February 13, 2003

Front Page


PAWS ponders cloud-seeding


By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

To believe or not to believe.

That is the question directors of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District debated Tuesday night while considering whether or not to provide funds for the continuation of an area cloud-seeding project implemented by Durango-based Western Weather Consultants.

The project, which began Nov. 1 and will continue through late March, is aimed at increasing the snowpack levels in the eastern San Juan Mountains, thus providing the Pagosa area with the potential for increased water supplies.

The board, which noted that snowpack levels in area river basins are higher than they were last year but still well below average, was hesitant to single out cloud seeding as the sole cause of the increases.

"You can't necessarily attribute that to cloud seeding," said Harold Slavinski, board chairman. "There's no hard proof; who's to say it wasn't Mother Nature?"

The board presented information supplied by Larry Hjermstad, who manages Western Weather Consultants, citing "a 14 to 22 percent increase above normal" and indicated that silver iodide generators had been put into use fourteen times since early November when conditions were deemed favorable for enhancing the possibility of additional snow.

Board members cited studies conducted in the Beaver Creek and Vail Valley areas which seemed to indicate a trend toward increased snow levels during years when cloud seeding is performed.

Board member Bob Frye pointed out that a comparison of Pagosa Springs with those areas is an apple and oranges variety.

"They can afford to believe it's working; those (ski) areas can cover the cost by adding a dollar to the cost of a jetsetter's lift ticket," said Frye, "but over here we live in a different world."

Apparently the board made a preliminary decision to pledge $20,000 last year to help fund the project, but Carrie Campbell, district general manager, said that figure was not a steadfast, concrete amount. "That commitment was not solid, not set in stone," said Campbell.

The cost for the five-month project is roughly $80,000, the bulk of which is currently being provided by the San Juan Water Conservancy District.

The board decided to table the decision to contribute funds until a later date, pending further proof of the program's success. "I don't have reservations about spending the money," said Frye, "but I'm still not convinced it works."

In a telephone interview Wednesday morning, Hjermstad verified that the generators used in the cloud-seeding process had been used 14 times as of Feb. 2, but said the figures he provided were an estimate of what he thought could be accomplished with the program.

"That 14 to 22 percent is not results, just a prediction of what I could expect to anticipate," said Hjermstad, adding, "None of the figures I provided were intended to be associated with the current cloud seeding in that area."

Hjermstad said that while snowfall in the Eastern Range has exceeded levels in the western San Juan Mountains thus far, it is too early to attribute any differences to the cloud-seeding effort. "It's just an observation at this point," said Hjermstad.

Hjermstad explained that final comparisons and conclusions could not be made until the completion of a study after the seeding ends in late March.

With respect to the approaching low-pressure weather system, Hjermstad indicated the generators would be used as long as snow levels did not begin to increase too rapidly in areas susceptible to avalanche. "We'll keep them on as long as we can, depending on how quickly the snowpack builds in the higher risk areas," said Hjermstad.

Drought Update

Gene Tautges, assistant general manager for the district, presented information indicating that Pagosa Lakes area reservoirs are doing OK thus far, despite below-average precipitation levels.

According to Tautges, while Lake Pagosa, Stevens Reservoir and Village Lake are down 67, 62 and 25 inches respectively, Lake Forest is full and Lake Hatcher is expected to reach full pool by April.

Tautges said the district continues to pump water from the San Juan River to fill the reservoirs, and that districtwide water usage remains steady at 1.3 million gallons per day.

According to the board, water restrictions are still in effect with no outside watering being permitted at this time.

Dutton Ditch Update

According to Campbell, the district is continuing the process of obtaining a permit from the Forest Service to initiate the encasement of Dutton Ditch.

"We're in the permitting process and engineering is happening. I'm guessing it will be late summer or early fall before we can act," said Campbell, who added construction bids will go out after the district secures all necessary permits.

Campbell indicated ground breaking will probably start sometime next year and an absolute timetable will depend on what weather conditions permit.

The goal of the district is to encase the 28,000-foot ditch to improve flow and increase storage levels in Stevens Reservoir and Lake Hatcher.


Town hopes mosquito dunks will stem West Nile threat

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Last summer, cases of West Nile Virus, a disease that can cause severe and fatal illness in humans, birds and horses, were confirmed in Colorado for the first time.

So far, human cases have been limited to the Front Range but, since the virus was first discovered in New York in 1999, the second year of its advancement into an area has been much quicker.

To help stem the spread of West Nile Virus, the Town of Pagosa Springs has initiated a program to help residents kill the carrier capable of passing the virus from birds to humans - the mosquito.

Mosquitos, specifically the Culex tarsalis, a medium-sized mosquito that feeds in the hours around dawn and dusk, become infected when they feed on a bird carrying the virus in its blood. From there, they can pass it on to other animals or humans.

Some may never experience symptoms. A minority of infected persons will develop a mild illness within 3-15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes skin rash and swollen glands.

In rare cases, West Nile Virus infection results in a serious condition called West Nile Encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain causing headaches, high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. A small number of infections have been fatal.

Horses are also susceptible to West Nile Virus infection. However, a vaccine is available through veterinarians.

The town's attempt at prevention requires attacking mosquitos when they are most vulnerable - in water. In the early stages of development, the mosquito can live in almost any source of standing water, including irrigated fields, old tires, hoof prints, flowerpots, tree holes or any puddle that lasts more than a few days. Modifying or eliminating these types of breeding sites is the only long-term solution to severe mosquito problems.

To help residents reduce the mosquito numbers, the town is offering two free mosquito "dunks" to residents. Each dunk contains enough Bti, a bacterium capable of producing a protein crystal toxic only to mosquito or blackfly larva, to treat 100 square feet of water.

Julie Jessen, administrative intern for the town said, according to studies, Bti is not toxic or pathogenic to birds or freshwater fish. In fact, one study comparing the acute oral toxicity levels of common materials showed Bti was less toxic that sea water or table salt. However, it should not be applied directly to treated, finished drinking water reservoirs or receptacles. Each dunk is effective for a 30-day period.

Additional dunks can be purchased at local hardware stores. Other preventative measures include:

- removing all standing water on property

- changing water in birdbaths, wading pools and flower pots on a bi-weekly basis

- removing old tires, buckets, pop cans and any other containers that could collect water

- using care with children, apply insect repellent to exposed skin when outdoors

- wearing socks, long pants and long sleeves in the evening and morning hours when outside

- fixing or installing window screens to keep mosquitos outside

- cleaning debris from rain gutters and covering rain barrels.

To learn more about the town's program, stop by Town Hall and pick up a pamphlet or call Jessen at 264-4151, Ext. 226.

For more information on West Nile Virus and mosquitos, residents can call San Juan Basin Health Department at 264-2673, the National Pesticide Information Center at (800) 858-PEST or check out the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Web site at www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/Zoonosis/zoonosis.asp.


One windfall, one shortfall for schools

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer


In fact, surprise twice. One good, one bad.

That was the reaction of members of the Board of Education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint Tuesday night.

The good news first.

Nancy Schutz, business manager, reported to the board that two representatives of Kinder-Morgan had hand-delivered to the district offices a natural gas use refund check totaling in excess of $24,200.

The refund, based on percentage of use in the previous year, will be used to offset increased insurance costs and loss of interest revenue.

And now for the other side of the coin.

Schutz told the board the food service operation had just received notice of a 150-percent increase in federal commodities for the cafeteria program.

The federal program cost increased from 35 to 87 cents per case.

The board acknowledged there was no way to plan for such an increase, and approved a program subsidy to allow the food service enterprise to continue to operate.

Turning to finances of a statewide nature, Superintendent Duane Noggle told the board it can probably expect additional cuts in state funding as the legislature wrangles with a huge deficit.

"We will feel fortunate if there are no cuts in education," he said, noting that Amendment 23, approved by voters last year, is coming under increased attack in the legislative halls as solons look for ways to balance the budget.

He noted the early days of this session of the Legislature have seen a spate of bills dealing with cutting the deficit by dipping into educational programs.


Lower Blanco residents ask speed controls; county agrees to survey

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Excessive speeding, threats from passing motorists and a high probability of accidents were some of the concerns brought before Archuleta County commissioners Tuesday by residents living along County Road 335.

Sheriff Tom Richards, speaking at the behest of the residents, initiated a request to lower the current 30 mph speed limit on the road, which is commonly known as Lower Blanco Road, to a limit residents felt would be more appropriate.

"What they're asking for is a speed limit of 25 miles per hour," said Richards, "and I certainly have no objection to that. I just would like to find out what the proper course of action should be."

Commissioner Bill Downey acknowledged the request and indicated that a speed survey would have to be completed before the commissioners could act on the request. Richards responded, "We'd be more than glad to assist in a survey, even if it meant nothing more than using the radar gun."

Alden Ecker, board chairman, supported the idea but warned against a drastic reduction in the speed limit. "I think we should be careful not to lower it too low — to the point where people just won't do it and automatically break it."

The commissioners then heard complaints from several residents who gave firsthand accounts of questionable driving habits observed on the road.

Freda Whisman was the first to speak, stating, "I have neighbors who have had near misses and near head-on collisions." Whisman said she estimates some people are driving at speeds approaching 50 mph and that yelling for such drivers to slow down is futile.

"I had one person actually stop and threaten me," said Whisman, adding that her husband had been involved in a Jan. 3 accident as he was pulling out of their driveway. "We're pleading with you to help us."

Next to speak was Frank Zellner. "I think we have particular straightaways that entice speed before you get to the curves," said Zellner, who recommended increased enforcement and additional traffic signs in high-risk areas such as neighborhood bus stops and turnarounds. "I appreciate the current enforcement, but I feel it needs enhancement," said Zellner.

Another resident, Mark Smith, echoed Zellner's sentiments, saying, "For some, there is always the temptation to use that open space to make up for lost time."

Smith raised the possibility for the installment of speed bumps along certain stretches. "Otherwise, no matter what, people will always speed," said Smith, who speculated the cost to install speed bumps would be less than the cost for more sheriff's department patrols in the area and potential accident investigations.

When Commissioner Mamie Lynch asked residents if they were requesting more enforcement with respect to the current situation or specifically a lower speed limit, Whisman responded, "Both."

Whisman then asked Richards if it would do any good to take down the license plate numbers of unlawful motorists. Richards said it would, answering, "We'd be glad to run a listing and visit with these people." Richards then reminded Whisman that in the cases where citations were issued as a result, anyone who issued the complaint would be called upon to testify in court.

Chairman Ecker then reassured the residents that the county indeed has money in the budget earmarked for road studies and improvements, but that sometimes the process to put the money to work takes longer than some would like. "And we apologize for the delay," said Ecker.

After hearing all public comment, Downey moved to authorize the sheriff's department to perform a speed survey on the road to determine the appropriate speed limit. Lynch seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.

As a result, Richards said the sheriff's department will initiate a speed survey during the road's high traffic hours but did not give a specific timetable for completion of the study.

In other business the commissioners:

- abolished the commissioner liaison system of governing, and as a result the commissioners will no longer personally oversee the responsibilities of county departments

- approved a renewal of an intergovernmental agreement with Hinsdale County for the coordination of law enforcement and emergency services

- approved a grant contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation for the prevention and investigation of underage drinking

- authorized Bill Steele, county administrator, to represent the county at the closing proceedings for the purchase of airport property

- approved a request from Pauline Benetti for a donation in the amount of $200 to help cover the cost of utilities for the 9Health Fair to be conducted at the high school

- at the request of Rich Foss, county maintenance director, approved a contract proposal from Iverson Electric for electrical improvements in the dispatch office in the amount of $9,016.



Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture











































Chance for snow today; will taper off by Saturday

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A weakening low-pressure system spinning in from Southern California should maintain enough strength to provide Pagosa Country with some needed moisture today and tomorrow.

According to Norvan Larson, a National Weather Service forecaster in the Grand Junction office, early reports of significant accumulation are being scaled back as the system creeps across the Four Corners region.

"The storm is not moving as fast as we originally predicted, and is also breaking up as it travels across drier land," said Larson, adding, "It's not packing as much punch as it stretches to the east, but there's still a good chance for some rain or snow."

As a result, Larson said the area can expect to receive light rain at lower elevations and accumulations of 1-3 inches of snow at higher elevations as the weekend approaches.

According to Larson, there is a chance for flurries throughout this morning which may change to rain in the afternoon. Highs are expected to range in the lower to mid 40s; lows should register in the mid 20s.

A 40-percent chance for rain or snow exists in Friday's forecast, with high temperatures in the 40s and lows ranging from the mid 20s to the low 30s.

Only a minimal chance for snow is forecast for Saturday through Monday, and skies are expected to be overcast with highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s.

A 40-percent chance for precipitation returns for Tuesday's forecast, and highs again should approach the mid 40s while lows are predicted to dip into the upper teens.

A slight chance of rain or snow remains in the forecast for Wednesday as highs are expected to hover around 50 and lows should register from the low teens to around 10.

Last week's average high temperature was 35; the average low was 3. The peak temperature recorded last week was Tuesday's high of 43, while the low of minus 1 was recorded Friday. New precipitation last week amounted to zero.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a 68-inch base at the summit and a midway depth of 55 inches. Snowpack in the Upper San Juan River Basin is approximately 65 percent of average. According to reports released by the National Resources Conservation Service, the Pagosa area would need precipitation approaching 140 percent of average in the next two months to achieve normal snowpack levels this year.

