Front Page
July 18, 2002

Hospital district returns bail-out cash to foundation

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The money is back in the bank.

On Monday, the Upper San Juan Hospital District returned all of the $82,500 it received in a financial bailout from the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation in 2001.

The money was made available to the district through a $100,000 credit line in July 2001 when the board faced the possibility of cutting staff to stay afloat until voters had the chance to approve a tax levy increase in November. Over the next several months, as more accounting errors were uncovered, the district was forced to borrow a total of $82,500 to cover payroll and some operating expenses.

When the credit line was established, using the foundation's endowment as collateral, the money couldn't be offered as a loan because of TABOR restrictions. The district board promised a "best effort" attempt to return the funds anyway.

Now, the district has kept its promise - with one condition.

The money, all of it from tax revenues, will remain available to the district through the credit line until March of 2003.

In the past, District Manager Dee Jackson said at Tuesday's regular district board meeting, the bulk of the tax money would come in (three-fourths has already been collected for this year), accounts would look flush and the money would go out, leaving the district short at the end of the year.

"I wanted to put some away, but I didn't feel right opening a savings account when we owed $82,500 to the foundation," she said. Returning the money to the foundation while maintaining a safety net with the credit line was the solution.

Dick Babillis, hospital district board president, presented the proposal to the foundation board July 11, where "their answer ultimately was yes," he said.

Other areas of finances are also looking up, Jackson told the board, cautioning that the district is not out of the woods.

The Emergency Medical Services accounts payable - money owed to other people - has dropped from $60,000 to $16,000 over the last six months, according to Jackson and the financial statements presented to the board. In the same time period, accounts payable at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center dropped from around $83,000 to $52,000.

"The first of July I paid off a bunch of debt so next month our numbers will look even better," Jackson said.

Under EMS accounts receivable - money coming into the district - almost two-thirds of the more than $300,000 outstanding at the end of 2001 has been cleared, either collected or written off through the hard work of several staff members and at least one volunteer, Jackson said. Add in the 2002 billing still outstanding and the number bounces back up to around $300,000, because lag time between billing and receiving can be as much as six months, she noted. The good news is, because of improved billing practices, the amount of receivables is growing at a much slower rate than in previous years.

In other business, the board continues to work toward updating the personnel policy and procedures manual dated 1998, Jackson reported that several maintenance issues are being addressed at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center and a lost safety deposit box has been found.

The electrical generator, critical in the event of power outages like those threatened during recent wildfires, hadn't been tested since prior to Y2K plans in 1999, she said. A repair person has been hired on a trial basis to get it back on line and updated so that it can be tested once a month. The heating and air conditioning units were also in need of regular maintenance and it appears that some of the stucco on the exterior of the building is in need of repair.

"We're probably spending a lot more money on energy than we need to be," Jackson said.

Under the agenda item "other" she reported a recently-rediscovered safety deposit box at Citizens Bank the district had been paying for since 1982. It hadn't been accessed in 11 years. After locating the key, she discovered it held, not thousands of dollars as some might wish, but backup computer disks from 1991 and the title to a 1988 Chevrolet.

Russian students held on shoplifting charges

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A pair of Russian women visiting the United States on student visas were jailed July 15 in Pagosa Springs, each charged with seven counts of shoplifting.

The women, Anna Viktorovna Lopareva, 20, and Fatima Azretaliyvna Karayeva, 19, are accused of taking items from one end of downtown to the other over about an hour and a half Monday afternoon.

According to Pagosa Springs Police Department reports, the businesses hit included Satori Boutique, Summit Ski and Sports, Goodman's Department Store, Jackisch Pharmacy, Switchback Mountain Gear and Apparel, Pagosa Kid and Old Town Gifts. Merchandise totaling $537 has been reported missing.

The spree stopped when an employee at Pagosa Kid spotted one of the two women attempting to steal a shirt. She chased them to Florida and 7th streets where the women took off up a hill. Pagosa police officers caught up with them and arrested both. They remained in jail as of Tuesday morning.

Lopareva is being held on charges of seven counts of shoplifting and one count of harassment. Karayeva is being held on charges of seven counts of shoplifting. Both girls were employed as housekeepers at a local motel prior to the incident.

County, water district plan town meeting

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Neither Archuleta County commissioners nor members of the board of directors of Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District are sitting on their hands waiting for the next drought shoe to fall.

The boards met in joint session Monday, to discover how each other feels about the current situation, and to learn what the future may hold.

Their imprimatur was an open letter to members of both boards from Earl Hoover which was published July 3 in The SUN.

Commissioner Bill Downey, chairman of the county board, said Hoover's letter was a catalyst, but "many others in the community have been asking the same and similar questions.

"We thought it appropriate," he said, "that the boards most concerned, as Mr. Hoover indicated, get together and discuss the issues, talk about drought, and the water supply both now and in the years to come. Basically, we need to look at his questions, answer them as best we can, and determine what, if any action we can take to make sure we know the possibilities and what the answers are, if any."

One upshot of the discussion was that the boards agreed to a town meeting, hopefully in August, to let the public know exactly where things stand waterwise. Site and time are to be determined and announced later.

With County Manager Bill Steele moderating the session, participants agreed Hoover's questions were meaningful. "It is important for both boards to have the answers," he said.

First, with reference to planned growth at the inception of the Eaton International development now known as Pagosa Lakes, Carrie Campbell, general manager of the water district, said Eaton's "build-out population had been estimated at 10,000. As time went by, Eaton deeded water rights to the agency. We now have good water rights."

"Not to sound alarmist," said Downey, "but having more rights than water does little for the consumer. The concern is this year ... now. Personally, I anticipate a good winter, but I've been anticipating that for a number of years. We're running under 25 cubic feet per second in the San Juan River. That's not a lot. And if you have rights to 40, 60 or 100 cfs it makes little difference if the water's not there."

In answer to a Downey question, water district officials said they have contemplated several scenarios and the most realistic one, if the river should go dry, is that there will be sufficient storage to last until June 2003, without replenishment. That, too, is couched on going to Level 3 restrictions and on a dry-up date of Aug. 1.

"We think the likelihood is remote," Campbell said, "but we have been planning for a worst-case scenario."

Confirming the district will have to seek voter approval for new water bonds in the fall, Campbell said the funds will be used, if approved, mainly to address the need for more storage area and put the Dutton Ditch into pipeline.

At some time in the future, she said, "We'll have to have funds to raise the dam at Stevens Reservoir, but not during a drought. The lake level will have to be lowered to do the dam work and we won't consider that during a drought."

And, she said, "We'll also have to fix the pipeline for the town. The situation at Jackson Mountain is getting progressively worse. And the line, because of the problems there, cannot pump at its projected capacity."

Later in the session, during discussion about what would happen under Level 3 restriction, Campbell said if the rivers should go dry, "We could pump water back down from our storage areas, but the town would have to go to a highly restricted mode of usage. We could not provide the same level of service they have now."

Data on population density indicated the water district is now planning for service to a population of 14,733 in the year 2010. And in 10 years, at the current building level, the population in the district could reach 18,500.

Greg Comstock, county director of development, said his department sees a population increase of 5,000 to 6,000 in the next 10 years. But, if all the lots now extant within the district are developed, he said, "at 2.5 persons per household, there could easily be a 20,000 population in 10 years. It would behoove both boards to plan for peak usage."

Comstock, however, estimated population will range in the low area between 15,000 and 20,000 in the county in 10 years.

With reference to future service, county officials were asked if there could be a moratorium on development .

Commissioner Alden Ecker responded, "That's as political a question as you can get. I'd say 'yes' if you want to slow the economy down."

Downey said the board of commissioners has authority to enact a moratorium on new subdivisions and building permits. "The issue," he said, "is not legality but practicality."

"It is too large a question to answer in a definitive way," said Steele. "Five years down the line you might have a board which would agree to change. Any action taken now could be overturned."

"It's not a matter of wanting to," said Ecker, "but one of having to."

Gene Tautges, assistant manager of the water district, said that is one reason they are now requiring any new subdivisions to come in with water rights. "But if there is no water, rights make little difference. If everything went as planned, we could double the capacity of Stevens Lake, but again, that's down the line."

On the question of additional lake storage, water providers said they've looked at several sites, the most logical being on Martinez Creek. However, they said, the flow would be insufficient to justify the cost of building a dam.

On the issue of cloud seeding, representatives of both boards seemed confused by what is involved, what costs might be, and whether there is scientific certainty such efforts would work.

Citing Hoover's reference to 800 inches of snow at Wolf Creek following cloud seeding in the late 1970s, both sides agreed there have been years when similar or greater snowfall totals were recorded without seeding efforts.

"I don't like to keep sounding skeptical," Downey said, "but though many cite 'facts' about how it works, no one has proven it to me."

The water district's Bob Frye, a director, asked, "If it really works, why is there a drought? Why wouldn't the federal government have acted to prevent it?"

"It is a multi-faceted issue," said Steele, "one we can't resolve here."

Downey, however, wasn't finished. "Personally," he said, "I just don't see it as being effective. The cost is extremely high. Do we want to spend that kind of money with the risk factor involved?"

"It is controversial," agreed Frye. "And I'm sure it would lead to legal battles and more expense. It is not a panacea, but might be another tool in development of supply."

As far as deep well options are concerned, it seems few good wells have been developed locally. "Quality and quantity of potable water are rare," said Tautges.

"You need an aquifer and there is none here," said Frye.

"If you hit an underground river or stream you might get quantity, but there's a lot of iron content," added Tautges. "That would make cost excessive for treatment to make it ready for human consumption."

Tautges said the aim of his board is to stop all use of lake water once the additional San Juan diversion pump is in. "We want to preserve all the water we can to get us over the hump if the river goes dry. We feel we have 10 months storage capability with stringent restrictions on use. I think it's pretty remote. I think we'll get the rains we need to keep minimum service. But then, I'm an optimist," he said.

A roadwork orange descends on area

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The red, white and blue of the recent Fourth of July holiday has faded some from the roadways only to be replaced with orange. The signs are up and the Colorado Department of Transportation is here.

A revised construction schedule, dated July 16, shows concrete work starting in Pagosa Springs this week. That includes, among other things, work on the medians to support a traffic signal at North Pagosa Boulevard and U.S. 160 and construction of some sidewalk and curbs in the downtown area.

Patching on U.S. 160 on the 11-mile stretch set for repaving should start July 29 with the heater remix project to follow. The remix and resurfacing processes, planned to start near the entrance to Elk Park west of town and work east, will take two-lane sections of the highway down to one lane and cause some delays.

When finished, the project, estimated at $4 million, will include the resurfacing of U.S. 160 for 11 miles, a temporary signal at Piñon Causeway, a permanent traffic light at North Pagosa Boulevard, turn lanes at the elementary school and Great West Avenue on Put Hill, lighted crosswalks downtown and sidewalk, curb and gutter across from the junior high school above the old football field.

