By Tess Noel Baker
A fire, started by a campfire that hadn't been completely extinguished, burned 7 acres of land four miles east of Pagosa Springs Monday.
Campers had apparently stirred the fire's remains with a shovel and tried to put it out, but residual heat remained, according to a news release from Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch. Afternoon winds likely blew some embers onto nearby pine needles and leaves, starting the fire.
Two loads of retardant were dropped by a slurry bomber on the fire, located in the Willow Draw area between U.S. 160 and Mill Creek, said Jim Shepherdson, of the U.S. Forest Service. Two helicopters dropped water which enabled firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and the Pagosa Fire Protection District to bring the fire under control.
Bob Frye, district fire control manager, said previous efforts to reduce fuels in the area paid off. Many of the "ladder fuels," tall shrubs or small trees that allow a fire to quickly move up to the crown of the tree, had been removed during a prescribed burn in 1992. That helped keep this fire on the ground where it was much easier and safer for firefighters to control.
"Not a single tree torched," Frye said. "The 1992 prescribed fire burned the lower limbs on the trees so the only fuels to burn were on the ground." The fuels on the ground were completely burned out because they were so dry.
Firefighters were dispatched to the scene Monday at 3:13 p.m. The fire, the only one in the area over the Memorial Day Weekend, was under control by 10 p.m. Firefighters were continuing to watch for hot spots and mop up the area Wednesday morning. No cost estimates were available.
Campers and forest users are reminded that very dry conditions exist in most of Colorado and the southwest corner of the state this year. A fire ban is in effect for all public lands in southwest Colorado, and Archuleta, La Plata, Hinsdale and Mineral counties have restrictions and/or bans in place as well. It is recommended that all visitors carry a shovel and extra water when traveling on public lands and report all fires immediately.
By John M. Motter
Mandatory water rationing starts Saturday for all Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District users.
Postcards announcing the rationing are being mailed to all district water users late this week, according to Carrie S. Campbell, the general manager.
Covered by the rationing mandate are all Pagosa Lakes residents, Pagosa Springs residents, and residents of surrounding areas who receive water bills from the district.
Rationing is the result of little rainfall this season, streamflows in the San Juan River at less than 10 percent of normal, and extremely low local reservoir levels.
Saturday's restrictions are Level 1 of a four-level emergency water management plan adopted by the district during 1999. Each successive level contains more restrictive water consumption measures.
Three principle provisions are contained in Level 1 restrictions.
First, irrigation using raw water, including golf courses, is limited to night hours, from 8 p.m.-8 a.m., on odd-numbered days only.
Irrigating with treated water is allowed every other day between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Even-numbered addresses irrigate on even-numbered days, odd-numbered addresses irrigate on odd-numbered days.
Fines will be levied against those who violate Level 1 restrictions. All district personal will be on the lookout for violators, as will be other members of the community.
A warning will be issued for the first violation. Following the warning, fines are $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $500 for the third and subsequent offenses.
Meanwhile, the water district continues to pump water from a San Juan River diversion point south of town in a race to fill reservoirs west of town. Filling the reservoirs is regarded as insurance in case the river dries up.
South San Juan diversion pumps are running seven days a week, 24 hours a day, delivering 2 million gallons of water a day to Lake Forest. The cost of electricity to keep the pumps running is $467 a day, $3,269 a week.
Plans call for developing the capability to pump water from Lake Forest to the San Juan treatment plant located at Vista, to pump water to Village Lake, and to pump water to residents living in the area serviced from Lake Hatcher. Water is already being pumped from Lake Forest to Village Lake.
Lake Forest has a maximum usable capacity of 400 acre feet of water and is 100 percent full. Village Lake has a usable capacity of 605 acre feet and was 42 percent full May 28. Village Lake's usable capacity was 55 percent full April 30.
Lake Pagosa has a usable capacity of 1,070 acre feet and was 61 percent full May 28. On April 30, Lake Pagosa was 64 percent full.
Historically, district supply reservoirs have been Stevens and Hatcher lakes. Stevens has a usable capacity of 624 acre feet and was 56 percent full May 28. Stevens was 61 percent full April 30.
Hatcher is the highest in elevation of all of the reservoirs in the water system. Because of its elevation, Lake Hatcher has been used to gravity-feed water to residents throughout the Pagosa Lakes area living at lower elevations. Conversely, because of its elevation, Hatcher is the most difficult and expensive of the reservoirs to supply with water from the South San Juan diversion.
Normally, Stevens and Hatcher are filled with spring runoff water taken from Fourmile Creek and moved through Dutton Ditch. As the season progresses, agricultural users upstream on the Dutton Ditch use all of the water from the ditch. From that point on each year, Stevens and Hatcher receive no new input. In the past, that has not been a problem, because by the time serious irrigating starts, both reservoirs are full.
Conditions are different this year. Both Stevens and Hatcher began the year far from full. Before they could fill, irrigators took all of the water. Consequently, no new water in significant volume will reach either lake this year.
Water district reaction has been to take as little water as possible from Lake Hatcher. In addition, pumps are being purchased and should be installed this coming week to pump treated water from the Vista treatment plant into the Lake Hatcher treated water distribution system.
The intent is to retain as much water as possible in Lake Hatcher, keeping it available for consumption later this year in the event the San Juan River dries up as a water source.
Lake Hatcher water can feed most of the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions, as well as the Pagosa Springs area and its surroundings.
Pagosa Springs water is taken from the West Fork of the San Juan River, treated at a plant located on Snowball Road, then distributed to the town and neighboring users. Current streamflow on the West Fork of the San Juan River is estimated at 25-30 cubic feet per second.
The district regularly monitors lake levels in its system, as well as San Juan River streamflows. Future water restrictions will be based on the results of the monitoring program. Water consumption in the area is not expect to peak until the July tourist season is in full swing.
By John M. Motter
The local community is not alone in facing this season's extreme drought conditions.
Federal and state governmental agencies are also involved with monitoring conditions, gauging impacts, and recommending solutions in the face of the drought threat. In some instances, sooner or later, local financial relief may be available from federal and state sources.
A group of U.S. agencies responsible for creating and updating a U.S. Drought Monitor Map have described the drought condition as "extreme." This group gathers weather data from across the nation to update the map on a regular basis.
The Archuleta County Office of Emergency Management provides a local link with state, and ultimately, federal agencies committed to dealing with the drought situation.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service monitors streamflows throughout the west, then compares the readings with readings obtained during previous years. One monitoring station is located in Pagosa Springs.
San Juan River streamflows through Pagosa Springs were about 125 cubic feet per second May 27. Measurements taken over the past 66 years indicate a median daily streamflow of about 1,400 cubic feet per second on the same date.
The Pagosa Springs readings have been going downhill at least since before May 15, indicating the peak streamflow for this year has already passed. Conversely, according to the graph for median daily streamflow over the past 66 years, the median streamflow as measured in Pagosa Springs was still continuing to increase, indicating the peak for the season is not normally reached by May 20.
Streamflow forecasts in the mainstream Colorado River Basin range from 58 percent of average in the headwaters in the north-central Rockies, down to 5 percent of average on the San Juan River at Bluff, Utah, according to a report released by the NRCS.
"In the Colorado, Platte, Arkansas, and Rio Grande basins, water year 2002 will probably have the reputation of being the driest on record for many, many years to come," according to the NRCS. "Even records set during the dry year of 1977 will fall by the wayside by the time Sept. 30 rolls around."
On the state level, Gov. Bill Owens, in an April 22 letter to the Colorado Water Availability Task Force, requested that Colorado's Drought Mitigation and Response Plan be activated to address statewide drought conditions.
In addition, Owens asked that the Impact Task Force prepare a summary of recommendations by May 1.
The Colorado Drought Mitigation and Response Plan was developed to provide an effective and systematic means for the state to reduce the impacts of water shortages over the short or long term. The plan outlines a mechanism for coordinated drought monitoring, impact assessment, responses to emergency drought problems, and mitigation of long term drought impacts.
When activated, the plan prescribes that drought impact mitigation begin with the activation of relevant Impact Task Forces. They are staffed by state, local and private sector experts and chaired by members of the Water Availability Task Force.
Impact Task Forces convene to determine drought-related impacts within specific sectors of Colorado's economy and environment, including consideration of municipal water, wildfire protection, agricultural industry, tourism, wildlife, economic impacts, energy loss and health.
Based on information gathered by the individual task forces, a review and recommendation report was submitted to Gov. Owens.
Tourism and agriculture are the two primary sectors in Colorado's economy that will be negatively impacted by the drought, according to the report prepared by the Economic Impact Task Force.
Tourism is the state's third largest income sector, adding about $8.5 billion to the Colorado economy. Tourism accounts for 8 percent of the state's work force.
Greatly affected will be the economies in resort counties, southwestern and southern Colorado, because these regions rely most heavily on tourism.
Most dependent on tourism are the resort counties of Region 12, including Eagle, Grand, Jackson, Pitkin and Summit counties. Tourism is the source of 51 percent of employment and 76 percent of income in these counties.
The second highest tourism dependent area is Region 9, including Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties. In Region 9, tourism accounts for 34 percent of the income and 24 percent of the employment.
The current drought in Colorado most likely will impact the tourism sector through a decline in a variety of recreational activities. These include skiing, hunting, fishing, rafting, camping and touring.
While accounting for 8 percent of Colorado's nonfarm employment, tourism provides approximately 220,000 jobs. Almost 53 percent of the tourism jobs in Colorado are found in five recreation activities likely to be affected by drought. These are, in order of size, skiing, outdoor recreation, touring, resorts and parks. Skiing accounts for 30,347 jobs, 14.3 percent; outdoor recreation 27,891 jobs, 13.1 percent; touring 21, 335 jobs, 10.1 percent; resort activity 20,912 jobs, 9.9 percent; and park visits 11,595 jobs, 5.5 percent.
In total, tourism contributes $8.5 billion to the state's economy. Skiing, the largest sector of the tourism industry, accounts for 19 percent of tourism spending, about $1.3 billion. Touring accounts for $720 million, about 10 percent, and outdoor recreation accounts for $648 million, about 9 percent.
A decline in tourist visits will also cause declines in hotel and motel revenues, restaurant revenues, retail sales, and in other areas.
State and local governments receive approximately $550 million in tax revenue from tourism, a portion of which is at risk of decline due to the drought.
The last major Colorado drought occurred in 1977. Based on data collected from the 1977 drought, ski lift ticket sales declined by 2.3 million tickets, approximately 40 percent. Employment at the ski areas declined 15 percent. Estimated revenue losses in nearby resort communities totaled $76.8 million in uninflated dollars. Commercial airlines lost approximately $15 million. Retail sales declined by $7 million. Restaurant and hotel visits declined 29 percent.
Little evidence is available so far to estimate tourism losses from the 2002 drought. Ski industry losses could be attributed to the Sept. 11 Twin Towers disaster. A greater concern is if the drought continues into the winter of 2002.
Agriculture employs 3.9 percent of the state's work force and generates 3.5 percent of the wages. It also involves 48 percent of the state's land.
The current condition of 95 percent of land available for livestock grazing is estimated to be from fair to very poor. This means that livestock herds will have less forage available, forcing some ranchers to purchase hay for feeding or liquidate herds altogether. The agriculture task force was unable to quantify estimates May 1, but said quantification might be possible by June 1 because ranchers will probably decide on whether to cut or continue by that time.
Over 60 percent of the state's farm cash receipts are from livestock and approximately 31 percent are from crops.
A prolonged drought will result in a decline in farm income and employment. Livestock profitability will shrink because of higher prices paid for grain and hay. Ranchers will have to decide whether to pay higher prices in order to feed animals, thereby earning less income, or producing a glutted market by selling the animals.
A large manufacturing industry is connected with processing food products. In total, manufacturing accounts for 9.3 percent of the state work force. About 12 percent of those workers are employed in food products manufacturing.
Evidence from the 1977 drought shows that impacts on agriculture were subtle. During the 1977 drought, cattle and calf inventories increased 5 percent. Total income from crops declined 2.8 percent after federal assistance. Without federal assistance, the negative impact would have been much more severe.
So far this season, the winter wheat crop has been severely affected. Approximately 19 percent of that crop has been abandoned. The season is too young to measure additional impacts on agriculture created by the 2002 drought.
Less water will be available for irrigated crops. Irrigation systems requiring electric pumps will be more costly to operate. Since spring crops have only recently been planted, this factor is also difficult to quantify.
Nationwide, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman has opened Conservation Reserve Program land for emergency grazing. Under the CRP program, farmers and ranchers are paid by the government for planting grass on a portion of their land, instead of planting hay or grazing cattle. Although some ranchers and farmers are involved in the program in counties immediately to the west, no Archuleta County agriculturalists appear to be involved at this time, according to Jim Miller, policy director for the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
By Tess Noel Baker
A Pagosa Springs teen-ager was hospitalized early Friday morning after being hit by a car in the high school parking lot.
According to Pagosa Springs Police Department reports, Michael Vega, 18, was struck by a vehicle going an estimated 35 miles per hour. He landed about 40 feet from the point of impact. Vega was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington where he underwent surgery for facial injuries. He has since been released.
Vega was in the parking lot with 30-50 other students who planned to camp on the football field the night before the last day of school, Police Chief Don Volger said.
The camp-out was a completely unsanctioned activity, said Bill Esterbrook, the high school principal.
According to the police investigation, students staying at the field heard that other students were coming to cause a disturbance. The vehicle which eventually struck Vega came into the parking lot, swerving back and forth, driving repeatedly across the lot. Eggs were thrown by some of the pedestrians. It is unknown at this time if eggs were thrown from the vehicle. While all this was going on, Vega was struck. The driver, a 17-year-old, is also from Pagosa.
Volger said the incident remains under investigation and charges may be filed.
A total of five accidents occurred within town boundaries over the Memorial Day weekend. All resulted in over $1,000 in damage to the vehicles. Three resulted in injuries.
Yet another accident involving a pedestrian happened Tuesday afternoon when a Pagosa Springs woman was struck by a car in the intersection of U.S. 160 and North Pagosa Boulevard.
