December 26, 2002

 Front Page

Pagosa boy mauled by vicious dogs

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

An 8-year-old Pagosa Springs boy was in intensive care in Durango Tuesday morning after being attacked by two dogs in the Vista subdivision west of town Monday.

According to Archuleta County Sheriff's Department reports, Garrett Carothers was outside near his home on Canyon Circle when he was found with two large dogs attacking him, still on top of him.

Apparently, witnesses Jason McKean and Donald Prokop were first on the scene.

"They had stopped at a stop sign and looked right and saw the trail of blood," Deputy Tom Gaskins said. At the sight of blood, they told the deputy, they believed a dog had possibly been hit and they turned onto the circle to investigate. As they rounded the circle, they saw two large dogs stand up and back off something. Once the dogs were up, the men saw a child sit up. The boy was bleeding and had extensive injuries to his face and head.

According to reports, the men called 9-1-1, went to cover the boy with coats and tried to keep the dogs at bay. About the same time, a United Parcel Service truck arrived and two more people got out to help. The names of the UPS employees were not known at press time.

Emergency Medical Services personnel arrived next and immediately began to treat the boy.

Gaskins, who was on assignment east of town on U.S. 160 when the dog attack call came in, arrived on scene after the ambulance. "About 12 or 15 people had gathered and they started hollering at me to shoot the dogs," he said. With the number of people in the area and the close proximity of the residences, shooting the dogs was not an immediate solution. Instead, he began to work to herd the dogs and people apart. The injured boy was already in the ambulance.

As Gaskins worked to corner the dogs, one, a large pit bull, came at him. "I must have drawn my weapon, though I don't remember doing it," he said. "He was coming pretty fast and hard and as he started his lunge at me, that's when I shot him." The shot was fatal.

The other dog, a Rottweiler and retriever mix, backed onto the porch of its home. Gaskins said, with help from a Colorado State Patrol Trooper, he was able to keep that dog cornered until a catchpole could be located and brought to the scene. The dog was taken to the Pagosa Springs Humane Society where it was quarantined.

Capt. Bob Grandchamp said both dogs, owned by David Martinez, were licensed and vaccinated. It is unknown at this time if they escaped from the fenced yard or were allowed to run free. According to records, the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association has cited the owner twice for having dogs at large.

As of Tuesday morning, no charges had been filed concerning the attack. A final determination on filings will be made by the district attorney's office. What happens to the remaining dog is unknown at this time. Grandchamp said it looks like a judge will determine the dog's fate, but more research is needed.

Carothers remained in intensive care Tuesday morning in fair condition at Mercy Medical Center. Staff there said he would most likely be moved into the pediatrics ward later in the day.


Natural gas users to receive refund soon

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It didn't physically get here by the holiday, but advance word had Christmas gift meaning for Pagosa area natural gas users.

Kinder Morgan Inc. announced late last week that refund checks will be mailed to approximately 13,000 company customers in its southern Colorado service area, which includes Pagosa Springs.

The payments are to be made in accordance with the company's tariff, which requires it to pass the cost of purchasing gas through to customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Kinder Morgan customers as of Nov. 1, 2002, are eligible for the refund, which is based on natural gas use from July 1, 2001 through Aug. 31, 2002.

"The actual cost to purchase gas on behalf of customers during this period was substantially less than original projections, and we are pleased to be able to pass along this one-time refund and bring the account into balance," said Dan Watson, president of Kinder Morgan's Retail Natural Gas Division.

"Also contributing to the lower costs for customers," he said, "was Kinder Morgan's success in negotiating new contracts for natural gas supplies since the company's acquisition of Citizens Communications' natural gas division late last year."

The refund rate in the southern Colorado service territory, which includes Pagosa Springs, will be $0.2344 per hundred cubic feet of natural gas used in the qualifying period.

Spread evenly in the respective rate areas, the refund checks will average about $385 per residence in the Pagosa Springs region and approximately $450 per household in La Junta and surrounding communities.

Watson said the checks will be mailed during January 2003.

Kinder Morgan operates more than 35,000 miles of natural gas and products pipelines and has significant retail distribution, electric generation and terminal assets.


Snow arrives just in time for the holiday

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Bing Crosby must have been thinking of Pagosa Springs when he sang "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas."

Snow - white, white snow - is glistening all across Pagosa Country from the top of Wolf Creek Ski Area to the banks of the icy San Juan River in the middle of downtown Pagosa Springs. Those who love to ski, skate and snowmobile are finding local conditions almost perfect.

Large numbers of visitors are expected over the coming holiday. Traditionally, more skiers visit the area between Christmas and New Year's Day than any other week of the winter season.

By Saturday and Sunday, visitation at Wolf Creek Ski Area could reach more than 4,000 a day, according to Melissa Arnold, the resort's snow reporter. Wolf Creek Ski Area is enjoying close to average attendance so far this season, Arnold said. That average ranges between 2,000 and 3,000 skiers a day and will increase after Christmas.

Snow on the slopes at Wolf Creek is deep and delicious. All of the mountain is open. The snow depth is 84 inches on top, 67 inches midway. So far this season, 167 inches of snow have fallen on the San Juans in the Wolf Creek area.

"Compared to last year, that's pretty good," Arnold said.

Winter revelers should find the best of all conditions: snow on the ground, plenty of blue sky and sunshine above.

Christmas Day was expected to be partly cloudy with occasional patches of fog, according to Paul Frisbie, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction. High temperatures were expected to be in the upper 20s or low 30s.

The forecast for today is mostly sunny, tomorrow will be mostly clear and Saturday should shift to partly cloudy. A chance for additional snow returns Sunday and Monday. Nighttime lows could drop into the single-digit range starting Saturday night.

A low-pressure trough that brought as much as 34 inches of snow to the ski area last week moved out Tuesday, Frisbie said. In its place, a high-pressure ridge moved in and is dominating weather conditions through Saturday. The high will start moving out Saturday and will be replaced over the next couple of days by a low-pressure trough moving in from the West Coast. The low-pressure trough contains quite a lot of moisture, according to Frisbie.

Meanwhile, local ski rental outlets are enjoying a good holiday season and expect even more visitors after Christmas.

"Our ski season is good," said Larry Fisher of Ski and Bow Rack. "It will start to get even better after Christmas. Starting today could see the busiest week of the season."

Jeff Greer of Summit Ski and Sports echoed Fisher's report.

"So far, so good," Greer said. "All of the new snow helped. The best is between Christmas and New Year's."

Both say that, while the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is the busiest week of the year, the busiest month of the year is March when spring break is in progress.

The town-operated ice skating pond located behind the River Center near the east end of town is open. In addition, a large number of Forest Service roads winding into the mountains from Pagosa Springs are closed to vehicular traffic during the winter. The same roads are popular with snowmobilers and cross-country skiers.

The Forest Service and the San Juan Mountain Association are jointly developing a trail system generally known as the Turkey Springs Trail. A cabin rental is associated with the Turkey Springs Trail system. For details on the trail system, Forest Service roads, and winter recreation on Forest Service lands, visit or call the Pagosa Ranger District office in Pagosa Springs, 264-2268.

Rental cross-country skis and ice skates are available in Pagosa Springs.

Snow enthusiasts who visit the local backcountry should be aware of danger from avalanches. Information on avalanche conditions and safety measures is available at the Pagosa Ranger District office.

Finally, Pagosa Springs is a Mecca for those who enjoy a "ski and soak" regimen: ski during the day, soak at one of the local, naturally-heated, mineral water spas during the evening.

High temperatures last week ranged between 36 and 24 degrees with an average high temperature of 29.3 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between zero degrees and 14 degrees with an average low temperature of 6.6 degrees. The Fred Harman Art Museum provided the local readings this week.


Campaign expense report:

Lynch spends $20,200

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Mamie Lynch was the big spender this year among candidates for local elected office.

While defeating incumbent Gene Crabtree in the race for county commissioner from Commissioner District 3, Lynch reported contributions and expenses amounting to $20,200, some from her own resources.

Crabtree spent about $943, all from his own pocket.

The next biggest spender for a local office was Tom Richards, who won the sheriff's race for the fourth consecutive time. Richards was opposed by write-in candidate Chuck Allen, who reported spending no money. Richards collected $5,396 and spent $6,649 on behalf of his election, according to reports on his behalf submitted to the county election official.

The other candidates for local office spent little or no money campaigning because there was no need; they had no opposition.

An exception was a campaign to oppose the re-election of James Denvir as county judge. A "Committee to Remove James Denvir," with Curtis R. Hannay as agent, collected and spent $1,949 in the effort. The campaign to remove Denvir failed. On the same issue, the Archuleta County Chapter of the Southwest Bar Association with Mary Weiss as agent collected and spent $49.50 to Support the Retention of James Denvir.

State law governing the 2002 general election required all candidates for county office to file an affidavit with the county clerk and recorder describing the office they were seeking and containing certain other information. Candidates for office with other entities with elections run by the county clerk were also required to file affidavits with the clerk.

Entities that run their own elections must designate an election official and meet the same requirements as those met by the county clerk and recorder.

Any person or persons or group of persons supporting a particular issue on the ballot must also register with the clerk or appropriate election official. Disclosure statements may be filed by various committees supporting specific candidates or issues.

Persons running for office who spent money to be elected were required to report expenditures and contributions to the county clerk on a regular basis. Contributions or expenditures of $20 or more were to be individually itemized. Contributions or expenditures of less than $20 were lumped together in the report. There was no limit on the amount that could be contributed to a candidate for county office.

Candidates who spent no money were not required to report, according to June Madrid, the county election official.

Electronic filing is permitted by Colorado, but has not been allowed in Archuleta County, Madrid said.

Election and disclosure rules change from year to year, Madrid said. To be clear on the changes, candidates should check with her.

The laws are contained in the Colorado Revised Statutes Title 1, Article 45 and are titled Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act.


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Snow arrives just in time for the holiday

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Bing Crosby must have been thinking of Pagosa Springs when he sang "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas."

Snow - white, white snow - is glistening all across Pagosa Country from the top of Wolf Creek Ski Area to the banks of the icy San Juan River in the middle of downtown Pagosa Springs. Those who love to ski, skate and snowmobile are finding local conditions almost perfect.

Large numbers of visitors are expected over the coming holiday. Traditionally, more skiers visit the area between Christmas and New Year's Day than any other week of the winter season.

By Saturday and Sunday, visitation at Wolf Creek Ski Area could reach more than 4,000 a day, according to Melissa Arnold, the resort's snow reporter. Wolf Creek Ski Area is enjoying close to average attendance so far this season, Arnold said. That average ranges between 2,000 and 3,000 skiers a day and will increase after Christmas.

Snow on the slopes at Wolf Creek is deep and delicious. All of the mountain is open. The snow depth is 84 inches on top, 67 inches midway. So far this season, 167 inches of snow have fallen on the San Juans in the Wolf Creek area.

"Compared to last year, that's pretty good," Arnold said.

Winter revelers should find the best of all conditions: snow on the ground, plenty of blue sky and sunshine above.

Christmas Day was expected to be partly cloudy with occasional patches of fog, according to Paul Frisbie, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction. High temperatures were expected to be in the upper 20s or low 30s.

The forecast for today is mostly sunny, tomorrow will be mostly clear and Saturday should shift to partly cloudy. A chance for additional snow returns Sunday and Monday. Nighttime lows could drop into the single-digit range starting Saturday night.

