April 17, 2003  Front Page

Health board agrees to open negotiations

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Charles Hawkins is the newest chairman of the Upper San Juan Health Service District Board.

He was elected to the position moments after being appointed to fill a vacancy on the board and started his duties by facing a crowd of around 200 awaiting the board's next move regarding staff at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

"We all know we have some problems here," he said, adding that although some of the problems can be traced to current management, others go back a couple of years or more. "It's going to take the cooperation of everyone to solve these issues."

He invited those employees who had resigned and want to work with the reconstituted board - retired physician Dr. Dick Blide was also appointed to fill a board vacancy Tuesday - to come back while positions are still open.

Eight members of the medical center staff, including both physicians, submitted resignations, effective May 2, en masse to the district board April 4. Interpersonal problems with management and a perceived lack of response from the board going back to July 2002 have been cited as reasons for the action.

The resignations were accepted by district manager Dee Jackson April 7 and she began work to refill the positions. By Tuesday night's meeting, at least two people had been hired, including a training coordinator/office staff member. Applications had been received for other positions and doctors who might be interested in relocating to the community had been tapped for interim positions.

During her district manager's report, Jackson thanked two volunteers and several employees of the medical center and EMS for continuing to focus on patient care during a difficult time. Not only has filling positions taken up time, she said, but problems have cropped up on the EMS side of the street where at least one office was broken into and documents later found missing.

She said she was looking at making several changes to the clinic with a new staff, including expanding business hours, recruiting a female physician and a bilingual physician and expanding care through some specialty services.

How far Jackson will be able to take those plans is unclear.

A short while later, the board approved a motion giving the medical center staff a 30-day grace period on resignations to allow for negotiations as requested by J.R. Ford.

Ford, a local businessman, said more time is needed to look at options for retaining the center staff. The possibilities include allowing the current providers, Dr. Mark Wienpahl, Dr. Bob Brown and nurse practitioner Susan Kuhns, to simply lease the medical center building from the district, operating a private practice with separate management.

In order to get negotiations off on the right foot, Ford said, the medical center staff requested that two employees released since the resignations be rehired, physicians be given back keys to the medical center building and the staff be freed from management by the board or Jackson.

The medical center building was re-keyed last week, following the theft of narcotics reported to police April 6. The incident remains under investigation.

Hawkins said keys would be returned to providers. Briefly, the board considered a motion to make Ford and Wienpahl acting directors of the clinic, but that idea was dropped. The rest of Ford's requests were tabled pending discussions during negotiations.

The board did pass a motion to retain the medical center staff until May 15 to allow for some negotiations to take place. If no agreement can be reached, the employees will have the opportunity to give another 30-day notice at that time.

At the end of regular business, the board opened the floor for comments. Emotions ran high and Hawkins reminded the crowd to show respect to the board several times. Members of the crowd countered by hollering that the board should show respect for the citizens and the staff.

Terry Alley started things off by presenting the board a petition calling for Jackson's resignation containing over 700 signatures collected in less than 24 hours. He also presented dozens of letters from individuals asking for the same thing.

Mary Jaramillo, a 20-year resident, said she had been seeing Dr. Wienpahl since he arrived in the community and did not want to see services change.

"In all fairness, the taxpayers have spoken," she said. "We need Dee out."

Seven-year Pagosa resident Larry Walton said despite Jackson's competence as a financial manager, her lack of people skills is probably significant enough to require her resignation.

He, and others, also pointed a finger directly at the board.

"I hold the board responsible," Rob Keating said. "You have had all the warning signs." He added that the board needs to make some decisions and should hire some full-time help from the community to come in and solve the problem.

Two people defended Jackson's actions as a manager.

Bud Brasher, a longtime supporter of the district and a member of the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation board, said people were forgetting less than two years ago the doors to the medical center almost closed permanently because of a lack of funding. At the time, he said, suppliers had the clinic on a cash on delivery status only and the district had zero reserves.

Now, he said, as a result of Jackson's actions, "that's been reversed and reserves are steadily starting to be replaced."

"I stand here in support of Dee Jackson," he said.

Germaine Sanchez, a 39-year resident of the community, asked someone to explain what Jackson has done that's been illegal or unlawful that might require her resignation.

"I say find new employees," she said.

The board refused to give a timeline for responding to the petition and the comments prior to going into executive session.

Wednesday morning board member Martha Garcia said the petition to remove Jackson as district manager is under board review.

Two committees were officially formed to help find a solution to the current problems. Debra Brown, a community member picked three weeks ago to head a committee on after-hours on-call physician coverage, pledged her committee's support.

She said her original goal had been to find a solution to the current lack of after-hours non-emergency care for both local citizens and tourists. Currently, the community does not have a doctor on-call from 6 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday and from 5 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday. Archuleta County does have 24/7 Emergency Medical Service coverage and 911 services.

As the committee began to gather information and interview doctors, she said, it became obvious that current morale issues had to be solved first. That led to the suggestion that the committee act more as a bridge between the community and the board.

The board accepted the committee's offer of help, approving a motion to make it a standing committee and rename it the Citizen's Advisory Committee. Following an executive session, they also approved a motion to set up a Medical Advisory Committee headed by Dr. James Knoll.


Clinic staff answers public concerns

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"I feel that current management - Dee Jackson and the board together - have not been able to constructively help us resolve issues with the staff in terms of how to make constructive changes and move forward. We haven't been treated with respect. I feel Dee Jackson has had some good ideas for change, but they have not been implemented in a way to foster in us that we're doing a good job."

That's how Dr. Mark Wienpahl described the problems between health service district management and Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center employees that led to mass staff resignations April 4. "It's not an easy thing to put into words," he said.

A lack of respect came up more than once. As did the need to be treated humanely. As did the need to be listened to. The ability to foster a team spirit between family practice doctors in the community was another shortfalling named.

A standing-room only crowd of over 100 packed into the Pagosa Springs Community Center Monday and spilled outside to hear explanations on the resignations from medical center staff and to offer support.

Both Wienpahl and Dr. Bob Brown, the other physician who resigned from the medical center effective May 2, acknowledged that Dee Jackson, district manager, had worked very hard and effectively to solve the financial problems that plagued the district. Some change was necessary, they agreed. And, they said, she did not interfere with their ability to see patients.

"It's less what happened than how it's happening," Wienpahl said.

Brown, who had a long conversation with two Upper San Juan Health Service District board members to try to explain the situation one more time last week, said despite her success on a financial level, Jackson "failed on an interpersonal level."

"I asked them why did we have to do one and wait for the other," he said. "Why couldn't we have found a manager who could make us solvent and treat us with respect and treat us humanely at the same time?"

Several in the audience responded by calling for Jackson's resignation.

Others said it was time to recall all the Upper San Juan Health Service District Board members.

One man asked about arbitration.

The bottom line, for nearly all, was to find out what needed to be done to keep the doctors and staff at the medical center intact.

"We built the clinic, the board didn't," Norma Harman said. "We built it for these people to work for us."

Some change in management seemed to be the answer.

"These people represent 35-40 years of service to the community," said Dr. Jim Pruitt, of Pagosa Family Medicine Center, a private clinic next door to the medical center. "They should not be put by the wayside in support of someone who's been here one year."

In order to continue to work at the medical center, Wienpahl said, the staff as a whole - not just one or two - would have to be asked to stay by the district board. Then would come the management changes. What those changes would look like was unclear.

"Part of our problem tonight is that we're in the middle of this," Wienpahl said. "I don't think we can give you the answer tonight."

Some of the options being considered include: leasing the medical center from the district and operating as a private practice to separate doctors from management, opening private practices elsewhere in the community and arbitration between the doctors, Jackson and the board.

Members of the medical center staff encouraged the public in attendance to express their concerns about the loss of staff to the district board. Toward the end of the two-hour meeting a petition was circulated calling for the termination of Jackson.


New animal control efforts appear to make difference

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Archuleta County's decision to hire and train two animal control officers early this year - one for Pagosa Lakes and one for the rest of the county - is apparently achieving the desired results.

For the months of February and March, sheriff's department reports indicate a combined total of 155 patrol hours and 2,955 miles were logged for the Pagosa Lakes area. As a result, 40 reports were taken, 30 dogs were impounded and 39 verbal warnings were issued. In addition, 14 written warnings were given and eight citations were issued.

Countywide, excluding the Pagosa Lakes figures, a total of 105 patrol hours and 4,219 miles are reported for the same months. Twenty-three reports were taken, 18 dogs were impounded and five citations were issued.

Those figures seem to reflect the efforts are having an impact on local stray animal populations. Some additional figures support that suggestion.

According to Robbie Schwartz, director of the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, the number of dogs impounded this year is greatly increased from the year-to-date total at this time last year.

Schwartz said 63 dogs have been impounded at the shelter thus far this year. Last year, a total of 24 dogs had been impounded through the same period. The year-to-date total number of animals the shelter has taken in is also up - from 151 to 219.

But Schwartz said those figures are somewhat bittersweet, because while the increased patrols have resulted in more people properly securing or confining their pets, the year-to-date total number of animals surrendered (given up by their owners) is up as well - from 25 to 63.

"We're having a lot of animals coming in two or three times," said Schwartz. "Unfortunately, very few people show up to claim their animals after three times," she explained, adding that many simply do not want to have to pay the resulting fines.

On the bright side, Schwartz indicated the increases do not mean the shelter must put down animals within a specific timeframe in order to prevent overcrowding.

"One of the options we're fortunate enough to have is a transfer program with other shelters who also do not euthanize to save space," said Schwartz.

"We can transfer animals as far as Denver and Boulder County," she added, "and we will never transfer an animal to any facility where it will be euthanized because it hasn't been claimed or adopted within a certain period of time."

Finally, Schwartz indicated the shelter, in conjunction with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, will hold a one-day seminar on how to deal with problem dogs sometime in May. Schwartz said further details will be made public once the date and location have been finalized.


Parents are charged in infant girl's traffic death

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A 9-month-old girl was killed in a single-car collision April 14. Her parents, Timothy and Jessica Bilazzo, of Pagosa Springs, have been arrested on charges of vehicular homicide.

According to Colorado State Patrol reports, Angelina Bilazzo was not secured in a car seat when the late-model Suburban left the roadway and smashed into an embankment at the intersection of Coyote and Dandelion drives in the Holiday Acres subdivision. The infant died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Timothy Bilazzo was driving the vehicle. He was uninjured. Jessica Bilazzo was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Durango where she was treated and released.

Cpl. Randy Talbot said the Suburban was headed south on Coyote Drive when the accident occurred. The vehicle left the road, entered a barrow ditch and then collided with an embankment at the Dandelion Drive intersection. Alcohol was apparently involved.

Both Timothy and Jessica Bilazzo were booked on charges of vehicular homicide and child abuse resulting in death following the crash. Investigation into the accident is ongoing.


Date High Low Precip.
Depth Moisture











































Scattered thunderstorms, snow predicted in forecast

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

After a weekend dominated by blue skies and relatively balmy temperatures, Pagosa Country received less precipitation than anticipated from a fast-moving storm front crossing through the Four Corners region Monday and Tuesday.

While a mixture of less than one inch of rain and snow descended upon increasingly-green area neighborhoods, the latest weather reports indicate there is a good chance for more significant moisture through the first half of the weekend and early next week.

According to Joe Ramey, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, another low-pressure system moving in from California means wet weather could make a local appearance as early as this afternoon.

"The San Juan Mountains are certainly favored with the current flow," said Ramey, "and elevations at or above 8,000 feet should see some snow late Thursday, while lower elevations may experience thunderstorms.

"The best chances for rain and snow are through early Saturday," added Ramey. "But the entire weekend could remain unsettled, and the next solid storm could reach the region by Tuesday."

