a copy of the "Colorado West News Magazine" on my desk. It was a special commemorative edition that had been printed for Club 20's 50th annual membership meeting. John Motter had received a copy last Friday while attending the Southwestern Water Conservation District's 20th annual water seminar in Durango. On the cover, John had written, "David - Thought you might want to see pic of Glen page 23."
Titled "Faces from the Past," the upper left-hand corner of page 23 had a photo captioned: "Glen Edmonds, CLUB 20 Founding Father and editor of the Pagosa SUN." It showed Mr. Edmonds standing on the sidewalk in front of the SUN building that had been built in 1978.
Born Aug. 4, 1917, on a ranch at Rattlesnake Park in the mountains near Lyons, Colo., Mr. Edmonds attended Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia for two years before working a year as shop foreman of the Carney (Kansas) Dailey Chronicle. By the time he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1941, he had worked three years as an ad saleman and one year as an editor and publisher. Besides continuing his newspaper career as editor of the Midway Mirror, Mr. Edmonds served on three separate ships that were sunk in action in the Pacific Theater. Following his discharge in 1945, he served two years as editor and publisher of the Ovid Record.
During the first week of August 1948, Glen and Ima Edmonds rode the bus to Pagosa Springs, rented an apartment and purchased The Pagosa Springs SUN. For the next 32 years - from the Aug. 6, 1948, until the Dec. 25, 1980, edition - Mr. Edmonds served as editor, publisher and owner of the SUN.
Unburdened by pretense or self importance, Mr. Edmonds worked 14-hour days (4 a.m. to 6 p.m.), six days a week. His responsibilities included reporting, photography, ad sales and layouts, darkroom operations, linotypist, page make-up, pressman, columnist and editor. In order to cut expenses, minimize payroll costs, maximize his staff's usefulness and better serve the subscribers, Mr. Edmonds did whatever needed to be done - regardless of whether he felt comfortable or uncomfortable doing it.
In Mr. Edmonds' mind the SUN through the years had become an institution of the town of Pagosa Springs and of Archuleta County. Rather than being just a weekly newspaper, the SUN was a way of life. He acknowledged that this had not come about solely from his own efforts or those of his predecessors. In his editorial of Dec. 6, 1962, he wrote, "This is not the handiwork of the editor solely. It is the cooperation of the subscribers, the support of the advertisers, the economic growth of the community, the progressiveness of the businessmen, the pride of the local citizens in their community, and the fact that this is Archuleta County, that makes the SUN the newspaper it is."
May 29, 1981, was Mr. Edmonds' final day at the SUN. It was my first official day as its curator. Despite Archuleta County's continuing growth, it's my hope that the SUN is one facet of Pagosa that doesn't get too big for its own good.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 21, 1977
Construction projects are the order of the day in the county. There are several starts on new homes, another shopping mall is under construction in town, a new ready mix concrete plant is being constructed, the waterworks project is in full swing, and work is to start soon on enlargement of the sewage treatment facilities in Pagosa Springs.
Retail sales in Archuleta County were up 21.1% in the last quarter of 1976, when compared to the same period in 1975. Total retail sales in the county for the last three months of 1976 were $5,277,000.
A nice soaking rain started early this week. There hasn't been too much moisture as yet, but rainfall has been slow and gentle and is soaking into the ground.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 25, 1952
V.A. Poma is this week announcing the opening of his bulk plant service. The new plant is located just east of the highway department garage in Pagosa Springs and is owned and operated by Mr. Poma who will handle independent company products. Mr. Poma has purchased a tank truck and will make deliveries in this area.
Most farmers are busy with the spring crops and town dwellers are having their gardens plowed so spring must be just around the corner.
The Chromo Mercantile Co. at Chromo has recently moved into a new building at Chromo. The new layout is most attractive and is a credit to the Chromo community, both in appearance and in the stock of merchandise carried.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 29, 1927
Dr. Amy L. Brown McMains will resume her chiropractic practice in Pagosa Springs this season. She has taken rooms at the C.O. Dunagan home.
Jas. Whitead, who has leased his O'Neal Park ranch to D.F. Johnson will engage in logging at the W.H. Hill sawmill on Stollsteimer Creek.
The Pagosa Springs Motor Company announces the sale of two Ford touring cars at Lumberton the past week.
Mr. and Mrs. Grant Seavy announce the sale of their fine ranch on Mill Creek to Dailey Hott, son of Robt. Hott, who will take possession on May 1st. The property is the former Dowell Bros. Ranch, and the sale does not include farming machinery, cattle or horses.
91 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 21, 1911
The Hot Springs of Pagosa were the wonder of the Indians long before the white man came.
The county commissioners have ordered another road drag. These drags are proving a boon to the roads, when used after rains they keep the roads smooth and fill up ruts and holes.
The SUN has moved into its new quarters in the left wing of the Oxford hotel and invites you to come in and see how we look in our new home.
Ross Archuleta got in his new automobile today. Ross is the pioneer in automobiles in this community.
Send the SUN east to your friends and thus let them know about this country where land is yet cheap and opportunities great.
Saddle-towing gelding found, apparently survived winter in Pagosa Peak meadow
Found: One horse dragging a saddle, living in a meadow on Pagosa Peak. Good natured. Gelding. Homeless, but not friendless.
"Nightwatch," as he's being called for now, is in the care of Michael Ybanez, a Pagosa Springs man who found the horse while hiking cross-country in early April.
Ybanez was walking up the north side of Pagosa Peak when he came upon the little meadow and spotted an animal standing at its edge. At first, Ybanez couldn't see what it was. Then he saw the saddle, still attached, but flipped under the animal's belly, the saddle horn dragging along the ground.
"My heart went out to the horse," Ybanez said, "but thoughts kept going through my mind ... if I did grab him what am I in for?" He'd ridden horses before, but only those of friends already saddled and ready to ride. He had no horse trailer, and nowhere to take the animal if he could get close enough to lead it. Besides, it was getting late, Ybanez was alone and didn't want to chance becoming lost or injured by the frightened animal. He left. The horse followed at a distance to the next small meadow and stopped, letting Ybanez go down the mountain alone.
That was a Saturday. The next day Ybanez phoned law enforcement agencies. No one had been reported missing. No horses either. He was advised the horse would probably find its way down eventually, or possibly show up at a local ranch.
For awhile, that made him feel better, but the idea of the animal, chained to its saddle, stranded in the meadow, was bothering him again by Tuesday. He'd remembered a coyote, a big one he'd sighted just before reaching the horse's meadow. Even with grass and water available, the horse was extremely thin and carried open sores where the saddle rubbed on his neck and under his belly.
"It wasn't going to be long before they (coyotes) packed up on him and hounded him - just wore him out and had the best of him," Ybanez said.
Worried, the man headed back up the mountain, this time to remove the saddle that was restricting the horse's movement. He found Nightwatch in the same meadow and gently began talking to the animal. The horse first warmed up to Ybanez's dog, and the two touched noses. Time ticked on, and as Ybanez turned to leave, the horse staying at arm's length, he stopped and decided to try one more time.
Finally, he was able to clip the dog's leash on the horse's bridle and go to work on the saddle. Rain and snow had rusted the buckles and curled the leather, making the straps nearly impossible to budge, but Ybanez kept at it, singing prayers to God all the while to keep himself and the horse calm.
"I started taking off one buckle at a time, any buckle I could find," he said. "Some of the buckles were all stuck and rusted really hard. I had to let go of the leash and the horse never ran away." When it came to the final buckle, the cinch strap, Ybanez was forced to cut through it.
"The whole thing fell in a heap under the horse," Ybanez said. "I could feel the weight lift myself."
Mission accomplished, Ybanez left the horse again, dragging the saddle back off the mountain, four miles. "It wasn't to be left there," he said. A leatherworker himself, Ybanez believes looking at the condition of the saddle, the horse had survived in the meadow, dragging his burden, since hunting season.
That night, Ybanez talked with some friends and finally found someone willing to provide a horse trailer and make the eight-mile round-trip walk with him to bring the horse down the next day. Back in the meadow, a whistle brought the horse running and soon the men were close enough to put a rope around Nightwatch's head and lead him out.
Since then, Ybanez has cared for the animal, finding him a place to stay, purchasing food and medicine. Regular meals have put weight back on, and a salve is helping to slowly heal the open wounds. The prognosis for a full recovery is good.
But the future remains unclear. No owner has been found. Sheriff Tom Richards said there are still no reports of a missing horse; U.S. Forest Service files show the same. The brand inspector has been contacted, and now everyone must wait to see if public notice will bring the owner forward. Anyone believing they are the rightful owner of the horse is asked to call the Archuleta County Dispatch at 264-2131.
Ybanez would like to keep Nightwatch if he remains an orphan. The two have a connection, and Ybanez has a lot of time and money invested. However, the animal may be put up for auction. In that case, a lien will be put on Nightwatch to help recover the costs of care. Ybanez would rather have his friend.
And if he gets to keep him? "I'm just going to love on him," Ybanez said. "That horse loves me right now because I took that saddle off."
Over the past year and a half, the Upper San Juan Hospital District has been in the headlines many times because of financial problems that came to public light when a $230,000 accounting error was discovered in the summer of 2000.
Since then, the district has been fighting to stay above water, using every financial flotation device available, including anonymous donations, a tax levy increase approved by voters in November and a credit-line bailout offered by the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation.
The seven candidates for four spots on the Upper San Juan Hospital District board were given an opportunity to comment in writing about the district's financial problems through two questions. First, what would they do as a board member to address the finances? Second, what would they do to insure the district doesn't face the same situation again and runs in a cost-effective manner?
Their answers follow:
"I think the current board members were very surprised to hear of the present financial problems. The problems probably started small and ended up in a snowball effect to where there was no way out.
"I think we are pretty fortunate to have a district manager like Dee Jackson who uncovered all the problems and has already progressed with excellent solutions such as: 1. Stopping overtime compensation for full time employees. 2. Buying medical and surgical supplies through group-buying strategy will save the district 35-50 percent. 3. No longer paying full insurance benefits for dependents of employees will save the district a considerable amount of cash flow.
"I think the district needs to continue to give attention to collecting the receivables by having a full-time employee with collection experience concentrate on this issue until the receivables are collected. This will bring in $149,381 owed the district and $349,160 owed EMS. The district employee should then continue to stay on top of the receivables so that they do not go over 90 days past due. If the receivables are maintained then the district will start seeing more of a positive cash flow.
"To avoid falling into the same situation and run a cost-effective district, I, as a board member would stay active in the district, stay informed and participate in management practices. I would also continue to work at solutions to improve the finances for the district and would want to be assured that the finances are correct. This will require involvement in the district."
Kay Grams noted that the district's financial problems go back more than two years. She advocated a three-step process for addressing the issue: "familiarize, evaluate and decide on actions."
"I wouldn't pass the buck! The first duty of a trustee is fiduciary - you are holding the position in trust from the electorate. A board should provide direction and hire the most qualified people to carry out the vision. The Upper San Juan Hospital District is two separate entities, Mary Fisher Clinic and EMS. Each needs to be evaluated differently for its operating procedures."
"The district has already started to improve by hiring the new, highly qualified district manager. The new board should support and have the ability to advise the new manager along with her expertise to provide present and future needs of the district."
To prevent the problem from occurring again, Hawkins would "provide a good Quality Assurance Program of all staff to assure the best quality of care for the county ... help centralize the billing office to provide accurate and good insurance filing to benefit the district and most of all the patients of the county to receive the most for their insurance dollar.
"It has always been a sore thumb for me to see the wonderful facility we have at Mary Fisher and to only be utilizing a portion of its ability to serve the community. Like any other business it can't do these things without money. The new board should be ready and able to assist in finding grants and assist the district manager in doing so and writing them in such a way as to receive our share of the funds available, much of which is just waiting to be asked for."
"The cash flow problems that have plagued the Upper San Juan Hospital District cannot be blamed entirely on the board. In a growing community it is difficult to predict future needs and the rising cost of services in the medical field. They are vigorously addressing the collection of a large pool of slow pay monies, that once collected will help alleviate the tight cash flow.
"I feel the most important step by the board was hiring a trained professional, Dee Jackson, to guide the district. She has expertise in this field and can make knowledgeable recommendations on the problems I have just mentioned.
"If I am elected to the board, I will use my past experience and listen to the recommendations of Ms. Jackson. I feel the community should continue to strongly support the Upper San Juan Hospital District because their goal is to benefit the health needs for all of us."
"The serious problems reported began to surface about the time I was elected to the board two years ago. Much hard work has been done to identify the problems and address remedies. I am proud to have served during this period and believe we are headed toward success with the employment of a well-educated, experienced district manager who has strong business skills."
"Last year I served on the budget committee and we made long term goals to set aside yearly reserves for large predictable purchases (like ambulances). The plan for this year is to track monthly cash flow and plan next year's budget accordingly."
H. Wayne Wilson
"Since becoming a board member in May, I have lived the problems that you mention. I know from personal experience that the board has addressed the issues head on with no apologies for past mistakes and will continue to do so. It is clear, however, that the present board has learned from those mistakes and has taken action to address the issues at hand.
"If I am allowed to continue in my present position, I hope to continue to lend my experience and training to the board to insure that the district does not let itself again get into the situation it finds itself at present.
"Of course, my approach will be to work closely with management in insuring that they establish controls and procedures that will insure accountability in all departments. We have recently hired a strong administrator as the new district director and I feel that an important component of my role as a director will be to support her in her efforts to establish fiscal controls and efficiencies that have not heretofore existed.
"As our population continues to grow and the demands on the district likewise: I feel that a more structured, professional approach to management of the district is an absolute necessity. While, as a board, I don't think we should attempt to micro-manage the day-to-day affairs of the district, I do believe it is our responsibility to require a management plan for inevitable growth ...
"I suppose there is no way to insure that the district doesn't run into the same situation again at some point in time. I do feel, however, that the board now understands that it cannot sit back and let management run the district without the board's continued oversight and supervision ..."
District's critical financial problems shape nature of upcoming election
Seven candidates, including three incumbents, have filed to run for four open seats on the Upper San Juan Hospital District Board. Directors are elected to four-year terms. One two-year slot is also open. However, all the candidates have filed for four-year slots. Following the election, the board will appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
All residents of the district, which includes Archuleta County and parts of Mineral and Hinsdale counties, are eligible to vote in the May 7 election. Votes can be cast from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Emergency Medical Services building on North Pagosa Boulevard.
Martha J. Garcia
Martha Garcia has spent the last decade specializing in labor and employment issues as an employee of the State of Colorado. It's an area of experience that could be a real asset to the hospital district, she said.
"The district manager is in the process of updating the employment manual and job descriptions along with getting the district to come into compliance with state and federal laws and my experience in all of these areas will be very helpful," she added. "I can also assist the district by helping them fill job openings with qualified staff and with training in areas such as customer service, how to be a team player, work maturity issues ..."
Besides the financial issues the district faces, Garcia, a challenger, pointed to time dedication of board members and maintaining high quality of health care services in the future as two important issues.
"Candidates should be willing to make a real commitment of time to help resolve all the issues to assure an efficient health care services to all Pagosa residents," she said. "I am willing to make that commitment."
Garcia, a lifelong Colorado resident, moved with her husband, a wildlife manager for the state, to Pagosa Springs six years ago. They plan to retire here. She is a member of the Board of the International Association of Personnel Employment Security and has helped with a muscular dystrophy fund raiser in the Pagosa Springs area.
Kay Grams has lived in Pagosa Springs for 23 years. She remembers working on the creation of the hospital district and wants to see it continue to serve the community well.
"I go back to the days when all our community had was the Mounted Rangers and an old white Pontiac station wagon," she said. "I helped raise monies for the Mary Fisher Clinic. I wasn't ready to see the community's efforts go down the drain."
Her history of community service has touched many organizations in town including the library, fire district, hospital district and water districts. Grams, a challenger, has been a member of the Friends of the Library for 20 years, a state election judge, a Sisson Library Board Trustee, including seven years as chair, a member of the Republican Central Committee, a member of the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees, and a volunteer for Reading for the Blind among others. She founded the Fire Auxiliary, a group responsible for volunteer fire scholarships for high school seniors, in 1985.
"I have 14 years experience with budget preparation, public, including the Town of Pagosa Springs, fire department and the library district. Many times I have had to divorce my personal feelings from an issue during the decision-making process to render an appropriate verdict."
Grams' husband is Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Warren Grams. Her daughter, Leslie Lattin, is a dispatcher with the sheriff's office, and an EMT. She has two grandchildren.
Charles Hawkins, a 13-year resident of the Pagosa Springs area, has more than 25 years experience in hospital and clinic administration. He said he's running for the board to help the community build better health care.
Hawkins, a challenger, has a bachelors degree in business, has chaired a Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association committee and once served a short term on the Mary Fisher board. He said part of improving health care means educating staff on when to treat a patient and when to send the patient on to another facility, such as Mercy Medical Center in Durango.
"The district should regularly communicate with Mercy for cooperation between agencies," he said. "I understand we have already started this since adding the new district manger.
"I will always be available to listen to comments from the community to accomplish this and will call on the community to be on subcommittees to do this."
Hawkins has six grown children and five grandchildren.
Pamela Lynd retired to Pagosa Springs just last year after owning a ranch on the Upper Piedra for nine years. Although she hasn't been a full-time resident long, she said, she could bring a lot of experience in health care issues to the board. Lynd spent four years as a member of the Grant/Riverside Methodist Foundation Hospital board in Columbus, Ohio, and has 30 years of business experience in the United States and abroad.
"My involvement was chairing the women's health issues, expanding and improving the facilities for premature infants, expanding the emergency room, and helping implement a moving medical facility (a semi) to treat pregnant teen mothers in the city to promote the birth of well babies. Because the hospitals had to take all patients regardless of ability to pay, our focus was to promote health and wellness, and hopefully reduce costs."
While a resident of Columbus, Lynd, a challenger, was also president of the Reynoldsburg/Pickerington Rotary Club, helped build a YMCA and then served on its board, was involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and worked with the police department to address community needs. She will start a term on the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club board in July.