Heading east from Pagosa Springs, U.S. 160 remains open 24 hours a day over Wolf Creek Pass, at least for the time being. According to a state news release, the pass will remain open at night through Sunday. Crews have now begun to bore the west portal of the tunnel with explosives, but are able to keep one lane open because equipment and materials can be secured within the construction site.

However, travelers will still experience delays through early 2003. Daytime delays will normally range from 30-45 minutes or less Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Fridays, 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. A width restriction of 10 feet is in place.

West of the tunnel, road work continues 24-hours a day, seven days a week, on a rehabilitation and drainage improvement project. Single-lane alternating traffic is planned through mid-July. Delays of 15 minutes are possible.

Updated information regarding closures and delays can be found on the Web site at www.dot.state.co.us, on the Wolf Creek Pass Tunnel Project hotline (719) 873 -2221 and on CDOT's toll-free road condition hotline at (877) 315-ROAD.

Weather

Cross your fingers, chances of rain increase

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It looks like the rain's on the way.

That, of course, is just one man's opinion. He's Doug Baugh with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

His forecast for Pagosa Country sees the chance of rain in the area increasing to 30 percent or better today and Friday.

In fact, he said, the monsoon moisture is already in the air. Flash flood warnings have been issued in southeastern Utah, and what we might see in the next couple of days is residual rain from that storm.

In reality, he said, the high pressure system bringing that rain is centered over Wyoming and moving gradually into the plains states.

"That's what we want to see to fight a drought," he said.

"As the high moves out it creates a clockwise flow, drawing the gulf moisture directly over Colorado," he said. That is when the real monsoon rains will arrive.

In the past week, there has been some rainfall in the high country but only minimal amounts in town and all restrictions imposed by Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District are still in effect.

For the first time in weeks, the flow in the San Juan River in Pagosa Springs did not decrease, holding steady at 25 cubic feet per second. Russell Crowley, the county's emergency services director, said he sees that as a sign the high country rains are having at least minimal effect.

In fact, he said, "there was actually a flow increase at the Carracas measuring station downstream."

Still, lawns are dry, gardens going thirsty and fire danger remains extreme.

Baugh said the 30-percent chance of precipitation will hold through Friday with daytime highs 85-93 and nighttime lows in the 50-60 range.

In the Saturday through Tuesday period, late day storms and thunderstorms will be possible, Baugh said, with a chance heavy rains will fall near the beginning of the week if the front moves as the models indicate it will.

There is a great deal of moisture moving lower and lower in the region, Baugh said. "We have a lot of moisture not too far away in our future. Our biggest worry may be that it comes too quickly in the fire damaged areas, creating the possibility of more flash flooding because of increased runoff."

Carrie Campbell, general manager of Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District, said the scattered afternoon showers in the past week have helped some and said, "People have recognized the seriousness of the problem. There is a lot of cooperation in voluntarily limiting water usage."

Still, she said, "there are some exceptions, people who just 'have to' water, but there are relatively few."

The San Juan diversion line is still pumping 24 hours per day to upland storage areas and the usage figures have decreased, Campbell reported.

Precipitation in the period July 10-16 totaled .06 of an inch at the official observation station at Stevens Field. There were, however, heavier amounts reported on the lower Blanco and in the Wolf Creek-Born's Lake areas. While it may have seemed to some that more rain fell, the .06 measurement was actually a decrease from the .14 recorded the week before. The total for the month is still well below the longtime 1.67 inch average.

High temperatures during the week ranged from 84 to 91 with an average of 86. Lows were 47 to 56, an average of 52.

The highest temperature during the period, 91, was recorded Saturday. The low, 47, came Tuesday night. The lowest high temperature in the period was the 82 recorded Sunday.

 

 

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

7/10 85 52 - - -

7/11 84 53 R .06 .06

7/12 89 56 - - -

7/13 91 55 R T -

7/14 82 54 - - -

7/15 86 50 - - -

7/16 84 47 - - -

 

  Sports Page
Parks & Rec

Park Fun will welcome Forest Service speaker

By Junior Lister

SUN Columnist

Park Fun will be very busy the rest of the summer. Each Friday a special guest talks about their special field of expertise or a special hobby they enjoy. This day has been a highlight of our summer with kids learning about bees, horses, bears, fishing, river habitat and other great topics that we do not always pay attention to in our busy world.

Tomorrow's special guest is Sheila Salazar of the U.S. Forest Service.

Upcoming Friday activities include a trip to the hot springs and a soak, the county fair, and more activities to be reported in future articles.

We would like all parents to stop by and fill out our end-of-the-season survey, so we can start to wind down the program. The survey and sign-ups will determine when Park Fun will end. Tentative ending date, with 20 enrolled students, is Aug. 23.

Bicycle tour

The Bicycle Tour of Colorado will be in town July 22-23. Sign-in for participants will be at Pagosa Springs Middle School with pick-up at the high school.

Skate board park

Skate board park activity is high with four apparatus in place and being used. The Colorado Division of Transportation has graciously donated Jersey wall barrier to the park to help keep the park safe. This also serves as a barrier to keep the basketball court and the skate area separate.

Please skaters, be considerate of our park time, littering laws and, last but not least, our no smoking rules at the park.

With this facility being shared by so many, please be considerate of your fellow users and try to make their park experience as pleasurable as possible.

Special thanks

During the summer months we have called upon many sponsors for our youth baseball and special events.

This summer a special thank you goes out to Jace and Kelly Johnson of Liberty Theatre, JJ's Upstream and Ski and Bow Rack. These sponsors helped with prizes for our fishing derby, costume contest and the Fourth of July picnic. Thank you for donating the prizes and making these special events such a hit.

Park planning news

Julie Jesson and the park staff are putting together a bid package for the second phase of our raw water irrigation system that will service the softball fields and our future site for a new park that will include softball fields, a soccer field, a skate board area, and concession and bathroom facilities east of the high school football field.

We are also working on a request for a proposal to hire an architect to help design the new park that would tie into our Riverwalk and to our present facilities.

Youth baseball

The Bambino tournament is underway with four teams remaining: the Rookies All Stars, Rockies, A's and Indians. So far the Rookies All Star team that consists of all 9- and 10-year-old players has played some great baseball against older competition. Although an age difference exists, this team led by coach Tom Aiello has shown maturity in some difficult situations. All agree this group of young ball players is one to look for in future years.

All-stars

The Bambino All Stars Team has been selected and will compete in the Monte Vista Tournament this weekend. The roster includes Chris Lloyd, Jason Smith, Julian Caler, Andy Abresch, Nathan Trowbridge, Wes Walters, Stephen Schofield, Landon Bayger, Makai Zimmerman, Ryan Hujus, Isaiah Warren, Cole Kraetsch, Michael Henderson and Jarod Hansen.

Baseball clinic

Coach Tony Scarpa is conducting an instructional baseball clinic for ages 8 through 11. The clinic is held at the high school sports complex Friday evenings starting at 5:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending this program just show up at the ball fields ready to learn the latest techniques and play some baseball. The cost of the program is $30 and includes a T-shirt.

Soccer registration

Do not delay until the last minute to register for youth soccer. Registration forms can be filled out at Town Hall. Ages 5-12 are eligible. Last day for registration is Aug. 23. A coaches' soccer meeting will be held Aug. 20 beginning at 6 p.m. If you are interested and would like to learn more about this and other programs, please contact Chris at 264-4151 Ext. 232.

Baseball uniforms

If you have not yet turned in your uniform from baseball, please do so. Uniforms can be returned to Town Hall.

Grand opening

We are getting ready for the grand opening of the new Community Center with youth basketball games, and a ping pong tournament, so plan on attending and having a great time Aug. 10. If you have any suggestions please feel free to call Joe Lister Jr. at 264-4151 Ext. 231.

Put us on your calendar for Aug. 10; the day will also include a community picnic and music, with sporting activities sponsored by the town parks and recreation department.

  

Red Ryder Roundup rodeo winners split nearly $20,000

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The results are in and it's good news for a number of participants in the Red Ryder Rodeo during the recent holiday week competition.

The good news is that the winners shared a purse of nearly $20,000.

There was more good news for participants Rene Morgan and Jeff Frizzell. They were named top cowgirl and cowboy, respectively.

The breakdown, with event, participant in order of finish and amount of winnings in sequence, shows:

Bareback bronc riding - Steve Cordova, $530; Larry Bolinger, $414; Kenny McOsker, $298; Bronson Burbach, $199; J.D. Goriner, Stetson Herrera and Richard Slaughter, $71 each.

Open calf roping - Mike Hadley, $532; Dusty Yancey, $441; Greg Dutton, $349; Chris Anderson, $257; Steve Sanders and Sean Dawson, $128 each.

Incentive calf roping - Steve Sanders, $237; J.R. Peek, $177; and Jim Coppinger, $123.

Breakaway - Rene Morgan, $609; Erin Homm, $504; Marci Alderman, $399; Teresa Bilyeu, $294; Brandi Hathcock, $189; and Germaine Day, $105.

Steer wrestling - Kyle Smith, $575; Jeff Frizzell, $431; Kent Hall, $287; and Dennis Garcia, $143.

Saddle bronc - Andy Cordova, $548; Jay Harrison and Will Cline, $368 each; Brandon Biebelle, $205; Scott Stephens, $137; and J.J. Sanchez, $85.

Open barrel race - Mary Ray, $455; Terri Simons, $355; Sandra Suazo, $256; Christine Menegatti, $170; Lauren Arnold, $113; and Kathy Hadley, $71.

Incentive barrel race - Jennifer Hine, $303; Katie Cundiff, $237; Missy Crowder, $170; Leigh Ann Billingsley, $113; Becky Cugnini, $75; and Nicky Freese, $47.

Kids barrel race - Julia Thomson, $263; Karly Benzie, $197; Ariel Roberts, $131; and Charmaine Talbot, $65.

Open Team Roping - Michael Snooks/Wade Masters, $967; Tim McCree/Lance Taylor, $644; Kyle Roberts/Chip Roberts, $510; Ross Gosney/Trinity Jacobs, $376; Corky McIntyre/Rick McIntyre, $188.

Incentive team roping - Tim McCree/Lance Taylor, $659; Kyle Roberts/Chip Roberts, $494; Corky McIntyre/Rick McIntyre, $329; Duane Shahan/Phillip Valdez, $164.

Scrambled egg team roping - Trudy Kremer/Michael Snooks, $678; Billy Townsend/Duane Cugnini, $508; Lisa Campbell/Lo Snyder, $339; Teresa Brivik/Calvin Brivik, $169.

Bull riding - Brandon Pearson, $901; Bo Vocu, $704; Josh Nunn, $507; Billy Terrazas, $338; Rocky Velarde, $225; and Daniel Mendell, $140.

 

MLS soccer camps scheduled Aug. 5-9

Major League Soccer Camps comes to Pagosa Springs next month offering five days of summer camp activity that is as much about learning for the child as it is about fun.

MLS Camps is an official operation of Major League Soccer.

