It wasn't even close. The Pagosa Fire Protection District's $2.8 million bond issue passed by a landslide with 855 voting yes and 170 voting no.
"We're pleased at what we perceive as a resounding vote of confidence for the Pagosa Fire Protection District," said Bill Clark, outgoing fire district board chairman. "We are more than gratified by the turnout. It showed tremendous interest and community response."
Lines at the polling place began at 7 a.m. and never quit. Parking spaces filled up as soon as they emptied, and toward the end of the day people even showed up with chairs to wait. Inside, they were required to fill out three separate ballots.
Counting absentee ballots, citizens cast 1,062 votes in the fire district election alone, an all-time record, District Manager Diane Bower said. Total number of eligible voters in the fire district is 6,138.
The bond issue, to be paid back over 10 years, will be used to remodel the existing fire stations, purchase several new trucks, construct a live fire training facility in Pagosa Springs and upgrade communication and equipment for the 63 volunteer firefighters who provide coverage for the 160 square-mile district.
Clark said the district, which has been researching the issue for over a year, is ready to get things rolling. The board approved the purchase of new vehicles - contingent on voters passing the bond issue - in April. Once ordered, it will take almost a year to design and build the trucks, he added. Bids have also already been submitted for some of the remodeling. The board will look at selecting the architect for that in May.
"We want to get as much done in the prime building season as we can," Clark said.
As far as the board goes, voters approved the lone incumbent in the race and chose two of three challengers to fill out the seats. Ron Maez, a challenger, was the top vote-getter with 856 votes. He was followed by the incumbent, Dusty Pierce, who claimed 693 votes, and Terry Windnagel, who finished with 635 votes. The other challenger, Richard Sutkin, ended up with 447 votes.
Results from the fire district election are official.
An unusually heavy voter turnout in Tuesday's Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District election resulted in approval of a $5 million bond issue and the re-election of two incumbents to the board of directors.
The bond issue passed with 301 votes for, 195 votes against. Since the money raised from sale of the bonds is dedicated to pay for sewer service capital improvements, only voters living in PAWS District 1 where sewer service is provided, were allowed to vote on the bond issue.
Three candidates were entered in the race to fill two positions on the board of directors. Winning were incumbents Karen Wessels with 621 votes and Don Brinks with 561 votes. Challenger Bob Hart picked up 452 votes.
"I am extremely astounded by the turnout," said Carrie Campbell, the district general manager. "It's incredible. We've never, ever had this kind of turnout before. It speaks well for the county that people voiced their opinions."
Campbell's enthusiasm was echoed by Harold Slavinski, chair man of the board of directors.
"I am very pleased with the turnout," Slavinski said. "I think the incumbents did a fine job of informing people what we are doing. We got some bad publicity from the challenger, but that's the way politics goes."
Controversy entered the election due to restructuring of district fee schedules. Certain impact fees were increased, attracting protest from a segment of the community visibly represented by some members of the building, development, and real estate industries.
The protesters argued that PAWS impact fees forced building and growth-related industries to pay too large a proportion of capital improvement costs.
In response, the district board of directors appointed a citizen advisory committee to review fee policies. The committee included representatives of the protesters, and was chaired by Bob Hart, president of the Upper San Juan Builders Association.
Following the study, the district enacted a fee regimen which did not satisfy the protesters. One result was that Hart attempted to get elected to the board of directors.
"I am disappointed to lose," Hart said, "but we made a strong showing by attracting 452 votes. I hope we have at least made the community aware of what is happening at PAWS and the actions they have taken. I hope their board has been made more conscious of their actions. I will continue to pay attention and might run again in the next election."
District actions leading to adoption of the new fee structure containing increased impact fees was in response to studies conducted by outside engineering and financial consultants. The studies indicate that as much as $30 million will be needed for capital improvements over the next 20 years to keep pace with growth.
The protesters took issue with the allocation of capital improvements costs identified by PAWS. The district philosophy has been that growth should pay for itself and that existing water and sewer consumers should pay little, if any, of the cost of growth. Consequently, the district assigned impact fees to development activities.
Projects identified for financing using proceeds from sales of the newly-approved bonds include upgrading and expanding the Vista sewage treatment plant, abandonment of the unused Vista lagoon, landscaping and paving in the Vista central complex, upgrading the Highlands lagoon system, infiltration reduction, purchase of a sewer camera to aid in infiltration reduction, removal of an unused lagoon at Meadows, the purchase of generators, sewage collection system upgrades, and development of a wastewater system computer model.
"I believe the community can be confident that the board of directors, including the re-elected incumbents, will represent the community well and fairly," Campbell said.
After a long night of counting, the numbers are posted. Three incumbents and one challenger will fill seats on the Upper San Juan Hospital District Board.
Challenger Kay Grams received the most votes with 560. Wayne Wilson finished second with 553 votes, and Patty Tillerson came in third with 511 votes. The final open seat on the board went to Sue Walan, with 423 votes.
The other challengers included Martha Garcia with 375 votes, Pamela Lynd with 361 votes and Charles Hawkins with 341 votes. All candidates filed for four-year terms. That leaves one two-year vacancy on the board. Chairman Dick Babillis said one of the first official actions of the newly-seated board will be to appoint someone to fill the remaining vacancy.
Babillis, an election judge, said he was thrilled with the heavy turnout at the polls, even though it made for a long night. A total of 924 votes, including 37 absentee votes, were cast in the hospital district election. Those numbers kept judges in their seats from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, giving them barely enough time to grab lunch. Babillis said total eligible voters would include all those registered in the county with the exception of Arboles which is served by another district.
Two members of the board, Bill Downey and Bob Huff, ended their terms with the election, choosing not to run again. The results of Tuesday's hospital district election remained unofficial as of Wednesday afternoon. Canvassing was expected to be completed in the next couple of days to certify the results.
Reports that the snow pack in the surrounding mountains is at "record low levels" have the managers of Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District scrambling to develop contingency plans.
Gene Tautges, assistant general manager of the utility, asks, "What if the San Juan River dries up, something that has happened twice over the last 100 years? We're assuming that could happen and we're planning accordingly."
Mountain winter snow packs are relevant to summer water availability in Colorado because nearly 80 percent of surface water supplies originate from the melting snow, according to a report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
That snow pack was only 6 percent of average on May 1, and 7 percent of last year's average snow pack, according to the same report. Related to the vanishing snow pack, streamflow in the San Juan River as measured in Pagosa Springs May 6 was 193 cubic feet per second, compared to an average streamflow of 1,000 cfs at the same location on the same date averaged over a 65-year period.
"Given our shallow snow pack accumulations this winter and an early on-set of spring-like conditions across the high county, Colorado snowmelt is nearly two months earlier than normal at most locations," said Allen Green, state conservationist with the NRCS.
Locally, the drinking water system depends on two sources, both threatened by the growing water shortage. Local water is taken from Four Mile Creek and from the San Juan River.
The first source takes water from Four Mile Creek through a series of ditches, including Dutton Ditch, to Hatcher and Stevens Reservoirs. After leaving Hatcher and Stevens, the water is treated and sent to the subdivisions west of Pagosa Springs. Four Mile Creek empties into the San Juan River about four miles north of Pagosa Springs.
Because irrigators who have initiated senior claims to Four Mile Creek water are legally taking all of the water from Dutton Ditch, refilling Hatcher and Stevens from that source has already stopped. At the same time, May 1, Hatcher and Stevens reservoirs contained only 60 percent of full capacity with little chance for filling through natural rainfall.
The second drinking water source serving the town of Pagosa Springs and the surrounding areas is the San Juan River. The water system supplying Pagosa Springs diverts water from the West Fork of the San Juan River. The water is piped to a settling basin on Snowball Road that holds three or four days supply of water. After leaving the settling basin the water is treated, then supplied to town users.
A second San Juan River source is a new diversion located just south of town. The San Juan diversion came on line this year for the first time. The San Juan diversion pumps water to the PAWS central facility at Vista west of town into a new treatment plant. The district is counting on this source as the linchpin for a plan to survive the summer, because this source of water can be routed in several directions.
The district plans to get through the summer based on two practices, water conservation through restricted consumption, and judicious distribution of available water by using lakes in the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions as storage reservoirs. These lakes can be filled from the South San Juan diversion source.
The board of directors has already instituted voluntary water rationing. They ask consumers to water outside the house only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. In addition, they ask consumers to be judicious in the use of water, to use as little as is possible and only what is necessary.
Mandatory rationing is the first leg of the plan and is likely in the near future. The district board meets again Tuesday to discuss the prospect of mandatory rationing. The directors have asked consulting engineers to review a district emergency water management policy. A draft of this policy will be reviewed at the Tuesday meeting.
District emergency plans, if implemented to the fullest extent, could cut water consumption in half, allowing consumers to get through this year with at least some water, according to Tautges.
Mandatory rationing could be applied area by area, and not necessarily uniformly applied to the entire district, Tautges said.
The second leg of the plan involves using lakes in the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions as storage reservoirs. Water to fill these lakes is being pumped from the San Juan River from the South San Juan diversion project. The plan calls for filling Forest and Village lakes from this source.
Because a portion of the plan has already been in effect, Lake Forest is full. The levels of five lakes in the area in terms of percentage of capacity as of May 1 are: Hatcher - 60 percent; Stevens - 60 percent; Lake Forest - 100 percent; Village - 52 percent; and Pagosa - 63 percent.
"We are assuming the San Juan River could run dry completely," Tautges said. "That would mean the Snowball and San Juan diversions would have no input, no supply. Then we looked at demand with Level 3 restrictions, meaning no outside use of water. Even if the river runs dry, we assume we'll be able to pump water from Lake Forest to the San Juan treatment plant for 90 days after June 1."
Plans are being discussed calling for restricting use of Lake Hatcher water to subdivisions in the immediate area, such as Lake Hatcher, Highlands, Wildflower, Eagle Peak, Rendezvous, South Shore Estates, Martinez Mountain Estates 1 and 2, and a few others.
"If we can get Lake Hatcher usage to less than 200,000 gallons per day, it will last through the summer," Tautges said.
It will be possible to add to Lake Hatcher from the San Juan water treatment plant, Tautges said, even though the process would be difficult and expensive. Lake Hatcher has the highest elevation of all of the lakes in the Pagosa Lakes complex.
Another link-up is in place should no water be available in town from the Snowball plant. In that event, water could be piped from Pagosa Lakes sources to town.
What happens if the river runs dry?
"That's only happened twice in the last century, as near as I can find out," Tautges said. "As long as any water is flowing in the river, we'll be able to use the San Juan diversion site. If the amount available is only 10 cubic feet per second, that is three times the amount we are physically able to pump."
During June, people in the PAWS service area use approximately 205 gallons of water per person per day based on a 1995-2001 data base. District officials hope to cut that consumption in half with Level 3 restrictions.
"We are taking prudent measures, being ultraconservative with our estimates," Tautges said. "But, we need everyone's cooperation in order to make this work."
PAWS has not called for mandatory water restrictions yet, but the idea is on the table for consideration at the May 14 board meeting.
Some quick-thinking police work allowed officers to nab a trio of suspected burglars at the River Center May 4.
According to Pagosa Springs Police Department reports, officers were responding to an alarm in the 300 block of East Pagosa Street about 1 a.m. when they spotted a suspicious vehicle parked behind the River Center shopping area. As officers approached, a man fled the scene on foot. Further investigation led them through an open door. Officers Richard Valdez and Bill Rockensock apprehended two suspects, Samuel Archuleta, 22, and a 17-year-old juvenile, both of Ignacio, inside the United People Ministry Thrift Store.
Investigation showed someone broke into The Malt Shoppe the same night.
The third suspect, Patrick Kerrigan, 23, also of Ignacio, who fled on foot, was identified and then arrested the next morning by Officer Gilbert Perales.
Police Chief Don Volger said the investigation is continuing. All three suspects are in custody for burglary. He commended the officers for their actions in the incident.
"It isn't often you get the opportunity to catch people in the act," Volger said. "They did a good job."
Investigator Carl Smith and Officer Chuck Allen also responded to the scene to assist with the initial investigation.
The recent controversy about a plaque removed from the wall of the clerk and recorder's office illuminates an issue of importance to all of us: behavior that, with increasing frequency, affects our community, our culture. But to entertain this issue it is first necessary to add information to our understanding of what occurred in that office, to clarify our perspective.
Recollections of the event have sharpened since the matter became public, as one expects they would, and more insight is available to us now than two weeks ago when the story broke. According to the clerk and others present at the event, this is what happened, as of the telling this week: A large and very angry man abused the staff and clerk and directed some of his ire at the plaque hanging on the wall. He then clearly and directly threatened the clerk and her workers.
The clerk removed the plaque - not because the man identified himself or acquaintances as homosexual and threatened to sue, not out of an abiding concern for the separation of church and state.
June Madrid removed the plaque to, in her judgment, protect the members of her staff, to defuse this arrogant and seemingly violent person should he return to her office. That's it.
Neither shrill and self-congratulatory homophobia nor precious constitutionalism provide a clear view of her action.
It is easy to second-guess Madrid, to say there was another way to handle the threat. It is easy, without personally dealing with the potential for violence in the confrontation, to dribble wisdom, suggest more effective strategies and make smug moral pronouncements. But only Madrid was there, in a position of responsibility, and she did what she thought would protect her employees.
Rational discussion concerning the proper method for dealing with violence in the workplace could be forthcoming but the majority of responses to the matter thus far have not been in the spirit of such discourse.
The real issue here is the appalling lack of civility that started this controversy, and that fuels it to this day via gossip, letters to the editor and visits to Madrid's office. Visits to the clerk's office to reprimand her, to make demands, have reportedly been aggressive and ugly. The intolerance and uncharitable remarks that flow in the wake of this incident are shameful.
A lack of civility, a want of manners, has become standard behavior in our society and community. Too many people rely on angry responses to express their points of view; too many recognize prejudice and menace as standards. We have elevated rudeness and lack of respect to a high art; ours is increasingly a culture fueled by subjectivism and impulse, by the primacy of personal need. Tolerance and reasonable debate are the victims.
Make no mistake: June Madrid is as moral, as conscientious and as sensitive as any of her critics, more so than many. Any comment to the contrary is ill-informed.
To those individuals who have threatened Madrid with the loss of her political career if their demands are not met, know this: June Madrid has done an exemplary job as our county clerk. Her dedication to her work and to this community is beyond criticism. She has done our community proud as a public servant. Criticize her judgment in this one case if you will, but do it respectfully. Do not judge her entire career by one poorly understood action with which you do not agree.
And to all who see fit to levy their fears and misdirected anger on the clerk - to the individual who started the incident with his rage and threats and to those whose nastiness equals his - mind your manners.
Mother's Day gifts aren't bought
One of my sons phoned Tuesday to remind me that Sunday is Mother's Day. Used to I tried to include some sort of a personal note for Mom in this column for the applicable edition each May. She enjoyed that sort of thing.
Giving your mom a Mother's Day gift is about like giving Santa Claus a Christmas present.
It's a real challenge to find an appropriate gift for someone who is an ultimate giver. Just yesterday morning I read a headline in the Rocky Mountain News that stated: "Breast-feeding could bolster IQ, study finds." The subhead said: "Researchers point to the effect of milk nutrients on growing brain and closeness with mother."
Evidently an article that appeared in yesterday's Journal of the American Medical Association presents results of a study involving 3,253 Danish adults that supports the evidence linking early nursing and eventual intelligence. Of the men and women evaluated, more of them who were breast-fed during their first 9 months of age scored higher on IQ tests during their late teens and 20s.
Along with the positive effect of nutrients in mothers' milk on the infants' developing brains, were the benefits of of the close physical and psychological relationships breast-feeding nurtures. Moms who breast-feed may spend more time interacting with their little ones throughout their childhood, which in turn could affect intelligence, the researchers concluded.
The study indicated those infants who were nursed seven to nine months scored an average of about six points higher than babies breast-fed less than a month. They weren't talking about determining retardation or rocket scientists for infants breast-fed seven to nine months as opposed to one month of breast-feeding. But the lady who conducted the research said the benefits could be the difference of a person's intelligence being average or above-average, or between above-average and superior.
If nothing else, the study illustrates why it's so difficult to select a Mother's Day gift that would be commensurate with the "givability" of your much-loved recipient. It also answers why, while there is Mother's day and a Father's Day, there is no Youngster's Day.
