Front Page
July 3, 2002

Worst drought ever tightens grip on area

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Drought conditions, the worst ever recorded here, continue to clamp a two-prong grip on Pagosa Country.

The prongs include no significant rainfall for weeks on end and the menace of wildfire in the explosively dry forests covering Archuleta County.

Open fires and all fireworks are banned throughout the county. Nevertheless, Sheriff Tom Richards is greatly concerned.

"Neighboring states still sell fireworks," Richards said. "Some folks may purchase fireworks in their home state then come here. Maybe they haven't noticed they aren't allowed here. I just want it known, we're going to enforce the law against fireworks to the fullest extent possible. They won't be tolerated. We will pick up violators and prosecute them."

Local fire officials eye the coming Fourth of July celebration with mixed emotions. Since this is the biggest event of the year hereabouts, officials hope the thousands of visitors will have their usual great time.

At the same time, because fire conditions are so extremely volatile, officials are holding their breath, hoping almost against hope that a major fire won't erupt due to lightning or human carelessness.

Officially, drought conditions here are rated "Exceptional," the worst condition possible. Locally and across the state, officials have reacted by banning fires and fireworks just about everywhere.

The governor has banned fires and fireworks across the length and breadth of the state. The Forest Service has closed one area of forest land inside the county, banned fires and fireworks, and restricted usage throughout the vast expanse of national forest. County officials have banned all fires and fireworks in Archuleta County. Cigarette smoking is allowed only within buildings or closed vehicles. Throwing a cigarette from a vehicle is a criminal act.

A pre-fire alert issued by the county sheriff is in effect for everyone in the county. The fire alert is a warning to pack valuables and necessary items in order to be prepared if an evacuation be ordered.

An actual evacuation, should one become necessary, will be preceded by a door-knocking notice from sheriff or fire officials, and accompanied by three blasts from the siren of an officially marked vehicle. If an evacuation is ordered, evacuees are expected to leave the premises immediately. Wildfire, under current conditions, travels surprisingly fast and can close escape routes in minutes.

The Forest Service warns that sparks that cause fires may be generated by hot catalytic converters under vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and motorcycle engines, or caused by tow chains dragging behind vehicles, and lawn mower blades hitting rocks.

A portion of the forest north of U.S. 160 and west of Pagosa Springs is closed to all unauthorized entrance. The eastern side of that closure starts with the Turkey Springs-U.S. 160 intersection and runs northerly just east of Turkey Springs Road to its intersection with Piedra Road. From that intersection, the line runs northerly, west of Piedra Road and the private land immediately west of Piedra Road to a point near the Pine River in the Weminuche Wilderness Area. The western boundary of the closure is the Animas River running through Durango.

Forest Service roads closed within the area include Missionary Ridge Road (682), Turkey Springs Road (29), Beaver Meadows Road (135), First Notch Road (620), First Fork Road (22) and Mosca Road (631).

Closed National Forest campgrounds include Florida/Transfer Park, Graham Creek, Middle Mountain, Miller Creek, North Canyon, Old Timers, Pine Point, Pine River, Vallecito, Lower Piedra, and Ute.

Campgrounds open in the Pagosa Ranger District include West Fork, Wolf Creek, East Fork, Bridge, Williams, and Teal. The Blanco River and Ute campgrounds are closed.

Dispersed camping is banned on the following roads: West Fork (648), East Fork (667), Falls Creek (039), Wolf Creek (725), Eightmile Mesa (651), Blanco Basin (657), Blanco River (656), Valle Seco (653), Kenney Flats (006), Buckles Lake (663), Navajo Peaks (731), Fourmile (645), Piedra (631), Middle Fork (636), Williams Creek (640), Snowball (643), Mill Creek (662), Fawn Gulch (666), Jackson Mountain (037), and Turkey Creek (647).

Open fires and fireworks are banned on all San Juan National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands.

Overnight camping in areas outside designated wilderness areas is allowed only in developed campgrounds staffed by an on-duty host. Back-country dispersed camping is allowed only in the Weminuche, Lizard Head and South San Juan wilderness areas.

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 including all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, and 4-wheel drives are allowed on trails or off of open roads.

Local roads closed to entry include Game Farm (627), Lower Piedra Campground (621, First Fork (622), Devil Mountain (626), Turkey Springs (629), Piedra also known as Mosca (631), Trail Ridge (639) and Lake Bed (987).

Trails closed to motorized use include Treasure Mountain (565), Windy Pass (566), Turkey Creek (580), Coal Creek also known as Fawn Gulch (581), both ends of Navajo Peaks (577), Fourmile Stock Drive (569), Weminuche also known as Poison Park (592), and Turkey Springs Hut and Trail System.

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 staffed by an on-duty host and at wilderness trailhead parking areas.

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

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

Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal broiler, or coal or wood burning stove is prohibited everywhere, including inside fire grates in developed recreation areas. Petroleum-fueled stoves and lanterns are allowed, but should be used with extreme caution.

Use of explosives, welding, acetylene, or any other torch with an open flame is prohibited.

National Forests adjacent to the San Juan National Forest are also either closed or severely restricted. These include the Rio Grand National Forest located across the Continental Divide east and north of the San Juan National Forest, and the Carson National Forest located across the state line in New Mexico.

For fire information call the Pagosa Ranger District, 264-5190, or Archuleta County Central Dispatch at 264-5555.

Interagency fire managers have brought a National Fire Prevention and Education team to assist through July 11. The team will provide information for locals and visitors on fire prevention and mitigation throughout southwestern Colorado. Their schedule includes appearances July 9 at the Pagosa Country Center City Market, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and July 10 at Sportsman's Supply, located 18 miles up Piedra Road, 10 a.m. into the afternoon.

For more information about the team, call (970) 385-1260.

 

Pagosa's firefighters back from Missionary

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

For the Pagosa Fire Protection District, it was a fairly quiet week, with a welcome homecoming.

Over the weekend, district firefighters responded to a small fire at the transfer station on Trujillo Road south of downtown Pagosa Springs that started in a Dumpster and spread to a nearby field, and two false alarms, including a gas leak at a residence and a smoke sighting.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said a resident called in a plume of smoke north of Piedra Estates about 6:30 p.m. June 30. Four people, two trucks and a helicopter searched the area thoroughly and found no fire. Piedra Estates is within town boundaries, east of Piedra Road.

A crew of seven firefighters and two trucks returned to Pagosa Springs Monday morning after spending more than two weeks assisting with the Missionary Ridge fire near Durango. They first responded to a mutual aid call June 13. Since then, they have been working 12-hour days in several subdivisions protecting structures threatened by the 72,565-acre fire.

As of 5 p.m. July 1, the Missionary Ridge fire was 50 percent contained and continued to threaten only 70 residents compared with 1,271 last week. It has, however, crossed over into the northwest corner of Archuleta County and is predicted to move in a northeasterly direction into Hinsdale County without threatening any structures.

Because the Missionary Ridge Fire has moved from La Plata County into the northwest tip of Archuleta County, the Archuleta County sheriff signed an agreement giving command control of fighting that fire to the Colorado State Forest Service.

The action assures uninterrupted continuance of the battle against the blaze using the same methods and the same crews battling the fire in La Plata County.

At the same time, the action identifies the fire as a Federal Emergency Management Authority activity, assuring Archuleta County of considerable financial help in paying for fighting the fire.

Lightning is being blamed for a wildfire that started June 29 in the Weminuche Wilderness Area about 16 air miles northeast of Pagosa Springs.

According to a Pagosa Ranger District news release, smoke jumpers and one helicopter were dispatched to attack the 1-acre fire burning in Englemann spruce on steep slopes at 10,600 feet. The fire was 100-percent contained Monday and did not threaten any structures.

Regarding a June 15 fire west of the Piedra River adjacent to U.S. 160, an article in last week's SUN reported that John Reich, a member of the Pagosa Fire Protection District, was one of the three people on the scene who started digging a fire line before the helicopter arrived. The other two were unnamed at the time.

They have since been identified as Chris and Johnny Alvarez. Forest Service personnel said these three, all of whom had at least some fire training, were a significant help in bringing that fire under control quickly.

 

Widmer sentence: 90-days, 8-year probation, restitution

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A 6th District Court judge sentenced John Widmer to 90 days of jail and eight years of probation June 27 for stealing $161,000 from a Pagosa Springs Rotary Club scholarship fund.

Widmer, of Pagosa Springs, pleaded guilty to one count of theft in excess of $15,000 under a plea agreement signed with the district attorney's office in May. The agreement set no restrictions on sentencing and required restitution of the full amount stolen.

Widmer was originally charged with nine counts of theft, five for stealing more than $15,000 and four for stealing between $500 and $15,000 all relating to thefts from the scholarship fund in 2001. The fund was invested with Widmer, a licensed stockbroker with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, and Rotary Club president.

The Rotary Club was reimbursed for the full amount by Morgan Stanley, and that company then turned the case over to authorities. A Pagosa Springs police investigation into the matter led to Widmer's arrest.

A member of the Rotary Club, a representative of Morgan Stanley, Widmer's wife and a business associate all spoke prior to sentencing. Widmer himself cried as he read a prepared statement apologizing to his family, Morgan Stanley and the community for the "vicious cycle of lies and deceit."

As conditions of parole, Judge David Dickinson restricted Widmer from any employment that would put him in contact with money or any credit instruments. Widmer must also undergo mental health and substance abuse evaluations, follow any recommendations from those and make full restitution in the amount of $164,459.18 to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. He has been incarcerated since his arrest in early March. He will receive no credit for time served.

Offering a big country helping of American birthday festivities

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Howdy y'all!

Welcome to a touch of Americana you can't duplicate anywhere.

This is Pagosa Country, can-do country if you will.

We've had fire threats, we have a drought keeping our lawns dry and limiting gardens. We have a fire ban and a fireworks ban. What you are seeing in the countryside isn't the real Pagosa Country.

The people you'll meet here are the real story. They've taken all the bad news in stride and put together a holiday celebration schedule that promises to provide entertainment for people of all ages.

If you're looking for bombs bursting in air and rockets' red glare you won't find it. There's a countywide ban on fireworks of any kind. (If you brought your own, don't light them. We don't want our friends arrested).

But, if you're looking for old-time country fun, you came to the right place.