MLS coaches help participating children become rising stars themselves. The Pagosa Sting Soccer Club is hosting the Major League Soccer camp at Golden Peaks Stadium Aug. 5-9.

Camp programs, by age group, are for children 5-6, 9-10:30 a.m. at a cost of $66; ages 7-11, 9 a.m.-noon at a cost of $106; and ages 12-18, 5-8 p.m. at a cost of $106.

Each camper will receive an individual player evaluation, an MLS gift, T-shirt, soccer ball, and a free companion ticket to an MLS game. After the weeklong program, all players will take part in an end-of-camp stadium graduation ceremony. Parents and coaches may also attend a free MLS coaching clinic during the week.

2002 kicks off MLS Camp's Summer of Rising Stars, where campers can learn the secret moves and techniques of MLS's own rising young talent. All participants will experience a new and improved curriculum and be part of more exhilarating games and activities than ever before.

A team of international coaches fully trained in the age-specific needs of young soccer players and experts in soccer skills and techniques will share their expertise with players in the camp program.

This is the year of the World Cup and gives youngsters an opportunity to become part of the exciting world of soccer.

For more information regarding camp times location and prices, call Lindsey Kurt-Mason at 731-2458 or register online at www.MLScamps.com.

Obituaries
Mildred Davis

Graveside services were held for Mildred "Floydene" Davis in Bayfield July 6, 2002, with the Rev. James Conley officiating.

"Floydene" was born in LaVeta, Colo., on Dec. 3, 1928, to Floyd and Marlene Denton. She spent her early childhood in LaVeta and Walsenburg. She later moved to Bayfield where she graduated from high school in 1946.

She married Raymond R. Davis in Terra Amarilla, N.M., on March 9, 1946. After this time she lived in Bayfield, Monte Vista and Wikieup, Ariz., moving to Delta, Colo., in December, 2000, where she was residing at the time of her death. She enjoyed her family, crocheting and reading.

Floydene was preceded in death by a daughter, Raedene Kay Davis, and her parents.

She is survived by her husband, Raymond R. Davis of Delta; son, Tommy Davis of Ignacio; one daughter, Paula Ralstrom of Delta; one brother, Paul Denton of Phoenix, Ariz.; and one sister, Betty Farrow of Chimney Rock. Also surviving are nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; also, a host of friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Bayfield Public Library, P.O. Box 227, Bayfield, CO 81127.

Linda and Jessalyn Kelly

Linda Gail Kelly and Jessalyn Taylor Kelly, residents of Pagosa Springs, died Tuesday, July 9, 2002. Linda was 54, Jessalyn was almost 5 years old. Linda was born in Glendale, Calif., in 1948, Jessalyn was born on July 29, 1997 in Murrieta, Calif. Jessalyn loved horses, baby dolls, Barbies, riding the 4-Wheeler, playing with bugs and makeup. Linda was a local dietitian.

They are survived by Jennifer Kelly, daughter to Linda and mother to Jessalyn; Matthew Kelly, grandson to Linda and brother to Jessalyn; Edward F. Iske, great-grandfather to Jessalyn and father to Linda; Richard Kelly, grandfather to Jessalyn; Lorraine Kelly, grandmother to Jessalyn; and Chris, Brian, Michael and Daniel Kelly, uncles to Jessalyn and sons of Linda.

A private family visitation was held Friday, July 12, 8:30 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Funeral Home.

Funeral services were held on July 13 at the First Baptist Church. Pastor Dan Sanders conducted the services.

Judson Thiele

Judson Thiele was born Dec. 18, 1910 to Fredrick and Caroline Thiele in St. Louis, Mo. He died peacefully at his home in Allison on July 9, 2002.

In 1933, Jud married Elizabeth Mirts, and from this marriage three children were born: Judith, Fred and Carol.

Jud and Elizabeth worked hard and saved enough money to purchase Pagosa Springs Independent Telephone Exchange. Jud serviced the Archuleta County residents. He changed the lines to private party and brought the first dial telephones to the county.

Jud belonged to the Lions Club and served on many boards and community projects. In 1956 he suffered a heart attack and was forced to sell the exchange and move to the ranch at Allison. The Thieles also bought a home in Tempe, Ariz., so the children could attend college at Arizona State University.

He planted a fruit orchard and slowly regained his health. Many people knew Jud as "The Peach Man." His pride and joy was his orchard and the fruit he grew. For almost 40 years he entered the Archuleta County Fair and won the Grand Champion award in fruits.

Jud is survived by his wife of 69 years, Elizabeth, at the home in Allison; son Fred and his wife, Katrina, of Gilbert, Ariz.; daughter and son-in-law Judi and Clifford Smart of St. Louis; daughter, Carol, of Allison; sister, Marge Hylton of St. Louis; two granddaughters, Kelly West and Elizabeth Smart, and a great-grandson, Royal.

There will be a private service for the family. Contributions may be made to the Allison-Ignacio Emergency Medical Personnel, P.O. Box 371, Ignacio, CO, 81137.

Josie Valdez

Josie Valdez was born Aug., 31, 1923, in Lumberton, N.M., to Eloy and Violeta Martinez. On Nov. 4, 1941, she married Joe Mave Valdez.

In November, 1942, she was left behind with a month-old baby, Arthur, when Mave was called to World War II. When he returned three years later, they resumed their lives and had 61 years together.

Josie was faithful always to the Lord. She enjoyed being a wife and mother to her two children, Arthur, and Marcia. And, when her grandchildren came along, she loved each one of them with all her heart. Josie loved to sew, crochet, embroider, beadwork and all other crafts. She also loved visiting with her friends and family.

Josie, who died in her Pagosa Springs home on July 8, 2002, was preceded in death by her parents, Eloy and Violetta, and her brothers, Eloy and Delfin Martinez.

Survivors are her beloved husband, Mave Valdez; her son and daughter-in-law, Arthur and Dorothy Valdez; daughter and son-in-law, Marcia and Richard Garcia of Pagosa Springs; sister and brother-in-law, Dora and Ruben Jaramillo of Price, Utah; brother and sister-in-law, Joe Dean and Lucy Martinez; brother and sister-in-law John O. and Rosalie Martinez of Pagosa Springs; grandchildren Beatrice and Rocky Quintana of Wichita, Kan., Lawrence and Mary Valdez of Tyler, Texas, Shanda and Mike House of Allison, Leon Valdez of Allison, and Misha Garcia and Troy, Daniel and Mike Valdez of Pagosa Springs; great-grandchildren Brittany, Justin, Jessie and Sara Nicole of Tyler, Texas, Felicia and Nicholas Quintana of Wichita, Kan., Junior House of Allison, and Ruger Valdez of Pagosa Springs.

 Inside The Sun

4-H Chuck Wagon dinner set Aug. 3 during county fair

By Mary Nickels

Special to The PREVIEW

Hitch those wagons, bring an appetite and c'mon down to the fair. The annual 4-H Chuck Wagon Dinner is just around the bend.

Pagosa's very own Texas Lone Star BBQ will cook the meat and slice it hot on-site to bring diners the freshest, tastiest brisket possible. The meal will also include beans, cole slaw, rolls, baked potatoes and a delicious dessert.

Serving time will be extended from 4:30-7:30 p.m. to accommodate early and late diners. To serve guests more efficiently, a double line will be used, effectively reducing the wait.

The Chuck Wagon Dinner is 4-H's largest yearly fund-raiser with the money raised used to defray the costs of a variety of events attended by our local 4-H members, including conferences, camps and leadership training programs. All these programs provide tremendous opportunities for Pagosa's 4-H youngsters to learn significant life skills, build character and confidence and to be a part of the larger statewide 4-H family.

Without the efforts and support of this wonderful community on behalf of our children, these possibilities would cease to exist.

As Pagosa's 4-H kids begin to sell their Chuck Wagon tickets, please consider supporting their efforts and join in a night under the tent, Aug. 3 at the fairgrounds.

'Meet Me in St. Louis' director has performance background

By John Graves

Special to The PREVIEW

These people make it happen!

The Music Boosters board of directors decides that its next production will be "Meet Me In St. Louis," selects the dates for the performances, and designates a director. From there on, it's in the hands of a dedicated group that turns the expectations of the board and the vision of the musical's creators into six performances at the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium.

The one person who has the final say about everything - the actors, sets, costumes, music, choreography, sound and lighting is the director, Oteka Bernard. (If you're from any of the states listed below, you might remember her by her maiden name, Oteka Ball.)

She's eminently qualified for this daunting task, with a background of training and performance that includes acting, singing, and dancing in over 25 theater productions. These range from The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in California to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia, by way of additional theatrical companies in Oregon, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and North Carolina.

Her many films and commercials have included roles in productions for Turner Broadcasting, The Learning Channel, and The Family Channel, as well as a training film for the U.S. Air Force. And, while in Williamsburg, her credits were expanded into directing and choreographing.

In a musical, the actors not only have to sing, but that singing must be coordinated with the orchestra, the movements on stage, and often with the voices of other cast members and the chorus. This requires extensive, painstaking rehearsals.

Sue Anderson, former music teacher in the Pagosa Springs Middle School, has put in countless volunteer hours supervising all the aspects of this demanding musical challenge: rehearsing the orchestra, conducting the singers and chorus, and providing all the piano accompaniment required by this demanding musical score.

Next week we'll meet the motivated experts in the world of nuts and bolts - in this case, sets, costumes, lights, and sound - and the stage manager, who makes sure that everything and everyone is in the right place at the right time.

Reserved seat tickets for "Meet Me In St. Louis" will be available the last week in July at The Plaid Pony (731-5262) and Moonlight Books (264-5666) at $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors with a Senior Center Card.

The show plays at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium Aug. 16, 17, 22, 23 and 24. On Sunday, Aug. 18, there will be a matinee performance at 2 p.m.

 

Navajo State Park running strong despite drought

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Yes, the boat dock is still underwater at Navajo State Park near Arboles. Yes, there's still plenty of water to fish. And, yes, renovation and new construction at the park are almost complete.

Park manager John Weiss said it's time to stop the rumors. The lake has dropped about 50 feet, but the boat ramp extends to 100 feet. It's in the water and serving boatloads of visitors, including a record number July 6. Weiss said on that particular Saturday, he counted 250 boats. Another 350 hit the water on the New Mexico side.

It was a nice turnaround after a slow month in June, he added. The heavy smoke and wildfires meant about a 12-percent drop in attendance for that month. However, a flurry of construction has paved the way for some higher-priced, improved campgrounds, and revenues are holding their own against 2001.

Since July of 2000, the park has received a major overhaul including: a new visitor's center, seven remote area restrooms, three restroom and shower facilities, paved parking lots, two group picnic areas, a fish-cleaning station, two additional full-time employees and the addition of two new campgrounds.

And that's not all folks. Contractors are currently working on overhauling a third campground, building a handicapped-accessible fishing and picnic area north of the park on Colo. 151 and constructing a hiking and biking trail from Windsurf beach to the Watchable Wildlife Overlook on the Piedra River.