A low-pressure trough that brought as much as 34 inches of snow to the ski area last week moved out Tuesday, Frisbie said. In its place, a high-pressure ridge moved in and is dominating weather conditions through Saturday. The high will start moving out Saturday and will be replaced over the next couple of days by a low-pressure trough moving in from the West Coast. The low-pressure trough contains quite a lot of moisture, according to Frisbie.

Meanwhile, local ski rental outlets are enjoying a good holiday season and expect even more visitors after Christmas.

"Our ski season is good," said Larry Fisher of Ski and Bow Rack. "It will start to get even better after Christmas. Starting today could see the busiest week of the season."

Jeff Greer of Summit Ski and Sports echoed Fisher's report.

"So far, so good," Greer said. "All of the new snow helped. The best is between Christmas and New Year's."

Both say that, while the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is the busiest week of the year, the busiest month of the year is March when spring break is in progress.

The town-operated ice skating pond located behind the River Center near the east end of town is open. In addition, a large number of Forest Service roads winding into the mountains from Pagosa Springs are closed to vehicular traffic during the winter. The same roads are popular with snowmobilers and cross-country skiers.

The Forest Service and the San Juan Mountain Association are jointly developing a trail system generally known as the Turkey Springs Trail. A cabin rental is associated with the Turkey Springs Trail system. For details on the trail system, Forest Service roads, and winter recreation on Forest Service lands, visit or call the Pagosa Ranger District office in Pagosa Springs, 264-2268.

Rental cross-country skis and ice skates are available in Pagosa Springs.

Snow enthusiasts who visit the local backcountry should be aware of danger from avalanches. Information on avalanche conditions and safety measures is available at the Pagosa Ranger District office.

Finally, Pagosa Springs is a Mecca for those who enjoy a "ski and soak" regimen: ski during the day, soak at one of the local, naturally-heated, mineral water spas during the evening.

High temperatures last week ranged between 36 and 24 degrees with an average high temperature of 29.3 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between zero degrees and 14 degrees with an average low temperature of 6.6 degrees. The Fred Harman Art Museum provided the local readings this week.


 Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Skating ponds open behind River Center

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Over 110 athletes will participate in this year's Pagosa Springs parks and recreation youth basketball league.

Because of time and schedule restraints all games will be held at the Community Center gymnasium. We are trying to get kids home at a decent hour on school nights so games will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the last game ending around 8:30 p.m. Games will also be played on Saturdays.

Team sponsors and coaches for 9- and 10-year-olds include the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center Blazers coached by Todd Miller; Honda Haul Sonics, coached by Kent Lord; Crazy Horse Outfitters Mavericks coached by Beth Walters and Chris Corcoran; Lucero Tire Lakers coached by Cliff Lucero; The Shirt Outlet Nets coached by Todd Ormande; and Buckskin Towing Rockets coached by Wally Rediske and Dawn Ross.

In 11-12 action, sponsors and coaches include M and M Drop Service Celtics coached by Kevin Portnell; Troy Ross Construction Jazz coached by Troy Ross; August and Sons Excavating Kings coached by Andy Gonzales; Ponderosa Do It Best Bucks coached by Mike Haynes and Mark Faber; Schmidt Chiropratic Suns coached by Kahle Charles; and the Citizens Bank Bulls coached by Stan Martinez.

Thank you sponsors and coaches for your time and investment to help make these leagues a success for the children.


The pond is open, but conditions are not the best. As the winter goes on and temperatures continue to drop, conditions on the ice will improve.

The hours for skating will be Mondays and Thursdays, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays daybreak-9 p.m. Thank you for your patience and we hope to see you out there skating.

We are still interested in hiring a skating instructor. Anyone interested should call Joe Lister Jr. at 264-4151, Ext. 231.


Lady Pirates erase big deficit with solid team play to defeat Manitou Springs at the Rye Girls Classic

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Your opponent's all-state volleyball player has 14 points almost before your girls have their warm-ups off. You're down 18-10 at the end of that first period, and your foe seems to be able to score at will on a foreign basketball court.

That was the scenario facing the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates in their final game in the Rye Girls Classic Saturday as they took on Manitou Springs and their top athlete, Chelsea Woloszyn.

As noted, Woloszyn had 14 of her team's 18 points in the quarter, with Ashley Heidenreich adding three and Jillian Steen one from the stripe.

In a harbinger of things to come, though no one realized it at the time, Shannon Walkup tallied six for Pagosa while her sister, Lori, and Bri Scott each added a field goal.

Pagosa cut into the Lady Mustangs' lead by three, outscoring them 8-5 in the second period as both squads went temporarily cold from the floor. Six of Pagosa's points came from Lori Walkup and Caitlyn Jewell added the other two with her first field goal.

Manitou opened quickly in the third and ran the lead back out to 10 before the Lady Pirates responded. Each Walkup had a pair of field goals in the period, offsetting a pair by Woloszyn. Senior forward Katie Bliss added a two-pointer for Pagosa and Jewell chipped in with three points.

Shira Spielman had six of her 11 points for the game in the period and Heidenreich and Amanda Szerra each added a single field goal. When the smoke had cleared, Pagosa had again cut into the lead with a 15-13 quarter trimming the margin to 36-33 for Manitou.

Spielman drilled a three to open the lead back to six for Manitou in the early seconds of the fourth period. Lori Walkup answered with a deuce for Pagosa and Shannon followed suit, cutting the lead to two.

Then came the play, which seemed to be the catalyst the Lady Pirates had been chasing.

Shannon Walkup drove the right side. A Manitou player slipped to the floor in her path and leg whipped her. A second Manitou defender, unable to stop her approach in time, crashed into Walkup driving her into the bench.

The referee signaled a charging foul on Walkup and the Pagosa crowd went wild.

Coach Bob Lynch drew his first technical as varsity coach when he went onto the floor to protest the call. Woloszyn went to the line and hit only one of three as Lynch talked quietly to his team at the sideline, again trailing by three.

When action resumed, the Pirates were a different team. Relentless attack, power drives, board sweeping, tenacious defense suddenly became the modus operandi for the Lady Pirates.

Shannon Walkup came back with the in-your-face move of the game. She drove the middle, took one step to her right, reversed to the left hand to leave a dazed Woloszyn standing in disbelief as she spun 180 back to the right and sank a smooth 8-foot jumper.

Lori Walkup stole the ball on the next Manitou possession and drove the length of the court for a flying left-handed layup and Pagosa had its first lead in the game at 44-43.

The rest was anticlimactic. Shannon Walkup was sent to the line four times and hit three. Jewell added a pair of charity tosses and Lori Walkup drilled three more deuces. Manitou's final gasp was an offensive rebound putback by Devyn Cotrell with 42 seconds left.

Pagosa then ran out the clock and Manitou had no ammunition left.

The unbelievable had happened for the young Lady Pirate squad. Down once by 16, they had fought back with their finest team performance of the season to take a 53-47 victory over a team that may have become overconfident after building the huge early leads.

But take nothing away from the Pagosa performance.

They ran their offense to perfection, patiently adjusting to the early barrage by Woloszyn, slowly working their way back into contention, and frustrated the taller girls from the Tri-Peaks League with a swarming defense which stopped all the open shots that had been falling early in the contest.

It gave the Pagosa Ladies an example for themselves to build on. They proved they can come back against a good team, that they have more than one rocket in the launcher, and on a given night any one of them may get the chance to light the fire.

Coach Lynch kept preaching patience on offense as the game wore on, apparently seeing something in the Manitou manner that gave a hint of what could be done.

When he combined that by letting the defense go to swarm mode, the Lady Mustangs ran out of Woloszyn miracles.

And a drained Lynch commented, "Just call 'em the comeback kids. They refused to quit. They saw what they could do and then did it. It was a great team, and I stress team, victory for Pagosa."


Scoring - Pagosa: L. Walkup, 10-13, 2-4, 22; S. Walkup, 7-9, 3-3, 17; Jewell, 2-9, 3-5, 7; Scott, 1-7, 1-2, 3; Maberry, 0-1, 0-2, 0; Honan, 1-3, 2; Bliss, 1-2, 2; Forrest, 0-3, 0-2, 0. Rebound leaders: S. Walkup 13, Jewell 7, Bliss 4, Scott 3. Steals: S. Walkup 5, Scott 2, L. Walkup, Jewell and Maberry 1. Blocks: Bliss 1.


Free throw problems plague Ladies

in loss to La Junta at holiday classic

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Free throw shooting again was a problem for Pagosa's Lady Pirates against La Junta's Lady Tigers in the Rye Girls Classic Saturday afternoon, but unlike the opening day effort against Rye, Pagosa could not overcome the deficit at the line.

They hit only 5 of 14 from the charity stripe while sending La Junta shooters to the line 31 times where they converted 19. That 12-point difference in freebies is close to the final score differential, a 62-47 loss for Pagosa, ending a four-game winning skein.

Lori Walkup scored three quick first-quarter field goals for Pagosa but, saddled with early foul trouble, did not score again until late in the fourth period when the game was out of hand. Shannon Walkup also had a first-period field goal, but added only one more, in the third quarter, before fouling out.

That put the Pagosa scoring load on 6-foot-2-inch center Caitlyn Jewell who was scoreless in the first period but came on strong down the stretch to lead Pagosa with 18.

Bri Scott had one field goal in each of the first three periods and added one of the rare free throw conversions for seven points in the game.

By the half, Pagosa was down 31-20 and Jen Stokes, the Lady Tigers' all-state candidate, already had 15 markers, coming on three long treys, 4-for-4 shooting at the line and on regular field goal. She would end the game with only one more field goal, but added seven more from the line in a 24-point performance.

With Jewell hitting for five points, Pagosa outscored La Junta 12-10 in the third period to cut the lead to 41-32 and spark a flicker of hope in their fans' eyes.

Jewell tried her best to fan the flicker into a flame with 8 fourth-period points, but Kerry Lewis answered with 9 of her own for La Junta. She ended the game with 18.

Jewell's only scoring support in the period came from Lori Walkup, Katie Bliss and freshman Caitlin Forrest, each with a single field goal.

For the game, the Lady Tigers hit 25 of 50 for 50 percent and Pagosa a respectable 22 of 48 for 45.8 percent. Pagosa outrebounded La Junta 21-15, had an 8-4 margin in steals, and an 11-8 edge in assists. Those statistics point even harder at the failures from the free throw line as the difference in the game.


Scoring - Pagosa: Jewell, 8-12, 2-4, 18; L. Walkup, 4-7, 8; Scott, 3-12, 1-3, 7; S. Walkup, 2-4, 0-2, 4; Maberry, 1-4, 1-2, 3; Honan, 1-6, 1-2, 3; Bliss, 1-2, 2; Diller, 0-1; Forrest, 1-2, 2. Rebound leaders: Jewell 5, Scott 5, L. Walkup 4, Maberry 3. Steals leaders: Scott 3, Honan 2. Assists leaders: S. Walkup and Honan 3 each. Blocks: Jewell, 1.


Pagosa takes the early lead beats host Thunderbolts 43-32

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

When you hit only five of 13 free throw attempts in a game, you can expect to be in trouble.

That was the toll for the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates Friday in the opening round of the Rye Girls Classic Tournament.

The host Lady Thunderbolts, however, were unable to capitalize on the Pagosans' inability from the line, though they stayed close for two quarters on their home court before falling 43-32 to the visitors.

