Health district board chairman resigns
By Tess Noel Baker
Upper San Juan Health Service District Chairman Dick Babillis resigned, effective immediately, near the end of Tuesday's regular board meeting.
Babillis said after careful consideration it was clear the time for a change in leadership had come.
"I believe tonight we are at a crossroad," he said. "... an opportunity now exists to move into the future by building new relationships, creating new vision and getting on with the work." In an attempt to speed up that process, he said, it was time to step down.
He thanked the district employees, the local taxpayers, the board, members of the community and the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation for their sacrifices and assistance during his time on the board and took a seat in the audience.
"I wish you all the best and will now retire from public life," he said.
Babillis was elected to the board in May 2000. In the spring of 2001, he assumed the responsibilities of interim district manager, a volunteer position he would hold for about a year. The district board appointed Babillis to fill the position following the sudden departure of the former manager.
Not long after, a series of serious financial problems within the district were made public. Babillis spent hundreds of hours attempting to uncover all of the errors and keep the district afloat. He was also critical in the district's successful efforts to push a mill levy increase past voters in November 2001.
"We would be bankrupt without him," board member Sue Walan said following a board meeting in December.
His hard work and dedication to the board have been praised by many, including other members of the board, community members and some employees of the district.
"You've thanked all of us, but I think we should thank you for all the work you've done for the organization," Dr. Mark Wienpahl said, following Babillis' announcement Tuesday. "I think a lot of credit goes to you, Dick."
However, he has not managed to please everyone. In December, Toby Brookens called for his resignation or threatened to start recall proceedings against Babillis for "failing in his fiduciary duties." At the time, Babillis declined to resign. In January, the efforts to recall the chairman were put on hold to give the district the opportunity to work out some communication issues between employees and management.
Walan said the board now has 90 days to appoint someone to fill the vacancy, a subject they will consider at the regular March meeting. Until that time, the board secretary, Martha Garcia, will run the meetings.
Couple die in rolloveron 151
By Tess Noel Baker
A Pagosa Springs couple died Feb. 12 from injuries sustained in a rollover accident on Colo. 151.
According to Colorado State Patrol reports, Rodney D. and Pamela Deane Clark were ejected from their 1988 Dodge Ram pickup. Neither was apparently wearing a seat belt.
The couple was driving south on the highway near mile marker 22 about 5:45 p.m. when the vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway, struck a delineator post and then rolled three times. Both occupants were ejected during the third roll. The truck came to rest on its wheels facing east.
Rodney Clark, 42, was driving. Pamela Clark, 47, was a passenger in the vehicle. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Elk calf saved from icy lake
By Tess Noel Baker
Just over a week ago, members of emergency services in the county brushed up on their ice rescue training.
Monday, they put that training to the test - saving an elk.
Sgt. Karn Macht, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue coordinator, said dispatch received a call about an elk that had fallen through the ice on Lake Hatcher at 1:16 p.m. Search and rescue volunteers, members of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded.
Morna Trowbridge, a resident of the area, had been watching the young female calf walk across the ice and saw her fall through near one of the aerator holes. When search and rescue personnel arrived, the calf was swimming circles in the icy water, trapped.
Usually, Macht said, a rescuer would actually get in the water with the victim to place the equipment for a rescue. That was a problem with a 120-pound wild elk.
"I was concerned about the elk trampling the rescuer to death or using the rescuer as a ladder to climb out," he said. Instead, a team of two donned ice rescue dry suits and were able to fence the elk in with rope so a third rope could be run under its chest.
Rescuers used the ropes to pop the elk out onto the ice and drag it across the lake to the shore. The elk, though still alive, was shivering and displayed an irregular heartbeat.
"We got her up on the shore and started rewarming her with blankets and tarps," Macht said. Hypothermia was the main concern.
Eventually, she seemed to recover from the experience. A wildlife officer arrived and the animal was loaded into a secure truck. She was transported to the Turkey Springs area and released back into the forest.
Consultant's report cites morale, management ills
By Tess Noel Baker
Morale, management structure, interpersonal relationships and quality patient care are the issues and concerns facing the Upper San Juan Health Service District according to a consultant hired in January.
Peg Christian, a conflict resolution and peacemaking consultant from Durango, was hired last month in response to employee complaints regarding communication between management and staff in the district. She interviewed current employees, past employees, members of the board, management staff and interested community members in small group settings, compiling her findings into a 12-page report. Everyone interviewed was required to sign an agreement outlining a willingness to change.
The report outlines perceived problems in employee morale, management styles and structure and interpersonal relationships.
"It appears that extraordinary attention has been focused on redeeming the financial status of the district, with little concentration in the area of employee morale and developing productive, interpersonal professional relationships," she said, reading from her report. "A culture of conflict and indirect communication is rife, and must be addressed immediately and jointly by employees, managers and the board."
The issue that ties everyone together and could be the basis for healing some of the wounds is patient care, and providing the best patient care possible, Christian said. That's the one thing everyone agrees on.
To begin to remedy the current problems, Christian recommended restructuring management to add an interim Emergency Medical Services operations manager and an interim Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center operations manager to the staff immediately. These would be peers of the district manager and report to the board directly. The district manager would be restricted to financial concerns and special district issues. Of course, she said, the viability of this option would depend on finances.
She also recommended that Dick Babillis, board chairman, resign. However, Babillis had resigned earlier in the meeting.
To improve interpersonal relationships, Christian suggested implementing departmental healing circles, a method for discussing issues, resolving hurts and beginning problem solving, and a communication skills education process.
According to the plan, Christian would work with the district to implement and facilitate nearly every step. Christian's current contract with the district covers only the interviews and report. Additional work was a possibility, but has not been finalized.
Employees in the audience from Emergency Medical Services and the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center stood up to thank the consultant for her work.
"By George, I think she's got it," Terri Clifford, a member of the emergency services staff, said.
The district board released a short statement following the meeting which read: "The board accepted the report of Peg Christian and will take under consideration her recommendations as we move the district along toward our stated goals and mission."
Any further decision or discussion will wait until after a special public meeting to discuss the consultant's report set for Feb. 26 at 5:30 p.m., board member Martha Garcia said. Participants are asked to limit comments or questions to three minutes. An hour and a half has been allotted for discussion.
Meanwhile, the district has put a few decisions on hold until the current unrest among employees and management is resolved, namely major grant applications and hiring an EMS operations manager.
Jackson said two of the four operations manager candidates scheduled for onsite interviews this month pulled out after reading about the current unrest in the district. After that, the screening committee recommended the search remain on hold for now. The position has been vacant since October 2002.
County facing jail budgeting shortfall
By Tom Carosello
"How in the world did this happen?"
That was the question posed to Sheriff Tom Richards Tuesday morning by Commissioner Mamie Lynch upon hearing the allowance in the 2003 county budget for the jail's deportation of excess prisoners is facing a potential $81,000 shortfall.
According to William Steele, county administrator, the county recently received a $3,200 bill from Ignacio for boarding services provided for five inmates who would otherwise be incarcerated in the Archuleta County Jail. The problem is the jail is full.
During a request to the board to amend the allowance for "outside boarding" in the 2003 jail budget (a line-item in the amount of $1,000) to accommodate the bill, Steele informed Lynch and her fellow board members Alden Ecker and Bill Downey that the problem isn't going to go away any time soon.
Steele said Cathie Wilson, county finance director, and Mencor Valdez, county jail captain, collaborated on an estimate of what the county might expect to pay for outside boarding services this year. The findings reflect the need for as much as $82,000 to cover boarding expenses if the current jail-crowding trend continues.
In response to why such a disparity exists between the initial budget of $1,000 and the estimated need for $82,000, Richards responded, "We had no history to give you at all."
Richards explained it is difficult to predict how many prisoners the jail might have to accommodate from year to year. Richards added that he did not wish to inflate the county budget by guessing at the possible amount needed and that this was the first year the county had to deport prisoners.
When Ecker, board chairman, asked Valdez for the status of the ankle-bracelet program, which tracks the whereabouts of prisoners but does not require them to be incarcerated in county jail cells, Valdez answered that it "isn't going anywhere" due to the fact that most county inmates are pretrial felons.
With no immediate solution on the horizon, the board returned its focus to the $3,200 boarding bill, and eventually passed a motion to pull enough money from a $25,000 contingency fund to cover it.
The commissioners also set work sessions to discuss the boarding issue, and it is likely the matter will be addressed in further detail at board meetings in the coming weeks.
In other business the board:
- renewed an annual contract with the Department of Social Services for employment-related transportation services
- renewed annual contracts with the San Juan Basin Health Department and Upper San Juan Health Service District for the provision of health care services for county jail inmates
- approved an agreement with Seeds of Learning for the provision of food services
- agreed to issue a letter of support for Colorado Housing Inc.'s Fannie Mae Maxwell Award of Excellence Grant.
New animal control work draws raves
By Richard Walter
Animal control in the Pagosa Lakes communities, taken over by the Archuleta County Sheriff's office Feb. 1, is receiving rave reviews.
