May 8, 2003 
Front Page

Six-point plan advanced for

health district

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

It's time to step out of crisis mode and into the future of health care in Pagosa Country Dr. Jim Knoll told the Upper San Juan Health Service District board members and an audience of about 60 Tuesday.

He presented a six-point plan - adopted in concept by the board minutes later - to do just that.

The plan, he said, would change the district's focus "from patient care treatment into healthcare system facilitation."

It began by addressing resignations at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. In April, employees of the medical center, including both doctors, submitted 30-day notices to the district citing problems with management as the reason for the move.

Knoll said the board should help Drs. Mark Wienpahl and Bob Brown set up a private practice clinic. This would give Pagosa two private family practice clinics. The other is the already-established Pagosa Family Medicine Center staffed by Dr. Jim Pruitt and Dr. John Piccaro.

"We should subsidize the salaries of the present Mary Fisher clinic staff for approximately six months as they transition into a private practice group," Knoll said. The plan also calls for the district to contract with both private clinics to subsidize indigent care using a sliding fee scale.

As for the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, Knoll proposed moving away from family practice at that site. Instead, he said, diagnostic labs, a minor surgery clinic, specialty clinic and weekend urgent care could be housed there. This would nullify the need for the private practice physicians to build duplicate diagnostic facilities, make it easier to keep current on inspections, and reduce the number of tests sent out of the district.

Across the street at emergency medical services, Knoll said it was time to look at a change of structure.

"Since most of the serious emergencies seem to go to Mercy Medical Center, we should discuss with them a possible contract for these services," he said. The district could maintain oversight while contracting with Mercy for training, day-to-day direction and management.

Retaining the Medical Advisory Committee to "enhance the flow of information regarding medical needs as well as getting the results of advisory committee discussions to the board," is the fourth part of the plan.

Achieving positive working relationships with current providers will make future recruitment much easier, Knoll said. That is the fifth piece of the proposal - assistance with recruitment.

"Together we would identify needs and then advertise and help the private practice groups recruit by providing funds for moving expenses and subsidizing salary for up to 12 months," he said. "With the rapid growth of the district, we believe that the two private practice clinics will soon need three physicians each along with more physician assistants and nurse practitioners."

The final part of the plan revolves around more negotiations with Mercy Medical Center in Durango. Because Mercy Medical Center, its medical community and the City of Durango receive the majority of referrals and medical transports from Archuleta County, he said, the district should approach them about recouping some of the benefits for those transports and referrals.

After that, the board took comments from the audience. Several people wanted to know about costs and the legality of the plan.

That, board president Charles Hawkins said, is the next step.

"We have not met with Mercy hospital yet," he said. After approving the plan in general, the board said they would begin negotiations, start the budget-crunching and look at legal ramifications. Hawkins also asked any of the physicians to come forward and speak on the proposal.

Pruitt, Wienpahl and Brown all said they support the concept.

"I support this proposal wholeheartedly," Wienpahl said, adding that the district had been attempting to address long-term planning for medical services for quite some time. This proposal, he said, despite being created during a "crash planning mode," has the potential to solve current problems and carry the district into the future while not leaving out indigent patients or community medical concerns.

Pruitt had one question of the board. He wanted to know if, under the proposal, an individual board member were approached by all four physicians and asked to resign - would they resign? He said the local physicians represent the health care concerns of approximately 90 percent of the population. As such, he said, they should receive the full support of the board, which could mean asking some of the board to step down if local health care needs were not being met.

Board member Patty Tillerson said it would depend entirely on the circumstances.

"I'm not going to commit to anything like that," she said.

Hawkins said, "If I thought I was a detriment to patient care, I would gladly step down." The remainder of the board remained silent.

Knoll said because of the current crisis situation, trust is a big factor for all sides concerned with health care in Archuleta County.

"Trust is consistency over time," he said. The proposal should be considered "a roadmap to peace.

"We expect people to be polite. We expect people to be civil. We expect people to be colleagues as we work through this process."

Knoll is the chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee, a standing committee created by the district board April 15 that includes board member Dr. Dick Blide and the doctors in the community. He has 25 years of experience in planning, developing and working in healthcare provider systems.

In other business, the board passed a motion to move forward with a recommendation from the Citizen's Advisory Committee for interim full-time physician on-call coverage in the district. Their plan involves contracting with a physician, nurse and X-ray technician to provide 24/7 on-call coverage when regular staff is not available.

The four physicians announced in January they would be reducing weekend on-call hours to give themselves more time with their families. As a result, no doctors are on call in Pagosa Springs from 6 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday and from 5 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday. During those hours, people have the option of calling 9-1-1 to get help in an emergency or driving themselves to Durango to see a physician.

Tillerson, district board liaison to the committee, made a motion directing the district manager and budget committee to begin pursuing options for adopting the committee's interim recommendations. Her motion was approved unanimously.


PAWS mulls new rate structure ideas

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District revealed the results of a three-month study of district rate charges during a public meeting Wednesday night.

The findings were presented to the district board and about a dozen members of the public by Carol Malesky, an economist with Denver-based Integrated Utilities Group Inc., the firm hired by the district to conduct the evaluation.

In short, Malesky said the objectives of the study were to "generate justifiable, supportable and more industry-standard user charges" and to evaluate appropriate, alternative water/wastewater rate structures that encourage conservation.

According to Malesky, steps taken to achieve those goals included analyzing the district's revenue requirements and customer characteristics, then developing rate structure alternatives and calculating equitable rates.

While district operational, maintenance and capital project expenditures figured into that methodology, "non-rate revenues," or revenues the district collects that are not included in the normal monthly service charges, were excluded from the equation. Such revenues include funds collected in association with customer hookups, capital investment fees and drought surcharges.

The findings suggested two alternatives which Malesky indicated would effectively recover the district's user charge requirements while maintaining relatively competitive rates.

The first option is a variation of the water rate structure currently implemented by the district, which includes a minimum monthly service charge ($13.50) and additional volume rate charges for every thousand gallons over the minimum allowable usage (8,000 gallons).

Currently, the district charges $3.50 for every thousand gallons exceeding 8,000 gallons, effective for up to 20,000 gallons. A fee of $4.50 is charged for every thousand gallons used exceeding 20,000 gallons.

The option proposed by Malesky would lower the monthly service charge to $8.50, but also lower the minimum allowable usage to 3,000 gallons.

For every thousand gallons exceeding that amount, the district would charge a rate of $2.85 up to 20,000 gallons. For usage over 20,000 gallons, the district would charge $4.50 for every thousand gallons. (For multifamily and commercial purposes, those thresholds would be multiplied by the corresponding number of equivalent units.)

The second option, recommended to the board as more appropriate because it is more in line with industry standards, includes the notion of a monthly service charge of $5.50, but no minimum water allowance.

This variation calls for a charge of $1.85 for every thousand gallons up to 8,000 gallons. For usage between 8,000-20,000 gallons, a charge of $3.70 would be in effect for every thousand gallons. Usage beyond 20,000 gallons would carry a price tag of $4.50 for every thousand gallons. (Again, a multiplication of equivalent units would apply to mutifamily and commercial applications.)

For winter months, when the district does not read residential meters, Malesky said one option would be to charge an average (monthly) based on the previous year's total usage between November-April.

If April's (current year) reading exceeded the amount billed, the customer would be charged the difference. If the reading was less, a credit would be issued.

With respect to wastewater charges, Malesky indicated the findings suggest keeping the district's current rate structure in place.

When members of the public asked how current district rates compare with those of other similar districts, Malesky indicated most she has studied have been "steeper" and have had more rate thresholds.

However, "Rates never go down, I'm sorry to inform you," said Malesky, adding that notion is especially true in times of severe drought. "Even if the pubic uses less water, if the (district's) costs associated with providing that water don't change, the result is that rates usually go up."

When asked if a decision to change the rate structure would be subject to alterations, Harold Slavinsky, district board chairman, answered, "Yes, it's possible we'll review this every year depending on the situation."

"It's also important to remember that no decision on this will be made until at least June, so we're open for comments until then."

For a copy of the complete rate study or for more information, stop by the PAWS office at 100 Lyn Ave., or call 731-2691.


Third grade reading scores climb

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Like their counterparts in the rest of the state, third-graders in Pagosa Springs are steadily improving their reading capabilities.

Results of Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) tests administered earlier this year show Pagosa third-graders at 87 percent proficient/advanced.

Broken down, the data show 9 percent as being advanced in reading capability.

However, 6 percent of the 104 tested locally graded unsatisfactory, according to state figures.

Data indicate the scores represent a 9 percent increase over those recorded by third-graders locally last year.

Officials point out, however, that comparisons are at grade level and not with the same students tested in sequential years.

Thus, an unusually well-grounded class might score higher than a following class without the same basic prior reading experience.

"We're delighted with the results," said Superintendent Duane Noggle. "We're very happy to see the long-term upward trend. We recognize there will be a dip now and then, but overall the progress reflects the intent of or program."

Standardizing exposure to the challenge of state testing and progress within the system is the goal for local schools.

The Pagosa scores reflected a statewide trend which had 74 percent proficient/advanced, an increase of 2 percent from last year and 8 percent over the past five years.

While the number of proficient/advanced readers was up for Pagosa Springs, the actual number rated as advanced dropped from 16 in 2002.

State officials note the third-grade scores are released in advance of the other test scores which will come in July so schools can use them to focus on individual students who will need extra help the next school year.

Those who like to compare Pagosa progress with other schools in the region should know Pagosa rated slightly higher than Durango's overall 84 percent but below the 94 percent for Ignacio and 92 percent for Bayfield. Ignacio was one of the rare schools with no result unsatisfactory.

Noggle said Pagosa teachers and principals take the state standards "as a framework to see where individuals may be having difficulty. That way they can formulate an ongoing plan to correct the deficiency."

When data from the test is "disaggregated" (taken in small chunks), Noggle said, "we also see positive trends. For example, of the 21 third grade Title I students (those receiving additional instruction in reading) 17, or 81 percent, scored in the proficient range. Of the students who are eligible for free or reduced cost lunch (a measure of socioeconomic status) 79 percent were proficient or advanced."



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Cooling trend, chance for showers in forecast

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Although trace amounts of snow and rain descended upon area lawns and gardens late Saturday and early Sunday, Pagosa Country remained relatively elusive for west-coast storm systems as they shifted to the north for the second week in a row.

However, due to a slight shift in the jetstream, the majority of the coming week's forecast includes the chance for rain across lower elevations and snow in the high country.

According to Norvan Larson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, the chance for widely scattered showers will be accompanied by a cooling trend.

"This system is a Pacific trough which keeps reinforcing itself," said Larson. "The chances for heavy rain across the Four Corners aren't terrific, but the jetstream may push some of those showers far enough south to affect Pagosa Springs, which right now appears to be on the borderline between wet and dry.

"Look for lower temperatures heading into the weekend," added Larson. "Saturday looks to be chilly, but could provide the best chance for rain and snow showers, especially to the north of town."

According to Larson, west winds at 15-25 miles per hour could bring scattered thunderstorms (a 30-percent chance) throughout the day today and into tonight. High temperatures should top 60; lows should fall into the 20s.

Mostly cloudy skies and a 20-percent chance of morning rain or snow showers are included for Friday's forecast. Highs should range from the mid-50s to lower 60s while lows should dip into the low 20s.

Saturday calls for mostly cloudy to partly cloudy skies, a chance of afternoon rain showers, highs in the mid 50s and lows in the mid-20s.