San Juan river flow measured south of town ranged from below 20 cubic feet per second in the morning hours last week to over 70 cubic feet per second in the afternoons.





 Sports Page


Parks & Rec

Youth basketball finals scheduled this week

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The finals of the youth basketball league have been set but the results will not be ready for this issue.

In the 9-10 division, we have Lucero Tire Lakers (league champions) going up against the Honda Hall Sonics.

The 11-12 championship game has the Citizens Bank Bulls facing August and Sons Excavating Kings.

In both championship games, the No. 1 seed from league action is playing the No. 2 seed.

The league has been played very evenly with many of our problems coming in the last few days as players and coaches became more competitive.

Anytime you mention the words "first place" or "tournament," the participants get a little more aggressive and a little more verbal.

We would like everyone to step back and look at the great number of participants, and the fact there was no real drop in attendance as the league went on. This is a tribute to evenly matched teams, coaches playing everyone their allotted quarters per game, and the fact we had exclusive use of the community center to try to get the athletes home at a decent time.

A thank you goes to all the wonderful local businesses that sponsored teams and coaches who donated their time to make the league a success.

Master plan

A meeting with the consultant took place Friday in Fort Collins and I saw two rough drafts.

Those drafts and preliminary drawings should be ready for an April public meeting, followed by a recreation advisory board meeting to complete Phase 2 of the project.

Raw water feed

A quick update on progress of the raw water feed that will serve the athletic fields in South Pagosa: U-Can-Afford Landscaping is starting the watering project and will be finished with the road bore soon. A triple-phase electricity installation by LPEA will follow.

We are waiting for the proper permits from the Army Corps of

Engineers to work in the river, and that should happen within the next three to four weeks.

A service road from South 5th Street to the river will be built between now and the end of March.

Adult basketball

Adult basketball begins next week with the recreation league beginning play at the community center. Men's competitive and women's leagues will begin play the week of Feb. 24.

If you are interested in playing this season and do not have a team to play on, please contact the department at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Referees needed

The department is looking for a few more referees for the upcoming basketball season. If you understand the game or have experience and are interested in refereeing games, contact the recreation department at the number above. Ask for Chris.


Boys bounce back, bury Bayfield 73-33

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

What a difference a day makes.

After an unsettling defeat at the hands of Ignacio the night before in which his team sputtered, Pagosa Coach Jim Shaffer uncorked lightning in a bottle Friday night against Bayfield in front of another capacity home crowd eager to see the Pirates bounce back.

And the Pirates obliged - bouncing the Wolverines right out of the Intermountain League contest in a quick-striking, high-octane first quarter assault from which Bayfield would never recover.

Pagosa controlled the tip, but turned the ball over on a traveling violation. And that's about all that went wrong for the home team in what was arguably the finest quarter of basketball the Pirates have put together this season.

From that point on, Shaffer's cagers played like they'd sprinkled a few extra teaspoons of sugar on their cereal that morning, zipping around the court in a rabid frenzy as a shellshocked Bayfield team literally stood in awe.

Pagosa junior Clayton Spencer swatted away the first Bayfield shot attempt, then a three-second call gave the ball back to the Pirates. Pirate senior Jason Schutz quickly set the tone with four straight from the block before Bayfield's Jake Harrington got a pair for the visitors.

Spencer answered with two; then a Pirate press resulted in a 10-second call on Bayfield. Brandon Charles made good use of the turnover, lofting a perfect pass above the left side of the rim which Pirate teammate Caleb Forrest met in midair, and his two-handed crush put Pagosa up 8-2.

A steal netted two more for Forrest, then Spencer got into the high-flying act, driving down the lane and finishing with an emphatic slam to put the Pirates up 12-2.

Bayfield's Matt Gonzales got two, but Ryan Goodenberger broke loose and sped downcourt to get two right back for the Pirates, converting a layup with four minutes gone in the first.

Bayfield got within seven at 14-7, but wouldn't dent the Pirate defense for another point in the quarter. Spencer and Schutz combined for the next Pagosa four, and Forrest got three more from a free throw followed by a put-back jam on an offensive rebound; Pagosa led 21-7.

The Pirates continued the onslaught, stealing, blocking and scoring at a frenetic pace to close the period. A steal by David Kern enabled Spencer to convert, then Charles scored four straight and Goodenberger struck for two more with under a minute left.

A Bayfield heave at the buzzer was off the mark, and the pumped-up Pirates went to the sideline with a 29-7 lead while the roar from the home crowd's standing ovation intensified.

Jeremy Caler hit a baseline trey to open second-quarter scoring for the Pirates, and Schutz and Charles got the next six as the Wolverine deficit grew throughout the quarter in the shadow of a relentless Pagosa defense.

Kern converted from the stripe to put Pagosa up 41-14 with just over a minute left, then Bayfield's Sam McDonald hit a lone charity toss before Pirate guard Ty Faber sank a deep three as time expired to give the Pirates a commanding 44-15 halftime lead.

Schutz tipped home two for Pagosa to open the third, and the Pirates continued to hustle on defense throughout the quarter while stretching the lead over 30. The Wolverines could manage only five points in the stanza, and trailed 57-20 at the start of the fourth.

The Pirates never let up in the final period, and finished strong behind the defense of Otis Rand and Brandon Samples. Faber hit for five, and Coy Ross and Casey Belarde pumped in three each for the Pirates. When the dust settled after the horn, Pagosa had outscored the overmatched Wolverines by 40, winning 73-33.

Forrest paced the Pirates with 15 points, followed by Charles, who had 10 assists and seven steals to go along with 12 points. Schutz had 11 points, four assists and led in rebounds with seven.

Afterward, Shaffer acknowledged the Pirate first-quarter effort which effectively sealed the victory.

"It was a pretty amazing quarter for us. For eight solid minutes we had kids flying around everywhere; we got into an effective two-two-one press. We had a bunch of good things happen on defense. It was just a heck of a quarter."

Shaffer was also pleased with the way his team responded after the tough loss the previous night. "I've got to give them credit for showing up and bouncing back. It would have been easy to have an emotional letdown after what happened last night, but they fought through it and came to play."

Shaffer credited the Pirate fans with a large part of his team's success and energy throughout the night and the season in general.

"I can't say enough about our crowd. All year long this has been a great atmosphere to play in, and tonight again the guys fed off the crowd and were excited even before the game began," said Shaffer. "We hope that's not our last home game."

The win pushed Pagosa's overall record to 15-2 and 5-1 in IML contests. In light of Ignacio's loss to Centauri Saturday night, the Pirates control their own destiny and can secure the league title and an automatic bid for the state playoffs with wins tomorrow night at Centauri and next Saturday at Monte Vista.

Game time for tomorrow's matchup, to be held in the Centauri Middle School gym, is set for 7 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 6-18, 3-5, 15; Goodenberger 3-8, 0-0, 6; Schutz 5-8, 1-1, 11; Charles 3-12, 5-6, 12; Spencer 5-8, 0-2, 10; Kern 0-2, 1-2, 1; Faber 3-6, 0-0, 8; Rand 0-1, 0-2, 0; Caler 1-4, 0-0, 3; Ross 1-3, 1-2, 3; Samples 0-4, 1-2 1; Belarde 1-3, 1-2, 3. Three-point goals: Caler and; Charles 1 each, Faber 2. Fouled out: none. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 22. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 33. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 13.


Boys turn over game to Ignacio, fall 67-59

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

They may have been reading the same game plan, but rarely were Coach Jim Shaffer's Pirates pulling bookmarks from the same page.

Such was the case Thursday night in a hotly contested but often sloppy Intermountain League battle with Ignacio inside a packed Pagosa Springs High School gymnasium.

Ignacio came to town looking to avenge their only loss of the season, suffered Jan. 21 on their home court against Pagosa. And in the midst of numerous and uncanny miscues, plus some plain ol' bad luck, the Pirates returned the favor.

Things started out OK for the Pirates; after Ignacio's Lorenzo Rodriguez was called for a travel on his team's opening possession, Pirate senior Brandon Charles sank two free throws after being fouled on a drive to put Pagosa up 2-0.

Ben Neil answered for the Bobcats before Pagosa's Caleb Forrest got his first two, and Pagosa led 4-2. It would prove to be the home team's last lead of the game. Neil scored to pull Ignacio even, then struck for two more to give his team a permanent lead at 6-4.

Pagosa got a free throw from Senior Jason Schutz, but mishandled the ball repeatedly to allow the Bobcats to jump out to a 10-5 lead. Forrest tipped home a miss by teammate Clayton Spencer to draw Pagosa within three, but Ignacio's Laramy Miller and Mike Jefferson got three straight to extend the lead to 13-7.

Spencer kept the Pirates close with a left-handed tip before the Bobcats capitalized on more Pagosa errors to go up 17-9. Forrest put up four in the final minute for Pagosa and Charles sank a free throw, but at the end of one the Bobcats held the lead at 19-14.

Ball control was a nagging problem for the Pirates throughout the contest, and two straight giveaways to a Bobcat trap to open the second period enabled Ignacio to widen the gap to nine at 23-14.

Spencer hit the front end of a one-and-one to cut the lead to eight, but Ignacio's Chris Phillips drilled a trey to extend the lead to double digits. Ignacio led 26-15 with under five minutes left in the half.

The Pirates fought to get back into a rhythm on offense, but couldn't find the handle on several passes and flirted with a double digit deficit throughout the stanza.

Meanwhile, Ignacio continued to light up the scoreboard from all over the court, missing only occasionally during a red-hot shooting streak.

A jumper by Pagosa's Ty Faber and drive by Ryan Goodenberger got the Pirates to within 10 at 30-20. But turnovers prevented Pagosa from doing further damage until the three-minute mark, when Schutz hit two from the stripe to get his team within eight at 30-22.

Junior Brandon Samples followed suit with one from the line to get the Pirates as close as seven before the lid slammed shut on the Pirate rim and the wheels came off down the stretch.

In the final two minutes, the Pirates had several layups spin out, gave away the ball and were called for several frustration fouls to trail by 13 at the half, 36-23.

The third started out no differently, and even with five points from Spencer, two from Forrest and a trey from Goodenberger, in light of more giveaways the Pirate deficit grew to 18 at the halfway point. They trailed 51-33.

Then Spencer and Forrest, with assistance from Goodenberger and Jeremy Caler, were able to pry the rim open, and the Pirates put together a run to cut the lead to nine by period's end. They trailed 54-45.

The crowd was into it early in the fourth and their enthusiasm for a Pirate comeback grew on the heels of a Goodenberger jumper that got Pagosa within seven with just over five minutes left in the game.

Then, on Pagosa's next possession, came a call that left many home fans in attendance a bit puzzled, to say the least.

With a chance to get within five, Goodenberger drove down the home sideline, came to a jump-stop, and was plowed over by an Ignacio defender. Then came the whistle, a pushing indication from the referee trailing the play, and the subsequent foul call - on Goodenberger.

The call, coupled with six straight Pirate misses and a possible goaltending call on a Caler layup that was ruled a clean block off the glass, sapped the momentum from Shaffer's team.

Although the Pirates pulled to within five behind late baskets by Spencer and David Kern, they were forced to foul in the waning 90 seconds. As a result, Pagosa suffered only its second loss of the season and first in league play, losing 67-59.

Spencer led all scorers with 20, followed by Forrest with 14. Goodenberger led in assists with 6. The Pirates totaled 23 turnovers.

After the loss, which gave the Pirates a 14-2 overall record and 4-1 IML mark, Shaffer said his team's performance was the reflection of a couple weeks of poor practice.

"In a nutshell, we played tonight like we've been practicing the last two weeks. We didn't practice well, and its human nature to eventually play like you practice and tonight it caught up with us."

Shaffer took nothing away from Ignacio's effort, which tied them with Pagosa for the league lead, saying, "They came in here and took it to us, and we didn't respond well offensively or defensively tonight."

Shaffer explained that perhaps some positives could result from the stinging loss. "We can't change it, but we can learn some things from it. I hope it's a huge wakeup call," said Shaffer, adding, "It's not the end of the world."

The Pirates travel to Centauri tomorrow night for a crucial IML contest. Tip off, at the middle school gym, is 7 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 6-12, 2-2, 14; Goodenberger 4-7, 0-2, 9; Schutz 0-6, 4-6, 4; Charles 0-7, 5-10, 5; Spencer 9-14, 2-4, 20; Kern 1-1, 0-0, 2; Faber 1-1, 0-0, 2; Samples 0-0, 1-2 1; Caler 1-6, 0-0, 2. Three-point goals: Goodenberger 1. Fouled out: none. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 16. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 32. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 21.


Ladies exhibiting Refuse to Lose tendencies

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates have suddenly become a feisty force in the Intermountain League, one with a possible new motto: Refuse to Lose.

After opening league play on a 0-3 skid, the Ladies have surged back to a 3-3 league record, avenging two of the three losses.

At no time has the refuse-to-lose mantra been more evident than on their home court Saturday when they defeated Bayfield 46-42.

They had chances to lose but wouldn't take them. They had opportunities to fade in the stretch. But refused to succumb.

For example:

- They were outrebounded for the first time this season, 24-23, with 13 of Bayfield's boards going to Kim Picolli alone.

But Picolli, normally the Lady Wolverines floor leader, had perhaps her worst shooting night ever, hitting just three of 16 from the floor while under continuous harassment from Pirate defenders.

- Pagosa's leading scorer, Caitlyn Jewell, was in early foul trouble and had an off night, finishing with just seven points.