Walt Lukasik, general manager of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, told the board of directors Feb. 13 the system seems to "be working very well."
He said preliminary statistics indicate the county animal control officers conducted 1,180 minutes of patrols in the association subdivisions in the first 10 days.
They accumulated in excess of 502 miles of drive time in the area, he said.
During the time, he said, 10 dogs were impounded, 14 other incidents investigated and eight verbal and nine written warnings were issued.
"We (the administration) have been most pleased with the conduct of Brent Finney," the new officer employed by the county with PLPOA funding.
"It has been our experience that officers are responding quickly to all calls," Lukasik said.
He also said the association provided the sheriff's office a list of areas where calls had been answered in the past, grading them by busy, moderate and light action.
The routine patrols, he said, have been made with that list as a guide to potential trouble areas, but have not been limited to them.
Director Fred Ebeling reminded the board there are 116 miles of roads to cover in the association subdivisions, and priorities are being given. "We need to remember they can't be everywhere all the time," he said.
In a related action, the board approved a resolution adopting an amendment of association animal control rules and regulations.
Director Tom Cruse, board president, said the action removes conflicting and duplicative elements in the rules that are no longer needed because of the arrangement with the sheriff's office.
Lukasik announced plans are being developed for a town meeting to be held in conjunction with the Humane Society.
The county ordinance will be reviewed and society personnel will demonstrate methods of handling, training and working with dogs.
They will also show devices such as anti-barking collars, trolley lines, and other appliances available for use of owners to humanely control, restrain and train animals. No date has been set for the session.
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Encore of wet weather act unlikely this week
By Tom Carosello
Significant precipitation during the past week brought smiles to the faces of many Pagosans and much needed relief to an otherwise thirsty countryside, but the likelihood of a repeat performance this week appears slim.
According to Ellen Heffernan, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, low pressure parked over the Four Corners region is giving way to a weak ridge of high pressure which may lessen the area's chance for additional snow or rain.
"We've been changing the regional forecast every six hours or so since the weather model has been doing a pretty good flip-flop the past few days," explained Heffernan, "but it looks like the main storm track will probably stay too far to the northwest to affect the southern Colorado mountain ranges.
"However we can't rule out the possibility of localized snow or rain showers at higher elevations," said Heffernan, who added that a warming trend is likely for the region in the coming week.
According to Heffernan, clouds should hang around through this morning and high temperatures should approach the mid 40s. A chance for isolated daytime snow showers exists in the mountains, while nighttime lows in town should range in the middle teens.
Friday highs should hover in the upper 30s; skies are expected to be partly cloudy and lows are predicted to be in the teens.
A broken-record forecast is anticipated for Saturday, Sunday and Monday calling for partly cloudy skies, highs in the mid 30s to mid 40s and lows in the teens.
A slight chance (20 percent) for snow or rain returns for Tuesday and Wednesday's forecast, and highs should climb into the mid 40s while evening lows should dip into the teens.
Wolf Creek Ski Area was the beneficiary of 28 inches of fresh snow over the past seven days; the area reports a summit depth of 93 inches, a midway depth of 81 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 220 inches.
Due to increased snow depths in the San Juan Mountains, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center rates avalanche risk at or above timberline as "considerable" and risk levels below timberline as "moderate."
Snowpack levels in area river basins also rebounded slightly; snowpack in the Upper San Juan Basin measured 85 percent of average as of Feb. 19. The Upper Rio Grande Basin gained significant snowfall also, but the basin's snowpack still measures only 49 percent of average.
The average high temperature last week was 40 degrees; the average low was 15. Precipitation (moisture) totals for last week amounted to approximately 2 inches, the bulk of which came in the form of rain (1 inch) Thursday and snow (3 inches) Tuesday.
River flow in the San Juan River south of town ranged from approximately 40 cubic feet per second to over 80 cubic feet per second last week. The historic median stream flow in the San Juan for the month of February is nearly 60 cubic feet per second.
Close games mark youth league finals
By Joe Lister Jr.
This year's basketball final four in 9-10 and 11-12 brackets could not have been scripted any better than the way the games turned out.
The 9-10 division pitted the undefeated regular league champion Lucero Tire Lakers against the Honda Halls Sonics. They were seeded one and two in the tournament. Lucero Tire held the lead throughout the game, with the point differential never more than four points.
At the end of the fourth quarter, the lead changed three times. With six seconds left in regulation, the Lakers down by one, the team had a chance to win the game with a crucial one-and-one. The first attempt was good but the second free throw fell short to send the game into overtime.
In the three-minute extra period both teams had leads. With 10 seconds left and the Lakers down by two, they had three opportunities to tie or win, but came up short.
Kent Lord's Sonics prevailed with a 23-21 overtime victory.
The games were, for the most part, played very evenly, with all teams having a legitimate shot at the championship trophy.
I would like to thank all officials and coaches for their support in making the league successful.
Feb. 12 was championship night for the youth basketball leagues with over 300 fans packing the gymnasium at various times.
After the 23-21 thriller described above, we didn't think anything could top that excitement. Boy, were we wrong.
The 11-12 championship clash pitted the Citizens Bank Bulls against August and Sons Excavating Kings. Both teams were loaded with quickness and great athletes.
The game started with a flurry with both teams scoring on their first three possessions. Then the game turned into a defensive and strategic chess match. It was a commissioners' dream to play each player their allotted quarter and match players by skill level.
After three quarters and many lead changes, things began to heat up again.
In the last minute, both teams scored and both teams had free throws to put their respective clubs in the lead.
It came down to a player hitting two free throws in the last 15 seconds to seal the victory for the Kings. The game came down to the final 2.7 seconds when the Bulls had an inbounds opportunity, but it was intercepted to preserve the one-point 33-32 victory.
Again, the number-one seed Bulls, the regular season champions, went down to the number-two seed.
A great round of applause to all the coaches who got their teams to the championship round, Cliff Lucero of the Lakers, Kent Lord of the Sonics, Stan Martinez of the Bulls and Andy Gonzales for the Kings.
There was a great turnout and many people backing both winners and losers, said great basketball was played. The equally divided teams and the mandatory equal playing time made for great sport. It is too bad there had to be losers in games played that well.
Sport complex update
Renderings of the new complex are in the recreation office. Please come by for a copy if you have an interest in the two concepts, to see if we can add to one, change another, and give input to the consultant from EDAW.
We are expecting another public meeting before March 20, so your ideas are very important to us. Stop by for a copy and let the public be heard.
A new calendar of meetings to be held will be in next week's paper.
Six Pirates will wrestle for state laurels
By Karl Isberg
Pagosa Pirate wrestlers will compete at the Colorado 3A championship meet beginning Thursday in the Pepsi Center at Denver.
Two of the Pirates will go as regional champions following the regional meet at St. Mary's High School in Colorado Springs last week. Darren Hockett took the regional title at 103 pounds and Kory Hart is regional champ at 140.
Two Pirates finished second in their weight classes at the regional event - Michael Martinez at 112 and Clayton Mastin at 160.
Clifford Hockett will be at Denver to fight at 135 with a third-place finish at St. Mary's and, depending on the status of an injury, Mike Maestas, with fourth place at 125, will also make the trip to the Mile High City.
Darren Hockett established himself as one of the premier sophomores and 103-pounders in three state with a decisive performance at regionals.
Hockett drew a first-round bye (as did all Pirate wrestlers) then began his journey to the title with a first-period pin of Cory Quinlan of Centauri.
In the championship semifinal, Hockett dominated a familiar foe, Blaine Huntsman of Bayfield, scoring a 13-3 major decision over the Wolverine.
Another familiar face was staring at Hockett before the final: Kyle Francis of Monte Vista. Hockett crafted another major decision, this time 14-4, giving the Pirate the win and the championship.
"Darren wrestled really well the whole tournament," said Pirate coach Dan Janowsky. "He was energetic and on the offensive all the time. I think, after this tournament, people are starting to take notice of him."
Hart crushed his first opponent at 140. The junior pinned Sam Udell of St. Mary's 28 seconds into the match.
In the semifinal, Hart faced Jarrett Saul, of Florence. Hart eked out a 9-7 overtime decision to advance.
"This was Kory's first tough match in a month," said Janowsky. "He had just started to recover from the flu, but he got the lead in the match. The kid from Florence caught him, but Kory stayed tough and got the takedown in overtime to win."
Hart then fought Dan Edwards of Bayfield for the title. In previous matches, the Wolverine fought very conservatively, backing away, avoiding a prolonged confrontation with Hart. He tried it again, but the strategy failed again as Hart decisioned Edwards 5-3.
"He looked very good to me," the coach said of Hart. "He was confident and wrestled smart, hitting some takedowns he's been working on but hadn't used yet."
Martinez started tournament action at 112 with an emphatic 22-7 technical fall over Adam Aldaz of St. Mary's.
The Pirate junior then took on Nick Naranjo, of Ignacio in the semifinal and forged a 13-2 decision.
