October 10, 2002

Front Page

Water rationing relaxed; modified Level 1 in effect

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Level 2 restrictions on outside watering were lifted by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors Tuesday evening. The change in outside watering restrictions will be effective Oct. 15.

The board took notice of ongoing drought conditions by reinstating a modified version of Level 1 rationing.

Watering turf and lawns is completely banned under the new regulations, including watering new turf, sod and newly seeded areas. This prohibition will remain in effect until conditions improve.

Under the new regulations, hand watering and drip irrigation of trees, shrubs and perennial gardens will be allowed between 6 and 10 p.m., based on street addresses. Addresses 1-99 water on Sunday, 100-199 on Monday, 200-299 on Tuesday, 300-399 on Wednesday, 400-499 on Thursday, 500-599 on Friday, and 600 and up on Saturday.

Extra charges based on Level 1 rationing criteria will be levied on water consumption above the base rate. Consumers will see the new charges on their November water bills. Level 1 extra charges are much less than Level 2 extra charges.

For residential users, Level 1 charges for consumption above 8,000 gallons are: 8,001 to 20,000 gallons - $3.50 per 1,000 gallons; 20,001 and more gallons - $4.50 per 1,000 gallons.

The extra charge for commercial users is the same as for residential users except the commercial user base charge is calculated from the number of equivalent units owned. For example, a commercial user with five equivalent units can use five times 8,000 gallons before the extra charge is levied.

A temporary surcharge of $5.25 for each user remains in effect. The charge has been levied to recover unexpected costs incurred because of drought conditions. One of the unexpected costs is the $500 a day expense of pumping two million gallons of water a day from the San Juan River to the San Juan Treatment Plant located at the district's Vista complex.

Discussion of Level 2 charges already levied against commercial users consumed much of the meeting Tuesday. Certain users say the charges are inequitable, unfair, and may drive them out of business. The district board generally agreed to review the basis for the Level 2 charges.

Allan Bunch, owner of the River Center, argued that the district's rate structure based on equivalent units is unfair.

"During winter months when business is low, I pay for water I don't use," Bunch said. "During the summer when business is good and water consumption up, I pay a premium for water. That is because equivalent units are based on an averaging technique. Either way, I lose."

Bunch argued that district charges should be based directly on consumption.

"Just charge for what I use," Bunch said.

In other business, the board adjusted 19 complaints from water bills customers said were too high. Water leaks were the cause of most of the high bills. The usual solution adopted by the district is to calculate average consumption to be billed at the usual rate, and to charge for overages at $1.75 per 1,000 gallons, the estimated cost for the district to treat water.

Consumer requests to mitigate water bills are each considered as individual cases.

 

Dead mice spur closure order for Extension Building

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

The discovery of several dead mice inside a wall of the Extension Building at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds has prompted the county to abandon use of the structure.

"This is a precautionary measure," said Bill Steele, Archuleta County administrator. "If we err, we want to err on the side of safety."

Steele will tour the site Monday. He will be accompanied by an architect and a representative of a private hantavirus cleanup firm from Durango. The goal of the tour is to evaluate the nature and extent of the problem. Choices of mitigation measures will depend on the results of the evaluation.

The building could be closed up to 90 days, and maybe permanently, according to Steele.

Mitigation will involve, at the least, a cleanup following hantavirus sterilization procedures. Beyond the cleanup, sealing the building from future mouse invasions is advised by experts in the field. Part of the evaluation will gather information leading to a decision on which is more cost effective, renovation or replacement.

A search is underway to locate new quarters for activities formerly conducted in the building by the county Extension agent and the National Resources Conservation Service. Those activities include a variety of 4-H meetings and a number of public meetings scheduled for the exhibit hall. Bill Nobles, the county agent, is attempting to retain the existing telephone number when new quarters are located.

Local officials, as well as health officials around the state, emphasize that no evidence exists that hantavirus, bubonic plague, or West Nile Virus are involved. Nevertheless, cleanup procedures will be used that eliminate any chance that hantavirus could be spread from the site.

The demise of the mice is attributed to the metal walls of the building acting as a huge trap, according to Nobles. Discovery was made when workers in the office end of the building noticed an odor. A hole cut through the drywall near Nobles' desk revealed the mummified bodies of several dead mice.

"I think they crawled through a hole near the top of the wall, fell down inside, and couldn't climb back up the slick metal walls," Nobles said. "They must have starved to death."

The trap theory sounds plausible to Dale Tanda, an epidemiologist with the Department of Epidemiology connected with the Center for Disease Control in Fort Collins.

"It is unlikely that hantavirus, bubonic plague, or West Nile Virus is involved," Tanda said.

No hantavirus cases have been verified in Archuleta County, according to Tanda. Five hantavirus cases have been identified in neighboring La Plata County, three of those cases leading to death.

"Mice hosting hantavirus almost never die from the virus," Tanta said.

He also pointed out the virus lives only 72 hours without a host. Consequently, there is no possibility that live virus could be in the vicinity of the mummified deer mice bodies.

"It's still a good idea to assume the worst and clean up in a way to kill hantavirus," Tanda said.

That clean-up involves wetting the contaminated area with bleach, allowing the bleach to soak in for 30 minutes or so, then cleaning the residue and disposing of the cleanup material. The bleach kills the virus. Persons doing the cleanup should wear disposable gloves and masks. Hantavirus is transmitted to humans who inhale dust infested with the virus contained in feces or urinal material discharged by contaminated mice.

The best measure for preventing mice from infesting a building is to make sure the building exterior is sealed.

"Mice can go through a hole the size of a pencil," Tanda said. "That hole could be a cut to allow plumbing or electrical wires to pass through a wall."

There is no evidence that mice have ever been involved in the transmission of West Nile Virus to humans, according to Tanda. Even if it were possible, the mice have been dead so long that the mosquitoes would have long since departed, Tanda said. West Nile Virus has not been detected in this part of Colorado.

Mice are not normally affected by bubonic plague, Tanda said. Bubonic plague is carried by fleas. Again because these particular mice have been dead long enough to become mummified, any fleas would have fled long ago. Larger rodents, such as prairie dogs and ground squirrels, are more frequently associated with bubonic plague. Mice may be involved in an intermediate stage of the plague cycle, but are not considered a threat to transmit the disease to humans.

According to Tanda, 47 cases of bubonic plague have been identified in Colorado since record keeping began in 1957. Only one case has been identified in Archuleta County, that in 1998. Tanda investigated that incident.

The following meetings formerly slated for the county extension building have been moved.

Tomorrow at 2 p.m., the Colorado Kids 4-H Club meets at the Education Center located at the corner of 4th and Lewis Streets.

League of Women Voters Forum - A public candidates' and election issues forum has been moved to the Pagosa Lakes Community Center Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m.

A new family orientation meeting scheduled Oct. 21 will be held in the courtroom at Town Hall on Hot Springs Boulevard starting at 6:30 p.m.

A 4-H council meeting will be conducted Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. in the courtroom at Town Hall.

 

Good, bad fiscal data for schools

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

There was both good and potentially bad financial news Tuesday for members of the board of education for Archuleta County School District 50 Joint.

The good news was in the annual auditor's report by Michael Branch, certified public accountant, who indicated the district's financial condition "is excellent."

Cash reserves in the fiscal year ended June 30 exceeded the minimum recommended, he said, and combined revenues for that fiscal year exceeded expenditures by $50,000. "Considering that combined expenditures totaled nearly $11 million, the district did a great job in matching expenses to revenue."

While debt service exceeded revenue by $13,000, Branch noted cash reserves were more than adequate to cover the deficiency. And, he said, "slow tax payments by property owners affected by economy probably contributed to the delays in income."

Branch said the food service fund lost $35,923 last year, the first time it has lost money under district management. Food sales were down slightly, but extension of benefits to food service workers and increased costs of commodities for the program produced the program loss.

To offset that loss and meet an anticipated repeat in the current school year, he recommended the board budget up to $50,000 from the general fund to cover potential losses. Later Russ Lee, acting as president pro tem, requested that increased lunch fees be put on the agenda for the November meeting.

After several years of losses in the insurance fund, Branch concluded, revenues last year exceeded expenses by $70,000.

Funding shortfall

The potential bad news came in Superintendent Duane Noggle's report.

He told the board the district received an e-mail Friday from Colorado Department of Education warning of possible fund reductions for fiscal year 2002-2003.

Amendment 23, approved by voters last year, requires only that the statewide "base" per-pupil funding increase by the percentage of inflation plus one percent. It does not require additional funding for the size factor, at-risk factor, cost of living factor and other sources of funding.

Noggle told the board, "Other areas we may be looking at for possible reduction or elimination are teacher incentive payments, school improvement grants, science and technology education, summer school grant programs and increased enrollment growth."

He said the department of education warned the state will also be looking at cutting National Academic Contest funds, school lunch matching funds and new contributions to the area Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

"While nothing has been specifically targeted or identified at this time," Noggle said, "We will be more than likely facing funding reductions in many areas."

At the same time, the board accepted an administrative recommendation to formally oppose the proposed English Language initiative on the November ballot, saying it would impose an unnecessary, unwarranted and unfunded financial burden on the district and "usurp local authority from the local board which knows what its own problems and solutions are."

The district now has just two students who would be affected if the amendment passes, but if it does, the board will be mandated to hire a special teacher for those two. In the meantime, one of them has shown marked improvement and is nearly ready to be fully involved in classroom instruction.

And, the board noted, it has a program for English learners, which integrates those students into the general student population as opposed to the initiative that would segregate those children from their peers.

Board members noted the fiscal impact would be significant because it provides no state funding to offset costs of implementation or additional testing required and would allow lawsuits against individual teachers, administrators and board members for up to 10 years and makes school officials liable for damages causing "educational harm" to a child.

Election issues

Noggle's report also cited an analysis of the current political season by the Colorado Association of School Administration and the potential economic effects on school districts.

The state unit expects Gov. Bill Owens to be re-elected with the probability Republicans also will gain control of the Senate.

The association says that scenario will probably mean Owens proposing legislation to eliminate teacher tenure and the single salary schedule; vouchers are likely to appear again as a legislative issue; the aforementioned Amendment 31 will most likely pass, significantly impacting local school budgets; and the state budget deficit will be in excess of $1.5 billion resulting in raids on education funds, especially those in areas not covered by Amendment 23.

In a local effort to keep a better handle on one phase of expenses, the board approved a recommendation by Nancy Schutz, district business manager, for use of school credit cards.

Schutz told the board Vectra Bank has agreed to issue a card for each school building that can be checked out by personnel in the individual buildings.

"It will eliminate us having to issue a check for special events trips, for example," Schutz told the board, "and will make it easier for us to keep track of actual expenses when teams or special student groups are on the road."

The proposal was passed unanimously on a motion by director Clifford Lucero.

 

Lightning starts Upper Piedra fire

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The rain that's fallen in the past few weeks has been a welcome relief, but it hasn't solved all the problems.

Lightning, for instance, is still starting wildfires, including a six-acre blaze Oct. 8 in the Upper Piedra area near the Sheep Creek Trailhead.

Scott Wagner, fuels forester for the Pagosa Ranger District, said the fire was apparently caused by lightning from last week's storms. Trees 3 inches in circumference or larger, called 1,000-hour fuels, remain extremely dry, he said. Because of their size, these trees take longer to absorb the moisture.

The fire can burn in these trees or in dry snags for days before spreading into the pine needles and leaves on the forest floor. The fire near Monument Park Road was spotted Oct. 8 about 4:30 p.m. by Pagosa Ranger District crews. Twenty-three people, including firefighters from the Pagosa Ranger District, the Columbine Ranger District and the Pagosa Fire Protection District fought the fire.

Wagner said firefighters dug a line around most of the burn area Tuesday night. In another area, the fire burned up onto some rocks and ran out of fuels. Between 18 and 20 firefighters continued cleanup in the area Wednesday.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said local firefighters from the forest service and the Pagosa Fire Protection District also responded to a one-acre fire Oct. 6 on Monument Park Road. That blaze was knocked down quickly. Grams cautioned everyone to continue to be extremely careful of fire in the forests despite the fact that fire bans have been lifted.

 

Police subdue irate man with gun

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs police officers arrested a man Oct. 4 who reportedly attempted to draw a gun after a brief struggle in the La Plata Electric Association offices.

According to police reports, an employee at the association offices on South 8th Street called dispatch at about 4:45 p.m. to request an officer to respond to help with an "unwanted party." Archuleta County resident Alvin Albritton, 67, was in the office making a complaint and allegedly refused to leave.

Officers Tony Kop and Chuck Allen arrived. The officers subdued Albritton after a short struggle during which he apparently tried to draw a gun concealed in his clothing.

Albritton was arrested on charges of first-degree assault of a peace officer, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon. He is currently being held in the Archuleta County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

 Weather 

Date High Low Precip.
Type
Depth Moisture

10/2

62

35

-

-

-

10/3

46

29

R

-

.30

10/4

58

31

-

-

-

10/5

63

32

-

-

-

10/6

65

31

-

-

-

10/7

67

30

-

-

-

10/8

68

32

-

-

-

Season's coldest temps could come on Sunday

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Sunday could be the coldest day of the current season, according to Brian Avery, a forecaster for the Grand Junction National Weather Service office.