- The Lady Pirates continued their largesse, committing 17 unforced turnovers, one of their lower totals for the season.

- Having lost to Bayfield by 13 on the Wolverines' home court, the Pagosans could have thrown in the towel early, but refused to lose. For the second consecutive game, they shot over 60 percent from the floor and played tight shifting defense.

The squads exchanged baskets infrequently in a "feel-'em-out" first period that ended in an 8-8 tie. Shannon and Lori Walkup each had a field goal for Pagosa with Bri Scott adding one from the floor and two from the foul line.

Bayfield responded with single field goals from Jamie Hill, who would be their leading scorer in the game with 12, Cassie Dunavant, Ashley Hahn and Jackie Shaw, her only points of the contest.

Scott drilled a trey to open the second quarter and open a three-point lead for the homestanding Pagosans. Freshman forward Caitlin Forrest added to the margin with an eight-foot hook shot and the lead was five.

But Picolli finally hit her first shot, after six tries, was fouled and added the free throw to cut Pagosa's margin.

With Jewell having picked up a pair of early fouls, coach Bob Lynch went to the bench for freshman center Emily Buikema who scored inside on her first touch.

Hill came back with a free throw and field goal for Bayfield, but Buikema muscled her way to two more field goals and with 3:24 left in the half, Pagosa was up 18-14.

Then the opportunities to lose began to appear for both sides. Neither could score and there were seven turnovers and two blocked shots by Buikema as neither team was able to score again before halftime.

Bayfield wasn't done - but neither was Buikema.

Scott and Shannon Walkup each hit short jumpers to hike the Pagosa lead to 22-14, but Lacy Beck hit a long trey, her only score of the game, to bring the

Wolverines back. Hill hit two in a row from the floor and Dunavant added one as the visitors stormed back to a 26-26 tie with 2:38 left in the period. Jewell, back in the game on a tandem post setup with Buikema, hit her first points with a spin move to the right, was fouled and converted the free throw.

Picolli and Hahn each scored a field goal and two free throws before Buikema hit three from the stripe and another field goal to put Pagosa up 33-30 at the three quarter mark.

With Dunavant hitting for four and Hahn for three, Bayfield cut the Pagosa lead to 35-33 with just 42 seconds gone in the period, the lone Pagosa answer a long jumper from Scott on the right side.

Then it was Jewell hitting a quick pair inside before Hill answered with a deuce for Bayfield and Pagosa led 39-37 with 5:10 remaining.

Each of the Walkups converted a field goal and Scott added a free throw as Pagosa held the shaky lead at 44-42 with 26 seconds left.

Shannon Walkup was fouled and went to the line with a 1 and 1 opportunity.

Her shot rimmed out but Buikema was there for the rebound and putback, giving Pagosa the final 46-42 margin.

With 18 seconds and no time- outs left, Bayfield's final desperation shot was six feet short and Buikema had the ball needing only a pass to Scott to end the game.

The Lady Pirates hit 18 of 38 from the floor and nine of 13 from the foul stripe while Bayfield had a dismal 17 of 49 from the floor but a respectable 10 of 17 from the free throw line.

Buikema led Pagosa in scoring with 14, and in rebounds with six, three at each end. Scott had 10 points and four rebounds. Lori Walkup and Jewell each had seven points and four rebounds and Shannon Walkup had six points and three rebounds.

The victory put Pagosa in the middle of the IML pack at 3-3 with another chance for revenge coming up this week when they travel to Centauri for a 5:30 p.m. Valentine's Day encounter.

Pagosa lost to Centauri at home 55-32 on Jan. 18 in the league opener, the loss coming a week after Lori Walkup went down with a broken bone in her hand and missed the next five games.

Centauri currently sits atop the league at 5-1, having lost only to Bayfield. Bayfield is second with losses to Pagosa and Monte Vista. The Lady Pirates are third, Ignacio fourth at 2-3 and Monte Vista fifth at 1-4.


Scoring: Scott 3-6, 3-4, 10; S. Walkup 3-8, 0-1, 6; Honan, 0-1, 0-0, 0; L. Walkup, 3-5, 1-2, 7; Kelly, 0-2, 0-0, 0; Bliss, 0-1, 0-0, 0; Jewell, 3-5, 1-1, 7; Buikema, 5-9, 4-5, 14; Forrest, 1-2, 0-0, 2. Rebounds: Buikema 6, Jewell L. Walkup and Scott 4 each. Steals: Scott and L. Walkup 3 each. Assists: Scott 3, Bliss ,L. Walkup and S. Walkup 2 each. Blocks: Buikema 4, Jewell 1 and Forrest 1. Turnovers: Pagosa 17, Bayfield, 8.


Lady Pirates topple Ignacio for second IML win

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Shooting accuracy, both from the floor and the free throw line, has been elusive for the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates - until Thursday night.

They found their groove and secured their second consecutive Intermountain League victory, after three league losses, downing the Ignacio Lady Bobcats 60-56 in a home court barnburner.

After stopping Monte Vista the previous Saturday by shooting over 60 percent from the floor, Pagosa's ladies hit 21 of 33 from the floor against Ignacio for 63 percent marksmanship.

But it was free throw shooting, a sore point with Coach Bob Lynch for several games, which actually made the difference.

After going five of 21 from the line against Monte Vista, Lynch had players shooting in the early morning before class and after practice in the evening, trying to overcome clankers and air balls from the stripe.

It paid off with an 18 of 29 performance for 62 percent against Ignacio.

Still, with the Lady Bobcats raining three pointers down, it was a close game throughout.

Pagosa opened quickly, racing to a 10-0 lead on the inside shooting of sophomore center Caitlyn Jewell and the jump shots of Bri Scott.

But the Bobcats, with the usual troublemakers Katie Whiteskunk, Raegena Thompson and Carol Lee Jefferson, stormed right back, each of them canning a first period trey.

Pagosa's senior captains, Shannon Walkup and Katie Bliss, each added a pair of markers in the first period as did freshman guard Liza Kelly.

By the end of the quarter Pagosa was up 16-13.

Ignacio battled into the lead early in the second on treys from Thompson and Jefferson.

But Lynch went to his new double post lineup with Jewell and freshman Emily Buikema and the pair responded with six points apiece in the stanza.

Scott contributed a driving left hander and Lori Walkup added a free throw as Pagosa scored 15 in the period.

Thompson, Whiteskunk and Jen Ruybal, meanwhile, were adding deuces for Ignacio. At the half, Pagosa still led by a slim three points, 31-28.

Thompson drilled another three-pointer and a deuce early in the third to give Ignacio a short-lived lead, but Scott, Shannon Walkup and Bliss each answered with two-pointers and Jewel drilled four from the charity stripe. Ruybal and Stephanie Rivera converted on inside drives for Ignacio and Pagosa's lead was cut to 41-39 after three periods.

That lead grew rapidly in the fourth as Lori Walkup became a Pirate with a mission.

First, she captured a defensive rebound, drove the length of the court and scored, being fouled in the process.

She converted the free throw, then stole Ignacio's inbound pass and scored again, almost before the Lady Bobcats had time to sharpen their claws for the final period and just like that Pagosa had a seven point lead.

The Bobcats weren't through, however, and found a new source of frustration for Pagosa.

Maria Rivera, a 5-7 sophomore who had been 0-3 for the game suddenly caught fire.

She drilled two treys and a pair of free throws.

Scott answered with a 14-foot jumper and then drilled four in a row from the free throw line to give the lead back to Pagosa.

Shannon Walkup hit a jumper from the lane on a corner feed from Bliss and the Pirates were a little more at ease.

But a last-second overtime shot which defeated them in Ignacio had the Ladies wary of another Ignacio comeback.

While Jefferson tried to answer Pagosa's free throw flurry with four of her own, the 'Cats got only one more field goal, by junior Kyra Bartley.

The Lady Pirates, meanwhile, were parading to the line as Ignacio had to foul to try to regain possession. Thompson, Whiteskunk and Ruybal each fouled out down the stretch.

The Pirates used those trips to the line for five more points, two each by Mollie Honan and Buikema and one by Kelly.

Without Whiteskunk to control their offense, Ignacio went 0-5 from the floor in the last 90 seconds and Pagosa had a 60-56 victory, making them 2-3 in the IML and 8-8 for the season.

After the game, Lynch was extremely pleased with the free throw shooting performance and even more pleased that both from the line and the floor his Ladies were over 60 percent.

Still to be cured, however, is the Pirates' turnover proclivity. The Ladies relinquished possession 23 times, or the victory margin could have been much higher.

The Pagosa height advantage, too, was evident in the final statistics, a 31-19 edge for the home team, paced by eight each from Lori Walkup and Jewell and seven by Buikema.

Despite all their three-pointers, Ignacio's Lady Bobcats hit only 18 of 52 shots from the floor, a 34-percent figure which had coach Dwayne Odoms perplexed.

Several times he cautioned his team about shooting too quickly and not working for the open chance.

Jewel paced Pagosa's scoring with 16, Scott added 14, Buikema 8 and Lori Walkup 7.

Thompson led Ignacio's scoring with 15, Jefferson added 10, Whiteskunk and Maria Rivera each had 8 and Ruybal chipped in with 7, Bartley had 4 and Stephanie Rivera, 3.


Scoring: Scott, 5-8, 4-8, 14; S. Walkup, 3-6, 0-0, 6; Honan, 0-1, 2-4, 2; Bliss, 1-1, 2-2, 4; Jewell, 6-7, 4-6, 16; Buikema, 3-5,2-2, 8; Kelly, 1-2, 1-2, 3; L. Walkup, 2-3, 3-5, 7. Rebounds: L. Walkup 8, Jewell, 8, Buikema 7, Honan 3, Scott 3, Forrest 2. Steals: Bliss 3, S. Walkup, L. Walkup, Scott 2 each. Assists: L. Walkup, S. Walkup and Scott 3 each. Blocks, Jewell 1.


Pirates beat Monte Vista; head for regional tourney

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

With a 41-32 dual-meet win over Monte Vista Feb. 6 Pirate wrestlers finished their regular season schedule in second place in the Intermountain League standings.

The IML title is determined on the basis of dual meets with each of the league schools. Pagosa won meets against Ignacio, Bayfield and Monte Vista and lost to league champ Centauri.

The win over Monte Vista, at Monte Vista, solidified the Pirates' grip on second place and propels the team into this weekend's regional tournament at Colorado Springs.

At Monte, Pagosa took forfeits from the hosts at 189 pounds and at 140. Pagosa forfeited at 119 and 275 so the meet came down to matches wrestled.

Darren Hockett has not been beat in a long time. The Pirate 103-pounder continued his win streak at Monte, scoring four team points with a 15-5 major decision over Kyle Francis.

Junior Michael Martinez kept up his streak at 112. Martinez stopped Monte's Matt Gonzalez, putting the opponent's shoulders to the mat in the second period of the match.

At 125, Mike Maestas created some momentum going into the regional tournament with a win by injury default over James Pacheco. Maestas got the win when Pacheco couldn't continue in the third period.

Justin Bloomquist got a win at 130. The Pirate put six points on the team score when he pinned Quentin Burke in the second period.

Aaron Hamilton won at 145. The junior scored a 14-7 decision over Clayton Weaver.

Clayton Mastin took a dramatic 5-4 decision at 160. Mastin and his opponent were tied 3-3 before the Monte wrestler managed an escape to take a 4-3 lead. Mastin nailed the takedown and two points with 10 seconds left on the clock.

"We had a lot of guys sick," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "Kids on both sides were sick, but our guys who felt well wrestled well."

The meet was originally scheduled as a tri-meet with Pagosa meeting Monte Vista and La Junta in duals. La Junta cancelled the trip due to inclement weather on the plains.

"We were disappointed La Junta didn't make it," said the coach, "but the win over Monte was good for us. I'm pleased to finish 3-1 in league matches, in second place. I'd love to have the dual we lost to Centauri back, but they don't do it that way."

Janowsky said the win over Monte was significant. "I thought, in terms of the matchups, it would be a problem for us. But we're wrestling pretty solid and we're wrestling consistently."

Friday, the Pirates are at the regional qualifying tournament at St. Mary's High School in Colorado Springs. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the state tournament at Denver the following week.

"We're giving away three weights and taking 11 guys," said Janowsky of the regional meet. "I think each of our guys has chance at this meet. A lot of our wrestlers should have a good chance to advance. I think the tournament will be real balanced."

Action at St. Mary's begins with a preliminary round at 4 p.m. Friday. Following that round, the quarterfinals will be contested Friday night.

Saturday, action begins with a consolation round at 10 a.m. The semifinals are up next with finals set for approximately 6 p.m.


Pagosans have top times in Wolf Creek fun races

With only nine persons entered on the distaff side, there was plenty of room for medals for women in the sixth fun races of the season Saturday at Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Carrie Weisz of Pagosa Springs, with a run of 31.73 seconds in the women's 51-60 bracket, had the quickest female time for the day.

On the men's side, Kyle Frye of Pagosa, running in boys' 18-20, had the quickest time, skiing the course in 25.30.

Weisz was followed by Kris Foster of Chicago in 37.39 and Katherine Cruse of Pagosa in 38.14.

Frye was chased by Adam Zamora of Farmington in 32.59 and Chris Tautges of Germany in 36.23.

Other times for women included 43.23 for Lacey Wilcox of Oklahoma City in girls' 12-14; 39.28 for Synthia Barsun of San Antonio in women's 23-30; 34.00 for Ronda Higvy and 47.49 for Christie Spears, both of Pagosa in the women's 36-40 bracket; 36.70 for Laurie Walston of Pagosa in women's 41-50; and 38.21 for Windsor Chacey of Pagosa in women's 61 and over.