According to Ramey, windy conditions and partly cloudy skies should prevail through this morning. By this afternoon, clouds should increase, and highs should reach the mid-60s; lows should drop to around 30. A 20-percent chance for thunderstorms or snow showers is included in the forecast for tonight.

The chance for precipitation increases to 40 percent for Friday. Highs should range in the 40s; lows are expected to settle into the teens.

Saturday and Sunday call for partly cloudy skies, a minimal chance for scattered showers, highs ranging from the upper 50s to low 70s and lows in the 30s.

The forecast for Monday and Tuesday includes a 30-percent chance for isolated thunderstorms. Highs each day should approach 70, and lows are predicted in the mid-30s to low 40s.

Lingering scattered showers are expected for Wednesday, and highs should top out near 60 while lows should fall to around 30.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 61. The average low was 24. Precipitation totals, measured mainly in the form of rain, amounted to approximately one-third of an inch.

Despite recent bouts of wet weather, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to categorize the region's drought level as "extreme."

The National Allergy Bureau rates area tree pollen counts as "high," weed and grass pollen counts as "low to absent" and mold spore counts as "low."

River flow as measured in the San Juan River south of town ranged between 100-500 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historical median flow for mid-April is approximately 450 cubic feet per second.

Sports PageParks & Rec

New water line, parks improvements on schedule for spring

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The long-awaited permit from the U.S. Corps of Engineers for a raw water feed has arrived. 

Hopefully it is not too late to get into the river with the heavy equipment that is necessary to put in the pump and the vault.  The water level has gone up quite a bit in the last five days.

If everything goes good we could be operating by June 1, using the water at the athletic fields adjacent to the high school and for new construction on South 5th Street.

Town parks

The parks and recreation department is awaiting bids to refurbish the Town Park gazebo.

We are interested in reroofing the structure with a propanel-type roof, then we are going to stucco the outside,  change the railing on the stage area and, if budget allows, we will put rock around the bottom of the building.

So, look for some improvements to the very popular gazebo at the park.

South Pagosa Park work day is being organized to try to finish the skate park, improve the half-pipe and to put up the baskets we took down last summer to facilitate construction of the skate area.

Please come by or call to help us out on this work day, to be announced later.

The number of people using that park is impressive; with the nice weather we are seeing  skaters, bikers and basketball players. We had a request to put up the shade tent and the volleyball nets, so enjoy and keep our parks clean.

Youth baseball sign-up

The original deadline was April 11.

We have not received the number of sign-ups we expected, so call Chris Corcoran at 264-4151, Ext. 232, concerning late sign-up.


Freshman trackster qualifies for state in two events

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Led by freshman Emilie Schur, the Pagosa girls' track team racked up 43 points at the Pueblo Challenge Cup, finishing seventh out of 17 teams in the unrestricted division.

Head Coach Connie O'Donnell said senior leadership and hard work in practice is really paying off for the team.

"Our senior girls are providing a lot of leadership in practice and all the girls are rising to the occasion during tough competition," she said. "They are not scared of anyone."

Schur placed third in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs, qualifying for state in the mile and two-mile events. The freshman crossed the line just a couple seconds behind Rachel Gioscia, of Buena Vista and Kate Owen, of Monte Vista, in the 1,600, finishing in 5 minutes 31.86 seconds.

In the 3,200, she broke the tape in 12:08.40, a handful of seconds behind Gioscia and Emily Hanenburg, of the Classical Academy. Her final third-place medal came with a 2:30.34 finish in the 800.

Schur added a fourth-place finish to the day as a member of the 3,200-meter relay team. She was joined by freshman Drie Young and seniors Ashley Wagle and Amanda McCain for the race. The team finished in 10:40.68.

Sophomore Mollie Honan finished the day with a third-place medal in the 300-meter hurdles, crossing the line in 53.73 and taking two seconds off her best time. She also finished fifth in the 110 hurdles.

The 400 relay team of freshman Mia Caprioli, sophomore Janna Henry and seniors Katie Bliss and Alex Rigia, also finished fourth, crossing the line in 56.98. The same group added fifth-place points in the 800-meter relay.

Other medals came from Caprioli with a sixth-place effort in the 100-meter dash and the 1,600 relay team of Bliss, Rigia, Wagle and McCain, who also finished sixth.

The girls will continue their efforts at the Pine River Invitational in Bayfield Friday starting at 9 a.m.


Boys steal second at Pueblo; Schutz qualifies for state

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs boys' track team racked up 84 points at the Pueblo Challenge Cup, finishing second in the unrestricted division behind Buena Vista.

Pacing the Pirates was Jason Schutz who placed in the top three in a trio of individual events, qualifying for state in two of those.

The senior hit state-qualifying marks in the discus and the 100-meter dash. He placed second in the discus behind Todd Crist, of Buena Vista, with a 143-foot 4-inch toss. In the 100, Schutz finished third, breaking the tape in 11.51 seconds.

Schutz completed his individual efforts with a first-place, 23.38, run in the 200. Teammate Jared Kinkead finished fourth in the same race with a time of 24.49.

The Pirates also commanded first-place points in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays. Schutz, combined with seniors Danny Lyon and Jeremy Buikema and junior Brandon Samples, edged out Buena Vista by one second to win the 1,600 in 3:42.86.

In the 3,200, the team of Buikema, Samples, junior Aaron Hamilton and senior Todd Mees gave themselves more of a cushion, crossing the finish line in 8:38.59. The closest competition, Custer County, finished second in 9:03.50.

In the 1,600, Samples and Hamilton racked up more points for the Pirates, finishing neck-and-neck for second and third places respectively. Samples claimed second in 4:51.80, and Hamilton finished third in 4:51.81.

The 800 relay team of Kinkead, freshman Daniel Aupperle, and Manuel Madrid and Paul Armijo continued to improve, moving up to steal third place in 1:38.84.

Head Coach Connie O'Donnell said sophomores Kinkead, Madrid and Armijo have been working very hard to improve and it's showing in the meets.

"I think they are having a good time in track this year, and I hope they realize how much potential they have in the future," she said.

The four combined again in the 400 relay to bring home a few more points with a fifth-place finish. Other fifth-place points were added by junior Clayton Spencer in the high jump, sophomore Junior Turner in the long jump and Lyon in the 400. To round out the scoring, Buikema placed sixth in the 400.

O'Donnell said the Pirates will face Buena Vista again tomorrow in the Pine River Invitational in Bayfield. Some changes in personnel for the relay events are being considered to help Pagosa Springs gain ground in team point totals.

"I think that our boys are ready for another challenge with Buena Vista," she said. The Pine River Invitational is set to begin at 9 a.m.


Mercy ruling gives Pagosa 10-0 win over Ignacio

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Compassion may not seem like a significant part of a soccer game in which the final score is 10-0 and the game is stopped after just 44 minutes, 46 seconds.

Ignacio's Lady Bobcats came to town Tuesday with just nine players suited for a game which normally utilizes 11 per team.

Pagosa, meanwhile, had 23 players suited and all saw action as the home team coasted to victory.

The outcome was quickly decided when Tricia Lucero scored unassisted for Pagosa just 29 seconds into the game.

Hers actually was the second shot for Pagosa. Melissa Diller had the first shot on goal just 11 seconds in, an effort stopped by Ignacio's keeper.

At 2:59 the lead went to 2-0 when Lucero's shot was stopped it rebounded to Meagan Hilsabeck whose shot caromed off the bottom of the crossbar for the score.

It was the first of three for the three-time all-conference striker, a performance which hiked her season total to 19.

Bri Scott increased the margin to 3-0 for Pagosa scoring unassisted at 5:03 and coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason began reducing the number of players on the field and substituting freely down to the freshman level.

For the next 10 minutes, the game was waged at midfield, only three shots being taken in that time, all by Pagosa. Amy Tautges effort was stopped, and Brittany Corcoran had two shots, the first sailing over the nets and the second stopped.

At 16:29, Hilsabeck got her second goal in an eight-on-eight attack, scoring off a drop lead by senior running mate Sara Aupperle.

Lucero's bid for a second goal was stopped at 20:09 and Corcoran stopped again just 47 seconds later.

Hilsabeck netted the hat trick at 22:28, ripping in her third goal with an assist by Bri Scott with a perfect crossing pass from the right wing.

After Lucero was wide right with a blast from deep in the left corner, freshman Kody Hanavan, playing in her first varsity contest, scored unassisted on a midfield breakaway and Pagosa led 6-0.

Not to be outdone, fellow freshman Liza Kelly scored unassisted just 46 seconds later and the lead had reached 7-0.

Perhaps the biggest cheer of the afternoon went up at 31:35 when Esther Gordon scored unassisted for Pagosa, a fitting moment for the 16th birthday she was celebrating.

Still, the Lady Pirates weren't done.

Down to seven attackers in a move to equalize status, sweeper senior Sarah Smith suddenly turned to the offense.

She stole an Ignacio pass just inside the zone, faked left, went right and outran all defenders as she closed on the net and scored her first goal of the season at 34:27.

Ignacio's only scoring opportunity came at 35:50 when Aupperle was called for roughing and Ignacio got a penalty shot from the head of the box. The shot went wide left.

As the half wound down with Pagosa leading 9-0, right sweeper Kyrie Beye also got into the offensive mode but was wide left from the top of the box. And, with 57 seconds left in the half, Aupperle also was wide left.

The second half opened with Pagosa playing seven against eight on the field and still there was no Ignacio offense.

A block-takeaway by Jenna Finney led to an Aupperle shot that was stopped at 42:10.

Melissa Diller captured the rebound but her drive was stopped.

Finally, Diller scored unassisted at 44:46 and the mercy rule was ordered, halting the contest.

The victory moved Pagosa's record to 4-2-1 in the league and 4-4-1 overall.

The Lady Pirates step out of league action Friday with a 4 p.m. game in Salida.

They return to league action with a 4 p.m. game in Bayfield Tuesday, travel to Center for a 4 p.m. game April 24 (originally scheduled April 26) and close out the regular season with a road game April 25 against Telluride.

It is scheduled in Telluride, said David Hamilton, Pagosa athletic director, but may be moved to a neutral field.


Scoring: 00:29, P-Lucero, unassisted; 2:59, P-Hilsabeck; 5:03, P-Scott, unassisted; 16:29, P-Hilsabeck, assist Aupperle; 22:28, P-Hilsabeck, assist Scott; 27:51, P-Hanavan, unassisted; 28:37, P-Kelly unassisted; 31:35, P-Gordon unassisted; 34:77, P-Smith unassisted; 44:46, P-Diller, unassisted. Shots on goal: P-17, I-2; Saves: I-5, P-1. No card penalties.


Lady kickers barrage quells Bayfield defense

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer


It is the cry of soldiers under attack.

And it could well have been the cry of Bayfield Lady Wolverine soccer keeper Tara Suazo Monday as Pagosa Lady Pirates launched a fusillade of shots at her from all directions.

To Suazo's credit, she did not dive into the nearby long jump pit excavation nor did she run for shelter.

In fact, of 21 Pagosa shots in the opening half, only two found their way past her. She made 11 saves and the balance of the shots were powerful, well-conceived but off target.

To wit:

In the first two minutes Tricia Lucero was a flanking attacker for Pagosa. Her opening round from the left wing ricochetted off Suazo to striker Meagan Hilsabeck who was stopped point blank.

Then Lucero was wide left from the left corner and Hilsabeck and Sara Aupperle both missed shots off a corner kick from Bri Scott.

Bayfield's first shot on goal, at 11:31 by Lindsey Martinez, was an easy save for Pagosa keeper Sierra Fleenor.