We opened our celebration with the carnival in Town Park and it will be here through July 7.

The annual parade, believed to be the largest in the Southwest, kicks off at 10 a.m. Thursday at 8th and Pagosa streets next to the downtown City Market.

With at least, if not more than, 100 entries in the Rotary-sponsored event, you have about two hours of viewing time to set aside. Horses, old-timers, funny cars, scout troops, floats, Native American units, military units, and a lot of just plain fun are wrapped up in the parade. Come downtown early because thousands always line the way from 8th to 2nd streets, often three and four deep.

Want to know who's in the parade? A review stand will be set up at Pagosa and San Juan streets and all participants will be introduced as they pass in review.

Looking for that special something to show your aunt to explain why you spent the Independence Day holiday so far away from home? Try the dozens of booths in the Park to Park Arts and Crafts Show lining the Riverwalk from Town to Centennial parks starting at 9 a.m. daily through July 7.

There'll be an old fashioned family celebration and concert starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Pagosa Lodge. If you're visiting and don't know where the Lodge is, go west from town, up the hill, past the traffic signal at the top and down hill to the Lodge on your right.

If you play volleyball, croquet, or pitch horseshoes, there will be competitions you can enter. Known as a blowhard? The watermelon seed-spitting contest may hold your prize. There'll also be a three-legged race, egg race, potato passing, ping pong ball hunt, bobbing for apples and a patriotic theme costume contest. They're all open to everyone.

Food service will begin at 5 p.m. with traditional country fair on the menu. A plate with entree, chips or potato salad, corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw or baked beans and condiments will cost $8.50 per person, $7.50 for seniors, and children under 10 will eat free. There'll be dessert treats galore, soda, water, beer and a full bar will be available.

But it won't end there.

If you've never heard the Pagosa Hot Strings play, you've got a treat waiting for you, perhaps the highlight of your visit. They'll demonstrate their fancy picking and singing from 6-8 p.m. and then the stage will open to dancing with Rio Jazz providing the beat.

Those of you interested in quilting, the right patterns, the proper stitches, the prize-winning outcome, will want to go over to Mamie Lynch Gym at Pagosa Springs Junior High School for Quilt Fest 2002. Use the entrance off Lewis Street just north of 4th Street.

You'll find prize winning quilts of every design and size in a show starting at noon Thursday and 10 a.m. the next two days. It's all the work of Pagosa Piecemakers Quilt Club. A special feature will be the Christmas Corner, chock full of holiday items to tempt those dreams of winter, snow and its eventual melt and runoff.

Or, maybe you're into other forms of country celebration. How about rodeo?

The 53rd annual Red Ryder Roundup kicks off at 2 p.m. Thursday at the rodeo arena southeast of town. Go east to the intersection of U.S. 160 and U.S. 84, follow 84 to the top of the hill and then go east on Mill Creek Road. Off-road parking will be available in the area and members of the local Mounted Rangers Troop and other personnel will direct you.

You'll see riding, roping, and foot-stomping action in all the regular rodeo events and there'll be entertainment by Montie Montana Jr., a longtime friend of Fred Harman, creator of the Red Ryder comic strip for whom the rodeo was named and who was instrumental in its early development. Besides, he was a county resident, living in the Blanco Basin.

Montana brings a relaxed talk format, telling tales of the West and his experiences, throws in a cowboy song or two and keeps audiences riveted while doing rope tricks during his presentation. He's no novice. He's appeared on the Grand Ol' Opry out of Nashville, in the television series "Gunsmoke" and has guided Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to 26 countries around the globe.

There'll be calf scrambles, mutton busting events and prize animals drawing raves from the crowds. You like bareback riding? We've got it. Saddle bronc riding? Got that, too. Brahma bull riding or steer wrestling? Come on out. Team roping, barrel racing? Yep, they're there, too.

Before each day's rodeo the Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship Savvy Team will demonstrate the horse training techniques that have brought worldwide fame to the Parelli facility here. You might want to get the grounds a tad early just to see how they work with their animals. Starting times are 2 p.m. Thursday and 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

It still isn't over. A new feature this year will come at 1 p.m. Sunday when the ranching form of rodeo takes over with Jackpot Saddle Team Roping. This is a head and heel roping event with riders unleashing lassos in competition for cash and a special saddle.

If all that fun's not your piece of pie, try some of our local restaurants, visit the shops, look for bargains and you'll learn why Pagosa visitors always go away thinking "Now that's a friendly town."

Keep your eye on the fun and we're sure you'll find something to your liking in this community which lives up to its motto: The Best of Colorado.

 

 Weather

We have a 30 percent chance of receiving holiday rain

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Locally, there is a 30-percent chance for afternoon rain and thundershowers Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week, according to Brian Avery, a forecaster for the National Weather Service Grand Junction office.

Sunday and Monday rain is possible, but the probability decreases.

High temperatures through the coming week should be in the 85 to 90 degree range, according to Avery, with low temperatures ranging between 45 and 55 degrees.

The shift toward monsoon rains has probably started, Avery said. By mid-July, Pagosa Country could be receiving its seasonal quota of monsoon rains. As the term is used locally, don't expect torrential downpours as occur in India. Do expect daily afternoon showers.

Pagosa Springs received only 0.05 inches of rain during June.

Historically, Pagosa Springs receives an average of 0.91 inches of rain during June, 1.63 inches during July, 2.52 inches in August, 1.89 inches during September, and 2.03 inches in October. The worst local floods historically take place during October.

The mean high temperature for the month just completed was 84.5 degrees. The historic average maximum mean June temperature is 78.5 degrees. The record mean high June temperature is 85.5 degrees, recorded in 1946.

The highest June temperature ever recorded was 98 degrees, June 12, 1946. The highest June temperature this year was 91 degrees June 30, the last day of the month.

High temperatures last week ranged between 85 and 91 degrees with an average high reading of 88 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between 45 and 50 degrees with an average low reading of 47 degrees. The historic average mean June temperature is 57.6 degrees.

Local weather data is recorded at the official National Weather Service station located at Stevens Field.

 

 

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

6/26 87 45 - - -

6/27 85 46 - - -

6/28 88 47 - - -

6/29 90 50 - - -

6/30 91 48 - - -

7/1 85 46 - - -

Sports Page
Parks & Rec

Ready for holiday; skate track debuts Saturday

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN columnist

By Junior Lister

SUN Columnist

The parks are alive and well, and ready for the annual holiday events. Towmn Park and Centennial Park will be full of fun and games with the annual carnival and the Chamber of Commerce arts and crafts fair. Come join the fun as Pagosa celebrates the biggest town event of the year.

South Pagosa Park on South 8th Street is busy as crews work on the addition of skateboard ramps. The skateboard area is expected to be ready for weekend use.

Thanks to numerous volunteers, headed up by a very ambitious John King, for all your volunteer hours and to all the people donating time to help us provide the kids a place to skate.

Baseball

The season for most little league baseball players is now over, concluding with the picnic pot luck Saturday as a final tribute to the coaches and players for a very successful season. Our programs are only as good as the volunteers, so I would like everyone to thank a coach when you see them. They put in countless hours for our youths.

Some of our older youth baseball players will start a double-elimination tournament next week, with an all-star team selected from the 9-10 age group participating. Following that, an all-star team will be picked to represent Pagosa Springs in the annual Monte Vista Invitational.

Fishing

The ponds behind the River Center have been stocked and are ready for action. We had over 150 parents and children at our annual fishing derby. The Division of Wildlife team has never seen such a turnout. Everyone had fun and cannot wait until next year's event.

Fourth of July

The park department and Park Fun Program will have a booth at the Pagosa Lodge during the community picnic and concert, featuring games for children through age 12. Come join the fun. Games start at 3 p.m. and continue to about 6 p.m.

Obituaries
Oscar Nelson

Oscar Cutler Nelson, 81, died in his Pagosa Springs home Tuesday, June 24, 2002. He was born in Crosby, Texas, Nov. 6, 1920, the son of Oscar Joel and Florence Victoria Hines Nelson.

He was married in Crosby on Nov. 17, 1941, to Thelma Nelson. He served in the United States Navy, worked as a banker, and was a deacon and a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Crosby. He enjoyed photography.

He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Marguerite Peterson, and a brother, Vernon.

Survivors include his wife, Thelma; a son, Ronald Nelson of Pagosa Springs; two daughters, Beverly Morris of Chappell Hill, Texas, and Susan Clarke of Nacogdoches, Texas; granddaughter, Tracey Hughes of Chappell Hill and a great-grandson, Brady Hughes of Chappell Hill.

Funeral services were held Saturday, June 29, 2002, in Sterling White Chapel in Highlands, Texas, with interment in Evergreen Cemetery in Crosby.

Charles Rupert

Charles D. Rupert, 91, died June 24, 2002, at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center in Pagosa Springs. He was born March 11, 1911, in Denver, the son of Charles and Leah Herman Rupert.

He was married in January, 1936, to Phyllis Anita Denton in Bernalillo, N.M. He had moved from Conifer to Pagosa Springs in 1995.

He worked as a traffic manager for Weicker Moving and Storage Co. in Denver, as a plumber in Raton, N.M., and as a civilian U.S. Navy employee at Pearl Harbor during World War II. He enjoyed spending time with his family and traveling.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis; a son, Charles York Rupert; a brother, Norman Rupert, of Albuquerque; and a sister, Thelma Dwight, of San Antonio.

Survivors include his daughter, Patricia R. McCann and son-in-law, Dexter P. McCann of Pagosa Springs; a sister, Mary Ruth Oldham, of Sparks, Nev.; his brother-in-law, Jesse Dwight, of San Antonio; seven grandchildren, four nephews and numerous great and great-great grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice.

A memorial service will be held at a later date in Denver.

 Inside The Sun
Nickel Creek's back with new laurels

By Crista Munro

Special to The PREVIEW

If you've been following Nickel Creek's career for the past year, you may have been wondering to yourself if these young adults (who have played every single Four Corners Folk Festival) would be back.

After all, they now have two Top-10 videos on the Country Music Channel and numerous Grammy, International Bluegrass Music Association and Country Music Association awards and nominations under their collective belt.

Festival organizers wondered themselves, until the band's management company called last fall to express the band's dedication to their "hometown festival," and a guarantee that Nickel Creek would again be back in Pagosa Springs this Labor Day weekend.