"We started with $7 million. We've spent $6 million, and it'll probably cost close to $8 million when we're done," Weiss said. He's also been given the go-ahead to hire one more maintenance person to help deal with the 11 or more new buildings that have gone up as part of the renovation.

"Duct tape, baling wire and a hammer, that's about what you needed before," Weiss said. Now, even some of the toilets are electric, computers run other equipment and people can pay for camping sites at a credit card machine just beyond the visitors center.

Right now, four campgrounds are open for visitors: two, Rosa and Carracas, in the main Navajo State Park area near the boat ramp, and two remote campgrounds at Windsurf Beach and Arboles Point.

Rosa, which opened in May of 2001, offers 47 camping spots with water, sewer and electrical hookups. For full-time RVers, Weiss said, who may even have washers and dryers on board, it's been very popular.

Carracas, which opened in May of this year with 41 camping pads, including an accessible tent site, offers only electric hookups. Tiffany, the third and final campground located in the main park area, will be the most primitive. Originally, Tiffany boasted 70 campground sites with trailers and people stacked on top of each other and tenting near cliffs overlooking the water.

When construction is complete, 30 sites and up to six one-bedroom, one-bathroom cabins will be open to visitors. Sites have been pulled back from the cliffs above the water. Instead, those areas will be used as open space, Weiss said.

Accessibility has been a theme the whole way through, he added. Besides the accessible tent site and accessible fishing platform, construction has made restrooms and several camper pads completely accessible so that everyone can enjoy the area.

The total project is part of an overall plan to renovate all five Colorado parks owned by the Bureau of Reclamation, including Crawford, Vega, Navajo, Rifle Gap and Paonia. At Navajo, the Bureau is putting up 50 percent of the cost. The other 50 percent is coming from the Division of Wildlife, Greater Outdoor Colorado grants and lottery funds.

Planning started 10 years ago, Weiss said. He's still anticipating completion, dealing with contractors and waiting for the last shipments of supplies, but an end is in sight. Everything, down to the last nail, should be in place by the fall, ready for visitors in summer 2003. Weiss is hoping numbers even this year, two-thirds of the way through, will top the 240,000 people who traveled to Navajo in 2001.

 

Community Plan in use, but has no enforcement back-up

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Community Plan. The county's guide for growth and development. Is it a flourishing flower or a fading flop?

Crafted with seemingly painstaking care to include the wishes of the entire community, the plan was adopted by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission March 28, 2001, and endorsed by the county commissioners about two months later on May 23.

How did the plan go about obtaining community support? Its developers worked over a span of at least two years, staffed at least three advisory committees with local citizens, sponsored two professional surveys, and conducted at least 24 public meetings. Several hundred people were involved in its development.

The purpose of the plan may best be defined by its vision statement adopted early on as it was being developed. That statement reads:

"Archuleta County should retain its outstanding scenic and natural qualities while providing quality employment, housing, education, and recreation to its residents. Tourism, recreation, and agriculture will remain major segments of the economy, but attempts will be made to diversify and encourage other types of economic development. The majority of youth should be able to have a career and eventually raise a family without being forced to leave. A healthy and vibrant community will continue to evolve and the rural character and small town atmosphere will be preserved."

From the beginning it has been understood that the plan is essentially a description of the goals of the community, a guidance tool. Not meant to be a law, the plan has no enforcement definitions or teeth.

When the plan was adopted, its developers intended that enforcement rules be added in order to make the community dream a reality.

And so, 15 months after its adoption how is the plan faring?

"We're using it to look at almost everything that comes to us," said Greg Comstock, director of county development. "We use it for small projects, limited impact subdivisions, subdivisions, and conditional use permits."

The plan helps county planning staff determine if a proposal passes muster, Comstock said, by testing the proposal's compatibility with existing neighborhood practices, and by describing certain common standards for specific kinds of development such as density, the availability of utilities and other issues. Comstock was not employed by the county at the time the plan was developed and adopted.

As to the second thrust of the plan, the adoption of enabling legislation, the county commissioners have not acted.

On two relatively minor issues, the planning commission and county planning staff have forged ahead. Enforcement rules for regulating lighting have been approved by the commission, but not by the county commissioners. Rules governing signs have almost reached the same level of development.

At a recent joint meeting of the county commissioners, county planning staff, and members of the planning commission, both the planning staff and the planning commission asked the county commissioners for guidance. No answer was forthcoming.

More than once over the past year, staff and the planning commission have attempted to gain direction from the county commissioners on a major, some say the major, planning issue facing Archuleta County. What should be done about land use controls, more commonly referred to as zoning.

So far, the commissioners have not addressed the issue.

How do community members who worked hard to develop the plan react to the passage of 15 months without adoption of any regulations to implement it?

Lynn Constan, who chairs the planning commission and Bob Lynch, vice chairman of the same board, feel implementation of the plan has been slow, too slow. Both have been involved with the plan from its inception.

"We're working on two small legs of the plan," said Constan, herself a professional planner. "Not a lot is being done in a larger sense to implement the larger issues contained in the plan. I would like things to move faster. I don't know why we haven't moved ahead."

Lynch is more emphatic.

"We conducted a lot of public meetings in all parts of the county," he said. "There has been a lot of rewriting, and editing. I felt good about the plan when it was adopted, felt we had a good faith document to help us make good decisions concerning the community's future.

"Since adoption, things have moved so slow," Lynch added. "There has been no leadership from the commissioners. There is a great risk that nothing will ever be implemented. I'm afraid if we go another year doing nothing, the whole thing will die."

(Next week we will try to determine if the Community Plan represents community consensus, and, if they haven't pushed work on the Community Plan, what have the commissioners charged planning staff with accomplishing?)

It's just down the road, but the road may be missing

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

You know where you live, but does anyone else?

If there were an emergency at your home would the emergency personnel responding to your 9-1-1 call know where to go?

For the most part, the answer would be yes.

But for those who might live on one of 120 roads or streets in the county, it might be a resounding "No."

That's because those thoroughfares don't exist on county maps, not even on the ones prepared under contract for the county by Landmark Services using satellite mapping techniques.

It was that message from Marcus Baker, associate county planner, that had Archuleta County commissioners scratching their heads Tuesday.

How can that be? How does one lose 120 roadways?

The answers are as many as you can dream. Some appear on the county assessor's list, some don't. Some appear nowhere, but aerial photography proves they are there.

Baker told commissioners these roadways need to be added to the county maps, but the question is how and when?

Some of the thoroughfares missing are not exactly unknown. Several in the Town of Pagosa Springs, for example, are fairly evident: 14th Street, 15th Street, 15th Place are a few. Then, there's Durango Street, Goldmine Drive (Circle T Lumber will be surprised its frontage street is missing), Loma Street, North 8th Street, and perhaps most notable of all, Rob Snow Road, on which county crews only recently did extensive work.

There are some unusual names listed, too.

Places like Nohuntum Place, Run Around Place and Run Around Road, Warbler Court and Turkey Lane and Summit Swing.

After hearing Baker's presentation, commissioners agreed to a planning department request for overtime pay for Baker to complete a hand-digitalized insertion of the missing roads using aerial photographs to overlay existing maps and make the route corrections.

Authorized was up to 20 hours overtime at a total cost not to exceed $500.

In the meantime, 9-1-1 calls from all the streets on the map might not get prompt response without additional tracking data supplied by callers.

In the future, Baker told the board, his department hopes to secure a hand-held global positioning instrument which will automatically record new streets in the field and add them to county maps.

That may be way in the future, however.

Commissioner Bill Downey said cuts will be forced in many departments and requests for such instruments could be among the first to go. In the meantime, he said, "get us as up to date as you can."

Loma Linda panels seek help for unfinished roads

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Presidents of the Loma Linda Metropolitan District and the subdivision's homeowners association jointly asked Archuleta County commissioners Tuesday to use an estimated $4,450 in road completion escrow funds to bring portions of three streets up to minimum standards.

The unfinished roads they cited are La Tierra Court, Conifer Drive and a portion of Buck Drive including 8-Mile Loop.

And, they asked the county to provide the manpower and equipment and the balance of the cost for the project.

County Manager Bill Steele said the road completion funds were set aside initially but Fred Schmidt, of Loma Linda LLC, has repeatedly refused to do that work and has instead suggested the funds be used for other purposes, including a water main that would make such service available to more lots.

Loma Linda representatives pleaded with commissioners not to release the funds to Schmidt.

Materials alone for the project envisioned, would run in excess of $10,000 said Jerry Zepnick of the metro district. "Each of these roads have people living on them now and they are nearly impassable," he said.

Steele said streets in question are "barely base only, much less than county standard, with no gravel at all."

"We've been sitting on this long enough, just waiting for something to happen," said Dick Neyen, homeowner's association president.

Both subdivision representatives said their groups have posted signs warning people not to buy in areas served by these roads or on other roads not yet completed. "The warnings are out," said Zepnick. "Some of the older residents could not have anticipated this situation but newcomers must be made aware of what's happening."

Asked by Commissioner Bill Downey if he could foresee the day the metro district could pay back the county for services rendered, Zepnick said, "We're just a new group. It would take at least four or five years for us to accrue enough income to begin payback."

Downey said he was in favor of releasing the escrow funds to the metro unit, and agreed Schmidt should not get the funds for his own purposes.

Steele said there has been verbal commitment from Schmidt, but commissioners want that in writing.

Commissioner Gene Crabtree suggested the board, before taking any action, direct counsel to write to Schmidt and for Steele to follow it up with verbal contact before next week's board meeting.

In the meantime, Loma Linda representatives are to contact property owners involved to see if they would be willing to contribute to a road improvement fund.

All are expected back with at least preliminary answers next week.

Keep your eye on the Oxeye Daisy; forget the Bull Thistle

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The Oxeye Daisy is on, the Bull Thistle off.

On the recommendation of the Upper San Juan Weed Advisory Board, Archuleta County commissioners agreed Tuesday to make those changes in the county's noxious weed list.

Frank Ratliff, weed and pest director for the advisory group, said the thistle removed had been concentrated in just two areas of the county and has become less and less a problem.

The Oxeye, however, is increasing statewide and "exploding in Archuleta County. It chokes out native plants and seems to crawl along ditch lines where it infests our meadows."

In two years, said Ratliff, "It has become one of the most persistent weeds we've encountered."

The changes were accepted unanimously.

Ratliff also said the weed control program has received some opposition from landowners who feel "we missed a weed or two and refuse to pay for the chemicals used."

Commissioner Bill Downey, board chairman, said property owners have the responsibility to control their own weeds. "We provide a service. They may want to hire a private contractor. They can use someone else if they want, but they must control their own weeds and keep them from spreading to neighboring properties."

Bill Nobles, county extension agent was in the audience and said the county has the right to place a lien on property to force removal.