The Pagosa barrage continued but still there were no goals. At 12:05 Brittany Corcoran's shot was over the cross bar as was Hilsabeck's effort at 12:48. Twenty-eight seconds later Melissa Diller was stopped on a 30-yarder and at 17:10 Amy Tautges breakaway effort was hauled in by Suazo.

At the 20-minute mark there was a break in the defensive wall for Bayfield and Diller spotted freshman Liza Kelly breaking into the middle, dropped the pass to her and closed to back up the shot.

There was no need. Kelly drilled a direct hit and Pagosa had a 1-0 lead. One second less than two minutes later, Suazo was called upon to make her most confusing stop of the day - a save against her teammate, Martinez, whose header effort in front of the net went the wrong way and nearly recorded Pagosa's second goal.

Shots by Corcoran, Hilsabeck, Lucero (twice) and Aupperle, were hauled in by Suazo before Fleenor had to make her second save at 27:35 on an effort by Bayfield's Kellie Etz.

Aupperle, Lucero, Bri Scott and Lucero again, were either stopped by Suazo or were just off the mark before Hilsabeck converted at 33:12 to give Pagosa a 2-0 lead with a left-footer off a crossing pass from Scott.

In the last minute of the half, Hilsabeck was stopped twice and her younger sister, Jennifer, made two block-takeaways to keep the ball in the Wolverine zone.

At the halftime break, Pagosa was up 2-0 after 21 shots and Suazo was looking for a fallout shelter.

After Aupperle and Sarah Smith missed open shots early in the second half, Scott took a perfect wing lead from Lucero right to the net and scored Pagosa's third goal at 43:06.

Diller's drive from left wing was stopped at 4:17 and Brett Garman's effort just over a minute later was wide left.

With coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason substituting deep into the bench, all 26 players suited for the day saw action.

At 48:49 Diller scored on a crossing pass from Amy Tautges to make the score 4-0 and at 50:34, it was Hilsabeck drilling a bazooka drive past Suazo on a corner kick from Scott.

After Diller was wide right twice and Bayfield's Jamie Macklin was carried off the field with shin injury, Scott got a goal of her own, scoring unassisted on an offensive zone steal and hiking the lead to 6-0.

Four minutes later Tautges was wide left but Kelly got her second goal and Pagosa's seventh at 75:15 with a left footer off a drop pass assist from Christina Lungstrum.

Finally, on Pagosa's 37th shot on goal in the game, Corcoran got her first with a 30-yard drive into the net.

Fleenor was called upon to make only five saves in the game and gave way to reserve keeper Lacie Ream in Kurt-Mason's continual substitution scheme.

The reserves played extremely well, the coach noted afterward, not awed by their insertion into a varsity match in front of a home crowd which swelled as the afternoon wore on and other teams finished their practice for the day.

The win hiked the team's league record to 3-2-1 and their overall mark to 4-5-1, three of the losses to schools ranked 4A or higher.

Asked about the flurry of shots without effect in the opening minutes of the game, Kurt-Mason said, tongue in cheek, "we were trying to find their goalie."

In reality, he said, Suazo turned in an excellent performance for Bayfield. "Our onslaught just finally caught up with her," he said.


Scoring: 20:00 P-Kelly, assist Diller; 33:12, P-Hilsabeck, assist Scott; 43:05, P-Scott, assist Lucero; 45:49, P-Diller, assist Tautges; 52:34, P-Scott unassisted; 75:15, P-Kelly, assist Lungstrum; 79:08, P-Corcoran, unassisted.


Ladies kick bad habits, rock Center 6-0

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

"We had been slipping into old bad habits and it was time to shake up the offense."

That was coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason's initial comment on his Pagosa Lady Pirates soccer team's 6-0 win Saturday over a shorthanded visiting Center Vikings team.

Kurt-Mason said his players had been reacting with kickouts instead of ball control and passing which had held them in good stead early in the season.

That said, he was consistently directing his players to make one touch and pass, to look for openings for others, to take advantage of offensive opportunities and not just boot the ball into the zone.

The result, he said, "was a much more cohesive effort. We used headers, we found breaking wings open, we advanced the ball with teamwork and not just a long kick.

"The drop pass became a part of our game again and possession became our main endeavor," he said.

It paid off with several key goals.

Melissa Diller scored her first two of the season, both from about 35 yards out, as "we urged everyone to get involved in the offense," Kurt-Mason said.

"We played positional soccer, looking for play routes with crisp passing," the coach said.

Center came to town with only 10 of the normal 20 athletes on its roster and Kurt-Mason, recognizing the mismatch, substituted freely and kept a defender off the field much of the game to equalize team complements.

Still, in addition to Diller's scores, he got a pair from Meagan Hilsabeck and first varsity goals of the season from freshman Liza Kelly and veteran Amy Tautges.

In addition, assists were recorded by Tautges, Brittany Corcoran and Sara Aupperle.

"There were no fluke goals in the six scored," said Kurt-Mason.

And, he had high praise for his defense, a wall which seldom let Center attackers into the zone.

In fact, Pagosa keeper Sierra Fleenor, was called upon to make only three saves.

"Our defense made a habit of winning the ball in the air, not allowing weird bounces, and covered deeply with constant pressure," the coach said.

I think we may have learned in this game," he added, "to use the advantages the other team presents and build on them with our own talent."

That had been missing for a while. "We had become tentative for some reason I never discovered," Kurt-Mason said.


Ladies drop third in a row, 5-2 to Ridgway

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It was a game they regarded as a must. A game they felt they could win after holding their league-leading foe to a 4-3 victory earlier in the week.

But the Lady Pirates soccer team hadn't reckoned with Ridgway's Sam Henry.

A non-factor offensively in the game at Ridgway, she almost single-handedly destroyed Pagosa's pennant hopes with a two-goal second half performance Friday at Golden Peaks Stadium.

Pirate striker Meagan Hilsabeck gave her team an early lead, as she had done in Ridgway, scoring at 1:43 on a drop pass assist from Bri Scott on the right wing.

Again, stout Pagosa secondary defense by Jenna Finney and Kyrie Beye, protected the lead as both teams had trouble developing consistent offense.

Pagosa did not get another legitimate shot on goal until Brett Garman's drive which sailed over the net from 20 yards on the left at 12:11; and it was almost six minutes later, at 17:44, that Ridgway's Leah Kropenske got her team's first shot, a drive stopped by Sierra Fleenor in net for Pagosa.

At 27:21, Ridgway's Megan Gardner got the equalizer, scoring unassisted on a breakaway with an errant Pagosa outlet pass intercepted inside the home zone

And then, with just 58 seconds remaining in the first half, Kropenske gave Ridgway a 2-1 lead scoring on a botched rebound of a shot by Henry with no defenders in front of the net.

Still, at the half, Pagosa was just a goal down and expected to capitalize on home field advantage.

It never happened.

Ridgway went on early attack, swarming the offensive zone with Fleenor making a save on the initial drive off the opening touch and Ridgway's Parker Fregulius keeping the ball in the zone and hitting just outside the left post 49 seconds into the period.

At the 44-minute mark, Fregulius made the score 3-1 drilling an unassisted effort past Fleenor and at 46:14, Henry hiked the margin with her first score, an unassisted effort.

That prompted a change in goal for Pagosa, with freshman Liza Kelly replacing Fleenor.

Four minutes after the change, Kelly made her first stop for the varsity, a left-handed grab of a Fregulius shot toward the right corner.

Just under three minutes later, Pagosa's Sara Aupperle had a chance to narrow the margin but her drive on a breakaway was wide left.

Almost two minutes later, Pagosa had another chance, and again a drive, this one by Hilsabeck, was wide left.

At 54:54, Hilsabeck converted a lead from Aupperle into a blast that was tipped up and over the nets by Ridgway keeper Eva Duce.

Thirty-four seconds later, Pagosa closed the margin to 4-2 when Bri Scott scored on a corner kick. With defenders marking on crossing attackers in front of the net, Scott hooked her kick right to left into the front right corner of the net.

Trying valiantly to cut the lead even more, Pagosa kept the ball in the Ridgway zone but Aupperle, twice, was frustrated. At 67:15 her breakaway drive was wide left and a minute and 12 seconds later her chip from 18 yards was just over the crossbar.

At 73:21, Henry was wide left on a breakaway of her own. But, at 76:30, she put the icing on Ridgway's celebration cake scoring unassisted.

The victory left Ridgway undefeated in league play and atop the standings. Pagosa fell to 1-2-1 in league play and 3-4-1 overall .

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason told his team after the game that every game from there out is a must if they want to get into post season play.

He lamented the fact "we seem to have a 6- to 8-minute breakdown in every game that gets us in trouble. We have to overcome that tendency."

Again, he had great praise for his defense. "This could have been much worse had it not been for the play of Kyrie and Jenna and Melissa Diller."

In fact, Finney led all players in the game with eight block-takeaways. Beye added five and Diller and Sarah Smith each had four.

It was the third game in five days for Pagosa, the second in a three-day back-to-back schedule, and they faced three more in the next four days as early season cancellations and rescheduled games began to take their toll.


Scoring: 1:43, P-Hilsabeck, assist Scott; 27:21,, R-Gardner, unassisted; 39:02, R-Kropenske, unassisted; 44:00, R- Fregulius; 46:14, R-Henry; 55:26, P-Scott, unassisted; 76:30, R- Henry, unassisted. Shots on goal: Pagosa 11, Ridgway 18. Saves: P-Fleenor 6, Kelly 4; R-Duce 4. No card penalties.


Second half surge gives Cortez 4-2 win over Ladies

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A big, physical team sometimes beats speed and finesse.

That was a lesson learned Thursday by the Lady Pirates soccer team as it bowed to Class 4A Cortez at Golden Peaks Stadium.

The game, marking the first of five in six days for the home team, was a classic defensive struggle for the first half.

Cortez, coming into the game at 4-2 on the season, scored first, but Pagosa came back to knot the fray at 1-1.

Deep defense, as it has been all season, was a key to Pirate success early in the contest.

Kyrie Beye and Jenna Finney each had key block-takeaways that halted Cortez drives and Sarah Smith turned in a pair.

In fact, Pagosa had the first legitimate shot on goal when Meagan Hilsabeck's effort at 10:59 was stopped.

Moments later Pirate keeper Sierra Fleenor stopped a drive by Cortez co-captain Katie Meyer.

And, at 11:35, Fleenor was doubly efficient. She blocked a blistering shot by Maddie Stephens and then dived to her left to snare the rebound effort by Jessi Love-Nichols.

Stephens finally got the scoring started at 22:15 when she scored unassisted from 20 yards on the left wing to give Cortez a 1-0 lead.

Four minute and three seconds later Pagosa had an opportunity to tie on a penalty kick. Sara Aupperle's effort was wide left from the right wing block.

Cortez' effort to clear the zone, however, was foiled by Melissa Diller who stole the pass at midfield, dribbled left and the crossed to Hilsabeck breaking up the middle.

Her effort was off the left post.

But the Pirate offense kept possession. Kyrie Beye led to Tricia Lucero on left wing and her blocked shot was recovered by Hilsabeck who drilled the rebound into the net, tying the score at 1-1.

As suddenly as their offensive thrust had begun, however, the Pirates found themselves in forced defensive mode.

Cortez, using a wing crossing attack with a midfielder always in position to feed the open player, had the next seven shots on goal, three of which were stopped by Fleenor and four went wide or over the nets.

The last shot of the first half, in fact, might have been the easiest chance. Elise Stephens had a breakaway right up the middle and launched her shot from 10 yards out.

She got under it too much and sent it high over the net just before the referee's whistle ended the half with the tie holding.

