December 12, 2002

 Front Page

Assessed value up sharply; school mill levy is unchanged

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The Hinsdale County portion of Archuleta School District 50 Joint registered an assessed valuation decrease of nearly $21,000 from last year, but overall the district's evaluation is up nearly $7 million.

Those were key figures Tuesday as the board of education for the district weighed approval of a mill levy in advance of the Friday deadline.

Nancy Schutz, business manager for the district, pointed out the overall assessed valuation is $175.4 million, up from $168.5 in 2001. The mill levy proposed, and approved, is unchanged from last year at 30.4.

Applied to the assessed valuation, that mill levy will produce $5.33 million in revenue, up $210,506 from last year. That is a 4-percent increase over last year without a hike in the mill levy.

The mill levy has three separate components: General Operating Expenses, 25.505; Refunds and Abatements, 0.137; and General Obligation Bonds and Interest, 4.758. In the same sequence, the individual levies will produce $4.75 million, $24,106 and $834,761.

A quick look at the district's recent mill levy history, provided by Schutz, shows a continual drop since the bond issue for the new high school was first on the books in 1997. In that year the bond fund levy stood at 10.633 and the general fund levy, set by the Colorado Department of Education was at 40.080.

In the ensuing years, the bond fund levy has dropped to 8.634 mills in 1998, 7.621 in 1999, 6.364 in 2000, 4.837 in 2001 and 4.758 this year. At the same time, the general fund levy has dropped to 33.697 in 1998, 27.250 in 1999, 26.886 in 2000, 25.525 in 2001 and 25.505 this year.

Those figures, noted director Russ Lee, should indicate to the district's taxpayers that "the board of education made a promise to the voters when the bond issue was passed that it would reduce the rate as quickly as possible, and has lived up to that promise.

"There may come a time," he said, "when we have to build something else to meet space demands and this record of accomplishment should stand us in good stead. We have proved we keep our word."

The following vote to approve the proposed levy was unanimous, with director Carol Feazel absent.

Lee's comment about future needs led to discussion of a coming problem in the intermediate school when director Randall Davis, board president, said recent surveys of schools indicated the building has the least problems now, but there is a possible cloud on the future.

Principal Mark DeVoti said that cloud is an expected influx of multiply handicapped students from the elementary school. Right now, he said, there is only one such child in the intermediate school and "we've been able to meet that need by shifting one classroom and some minor work to a restroom entry way to make it wheelchair accessible."

However, he said, the influx expected makes the need for special education facilities seem more immediate, first for his building and then for the junior high as the children advance.

The upshot of the discussion was a board directive to Superintendent Duane Noggle to begin searching for additional facilities in the immediate area that can be utilized with minimum restructuring for the multiply handicapped.

Davis said there is money available in the Whit Newton Fund which could be used for that purpose without tapping tax income funds.

Director Clifford Lucero said the district is growing annually and any growth "almost automatically ensures increases in the handicapped. We need to be sure we meet their needs as adequately as we do those of the average students. I think we need to study all available properties in the area and have a report back to the board on what seems possible."

That was the basis of the directive to Noggle.


Nighttime closures back on Wolf Creek

Nighttime closures are back on Wolf Creek Pass.

Drainage work and project scheduling will require nighttime closures of Wolf Creek Pass, 7 p.m.-7 a.m., Dec. 16-Dec. 18 and possibly Dec. 19.

"We will be installing drainage structures underneath the existing highway. We thought of every possible scheduling scenario that would allow us to postpone the necessary closures," said the department's project engineer Craig Black. "We're on schedule and the work simply has to be done now, especially while weather is complying. We regret having to close the pass this close to the holiday, but I'm satisfied that we've been very successful thus far in keeping the highway open this season."

Daytime delays of up to 30 minutes should be expected Monday through Friday, except during the Christmas or New Year's holidays.

Updated information on the tunnel project can be accessed at or the project hotline at (719) 873-2221 and on the department's toll-free road condition hotline at (877)315-ROAD.


$14.1 million county budget carries mill levy of 18.545

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

In full view of a public audience totaling one person, Archuleta County commissioners adopted the county budget for 2003.

The board of county commissioners approved the budget plus several associated documents Tuesday following a public hearing. Linda Van Patter, the lone public representative at the meeting, asked a number of questions which were answered by Bill Steele, the county administrator; Cathie Wilson, the county finance director; or the commissioners.

Money appropriated for expenditures and reserves for the 24 funds in the final budget totaled $34.9 million, a 16-percent increase over money appropriated for the same purposes in the 2002 budget. Included in this total are several double entries and grants.

The actual budget total is about $14.1 million after double entrees, grants and other confusing items are eliminated, according to Wilson.

This year's property tax rate for the county budget amounts to 18.545 mills, an increase of 1.288 mills over the 17.257 mill levy supporting last year's budget. The county property tax contains three components: 14.469 mills for the General Fund; 3.5 mills for the Road and Bridge Fund; and 0.576 mills for the Social Services Fund.

Based on the county assessed valuation of $181.5 million, the General Fund levy will generate income of $2.6 million, the Road and Bridge Fund levy will generate $635,216, and the Social Services Fund levy will generate $104,735.

Assessed values for all taxing entities in the county are determined by the Archuleta County assessor. Tax rates expressed in mill levies for entity budgets are established by the governing boards of the entities.

The actual tax rate supporting the Archuleta County budget is 21.145 mills. Because this year's tax rate is only18.545 mills, a rebate of 2.6 mills will be credited on each taxpayer notice.

Among the handful of new employees to be added is a county engineer with an annual salary of about $66,000. Prior to the last couple of years, the county employed a full-time engineer. The policy was then changed to contract for engineering services on a demand basis. For the coming year, the commissioners have flip-flopped yet one more time and have decided to hire a full-time engineer. The engineer will work with the planning department concerning subdivision construction, in addition to work connected with county roads.

Coming on board for the first time will be a dogcatcher who will split time between capturing dogs and other activities. The county continues to negotiate with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association for a car and other equipment needed for the animal control officer. No action is being taken this year concerning implementation of dog licenses or other fee-associated activities to raise money to support animal control efforts.

A full-time person is being added to the staff of the county treasurer's office, the first personnel increase in that office since the 1990s.

The solid waste department is adding a full-time person charged with collecting litter from county roads, especially County Road 500 in the vicinity of the landfill.

A part-time person working in the county clerk's office will be increased to full time.

The following sums were approved for each of the following funds. The first number is the amount approved for the 2003 budget. The number in parenthesis following is the amount budgeted for the same fund during 2002. Expenditures and reserves are included in each number. General Fund - $8.8 million ($7.2 million), Capital Improvement Fund - $1.2 million ($839,354), Road and Bridge Fund - $3.5 million ($3.6 million), Road Capital Improvement Fund - $3 million ($3.5 million), Fleet Maintenance Fund - $980,710 ($805,000), Social Services Fund - $1.7 million, ($1.5 million), Nutrition Fund - $265,916 ($256,774), Seniors Program Fund - $162,798 ($179,725), Transportation Program - $252,151 ($230,276), Solid Waste - $664,630 ($847,088), Airport Fund - $8.9 million ($5.9 million), County Sales Tax - $2.6 million ($2.3 million), Fair Board Fund - $107,084 ($95,475), Tourism Fund - $277,462 ($260,933), Enhanced 911 Fund - $103,081 ($159,757), Employee Insurance - $718,021 ($821,499), Flexible Benefits - $27,850 ($23,700), Jail Commissary Fund - $7,803 ($8,830), Fairfield Road Settlement Fund - $468,031 ($522,962), Conservation Trust Fund - $186,372 ($133,414), Emergency TABOR Fund - $578,412 ($538,226), Pagosa Lakes Trails Fund - $25,479 ($108,000), Sidewalk Escrow Fund - $23,308 ($71,867), Community Services Fund - $20,143 ($18,656), Total - $34.8 million ($29.9 million) a $4.9 million, 16-percent increase.


Brighten holidays; aid Operation Helping Hand

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Picture, if you will, a child with no Christmas tree - and with no presents.

How about a family with no Christmas dinner?

Since 1989 this community, through efforts of Operation Helping Hand, has demonstrated outstanding generosity to make that picture brighter. Donors have often given up something badly wanted, but not really needed, in order to make a child smile at a time of need.

From that early beginning, when 22 families without the basic necessities for a Merry Christmas were aided, the rapidly increasing population and the now sluggish economy have combined to make the list of needy much longer.

In fact, 168 families are on the list of those in need of help this year. And, for the first time, more donations are needed as the deadlines near.

Anyone who has ever been down on their luck at Christmas can understand the feeling of not being able to provide for a family, of not having adequate clothing or basic elements for a cheerful meal.

There has rarely been a community as responsible and generous as has been Pagosa Springs in the past. The outpouring of concern seen in the past gave this community a reputation for caring.

According to Operation Helping Hand organizers, 540 people - including 268 children, 212 adults and 60 senior citizens - have registered for Christmas season assistance from the program. The deadline for registering has passed.

Perhaps the biggest indicator of the greater need this year is the gift tags still hanging in the two City Markets. Each of them contains the description of an item requested by one of those individuals seeking assistance. It may be a pair of warm gloves, winter boots, or a toy they have no hope of getting without citizen generosity.

If you want to participate, pick a gift tag off one of displays, purchase and wrap the item listed, and return it by Tuesday, Dec. 17 to one of the drop-off spots you'll find specified later in this article

As the tags are removed from the displays, there are more to be added. Each one removed will be replaced until all the requests have been posted.

If you want to participate but don't want or have time to do the shopping, monetary donations are always welcome. They will be used to fill the wishes not directly supported by citizens. And, they will be used to help fill the dinner baskets and to add meat to them so that all families in the county have a reason to celebrate.

Program organizers coordinate the charitable work of area civic clubs, churches, business organizations and individuals. Please note the deadlines listed below.

Add to them 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 16 through 19 for dropping off donations at Ridgeview Mall.

Project Empty Stocking

Volunteers have written over 1,000 requested items on paper stockings at both City Markets. These requests range from socks and underwear to snow boots, pants and coats. To fill one of these requests, remove a stocking from the board in City Market, then purchase and wrap your gift, attaching the stocking to your package so the gift will be delivered to the correct individual or family. Take your gift to Coldwell Banker - The Pagosa Group, located on Put Hill, or to Galles Fine Properties on Lewis Street by Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Secret Santa Toy Tree

This program seeks to provide at least one new toy to each child in need this holiday season.

There are special Christmas trees in the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center and at Alco with ornaments for each child registered with Operation Helping Hand. There are a variety of requests for toys in all price ranges. Requests this year include dolls, Barbies, dishes, cars, models, CDs and CD players. To be a Secret Santa, choose an ornament from the tree at the Visitors Center or Alco and deliver your newly purchased, wrapped toy to Operation Helping Hand at Coldwell Banker - The Pagosa Group, located on Put Hill, or to Galles Fine Properties on Lewis Street by Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Old and new

Organizers are getting numerous requests for used furniture, blankets, pots and pans, VCRs and electric blankets. These items, which organizers say can be "used, but still usable," should be brought to Coldwell Banker - The Pagosa Group, located on Put Hill, or to Galles Fine Properties on Lewis Street by Tuesday, Dec. 17. The Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs assists with this portion of Operation Helping Hand by sorting the items, and assisting program recipients with locating items they need.

Toy Outreach

This branch of Operation Helping Hand provides an opportunity for children to get involved in the program.

