May 22, 2003 
Front Page

Temporary plan restores full-time physician service

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

In a matter of days, a couple of weeks at the most, Pagosa Springs will once again have a doctor on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Upper San Juan Health Service District Board gave a thumbs-up to a plan to hire physicians on a temporary basis to come in and cover current open hours in both Urgent Care and on-call services.

"The tourist season is almost upon us," board member Patty Tillerson said. Some of those tourists, a state or two away from their own doctor, will find themselves in need of a doctor here. With the on-call service in place, it will save them the trouble of driving to Durango for minor medical issues.

It also keeps income in the community and eases the concerns voiced by many citizens since January when local medical providers announced plans to stop on-call coverage on weekend nights to allow them time with their families.

A couple of months after this announcement, the Citizen's Advisory Committee was formed to look into the situation and possibly present a solution.

After several hours of meetings, committee chairman, Debra Brown, reported that the current crisis in the district put a stranglehold on any permanent solution.

However, the committee asked the board at a special meeting earlier this month to look into the financial feasibility of a temporary solution. Tuesday, the budget committee returned they're verdict.

It's a go.

With the finances accounted for, the board voted to go forward with finding a temporary service to cover open weekend hours for on-call services and the Urgent Care Center.

"Temporary" was the word stressed by members of the board.

"They will not replace our permanent physicians because they do not know the patients," board member Dick Blide said. "As soon as we have enough physicians to fill in the hours we would use our local physicians."

When that will be depends on a number of ongoing negotiations between the board and staff of the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

At the earlier May meeting, the board voted to address current problems in the district via a six-point plan presented by Jim Knoll, chairman of the district's Medical Advisory Committee.

The plan called for allowing Dr. Mark Wienpahl and Dr. Bob Brown to restructure their practice into a private clinic, changing the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center into a site for specialty care, same-day surgery and labs, reconfiguring EMS, maintaining a Medical Advisory Committee to operate as a liaison between board members and the local physicians and to assist with recruitment of future medical providers and opening a dialogue with Mercy Medical Center to try to recoup some of the medical dollars leaving Archuleta County for Durango.

J.R. Ford, a private citizen working with the doctors to put together a plan for a private clinic for Brown and Wienpahl, said negotiations and number crunching continues.

A meeting for the doctors is planned for next Wednesday. After that, Ford said, "We should have a good idea of where we're at."

Staff at the Mary Fisher Medical Center turned in 30-day notices April 4, citing differences with management and unwillingness of the board to listen to their concerns as reasons for the drastic move. To allow time for negotiations, the board granted the staff a 30-day extension on the resignations. Since then, they've been given another 30 days.

In the interim, the clinic remains open and continues to serve patients.

"We're focused on providing the same quality of care as we go through this transition," Wienpahl said.


Two special services will mark Memorial Day here

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It is a time when the stories of death in battle are still fresh in memory.

A time when Americans will perhaps pay a little more attention to the day set aside for honoring servicemen and women who have given their lives for their country.

Monday will be Memorial Day, the 135th since it was initiated in 1868 by Maj. Gen. John A . Logan as a special day to honor the graves of Union war dead from the Civil War.

With the recent Iraqi conflict and resultant loss of American lives, the ongoing terrorist threats to U.S. military personnel safety around the world and the harsh memory of 9/11 still affecting the national psyche, it is understandable Pagosans will want to participate.

As is customary, members of Mullins-Nickerson American Legion Post 108 will provide two opportunities for that participation.

Initially, the Legion will conduct services in the Legion Hall on Hermosa Street in Town Park at 9 a.m.

From there, the personnel and all public interested, will travel to Hilltop Cemetery for a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Legion flagpole near the Civil War grave area.

In preparation for the cemetery services, flags will be placed at 4 p.m. Sunday on graves of all known veterans.

The Legion has actively researched burial records and has located graves of 295 veterans to be marked. Each has been given a permanent flag holder.

The flags will remain for a 24-hour period of observance, to be removed at 4 p.m. on Memorial Day.

The Rev. John Bowe, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, will open the service at Hilltop and other guest speakers will be Donald Bartlett and Phil Janowsky.

Veterans who have passed away in the past 12 months will be recognized and a roll call of the county's war dead will be recited with audience participation.

This has become one of the more dramatic moments of the annual observance. Names come from all directions in sequence alphabetically as attendees join in the presentation of honors.

Wreaths will be placed at the base of the flagpoles at each location in honor of all war dead.

All veterans, whether Legion members or not, are encouraged to take part and, of course, the public is regarded as an important part of the observance.

Those taking an active part in the ceremonies should arrive at Legion Hall by 8:30 a.m.

The Rev. Bart Barnett of Mountain Heights Baptist Church will officiate at the Legion Hall Ceremony and Father John Bowe at the cemetery rites. Kay Kerr, a veteran and Legion member, will sing the National Anthem.

Legionnaires Walt Geisen and Don Bartholomew will be in charge of flag ceremonies.

In addition to the traditional ceremonies, the Legion has arranged to present Blue Star banners to the families of those now serving in uniform.

Twenty banners have already been distributed and at least 30 more are expected to be handed out during the cemetery ceremony.

Those interested in receiving a flag should call Ron Gustafson at 731-2105.

Blue Star Banners got their original design and were patented by World War I Army Capt. Robert L. Queissner of 5th Ohio Infantry who had two sons serving on the front line. It quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in service.

During World War II, the Department of War issued specifications on the manufacture of the flag as well as guidelines indicating when and by whom it could be flow or displayed.

The banner typically shown is an 89.5 by 14-inch white field with a blue star (s) sewn onto a red banner. The size may vary but should be in proportion to the size of the U.S. flag.

Today, the banner shown in the front window of a home symbolizes a family's pride in their loved one serving in the military and reminds others that preserving America's freedom is everyone's responsibility.

The Legion will distribute the banners at no cost to the designated families. Others may order them through the Legion at a cost of $6.95 each.


County curfew effective immediately

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Outnumbering the attending members of the community three to two during a 7 p.m. public hearing, the Archuleta County board of commissioners needed just over 20 minutes Tuesday night to adopt two countywide curfew ordinances.

That may sound as if the board acted in haste; however, it did not. The decisions simply didn't require more time because after Alden Ecker, board chairman, requested public comment shortly after the hearing began, all that followed was silence, not a word.

In fact, turning her attention to the lone pair of attendees seated in the last row of chairs inside the courthouse meeting room, Mary Weiss, county attorney, was only moderately successful in her lighthearted attempted to evoke response.

"Well, don't you have anything to say?" asked Weiss.

"No, I'm one of the apathetic 500," replied a chuckling gentleman, in reference to Commissioner Bill Downey's earlier musing that one concerned individual should garner more attention than 500 apathetic citizens.

As a result, after a brief discussion the board moved to pass each ordinance in succession - one detailing the consequences for violations by minors - and another applicable to violators' parents or legal guardians.

Originally introduced by Bob Grandchamp, county undersheriff, the ordinances are the end result of a series of workshops conducted by the board during the past couple of months.

Effective immediately after their adoption, the ordinances outline when, where and why juveniles under the age of 18 who are not accompanied by adults having legal or granted authority over them will be considered in violation of the curfew.

Specifically, they prohibit minors "to be or remain upon any street or alley, or to be or remain in any establishment open to the public, in the unincorporated areas of Archuleta County, Colorado after the hour of 10:30 p.m. on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, or after the hour of 12 o'clock midnight on any Friday, Saturday, or any day which immediately precedes an official State holiday, or before the hour of 5 o'clock a.m. on any day ..."

Likewise, it will be unlawful "for any parent, guardian, or other person, having legal care or custody" of any juvenile under the age of 18 to knowingly fail to prevent such youths from occupying the restricted areas set forth in the ordinances.

Referred to as "affirmative defenses," cases, or exceptions, in which a citation for curfew violation shall not be deemed appropriate include instances where a juvenile in question can prove he or she is:

- legally emancipated

- engaged in activities or travel related to lawful employment (directly to or from home)

- engaged in travel related to school activities that are authorized by school officials (with parental/legal guardian consent, directly to or from home)

- engaged in an activity necessary to assist in a medical emergency or engaged in activities related to the prevention of damage to property (when property value exceeds $100)

- traveling directly to or from home for a religious activity purpose (with parental/legal guardian consent)

- engaged in lawful intrastate or interstate travel (with parental/legal guardian consent)

- prevented from complying with the ordinance due to circumstances beyond his or her control.

Minor amendments to the original drafts include the changing of the effective curfew time for Sunday-Thursday nights from 11 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The other change involves who may enforce the curfew, the language changing from "any peace officer" to "any Level 1 peace officer ... is authorized to enforce the provisions of this Ordinance." Both changes will be published in future editions of The SUN (public notices section).


Aspen Springs water system vote eyed

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Aspen Springs Metro District is pondering submitting to a vote in November a referendum on approval of a water system and revision of the district charter to include recreational facilities.

Pat Ullrich, new district president, said the board has applied for a $15 million loan from the state for the water system, but state approval is at least partly contingent upon district voters approving the plan and committing to the loan payback.

Available financial data, Ullrich said, would indicate a 20-year loan at about 4-percent interest.

"That's the best rate we'll ever get," he said, noting the good financial market right now for borrowing.

The question will be presented to residents in a special meeting July 15. Time and location will be announced later.

He noted there are about 700 registered voters in the area, meaning population obviously is in excess of 1,000 within district boundaries.

The district's original charter charged it with responsibility for roads, water and sewer.

Roads have been maintained, Ullrich "and three years ago we began looking at the possibilities for water service."

Many residents have wells but "volume and quality are going downhill," he said. Still others haul water but it sometimes becomes a health problem.

The district applied for and received a $10,000 state grant for a water system feasibility study and received the funds about two years ago.

"At that time," Ullrich said, "we hired Harris Engineering of Durango to do a rough layout for a proposed water distribution system, and hired Tim Decker, a hydrologist from Montrose, to help us locate a reliable water source."

In the meantime, the district applied for an extension of service from Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation district but was turned down. "They told us it might be feasible six or seven years down the line, but we don't feel we can wait that long."

The $15 million loan sought would be subject to voter approval. If that were received, the project would be advertised for bids and cost estimates would be made by a private engineer.

Details of the plan will be outlined at the July board meeting, Ullrich said. All residents will be notified in advance of the meeting and what the possible scenarios are, but only voters registered in Colorado will be eligible to cast a ballot.

In conjunction with the water proposal, the district learned that if it were to amend its charter to add recreation to its mandated responsibilities, it would be eligible for state grants for parks, trails and other recreational development.

That proposal will be a separate issue on the November ballot. Should the water proposal not get to the ballot, the recreation amendment will be submitted as a single issue.