"Bluegrass Revivalists," "Acoustic Innovators," "Youthgrass" these are just some of the terms that have been used to describe Nickel Creek during the past year. Regardless of classification, the band's self-titled debut album has been experiencing the kind of grassroots sales (more than 500,000 to date) that is rarely seen in their genre.

Since the release of that album over a year ago, Nickel Creek has held a Top-20 spot on Billboard's Country Album chart, appeared on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," sold out venues across the country, been featured on a CMT documentary, named in Time Magazine as one of five Music Innovators for the Millennium and featured in the Sunday New York Times with the headline "Bluegrass That Can Twang And Be Cool Too "

To have achieved all these honors is a great accomplishment for a musician of any age, but Nickel Creek's youth make the acclaim even sweeter. Fiddler Sara Watkins is 21; mandolin virtuoso Chris Thiele checks in at 21 and guitarist Sean Watkins (Sara's brother) is the band's senior member at age 25. Rounding out the band at Four Corners this year is bassist Derek Jones.

Nickel Creek will headline Aug. 31 night at the festival.

Seven-time All-Ireland fiddle champion Eileen Ivers will make her Four Corners debut the following evening at 5. Eileen has been touring her band of world-class musicians internationally to sold-out engagements ranging from performing arts centers to festivals and symphonic appearances. Her band performs a unique groove-oriented genre of Latin and African rhythms driving Celtic melodies. The New York Times dubbed Eileen Ivers "The Jimi Hendrix of the fiddle."

Born in an Irish community of the Bronx, Ivers began playing the fiddle at age 8. She won seven fiddle titles, an eighth on the tenor banjo and more than 30 additional medals, establishing her as the most awarded competitor ever in the All-Ireland championships. Her recording credits include more than 80 contemporary and traditional albums and numerous movie scores. Her debut with the Sony Classical label was on Back to Titanic. She has made numerous appearances on network television both in the US and abroad.

The Four Corners Folk Festival will take place Aug. 30 - Sept. 1 in Pagosa Springs. Tickets are available at Moonlight Books downtown and Wolf Tracks Coffee and Books. To purchase tickets with a credit card, or for additional information, call 731-5582 or visit www.folkwest.com.

The Four Corners Folk Festival is supported by a grant from the Colorado Council on the Arts. The Colorado Council on the Arts and its activities are made possible through an annual appropriation from the Colorado General Assembly and federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Three top authors selected Conference on Learning speakers

The Charles J. Hughes Foundation and Archuleta County School District 50 Joint will offer their annual Southwest Conference On Learning July 25-26 in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium.

The conference for parents, teachers and other caregivers will feature Dave Pelzer, Foster Cline and Tamara Hall.

Pelzer is an internationally-known best-selling author and motivational speaker. He is a child abuse survivor who has overcome his years of physical torture, mental cruelty, and near starvation. Pelzer has appeared on the Oprah television show. His first book, "A Child Called It," and his latest book, "Help Yourself," have both been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

The recipient of many national awards, Pelzer is a living testament of resilience, faith in humanity and personal responsibility. He will close the conference with his presentation, "The Real Heroes," paying homage to educators, social service workers, foster parents, law enforcement and volunteers - those who make a difference in the lives of children.

Tamara Hall, author of "When Life Kicks, Kick Back," will open the second day of the conference. She is a professional speaker, teacher, television commentator, newspaper columnist and internationally-known motivational speaker. Hall empowers people to take control of their lives. She packs her presentations with humor because people learn faster and retain more when they are having a good time.

Foster Cline is one the nation's most popular presenters. Author of more than a dozen books and co-founder of the Love and Logic Institute, Cline will address the topic of his latest book, "Conscienceless Acts, Societal Mayhem, Brewing Up Crooks-Psychopaths - How they Got That Way And What To Do About Them."

Cline encourages audience interaction as he deals with thought-provoking issues.

Conference participants can receive college credit.

The registration fee is $80. Free lunches are provided and there are numerous items given away during the conference. This is an opportunity for people who care for and about kids to attend a world-class conference.

Information is available at www.pagosa.k12.co.us. or by calling Ralph Hamilton at 731-2673, Diana Talbot at 731-5203, or Terry Alley at 264-2314.

Registration can be sent to The Charles J. Hughes Foundation, PO Box 1498, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Pagosa man carves trail down Martinez Canyon

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

How does a person move a mountain? One rock at a time.

It's possible, and Jack Passant has proved it. He's spent three years - with a six-foot crowbar and a shovel - constructing his own set of switchbacks down to the bottom of Martinez Canyon.

At 69, he said, he can walk forever on flat surfaces or downhill, but the uphill scramble was becoming too much, and he wanted to be able to enjoy his views of the canyon for a long time to come.

The trail starts behind his home on Capitan Circle in Pagosa Lakes and slopes down gently to the bottom of the canyon, turning back on itself several times. All along the way, the path is lined with rocks, some smaller, others weighing hundreds of pounds. All were placed just so by Passant. The base of the trail is dirt, smooth and well packed, scooped in from the sides as he shifted the rock.

The work was almost therapeutic, he said.

"Some days, in three or four hours I'd move one lousy rock," he said. "But when I was finished, it was exactly where I wanted it."

Passant had some false starts, switchbacks that hit a dead end. And, of course, he had to avoid killing any aspen tress, per his wife, Sue's, instruction. Otherwise, the project went fairly smoothly. Only one rock ever knocked him off his feet, and he learned quickly things go faster if the rocks move downhill rather than up.

He even added a separate trail that dead ends in a nice flat spot he made especially for tent camping. A tree shades the space and more rocks make a cozy bench for the Passants, their dog, LeRoy, or their two gray tabby cats.

It just goes to show, Passant said, that you can do anything if given the time.

And don't forget the crowbar.

Irrigating costs are no drop in the bucket

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Level 2 water restrictions remain in effect for customers using water supplied by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District.

That means limiting outside watering to once a week between the hours of 8 p.m. and midnight. It also means paying extra - a lot extra - for water used in excess of 8,000 gallons per month per equivalent unit.

In addition to the Level 2 restrictions, the district has initiated a temporary $5.25 charge to be levied on each water service amount. That surcharge will be included on the July water bill which contains June water services. At the end of August, need for the temporary surcharge will be reviewed.

The surcharge is being levied to compensate for unexpected pumping costs connected with the drought, according to district officials. Only water pumped from the San Juan River south of town is being added to the system at the present time.

That water is being pumped to the San Juan water treatment plant located at the district's Vista subdivision complex. Involved are two pumping systems, each capable of moving one million gallons of water per day. Water in each of the conduit systems is propelled by three electric pumps.

District officials envisioned the diversion as a means of augmenting the system already in place. As such, they anticipated running the pumps about six hours a day and budgeted about $35,000 for that purpose this year.

Early in the year it became apparent the reservoirs supplying the existing water treatment system were low, presenting the possibility of running dry before the end of the year. To hedge against that possibility, the district began running the south San Juan diversion pumps 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When the diversion water wasn't going into the new treatment plant at Vista to supply day-to-day needs, it was, and is, pumped into Lake Forest where it is retained for future consumption.

The cost for electricity to power the 75-horsepower motors driving the pumps is about $500 per day for around-the-clock operation.

In addition, the district is in the process of purchasing and installing a third conduit system between the southerly San Juan diversion point and the San Juan treatment plant. That system will require three additional pumps, will increase pumping capacity at that point to three million gallons per day, and will add to the $500 per day pumping cost.

The cost of pumping water from the south San Juan diversion point to the treatment plant and Lake Forest will exceed the budgeted line item for that purpose by more than $200,000, according to water district officials. Also included are anticipated costs for operating new pumps to send water to Hatcher Lake and from Lake Forest to the San Juan treatment plant. The extra pumping costs are the reason for the $5.25 surcharge. Pumping costs connected with this calculation were provided by La Plata Electric, according to Carrie Campbell, the water district general manager.

Calculating the timing when users have to start paying Level 2 extra consumption increases is a little less obvious, according to Campbell. Through it all, Level 2 restrictions took effect Monday.

Water bills mailed out the first part of July will increase, but it won't be because of Level 2 increased consumption charges. July's residential bill will contain the standard $13.50 per month user fee plus the temporary $5.25 surcharge. On top of that amount, the fee for consumption above 10,000 gallons will be added.

Effective July 1 with the July/August billing cycle, the amount of residential consumption used as a basis for the $13.50 per month charged drops from 10,000 gallons per month to 8,000 gallons per month. New fees based on these changes will show up on the August bill. The district action creating this change took place April 2 and has nothing to do with Level 2 water rationing.

These extra consumption charges are: 8,001 gallons to 20,000 gallons - $3.50 per 1,000 gallons; over 20,001 gallons - $4.50 per 1,000 gallons.

The September bill will reflect Level 2 water rationing charges for consumption above 8,000 gallons per month. These charges are: 8,001 gallons to 20,000 gallons - $14 per 1,000 gallons; 20,001 to 30,000 gallons - $22.50 per 1,000 gallons; 30,001 to 40,000 gallons - $27 per 1,000 gallons; 40,001 to 50,000 gallons - $31.50 per thousand gallons; and usage above 50,001 gallons - $90 per thousand gallons.

Underlying the timing for water consumption is the timing for meter reading. Water meters are read between the 19th and the 26th of each month. Most readings are completed around the 20th of the month. Water bills contain consumption after the 20th of any month and up to the 20th of the succeeding month. For example, the July bill covers consumption from about May 20 through June 20.

The district has initiated several short-range actions designed to mitigate the current drought. These steps involve the purchase of about $150,000 worth of electrical pumps, appurtenances, and making electrical connections. One set of pumps will be used to increase the flow from the San Juan River to the treatment plant from 2 million to 3 million gallons per day.

Another pump will be used to move water from the Vista site to the Hatcher Lake water distribution system, thereby saving the water remaining in Hatcher for future consumption. A pump will be installed to move water from Lake Forest to the Vista treatment plant in case the San Juan River runs dry.

If the San Juan River runs dry, water from the Vista plant may be supplying all users, including the town of Pagosa Springs.

Several long-range measures designed to mitigate drought conditions are being considered.

