Front Page

June 20, 2002
Wildfires rage at Missionary Ridge and South Fork

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Outside Archuleta County borders, the fires rage on.

Over 800 firefighters were working the Missionary Ridge fire in La Plata County Wednesday afternoon, including 20 crews, seven helicopters and 92 engines. Two engines and seven of those firefighters are from the Pagosa Fire Protection District.

In the South Fork area east of Pagosa Springs, another fire started Wednesday. Evacuations in the area were in progress late Wednesday afternoon and Wolf Creek Pass was closed late in the day requiring detours to northern and southern routes according to a report received from the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.

Total acreage was unknown at press time. South Fork, Del Norte and U.S. Forest Service firefighters are fighting the blaze. Air tankers and smoke jumpers from Pueblo were also on scene.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said the Missionary Ridge call for help from neighboring districts came June 13 at about 11 p.m. Since then, the Pagosa firefighters have been working 12-hour days in the area of Vallecito Lake, attempting to protect structures threatened by the 44,000-acre blaze.

The team, including Leroy and Gary Lattin, Brian Hubbs, Marilyn Gurule, David Price, Larry Escude and Toby Brookens, is scheduled to remain on the fire at least through Friday, he said, but would be called back immediately if a fire started inside the Pagosa district.

Mutual aid efforts have not reduced the ability to fight fires locally, Grams said. Besides the regular volunteers - 65 total - a Forest Service Type 2 firefighting team is stationed here. The 20-member team is trained for initial attacks on fires.

The Missionary Ridge fire started June 9. It is now about 25 percent contained, but continues to threaten 1,728 structures. According to releases received from Incident Command in Durango, the current weather pattern of high temperatures and low humidity is expected to continue, making it a difficult fire to control. As of Wednesday afternoon, the fire continued to make significant runs along three perimeters, including its northern border closest to the Archuleta and Hinsdale county lines. The fire has been most active between 3 p.m. and midnight each day.

Grams said the blaze has become large enough to create its own weather patterns, and firefighters are holding their ground against wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour.

For updates on the fires as they relate to citizens in Archuleta County, call 264-5555. This is an Archuleta County Sheriff's Department dispatch information line normally reserved for road condition updates. As of Wednesday afternoon, dispatch officers began updating the recording on this line with information received from the Forest Service.

Links to information on the Missionary Ridge fire and other blazes currently burning in Colorado can also be found on the Pagosa Springs SUN Web site at http://www.pagosa.net/pagosasprings-sun.

Forest closed in area west of Turkey Springs

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Total closure has been ordered for certain San Juan National Forest lands generally located between Pagosa Springs and Bayfield and north of U.S. 160.

The closure was ordered by Mark Stiles, acting supervisor of the San Juan National Forest and became effective Wednesday. Only authorized persons, including owners of private property within the closed area, will be allowed past Forest Service boundaries.

On Forest Service roads with gates, the gates will be closed. Forest Service personnel will patrol to ensure compliance with the closure.

Roads affected in Archuleta County include Beaver Meadows Road (FS 604), First Notch Road (FS 620), FS 621 on the west side of the Piedra River, First Fork Road (FS 622), Devil Mountain Road (FS 627), Turkey Springs Road (FS 629), and any other Forest Service roads in the area. Piedra Road will not be closed, although a portion of its western right of way is part of the eastern boundary of the closure area.

Also closed is Mosca Road (FS 631) located in Hinsdale County generally west of Williams Creek Lake.

The closed area is all north of U.S. 160 and includes all Forest Service land starting with Turkey Springs Road west of Aspen Springs and continuing westerly generally to the Bayfield area.

Potential danger posed by the Missionary Ridge fire burning north of Durango is the reason for the closure, according to Steve Hartvigsen of the Pagosa Ranger District. That danger is not an immediate threat, but could become a threat in the future.

"We are concerned that people may go into the forest in that area or into the Weminuche Wilderness for an extended period of time and have their escape routes cut off should the fire expand in that direction," Hartvigsen said. "We don't want anyone trapped up there."

More specifically, the eastern closure boundary begins at the intersection of Turkey Springs Road and U.S. 160. The boundary line runs 30 feet east of Turkey Springs Road northerly to that road's intersection with Piedra Road, Hartvigsen said. Placing the boundary east of Turkey Springs Road allows closure of the road. Individuals owning private property reached from Turkey Springs Road will be allowed to go to their property.

From the intersection of Turkey Springs Road and Piedra Road, the eastern closure line runs northerly west of Piedra Road along the Forest Service boundary staying west of most of the private properly on the upper Piedra, generally following the divide between Williams and Weminuche creeks, through Poison Park, and generally along the Poison Park Trail to the Pine River.

This forest closure is in addition to any other restrictions that may be in place on public lands in the area.

Private property owners living within the closed area have been advised to be prepared in the event evacuation is mandated, according to Archuleta County Sheriff Tom Richards.

More information concerning fire danger and the closure can be obtained by calling the Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268, the Columbine Ranger District (Bayfield) at 884-2512, the Public Lands Center in Durango, 247-4874, or at the Forest Service Web site, http://wildfires.nwcg.gov/missionary/index.html. Specific information concerning the Missionary Ridge Fire can be obtained by calling 247-2180 or 247-2336 or by linking to fire information sites via the SUN Web site at http://www.pagosa.net/pagosasprings-sun.

Fire update information numbers supplied by Archuleta County Dispatch are 264-5555 in Pagosa Springs and 385-8700 in Durango.

Apprehension leads to 9-1-1 overload; call only if there's flame

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Perfect conditions for wildfire - no rain, breeziness, and low humidity - dominate weather conditions in Pagosa Country.

Fed by the threat wildfire poses to life and property in Archuleta County, an atmosphere of apprehension seems to pervade the local population. A host of public actions have been undertaken in an effort to mitigate the wildfire threat.

Level 1 water rationing remains in effect; the state, county, and U.S. Forest Service have banned all open fires; and all fireworks are banned. The Forest Service is closing public land north of U.S. 160 and generally west of a line following Turkey Springs Road and Piedra Road north northerly as far as the Pine River.

An evacuation alert ordered by the Archuleta County sheriff remains in effect. The evacuation alert does not mean evacuate now. It means pack important personal items, clothing, and survival gear and stand by in case evacuation becomes necessary.

Mandatory evacuation orders, if and when they come, will be either in the form of a visit from members of the sheriff's department, or in the form of three siren blasts from a marked department vehicle.

Several false alarms this past week added to the general jitteriness of the population. The false alarms create headaches for the sheriff's department.

"If someone asks you to evacuate, check their credentials," said Sheriff Tom Richards. "So far, we have not ordered anyone to evacuate."

The central E-911 telephone has been swamped with calls from people reporting fires. No wildfire has broken out in Archuleta County during the past week. Instead, people have been unable to distinguish between smoke from the Missionary Ridge Fire north of Durango, and the possibility of a new fire in the county.

"Basically, we're telling people to not call unless they see flames," Richards. "If there is a local fire, of course we want to know about it as soon as possible. We're just asking people to use common sense before they call us."

Confusion also surrounds the evacuation alert issued by Richards. The evacuation alert has nothing to do with the Missionary Ridge Fire, which on Wednesday of this week remained in the vicinity of Vallecito Reservoir, probably at least two days fire time from Pagosa Springs, if, indeed that fire decides to run toward Pagosa Springs.

The evacuation alert is intended to protect people in the event a new fire springs up in the Pagosa Springs vicinity. If it is used in connection with the Missionary Ridge Fire, that usage will be providential, but was not anticipated.

"The way the woods are right now, I'm more afraid of a new fire over here than I am of the Missionary Ridge Fire," Richards said.

The Missionary Ridge Fire, on Wednesday, appeared to be advancing in several directions in unpredictable fashion. The advance in the direction toward Pagosa Springs was generally along Grassy Mountain, with the threat of movement northeasterly along the southeastern rim of the Pine River Valley toward the Weminuche Wilderness Area.

Grassy Mountain is southeast of Vallecito Reservoir. The Reservoir is approximately three miles from the northwestern junction of Archuleta County with La Plata County to the west, and the border with Hinsdale County to the north.

Richards urges Archuleta County residents to prepare for evacuation, but to remain calm and continue to pursue daily activities.

If possible, evacuation orders will be announced over the local radio stations at 1400 AM or 106.3 FM, in addition to personal notification and the three siren blasts.

Finally, local authorities are working closely with authorities in Durango engaged in the Missionary Ridge fire effort. Evacuation plans are being developed that include providing shelter and food for evacuees, their pets and other animals.

The following tips are offered for evacuees by the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. Following these tips should not delay evacuation if the need to get out is immediate.

A mandatory evacuation order triggers additional living expenses covered under most standard homeowner insurance policies. Evacuated residents should hang on to receipts to support claims filed at a later date.

Evacuated residents should contact their agents or companies immediately and let them know where they can be reached. An agent should be contacted if additional living expenses are needed while out of the home.

Evacuees should take home inventories and financial documents with them. Photographs of each room of the house can be helpful.

 

Public fireworks display canceled; all are banned

 

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

No bombs bursting in air will brighten the skies at the Pagosa Springs Fourth of July celebration this year.

The decision to cancel the fireworks portion of the event was made early this week after discussion with town, county and law enforcement officials, Town Administrator Jay Harrington said. The danger from drift of the fireworks, as well as having all the cars parked along roadways and in fields, combined with the dry conditions was simply too much to go forward safely.

"Our insurance company has requested that we cancel, and the majority of other mountain towns have already canceled their own events," Harrington said.

Timothy Greer, executive director of the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency, which holds the town's insurance, asked the town to weigh the logistics of canceling the display against the threat in a recent memo.

"It would be tragic, indeed, if the celebration of our nation's most honored holiday were to result in fire-related incidents anywhere in the state; the tragedy would only be compounded if any of those incidents were related to municipally-conducted or municipally-sponsored fireworks displays," he wrote.

The rest of the Fourth of July events remain a go.

Harrington said although shipment on the delivery of the town's Fourth of July fireworks has been halted, it might be possible to schedule the display for a later event such as Colorfest in the fall, or New Year's Eve if conditions improve.

The Mountain Man Rendezvous, set to kick off Friday on Reservoir Hill, has also been canceled because of the severe fire danger. Harrington urged people to be extremely cautious of the conditions on Reservoir Hill and in town parks.

Rebuilding set to begin on 11 miles of U.S. 160

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

It's nice to have some predictability in this unpredictable summer.

In the midst of drought and fire, roadwork goes on and on and on. And it's coming to Pagosa.

Work on the 11-mile remix and repave of U.S. 160 through Pagosa Springs is set to begin in earnest in the next week or so, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation schedule. The project will include resurfacing the highway from the area near Elk Park west of town to a point about three-quarters of a mile east of the town boundaries. Traffic signals at North Pagosa Boulevard and U.S. 160 and Piñon Causeway, some curb and gutter in town, and a turn lane at Ace Hardware on Put Hill are also planned.

Signage for the project could go up in the next couple of days. Patching potholes follows that and contractors will then begin the remix process starting west of town and working east.

They will not reach the downtown area until after the Fourth of July holiday. In fact, work will cease July 4-7. When the project reaches the downtown area, the highway will be milled up, then resurfaced. The milling is still expected to be done at night, Town Administrator Jay Harrington said.