Lynd's fiancee is Mike Alley who works for La Plata Electric. She has a 19-year-old daughter in college.
Patty P. Tillerson
Patty Tillerson was elected to the hospital district board in 1999 and is running again because she believes her past experience provides a needed perspective for the board. Tillerson has lived in Pagosa Springs full time for 15 years, part time for 25. She is retired from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and worked as an EMT in Archuleta County for 12 years.
"From my work at Baylor College of Medicine, I gained experience in coordinating teaching and educational activities for medical students, residents and post-doctoral fellows," she said. "This required relating to and accommodating these activities with both faculty physicians and private practitioners. Assisting with research done by fellows provided me with experience in communicating with parents in the day-to-day management of children with serious metabolic diseases. Additionally, my 12 years of service on the ambulance in Archuleta County provided hands-on experience with this very important service."
Currently, Tillerson volunteers as a victims' advocate for the Archuleta County Victims' Assistance Program, a mentor at the elementary school and assists with monthly blood pressure screenings. She is a member of the Archuleta County Senior Citizens Center, Kiwanis Club and the Community United Methodist Church.
Tillerson has been married to her husband, Bob, for 55 years. They have three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Sue Walan, a six-year resident of Pagosa Springs, was appointed to fill a vacancy on the hospital district board two years ago.
"I felt at the time my background in medical research would be useful on the board," she said. "Instead, my background in construction management and staying within budgets was much more useful. I would like to continue to serve the district and the public as I have for the past two years." Walan is a member of the district budget committee.
She is the current president of the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club and has a degree in chemical engineering. Her thesis research focused on chemotherapy drugs. Walan is married, with grown children. She applauded an excellent slate of candidates for this election and asked voters to take the time to evaluate each one to determine the best board selections.
Wayne Wilson, a CPA, was appointed to the hospital district board in 2001, four years after moving to Pagosa Springs from Shreveport, La., where he operated his own business for 20 years.
He is a licensed CPA in Colorado and Louisiana, a member of the American Institute of Certified Pubic Accountants and its personal financial planning section, a member of the Colorado and Louisiana Society of CPAs, former chair of the Estate and Financial Planning Committee of the Louisiana Society of CPAs, and a member of the Colorado Society of CPAs Personal Financial Planning Committee. He has recently been elected as a director of the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club.
"For most of the years I was in practice as a CPA, I devoted my energy to my firm and my clients," he said. "Some years back, I made a conscious decision to begin giving back to my profession and my community. At first, this was through participation in professional organizations, but since moving to Pagosa I have discovered the satisfaction of participation in civic organizations and, through my limited experience on the hospital district board, have found that I can contribute some of my experience to benefit my community."
Wilson and wife, Donna, have three grown children and three grandchildren, with another grandchild on the way. Two of their daughters and their families live here in Pagosa Springs. He is the second board member serving on the budget committee.
As the community continues to grow, he said, the district will need to have a long-term growth plan in place, a goal the board will hopefully be able to focus on once the financial affairs are under control.
It is near impossible to type an article on a Beechcraft 1900 that is all over the sky! The hour-plus flight normally offers me just enough time to bang out a story so that I can focus on opening the week's mail when I get home. Friday's trip was the worst of the year. Several times I thought I was going to have to retrieve my computer off the ceiling. I finished this at home.
This time of year legislative tensions build and nerves wear thin. Long hours of floor debate are often followed by long hours of committee work. With only 17 days of session left (13 working days unless we end up needing to work a weekend day or two) there are still many bills that need to be moved through the process. Early next week the last of the house bills will be in the senate waiting action. Floor work will then focus on bills that were originated in the house, amended in the senate and are needing house approval or "concurrence" on those senate amendments. Members who agree with the senate amendments simply request concurrence and, if the house approves, then re-adoption of the bill.
The bill is then sent to the governor for signature. If a member does not concur with the senate amendments, he/she can request that the house reject senate amendments and that a conference committee be formed. If approved, three members from each body (two majority and one minority) will meet and attempt to work out the differences. If agreement is then reached, the bill is sent back to the floor for action. Sometimes the first conference committee will not agree and a new conference committee will be requested. Each conference committee may only meet twice.
If agreement is not worked out, then the member will most likely move that the house adhere to its version, which will probably end up killing the bill unless the senate recedes from its position. Seldom does this happen but, in my opinion, we may see a slew of them this year.
This whole process is difficult to track and members have to be alert. Committees of reference will be meeting, conference committees will be meeting, floor action may be proceeding and a whirlwind of activity tests each member's ability to monitor all of the action. Legislation important to my constituents may come up at any time and without much if any notice. I have seen times when floor votes were taken while some members were excused for one committee or another and bills failed because key votes were not present. This is not necessarily planned that way; it just happens. So if a legislator is not on top of the activity, his/her bill might come up for a vote without the necessary votes being present.
I am fortunate that all of my bills are out of the house and that I only have one senate bill remaining to be heard. Resolutions and bills that call for interim study committees will be ranked by the Legislative Council (a joint House and Senate committee) on Monday.
The Palliative Care Interim Committee resolution will be one of five or six to be competing for the four available funded slots. If a resolution or bill calling for an interim committee is not rated among the top four, it will have to find funding somewhere in the budget. This year that is not going to happen. Many advocates have been calling the Legislative Council members supporting this resolution. With teamwork like that, I feel very good about our chances.
It wasn't easy - and it certainly isn't pretty - but at least the budget is balanced.
Known around the Capitol as the "long bill," the 2002-03 budget first drafted in the Joint Budget Committee made its way through both the House and Senate in the last two weeks. Members of the JBC fought hard to balance the budget as revenue estimates sank from the weight of our slow economy. The JBC will now act as a conference committee to hash out differences between the two chambers before it heads to the governor.
It really has been a whirlwind week up here - four more bills I sponsored passed out of the Legislature and are headed to the governor's desk:
€ Prompt Pay (SB 13): This is a consumer-friendly bill that streamlines the payment of all health insurance claims by consolidating claim forms into a standardized document, penalizing companies that do not comply with deadlines and modernizing the industry through a requirement that makes all insurance companies offer electronic health insurance claims by October 1, 2002
€ Higher Ed Liquor License (SB 4): This measure reconciles fund-raising practices and state law, so that colleges and universities with liquor licenses can also accept donations from liquor manufacturers and distributors. Under the existing law, if a college or university has a license to sell beer in the student union, it precludes any donations from the liquor industry
€ Groundwater Contamination (HB 1329): This bill requires the Commissioner of Agriculture to identify agricultural management areas where there is significant risk of contamination or pollution of groundwater from agricultural activities, and to conduct certain groundwater monitoring programs in those areas
€ Indian Child Welfare Act (HB 1064): This measure recognizes Colorado's commitment to the federal "Indian Child Welfare Act." The thrust of the legislation wants to make sure that whenever Indian children are involved in certain court proceedings, efforts are made to send notice to the tribe. It also encourages Social Services to work cooperatively in exchanging information they may have about Indian tribes outside the state of Colorado.
This Thursday, we had a bill signing ceremony on a bill that I added a significant amendment to in committee. The measure protects agricultural products from acts of destruction but my amendment goes further than that, adding an exemption to the public meeting law for any assembly in which foreign or domestic terrorism precautions are determined. I'm a strong advocate for open meetings, but in the cases where security of life and property are at stake, it's simply practical that only authorized people know the details of any measures taken to prevent terrorism.
The Fort Lewis College bill is now through the House thanks to Rep. Larson. I see smooth sailing in the Senate. This bill still needs a few technical amendments, which I will attach in the Senate Education committee.
An important item for tourism- the Four Corners Monument cultural building - will receive Colorado's share of funding. I talked with Bob Brooks, Director of the Department of Local Affairs and he indicated $300,000 would be allocated to this project out of energy impact money. The Mountain Ute Tribe will contribute the remaining $200,000.
It was great to have coach Mortensen and two of his players, Kyle Chandler and Layne Frazier, to the Capitol representing their basketball team and community last week. Congratulations to all the guys on the Cortez team, who did a thing of true historic value by winning the 4A state basketball championship for the first time in 40 years.
In the last three weeks of session, we'll all see an intensification and acceleration of debate in issues across the board. From the budget to transportation and beyond, we have a lot of work ahead of us. If you would like to contact me on a particular issue, you can reach me at the Capitol at (303) 866-4884.
Most sex offenders engage in deviant sexual behavior multiple times over the course of many years prior to coming to the attention of authorities and treatment providers.
Polygraph research for the risk of re-offense conducted by the Department of Corrections and Department of Criminal Justice indicate that, on average, sex offenders have engaged in sex offense behaviors for 16 years prior to being identified as a sex offender.
Most adult sex offenders actually commit hundreds of sex crimes before they are arrested. Additional research indicates that adult sex offenders are at risk for committing new sex crimes for at least 20-25 years after their first arrest for a sex crime, probably even longer. By the time the criminal justice system intervenes, the behaviors and thoughts associated with the offense are usually well-ingrained.
According to the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board, offenders are dangerous and their behavior is a threat to community safety. It is believed sexual offending is a behavioral disorder than cannot be "cured." Perpetrator apprehension is critical.
Arrest records indicate that anywhere from 15 to 50 percent of offenders are known to be repeat offenders, but researchers agree this figure grossly underestimates the real incidence of re-offense. The actual number of repeat offenders is likely to be two to three times higher.
Studies comparing "treated" sex offenders with "untreated" sex offenders usually find that "treated" offenders generally continue to commit new sex crimes. These crimes are compared to those committed by "untreated" offenders whose behavior was tracked for long periods of time. The Colorado Department of Corrections study indicates only 16 percent of sex assault victims report the crimes.
Many sex offenders continue to offend even while on probation and in outpatient treatment. Research in Colorado indicates as many as 41 percent of sex offenders attending outpatient treatment programs admitted they sexually re-offended while they were in treatment. The fact that a sex offender is caught for a less serious crime is probably not a sign of improvement. Most likely, if he is committing lesser crimes, he is still committing more serious crimes. Offenders who stopped committing rapes stopped all criminal behavior.
The cost of sexual victimization is astronomical. It is estimated the cost of a single sex offense is over $100,000. This includes costs for prosecuting the offender, treating the offender in the community and providing counseling/medical services to the victim. It is somewhat less costly to treat the offender in the community ($60,000) versus treating him in prison. Yet, the entire cost of counseling the sex offender is wasted when he continues to commit sexual assaults.
Locally, Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program works to lessen recidivism through education, risk reduction and direct service to victims. Program representatives have met with 28 students at Archuleta County High School on this subject, raising their awareness about sexual assault and giving them skills to reduce their risk of becoming victims.
Additionally, the program provides education to the public through informative presentations to local and civic groups, schools, educators and the general public.
For more information on the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program or volunteer opportunities, call 264-9075.Most sexual abuse is by repeat offenders
Police Blotter 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 19 incidents April 16 to April 21.
April 16 - Restraining order violation. West U.S. 160. Deputy Denison responded. Case closed.
April 17 - Theft, trespass. Snowball Road. Deputy Galin responded. Case open.
April 17 - Warrant arrest, resisting arrest. 300 Block Canyon Circle. Deputy Walter responded. Case active.
April 18 - Vehicular assault. Forest Services Road 923. Deputy Galin responded. Case open.
April 19 - DUI. U.S. 151 and County Road 975. Deputy Walter responded. Case closed by arrest.
April 19 - Reckless driving, careless driving. Bonanza Drive. Deputy Galin responded. Case closed by summons.
April 20 - Warrant arrest. 1100 Block Cloud Cap Drive. Deputy Walter responded. Case closed.
April 20 - Burglary, theft. 4000 Block Snow Ball Road. Deputy Walter responded.
April 20 - Criminal trespass, theft. Stevens Field. Deputy Galin responded. Case open.
April 20 - Criminal mischief, trespass. Stevens Field. Deputy Galin responded. Case open.
April 20 - Trespass, criminal mischief. Stevens Field. Deputy Galin responded. Case open.
April 20 - Criminal trespass, theft, criminal mischief. Stevens Field. Deputy Galin responded. Case open.
April 20 - Burglary, theft, criminal trespass, criminal mischief. U.S. 84. Deputy Galin responded. Case open.
April 21 - Phone harassment, menacing. Pines Drive. Deputy Denison responded.
April 16 - James Steven May. Harassing, menacing.
April 16 - Crestino Kiffen Valdez. Violation of restraining order, driving motor vehicle when license revoked. Posted surety bond.
April 17 - Niles Asher Baker. Driving motor vehicle when license revoked, speeding. Posted surety bond.
April 17 - Valentine Vigil. Contempt of court, theft, distributing controlled substance, misdemeanor traffic offense, driving under restraint.
April 20 - Joseph Wilfred Sanchez. DUI. Posted surety bond.
April 20 - Casey Christopher Toepfer. Failure to appear (Original charge: driving while license under restraint). Posted surety bond.
April 22 - David Douglas Gregory. Harassment, menacing. Posted surety bond.
Pagosa Springs Police Department
The Pagosa Springs Police Department logged 20 incidents April 16 to April 23.
April 16 - Driving under restraint. Put Hill. Officer Valdez responded. Case closed by arrest.
April 16 - Theft. 300 Block North 6th Street. Chief Volger responded. Suspect indicated. Case active.
April 16 - Assault. 300 Block Lewis Street. Officer Allen responded. Case closed by summons of juvenile.
April 17 - Shoplifting. 200 Block Pagosa Street. Officer Rockensock responded. Case closed by summons.
April 17 - Burglary. 200 Block Lewis Street. Officer Valdez responded. Suspect indicated. Case active.
April 19 - Theft. 2000 Block U.S. 160. No suspect indicated. Case active.
April 20 - Theft. West U.S. 160. Officer Perales responded. No suspects indicated. Case active.
April 20 - Theft. West U.S. 160. Officer Perales responded. No suspects indicated. Case active.
April 20 - Theft. West U.S. 160. Officer Perales responded. No suspects indicated. Case active.
April 20 - Runaway. 500 Block South 9th Street. Officer Perales responded. Case closed by summons of juvenile.
April 20 - Burglary. 100 Block South 8th Street. Officer Perales responded. No suspect indicated. Case active.
April 20 - Theft. 600 Block San Juan Street. Officer Perales responded. No suspect indicated. Case active.
April 19 - Criminal mischief. West. U.S. 160. Officer Rockensock responded. No suspect indicated. Case active.
Archuleta County Court: Judge James Denvir
April 17 - June Marquez, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of DWAI. Ten days jail - suspended, 24 hours public service, attend Victim Impact Panel, evaluation and comply, $434 costs.
April 17 - Jennifer Lynn Farmer, Santa Ana, Calif. Guilty of DWAI. Ten days jail - suspended, 34 hours public service, evaluation and comply, attend Victim Impact Panel, $449.51 costs.
April 17 - Martin C. Martinez, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of violating civil restraining order. Ten days jail, two years probation, 48 hours public service, no alcohol, no firearms, therapy as recommended by probation officer.
April 17 - Kristine Kaye Edder, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of careless driving. Sixty-eight dollars costs.
April 18 - Roy Daniel Corbett, Pagosa Springs. Default: seat belt not used. Sixty-three dollars costs.
April 18 - Arthur Daryl Jackson, Durango. Guilty of speeding. Ninety-seven dollars costs.
April 18 - Bradley Ray Martinez, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of child restraint not used. Seventy-two dollars costs.
April 18 - Chandra C. Silcott, Pagosa Springs. Default: child restraint not used, driver's license not in possession. One hundred and nineteen dollars costs.
April 18 - Karen Eileen Stifel, Frederick. Default: speeding. Eighty-five dollars costs.
April 18 - Daniel Keithe Voorhis, Durango. Default: speeding. One hundred and two dollars costs.
April 18 - Lynn E. Hanynie, Alamosa. Guilty of speeding. Ninety-seven dollars costs.
April 18 - Steven Sean Murnane, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of DUI, second offense. One hundred eight days jail - 135 days suspended, credit for 37 days served, 60 hours public service, attend Victim Impact Panel, $484 costs.
Pagosa Springs Municipal Court: Judge William Anderson
April 17 - Jimmy Elledge, Pagosa Springs. Guilty of contempt, failure to comply with conditions of probation. Thirty days jail - suspended, timely and regular school attendance, successful completion of Southwest Youth Corps, $100 paid by the end of first month in Youth Corps, counseling, drug testing.
April 17 - Rebecca Kemp, Farmington. Guilty of speeding. Seventy-five dollars costs, four points suspended.
April 22 - No convictions.
Emergency Medical Services
EMS responded to 11 emergency calls from April 12 to April 21.
April 13 - Medical call. 800 Block of Petit Circle. Ambulance responded. One patient transported to Mercy Medical Center.
April 14 - Trauma call. East U.S. 160. Ambulance and Rescue 1 responded. Four patients transported to Mercy Medical Center.
April 15 - Trauma call. West U.S. 160. Two ambulances and Rescue 1 responded. One patient transported to Mary Fisher Medical Center and one patient to San Juan Regional Medical Center by Air Care 1.
April 19 - Trauma call. Pagosa Springs High School. Ambulance and Quick Response Vehicle responded. One patient transported to Mercy Medical Center.
For more than a dozen years a simple plaque hung in the area of the Archuleta County Clerk's office where marriage licenses are issued.
During those years untold numbers of couples got their marriage licenses and admired these words on the plaque:
"God has ordained
one man and one woman
shall be joined together
in loving companionship.
It has ever been so
from the beginning ...
and so it will ever be."
Never had there been a complaint - until April 12.
On that day a man who reportedly had problems with the clerk's office earlier that week because "he didn't want to follow the rules," according to clerk June Madrid, came in and demanded that the sign be removed "because, as a homosexual, the one man-one woman phrase offended him."
The man, whose name was not released, said if the plaque was not removed before the next time he came in he would sue the county.
Madrid said she, despite her staff's opposition, decided the sign should come down.
"This is a public office, perhaps the busiest in the building," she said. "Anything that offends any one can be removed unless it is mandated by law to be displayed. I felt it was the easiest thing to do."