The first of these is the encasement of Dutton Ditch. Dutton Ditch supplies raw water to Hatcher Lake and Stevens Reservoir, supply basins for the Hatcher and Stevens water treatment plants. Encasing Dutton Ditch will allow additional time to replace water in these reservoirs. In addition, losses due to ditch bank blowout will be avoided. Future enlargement of Stevens Reservoir is anticipated. Plans are also being stepped up to make better use of all of the Pagosa Lakes lakes as storage reservoirs.

 

Level 2 water schedule

The following Level 2 water schedule was enacted by PAWS with a July 1 effective date. Watering is allowed only one day a week between 8 p.m. and midnight on the appropriate day. The appropriate day is determined from the house addresses as follows:

Sunday 1 through 99

Monday 100 through 199

Tuesday 200 through 299

Wednesday 300 through 399

Thursday 400 through 499

Friday 500 through 599

Saturday 600 and up

Penalties for violating water restrictions are: initial offense - warning; first citation - $100; second citation - $250; third and subsequent citations - $500.

 

County keeps building at a record pace despite drought

 

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

New homes are going up at an unprecedented pace in Archuleta County, according to a report just released by the county building department.

According to figures collected up to May 31, this year leads all others in total number of permits issued - 242 - followed by 2000 with 240. Next in line are 1999 and 2001 when a total of 197 permits were issued each year.

The department issued 150 single-family residential permits by June 1 this year, topping the previous high of 146 such permits issued by June of 2000, according to the report.

"I'm not sure what caused the April and May jump," said Julie Rodriguez, supervisor of the building permit department. "It might have been the fee change process Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District went through earlier this year. Maybe some of the builders were getting started before PAWs fees went up."

The district's new capital investment fee became effective April 2, according to Carrie Campbell, district general manager, therefore no one purchasing a building permit during April or May could have avoided it.

The building surge nevertheless seems to be making an impact on the district. "We're issuing at least two new connects a day," Campbell said. "We're scheduled up to mid-August on new connections. It looks to me as if this could be a record year for new connections."

Campbell speculated that unusually mild weather experienced in Archuleta County over the past few years may be encouraging the building boom.

A lot of so-called "spec houses" are being built, according to Rodriguez. Spec houses are houses built, then put on the market for sale, as opposed to homes built to order for a particular customer. "One builder from Grand Junction has obtained permits for 13 spec houses this year," she said.

The square footage of homes is increasing this year, Rodriguez said. "I mean the square footage of average homes. We are getting a few huge, multi-million dollar homes, but the size of average homes seems to be going over 3,000 square feet."

The number of mobile homes permits issued this year is 18, considerably fewer than the 23 mobile homes permits issued by June 1, 2000. Modular homes of various types are included in the single family residential category, and not in the mobile home category.

Commercial building permits to date this year also trail 2000. Only three commercial permits have been issued this year. That total was five in 2000.

In the other category, 71 permits have been issued this year, compared with 59 other permits during the first five months of 2000. Other permits is a catch-all category including adding rooms, carports, porches, patios, and other major improvements to existing buildings.

Timeshares, the final category, received no new permits this year. During 2000, seven timeshare permits were issued through May 31.

County keeps building at a record pace despite drought

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

A request for an exception to subdivision regulations because of "these extraordinary times," prompted the Archuleta County commissioners to arrange a meeting involving representatives of the land development community and county planning staff.

The request for special treatment was made during the regular Tuesday morning meeting of county commissioners. On the table was an agenda item titled "Improvements agreement for Colorado Timber Ridge Phase IV."

Early in the discussion concerning Timber Ridge, the commissioners unanimously approved an improvements agreement and a security bond amounting to $791,057, and gave conditional approval to the final plat for Timber Ridge Phase IV.

The commissioners then listened to a request that the developer be allowed to sell lots in Phase IV, even though the improvements have not been completed to allow the final plat to be filed with the county clerk and recorder.

County subdivision regulations do not allow developers to sell lots until a final plat of the development is recorded. The final plat cannot be recorded until all improvements are completed.

Colorado Timber Ridge Ranch is a California Limited Partnership owned by Joseph Machock. Representing Machock before the commissioners was Richard Gustafson of Gustafson Consulting. Included in the packet of documents concerning the Timber Ridge proposal was a letter from Mike Mitchell, managing broker for the developer, urging the commissioners to allow sale of the lots immediately.

Speaking directly on behalf of Timber Ridge was local attorney Jerry Venn.

"These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary action," Venn said.

The fire on Missionary Ridge has worked a severe hardship on Timber Ridge, according to Venn, because road construction crews and equipment expected to work within the development have gone to Durango to fight the fire. So has much other heavy equipment from this community, Venn said.

Consequently, Timber Ridge will not be able to complete road construction until next year, Venn said.

Venn asked for a waiver, a variance, "we want a variance today," allowing Timber Ridge to sell lots immediately. The expression for selling lots used by Timber Ridge, as contained in Mitchell's letter, "to close escrows," refers to the practice of Timber Ridge and other developers of selling lots and holding the proceeds in escrow until the final plat is filed.

Arguments used by Venn to encourage immediate action by the commissioners included: sale of the lots benefits the local economy; Timber Ridge will post reasonable security in whatever amount and form the commissioners require; Timber Ridge is reliable as evidenced by performance during the first three phases of the development.

"I believe you can grant this without going to the planning commission for their recommendation," Venn said. "I believe this is outside of planning commission purview."

Venn later recommended that the county use "developer-to-developer flexibility," and that more than one standard be established for developers recognizing the high level of performance and financial responsibility shown by developers such as Timber Ridge.

The commissioners spoke with one voice in denying the Timber Ridge request for an immediate variance. All agreed that existing regulations do not permit the commissioners to grant a variance without going through the variance process defined in county law.

They divided on the next step, the step which ended with instructions to the county planning staff to meet tomorrow with developers in search of an answer to their perceived problem.

Bill Downey, chairman of the board of county commissioners, agreed to look at arguments concerning the issue, but said he is skeptical and '"will have to be convinced."

"I agree we are in extraordinary times," Downey said. "We're in a drought the likes of which we have not seen before."

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District is having trouble keeping up with demands created by growth, Downey said. A lot of people think no more growth should be allowed because of the additional strains placed on the water supply, Downey added.

After pointing out he thinks current regulations are good and workable, and that granting a variance to Timber Ridge will set a precedent that other developers will want to follow, Downey said, "This board is responsible for protecting the county as a whole. If that places a burden on developers, so be it."

Commissioner Alden Ecker pointed out the commissioners are responsible for protecting the citizens of the county, and recalled numerous instances in the past when that wasn't done and "the people of the county are still paying."

Ecker agreed that current county rules cannot be ignored and that approval of the variance is not possible unless the rules are changed.

"I don't know if we have double jeopardy here or not," Ecker pointed out. He then said he is not opposed to reviewing the law and did not see why sufficient bond would not be adequate.

"I agree with the other two commissioners," said Commissioner Gene Crabtree. "We can't go against the existing laws. I propose that the developers sit down with planning staff as soon as possible, maybe Thursday, and work something out."

Crabtree then asked other developers in the audience to speak up. Jim Mudroch of Elk Park Meadows and Nancy Ray of Fairfield Communities, Inc., spoke in favor of discussing changes to subdivision laws.

When Crabtree asked if anyone in the audience wanted to speak against changing the law, no one answered.

Bonding agent Tim Blanchard also spoke in favor of changing the law.

"You're talking about private land," Blanchard said to the commissioners. "What do you care if someone half finishes a subdivision, then leaves without finishing."

Machock, the Timber Ridge owner, observed that if he could have 30 minutes Friday with Director of County Development Greg Comstock, an agreement could be worked out.

When Downey suggested that planning staff will have to abandon other projects if they switch to this one, Machock said it had been his experience that developers sometimes pay overtime expenses incurred by staff.

Without taking a vote, apparently by silent agreement among the commissioners, county planning staff was instructed to meet with the developers Friday to see what might be worked out.

At issue will be the contention by some developers that county subdivision requirements concerning the completion of improvements are overly restrictive.

Among the improvements required by the county are roads, sidewalks and utilities. An improvements agreement is a contract between the developer and the county wherein the developer agrees to complete specified improvements according to county law, usually within two years of signing the improvements agreement. As additional surety, the developer is required to post a performance bond or other guarantee acceptable to the county that will be forfeited to the county should the improvements not be completed as agreed upon.

In addition to the agreement and the performance bond, the county requires all improvements be completed and accepted by the county before the final plat of the development is officially recorded by the county clerk and recorder.

Finally, title cannot be transferred from the developer to a buyer until the final plat is recorded.

The county has argued that county laws on this issue are necessary. The bond is necessary, officials said, in case the developer goes broke or for some other reason leaves without completing all of the improvements. In that event, the county can cash in the forfeited security and use the proceeds to complete the improvements. A second county option is to use the bond proceeds to restore the property to its original state.

Collection of bond money could require some time, even years. A lawsuit with a bonding company could develop. To this point in time, the county has insisted on the ultimate guarantee, that the work be completed before title to property is transferred.

Cortez firm files low bid for waste treatment plant

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

A $4.2 million bid for upgrading the Vista wastewater treatment plant was accepted by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors Tuesday night.

Southwest Contracting of Cortez was low bidder in competition with four other firms, Bradbury Stamm Construction of Albuquerque, FCI Construction of Durango, Triad Western of Cortez, and Weaver General Construction of Englewood. The losing bids ranged between $5.3 and $5.8 million.

The bids were reviewed for the district by the engineering firm of Kamp Dresser and McKee. That firm's engineering cost estimate was $5.4 million.

"Work should begin by Aug. 1," said Gene Tautges, district assistant manager. "We have some paper work and some prep details to get out of the way first."

Work on the facility should be completed during the summer of 2003, according to Tautges.

When completed, plant capacity will be increased from today's 1.1 million gallons per day to 3.9 mgd.

Even though an ultra-modern, ultraviolet disinfectant process will be installed, the plant's discharge quality limits will continue to be 30 milligrams per liter of total dissolved solids and a maximum of 45 milligrams per liter of biodegradable oxygen. The biodegradable oxygen demand average limit is 30 milligrams per liter. The plant's effluent is discharged into Stollsteimer Creek and ultimately reaches the Piedra River.

The project contemplates renovating the old plant, as well as making new additions. The additions will be completed first, enabling continuous operation while the old plant is shut down for renovation.