In the end it was a balanced effort by Pagosa, particularly on the defensive boards, that made the difference in the game. The Lady Pirates had a 21-11 rebounding edge, 14 coming at the defensive end and keeping Rye from second shot efforts.

While the Pirates shot just under 40 percent for the game, hitting 19 of 48 efforts from the floor, Rye hit only 14 of 42, an exact third of their attempts.

Pagosa started fast, running out to a 10-2 lead in the first period, but Rye battled back led by four points each by Della Guardia and M. Moroshin to trail only 12-10 after the period.

They were offset by four points each by Pagosa's Caitlyn Jewell and Lori Walkup and two each by Katie Bliss and Shannon Walkup. Jewell, however, did not score again in the game although she was a factor with seven rebounds, five at the defensive end.

The relatively poor shooting by both teams was probably more attributable to stout defense by both squads than to poor effort. Lori Walkup, for example, short-circuited the Thunderbolt attack with nine steals, more than the total for the entire Rye team.

Pagosa outscored their hosts 9-5 in a slow second quarter that featured field goals by Bri Scott, Lori Walkup and freshman reserve guard Liza Kelly and single free throws by each of the Walkups and Melissa Maberry. Rye's points in the period came from Della Guardia, a trey, and Sarah Taylor who was Rye's top scorer in the game with 12.

The 21-15 Pagosa lead at halftime was amplified by a 15-4 surge in the third period. Included were four points each by Scott, Maberry and Shannon Walkup and single field goals from Mollie Honan and Lori Walkup. The Rye scores were, again, one basket each by Della Guardia and Taylor.

With reserves in a mop-up role for Pagosa for most of the fourth period, Rye fashioned a 13-7 margin in the frame, nowhere near enough to wipe out the big Pagosa lead.

The Walkups each had a field goal in the period and Bliss finished out the Pagosa scoring with her second field goal. Taylor had six in the period for Rye, got a three-pointer in support from Krysti Jackson, and four points by reserve Leah Melby, coming off the bench.

The victory ran Pagosa's record to 5-1 for the pre-league season, with two games remaining in the tournament.


Scoring - Pagosa: Scott 3-9, 6; Maberry, 2-5, 1-4, 5; S. Walkup, 4-7, 1-3, 9; Honan, 1-4, 2; L. Walkup, 4-9, 3-4, 11; Bliss, 2-4, 4; Jewell, 2-5, 0-2, 4; Kelly, 1-2, 2; Forrest, 1-2, 2. Rebound leaders: L. Walkup and Jewell 7, Maberry 3. Steals: L. Walkup 9. Assists leaders: S. Walkup 6, L. Walkup 4. Blocks: Jewell 2, Bliss 2, S. Walkup and Kelly 1.


Two Lady Pirates earn Rye Classic tourney honors

A pair of Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates earned the votes of opposing coaches in the Rye Girls Classic last weekend and were named to the all-tournament team.

The good news for their team is that each is a part of the Pagosa super-sophs cadre and will have two more years of competition.

Named to the elite squad were Lori Walkup who had 41 points, 22 rebounds and 10 steals in the three games played at Rye and Caitlyn Jewell, who recorded 29 points, had 19 rebounds and blocked three shots.


Pirates sweep three games at Pueblo

extend first-of-season record to 7-1

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Pagosa junior Ryan Gooden-berger was named most valuable player for 1A-3A high schools competing in the Pueblo Holiday Tournament this past weekend. Goodenberger was also named to the all-tournament team for 1A-3A schools.

The Pirates captured their three games during the Pueblo tournament to finish 2002 pre-league play with a 7-1 record. Pagosa has won six games in a row since losing to Buena Vista in the championship match of the Buena Vista Tournament.

At Pueblo, the Pirates routed Rye 66-33 Friday night, beat St. Mary's 42-31 Saturday morning and followed with a 65-39 romp over 5A Wasson's JV squad.

Goodenberger scored 16 points in the opener against Rye, along with about a half dozen steals and a number of assists. Everyone seemed a little sleepy against St. Mary's the next morning, but Pagosa hung on for the low scoring win. The Saturday afternoon encounter with Wasson's JVs was a total mismatch. Shaffer played Pagosa JVs through most of the game.

Pagosa's next game is Jan. 11 when the Pirates journey to Durango for a nonconference game with the 5A Demons. The Durango game is at 11:30 a.m. on a Saturday. The following Monday, Jan. 13, Pagosa hosts Aztec, N.M. Game time is 7 p.m. Four days later, on Friday, Jan. 17, Pagosa hosts Bloomfield, N.M., at 7 p.m.

Following the Bloomfield game, Pagosa launches the 2003 Intermountain League season hosting the Centauri Falcons at 7:30 p.m.

Pagosa brings a winning tradition to the table as 2003 League play starts. The Pirates tied with Monte Vista for the IML championship last year, but lost the crown on the toss of a coin. Pagosa won the IML championship outright during the 2000 and 2001 seasons. During both seasons, the Pirates advanced to the final eight of Colorado 3A basketball.

Pagosa plays in the Intermountain League with Ignacio, Bayfield, Centauri and Monte Vista. Unbeaten Ignacio has the best record of any IML team this season. Close behind are Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, and Centauri. Monte Vista seems to be having a rare off-season, but they can never be counted out of contention.

Ignacio finished strong by capturing the IML post-season tournament last year. Almost everyone from that hot-shooting Bobcat squad is back this year, hungry for a win against Pagosa and hungry for a league championship. The IML title has belonged to either Pagosa Springs or Monte Vista for almost as long as anyone can remember.

Pagosa expects to be in the thick of the chase. The Pirates are young, but they have four returning starters, plenty of height, and the depth to run with anyone.

Brandon Charles is one of only two seniors playing for Shaffer. An all-IML selection last year, Charles is directing the Pirate attack for the second year in a row. He has shown great patience in that role this year. He was an all-tournament choice at the Wolf Creek Classic tournament. Charles can score in bunches, but his primary task is guiding the Pagosa offense and getting the ball inside to one of the three big men.

One of those big men is 6-foot-6-inch Jason Schutz, the other Pagosa senior. Schutz was also an all-IML selection from last year and can run the floor, post up, and block shots.

Joining Schutz on the Pirate front line are 6-7 sophomore Caleb Forrest and 6-6 Clayton Spencer. Both were starters last year and both can run, shoot and rebound. Both were also All-tournament choices for the Wolf Creek Classic.

Rounding out the starting five for the Pirates is the 6-1 Goodenberger, who played a lot of minutes last year.

Not far behind the first five are a covey of prospects from last year's championship junior varsity squad. In fact, David Kern, a 5-9 junior, has started several games this year for the Pirates. Kern plays either at guard or on the wing, and often draws the defensive assignment against the other team's best player.

Also expected to pick up a lot of playing time are 5-10 junior Ty Faber, 6-1 junior Brandon Samples, 5-9 junior Jeremy Caler, 6-1 sophomore Otis Rand, 6-0 junior Coy Ross and 5-7 junior Casey Belarde.

Defense has been a major attribute of Pirate play so far this season. During the current Pirate six-game winning streak, the defense has allowed an average of only 35.7 points a game. In addition to the reach of the big boys clogging the lane, Charles, Goodenberger and others are very quick to harass opposing ball handlers.


Goodenberger MVP at Pueblo Tournament

Pirate Ryan Goodenberger was named most valuable player for 1A-3A schools at the Pueblo Holiday Tournament this past weekend. The Pirates defeated Rye, St. Mary's and Wasson JV during the tournament.


Grapplers end tough first half of season

return to the mats at Jan. 11 tournament

By Karl Isberg

Staff writer

Pirate wrestlers attended what many believe is the toughest wrestling tournament of the year Friday and Saturday - the Warrior Classic at Grand Junction - and fought against some of the best teams and wrestlers in a four-state area.

"We got home early Sunday," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "Earlier than I like."

The reason: no Pirates made it to the medal round of competition. A few were close, but no one battled through to the winners' platform. The team finished third from the bottom in the overall standings.

"It was the same story," said the coach. "We wrestled well; we wrestled competitively. We narrowly missed a couple medals."

Pagosa's top performers were senior Mike Maestas, at 125 pounds, and junior Kory Hart at 145.

Maestas has been solid throughout the early season, seemingly intent on finishing his high school wrestling career with a flourish. He won his first match over a wrestler from Palisade, 9-3, before dropping to the consolation round with a loss to a Delta athlete, 7-5. "He just ran out of gas in that match," said Janowsky.

The junior came back in the consolation round, pinning a man from Cortez in the first period and taking a close 12-10 decision over Rifle. In his last match of the tourney, Maestas lost an 8-5 heart breaker in double overtime to the eventual fifth-place finisher from Grand Junction.

"Mike is wrestling better all the time," said his coach. "From the first week of competition to the third week, he made some changes that have really helped him."

Hart dropped to 145 for the Warrior, closer to his peak wrestling weight. He started the tournament by pinning a wrestler from Paonia in the first period. He moved on to take a 6-3 decision from the fighter from Rocky Mountain.

Hart then suffered the first of two very close losses by decision when he fell to the eventual tournament champ from Alamosa, 6-5. "Kory suffered a pretty bad loss to an Alamosa wrestler last year at our Rocky Mountain Tournament," said the coach. "This year, the Alamosa coaches commented on how much he has improved."

The Pirate dropped to the consolation round and picked up a win over Montrose with a first-period pin. In his last match of the day Saturday, Hart lost 7-6 to an athlete from Grand Junction.

"Kory fell behind a little in that last match," said Janowsky, "then made a nice comeback and just ran short of time. He's made some real strides this year."

In other action for the Pirates, sophomore Darren Hockett dropped his weight to 106 but it was not enough to drop a weight class at the tournament. He went at 112 and lost in the first round to Roosevelt. Hockett came back with a 6-1 decision over a good wrestler from Delta than lost to a Moffat County competitor, 9-5. "This was a tough weight," Janowsky said.

Justin Bloomquist went at 130 for Pagosa, going 1-2. Bloomquist beat an Alamosa wrestler 6-5, then dropped matches to Montrose and Chaparral.

Cliff Hockett was 2-2 at 135. The senior lost his first match to a wrestler from Moffat County then took a 6-3 win over an entrant from West Jordan, Utah. Following a win by default, Hockett lost 6-5 to the eventual third-place finisher, Joe Kelso of Monte Vista.

Pagosa's Aaron Hamilton entered the ring at 140. The junior was 1-2, with a 7-5 win over the man from Pueblo Centennial and losses to Olathe and Grand Junction.

At 152, veteran Zeb Gill pinned his opponent from Battle Mountain in the first period, then dropped matches to Grandview and Rifle.

Matt Lattin had his first varsity start of the season at 171. Lattin lost to wrestlers from Rocky Mountain and Alamosa.

Marcus Rivas had two matches at the Warrior, losing battles with athletes from Hotchkiss and Mullen.

Craig Lucero fought at 215, losing to Meeker and Grand Junction.

"At least we know where we are," said Janowsky. "There are a lot of other tournaments we could have gone to and ended up feeling better about ourselves. But the feeling would have been an illusion. We were third from the bottom at the Warrior, with no medals, and that's an illusion too. We're better than that. In my mind, we were close to medaling in four weights. But, the reality is, close doesn't count. If we had some people back with the team, we could have been close in five weights and it would have been a very different story."