The plaque was made for the office, prior to her assuming the post 12 years ago, by Peter Laue who was notified that it was being taken down, picked it up and reported the incident to the press.
Laue said the plaque was up for about 22 years in the clerk's office. "Every time I went into the building for anything I saw it and was pleased."
Laue said he was "stunned, angry and hurt by removal of the plaque. I don't think I was very rational. There have been strong emotions shown by those few I've told about it. One person said they'd heard of similar things happening in other counties and the county commissioners put the issue to a vote. People were allowed to decide if such a sign should be returned."
Laue said, "I have a definite position on what I believe is pleasing to God. I definitely believe homosexuality is an abomination and cite the Book of Romans as the standard. We must adhere, or society as we know it is going to be destroyed."
Asked if legal counsel was contacted with reference to the complainant's threat to sue, Madrid said, "No."
County attorney Mary Weiss said she was not aware of the incident and declined comment. Had the complaint more closely centered on separation of church and state, with reference to God, she said, she might have been inclined, if asked, to recommend removal of the plaque.
Madrid said many people acquiring marriage licenses over the years have remarked favorably about the plaque, especially because it was displayed with a Norman Rockwell print picturing plans for wedded bliss.
There has been a push by some Colorado legislators in the past three years, in the face of growing pressure by the homosexual and lesbian community, to prohibit homosexual union as a legal status.
That legalization has been approved in only two states to date, but is pending in at least three others.
Former County Assessor David Wilson has filed an affidavit with the Archuleta County Clerk announcing his intention of running for the assessor's office again.
Wilson served two terms as county assessor from 1991 through 1998 as a Democrat. He is currently seeking election as a Republican.
"I feel I was doing a lot better job than the current assessor," Wilson said as an explanation of why he decided to run for the office. "I feel if I am elected, I will make a better assessor. I feel values have gone up more than they need to. I don't think everything has been done that could be done to keep them down."
Wilson grew up in Haskell, Texas, where he graduated from high school. Following high school, Wilson earned a degree from Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas, majoring in accounting and minoring in economics. Since graduating from college in 1970, Wilson has continued to expand his education through seminars, workshops, and experience. Attendance at appraisal and assessment courses from 1991 to the present have earned Wilson 411 credited classroom hours.
The residential and commercial construction fields provided employment for Wilson during high school, college, and periodically since he moved to Pagosa Springs.
Wilson's 13 years in corporate accounting include assuming responsibility for:
€ Financial statements - preparation and analysis
€ Internal audit and preparation of work sheets for public auditors
€ Staff supervision
€ Coordination of accounting and computer systems and daily operations
€ All corporate tax returns including property tax returns.
After visiting Pagosa Springs starting in 1979, Wilson purchased property and moved to Pagosa in August of 1984.
While living in Archuleta County, Wilson has accumulated 18 years experience as a public accountant. Expertise gained during the years of local practice include personal, corporate, and partnership income taxes; and planning for all types of taxes.
Thirty-two Pagosa Springs High School Future Business Leaders of America members traveled to Vail April 13-16 to participate in the FBLA State Leadership Conference, competing with nearly 2,600 other students from across the state in a series of business events. One local student, senior Kelly Kay, was called to the award stage for a second-place win in the Business Procedure event which places her in the national competition.
The local FBLA chapter received 11 awards, including the award to Kay who will compete at the FBLA National Leadership Conference to be held this summer in Nashville.
In other competitive events, Roxanna Day received fifth place in Public Speaking I; Kyrie Beye and Amanda Huang received a fifth-place award for Poster; Heather Beye placed sixth in Public Speaking II; Ross Wagle placed sixth in Impromptu Speaking; Justin Smith and Travis Quiller received sixth place for their Web site Development; and Ryan Beavers placed eighth in International Business. In addition, Randi Pierce received fourth place in the state-level event of Parliamentary Procedures and Drisa Carizzo accepted the chapter award of Peak III.
While in Vail, students competed in competitive and state-level events, attended motivational workshops, performed voting delegate duties, served on standing committees, and attended general assemblies. The keynote speaker this year was Jim Wand whose entertaining message encouraged students to strive to accomplish their goals. Students relaxed by attending two dances that also gave them the opportunity to mingle with FBLA students from other schools. All-in-all, Pagosa Springs FBLA students thought the conference was a valuable and worthwhile learning experience.
Attending from Pagosa Springs High School were Sara Aupperle, Ryan Beavers, Heather Beye, Kyrie Beye, Anna Bishop, Justin Caler, Drisa Carrizo, Roxanna Day, Melissa Diller, Somer Evans, Lauren Felts, Sierra Fleenor, Keith Frank, Meagan Hilsabeck, Amanda Huang, Jimmy Iverson, Kelly Kay, Robert Kern, Ben Marshall, Allie McBride, Trevor Peterson, Randi Pierce, Travis Quiller, Ethan Stanford, Leslie Shepard, Justin Smith, Jessica Stevens, Marylou Villalobos, Ross Wagle, Scott Wallace, Landry Wand and Ashli Winter. Advisors Dorothy Christine and Lisa Hudson accompanied the students.
The Pagosa Springs Community Facilities Organization wants to honor those people who have donated to the community center project - and raise the final thousands needed to open the doors.
To accomplish both goals, members of the organization approved two fund-raisers, a "Tree of Life" for larger donors and engraved paving bricks for purchase at $50 each.
The "Tree of Life" is a wall-mounted memorial featuring three pine trees with a total of 300 leaves or "needles" available for engraving. The leaves, in gold, bronze and platinum colors, will be engraved with the names of donors giving $500 and above. About 30 percent of the leaves have already been claimed with current donations, Mark Garcia, town building administrator, said. Another $275,000 may still be raised.
In addition, starting May 1, community members will have the opportunity to purchase memorial bricks that will be placed at the entrances of the new community center. A total of 4,000 bricks will be available for a $50 donation apiece. Each has space for two lines of engraving. Profits from this fund-raiser would give the coalition another $138,000 to close the remaining gap in funding.
Further information on how to purchase the bricks will be announced in the SUN over the next few weeks.
Seven local educational programs recently received funding under a new Pagosa Springs Rotary Club program. The Teacher's Mini-grant program provided a total $2,092.43 to the schools in its first award cycle.
Sue Walan, club president, said this year's grants will help provide accelerated reading books, an Art in the Library project, a VHS cassette deck recorder for the Pagosa Springs High School TV class, two different literacy kits for children to use at home, and two different kinds of reading enhancement materials.
The program is set up "... for the purpose of supporting a most creative and innovative approach in enhancing student interest in the acquisition of knowledge, by supporting the ideas of the teachers who provide this window of opportunity ..."
K-12 teachers in Archuleta County School District 50 Jt. are eligible to apply for the mini-grants. The maximum award is $300 and funds are meant to go toward materials or projects that might not be available otherwise through the district. A panel of representatives from education and business review the applications and determine the awards. Applications are judged on innovation, benefit to students and clarity. The number of awards given depends on the quality of applications and the funds available.
For information or to apply for next year's grants, call 731-4166.
The Pagosa Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service has announced a number of road openings and closings in the Pagosa Springs area.
All of the involved roads are Forest Service roads. Forest Service policy generally involves restricting access on roads when there is danger that the road surfaces will be damaged. Typical closure conditions include those in early spring when snowpack and moisture content make it likely that extreme rutting will occur. Users are asked to not drive on roads where rutting is taking place.
Forest Service officials are quick to point out that the danger of wild fires already exists on Forest Service lands due to an extreme shortage of winter and spring precipitation. No fire restrictions are in effect on Forest Service lands, but users are asked to use fire with extreme caution. Fire restrictions could be implemented within a few weeks.
The following Forest Service roads are open for public use:
€ Blanco Road, FDR 656; Blue Creek, FDR 012; Buckles Lake, FDR 663; Castle Creek, FDR 660; East Fork, FDR 667; Eight Mile Mesa, 651; First Fork, 622; Fourmile, 645; Jackson Mountain, 037; Kenney Flats; 006; Left Hand Canyon, 024; Middle Fork, 633; Toner, 637; Plumtaw, 634; Price Lakes Road, FDR 731; Snowball, 646; Snow Springs, 628; Turkey Creek; Turkey Springs, 629; Valle Seco, 653; West Fork, 648 at forest boundary; West Monument 630; Williams Creek, 640; and Willow Draw, 722.
The following roads are gated and closed to motorized wheeled vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles. These roads are open to over-the-snow travel on foot, snowmobiles, bicycles, hiking, and horse riding. Gates are closed and locked for public safety and to protect road surfaces and wildlife. These roads will remain closed to motorized wheeled vehicles including ATVs, until most of the road surface can withstand traffic without damage. Roads remaining closed to wheeled motor vehicles are:
€ Black mountain, FDR 661; Mosca 631 at Weminuche Valley; Nipple Mountain, 665 at upper gate east of Echo Canyon road; and Trail Ridge, 639.
Welcome weather news is on the horizon for Pagosa Country residents. Chances for rain tomorrow are in the 50-percent category, according to Gary Chancy, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
"There is a 30-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms Thursday afternoon," Chancy said. "It will be breezy with southwest winds gusting between 15 and 25 miles per hour. Friday will be cooler with a 50-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms," Chancy continued.
Saturday through Tuesday will be partly cloudy, with little chance of precipitation, Chancy said.
A low pressure system off the coast of Southern California earlier this week should move inland to Pagosa Country by today, according to Chancy. The westerly flow contains considerable moisture, Chancy said, and should mingle with a cold front moving down from the north.
High temperatures will drop from 70-75 degrees today down to 58-65 degrees tomorrow, then climb back to the 65- to 75-degree range for most of the coming week. Low temperatures will drop from 37-44 degrees today to 28-38 degrees tomorrow, then return to the 30- to 40-degree range.
Meanwhile, no measurable precipitation fell on Pagosa Country this past week. Only 0.22 inches of precipitation have been measured in Pagosa Springs during April. The longtime Pagosa Springs average precipitation for April is 1.29 inches.
Local March precipitation totaled 0.73 inches, compared to a longtime average of 1.61 inches. Local February precipitation was .07 inches, compared to a longtime average of 1.29 inches. For January, the longtime average precipitation is 1.85 inches. During January of this year, precipitation amounted to 0.28 inches.
Total precipitation measured in town this year is 1.3 inches. The longtime average for the same time frame is 6.04 inches.
The official national Weather service gauging station for Pagosa Springs is located at Stevens Field.
WHEREAS, a clean and orderly Town instills a sense of community pride in its residents, and portrays a favorable image to its visitors; and
WHEREAS, the economic development and economic future of Pagosa Springs is linked to its picturesque beauty and community pride and appearance; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of Pagosa Springs have made tremendous strides in the improvement of the Town over the past two decades; and
WHEREAS, the Town Board of Trustees is emphatically committed to the continued betterment of Pagosa Springs; and
WHEREAS, the continued cooperation of the citizens, Town of Pagosa Springs, Archuleta County, and service groups will assist in creating a clean environment and healthy community.
THEREFORE, let it be proclaimed that Sunday, May 12 through Saturday, May 18 will be designated:
"Pagosa Springs Clean-Up Week 2002"
and that Town crews and volunteers will assist citizens with clean-up and trash disposal.
Signed this Twenty-third Day of April
Ross Aragon, Mayor
Regulations aimed at oil and gas operations in the county were approved by Archuleta County commissioners meeting in special session April 18.
It took the commissioners less than 30 minutes to approve the oil and gas regulations, changes to county land use regulations, a revised fee schedule for oil and gas regulations and a fee schedule for GIS, otherwise known as satellite maps.
Quick approval of the proposed regulations was possible because they have been the subject of discussion and several public meetings over the past year.
The oil and gas regulations were adopted in anticipation of a large number of coalbed methane gas wells being drilled in the county during the next few years. Formerly, the county had only generalized conditional use permit rules for regulating drilling and operation of oil and gas sites.
A major provision of the new regulations is providing fast or slow lanes for drillers, depending on the complexity of the proposed facility. Choice of which course to follow will be made by county planning staff following an initial interview with the drillers.
Approval of the simpler projects routed through the fast lane will be granted by planning staff and the county commissioners, bypassing the time consuming process of obtaining Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission approval. Only a few weeks should be required for the fast lane.
When more complex installations are contemplated, the drilling application will be routed through the planning commission. Many weeks or months could elapse before action is taken on the application.
The county has already received a positive response from Petrox Inc., the driller of three unpermitted wells in the county earlier this year.
"I've been on the telephone with them," said Greg Comstock, director of county development. "We are developing an application form and sending it to them. They have promised to respond."
Also adopted Thursday were minor land use regulation changes allowing road grades in excess of the 8-percent county road-grade limit, certain public notice requirements, and conditions affecting the sidewalk escrow fund.
Changed were fees charged for certain subdivision activities.
Finally, a fee schedule was adopted for obtaining GIS maps from the county planning office. The newest county road maps are the most accurate yet produced. The purpose of charging for the maps and for increasing other fees charged by the planning department is to generate enough money to pay for the services provided.
Shar Martinez of Cortez has been named dental services coordinator for the Miles for Smiles program that services Archuleta, La Plata, Dolores, Montezuma and San Juan Counties to continue the effort to fight dental neglect in Colorado's needy populations and increase access to oral health care services for uninsured and underserved children.
Martinez will be responsible for all administrative and management functions of the project, including planning, budget development and fund-raising, site coordination, clinic management and marketing.
"I'm really excited about this program. Thousands of children in Colorado have never visited a dentist or can't afford to see one even in extreme situations. This program will aid in maintaining our children's health and put smiles on their faces," stated Martinez.
The Miles for Smiles program is sponsored by Kids in Need of Dentistry (KIND) and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Colorado Foundation. Featuring a state-of-the-art mobile dental van, it will target children up to 18 years of age who are uninsured and do not receive public assistance.
The program provides low-cost comprehensive dental services, dental education for children and their families, and conducts public information campaigns to increase awareness on issues of oral health neglect in underserved populations in Colorado.
The Miles for Smiles mobile dental clinic is scheduled to offer patient care in southwestern Colorado by November. It also visits communities in other geographic areas of Western Colorado.
Kids in Need of Dentistry is a nonprofit, charitable health care organization for children. Founded in 1912, it provides quality, comprehensive dental care to children up to the age of 18 from families with marginal incomes.
Southwest Community Resources, the current fiscal agent for the Miles for Smiles program is a nonprofit organization. As of May 2002 the fiscal agent for the Miles for Smiles program will be San Juan Basin Health.
Miles for Smiles is a partially-funded program and seeks contributions from residents and local businesses to make this program a success. Dental volunteers are also being asked to donate their time and services.
For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation contact Martinez at 259-1086 Ext.12.
Archuleta County's economy is sailing along just fine, thank you, gauged by an increasing number of building permits and the collection of retail sales taxes.
In the opposite direction, things have not been so good, but they are getting better, according to Erlinda Gonzalez, Archuleta County Social Services director. As a gauge, Gonzalez relies on the number of food stamps her department issues each month.
Through March 31, the county building department issued 92 building permits, well ahead of the 79 permits issued for the same time frame during 2001.
The all-time record for building permits during the first three months of the year was set in 1995 when 114 permits were issued through March. Next highest was 2000, when 101 permits were issued through March.
So far this year, the number of permits for houses tops any year but 2000. New house permits this year total 57. During 2000, 66 house permits were issued through March.
No commercial permits have been issued this year. Last year, commercial permits totaled five through March, about average for commercial permits since 1995. In other categories, 11 permits were issued for mobile homes, 24 permits for the "other" category, and no permits for timeshares.
April is likely to be much busier than March, according to Julie Rodriguez, manager of the county building department.
"It's crazy," Rodriguez said. "This is only the 16th day of the month and I already have 50 sets of new plans."
Sales taxes collected during March amounted to $352,905, up 12.44 percent from the $313,862 collected for March of last year.
March collections amounted to a resurgence, in as much as February sales tax collections had declined 17.77 percent from February of the previous year.
Even with the March resurgence, sales tax collected for the first three months of 2002 trails collections for the first three months of 2001 by 0.65 percent. The total amount collected through March of this year is $1,143,602. Last year at this time, accumulated collections amounted to $1,151,121.
Because sales tax collections are in direct proportion to retail sales, they are considered a good economic indicator. An increase in retail sales is considered evidence of a good economy.
Sales taxes are collected from all businesses in Archuleta County, including businesses within the Pagosa Springs town limits. The total is divided 50-50 between the town and county. The county's portion is divided equally between the general fund and the road and bridge capital improvement fund. The town's portion is dedicated to capital improvements.
"I look on the value of food stamps issued as my personal economic indicator," Gonzalez told the county commissioners Tuesday. "The trend seems to be in a positive direction."
During March of this year, Gonzalez's office issued food stamps valued at $32,548 to 470 persons from 188 households. Those numbers for February of this year are $33,690, 472 persons, and 192 households. For January, 2002, the numbers are $36,603, 493 persons, 202 households.
A year ago during March, $28,574 worth of food stamps were issued to 418 persons from 171 households. For February, 2001, the numbers were $28,482, 407 persons, 173 households. For January, 2001, 440 persons from 180 households were issued $31,320 worth of food stamps.
A 41-lot subdivision that may include $300,000 to $400,000 homes spread across 49.55 acres is sprouting in the center of the Pagosa Lakes collection of subdivisions.
Called Powder Horn Subdivision, the new development was approved by the board of county commissioners at its regular weekly meeting Tuesday. A number of conditions were attached to the approval.
Who will purchase the homes at Powder Horn?
According to local Realtor Mike Heraty, the approximately one-acre lots at Powder Horn will be purchased by people coming from either the Front Range of Colorado, Texas, Arizona, California, or, increasingly, from Florida.
"A lot of these people may be the millionaire-next-door type," Heraty said. "They keep a low profile, don't wear Rolex watches, drive a jeep instead of a Lexus. They're looking for value, often a second home interest."
Heraty suggests the Powder Horn lots are likely to sell in a range from $60,000 to $90,000. Homes on those lots could start at $250,000 but are more likely to average in the $300,000 to $400,000 price range.