Parents can help their children select a toy or toys they no longer use, but which are still in good condition, for donation. Used bikes, Nintendo 64s, stereos and CD players are especially high on the wish lists of many young people. The First Baptist Church missions group is assisting with this portion of the Operation Helping Hand program by collecting and cleaning donated items. Donations should be brought to Coldwell Banker - The Pagosa Group, located on Put Hill, or to Galles Fine Properties on Lewis Street by Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Bucks for Bikes

The folks at GMAC Four Seasons Land Company raise donations from local real estate agents and title companies to purchase new bikes for children.

Snowflake Program

Volunteers at Community United Methodist Church are participating by assisting families with their holiday needs in cooperation with Operation Helping Hand.

Christmas Food Boxes

Food donations are always needed for Christmas dinners. It is the goal of Operation Helping Hand volunteers to provide the ingredients for a holiday dinner to those who otherwise would go without this holiday season. Nonperishable items may be brought to Coldwell Banker - The Pagosa Group, located on Put Hill, or to Galles Fine Properties on Lewis Street by Tuesday, Dec. 17.

You can also help by purchasing a City Market gift certificate and bringing it to the Pagosa Springs SUN or mailing it to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. These certificates will be used to purchase turkeys and other perishable items.

Civic organizations and church groups have united to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure as many holiday season needs and wishes as possible can be accommodated.

Questions about Operation Helping Hand may be directed to the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.

Monetary donations can be made to Operation Helping Hand account No. 6240417424 at Wells Fargo or mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.




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Snow could return to the area early next week

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

The chances for snow in Pagosa Country are good next Monday and Tuesday, according to Jeff Colton, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

By Monday a high-pressure ridge covering the Rocky Mountains will be gone, allowing moisture-laden winds from California to move in, Colton said.

As a result, the chances for snow in Pagosa Country are good, especially at higher elevations, Colton said.

Skies are expected to be partly cloudy today with a high temperature of about 40 degrees and a low temperature of about 15 degrees. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny, Saturday partly cloudy, and Sunday mostly cloudy. The chance for snow is good Monday and Tuesday, Temperatures Friday through Tuesday should range between highs of from 35 to 45 degree and lows of from 15 to 25 degrees.

The high-pressure ridge dominating local weather this past week will start to break up over the weekend and be completely gone by Monday. Departure of the high-pressure ridge will allow the zonal pattern with winds from California to dominate.

No precipitation has been recorded in Pagosa Country since Nov. 25 when 0.03 inches of precipitation and 0.25 inches of snow occurred.

High temperatures last week ranged between 42 and 49 degrees with an average high of 46 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between 10 and 19 degrees with an average low reading of 15 degrees. No subzero temperature readings have been recorded this season. The mercury has dipped into single digits several times.

There has been a subzero reading during every December since record keeping started in 1939. The coldest December reading was minus 34 degrees Christmas Day 1986. During the most recent 51 Decembers, the thermometer has dropped below minus 30 degrees four times, below minus 20 degrees 12 times, below minus 10 degrees 40 times. During 1985, the coldest December reading was minus 1 degree Dec. 12.


 Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Jan. 15 public forum set on new sports complex

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

An open public forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns regarding the planned multipurpose sports complex on South 5th Street is scheduled Jan. 15, at 5 p.m. at Town Hall.

The complex, as planned, will include facilities for softball, baseball, soccer and skate boarders and it is suggested enthusiasts for these and other sports attend the forum.

After the public meeting, the parks and recreation district advisory committee will discuss the ideas offered, the actual plans, development of a mission statement, rules changes, openings for 2003 board members and meet with EDAW consultants.

Both meetings will be chaired by Joe Lister Jr. and James MacKenzie of EDAW, which was selected by the town to do the master plan for the recreational development.

Dates to remember

Dec. 14 - Elks Hoop Shoot at the Community Center starting at 8:30 a.m. for youngsters 7-13.

Dec. 14 - 1-3 p.m., basketball workouts for youngsters 9-10.

Dec. 16 - 5:30-7:30 p.m., workouts for 11-12-year-olds for the youth basketball draft.

Dec. 19 - 5:30-6:30, basketball draft for both age groups.

Dec. 20 - Start of formal practices for both age groups, times to be set by coaches in conjunction with parks and recreation staff guidelines.

Jan. 7 - First games of the new youth basketball season.


Lady Pirates polish a Jewel, defeat Salida 50-23

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The young, but mostly experienced, Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates left little doubt in the opener of the Buena Vista Invitational tournament Friday that they won't be a pushover this year.

With five seniors graduating in 2002, most observers expected this to be a rebuilding year for the squad and new coach Bob Lynch. That may still be the case, but a 50-23 victory in that opener gave them a good base to work from.

Lynch was ecstatic getting a victory in his first varsity outing.

"The girls really came to play, maybe with even more enthusiasm than I expected," he said.

He got the senior leadership he had expected from starters and co-captains Shannon Walkup and Katie Bliss.

Walkup had just four points, all in the first quarter when Pagosa raced out to a 15-4 lead, but ran the offense perfectly and in control. Bliss had only two points (she took just one shot) but recorded eight rebounds, a steal and two assists.

While she did not start, Caitlyn Jewel, the 6-foot-2-inch sophomore center, came off the bench to pace Pagosa with 16 points, 12 in the first half and all on the inside where the guards consistently found her with passes into open zones.

For Pagosa, it was a full team effort. Nine girls were suited for the game and all saw action.

Sophomore forward Bri Scott drilled a pair of first half three-pointers and finished with 10 points overall, contributing three steals, two assists and a blocked shot.

Lori Walkup was a defensive wizard, continually breaking up Lady Spartan attacks. She also recorded nine points, five in the fourth quarter, and added two defensive rebounds and two steals.

Sophomore forward Mollie Honan also was effective, scoring six points on 3-for-3 shooting from the floor and adding one rebound, one steal and two assists.

But, as indicated, the experienced Ladies were not the only performers.

Sophomore Melissa Maberry came off the bench in the second half to add two points on 1-for-2 shooting from the floor, but more important, had two steals, an assist and turned in four defensive rebounds.

Sophomore Laura Tomford added two points on one field goal and picked up single rebounds at each end of the court.

And freshman forward Caitlin Forrest was scoreless in three attempts from the field, but pulled down three defensive rebounds.

Overall, Pagosa's offensive plan was more than Salida could handle. The Lady Spartans were paced by 5-8 sophomore Aimie Davis with 14 markers, including four from the charity stripe.

Only in the final period, with reserves playing most of the way for Pagosa, was Salida able to match point production, each team scoring only seven after Pagosa went into the period with a 43-16 lead and the outcome already assured.

For the game, Pagosa shot 54-plus percent from the floor on a 24-44 performance, but went to the line only one time, with Lori Walkup hitting one of two.


Scoring: Pagosa - Jewel, 8-11, 16; Scott, 4-7, 10; S.Walkup, 2-6, 4; Honan, 3-3, 6; L. Walkup, 4-11, 1-2, 9; Bliss, 1-1, 2; Maberry, 1-2, 2; Tomford, 1-1, 2; Forrest, 3, 0; Team rebounds: Off. 8, Def. 18; Assist leaders: S. Walkup, 5, Scott, Honan, Bliss, 2 each. Steals leaders: S. Walkup, 5, Scott, 3, L. Walkup, 2; Blocks, Scott, Bliss and Jewel, 1 each.


Ladies' plate full at Wolf Creek Classic

By Richard Walter

Staff writer

The Lady Pirate basketball team will have a full plate for their pre-holiday athletic banquet, beginning with the annual Wolf Creek Classic this weekend at Pagosa Springs High School.

The tournament opens at 3 p.m. Friday with Clear Creek girls meeting Gunnison.

Pagosa's Lady Pirates make their home debut at 6:30 p.m., hosting Jefferson of Edgewater.

A full day of games is on tap Saturday, opening with Gunnison girls meeting Jefferson at 8:15 a.m.

Pagosa's Lady Pirates will meet Clear Creek at 11:45 a.m.

Jefferson and Clear Creek girls meet at 3:15 p.m.

Pagosa girls will meet Gunnison at 6:45 p.m.

The Lady Pirates will step out of tournament mode briefly to host Dolores at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 but the following weekend the girls will be back in a multi-team event at Rye.

In the Rye Girls Classic, Pagosa plays the host school at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, then meet La Junta at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and Manitou Springs at 5:30 p.m. the same day.

That will end Lady Pirate play for 2002. The girls will return to the court for a 7 p.m. clash Jan. 10 in Aztec.


Early cold spell dooms Ladies in 55-47 title loss

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Other teams watch you play.

They set their attack based on what they've seen.

Pagosa's Lady Pirates learned that lesson Saturday night when they fell 55-47 to the Buena Vista Lady Demons in the championship game of the home team's invitational.

What they had seen the night before when Pagosa stopped Salida, was the power inside of Caitlyn Jewel, the Pirate's sophomore center.

To counteract her height, the Demons dropped back into a matchup zone with the deep players double-teaming the Pagosa sophomore.

A first-year varsity player who missed most of last season with a leg injury, she had not been subjected to that type of defense before and initially had trouble adjusting.

The Pirate offense, trying to force the ball inside to Jewel, had five first quarter turnovers which helped the home team jump out to a 16-5 lead after the initial stanza but Pagosa was not going to go down without a fight.

After hitting just two of 11 shots from the floor in the first period, one of them a long trey by Bri Scott and the other a pull-up jumper from 12 feet by Shannon Walkup, the Lady Pirates got their act together in the second period.

With Walkup scoring three more of her 11 points in the game in the period, her sister, Lori chipping in with four, and sophomore Mollie Honan igniting what was to be the best performance of her varsity career also canning four to go with a single free throw by Katie Bliss, Pagosa cut the lead to 26-17 at the half.

The hosts were paced in the half with 16 points by 6-foot sophomore Lindsey Eggleston who would be the game's high scorer with 27. Six of those came at the charity stripe where she was 13 for 17 on the night.

Buena Vista hiked the lead to 36-22 early in the third period but Pagosa would not go away.

Spurred by a pair of Shannon Walkup field goals and one each from Lori Walkup and Bri Scott, the Pirates cut the margin to 36-30 before sophomore guard Brea Runyan broke the Demon drought with a driving layup and seconds later nailed a trey to hike the lead back to 11. Jewel and sophomore Melissa Maberry each converted a pair of free throws to cut the lead back to seven before Runyan scored again and sophomore guard Lindsey Ingram dialed a pair to put the score at 43-29 after three.

Down 14 points entering the final period, Pagosa suddenly came to life again. Spearheaded by the suddenly aggressive Honan, the Pirates got seven quick points on her jumper and a pair of free throws, and a long trey by Scott to cut the lead to seven. After Eggleston hit a short jumper to boost it back to nine, Lori Walkup cut the margin to five, hitting consecutive 10-foot jumpers.

After Eggleston went 1-of-2 in another trip to the line, Shannon Walkup converted from eight feet, and the lead was down to four.

Buena Vista's 5-11 senior Ashlee Foreman drilled a 12-foot jumper and Eggleston added two more free throws.

Honan then took the momentum back with a field goal and three free throws down the stretch, but it wasn't enough as the hosts held on for the final buzzer after being outscored 18-12 in the period.

Coach Bob Lynch was effusive in his praise of Honan.