No. But those of us who were blessed with a prototype mother can recall countless hours of hearing the same story, rhyme, verse, poem, song and so forth over and over and over again ... regardless of how many times we uttered our woeful plea of "just one more time." Our mothers wore certain pages out of certain books or wore the covers of others in their untiring quest to satisfy our desire for the comfort of familiarity. They demonstrated an equal perseverance at reminding us the proper usage of words or terms such as please, thank you, no thank you, no mam, no sir, yes mam, yes sir, excuse me, pardon me, may I (rather than can I) etc. They taught us manners such as how to hold our dinnerware, to cut our food, to take small bites, to chew with our mouths closed, to open a door for a lady, to not interrupt, etc.
These were the invaluable gifts that our mothers used to lavishly bestow to us on our very own Youngster's Day. Not just one day a year, but at least once or more almost every day of our early childhood. That's why, though I might not remember that the second Sunday of May is Mother's Day, I pray I'll never forget the lessons my mother tried to teach me during my early days.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
91 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 12, 1911
Geo. Mee on Tuesday sold the balance of his ranch that had not been taken for reservoir purposes to Fred Catchpole, the consideration being $500, making a total for his ranch of $2,000. He is now moving back to the Blanco.
Ernest Chambers, an old time resident of this section, is up from New Mexico with his sheep, back on his old lambing grounds south of the old Chambers ranch on the Blanco.
Jas. Walker, the bee man from Arboles, was shopping in town this week. He has 100 stands of bees on his ranch at Arboles, and harvested 60 lbs. of honey from each stand which brought him on an average 10¢ per pound, or $6.00 per stand.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 13, 1927
About 80,000 trout were received here Saturday from the Durango hatchery for distribution in Archuleta County streams.
There are a number of unmarked graves at Hilltop Cemetery, and the Women's Civic Club is undertaking to see that the same are properly marked. They will supply a good marker for the sum of $1.00. It is hoped that all markers will be in place by Memorial Day.
Harold Chapson of Pagosa Springs, a student at the state agricultural college at Fort Collins, continues to make an excellent showing with the college track team. In a triangular meet Saturday with Colorado and Denver universities, he won second place in the two-mile run.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 9, 1952
The town board met for their regular monthly session on Monday night of this week when they took care of routine matters, discussed parking meters, water rents, clean-up week and town finances. Two parking meter company representatives were present to explain their meters, and terms of sale. The board is considering the nickel snatchers as an added source of revenue.
The weather this past week has turned out warm enough that the San Juan is starting to boom and the river has reached the high mark for this spring. If the warm weather continues the next few days, it is likely that there will be water in the Town Park and the headgate where the city water supply is obtained has needed additional rip-rapping to keep it from washing out.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 5, 1977
A highway project on U.S. 160 east from Turkey Creek may be endangering the town water supply line. This line was constructed within the highway right of way. Because of a land slide in that area, the department feels that the highway location must be shifted about six feet. This would put it very close to the water line and it is possible that the weight of construction machinery might cause a break. Estimated cost of moving and replacing the line was between $40,000 and $45,000.
The Pagosa Lodge is rapidly becoming an area attraction. Numerous meetings and conferences are held there and it is a popular spot with travelers, vacationers, golf players and tennis fans.
Horse found near Pagosa Peak heads home
Just the day before a call from Pagosa Springs, Larry Flenniken sat with his wife in Texas and talked about his lost horse - Harley - a black and white gelding that vanished on a hunting trip here in November.
"I'd just like to know what happened to him," he told her.
Thursday, after driving 15 1/2 hours from Sherman, he had the answers. Harley had managed to survive five months in the wilderness, dragging his saddle until a cross country hiker found him in a small meadow beyond the end of McManus Road north of Pagosa Springs.
Flenniken, who's been coming to Pagosa Springs to hunt and ski for 15 years, lost the horse Nov. 11 while hunting for elk near Williams Creek Reservoir. It was a Sunday, the second day of the season. He rode Harley a few miles and tied him up. Four hours later, the horse his grandkids named after grandpa's motorbike, was gone.
That wasn't so unusual. "He's an escape artist," Flenniken said. "He can untie himself, open a gate or chew through a halter."
Tracks in a dusting of snow showed Harley made it back to the camp, even ate some dinner. From there, no one knows. Harley disappeared wearing a saddle and bridle and carrying saddlebags containing, among other things, a GPS locator and a knife.
Flenniken saddled his other horse and started to search. The paint squealed from time to time for his friend, but no answer. At 1 a.m., after being lost for a while himself, Flenniken returned to camp. Over the next two days, he notified the Hinsdale County Sheriff's Department and talked with a man at Sportsman Supply Campground and Cabins on the Upper Piedra who promised to post a note. Flenniken and about 10 others searched the area for the horse. Finally, he headed home on a Wednesday, minus horse or elk.
The missing horse he'd driven to Tennessee to buy as a 2-year-old bothered him. He worried Harley was hung up on something, or suffering. A month went by, and he called the Hinsdale County Sheriff's Department for a report. Nothing. At Christmas, Flenniken's family presented him with the horse he'd sold before purchasing the Tennessee Walking Horse. It was supposed to fill the vacancy, at least a little.
It would be four more months before Michael Ybanez set out on a cross country hike and found Harley nearly six miles from Flenniken's hunting camp. Ybanez made the 8-mile round-trip trek three different times to recover the animal, first finding him by accident, then cutting off the saddle and finally, with the help of a friend, bringing Harley down. Since then, he's cared for the animal, providing feed and medications for the sores rubbed by the dragging saddle. He's felt a connection to the horse he called Nightwatch - even wanted to keep him if no owner was found.
Only state law doesn't allow that. All lost, missing, stray and stolen livestock, including horses, cattle, mules and donkeys, falls under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Livestock Inspection. Anyone failing to report a stray within five days to the state's agents - brand inspectors - is considered in possession of a stolen animal.
Larry Rogers, the Colorado Brand Inspector responsible for Harley's case, said many times people don't understand that there's no such thing as a "finder's-keepers" law when it comes to livestock. Livestock is considered real and personal property and belongs to someone. Taking it and keeping it would be like someone finding a car on the street with the keys inside and driving away, claiming ownership.
In Harley's case, Rogers said, Ybanez did the right thing by notifying the brand inspectors when the horse was found. By doing so, Ybanez not only stayed within the law, but retained his right to request a refund for feed and board of the horse if an owner was found or the animal was sold.
Upon notification, the brand inspector is required to take possession of the stray, inspect it and send a complete description, including markings, brands, age, size, sex and possible owner to the state brand inspection office in Denver. If no owner can be found from the brand, or if no brand is apparent, a notice concerning the stray is posted in the county offices near where it was found. A notice is also placed in the local newspaper for one issue. Ten days later, if no owner comes forward, the animal is sold at the earliest available auction.
Rogers said liability problems require the animals be sold so quickly. If an animal, found and kept by the brand inspectors or at a private residence, falls lame or dies and the actual owners come forward, the inspectors or resident could be sued for damages.
Once the animal is sold, the proceeds, minus any expenses for feed and board, go into a fund held by the board of stock inspection commissioners. Owners who come forward within three years and prove the animal is theirs are eligible to claim the money from the sale.
In Harley's case, Rogers worked with Jake Montroy, a brand inspector in Pagosa Springs, to find the horse's owners. Montroy said when a lost horse is reported, it's time to make phone calls. He starts with area ranchers and a pool of people with an ear for news. It might be someone who frequents the coffee shops, or someone who is up early and in bed late who might have seen or heard something. In this case, the calls led to a check of the bulletin board at Sportsman Supply, closed for the winter.
With a phone number in hand, Montroy called Flenniken with the news a lost horse had been found.
"He said he couldn't give me any guarantees," Flenniken said. But, he was told, it just might be Harley. So, Flenniken gathered up the horse' s papers, including pictures taken just before the horse went missing, blood-typing and official descriptions, loaded up a truck and trailer and started for Pagosa Springs. He arrived here Wednesday night, his daughter scheduled for surgery the next day. Thursday, he picked up Harley, thanked the brand inspectors for all their hard work, paid the bills and left, bound for Texas.
It's impossible to say what Harley thinks of his big adventure, but it's safe to assume he's one of the only creatures around who was happy over the winter's minimal snowfall.
Montroy said the shallow snow pack and warm temperatures kept a deep crust from forming. That allowed the horse to paw through the snow without big balls of ice forming on his metal shoes, and probably kept him alive.
But then, Harley's got a pretty long lucky streak. As Flenniken tells it, this is not the first time Harley has had a close call. Another year when the pair were riding in Pagosa Country - this time near Quartz Lake - Harley stumbled and fell off a steep ridgeline. Flenniken said he threw himself toward the mountain as the horse went tumbling head over heels.
"I thought, that's it, he's gone." Scared, but unhurt, Flenniken made it to where the trail widened and asked friends if they'd seen the horse anywhere. Moments later, Harley arrived back on the trail. Cats, it seems, aren't the only ones with nine lives.
Note: Under Colorado State Law, all lost, missing, strayed and stolen livestock, including horses, cattle, mules and donkeys, come under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Livestock Inspection. Anyone finding a stray is asked to call one of the local brand inspectors listed below immediately. Any message left with the inspectors should include a name and nighttime phone number.
Larry Rogers, Durango
Jake Montroy, Pagosa Springs
James Bramwell, Chromo
Joel Stevenson, Mancos
Sheriff Tom Richards, Pagosa Springs
The 106 third graders attending Pagosa Springs Elementary School continue to read at high comparative levels.
Data released Friday on Colorado Student Assessment Program tests administered early this year, show 79 percent of the class reading at or above designated proficiency levels. The state goal for all schools is an 80-percent average, putting the Pagosa score just one percent below goal.
In fact, the 79-percent proficiency is a slight drop for Pagosa which was at 82 percent in both 2000 and 2001 with smaller numbers of students tested.
Kahle Charles, principal, said the teaching staff is "pleased with the scores but not satisfied. They see room for improvement and expect to see the scores rise next year," he said.
"Given what was said about the reading levels early in September," said Charles, "we showed a dramatic increase in proficiency by the time the testing was done on Feb. 18."
Noting it is his first year as principal, and his first direct involvement with CSAP testing, Charles said it gives him a good foundation of how the tests work and "we'll be better prepared next year.
"This is just a snapshot of the future," he said. "We'll use the CSAP evaluations to help make instructional decisions with respect to projects which will help assess student objectives and instructional levels."
Charles noted the school is using a supplemental program, the Gates-McInnitter reading test, to continue monitoring and improving student performance.
"The better reflection of performance," he said, "will be when the fourth grade scores come in this fall and we can look at how they did with reference to advanced material and relate it to their scores as third graders last year.
"We want a constant improvement at all grade levels," he said, "and will use all the viable tools available to ensure that happens."
The average person examining the CSAP tests, the principal said, "would be amazed at the difficulty level; thus, a high score reflects well on the curriculum and those who teach it."
Just three of the 106 Pagosa students tested received an unsatisfactory score, 19 were just partially proficient, and 17 were highly advanced.
The breakdown provides some interesting relationships. Girls in the class outnumber boys 63-43 and, while 63 percent of both were at proficient level, the percentage at or above proficient gave the girls an 84 to 72 percentage edge.
Those tested included one Asian, 22 Hispanic and 83 White students and, interestingly, percentagewise more of the Hispanic group were rated proficient (64-63 in actual figures). Overall, 73 percent of Hispanics and 81 percent of Whites were at or above proficient.
Ninety of the students tested had been residents of the school district for 12 months or more, only four residents less than six months. Eighty percent of those in the district over a year, and thus in the elementary school program the preceding year, scored proficient or above.
The state report indicates two students are taking alternate assessment tests and were not included for calculating the percentages assigned the district as a whole.
Over all, the Pagosa reading program has regularly produced higher percentages of proficiency than the state standards and have routinely equaled marks in neighboring school districts until this year.
Ignacio's numbers this year dropped from 81 percent proficient last year to 71 percent this year. Bayfield's score climbed from 81 percent last year to 89 percent proficient or better this year, and Durango's percentages climbed from 84 to 90.
Monsoon season is the next, best hope for meaningful precipitation in Pagosa Springs, based on past weather patterns.
"The monsoon rains usually start in late July, but I've seen them as early as this time of year," said Doug Baugh, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
This coming Sunday presents the best chance for precipitation during the coming week, according to Baugh, and that chance is slight.
Today was to start with mostly sunny skies and winds of from 15 to 25 miles per hour from the southwest, according to Baugh. By afternoon, the skies will be partly cloudy changing to mostly cloudy tomorrow, then back to partly cloudy Saturday and Sunday.
High temperatures should be in the 70-degree range, low temperatures between 28 and 38 degrees.
By Monday and Tuesday, skies will be dry and temperatures warmer, day and night. Afternoon breezes are expected throughout the week.
The season of summer rains in Pagosa Country is identified as the "monsoon season." The season normally begins in late July and lasts through August and into September. Average monthly rainfall totals for the upcoming months are: May - 1.21 inches; June - 0.91 inches; July - 1.63 inches; August - 2.52 inches (the wettest month of the year); and September - 1.89 inches.
Fueling the monsoon season is tropical moisture picked up from the Gulf of Mexico. The same storms which generate hurricanes along the Texas coast propel moisture in a clockwise, east-west direction across Mexico. As the moisture ascends over the Sierra Madre Mountains, it is picked up by northerly winds which carry the moisture up the Continental Divide to Pagosa Country.
At times, weather conditions off the west coast of Mexico and Southern California create winds which add to the northerly push of precipitation above the Continental Divide.
More simply put, winds from the southwest are needed to bring monsoon conditions to Pagosa Country. So far, local wind patterns remain westerly and little moisture is being transported.
The 30-day forecast through May calls for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation, according to Baugh. The 90-day forecast, May through July, continues to call for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
No precipitation was measured this past week at the Stevens Field National Weather Service gauging station.
High temperatures for the week ranged between 61 and 73 degrees with an average high reading of 68 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between 28 and 36 degrees with an average low reading of 32 degrees.
Cathy Schaefer and Alli McKinney-Smith can now say they once walked 60 miles - 63 to be exact - in three days.
They can also say they raised over $6,000 for breast cancer research, care and early-detection programs. The two Pagosans recently returned from participating in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day near San Diego - one of 13 such walks across the nation.
"Team Pagosa" counted for two in a field of about 3,400 participants. McKinney-Smith said the group started out in Carlsbad and ended up in Mission Bay. When all the money was counted, that one walk raised over $5 million.
Day two, a walk of 23 miles, was the most difficult, they agreed. "I kind of felt like herd animals," McKinney-Smith said. "We were just following the arrows." But inspiring stories, upbeat volunteers and their co-walkers kept them going one step after the other.
"I kind of thought you'd talk to more people, but it turned out you didn't have to talk to them because they were already wearing their story," Schaefer said. Some walkers wore T-shirts "In memory of" or "In support of." Others displayed pictures. One woman along the walk even hung out her apartment window to shout, "Thanks to you I'm a recent survivor."
Schaefer and McKinney-Smith were inspired by Carol Stanfill - their children's elementary school teacher - who has battled breast cancer for the past 18 months. Each was required to raise $1,900 in pledges to start the walk. They started by mailing letters to everyone on their Christmas lists. They opened a post office box so people could mail in pledges. They went door-to-door in town, an effort that raised nearly $1,000. One donor even pledged $250 to each woman on-line.
"There was a lot of community support both here and there," McKinney-Smith said.
That support carried through to their children, one who is still Stanfill's student. The other is in Cindy Halverson's class. Both classes walked the first mile of the race, five times around the soccer field back here in Pagosa, starting at the same time as the one on the coast.
Both women said the experience was a good one, but the combination of fund raising and trying to get in shape at the same time was quite stressful. They are considering participating in the walks again - but this time as two of the motivational volunteers, or crew, stationed along the route to inspire the walkers to keep moving.
Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance crews started work this week on a U.S. 160 resurfacing project from Yellow Jacket west to Bayfield which will add periodic delays to the already unpredictable U.S. 160 traffic flow.
Initial cost on the 13-mile project will be about $900,000.
"No major maintenance has been done along this stretch for at least 25 years," said CDOT foreman Robert Butero. "We've been maintaining the surface with patching and overlays; now we're going to remove and recycle the existing pavement to reduce the rutting, cracking and resulting drainage problems along this heavily traveled route."
Through mid-June, said Nancy Shanks, from CDOT's public information office, crews will use a hot recycle process to mill the existing pavement, remix the asphalt and lay it back down. During this time, motorists can expect 15-minute delays and single-lane, alternating traffic (where there is two-lane highway) from 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Work will be suspended over Memorial Day weekend from Friday afternoon through Monday.