The ages of people buying the homes will range from 35 to 65 years, according to Heraty. Some locals will purchase the homes for residences. A large number of the buyers may be looking for a home for recreational purposes.
"We're seeing people coming here because they like what the area offers their families in terms of recreation," Heraty said. "They don't have to worry about who may be in touch with their kids."
Powder Horn is only one of many subdivisions coming on line this year in Archuleta County. Waiting in the wings are at least eight new subdivisions intent on breaking 1,316 acres into 324 lots.
Appearing before the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission for final plat approval last night was the Reserve at Pagosa Peak, a 237-acre cluster development that anticipates 140 single family residences. The Reserve at Pagosa Peak is located on Piedra Road east of its intersection with North Pagosa Boulevard.
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:
€ Approved $2,000 for overtime pay for the county building inspector, to be disbursed at a maximum rate of 10-hours per week. The building department is authorized to hire two building inspectors. One building inspector resigned recently, overloading the remaining inspector and creating the justification for overtime
€ Approved a resolution endorsing a 70-cent monthly surcharge to be added to wireless telephone service. Income from the surcharge will be added to the county E 9-1-1 budget
€ Gave the Colorado Department of Highways permission to install a box housing traffic signal controls near the intersection of U.S. 160 and Pinon Causeway in county-owned right of way
€ Approved a memorandum of understanding with the state designating Kathy Wendt, assistant to the county administrator, as the county employee authorized to handle sales tax information
€ Approved renewal of a bed and breakfast liquor permit for Oso Grande
€ Listened to a progress report delivered by Erlinda Gonzalez, director of the county social services department
U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard is seeking financial, research and testing assistance for Colorado and other states which are experiencing rising costs associated with their efforts to eliminate Chronic Wasting Disease.
Allard, a licensed veterinarian, in separate letters to Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman and Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, has requested that both departments give immediate financial assistance in the form of grants and deploy personnel to respond to newly identified CWD "hotspots."
"Chronic Wasting Disease is wreaking havoc in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, Kansas and Oklahoma," Allard said. "We need to act quickly or this disease will redefine the wildlife characteristics of our state and our region."
Allard, who in December successfully secured federal financial assistance for Colorado and other states to help fight the spread of the disease, said the USDA and Interior must offer the services of its "best and brightest" to help battle the disease.
"The federal government must offer services of its best and brightest researchers, scientists and wildlife experts toward the treatment and prevention of Chronic Wasting Disease," wrote Allard. "I urge the USDA and Department of the Interior to commit to providing all the resources needed to help stop the spread of CWD."
"We can win the battle against Chronic Wasting Disease, but it is going to require a team effort involving both local, state and federal agencies working together," Allard added.
The Pagosa Ranger District and Colorado State University Extension Office are hosting a series of public meetings and field trips during May to solicit public input for a landscape analysis for the Kenney Flats area, located about 13 miles south of Pagosa Springs.
The hope is to identify areas of public concern and come up with some desired conditions for the future.
The meeting schedule is:
€ May 4: 10 a.m.- Meeting at 1232 Lodgepole Drive in Alpine Lakes Subdivision
€ May 8: 7 p.m. - Meeting at the Extension building
€ May 11: 9 a.m. - Meet at Pagosa Ranger District for field trip to Kenney Flats
€ May 15: 9 a.m. - Meet at Pagosa Ranger District for trip to Kenney Flats
€ May 22: 7 p.m. - Wrap-up meeting at Extension Building.
The May 4 and 8 meetings will be very similar and participants need only to attend the session most convenient for them. The field trips will likely be to different locales. Interested parties are encouraged to attend at least one meeting and give input.
The area has undergone some prescribed burning in the past and the Forest Service is interested in doing more hazardous-fuels treatments in response to the National Fire Plan.
For more information call Sara Brinton at the Pagosa Ranger District, 264-1532.
After nearly a year on the run, Colorado's most wanted poacher was arrested April 14 in Berrien County, Mich., after a tip on his location was called into Michigan's Report All Poaching Hotline.
Wendell J. Cook, 41, had fled Colorado May 23, 2001, the day he was to be sentenced in Montrose County for wildlife poaching and being a felon in possession of firearms. He will be extradited to Colorado this week and lodged in the Montrose County jail.
"This guy just took off and left and thumbed his nose at everyone," said Glenn Smith, the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Operation Game Thief coordinator. "But just because you go a couple of thousand miles away doesn't mean we'll stop looking for you."
Law enforcement officers in Colorado, Michigan, Arizona, Indiana and other states had been searching for Cook, and had received several Operation Game Thief tips before the one received in Michigan. Michigan wildlife officers were told they would find Cook teeing off on a southern Michigan golf course the next morning at 8 a.m. Cook was taken into custody without incident and waived extradition.
Cook, who was living in Montrose at the time of his sentencing, and three partners, killed five deer, one of which was a trophy animal under the state's Sampson Law, two elk, two antelope and a black bear.
Most of the killings were in the area between Telluride and Ridgway. In addition to San Miguel, the poaching spree also extended into Saguache, Montrose, Gunnison and San Juan counties.
Cook had pleaded guilty to one felony and three misdemeanor wildlife counts. Cook's partners confessed when confronted by wildlife officers and all paid fines, with one of them, Jon Clark, also spending 90 days in jail. The Division also has recommended Clark's hunting privileges be suspended for life. All, including Cook, were charged in November 2000.
The Division discovered Cook and his partners' poaching activities in September 2000 after several Operation Game Thief tips.
Cook's original proposed sentence was fines of over $5,000 and up to five years in state prison. At the time of the poaching, Cook was on probation for a felony drug charge and could not be in possession of a firearm. When wildlife officers originally arrested him in October 2000, wildlife officers found nine guns in Cook's house, at least two of which he had used for poaching.
Poaching is a serious and costly crime, and while no one knows exact figures, poachers could be killing almost as many animals and fish in Colorado as legitimate hunters do during legal seasons, Smith said. "If poachers kill even half that number each year, the problem is serious," he said. Poachers don't just take game animals, either. They also kill endangered, threatened and nongame wildlife, Smith said.
The Division of Wildlife's Operation Game Thief program has a hotline citizens can call if they suspect poaching activity. Those whose tips lead to an arrest can get a reward. The call is toll-free at (800) 332-4155 (Verizon cell phone users can call #OGT), or tips can be e-mailed to email@example.com. Callers do not have to give their names or testify in court.
Since 1981, over 700 convictions have resulted from Operation Game Thief tips. Those convictions have meant more than $600,000 in fines and the seizure of 1,300 illegally-taken animals. Almost $130,000 in rewards have been paid to citizens who reported illegal wildlife activity.
The public also can help by making a tax-deductible donation to the reward fund, which makes the program possible. Make checks out to Operation Game Thief, c/o Colorado Division of Wildlife, 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) plans to honor its volunteer work force during National Volunteer Week, promoting the theme that volunteering for the Colorado Division of Wildlife is good for people, and good for wildlife. The DOW's volunteer program allows citizens to become involved in wildlife management, and is a major benefit to the Division.
In 2001, DOW volunteers contributed over 67,000 hours - equivalent to the value-added work of nearly 32 full-time employees.
"I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to help wildlife, while sharing the experience with my family," says Amanda Cyrus, a volunteer from Colorado Springs. "We've been able to work with bighorn sheep, assist egg collection during the walleye spawn, count endangered lesser prairie chickens and help teach people about sand-hill cranes and bald eagles at festivals in Pueblo and Monte Vista. My family is especially excited about the rewarding work we do transporting sick and injured animals. In fact, we like to help out any way we can."
According to Jena Sanchez, Volunteer Coordinator for the DOW's Southeast Region, it's that kind of enthusiasm and commitment that makes for a successful volunteer program. "If not for the dedication of the unpaid volunteers, many DOW projects might fall through the cracks. As an agency we owe a great debt of gratitude to the volunteers who often respond on short notice to help Colorado's wildlife," said Sanchez.
Wildlife volunteer coordinators in other parts of the state agree.
"Whether volunteers are helping around the office by doing data entry, or working outside in sometimes frightful conditions, their efforts are invaluable to the Division of Wildlife," said Nancy Young, Volunteer Coordinator in the Denver metro area.
Danielle Hosler, Volunteer Coordinator from Fort Collins, echoed those sentiments. "Volunteers do everything from soup to nuts for us. Sometimes I don't know what we would do without them," she said.
Elaine Kehm, DOW volunteer coordinator in the Grand Junction area, said already this year, volunteers have been busy working as unpaid wildlife ambassadors at outdoor recreation shows around the state. She cited projects such as putting up bluebird nest boxes, transporting sick and injured birds and baby mammals, and answering telephones as examples of the variety of assistance the Division gets from volunteers.
For more information on volunteer opportunities with the DOW call (888) 859-7241.
Not so trusting
I'm writing to address the person who picked up my daughter's jacket off a post on the corner of North Pagosa and Dutton Drive a week ago last Saturday. I ran an ad in the lost and found last week and also advertised the loss on radio, hoping we would get a call. Since we have not received a phone call, I can do nothing but assume the person who picked up the jacket did so as an act of theft.
Randi and her father were riding their bicycles and she decided she was much too warm and didn't need the jacket. Being trusting sorts, they hung the jacket on the post, planning to pick it up on the way back.
Well, needless to say, the jacket was not there when they returned. If the person who picked up this jacket is in such dire need of a jacket that they can't go to the thrift store and buy one, then please wear it with our blessing.
My guess is, however, that whoever picked it up really doesn't need the jacket, will probably never wear it for fear that it will be recognized (they are not sold in Pagosa - it was mail-ordered) and it will end up at a thrift store or in the garbage.
The jacket was a gift to Randi from her grandmother and it took her grandma and myself several weeks to hunt down just the right jacket. I know it means a heck of a lot more to Randi than to anyone else. And I hope that the person who took it is filled with shame and guilt every time they put it on.
Not so trusting anymore.
By the books
It would appear the PLPOA board of directors is at it again, this time attempting to change the Declaration of Restrictions when they do not have the authority to do so.
In the SUN (April 18, 2002) it was reported that a motion was made to restructure the ECC from the required three members to five. Paragraph 4B of the association's Declaration of Restrictions clearly states that the committee shall be composed of three members ... period.
The fact that the alternates are unhappy about not voting is of no consequence. At this point, it is not surprising that the members of the board have still not read and understood their governing documents, but it is disturbing that the general manager and a longtime member of the ECC supported this illegal change.
Fortunately, the motion was defeated, but apparently not because they knew it was an illegal action.
Property owner George Esterly apparently questioned the board as to why signs were being erected in the subdivisions without the required permits being obtained from the ECC. He was told by the board president that it "would be outrageous if everyone had to get ECC approval to put up a sign . . ."
If the board and management were familiar with Paragraph 7G, they would know that the Restrictions state: "All signs, billboards or advertising structures of any kind are prohibited except upon application to and written permission from the (ECC) committee."
I think the members of the board should have a retreat, maybe at the recreation center, and spend the entire day studying and understanding the bylaws, Declaration of Restrictions, and Articles of Incorporation and Code of Enforcement before attending the May board meeting.
Joining the Pack
In last week's newspaper there appeared an ad which headlined: "Beware of the Pack." Pack was called a "special interest group," a group which wants to start running the county. Since I am a member of this group, I would like to explain what our goals are and actions have been.
Before joining this group I was content to be a retired homemaker and stay out of politics. However, it began to feel like only a few groups of people were being served by the present government (i.e. special interest groups). I attended the community plan meetings and saw many people work hard on its formation. This plan is supported by a large number of diverse individuals who care about handling the inevitable future growth of our county.
But under the present government the implementation of the plan has been "shelved."
So I decided to join Pack because I liked what the group's goals are: to identify, encourage, support and endorse qualified candidates for government positions in Archuleta County who will operate in an open, progressive and businesslike manner regardless of party affiliation.
Our group of like-minded people (including Republicans, Democrats and Independents) who want better leadership in our local government, proceded to contact any person whose name came our way ... so far we have interviewed or contacted 15 potential candidates. Only three of these have declared.
The issues that were addressed to these candidates were: roads, community plan implementation, budget, professional staff independence, use of existing regulations, conflicts of interest, oil and gas, environment, and animal shelter and control. We reviewed the voting records of all three declared candidates; we conducted small group in-depth interviews with three or four of our members present, and if the candidate scored positive on the above, we did a large group in terview.
So far, we have completed the process for all declared Democratic candidates; Republican and Independent are still open.
Our goal is not to support candidates who can be manipulated, but ones who will provide leadership and a balanced approach in decision making.
Thanks to Jim Sawicki for his letter, "Defeat Arafat," concerning the continued violence in the Middle East. I believe him to be right on the mark with his views and information. The Israelis are defending themselves, their country and their people from others who wish them harm. They are continued victims of constant terrorist attacks.
Our government established a coalition to track and eliminate terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere in order to protect United States citizens. Israel is doing the same. Politics aside, they need worldwide support to eliminate the terrorist groups trying to destroy their people and their country.
Negotiations are useless with terrorists uninterested in peace.
End the charade
Eighteen months ago at Camp David, Israel gave Arafat the West Bank and 98 percent of what he wanted for Palestine. Then, he turned up his nose at this incredible offer - he blew it off.
Because he has never wanted peace if it meant a side-by-side coexistence of Israel and a Palestinian state. His goal has always been to eliminate the entire state of Israel. Of course, possibly Arafat's rejection was just blind stupidity, which I strongly doubt.
Should the U.S. continue to move for a Palestinian state in the West Bank? We are being duped, once again, and are relegating ourselves to becoming nothing but morons for the messiah of Palestinian terrorism, Yasser Arafat.
Perpetual negotiations, diplomatic half-measures like Colin Powell's recent trip, or land for peace deals will not bring peace to the Middle East. The only way some form of quiet will ever exist in that region is if Israel is given the latitude to totally defeat its declared enemies. Israel is not a nation which will be timid in the face of terror.
Ten U.S. presidents could not deal with Arafat and the PLO. Now it is time to end the charade. The U.S., and especially the U.N., should stay completely out of it. The IDF (Israeli Defense Force) will effectively handle and oust Arafat along with all of his terrorist parasite friends - the quicker the better.
Without any doubt, Israel will take care of itself. They do not need the U.S. or anyone else to tell them how to defend their country. Like the U.S., Israelis will defend themselves and their freedom at any price. It is far too precious a gift for future generations to give up to terrorists. Is it really that difficult for the liberal media to understand?
Threat of fire
We are all blessed to live in a place like Pagosa Springs. Earthquakes, tornadoes, riots and terrorism do not typically threaten us, and we usually welcome the occasional blizzard.
The main threat to our area is wildfire. That is why I would like to encourage your readers to vote yes on the upcoming Pagosa Fire Protection District bond election.
The district, with the help of Warren Grams, Diane Bower, Bill Clark and staff has stretched the taxpayers' money by maintaining fire vehicles well past the average life span of most emergency vehicles. The district has six vehicles manufactured in the 70s and 80s that need to be replaced. These are all two-wheel drive trucks that are not worth the continual maintenance.
Why buy six trucks at once?
With 60-plus firefighters to train in these trucks, it is much easier to have identical vehicles. Once you have been certified to drive one, you are now available to drive all similar trucks. During a fire this similarity is a big plus. Training drivers is a big part of installing new vehicles in the fire service. All these new trucks will be four-wheel drive, which will improve access to hard to get to fires and to fires during winter months.
As Pagosa continues to grow, the need for a 24-hour staffed fire department will be here soon. The bond addresses this with future housing and training facilities for firefighters.
In 2000 the district trained and fought hard to get an excellent ISO rating. This rating lowered insurance rates, and helped some get insurance. A yes vote on the bond issue will help maintain lower insurance rates and quality fire protection.
Please help the district and all the dedicated volunteers to have the equipment they need to serve you. With the drought and the fire conditions in our forests, a situation like Los Alamos could easily happen here in Pagosa. Last October we could have easily lost the Vista Subdivision and the homes on Stevens Circle, had the wind not changed.
Help us prepare for the big one; vote yes on May 7.
Call them Intermountain League champions.
The Pagosa Springs High School Pirates clinched that title (shared with Bayfield) with a doubleheader sweep of Ignacio at Golden Peaks Stadium Monday.
Both the Pirates and Wolverines are 7-1 in the league. All other teams are 2-6. Pagosa and Bayfield defeated each other by a single run, so they are, indeed, co-champions.
The Pirates needed to halt Ignacio to achieve league supremacy, but didn't start as quickly as they had intended.
Pirate hurler Darin Lister opened the first game by fanning Ignacio's top hitter Alex Abeyta, who was ranked among the top 10 hitters in state Class 3A. It was the first of three strikeouts for Abeyta in the opener.
The Bobcat center fielder, H. Jessie, broke up any thoughts of a Lister no-hitter when he singled as the second hitter but was left on base as another Bobcat grounded to second and Lee Robins flied to right.
Pagosa had the bases loaded in their half of the first - on walks to Ross Wagle, Ben Marshall and Lawren Lopez, but a pop up and two fly balls couldn't bring them in.
Ignacio went three and out in the second, the final out being the first of four strikeouts in a row by Lister.
Pagosa opened the scoring for the day with a pair in their half of the inning. Designated hitter Dustin Spencer drew a walk to open the frame, then stole second. He stayed there as David Kern struck out and Justin Caler grounded to short. But Ross Wagle doubled him in and Lister helped his own cause with a single, driving in Wagle and staking him to a 2-run lead. Lister also stole second, but was left there as Marshall grounded out.
As noted, the three Ignacio hitters in the third were all strikeout victims and Pagosa put the game out of reach with six runs, sending 10 batters to the plate in the Pirate half of the inning.
First baseman Ronnie Janowsky opened the attack with a single and went to third on a misplayed ball in left. Lopez followed with a single, plating the run, and then stole second himself. He advanced on a passed ball and scored on Marcus Rivas' sacrifice fly to right. Spencer fanned for the second out, but Kern reached on an error by the shortstop and stole second. Caler walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Wagle ripped a ground-rule double which bounced over the fence. Lister reached on a shortstop error allowing Wagle to score, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Marshall's single. Janowsky struck out to end the Pirate uprising.