Sunday and Monday's forecasts predict mostly clear skies, highs in the low 60s to low 70s and lows in the 25-35 range.

A 30-percent chance for rain returns for Tuesday and Wednesday, as mostly cloudy skies are predicted for each day. Highs should stretch into the low to mid-70s and lows should settle into 30s.

Last week's average high temperature recorded at Stevens Field was 57 degrees; the average low was 24. Precipitation totals for last week, measured as a combination of snow and rain, amounted to approximately one-fifth of an inch.

The Pagosa Ranger District rates the current area fire danger as "low to moderate." For updates, call the district office at 264-2268.

The National Allergy Bureau rates area tree pollen counts as "moderate," weed/grass pollen counts as "low" and mold spore counts as "low."

San Juan River flow, as measured south of town last week, ranged between a low of approximately 200 cubic feet per second and a high of roughly 700 cubic feet per second. The river's historic median flow for early May ranges between 700-1,000 cubic feet per second.


Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Park Fun Program opens with June 2 registration

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The 2003 Park Fun Program will begin June 2 with registration in the Pagosa Springs Intermediate School office.

Park Fun is a program designed for children 5-11. We offer a day camp with activities ranging through art projects, roller skating, swimming, hiking, reading, fishing derby, in-town field trips and much more.

Tentatively, we plan to house 30 children daily at a cost of $80 for a five-day punch pass. We will have four employes supervising and planning all activities.

Please call Town Hall to get on a call list so we can keep in touch with all interested parties. We are in the hiring and planning stages, and will have a June itinerary to all interested parents by May 30. Call 264-4151 Ext. 231 for more information.

Basketball camp

Last week we noted this department, in conjunction with the Pagosa Springs Basketball Club, will host a summer basketball camp for children in grades 3-8. If you are interested in a form to fill out, stop by Town Hall and ask for an application.

Anyone wishing to sponsor a child please call the recreation department. We would like to thank Larry and Rhonda Ash, and Bud Cunningham for helping purchase the shirts and balls the club gives to each camper.

Youth baseball

Action will begin May 27. Games will be played Tuesday and Thursday evenings on the high school ball fields.

Many parents and players would like to have a longer season. Thus, games may be scheduled for the month of July, taking a weeklong break for the July 4 holiday.

Adult softball

The team manager meeting is scheduled May 13. If you are interested in putting a team together, please attend this 6:30 p.m. session at Town Hall. If you have any questions, contact Chris at 264-4151, Ext. 232.


Pirates bow 18-14 to Bayfield in slugfest

Face top ranked Eaton in state opener today

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It was a big day - big innings, big hits, big arguments and a big victory for Bayfield.

The host Wolverines won the district baseball title Saturday defeating Pagosa Springs 18-14 in the championship game, after each had won earlier position games. Both teams advance to regional games this morning.

Having won the coin toss after tying Bayfield for the league title, Pagosa was the home team, a fact which confused some fans when a run went on the board for Bayfield every time Pagosa scored.

Jarrett Frank opened strong for Pagosa on the hill. He got Sam McDonald on a pop to short, then fanned both Steven Qualls and Jeremy Sirios to end the first with a flourish.

The first big inning came right off the bat for Pagosa as the Pirates clubbed Bayfield starter Sirios for six runs before the dust settled, 12 men having batted.

Sirios was having control problems with his vaunted slider and both David Kern and Marcus Rivas walked to open the inning.

Josh Stone, winner of the first tournament game, an 11-4 victory over Centauri, delivered both runners and himself with what would be the first of his two home runs in the game.

Three batters, three runs. And Pagosa wasn't done.

Ben Marshall was drilled by a Sirios fast ball and trotted to first. Lawren Lopez brought him home with a double to left and Caler kept the inning alive, hit by another Sirios pitch.

Zeb Gill, the designated hitter in the championship game, delivered Lopez and Caler with a single.

His brother, Levi, hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but Frank singled and then was thrown out on an attempted steal and Pagosa was up 6-0 after one.

Bayfield returned the favor. Cody Moore popped on a great running catch at the fence by Rivas. J.T. Cathcart singled to Zach Farnam grounded into yet another double play, this one started by Rivas at third.

The Pirates, however, went just as quickly in the second. Kern drew a walk but was cut down when Rivas grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Stone flied to right to end the top of the inning .

Bayfield's third opened with Tim Smith grounding to second. But Will Latimer singled and Gonzales was safe on an error at second. McDonald grounded to second for the second out and it looked like Frank might escape.

Qualls, however, ended that thought with a single to right, driving in two, and Sirios homered to clear the bases. Moore drew a walk as Frank seemed to be forcing his splitter. Cathcart singled to right and Farnam reached on Rivas' error at third. Smith singled to drive in two before Latimer struck out in his second at bat in the inning to end the frame with Bayfield now trailing 9-5.

Pagosa sent eight men to the plate in the third and scored three times for a 9-5 lead, one which was soon in danger.

Marshall opened drawing a walk for Pagosa. He went to second as Lopez grounded back to the pitcher. Caler fanned for the second out but Zeb Gill was hit by a Sirios pitch, his third hit batter in less than three innings. Levi Gill followed with a single to center, Frank with a single to right and Kern with a single to center and three runs were in the inning.

Bayfield coaches decided then and there that Sirios didn't have it on this day and brought Moore from first to the mound. He induced Rivas to hit into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Gonzales walked to open Bayfield's fourth and stole second, but stayed there as Frank tightened and got McDonald on a groundout to second, Qualls on a pop to second and Sirios on strikes.

Stone singled to start Pagosa's fourth, stayed at first as Marshall flied to center and moved to second when Lopez singled. But Caler flied to left and Zeb Gill to center to end the threat.

Moore flied to left to open Bayfield's fifth, Cathcart singled to center, went to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch. Farnam walked but was cut down at the front of a 6-4-3 double play hit into by Smith.

The Pirates went back to the big inning theme for the fifth, boosting the lead to 12-5.

It all started with both Levi Gill and Frank going down on strikes fired by the lefty Moore. Kern halted that act with a single to right, an effort duplicated on the next pitch by Rivas. With those runners on first and third, Stone delivered again, his second three-run home run of the game. Marshall reached on an error by the first baseman but Michael Dach, running for him, was picked off to end the inning.

The Wolverines came back with a six-spot in the top of the sixth, sending 10 to the plate and scoring 6 runs.

It opened with Latimer flying to left. Gonzales reached on an error at second and McDonald homered. Qualls was safe on an infield hit and Sirios doubled him in. Then Moore doubled to drive in Sirios and Cathcart singled to score Moore.

At that point coach Tony Scarpa called Marshall from behind the plate to pitch in relief, sent Frank to center and brought Rivas in to catch.

Marshall got Farnham on strikes for the second out in the inning. Latimer singled to left center but Farnham was caught on the relay throw and Pagosa's lead was down to 12-11.

The Pirates got one back in their half of the inning when Lopez led off with a double off the fence in right center. He moved up as Caler grounded to short and scored on a wild pitch. Zeb Gill reached on an error at second but was out when his brother hit into a fielder's choice before Frank flied to right to end the inning with Pagosa needing to get just three more outs to win the game.

It was not to be.

Marshall walked Gonzales to open the beginning of the end and followed it up with another walk to McDonald. He then hit Qualls to load the bases, still with no outs. Bayfield got one run on an infield single by Sirios.

Scarpa went to the mound, again, calling Frank back to the hill, hoping he'd be able to pick up the save of his own win.

But Moore singled, Cathcart doubled and Bayfield had the lead for the first time, a lead it would not relinquish.

Farnham singled and stole second before Smith lined to the pitcher for the first out. Latimer struck out but Gonzales singled to drive in another. McDonald ended it with a pop to the catcher and Bayfield leading 18-13.

Needing five runs in the bottom of the frame, Pagosa started with Kern striking out. Rivas kept Pirate hopes alive with a home run to right but Stone struck out and Pagosa was down to its final chance.

Marshall ended it and the championship dream when he popped to second.

The big argument of the game came after Moore's double in the sixth.

It was a ground rule hit, bouncing visibly off the ground in fair territory before sticking in the fence.

The right field umpire correctly called the ground rule hit but the plate umpire did not see it and was waving the runners around.

His action drew Bayfield players onto the field from their dugout to welcome what they thought was a home run hitter.

Pagosa argued that the players on the field interfered with the play at the plate which would have cut down one runner. The ground rule double ruling held but the interference plea was disallowed.

Still, for prep baseball, it was like a slugfest at Coors Field in Denver or Wrigley Field in Chicago where no lead ever seems safe.

As a result, both teams are in the final 16 of the state Class 3A playoffs, starting today.

Bayfield drew the No. 11 seed and was to face La Junta at 10 a.m. at Runyon Field in Pueblo.

Pagosa, with its 12-5 record, got the final (No. 16) seed, and will face top-ranked, defending Class 3A champion Eaton (20-2) at 10 a.m. today on the Northglenn High School field.

If Pagosa were to win, the Pirates would meet the winner of the D'Evelyn-Colorado Springs Christian game at 3 p.m. on the same field.

If Bayfield defeats La Junta, it will meet the winner of the clash between Erie and Lamar.

Other playoff brackets have Denver Christian meeting Bennett at 12:30 in Pueblo and Manitou Springs facing Hotchkiss in the same complex at 10 a.m.; and Eagle Valley squaring off against Bishop Machbeuf at Grand Junction where University High will face Olathe.

State finals are scheduled May 16 and 17 at All-Star Park in Lakewood.


Scoring: P-14 runs on 20 hits and 2 Bayfield errors; B-18 runs on 18 hits and 4 Pagosa errors. Home runs: P-Stone (2), Rivas; B-McDonald, Sirios. RBIs: P-Stone 6, Gill 2, L. Gill, Frank, Rivas, 1 each; B-Sirious 3, McDonald, Qualls and Smith, 2 each, Moore 1. Strikeouts: P-Jarrett 6, Marshall 1; Moore 5. WP-Moore, LP-Marshall.


Pirates clip Centauri to earn district title shot

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Josh Stone fanned 14 Centauri batters, had two hits, drove in two runs and scored two runs himself as the Pagosa Springs Pirates advanced to the district championship game Saturday in Bayfield with an 11-4 opening game win over Centauri.

He got sufficient early backing from his teammates to take a 4-0 lead into the fourth when Centauri responded with two runs.

The Pirates answered with four more in the fifth and got a couple of insurance runs in the sixth.

Ken Schell opened the game for Centauri reaching on an error by shortstop David Kern.

Stone fanned Miguel Ortiz, got Vicente Govea to ground to short and the Falcon cleanup hitter, Moeller, to pop out to second.

Kern opened the bottom of the frame for Pagosa with a single to center but was thrown out stealing.

Sophomore third sacker Marcus Rivas followed with a long triple. Stone drew a walk and Ben Marshall's sacrifice fly scored Rivas. First baseman Lawren Lopez walked and Jarret Frank followed with a ground ball to third which was misplayed, Stone scoring and Lopez advancing. Jeremy Caler drew a walk with Lopez scoring on a passed ball by the catcher and when second baseman Levi Gill grounded to second to end the inning, Pagosa was up 3-0.

Centauri's second opened and closed with strikeouts by Armenta and Rogers. In between, L. Torres lined to Kern at short.

The Pirates added a fourth run in the second after right fielder Casey Belarde grounded out to third to open it.

