Sign debate drags on; talks continued
By Tess Noel Baker
Pagosa's 20-year-old sign ordinance, which some have labeled out-of-date, difficult to work with and obsolete, remains in the field.
Its relief - a revised ordinance that's aimed at being shorter, tighter and more user-friendly - is still warming up.
March 20, members of the Pagosa Springs Planning Commission, town staff, members of the sign ordinance committee and the public met to continue a public meeting on the draft ordinance.
Mark Garcia, head of the town building department, outlined differences between the old and new section by section.
The four members of the public in attendance, all business owners, had several concerns with the draft as proposed, including changes in the calculations of allowable signage area and the proposed regulation that all nonconforming signs would be required to conform to the new rules within 5 years.
"What it would limit me to is something no bigger than a piece of plywood," Larry Fisher said of the proposed area limits.
Under the current ordinance, allowable area of signage is based on lot frontage. Business owners are allowed two square feet of sign area per one lineal foot of lot frontage. The new code proposes one square foot of sign area per one lineal foot of building frontage with maximum sizes in place for all types of signs.
Business owners in attendance protested that basing the allowable area on building frontage unfairly penalized those businesses with narrow frontages.
Angela Atkinson, a member of the sign committee, said over several months the committee looked at different ordinances from similar communities and tried to come up with a draft that would take Pagosa Springs into the future and discourage the proliferation of signs.
Eddie Vita, manager of a local gas station, said the committee might have gone too far. Based on building frontage, under the proposed ordinance he wouldn't even be able to keep the price signs for gasoline up. They would put him over his allowable area.
Suggested alternatives included: reverting back to lot frontage or basing the allowable area on a ratio of building footprint to lot size.
The lack of a grandfathering provision also caused a stir. Under the proposed sign ordinances, all signs that don't meet the standards outlined in the new ordinance would have to be brought into conformance within five years.
Vita said business owners with signs in conformance with the old ordinance should be given a break. Bringing a sign into conformance should only be required when signs have to be altered by the business owner for some reason.
"If I have to change my signs it's going to bother me quite a bit," Lew Woodard said. He also asked if the committee had studied how much it would cost local business owners to bring signs into conformance in the next five years.
They hadn't considered costs, Atkinson said. They did consider what they wanted the town to look like aesthetically in 10 or 20 years. Bringing signs into conformance only when a business owner wanted to make a change would only encourage people to leave unsightly signs in place longer, she added.
After an hour and a half, no final decisions were made. The public hearing will be continued at the regular April 15 planning commission meeting. In the meantime, the sign ordinance committee plans to meet at least once to continue their own discussions and revisions.
Home rule forum set
Monday; vote April 8
By Tess Noel Baker
Depending on the voters, Pagosa Springs could take its first steps to becoming a home rule community in just 12 days.
Home rule is an alternate form of local government structure allowed under the Colorado State Constitution to allow communities to tailor their government to their needs. Currently, Pagosa Springs is a statutory community. That means government structure, including terms of board members and number of board members is set by state statute.
Want to know more?
The League of Women Voters has scheduled a forum Monday to discuss the home rule issue. The forum begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs Town Hall.
The six candidates for the charter commission, the group responsible for writing the charter that would outline the structure of local government under home rule, have been invited to participate.
Darrel Cotton, a member of the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees will speak in favor of becoming a home rule community. As of Tuesday, no one had been scheduled to speak in opposition. Audience members will have a chance to listen to candidates and ask questions.
The special election on the home rule questions is set for April 8.
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Hint of moisture, mild temperatures in forecast
By Tom Carosello
Scenes of wind-swept clouds puffing up amongst blue skies dominated the weather stage in Pagosa Country last week while wet-weather systems approaching from the west weakened and gave way to plentiful sunshine before reaching the Four Corners region.
According to David Nadler, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, the chance for an occasional shower today and tomorrow will vanish before the weekend, clearing the way for more mild temperatures and azure skies through the middle of next week.
"This next system might provide a pretty good shot," said Nadler, "but the duration looks to be shortlived.
"It's hard to say how far south the system will progress, but I'd say there is a good chance for widely scattered rain showers mixed with some snow across lower elevations. Higher elevations in the San Juans will probably get a more steady, heavier dose."
According to Nadler, a slight chance for snow, breezy conditions and mostly cloudy skies are forecast for this morning, and a 30-percent chance for rain exists for this afternoon. High temperatures are expected to reach the mid-40s to lower 50s, and lows should settle into the upper teens.
Overcast skies and a lingering chance for rain are expected for Friday morning before clouds clear out by the afternoon. Highs should hit the lower 40s, lows should dip into the teens.
The weekend forecast calls for mostly sunny skies; highs should reach the 50s Saturday, then climb into the low 60s Sunday. Lows are predicted to slide into the upper teens to low 20s each day.
Monday calls for continued clear skies, highs in the upper 50s and lows in the 20s.
A slight chance for precipitation returns for Tuesday and Wednesday. Partly cloudy skies are expected, and highs should hover around 60 while lows should fall into the upper 20s to low 30s.
Wolf Creek Ski Area received five inches of new snow over the past week, resulting in a summit depth of 114 inches and midway depth of 101 inches.
Snowpack levels in area river basins are holding steady; snowpack in the Upper San Juan Basin measures 93 percent of average while the level at the summit of Wolf Creek Pass is reportedly at 81 percent of average.
The Colorado Avalanche Information center rates the risk level in the San Juan Mountains as "considerable" at elevations above timberline and on slope gradients exceeding 35 degrees. Risk level below timberline is rated as "low."
The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 46; the average low was 19. Last week's high of 50 was recorded Monday afternoon; the low of 15 was recorded early Friday. Precipitation last week, measured as rain, amounted to two-hundredths of an inch.
Riverflow in the San Juan River measured 139 cubic feet per second as of March 26. The historic mean flow in the river for late March and early April is 234 cubic feet per second.
Raw water project is a district priority
By Joe Lister Jr.
This is the first spring break in a long time where I stayed home and worked. Seeing the town so empty makes me a little nervous and anxious that I should have left for the warm sun of Arizona.
Now that I have settled in to work and the fact that I remain in Pagosa, I asked myself, "What is there to write about in the Parks and Recreation Department?"
Most of the time I dwell on the recreation portion of our business, but a lot of our time is spent on the maintenance of parks and playing fields.
Jim Miller is busy with his crews aerating, fertilizing, painting, you name it, he and his crews are doing it, to prepare for the busy summer that lies ahead of us. The big project we are all keeping tabs on is the raw water feed from the San Juan River to the athletic fields at the high school. We are now waiting for a permit to put the vault and the pump into the river to convert the watering system into a more economical and healthy system to irrigate the turf areas so many of us enjoy throughout the year.
Last year's drought situation made us all aware of things that in the past we took for granted. Watering, fertilizing and a healthy turf were a big headache last year. With some luck and good spring moisture we may have a great summer, with our focus on the fact that we do not have an open account for water, and we must take care of a natural resource that flows right through our town.
Adult basketball is taking a week off, for the Spring Break, and will start up with games on March 31. Chris Corcoran is working hard to secure gym time, referees, and scorekeepers to make the final weeks of the 2003 adult season a success.
Look for more league games, final standings, followed by a double elimination tournament in mid-April.
Baseball sign up
Look for your child to bring home a youth baseball sign up form in their weekly packet from school, or pick up your form at town hall. Please fill them out and return them to town hall, on or before April 11, at 5 p.m.
Home schoolers and private schools please come to town hall to pick up your forms.
If you have further questions call Chris at 264-4151, Ext. 232.
The Pagosa Pirates track team competed in the first meet of the season at the San Juan Basin Relays March 21. Although complete results of the meet will not be available until next week, the Pirates did achieve some early success. Both the boys' 3200-meter and 1600-meter relay teams ran away with first place, a solid start while their own track is currently under construction. The tracksters' next test will be April 5 at the Bobcat Relays in Bloomfield, N.M. From there, they travel all the way to Pueblo for the Pueblo Challenge Cup April 11-12. Competing in the Cup will allow some of the younger runners a chance to gain some valuable experience running on the state track meet surface at Dutch Clark Stadium.
Pirates rip Piedra Vista 19-11 Tuesday
By Richard Walter
Losing wasn't something they liked.
After committing 10 errors in a loss at Cortez Saturday, the Pagosa Springs Pirates returned with a vengeance Tuesday, swatting Piedra Vista 19-11 in Farmington.
Increasing their season record to 4-1, all on the road, the Pirates unleashed a barrage of hits against the hosts in a final tune-up for the Intermountain League season opener, a double header scheduled here at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Coach Tony Scarpa was pleased with the offensive attack, but a little worried abut his pitching staff's new propensity to issue walks.
That trait, in fact, had the Pirates down 7-4 after just 1 2/3 innings as starter Jarrett Frank had trouble spotting his pitches.
Ben Marshall came out of his catching position in relief and got the final out of the inning.
He also pitched a second inning, giving up one run on two hits and striking out three.
Josh Stone then came to the mound and went the rest of way, allowing three runs, only one earned, on three hits, but he also issued six walks as he hiked his season mark to 3-1.
Despite the problems on the mound, Pirate batters found the New Mexico climate to their liking.
With Stone leading the way at the plate, going five for six with two doubles and two triples, the Pirates answered Piedra Vista with five runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and four each in the sixth and seventh innings.
Marcus Rivas had two hits in two official trips to the plate, drew two walks, and twice was hit by a pitch.
He and Stone were joined in the hit parade by Marshall with four in six trips, including a double and a triple; Frank with three hits and a walk; Jeremy Caler with two hits in four trips; David Kern with 1 hit in two at bats and two walks; and Matt Mesker with one hit in three at bats.
Surprisingly, there were no home runs for Pagosa.
Scarpa said the field was part of a new sports complex "and the outfield was huge. Long drives stayed in the park for extra base hits," he said. "Driving one out would take a lot of power."
Looking forward to the start of league action, Scarpa said he expects Centauri to be a much improved team this year.
"They were mostly underclassmen last year," he said, "and I expect they will have improved with maturity."
He said the Pagosa field is "playable right now. In fact, we're practicing on it this week. I hope the storm predicted for week's end holds off. If it does, we'll happily play at home for the first time."
Errors lead Pirates to 13-6 loss at Cortez
By Richard Walter
There are errors of commission and errors of omission.
The Pagosa Springs Pirates got a lesson Saturday in the bad things that can happen when you commit both kinds.
The normally sure-handed Pirates aided the cause of the Cortez Panthers by committing 10 errors of record and some mental miscues which led to their 13-6 loss.
The Pirates actually broke on top in the first inning when Josh Stone, the starting pitcher and leadoff man singled to center.
He stole second and went to third on a passed ball.
Designated hitter Marcus Rivas struck out but catcher Ben Marshall walked and the Pirates had runners on first and third.
They stayed there as Lawren Lopez struck out. Stone scored, however when Zeb Gill's ball was misplayed by the Panther second baseman.
He and Marshall worked a double steal and Pagosa had runners on second and third with two out, but Jarrett Frank grounded out to short to end the inning.
Cortez struck quickly in the bottom half of the frame, plating five runs on five hits.
John Smith opened with a single to center off Stone. Pat Dibsie, a left handed batter, followed with a single to left, and Preston Cornett drove both in with a long home run to left.
Shane Hister, the designated hitter, struck out and second baseman Andy Spruell grounded to first for the second out.
Stone appeared to be out of the jam when he fanned Jared Goosch.