Judy Clatowski, 61, was walking south across the intersection when she was struck by a 2001 Ford Mustang attempting a left-hand turn from North Pagosa Boulevard. Officer Chuck Allen said the driver, Briana Ochoa, 23, of Pagosa Springs, didn't see the pedestrian as she turned.
Clatowski was transported to Mercy Medical Center. There was no condition report available from the hospital at press time.
The accident remains under investigation.
Consider, if you will, the role and meaning of ceremony and ritual in a community. There are times we Americans take our ceremonies, rituals and rites of passage for granted. Other times, we allow them to erode and to fail. Fortunately, some of our formalities survive.
Last weekend, there was a coincidence of ceremonies and rituals in Pagosa Country. Memorial Day events overlapped with the high school graduation and they were joined by the blessing of a parcel of land owned by Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, one day to be used as a site for a school and church.
It is interesting to compare and contrast the events. Two of them radiated dignity and strength; the third seems an example of ritual on the wane.
Solemnity and deep emotion characterized Memorial Day ceremonies, where American war dead and residents of Archuleta County who gave their lives for their country were honored for their sacrifices. Gatherings took place at the American Legion Post and at Hilltop Cemetery. Ceremonies and rituals attendant to this memorial left no doubt as to the gravity of the situation, the sincerity motivating the historic observance. What we have, the way we live is due, in large part, to the men and women who gave their lives to protect our nation and its interests. Our institutionalized gratitude is absolutely necessary.
Likewise, great seriousness attached to Bishop Arthur Tafoya's blessing of land on South Pagosa Boulevard. Members of the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish gathered under a large tent; there was music, there were speeches and prayers. The event revealed a community of distinct personalities, of diverse backgrounds and lifestyles, drawn tightly together by shared belief and purpose. As with all events permeated by a sense of the spirit, this one had its light moments, its humor. Yet there was solemnity at its base - an awareness of values in place for generations, that will persist for generations to come. It was a graceful occasion.
The high school graduation, however, gives one pause, as do many local events centered on our young people. Here, a ritual that once mirrored a community's esteem has become increasingly profane.
It was not long ago that receipt of a high school degree was considered a memorable accomplishment.The graduation ceremony was imbued with dignity, lit with appreciation for the achievements of graduates.
Over the last decade or so, a new element crept into the proceedings - not just here, but reportedly at many graduations - despite the best efforts of school officials to fight it. More and more, a ceremony that was formal, distinguished, has been cheapened, resembling nothing more, at times, than a sporting event or mere entertainment.
Each appearance of some of the graduates is greeted with raucous yells and cheers from family and friends. The World Wrestling Federation has come to education. Has this become an accepted way to honor the four-year journey a young person has just completed? Some will say the behavior is in good fun, not to be taken seriously. If so, will the same be said of the diploma, of the education, of the graduates themselves? They deserve better than this.
Our young graduates have done a meaningful thing and they deserve decorum. What kind of behavior can we expect from them if we do not give them their due?
Compare and contrast last week's events. Which type of ceremony serves our ultimate purposes best?
Memorial Day is one of memories
Memorial Day was a memorable one.
To hear "Taps" being played and to see the flag being raised, then lowered to half mast, while visiting grave sites at Hilltop Cemetery provides endearing - and enduring - memories.
Names on some headstones produced mixtures of memories and reminders. The true value of longevity in Pagosa is having known some of the former old-timers. Not all were prominent people, but at one time, each in their own way played prominent roles in shaping the earlier, enjoyable nature of Pagosa Country.
Seeing a towering pillar of white smoke in the Mill Creek area while driving down Put Hill Monday afternoon generated a flurry of varying memories while quickening a drought-related dread of wildfire. During the brief time it took to drive home, change clothes and make a phone call, the base of the now dark-gray cloud of smoke had widened as the wind blowing to the southeast apparently had neared the ground.
During a quick stop at the SUN to grab a camera and some film, a voice on the scanner said law enforcement entities were closing Mill Creek and Fawn Gulch roads to public traffic.
A slurry bomber was flying towards Durango as I debated whether to go northeast on U.S. 160 or south onto 84. The U.S. 84-Mill Creek Road junction turned out to be the correct choice. The officer accepted my plea that I was hoping to shoot photos for the SUN and waved me past his road block.
By then, a couple of helicopters using huge nylon buckets to bail water from the stock ponds on Carl and Minnie Bramwell's former ranch started ferrying their murky cargo up Willow Draw and dropping it on the flames.
About three miles up Mill Creek Road a lady graciously granted me permission to use her long driveway so that I could reduce the distance I'd hike to the fire site. After about a half mile a turnaround near some outbuildings marked the end of the driveway.
Guided by the noise of the 'copters and the odor of smoke, I started footing it cross country with no assurance of finding any photos at the end of the trek. The "over hill, over dale ..." terrain lacked "dusty trails," and thankfully, the shade from the ponderosa pines lowered the temperatures.
Thoughts about earlier wildfire experiences at Sheep Creek, Upper Blanco and Snow Spring, and controlled burns in the Log Park and Valle Seco areas were interrupted when a mature tom turkey broke his cover at the bottom of a draw.
Cresting a small ridge and spotting a wayward fire produces mixed emotions when the scene is void of fire fighters.
There's just so many times you can kick yourself for not bringing along a shovel. Then it's time to start "soccer kicking" the creeping fire back into its already burned area to deter its slow progress against the breeze. Throwing dead limbs and partially charred remnants of an earlier controlled burn subtracted fuel from the fire.
My slightly successful solo fire drill served as a reminder that at times when you can't do much, you at least can do the little that you're capable of doing.
After awhile, a tall, slender fellow skillfully operating a chain saw arrived to significantly increase our manpower. His hoe-wielding partner arrived soon afterwards and extinguished the need for my foot work. So I focused my attention on being a photographer.
By then I knew I was late for supper. But I wasn't very hungry. The fire was controlled, and I was filled with memories.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
91 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of June 2, 1911
The large audience in attendance at the Memorial services at the M.E. Church Sunday evening betokens the fact that the general public is heartily in accord as to the respect and reverence due the remaining few who so gallantly gave up home ties and comforts to battle for the preservation of the grand old flag. The church was decorated with the national colors and the music selected for the occasion was inspired with patriotism.
Rocky Farrow came in from the Piedra yesterday and will ride the country hereabouts rounding up any cattle that may have strayed from the Piedra range.
A.D. Bayles has leased the Jim O'Neal barn, opposite the Arlington hotel, and has moved his livery stock to same.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of June 3, 1927
Memorial Day was quietly but impressively observed in Pagosa Springs Monday morning, with a good attendance at the programs both downtown and at Hilltop Cemetery. The presence of the Pagosa band added materially to the success of the programs.
The Santa Fe railroad has commenced a circle tourist trip, to be run twice a month, from Santa Fe, through Pagosa Springs to Mesa Verde park and back to the Santa Fe railroad at Gallup. The first trip started yesterday, a party of ten stopping overnight in Pagosa Springs and continuing west this morning.
Orrin Ford and family have moved from town to Devil Creek, where we understand Mr. Ford will operate a sawmill for Brice Howard.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 30, 1952
Plans for the 1952 Red Ryder Round-Up to be held July 4 and 5 this year are nearly complete, with the rodeo committee meeting last week to formulate most of the final plans. The parade is to be held both days and the rodeo committee urges all business houses, ranchers, and organizations to start planning their floats now.
The Allison school held its picnic at the Paris Engler ranch on Thursday. The children together with teachers and many of the mothers had a fine time until the rain came and brought festivities to a close.
The contest for the queen of the Red Ryder Round-Up of 1952 is off to a fast start and the three contestants Miss Donna Halverson, Miss Sally Catchpole and Miss Lucille Bennett are all out working to get votes.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 26, 1977
Between town water line installation, town sewer line installation, telephone underground cable laying, and a few other miscellaneous projects the town has a torn up look. This will all be taken care of eventually, though, and the town will be better for the projects having been undertaken.
The official opening of the San Juan Historical Society's local museum is scheduled for this weekend. The Society was organized in 1971 with the purpose of safeguarding early day relics, papers and articles of historical significance and to provide a place where they might safely be displayed to the public.
School will be out tomorrow for the summer and there are signs everywhere that summer may arrive soon.
With bear problems, the best offense is simply a good defense. Bears are highly intelligent, opportunistic animals that have a keen sense of smell, and they'll venture into populated areas in search of food if they believe they can find snacks in garbage cans or pet food and bird feeders. Bears that found a food "reward" last year will remember it and return.
While bears are generally shy and will almost always avoid humans, that wariness is second to the need to eat, especially in years of natural food shortages, according to Tom Beck, a former Division of Wildlife bear biologist. "Bears rarely injure humans, but those that do are accustomed to getting food from or around people."
Making food available to a bear trains it to associate humans with food.
The bear can then become a nuisance and often must be destroyed.
"People should do everything they can to eliminate food and food odors - that will greatly reduce bear conflicts," said Jerry Apker, a Division of Wildlife biologist in Monte Vista.
Bears searching for food can also damage property.
A few simple changes in human behavior can help ward off bear problems before they start, keeping residents, visitors - and the state's bears - safe.
If there was bear activity in your neighborhood last year, you'll need to be extra careful this year, as bears will return to places where they've found food before. Remove anything that could lure bears, and keep those attractants safely out of a bear's reach from March until mid-November, when they return to hibernation.
Place all trash in bear-proof containers. If these types of containers are not available, put trash cans in a secure building and place them outside only on the day of pickup and not the night before. Clean your garbage container with ammonia or bleach on a regular basis to remove food smells.
Don't leave pet food outside or use automatic pet feeders.
Take down, clean and put away all bird feeders. Once a bear has found a bird feeder in the yard, it also probably will look around for other food within reach.
Burn off all food residues and grease from grills, and store grills after each use. Grills also should be regularly cleaned with bleach.
Place only grass clippings and similar items in compost piles, not meat, fruit, vegetables or other food items.
Pleasant odors from your home can attract bears. Keep all low-level windows and doors closed securely and lock all lever-handled doors and sliding doors. Bears have been known to walk right into homes. If one enters your home, prop all exterior doors open. Do not get between the bear and its escape route. Slowly back away but do not run.
If you have a weekend cabin, make sure you take anything scented home with you.
When camping, keep your camp clean, storing food and garbage properly at all times. Food should be stored in closed containers, and all food should be put in a car trunk or suspended at least 10 feet off the ground and four feet out from a tree trunk. Burn all grease off barbecue grills and camp stoves. Clean the eating area thoroughly, and make sure to wipe the table. Garbage should either be put in bear-proof garbage cans or secured with food and taken out of the area when you leave. Don't burn or bury garbage, as bears will dig it up.
Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of any food smells, and store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food. Sleep far away from food and areas where food was eaten.
Store toiletries as you would food, because their smell also can attract bears. Practice good personal hygiene.
Female campers should keep in mind that the scent of a menstruating woman is sometimes an attractant to bears.
- Use extra caution on windy days, as well as in places where hearing or visibility is limited, such as in brushy areas, near streams or where trails round a bend.
- Avoid berry patches in the fall.
- Make noise, talk or sing to reduce the chance of surprising a bear.
- Keep children close to you or within your sight at all times. Leave your dog at home or keep it on a leash.
If you meet a bear
There aren't any hard and fast rules if you meet a bear. In almost all cases, it will detect you first and leave the area. Bear attacks are rare compared with the number of close encounters. But if you do meet a bear before it has had time to leave the area, follow these suggestions:
Stop and stay calm. If you see a bear and it hasn't seen you, back away slowly while facing the bear, and leave the area. As you move away, speak softly to let the bear discover your presence and let it know you mean it no harm. Don't run or make any sudden movements. Running is likely to prompt the bear to chase you, and you can't outrun a bear. Bears can outrun most horses in a short sprint. And don't climb a tree, because bears can do so much better than you.
Give the bear plenty of room to escape. Try to keep a tree, rock, car or other structure between you and the bear. Bears rarely attack people unless they feel threatened or provoked.
Keep your eyes on the bear, but avoid direct eye contact, as bears may perceive this as a threat.
If on a trail, step off the trail on the downhill side and slowly leave the area.
Try not to show fear, even if the bear is growling, popping its jaws or "bluff charging" to intimidate you. Holding your ground isn't easy, but it may be the best thing to do. Remember, a bear may stand upright or move closer as it tries to identify you by smell, which are not signs of aggression. Once it figures out what you are, it may leave the area.
If you are attacked, fight back with rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Bears have been driven away when a person fights back.
Also, make sure children know what to do if they encounter a bear, and tell them to alert an adult.
If you have a bear emergency or problem or have any questions about bears, call your local Division of Wildlife office. If you have a bear emergency after business hours, call your local sheriff's office or the Colorado State Patrol. A list of DOW phone numbers is available on the Division of Wildlife's Web site: http://wildlife.state.co.-us/about/DOWoffices.asp.
The drought Colorado is experiencing could mean less natural food for bears, and increase the chance they'll venture into towns, backyards and campsites looking for an easy meal. Bear encounters have begun earlier than usual this year, which Division of Wildlife biologists and officers say makes it even more important for people to remove trash and other bear attractants.
"If bears don't have their normal summer forage because of the drought, they'll start looking in other places," said John Ellenberger, the Division of Wildlife's big game coordinator. "Bears know where they can get handouts such as trash, and if there isn't anything to hold them in the high country in the way of natural forage, bears who have learned about garbage will go right back to it."
"We're seeing a few problems already, and we're betting by mid-July we're going to start seeing serious numbers of bears in some areas that have had bear problems in the past," Ellenberger said. "Of course, all that could change if the monsoons kick in and we get a lot of rain. But right now, it doesn't look good."
Bears hibernate from November to March, and gorge themselves during the summer and fall to get through the winter. They are omnivores and will eat just about anything, although about 90 percent of their natural diet is made up of nutritious plants - especially nuts, berries and grasses.
"It's so dry, we may get an acorn and berry crop, but not as much as normal," Ellenberger said. "Also, from about mid-June until about mid-August, bears rely on a lot of green plants for food; they virtually graze like a cow. But a lot of the succulent forbs that they prefer are in places so dry right now that we're not getting green-up of anything."