Rory Keys of Centauri fought two tight battles with Martinez this season, losing both to the Pirate. This time, in the final, Keys got the 11-8 win.
"We were up on Keys 4-1 in the first period," said Janowsky. "We made a mistake, there was a scramble and at the end of it Michael lost five points. Teams have been wrestling Michael real conservative this year and with that lead, Keys just tied Michael up. We had to take chances and Keys scored off some of our shots. Michael saw some things to work on. It's better they happened at regionals rather than this week at state."
Mastin was a dark horse at regionals at 160, a traditionally strong class. The dark horse finished very well in the race, making it to second place. Mastin got out of the gate fast, beating St. Mary's Drew Harrell. He came back to tie the match after the host wrestler took the lead. Mastin then put his opponent's shoulders to the mat halfway through the third period to advance.
Next up was Ryan Gibbons of Monte Vista. Mastin advanced to the finals with a 6-3 decision.
A loss to Loren Morrison of Bayfield put Mastin in second place.
"Clayton had a very good tournament," said the coach. "He got a good bracket and made the most of it. He's starting to loosen up and attack more and he did a good job for us."
Pirate senior Cliff Hockett was third at 135 at Colorado Springs and will compete at state. Hockett began his tournament with a victory over Dan Bertrand of Manitou Springs, with a pin in the second period.
A loss to Joe Kelso of Monte Vista put Hockett in a battle for third, again with Bertrand. Hockett nailed third place with a 7-3 decision.
"Clifford did a good job," said Janowsky, "and he's making the trip, giving us some good veteran experience."
Whether Mike Maestas makes the trip will depend on the status of an injury the 125-pound senior suffered at St. Mary's.
Maestas took his first match of the event then lost a 5-1 decision in the semifinal in what was one of the toughest weight classes at the tournament.
In the consolation semifinal, Maestas was ahead of James Pacheco of Monte Vista when he suffered a knee injury with a minute and a half remaining.
"Mike pleaded to finish the match," said Janowsky. "The kid came after him with everything he had. Mike fought him off, toughed it out and won 8-7. That took a lot of character."
Maestas had to default in the third-place match and was lucky to avoid a wrestle-back. His fourth place will give him a chance at state if his injury allows it.
Zeb Gill took fourth place at 152, but the Pirate senior missed a chance for a trip to Denver, losing in a wrestle-back. Gill lost three matches but won bouts with Matt Olguin of Ignacio with a second-period pin and Ben Barovier of Bayfield with a fall in the second period.
Justin Bloomquist, Aaron Hamilton, Marcus Rivas and Matt Lattin also fought for the Pirates at Colorado Springs but did not advance to state.
"We've got six qualifiers," said Janowsky. "We were hopeful we'd get a few more, but it doesn't upset our state tournament potential. We've got the guys we need to get in there. We've got medal potential with each guy and we're going to score some points. We've got contenders and if they all wrestle well this week, we could finish high in the standings. We are looking forward to it."
The Class 3A tournament begins at the Pepsi Center Thursday at 3 p.m. Action continues Friday at 10 a.m. Semifinals are set for Friday at 7 p.m.
Saturday opens with 11 a.m. consolation semifinals, followed by medal matches. The championship round is set for 6:30 p.m.
Pirates fly higher than Falcons, down Centauri 49-36
By Tom Carosello
The Pagosa Springs boys' varsity basketball team and Coach Jim Shaffer left the Centauri Middle School gym late Friday night back in the Intermountain League driver's seat after a Valentine's Day victory which left attending Falcon fans brokenhearted.
The Pirates prevailed 49-36 in a physical clash between the two teams atop the IML standings, each entering the contest sporting one league loss and poised to take over sole possession of first place. But it wasn't easy.
Clayton Spencer controlled the opening tip for Pagosa but the ball sailed out of bounds and Centauri's Jordan Norton capitalized on his team's first possession to put the Falcons up 2-0.
Sophomore Caleb Forrest answered with two for the visitors, then Centauri's Alex Medina hit a trey that didn't go over well with Spencer and the junior responded seconds later with a down-the-lane jam to get the Pirates to within one at 5-4.
Forrest added two more for Pagosa and then both teams cooled off until the three-minute mark when Pirate guard Ryan Goodenberger sank a three to extend the lead to 9-5.
Pagosa's David Kern, who started the game to provide extra defensive firepower, and the rest of the Pirate crew kept Centauri off balance the remainder of the period, cutting into passing lanes, blocking shots and challenging every Falcon misfire.
Senior Jason Schutz added a free throw to make it 10-5, then Norton got an inside basket for Centauri that was countered by two from Forrest and Pagosa led 12-7.
A wild three from the Falcons' Michael Brady at the buzzer found the glass and banked home to get his team within striking distance at the end of the first quarter. Centauri trailed 12-10.
Goodenberger and fellow guard Brandon Charles dealt numerous assists as Pagosa's rotating lineup put together a run to open the second behind baskets from Forrest, Schutz, Spencer and Jeremy Caler and the Pirates led 22-14 with just over five minutes to play in the half.
But Centauri crawled back into the game with free throws followed by a pair of rim-rattling threes and the physical nature of the game intensified as several hard fouls were whistled in the final two minutes. Schutz added a pair from the line for Pagosa, but at the half Centauri trailed by only three, 24-21.
Forrest and Spencer came out strong for Pagosa in the third, fighting through a determined and increasingly physical Centauri front line to put the Pirates up 32-23. The Pirate defense, which gained strength throughout the quarter, gave up only one basket in the opening minute, then blanked the Falcons the rest of the period.
The theft and conversion of a Centauri outlet pass by Charles with only seconds left in the quarter extended the lead to double digits; at the end of three the Pirates led 34-23.
A goaltending call against Spencer followed by a deuce got Centauri within seven with one minute gone in the fourth. They trailed 34-27.
The pace quickened, and Caler fed Schutz along the baseline for two before Brady bombed for three to get the Falcons within six at 36-30. Forrest scored for Pagosa, Brady answered for Centauri, and at the halfway mark the Pirates led 38-32.
Caler was hammered on a strong drive and converted one of two from the stripe before Brady sank a charity toss for the Falcons to keep the lead at six with under three minutes to play.
A minute later Charles navigated swiftly through a Centauri press and found Forrest on the right baseline for a two-handed rim chin-up to put the Pirates in command 41-33.
Forrest added two more for good measure with a minute and a half on the clock, Caler pumped in a free throw and Kern snared a defensive rebound with 60 seconds left for insurance as Centauri failed to convert down the stretch.
Spencer and Forrest got two each for Pagosa in the final minute, Centauri added three from the line, and the horn sounded with Shaffer's squad on top 49-36 and in first place in the IML with a 6-1 league record.
The Pirate front line did most of the offensive damage, with Forrest leading the way with 23 points and three blocks, followed by Schutz with nine points and two blocks. Spencer tallied eight points and three blocks for Pagosa.
After the game, Shaffer had good things to say about his team's defense and unselfishness. "This game says a lot for our kids on the defensive end; holding any team to two points in the (third) quarter isn't easy," said Shaffer, who added, "and I have to give our perimeter kids a great deal of credit; they're passing up a lot of shots in order to accomplish what we've been asking them to do all year - get the ball into the big kids."
When asked if he would offer a prediction on what to expect from his opponent during Saturday's game with Monte Vista, Shaffer responded, "I've always been of the philosophy that we're a lot better off just worrying about ourselves. We just have to continue to get better at practice and take care of business come game night.
"I think we're capable of playing with anybody in 3A basketball, but if anyone could predict how 16 and 17-year-olds are going to perform on any given day, that person would be a millionaire," added Shaffer.
The win boosted Pagosa's season record to 16-2. Shaffer and his team will travel to Monte Vista Saturday afternoon looking to win the IML title outright by posting a victory over the Pirates from the San Luis Valley. Game time is set for 5 p.m.
Scoring: Forrest 10-15, 3-4, 23; Goodenberger 1-3, 0-1, 3; Schutz 3-5, 3-4, 9; Charles 1-3, 0-0, 2; Spencer 3-6, 2-2, 8; Kern 0-1, 0-0, 0; Caler 1-2, 2-4, 4. Three-point goals: Goodenberger 1. Fouled out: none. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 17. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 31. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 13.
Ladies bow 53-47 in clash with No. 1 Centauri
By Richard Walter
At least one rating service had the Centauri Lady Falcons ranked the No. 1 Class 3A team in Colorado before Friday's contest against Pagosa's Lady Pirates.
If that was a true picture of 3A power in Colorado, the Pagosans must be a close second.
They lost to Centauri 53-47 but the final score does not reflect the closeness of the game, particularly after a spectacular Pagosa second half comeback.
Shooting only 8 for 23 in the first half, and victimized by five Centauri treys, the Lady Pirates went to the locker room for halftime with a 15-point, 32-17 deficit.
The Lady Falcons blistered the nets with 13-for-20 shooting in the first half, but notable was the fact the three normal big guns for the hosts in La Jara, all-state candidate Brittny McCarroll, Kiley Mortensen and Melissa Sutherland had only four field goals among them.