"It seemed like a light came on and she realized she's at another level of competition now," he said. "She accepted that and reacted like we knew she could."

And, he said, "Shannon kept us in the game with her ball control. She just refuses to lose. She's the engine running this machine. The fact we lost had more to do with cold shooting early on than anything else."

He's right.

For the game Pagosa was 16-53 from the floor while Buena Vista was 17-37. The Pirates hit 11 of 16 from the line and Buena Vista converted 21 of 28. The Pirates had 12 turnovers in the game, Buena Vista just 7.

While the varsity was losing, the Lady Pirate junior varsity and C teams and the Pirates' junior varsity were winning tournaments in Salida and the boys C team placed second there.


Scoring: Pagosa - Jewel, 0-2, 2-2, 2; Scott, 3-17, 8; S.Walkup, 5-11, 11; Honan 4-7, 13; L. Walkup 5-12, 10 9; Bliss, 0-0, 1-2, 1; Maberry, 0-4, 2-2, 2; 3-point goals, Scott, 2-13; Team rebounds: Off. 5, Def. 14; Assist leaders: S. Walkup, 5, L. Walkup, 1, Bliss, 1; Steals leaders: L. Walkup, 2, S. Walkup, Honan, Bliss, 1 each; Blocks, L. Walkup, Jewel 1 each.


Pirates open with split in Buena Vista tournament

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs' varsity boys opened the season by splitting a pair of games in the Buena Vista Classic Tournament this past weekend.

Friday night the Pirates took advantage of a 17-9 third quarter scoring advantage to blow open a tight game and beat the Salida Spartans 54-44.

Coach James Shaffer's charges came back Saturday night to battle host Buena Vista down to the wire before losing 65-55 in the tournament championship game.

"In my opinion, if we continue to play like we did against Buena Vista Saturday, we're going to have a good team," Shaffer said.

With four returning starters and a 6-foot-8-inch transfer in the starting lineup, Buena Vista is one of the best, maybe the best, 3A teams in Colorado, Shaffer said.

"Our defense looked good most of the time," Shaffer said, "and our rebounding is better. We did a better job of blocking out and we captured more from the offensive boards."

Pagosa Springs only trailed the Demons 30-29 at halftime. A few free throws down the stretch could have turned the table. Pagosa Springs converted but 15 of 30 attempts from the charity stripe.

Pagosa's sterling effort against Buena Vista came despite the absence of Jason Schutz, one of only two seniors on the Pagosa squad. The 6-foot-5-inch veteran strained a knee in the opening minutes of Friday's opener against Salida and sat out the remainder of the tournament. Shaffer is hopeful that Schutz will be able to play during the Wolf Creek Classic this coming weekend in Pagosa Springs.

Pagosa Springs 54, Salida 44

Pagosa opened with a 14-9 first quarter lead against Salida, went to the locker room at halftime with a 26-22 lead, stretched their lead in the third quarter for a 43-31 margin, then hung on for the victory. Shaffer played 12 men during the game.

Sophomore Caleb Forrest was 4-for-7 in 2-point attempts and was 5-for-5 from the free throw line to lead Pirate scoring with 13 points. Forrest also picked off five offensive and three defensive boards to pace Pagosa in that department.

Senior point guard Brandon Charles, despite a gimpy leg, made two of three from 2-point range, two of four from 3-point range, and two of two from the free-throw line for 12 points. Charles added six assists and four steals to the Pirate cause.

Ryan Goodenberger, the other Pagosa guard, added 9 points based on making one of four at 2-point range, one of three from 3-point range, and all four attempts from the foul line. Goodenberger snagged five rebounds and chipped in with two steals and two assists.

Also scoring for Pagosa were Brandon Samples with 6 points; Ty Faber, Schutz, and Clayton Spencer with 4 points each; and Coy Ross with 2 points. Spencer contributed five rebounds. Forrest, Spencer, and Schutz each had a blocked shot.

As a team, Pagosa made 16 of 34 2-point attempts for 47 percent shooting, 3 of 9 3-point attempts for 33 percent shooting; and 13 of 21 from the free throw lane for 62-percent shooting. The Pirates made nine assists, 11 steals, pulled down 25 rebounds, made 12 turnovers, and blocked three shots.

Salida came back Saturday night to top Battle Mountain 52-34. Pagosa's Saturday opponent, Buena Vista, had beaten Battle Mountain 69-38 Friday night.

Buena Vista 65, Pagosa Springs 55

Forrest again paced all Pirate scoring Saturday, as Pagosa faced a team that more than matched them in height, especially with Schutz on the bench favoring his leg. The Demons feature John Solder at 6 feet 8, Reed Peuser at 6 feet 7, Todd Christ at 6 feet 5, Dan Wyatt at 6 feet 4, and Jesse Bobb at 6 feet 3. Buena Vista has a strong basketball tradition. They captured the state 3A title in 1995, 1999 and 2001, and challenged last year.

Pagosa's remaining big men, Forrest and 6-foot-6-inch junior Clayton Spencer combined for 31 points, 17 rebounds, and two blocked shots against Buena Vista. Pagosa shot a very respectable 17 for 31 from 2-point range for a 55-percent average. From 3-point range Pirate accuracy dropped to 33 percent on 3-9 shooting. If any part of the Pirate offensive game fell off, it was in free throw shooting. Pagosa got 30 chances from the stripe, but only converted 15 for a 50-percent effort.

Goodenberger, a 6-foot-1-inch guard, turned in another excellent game. In addition to 12 points, Goodenberger pulled down seven rebounds, made two assists, and two steals. Goodenberger made four of seven 2-point attempts, missed his only two 3-point tries, and converted four of five from the free-throw line.

Also scoring for Pagosa were Brandon Charles with 6 points, and Faber and Kern with 3 points each. Charles' six assists led Pagosa in that department.

As a team, Pagosa pulled down 32 rebounds, made 12 assists, eight steals, 15 turnovers, and two blocked shots.


Wolf Creek Classic draws top competitors

John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Local hoop fans will be hollering with delight this coming weekend.

Bigtime high school basketball comes to town starting tomorrow night as part of the annual Wolf Creek Classic Tournament.

Challenging Pagosa's boys team are some of the better squads in Colorado. The Pirate boy cagers will exchange dribbles with Clear Creek, Gunnison, and Jefferson high schools.

Clear Creek and Jefferson are new for local fans. Gunnison is a familiar face, having played in the Wolf Creek Classic several times in the past.

The Pirates teams have earned an enthusiastic local following because of their excellence. Over the past few years they have repeatedly finished among the elite of Colorado 3A basketball.

Adding to the excitement this year are high hopes for a Pagosa boys' squad laden with experience, height and talent. Coach Jim Shaffer's hoopsters opened the season last week by playing for the championship in the Buena Vista Classic. The 1-1 Pirates battled Buena Vista down to the wire before losing 65-55. Buena Vista is one of the preseason favorites to capture the state 3A crown.

"Based on our performance against Buena Vista, we have a chance to be a real good team," Shaffer said. "This week will be a big test. We'll find out how consistent we are; can we play a good game against Buena Vista, then come back and play more good games?"

Shaffer can count on four starters from last year's squad, plus some challengers from a JV team that only lost one league game last year. Included among the returning starters are three players over 6-foot-6 and last year's point guard.

Sophomore Caleb Forrest, who stretches the tape at 6-7, started as a freshman last year. Against Salida and Buena Vista last week, Forrest averaged 15 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. Joining Forrest on the front line are 6-6 senior Jason Schutz and 6-6 junior Clayton Spencer.

Schutz injured a leg early in the second quarter of last week's game with Salida and sat out the rest of the weekend. Schutz may or may not be ready for the Wolf Creek Classic. After missing practice the previous week, Spencer did not start against Salida. He got in enough time to pick up four points and five rebounds. As a starter against Buena Vista the next night, Spencer hit 6-8 from 2-point range while racking up 14 points. The big man also hauled in eight rebounds and blocked a shot.

Bringing the ball upcourt for the Pirates are senior Brandon Charles, a 5-9 point guard who played that same role last year, and 6-1 junior Ryan Goodenberger, who picked up a lot of minutes last year. Charles led all Pirates in scoring last year and has averaged nine points and six assists per game this year. An IML All-league football selection, Charles is still nursing a gimpy ankle injured on the gridiron.

Just behind the starters are 5-10 Ty Faber, 6-1 Brandon Samples, 6-foot Coy Ross, 6-1 Otis Rand, 5-9 Jeremy Caler, 5-9 David Kern, and 5-7 Casey Belarde, all juniors excepting Rand, who is a sophomore.

All games in this week's round-robin tournament will be played in the new high school gym.

The boys open play tomorrow at 8:15 p.m. against the Jefferson High School Saints, a 4A school located on the west side of Denver. The Saints play in the Jefferson County League and are 2-0 for the season with wins over Denver Lutheran and Centauri.

Saturday, the boys play Clear Creek at 1:30 p.m., followed by Gunnison at 7:30 p.m., The Clear Creek Golddiggers are a 3A school located west of Denver near Idaho Springs. They play in the Metropolitan League. Clear Creek is 0-3 for the season with losses to Gilpin County, Nederland, and West Grand.

Gunnison is a 3A school playing in the Western Slope League. The Cowboys have lost to Del Norte 48-24 and were scheduled to play Buena Vista late yesterday.

Next weekend, the Pagosa boys travel to Pueblo to compete in the Pueblo Holiday Tournament.


Shorthanded Pirate grapplers prove competitive on mats

By Karl Isberg

Staff writer

It went just about like Pirate wrestling coach Dan Janowsky predicted.

A Pirate squad with a depleted roster opened the season at the Rocky Ford Duals and ended the day Saturday in seventh place among 12 teams.

"We were better than seventh place, I assure you," said Janowsky, and he noted that each of four dual matches fought by his squad "were competitive, even against the tougher teams."

The Pirates met those tougher teams in preliminary pool action to start the day. The Pirates were put in a bracket with two excellent programs - 4A Canon City and perennial 3A power Roosevelt - and lost to both teams. The Pirates fell to Canon City 49-16 and to Roosevelt 55-10.

"Those losses knocked us into the seventh-place bracket," said the coach. "It was the same thing as last year. Our preliminary pool was tough, but that's okay: you're going to meet the tough ones one time or the other - in the morning or in the afternoon."

In the afternoon bracket, Pagosa faced a new addition to the Rocky Ford tourney, 4A Sand Creek, and defeated the Scorpions 34-33.

In the last dual of their day, the Pirates whipped 2A Crowley County, beating the Chargers 42-24.

Pagosa gave up points right off the bat in every match, surrendering a forfeit at 103 pounds.

Darren Hockett took the mat for the Pirates at 112 pounds for the first three matches, then went up to 119 for the final match of the day. Hockett finished 3-1, beating his Canon City opponent 12-8 and pinning wrestlers from Sand Creek and Crowley County (at 119), each in the first round of action. Hockett's only loss was to the Roosevelt opponent. Hockett lost the 11-4 decision to a reigning state champ in what Janowsky called " a very competitive match. The other kid just chipped away a bit at a time."

Mike Maestas had an excellent day at 125. The senior defeated the wrestler from Canon City 5-2 before suffering his only loss of the day, giving up a pin to Roosevelt. The Pirate senior rebounded well, pinning his Sand Creek opponent in the second round and his Crowley County adversary in the first round.