The key to a better second half of the season and to a successful postseason is fairly simple: "We need to get some people healed and back."

Junior Michael Martinez, a preseason bet to place high in the state 3A ranks at 112 is still out with an injury. Senior Jordan Kurt-Mason retired early from the Buena Vista tourney Dec. 14 and was scheduled for testing of suspected asthma this week. With the two veterans back in action, the Pirates would be guaranteed to improve as a team.

Until then, the troops on hand will need to rest over the holiday break, get back to the practice room at the earliest possible date and keep plugging away, maintaining their spirits, working hard for the wins.

"Confidencewise," said Janowsky, "we're fine; healthwise, we're not. If these guys continue to believe in themselves and trust in what they're doing, we'll be ready to make a strong run by the end of the season.

The Pirates are off until they host the annual Rocky Mountain Tournament Jan. 11. This year's field at the Rocky is as tough as ever and should provide the Pirates with a springboard to success in the remainder of the schedule.



 Inside The Sun


County officials will be sworn in; commissioners will reorganize Jan. 14

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

The next regular meeting of the Archuleta County commissioners is Jan. 7, 2003, just one week before county officials elected last November will be sworn in to start four-year terms of office.

One official, Travis Garrett, the county treasurer, will be sworn in Jan. 2 at 8:15 a.m. in the courtroom at the courthouse. Garrett will take the oath of office as administered by Archuleta County Judge James Denvir. County treasurers are sworn into office early so they will be on hand to sign warrants and take care of other financial matters.

Jan. 14, prior to the regular 9 a.m. commissioner meeting, District Court Judge Greg Lyman will swear in the remainder of newly-elected county officials.

The only newly-elected official is in District 3 where Mamie Lynch succeeded in unseating Gene Crabtree as county commissioner. As a Democrat, Lynch is the only member of that party holding office in Archuleta County.

Following the swearing in of Lynch, the three-member board of county commissioners will reorganize, with a chairman and vice chairman of the board elected. Lynch will join Bill Downey and Alden Ecker on the board. Both Downey and Ecker are at the midpoint of their first elected terms in office. Downey served as chairman of the board this past year. Ecker served as vice chairman of the board this past year.

Downey has served as commissioner longer than Ecker because he was appointed to complete the unexpired term of former commissioner Bill Tallon, who resigned when he moved to Arizona. After completing Tallon's term, Downey was elected to a four-year term of his own.

Commissioners in Archuleta County can serve only two consecutive terms because of term limits. Term limits have been removed from other elected offices.

Also being sworn in Jan. 14 are Denvir, Sheriff Tom Richards, Assessor Keren Prior, Clerk June Madrid, Surveyor Dave Maley and Coroner Karn Macht.

In addition to the oaths of office and other swearing-in ceremonies, a number of additional, beginning-of-the year actions will be taken. Most of these involve authorizations in connection with the handling of money and appointments to serve on various boards.

County commissioner regular meetings are conducted each Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room located in the county courthouse. State law mandates that agendas for regular meetings be posted at least 24-hours prior to the meetings. The agenda for the regular commissioner meeting is normally available to the public by 1 p.m. the Friday before the meeting.

Boards appointed by the county commissioners are required to comply with the same open meeting rules. County appointments staff a number of boards.


County drug and alcohol testing policy renewed

John M. Motter

Staff writer

An Archuleta County policy requiring public transportation employees to take drug/alcohol tests was renewed at the regular meeting of county commissioners held Dec. 17.

The policy, generally written by the Federal Transit Authority, applies to employee positions identified as "safety-sensitive" positions. In this specific incidence, the policy concerns employees of the county-operated transit system.

Safety-sensitive positions require passing a drug test as a condition of employment. If the test is cancelled the applicant must retake and pass a drug test before performing safety-sensitive duties.

All applicants or individuals being transferred or hired into safety-sensitive positions must be given a pre-employment drug test. Employees may be hired but may not perform safety-sensitive functions until the county receives a negative drug test.

The county must investigate the past two years of employment history regarding positive drug and alcohol testing for each new employee.

A new pre-employment test must be performed if an employee has not performed a safety sensitive function in 90 days.

Any safety-sensitive employee who exhibits reasonable suspicion of using a prohibited drug or who has misused alcohol must be tested.

The decision to require reasonable suspicion testing must be based on specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech or body odor of the safety sensitive employee. Observations leading to the decision to require a reasonable suspicion test should be documented and maintained by a supervisor.

Only a trained supervisor may make reasonable suspicion testing referrals. Reasonable suspicion testing is required when one trained supervisor can articulate and substantiate physical, behavioral, and performance indicators of probable drug use or alcohol misuse by observing the appearance, behavior, speech or body odor of the covered employee. Supervisors who make reasonable suspicion determinations shall receive at least an hour of training on the physical, behavioral, speech and performance indicators of probable alcohol misuse.

Any employee suspected of drug or alcohol consumption will not be allowed to perform safety sensitive duties. The supervisor or a designated county employee will escort the employee to a testing site immediately.

The supervisor making the decision to conduct a reasonable suspicion test may not be the breath alcohol tester or screening test technician for that test.

All covered employees will receive at least an hour of training on the effects and consequences of prohibited drug use and personal health, safety, and the work environment, and the signs and symptoms that may indicate prohibited drug use.

Post accident drug and alcohol testing is mandatory in the following situations:

- Whenever there is loss of human life all safety-sensitive employees involved in the accident must be tested. Any covered employee whose performance could have contributed to the accident must be tested.

- Whenever any individual involved in the accident must be transported away from the scene for immediate medical treatment as a result of the accident. All safety-sensitive employees must be tested unless their behavior can be completely discounted as a contributing factor to the accident. Additionally, any safety-sensitive employee not directly involved in the accident, but whose performance could have contributed to the accident as determined by the employer shall be tested.

- Whenever one or more vehicles incur disabling damage as a result of the accident, which requires transportation from the scene by a tow truck or other vehicle, or in the case where the mass transit vehicle is a rail vehicle or vessel and is removed from service.

- If an employee can immediately be discounted, based on the best information available at the time of the decision, as a contributing factor in a nonfatal accident, they do not have to be tested, but the reason for discounting the employee must be documented.

Federal Transit Authority regulations require random drug and alcohol testing of all safety-sensitive employees. There is no discretion on the part of the county in the selection and notification of individuals for testing. The random testing program must annually complete tests equivalent to 50 percent of the number of covered employees for drug testing, and 10 percent of the number of covered employees for alcohol testing, subject to annual review and revision.

Random tests are unannounced and immediate. An employee notified of a test must go to the test site immediately.

Random selection is accomplished using a scientifically valid random-number selection method.

Testing occurs at least quarterly. Testing starts in January and is spread throughout the year. It may be conducted on any day during which transit activities are underway.

Refusal to take a drug test will result in the same conclusion as a positive test.


Mountain lion report sends gradeschoolers into building

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A report of a mountain lion sighted near the Pagosa Springs Elementary School sent children inside a little early on Dec. 12.

Mike Reid, of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said an individual reported seeing the lion at about 10th and Piedra streets near the southeast corner of the elementary school soccer fields. The call came in between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m.

Reid, with the assistance of the Pagosa Springs Police Department, searched the area. No mountain lion was found, and no more sightings had been reported as of 8 a.m. Dec. 18.

Elementary school principal Kahle Charles said once the Division of Wildlife call was confirmed, the teachers' aides outside with the children brought everyone inside. Children arriving on buses were also pulled indoors. The "all clear" call came in prior to morning recesses and children were allowed outside at that point, Charles said.

Reid said a small herd of deer were in the area at the time and could have been what the lion was following. Although mountain lions are around, people who actually spot them are quite lucky, he added. Generally, the large cats shy away from populated areas.


Early 2002 events hinted at problems ahead

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The new year dawned for SUN readers on Jan. 3 with a report that forewarned things to come later in the year when drought would take over.

That item had Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District announcing it was searching for funding for $18.1 million in capital improvements it saw as needed to provide services for the next 20 years.

The same issue reported the county studying creation of a new unit to handle the "stray dog" problem, an issue still on the minds of residents today, almost a full year later.

And, the sheriff's office announced the beginning of a program that would let the public grade the department's performance.

As the month proceeded, the water and sanitation district stayed on the front page Jan. 10, this time delaying plans to implement a controversial capital improvements fee.

The delay came after a group of builders, developers and Realtors protested the size of the proposed levy and charged it appeared to extend growth costs against the building industry.

The same issue announced the possibility of traffic signals being installed at U.S. 160 and Pinon Causeway, a prediction now a reality and drawing letters of protest from area drivers who say they did not know of the plans and were given no chance to oppose the installation.

The following edition kept water and sanitation on the front page with the district announcing plans to submit a $10 million bond issue to voters.

The same issue had the hospital district borrowing money to meet January payroll and the tale of four lucky North Carolinians who walked away from the scene after their twin engine plane crashed in Alpha Subdivision shortly after takeoff from Stevens Field.

By Jan. 24, the water and sanitation district issue was inside the newspaper and county commissioners grabbed the main headline with discussion of a $12-13 million new county administration building. Commissioner Gene Crabtree listed the project as "a top priority."

The final edition of the year's first month showed photos of overturned vehicles, highlighting dangerous conditions brought on by a winter storm; announced plans for a 304-home commercial-residential development to be known as Mountain Crossing, at U.S. 160 and U.S. 84; and revealed a firm drilling new gas wells near Arboles was doing so without county permits.


PAWS was back on the front page, setting a public hearing for proposed fee restructuring in the Feb. 7 issue which also pictured 69-year-old Joe Donavan running with glee in the Olympic Torch Relay to Salt Lake City and opened a three-part series on students bracing for new mandated testing by both the state and federal governments.

The Valentine's Day issue revealed the school board had given the go-ahead to the first phase of rehabilitation of the Golden Peaks sports stadium to include a full track facility and a concession and restroom structure.

The same issue had the Town of Pagosa Springs announcing plans to put sanitation district issues on the ballot for the second time. Since 1996 it had been managing Pagosa Springs Sanitation District. Voters in November 2000 had agreed with a plan to dissolve the nonexistent district but refused to transfer its debt to the town, which already was accountable for it. The vote was planned to correct the inequity.

By Feb. 21 the well-drilling story was getting a new image. A proliferation of oil and gas wells, perhaps as many as 300, was forecast for the HD Mountains in the northern portion of the county, even as the controversy continued over drilling of unlicensed wells in the Arboles area.

The same edition reported a citizen tip led to breaking up a construction site theft ring.

The well drilling controversy stayed front page news the following week when The SUN reported a meeting of county planning officials with representatives of two drilling companies in an effort to work out differences. An upshot of that session was announcement of a county proposal to develop "more friendly" county gas and oil regulations.

The same issue reported the new manager of San Juan Regional Hospital District was initiating an employee manual review, noting there were several different versions extant and no one knew which, if any of them was the correct one.


The month opened with reports that the town had approved an agreement with the state for the reconstruction of U.S. 160 through the community with attendant traffic signal and pedestrian walkway additions and improvements.

The March 14 issue reprised plans for a new county building as county commissioners voted 2-1 to advertise for bids for architectural plans for the proposed new structure. Board chairman Bill Downey's was the opposing vote.