The third strike eluded Marshall, but his throw to first was in plenty of time but misplayed by Lopez. That opened the gates for two more runs when Richard Yake doubled and Cade Fox singled to drive in both runners before Kris Hooten, the Panther pitcher, fanned to end the inning.
Pagosa's second was a three-up, three-down affair with Levi Gill grounding to second, David Kern, in his first appearance of the season, flying to center and Jeremy Caler, also making his debut, lining to first.
Cortez got a single run in the second on Cornett's second home run. Stone had two ground ball outs and registered his third strikeout in the inning.
Stone walked to open the third for Pagosa but was thrown out attempting to steal. Rivas singled but Marshall flied to left. Lopez drew a walk and Pagosa had two runners on but Zeb Gill fanned to end the threat.
The Panthers got three more in their half of the inning, mostly thanks to Pirate largesse.
Goosch was hit by a pitch and moved to second when Yake walked. Both advanced on a wild pitch. After Fox popped to short and was out on the infield fly rule, Hooten doubled in both runners. Smith popped to first, but Dibsie reached on an error, Hooten scoring. The inning ended with Cornett grounding into a fielders' choice.
Pagosa's fourth was another 1-2-3 inning with Frank flying to center, Levi Gill grounding to short and Kern popping to first.
Coach Tony Scarpa opened the fourth for Cortez by sending Stone to short, bringing Marshall in to pitch, and moving Rivas behind the plate.
Hister fanned, Spruell popped to first and after Goosch reached on an error, Yake also struck out and Cortez did not score.
The Pirates threatened in the fifth with Caler leading off with a single. But, when Stone flied to right, Caler was too far off the bag and could not get back to beat the throw.
That probably cost Pagosa a run because Rivas followed with his second single and Marshall walked before Lopez popped to first to end the inning.
Cortez got a single run in their half of the inning, thanks to a misplayed leadoff single to right by Fox, allowing the runner to advance to third.
Hooten's sacrifice fly to left produced the run. A pinch hitter drew a walk before Dibsie grounded to first. Cornett was hit by a pitch but Marshall struck out Hister to end the uprising.
Pagosa, trailing 10-1, mounted a comeback with two out in their half of the sixth.
Michael Dach and Frank struck out in order to open the frame but Kern tripled and hope flickered.
Caler drove him in with an infield single and Stone followed with a double scoring Caler. After Rivas was hit by a pitch, Marshall came to his own cause with a ringing double plating a pair. The rally ended with Lopez's long fly to right and Pagosa down 10-5.
But the bottom of the frame was a Pirate disaster with four errors contributing to three Panther runs.
It started innocently enough with Spruell grounding back to Marshall. Goosch walked but Yake struck out and the Pirates seemed ready to escape trouble.
The next two batters each reached on errors by Levi Gill and advanced on errors by Rivas, Goosch scoring. Smith and Dibsie each singled in a run before Cornett fanned to end the Cortez attack.
With the score standing 13-5, Dach took two quick strikes as the leadoff hitter in the top of the seventh and then gave the Pirates new hope.
He ripped a fastball over the fence to left center into the middle of the highway. The fence marker showed 372 feet. The ball probably topped the 400-foot mark.
When Frank drew a pass, thoughts of a comeback flared briefly.
They died when Levi Gill hit into a fielder's choice, Kern fanned and Caler grounded to short two end the game.
Cortez: 13 runs on 10 hits; Pagosa 6 runs on 9 hits; Errors, Pagosa, 10, Cortez, 2. Winning pitcher, Hooten, loser, Stone. Home runs, Cornett, Cortez, 2; Dach, Pagosa, 1; RBIs, P-Marshall, 2, Z. Gill, Kern, Caler one each; C- Smith 1, Dibsie, 1, Cornett, 4, Fox, 2, Hooten, 3.
Surprising Lady Pirates place pair on all-IML list
By Richard Walter
It was the year.
The year all the pundits agreed would be a rebuilding effort for the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates.
Their string of Intermountain League basketball championships, outright or shared, was going to end.
They were too young, too inexperienced and had a new coach.
They'd never even make the playoffs.
To some extent, the preseason doubters were at least partially right.
They had only two seniors. They had seven sophomores and three freshmen who might see action.
What many failed to take into consideration was that three of those sophomores had extensive playing time as freshmen.
Sure, there were days when coach Bob Lynch felt like he might have bitten off more than he could chew.
There were days when freshmen played like freshmen and sophomores like sophomores.
But, it was a team destined to do more than just pull a few surprises.
They opened on the road in a new tournament for Pagosa, the Buena Vista Invitational against Salida.
Some eyebrows were raised when the Lady Pirates sailed to a 50-23 victory. They were raised even more when people learned the Ladies were paced by 16 points from one of the sophomores, center Caitlyn Jewell, who had not even played the previous year.
Next up was the host Buena Vista, a team many favored to be in the hunt for a state title.
Jewell was held to a pair of free throws and was in early foul trouble. Senior point guard Shannon Walkup scored 11 but game honors went to another sophomore, Mollie Honan, with 13. Two more sophomores, Lori Walkup and Bri Scott were right behind with 10 and 8 respectively as Pagosa suffered its first loss, 55-47.
Then came the annual Wolf Creek Classic, the first chance for home fans to see their girls in action.
They weren't disappointed.
Jefferson from the Denver metro area fell 56-22, with 11 Pagosa players breaking the scoring list. Next up was Clear Creek and they, too, went down to Pagosa, 47-36. That put Pagosa into the championship game of its own tournament, against Gunnison and the new-look Lady Pirates delivered a 52-29 victory.
That set the stage for another road tournament, Pagosa taking is surprising 4-1 record to Rye for the annual Rye Classic.
First up for Pagosa was host Rye which fell 43-32 to the balanced Pagosa attack.
Then came LaJunta, expected to be the pride of the eastern plains and a team which eventually made it into state playoffs. The Lady Pirates got 18 from Jewell but for the first time faced a team with two big girls inside and fell 62-47.
That sent the Ladies into competition against another team with state playoff hopes, Manitou Springs and their brilliant guard, Chelsea Waloszyn.
It was a game in which Pagosa's young ladies would prove their mettle. Down 16 at one point, they kept scratching and clawing back. Waloszyn, living up to her reputation, got 26 points, but her teammates could add only 21 more.
Pagosa got 39 from the Walkup sisters (22 by Shannon) and the Lady Pirates pulled out a surprise 53-47 win.
Their worst break of the season, literally, would come in the next contest.
Playing another nonconference foe, Aztec, on the latter's home court, the Lady Pirates lost Lori Walkup with 5:39 left in the first half with a broken bone in her right hand.
Her loss was to mark the beginning of a downward trend as Pagosa lost 43-39.
Without her, the Lady Pirates seemed like a crew without an anchor as it lost badly at home to Bloomfield, 61-27.
Next up was league favorite Centauri and it was no contest, Pagosa bowing 55-32.
Bayfield was next, intent on adding to Pagosa's woes and did so, stopping Pagosa 51-38.
Then the Dolores Lady Bears came to town and the Lady Pirates fell 48-43.
It was on to Ignacio, another team which eventually advanced to state competition.
Pagosa had a one point lead with less than a minute to play. Ignacio snatched it back only to see Pagosa score again.
In the end, it was a desperation, 60-footer by Ignacio's Carol Lee Jefferson that gave the Bobcats the win and Pagosa its toughest loss.
When Monte Vista came to town, the Ladies were ready to right the ship and they had Lori back for brief spells. The result was a 61-41 Pagosa victory.
Then it was time for an Ignacio rematch and the Lady Pirates were up to the task, revenging their earlier loss with a 60-56 victory.
Bayfield, too, found it hard to beat Pagosa twice as the Lady Pirates, back at full strength, stopped them 53-48.
The magic disappeared when they faced Centauri again , bowing 53-47 to the league champs on their LaJara court.
Monte Vista tried vainly to stop the Pirates on their home court, but eventually bowed 47-46 as three different players, including freshman Liza Kelly, gave Pagosa 7-point spurts that saved them.
A week later, Pagosa and Monte Vista clashed for a third time in the opening round of the district tournament in Ignacio. Again, Pagosa was the winner, 47-31.
Bayfield sent Pagosa to the charity stripe endlessly in the next tournament game and Pagosa took advantage for a 53-48 victory and an advance into state competition facing Kent Denver in the Basalt regional.
Pagosa dug themselves a deep hole then battled back to lead by one before falling 54-45 and leaving their record at 12-10 for the season.
A far cry from what others had predicted, but still not what they would have liked.
For the season, Pagosa was led in scoring by Jewell with 206, Shannon Walkup with 184, Bri Scott with 172, and Lori Walkup with 153 (in 14 games).
Next came Mollie Honan with 84, Katie Bliss with 67, Melissa Maberry with 54, Emily Buikema with 44, Liza Kelly with 22, Caitlin Forrest with 15, Laura Tomforde with 7 and Kari Beth Faber with 2.
Shannon Walkup was far and away the leader in both steals, 82, and assists, 80.
In steals, Lori Walkup was second with 57, Scott had 34, Bliss 33, Honan 28, and Jewell 19.
Other assist leaders were Bliss with 36, Scott with 32, Lori Walkup with 31, and Honan with 21.
Jewell led in blocked shots with 27, Buikema had 11, Bliss 8 and Shannon Walkup 7.
Buikema with 8 of 10 (80 percent), Tomforde with 3 of 4 (77.5 percent) Maberry with 21 of 33 (63.6 percent) and Honan with 22 of 35 (62.8 percent) were the Pirates' top free throw shooters. Shannon Walkup was 35 of 78 (44.8 percent) from the line and Jewell 33 of 74 (44.5 percent).
Jewell led all rebounding categories with 139 total, 72 of them at the offensive end. Bliss was second with 77 (52 defensive) and Scott third with 75 (56 defensive). Lori Walkup had 69, Shannon Walkup 59 and Honan 58. Maberry had 49 while Buikema and Forrest, both freshmen, each had 36.
Scott hit 22 of 62 3-point attempts (32.7 percent), Shannon Walkup 8 of 19 for 42.1 percent and Lori Walkup 3 of 8 for 37.5 percent.
Only Bliss and Shannon Walkup graduate, a strong junior varsity squad is expected to vie for action, and an unbeaten junior high team will be pressing them all for playing time next year.
Bob Lynch may have a hard time finding playing time for all the prospective athletes.
But it would seem a sure bet Pagosa will be in the thick of the IML race again next year.
Twelfth fun races draw 61 competitors
Jud Merrell of Red River, N.M., and Erin Laine of Monte Vista had the fastest times Saturday in the 12th fun races of the season at Wolf Creek Ski Area.
Merrell, racing in the men's 21-25 bracket, ran the course in 27.04 seconds.
Laine, in girls' 15-17, raced the course in 29.39.
Other medalists on the female side were Kayla Matzdorf of Pagosa Springs first in girls' 9-11 in 32.16. Close behind in a tough bracket were Alexa Midgley of Pagosa Springs in 35.24 and Erika Pitcher of Pagosa in 39.72.
Stephanie Atkins of Monte Vista was first in girls' 12-14 with a run of 31.65. Chantelle Rizzo of Pagosa was second in the bracket in 50.24.
Laine was followed in her bracket by Natalie Atkins of Monte Vista in 35.42.
A pair of Pagosa Springs collegians now at Western State in Gunnison were first and second in girls' 18-20. Logan Marlatt ran the course in 37.86 and Jessi Marlatt in 41.18.