Financing for the project comes from the $5 million general obligation bond approved by voters in May. Bond sales should be completed within the next two weeks.

A countywide ban on fireworks and open fires could delay some blasting connected with the project.

Upgrading of the sewage treatment plant is one of the projects consulting engineers recommend under the district's 20-year capital improvement plan.

Road to Recovery - pride in community service

By Patricia Waters

Special to The SUN

Pagosa Springs has had a Road to Recovery program for approximately four years and it provides cancer patients in the community with rides to Durango for their treatments. The Road to Recovery Volunteer Driver Program is a national program affiliated with the American Cancer Society.

The local program was organized after two events. When Patty Sterling returned to Pagosa Springs after cancer surgery in Dallas she was prescribed six weeks of radiation treatments. With the closest center located in Durango, Patty and her husband, Lee, were about to undertake many miles of driving.

To help, Patty's good friend, Judy Wood, contacted mutual friends to assist with the driving. This was so successful that Lee had to wait 10 days for his turn to drive.

Subsequently, Lee had to undergo radiation treatment. Patty called friends, and again the community responded. Lee had drivers for each treatment day. During this time, Lee contacted Jean Bruscia of the American Cancer Society and learned there was a national program, and she encouraged him to start a program here in Pagosa Springs.

Lee advises that the community, including the Chamber of Commerce, KWUF radio, the mayor, sheriff and the fire district, fully supported the venture and in no time they had approximately 35 enthusiastic volunteers.

Lee ran this program for several years. After he suffered a heart attack he passed the reins to Mamie Lynch. Lee and Patty continue their involvement in the program as drivers.

On July 1 Gerda Witkamp and Patricia Waters took over coordinating the program from Mamie Lynch who, after running the program for the past several years, has reluctantly relinquished her leadership role. She will, however, continue as a driver.

Gerda and Patricia have inherited a very dedicated and energetic group of drivers and look forward to working with them. In addition, they already have a list of new volunteers interested in joining the program as drivers, and would like to add additional members.

Driver training involves an hour-long information session. Each driver is required to provide proof of insurance and hold a valid driver's license.

Road to Recovery is fortunate to have the use of the Parish Hall on Lewis Street for a July 15 driver training session, to be conducted at 1 p.m. by Jean Bruscia of the American Cancer Society.

If you would like more information about his program or would like to attend the training session, contact Gerda Witkamp 731-3996, gerdamartin@pagosa.net or Patricia Waters 731-5581, jpwaters@frontier.net.

Letters
Inverted siphons

Dear Editor:

Now it's pay-up time for not planning ahead. A suggestion was made to the water officials in the '80s that they needed to construct inverted siphons to stop the sliding problem with the city water line on U.S. 160 and other places.

But the water manager (being smarter than the average bear) said it would not work. The agriculture industries use inverted siphons all over southwestern Colorado to get their irrigation water. An inverted siphon takes water from one side of the valley to the other side in an underground pipeline.

Now PAWS is pumping water at $500 a day when it could have had gravity flow from the San Juan to the lake system.

And, with a little planning, more dams could have been built (which is a bad word).

PAWS also keeps adding more area to its system to satisfy all the developers. Folks, there is a limit to water and land being cut up for more people. The problem is just a start because there are subdivided lots with no houses yet.

Anyway, to all the enviros, wherever you live; be happy as you eat agricultural products, sleep in wood houses and drink water.

Charles Betts

Bears on welfare

Dear Editor:

Yee-Ha! Here come the Democrats. Mothers, lock up your sons and hide your Bibles. They brought us Bill and Hillary, Al Gore, Gary Condit, Al Sharpton, Cynthia McKinney, Barbara Boxer, Barney Franks and a host of other embarrassments to themselves and this nation.

Now comes the libelous Dr. Parker, who apparently wants to put the bears on welfare.

That's some pretty innovative thinking from a bunch that hasn't had a new idea in over 40 years. But before the good doctor and his chums invest too much energy in this enterprise, someone should remind him that, unlike the Demo's other bought and paid for constituencies, bears can't vote.

N. G. Constan

Self sufficiency

Dear Editor:

The charge by Dr. Herbert Parker in his letter "Zoning for bears" that Democrats would prefer to feed bears while Republicans would not because of economic issues is one of the most preposterous and outrageous statements I have ever had the misfortune to read.

I don't think Dr. Parker, or those who think like he, have a clue about wildlife management, controlling overpopulation and keeping disease and starvation to a minimum whether it be among bears or any other form of wildlife. As untasteful as it may seem, it is absolutely necessary to keep from feeding wild animals who are having difficulty scavenging for food.

It is even said that feeding wild birds causes dependency on handouts, resulting in an inability to find natural food sources and leading to starvation for many. In cases of wildlife overpopulation, it may even be necessary to allow hunters and Division of Wildlife personnel to shoot excess animals to keep the surviving population as free from starvation and disease as possible. A quick death from a bullet is certainly more humane than a slow death from disease or starvation.

There are educated, trained experts who know how best to deal with these problems just as there are experts in the management of our national forests. It is those who think like Dr. Parker who create bigger problems than they think they are qualified to solve.

For example, consider the current terrible fires in our western forests. The state of Arizona spends, I am told, 43 percent of it's budget fighting environmentalists' lawsuits filed to prevent any cleanup of the forest floor, i.e., removal of brush, downed trees, small conifers.

We are now reaping the harvest of such ignorance.

As usual, the solution for the hand wringing, bleeding heart, "touchy feely" crowd is for the government to step in, locate these animals and feed them so they don't starve. Never mind that this would make these animals dependent on handouts and unable to fend for themselves as well as likely cause a population explosion.

Is there a parallel with "government solutions" for humans in our society or what?

Those who think like Dr. Parker seem to measure their success by how many people (or in this case animals) they can get onto government relief rolls. Those who think oppositely measure theirs by how many can be gotten off the rolls and into self sufficiency. Charles Darwin long ago pointed out how living things become strong, viable survivors through natural selection, "survival of the fittest."

I don't know what Dr. Parker's doctorate comprises, but it can't be one related to mine. If he is an MD, he ought to stick to his expertise. He and others like him should take time to educate themselves in ecology, biology, zoology, geology, botany, oceanography, meteorology and such. Maybe then their ideas will gain credibility. And maybe they will learn something.

David L. (Larry) Dunn

A few questions

Dear Editor:

This is an open letter to the county commissioners and the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District directors.

When Ralph Eaton started the (Pagosa Lakes) developments west of town, what do records show as to his estimate of people who could be served with water?

If all lots as now platted in the water district are built, how many people would have to be served?

What do your projections show as the population of Archuleta County in the next 10 years?

When the number of lots which can be served is exceeded, do you put a moratorium on building permits?

What are current plans for building lake storage?

Would your boards consider a Town Hall meeting to let the public know what your plans are for water for the foreseeable future?

A couple of years after we moved to Pagosa in 1975, they did cloud seeding in the Pagosa area and it produced 800 inches of snow at Wolf Creek. Does the district still have authority to seed clouds?

Does the District have the option of drilling deep wells to get water?

The cities of Farmington, Albuquerque and Phoenix do not have water rationing while Pagosa, which is closer to the mountains and water supply, has a severe water shortage. Is this because we have not provided for storage?

We would all feel much better if we knew you have the answers to these questions. We also know you cannot control the rain and snow, but you can start taking steps to store water.

I know what a tough job you have and this letter is not written as a way of criticism, but only to find out what the plans are for the years ahead.

Respectfully,

Earl E. Hoover.

Cloud seeding

Dear Editor:

Why are we not utilizing our resident cloud seeder to help relieve the fire danger?

Why do the powers that be continue to make excuses?

Action now is called for!

Surely everyone in Archuleta County would be willing to say "seed the clouds" at any cost if it will save our forests and homes.

Lightning strikes can happen any time. Careless and thoughtless people are here all the time. As a result, fires can happen any time.

Cloud seeding has been done elsewhere in Colorado with great success.

Expense? It's time to think outside the dollar bill and get some moisture into our forests before it's too late. Talk to our commissioners and let them know how important it is to you.

They know who to talk to.

Lolita S. Manring

Chipper needed

Dear Editor:

I am in the process of clearing the land around my house for fire prevention. My neighbors are doing this also. I have hauled two loads of tree limbs to the landfill. My neighbor has also hauled two loads.

This is such a waste.

The county should purchase a shredder/chipper and turn this brush into useful mulch for people to come and get. I know the county has a recycling program for Christmas trees, but isn't this more important?

I would have gladly hauled my tree limbs to a recycling center rather than the landfill.

John Meyer

Prayers for Pagosa

Dear Editor:

As former short-term residents of Pagosa Springs, and hopefully long-term residents in the near future, our thoughts are with you all as you are dealing with the potential threat of forest fires affecting you and your homes. We are keeping track of what is happening out there and you all will be in our thoughts and prayers daily.

Jeanne and Richard Miller

Welcoming heroes

Dear Editor:

What a great sight Wednesday: about a dozen firefighters on their way to Missionary Ridge, fighting to save our homes and businesses.

All I could offer when they stopped at our business were a few free items, for which they were thankful. We are truly lucky to have them in and around here.

We welcomed them with open arms and are truly grateful they stopped in. It was nice to see our tiny donation went right to them.

Mary Jo Poma

For this country

Dear Editor:

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." When Thomas Jefferson offered that warning, he could not have known how much ground government would gain over the next two centuries.

As America celebrates 226 years of independence Thursday, the lessons of the founding Fathers bear remembering - lessons of limited government and individual liberty.

No need to sour the holiday mood by pointing out how long the average American has to work to pay his taxes. And we won't even discuss the nearly $2 trillion federal budget.

But we will remember the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence. They were men of conviction who understood freedom and its costs. By signing that document, they subjected themselves to the revenge of the British government.

Some of the 56 signers were captured by the British. They were tortured before they died. The British destroyed the homes of many others. Some fought and died in the war; a few lost sons to the cause.

They took risks so they could enjoy their freedom and leave ours to us. We argue today about "risky" tax cuts and presidential legacies. We should remember that the founders made these arguments possible.