Kern singled to left but was cut down at second when Rivas hit into a fielder's choice. Rivas was doubled in by Stone who was out at third trying to stretch it to a triple.

The third inning was quick for both teams.

Centauri hurler Nate Lucero struck out. D. Doyle walked but was cut down on the front end of a 1-6-3 double play ball by Schell.

Pagosa's inning had Marshall grounding to second, Lopez to third and Frank popping out to the catcher.

Ortiz opened Centauri's fourth with a single to center and promptly stole second. Govea struck out and Moeller flied to right, Ortiz moving to third from where he scored on a wild pitch by Stone.

Armenta walked and Torres fanned but reached when the ball got away from Marshall, Armenta scoring before Rogers fanned to end the threat with two runs scored.

Pagosa increased the lead to 5-2 in the bottom half of the inning. Caler opened with a walk and stole second. Levi Gill singled to center but was picked off at first. Belarde produced the run with a fly to right before Kern ended the inning with a fly to left.

Lucero and Doyle both fanned to open the Centauri fifth but

Schell doubled to left. Ortiz had an infield single and Centauri was threatening with two out.

Govea, however, struck out to end the inning.

That opened the gates for Pagosa to put the game out of reach.

Rivas was out for runner interference on his popup down the first base line. Then both Stone and Marshall singled and Lopez was hit by a pitch.

Frank popped to second for the second out but Caler singled in a pair and Levi Gill tripled to clear the bases before Belarde grounded out to end the inning with Pagosa leading 9-2.

Centauri's sixth opened with Moeller striking out, Armenta grounding to third and Torres bouncing to second.

Pagosa got two more in their half of the sixth, starting with Zeb Gill tripling when pinch hitting for Kern. At that point Schell was called in as a Centauri relief pitcher and got Rivas on a bouncer to first. Stone struck out but Ben Marshall homered for the final two Pagosa runs before Lopez flied to left.

Centauri tried to come back in the seventh. Rogers struck out but reached on a passed ball. Lucero also fanned with Rogers advancing to second. Doyle was hit by a pitch and Schell singled in a run. Ortiz struck out, Govea walked and Moeller struck out to end the game with the 10-run mercy rule enforced.

With that victory, Pagosa advanced to the district championship game against host Bayfield which had defeated Monte Vista 20-0 in the tournament's second game of the day, another game halted by the 10-run mercy ruling.


Scoring: P-11 runs on 10 hits and 2 Centauri errors; C- 4 runs on 5 hits and 1 Pagosa error; Home runs: P-B. Marshall. Strikeouts: P-Stone, 14; C- Schell, 1. WP-Stone; LP-Lucero.


Boys win district crown at Bayfield

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa boys tracksters rolled to an Intermountain League Championship at the district meet Saturday in Bayfield.

It's a first for the Pirates who survived a last-minute surge by Centauri to claim the trophy. In fact, their effort came down to a freshman, A.J. Abeyta, in the second to last race of the day - the 3200-meter run. Abeyta was the only Pirate in the race, two others having dropped out because of injuries.

"Three Centauri boys were in the race," Coach Connie O'Donnell said. "A.J. really stepped up and beat two of them to get fourth place. He did everything that he could to make sure that our team scored points. Our whole team was standing along the fence cheering for him. They kept reminding him that we needed the points, and he really pushed himself." Abeyta finished the race in 11 minutes, 40.2 seconds.

That was just one of several stellar efforts from the boys. The Pirates finished the day with seventeen top-three finishes among district teams.

Senior Jason Schutz continued to lead the team with four first-place finishes. In fact, he was voted IML athlete of the year by the league coaches.

"It's hard to express my feelings about what Jason has done for our track program," O'Donnell said. "He is a big reason there are 45 kids out for track instead of 20 like there was five years ago. He scores a lot of points for our team on his own, but he is the first one to congratulate anyone else on the team who does well. He is unselfish, works hard and is one of the most coachable athletes I have ever had the pleasure of working with."

Schutz gathered league firsts in the discus, 100-meter dash and the 200 meters. He was also a member of the winning 800-meter relay team. The senior crossed the line in the 100 in 11.42. In the 200, he finished with a time of 23.56, and he won the discus with a toss of 165 feet, 8 inches. The 800 relay team of Schutz, junior Coy Ross, and sophomores Paul Armijo and Jared Kinkead finished in 1:33.5, missing the chance to pre-qualify for state by .09 of a second.

Junior Brandon Samples came through with his own stellar individual performance, winning league in the 800 meters with a time of 2:09.9. He was actually part of a Pagosa Springs trifecta in the race. Teammates Aaron Hamilton and Todd Mees finished second and third, respectively. Hamilton claimed a time of 2:12.8 and Mees rounded out the trio in 2:14.6.

The three distance runners combined with senior Jeremy Buikema for a first-place finish in the 3200 relay. Their winning time was 8:38.6.

The 1600 relay team of Buikema, sophomore Otis Rand, Samples and senior Danny Lyon added yet another first place finish to the growing list, winning their event in 3:41.

In the 1600, Samples added more points with a second-place effort in 5:00.4. Junior Clayton Spencer placed second in the district in the 300-meter hurdles, running for the finish in 45.29. He added a third-place effort in the 110 hurdles with a time of 19.02. In the high jump, Spencer cleared the bar at 5-8 to steal third-place points.

Just a few feet away, competing in the triple jump, sophomore Junior Turner leaped to a second-place finish with a jump of 39-8.25. Rand came up with second-place points in the 400 crossing the finish in 54.07.

Kinkead finished out his day with a third-place effort in the 200, crossing the line in 24.36. He combined with Armijo, sophomore Manuel Madrid and freshman Daniel Aupperle for another third-place finish in the 400 relay with a time of 47.78.

The Pirates will head back to Bayfield this Saturday to compete in regionals. At this meet, the top three in each event will qualify for the State Track Meet in Pueblo, May 16-17. Events start at 9 a.m.


Other results include: 100-meter dash: 4. P. Armijo, 12.0; 7. J. Kinkead, 12.28. 200-meter dash: 5. O. Rand, 25.0. 400-meter dash: 7. M. Madrid, 57.21. 1600-meter run: 5. A. Hamilton, 5:10.6; 8. T. Mees, 5:19.6. 110-meter hurdles: 8. M. Madrid, 20.41. 300-meter hurdles: 4. M. Madrid, 46.64; 6. B.J. Lowder, 50.1. High jump: 4. C. Ross, 5-6; 6. O. Rand, 5-4. Long jump: 4. J. Turner, 19-4; 7. C. Spencer 17-10.25; 8. D. Aupperle, 17-8.5. Shot put: 5. R. Wendt, 35-9. Discus: 7. P. Armijo, 110-10.


Caprioli races against wind for fastest time

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs girls track team rose to the challenge Saturday, finishing third in the Intermountain League District team standings, just one point behind Bayfield.

Freshman Mia Caprioli faced down a somewhat stiff breeze to earn "fastest girl at the meet," honors with a winning 100-meter dash time of 13.82 seconds. Her time of 29.99 in the 200 was good enough for third place.

Yet another freshman, Emilie Schur, ran down the competition to win both the 800-meter run and the 1600. She finished the 800 in 2:28.6 and claimed the 1600 with a time of 5:32.

In the 100-meter hurdles, sophomore Janna Henry added to the team's points with a second-place time of 17.97. Sophomore Mollie Honan stepped up for third-place finishes in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. She finished the short hurdle course in 18.06 and finished the 300 in 51.95.

Caprioli and Henry combined with seniors Katie Bliss and Alex Rigia to take another third in the 400-meter relay, crossing the finish line in 55.23.

In the distance events, the 3200 relay team of Schur, freshman Drie Young and seniors Ashley Wagle and Amanda McCain came up with a 10:49.3 finish, good enough for third place in the district.

In pole vault, junior Roxanna Day cleared seven feet to take third, and in the triple jump, Rigia came through with a 30-9.5 leap to claim second.

Coach Connie O'Donnell said the entire girls' team had a great day.

"Prom was on Saturday night and four senior girls ran the last race of the day - the 1600-meter relay," she said. "Not one of them asked if they could get out of it even though running it meant they were really rushed to get ready for prom. In fact, two of them were up for prom queen."

The girls will face their next competition Saturday at the regional meet, again, in Bayfield. At that meet, the top three finishers in each event will go on to state at Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo May 16-17.


Other results included: 100-meter dash: 7. M. Maberry, 15.61. 200-meter dash: 6. M. Honan, 30.8; 7. M. Lungstrum, 32.74. 400-meter dash: 5. K. Bliss, 67.68; 7. D. Young, 76.56. 800-meter run: 4. A. Wagle 2:39.5; 8. A. McCain, 2:52.8. 1600-meter run: 5. A. McCain, 6:25.2; 7. D. Young, 7:16.5. 300-meter hurdles: 4. J. Henry, 52.57. 800-meter relay: 4. A. Rigia, M. Caprioli, J. Henry and K. Bliss, 1:56.4. 1600-meter relay: 4. K. Bliss, A. Rigia, A. McCain and A. Wagle, 4:44.3. Medley relay: 4. M. Maberry, D. Young, M. Lungstrum and M. Honan, 2:07.1. Long jump: 4. M. Lungstrum, 13-0.5; 5. M. Maberry, 12-10.


St. Mary's stops Lady Pirates' dream

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

As had been the custom during the regular season, Meagan Hilsabeck tested the opposition goalkeeper early.

And, her shot was turned aside, not the customary outcome.

But this was no ordinary game. It was the first ever appearance for a Pagosa Springs High School Lady Pirate soccer team in a regional contest.

And, it was a home game against another team of Lady Pirates representing St. Mary's of Colorado Springs.

The visiting squad in Friday's contest went away with a 3-1 victory in a strongly contested match.

But it was not an easy win for the visitors. In fact, it was a 0-0 contest after one half and almost all the first half shots had been taken by Pagosans.

After Hilsabeck's effort was stopped at 1:47, fellow senior Sara Aupperle was stopped twice. Her blast at 5:51 went wide left from 20 yards and a minute and 16 seconds later her 15 yarder was blocked.

After a pair of block/takeaways by Jenna Finney it was Amy Tautges' turn to be blanked. Her left-footer from the head of the box was turned away at 10:29.

St. Mary's first shot on goal didn't come until 15:16 when Sierra Fleenor came out of net for Pagosa to trap a bouncer by Stephanie Hirst.

In between two more block/takeaways by Finney, Brittany Corcoran had a prime opportunity for Pagosa. Cutting off the left wing, she found a lead pass from Melissa Diller putting her directly on line, but St. Mary's keeper, Stacey Hirst, made a brilliant stop on the drive to her left.

At 20:09 St. Mary's had its best chance in the first half when Katie Loring had a breakaway on Fleenor on a botched Pagosa outlet pass but hit the right post.

Hilsabeck came back 27:20 with her best chance, leaving two defenders wondering where she went at midfield and then drilling one snared by Hirst.

At 29:25 Aupperle was stopped again on a blast up the middle. Then it was St. Mary's Leanna Koerner denied by Fleenor on a free kick from 25 yards.

Just over a minute later, Aupperle's free kick from 18 was wide right and then, at 34:10, she was stopped on Hirst's best play of the half, a diving stop to her right. Pagosa kept the ball in the attack zone, on an outlet intercept by Lady Pirate Sarah Smith and her drop to Aupperle opened the way for a 30-yarder, again turned aside by Hirst.