In women's 21-25 it was Amanda Brown of Red River beating out Sara Hoag of Red River 31.83 to 43.20.
Tricia Hurley of Houston was gold in women's 31-35 with a time of 37.55 and Jackie Davis of Albuquerque took women's 36-40 in 42.48.
In the bracket for women 41-50, Marky Egan of Pagosa Springs was first in 33.38, Nancy Crowley of Los Lunas, N.M. second in 38.83 and Paula Marlatt of Pagosa Springs third in 41.26.
Cathrine Massey of Albuquerque was fastest in the bracket for women 51-60, with a time of 42.33.
Male winners included Devon Mankiewicz of Pagosa Springs first in boys' 3-5 in 1:08.18.
In boys' 6-8, it was Shay Mankiewicz of Pagosa first in 34.15; Jackson Murphy of Stillwater, Okla., second in 44.46; and Ethan Carroll of Kansas third in 1:36.59.
Seth Rizzo of Pagosa Springs was fastest in the bracket for boys 9-11 with a run of 33.41. He was followed by Ethan Womack of Oklahoma City in 40.30.
The race for boys 12-14 went to Hunter Geatz of Oklahoma City with 38.47. Second in the bracket was Jeffery Bunch of Texas in 39.72. Third was Josh Laydon of Pagosa Springs in 40.79.
Josh Dodds of Broken Arrow, Okla., was fastest in boys' 15-17 with 35.60. In boys' 18-20, the winner in 31.80 was Andrew Rodgers of Stanford, Cal. Second was David Bunch of Texas in 33.35 and third was Ben Wright of Dallas in 37.44.
Merrell's pacesetting time in mens' 21-25 was followed by Derek Evans of Little Rock in 33.63 and Dennis Shell of Tulsa, Okla., in 34.66.
Stephen Pitcher of Alamosa was first with 30.34 in the bracket for men 31-35. He was followed by Joe Flannery of Alamosa in 34.09 and Phillip Littlefield of Perkins, Okla., in 36.12.
Robert Hurley of Houston was fastest man in the 36-40 bracket, with a time of 31.87. Michael Saindon of Albuquerque was second in 32.34 and Rex Walcher of Oklahoma third in 36.54.
Eric Matzdorf of Pagosa Springs paced the bracket for men 41-50 running the course in 29.63. He was followed by Michael Geatz of Oklahoma City in 33.30 and Mike
Bard of Perkins, Okla., in 34.07.
The always close bracket for men 51-60 lived up to its reputation. Mike Evans of South Fork was the winner in 28.06. He was followed by Steven Hodgkins of Pagosa Springs in 28.89 and Larry Fisher of Pagosa Springs in 30.49.
Glen Van Patter of Pagosa Springs won the bracket for men 61 and over in 30.12. Jim Cole of Pagosa Springs was second in 33.22 and Dick Bond of Los Alamos third in 33.24.
Toby Bishop of Monte Vista, the only competitor in the employees bracket, ran the slope in 31.11.
Shorthanded Pee Wees place13 in Shiprock
The Pagosa Pee Wee Wrestling Club competed in Shiprock Saturday.
Even with the few wrestlers they had competing due to Spring Break, Pagosa grapplers left their mark in New Mexico.
With only 20 of more than 70 wrestlers present, Pagosa still came home with 13 competitors placing.
In Division I, Tyler Cowan was third.
In Division II, Parker Hill was second and Ryan Dermody third.
In Division III, Amario Guthrie was first, and Cody Snow, K.C. Lord, Tyler Johnson and E.J. Romero all placed second. In Division IV, Shasta McMurry, Chris Pacheco and Boone Stahlnecker were second and Austin Willis third.
In Division V, Caleb Pringle was the first-place finisher.
The club will be competing this weekend in Ignacio.
Fun races produce bevy of medal winners
The races came before the new snow, but winners aplenty garnered medals in the 11th fun races of the season Saturday at Wolf Creek Ski area.
Fastest times of the day were 27.90 seconds by Mike Evans of South Fork and 29.26 by Erin Laine of Monte Vista.
Other award winners on the female list were Marty Frances Harris of Dallas, first in girls' 9-11 in 53:20; Sara Harris of Dallas first in girls' 12-14 in 38.95 and, following Laine in girls' 15-17 were Natalie Atkins of Monte Vista, second in 36.14 and Racheal Pearson of Dallas third in 43.14.
Abby Hopkins of Wichita, Kans., was first in women's 36-40 with a time of 40.02. Jean Dewart of Los Alamos, N.M., won women's 41-50 in 38.18. Kate Harris of Dallas was second in 39.84 and Jill Lenzini of Monte Vista third in 32.78.
Lynda Van Patter of Pagosa Springs won women's 51-60 in 38.78, with Barbara Eberhart of Los Alamos second in 1:20.79.
Male medalists included Myles Evans of South Fork first in boys' 6-8 with a time of 37.60 and Jeff Reardon of Pagosa Springs first in boys' 9-11 in 38.33.
Paul Muirhead of Pagosa Springs won boys' 12-14 in 30.08. Aaron Landrum of Denton, Texas was second in 41.37 and Adam Eberhart of Los Alamos third in 55.14.
Aaron Butler of Waxahachie, Texas was first in boys' 18-20 in 34.30 and Ben Witting of Pagosa Springs first in men's 21-25 in 30.19.
Men's 36-40 was an all-Texas race with Warren Waterman of Georgetown winning in 33.66, Frank Hopkins of Wichita second in 34.35 and Doug Street of Dallas third in 46.90.
Men's 41-50 went to Don Lenzini of Monte Vista in 42.41 and second to Kraig Eberhart of Los Alamos in 1:36.29.
Following Evans in men's 51-60 were Barry Eversol of Pagosa Springs in 30.73 and Daniel Pearson of Dallas in 40.02.
Mens' 61 and over was an all Pagosa Springs affair.
Winning in 29.41 was Glenn Van Patter. Bryant Lemon was second in 30.32 and Jim Cole third in 33.34.
Richard Muth of Pagosa Springs died Tuesday, March 18, 2003, at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center.
Born in Kirchausen, Germany Feb. 23, 1912, he was 91 years old.
He was the son of Richard and Rose Sedler Muth and worked most of his life as a watchcase toolmaker. He was married to Lottie Goczalk who preceded him in death.
His is survived by a son, Richard Muth of Pagosa Springs.
Burial was on Monday, March 24, 2003, at St. John's Cemetery, Queens, N.Y.
Mary Jane Valentine of Pagosa Springs died in her home March 23, 2003.
She was born in Archibald, Ohio Jan. 2, 1921 to George Ralph Holman and Wilma Mae Dennis Holman. She was 82 years old.
She had moved to Pagosa Springs from Belen, N.M., in November, 2001.
After marrying Gerald Valentine in Wauseon, Ohio, in April, 1940, Mary Jane spent her days as a homemaker. She enjoyed sewing and was a member of Jehovah's Witnesses.
She was preceded in death by her husband, a son, Michael; and a grandson, Jason.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Sue and Lou Boilini of Pagosa Springs; a son and daughter-in-law, Jerry and Linda Valentine of Morenci, Mich.; a son and daughter-in-law, Dennis and Diane Valentine of Pikeville, Tenn.; her grandchildren, Jodi, Luke and Jake Boilini of Pagosa Springs and Kate, Amy, and Lisa Valentine and Jessica Marlin in Michigan.
A memorial service will be held in Michigan at a later date.
Archuleta County residents are invited to join State Rep. Mark Larson, R-Cortez, and Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, in a special town hall meeting in Pagosa Springs.
The session is scheduled at 2 p.m. April 5 in the Pagosa Springs Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
The two area legislators will host the town hall as part of a month-long campaign in southwest Colorado to build awareness about protecting homes and property from wildfire.
Highlight of the event will be a screening of the video "After the Fire," a 30-minute film on the aftermath of last summer's Missionary Ridge and Valley fires near Durango where devastating mud slides have occurred and are expected to continue.
This film provides safety tips to protect life and property and provides useful information for anyone who may be in danger of losing home and property in the event of a wildfire.
For more information call Tim Richard in the Office of Community Services, Fort Lewis College, 247-7066.
Town works through plans for sports complex
By Tess Noel Baker
It's not a matter of one or the other, but a little of both.
That was the consensus of the public, city staff and advisory board members when presented with a pair of conceptual designs for the Pagosa Springs Sports Complex - a multipurpose city park being planned for 16 acres along 5th Street across from Golden Peaks Stadium.
Joe Lister Jr., director of parks and recreation for the town, presented the two conceptual designs at a public meeting March 19. About a dozen people attended.
Both designs feature the same basic characteristics, one baseball field with a 300-foot outfield, three 180-foot by 360-foot multiuse fields, a park center with maintenance, storage, concession stand, restroom, picnic shelter, tables, benches, plaza and playground, a skate park, an access road for river and boating uses, a pedestrian walkway and connection to the Riverwalk via an alleyway. Orientation of the various elements was the main difference.
In one plan, the park center was located between the baseball field and multiuse soccer fields. In the other, it was placed on the southern end of the property. To help address traffic concerns, one concept showed redesigning 5th Street, adding an S-like curve to slow people down and reduce the necessity for pedestrians to cross the street. All parking for the complex is located across 5th Street in the high school's overflow areas.
Because of the costs of infrastructure, Lister said redesigning the entire street was probably not a possibility. Costs and negotiations with the state might make changes to the wetland mitigation area proposed in the designs difficult as well. From there, he opened the meeting for discussion.
Dorman Diller, assistant high school soccer coach, suggested planning for a Dumpster near the river access to discourage littering, lights for the soccer fields, portable benches and adding a drinking fountain and bathrooms closer to the soccer fields if the concession facility was built on the southern end of the complex.
Ron and Cindy Gustafson promoted adding a hockey rink of some kind and Town Planner Tamra Allen asked about adding more picnic areas along the riverfront.
Other suggestions included: widening the initial access and exit areas to allow for large crowds coming and going, improving the design for concerts and special events, restricting dog access and smoking, leaving room for an official CHSAA soccer field for use by high school teams and expanding seating areas for fans.
Lister said these suggestions and others made by town staff will be forwarded to EDAW Inc. consultants out of the Denver. The consultants will devise another design based on the suggestions and bring that back to the town. Once a design receives approval from the parks and recreation advisory board, it will be forwarded on to the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees for final approval.
Even at that point, Lister said, full build-out will most likely be several years away. About $30,000 was budgeted over 2002 and 2003 for planning on the park project, but no funds have been reserved for construction. Much of that will have to come from the capital improvement fund or grants.
Having the master plan prepared by EDAW, complete with phasing suggestions, a property survey, cost breakdown and visuals is aimed at giving the town a step up in the grant-writing process.
Sisson Library, Aspen Springs may benefit from county land actions
By Tom Carosello
Real estate was the focus of attention during this week's meeting of the Archuleta County board of commissioners; as a result, the Ruby Sisson Library will potentially benefit from a new neighbor and residents of Aspen Springs may soon be rolling in the green.
The board's first order of business Tuesday morning was to entertain preliminary purchase offers for the vacant parcel of land immediately west and adjacent to the library grounds, commonly known as the old state highway maintenance site.
Shortly after the first of the year, the board decided to put the parcel up for sale, and a request for bid proposals was advertised by the county for the past few weeks. Bill Steele, county administrator, informed the board that as of last Friday's 4:30 p.m. deadline, only Denver-based Vectra Bank Colorado had formally expressed an interest in the property.