The Centauri attack was heavily flavored with Espinosa - sisters Resa and Idana - who had a trio of treys to go with one by Sutherland.
The Lady Pirates got a big first quarter from 6-2 sophomore center Caitlyn Jewell, with seven points.
Her free throw with 1:13 left pulled the Lady Pirates into a 9-9 tie but Resa Espinosa answered with her first trey and Sutherland a deuce as Centauri pulled back to a 14-9 lead after one period.
Pagosa's other score in the period came on a 12-foot jumper by Bri Scott.
The second quarter was an 18-8 spurt for Centauri, featuring treys by Idana Espinosa and Sutherland and McCarroll's only basket of the half. Mortensen added two field goals and a pair of free throws and the 15-point hole looked to deep to climb out of.
But these Pagosans don't know the meaning of quit.
They came out for the second half with an 18-point blitz and a suffocating defense that held the Lady Falcons to just six points and the score was back to a 38-35 Centauri edge after three.
The home team's only field goal of the period was another Idana Espinosa trey. The only other points were a single free throw from reserve guard Danielle Valerio and two charity tosses by Naomi Prieto.
Pagosa, meanwhile, was getting four points each from Jewell and Lori Walkup, three each from Shannon Walkup and Katie Bliss, and a pair from freshman post player Emily Buikema.
Shannon Walkup opened fourth quarter scoring with a pair of free throws and the Centauri lead was cut to one at 38-37. With 6:33 left Jewell scored on a drive inside to give Pagosa the lead at 39-38.
When Lori Walkup scored on a short jumper, the Pagosa lead was 41-38. Resa Espinosa hit a jumper and Mortensen scored to return the lead to Centauri.
Jewell scored inside again and Pagosa had a one-point lead back at 43-42.
With 1:02 left, Centauri had edged to a 47-45 lead when the first of two, to say the least questionable, calls involving the Walkup sisters turned the tide back to the hosts.
In the first instance, Lori Walkup stole the ball at mid court, drove the left wing and cut to the basket. As she went high for a left-handed score, she was undercut by a Centauri defender and landed stomach down.
As the Pagosa fans celebrated the score, the referee underneath waived off the basket and leveled a charging foul on the Lady Pirate. Idana Espinosa walked to the other end of the court and calmly sank both ends of a one-and-one and in a four-point turnaround, Pagosa trailed by four.
Seconds later, Shannon Walkup stole the ball at midcourt, drove the lane and was hit from behind as she went up for the shot, the impetus of the hit propelling her into McCarroll underneath as the ball went in.
The same referee waived off the score and charged the Pagosan with charging. McCarroll hit both free throws and the lead was up to six.
Still, the Pirates would not quit.
Jewell scored again on a twisting-turning drive off a feed from Katie Bliss to cut the lead to four with 38 seconds left.
But Mortensen hit the final shot of the game to give Centauri a hard-fought win over Pagosa and drop the Lady Pirates to 9-9 for the season, 3-4 in the Intermountain league.
Centauri, meanwhile, advanced to 17-1 on the season, their only loss to Bayfield, which in turn split two games with Pagosa.
Pagosa had 14 first half turnovers and 27 for the game. Centauri had 10 in the first half and 20 for the game.
Pagosa shot 19 of 45 from the floor, just over 42 percent, while Centauri was 19 of 40 for 47.5 percent. The obvious difference, since both teams had the same number of field goals, was the fact six of Centauri's were three pointers and Pagosa had none, and in fact attempted only one.
Pagosa was 7 of 13 from the free throw line and Centauri 11 of 14. Pagosa outrebounded their hosts by a whopping 35-17, including 13 by Jewell.
Combining her rebounds and game-leading 19 points gave the sophomore a double-double.
Idana Espinosa led Centauri with 17 and Resa was next with 12 while Mortensen added 10 and McCarroll, 6.
The Lady Pirates close the IML season by traveling to Monte Vista for a 3:30 p.m. game Saturday which will determine their seeding for the district tournament next week.
Scoring: Pagosa: Scott, 2-7,0-3, 4; S. Walkup, 1-7, 5-9, 7; Honan, 2-4. 0-0, 4; L. Walkup, 4-9, 0-0, 8; Kelly, 0-3, 0-0, 0; Bliss, 1-2, 1-2, 3; Jewell, 9-13, 1-2, 19; Buikema, 1-1, 2. Rebound leaders: Jewell 13, S. Walkup 6, L. Walkup and Scott 4 each. Steal leaders: S. Walkup 4, L. Walkup 2. Assist leaders: S. Walkup 5, L. Walkup and Scott 4 each. Blocks: S. Walkup, L. Walkup, Bliss and Buikema, 1 each.
Rec center remodeling bid opening set
By Richard Walter
Bids for remodeling of the Ralph Eaton Recreation Center in Pagosa Lakes have been sought in the region and three prospective bidders responded.
A special meeting of the board of directors will be held at 4 p.m. March 3 to open review the bids.
At the same time, directors approved an emergency commitment of up to $10,000 last week to repair a leaking hot tub in the center.
The problem is that when the pool area was constructed, all the pipes were encased in cement and the leak is inaccessible.
The proposal will move the piping to an above ground level and bypass the leakage area.
Twelve prospective bidders attended a conference explaining the problem but only four of them are expected to actually bid.
Funding for the work will come from reserve funds and not the general fund.
Director David Bohl, association treasurer, said there are sufficient funds for the emergency expenditure.
In a related development, a three-man delegation representing the Pagosa Porpoises Swim Team, lauded the association for its support, outlined hopes for the future, and sought a reduction in use rates for families with more than one member participant.
Casey Caves, new president of the Porpoises board, said the key issue for the team is the cost per person.
Last year, he noted, the cost was $150 per swimmer with a scaled down $50 fee for each additional swimmer from the same family.
This year, he said, the fee was increased to $150 per person participating.
That makes it hard on some families, he said, noting at least two families have three members on the team.
That's $450 per family and creates some hardship, he said.
He was joined in the presentation by coaches Chris Corcoran and Steve Kitson who detailed the operations of the team, citing lack of practice time as a challenge when they compete against teams with bigger facilities.
Swimmers range from 8 to 17 years old and coaches intend to limit squad total to 28, with 22-24 swimming in a given meet.
Right now, team practice is 4-5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Coaches would like to add two hours after school on Fridays.
Director Fred Ebeling wondered why the club does not use pools at Pagosa Lodge and The Spa, saying the Eaton pool is not available to association members when the Porpoises are using it.
Neither of the other pools are large enough, he was told, and the Spa pool is too warm for optimum swimming competition.
Ming Steen, center director, in response to an Ebeling query, said, "this is a multi-use facility and any time one group can tie up an individual facility there will be complaints. But we have not had more than a few."
Porpoise representatives said they are now participating in meets 10-10 1/2 months of the year and do it without the same number of training hours the opposition teams have.
In response to a board question, Caves said 10 of the current team members are not residents of association subdivisions.
Steen noted the board should realize the $150 fee being discussed is for the whole year, both seasons the coaches were describing.
Director Tom Cruse, board president, said the questions will be referred to the recreation committee for consideration and advisement on any changes recommended.
Planning commission to review county zoning proposal
By Tom Carosello
A preliminary zoning proposal for Archuleta County, composed by planning department staff, was reviewed by the planning commission during a Feb. 12 meeting and will be presented in further detail at the board's meeting next week.
Greg Comstock, director of county development, orchestrated the presentation and said planning staff focused attention mainly on the immediate areas surrounding the town of Pagosa Springs when devising the proposal due to the higher concentration of development in proximity to the town. Comstock said that additional evaluations will be given to the outlying areas as the process continues.
According to Comstock, the proposed zoning regulations were based on a framework of needs and recommendations outlined in the Community Plan. Comstock said planning staff also "looked at what the town had" and attempted to evaluate and designate certain areas in accordance with what was both obvious and logical with respect to prevailing land use patterns in adjacent areas.
Comstock said land-use categories listed in the proposal include single-family, multifamily, commercial and industrial zoning designations and said public input will be both welcomed and necessary for the completion of the process.
"This is only a preliminary sketch plan. We want to have something for people to react to before we tell them we've already done something," said Comstock.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Pagosa Springs resident Ron Chacey wondered why there was no mention of a citizens' committee on land use planning.
Robert Huff, board chairman, responded that public comment is always invited but, "We have a planning staff, and I guess I'm not convinced there ought to be a committee to do the work of the staff."
Comstock reiterated Huff's sentiment, citing the fact that a great deal of public concern and recommendation was put into the adoption of the Community Plan and said he felt a committee might result in deviations from what had already been approved.
"But of course, we always want to know if we are headed in the right direction," said Comstock, adding that several public hearings will likely result as the process continues.
Residents Barbara Palmer and Karen Aspin called for precise language and definitions to be included in any regulations and encouraged the board to conduct hearings at the earliest convenience because, as Aspin commented, "After springtime it seems like everybody disappears and no one will attend the hearings."