Fleenor made a stop on a blast by Love-Nichols at 43:07, the first shot on goal of the second half. Jennifer Siracusan was wide right with a rebound effort and Fleenor stopped Maddie Stephens at 44:04.

That set the stage for what became the backbreaker.

At 47:06 Fleenor went high to block a shot which went up and rebounded back down off the cross bar. She recovered to flick the ball back out of net but Darshina Benally was right there to return the rebound for a score and hike the Cortez lead to 2-1, a lead they would increase as the game wore on.

The stout Pagosa defense found themselves being pushed around by the bigger Cortez squad.

At 52:06 the lead went to 3-1 on an unassisted score by Felice Lucero and five minutes three seconds later the lead was 4-1 when Maddie Stephens scored again, also unassisted.

The next two attacks by Cortez also featured shots by Stephens, but both were stopped by Fleenor. At 62:59, however, the lead went to 5-1 when Siracusan scored, also unassisted.

Fleenor stopped Siracusan at 69:07 and blanked Maddie Stephens who had a free kick over the Pirate defensive wall at the 70-minute mark.

Finney had another block-takeaway which gave Pagosa final scoring chance when she led Aupperle, but Sara's shot was wide right.

Then, with just 26 seconds remaining, Fleenor made her final save on a grass trimmer from Benally and the game went in the books as a 5-1 Pagosa loss.

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, though disappointed at times by the team's failure to react to attack situations, was nonetheless pleased with the overall performance.

"We played as well as any team could have in the first half," he said. We recognized and reacted to Cortez planned plays."

In fact, he said, "we controlled about 75 percent of the game. We just need to avoid those four-to-eight minute lapses that get us in trouble."

Still, he told his squad, "You stayed with a bigger team, a team with a very good record in a bigger school classification, and you showed determination when knocked around."


Scoring: 22:15, C-M. Stephens; 27:39, P-M. Hilsabeck, assists Beye and Lucero; 47:06, C- Benally; 52:06, C-Lucero; 57:09, C-M. Stephens; 62:59, C-Siracusan. Block-takeaway leaders: Finney 9, Beye 5, Diller 4, Smith 3; Saves: Fleenor 11, Cortez 7. No card penalties.


Pirates, Bayfield split twin bill; share IML lead

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

They could have folded up their tents and ridden off into the sunset to play another year.

But the "Bulldog" wouldn't let them.

After taking a 14-4 pasting from Bayfield in the opener of a double header in Bayfield Saturday, the Pagosa Springs Pirates battled back for a split with a 6-4 victory in the second game.

Coach Tony Scarpa coined the "Bulldog" phrase for second game pitcher Jarrett Frank.

"He's got a lot of bulldog in him," Scarpa said. "He refused to let them get to him, and his bat made the early difference."

Working three days after suffering a deep thigh bruise in a four-wheeler accident, Frank seemed to get stronger as the game wore on and set down threat after threat, in trouble only in the sixth.

As a result, the teams sit tied atop the Intermountain League with 3-1 records.

First game

Pagosa opened with Zeb Gill as designated hitter for right fielder Casey Belarde, ripping a single to center.

Gill, however, was picked off attempting to steal eliminating a possible threat because Marcus Rivas followed with a single to center of his own.

Pitcher Josh Stone had an infield single but Rivas was out at third on a fielder's choice by catcher Ben Marshall.

With Stone at second and Marshall at first, first baseman Lawren Lopez ended the threat grounding out to short.

Bayfield got one run in its half of the first. Second baseman Steven Qualls opened with a bouncer back to Stone, but shortstop Sam McDonald was hit by a pitch, stole second and advanced when Marshall's throw to second was wild.

Pitcher Jeremy Sirios popped to third, but first baseman Cody Moore singled to center for the run before left fielder Zack Farnam struck out to end the inning.

David Kern bounced out to Sirios to open Pagosa's second, Frank, playing centerfield in the first game, struck out on a slider, Jeremy Caler reached on a shortstop error, but Levi Gill, flied to center to end the frame.

Then came the first Bayfield explosion.

Third baseman J.T. Cathcart homered to left center, right fielder Will Latimer walked and advanced on a passed ball, designated hitter Tim Smith ripped a single to center to score Latimer and center fielder Matt Gonzalez homered to right for three more runs.

Qualls singled and stole second before McDonald fanned for the first out in the inning. Sirios had an infield single moving Qualls to third and he then scored on an infield out by Moore. Farnam ended the assault bouncing back to Stone but Pagosa trailed 6-1 after two.

The Pirates got one back in their half of the third.

Gill walked but was again picked off. Rivas flied to right but Stone singled to center and advanced on a balk by Sirios. Marshall fanned but the catcher misplayed the pitch and Marshall was safe at first, Stone scoring. Marshall moved up on a Sirios wild pitch but Lopez fanned to end the threat.

Bayfield's third was the best inning of the game for Stone. Cathcart struck out, Latimer flied to left, Smith singled, but Gonzales flied to left to end the inning.

Kern opened Pagosa's fourth drawing a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball but stayed there as Frank, Caler and Levi Gill struck out in order.

Bayfield got two more in their half of the fourth and again the home run was the big factor.

Qualls opened with a single to left. But, when McDonald lined to Gill at second, he turned it into an unassisted double play. Sirios followed with a home run in his own support, Moore singled to left and was doubled in by Farnam before Cathcart grounded out to end the inning, Bayfield leading 8-1.

The Pirates narrowed the margin to four in the fifth.

Gill popped to first to open the frame. Rivas singled to center and Stone drew a walk. Rivas was out at third when Marshall hit into a fielder's choice.

But Lopez picked up his teammates with a single to center, Kern had an infield hit and Frank also singled in a run giving Pagosa three runs on four hits in the inning.

Bayfield, however, got the three back in the bottom of the frame.

Latimer doubled, Smith reached on Caler's error in left and Gonzalez on Levi Gill's error at second. Qualls fanned for the first out, but McDonald singled and stole second. Sirios and Moore both walked before Farnam fanned and Cathcart was out on a fly to right to end the inning.

Pagosa's sixth opened with both Levi and Zeb Gill striking out. Rivas drew a walk but Stone grounded to third to end Pagosa's hopes.

The game had a mercy ruling (a lead of 10 or more runs) finish when Bayfield got three more in its half of the sixth.

Latimer opened with a triple was singled in by Smith.

That brought Pagosa freshman Josh Hoffman on in relief of Stone and he got Gonzales on a popup to short. Qualls, however, singled and McDonald drove him in to create the 10-run margin and end the game.

Game 2

It looked like more of the same for Pagosa as they opened game two Zeb Gill and Rivas both striking out and Stone grounding out to second.

Qualls opened for Bayfield with a single to right but was cut down stealing by Marshall. Then McDonald and Sirios each flied to center and Frank was out of the inning.

Marshall opened Pagosa's second grounding to third, but Lopez singled to center off Bayfield starter Jake Harrington and moved up on a passed ball. Kern struck out but Caler kept the inning alive with an infield single and Frank then provided himself a two-run lead with a double to right center. Belarde struck out but had to be thrown out at first when the catcher dropped the ball.

Pagosa, however, had a lead it would not relinquish, although Bayfield got one run back in he bottom of the second.

It opened innocently enough with Moore striking out. But Cathcart was hit by a pitch and stole second. Harrington singled to left to drive in the run but was out at second when Latimer hit into a fielder's choice. Smith grounded out to end the inning.

Pagosa put the game out of reach in the third, an inning which opened with Zeb Gill striking out and ended with Frank doing the same.

In between, however, Rivas reach on an error by Qualls at second, Stone doubled and Marshall drilled one over Bayfield's answer to Boston's Green Monster, a 20-foot fence in left. Lopez was hit in the head but protected by the batting helmet. He was out at second when Kern hit into a fielder's choice. Kern, however, stole second, advanced on a passed ball and stayed there as Caler walked. Caler stole second, Kern scoring on the catcher's ill-advised throw to second before Frank fanned to end the frame.

Gonzales lined to short to open Bayfield's third and Qualls grounded to short. Sirios walked but Moore bounced back to Frank to end the inning.

Pagosa went in order in the fourth, with both Gills and Rivas fanning in order in what would be six consecutive strikeouts by Harrington.

Bayfield's fourth opened with Cathcart singling to center and advancing on a passed ball. Harrington walked and Bayfield then attempted a double steal, Marshall gunning Cathcart down at third for the first out in the inning. Latimer grounded to short and Smith to second to end any hope of a threat.

Harrington got Stone and Marshall on strikes to open the fifth and extend his string. But before the inning was over he was in right field and Moore was pitching.

That came after he walked Lopez, Kern and Caler in order. Moore put down the threat, getting Frank to bounce into a fielder's choice.

The Wolverines closed the margin to 6-3 in the sixth. Moore opened with a walk. After Cathcart popped to short, Harrington doubled to right center, scoring Moore. After Latimer had an infield single, Harrington scored on a passed ball. But Frank got out of the inning when Smith hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Pagosa's seventh went quickly. Lopez flied to right, Kern singled, but was out stealing and Caler fanned.

When Gonzales opened Bayfield's seventh drawing a walk, Scarpa went to the mound and Frank insisted he was OK and ready to finish. He got Qualls on a fly to right, McDonald doubled in a run, but Sirios flied to right on a fine running catch by Belarde and Moore ended the game grounding to short.

"He (Frank) just seems to get stronger as the game goes on," said Scarpa. "He seems to need about two innings to find his rhythm and then settles in."

Scarpa said the key to Frank on this day was "his splitter. He wasn't getting it in for many strikes but it was keeping the Bayfield hitters from establishing a rhythm."

Noting it was Frank who provided a lead with the bat that he would not relinquish and that Marshall put the game just out of reach with his home run, Scarpa quipped, "that's real battery power."


First game: Bayfield, 14 runs on 16 hits and 4 Pagosa errors; Pagosa, 4 runs on 8 hits and 1 Bayfield error. Winning pitcher, Sirios, loser Stone. Home runs: B-Cathcart, Sirios, Gonzales; Pagosa none. Strikeouts, B-Sirios 8; P-Stone 5. RBIs, P-Stone, Lopez, Kern and Frank 1 each; B-McDonald 2, Gonzales 3, Sirios, Farnam, Cathcart and Smith, 1 each.

Second game: Pagosa, 6 runs on 6 hits and 1 Bayfield error; B-4 runs on 6 hits and 1 Pagosa error. Winning pitcher, Frank, loser, Harrington; Home runs: P-Marshall; Strikeouts, Frank 3, Harrington 11, Moore 3. RBIs: P-Marshall 3, Frank 2; B- Sirios 1, Harrington, 1.


Ross Hausley

Ross Hausley of Pagosa Springs passed away at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center on April 8, 2003. Born in Farmerville, La., Aug. 9, 1928, he was 74 years old.

Ross was the son of Butch and Eliza Hausley. He had moved to Pagosa Springs from Trinidad in 1972.

He married Margaret Inez in 1982 and worked in the sawmill, logging and dry cleaning businesses. He enjoyed making jewelry and liked the outdoors and working on his cars.

He was preceded in death by a son, Anthony W. Hausley.

Survivors are his wife, Margaret, and a daughter, Clarice Cordova, both of Pagosa Springs.

Funeral services were held Friday, April 11, 2003 at Mountain Heights Baptist Church, the service officiated by Pastor Burt Burnett and the Rev. Louis Day. Interment followed in Hilltop Cemetery.

Inside The Sun

County, PLPOA collaborate for road improvements

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County board of commissioners decided Tuesday to initiate the first in a series of steps which may potentially aid in the formation of at least two local improvement districts aimed at upgrading roads within the Pagosa Lakes area.