One bit of good news is that the late freezes the state has seen the past few years, when record numbers of bear encounters were logged, haven't occurred this year.
"While we did have a hard freeze in the Grand Junction area just before Mother's Day, it seems that the buds on a lot of the oak brush and mountain shrub types that produce berries hadn't emerged enough yet where they were vulnerable," Ellenberger said.
Jerry Apker, a Division biologist in Monte Vista, said if there are no major freezes, bears would still have natural food sources, though there will be less of them.
"As summer progresses, bears will seek their normal food sources, but these will be reduced because of the drought, and bears will continue to pursue human food sources as long as they exist," Apker said. "But those bears that found human food last year will be in search of it again this year."
Bears leave their dens in March, and if their food sources are significantly reduced because of the weather, they will be in a state of starvation until more comes along, Apker said. This makes them even more likely to probe food sources created by humans, and those that found food before will return to see if it's still there.
"Nonlethal control on bears that aren't aggressive will help, as long as the food source is gone," Apker said.
In 2000, a late spring freeze devastated the oak brush that produces acorns, bushes that produce chokecherries and other fruit that bears typically depend on over a portion of the Western Slope and the northern Front Range. In 2001, the southern Front Range experienced similar conditions.
Black bears are naturally wary of humans, and in normal food years, that wariness keeps them away from people. In dry years like this year, when natural forage is in short supply, bears lose their wariness and the number of conflicts with humans increases dramatically along with the amount of property damage caused by bears.
But with bears, an ounce of prevention is worth 300 pounds of cure.
By John M. Motter
The Archuleta County Planning Office is providing a variety of maps and photographs for public benefit.
In addition to prepared maps, by using computer software identified as a Geographic Information System, planning staff can produce customized maps tailored to a specific need. Customizing is accomplished by an computerized layering process similar to the outdated method of stacking transparencies on top of each other.
For example, a county road map can be placed over aerial photographs of specific geographic areas in the county to create a final map with roads on the photograph.
"I have used GIS to provide maps for Colorado Division of Wildlife, helped the county transportation department create a bus route map, helped re-create boundaries for the commissioner districts, worked with census tracts, and for other purposes," said Marcus Baker, the GIS manager.
Baker is also working with Russell Crowley, county emergency services coordinator, to create an accurate map for E-911 services. Baker is using three maps as sources, but is relying on the accuracy of a map created through a Global Positioning System for ultimate accuracy.
Fees from computerized files available in digital form to the public include aerial photos of a section for $5; of a township, $20; of Pagosa Springs, $25; and of Archuleta County for $500. The price listed is for each disk. Aerial photographs of the county were made during September of 1999.
Available for $3 is a county road map including delineation of sections and townships.
There are four color printouts of different sizes available: priced from $1.50 to $30.
Under custom mapping, a $1 minimum labor charge is levied for GIS analysis and for servicing or creating a compact disk.
Included under miscellaneous services is a $1 charge for a diskette, $2 for a readable CD-ROM, and $7 for mailing of maps.
The cost for production of customized maps is $1 per minute, according to Baker.
For more information concerning GIS and other services provided by the county, call 264-5851 during regular office hours.
By Richard Walter
The graduates from Pagosa Springs High School, Class of 2002, carried their diplomas - and the potential of nearly $1 million in scholarships - away from ceremonies Saturday.
In fact, school officials say, the initial total of scholarships with a first-year value of $400,801, is the highest in Pagosa Springs High School history. If those scholarships which are renewable, based on academic performance, are carried to their full, four-year stipend value, the total for the class could reach $911,504 (or more, depending on inflation).
The totals include military college fund commitments to students planning to enlist.
Individually, students who received scholarships and the amounts are:
Alina Mendoza, Colorado State University Scholarship Award $2,500 (renewable); Andrew Quanz, Air Force enlistment College Fund $50,000; Ashley Gronewoller, Colorado School of Mines Athletic and Academic Scholarship $9,595 (renewable) and the Steve Lynch Memorial Award $300; Aubrey Volger, Fort Lewis Dean's Scholarship $1,000, Western State Art Merit Award $500, Fort Lewis Athletic Scholarship $728, Rotary Sam Scanga Scholarship $4,000, and the Whit Newton Good Citizen Award $500.
Also, Brittany Fisher, Adams Scholarship $1,000; Bryce Paul, Charles J. Hughes Award, $3,000 (renewable); Callie Smock, Western Undergraduate Exchange $5,886 (renewable); Carlena Lungstrum, Florida College Volleyball Scholarship $3,000 (renewable); Darin Lister, full athletic scholarship U.S. Air Force Academy estimated total value $48,000; Deborah Meyer, Concordia University Dean's Scholarship $2,500; Concordia University Music Scholarship $1,600.
Also, Desiree Davis, Fort Lewis Dean's Scholarship, $1,000; Devin Higgins-Miller, Charles Hill Mooney/Mable Mooney Olsen Grant, $1,000; Dustin Spencer, Charles J. Hughes Award, $3,000 (renewable); Emily Finney, Wooster Academic Scholarship, $9,000 (renewable); Emily Nail, Golden State Scholarship Share Award, $1,000; Metro State College Presidential Bronze Scholarship, $1,100 (renewable); Eric Mesker, Marine Corps College Fund ($50,000).
Also, Ethan Sanford, Tri-State G & T $500, CSM Minority Engineering Scholarship $2,500 (renewable), Colorado University Norlin Scholars Program $2,000 (renewable), Colorado University Diversity Grant $1,000, Colorado University Regents Scholarship $1,000, and Colorado University Engineering School Grant $1,000.
Also, Hank Wills, Fort Lewis Presidential Scholarship $1,700, La Plata Electric Scholarship $2,875 (renewable); Eddie Oldham Memorial Scholarship $500, Vectra Bank $8,900, USC President's Scholarship $1,500 (renewable), Colorado State University Academic Achievement Award $500, Western State College Academic Leadership Award $1,500 (renewable), LaPlata/Archuleta County Farm Bureau $500, Archuleta County Environmental Awareness Scholarship $750, Helen Kroeger-Farris Scholarship $400, Centennial Savings Grant $250, Pagosa Chapter Wild Turkey Federation $250, and Colorado State Chapter, Wild Turkey Federation $1,000.
Also, Heather Beye, Colorado State University Partnership Award $2,500 (renewable), Ruby Sisson Memorial Scholarship $7,000, Rotary Scholarship $6,000 and the Powerhouse Jerry Bailey Memorial Scholarship $500; Hillary Wienpahl, Performance Associates $2,500, Bell Country Homes $1,500, Riley Family Scholarship $500, and Colorado University Scholarship $1,000; Jeff Johnson, Ruby Sisson Memorial Scholarship $7,000.
Also, Jenelle Newberg, Colorado State University Partnership Award $2,500 (renewable); Jennifer John-ston, Colorado Mounted Rangers $200 and Music Boosters Scholarship $1,000 (renewable); Joetta Martinez, Colorado State University Partnership Award $2,500 (renewable), Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta $1,000, Ruby Sisson Memorial Scholarship $7,000, Adam's Scholarship $1,000, and Adams State College Scholarship $500.
Josiah Payne, Colorado University Diversity Scholarship $1,000, Ruby Sisson Memorial Scholarship $7,000, and Regis Board of Trustees $10,000 (renewable); Katie Lancing, University of Wisconsin-Madison athletic scholarship $24,000; Katie Toner-Antoniazzi, Dee Locken Discipleship Award $1,500 (renewable); Keith Frank, Colorado State University Partnership Award $2,500 (renewable); Kelly Kay, Colorado Regents Scholarship $2,000 and Chancellor's Scholarship $1,000.
Also, Keri Frank, University of New Mexico in-state tuition award $7,743 (renewable); Lauren White, Rotary Vo-Tech $1,500; Lori Whitbred, Northern Arizona University Catch-the-Dream Scholarship $5,000 (renewable); Matt Ford, Outdoor Club $1,000, and Dirk and Colt Ross Memorial Scholarship, $1,000; Michael Martinez, First Generation Award $2,600 (renewable), Western State Academic Award $1,000, and Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta $1,000; Michelle Barcus, Red Rocks Colorado Scholars Award $2,000.
Also, Michelle Ferguson, Fort Lewis Dean's Scholarship $1,000 (renewable) and Adams Scholarship $1,000; Mollie McGrath, University of Northern Colorado Provost Award $1,000 and Colorado University Diversity Scholarship $1,000; Natalie Ortega, Aurora Community College Scholarship $1,000, ETS Book Award $300 and Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta $1,000; Nora Fabris, Music Boosters Scholarship $1,000 (renewable) and M. Jeff Performing Arts Scholarship $500; Robert Kern, Wells Fargo $1,200, Shirley Herrick Scholarship $7,500 (renewable) and Rotary Scholarship $1,000.
Also, Ross Wagle, Tri-State G & T $500, School of Mines Presidential Award $1,500 (renewable), Gov-ernor's Opportunity Scholarship $9,174 (renewable) and Rotary Scholarship $1,000; Scott Wallace, Colorado Mounted Rangers $200; Shalaina Hamblin, Western Award $1,000 (renewable), Adams State College President's Scholarship $1,000; Tiffany Thompson, Lions Club $600; Todd Henry, Red Ryder Enterprises Scholarship $500 and Archuleta County Environmental Awareness Scholarship $750.
Toni Gallegos, Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta $500; Trent Sanders, Powerhouse Jerry Bailey Memorial Scholarship $500; Trevor Peterson, Fort Lewis Dean's Scholarship $1,000, Western Award $1,000 (renewable), Helen Kroeger-Faris Scholarship $500, Fort Lewis College Alumni Scholarship $250 and Mesa College Bookcliff Award $750; Tyrus Scott, Florida College SAT Scholarship $2,000 and Florida College Academic Scholarship $1,000; and Ryan Beavers, Western Award $1,000.
By John M. Motter
The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District could place a second general obligation bond issue in front of voters this year.
Approval was given to the notion at Tuesday night's regular meeting of the district board of directors.
The county clerk needs to know if we are going to coordinate this election with the county ballot, district general manager Carrie S. Campbell told the board.
"The ballot question is not ready," Campbell said. "This is a question of intent. We are not committed."
"We need to look ahead for the best interests of this community," said Don Brinks, one of the board members. "If we don't do this, we'll fall behind the eight ball."
Voters approved a bond issue approximating $5 million May 7 during the special district's election. Revenue from the sale of the May 7 bonds will be spent upgrading the Vista wastewater treatment plant and other wastewater related capital needs.
Only district wastewater service users will pay the estimated 6.3 mill tax increase needed to pay for the May bonds.
If voters approve, proceeds from sale of the proposed November bonds will be used for a number of capital improvements to the water collection, treatment and distribution systems.
Capital projects specifically listed include converting the Dutton Ditch to a pipeline at cost of $3.7 million; purchasing and installing a potable water storage tank for the San Juan treatment plant at a cost of about $477,000; improvements including a storage tank for the U.S. 84 distribution line at a cost of about $300,000; a Put Hill bypass costing $200,000; a Hatcher water treatment plant backwash ponds upgrades costing about $200,000; a Snowball water treatment plant backwash ponds upgrade costing $100,000, and two smaller projects
Dutton Ditch carries the principle water supply for Hatcher and Stevens reservoirs. The ditch is open and subject to landslides which destroy ditch walls. A bad slide during the spring, losing water which would normally go into the lakes, could seriously lower lake levels through the remainder of the year.
In addition, the ditch freezes during the winter, ending it as a water source for the two reservoirs. Consequently, the reservoirs must fill between the time the ditch thaws in the spring and the time irrigators take all of the water from the ditch before it reaches the reservoirs. If the ditch is encased in a pipe, water might be induced to run during much of the winter, providing greater insurance that Stevens and Hatcher will begin the season full.
Other items addressed by the district board Tuesday include approval of the 2001 audit, consideration of sale of the May bonds, a request from Log Park Water Company to purchase potable water, consideration of a request to extend a water line for a consumer, consideration of service charges for excessive consumption, consideration of supplying raw water for construction purposes, and consideration of a donation for the Archuleta County Fair.
The 2001 audit was performed by Clarke, White, and Associates Inc., of Durango. An explanation of the audit was given by Karla K. Clark, CPA.
According to the report, the audit was conducted in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United States of America. The management letter generally accompanying an annual audit was not delivered because, said Clark, "It was not needed because you are getting a new accounting system which should take care of anything we might address."
The audit noted a number of differences between budgeted and actual figures, a fact which White said she did not find disturbing.
Sale of the $4.9 million bond issue approved by voters during May could take place within few weeks. Aided by George K. Baum and Company, the district is preparing the bond sale. The bonds will probably have a term of 20 years with an average interest rate of 4.899 percent. The smallest bond denomination is likely to be $5,000. Local investors will be given an opportunity to purchase the general obligation bonds before they are taken to market.
No action was taken on Log Park Water Company's request to purchase potable water. Log Park representatives were told that conditions revolving around the present drought make consideration of obligating additional water resources impossible at this time. Log Park representatives were invited to return in January of next year to learn if conditions have changed. Log Park currently has a water treatment system serving approximately 42 lots located off Fawn Gulch Road.
Action was postponed concerning the extension of a water line for Sonny Lucero to his home at the intersection of U.S. 84 and Eightmile Mesa Road. Lucero's property is already included in the district. The delay will enable the district to work out the details for a variety of options available for making the connection.
A user seeking a payment break because of excess water consumption caused by a leak was allowed to pay for the excess water at the district's water manufacturing rate. This is the standard procedure followed by the district in dealing with private party leaks.
Contractors obtaining water from the district will be billed $25 for 4,000 gallons of treated water, $15 for 4,000 gallons of raw water. In the past, contractors could remove water from lakes without charge. Removing water from district lakes is not allowed this year without first checking with the district office.
Because of the drought this year, all water added to the lakes is being pumped from the San Juan River creating an expense for the district and its taxpayers.
Finally, the board authorized a $100 donation to the Archuleta County Fair board.
Music Boosters' summer production of "Meet Me in St. Louis", originally slated for July 12-14, has been rescheduled to Aug. 16-18 and again Aug. 22-24.