A large low-pressure area located off the Pacific Northwest coast will move through the Rocky Mountains this coming weekend according to Avery. The front will transport the coldest weather of the season into the Midwestern states.

The worst of the cold will move across the Rocky Mountains north of the Four Corners area, Avery said, but the tail end of the system could drop further south delivering the coldest temperatures of the season to Pagosa Country Sunday.

Local residents last week were treated to the season's first snowfall in town. A skiff of snow dusted the pavement late Thursday and early Friday for a few fleeting hours. More snow covered the San Juan Mountains north and east of town. That snow was disappearing by midweek.

Total precipitation for the past week amounted to 0.30 inches. High temperatures ranged between 68 and 46 degrees with an average high temperature of 61 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between 29 and 35 degrees with an average low temperature of 31 degrees.

Skies will be mostly cloudy today, but clouds should start moving in during the evening. Tomorrow and Saturday will be partly cloudy with high temperatures in the low to middle 60s. There is a slight chance for showers Saturday.

Sunday's high temperatures should be in the middle to upper 50-degree range. Sunday lows should range from the upper 20s to the low 30s. There is a slight chance for showers Monday and Tuesday.

 

 Sports PageParks & Rec

Volleyball camp opens; tournament scheduled

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Approximately 25 young athletes have pre-registered for a sixth-grade boys and girls volleyball session.

This skills camp started Wednesday with 10 full sessions scheduled in the Community Center Gymnasium Mondays and Wednesdays, 4-6 p.m.

The total cost is $20 with the goal of the recreation department to teach some rules of the game and to help start the young athletes learning the proper fundamentals of volleyball.

Volleyball tournament

Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation will host an eight-team, co-ed volleyball tournament Dec. 7. Cost to enter the tournament is $200 per team. Proceeds will help pay for new volleyball standards for the center.

Pool play followed by a single elimination championship bracket and a consolation bracket will determine winners. Coaches' meetings are set for 8:30 a.m. at the Pagosa Springs Intermediate School gymnasium.

Call Joe Lister Jr. at 264-4151 Ext. 231.

Hershey Foundation

The Town has applied for a grant that has local ties.

The Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation has money available for outdoor recreation and hiking trails. The foundation was set up by the late Jake Hershey and is being carried on by Mrs. Terese Hershey, owner of Fourmile Ranch here in Pagosa Springs.

The grant, if received, will help pay for the development of an extension of the River Walk from the Hot Springs to the bridge on Apache Street. The grant would be used to fund a viewing area with some interpretive signage and park benches for hikers and birders to enjoy.

We are looking forward to hearing back from the foundation.

Bon voyage

Jim Miller, our dedicated parks superintendent, will take a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of Pagosa Springs. The next two weeks will be filled with airplanes, cruise ships, hiking and snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands off the South American coast.

We all envy Jim; however, after our summer drought and constant duties of park maintenance, Jim deserves this trip of a lifetime.

Another goodbye goes out to Tye Davidson, a parks worker who is leaving us for sunny Florida. We wish him well; meanwhile we are taking applications at Town Hall for his position. Applications are available during regular business hours.

Open gym basketball

Every Thursday evening starting at 6:30 p.m. the Community Center gym will be open for adult basketball. There is no charge to use the facility as long as you are planning to register for the adult basketball program in January.

Stickball

Stickball is a game of basketball played with a broomstick or mop handle and a rubber ball. All that is required is tennis shoes and a willingness to learn. No fees are associated with this program.

Games will be played at the Community Center gym Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. This is an exciting game that helps build hand-eye coordination.

If you are interested, please contact Ted Wozny at 883-2568 or Chris at Town Hall, 264-4151 Ext. 232.

 

Pirates pummel Taos 39-13; host Ignacio Friday

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs tuned up for tomorrow night's Intermountain League showdown with Ignacio by pummeling Taos 39-6 last Friday in the New Mexico city.

Quarterback David Kern threw four touchdown passes to three different receivers, leading Pagosa to a fifth consecutive win this season. Pagosa's offense chewed up 333 yards on the ground and 133 yards through the air.

Pagosa's running backs gained 265 yards. Brandon Rosgen ran for 162 yards on 15 carries. Brandon Charles ran for 103 yards on seven carries and caught three passes for 97 yards. In addition to completing six of 10 passes, Kern ran for 45 yards on six carries.

Pagosa won the opening toss against Taos and elected to kick off to the Tigers. The bigger New Mexico squad immediately shifted its single wing offense into high gear, starting on its own 38-yard line. Eleven plays later Tony Williams lit up the scoreboard by pounding around left end for 26 yards and a TD. Jesus Ramirez kicked the extra point.

It looked like a long evening for Pagosa as Ramirez kicked off. The Pirates proved equal to the challenge. Brandon Charles returned the kickoff to the 35-yard line. Keyed by a 36-yard run by Rosgen, Pagosa moved 65 yards in just six plays. Kern passed 17 yards to Jason Schutz lurking in the right corner of the end zone for the TD. Daniel Aupperle squibbed the extra point kick leaving Taos on top 7-6 with 3:46 on the first period clock.

The Tigers started from their own 39 yard line following Pagosa's kickoff. Four plays later they had lost three yards and were punting. Pagosa's defenders had solved the single wing.

"We didn't change anything," Coach Sean O'Donnell said. "The kids played harder. They figured out the rhythm of the Taos offense on their own."

Following the Taos punt, Pagosa needed only two plays to go 54 yards for another TD. This time, Kern hooked up with Charles down the middle for 48 yards and the score. On the extra point try, the snap was fumbled ending the play. Pagosa was on top 12-7. Taos ran out the first quarter with three plays and a punt.

Pagosa opened the second period with its third possession and the ball on the Taos 48. Seven plays later, Kern passed to Jeremy Caler for 14 yards and a score. Aupperle's kick was wide. With 8.06 on the halftime clock, Pagosa's lead climbed to 18-7.

Just nine seconds later, Pagosa scored again. Charles covered a Taos fumble on the first play from scrimmage. Pagosa started from the Taos 26-yard line. Kern ran for two, a facemask penalty moved the ball to the 9, then Rosgen battered into the end zone. Aupperle's kick hit the goal post. Pagosa's lead stretched to a comfortable 24-7.

Taos hung onto the ball for most of the time remaining in the half, but failed to score. Pagosa's D held on downs on the Pirate 28-yard line, stifling the only Tiger threat.

Following the second half kickoff, Pagosa and Taos exchanged punts. Taos drove to the Pagosa 16, but the Pirate D again refused to budge for four downs.

After starting on its own 14, Pagosa drove the length of the field for a fifth TD. The big play of the drive was a 41-yard scamper by Charles. The Pirate senior started to his left, saw congestion, and reversed his field, finally being run out of bounds on the Tiger 43-yard line. Rosgen ran for 16 yards, then 16 more before a Pagosa holding call negated a TD throw to Charles. Three plays later, Kern threw to Caler for the score. Aupperle's kick failed.

Taos floundered backward on its next possession, so far back that, when Clayton Mastin sacked Lorenzo Lucero in the end zone, Pagosa picked up another two points.

Following the safety, Pagosa needed only six plays to move 40 yards for its final score of the game. Aupperle's kick was wide, but Pagosa's lead reached 39-7.

With a little over nine minutes remaining in the game, O'Donnell substituted freely. Taos responded by covering a Pirate fumble and driving 33 yards for the final points of the game. The extra point pass fell incomplete.

Defending Intermountain League champions, the Pirates are once again on the top rung of the IML ladder with a 1-0 record. The wounded Bobcats from Ignacio will come to town with fangs bared and talons showing, knowing they have to beat Pagosa to stay in the IML title chase.

While Pagosa was running the socks off the Taos Tigers in a non-league game last week, Ignacio lost an overtime IML heartbreaker to Monte Vista 29-26. Until the Monte game, Ignacio was unbeaten for the season. Game time tomorrow night in Golden Peaks Stadium is 7 p.m. The long-time rivals square off with identical 5-1 season records.

Pagosa has won the IML title the past three seasons and is gunning for four in a row. They have captured 14 consecutive league games. After several down seasons, Ignacio hopes soared this year after the Bobcats launched the season with five consecutive wins, mostly by large margins. Last Friday they matched Monte Vista touchdown for touchdown, but could not convert the extra points needed for victory. Monte won with a field goal in overtime.

IML standings now show Pagosa Springs on top with a 1-0 record, Ignacio, Monte Vista and Centauri next with 1-1 records, and Bayfield in the cellar at 0-2. Centauri beat Bayfield 13-7 Saturday.

"They are for real," Pirate head coach Sean O'Donnell said of Ignacio. "They have an all-senior line that gets off of the ball fast. They play hard and are strong in the skill positions."

Ignacio running back Lorenzo Rodriguez is putting up some of the best numbers in the state, including a per-carry average of around 10 yards. Fullback Ben Neil runs for good yardage up the middle. Quarterback Chris Phillips throws well and has two good receivers in Rodriguez and tight end Laramie Miller, who goes 6'5" with muscles to match.

The Ignacio offense tries to spread out the field with a single set back, then spring Rodriguez for big gains running or receiving. At other times they line up in a power I.

"It should be a fun week for the fans," O'Donnell said. "Ignacio is good and we are good."

Summary

Pagosa Springs 12 12 9 6 39

Taos 7 0 0 6 13

Taos: Williams 27 run (Ramirez kick). Pagosa: Kern 17 pass to Schutz (Aupperle kick fail). Pagosa: Kern 48 yard pass to Charles (fumble end try). Pagosa: Kern 14 yard pass to Caler (Aupperle kick fail). Pagosa: Rosgen 9 run (Aupperle kick fail). Pagosa Springs: Kern 5 pass to Caler (Aupperle kick fail). Pagosa: Mastin safety. Pagosa: Charles 5 run (kick fail). Taos: Williams 30 run (2-point try fail).

  

Pagosa women golfers finish league in fourth

By Lynne Allison

Special to The SUN

The Pagosa Women's Golf Association fielded eight of its current lowest handicap players to travel Oct. 3 to San Juan Country Club in Farmington for the final team play day.

Barbara Boggess, team captain, said they left in the dark and it was cold and snowing. She wasn't even sure the event would be played, yet all eight of the Pagosa players were wonderful sports and showed up to play. Fortunately, it stopped snowing and the sun came out, even though temperatures remained quite cool throughout the day.

The team included Jane Stewart, Jan Kilgore, Bonnie Hoover, Boggess, Carrie Weisz, Genie Roberts, Loretta Campuzano and Maxine Pechin. They competed against Hillcrest of Durango and accumulated 34.5 points in match play format.

Pagosa finished fourth for the season among the eight teams in the league. Final standings showed Pinon Hills 324 1/2, Dalton Ranch 298 1/2, Hillcrest, 296, Pagosa 287 1/2, Riverview 284, San Juan C.C. 277 1/2, Hidden Valley 277 and Aztec Conquistador 258 1/2.

Boggess thanked all the women who participated in this year's team play matches and looks forward to another exciting season next year.

For more information concerning the Pagosa Women's Golf Association call Weisz, the league president, at 731-2818.

 

Mees breaks 18-minute mark; girls place second

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pirate Cross Country team ran off with two individual victories and a team trophy at Mancos Saturday. Pagosa competed against nine teams overall, posting some of the best times of the season.

"It was a flat-out gorgeous day," Coach Scott Anderson said, "cool, crisp, a perfect day for running cross country."

Senior Todd Mees claimed his first individual win of the season, finishing the varsity race in 17 minutes, 58 seconds to crack the 18-minute mark on a legal 5K course for the first time in his career. "He's starting to realize his full potential," the coach said.

Junior Dan Lowder, who "continues to improve," Anderson said, was the next Pirate to cross the line, finishing 13th in 19:52. His brother, senior B.J. Lowder, claimed 19th place with a time of 20:16. Freshman Orion Sandoval placed 26th with a time of 21:44 to round out the team.

Pagosa actually tied for third place as a team, but ended up fourth because they had no fifth varsity runner to break the tie. That won't happen this week, Anderson said. The varsity boys will add two runners to the roster at the league meet in Monte Vista Saturday: freshman Paul Hostetter and senior Jeremy Buikema. Both ran the junior varsity race at Mancos.

The Lady Pirates took the field by storm, placing all four runners in the top ten and coming away with an individual win. The Lady Pirates placed second as a team.

Pagosa freshman Emily Schur took her speed up a notch on the relatively-flat course, winning the varsity race in 19:57. She was followed by senior Amanda McCain who finished fifth in 22:34, turning on the speed after being slowed for a couple weeks with a mild calf strain. Freshman Heather Dahm followed McCain's lead to finish sixth in 22:40, and Jenna Finney rounded out the trio with a seventh place finish in 22:45. Senior Hannah Emanuel crossed the line in 18th with a time of 24:08.

Anderson is enthusiastic about his team's performance and their chances in post-season races. A week ago, he said, the girls were 10 points away from rival Bayfield in team scoring. At Mancos, they cut the gap to two points.

"This weekend we'll find out where we are," Anderson said. "I'm starting to get real excited for both our teams."

The Pirates head to Monte Vista for the Intermountain League Meet Saturday. The meet will take place on the golf course there and will decide the all-conference runners, league standings and IML Runner of the Year awards. On Oct. 19, the team heads to regionals, also in Monte Vista, for a shot at a spot at the state meet in Denver.