Resurfacing will take place during the day. Motorists can expect up to 20-minute delays, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. The project contracted to Elam Construction of Grand Junction for $2.9 million, will be completed by late November.

Work on Phase II of the highway rehabilitation and drainage improvement project on the west side of Wolf Creek Pass also began June 17, according to state releases.

On Wolf Creek Pass, drainage improvements and resurfacing work will begin in the snow shed just east of the summit. During the work a temporary signal will direct single-lane, alternating traffic through the shed around the clock, seven days a week through mid-July. Delays up to 10 minutes can be expected at this temporary signal location. Following this work, a five-mile stretch will be resurfaced from the snow shed west to the three-lane section; delays of up to 20 minutes can be expected. The project, which was contracted to Nielsons Skanska of Cortez for $7.16 million, will be completed in October, weather permitting.

This is in addition to the Wolf Creek pass tunnel project. Delays of up to 45 minutes, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 3 p.m. Fridays can be expected. Full nighttime closures could resume June 24, 7 p.m.-7 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

The Wolf Creek projects on either side of the pass are 16 miles and at least 30 minutes of normal travel time apart. Heavy trucks may take longer. There is a width restriction of 10 feet on the pass.

Additional ongoing projects on U.S. 160 include a maintenance chip seal project extending from Bayfield east to Yellow Jacket causing delays up to 20 minutes through June. The second phase of this project will start mid-July with delays of up to 20 minutes Monday-Friday through the end of the month.

For information on these and other state projects, the public may log on to the Web site at www.dot.stat.co.us (link to U.S. 160 Southwest) or call the toll-free 24-hour construction hotline at (877) 315-ROAD.

 

 Weather
Chance for rain and lightning

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

A chance for rain - that's good - coupled with a chance for lightning - that's bad - is contained in the Pagosa Country weather forecast for the coming week.

Any rain, the more the better, is welcome in Pagosa Country where folks are all ajitter because of the threat of wildfire. The mention of lightning, however, instead of jitters, causes shivers to course up and down the bodies of firefighters. Lightning is not welcome.

Regardless of what local folks want, including firefighters, Doug Baugh from the Grand Junction National Weather Service office, predicts a 20-percent chance of showers and thunderstorms tomorrow and Saturday.

A further negative in Baugh's forecast is the prediction that conditions will be breezy throughout the coming week.

High temperatures through the week should range between 85 and 95 degrees with low temperatures ranging between 42 and 52 degrees.

Conditions for the much-awaited summer monsoon season are inching forward, but still some time away, according to Baugh.

A disturbance from the West Coast bringing lower temperatures and the possibility for moisture will remain north of the Four Corners area as it passes through Colorado during the coming week, Baugh said.

"Conditions for the monsoon season are getting closer, but it may still be a few weeks before we actually see the rain," Baugh said.

Meanwhile, unprecedented drought conditions continue to plague Pagosa Country. No precipitation was recorded last week. Only 0.01 inch of rain has fallen during the past six weeks.

San Juan River streamflow recorded at the in-town gauge has dropped to 42 cubic feet per second, half the previous low of 84 cubic feet per second on the same calendar date. Normal streamflow for this time of year approaches 1,350 cubic feet per second.

 

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

6/5 76 39 - - -

6/6 82 40 - - -

6/7 87 42 - - -

6/8 84 41 - - -

6/9 78 39 - - -

6/10 80 37 - - -

6/11 79 36 - - -

 Sports Page

Gronewoller, Lancing pace teams to 3A All-State titles

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Four Intermountain League players who have dominated statistically in their own back yards for the last three years showed the state last week their impressive career numbers were not just paper performances.

Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates Ashley Gronewoller and Katie Lancing and two normal foes from the Centauri Falcons - Erin McCarroll and Sara Reynolds - dominated play in the annual Class 3A All-State Games in Greeley.

Lancing drew raves from coaches for her play in the Red squad's victory and the 3A-5A title in volleyball competition June 11 in Greeley and then Gronewoller and the Centauri stars combined to capture the 3A basketball title for the South team the following night.

McCarroll and Gronewoller, who have staged some spectacular games against each other in league competition the past three years, combined for 15 and 12 points respectively and Reynolds chipped in with 10, including a pair of early 3-pointers which helped stake the South team to a 14-2 lead they never relinquished. They were the only players in the game scoring in double digits.

It was, in fact, a sweep for the South. In addition to capturing the 3A game 59-47, the lower portion of the state also claimed wins in 2A and in the combined 4A-5A games, all sponsored by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

Lancing, headed for the University of Wisconsin on a volleyball scholarship, was a big key to her team's victory according to Red team coach Casey King of Pueblo West.

Lancing said the competition "was really good. We had a fun team, a lot of people who were just fun to be with."

But they weren't just fun seekers, she said. "This was top level high school play ... the best I've experienced."

Asked if her experience there taught her anything that will help her at the University of Wisconsin, Lancing said, "I played middle most of the time in Greeley. It was a new position for me and I learned quickly that angles are different and there's a whole new technique in moving for blocks." In high school she has been an all-conference setter.

That diversity of attack, she said, "should help me be more aware of techniques when I get into Big Ten competition."

The IML performers demonstrated for the rest of the state at least four reasons why their league has become a regular contender for state honors in both sports.

McCarroll, a 6-foot forward, and the 6-3 Gronewoller put their size to a quick advantage, feeding off passes from guards Toni Kinsey of Florence and Jill Keaveney of Manitou Springs, to demoralize their northern foes.

Gronewoller had two field goals each in the first and fourth quarters and converted four of six from the foul line for her dozen points. Unofficially, she also had nine rebounds, five blocked shots and four steals.

The big first quarter was the deciding factor for the South. After building a 23-9 lead in the period, they were outscored 38-36 for the balance of the game.

Lancing, who turned in seven kills and seven blocks as her team won 17-15, 12-15, 15-13 and 15-5 for the title, said she has to leave for Wisconsin in time for a team meeting Aug. 4.

"I'm keeping in shape, working some two-on-two," she said. "But I know I'll find a tough grind awaiting me in college. I believe I'm ready for the challenge."

Gronewoller will attend Colorado School of Mines next year and McCarroll expects to go to Adams State. Reynolds has not yet selected a college.

Gronewoller, out of town visiting in North Carolina since the big game, was not available for comment.

But it is known the coach from Mines was at the game and told family members he's really excited to have her coming there.

And both Mines and Wisconsin know they're getting more than athletes.

Gronewoller and Lancing each had 4.0 averages and were among four co-valedictorians who graduated last month from Pagosa Springs High School.

 

Parks & Rec

Winners named in Rockies Skills Challenge

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN columnist

Thirty-nine youngsters took part in the Rockies Baseball Skills Challenge competition hosted by the town parks and recreation department. Sue Jones, Chris Corcoran, Tom Aiello and many other volunteers assisted.

Area youngsters captured several honors and will advance to sectional competition at a date and site to be announced later.

The following athletes earned first-place honors in male and female categories in their respective age groups: ages 6-7, Clint Walkup and Julia LeLievre; ages 8-9, Bryce Lewis and Katie Laverty; ages 10-11, Zel Johnston and Mele LeLievre; ages 12-13, John Hoffman, no female entries.

Fishing Day

Remember, June 26 is Fishing Day, with the event starting at 9 a.m. at the fishing ponds behind the River Center. Free poles will be given to children 4-16.

The contests include biggest fish and smallest fish. There will also be some tagged fish for special prizes.

There will be a costume contest for all children wanting to dress up as Huck Finn or Becky Thatcher.

Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m., courtesy parks and recreation.

Ride The Rockies

The parks and recreation department would like to thank everyone who helped make Pagosa Springs a great stop for the riders.

The park crew had a big week, preparing for Spanish Fiesta, baseball games, weddings, the skate park planning meeting and Ride The Rockies.

Our parks were in great shape, with only a few glitches. All in all, it looked like a great weekend.

Skate park action

Town staff and a few volunteers have been busy organizing plans for a new facility for youth of the community. South Pagosa Park was the site of a barbecue benefit last Saturday with information regarding the new skate park well accepted by skaters, bikers and parents.

The turnout was exceptional. Chaotic Melodies, a local band, provided music. Hot dogs, hamburgers and other refreshments kept the public content on the hot afternoon. Plans for the new park were displayed and all attending were excited to see the dream becoming reality. About 50 people were in attendance, donating money and time to the cause. City Market donated food for the event.

South Pagosa Park will be the site for the new facility which will boast at least nine features to accommodate riding levels from beginner to advanced.

Construction will begin June 22. With any luck and lots of help from the community, it should be completed in a few weekends.

Anyone with questions concerning the skate park or people wanting to pledge time to assist in the project, should contact Jon King at 946-5802

Obituaries
Aaron Darrow

Aaron Edward Darrow, 40, died in his Pagosa Springs home June 6, 2002. He was born Sept. 12, 1961, in Warsaw, N.Y., to Robert and Sheila Darrow. He was married in Dewey, Ariz., to Lori Dalrymple on Aug. 8, 1997. The family had moved to Pagosa Springs in September of 2000 from Prescott, Ariz.

Mr. Darrow worked as a hunting guide and outfitter. He was a supporter of Wish Upon A Star Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Survivors in addition to his wife, Lori, of Pagosa Springs, are a daughter, Sierra, of Pagosa Springs; his father, Robert Darrow, of Phoenix, Ariz.; and his mother, Sheila May Sayce, of Travelers' Rest, S.C.

A committal service was held Monday, June 17, 2002, at Grace Chapel of Pagosa Springs Funeral Options. Prayers of committal were officiated by the Rev. Louis Day.

Allan W. Handy

Allan W. Handy, 89, died Tuesday, May 14, 2002, in Rochester, N.H. Born on Sept. 27, 1916, to the late Anson B. and Grace (Jones) Handy, he lived in New Hampshire for many years before moving to Pagosa Springs in 1976 at his retirement. He returned to live in Rochester in 2000.

A lover of the White Mountains in New Hampshire and the San Juans in southern Colorado, he attended Syracuse University in New York to study forestry before completing Tufts University and Tufts University Medical School in Massachusetts. He practiced general medicine for several years in Lincoln, N.H., before completing a residency in pathology at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire in 1952. He then worked as a pathologist for many years in the New Hampshire seacoast area at a number of hospitals.

Dr. Handy was much loved by the readers of the Pagosa Springs SUN for "Dr. Handy's Mountains" featuring his beautifully drawn renderings of the peaks surrounding Pagosa Springs.

He is survived by a son, Peter A. Handy of Holland, Mich.; his daughters and sons-in-law, Barbara H. and Paul R. Blandford of Beverly, Mass., and Susan H. and Charles M. Burdick of Apex, N.C.; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

At Dr. Handy's request, the family held a private memorial service May 31 at the foot of the New Hampshire mountains. Memorial donations may be made to the San Juan Mountain Association.

Wallace Kerlee

Wallace Abe Kerlee, a Durango resident, died Friday, June 14, 2002, of natural causes at Mercy Medical Center. He was 87.

"Kerlee" had moved to this area in 1946 from the Grand Mesa and Craig areas. He was born in Grand Junction, to Abe and Dora (Sutton) Kerlee on Oct. 31, 1914. Kerlee married his faithful bride, Patricia Marie Feld, in California on Nov. 20, 1981.