In July, after the new surface has adequately cured, crews will treat and seal the surface with a type of chip and seal process. Details on that project will be released later.
Meanwhile, CDOT announced night closures for tunnel construction on Wolf Creek Pass, suspended for the past week, will resume Monday and continue until further notice.
For information on this and other CDOT projects, the public may log on to CDOT's Web site at www.dot.co.us or call the toll-free, 24-hour construction hotline at (877) 315-ROAD.
It's that time of year - time to fling open the windows and doors, sweep out the dust from winter and get into the garden. It's time for the annual Pagosa Springs Clean Up Week, May 12-18.
To assist people in cleaning up the community, the town and various public entities will be providing Dumpsters, junk pick-up and limited junk car towing.
Household trash should be placed in free Dumpsters. These will be located in the Town Park and on South 9th Street May 12. They will be relocated after a few days, so people should call Town Hall throughout the week for updates.
Larger items, such as old lumber or appliances, can be placed along the road right-of-way for pickup on specified days. The schedule is:
€ May 13 - North Pagosa (Western Addition to 3rd Street, including the downtown alley and the portion of Pagosa Hills inside the town limits)
€ May 14 - North Pagosa (3rd Street to the River Center and Hermosa Street in the park area)
€ May 15 - East of the river (San Juan Street to the south town boundary)
€ May 16 - South Pagosa (West of the river to 8th Street and Piedra Estates)
€ May 17 - South Pagosa (8th Street to Garvin Addition).
Town employees will enter property and remove the junk only in cases where a hardship exists and only when the landowner is present. If a hardship exists, people should call Town Hall at 264-4151 Ext. 238 prior to the day of pick-up. Town employees cannot remove or pick up hazardous materials. Motors and freon must be removed from all refrigerators prior to pick up.
A limited number of junk cars will also be removed by the town. Those needing this service must call Town Hall today to request that service.
The town is also continuing its residential tree program this year. Under the program, the town will pay half the price of a tree to be planted between the front of the house and a town street. Call the Parks and Recreation Office at 264-4151 Ext. 231 for details, as restrictions do apply. Drought conditions may restrict this program as well.
Following clean up week, Pagosa Springs Police Department officers will be issuing notices to everyone in violation of junk and litter laws, so everyone is encouraged to participate. Chapter 11 of the municipal code defines junk as "old motor vehicles, auto bodies or parts, old rubber tires, old farm machinery, refrigerators, and all other abandoned personal property or other appliances stored out in the open or on public or private property." Litter is defined as "any scattered refuse or rubbish."
Heritage tourism is big business and it has Pagosa's attention.
Statewide in 1999, visitors made 20.8 million overnight pleasure trips to Colorado, according to Longwoods International's Colorado Visitor Study. Of those, about 20 percent included a visit to at least one historic site or landmark.
A study of the economic benefits of historic preservation in Colorado completed in January showed heritage tourists - those travelers who incorporate at least one or more visits to a historic site or landmarks among other activities during their visit - spent an estimated $1.4 billion in Colorado the same year. These same tourists are, in general, willing to spend more and stay longer than others, according to the same survey.
To address some of the local historic preservation issues, the town of Pagosa Springs has formed a historic preservation board, nearly completed a survey of the town's historic buildings and will designate two more local landmarks next week as Historic Preservation Month.
Plans have been made to celebrate history throughout the week. On May 15, cultural resource planners Jill Seyfarth and Donna Graves will present the results of a survey on 101 area historic buildings at a town meeting in the municipal courtroom at Town Hall. The survey, which will help the historic preservation board plot brochures for a self-guided walking tour and determine the future goals of the group, began last fall. Each of the buildings selected by the board was researched, photographed and evaluated for its eligibility for national and local registration. The survey will also help determine the viability of a downtown historic district in Pagosa Springs.
Tuesday, the town board added to the celebration with a unanimous vote of approval to designate two more buildings - the Goodman Building and Pagosa Hotel, including the Liberty Theater - as local landmarks.
The Goodman Building on the corner of 4th and Pagosa streets, has been owned and operated by the same family since the early 1900s. The wood floor customers walk in on dates back to the original 12 1/2 x 35 foot building. The tin ceiling and old-time fans overhead are a little more recent, but maintain the flavor of the early-20th century stylings. And the current owner, Bob Goodman, wants to keep it that way.
"I like people to come in and say, 'I used to go into a store just like this growing up,'" he said. "I want this to be something different than Walmart or K-Mart."
Goodmans first opened on the same corner in 1900 as "Gent's Furnishings." It was owned by David Lowenstein, who had been born in Germany in the 1850s and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1860s. He moved to Pagosa Springs from Durango with is wife, Fannie, and daughter Hortense, in 1899. Lowenstein died in 1921. For a while, his employee, Walt Hill, ran the store. In 1922, Hortense married Louis Goodman, and the two took over the family business, expanding the store in the late-1920s and changing the name to Goodman's.
Bob Goodman said the couple never lost a day of business during the expansion. Instead, they simply built the new building around the old and then carried out the old building piece by piece through the front door.
Dave Goodman took over the business in 1946 after returning from the war. His son Bob, followed in the family footsteps in 1977.
"After I left college Dad said 'Are you coming home or do we break the tradition?' That's a decision I've never regretted," Goodman said.
About 10 years after the Lowenstein's started their clothing store, in 1911, the Liberty Theater opened its doors just a few feet down the sidewalk. According to research by one of the current owners, Jace Johnson, at that time, the theater was known as the Star.
A 1911 Pagosa Springs SUN article announcing the opening of the Star stated, "Ladies and children are cordially invited to this theatre, no pictures will be shown that can possibly offend the most refined taste." At the time, silent pictures were shown with the piano as accompaniment.
A fire broke out in the hotel cafe just before midnight on March 11, 1919, causing $60,000 in damage. The theater reopened April 12, 1919 as the Liberty Theater. The first show was "A Dog's Life," starring Charlie Chaplin. Admission prices were 20 cents for adults and 10 cents for children.
The official presentations of Pagosa's two newest local landmarks will be made downtown, May 18 at 11 a.m. The public is invited. Following the designations, Glenn Raby, a member of the historic preservation board, will lead a historic walking tour through downtown. The tour will end at the San Juan Historical Society Museum on the corner of U.S. 160 and 1st Street. Local historian John Motter will greet visitors there and be available to answer questions.
About 140 delegates and other Republican enthusiasts attended the Republican county assembly conducted Friday.
Candidates for county office were selected, delegates to district and state conventions chosen, and resolutions adopted.
"The meeting went very well," said Joanne Hanson, the party's county chairman. "Kaye Alexander and Mark Larson spoke, Jim Hanson spoke for Sen. Allard, and a representative of Gov. Owens was here."
Chosen to run in the Aug. 13 primary for county office are Gene Crabtree for commissioner, Tom Richards for sheriff, June Madrid for clerk, Keren Prior for assessor, Travis Garrett and Pam Eaton for treasurer, Carl Macht for coroner, and Dave Maley for surveyor.
The only primary race for county office resulting from the assembly pits incumbent Traves Garrett against challenger Pam Eaton for the treasurer position. Garrett received 45 of the 69 delegate votes, Eaton 24 votes.
In order to qualify for the party's primary ballot, a candidate must receive the votes of at least 30 percent of the delegates. Garrett received 65 percent of the delegate votes, Eaton 35 percent.
A candidate receiving less than 10 percent of the delegate votes will not be on the party's primary ballot. Neither can a candidate receiving less than 10 percent of the delegate votes reach the primary ballot through the petition process.
Candidates who receive more than 10 percent of the delegate votes, but less than 30 percent remain eligible to reach the party primary ballot through the petition process. Fitting into this 10- to 30-percent range are Chuck Allen, a candidate for sheriff, and Dave Wilson, a candidate for assessor.
Candidates not taking part in the caucus process can also reach the primary ballot by way of petition.
Representing the county Republican Party at the Colorado Republican Assembly in Colorado Springs June 1 and the Congressional Assembly May 31 in Colorado Springs are: James R. and Joanne Hanson, Linda Delyria, Mason Carpenter, Betty and Jerry Medford, John D. and Shirley R. Snider, Keren Prior, Jo Ann and Alden Ecker, Betty Jean and Earle Beasley, Mary Ann Stewart, Diane and Jon Bower, and alternates Warren and Kathleen Grams.
Delegates and alternates to the 6th Senatorial Assembly May 18 in Dolores are: Jim and Joanne Hanson, Jo Ann and Alden Ecker, Mason Carpenter, Ken Fox, and alternates Pat Ullrich, Gene Fox, Earle Beasely, Betty and Jerry Medford, and Andrew Donlon.
Archuleta County delegates and alternates to the 59th Legislative Assembly May 18 at Mancos are: Joanne and Jim Hanson, Jo Ann and Alden Ecker, Mason Carpenter, Ken Fox, Patrick Ullrich, Gene Fox, and alternates Earle and Betty Beasley, Betty and Jerry Medford, Andrew Donlon, Diane and Jon Bower.
Several resolutions adopted at the precinct caucuses were considered by the county assembly.
Precinct One resolved that youth serving in the armed forces shall be given all rights as an adult. This resolution will be carried to the state assembly.
Precinct Four submitted, "Be it resolved that whereas the citizens of Archuleta County residing in Precinct Four will bear the brunt of proposed coal seam methane wells, we hereby implore our neighbors in Archuleta County to recognize that although our county will realize tax and other benefits, we need your assistance in protecting the integrity of our roads, our water, and our quality of life." This resolution will be given to the Archuleta County Commissioners.
Precinct Five resolved that, "Whereas, we believe that the sanctity of human life transcends politics, and the unborn child has a fundamental right-to-life which must not be infringed upon; be it resolved that the Republican party supports legislation banning partial-birth abortion." This resolution will be carried to the state assembly.
Also from Precinct Five: "Whereas, marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman, and the foundation of civilization; be it resolved that the Republican Party of Colorado supports a Defense of Marriage Act, which will not recognize out-of-state homosexual 'marriage' or civil unions." This resolution will be given to Rep. Mark Larson.
Precinct Six resolved that the caucus system be ended. No action was taken on this resolution because it is believed the issue will be on the Nov. 6 state ballot.
Precinct Seven resolved that the commercial and vacant tax assessment across the state be lowered from 29 percent to a rate more consistent with the residential tax assessment, which is 9 percent. A positive vote for this resolution, say supporters, will promote the growth of the state economy, specifically in areas of new industry, added residential areas, small business, and research and development. This resolution will be given to Rep. Mark Larson.
No resolutions were adopted by Precincts Two and Three. No caucus was held in Precinct Four.
This is National Drinking Water Week, and with the snow pack rapidly decreasing from the heat and drying winds, everyone is encouraged to get involved to find out more about protecting and conserving one of our most precious resources - water.
Drinking Water Week is an educational campaign aimed at helping people understand the importance of safe drinking water. A key element of the campaign is to show how individuals can affect the quality and quantity of the water they are drinking. What goes into the trash, down the pipe and drain, up into the air, and onto the ground can pollute your drinking water source.
For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that people across the United States drain about 200 million gallons of used motor oil from their cars annually. Oil from just one oil change that's disposed improperly can ruin a million gallons of fresh water - enough to supply 50 people for a year.
Providing safe drinking water is everyone's business - through watershed source protection, use of all water sources available and adequate storage, new methods of water treatment and ways to prevent harmful pollution by industrial, agricultural and daily life activities.
To learn more about how to protect the quality and quantity of drinking water, visit the drinking water display in the Sisson Library May 13-19. The display contains maps that show where drinking water comes from, free pamphlets on water resources and water rights, treatment methods, and conservation and pollution prevention activities.
Material for the display is provided by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District, the San Juan Water Conservation District, the Water Information Program of the San Juan and Dolores Watersheds, the County Extension and Soil Conservation Services, the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County Water Protection Project, and the Colorado Water Protection Project funded by the League of Women Voters of Colorado Education Fund.
To encourage water protection and conservation, the local schools and Head Start have been provided with water education materials to provide hands-on water activities and experiments with the students.
PAWS invites newcomers and old-timers alike to visit their Xeriscape Garden, next to the district office on Lyn Avenue, to see how landscaping can be done with native plants and low-water-use plantings.
Six months ago I knew better than to schedule a Friday night event during the last week of session. While we may not work either of the weekend days (one year we worked on a Saturday), we almost always work later than normal on Friday afternoons near the end. With Cortez only having two flights to choose from, if I miss the early afternoon flight I am stuck in Denver until very late. Those late Friday flights make for a very short weekend. Unfortunately, I missed that speech I booked six months ago as well as my own county assembly.
About the only personal benefit that came from staying late Friday was the passage of House Joint Resolution 1080, "Changing the designation of the Canadian Lynx to "experimental, nonessential". This resolution was hatched from a discussion last Friday afternoon at DIA where Tom Compton (Hesperus) and I were waiting for a flight.
It just didn't make sense to either of us that a sheep herder who killed a lynx that was feeding on the sheep was being fined along with the owner of the sheep. This situation caused many to stop and rethink the partnership agreement between the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the U.S. Forest Service.
Compton sketched out a draft resolution, gave it to me on the plane and I worked it over with the Department of Natural Resources. The end result is a lot softer than some wanted. But, it was felt that we did not want to "pick a fight" with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife professionals. Rather, we wanted to work for effective resolve. The final resolution language does not call for a halt to the reintroduction program. Indeed, everyone wants that program to continue until its results can be analyzed and specific conclusions drawn.
However, when citizens of Colorado become liable when protecting their property and face potentially stiff penalties, Colorado's level of consultation and participation must be reassessed and a new regulatory framework initiated. HJR02-1080 called upon the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to do just that by redesignating the Canadian lynx "experimental, nonessential" in the reintroduction program.
The debate on the resolution was amiable and genuine. Both sides of the aisle were wanting to understand all of the implications. After discussion, I was pleasantly surprised to see a unanimous vote for approval of the measure. The house always has been the better of the two legislative bodies and our ability to work for pragmatic solutions on some issues reaffirms why I want to return next year.
This seems to be the year of bills that never die. No less than six or seven measures that met an untimely demise in one house or the other, ended up being amended completely into another bill of similar title. Transportation and education seem to be the poaching topics of choice. HB02-1320, the governor's transportation plan in the house quickly became identical to SB02-179, the Democrat transportation plan, when it got to the Senate. Well, not being ones to sit back and take that jab, the house quickly amended SB02-179 back into HB02-1320 as soon as it came over to the House. Several organizations have come out for a combined bill that utilizes the finer points of both measures. I agree. We have failed to reach compromise on the budget (largely due to the house refusing to bend) and education (largely due to the senate being unreasonable).
Perhaps we can, just once, sit down without all of the strutting and crowing and do something that truly needs to be done.
Our days are numbered up here: at the end of last week, three days remained, to be exact.
The governor's desk is stacked high with bills to consider - some of them mine - and there are still more to stack. The bill that separates Fort Lewis College from the Colorado State University System received final approval from the Senate Friday and is off to the House for concurrence of a technical amendment. It has taken monumental cooperation to get it this far and I can tell that all the support for the college's independence is a clear indicator that it will flourish on its own. The community that cried out for this measure has shown a strong commitment to keeping Fort Lewis College a cornerstone of the Four Corners area.
A significant agreement that would continue the Southern Ute Air Quality Commission and avoid possible extended legal court battles is alive again after dying on a party line vote in March. The legislation includes certain residency requirements that were an item of contention the last go round.
After minor changes, the bill has received substantial support - hopefully enough to propel it through both the House and Senate this week. It made it through Senate committee Friday and heads to the Senate floor Monday.
The same big-ticket issues that have plagued us all year are coming down to the wire. The bargaining chips in the search for a transportation compromise will continue to be the major components of each bill (Senate Bill 179 and House Bill 1310) as they move out of the legislature and into a conference committee.
The budget has yet to be agreed upon and we are going to have some tough compromises to make this week. The only sure thing is that we have until midnight on Wednesday to clear out of here.
Two other bills I am trying to get wrapped up are the mineral notification bill (HB 1357) and the net metering bill (HB 1315). The mineral notification bill corrects some concerns of HB 1088 of last year. HB 1088 required notification of sub surface owners when any changes were contemplated by surface owners. HB 1357 modifies the types of changes that require notification. HB 1315 was brought by the Rural Electric Association. It requires REA'S to connect to and allow renewal electric sources, such as wind hydro or solar power to be attached to the REA's power grid.
I'm also in the process of drafting a resolution that addresses our continually worsening condition, the drought. The most significant impacts of the drought affect everybody in Colorado: agriculture, wildfire protection, municipal usage, commerce, tourism, recreation, and wildlife preservation.