In other action Tuesday, commissioners:

- approved a planning department recommendation for a conditional use permit allowing the six-phase Saddle Mountain townhome project at Lakeside Drive and North Pagosa Boulevard. Included are six four-unit structures, with each structure being one phase of the overall project. Each structure will include 1 1/2 story units with ground floors of each having approximately 6,897 square feet. Approval is subject to signed approval by a neighboring property owner for minor encroachment on his property

- approved two hold-harmless agreements with Gary Wegger, owner of property adjacent to the county fairgrounds, in which use of his land will be allowed for county fair parking and for fire evacuation parking if necessitated at some time in the future by a county wildfire

- approved payment of $5,000 for the county's share of the total cost of a multi-county suit against the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, noting the sum was the total obligated by the county and that any additional costs will be borne by La Plata and Las Animas counties

- approved a request by Nobles to spend up to $2,000 for new chairs for use in events at the fairgrounds. Nobles said at least half of the existing chairs are worn out, uncomfortable or could lead to injury. The $2,000 will cover cost of about 100 new chairs. Tables, he said, won't be an issue for several years

- postponed indefinitely a joint session originally planned yesterday with the planning staff to discuss the Community Plan. Steele said the delay was necessitated by absence of Greg Comstock, director of county development

- delayed for a week acceptance of a resignation from and consideration of an appointment to the noxious weed advisory board.

 Forest closure reduced

A major victory in the battle to contain the Missionary Ridge fire was recorded at 6 a.m. Wednesday, when firefighters completed containment of the blaze.

The result is a reduction of the closure area, effectively removing that portion of the forest north of U.S. 160 from Turkey Springs Road west to First Notch Road from the closure area.

The area still closed, basically San Juan National Forest lands between Durango and Bayfield on the north side of U.S. 160, is being barred to public entry for health and safety reasons during continuing fire suppression and rehabilitation efforts.

Violations of the closure are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a corporation and/or up to six months in jail.

Exempted from the closure order are federal, state and local officials or members of an organized rescue or firefighting force in performance of official duty; resident owners or lessees of lands or interests therein; and persons with a permit specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited entry.

Campgrounds within the area which remain closed are Florida/Transfer Park, Graham Creek, Middle Mountain, Miller Creek, North Canyon, Old Timers, Pine Point, Pine River and Vallecito.

 

County building architectural bids received; action tabled

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A five-member review committee named by Archuleta County commissioners to oversee planning for a proposed county administration building on Hot Springs Boulevard made its first recommendations Tuesday.

With Bill Steele, county manager, as spokesman, the committee recommended employing R. Michael Bell and Associates of Durango to do preliminary architectural work on the facility.

The firm was one of six interviewed by the committee and one of the two finalists selected. The other was Blythe Design of Grand Junction, the low bidder at $25,700. The Pagosa Team was next at $25,900, and Bell next at $31,000.

Steele said the screening panel evaluated each firm on the basis of background in competing similar projects, reputation for meeting schedules and deadlines, familiarity with county ordinances and responsiveness exhibited.

Each bidder was given a numerical score in each category, Steele said. In the interviews of the finalists, a set of questions was designed that would give each equal opportunity to answer and one hour was devoted to each. A July 11 letter from The Pagosa Team, requesting an interview, was rejected.

After Steele's presentation, Commissioner Bill Downey, the board chairman, asked for the subject to be tabled for a week "to allow us to see the score sheets, cost comparisons and written narrative of the selection process."

Commissioner Gene Crabtree was initially opposed to the delay. "We named this panel to advise us," he said. "The county administrator is satisfied with it. We take recommendations from the planning department, so I don't see why we can't accept one from our own administrator."

Downey said it is just a case of "wanting the data in front of me when I make a decision, getting it in writing so I can study it ahead of time."

Crabtree then agreed, as did Commissioner Alden Ecker.

In conjunction with the same project, Steele said he intended to seek bids on geophysical soil testing at the proposed construction site and wondered if he should use the board-designated engineers for county projects or go out for bids from specialists.

After the board decided it would like initial proposals from the three designated engineers, Steele said he'd send out a request asking for base figures to work from but not committing to any actual work.

Crabtree said the work is an absolute necessity. "There's no sense in planning architecture until we know exactly what we have there in terms of soil structure and sub-strata containment," he said.

Steele said he can have the architectural data for next week's meeting, but the soil testing proposals may take an additional week.

On a separate subject, Steele was advised to ask the designated engineers for recommendations on the best way to proceed with securing sewer service for the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.

That action came after he had outlined two possible routes for a sewer service line, and indicated there are probably other alternatives.

The first alternate he suggested would follow U.S. 84 to the intersection with U.S. 160 and would require at least one lift station along the route. It is the shortest route, he said, but the problem comes at the 160 intersection where the main sewer line is on the opposite side of the road and would require boring under 160 for connection.

The second alternative, requested by the owners of the proposed development northeast of the 84-160 intersection, would utilize larger capacity lines to allow service to both the fairgrounds and the residential-commercial development. That line would intercept the main sewer east of the 160 cross-under and eliminate the need for boring.

In the end, commissioners told Steele to contact all three engineers for proposals.

 

Sales taxes still higher than last year, but edge narrows

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The margin is decreasing as the national economy continues to free-fall, but sales tax income through April in Archuleta County is still up 1.86 percent over the same period last year.

That fact cropped up in Tuesday's report to the Archuleta Board of County Commissioners by Cathie Wilson, finance director.

"It is a major concern," she said. "The increase is the lowest for the time period in years. Luckily, in light of Sept. 11 last year, we budgeted for only a 1-percent increase."

There may be a discrepancy in the data, however. Board secretary Cathy Holthus said she had received different figures from the state, indicating tax income is actually up nearly 4 percent.

The two said they would compare data and come up with a more accurate report for commissioners, if necessary.

Wilson's data indicated January tax income this year of $179,917 compared to $218,804 in January 2001. February, March and April figures for this year were all up slightly from the previous year: February at $176,452 compared to $156,932; March at $224,713 compared to $194,614 and April at $175,294 compared to $172,241. Year-to-date totals for the first four months are $756,378 this year and $742,592 last year.

The highest monthly figure recorded in the last four years was in September 2001, when returns totaled just over $275,000; the lowest in January 1999, at exactly $100,000.

"We'll watch the returns closely for the next three months," said Wilson. "Who knows, it may go up 4 percent for June. But we need current, factual data when budget time arrives and this is one of the key elements."

Letters
Feed the bears

Dear Editor:

This being the worst drought year in history and the berry crop a disaster I don't think feeding the starving bears this one year is going to change the bears forever. It's tough out there in those woods. It's okay to bait bears for hunting but not to keep them from starving?

I see we have allowed our elk to be domesticated behind elk fences on U.S. 160 blocking the migration route south through Hall Canyon and increasing the danger of "wasting disease."

Nobody is yelling about that or the trash dump in the canyon, but keeping the bears from starving is a bad thing? Of course this is coming from people who wear "Roadkill" T-shirts and drive 70 miles per hour on 160.

It's a good thing to feed the bears this drought year so we can have them around in the future. All the springs have dried up in my valley. I am feeding and watering some families of birds. Should I not do this and let the young die and the birds be forced to leave? I'll feed the birds.

Feed the bears or the bears will feed on us in one way or another.

Ron Alexander

The little things

Dear Editor:

Tuesday, July 9, 2002, at about 5:30 p.m., a minor "happening" occurred in downtown Pagosa Springs.

My two sisters in Illinois (Pat and Vic) have been worried about the fires in the area. Since we have a weather camera on top of the county courthouse that takes a picture of downtown Pagosa every half-hour, Pat checks the Internet every afternoon to make sure we are all okay. She asked me to stand out there and wave to her.

So, a group of friends and I stood on the curb across from the camera with signs saying "Hi Pat + Vic" in very large letters. We had pre-arranged the time, so both sisters saw the scene on the Pagosa Springs Sun Web site, although they didn't know there would be a crowd holding up signs.

Vic's comment was, "really cool!"

Pat's was "so neat ... thrilled ... the neatest thing I ever saw ... tell everyone that was there." She later e-mailed me this message: "When I saw 'Hi Pat and Vic' I clapped like a little kid, the cat thought I had flipped my lid when I squealed, 'Oh no, look at that' ... everyone was so small I couldn't make out who was who, but seeing you guys there was so very thrilling and great ... boy that was fun."

The group of us definitely wondered what all the motorists were thinking as they drove by and stared at us, but I want you all to know it was worth it. Sometimes it's the little things in life that mean the most, so I want to thank everyone who graciously helped me with my "happening."

To quote my sister ... "really cool."

Sandy Applegate

Mistaken identity

Dear Editor,

My last letter to you, in April, was on the topic of caucuses, so Ron Alexander might review his sources before misappropriating blame. While I'm sure his "right-wing conservative" label to my name probably brought quite a few chuckles around here from those who know my views are predominantly moderate, I want everyone else to know, this is a case of mistaken identity.

Ron's letter shakes his finger at "right-wing conservatives" saying, "Blaming environmentalists (for wildfires) is scapegoating at its worst, and shame on you." Does it occur to Ron he is blaming the right-wing conservatives?

Since Ron has brought me into this debate, I'll use this opportunity to suggest there are great truths on both sides of most polarized issues. How likely is it the forest management issue will find satisfactory or meaningful resolution to either side until everyone willingly agrees to sit down at one table with a modicum of civility and have a rational discussion?

I believe the key to this is in framing the issue into a question everyone agrees addresses the problem; something like, "How can we best manage our great forest to reduce the potential for devastating wildfires?" By finding common ground first, we can more productively venture out to the left and right and adapt and adopt the great truths that may reside on the fringes.

Now there's a view most people associate with me, for I've spent the last five years advocating this approach to resolving our lack of meaningful growth management in Archuleta County. Unfortunately, it seems many folks find satisfaction out on the fringes blaming others for views they assume they hold. Can coming to the table to find common ground be that uncomfortable a place to visit?

Whether the problem be forest or growth management, I figure answers to most serious dilemmas lie in the challenging heart of common ground, and we'll struggle with the aftermaths of our neglect to meet our civic responsibility for the situations we create. We are all to blame, so pointing fingers and name calling will keep us where we are - nowhere. The question is: When will we work together to find solutions?

Sincerely,

Karen Aspin

Cut some slack

Dear Editor:

I can appreciate the concerns regarding the dirt bike riders in the Fourth of July parade. It must have looked like mayhem to those unfamiliar to it. However, I am also concerned about the effects of all the negativeness on these young men. How likely do you think it is that they will ever want to participate in a community event again?

Those of you who have moved here from the big city need to understand that in a rural area like Pagosa there isn't much for kids to do. Would you rather they were hanging "out behind the woodshed" smoking or drinking or worse? My son and his friends rode dirt bikes throughout their high school years. It kept them occupied with something other than mischief and girls. They were all accomplished riders and my opinion is that these young men in the parade were also. You don't do wheelies on your front tire unless you've been riding a long time. My one concern regarding them was that they should have been wearing riding gear - boots, protective clothing and helmets.

As for the noise - it didn't even compare to the ear shattering blasts of the truck horns. And I've seen runaway horses, but can't recall ever seeing a runaway dirt bike.