As an Army Veteran of World War II, Kerlee was a member of the Durango American Legion. However, he is best known as a businessman and entrepreneur in Durango. Kerlee owned the El Paso-Shell gas station and Go-Karts Lane located at 14th and Main streets since 1957. He later owned the Hesperus Ski Area, the Shell Station on 8th Avenue, and the Phillip's 66 in Town Plaza. Kerlee also worked for the Fish and Wildlife Department in Archuleta and La Plata counties, earning the reputation as the best trapper in the area. Added to his full life, Kerlee owned and operated the Sundowner's Supper Club.

Kerlee is preceded in death by his first wife, Iva Marie Kerlee, in 1974, his stepson, Jack Hazelton, and his grandson, Curtis Nivens. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Kerlee of Ignacio; stepdaughters Pat Bishop of Ft. Worth, Texas, Hanne Howlett of Bayfield and Robbin Frohloff of Greeley; grandson Michael Nivens of Farmington; granddaughter Valeri Brock of Mansfield, Texas; grandsons John and Randy Hazelton of California and New York City respectively, and grandson Christopher Howlett and granddaughter Amber Howlett of Bayfield.

A private family service was held June 18 at the Grace Chapel of Funeral Options in Pagosa Springs with Rev. Louis M. Day serving as minister.

A public memorial service was held at Fort Lewis College June 20 with the Rev. Mike Darmoor serving as minister.

Ingrid Sczesny-Yee

Ingrid Sczesny-Yee, born June 8, 1938, passed away May 24, 2002. She resided in the Pagosa Springs and Bayfield areas since 1982.

She is survived by her family in Germany. She will be sadly missed by many friends throughout the U.S.

A memorial service is scheduled June 21 at 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Bayfield.

 Inside The Sun
County strengthens open fire ban

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

The countywide ban on open fires and fireworks was strengthened by the Archuleta County commissioners Tuesday.

They adopted a new resolution banning all open burning on private land within the unincorporated areas of Archuleta County. Included in the ban are all fires in which the flame or spark is not completely enclosed and contained, including all charcoal fires.

Not included is the use of camp stoves or grills fueled by bottled gas or pressurized liquid fuel and specifically designed for cooking or heating purposes.

The county ban is more stringent than the statewide ban on open fires, but less strict than the U.S. Forest Service ban. New Forest Service rules are listed elsewhere in this issue of The SUN.

Included in the Tuesday resolution adopted by the county is a complete ban on all fireworks in the county.

Local fire officials met with officials directing the firefighting effort against the Missionary Ridge wildfire burning northeast of Durango. The meeting was called an "Incident Management Local Government Meeting." That fire is currently burning in the Vallecito Lake area, a scant three or four miles from the Archuleta County line.

The purpose of the meeting was to facilitate coordination of the firefighting effort should the fire cross into Archuleta County.

Agreement was reached that direction of the firefighting effort will remain in the hands of those directing it in La Plata County, even if the fire enters Archuleta County.

The fire has been labeled as a Federal Emergency Management Authority fire, according to William Steele, Archuleta County administrator. That means FEMA funds will be used to help pay fire fighting expenses.

Directing the overall effort is a U.S. Forest Service official. Three levels of command are involved including the Colorado State Forest, Durango Fire and Rescue, and the U.S. Forest Service.

"There is no need to reinvent the wheel," said Sheriff Tom Richards, the highest ranking fire authority in Archuleta County. "We'll continue to follow the same command structure as is being used against the Missionary Ridge fire. They will work out the logistics and evacuation details. If it gets closer to Pagosa Springs, we may assume more authority because we know this area better."

"They will be working with us," said Warren Grams, chief of the Pagosa Fire Protection District. "We will mostly do structure fires and threatened structures. If and when the fire gets here, people should tune their radios to 1400 AM or 106.3 FM to hear instructions from the command center and know when to evacuate. That way, there won't be as much confusion as we're getting now from all of the rumors."

In a move designed to encourage residents to reduce the fire danger around their homes, the commissioners voted to allow free dumping at the county landfill for brush cleared from around residences.

The concept is popularly known as creating "defensible space." Home owners are encouraged to remove brush and other low growth from around their homes effectively removing fuel which, if ignited, could set the house on fire. Free dumping at the county landfill is available for residents removing such growth.

Under the other agenda item, Commissioner Gene Crabtree said he had been misquoted about trying to make subdivision regulations easier. Crabtree said a second part of his statement had been ignored.

"I just want the planning office to pass out a checklist to developers at the beginning of the process so they will know what they are supposed to do," Crabtree said. "That way the requirements won't change as the development progresses."

Under the same agenda item, Crabtree urged the board of county commissioners to consider helping finance children taking part in the town's Park Fund program because "some families can't afford the $80 fee."

On another concern - junk cars - Crabtree said he has checked with a dealer in Durango who handles junk cars. He said the dealer wants a minimum 50 to 100 cars brought to a central area where the cars can be crushed. He said the dealer wants to be paid $75 for each car.

Bill Downey, chairman of the board of county commissioners, agreed the county should look into helping people get rid of junk cars, even if it means helping people with the expenses of disposing of the vehicles.

Finally, Crabtree said, "I want to go on record as encouraging the Forest Service to close the gates on their roads. There are residents who will help patrol against those breaking the fire restrictions. I know the Forest Service has more compelling things to do. This would free them with more time to patrol open roads."

The county conducted a number of additional activities Tuesday.

- Approval was granted to spend $133,000 for upgrading E-911 Emergency Services in order to better pinpoint the source location of cell phone calls.

- A penalties and interest refund amounting to $1,032 was approved for an erroneous property tax claim paid by Burl Collyer.

- Action was postponed on a request from certain Continental Estates residents that a section of platted, but not built, road be abandoned. Abandonment will be considered at the start of the July 2 county commissioner meeting.

- Approval was granted for renewal of the 3.2 beer liquor license held by Turkey Springs Trading Post.

- Concerning the Elk Park Meadows Phase 3 subdivision, conditional approval was granted for the final plat and $431,432 improvements bond. Phase 3 is part of a larger parcel totaling 1,200 acres. Phase 3 contains 360 acres divided into 55 lots averaging 6.43 acres per lot. The remainder of the 1,200 acres is being sold in parcels of 35 acres or larger. The development is located north of U.S. 160 on the east side of Aspen Springs.

- The final plat for McKeown minor impact subdivision was approved.

- The $200,000 warranty bond for South Shores Estates was released.

- A resolution passed approving Meadows Golf Villa, Phase 2.

- Approval was granted certain Social Services contracts costing a total of $181,032.

 

Group seeks volunteers in big animal evac plan

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Your cats and dogs are ready to go if need be.

Cages cleaned, cushions inside. Bottled water and canned food are boxed and sitting alongside.

But what about the livestock, the big animals - horses, cattle, goats, llamas?

Can you rescue them? Where would you take them? How?

A group of Archuleta County residents is asking those questions.

They'd like to organize a rescue team with stock trucks available to move large animals out of danger.

They have access to a 100-acre site in the lower Navajo River area, and a donation of 10 miles of solar-powered electric fencing for the property. But, if a substantial number of animals are transported to the site, additional fencing will be needed.

"We need to organize for large animal evacuation," said Lynne Mitchell. "There are many animal owners who have no way to move entire herds if they are threatened by natural disaster.

"We have a window of opportunity right now," she said. "If we can organize teams to move livestock, teams to build and string fence, teams to coordinate activities, we can save much of the livestock of the county."

Anyone interested in the proposal can call Mitchell at 731-3442.

 

Health effects of smoke low so far

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Looking at the late afternoon skies in Pagosa Country might give one the idea there are tremendous problems with air quality.

Surprisingly, however, health officials say there have been relatively few cases of smoke inhalation complaint. In fact, they say, residents seem to be dealing with the Missionary Ridge fire fallout in an exemplary manner.

Dan Keuning, family nurse practitioner at Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, and San Juan Basin Health Department officials, say the problem has not been as bad as one might surmise.

What's in smoke from a wildfire? It is made up, the health specialists say, of small particles, gases and water vapor. Water vapor comprises the majority of the smoke. The remainder includes carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, irritant volatile organic compounds, air toxics and very small particles.

They said it is a good idea to avoid breathing smoke if you can. If you are healthy, you usually will not be at major risk.

But some people are. They include those with heart and lung diseases such as congestive heart disease, emphysema or asthma. Children and the elderly are more susceptible.

Periods of moderate to heavy smoke from the Missionary Ridge fire were expected over Pagosa Springs today with moderate to heavy smoke possible from Lake City and Creede to as far east as Pueblo.

That could be exacerbated by the addition of smoke from a fire in Rio Grande National Forest near South Fork reported late Wednesday afternoon. A towering cloud of smoke from that fire was visible from downtown Pagosa Springs.

If visibility is less than five miles in your neighborhood, smoke levels have reached an unhealthy stage, the health officials said. If smoke becomes thick in your area you may want to remain indoors. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill.

"Use common sense," was Keuning's recommendation. "If it looks smoky outside, that's probably not a good time to go for a run. And it's probably a good time for your children to remain indoors."

If you're advised to stay indoors, keep your windows and doors closed. Run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean.

Keuning said you can help keep particle levels lower inside by avoiding using anything that burns, such as wood and gas stoves - and even candles. And don't smoke. That puts even more pollution in your lungs and those of people around you.

If you are an asthmatic, be vigilant about taking your medications as prescribed. If you are ordered to measure your peak flows, make sure you do so. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen and make sure you don't run out of medication.

If the smoke is affecting you, it may be reflected in scratchy throat, cough, irritated sinuses, headaches, runny nose and stinging eyes. Children and people with lung diseases may find it difficult to breathe as deeply or vigorously as normally and they may cough or feel short of breath.

Keuning said paper "comfort" or "nuisance" masks are designed to trap large dust particles, not the tiny ones found in smoke. These masks, he said, generally will not protect your lungs from wildfire smoke and advised against going out and buying painters' masks.

He said it is likely some degree of smoke will remain, even when fires are controlled, until there is adequate rainfall to flush the particles away.

The same particles which cause problems for people can affect animals. Don't force them to run, work or play in such conditions. Call your veterinarian or the county agent for advice.

Air quality meteorologists at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's air pollution control division are working to better predict movement of smoke from the existing wildfires.

Areas of focus in recent days have included more accurate characterization of hour-to-hour pollution levels and a statewide approach to predicting drift and degree of effect.

National Forest and Bureau of Land Management Fire Restrictions

By Ann Bond

Public Affairs Specialist

San Juan Public Lands Center

Beginning June 19, fire restrictions on National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands in southwest Colorado have been tightened to further reduce the risk of human-caused fires.

Although the restrictions do not amount to a closure of San Juan Public Lands, they will very significantly affect public use. The following restrictions apply to the San Juan National Forest and Bureau lands, including Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado.

1. Camping: Overnight camping in areas outside of designated Wilderness is allowed only in developed campgrounds staffed by an on-duty host. Backcountry dispersed camping will be allowed only in the Weminuche, Lizard Head and South San Juan Wilderness areas.