At 37:34, Fleenor stopped Casey Broeker's dribbler from the right side and as the clock wound down, Stephanie Hirst's shot was wide right.

That created the 0-0 halftime score with both coaches lauding their team's efforts.

Kyle Becker for St. Mary's told his team they needed to attack more and Lindsey Kurt-Mason told his team they were due to break through.

Again, Pagosa had the first shot of the half, Brittany Corcoran stopped at 41:06 with Hirst again quick to the ball.

But the ensuing St. Mary's possession produced the first score. Stephanie Hirst got the marker after Fleenor came out of net to stop her initial shot.

Fleenor went down in a collision with a defender and Hirst had the net to herself despite a last-minute dive by Smith and Hirst converted at 42:02 to give the visitors a lead they would not relinquish.

Finney came to the fore again at 44:02, blocking a shot by Broeker on a breakaway - and maintaining control for a Pagosa attack.

Fleenor stopped Bethia Barone at 44:52 and for the next several minutes the teams traded defensive gems between the 30s.

St. Mary's hiked the lead to 2-0 at 51:25 when Broker headed in a corner kick from Hirst.

Finney had another block/takeaway two minutes later and then, at 58:04 Hilsabeck's blast from the center left was stopped.

At 63:40 St. Mary's Sarah Maksimowicz, the squad's leading scorer for the season, had a free kick from 20 which went wide right. The next Pagosa possession gave Bri Scott a chance off a lead cross from Corcoran but her drive went wide left.

After another stop by Fleenor and another stop by Hirst of an Aupperle shot, St. Mary's got a third goal at 75:19 with Casey Broeker scoring on an assist by Barone.

Still, Pagosa was not out of the game.

Scott's best chance of the day came at 76:39 when she broke free from the left middle, took a cross from Hilsabeck, and drilled a blast that seemed destined for the upper right corner of the net.

The ball, however, caught the edge of the cross bar and fell harmlessly away.

Still, the hosts were attacking.

Kyrie Beye cut the St. Mary's lead to 3-1 with a 30-yarder looped over Hirst's head at 77:56, the only ball the St. Mary's keeper had been unable to reach.

Koerner had a chance to get the goal back but her drive went over the net. Then, Fleenor was on the spot for a save on a penalty kick .

With time running down and St. Mary's on attack again, Smith and an attacker collided at the 30 and the Pagosan was down for several minutes.

Smith suffered a hip injury and had to have it iced through the balance of the game and afterward.

St. Mary's balanced attack in the second half, coupled with Hirst's play in goal had ended the Pagosa dream.


Scoring: 42:02, St. M.-Stephanie Hirst, unassisted; 51:25, St.M- Broeker, unassisted; 75:19, St.M.- Broeker, assist Barone; 77:56, P-Beye, unassisted. Shots on goal: St.M.-14, P-17. Saves: Hirst, 11, Fleenor, 11.



Jack Osteen

Jack Osteen, of Pagosa Springs, was born February 25, 1930, and died peacefully in his sleep April 29, 2003, in Rosarito, Mexico.

Pagosa always held a special place in Jack's heart, and he spoke highly of the many wonderful people who lived there. His family wants to personally thank everyone for celebrating life with him, and his wolf, Megan.

A special thanks to the Soniat family for their love and support. Jack will be missed by all those who knew him.

He is survived by his daughter Kelly Osteen, and four grandchildren, Christopher 13, Richie 12, Timothy 10, Matthew 16 months.


Inside The Sun

Historic guns, necklace taken from museum

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Some of Pagosa's history has disappeared. Most likely, it can never be replaced.

According to Pagosa Springs Police reports, three guns, a necklace and a slot machine were taken from the San Juan Historical Society Museum at 1st and Pagosa streets. The incident was reported May 1.

Bolt cutters were apparently used to slice through the padlock on the front door and give the burglars access sometime in the early morning hours. A window was also broken.

The missing weapons include two shotguns and a 30-30 rifle. The necklace was made as a special gift for a member of the Rebekah Lodge.

Officer Chuck Allen said no suspects have been identified at this time. However, this break-in is thought to be separate from the string of burglaries reported earlier in the month. Investigation into the case continues.


Recall remains in beginnings of long process

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The petition effort to recall five members of the Upper San Juan Health Service District board of directors continues - but a recall election is not a certainty at this point.

As election commissioner, Archuleta County Clerk June Madrid said she has set Sept. 4 as the tentative election date. As of Wednesday morning, however, no petitions had been turned in to her office.

Circulators have until June 16 to turn in competed petitions. A minimum of 300 valid signatures are required for each individual board member named in the recall - Patty Tillerson, Sue Walan, Wayne Wilson, Ken Morrison and Martha Garcia - in order to move to an election.

Madrid said because of the complexities of a special district recall election, she set the tentative date to allow her to prepare for all the legal requirements involved. Under Colorado law, the election must be held not less than 45 days, nor more than 75 days after petitions are certified sufficient. Time for ballot printing, legal notification and appeals must also be considered.

A recall election also gives voters the chance to seat new members on the board. Madrid said anyone wishing to run for possible open seats on the Upper San Juan Health Service District board must come to the clerk's office prior to June 16 and fill out a self-nomination and acceptance form. The forms are fairly simple and require no additional signatures from registered voters.

Madrid said at this point no one has turned in a self-nomination and acceptance form. Cost of the special election is yet to be determined. Whatever the final figure, it will be the responsibility of the health service district.


First prescribed burns successful; more planned

During the week of April 28, the Pagosa District of the San Juan National Forest successfully burned approximately 950 acres -about 250 in the Kenney Flats area and 700 in the Benson Creek area.

Conditions were favorable and the results were good. Much of the fuel buildup on the ground - large logs, branches and brush - was consumed, which will help reduce the intensity and extreme fire behavior of any wildfire that might occur within the treated area.

Part of the Kenney Flats burn is visible from U.S. 84. Many trees will turn brown within the burn area due to scorch. Most of those trees are still alive and will recover their green needles within a year. Much of the oak will resprout, providing excellent browse conditions for wildlife.

The Forest Service discourages woodcutting within prescribed burn areas for a year following the burn.

Conditions permitting, the district will continue burning during the next few weeks. Typically the window of opportunity closes about May 15.

Prescribed burns are planned for the following areas in order of priority: Benson Creek, Fawn Gulch, Willow Draw, Mule Mountain, and Lower Valle Seco.

The actual order of burning is determined by weather and ground conditions. Before any fire is ignited, all conditions described in an approved burn plan must be met. Those conditions include temperatures, fuel moisture level, wind predictions, smoke dispersal, and available crew, back-up crew and equipment.

Burns will be ignited and monitored by ground crews. The fires will be kept at low intensity and contained with natural and man-made firebreaks.

These projects are part of the National Fire Plan underway across the nation to make public and private lands safer from wildfire by reducing natural fuels buildup.

The prescribed fire improves the health of ponderosa pine stands by reducing competition from Gambel oak, removing ground litter to expose mineral soil for seed germination, and releasing natural minerals and nutrients into the soil.

Local radio announcements will be made just prior to the beginning of each of these prescribed burning projects. For more information contact Pagosa Ranger District, 264-2268, or stop by the office at 118 Pagosa St.


First prescribed burns successful; more planned

During the week of April 28, the Pagosa District of the San Juan National Forest successfully burned approximately 950 acres -about 250 in the Kenney Flats area and 700 in the Benson Creek area.

Conditions were favorable and the results were good. Much of the fuel buildup on the ground - large logs, branches and brush - was consumed, which will help reduce the intensity and extreme fire behavior of any wildfire that might occur within the treated area.

Part of the Kenney Flats burn is visible from U.S. 84. Many trees will turn brown within the burn area due to scorch. Most of those trees are still alive and will recover their green needles within a year. Much of the oak will resprout, providing excellent browse conditions for wildlife.

The Forest Service discourages woodcutting within prescribed burn areas for a year following the burn.

Conditions permitting, the district will continue burning during the next few weeks. Typically the window of opportunity closes about May 15.

Prescribed burns are planned for the following areas in order of priority: Benson Creek, Fawn Gulch, Willow Draw, Mule Mountain, and Lower Valle Seco.

The actual order of burning is determined by weather and ground conditions. Before any fire is ignited, all conditions described in an approved burn plan must be met. Those conditions include temperatures, fuel moisture level, wind predictions, smoke dispersal, and available crew, back-up crew and equipment.

Burns will be ignited and monitored by ground crews. The fires will be kept at low intensity and contained with natural and man-made firebreaks.

These projects are part of the National Fire Plan underway across the nation to make public and private lands safer from wildfire by reducing natural fuels buildup.

The prescribed fire improves the health of ponderosa pine stands by reducing competition from Gambel oak, removing ground litter to expose mineral soil for seed germination, and releasing natural minerals and nutrients into the soil.

Local radio announcements will be made just prior to the beginning of each of these prescribed burning projects. For more information contact Pagosa Ranger District, 264-2268, or stop by the office at 118 Pagosa St.


Public lands salvation is guest speaker's forte

Nationally recognized speaker Gloria Flora will present a free public lecture 2 p.m. May 18 at San Juan College Little Theatre in Farmington on the subject "Sustaining Our Landscapes and Lifestyles: Realities and Responsibilities."

Tweeti Blancett will make the introduction on behalf of San Juan Citizens Alliance, New Mexico Chapter, which is sponsoring the event.

Blancett calls the relationships that have recently developed between the San Juan Basin ranchers and local environmental groups an "unholy alliance."

"We never in a million years thought we would be working so closely with the environmental/conservationist community, but we have surprisingly found a great deal of common ground in our desire to protect the land we live on," said Blancett.

Tweeti and Linn Blancett are longtime ranchers who are now members of the Alliance.

"Gloria Flora is a dynamic speaker who has much insight to offer Basin residents. We especially want local ranchers, private land owners and the many local citizens who use public lands to come out and hear Gloria on this issue," said Tweeti. "Her career has been an exemplary and courageous stand for sustainable and responsible land use," she added.

Flora has received many awards for her work on behalf of public lands in national forests. In 2000, she received the Murie Award from Wilderness Society as Public Land Manager of the Year for her "courageous stewardship of Public Lands" and the Environmental Quality Award for "exemplary resource decision making."

In February 2002, she appeared before a House resources subcommittee, testifying:

"A paradigm shift is required in the political leadership of the rural West. In making decisions, local leaders need to take natural capital, i.e., the real dollar value or replacement value for the goods and services that we get from the land into account.

"The cost of restoring degraded landscapes frequently far exceeds the value of what has been extracted. But, a plan for managing public land as a long-term trust, ensuring we are living off the interest and not depleting the capital, is possible only with the willing, civil participation of all interested parties ..."

Flora is well versed in the complexities of managing difficult environmental issues. In 1997 she made the landmark decision, while Supervisor of Montana's Lewis and Clark National Forest, to prohibit oil and gas leasing of 400,000 acres of the Rocky Mountain Front.

Now in private life, she recently founded the nonprofit foundation, Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, known as SOS, to promote sustainability of public lands.


Community to mark Father John's 80th

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

He's been a part of the Pagosa Springs community 27 years.

In that comparatively brief time, however, he has been a dominant figure on the town scene, and a key in its leadership.

No, he's not the mayor, not a county board member, or a school teacher.

He is the Rev. Father John Bowe, pastor of the Catholic flock of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, a post he has held since 1976, longer than any other active pastor in the community.

While newspaper style books say the term father when referring to a priest is no longer correct, it would be next to lunacy to refer to this man as anything other than Father John. It is a name known throughout the county.