So cut our kids a little slack. The young people I've encountered in the three months I've been here are courteous and respectful. When they try to be a part of our town celebrations, encourage them instead of shutting them out.

Diana Belles

Democratic virtue

Dear Editor:

Ben Douglas' letter (July 11, 2002) got me to thinking how local Democrats, if there is enough of them to form a quorum, could put together a series of forums demonstrating that their party has a monopoly on virtue, as well as ideas. I submit the following lineup, although mine is limited, because two is more than enough.

1. Bill Clinton, discussing the importance of family values.

2. Bill Clinton discussing the importance of truthfulness. For instance, "I did not have sex with that woman!" Which one and which time, Bill? The boy needs some basic sex counseling with Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

3. Al Gore on always telling the truth, like George Washington. "I accompanied the Emergency Management Team on the trip to Texas," said Honest Al.

4. Al Gore on making major contributions to the American society. "I invented the Internet," said creative Al.

There are, of course, many additional possibilities, but these should be sufficient to convince any right-minded person that the Democratic Party is the place to be - not! Don't throw donkey dung if you live in a glass corral.

Dr. Roy Boutwell

Fairness request

Dear Editor:

I read with some incredulity that Archuleta County may be subsidizing the subdivisions, instead of the other way around.

Mr. Motter's article explained that the premise of the study was based on full build-out of a subdivision, in this case the newly proposed Reserve at Pagosa Peak. At full build-out, the cost for the demand on county services would likely exceed tax revenue by 10 percent.

Would Archuleta County be maintaining those new roads at The Reserve? When would the moratorium on accepting new roads into the county maintenance system be lifted? The approved plat makes it clear that this and all other recent subdivisions will have privately maintained roads.

Regardless of any different agendas Mr. Motter and I might have, I would hope that any fair-minded person could agree that vacant lot owners do not significantly impact any county, school, special taxing districts or property owners association budgets other than, of course, the huge infusion of tax dollars, water and sewer availability fees and property owners association dues these folks keep pouring in to subsidize the rest of us who live here.

There are no subdivisions that are fully built-out, yet. It's possible Mr. Motter and I will not live long enough to see one. Lake Pagosa Park has the highest density as far as ratio of lots with homes built vs. vacant lots. The end of 2001 showed 335 homes built on 611 lots in Lake Pagosa Park for 55 percent build-out. This may be only subdivision that is over 50 percent built out.

Lake Pagosa Park was platted in 1970. Pagosa in the Pines, at about the same age as LPP had 188 homes on 420 lots for 45 percent build-out. Pagosa Alpha Section was platted in 1969 and has 164 lots with only 57 built on as of today - 35 percent build-out. And Alpha-Rockridge Metro District gets to pay an additional 10 percent tax to maintain their own roads while their other taxes help subsidize road maintenance for others.

Archuleta County has 15,998 taxable properties, so far, including the Town of Pagosa Springs (which, by the way, has 255 vacant taxable properties within town limits). Of those total county lots, 9,603 are vacant. Even if you subtract out the 1,532 so-called agricultural properties (many are only taxed agriculturally), that still leaves a lot of vacant lot owners subsidizing the rest of us.

Yet, the article said Archuleta County may be (present tense) subsidizing growth. By the time full build-out is achieved (if ever) in all or even most of the subdivisions, the county, etc., will have had 50 years or more of being so many dollars ahead of the game that had they put the subsidies they've received into a trust fund or something, they could have used only the accrued interest to pay back whatever subsidies might possibly have to flow back the other way sometime in the future.

In the interest of fairness,

Jerry Driesens

Admission to fair

Dear Editor:

In the event that you haven't heard, we are charging gate admission to the county fair this year. Let us explain.

The Archuleta County Fair board is an appropriated committee under the jurisdiction of the county commissioners. The fair is funded with county funds and goes through the annual budgetary process that all other county entities do. The fair has some revenue sources and roughly generates about 40 percent of our annual budget. During the 2002 budget process the commissioners informed us that the fair needs to have a real goal of continually moving toward being self-funded. This is not unrealistic but does require the patience, understanding and adjustment of the community.

Most fairs nationwide and in Colorado are self-funded. Many fairs that have reduced in size or remain for the benefit of the 4-H program only have done so because they do not have enough funding to do anything else. Fairs that are self-funded make the most revenue by doing one or all of: parking fee, admission fee, fee to enter in open class, not paying open class premiums. The Archuleta County Fair does none of the above and the commissioners added a revenue piece to the budget for "parking and entry fees" in 2002.

We do not want to make an entry fee a burden on any individual or family. We have been having active conversations since January and have gone through a vast number of iterations of what an entry fee would look like and how to accomplish it. It has been an arduous task and we feel that what we are offering is fair and nominal and families have been our biggest priority.

Fair board members attend annual meetings of either the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows or the International Association of Fairs and Expositions to learn and get new ideas. Typically the hottest topic is how to be self-funded or put on events that can raise money at your fair. Archuleta County is now moving into what other places have already faced.

The fair board works very hard, all year long, to plan a fun experience for everyone and a wonderful showcase for the children and families that work so hard in the 4-H program. We feel that we offer a wonderful atmosphere for good clean fun and that we have a lot of diversity in the things that you can do when you're on the fairgrounds. There is something for everyone and we need everyone to come to at least one day of the fair.

We encourage your feedback and comments on this and any other issue. Please feel free to contact any fair board member directly. We invite you all to come to the fair Aug. 1-4.

Sincerely,

The 2002 Archuleta County Fair board members

Reunion joys

Dear Editor:

I wanted to write a letter to all those who worked to organize the 20th high school reunion last week. All the way home, I kept thinking about what an impressive group of people my students have become, and how delightful it was to meet and talk with them as adults.

When I left Pagosa in 1985, I don't remember ever thanking anyone for the many, many positive experiences I enjoyed while living here, so my letter of gratitude is long overdue.

My students taught me much about teaching and learning through their grace and good spirit and their willingness to forgive my mistakes, and I appreciate and value the good experience they provided me. I also sincerely appreciate my friends and neighbors in Pagosa and the many gifts they gave me, from gardening tips and wood splitting to time out for coffee to dog sitting to fence mending - and much more beyond these things as well.

For all these things I am truly grateful. Pagosa has changed, yes. But it's still a great place, and I'm glad I got the chance to visit again. Many, many thanks.

Sincerely,

Reenie Neal

Come together

Dear Editor:

The problems in Pagosa won't go away. Scientists predict drought in the Southwest for the next several years. Our economy will suffer because people won't come to a drought area. So what can we do?

Unlike the Anasazis, we have the ability to move away, but is that the solution?

I think not. I believe that people must come together and solve their problems. The main problem, which is water, can be transported, but if we want to work together, we need ideas.

What happened to the old town meetings? Shouldn't we now be mobilizing and starting to discuss solutions?

People, we must come together and solve these problems or else people will start to move away. Then, in a couple of years, this town will provide a new attraction - a western ghost town.

Dr. Herbert Parker

 Editorial
Just the facts, please

While it is naive to assume local political races can remain on the high road, untainted by fallacy, illusion and deception, one can always hold out hope. Unfortunately, such hope was dashed this week when Larry Bass, a write-in aspirant in the primary battle for the right to run as a Republican in the November county sheriff election, opted to indulge an unfortunate campaign strategy.

In a local radio ad, the candidate referred to suspected arsons July 4 adjacent to U.S. 84 and told listeners that "according to the Pagosa SUN, the sheriff's department did not respond." While the radio ad was placed by a committee seeking the candidate's election, responsibility is the candidate's alone. To plead ignorance of the ad's content would be nonsense.

Listeners were then invited to a meeting scheduled by the candidate, where they could "know the facts."

A pretender to the law enforcement throne should have a good grip on the meaning of "fact." Any investigator - a journalist or experienced law enforcement officer - uses the word to describe an assertion that has been substantiated.

This candidate apparently interprets the concept differently. It seems obvious a "fact" has pragmatic value only: a "fact" is whatever works, what sounds best.

To the contrary, in this case, here are the facts.

First, this newspaper cannot be used to give credibility to unsupportable allegations.

It is a fact the article printed July 11 in The SUN concerning the arsons did not mention the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office, one way or another, in connection with fires on U.S. 84. The article noted a county crew responded to the fires. If anything, since deputies are county employees, it is more reasonable to assume deputies were among the members of that crew than they were not. The article did not, in any way, indicate deputies did not respond.

This is a fact, though apparently not a convenient fact for the candidate.

A check this week revealed two deputies were at the scene of the fires: Sgt. Karn Macht was on scene for four hours, Deputy John Gaskins was there more than two hours. Dispatch logs and pay documents verify this and it is an insult to these officers to deny them their due. The arson investigation was taken over by the Forest Service since most evidence was found on public lands.

These are facts.

It is a shame when a candidate resorts to playing loose with "fact" - it introduces necessary suspicion into the affair. The tenor of the election process is degraded when it is revealed that "facts" are, instead, transparent devices. We no longer discuss ideas; we wonder, instead, if a candidate is being honest. How many of a candidate's other "facts" are contrived?

A campaigner with substance relies on documented accomplishments to convince voters of worthiness. He relies on honest and authentic experience as the foundation of his appeal - not on fabrications. He creates and communicates sound ideas and uses them as his vehicle. Anything less is trouble; sooner or later, manufactured "fact" will crumble.

And of a candidate who cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy, between rumor and reality, what are we to think? Of the candidate who believes the voting public cannot detect fiction? How well can he function in a position of authority, with the ability to profoundly affect the lives of citizens?

We must hope now that other candidates running in the upcoming primary, and in the November general election, have a higher regard for fact - that they will run positive campaigns, giving us genuine options when we cast our votes.

Karl Isberg

 

Legacies

By Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 19, 1912

Pagosa is getting to be a metropolitan city fast. We now have a lady barber, she having opened up a shop today in the Rippy building.

There will be a box social at the Blanco school house tomorrow night. Each lady will have a box with enough for two and they are requested to make a necktie like the dress they wear. The proceeds will be for the benefit of the Sunday school out there.

W.H. Snow brought up some home grown strawberries this morning, the first ones he has sold this season. He had no trouble in disposing of them.

The dedication of the band stand in Deller park takes place tomorrow night, and all our citizens are requested to be present and assist in the dedication.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 22, 1927

Incorporation papers were filed this week with the secretary of state for the Altura Lumber company, with Brice Howard, Mrs. J. Howard, Eloise Howard and others as incorporators.

Archuleta County receives the sum of $5038.25, as its share of the state gasoline tax for the first six months of this year.

The city water sprinkler, recently purchased by the Women's Civic Club, has been put to use on Pagosa's streets the past weeks. The main has been tapped and an intake pipe installed near the rear of the L.J. Goodman store for the purpose of filling the tank.