2. Motorized travel: All motorized vehicles must stay on roads designated as open on National Forest and Bureau visitor maps and not closed by barriers or gates. No motorized vehicles (ATVs, motorcycles, 4WD) are allowed on trails or off of open roads.

3. Parking: Daytime parking is allowed on National Forest and Bureau lands only in designated parking areas or immediately adjacent to open roads in areas free of hazardous fuels. Overnight parking is allowed only in developed campgrounds listed above and at Wilderness trailhead parking areas. Overnight parking is not allowed anywhere else.

4. Chain saw use for personal firewood, posts or pole cutting is prohibited. Firewood cutting with hand saws is allowed.

5. Smoking is prohibited except inside an enclosed vehicle or building. Smoking outdoors, even in a cleared area, is prohibited.

6. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal broiler, or a coal or wood burning stove is prohibited everywhere, including inside fire grates in developed recreation areas. Petroleum-based stoves and lanterns are still allowed.

7. Commercial logging operations are restricted to between 1 a.m. and noon and must include increased safety precautions.

8. Hydromower operation: Commercial mechanical fuels treatment operations have been canceled.

9. Oil and gas drilling operations are required to take extra fire-prevention measures, including the use of high-capacity water pumper trucks, fire extinguishers, fire spotters, and emergency preparedness plans.

10. The use of explosives, welding or acetylene or other torch with an open flame is prohibited.

11. As always, fireworks of any kind are completely prohibited.

Violators of these federal fire restrictions face fines up to $5,000 and/or up to six months in jail. Those whose actions cause a wildfire may be held liable for firefighting costs.

For additional information, contact the San Juan Public Lands Center (970) 247-4874 or visit the San Juan National Forest Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan.

 

Traffic stop nets cocaine and methamphetamines

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

An Archuleta County sheriff's deputy seized a stash of methamphetamine and cocaine June 7 in a traffic stop on Colo. 151.

According to sheriff's department reports, the Colorado State Patrol had broadcast information about a late model Chevy El Camino they were searching for due to a tip from the owner. Deputy Tim Walter spotted the vehicle headed north on Colo. 151 about 12:30 a.m. He noticed the vehicle cross the center line and then, a little later, pull off to the side of the road.

A search of the vehicle turned up two pipes, a jar, a metal tin and a kitchen spoon all with drug residue, some pills and three baggies containing suspected narcotics. The street value of the narcotics found in the car was estimated between $1,200 and $1,500. Field tests on the baggies later showed one contained methamphetamine and another contained cocaine.

Both the driver, Mary Larry, 19, and the passenger, Jerry Garcia, 39, were arrested. Social Services took custody of a 2-year-old child found sleeping on the floorboards of the vehicle.

Garcia was booked on two outstanding warrants, as well as charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful distribution, manufacture, dispensing or sale of a schedule II narcotic.

Larry was booked on the same possession and distribution charges as well as displaying altered license plates, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, child abuse, no child restraint system, weaving and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Pagosa Springs Police Department assisted in the stop.

 

Man's death ruled a suicide

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The death of a Pagosa Springs man has been ruled a suicide.

Aaron Darrow, 40, was found dead June 6 in a home on Pettits Circle. Archuleta County Coroner Karl Macht said death was caused by inhalation of carbon monoxide.

According to Archuleta County Sheriff's Department reports, a hole had been punched through a wall of the home. The victim apparently ran a pipe between this hole and the tailpipe of a vehicle after closing off ventilation in the house.

 

Account opened for cancer victim

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Cheri Ortega Family has received several phone calls stemming from the story, "Cancer: One Family, One Fight" published on page one of section two in the June 13 SUN. They are grateful for all the good wishes and support.

People were asked to call Cheri Ortega's parents, Bob and Joan Arnold, at 731-9234 for information on how to help the family with bills like car and utility payments. However, those leaving messages are not providing a way to return the calls.

To make things easier, a bank account for the Ortegas has now been opened by Cheri's parents at Citizens Bank in Pagosa Springs. Checks should be made out to Cheri Ortega, Acct. 20706168.

The Ortegas have been struggling financially since Cheri was diagnosed with cancer last September. Both Cheri and her husband have been unable to work. Medical bills are covered, and the family is receiving food stamps, but they're struggling to meet some of their other financial commitments.

 

Red Ryder Roundup opens two weeks from today

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Here comes the Fourth of July, Independence Day in Pagosa Springs!

Soooo, grab your hats, shine your boots, cozy up tight with your best gal, and head on out to the 53rd Annual Red Ryder Roundup, Pagosa Country's very own, rootin', tootin' celebration of the old west.

Scheduled July 4, 5 and 6, this year's blowout features three days of thrill-a-minute, bronco-busting, bull-riding, rodeo excitement provided by some of the best cowboys and rodeo stock in the west. Throw in western icon Montie Montana Jr., and you know you're in for about as much fun as your heart will hold.

Sounds great, but there is more. Independence Day excitement in Pagosa Country is not limited to rodeo. The annual July 4 parade is one of the best parades in the southwest and attracts visitors from a wide area.

The parade starts down San Juan and Pagosa streets at 10 in the morning and offers plenty of stimulation for young and old. You may want to head downtown early in order to stake out a good vantage point. Enthusiasm for the parade is so strong some folks start arriving at first light, just to make sure they don't miss a thing.

Then there's the carnival, arts and crafts booths, plenty of good food, green grass and the cool waters of the San Juan River along Pagosa's own, popular version of the Riverwalk.

For more than half a century, Pagosa folks have scratched big red X's across July 4 on their calendars. The rodeo is big, but it's just part of the holiday festivities.

It's family reunion time when former residents return home, to barbecue brisket and beans, and to rally up a ration of "ya remember whens."

A whole passel of local folks get together to put together this 4th of July celebration, commonly recognized as one of the best of its kind.

A new event this year called the Calf Scramble is free for youth between the ages of 12 and 19. Contestants will compete against nine other contestants to halter one of five calves and lead it across the finish line. The first two contestants to complete the event win $600 toward the purchase of a steer to be shown and auctioned at the 2003 Archuleta County Fair. This event will be held July 5 and 6. Applications can be picked up at Pagosa Land Company, 452 Pagosa St., or the Extension building. Call 264-5000 for more information.

The Mutton Busters event promises prizes for all participants including first-place buckles for winners and T-shirts for the rest. The Mutton Buster application form must be returned by June 24 to Pagosa Springs Enterprises care of Red Ryder Rodeo, Attn: Michelle, PO Box 1841, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Applicants must be 6 years or younger and attended by a parent at the rodeo. There will be 12 riders a day on July 4, 5, and 6. Helmets, vests, and ropes will be provided at no charge. All participants will be drawn from a box June 25.

Registration for local entries is June 24 from 8 a.m.- noon. For more information call 264-2345.

All out-of-area (CES) rodeo entries must be made by June 26 from 9 a.m.-noon for rough stock, 1-6 p.m. for team roping, and 2- 6 p.m. for all other timed events. Call (505) 849-0010 to register or for more information.

The winner of Jackpot Saddle Roping to be held July 7 at 1 p.m. wins a saddle.

General admission, pre-sale tickets purchased for all three days of the rodeo cost $20 for adults, $10 for children. Pre-sale tickets may be purchased any time between now and July 4 during business hours at Pagosa Land Company. Call 264-5000 for additional information.

General admission tickets purchased at the gate July 4 cost $8 for adults, $5 for children. General admission tickets purchased at the gate July 5 and 6 cost $7 for adults, $4 for children.

Box seats cost $100 July 4, $75 July 5 and 6. Box seat tickets for all three days cost $225. A box seats eight people.

Blocks of from 50 to 100 adult tickets will be available for business owners for $5 each for July 6 only.

For more information on tickets, call Michelle at 264-5000.

5 nabbed for flipping burning butts

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

There are no butts about it: local law enforcement officers are citing people on fire-danger issues, including throwing lighted cigarettes from vehicles.

Colorado State Patrol Cpl. Randy Talbot said two people in Archuleta County have been cited for throwing their cigarettes. One incident was reported to state patrol dispatch by a concerned citizen. The other resulted in a DUI arrest.

Reports at the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department showed another three summons issued for tossing out cigarettes, and two summons issued for open fires.

In a news release received Monday, Col. Lonnie Westphal, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said officers will be strictly enforcing all fire-related violations, including the use and sale of fireworks.

"We all know that Colorado is facing the worst drought and fire hazard conditions in its history," said Westphal. "In addition to experiencing fires that have been started by natural causes and underground coal fires, illegal campfires and an overturned charcoal grill have caused extensive senseless destruction and personal losses.

"The CSP will strictly enforce the laws designed to curb the occurrence of these potentially devastating losses to property, natural resources, and to reduce the danger to human life."

Talbot said officers are following up on citizen complaints on these issues whenever possible. Anyone observing someone throwing a cigarette from a vehicle can use *CSP on their cell phone to connect with the communications center in Montrose. The caller should be prepared to give the dispatcher a good description of the vehicle, a license plate number and a current location of the offender.

The fire-related issues are covered under several laws in the Colorado Revised Statutes, according to Westphal, including: foreign matter left, deposited or thrown on the highway; failure to remove lighted/burning matter left, deposited or thrown on the highway; littering; littering from a motor vehicle; unlawful possession, use or sale of fireworks; and building a fire where prohibited. Each of these laws carry fines or penalties. For example, the laws regarding fireworks and building of a fire where prohibited are Class 2 and 3 misdemeanors, respectively, and can include jail terms of from two to six months and fines between $50 and $1,000.

Preparing for fire? Don't forget pet needs

By Melanie Kelley

Special to The SUN

While preparing for a fire disaster, you can also make preparations for your family cat or dog. To help you do this, the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs has a list of helpful suggestions that can save the lives of your pets during a fire or other disaster.

1. Always keep a collar and tag on your pets. This includes cats that never go outdoors. For cats, use a breakaway collar that is designed to slip over the cat's head should the collar get caught on something.

During a fire evacuation, an animal may escape or become separated from you and the collar and tag increase your chance of getting the animal back. On the tag, include your phone number and address. You may even want to include a friend's phone number from outside the area who would know how to reach you.

Remember that phones may not be working during an emergency, therefore an address is also important. You may want to consider tattooing or microchipping your animals. The cost is $21.25 for the microchip and a fee to the American Kennel Club, which will register your pet worldwide. I asked our veterinarian to install a microchip while he was neutering our puppy, so there was no pain or discomfort. This is a permanent and very effective way to identify your animal should it ever become separated from you, but it does not replace a collar and tag.

2. Place your pet's information on the front porch of your home, including what type of pet, its name, breed, age and a picture. In the event of an evacuation while you are not home, it will allow volunteers to identify that there is a pet in the house that also needs to be evacuated. It will also be helpful when trying to reunite you with your pet.

3. Start a buddy system with your neighbors so that they will check on your animals during a fire evacuation in case your aren't home. Agree to do the same for them. Exchange information on veterinarians and have a permission slip put in your file at the vet's office authorizing your buddy to get necessary emergency treatment for your pet should you not be able to be reached.

4. Take several pictures of all of your pets and keep these pictures with the important insurance papers you will take with you if you have to evacuate. Be sure to include in the pictures any distinguishing marks that would make it easier to identify your animal. These pictures can help reunite you with a lost pet.