During a presentation to the board, Kathy Holthus, assistant county administrator, informed the commissioners of the Ranch Community Property Owners Association's intent to upgrade Antelope Drive and Hackamore Place.

An April 3 letter addressed to the board from David Bohl, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association treasurer, indicates approximately $108,000 in funds obtained as part of a settlement resulting from various past claims the association asserted against Fairfield Communities Inc. are currently earmarked for the project.

A project summary provided by Davis Engineering Service Inc. estimates the cost for the improvements at roughly $260,000, which means approximately $150,000 in additional funding will have to be acquired before the project can commence.

Neither Antelope Drive nor Hackamore Place are county-maintained roads, so neither will benefit from county road improvement funds.

So what is the county's role in the project?

At her request, the board authorized Holthus, who will be aided by the county engineer, to prepare a survey which will be mailed to anyone who owns property on the streets in question.

Included in the survey will be a summary of the project, a preliminary estimate of cost (assessed equally) to each lot owner and the request for a response indicating whether or not each would like to participate.

If at least 51 percent of those surveyed choose to participate, the project will go forward. If that is the case, all persons who own property on the roads will be required to pay a share, whether or not they voted to participate, and each will have the option to pay their portion of the cost in one lump sum or in up to five annual installments.

Once the proper amount of funding is secured, the county will pursue bids for the project. However, the project differs from other "county-sponsored" projects in one significant way.

"The only difference is ... they provide the money," said Commissioner Bill Downey, indicating the entire cost for the project, right down to postage for the survey, will be covered in one way or another by the homeowners in the proposed district.

Holthus estimated the surveys to be ready for mailing by May 1, and said Ranch Community residents should expect them shortly afterward.

In other business the board:

- granted an extension to the Mask Ranch gravel operation allowing the crushing portion of the project to continue until 5 p.m. April 30

- approved lease, telephone, remodeling and electrical contracts associated with the relocation of the county planning and building departments to San Juan Plaza

- scheduled a work session to discuss a proposed county noise ordinance for 10 a.m. April 21

- approved expenditures in the amount of $750 to help fund a meal program for seniors in Arboles.


New public lands manager named

The United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have announced the selection of Mark Stiles to the position of San Juan Forest supervisor/public lands manager, headquartered in the San Juan Public Lands Center in Durango.

This Service First position manages public lands for both units in southwestern Colorado. Stiles recently served a four-month detail as the acting forest supervisor/public lands manager in Durango from May through September 2002, serving as the federal agency administrator during the 2002 fires.

"Mark's background and experience are well matched to the diversity of issues facing southwestern Colorado," said Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Rick Cables. "He will be a great addition to our team and a tremendous leader in this premier Service First position."

"The number and caliber of qualified candidates added to the competition for this position and made the selection process challenging," said BLM Colorado State Director Ron Wenker. "However, Mark possess the right mix of knowledge, skills and experience that are critical as the new leader of this joint Forest Service/BLM shared Service First office."

Stiles is currently the BLM Western Slope Center manager overseeing administrative support functions, information technology, shared scarce skills and fire management for 7 million acres of public land in western Colorado. Prior to this position, he was the BLM Montrose district manager, overseeing 2.2 million acres of public lands and 800,000 acres of mineral estate. From 1992-1995, Stiles served in the Washington, D.C. office as the congressional liaison specialist Secretary of the Interior.

Other positions in the BLM have included South Dakota area manager, land use specialist in North Dakota and Southeastern Utah regional economist.


One full-day kindergarten class planned; registration will begin April 28

Kindergarten registration has been scheduled 9 a.m.-2 p.m. April 28 through May 2 in Pagosa Springs Elementary School.

Registration will be on a first come, first served basis as far as requesting a specific teacher and morning or afternoon class.

The school plans to offer one full day class this year. As of this date, it is planned to select class members by lottery to insure fairness.

If you are interested in getting your child's name put in the hat, let the staff know at time of registration.

Morning classes will be 8:05-11:05 a.m. Students may ride the bus to school but must be picked up by family.

Afternoon classes are 12:05-3:05 p.m. and students must get to school with approved transportation but may ride the bus home

When registering a child, bring his or her birth certificate, immunization record and Social Security number. They will be copied and returned to you. Registration will not be complete until all documents have been provided.

For more information, call the school office at 264-2229.


Nonviolent communication workshop

The Four Corners Safe Schools Coalition is presenting a workshop on Nonviolent Communication April 24 -27.

This 2 1/2 day workshop (15 hours) will be a full introduction to the art of using communication to create and sustain empathic connection by focusing on common human needs.

In a dynamic, fun, and interactive environment, participants explore deeply the thinking that leads to conflict and disconnection, and learn instead how to express themselves assertively and clearly in a way that stimulates mutual respect and understanding.

They also learn how to connect with the essence of incoming difficult messages without being drawn into reactive and/or defensive stances.

The workshop begins with a free introduction open to the public April 24, 6:30-9:30 p.m., at the Pagosa Springs Community Center or April 25, at Escalante Middle School in Durango.

Activities continue with two training sessions from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 26-27 at Escalante Middle School.

Although the Four Corners Safe Schools Coalition is funding the event, a "pay-it-forward" donation of $85 for one day or $150 for two days will be accepted. Donations will be used to fund future activities.

To enroll in the workshop, contact Fran Hart at 884-1139, or e-mail hartmagic@frontier.net. Registration is limited, so please sign up soon.

Adams State College will offer one hour of graduate credit for participants in the workshop To obtain the graduate credit, students will pay $35 in tuition and will write a one- to two-page reaction paper. The course will be graded. To enroll for the graduate credit, contact Betsy Allen at betsya@frontier.net.

The Four Corners Safe Schools Coalition seeks to create a climate of tolerance, respect, and safety for all students in area schools and communities.


Sacrifice illegal?

Dear Editor:

I am writing to express my appreciation to Glenn Bergmann for taking the time to express his opposition to the Bush administration invasion of Iraq. This is the best, well thought-out letter I've read to date, and I've read a bunch.

The Bush administration is operating under a "Chicken Little" mentality ("the sky is falling..."), and is insisting that we follow in lock step. The section of the letter quoting Cris Hedges' new book is really enlightening.

When the chickens come home to roost, we'll have to ask ourselves whether the sacrifice in lives for our illegal act was really worth it.

The tainted election of Bush could prove to be the greatest mistake of the 21st Century. Hopefully, America will wake up and vote these bandits out of office.

It's not only this illegal war we have to be concerned with, the good of humanity is at stake.

Bill Ayer

Actions speak

Dear Editor:

I was shocked and saddened to read of the resignations of our physicians and nurse practitioners at the Mary Fisher Clinic. I had believed them when they spoke up for patient care.

However, to me, actions speak louder than words. By abandoning us, the people of Pagosa, during this time of turmoil and change at the clinic, it says to me that they do not put patient care first, but their self-serving wants. As for the others at the clinic, I am also sorry that they could not step up to become part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

Change is inevitable, and not always easy.

As this door closes, another will open. It takes a strong leader to continue to march forward with her mission under all of this strife.

Best wishes to Dee Jackson.

Kathi DeClark

Serve community

Dear Editor:

I am writing on behalf of Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic.

My family is native to this community. The staff there is very good. They brought me back from a near-death experience (I still see them once a month).

We all feel, "Why take the people who we feel comfortable with and can express our feelings to?" They've been here forever; they're part of the community.

We like our county doctors and nurses.

Laura Gallegos


Dear Editor:

I had the privilege of working for Debra Kelly during the last three months of her life. To me, she will always personify the word "counselor."

To her clients, Debra was the calm and reassuring voice of reason through some of the hardest times of their lives.

Genuine dedication and commitment were evident in everything she did, at work and at play. Thanks, Debra, for all the time and effort and hard work, because you made a difference in this tiny little corner of the planet.

We'll miss our champion. Good journey, friend.

Christy Gotchall

Two families hurt

Dear Editor:

I think that people need to realize there are two families that have been hurt by the dog attack on Garrett Carothers.

First of all, the injuries and trauma that Garrett has endured; second the family that owned the dogs that has been accused in the attack.

Some people seem too fast making judgments without knowing all of the facts.

The owners of the dogs being accused in the attacks are being judged on what kind of people they are because of something their dogs may have done which they had no control over. They were not even home at the time.

The owners of the dogs tried many different ways to keep the dogs contained on their property, but it is very possible that someone kept letting them out when the owners weren't at home.

This family has been harassed, and when they asked the police for help they were told maybe they should move.

I know this family to be loving, compassionate and that they feel terrible about what happened to their neighbor, Garrett.

Someone famous once said, "He who is without sin cast the first stone." I feel it is time to stop casting stones at this family.

Joel Granquist

Shop locally

Dear Editor:

Like most Pagosans, my wife and I look forward to spring and the projects that stir in the mind during the winter.

One of these projects is the construction of a couple of picnic tables. This is my grand opportunity to impress my wife with my carpentry skills. Having built a picnic table a couple of years ago, I have my design and necessary material list.

I contacted one of our local building material stores and was very pleased with their pricing.

The redwood required was available for more than $20 in savings per table, compared to a store in Durango.

It sure pays to contact our local merchants and compare ... shopping Pagosa first is a good idea.

Walter L. Green

Fire and resign

Dear Editor:

With regard to Mary Fisher Medical Center, we must demand that the board resign now. However, before they resign, they must fire the district manager.

What a fiasco. How dare the board and the district manager behave in this manner?

This is a scary situation for our community. What has our health care system come to? I have worked professionally for years with the staff of the Mary Fisher Medical Center. You want to lose all these professionals because of the district manager and a board that does not "know their head from a hole in the ground?"

What a tragic crisis we face.

These are my primary care physicians and I do not want to lose them. Wherever they go to practice medicine, I will follow.

Shame on the board and the district manager for letting a situation like this go on for so long. How dare they treat the staff of the Mary Fisher Medical center like this?

Rebecca A. Kish


Dear Editor:

I know it's late to be responding to content from the March 20 edition, but you'll have to forgive me.

As a former resident I try to read The SUN as much as possible - but were it not for your online archives I would miss most of your editions. Thank you for that valued service.

I want to comment about what Mr. Walter described in his "Good sportsmanship scorned." It is unfortunate that behavior like that was encountered at events meant to showcase the best of high school athletics. It seems to me the organizations and fans involved lack leadership and positive role models.

Fortunately for myself and my fellow students at Pagosa Springs High School, (Class of '89) that was not the case for participants and fans.

When I was a student at PSHS, the Lady Pirates were dominant in several sports and gave us plenty to cheer about. My fellow fans and I found ourselves cheering the winners on more often than rooting for a struggling team and, as boys are want to do, enjoyed letting the opposition know how we felt about it.

Now, imagine a dozen or so boys trying to impress the girls with their vociferous encouragement, and you see how the situation often called out for leadership.

Thankfully, the assistant principal at the time, Bill Esterbrook, did not fail in his obligation to lead us in those situations. Much to my chagrin, he would monitor our behavior closely (way too closely, I thought at the time), and did not tolerate unsportsmanlike activity. We had lots of cheers we thought were great, but they had no place at a high school sporting event.

I remember screaming my lungs out and looking out of the corner of my eye and seeing "the Easterbunny" (as we not-so-affectionately called him) looking right back at us, and watching his face turn redder than his hair was. The accompanying glare was too much to ignore, and we'd tone down our "cheers" so they fit his well-defined, frequently-repeated criteria for appropriate cheers: They had to be encouraging in nature, directed at our players only, and were never to be derogatory to opponents or officials.

Pretty simple, though at the time I was sure this was an infringement upon my constitutional right to free speech.