Ullrich said the water source found by Decker is in the Dakota sandstone level and probably will require a well 600-700 feet deep (though the depth could vary because the Dakota level is on a bias in the Aspen Springs area).

He said the surveys indicate there will be sufficient flow to serve all the existing properties in the district.

"The indication is we'll have sufficient force and quality to warrant control valves in some locations to reduce force of flow," said Ullrich.

"We're looking at the water issue as not only providing potable water for human consumption, but also water for fire protection, distributed through a series of planned hydrants," he said.

"That may mean, down the line, lower insurance rates for our residents and no one can laugh at that," he added.

In conjunction with the proposal, he said, the county has deeded back to the district the 125-acre green belt. That is a potential drilling site, though others might be considered.

Ullrich asked that any Aspen Springs resident with a question or wanting more information on how the questions will be worded be sure to attend the July meeting.

In the meantime, concerned citizens may call Ullrich at 731-3061. If he isn't there, a caller can leave a message and he'll get to all of them.



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Chance for showers over weekend

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Pagosa Country was the grateful beneficiary of scattered showers and thunderstorms during the past week, and the resulting moisture may temporarily prolong the beginning of this year's fire season.

Despite the recent rainfall, local authorities are mindful of the potential threat of fire.

"It's still tinder dry out there in some parts," says Tom Richards, county sheriff. "The sheriff's office and fire district are monitoring the conditions day to day, and when we feel it's necessary for public safety, we'll move toward putting a countywide fire ban in effect."

With any luck - and the right wind conditions - there will be no immediate need for such a ban, at least through the Memorial Day weekend.

According to David Nadler, a forecaster with the National Weather Service Office in Grand Junction, the Four Corners region lies along the route of an approaching low-pressure system due to arrive by Saturday night.

"If this system continues along its present course, the possibility for some widely-scattered thundershowers across southwest Colorado looks pretty good," said Nadler.

"Don't expect much in the way of prolonged rainfall, because the system isn't all that strong," added Nadler, "But some heavier rains are certainly possible for short durations, especially in the higher elevations across the southern San Juans on Sunday and Monday."

According to Nadler, abundant sunshine will be the norm throughout today, and high temperatures will range from the mid-70s to mid 80s. Nighttime lows should settle into the 30s.

Friday and Saturday call for partly cloudy skies, highs in the mid-60s to mid-70s and lows in the 30s.

Sunday's forecast predicts partly- to mostly-cloudy skies and the chance for isolated showers and thunderstorms. Highs should approach 70, while lows should dip into the upper 30s.

The chance for showers continues into Memorial Day, and Monday highs should top out in the 70s. Lows should range from 35-45.

Variable skies are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, along with a chance for afternoon showers and widely-scattered thunderstorms. Highs should register in the low 70s; lows should fall into the upper 30s.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 70; the average low mark was 35. Precipitation totals, recorded as rain late Wednesday, early Thursday and Sunday evening, amounted to just over one-fifth of an inch.

The Pagosa Ranger District rates the current area fire danger as "low." Conditions are subject to change rapidly this time of year; for updates, call the district office at 264-2268.

San Juan River flow, as measured south of town last week, ranged between approximately 400 cubic feet per second and 1,400 cubic feet per second. The river's historic median flow for late may ranges between 1,300-1,400 cubic feet per second.


Sports Page
Parks & Rec

Youth baseball season draws over 200 boys and girls

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The 2003 baseball season is off and running with over 200 boys and girls being assigned to teams.

May is the month for organizing and practice. Most teams are practicing for May 27, when we throw out the first pitch.

This year's girls' sign-ups are way up. We opened up girls' softball, and have had an abundant amount of volunteers hosting clinics, and practices.

We envision these girls carryingthe torch to help set the groundwork for future young women to play and enjoy the game of softball.

So, thank you, all you volunteers. These young athletes are all walking into unknown territory. It sure looks like the turnout is great. They also look like they are having tons of fun, coming out and enjoying such a great lifetime sport.


The local girls' basketball club team will host a yard sale May 31 in Town Park, 7:30 a.m. Anyone wishing to donate yard sale items, please call Bob Lynch at 731-3007.

This event is being held to help send young women athletes to camps, and coaches to clinics. Help out a very good cause by planning on donating items or better yet, come buy some of the hidden treasures.

Gazebo refurbishing

The Town Park gazebo will go through a much-needed face lift this summer. We are planning to do the refurbishing in stages.

The first stage will be to put a new roof on the building, one very similar to the tower in Bell Tower Park, and the Town Hall roof. Low maintenance metal roofing will be used and the work should be complete by June 13.

Stucco siding  and rock veneer will follow. We hope to start these phases after July 4. This is the first major overhaul done to the  gazebo since 1986 when it was built.

Reservoir Hill

Each year the town of Pagosa Springs parks and recreation department has taken Archuleta County's contribution of approximately $20,000 of lottery funds and used it for capital improvement projects.

We are in the fourth year of improving our forest, helping preserve the forested park area, and making it less susceptible to fire.

This year, with the lottery funds as well as funds from the U.S. Forest Service we should be in our final year of a fire mitigation project on Reservoir Hill.

The whole process has made the hiking, biking and hopefully the Four Corners Folk Festival  more pleasurable experiences for all.

Park use

Please call the Pagosa Springs parks department if you are planning a big event in our town parks. Whether you rent the park or not, we may have the park already booked with a reservation agreement.

Please call 264-4151, Ext. 231.


Jason Schutz captures discus title at state track meet

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Pirates beat the heat at the state Class 3A track meet in Pueblo last weekend, creating enough of their own sizzle to come home with eight medals, including a state championship for senior Jason Schutz.

Schutz earned his championship medal in the discus, defeating the competition with a throw of 166 feet, 7 inches. He added to his season's accolades by placing third in the 200-meter dash and sixth as part of the 1600-meter relay team, an excellent effort according to head coach Connie O'Donnell.

"I think it was worth the wait," she said. "He looked like he was having a lot more fun than at other state meets. His 200 was so fun to watch. I swear that second place through fifth place was a tie. It was so much fun to watch him be a competitor. His 1600-meter relay leg was strong also. I'm sure that he was thinking about it being his last race in high school."

Schutz finished the 200 in 22.68 seconds. In the relay finish, he combined with classmates senior Danny Lyon, senior Jeremy Buikema and sophomore Otis Rand to cross the line in 3:33.21.

The boys weren't done yet. The 3200-meter relay team of junior Aaron Hamilton, junior Brandon Samples, senior Todd Mees and Buikema displayed their own fleet feet, crossing the finish in 8:15.25 to earn a fourth-place medal.


Not willing to be left in the dust, the girls returned to Pagosa with four state medals thanks to freshman Emilie Schur's speed and stamina in the distance events.

Schur finished fourth in both the 800 and 3200. She added a sixth-place showing in the 1600 and ran one leg of Pagosa's second-place 3200-relay team.

In the 800, Schur's time of 2:21.55 was just under three seconds off the winner, Kim Smith of Eagle Valley, who finished in 2:19.01. The 3200 was won by Rachel Gioscia of Buena Vista. She stormed past the competition to finish in 1:43 flat. Schur ran that race in 12:06.11, a personal best, as were all her times at state.

"What more can you ask for than to run your best races at the state meet?" O'Donnell said. "Emilie brought home four medals even after competing with people who only had one distance race per day. Emilie had two each day and only one hour of rest in between. She has an excellent recovery time."

Schur combined with senior Katie Bliss, senior Ashley Wagle and senior Amanda McCain in the 3200 relay. They finished in 10:07.03 surprising some of the competition to claim second, the girls' highest placement of the meet.

The girls, with 21 points, finished 13th out of 37 teams.

As a team, the Pagosa boys earned 24 points to finish 11th out of 35 Class 3A teams competing at Dutch Clark Stadium.

This year, team trophies went to Gunnison on the boys' side with 74.5 points, and Hotchkiss on the girls' side with 72 points.

O'Donnell said the experience garnered by the underclassmen at the state meet will make the Pirates even tougher to beat next year.

And with their own completed track surface to practice on in 2004, who knows what records they might topple.


CSU Women to host basketball camps in June

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The Colorado State University women's basketball team will host its Junior Ram camp, Ram Day camp and Ram Sharpshooter camp June 2-5.

An overnight camp will be hosted June 7-10 and an advanced skills camp for high school students will be scheduled June 13-15.

There will be a boarding/non-boarding option for the overnight camps.

The team will also host the team "Ram Jam" June 1 with participating teams guaranteed three games minimum, team camp June 14-17 and the Rocky Mountain Roundup June 23-25 (guaranteed six game minimum).

Divisions will include junior high, high school and club level teams.

For more information, contact Krista Poehler, (970) 491-4853 for individual camps or Jeff Dow, (970) 491-5401 for team camps.


Five baseball Pirates all-IML picks; coach, too

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The selection of members of the Intermountain League all conference baseball team is apropos of equality.

Pagosa Springs and Bayfield, which split regular season games and tied for the league title, each have five members of the team.

And, again apropos of equality, the two coaches, Tony Scarpa for Pagosa Springs and Ken Hibbard, were named co-coaches of the year and Pagosa's senior pitcher/shortstop Josh Stone and Bayfield's Jake Harrington were selected as co-players of the year.

Each team advanced to the final 16 and each lost in regional competition, Pagosa to defending state champion and top-ranked Eaton 12-11 in extra innings, and Bayfield to La Junta. Those two winners played for the state championship Saturday, Eaton the victor.

Pagosa players selected, in addition to Stone, were junior catcher Ben Marshall, senior first baseman Lawren Lopez, senior pitcher/center fielder Jarrett Frank and sophomore Marcus Rivas.

Other Bayfield players selected were Sam McDonald, Steven Qualls, Jeremy Sirios and Cody Moore.

Also named to the squad were Ben Carlucci and Sigi Rodriques of Monte Vista and Miguel Ortiz and Vicente Govea of Centauri.

Honorable mentions went to Scott Myers of Monte Vista and Adrian Abeyta of Ignacio.

Bayfield hosted the district tournament and, as expected, it came down to the teams which tied for the league title.

Pagosa had won the coin toss after the league tie and was the home team on Bayfield's home field.

The Pirates fell to the Wolverines, but both advanced into state competition.

For the Pirate's 12-6 season over all, Josh Stone was the leading hitter with a .613 average and a .646 on-base average.

He had 40 hits in 68 official trips to the plate, including 12 doubles, three triples, and three home runs. He drew 11 walks and struck out nine times.

Next leading hitter was sophomore Marcus Rivas with 27 hits in 56 trips to the plate for a .482 batting average. He had an on-base percentage of .586. He had five doubles, two triples, one home run, drew 14 walks and struck out eight times.