5. In addition to your regular supply of animal food, have at least a one-week supply of food and water on hand to be used in a disaster. Store the dry food in an airtight and waterproof container. Store the water in the gallon containers it is purchased in. Be sure to rotate the food and water at least every other month. If you use canned food, buy the flip-top cans or have a can opener in your disaster supplies.

Also, buy small cans of food so that you can use one can per feeding. You may not be able to refrigerate opened cans. You should also include favorite treats or toys that your pets like, because these treats can be used to comfort the pet during the stressful times that follow an evacuation.

6. If your animal takes medication, you will need a backup supply of the medicines. If the medication needs to be refrigerated, ice is usually available from Red Cross shelters.

7. Prepare a first aid kit for your pets and include it with your important evacuation supplies.

8. Have a crate or pet carrier assembled and ready to go. You may have to keep an animal crated for some period of time after an evacuation, so the crate should be large enough for the animal to lie down and still house food and water dishes.

9. Have a leash and harness for all the dogs in your household. If you have to evacuate, dogs may become frightened and you may need the leash and harness to securely control your dog. If you do not have a cat carrier, you may want to consider a leash and harness for your cat, too.

10. Include a stake-out chain for all the dogs in your household in your evacuation supplies. Walls and fences may come down during disaster and it may be necessary to keep your dogs confined on a chain-leash until repairs can be made.

11. Save your plastic grocery bags for pooper scoopers and include paper towels and soap in your disaster supplies for cleaning up any accidents. Shoe boxes make great temporary litter boxes for cats.

12. Be sure to comfort your animals during a stressful time. They are frightened, too, and having you near to give them a big hug will help. It will probably help you, too. If an animal is not ready to be comforted, do not force it. This is especially true for cats. Let an animal come to you when it is ready.

If you have any questions regarding preparation for an evacuation with your pets, call the Humane Society at 264-5549.

LPEA plans service change public meeting Tuesday

La Plata Electric Association's board of directors will hold a public meeting 7-8:30 p.m. June 25 at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds, asking customers to consider a proposed change in service extension policy.

The board said the change, if implemented, will reduce the credit developers and new home builders now receive for installing new electric service.

La Plata Electric believes implementation could save the firm millions of dollars over the next few years.

Board members say they will present the new options and solicit public input on the proposal or alternatives.

New guidelines approved for environmental panel

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Two new resolutions, adopted unanimously June 13 by the board of directors of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, are expected to transform operations of the Environmental Control Committee.

The documents, read into the record by director Tom Cruse who was instrumental in their development, are the result of recent complaints by homeowners, builders and even members of the committee about inconsistencies and possible personal prejudices.

Cruse told the board he had met with association staff and with all members of the environmental panel prior to having the resolutions developed.

Under the new codes, the panel will have three regular members and three alternates, all appointed by the board from formal applicants, referrals or volunteers. Each selected member will be independently interviewed by the board prior to appointment. Each will serve an initial term of two years and, at the discretion of the board, can be appointed to additional terms.

One member or alternate will be appointed by the panel as its liaison to the association board and will make regular reports to the board after each environmental panel hearing.

A minimum of three members will be required at each meeting with alternates encouraged to attend and take part in discussions and to vote if a regular member is not present.

The six sitting members will be on a rotating basis with all alternates getting a chance to serve. None will serve more than three consecutive meetings. Every appointed panel member would have a three-month indoctrination period before being added to the panel rotation.

Cruse said these rules will "create a broad-based panel of qualified members and assure that decisions are not dominated by a single member or idea."

The panel will be expected to select a presiding officer for each hearing. No member will serve in that role more than two consecutive meetings and no one will serve in the capacity more than 50 percent of all meetings in a year.

Harmony, Cruse said, will be the key word in weighing complaints about design appearance.

Elements of a building plan will be reviewed with "neighborhood harmony in mind, but not with prejudice."

He said he feels the new rules will establish clear leadership and smoother operation in all meetings.

Under the second resolution, a materials specification list will be developed and used as a tool in speeding up routine decisions on types of structural materials and forms used. "It will speed up the process and give the environmental panel more time for harder decisions," Cruse said.

It will assure quality control of the hearing process, with data presented to the board each month on cards distributed to hearing participants for return to the general manager with ratings of the service and decisions given by the panel.

At any contested hearing, the issue of architectural harmony can be raised and a hearing requested. Neighbors will be invited to respond to the plan and if there is no response, that will be considered acceptance. Negative response to plans can be considered partial grounds to reject on basis of architectural harmony.

Personal opinion, the code says, will have no place in environmental panel decisions. Rejection can be considered solely on the basis of deviation from building plans or the architectural harmony issue.

All rejections or referrals must be explained fully to the applicants and their avenues of appeal, if any, outlined.

"These recommendations," Cruse said, "are neither onerous nor difficult to implement. They are not designed to limit operations, but to spell out the decision process."

Director Gerald Smith moved for approval, seconded by Director Dave Bohl. The action was approved unanimously.

Dealing with the same panel, the board agreed to continue its purchase of meals for panel members in a local restaurant on hearing days. The proposal had been tabled a month earlier because of some concern the meals might be considered a bonus and subject to tax.

Accountant Don Aries has assured the board such is not the case.

In another related matter, Walt Lukasik, general manager, said the question of providing insurance for panel members while on inspection trips might be solved by having all members sign a waiver clearing the association of any responsibility for insurance coverage.

Director Jerry Medford told the board he had discussed the issue with incumbent panelists and they seemed to be in agreement.

Finally, Earl Eliason, an incumbent member whose term expired June 6, had asked for reappointment to a two-year term.

The board said it would prefer to wait until a new board is seated after the annual meeting and those board members begin the new interview, indoctrination and appointment process.

Eliason's request was tabled pending the seating of a new board and new officers.

 

Pagosa Lakes plans to sell mall area tract

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Near shopping mall and emergency service. Utilities at hand. Site in G3 use classification.

Interested?

The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association has agreed to advertise the property for sale.

It is a 1.76 acre site behind the fire and emergency medical services facilities off North Pagosa Boulevard near the intersection with U.S. 160. Title has rested with the association since the days of the Eaton International development.

Asking price for the property will be $99,000. There is a caveat.

Approximately two thirds of an acre of the tract is considered wetlands and therefore unbuild-able.

After the board decision June 13 on a recommendation by Walt Lukasik, general manager, you can watch for the formal ad to appear soon.

In other action that night, the board:

- heard Lukasik report 103 new canine registrations were recorded in the association subdivisions during the annual "free month" for licensing in May

- learned the county has recorded a large increase in loose dog complaints this year, but little change since enacting new regulations. Lukasik said he'd been told the sheriff's department has answered 220 calls in the first five months of this year, compared to 170 in the same time period in 2001

- named Ron Clodfelter to serve as parliamentarian for the asso-ciation's annual meeting July 27 and selected John Graves of the Unitarian organization to give the invocation.

 

Delegation seeks release of North Village Lake funds

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A delegation of North Village Lake subdivision residents, concerned that Fairfield Communities Inc. settlement funds set aside for their area in 1991 have never been used, have asked the board of directors of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association for an accounting.

Jim Haliday, acting as spokesman for an ad hoc committee of subdivision residents, read a letter to the board June 13 asking for data on money held in the settlement fund as of June 1, 2002, including interest accrued or premiums received from investment of the funds.

Haliday said while there is no formal subdivision association, there is a group of concerned citizens who wonder where the money is, how much there is, and why it has not been distributed.

The letter indicated the members of the group believe $100,000 had been set aside for a vehicle storage facility in the subdivision. No such facility has been built, it said, and property owners ask for an accounting within 10 days and then a speedy decision on disbursement.

"Since the letter was written," Haliday said, "we've received some additional information that answers some of our questions. We want to do something with the money that benefits all the property owners and like many other concerned residents, many of us are now on the 'water page.'"

He suggested the residents would be willing to contribute part of the funds to finance the permanent pipeline being discussed for diverting San Juan River water directly into Village Lake.

Another option residents are considering, he said, is dredging the lake to eliminate the "segmenting process" now taking place. Still others have suggested a community playground-picnic area.

In answer to a question from Richard Manley, board president, Haliday said the reason the property owners acted with the letter and demand for accounting "is to get the matter on record, to make it public."

"We consider it a very serious issue," Haliday said. "Many of us bought lots in an era when there was lots of rain ... I bought mine in 1999 and it rained for two months. The lake was full. In fact, there is some anecdotal evidence the water district used to pump raw water for irrigation from Lake Pagosa but switched to Village Lake because of the overabundance of supply ... and of protests by Lake Pagosa residents."

He acknowledged the ongoing drought not only affects water supply and usage, but the "scenic beauty of our lots around the lake."

Manley explained there have been attempts in the past to disburse the funds but that residents of the area could never produce the 51-percent support necessary for any proposed use.

"There have been fragmented suggestions ... roads, parks, docks, playgrounds ... but not consensus of opinion," he said.

Walt Lukasik, general manager for the property owners association, said the base amount being held is $50,000 not $100,000. He also said there has been some discussion over interpretation of the phrase "substantial number" and whether the 51 percent figure in the books was meant to put a numerical aspect to that phrase.

Director David Bohl, treasurer of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, said that, as treasurer, "There's nothing I'd rather see than getting the settlement accounts off the association books. But, the money should, in fact must, be used for the benefit of all the residents of the community for which the funds were earmarked."

Director Tom Cruse suggested the citizens put their heads together with a list of all the alternatives "and begin a rational process of cutting, cutting, and cutting to find the one use most of the people will support and then approach that issue."

Haliday asked, "If the residents were to develop a survey form for the subdivision, would the association handle the distribution?"

Cruse replied, " I think we'd want a more proactive approach on your part ... we all want to see a process to achieve closure."

Cruse said the residents concerned about the water supply might consider approaching Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District with a financial contribution. "You are possibly in a unique position to establish a favorable position with PAWS ... with a specific amount of money to attest to your concerns."

Manley said both Village Lake and Lake Pagosa have been considered as candidates for dredging, the only question being when it should be done and whether dredging or drainage and bulldozing would be the proper approach. "With the drought, no one would want to see water drained away," he said.

And, warned Cruse, "You might see your shorelines even farther from the water level if dredging were done. The lake would be deeper ... there is less water and therefore more shoreline would be showing."

Manley saluted the residents for coming forward with their concerns. "We like to have people tell us about their problems. If we're not aware of the problem we can't act. You've presented a united front by bringing this issue to us."

He said the residents should schedule a meeting with Lukasik and Larry Lynch, property and environment manager, to iron out an approach to determining a community target issue.

And Cruse told the delegation, "We'll be proactive in any way we can to have adequate protection for the future of your development."

Letters
Close the forests

Dear Editor:

After reading the headlines in the Pagosa SUN on Thursday, June 13, I am both terrified and a bit confused.

I just don't understand the defeatist attitude of our sheriff, Tom Richards, and fire chief, Warren Grams.

After saying, and I quote: "not if but when we will have to evacuate" should not be the proper attitude. You should be doing everything in your power for this not to happen. We don't want another Hayman fire.

This morning I heard on the local news that San Juan National Forest will remain open. With the carelessness of the campers you should not take the chance of leaving the forest open. You don't have enough manpower to monitor the forest, so just put chains across with signs "Closed".