Yeah, Mr. Esterbrook was a real party-pooper when it came to stuff like that. When I read about unruly fans at any level of sports, it occurs to me the individuals who make up the collective were not taught the same lessons my classmates and I were. I feel for them, but I don't excuse their behavior.

Uncivil behavior should be challenged everywhere, most especially in our schools. Thank you, Mr. Walter, for trusting your instincts and resisting the temptation not to write about the subject.

Leadership is needed at all levels, and it is encouraging to see it come from the media. And thank you, Easterbunny (now meant affectionately), for teaching me that there is a difference between "free speech" and just plain rudeness.

Bill Stark, Loveland


Community NewsSenior News

Alzheimer's expert can return if members want

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Elaine Stumpo, regional director of the Alzheimer's Association, provided us with information last week on Alzheimer's and drew a good crowd, so her presentation went long.

If you would like her to come back, please call Laura and request it, as she is very personable and eager to come back to Pagosa Springs. Her number in Durango is 259-0122.

There is also an Alzheimer's group meeting at the Pine Ridge Extended Care Center at noon the first Thursday of every month.

Basic information on Alzheimer's is also available at the Senior Center.

We also had a lot of people come to hear Barb Conkey talk about dreaming. She has an extensive background and was happy to share information, but what most people wanted to do was share their own dreams.

Barb is also interested in coming back, so if you have a dream that is puzzling you and want to understand it, give Laura a call and we'll get Barb back here.

Our seniors have been bringing in baby pictures since April 1 and we will have our baby picture contest Good Friday. We have some extremely cute pictures and prizes will be awarded for the highest number of correct guesses.

Keys to successful aging

If you want to stay healthy, happy and active into your 80s and beyond, your attitude toward yourself and others matters more than your cholesterol level. This is the surprising finding of Harvard University's Study of Adult Development. In order of importance, successful aging factors are:

1. Not smoking

2. An adaptive coping style. Those who had developed mature defense mechanisms by age 50 were better off psychologically and socially 25 years later than those who hadn't. They were also very likely to be in the healthiest group. Mature defenses include: Altruism - Do unto others as you would have others do unto you; Suppression - postponing but not forgetting gratification; Sublimation - using creativity to salve pain; Humor - being able to laugh at yourself; Anticipation - feeling as well as thinking about the negative possibilities of future difficulties

3. Avoiding alcohol use

4. Maintaining a healthy weight

6. Looking out for the younger generation

7. Getting regular exercise

8. Completing an education: with more education, you are more likely to quit smoking, drink moderately, etc.

Omega-3 fatty acids (or fish oil) have been most widely studied regarding their effects on cardiovascular health. It has been discovered that EPA and DHA may help prevent heart disease and atherosclerosis by lowering triglyceride levels and possibly "thinning" the blood. There are quite a few fish oil products Consumer Labs have approved as having the proclaimed amount of DHA. We have a list available at the senior center.

We are beginning to plan events for the summer. We have several ideas and would like your ideas as well ... so what would you like to do this summer?

We would like to thank five very strong men for helping us move a bunch of tables and chairs into our storage shed. John Cramer, George Zeigler, Dan Wollenweber, Kent Schafer and Ron Gustafson have earned our eternal gratitude.

Archuleta Seniors, Inc., membership continues to grow. According to the 2002 census, there were approximately 1,400 senior citizens in Archuleta County. To date, 516 seniors are members who are joining in the fun and sharing their talents.

Upcoming events

Tomorrow: 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 a.m. blood pressure check with Patty Tillerson; center closes at 1 p.m. Good Friday

April 21: 1 p.m. bridge for fun

April 22: 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 a.m. advanced computer class

April 23, 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class; 1 p.m. senior board meeting.



Veterans Corner

Newly returned veterans can apply for VA services

By Andy Fautheree

It appears the major conflicts for our Armed Forces in Iraq are beginning to subside which is great news to all their families and loved ones. We will all be glad when our troops return home safe and sound.

When they do return home, including many troops who are reservists called up to active duty, they will officially join the ranks with "veteran" status.

As such, they will be eligible for VA benefits.

Some of the benefits they will be eligible for are for special status as returning troops under Presidential order for active duty in time of national crisis or war.

Return from active duty

Returning combat veterans who are newly discharged from active service are guaranteed eligibility for VA health care for a period of two years from date of discharge, regardless of the normal priority level of the veteran. This rule was made effective December 2002 by the VA.

Veterans in Archuleta County may be more fortunate than those in many other locations in Colorado concerning VA health care. With the opening of the VA outpatient clinic in Durango VAHC is very obtainable by our county veterans.

If the veteran applied for VA health care at some major metro areas in Colorado, such as at a front range VA medical facility, they would be faced with time on long waiting lists to get enrolled for a VA primary health care provider.

Of course if the veteran has a very high priority level rating with 50 percent or greater service-connected disabilities, or other specific criteria, they are put at the top of the list with little or no waiting period.

VAHC Policies

Current VA policy guidelines do not allow veterans with income over certain limits to obtain VA health care, unless they qualify under other aspects of the guidelines.

These exceptions can include the above-mentioned service connected disability ratings, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war or low incomes, for example.

However, as I frequently mention in this column, I believe this could change in the future.

I always recommend every veteran stop by this office and enroll in VA health care, even if they think they are not eligible, just in case the priority system is lowered once again to make all veterans eligible for VA health care. Those already enrolled in the system would most likely be placed at the top of the VAHC list.

Strong county support

Archuleta County government strongly supports veterans with services that can be considered a role model for other Colorado counties.

Besides providing a full-time Veterans Service Office, the county also supports a great program, providing help for veterans with transportation to their VA health care appointments.

No wonder Archuleta County is considered one of the fastest growing communities in Colorado. County veteran support may be a contributing factor to our popularity, as our population of veterans here is increasing all the time. Many retirees moving here are veterans.

It never hurts to express your thanks and appreciation to our county government officials for their support of veterans.

Transportation service

Veterans who do not have adequate transportation of their own may check out the use of either of two vehicles.

This office, working with the local American Legion organization, was fortunate to obtain a Colorado Veteran's Trust Fund Grant to purchase a new vehicle in 2002. The old Veterans Service Office vehicle now has almost 135,000 accident-free miles on it. The county purchased this vehicle for veteran use in 1999.

The Veteran Service Office can frequently provide a volunteer driver if the veteran is unable to drive. The veteran need only return the vehicle with a full tank of gas and clean, ready for the next veteran user. A valid Colorado driver's license is required for anyone who uses these vehicles and the license must be cleared through the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office. I have the proper forms for this purpose, in this office.

For information on these and other veterans' benefits call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, 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.


Chamber News

Volunteer recruitment fair set April 26

Please get your registration form in for the second annual Volunteer Recruitment Fair being held at the community center 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 26.

We had a grand time last year at this event and are looking forward to another day searching for new blood and talent in the volunteer department.

Booths will be set up for each participant to display information, brochures, pictures or whatever it is that will educate folks as to what they do. Last year organizations picked up quite a few new volunteers, and we hope this year will be as successful.

We also want to invite everyone down to the community center that day to "shop" all the booths. This is an especially worthwhile endeavor for newcomers to Pagosa who are looking for just the right organization to donate their volunteer hours.

There are those who love the role of hosting for the town of Pagosa and sharing our information with all of our guests, those who prefer the furry, four-legged varieties, those who adore spending time surrounded by books, those who lean toward the outside experiences, those who love learning and teaching the history of our area - well, you get my meaning. I contend there is a volunteer opportunity for each and every soul, and the Volunteer Recruitment Fair is the very place to discover just the one for you.

Booth fee is $35 for first-time participants and $25 for those who participated last year. If you have questions, give us a call at 264-2360. If your organization is looking for volunteers, the Volunteer Recruitment Fair just may be the answer.

Diplomat workshops

Speaking of volunteers, and we were, we will be holding our annual Chamber of Commerce Diplomat training workshops April 30, 1:30-3:30 p.m. and May 4, 9-11 a.m. in the Visitor Center boardroom. This is a great opportunity to meet our Chamber Diplomats and to acquaint yourselves with the various activities and responsibilities they share. Some of our Diplomats have been with the Chamber for many, many years and some for only a year or two.

The one thing they have in common is that they all seem to love their work here at the Visitor Center almost as much as we love having them. I have said time and again that we would have to close our doors were it not for these remarkably generous individuals who give so much of their time and talents to greeting all of our guests here in Pagosa. You will certainly be amazed at the range and scope of the questions they field and behemoth amount of information they disperse.

Generally speaking, the Diplomats work with one or two other volunteers during their four-hour shifts at the Visitor Center. During the summer months, we try to keep the center open seven days a week and are pretty successful thanks to our Diplomats. We promise to never just "throw you in the deep end" and ask you to work alone in the lobby until you are perfectly comfortable doing so. During the week days, there is always a team on each shift, but the weekends are a bit different. At any rate, if you are at all interested in becoming a Chamber Diplomat, please plan to attend one of the workshops. Attendance carries absolutely no obligation, so please give Morna a call at 264-2360 if you would like to learn more.


Hats off to the "Footloose" cast, crew, musicians and directors Melinda Baum, Lisa Hartley, Dale Morris and Kathy Isberg, for an outstanding production. I attended opening night and was disappointed when I couldn't go again on Friday night. It was truly an uplifting experience and I was toe-tappin' all weekend just thinking about it. We have such awesome talent in Pagosa and should be ever so supportive with our attendance.

I also want to offer congratulations to the FoPA group for the Susie Ewing-John Graves concert, "Songs for a Spring Evening." Turns out they were songs for every season and every musical propensity and performed with great panache and engaging talent. Susie is absolutely irresistible on the stage, and her voice is quite the musical instrument with classical, country, pop or gospel. John Graves continues to astonish us with his versatility - the duet with Susie was quite the thing and his accompaniment was marvelous as always. When Susie comes again, don't miss it.

Music in the Mountains

Just in case you haven't heard, Pagosa Springs will be hosting three performances by world-class musicians right here at Bootjack Ranch, and the tickets are flying out the door.

On July 21, violinist Vadim Gluzman, and pianist Angela Yoffe will perform Mozart and Prokofiev.

Aviram Reichert and festival musicians will present "Romancing the Piano" July 25, and Antonio Pompa-Baldi and festival musicians will present Dvorak and other piano works Aug. 1, followed by a reception.

Tickets are ever-so-affordable this year at $35 for the July performances and $45 for the August performance and reception.

The Chamber of Commerce is the only ticket outlet for Music in the Mountains, so please stop by soon to pick up your tickets so you won't miss out on this opportunity.

I attended last year's performances and was totally blown away by the masterful musicians and the intricate, complex programs they presented with such ease and professionalism. I encourage you to purchase your tickets post haste as I assure you that we will be sold out before you know it. We sold out last year, and the tickets were quite a bit more expensive. I am delighted this year's tickets are so much more affordable and do hope you all will take advantage of this bargain. Please give Doug a call at 264-2360 with questions. Just so you know, we can't hold tickets for you this year, but you can purchase them with a credit card if you like.

Happy Anniversary

Bonnie Nyre with Slices of Nature is happy to announce a first anniversary with a special anniversary sale that begins today and continues through Friday and Saturday. Slices of Nature is located right on Pagosa Street just east of the Christmas in Pagosa Store.

Making a Difference

The second annual "Making a Difference" fund-raising luncheon sponsored by the Archuleta County Education Center will be held April 29 at the community center with yet another exceptional keynote speaker. This year James Vollbracht, an international speaker, trainer and author will present stories, research info and strategies on how to create a caring, connected community and culture that cares for their children.