The men who founded this nation and wrote our Constitution were indeed among the most brilliant who've ever lived. And were it not for the setting up of this nation with their recognition that freedom is the natural yearning of the created human spirit, created by God - not something granted by government - had it not been for that, then this experiment would not have worked. The founders understood - and this cannot be overemphasized - that freedom is not something granted by a government or by a sovereign. Freedom is granted by God.

The Founders said: Man's desire to speak freely is something with which he is created, and we are simply going to codify it. We are not establishing it, we are not creating it, we're not inventing, we're recognizing it.

The brilliance of the men who founded this country, and the moral character of, especially, the early presidents - George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson - enabled America to be born in liberty. It's amazing when you stop to think about it, how precariously balanced this freedom is; how precariously balanced this country was in its early days; how precariously balanced it remains, in order for our national greatness to be the envy of the world.

The Founders limited the role of the government in order for the people's dreams to be unlimited. The first 10 Amendments restrict the freedom of the government; they do not limit the freedom of the people. They protect God-given freedom, the secret of American greatness.

Independence Day should be a solemn occasion to remember the risk and rewards inherent to freedom. Such reflection just might slow that natural progress of which Jefferson spoke so elegantly.

Time to reflect America; it is your Independence Day.

Jim Sawicki

Use ash trays

Dear Editor:

While driving along Park Avenue about 8:12 p.m. last Tuesday, we noticed a burning cigarette (Marlboro) lying on the pavement at the corner of Park and Talisman approximately 12 inches from some dry grass. My question to the idiot who was responsible for this act of stupidity: "What were you thinking?"

Obviously you were not thinking. Based on the area where the cigarette was found, it's possible that the guilty party was someone from out of the area who is staying in one of the timeshares. However, as reported in this newspaper, it appears many of our locals are committing the same unconscionable act. Half of our beautiful state is on fire, and yet we still have people with an obvious IQ of 1 throwing their cigarettes out the windows of their vehicles.

Ever wonder what the ash tray in your vehicle is for? With irresponsible acts such as this, our beautiful community could be the next Hayman or Durango fire. Citizens of Pagosa, be vigilant for people committing this act of stupidity and report them to authorities at once ... location, time, vehicle make, and license number.

Gary Waples

Saving water

Dear Editor:

With the ever worsening water shortage why don't all the restaurants in Pagosa Springs adopt the practice of serving water only on request? We have seen this practice in effect in other parts of the country when drought conditions exist. This may not make a huge difference in our current situation, but every little bit helps.

In our home, we are also trying to do our "bit." We are recycling water from our dishwasher and washing machine, collecting the cold water in the shower before it becomes warm, also using a bowl in the kitchen sink. All this saved water will be used to water our perennials and shrubs planted last year.

Our recycling efforts, however, do not provide enough to water our lawn, and in this time of extreme drought, when water should be saved, anyone using drinking quality water to keep a beautiful green lawn should be ashamed.

Yours sincerely,

Patricia and Jim Waters

 

Business News

Diana Smith and Carla Shaw own and operate The Kraftin' Post, located at 2083 E. U.S. 160, just east of Pagosa Springs.

The Kraftin' Post offers customers a full range of arts and crafting supplies, including items needed for scrapbooking, rubberstamping and for children's craft projects, as well as papers and florals. Special orders of supplies are welcome.

Classes in scrapbooking, watercolor and tole painting are scheduled at The Kraftin' Post with others to be added soon.

Business hours are 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

 

 Editorials
Interdependence Day

Tomorrow, we celebrate Independence Day, recognizing the signing of the Declaration of Independence - a document establishing the separation of colonies from the British colonial power, signaling the intent to create a separate nation. The Fourth of July holiday gives us a chance to ponder the concept of independence, to wax poetic about its meaning and significance. It is an appropriate time for a certain amount of exaggeration and oversimplification; it is also a time for thoughtful sentiment, for renewed resolve.

Independence Day this year occurs amid distinctly different circumstances than did recent Fourth of July holidays. During the last year, for the first time in a very long while, we were attacked on our own soil. We now find ourselves engaged in a war of an unprecedented kind, global in nature, in combat with enemies who are hard to locate, difficult to identify: lethal enemies, dedicated to our destruction.

This year, we find many of our institutions under attack from within. We find the majority transformed into the minority, the basic standards by which many of us try to live weakened by political and economic self-interest, by judicial technicalities, by groups with revisionist agendas, by corporations whose officers lie, demolish the futures of stockholders and employees, and walk away with millions of unearned dollars.

This is not a year for a pat reaction to our independence, for hollow propaganda.

We have the privilege of living in the most prosperous, freest of cultures, of living at a level of comfort unknown by the ordinary people of history. The conditions that permit that existence are in jeopardy. We are in a battle with forces, internal and external, that seek to put an end to this wonderful nation and it is not in our collective interest to ignore this fact.

The concept of independence, while reassuring to contemplate, is not enough to carry us to a successful conclusion in this fight.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines independence as "not affiliated with a larger controlling unit, not regulated or relying on someone or something else ... not easily influenced, showing self-sufficiency and personal freedom."

With this definition in mind, it is clear we are not independent as a nation and it is clear we cannot be purely independent as individuals if we desire to preserve our way of life.

Our nation is affected by what happens in the rest of the world - economically and militarily. We cannot afford to sever our relationships with our friends and cannot hope to exist peacefully without allies. This involves compromise. We cannot exist without engaging and defeating our enemies. The activities of others help shape our actions. We do not live in a vacuum, independent.

As individuals, if we learn from our nation's history, we cannot avoid reliance on, and trust in others of like mind. The personal freedoms we cherish are exercised in consort with our friends and neighbors, modulated in deference to common values keyed to the goals of self and national preservation. We cannot survive economically, spiritually or culturally without this reliance.

As we stand on the parade route tomorrow, watching Old Glory pass, we will give thanks that brave individuals signed a document to establish our nation in the face of oppression, to declare our nation's independence. We should also recognize, if we wish to flourish as a nation and thereby continue to exercise our freedoms as individuals, that July 4 is a time to be realistic, to accept the diverse backgrounds, characters and influences that come together under an umbrella of common principles in this wonderful experiment we call the United States of America. We should ask how we can strengthen ourselves, how we can work together to be honest and fair, to remain great and strong as a people, to nourish the ideas of freedom and responsibility, to preserve what we know and love.

Tomorrow is Independence Day. It is also Interdependence Day.

If we recognize this, the Fourth of July will be celebrated for generations to come.

Karl Isberg

 

Legacies

By Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 5, 1912

The Fourth of July was a very quiet one in Pagosa nearly everybody going fishing, we understand that Mr. Kemper claims to have caught a fish on that day, actually trying to prove the assertions by giving the names of a lawyer and a carpenter as witnesses.

The Ladies Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal church met in regular session with Mrs. N.L. Hayden and her daughter, Miss Mary Hayden, June 18th. There were about two dozen conveyances, buggies, carriages and automobiles, and a total of one hundred and sixteen people were reported.

The ranch home of A.T. Sullenberger is nearing completion. Tempy and his men are now busy putting on the finishing touches.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 8, 1927

Mrs. W.H. Harris and son Russell, six years old, had a narrow escape from death this afternoon when the Ford touring car in which they were riding, with Mrs. Harris at the wheel, pitched backwards over the high embankment just east of the Springs bath houses, turned over two or three times and plunged into the surging San Juan River. Both miraculously escaped death or even serious injury from either the accident or from drowning.

The first Fourth of July celebration held under the auspices of the Women's Civic Club of Pagosa Springs, has passed into history and was accorded to be one of the best local observances ever held in the San Juan Basin.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 4, 1952

The 1952 Red Ryder Round-Up gets off to a big start this weekend with a parade marking the start of the festivities each morning.

In the afternoon the rodeos will start promptly at 1:30 with the grand entry and introduction of officials and then followed by the rodeo events and horse races. An added event the 4th will be a matched horse race between a horse belonging to Percy Chambers and one belonging to Bob Patten. In the afternoon performances each day will be dancing by the Jicarilla Apache Indians and the Ute Indians will dance around the flagpole in town each evening.

Streams are clearing and fishing is generally good all over the San Juan Basin.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 30, 1977

It will be Red Ryder Round-Up time this weekend with the big celebration scheduled for July 3 and 4. This is the 29th year that the Red Ryder Round-Up has been presented. In that time it has grown to be one of the best know 4th of July rodeos in the Southwest.

Officials of the San Juan National forest have revised their list of campgrounds where drinking water is not presently available as a result of the drought conditions. Seven of the 31 campgrounds on the National Forest are experiencing water problems which range from dry wells and springs to unsafe drinking water. The Forest Service urges all visitors to use water sparingly and to be prepared for additional water restriction which may be necessary in the future.

Community News

Pagosa Lakes News

Recreation center closed for Independence Day

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

In honor of Independence Day, the Pagosa Lakes recreation center will be closed. Take a day off from your regular routine and spend the time supporting the many local events: the colorful parade which starts at 10 a.m., the all-day arts and crafts (and food) fair in Town and Centennial parks, and the traditional gathering of family and friends to share the evening meal, be it in your own backyard or elsewhere.

Enjoy the day, celebrate our freedom, but be safe. No open fires, no firecrackers, no smoking outside ... in short, think before you do anything that could cause a fire in these dangerously dry and windy conditions.

Lauren Lee asked that I thank the volunteers again for coming out on the morning of June 17 to help with the newsletter assembling and mailing to 18,000-plus property owners who belong to PLPOA. Lauren deeply appreciated the help, especially since she had to leave that same afternoon to fly to New York for her beloved grandmothers' funeral.

Looking for a fun new way to tone the abs, back, buttocks and thighs? Exercises done with a physio ball (also sometimes known as exercise ball, Swiss ball or fit-ball) represent a new twist in exercise technology. The secret is that since you are automatically balancing while exercising on the ball, your muscle activity is increased dramatically, leading to quicker results. I cannot speak to the quicker results, but I can tell you that is a lot of fun. It's challenging and it's good for a few laughs.

Shonny Vanlandingham, our own world-class mountain biker, finds the physio ball a valuable tool to hone her already superb sense of balance. She kneels on the ball and catches a tennis ball that she bounces off the wall. Try it and have someone you trust videotape your attempts. If after months of hard work your balance still needs fine-tuning and you are sick of that squishy ball, you can then try to market that video clip to America's Funniest Videos.