Ignacio got a pair of those runs back in the fourth on two hits and three Pagosa errors sandwiched around two more strikeouts by Lister. Pagosa got a Lopez single in the fourth, but the Pirates were unable to move him around.
Three more Ignacio batters went down swinging in the fifth and then the Pirates added a run without benefit of a hit in their half, drawing three walks in the frame, recording two more stolen bases and getting help from an Ignacio error.
The Bobcats tried to rally in the sixth when Robins singled and went to second on a passed ball by Marshall. Jay Justesen struck out, but Cox doubled in a run. He tried to steal third but was caught by Lister's throw to Lopez. The next batter walked but Lister fanned Pete Justesen to end the inning.
Then the Pirates put the game away, forcing the 10-run mercy ruling by scoring five in their half of the sixth with just one out.
Featured in the attack were a single and two stolen bases by Danny Lyon; a walk for Robert Kern and another stolen base; another double by Wagle, giving him five runs batted in for the game; and consecutive singles by Lister, Marshall and Janowsky.
Lister had 12 strikeouts in the game, his top total for a single game this season, and walked only one. Pagosa's 14 runs came on 11 hits, Ignacio's four on five hits. Perhaps most significant were the 11 stolen bases by Pirate runners.
Janowsky moved to the mound for game two and promptly hit Abeyta with a pitch, the only time the Ignacio leadoff man would reach all day. The next two batters were out on routine fly balls before a throwing error by Lister left Ignacio with a runner. Janowsky got Cox on a comebacker to end the frame.
Pagosa got three in their half of the first, with Wagle and Lister both drawing walks. Marshall grounded to short and Janowsky flied to center before Lopez ripped a single, Rivas walked and Spencer delivered the first of his three hits in the game to set the stage for another mercy rule ending.
Janowsky got the first two Ignacio batters in the second on grounders to Lister at short, then faced trouble for the only time in the game as he gave up consecutive singles to two batters before getting Pete Justesen on a grounder to second.
The Pagosa second was a nightmare for Ignacio.
Justin Caler opened with a single but was cut down when Wagle hit into a fielder's choice. Then the parade began. A double by Lister, single by Marshall, infield hit by Janowsky and then consecutive singles by Lopez, Rivas, David Kern, Jarrett Frank and Caler gave the Pirates seven runs on seven hits in the frame.
Janowsky fanned three Ignacio batters in the third, giving up a single in between. Pagosa got three more runs in the third on only one hit, a hit batsman and two Ignacio errors.
Ignacio went three and out in the fourth on two ground balls to third and a strikeout by Janowsky.
The Pirates went right back to work in the bottom of the frame, scoring four runs on two hits - by Robert Kern and Young - while sending nine men to the plate, including Levi Gill who hit a screaming line drive back at the pitcher in his first varsity appearance. That made the score 17-0 and Ignacio had to bat in the fifth to make the mercy rule effective.
It didn't take long. A Bobcat popped to short, another pop went to second and a third to first base where Lopez bobbled the ball but caught it before it hit the ground.
Game totals show Pagosa with 17 runs on 12 hits, Ignacio blanked by Janowsky on three hits.
Pirate fans were worried when Lister, fielding Herrera's ball in the third, was victimized by a bad hop which hit just below his left eye and raised a huge welt, drew blood and forced him out of the game. After the contest and icing, the swelling was subsiding but it was obvious he'd have a magnificent black eye for a few days.
They committed seven errors in the first three innings Thursday, but the Pagosa Springs Pirates baseball team still had a 9-7 lead.
They scored only once more, in the bottom of the seventh, en route to a 12-10 loss to the visiting Kirtland Central Broncos.
The visitors took an early 1-0 lead after third baseman Ben Cluff reached base on an error, advanced to second on the first of two errant pickoff throws by Pirate hurler Ross Wagle, and came around to score on a pair of infield outs before the side was retired.
After Pagosa's first two batters were retired in the bottom of the frame, first baseman Ronnie Janowsky evened the score with a home run over the left field fence. Janowsky had been fooled by two curve balls from Bronco hurler Lance Aspaas, but when Aspaas tried to sneak a fast ball past him, Janowsky was ready.
Wagle surrendered three consecutive singles and a walk to the first four batters in the second and all came in to score, assisted by three more Pirate errors, before Wagle settled down, fanned a pair and got an infield grounder to get out of the jam trailing 5-1.
His teammates got three of those runs back in the bottom of the second. Catcher Ben Marshall reached on an error by Kirtland's left fielder and advanced to third on a single to center by right fielder Marcus Rivas. Designated hitter Dustin Spencer drew a walk to load the bases with no outs and a potential big inning loomed for Pagosa.
Those hopes dimmed when first David Kern and then Justin Caler struck out. But Wagle came to his own aid with a two-run single to right center and Spencer scored when the Bronco third baseman misplayed Lister's ground shot. Janowsky grounded out to end the uprising.
The Broncos hiked their led to 7-4 in the third on two hits, a single to right and a long home run.
Pagosa, again, came right back, plating five in their half of the inning to take a 9-7 lead. Third baseman Lawren Lopez led off the rally with a single to center and Marshall drew a walk only to be cut down at second when Rivas grounded into a fielder's choice, Lopez moving to third. The runners held as Spencer struck out but Lopez scored when the Bronco centerfielder dropped David Kern's fly ball and Caler singled up the middle to drive in Rivas. After Wagle drew a walk, battling back from an 0-2 count, Lister delivered a bases-clearing double off the center field fence. After Janowsky flied to right, the Pirates had fashioned a 9-7 lead after three innings.
Wagle gave up a double and a walk in the fourth but Kirtland could not score. The Pirates got two base runners in their half of the inning on a walk and a hit batsman, but they, too, were unable to score.
Kirtland cut the margin to 9-8 in the fifth. Shortstop Garrett Lucero opened with an infield hit but was cut down attempting to steal on a perfect throw from Marshall. Center fielder Devon Manning singled and held as right fielder Dustin Shevokas flied to center. Manning scored on a double by first baseman Day Crum before Aspaas flied to center to end the inning.
Wagle drew a walk and stole second in the fifth, but his teammates were unable to advance him and the score held at 9-8.
The Pirates' fate was sealed in the sixth when Kirtland got three runs on three hits and drove Wagle from the mound, replaced by Lopez.
The inning opened innocently enough when Jason Haskie grounded out second to first. But Sabin Warner singled to left, Cluff drew a walk and second baseman Dustin Myers doubled to drive in two.
Lopez, in relief, retired Lucero on a fly to right but Manning singled to center, driving in the third run. Shevokas walked but Crum popped out to Marshall to end the Bronco sixth with the visitors leading 11-9.
The Pirates had four base runners in their half of the sixth but could not score. Lopez struck out to open the frame. Marshall drew a walk but was out on a fielder's choice with Rivas safe at first. Spencer reached on an error by the first baseman and Robert Kern, batting for his brother, David, was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Caler struck out to end the threat.
A walk, an infield ground out and a single to left by Cluff gave Kirtland another run in the seventh, hiking the visitors' lead to 12-9.
The Pirates were not quite done, however.
After Wagle struck out to open the Pirates' half of the inning, Lister worked Crum, pitching in relief, for a walk, moved to second on an errant pickoff throw, stole third, and scored on a passed ball, cutting the lead to 12-10.
Janowsky struck out but Lopez drew a walk to keep Pirate hopes alive. The embers of the rally were doused moments later when Marshall popped to short to end the game.
Pagosa's 10 runs came on only six hits, none after the third inning. The Pirates were aided by five Kirtland errors, two wild pitches, a passed ball and two hit batsmen by Bronco pitchers.
The Broncos 12 runs came on 13 hits, 10 off Wagle and three against Lopez, four Pagosa walks and the seven errors.
With two starters missing and a pair of players below par healthwise, the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates gave Durango a tough game Tuesday before bowing 5-1.
The lone Pagosa goal came on a shot by Melissa Diller.
Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said his team was hampered by the missing players, but in general marked well, "perhaps better than we've done for some time."
In fact, he said the most of the first 20 minutes was played in the Durango defensive zone "as we kept the pressure on. Still, we didn't convert several openings we had."
The game was just 2-0 in Durango's favor at halftime.
Pagosa has three league contests remaining, starting with Center here at 4 p.m. today, Ridgway coming to town at 4:30 Friday, and Ignacio closing out the home season at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
In earlier contests against those foes on their home fields, Pagosa beat Ignacio and Center and lost to Ridgway.
The visiting Salida Lady Spartans were stunned by 50-mile per hour winds whipping across Pagosa's Golden Peaks Stadium Saturday, but they had it at their backs for the first half and scored three times in the first 13 minutes en route to a 7-2 victory over their hosts.
Most of the damage was by Salida's all-state candidate, Sarah Martinez, who scored twice in the first four minutes, added another in the 26th minute and, for good measure, added two second half goals giving her five for the day.
Her first, a breakaway on the left side, had Pagosa goalkeeper Sierra Fleenor diving to her left for a shot that went high. She scored again at 3:17 on an almost mirror-image play except that the kick went low instead of high.
At 16:20 Martinez was joined in the scoring parade by senior Jessi Warthen who got the most unusual score of the day. She headed a ball out of a tight defensive battle 35 yards in front of the goal. Fleenor came out for the stop and the ball simply blew over her head and directly into the net - a 35-yard header score.
Pagosa's first legitimate chance in the constant wind was Bri Scott's left-footer at 30:56 which died in the wind and was easily stopped. Two minutes and 37 seconds later, Pagosa right wing Aubrey Volger was stopped on a vicious rip that veered from right corner to left of the net, where it hit the post.
Martinez opened second-half scoring at 49:02, hiking the visitors' lead to 5-0, scoring unassisted on a drive up the middle, with a fake to the right and a left-footer to the left corner. At 59:29, she got her fifth marker, again all alone on the attack and outdistancing Pirate defenders.
Scott finally broke the Pagosa scoring drought at 63:31 with a left-foot return of a rebound off a shot by Melissa Diller.
At 75:16 Charley DePriest got Salida's final goal, hers too unassisted, against a defense slow to react to midfield change of possession.
Less than a minute later, Pagosa got the goal back.
Kyrie Beye got the play going with a lead pass from the right middle to Meagan Hilsabeck. Her crossing pass to Tricia Lucero breaking from the left wing was perfectly placed for a one-step left-footer which soared past the Salida keeper to put the final score at 7-2.
The weather conditions were such, the entire game, that three portable toilets adjacent to the stands were blown over; the light poles were veering an estimated 15 feet from center line and, at one point, the Salida keeper had to call time out after being hit in the head by a flying towel, apparently blown northeastward from the Pirate baseball field.
Shots of goal: S-14, P-7. Saves: P-Fleenor 5, S-Potts, 4. Penalty kicks: S-1.
Wind was a factor, but it was equally disruptive for both teams, as Pagosa's Lady Pirates lost a 4-1 soccer match in Ridgway Friday.
Pagosa had the first four serious goal chances in the contest, but Ridgway's Randi Latham got the first marker at 26:11 on an 18-yard drive from the right wing.
Before that goal, the Pirates had tried repeatedly to drive into the wind but only a pair of efforts by left wing Tricia Lucero had chances to go in and they were definitely affected by the stiff breeze.
And, a drop pass from senior right wing Aubrey Volger to freshman Brittany Corcoran was drilled up and over the Demons' goalkeeper but, unfortunately, over the net, too.
Ridgway had a free kick at the nine-minute mark, but the wind whipped it wide left. Their only other shot on goal before the score was Porsha Hunger's line shot snared by Pirate keeper Sierra Fleenor.
At 30:14, Pagosa got another fine scoring chance when Lori Whitbred took a cross from freshman Bri Scott and ripped it a foot off the ground, only to see it veer 10-15 yards wide left on the sweeping wind.
A Ridgway indirect kick at 33:15 sailed high over the nets and the first period ended with the Ridgway 1-0 lead intact after two more saves by Fleenor.
At 3:36 of the second half, Fleenor made another excellent stop on a breakaway by Ridgway's Parker Fargrelius. Her outlet pass to striker Meagan Hilsabeck was crossed to Melissa Diller open from the left corner of the box but her shot sailed wide right.
Just under two minutes later, Pirate sweeper Cassie Pfeifle made a great stop on a breakaway by Latham.
The highlight of the game for Pagosa came at 58:20 when the Lady Pirates tied the score on an excellent display of team passing. Pfeifle intercepted a header at midfield and sent a long lead kick to Scott, breaking from the right striker position. Her drop pass to Hilsabeck led to the latter's 10-yarder to tie the game.
Pagosa mounted continuous pressure for the next three minutes, with both Scott and Hilsabeck stopped on fine plays by Ridgway's substitute keeper, Jamie Scoville.
Fargrelius broke the tie at 60:49 when she broke free of Pagosa's back line defense and beat Fleenor high to the right corner.
Scoville kept the score at 2-1 for her team with consecutive saves against Hilsabeck, Jenna Finney, Corcoran, and Scott in a two-minute Pirate surge ending with the 62nd minute.
Hunger hiked the Ridgway lead to 3-1 with a breakaway following the stop on Scott. She was behind the Pirates' defense before they could react.
At the 75-minute mark, Pagosa's bid to close the gap was thwarted by Scoville who dived far to her left to snare Carlena Lungstrum's 15-yarder and that was the end of the Pirate offense.
Ridgway, however, was not done. Again, it was a Fargrelius breakaway as transition defense failed to get back and Fleenor was beaten, this time to the left corner on a shot right in front of the nets.
Shots on goal: P-14, R-14. Saves: P-Fleenor 7, R-Trechal 3 and Scovill, 7. Penalty kicks: R-1.
The Pagosa Springs' boys track team brought home sixth place from the 44th annual Bloomfield Invitational Saturday, ending the day with four top-three finishes.
Jason Schutz claimed second place in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, setting a school record in the 100 with a time of 11.08 seconds. A runner from Albuquerque won the event in 10.95. In the 200, Schutz ran a 22.72, behind the same opponent who won it in 22.67.
To continue the streak, Brandon Samples finished third in the 800-meter run, crossing the line in 2 minutes 11.40 seconds with teammate Aaron Hamilton on his heels. Hamilton finished the race in fourth with a time of 2:13.06. Pagosa's last top-three finish came in the 1600-meter relay where the boys finished third in 3:48.28.
In other results, Pagosa finished fifth in the medley relay with a time of 4:13.62. Jeremy Buikema claimed another fifth in the 400-meter dash, finishing in 55.90. Brian Hart ended the day with a sixth place finish in the 110-meter hurdles.
Kirtland won the boys' event with 104 points. Piedra Vista took second with 69.5 points, and Aztec finished in third with 61 points.
On the girls' side, Farmington won the team event with 101 points, La Cueva finished second with 78.5 points, and Bloomfield finished third with 72 points. Although the Pagosa Springs girls ended the day without placing anyone in an event, Amanda McCain broke a school record in the mile, running it in six minutes.
Bob Hand: A legacy that will endure
I'm sure that by now most of you have heard that Bob Hand passed away in Albuquerque last week after an extended illness.
Hopefully, most of you are also aware that the Visitor Center is named after Bob for a very good reason - it was he who was solely instrumental in having this building erected and for setting the extremely high standards for this organization.
Bob was a visionary who anticipated the growth we have experienced and the many changes this town would see over the years. He did all he could to equip us with the tools necessary to deal graciously with those changes.
Bob left many footprints in this community and certainly a legacy that has and will endure the test of time. We will miss him and offer our heartfelt sympathy to his family and all those who loved him. We count ourselves fortunate indeed that he was a part of our lives.
Saturday is the big day when we christen our first-ever Volunteer Recruitment Fair at the Extension building at the fairgrounds. We have about a dozen organizations at the ready to share information with you about what they do and why they would be a good choice. This is the absolute perfect opportunity for you to "shop" and select just the right place and time to donate your talents and time. We hope to see lots and lots of potential volunteers roaming from booth to booth and know that, given this event, we will garner some wonderful new volunteers for the various organizations. Please plan to attend - even if you're just curious and already have the volunteer "job" of your dreams. Please join us on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for the Volunteer Recruitment Fair. Feel free to give us a call at 264-2360 with questions.
"Providing You With the Tools You Need to Survive and Prosper in Today's Changing Market" is the theme for the first Western Colorado Tourism Conference May 1 in Montrose at the Montrose Pavillion. Registration is $40 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch and should be sent pronto. Hopefully, you saw the article in last week's SUN, and those who are interested will plan to attend. It is open to the public and targeted to those interested in furthering their knowledge of the tourism industry. I will be attending and will be happy to talk to anyone interested about it.
This is the first conference of its kind sponsored by Region 9, Region 10 and the Southwest Colorado Travel Region, of which this Chamber has been an active member for many years, providing an excellent networking opportunity for all members. We hope that this will become an annual event aimed to educate and equip individuals and groups working in the tourism and hospitality industry with the know-how needed to thrive in today's transitional economy. In attendance and presenting at this conference will be members of the board of directors of the Colorado Tourism Office and PRACO Advertising and Checkmark - those folks who handle all the marketing for the state of Colorado. Numerous workshops will be presented throughout the day on tourism-related topics by experts in the field.
If you are interested in attending, please drop by the Chamber and pick up a form or give me a call at 264-2360 for more information. You can also call the Region 9 host, Margaret Howlett at (970) 249-2436.
Local Appreciation Week
Don't forget that next Monday Local Appreciation Week begins here in Pagosa. This means you can score bargains aplenty at our local stores. This is the annual event devoted to allowing our merchants to thank all of you, our local residents, for your support throughout the year. They do this in many ways, which makes shopping from store-to-store somewhat like a box of chocolates - you just never know what you're going to find. Merchants pretty much always offer great bargains, but some also throw in snacks, candy, treats, or liquid sustenance just to make things more interesting. Doug has delivered many pink posters for you to seek out identifying those who are participating. If for some reason he inadvertently missed someone, please just stop by to pick one up for your store.