An event sponsored by the Knights of Columbus of his church will celebrate Father John's 80th birthday with a sit-down dinner for the entire community in the Parish Hall on Lewis Street.

It will be a $50-a-plate affair May 23, with proceeds dedicated partly to a gift for the longtime spiritual leader and the balance to purchase of the Stations of the Cross for the new parish campus on South Pagosa Boulevard.

Mayor Ross Aragon is expected to be present during the celebratory dinner to present a key to the town to Father John in honor of his service to the community.

Members of his family also are expected to attend, including Patrick and Joan Bowe of Evanston, Ill., Frances and Bill Cottrell of Bloomington, Minn., Mary and Daniel Paradue of Amelia Island Plantation, Fla.; Tom Bowe of Brookings, Ore.; and Sally and Jim Daubel of Fremont, Ohio.

Father John's actual birthday is May 26.

A World War II Army veteran of service in the Aleutians, he has been a fixture at local services honoring veterans of all wars, and has officiated hundreds of local marriages and funerals.

Music has always been a part of his life and his skills on piano and organ have been termed "remarkable."

Organizers hope the entire community will turn out to salute this man of the cloth for his unending dedication to its members.

Dress will be semiformal and dinner will feature choice of chicken, salmon or steak.

Tickets will be available in the parish office and at the Chamber of Commerce.


New Explorer post forming, first meeting May 13

The Archuleta Sheriff's Department is looking for a few good young men and women to join its new Explorer crew.

The intent is to educate and involve youth in the roles of law enforcement officer, firefighter or search and rescue member, whether or not they intend to enter a related career.

Involving members with local law enforcement, the fire department or search and rescue, the Explorer program establishes an awareness of the complexities of service in each area. Membership is open to anyone between the ages of 14-20.

The objectives of law enforcement component include:

- furthering participants' law enforcement education

- encouraging participation in a rewarding and productive service activity

- enhancing preparation for future roles as citizens and community members.

There will be regular bimonthly meetings where representatives of various law enforcement agencies (federal, state, county, and local) will meet with the members of the law enforcement Explorer Post.

In addition, there will be several activities open to the members of the law enforcement Explorer crew, including:

- history of law enforcement

- patrol procedures

- traffic control and accident investigation

- basic first aid

- radio procedures

- crime prevention techniques

- crime search techniques

- community/public relations

- causes/effects of juvenile delinquency

- ride-alongs with commissioned officers.

Specifics of the firefighting and search and rescue components of the program are being developed and will be available soon.

For an application or to learn more about this informative program, contact Curtis Roderick at 731-1999, Bob Grandchamp, county undersheriff, at 264-2131, or visit the sheriff's department Web site,

Anyone interested may also attend a meeting to be held May 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the county commissioners' meeting room in the courthouse.


Good coverage

Dear Editor:

Just a quick thanks for sending reporters out to cover both fire tours. Their articles were very informative and provided a great review of info even to me, as a participant.

Also, thanks for last week's editorial on the community plan - a much appreciated reminder.

I was surprised to hear of the departure to Colorado Springs of Postmaster Richard Love, who served here for the last decade. I did not see this mentioned in your paper, but believe it is newsworthy to make such acknowledgments of public servants.

I would also like to mention that in addition to curfew and ethics resolutions, the commissioners have a noise resolution on the table. I am particularly interested in seeing the noise issue resolved. It is a pity that we must waste our sheriff's limited budget sending the deputies out on repeated loud noise calls, then tying their hands so they cannot bring resolution to these matters.

Citizens with interest in seeing these issues addressed really should contact the commissioners by calling 264-2536, or drop them an e-mail at kholthus@ to encourage these efforts.


Karen Aspin

Unity disappears

Dear Editor:

Immediately after 9/11 we Americans experienced a feeling of national unity and the whole world was sympathetic to our plight. Together, we endorsed a War on Terrorism.

Unfortunately the unity and sympathy have dissipated. Now anyone who questions our national policies or the president is called "unpatriotic" or an enemy by the far right.

Those Americans who oppose military solutions are labeled "traitors" and "anti-American." Our allies who disagree with our policies are castigated and rebuked.

Liberals have been compared to terrorists and their ideology has even been called "treacherous, selfish and evil." And anyone who takes issue with the president is not only un-American, but "anti-God" and "anti-constitution."

Debate is an important component of democracy. So why is it that so many hot-heads are trying to squelch all debate and dissent? Without an open dialogue, is it any wonder that our short-lived unity has sadly disappeared?

We should all remember those profound words Teddy Roosevelt spoke in 1918: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."


DC Duncan

Harsh action

Dear Editor:

Something doesn't set right with me about a community issue and I'm compelled to air these thoughts. Although I've served this community as an educator for 28 years, I write this letter not as an educator but as a concerned taxpayer.,

My concern focuses on the news report by The SUN (May 1, 2003) about a special school board meeting held April 29, 2003, that resulted in the firing of a Errol Hohrein, a maintenance worker for our school district. I don't question the reporting; I question the reported result of the meeting.

My analysis of the article about Mr. Hohrein's dismissal for voicing his concerns seemed to me to be his plea for higher standards in maintenance, standards that could stretch my tax dollars. But, when Hohrein spoke, the major result was his dismissal on that Tuesday evening.

I wondered why other alternatives for all involved employees of the district were not sought out other than the finality of termination. We live in a small community and that's a harsh way to deal with voiced criticism.

The board indicated they "valued" Mr. Hohrein's information and stated, in point three of Mr. Walter's reportage, they would "review and if appropriate, will direct remedial action" to improve the situation voiced by Mr. Hohrein.

No mention of incompetence of his work or work ethic, nor inappropriate use of funds, or inappropriate use of time was directed toward Hohrein; yet he was dismissed on the grounds of "unauthorized and unqualified" opinions concerning maintenance - dismissed because he talked publicly about ways to improve the maintenance of our educational facilities.

As a taxpayer, I perceive a contradiction.

What better person is qualified to voice an opinion - and a public one - before an elected board than the person carrying out the job?

Where else could he go but to the superintendent and the board? If concerns or grievances are voiced regarding use of time and money to stretch the taxpayers' dollar, will this be the example set - one resulting in dismissal?

Moreover, this sends a startling message to our kids. I would rather remind them it always takes courage and integrity to speak out in a civic way for what they believe is right even though the outcome might affect them adversely - as it did Errol Hohrein.

As a taxpayer, I am saddened with this decision. Obviously, we should always be concerned how our hard-earned tax dollars could best serve us, and concerns to improve how these monies are spent should always be heard without the threat of losing one's job.


Jack Ellis

Editor's note: Hohrein's comments were not made publicly. His remarks were directed to the school board in executive session, not during an open meeting of the board.

Dog problems

Dear Editor:

Up on the hill here near the golf course we've been having a bit of a problem with loose dogs. Dogs are wonderful critters. But I've never been able to understand why dog owners think it is OK for their pets to use their next door neighbor's yard as their executive restroom.

Furthermore, many elderly residents can no longer walk on the streets here because dogs accost them.

In particular, there are two Labradors (normally a most pleasant breed) that have the manners of inner city gangster thugs. You can hang out with them nightly around Holiday Avenue.

Please folks, restrain your animals. Keep them and everything that comes out of them in the friendly confines of your own property.

Earnestly awaiting your kind cooperation:

Lawrence Hansen

Needs volunteers

Dear Editor:

If you are interested in learning about the history of the San Juan Basin and its early settlers, the San Juan Historical Society's Pioneer Museum, according to many visitors the best little museum in the state of Colorado, will open on May 26 and we are looking for volunteers who would enjoy working a morning shift 9-12:30 or an afternoon shift 12:30-4:00. Please call Ann at 731-5080 if interested.

Ann Oldham

Water woe

Dear Editor:

The water board has decided, for some reason, that it is now OK to water lawns every other day. I look at the mountains and the reservoirs and have come up with a different suggestion.

I suggest that those of us who care about our entire community and the water/drought situation continue to ration water, using as little as necessary. Those whose primary concern is only themselves, go on ahead and fling our precious water around. It is legal, I guess.

Bonnie Runyan


Dear Editor:

I wish to address the misconception stated in Ms. Ferrell's letter of last week, regarding the levels of expertise, etc., among members of the current board of directors for the USJHSD.

Our chairman, newly elected, is a certified mediator; members include a professional labor relations person, an insurance executive, a retired medical school administrator, an engineer with two advanced degrees (one in medicine), a CPA and newly-elected retired physician.

The former district manager resigned just months after four of these board members took office. It was they who began the process to correct all the former abuses. They took their time in recruiting a successor as they did not want to repeat the errors of the former board.

We hired our current manager only after extensive interviews by a committee that included representatives of EMS, the clinic and the clinic physicians. Before any decision was made, a complete background check was ordered, which was not done before, and the candidate then met with all employees except one physician who did not believe it necessary. Following this, the board was given unanimous feedback that this was the individual we needed to bring the district back into compliance.

Dee Jackson arrived to find no current chain of command structure, outdated personnel policies that were not enforced, no employee grievance policy, no oversight of purchases, etc. And, of course, the public is well aware of the dire financial shortages she was faced with immediately. Under her direction, working with employees, financial improvements resulted.

The board is well-qualified to move this district forward and increase areas of health delivery not before available, but only with your confidence and patience as we move through the current challenges.

Patty Tillerson

Poignant study

Dear Editor:

The fifth- and sixth-grade class of School-Within-A-School recently studied World War II, inspired by the museums and monuments they saw on their field trip to Washington, D.C., last November.

They worked for weeks on their own museum which "opened" for one day, April 29, National Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The class thanks the veterans who came through and spoke, especially Bruce Muirhead, who brought his medals, maps and diary and who shared them with all the classes which came in during a five-hour period.

The class recognizes United Methodist Church because its thrift shop loaned them vintage uniforms and clothing which lifted their presentation to a new level.

Studying WW II history was especially poignant at this time. The students in SWS hope their fellow schoolmates learned something about the world events in the 1940s and that they honor the sacrifices made by Americans and allies in WW II and now.

Suzette Youngs


Community News

Senior News

Special Mother's Day features planned at the center

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Mother's Day is a big deal at the Senior Center.

We will have the Red Hat Society here to serve cookies to everyone (wonder what they'll wear?). We are also lucky enough to have a high school band from Nazareth, Texas, to play for us, so there should be a whole lot of music going on.

We will present a small gift to each of our ladies, so be sure to visit us at the center Friday.

Please note there will be no 9:30 a.m. yoga class May 13.

We are planning a trip to Chimney Rock May 22. Bill Pongratz (a Silver Fox himself) will lead the tour for our "Silver Foxes Day" at 10:30 a.m. The cost is up to you. Make your donation at Chimney Rock.

If you are interested, please sign up at the center and we will try to get a van. If you can drive and bring others, let us know at sign up.

We are going to start dancing here in June. The plan is still in the works, but we will have John Graves and company here at the Senior Center every other month. They will play after lunch, so if you want to stay and dance, the cost is just $2, which will go to the band. Keep reading Senior News to find out when this will start.

Be reminded that we're trying to drum up interest in three different programs: a chess club, a chronic illness support group or people interested in getting a living will or power of attorney. If you want to participate in any of these classes, or want to see something else started here, please call Laura or Musetta and state your opinion.

We mentioned this idea last month, but we'd like some volunteers to listen to and record the stories of some of our seniors. The older we get, the more we have done and learned in our lives, and our seniors have some amazing stories to tell.