The focus of my resolution is to ask that Colorado receive federal drought designation and that Conservation Reserve Program lands be released for grazing. The federal designation will allow us to receive financial assistance in the form of low-interest loans and crop disaster assistance.
We had the pleasure of hosting a distinctive guest in the Senate last week. Karen Finch, a counselor at three elementary schools in our area, was recently named Colorado's 2002 Elementary School Counselor of the Year. The legislature recognizes and congratulates her ongoing and invaluable work for the benefit of our kids.
In a perfect world, airplanes would only be used for the betterment of civilization. Unfortunately, beginning with World War I, planes and other aircraft have been used in combat. In a world that uses these devices for devastation, the United States Navy has found a mission: to protect freedom, whether it be by sea or air, with the latest technology in aircraft aviation.
Pagosa's Robert E. Cairns is an aviation boatswain's mate aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Cairns of Pagosa Springs, recently participated in Operation Enduring Freedom. He played an important part in the air strikes upon Afgan targets. As a member of the air department, Cairns works on the Carl Vinson's three football field long flight deck, where he launches and recovers naval aircraft.
Cairns' job can require long and rigorous hours during flight operations. Even with a crew of more than 2,000 sailors devoted to launching and recovering aircraft, 16-18 hour shifts are the norm. During OEF, the flight deck crew launched and recovered over 16,000 aircraft. They worked for 73 continuous days with only three days rest.
Sailors have to make many sacrifices to protect the country. However, these sacrifices can lead to career opportunities and personal growth.
"Since joining the Navy, I have had plenty of opportunities to excel," Cairns said.
Commissioned in 1982, Carl Vinson was named after former Congressmen Carl Vinson, who served in the House of Representatives for 50 years with an unwavering dedication to duty. As chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee, Rep. Vinson helped the United States to a position of world leadership on the seas. Just like the ship's namesake, sailors aboard Carl Vinson continue to serve their country with an unwavering spirit. They know the importance of defending America's shores.
"I was proud to serve my country in its time of need. There is no 'kryptonite' to stop the Carl Vinson 'supermen,'" said Cairns, a 13-year Navy veteran.
Along with the many demands of Navy life there are many benefits. Sailors can attend schools, travel the world and experience new cultures.
"The most rewarding thing about being on the Carl Vinson is being part of a winning team," Cairns said.
For more than 200 years, the U.S. Navy has been on its forefront of America's defense, helping to protect freedom. With sailors like Cairns, the Navy is looking to the skies for the future as it continues its mission of defending the United States.
Most parents who buy a trampoline for their youngsters are worried about the children bouncing too high or too far and being injured.
The Robert Lucero family of Meadows I subdivision had a new worry Saturday: How far will a trampoline go in a sudden ground-level wind burst?
And, they have an answer: At least 100 yards.
How the trampoline traveled that far, however, remains a mystery.
From its base site, the huge piece of exercise equipment had to rise over a swing and slide set, a cottonwood tree, a line of aspens and two fences, leaving a trail of parts and debris to the spot in an open field where it came to a rest.
The oldest of the children, Adam Carroll, was home alone when the incident happened between 11 a.m. and noon.
"I thought I heard something a little unusual," he said, "but guessed it was just a strong gust of wind." He didn't know the trampoline was missing until the rest of the family returned from a visit with friends of Trails Drive about two miles away where there had been no sign of high winds.
When they asked Adam what had happened, he was surprised to look out and see the empty spot where the trampoline had been. Then the family spotted the twisted wreckage in a field to the north and followed the debris to the site.
Several of the steel support legs were snapped off, the upper protective screen was ripped to shreds and pieces were strewn about the field.
Mrs. Lucero lamented loss of the equipment but was equally happy none of the children were playing on it at the time.
Her daughter, Shaylah and a playmate, Jennifer Smith, often spend hours on the trampoline practicing routines they've learned in gymnastics classes in Pagosa Springs.
A younger son, Preston, is too small to use the trampoline, but does play in the field where it landed.
Neighbors 200 yards to the east told the Luceros they had seen no damage or signs of high wind at their property.
It apparently was a selective surface-level wind burst with sufficient force to lift several hundred pounds of metal and canvas and deliver it to an untimely end a football field's length away.
The Colorado Wildlife Commission set big-game license numbers May 2 for the 2002 hunting season and increased the number of antlerless elk licenses as part of the Division of Wildlife's efforts to reduce the state's elk population.
The Division will make nearly 123,000 antlerless and either-sex elk licenses available to hunters for the upcoming season, an increase of 14,000 from 2001.
"Last year's elk harvest of 42,500 animals was well below our objective of 59,500," said John Ellenberger, the Division's big game coordinator. "We have more than 300,000 elk in Colorado, well above our population objective, and we need to bring the herd closer to our overall objectives."
In addition to more antlerless licenses, antlerless elk licenses will be considered "additional" licenses in many game management units, allowing hunters to hold two elk licenses and kill two animals. Additionally, the price of an antlerless elk license for nonresident hunters has been reduced from $450 to $250 to encourage more nonresidents to hunt cows. Additional licenses in the designated units are available to both residents and nonresidents either through the drawing process or as leftover licenses available in mid-August.
The number of bull elk licenses available during the first elk season will decrease slightly from 20,600 to 19,800.
Colorado has more elk than any state or Canadian province. A century ago, wildlife officials estimated the state's population at fewer than 2,000 animals. The recovery of the state's elk herd is one of the most evident wildlife success stories of the 20th century, Ellenberger noted, and took decades to accomplish.
The number of buck deer licenses available to hunters will decrease from 96,000 last year to 86,000 in 2002, but there may actually be more deer hunters. The reason, Ellenberger explained, is that more than 20,000 buck licenses weren't issued last year because hunters didn't apply for them.
This year, any leftover buck licenses will be available for sale as leftovers, increasing the chance they will be sold.
The number of antlerless deer licenses will increase from 9,200 last year to 15,000 in 2002, and the number of either-sex deer licenses will rise from 3,100 in 2001 to 3,800 this year.
"If buck/doe ratios continue to improve in most of the state, our managers will consider increasing opportunities for buck hunting in future years," Ellenberger said.
The number of pronghorn licenses will decrease from 10,300 to 9,500 because herds in portions of western Colorado are slightly below the Division's population objectives.
The number of moose licenses in two North Park units will decrease by 26 because wildlife managers are considering trapping and relocating some of the North Park herd to the Grand Mesa in western Colorado to expand the range of the state's moose population. The Division began reintroducing moose to the state in 1978 and thriving moose herds now exist in North Park and the upper Rio Grande River drainage around Creede.
The number of rifle bear licenses available for the September hunt will increase slightly from 2,350 to 2,560.
The Commission also approved regulations requiring that hunters either bone, quarter or process deer and elk they kill in the area of northeastern Colorado where chronic wasting disease (CWD) occurs as a precaution against the chance that the disease might be spread to other areas. The regulations require that hunters leave the head and backbone - the area where the pathogen that causes the disease is found - in these hunting units. The regulation also applies to any other dead deer or elk removed from the wild in these units, such as those for which road kill permits are issued.
"There is no evidence that the movement of carcasses can spread CWD," said Kathi Green, the Division's regulation's manager. "We are taking this step as an extra precaution."
The regulation also sets identical standards for animals harvested in CWD positive areas in other states and Canadian provinces being brought into Colorado.
The Commission also directed the Division to develop a new definition for an area in which several new cases of CWD have occurred, including how the agency will work to eliminate the disease in portions of Colorado where it has never previously been found.
The Commission authorized the Division to kill coyotes in areas where endangered black-footed ferrets have been released to give the small weasels a better chance to survive during the first critical months they are in new locations.
Pam Schnurr, a Division species conservation biologist, told commissioners that there are no specific plans to kill coyotes to benefit ferrets and that any control measures would be limited to the first few weeks of an introduction and would occur only in specific areas.
Summer is near and the Interpretive Alliance is about to begin its second season of free interpretive programs.
The Alliance is a cooperative effort of businesses, agencies and organizations whose mission is to provide free educational programs about the rich variety of natural and cultural resources in the area.
These programs will be held in various formats and locations in Pagosa Springs and surrounding areas. Colorful monthly event calendars, featuring artwork by local students, will be posted throughout the area June through September.
The Alliance consists of these partners: Colorado Division of Wildlife, Friends of Archuleta County History, Friends of Native Cultures, Friends of Navajo State Parks, Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Pagosa Springs Historical Preservation Board, San Juan Historical Society, San Juan Mountains Association, San Juan National Forest, Southern Ute Indian Cultural Center, Pagosa Springs Arts Council, Colorado State Parks, Crazy Horse Educational Expeditions and the Sisson Library.
Programs to be presented in May include:
This event takes place Saturday at Navajo State Park. At 8:30 a.m. come see who's back at the wetlands and what's springing up. Then, at 10 a.m., a guide will lead an easy walk along the Sambrito Wetlands trail. Participants will learn about features of a riparian habitat and its importance, and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a fresh spring morning. Both programs will begin at the Sambrito Wetland Pavilion. Dress appropriately for outdoor programs. An adult must accompany children ages 8 and younger.
For more information contact the park at 883-2208. Although the program is free, there is a park entrance fee.
The Zuni Pueblo Dancers, accompanied by flute player Fernando Cellicion, will perform traditional dances Saturday at Edge of the Cedars Pueblo in Blanding, Utah. This event is in celebration of Utah Prehistory Week. This is particularly significant in that it is the first time in over 900 years that Puebloan peoples will have performed traditional dances at this pueblo. Performances are at 1 and 4 p.m.
Beginning bird watching
Mike Reid of the Colorado Division of Wildlife will help you answer the question, "What kind of bird is that?" May 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m. This is the first in a monthly series of bird watching classes. Meet at Town Hall, 551 Hot Springs Boulevard.
Participants will have a quick tour of the wetlands to see what birds are there. Then, the group will go to the classroom to learn about bird-watching techniques and available resources.
Using slides of local birds and a variety of field guides, the group will learn how to use field marks to identify birds. Experienced birders are welcome to participate and share their tricks and tips.
Bring field guides and binoculars (or borrow Mike's). Group size is limited to 20. Please preregister at the Pagosa Ranger District Office, 180 Pagosa St., or call 264-2268.
In response to all of the letters about the plaque being taken down in the County Clerk's office, I have this to say.
The original story printed about the incident was quite inaccurate. I was there and I heard the entire conversation. First of all, the individual who complained was not stating his own sexual preference. He was referring to "friends" of his. Also, this incident occurred about three months prior to the article and nobody seemed to even notice the plaque was missing until Mr. Laue took the issue to the paper. I would also like to point out that the plaque was only hanging in the office for half of the time the article claimed it was. The individual who made the complaint did not threaten to sue the county over this or any other incident.
There wasn't this much written outrage over the terrorist attacks on 9/11. I think that is frightening.
Shouldn't we remember the "Judge not, lest ye be judged" issue? How can you judge a person based on any information let alone second-hand information? Isn't judging people wrong? I think that was forgotten when all of last week's letters were written. We can also benefit from remembering our nation's Constitution referring to separation of church and state.
This country is made up of many religious and political beliefs. It is based on that premise that we have the freedoms to write to editors and voice our beliefs as we do. Freedom to complain about issues, and freedom to resolve issues to the benefit of the laws and not by what certain individuals deem proper.
There was no "giving in." As an elected government official the county clerk has to acknowledge the rights of all citizens including those we may or may not agree with.
How dare someone suggest that someone you do not know lacks moral courage? You do not work in our office, you do not work with the county clerk, and you do not know what goes on here on a daily basis. Feelings were hurt. I think that is sad, and if the sign "pleases God" then I think that the hatefulness did not.
This is not an issue of God for me; it is an issue of all the hateful comments citizens put toward a woman whose shoes they do not walk in. The plaque can go back up, or it can stay down, and you should be ashamed of yourselves for your hatefulness.
Church and state
June Madrid is to be complimented for showing once more that she is not only a very competent clerk and recorder, she exercises both sensitivity and wisdom in dealing with the public she serves.
The barrage of letters related to the removal of the religious plaque from the public office of the clerk and recorder is very disappointing. Have we lost all sense of the political and religious history of our culture? The division of church and state has been before every level of court in this country with the consistent result that every individual is protected in their own beliefs but not to force those beliefs on anyone else through any agency of government.
In the years since the plaque was placed in the courthouse, there has been a major change in the diversity of the population of the county as well as the remainder of the country to the benefit of all citizens of both. It is surprising that the plaque has not been challenged before. Perhaps in the past the plaque did not constitute a personal threat because there was more acceptance of nonconforming beliefs without the necessity of being with or against.
Most of the letters to the SUN imply a one-and-only God. This belief is not universal nor is it an unquestioned "truth" supported by religious history. Many diverse faiths and/or beliefs that have multiple or no gods are represented in this country, and thanks to the courage of our founding representatives, all are equal under the law.
It is time that the voice of reason and not prejudice be heard in support of a Constitution that protects any minority from imposition of the will of the majority.
In recent months the news media have tried to downplay the necessity for routine mammography screening for women, implying that by the time a woman detects a lump in her breast, it's already too late. What convoluted thinking! In my own experience mammography screening was a lifesaver.
In 1989 I began routine screening at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. They had top quality screening equipment at that time, and have continued to upgrade their equipment to maintain that state of the art service for women in the Four Corners area.
It wasn't until 1994 that a routine mammography screening detected my breast cancer in the earliest stage of the first stage of development. The cancer cells had formed a calcification not much larger than a grain of salt. My doctors showed me the calcification on the mammogram film. They had me undergo a second mammogram that provided a close up picture of the calcification for the radiologist and surgeon to examine. (As far as I knew, there had been no prior incidence of breast cancer in my family).
I then made the choice to go to Denver for a stereotactic biopsy - a procedure I found to be no worse than a visit to the dentist - no anesthesia required. I even helped drive home to Pagosa that afternoon. Today, the breast cancer clinic at San Juan Regional Hospital in Farmington offers the same stereotactic biopsy procedure for women in need, which is a real blessing for us living in this area.
My breast cancer was caught early enough to be very easy to treat by my surgeon in Durango, and I've had no recurrence. I continue to have my annual mammography and ultrasound screening at Mercy Medical Center. I can't stress enough to women ev erywhere the necessity to begin this important screening early and routinely.
It can be a lifesaver.
This letter is to the people who saw me dispose of a cigarette butt after the Republican Assembly on Saturday. There is no smoking in a fire vehicle and I had put it out before driving off. The chief chastised me on the odor and, inadvertently, I threw it out the window.
If you know me, you know I'm a careful smoker, having been a firefighter myself, and also I would pocket a butt rather than litter.
There is no excuse for my action and I want to publicly apologize. Please don't blame our excellent department for a stupid action on my part.
Pick up trash
My concern in writing this letter is the garbage and trash alongside our highways and roads - more than you would see in most big cities.
I understand that we live in a rural community where many people drive pickup trucks and sometimes things fly out.
The snow has melted and the winds have been bad, adding to the problem.
Many of us chose to live here because of the beauty of Pagosa Country. One of the main sources of income for our community is tourism based on the beauty of this country. I don't think tourism and trash mix very well. I have been to planning meetings where I heard many people speak about the beauty here and how to protect it.
It doesn't matter how the trash and litter got where it is presently. It's time for all those people who care about the beauty to start picking up the trash. It is my understanding that there is a $100 state fine for littering. Possibly it is time to start enforcing this law so people will pay more attention to the loose items in their truck beds.
If you don't care about the beauty but you work in some industry which depends on tourism, you might want to do something to help in order to protect your job and income.
One doesn't need to be part of a formal group to pick up trash. Just take one hour one day and it will help a lot. Thanks.
I felt the wording on the courthouse plaque was offensive to anyone who did not have the same beliefs.
A letter last week asked how the "one-percent minority can dictate what community values we may display on the walls of public buildings."
I'm sure the racists in small southern towns would use the same argument. Your majority status doesn't make your beliefs right.
The America I am proud to live in is supposed to be tolerant of all forms of religious beliefs, and a sign in a county courthouse that so blatantly spells out a religious viewpoint should not be allowed. The sign offended me in the same way an anti- "colored" or "injun" sign would have. It is discriminatory and has no place in a government office.
One letter spoke of the "simple truth" of the words. The words may be the simple truth of your own personal belief, but they don't reflect the beliefs of us all.
Discrimination under any guise, be it religious or otherwise, is still discrimination.
One of last week's letter writers should not be so arrogant as to suggest that the rest of us in Pagosa Springs, whether "angry homosexuals" or otherwise, be subject to his "truths" in a government facility.