Planning commissioner Sandra Bramwell agreed that public hearings would be vital, but argued against going forward too quickly, stating, "We don't want to get in too big a hurry, if people are interested, they will show up."
Near the end of the meeting, Mary Weiss, county attorney, indicated the process will be an extended one. Weiss explained it will be at least several months before a preliminary resolution can be drafted. "Then you'll have public hearings, or at least one, before the county commissioners can act on anything," said Weiss.
Comstock agreed, and stated the process will take longer than anyone anticipates because "the devil is in the details" and said some individual property owners will eventually take exception to even the most carefully scrutinized zoning regulations "no matter what."
The planning commission's next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 26 in the Archuleta County Courthouse meeting room and is set to begin at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
Wave of flag thefts hits town, rewards offered
By Tess Noel Baker
State and national flags have been disappearing from Pagosa Springs at a rapid rate.
According to Pagosa Springs Police Department reports, ropes, and in one case, cable, have been cut in several locations around town, and the flags stolen.
Since early February, United States flags have been taken from outside the U.S Post Office, Archuleta Housing residences, La Plata Electric, the Community United Methodist Church, South Pagosa Park and possibly the Oak Ridge Lodge. Colorado state flags have been stolen at the post office, the park and the lodge.
Police Chief Don Volger said none of the flags have been recovered. Each one is valued at between $35 and $65. As many as 14 have been stolen, although not all the victims have made official reports yet.
Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon said four national flags have been stolen from the Archuleta Housing Corporation. The flag poles at the residences were raised just last spring.
"They actually cut the ropes," he said. "We raised the ropes up so it would be harder to get at and they did it again anyway. They don't have any respect for anything."
The Pagosa Springs Police Department is offering a $100 reward and the Archuleta Housing Corporation is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the thefts.
Wolf Creek Ski Area environment friendly
By Tom Carosello
Wolf Creek Ski Area was recently ranked among the top 10 environmentally-friendly skiing destinations by the Ski Area Citizens' Coalition.
The Durango-based coalition is comprised of a group of nonprofit conservation organizations including Colorado Wild, the Crystal Conservation Coalition and the Sierra Nevada Alliance.
The group describes its goal as working to "ensure that ski area management decisions, either by the Forest Service, the ski companies, or local governments, are responsive to the needs of real environmental protection, local communities and the skiing public."
The coalition uses an environmental scorecard to award points and produce grades ranging from A to F for the 70 largest ski resorts in the western United States on the basis of each operation's green policy management.
The rating system used by the coalition considers 12 critical issues, including development of undisturbed land, damage to wetlands, old-growth forests, roadless areas, snow making operations, and water and wildlife management. Resorts are awarded for protecting wildlife habitat, reducing auto use and recycling efforts.
Wolf Creek scored high in several rating areas, receiving the maximum 20 points in the coalition's "real estate development, zoning and development agreements" category.
The area received 20 out of a possible 30 points in the coalition's "avoiding terrain expansion on undisturbed land" category, helping to boost Wolf Creek's overall grade to a B.
Other Colorado ski resorts joining Wolf Creek in the top 10 include Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain and Buttermilk Mountain. Colorado resorts receiving failing or D grades include Beaver Creek, Copper Mountain, Keystone and Vail.
For more information on how the coalition rates Wolf Creek and other state ski areas, visit its Web site at www.skiareacitizens.com or write to Ski Area Citizens' Coalition, P.O. Box 2434, Durango CO 81302.
War brings peace and peace brings war. Those who have been praying for peace are actually praying for death to America and such would be a peaceful condition.
Those who have been demonstrating against the so-called war have forgotten that the Muslims declared war on us no later than 9/11/01. The Marxist/Stalinist/anarchist peace bums are actively working against our country (they've admitted they are too ashamed to be Americans).
Foreign countries see this on the news and this gives them more of a justification for being against us. This also undermines our very security. The peace bums perpetrated a tremendous hate crime against each one of us. This should be actionable.
The ignorant anarchistic bums are criminals. They want to make sure that America's mission to defend itself fails and at the same time they have no solutions to anything whatsoever.
They are, therefore, (you got it) defrauding America. Anything against America is just fine with them as long as America doesn't get to retaliate in a manner to exact justice, peace or security.
These same types also believe in gun control, but not criminal control. There is no punishment for terrorists and there's no punishment for criminals, either. But, there sure is plenty of punishment for victims, including America.
America takes care of the whole world and the payment it receives is incredible. Liberals call it diversity. Terrorism is considered diversity to them.
Yes, affirmative action caused the 9/11/01 incident because it forced the airports to hire third world scum that didn't know English and that passed their buddies through security to do their damage.
(As an aside, 30 years ago affirmative action was forced on America to supposedly promote opportunity. It had nothing to do with diversity. All the people involved with its promotion are frauds and liars.)
This is the mild version, for sure.
Recently I had an opportunity to take an outstanding in-depth watercolor workshop from two talented community members, Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett. What a dynamic duo those two are.
They share so willingly of what they have learned over a lifetime, giving a rank beginner confidence to delve deeper into the subject.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council should be commended on their sponsorship of many arts programs throughout the area for both adults and children and also the Pagosa Springs Community Center for providing a space for such artistic endeavors.
I urge any reader with a yen to explore their artistic abilities to give the PSAC a call.
For those who did not join the hundreds of Pagosans on Saturday at the services for departed Lee Sterling, you missed a marvelous tribute to a wonderful person.
As part of the service, John Graves played and sang the song "Lazy Bones" as per Lee's last request.
John remarked beforehand, "It certainly wasn't in keeping with Lee's energetic nature," but I thought it was in keeping with Lee's unique nature to just take one more jibe at the "do nothings" in this community. I could really hear him singing the lyrics, especially the last line. "You don't ever listen to what I say!"
Lee, you never were so effective.
If you think cell phones are annoying in Pagosa Springs, try people watching in the big cities. Some people have become so technologically co-dependent that they have actually lost the art of friendship.
Many of these cell phonies are so young that they haven't even given themselves a chance to discover friendship's art at all in their lifetime. Co-dependent on their hip-wielded "snares," these people are so much about control that they are literally afraid to let go enough in order to allow their art of friendship to grow and develop.
Cell phonies would rather exploit the oil necessary to make the plastic necessary to make the cell phones necessary for them to feel this illusion of "complete control."
In actuality, the cell phone co-dependents are co-dependent on exploiting all these resources, separating themselves elitely from the world community which still remembers how to make friends.
They are so terrified of the natural art of friendship that these friendless geeks are fanning their delusion of creating a War for Oil just so they can have their computerized plastics which keep them friendlessly elite and oh-so-geeky.
The art of friendship means you can relate to people around you. Eventually, even rendezvous at locations not previously "organized."
That means you've actually made a friend, cell phonies, not that you are so under attack that "terrorists" are following your every move.
Get real. You ain't that important. It is important to put away your control fetish and learn the Art of Friendship with at least one person before you die. Something to consider.
Not the problem
Your "What price peace" editorial, Feb 13, 2003, seems to say that "our way of life," "our current way of life," "our style of life," "our standard of life," are the problem. These will modify through the years in practical ways if given a chance. Right now, the problem is life, itself, faced with forces who want to destroy us.
Editor's note: On the contrary, the editorial, in part, asks people to evaluate the connection between our way of life and the need to act to maintain it. The key concepts in the editorial were those that relate military and economic action to the democratization, stabilization and establishment of security in parts of the world that threaten us.
Regarding the letter "War is not the answer."
I am saddened to see such a letter as this undermining our president's motives, who is our leader at least for the majority of us.
As for myself such a letter and the 50-plus or minus a few people carrying signs protesting our leaders of this country and their motives does not represent myself, family or several associates of mine.
These types of letters only represent the reason we are in the present situation our country is facing at this time. No backbone and failure to stand up against sadistic animals such as Hussein and bin Laden and erase them from the face of the earth is only asking for our on downfall. If you believe in letting these types of animals (not as good as dogs) stick around you might as well go hide under your beds or as a matter of fact get ready to give up your fairy tale ways of life because this country and world, for that matter will never be the same as we know it.
Thank God for a strong military and thank him for giving us the brains to protect ourselves, also for strong leaders to guide us through this mess.
I am proud to have served my country and my father and grandfather as well. How sad it is for all the young men who died in our past wars to protect a few spineless who don't seem to appreciate their devotion to country and ultimately the giving of their own lives to protect us and give us all the comforts we have and seem to really enjoy.
I suppose somewhere along the way you got to thinking this all just fell out of the sky and landed here. This civilized nation was not made carrying signs around on streets, it was made and won on battlefields which the like of the spineless could have never survived upon.
Proud to be a fighting American
Seniors celebrate at gala Valentine's bash
By Janet Copeland
What a Valentine's party!
We all had fun exchanging cards, candy, cookies, etc., then our wonderful staff treated us to drawings for prizes.