The company is still in need of male cast members for the chorus. Also needed are string players for the orchestra, specifically a violin and a cello player. Anyone interested should call Oteka Bernard at 264-6461.
Mark your calendars for the new play dates.
"Meet Me in St. Louis" is a wonderful, full-scale musical which is sure to delight the entire family.
Tickets will go on sale in early August.
More info needed
If I understand the article in the May 16 SUN about the expansion of the Ralph Eaton Recreation Center, it proposes to have the property owners of Pagosa Lakes take on the burden of a 20-year bond levy. Then, in addition, the user fees will be increased to pay for additional staff and maintenance.
There seems to be a basic inequity with the burden carried primarily by the Pagosa Lakes property owners. What about the full-time residents who do not use the recreation center at all? Why should they carry the bond levy? For those who do use it, the facility has sufficient space for nonseasonal users, so why should they have to pay for extra staff and maintenance for a larger facility to accommodate the extra seasonal load?
I believe that the cost distribution should be published and explained before asking the property owners to pass a bond issue and be forced to pay higher fees.
Once again, the theory that growth should be paid for by those who will benefit is still appropriate.
Getting it done
I am offended by the article in the May 23 SUN written by John M. Motter. This (old cars on a lot in Aspen Springs) is an eyesore, an environmental problem with leakage of transmission fluid, engine oil and gasoline into the ground. But I am particularly offended by my recent Aspen Springs Property Owners Association letter asking me for $25 membership dues. I say, "For what?"
All the comments in this recent article from the association and the Aspen Springs Metropolitan District indicate there is nothing they can do. How typical this sounds.
Numerous letters have been written since the first of the year regarding the garbage in Aspen Springs yet nobody seems to want to really address it. I will be glad to give $100 or even $200 a year to an association that is working for me and the other good citizens of Aspen Springs, not to an association that absolutely does nothing. Lot 499 in Aspen Springs Unit 6 is definitely an eyesore and an environmental issue that needs to be addressed by the county planner and the county commissioners, all of which seems not to be in their best interests.
Maybe it's about time that we citizens of Aspen Springs do something about it, with our votes, with our calls and complaints to the proper people in the county.
Everything has changed since September 11, and yet, nothing has changed.
In all important aspects, America remains the shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan once identified. It is a beacon to the world, the lone outpost of freedom. It is the sole superpower, the world's economic, military and cultural engine of liberty, as it has always been.
What is new, I think, is that a significant number of Americans are now re-awakened to it. The horrific attack on our shores has thrown off something unexpected’ not clouds of dust or the fog of war, but instead a moral clarity, from whose light we see reflected back to us our own nation.
And it has changed the political landscape. Even now, as a semblance of normalcy slowly returns to daily life, you can sense something different than before: a wariness, a seriousness, a new understanding of just how well worth preserving "the American way of life" is. For the first time, that phrase is suddenly more than a cliché to many. The idea is dawning that we really are in the fight of our lives, and that America really must be saved. We must win. We will win.
With this understanding has come an impatience with the usual political nonsense. People realize we don't have time for that. Americans are very practical, bottomline-oriented people. In times of peace we put up with all sorts of trivial debates and squabbles in the political arena. But when a bloodthirsty, implacable enemy is lying in wait and gathering strength intending to kill us all, the idea of arguing about railroad pensions or a baseball strike suddenly seems the height of foolishness. The mood for desire is to dedicate our national energy to defeating the enemy. Period.
Hopefully, all Americans made some time to remember those heroes this past Memorial Day who made the ultimate sacrifice defeating America's enemies and preserving our American way of life. We should all think of them with a lasting gratitude. It was their determination, their pride, their unfailing commitment to victory and freedom, that lives on in ourselves and in our nation. Those soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines did get the job done, they did lead the way; they did preserve history; they did hold high the light of freedom; they did not die in vain.
A little bit of Memorial Day should be a part of us each day of the year. No American can ever pay enough tribute to our countrymen who gave their lives in the past, but also to those future patriots who will also sacrifice their lives so that we might enjoy living in a free country.
By Sally Bish
Special to The SUN
The Pagosa Springs Women's Golf Association kicked off the 2002 season May 7 with a morning coffee before teeing off on the game for the day: "Throw Out the Par 5s."
Bonnie Hoover took first place with a net 67, Marilyn Smart was second with a 68, Barbara Bogess third with a 69, and Jane Stewart and Jan Kilgore tied for fourth at 71.
Play for Tuesday, May 14, was Low Putts. Carrie Weisz, club president, who has been grumbling for weeks about her putting, took first place with a total of 30 putts. Someone else must have taken over her body that day. Jane Day was second with 32, Sally Bish third with 33 and Jan Kilgore fourth with 34.
Choose your Nine was the game May 21 with Loretta Campuzano winning first place, Carrie Weisz second, Audrey Johnson third, and Lynne Allison and Nancy McComber tied for fourth. Just being on the course that day was an experience, with gale force winds.
Riverview Golf Course in Kirtland, N.M., has been added to the team play event this year, making a total of eight area teams in competition. Pagosa began the season in second place, but after playing the Dalton Ranch team at Hidden Valley in Aztec, N.M., the results were not what the ladies had hoped for and the team dropped to fifth place with 10 points separating them from the winners from Pinon Hills.
The second tournament event was played May 23 at Riverview Golf Course in Kirtland. The early departure, long drive and extreme wind did not keep the Pagosa women from playing great golf. Carrie Weisz and Jane Day picked up 12.5 points. The Pagosa ladies played the teams from Cortez and moved into a tie with Hidden Valley for fourth place.
The women from Pinon Hills managed to keep their first-place standing and even widened the gap between first and second place by seven points. At the beginning of the match, there were 10 points separating Pagosa from the leaders. By the end of the day Pinon had an astonishing 17-point lead.
The next match will be played in Cortez. The Pagosa women remain very optimistic about the future of team play. There are six more tournaments and continued improvement is on the agenda.
By John M. Motter
Temperatures today and tomorrow should climb into the upper 80-degree range, maybe even touch 90 degrees, according to Gary Chancy, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
Chancy's Pagosa Country forecast calls for "very warm" today and tomorrow with afternoon cloudiness. Low temperatures tonight and tomorrow night should drop to 40-45 degrees.
The center of a high pressure trough draped across western Colorado might break down Saturday, lowering temperatures and bringing a slight chance for rain, Chancy said.
Skies will clear Sunday, but temperatures should remain lower. Sunday and Monday of next week, temperatures should drop another few degrees into the 70-80 degree range with lows from the mid-30s to the mid-40s.
By next Tuesday, a slight chance for afternoon showers and thundershowers returns.
The maximum temperature recorded during May over the last 51 years is the 87 degrees recorded May 27, 1951 and again May 31, 1955. The thermometer has never reached 90 degrees during May, according to historic records.
Expect the thermometer to climb into the 90s during June. The highest June temperature of record is 98 degrees recorded June 12, 1946. July should bring several 90-degree days. The highest temperature of record in Pagosa Springs is 99 degrees recorded July 7, 1989. For May, June and July, the average median temperatures are 49.4, 57.6, and 64.2 degrees. July is normally the hottest month of the year. Temperatures start an annual downward trend with the beginning of August.
Meanwhile, no precipitation was recorded in town last week. Month by month, average, calendar-year precipitation for Pagosa Springs measured in inches is: January - 1.85, February - 1.29, March - 1.61, April - 1.29, May - 1.21, June - 0.91, July - 1.63, August - 2.52, September - 1.89, October - 2.03, November - 1.52, and December - 1.79. Average annual precipitation in Pagosa Springs is 19.37 inches.
By comparison, the average annual precipitation in town this year is: January - 0.30, February - 0.07, March - 0.73, April - 0.56, and May - 0.
The average precipitation total from January through May is 7. 25 inches. This year, the total through May is 1.66 inches.
Visitor Center has a fresh, new look
I hope that you have noticed that the Visitor Center has a fresh, new look thanks to the efforts of a number of our member businesses.
Master painter, Harold Kornhaber, and his trusty companion, Josh Trujillo, have just completed painting the building, the doors, the picnic tables, and I barely escaped the brush myself several times. They even stained the wood on our trail map out front. I was so impressed with the professionalism of these two men and the conscientious dedication to excellence in their work. We are grateful to them.
We also thank Drex Yeager and his DWB gang for their considerable efforts to shape up our grounds and make us look so good. They have had more than their share of challenges with our aging sprinkler system, but have overcome it all with admirable tenacity and pluck. We are grateful to Troy Ross as well, for responding so quickly to our request for new striping in our parking lot. As I have always said, we get by only with the help of our friends, and we are eternally grateful for their attention to our needs.
Elk Foundation banquet
Saturday evening is the date for the Elk Foundation Banquet to be held in the Extension building beginning at 4:30 p.m. Maurice Woodruff assures me that there will be plenty of action with an auction, raffles and games. Tickets for this event are $70 per couple which includes an annual membership and dinner for two. Sounds like a dandy bargain to me. Please give Maurice a call at 264-6626 for more information.
Our Diplomats are back with us for the summer (thank the heavens above!) and have just completed two tours to check out the different member businesses so they will have all the information they need to share with our summer visitors.
Morna is our Diplomat coordinator and does an outstanding job of organizing these tours as well as organizing the schedules for our delightful volunteers. We would like to thank the following businesses for hosting our friends this year: Econo Lodge, Pagosa Pastimes, Sunetha Property Management, Red Lion Inn and Suites, Poma Ranch and Outfitting, Rock House Haven Vacation Rental, The Touchstone, Pottery and Gifts, The Kraftin' Post, Elk Meadows River Resort, Be Our Guest B & B and the Best Value Inn High Country Lodge.
We also want to thank Mary Ann Page with Page's Leaf Catering, Vince Sencich with Enzo's Catering, Eddie and Troyena Campbell with the Branding Iron, and Bill Goddard and Connie Bunte with The Choke Cherry Tree for feeding these folks such fine, fine food. Our Diplomats raved about the goodies and vowed to go on strict diets after consuming such vast amounts of delicious food. What could be better?
The world's largest country music talent showcase and radio promotion is coming to Pagosa Springs with over $200,000 in cash and prizes awarded nationally. Our own KWUF AM 1400 is sponsoring this event which is designed to find the most promising country music talent in America, giving these performers a chance to launch their professional careers. Thousands of aspiring artists compete annually for the Colgate Country Showdown title which begins with hometown talent contests sponsored by over four hundred radio stations across the country. Local winners advance to one of over forty state contests where the prizes include $1,000 in cash and the opportunity to compete at one of the six regional Country Showdown contests in the fall. Winners at the regional level are flown expense-paid to the national final where they compete for the grand prize of $100,000 and the coveted national title.
The contest is open to vocal and/or instrumental performers, individuals or groups with up to seven members who have not performed on a record listed in the national record charts of Billboard, Radio and Records or the Gavin Report within 18 months preceding local competition.
Entry forms are available by calling KWUF at 264-1400. Deadline for entry tapes/CDs is July 8. Y'all come.
Our pal, Jim Reser, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College will be in Pagosa tomorrow at the Visitor Center tomorrow 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. At the time of this writing, Jim has two appointments open at 1 and 3 p.m. tomorrow, so if you are interested, please give us a call at 264-2360 to visit with Jim.
Pet Pride Day
Saturday is the day to head down to Town Park with your furry critter and enjoy the all of the events that make up Pet Pride Day. The fun begins at 8 a.m. with the Canine 9K Race and Fun Run, followed at 9 by the Paws Parade. The Pet Fair also begins at 9 with booths filled with innovative pet products, animal information, games for kids, food and animal demonstrations. The blessing of the animals and Pet Adoptathon both begin at 10, as well as the pet contests and inoculation and microchip clinic. It's truly a fun day that allows you check out each and every precious animal around and provides great socialization for your pet. Hope to see you all there.
Just so you won't be wondering why there are no flowers in the planters on Main Street, the answer is that with the water shortage and drought conditions, we are trying to conserve wherever we can. Those planters require an inordinate amount of water to keep the plants healthy and we, frankly, cannot justify doing that this year. Town crew members were good enough to snip all the suckers, and we will put in wood chips as soon as Doug returns from vacation.
Since this is a short week, we have only one renewal to report, but are always happy with each and every one. We want to thank Pam Eaton with Pam Eaton Realtors located at 336 Twincreek for her recent renewal and to all a good night.
Serious lack of guardians for seniors needing aid
We are on vacation this week, attending graduation ceremonies and activities for our two granddaughters in Lawton, Okla. Being the proud grandparents that we are, we will spoil them even more and brag on them incessantly. Hopefully we will get it all out of our systems by the time we return to beautiful Pagosa Springs.
Thanks to Musetta, who volunteered to finish my article and deliver it to the newspaper while I am away.
There is a serious lack of guardians for adults who require aid in rural communities around Colorado.
Few human service departments can provide this and quite often patients cannot afford to pay help. Thanks to the Comprecare Foundation for a grant to pursue development of a Community Guardianship Program in rural areas and smaller cities in Colorado. This program proposes a multidisciplinary volunteer board to serve as a guardian. Volunteers assist the board by providing direct contact with their wards. Anyone interested in developing such a program in this area should call (303) 423-2898 to receive a copy of the proposal.
The Colorado No Call List, to keep solicitors from calling your home, will take effect in July. If you have not had your name put on this list and would like to do it, Musetta or Laura can help you get signed up. If you prefer you can call (888) 249-9097.
Teledyne, manufacturer of WaterPik, has made the machines available for $22 through the Senior Center. Anyone interested in buying one may contact Musetta or Laura.
Folks who need transportation for medical appointments, call Dave or Cindy at 264-2250 at least 48 hours in advance of appointment day and ask about the cost of these services. Medicaid recipients may be covered.
Home chore workers are being hired to help folks with house cleaning and handy man jobs. Hours are flexible, on an as-needed basis. Contact Musetta for more information.
According to the AARP Bulletin, cost of living adjustments will probably drop next year. The government is changing how it calculates the consumer price index, which affects adjustments and in turn affects Social Security checks. Congressional adjustments are often higher than Social Security adjustments. Ask your congressmen to consider determining senior adjustments the same way they determine theirs.