Junior catcher Ben Marshall was next, hitting an even .500 with 32 hits in 64 at bats. He had an on-base percentage of .592 and scored 35 runs. His hits included six doubles, two triples, and three home runs. He drew 13 walks and struck out eight times.

First baseman Lawren Lopez hit .482 with 27 for 56, had an on-base percentage of .592 and scored 23 runs. Hits included 10 doubles, no triples, and three home runs. He drew 15 walks to lead the team and struck out nine times.

Junior shortstop/outfielder David Kern was next with a .400 batting average on 20 of 50. He had an on-base percentage of .456 and scored 18 runs. He had one double, two triples, drew five walks and struck out 11 times.

Pitcher/outfielder Jarret Frank was 21 of 56 at the plate for a .375 batting average and had a .478 on-base percentage. He had three doubles and scored 16 runs, drew 11 walks and struck out 14 times.

Sophomore second baseman Levi Gill hit .341 on 14 of 41 and scored 13 runs. He had an on-base percentage of .481 and his hits included one double and one triple. He walked 11 times and struck out only six times.

Jeremy Caler was 14 for 42 at the plate and hit .333 with an on-base percentage of .451. He walked nine times and struck out six times.

Senior outfielder/designated hitter Zeb Gill hit .300 on a 12 for 40 performance at the plate and had an on-base percentage of .417. He had two doubles, one triple and walked eight times, striking out on 16 occasions.

Next was senior infielder Clayton Mastin who was 4 for 13 at the plate for a .308 batting average and had an on-base percentage of .471.

Senior reserve Matt Mesker also was four for 13 for a .308 batting average and had a .400 on-base percentage. He had one double, walked twice, struck out five times, and scored five runs.

Senior outfielder and pinch runner Michael Dach was 4 for 14 at the plate and hit .286 with an on-base percentage of .375. His hits included one triple and one home run. He walked twice, struck out three times and scored four runs.

Right fielder Casey Belarde was 3 for 15 at the plate with a .200 batting average and a .200 on-base percentage. He scored three runs, and struck out five times.

Final pitching statistics were not available.


Golf classes set for juniors, and women

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Golf Club is hosting a second year of the Junior Golf League open to any junior interested in learning to play golf or who already plays and is ready to enhance skills.

Any junior 6-18 is welcome.

There will be individual instruction from course pros and local volunteers and players will get to play the course.

Juniors will meet Thursdays this year with those 6-11 getting lessons 2-3 p.m. and those 12-18 from 3:30-5 p.m.

It all begins June 12 and continues through July 31. Top juniors will get a chance to play in a regional tournament.

Cost of the league is $65 but if registration is received by June 5 it will be discounted to $60 which covers green fees, range balls and miscellaneous expenses.

Interested golfers can pick up a sign-up form at the golf club.

In addition to the junior league, the club will host Pagosa Springs Women's Golf Clinic again, offering group lessons to all women who are interested in learning to play golf or who want to develop their existing skills.

The clinics will be taught by the women golf instructors every Monday at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $15 per lesson.

Clinics continue through the summer. For more information or to sign up, call 731-4755.

A two-man challenge event is set May 31-June 1, open to players who have a valid USGA handicap. To register, call 731-4755.



John Lininger

John Buryl Lininger, 68, passed away in his Pagosa Springs home on Sunday, May 4, 2003.

He was born in Kent, Iowa on Oct. 8, 1934, to Buryl Orland Lininger and Mildred Agnes Hays.

He married Sherwin McKnight on Feb. 17, 1962, in Houston, Texas. They had also lived in Woodville, Texas and Estes Park, Colo. before moving to Pagosa Springs in 2002 from Pasadena, Texas.

John owned a central air conditioning and heating business and was also an auto purchasing agent for car dealerships in the Houston area.

He was an active member of he congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses for most of his life. He loved the outdoors. His favorite place was the ocean, specifically the Gulf of Mexico. He also enjoyed fishing, gardening, automobiles and bird watching.

John loved his family and was a devoted husband and father who will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Sherwin Lininger of Pagosa Springs; a son, Marc, of Farmington, Ark.; a daughter, Dina G. Siegwald of Pagosa Springs; a granddaughter, Samantha Copeland of Fayetteville, Ark; a grandson, Weston Lininger of Farmington, Ark.; a sister, Mary Morris of Johnson City, Tenn.; a brother, William of West Fork, Ark.; and many other loving family members and friends.

His father, Buryl Orland Lininger and mother Mildred Agnes Hays preceded him in death.

John was cremated and services were held at the Pagosa Springs Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses on Wednesday, May 7, 2003.

Raymond Romine

Raymond Oscar Romine of Pagosa Springs died Friday, May 16, 2003, in Mercy Medical Center Hospital in Durango. He was 72.

He was born in Holyoke, Colo., on Oct. 19, 1930, to Grace Alice Elam and Oscar Ray Romine. He was married on May 4, 1962, to Rada Jo McKay in Oklahoma City. He attended University of Oklahoma for two years and apprenticed as a machinist at Tinker Air Force Base.

He was a Naval reservist who served on active duty during the Korean War aboard the USS Gregory. He then worked as a toolmaker machinist at Tinker for over 29 years before retiring in 1982. The following year he and Rada moved from Del City, Okla., to make their home in Pagosa Springs. He was a Mason, and enjoyed reading, fixing cars, home repair and playing cards.

Ray was preceded in death by his mother, Grace A. Wallace and a son, Larry Romine.

Survivors include his wife, Rado Jo of Pagosa Springs; four sons - Marvin Lee Romine of Pagosa Springs; James Edward Romine of Kennesaw, Ga.; Robert Ray Romine of Pagosa Springs; and Gerald Oliver Romine of Shreveport, La.; a brother, Lawrence Merlin Romine of Irvine, Calif.; 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Visitation was held Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at Pagosa Springs Funeral Options Chapel. The funeral service was at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 21, 2003, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs, Father John Bowe officiating. Interment followed in Hilltop Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be directed to Rada Romine, PO Box 696, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


Inside The Sun

Several personnel moves approved for local schools

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A number of staffing changes are in line in Pagosa Springs schools.

The possible elimination of the junior high principal post, with the retirement of Larry Lister at year's end, was discussed but quickly dismissed at the May 13 meeting of the board of education.

Superintendent Duane Noggle said, "It was eyed as a possible cost-cutting measure, but quickly recognized as not good for morale."

As a result, with two in-system applications already in, the board agreed to have the job advertised areawide.

Director Clifford Lucero said, "We might need two people to replace Larry. No one knows how much work he has done for and with the kids and what he has meant to the district."

At the same time Mark DeVoti, intermediate school principal, has been asked to take on added duties as the district's coordinator of curriculum and assessment.

With an upcoming evaluation of the district's custodial service due in board member's hands before the next meeting, Noggle said there have been ongoing discussions on how to improve the system.

"We've cut overdue work orders from a high of 120 18 months ago to an average of about 15 now, with none over 90 days.

He said it has become evident it is hard to have one person as maintenance supervisor and as a full-time custodial worker at the same time. As a result of that discussion, he said, Dennis Kleckner will step down as maintenance supervisor. He will stay in the position until replaced or until June 30, whichever comes first.

The board agreed to an administration recommendation to add one full-time K-6 special education teacher and to seek a second on a part-time contract basis.

Noggle noted the special student load jumped dramatically in the past year from three to 27.

In other personnel moves, the board:

- accepted the resignation of Peg Cooper from her high school secretarial position

- approved hiring Denise McCabe as junior high volleyball coach

- created an auditorium manager position at the high school and named band and music director Lisa Hartley to fill it. Principal Bill Esterbrook noted the job needs someone familiar with all entertainment arts and she "is the logical person for the job."

- created an assistant athletic director position, to be funded on an hourly, as-needed basis, to free assistant principal David Hamilton for more time with student discipline and management issues. The new hire will handle field setup, some scheduling, and programming coordination with outside entities using school athletic facilities

- approved the creation of a case manager position within the district, funded by Archuleta County Social Services

- heard, but took no action on Esterbrook's report on the need for an equivalent 1 1/2 teachers for expanded math and science programs developed by staff to meet increasing demands for more qualified graduates statewide

- accepted for review and possible approval next month expanded foreign language and social studies curriculum devised by staff in those fields.


Board seeking relief for

elementary school heat

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Relieving excessive heat in classrooms at the south end of Pagosa Springs Elementary School can be corrected by options ranging from $20,000 to $150,000.

Superintendent Duane Noggle told the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint on May 13 that experts suggest it would be wrong to cut through walls or roof to install cooling devices.

He said the administration is leaning toward installing chillers and using existing ductwork to cool the area in question.

At the same time, there is a lack of electrical outlets in many of the classrooms which hampers use of modern technology.

Noggle said the administration is detailing a project which would replace some portable walls and install conduit and cable for Internet services.

All the proposed work will be submitted for board consideration after details are finalized.

In other action, the board:

- approved four separate Red Cross contracts, one for each school building. The action was deemed necessary in case of emergency requiring Red Cross use of school facilities. The contracts would hold the school district blameless for any injuries or onerous behavior

- learned the state is predicting a decline in lower grade level registration in local schools this year, with an increase at the high school level. The "bubble of enrollment" spurt is passing out of junior high school this year, the board was told.


County, PLPOA trade ideas on roads

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The future of road maintenance was the primary focus of a Monday morning workshop inside the county courthouse which afforded the board of directors of the Pagosa Lakes Property Association and the Archuleta County commissioners a chance to exchange philosophies.

"We felt it was time to see where you are coming from ... to touch base and see where we might go in the future," said Tom Cruse, PLPOA board president, after expressing concerns that substantial progress toward a maintenance plan for county roads, specifically those in the Pagosa Lakes area, is not being achieved.

The issue has been the assigned target of various "road committees" in the past; some of the now-defunct panels were the results of collaborative initiatives by the county and PLPOA, others were conceptualized separately by each entity.

The most recently-dissolved of those, an ad hoc formation known as the "county roads advisory committee," produced what Alden Ecker, county board chairman, referred to as a "living, breathing document" - a preliminary report identifying and suggesting the classification (arterial, feeder, etc.) of every road recognized by the county.

The problem with the report, according to the PLPOA board, is that it does not include "an extra column" indicating when and what, if any, measures will be taken to maintain such roads, and with what frequency.

In addition, said the board, such a document should be made "more visible" for public inspection and subsequent comment.

"It's been one set of words after another, but nothing concrete," said PLPOA board member Gerald Smith, who said he feels the board has not taken a firm stance on the issue.

Smith and Walt Lukasik, PLPOA general manager, also said there has been some confusion among Pagosa Lakes residents as to what streets are currently maintained and which are not since, they said, county work crews sometimes perform grading and other services on roads that are marked "not maintained."