The Arlington bath house building is undergoing extensive repairs, a new roof being put in place.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 18, 1952

Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Whitefield, who have operated the West Side Grocery and Market for the past seven years, announced that they are closing out their stock of groceries and will open a Gamble store in their building.

One of the largest crowds to be seen on the main drag for some time was Saturday afternoon when an out of town fisherman landed a four pound German Brown just under the bridge across the San Juan. Many local people and quite a crowd of tourists watched the fisherman struggle with the large fish for nearly an hour.

The 1952 telephone directory showed a substantial increase in the number of phones over the last year. The directory this year is the largest published to date.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 14, 1977

There have been a few light showers in the area the past week but not enough to relieve the extremely dry conditions that prevail. The streams are about as low as old timers can remember for this time of the year and fire danger is high. More light showers are forecast for this week but they generally fail to produce enough moisture to do much more than cool and clean the air.

Two men narrowly escaped death in the crash of a large transport truck heavily loaded with drill stems Saturday night. The accident was on Wolf Creek Pass, the truck was demolished, but the driver and a passenger were released from the hospital after being there a short time for observation.

 Community News
Pagosa Lakes News

Backyard hiking, biking trails fit for families

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

With such pleasant weather in the morning and evening, it is sure lovely to be outside.

The cool early and late hours of the day make for good walking. A friend once said, "A family that plays together stays together." What do you think? I believe there are many benefits to spending time doing activities that the whole family (including the dog and maybe even the cat; although I've never seen a cat taking a walk with its owner) can enjoy together.

Not far from our own back yard are hiking and biking trails. One that I particularly like is the Vista Lake Wildlife Trail. This wildlife viewing trail was constructed around Vista Lake in the fall of 2000. The trail was part of a Great Outdoor Colorado-funded youth corps project.

Three wildlife interpretive signs including a waterfowl ID sign, a wetland educational sign and a map orientation sign were completed this spring with funds from the Division of Wildlife. Please take the time to come check it out. The trail goes all the way around the lake and then down into Martinez Canyon through Trails Boulevard. Vista Lake, though small, is a unique area with plentiful watchable wildlife.

It's important for the trail to be used, otherwise the weeds will take over. Just two Saturdays ago a dozen volunteers cleaned out part of the existing trail and constructed some new sections. Access is off of Vista Boulevard to Port Avenue. You'll see the access road/parking area and picnic pavilion next to the lake. The trail is open to any nonmotorized use.

A local sand volleyball player is very interested in getting a group together on a weekly basis to play sand volleyball. How about Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. or call Shawn at 731-0601. Players are to be preferably 18 years and older. Play will be conducted on the sand court at the recreation center.

My thanks to all of our recreation center members for being patient and sharing. I realize that summer conditions are not ideal for a relaxing workout. You have all been supportive in your willingness to accommodate the influx of summer visits and adjusting your swim and or water aerobics schedule so we can fit the swim team and the summer swim lessons into an already tight pool.

The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association annual meeting will be held Saturday, July 27, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Voting will take place from 9-10 a.m. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. Doughnuts and coffee will be served. There are a number of important issues on the ballot that will require property owner response. Please get your vote in, either at the annual meeting or before the meeting at the PLPOA administrative office.

Senior News
Perfect weather for popular picnic in the park

By Janet Copeland

SUN Columnist

The seniors must be living right.

Once again we had a perfect day for our picnic. The picnics are one of our most popular events - we had 69 people sign up last Friday. Dawnie and the kitchen crew outdid themselves by serving delicious barbecue, pasta salad, corn on the cob, rolls, watermelon and cupcakes. Musetta and Laura kept us busy dodging the water guns, and several folks pitched horseshoes. A great time was had by all.

A big welcome to our guests/members who joined us this week. It was good to see Cynthia Mitchell, Rich and Nelda Jones, Leah Nicole (Larry Russell's daughter), Jimmy and Jackie Harris, Hilde Kuhne, Al and Liz Schnell, Elizabeth (Granny) Flowers, Loretta Hildebrandt, Lynn Cluck, Jerry Radloff (Phil Heitz's cousin), Paul Cronkhite, Marilyn Mundy, Mary Carpenter, Bobby Girardin, Max and Esther Peralta and Ron Beck.

A big thank you to Chuck Allen, who gave a very informative presentation on home security. Some things he mentioned are to look in your car before you unlock it or get in; if you have an automatic garage door opener, you should drive in and shut the door before getting out of your car; be aware of your surroundings and call 9-1-1 if anything suspicious happens; and check around the house before entering. If you are going to be away for vacation, leave lights on a timer, cancel paper deliveries, and notify neighbors that you are leaving. He noted that the biggest problem in Pagosa is thievery.

We also thank the Assembly of God church and Daylight Donuts for their donations of donuts to our group. Our folks love to indulge in these delights.

Help! We need two volunteers to attend wellness workshops Oct. 1-3 so they can help promote wellness for the seniors. The course will include chair yoga, caregiver support, pain management, feel-good bingo and senior nutrition. We will help pay the costs of the workshop if the individuals will commit to a certain amount of service afterward. Contact Laura or Musetta at the Senior Center for more information.

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

Tomorrow Don Hurt (AARP-55 Alive instructor) will speak to us about "When is it time to stop driving?" This is a very important matter and I hope we will have an attentive audience.

Mark your calendars for July 25 when we will travel to the Bar-D Chuckwagon in Durango. Please sign up right away if you plan to attend.

After lunch July 26 we will have a yard sale at the Senior Center. We have lots of odds and ends that won't be needed at the new facility so please check out our treasures.

Seniors will have our first meal in the new center Aug. 5, in The Silver Foxes Den, located at the west end of the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Due to the upcoming move, menus for July will not be posted for the entire month but will be posted weekly at the Center and/or announced on KWUF between 7:30-8 a.m.

Other upcoming events include Dru Sewell's Soup to Nuts Crafts Class each Monday after lunch. Dru furnishes the project supplies and shows us how to do the projects. 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 from 9-11 a.m. Be sure to check in at the desk and show your membership card. They also offer us discounts on meals.

Yoga by Richard Harris is at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays.

Wednesdays, there is a 10:30 a.m. computer class with Sam Matthews; card games at 1; 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 Theatre for seniors is $3. Call 264-4578 to let them know how many will be attending.

Every Friday at 12:30 Jim Hanson helps with Medicare counseling.

Veterans Corner

Disability compensation key benefit

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

Following up on last week's article on the basic definition of a veteran and the right to certain benefits, I would like to expand on other areas most frequently encountered by veterans.

Disability compensation

In recognition of their dedication and sacrifice, the United States, through the Veterans Administration, has provided its former service men and women with compensation and pension programs designed to assist disabled veterans and their dependents.

The disability compensation program provides financial assistance to veterans with service-connected disabilities to compensate them for the loss of, or reduction in earning power resulting from comparable injuries and disease in civil life.

Disability compensation payments vary in amount, depending on the impairment of earning capacity suffered by the veteran. The degree is assessed in multiples of 10, from 10 percent to 100 percent, with special statutory rates for such disabilities as blindness and loss of use of limbs.

If a veteran is evaluated as having a service-connected disability of 30 percent or more, the veteran is entitled to additional allowances for his or her dependents.

Eligibility

A veteran may be entitled to VA disability compensation for any medical condition or injury that was incurred in, or aggravated by his or her military service. The veterans must have been discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from the period of service in which the injury or disease was incurred or aggravated.

There is no time limit for applying for VA disability compensation. However, veterans are encouraged to apply within one year of release from active duty. If a claim is filed within this period, entitlement may be established retroactively to the date of separation from service. If a claim is filed beyond one year of release from active duty, the effective date of eligibility for benefits will be based upon the date of the claim, not the date of separation.

I frequently have veterans from World War II just now applying for compensation or pension claims. Quite a few of them have gone for 50 years or so without realizing they are eligible for these kinds of claims, that relate back to their military service.

I was reminded recently by another Veteran Service officer not to overlook some fringe, military-connected veterans who are also eligible for benefits, such as Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) who ferried war planes for the military, and Merchant Marine seamen. The special list is quite lengthy, including many civilians who were associated or connected to U.S. military forces during wartime. If you think you might fit one of these special categories I will be happy to review it with you.

For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304.

Arts Line

Advance tickets needed for Friday benefit

By P.R. Bain

A hot time at the Timbers in Pagosa will be had if everyone comes to the Pagosa Springs Arts Council fund-raiser, a benefit dinner Friday, 6-9 p.m.

The event starts with the house cocktail, then at 7 p.m. the buffet-style dinner will be served. A choice of New York strip steak, lemon-peppered glazed chicken or vegetable lasagna with coffee or iced tea and tiramisu for dessert will be available.

DJ Jennifer Hancock from the Point and improvisational comedy by Durango.Comedy will be featured entertainment along with many of Pagosa's own talented comedians.

Tickets, priced at $35, must be purchased in advance at the Arts Council gallery in Town Park, the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books or WolfTracks. Call 264-5020 for more information.

Home and garden

The second annual home and garden tour, July 21 noon-5 p.m., will provide an opportunity to see several homes with varied styles, such as the Santa Fe, earth berm, country farm, custom log, a mountain home and more.

Tour participants will have the pleasure of visiting inside these beautiful homes as well as viewing the garden landscapes outside. Though lawns and gardens may not be in peak condition due to drought, it will be well worth it to see the many home decorating and landscape ideas.

A xeriscape demonstration will be on display at the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District plant at Vista. There has been a surge of interest in plants that tolerate drought and are native to the area.

Advance tickets, at $10, and $8 for council members, are on sale at the Chamber of Commerce and WolfTracks Bookstore. Call 264-5020 for more information.

Arts exhibit

The current exhibit at the gallery features the metal art of Adrienne Haskamp, Carl Nevitt's stained glass works and Carol Brown's collages and jewelry. Haskamp's metal art is often adorned with large, colorful glass beads, such as the ones on the unique metal shade of the floor lamp.

Though Nevitt does many stained glass designs, both functional and decorative, this exhibit features a most unusual art piece: a cattle skull covered with pearl-luster, black cut glass. The eyes have turquoise stones in them. Very eloquent.

Brown's collages are great conversation pieces, but for that special personal embellishment, check out her jewelry. You need to hurry, as items are selling fast and the exhibit ends July 24.

The opening reception for the next exhibit is July 25 and features the watercolors of Ruth Carr and the photography and jewelry of Michelle Turolla. Refreshments will be served at the reception from 5-7 p.m. The gallery is at 314 Hermosa St.

Art auction

The annual art auction is scheduled Aug. 28, which means art objects and gift certificates are needed for the silent auction. Please bring items, new or in perfect condition, to the gallery. Hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Lost and Found

If your Home and Garden Tour ticket has No. 2 on it, you should come to the gallery to pick up the other ticket you purchased.

Did anyone leave a sweater at the gallery? Call the number above to identify it.

Miscellaneous

Thank you, Wells Fargo Bank, for allowing the use of your copying machine.

You can hear council interviews and event information at 8:05 a.m. the second Thursday of each month on 1400 AM.