Some have already written their stories using the new found computer skills that Sam, our computer instructor, has given them. One cannot help but learn and appreciate life more by listening to stories of how life used to be, so being a volunteer for such an endeavor can be very worthwhile. Volunteers of all ages wanted. Give us a call and we will match you up with a storyteller.

Elder Watch flash

"Hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S., including 30,000 in Florida, have purchased phony health insurance. It's part of a new scam to sell coverage for individual families and small businesses," warns the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. You may be called by an agent, see an ad or get material in the mail. Typically, rates are said to be "25 percent to 50 percent" below normal, and coverage easy to obtain. You also may be asked to join an association and write a premium check.

Be careful. Never reply to slick literature or high-pressure sales pitches. Ask questions and check the facts. Contact your state insurance department. Is the company licensed in your state? Any complaints? Watch for slight differences in names. Phony outfits often choose a name resembling that of a legitimate health insurance company. To learn more, visit

Walking Awards Day was as big a success as the start of the program. Certificates were awarded for everyone who participated, and prizes were given out for the biggest increases in walking. We are very pleased with the number of people we got walking this winter, and quite a few are pledging to keep walking this summer.

Too much vitamin A?

Last year, a study revealed that women who got too much vitamin A were more likely to suffer hip fractures.

Now it turns out men are also at increased risk. In a recent Swedish study, researchers analyzed blood samples from 2,047 men for 30 years. Those with the highest levels of vitamin A in their blood were 1.6 times more likely to break a bone than men with moderate levels of the vitamin, and hip fractures were 2.5 times more common.

For optimal health, the authors suggest following the current recommended dietary allowance for vitamin A: 3,000 IU for men and 2,330 for women.

Because many foods such as milk, pastries and breakfast cereals are often fortified with extra amounts of the nutrient, we may inadvertently get more: simply taking a multivitamin along with your morning cereal can put you over the limit. Don't give up fortified foods, just pay attention to those nutrition labels.

Get out your sunscreen, hats and paddles. We are going on a rafting trip this spring, if the water cooperates. All seniors who are interested, give us a call and make your reservations.

Book talk

This is an idea inspired from an AARP Web site. Book Talk will meet once a month to discuss a current book. We will meet the last Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. In May, the date will be the 28th. The suggested book for May is "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden. We need a host or hostess to lead the discussion. Are you interested? Call Laura at 264-2167.

Guests and visitors: We welcomed back Bobbie and Carroll Carruth this week. It's nice to have them back as we can always count on Carroll for a song. Nancy Fryer brought her husband, Dan Senjem, and father, Gideon, on Friday.

Upcoming events

Tomorrow: 10 a.m., QiGong; 11 a.m., Medicare counseling; noon, celebrate Mother's Day as Red Hat Society serves cookies; 12:30 p.m. Nazareth (Texas) high school band plays.

May 12: 1 p.m. bridge for fun.

May 13: 10:30 a.m., advanced computer class; no yoga today.

May 14: 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class.


Veterans Corner

Information about service-connected disabilities available at VSO

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

Many veterans' illnesses or impairments can be directly related to their service in the military in particular areas of duty and action.

Being wounded or injured in combat is fairly obvious. Familiar to many would be afflictions that relate to Agent Orange from duty in Vietnam.

But many health concerns are lesser known by veterans, and they may be eligible for compensation claims with the VA.

Looking for these physical and mental disorders is part of the interview process when meeting with a new veteran we do not have information on in this office.

When I ask veterans if they have disorders that might be related to their service in the military, frequently the answer is an emphatic no. But in-depth discussion and during the interview process, we actually uncover something wrong with the veteran that in fact may relate to their military service.

Subtle SC losses

An example might be a veteran who has lost some portion of his hearing. This might have been caused while he was involved with artillery or working around aircraft while in the military.

This can be a very important connection. Hearing (and vision) are frequently considered part of the aging process by the VA and are not routinely covered in its health care program, unless the disability is documented as service-connected by a VA compensation claim, or unless the veteran has a certain percentage of service-connected disability for other disorders.

In other words, the VA won't provide hearing aids or eyeglasses, unless the veteran has a service-connected disability.

Compensation earned

Veterans may be eligible for compensation for many reasons due to their duty in the military.

It may be for injuries sustained playing sports while in the military. Current medical evidence of an impairment that can be connected to military medical evidence is the key to unlocking a compensable claim.

If the VA approves a claim, the veteran may receive compensation payment, and perhaps most important, free VA health care for the health problem.

When one considers the cost of major medical services these days, this can be a very important factor in the quality of life for a veteran, both physical and financial. Also, compensation payments for a VA service-connected disability are not taxed.

Presumptive disabilities

The VA may consider certain disabilities "presumptive."

As previously mentioned, Agent Orange connection in Vietnam is one of the most prevalent. Illnesses such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, chloracne, Type II diabetes, Hodgkin's disease, porphyria cutenea tarda, respiratory cancers, multiple myeloma, peripheral neuropathy and prostate cancer are some examples of disorders that can be Agent Orange presumptive.

The more recent Gulf War has a number of presumptive ailments, but many are still under study.

Gulf War Syndrome is a common name for some disorders, as yet not fully understood by medical studies.

One disorder that has come up recently as possibly connected to the Gulf War is Lou Gehrig's disease. Some findings show veterans of the Gulf War are twice as likely to develop this disease than other veterans.

Unique to conditions

Of course, military service and exposure during the heyday of atomic bomb testing opens many cans of worms for veterans.

Most U.S. military conflicts carry unique areas of medical concern.

I have a great deal of information covering this subject. The information presented here should only be considered a guide.

I urge every veteran to come in and see me about any areas of concern they might have.

The process for filing a compensation claim is quite complicated and lengthy, and can take as much as one to two years to be adjudicated by the VA. So the sooner a claim is filed, the better.

Also, should a claim be decided in favor of the veteran, the compensation might be retroactive to the beginnings of the claim.

For information on these and other veterans' benefits call or stop by the Veterans Service Office on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the fax number is 264-5949, and e-mail is The office is open 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

Lucky to have had Jay's vision for community

We at the Chamber of Commerce want to express our deep appreciation to departing Town Manager Jay Harrington, for years of outstanding service to our community. Karl Isberg covered Jay's many and varied contributions in his editorial a few weeks ago, but I need to tell Jay how much we will miss him.

We were extremely lucky to have someone with Jay's expertise and vision for 10 years, and we all owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his invaluable legacy to Pagosa Springs. We can only hope that Telluride will embrace and appreciate his remarkable talent.

On a personal note, I feel I'm losing a son and great friend. Jay and I have worked together on myriad projects over the years with nary an unpleasant word, so personally and professionally I will miss the kid.

We wish Jay, Jennifer and Frankie all the happiness and success in the world with their new, excellent adventure in Telluride and can only hope they will remember all the people here in Pagosa who care so much about them.

Weekend warriors

If anyone is looking for a fun way to while away a few hours on the summer weekends, I believe the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center may be just the ticket.

Our weekdays are nicely covered as well as Sundays, but our Saturdays need some help. The shifts are 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and 1-5 p.m.

I assure you that you will have a ball, and our Diplomats will back me up on that one. It's a great way to meet the most interesting people and share tons of information about Pagosa Springs.

One of our Diplomats once commented that it was her very favorite "job" and indeed, all the Diplomats concur. Some have been doing this "job" since the '80s and come back year after year.

If you are interested in volunteering (even in an alternate capacity) please give Morna a call at 264-2360. You'll love it.


We're proud to introduce three new members to the fold this week and five renewals. Life is good.

Donna Kelley joins us with the Pagosa Candy Company at 420 Pagosa St., down just a few steps but well worth the trip. The Pagosa Candy Company is an "olde tyme" candy store specializing in candy bouquets, balloons, homemade fudge and chocolates. You will also find truffles, Jelly Belly's and novelty candies, as well as sugar free candies and fudge. If you would like to learn more about these tasty treats, please give Donna a call at 264-3033. We're grateful to Pam Schoemig, Chamber Diplomat and former owner of this property, for recruiting these folks and will send Pam a free SunDowner pass along with our gratitude for encouraging Chamber membership.

We're delighted to welcome back our friends, Andy and Angela Bauer, with Edelweiss Roofing and Construction, LLC, with offices in their home. Andy and Angela took a brief hiatus but are back with us, and we couldn't be more pleased. Edelweiss Roofing and Construction offers years and years of experience, including German Trade school to prevent problems before they occur. You can also count on the very finest local craftsmen available. Please give Andy and Angela a call at 264-0345 to learn more about Edelweiss Roofing and Construction.

Our third new member this week is Stephen M. Conway with United International Investment, d.b.a. High Peaks Affordable Homes at 802 Rosita St. High Peaks Affordable Homes provides conventional stick-built homes at affordable prices. You will find three-bedroom, two-bath, two-car garage homes beginning at $121,000. Zero-down construction financing is available. To learn more, please call Stephen at 264-6150.

Our renewals this week include Judy Gentry with the Pagosa Real Estate Store; Alex Michel with AAM's Mild to Wild Rafting in Durango; Kim and Stuart Bishop with Skyview Motel; Jeff Laydon with Pagosa Photography; and associate members, Diplomats Ella and Sam McNatt. We are grateful to one and all.

Music in the Mountains

Once again I encourage you to purchase your tickets for all three or just one or two of this year's Music in the Mountains concerts. The price is right, folks, especially when you consider what you would pay for such programs in cities that can't possibly compete with the splendor of the BootJack Ranch setting.

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.

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

Not long ago, nearly 1,200 fourth- and fifth-graders from throughout the region, including many from Pagosa Springs, went to the Fort Lewis College Community Concert Hall for two introductory concerts demonstrating all the instrumental groups. Music in the Mountains rented the hall, and Fort Lewis faculty and students performed.

When these "Taste of Music" concerts were inaugurated three years ago in Durango, enrollment in instrumental music shot up 25 percent the following year. We hope to be hearing more sounds of music in Pagosa Springs in the years ahead as a result of this program.

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 fabulous opportunity. 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.

Dinner meeting

You can still attend the Habitat for Humanity Friends of Habitat Dinner meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat, 2297 U.S. 84.

The Habitat folks are looking for volunteers to help them build their eleventh house and hope you will join them for the meeting and free dinner.

Friends of Habitat is the volunteer branch of Habitat for Humanity and offer volunteer opportunities in many areas. Please RSVP to Judy Clare at 264-0025 to become a part of this worthy community endeavor.

Colorado Getaways

Tune in Saturday to "Colorado Getaways" on Denver's Channel 4, KCNC-TV, at 6:30 p.m. for a special feature on The Springs Resort.

Doug Whitehead, award-winning producer and photojournalist of "Colorado Getaways" visited The Springs Resort in April to film the changes at the resort and meet with co-owners, Bill and Eva Dawson, and Matt and Lois Mees.

Despite inclement weather, Doug has produced a first-class piece featuring the new bathhouse, new pools, interviews with Bill Dawson and Shelley Roman (guest services manager) and a review of the historical significance of the Great Spring.

Clean-Up Week

Hizzoner Mayor Ross Aragon has proclaimed the week of May 11-17 as Clean-Up Week 2003 in Pagosa Springs and invites each and every one to participate.

Some of our organizations have already been busy on the highway or in their own neighborhoods and we commend them.

I remind you that it really doesn't have to be a large group - every individual can be their very own cleanup crew.