Don't miss this opportunity to save some dough and get to know your local merchants a little bit better in the process. It will be a particularly good time to "Shop Pagosa First" and discover and rediscover all the wonderful shopping opportunities we have right here in Pagosa. Give us a call at 264-2360 with any questions.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council will sponsor a garage sale at the Town Park gallery Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. with refreshments and bargains galore. You can make a day of it with the Volunteer Recruitment Fair and the Garage Sale.
Spanish Fiesta Royalty
The Spanish Fiesta Club invites you to pick up a royalty application form at the Chamber if you are interested in becoming the king, queen or princess for that organization. This is an honor that carries a number of responsibilities, all of which are clearly outlined in the application. If you are a resident of Archuleta County, between fifth and 12th grades, unmarried, have your parents' permission and are currently enrolled in an accredited school, please come by the Chamber and pick up a form. Deadline for applications is noon tomorrow, and you can call 264-4604 with questions.
Beds for cyclists
We're still looking for local residents who would just love to adopt a cyclist (or two) for one night when Ride The Rockies rolls through Pagosa June 16. We have many more requests for home stays than we have homes and would greatly appreciate some more beds. Once again, your only big responsibility is to provide a bed for these folks, and you are also asked to pick them up and drop them off at the high school. Give us a call if you can give us a hand at 264-2360.
County Fair Royalty
The 2002 Archuleta County Fair Royalty Pageant will be held Sunday, April 28, at 4 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium. The 2001 royalty - Queen Lauren Caves, Princess Veronica Leiler and Junior Princess Rachel Carrell - will be on hand to pass on the honor and responsibilities to incoming royalty. Please plan to attend this lovely occasion and support these young people. For more information, call Lisa at 731-0179.
The Music Boosters, Pagosa Springs' Performing Arts Company, proudly presents the Pulitzer prize winning production of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's, "You Can't Take It With You" in the high school auditorium. Dates for this auspicious event are May 9, 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. and on Mother's Day, May 12, at 3 p.m. We will say more about this later, but I will tell you that this production boasts a large and colorful cast of characters that will keep you rolling in the aisles. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors with a senior discount card, and $8 for ages 6 and under. You can purchase tickets at the Chamber, The Plaid Pony, the Sisson Library and Moonlight Books. Don't miss it, folks.
I couldn't be happier to announce to you that we have eight new members to introduce this week and 10 renewals. It absolutely astonishes me that we continue to experience such good fortune, and I can assure you we never take it for granted. Thank you all for your support and recommendations - we are most grateful.
We welcome Dan Cox who brings us Pagosa Consulting Services, Inc. doing business in his home. Dan provides Web and software development and system conversions for PC's, IBM AS/400 and RS 6,000 midrange computers as well as IBM 3090 and Honeywell mainframe platforms. You can reach Dan at www.pagosaconsulting.com or at 731-0607 for more information about how he can help you in the wonderful world of the Web.
Scott Miller joins us next with his own new business, Allclean Carpet and Upholstery, doing business out of his home. Scott was formerly a member with Mastercorps but has branched out on his own now, and we are happy that he has joined us with this new business. Scott is a qualified technician cleaning carpets upholstery and oriental rugs, and tackling flood damage since 1996. He's happy to offer free estimates and is available for emergency services around the clock. Please give him a call at 264-2722 to see how he can help you with your spring-cleaning needs.
Kiu T. Ha joins us next with the Shanghai Restaurant located at 100 Country Center Lane, Suites A and B, in the Pagosa Country Center complex. You are invited to join them in their comfortable, relaxing environment to enjoy authentic, genuine Chinese food. They assure you that you will leave with a big smile. They will open soon, and I invite you to watch this column and their announcements of the opening date. For questions, call 731-1688.
Shari Zale joins us next with Park Place Barber Salon located at 301 North Pagosa Blvd., Suite B-14, Greenbriar Plaza. The Park Place Barber Salon offers professional services by barber Shari, stylist and curly hair specialist Sharon, and holistic bodywork by Julie, in one convenient uptown location. Give them a call at 731-4554 to see what new look they can give you for the summer. Barbara Griffin is the recipient of our sincere gratitude for recruiting Shari as well as a free SunDowner pass.
Bonnie W. Nyre joins us next with her new business, Slices of Nature, located at 144 Pagosa St. right next to the Christmas in Pagosa Shop. Bonnie offers coffee or cappuccino on her porch as well as specialty coffee and handcrafted wood and antler products by a local artist. You'll also find home and bath accessories and embroidered Colorado T-shirts and sweatshirts. Stop in to say hello to Bonnie in her new digs or give her a call 264-1022. We thank our pal, Mary Hart, for recruiting Bonnie and will send off a free SunDowner pass for her efforts.
Charles and Cynde Jackson join us next with Coin Crafters located at 97 Hopi, Unit 3. These folks are your complete source for Penny Presses and vintage-style arcade equipment. These vintage- style attractions have proven profitable for more than half a century, and, although we haven't had ours at the Chamber for 50 years, I can tell you that kids absolutely adore the penny machine. Please give them a call at 731-1073 for more information.
Jari McGinnis and Connie Giffin join us next with Mountain Classic Mortgages located at 190 Talisman Drive, C-6. Mountain Classic Mortgages is a mortgage brokerage serving Colorado and New Mexico in home construction, alternative building, and land and business loans. They are proud to offer integrity in lending and invite you to call them at 731-6333 for more information.
Nancy A. King joins us as Associate Realtor with Coldwell Banker, The Pagosa Group, located at 2383 Highway 160 West. Nancy specializes in first-time buyers and is very knowledgeable in the loan process. She is proud to offer responsive, professional service to all her clients. She welcomes your phone call at 946-7228 to see how she can help you with your real estate needs. We thank her husband, Kenny King, for his recruitment efforts and will happily reward Kenny with a free SunDowner pass.
Our renewals this week include Kathy Keyes and Kirsten Skeehan with Pagosa Baking Company; Greg Coffey with Immune System Education Resources; Charlie and Emily Rogers with A & P Tents in Creede; Dawn Ross with Buckskin Towing and Repair, LLC; Jerry Smith with High Country Cowboy Company, Inc.; Betty Slade with the Antique and Collectible Mall; Betty Slade with The Ridge at Pagosa Springs-Ridgeview Mall; Jim Plant with Alco Department Store; Sue Gast with Bank of the San Juans; and Amy Bishel with Friends of Archuleta County History. Thanks to all.
Casino trip exciting time for all participants
The trip to Sky Ute Casino last week was quite a success. The folks who went were still excited about the good time they had, and I'm sure there will be many more good times to come.
Thanks to Nina Allen who presented a class on glycerin soap making. I'm sure all of the participants enjoyed it.
We appreciated having Doug Purcell from the Division of Wildlife talk to us about preventing bears from invading our surroundings.
Also, a big thank you to the secret donor who gave a big boost to our art program.
It was great to welcome back Andy Martinez, John Montoya, Mamie Lynch, Delpha McFatridge, Rose Facker and Peggy Cooper this week.
Christy Hansen is our new driver. Welcome Christy.
Our Senior of the Week is Ray Pack. Congratulations Ray. We always enjoy having Ray and his lovely wife, Sharon, join us.
Bobby and Carroll Carruth are collecting solid color marbles. If you can donate some, please drop them off at the Senior Center.
There will be a blood drive at the Senior Center April 30 between 1:30 and 5 p.m.
The staff at the Senior Center needs some more volunteers. Please contact Musetta or Laura if you would be willing to donate a few hours occasionally. They are especially in need of a handyman to work with the home chore program.
Calling all artists. We are having a contest for a design of a small logo reflecting the new Senior Center name: "Silver Foxes Den". We plan to have the winning logo put on mugs for the fall Oktoberfest as well as our brochures. Deadline for entering the contest is May 30.
Tomorrow Dr. Nelson will give a presentation about macular degeneration.
Other upcoming events include:
The Senior Board meeting, 12:45 p.m. tomorrow in Town Hall. Interested guests are welcome to join us
Yoga is at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays and art classes at 12:45 p.m.
Note: The art class scheduled April 30 is canceled.
Observing the collecting process
Plans for the spring rafting trip through the canyons of the San Juan River continue. We've packed and repacked our gear, made and checked lists, looked at the river maps again and again.
We met with the rest of the group to figure out the meals. This really meant that we divided up the meal duties.
Everyone will be responsible for at least a couple of meals. Some people get more. Hotshot and I, who are joining the trip two days after the others start, have only a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner to worry about.
And I do mean worry. These people we're rafting with are meat-eaters in a big way. Carnivores to the max. "We have a spiral-cut ham," said one woman. "That's good for one dinner." In my household, that's good for ever.
A local columnist in San Antonio used to write occasionally about his wife's tuna noodle casserole, and how many people it would feed. Obviously, her tuna noodle casserole was way down on his list of foods he would eat. One bite was more than enough, he implied. He said she could have served it to the multitudes who gathered to hear Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mount and there still would have been some left over.
Well, that's how the ham would go at our vegetarian household table.
"I warned you these people were meat-eaters," said Fearless Leader.
At first I had told her we'd cope. Now, I'm not so sure. Where's the common ground, when someone says, "I've got plenty of elk. You eat elk?" Hotshot, ever ready to be agreeable, says, "Sure." I pinch my fingers together and say, "Maybe a little bit." All the while I'm wondering, where's the salad? Where's the fruit? What about the broccoli?
Besides a change in what we're going to bring, I'm adjusting to how much we're taking. It's quite a shift away from thinking about backpacking equipment to raft trips. From lightweight to "who cares." We'll apparently have three rafts and a flotilla of smaller craft for fun activities like playing in the rapids we encounter. We may have more boats than people.
The rafts are called supply boats. They carry the food and the equipment. All kinds of equipment.
These rafters don't worry about weight. They're taking cast iron Dutch ovens, two of them, maybe three. Big iron skillets. A three-burner Coleman stove. "You think that'll be enough?" they ask. My group cooking experience has been for backpackers, where most meals are a cross between a soup and a stew, cooked in one pot and eaten with a spoon. Now it's, "Oh, we'll take this." And, "we'll take that." I can't relate to this new way of doing things.
Big coolers will hold the food. At least one cooler is for the frozen stuff, in other words, the meat. And the eggs. You can freeze eggs quite well, I learned, if you take them out of the shell and poke a hole in the yolks.
At our practically vegan household, eggs are another thing of the past. But on this trip, I quickly figured out, breakfast will include eggs and probably sausage. No matter who's fixing it. Somehow, I don't think a bowl of Muesli will go over well with the carnivore crowd.
When I canoed with the Explorer Scouts we went on the cheap. We didn't have dry bags for gear. Instead, we carried all our equipment in big plastic barrels, the kind that fast food places get their pickle relish in. They doubled as seats. Now, it's, "You'll want to bring chairs." We're going to be comfortable. Comfort seems to be an important component of rafting.
On this raft trip, as on the trips the Scouts made in Big Bend, we'll carry our own water. You sure can't drink what's in the river. I doubt a water filter could even begin to take out the silt. Brown is the natural color of the river. It's so full of silt, I'm surprised we can't walk on it.
One year in Big Bend the Scouts ran low on water. We tried filtering river water through T-shirts. Five passes through T-shirts, and the water looked as brown as when we started. And the shirts were permanently clay-colored.
One year something happened to our Scouts' supply of barrels, and we had to scrounge new ones from every McDonald's and Wendy's and Burger King that would let us take them.
There wasn't enough time to scrub the pickle smell out of the plastic. All our water smelled and tasted faintly of pickle. Pickle permeated the coffee, the granola bars, the lemon pudding. We went to bed with the smell of pickle relish in our sleeping bags, and we pulled on pickle-smelling T shirts.
That won't happen this time. We'll carry water in "real" water containers.
And we'll carry a lot of it. Enough to take showers on the trip. Now, that's a luxury I never considered in the old canoe trip days
Maybe this rafting will work out after all.
Free PLPOA canine registrations in May
Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association is offering free licensing for your dog during the entire month of May. To license your pet for free, bring vaccination records to the PLPOA office at 230 Port Ave., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Why do you need to license your pet?
Licensing allows the animal control officer or others to quickly identify your pet and return it safely home to you, should it become lost. Licensing can save you money. If your pet can be identified and returned home, you avoid expensive impound fees from the Humane Society and fines from PLPOA animal control for failure to license your pet.
Licensing your pet is a once-a-year event. If your pet loses a tag or it becomes unreadable you can go into the PLPOA office for a free replacement. Licensing is required and makes sense for both you and your pet.
Spring is the time to organize your life, the garage and the closets. PLPOA will be holding an Association-sponsored garage sale for members on Saturday, May 4. The garage sale will start at 8 a.m. and run until 2 p.m., weather permitting. Location will be the Trails Maintenance Building, 360 Sam Houston Blvd. in Trails Subdivision. To get there, turn on to Trails Boulevard off U.S. 160 (a half-mile west of Vista Boulevard), take your first left on to Sam Houston and follow the signs.
PLPOA will supply tables for your sale items, hot dogs and soda. What a deal. If interested in joining this community garage sale, call the administration office at 731-5635.
Spring is also the best time to go out and catch some hungry fish. The fishing has been excellent in the four Pagosa lakes. Trout, bass and crappie have been hitting just about anything tossed in the water and are waking up after an abbreviated winter. PLPOA has been stocking the lakes this spring with both trout and bass and will add more crappie later.
Hatcher Lake has been stocked with over 3,000 pounds of 12- to 16-inch rainbow trout and 2,000 individual largemouth bass. Lake Pagosa will receive 2,500 pounds of cutbow trout in May and was stocked with 1,500 largemouth bass last week. Lake Forest was stocked with 2,000 pounds of 12- to 16-inch rainbow and 900 individual largemouth bass.
PLPOA has decided not to stock Village Lake this year due to concerns about the water level in the lake and anticipated draw down from irrigation users. Village Lake does, however, still contain a lot of nice bass, crappie and even some trout from the years of successful stocking and self-sustaining fish population. If things go well, the fish in Village Lake will be fine and fishing should be good even with low lake levels.
Spring is the best time to go fishing, but remember that you do need a lake use permit to fish the four Pagosa lakes and the permits are available at the Recreation Center and at the administrative office. The prices are the same as the last several years and are a great value.
Family goats drop twins, triplets
If anyone ever would have told me that I'd write about the delivery of a baby goat, I'd probably have said, "Who me? You are nuts! That's not my style!" But this week something happened to change all that. I did see a baby goat delivered, and I got so excited, I was ready to go off to college and take Animal Husbandry 101.
My nephew Kurt Laverty and his wife Danna live down the road from me. They have six children: Benellen, Allison, Mason, Johanna, Jesse and Caleb (born Feb. 24, 2002 and too young to be part of this story). The kids have animals. Now, dogs and cats and horses I've been around, but never goats. And they have two goats, Melody and Symphony, who were both pregnant.
I just happened to stop by their place Wednesday to find the kids on pins and needles and running out to the barn every few minutes. They said that Melody was about to have her baby. I left, saying to call me whenever this happened. Very early the next morning, Benelle called to tell me that Melody had twins in the night (a rare thing for first-time birth) and that Symphony was acting as surrogate mother and nursing them.
Late Friday I stopped by and again the kids were on fire. From the barn Allison yelled, "She's dropped it!" And out we scrambled. Thirty minutes later Symphony dropped another one, and this time I was there to see it.
But Symphony was restless, she didn't want to settle down and the kids were sure that she wasn't through. When I had to leave, I told them to let me know whatever.
They were vigilant and became concerned because Mama was having contractions and nothing was coming. So they went next door to get their aunt, Kitzel Farrah, to come help. Kitzel probed and realized that the problem was that the head was turned sideways, and when she couldn't get it straightened, pulled the baby goat out feet first. It was a breached delivery.
The first baby dropped at 4:30, the second at 5 and the third at 7:15. Allison told me all about it. She had the operation pin-pointed. I asked Mason how they could tell if she was ready to deliver. It seems that the goats' pupils that are slit-shaped dilate and get round like a human's eye, and that her bottom was covered with creamy white stuff.
I'm writing this from a position of pure ignorance so if I slaughter the terminology, please understand. But to end this story, I want to announce that there are twins and triplets at the Kurt Laverty's. The twins' names are Faith and Courage and the triplets are Comanche, Kiowa and Cheyenne.
Last week's SUN had a good article about an excellent 4-H program in Archuleta County. 4-H programs are conducted in more than 3,000 U.S. counties, the District of Columbia and six territories. About 45 million Americans have been involved in 4-H since it started nearly 100 years ago and some 82 countries around the world have youth programs similar to 4-H. I have always regretted not being in 4-H.
Fun on the run
Ways professors grade their students
Department of statistics: All grades are plotted along the normal bell curve.
Department of psychology: Students are asked to blot ink in the exam books, close them and turn them in. The professor opens the books and assigns the first grade that comes to mind.
Department of history: All students get the same grade they got last year.
Department of religion: Grade is determined by God.
Department of philosophy: What is a grade?
English department: Your final exam will be scored by totaling the weight of all the books you read this semester, 40-plus pounds = A, 30 pounds = B, 20 pounds = C, 10 pounds = D, less than 10 pounds = F.
Law school: Students are asked to defend their position of why they should receive an A.
Department of mathematics: Grades are variable.
Department of physics: Grades are relative, but all theoretical physics is really mathematics. See above.
Department of chemistry: All theoretical chemistry is really physics. See above.
Department of biology: All theoretical biology is really chemistry. See above.
Department of logic: If and only if the student is present for the final and the student has accumulated a passing grade then the student will receive an A, else the student will not receive an A.
Department of Marxist studies: The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Therefore, everyone will now get the same grade.
Department of economics: All of your grades, as a collection, will reach the level where your marginal product (MP) of labor for each individual grade is equal.
Department of operations and logistics management: Grades will be posted at 12:00, noon. Not 11:59, not 12:01.
New park good site for veterans' memorial
I recently wrote a letter of inquiry to the town of Pagosa Springs concerning a possible memorial to Archuleta County veterans at the new park on the old Pagosa Springs Town Hall site in the center of town. Local veteran Mencor Valdez suggested the idea for the memorial to me, and it sounded like a good idea. I think it would be an ideal site for a veterans' memorial.