The Pirates put Justin Bloomquist on the mat at 130. Bloomquist lost 7-2 to Canon City and 4-0 to Roosevelt. The Pirate came back with a third-round pin against Sand Creek and lost the last match of the day, 5-2.

Senior Clifford Hockett was 2-2 at Rocky Ford. He began action at 135 with a 12-3 win over the Canon City competitor then pinned the man from Roosevelt in the first round. Hockett surrendered a pin in the second round to Sand Creek then lost 15-11 in overtime to the wrestler from Crowley County.

Raul Palmer entered the circle for the first time as a varsity wrestler, representing the Pirates at 140. The sophomore gave up pins to Canon City and Roosevelt then managed a 13-5 decision over Sand Creek before getting pinned in the first round by his opponent from Crowley County.

Aaron Hamilton got his weight down to 145 and the junior went 1-3. Hamilton lost 15-7 to Canon City then scored a 16-0 technical fall against Roosevelt. Hamilton lost to Sand Creek 10-8 and was pinned in the first round by Crowley County's man.

David Richter went 2-2 at 152, starting the day with a loss by pin to a Canon City athlete. Richter lost to a state placer from Roosevelt 12-2 then stormed back in the afternoon to pin both opponents - Sand Creek in the second round and Crowley County in the third.

Senior Zeb Gill was 3-1 at 160, with one win by forfeit. Gill took the match against Canon City with a 7-4 decision then was pinned by the Roosevelt wrestler in the second round. In his last match, Gill earned points with a second-round pin of his Sand Creek opponent. "I thought Zeb did very well for us," said the coach.

Janowsky decided to move senior Jordan Kurt-Mason up from his customary 160 to the 171-pound competition and noted the veteran "was too small to be at that weight. Even then, he won two of four matches." Kurt-Mason beat his Canon City opponent 5-2 then lost a close match to Roosevelt, 5-2. A loss by pin in the first round to Sand Creek was avenged with a first-round pin of the Crowley County wrestler.

Nick Chavez made a sacrifice for his team, fighting at 189 pounds while weighing in near the minimum, at 158. Chavez failed to win a match but, said his coach, "he filled a tough spot for us, did it for the benefit of his team. I wish we had more guys like that."

Janowsky had one more guy like that - Craig Lucero, who fought in the 275-pound class weighing only 217. Lucero, too, lost the matches in which he faced an opponent, and won by forfeit against Crowley County. "Craig was called on to fight the big guys," said Janowsky, "and they were all very big."

Janowsky was particularly pleased with the manner in which his wrestlers fought the two tougher teams at Rocky Ford. "Against those better teams," he said, "the matches were very competitive. I had an official come up to me and tell me he thought the matches were a lot closer than the scores indicated, and I agree."

The Pirates were without several possible starters at Rocky Ford. Michael Martinez remained out with an injury and is set for a medical evaluation of his broken ankle and damaged ligaments this week. Other wrestlers are set to return to the wrestling room and Janowsky anticipates "some really competitive wrestle-offs this week."

The athletes will be battling for places on the roster for the Buena Vista Duals Saturday. The tournament will feature 12 teams and will be organized like the recent Rocky Ford meet. At Buena Vista this year, besides the hosts and the Pirates, will be Centauri (ranked among the top 3A teams in the state), Battle Mountain, Estes Park, Florence, Del Norte, St. Mary's, Basalt, Steamboat Springs, Lake County and Middle Park.

"There are a lot of 3A teams from different regions at this tournament," said the coach, "and with Rocky Ford, Buena Vista and the Warrior at Grand Junction, we will have seen the best 3A teams from each region in the state. I have no doubt we will pick up steam as the season progresses."

The action at Buena Vista starts at 9:30 a.m. with finals set for 5 p.m.




Alvin E. Jackson

Albert E. Jackson of Pagosa Springs died Monday, Dec. 9, 2002, in his home. He was born Dec. 14, 1941, in Pennington Gap, Va., where he was raised.

For several years he was a general contractor in Lakeside, Calif., before moving to Pagosa Springs 12 years ago where he was able to continue his passion for the outdoors and for hunting.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, of Pagosa Springs; two daughters, Sheila of San Diego, Calif., and Barbara of Pagosa Springs; two sons, Blair and Jason, both of Pagosa Springs; two sisters, Lenoir Beasley of Henderson, Nev., and Vickie Jackson of Marietta, S.C.; and three brothers, Jack and Jeff in Virginia and Randy in Georgia.

A private family service will be held at a later date.

The family suggests any donations be made to American Cancer Society.


 Inside The Sun

 Bond approvals hike PAWS budget, tax rates

By John M. Motter

Staff writer

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District unanimously approved a budget for 2003 at a regular meeting Tuesday night.

At the same time, the board approved a significant revision of the 2002 budget, adding almost $5 million acquired as a result of voter approval of a $10.35 million general obligation bond in the Nov. 5 general election.

Bond counselors for the district have advised spreading the bonds across two years, a move they say will save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments.

This year's budget has taken on a new format as the district attempts to accurately separate water and sewage revenues and expenses.

District water and sewer users face a significant increase in property tax rates as a result of the nearly $15 million in bonds approved by voters this year.

Officials are quick to explain that the district's property tax rates go up and down as bonds are purchased or paid off.

For example, the tax rate for next year is 18.726 mills for District 1 and 8.822 mills for District 2. Last year the mill levy was 7.91 for District 1, 3.049 mills for District 2. Not long ago, in 1996, the mill levy was 22.135 mills for District 1, 9.058 mills for District 2.

This year's budget also reflects turmoil and strife that began at budget time a year ago when the district adjusted a variety of fees used to help pay for growth. The board argued that growth requires the district to spend large sums of money in order to generate and distribute water to satisfy the needs of the growth. Growth has also forced the district to spend money to expand sewage collection and treatment capacity.

A number of builders and developers opposed the fees, arguing the district was placing an unfair burden on growth. They also argued the budget did not accurately identify revenues and costs so they could be attributed to water or sewer.

The board responded by appointing a citizens' committee to review the district's fee structure. In addition, they postponed collection of the increased fees until well into the budget year, even though the 2002 budget was predicated on revenues generated by the increases.

Ultimately, a fee structure was adopted that was very close to that originally proposed. About the time the district began to receive income from the new fees, a new problem developed. It became apparent that the area served by the district was besieged by drought. Lakes that normally filled during the winter did not fill. Consequently, the district faced the prospect of running out of water before the end of summer.

The solution was to implement temporary expensive measures not included in the 2002 budget. A second approach involved long-range planning designed to ensure that not filling the lakes will not be a future problem.

Most prominent of the immediate, temporary measures was turning on electric pumps to move 2 million gallons a day of water from the San Juan River south of town to a new treatment plant. Ancillary moves involved pumping water from the same source into depleted lakes.

A result of the long-range steps was submission of two bond issues to the voters. Voters approved almost $5 million in May to be used for enlarging sewage treatment facilities. They approved over $10 million in November for various projects connected with increasing the district's water delivery capacity.

The budget for next year reflects the change in the district's fee structure, a public demand for clearer accounting practices, and increased stress on the district's monetary resources caused by drought demands.

Additional changes to budget philosophy may take place during the coming year as the district adjusts to public responses to water restrictions implemented because of the drought. Further, the long standing sacred cow of using equivalent units as a basis for billing is being challenged. The board will likely review the practice next year. Opponents of the practice argue that billing should be conducted on a direct usage basis.

The board will not meet again this year, unless an emergency meeting is called.

Meanwhile, pumping from the San Juan River south of town continues. Much of the water is being used to replenish lake levels.

District officials believe drought conditions remain and are continuing to levy a $4.50 monthly service charge. They expect to continue to operate in response to drought conditions until a new evaluation is made during March or April of the coming year. If the lakes fill, district officials will breathe easier.


Gov. Owens appoints Prior to state appraisers board

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Keren Prior, two-time Archuleta County Assessor, has been named by Governor Bill Owens to serve on the statewide Board of Real Estate Appraisers.

Prior is the only assessor from any of Colorado's 66 counties to serve on the seven-member board. The three-year appointment requires Senate confirmation, an action that should take place after the first of the year when the Colorado Senate next meets.

The board meets monthly to set fees for those seeking a real estate appraisal license, administers tests and disciplines licensees for misconduct.

"It is a real honor to serve on this board," Prior said. "I feel it provides a great opportunity for me to represent our community. I take to the meetings the experience of being an appraiser in a small community. Hopefully, I can help influence future appraisal activities so that small communities won't suffer in comparison with the larger Front Range communities."

Prior was first elected Archuleta County Assessor in 1998. She was re-elected without opposition on the Nov. 7 ballot just completed.

The eldest of eight children born to a Lutheran minister, Prior has been involved in farming, ranching and a large number of real estate activities prior to seeking public office. Since being elected, she has attended a large number of appraisal, investment and taxation courses in addition to completing a Republican Leadership Program conducted by Colorado Republican Party leaders including U.S. Senator Ben Campbell, R-Ignacio.


Community Center oversight

panel elects board of directors

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Before discussions on finance and fund raising, the Pagosa Springs Community Facility Coalition members voted on a new board of directors and an advisory committee Tuesday. The Coalition is the nonprofit group responsible for overseeing operation of the community center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The first order of business was to approve Ross Aragon for another three-year term as chairman.

"I am soliciting the chairmanship," he said. "We're not out of the woods yet. There's still some things to be done." He was elected on a unanimous vote and proceeded to list a slate of other directors. When voting was over, Darryl Cotton, Kathy Holthus, Ralph Goulds, Barbara Hendricks, Bill Dawson and Jan Brookshier were elected as the other directors. Goulds was approved as vice chairman, Dawson as treasurer and Holthus as secretary. The members also elected an advisory committee including Nan Rowe, Karen Wessels, James Brown, Debra Brown, Mamie Lynch, Sally Hameister, Pauline Benetti and Gene Copeland.

Under the group's bylaws, seven people are elected to serve on the board of directors. Four are elected to three-year terms and three serve two-year terms. Of the seven, two are at-large members. The other five must represent at least one of the following organizations: the Town of Pagosa Springs, Silver Foxes Den, Pagosa Springs Arts Council, Social Services and the business community.

With that business out of the way, the group heard reports on the building's finances since opening in August. Through Dec. 10, the facility had collected $5,337.25 in use fees.

Jay Harrington, town administrator, said the way fees are structured, they cover the cost of utilities and cleanup but little else. Operating costs of the facility are still being subsidized to the tune of about $120,000 (budgeted in 2003) by the town. That level of support makes sense right now, he added, because the town's recreation department uses the facility, especially the multipurpose room, far more than any other group.

"It'll probably be three or four years before 40 to 50 percent of the operating costs are covered by fees," Harrington said.

In terms of meeting funding requirements, the coalition is still about $340,000 short of the original $1.7 million fund-raising goal. Without that final funding, town planning administrator Mark Garcia said, the coalition cannot collect the $70,000 in grant funds still outstanding from the Gates Family Foundation. The $70,000 is contingent on those matching funds. Beyond that, money for some of the furnishings is still needed. For instance, the center could use three or four computers. A recent garage and bake sale provided funds for a coffee pot to use for small group meetings.

Aragon stressed that people need to be reminded that the coalition remains a nonprofit organization. Simply because the building is in place, doesn't mean financial support can stop.


Silver Foxes get vegetable garden approval

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

It's not yet winter and already some are thinking of gardening.