After reviewing the tentative proposal from Vectra, which suggests a purchase price of $260,000, the board gave Steele the go-ahead to initiate further negotiations with the company in order to achieve agreement on a final contract.
One issue likely to be heavily addressed before any deal is struck between the parties is the possibility of contamination at the site. Recent information provided to the county via e-mail indicates the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment feels there is little evidence to suggest any contamination, but states the department will not write a closure letter for the property.
Instead, as a precautionary measure, the state health department is recommending an "environmental covenant" be included as part of any contract before a future transaction takes place. An environmental covenant is described as a "deed restriction that limits the use or type of construction" allowed on the property.
Stipulations included in such a restriction may include a prohibition of the use of ground water, paved parking provisions, a requirement for slab-on-grade foundation and the preclusion of residential or school construction.
Additional considerations for any final contract will likely include language suggesting any future parking lots on the site be occasionally subject to overflow traffic from the library parking lot, as the Upper San Juan Library District board has expressed the desire for such accommodations to the county in the past.
In the event a satisfactory contract with Vectra cannot be agreed upon, the board indicated a second request for purchase proposals will be initiated.
In a separate, follow-up decision also pertaining to county-owned property, the board moved to direct Steele to begin drafting a deed that will transfer the title to 126 acres of greenbelt located within Aspen Springs Unit 5 to the subdivision's metropolitan district.
The decision to transfer the title stemmed from a March 4 meeting between the board and Ernest Jones, Aspen Springs board chairman. During that discussion, Jones conveyed the district would likely be interested in assuming control of the property, but would contact the commissioners to confirm that sentiment following his board's March 11 meeting.
Since the original quit claim deed for the tract states the area is to be used only for open space or for the construction of a golf course, the final deed will include a contingency stating the metro district must be granted permission (from the commissioners) to sell the parcel to private interests if it so chooses in the future.
Pat Ulrich, appearing before the board on behalf of Aspen Springs, indicated the metro district has no intentions to build a golf course or sell the property, and said the district will continue to comply with the provisions set forth in the original deed. (The district has leased the property from the county since June 1985 for the sum of $1 per year.)
In other business the board:
- awarded the bid to monitor methane and ground water at the county landfill to Souder Miller Associates (on an as-needed basis, $700 per event)
- approved a proposal to broaden the scope of engineering and construction services for the reconstruction of portions of South Pagosa Boulevard and Buttress Avenue to include a portion (1.7 miles) of Meadows Drive for a total added cost of $110,000 (included in budget)
- approved a request by the county building director to appoint Nicholas Toth to a two-year term on the building board of review
- approved a request by county planning staff to assign an unnamed road easement off Catchpole Drive the name "Ghost Elk Court."
PAWS releases cloud-seeding funds
By Tom Carosello
The board of directors of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District met Tuesday night and approved the release of $10,000 in district funds to the San Juan Water Conservancy District to help defray the cost of area cloud-seeding efforts.
Conducted by Durango-based Western Weather Consultants, the cloud-seeding project began in early November and was scheduled to run through the end of this month.
Until now, all of the money needed to implement the five-month program had been provided by the San Juan district and the Southwest Water Conservation District. Along with Western Weather Consultants, the two districts comprise the party under contract for the project.
Though not under contract, PAWS made an informal, preliminary commitment last year to provide up to $20,000 toward the project and has recently been under pressure from the other districts to fulfill that offer.
But citing lack of definitive proof and a March 10 letter from Western Weather Consultants owner Larry Hjermstad indicating the project was over budget and in need of additional funding, the board had been hesitant to contribute.
However, board member Karen Wessels indicated Hjermstad, in a follow-up letter, had retracted his request for further funds and stated he had begun to compile "quantity and quality" statistics to support his claim that the seeding is resulting in increased snowpack levels in area river basins.
Though Wessels conveyed a complete, detailed list of calculations from Hjermstad will probably not be available until late April, she and her fellow board members decided it was time to act, eventually passing a motion to release the funds.
Not all members were convinced, however, and even though he seconded the motion, board member George Chenoweth remained skeptical.
"I still don't believe it works," said Chenoweth, "I never will."
Due to a wetter-than-average February and a round of late-March low-pressure systems, lake levels within district boundaries are vastly improved from what they were during this time last year.
According to Gene Tautges, assistant general manager, Lake Forest and Lake Hatcher are full; Stevens Reservoir is expected to fill by week's end, and Village Lake and Lake Pagosa are 10 and 45 inches below full pool, respectively.
Despite the promising water levels, the board agreed to keep Level 2 water restrictions in place until further notice.
However, new watering hours are now in effect, and residents may now perform outside watering (restricted to trees and shrubs) between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Prior outside watering hours fell between 6 p.m and 10 p.m.
County cleanup set April 5-16
By Tom Carosello
Archuleta County's annual spring cleanup is scheduled to begin Saturday, April 5 and run through Wednesday, April 16.
To facilitate the cleanup, free Dumpsters are being placed at the following locations:
- Aspen Springs - at the Turkey Springs Trading Post, April 5-9
- San Juan River Resort - on Alpine Drive near the treatment plant, April 12-16
- Holiday Acres - on Highway 84 opposite the north entrance, April 12-16
- Arboles - at the transfer station, April 19 (residential only, no trailer loads will be accepted).
The county landfill will accept free dumping April 12-16, but large items such as refrigerators and large freezers should be placed in the containers or taken to the landfill. Freon should be removed from such items before depositing.
Absolutely no paint, liquid or hazardous waste dumping will be permitted, and depositing waste in private Dumpsters is prohibited.
Due to the county's secure load ordinance, all loads are required to be covered, tarped or secured. A fine will be imposed on all loads that are not properly secured.
For more information, contact the county solid waste department at 264-0193.
Music in Mountains returning; ticket sales begin Tuesday
For the second consecutive summer, Music in the Mountains, the classical festival now in its seventeenth season in Durango, will offer classical concerts at BootJack Ranch on U.S. 160 east of Pagosa Springs.
Three concerts at the ranch will feature soloists from the festival.
"We're delighted to be returning to Pagosa Springs this summer," said Jim Foster, president of Music in the Mountains. "In the past year the support for the Festival from Pagosa Springs businesses and individuals has been tremendous.
"Last summer our two concerts held at BootJack sold out in three weeks. The Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce and the arts community in general have made us feel extraordinarily welcome.
"And thanks to the generosity of David and Carol Brown, owners of BootJack Ranch, we are able to offer Pagosa residents and visitors more great music this summer at BootJack's beautiful mountain setting at the foot of Wolf Creek Pass."
To lead off the festival concert series in Pagosa, Vadim Gluzman, one of the world's foremost young violinists, and his wife, pianist Angela Yoffe, will return July 21.
The couple thrilled their Pagosa audience last summer with masterful command of their instruments. This year their repertoire will include Mozart's "Sonata for Violin and Piano," and Prokofiev's "Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano."
The second concert, on Friday, July 25, will feature another repeat performer, Israeli pianist and Van Cliburn medalist Aviram Reichert.
Reichert will join five other Festival musicians, performing Mendelssohn's "Piano Sextet: and other pieces."
"Last summer at BootJack," said maestro Misha Semanitzky, "Avi performed with soprano Gemma Kavanagh-Sullivan, and it was absolutely wonderful. This summer, Pagosa concert-goers will enjoy something a little different, with Avi performing with several of our top festival musicians."
The final concert at BootJack will be Aug. 1, featuring Antonio Pompa-Baldi, the 27-year-old piano sensation from Italy who emerged from the 2001 Van Cliburn competition with the coveted silver medal.
"We feel very fortunate that he is going to be performing at our festival," said Semanitzky. "He is one of the world's top pianists, and I am certain our audiences both in Durango and Pagosa Springs will be treated to incredible music."
In Pagosa Springs, Pompa-Baldi will be performing Dvorak's "Piano Quintet" and other selections with four other festival musicians. This concert will be followed by a wine and cheese reception with the musicians.
Tickets for the three concerts will go on sale April 1. Ticket prices are $35 each for the July 21 and July 25 concerts and $45 each for the Aug. 1 concert and reception.
Cash, check or credit cards will be accepted in person at the chamber or by mail. Ticket sales over the phone using a credit card also will be accepted this year.
Jenny Shoenborn, development chair for Music in the Mountains in Pagosa Springs, said, "This year we are set up to accept Visa and Mastercard purchases so that people can order their tickets by phone. Although more tickets will be available for each of the three concerts, we anticipate all the concerts will sell out quickly. Having a credit card option gives our out-of-town residents the opportunity to buy tickets before they are gone."
For more information on the concerts or to get on the mailing list for events in both Durango and Pagosa Springs, call Shoenborn at 731-9197.
April is Fire Prevention and Education Month. Our regional community was deeply affected by last summer's fires. Maybe one silver lining is that property owners will now be more proactive and prepared for any future wildfires.
Property owners can do a lot to dramatically reduce their risk of wildfire. The San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) and its many partners have planned a series of events to prompt property owners to better prepare for the upcoming wildfire season. Events are designed to help citizens build skills and share expert knowledge and resources to create safer homes, neighborhoods, and communities.
Over the next few weeks, citizens, like you, can attend a free 30-minute video screening of "After the Fire," accompanied by a special Town Hall meeting with Senator Isgar and Representative Larson, 2-4 p.m., on April 5, at the new community center, in Pagosa Springs. You can also request a free copy of this video, or check out a 15-minute video, "Protecting Your Home from Wildfire," by calling the San Juan Public Lands Center at 247-4874.
You can take free tours with fire experts to view successful defensible space projects. Eight different tours, which require advance signups, include two in Archuleta County. Call the SJMA at 385-1210 for details. This is also the number for groups to call who are interested in receiving a "Fire Resource Box" of the videos and fire prevention pamphlets.
A 3-day national Firewise workshop, April 9-11, is geared toward stakeholders and policy makers, homeowners associations, real estate and insurance professionals, community interest groups, and fire experts ($250, w/lodging in Durango; $125, w/o lodging; free to some citizens who qualify for available scholarships and volunteer planning commission members). For registration information, contact Chief Dan Noonan, 247-3332, email@example.com or go to www.firewise.org. Space is limited.
Fire plans for Archuleta County outline high-priority fire prevention goals and include maps of high-hazard areas. Go to www.southwestcoloradofires.org to download these, or call Marcella Mosher, at the Office of Community Services, at Fort Lewis College, 247-7333.
You can also visit the Fire Prevention Booth at the Builder's Association Home Show, at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds, on April 12-13. A new electronic wildfire prevention kiosk is located in the Chamber of Commerce.
If your time is too limited to attend these informative events, then you can focus your efforts on cleaning up and removing all flammable material within five feet of your home, thinning out continuous tree and brush cover to create "defensible space" within a minimum 30-foot area surrounding your dwelling, and pruning branches to a height of 10 feet.
I encourage everyone to join me in taking actions that create a safer, more "firewise" county. Call 385-1210 or visit:www.sjma.org for the event schedule and details.
Why is it whenever a liberal wants to justify his point of view, he or she claims that he or she is a "citizen of conscience?"
Once again Mr. Duncan proves my point. Arrogance would suggest then that those who support the President and the war effort are therefore not "citizens of conscience." To suggest also that we have no moral equivalency to them who choose peace by concession and appeasement rather than a show of force.
Mr. Duncan is free today because of a show of force. Often liberals will wheel out their own war or service record as to contend that their experience allows them superior position when it comes to war or peace. My best friend was also a soldier for three decades, including two tours in Vietnam as a company commander of scouts, wounded and decorated, retiring as a full bird Colonel.