The same issue set the scene for what was to come, when the National Resources Conservation Service reported area snowpack was 30 percent of normal and there was little hope for late season moisture to correct the problem.

A fire operations plan in reaction to continuing drought led reports March 31 as area agencies responsible for meeting the threat coordinated efforts and established standard mutual operating procedures designed to insure the safety of the public.

At the same time, the hospital district reported earnings were now matching debt and revenues matching expenses but there was a problem of cash flow with bills waiting to be paid totaling in excess of $77,000.

An accident on Wolf Creek Pass, which dumped a load of tractors into the roadway, was pictured in a March 28 edition in which the top story was the possibility of an out-of-court settlement of an ongoing sales tax dispute between the town and county.


With spring lurking in the ensuing days April opened with Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon coasting to victory and a seventh term in office and fires in the Allison area and at Hidden Valley Ranch on Four Mile Road signaling the infernos that were to be predicted and to arrive during a dry summer ahead.

At the same time, PAWS sneaked back onto the front page by approving a fee structure linked to growth as part of a 20-year plan; and a Pagosa businessman and investment broker was accused of stealing $161,000 from the Durango office of the company he represented, the funds being those on deposit for the scholarship trust fund maintained for Pagosa Springs Rotary Club.

By April 11, oil and gas rules were back in the news, having been tabled by the county after irate citizens, at a public hearing, demanded an enforcer.

A countywide fire ban was continued and two Chromo area blazes doused before they got out of control. At the same time, volunteer water rationing was urged as supplies dwindled and the water and sanitation district began thinking about use restrictions.

Cuts looming as hospital district board's red ink deepens, The SUN reported April 18. That was based on an auditor's report to the district that it needed to pare $200,000 from its budget, just to break even.

Still on the front page was oil and gas drilling as proposed new regulations were tabled because commissioners "didn't have time to read them" before the scheduled vote.

The same issue reported the beginning of all-night closures in the tunnel construction zone on Wolf Creek Pass and the state recognition of Pagosa Springs High School junior Brandon Rosgen who won 11 top awards in the state science fair.

The water level decline got continually worse during the month and water providers warned, again, that use restrictions probably lay ahead. Linked to the drought was a report from Warren Grams, chief of Pagosa Fire Protection District, that "We're prime for a big fire this year," as high risk areas got drier and drier.


May dawned with the county approving a dog control code, with no licensing, and the fire protection district drawing support for a planned $2.8 million bond issue it would submit to voters.

The May 9 issue carried good news for both the fire district and the water and sanitation district as voters had approved bond issues for each district by substantial margins and Kay Grams was elected to the hospital district board with 560 votes.

The threat was finally realized when the May 16 issue announced water rationing would begin June 1 as supplies continually dropped.

The same issue detailed an accident in which an armored truck overturned on U.S. 160 near Aspen Springs "dumping plastic bags of bills and coins everywhere."

The drought was upgraded from severe to extreme according to The SUN of May 23 by a collection of federal agencies responsible for maintaining a U.S. Drought Monitor. In conjunction with that action, the U.S. Forest Service banned open fires on all public lands.

The same topics dominated the following week's issue, with new fires gobbling up campground areas and mandatory water rationing to begin two days later.


The first edition of June, issued on the 6th, carried sad news.

Two old-line county families were shocked when patriarchs died as a result of separate ATV accidents. H. Ray Macht and Lloyd Clark Jr. were the victims.

In the same issue we reported a total fireworks ban enacted for the county, a drought status hiked to "exceptional" and human sources likely causes in a rash of fires in the county, many apparently traced to discarded cigarettes.

And, Olympic gold was represented as David O'Connor, winner of the 2000 Olympics title in Eventing Horsemanship, brought his skills to Parelli International Study Center where he worked with Parelli students.

Drought, drought and more drought forced area residents to be placed on evacuation alert in the lead story for June 13 as fire danger in the area was unabated and water district directors wondered if their restriction measures would be enough.

The same issue showed the bell being installed in the tower at 5th and San Juan streets where the old Town Hall had been razed, and told of a Pagosa man and his bank being bilked of $26,000 by a Nigeria-originated scheme.

The U.S. 160 reconstruction project began in time for the issue of June 20, and wildfires raged at Missionary Ridge along Vallecito Lake and at South Fork as county residents braced, again, for possible evacuation if flames were to spread. Total closure to public use was ordered for most National Forest lands between Pagosa Springs and Bayfield; July 4 fireworks displays were canceled; and apprehension about danger led to an overload of 911 emergency lines.

The first half of the year was ended with the June 27 issue which reported water level rationing increased with outdoor irrigation limited to four hours, once a week, on a designated day determined by street address.

Firefighters continued to douse minor blazes in the area as the major burns continued to hold just outside the county line, but one arrest for arson was made in Archuleta County. A photo showed the San Juan River resembling a nearly dry rocky creek.




Dear Editor:

Last evening our family went to see the movie "Bowling for Columbine" at the Abby Theater in Durango. It is well worth a trip to the theater or renting the movie. For sure it is not a Christmas movie but is very thought provocative as we enter the season of "Peace on Earth, Good Will to All." "Bowling for Columbine" deals with violence in the United States, and contrasts it with violence in other developed countries.

In this Holy Day season it would be good to look into our personal as well as our national lives. Do we treat people fairly and kindly? What are our fears? Is it our neighbors, a stranger, someone of another race or religion? Do we try to bring harmony or do we try to exercise power over others? How do we bring God's love into this world?

Do our national policies reflect our personal values? Is Star Wars more important than universal health care? Canada and other developed countries have an extremely low gun violence rate and valuable, accessible national health insurance. The United States has the highest murder rate in the developed world and a huge and growing defense budget: $10 billion for Star Wars per year was just announced last week. Not to mention a possible war with Iraq, and massive military support of everyone from Israel to South Korea. What about affordable, accessible heath care?

What are our values? Maybe it would be cheaper and far more productive to share our wealth than defend our wealth.

This is something to think about. God bless our troubled world this Holy Day season.

Raymond P. Finney

Always for kids

Dear Editor:

Ron and I were so glad to learn that Hank Rivas won first prize in the holiday lighting contest. He gets an idea and then starts creating, always for the kids.

The work is done by his hands. This year he has a castle, a train and Santa taking off by rocket fire. Such fun - so go by after dark and be sure to take kids and a camera.

The entire area south of the library and around the high school is just beautiful. Thanks to all of you for your gifts to us.

Cindy Gustafson


Dear Editor:

I proudly served my country in AmeriCorps, a national service movement that engages Americans of all backgrounds in intense community service - AmeriCorps the "domestic Peace Corps."

I am writing this letter to call attention to the incredible work that is being done by AmeriCorps volunteers throughout Southwest Colorado. Each year, roughly 50,000 people join AmeriCorps to help strengthen communities and improve people's lives. I am writing to share my AmeriCorps experience with the hope that more members of our community will seek out opportunities to volunteer.

My AmeriCorps program helped to connect nonprofit agencies to volunteers in Southwest Colorado through an on-line database system called volunteer central, I also helped Colorado Housing Inc. and other low-income housing programs to build an education program to educate the community on the importance of affordable housing. As an AmeriCorps member I made connections pertinent to the creation of a healthier community.

During my service as a VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) I was able to participate in the La Plata County Community Summit. Operation Healthy Communities held this summit to talk about major community issues that need solutions. I put together community resource tables, including services currently working on solutions, that encircled the room where 300 community members gathered to try to hammer out issues like affordable housing, livable wages, affordable healthcare, youth, education and open space.

Being a VISTA in AmeriCorps has influenced my life by helping me to decide to serve my community for a lifetime. I know the value of volunteerism and how it actually brings out community in everyone.

In his radio address this holiday season, the president called for Americans to volunteer in their communities. He also called for an expansion of national service programs like AmeriCorps. I hope we will all encourage Congress to increase service opportunities and expand successful programs like AmeriCorps. If you are looking for a way to serve, one place you can start is at

Julie Jessen

VISTA, 2000-2001

Budget fix

Dear Editor:

While most programs throughout the state are experiencing the sting of having to reduce their budgets by up to 6 percent, Gov. Owens is proposing to take a whopping 50 percent of tobacco settlement funds away from tobacco prevention programs to temporarily "cure" our ailing budget.

These science-based programs, following Center for Disease Control best practice principals, were created to counteract the devastating effects of tobacco addiction-the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Colorado that costs the state over one billion dollars in related health care costs. Most people are surprised to hear that only a fraction of tobacco settlement dollars, won by the states in 1998 to help defray the health-related costs of tobacco, are actually used for education and prevention efforts. In fact, of the $375 million Colorado has received, 37 percent has already been used to fill budget shortfalls.

Local programs are working. Youth are hard pressed to find a retailer who will sell to them and consequently the number of young smokers has decreased. More adults are successfully giving up cigarettes, thanks in part to the Colorado Quitline, (800) 639-7848, and Quitnet, Secondhand smoke has been significantly reduced in our environment, improving the health of our most vulnerable citizens, the very young and the elderly.

Let's keep these programs in place using tobacco settlement dollars as originally intended. Using these funds as a short-term budget fix is counterproductive and poor fiscal policy.


Lauren Patterson


'Tis the season

Dear Editor:

'Tis the season, and for whatever the reason we suggest you take one evening of your busy schedules, after dark, ride around our beautiful Pagosa Springs, and enjoy what all our folks, both residents and businesses, have done to make our community look absolutely beautiful. The work and time spent on the decorations displayed this year truly tell the story of what is in our hearts.

We have noticed the efforts of our community have improved, more residents are getting involved in making this season a joyous one. Of course we still remember the reason for the joy in our hearts and minds. It was the birth of our savior, thanks to God for his son. He was born for our salvation.

We, together with all of you, give thanks for our sons, daughters, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents and the many, many friends and neighbors. God bless us all and peace be on earth.

Merry Christmas and have a joyous New Year.

Dawnie and Joe Silva

Community News

Senior News

Walk your way to health at senior center

By Janet Copeland

SUN Columnist

The Christmas season is my very favorite time of the year - when we honor the birthday of Jesus, as well as honor our relatives and friends by letting them know how much they mean to us.

I consider our friends here in Pagosa as part of our "family" and I wish you all the very best of health and happiness for Christmas and the coming year!

We really enjoyed last Tuesday's presentation of Christmas songs by the children from Seeds of Learning. They gave our spirits a boost and helped us appreciate this wonderful season.

Thanks to the 4-H kids for serving us our delicious Christmas meal and to the kitchen staff for preparing it. We had a great party and gift exchange, and enjoyed seeing everyone dressed in his or her colorful Christmas finery.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Jan. 6, there will be a new program available to folks - the Colorado on the Move Walking Program.

This is a fun and easy program that can help you increase your levels of physical activity and enjoy many benefits of better health without changing much of what you do every day. This program is open to all ages, with emphasis on folks 55 and over.

The multipurpose room in the Community Center will normally be available for this program from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Join us at the senior center for our kick off on Jan. 6. We will begin with a short presentation and sign-up, and we'll issue pedometers and water bottles, courtesy of the Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service. Pedometers will be issued to participants to help count their steps, and those who complete the 14-week program will be allowed to keep their pedometers (as long as our supply lasts).