Winners of the prizes for prettiest decorated box or bag to hold our valentines were: first prize Nell Clark; second prize Elaine Nossaman; and third prize Eugene and Janet Copeland.
There were over 20 winners of tickets to the Follies, decorated wooden plaques, bath salts, honey, and others. What fun! Many thanks to all the folks who donated prizes.
We are so happy to announce our Volunteer of the Month for February is Alice Young. Alice frequently helps out by serving seniors in the dining room and we appreciate her help.
Congratulations to our Senior of the Week, Kathryn Ide. This lovely lady joins us often and we love having her.
Thanks to John Welcher for his presentation on the history of the American Red Cross and his appeal for volunteers to help the Red Cross during crises. Especially during times of wildfires and other weather-related emergencies, they need many volunteers so anyone who is willing to help out should contact Donna Modarelli or John (call the Senior Center for numbers and more information).
It seems we can never say thank you enough to all the wonderful folks who make donations to our Center. Thanks to Lyn DeLange for the calendars, pens, nightlights, and water bottles; UpScale Resale for their monetary donation; Jean Taylor for grapefruit; Mary Davis for socks; Mary Lou Maehr for popcorn cups for our move day; Lois Gibson for a crocheting kit; John Graves for videos; Webster and Cynthia Propper for books; Don and Elaine Lundergan for puzzles and napkins; Mr. and Mrs. Jim Carson for the coffee table; an anonymous donor for a $500 cash donation; Daylight Donuts for all the sweet delights; and to all the volunteers who stuffed 6,000 envelopes without even a paper cut.
The Driver's Safety Class for March is full but if you would like to attend the class on June 4 and 5, get signed up soon. These classes are very popular and fill up quickly. Many insurance companies offer discounts to their customers who complete this class. Call Don Hurt at 264-2337 for more information.
Learn about Sweden Doug Pearce, a young man from Colorado, spent time in Sweden and will present a slide show about his adventures and the gorgeous scenery. It will be at 12:20 p.m., Feb. 25: in the Senior Lounge.
AARP Tax form preparation and assistance sessions will be offered at least once weekly on Mondays until April 15. 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 the review of 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 paid professional tax preparer. Call 264-2167 to schedule an appointment. Please bring your 2001 tax return(s) and 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 they know well. Devote as little or as much time as you want. If you can help, contact August Vanderbeek at 264-6216 for more information.
Thanks to Debbie Grago and Inez for their presentation on blindness and information on diet and new magnifiers which aide folks with sight problems.
Welcome to the guests, returning members and new members who joined us last week: Pete DeMonte, John Welcher, Shirley and Gene Takach, Mary and Marian Burk, Mamie Lynch, Bill Hicks, Bill Smith, William Kimble, Helen Hoff, Cathy Cole, Carl Krauter, Gary Vincent (guest of Bill Miller), Nina Postalese, Joan Jouett, Virginia and Bob Wyman (guests of Sharon and Ray Pack), and Gwen (guest of Nell Clark).
There will be CPR classes for seniors available 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. on the third Monday of every month - except the February meeting, which will be on Feb. 24 because of the holiday.
Note that art classes are now held Wednesdays. We are trying to accommodate folks as much as possible so changed the day.
Tomorrow: 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11a.m. Medicare counseling; 1 p.m. Dominos; 1 p.m. CPR class.
Feb. 24: 1 p.m. Bridge for Fun.
Feb. 25: 9:30 a.m. Yoga; 10:30 a.m. advanced computer class; 11 a.m. blood pressures checks; 12:20 p.m. presentation about Sweden
Feb. 26: 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class; 12:45 art class in the arts media room.
Feb. 28: 11a.m. Medicare counseling; noon February birthdays celebration. Spirit Day. Wear your Silver Foxes T-shirts.
Thank our servicemen on line
By Andy Fautheree
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi has urged Americans to sign a special "Thank You Note" to the men and women of the U.S. Military. The note is available on the Internet at www.defendamerica.mil, a site maintained by the Department of Defense.
"Whether deployed to the Middle East, serving shipboard in the Indian Ocean or supporting operations at hundreds of facilities around the world, the men and women of our armed services need to know that we understand - and value - their contributions to the security of our nation and the well-being of every American," Principi said.
About 4.5 million Americans have already visited the Department of Defense Web site on the Internet, where they signed a simple message: "Dear member of the U.S. Military: Thank you for defending our freedom."
"The Department of Veterans Affairs stands ready to assist our newly deployed troops with a wide range of programs and services when they return home," Principi said. "We all pray that will be soon."
DefendAmerica.mil is the Defense Department's official Web site for news on the war on terrorism. The site provides coverage of top national security leaders, while featuring up-to-date photographs, information on weapons and equipment, personality profiles and human-interest features.
DefendAmerica.mil's online thank-you note was posted in May 2002, Military Appreciation Month.
For information on these and other Veterans benefits please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the County, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
Newsletter and SunDowner on Chamber horizon
By Sally Hameister
Our quarterly newsletter, The Chamber Communiqué, is coming up the first part of March, so if you would like to include your insert, please bring them to us by tomorrow, Feb. 21.
Just bring us 750 copies on 8 x 11 unfolded colored paper and a check for $40, and we will do the rest. This is truly a dandy and economical way to reach a lot of people with very little muss, fuss and bother. Give Doug a call at 264-2360 with any questions.
Your invitations will go out today for next week's monthly Chamber SunDowner taking place Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at Jeff Laydon's place of business, Pagosa Photography Studio and Gallery at 480 Pagosa St.
Co-hosting will be Steve Potter with Security Contractors, and you can count on delicious and plentiful food, tasty boxed wine and a variety of soft drinks.
As an added treat, some of the ladies of the Pagosa Springs Chapter of the Red Hat Society will attend, so you can count on seeing lots of purple attire and a fascinating and unusual array of red hats.
All this for only $5 at the door, still representing the best bargain in Pagosa Springs for food, entertainment and just plain fun.
Give us a call at 264-2360 with questions and we hope you will join us for our first official 2003 SunDowner.
You are invited to attend the first public meeting concerning a trails plan for Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs, Feb. 24, at Town Hall beginning at 7 p.m. This is your opportunity to ask questions and share your opinions concerning the existing and future trails system in Pagosa Springs.
Humane Society dinner
The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs invites you to attend their first wine tasting dinner of the year hosted by the fine folks at JJ's Upstream, Feb. 27 in their new enclosed patio room.
This elegant event includes a five-course gourmet dinner accompanied by fine wines at a cost of $55 per person.
Seating is limited, so you are encouraged to call the Humane Society office at 264-5549 to reserve your place for a fine gourmet dinner.
Bowl for Kids' Sake
Big Brothers Big Sisters is holding its annual bowling fund-raiser March 1 and 2 at Durango Bowl and invite you to organize a team or join a team to benefit this organization.
BBBS 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
Please join the folks at FoPA (Friends of the Performing Arts) for an evening to honor Fred Harman and, simultaneously, to raise funds for the future Pagosa Springs Performing Arts Center.
This western evening, sponsored in part by U.S. Mortgage Express, will be held at the Fred Harman Museum beginning at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 1.
You can view the gallery, socialize and sip some wine and/or sparkling cider from 6 to 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 (yikes, that's older than I am!)
Seating will be limited for this event, so I would suggest that you 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. Come out to say hello to Fred and to support this worthy cause.
Saturday night plan to attend one of the two performances of the Rotary Follies in the multi-purpose room at the Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard at 7 and 9 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at all local banks, the Chamber of Commerce, from any of your friendly local Rotarians or at the door for $12. The Follies is a compilation of comedic short skits (mostly lip sync) 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.
Although we have no new members to introduce this week, I am close to giddy with the pleasure of announcing 20 renewals. It's not just every day that we have the pleasure of such an impressive number.
We're happy to renew Al Baird with Coldwell Banker, the Pagosa Group; new owner, Daniel M. Byrd II with The Shirt Outlet; Kathryn Heilhecker with Jafra Cosmetics International; Tony Simmons and Bill Hudson with Site Five Productions; Barbara Griffin with The Second Story-Used Books and So Much More; Dee and Steve Butler with Studio 160; Stan and Marcella Maddux with Foam Insulation Specialists, LLC; David Hanson with Colorado Roofing and Construction; Kelly Martinez with the Community United Methodist Church Thrift Shop; Matt Yoksh with Pagosa Ski Rental; Karen Wessels with Alpha Engineering; Pastor Bart Burnett with Mountain Heights Baptist Church; Lew Woodard with First Inn of Pagosa; H. Wayne Wilson with H. Wayne Wilson, CPA/PFS, CFP; J.R. Ford with Pagosa Springs Enterprises; Maria MacNamee and Cathe Kropp with the Downtown Merchants Association; Sandra Million with The Sports Emporium; Danna and Steven Mahaffey with Pagosa Pastimes; and James Hallock with Earth Block Inc.
How's that for a list of luminaries? Thank you to each and every one of our renewals this week.
'Tilde' gets new life on Internet
By Lenore Bright
Some state tax forms have arrived. We are still waiting for the state book of forms and the second volume of the federal forms.