Please stop by the Chamber to pick up an orange garbage bag or two and do your part when you're walking the dog or just plain walking around your neighborhood.

Please check The SUN for more details about location of Dumpsters, towing of junk cars and junk removal. If you have further questions, call 364-4151, Ext. 231.

Scholarship tournament

You are invited to sign up for the Lauren White Scholarship Golf Tournament to be held Saturday with all proceeds going to the Lauren White Scholarship Fund.

The fun begins with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. with a four-person scramble format. Each player will receive a gift bag, and two holes will reward a hole-in-one with $5,000.

Cost is $50 per player, and lunch will be served. Everyone is invited to participate and various prizes and giveaways will take place throughout the day. Please call or drop by the Golf Shop to sign up or call 731-4755 with questions.

Spring photo workshop

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photo Club presents the 2003 spring photo workshop.

The event features the work of local wildlife and scenic photographer, John Taylor, beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Taylor Ranch in the Upper Piedra.

Cost for this workshop is $85 for PSAC members and $125 for nonmembers which includes your new PSAC membership.

John Taylor is a local award-winning photographer who enjoys sharing his photographic expertise with others.

The Taylor Ranch features many photo opportunities for exploring our local wildlife, flora, history and the rustic ranch lifestyle. After a tour of the ranch, participants will take a scenic sunset drive up the Middle Fork Road for a camp-style supper. Please call Jeff Laydon at 264-3686 or the arts council at 264-5020.

On a personal note, I have two John Taylor photos, and they are exquisite. He does beautiful work that exemplifies the grandeur of our area.

Fiesta cancellation

It is with great regret that the Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club announces the cancellation of the 2003 Spanish Fiesta.

High costs and lack of participation are among the several culprits forcing the group to cancel this time-honored event.

The decision was difficult and disappointing for them, and they hope to come back in 2004 with a bigger-and-better-than-ever Spanish Fiesta.


Library News

Handouts deal with water conservation

Come in and take some of the excellent handout materials we have on all aspects of water conservation.

I am especially interested in the facts and suggestions on changing the landscape of an area. As much as 50 percent of household water is used for the yard and garden.

By surveying your yard and following a few simple suggestions, you can save not only water but also your time and effort. One handout gives names of plants for different areas including hot, steep slopes and narrow planting strips.

Avoid grouping plants with different water needs together in the same irrigation zone. Did you know that spruce need more water than pines? Keep rock or gravel areas to a minimum. They tend to increase air and soil temperature. Instead, consider wood chips as they retain moisture and use natural riverbed cobble of varying sizes.

We have volumes of great information on xeric plants and water efficient landscaping. You will learn to love the new plant names such as "Plumbago," "Border Jewell Polyngonum" and "Prostrate Speedwell."

Learning online

We have a list of Web sites for online opportunities in Colorado. There are both two-year and four-year colleges and universities participating in educational opportunities. Ask for a free copy of a list of these institution Web sites.

New book

"Lean Bean Cuisine," has to be read just for the title. Jay Solomon gives us over 100 tasty meatless recipes from around the world.

We're finally at the point where the good doctor suggests that it would be best if we pay attention to the evil word "cholesterol." It appears that the miracle bean is important in this quest to eat well without the meat, eggs and cheese we love so much.

The recipes in this book are unusually good. Nothing humdrum here. The term "beans" refers to the legume family which includes split peas, lentils and peanuts. There are hundreds of varieties of legumes. For centuries, beans have played a major role from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, from our Southwest to South America; from Africa to Asia. From hummus to Boston baked beans - beans are the world's gift to us.

We now recognize that beans are "power food," loaded with nutrients and fiber while low in fat and calories. Bean bloat or the "bane of beans," is also discussed with recommendations as to how you can build your body's tolerance to this one drawback to the power food.

Library funding

Still no word from Denver as to the status of funding. The wait continues.


Thanks for a donation from Sally, Scott and Courtenay Hameister in memory of Lee Sterling. Thanks for materials from Scotty Gibson, Molly Dorr, Anna O'Reilly, Inge Tinklenberg, Ken and Jan Brookshier, Don and Elaine Rickard.


Births Melanie and JayDee Brunson proudly announce the birth of their daughter, Jayden Marie Brunson. She was ushered into this world at 11:52 p.m. April 15, 2003, in Durango, weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces and measuring 19 inches. Happily welcoming Jayden's birth are her maternal grandparents, LeeRoy and Debbie Lucero; paternal grandparents, Rod and Mary Brunson; great-grandparents Bill and Rose Facker, Stella Lucero and the late Victor Lucero and Helen Brunson; and great-great-grandmother, Lilly Gurule.



Gary and Deanna Rader would like to announce the engagement of their daughter, Leanndra Jo Gregorita, to David Fox, son of Rick and Mary Jo Fox of Maumee, Ohio. Leanndra is a graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, Mo. She received a bachelor of science degree in English. David will be a senior at Evangel where he is studying criminal justice and is a starting football player. The wedding is set for July 19, 2003, in Springfield. Leanndra is the granddaughter of Santana and Emma Lujan of Pagosa Springs.


Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy Humphreys were married April 17, 2003, by longtime friend and pastor Al DeBoer. The intimate ceremony was held in Lake City, Colo., with parents Mr. and Mrs. Arnolf Eriksen of Norway and Mr. and Mrs. Dick Humphreys attending. A reception was held at Community Bible Church in Pagosa Springs. The couple met while serving with Youth With a Mission, and plan to make their home in Turkey.



Alive at 25

Course focuses on defensive driving

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

In the last year and a half, five Pagosans between the ages of 15 and 24 died in motor vehicle accidents.

Of those killed, two were not wearing seatbelts. Alcohol was involved in one of the four accidents.

Nationwide, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for people in this age group - topping both suicide and homicide. In fact, people aged 16-24 are twice as likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash than any other age group - for a variety of reasons.

Peer pressure.


Rebellion, or a desire to take risks.

Belief in immortality.

Improper training.

Saturday, two off-duty Colorado state patrol troopers faced a group of 10 youths in this age range to try and make a difference in the statistics. These 12 people represented the first-ever Alive at 25 class held in Pagosa Springs.

"I wanted to do something besides write a ticket," Trooper Nick Rivera told the group during introductions. "We want to prevent you from being the one we have to roll up on and put in a body bag or take to jail."

Alive at 25 is a defensive driving class sponsored by the National Safety Council. The course, designed to be an early intervention program to prevent traffic violations, collisions and fatalities, is open to anyone ages 15-24 and includes at least four hours of classroom instruction using discussion, workbook exercises, videos and a Power Point presentation. Alive at 25 is open to both volunteers and court-ordered students.

Troopers Rivera and Doug Wiersma took turns leading the discussion, keeping the class as informal as possible.

Nine of the 10 students attending Pagosa's first class were volunteers. When asked, most said they decided to attend at their parents' behest. Others cited a tendency toward a heavy foot or previous accidents as reasons for giving up a Saturday morning - the Saturday morning of the Pagosa Springs prom nonetheless.

"I'm confident about my driving, but I forget to watch for everybody else," one student said, "and I'm bad about changing the radio while I'm driving."

Drisa Corrizo said having friends in the car can be distracting.

"I've been in my share of accidents the last two years," she said, "and I've had two friends killed in accidents." The impact of those accidents was enough to make Corrizo and her friends take it slow for a little while. But, eventually, she said, the impact starts to wear off.

Wiersma started out by telling the students that no one - and that includes state patrol officers - is perfect. Most everyone has a ticket or an accident in their past. The objectives of the class, he said, are to improve participants' skills in recognizing bad driving decisions, understanding the consequences and making good decisions.

"Ninety-nine point nine, nine percent of the time, you have control over what you do in any given situation," Wiersma said. Weather is perhaps one exception. A deer running into the road might be another - although even then going slower at night or in known areas where animals cross the road might help reduce the danger of a bad accident. "We want to teach you how to handle those situations you can control."

They tried to drive home the idea of consequences early in the class using a video created by the Golden Fire Department titled "Mechanism of Injury." The 8-minute video set to rock-and-roll tunes such as "Highway to Hell," flashed through graphic images of fatal accidents, twisted metal and broken bodies. The camera caught firefighters covering the faces of the dead, the blood, even dismemberment.

The images were enough to make three students put their heads down. One left the room.

"I thought the music was pretty inappropriate," Corrizo said. "It was insensitive to those who knew people who something like that happened to."

Rivera apologized for the shock of the video, but said it is important for everyone to be aware of the reality and responsibility that goes along with getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

"One of the realities of life is death," he said. "It's not like a video game. You can't hit reset. What's done is done. You can't go back. We can show you all the numbers, but this brings it to life."

And saving a life can be as easy as taking the time to wear a seatbelt, choosing not to drink and drive or going the right speed for road conditions.

In Colorado, in 2001, 204 people between the ages of 15 and 25 were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of those, nearly 60 percent - 119 - were not wearing their seatbelts. Of those, 108 were ejected from the vehicle.

Therein lies the problem, Wiersma told the group. Because of the velocity and physics involved, people who do not choose to wear a seatbelt are far more likely to be thrown through a widow during an accident. Not only that, but they usually end up being thrown into the path of the vehicle and crushed.

Rivera said every once in awhile he takes an informal poll of local drivers to see what the seatbelt usage is here. In one recent test, he stood on Hot Springs Boulevard right after the high school let out and just observed the passing cars. In only about one of every 10 vehicles did both the driver and passenger have their seatbelts in place.

"In Pagosa, seatbelt use is really low," he said.

In a poll of the Alive at 25 class, nine of the ten said they wear seatbelts regularly. The holdout said seatbelts were simply too uncomfortable.

Other tips the officers discussed with the class included: taking their time, leaving a minimum following distance of about three seconds between themselves and the next vehicle, and scanning their mirrors frequently to increase awareness of the environment behind them.

Speeding, Rivera said, might allow a driver to reach a destination one or two minutes sooner, but the risks are high. Taking a corner too fast, or passing unsafely might cause an accident. Or, it could mean an expensive ticket, even more time wasted and points off a license.

"It takes me about 16 minutes to write a ticket for speeding," he said. That's going to make the driver and passengers really late. If seatbelts aren't being worn, that's a secondary violation that can cost a driver even more. After all, he said, the driver is responsible for everyone in the vehicle.

They spent a little extra time on drinking and driving. Among the 204 young people killed in Colorado in 2001, 47 died in alcohol-related incidents.

The true horror of those incidents, of any fatal accident, is not in the blood and guts of the scene, but the aftermath. The pain of families - mothers, sisters, brothers left behind. Of promises left unfulfilled.

The hardest part, Rivera said, is going to the door of a family whose teen-ager has just been killed in an accident and knocking.

"Right away, somehow people know and the start breaking down," he said, "and then the trooper still has to say, 'I'm sorry to inform you '"

It's all about the choices made when a driver gets behind the wheel.

For the next Alive at 25 class scheduled in Pagosa Springs, check the Web site at Cost is $25 for volunteer students and $50 for court-ordered students. Tuition covers classroom materials, paid instructors and instructor training.


Pagosa's Past

When nostalgia grips an oldtimer

Every once in a while a historian, even one who is completely objective and detached while digging up legends, runs smack into an overwhelming siege of nostalgia.

For me, the most detached of the detached, it happens every spring when I see a wild violet or hear the red winged blackbirds calling. At such times, awash in wistful reminiscing about bygone times, I have been known to stare vacantly out the window for hours in a westerly direction hoping for one more vision of my boyhood home in Oregon.