At the Silver Foxes Den, seniors and several Master Gardener students are planning a vegetable garden. Tuesday, their plans passed a first hurdle when members of the Pagosa Springs Community Facility Coalition approved the general idea.

According to the seniors' proposal, the garden, to be located on the northwest corner of the Pagosa Springs Community Center in the general area between the dumpsters and the electrical boxes, would provide a convenient place for local seniors to grow vegetables. It is also aimed at encouraging them to be outside in the fresh air and exercising.

Preliminary plans show space for between six and eight raised beds and a line of fruit trees. A level walk is shown around the circumference of the beds to allow people to come and watch the garden grow. Raised beds will give those with difficulties bending or kneeling an opportunity to garden along with everyone else.

The only concerns raised by members of the coalition were the cost of water if the drought continues and the possibility of animals raiding the small plants. Town Administrator Jay Harrington said because of the aesthetics, fencing would probably not be acceptable. Gardeners would also be encouraged to use drought-tolerant varieties whenever possible.

"We really think it's a good idea," Harrington said. "We see no impact with the snowplows or our wetlands."

In an interview Wednesday morning, Laura Bedard, assistant director of the Silver Foxes Den, said the idea for the garden came from Dearle Ann Ricker, a student in the Master Gardener program. Master Gardener students are required to donate 50 hours of community service to complete the program. For Ricker, and possibly a few other students, the seniors' garden will fulfill that requirement nicely - if they can get the ball rolling.

The current plan is to raise the funds for one or two raised beds and add on every year, recruiting Master Gardener students as needed. Most of the labor will be donated with the group hoping to tap into the court's community service program for some of the work. They are also looking to secure some donated materials from local businesses and possibly add some grant funds.




Dear Editor:

I am writing to express my huge disappointment and concern in our governor, Bill Owens. I work for Bill Nobles and the CSU Cooperative Extension of Archuleta County. We have been working very hard for a $5,000 Community Partnership grant.

This grant program was created for tobacco education, prevention and cessation using part of the state's tobacco settlement funds. The State Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership, also known as STEPP, administers the funds for the grant programs.

After much diligence and support from not only our new local tobacco coalition, but also the San Juan Basin Health Department's Lasso Tobacco Coalition - based in Durango - we were notified that we would be funded for the full amount - $5,000. We were so excited to hear that our proposal for holding the National Kick Butts Day for the intermediate and junior students was approved. Kick Butts Day is an annual initiative that encourages activism and leadership among students. It's a day filled with speakers, music, videos, games and lots of information on tobacco aimed at empowering youth.

Within two weeks we were notified that our funding was put on hold due to the governor's plan to take monies from the tobacco settlement to balance the 2003 state budget. Bill Owens has already taken the complete Tobacco Trust Fund of over $130 million to help the 2002 budget because he used the surplus to give back tax reimbursements.

That trust fund was to insure that we would have funds available for tobacco education, prevention and cessation 25 years from now, for our children's children. Owens promised the state would pay it back with next year's surplus. I cannot believe that money put in trust can be so easily taken by the state for things other than which it was intended.

There is probably nothing that can be done for the trust fund, except pray, and think positively that we will have a good year and Owens will keep his promise to pay it back. But my concern is for his decision on using tobacco money for the 2003 budget. I would hate for our children to miss this opportunity for education and leadership because he values other programs more than our children — our future.


Pamela Bomkamp

Who benefits?

Dear Editor:

Bob Howard's Dec. 5 letter to The SUN explicitly extols the "short answer" of just who benefits in Archuleta County from expanding Stevens Field operations. Sometimes, the "short answer" is not always the "best answer." Now it's time to tally the "final answer."

Before another dime is spent on the airport, ask the taxpayers if they are in favor of a large airport expansion; place the issue on a ballot. The folks who vote and live here understand what's at risk. It's their money, it's their quality of life, it's their airport and they should give the final answer - not the Three Amigos.

Should the owners of Stevens Field decide to create a larger aerodrome right smack in the middle of densely populated subdivisions that will surely continue to grow? They alone should make that decision. After all, ultimately, they are the ones who will have to continually support it. They are the ones who will be bled in more ways than one. Let them decide whether or not they wish to make their mountain town an attractive flying destination or keep it low key - but adequate.

The local taxpayer is smart enough to realize that Pagosa Springs has been discovered. Those tourists will continue to drive from all directions in pursuit of the many tranquil amenities that they crave in "The Best of Colorado" and which bring dollars to the local economy.

The occupants of 75 percent of fly-in aircraft to Stevens Field would still get to Pagosa even if our airport were shut down. The Durango airport is always open - low visibility or otherwise. It's just a short drive to Paradise and they are removed from the Durango zoo. They will get here.

The only way you could stop the legions of tourists would be to dig a trench across all U.S. 160 and U.S. 84 access points to Archuleta County. Realizing that one of our Amigos has demonstrated in the past a strong proficiency to cut a long-established access road in this county, I have no doubts that he would even attempt to start up the backhoe for this endeavor.

It was not surprising to learn that the Amigos are working "another deal" with the FAA to cover the $800,000 necessary for a matching grant. Now why in the world would the taxpayers want to pledge their assets to the FAA? Talk about opening Pandora's Box! That's all we'd need; give the FAA some control for the almighty "short" dollar.

I sometimes wonder if Bob Dungan out Arboles way has some excess sheep pasture out in the middle of nowhere available for a Stevens Field relocation. It was just a passing Christmas "benefit" thought. Might be able to grab some of that FAA fat cat money. And it will only scare a few of the local sheep. Might even bring in lots of California tourists with oversized motorhomes into downtown Arboles to watch the big sheep run.

What a deal; it's gonna benefit the Arboles economy!

Jim Sawicki

Animal control

Dear Editor:

I read your editorial and I agree with most of what you wrote concerning a need for animal control.

My neighbor and I both made calls to dispatch about 4 p.m. on Dec. 1 to explain about the two wolf hybrids that were loose. I was aware what they had done on July 22 and as a chicken owner, I didn't want the same to happen to me.

We were told someone would be out to check out the situation but no one ever showed up. Don't get me wrong. I am not faulting the sheriff's department. I know they must have more important matters to attend to.

However, if we had an animal control officer, things might have had a happier ending for the owner of the chickens and sheep.

I do, however, disagree with your recommendation on how to finance the cost of an animal control officer. Mandatory pet licensing is not the answer. The only people who will license their animals are the responsible pet owners and this isn't where the problem lies.

I don't feel that irresponsible pet owners who let their animals run loose are going to license their animals, much less attach it to the animal so it can be traced back to them and cause them to get a fine. These people are not about to spend any money on their pets. If they would, then they would have already done so and invested in keeping their pet secure and our animal control problem wouldn't exist.

Rabies vaccinations, which are required by law, are already a means of registering a pet; the only question unanswered is how to finance animal control.

I feel that we need to look at who benefits from animal control. Pet owners, livestock owners, joggers, walkers, people who ride vehicles, young children and the elderly. The truth of the matter is that the community, as a whole, benefits and I feel the community as a whole should pay.

If and when we have animal control, you were right in stating it will require more than one person and I feel we better have a huge kennel facility.

I would like to remind the people of Archuleta County that most pets are not vicious and all they want is someone to bond with. The love and loyalty they give in return is worth the effort it takes to keep them safe.

Once we have animal control in place, these animals will need caring and responsible owners.

The alternative is not even pleasant to think about.

Richard Sutherland

Health care

Dear Editor:

The Upper San Juan Health Service District's finances are now in the black, at great cost to its system, which is still blood red.

We desperately need a "A vision for the future." This letter is in my words but is based on asking and listening to our doctors, providers, professionals and other knowledgeable people. This letter is part of "the vision."

We need a total rethinking of the Upper San Juan Health Service District's way of thinking and doing things. The board historically made decisions based on information provided by its manager and chairman. This worked because the board, chairman, and district manager were mostly the top EMTs governing other EMTs. When the district took over the medical center its philosophy did not change in response to new professionals and dynamics. They operate the clinic like the ambulance service, making decisions for, but not with, the professional employees.

Our local medical professionals are the only experts in rural health care we have. They are rarely asked for opinions and when they offer advice they are often ignored. This has to change, now.

The area's professionals have over a century of combined education, knowledge and experience in rural health care. The current manager and the entire board combined, have only a tiny fraction of that experience. To not have the people who know the most in charge and their opinions respected, is simply wrong.

The corrected system is for our medical professionals to be at the top of the planning and decision making process. A commission should be formed of the doctors, providers, other medical professionals, helpful citizens and interested board members. The manager's, chairman's, and board's job, using their business expertise, becomes finding ways to accomplish the decisions and requirements provided by the commission.

This is not some crazy scheme; it is the way it is done most places. Our system of having inexperienced people in charge of our community health care, is "the crazy scheme." The only option is for all current board members and the district manager to, very quickly, become experts in rural health care.

A major problem is that the district board and our citizens do not realize what community health care is because we have never had a real community health care program in Archuleta County. It's considerably more than "a doctor's office." It's a variety of health care services and initiatives that we should make available for our people.

We have a group of knowledgeable professionals and people who can do this work. Not only can they do it; they are eager and excited to do it. The handicap is that the district board refrains from changing it's restrictive, unworkable, and out dated philosophy.

Our community has grown significantly. Our health care system has not grown and progressed. It is unacceptable for something as important as community health care to be operated by a board, manager and system where the board, manager and system are the problem.

We must do better.

Norm Vance

Community News

Senior News

Holiday treat, meal and gift exchanges scheduled

By Janet Copeland

SUN Columnist

Unbelievable as it is, Christmas will soon be here.

We will begin to celebrate 11a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 20 with a holiday treat exchange. Bring wrapped or boxed treats (cookies, bars, candy) and exchange them for an equal amount of something else. We know there are many wonderful cooks among our group so this should be a real treat.

Then we will have our holiday meal and gift exchange Dec. 24, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Women may bring a gift for a woman, men a gift for a man, or bring general-purpose gifts. Our holiday parties are always a lot of fun and it helps bring a little cheer to those who may not celebrate much.

The Archuleta Senior Citizens Inc. and the Area Agency on Aging will hold its annual election for board members at noon Dec. 13. This will be followed by our last board meeting of the year, and by a performance by the Mountain Harmony Barbershop Chorus. We hope all our members will join in voting for our officers, who will make decisions and represent the organization in the coming year. Following these events, the movie day will feature "Ya Ya Sisterhood," which is free and shown in the Senior Lounge.

Our guests and returning members are always most welcome, and we especially welcome the following folks who joined us last week: Jerry and Lois Brinton, Anna Boston, Jim and Marie Corcorran, Donna Cooper, Judy Armistead, Mariano and Violet Echavarria, Elizabeth Flowers, Steven Kish, Winnie Pavlovich, Virginia Pichon, Bob Syman, Clara Kelly (who we missed while she was away), Jerry Brown and Charlie Martinez. Unfortunately, I had to be out of town the last two weeks because of a family emergency, so I may have missed some folks who should have been on the list - just know you are always welcome.

We miss our friend, Lena Bowden, who is away visiting family, and will be happy when she returns.

Sometimes I am negligent in thanking our many generous folks who donate things to our seniors. This week I especially want to say thank you to the folks at Daylight Donuts for their generosity of providing treats to us year-around (they are not only delicious, but keep some of us "well-rounded"!)