I have never had to suffer the pain and humiliation of knowing that I can't drink from a fountain or sit in a certain spot on a bus because of the color of my skin, or that I can't marry my soul mate and the love of my life because of his or her gender.
As human beings, we need to open our minds and our hearts to those that seem to be different than us, or those that we just can't understand.
As a child, my dad had me read an article that he pulled from a Dear Abby column. It is an anonymous piece that resurfaced again in an Abby column. It reads:
"In Germany, the Nazis came for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Trade Unionists and I did not speak up because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I was Protestant so I did not speak up. Then they came for ME. By that time there was no one to speak up for anyone."
I have tried to make those words a practice in my life, but I feel like I failed by not speaking out about the plaque in the courthouse when I first read it many years ago. Thank you again to the anonymous person who had the courage to speak out and have those words removed.
You've reminded me that although we've come a long way as tolerant Americans, the battle is not over as long as angry readers continue to write in support of discriminatory plaques that exist in the name of their own personal religion.
Return the plaque
The April 25 story of a man offended by a plaque which hung in the County Clerk's office for 22 years should not be the clerk's problem. It's the man's problem. I read the refreshing plaque years ago when I first came to Pagosa Springs in 1987. I appreciated it then, and those thoughts will always comfort me and will fortify the county and the entire world.
My plea to the clerk: "Please replace the plaque. The majority of voters who have shown their confidence in you in the past will continue to trust your character and your principals as the plaque remains in the office."
The inescapable truth is expressed so simply. The plaque says "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."
With no further commentary needed, this statement gives the dream, the hope, and the premise of marriage, irrefutably. Placing such on the wall of an office where marriage licenses are sold is not only appropriate, but virtually requisite. That's because it advertises honestly the product (marriage license) the clerk's office delivers.
Even if the plaque is taken down, the message and its hope will never go away. God taught it first. It's still true today, and it always will be. The one who objects doesn't believe God. Thankfully, and mercifully, the same God gives all people, including homosexuals, a chance to examine the truth and believe, and be blessed.
If the plaque offends anyone, then my wife and I offend the same, by not only believing and teaching the message, but by living it for nearly 23 years. I am acquainted with most of the officials who work in the courthouse. The ones I know are illuminating examples of the message. If the plaque offends someone, then so do these examples. I'm not apologizing for my marriage, and no one should apologize for the plaque.
We must not yield to the unidentified man who objected and threatened a lawsuit. Never let anyone rule in anonymity. Conversely, we trust the clerk, whom we elected publicly. This county needs to stand against him, and stand for timeless values. We cannot let this one person own us.
At last, the plaque is not the problem, it's the solution! Please replace the plaque.
Please pass on my thanks to all those from Pagosa Springs who participated in Philanthropy Days in Pagosa Springs last Thursday. I am particularly indebted to Mayor Aragon for taking time out of his busy schedule to lead the Funders and Nonprofit organization meeting allowing us to discover the issues facing your city and county. I am glad to see that philanthropy is alive and well in Pagosa Springs.
I met so many wonderful people who are obviously dedicated to their causes, I cannot possibly thank all of them personally. However, special thanks should go to Tom Steen and his team who made sure that participants were able to meet and discuss their various needs. I include in that a special ride from Durango to Pagosa Springs when Fred Harman told us all the colorful history of your town.
Thanks again for your hospitality. I look forward to meeting you all again.
Colorado Energy Assistance Foundation
A lot of us seniors have to work part time to subsidize our Social Security income. We are on "watt watchers" program with LPEA to help conserve energy and our livelihood. Now, LPEA is penalizing us with a fee of $12 per month for this savings.
All services and commodities keep going up, like gasoline, groceries and medicine. Our Social Security goes up slightly, but Medicare takes the lion's share of that, and now this.
As a senior, I think this deserves a class action suit or at least calls to complain to the Public Utilities Commission.
Pagosa Springs tracksters set two school records and garnered 12 top-three finishes in the Intermountain League meet Saturday in Bayfield. At the end of the day, the boys earned a third place in the IML team standings and the girls finished fifth.
"We had beautiful weather," head coach Connie O'Donnell said. With prom in Pagosa Springs that night, some chose to leave early. Others stuck it out.
"We had several kids run all day and dance all night," she said. "They had a long day."
Jason Schutz led the boys team with a pair of No. 1 finishes. He won the discus with a throw of 149 feet 6 inches, breaking his own school record for the second time this season. He also took the top place in the 200-meter dash, winning in 23.40 seconds. The junior took second in the 100-meter dash, crossing the finish in 11.72, and third in the 400-meter run with a time of 52.35.
Sophomore Brandon Samples also had a big day, bringing home a first-place 2 minute 9.5 second finish in the 800-meter run. He joined juniors Todd Mees and Cliff Hockett, and sophomore Aaron Hamilton for another first - and a school record - in the 3200-meter relay. The team finished with a time of 8:41.50. Samples gathered a third top-three finish combining with Hamilton, freshman Otis Rand and junior Jeremy Buikema for a second-place, 3:50.85 time in the 1600-meter relay.
Other third-place times came from Hockett with a 5:12.62 finish in the mile, Mees with a 2:11.20 finish in the 800, and junior Brian Hart with a 19.20 finish in the 110-meter high hurdles.
Hart added more points with a fourth-place, 45.10, finish in the 300-meter hurdles. Buikema placed fourth in the 400 with a time of 54.16, and the 800-meter relay team of juniors Ryan Wendt, Brandon Charles and Brandon Rosgen and Buikema gathered a fourth with a 1:38.34 showing.
The Lady Pirates laid claim to one first-place finish, run by junior Katie Bliss and freshmen Lori Walkup, Janna Henry and Mollie Honan in the 800 relay. The girls finished in 1:59.50. Honan added a third-place finish in the 100 hurdles, crossing the finish line in 19.30. She was followed by Walkup in fourth with a time of 19.44. Bliss added on more points in the 400, crossing the finish line in 66.27 for fourth. In the mile, junior Amanda McCain claimed another fourth, completing her laps in 6:01.06.
Two other relay teams also ended up fourth. Bliss, junior Alex Rigia, senior Joetta Martinez and Henry combined to finish the 400 relay in 56.93, and freshman Marlena Lungstrum, Kelcie Mastin, Rigia and Ashley Wagle completed the medley relay in 2:07.75.
The Pirates will compete Friday at regionals in Alamosa. Those placing first through fourth at regionals will qualify for state in Pueblo May 17-18. So far, only Schutz has pre-qualified, but O'Donnell is looking to boost that number.
"We're really hoping to qualify some more individuals and especially relay teams," she said.
Other results - boys
100-meter dash - 8. P. Armijo 12.52. 200-meter dash - 5. P. Armijo 25.40. 400-meter run - 5. R. Wendt 57.43. 800-meter run - 5. A. Hamilton 2:16.51. 1600-meter run - 7. C. Mastin 5:35.27. 3200-meter run - 5. B. J. Lowder 12:11.46. 110-meter high hurdles - 5. C. Ross 20.89; 6. C. Forrest 23.27. 300 meter hurdles - 7. C. Ross 48.49. High jump - 5. C. Forrest 5-2; 5. J. Buikema 5-2; 6. O. Rand 5-2. Long jump - 5. H. Willis 17-5.5; 6. C. Hockett 17-0. Triple jump - 5. M. Madrid 33-10. Shot put - 6. H. Dias 36-2.25; 8. R. Wendt 34-1. Discus - 8. H. Willis 103-3. 400-meter relay - 5. J. Postolese, A. Knaggs, B. Charles, P. Armijo 47.82.
Other results - girls
100-meter dash - 8. J. Henry 14.86. 200-meter dash - 6. M. Honan 31.49; 7. M. Lungstrum 31.57; 8. A. Rigia 31.77. 400-meter run - 8. A. Wagle 69.30. 800-meter run - 6. A. McCain 2:42.32. 100-meter hurdles - 5. J. Henry 19.89. 300 hurdles - 8. M. Honan 57.09. Long jump - 8. A. Wagle 10-8.5. Triple jump - 7. A. Rigia 28-7.
There was an eerie sense of deja vu when Intermountain League representatives Pagosa Springs and Bayfield took on Southern League entries Friday in district baseball playoff action in Trinidad.
Each IML team built an early lead, each was victimized by a late-game big inning and each lost 11-6 when usually dependable pitching faltered.
For Bayfield it was just a bump in the playoff road because, as the IML tournament champion, they were guaranteed to advance. For Pagosa, however, it was the end of a season which developed slowly and grew to one of high hopes.
Bayfield's loss to La Junta gave the Wolverines the No. 9 seed for state competition and a 10 a.m. appointment Saturday against No. 8 seed Rangely at Englewood High School stadium.
Lamar, victor over Pagosa, drew the No. 11 seed and will play No. 6 Buena Vista Saturday at Runyon Field in Pueblo.
Lamar 11-Pagosa 6
For Pagosa's seniors, the theme for the day was "Don't let it end here. We worked four years to get here."
Pagosa won the coin toss and was home team for the contest.
Lamar's Fred Veyna opened the contest with a single to right off Pagosa's Darin Lister, was bunted to second by Jeff Clark and scored from there on Jared Martinez's long out to left. That was the extent of the Lamar attack and Pagosa was ready to respond.
Lamar's hurler, Logan Greenfield, walked Ross Wagle to give Pagosa a start. Wagle immediately stole second and stayed there as Lister also walked. Ronnie Janowsky reached on an error by Lamar third baseman Tyrel Woodward, with Wagle scoring to tie the game. Ben Marshall singled driving in both Lister and Janowsky and then he, too, stole second. Lawren Lopez delivered Marshall with a single and he, also, stole second. His attempted theft of third as Marcus Rivas struck out resulted in the second out of the inning.
The Pirates weren't done, however. Designated hitter Dustin Spencer drew Greenfield's third walk of the inning, moved to third on a single by David Kern, and scored Pagosa's fifth run on a single by Justin Caler. Kern and Caler were left on base when Wagle, the tenth batter in the inning, popped to short but Pagosa had a 5-1 lead after one inning.
A walk and two singles by Lamar hitters had the bases loaded for the Savages in the second, but Lister fanned Jonathan Steinhouse and Jake Valdez, then got Veyna on a popup to second to end the threat.
Lister led off Pagosa's second with a single but was caught stealing before both Janowsky and Marshall struck out. They represented outs 2, 3 and 4 in what was to be a string of 10 consecutive Pagosa outs.
Lamar's third inning opened with Lister fanning Clark and getting Martinez on a pop to Wagle at short. Greenfield singled, but Mike Bryant fanned to end the threat and Pagosa's lead was still 5-1.
After the Pirates were a fast three up-three down in the fourth, Lister walked Steinhouse then picked him off at first. Lamar's Cobey Christie also walked but was erased at second when Woodward hit into a fielder's choice. Then, uncharacteristically, Lister walked his third man in the inning, dealing a pass to Walker. He, too, was erased on a force at second by Veyna.
Pagosa went in order in the fifth and then the fateful rally for Lamar began.
Clark flied to left to open the frame but Martinez doubled and Greenfield singled to drive him in. Bryant also singled, but Greenfield held at second. Lister was then called for a balk, his first of the season, and both runners advanced. Lister walked Steinhouse to load the bases and then walked Christie on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run.
Coach Tony Scarpa opted at that point to bring Janowsky on in relief and Woodward greeted him with a single. Walker was out on a fielder's choice, but Veyna singled before Clark, the tenth batter in the inning, grounded to short. Lamar had scored six in the inning to take a 7-5 lead.
But Lister wouldn't let it end there. He opened Pagosa's fifth with a drive to left center for a double, moved to third when Janowsky grounded to short and scored on Marshall's bouncer to second to slice the Lamar lead to one. Lopez singled and Rivas walked to keep Pagosa's rally alive with two outs but Danny Lyon fanned to end the threat.
Singles by Martinez and Greenfield opened the sixth for Lamar and Janowsky was in deep trouble. Byrant's sacrifice fly to right scored one run and Steinhouse doubled in another. After Christie grounded out, Janowsky plunked Woodward with a splitter which got away and Walker singled to drive in the tenth Lamar marker before being picked off at second.
Wagle drew a walk in the Pagosa sixth but the Pirates were unable to score.
Lamar got one more run in the seventh inning on a walk, a bunt sacrifice, a popup and a single before Bryant grounded out to end the inning.
Pagosa had one breath left, with the meat of the order due up in the bottom of the inning.
Janowsky grounded back to Greenfield, Marshall was out on a long fly to left, and Lopez struck out to end the Pagosa chance.
For Pagosa the line score shows six runs on seven hits. Lamar's 11 runs came on 14 hits. Lister had five strikeouts, Greenfield eight.
Lend a hand during Clean Up Week
Our Music Boosters organization continues to raise the bar on the quality of their productions, so it is with particular pride that I remind you that tonight marks the opening of the Pagosa Springs' Performing Arts Company's production of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's, "You Can't Take It With You" in the High School Auditorium. We're very excited about this current show and the fabulous cast it boasts. Who wouldn't pay very large amounts of money to see Lee Sterling's stage debut? We have much to anticipate, folks.
Dates for this auspicious event are tonight, tomorrow and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and on Mother's Day, Sunday, a matinee at 3 p.m. 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 of Commerce, The Plaid Pony, the Sisson Library and Moonlight Books. I encourage you to get out and support the work of this exceptional organization. We are lucky indeed to have such a professional group dedicated to bringing superior entertainment to our area.
It's that time again to get the word out to our 795 Chamber members by placing an insert in our upcoming quarterly newsletter, The Chamber Communiqué.
In the off chance you haven't heard about this superb marketing bargain, it's easy as pie to participate, and I'll be happy to tell you how: Just make 730 copies of your message on 8 1/2" x 11" (unfolded) paper, using an attention-getting color, utilizing both sides if you wish, and bring those in to us at the Visitor Center with a check for $40, and we'll do the rest. There is hardly a better way to market your product, current special, grand opening or move than a newsletter insert. Doug is especially adamant about the deadline because he is going on vacation and will have the newsletter pretty much done before he leaves.
The deadline is May 24, so don't be late or Doug will be very cranky. Please call us with questions at 264-2360.
Clean Up Week
Hizzoner, Mayor Ross Aragon, has designated the week of May 12-18 as the 2002 Clean Up Week for our community. Please look elsewhere in the SUN for specific information about dumpster locations and dates, towing of junk cars, and removal of larger items such as old lumber or appliances.
Please stop by the Visitor Center to pick up orange trash bags for roadside and community pick-up projects. We are grateful to the many organizations, groups and individuals who pitch in every year to make our lovely community even more beautiful and clean. Encourage family members to take a bag with them when they walk the dog or just head out for a walk so they can clean their walking route. Call us with any questions at 264-2360.
Our pal, Jim Reser, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College will be in Pagosa at the Visitor Center May 31 to offer free business information to all who seek it. Jim has been coming to Pagosa for years and has helped countless members with his expertise and advice. Call Doug at 264-2360 to set up an appointment with Jim. He truly has his finger on the pulse of current business conditions in the Four Corners area and will cheerfully share his fund of knowledge with you at no cost.
Music in the Mountains
I'm sure that you have heard that we have sold out of the first performance of Music in the Mountains July 17, and have, at this writing, only seven tickets left for the second performance on July 22. We are holding a few tickets for both performances and ask that everyone who has tickets on hold please pick them up by May 17, or we will be forced to release them. We have a formidable waiting list and feel it's only fair that these folks are given a chance to purchase the tickets if no one claims them. Don't be disappointed by losing the tickets, kids, so come on down ASAP to claim these precious treasures if your name is on them.
It is always noteworthy and remarkable when a business celebrates their tenth year here in Pagosa, so our hearty congratulations go out to Maria MacNamee, owner and proprietor of Happy Trails Ladies Boutique on completing 10 successful years. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Maria invites you to attend a Blue Willi's Trunk show at her store May 18 from 1:30-5 p.m. You will be treated to food and drinks and many opportunities to win great prizes throughout the afternoon. There will also be a live broadcast with KWUF going on from 2-5. Maria is also very anxious for you to see her newly remodeled store while shopping and enjoying the treats.
Once again, we congratulate Maria on her tenth anniversary and look forward to the next 10 years at Happy Trails Ladies Boutique.
Another valued member, Elizabeth Young, announces the opening of her new store, Head to Toe Salon and Boutique located at 270 Pagosa St. next to the Ski and Bow Rack. Elizabeth invites you to join her at her new digs where she continues to offer quality hair design, skin and nail care and consignment clothing. Elizabeth has worked long and hard fixing up this new location and looks forward to sharing it with you. Stop by and say hello or give her a call at 264-6413.