I subsequently had a phone conversation with Town Administrator Jay Harrington and he indicated the town might be interested in such a project. He said a small area might be available for a memorial. Much of the planning has already been done for the park so there is not a lot of room available. He said he would bring it before the town board at its next meeting. I stopped by Town Hall last week briefly to look over the park plans, but personnel were not on hand at the time to discuss it. I hope to get by there again this week if time allows.
We also discussed the funding for this memorial which would probably have to come from private sources. I plan to contact local veterans' organizations and see if they are interested in joining this effort and what financial resources might be available or might be raised. Obviously all this is in its infancy and I will be writing about it more as we learn more information. Meanwhile I would encourage any interested veterans or organizations, veteran or non-veteran, to contact me.
Speaking of memorials, a 25- year-old mystery was solved recently regarding a local veteran's headstone. County Treasurer Travis Garret stopped by my office recently and asked me to look at something in her vault in the basement of the Archuleta County Courthouse. She showed me a headstone that had been stored there for as long as she could remember, but had no idea of why or what should be done with it. I wrote down the headstone information and called local veteran Ron Willett, who is also an active member of the local American Legion Post. I have found Ron a reliable source of help whenever I have questions about some local veteran. Ron has lived here most of his life and knows just about everything and everybody connected to our veterans. Ron said he knew who it was and said to bring the headstone over to him and he would take care of things.
The American Legion Post is very active in working on properly marking veteran grave sites at Hill Top Cemetery. It turns out this particular headstone was a duplicate for a local veteran who died in 1977. Apparently someone who did not know what to do with it at the time received this headstone. Subsequently a second headstone was ordered and placed on the grave, since the responsible parties did not know where the first one went. The original headstone had been stored for 25 years.
As you may know, I was away from the office for a week recently, attending the annual Veterans Affairs spring training conference at Denver. I attended many seminars and instructional classes on learning more about VA benefits and how best to help veterans obtain those benefits. The VA benefits system is very complex, addressing many varying veterans' issues. With this training I hope to increase my skill levels in assisting veterans to maximize the benefits they are entitled to.
For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. Active Internet Web site for Archuleta County Veterans Service Office can be found at www.geocities.com/vso_archuleta. The office number is 264-2304, the fax number is 264-5949, and e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, and Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
No Shepherds Staff this week!
Baseball-softball signup opens
Registration forms for both adult and youth baseball and softball can be picked up at Town Hall.
An adult team managers' meeting is scheduled May 20. Registration deadline for adults is May 24.
If you are looking to put together an adult softball team and would like more information, contact the parks and recreation department.
If you plan to coach in a kids' program there will be a coaches' meeting to discuss changes in rules and upcoming events at 5:30 p.m. today at Town Hall.
If you are using the softball fields on weekends and evenings please abide by all school and town policies: No dogs, no tobacco, no alcohol, and please pick up after yourself.
The department is getting ready for the 2002 youth baseball and softball seasons. As in the past, we are looking for individuals and organizations to help support the youth programs. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help, please contact the number listed above.
Science backs garlic's claim to fame
Today - Cloverbuds, Methodist Church, 4 p.m.
Today - 4-H Oil Painting, Extension office, 4:30 p.m.
Today - Fair Royalty Pageant Rehearsal, Extension office, 6:30 p.m.
Friday - 4-H Leathercrafts, Extension office, 1:30 p.m.
Friday - 4-H Ceramics, Extension office, 2 p.m.
Friday - 4-H Entomology, Extension office, 2 p.m.
Friday - 4-H Leader's Appreciation Dinner, 6 p.m.
April 27 - 4-H Cooking, Extension office-Arnold's Goat Farm, 9 a.m.
April 27 - 4-H Cake Decorating 1 and 2, Extension office, 2 p.m.
April 27 - 4-H Rocketry, Extension office, 2 p.m.
April 29 - 4-H Woodworking, Extension office, 4 p.m.
May 1 - 4-H Quality Assurance, Extension office, 6:30 p.m.
Garlic for health
Garlic long has been revered as a special food, not just for the unique flavor it imparts to foods but for its medicinal value. There is evidence that Egyptians worshiped garlic, having placed clay models of the bulb in Tutankhamon's tomb. It is said that Hippocrates himself used garlic vapors to treat certain cancers. In 1858, Louis Pasteur noted that bacteria died when doused with garlic. And during World War II, British physicians treated battle wounds with garlic preparations when antibiotics were scarce.
Although these remedies sound like folklore, modern science provides evidence to back up garlic's claim to fame. Garlic, as well as onions, leeks, chives and shallots, belong to a family of plants called allium. Vegetables and herbs in the allium family contain sulfur compounds that give them their pungent flavors and fragrances. Recent studies suggest these substances, particularly diallyl sulfide, S-allyl cysteine and allicin, may be potent inhibitors of the cancer initiation process, especially for colorectal and stomach cancers.
Garlic also has been widely studied for its role in cardiovascular health. Dioscorides, a well-known physician from the first century, wrote that garlic "clears the arteries and opens the mouths of veins." Recent studies that have examined the effects of garlic on blood cholesterol have shown mixed results. Some studies have shown a reduction in LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol levels, while others have not. However, if garlic does indeed have cardio-protective properties, it may be traced - at least in part - to its supposed ability to reduce the formation of blood clots, a claim that is gaining research attention of its own.
Garlic has been studied for immune-boosting properties, further solidifying its place in the medicinal plant hall of fame. Numerous studies performed in recent years indicate that the compound allicin, found in fresh garlic, has antibiotic and antifungal properties.
The chemical composition of garlic changes in response to being heated and even chopped, but nobody is quite sure which form delivers the most punch. For example, allicin is released when fresh garlic is chopped or pressed but destroyed with heating. It is for this reason that capsules, which contain processed garlic, may not be as effective as the real thing.
When selecting fresh garlic, look for firm, large-cloved bulbs in which the outer skin is tight, unbroken and free of soft spots. Store fresh garlic in a cool, dry place that allows good air circulation. A mesh bag or specially designed, covered terra-cotta jar with holes in the sides works well. Avoid storing garlic in plastic bags or sealed containers, as this tends to cause the garlic to wither and rot. Properly stored, most garlic bulbs can last for up to six months at cool room temperatures.
While it is not necessary to keep fresh garlic in the refrigerator, if you make dressings, oils, butters or marinades containing garlic, be sure to keep these refrigerated and use within two to three weeks. Garlic and oil mixtures stored at room temperature can support the growth of Clostridium botulinum, and subsequent production of a deadly toxin.
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 thirty cents per pound for both species. To those of you who are just starting out and are 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, 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.
No In Sync this week!
Prep art takes gallery stage May 2-22
Get ready to go to the first art exhibit of the season at the Pagosa Arts Council Gallery in Town Park. Charla Ellis' high school art class exhibit will be on display May 2-22. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see the great work the students have created.
The hours of the opening reception May 2 are 5-7 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The San Juan Festival Ballet spring performance will be at San Juan Dance Academy, 188 S. 8th St., May 16-18 beginning nightly at 7:30 p.m. A special children's performance will be presented at 11 a.m. May 18 at a ticket cost of $3. Tickets for other performances are $6 and are available at The Pagosa Kid or at the gallery. Call Stephanie Jones, 264-5068, for more information.
Now is the time to clean out those closets because the annual arts council garage sale will be held at the Town Park gallery 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
PSAC still needs a layout person for the Petroglyph, our quarterly newsletter. If you can do this, call Joanne at 264-5020.
If you want an easy volunteering job, PSAC needs someone to maintain its scrapbook. This is an important part of our history and your help would be appreciated. Call Joanne.
At no cost to the customer, both City Markets will donate a small percentage of your purchases to the arts council. Every time you do your shopping using your City Market Value Card, the computer takes care of the donation. Just come to the gallery and sign up.
The gallery and office are at 314 Hermosa St. For more information call 264-5020 or visit the Web site at pagosa-arts.com.
Sign up for new library cards
Come in and sign up for the new library card. This will help keep confusion down to a minimum once we change over to the new system.
Only six more days to get in your poems for our first annual contest in celebration of poetry month. We invite you to read "Journey Through Heartsongs," the incredible poems of Mattie J.T. Stepanek. Mattie is a young boy struggling with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. His fight has given him wisdom and insight, and his work and message have been recognized by appearances on Oprah and other shows as well as speaking at many national seminars. His poetry is uplifting.
Visit our display on the time line for victims' rights justice as we mark National Crimes Victims' Rights Week. The statistics tell a sad story. Archuleta County is prepared to assure victims' rights are met. If you need help and feel you've been victimized for any reason, call 264-9075.
"Canine Colorado: Where to Go and What to Do With Your Dog," by Cindy Hirschfeld is the ultimate guide to dog-friendly travel in our state.
Hirschfeld explores every dog-related aspect of hiking, biking, skiing, camping and traveling with a dog. It lists resorts and motels that allow animals and Pagosa can be considered friendly as sixteen places are listed.
Doggie Day Care Centers are also named, and Pagosa has one in there. Two Pagosa places are listed under "Animal Emergency Care."
"Raising the Hunley: The Remarkable History and Recovery of the Lost Confederate Submarine," by Brian Hicks and Schuyler Kropf is an extraordinary true story.
This spellbinding adventure story spans more than a century of American history. The cast of characters include Horace Hunley; the Union officers and crew who went down with the Housatonic; P.T. Barnum, who offered $100,000 for the Hunley's recovery; and novelist Clive Cussler, who spearheaded the mission that finally succeeded in finding the Hunley. The drama of salvaging the sub is only the prelude to a page-turning account of how scientists unsealed its archaeological treasure chest and discovered the inner workings of a submarine more technologically advanced than anyone expected, as well as numerous priceless artifacts.
"Democracy on Trial," by Page Smith is the story of the Japanese-American evacuation and relocation in World War II. It is timely as the executive order authorized the army to "exclude all persons" considered a threat to national security. Read about the personal motives of public figures in charge of the evacuation, and what unexpected effects the camps had on the traditional immigrant social structure.
This is the first comprehensive history of one of the most least-understood episodes in contemporary American history.
"The World Trade Center: A Tribute," by Bill Harris weaves together the political, architectural, and financial history of the Center. The book has more than 120 color photos. Harris is an expert on New York's history and landmarks. He worked for the New York Times for over 20 years.
Once again we thank Jill Snider (daughter of volunteer Shirley Snider) for information and gifts. Jill sent us a Clifford the Big Red Dog alarm clock that will sit proudly in the children's room. Jill also sent information about an up-coming TV show aimed at girls ages 3-7.
Jill sent a poster telling about "Angelina Ballerina" that will premiere on PBS in May. Angelina is a ballet-dancing mouse. The episodes will be combined with live action from the Royal Academy of Dance to create 13 programs. British actress Finty Williams brings Angelina to life and her mother, Academy Award-winning actress Judy Dench voices the character of Miss Lilly.
Carol Mestas donated books in memory of Father Tom Coleman and Ben Talamante. Materials came from Robert Kamrath, Paul Matlock, Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Bell, Donald Nicholls, Bob and Lisa Scott, Karen Delgado, The Munrowes, and Jane Cook for the many books on tape. A special thanks to Dan Senjem for the 1894 map of Colorado. You're all invited to look at this map from the USGS in Denver.
Girls show higher risk of depression
Recent studies have painted a dark picture of the way our society treats its daughters. Surveys have shown a troubling downward arc to related aspects of girls' lives as they continue through secondary school. They experience a larger drop in self-esteem than do boys, and as a result are "more likely to lose interest in activities that challenge them, less likely to believe in their own abilities, and less likely to question teachers even when they believe the teachers are wrong."
A Commonwealth Fund's Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls recently recorded responses of 6,748 boys and girls in grades five through 12. Two of the survey's key findings were that girls are at a significantly higher risk than boys for suffering depressive symptoms and that girls lose their self-confidence as they mature, in contrast to boys, who gain in self-confidence as they grow older.
Clearly, there is a pronounced difference in the way young girls and young boys respond to modern life. In this column last week we talked about how sports can be a positive experience for young girls. How recent studies have shown that regular participation in physical activities and sports helps a young girl develop a positive self-image and boosts her self-esteem. Self-esteem comes from working at something and getting better at it.
When and why does a girl's self-esteem drop?
Eleven-year-olds are full of confidence but in adolescence, girls seem to doubt themselves
There is a shift in focus from the preteen to teen years for girls; the body becomes an all consuming passion, project, and barometer of worth
Self-esteem becomes too closely paired to physical attributes
Girls feel they can not measure up to society standards.
According to Robin F. Goodman, Ph.D., there are a number of things that parents can do to help prevent the slide in self-esteem. Besides having your daughter become physically active, what else can parents do?
Monitor your own comments about yourself and your daughter. Mothers must stop bemoaning their own self-image in order to help their daughters develop a healthy self-image.
Get dads involved. Girls with active hardworking dads attend college more often and are more ambitious, more successful in school, more likely to attain careers of their own, less dependent, more self protective, and less likely to date an abusive man.
Avoid comments about looks and beauty.
Expose girls to different role models.
Point out differences in people, especially their positive attributes: job, personality, and skills.
Monitor and comment on the media messages you see that could be harmful.
Let girls fail - which requires letting them try. Helping them all the time or protecting them, especially if done by dad, can translate into a girl feeling incapable or incompetent.
It is within the family that a girl first develops a sense of who she is and who she wants to become. Parents armed with knowledge can create a psychological climate that will enable each girl to achieve her full potential. Parents can help their daughters avoid developing, or overcome, negative feelings about themselves - helping them grow into strong, self-confident women.
Dick and Kathey Fitz, left and center, own and operate Best Value Inn & Suites, High Country Lodge. Rose Greenan is manager at the facility.
Best Value Inn & Suites, High Country Lodge, located just east of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160, recently affiliated with the Best Value Inn organization, and becomes part of one of the fastest-growing national lodging brands, with locations in 37 states, Canada and Mexico.
The lodging facility has seven cabins for rent, with three under construction, and offers guests 25 rooms and a lobby area known for its ever-changing and eclectic decor drawn from sources around the world. The property also offers a stocked lake, barbecues and picnic tables, and a children's play area.
Call Best Value Inn & Suites, High Country Lodge at (970) 264-4181 for reservations and information.
No Land Sales this week.
Sometimes we're lucky enough to find someone in our lives who stays in our hearts forever ... and, as luck would have it, John Elliott and Johanna Tully have captured each other's hearts. John and Johanna will exchange wedding vows in a celebration of their love Saturday, June 15. Joining them in celebration will be John's parents, Linda Elliott and Barry Elliott, of Grand Junction, and father of the bride, Mark Tully. The bride's mother, Janice Tully, will be with them in spirit. Johanna, a 1994 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, will be attended by her sister, Kindolyn Kelley, and bridesmaids Kameron Baxter and Denise Izaguirre. John, a 1992 graduate of Fruita Monument High School, has chosen Marcos Izaguirre as his best man and Brian Tzak and J.J. Orth as groomsmen.
Most local firsts have Hispanic origin
Who were the first settlers in Southwest Colorado?
For the past few weeks, we've been studying that question. Maybe it is time to summarize.
First, it is well to note that history is a dynamic subject. While everyone acknowledges that only one thing happened at one particular place at one particular time, we are still unable to reconstruct with absolute certainty many things pertaining to our past. Each year new, previously undiscovered, facts turn up. I'm not talking about revisionist history: The attempt to change the facts of history to fit modern philosophies of what we think should have happened, or politically correct attitudes that obscure real attitudes held at the time an event happened.
The facts are, the black, white, Indian, and other races had particular relationships and did particular things in particular places at particular times. Fifty years earlier or later, or in another part of the world at the same time, attitudes might have been entirely different. Removing Confederate statues from southern town squares does not change the facts of the Civil War nor the prevalent attitudes of the time. Those attitudes influence the histories we read of earlier times.
Writing has always been a form of communication. As such, it is transmitted by one person and received by another. A case in point is the history of the American Southwest. During the 19th century, Anglo writers generally presented the viewpoints of Ivy League historians written to Eastern seaboard readers and admirers of those historians. Their viewpoints, in the best traditions of Manifest Destiny, tended to glorify the accomplishments of a Lewis and Clark and denigrate or ignore the accomplishments of Hispanic explorers.
The result was serious distortion of Southwest History. I received my first history classes in Oregon where I grew up. I got a big dose of Oregon history, trappers, the Hudson's Bay Company, the Oregon Trail, the Marcus Whitman missions, no mention of Hispanics in the Southwest or along the Pacific Coast.
My next major exposure was California history through that state's college system, at San Diego State to be specific. This time I was exposed to Hispanic settlement in California. All around us were reminders of that culture, the old missions, place names, even the burritos and tacos we ate. However, seen through the eyes of early WASP historians, those Hispanic California settlers were indolent ne'er-do-wells who wasted the land, finally to be rescued in the nick of time by enterprising Anglos.
Early recorders of New Mexico and Southern Colorado history tended to evaluate their subject matter from the same vantage point. Again, seen through the eyes of early American historians, Yankee enterprise arrived just in time to save these disadvantaged Hispanic pioneers from themselves.
Here it is well to note that early Southern Colorado history is more closely tied to Hispanic New Mexico than to the United States. Western Colorado was never part of the United States until we appropriated it along with about half of Mexico through the 1848 treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo.
Speaking of firsts, most of the firsts relating to exploration of the San Juans, Western Colorado, the Great Basin, and the American Southwest are owned by Hispanic explorers. Almost all of the place names in Southern Colorado are Hispanic or Hispanic versions of Indian names.
The first settlements in Southern Colorado were made by Hispanics in the San Luis Valley near San Luis and Conejos. When Anglo settlement of the San Juan Basin was triggered by the discovery of gold at Baker's Park 1860-1861, settlement was happening at Tierra Amarilla. As early as the 1820s, Hispanics from the Abiquiu area may have been herding sheep in the TA area.There were no settlements in the San Juan Basin at that time.