Congratulations to Dorothy Million, our Senior of the Week this week, and to Dodie Smith who held the honor last week. Both of these ladies are mainstays of our group and always willing to help when needed.

Thanks a million to Ponderosa Do It Best. Tomorrow seniors 65 and over will receive a 25-percent discount on regularly priced items and a 10-percent additional discount on sale-priced items. Folks unable to come to the store may phone in credit card orders. On purchases of over $25 Ponderosa will deliver within the Pagosa Lakes or in Pagosa Springs. Ponderosa will also ship items purchased from them via UPS at current UPS rates.

The last Friday of every month is our Spirit Day. Show you are proud of being a Silver Fox and wear your T-shirt.

The Friendly Visitor Program has been initiated at the Senior Center. We need several more volunteers who are looking for someone to share stories or just pass a little time with. If it is difficult for you to leave your home due to a disability, this may be just the program for you. Call 264-2167 for more information.

Upcoming events include free movies offered in the Senior Lounge at 12:45 p.m. on the second Friday of each month. The movies are free and the popcorn is 25 cents - a real bargain. Come and enjoy the movies and offer suggestions to Laura for movies you might enjoy seeing. If there is a lot of interest, we may even run them twice a month.

Monday - Dec. 16, 10 a.m. chair exercises; 1 p.m., bridge for fun.

Tuesday - Dec. 17, 9:30 a.m. yoga; 12:45 p.m. art classes held in the media room. There is a suggested donation of $2 per class for use of the facility but those who can't afford this should talk to Musetta and Archuleta Senior Citizens Inc. will help out; 1 p.m. trip to Sky Ute Casino with free transportation provided by the casino which will also hand out some freebies when you arrive. Sign up in advance.

Wednesday - Dec. 18, 10:30 a.m. computer class.

Thursday - Dec. 19, 10 a.m., Qi Gong; 11 a.m. Jim Hanson and Medicare counseling; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. holiday treats exchange.

Veterans Corner

Replacement named at Durango clinic

By Andy Fautheree

Dr. Dave Sigurslid, M.D. has joined the Durango VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic to provide VA Health Care services. Dr. Sigurslid replaces Dr. John Starns who was killed in a recent automobile accident.

According to Janice Short, nurse at the clinic, Dr. Sigurslid should start seeing patients, including VA enrolled veterans, next Monday. The clinic was closed last week because of the loss of Dr. Starns, who was the main health care providing physician at the clinic. Short said Dr. Sigurslid will acquaint himself with patient records, appointment schedules and VA computer systems this week.

Short said she was in contact with Albuquerque VA Medical Center CBOC and Federal Health Net Services personnel coordinating the changes at the Durango clinic. Federal Health Net Services is the contract provider of the clinic to the Albuquerque VA Medical Center system.

Back on track

She also said it would probably take a month to "get back on track" at the clinic. She was unable to provide specific information on when veteran patients with appointments during the closure would be rescheduled.

She also said she could not provide information at this time (Monday) when the clinic would be able to provide VA prescription drugs. She suggested any veteran patients with prescription needs or questions could call the Albuquerque VA Medical Center for further information. That pharmacy number is (800) 465-8262 Ext. 2758.

Veterans needing additional information or appointment questions can call the Durango clinic at 247-2144. Veterans may also call this office at 264-2304 with any veteran questions.

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.

Chamber News

Kudos all around for jobs well done

By Sally Hameister

Once again, Christmas in Pagosa exceeded even our wildest expectations as the best season opener ever. We had such a terrific time and hope that everyone who attended enjoyed the delicious cookies, the hot cider, Santa, Mountain Harmony, the cast from "A Christmas Carol," and, of course, the stunning lighting of the Visitor Center.

Thanks first and foremost go to our own Doug Trowbridge for the magnificent job he did tackling the behemoth task of lighting the Chamber. Every year, we get just a little crazier and add more and more to our light designs, and Doug always good-naturedly accepts the challenge with the zest and zeal of a saint. The outcome this year was a knockout, and if you weren't here Saturday, I hope you will drive by one evening and admire Doug's handiwork. You might even want to mention it to him the next time you see him.

We are ever grateful to those who volunteer to help us out on this busy, busy day and would like to thank the following friends for their support and hard work: Morna Trowbridge, Bonnie Masters, Will Spears, Tom and Wyoma Richards (Mr. and Mrs. You-Know-Who); Sally and Walter Hovatter, Kaitlyn Potter, Nathan Trowbridge, Toby and Renae Karlquist, and Ron and Sheila Hunkin. Special thanks to Ron Hunkin who helped Doug put up lights one day; to Ace Hardware's Terry Smith who once again generously provided the truck for our Mountain Harmony Ladies and driver, Steve Boyd; the Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus who continued the tradition of gracing us with their presence and beautiful voices to usher in the season and to Sally Theesfeld, our Cookie Queen who provided us with 47 dozen of the best cookies you'll ever put between your lips.

We thank Michael DeWinter and the cast members from "A Christmas Carol" who appeared in full, glorious costume and sang for us; Kathy and Kirsten at Pagosa Baking Company who donated delicious sugar cookies and Tiffany and gang from Pagosa Photography for snapping many pictures of the precious children who came to see the jolly old elf. Without all of these folks, we simply couldn't pull off one of the most colorful, enjoyable days of the year. Thank you all.


I just have to thank the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters for a truly magnificent production of "A Christmas Carol." It was as professional and smooth as anything I've ever seen and wonderful eye candy to boot with the sets and costumes.

Jon Bernard, replete with real "mutton chops" was the best (worst?) Scrooge one could imagine, and Sierra Hewett's Tiny Tim flooded every eye in the house with "God Bless Us All, Everyone."

Congratulations to cast and crew for a perfectly delightful production and many thanks for the hours and hours of work devoted to "A Christmas Carol." We're already looking forward to next year's production.

We also congratulate the Community Choir under the direction of Barbara Witkowski and Pam Spitler for a perfectly marvelous Christmas concert. I attended Friday evening and left knowing that I could indeed carry on with the holidays after such an inspired performance. Thanks to each and every voice and to Sue Andersen for her masterful accompaniment. It was truly a divine evening.

Pagosa gifts

Speaking of the Visitor Center, don't forget that you can purchase some dandy gifts that will make all your family and friends who live elsewhere more jealous than ever that they don't live here.

We have beautiful Pagosa Christmas cards with photos taken by local artists, Pagosa Springs posters, shirts, bumper stickers and beautiful lightweight jackets in jade green, royal blue and navy with the Pagosa Chamber logo. Probably one of our very best selling items ever is our Pagosa screen saver featuring 32 local scenes captured once again by local photographers. This little jewel is so small that it can be included in your Christmas card and would be a welcome addition to any stocking.

We also carry the 19-minute Pagosa Springs video featuring some of the most beautiful scenery and colorful events offered in our fair town. If you want to send something that truly represents the glory of Pagosa, stop by and check out what is available at the Visitor Center.

Parade of Lights

Our fourth annual Parade of Lights is tomorrow evening, Dec. 13, and you have a chance to win 100 big ones in three categories that might come in mighty handy with the seemingly endless economic demands of the season. We'll be awarding $100 to the Best and Brightest entries for business, organization and family.

This one is so easy to enter - just fill out an entry form (included in your current Chamber Communiqué or available at the Visitor Center) and bring it in with your check for $25. After that, get your gang together and put lights all over something or other - people have lighted up horses, trucks, buggies, cars and children with great success - and show up on 6th Street at 5:30 on the 13th.

This is just about the cutest doggoned parade in the world, and you need to be a part of it. KWUF radio is once again providing the holiday music for the occasion, so all you have to do is bring your own boom box to tune in during the parade.

Please fill out your entry form and bring it to the Chamber of Commerce no later than Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. We are particularly fond of this rather recent event and want to continue for many years to come. This is a "weather permitting" event, by the way, so if it looks iffy that day, just give us a call at 264-2360 for information.

Holiday treats

The Pagosa Baking Company invites you to a special holiday tasting during and after the Parade of Lights tomorrow night from 5:30-7 p.m. You can enjoy samples of their holiday menu items and a 50-cent cup of coffee, tea or cocoa.

'It's a Wonderful Life'

Jace and Kelly Johnson at the Liberty Theatre have a very special holiday gift for all locals to take place immediately following the Parade of Lights tomorrow night. To thank all our locals for their support in 2002, the Johnsons will offer a free showing of "It's a Wonderful Life" at the Liberty on a first-come, first-served basis.

Santa at Pagosa Kid

You will have yet another opportunity to visit with Santa at The Pagosa Kid on Dec. 14 from 1-4 p.m. The jolly old elf will be there along with live Christmas music, refreshments and drawings for prizes. Please give Angela a call at 264-9330 for more information about Santa at The Pagosa Kid.

'The Nutcracker'

The San Juan Festival Ballet will present the holiday classic, "The Nutcracker" Dec. 20 and 21 at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium. Act 2 only, will be presented Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. Tickets for the evening performances can be purchased for $10 general admission and $9 for Arts Council members. Matinee performance tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for children and can be purchased at The Pagosa Kid, Wolftracks Bookstore and Coffee Company, the San Juan Dance Academy, the Arts Council gallery in Town Park and Granny Moose. This production features over 50 local performers, so plan to attend.

Citizen/Volunteer award

Nomination forms for Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards were included in your recent Chamber Communiqué and are available at the Visitor Center as well. We sincerely hope that you will take the time to nominate your choice for one or both of these categories.

We have so many worthy candidates in Pagosa, so your real challenge is selecting just one in each area. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 31, so please get your form to us as soon as possible.

Business counseling

Joe Keck with the Colorado Small Business Development Center will provide free counseling Dec. 20. Call the Chamber to schedule an appointment.

Board candidates

You also received a profile sheet on the six candidates running for Chamber board director, and we hope you will give careful consideration to your selection of three of these fine folks.

If you don't plan to attend the Annual Mardi Gras in January, feel free to stop by the Visitor Center and cast your vote at any time before Jan. 18. Nine directors act collectively as the governing body for your Chamber, so you need to determine which three candidates will best represent you and your voice on the board.

As always, it is important to exercise your right to vote and gives you the right to complain if you don't like the way things are going.


Who would have dreamed that with all the cookie eating, eggnog drinking, carol singing and Santa wishing that we would gain two new members and 10 renewals? It is indeed a wonderful life.

We first welcome Michael Roberson who is the new owner of Mykey's Lock and Safe which was formerly Jim's Lock and Key with offices in his home. Michael offers complete residential, commercial and automobile services as well as all types of keys made including tubular and high security. Please give him a call at 731-0572 to learn more about Mykey's Lock and Safe.

Joyce Little joins us next with Infinity 2 and offices located in her home. Infinity 2 is the final solution to weight loss that stays lost. To learn more, please give Joyce a call at 731-4995.

Our renewals this week include Chairman L. Smith with DNK Auto & Truck Repair, LLC, and Parts Plus; Fred C. Harman III with the Fred Harman Art Museum, Inc.; Linda and Charity Love with The Hideout of Pagosa Springs; Vince Sencich with Enzo's Catering; Nancy Hammond with Basin Printing and Imaging; the Echo Canyon Ranch Association, Inc.; Dennis A. Gallegos with Waste Management; Michael C. Branch, CPA, and Dave Sedgwick with Mountain Express Public Transit. Our associate members renewing this week are Gary and Wanda King. Our thanks and all the best of the season to each and every one.