We are absolutely delighted to introduce four new members this week and three renewals. When I asked Morna for our current membership numbers this morning, I was somewhat astonished to learn that we are at 795. Truth be known, I almost fell off my chair - especially in light of the fact that she had just purged lost members. We feel fortunate indeed to be approaching the 800 number and are considering breaking out the bubbly to celebrate such a remarkable landmark when it occurs. Thank you all for such amazing support and loyalty. We are humbly grateful and just a little giddy.
Linda Gundelach joins us with Cool Heads, Inc. located at 448 Pagosa St., formerly Home Again. Linda offers ladies casual clothing, hats, swimsuits and accessories. You will also find swim suits, hats and quality T-shirts for boys and men. Please look for Linda's opening date sometime soon. We are grateful to Robert "Casper" Soniat for recruiting Linda to the Chamber and will send off a free SunDowner pass to express our appreciation.
Ron Barsanti joins us next with the Crowley Ranch Reserve located in Chromo. The Crowley Ranch Reserve is an open space residential subdivision with 1,400 acres set aside for wildlife and recreation. To learn more about this unique subdivision and concept, please give Ron a call at 264-2504 or on the web at www.crowleyranchreserve.com.
We're delighted to next welcome Ron Maez who brings us Shear Talk located at 510 San Juan St. We've anticipated this membership for some time and are happy that Ron has joined us. Shear Talk hair and nail salon offers professional full service in taking care of your hair and nail needs as well as the best products and advice. This salon has been servicing this area for 18 years and welcomes your call at 264-2308.
Our fourth new member is Les Mundall, Broker Associate, who joins us as a Real Estate Associate with Coldwell Banker, The Pagosa Group, located at 2383 U.S. 160. Les will be happy to handle all your real estate needs to include listing and selling your residential and commercial properties and vacant land. He specializes in "outback" properties, so give him a call at 731-2000 or 946-7779 to see what he can do for you.
Our renewals this week include our friends, Andrea and Neil Postolese at the Irish Rose Restaurant; old pals Karen and Tracy Bunning at High Country Title, Inc. and, last but far from least, our wacky friend, Mary Jo Coulehan, "M.J." with TLC's: A Bed and Breakfast. Thanks to all.
First meal in Community Center planned Aug. 5
The big day is coming - the seniors will move into the new Community Center the first week of August. Our first meal there will be Aug. 5 if all goes as planned. The new building is beautiful and we really appreciate all the folks who have worked hard to make this project come to fruition, especially Ross Aragon and Sylvia Murray who pushed to get it off the ground.
Our Volunteer of the Month is Helen Schoonover. Helen is a lovely lady and volunteers many hours helping out at our front desk - Thanks so much, Helen!
Special thanks to Vasuki for taking over our yoga class while Richard was gone; to Richard Harris for his generous donation to Seniors, Inc.; to Lili Pearson for her great photos of our seniors having fun; to Sharon and Richard Aldahl for art supply donations; to Dee Shank and Josephine Paluch for donations of books and magazines; and to the Catholic Church for the donation of a wonderful salad Friday.
Thanks to Bill Clark for his presentation regarding Homestead Exemption for seniors and the fire department's bond issue. To receive the property tax exemption you need to be at least 65 years old, and have owned and lived in your Colorado property as a primary residence for at least 10 years. For those who qualify, 50 percent of the first $200,000 of actual value of the property will be exempt. Contact the Archuleta County Assessor's office for more information and submit your form by July 15 for the exemption.
Also, thanks to Peg Cooper for her presentation on Searching Your Family Tree. This is always and interesting subject and one some of us need help learning how to do it.
We were happy to have Kerry Madrid join us this week.
Congratulations to Charlene Baumgardner, who is our Senior of the Week this week. We really enjoy have Charlene and her husband join us regularly at the Center.
We appreciate Andy Fautheree, Veterans Service Officer, joining us Friday to visit with veterans and offer them advice on services available. Also, Andy invites everyone to listen to his program on KWUF from 6-9 p.m. Monday evenings.
Marion Swanson sends her regards to all. We hope Marion will come back to see us soon.
Musetta and Laura will demonstrate the Benefitscheckup.org Web site May 13 - how to input personal information (no name/social security numbers needed) so the program can suggest what programs (i.e. pharmacy benefits, property-tax breaks, legal assistance, etc.) may be useful to us. This will be very informative and we hope lots of folks will come for the demonstration.
For those wanting to become acquainted with computers, Sam Matthews is teaching Basic Introduction to the Personal Confuser (also known as the personal computer) every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. This very talented man can answer your questions and help you make use of a valuable asset in our society.
Carolyn Geiger will teach an easy, sit-down kind of Tai Chi/Qigong May 10, after lunch.
Collette Vacations is offering a Branson Musical Getaway beginning June 24. The trip lasts five days and includes seven meals, a cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle, a show at the Blue Velvet Theatre, and an evening with world class violinist Shoji Tabuchi. Contact Musetta or Laura for more information.
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.
Deadline for entering the logo contest is May 30. We need a small logo reflecting the Senior Center's name "Silver Foxes Den" to put on mugs for the fall Oktoberfest, as well as on our brochures. All graphic artists are invited to submit entries, too. We want to obtain a design that will make our community proud and will reflect our new name.
Other upcoming events
On the third Tuesday of each month the Sky Ute Casino will provide free transportation for 6-13 seniors to travel from the Senior Center to Ignacio to enjoy the casino. They will provide some gifts and reduced price food vouchers, etc. Interested parties need to sign up the Center.
The pool at Best Western is back in service. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9-11 a.m. there is free swimming (for center members only) and discounts on meals.
There is Yoga at 9:30 Tuesdays and art classes at 12:45 p.m. Tuesdays.
Wednesday card games are at 1 p.m. and we offer a new yoga class at 1 p.m. (bring large towel or mat and a tie, if possible, and wear loose clothes). A Wednesday matinee show at Liberty Theater for seniors costs $3. Call 264-4578 to let them know how many will be attending.
Rafters learned to do slow burn
People have been asking, "Are you back from the raft trip on the San Juan River?" And the answer is yes, we're back. It was a great experience. We learned a lot.
We learned that it's good to have more than one bottle, or one brand, or one SPF factor, of sunscreen. The first day of sunshine on the river and my ankles were fried. Hotshot fared worse; his legs were streaked bright red, with some purple thrown in. Yes, we used the sunscreen, but obviously we didn't do a good job in the application.
So for the rest of the five days, while the others were working on their tans, gradually exposing more and more skin, we were covered up: long-sleeved shirts and long pants. We looked like old people. Like the men in sepia photographs, standing ankle-deep at the ocean beach with their pants legs rolled up.
Hotshot learned how to row a raft, or at least he made a good start. It's different from paddling a canoe. You want to keep a canoe lined up with the current, keep the nose pointing downstream. That's not so important in a raft. You can let it drift. Sideways, even. You can back up quickly if you're drifting close to a rock.
The first two days of our trip, following the advice of a couple of longtime rafters, I rode in someone else's raft. "Let Hotshot have time to learn, without you being in the way," said Old River Rat.
That was fine with me. I remember our canoe trips, where communication between the front and rear paddlers is more important than the skill of either of them.
Once on the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park, we were negotiating a difficult spot called, appropriately, the Tight Squeeze. You had to go around a rock right in the middle of the river, then get back in the current, cross below the rock, and slip between two enormous boulders, and then turn left into the eddy behind one of them before you hit the rock that was just below the slot. A zig, a zag, a slip, and a turn, all in a short space of time.
This was one of the first times that Hotshot and I had canoed together. I was the front paddler, the one who gets to indicate when to turn or sideslip. Hotshot was the rear paddler, the one with the strength and the real ability to turn the canoe.
I was watching our experienced leader, Paul, who was standing on a rock beyond the Squeeze, indicating which direction to go to get lined up. Hotshot was watching only himself. We were definitely not communicating with each other. We made it around the first obstacle rock and then our paddles started fighting each other. Can you guess what happened next? Yep. We ran directly into one of the huge boulders.
Fortunately, we stayed straight with the current. I braced my paddle against the rock face in front of me and pushed - hard! We shot straight back, like an arrow, far enough back that we were able to slip sideways and through the Squeeze.
But we didn't coast through. Our canoe had taken on a lot of water. It sloshed around in the bottom of the canoe, which moved with all the grace of a garbage scow. We almost ran into the next rock, below the Squeeze, and Paul had to push us off that one and point us in the direction of the little beach beyond, where we spent the next 10 minutes bailing out the boat.
It was a good lesson. We were lucky it didn't cost us much. Paul was sure, when we went into the rock and out of his line of sight, that next he'd see poles and pickle barrels and paddles bobbing through the Squeeze. Imagine his amazement when our canoe reappeared, upright and intact.
On the raft trip last week, we relearned an important piece of advice. If your boat runs up sideways against a rock, and the river current is pushing you, lean downstream, away from the current. The water builds up against the bottom of the canoe and sometimes it raises the boat and floats it right over the obstacle. At the very least, you can sit there safely while you figure out what to do next.
If, on the other hand, you lean upstream, away from the rock, the onrushing water can fill your craft in a matter of minutes, or seconds, and then you're in Big Trouble.
On our recent raft trip, Hotshot and I ran sideways against a rock while trying to wiggle our way through a small rapid. Along came one of the other rafts. "High side," yelled Fearless Leader. "Lean to the high side!" Even though the terminology was different, we remembered the principle of leaning downstream, and we quickly shifted our weight toward the rock.
At the same instant that she said that, the big raft bumped the end of ours, spun us around and off the rock, and we all floated safely through the rest of the rapid.
We all learned another lesson on the trip, even the experienced rafters. The combination of sun, water, and fine silt that is a part of the lower San Juan River wreaked havoc on our hands. Every one of us finished the trip with cuts and scratches on our fingers. Painful little cuts.
"Use Super Glue," advised one of the group, and he gave us several stories about people sealing cuts with Super Glue. "It's the same thing as that skin glue that hospitals use," he said. "Only the packaging is different."
It sounds creepy, doesn't it? Gluing those cuts shut. Gluing little cracks in your fingernails.
After I got home, I put Band-Aids on my cut fingers and waited for them to heal. Any Day used Super Glue. "It's great," he said. "As soon as it dried, I could do things without wincing. This tube of glue is going into my first aid kit."
Any Day is now a glue believer. Just another lesson on the river.
Reminder: The American Cancer Society fund-raiser, Relay for Life, takes place in Town Park June 21 and 22. The event is a lot of fun and very rewarding. Are you on a team? Supporting a team? Looking for a team? Call Joe Donavan at 731-9296 for more information.
Erika and second steed reap equestrian laurels
I wrote in my column last week about Erika DeVoti and her horse Omar's outstanding 75-mile equestrian event in New Mexico. This past weekend, Ericka and her other Arabian, Czar, competed in the Kenlyn Flats Urban Challenge endurance ride in Aurora.
Rider and steed finished the 50-mile event first in their weight division, and third overall, with the top three riders cantering across the finish line within a few seconds of each other ... a very interesting finish, because the rest of the field began arriving about a half-hour later.
The ride route was made possible due to Aurora's purchasing many miles of green space. Much of the terrain was single track with numerous trees, sandy washes, and encounters with the local deer herd.
Horses and riders also faced truly "urban" challenges, which included riding under Interstate 70 overpasses, hearing the booms of low-flying military jets and of the not-too-distant military rifle range.
They negotiated chest-deep streams (Czar's chest, that is), avoided lunging but fenced dogs, made several passes through a junk vehicle reclamation yard, and rode next to a cement mixing plant. Czar was unfazed by the potential distractions, and remained one of the three lead horses the entire race.
Truly a royal country horse with all the street smarts of an alley cat, Czar pulsed down first at each check (horses are evaluated at a veterinarian check until their pulse is below 60 beats per minute) and cantered easily across the finish. Our photo was taken at the ride and both Erika and Czar looked ready to continue riding for another 50 miles.
This was Czar's first event since February, and his strong finish is a positive indicator for a good season. Congratulations Erika and Czar ... we look forward to following your performance through the rest of this summer.
Last Saturday the PLPOA-sponsored garage sale set quite a standard for a first time event. There were 22 families present hawking their wares. Free doughnuts and hot dogs were enjoyed by all. With the encouraging turnout of both sellers and buyers, this is a good starter for future large group garage sales.
The Pagosa Springs Junior High School's eighth graders will be at the recreation center 2-5 p.m. March 17 to celebrate their graduation with a pool party. The event is sponsored by the Education Center and the recreation center. A large number of local merchants have also shown support through their donations which will be given out to the students as prizes. All home-schooled eighth graders are also invited to be a part of the party. The recreation center will remain open to its members.
The PLPOA directors will hold their monthly meeting at 7 p.m. today in the Pagosa Lakes Comunity Center. Members and observers are invited to attend. Public comments will be heard at the beginning of the meeting.
Mother's Day is Sunday. Here is a poem, "Mother's Day," by Faith Richardson.
"It's to show your mom you care.
It's to reflect upon past events
And thank her for the pain she had to bear.
Being a mom is hard work - tough but fun!
It involves things you would never imagine
Until you have become one.
Fear, joy, panic, laughter ...
On your knees begging for grace.
But all of it is worth it
When you look into his little smiling face.
No words could ever describe it,
Not in Spanish, English, French or sign.
That's why I chose to become a mommy
For the second time!"
Don't forget to celebrate Mother's Day.
Microwaving water can be dangerous
This is a warning we all need to heed.
Do not heat water alone in a microwave oven. The water can blow up - exploding in your face - causing severe burning and even causing damage to your eyes. Instead, if you want to heat water in a microwave add something such as a wooden stick or a tea bag to diffuse the energy.
This build-up of energy is caused by a phenomenon known as super-heating. It can occur any time water is heated and will particularly occur if the vessel that the water is heated in is new.
What happens is that the water heats faster than the vapor bubbles can form. If the cup is very new then it is unlikely to have small surface scratches inside it that provide a place for the bubbles to form. As the bubbles cannot form and release some of the heat that has built up, the liquid does not boil and the liquid continues to heat up well past its boiling point. What then usually happens is that the liquid is bumped or jarred, which is just enough of a shock to cause the bubbles to rapidly form and expel the hot liquid. The rapid formation of bubbles is also why a carbonated beverage spews when opened after having been shaken.
Sorry, but there won't be a Golden Retriever birthday party as there has been the past few years - Max and Mama Shirley Mateer have moved away, to Florida.
This is a sad note to report: Rick Majors, the man from Bowling Green, Ky., who always wanted to ride his horse to Pagosa, but didn't get here, has died. I wrote about his cross-country journey last July. Major's journey ended when his horse was bitten by a rattlesnake while he was riding through Missouri. He had to go back home, but he said that the time was worth it because of the wonderful people he met along the way. Majors was 49 years old. He died April 18 at home.
Fun on the run
Politics being what they are, you might enjoy this story.
A few weeks ago, some 75 journalists attended a luncheon in Richmond, Ky., to honor Louisville's retiring Associated Press bureau chief, Ed Staats. Chip Hutchinson, editor of the Times Leader in Princeton, wrote about this. He started his column with, "It's no secret that journalists can be pretty irreverent when the topic turns to legislators."
As an aside, he says that people are pleased with local representation but that, "We can't make that blanket statement about all 138 who comprise the Kentucky General Assembly."
Hutchinson went on to write that the luncheon began with a prayer given by the executive director of the Kentucky Press Association, David Thompson, who followed a pattern set years ago by Larry Craig, a newspaper man and Baptist preacher, who is convinced the Lord has a sense of humor. A part of the prayer goes like this:
"Father there's never a good time to be in Frankfort, unless it's a day like today when we gather to honor a person we're glad to call a friend, and we are glad that you led him to Kentucky many years ago.
"As journalists, we thank you for the knowledge and wisdom you have given us. We only wish we could say the same for the men and women gathered a few hollers from here under the Capitol dome and call them legislators.
"It would be OK Lord if you took a little of our knowledge and gave it to them. That would not affect anyone in this room much, but it would increase the intelligence of those 138 men and women tenfold.
"Forgive us Lord of our sins and shortcomings, forgive them of their ignorance, arrogance and greed.
"Lord forgive those editorial writers who endorsed annual sessions and especially Lord, forgive those Kentuckians who voted Yes on that issue."