The squiggly line
The (~) in some on-line addresses is called a "tilde" (till-duh ). It is a diacritical mark used over letters in Spanish to denote the sound, or over vowels in Portuguese to indicate nasality.
In logic and math it is used to indicate negation. Now it has a new life in the information age. Most people just call it the squiggly line.
Fuel economy guide
Buying a new car?
The EPA sends us a yearly document with tips for improving fuel economy and lists the new cars with the highest fuel savings. Ask for it at the desk.
Free library service
We have the new applications to receive the talking books. To be eligible for the equipment and the service, a person must meet one of these requirements: unable to read standard print; unable to hold a book and or turn the pages.
If you know anyone who could benefit from this free program, call the library at 264-2209 for more information. This is one of the most important free services we can offer. Books and magazines will come to your home on cassettes to be listened to on special equipment - all free. You may choose the type of material you will receive.
The magazine of the Council for Responsible Genetics has been monitoring the impact of biotechnology since 1983.
The current issue discusses what human genetic modification means for women. Also listed is a Web site concerning genetically engineered food. Ask for it at the desk.
State transportation plan
Many of you are interested in what may happen to U.S. 160 and 84. Traffic lights and other upgrades are all determined by the state 2020 plan.
If you want to find out what changes are on the update, you may visit the Web site at www.dot.state.co.us or call (303) 757-9485.
New privacy concerns
According to one of our state librarians, we've been cautioned to be aware of a new generation of phones that also record and transmit video and still photos.
Some health clubs and casinos are banning the cell phones. Think of it - anyone, anywhere, could be taking your picture while you assume they are talking on the phone.
For all of you "would-be" authors here is the ultimate publisher rejection from a Chinese firm:
"We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity."
Thanks for materials from Phyl Daleske, Michael Green, Betsy Chavez, George Love, Sue Davis, Nancy Harders, Donald and Shirley Smith, Bonnie Martin, Teri and Norm Frazier. Building fund donations will be listed next week.
Tearing up the slopes
Gray Wolves stay active, stay young
By Tess Noel Baker
They've arrived from all over the United States and from several international countries.
They are all over 50, and they are all interested in staying active.
They are the Gray Wolf Ski Club and they boast 578 members coming from both the east and west sides of Wolf Creek Pass.
"They are determined to keep themselves healthy and fit forever," Carole Howard, newsletter editor, said. "I think being a Gray Wolf keeps you young."
That's an idea backed up by at least some statistics. A least a dozen active members of the club are in their 80s. The oldest active member, Charles Elliott, of Monte Vista, is 89 and still skiing.
"Two or three years ago I began to learn to ski," he said, "but I've been improving since 1934."
As a child, Elliott said, he used homemade wooden skis with a strap across the toe. And of course, trekking up the mountain was on foot, not a ski lift.
"You don't learn much that way," he said.
Today, he enjoys the camaraderie of meeting up with the other Gray Wolves at Base Camp on Tuesdays, their official weekly ski day, for lunch as much as the skiing.
The Grey Wolf Ski Club was founded in the summer of 1984. Their emphasis was downhill skiing and from the beginning, they met every Tuesday of the winter to take on Wolf Creek. In the earliest days, between 10 and 50 members would gather at the ski area for weekly skiing. On a recent Tuesday, 18 and a half years later, the number was at least 50.
Shortly after the club's formation, the activities expanded to include cross-country skiing. The first cross-country ski trip was a journey to Yellowstone in 1991. At that time, the skiers were joined by a few snowmobilers as well. Hiking was added to the group's outdoor adventures in the summer of 1985. Then came four-wheeling, golf, and, for a short time, mountain biking.
The first co-chairmen of the group of goers were A.G. "Red" Hoffman of South Fork and Harry Young of Pagosa Springs. The name, Grey Wolf Ski Club, was selected by a vote of 26 to 3 after two ballots. Charter membership closed with 70 members. Of those, about 22 are still members.
Early on, club members agreed that the president should be from one side of the pass and the vice-president from the other with the positions rotating annually. Dues were established at $5 per couple plus the cost of a membership card. Today, dues are $15.
Don Jacobs, of Pagosa Springs, the club's current president, said members of the group can be found on the slopes at Wolf Creek any day of the week, but Tuesdays they almost take over Base Camp at lunchtime.
One table on a recent Tuesday included Dick Moseley, Virgil Tinklenberg and Paul Lerno, a trio of Pagosa Springs residents, all retired and members of the Gray Wolves, who ski together two or three times a week.
"We start on one side of the mountain and ski trails all the way across it," Moseley said. "Once we decide which ones are the best of the day we usually go back and run those several more times." They also don't miss a chance to head back to base camp, see the rest of the club membership and talk a bit.
Moseley said the outings give them something steady to do in the winter when sometimes it's hard to get out of the area.
"The nice thing is it makes winter a lot more bearable," he said. "If you were stuck here without something like this to do, it would be terrible." Both he and Lerno have been skiing with the club for 10 winters. Tinklenberg is on his sixth.
Another Gray Wolf, Patricia Waters, started skiing just two years ago. She was introduced to the club through her real estate agent who was also a member.
"We said for $15 a year how could you afford to live without it?"
Pat Morgan, of South Fork, joined the group back in 1996 shortly after her former spouse's death.
"They were good about seeing that I got out and about," she said. "They're neat people that are out doing."
She even met her current husband while eating lunch one day at base camp.
For those who don't participate in the weekly downhill events, plenty of options are available. During the winter months, members participate in cross-country skiing every Saturday. In the summer, weekly hikes take the place of skimming the slopes on Tuesdays.
Then there's golf, four-wheel drive outings and longer ski trips to places like Steamboat Springs, Keystone, Park City and Copper Mountain. For a challenge on cross country skis, the group has journeyed to such places as Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, Grand Lake and Estes Park.
And let's not forget the parties. The group plans two summer potluck gatherings, one in South Fork and one in Pagosa Springs, a July 4 ice-cream social and potluck and a Christmas party.
President Don Jacobs said the variety of activities offers something for just about everyone and definitely keeps the grass from growing underfoot.
"I just love the fact that they're so outgoing and enjoy life," he said. They're upbeat in everything they do."
Anyone 50 and over who is interested in joining the club should send a check to Shields Daltroff, treasurer, Grey Wolf Ski Club, P.O. Box 2394, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Make sure to include a mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address. Dues are $10 for singles and $15 for couples, which includes a subscription to the newsletter. If joining as a couple, just one member of the couple must be 50 or over. Club activities and trips are available to paid members only.
Utes moved site to site by Anglos
By John Motter
Until 1848, Pagosa Country was home to the Southern Utes. Utes roamed all of the mountains of Colorado, Utah and northern New Mexico, seeing little of the white man.
Fur trappers came and went, but they didn't cause trouble. Trappers from Taos had worked the San Juan Country repeatedly since the 1820s. At least one trapper, Old Bill Williams, married a Ute wife a and was accepted into the tribe.
Contact with the black-bearded Hispanics of New Mexico had been going on for a couple of hundred years. Again, the Hispanics came and went; for the most part they didn't try to build homes and settle down.
Hispanics were allowed to settle as far north as Abiquiu and Taos, but no farther. The Nuevo Mexicanos traveled far into the mountains to trade, even as far as California and back, but they didn't build houses.
All of that changed after the brash Americanos defeated Mexico in a war and signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The Americanos started moving into Ute territory and building homes. They obviously came to stay. A number of treaties attempted to mitigate conflict between Ute and Anglo.
The first treaty in 1848-1849 was called the Calhoun Treaty. Negotiated by James C. Calhoun, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and ratified by Congress in 1850, the Calhoun Treaty said the government would protect the Ute Indians if they would end their frequent raids on northern New Mexico, recognize the jurisdiction of the U.S. over their lands, adopt its laws and adhere to its Indian policy. This document was later used to justify American entry onto Ute lands.
The right of government intrusion onto the reservation was included in the treaty by a provision which allowed the construction of military posts and the establishment of government agencies.
Although the Utes seemed not to understand either the nature or the scope of the treaty, they signed it. It is unlikely that those Indians who signed represented all of the Utes affected. This treaty did not establish boundaries for a Ute reservation.
It was the government's Indian Department policy to establish agencies for all of the tribes. Because Ute holdings were so remote, the government found this impractical to do.
Instead, the Indian agent for northern New Mexico handed out Ute provisions at Taos. This agency was to serve the three bands of Southern Utes, but only the Moaches living in the San Luis Valley came for their gifts. Because of the distance and rugged terrain, the Weeminuche and Capote bands did not make the trip.
Isolation between Anglo and Southern Ute remained, but not for long. In an attempt to establish contact with the Utes, the government shifted its agencies.
The Capotes were asked to join the Moaches in receiving rations at Abiquiu, along with the Jicarilla Apaches. Abiquiu must have been a busy place in those days. Some Moaches continued to receive rations at Taos. Other agencies used at this time were the Maxwell Ranch in New Mexico and Conejos, Colorado.