Library News

Expansion plans being developed

By Lenore Bright

Your Sisson Library opened 13 years ago. Due to the increase in population and the subsequent requests for more services, we've run out of room and we need to expand and remodel the building in order to keep giving quality and timely services.

We have the opportunity to apply for some matching grants, and if we can raise a substantial amount of money here in our community, we can do the necessary construction work without any increase in our mill levy.

The local support through the years has led to us being recognized nationally as a model library. Our many awards and grants have allowed us to offer many services not usually found in a library of this size.

All donations are tax deductible and gifts can be made in honor or memory of someone. Another plaque will be in the new wing with the names of donors and memorials. There will be different categories for gifts.

After the first of the year when we know more about the possible grants, we will have an unveiling of the potential plans.

Again, we encourage anyone interested in helping with this project to call 264-2209. I invite you to join me in continuing this incredible dream.

Our thanks to Carol Fulenwider who surprised us with the most joyful bookmark for fund-raising. These will soon be available for sale. The bookmarks and the Civic Club Cookbook are the first major fund-raising efforts, and the proceeds will go toward enlarging the children's area.

Community colleges

This education system serves students in 13 state community colleges with programs in 157 school districts. Eighty one percent of Colorado's top 100 growth occupations do not require a four-year degree. Sixty-five percent of emerging jobs require technical skills taught at the community college level. National statistics show that people with an associate's degree earn an average of $35,389 and have a 2.9 percent unemployment rate compared to high school graduates who earn an average of $28,807 and have a 4.2 percent unemployment rate.

Your local connection is Pueblo Community College right here at the Learning Center, 264-2835 or try


Business News

Charlotte Westby owns The Basketeer, a business she operates from her home.

The Basketeer provides specialties in gift baskets for discerning buyers and every occasion. Westby can create a basket filled with delicious gourmet items or a unique gift basket with a theme to please anyone you have in mind.

Know someone who is stressed out? Send them a "Pamper Basket" to help them relax.

The Basketeer offers local and national delivery, and can be reached at 731-2123.



Gordon and Pat Kahn of Pagosa Springs are proud to announce the recent graduation of their son, electrician's mate third class Brett L. Kahn, from Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, Charleston, S.C. He ranked in the top third in a class of 440.

He is now stationed in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he is qualifying in nuclear reactor operation. Upon completion of this training, he will be assigned permanent duty.

Brett is a 2001 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School.


Marine Corps Cpl. Robinson A. Cortez, son of Rebecca A. Cortez of Pagosa Springs, was recently promoted to his present rank while serving with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

A 2000 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School who joined the Corps in June of that year, Cortez was promoted based on sustained superior job performance and proficiency in his designated specialty.



The next chapter

Library groups begin funding search for expansion

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Ruby Sisson Library is full.

In the 13 years since the building was first constructed, bare spaces on the shelves disappeared along with the card catalogues. Computers have moved in and the number of users has exploded with the growth of the county. Some days, as many as 40 or 50 people will rotate through the three public computers for on-line reference material and Internet access.

It's time, librarian Lenore Bright said, for expansion.

"We have been planning for three years for the ultimate day when we ran out of room," she said. "It's here."

It was not an easy decision. The current building, completed in 1989, was planned to last 20 years. It's only been 13. The original plan, Bright said, simply could not account for the growth in population, changes in technology and requests for service now facing the district. With the inevitable in their sights, board members spent the last three years completing a community analysis, meeting with local officials and discussing options with engineers and a local architect.

According to library standards, a building should contain at least 7,500 square feet of space to accommodate a population of between 10,000 and 24,999. In the 2000 census, Archuleta County's permanent population figures came close to the lower figure, with the part-time population adding a few more thousand.

Combining those figures with growth trends led library trustees to propose a 3,000 square foot addition and remodel, bringing the building to a total of 7,520 feet and updating infrastructure. Enlarging the children's area, expanding public access to computers for electronic reference materials and Internet use and increasing staff workspace and storage will be the main emphasis behind the expansion, Bright said.

The project calls for expanding the structure toward U.S. 160 and moving the children's area from its current location to the area that now houses books on tapes, mysteries and westerns. That location, Bright said, would give the children more space and allow an area to be glassed in for quiet. More shelf space could be added in the addition.

Of course, as with any project, dreams can only come true if funding can be found. The district will need to raise just over $750,000 to make the entire project possible - about $540,000 for the addition and $212,000 for remodeling to include carpeting, interior wall movement, bathrooms, cabling, electric, some plumbing, furniture, fixtures, wall treatments, painting and papering. The goal is to find the money without raising taxes. After all, that's been the trend.

The library was founded by the Ladies Civic Club and operated out of one room in Town Hall for about 100 years. Then, in 1983, the Friends of the Library was created to give men the opportunity to become involved in supporting a library and give it one more fund raising arm. In 1985, the Upper San Juan Library District was formed. Construction on the current building began in 1987 when the district finished raising the over $700,000 from private donors.

They'll need to repeat that feat to realize their current plans. So far the district and Friends of the Library have put away about $300,000 as a match for grants.

"There are a few major grants in the works, which, if we get them, could move us ahead in the near future," Bright said. Other than that, a number of local nonprofit organizations have expressed interest in assisting.

The Women's Civic Club members are selling cookbooks. Starting in two weeks, local artists will kick off sales of a collectable series of bookmarks depicting scenes from life in Pagosa Springs. Denny Rose, a local watercolor artist and a volunteer at the library, recently completed "A Day in Town Park," a painting that will become the first art pictured. Bookmarks will cost $3 apiece and are set to be available at the library, the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books and the Arts Council Gallery in Town Park.

Future bookmarks in the series will be designed by other artists in the Pagosa area. Two, photographer Jan Brookshier and artist/teacher Ginnie Bartlett, have already committed to the project. Others are invited to volunteer. Anyone interested should stop by the Sisson Library and pick up a flyer outlining the project. A proposal is required prior to acceptance.

According to the trustees' written outline of needs and specific goals, the completed project will not require an increase in staff or the mill levy. The current mill levy is 1.5, which is expected to be sufficient to maintain the building even with the expansion. The library district's proposed operating budget for 2003 is $617,239. Property tax revenue will yield $271,404.


Obituaries from county's past tease us with skimpy details

By John M. Motter

PREIEW Columnist

Gone but not forgotten is a favored epitaph, often composed more of wishful thinking than of fact. Almost everyone knows who Napoleon was. The challenge is, name any one of his troops. The majority are long gone, long forgotten.

The same is true of Pagosa Country's earliest settlers. The names and activities of a few of the more prominent settlers remain, but for the most part folks came and went without leaving tracks beyond the view of their closest relatives. Still others came, lived their lives, died, and were buried beneath Pagosa sod, still without leaving tracks.

I have collected more than 1,000 obituary notices marking the death of many early Pagosa Country settlers. Some contain just enough information enticing, me to think, "I wish I knew more about this person and his or her life." This week I'm sharing a few of these "testaments to unknown settlers."

Try the first name, for example - first because the list is alphabetical. Antonio Abeyta died April 24, 1934, (I was 31 days old and the Great Depression was in full tilt). Abeyta was buried in Rosa. Little did those who mourned his passage realize that within a few short years the government would cover the cemetery holding the remains of their loved one with the waters of Navajo Lake. Let us hope Abeyta's remains were moved to the other side of Arboles with the rest of the cemetery's occupants before the lake was filled.

"Antonio Abeyta, 77, was one of the pioneers who came with ox teams to Animas City in 1877 Mr. Abeyta was born in 1857 in Taos, N.M. His only son is E.J. Abeyta of Grand Junction. He is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Henry Chavez of Arboles."

What I want to know is, was Abeyta one of those pioneers who hauled freight across Caracas Mesa from Tierra Amarilla to Animas City almost before settlement of this part of the state began? Remember, Animas City was the precursor to Durango.

Then there was Elfego Baca who died Oct. 26, 1945, at the age of 80. He is said to have been a captive of the Indians for days, to have run with Billy the Kid, and to have stood off 80 American cowboys for 36 hours, at what event we know not. What was that all about? I would like to have talked awhile with this guy. Who was he, anyway?

Jordan N. Bean passed away Oct. 22, 1898. His obituary described him as a colorful Indian fighter and former messmate of Mr. Ray Willis' father (Willis was a known San Juan pioneer). He took part in the Little Castle Indian battle near Moab, Utah.

The Indian battle near Moab was about as valorous as the Sand Creek Massacre. A small group of renegade Southern Ute youth bolted the reservation in an attempt to return to a wilderness lifestyle. They were surrounded and badly shot up by a group of civilians in the La Sal Mountains not far from Moab.

Down in the southern part of Archuleta County and a short distance up the Navajo River is Capt. Beall Gulch. The origin of the place name is apparently contained in the following obituary. "Lloyd Beall, called captain, died in Oct. of 1898. At the time of his death he was in Schaad's place and had been sitting in a chair for a long time. He arose to go out and, taking his hat from a nail on the wall, complained of not feeling well. He was assisted out of doors and when he returned, still assisted by J.M. Keith, he suddenly dropped and was caught by Wm. Dyke, but his spirit had flown. Word was sent to Sam Teeson of Chromo, with whom the Captain made his home a part of the time Undertaker Gross took charge of the remains. Deceased had attained the age of 78 years and was born in the South. He began to serve in the United States Army at a tender age and served through the Mexican War. When the Civil War broke out he fought for the South. He made his home in Chromo and Coyote Park for many years. Oct. 29, 1898."

This obituary contains many teasers. Charley Schaad was a San Juan miner who settled in Pagosa Country well before 1900. He operated bars in a couple of locations. I think his first bar was in the building at the corner of San Juan and Pagosa streets that later became Town Hall. Still later, he had a bar over on east San Juan Street which is where Beall died, I suspect. Schaad later sold a beer he bottled locally. Wm. Dyke was the first Archuleta County sheriff. A region west of town is still called Dyke. His home was located at what is known today as the Radcliffe place. Sam Teeson was our own Faye Brown's father. In 1898, the Crowleys and Shahans had not yet arrived in Chromo. Wouldn't you like to listen to Beall describe his adventures during the Mexican American and Civil wars?

Norbert Berard died in April of 1923. When I attended historical society meetings during the 1970s, the old-timers talked about Berard's house, still standing on the northwest corner of Hot Springs Boulevard and Apache Street where the new bridge now is. Mr. Berard was of French descent and was born in Canada. His age was estimated at 78 or 79 years. When he came to Colorado is unknown, but he settled near Walsenburg where he married, before coming to Pagosa Springs with his family in 1878. "He made his home on the south side of the river since 1878. During the early days he freighted between Amargo and Pagosa Springs with oxen For many years he conducted a blacksmith shop in Pagosa Springs."

Motter's comment: Much of the early freight into Pagosa Springs, at least after 1880, was unloaded from the train at Amargo, then freighted by wagon to Pagosa Springs on the old stage road through Edith and Coyote Park. Traffic on that road must have been considerable. Old pictures of the hot springs show a sizable, barn-like building about where Berard's house stood. Since that was the main route into town, could that barn-like structure have been Berard's blacksmith shop? There may still be people living in this area who knew Berard's descendants, daughters Mary, Mrs. Ellen Penny, Mrs. Jennie Ponder, Mrs. Nellie Crawford, and James and Henry Berard. Somewhere, I know not where, he undoubtedly still has living descendants.