Even Gov. Owens is not concerned about the tourist business. He values all our citizens first. We have over 10,000 citizens in Archuleta County you should be protecting. Our tourism is dead, anyway.

As for myself, I just lost my husband last year to cancer and to face the loss of my home is devastating. I really don't feel as if I could survive.

Please rethink your position.

Dorothy Eichvalds

Circle of Silence

Dear Editor:

With due credit for the idea to Paul Lemon of Durango, I propose a Circle of Silence and Intention every day at noon in the Town Park here in Pagosa Springs, for the protection of our forests and homes from wildfire, for the firefighters, evacuees, and for the heightened awareness, on all our parts, of our responsibility for this earth and each other.

Sincerely,

Biz Greene

Activities abound

Dear Editor:

Friday I had lunch at the Senior Center. Everyone is invited for a great lunch Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at a reasonable price. After lunch there was a meeting for the first German Octoberfest (write Oct. 19 on your calendar) to be held at the new Community Center. Friday afternoon five local artists and photographers displayed their works at a local gallery.

Friday evening at the high school, the annual Spanish Fiesta began with great Hispanic entertainment from Rio Rancho and Santa Fe, N.M., and Ignacio.

Saturday morning the Fiesta Parade went through town and from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. great food and entertainment was available at the Town Park. Saturday evening a Fiesta dance took place at a local restaurant.

After church Sunday morning, off to Town Park to help with the food booths for the American Legion and the Kiwanis Club. Again, great food and entertainment throughout the afternoon.

Early Sunday evening I picked up three bicycle riders at the high school who were going to stay at our residence overnight. Since there were approximately 2,000 bicycle riders in town, all the town accommodations were full. Taking them to Town Park for food and entertainment, they were overwhelmed by the hospitality displayed by our town and people. As it got dark we took them to a local restaurant to hear the Rio Jazz group.

Early Monday morning we took the three bicyclists back to the high school to say goodbye. Great friendships were developed in a short time. Monday evening I attended a Relay for Life meeting.

There is plenty to do here in Pagosa Springs for everybody. Get involved. Many organizations are in need for volunteers. Please check the new telephone book, page 31, for a list of organizations. This is just a small list, but most organizations would welcome new volunteers.

Ron Gustafson

Put smokes out

Dear Editor:

I arrived at the back door of the post office at 9 a.m. Sunday and smelled smoke. When I got out of my van, there was a cigarette burning in the sand. It hadn't been snuffed out and if a breeze had come up it would have traveled to that dry grass.

How can anyone be so irresponsible to not see that their smokes are dead out before leaving them?

Bonnie Jean Nigh

46 cigarette butts

Dear Editor:

Please ask the people who toss their cigarette butts out of their car windows, especially in wooded areas where there are homes, to refrain from such carelessness. As I was walking my dogs down Aspenglow and Monument, I counted 46 cigarette butts, and four cigar butts with plastic holders, and this was on only one side of the road.

Don't these people realize that even one of these could set the woods on fire, burning up many of our homes as well as animals that live in the woods, or don't they even care? If they happened to see someone threaten their property that way, I'm sure they would feel differently. Obviously they don't live in this area, or they wouldn't have done it.

Please, I ask all of you who smoke, put your cigarette and cigar butts in your ash trays, and help keep our woods and homes safe for all of us.

Jere Stacey

 Business News

Jennifer and Kevin Schuchart own and operate The Buck Stops Here, with the only full-service meat counter in the area.

The Buck Stops Here features fresh-cut meat Friday and Saturday, with packaged meat available Tuesday through Saturday. The counter stocks USDA Choice and Prime beef, pork and poultry, and specialty items that include smoked meats and fresh sausage links. Special orders are taken and the shop features the lowest prices in town.

The Buck Stops Here is located nine miles west of downtown Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160. Call 731-3535.

 

 Editorials

Help save forests

The past week provided every resident of the county with sobering sights and smells. As the Missionary Ridge fire near Durango grew, as winds and upper air inversions conspired against us, smoke and ash from that fire invaded our back yard. It is an irritant; it is a reminder of what can, and very likely will, happen here if conditions do not undergo a quick and substantial change.

Despite unreasonable criticism by some residents, local authorities work hard to do everything they can to decrease the likelihood we will experience a major wildland fire and its consequences. The sheriff, the top fire official in the county, acting with the chief of the fire protection district, enacted fire bans; sheriff's deputies and local police officers are writing citations whenever they discover a violation.

A fire evacuation plan is ready and will be put into effect should a blaze threaten populated areas in the county.

It will take a dramatic, sustained change in our weather to mitigate the danger presented by unprecedented dry conditions and U.S. Forest Service officials are under pressure to close the forest. This week, they responded to the Missionary Ridge disaster by restricting access to portions of the Pagosa Ranger District nearest the blaze, including public lands in the northwest quadrant of the county.

But, closure of all forest lands within the district is not going to happen right now, regardless of public opinion.

District Ranger Jo Bridges makes the Forest Service case for not closing the entire forest in a simple, clear way: It is a matter of logistics, she says, with too few employees to monitor complete closure.

According to Bridges, there are 40 roads leading to forest lands within the district, 27 of them with gates. Since many gated roads have private land beyond them, those roads would need to be monitored to ensure non-landowners do not violate the closure. Ungated roads would require mammoth control efforts.

What the district can do, says Bridges, is beef up local fire response capability, add a USFS law enforcement agent to the roster, and turn every district employee into a fire prevention technician. More importantly, tighter restrictions are now in place for the forest and all BLM lands in the area.

Officials also ask that conscientious forest users help find and turn in individuals who do not adhere to restrictions in effect on public lands: no fires of any kind, restricted motorized travel and parking; no dispersed non-wilderness camping outside designated campgrounds; no off-road vehicles on trails or off open roads; no chain saws and collecting of firewood; no use of hydromowers, explosives or welding; restricted logging and oil and gas operations. Notably, restrictions include a total ban on fireworks and any smoking outside an enclosed vehicle or building.

The USFS needs help from those backcountry devotees Bridges calls the "good" users of the forest. District personnel consider these conscientious travelers to the forest as their eyes and ears when it comes to spotting and identifying anyone who violates restrictions, putting us all in danger of human-caused fire.

Those travelers to the forest must be sure, however, they do not end up in a situation where they are trapped by fire, unable to make their way back to safety. If all goes well, the inability of the USFS to totally close the forest will not result in tragedy.

Bridges asks anyone seeing a violation of restrictions to report it to the local office at 264-2268 or central dispatch, after hours, at 264-2131. Any fire, regardless of size, should be reported to central dispatch, to the Interagency Fire Dispatch at 385-1324, or to the Public Lands Center, 247-4874.

Karl Isberg

 

Legacies

By Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 21, 1912

F.B. Nelson, traveling representative for Remington Typewriter, was a visitor here this week and reported business as good having sold five machines.

We desire to call the attention of our readers to the inside pages of the Sun, which will give them the news all over the country and particularly to this part of Colorado. We get two pages of the paper printed at Durango and we consider them better than they formerly were as people here can get the news all over southwestern Colorado.

Mr. Shannon left this morning for Elwood and will be gone about ten days, looking up a site for a power plant in connection with development work at some of the mines there.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 24, 1927

Another excellent catch of trout made in the San Juan River was last Sunday when Buck O'Neal and Harry Williamson brought in six large rainbows and numerous small trout, all hooked within four miles above town. Buck landed a 2-1/4, and two 1-1/2 pounders, while Harry caught a 3-1/2 and 1-1/2 pound trout.

While skidding logs Wednesday afternoon at the W.H. Hill sawmill on the lower Stollsteimer, James Whitead was so unfortunate as to sustain a fracture of the left leg, just above the ankle.

A gasoline tank car jumped the track Monday evening near Dyke, causing a six-hour delay in the arrival of the local train.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 20, 1952

The big 1952 Red Ryder Round-Up will start its fourth annual rodeo in less than two weeks with a number of top notch contestants taking part. Fred (Red Ryder) Harman and Little Beaver will be at the head of the parade each morning that heralds the start of the day's festivities.

Scott Carroll this week found the remains of an old rifle on his father's ranch while looking for arrowheads. The remains of this old gun would probably provide an interesting history for anyone who delves into such matters. It appears to be about .38 calibre, lever action, resembles a model 73 Winchester and has a 15 inch barrel. It was found on the Carroll-Cloman Ranch in the Upper Piedra and is a real relic.

 

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 16, 1977

The Red Ryder Roundup is coming up very soon. Dates are July 3 and 4, reserved seats will go on sale soon, and plans are almost complete for the 29th annual 4th of July celebration. A record crowd is expected.

Temperatures have been above seasonal the past week, there has been little precipitation and no freezing nights. Fire danger is high and officials urge extreme care while in the woods or outdoors.

A dog leash ordinance was adopted by the town board Tuesday night of this week. It provides that all dogs must be licensed and that all dogs must be on a leash, or on its owner's property.

The Jaycee sponsored fireworks display is scheduled to be held this year on July 3 from 8:30 until 9 p.m.

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

Tale about an old man and a seat

Dear Folks,

I rarely write this column a week in advance. But I left for Alamosa Saturday afternoon to pick up my Ride The Rockies registration packet. I wanted to get an early start Sunday in hopes of somewhat avoiding the San Luis Valley winds.

This year's ride planned to cover 489-miles with a circuit that started and ends (Sunday) in Alamosa with stopovers in Pagosa, Durango, Silverton, Montrose, Gunnison, and Salida.

So since this a novel approach, I decided to write it in the from of a novel - "The Old Man and His Seat," by "Earnest Himinroid."

It was the Old Man's fifth Ride The Rockies. The first, in 1995, was one of the high points of his life. That year his wife, Cynthia, and their 10-year-old son, Drew, accompanied him on the ride. Actually it had been Drew's idea. Being younger and wiser, after completing the venture - which included cresting 11,314-foot Berthoud Pass - Drew decided once was enough. "No one said I could do it. Well, I did it." Drew said afterward. But as often happens, the Old Man was hooked.

So Sunday morning he arose before the sun crested the Sangre De Cristo Mountains in hopes of finding calm air. As he started pedaling westward from Alamosa he could see countless other riders sharing his quest. For the initiates, it would be a day to remember. For the others, memories of earlier rides would accompany them.

On Day 1 he shared a common goal of cresting Wolf Creek Pass before descending into the upper San Juan Valley and battling headwinds during the final 18 miles to Pagosa. Though he had pedaled from Pagosa to Alamosa for the 1996 event, this was the first time for the Old Man to take the east-to-west approach. But once he crested Wolf Creek he would be on familiar roads.

The prospect of a home-cooked meal and hearing the music of Jack Ellis and his "Dutton Ditch Blues Band" at Town Park served as an incentive to keep pedaling. Also at the end of Day 1, the Old Man would sleep in his own bed.

Aspects of Day 2's ride to Durango paled in comparison to the clouds of dense smoke that mushroomed above the pyre that was raging through the dying forest lands along Missionary Ridge. The day would end at "Grammy" and "Grandpa's" home.

Besides the Missionary Ridge fire, Coal Bank Pass and Molas Divide would be the Old Man's major concerns of Day 3. He was somewhat confident, having pedaled this route to Silverton some 25 days earlier while riding in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. But on this day he set out knowing that during the previous two days his legs and his seat had covered about 160 miles.