Smith asked the commissioners for a solid commitment toward specifics. The failure to supply one, said Smith, indicates "There's no will to change things."

Bill Steele, county administrator, felt otherwise. While acknowledging that there have been delays in the past due to county personnel changes and shortages, Steele said the issue has not been dead in the water. "In my opinion, we need a good inventory before the board is asked to make decisions on maintenance."

Steele explained that one of the tasks of Robin Schiro, the newly-hired county engineer, is to evaluate the information supplied in the county road report and make appropriate recommendations and changes so the county can feel more confident with road maintenance-related decisions.

With respect to the question of who would be fiscally responsible for the cost associated with a decision to maintain more roads in the Pagosa Lakes area, opinions varied.

"Would (the PLPOA) be willing to help us out?" asked Ecker.

"I think it's our position that these are county roads ... and not part of our legal responsibility," responded Cruse, "If it takes a mill levy ... then so be it."

Smith reinforced that sentiment, stating that perhaps the level of attention a road receives could be determined according to its classification and the willingness (or lack thereof) of taxpayers to pay extra for measures beyond what is considered normal maintenance.

"If we could take that to our constituents, we could let them decide," said Smith.

Further discussion between the boards led to mention of other alternatives, such as the organization of new metropolitan and public improvement districts.

However, the commissioners were split on another possibility discussed - whether or not the county can afford to simply add some "unmaintained" roads to the maintenance list.

"Personally, I think we could do unmaintained roads once or twice a year," said Ecker.

Commissioner Bill Downey disagreed, and to his suggestion that there is not enough in the current budget to extend a minimal amount of maintenance to such roads, Cruse responded, "Every time we hear this, it's an incredible statement, 'We don't have the money.'

"But we need a long-range plan so we can go forward; we represent half of the county's residents."

"We, however, represent the other half," replied Downey, "and it wouldn't be fair to do some and not the others, even on a limited basis."

"Let's just get the train back on track," said Cruse, reiterating that he believes his constituents would support a tax levy if "an adequately defined" classification of maintenance standards were presented them.

"Politically speaking," said Cruse, "what is the goal of the county - to have maintained roads or not? We're asking the board to say something as a board." Whether or not the county can currently afford it is not the issue, said Cruse, "Take a position, then let the constituents decide if they want to pay and how much."

"We can't give you that today," responded Downey, agreeing that a tax levy might be a genuine alternative, but pointing out such decisions cannot be made spontaneously during workshops.

Near meeting's end, the boards offered some final sentiments.

"In an ideal world, I would support the idea of maintaining every county road ... but I truly do not believe we can pass a bond issue to that effect," said Commissioner Mamie Lynch.

"You could if you educated the public," responded PLPOA board member Pat Payne, "You're going into it negatively."

"No," replied Lynch, "I think I'm going into it with my eyes wide open."


PAWS responsible landscaping workshop slated May 31

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District will present a Responsible Landscaping Workshop May 31 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Local field trips and site visits will follow.

Serving as keynote speaker and covering a variety of topics during the event will be Ken Ball. Ball is a member of the original team that developed the xeriscape concept for the Denver Water Department in 1982 and is a national and international advisor on the development of xeriscape gardens.

Ball also served as principal landscape architect for Denver Water for 16 years and has authored two books on landscaping for water conservation while acting as editorial advisor for six others.

Ball was the recipient of the Associate Landscape Contractors of Colorado Merit Award and the Xeriscape Colorado Award of Excellence in 2002. He is past president of the Evergreen Garden Club and has 31 years of experience in landscape architecture, water resource planning, environmental management and education and water conservation.

Other workshop topics and speakers include:

- evaluating and improving soil, efficiently using water with properly designed irrigation systems - Mary K. Carpenter

- creating practical turf areas, using organic mulches to reduce evaporation, nursery tour - David Durkee

- considering a recirculating pond to reduce turf area - Nan Rowe

- PAWS xeriscape garden and pond tour - Pattie Renner and Nan Rowe.

The workshop will include an open lunch and question/answer session. Space is limited to less than 50 participants; cost for the event is $7. To register, stop by the PAWS office at 100 Lyn Ave. or call 731-2691.


Fire destroys one condo, damages another; cause probed

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A blaze at Elk Run Condos Saturday afternoon completely destroyed one unit and caused minimal damage to another before being brought under control by firefighters.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said 34 firefighters and four pieces of equipment responded to the scene on Talisman Drive.

When firefighters arrived, flames had already vented through the roof. Winds gusting between 35 and 45 miles per hour fanned the fire, causing added concern.

Grams said the aerial ladder was used to fight the blaze initially, then firefighters went inside to finish off the remaining hot spots.

Four members of the district were inside when the ceiling of the structure collapsed from the weight of the water being pumped into the upper story.

No one was injured, but all "learned what can happen in this type of situation," Grams said.

Unit 7113, one of 10 in the complex, was a total loss. A neighboring condo received minimal damage when a hot spot was discovered there.

It could have been much worse.

"Due to the aggressive action of the firefighters," Grams said, "We kept the owners from losing the entire structure."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, however crews did trace the start of the blaze to the attic.


Pagosa man seriously injured in U.S. 160 crash

 By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A Pagosa man, Harley Dean, 29, was in serious condition at a hospital in Albuquerque Wednesday morning where he was transported after his vehicle hit a large tree head-on near Trails Boulevard.

According to Colorado State Patrol reports, Dean was westbound on U.S. 160 when his pickup left the north side of the highway and traveled 681 feet before being stopped by the tree. On the way, the vehicle hit a metal post, an old driveway access and a fence.

Trooper Doug Wiersma said the exact time of the accident is unknown. Dean was found by some turkey hunters who spotted the car May 17 as they were leaving town around 5:30 a.m.

Dean was transported to Mercy Medical Center and then flown to the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque where his condition was upgraded from critical to serious Wednesday.

Alcohol is suspected as a contributing factor to the crash Wiersma said. Dean was not wearing a seatbelt.

The accident remains under investigation.


Take precautions now to

prevent hantavirus infection


Even though last year was a relatively quiet year for hantavirus in Southwest Colorado, it's the time of year when people start engaging in activities that could put them at risk for exposure to the disease, said Joe Fowler, RN, Regional Epidemiologist for San Juan Basin Health Department.

People should take precautions to protect themselves, said Fowler.

As the snow clears and the warm days of spring approach, people begin cleaning out barns, garages, storage buildings, sheds, trailers or cabins that have been closed up all winter.

"Coloradans need to take precautions before beginning such work, particularly if there are accumulations of mouse droppings and other signs of mice," said John Pape, a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment epidemiologist who specializes in animal-related diseases.

Pape urged people to be particularly careful where there are mouse droppings and evidence that mice have been in and around the buildings or nearby wood or junk piles.

If live mice are still occupying the structure, rodent control should be done before extensive cleaning efforts. The structures should be ventilated thoroughly and any accumulation of dust, dirt and mouse droppings should be wet down with a mixture of bleach and water before any cleaning begins. Hantavirus is transmitted by inhaling dust in a mouse-infected area.

Just vacuuming an area without first wetting it down doesn't provide the necessary protection.

Already this year, there has been one fatal hantavirus case involving a 22-year-old man from Adams County who died Jan. 11.

In 2002, there was only one hantavirus case in Colorado. There were no cases in 2001. However, in 2000, there were eight hantavirus cases in Colorado, including three deaths, and in 1999, there were four cases, and one death.

It is important for people to understand rural deer mice carry hantavirus, and the individuals who have contracted hantavirus in Colorado have been exposed in rural areas. Deer mice are brown on top and white underneath, with large ears relative to their head size.

House mice, on the other hand, are all gray with small ears. Though they aren't associated with hantavirus, house mice can carry other diseases, so no mouse in your house is safe, said Deb Banton, personal health director at SJBHD.

If you are living or staying in rural areas and have deer mice around, you can assume you and members of your family are at risk. The more live mice that are present the greater the risk although some people have been infected by directly handling a single mouse.

Hantavirus, which is deadly in nearly half of the cases, begins with fever, severe body aches, a headache, diarrhea and vomiting. The onset of these symptoms begins from one week to six weeks after exposure.

Initially, there are no respiratory symptoms present. Symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, sinus congestion, and a cough that produces phlegm, are not associated with hantavirus infection.

However, within one to five days, the illness can quickly progress to respiratory distress, including a dry cough and difficulty breathing, as the lungs fill with fluid.

Because no effective treatment exists for the disease, prevention is the key to avoiding hantavirus.

When hantavirus infection is suspected or confirmed, early admission to a hospital where careful monitoring, treatment of symptoms and supportive therapy can be provided is most important.

Precautions that should be taken to provide protection against hantavirus include:

- Rodent proof buildings by plugging holes or other mouse entryways with steel wool. Conduct year-round rodent control, using traps or poisons, or hire a professional exterminator.

- Make home or work areas unattractive to rodents. Keep indoor areas clean, especially kitchens. Store food in rodent-proof containers and properly dispose of garbage in sealed containers. This includes pet, livestock and bird food.

- Remove rodent hiding places such as wood, junk and brush piles. Store firewood at least 100 feet from the house. Keep vegetation around the house well trimmed.

- Use caution when cleaning out enclosed areas such as trailers, cabins, barns or sheds. Open doors or windows to provide good ventilation for 30-60 minutes before cleaning out structures. Leave the area during this airing out period, preferably remaining upwind.

- Avoid stirring up dust by wetting down areas of mouse infestation with a mixture of bleach and water or household disinfectant, following manufacturer's guidelines. A bleach mixture of 1 1/2 cups of bleach per gallon of water (1:10 ratio) is recommended. (Note this solution can damage or bleach upholstery or carpet).

- Thoroughly soak down potentially contaminated areas with the bleach mixture.

- Use rubber gloves to pick up saturated waste, including nesting materials or dead mice. Double bag the waste using plastic bags, and bury or dispose of in an outdoor garbage can or landfill.

- Disinfect gloves with bleach and water before removing. Wash hands afterward.

- In cases of severe infestation, or when ventilation and dust suppression are not possible, use a tightly fitting rubber face mask equipped with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.

- People camping in rural areas should avoid sleeping on bare ground. Instead, use tents with floor covers or a cot 12 inches off the ground.

Persons wanting more information can call San Juan Basin Health Department at 247-5702 or call the Department of Public Health and Environment at (800) 886-7689 to receive a brochure on hantavirus. Answers to frequently asked questions about hantavirus, including a picture of a deer mouse, can also be found at www.cdphe.state.


Asphalt foe

Dear Editor:

Regarding the proposed hot mix asphalt plant on Light Plant Road (South Hot Springs Boulevard): Can this be stopped before it gets started?