Health care enrollments still climbing
Archuleta County veterans have been answering the call in very large numbers lately to get enrolled in the VA Health Care system, anticipating the opening of the Durango VA Outpatient Clinic. The Durango Clinic is scheduled to open sometime later this year, possibly this fall. This was indicated by a timeline in February of 6-8 months, from the Albuquerque VA Medical Center that oversees outpatient clinics in its district, which will includes Durango.
However, no firm date for the Durango clinic opening has been set. I attended a forum with Albuquerque VA Medical Center people recently, and they indicated the process of seeking suitable medical providers in Durango was proceeding as planned. The Durango clinic will be contracted with an existing medical facility in that city.
Veterans Service Officers from surrounding counties, persons representing several nonprofit veterans organizations, representatives of the Colorado VA Board and Colorado VA Office, and officials from the Albuquerque VA Medical Center, met with interested local veterans to explain the Durango Clinic processes and help the veterans with enrollment. The forum was hosted by the VFW and held at the VFW meeting hall in Durango. I understand over 40 veterans were added or updated in the VA Health Care program. I was on hand with my laptop computer, printer and computerized VA forms and personally enrolled about 10 in the short space of about three hours. None of veterans I enrolled had ever sought VA Health Care. Several were WWII veterans.
Albuquerque personnel also were on hand with special equipment to make up and issue VA Health Care ID cards. Veterans brought in their DD214s to qualify for VA Health Care. Many were already in the system, but lacked the ID cards. Others needed to enroll and be issued the ID cards. Once the ID card is issued, a veteran can go to any VA medical facility in the country without proving their eligibility. The ID card has the veteran's picture on it, and a bar code containing information that can be quickly scanned.
Speaking of the VA Medical ID cards, I know many Archuleta County veterans who are already enrolled in VA Health Care do not have this ID card. If they have been obtaining their health care at the Farmington VA Clinic, they may have not even have an ID card, or it is very outdated. The photo ID card equipment at the Farmington facility has not been in good operating condition for some time. I urge all of our local veterans to be sure and get a new or updated ID card if they visit the Albuquerque Medical Center.
As I mentioned in a recent column, I also attended the 9Health Fair in Pagosa Springs in April to help Archuleta County veterans with their VA benefits. I had my laptop computer and printer on hand again and was successful in signing quite a few veterans for VA Health Care. The 9Health Fair was from 8 a.m. to noon and I was busy signing up veterans the whole time. In fact, I was unable to take care of several veterans on the spot and we made arrangements for them to visit my office to get signed up.
I was extremely busy the past couple of weeks signing up veterans to the VA Health Care program at the office. Many had been reading this column for the last several weeks urging VA Health Care sign up. Often wives and friends are my best advertising to get veterans to come in and seek the benefits they are entitled to. All in all it has been some of my busiest weeks of late, meeting with Archuleta County veterans. In fact my schedule has become so busy that I recommend veterans call in advance and make an appointment to ensure a prompt visit with me. I sometimes have to interview several veterans at a time and have more waiting in the hall.
Just a reminder, if you are enrolled in VAHC at either Farmington or Albuquerque, you are all set up to transfer your primary health care to the Durango facility when it opens. You will receive a letter later this year asking you if you want to transfer and you can make the appropriate response at that time. However, veterans enrolled at Grand Junction only, or not enrolled in the VAHC system at all, will need to see me sometime soon to ensure the opportunity to receive their primary health care at the Durango VA Clinic.
For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. Active Internet Web site for the 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.
Risk-taking teens need tough parents
Today - Cloverbuds, Methodist Church, 4 p.m.
Today - 4-H Oil Painting, Extension office, 4:30 p.m.
Today - Private pesticide applications, Extension office, 7 p.m.
Friday - Colorado Kids, Extension office, 2 p.m.
May 11 - 4-H Cake Decorating 1 & 2, Extension office, 2 p.m.
May 11 - 4-H Rocketry, Extension office, 2 p.m.
May 13 - 4-H Woodworking, Extension office, 4 p.m.
May 13 - 4-H Shooting Sports, Extension office, 5 p.m.
May 14 - 4-H Vet Science, San Juan Veterinary Clinic, 5:30 p.m.
With spring break just behind us, we have been barraged with scenes of intoxicated teens and young adults, and alarming reports of frequent binge drinking among our younger generation. Equally troubling is the report from Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse that points to parents as "unwitting coconspirators who tend to see drinking and occasional bingeing as a rite of passage."
Parents need to be the front line of defense against risk-taking behaviors their children come up against. While many parents may feel uncomfortable talking with their children about sex, alcohol and illicit drug use, family discussions about the importance of using restraint help build a foundation for healthy development in young people.
Restraint is among the developmental assets, or building blocks of healthy youth development, identified by Search Institute that allow young people to thrive. Assets for Colorado Youth, an organization promoting a strength-based approach to youth development, encourages adults to discuss the importance of abstaining from sex, alcohol and other drugs with young people. Says María Guajardo Lucero of ACY, "By keeping young people informed and by being open to their questions, teens are more likely to use restraint in risk-taking situations."
The following tips can help adults teach young people to use restraint:
€ Be clear about family boundaries and values, and why they are important
€ Model how to use restraint ourselves
€ Look for opportunities to discuss the consequences of risky behaviors
€ Praise young people when you see them practicing restraint.
Building assets in young people is a conscious process of modeling, supporting, and encouraging positive behaviors. The assets, in turn, provide young people with the tools they need to control what happens to them and direct their lives toward a positive future.
For more information on the 40 assets, call the Archuleta County CSU Cooperative Extension at 264-5931, e-mail at email@example.com, or visit Assets for Colorado Youth's Web site at www.buildassets.org.
Student show lasts two more weeks
If you missed opening day of the current exhibit at the gallery in Town Park, it's your loss not to have shaken hands with the talented students who contributed to the display. You still have two weeks to stop by the gallery and enjoy the work of the members of Charla Ellis' high school art program. The display will continue through May 22, and can be viewed during gallery hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
The Music Boosters' production of "You Can't Take it With You," will be performed at the high school auditorium tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. There will be a special Mother's Day matinee Sunday, at 3 p.m.
Enjoy not only the music and humor of the play, but a performance by John Graves at the piano during intermission. Purchase tickets at the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books, Sisson Library and The Plaid Pony. Adults pay $12, students over 7 and senior citizens pay $10, and children under 6 pay $8.
A unique evening of audio/visual delights will be presented tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Lakes Community Center. Kent Tompkins, a professional photographer from Grand Junction, will present slide images from the Navajo reservation in Arizona and other cross-cultural settings, a series of photographs taken over a 15-year period. The slide presentation will be enriched by the accompanying soundtrack of multicultural music, a display of the diversity of spirit of life and environment.
Topping off the evening will be a special appearance by Native American flute player, Charles Martinez, Native Northwest chants by Clarissa Hudson, African drumming, and a delightful appearance by a gathering of Pagosa children. Admission is $7 at the door. Call Connie Wienpahl at 264-5892 for information, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The San Juan Dance Academy, 188 South 8th St., will host the San Juan Festival Ballet performance by local youngsters May 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. each evening. There will be a special children's performance at 11 a.m. May 18. Admission for the matinee is $3, for all other performances $6. Call Stephanie Jones for more information at 264-5068, or purchase tickets at The Pagosa Kid or at the gallery in Town Park.
The second annual Pet Pride Day Birdhouse Contest takes place June 1. Exhibit entries should be dropped off at the arts council gallery Tuesday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Deadline to receive entries is May 31 before 5 p.m.
Each exhibitor may submit up to two individual birdhouses at a fee of $5 per entry. Each entry must be an original work built by the exhibitor. No commercially produced birdhouses or assembled kits will be accepted.
Participants may enter in three categories: under 10 years of age, 10 to 18, and over 18. Judging will take place at 2 p.m. on Pet Pride Day, June 1. Prizes will be awarded for each category. The winning birdhouse in each group will be displayed for two weeks at the gallery in Town Park. Participants have the option of donating their work to the arts council or to the Humane Society.
For more information call 264-5020.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council welcomes new members of the board: Stephanie Jones, president; Doris Green, vice president; Doug Schultz, secretary; Susan Garman, Adrienne Haskamp and Katrina Thomas, directors; and Joanne Haliday, staff. We thank Jennifer Harnick our outgoing president and Georgia Dick, treasurer, for all their hard work and contributions to the council.
We would also like to thank the volunteers and donators who made the annual garage sale fun and successful. Thanks go to Marguerite at Mountain Greenery for supplying complimentary floral arrangements for open house exhibits at the gallery.
A number of volunteers are needed by the arts council. If you have the time, talent or inclination, call Joanne at 264-5020 to find out how you can help promote the arts in Pagosa Springs.
Tune in to 1400 AM, the second Thursday of each month from 8:05-8:35 a.m. for an update on Pagosa Springs Arts Council events.
If you don't have a PSAC membership, stop by the gallery and fill out a membership form. Cost for an individual is $20 per year and for a family only $30 per year. Membership entitles you to discounts at selected events sponsored by the arts council.
If you have information related to any aspect of the arts that you would like to see in the Artsline column, please e-mail it to Joanne at email@example.com, or call 264-5020 at least two weeks before you want it in the paper.
Library's poetry contest drew 62 entries
We had 62 poems entered in our first contest. We thank our three judges for their considerate and considerable help. John Graves and Jack and Charla Ellis took on the hard job of picking winners. The judges did not know the names of the poets when making their choices. The selections were then weighted numerically.
In the adult division, first place went to Bill Dawson for "The Spider." Second place was won by Kathryn Nelson for "Photo Album." Third place went to Carole Confar for "Where the Monarchs Nest."
There were three honorable mentions: "Hidden Graveyard," by Carole Confar, "Written in the Dead of Winter," by Kathryn Nelson, "Alberta," by Natalie Gabel. Special congratulations to Nelson and Confar for having two entries chosen.
In the children's contest, first place went to Hayden Cleverly for "Dolphins." Second place went to Mele Lelievre for "When I Lived." Third place was awarded to Sarah Schultz for "Yourself." Two honorable mentions were noted: Kelsey Lyle for "When the Wind Blows," and Marley Gabel for "Nature."
Congratulations to our winners. Poetry books and ribbons will be given as prizes, and thanks to everyone who sent in poems. We plan to publish all of the entries in a book for our poetry collection. We'll announce when the book is processed.
We're all nervous about this potential fire situation. Barb Draper encourages everyone to video or at least take pictures of your belongings for inventory purposes. Consider making a list of items you would want to take with you if time permitted. Being prepared is the best defense. And pay attention to Fire Chief Warren Grams' suggestions as to how to protect your property.
Paula Bain has gourds on display and also some of her other artwork. Please come by to see them.
"The Life and Times of the Last Kid Picked," by David Benjamin is a charming story of a boy's way of life growing up in the '50s. It is a classic comic memoir. Any former child will enjoy this book.
"Harvest of Empire," by Juan Gonzalez is a history of the Latinos in America. Gonzalez traces the triumphs and tragedies of the Latino experience in the United States. He tells of the contributions of a host of Hispanic groups that have been made to our country's prosperity.
The book spans 500 years of history. Gonzalez is a highly respected journalist, and one of the nation's most influential Hispanics. He reminds us of the great gifts that Latinos have given us: the glories of music and art, literature and food, along with the daily affirmation of the virtues of family and work. Within the next decade, Hispanics will become the largest minority group and by 2050 they will comprise one quarter of the entire U.S. Population. With the latinization of the country, Gonzalez sees the possibility of a renaissance of American democracy. This is an important book for those of us living in the Southwest.
Thanks for materials from Jack and Cheryl Barlow, the Tim Iverson family, Kahle Charles, Maria Feht, Bob Fisher, Mike and Jacky Reece, Evelyn Kantas and Janice Koch.
Kenny King, right, is the new owner, with Don King, of Big O Tires of Pagosa Springs, located at 497 San Juan St. Scott Torres, right, is the manager of the store.
Big O Tires handles Big O and other major brand tires, with the largest tire inventory in Pagosa Springs. Big O sells and installs brakes, shocks and struts, and does front end alignment and repair.
Big O premium tires come with a free, unlimited warranty and the store works factory direct with Michelin and B.F. Goodrich.
Business hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Call 264-2886.
Lance and Elisha Lucas of Pagosa Springs, Joe Garcia of Pagosa Springs and Terry and Elba Ulibarri of Arboles are proud to announce the engagement of their children, Valerie Lucas and Ernest Garcia. Both are Pagosa Springs High School graduates and plan to exchange vows June 8, 2002. They will reside in Pagosa Springs.
Talian kids meet after 50 years
The headline could read, "School chums meet after more than half a century."
Ernest "Guch" Yamaguchi and Uri Ealum have a lot in common. As young men, both attended school in Pagosa Junction and in Talian, oh, so long ago. Guch was born in 1925, Uri in 1919. Both lived in Talian.
Guch and Uri got together this past week at Uri's Hermosa Park home, the first face-to-face meeting in 50 or more years.
Don't try to visit Talian today; you'll hardly find a stick there. As for Pagosa Junction, a little more remains, but not much. Nevertheless, both communities were important during the early days of Archuleta County.
The common denominator at Talian was the lumber mill owned by a man named Matsumoto. Guch's dad, Frank, was the mill superintendent. Uri's dad, Walter, performed a variety of tasks including firing the boilers that powered the mill's steam engine during the day and watching over the mill at night. That wasn't the end of family involvement.
Guch's mom, Haru, ran the commissary, the closest thing to a shopping mall in Talian.
"She did a good job," Uri said.
The commissary carried groceries, household items, some work clothing, and basic essentials for everyday living. The family list of necessities was a lot shorter than it is today.
Uri's mother ran the cafeteria, his sister waited tables. The cafeteria served home-cooked meals, mostly to the single men who worked at the mill. Single guys bunked in tar paper shacks down behind the stables. Food was served family style.
The mill was located at the intersection of Vega Redonda Road and Cat Creek Road. Cat Creek ran through the middle of the site. So did the narrow gauge Rio Grande and Pagosa Northern Railroad line connecting Pagosa Junction with Pagosa Springs.
No electricity served the Talian area during those years. Homes were heated from wood or coal, light was furnished from kerosene or gas lamps, and power at the mill was generated from steam, the steam boilers heated by scrap fuel from the milling process. Household water came from the creeks. Water for the steam boiler at the mill probably came from Cat Creek, through a gravity flow system.
Life was hard by modern standards. The mill's steam whistle summoned workers to their stations at 6 a.m., the beginning of a 12-hour day. Each day, Monday through Saturday, was a repetition of the day before. Men and their families enjoyed a respite on Sundays.
Work in a mill was grinding and dangerous, what we used to call "mule work" when, fresh out of high school in Oregon during the 1950s, I worked in mills. Men wore flannel, long-sleeved shirts, Big Mac pants or some other kind of jeans, leather, lace-up boots, and usually a pair of leather gloves. Certain jobs required the protection of leather aprons to keep deadly wooden splinters from piercing a workman's abdomen, front side, or legs.
Logs were snaked down a ditch to the headsaw where the bark was cut off as the logs were sawed into cants. The mill's profit often depended on the judgment of the sawyer. It was the sawyer's responsibility to recognize the quality of the log and to cut it in such a way that lumber of the most profitable grades and sizes resulted.
After leaving the headsaw, sawdust, bark, edgings and trim ends went one direction, usable cuts another. The sawdust, bark, edgings, and trim ends were often carried by conveyor belt to the burner, a metal enclosure with a spark-arresting metal mesh at the top. The photograph of the Talian mill accompanying this article shows a large pile of sawdust, but no burner. All of the lumber scraps from this mill were used to fire the burner used to make steam to power the mill.
After leaving the headsaw, usable cuts often passed through an edger where they were ripped lengthwise into an exact board size: 1x10, 2x4, etc. After being sized, the boards passed through a trim saw where they were cut for length, then passed onto a sorting chain.
If the lumber was still wet, freshly cut and unplaned, the chain was called a "green chain." Early chains often consisted of an endless metal conveyor belt constructed of links. The belt ran through grooves channeled in boards. The men who pulled lumber from the chain and stacked it often walked on a sort of wooden gang plank paralleling the chain.
Often a grader stood at the head of the chain and marked each board with a piece of chalk according to certain standards of quality. A talleyman might be recording the pieces going down the chain according to size and grade. Finally, a number of men wearing leather aprons pulled the boards from the chain, stacking them in piles according to grade and size.
The Talian mill cut mostly narrow gauge railroad ties. Later, a box factory was added. Lettuce crates for use in the San Luis Valley were made in the box factory. Uri worked in this part of the operation.