With 43 racers on the male side, competition for medals was more intense.

In the smaller brackets, however, there was only one entry in each with Zach Devooght of Pagosa winning boys' 3-5 in 1:24.61 and Jackson Wilcox of Oklahoma City capturing boys' 6-8 in 50.73.

In boys' 9-11, it was an all-Pagosa run with Nick Jackson winning in 33.00, Seth Rizzo second in 33.13 and Mitch Higvy third in 34.44.

Boys' 18-20 went to Paul Muirhead of Pagosa in 29.98 with Foster Wilcox of Oklahoma City second in 33.95 and Derik Monkz of Pagosa third in 34.38.

J.R. Hudnall of Pagosa took boys' 15-17 in 34.82 with Carl Echel of Albuquerque second in 38.91 and Jacob Munoz of Fort Worth third in 42.12.

Richard Parker of Durango won men's 21-25 in 32.62 and David Treat of Oklahoma captured men's 36-40 in 33.05.

Men's 41-50 went to Dean Foster of Chicago in 30.57. Will Spears of Pagosa was second in 31.44 and Tom Schoemig of Pagosa third in 32.64.

Duncan Thayer of Alpine Village won men's 51-60 in 26.99. Albert Semara of Farmington was second in 31.35 and Don Barsun of San Antonio third in 32.45.

Herm Ator of Pagosa won men's 61 and over in 26.89, with Bryant Lemon of Pagosa second in 28.18 and Ron Chacey of Pagosa third in 28.61.

Next races will be Sunday, the President's Race competition.






Scott Smith

On Feb. 6, 2003 at 5:50 a.m., his favorite time of the day, Scott Smith passed on from this life. He was an outdoorsman, a master craftsman, photographer and a loving father, brother and son.

He loved his music, literature, travel, golf, a good cigar and a long laugh with friends. He lived with a little bit of outlaw, country, rock and roll, and a whole lot of love.

He did things his way, on his terms, in his time, and did it beautifully.

He arrived in Pagosa Springs with a dream, in the winter of 1978, and found a home, made a family, and left an incredible legacy.

Scott leaves many family members who will miss him dearly. His two children, Jennifer and Troy Smith are attending College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif.; his mother, Donna Mack, his sister, Nancy Ethington, his brother-in-law Greg Ethington, and his niece Heather Ethington, all live in Iowa where Scott was born. They held a memorial in Iowa for Scott this week. His loving stepsister and special friend, Mary Mack, cared for him throughout his illness. Mary and her husband, Dan O'Connor, live in Greeley; Scott's stepsister, Betsy Barker in Ohio, and stepbrother Bill Mack in Connecticut, survive him. His father, Robert Smith, and his stepfather, Dr. Wilmoth Mack, preceded him in death.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, over a hundred people gathered by the bridge in Juanita to tell stories, to enjoy a laugh at Scott's expense and to cry together. Two golden eagles flew over the San Juan River as they smoked cigars and said good-bye to their dear friend.

Very few people are loved by as many souls as Scott. He left an impact on everyone he knew. He will always be admired for his courage, his conviction, and his passion for life.

He was truly unique in every sense of the word. We will miss his laughter, his stories, his sense of humor and that twinkle in his eyes.


Lee Sterling

Lee Bernard Sterling, 82, died late Sunday, Feb. 9, 2003, in his Pagosa Springs home.

Born in Indiana Harbor, Ind., to Louis Sterling and Ana Catherine (Weschsler) Sterling, he was married in Highland Park , Calif., to Patricia Adams, who survives. He and Patty moved to Pagosa Springs in 1987.

A member of the National Honor Society, Safety Council, yearbook committee and a stage crew manager in high school, Sterling later became a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps and had detached service with the Royal Canadian Air Force. The owner and manager of a printing business, he became a manufacturer's representative for business machine makers.

A member of the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation in Pagosa Springs, he was a founder of the group and recently a member of its steering committee.

He was a former (1988) president of the Senior Citizens organization, founder of the Pagosa Springs Relay for Life, and enjoyed reading, politics, and writing letters to the editor.

Mr. Sterling was preceded in death by a brother, Harold and a sister, Sylvia.

Survivors in addition to his wife are two daughters, Sally Sterling Salina of Atascadero, Calif., and Amy Sterling (Davies) of Plano, Texas; sons Scott Adams Sterling of Dripping Springs, Texas, and Andrew Louis Sterling of Austin, and two nephews.

A service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Patrick's Episcopal Church on South Pagosa Boulevard, with burial to follow at Hillside Cemetery in Pagosa Springs.

A community pot luck will be held at the St. Patrick's Parish Hall following services. All are invited to attend and to bring a dish and beverage to share.

The family suggests memorial contributions to Mary Fisher Medical Clinic, Ruby Sisson Library or Planned Parenthood.


 Inside The Sun


School superintendent gets contract extension, pay raise

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

After 85 minutes in executive session Tuesday, the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint, announced it had extended the contract of Superintendent Duane Noggle through June 30, 2005.

The action followed mandatory review and evaluation of the superintendent's performance since he was hired to replace Terry Alley two years ago.

With the extension comes a salary increase from $85,000 annually to a new level of $89,250.

In other personnel action, the board approved appointment of Mark Young as an assistant high school baseball coach and added Mike Bradford and Tom Aiello as volunteer assistant baseball coaches.

Boys' baseball and girls' soccer practice begins Feb. 18, with first games expected in March as final schedules are being reworked.

In his monthly report to the board, Noggle noted state funding for textbooks and breakfast programs already have been cut.

The book allowance, added business manager Nancy Schutz, was $31,000, a figure well below what the district regularly spends.

Noggle also made a presentation on the district's new FirstClass online e-mail system within district offices, an upgraded network in which each employee has a desktop address.

Though there have been some bugs in the system, particularly at the elementary school, he said, overall it is working as anticipated as the problems are being worked out.

Reviewing the board's proposed strategic plan which will be up for approval next month, director Carol Feazel questioned the wording, wondering aloud, "Who is it for?"

Told by Noggle it is intended as a guide for "the administration to carry out the goals of the board," she withdrew her language objections.

Director Randall Davis, board president, said he views it as "a way of keeping track of what we feel is important, of keeping in touch with how our decisions are being incorporated into daily policy."

He asked board members if anyone wanted to add more in terms of board goals or if anyone found anything wrong with the proposed statement.

When there were no comments, Davis asked, "Is it workable? Are there too many objectives contained therein?"

Noggle told the board it is his opinion the plan "is definitely workable. If we find it is not we can come back to the board with the specific problem.

"We view it as a living document," he said, "a guide to the district's direction in the future."

It will be an agenda item for decision at next month's meeting.

Finally, in a proposed analysis of its own performance, the board seemed reluctant to act on suggested formal self-evaluation.

"Is there a need?" asked Davis. "Is there any benefit to our function as a board? How effective can something like this be?"

Noggle said it is a recommended action by state and national school board associations and there are two means, one very detailed and a second less intrusive version.

Feazel led the opposition.

"Were a small enough board that we should be able to discuss these things among ourselves and reach livable decisions," she said.

"I see a redundancy here," said Feazel. "We've covered a lot of the topics suggested in the form in our actions creating operational plans and guidelines. I can't see any value in coming up with a grade point rating for ourselves."

She said she can see value "in looking at ourselves as an integral unit, but we do that regularly as we attack problems and render decisions.

"We just do it in a more informal way," she concluded.

Davis suggested the evaluation might provide a chance to "reflect on what we do as a board, what is good about it and what needs to be changed."

Noggle told the board a checklist would be a good idea, with the relationship between superintendent and board continually evaluated and developed.

Feazel agreed, noting, "We all look at our decisions as we make them and afterward. We have no personal agendas, we give ourselves a chance to succeed by acting in accord."

There is a legitimate issue, she said, "about how a board handles itself," but added, "we have been able to communicate with each other on both personal and professional levels. If we disagree, we feel free to say so. If we agree, we make a decision reflecting that agreement."


Not her fault: don't call assessor with tax complaints

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

It seems county property tax statements for 2002 sent out in mid-January are causing a lot of headaches, not only for those receiving them, but for staff at the county assessor's office who are handling a multitude of misplaced complaints concerning increased taxes.

According to Keren Prior, the county assessor, the office has been flooded with calls from property owners within the county and around the country with complaints ranging from "This is taxation without representation" to "Why did you raise my property value?"

"We're trying to get people to understand that this office doesn't approve any increase or decrease in mill levies, the voters within each district do," said Prior, adding, "And except in cases of new construction or home additions, assessed property values for 2002 have remained the same (as in 2001) for the most part."

Nor does the assessor's office establish any mill levy rates to be voted on by the public, the individual taxing entities do (School District 50 Jt, Upper San Juan Health Service District, etc.).

What property owners are wrestling with this year is an apparent confusion of the relationship between assessed values and higher mill levies. Some are dealing with tax bills that, in most cases, are a great deal higher than the year before due to the passage of sizable increases in mill levies for the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and Pagosa Fire Protection District - and not increases in assessed property values.

What those who owe may not realize is, unless they see an assessed value on their 2002 statements exceeding that of the 2001 statement, the county assessor's office has absolutely nothing to do with the increases.

The assessor appraises the market value of property according to rules set forth by the state of Colorado. The assessor then calculates the assessed value based on formulas provided by the state and in accordance with rules established for each class of property, then notifies the corresponding taxing entities in August of each year, stating the assessed values of each property within that entity's boundaries.

Each entity (or district) then develops a budget for the following year using assessed values provided by the assessor, and the subsequent tax rates are established by each entity and reflect the need for increases (or decreases) in revenue.

So why the inflated bills? To reiterate, most of the high price tag can be attributed to last year's voter-approved higher mill levies, namely the passage of the PAWS bond issue resulting in a mill levy of 18.726. That's about three times the amount levied, or taxed, against assessed values the year before in District 1.

Now for the math. For simplicity, assume an actual property value of $100,000, keeping in mind that actual values in the county are often much higher.

If you own any type of property other than residential, 29 percent of the actual value (in this case $29,000) is the assessed value, the amount used to calculate what you owe to each taxing entity and is the figure listed above the actual value on the property tax statement. (The 29-percent rate is established in TABOR, and does not vary year to year.)

How is the amount owed to each entity determined? To determine this amount, multiply the assessed value of the property by the number of mills levied by a particular district, converting the mills to a decimal.

For this example, when the PAWS levy of 18.726 is converted to a decimal, or .018726, and multiplied by $29,000, the amount owed equals $543.05.

Residential assessed values are figured at the rate of approximately 9 percent of the actual value, which, using the same $100,000 actual value as in the previous example, would amount to about $9,000. Multiply $9,000 by the PAWS levy (.018726) and the taxes owed equal roughly $169.00.

Anyone seeking information pertaining to mill levies and subsequent tax increases in a particular district should contact that district, and not the assessor's office.

Before calling the assessor's office with questions concerning assessed property values, Prior recommends taking a glance at 2001's property tax statement to make sure there is indeed an increase.

"I don't normally raise an assessed value on a yearly basis unless there has been a change on the property which would affect its value," said Prior, "and a quick glance at the two statements will usually answer any questions."


Bankers offering scholarship

Bank of the San Juans and the Independent Bankers of Colorado are offering a student scholarship program and at least two Colorado high school seniors will receive $1,000 stipends.

Qualifications to receive a scholarship are a GPA of 3.0 or higher; acceptance at a Colorado college or university as a full-time student; have an account (or parents who have an account) at Bank of the San Juans for six months or more and completion of an application.

Applicants will be judged on their response to an essay question as well as academic performance, standards test scores, extracurricular activities and references.

Deadline for submitting applications to Bank of the San Juans is March 14. Winners will be announced the first week in May.

Pick up applications at Bank of the San Juans, 305 Hot Springs Blvd. in Pagosa Springs or at 144 E. 8th St., Durango.

For more information, call Angelia Cook at 247-1818.


Pagosa woman remembers Columbia astronauts

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Since the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart re-entering the Earth's atmosphere Feb. 1, the nation has mourned the loss of seven brave astronauts.

Thousands gathered for the memorial service at Johnson Space Center Feb. 4.

At least one woman who worked with the astronauts for about a decade couldn't be there. Instead, she taped the service from Pagosa Springs, a tape she still hasn't watched all the way through.

"For me they were not only my colleagues, but my friends," Vicki Wood said. Wood, who has a background in business, worked for United Space Alliance in the Astronaut Office and the Space Station Program Office at Johnson Space Center from 1990 until moving to Pagosa in June of 2001. In both places, she worked with the astronauts to prepare the equipment needed for flight.

"We interfaced between them and the organizations within NASA and the contractors to make sure they had what was needed," she said. That included items like seats, clothing, cameras, food and, once, a musical instrument.

Planning for flights sometimes started years before the actual launch, especially when it came to the space station, Wood said.

"We started planning three and a half or four years before the first station launch," she said.

In her years of service, she worked with most of the astronauts, including those killed in the recent accident. The Israeli astronaut, Col. Ilan Ramon, had offices right next door. Wood remembered saying hello in the hallways.

"We wanted input from the astronauts so we could make a better mousetrap for them to use, make them more comfortable on orbit," she said.