Whoa! Let's take another look at this. Someone's got the cart before the horse. How do you feel about the prospect of having a smoky haze hanging over the downtown business district several days each week this summer and fall?

Won't that kind of cloud up our pristine reputation?

Well, that's what is liable to happen should the "Mask" Ranch and A and S Construction (of Canon City) get their way with the planning commission at the meeting May 28.

It seems as though all of these entities are attempting to sneak the asphalt plant operation plans under our noses without any concern for the general public.

As the neighboring land owner surrounding the proposed hot mix asphalt plant on three sides, we were not notified and were caught completely unaware about this possibility until recently advised by some of our neighbors living in Holiday Acres.

We are in complete agreement with these neighbors and also feel threatened by the harmful affects of this endeavor. What's it going to do to our ranching operation, pollute our adjoining hay field and nearby Mill Creek and the San Juan River?

We have lived long enough along the river to know that prevailing air and wind currents travel up the river by day and down the river by night. I'll bet downtown Pagosa Springs experiences more than smoke this summer. S'pose that pungent hot mix odor will be good for business, too?

Just an added thought: Many of us out of the old west associate those under the disguise of a "Mask" as having something to hide. Look out! Maybe they are going to rob us.

Harvey Catchpole Jr.

Outhouse story

Dear Editor:

I enjoyed Ed Haynes' information and logical explanation of the "two holer" in last week's paper.

It's refreshing to see the subject matter of the letter section ascending from the metaphorical to the literal "crapper."

It brings to mind a true story from recent history. This took place in a small town back east a few years ago.

The story began back in the 1930s when the local plumber started adding indoor plumbing and flush toilets to his neighbors' homes. One of the places he retrofitted had an architecturally interesting and now obsolete outhouse which he was asked to haul away.

Because of the uniqueness of the structure he couldn't bring himself to demolish it, so he took it home and put it in his back yard. Over the next 40 years or so, this happened again and again, and he eventually ended up with 25 really interesting little "out" buildings in his yard.

The collection evolved into an outdoor museum of sorts and became a tourist attraction, which boosted the town's economy.

When this plumber passed away he willed the "museum" to his daughter. She, unfortunately, didn't share her father's enthusiasm for the collection and decided to have it all hauled to the dump.

Well, the town was up in arms about this decision because they had become dependent on their tourist-based economy which had become twofold as the town was also Dan Quayle's birthplace.

They felt that the double whammy attraction of both the outhouse museum and the vice president's birthplace would keep those tourist dollars flowing, but if they lost the crapper collection, economic doom was on the horizon.

After all, who would come simply to see the birthplace of a former vice president who's only memorable accomplishment after four years in office was the misspelling of the word "potato"?

At any rate, I'm glad to report that the town pulled together and saved the outhouses, and they all lived happily ever after.

Denny Finn,


Style confusion

Dear Editor:

In your May 8 paper was an article on Father John's 80th birthday celebration. I was confused at the writer's comments of "while newspaper style books say the term Father when referring to a priest is no longer correct ..." I asked my local priest and he knew nothing of this.

The Bible has used the name Father for centuries when speaking of religious leaders. The books of 1John 2:13-14, Acts 7:1-2 and 1Corinthians 4:14-15, to name a few, all mention Fathers as our faith leaders. These scriptures were pointed out in a book called, "Nuts&Bolts: A Practical, How-to Guide For Explaining and Defending the Catholic Faith," by Tim Staples.

I'm still not sure what these "newspaper books" are, but they do not appear to be Catholic publications, which seems to me would be the ones to decide if the name Father would or wouldn't be used when referring to a priest.

In any case, I wish Father John a wonderful birthday and thanks for the lifetime of God's work he has done.

Mary Garcia

Ruidoso, N.M.

'Bear' facts

Dear Editor:

I'm showing my age with this letter, which is in response to John Motter's comments about "two-holer" outhouses.

When I was a girl we had a homestead in Alaska where we lived in a one-room cabin without electricity or running water. The outhouse out back had two seats, one for women and one for men.

My younger sister and I were afraid of the dark (and bears) so we used the "buddy system" on our sojourns outside at night. Convinced that at least seven rabid and ravenous bears were chasing us, we'd hold hands and run to the outhouse, screams building in our throats.

Once there, the distinction between "his and hers" mattered naught to us as we sat side by side doing our business and sharing whispered secrets.

Once finished, we'd race back to the cabin, boot laces flying around our ankles like tiny epileptic snakes and the hems of our nightgowns in conspiracy with the imaginary bears trying to slow us down.

The idea that neither the cabin nor the outhouse would be safe if these crazed bears truly existed, never occurred to us. The fact that we "beat them" every time was enough for us.

Maggie Valentine Innskeep

Losing our pride

Dear Editor:

I have been involved with the schools since I was in junior high school and attended school board meetings with Mr. V.A. Poma and I watched the way things were done when I was a young man.

It looks to me that we are falling apart. Our school was a happy family - we all did things together, high school, junior high and grade school.

I have watched the schools going downhill; we are not happy anymore.

I remember when Mr. Abner Hahn took over the schools and he broke in Terry Alley to be superintendent. He did a beautiful job. When you talked to Mr. Alley about a personal problem, you could be certain that he kept it behind closed doors. He did his best to help and solve the problem without creating a big mess. If Mr. Alley had a problem with you, he came direct to you and it was solved.

It seems like to me that when Mr. Alley left, I started seeing things going downhill. People stopped caring about each other. We used to meet and talk about how we could work together. That doesn't happen anymore. It seems to me that people are afraid to talk. If they mention something and ask that it be held in confidence, it is not. When I started seeing things going downhill, I was happy that I had my 30 years in and could leave.

It looks like we we're losing our pride. I hope that we can get back our pride and our sense of caring. I love the school.

It seems like to me that we should hire people who are in our school system and train them to move up. These people know and love our schools and care about the people who are here. They understand how much we care about one another. We could teach them to do the job. Our school principals are smart people and they can handle the problems.

When the school district hired Mr. Errol Hohrein, I hoped that we had hired a hard-working man. When I met him, he said, "I'm here to help you, JP." I knew that when he did a job it would get done right. He is an honest and decent man.

I still care about all the students of Archuleta school district. I still support all the activities. My hope in writing this letter is that people will know what is going on in our schools.

John F. Perea

Contract blurred

Dear Editor

Our country will gather and pay its respects to those who gave their lives in service to their country this Memorial Day.

America is very good at remembering those who died, but too often, it forgets those who lived. Everyone who goes to war comes home changed. Some of the scars are visible and easy to see. Others are invisible, but they still hurt. There are hidden scars associated with war that only a veteran knows. Those hidden scars can remain long after the visible wounds heal.

Proud men and women put their lives on hold, said goodbye to their families and marched off to face an enemy intent on killing them. But they went anyway. Society has a moral obligation to those who came home, an unwritten contract which says, "You put your life on the line for this country; now this country will be there for you." It's not a handout. It's something our veterans have earned.

President Abraham Lincoln knew it was society's responsibility to take care of those who would soon be returning home from the Civil War battles where hundreds of thousands of soldiers either died or were wounded on American soil. During his second inaugural address, he said, "Let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan."

Somehow, as this great nation grew and modernized, it took a step backward when it came to honoring its promises to her living heroes. Vietnam veterans came home to indifference on the part of their fellow citizens. Some were harassed by Americans who never fully understood the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The sacrifices they made were lost in the politics of the era. Those whose experiences in Vietnam left them shocked and needing help weren't given the guidance they needed to successfully readjust to civilian life.

Veterans still bear the burden of proof when it comes to getting benefits for war illnesses. Funding continues to increase to study Gulf War illness, but many of those suffering from it go untreated because no link has been established yet.

Somewhere along the line, the words to America's contract with its warriors blurred. After the fighting stopped and the celebrations ended, society moved on to other priorities. The benefits veterans earned and deserved fell by the wayside. Money wasn't an issue when these men and women were called to duty, and it shouldn't be when it comes time to repay them for their service.

On Memorial Day, we remember those who paid the ultimate price for American's freedom. But we must never forget those who served and came home. They too paid a tremendous price.

Jim Sawicki

122nd year

Dear Editor:

As the American Red Cross celebrated its 122nd birthday May 21, your Red Cross chapter is committed more than ever to helping the community stay safe.

Our "Together We Prepare" initiative is aimed at helping every person, school and business take five simple steps that enhance safety whether the problem is a fire, flood or an act of terrorism. Our volunteers are making sure that people affected locally by disasters get immediate help with such basic items as food, clothing and shelter and are helping many military families separated because of the war in Iraq emergency messages.

Our community is also safer because of neighbors who have taken the time to learn lifesaving skills this year by taking Red Cross first aid, CPR and AED training.

In a world full of new threats, we hope that our neighbors derive some comfort from the knowledge that their local Red Cross is still here. We've been here for more than a century because of those who have volunteered or contributed to the effort.

The American Red Cross invites everyone to join in celebrating the 122nd birthday of the American Red Cross and to become involved in its lifesaving mission.

LeeAnn Vallejos

Executive director

Southwest Chapter

American Red Cross


Community News

Senior News

Medicare, Medicaid distinctions, differences outlined

By Musetta Wollenweber

Director of Senior Services

It has been a challenging two weeks at the Senior Center. Laura has been on vacation, leaving me to hold down the fort alone. We have all missed her, especially me.

Just a reminder that the den will be closed for Memorial Day, Monday. Have a wonderful holiday.

Remember that we are making summer plans now, and need to hear from you right away if you are interested in participating in any of our fun trips.

A popular trip for our seniors is to the Creede Repertory Theatre. This season kicks off with "A Tuna Christmas" a hilarious comedy about the residents of Tuna, Texas, the third smallest town in the state.

We usually have one trip each month for a Saturday afternoon show, and quite often have lunch in Creede, as well.

Some like to drive up themselves and others sign up for our van. The drive up is beautiful, especially in the fall, and the theatre has shows running through September. Let us know if you have an interest in going to Creede - as soon as possible.

Line dancing is going to happen. Laura will get you started but we really need an instructor. Please check with your friends and neighbors, etc. We plan to start in June, so stay tuned and if you haven't signed up yet, give us a call and we'll add your name to the list of the 27 other heel- and toe-tapping folks.

Congratulations to Bob Newlander. He has recently completed his instructor training for the AARP Driver Safety Course. In addition to dates when Don Hurt will be teaching the course, Bob has added July 2 and 3. Cost is $10 and the class fills up quickly. For more information or to sign up pleas contact Hurt at 264-2337.

Medicaid? Medicare? What's the difference?

Medicaid: A home health care benefit program for low income and special needs Colorado residents.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing administers Colorado Medicaid. If you are a Colorado resident and meet the federal and state income guidelines, you may be able to receive Medicaid health care benefits.