We have learned about a wonderful project to capture and preserve the history of our nation's veterans. The Veterans History Project packet is available at the Senior Center. Once completed, it is sent to the Library of Congress where it will be recorded for future generations to read and/or see. Stop in or call for more information.
Have you wanted to get away lately? Well, don't delay. We have started a travel club. We are able to choose from many destinations, so if you have something in mind please contact Laura and she will work on the arrangements.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate the May birthdays of our members. Also, the Archuleta Senior Citizens Inc. board will meet after lunch at Town Hall. Get involved and be informed.
The Sky Ute Casino will provide free transportation the third Thursday of each month for six to 13 seniors to travel from the Senior Center to Ignacio to enjoy the casino. They will provide some gifts and reduced-price food vouchers. Interested parties need to sign up. We have made the trip twice so far and it sounds as though there has been a lot of fun.
Our thanks to the folks at The Springs who have just announced they will be providing a discount for our members. The discounted price is just $4. Remember, you must show your membership card each time you visit.
The pool at Best Western is again available at no charge to members of the Senior Center Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 9-11 a.m. They also offer us discounts on meals.
Yoga takes place at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and art classes are at 12:45 p.m. Alison Stevens gives free massages Tuesday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. This is a treat we all love.
Wednesday computer class is at 10:30 a.m., There are card games at 1 p.m., and a new Chi Kong exercise class at 1 (bring a large towel or mat, a tie, if possible, and wear loose clothes). Also Wednesdays there is a $3 matinee show at Liberty Theater just for seniors. Call 264-4578 to let them know how many will be attending.
Chickens: hot new fashionable pets
Chickens are not what you'd expect to encounter in suburban Long Island, where the subdivisions and shopping malls seem to stretch on forever, where the smallest village probably has more residents than all of Archuleta County. Even in the summer.
But the chickens are there. At my daughter-in-law's house. And hers are not the only chickens in the neighborhood.
She has four chickens. One of them is brooding. Since no roosters are in residence, these eggs will never hatch. But still this hen spends her days in the chicken coop, huddled over her own eggs and two ceramic ones and as many as she can gather when the other chickens lay them in the same large nest box. Every other day my daughter-in-law risks getting pecked in order to gather the eggs from under this frustrated would-be mother.
When I was a kid, chickens lived in the country. A visit to my grandparents' farm always included dinner, a fried chicken dinner. My cousin and I would follow Grandpa out to the big fenced chicken yard. We watched from outside the chicken (naturally) wire fence while he moved slowly through the flock, arms outstretched, isolating and cornering and finally seizing the unlucky bird.
Then came the really exciting part. Grandpa brought the bird out, laid its neck on the chopping stump, raised the hatchet - Whomp! Grandpa held tight to the feet while the now headless bird thrashed and flapped in its death throes, scattering blood everywhere.
I tell you, that was probably the highlight of the visit. We sure weren't interested in the work that followed, as my grandmother and my aunt transformed the slain bird into pieces of meat.
My daughter-in-law's chickens aren't ready for the frying pan yet. They're still laying eggs. Still producing. Still earning their keep.
It seems that chickens are the new hot, fashionable pet. Gone are the pot belly pigs and the Chihuahuas. Nope, what members of the in crowd want now, if they don't live in a highrise condo, is a flock of chickens. I know this is true; I read it in the New York Times.
The new breed of chicken owners must lead stressful lives, and they like watching the chickens scratching in the yard. "It's calming," they say. Well, yeah, and it's interesting too, for about a nanosecond. And then the novelty wears off.
A friend in Nashville writes that he has a co-worker with a pet chicken. She's even brought it to work. Perched on her shoulder, no less.
And I heard about another friend who has several chickens living in her house. They have names. They have their own room. Really. Hey, I've seen the inside of a chicken coop; I can't imagine chickens living in the house.
Most people with pet chickens don't keep them in the house. They have coops. Designer coops, according to the Times article. In different architectural styles. So - do you think the chicken prefer Swiss Chalet over Greek Revival? Here in Pagosa Country, how about a nice log cabin?
Apparently some people spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on the chicken mansions. Maybe they call them Egg McMansions?
My daughter-in-law built her chicken coop herself. She spent about $100 on the materials. You might call the style Early American Shed Addition. The chickens haven't complained.
A year ago we visited while she was building the coop, which is big enough to stand up in. Our son had decorated the door with a floral wreath and a sign, "Fort Chicken."
Granted, chickens are pretty cheap to acquire, as far as pets go. Wallabies cost between $1,000 and $3,000. Cockatoos can set you back even more. Ferrets aren't bad, about $200. But chickens - well, they're a buck or three. On the order of goldfish, I imagine.
The new fashionable chicken owners sometimes find, not surprisingly, that chickens aren't totally maintenance-free. Their houses need cleaning. Their food attracts rats. The birds eventually eat every blade of grass in the run. Their bathroom habits are disgusting. They get fleas. The urban pet chicken owners have trouble finding a chicken doctor.
The new chicken owners wring their hands and search for someone to take the now unwelcome pets off their hands. In some neighborhoods chicken dumping is becoming a problem, according to the Times article. I read about a chicken farmer, a real one, who takes back hens for free but charges $10 for roosters.
And at least one man who accepts his neighbors' unwanted chickens has an arrangement with a local Chinese restaurant. He passes on the birds in exchange for a free dinner now and then.
My daughter-in-law can't see the problem here. When her birds quit providing eggs, they're going to become the featured attraction on the table.
Chickens generally lay eggs for two years. She's still got plenty of time to make a chopping block. And sharpen the hatchet.
Okay, birds, you've been warned. Get to work. Keep laying those eggs.
Water-based programming draws rec center raves
By Ming Steen
Water is the most abundant resource on our planet, but not in our area this summer.
Humans, early on in their embryonic development, boast webbed fingers and toes. And even when we abandon the womb, we don't abandon water.
The substance composes most of our body makeup. That's the reason I drink more than two gallons of water a day.
Small wonder, then, that water-based programming is so popular at the recreation center. With warm weather fast approaching - a sizzling three-month stretch - the center is gearing up with summer business hours which begin June 3. Hours will be 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
During the week, open swimming begins at noon. Morning hours are reserved for scheduled classes, swim team training and group swim lessons. Lap swimming is available daily during morning and evening hours, except 7:30-9:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday when the swim team uses the entire pool for training.
To keep our members constantly active, two energetic water aerobics classes are offered Monday through Friday. The first, for early birds, starts at 6:30 a.m. The 9:30 a.m. class is more popular due to its start time and this class fills up rather quickly. Both are free to recreation center members.
These classes are great, low-impact alternatives for people with joint aches, weight concerns and the older set. Get a moderate to high intensity, fat-burning workout in an environment that manages and displaces body weight.
Many diehard landlubbers may be hesitant to try water exercises. Why? Quite simply, they think it's a wimpy workout. Nothing could be further from the truth. Water exercises, though more gentle on the joints, pack quite a punch. We have a number of senior women who have said their doctors tell them never to give up on water exercises because of the strength it's given them.
Many parents want a place for their children to go - preferably to a situation where they will acquire useful skills. Call the recreation center to check into swim lessons, which will run all summer long.
True, our fit-ball workout instructor, will begin a "wake-up workout" at 6:30 a.m. starting Monday. Come join the group at the center for a fabulous way to start your summer days.
Debbee Ramey, aerobics instructor and personal trainer, will lead a group hike to Fourmile Falls this morning. They will leave the center at 8:30 a.m. and plan to be back around 4 p.m. Call her at 731-9501 for more information.
The Iron Horse Classic took place last weekend. This well-known and well-attended race attracted quite a showing from Pagosa. In the 47-mile road bike race from Durango to Silverton, Carol Anderson placed seventh in her age division. Also participating in that race were Tim Decker, Amy Solenthaler and her husband Wilhelm. The Solenthalers are new to our community, recently arrived from Sweden.
In the 15.6-mile off-road race, Shonny Van Landingham dominated. There were some really big names represented at the race, like Ruthie Matthes (Olympic mountain biker) and Julie Furtado. Shonny is so awesome. Her last race, before the Iron Horse, was in Big Bear, Calif., and she placed fourth in that one.
Scott Anderson, another of my role models, did the foot race. This is a 10-mile uphill trudge. Scott came in seventh overall and first in his age division. Congratulations to each and every one.
The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association will hold the annual Kid's Fishing Derby on Friday June 7. The event is open to all children 16 and under. Prizes will be awarded in four different age categories for largest fish, smallest fish and most fish. A hot dog lunch will be provided. The derby will be held at Hatcher Lake on the west side of the lake near the boat ramp and jetty area. Mark it down on your calendar and plan on a fun day catching fish. More details next week.
Christian home school graduation held
The Home School Pagosa Area Christian Education group held its graduation ceremony Sunday at Community Bible Church. The graduates were Lydia Class-Erickson, Michelle Brueckner and Ashley Kiister.
The Summit Christian Academy Awards given out last Friday at its 2002 closing program held at Mountain Heights Baptist Church were:
Student of the year - Chaise Frank.
Christian character - Bethany Loper.
Academic achievement - Hunter Oney.
Most improved - elementary, Dillon Ward; junior high, Robert Rader; high school, Moe Webb.
Math - elementary, Magan Kraetsch; junior high, Brisa Burch; high school, Alan Wanket.
Spelling - elementary, Wesley Laverty; junior high, Jessy Luhnow; high school, Nick Chavez.
History - elementary, Wesley Laverty; junior high, Michael Delyria; high school, Nick Loper.
Science - elementary, Magan Kraetsch; junior high, Bethany Loper; high school, Rory Bissel.
English - Ember Baca.
Bible - Andrew Forest, Chaise Frank.
P.E. - elementary, Andrew Forest; junior high, Jesse Lunhow; high school, Ember Baca.
A-honor roll - Magan Kraetsch, Hunter Oney, Chaise Frank, Wesley Laverty.
The Ruby Sisson Library subscribes to the following magazines: American Patchwork and Quilting, Arts and Crafts, Bead and Button, Better Homes and Gardens, Bottom-Line Personal, Cat Fancy, Click, Colorado Biz, Colorado Homes and Lifestyles, Colorado Outdoors, Consumer Reports, Consumer Reports Buying Guide, Cooking Light, Country, Country Home, Country Living, Country Living Gardener, Dog Fancy, Field and Stream, Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Ladybug, Library Journal, Martha Stewart Living, National Geographic, National Geographic World, New York Times Book Review, Newsweek, Oprah Magazine, OG, Parenting, PC Magazine, People Weekly, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Quilters Newsletter, Ranger Rick, Scientific American, Skeptical Inquirer, Smart Computing, Southwest Art, Spider, Sports Illustrated, Temas, Time, US News and World Report, UTNE Reader, Vanity Fair, Vogue Knitting International, Wall Street Journal, Wild Animal Baby, Wired and Zoobooks.
In addition to all these fine magazines, the following magazines can be found at the library because of donated subscriptions: Air and Space, American Institute for Cancer Research, Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, Birds and Blooms, Bloombergs, Bon Appetit, Bottom Line, Country Market Place, Discover, ESPN, Expression Magazine, Field and Stream, Gene Watch, Gourmet, Highlights, Kelly Blue Book, Lapidary Journal, Mother Jones, Nidus - Well Connected, Novel History, Organic Style, Reader's Digest - Large Print, Smithsonian, Sport Fisherman, Tufts U. Health and Nutrition Letter and Washington Monthly.
The library also receives regular donations of the following: Architectural Digest, Mac World, Mayo Clinic Health Letter and Men's Health.
Fun on the Run
One day the housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to his wife, "What setting do I use on the washing machine?"
"It depends," she replied. "What does it say on your shirt?"
He yelled back, "Just do it!"
Chama outpatient clinic aid available
The response by Archuleta County veterans to enroll in the VA Health Care system since the first of the year has been astounding. Record numbers of veterans have been coming to this office or calling about enrolling in VA Health Care.
In fact, for a while I was concerned that I had raised too much of an alarm about getting enrolled in VA Health Care before available services might be closed off to new applicants. As it turned out, it was the right call at the right time.
Most of the nearby VA Health Care facilities are either closed to new applicants, or require a lengthy wait to receive health care. However, in the past week I have discovered a path to other nearby VA outpatient clinics that I may be able to still get our veterans into.
One of these is in Chama, N.M., through a VA coordinating office in Espanola. This VA outpatient clinic is, of course, in our back yard and very convenient. There are some other northern New Mexico VA outpatient clinics that I may get our Archuleta County veterans enrolled at.
According to the VA, there are over 475 Archuleta County veterans enrolled in VA Health Care. This is an astounding growth in enrollees considering at the middle of last year there were under 300 enrolled. And, my local veteran database contains just fewer than 1,000 Archuleta County veterans' records. This represents a 50-percent enrollment in VA Health Care of all veterans in this local database.
We have been estimating there are about 1,200 veterans in Archuleta County. However, from the continued large numbers of new veterans this office contacts every day, there may be more than 1,200 veterans living here. I would estimate about half of the new local veterans I see are new residents. However, the other half have lived here for some time, many of them for years, and have never inquired about VA benefits. I create a file and entry in my veteran database whenever a contact is made with a new veteran.
I will continue to pursue all avenues of VA Health Care resources for our Archuleta County veterans. I urge our veterans to call me or come by my office so I can add you to our local veteran information files, and advise you about benefits your are entitled to, including VA Health Care. I still fear the availability of VA Health Care services will tighten more, as our veteran population ages and many do not have adequate health care provision.
I would like to urge all Archuleta County veterans to contact this office if you have applied for VA Health Care and have never been contacted by the VA or have not been scheduled for your first VA doctor appointment. I believe that many of our local applications in the past 6-9 months to the VA were entered as "enrollment only" and the VA has not scheduled these enrollments for primary health care appointments. I will be happy to do some follow-up work on your application and see if I can get you scheduled for that important first appointment. You must have a physical examination by a VA doctor before you can receive VA prescription drugs. Obtaining these low cost prescription drugs is the most important aspect of VA Health Care to many of our local veterans.