She spent about a year working directly for Kalpana Chawla, another one of the seven killed aboard Columbia. "We called her K.C.," Wood said. "She was a nice person, very intelligent." Together, they helped develop space station philosophy regarding equipment.

Safety, she said, was always a number-one priority, but it was also a goal of the program to find ways to improve the quality of life of the astronauts on the station.

Wood was also assigned to projects with mission specialist Laurel Clark, flight surgeon David Brown, shuttle pilot William "Willie" McCool, shuttle commander Rick Husband and payload commander Michael Anderson.

All were dedicated astronauts and wonderful people, Wood said. They were following a dream that, for many, is in the blood from a very early age. They died living that dream.

"That Saturday morning my husband called me from Texas and told me 'NASA's lost Columbia,'" Wood said. In disbelief, she turned on the television. "About that time they had a picture of the crew on and I just lost it."

Wood is a second-generation member of the aerospace community. Her father worked at Kennedy Space Center where she grew up watching Gemini and Apollo launches. Her husband also retired from NASA.

"The whole community down there (the suburb around the space center) is focused in aerospace," she said. "It's a very family-type atmosphere."

Although mention of the tragedy brings fresh tears to her eyes, she said the dream of space exploration can't and won't end with Columbia.

"They will fly again," she said. "I think young people in this country will continue to want to go into space. So many discoveries have been a direct benefit of the space program. It won't end here."


Legion helps Lutheran students study our flag

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The American flag has seen all the battles, all the deaths, all the joys, all the heroes the nation has had to offer.

It has flown over capitals, schools, businesses, private homes and business offices.

But how much do your children know about the flag, what it means, and how to honor it?

Students and staff at Our Saviour Lutheran School in Pagosa Springs are out to make sure flag knowledge and etiquette are understood in their facilities.

The school will have an honor guard to raise the flag each morning and children will be expected to offer proper honors as the flag is raised.

On Friday, the program was kicked off with special visitors and a special flag.

U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Ignacio had sent the school a flag which flew over the nation's capitol in Washington, D.C.

On hand to raise it for the first time were a contingent from Mullins-Nickerson American Legion Post 108 in Pagosa Springs.

The ceremony was marked by a rifle salute and an explanation to the students about how and why the flag is to fly.

Following the events outdoors, the Legion personnel went inside with the students to give lessons on flag history, how and when it is to be flown, how it is saluted and honored, and when it is to be retired.

Rev. Richard Boland, Our Savior pastor, offered a prayer for the nation and its personnel serving under the flag as the threat of war looms.

He also acknowledged the Legion presentation and told the children Legionnaires should be honored for service they have given their country, just as has the flag they were learning how to salute.

The event concluded with the Pledge of Allegiance recited by students, staff and Legion members and guests.




War's not answer

Dear Editor:

Those who oppose the war unanimously hold one belief: there do exist peaceful alternatives to the conflict with Iraq. We would undoubtedly win the war, but at what cost of Iraqi and American lives? We would win the war, but could we sustain the peace? How long would American soldiers have to enforce an uneasy peace?

This war will create more enemies for us, turn our allies against us, create more terrorism for us. If Saddam Hussein has stockpiled weapons of mass destruction, then what do we think will happen to them when war destabilizes Iraq? What hands will they fall into and against whom will they be targeted? The only victory that will truly endure in this crisis will come if no one is defeated.

We must refuse to accept war as an inevitable condition for mankind. Man is a rational being, but we cannot make rational choices when we are afraid. Sept. 11, 2001 drove fear deep into the hearts of Americans. Like a cornered beast, many have wanted to lash out at those who injured us so terribly. Those lives lost on that fearful day, however, must not have died in vain, but attacking Iraq would make that so; we would not have learned from their deaths that violence is not the answer, that violence and fear only lead to more violence in a never-ending, ever-widening circle. We must realize that while conflict is inevitable, violence is not. Peace is the only rational choice.

Our United States is the greatest democracy on the face of this earth. But when the people of the world view our nation as the greatest threat to world peace, something is very wrong. When the people of the world advocate other answers than for the United States to attack Iraq, and America refuses to listen to these global voices, something is terribly wrong.

A flaw exists in the logic President Bush uses when he asks the United Nations for solidarity against Iraq, but threatens to strike unilaterally against Iraq, no matter what the Untied Nations declares. We cannot belong to the United Nations without making a commitment to what it stands for. We cannot belong to the civilized nations of the world without realizing that all lives matter, whether American or Iraqi.

America cannot browbeat the world into submission, but she must lead the world in a new vision of a peaceful world order. She cannot bully her enemies, but she must motivate the countries of the world by her example. She cannot lead by intimidation, but must lead by inspiration, honor and integrity. The United States must continue to search for peaceful alternatives to conflict with Iraq.

Those who oppose war must share their voices advocating peace with anyone who will listen. Let your voices demanding peace echo in the chambers of Congress and resound in our president's ears. Tell them to stop the war before it begins. Tell them war is not the answer.

Yours in peace,

Nancy Esterbrook

Community loss

Dear Editor:

With the death of Lee Sterling the community and his many friends have lost a generous and willing volunteer who was one of a kind.

His wit and wisdom will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know him.

It was a great honor to call him friend.

Glenn Bergmann

TABOR works

Dear Editor:

Last week both the editor, Karl Isberg, and Rep. Larson suggested it is time to make changes to the Colorado Constitution to fix problems caused by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Sen. Isgar, however, concluded, "The time has come to bite the bullet and make the necessary cuts. Until revenues return we must make cuts to match our revenues and expenses."

I suggest that TABOR works well during both the years of plenty and lean years. TABOR helped check excessive government growth during the '90s. Many other states are in worse shape this year. Many of us now make less and pay less taxes. TABOR is forcing the government to cut accordingly.

Why should government agencies and the people who support particular programs believe that they should be immune to the tough decisions the rest of us have had to make?

I read about budget "cuts" and do not find the articles particularly helpful. Percentages are not useful unless we know what the base is. Similarly, raw numbers do not paint a clear picture. How much of the cuts were cuts of proposed growth in this fiscal year? Have programs been cut back to the fiscal year 2002 base, 2001 base, etc.?

Government agencies are not entitled to continue to grow at rates which are not supported by continued growth in our economy. TABOR ensures that we cut back to the level of services we can afford. Our elected officials have to make some tough decisions. We need to let them know our priorities, then support their decisions or let them know at the ballot box.

I do not like to see my favorite programs cut. I am sure you don't either. Except we are probably talking about different programs. It is unfortunate that more cuts have to be made in the third and fourth quarters of the state fiscal year.

Administrators of state programs and budgets have known, however, that further cuts could be necessary. If they fully spent their budgets for the first and second quarters, then it is the administrators who have acted unwisely.

When you read, as you probably will, that agencies are complaining about cuts late in the fiscal year, the first question to ask is why the budget and program administrators were not prepared to handle cuts they knew were likely to come.

It is truly unfortunate that we do not have as much money available to support desirable public programs as the state had initially projected. It is also unfortunate that the least among us often suffer even more - they receive less help from the government programs and less help from nonprofit charitable organizations.

I suggest that anyone who supports higher taxes should contribute an equivalent amount to the nonprofits, rather than try to impose higher taxes on those of us who have already had to bite the bullet.

Dennis L. Eamick

Defends TABOR

Dear Editor:

Your editorial "Take off the Cuffs" seems to have been launched on a flood of crocodile tears and loaded with inaccuracies and false assumptions about what TABOR is and does. It might, also, lead someone to think you didn't like the measure.

TABOR is not a spending plan. It does not limit funding for any budget category or item. It does not require budget cuts or reductions. It does not require reduction of the spending limit. It does not require any tax reduction.

It does set a total spending figure which includes the amount expended in the previous fiscal year, plus an additional amount for inflation and for growth. This is not unique with TABOR. There have always been limits on the amount, including allowed increases, that could be budgeted. Also, voter approval is required. Again, not unique to TABOR , as such requirements have been in our tax laws for decades.

"Our representatives" have survived under such limits for the last hundred years or so, through good times and bad. And, in spite of being thus handcuffed, were able to keep the state growing. Why change now?

One provision unique to TABOR is that revenue collected above the spending limit must be refunded. This allows taxpayers to benefit directly from high collections and good times. It has no effect on the present distressful situation.

Tax collections are somewhat less than the spending limit - something like $850 million less. State law, other than TABOR, prohibits deficit spending.

"Our representatives" must now reduce spending to coincide with the short collections. TABOR has nothing to do with the situation. No excess, no refund.

Yes, in some respects, TABOR is rather simple. It tells "our representatives" plainly and directly, here is the amount we calculate you might need. Spend it as you please. Should you feel more is needed, you must ask for an increase. And you must return any amount you might collect above the spending limit. What needs changing?

Looks like "our representatives" will be able to make the necessary spending cuts. TABOR subsection (4) (b) possibly disallows some of the "creative accounting" proposed, but Sen. Isgar says the legal staff cleared the pay date change. It's hard to see how this saves money. The obligation is there: pay today or pay next week. What's saved?

It is nice to see some concern for the law. The letter of TABOR should be followed, not just because the voters approved it, but rather because it is the law. Hopefully, the "creative accounting" will not produce the same results as in the business world.

Perhaps "our representatives" might use the present situation to, figuratively, sail the good ship Colorado into dry dock and scrape the barnacles off the hull, recaulk the seams, chip the rust away and heave the dead weight over the side. In general, get the craft back into "ship-shape" condition and make it into a more efficient operation.

Such action would also indicate they realize they are "our representatives" and not our masters.

F.T. Havens

Pets as lottery

Dear Editor:

I think the public should be aware of a new "Colorado Lottery in the Making" in our state.

House Bill 1260 seeks to elevate the status of pets, from property to "companion" and allow pet owners to sue their veterinarian for up to $100,000 for the emotional suffering they face at the death or injury of a pet. Colorado has more than 2 million dogs and cats in 1.6 million homes.

The Republican-sponsored bill, if passed, could be much better than buying a lottery ticket. Just sue your vet.

I'm a Republican through and through. I also work in the home of a veterinarian. I often arrive to see her hurrying off to the office after being up most of the night with someone's mare in foal, or I find little puppies and kittens carefully tucked in the bathroom so the vet could keep a close eye on them all night. I am amazed as the level of dedication.

Will we now subject our vets to the ruin our doctors are facing? High insurance and constant threat of lawsuits, so they can't even practice a profession it took eight years to achieve?

Write your representative. No more court held lotteries.

Wilma Hawkins


Dear Editor:

I sympathize with the daunting task of Sen. Isgar and Rep. Larson, that they write about in their weekly newspaper columns, to cut the $850 million state budget overrun.

The economy has contracted. Many companies have gone bankrupt. Business revenues are down. Workers have been laid off, salaries cut, pensions and medical benefits eliminated. Investment income has plummeted. Things are tough all over. I commend them for their hard work.

However, they permitted the overruns. They now must account for the consequences. Cuts must be made. What politician wants to cut his constituents' favorite programs?

But wait! The SUN rides to the rescue. Isgar's headline is, "Nursing homes, school breakfasts hit by cuts." We can't do that to the old folks and kids. Larson's column suggests a way out. Work for the change of TABOR. The SUN editorial brings the solution "Take off the cuffs". Repeal TABOR.

Another solution to this "legislative carelessness" is to vote out the legislature that caused it. TABOR was made law to prevent this kind of legislative overreach. Now it's working. Why should taxpayers, whose income has fallen just like the state's suffer increased taxes to bail out the state's overruns?

Taxpayers voted for this Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) to curb the legislature's appetite to overspend. Taxpayers, your Bill of Rights is at risk.

David Kuhn

Goodbye, friend

Dear Lee Sterling:

Goodbye old friend. With your passing our community has lost one of its finest, most intelligent and nicest citizens.

You always spoke with such good sound common sense and always in your gentle way. There were people who didn't agree with your philosophies, but they always liked you.

This is an uncommon virtue. Your quick sense of humor was unsurpassed. We will miss you very much.

Pierre and Sandy Mion

Faux patriots

Dear Editor:

Randy Shinn's letter of Feb. 6 definitely sent a cold chill up my spine and I had to ask myself, "Would Shinn consider Jane Fonda to be a patriot?" In my opinion, earlier generations would have executed Jane Fonda.

Can you imagine her frolicking atop a Nazi V2 rocket and then being hailed as one of the century's top 100 female role models? Neither can I see Hanoi Jane celebrating tea with a terrorist in an al-Qaeda cave or breaking bread with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and returning home a heroine. September 11 changed that.

On that day, we discovered that the patriotism many feared lost was only dormant. Kept alive over the years by the strong American family unit where our kids were taught the value of freedom and religion.

September 11 marked not only the death rattle for terrorism, but a monumental victory for hard hats; a victory of those who wear their patriotism on their sleeve over those who will not wear a flag on their lapel.

Now is not the time to bask in this triumph. It is time to consolidate this victory lest it fade. The wise remind us that if love is to survive, it must be exercised. We know this is true in our families and work places. It also is true in our country. It should be clear that every law we pass should foster love of country; and every parent, teacher, public figure, role model and hero should be a patriot who promotes patriotism in our youth and in our country.

We are clear that in terms of terrorism, you are either with us or against us. We should be just as clear with patriotism and you are either a patriot, one who supports and defends America, or you are not a patriot. The love of a patriot can be known by the acts of a patriot. The Bible teaches that there is a time for everything under the sun. Now is the time to enshrine patriotism in America, a time to denounce the anti-patriots, a time to expose the false patriots, a time to announce that we are ashamed to have them as countrymen.