To learn if you are eligible or to apply for Medicaid you can contact the Department of Social Services at 264-2182 or complete the BenefitsCheckUp questionnaire at the Senior Center that will screen for programs you may be eligible for.

Medicare: A federal health insurance for people age 65 and over and for many disabled individuals under the age of 65.

Other insurance coverage generally builds on Medicare payment, with some exceptions. Medicare Part A is for hospital services; Part B is for doctor and lab services.

The distinction exists because of different funding sources. Consumers usually don't have to pay a premium for Part A services because they or their spouses pay Medicare taxes while they work.

But all people on Part B must pay a monthly premium. Social Security has responsibility for determining eligibility for Medicare, enrollment into the program, and issuing Medicare cards.

There are strict time limits on when people can apply for Medicare (to avoid people waiting until they get sick to enroll) and no financial penalties for enrolling late.

Because Medicare is a national program, there is no need to get a new card when moving from one state to another. For more information, you can stop in the Senior Center on Fridays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and visit with Jim Hanson, a trained counselor of the Senior Health Assistance Program. His services are free.

Check out the official U.S. government site for people with Medicare at Here you will find information on personal plans, assistance programs, nursing home and medicap comparisons, physician and supplier directories and more. (Excerpted from Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing Medicaid publication and Colorado Division of Insurance, Senior Health Insurance and its program publications).

Help! Our poor computer in the lounge could use some upgrades. We could use a new computer and at the bare minimums a larger screen. If you can help out, please stop in.

The month of May has been designated by the governor as Older Coloradans Month. In a letter from the state office, our attention has been centered on "Low Vision at the Forefront" this month.

When it becomes difficult to recognize faces of friends and relatives, to read street and storefront signs or to perform activities that once seemed simple (like grocery shopping) it could be an indication of early vision loss.

In a national survey completed by The Lighthouse International, one in six adults aged 45 and over report either moderate or severe vision loss.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness in individuals over 60 with a newly-diagnosed case every three minutes in the United Sates alone.

Low vision doesn't necessarily mean going blind or giving up independence. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance of retaining the most vision possible. Because of support networks and Internet resources, people are learning that there are many treatment options available to maximize remaining vision.

With the help of a low vision specialist, appropriate low vision devices, training and good follow up care, many people who have become isolated and homebound are finding hope and courage to open doors to possibilities they never before imagined.

In an effort to bring awareness to those who are suffering from AMD, diabetic retinopathy, nystagmus, macular holes and many other eye disorders, Ocutech is teaming with low vision care providers and patients across the country to bring a network of peer support and information resources to all who are seeking help. For more information, call (800) 326-6460 or visit

Locally you may contact the Southwest Center for Independence at 259-1672 for assistance.

Visitors and guests

This week we welcomed Kay and Larry Castolena, Barb Brashar, Ron and Laura DeVere, Ernestine Bowers, Carolyn Conway, Steve Kish, and Sharry and Bill Newell.

Please note: yoga may be canceled May 27. Call first.

Upcoming events

Friday - 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 a.m. Medicare counseling; 11 a.m. blood pressure check with Patty Tillerson; 12:30 p.m., Kate Kelly playing her viola; 1 p.m. movie day.

May 26 - closed for holiday

May 27 - 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 advanced computer class

May 28 - 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class

May 30 - 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 Medicare counseling; 1 p.m. dominos; 12:45 p.m. senior board meeting.


Veterans Corner

Make Memorial Day a special event

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

Monday is Memorial Day. It is befitting, especially in these troubled times, to remember those who have served our country, both past and present. Elsewhere in this addition of The SUN will be a list of events and observances for Memorial Day in our community.

As you attend these events, remember those older fellows you see, some of them wearing uniforms that don't fit quite as well, showing a little paunch in the middle, hair growing gray, but standing tall and proud, are those who went off to protect and defend our country in their youth, and were lucky enough to return.

Women Veterans

Did I say fellows? Many of our women have gone off to serve our country, too. And, who can forget "Rosie The Riveter" or the "We Can Do It" symbols of women with their sleeves rolled up. Many women played extremely important roles on the home front, taking the place of the men, building the tools that were needed at the time.

Men and women made sacrifices of their youth to help make America what it is today. Some of them gave the highest sacrifice they could for their country, their lives.

Memorial to remember

Memorial Day is for remembering those who paid the ultimate price, and did not come back. They may be buried in a field overlooking a place called Omaha Beach on the shores of France. Or, in a nearly forgotten grave in Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs, marked by a small flag placed there by the surviving members of a local veteran's organization.

Lest we forget

We won't forget those who gave their lives for their country, in time of war or in time of peace. When you see our uniformed men and women at Memorial Day observances, stand tall with them. Salute the American flag. Sing our National Anthem proudly and a little louder. Bow your head in remembrance of all those unsung and fallen heroes. Tell a child what Memorial Day means to us.

For information on these and other veteran's benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the fax number is 264-5949, and e-mail is afautheree The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.


Chamber News

Secrets of Service workshops May 28-29


I didn't offer customer service workshops last year because I felt I had presented them for nine consecutive years and it was probably time for a break.

I have had several organizations request them throughout the year, so we'll give it a whirl again at the end of the month.

Most of you who know me also know that I am a total freak about the importance of customer service and have been for all of my adult life. I truly believe that it makes all the difference between a successful business and those not so successful. Our goal in the service industry is always to create a "customer for life" and it takes training, dedication and hard work to do so.

Secrets of Service is a program I created several years ago using bits and pieces from all my years in the hotel industry and basically all my years in the service industries.

I had the pleasure of training literally hundreds of employees during my years with Radisson Corporation and have since trained hundreds more.

Just recently I was asked to train a class at Bayfield High School interested in going into the hospitality industry and also at Citizens Bank at the request of Dan Aupperle.

Secrets of Service is a two-hour program just loaded with tips on how to treat our customers/guests/clients/constituents in the best possible way so that they will return again and again. We touch on all the important aspects of customer service to include ever-rising customer expectations and how to exceed them, phone skills, how to handle a difficult customer, how to be a good team player, the importance of first impressions, communications skills, anon, anon. The best thing about the workshops is that we have a great time while addressing all these important issues and the time just flies by.

Please join us or, by all means, send your employees to one of the two seminars offered May 28, 9:30-11:30 a.m. or May 29, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

With all the economic challenges we have faced the past couple of years, customer service is more important now than ever before. Pagosa Springs needs to shine above all others as the friendliest, warmest, customer-friendly town, and Secrets of Service will help us achieve that lofty goal.

Cost to members is $5, $10 for nonmembers, and the sessions will be held in the board room at the Visitor Center.

Give us a call with questions at 264-2360. Please join us - we have a blast, I promise.

Keyah Grande tour

Yikes - I've been dying to see Keyah Grande for the 12 years I've been in Pagosa, and wouldn't you know that a tour is scheduled when I won't be here? Dang, do you think I'll have to wait another 12 years?

At any rate, United Way of Archuleta County is pleased to offer a wine and cheese tour of Keyah Grande June 7, 3-6 p.m.

Tickets are $25 if purchased before June 4 and $30 at the door. You may purchase said tickets at the Chamber of Commerce and WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company in Pagosa and at Bank of the San Juans in Durango.

If you would like to purchase with a credit card or would like more information on this event, just call Kathi DeClark (970) 946-2057. I think I'll call Kathi and see if she can arrange a private tour for me some time.

Newsletter inserts

Some extremely organized folks have already brought us their inserts for our quarterly newsletter, the Chamber Communiqué, but for the rest of us mortals, the deadline for submission is May 23.

In case you haven't heard about this extremely affordable marketing tool, allow me to enlighten you.

For just $40 and 750 copies of your insert, we will get the word out to every Chamber member about your new business, your new product, your new location or just anything at all that you would like to share with over 750 business people.

Since I do all the marketing and advertising for the area, I happen to know that this is a phenomenal deal. (One of our neighboring chamber organizations charges $150 for their newsletter inserts - honest.) We always encourage you to use colorful paper, unfolded please, and use both sides to convey your message if you please.

Please call us with any questions about the inserts at 264-2360.

Big game banquet

The San Juan Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is holding its annual Big Game Banquet May 31 in the Extension building at the fairgrounds with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.

As always, you can count on plenty of food, fun and bidding action. Tickets are $50 for an individual and $70 for a couple and include a year's membership in the organization.

If you are a current member, the price of the meal is $20.

A special raffle will be held to donate to a scholarship fund to benefit our local youth beginning in 2004. Other raffles and fund-raising events will be held throughout the year to support the scholarship fund.

Please contact the following members for tickets and/or questions: Fran Bohl, 731-5903; Don and Terri Sullivan, 731-2590; Scott and Margaret Brush, 731-4887 and Tom Dittenber at 731-6398.

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 tickets are disappearing at a fairly rapid rate, and you just don't want to miss out on these amazing performances. I will tell you that I listened to Aviram Reichert playing Mozart on CD as I was tasking about the house this weekend, and what a pleasure it was. He is a gifted musician as well as a perfectly charming, charismatic young man. Actually, all these musicians communicate beautifully with their audience which makes them unique and exceptional to me.

On Monday, July 21, violinist Vadim Gluzman, and pianist Angela Yoffe will perform Mozart and Prokofiev. Aviram Reichert and festival musicians will present "Romancing the Piano" on Friday, July 25, and Antonio Pompa-Baldi and festival musicians will present Dvorak and other piano works on Friday, August 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.

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. I am delighted that 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.

The Wild Blooms

The Footnotes will present The Wild Blooms in concert May 30 at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse at 230 Port Avenue. This evening of folk/rock music will benefit Friends of the Performing Arts. Kevin Johnson, Carol Turner, Stephen Tholberg and David Sachs combine their musical talents to bring a concert sure to please all ages.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments and the concert will begin at 7:30. Tickets are available at WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company, Moonlight Books and the Chamber of Commerce for $10 advance or $12 at the door. Soft drinks will be sold and wine will be available for a donation.

Fair volunteers

The county fair board is looking for volunteers of all ages, gender and levels of enthusiasm to help them with all kinds of assignments. You are needed to help set up and break down as well as for the open and 4-H class registration. Also needed are able-bodied folks for the first Lee Sterling Chile Taste that will take place July 31 and during the fair, Aug. 1, 2 and 3.

If you can lend a hand, please fill out a registration form which you will find at the Chamber of Commerce, CSU Extension Office at the fairgrounds, Sisson Library, Community Center, Circle T/Ace Hardware, Ponderosa Do It Best, Pagosa Springs Office Supply, Moonlight Books, Plaid Pony, Radio Shack and WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company.