The Archuleta County Veterans Service Office will be closed for vacation June 10-24. The vehicle used for veteran VA Health Care appointments will be coordinated through Jan Santopietro in the county commissioners' office, 264-2536.
For information on these and other veteran benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the fax number is 264-5949, and e-mail is email@example.com. The office is open 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, 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.
'Gleaners' provided for themselves
By James B. Coats, Pastor
Healing Waters Presbyterian Church
The Biblical story of Ruth is one of the most beautiful and meaningful tales in all of literature.
Naomi, a woman from the town of Bethlehem, moved to the neighboring country of Moab, along with her husband and two sons. The two boys married local women. Then, unfortunately, the husband and both sons died. Naomi decided to return home. Her daughter-in-law, Ruth, went with her. When they arrived, the community welcomed them, although Ruth was a "foreigner."
As the story unfolds, Ruth encounters Boaz, a man related by marriage to Naomi. They are married and have a son, who is an ancestor of King David. There are several themes: love, devotion, providing for the needy, the foundation of faith, and community.
"Community." What a marvelous word; what a beautiful concept. In our society, "community" is usually just a synonym for town, city, village. But community is not merely a geographical location
Community refers to people. It is the interrelatedness, the oneness of the residents.
The people, or community, of the town of Bethlehem welcomed home Naomi and her foreign daughter-in-law. Naomi, back in Moab, was just a person, a person alone. Now, in Bethlehem, she is a member of a community, no longer just an individual alone. She is, in a manner of speaking, family.
And, so is Ruth.
This community, centered around faith in God and obedience to God's instructions, is a caring group which enhances the well-being of each member. This enlarged family provides shelter, both figuratively and literally, for each member. Ruth and Naomi have a house. The bit of property which Naomi's husband owned is now returned to her, for it never left the family.
So also, the community provides for the needy by following the Lord's instructions about "gleaning." A farmer could go through his fields or vineyard or orchard one time, harvesting his crops. What was left over provided for the needy who would come and "glean" what remained. So, anyone who was able and willing, could follow the harvesters and pick up all the leftovers which, as the story indicates, was quite a bit.
Have you ever seen a cotton field that has been "harvested?" There is always a lot that is missed, and a lot lying along the road and around the baling area. If we had gleaners, those fields and roads would be clean of "leftovers." And people would have some resources to call their own.
I know that this won't play well in our present society, but in old Bethlehem, it gave "charity" to the needy without creating dependencies, without robbing the needy of their integrity. They provided for themselves by their own hands.
That was one of the benefits of a caring community. No forms to fill out, no handouts; just an opportunity for each person to take pride in providing for him/herself. And the community took care of those who were unable to care for themselves.
This might not work in our society today, for at least three reasons.
One, our world of towns, cities and villages (not to mention metropolises) is too complex and the populations, in many cases, too large. The demographics militate against "gleaning."
Two, we do not have the unifying element of faith in the same God. We are a people of religious diversity or, in many cases, no religious conviction at all. There is no moral equivalent of a centering common religious faith.
Third, the focus in our generation is on self. The individual has been exalted above community. The very community that at one time cared for each member and insured and protected the rights and welfare of each individual is being eroded to empty meaninglessness by the focus on the individual.
It is like a child who gets his/her own way by playing off one parent against the other. While in some fictional scenarios, that may be funny, in reality it is destructive. The very (community) persons who are committed to that child's welfare are now divided - to the child's ultimate hurt.
Do not misinterpret what I am saying. The rights - and welfare - of each person are to be insured and protected. To do otherwise would be harmful to the whole community. This is more than a legal matter. It is a matter of the heart, of compassion, of caring for the whole as well as each individual.
"Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fail, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls, and has not another to lift him up. And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Bible: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
There are evidences of this type of community in many places. When someone suffers a great loss, the community, or at least a part of it, gathers round to offer support or puts together a fund raiser or two to help the suffering with financial difficulties. The evidences, the testimonies to the benefits of an enlarged caring family, are many. The practice, the tradition, needs to be broadened, to become more inclusive, to reach into every area of the life of the community and each individual.
The Scottish poet wrote, "No one is an island. No one stands alone."
Centuries before, the Apostle Paul wrote, "None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself."
There must be a balance here. In squelching individualism, the community hurts itself. In destroying community, individualism is lost. "My friends, you have been called to freedom. But do not use your freedom as an opportunity to serve yourself, but in love serve one another."
Such a community may seen anachronistic, but its need is as great today, perhaps even greater, than it was in the days of Ruth.
Education most important savings goal
Today - 4-H Ceramics, Extension office, 2 p.m.
Today - 4-H Drawing, Extension office, 3 p.m.
June 3 - 4-H Fairground cleanup and BBQ, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
June 4 - 4-H Swine, Extension office, 6:30 p.m.
June 4 - 4-H Lamb, Extension office, 7 p.m.
June 6 - Cloverbuds, Methodists Church, 4 p.m.
Supported through a grant from the AARP Andrus Foundation, Sharon A. DeVaney, Ph.D., and Yi-Wen Chien, MBA, recently completed a study of 1,332 couples regarding savings habits for their children's educational needs.
Not surprisingly, the results of this study show that a family's savings goals for education increase if the household has "a large number of children age 18 and below. As the age of the household head increases, if the household head is in good health, if the household head works full time, if the spouse is employed, and if the next 5 to 10 years are the most important savings period."
As the costs of tuition continue to rise faster than the rate of inflation, families of children born this year can expect to pay more than $130,000 to send a child to a public university for four years beginning in 2019. Several options were proposed to meet this increase. One model suggested that parents extend loans to their children to finance their college expenditures. Another more traditional approach would be that students and parents commit together to pay off government loans.
Finally, a survey conducted by Fidelity Investments revealed that if parents had an opportunity to start over with their saving for education habits they would: 1) start saving early, 2) save regularly, 3) earmark savings for college, 4) cut back on living expenses, and 5) ask relatives for help.
Source: Children's Education as the Most Important Savings Goal, Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, January 2002, Volume 94, Issue 1, pages 64-9.
Paying for college
The National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education reports that the cost of higher education has risen dramatically. Between 1987 and 1996, the cost of attending public institutions rose by 132 percent. These increases make it more difficult for families to pay for college. College Parents of America (CPA) offers eight suggestions to help families pay for higher education.
1) Start early with savings plans. In addition to traditional savings and investment options, you may wish to evaluate Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and your state's prepaid college tuition program or savings trust plans.
2) Comparison shop. Some schools are more affordable than others and there are good schools in each state actually competing for students.
3) Attend a more affordable school - a community college or junior college - and then transfer to a four-year institution. Be sure to plan ahead so that all of your credits will transfer.
4) Consider letting Uncle Sam pay the bills - see www.house.gov for specifics regarding how military service makes education affordable. A full tour of duty can be worth as much as $65,000.
5) Seek out work-study programs. Find colleges that collaborate with businesses and government to provide paid internships or programs where the student can work a semester for a paycheck and college credit, and then attend classes the following semester.
6) Pursue scholarships from multiple sources. Every family should complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You won't know what you may be eligible for unless you apply.
7) Leverage scholarship dollars. Many collegiate partners will match private sector scholarships and grants.
8) Borrow for college - low interest federal loans can offer further leverage in financing college.
For more information visit http://www.collegeparents.org or call toll free (800) 256-4627. College Parents of America (CPA) is the only national membership association dedicated to helping parent members prepare for and put their children through college easily, economically and safely. Members are located in each of the nation's 50 states as well as abroad, and include parents, colleges, universities, educational and related organizations, and supporting corporations.
Work of five past presidents on display
The gallery in Town Park opened its doors 10 years ago. As a tribute to that event, five of the Arts Council's past presidents have work on display at the gallery.
Enjoy Joan Rowher's stained glass, Carol Fulenwider's watercolors, and photography by Jan Brookshier, Phyl Daleske and Jeff Laydon. The exhibit is free, through June 12.
Bird house contest
Deadline for all entries in the annual Pet Pride Day birdhouse contest is May 31 at 5 p.m. Entries must be delivered to the gallery in Town Park. Each exhibitor can submit up to two individual birdhouses for display. All birdhouses must be original works built by the exhibitor; no commercially produced houses or assembled kits will be accepted.
Enter for prizes in one of three categories at $5 per entry: Under 10 years of age, 10-18, and adult. Winning entries will be on display at the gallery for two weeks. Work may be donated to the Arts Council or the Humane Society. Judging will be at 2 p.m. on Pet Pride Day, Saturday.
For more information, contact the Arts Council at 264-5020.
Summer Arts Camp is a great outlet and experience for kids entering grades one through nine. Two sessions will be offered at the elementary school Monday through Friday, June 10-June 28. For more information, call 264-5020.
Mark your calendar for a display of painting in oil and acrylic by Sabine Baekmann-Elge and photos by Jan Powers June 13-July 3. Look to future Artsline columns for details on the opening day reception.
If you're looking for an opportunity to have a published byline to add to your writer's resume’ look no further. The Pagosa Springs Arts Council is looking for people to write the Artsline column once a month. For more information, please call 264-5020.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council is housed in the gallery at Town Park, 314 Hermosa St. Summer hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The gallery features exhibits throughout the summer, each one running for a three-week period. Receptions are held on opening day of each exhibit, giving the public an opportunity to meet and greet the artists, enjoy refreshments and view the work on display.
The Art Council operates primarily with the help of volunteers. If you're interested in donating time or talent at the gallery, during Arts Council functions, providing writing talent, manning the ticket booth at exhibits, maintaining the scrapbook, or in any other manner, call the gallery at 264-5020, and your offer will be gratefully accepted.
Membership in PSAC is $20 per year for individuals and $30 per year for families. Membership helps support the Arts Council and entitles you to discounts for various performances and events.
The Petroglyph is the group's newsletter and provides interesting tidbits about various aspects of art, culture and history in our local area. If you own a business and would like to place a flyer in this quarterly publication, call Stephanie at 264-5068.
If you would like to see particular arts-related item mentioned in this column, please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 264-5020 at least two weeks prior to the date you wish to have the information published.
The summer promises a festive series of events for Pagosa Springs.
June 15 - Pagosa Fiesta celebration
June 16 - PSAC snack booth for "Ride the Rockies Bicycle Tour
July 4 - Parade, arts and crafts festival, carnival, rodeo
July 17 - Music in the Mountains
July 21 - Home and Garden Tour
July 29 - Pottery workshop at Chimney Rock
Aug. 1 - Archuleta County Fair
Aug. 16 - Celebrate America's Music
Aug. 16-18, 22-24 - Music Boosters' "Meet Me in St. Louis"
Aug. 28 - Chamber of Commerce SunDowner at the gallery
Aug. 30 - Four Corners Folk Festival
Sept. 11 - Mountain Harmony Commemorative Concert
Stay tuned for details.
Kids summer reading unit starts June 17
This year's theme for the summer reading program is "Reading, Rhythm & Rhyme." The annual activity begins the week of June 17, runs for six weeks, and is open to children of all ages - anyone may participate. A final party in the park will be held on July 31. At that time, awards, prizes and treats will be given out for all participants. Parents need to attend as well. Please mark your calendars now so you won't miss out on the fun.
Sign up begins June 17 and one may sign up at any time during the six-week period. Every reader will fill out a contract stating how many library books he or she will read during the six weeks. We encourage parents to discuss with children what a contract means. If the contract is not completed, the participant will not be eligible for the final prizes, so please be sure the contract is fully explained.
Parents may read to small children, or older siblings may read to younger siblings for extra credit. The first 300 participants will receive a surprise and a bag to carry their books. Their names will be added to the Summer Reading Wall.
A reading log will be given to each reader to take home, and record the books they have read. Readers should fill out their own logs if they are able to. In this way, writing skills are strengthened and reinforced. Logs may be turned in to the library at any time; final logs must be turned in by the time the library closes July 27, or the reader may not get a complete prize packet.
Each reader must read at least six books checked out from the library during the six-week period to be eligible for a certificate and prizes. This is one book per week. We are optimistic that the children will read much more than that. For each book read, readers will receive play money and a jellybean will be put into the jar. Each week participants may guess how many jellybeans are in the jar and prizes will be awarded for the closet estimates.
Books should be at or above the grade level the reader completed this past school year. For example, a child who just finished third grade should choose books at third grade level or above. Books that are below a reader's reading level will not count toward the total books read unless they were read to a younger sibling and are tracked on a separate log.
Extra prizes will be given for reading nonfiction books.
Among the activities will be the "Reader of the Week" prize; we draw five winners each week, and post the names on Monday mornings.
A variety of take-home activity sheets are new each week. These include puzzles, word searches, mazes, crafts, coloring sheets, writing and mathematics activities.
There are several contests each week. Each contest will have a deadline, and entries must be turned in by the deadline with the entrant's full name, age, and phone number.
Several craft contests will also be held during the program. Participants can pick up directions early and have time to work on their projects; once they're completed, we will display and admire the handiwork. Be sure again to have full name, age and phone number on the items.
Prizes will be awarded for reaching the number of books on the contract. Readers are encouraged to read beyond their contracted amount of books and those who do will receive extra prizes at the end of the program.
There will be weekly preschool Story Time on Fridays, and other programs will be on Tuesdays such as Reader's Theatre, Puppet Time, Singing Circle, Rhythm and Movement and Story tellers. The times and programs will be listed at the library.
Thanks to the Woman's Civic Club of Pagosa Springs and the Film Society for financial assistance.
Linda Gundelach owns and operates Coolheads, a fun and unique fashion experience that opened its doors May 26 at 448 Pagosa St. in downtown Pagosa Springs.
Coolheads features casual clothing, swim wear, hats and accessories, with more items arriving daily.
Coolheads is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Call 264-0610.
Stan and Pat Holt of Pagosa Springs are pleased to announce the engagement of their son David Holt to Kristina Bane, daughter of David and Janet Bane of Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Kristina graduated from Buena High School in Sierra Vista and received her associate's degree from Cochise College in Sierra Vista. She will attend the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belden, Texas.