He fully supports the war effort. Is his opinion as valid as Mr. Duncan's? Mr. Duncan talks of public opinion. Liberal pollsters themselves are giving the President 65-70 percent when the public is questioned on supporting him and the war effort
Perhaps Mr. Duncan is speaking of public opinion in Europe, or Russia, or perhaps the United Nations, which has never been a friend to America.
Mr. Duncan is allowed his opinion. I believe he and his ilk are in fact giving aid and comfort to the enemy, encouraging our enemies to think that our resolve will, as it did in the sixties, seventies and nineties, shrink under "public opinion."
God help us if our lack of resolve prolongs yet another war and we once again lose tens of thousands of our sons and daughters in a war that our self-serving partisan politicians and "citizens of conscience," haven't the "conscience" or back bone to win.
As I speak the war is on. There are evil people in this world. Even if we Americans were completely innocent of anything which may have caused Sept. 11, Muslims would still hate us and want us dead. It's time to grow up. Neither Mr. Duncan nor myself have the same "right" to speak about this war as the grunt Marine or Army Ranger who at this very minute may be giving the ultimate service and sacrifice to this country.
I'll state it once again. How smug and arrogant is it when anyone who didn't lose loved ones on Sept. 11 or in the Embassy bombings or on the USS Cole, to clamor against the war when it cost them personally nothing.
I was in Belfast and London the night terrorist bombs went off close enough to feel the shock and hear the blast. Kind of makes you think differently when the innocent are targeted and you're close enough to experience it. Not like living in Pagosa.
Mr. Duncan should know better than most what is truly shameful. Not supporting our troops once the shooting starts. Hopefully his rhetoric will stop! I doubt it.
Congratulations to The SUN for your suggestion for letters of support for our county's military. Our collective military members need to know they are in our minds, hearts, and prayers. We also need to remember the innocent Iraqi people who Saddam has intentionally put in harm's way.
Evidently, Mr. Bergmann has a better insight to my thoughts than I do. I have re-read my letter of March 6 to the editor several times, and for the life of me, I see no reference having said or inferred that "war is the only way." I hate for folks to put words in my mouth. Now that Saddam has made the wrong choice and we're in the war, my total support is for the coalition.
You're totally correct Glenn about your, "understanding that our justification is that we believe Iraq is evil because they have perpetrated atrocities against their own people in the past, and now threaten us." Isn't it neat how you can change two words in that statement and recapture history 62 years ago, to wit: "Our justification is that we believe Hitler is evil because he has perpetrated atrocities against his own people in the past (German Jews), and now threatens us."
As to your statement about the U.S. "unilaterally" embarking in this conflict to rid the world of evil, I think you'd find it extremely difficult to convince the families of the 14 British soldiers killed so far that this is a "unilateral" venture on the part of America.
As far as, "smiting the heathen and converting them to democracy or else," it's hard to argue with success. In my mind's eye, history says it's worked pretty well in post-WWII Germany and Japan. At least I assume they are better off now than they would have been; I know the world is. In the end, I think the same will be said about Iraq. Additionally, I don't see any signs of the U.S ever having coveted Germany or Japan as part of a "U.S. Empire." I really think the "dream" was the other way around.
As far as the "unscrupulous administration" is concerned, I'll bet my eyeteeth that the Iraqi people will receive more food, medical supplies and attention, and humanitarian aid from it than they ever dreamed of receiving from Saddam. He couldn't afford to spend money on them because of the upkeep on his palaces.
In closing, I think Mr. Bergmann did a pretty good job of restating the French position on Iraq, almost to the point of plagiarism. I thought I was reading a news clip from three weeks ago on the U.N. discussions. C'est la guerre, Monsieur Bergmann.
Dr. Roy K. Boutwell
Time for action
What will it take?
For the last year the Upper San Juan Health Service District Board has heard of great dissatisfaction the employees and health care professionals have with Ms. Dee Jackson, the district manager. The board is aware that many valuable employees have resigned because of Ms. Jackson. They have heard that the actual health care the district can deliver to the community is suffering because of Ms. Jackson.
We can no longer watch as this board destroys Archuleta County health care. The Pagosa Springs community and Archuleta County have been embarrassed and humiliated by this board. What will it take for this board to wake up and solve the problem? Our health care is in serious trouble people.
The employees have stood up individually, fearing job loss, and spoken about this problem in board meetings. The employees have stood together to be counted in board meetings. A high majority of employees have signed a petition presented to the board about this problem. The board hired a professional to interview employees and the report found and reinforced the problem with Ms. Jackson.
Dr. Mark Wienpahl, the district's medical director stood and explicitly told the board the community health system is in crisis, that patient care is compromised, that remaining workers are unduly stressed, all because of problems created by Ms. Jackson. He also stated it is the board's responsibility to solve the problem.
What will it take? There have been calls for doing a recall petition and election to replace the entire board. Will it take this long and traumatic action to solve this problem? What will it take?
Television media producers have sought and finally achieved a new level in television journalism. CNN's Aaron Brown and retired General Wesley Clark typified this new level when trying to explain away the general's comments of a previous evening's segment contrasting the "look" of the soldiers of this war to those of the Vietnam War.
The squared-away and professional "look" of our soldiers barely one day into a war in the arid desert climate of Iraq can hardly be contrasted to a random snapshot of a Vietnam era soldier in a nondescript setting sometime during his 13-month tour in the sweltering tropical humidity of South Vietnam.
Ret. Gen. Clark should take the time to review photo archives from WWI, WWII and Korea. I'm sure he'd find thousands of photographs of our fighting men and women in less than "squared-away" depictions as he most certainly will of this war before it is over.
War is not a tidy thing. As a Vietnam veteran, I am thankful I didn't serve under the leadership of the General, then Captain, Clark. His comments warrant no less than a public apology and suggest the need for some restraint and introspection on the part of television journalism. The general's comments, however, provide pause for more serious journalistic issues.
I don't believe I'm alone in observing what appears to be an undue emphasis on camera angles and gripping headlines. The television media does a disservice to our troops and this nation by unconsciously characterizing our soldiers in daily coverage as episodic cartoon action figures. Some of the so-called "embeds" are proving to be nothing more than sensationalist ambulance chasers blurring the line between journalism and voyeurism.
While I don't dispute the need for accurately portrayed investigative journalism, I'm not convinced of the necessity for non stop "in our face" coverage that seems to attempt a morbid sensationalism of this grave historical event in a manner similar to an event as inconsequential as an L.A. freeway high speed chase. I don't find it helpful or necessary for a helmet mounted mini-cam in order to comprehend the gravity of a fatal head injury.
Scenes of war are always lamentable but somehow I think we can live without this journalistic void as well. Such depictions only serve to incite greater opposition by appealing to the viewers' emotional and cultural revulsion of violent death by any cause, and furthers the mischaracterization of this war as a senseless and baseless venture. The victims of 9-11 experienced equally horrific violence unattributable to any U.S. military calculation.
As the television media explores new and better ways to report on a subject incomparable to any other, I hope that they can somehow find a way to subdue their inclination toward "looks" and fashion considerations, and spend a little more energy on mature and relevant reporting. As the "embeds" compete for a headline and strive to capture that dramatic "look", I think I'll look to the Academy Awards and elsewhere for fashion commentary.
We are now at war. Any debate concerning the invasion of Iraq is moot. Out of respect, and as a show of support for our brave fighting men and women and their commander in chief, I have raised my American flag. I reserve the right to challenge the Bush Administration once the hostilities are over.
It is obvious our lovable right wing hate mongers are still having trouble with their letter writing. The problem is that their letters are too long.
Mark Twain once apologized to a friend for a long letter, because he didn't have time to write a short one.
An old Physics Review style manual states that the art of good writing is knowing what to leave in the ink well.
As an aid to our local bigots, I have composed the following letter:
I hate "Blank." Now, for the word "Blank" substitute the word - liberals, feminists, gays, Democrats, immigrants, scientists, musicians, teenagers, teachers or other.
Hint: For an A include all of the above. For extra credit name some others. For the bozo letter writers information, all the above words are defined in a book known as a dictionary.
All right. I've seen enough. In this medical fiasco I'd depend on the judgments of doctors and nurses before I'd listen to a board member unless that member could be trusted with medical tools.
Employees should be members. That way hands and brains would be connected with reality all the time and there'd be no more of this egocentric power tripping at the expense of the morale of those doing the real work and jeopardizing the public's care at the same time.
Why wouldn't all the retirees who have pumped up our economy and the younger people juggling 12 jobs just to survive, thereby increasing the risk of accidents to themselves, want to leave this county because of this obstructionist approach to our health system?
It sure won't pay to get sick or get into an accident here, will it? Everybody had better hold off for awhile till this gets straightened out, don't we think? Will the cost of health insurance increase because of this?
Somebody needs to get the politics and the touchy-feely healing circle sessions out of the public's way and also off the backs of our doctors. I thought it was members of the public who were the ones who would eventually need healing anyway, but it looks as if the board members want to monopolize this position.
In regard to the March 6 edition, and especially to the headline "Assessor cites new fiscal woe for county, all I should say is "Been there, done that!"
The commissioners had better look up what it cost the county the last time this situation developed.
However, best wishes to you all.
Home rule vote
Thursday, April 8, voters who reside within the Town of Pagosa Springs will have an opportunity to vote on whether they wish to adopt a "home rule" form of government in place of the government they now have. The town's current form of government is prescribed by Colorado state statute, whereas a "home rule" form would actually be designed by local town voters.
In order to enable Pagosa Springs voters to better understand the question on which they will be voting April 8, the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County has scheduled a public forum the evening of Monday, March 31, at which town board members will explain the ramifications of home rule to those in attendance. In addition to voting on whether or not to adopt home rule for the town, the ballot on April 8 will also give voters an opportunity to elect committee members to draft the new home rule charter, should home rule be chosen by the voters. Candidates running for charter committee membership are also encouraged to attend the forum, in order to answer questions posed by voters.
As president of the League, I'd like to take this opportunity to invite all interested members of the public to attend Monday's forum. Even Archuleta County voters who do not reside within town limits should find the evening enlightening, as the home rule question could potentially be posed to voters countywide at sometime in the future.
The public forum will take place in Town Board chambers in Town Hall, 551 Hot Springs Blvd., beginning promptly at 7 p.m. We expect to have an interesting and informative evening.
Step down board
In the criminal and civil justice system of our country and most civilized cultures, the concept of testimony from a number of unimpeachable witnesses is considered "an offer of proof" to the question of facts under consideration. To question the impeachability of a preponderance of the professionals and health care workers of the Upper San Juan Health Service District is to find that the District's workers constitute "a pack of liars."
Board member Ken Morrison gave a speech in a recent board meeting that included a list entitled "To be unafraid of your job." It detailed the type of employee the district does not want. It listed rudeness, incompetence, dishonesty, malicious and vengeful behavior, undermining authority, bad for business and inhibiting the ability of the district to serve its patients and the taxpayers.
This board has heard open and honest testimony by its professionals, employees and citizens time and time again, over a full year period, addressing the behavior of District Manager Ms. Dee Jackson and the problems she has caused. Her behavior, described in this testimony, matches Mr. Morrison's list perfectly.
This board has steadfastly refused to listen and respond. It has taken the position of "shooting the messenger and ignoring the message" with me, other outspoken citizens, its own employees and a professional observer the board hired to assess the problems. It is patently obvious that the position the board has taken has driven our community health care program into what Dr. Wienpahl, the district's medical director, describes as a "compromised state of health care."