Lunch will be catered by JJ's Upstream, tickets are $45 and can be purchased from any ACEC board member. Look for Malcolm Rodger, Cynthia Sharp, Bob Eggleston, Glenn Raby, Sherry Waner, John Graves or Claudia Faubion or go to the Education Center on 4th and Lewis streets. Please call 264-2835 for more information on the Making a Difference Luncheon.

Chocolate SunDowner

Don't miss the annual chocolate freak-out at the Humane Society Thrift Store next Wednesday 5-7 p.m.

It's a SunDowner with pounds and pounds of chocolate thrown in for you to bid on with all proceeds going to our furry friends at the Pagosa Springs Humane Society.

Along with all the fun, food and libations you will always find at a SunDowner, this one offers in addition all the excitement and silliness of an auction. You will find some of the most amazing chocolate dishes you have ever feasted your eyes on, and, for the right price, you will be able to take said scrumptious treat home with you. Invitations will go out the end of this week, so we hope to see you next Wednesday evening at this special SunDowner.

Curves thanks

April Bergman at Curves would like to extend a warm note of gratitude to everyone who supported their recent food drive allowing Curves to donate over 1,424 pounds of food to local food banks.

The goal this year was 1,200 and your collective generosity made it possible to surpass that goal handily and distribute food to the food banks at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, Community United Methodist Church, United People's Help Ministries and Casa de los Arcos Senior Center.

May interview

The folks at the newly opened Antler Shed Factory Outlet and Gallery invite you to watch Colorado artist, Randall May, on KTSC-TV Pueblo, a PBS station, on April 19. You can see May live at 1 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. on that date.

The Antler Shed is located at 150 Pagosa Street, Suite 2, and can be reached for questions at 264-SHED (7433).

Bird Watch

Navajo State Park presents Bird Watch II April 19, at 10 a.m. for approximately two hours with some light hiking involved. Please meet at Sambrito Wetlands Pavilion on County Road 988 off Colo. 151. This is a free activity with a Colorado State Parks pass, and you can call 883-2208 with questions.

40th Anniversary

Everyone is invited to the Mountain View Homemaker Club's 40th Anniversary celebration May 8 at noon, at 33 Stone Court, home of Harriet Giancaspro.

This afternoon tea will include music by harpist Natalie Tyson, a history of the club and a four-volume display of the club's history.

Dress is casual, fancy, old-fashioned or something from the '60s. Please RSVP by April 24 to Robbye Reedy, 731-4873, or Fran Jenkins at 264-9312. Directions are available upon request.


I couldn't be more pleased to shout from the rooftop that we have four new members to welcome and 18 renewals. We feel very fortunate to enjoy such amazing support from this community and are most grateful.

Dan McGuire joins us with a business that will answer the fond wishes of many in the community, the Pagosa Springs Bowling and Skating Family Fun Center which will be located on Navajo Trail Drive at the former Ridgeview Mall location. This Family Fun Center will offer state-of-the-art bowling, roller skating, sports bar and grill, game arcade and party rooms for all occasions. Daniel and his crew are anticipating a grand opening around July 1 with full opening about a week later. I have already told Dan that the Chamber Board team will be the first to sign up for league play. We can't bowl worth a hoot, but we can't wait to wear the cool shirts and make fun of each other. Dan can be reached at 731-1112.

Fred and Mary Jaramillo join us next with South 5th Street RV Space located at 659 South Fifth St. Inquiries should be directed to 635 South Fifth St. These folks offer full hookup with 20- and 30- amp electric, water and sewer. Beautiful mountain views and close proximity to the river are extra bennies as well as great walking opportunities. Spaces are available from May 1 through Oct. 31. Call 264-5197 for more information.

Ron Cromwell and Rick Lafferty, TCC, join us next with Affordable Cabins and Barns, LLC, by Triangle Custom Cutting located at 122 Turkey Lane. These gentlemen offer custom-built homes, cabins and barns direct from their saw mill to you at a fraction of the cost you would expect to pay elsewhere. Give them a call to see what they can do for you at 731-3474. We thank Gayle Allston for recruiting Ron and Rick and will cheerfully reward her with a free pass to one of our fun-filled SunDowners.

Our fourth new member this week is Jody Cromwell who brings us Design Elements with home offices located at 95 Heath Drive here in Pagosa. Jody would welcome the opportunity to help you with space planning and interior design as well as architectural antiques. Please give her a call at 731-3157 to see what she can do to brighten your space for spring and summer. Gayle Allston has been such a busy bee - she recruited Jody along with Ron and Rick, so she will receive yet another free SunDowner. Thank you so much, Gayle.

We are grateful to the following loyal members for their recent renewals: Maurice (Mo-Reece) Woodruff with Woodruff Enterprises; Linda Gundelach with CoolHeads; Lindy Bauer with L. Bauer, LLC; Dale and Betty Schwicker with B and D Enterprises; Jason Theis with Southwest Mobile Detailing; Dan Howe, president, Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs; Kent Monson, senior project manager for Colorado Jaynes Construction Company in Durango; Gregg Jorgensen with Backcountry Angler; Evonne LaPointe with Pagosa Peak Financial Group, LLC; Bruce Campbell with KSUT Public Radio in Ignacio; Duane Noggle with Archuleta School District 50 Jt.; Anna Maria Gonzales with Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu and in Santa Fe; Mike Marchand with Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures; Sheri Lee with Habitat for Humanity; Terrence (Terry) S. Smith with Circle T Lumber/Ace Hardware/Elements and American Southwest Log Homes; and associate members Melanie and Richard Kelley.

Thank you one and all.

Library News

No library news this week.


There is no births this week.

Business News

Kristi Sweney and Andrea Lyle own and operate K.I.D.S. with Horses Summer Horse Camp.

This is the inaugural season for the camp, offering youngsters natural horsemanship fun, exploring their horses through natural eyes and discovering endless opportunities together.

K.I.D.S. with Horses will offer camps for children 10 and up. Class sizes are limited and there is an early-bird discount available through May 16.

To enroll or for more information, call K.I.D.S. with Horses at 731-1944 or 731-4266.


Ash Tully and Trish Dach will exchange wedding vows in the celebration of their love, Sunday, May 25 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Joining them in the celebration will be Peter and Marilyn Dach and Mark Tully. The Groom's mother, Janice Tully, will be with them in spirit. Trish and Ash are both graduates of Pagosa Springs High School.


Cynthia Sharp of Pagosa Springs is pleased to announce the marriage of her son, Mason Sharp, to Britta Seppi, daughter of Chris and Edward Seppi of Pittsburgh, Pa. Britta is a graduate of Cornell University and is a third-year medical student at University of Colorado Health Science Center. Mason is finishing his bachelor of science in nursing at the university. The couple resides in Denver.


A song in their hearts

Choir plans spring concert

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"The joy of music is our gift to you. Go with a song in your heart."

These lyrics from "Go with a Song In Your Heart," by Jay Althouse, sum up the purpose of the expanded Pagosa Springs Community Choir. For several years, the group, made up mostly of adults, got together just at Christmas time to produce a two-day holiday show. Crowds packed their venue - Community Bible Church - to hear the 35-90 singers fill the space with familiar tunes.

Then, as the choir geared up for the 2002 Christmas concert, discussions began for expanding the group's aims.

"A few of us decided singing two times at Christmas wasn't enough to sing," Sue Kehret, a board member, said. They also wanted to bring in some new people - summer residents and others - and have the opportunity to expand. As a result, the Pagosa Springs Choral Society Board was created to oversee activities.

Currently, the board is working to prepare the inaugural Community Choir Spring Concert set for May 1 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Weekly rehearsals started in February. As of April 1, the choir had collected 38 members for the spring concert. Nearly all ages are represented. Men and women. Altos. Sopranos. Tenors and basses.

They are working on a list of 13 selections revolving around a theme, "There is a Season," taken from a song with the same title.

"The lyrics in this song remind us that our world is not out of control during this tumultuous time," director Pam Spitler said. Those lyrics read: "For everything there is a season, for every season a plan. For every plan there is a reason - that time will help us understand."

A series of patriotic songs are also on the program, including "Star Spangled Banner" and "Blowin' in the Wind/America," a medley with words and music by Bob Dylan, as well as some spirituals and folk songs like "Cross the Wide Missouri," a medley of "Shenandoah" and "The Water is Wide."

"You have to taste the words," Spitler told the choir during a recent practice, encouraging them to annunciate the beautiful lyrics in one particular arrangement. Spitler, who moved to Pagosa Springs in 1999, has a bachelor of music education from Oklahoma State University, and has participated in several musical groups in the area. She was the assistant director for the 2002 Community Choir Christmas Concert and is the full time director for the spring concert.

"I could come into practice just feeling beaten to a pulp, and I come out feeling full of joy," she said.

Spitler first landed in the Christmas choir soon after her arrival. "I was seeking places to sing," she said. "I need that in my life."

Others received a letter in their mailbox inviting them to join. Some, if they happened to run into the right people, found themselves pulled in almost as soon as their feet settled in Pagosa Country. In fact, Rev. Mack Jones and his wife, Marie Martin-Jones, who helped organize the Christmas choir effort in the early 1990s, were known for searching out singers.

"She's my neighbor," Kehret said. "The first word out of her mouth when we said, 'We're your new neighbors,' she said, 'Do you sing?' not hello or anything like that, just 'Do you sing?'"

Bob and Peggy Case were singing in the Community United Methodist Church choir when the idea for a community choir first came up. They joined then and haven't stopped.

"We can't seem to quit," Peggy said. They stay because of the friendships, because of the chance to do something together, because of the opportunity to sing.

"I have probably been singing all my life," she said. "We sang to the horses and cows. When we got children we sang to them when we drove places. It was just part of the entertainment."

Now, they're enjoying the expanded role of the choir.

"We're really enjoying this music," Peggy said.

Singing with any group brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that's bigger than just the individual, Bob said.

"It gets like a football game where everybody has to do their part to make it work," he said. "When it all comes together, why it's just great."

To practice, the choir comes together for two hours of work in the junior high choir room. They spend a portion of the evening working on parts and a portion as a group. The split gives them a chance to hit the hard parts in smaller numbers to smooth over the overall sound at the end.

Spitler is assisted by accompanist and board member Sue Anderson. Anderson is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University School of Music and taught K-12 music in public schools for 20 years.

"A lot of us have come from different choral backgrounds," she said. "It's just so much fun. We probably could rehearse all night long."

The chorale society is working to achieve nonprofit status and looking toward some fund raisers. To this point, their concerts have been offered at no cost with a free-will donation requested. To help raise some extra money this spring, they are planning a back sale during the May 1 concert.

Although the choir is full for the spring concert, more opportunities for singers are coming. The choral society is planning to gather a group to sing a number of patriotic selections during Fourth of July events. In the fall, Spitler and Anderson have committed to starting a Children's Chorale for first through fourth-graders, and a possible men's group is in the works. For more information about these and other opportunities to sing, call Spitler at 731-4510.

Pagosa's Past

The wild mustangs of Monero

By John Motter

Mustang. The word conjures images of rearing wild stallions, nostrils flared, eyes inflamed, mane and tail flaring in the breeze. The message is clear: Stand back. I was born free. I will remain free.

The word mustang comes from the Spanish mestengo, or in northern New Mexico, mesteño, meaning untamed.

Mustangs by the thousands run wild through much of the American West, including Caracas Mesa in New Mexico just south of Pagosa Junction.

And finally, mustangs are the passion of Sandi Claypool and Fred Trujillo of Lumberton, a little town about 40 miles directly south of Pagosa Springs. Only they don't view mustangs as a wild, treacherous breed of horse.