Most of the timber supplying the Talian mill was cut up the Vega Redonda and hauled to the mill by horses. A single horse was used to pull a log to a wagon. After being loaded on the wagon, the logs were hauled to the mill by teams.
"My brother Clarence was bitten by a rattlesnake while working with a logging crew," Uri remembers.
The bitten boy was hauled back to Talian where, "my dad sliced the wound on his fingers with a knife," Uri recalls. "Then they stuck the finger in kerosene."
When we finally got him to Dr. Nossaman, the doctor said, according to Uri, "Well, there is no poison in this wound. All we have to worry about is healing the damage inflicted with the knife."
Logging was a tough man's game, but according to Guch and Uri, there was at least one woman who was more than a match for the logs. As often happens when two old-timers try to recall the old days, Guch and Uri skipped across a long list of names. There was Alex or Alec, an old Hispanic logger who had a daughter just as tough as a man, "she could even pick up logs."
The nearest town was Pagosa Junction, a walk of three miles when Guch went to school there. Pagosa Junction had two grocery stores, one run by Walter Zabriskie, and across the street, the one run by Felix Gomez. Both Guch and Uri attended school in Pagosa Junction. Later, Talian got a school taught by Susie Ford. The Talian school was located on the southwest corner of the Vega Redonda/Cat Creek roads intersection.
Uri is almost a walking litany of early Pagosa Country schools: Arboles, Caracas, Pagosa Junction, Talian, and possibly others. He attended the Caracas school when the family owned property adjacent to the railroad tracks there. They raised sugar beets, a venture which apparently failed.
The Yamaguchi family lived in Talian near the mill, as befitted the mill superintendent. Uri's family lived further up the "Vega" in a square-topped house. Other mill workers had homes scattered throughout the area.
A Garcia family lived east of the mill on top of a hill. They had a boy who lived in Bayfield later on.
At the mill, Frank Schoonover filled in at firing the boiler and at other jobs. The Parmenters were postmasters at Pagosa Junction. Mr. Parmenter filled all of the water towers serving the railroad in that area. Much of the railroad work was done on hand carts, also known as pump carts, operated by manpower. The old-timers joked about a young man they knew, a young man fond of taking a hand cart to Pagosa Springs to visit his girlfriend, at night of course, when no one was watching.
The only recreation available were occasional dances held at the school house. During the summer baseball season, Talian fielded a team which played all comers, including Silverton and others, according to Uri. Uri's dad carried the team to and from games in his Reo Speedwagon.
When the time came to close the mill, the workers scattered. Since a number of other small mills operated in the county, some found employment at those mills. Sawmills were always iffy at best when rated as a place to earn a living. As soon as the nearby trees were cut, the mill moved to a new location close to a new stand of trees.
Matsumoto, the owner, was a native of Japan. When the first mill he built at this site burned, he rebuilt it. When the second mill burned during the early 1930s, Matsumoto abandoned the idea and returned to Japan, creating a quandary for his children. Apparently his daughters remained in the United States, a son returned to Japan. The son was later drafted by the Japanese military regime and was killed in combat during WW II.
The Yamaguchi family moved to Pagosa Springs where they lived out their lives, even though Frank and Haru had been born in Japan. Of their five children, Guch is the only survivor. Yamaguchi sons are among the most decorated of Colorado WW II veterans.
Uri's family just moved a valley away, working for Hill's Sawmill at the opening of Cabezon Canyon. Uri recall's Roy Etheridge driving one of his dad's two trucks, hauling ties to Dyke where they were loaded on the train. One day, with Roy at the wheel, the truck slipped out of gear and crashed into the office before stopping.
Uri's Pagosa Country roots go back to 1878, the year Fort Lewis was built at Pagosa Springs. Intertwined with the Ealum history is the history of the George Smith, Doc Gilliland, and Cooley families, all members of the first layer of Pagosa Country pioneers.
Don't be the torch for our summer
High winds. Dry grass, underbrush and forests. Water supply diminishing as rivers become only shadows of themselves. People throwing lighted cigarettes out their car windows.
It is an unfortunate grouping of elements and humanity which could result in our area succumbing to a major fire, forest or otherwise.
Why would anyone in their right mind toss a lighted cigarette out the window where wind can whip it into a dry field? Why would three youngsters smoke on a ridge behind a high country high school and nearly burn all of Park and Jefferson counties?
Well, some might say, "We don't want those awful butts in the car, so we just flip 'em out." If they don't want them in the car, why smoke them there? The dank odor will linger anyway.
Students smoking behind the school? Reminds one of old time stories of smoking driftwood along the river or corn cobs behind the barn. It was the "cool" thing to do.
Nothing looks worse that a teenage girl walking down the street with a cigarette hanging from her mouth. And nothing is worse for her health. The obviously early or preteen boys seen smoking in the alley leading away from the junior high school are not setting a good example for others to follow, they're making themselves targets for new diseases.
Do the tobacco companies target young people? Come on. The Marlboro Man wasn't aimed at grandpa or Uncle Jake. He was what the tobacco industry wanted young people to think was the real attraction. And he had to be a hunk so the young girls, too, would think smoking had no effect on development.
I've seen people walking while I do, trying vainly to develop a harmonious step to get them in shape - and puffing on a weed the whole time. They aren't fooling anyone but themselves by putting up the front of a smoker trying to break the habit.
There are all kinds of aids available to those who truly have a desire to stop before the carcinogens they're inhaling kill them. But the acknowledged best way is to just stop - cold turkey.
Oh, sure, it takes some willpower and there are withdrawal symptoms that might have you climbing the walls, but its a whole lot better than having the hill behind your house - or the house itself - burn because you couldn't control the impulse to puff.
If you don't care about yourself, give some thought to your family. They might care about you. And they might want you to continue living. Think what your reaction would be if they died in a fire you caused.
What? You field strip every butt before you toss it. Well, aren't you special?
A long, hot, probably very dry summer looms ahead of us, a summer shaping up as one in which the most innocent seeming spark could ignite a conflagration that destroys us all. But, you just need another puff, don't you?
People who smoke, who support the industry's effort to literally keep the fires (in cigarettes) burning are a threat to everyone who does not smoke, does not want to smoke, and is disgusted by the odors emanating from those who do.
And the drier it gets, the less water there is available to combat fire, the worse the habit becomes in terms of its threat to the entire community.
If you're going into the high country, or even just walking the trails on Reservoir Hill, leave your smoking habit home.
Like those who served aboard a ship in the navy, learn the phrase "The smoking lamp is out throughout the ship." Just change ship to county. When it was said aboard ship there was good reason. Volatile fuels were being transferred.
The same is true in an extremely dry Archuleta County. Volatile fuels can be transferred - into roaring infernos of destruction. We don't need that kind of dry fuel control here.
What we do need is some thinking on the part of those who smoke, who plan outdoor cookouts, and who want to burn the slash off their property.
Keep the match unstruck.
Don't smoke, don't burn, take prepared sandwiches and cold drinks to the picnic, and stomp out any stray smoldering cigarette you see tossed away while you're passing by.
We need not be another Los Alamos nor another Bailey.
We want beautiful Archuleta County to stay that way, to have a chance to recover from the drought that seems sure to hit in the weeks ahead.
Anyone espousing an idea like "Burn, Baby Burn," ought to think seriously about what they're condoning.
If you've never seen a forest fire, you don't want to. If you've had to fight one, you don't want to do it again. If you've lost a loved one or property to a fire which developed as the result of someone's carelessness, you don't want it to happen again.
In short, SNUFF IT at the source.
It may be trite, but Smokey Bear's caution that "Only you can prevent forest fires" shouldn't be limited to just the forests.
That phrase should be the collective watchword for Pagosa Country this summer.
We're sitting on potential incendiary devastation. Please don't be the spark that sets it off.
Our rudeness derives from indulgence
Do you realize, out of every million people in this society of ours, there is likely to be only one the likes of a Leonardo or Einstein, of a Rembrandt or Marie Curie? Only one similar to Mother Theresa, to Copernicus, to James Joyce?
In times gone by, the reality of the valuable exception was accepted by all, and revered by many.
Not any more.
Now, thanks to the ungainly coupling of our gross distortion of the democratic ideal and a flawed concept of the individual, most of the other 999,999 in the group are convinced they are every bit as competent, every bit as capable of greatness as the extraordinary being, their opinions and actions of equal value to that one, sterling entity among them. In fact, most of the members of our society under the age of 40 can no longer recognize that one sterling entity among them.
Nor do they want to.
In the wake of unparalleled comfort and an ease of life unparalleled in human history, we have crafted a society that manufactures and glorifies idiots. In a furnace of freedom, our popular culture anneals idiocy, and the product is more grim, more debilitating with each passing day.
I know this sounds harsh, and it certainly goes against the grain of the conditioning and advertising that prompt us to think the way we do, that encourages our poisonous tendency to turn inward, away from the complexities and ambiguities of the world. After all, from birth in this culture of ours, there is someone with a vested interest telling us we are special, talented, unique. Parents tell their children this in order to encourage them to be and do what they could not be or do, to shield themselves from the child's and their own inadequacies. Educators exercise the myth to affect their purpose, which too often is to avoid confrontation, with the student, with the aforementioned parent. Politicians and leaders of all manner of organizations fortify the foolishness to cement their privilege. We are paid money in order to reinforce our unwarranted concepts of self worth and ensure our redundant economic activity. Many of us are given awards. Our images are included in newspaper photos. Look, there you are, third from the left.
But, really, when you wake up and look around, how confident can you be? How sturdy is this attitude that has been so carefully inculcated in us?
I realize this the other night as I sit, a useless lump, in my favorite chair in the living room. I am warm, fat, munching cashews imported from Central America, working on a second glass of syrah; a decent syrah, not a great syrah. If I glance up, casting my gaze past the stair rail, I see a framed copy of my 1991 Colorado Press Association Third Place Award for Best Humor Writing hanging lopsided on the wall of a darkened upstairs loft area. I feel empowered, comfy as all get-out.
On the screen of my television is the image of a guy named Dorky D, or Spanky C, or something like that. He is jerking around and making absurd hand gestures. There are scantily-clad young women gyrating behind him. Around his neck hangs a bulky diamond-studded cross, testament to the depth of his spiritual life, suspended on a grotesquely heavy gold chain that drapes in three loops around his thin neck. His long-billed, garishly colored hat is on sideways. He flashes a gold front tooth and he expels a ditty called "I Like Them Girls" like a feral cat coughs up a hairball.
The camera pans an audience of wildly ecstatic Dorky D fans as they bask in the radiance of the icon. At song's end, the Michelangelo of Meter moves to a podium where he is presented with a handsome plexiglass award. He thanks God for his award, gives all credit for his enormous talent and mind-boggling material success to a higher power, kisses the tip of his beringed forefinger and points dramatically to the sky, his head falling simultaneously to a reverent pose.
For, I Like Them Girls.
I watch and I realize: I have only so many minutes left to live, and I choose to spend some of them on this?
I am an idiot. And I am not unique.
Then I realize, while this mooncalf perpetrates his paltry nonsense on the masses, there are people who are unique - a precious few - laboring into the wee hours, struggling with equations, shaping the future of medical science, studying economic theory, writing novels, crafting real poetry. There are people in unheated, small rooms painting masterpieces (instead of derivative crud) that will be recognized after the painter is long dead, if ever. There are people forsaking luxury of any kind, caring for the sick and the wounded and the needy. Chances are we don't know anything about them.
But, as an example for the teeming horde watching the tube, we have some goof clutching a plexiglass award, a moron who makes tens of millions of dollars selling drivel to small minded consumers, being highlighted as an accomplished human being, as a paragon of creative achievement, as an example of talent, a significant contributor to the human record.
We are idiots to let this happen.
The ad that follows Dorky D's moving testimony is for one of those hospital-like beds you can order for use in the privacy of your own home. According to the ad, you buy the bed, you move the massive item into your living room and adjust the contour of the mattress to suit your every orthopedic need. There are special trays made for the bed so you can eat while you relax and watch TV. When you tire of the tube, you push a few buttons and you and your blissful but simple mate are lowered gently into a sleep position, (separate controls for each side of the bed), lulled into a dream state by the soft music playing on speakers hidden in the headboard.
In the best of all possible worlds, everyone will have a motorized bed in the living room. We'll dress in our PJs and sip juice from small boxes until our sleeping pills kick in and it's time to go night-night.
A lass with the nickname "Misdemeanor" is featured next on the television show, regaling us with her insightful "Get Ur Freak On." Misdemeanor's meteoric rise to the oxygen-starved heights of pop stardom is, like Dorky D's, fueled by divine intervention. She makes this clear when she follows a relatively obscene declaration of careless adolescent passion with a nod to the Big Guy above. Kids, watch Misdemeanor: She'll show you the way, a spiritual paradigm for the ages.
At first, I am offended by the invocation of the deity's name in connection with the sorry success of these sideshow performers. But, after I think about it, I realize: It has to be divine intervention. How else could peabrains with a third-grade mentality produce utter aesthetic garbage and convince millions of other simpletons to buy it? How else do you explain cowboy art?
Get Ur Freak On?
Not only are we idiots to allow our popular culture to be dominated by lowest common denominator entertainment, artifacts and ideas, we are, as a selfish people, becoming increasingly rude at the same time.
Rudeness is necessary in an egocentric universe. From the solicitors interrupting the dinner hour with an offer from ThumbCo, the credit card for the new millennium, to microcephalic acne-riddled adolescents riding their dinky bikes at top speed down sidewalks, oblivious to and uncaring about the safety of pedestrians, we are rude. From crass nitwits in the business world, prosperous by default in an economy of unprecedented wealth, fertilized by cash to the point they believe they have skills and intellect, acting brusque and making loud demands, strutting around with chests puffed out and egos the size of the solar system, to youngsters arriving at social events or school with bellies on display, rolls of flesh hanging over pants pulled down to the middle of the hip bone, to australopithecenes driving cars down crowded streets with thumping "Oh boy, look at me" music surging forth at 500 decibels, we are rude.
This is what comes of indulgence, of the disappearance of true excellence and its association with patience and discipline, from schools, from the workplace, from the home. This is what comes of a society increasingly steeped in a broth of subjectivism wherein everyone is of equal value and every act is equal in accomplishment to the next, where there is no mutually-agreed-upon set of standards and limits, no judgments made outside the envelope of personal whim and impulse. This is what happens in the idiot factory of our culture.
We deserve everything that comes our way.
Make no mistake, there is plenty of stuff coming our way. People elsewhere don't like us. They rightly perceive us as self-indulgent, crude. They see us as bloated sybarites, as Vandals with guts and brains distended by our advertising-driven lifestyles, intellects shrinking at a scary pace. Get Ur Freak On.
They will not cede the field to us, and yet we seem to want to continue on our merry way, to "get back to normal" without discipline, without a sense of propriety, without control over our impulses, each of us enclosed in his or her own little box. We want to enter the restaurant of the world, and insult the waiter.
Since we don't seem to want to change, let's throw an idiot's dinner party, invite everyone we know - those who park in front of the television set every night digesting video garbage and engineered news, who concoct softheaded and self-congratulatory social and educational policies, who accept without question the drivel dispensed by spiritual and political auctioneers, who swallow the advertising/consumer economy hook, line and sinker, who equate income with value - to eat and make merry. What will we have on the menu? What is appropriate?
Our appetizer: Tic Tacs, suspended in clear gelatin.
Our entree: Fried bologna sandwiches.
Our beverage: Wine coolers.
For the sandwiches, we'll need white bread, bologna (extra-thick slices of course), Miracle Whip or a similar bottled, industrial concoction, and generous slabs of processed cheese product. Fry the bologna in a bit of lard. It doesn't matter if you burn it a bit - no one cares if a task is performed well.
Slap the chunk of fried bologna on white bread that has been troweled with a half-inch or so of Miracle Whip. Put the slab of processed cheese product on the meat and top with yet another hunk of fried bologna. Instantly enclose with a second slice of white bread. The heat from the two pieces of fried meat, trapped in their high-glycemic container, will slightly melt the processed cheese product, turning it into a semi-fluid, polymer-like substance. Much like the average brain after six minutes of Dor ky D.
As we enjoy the party, each of us thinking we are just as darned good as anybody else and deserving to be recognized as such, we will recline on our motorized beds, taking care not to get any Miracle Whip on our PJs and, with Get Ur Freak On turned up to top volume, we will watch a repeat episode of "World's Greatest Train Crashes," and thank a higher power for the wisdom we've been granted and the extraordinary skills we exercise in the service our culture. Then we'll take a big swig of wine cooler.
Something yellow: It goes well with bologna.