At about the same time, the government built Fort Massachusetts near the western end of La Veta Pass in the San Luis Valley. Later, when it was learned that the location of Fort Massachusetts made it difficult to defend, Fort Garland was built nearby.
Fort Massachusettswas the first Army fort in Colorado, if you discount Pike's stockade near today's Conejos. For a couple of decades, Hispanics from New Mexico had been attempting settlement in the San Luis Valley. Utes had exhibited their disapproval by burning the houses. Permanent settlement there was not possible until after the American military presence was established.
Fort Massachusetts was authorized in 1852 and built in June of the same year. It was replaced by Fort Garland in 1858.
The Moache Utes responded to the intrusion with a series of raids on the settlements in the San Luis Valley, the settlement at Fort Pueblo located at the junction of Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River, and settlements along the Red River in New Mexico. The Utes were aided by Jicarilla allies.
New Mexico's territorial governor, David Merriwether, responded by sending Col. Thomas T. Fauntleroy, at the head of 50 men, to chastise the Indians in March of 1855. After several battles, the Indians sued for peace and a treaty was signed Sept. 1, 1855, at Abiquiu. Congress did not approve the treaty, but Indian raiding decreased.
The government thought a permanent solution would be the result of putting the Utes on a permanent reservation in the San Juan Mountains. They instructed their negotiators to work with that goal in mind.
Next week we'll look at the first steps to force the Southern Utes onto a reservation.
Time to clean it up
First impressions. They are significant; they make a difference. It is interesting how people are affected by first impressions and how, with repeated exposure, we learn to ignore the source of those impressions. At the same time, as the first impression becomes commonplace, it continues to work on us, to play a role in how we perceive a person, a situation, a place.
So it is with our impressions of a locale, of a town or a community. The longer we live in a place, the less some of those things that might negatively impress a first-time visitor erode from our day-to-day consciousness while still affecting how we think and feel.
Let's talk trash.
What is your first impression of a place where trash and junk are seen nearly everywhere you look? What do you think when you roll into a new town and see trash next to the highways, paper and debris blowing across empty lots and stuck in fences, piles of cigarette butts and bags of fast food garbage sitting in the middle of parking lots, in the center of roads?
Obviously the residents of such a place have at least two forces acting on them: a lack of pride in the community and the blindness that comes of repeated exposure.
Have you taken a close look at Pagosa Country lately? Surely many of our visitors have.
Try to see the place fresh, as if you had just arrived.
Let's talk trash.
Despite the fact county and town governments are working diligently to enact and enforce ordinances that control the clutter created by inappropriate lighting and signs, that deal with the aesthetics of new construction and the zoning of structures and uses, there is a blight on the community. Despite the presence of littering laws, the blight is growing.
There are individuals and organizations in the community that work to pick up some of the enormous amount of garbage strewn about the community, especially on and adjacent to roadways. These groups adopt sections of road and highways and periodically turn out to police their areas.
Who knows what our community would look like without them, but they are too few.
They are fighting an uphill battle. Too many of us have grown immune to the shock of the first impression. We accept the deteriorating condition. The slobs are winning. A horde of cretins is using this beautiful environment as a dumping ground. They throw bottles, cans, bags, wrappers, cigarettes from their autos as they drive on our roads, highways and streets, throw their junk in fields and vacant lots and lakes, uncaring and unblessed by any pride in the place they inhabit.
It is debatable whether or not the slobs who soil this community and county are aware of what they are doing and, if they are, whether they can change their habits.
The task falls to those who care. More of us have to take on the job of environmental janitor. This winter-that-isn't-a-winter has kept the ground fairly clear and kept the mess visible. Now, we have to clean it up.
The clean-up can occur during walks around the neighborhood, when and wherever junk is spotted. The Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center has bags available for anyone who wants to make the effort,
Groups and families can adopt a section of road or highway shoulder to clean. The Chamber has forms and information available to start the process with the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Those who have already signed up for a section of road need to remember the agreement is to clean the area a minimum four times a year.
Let's get at it. First impressions count, the tourism season is about to begin and the ongoing negative effect of a littered environment is unacceptable.
Kids look for fun to hide fears
By Richard Walter
As a child growing up in Ignacio, excursions into the arid surroundings of the community provided early adventure.
We could find pottery shards in almost every direction. Sometimes the full handle or a multicolored side of a jar would be unearthed.
Pinon trees grew on easily accessible tracts and collecting the fallen nuts for preparation as treats was always fun.
Surrounding these sites in early spring were brilliant red flowers we called Indian Paint Brush. May Day often meant a bouquet of these free blossoms for mothers of the area.
The one place we were warned not to go was to Rattlesnake Peak, one of the two square-topped high rises in the stone mosaic south of the town. The other was Ignacio Peak.
Rattlesnake Peak was said to be home to the most vicious rattlers around and some would tell you that the collective sound of thousands of rattlers could be heard in early evening as, finished sunning for the day, they slithered back into nighttime protection beneath the helter skelter slabs of stone.
One place we were not warned against, but which we soon discovered to be a dangerous place to play, was a drainage ditch running east from the mesa above the town and passing through the Lunsford property to a point where it became a waterfall down to the town level.
It was great fun to slide into the stream as it spilled over the edge and ride the current to the bottom.
The fun came to a screeching - literally - halt one day when those of us walking back up to the top began to itch, scratch and yell when we found leeches gluing themselves to our limbs and ostensibly sucking out our blood as their very sustenance.
Friends owned a small ranch on a hilltop east of town. It was a semi-monthly event for our family to join theirs for popcorn, bobbing for apples, and a picnic lunch under the trees in the orchard.
What was not so common was for me to ride a horse.
Their older daughter, Carolyn, decided one day that I had been mean to her and determined to show me my place.
She found the strongest willed horse on the property and had it saddled for me, inviting me to join her in a ride to the upper end of the farm.
Not wanting the young lady to know I'd never ridden, I found a way to get my body atop the saddle - and quickly learned the horse had no intention of being ridden.
I was tossed forward, over his (or her) head, and landed on my back. Carolyn laughed her head off and it was the end of my experience with equines as a means of transport.
Is there some deeper meaning to this tale?
I look at those times as among the happiest of my early years, times when, with a world at war, children could still find a way to make themselves happy, keep their sanity and hide their fear.
We had to entertain ourselves but do so in a way which was not dangerous to us or anyone else. We did not steal, smoke, drink, or destroy property or the sanctity of another's home.
Children today seem sometimes to be immune to providing "fun" for themselves.
"There's nothing to do in this town," they say. But when events are planned for them they don't want to participate.
Why? "Too many adults telling us what to do." My answer: Hogwash!
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Feb. 21, 1913
The Pagosa Methodist Church is now out of debt. Dr. DeMotte's extended pastorate here has been a happy one in every way.
The county commissioners visited the Trujillo section this week to size up road and bridge needs.
Dave Lowenstein is home from a stock-purchasing trip to St. Louis and Chicago and by the steely glitter of his eyes one may guess that he is getting prepared to chase competition to the storm cellar.
An autumn fair of Archuleta County farm products would help awaken our own people to the possibilities of our soil and market conditions.
Sunday two of Pagosa's inhabitants engaged in a rattling fight. The court made the fine and costs $9.75 each.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Feb. 24, 1928
Ewells and Fitzhughs are getting in a nice lot of wood and just finished filling the ice houses - so they can keep hot and cold.
Beginning tomorrow night, an admission charge of 25¢ will be made to all men at the Carlsbad Lodge dances, while dance tickets will be reduced in price form $1.00 to 75¢. Ladies will be admitted free.
A fire alarm yesterday afternoon disclosed that a kitchen stovepipe at the home of Mrs. Jessie Nevins on Hermosa Street had fallen over and set fire to the kitchen roof. The blaze was quickly extinguished with very little damage, and the city firefighting apparatus was not needed though it was right on hand.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Feb. 20, 1953
The reward of $50 offered last week by The SUN for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the foul creature who has been poisoning dogs in town was enlarged this week when two more business offered $50 each in the dog poisoning epidemic.
Strutting forth with the twentieth edition of his Harlem Roadkings, Bobby Grund's fancy Dans of the basketball court tangle with the Pagosa Town Team quintet in the High School gym on March 2. Once more the master clowns of basketballville are rolling along the country's highways with a remarkable record of 2,383 wins and only 162 losses. Cleo Johnson, ace dribbler, clown and coach of the Roadkings will lead the clever ball handling Negro Houdinis.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Feb. 16, 1978
Big game animals are down along the highways and winter feeding crowds in much larger numbers than last year. Late in the evening and early in the morning they can be seen along almost every highway in the area.
Snow storms on Wolf Creek Pass last week left 38 inches of new snow in two days. Wolf Creek snow is nearing normal, but lacks a bit of being up to the long time average. More snow is expected this week.
Town election interest is higher this year than for some time. The town clerk reports that 12 petitions have been taken out, although none had been returned in completed form by Wednesday. The final date for return of the forms is March 6.