You can drop off completed forms at those same locations. Volunteers under 18 years of age require parental consent and kids 10-13 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

Contact Terri Smith at 731-0729 or 946-1745 if you have any questions about the volunteer opportunities at the Fair.


We are proud to announce five new members, one new owner and four renewals this week. Pretty darned good if you ask me.

We couldn't be happier to welcome old friends of the Chamber who have taken on a brand new excellent adventure and business. Jack (and Patti) Renner join us with The Office Lounge (formerly Bob's Cabin) at 165 North Pagosa Blvd., and I have heard raves about the comfy, warm décor.

Jack and Patti welcome you to join them for their grand opening Friday evening from 4 p.m. until midnight for drinks, a mini-buffet or appetizer bar in a smoke-free environment. The Office Lounge is an upscale lounge open six nights a week, Monday through Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. each evening. Please join the gang at The Office Lounge beginning Friday or give them a call at 731-8999 for more information. We thank Chamber board director, Toby Karlquist for encouraging the Renners to join with their new biz and will make sure he receives a free SunDowner for his extra efforts.

Marty Shelton joins us with the Rio Grande Club in South Fork. The Rio Grande Club is a private/resort club with daily fee play on a beautiful mountain golf course located right on the Rio Grand eRiver.

This is an 18-hole championship golf course offering tournament scheduling. To learn more about the Rio Grande Club, please call Marty at (719) 873-1995 or toll-free at (866)873-1995. We're grateful to Bill Goddard at The Choke Cherry Tree for recruiting Marty and will cheerfully send Bill a pass to our next SunDowner for his stellar efforts.

We next welcome Aimee Melendy who brings us HandyMaids with offices in her home. HandyMaids offers housecleaning services with a hard working crew always at the ready to help you. Spring is that time of year that many homeowners feel the need to spiff up their digs, and Aimee will be happy to give you a hand with all those formidable chores. We're grateful to our Chamber Diplomat team, Ron and Sheila Hunkin for their recruitment of Aimee and will grace them with a SunDowner pass pronto.

We next welcome Joyce Fletcher with Environmental Plus with offices located in her home.

Environmental Plus offers air and water purification systems as well as nutrition and personal care products. To learn more about how Joyce can help you out and improve your personal and general environment, please give her a call at 731-3249.

Marcel and Bev Theberge join us next with TRAVELHOST of Four Corners located at 303 Meadows Circle in Bayfield.

TRAVELHOST publishes a monthly regional magazine for hotel/motel in-room distribution. TRAVELHOST serves the hotel guest with information about area attractions, dining, entertainment, shopping and other regional events through advertising. To learn more about TRAVELHOST, give Marcel and Bev a call at (970) 884-0230.

We are delighted to welcome new owners, DC and Jaye Duncan, who continue the good work of previous owner, John Porter, with Clean As A Whistle, LLC, with offices in their home.

Just give a whistle to these good folks if you need carpet and/or upholstery cleaning or floor waxing, polishing and cleaning. We all enjoy our homes being "Clean As A Whistle" after the long winter months. You can call Jaye for more information at 731-6221.

We are happy to renew Carolyn Hamilton with Juicy Jerky and announce the new location of JJ at 191 East Pagosa St. Carolyn tells us to look for the log cabin at the San Juan Motel on the east side of town to find their buffalo, elk, antelope, venison, beef and turkey gourmet jerky, pinon nuts and free samples.

Our other renewals this week include Tara Mandala, Inc.; Jessie Formwalt with Appraisal Services, Inc.; Denise Wilstead with Creations by Denise; and Patti Renner with Nature's Creations. Many thanks to one and all.

Library News

New book has Colorado twist

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

This annual Summer Reading program will be starting in just a few weeks after school is out.

Barb Draper has done a wonderful job getting activities lined up. Barb and Sharee Grazda have arranged for many storytellers and programs during the six weeks.

Watch The SUN for information on how to sign up.

New books

"The Cowboy and his Elephant," by Malcolm MacPherson, is a most unusual story with Colorado ties. Bob Norris was a Colorado rancher and also became the Marlboro Man appearing on TV and on billboards around the world.

Norris adopted an orphan baby African elephant. Amy, the elephant, became a "hand" on Bob's ranch. Norris' ultimate goal was to return Amy to her homeland. This is the story of a remarkable friendship to be enjoyed by all ages.

"The Ultimate Horse," by Elwyn Hartley Edwards, is a superb visual encyclopedia showing 99 breeds with detailed histories of the breeds and the origins and uses of the various species. It covers the appropriate breed for each equestrian discipline from dressage and mounting games to driving and long distance riding.

The photographs are outstanding and show how the horse has been used for our benefit throughout the centuries. This is a book for all lovers of horses.

"Things Will Never Be the Same" by Tomie DePaola, is a children's book but is reminiscent of childhood in 1941. For those of us who were children and can remember that December Sunday, this is especially bittersweet.

We are now grandparents and this is a book to discuss and read with the children of today who will say the same about 9/11. Things will never be the same.

De Paola is an award-winning author and artist who is loved by children and adults alike. He relates to us all.


The library will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.


Thanks to Ron and Cindy Gustafson for a donation in memory of our friend Wes Huckins. Thanks for materials from Marjorie Nevitt, Methodist Thrift Shop, Bev Worthman, Linda Kurtz, Russ and Betty Freeman, E. G. Cotton Jr., Dick and Cindy Warring.


Business News
The Antler Shed Factory Outlet and Gallery, under the ownership of Karla Mundall, Deb Hornbacher and Les Mundall, offers furniture pieces constructed with the use of antlers by artist Randall May.

Pieces on display include antler chandeliers, chairs and lamps. There are also rustic paintings and sculpture available at the gallery.

Other pieces not on display are available for order upon request at the gallery.

Located at 150 Pagosa St., Suite 2, the store is open Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.



Stuart Royston and Bridget McKee were proud to announce their engagement while in Maui. They are excited to have their wedding here in Pagosa Springs Sept. 27, 2003. Stuart and Bridget are both private pilots and are looking forward to soaring to great heights in their new life together.


Bryan J. Looper, son of Kathleen Looper of Pagosa Springs and a 1999 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, has graduated cum laude from Mesa State College in Grand Junction with his bachelor's degree in exercise science. He plans to continue his career as a Special Olympics coordinator for the state of Colorado.



Hours of Love

School volunteers

give gift of time

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Three thousand four hundred and sixty-one hours.

That's how much time volunteers spent working with students and teachers in the Archuleta School District during the first semester of 2002-03.

And they haven't stopped. They come in to help with special events like book fairs or field trips. They come for regular tutoring hours - or just once in awhile to assist a teacher. They are parents and retired people. Helpers. Listeners. An integral key to the success of the schools.

"I am amazed at the commitment of parents in the community and the community's support for our school system is unbelievable," Superintendent Duane Noggle said.

Although volunteers have worked within the school system for several years, keeping track of the hours just started in the fall.

According to the semester's records, 1,886 volunteers visits were made and 3,461.75 contact hours recorded. The highest single month was October with 663 volunteer visits and 1,252 contact hours.

Most of the volunteers are concentrated in the elementary school. However, a few spill over into the intermediate and junior high schools and each sport claims at least a couple volunteer coaches.

What's important, Noggle said, is that they come and keep coming.

"What we would like to see is every parent put in volunteer time," he said. "It's important for them to know what their child does on a day-to-day basis, and it's important for them to see how hard our teachers really do work. They put in a lot of effort and time to get ready for a single day."

Jolyne Ihly, the home-to-school liaison said some might look at the numbers and point out that some classes, including the School Within a School program, require a certain amount of volunteer time from parents, a fact that could inflate the overall numbers. However, it simply isn't the case.

The majority of hours come from non-School Within a School classes where there is no official requirement, she said.

Lisa Scott, a mother of three, started volunteering last year when her oldest entered kindergarten. She now has two in school and a 2-year-old who helps out once in a while, too.

"It's just great to be here and be involved where your kids are," she said. Scott spends an hour and a half each week in her kids' classrooms. In the first-grade classroom, she listens to students read. In kindergarten, she works with small groups as they rotate through activity and academic centers.

And it doesn't stop there. Scott spends several more hours a week in the school helping out where ever she can.

"The staff and teachers are so friendly and welcoming," she said. "It's just such a nice place to be."

She's also learned quite a bit.

"It's also fulfilling to be up here and understand the environment your children are in every day."

Dale Morris, a volunteer in the high school, agrees.

"I think it's important to be more in touch with what's going on in the kids' lives," she said. "It allows you to see them in a different way and they have the chance to see you in a different way." Morris has a son, Jesse, in high school. In the past, she said, her volunteer time has focused on sports. Lately, it's switched to drama.

Morris is the 2002-03 Drama Club sponsor and co-directed the recent production of "Footloose," focusing on the choreography. She's at the high school whenever she's needed.

Drama Club, she said, meets once a week. Of course, when they were practicing for the IML One-Act play competition, that required her presence every afternoon of the week. And "Footloose," well, Morris, was there whenever needed. Daytime. Evenings. Even weekends.

"That's every day for part of the day and then it's done," she said. No matter what the time, it's worth it because of the students.

"The kids are very loving and giving and appreciative," she said.

Anyone who wants to become a volunteer must officially register. All volunteers are required to complete a volunteer application form and volunteer information form and submit these to the building principal.

Those who will be volunteering in a situation where they could be left alone with students, such as an overnight trip, must also be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check for the safety of all students.


Pagosa's Past

'My dad was a penitente'


Eugenio Martinez looked north, looked south, then pointed at the red soil at his feet.

"That's where I want to buried, beside my father. Then I can look over there and see my ranch and my home by the river. I can look the other way and see where Nutrita used to be."

"It's beautiful, no?"

Gene waited for an answer, head slightly down, just a hint of a squint in the dark eyes searching my face.

His father, also Eugenio, might have squinted with that same, far-off look when he planted his boots on this same point years ago. Beauty surrounded us.

Archuleta Mesa filled the western skyline.

Below, on the north side of the Navajo River stands a little mesa with a cemetery on top, the final resting place of Marcellino Archuleta, shot in a dispute over hay in the field filling the valley floor.

To the east stretch the wild arroyos creasing Diamante Mesa. Beyond Diamante is U.S. 84 connecting Chama with Chromo and Pagosa Springs.

Shimmering on the north skyline are the Silvery San Juans, the Shining Mountains.

And to the south, an endless parade of pine-clad mesas stretch through time and space back to Gene's ancestral home at Abiquiu and the cluster of villas that has become Espanola.

With just a little squint, a wrinkling of the forehead, a discerning reader might see other of Gene's ancestors, the conquistadors marching across trackless deserts connecting Mexico with this distant frontier.

Even though he carries that same yen for adventure and love of the land that brought his ancestors here, Gene is a man living here and now.