Aggravating the malady is the fact that I've just interviewed someone about my age, or even younger, and filled my note pad with history facts all too familiar. I remember well using kerosene lamps because we didn't have electricity, braving the biting cold of dark winter nights to traipse out back to the outhouse, carrying water to the house from the outside pump, and walking three miles to the one-room schoolhouse, breaking into a run so as not to be late when I heard the bell tolling.

Sure I remember. A building only has to be 50 years old to qualify for the National Register of Historic Places. I raced past that marker years ago.

Right now, out there where I grew up, an almost infinite variety of wildflowers are laughing in the sun, laughing if they can find a place where someone hasn't built a house or highway. Yes, Grants Pass, Oregon, has experienced development. The last time I visited there, I couldn't even find the remote log cabin so often the focus of my dreams.

You may laugh if I tell you that even the old outhouse stirs nostalgic memories, a fondness not grounded in logic or common sense.

Our family called it "The Diamond In the Rough," not that the old two-holer was any kind of a gem. The name described the openings in the seat, and the roughness of the lumber supporting one's posterior portions.

We'd moved again. Every oldtimer whose family worked in the lumber mills knows that story. When we moved, dad got out the hammer and the saw, bought a sack of 16-penny nails, hauled in some reject lumber, erected a building, tacked tarpaper to the roof, and we had another house.

Nature being what it was and the construction of even a tarpaper shack requiring some time, one project was more important than the house. First there had to be an outhouse.

You didn't need a permit or government inspection in those days when outhouses were not only legal, they were respectable.

If the construction was a little shoddy, if there were cracks between the boards, all the better. A little breeze drifting through the cracks definitely made breathing in less of a challenge. We didn't have spray cans full of Irish Spring Mist in those days.

When Dad finished the project, the family gathered round to inspect his work.

One glance told me this two-holer was different. The holes were diamond shaped. I circumspectly gauged the geometric proportions of everyone in the family as to radius, circumference, and such. Not one of the posteriors matched the shape of those holes.

"Dad," I said. "Have you noticed those holes aren't shaped right?"

"Well," he said, biting off a chaw and working it into his mouth. "Well, I didn't have the right kind of saw to cut circles, so I did the best I could. Would you rather wait a few days until I can get the right saw so you can enjoy the comfort of hoity-toity round holes." Kersplat. The first missive from the moving mass in his mouth found it's way through one of the diamond-shaped apertures.

We were silent for a moment. When Dad's mouth milled around that fast, it was a sign that he was struggling to hang on to his temper.

"Oh, no!" we all shouted in unison as we lined up.

Personally, I could never figure out why outhouses had two holes. I never saw more than one person at a time use one.

Years later, an engineer explained that two holes helped balance the weight so the outhouse wouldn't tilt to one side. Another engineer swore that, with only one hole, anyone seated on that hole would create a vacuum and not be able to get up. Two holes break the vacuum, kind of like opening the lid on a gas can so the gas will pour.

The seat of our outhouse was made of unplaned lumber, rough and full of splinters. A couple of embarrassing, exploratory probes involving Mom's tweezers taught me not to fidget while attached to the seat. Where ever you sat down, that was where you stayed, no sliding around.

An outhouse filled a need in our lives back then that the modern bathroom, with all of its convenience, comfort, and sterility, cannot satisfy. The outhouse was a sanctuary, a place to hide, feel joy, sorrow, remorse, and relief. Some of my greatest plans and wildest dreams took place in the outhouse.

Especially helpful for dreaming was the Montgomery Ward catalog filled with pictures of toys, games, sporting equipment, fishing poles, clothes - mostly things I hadn't seen much of. The outside world came to life in the outhouse.

I admit a flush of anger when I discovered a page missing which had a picture of a rod and reel I had been drooling over. With a whole catalog to choose from, why was it necessary to tear out my page? Personally, I always tore off pictures of furniture, clothing, appliances - things no one cared about anyway.

My anger melted when I discovered a picture of cowboy boots and drifted off into a world of cowboys and Indians.

Outhouses are no longer acceptable in these days of wall-to-wall people. The truth is, you're not supposed to say the word in polite society. We have become a very sterile people. My outhouse remains where it belongs, in my memories of our "Diamond in the Rough."



Ready for summer

With Saturday's prom and the upcoming high school graduation not three weeks away, with field days being held on the playing fields, the end of the spring sports season in sight and final exams on the way, it is clear the school year is coming to an end and summer vacation is about to begin.

For years, a complaint has been heard at this time of the year: "There's nothing for kids to do around here. What are they going to do over the summer?"

A notice in this week's edition brings to mind the reality that renders the complaint without substance. That reality is: There is too much for one youngster to do in Pagosa Country - during summer vacation or during the school year. If any search is required, it is to reveal opportunities before a choice is made.

This community provides its youngsters with as many or more opportunities as any community its size and the overwhelming majority of our kids take advantage of one or more of them, spending their time engaged in positive and constructive activities.

The notice printed his week comes from Undersheriff Bob Grandchamp at the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office. In it Grandchamp tells us a new Explorer Scout program is being organized, for young men and women ages 14-20 who are interested in law enforcement, firefighting or search and rescue. The program will allow youngsters to get involved with the agencies and individuals providing these services to Archuleta County residents and it will give them basic instruction in the skills needed to pursue their interests further, perhaps to a career.

In addition to this Explorer group, two Boy Scout troops and the Cub Scouts allow our young men interested in scouting to partake of one of the world's great traditions. The Girl Scouts add their programs to the mix, and scouting is well served in the area.

With summer comes an acceleration of local 4-H activities, with the summer's-end county fair as a target. The 4-H program has long been a major draw for our youth, providing them with a wide variety of skills and character-building activities - from livestock projects to arts and crafts. Our 4-H has managed over the years to reflect our rural heritage while adapting to accommodate new interests.

The arts council offers summer programs for kids, classes at the Arts Camp that introduce youngsters to the arts and open avenues for expression. The town of Pagosa Springs has its Park Fun program for campers as young as five, providing a full spectrum of recreational and educational experiences.

Sport draws a substantial number of local youngsters to ball fields and gyms during the summer months. The town's T-ball and baseball programs, a private baseball club, and basketball and volleyball clubs operate during the summer and enroll large numbers of our kids. The local swim team has provided young athletes with opportunities to compete on a state level for more than a decade. Young people compete in rodeo, including the Fun Day rodeo series and soccer players have opportunities to get on the field for training. Several church-sponsored groups involve youth in numerous activities.

For those who complain about a lack of things to do, there is only one response: There is a surfeit of options; pick one or two, and enjoy.

It is time to find the right program for your youngster - one that entertains as well as teaches and reinforces skills. It is also time for adults - whether parents or not - to pitch in and help, to volunteer the hours and expertise that pay big dividends for the kids, and for all of us.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Another homophone review

By Richard Walter

Once again, valued readers, it is time for homophones, those inexplicably same sounding words which have altogether different meanings.

Sometimes, in fact, the same word spelling has a different pronunciation and meaning, depending on how it is used.

Some linguists say homophones are the key stumbling blocks in deciphering languages other than our own because they give pause over definition.

One of the most common of the same spelling different meaning words is tear. Used one way it indicates a drop of moisture falling from the eye. Used another, it means to separate fabric or paper into separate pieces.

An example of two words spelled differently but pronounced the same might be sheer and shear. One is an abrupt or steep precipice, the other a means of removing wool for a sheep's body.

Another of the words with different meanings, depending on use form, is swipe. In one context it means to steal; in another, to wipe across softly.

Sometimes there are multiple words with the same pronunciation, all with different meanings.

For example, rite (a special service or event), write (imprint words by hand on a surface, usually paper), right (correct, or the opposite of left) and wright (a wood worker) all have the same verbalization but each obviously has a divergent definition.

The list seems endless:

Steel (a metal alloy) and steal (to take without permission), ale (a fermented drink) and ail (to be ill), hare (rabbit) and hair (hirsute covering on the body) or, air, (we breathe it) err (to make a mistake) and heir (the one who thinks he or she will inherit our wealth - ha!).

You may stumble over a word because you've heard another pronounced the same way or one spelled the same pronounced differently.

How about pair, pare and pear - words consecutively defining two of something, cutting a peeling off, or a popular fruit.

And then there is bass. In music a basso profundo or bass (pronounced base) singer has a deep resonant voice. In the everyday world a word spelled the same designates a game fish.

Blue is a color of the spectrum but blew is the past tense of blow, indicating effect of a windy force.

Add to the list cheep (a faint shrill sound as made by a chick) and cheap (low cost and sometimes used to mean inferior).

A crane can be a member of a family of tall wading birds or it can be a machine used for lifting and moving unusually heavy objects.

An eye is the orb with which we see, but an aye is a vote of agreement.

To die is to cease to live while dye indicates a changing of hue or basic color.

A ball is a round object used in a game, i.e., baseball, soccer ball, basketball. But bawl means to cry or cry out loudly.

Beat has many definitions, the most common meaning to defeat. Beet, however, has only one meaning -  an edible garden plant.

This course in homophones was not intended to be a coarse grating on your senses.


90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of May 9, 1913

A forest fire on the Blanco River below the Basin this week burned over about 500 acres of timber land. With the high winds prevailing and the dry weather those fighting the fire must have worked to good advantage to confine it to such a small area.

Jim Carlin, the logger, has purchased a small but complete mill and is preparing to start in saw-milling for himself. The location of the mill has not been made public.

It is now said that D.K. Bean, who was the lone occupant of the county jail when it caught fire recently and who claims to have had a narrow escape from cremation, is to sue the county for false imprisonment and for confining him in an unsafe place.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 11, 1928

While much work was accomplished Sunday by the volunteers from Pagosa Springs and Del Norte toward opening Wolf Creek Pass highway for auto traffic, neither crew reached the top owing to the heavy drifts of snow encountered. Another effort will be made next Sunday, at which time the volunteers have assurance and confidence that they will be successful.

The Pagosa High School made a very creditable showing at the Basin track meet held in Durango last Saturday, considering the little training and few entries of the Pagosa team.

Three young lads broke in to the E.M. Taylor variety store sometime Wednesday night and stole numerous articles amounting to about $15.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 8, 1953

O.L. Sanders, town marshal, suffered a broken ankle on Tuesday of last week when a horse fell on him. The break was not serious and "Sandy" manages to make his rounds on crutches and in his car. Sheriff Norman Ottaway is assisting him keeping law and order until such a time as his ankle mends.

The sale of the bonds for the construction of a new grandstand at the rodeo grounds started this past week with the sale of bond number 1 to the famous artist and cartoonist, Fred Harman. The bonds will be used to finance the construction of the new all steel grandstand at the Red Ryder grounds.

The weather has been of the spring type, with wind, snow, rain and sleet in small quantities.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 11, 1978

A proposed bond issue was defeated Tuesday of this week by about a two to one majority. This is the second time in the last two years that such a bond issue has been defeated.

Political party county assemblies are being held tonight and tomorrow night in Archuleta County. Candidates seem to be plentiful this year. Salary of elected officials, other than sheriff and commissioners, is $10,000 per year. The sheriff receives $12,000 per year.

An old building that was an eyesore and a dangerous structure was burned Sunday by members of the Pagosa Springs Volunteer Fire Department and the Pagosa Fire Protection Volunteers. A practice session was held before the building was completely destroyed.