The board is beyond its capacity, honesty and competency level. When challenged by the professional's report that agreed with the employees' testimony and position, this board and its manager held illegal secret communication. They plotted ways they could ignore and not respond to the report's findings.
In the last meeting Dr. Wienpahl stated that we are now "in a crisis," that Ms. Jackson has been "self-serving, sarcastic and destructive" and that "it is your, the board's responsibility to solve this problem."
Other employees and citizens stated that the board has reduced health care to such an extent that, under some circumstances, human life could be lost.
This is all just disgusting. This board and its direction of our health system has become a huge embarrassment and humiliation to Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.
This board also matches Mr. Morrison's list perfectly. The remaining members of the board should step down, now.
Foxy Walkers making great strides in fitness
By Laura Bedard
We were halfway through our Foxy Walkers Program a couple of weeks ago and we had a celebration to congratulate everyone's progress.
Beverly Arrendall increased the number of steps she took each week by 2,319. She was followed in numbers by Glenda Cloward and Della Truesdell. We see Della here just about every day walking, and you can tell by the smile on her face that she is enjoying it.
We also made mention of the fact that George Golightly can do 20 laps around our gym and will be turning 90 soon. Mary Archuleta and Elaine Nossaman keep on walking whether they have to use a cane or a walker, and Nell Clark amazes us with her determination with her walker.
Everyone seems happier and there are reports of weight loss, lowered blood pressure, lowered cholesterol and increased appetite. We have also noted a number of people who come to walk in the gym even though they are not an official part of our program.
We don't care. We want everyone to enjoy walking. Since we suddenly have grass and flowers coming up and longer days, there is all the more reason to walk outside.
Everyone is enjoying our crocuses and tulips starting outside our window at the Center, so pay attention on your walks.
There is new life out there.
The 9Health Fair is fast approaching and we have been working with the staff to ease the difficulty some folks have standing in line. If you have a disability that prohibits you from standing in line, please contact the Senior Center office by April 4 for assistance. Also, if you are interested in participating in the blood chemistry analysis and are unable to afford the $30 cost, there are a limited number of vouchers available that have been provided by the Rotary Club. Contact the office on how to obtain a voucher.
We have a menu change for March 28: We will have BBQ pork chops, pasta/veggie salad, baked bean, roll and peaches.
Ron Alexander finally got here on Monday to talk about archaeology. He was so enthusiastic and everyone was so interested that we will have him back on April 11 to talk some more. He brought some very cool artifacts and things he has created himself, and will have more to show us in April. Be sure to attend.
We are sad to announce that our art class has been cancelled unless we get more interest. A big thank you to George Golightly for sharing all his artistic talents over the past couple of years.
Guests and visitors
We were have Perry and Lois Ball, Sharon and Ron Cairns, Emmanuel and Jane Lark and Paulette and Bill Sohle join us for lunch on Tuesday as we don't get to see them enough. We were also pleased to see Madeline Seminole and Mary Lucero. For St. Patrick's Day, we fed Ann and John Graves, Ben and Gertrude Gallegos, along with our usual group, and we all wore green.
Cindy and Ron Gustafson got VERY green for the occasion, handing out beads and making us laugh. We also got to see Musetta's husband Dan, mom-in-law Marie and her friend Loren.
We need a volunteer to run a Grief and Loss Program at the Senior Center. AARP can provide a comprehensive guide to help you design and establish a grief support group and gives facilitators the information they need to lead the group. If you are interested in running or participating in such a group, please call Musetta at 264-2167.
AARP Rx Pledge
Is a prescriptoion drug benefit for Medicare important to you? AARP is aksing members of Congress top pledge to work with us to enact a pescription drug benefit this year. Contact your representatives today and ask them to join over 130 other members of Congress in this important effort online at http://aarp.post.intellimedia.com/UMT.asp?A910.11724.1301.1.315007.
Friday, March 28 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 a.m. Medicare conseling; 1 p.m. dominos
Monday, April 1, 1 p.m. bridge for fun
Tuesday, April 2, 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 advanced computer class
Wednesday, April 3, 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class; no more art classes scheduled.
Boomers find age bias
Excerpt from AARP Bulletin:
As more baby boomers move into their 50s, they are finding something new to protest: age discrimination in the workplace.
The number of complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission jumped 41 percent from 1999 to 2002.
"Baby boomers believe they helped develop the core values of our society, which prohibit discrimination," EEOC chairwoman Cari Dominguez said in an interview with AARP Bulletin. "They see the laws that are on the books today as part of their own efforts" and are "very comfortable in asserting their rights."
Boomers have reason to be unhappy, as do many other older workers. With the economy still sluggish, layoffs are continuing at a high level. Total job cuts, which hovered above 400,000 annually in the mid-1990s, skyrocketed to nearly 2 million in 2001 and dropped to about 1.5 million in 2002.
Dominguez says discriminatory patterns are well established. When the economy slides south, companies often tighten their belts, she says, by cutting higher-paid jobs, many of which are held by older workers.
That is largely becasue of bias: Some employers perceive older workers as less productive than younger workers, unwilling to learn new skills and too expensive to keep on the payroll.
To learn about AARP's efforts to combat age bias, go to www.aarp.org/litigation.
For ways to handle discrimination, go to www.aarp.org/working options and click on "discrimination."
Show support: War is about our freedoms
By Andy Fautheree
Once more our country has gone to war, and, with an enemy we have known before. Let's hope it is short and our armed forces return home safely, and victorious.
I was in Farmington the weekend before hostilities started, and there was a fairly significant war demonstration going on. Seemed like it was pretty much evenly balanced between "pro" war and "no" war participation.
It was a peaceful demonstration, which goes to show what America is all about and why we fight so hard against those who would try to take away our freedoms.
Freedom of speech is one of our fundamental rights. I don't think that freedom is shared right now in very many of those countries that seem to hate us so much. Maybe that's the reason?
Whether we are for or against war with Iraq, we should all show our support for our military forces that are in harm's way right now. They deserve our support.
Right or wrong, our nation deserves our support and a united front against our enemies. Remember, one day, very soon we hope, our troops will return, and join our ranks as veterans.
I would encourage everyone to pick up the "flag" of patriotism and honor so many displayed after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. People were waving flags. Flying flags at home and work. Wearing flag pins and ribbons of red, white and blue on their clothing. Displaying flags on their vehicle windows and antennas.
I have noticed over a period of time, that patriotic enthusiasm has diminished somewhat. I personally have worn a flag pin over my heart every day since Sept. 11. Let us all once again show our "colors."
Letters of support
I urge everyone to write letters of support to anyone they know in uniform. Every veteran can attest to the fact there is nothing like letters from home, especially letters that show love and support for the tasks that lie before them. Letters can be mailed the old fashioned way, or even by Internet e-mail.
I recently came across the following link that may provide a line of communications through the Internet. Although it says Navy, this link will allow you to send and receive e-mail letters to and from members of all branches of our Armed Forces, in a secure manner, that will not jeopardize their location or other classified information that might place them in harm's way.
It is called the "Dear Abby" program. For those of you who have Internet you can enter this link into your Internet Web browser "address" line and it will take you to the Web site http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/MessageSend.html.
Remember, even if you don't personally have Internet you can go to our public library and use the Internet there. I'm sure the library staff will be happy to assist you.
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 afautheree@ archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., 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.
"The Dear Abby" and "Any Servicemember" letter mail programs have been suspended due to force protection concerns. Although these programs provide an excellent means of support to friends and loved ones stationed overseas, they also provide an avenue to introduce hazardous substances or materials in the mail system from unknown sources. However, this does not apply to the above mentioned e-mail Dear Abby program that I am aware of.
To show support to troops overseas, the following are recommended: www.defendamerica.mil/support troops.html; www.uso cares.org/home.html; or www. army.mil/operations/iraq/faq.html.
Special events abundant in Pagosa
By Sally Hameister
You still have three Fridays left to head down to Parish Hall beginning at 5 p.m. to enjoy the Knights of Columbus delicious "Friday Fish Festival." Folks wait all year to take advantage of this tasty treat, so don't miss out this Friday night, April 4 and April 11. Just think, it will be another year before you can enjoy the Friday fun and food.
The April 1 deadline is fast approaching to enter the Dirk and Colt Ross Memorial Basketball Tournament coming up on April 10, 11, 12 and 13. This will be the eighth year for this event, and it just gets bigger and better every year with proceeds donated to a scholarship fund for local youths in Pagosa and Ignacio. The non-refundable $100 entry fee will hold your spot in this annual tournament which will boast the first 24 teams to qualify.
Please contact Troy or Cody Ross at 264-5265 or 264-4315 or Larry Ash at 264-4594 or Jon Forrest at 264-4544 for more information about the Dirk and Colt Ross Memorial Basketball Tournament.
Taste of Pagosa
While you're at it, don't forget to get your $90 check to the Taste of Pagosa folks to reserve your booth for this ever-popular annual event. Last week I shared some of the positive changes they are making with this year's Taste, so you certainly don't want to miss out with your eating establishment.
Please give Heather a call at 731-1146 with questions about Taste of Pagosa.
Food for Friends
You still have time to drop off your nonperishable food items at the Chamber or Curves in an effort to replenish our local food banks. You have until the end of the month to perform this good deed, and we encourage you to do so. The Curves location is right behind the Hogs Breath, and you can call April with questions at 731-0333.
The annual 9HealthFair to be held at the Pagosa Springs High School from 8 a.m.-noon on April 5. As always, there will be free and optional health screenings, and a blood chemistry analysis for $30 and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) for $25. Keep in mind that you must be 18 years old to participate. For information, you can call (303) 698-3799 or (800) 332-3078 or visit their Web site at www.9HealthFair.org.
This Friday marks the opening of the current FoPA production, "An Evening of Shorts" - Revelations" presented by the Footlighters on both Friday and Saturday evenings to benefit FoPA (Friends of the Performing Arts) and the future performing arts center. The Footlighters are a local group of talented actors, directors, writers and theater technicians dedicated to assuring the reality of a performing arts center in Pagosa Springs. This debut performance will be presented in the Fellowship Hall of the Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street beginning at 7:30 p.m. on both nights. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. so you can enjoy coffee, tea and desserts before the performance.
Felicia Lansbury Meyer directs this humorous and thought-provoking exploration of the human condition through the world's oldest tap dancer, a woman who recounts how she has achieved perfection, a couple who meet on a blind date and a woman who experiences an epiphany with a crab. Some of the subject matter may be more suitable for adults although the topics are those we all may have dealt with from time to time. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door and can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company and Moonlight Books.
On April 11 and 12, John Graves and Susie Ewing from Durango will team up once again for a dynamite performance entitled "Songs for a Spring Evening." I attended their first performance in Pagosa and can assure you that Susie packs quite the punch with several musical genres. She's incredibly entertaining, and I needn't tell you that our John Graves is the consummate professional and musician. The two shows will be held at the Methodist Church Fellowship Hall at 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 so you can enjoy hors d'oeuvres and/or dessert before the performance. Tickets for "Songs for a Spring Evening" are $15 until April 11 at 3 p.m. and $18 at the door. You can purchase tickets at WolfTracks, the Chamber of Commerce or The Plain Pony.
After the Fire
After you attend the 9HealthFair on April 5, head on over to the Community Center to attend a Town Hall Meeting with Colorado legislators, Mark Larson and Jim Isgar. Mark and Jim will be here to discuss fire mitigation and safety and to view a special screening of "After the Fire" which is a 30-minute educational film about the Missionary Ridge fires and the subsequent floods. Join these gentlemen and concerned citizens at 2 p.m. on April 5 to learn more about how we can better protect our home and property against fire.