 

Lady Pirates snuff out Bayfield's unbeaten dream

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

A large crowd of Bayfield volleyball fans gathered Monday to watch their senior-laden Wolverines take on Pagosa Springs in an Intermountain League match.

Bayfield entered the match on its home court the only unbeaten Class 3A team in Colorado (11-0) with a hard-fought three-game win at Pagosa Springs at the first of the season under the belt.

An unbeaten IML season loomed, something only Pagosa had managed to do - for the last six seasons.

The noise in the Bayfield stands began before the match started and reached a crescendo as the home team ran off an easy 10-4 lead over the young and variable lady Pirates.

Five minutes later, you could find a rowdier crowd at an Episcopalian church service. The score was tied 12-12.

Twenty minutes later, you could hear more cheers at a funeral than were heard on the Bayfield side of the court.

Pagosa came back from the serious deficit in the first game, scoring 9 unanswered points to win 15-12, then applied the proverbial thumping of the derriere in the second game, beating a deflated pack of Wolverines 15-3.

Once again, the Ladies proved they are the most entertaining and most unpredictable show in town.

And, so far this season, with no wins on the home court, that show has been in someone else's town.

Bayfield started the match with four unanswered points, none of them earned. The home team increased the lead to 5-1 before the Ladies put together a three-point run, getting a point on a kill from outside hitter Shannon Walkup and taking advantage of two Bayfield errors.

The home team gained its composure, took the ball back and put five unanswered points on the scoreboard, but something was in the wind. And the wind was not blowing in Bayfield's favor.

Pagosa blockers were getting to the point of attack, taking Bayfield middle hitters Amy Young and Kim Piccoli out of the game. Wolverine hitters began to make mistakes in the face of the blocks. Bayfield put two balls out of bounds, hitting high to avoid the hands of the Pagosa blockers, then scored twice on a Lady Pirate hitting error and an ace.

That was all she wrote.

The blocking continued in tenacious fashion and the Ladies started on the long road back into the game.

Lori Walkup, playing in the middle, crushed an errant Bayfield pass for a point. She turned around and stuffed a Wolverine hitter for a point and a passing error gave Pagosa its ninth point.

Bayfield managed a sideout, but as quickly as the serve went into a Wolverine's hands, it was returned to Pagosa and another mistake gave the Ladies a 10th point.

After an exchange of sideouts Shannon Walkup scored from outside, Courtney Steen blasted a Bayfield pass to the floor then killed to put the Ladies ahead 13-12.

Bayfield got the serve. Pagosa got it right back. Shannon Walkup put the ball down again and a Wolverine hitting error left the team and its fans stunned, the losers of a game they were certain they'd win.

With their own Amy Young at the serve, the Lady Pirates ripped to a 6-0 lead in the second game, the flustered Wolverine six making mistake after mistake. Bayfield managed two points but, with the serve back on the Pagosa side, the debacle continued.

Katie Bliss put an off-speed kill to the back corner to score. Two Bayfield errors followed and Bliss ended a four-point run with a kill off the block.

Bayfield was finished, demoralized, the players' body language telling the story. The Wolverines gave up the 11th point on a hitting error, too mindful of the blocks set at the net. Lori Walkup and Steen combined on a tandem block for a point and Shannon Walkup killed again to give the Ladies a 13-2 advantage.

Bayfield put one more point on the scoreboard, a freebie coming off a Lady Pirate hitting error, then committed a hitting error to give Pagosa a 14th point.

The teams teetered on the brink of the final point for four sideouts before a Bayfield middle hitter froze once again, hit the ball out of bounds and ended what had to be an ugly evening for her team.

"That was an awesome match," said Lady Pirate coach Penné Hamilton. "I told the girls that this kind of thing happens when you cut the oxygen. We took away Bayfield's middle attack, and that's what they've traded on."

Hamilton said she made an adjustment in the Lady Pirate strategy to prepare for the Bayfield match. "I was impressed, because we made that adjustment and just walked through it in practice. That was it. We were a little out of sync at the start of the match, then the girls made the adjustment work."

Saturday, the Ladies are at their one tournament of the year, at Fowler, saving the intense one-day workout for the last part of the schedule - unlike most teams which play a tournament at the start of the season.

The experience should be strenuous. The host, Fowler, is one of the premiere Class 2A teams in Colorado, with a great tradition and a collection of state championship hardware in the trophy case.

Lamar returns to Fowler this year. The 3A Savages and the Lady Pirates have become bitter rivals during the last decade, trading blows at Fowler, and at regional and state tournaments.

La Junta makes a first appearance at the tournament and the 3A team from the plains will be a new opponent for Pagosa.

Fountain Ft. Carson comes to the tourney from the Colorado Springs area. The Ladies beat the 4A competitor the last time the teams met at Fowler.

"This should be a very good test for us," said Hamilton. "Playing four matches in one day is a lot like district, regional and state tournament action, so it is good practice. I don't know a lot about La Junta or Fountain Ft. Carson this year, but I am sure there will be some serious competition between us, Fowler and Lamar."

The Lady Pirates' first match at the tournament begins at 11:30 a.m., against Fountain Ft. Carson.

Summary

Kills: S. Walkup 6, Bliss 4, Steen 4

Aces: Scott 1, Bliss 1

Blocks: L. Walkup 3, Steen 1

Digs: Bliss 8, Young 6, S. Walkup 4, Steen 4

Assists: L. Walkup 8, Young 7

 

Bliss' best game lost as Ladies bow to Centauri

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Call it even.

The Centauri Falcon volleyball team flew into town Friday and beat the Lady Pirates 15-13, 15- 8, avenging a Sept. 13 loss to the Ladies at La Jara.

The story of the match is simple: the Falcons played well, the Ladies did not. If a team puts three or four 6-foot players on the court and starts six seniors, it can have a bad night and win. If a team's tallest player is 5 foot 9 inches and there are three sophomores in the starting lineup, an off night rarely works out well.

Following the loss, Pagosa was 3-2 in Intermountain League play, still holding tenuously to second place in the league standings, and the team's season record was 5-5.

The evening began well for the Ladies: After Centauri got the first point of the match, Pagosa put the pedal to the metal and jumped all over the Falcons, taking an 8-3 lead. The surge was led by senior outside hitter Katie Bliss, who played her finest game of the season.

Centauri was undaunted, however, coming back to trail 8-7, taking advantage of a lackluster Pagosa blocking scheme and the smart setting of Jacque Loch.

Bliss refused to allow Centauri to take the lead at that point, hammering three consecutive kills and extending the Lady Pirate margin to 11-7.

Four straight points by the Falcons, three of them surrendered on Pagosa errors, tied the score.

Pagosa got a charity point, but the visitors from the San Luis Valley put three points on the board to lead 14-12, one point from the win.

Pagosa would not submit and the fans were treated to some of the most entertaining rallies of the season as each team kept the ball in play and traded seven scoreless sideouts. Bliss nailed a kill to give the Ladies a 13th point, but the effort was not enough. The ball went back to Centauri on a passing error and the Falcons shut the door.

Pagosa got the first point of the second game, but a bevy of mistakes allowed Centauri to soar to a 9-2 lead. Lori Walkup killed for a point but Centauri responded with an ace to lead 10-3. Alex Rigia nailed an errant Falcon pass for a point but, again, Pagosa could not put together a run.

Centauri's play through the rest of the game was sloppy, but the Lady Pirates could not pull themselves from the doldrums, managing only one earned point, a kill by Bliss, as the visitors took the game and match.

"We started strong," said Pagosa coach Pennè Hamilton, " but we lost it and couldn't get going again. We held them at 14 for the longest time in the first game, but just couldn't score. In the second game, we would do one decent thing and get the ball back, then couldn't seem to capitalize on it. We got to where we were playing desperate. When we needed a block, we were called for running into the net. When we needed a kill, we hit the ball out. It was that kind of night. You have them."

Summary

Kills: Bliss 9, Scott 4, Steen 4

Aces: S. Walkup 1

Solo blocks: Bliss 1, L. Walkup 1

Digs: S. Walkup 9, L. Walkup 7

Assists: L. Walkup 9, Young 9

 

Pagosa kickers toy with Ridgway in Durango

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It took Pagosa 6 minutes, 6 seconds to get its first goal Saturday on a neutral field in Durango against Ridgway. The Pirates did not score again until the second half.

That early lead, however, stood up until an intermission talk by coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason convinced the Pirates they were not the same team he'd seen in the second half the day before against Crested Butte and they needed to "get their heads into the game."

That initial goal was a beauty scored by Kyle Sanders (his 21st of the season) on a reverse kick drop pass from midfielder Brian Hart.

For the balance of the half, Pagosa seemed content to play keep-away although they fired 13 more shots at Ridgway keeper Devon McMurrin while their own tender, Caleb Forrest, was called on to stop only three Ridgway efforts.

At 39:37, Pagosa's best scoring chance and Ty Peterson's opportunity for his first of the season tipped off the left post and out of bounds.

The second half was a different ball game. Pagosa came out with full-field offensive pressure and, at 44:18, Kevin Muirhead hiked the Pagosa lead to 2-0, converting on a header lead from Matt Mesker.

At 50:50, it was Muirhead electrifying the crowd with a reverse kick off a lead from Sanders on the left wing for a 3-0 Pagosa lead and the beat was only to get more intense.

Six minutes later the same two Pirates teamed up to increase Pagosa's lead to 4-0. Muirhead outraced a defender on the left wing, crossed the ball to Sanders storming up the middle, and McMurrin had no chance.

Ridgway wasn't about to go without an argument. At 57:17, the Demons got on the board, cutting the lead to 4-1 when standout striker Gvorg Sargsyan intercepted a muffed outlet pass just inside midfield, had a breakaway against Forrest, and scored to the keeper's left.

It was to be Ridgway's only goal.

The cheers for Pagosa returned when sophomore Levi Gill got his first goal of the season at 58:43, heading in a perfect corner kick from Sanders.

Mesker hiked the Pagosa lead to 6-1 at the 76-minute mark scoring unassisted on a dribble drive to the right and a crossover kick back beyond McMurrin's right hand.

Pagosa's final marker gave them their second consecutive 7-1 victory.

And it, too, was an example of perfect teamwork.

Hart was open up the middle and everyone in his line of fire seemed to fade from the path of what was expected to be a ground-hugging blast.

Instead, he nudged the ball past three defenders, caught up with his own lead pass, and found Sanders wide open for the score just seven yards out, hiking his state-leading scoring total to 23.

In the first half when Pagosa outshot Ridgway 18-4, the margin was unexpected. It got worse for Ridgway in the second half when the Pirates outshot them 20-5 for a 38-9 margin in the game.

The Pirates return to league competition Saturday with a 1 p.m. game at Center and then host Bayfield at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Summary

Scoring: 6:06, PS-Sanders, assist Hart; 44:18, PS-Muirhead, assist Mesker; 50:50, PS-Muirhead, assist Sanders; 56:51, PS-Sanders, assist Muirhead; 57:17, R-G. Sargsyan, UA; 58:43, PS-L. Gill, assist Sanders; 76:00, PS-Mesker, UA; 78:57, PS-Sanders, assist Hart. No penalties. Saves: PS-Forrest, 6; R-McMurrin, 24.

 

Pirates blitz Crested Butte; avenge league loss

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

When a Crested Butte defender was yellow-carded for roughing against Pagosa's Kyle Frye just 2 minutes, 30 seconds into Friday's game at Golden Peaks Stadium, it was the beginning of the end for the visitors.

Their hopes for a second upset of the home-standing Pirates (they won a disputed 3-2 contest on their home field Sept. 14) were quickly quelled as Pirate standout Kyle Sanders converted the ensuing penalty kick and Pagosa led 1-0.

Just 30 seconds later, the score went to 2-0 when Levi Gill intercepted a Crested Butte clearing pass and led right wing Kevin Muirhead perfectly for another Pagosa goal.

Then, at 7:30, the Sanders show got a curtain call as he deked and dodged his way through a host of defenders and scored unassisted, his second of the game and 19th of the season.

That 3-0 lead looked big enough, but as the second half started it was evident the Pirates weren't satisfied.

At 41:01, Levi Gill missed a chance for his first goal, hitting the crossbar, and 22 seconds later his shot from 20 yards went wide right. And, as Pagosa kept the ball in Crested Butte's zone, Muirhead was stopped by Ryan Houseman on a point-blank blast at 41:18.

Pagosa's Jordan Kurt-Mason and Crested Butte's Devin Bell had a physical tete-a-tete just inside the Titans' zone just one minute later and both drew warnings but no penalties. Still, the Pirates maintained control and stayed in the Titans' faces and at 43:14 Matt Mesker's header attempt was stopped by Houseman.

And then came the backbreaker. Pagosa's Brian Hart delivered one of his patented 35-yard risers at 46:01 for an unassisted goal, Pagosa's fourth, and the rout was on.

After Crested Butte got two shots, one an indirect kick which went right at 48:47 and the other easily stopped by Pagosa's Caleb Forrest, Sanders was stopped. Zeb Gill, returning to action after missing three games with an ankle injury, was wide left and Michael Dach, with one of his rare shots on goal, was wide left. Dach is normally the defensive sweeper, the last line of defense in front of his team's keeper.