The council needs another writer to prepare the Artsline column once a month. Call 264-5020 if interested.

Chamber News

So many activities we didn't miss fireworks

By Sally Hameister

Well, just when we were on a roll and geared up full speed ahead for our third annual Member Appreciation Car Wash, we turn up with a rather nasty drought.

Some major hand wringing took place until the Ever Mother Superior, Mary McKeehan, came up with the abbreviated version of the car wash - the windshield wash.

We have sent announcements to all our faithful members and hope that you will all appear at the Chamber July 20, to receive your free window wash and "P.S. I Love You" bumper sticker. We truly hope that next year we will have enough wet stuff to return to the car wash, but until that time, this is what we're able to do to show our deep and abiding affection and appreciation for your membership. It's a tremendous disappointment to me personally because we have always had so much fun and silliness throughout the day.

Please join us Saturday when you will have the opportunity to watch your Chamber staff and directors work up a sweat on your behalf. It's not every day you can witness such a phenomenon, you know. The other traditional piece of nonsense we will be able to provide Saturday is the chance to win a year's free membership for your business or for you personally. Chances are $5, and we have had some very happy winners in the past, I assure you. Allow us to clean your windows Saturday at the Chamber between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. By the way, we're not using any water at all - it will be strictly window-washing solution. See you on Saturday.

Home and garden tour

You can show off your clean windows July 21, as you drive around from home to home on the annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Home and Garden Tour, noon-5 p.m. Seven homes and the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District xeriscape demonstration garden will be available on this self-guided tour which you may view in any order you choose. The homes were selected for variety of style and unique features including Santa Fe, earth berm, earth block, country farmhouse, custom log and mountain style. You will see indoor and outdoor gardens, a growing dome and natural areas.

Please be prepared to remove shoes at the door or to wear the paper shoecovers provided. Each home will serve beverages, and refreshments will be served at the one home designated as the refreshment center. You are encouraged to carpool with friends to avoid potential traffic and parking problems.

Tickets are $8 for council members and available at the Town Park gallery and $10 for nonmembers, available at the Chamber of Commerce and WolfTracks.

PSAC benefit dinner

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council invites you to attend a benefit dinner at The Timbers of Pagosa July 19, 6-9 p.m. Tickets for this event are $35 and include an appetizer and house cocktail, buffet dinner with a main course selection of New York strip steak, lemon-peppered chicken or vegetable lasagna and tiramisu for dessert. Entertainment for the evening will include DJ Jennifer Hancock of 99.7, The Point, Durango.Comedy and local comedic characters. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and a very limited number of tables for six or eight are available. Please call Joanne at the gallery to reserve at 264-5020.

Meet the artist

The third in the "Meet the Artist Series" sponsored by Taminah Gallery will be held Friday night with Randall Davis as the featured artist. As most of you know, Randall was a dentist in Pagosa for two decades and is a man of many talents in a number of arenas. Anyone who has attended any of our Music Boosters' productions has probably seen Randall's work in the backdrops and sets. He is also a gifted musician, a talented sculptor, works in oils and has maintained a seat on the school board for a number of years. Friday evening, he will display a clay model of a new piece and will be on hand to demonstrate the process of constructing a bronze sculpture as well as answer any questions you might have regarding the process. As always, refreshments will be served, and the folks at Taminah Gallery hope to see you there Friday evening from 5-8 p.m.

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.

Thousands of aspiring artists compete annually for the Country Showdown title, which begins with hometown talent contests, sponsored by over 400 radio stations across the country. 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 Archuleta County fairgrounds will provide an unrivaled setting for the competition, which will spotlight some of the best, and brightest talent this area has to offer. Serving as contest judges are Dan Appenzeller, John Graves, Debbie Ramey and Elaine Nash-Putnam. A uniform judging system on all levels of the competition ensures fairness. Sounds like a very exciting first for Pagosa Springs, and you never know when you may be a part of the audience when the next Garth Brooks or Reba McIntire makes a debut.

FYI

Now the fires have subsided and practically disappeared, thank the heavens, I have begun some marketing to let the rest of the world know that we here in Pagosa are alive and well and most decidedly open for business. A major television ad campaign will begin in New Mexico through KOB-TV in Albuquerque this week and will continue for about 10 days. The ad will appear at all of KOB's satellite stations throughout the state so it pretty well saturates New Mexico. I will also be doing some marketing in Dallas, Houston and Denver. We have always marketed in these areas through ski/travel shows, but obviously this is a different year altogether requiring different approaches.

FYI 2

Morna sent letters to all our member restaurants reminding them the Colorado Bicycle Tour will be coming through Monday afternoon from Creede to spend the night in the soccer field across from Town Park.

I am hopeful that many of the 1,500 folks involved will shop our shops, eat at our restaurants and just generally have a good time and spend a few bucks in our community. About 550 of the riders will be eating food provided by their own vendors, but the rest will be looking for dinner in Pagosa Springs, ergo the heads-up letter. Retailers might also want to consider a later closing time in case the bikers are looking for souvenir or something to purchase.

FEMA/SBA assistance

If you were unable to attend the recent meeting concerning disaster relief, please feel free to stop by the Visitor Center for information.

Even though no one in Pagosa sustained the loss of residence or property due to fires, Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available through the SBA for businesses impacted by the drop in tourism. This type of loan provides working capital to pay necessary obligations until operations return to normal. You can call (800) 621-FEMA for more information or stop by the Visitor Center for more information.

Membership

I couldn't be happier to introduce three new members this week and tell you all about our 14 renewals. Fires or no fires, we are thrilled that our new folks consider Chamber membership a priority and that our loyal, established members feel that their memberships are a valuable part of their business decisions. We are grateful to each and every one of you and will continue to work our hardest to earn your support.

Tom D. Wood joins us first with Tom's Small Haul, a home-based business here in Pagosa. Tom would like to offer his services for all those jobs that simply don't require a large truck. He can handle all the smaller jobs like landscaping, small driveways, gravel, sand and topsoil and will be happy to talk to you about your needs at 264-2720. He can get the job done for you.

Brace yourselves, folks, because Pagosa Springs now has a bona fide, dedicated shoe store. For a number of years when folks stopped in my office and ask what kind of business Pagosa needed, I would always reply, "A dedicated shoe store." Richard and Billie Byers have done the deed and invite you to visit them at Sundance Shoes, L.P., located at 100 Country Center Drive, Suite D. These nice folks are featuring premium quality shoes for ladies and men from leading manufacturers like Clarks, Born, New Balance, Dansko, Rockport, NAOT, Mephisto, Carolina Work Boots and Timberland. Be sure and stop by Sundance Shoes and say hello to the Byers and let them know how delighted we are to have a shoe store here. You can also give them a call if you like at 731-5030.

Our third new business this week is Karen Norris who brings us the Home Maid Cleaning Service with offices in her home. If you need a cleaning service, Karen can help you with your new home, existing home, time-share or even with your seasonal needs. She offers monthly, bimonthly and weekly rates and invites you to call her at 731-1526 for more information about her services. In a recent conversation with my son in Denver, he walked into his Denver apartment (he was on a cell phone, of course) and exclaimed, "Wow, I love having a cleaning service - my place looks so great!" Call Karen and experience that feeling for yourself.

Our renewals this week include Caroline Brown with Friends of Native Cultures; the guys at Bar-D Chuckwagon in Durango; Theo VanderWiede with Domino's Pizza; Scott Allen with Mountain Snapshots; F.C. Trask Jr. with The Lighting Center; John and Sara Essig with Sara's Kitchen Cabinets; Rick Taylor with AAA Propane; Toby and Renae Karlquist with K.K. Paddywhacks Embroidery; North Star Mapping in Durango; Bruce Spruce Ranch; and Phillip R. McClendon, CPA, with McClendon & Lynch CPAs, LLC.

Our Associate Member renewals this week include our long-time friends and Diplomats, Lorraine and Dick Raymond; Diplomat Carol and husband Rich Gunson, and Vickie and Kenneth Ceradsky. Many, many thanks to one and all.

 

Library News

New 'Web-based' circulation system at library
 By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

Your library is ready to unveil the "Web-based" circulation system. What does this mean?

If you have a computer and Internet connections, you can access the Sisson Library, look at all of the material we have in our collection and make requests right from home. If you are interested in finding out more about how this is done, please come in and have the staff show you how to access the Web site, and do the searching.

We were part of a state network that received a grant to accomplish this amazing feat. The "card catalog" now resides in your living room. My thanks to Becky Porco for her diligent efforts to get our system up and running. Few small libraries in the country have this opportunity.

Downside of technology

We are pleased we can offer Internet access to the public. We are experiencing problems with the Internet connection, and we are often unable to do anything about it. We are networked with the school system, and when they go down, so do we.

Until there are more telephone lines available, we will all have this problem of intermittent down time. It is very frustrating to the staff and patrons when that happens, but be assured that everyone is aware of the problem, and is working on a solution.

Your privacy

I've written about this before but it is so very important that I need to emphasize it again. Your librarians are here to protect your privacy. We do not share information about what you read or view. We now find out that most search engines sell your search results to big business. Only Google has met the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines for openness. So know that when you search the Internet for information about a subject, someone not only knows it, but also can sell your private interests to someone else.

It's your money

This past week the media has enjoyed poking fun at a library for taking a 12-year-old to court over a library book that was overdue. It even made the national news.

The librarian was made out to be an ogre. As usual, there was much more to this story than the media reported. But the important point was totally missed - it is against the law to steal or mutilate library property. Your tax money buys the books; when people don't return the books, they are stealing your property. I wonder if the Enron folks started their careers ripping off library books?

Book sale

Please remember that the Friends annual book sale and meeting was rescheduled because of the fire situation. It will be held Aug. 9-10. The Friends private sale is Friday night, and the public book sale is Saturday. Join the Friends so you can attend the private sale and annual meeting.

Stained glass

Have all of you with Texas connections seen our stained glass window that will be raffled by the Civic Club along with the regular annual raffle? Come by and buy.

Summer reading

Two more weeks to go. Winner names will be in next week's column. We've had great activities and remember that Tuesday and Friday story times are at 11 a.m., always with neat surprises. Thanks to Barb Draper for her work on the program.

Feathered friends

We recently purchased a small birdbath with a recirculating fountain for our porch. Much to our delight, the hummingbirds are frolicking in the fountain and in general enjoying a cool respite. They are joined by a large number of other species that can't find any water or flowers this year. Do birds in your yard have any water supply? The neighbors have a small wading pond, and this morning it was full of crows just sitting in it. These are hard times for all of the wildlife. We gave up one day's watering to justify our little fountain for the week. Our trees, bushes and grass are dying, but our birds are well fed and watered.

Donations

Thanks for financial help from the Bart Cox family in honor of Juju Cox's 95th birthday. Gladys Bannan in memory of Ray Macht and Allan Handy. Larry and Lou Ann Waddell in memory of Dixie and Gary Burkett's mothers. Thanks for material from David Bright and Cathie Kreston.