June Marquez is a certified aerobics instructor and she's very serious about this ball stuff. After 13 years of teaching people how to move various body parts to music, she's developed a full body workout on the physio ball that includes dumbbell training, stretching, toning, balancing and, oh yes, breathing techniques.

People tend to forget to breathe when they are concentrating on not falling off the ball while pumping a set of dumbbells. Don't be intimidated. The class culture is such that you do what you can, knowing the body will become more cooperative as time goes by. Classes will begin, or more correctly, resume, after the July 4 shindigs, at 6:30 a.m. July 8 in the recreation center. Call June at 264-0126 for additional information.

Senior News
ElderWatch expert outlined scams afflicting seniors

By Janet Copeland

SUN Columnist

Happy July 4.

I hope everyone enjoys the parade and festivities which take place in our wonderful town. Thanks to the Rotary Club for providing seating for seniors in the shade for the parade. We are so blessed to have patriotic folks here who go out of their way to honor our country and our town, and firefighters and law enforcement personnel who do their utmost to keep us safe. A big thank you to all.

Friday we celebrated the June birthdays of our members. We hope the following had very happy birthdays: Sepp Leppitsch, Larry Russell, Bobby Carruth, Maxine Lattin, Hannah Foster, Nita Heitz, Peggy Cooper, Angie Furer, Ron Gustafson, Allysia Loya, Diane Pancoast and Elizabeth Greene.

Thanks so much to Janice Friddle from the attorney general's/AARP office for the very informative presentation on fraud prevention and for the information she left for us to review. She noted several scams being used to dupe seniors out of their money and advised us on actions to take if we are approached.

Due to the upcoming move to the new Community Center, menus for July will not be posted for the entire month, but will be posted at the Center and announced on AM 1400 between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

Our Volunteer of the Month is Jim Hanson - congratulations Jim. We so appreciate Jim's help in advising our seniors on Medicare-related matters.

A big welcome to all our guests and returning members this week, including Herbert Parker, Martha and Ray Trowbridge, Louise and Kurt Diedring, Lynne Mitchell, Kerry Madrid, David Maynard, Angie Furer, Judy Ulatowski, Kate Kelley, Sandy Pixley, Bill Sauce, David Huckins, Shaye Knowles and Jan Hartzell (daughter and sister of Marion Knowles).

Our next picnic in the park will be July 12. Bring games for entertainment, your appetite, and perhaps a lawn chair and hat. We will provide horseshoes, a river walk and delicious food. The suggested donation for seniors is $2.25, $4.50 for those under age 60.

Our Senior of the Week is Herbert Parker. Congratulations Herbert, and welcome to our family.

To qualify for the Senior Property Tax exemption, you must file the form by July 15. Forms are available and questions will be answered at the county assessor's office.

The seniors are very appreciative of all the items donated. Special thanks go to Charlene and Bob Baumgardner for puzzles, Frankie Martinez for lending us his horseshoes, Dru Sewell for her time and materials for our crafts class, Jan Harris for her time and suggestions, Wanda Christie for magazines, Rainbow Girls for Father's Day gifts, Karen Cook for games, and Dorothy Million for her fabulous photos.

The "NCLC Guide to Surviving Debt: A Guide for Consumers" may be ordered at the Senior Center before July 31 for $19 (or less, depending on how many orders we receive). This is an excellent book with information on how to handle collectors, which debts to pay first, how collection lawsuits work, as well as how to manage credit debt, when to refinance, and alternatives to filing bankruptcy.

Southwest Center for Independence is a Colorado-certified independent living center providing information, individual and systems advocacy, peer support and independent living skills development. It supports visually-impaired and blind senior citizens. For more information, you may contact them at 259-1672 or visit their offices at 801 Florida Road, No. 3 in Durango.

Activities for the coming week include the next shopping trip to Durango July 11. Please sign up in advance, as we must have at least six persons for the trip to go.

We plan to attend the 2:30 p.m. performance of the Creede Theatre, "The Fantasticks," July 13. Again, please sign up in advance at the Senior Center.

Seniors still plan to attend the Bar-D-Wranglers performance July 25. Cost will be $16 plus transportation. Please sign up soon for this delicious meal and entertainment. If Bar-D has to close because of fires (and we hope it doesn't) we will let you know.

Don't forget Dru Sewell's Soup to Nuts Crafts Class each Monday after lunch. Dru furnishes project supplies and shows us how to do them. I hope everyone will take advantage of this special lady's talents and generosity.

The pool at Best Western is available at no charge for members of the Senior Center Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 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.

Wednesdays there is a 10:30 a.m. computer class with Sam Matthews; card games, and Chi Kong exercise with Vasuki at 1 p.m. (bring a large towel or mat and a tie, 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 12:30 p.m. Jim Hanson will help with Medicare counseling. Patty Tillerson will be available at the Center Fridays to take blood pressures, and Andy Fautheree, our Veterans Service officer, will be available to discuss veterans' issues.

 

Veterans Corner
10 percent of county in veteran database

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

The Archuleta County Veterans Service Office reached a milestone last week. At least I think it is a milestone.

As of last week, I now have over 1,000 Archuleta County veterans in the Veterans Service Office database. Considering that our county population is about 10,000, this represents 10 percent of the entire population as veterans that we know about. We don't know how many total veterans we have locally, but you can rest assured I will continue to do everything possible to make contact with them. Most of our veterans are eligible for VA benefits, in particular VA Health Care. Obviously the word is getting out.

As I reported recently, this office averages contact with more than one new local veteran every day. Last week, for example I interviewed nine new veterans. The 1,000 veterans in the database include all veterans who have ever contacted this office in its entire history. When I took over the office the local veteran database count was about 745, as I recall. So this represents a 25-percent growth in new veteran contacts.

Another milestone reached this past week is that, as near as I can determine, we now have over 500 veterans enrolled in VA Health Care. This is according to the actual numbers supplied by Albuquerque VA Health Care system and the Grand Junction VA Care system. Considering the 1,000 veterans in the database include those who are deceased or have moved away, this means the 500 veterans in the system from Archuleta County could represent much more than 50 percent enrollment. The actual ratio is impossible to determine. Veterans move away frequently in our changing population and do not advise this office of the move.

DD214 registration

On another note, there are some new Colorado state regulations governing registration of veterans' DD214s with the county clerk. The military always recommends a discharged veteran record DD214 discharge papers with the local county clerk's office, in case the original is lost or destroyed. A copy of the DD214 is required for nearly all veteran benefits.

I met with Archuleta County Clerk June Madrid last week and she advised me there are new regulations effective July 1 this year that address security concerns of Social Security numbers.

Discharge papers usually show the veteran's Social Security number. When these documents are recorded with the county clerk's office, they are part of public information. It has been feared these Social Security numbers might be stolen for purposes other than those by the rightful possessor of that number.

Apparently, military DD214s are the only document recorded in the county clerk's records that contain Social Security numbers. With the new system and controls DD214s will no longer be available for public viewing. DD214 information or copies will only be given to the veteran with proper identification or in the case of death, by the veteran's recognized next of kin.

The Veterans Service Office frequently takes care of this process of recording DD214s for the veteran. I keep a log of every DD214 when it goes out to the clerk's office and when it comes back to me, and when I send it out to the veteran, or when the veteran picks it up from this office. There is never a charge for any service to the veteran by this office.

For information on these and other veteran benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located 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 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

Arts Line

July 4 reception for triple-media show

By Helen Richardson

Pagosa Springs will be popping with excitement this weekend, even without fireworks.

Join the festivities in downtown Pagosa Springs for a good, old-fashioned parade. Then move to Town Park for the Park-to-Park Arts and Crafts festival and carnival. The Chamber of Commerce sponsors the festival and carnival July 4-7.

While you're in the neighborhood, stop in the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park for the July 4 reception and opening of a triple-media exhibit. The show, running through July 27, features metal art by Adrienne Haskamp, stained glass by Carl Nevitt, and jewelry and collages by Carol Brown. Come to the gallery for art and refreshments from 5-7p.m.

Continue exploring the local art scene July 5 at Pagosa Photography, 480 San Juan St. The studio hosts an opening reception for nature and science photojournalist Jim Steinberg, 5-7p.m., with refreshments and live music. Call 264-3686 for more information.

Whistle Pig Folk Night is July 11 and The Professor, John Graves, joins his jazz-singing daughter, Kerry Graves, to entertain at the house concert at 466 Loma Street in downtown Pagosa Springs. For details or to reserve your spot, call 264-2491.

Also July 11, tune to 1400 AM on your radio for PSAC interviews and information. The time slot is 8:05-8:35 a.m. Catch the program the second Thursday of each month.

Arts fund-raiser

Mark your calendar July 19 for fun and frolic at The Timbers, 6-9 p.m. This council fund-raiser is guaranteed to please, with an evening including appetizers, dinner and dancing to the music of a DJ. You must be present to experience entertainment by a surprise mystery guest. Tickets, at $35 each, are available at the gallery in Town Park, the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books, and Wolftracks. If you need more information, call 264-5020.

Other events

For domesticated outdoor types and lovers of growing things, the Arts Council offers a home and garden tour July 21. To ferret out the details or buy advance tickets, call 264-5020.

July 25 will mark the opening of a new exhibit in the gallery. Mark your calendar to enjoy Ruth Carr's watercolors and Michelle Turolla's photography and jewelry. The opening reception July 25 will provide free refreshments.

Step back in time and learn how the Ancestral Puebloans made their artful and utilitarian pottery. From July 29-Aug. 1, artist Greg Wood will offer a pottery workshop at Chimney Rock. Call 883-5359 for more information or to register.

Volunteers needed

To continue its efforts to promote art in the community, the Arts Council needs a few good men or women, and corporate confederates.

Already working as members of the supporting cast are Marguerite at Mountain Greenery who supplies complimentary floral arrangements for gallery receptions, and the local Wells Fargo Bank which generously shares its copying machine.

If you itch to fill this space once a month with stimulating prose, your help as a writer would be most welcome.

If your strength is recording events after the fact, the Arts Council is looking for a dedicated keeper of the scrapbook.

Perhaps your company has a flyer that needs to be included in the quarterly newsletter at a nominal charge. Call 264-5020 for details.

Maybe you and your family have been missing out on member discounts. You can put an end to that oversight for just $20 per year for individuals, $30 for families.