David Holt graduated from Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, N.M. He received his degree from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
The couple plan a June 15 wedding in Sierra Vista. They will be assigned to Fort Hood, where David is a Captain in the United States Army.
By Tess Noel Baker
People talk romantically about waking in the pre-dawn hours to watch the sunrise break on the horizon. Travel ads display glorious sunsets watched from pristine beaches as darkness falls.
But what about the moon? It can be equally spectacular, but quieter, softer. Where are the ads for the moonrise, especially the full moonrise, anyway?
There's no need for the beaches. The moon can be seen with stunning clarity right here in Pagosa Country. Imagine a white glow topping the shadowy mountains. Then this line of brilliant white, followed by the rest of the moon pouring out behind it, not as strong or as bright as the sun, but equally brilliant in its own way. And imagine watching it from a ridge 1,000 feet from the valley below.
It's possible once a month at Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, 15 miles west and three miles south of Pagosa Springs.
One hundred and fifty visitors seated on blankets can fit along the small, arrow-shaped mesa behind the two chimneys for the program. The guests squeeze between the Great House, a 1,000-year-old Ancient Puebloan ruin and a U.S. Forest Service fire tower. There, they are treated to an hour of science and storytelling; plus, at times, some flute playing, Native American drums or other musical accompaniment. And, finally, the sight of the full moon rising to the east.
At the last program, May 26, the guests began to arrive about 7 p.m., driving up the winding road to the upper parking lot before leaving vehicles behind for a walk into the past. The visitors must climb a half-mile trail along the ridge to reach the upper mesa. The trail, rocky in places, with steep drop-offs on both sides, can be a challenge.
Weighted down with blankets, cameras, water bottles and hats, they stop frequently to catch their breath. A few speed on ahead or stop to simply take in the view that spreads out at their feet for miles upon miles. The majority make the top where they are treated to the flute music of Native American artist Charles Martinez - and the sunset.
As the flute played, the orange and pink of the sun spread across the horizon, illuminating the final blue of the day skies, and everyone except the smallest child quieted into an appreciative silence.
Then Glenn Raby, site manager and U.S. Forest Service geologist, stood to speak, urging the crowd to forget the 21st century for a while and picture a culture that left Chimney Rock in 1125 A.D. He urged the guests to listen to a story of archaeology, of science, of suppositions created to paint a picture of the people who lived there. Without a written language it isn't easy, he said. It requires some imagination.
"Think of your jobs, your homes, the way you live today. Now set it on fire and let it go for 1,000 years and then come back and dig it up. Does it give a good picture of you? ... We have the buildings they built, some of the pottery they made, but we don't have what was in their minds."
The two Chimneys, Raby said, are cited in stories of the Navajo, the Utes, the Spanish and the Anglos. They have been called home to gods, landmarks, natural spectacles, a mystery, defensible space and a site for communication by signal fire. They are many things to many people, even today.
Try to see it, he asked, through the eyes of the people who lived there between 900 and 1100 A.D. Here is a ridge narrowing to an arrowhead point that shows the way directly to the two towers. It's the highest elevation in a bowl of mountains with three ways out - east to the higher mountains, south to Chaco Canyon or west to Mesa Verde. Rain has been plentiful. Crops are bountiful. People are moving into the region to form small villages. The 1050s were much like the 1950s of the 20th century as perceived by some today, Raby said. Cooperation from the skies made for a boom in economic resources and meant people could expand onto more land, feed more children and trade farther afield.
Archaeologists believe the people who inhabited Chimney Rock could have come from Mesa Verde, or possibly up from the south from Chaco Canyon, forming small villages as they settled. They built strong, permanent structures of rock. They perfected their skills at masonry. Building the Great House on Chimney Rock alone, with its two kivas and estimated 35 rooms on the ground floor, required hauling an estimated six million rocks and 25,000 tons of dirt up the winding trail, Raby said. Forming the roof required cutting down 2,000-4,000 trees with stone axes, trimming them and carrying them up the incline on the people's shoulders.
But why? Why build a structure so far from the source of supplies? What purpose did it serve?
"Chimney Rock could have been an outskirts town in the middle of nowhere, or it could have been sort of like Mecca," Raby said. For the answer, some have looked to the stars. In that time, scientists believe, the skies, including the stars, moon and sun were closely watched by the people living here. They would've looked to the skies for direction, for a calendar of the year. It was, at the time, the place to look for big things to happen.
On July 5, 1054 A.D. from Chimney Rock, a person could have seen a star explode with a force that made the night as bright as if a full moon glowed, Raby said. In 1066 A.D. Haley's comet passed so close, it would have covered a quarter of the sky. In 1057 and 1097 total solar eclipses occurred and could be seen at or near Chimney Rock. It's hard to believe things would have been simply ignored.
And then Raby stopped, letting the mystery build as Martinez brought out his flute to call out the moon with "Night Serenade."
"It kind of asks, 'Where are you?'" said Raby. As he concluded, the moon glowed faintly to the east for about five minutes, before slipping behind the clouds.
Raby continued. By sighting from the Stone Basin in the village below Chimney Rock, archaeoastronomer Dr. J. McKim Melville has shown that the north wall of the Great House lines up in such a way that the sun on the summer solstice rises directly above the wall. The other long wall also lines up with a major astrological event. And then there's the timing of construction.
In 1988, Melville climbed to the top of Chimney Rock to prove that once every 18.6 years, the moon, in its most southerly wobble, the one time it reaches farther south in the sky than the sun, rises directly between the two towers. By tracking back in time, this event would have happened in both 1076 A.D. and 1094 A.D. By dating the trees excavated from the great house, scientists believe the Great House at Chimney Rock was built around 1076 A.D. It was expanded in 1094 A.D. Coincidence, or significant fact?
"That is the beauty of Chimney Rock," Raby concluded. "It will always be somewhat of a mystery."
After his talk, the moon re-appeared briefly, glowing through the clouds. People trudged back down the path, flashlights out, walking carefully.
Volunteers, 20-25 total, lit the path with flashlights and snakelights for the way down, cautioning the guests to keep away from the edges. These are the last to leave: the addicts. The ones who come to see it time and again. And to see the effect the moonrise and some good old-fashioned storytelling has on their guests.
"It's great watching everyone's faces light up," Marion Boil, a volunteer, said. "It is magic for them."
The Full Moon Program is in its 11th year. The next program will be June 24. Call 883-5359 for more information. Cost is $7.50 per person and pre-paid reservations are required. These programs generally sell out, so make reservations early, wear sturdy shoes and warm clothes, bring water, bug block and a blanket to sit on.
By Melanie Kelly
Special to the PREVIEW
Pet Pride Day is Saturday and many of you will meet your new best friend in Town Park during the Humane Society's Adoptathon.
For the past seven years, the Humane Society has set aside a special day for people and their pets.
This year society volunteers and staff are bringing the pets to town for your convenience: dogs, cats, puppies and kittens will be available for adoption between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. following the annual Canine 9K and the Paws Walk.
Every dog and cat adopted during the Adoptathon will receive a free rabies shot in addition to other inoculations that are provided for every pet. The adoption fee is $45 for cats and $65 for dogs.
The society has a wide selection of pets and plenty of puppies and kittens. To preview pets, log on to the Web site at www.humane-societyofpagosasprings.org.
No events are being held at the animal shelter.
In addition to the Adoptathon, the society will provide microchipping services to identify your pet in the event they ever become lost. Microchipping is a simple procedure available to all pets. The American Kennel Club has a 24-hour worldwide recovery service for lost pets that are microchipped. The program is called "Home Again." It will allow lost pets to be returned to their owners so long as all the paperwork has been completed and field so the club can locate the pet owner.
Dr. John Eustis will also be providing discounted vaccines in Town Park Saturday. This would be a great time to bring your pet to town for the Paws Walk at 9 a.m. and stay to have your pet receive annual vaccines.
There will be games, pet product booths and food in the park so play to make a day of it.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council, in cooperation with the Humane Society, is sponsoring a birdhouse building contest. And for those of you who are athletes, consider participating in the Canine 9K. The race will start in the park at 8 a.m. and cover 5.5 miles on a primarily flat course.
Race applications are available at the Humane Society or the Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Scott Anderson is coordinating this year's race and encourages everyone to run. Race day registration will be available at 7:30 a.m. You do not have to have a dog to run in the race. Proceeds from the race benefit the animals at the shelter and the race was named for them.
There will be events throughout the day suitable for the entire family, including the furry members.
If you have questions, call 264-5549.
More on travelers into San Juan Country
By John M. Motter
Wagon trains, cowboys and Indians, longhorn cattle, blue coated soldiers. Mile after mile of untamed wilderness crossed without benefit of roads as we know them today. Such was the world of the first pioneers into the San Juan Country.
Early San Juan settlement took place during the wild and woolly cowboy and gunfighter era of the West, a short but violent phase of western history. These were the years of Tombstone, Ariz.; Dodge City, Kan.; Deadwood, S.D.; Little Big Horn, and the Meeker Massacre.
The Meads were one of those pioneer families. A sketch of their pioneering adventures written in 1945 is included in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country," a book now out of print, but a must read for anyone interested in local history.
Before settling in the Durango area, the Meads moved around the San Juan Basin, lived in Bloomfield and near Dulce in New Mexico and seven years at Pagosa Springs. Two old Pagosa families, the Machts and the Hotts, are mentioned in this narrative. The Robert Hott who rode for help is the grandfather of local rancher R.D. Hott. Harry Macht was the father of local rancher Ray Macht.
Judge the following material from the context of the time being described, roughly 1878 through 1885. Not all of the facts are true, but the perspective is revealing. Of interest to me is the allusion to the Carlyles, an English cattle company running tens of thousands of cattle in the Four Corners area before fences. A comprehensive history remains to be written of the early cattle industry in this area.
"It was June when they left their Kansas farm and four months later when they reached the Mead ranch in the Animas Valley.
"... After disposing of his herd he started out west in a mule-drawn covered wagon which seated his family and carried his most essential belongings. Future needs were anticipated by two horses tied to the back of the vehicle, one a work horse and the other a colt that gave considerable promise.
"... The journey was without special incident until they reached Fort Garland, terminus of the railroad, where disaster was narrowly averted. It was so pleasant to be with friendly people again that they were inclined to tarry until next day instead of taking advantage of the remaining daylight hours as was their custom. Providential protection seems to have dictated their decision to adhere to their usual program. Soldiers who overtook them several miles to the west the following morning brought shocking news of a terrible tragedy. Under cover of darkness a band of renegade Indians stealthily entered the village, massacred its eighteen inhabitants, and left their homes in ashes.
"Accustomed as they were to the Kansas plains they did not realize they had started mountain climbing until their team seemed to be laboring with great difficulty. Gradually the road dwindled into a precarious trail that wended its tortuous way around and over mountain heights. Much comfort was felt when the downward path took them through the fertile San Luis Valley. Days later, the Spanish-speaking residents of Antonito presented new complications; they could not make their supply needs known until Joe Smith, a brother mason of Mr. Mead, came to their rescue.
"... The roads over La Veta Pass, rough and dangerous as they were, had given them little preparation for the roads leading over the Continental Divide. Perilous as the climb to the high point was, the downhill route following the divide crossing was even more to be dreaded. The most difficult stretch proved to be the hill leading from Chama down to the Navajo River, when a large tree had to be anchored to the rear of the wagon so the hazardous descent could be made in safety. The country became wilder and more desolate and the sight of white persons less frequent. It was with real relief they found soldiers stationed at Fort Lewis across the river from Pagosa Springs. Here they tarried long enough to acquaint themselves with the Springs' healing waters whose curative values had been recognized by generations of Indians seeking release from pain. Further on they neared the section now known as Dyke: two prairie schooners had arrived only a few minutes before. Their occupants were Colonel and Mrs. Christian Stollsteimer and their children, who were to have an important part in sectional history."
Motter's comment: The Meads made their journey in 1878. They journeyed on to the Animas Valley where they stayed with relatives who had arrived earlier. In commenting on the relative's home it was said, "Primitive as the structure was; it contained the essentials for living. Mrs. Mead was the sort of woman who could make a Dutch oven and a camp fire breathe the spirit of domesticity."
Down through the years, the Meads lived in various parts of the San Juan Basin. Their first residence was near Rockwood on the much traveled Rico Road. At that time Rico was a new mining camp, connected with Animas City and Durango by a road running on the north side of the La Platas. While living at that location, the following incident occurred.
"... Among the itinerant celebrities who came to their door was Ouray, chief of the Utes, sane advisor of his tribesmen, and sincere friend of white men. In general, the bond between Indians and settlers was slight. The Indians looked upon whites as intruders who should be exterminated, while the whites regarded the Indians as but little above the predatory animals, protected by law. When a massacre seemed imminent, the government turned the settlers into raw soldiers by providing them with guns and ammunition. Fortunately, authorities had underestimated Ouray's power over his subjects. Through his influence, peaceful relations were established and the worst massacre in the history of the west was avoided.
"Soon Indians were to be a familiar sight to the Meads. After two years dairying they disposed of their herd and moved to Bloomfield near the Southern Ute reservation where range cattle became their major interest. By preponderance of numbers, Mexicans held the balance of political power in the country. The white men were cattle owners and the Mexicans were the flockmasters and sheepherders. The white man of that day, who became a wool grower immediately lost cast.
"Ervin Mead made a strange picture among range riders of his time. A man of peace, he was so recognized by all with whom he came in contact. He never found it necessary to carry a gun. The typical cowpuncher of that day looked like a walking arsenal; always ready to protect himself at the drop of a hat, he usually wore two cartridge belts, carried one of more six shooters and frequently had a Winchester rifle attached to his saddle for good measure. Mr. Mead was also wanting in the promiscuous use of the branding iron, 'mavericking' it was called, and regarded by a few not otherwise (dis)honest men as a normal means of increasing their herd. But as lightly as cattle stealing was regarded, horse stealing was not tolerated. Those who dared break this law of the land were classed as the lowest of humankind and might reasonably expect to find themselves the star attraction at a lynching party.