We couldn't be more pleased to introduce one new member this week and 17 renewals. A phone call here and there and just a touch of nagging can evidently go a long way.
I am especially happy to welcome an existing Real Estate Associate member with a new business, The Antler Shed Factory Outlet and Gallery, located at 150 Pagosa Street, Suite #2, formerly Colby's Gifts. Les Mundall brings us this new business which offers fine handcrafted antler furnishings and home accessories to include chandeliers. These folks also feature the painting and sculptures of Colorado wildlife and Western artist, Randall May. Please stop by to welcome Les to the neighborhood or give them a call at 264-SHED (7433).
Renewals this week include Cathy Neill with AAA Travel and Insurance; Laura Webb with Pueblo Community College Southwest Center in Durango; Mark Stauth at the Bear Creek Saloon and Grill; Robin K. Auld, P.C., Attorney at Law (both Mark and Robin were threatened with "Guido, the Bodycrusher" and it seems to have worked - we actually had a lot of fun discussing - "Guido"- thanks, guys); Eric Fisher with the Four Corners Business Journal in Farmington N.M.; Connie Giffin with Mountain Classic Mortgages; Jennie Blechman with Artemisia Botanicals Company; C.E. Cazedessus with Rendevous Books and Art; Nannette Colaizzi with Pinon Park Campground and R.V. Resort in Arboles; Kayla Douglass with Harmony Works; Bessie Montoya with the Elkhorn Café; Ron Bubb with Switchback Mountain Gear and Apparel; Sandie Hansen with Sandie's Car Wash, LLC; Debra Stowe with Great Divide Title; Ed Strickland with Strickland Remodeling with home offices; Bonnie W. Nyre with Slices of Nature and Associate Member and Chamber Diplomat, Jane Cook. We are grateful to each and every one.
Mood transfers to children
By Lenore Bright
Pat Wagner, one of our library consultants sent along some suggestions on the issue of war and children. Disturbing events are hard on the young, as they do not yet possess the cognitive capacity to understand what is going on. For those under six, try to keep a family routine. Music and singing will sooth your children and lower your stress level as well. Walk in nature to remind that life is beautiful.
Don't watch the TV news in their presence. Radio news can be just as disturbing. Refrain from adult discussions in front of the children. Be aware of your telephone conversations. Remember your own mood will transfer to your children. They take their emotional cues from you. Please defend their freedom to be children. If you would like a copy of the entire article, ask at the desk.
What's it worth
It's that time of the year when folks are cleaning out their bookshelves. We're always asked what used books are worth. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal back in 2001, someone had found a Web site that listed estimated values of donated items. Six dollars for a hardback in good condition, $4 for fair, fifty cents for poor. At our annual book sale, we normally sell hardbacks for $2 and paperbacks for $1. The IRS may not accept your estimates, and your book may be worth much more. The library cannot make a determination as to the value for IRS purposes.
We're surrounded by acronyms and initialisms. IRS, WYSIWYG, TGIF.
We assume these are fairly modern but the fashion for abbreviations is traced back over 150 years. In 1839, a writer in a New York newspaper talked of the "initial" language, which was being used by loafers and gentlemen of fancy. He mentioned OK and PDQ among others.
Slang use of abbreviation goes in spurts. Now the social slang has fallen to the brevities of science, technology and special fields. The desire for economy of words is another sign of our rampant desire not to waste time. "Don't use two words if one will do."
There are several types of abbreviations listed in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of English Vocabulary. Initialisms are items spoken as individuals, BBC, DJ, MP, and USA. Acronyms are pronounced as single words such as NATO and laser. Clippings are parts of words that serve for the whole such as ad, phone, demo, exam, flu and fries.
Blends are made of the shortened forms of two other words such as brunch and smog.
This encyclopedia is a joyful collection of the history of our English language including regional and social variations, accents and dialects. The book is essential to all those studying the language. The anecdotes and examples make it an invaluable source for all language lovers.
The final initialism to share is AAAAAA: the Association for the Alleviation of Asinine Abbreviations and Absurd Acronyms. (This is actually listed in a dictionary.)
Skunks and porcupines
The Division of Wildlife sent their educators guide on these two masters of defense. Come read about them. Seventy percent of a skunk's diet consists of insects harmful to humans. They help control rodent populations by feeding on mice.
The guide tells what to do if you have encounters with either one. Learn how to remove porcupine quills, and how to de-skunk yourself or your pet. Tomato juice isn't very effective. Ask for the remedies at the desk. Or better yet, call your veterinarian.
Thanks for donations to the building fund from: Lorna Ogden, James and Elizabeth Jarvis, Suzanne and Robert Pritzker, William and Ann Pongratz, Leonard and Shirley Sterling in memory of Lee Sterling. Albert and Lis Schnell in honor of the Bright's 50th wedding anniversary. Warren and Kay Grams. Jacqueline and Peter Welch as sponsors. Roy and Betsy Gill joined the Millennium level of donor.
Thanks for materials from Scotty Gibson, Fran Jenkins, Marty Johnson, Le Paige, United People's Help Ministries, Jane and Hank Lomasney, Betsy Gill, June Geisen, Patsy Wegner, Marcella Maddux, Sarah Etta Eckrich, Robert Fisher.
And thanks for the help of Barry Thomas and David Bright. These two gentlemen are among the 47 volunteers who keep our library functioning.
Pacific Auction Exchange sells properties at auction, offering to take a property to market and sell that property within a minimum 30 days. The business creates urgency in buyers and makes real estate liquid using the oldest method of marketing crafted to be in touch with contemporary marketing needs.
The motto at Pacific Auction Exchange is "On the market for months/years, or off the market in minutes."
Pacific Auction Exchange is located at 160 Pinon Causeway No. 3040. Call (970) 731-3949 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week.
Private 1st Class Christopher W. Tautges, son of Gene and Debbie Tautges of Pagosa Springs recently completed advanced training at the US Army Training Center in Fort Jackson, South Carolina with the 187th Ordinance Battalion, 4th Training Brigade.
Private Tautges received advanced training in Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Maintenance before being assigned to the 47th Support Battalion in Baumholder, Germany in February where he awaits orders for further deployment.
Tautges is a 2002 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School and joined the U.S. Army in August of 2002.
Lisa Unruh of Pagosa Springs, a graduate student in business working in Student Medical Services at West Texas A&M University, is one of 23 nominated for Student Employee of the year.
The winner will be announced on the Canyon, Texas campus April 11 at culmination of National Student Employment Week and will move on to regional and possible national competition.
By Tess Noel Baker
On a Friday night in Lent, it might just be the biggest event going. People begin lining up 45 minutes before the first plate hits the table.
In a little more than two hours, the Knights of Columbus, and some friendly helpers, will serve catfish suppers to around 400 people.
Each plate is piled with two or three pieces of fried farm-raised catfish, coleslaw, french fries made from potatoes dug out of the San Luis Valley, hush puppies and a cornbread muffin. Customers also get a drink and ice cream to finish off the meal.
"It's the best meal in town for the price," Rita Werner said while waiting for service to start. "I'm even on a diet and I'm eating it anyway. I'll go back on the diet tomorrow."
It's all homemade, folks. Over 40 volunteers, members of the Knights of Columbus, their wives and families, come together each week to pull it off.
Official prep starts at 10 a.m. Fridays when volunteers arrive to begin cutting and preparing the fish. The numbers grow at 1 p.m. for set-up. The fish and fire crew, kitchen prep crew, kitchen crew and the hush puppy crew all arrive about 4 p.m. The line servers, beverage, dessert and table bussers and ticket takers arrive at 4:45 p.m. Service starts minutes later. Cleanup begins at 6:30 p.m. and others show up at 7 p.m. to finish making Parish Hall spic 'n span.
After seven years, the volunteers work smoothly next to one another, knowing exactly how much space is available in the kitchen, where each person needs to stand and how to skirt each other politely.
Bob Henley, who's been cooking since the supper's inception, marvels at the crowds. What started as a two-pot, two-burner event has grown to require eight pots just to keep up with the fish and french fries required.
"We started with two Fridays the first year, then four and now it's five or six," he said. "We thought it was a big night if we had 80 people."
He remembers running out of fish just once.
"We had people going to City Market - there was only the one downtown then - and buying every kind of fish they had," he said.
This year, the eight pots are semi-enclosed in a trailer with an awning pulled up to the side of the hall - just in case.
"We've been very fortunate," he said. "For all the years we've done this, we've never had a real storm while we cook." The streak is still alive in 2003, but at least now they are prepared.
Henley's wife, Dahrl, is in charge of making the batter. Is there a secret recipe? Something that calls people back week after week?
"I couldn't tell you if I wanted to," she said. "I do it differently every time." First the fillets are dipped in a mixture of eggs and milk. From there they are plopped into giant bowls of flour, cornmeal and a variety of spices. When coated, they head out the door on large pans, destined for the fryer. Meanwhile, someone else outside is slicing potatoes and throwing them in pots to make french fries.
"Don Papierniak and I cut up 1,000 pieces of fish this morning so I hope people come and eat it," Dahrl said.
"I didn't do it," Papierniak quipped, hearing his name mentioned from another room.
"Oh yes you did," Henley responded. Smiles lighted both faces.
In another corner of the kitchen, ladies unwrap bowls of coleslaw and place cornbread muffins on trays.
Dahrl used to make the muffins herself. Now it takes three ladies baking 144 biscuits each to cover the hungry crowd.
On the kitchen's stove, Pete Dach cooks the hush puppies, about the only item added to the menu since the event's inception. The fried balls of dough are cooked in an oversized cast iron pan, one that used to be used on outfitting trips, Dach said. The secret to that recipe? "Hot and spicy. They're like the women in Pagosa."
In all corners of the kitchen, questions fly. "Are we ready for the coleslaw?" "Let me get out of the way," and "Is it time to take out the ice cream?" It's Neapolitan, scooped out of tubs into individual cups for people to pick up once the main course is finished.
Table bussers, wearing blue aprons, prepare pitchers of lemonade, tea, coffee and water. They're careful to keep from spilling so someone doesn't slip on the wood floors. No glass is ever left empty for long. Plates are whisked away as they're cleaned. Smiles and welcomes greet weekly patrons and newcomers alike. These customers come from Durango, Bayfield and Chromo as well as all points in Pagosa Country.
Maggie Benson, who arrived early to get a good spot in line, said the meal is great, but it's not just the food that brings people back.
"You get to see everybody," she said. Perhaps that, in the end, is the secret recipe.
"We have lots of fun," Dahrl Henley said. "It's like a community party. People come, sit and visit and have a wonderful time." Somehow, it seems there's always enough chairs.
"It's kind of funny," she said. "It's not a big room, but it's like the story of the loaves and fishes, no matter how many people come there's always a place to sit down."
Manuel Trujillo, grand knight, said any money made during the Lenten fish fries is used to fund parish projects and youth activities, including scholarships.
The fish fries are scheduled every Friday night through April 18 at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. Food is served from 5-7 p.m. Cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children under 12. All are invited, but bring those appetites.
'Who deceived us?' asked Aiguillar
By John Motter
The year was 1878. A record number of settlers built new homes in the San Juan Basin.
Watching the homes go up on land they believed belonged to them, the three Southern Ute bands grew more and more militant.
"Who deceived us?" asked Aiguillar, representing the Moache band.