But you needn't be a member to support the Arts Council. At no cost to you, City Market will donate a small percentage of your frequent purchases to the organization each time you use your Value Card. For this painless way of giving, stop in the gallery and sign up.

Chamber News

Full slate of Fourth fun

By Sally Hameister

Since the real thing is out of the question this year, we have created our own fireworks with musicians and activities. Music just doesn't get any better than the Pagosa Hot Strings followed by Rio Jazz, and that is exactly what we are offering you in the way of our July 4 Concert.

We are so honored and excited to have Pagosa's finest musicians joining us on this auspicious occasion, and we are sure that you won't want to miss a minute of this free concert beginning at 6 and ending sometime around 9:30-10 p.m. We'll also provide an awesome surprise during the Hot Strings performance right around 7 p.m. that you simply won't want to miss.

The party at Pagosa Lodge begins at 4:30 with games and events for every member of your family. There will be a contest for the most patriotic costumes in four age categories, so be sure to wear the red, white and blue.

The Lodge will begin serving a picnic dinner with beef barbecue brisket, sausages, corn on the cob, potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw, cookies and brownies at around 5. Adults are $8.50, seniors $7.50 and kids 10 and under eat free. I would say that these are extremely friendly family prices. Also available will be iced tea, sodas, beer, bottled water and wine coolers.

Games will be going on from 4:30 and will include a watermelon seed-spitting contest, volleyball, croquet, a three-legged race, sack race, bobbing for apples, egg toss and, rumor has it, you can catch a tethered balloon ride or even a canoe ride. It promises to be a real All-American family July 4 celebration at Pagosa Lodge, so please join us for all the fun and games.

Please check out the full-page ad in this issue of The SUN for all the July 4 events starting with the ever-popular Rotary Parade beginning at 10 a.m. with over 100 entries showing their stuff beginning at South 8th Street and ending at 2nd Street. Grab your space real early because the streets are packed with patriots awaiting the parade.

The Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival will be the place to go right after the parade to check out around 100 vendors and their unique, handmade merchandise. There will also be plenty of food to give you the strength to visit each and every booth. For the first time ever, the Pagosa Springs Humane Society will be there with a beer booth in case you develop a hankerin' for a brew. The vendors will be there for four days, July 4-7, so you will have plenty of time to shop and munch in both Town Park and Centennial Park.

You'll also want to see all the wonderful things the Pagosa Piecemakers will offer at the Mamie Lynch Gymnasium July 4-6.

And, of course, be sure to make a trip to the Red Ryder Roundup for regular rodeo performances July 4-6 and a newly-added roping event July 7.

It promises to be a fabulous Fourth and I'm guessing that with the great party we have planned out at Pagosa Lodge, no one will much miss the fireworks.

Join us for a wonderful day.

Firefighter shirts

Todd Shelton of Century 21 fame has come up with a fabulous idea to benefit all the local and regional firefighters who are working daily keep us all out of harm's way.

He has ordered special T-shirts that will go on sale July 4 prior to, during and after the parade. Todd will have his helpers moving through the crowds wearing these shirts and selling them for a $15 donation, (or more, if you choose) and we will also have them available at a table in Town Park after the parade and at the picnic and concert at Pagosa Lodge that afternoon.

We encourage everyone to wear these shirts throughout the day to show our collective support to these wonderful people who put their lives on the line every day for us. Should we run out of shirts, we will have order forms available for those who would like them.

These shirts have an amazing picture of two firefighters on the back with "In Our Firefighters We Trust!" One of the sleeves will sport an American flag with "Pagosa Springs, Colorado - 2002".

Proceeds from shirt sales will go into a special fund set up at the Bank of the San Juans to support our local firefighters in their efforts to control the wildfires which have affected our area.

Please help Todd and Pagosa Springs support our firefighters with your donations and wearin' of the shirt. Anyone who would like to make a donation is welcome to do so at the Chamber of Commerce. We will also be happy to take orders for more shirts, and you can always call us at 264-2360 with questions. I applaud Todd for taking such positive measure to honor those who must be so exhausted by now, but continue to protect us every day.

Steinberg reception

Jeff Laydon at Pagosa Photography invites you to join him for a July 5 opening reception featuring the work of nature and science photojournalist, Jim Steinberg, 5-7 p.m. at 480 San Juan St.

Jeff is extremely excited about bringing Jim's work to Pagosa and about the premiere release of Jim's 2003 calendar, "A Year in Colorado." Jim has been photographing all over the world and in Colorado for 28 years and will share the fruits of his labors with us July 5. Please join Jeff and Jim for refreshments, live music and beautiful photography.

Call 264-3686 for information.

Home and garden tour

Tickets will go on sale July 1 for the second annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Home and Garden Tour which will take place July 21 noon-5 p.m.

Homes are being selected at this time, and we will tell you much more in the future. Arts Council members may purchase tickets at the gallery in Town Park for $8 and non-member tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce or WolfTracks Bookstore for $10. Stay tuned for more on this event.

Country Showdown

The world's largest country music talent showcase and radio promotion is coming to Pagosa Springs with over $200,000 in cash and prizes awarded nationally. Our own KWUF is sponsoring this event which is designed to find the most promising country music talent in America, giving these performers a chance to launch their professional careers. Local winners advance to one of over 40 state contests where the prizes include $1,000 in cash and the opportunity to compete at one of the six regional Country Showdown contests in the fall. Winners at the regional level are flown expense-paid to the national final where they compete for the Grand Prize of $100,000 and the coveted national title.

The contest is open to vocal and/or instrumental performers, individuals or groups with up to seven members who have not performed on a record listed in the national record charts of Billboard, Radio and Records or the Gavin Report within 18months preceding local competition.

Entry forms are available by calling KWUF at 264-1400. Deadline for entry tapes/CDs is July 8, 2002. Y'all come.

Membership

We are delighted to welcome three new members this week and one truly demented renewal. We're happy to have even the demented ones, you know.

How nice to welcome Jose from Durango who brings us Tequila's Mexican Restaurant soon to open in a newly renovated location at 439 San Juan St. (formerly the Riverside Restaurant.) Tequila's also enjoys a Durango location, and is known far and wide for its authentic Mexican food. The restaurant will be open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11-11, and Sundays from 11-10. After opening, you will be able to call them at 264-9989. We are grateful to member Todd Shelton for recruiting these fine folks and will see to it that there is a little something extra in his stocking at Christmas.

Our old friends Henry and Sheila Ford join us next with Colorado Provision Company located at 482 Swiss Village Drive. Henry, Sheila and I graduated from the same high school in Fort Lauderdale and there just aren't too many people in Pagosa who graduated from Stranahan. The Colorado Provision Company offers crafts, delicious packaged gourmet foods and music. We're happy to welcome them and invite you to give them a call at 264-9038 for more information about Colorado Provision Company.

Our third new member this week is Cindy Plate who brings us Galles Fine Properties located at 468 Lewis St. Galles Fine Properties specializes in marketing distinctive sporting properties and estates around the world. Cindy invites you to give her a call at 264-6551 to learn more about how she can help you with acquiring distinctive properties.

Our demented renewal this week is none other than the Sir Laurence Olivier of Pagosa Springs, Lee Sterling. He was recruited by the Trowbridge's treasured Labrador Retriever, Winston, and I won't even begin to touch his description of services. Our sympathy, as always, goes out to Lee's wonderful wife, Patty. (As you all know very well, this is all in jest - truth be known, we love Lee more than life itself.)

Library News
Shortened hours for holiday weekend

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

Russell Crowley from the Archuleta County Civil Preparedness Office is bringing us daily printouts of information relating to the fire situation. Please feel free to come in and pick them up.

Short hours

The Library will be closed July 4, and will close at noon Saturday for carpet cleaning.

This column had to be in early to make the newspaper deadline so watch next week's column for summer reading prizewinners. There is still time to sign up for the program. Story times are at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and Fridays.

New books

"Sacred Rage, The Wrath of Militant Islam," by Robin Wright gives insight into the steady progression of extremism in the Islamic world over the past three decades.

"Internet Blue Pages: the Guide to Federal Government Web Sites," is a special reference guide since the federal government does not produce its own comprehensive list of government Web sites. And there are very few government search engines that will search all sites for occurrences of terms. The government is printing less and less important information for our edification, and unless one knows how and where to look for facts, one is left without access to important documents.

The book is organized in the manner of the U.S. Government Manual. The book is reference only but you are welcome to copy pages of Web sites. Also, you may obtain information on changes at www.fedweb.com.

Nancy McInerney ordered a number of xeriscape books to help us during this drought. "The Xeriscape Color Guide," by David Winger of the Denver Water Department, tells of 100 waterwise plants for landscaping. It is easy to read, with vividly illustrated charts showing the colors of flowers, fruit, bark and foliage during each season for the years. In addition, information is given concerning the plant's structure, its land use, as well as light and water requirements.

"Dry-Land Gardening: a Xeriscaping Guide for Dry-Summer, Cold-Winter Climates," by Jennifer Bennett, deals with invasive plants and trees under stress among other subjects.

"The Xeriscape Handbook: a How-To Guide to Natural Resource-wise Gardening," by Gayle Weinstein, offers a practical approach to maintaining a landscape in tune with the environment. Weinstein is a naturalist for the city and county of Denver. She also teaches at the University of Colorado at Denver. She is the cofounder of the Xeriscape Clinics at the Denver Water Department.

Who runs the country?

Someone brought us this explanation, author unknown: "The Wall Street Journal is read by people who run the country. The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country. The Washington Post is read by people who think they should run the country. USA Today is ready by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like their smog statistics shown in pie charts. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country if they could spare the time and didn't have to leave L.A. to do it. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and think they did a far superior job of it. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country or that anyone is running it, but in any case they oppose all that they stand for unless they are handicapped or Democrats. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores."

Stained glass

Don't forget to come by and see the Texas Glass Piece donated by Vicki Campbell, Billy White Evans' daughter. It is being raffled for the Civic Club.

Tickets are six for $50 or $1 each. A great gift for anyone with Texas ties.

Donations

Thanks for financial help from Ray and Doris Lattin in memory of Ray Macht.

Thanks for materials from J. Washburn, Denny Bell, Heather Sobczak, August Vanderbeek and Addie Greer. Thanks to Mel Cassidy for a subscription to Air and Space Magazine.