Special thanks to the following people and organizations for their donations to the Senior Center: Rich Harris and Frank Goodman for magazines; Kathy McCulloch for large-print magazines and puzzles; Dick Akin for computer software; Mariann Barber for cards; Vance and Debbie Newell for the turkey; the Education Center for turkey decorations for our shut-ins; Dennis Schutz and the Forest Service for Christmas trees; ANCO Insurance, John Porter, and an anonymous donor for tickets to the Kiwanis Chili Supper; and the Unitarians for the holiday centerpieces.

A service called "Benefits Check Up" is being offered by the National Council on Aging for seniors over 55.

It is a Web-based service that allows older Americans, their families and caregivers to quickly and easily determine what benefits they qualify for and how to claim them. It checks for financial assistance, health care programs, prescription drug assistance, housing assistance, property tax programs, home energy assistance, in-home services, legal services, nutrition programs, training opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and educational programs.

This service is confidential and free. You can access this information on the Internet by going to or you can contact Musetta at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center (call 264-2167) to obtain a printed copy of the questionnaire and assistance in entering the information into the computer.

A big welcome to Louie Baca (from Santa Fe), to Al and John Samit who visited with us Monday, and to Donelia Mullis (from Utah) who joined us Tuesday - we hope they will join us again soon.

Congratulations to Jim Corcoran, who is our Senior of the Week.

Musetta needs more volunteers for January's calendar. Please contact her at 264-2167 if you can donate a few hours.

Thanks to Judy Cramer for her presentation of Memories from the Past - pertaining to how her family used Christmas stockings.

We enjoyed hearing from Marion Swanson, one of our seniors who moved to Canon City. She is surely missed.

The transportation department has a new table for trip sign-ups, just outside Cindy's office, for the specific use of arranging trips and accounting for people. This new system should help the department run more efficiently and allow users to have a specific contact person when they need more information. Call Cindy at 264-6371 for more information.

Remember Dec. 27 is our Spirit Day. Show you are proud of being a Silver Fox and wear your T-shirt that day.

The Friendly Visitor Program has been initiated at our 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:

Dec. 30 - 10 a.m. chair exercises; 1 p.m. bridge for fun.

Dec. 31 - 9:30 a.m. yoga; 11 a.m. blood pressure checks by Glenda Cloward; 12:45 p.m. art class in the arts media room at the Community Center.

Jan. 1 - The Silver Foxes Den is closed.

Jan. 3 - 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 a.m. Jim Hanson — Medicare counseling.

Veterans Corner

Survivor death benefits available

By Andy Fautheree

I would like to wish all my veterans and their families a very merry Christmas and happy holidays.

I am frequently asked about benefits for surviving families of deceased veterans. There are several VA programs for survivor benefits, depending on the veteran's service and in some cases how he or she died.

The first one I want to discuss is perhaps the easiest survivor pension benefit a surviving spouse can qualify for: It is a death pension for surviving spouse and children. There are several eligibility requirements, some for the veteran and some for the spouse. Dependent children basically would need to under age 18 and still under the dependent care of the surviving spouse.


A VA Death Pension is a benefit paid to eligible dependents of deceased wartime veterans. Definition of a wartime veteran is any veteran that served at least two years of honorable active duty during a recognized United States period of wartime, but whose death in such service was not in line of duty.

Eligible dependents may qualify for a Death Pension if they and the veteran meet all of the following criteria:

1. The deceased veteran was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions; and

2. He or she served 90 days or more of active duty with at least one day during a war; and

3. The dependent is the surviving spouse or unmarried child of the deceased veteran;

4. The dependent's countable income is below an annual limit set by law. This amount as of Dec. 1, 2001 is $6,407 annual income for spouse alone. For spouse and one dependent child the amount is $8,389. There are other higher income limits if the spouse is a patient in a nursing home or helpless and blind, requiring aid and attendance of another person. For each additional dependent child you can add $1,630. These rates are usually adjusted each year by law, similar to Social Security increases.

Marriage requirements

Additionally, there are some requirements regarding marriage to a veteran. For instance, a spouse who just recently married a World War II veteran would not be eligible. In most cases, the spouse must have been married to the veteran within about 10-12 years of the ending of the wartime conflict. There are very specific dates and information in this regard that I have available at the office.

Survivors and dependent income information will need to be submitted annually to continue receiving the benefit.

This is just a broad overview of VA survivor Death Pension benefit. There are many additional details that must be considered. I have all the application forms and information on hand at this office and will be happy to assist any veteran's survivors to apply for this benefit.

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 The office is open 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

Chamber News

Recruiting calls from kiosk owners trouble some Chamber members

By Doug Trowbridge

The peace of the season has settled over the Chamber and Sally has flown off to spend the holiday with her family.

Snow blankets the mountains with more on the way. Our members have graciously lavished upon us myriad plates of cookies, canisters of popcorn and boxes of chocolates. Ahhhh life is good. But the Chamber still has business to attend to, so I'll put aside my plate of goodies and glass of eggnog for just a moment to share what's happening.

Kiosk confusion

It has come to our attention that the folks who operate the information kiosk are being a little too aggressive in their efforts to recruit new advertisers and misrepresenting themselves along the way. For those who are unaware, the information kiosk is a touch screen computer in front of the Chamber that offers after-hour visitors a chance to get information on Pagosa even when the Chamber is closed.

Signature Multimedia, the company that operates the kiosk, is in the midst of an advertising recruitment push here in Pagosa Springs. We have received a few calls from members regarding their activities. The biggest problem is their propensity to claim that they are calling from the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce. Rest assured that there are only three employees at your Chamber: Sally, Morna and Doug. If you get a call from anyone else claiming that they are with the Chamber, please get their name and company, and then inform us as soon as possible.

Their recruiters also seem to have a hard time taking "No" for an answer. Several members have called to say that they have been contacted three or four times asking them to advertise on the kiosk. This is unacceptable to us and we would like you to let us know if you too are dealing with this situation.

The concept of the information kiosk is good. Providing our late arriving visitors with information about the town can be extremely helpful to them. However, the Chamber does not want the kiosk to become a thorn in our memberships' side. We do nothing more than provide a space for the kiosk at the Visitors Center. The decision to advertise on the kiosk is yours alone.

We are not in the business of promoting the kiosk and have nothing to do with the advertising other than offering the opportunity to our membership. If you are having problems with the kiosk representatives, or feel that they have offered misleading statements about who they are or what they are offering, please let the Chamber know. We have already contacted them regarding these problems and will be more than happy to let them know how we feel if the problems persist.

Mardi Gras party

On a lighter note, the fourth annual Mardi Gras Party and membership meeting will be held Jan. 18 at the Pagosa Lodge.

Mark your calendars for this entertaining evening of festive food, glitzy garb and raucous revelry (isn't alliteration fun?). The festivities get underway at 6 p.m. with food, friends and a cash bar. Free beads and masks are available, but we encourage everyone to put on their Mardi Gras finery. Prizes are awarded for the best male and female costumes, so don't be shy.

At 7:30, we get the business part of the night rolling with awards, a recap of the Chamber's work over the last year and a sad farewell to our departing board directors. Which reminds me, this is also your last chance for Chamber members to vote for the new directors. So plan to join us for some good times as we get the New Year off on the right foot!

Citizen/Volunteer Awards

Please remember to submit your nomination for Citizen and Volunteer of the Year to the Visitor Center by the Dec. 31 deadline. We have forms available to you here, so don't let that hold you up. Both of these awards deserve careful consideration, and we hope you will do what you can to see that worthy folks receive the credit they so richly deserve.

Board candidates

You also need to remember to cast your votes for three of the six candidates running for Chamber board director, especially if you cannot attend the annual Mardi Gras Jan.18. The nine directors act collectively as the governing body for your Chamber of Commerce and act as your voice in all matters Chamber, so getting to know them through their profiles and conversations is ever so important. In any election, it is imperative to exercise your right to vote, and this one is no exception. Please drop in at the Visitor Center to register your vote or give Doug a call at 264-2360 with any questions.

New Year's Eve dance

The Knights of Columbus invite you to attend their New Year's Eve dance at the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Clubhouse to benefit the David C. Mitchell Scholarship Fund. Tickets for this event can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce in advance for $10 per person or $18 for couples. All tickets at the door will be $12, and the fun begins at 8:30 p.m. Country Feedback will provide the music, and party favors, snacks and champagne will be provided.


Only three renewals this week, but we are pleased to keep them in the Chamber family.

We start off with Mercy Korsgren and the Pagosa Springs Community Center. We are fortunate to have a facility like the Community Center and our hats are off to Mercy for everything she does to coordinate everything that goes on there.

Next up is Kenny King with King Capital Inc. Kenny offers property management services here in Pagosa. Finally, we have Jeff Schmidt with Schmidt Chiropractic Massage and Acupuncture, LLC. Jeff offers chiropractic massage, craniosacral therapy, acupuncture, pediatrics and herbal remedies.

While three renewals may not seem like much, each of our members is important and we are glad to have them rejoining us. We could never have over 800 members without you. Thanks.

Library News

Library offers Colorado Talking Books and toll-free Audio Yellow Pages

By Lenore Bright

The Colorado Talking Book Library is a gift to anyone who cannot read the printed page.

If you know someone who is visually handicapped due to any kind of physical problem, we can get him or her a special recorder and almost any book he or she might want to hear. This free program is provided by the Library of Congress.

Once a person signs up, he or she receives a monthly catalog with the list of books that can be borrowed free of charge. These come through the mail in a special box. Once the person has heard the book, he or she returns it free-of-charge in the mail. A person with sight problems, or any physical ailment that keeps them from being able to hold a book to read, is eligible.

The equipment and the books on tape are all free. I cannot think of a better gift than giving back some joy of reading by hearing the words spoken.

Let us help put you in touch with the Colorado Talking Book Program.

Another service they offer is the "Audio Yellow Pages." Now a person can gain access to over 10 million businesses by dialing one toll-free number 24 hours a day. If you would like instructions for this service, call the library at 264-2209. This is a free voice-activated service for the blind and visually impaired.

New library card

This is truly a gift because it gives you so much.

Some folks grumble because a library card is viewed as just one more piece of plastic to carry in the wallet. But it is much more than that: It is your passport to the world of information. It will soon be your entry into a number of databanks that will be free to you, while most people will pay dearly to get into the sites. You will be able to download and print out material for your use.

Currently, with your card, you can search our collection from home and renew books, and place holds on items you want. As Becky learns more about the specifics of the system, we will be able to give you more options. We want to keep the small-town feeling of personal service, while giving you sophisticated new access to a wealth of information.

Treat yourself to this special gift and come in a get your free passport to the world - your new library card.

The urgency of memory

Bruce Cole, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities warns us of the dangers of cultural amnesia. He reminds us that "one of the common threads of great civilizations is the cultivation of memory, Lincoln's mystic chords of memory, stretching from battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this great land."

Cole is afraid we are in danger of forgetting this lesson. Many Americans do not know their history, and cannot remember even the most significant events of the 20th Century.

"One study of students at 55 elite universities found that over a third were unable to identify the Constitution as establishing the division of powers in our government. Forty percent could not place the Civil War in the correct half-century. Half of high school seniors could not say whom we fought in World War Two. And two thirds of all Americans think Karl Marx's dogma, 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' was or may have been written by the founding fathers and is included in the constitution."

President Bush and the NEH are launching a new initiative to bolster the study and understanding of American history. Cole reminds us, "Understanding ourselves is the first step to understanding our place in the world In this age of uncertainty, we can give each succeeding generation a brighter light, a broader perspective, and an enriched legacy with which to face the future."