The faux patriots are the most dangerous. They thrive in the media, where we hear American journalists separating journalism in America from America; where they denounce our war on terrorism, praise the courage of our enemy, and would expose our secrets and endanger our soldiers for a story.

The highest form of patriotism is service to our youth. No one is born a patriot, it must be taught. We should teach our children to be horrified by the awful offal of the counterfeit patriots and instill in them a love of America. For Randy Shinn to imply that I will become an informed citizen by reading a protest site on the Internet makes me vomit. As for "not in our name," Mr. Shinn did not serve in this 33 year Navy veteran's family's or country's name.

Jim Sawicki


Dear Editor:

The Archuleta County Health Care Project has met with Peg Christian, the person hired by the board to help with current problems. We developed a high level of confidence in Ms. Christian and believe the current resolution conflict process is of ultimate importance for the future of the district.

We, along with the other groups of employees, administrators, and the board have agreed to confidentiality. It is time for communication to proceed within the district and not from outside. We therefore pledge to end communication in this newspaper and all verbal discussions of the subject. We ask that our supporters likewise cease communication and that the public refrain from discussing the process with any employee, administrator or board member of the district.

During this moratorium we ask that all citizens and civic groups maintain concern and consider what can be done to offer help and support to the health care of our community. Please keep this process in your meditations and prayers.

Thank you.

Norm Vance

Cites inaccuracy

Dear Editor:

In response to Mr. Randy Shinn's letter last week, as well intentioned as it was, I provide herewith a factual, historical and objective perspective which I suggest should be considered by all open-minded persons.

The Web site Shinn recommends, was shut down very soon after the group published its ad because it was overwhelmed by clear-thinking opponents of its historic inaccuracy and hate directed against our government instead of against the real perpetrators of evil in the world.

Instead, I strongly recommend a reading of history to understand current events, especially the well-documented "The Sword of the Prophet; Islam - history, theology, impact on the world" by Serge Trifkovic, 2002, Regional Orthodox Press Inc., Boston, Mass.

Muhammad fled from Mecca, rejected by his own people, eventually conquered Medina, his place of exile, and returned to defeat Mecca on March 15, 624. Thenceforth, Moslems (Muslims) with their Islamic religion, repeatedly dominated those not agreeing with them by brutal war and atrocities, being suppressed at times only by superior force.

Their avowed purpose is world dominance through the death of opponents. A significant defeat, to prevent total overtaking of Europe, was at Vienna on Sept. 11, 1683, by an army led by a Polish general.

Note the significance of the date.

In the 1700s, three Moslem empires developed: Mogul in India, Safavid in Persia and Ottoman in Turkey. The Mogul and Safavid empires disappeared as a result of British and Russian ascendancy. The Ottoman Dynasty ruled the greatest Moslem state until 1922 when European power dominated the Moslems.

Today, the Moslems still desire world dominance especially through destruction of Israel and the West. This they attempt to achieve through terrorism and a high birth rate planned purposely to overtake Europe, and eventually America, with rapidly decreasing birth rates. This terrorism, with leaders like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and with increasingly available weapons capable of killing millions even in our own country, again, can be stopped only by force, the only deterrence successful historically, following years of failed negotiation, UN resolutions, and peaceful efforts.

No one, including our administration, wants war which is avowedly a last resort, but, given the above, war may be inevitable as the only means of prevent atrocities the magnitude of which will far exceed anything witnessed heretofore.

While we must all pray and strive for peace, we must keep a historical, balanced perspective and be prepared to accept that evil, which has the capacity of destroying us all more easily than ever before, cannot be dealt with by stalling appeasement but only by being destroyed. If it is not, far more people will be slaughtered than would be by any action used to deter it.

Contrary to Mr. Shinn's opinion, the United States will not use weapons for aggression, but for safeguarding the very freedom for which he gallantly fought, and the peace and security of all of us.

Who wants to take a chance on another 9/11 or greater disaster by non-action?

Eugene Witkowski

Growth challenge

Dear Editor:

I am writing to challenge those who advocate a growth moratorium as a solution for human impact on water, air, and wildlife in Pagosa Springs and elsewhere. What confuses me about this thinking is that, for most people, in order to experience love on this planet, they choose to create a family.

A conservative estimate is that one couple will have two children who will each have two children, and so on. Within three generations, 14 people will be wanting homes in which to create their own families. My question is: Are developers to blame for growth? Or are they simply finding their niche?

China's solution for human population with its abortion and infanticide would be unacceptable to most of us in order to control growth. The Soviet Union attempted to abolish private property and put everything under government control, and it eventually collapsed..

However, during the years of their "experiment" there was virtually no growth, and tremendous human misery. Some cities, to address "growth" issues, have torn down single family residences and replaced them with high-rise, high-density buildings. People have resorted to extreme means to avoid living there, and commute instead to their single family residences. Governmental control of human activity apparently does not control growth or "sprawl."

Many in this country think that our environmental problems rest squarely on the shoulders of real estate developers. In my opinion the problem goes deeper than that.

For instance, if a farmer or rancher finds his land taxes increased a thousandfold overnight, he gives up and sells to developers. Who's to blame? The taxing entity or the developers? And who is permitting developers to change this former ranch into a subdivision? Some government entity, most likely.

We're so entrenched in the idea that government has to foot the bills for roads, water, sewer, schools, libraries and fire protection that we can't think "outside of the box."

For these issues, I concede that builders and developers get a free ride on the backs of taxpayers. But what if they had to prove they could supply these things before building even one house.

Our communities would have a completely different complexion, which we may or may not like, and may or not like to pay for.

Sara J. Wilson


Community News

Senior News

Don't forget bags, boxes for Valentine cards

By Janet Copeland

SUN Columnist

Remember the Valentine's Party; we will celebrate Feb. 14. Bring a decorated bag or box for your Valentine cards and we will give a prize for the prettiest. We will exchange cards before and after lunch, plus enjoy a wonderful meal planned by Dawnie and the kitchen staff.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, which brings to mind love, congratulations to Mae and Roy Boughan who celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary Friday. They are wonderful folks and we commend them for being happily married for that long.

We are sorry to learn that Lee Sterling passed away. Our prayers are for his family.

Thanks to the children and teachers from Seeds of Learning who entertained us last week. We always enjoy having them join us.

The AARP/TCE Tax Preparation Program will again offer its confidential and free services to senior citizens and any person with low to moderate income. This assistance includes the preparation of the Colorado 104 PTC, property tax, rent, heat rebate credit for eligible people.

They offer help with preparation of federal and Colorado tax returns, assistance with specific questions on taxes if the person has prepared their own return, and/or review tax returns prepared by the taxpayer. Taxpayers with Schedule C with depreciation, amortization and inventory, Schedules E, F or complicated capital gains should see a professional tax preparer.

Tax form preparation and assistance sessions will be offered Mondays beginning Feb. 3 until April 15. Call 264-2167 to schedule an appointment. Please bring your 2001 tax return information and all 2002 tax information.

All you talented seniors with a little spare time, the elementary kids could use your help. Volunteers are needed to spend time with first and second-grade students and their teachers on a monthly basis to listen to children read, help with school cut-and-paste projects or offer a specialty you know well. Devote as little or as much time as you want. If you will help, contact August Vanderbeek at 264-8216 for more information.

Thanks to Andy Fautheree (Veterans' Service officer) and Jim Hansen (Medicare advisor) for joining us Friday to answer questions and offer advice to folks.

Congratulations to Nell Clark, who won a drawing for a turkey.

Congratulations to our Senior of the Week, George Golightly. George teaches art classes and we really appreciate him.

Welcome to the guests, returning members and new members who joined us last week: Phillip and Georgia Payne (from Pensacola, Fla.), Sue Hansen and Dan Wollenweber , Linda Appel, Pauline Benetti, Rhonda Dixon, Marjorie Nevitt, Cora Woolsey and Mary Gurule.

There will be CPR classes for seniors from 1-3 p.m. Feb. 21. The classes will be held in the Terra Cotta Room at the Silver Foxes Den and there will be a suggested fee of $5. They are sponsored by the Archuleta County Education Center.

Volunteer meetings will be held at 10:30 a.m. the third Monday of every month (except February when the meeting will be the 24th because of the holiday).

For all you rock hounds, Ron Alexander would appreciate some volunteer help to gather, clean and organize some rocks. Contact Musetta for more information.

Note that art classes are now held Wednesdays. We are trying to accommodate folks as much as possible so changed the day.

We have a surprise coming in the spring. How long has it been since you attended a "senior prom?" We will have a chance to do it again. Stay tuned for more information as plans progress.

Upcoming events:

Feb. 14 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Jim Hanson, medicare counseling, 11 a.m.; Valentine's party, noon; Free movie, "Happy Accident," a comedy, 1 p.m.

Feb. 17 - Closed for holiday.

Feb. 18 - Yoga, 9:30 a.m.; advanced computer class, 10:30 a.m.; blood pressures taken (Glenda Coward), 11 a.m.; trip to Ignacio, sign up in advance, 1 p.m.

Feb. 19 - Beginning computer class, 10:30 a.m.; art class in arts media room of the community center, 12:45 p.m.

Feb. 21 - Dominos, 1 p.m.; CPR class, 1 p.m.

Veterans Corner

Be persistent in seeking clinic answers

By Andy Fautheree

Archuleta County veterans continue to report they are experiencing difficulty in calling and scheduling appointments at the Durango VA outpatient clinic.

Frequently the complaint is they leave messages on the answering machine, and no one returns their calls. Or, they have called and spoken to someone there about scheduling an appointment, were promised a return call with the appointment date, and no one has called them back.

Sometimes it is unclear when the veteran called, how many times they may have called, and whether they left a message or were promised by someone at the clinic to call them back.

I spoke to Paula Jones at the clinic, who handles scheduling veteran appointments. Paula said she returns all calls, which can number as many as 50 a day. She was unable to provide me with an answer on why I was getting so many complaints in appointment scheduling.

I frequently advise Archuleta County veterans they need to call the clinic, repeatedly if necessary, until their appointment schedule needs are answered with an appointment date.

The number for the Clinic is 247-2214. Be courteous at all times, but be persistent until you have the answers you need. The staff there is extremely busy and is doing its absolute best in providing quality VA health care to all eligible veterans under the current VA guidelines.

The clinic will have a new doctor starting next week. His name is Dr. Dan Hepburn who was hired to replace Dr. Dave Sigurslid, who has been at the clinic temporarily since the unexpected death of Dr. John Starnes several months ago. Jones said Dr. Hepburn has been with Mercy Medical Center and was hired by Federal Health Net Services for the position. Janice Short is the clinic nurse.

The Durango clinic is scheduling appointments in accordance with the new VA health care guidelines. That is, veterans with 50-100 percent service-connected disabilities will receive top priority for their first primary health care appointments. Veterans with a lower priority 8 rating can expect a wait around five months. Jones said, currently, low priority veterans are being scheduled in July. Veterans in the high priority are required to be scheduled within 30 days.

Veterans who are already enrolled in VA health care and were being seen by Dr. Starnes or Dr. Sigurslid and only require follow-up appointments are seen in a very short period of time, a matter of days, according to Jones.

Veterans who are in the lowest priority group and are currently being treated at another VA health care facility may want to stay with that provider. Transferring to Durango and being assigned as a new patient there could result in quite some delay.

It is best to contact Durango and discuss your needs with that clinic. If you are currently receiving your primary health care at Farmington VA Clinic, you may want to stay there for the time being.

Remember, it is very important to schedule a physical examination at least once a year with your VA health care provider, so you continue your status as an "active patient."

Frequently veterans come by this office complaining they can't get appointments. After asking when they were last seen at their VA clinic some say, "Oh, it has been about a year or more." And, upon further discussion or checking with the clinic in question, the actual amount of time is often several years.

Be sure to stay current as a patient with your VA clinic, if you want to continue receiving VA health care and VA health care benefits such as prescription drugs.

For information on these and other veterans' benefits call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304 and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment.

Chamber News

Recalling consummate curmudgeon

By Sally Hameister

As I write this Monday morning, we have just received word that our dear friend Lee Sterling passed away last night.

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Patty and the Sterling children and family for the loss of this exceptional man. He leaves a huge hole in the heart of this community that will never be filled because the mold was immediately broken when Lee was created.

I have considered a number of times recently with his ever-increasing health problems what I would do when we lost him, but I find, upon hearing this news, that I wasn't ready nor do I think I ever would have been. I truly can't imagine my life without the consummate curmudgeon dropping by the office to give me a hard time and remind me not to take myself so seriously.

We were all incredibly fortunate to have known him - he touched our lives in a unique and powerful way. I don't quite know what I will do without him, but I do know that my life is far richer for having known him.

My personal dream has always been to leave this earth a better place than when I entered it - Lee accomplished that feat simply by being the remarkable, bright, funny, loving and insightful man that he was.

Thanks for the memories, my dear friend - I will miss you more than you could know.

Balloon Rally kudos

Congratulations to Liz and Mike Marchand, Denise Mudroch and the entire Reach for the Peaks gang on a beautiful, successful balloon rally.

The lack of snow presented some real challenges for other events, but those balloons filled the sky Saturday and Sunday mornings and made us feel that all was well with the world.

We were proud to be one of the title sponsors for this event and are looking forward with great anticipation to Colorfest in the fall when the balloons will appear again.

Valentine fun

The Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club will sponsor two celebrations to honor Cupid's contribution to our culture, Valentine's Day, and hope you will join them for both events.