His home, maybe a mile below us on the banks of the Navajo River, is the kind of place modern families search for when they abandon metropolitan areas. It is little changed from its first primordial state.

"Yes Gene,""it's beautiful, I answer.

With visible effort, Gene turns his eyes from the beauty around us and begins identifying the various gravestones surrounding his father's grave at Nutritas. He recites a story about each. The cemetery is well cared for, ever-present plastic flowers mingled with the older, Santos art work.

A litany of Hispanic names etched on the markers includes Leandro Cruz, the man who donated the land for the cemetery and its adjacent morada. The adobe Cruz house sits empty in the field below.

Gene points to the little frame house flanking one side of the cemetery.

"My dad was a penitente," he said. "They used to do some of their secret things there. One time we were peaking through the window and they saw us. They chased us but we got away in the corn field."

The morada, a stark, jacal-type structure remains on the east side of the cemetery. We peered through a small window in the door. Homemade wooden benches line two walls. Otherwise, the single room is bare, almost austere. A portion of the ceiling and walls are plastered with clay.

"Someone took the statues," Gene said. "They get that clay right down there in the valley. It comes in three colors."

Vertical slabs of wood making up the morada walls were chinked with the same clay.

"When was this last used?" I asked Gene.

"Oh, I'm not sure," he answered. "When I went to Los Angeles in 1944, it was still being used. When I came back it was not being used any more."

Gene was born in Chama during 1926 to Eugenio and Arcelio Martinez, the oldest of nine children. His father had been born near Abiquiu, his mother at Chimayo.

For a time during the Depression-draped 1930s, his dad worked the Blunt coal mine located south of Highway 64 between Lumberton and Dulce. When the coal seam gave out in 1937, the family moved to a homestead in Abeyta Canyon. Abeyta Canyon is just up the Navajo River from Edith.

"There were a lot of people in Edith at that time," Gene recalls, "some other Martinezes and the Valdez family and Talamantes and Griegos. We had a good time there."

Gene picked up the name "Mean Gene" at the community gatherings which featured boxing matches in addition to homemade ice cream and barbecue.

Rachael Tischner was one of the teachers in the school conducted in a large building north of the river and west of the bridge. The school building had formerly been a residence and has long since burned. Gene also attended school in Lumberton and at Nutritas. The teacher at Nutritas was Margie Cruz.

Higmio Martinez ran a general store up the river from Edith, but sold out and moved to Chama.

Most of the families shopped in Pagosa Springs where they sold their sheep products to the Hersch family. Some shopping was also conducted at Lumberton. Gene recalls Don Schutz's store in Lumberton.

In addition to the other community get-togethers, on Sunday afternoons the boys regularly rode up and down the road horseback with the girls.

July 4th was especially exciting. Beef was barbecued in a huge pit.

The menfolk tried to climb a standing, greased pole. There were horseshoes, sack races, and maybe best of all, a gathering of the clans. Families visiting for maybe the only time during the year caught up on the latest aches and pains and other family events.

Gene's memories of living on the Abeyta Canyon place are good. The family raised sheep and when he could, his dad worked for the CCC or in lumber mills. Oats, barley, and other crops were raised throughout the Edith-Nutritas area.

"We ate healthy then, good solid food fresh from the ground," Gene says. "We had a lot of fresh mutton and goat milk and the potatoes and root crops were great. We dug a hole in the ground and buried the vegetables in sand in the hole. They would keep until May. Eggs and milk were kept in a covered container in the spring."

Not so long after completing the eighth grade, Gene set out to see the world. The journey took him to Southern California and New Jersey and Bingham, Utah, and included two years in the Army.

Finally, Gene got a job with the Pagosa Ranger District of the U.S. Forest service. After 25 years as a range manager, he retired in 1983 and now spends his time taking care of 45 mother cows and his property in the Edith area. Life couldn't be better.

"The old days had some good points, but I like modern technology," Gene said. "I own a bulldozer and make my own ponds. We couldn't do that in the old days."

With wife Doreen, Gene listens to the singing river, looks north, south, east, and west, and thanks God for his life on the Navajo.



Meaningful events

The next week brings with it two important ceremonies, not

unrelated. Saturday, the Class of 2003 graduates as its mem-

bers receive their diplomas at the Pagosa Springs High School gym. Monday, we celebrate one of our most significant national holidays: Memorial Day. This year, perhaps more than most, the coincidence of these events is meaningful, heightened by realities outside our little town.

There are 120 graduates in the Class of 2003, drawn from the Pagosa Springs High School and Archuleta County High School. The graduates have successfully completed their fundamental educations in our public school system. Presumably, all are now equipped with the basic skills needed to send them on - to technical and trade schools, to colleges and universities, to the job market - with an educational and social foundation that provides them with a decent chance at success in whatever endeavors they pursue.

Others in the graduating class, like brothers, sisters and friends in previous years, will take the basic education they received here into service to their country as members of one of the branches of our armed services.

With the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the war against terrorism continuing - with more military action highly likely in the near future - membership in the armed services today means much more than finding a relatively easy avenue to college loans and advanced technical training.

With the chance that more conflicts are on the horizon as our nation works to maintain itself in a hostile world, a young man or young woman enlisting in the military is taking a chance that his or her life will be put on the line.

Monday, we honor those Americans who gave their lives in military service to their country.

While the holiday was created in 1868 to honor Union soldiers and sailors who fell in the Civil War it later expanded to embrace all of those who have fallen in the shadow of Old Glory; following World War I the holiday, then known as Decoration Day, was dedicated to all Americans who gave their lives in service to their country, in all wars. Now known as Memorial Day, the holiday falls on the last Monday of May. There will be ceremonies Memorial Day across the country and here in town to honor those who died in service to the nation, struggling to preserve our values and way of life.

It is one of two significant occasions to observe in the days ahead.

Saturday, we should attend the high school graduation in a celebratory mood. It is time to laud the youngsters for their accomplishments and encourage them as they move to meet the demands and responsibilities of adulthood. The graduates are beginning their adult lives and moving toward who and what they will be. We can do no less than wish them prosperity and peace.

Monday, we must remember our past and honor the sacrifices that have sustained us and preserved our way of life.

Let's say a prayer Monday for those we gather to honor, and treat their memory with somber respect, remembering that the majority of those we honor Monday were youngsters when they fell - beginning their adult lives and moving toward who and what they would be.

Let's also say a prayer for the young Pagosans who wore caps and gowns two days before, wishing them all the best, and asking that none of their names are ever recited at a Memorial Day service in the future.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

'I'll never throw a child away'


By Richard Walter

He wouldn't want to be called an icon.

But those who heard the words uttered about him Friday would certainly put him in that category.

He was called dedicated, committed, caring, the complete leader.

He was said to be the reason many in the room are still here; the reason they decided to stay in the profession; their inspiration for following in his footsteps.

He is Larry Lister, the retiring principal of Pagosa Springs Junior High School, a position he's held with full administration and community support for 23 years.

They were the teachers on the staff, the administrators, the principals of the other schools in the district, the former superintendent, Terry Alley, who hired Lister .

They told of him listening intently as a little girl told him of her losing a gift and how he helped her find it.

They told about his exploits as an athlete in Pagosa Springs High School, how he coached others as intently as he played, how he convinced the disgruntled but highly qualified teachers to stay on the job.

Perhaps the most lasting memory for all in the room, however, will be the comment by school board director Carol Feazel.

She had a gift for him, a Mexican horse blanket from the board of education.

But more important, she said, was a memory she had of a very contentious executive meeting of the board.

"We were hot and heavy and Larry suddenly stopped us with the comment: 'I'll never throw a child away.'"

And that was the tone. The man was revered by all who served with and under him and who had occasion to attend conferences with him.

One speaker said there have been hundreds, perhaps thousands of times in all those years of Lister's leadership when someone from outside would come into the office and ask, "Where's Larry?"

He was seldom in that office, except late at night when all the others were gone. Then he'd be alone at his computer doing the administrative portion of the job.

"But," said the speaker, I'll tell you where Larry was."

"He was in a hallway, in a restroom, in a classroom - whereever there was a child with a struggle.

"He was on the playground, encouraging fairness in competition, he was watching the buses loading to make sure there was no one left behind.

"It wasn't unusual to walk by a classroom and see Larry kneeling down by a student, showing him or her how to decipher what had been a tough problem.

"It wasn't out of the question to see him comfort a child who fell and was injured.

"It wasn't out of the question to find this man wherever a child needed assistance. For him the life of a principal was a life of children and what was best for them."

With his mother, sisters, brothers and children looking on, Lister said his only regret is that he didn't take more time for his family.

"It all goes by too quickly," he said.


90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of May 23, 1913

Dry weather is making the danger of forest fires greater than for several years. The forest service is asking the public to guard against carelessness in handling fire.

Have you ever noticed that the small property owner hardly ever howls officially about his tax assessment, while the big fish and corporations will nearly always roar to the equalization board if their taxes are 40 cents more than they figured on giving up?

Cattlemen report a small drop in cattle prices, but Archuleta County will not be greatly concerned about cattle prices until next fall, when local stockmen will market the best range-fed steers in the world.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 25, 1928

The residents of U pper Piedra Park are loud in their praises of the excellent road work being done this season by Archuleta County to the Hinsdale County line in their section, though little can be said for the line beyond the boundary. The women especially are grateful, for they can now make the trip to town by auto without worrying about being pulled from numerous mudholes.

A good turnout at the annual clean-up day at Hilltop Cemetery on Monday accomplished much in the way of beatifying and improving the grounds.

Harry C. Macht of Pagosa Springs and D.D. Pargin of Piedra attended the stockmen's meeting at Durango Saturday.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 22, 1953

The Town water works went on the fritz again Friday night and up until the middle of the week there was very little pressure or water. The Town Board made an emergency purchase of a large motor and pump to handle the water supply until such time as the large water wheel could again be repaired. The breakdown this time was occasioned by the breaking of several spokes in the large overshot water wheel.

The breakdown in the water plant necessitating the operation of standby equipment very nearly resulted in the loss of the Herman Trujillo home on Monday afternoon when it caught fire. Pressure was so low that it became necessary to run all water used in combating the blaze through the pumper on the fire truck.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 25, 1978

The Postal Service approved a 2-cent increase in first-class mailing rates Friday, refusing to consider further the Carter administration's plea to retain present rates for individual citizens. The cost of mailing a first-class letter will jump from 13 cents to 15 cents.

There is one more week of school for teachers and students. Local schools will officially close on Friday, June 2. Commencement exercises are schedule for Sunday, May 28 in the high school gym.

The weather hasn't been really warm, although there were three nights this past week when it did not freeze. Tourists are not here in any great numbers. Forest Service campgrounds will open this week and there will be no overnight camping at Echo Lake.