Give your family the gift of history by using your public library's collection of excellent materials to help instill that understanding of our legacy.

New Web site

We are constantly finding wonderful free Web sites to share with you.

Today we present The Digital Library of Educational Earth Sciences.

This is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and you will find any topic about the earth here. It is set up for the general public as well as the professional and all grade levels from kindergarten through the master's level.

There are so many subjects; you could spend all day learning about our beautiful planet. A few of the areas covered include biology, ecology, physics, chemistry, climate and geology. It is a community-centered resource for anyone interested in these subjects.

Thank you

I want to personally thank the great library staff and volunteers for their work this past year. Getting our on-line system up and running has been a challenge. Special thanks to Shirley Iverson, Becky Porco, Nancy Cole, Barb Draper and Ann Van Fossen for hanging in there through the many difficult changes.

Happy holidays

Because we have to get this article in early, I will tell you the library will close at noon Christmas Eve, and will be closed Christmas Day and Dec. 26.

We take this opportunity to thank all of our patrons and supporters for your thoughtfulness and kindness this past year. Your generosity is very much appreciated.


Business News

Wally Rediske owns and operates Coyote Appliance Repair and Handyman with his wife, Debi. The Rediskes started the business in July.

Coyote Appliance Repair and Handyman provides its customers with full-service repair of all brands of appliances and with a variety of remodel work.

Radiske is available seven days a week, with 24-hour emergency, on-call response.

Contact Coyote Appliance Repair and Handyman at 264-3555 or 946-3493.



Mrs. Emma Shock was honored recently by the Mount Allison Grange No. 308 for her 60 years as a member of the Grange. She has also completed 45 years in 4H and received the 4H Visionary Award.


Tyler Kirtley

Coast Seaman Apprentice Tyler N. Kirtley, son of Andrea O. Constant of Pagosa Springs and Eric N. Kirtley of Kaneho, Hawaii, recently graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Recruit Training Center in Cape May, N.J.

During the eight-week training program, Kirtley completed a vigorous training curriculum consisting of classroom academics and practical instruction on water safety and survival, military customs and courtesies, seamanship skills, first aid, fire fighting and marksmanship. A major emphasis is also placed on physical fitness, health and wellness.

Kirtley and other recruits also received instruction on the Coast Guard's three core values - honor, respect and devotion to duty - and how to apply them in their military performance and personal conduct. Kirtley will join 36,000 other men and women who are the Coast Guard's force.

Men and women train together from the first day in the Coast Guard, just as they do aboard ships and shore units throughout the world. To reinforce the team concept, Kirtley, and other recruits were trained in preventing sexual harassment, drug and alcohol awareness, civil rights and the basics of work-life balance, as well as total quality management.

Kirtley is a 2002 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School.


Jacques Sarnow

Coast Guard Seaman Apprentice Jacques A. Sarnow, son of Marcella J. and Stuart G. Sarnow of Pagosa Springs, recently graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Recruit Training Center in Cape May, N.J. and was promoted to his present rank.

During the eight-week training program, Sarnow completed a curriculum consisting of classroom academics and practical instruction on military customs and courtesies, water safety and survival, seamanship skills, first aid, fire fighting and marksmanship. A major emphasis is also placed on physical fitness and health.

Sarnow and other recruits received instruction on the Coast Guard's three core values - honor, respect and devotion to duty - and how to apply them in their military performance and personal conduct.

To reinforce the team concept, Sarnow and the other recruits were trained in preventing sexual harassment, drug and alcohol awareness, civil rights training and the basics of the work-life balance, as well as total quality management. Sarnow is now among 36,000 men and women who comprise the Coast Guard's force.

Sarnow is a 2002 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School of Pagosa Springs, Colo. and joined the Coast Guard in September 2002.


Trevor Peterson

Trevor Peterson, the son of Betsy Carpino and Pete Peterson of Pagosa Springs, recently completed a 17-week regimen of Army infantry basic training at Fort Benning, Ga.

Peterson is with the 101st Airborne Division, stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. He will continue with air-assault training and is scheduled for deployment to Kuwait in mid-January.

Peterson is a 2002 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School.


Joel Thompson

Friends and family of Joel Thompson wish to announce his completion of the Ph.D. program at Kansas State University Dec. 16, 2002. Dr. Thompson, a past math and science teacher at Pagosa Springs High School, received his degree in inorganic physical chemistry. He is now employed as a senior chemist at Eltron Environmental Laboratory in Boulder.



Golden Bells

Methodist handbell choir plays for all seasons

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer


According to Jody Hott, director of the Community United Methodist handbell choir, in musical terms it means, "a medley of songs put together - sometimes numerous," she said. "I thought that fit our ringers."

And so, 20 years ago, Quodlibet became the official name of the handbell choir. Over the years, the ringers have lived up to the name, sharing much humor, much music and much fellowship.

"I love the bells," Hott said, "next to my children, they're the love of my life."

In handbells, each bell - made of an alloy of tin and copper called bell bronze - plays a single note. In most cases, each ringer is responsible for two notes and their accents, or four handbells. However, with some of the smaller bells - bells that produce the higher notes - it's possible to play four-in-hand, which allows one person to hold and play four handbells at one time instead of two.

The Methodist choir started with two octaves, or 16 bells, in 1982. The bells were purchased with Fern Hott Memorial Fund monies. Eight adult ringers and eight youth members were recruited for two separate choirs. After a while, the adult group grew, absorbing the youth.

"It wasn't long before we discovered we needed more bells," Hott said. Through fund-raising and more memorials, the choir's stash of bells has grown to four octaves, plus a few extras on the low end. Playing all those gleaming bells requires about 10 ringers.

"Of course, we can do it with eight, nine or seven," she said. The choir meets for practice once a week in the evenings and plays during Sunday church services about once a month. However, this year the group is large enough that it's played every Sunday in Advent.

To produce a general "ring," the bells are held with the clapper facing up at the ceiling. Using a wrist action, the ringer dips the bell and extends the arm sending the clapper against the side of the bell to produce a tone. The sound is dampened, or stopped, by bringing the bell back to the body and resting the lip of the bell on the chest. To produce a shorter, staccato sound, the clapper can actually be thrown against the sides of the bell as it rests on the table. Other effects can be made by malleting the bells - actually hitting them on the outside with soft mallets - ringing and bouncing the bell lightly off the padded table or swinging the bell next to the body.

Although many of the faces of the choir have changed over the years as people moved in and out of Pagosa Springs, graduated from high school, retired or raised children, some, like Hott and Berkey Branch, have hung in from the beginning.

"I saw a bell choir in Texas," Branch said. "I thought it looked so intriguing that once I got the kids so I could leave them, I started coming." When she picked up the bells in 1983, she hadn't tried to read sheet music since she was a child. Today, she memorizes it, playing in duets and small ensembles with some of the other members of the choir.

"It's a great diversion," she said. "It's a challenge. I like having a challenge and trying to do it well."

Her duet partner, Lynn Constan, started playing handbells just four years ago.

"I'd wanted to play the bells for 30 years and when I moved to Pagosa Springs I found out they had a bell choir," Constan said. She was attending another event at the church one evening when she happened to mention her three-decade dream and found herself suddenly standing before the choir. "They said this is G, this is A and we're playing Sunday."

Other members of Quodlibet include: Rod and Barb Preston, Jerry Hines, Carol Stanfil, JoAnn Laird, Liz Kuhn, Vicki Patterson, Sandy Howe, Linda Morrison, Janet Nordman and Tess Baker, along with substitutes Lisa Hartley, Susan E. Brett and Jessie Formwalt.

The great thing about the handbells, Hott said, is that they are accessible to almost everyone. With just two notes to play at beginning levels, anyone with a little music background can pick it up fairly easily. It also allows time for fellowship, for prayers and for friendships to form.

"I think back to when I first heard the bell choir in Texas," Branch said. "It was Christmas and they were playing in Fellowship Hall. I remember them laughing, and they must have made mistakes, but I couldn't hear it. I thought it was just great."


Old-time Pagosa through a child's eyes

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Nothing is as refreshing as a child's view of the world around them.

We in Pagosa are fortunate to have a portrait of Pagosa Springs in 1879 as seen by Daisy Opdycke Fitzhugh. Every year about Christmas time, I think of the wide-eyed Daisy who, as an emerging 13-year-old, came with her family to Pagosa Springs in 1879.

A lot of folks who knew Daisy during her final years are still alive and still remember her as a grand lady, a lady with the now vanished carriage and convictions of the Victorian era tempered, of course, by a dash of frontier "let's get it done" brashness.

Pagosa Springs was an infant still in diapers in 1879 when the Opdyckes arrived. From 20 to 30 false-front business houses lined San Juan Street on the east side of the river and stretched south along the road to Mill Creek, the same road used by the stage to reach town from the south. If you said Mill Creek, no one would have known what you were talking about. That rivulet was known as Agua Fria, Spanish for Cold Water. And you couldn't call the road Light Plant Boulevard. The light plant wouldn't be built for another 25 years.

Across the river from the fledgling town were the log buildings of Fort Lewis including 10 enlisted barracks, four officer's barracks and a few other buildings, all surrounding a parade ground. Every morning, townspeople heard the post trumpeter rousing the troops from their beds. Along the river where today's courthouse reposes, a number of tents were pitched. The tents housed certain command functions and the troops of the Ninth Calvary's Company D, the famous buffalo soldiers. Most of the buffalo soldiers had been recruited in the Deep South a few short months earlier.

Daily stagecoaches thundered through town, on their way between the end of the railroad at Chama and the burgeoning population of the Animas Valley, stretching all of the way from Animas City to Silverton. Durango hadn't been invented yet.

The stages paused in Pagosa Springs allowing weary passengers time for a little respite, maybe a meal at the San Juan Hotel, the Hamilton House or even the Opdyke place located between the San Juan River and San Juan Street. Some of the travelers stayed overnight or longer, hoping to benefit from prolonged bathing in the mineral waters of the Great Pagosa Hot Spring.

The Opdycke front door looked across the street at the Rosebud Saloon, and beyond to what we know today as Reservoir Hill. At that time, the hill was probably known as Robidoux Hill. The reservoir and town water system were 25 years down the road in the future.

Daisy's parents were Jacob Van Horn and Catherine Young Opdycke. With four young children and wagons pulled by oxen, the Opdycke's made the long journey from Missouri to Colorado in 1878, and on to Pagosa Springs in 1879. In her memoirs recorded in 1942, Daisy recalled the following about the trek across the San Juan Mountains from the San Luis Valley to Pagosa Springs. They arrived June 1, 1879.

"We had both exciting and amusing experiences coming over the mountains; some places we had to tie trees behind the wagons and other places we had to let the wagons down with ropes. We met people coming from this country; my father asked them where they have been and they said: 'Oh, we were over in the San Jew-an (San Juan) and didn't like that country so we're gettin' out.' They asked, 'Where are you folks going?' My father answered, 'We are going to the San Whan (San Juan) Country.' Neither one knew they were talking about the same locality."

Little Daisy described her new home with surprising clarity and more than a little nostalgia.

"Fort Lewis was located at Pagosa then and five companies of soldiers stationed here. There was a guard at the bridge and those who could get passes would cross over, but those who couldn't get passes would go up the river and wade across to the town of Pagosa Springs and then they would be arrested and put in the guard house.