"Henry C. Cooper, who was visiting from Park View, N.M., last week, first came to Pagosa Country in 1879, when he rode for the J.W. Lacy outfit of Colfax County, N.M., and brought their cattle through here. He was a blacksmith at the Ignacio Indian Agency in 1884 and later ran a blacksmith shop here for 16 years. June 11, 1926."

Motter' comment: This is the only reference I have ever seen to bringing cattle from Colfax County, N.M. (remember the Colfax County Wars?) to Pagosa Country. Pagosa Country is a fur piece from Colfax County, over in the Cimarron area, with many a mountain to cross during the journey. There were a number of Coopers in Pagosa history, apparently none of them related. Mrs. Cooper, who died in February of 1941, was said to be the wife of a Henry Cooper. Her obituary also states that she came to Pagosa in 1889 from Dublin, Texas. It may be coincidental, but another Pagosa pioneer family, the O'Neals, came from Dublin, Texas, during the late 1870s, stopping over at Cimarron along the way. Were these Coopers connected with the O'Neals in some way? Incidentally, in the years before barbed wire, and for a short time after, there was a Lacy Cattle Company running in the Blue Mountains of Southeast Utah near Monticello. Local rancher R.D. Hott's grandfather, R.P. Hott, came from Texas as a teenager shortly after the Civil War, worked for the Lacy outfit, married a Moab girl, and later came to Pagosa Springs shortly after 1900. Are any of these incidents benignly listed separately actually connected? Incidentally, the children of Henry C. and Tinnie Cooper are listed as Virgil Cooper, Aubrey Cooper, Mrs. Marie Showalter, and Mrs. Frank Hilstrom. Again, there are descendants somewhere, and someone may know the whole story.

"Mrs. Carrie Crawford (formerly Mrs. Ed Laithe) lived in Pagosa Springs starting in 1878 or 1879. Wife of the late Joseph Crawford, she died in March of 1932 in San Francisco."

Motter's comment: I'm interested in the Laithe name, prominent when the town of Pagosa Springs first sprouted. If you notice that several of the obits I'm citing refer to the 1877-1878-1879 time period, the reason is simple: Those are the years during which Pagosa Springs started. The first burial we know about in Pagosa Springs took place during April of 1879. The deceased was Jose M. Velarde of Tierra Amarilla. Ed Laithe conducted the services. By April 11, 1879, Laithe operated a mercantile establishment in Pagosa Springs, as well as a saloon. Laithe may have been a partner of Joe Clarke. The town had 33 business establishments at the time. We know Laithe is still around in 1885, but then we lose track of him. So what happened to the Laithes? There were Crawfords living on the Navajo starting with the late 1880s. Some of their descendants will be remembered by old-timers. The name Crawford leads us to our final obit for this week. We don't know if the Crawfords we are about to describe are related to Mrs. Carrie Crawford and her husband, Joseph Crawford.

"Mrs. George Crawford, nee Rebecca Ann Roberts, was born near Lexington, Ky., July 13, 1838, and died June 26, 1929. She married George Crawford at Terre Haute, Ind. While yet a young woman she moved with her family to eastern Kansas. On the way the wagon train with which the Crawfords traveled was attacked by Indians and the Crawford wagon with its contents destroyed. Some years after the death of her husband, Mrs. Crawford moved to Archuleta County, locating on the Navajo in 1888. Four of her children reached majority and three are still living. They are James, Lynn, and Mrs. Fannie Crawford. Another daughter, Mrs. C.W. Lewis, died in 1925."

Motter's comment: A Roberts family was among the pioneering settlers of the Pine River area near Bayfield. Is this Roberts related to that family?


Lend a Helping Hand

As we approach the peak of the holiday season, many things about our collective life are uncertain: the economy, the national future in terms of the prospects of war and continued strife. Much of that uncertainty spills over to our local scene; many people are hesitant to make significant financial commitments, to indulge major projects and ideas, to participate in acts of charity.

Who knows what the local economy will do? As nearly totally dependent as we are on economic forces and trends outside the community, we wait to see what will happen. Good fortune elsewhere means continued growth and prosperity here. Declining fortune in the wider world spells problems.

What will happen this winter? Will there be snow; will the winter tourist traffic be a factor, or will we suffer a season with meager support from Mother Nature? Will the drought continue and bring severe water shortages next spring and summer? And fire?

While these factors have not prompted major changes in the local picture there are many fellow residents who find themselves in difficult financial circumstances. There are neighbors experiencing some sort of need.

According to Erlinda Gonzalez, director of Social Services, her office is seeing more clients now than a year ago - more people applying for food stamps, for participation in other programs designed to counter the effects of hardship. More of our friends and neighbors are having troubles than were a year ago.

There is no lack of certainty concerning what must be done: It is time to slough off the lethargy many of us are feeling, to shrug off a reluctance to part with money and goods, and come forward to help members of the community during the holiday.

One of the time-tested ways we can render valuable aid to fellow Pagosans is through Operation Helping Hand and its several project arms.

Created 13 years ago by a group of local kind souls, this holiday relief program has helped countless people over the years. It has grown. At present, there are requests in to the program to help more than 500 individuals, asking for a variety of types of assistance. The number of requests is up from last year.

The problem: there are more requests than there are donations, and time is getting short.

True, it seems everyone and anyone is asking for donations to support one cause or another. The stream of requests made to businesses, groups and individuals is overwhelming at times.

Operation Helping Hand is different. There is nothing unfocused about this program, nothing open-ended. Its goals are clear and accomplished in short order. It is a homemade program for hometown people.

Project organizers coordinate the efforts of civic clubs, church groups, businesses and individuals. Volunteers participate in the Christmas Food Box program which distributes food donations; Project Empty Stocking, with requested gift items listed on paper stockings at both City Market stores; Bucks for Bikes, working to purchase new bikes for youngsters; the Snowflake Program; the Secret Santa Toy Tree, aiming to provide each child who needs it with at least one new toy for Christmas (with ornament tags noting the needed toys available on special Christmas trees at the Chamber of Commerce and Alco); the Toy Outreach, providing used toys in good condition to the holiday effort; and Old and New, where donations of used and new furniture, electric small appliances and other items are provided to those who need them.

This issue of The SUN contains information about how all of us can contribute to make this holiday easier for some of our neighbors. The time is right for kindness and consideration, The season speaks of sharing. Let's lend a helping hand.

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks

Thankful to make deadlines

(This Dear Folks was first printed Nov. 22, 2000)

It's not the love of money, words are the root of all our problems.

I learned this yesterday while visiting with the undersheriff. Our conversation had innocently started with a discussion of the listings for TV programs.

Unbeknownst to me, the listings that are applicable to users of satellite discs are not applicable for folks who use cable TV. Apparently the names of the programs and the times of the programs remain the same over both forms of transmission, but the numbers of the channels differ greatly.

As oft times happens, one word led to another and before you know it someone is insulted, and eventually that someone finally realizes it.

So in a fit of frustration the undersheriff exited stage right while spouting a series of derogatory comments about the "once mag-something-or-other editor."

Though I once had a working familiarity with Bayou talk and its various inflections, it's a hard dialect to understand when being loudly mumbled by someone who is rapidly departing through a doorway. It sounded as if the undersheriff was mumbling something about his mistaken misconceptions of the "magn (something or other) editor," and that he was "never coming back."

Naturally, John, Richard and the ladies in the front office thought Thanksgiving had come early when they heard the "never come back" bit. Of course Karl and I have heard those words too many times.

Hoping to determine the dearly departing shots of the undersheriff, I reached for my dictionary and started scanning "magn " words.

Magna Charta led the listing and obviously wasn't the answer I sought. So I moved on down the page in search of an answer.

Rather than an answer I found a three-part multiple-choice question.

It's all in the day of the life as an editor to have to match yourself up with either "magnanimous - generous in overlooking insult"; or "magnate - very influential person"; or "magnesium - used as a laxative."

The two-syllable word "deadline" likewise caught my attention yesterday.

Though I know its meaning, I'm yet to understand how it works. It gets very confusing every Thanksgiving.

In order for a weekly newspaper of general circulation to obtain and maintain a second-class mailing permit, said newspaper must have an edition to the post office on the newspaper's stated publication day 52 weeks a year, continuously and uninterruptedly year in year out.

The only time this requirement varies is when the designated publication day is a national holiday and therefore the post office is closed. Whenever a holiday interruption occurs, the newspaper is required to be at the post office the day before the national holiday.

Naturally, this requirement moves deadlines and press runs ahead one day. In the SUN's case, the news reports that normally are hurriedly written on Wednesday must be completed by Tuesday so that week's edition can be off the press and to the post office by Wednesday.

For some undefinable reason, the Tuesday deadline is easier to meet than the regular Wednesday deadline. Somehow or other, even without the extra 25 hours; the reports on the Tuesday morning meetings, the Monday arrests, the fires, accidents and other events that occurred since Wednesday night a week ago still get typed, edited, proofed, corrected, re-proofed, poured and pasted up with headlines and photos.

The same is true with the display ads, classified ads and the legals. They are all completed and ready to go to the darkroom and eventually onto the press by Tuesday and to the post office and news racks by Wednesday.

I don't understand it, but I'm thankful that it happens.

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

David C. Mitchell


90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Dec. 13, 1912

Sheriff-elect Holliday has moved to town preparatory to assuming his office next month. The family is occupying the Dutton house at Fifth and San Juan streets.

Jack McRitchie, who was supposed to have been murdered near Alamosa a short time ago, has been located in Pagosa Springs, being an employee of the Pagosa Lumber Company. The murdered man has not been identified. Jesse Gilbert, who is accused of the murder, has been apprehended in Oklahoma.

The Schaad beer hall will serve a free lunch on Christmas - hot wieners and trimmings.

Brice Patterson is considering a proposition to lease the Arlington Hotel to a Denver man.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 16, 1927

About a foot of snow fell in this vicinity the first of the week and has provided excellent sleighing. The thermometer dropped yesterday morning and again this morning to all the way from 13 to 38 degrees below zero - depending upon your favorite instrument.

With the exception of the mail and gasoline contracts, J.H. Lattin on Saturday leased until spring the San Juan Livery & Transfer Co. business to Theo McMains.

Tuesday evening about thirty-five young people of the church met at the parsonage for a social. The evening passed pleasantly and quickly with games and contests. This is only the beginning of the Epworth League's social activities, as one of these socials will be held once each month.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 12, 1952

On Tuesday night of this week a committee composed of Mrs. Elsie Corrigan, Mrs. Bill Jackson, Mrs. Francis Corrigan and Paul Richards from the PTA met with the school board concerning the school problems. Their main subject was the crowded condition in the town school building. They pointed out that they felt that present building was so crowded that efficient teaching was practically impossible and the overcrowding was also unhealthy for the children.

The Christmas program being sponsored by the various organizations is getting into full swing this week, with light-up night set for the 13th, the presentation of The Messiah for the 14th and the big free show and party for the kids for Saturday, December 20.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 8, 1977

The weather hereabouts remains mild and dry. This is not true over the state, though, as heavy snows have been received further north. Cloud seeding in those areas is being evaluated to see if the project should be halted. Here there have been no clouds for seeding.

A delegation of businessmen from the main business block were present at the regular town board meeting last Monday night to ask that more effort be made to keep the main street clean and dust down. The board has been in the process of studying possible ways and means to do this for some time. One of the methods discussed was to purchase a new street sweeper. The board agreed to purchase a used machine for $14,500.