"If you are kind to them, treat them well so that you earn their trust, they will accept you," says Sandi. "They are very dependable, very durable, very pleasurable riding horses. After all, they are the ancestors of most of the horses we know in this country, the quarterhorses, Appaloosas, Morgans and such.

Sandi can prove what she is saying. She has owned and worked with domesticated wild mustangs for the past 17 years. The past year two of her mustangs trotted in the Pasadena Rose Parade representing New Mexico.

World famous trainer Monte Roberts worked with the pair of horses six months to bombproof them for the Rose Parade. Roberts' work paid off. Someone threw a fire cracker under one of the horses and it didn't flinch.

Sandi's mustang mania goes beyond just owning and riding the muscular equines. She feels she is helping preserve a chunk, a large chunk, of U.S. history. After all, these are the same animals that carried Coronado, Oñate and other Spanish conquistadors into the heart of the North American continent more than 400 years ago. Some of those horses got loose, got wild and became the ancestors of the mustangs prized by Sandi and Fred.

Other folks have worked to save and promote the Spanish mustang. Science has added a new twist to the program with the development of DNA testing. From old archaeological digs, scientists have obtained DNA samples of the horses ridden by Oñate and his party who colonized New Mexico in 1598. Oñate explored from the plains of Kansas to the Colorado River and was responsible for founding Santa Fe.

DNA samples taken from Oñate horses are compared to DNA samples taken from today's wild mustangs as a means of comparing the two. A high comparison number is thought to prove that the current mustangs are like the original progenitors.

"When you think that these same horses were ridden by the conquistadors, by the wild Indians, by the mountain men, and by the early cowboys, you have to admit that this is an important part of our history," Sandi said. "I feel that I am helping preserve some of that history."

One of Sandi's horses, a stallion called Katzman Dancer, is among the highest-ranking horses given the DNA test. Katzman Dancer is a 10-year-old, black point blue roan captured as a 6-year-old from the El Rito National Forest in New Mexico. The stallion already had his own herd of mares and the scars to prove it.

The DNA testing is conducted by Gus Cochran of the University of Kentucky, one of the foremost equinologists in the world.

Another Monero Mustang stallion, Sombrillo, DNA tested over 80 percent and was chosen by the New Mexico Horse Project as the foundation stallion for their first preserve, where he is now running with his herd. The New Mexico Horse Project is establishing wild rangeland where the best, that is those with the highest DNA ratings, of the Spanish mustangs, can be preserved.

Sandi and Fred use their own guidelines when acquiring mustangs. At the top of their list is an idea of how the horses should look, followed by DNA testing for the most promising.

Wild mustangs are where you find them and can be purchased from owners who may not know the history of the horses they own. Wild horses are not limited to the West. Spanish conquistadors introduced the horse to Florida and the southeastern coastal area of the United States even before they explored New Mexico. Indian tribes traded and stole horses, helping to spread them all over the United States. Consequently, horses with high DNA marks could come from the south, Midwest or almost anywhere in the United States.

What does Sandi look for when purchasing a horse?

"The main characteristics I watch for," Sandi said, "are a short back; muscular with a low tail set; they often, but not necessarily have one less vertebrae than other horses; more slope to the hips; a short, thick neck; crested mane that hangs down both sides and is as much as three inches thick at the base; little ears that curl in; wide, almond-looking eyes; a dip in the front of the face below the eyes; often Roman nosed, but with a small muzzle."

Mustangs are normally short horses, often about 13 hands tall. A hand is four inches. Sandi insists that for endurance, they will outlast the more popular, larger breeds.

Sandi and Fred maintain a number of horses at their Lumberton ranch and have others on pasture land elsewhere. Because they are in the beginning stages of developing their business, they currently have but a few horses for sale.

They welcome visitors and inquiries and conduct tours for school classes. Several times a year they conduct exhibitions at Los Golondrinos, the restored colonial city south of Santa Fe and at other places.

They can be contacted by writing Monero Mustangs, HC 71, Box 175, Lumberton, NM 87528, or by telephone at (505) 759-1893.

True animal lovers, they are, by their own admission, the unofficial dog pound of the Lumberton-Dulce area. Inside the chain link fence that surrounds their home are more than 20 mutts, some blind, some three-legged and a large number of orphaned, homeless pups. They welcome donations of money, food and other supplies to help them care for the dogs.

Because they operate as a private, nonprofit corporation, they also accept donations of food, money and tack to help them operate the mustang preservation business.




Last month, at the end of the high school basketball season, columnist Richard Walter tackled the subject of sportsmanship in his "Pacing Pagosa" - more accurately, a lack of sportsmanship. He and another SUN reporter witnessed negative behavior at post-season tournaments and he expressed his opinion.

The overall point of the column has also been made in this space in the past: The overemphasis of sport and the decline of civil behavior among fans are alarming.

One of the events used as an example took place during a game against Colorado Springs Christian High School, at Widefield High School in Colorado Springs. Individuals at Colorado Springs Christian have since taken issue with comments made in the column. Some of the concern deals with the question of fact, some with opinion.

This is not surprising: the same event often presents itself differently to different observers; what one individual sees and hears is not necessarily seen or heard by others.

If there is a clarification of fact forthcoming, it will be welcome and will be examined. If a mistake was made, it will be admitted. If there is a difference of opinion, the column has worked as it should: it expresses the opinion of its author and is designed to stimulate opinions in readers.

The problem, however, goes much deeper.

An administrator at Colorado Springs Christian received a copy of the column, sent to him by a resident of Pagosa Springs. The column accompanied an insulting letter, denigrating the school, its administrators and students, their faith and standards. Typical of this type of correspondence, the letter was sent anonymously.

We are not shocked by the fact an individual capable of sending the letter would lack the courage to sign his or her name, and the recipient has every right to be deeply offended.

What the letter establishes beyond this is a simple truth: in any group of people, you will find a jerk - here, in Colorado Springs, wherever you go. We cannot allow the jerks to define the rest of us.

In the case of Colorado Springs Christian, while we have no reason to doubt what our reporter saw and heard (though there might be reason to doubt interpretations of what was seen and heard), a case must be made for the school, its students, staff and parents. This editor attended a high school volleyball regional tournament at the school two years ago. The reception by administrators and volunteers at that event was gracious and warm; the tournament was expertly run and the atmosphere - even after the home team lost- was outstanding. It could not have been done better, it could not have left a finer impression.

That there might be unruly fans at a school in Colorado Springs is undeniable. It is no different in Pagosa Springs.

Our administrators (witness a letter to the editor this week) do their best to engender civility and good sportsmanship among students and fans. So, no doubt, do the staff at Colorado Springs Christian. They all work hard to combat an increasing problem in our society. Despite the best efforts, too often someone crosses the line.

Poor behavior is poor behavior, regardless of who indulges it, and we cannot tolerate it anywhere.

This incident only serves to remind us it is wise to tend your own garden.

So, to the individual who saw fit to send the letter to Colorado Christian High School, shame on you. You are an embarrassment - to yourself, your family, Pagosa Springs High School and its traditions, and to your community.

Next time, don't use this newspaper in your cause, and don't identify yourself as a resident of the community.

Better yet, grow up and do nothing at all.

Karl Isberg

Pacing Pagosa

Symbols of Christian Holy Week

By Richard Walter

A cross, a lamb, lights, bonfires, eggs and rabbits - common sights with a common link to this week, Holy Week for Christians.

The cross represents the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and has a special meaning to believers as a symbol of Christ's victory over death.

The Holy Week concludes in America with Easter Sunday and holiday decorations and paintings often including a figure of a lamb as a symbol of Jesus. Lamb is one of the traditional Easter foods and cookies and cakes shaped like lambs decorate many tables at Easter.

Lights, candles and bonfires mark Easter in some nations. Roman Catholics in some countries put out all the lights in their churches on Good Friday. On Easter eve they make a new fire to light the main paschal candle and use it to relight all the candles in the church. Congregants then light their own candles from the paschal candle and carry them home where they are used for special occasions.

Eggs represent the new life that returns to nature at about Easter. The custom of exchanging eggs was probably started by ancient Egyptians and Persians who dyed eggs in spring colors and gave them to friends as gifts. The Persians believed the earth hatched from a giant egg. World Book Encyclopedia says early Christians of Mesopotamia were the first to use colored eggs for Easter. In England, friends often wrote messages and dates on eggs they exchanged. Elaborate candy eggs with a window in one end and tiny scenes inside were popular gifts in the 1800s.

The rabbit? Many children believe an Easter bunny brings them Easter eggs, a belief which probably originated in Germany.

One legend says a poor woman dyed some eggs during a famine and hid them in a nest as Easter gifts for her children. Just as they discovered the nest, the legend says, a big rabbit leaped away.

The story spread that the rabbit had brought Easter eggs.

Holy Week began last Sunday with Palm Sunday, named for the palms people spread before Jesus as He entered Jerusalem in triumph.

Today is Maundy Thursday in the last week of Lent, the day Christians recall Jesus' Last Supper and the time He washed His disciples' feet.

Tomorrow is Good Friday, observing the day of Christ's crucifixion and Saturday is the day of anticipation.

And then it will be Easter, the day when Christians around the world unite in their feelings of joy in the Resurrection.

Locally, it will include a now traditional sunrise service at 7 a.m. in Golden Peaks Stadium at Pagosa Springs High School.

It has grown from a group of about two dozen worshippers to more than 100 representing several local congregations last year.

It is an open service for anyone interested, just as was the message brought by the man who rose from the dead three days after his death on that cross, fulfilling God's promise of His only begotten son providing entry into heaven for all who believe by proving his victory of death.

For my family, Easter has additional meaning. On an early Easter morning six years ago we got a call that my mother had fallen and was in critical condition. She was hospitalized and then in a nursing home briefly before going to join her Jesus. Happy Easter, Mom.


90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of April 18, 1913

The town council has granted Ben Martinez a pool hall license on the condition that he will have no side or back rooms in his place of business, the former Antlers Saloon. Pool hall license in Pagosa costs $40 for the first table and $5 for each additional table, the council being uncertain whether these sums are per year or per each six months, as the ordinance reads that licensees can be granted only for a six months period.

After Assessor Betzer runs through your property list you will learn that you are richer than you thought you were. The full cash value scheme will be all right if the levies are reduced correspondingly.

The Pagosa band is arranging to give a play in the near future.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 20, 1928

The eighth grade is working very hard on review for the examinations at the present time. The girls wished to know whether any special graduation dresses were needed and were advised against it.

The P.T.A. program and meeting at the School Auditorium this afternoon, together with the annual election of officers, is well attended.

David Hersch, Archuleta County chairman, attended the Republican state convention at Colorado Springs the past week, returning home Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Cafe is undergoing many interior improvements this week in the way of painting and decorating.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 17, 1953

It was announced by the Mayor and Town Board this week that they have the necessary facts and figures for a presentation to the public of the proposal on the water works. The proposed new system would take water from the San Juan River in the vicinity of the Whit Newton Ranch, bring it to town through a steel pipe, thence to a reservoir just north of the present water works. This reservoir would be capable of holding more than a 24 hour supply of water for the town.

The weather the past week, while not too warm, certainly indicates that spring is on the way. Roads and town streets are nearly dry and some days have been pretty warm. The nights have remained cold, however.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 20, 1978

Elections are coming up in the community, with the first being an election of three members to the board of directors of the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District on May 2. A second election is a school bond election May 9.

An election is being held to name four directors to the board of the Pagosa Fire Protection District, and to vote on a proposed $8,000 bond issue. This is scheduled for May 2. Another election that day is at Arboles where voters in the Piedra Park Metropolitan Improvement District will go to the polls to cast their ballots for four directors of the newly organized district.

There will be a public meeting April 25th to explain the proposed school bond.

And they say that there is nothing to do in this area.