"Cattle provided both food and income. Everything that gardens could produce was grown in abundance, always enough extra for hospitality and a less favored neighbor, but markets for surplus did not exist. Securing other supplies was a problem harder to meet. From Bloomfield, the trip to Durango required four days and necessitated four fordings of rivers as there wasn't a bridge south of La Plata's county seat, so the trip had to be timed for good weather and low water. Flour was $15 a hundred and sugar $20, and other staple goods' prices were in proportion.
"... A neighbor of Mrs. Mead had a rather different experience with a bunch (of Indians) at Pagosa Springs where she had gone on a health seeking expedition. This Indian brave wore a blanket of rare beauty, which the woman coveted. Knowing the Redskin's love of numbers of coins instead of values of coins she equipped herself accordingly. Seated on the hotel porch she started negotiations. The first day success failed to meet her efforts. The second, she increased the number of coins but failed. The third day when she doubled her coin bait again, the temptation proved too great. He reached over, grabbed her money threw the blanket at her and ran toward his camp; his nude body rapidly disappearing in the distance left no doubt as to the reason for his reluctance in consummating the deal! The blanket comprised his entire wardrobe!"
"... One day a band of terror stricken Indians rode into the Mead ranch shouting 'White man on War path! White man on War Path!' For some time trouble had been brewing between cattle and sheep men over grazing rights. The range had been pastured to a saturation point and each group was trying to crowd the other off. The climax came that morning when three riders for the Carlyles, cattle barons of New Mexico and Utah, awoke to find their cabin ablaze and surrounded by heavily armed sheepmen prepared to settle the issue. The cowboys must have been in league with the elements because a sudden shower extinguished the flames on the roof, while their grub box held enough flour to quench the inside blaze.
"Two of the cow punchers, Steve Roup and Lee Hamblett, had only six shooters, while the third was armed with a Winchester. He took refuge in the chimney, refused to come out or surrender his gun for the defense of the others. In the intermittent firing that continued on both sides for several hours, a Mexican was killed. Bob Hott, a Carlyle rider, chanced to come that way, learned of his companion's plight, and started top speed for Sheriff Dan Sullivan (father of Sheriff Roy Sullivan of San Juan County, New Mexico and Sheriff Bruce Sullivan of La Plata County, Colorado) That Hott survived to become a cattle king of the southwest attests to the poor marksmanship of those sheepmen. When Sheriff Sullivan and his posse arrived, the aggressors had fled, leaving behind the body of their dead companion. Illogical as it may seem, the sheepmen later swore out a warrant for the arrest of the cowboy trio, charging them with murder; a reward of $75 was posted for their capture. Discretion seemed the better part of valor, so the accused fled to Blue Mountains in Utah, always a haven for those on whose heads rested a price."
"...Young Lyman Mead did not want to go to school: his ambition to be a cowpuncher materialized in a small way at the ripe age of seven, when he and Emmet Wirt, future New Mexico capitalist, rode night herd. Mr. Wirt's sole possession was a badly worn saddle, but it served him to ride range in New Mexico and Utah for a few years. He then embarked on a more paying career, sawmilling for A.T. Sullenberger. It was then he layed the foundation of his fortune, as every nickel beyond bare necessities was saved for his objective. Range riders made him the butt of their jokes as a tightwad, but that did not influence him to tighten up.
"Shortly the Meads, in quest of better range, had two more moves in store: for a time they were near the Apache reservation, newly populated by some of the Indian bad actors from Arizona; later they drifted toward Dulce Lake and thence to Pagosa Springs, their headquarters for seven years."
"... Lyman and his boon companion, Harry Macht, a boy of his own age, dreamed of riding the range, dehorning cattle, trailing strays, branding live stock, riding bucking horses, and shooting bear and coyotes. How well Harry Macht's dream materialized is indicated by the large herds that were his. Lyman Mead's was realized in another way, quite as important but less spectacular. One of the finest dairy herds in the locale is his."
Xeriscape? Who, me? I've got rhubarb
The baked earth cracks.
Ants, grasshoppers and prairie dogs seem to be oblivious to the threat.
Grass is brown, flowers won't grow and planting a garden is - unless you have an extraordinary green thumb - probably useless.
What does grow in this season of drought?
After a slow start and benefiting from getting the little water I've used in the yard this year, the rhubarb is nearly ready for first crop.
Sweet peas which have been reseeding themselves in the same spot for over 50 years are nowhere to be seen this year. Columbines grew to about eight inches and then the growth stopped.
The poppy bed is home to dozens of plants about three inches tall and turning brown. The clematis vine, after a spring hiatus, is showing signs it might send a few tendrils up the wire mesh but it is not even close to its usual prolific self.
The iris, growing more than 30 years in the same location, are like the columbines, in an extended holding pattern.
But we'll have rhubarb aplenty, assuming the grasshoppers and birds don't destroy it first.
I never really planned to get into xeriscaping, but the ravages of Mother Nature may force me to become a rock farmer rather than a flower farmer.
Actually, I'm not a farmer at all. I love flowers, love to raise the kinds which will grow in our climate. I like the colors setting off the green of the lawn. But that won't happen this year.
Neighbors who have gardens every year are planning reduced versions . . . if there is sufficient water for even that.
But then, noting last week's comments by Russell Crowley, the county's emergency services director, maybe we all should stop watering everything in our yards.
Maybe that would drive the skunks away.
I forgot to mention them. There may be a battalion of them camping in my neighborhood. They contaminate the area every night with their pungent odor, an obvious declaration of war, a marking of my territory as their own.
And when the lawn was lush and soft, they dug dozens - maybe hundreds - of holes in the sod every night; looking for nightcrawlers, I guess.
That might have been the first indication to me that having a healthy yard this year would be a riddle without a solution.
One expert who looked at the yard suggested, "Why doncha just dig er' all up and start over again."
Sure, I've got plenty of time to dig it up. And then to roll, fertilize and reseed.
It might work, but probably not. Every time I've tried to reseed bare spots - including those created by the skunks - the neighborhood crows, magpies and assorted other winged creatures have devoured the seed before it had a chance.
But, I do have rhubarb. Got lots of recipes for rhubarb pie, rhubarb cake, rhubarb preserves. Maybe Karl will donate a Prussian rhubarb compote recipe that'll be a killer. Instead of a picnic, we'll have a rhubarbnic.
Pick 'em while they're fresh, wash 'em off and eat 'em raw. Sprinkle a little salt on the stalks if you like.
If you haven't puckered up in a while this might help.
It's a far cry from last year when I planted four hills of acorn squash.
That might have been another signal to me to try some other form of off-hours recreation.
From those four hills I got one squash plant, the plant that almost ate Pagosa.
It spread rapidly southward in the flower bed, fruits popping out everywhere. And it kept growing. Two feet, 10 feet, 15 feet on one long tendril with blooms and melons at all angles.
One of my gardening books suggested keeping the ripening gourds off the ground with a board. One board? I had nothing long enough. A pair of 12-foot eight-by-tens were pressed into duty.
There was just one problem. Well, maybe two - or three.
First, I apparently planted too late in the year.
And then I had trouble keeping enough water on the root of the lone plant to allow it to suck up enough of the life-giving nectar and send it down the growth line.
Finally, frost. Got two usable squash from more than 50 which started, before the first frost of the season killed everything.
But, I had rhubarb.
I took some to relatives in metropolitan Denver, distributed gift bags of the stalks to people in the office. I gave some to old friends of my mother who remembered that she always had a big crop.
Three types of rhubarb - Missouri green, Colorado pink and New England red - graced the beds (found the names in scribbled notes she'd written to herself about what was planted where). Their flavor ranged from mild to what mom would have called 'big pucker'.
By the way, there is one other thing growing in the yard this year.
But even they are not as prolific as usual - just bigger.
Maybe there's another clue there.
Maybe Mother Nature's telling me to brew some dandelion-rhubarb wine.
Gotta see if Karl's got a recipe - after I chase the birds out of the rhubarb patch - AGAIN .
Geez, can't a guy grow just one crop without all the interference?
After all, rhubarb may be the plant that saves the day when the rest of the gardens in the county don't grow. I'll make a fortune from that lone 300-foot tendril climbing Reservoir Hill.
I like it. I think that's my new line.
Gentleman rhubarb farmer.
If I were to bake a cake for Father John ...
I was at the blessing of the building site for the new Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church the other day, and it also happened to be Father John Bowe's birthday.
After a rousing version of "Happy Birthday," which Father John joined with great gusto, an acquaintance asked me "Did you bake a birthday cake for Father John," then added, as a hasty footnote, that it was unlikely since most of my musings about food deal with entrees only.
That's true: I've never been a big fan of desserts, or of sweets in general.
Even as a youngster, I had little or no interest in sugary treats. When my friends and I walked home from Lincoln Elementary in Denver, we emerged in our neighborhood from the alley at the front of Ruegnitz Grocery, one of the many small groceries that dotted the urban landscape, each serving an area maybe five blocks square.
As my pals loaded up on fried pies and cup cakes, candy and those horrifying wax tubes filled with garishly-colored sugar water, I made my way to the meat counter at the back of the store. Mr. Ruegnitz and I had a bond: we were both Karl, with a K, and we loved cheese.
"Karl," the big German would say, wiping his hands on his butcher's apron, "I have something special for you, just in, the very best" and he would gesture grandly at a wheel of cheddar resting in the case next to the sausages.
Ahhh. Given the choice of high-fat dairy products or dramatically and suddenly elevated blood sugar, I went for the dairy, post haste.
Of my siblings, only my brother was swept away by sweets, my sister more intent on stoking her love of aspirin. My brother still craves a good dessert and is an excellent dessert cook, producing cakes and clafoutis, crisps and tarts.
I do have a few favorite desserts, however, and I indulge when the occasion or my mood permits. It doesn't happen often.
I've written about the greatest creme brulée in the universe, at The Little Door in Los Angeles. I don't hesitate to order it. There is a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate sauce at a restaurant called Le Brise Miche at Place Igor Stravinsky in Paris that can turn my head. And it would be a rare experience for me to turn down Swedish rice pudding, made simply with the cooked, cinammon-tinged rice simmered with cream, sugar and butter until the richness is absorbed, then fortified with sugar and more cream and more butter and more cream and ...
I love a berry tart and usually make at least one a year, whenever a particular berry is in season. A peach or plum tart is not out of the question either, the fruit resting on a pastry cream or a lemon curd.
Put a lemon cake in front of me and I eat, compulsively. The same with a coconut cake, the layers separated by a pineapple filling, the frosting a coconut butter cream. If I were to bake Father John a cake, this is what it would be: the filling made with crushed pineapple and its juice, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice.
But, given the season and my predilection for high fat content, a version of a trifle would be on the menu if I had to produce a treat.
There is a recipe I am anxious to spring on friends soon.
After my bashing of Canadian cuisine a couple of weeks ago, I received a visit from Dick Van Fossen.
Dick is hardly the type of Canadian I mentioned in my column when I waxed nostalgic about a couple of my hockey-player compatriots, linking them with "Canadian cuisine" consisting of beer and pizza.
Dick, a retired university professor and no kin to Hawk and Grant, arrived at the office last week to redeem the honor of the cuisine of our friends to the north. He brought with him a vintage copy, circa 1970, of "The Canadiana Cookbook," authored by one Mme. Jehane Benoit.
Mme. Benoit's image graces the cover of the book. She stands, cheerful in a retentive, Gallic sort of way, at a table set in front of a wood staircase, the newel post graced by an ornate carved rooster. Mme. Benoit's heavy sweater is weighted with a large brooch. I believe she was wearing a wig, Dynel, perky and tight.
The book is subtitled "A Complete Heritage of Canadian Cooking." The faded dust jacket labels Mme. Benoit as Canada's "most competent authority on Canadian foods," and lists her as the author of "the now famous 'Encyclopedia of Canadian Cooking.'"
I mentioned in my column that the bulk of Canadian taste treats are borrowed from French or British sources and the book does little to damage my claim. Canadian cooking, as portrayed by Mme. Benoit, is a culinary catchbasin which has trapped some admittedly interesting items.
Mme. Benoit organizes her recipes according to the province in which they reign. We move from the pleasures of porridge in Nova Scotia (as well as the horror of haggis) to the sublime French-influenced dishes of Quebec. The prairie provinces produce solid, farm food similar to the dishes of the American heartland, with a Mennonite concoction or two thrown in for good measure.
Alberta shows up with bronco-buster fare and B.C. kicks in with several interesting preparations involving salmon. Toss in some game oddities from The Yukon and the Northwest Territories, a plethora of potato recipes from Prince Edward Island, and you have a worthy introduction to the food of Canada.
My special dessert would be a variation of Mme. Benoit's Canadian Tipsy Cake - very English; it reminds me of my Aunt Hazel.
This calls for a large sponge cake, preferably a few days old and a bit stale.The cake is sliced into six layers.
The first piece of cake goes on the bottom of a glass serving dish or in a wide-bottom glass bowl. The slab of cake is sprinkled with a hefty portion of sweet sherry and spread with a layer of black current jam.
At this point, I would veer from Mme. Benoit's recipe and deposit a measure of blackberries (sugared and left to rest) over the jam.
Down goes the next layer of cake; it is sprinkled with the sherry and spread with a layer of strawberry jam. Again, I depart from Benoit's plan in that I cover the jam with sliced strawberries, like the blackberries, sugared and allowed to rest. Repeat, alternating jams and fruits, until layer six is complete.
The top layer gets sprinkled with toasted almonds. A quarter cup brandy is mixed with a teaspoon of almond "essence" (I hope Mme. Benoit means almond extract), and the mixture is poured over the top layer of the cake.
Then, scald two cups of table cream over low heat. Beat four eggs with a third cup sugar and temper the eggs with a bit of the scalded cream. Add the rest of the scalded cream and cook over low heat, stirring until thick. Do not boil. Mme. Benoit would be very, very unhappy should it boil.
Cool the sauce for about 10 minutes then pour over the cake. Mme. Benoit recommends decorating the top of the cake with red and green Maraschino cherries, but I find the addition of red dye No. 3 an unnecessary addition to a fine dish. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.
Let's hear it for Canadian cuisine and the formidable Mme. Benoit.
Let's hear it for special occasions and special desserts. They're definitely something to trifle with.