"Almost every building in town was a saloon. Across the street from our house was a saloon called the Rose Bud; it had big roses painted over the front. One morning I was standing in the front door of my mother's home, looking around. Everything was very quiet; all at once a man came out the front door of the Rose Bud and he had a gun in his hand. At the same time a man came out of the side door of the saloon. The man with the gun shot and the other fell. I ran back to the kitchen where my mother was getting dinner and told her; she said 'Don't ever tell anyone you saw Big Aleck shoot that man. If you do, they will take you to Conejos for a witness and keep you in jail.' Conejos was the county seat and it took about four days to go there, so I surely never did tell until I was fifty years old."

Someone brought a croquet set to town and set it up on a flat place across from the Opdyke house. As Daisy and others used mallets to tap balls through wickets, the following interruption occurred.

"One afternoon we were out playing croquet when we heard a horse coming across the bridge and a man yelling and shooting. Here came Henry Gordon and he began showing us how to knock the balls through the wickets with bullets. He had it all his own way in a few minutes - we were hiding behind everything we could find. The cowboys habitually came in to shoot up the town and have wild times."

Ute Indians were also a familiar sight for the young girl.

"They were always begging for bread. Buckskin Charley was always wanting me to ride his ponies and he told my mother if Pagosa ever burned, he would take care of me. Mother forbade me ever to get on any of his ponies, for fear he might steal me and I would never get back; so I was afraid.

"During the fall of the Meeker Massacre (1879) the Utes would come into town and hold war dances. Of course, our soldiers were all gone except for a few. I didn't realize the danger; it was fun for me. But nothing happened."

Almost every family had their own little bath house in those days, according to Daisy. In the morning they filled large, built-in, wooden tubs contained in the houses. By afternoon the water had cooled enough for bathing.

A building east of the hot spring was used for a school, community dances, church conducted by traveling parsons and other community doings.

With no central water and all of the buildings constructed of wood, fire was an ever-present danger.

"There was an old German and his wife who ran a saloon and they lived at the back," Daisy recalled. "One day their house caught on fire and everyone ran with pails and formed a line from the river. The old lady got so excited she jumped up and down and knocked her wooden shoes together and kept crying, 'Somebody get up there and pour water on me!'"

As soldiers have always done, the Fort Lewis soldiers kept protective watch over the young lady. When Garfield was elected president in 1880, the soldiers wanted to celebrate. Their celebration involved Daisy.

"They had a small cannon at the fort, which they placed on the river bank, pointing it up the river; they loaded it with tin cans which were filled with pebbles. They came over and asked my mother if she would let me fire the cannon. She was afraid I would get hurt, but they promised her there was no danger so I fired the cannon and such a report you never heard! I was deaf for a week, but anyway, I fired the cannon for Garfield."

When the railroad finally reached Durango in August of 1881, Daisy and her family watched the silver spike celebration heralding the event. They traveled to Durango in a covered wagon.

"That was the most thrilling trip I ever had; it took two days to go over to Durango. Everyone was so glad to see me and loaded me down with candy, lace mitts, silk handkerchiefs, fans, and everything one could think of. I went to the dance at the Smelter. I will never forget that trip."

Little girls, and even communities, grow up. Left behind are memories, almost always sugarcoated with nostalgia. About 60 years later, Daisy wrote:

"On the 20th of September 1881, I left Pagosa Springs to go East to school and didn't get back until some years later. Then everything had changed; the soldiers were all gone; the town was moved and the old parade ground was laid out into lots, streets and parks and nothing looked the same except for the big boiling hot springs; and the mineral waters smelled the same; those were the only unchanged things in my old home town on the banks of the San Juan River."

Motter's comments: Mrs. Daisy Fitzhugh died Oct. 4, 1956, after living most of 77 years in Pagosa Springs. According to her obituary, she married Edward McIntire, who passed away at his Chromo ranch Dec. 20, 1906. She then married Edgar J. Fitzhugh who died in March of 1916. I have not learned that she had any children. For Daisy Fitzhugh's story, I am indebted to the book, "Pioneers of the San Juan Country," published in 1942 by the Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Durango by the Out West Printing and Stationery Company of Colorado Springs.



No more interesting

There is a well-traveled curse that fits the Year 2002: "May you live in interesting times." The meaning is clear when we consider the events of this nearly exhausted year: It is often more unsettling to live in an atmosphere distinguished by the tension of possibilities, than in one where the course is well-established, where the situation is defined and the immediate future illuminated for all to see. In a sense, the "interesting" situation is more disturbing than a bleak condition. Once the die is cast, the reality can be digested and accepted. When there is no clear resolution, when ambiguity tinges important events, there is little true comfort.

As this year ends, we definitely live in interesting times, as members of a nation and of our small community here in the San Juan's.

The stability and prosperity we took for granted for a decade or so has been shaken. Predictions are a dime a dozen: no one seems to know what course the economy will take.

Our economy has been hit with repeated blows, with many of us losing money and confidence in the process. Hardly a day passes without news of a company or corporation crumbling, marked by the disgrace of dishonest executives, damaged or undone by inept management.

Our nation has been attacked and seems destined to be the target of more hostility. The world has grown decidedly less friendly for Americans and our global role is the subject of intense debate.

It seems we are on the brink of war in the Middle East again, and one in which the outcome does not guarantee us lasting peace

Locally, we survived a vigorous political season and we traversed a foggy economic landscape

There were concerns about whether or not growth will continue; there were questions posed concerning what kind of growth is desirable and how it should be handled. The dramatic growth seen during the last decade was not in evidence, but signs that the trend was ending were not present either.

There was evidence of a prosperous class increasing its numbers in the community as well as evidence of a widening gulf between those who have, and those who don't.

What's going to happen?

The tourist business, our lifeblood, is tied to factors beyond our control and whether or not our guests continue to visit in increasing numbers is of concern. As the world outside Archuleta County goes, so goes tourism.

Who knows what will occur?

Our local governmental institutions survived the year; some sustained scrapes and bruises, were the objects of criticism and doubt. We voted to give entities more money, but at the same time did so without overwhelming confidence.

Drought and the risk of wildfire stressed our environment. How long will these threats continue?

These are interesting times. What will come next?

It is like sitting in a parked and idling vehicle, not knowing whether the machine will be put in gear to move forward or if it will move in reverse.

But, all is not loose ends; at least the vehicle is idling. There is obviously gas in the tank as the journey into the next year begins.

We have good company for the trip. We live in a vibrant nation and community, blessed with ample talent, compassion and energy.

And there is snow on the peaks. Vacation visitors are motoring our way.

This nation has survived uncertain times in the past, and so has our community. Pagosa Country has always had the resources and will to forge ahead.

A new year will soon be upon us.

We hope it is less interesting than 2002.

Karl Isberg


Dear Folks


A season for taking note of names

(This Dear Folks was first printed Dec. 20, 2001)

Names are attracting special attention this Christmas season.

With the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the names of unfamiliar locales such as Jalalabad, Kunduz, Kabul, Kandahar, Tora Bora and others are sharing the limelight with the better known "little town" of Bethlehem.

Names of individuals engaged in the assaults against the Taliban are likewise meriting special mention.

Folks who read Saturday's Rocky Mountain News probably noticed the name Robinson Cortez at the top of a Page 9A article that was datelined "CAMP RHINO, Afghanistan." A 1999 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, Robinson is serving with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit as it helps secure control of Kandahar's airport. The three-column, two-line kicker running above the article quoted Lance Cpl. Cortez's statement: "We want to do something to be part of the history that's being made. Humanitarian or combat, they're both just as important." No longer an attentive pupil studying world history at Pagosa Springs High School, Robinson currently is an active participant in shaping world history.

Names of Afghanistan fighting for the opposition forces also are drawing attention. News accounts such as a recent Associated Press report datelined TORA BORA, Afghanistan, reported that "Ghafar, a leader in the tribal eastern alliance, said the al-Qaida fighters are believed to 'They have to hand them over, but they didn't want to,' said Ghafar who goes by one name " The fact that most Afghani citizens use only one name has been consistently noted in reports on the opposition forces.

Long before the advent of Sept. 11 and America's resulting military engagements in Afghanistan, most folks already were familiar with the Middle Eastern custom of identifying individuals by only a single name. For many centuries, folks worldwide have read about individuals who were identified by one name - Gabriel, Elizabeth, Zacharias, John, Mary, Joseph, Herod, Jesus.

To some folks, knowing Jesus on a personal, "first-name basis" is the true significance of Christmas. To others, Jesus is only a historical name. Or to some, the name Jesus is merely the major spontaneous utterance included in their profanity vocabulary. To the linguist, the name Jesus comes from the Hebrew word for saviour.

Though Jesus is known by some as simply being a carpenter from the town of Nazareth, following Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection was prophesied that in the eventual course of history " that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Later, it was also said of Jesus that "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."

The Bible reportedly is one of the most purchased books, while at the same time being one of the least read books in America. In a similar irony Jesus - "the gift of God" - is the greatest gift ever offered mankind but is the most rejected. That in itself is nothing new. Following the completion of his ministry on earth, it was written of Jesus that " He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name "

Yes, once again as folks pursue peace on earth and goodwill toward man, the name Jesus is attracting attention.

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. 27, 1912

Welch Nossaman and one or two associates recently purchased 10,000 acres of land out of the Tierra grant, principally for grazing purposes. The land lays along the Navajo on the south.

Yesterday forenoon fire, caused by a defective flue, broke out in the McGirr building on San Juan Street next to the bridge, but the prompt action of citizens with the fire fighting apparatus prevented a serious conflagration.

The Star Bakery is closing out some of its grocery and lunch stock and will add homemade candies as a new line.

The Hatcher Mercantile Co. has a permit to run 14,000 head of sheep on the San Juan National Forest.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 30, 1927

With the advent of real cold weather and necessity for heavy fires, it behooves everyone to see that their stoves and flues are in the best possible condition - to prevent another winter conflagration in Pagosa Springs.

The Pagosa High School Wolverines journeyed to Durango Wednesday and that evening met the Durango Demons on the basketball court. The Wolverines emerged from the ordeal on the short end of a 41-9 score, though they fought gamely until the final whistle.

There will be a regular New Year's Rally at the dance to be given at the Carlsbad Lodge tomorrow night. Favors for all, confetti and noise-making devices - as all are supposed to have a good time.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 26, 1952

The results of the Christmas lighting contest were made public this week after the judging last week-end. The Vic Poma residence won the $25 first prize in the home lighting and the PTA first in organizational, with a prize of $10.

With the first day of winter officially arriving this week, along with a snow storm, local residents can look forward to a white Christmas. The storm over the weekend left several inches of new snow on the Pass and considerable moisture in town where the snow melted almost as fast as it fell.

The Christmas show and party for the children of the community was held last Saturday with an estimated attendance of 375 or 400 children.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 22, 1977

Approximately 18 inches of new snow on Wolf Creek Pass this past week, put snowplow crews to work and created some excellent skiing at the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Gil Phillips, known locally as the igloo builder, will be in the Wolf Creek Pass area next week camping and demonstrating winter survival techniques to various groups.

John Swigert, who served as a member of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 7, and later as command pilot for the Apollo 13 mission, was a visitor here last week. He spoke at the local schools, and visited with Republican leaders while in town. Mr. Swigert served in the Air Force, in the National Guard, and was also a test pilot.