Then it was Sanders again, drilling one off Houseman's right hand which dribbled on past into the net for another unassisted goal and a 5-1 Pagosa lead at 56:55.

After both Mesker and Hart were stopped on inside drives, Crested Butte was awarded a penalty kick at 61:40 from 12 yards. Sophomore Chris Garren ripped it into the right corner.

At 62:55 a Pagosa goal was disallowed on an offsides call, but the Pirates were unbowed. At 69:01 they hiked the lead to 6-1 on what can best be described as picture-perfect team play.

It began with Levi Gill sending a crossing pass to Mesker in the middle. His fake shot drew Houseman away from the right corner and Mesker then headed a lead to Muirhead who drilled it into the vacated corner.

Forty seconds later, Muirhead was stopped by Houseman as Pagosa kept the attack on full force. But, 36 seconds later, the final Pagosa score came when Kurt-Mason found Mesker racing wide on the right wing and hit him with a perfect drop pass for the final score and a 7-1 margin.

The balance of the game was a passing drill for the Pirates. Crisp, pinpoint drives found creases in defensive alignment but Pagosa was content to play keep-away. Forrest made one last stop and Crested Butte's T. J. Cannon drew his team's second yellow for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The final effort was an indirect kick by Kurt-Mason from 30 yards that was wide left as the game came to an end.

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said his squad demonstrated its best passing attack of the season in the game.

"Each one knew where his teammates were, saw the whole field, and kept the pressure on for a full 80 minutes," he said.

The lone sour note for the game was the fact the starting time was changed from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m and the media were not notified.

Summary:

Scoring: 2:30, PS-Sanders PK; 3:00, PS-Muirhead, assist L. Gill; 7:30, PS-Sanders unassisted; 46:01, PS-Hart unassisted; 56:55, PS-Sanders unassisted; 61:40, CB-Garren, PK; 69:01, PS-Muirhead, assists L. Gill and Mesker; 74:21, PS-Mesker, assist Kurt-Mason. Penalties: PS-Frye, yellow; CB, Bell, yellow; Cannon, yellow.

 

  Obituaries

Robert Lauren Hill

Robert Lauren Hill, 69, died in his sleep early Monday, Oct. 7, 2002, in his Pagosa Springs home.

Born Nov. 3, 1933, in Chicago, Ill., he graduated from Senn High School and Aug. 14, 1954, married his high school sweetheart, Susan Dell Hill. He graduated from Knox College in 1955 with a business degree and was president of Phi Delta Theta on campus. He played college basketball and later advanced to rank of captain in the U.S. Army.

He came to Pagosa Springs Nov. 22, 1977, as owner of the Relay Station, a restaurant and motel east of town on U.S. 160. A mountain climber and bicyclist, he was a member of San Juan Outdoor Club, a frequent rider in Ride The Rockies, and was known locally as Anasazi Bob, The Ancient One.

He worked for 20 years at Fairfield Pagosa in a variety of jobs, most recently as a recreation specialist.

Survivors are his wife, Sue; daughters Karen Bartholomew, her husband Rick, and their children Kyle and Kelly of Pagosa Springs; and Patty Carter, her husband Rick and children Eric and Scott of Denver.

A remembrance service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 2002, in Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Pagosa Springs.

Jack Norman Nelson

Jack Norman Nelson passed away in his Arboles home Saturday, Oct. 5, 2002. He was born June 25, 1931, in Lascar, Colo. Jack was 71 years old. He was the son of Thomas Clinton Nelson and Laura May Clark Nelson.

He married Janice Brown in Creede Dec. 30, 1966. He moved to Pagosa Springs from Clifton, Colo. in 1998. Jack loved to work and spent most of his adult life working as a truck driver, a miner and a heavy equipment operator. He was a member of the Creede Elks Club No. 506.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister.

He is survived by his wife, Janice Nadine Nelson of Buena Vista; his daughters, Carol Ann McKenna of Pittsburg, Calif.; and Tami Baker of Albuquerque; his sons, Jack Nelson Jr. of Pagosa Springs, Norman Birdsey of Cobb, Calif., Rory Birdsey of Gunnison; Russel Birdsey of Sedalia; Randal Birdsey of Highlands Ranch and Terry Jordan of Salt Lake City, Utah.

A graveside memorial service was scheduled at the Allison Cemetery at 11 a.m. today. The service will be officiated by Ron Carpenter of the Elks Lodge 506 and Rev. Louis Day.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Elks Lodge 506 in Creede.

Cecelia Mary Redfield

Cecelia Mary Redfield died Thursday, Oct. 3, 2002, at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center. Cecelia was born April 24, 1911, in Yorkshire, England. She was 91 years old.

She was the daughter of Ernest and Mary Jane Cawthra. Later she married Richard Edwin Redfield. Cecelia worked as a secretary for the public school system.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Dick and Kay Redfield, of Pagosa Springs. No services are planned at this time.

 

 Inside The Sun

School district committees taking on added studies

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The number of committees named to study specific issues in Archuleta School District 50 Joint is growing as the district's enrollment grows.

Superintendent Duane Noggle told the board of education Tuesday that ad hoc committees have been formed for curriculum in language arts, foreign language, social studies and Teen Aid; another will study expansion of the district's vocational education program; another will study and recommend software for student data management and the facilities management committee was to meet Wednesday, continuing study of a facilities master plan.

At the same time, the district's accountability committee has three new members. Noggle said Ann Martino, Lisa Catlin and Ryan Wienpahl have been appointed to the panel and that Bob Bigelow was re-elected as chairman.

The committee has been given three specific goals for this year, including revision of the school safety plan; oversight, review and monitoring of strategic plans; and improved communication with the community.

In other personnel action the board, on recommendation of the administration, accepted the resignation of Rebecca Howe, special education teacher at the high school; appointed Pam Miller to a new sixth-grade teaching position; formally named Tom Riedberger as high school assistant golf coach; and named Lisa Johnson as intermediate school resource aid.

The board also approved staff travel requests for Jean Fox, Kate Lister and Dave Krueger to attend subject-matter workshops out of state. Such approval is required when distance to be traveled exceeds 300 miles.

The board heard a report from Windsor Chacey on the progress of plans for the Kids Voting program, indicating more than 600 students already are registered, and watched a slide presentation by Barry Owen on how to interpret and utilize state CSAP scores.

Noggle said the district, after considerable discussion with the state department of education, has concluded the scores it released following state testing - and the scores released by the state which differed in some instances - were both correct.

The difference, he said, was in who was included. The district's scores, received directly from the test developer and scorer, included all students tested. The state's scores had specific groups of students excluded.

Owen displayed how the scores can be broken down from groups of students statewide to the individual student in the classroom and used as a program development tool to increase teacher effectiveness.

He eased the fears of some that Pagosa was lagging behind, particularly in math, by showing that local percentiles were actually at or above statewide averages and were on a par with bigger schools in the region.

He also told the board there are reasonable responses to the tests saying the students are being asked to perform functions they've not yet been exposed to. "School boards tell the state 'You're testing too early,' and the state says 'You're teaching too late,'" he said.

What these tests represent, he added, "is an educational buffet where you can fill your learning plate, consume it all and go back for more. The scores can tell you anything you want to know if you know how to interpret them."

After a 47-minute executive session, the board, after interviewing both the parent and the student, voted to expel a junior high student for the balance of the school year.

Finally, the weary board amended its agenda for the night by moving discussion of four sections of the Revised District Policy manual to the November meeting, and adjourned.

 

Civic Club Bazaar shifted to new Community Center

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Barb Draper, chair for the Civic Club Bazaar to benefit Ruby Sisson Library, announced Tuesday the event, scheduled Nov. 2 at the Extension Building at the fairgrounds will go on as scheduled - at a new location.

She said the 50 or more vendors who will be participating, will set up their booths in the multipurpose room in the Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The original site has been closed temporarily because of health concerns.

 

County reaches deal with new airport operator

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Archuleta County commissioners have approved an agreement naming Energy and Engine Technology Corporation as the new Fixed Base Operator at county-owned Stevens Field. At the same time, the commissioners approved a hangar lease with the same firm.

"The county anticipates that the transition will take place Oct. 16," said Bill Steele, the county administrator. "We're doing our level best to ensure that service for pilots will not be interrupted during the changeover. That could mean involvement by the airport manager to provide service."

Complicating the issue are contracts with the existing Fixed Based Operator and lessee FliteCrafton Aviation. Private property values may be involved with FliteCrafton's current situation. County officials generally assume that, for some months, FliteCrafton has been attempting to negotiate a deal to sell certain FBO assets. A telephone call Wednesday afternoon to learn details of FliteCrafton's position on the new county arrangement was not answered.

The FBO works under an agreement with the county. The agreement allows the operator to sell aviation fuel and other goods and services. In addition to the agreement, the county leases the hangar space in which the FBO works.

Under terms of the new agreement approved Tuesday, the new FBO and lessee assumes no obligation for any expenses involved in moving the hangar, or razing the edifice and erecting a new hangar. The county retains responsibility for those expenses. The Federal Aviation Administration may help with expenses for the move, but that is a possibility and not a fact.

FAA plans seem to require that Nick's hangar be moved, probably no later than 2003. A portion of the hangar intrudes in space designated as open space in connection with the north runway.

The new contract is for 10 years, with a 10-year renewal option. The contract will be effective when the county can deliver possession of the goods being contracted for. The lease rate starts at $9,600 a year for the first five years. After that, the rate could escalate to $22,000 a year if a new building is provided.

If the county can't deliver, the lessee can terminate the contract.

For each gallon of aviation fuel sold, the county will receive 5 cents. In addition, the county will receive 70 percent of parking fees collected by the FBO.

The commissioners conducted the following additional business.

- A preliminary budget for 2003 was provided by the county finance office. The preliminary budget contains elected official and department head requests. A final budget is not normally adopted before December.

- Dump fees will be waived for United Methodist Church in connection with its annual Christmas program.

- Agreement was reached among the commissioners to pursue acquisition of three Bureau of land Management parcels in the vicinity of Stevens Field.

- Approval was granted program papers presented by the county Office of Emergency Management.

- An annual contract for predator control was renewed with the USDA Wildlife Services.

- On matters concerning the county planning department, the improvements agreement and bond for Knolls Subdivision was released; the final plat for Mountain Meadows Townhouses Phase Two was approved; and the final plat was approved and the performance bond reduced for Teal Landing Phase Seven, Building 17.

 

First regular rifle hunting season opens Saturday

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Here they come. Big game rifle season, 2002, starts Saturday in Pagosa Country.

Lured by record numbers of elk, snow on the mountains, glowing aspen trees, and cool, crisp mountain air, droves of rifle toters choose Pagosa Country every year for big game hunting adventure.

It all begins Saturday. Colorado's first regular rifle season runs from 30 minutes before sun-up Oct. 12 until 30 minutes after the sun sets Oct. 16. Only elk may be shot during the first season.

Three rifle seasons follow. Second, third, and fourth seasons all feature combined deer and elk hunting. The second rifle season runs Oct. 19-25, the third rifle season runs Nov. 2-8, and the fourth and final rifle season runs Nov. 9-13.

Additional special seasons are available for those who qualify.

The word rifle is highlighted when describing seasons to distinguish rifle season from seasons established for hunters who prefer to take game with muzzle-loaded rifles or with bows and arrows. The muzzle loading and bow seasons are already finished.

Big game hunted in the Pagosa Springs area include mule deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, and bighorn sheep. An overwhelming majority of the hunters in this area are after deer and elk.

Hunting for each type of animal is governed by specific rules and seasons according to designated hunting zones, called game units. Big game units in the Archuleta County area are 77, 78, 751, and 771.

The 2002 Colorado Hunting Information guidebook contains 53 pages of detailed information describing every aspect of big game hunting in Colorado. Because regulations change from year to year, hunters are advised to obtain a copy of the guidebook from local hunting supply outlets. Those operating the outlets are also good sources of information, as are the wildlife officers assigned to each area.

Large numbers of out-of-state hunters purchase licenses in Pagosa Springs each year, even if they plan to hunt elsewhere in Colorado. Several local sporting goods outlets rank among the leaders in Colorado in big game license sales.

If the recently completed bow and muzzleloading season results are used as a guide, hunters should enjoy success in the Pagosa Springs area during the coming four seasons.

Most nonresident license fees have increased in accordance with changes in the consumer price index. An exception is the reduction of the nonresident cow elk fee to $250.

Regular resident deer license fees are $20, nonresident $285. Regular resident elk license fees are $30, nonresident $470 for bulls, $250 for cows. Resident antelope license fees are $20, nonresident antelope license fees $285. Resident bear license fees are $30, nonresident bear license fee $250. Moose license fees are $200 for residents, $1,580 for nonresidents.

To qualify for a resident license, one must have lived in Colorado continuously for at least six months immediately before buying a license and must intend to make Colorado home. Exceptions are granted certain servicemen and students living within the state.

All hunters are still required to wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange material in an outer garment above the waist while hunting deer, elk, bear or moose. Part of the fluorescent orange must be a head covering visible from all directions.

Shooting from, across or on a public road is against the law.