The Spanish Fiesta royalty will host a Teen Sock Hop tomorrow from 8-11 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

Cost for the Sock Hop is $4 and includes punch, popcorn, door prizes and a DJ. Students sixth through 12th grades are asked to bring their school ID cards. If you need more information, contact Isabel Webster at 264-4604.

Saturday night the Spanish Fiesta Club will host its annual Sweetheart Dance from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. at The Timbers with local musicians, The Ladters, providing great dancing rhythms. Ten dollars at the door will get you in, and you can call Jeff Laydon at 264-3686 for more information.

The Spanish Fiesta gang is already working on plans for their Cinco de Mayo celebration, and looking for volunteers to make it bigger and better than ever. Helping hands are needed for the Children's' Festival on May 3, as well as the dinner/dance scheduled for that evening featuring a mariachi serenade, Fiesta royalty coronation and live Spanish music throughout the night. Business banner sponsorships are being offered for $25, and you can contact Lucy Gonzales more information at 264-4791.

Happy anniversary

Our warm congratulations to Frankie and the gang at Mariani's Bakery and Café who will celebrate their first anniversary on Valentine's Day Friday.

To celebrate this wondrous landmark, The Bluegrass Cadillac Band will entertain, so you are encouraged to make reservations now. They are also celebrating the 100th birthday of the house they occupy at 214 Pagosa St. so count on twice the fun. Call 264-1800 to make reservations.

Happy third anniversary

Wow, we're just delighted to see our members celebrating significant milestones and Pat and Gordon Kahn at Victoria's Parlor will commemorate three glorious years in business Feb. 18. To thank you for your loyal patronage over the past three years, they will offer a "buy one, get one free" coupon in this week's SUN or just mention that you heard it on the Chamber "Good Morning, Pagosa!" show aired on KWUF Radio on Wednesday. These hard-working folks richly deserve their success, so be sure and stop by to congratulate them and share the celebration at 274 Pagosa St.

Happy 10th anniversary

It just gets bigger and better with the number of years, and we couldn't be happier to congratulate Denny and Judy Barber on 10, count them, 10 years of great success at the Hogs Breath Saloon and Restaurant at 157 Navajo Trail Drive.

The actual anniversary date is Feb. 23, but these good folks are offering amazing specials all month to thank loyal customers for their continued support over the years. Check their "Customer Appreciation" ad in this issue of the SUN for the specials offered Monday through Thursday evenings until the end of the month. Ten years in the restaurant business is a miraculous accomplishment anywhere, anyhow, so we tip our hats to the Hogs Breath Saloon and Restaurant for hanging in there and doing a great job.

Newsletter Inserts

Our quarterly newsletter, The Chamber Communiqué, is coming up the first part of March, so if you would like to include your inserts, please bring them to us by Feb. 21.

To acquaint those who might not be familiar with this economical marketing tool, allow me to explain: Basically, all you have to do is bring us 750 copies of your piece on 8-by-11 unfolded colored paper and a check for $40, and we will do the rest. There simply isn't a more economical way to reach more people for less money, and in times like this, we all can use a break in the savings department. Feel free to use both sides of the insert to get even more bang for your buck. Give Doug a call at 264-2360 with questions about your insert.

Clean up

Unfortunately, the dearth of snow has not only created a significant decrease in moisture but apparently an equally significant increase in garbage along the highways and byways in and surrounding Pagosa Springs. Whereas, on a normal year the white stuff hides all the debris along the highway until well into spring, this year it's all out there blowing around and looking, well, yucky.

We encourage everyone to consider it their personal beautification project and stop by the Chamber and pick up a few orange bags to fill while beautifying our lovely town.

Bowl for Kids' Sake

Big Brothers Big Sisters is holding their annual bowling fund-raiser March 1-2 at Durango Bowl and invite you to organize a team or join a team to benefit this organization. The organization supports and guides children who are in need of mentors, and by participating in this fun event, you can do your part to help them accomplish their goals.

Call the Pagosa Case Manager, Dearle Ann Ricker at 264-5077 or the La Plata office at 247-3720 to sign up, get pledge sheets or for a team assignment to Bowl for Kids' Sake.

Fred Harman Gala

Join the folks at Friends of the Performing Arts for an evening to honor Fred Harman and, simultaneously, to raise funds for a future Pagosa Springs Performing Arts Center. This western evening will be held Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Fred Harman Museum beginning at 6 p.m. You can view the gallery, socialize and sip some wine and/or sparkling cider from 6-7, and then enjoy the renderings of cowboy poets Bob Huff, Phil Janowsky and Fred Harman II.

This intimate gathering will also include an auction for an authentic Red Ryder Daisy Rifle, circa 1940. Seating will be limited for this event, so get your tickets early at WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company or the Chamber of Commerce. Presale tickets are $20 and tickets at the door will be $25.


Those wacky Rotary Club Follies are back in full force with the wildly popular theme borrowed from the TV Survivor series.

Shows will take place Feb. 22, in the multipurpose room at the community center at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at all local banks, the Chamber of Commerce and from any of your friendly local Rotarians for $12.

The Follies is a compilation of comedic short skits representing the year in review in Pagosa Springs. Humor is the name of the game, and, as always, the show is R-rated and not suitable for the kiddies. Three or four acts from the Durango Snowdown Follies will participate as well. Mary Jo Coulehan will be happy to answer your questions at 264-6200.


We have seven new members to introduce to you this week. Five renewals make it a mighty nice week for Chamber membership.

Jari Sage joins us first with the realized dream of opening her own mortgage broker firm, High Meadows Mortgage located at 190 Talisman Drive, C-4. She will provide a wide range of residential loans, refinances, new construction and commercial. There will be additional staff added to the Pagosa office as well as the opening of a second office in Durango by March 1. Stop by and say hello to Jari or call her at 731-6333.

Joining us next is Ronnie Zaday who brings us Personalized Mortgages, LLC, located at 301 North Pagosa Blvd. Personalized Mortgages provides personal, informative and expedient mortgage service. They specialize in residential, construction and commercial lending with professional integrity. These folks will be happy to answer all your questions at 731-6847.

We next welcome J.C. Clark who brings us the Alliance Group located at 147 East Seventh Ave., Apt. 5, in Durango. The Alliance Group offers affordable health insurance with "Your Choice of Doctors." They also offer no networks, on-the-job coverage and you cannot be singled out for rate increase or cancellation. No pre-authorization or referrals are needed. Give J.C. a call at 385-4763. We thank Kathryn Heilhecker for the referral and will cheerfully send Kathryn a free SunDowner pass.

Our good friend Mr. Todd Shelton joins us next with, Affordable Storage, at 4640 West U.S. 160. This location is paved and offers a security gate, an on site manager and is semi-truck accessible. Storage units are 5-by-10, 10-by-10, 10-by-20 and outside storage is offered as well. Give Todd a call at 731-2188 to learn more about Affordable Storage.

Our next new member is Spencer Snell who brings us Spencer for Hire Drafting Service, LLC, at 3600 North Pagosa Blvd. Spencer can translate your residential vision - new construction, addition, remodel — into plans suitable for building permits when an architect may not be needed. He has been a member of the Pagosa community since 1996 and would be happy to talk to you about his drafting service at 731-2955.

Melanie Arnold joins us next with The Wilderness Society located at 229 Beaver Circle. The Wilderness Society is a national nonprofit organization working to preserve America's wildlands heritage through public education, scientific analysis and advocacy. To learn more about The Wilderness Society, please give Melanie a call at 731-0145.

Rick Unger joins us next with his new business, Unger Art, with offices in his home. This must be the week of realized dreams, because this is something Rick has wanted to do for years, and we're delighted he is now pursuing his dream. Unger Art specializes in portraits, both human and animal, executed in oils, pastels, watercolors or graphite. He can work with Western, commercial or cartoon commissions and will be happy to talk to you about your needs at 731-2929.

Our renewals this week include Harry Kropp with The Silver Mine Country Company; Jay Harrington with The Town of Pagosa Springs; Daron Selph with Mesa Propane; Connie Bunte with The Choke Cherry Tree; and Mary Przybylski with Holiday Inn Express. Many thanks to one and all.

Library News

Kool-Aid dyes knitting yarn

By Lenore Bright

You're invited to come in and see a very unusual display of knitting items by Rita O'Connell. One of the displays will be using Kool-Aid to dye the yarn.

Rita comes to us by way of Minnesota. In her other life, she has a doctorate in environmental science and engineering. But in this much more fun endeavor, she is nationally known for "Sam the Ram," and "Sue the Ewe." Come by and meet Sam.

Rita especially likes alpaca yarn. In fact, she also writes a column for Alpacas magazine. Rita publishes her own patterns and sells them through mail order, and at various shows. The items include stuffed animals, bags, pouches, containers and three-dimensional shapes.

Rita also makes unusual buttons out of polymer clay. Her interests are varied and she experiments with a variety of fibers and dyes. Rita is a professional designer of knitting patterns and teaches beginning and advanced classes. She has her own business and Web site.

Tax forms

State tax forms are still not here, and one of the federal books of forms has not arrived. It is apparent both governments are encouraging everyone to do their taxes online. Our dependency on the computer continues to grow. This may be the last year we will have printed tax forms available.

New books

"24 Hours to the Civil Service Exams," is a comprehensive test prep guide. It gives test-taking tips and important advice on job application procedures.

"The Stable Veterinary Handbook," by Colin Vogel gives clear, practical advice on many of the common horse ailments and injuries. First aid is explained and he tells when to call the vet. Vogel is a British veterinarian who was the Information officer of the British Equine Veterinary Association for six years.

"Baby Gifts," by Ethel Brennan provides simple heirlooms to make and give. You don't have to be a craft expert to make these items. The getting started section explains the simple techniques used throughout. The "no-sew" bibs are clever.

"Longitudes and Attitudes," by Thomas Friedman is made up of columns Friedman has published about Sept. 11. Also included are his reflections and reporting while traveling through the Middle East. Winner of three Pulitzer prizes, he has a unique perspective on the new kind of war we find ourselves fighting. Friedman gives voice to America's awakening sense of a radically new world, and our complex place in it.

Collectible bookmarks

We finally have tassels and the committee should have the first two bookmarks ready for sale by next week. Carol Fulenwider and Jan Brookshier are the first two featured artists. Thanks to Jack and Lyn DeLange for finding the tassels.


The library will be closed for Presidents Day Feb. 17.


Millennium Supporters of the Library Building Fund are Becky and John Porco. Millennium Support: Thomas E. and Judith A. Clarke Trust in memory of Janie Mae Gautschi. Millennium Support: Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation.

Thanks for materials from Donald and Shirley Smith and Bonnie Martin.


Business News

Jari Sage owns and operates High Meadows Mortgage, located at 190 Talisman Drive, Suite C-4.

High Meadows Mortgage specializes in refinancing and new purchases, in construction and commercial loans.

Sage invites everyone to visit the new office and to expect the same high quality service she has always provided her customers.

Business hours at High Meadows Mortgage are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Other times by appointment.

Call Sage at 731-6333.



Tax Time

AARP offers free tax preparation program

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

It's tax time again.

For some, the April 15 deadline is a reason for panic. The forms are intimidating, the numbers are confusing and the concerns many.

Others may have simple question or just want their own figures double-checked.

A few have it figured out. They prepare their own taxes or forms for family members. Six of these locally have opted to share their talents by becoming volunteer tax counselors with the American Association of Retired Persons Tax-Aide program.

The Tax-Aide program is the nation's largest free, confidential tax counseling and preparation service. It's offered to all middle and low income taxpayers and anyone age 60 and older. In Pagosa Springs, Tax-Aide counselors are entering their fifth year of offering free aid.

In 2002 volunteers here saw 165 people and donated just under 300 hours of time preparing tax returns, Teresa Ann Huft, local coordinator and Tax-Aide counselor, said.

That's a lot of paperwork - enough to keep the six volunteer tax counselors busy all day once a week. Huft said last year's business included some state sales tax refunds - a program not available this year - others interested in the property tax rebate program and those needing help with state and federal tax returns.

Not counted in the 300 hours of volunteer time, are the days spent in training. Although the counselors all have some tax background, to be certified, they must participate in annual training and pass a test. Completing the requirements can take anywhere from two to six days, Huft said. Topics include basic tax law, wage earners and pensions.

It's all part of the service.

"One of our counselors was a professional tax preparer," Huft said. "The rest of us got into it because we do our own taxes, or we do taxes for our family members and wanted to give back to the community."

To further ensure quality of the work done by the Tax-Aides, one counselor per week is assigned to double-check the work done for customers. After all, Huft said, it's all about them, the people who come in for help.

"A large number of people who participate in this program get money back," Huft said. "That means they usually leave here happy. I'll get hugs, or people will bring in cookies, I've had people say they'll pray for me. That means a lot."

Many times customers are unaware of the programs they might take advantage of - even if they owe no state or federal taxes at all.

Perhaps the most overlooked program is the Colorado Property Tax/Rent/Heat rebate which allows qualified recipients to receive up to $792 for their property tax and/or rent and heat expenses paid in 2002.

The rebate is available to full year Colorado residents who meet age, disability and income requirements. For instance, those who qualify must be at least 65 years old, or a surviving spouse at least 58 years or disabled for all of 2002 no matter what the age. A single person must have income less than $11,000. Those who are married must have income less than $14,700. They must also have paid property tax, rent or heating expenses and cannot be claimed as a dependent on anyone else's tax return.