The question was valid. Ute and white eyes had been signing treaties since 1848. Through it all, the Ute homeland continued to shrink. Money for the lost homeland failed to arrive. By 1878, whites were everywhere, the wild game was gone, and the Southern Utes had no home.
The government wanted them to move to Meeker. The Southern Utes refused to go. They had just arrived in Ignacio in compliance with the latest treaty. And so, Uncle Sam appointed another negotiating commission and summoned all of the Southern Utes to Ignacio to palaver. Gen. Hatch was in charge of the commission. Col. Albert Pfeiffer, Kit Carson's aide, and T.D. Burn from Tierra Amarillo were involved.
After being shown a copy of the treaty of 1868, Ignacio and other Ute leaders denied signing it. When asked what he knew about it, Burn said the treaty was signed by Ignacio and others in his presence but that it had been misinterpreted by the Indians.
They were told it was only the mines they were selling, and when he wanted to explain to Ignacio exactly what he was doing, the subcommissioner, Thomas Dolan, forbade him to do so and told him it was none of his business; that they had worked at them - the Indians - and just on account of such explanation it was nearly broken off before ... it would fail and the department would blame him for it. Col. Pfeiffer verified this statement.
Ignacio admitted signing but said, "we were told it was only for the rations and annuities and the country of the mines and the miners would leave as soon as the gold was out."
Statements by another of the Ute leaders, Sawaiipatche, seem to sum up the Ute position. "None of the Utes here have sold the land and they don't want to sell it yet. They like the place and don't want to leave it. I don't wish to sell the land and none of the rest want to"; and, "I am just the same as any other man. I talk straight in the presence of my fathers. We don't want to sell the land if we are corralled. We want the Americans put off the land"; and, "Not so, we never sold the land. The Americans make out papers and tell the great father that we have signed them. The country is full of Americans and Mexicans, and we have no grazing for our horses."
When asked by Gen. Hatch if they wouldn't want more money, Sawaiipatche replied, "I don't know what money is. The great father ought to drive out the Americans. They shouldn't have the same rights in the land that we have. We want to be left alone by ourselves."
No new agreement was reached at Ignacio. Leaving Col. Pfeiffer to negotiate with the Southern Utes, the commission moved on to other agencies to deal with other tribes.
They still hoped to gather all of the Utes on one reservation. When they returned, they found Col. Pfeiffer had reached an agreement with the Southern Utes to move onto a reservation located near the headwaters of the Piedra, San Juan, Blanco, Navajo and Chama rivers and bounded on the east by the Continental Divide.
The new reservation pretty much took in all of Pagosa Country.
A council was held in Pagosa Springs on Nov. 9, 1878, and a formal agreement was signed by leaders of the three bands of Utes. The Utes were to give up claims to lands south and north of the San Juan Mountain mining area.
The land for the new reservation was to be designated by the president and they were to move onto the new land during the spring and summer of 1879. The new agency was to be located on the Navajo River. The reservation would contain 728,320 acres.
In exchange for the proposed new reservation, the Utes agreed to give up 1,894,400 acres of land.
The Indian commissioner recommended that the ceded lands be sold and the proceeds used to establish a trust for the benefit of the Southern Utes.
According to the commission the proposed reservation "has a healthful climate, abounds in game and fish, and embraces a number of valleys of considerable extent and fertility."
Congress failed to approve the new reservation, a continuing puzzle to Indians who did not understand how one part of the government could approve an agreement and another part disapprove.
Meanwhile, because of the anticipated move to the new reservation, no improvements were made at the Ignacio agency. Only two small buildings had been erected there to serve some 800 Utes. The Southern Utes continued to live under very unsettled circumstances.
The people of New Mexico refused to allow the Utes to return there. The citizens of Colorado wanted all of the Utes moved to Utah and persuaded their congressional representatives to introduce federal legislation to that effect
Meanwhile, the government, finally admitting that the Southern Utes would not move to the Meeker reservation in northern Colorado, began to work toward a southern and a northern reservation.
Tempers soared. White encroachment and threatened Ute retaliation led to the establishment of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs. The commencement of the fort near the Pagosa Hot Springs coincided with the expected establishment of the nearby reservation.
Within two years after Congress failed to approve the proposed reservation, the fort was moved to Hesperus, nearer the Utes.
And, and, and ... negotiations continued.
More next week.
Once the war's over and the regime in Iraq is deposed, the task of reconstructing that country and establishing a Democratic form of government begins.
A transition of all aspects of the society to a new form of life must be engineered, if the populace is willing. This is a huge task, but only a small part of what we can do to set the lives of others and our own lives back on track.
Perhaps our biggest problem in establishing our security is not in Iraq, but in the rings of influence and affect that spread from the epicenter of the conflict.
Regardless of the belligerence of some Americans concerning our image in the rest of the world, we cannot exist in peace when the significant number of nations and people regard us as hostile and arrogant.
We need to mend rifts with traditional friends and continue to work to eradicate terrorism and its causes.
A successful outcome in Iraq will go a long way to heal wounds, but it also seems timely, in concert with our activities in the war zone, to use our influence to solve the longest standing conflict in the Middle East and damp the traditional furnace of antipathy there toward the U.S.
We can make good on a recent promise, capitalize on what seems a genuine change in government among Palestinians, and exert influence to guarantee the existence and safety of Israel while insuring the creation and safety of a Palestinian state.
Further, as part of dealing with factors that perpetuate terrorism, why not cease our support of regimes in the area that do not move toward democracy and economies with access available to all citizens?
At least three generations of significant numbers of young people in the Middle East have been raised under the shadow of oppressive ruling cliques that control the only meaningful resource in a one-dimensional economy - oil - and that lay blame for all social ills on one source, Israel and its supporters. The wealth accrued by the ruling class in those states has rarely been used to create a diverse economy, and the benefits of that wealth have not been disseminated in a productive way to a majority of citizens.
We have protected many of the worst oppressors in the Middle East while they, in turn, financed radical movements that threaten us. In doing so, we have fertilized the grounds in which discontent and terrorist activity grow. If democracy is good for Iraq, it is good for others.
Young Muslims in much of the Middle East have been raised to believe their religion is the final word in the tradition extending back to Abraham. Their prophet is regarded as the transmitter of the last word of God, their religion touted as the highest development of faith. At the same time, they see practitioners of Christianity and Judaism prospering and advancing. Why, they ask. The answer they get from their rulers: Israel and its supporters. It is not hard to understand terrorism against this backdrop.
The focus must be brought back to the real causes of discontent and our efforts should turn to support of those moderate social leaders who urge a reformation of the Islamic faith and the modernization of a medieval social and economic structure.
Once the war is over, we have to work to avoid more conflict.
Hopefully, we will be able to do it by building actions and peacefully impressing the values of democracy, equality, and economic freedom and diversity where they are needed most.
By Richard Walter
Those who have not met an enemy in battle, whether on land, at sea or in the air, cannot know the feelings registering in the psyches of Americans at war.
Some will tell you that war is an economic necessity, a means of creating jobs for war support industries and thereby fattening the wallets of the materiel suppliers.
But ask the grunt who served in Korea or Vietnam what he depended on the most and he'll tell you "a weapon which fired on demand and a good pair of boots."
Right up front I'll admit I've never been in actual battle. I have served four years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, assigned to the staff of the admiral commanding a carrier division in the Pacific.
We were actively training in antisubmarine warfare, and specialized in tracking, identifying and being able, if necessary, to disable an enemy's first strike capability.
I've been aboard a submarine in actual "war game" conditions, running from the surface ship, running silent, going deep to avoid detection. I could not have served there as a full-time assignment.
I've been on the flag bridge of a carrier standing off the coast of Indonesia while Sukarno threatened he'd destroy the free world.
Temperatures of 120 degrees or better are not ideal battle conditions. But we were on the line of first response.
I've been on a flat-bottomed, wooden-hulled mine sweeper where you're tossed about like flotsam as you try to find the enemy's weaponry before it finds you.
I've walked the streets of foreign cities where Americans were valued only for their dollars.
You have friends in the war zone now. You have friends of friends you don't even know standing tall so you can remain a citizen of freedom.
A detractor of the American decision involving Iraq asked me recently what my reaction would be if the Middle East nations all petitioned the United Nations for sanctions of war against our country.
After all, he said, we have more nukes than anyone else, we've experimented with all the various forms of biological and chemical warfare?
Why shouldn't we be forced to disarm?
What makes us the world's power that has to be dealt with?
They are questions to which you don't fire off the first thought which comes to mind.
Finally, I said, first you have to consider where the freedoms in the world exist today and how they got there.
Americans sacrificed their blood on foreign soils in many wars - or police actions if you like - to secure the same freedoms for others that we enjoy ourselves.
There have been mistakes made in those we have trusted and championed. No one ever said we, or any other citizenry, was perfect.
We have been the first line of defense against atrocity - and have felt it ourselves. We learned on 9/11 that we are vulnerable despite our might.
If it is proven Saddam Hussein had the tools of war we have been told he had, we will have made the right decision, no matter what the detractors say.
If our leaders are proven to have been wrong, they will have to face the world's derision.
But listening to Great Britain's Tony Blair outline the evidence to the British parliament step by step last week, this old sailor can't help but feel our ship of state, even if we personally disagreed with the decision, was on course.
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of March 28, 1913
Clyde Sturgill and a companion left Tuesday following the telephone line east to locate and repair a break, presumably on the range. As snowslides are not believed to be running, there is no anxiety for their safety.
Charlie Schaad's mineral water business is increasing, having recently shipped several barrels to outside points. The water is so superior to any bottled water on the market that with better shipping facilities and a wider knowledge of its excellence, Pagosa water would be more generally used than any other on the market.
If you want to vote wet at the coming election put your cross opposite the word "yes." If you want to vote dry cross in the space opposite "no."
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of March 30, 1928
A public vote of thanks should be given to those who have been instrumental in keeping the highway dragged and drained the past winter from beyond Eight Mile Hill to the light plant near Pagosa Springs, at their own personal expense. Those who have contributed to this good work are Jas. Jones, Lee Bishard, Grant Tyson and J.P. Craig.
Mr. and Mrs. C.M. Van Pelt have commenced the construction of a 5-room cottage for their personal living quarters just south of Carlsbad Lodge on the Springs property. The office will also be maintained there.
There will be a Spanish-American dance at Carlsbad Lodge on Monday, April 9th.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of March 27, 1953
The Purple Heart for wounds received in the Korean action was awarded to Pvt. Jack Eaklor of Chromo, Colo., by Maj. Gen. George W. Smythe. Private Eaklor's wife and parents live in Chromo. He was serving with Company D of the division's 15th Infantry Regiment when wounded.
The weather the past week has sure been like March with snow, rain, sleet and dust blowing in from other areas. Ranchers and farmers are getting busy with their spring work and calving is in progress. Spring is certainly in the air and it won't be long until fish stories will start.
Lester W. Mullins Post No. 108 of the American Legion held installation of officers at their regular meeting Thursday. V.A. Poma was installed as commander.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of March 23, 1978
Chief of Police Leonard Gallegos has announced that the town police department is starting a campaign to clear junk cars from town streets and property. The town does have an ordinance covering the removal of junk cars.
A large number of trucks are hauling coal through here almost every day of the week. There is little information available, but it is estimated that between 30 and 40 large loads go through each day. The coal comes from the Chimney Rock Coal Co. mine on the Stollsteimer, it is being loaded in rail cars at Hannah siding, near South Fork, and shipped by rail to Pueblo. In other parts of the nation striking coal miners have just about halted the shipment of coal.