It is against the law to carry a loaded rifle or shotgun in a motor vehicle or on a motorcycle. Loaded means having a round in the chamber. It is also unlawful to carry firearms except handguns on an off- highway vehicle during deer, elk, antelope, and bear season unless they are unloaded in the chamber and magazine. Excepting handguns, firearms carried on an off-highway vehicle must be fully enclosed in a hard or soft case. Scabbards or cases with open ends or sides are prohibited.

A carcass tag must be attached to any big game animal killed and remain on the meat until processing.

It is illegal to have or transport a big game carcass without evidence of sex naturally attached. It is not legal just to have the evidence of sex accompany the carcass.

Hunters bringing horses into Colorado must contact a veterinarian to get a certificate of health inspection within 30 days before entering Colorado. Horses also need a Coggins Blood Test for equine infectious anemia within a year before coming to Colorado.

Hay, straw and mulch stored or used on federal lands must be certified free of noxious weeds. Hay must be clearly marked by the certifying state or province.

Many Colorado radio stations, including KWUF in Pagosa Springs, transmit emergency notices and other information for hunters during big game season. The Colorado State patrol handles messages that air until the family cancels the message. Citizen Band operators in Colorado also handle emergency messages for hunters.

 

Forced write-offs turn ambulance bill collections into a nightmare

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Almost a year and a half ago, the Upper San Juan Hospital District Board upped the cost of its ambulance service. The move was meant to increase revenue and bring the district charges in line with other rural ambulance services in Colorado.

On paper, it looked good. In reality, collecting the charges has been a nightmare.

First, the district moved from a manual system to computers to help speed up billing on ambulance calls and tried a third-party electronic billing system that was completely paperless. Most recently, the process moved back in-house and the district hired Kate Jackson to work full time on billing and collections.

Last month, she reported the results to the board. The bottom line: It often takes six months or more to get payment from the insurance companies. Even then, Medicare and Medicaid pay nothing for ambulance responses, only cover part of the bill for an ambulance transport and prohibit the district from billing the patient for the remainder of the bill.

Jackson gave an example. One bill totaling $1,235 was sent to a patient's primary insurance, Medicare. The company agreed to pay $322.68 and told the district to write off the rest.

On the positive side, in the case of the example given above, the district received some amount of payment. On other bills, it's still fighting. For instance, in February, two patients received Retivase treatment, a drug used in cases of major coronary blockage. This drug alone costs $2,595. Total cost for each patient's care and transport reached in excess of $5,000. In one of the cases, Medicare proved to be the primary provider and has refused to pay anything based on their conclusion that "alternate measures could have been used."

In September, Jackson resubmitted the claim with additional information citing the rural nature of the district, the long distance to the hospital and lack of immediate alternative measures locally. She's hoping for better luck next time.

It's the same in many other cases. From January to June of 2002, the district billed $241,810.69 for 393 ambulance calls. The greatest number of those billings, 144 for a total of $97,930.33, went to private insurance companies. The next largest category were self-pay patients. Self-pay covered 135 bills totaling $45,101. Eleven unspecified bills totaled $8,515.30. Leaving out Medicare and Medicaid for now, 36 private insurance bills remain unpaid and 20 self-pay accounts remain unpaid. Other bills have been paid or sent to a collection agency.

The remainder of the January to June totals, 103 bills, were sent to Medicare or Medicaid. It breaks down as follows: In the first six months, the district sent 81 Medicare bills totaling $73,930.43, and 22 Medicaid bills totaling $16,333.63.

Typically Medicare pays about 26 percent of the total billed. The remainder, 74 percent, must be written off. Therefore, of almost $74,000 billed to Medicare, less than $20,000 was paid. About $54,000 had to be written off.

In the instance of Medicaid, the percentages can be even worse. On one Medicaid patient bill totaling $1,251, Colorado Medicaid paid only $194.18, leaving the district to write off $1,056.82.

District Manager Dee Jackson said the district's mill levy funds about 60 percent of cost of running the ambulance service. The vast majority of the rest comes from fees.

"We have to bill for services to fund the high level of health care we are providing," she said. Total everything up and for the first six months of the year, 104 bills remain outstanding, totaling $85,958.55 in revenue.

It's a nightmare that won't be going away anytime soon.

 

Fire district low bid for remodeling

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Fire Protection District has caught construction fever.

Tuesday night, the district board accepted the low bid of $499,850 submitted by Colorado Jaynes of Durango for a remodel and add-on to Station One on North Pagosa Boulevard.

Work is set to start "almost immediately," district manager Diane Bowers said. That should translate to sometime in the next 10 days. The remodel will include additional office space, another bay for equipment, a board room/training room and sleeping quarters.

The project is expected to take six months to complete and does require a temporary move for district offices. Bower said office staff is moving Saturday to 190 Talisman Drive, Suite D-2. The district telephone number remains the same, 731-4191.

This addition is being funded through the bond issue passed by voters in May 2002. After a year of planning, the district went to voters with plans for $2.8 million in facility and equipment updates. Remodeling Station One is only part of those efforts.

 

LWV forum will feature candidates, issues Oct. 15

By Nan Rowe

Special to The SUN

The League of Women Voters of Archuleta County will present a candidates' and ballot issues forum Oct. 15 at the Pagosa Lakes Community Center on Port Avenue. There will be an opportunity for voters to meet the candidates and ballot issue speakers 6:30-7 p.m., at which time the forum will commence.

Candidates running in local races against an opponent will comprise the first portion of the forum. These will include Sen. Jim Isgar and Rep. Kay Alexander, who are both running for the state Senate seat representing southwest Colorado. The forum will also feature Archuleta County Sheriff Tom Richards and his challenger, Chuck Allen, as well as County Commissioner Gene Crabtree and his opponent Mamie Lynch. Each candidate will have an opportunity to speak and to answer questions from the audience.

The second portion of the forum will feature speakers discussing several questions which will appear on Archuleta County ballots. First will be two speakers presenting positions both for and against the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District's bond issue question.

Of the 10 statewide questions that will appear on the ballot, the League has selected three that it felt could most directly affect Archuleta County voters. The first question asks voters whether they wish to replace Colorado's current party caucus system with a straightforward petition process for getting one's name on the ballot. The second question selected for discussion at the forum asks voters whether they wish to allow the government to share ownership of local health care facilities. The third statewide question to be presented pertains to campaign finance reform at the state level.

Local candidates running unopposed in November have also been invited to attend the forum.

Voters interested in meeting or hearing any local candidates, or in learning more about the four ballot questions to be presented at the forum, are encouraged to attend the evening of Oct. 15.

 

Marquez patriotism writing contest opens

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The annual Reuben R. Marquez Sr. Patriotism in Writing contest is now open and will again offer a $75 first prize.

Awards, sponsored by the Marquez family, will be presented in cooperation with the American Legion's celebration of Veterans Day at Pagosa Springs High School Nov. 11.

The contest invites students to choose one question about patriotism and answer it in the form of an essay. Questions this year are:

- How has patriotism changed since 9/11?

- Why is patriotism important to your generation?

- What encourages patriotism?

A panel of judges evaluates entries and first, second and third place winners are chosen to receive $75, $50 and $25 awards plus a certificate. The first place winner's name is engraved on a special trophy honoring veterans and patriotism.

Those eligible are local students between ages 13 and 18. The contest closes Nov. 4. Interested students or parents of students may contact Jack Ellis in the English department at Pagosa Springs High School for contest guidelines.

Awards will also be given at the ceremony to elementary school students who earned first or second place for their own Patriotism in Writing contest. Those interested in entering may contact Mary Kaye Fautheree at the school.

 

No call on CWD animal tests is good news for the hunter

When it comes to chronic wasting disease this hunting season, no news is good news, according to Colorado Division of Wildlife Director Russ George.

If you have had your animal tested for chronic wasting disease and the Colorado Division of Wildlife does not call to tell you the test was positive, you should assume it was negative.

But, to see the results for themselves, George said, hunters are advised to visit the Division's Web site at www.wildlife.state.co.us. Click on "Chronic Wasting Disease" on the left-hand side of the home page, then click on "CWD Test Results" and enter the submission number.

George said customer service representatives in the Division's call center at (303) 297-1192 would check results for hunters without Web access. However, he said, the call center is already getting more than 17,000 calls a month, making getting through to the representatives difficult.

 

Letters

benefits. The building that is being occupied by the airport manager as a residence (free of charge) is a facility that could be used by the search and rescue people or some other county agency. Search and rescue is now paying $7,200 per year to rent adjacent facilities from the county.

In addition the airport manager is being provided with a county vehicle, including all insurance, gas, oil and all other expenses, again free of charge. The airport manager has demonstrated, over the past three years, lack of interest in the safety, appearance and operation of the airport. He is not visible or at the airport when issues are in need of attention and "passes off" many of his responsibilities to the office manager of the fixed base operation who is not a county employee, but is employed by Flite Crafton Aviation.

The airport manager spends 99 percent of his time doing paperwork concerning FAA grant money which is, indeed, a small part of his position, but the airport needs a concerned, active, functioning manager.

I feel that the decision to eliminate the ACAA needs to be reconsidered by the county commission.

My suggestion: The position of airport manager needs to be either eliminated or the current manager replaced with someone truly interested in the operations of the airport. The ACAA should be reinstated so as to have a group that is knowledgeable of aviation involved with the operations of the airport.

At this point, the airport manager doesn't care about the airport operations and the county commission is too far removed from the situation to know what is going on there. We need that "extra layer of government" because they are truly concerned, on site and available, and knowledgeable of aviation.

Pat Carey

Insurance scams

Dear Editor:

As far as uninsured motorists and the costs they cause are concerned, if each person paid for damages each person caused, there'd be no discussion. If insured drivers paid for the damages they cause, insurance would probably look like a bad investment.

If nobody were insured, we'd be equally responsible and this is the way it should be. The majority should never have been stuck with expenses caused by an irresponsible minority.

Actually, a lot of wrecks are caused by highway engineers and these should be liable financially.

The uninsured is not the whole problem with the cost of liability insurance. Liability insurance happens to be pooled with other kinds of insured problems, i.e., fires, floods and even collision so that we're forced to pay for these afflictions as well - with our vehicle liability insurance. This is criminal, but it makes the insurance executives extra fat.

The insurance industry has used the government to extract money from the public by making insurance mandatory, but it won't put a price cap on it. This is totally wrong. It should have also made it so that liability is on people and not vehicles since people cause wrecks, not vehicles. This way if a person owned more than one car, he'd need only one insurance. That's the way it should be.

Insurance executives get paid hundreds of millions a year while their industry is supposedly in debt. The farther into debt their companies go, the fatter these CEOs become. When their mismanagement causes bankruptcies the government will bail them out so they can use the same machinery to cause the same event again. The shareholders, employees and consumers all become robbed. This is corporate welfare.

Wouldn't it be neat to have a government guaranteed business racket like this so we could all make millions of dollars doing nothing? What a scam.

Our congressmen should have cleared this up long ago, but they're obviously part of this racket. They are not patriotic, but they are absolutely useless. They need to start solving some of the problems they have created.

Who do we vote for when all of them are crooks?

Sincerely,

John Feazel

Going backward

Dear Editor:

It is hard to believe that some of our county commissioners are leading us backward to the past.

The recent effort to loosen controls for real estate developers in Archuleta County is shameful. Archuleta County taxpayers have already paid the bill for past defaulted improvement agreements. How? Developers went bankrupt (i.e., Fairfield), bonding companies go out of business and county taxpayers are left holding the bag.

These commissioners seem to ignore history. Previous county commissioners enacted tough improvement agreement regulations because they fully protect the citizens of this county. Why do some of our current elected officials try to drag this county's business practices backward at the same time they ignore the forward-looking community plan?

Good question Š let's ask them.

Sincerely,

Jeff Greer

Horse problems

Dear Editor:

In response to the letter Ken Koy wrote in the Sept. 26 edition, I would like to say it is amazing how many different "truths" there can be to a single story.

First, the horses taken from that ranch on Sept. 7 were all in very sad shape. Each of the mares confiscated that day, with the exception of one, were trying to nurse foals with nothing to eat for themselves. Every bone on their backs and faces was very prominent.

This is not the result of feeding grass hay for a few weeks. This is, however, the result of having no hay, grain or pasture to nourish their bodies for a prolonged period of time. Yes, the picture featured was the most severe.

However, the others weren't far behind that gross a degree of malnourishment. Furthermore, there were no signs of any hay, grass or otherwise, in stock for the horses.

Second, the sheriff's department was there to make sure that LASSO's concerns and efforts were legitimate. Technically, they are the ones who decide the future of these malnourished horses, not LASSO.

Third, LASSO made no offer of money to be paid for these horses. There was no deceit. LASSO did identify themselves in the beginning. Efforts were made to purchase the horses when they were wasting away for two years and the owner refused the offers for assistance.

Finally, it is the interest of LASSO to assist large animals in need. If an owner falls on hard times LASSO will lend a hand. However, when LASSO offers to help and an owner refuses their assistance, a time may come when the owner is jeopardizing the animal's health and well-being. This is when LASSO may take a more aggressive type of action to save an animal's life.

Melissa Rose

Airport follies

Dear Editor:

I was profoundly grateful to see Mr. Carey state in his Oct. 3 SUN letter that the "airport authority had no authority and he could make this statement without fear of being wrong."