By 1860, Hispanic settlements were already started in the San Luis Valley including clusters of plazas in the Conejos and San Luis areas. No Del Norte, Monte Vista, or Alamosa existed. There was another cluster of placitas at Del Norte known as La Loma. Other placitas may have existed down the Rio Grande River east of La Loma, at La Garita, and at Saguache.
It is interesting to note changes in Hispanic frontier settlement patterns when comparing colonial New Mexico settlements with those existing at the time of American occupation. In the beginning, as a defense against Indian raiding parties, the authorities from Spain encouraged construction of fenced, central, fort-like communities with gun turrets at the corners and above entrances.
The settlers actually facing the Indians discovered that concentrating people and animals in one area attracted Indian attacks and further, that they couldn't defend the forts. As an alternative, perhaps fatalistically, the settlers spread out. Settlements came to be a collection of unfenced, single family farms, almost always near a river to facilitate irrigation for farming. The home sites still tended to be clustered adjacent to each other in the center of the farmlands. The farm lands, in turn, were ringed by community lands used for grazing and wood gathering. Ownership of the extensive community lands was a central issue later when occupying Americans attempted to sort out land grant ownership.
A careful observer driving from Pagosa Springs to Espanola can still see some of the old irrigated fields, long narrow strips of land stretching from the highway to the river. Most evident are some properties in the Tierra Amarilla area and properties immediately south of Abiquiu.
When it comes to first, when related to settlement of Archuleta County, I don't have the knowledge to say who was first. Parallel settlements sprang up, circa 1876-1877.
The Gomez-Archuleta-Garcia families, and perhaps others, maybe Trujillos, settled along the Navajo River in the Edith-Dulce area, possibly during 1876. Also during 1876, possibly in 1877, a man named Perkins, and perhaps others, probably settled along Yellowjacket Creek from the Piedra River west to Yellowjacket's conjunction with Squaw Creek. Across the pass to the west, the Pargin family may have been homesteading on Beaver Creek circa 1876-1877.
Because freight was being carted from Tierra Amarilla through Carracas to the gold miners on the Animas, a small settlement may have existed at or near Carracas. For the same reason, because freight from Tierra Amarilla to the Animas River settlements was also carted through Pagosa Springs, a few cabins may have been located along the old road about one mile south of the hot springs. Also concerning Pagosa Springs, Welch Nossaman said he built the first cabin in Pagosa Springs in 1876. An old-timer I know who talked with Nossaman said Welch told him he meant the first cabin in what became the town, but that a man named Smith already had a cabin south of town.
Finally, an 1878 map of Pagosa Springs shows half a dozen buildings about one mile south of the Great Pagosa Hot Spring. The first Pagosa Springs post office started in July of 1878 was housed in one of those buildings and operated by a man named Joe Clarke. How long had those buildings existed?
That about summarizes what I know about the first wave of settlers in Archuleta County. Tantalizing clues contained in 1890s papers report that so and so is in town and that so and so had been here earlier than any of the dates we've quoted.
Back to the learning new things about old subjects theme, a lot of new information is turning up concerning the first Baker party and their families. There is some evidence that some of those families have remained in the San Juans since the early 1860s, certainly since the late 1860s. If so, these families are probably the first Anglo settlers in the San Juan Basin. Two of those families have descendants living in Pagosa Springs, the Belmears and the Girardins. Both of these families moved to Pagosa at a later time, but their predecessors were part of the Baker expedition.
Back from the edge of death
As Paul Harvey would say, there is always "the rest of the story."
My column detailing the lifesaving efforts of Julie Martinez, RN, in wake of the March 1 attack which felled coworker Barbara Winterer-Schulz, has spurred just such a response.
The following is from the victim. It details in her own words her attack, ensuing "death" and "miraculous recovery".
"Feb. 28, 2002, I showered, put on my uniform and off to work at Pine Ridge Nursing Home I went. The night had gone by with relative ease, nothing extraordinary appeared to be in the offing.
"We, state licensed Certified Nursing Assistants, make periodic 'rounds' of our patients, checking their safety and well being throughout the night, pulling 12-hour shifts.
"My recollection is that, March 1, 2002, my 3 a.m. rounds were attended to a bit earlier than usual and while sitting at the nurse's station, charting on patients, I began to feel 'funny'. I reached up to my head and said, 'Oh my God!' and collapsed. I woke up, over three weeks later, at the Heart Hospital of New Mexico not knowing where I was or what had happened.
"From all reports given to me, my co-workers Julie Martinez, R.N., and Debbie Hall, CNA, administered CPR while another coworker, Sonja Kirkland called 9-1-1 for help.
"According to reports, I was airlifted, via helicopter, to San Juan Regional Hospital ER. I was pronounced dead on arrival, as no vital signs of life had been present for over six minutes, no brain waves, no heart beat or pulse, etc. I was clinically dead.
"My spirit could see my lifeless body below me. My spirit was in process, becoming part of the energy of the universe, once again.
"My spirit noticed one physician to the left of my dead body, writing out my death certificate. An attending physician was standing to the right of my lifeless body, about three feet away. She was watching me. All of a sudden she said to the other doctor, 'Her little toe wiggled. Does that mean anything?'
"The doctor writing the death certificate swiveled around in his chair, seemingly astonished. As he responded to come over to my body, the purest of pure, sweetest of sweet, life-giving air filled first my nostrils, mouth and throat and then my lungs ... an enigma ... where had this life-giving breath come from?
"There was a gasp from both physicians. 'Oh my God" we've got a live one here. She's breathing on her own.'
"I am told that I was in ICU in Farmington for a period of time. When physically stable enough to be moved for emergency heart surgery, I had my second helicopter ride, to Albuquerque's new Heart Hospital (two years old) with all modern equipment for cardiac patients and a first class staff.
"My 'luck of the Irish' still with me, my emergency cardiologists were exactly the same team of physicians who had operated on Vice President Dick Cheney. This top medical team had just flow in from Washington, D.C., where the vice president was checked out before his trip to Europe.
"Emergency heart surgery was performed inserting one unit containing a defibrillator and pacemaker. No bypass surgery was ever performed on me.
"Having worked in medicine in some capacity or other for over 30 years, I have known and had the privilege of working with some highly skilled and intelligent physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and the entire gamut of medical personnel.
"My testimony to this expert team of physicians I was blessed with in New Mexico cannot begin to be stated with adjectives in any language (I speak seven languages). At the heart hospital there were never less than 32 attendants caring for me on every 12-hour shift. Many of my nurses were excellent male nurses, giving TLC. Most of them were very good looking which helped the healing process, as well. I knew I was on my way to recovery now that I was taking note of how fine looking my male nurses were.
"Finally, the Big Day arrived when it was announced I had graduated from the bedpan to the toilet. Alleluia! The room was spinning a bit as I dangled my legs over the side of the bed for the first time. Two nurses helped me stand up and I coded again. No one was aware of the fact that apparently one of the many ribs fractured in the process of CPR had punctured one of my lungs. The lung had collapsed and was filling with blood and body fluids.
"Doctors had to poke a hole through the lateral side of my body to 'fish' a 'garden hose' around and through my fractured and broken ribs, to reach the fluid to be pumped out. No anesthesia could be administered for this procedure because I was the only one who could guide the tubing to where it needed to go. All of the ribs on one side of my body had been fractured during the process of CPR, two ribs had been fractured on the other side, with the sternum fractured medially. Fluid was then pumped out of the collapsed lung and an attempt was made to reinflate the collapsed lung.
"A day of glory finally arrived when my health improved enough to be discharged to a nursing home in Mancos, closer to hospital ER services in Cortez. I was in the home for a week ... visited with some nurses I had worked with in the hospital in Cortez, saw a lot of old friends and made a lot of new friends.
"Follow-up care, one month later with my cardiologist in Farmington went A-OK. Miraculously, there is no neurological deficit or compromise.
"The first cardiologist to walk through the door to examine me was the same one who had torn up my death certificate. The look on his face was a combination of shock, disbelief and joy, all at the same time. My permission was asked for and granted for my case to be written about in the medical journals. To quote the doctor: 'It is so rare, it's like ... it never happens.'
"Many valuable lessons and wisdoms have been learned throughout this ordeal. A renewal of faith in my fellow man has been achieved despite the horrendous news we tune into on TV each day. There are many good people in the world and there are many ways to go through life. Choices we make each day mold our spirit into what we become. Prayerfully, I shall never take for granted, ever again, the preciousness of each lifegiving breath we take, to sustain our life, in each and every minute of life on earth.
"My life journey has taken me all over the world: the Far East, Middle East, Europe, all over North America, Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Hawaii, etc. My eyes have been witness to indescribable beauty. I have served my country as official diplomatic guest of presidents of countries and have been witness to severe human deprivation and poverty.
"In my many experiences and in my awareness, the secret of life is a four letter word - LOVE. Without love, we live in the spirit of darkness, not the spirit of enlightenment. Love heals.
"Thank you each and every one for your love.
"Blessings to all. During the helicopter ride to Albuquerque, I awakened only for a brief moment and heard a paramedic saying to me, "Barbara, if you can hear me ... your job is to breathe.' I remember thinking: Hey, now that I know what my job is, this is a piece of cake.
"My friends, keep breathing in good health.
"In my humble opinion, once we learn that this time on earth is a spiritual journey and that divine intervention can and does occur, life begins to make more sense. Miracles happen every day ... we just do not generally hear about them.
"P.S. According to all the cardiologists and medical staff working on me and with me over the last month, I have a new name - 'Miracle Child.' I consider my experience to qualify as a miraculous event. Do you?"
Judging newspapers whets appetite
I've reached my limit.
I overdosed about twenty minutes ago and I am starting to lose consciousness. My respiration rate has slowed to the level of a hibernating bear; my body temperature is plummeting as my vascular system closes off its distant reaches, capillaries snapping shut like emergency valves in a sinking submarine. My field of vision is reduced to a narrow tunnel and things are getting dark. Very dark.
I'm exhausted, the victim of sensory/information overload. I've been reading news feature articles for three days, judging the entries in the Alabama Press Association annual contest on behalf of the Colorado Press Association. Apparently my colleagues at the CPA have not heard about my "problem."
I have read a hundred or so articles, and it has been a true struggle. On account of my ferocious case of ADD, I've read every one of the articles twice, just to be fair. I've pored over the better articles again, all of them culled from the herd after the second reading. One more run through the stack awaits.
I know more than I ever wanted to know about life in Alabama. I'm losing all sensation in my extremities, and my teeth hurt.
Don't get me wrong, many of the entries, in all four classes - big and small dailies, small and smaller circulation weeklies - are excellent. But, after a few trips through the stack, it's like hitting the buffet at Bellagio for the ninth time in one night. Most of the food is great yet, around trip five, you lose any ability to discriminate quality; around the seventh or eighth trip you no longer have the ability to recognize separate food groups, you can't tell an oyster from cherry pie. By the ninth trip, you lose consciousness, they call the EMTs to start your heart, you hear some goof shout "Clear," you jerk around on the linoleum like a trout on a stream bank, and the next thing you know, you're up in a corner of the ceiling in the ICU watching a team of surgeons crack your sternum.
In other words, it's not all about pleasure.
I've been entertained by many of the features. But, those of you who know me realize I am easily entertained. I like shiny objects. I adore the music of Shakira.
Some of the articles have provided me with valuable information about subjects and situations that are, or soon will be, of great import in my life.
I've been regaled with stories of the sorry state of the nursing home industry in Alabama. (I have no real desire to be put in a nursing home, and now I know I don't want to be put in a nursing home in Alabama). I've read tales of former football stars who become police officers, or former police officers who become preachers, or former preachers who join the navy. A lot of this goes on in Alabama.
After reading a particularly detailed assessment of the murder rate for married fathers in Birmingham, I have no plans to move to that fine city any time soon. I have one daughter, however, who at this particular point in time would help me pack and drive me to the bus station for a quick trip south.
There are features about hundred year-old women who have just published their first books. I'm sure there is great entertainment value in reading the same story, repeated again and again for three-hundred pages.
There are features concerning rural schools closing, of chicken processing plants closing, of land being donated to all-black churches by eccentric white bachelors for use as a grave yard.
I've read about a guy who lost his arm in a farm accident 40 years ago. The arm was wrapped in red velvet, encased in concrete, then buried. When the guy dies, the arm is retrieved and put with his body, his wife happy because he, finally, "is in one piece again." I wept.
No question about it: There are too many women in prison in Alabama for petty crimes, some of them just like your sister. Your felonious sister. The parole system for violent male offenders seems ambiguous, erratic.
With the big dailies - from Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Tuscaloosa - the features I judged, and the other stories that I also scanned, are "big city" fare. They all read much the same, composed in the same journalism-school manner: competent, sometimes flashy, but flashy in a patterned way. The projects are biggies, just like the papers, including every possible fact about a subject, with sidebars galore, neato graphics. The fact no reader in his or her right mind finishes one of the pieces doesn't seem to bother the writers and editors.
It's the small-town papers I've enjoyed, papers like ours, from communities much the same size as ours. They fortify my faith in the business. Granted, there are many instances where the writing is not so flashy (though there are frequent, sparkling exceptions), but it is here you collide with the eccentrics. They zip around the rural Alabama atmosphere like journalistic mu mesons: blink and you'll miss them. You have to smash them with another journalist to plot their location or calculate their velocity.
It is in the smaller papers you read material written by someone who knows the turf, someone who probably grew up on the turf, who knows the subjects of the feature, who has lived with the persons, with the issues. You read work by someone who cares enough to get mad or excited, or to ask the right questions, or who knows when it is time to let up, to stop, to back away.
It's here too, you find the remnants of a newspaper business largely gone from the more "sophisticated" urban scene. You find page layouts with a style reminiscent of a 1935 composing room. It's not hard to visualize some smelly old guy wearing a green visor, hunched over a Linotype machine. Some of these papers are 120 years old, some older. The writers at these sheets are like freshmen playing on a team that has a hundred championship banners hanging in the gym. The papers reek of tradition, continuity. They are ancient trees with the deepest of roots.
In a small town paper, you find a front-page, top-of-the-fold article about a tanning salon opening in a building on the main street. It's huge news because 98 percent of the population is black. A school was named after a local family 65 years ago and the townsfolk just realized the family name is spelled incorrectly. Will it be changed? The surviving family members don't want to comment. After all, it would be rude.
Sure, there are news articles in these papers about domestic violence and murders and drug arrests. Still, the big story on the front page of the Red Bay News is about a Hoop Shoot fund-raiser for a boys' ranch. Next to the story is a box: There's a women's prayer meeting Tuesday night.
Officials say an industrial park might be constructed near Dadeville. There's talk in other parts of the county about a WalMart.
Papers in every classification sent features about the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., most of them removed in one sense from any local connection, but each revealing that the events shocked, angered and horrified Americans, wherever they lived. The fact that events and ideas generated in far parts of the globe and perpetrated in another part of the country can radically change our lives, in city and hamlet alike, was the overriding message in each of these features.
Perhaps more than anything else, I've taken delight in the persistence of great newspaper names.
My great-grandfather labored at the Register-Call, in the 19th century, in the unruly gold town of Central City. I grew up haunting the musty offices of that paper in the 1950s and its name fascinated me. Alabama keeps up the tradition of wonderfully-named broadsheets.
There's a SUN in Enterprise, Alabama. Of course it's a safe wager there's at least one SUN in each of our 50 states.
I read features from the Camden Progressive Era, the Rainsville Weekly Post, the Brewton Standard, the Greenville Advocate, the Eclectic Observer (from Eclectic, Alabama), the Sumter County Record-Journal, the Andulusia Star-News, The Daily Mountain Eagle (mountain?); from the Messenger, the Enterprise Ledger, a couple of Sentinels, and from my favorite - The Advertiser-Gleam, from Guntersville.
If it wasn't for my preoccupation with the names of the papers, I never would have made it this far.
The words and sentences and paragraphs are weighing me down. I've separated four or five entries in each classification from the rest and I am ready to embark on the final decision process.
I'm going to have to read them again. One more time.
I need strength. I need food. I need to get rid of this troublesome darkness. My plunging blood sugar level needs a kick start.
Time is short: I need to mail the top entries back to Alabama so the winners can be notified, snazzy certificates can be printed, and organizations and advertising departments can hoot about the accomplishments.
The answer is a meal ready-made for the situation: a fast take on the classic hamburger, without the bun that will kill Kathy because it contains yeast and sugar and refined white flour and ... I rush to the store, driving carefully since I am motoring through a narrow tunnel. I purchase a pound and a quarter of ground beef. I am careful to get the brand that advertises no artifical ingredients, especially growth hormones. I've sought out this exotic product since Kathy panicked after reading an article about a guy in South Dakota who ate bovine growth hormone-saturated red meat every day for a decade or three. Apparently the fellow learned fractal geometry overnight, but developed an unsightly tail and beak in the offing.
To the "pure" ground beef, (nothing on the pack about Mad Cow disease, but I'm not about to tell Kathy there is a chance some virus-tainted brain tissue or spinal cord is mushed up in our burger), I add minced onion, mashed garlic, salt, pepper, and finely chopped parsley. I let the meat sit and absorb the flavors while I wash and trim a head of broccoli and put it on the heat to steam gently. At the same time I cut some red potato wedges, season them with salt, pepper and rosemary, put them on an oiled baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil and pop them in a 450 oven to cook for about 20-25 minutes.
I form my meat patties and brown them well on both sides in a bit of olive oil. I remove the patties to a warm plate and cover.
Into the pan I throw an onion, thinly sliced, half a red Bell pepper, sliced, and a poblano chile, diced. I saute the mix for a bit then toss in a mess of julienned sun-dried tomato. A few minutes later, I add a handful or two of crushed canned tomato, four or five cloves rough-chopped garlic, some oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and I deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine and a can of low-sodium beef broth. I reduce the sauce and, at the last moment, the heat turned off, I add a ton and a half of butter and stir while the sauce emulsifies slightly. An adjustment of seasoning and the patties go into the sauce.
The elements of the meal mesh easily; there is nothing fancy here, nothing complex.
If only I could say the same about this feature in the Birmingham News.