Day 4 took the Old Man into unknown waters as he had never pedaled from Silverton over Red Mountain Pass and on to Ouray-Ridgway. The pass would involve the first 11 miles of the day. The Old Man knew that ascents should be left to the young riders, but the Old Man hoped for a favorable wind and a somewhat smooth roadway as he mounted the seat that morning. Whereas the wind could be a possibility, in Colorado smooth roads involve deluded day dreams.

Once the Old Man reached Ridgway his confidence was boosted knowing that on earlier rides he had pedaled the remainder of this year's route. Day 4 would end in Montrose. Day 5 would take him to Gunnison, Day 6 over Monarch Pass to Salida, and on Day 7 over Poncha Pass into the San Luis Valley for the return to Alamosa.

He knew no one would be there to meet him when he eased his seat off the bike's seat, but the Old Man didn't mind. His only disappointment was having missed Katherine Frye and Robert Gomez's wedding in Pagosa that afternoon.

So the Old Man slowly loaded his bike in his pickup, slowly showered his seat and slowly drove home before thankfully falling asleep in his own bed.

There you have it. That's my "tail" for the week.

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

 Community News

Pagosa Lakes News
Triathlon registration forms are now available

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

Pagosa Duplicate Bridge Club is one of several bridge groups in this community. Although participation in some of the groups is by invitation only, this is not the case with Pagosa Duplicate Bridge Club.

New members are encouraged and this is an opportunity for newcomers and part-time residents to get acquainted with the local bridge scene. If you are interested in becoming involved with the club, they meet 6:30-10 p.m. Tuesdays at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. For additional information, contact Dan Cox, 731-0607.

Many thanks to the volunteers who helped with Monday's newsletter mailing to more than 18,000 property owners and timeshare owners. It was a massive job made easier because of your help.

The recreation center will host the 11th annual Pagosa Lakes Triathlon starting at 8 a.m. Aug. 17. It includes a 7-mile run, 14-mile mountain bike ride, and a half-mile swim. The run will start at 8 a.m. from the recreation center and the final leg, the swim, will be in the center's pool.

Both the run and bike segments of the triathlon will cover some of the gorgeous trails along Martinez canyon. This is a fun event, on a user-friendly course for the individual triathlete or team. Whether you are a weekend road warrior looking for endorphins, or an adrenaline-crazed fanatic hardbody, the triathlon has something for you. It's grueling, varied, thrilling and just plain fun.

Many athletes who participate have a personal goal. They train for that goal. On the day of the triathlon, they accomplish that goal. It's not about winning, it's about finishing, about doing.

Dennis Eichinger is celebrating a big birthday this year and he's bringing his two grown sons down here from Grand Junction to participate in the triathlon with him. All three will compete as individuals. Bruce Andersen, Mark DeVoti and Steve Elges are the first team registered in the Clydesdale division. Go big guys!

Why not join us. Inspire yourself to do something big that you never thought you would do. You, the participant, make it as competitive as you want.

If you think you are interested but still need a little encouragement, call me at 731-2051. I can go over the race route with you, introduce you to a training buddy, or help you fill out a team if you do not wish to compete as an individual.

Teams can be coed or same-sex, with teams of two or three members; any combination will do. Why not put a team together with your co-workers or your family, your clubs or your church? (I'm working on a Rotary team). And, on that day, not only will you accomplish something truly remarkable, but you will become closer to your teammates in the process. That alone is worth it.

Race registrations are available. Pick up one at the recreation center or call 731-2051 to have one mailed to you.

Senior News

Sen. Isgar keeps seniors informed; picnic canceled
By Janet Copeland

SUN Columnist

It was an honor to have Sen. Isgar join us Tuesday. Seniors always appreciate being advised of what is going on in the political arena, especially as it relates to issues pertaining to us.

We are very sorry that we had to cancel the picnic at Williams Creek last Thursday. Because of the proximity of the Missionary Ridge fire and the danger of more fires, we felt it was too risky to be cooking out. We plan to reschedule the picnic at a later date.

What a privilege to note that Jerry Sager is our Senior of the Week. Jerry donates many, many hours taking care of our landscape at the Center. Thank you, Jerry.

It was great to have several guests and members back with us this week. Welcome to Freda Lumly, Marion Knowles, Preston and Sarah Dale (guests of Bob and Doris Kamrath), Ruth Engwell, Judy Woods and Marcia Marquess.

For folks who need transportation for medical appointments, call Dave or Cindy at 264-2250 at least 48 hours in advance of the appointment day and ask about the cost of these services. Medicaid recipients may be covered.

Every Monday at 12:30 p.m. Dru Sewell will conduct a "Soup to Nuts" crafts class. In this class you dabble with different types of crafts, and Dru is supplying the materials so there won't be a charge.

Shopping trips to Durango will take place the first Thursday of each month. Folks must sign up ahead of time as we must have at least six people in order for the trip to go.

Please note: The Senior board meeting at Town Hall will be after lunch June 21.

We look forward to the piano concert to be presented by Vivian Rader June 26.

Janice Friddle will join us June 28 at 12:30 p.m. to talk about identity theft, scams, Medicare fraud, caregiver fraud, junk mail offers and more. Janice is from the AARP Elderwatch program and works in conjunction with the attorney general's office.

The Interpretive Alliance will have several events in June, all free. From June 13-July 2 there will be an exhibit at the gallery at Town Park.

There will be a wildflower hike with Dick Moseley June 24 at 9 a.m. Meet at Teal Boat Ramp, Williams Lake.

Sky Ute Casino will provide free transportation July 16 for six to 13 seniors to travel from the Senior Center to Ignacio and enjoy the casino. They will provide some gifts and reduced-price food vouchers. Interested parties need to sign up at the Center.

The pool at Best Western is again available to us at no charge for members of the Senior Center Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9-11 a.m. Be sure to check in at the desk and show your membership card. They also offer us discounts on meals.

Yoga by Richard Harris is at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Alison Stephens gives free massages Tuesdays between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. This is a treat we all love.

Wednesdays there is a 10:30 a.m. computer class with Sam Matthews, card games at 1 p.m. and Chi Kong exercise with Vasuki at 1 p.m. Bring a large towel and a tie for this class, if possible, and wear loose clothes. A matinee show at Liberty Theater for seniors is $3. Call 264-4578 to let them know how many will be attending.

Every Friday at 1 p.m. Jim Hanson will help with Medicare counseling.

 

Veterans Corner

Sen. Isgar keeps seniors informed; picnic canceled

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

Under a new law, the Department of Veterans Affairs will increase reimbursement for funeral expenses and cemetery plots for service-disabled veterans and provide government markers for veterans' graves even if families already have installed private markers.

The Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act of 2001 increases the burial and funeral expense allowance for veterans who die as a result of a service-connected disability from $1,500 to $2,000, and the cemetery plot allowance, for certain other disabled veterans, from $150 to $300.

The law also directs VA to honor requests for government markers for veterans buried in private cemeteries even if their graves have headstones or markers furnished at private expense. Previous law prevented VA from providing markers in that situation. The increases are among many provisions of Public Law 107-103 that expand other veterans benefits.

Approximately 9,800 families receive funeral expense reimbursement for service-connected deaths each year. The $500 increase in the funeral reimbursement, the first since 1988, is expected to increase the government's cost by about $5 million a year. This change applies to deaths on or after December 1, 2001.

About 90,000 families become eligible for the plot allowance annually. The cost of increasing the amount, which had been $150 since 1973, will be about $13 million a year. The higher allowance will be paid for deaths on or after December 1, 2001.

The plot allowance is paid when a veteran is buried in a non-government cemetery. The veteran must also meet one of the following three criteria: the veteran was eligible to receive VA disability compensation or a VA pension, was discharged from the military service due to disability, or died in a VA hospital.

In the past, people who submitted VA applications to receive a government marker were required to certify that the veteran's grave was unmarked. Some families considered this unfair because they could not obtain the government's free marker to commemorate the veterans' service if they had purchased a marker.

Under the new law, the applicant must certify that the marker will be placed only in a cemetery. VA will send the marker only to a designated cemetery.

The new provision for markers applies to veterans' deaths on or after Dec. 27, 2001. By Feb. 1, 2006, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs will report to Congress on how much this benefit is being used and recommend whether or not to continue it.

For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. 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.

Arts Line

Dual talents on display through July 3

By Pamela Bomkamp

Stop by to view the excellent talent on exhibit at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park. Featured are Sabine Baekman-Elge, showing oils and acrylics, and Jan Powers displaying his photography. Their great artistry will be available for viewing through July 3.

Art camp

There is still time to sign up for the last week of PSAC Summer Art Camp. This art camp is at the elementary school all next week, ending June 28.

For more information or to register stop by the gallery in Town Park or call Joanne at 264-5020.

Special project

The Arts Council is working with a variety of community members and organizations to develop a public art program for the Pagosa Springs area.

In April of 2002, the committee for Art in Public Places presented its proposal to the Pagosa Springs parks and recreation department. The committee plans to approach the town again in July.

The goal of the project is to establish an ongoing program to enhance the visual environment in our community and to expand the opportunities for residents and visitors to experience works of art.

The committee plans to acquire and place its first work within one calendar year. After the first work is placed the committee plans to continue to put works in a variety of public locations. This project will provide free exposure to a variety of arts, as well as reflect the uniqueness of the Pagosa Springs community, environment and history.

For more information contact Jennifer Harnick at 731-3113.

PSAC membership

The Arts Council helps ensure a flourishing and diverse community by enriching lives through the arts. We are a nonprofit organization that relies on membership, donations and volunteers to help provide meaningful and educational cultural programs for local residents and visitors to our area. By becoming a member, you are supporting our events as well as our divisions.

If you'd like to start receiving your discounts as a member it's easy to do. Just stop by the gallery and fill out a membership form. Individual membership is only $20 per year and family membership is $30.

Whistle Pig

The Whistle Pig Concert Series is proud to present New York singer/songwriter Kate McDonnell as the headliner of its second House Concert of the 2002 season.

The concert takes place tonight, 7 p.m. at the Hudson House, 446 Loma St., in downtown Pagosa.

McDonnell has been touring the US and Europe for many years, bringing her powerful and versatile voice and exquisite guitar style and songwriting to appreciative festival and club audiences. As part of the duo McDonnell-Tane she has opened for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Bob Dylan, Suzanne Vega, Willie Nelson, Leo Kottke and Arlo Guthrie.

Seating is limited for this special event, and advance reservations are strongly recommended. Admission is $9 for Arts Council members and $10 for nonmembers. The ticket price includes coffee, tea, and homemade dessert during intermission.

Reserve your seat by calling Bill and Clarissa Hudson, 264-2491. Whistle Pig is a volunteer organization, and we welcome other volunteers to become involved. Whistle Pig is sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council.

Volunteers needed

Anyone interested in volunteering some time at Arts Council functions, like staffing our occasional snack booths, or interested in keeping up our scrapbook, contact Joanne at 264-5020. There is not much to either task, and both are a lot of fun.

The Arts Council is also looking for a writer to write the Artsline column once a month. Please call 264-5020 for more information.