No doubt Carey's declaration is above-board. Were his announcement otherwise, I would then personally have some deep apprehension of what further action the "Three Amigos" might have pursued, possibly a revitalized return to Pagosa's Old West past.

I can envision the SUN banner headline now: Shootout at Nick's Hangar: Three Amigos ride in with sheriff's posse and jail airport authority.

I often wonder why three current and one recent commissioner stood tall at the Sept. 17 public hearing and stated the airport authority had to go - now. Did the airport authority increase those lease prices for county airport properties and make somebody mad? What else do they know?

There are many more pertinent questions that require answers before the Amigos saddle up with six shooters and carbines. And it's kinda difficult with a 500-word limitation.

Speaking of questions, I do have a query of an Amigo, Commissioner Ecker, that I asked in a previous letter: "What else is being hidden at the county airport?"

But after reading the front page SUN story of Oct. 3 by John Motter concerning Nick's Hangar, I'm almost terrified to pose another for dread of entering a bizarre twilight zone. The next revelation might be that the FAA believes Piedra Road is much too close to the west end of the taxpayers' runway because of dense development; so, we'll have to relocate Piedra Road.

Regardless, since it was well documented in the 1996 Airport Grand Plan that a portion of Nick's Hangar was encroaching into FAA safety of flight guidelines, why did you spend a dime of my tax money paving a taxiway before you had solved the FAA declaration that part of - or the entire terminal - would have to go? Knowing full well that no taxiway will ever be utilized by anyone should FAA shut you down? Why the cart before the horse? Ya better start ridin' a lot more with da brand that brung ya commissioner.

The entire airport fiasco has now leaped beyond absurd pork. This is genuine incompetent folly. It's now become the great "good old boy" flimflam. And it's asinine to believe that the FAA is going to grandfather the Nick's Hangar location and just look the other way.

They are not about to walk into that legal trap when it concerns safety of flight. And I'm not witless enough to believe that the FAA will pay to relocate a hangar. Give me a break.

Possible scenario: Get the runway beefed up and make it long enough to handle 60,000 pound aircraft; pave taxiways to all hangars; then reveal terminal hangar has to be moved; now require new terminal to handle 60,000 pound turbos.

Guess who'll pay for the new terminal. That's right, folks - you and me. Clever.

Locally dim-witted,

Jim Sawicki

Voters beware

Dear Editor:

One of my lesser acquaintances suggested we reinstate the "Brain Dead Society" discontinued a few years ago because there simply was no one or group stupid enough to consider.

For those who don't remember this prestigious club, I shall explain: the society, previously designated "Association" was created to point out to the less aware, the really stupid among us and reward that person or group the Dempster Award.

Since Karl was considered only a borderline case, I trust he will let bygones be bygones and print this letter. But I digress:

The Motto of the Society is:

"Dumb you can fix but Stupid is Forever."

After hours of discussion with legal advisors and the counsel of a person of faith, the Directors of the Brain Dead Society have unequivocally cited the following group stupid to the point of disbelief.

This year's Dempster award goes to:

The citizens of Archuleta County who are old enough to register and vote in next month's election of county and state offices - and don't.

There will be no consideration of exceptions.

Lee Sterling

Recording Secretary

The Brain Dead Society of Archuleta County

 

 Community NewsSenior News

Warning: Member gets telephone 'scam' call

By Janet Copeland

SUN Columnist

Frequently we have to advise you of scams being perpetrated in the area.

This week one of our seniors received a call from someone identifying their company as Financial One Benefits. The person asked for money and bank account numbers - supposedly to protect consumers from ATM bank charges.

This is a scam! Do not give these people any personal information or money. Please report such contacts to www.aarpelderwatch.org or call (800) 222-4444. Musetta and Laura at the Senior Center have a lot of information on the AARP ElderWatch program. Feel free to contact them.

Also, don't respond to e-mails, phone calls or Web pages that tell you to call an 809 area code and a phone number. This area code is in the Dominican Republic and you will be charged $24.35 per minute.

The Oktoberfest fund-raiser will take place Oct. 19 in the multipurpose room of the new Community Center 6-11 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Chamber of Commerce, the Senior Center, or from some of the Senior Center members. The price of admission includes hot dog/chips, applesauce and iced tea; if you choose not to pay full price you can pay $6.50 for entry without food, $3.50 for German beer, $2 for dessert, $1 for sodas, $1 for dill pickles.

There will be German music by Pauken Schlagel and a small area for dancing. We hope some brave souls will exhibit their polka skills. Unfortunately we can only sell a limited number of tickets as there is a limit of 400 people allowed in the facility, so get your tickets early.

There is a very special lady in our group who joined us Oct. 2 to celebrate her 88th birthday. Happy Birthday, Genelle Macht.

Flu shots will be available 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 14 at the Senior Center. Medicaid and Medicare are accepted, otherwise the shot is $15.

We have had several guests this week, as well as returning members. Welcome to Rita Moody, Betty Butler, Margery Weeks, Abby Linzie, Becky Thorn, Carolyn Large, Vita Herrick, Rose Facker, Rudy Cramer (from Sun City, Ariz.), Lou Frank, Jerry and Lois Brinton, and Steve Kish.

Sadly, some of our summer folks have left for the winter. Martha and Ray Trowbridge, Bill and Helen Tarver, Shirley and John Finn, Eleanor and Jack Jones, Joyce Richter, and R. L. "Hoppy" and Evelyn Hopson have left already. Hoppy honored us with a couple of songs "When You're Smiling" and "A Song in Your Heart" before he left. We will miss these lovely people and look forward to their return next summer.

Though we have tried to pretend it isn't true, Doris and Bob Kamrath have sold their home and are moving back to Texas this week. They have been on our board of directors for several terms and have been such a help in our organization. We wish them well, but will really miss them.

It seems everyone is deserting us. Donna Pina, adult protection case manager from Social Services, has served as their representative on our board for quite a while. Donna will be taking a job with the La Plata County district attorney's office later this month. We will miss her, also. I think we need to lock all the gates before anyone else moves away.

The T-shirts imprinted with our Silver Foxes Den logo have arrived. Contact Musetta or Laura if you wish to purchase one at $10 each.

At 12:30 p.m. Friday, Gail Schulz will speak to us about "What's New with Social Security." This will be very informative and we hope to have a large audience.

The monthly trip to Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio will be Oct. 15. Free transportation is provided by the casino and this trip fills up very early - sign up soon if you want to go.

At 12:45 p.m. Oct. 16, Roy Craig will make a presentation on "UFOs: An Insiders View." Craig was a field investigator for the Colorado Project and wrote a book about his experiences. It should be very interesting.

Veterans Corner

New veteran health care rules emerging

By Andy Fautheree

Last week's veterans forum appeared to be a huge success. There were a total of about 75 veterans and guests in attendance. There were veterans from as far away as Aztec and Center.

The forum guest panelists presented a wide range of VA-related topics, which were followed by excellent questions and discussions from the floor.

Many of the guests traveled from as far away as Denver and Albuquerque to attend. Representatives from elected officials were also on hand. Following refreshments, attendees were able to meet with guests on a one-on-one basis for discussions of individual concerns. At the same time a number of attendees signed up for VA Health Care. There were many familiar faces among the veterans, and some I had not met previously.

New directives

As I frequently talk about in this column, it has been my continuing fear the VA would start closing or restricting VA Health Care to many low priority veterans

The system currently has seven established priority levels. Priority 1 is 100 percent service-connected disabled. Priority 7 is no service-connected disability and normal financial means. In between 1 and 7 priority levels are categories of veterans with partial service connected disabilities or extreme financial issues. Many veterans currently enrolled or seeking health care fall into Priority 7 category.

In fact, I would hazard an estimate that as many as 75 percent of veterans from Archuleta County currently enrolled in the system are Priority 7 patients.

Earlier this week I received a report the Department of Veterans Affairs is establishing priority access to health care for severely disabled veterans under new regulations. This news may affect many Archuleta County veterans.

Disabilities

"It is unacceptable to keep veterans with service-connected medical problems waiting for care," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi. "These veterans are the very reason we exist, and everything we do should focus first on their needs."

The new regulation is being implemented in two phases. Under the first phase, being implemented immediately, VA will provide priority access to health care for veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 50 percent or greater. This new priority includes hospitalization and outpatient care for both service-connected and non-service-connected treatment. VA will continue to treat immediately any veteran needing emergency care.

In the second phase, to be implemented next year, VA will provide priority access to other service-connected veterans for their service-connected conditions.

The number of veterans using VA's health care system has risen dramatically in recent years, increasing from 2.9 million in 1995 to a projected 4.4 million in 2002. An additional 600,000 veterans are projected to enroll in VA health care in 2003. Unable to absorb this increase, VA has more than 280,000 veterans on waiting lists to receive medical care.

Crowded system

Although VA operates more than 1,300 sites of care, including 163 hospitals and more than 800 outpatient clinics, the increase in veterans seeking care outstrips VA's capacity to treat them.

"VA provides the finest health care in the country, but if a veteran cannot see a doctor in a timely manner, then we have failed that veteran," said Principi.

"I will work to honor our commitment to veterans," he added. "But when it comes to non-emergency health care, we must give the priority to veterans with severe service-connected disabilities."

For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the fax number is 264-5949 and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

Arts Line

Jay Jackson exhibit opens Oct. 17

By Stephanie Jones

The current exhibit at the gallery in Town Park is the work of Soledad Estrada-Leo "Mised" and her daughter Clara Barber. "Mised" will be at the gallery, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday demonstrating her techniques with pencil, charcoal and pastel. Then, from 10 a.m.&endash; 4 p.m. Oct. 16, she will be demonstrate her techniques with painting watercolor and acrylic, eggs and landscapes.

"Mised" is bringing new artwork in daily so be sure to stop by and see it.

The gallery is open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and the current exhibit runs through Oct. 16.

The next exhibit opens Oct. 17 featuring Jay Jackson's art in several mediums, including still life and landscape oils on canvas, jewelry made from recycled piano keys, elk antlers and semi-precious stones, including necklaces, earrings, bracelets and men's items such as belt buckles and cufflinks, unique vessels and containers. Jackson is a first-time exhibitor from Chromo. His art will be on exhibit and for sale at the gallery through Nov. 6.

Photo club

The Arts Council Photo Club will hold its first meeting this evening at the Community Center starting at 6:30. Call Jeff Laydon at 264-3686 for additional information.

Creede theater

Over 800 students from the Pagosa Springs elementary school were entertained Oct. 4 by the Creede Repertory Theater performance of "Pecos Bill and the Ghost Stampede." The performance was cosponsored by the Arts Council and the school district.

Community Center programs

The after-school program "Imagination Station" began this week at the Community Center. October's craft is mask making, under the instruction of Tessie Garcia.

Children in kindergarten through fourth grade meet Mondays and fifth through eighth graders meet Tuesdays. All classes meet from 4-5:30 p.m. in the arts and craft rooms at the Community Center. For more information call 264-5020

The Arts Council will be sponsoring a Pine Needle Basket Workshop instructed by Donna Brooks Oct. 26 from 10-5 at the Community Center. Students will learn how to weave and will make a basket to take home. The cost of the workshop is $75 and a 10-percent discount will be given to Arts Council members. Please call Joanne at 264-5020 or stop by the gallery to reserve your place.

Arts council divisions

The Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater will present "Escape on Broadway" Oct. 18, 19, 25, and 26 in the high school auditorium.

The story begins with a group of Pagosa Springs students who win a trip to New York City to see their first real Broadway show. With hours to spare before the curtain goes up, the kids decide they don't want to see the sights with their chaperones, rather they want to see and feel the experience of Broadway. So a plan is hatched to ditch the chaperones and the escape is on.

Tickets are on sale at the gallery, WolfTracks, Plaid Pony and Moonlight Books. For more information on the production or the Pretenders contact Sabine Elge at 731-3506 or Carol Anderson at 731-5687.

San Juan Festival Ballet will present a "Holiday Gala" featuring the Nutcracker Suite and other holiday classics Dec. 12, 13 and 14. The company is currently looking for volunteers to help with sewing, and assistance backstage. Call Stephanie at 264-5068.

Thank you

Thanks to the generosity of Steven Potter of Security Contractors the gallery now has a security system. Steven donated the system to the Arts Council.

Special thanks to Natalie Koch for doing the layout for our current Petroglyph, Mountain Greenery for donating flowers for the Gallery, Wells Fargo Bank for donating copies and to our members for all of their support.

Chamber News

Events galore on Pagosa's calendar

By Doug Trowbridge

If there was ever any doubt about who does all the work around the Chamber, the answer is now clear.

Both Sally and Morna are on vacation and I am left to write articles, answer phones and handle all those "other duties as required" that we all dread. Still, I have found that if you lock the doors, take the phones off the hook and bring a big fluffy pillow with you, it's not too bad. Here, now, the Chamber news.

Business counseling

Joe Keck, from the Fort Lewis College Small Business Development Center will be in town tomorrow providing free sessions with small business owners. There are still a few spots open so call now. You can make your appointment by calling the Chamber, 264-2360. The price is right and the information invaluable. Don't let this offer slip by.

Escape on Broadway

Coming soon from Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater, a production set for Oct. 18, 19, 25 and 26 at the high school auditorium.

"Escape on Broadway" is an original play, a madcap romp down Broadway with insert scenes from many favorite Broadway productions.

Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater encourages family involvement in the theater process and in the past has presented "Wizard of Oz," "1001 Arabian Knights," "2002 A Space Oddity" and "Sleeping Beauty."

If you would like more information about "Escape on Broadway" please give Sabine Elge a call at 731-3506.

Halloween party

Costumes will be in great supply Oct. 31 at the Community Halloween party. This is a safe alternative for kids in Pagosa Springs to enjoy Halloween without canvassing neighborhoods in the dark. The festivities get underway at 6 p.m. when the Kiwanis Club serves up free hot dogs, soda and ice cream.

Coordinators are looking for a little community support to help make this evening of spooky fun a success. If you would like to donate candy or prizes for the games and contests, please drop them off at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church office, 451 Lewis St.

They are also looking for a few actors to add to the scary atmosphere. If you have what it takes to be an entertaining monster, call 731-6223. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Location of the party is yet to be decided, but admission will be one canned food item. Keep your eye out for more information in coming weeks!

Honoring our diplomats

As many of you know, our Visitors Center is staffed by a dedicated corps of volunteers, we call diplomats. Our diplomats greet everyone who stops in and offer assistance to anyone looking for a little help planning their stay in Pagosa. With the end of summer, the diplomats will soon be leaving us and we want to offer them a great big "Thank You!" for all their hard work.

One of the ways we say thanks is to offer our diplomats goodie bags. These bags include special offers from chamber member businesses. If you would like to offer a little something for the diplomat goodie bag, please bring it by the Chamber by Oct. 11 or give us a call and we can design a coupon for you. This is a great way to get the people who talk to visitors into your store for a little refresher course on what you have to offer!

Watercolor workshop

Do you enjoy painting with watercolors but wish to improve your abilities? If so, the Pagosa Springs Arts Council has just the thing for you. It's called "Unleashing the Power of Watercolor" with Joye Moon. This four-day workshop will be held Nov. 11-14 from 9:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. in the new Community Center. Tuition for the class will be $175 with a 10-percent discount to Council members. It is targeted toward artists with some experience to advanced skills.

The workshop will explore experimental watercolor techniques that can be incorporated into your individual style. Attendees are encouraged to bring an open mind and the willingness to experiment and have fun. Each day will include several detailed demonstrations, plenty of individual attention, and a time to share ideas with one another.

This workshop is limited to 15 artists, so sign up today. For more information, contact the Arts Council at 264-5020.

Membership

By the way, have we mentioned lately how much we appreciate our members? We've got three new members and seven renewals this week and we want each of them, along with all our members, to know that you are the greatest.

Our first new member is Lynne Killey, with Killey Property Management. Her office is located at 286 Pagosa St. and the mailing address is P.O. Box 4512. You can call her at 264-5335, check out the Web site at www.Killey.com, or e-mail her at lynne@killey.com. Killey Property Management is a full service property management company. Services include long and short term rental, security checks, maintenance and improvement. Killey Property Management was recruited by Char Hemauer, who will receive a free SunDowner.

Next on the new member list is Char Hemauer with Historical Homes. This short-term rental is an 1880 adobe brick home that is listed on the historical register. Located 15 miles south off U.S. 84 at 5102 County Road 335, this home offers three beds, two baths and a horse corral. You can contact Char through the mail at P.O. Box 487, by phone at 970-264-4205, or e-mail at cdhemauer@pagosa.net. In a clear case of conspiracy, Historical Homes was recruited by Lynne Killey. We look forward to seeing both these new members at the next SunDowner with their free cards.

Our final new member is the Colorado Mounted Rangers Troop H, brought to you by Ian Vowles. They offer a specialized mounted search and rescue team with emphasis on horseback and back country searches. Check out their Web site at www.bcrnd.org/cmr or call them at 731-4062. You can also mail them at 86 B Ranch Place.

Renewals this week include Linda Morrison with Pagosa Insurance Agency, Inc.; Granton Bartz with Cowboy Carpet Cleaning, Inc.; Andy Donlon with Buyer's Resource Real Estate; Joanne Haliday with Pagosa Springs Arts Council; Debbie Swenson with the American Postal Workers Union No. 7153; Lynn Albers with Lynn's Heating and Refrigeration; and Associate Members Barbara and Don Palmer.

Always shop Pagosa first and support your Chamber members.

Library News

Good fiction entertains and instructs

By Lenore Bright

PREVIEW Columnist

Before we completely leave the subject of banned or challenged books, we want to put forth the thought that children learn much from the recreational reading they do.

Good fiction writers design their work to both entertain and instruct their readers through theme, characters, and plot. An example of theme is C. S. Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" that take place in a Judeo-Christian theological setting.

Dr. Seuss's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" stresses the value of the nonmaterial aspects of Christmas. Seuss's "Sneetches" shows the silliness of prejudice. The "Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein emphasizes the importance of giving as opposed to ungrateful receiving. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" gives his views on the spiritual struggle on Earth.

Authors often use characterization to teach about obstacles such as bullies, alcoholism, low self-esteem or other evil forces.

Bibliotherapeutic stories are designed to lessen a young child's fears of new experiences. Judy Blume and Lloyd Alexander teach in "coming-of-age" novels.

Many authors use anthropomorphic characters (animals or other creatures that think, feel and act like humans). These combine metaphor with characterization and are doubly effective as instructional tools.

Plot is used to teach about interpersonal relationships, cause and effect situations (such as how a lie can grow to epic proportions and cause much pain). Plot is also designed to capture the reader's attention.

Parents who understand how much children learn from what they read must realize that their responsibility as parents is very important in monitoring their children's reading. Parents must make sure the books they read are teaching the philosophy and values they want their children exposed to.

Civic Club cookbook

We have a few cookbooks left at $15 a copy. If you ordered one previously, and your name is on the list, you may pick it up now.

Bazaar time

We're displaying all the raffle items that will be drawn for at the Bazaar Nov. 2.

Come by and get your raffle tickets. They are the usual 6 for $5 or one dollar each. Margaret Wilson has done her usual wonderful job of collecting great prizes. The Bazaar will be one day only at the Extension Building.

Donations

Thanks for materials from Catherine Frye, Carol Hakala, Jerry Hines, Phyl Daleske, Frank and Rita Slowen, Elaine Lewis, Margaret Wilson and Crista Munro.

Holiday

The library will be closed Oct. 14 for Columbus Day.

 

 

Births

Steve and Kimberly Laverty are pleased to announce the birth of their daughter, Amelia Louise Laverty. Amelia was born July 1, 2002, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. She weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces and was 21 inches tall. Amelia was welcomed home by brothers Travis, Wesley, Will, Keaton and Carson and sister Katie. Her grandparents are Bill and Peggy Laverty of Pagosa Springs and Gaylon and Betty Hicks of Graham, Texas. Great-grandparents are Mrs. Willie Hicks of Abilene, Texas, and Travis and Reba Beall of Boyd, Texas. Kate Terry of Pagosa Springs is her great-aunt.

Austin and Kate Collins are overjoyed to announce the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth Esther Collins. Elly was born July 13, 2002, weighing in at 7 pounds, 0.3 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long.

Delighted grandparents are Nancy and Randy Schauwecker of Iron River, Mich., and Sheri and Bill Collins of Durango. Great-grandparents are Cleon and Lee Schauwecker of Greencastle, Ind., and Doris Grundahl of Wheat Ridge.

Jessica Ann Sullivan was born Sept. 7, 2002, in Durango, the daughter of Rodney and Tammy Sullivan of Pagosa Springs. She weighed 5 pounds, 15 1/2 ounces and was 17 3/4 inches long. She was welcomed home by sister Courtney and grandparents Boyce and Sheila Sullivan, Janet and Alan Jones and Jackie Ramsey, all of Pagosa Springs.

 

 Business News

Cathy Justus is celebrating her 17th year in business in Pagosa with Just Us Originals.

Justus is a Window Fashions Certified professional and Just Us originals provides customers with quality custom blinds, shades, verticals and woven woods, manual or remote, all with warranties.

The business also offers warm window shades, bedspreads, bedskirts, drapes, valances, pillows, cushions and more with a wide choice of fabrics, rods and hardware. After-sale service and repair is available with customer service in the home. Free installation and freight comes with purchase and Justus gives free phone estimates.

Call Just Us Originals at 264-4462.

 

  Features

Henry Born: The Rob Roy of the American Plains

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

The year was 1879, the place Dodge City. Locked up in the Dodge City hoosegow, along with an assortment of cowhands still holding their heads after going to the well at least once too often the night before, was Dutch Henry Born, a man who spent his final years as one of Pagosa Country's solid citizens.

Dodge squatted at the junction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad and the Western Trail, one of the super highways used to move Texas longhorns to eastern markets.

Dodge City dads welcomed the huge cattle herds. More, they encouraged the cowboys to whoop and holler at Delmonico's and the Long Branch and up and down Front Street. But, even Dodge City had limits. To prevent the rowdy range riders from torching the town, city dads hired guns, maybe the best guns in the west. On the handle edge of those guns were hard men still household names a hundred years later, names such as Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Bill Tilghman and others.

Dutch Henry and Bat were old friends. They'd stood shoulder to shoulder while shooting buffalo and fighting Indians. Since then the two plainsmen had followed different trails. Bat pinned on a star in support of law and order. Dutch Henry followed the Owlhoot Trail. The two trails followed a collision course.

Ultimately Bat traveled to Trinidad, Colorado, picked up his old friend, transported him back to Dodge and locked him up. A trial was scheduled. Dutch Henry was charged with selling horseflesh he hadn't acquired title to.

Bat allowed a Dodge City newsman to visit Dutch Henry in his cell. The newsman came away with the following story. We get a picture of a confidant Dutch Henry.

"Henry was lying on his mattress and on inquiry as to his health said he was feeling better than on the previous day but was still far from well," the reporter wrote. "He talked very composedly and when his probable trial was referred to did not seem uneasy in the least. He claimed the officers arrested him more to make capital for election purposes than anything else."

He had been in Trinidad several weeks, Dutch Henry said, and was well acquainted with everyone there, including Sheriff Wootten. He had no idea that he might be arrested, he said, and never carried arms, was not armed when arrested.

As he rested in Trinidad, he was contemplating going to Las Vegas (New Mexico) and going into business, according to the news story. He'd spent the past summer catching wild horses and last fall had killed and dried a load of buffalo meat which he'd sold in New Mexico.

"He says his character as a horse thief is greatly overestimated and it has become the custom of all the thieves in the country to saddle all of their crimes upon him," the reporter stated.

On Jan. 28, 1879, the Trinidad newspaper had the following to say of Dutch Henry's trial in Dodge.

"He has been tried by a jury of his countrymen and acquitted. This will be a great surprise to many of the people of the west who received the news of his capture with manifestations of joy and gladness. His fame as a horse thief extends far and wide. He is a 'star' in his particular line. Many a tale of his reckless daring have we listened to with eager interest. How handy he was with his revolver and with what magnetic influence he governed his confederates. How he rode on a magnificent sorrel horse at the head of his little band with the solemnity and dignity of a general; and with what alacrity his commands were obeyed. How he had evaded the law. How desperately he fought when hotly pursued, and how he had always escaped from his captors. He was the 'Rob Roy' of the plains and his exploits were only equaled by 'Sixteen-String-Jack' in his palmiest days."

Dutch Henry entered court looking "as calm and serene as the noon day sun." His attorney's were H.E. Gryden or Dodge City, and A.A. Hurd of Great Bend. The "unassuming prisoner" was charged with stealing two mules during 1876. County Attorney Mike Sutton was excused from prosecuting Dutch Henry, since only two years prior he had defended the prisoner. T.S. Jones and E.F. Colburn were the prosecutors.

The defense's first move was to claim that the statute of limitations had been exceeded in connection with the complaint. A jury, after considering this defense, refused to allow it. The defense then moved to set aside the proceedings on account of irregularity, which was sustained. The jury was discharged and a special venire empaneled to judge the guilt or innocence of the prisoner.

The defense allowed farmers to sit in judgment of the early, minor points, hoping to not have farmers on the jury when the main points came up later. It was thought that farmers, nesters, would be more inclined to convict Dutch Henry because they suffered more from horse thieves.

A new jury was empaneled composed mostly of city residents. The trial resumed. Evidence was presented showing that a Mr. Emerson had lost some horses or mules. While searching for them, he had met Dutch Henry. He asked the Dutchman, if he ran across the lost animals, to return them or at least send word of the find.

Some weeks later, Dutch Henry was arrested in Russell County. As soon as he was arrested, he wrote Emerson with the news he had found the stock and telling him how to recover it. This was a "light case." All who heard the evidence were convinced that Henry had only acted the part of a friend.

"He was himself sworn as a witness and during his examination told the history of his past life in a manner that created considerable sympathy, and impressed all present with his ability, shrewdness, and courage. He insisted that his reputation belied him - that he was a scapegoat for others. He manifested no uneasiness and told his story in a staightforward manner."

The jury was out but a few moments before returning with a verdict of not guilty. The judge released the prisoner from custody.

"I thank you judge, and you too, gentlemen of the jury," said Henry, and was off like a shot. Making his way downstairs he hastened to the back door of the courthouse, where a fleet steed, saddled and bridled, waited for him. He departed. Henry's haste in taking his leave was caused by fear that he would be arrested again.