It is also still possible to file for a 2001 property tax heat rebate provided the requirements were met for that year.

Huft said because tax information is sometimes intimidating and no one group is actively pushing the property tax heat rebate, it sometimes falls through the cracks. However, many of the people who qualify for the Tax-Aide program may also qualify for the property tax heat rebate. And that's something that can make a big difference to someone on a limited income.

But that's just one of the programs the Tax-Aide counselors consider during an appointment which could last for anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours.

Some people come in simply to find out whether or not they need to file. For instance, Huft said, in Pagosa it's fairly common for some employers to use a 1099 form rather than the standard W-2s. Under the 1099 rules, anyone who earns over $400 owes a self-employment tax. In some cases, by using other programs, the tax counselors can actually get a person a rebate to offset the self-employment tax. Other times, people will have to pay.

"We fill out the forms and go through it with them," Huft said. "We answer any questions they might have and we put everything in a special folder for them to take home." On the outside of the folder, the counselors make note of the forms needed, the time it took and the year. People are then encouraged to bring the folder back the following year to speed up the process.

"We don't keep their records," she added. Their customers must also mail the returns on their own.

Huft said getting access to e-filing is in the works, but not available yet. Last year, the software was here, but not the computers. This year, she has four computers at home, but the software hasn't arrived. "We are hoping we can add it in the future, but at the moment we don't have it."

Appointments with Pagosa Springs Tax-Aide counselors are available Mondays, February-April, with one exception. February 17 is a holiday. That week, appointments will be taken Feb. 21. Call 264-2167 to reserve a time or receive more information. The tax counselors are located in the art rooms at the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The AARP Tax-Aide program is administered by the AARP Foundation in cooperation with the Internal Revenue Service. About one-third of the program funding is provided by the AARP Foundation. The rest comes from an annual IRS Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program grant. It is a nonprofit program.


Native American history key to area

By John Motter

One of the pleasing aspects of living in Pagosa Country is taking part in the multiracial nature of the culture.

Our local heritage is a mixture of Hispanic, Indian and Anglo. Evidence of that ethnic mixture is all around us. Naturally, the Indians were here first, followed by Hispanics and, finally, the Anglos.

Unlike most areas of the United States, we remain surrounded by large Indian populations, people who maintain and practice many of their traditional ways. South of us in New Mexico is the Jicarilla Apache Nation. The Jicarilla are celebrating Jicarilla Days this entire week commemorating the formation of their reservation in 1887.

To enjoy good fry bread, Jicarilla arts and crafts and native dancing, visit Dulce this week.

We've written recently about how the Jicarilla reservation came to be. Anyone wanting to know more about the Jicarilla can find a considerable number of books on the subject. Better yet, Dulce is only about 40 miles away. Instead of reading a book, get to know the Jicarilla first hand. You see Jicarilla shopping regularly in Pagosa stores.

Immediately west of Pagosa Springs and stretching to the Utah border and beyond are the lands of the Southern Utes. More than any other tribes, the Utes were living in Pagosa Country when Hispanics and Anglos arrived.

As with the Apache and Navajo, the Utes haven't always lived in this area. Many experts who study the subject think the Utes, Apaches and Navajo all arrived here just a short time before the Hispanics. That would be some time between 1000 and 1500 AD. The theory is, they came from different directions.

All of the various bands of Apache and Navajo belong to the Athapaskan language family. It is believed the Athapaskans, in perhaps more than one movement, came to the Southwest from the northwestern part of the continent. Indians living in British Columbia speak the same language.

The Utes belong to a different language family, the Uto-Aztecan. It is believed that the Utes came from California to this area.

Along with the Pueblo tribes which lived mostly along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico, the Utes, Apache and Navajo were the first Indians to get horses after the Spanish arrived. Because many of the Ute bands wintered in New Mexico, they encountered Hispanics, often referred to as Black Beards, at an early date. Utes, Jicarilla Apaches and the Pueblo were allies. All regarded the Navajo as enemies. The Pueblo name for Navajo means enemy.

Three bands of Utes, now known as Southern Utes, lived in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico when the Hispanics and the Anglos arrived. Their descendants still live in the Ignacio and Cortez areas. Ignacio is agency headquarters for the Capote and Moache bands. Towaoc, on the Ute Mountain Reservation south of Cortez, is headquarters for the Weeminuche band.

How the current Southern Ute Reservations came to be is a subject of this week's and maybe more, Oldtimer articles.

The treatment of the subject will be an over simplification due to the limiting nature of newspaper articles. As with the Jicarilla, almost countless articles have been written about the Utes. Personally, I know of no book that really does justice to the known history of the Ute people.

Because I am focusing on how the reservation came to be, as an information source I am using "Southern Ute Lands, 1848-1899; The Creation of a Reservation," by Gregory Coyne Thompson. This is paper No. 1 of the occasional papers of the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College, filed in March 1972 and edited by Dr. Robert Delaney. I obtained my copy from Dr. Delaney.

The Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo of 1848 placed the Southwest under control of the United States. That was the treaty following the Mexican-American War. Prior to the treaty, Southern Utes only had incidental contact with Hispanics and Anglos. Following the treaty, Anglos started settling in New Mexico and Colorado on lands occupied by the Utes. Originally, Utes roamed a vast area including much of Utah and Colorado, New Mexico and even into the panhandle of Texas when hunting buffalo.

To maintain peace after the Anglos came, a series of treaties were struck between Ute and Anglo. Treaties in 1864, 1868 and 1874 greatly reduced the Indian holdings. By 1879, the Southern Utes were on a reservation.

Again, in 1880, an attempt was made to move the Utes, first to a small area located on the La Plata River, then into southeastern Utah. Pressure was even exerted to move the Southern Utes to the Uintah Reservation which already housed the Northern Utes.

Between 1880 and 1894, one attempt after another was made to move the Southern Utes, somewhere, anywhere, else. Finally, in 1894, the Secretary of the Interior decided to leave the Southern Utes where they were.

This decision was confirmed by presidential proclamations in 1895 and 1899. Even so, individual Utes were encouraged to take title to homesteads. This accomplished, the remaining land, most of the reservation, in fact, was sold to Anglos.

Next week l'll begin retracing the various treaties beginning with 1864. In the process, we'll see how a once powerful nation was reduced to almost nothing.




What price peace

Saturday's peace march in downtown Pagosa Springs was a clear expression of the consternation many if not most Americans feel when faced with the specter of war and of the uncertainty many citizens experience as they consider the prospects of a conflict in the Middle East.

Our letters to the editor section continues to show a wide range of opinion regarding the topic and the debate continues.

As it should. This is a topic that must remain under constant scrutiny. And it must broaden.

Our current situation is deserving of rigorous inspection and analysis; we are on the verge of sending our young people half a world away to topple a regime many consider a rogue threat to our and others' security. Our military is in Afghanistan continuing a war there against the remnants of another hostile state and the terrorists it supported. We have troops in the Balkans, maintaining stability after a conflict. There are troops working in Southeast Asia and South and Central America.

What is clear from this is our debate should be about more than this one conflict, which many wrongly assert is a battle for oil. It is more than that. If the primary aim of a war in Iraq is oil, that conflict could have been avoided more than a decade ago, had we urged a despot to undercut prices and sell his oil to us. Oil most certainly could have been purchased at bargain basement prices from a tyrant newly ensconced in Kuwait, occupying the gold-riddled residences of sheiks. If oil were the major factor in our foreign policy, the embargo on Iranian oil would have been lifted. We support Israel; there is no oil in Israel.

The debate must expand.

Part of what we need to consider is the role we've taken as the world's sole superpower, the only nation with the ability to impose security - by cultural, political, military and economic means - in parts of the world whose instability breeds forces that aim to undo our way of life. There are people in this world who wish to attack us, to destroy us in a religious war. They wish to rid the world of our culture. There are barely stable states that seek to grow in power, to subsidize terrorism, to construct weapons needed to successfully confront us. They will do this as long as we actively work to retain our current way of life.

There are enormous numbers of human beings on the planet, perhaps billions, who want to emulate our standard of living. There is not enough to go around.

Our debate, therefore, should also include consideration of the question of whether or not the style of life we enjoy, with its comforts and accouterments, with barely restrained consumption of energy and resources, with its expansive appetites and its excesses can and should be maintained.

War in the Balkans, war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan? War in North Korea? War in African countries? Wars of all sizes and kinds, on several continents?

Are they inevitable?

We must debate the question of what general standard of life we desire, of what we are willing to do to have it or what we are willing to give up, whether we want to pursue the role we have accepted as the major agent of change and the avowed champion of democratization and a particular style of stability and security around the globe.

We need to talk, to argue and be realistic - about what goes on in the world's far reaches and how it relates to what we do and what we want here at home.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa


Mr. Helpful's Valentine primer

By Richard Walter

For those of you who live in a vacuum, have no life, or are totally immersed in an unimportant, meaningless job, let me be Mr. Helpful and offer a gentle reminder:


Of course, you may be one of those pining for a target for Cupid's arrow. Or, you may already have selected the gift to accompany the beautiful card you intend to send the target of your love.

Procrastination is an unenviable trait and believe me, it can get you in big trouble on this particular day.

Much more trouble than simply forgetting an anniversary or a birthday.

This is the Big One, the day eternal love and devotion are foremost in the minds of hopeful recipients.

Cross them, forget them, be less than effusive in your adoration, and you'll learn what the wrath of a spurned love can do.

You think he or she was cold in the aftermath of the purple and green sweater you presented for Christmas or the last birthday?

Try missing Valentine's Day and see what real wrath is all about.

If you arrive home tomorrow evening expecting a big, delicious dinner on the table and you haven't even thought about a Valentine tribute, you might as well plan on heading out to the fast food haven for your sustenance.

While you're out, you should run over to the supermarket for a look at what's left of the Valentine selection and the gaily wrapped heart-shaped boxes of candy.

It may be your only hope for sanity in the household in the forthcoming year.

Flowers? Great idea, but it most likely is too late by now. Still, it won't hurt to look, to call the flower stores and see if there are still a few long stem roses in stock. It might just cost an arm and a leg, but if you do nothing, you may be in line to lose both of those limbs to a jilted Valentine, anyway.

Perhaps you've remembered by now the days in grade school when Valentines were the rule of the day on Feb. 14 and everyone in the classroom deposited theirs into a big box at the front.

Then, they were distributed by roll call of names.

If you didn't get the one you hoped for, you had to be satisfied with the ones you did get.

Of course some youngsters got many more than others, so the teachers always made sure every pupil got at least one.

No one could say he or she was left out.

Today, however, you have no such escape route. If you forgot, if you blew it, you have only yourself to blame.

No hot meal, no welcome home from a hard day at the office, no kiss on the cheek, no Valentine to hand your mate as he or she reaches out with one for you?

If that describes your plight, you have no one to blame but yourself and some old superstitions.

Some say the celebration came from the Roman festival of Lupercalia. Others link it with an early Christian saint who befriended children but was jailed for refusing to worship Roman gods. The children missed him and tossed loving notes through the bars of his cell; still others trace it to an old English belief that birds choose their mates on Feb. 14.

If you are not a saint, have no love note or gift for your Valentine, you're going to be a lonely bird on this Valentine's Day.




90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Feb. 14, 1913

Should Pagosa actually become dry in law and the bootlegger would start in business he would have quite a little sledding on a rocky road. The people of this community may be in favor of regulated saloons, but they are not in sympathy with the bootlegger.

John Lafilio, who borrowed a horse and saddle in Pagosa and forgot to return it, and who has been in jail in Durango awaiting trial for the offense, was allowed to plead guilty in the district court there Saturday and Judge Searcy imposed an indeterminate sentence of one to ten years in the state reformatory.

Archuleta County has over 300 miles of public roads and before the flood had river bridges. Every one of those bridges were destroyed by the flood.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Feb. 17, 1928

One of the best costume balls ever given in Pagosa Springs or any town of similar size was the Valentine ball at the Carlsbad Lodge on Tuesday night. As there were so many beautiful and striking costumes, with an equal number of graceful dancers, the judges had a difficult time in making their selections for the prize awards.

The first half of your 1927 taxes commence to draw interest on March 1st, if not paid prior to that date.

The musicale, given last evening at the M.E. Church, was well attended and greatly enjoyed by all. A neat sum was realized and will be used to purchase song books for the church.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Feb. 13, 1953

The weather has given every indication that old man groundhog's weather is pretty apt to be accurate. Snow started falling on Sunday night and has continued more or less intermittently since that time.

Through the efforts of the Pagosa Springs Lions Club the school now has a new, up-to-date score board. The score board has an electrical clock, gives the time per quarter and indicates the quarter and the scores of the local and visiting teams. It was installed in time for the game last weekend.

The past weekend saw a number of dogs poisoned in town. Nearly every year some misguided individual takes it upon himself to bring anguish to a number of children and adults by sinking to the depths of dog poisoning.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Feb. 9, 1978

Eight Pagosa Pirate wrestlers are at the state tournament in Greeley this week. The Pirate wrestling squad won the district wrestling tournament last weekend.

More snow keeps falling in these parts, although not in large enough quantities. The snow depth on Wolf Creek Pass is creeping up and snowfall is now normal for this time of year. Water content is high and last year's dry spell may be broken.

The town board has agreed that the trash haul at present is not satisfactory. The board said that if it is not working as it should be within two weeks, other methods of hauling trash will be studied.

Over 30,000 skiers have been at the Wolf Creek Ski Area this season and it is a little more than half over.