Other business

Tune to 1400 AM the second Thursday of each month 8:05 to 8:35 a.m. to hear the latest Arts Council news and information.

Any businesses interested in having a flyer placed in our quarterly newsletter should call Stephanie at 264-5068.

 

Chamber News

Ride The Rockies team draws raves

By Sally Hameister

I think it's safe to say that our Ride The Rockies cyclists had the time of their lives in Pagosa Sunday and many will return with family and friends to experience the Pagosa hospitality again and again.

It goes without saying that these things don't just happen and that this particular event takes months of planning and many man/woman hours to execute. The list of those to thank would be endless, but I would like to recognize those who went well above and beyond to ensure that our visitors were well taken care of.

Morna and Doug here at the Chamber have worked exceedingly hard over the months to get us ready for the big day. Morna arranged for all the home stays, organized the volunteers for our information booth and spent about 15 hours on Sunday with me fielding questions and taking care of small and large emergencies. We thank Sheila Hunkin, Don, Mary and Tracy McKeehan, Lynne Wahlin and John and Char Neill for helping us at the information booth from morning until night and answering more questions than you can imagine. Doug organized the "Brew Crew," schlepped all kinds of things over to the soccer field, helped set up and take down lights in the tent and chairs and just generally looked after things in that area. We thank Ron Hunkin, Ken Harms, Linda Schmitz, Liz and Mike Marchand, Toby and Renae Karlquist, Bob Eggleston, Sally Theesfeld, Nan Rowe and Bonnie Masters for serving up brew to hundreds of thirsty cyclists.

Jay Harrington, Julie Jessen, Junior Lister and Chris Corcoran of Town Hall fame have worked side by side with us for months planning for the visit and putting in massive amounts of time coordinating things, making sure fences, signs and cones were in place and then taking them down, and arranging for more things than I can think of. They also put up the stage and helped with setting up and taking down 200 chairs and cleaned up the soccer field when all was said and done.

The police department and Mounted Rangers, as always, were out in force directing traffic and taking care of all the security issues that presented themselves on a regular basis.

David Hamilton and the Pagosa Springs Athletic Boosters crew put in a very full day and morning feeding all the hungry folks who came through the high school gym as well as the many nonprofit groups who had food booths in Town Park. There was absolutely no excuse for anyone to have gone to bed hungry Sunday night with all the delicious choices that were offered to our guests.

Thank you to Brian Gronewoller and the Power House group for allowing us to store our concert chairs in their facility for the weekend. It sure saved us a lot of moving, and we are most grateful. I was also delighted to receive a tour of this facility and most impressed with how comfortable and inviting it is for our young people.

Many thanks to my pal, Vickie Appenzeller, for arranging and coordinating all the music for our concert in the park. Vickie did a stellar of job of lining up Pagosa's best and brightest to entertain the troops. We are grateful to Rio Jazz, Shaken but Not Stirred, the Dutton Ditch Blues Band and the Pagosa Hot Strings for providing such an excellent concert for our guests. They made a lot of friends for Pagosa through their beautiful music.

Special thanks to our home stay hosts who so generously opened their homes to over 100 cyclists, picked them up and returned them to the high school. I understand that some even provided dinner to their guests. Regardless, I'm sure that each and every one made a lasting impression upon their visitors. We also want to thank all of our locals who came out in such great numbers to join the party and welcome our Ride The Rockies people. We probably won't see this tour for another five or six years, but we gave them a more than memorable day to file away in their memory banks. Thank you all.

Firefighter needs

Unfortunately, I am assuming there will still be firefighting going on when this article appears, so I will list some of the needs of these brave souls who are battling Mother Nature to keep us safe and sound. You are welcome to bring these items to the Chamber or Timbers of Pagosa to then be transported to the Red Cross headquarters in Durango.

The items requested are: Emer-Gen-C, boot laces, multivitamins, clean bandanas, Advil, moleskin/blister kits, foot powder, small and medium men's underwear, all sizes of T-shirts, insect repellent, small shaving creams, small Ziplock bags, nasal spray and saline spray, Pepsid/Rolaids, allergy/sinus medicine; anti-bacterial cleansing eyedrops, energy bars, emery boards and combs and brushes.

If you are making a trip to Durango, please let us know at 264-2360, and we can probably send some things with you. As always, Pagosa has opened their hearts and pocket books to an existing need. There really isn't a place quite as generous in the world.

Parelli Open House

I met a woman over the Ride The Rockies weekend who was absolutely ecstatic to learn that the Parellis had one of their International Study Centers here in Pagosa and was headed out that way to see it with her own eyes. She had become acquainted with them and their Natural Horse-Man-Ship program via a video and had become an enthusiastic convert immediately.

I told her that she was just missing their annual Open House by a week and thought that the poor soul was going to break down and cry. You, on the other hand, have that wonderful opportunity within your grasp, so please join Pat and Linda Parelli Saturday at the Parelli International Study Center located on West U.S 160 for their annual Open House, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. This is always a fascinating and informative day with Pat and Linda at the helm joined by top international Parelli instructors and students from all over the world. You can observe remarkable demonstrations and classes in action that will give you some idea about what Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship is all about.

Auction for the Animals

The Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park invites you and your friends to join them in this annual exciting fund-raising event June 29 beginning at 6 p.m. with wine and hors d'oeuvres.

The evening will include a silent and live auction, a raffle and door prizes beginning at 7 p.m. Some of the items up for auction include framed original artwork, signed/numbered prints, handcrafted items, an afghan, jewelry and much, much more. Advance tickets are $10 and $12 at the door and can be purchased at the Wildlife Park and the Chamber of Commerce. Due to the nature of this event, the Rays recommend adults only for the evening.

For questions, reservations or if you would like to donate something for the evening, please call 264-5546 or 264-4515.

Chair Event

The Chair event, the silent auction portion of Relay for Life, is in effect through today for bids on artist-embellished furniture.

Local artists have been busy painting designs and scenes on chairs donated by area businesses and private residents of Pagosa. Event coordinator, P. R. Bain, has placed the items in local bank lobbies for your viewing pleasure. There is also a chair titled "Who's Sleeping in My Chair?" up for bid at the Visitor Center. Items ranging from small tables, toddler chairs to regular chairs are up for bids. The grand finale will take place in Town Park June 21 from 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. during the Relay for Life proceedings.

Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is just around the corner and promises to be as exciting as ever even though we may be forced to proceed without the fireworks for the obvious reason.

The theme for the ever-popular Rotary Parade this year is "Let's Roll for Freedom." If you haven't received your entry form, please come by the Visitor Center and pick one up for your nonprofit or service group, youth group, commercial, individual and family or musical group. There is no entry charge, and cash awards will be presented to the top three entries in each category.

The 24th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival will be held July 4-7 with an unprecedented number of vendors. It looks like Doug will be hosting at least a hundred vendors this year with new and different things to offer. Handcrafted items and great food will be available to all of us for four days and allow us to shop until we drop.

The 53rd Red Ryder Roundup will be held Thursday, July 4, at 2 p.m., and on July 5 and 6 at 6 p.m. with Jackpot Saddle Roping July 7 at 1 p.m.

Cowboy speaker and entertainer, Montie Montana, Jr. will be this year's featured act and will tell tall tales and share western witticisms while spinning a rope or two. Whether he's talking or singing, Montana presents the west at its best and will have you begging for more.

Tickets for the rodeo are $8 for adults and $5 for children for July 4 and $7 and $4 for July 5 and 6. Box seat tickets are $100 July 4, $75 July 5-6. All days are $225 and the boxes hold eight people. Call Michelle at Pagosa Land Company for pre-sale or box seat tickets or stop by the company's office located in the Hersch Building. Pre-sale tickets are also available at Goodman's Department Store, and Red Ryder information is available at 264-2345.

Also during the holiday you will be able to view quilts, wall hangings and other quilted accessories on display at the Mamie Lynch Gymnasium. Our local quilt guild, The Pagosa Piecemakers Club, will present this display July 4 from noon to 5 p.m. and on July 5 and 6 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Christmas Corner will be a featured highlight just loaded with holiday quilt items.

The July 4 Picnic and Concert will be held at The Pagosa Lodge this year with our pride and joy, The Pagosa Hot Strings, once again gracing us with their tremendous charm and talent.

One of the cyclists who came back from the Ride The Rockies concert couldn't stop talking about our Hot Strings and for a very good reason. He had their CD in his pocket and couldn't have been more pleased. We will give you the menu and all the specifics at a later date, but I thought a preview was in order so you could plan your days and plan the naps you will need to keep it all going.

Membership

We are delighted to welcome Marianne and James Poirier this week who bring us J&M Jewelers, Inc. located at 100 Country Center Drive, Suite C, right next to the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant. Marianne and James bring you fine jewelry featuring gold, silver and gemstones in contemporary, traditional and unique designs. They offer something for everyone and invite you to come by and say hello to them soon or give them a call at 731-3399. We thank Camille Braselman for recruiting the Poiriers and will be more than happy to send off a free SunDowner pass for her efforts.

 

Library News

Health magazines give hope for elders

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

"World Music for Flute and Guitar" by Jessica Walsh and Allan Alexander is now available with a CD. This is a book of music from other countries for those who love to play. This was donated by someone and I'm not sure just who. If you were the donor, would you please call 264-2209 and let me know.

Summer reading

The program is under way. Story times are Tuesday and Friday 11-11:30 a.m. and parents must remain in the building. Children of all ages are invited to join for this six weeks activity.

Health information

The Pagosa Springs Health Partnership is donating a subscription to "Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine" and "Choices in Health and Medicine," to the library. Michael Greene, a Health Partnership board member, brought in copies of the magazines that may be checked out.

I looked briefly through some of the information and was heartened to read the following: "People who reach age 70 in good health are survivors. This means they don't need a lot of advice from doctors. It makes no sense, for instance, for healthcare professionals to badger them about stringent low-fat diets; if they are susceptible to the perils of cholesterol, they probably would be dead already ... the authors recommend the adoption of an increasingly relaxed lifestyle as one ages, advising elders to do pretty much what they want to do because they've proved already that it works!" Now that's the kind of news I've been waiting for.

Fire Web sites

Pat Curtis and Cathy Dodt-Ellis provided us with some Web sites that cover the fires around here and elsewhere. You are welcome to a copy of them at the desk.

 

Annual book sale

This event is just a few weeks away. Please put July 12 and 13 down on your calendar. July 12 is the Friends annual meeting and private book sale. Saturday is the public sale. You may join the Friends any time between now and then. We appreciate donations of books for the sale.

The proceeds go toward the purchase of new materials.

Donations

Financial help came from Jim and Margaret Wilson in memory of Ray Macht. Mr. and Mrs. Paul Behrents in memory of Doctor Allan Handy. Special thanks to Carol Fulenwider and Sue Iverson for mounting and laminating maps donated by Ruth Marie Colville, and Bob Outerbridge. One map is of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico compiled by Lt. Ruffner in 1876. Ruffner was one of the first to come through our country and map it for the government. Another map is of Lewis and Clark route in 1804. We have a number of old maps patrons may look at.

Thanks to Maggie Innskeep for the colorful rocking horse she painted for the Civic Club Bazaar. Thanks for materials from Mr. and Mrs. Alley, David Bright and Burney Yarborough.