Dutch Henry returned to Trinidad where a reporter wrote, "He says he is even with the Indians and the government - they having driven him to do what he has done - and he is now ready to smoke the pipe of peace and bury the hatchet."

A few weeks later, one newspaper said Dutch Henry had been arrested and sent to the Michigan State Penitentiary; a second newspaper said he had been arrested in Topeka, Kansas, and returned to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he had escaped from prison a couple of years earlier.

What really happened is unclear. By the early 1880s Dutch Henry had apparently given up his life of crime and had turned up in the San Juan Mountains as a prospector. Shortly after 1900, he was in Pagosa Springs and married to his sweetheart. More on the life of Dutch Henry Born and his role in the Battle of Adobe Walls next week.

 

A capital adventure

Pagosa students plan trip to Washington, D.C.

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Pagosans take the coming of fall very seriously.

Seriously enough that a few spend hundreds of hours planning, promoting and preparing for a weekend of community fun called Colorfest. It's hot air balloons. It's wine and cheese tasting. It's picnics and nighttime balloon glows. It's themed apparel, champagne and barbecue.

And it starts in the hands of the Chamber of Commerce staff, several volunteers, and Liz and Mike Marchand, who coordinate the hot air balloon portion of the weekend.

"As soon as the Fourth of July is over we get a day off and then we know it's time to start planning Colorfest," Doug Trowbridge, Chamber of Commerce administrative assistant, said. Of course, the first bright ideas for themes, wines to try, things to add or subtract really begins as soon as the last year's event is over, Sally Hameister, executive director of the chamber, added.

The same is true for the Marchands.

"The balloon rallies are a year-around job," Liz said. Besides Colorfest in September, she organizes a second rally, Winterfest, in February.

Her portion starts with finding the money. Funding the balloon ascensions and the glow is all realized through donations from local sponsors and a fee paid by the pilots, she said. It begins with a letter to all the chamber members.

Then there's a follow-up visit or phone call or two. Whatever it takes, sometimes.

"We beg," Marchand said. This year, their techniques netted 31 business sponsors and 23 accommodation sponsors. All but 12 or 14 of the rooms needed for pilots ended up being donated, she said. The rest, plus everything else involved, must be purchased with the money raised.

Then there's organizing the pilots of as many as 50 balloons, checking weather reports, soothing ruffled feathers if anyone lands a balloon where they're not supposed to and generally commanding the chaos at 6:30 a.m. for two mornings of ascensions. All together, with the four to six member crews involved with each balloon, just the rally itself brings over 300 people to town.

"Every single year I say I'm never doing this again," Marchand said, "but I end up having such a good weekend; I have so much fun. It's just a great event and I end up doing it again." She paused. "And the pilots love flying here so I'd probably be lynched if I said we weren't doing it anymore."

Pilots, said Marchand, are something that's never in short supply. Sure, in 1986 when the rally began, just six balloons participated. When Marchand took over in 1993, the numbers were up around 20. Now, a waiting list is common.

"Thirty-five pilots is probably an appropriate number," Marchand said, "but I have a hard time saying no." So the cutoff remains at 50, but 60 or 70 will call. And those waiting are willing to come at a moment's notice. In the case of a last-minute cancellation, she said she's called pilots as late as Friday morning before the event and they will climb in their vehicles to arrive by registration time Friday night.

The Chamber of Commerce events, including this year's Safari Wine and Cheese Tasting and community picnic, are paid for with Chamber funds. Very little is donated, and despite charging a fee for some things, the weekend breaks even on a good year, Hameister said.

As usual, the devil, the expense in this case, is in the details. A party this big requires a variety of elements. Mother nature throws in the reds, yellows and oranges of the fall leaves for free, but the extras, like 450 glasses for 17 red and white wines, 11 cheeses and a few assorted deserts to delight all the senses during the tasting under the tent, requires shelling out both cash and time.

Sheila Hunkin, just one of the Chamber diplomats who help with the event, guessed she'll spend all day at the Chamber offices preparing the cheese for the tasting. Eleven 5-pound hunks of cheese, including flavors like smoked gouda, Havarti dill, horseradish, garlic and flaming pepper, must be cut into bite-sized pieces for the 400-some guests paying $25-$30 each.

The weekend before, she spent time washing wine glasses, six dozen at least. Friday afternoon, she and her husband, Ron, will be among those who help set up the outdoor tent, decorating and designing as they go.

"Everybody helps," Hunkin said. "I don't feel like I help any more than anyone else."

And the work is fun. Formerly a city dweller, Hunkin said, it's only in a small town where a person has the opportunity to be involved up close and personal with an event like this one.

"It's a very neat weekend for the community," she said. "I like to see everybody and watch the balloons."

And, oh my, let's not forget the lions, tigers and elephants, grass tablecloths and African-themed centerpieces needed to complete the Safari theme for Friday's tasting.

The Safari theme is something new, Hameister said. It started when local resident Eddie Dale approached the Chamber about getting his father involved to entice him into coming and staying in Pagosa Springs. His father, Jerry Dale, owns Safari Tours in South Africa and was, at one time, involved with the wine business there. Negotiations began and, as a result, he is bringing seven South African wines all the way to Pagosa for the tasting. These will join company with wines from Australia, Chile and the United States.

"It really makes this year especially marvelous," Hameister said.

Saturday, the Chamber has also organized a catered community picnic starting at about 5 p.m. at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds. Guests will be treated to barbecue chicken quarters, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, chilled bean salad, rolls, a chocolate brownie, beverages and jazz music. Adults will pay $10, and children $6. Then, just as the sun begins to set, 13 or 14 balloons will line up in the arena, weather permitting, for a balloon glow.

At a glow, the balloons fill with air, but stay on the ground, lighting up like a huge string of Christmas lights for a beautiful display of color. It all starts tomorrow.

They've worked hard folks, a whole crew of volunteers and various Chamber staff members. From 5:30 p.m. Friday with the Safari Wine and Cheese Tasting until 7:30 a.m. Sunday with the last balloon ascension, it'll be a weekend of serious fun. And everyone's invited.

 

 

Editorial

Retain the judge

This space is not used to endorse candidates in regular political races. We must deal with who is elected. It is our choice to have competitors speak for themselves, in interviews, in advertising, through the record of their actions, and to deal with the winner. There is a vote on the upcoming general election ballot, however, that must be addressed. .

Voters in Archuleta County will be asked to vote Nov. 5 on retention of Archuleta County Court Judge James Denvir.

What sets this situation apart from ordinary races is the judge must remain largely silent, subject to the whims of voters, prey to the ill will occasioned in some voters as a result of decisions he's made.

There are few jobs in which there is absolutely no chance you will please everyone. One is to sit on the bench as a judge, and make the decisions required in criminal and civil matters.

Denvir is our county judge and also part-time district court magistrate and a campaign was launched recently, involving signs, leaflets, ads and meetings, to prompt a vote not to retain him. The campaign has been propelled, to a great extent, by the expense and effort of a single resident. That resident received a judgment in a divorce case that did not please him and he set about the task of removing the judge, labeling Denvir "unfair and biased," and asserting citizens of Archuleta County are "fearful of publicly opposing a judge."

The District Court was asked to review the decision, and it upheld the action. The decision is being taken to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

That is what a court of appeals is for: the review of judicial decisions. No judge sits on the bench for any length of time without having a case appealed and cases are sometimes overturned. Anyone who holds a judge to a standard of perfection is unrealistic.

This point is clear: In nearly every decision made in a contentious civil case, someone leaves unhappy. This fact does not signal that a judge is unfair.

Denvir is not unfair.

A judge is biased if a record of decisions shows a predictable leaning toward one type of person, one type of argument, at the expense of all others. Bias is a tendency that consistently prevents unprejudiced consideration.

Denvir is not biased.

He is, in fact, a considerate, thoughtful man who discharges his duties with utmost concern. He does not act with malice, he does not act with a callous disregard for the rights of those who appear before him.

To assert that people are fearful of opposing a judge is to indicate how little Denvir's opponent knows of the residents of Archuleta County. The vast majority of people here do not fear Denvir and it is an insult to state that they do.

Denvir's tendencies have been duly noted in a survey conducted by the Commission on Judicial Performance. His grades are, for the most part, above average - as good as most judges standing for retention in Colorado, and better than many. Three out of every four attorneys and non-attorneys surveyed recommend his retention.

Members of the Archuleta County Chapter of the Southwest Colorado Bar Association, lawyers who regularly appear before the judge, endorse his retention.

It is a shame the trials and tribulations of private citizens must be settled in court. The fact that some individuals do not get what they consider their due is no reason to affix false labels to this judge, and a paltry reason to urge he not be retained on the bench.

Karl Isberg

 

Dear Folks

It's fun hosting Park Fun tours

Dear Folks,

Here we are into the second week of October and I'm still trying to figure out what happened to summer.

With many of the pastures never really greening up this summer and the late arrival of the minimal wild flowers, it seems like the welcome rains of September brought the first traces of summer rather than our first taste of winter.

At least one thing remained constant this summer as far as the SUN is concerned - the youngsters and the staff participating in the Park Fun program made their perennial tour of the newspaper.

Depending on the time of day, the number of youngsters and the organizational skills of their chaperones, taking a group of little ones through the SUN building provides some enjoyable relief for the person conducting the tour.

Usually the function of tour guide either falls on me or Karl since the other staff members have more pressing responsibilities. (Had I been alert enough to utilize an easy pun, I would have written that our pressmen, Robert and Todd, have pressing responsibilities at the SUN. Actually, had I been more honest, I would have admitted that I give the tours when I remember to check my Friday schedule and that Karl covers for me when I forget that the youngsters are going to visit.)

With the influx of computer equipment in the lower grades at school, the tours almost conduct themselves since the youngsters are familiar with mouses, keyboards, monitors, networking and laser printers.

However, this familiarity with PCs shortens their interest span so it's best to move right along to the darkroom to view the makeup pages, page negatives and press plates for that week's edition. Even the adults are fascinated when they can see the makeup page, page negative, and plate that correspond to the front page of the most recent copy of the SUN.

The number of youngsters along with their level of curiosity and interest span determines how quickly, or slowly, the group moves through the building.

Even if the presses are not running during their visit, the five units that are mounted with large rolls of newsprint that web their way through the rollers before converging with one another at the folder and conveyor belt invariably impress even the least curious youngster.

Of course no tour is complete without Karl or me asking the group, "Do any of you have any other questions you would like to ask?"

Some of these questions are sincere. Some are amusing. My favorite one was both.

It was the question by a little fellow who anxiously asked, "Can I please use the restroom?" He seemed to be relieved to hear the answer was "yes." It's easy when the questions deal with something I'm familiar with.

And it's fun when afterward the chaperones have the youngsters send thank you notes. Many of the carefully lettered notes had some very colorful and creative illustrations drawn on them.

Some of my favorites included: "Dear Mr. Michel, Thank you for showing us the computers and the other people. And the new paper maker. Your friend ." "Thank you for showing us the newspaper. I liked the picture part." "Thank you for letting us look at the machines. I had fun."

After all what's the use of having a newspaper if you can't have fun?

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

Legacies

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 11, 1912

The new pastor of the Baptist Church, Mr. Marston, arrived with his family from Forest City, Iowa, last week. Mrs. Marston expects to be much benefitted in health by the change. The former pastor, Mr. Barlow, has gone to Durango to assume the pastorate for the Baptist Church.

The town has installed a light on the San Juan Street bridge. Good work.

Last Saturday C.S. Chapson was thrown from a horse, escaping with nothing worse than a badly sprained ankle.

The Pagosa Lumber Co. will buy until their needs are supplied, first-class baled hay at $11 per ton, first-class oats at $1.30 and furnish sacks, delivery at the mill.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 14, 1927

Archuleta County is getting her quota of fish and those in charge of the work are seeing that the fish are in excellent condition. On Monday morning at 3 o'clock four trucks carrying 40 cans of fish each left the Durango hatcher for Archuleta County and the same number will be taken during every day of the week. These fish are about an inch long and will be deposited near the headwaters of the Archuleta County streams. In many instances they have to be transported horseback.

Make your plans now to attend the sixth annual Halloween Carnival of the Woman's Civic Club which will be given at the Social Club hall on Saturday evening, October 29.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 10, 1952

Nimrods from most of the United States will converge on Archuleta County next week in preparation for the big game hunting season which begins on the 15th. A record number of hunters is expected and most hunting resorts have more reservations than they can accommodate.

This past week saw the completion of the installation of new mercury vapor street lights in the Pagosa Springs business section and this makes a decided improvement in the appearance of the main street area. The lamps give a great deal more light than the old street standards and it requires several less per block. They will be paid for in five years and after that the town will realize a substantial savings in the street lighting bill.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 6, 1977

Big game season opens October 15, a week from Saturday. All indications are that there will be a large crowd here for the opening of the season. Motel operators report high advance registration and there are now a few hunters in the area setting up camps.

An extensive six-month cloud seeding program for the entire state is to be launched November 1. The program is designed to augment the winter snowpack for runoff water supply next year.

Very fine fall weather has prevailed in this area the past week. The days have been warm and soft, the nights cool and crisp. Precipitation measured .15 inches Wednesday of last week and that has been the only moisture received.