May 29, 2003 
Front Page

Water priority use talks

produce 'happy medium'

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

"A happy medium" was the phrase of choice used repeatedly by a number of participants who took part in a lengthy debate concerning water priorities during this week's meeting of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors.

As they have in the past few months, the issues of domestic priority, water restrictions, and aesthetics once again surfaced in the midst of an update given by Carrie Campbell, general manager, regarding the district's ongoing supply/demand negotiations with raw water irrigators.

"The bottom line is (the cost of) gravity fed water versus pumped," explained Campbell, indicating the district and local irrigators are aiming to achieve a billing agreement suitable to both.

In the wake of Campbell's update, a discussion arose concerning the district's most recognized raw water irrigator - Pagosa Springs Golf Club.

The district and golf course have clashed in the past during brief but often-heated debates primarily related to disagreements over billing charges and contracts concerning the use/storage of irrigation water in Village Lake during last year's record drought.

That issue remains unsettled and is currently being handled by each entity's respective legal team. Tuesday night's discussion took on a slightly different tone.

"In my opinion, the golf course should be treated as an industry," said board member Bob Frye, "To me, watering and landscaping the golf course is different than doing the same to someone's front yard."

Frye explained that it is his belief that the golf course may require a separate train of thought with regard to restrictions, a point of view that would be shared by the rest of the board later in the meeting.

"Personally, I'd be willing to let things in my front yard die before the greens on the golf course," added Frye, "But everything comes with a price ... and if you don't pay, you don't get."

Such sentiments were met with collective dismay by several district residents in attendance who live along or near Village Lake. They argued that the scenic quality of the lake, and all district lakes, should occupy a higher position on the list of the board's priorities.

Easing restrictions on the golf course, they said, would lower the lake's level and serve to drive away the tourists and vacationers who come to the area to recreate, while negatively affecting permanent residents and adjacent property owners as well.

While indicating she understands such concerns, board member Karen Wessels reiterated the board's position that domestic use will continue to be the district's main priority (Village Lake is not used for domestic purposes).

"We have a responsibility to our constituents to provide safe, quality water for consumption and other domestic use," said Wessels. "I don't feel this district is responsible for the aesthetics of any one lake."

Wessels raised the possibility that special improvement districts could be considered if residents wish to pay the potential extra costs associated with keeping the lake above the recently-established minimum level of 60 inches below spillway.

To the suggestion by one member of the public near discussion's end that perhaps other district lakes could be lowered to make up the difference since "they are all full right now and in six months it's going to snow again," Frye responded lightheartedly, "It is? I guess I could sleep a lot better tonight knowing that."

Watering Restrictions

Following a request from Terry Carter, golf course superintendent, a motion to waive watering hour restrictions for Pagosa Springs Golf Club was carried unanimously by the board.

The board's decision was based on the extenuating circumstances resulting from last year's extreme drought, which decimated roughly one-third of the course's terrain.

The restrictions for all other raw water irrigators within the district remain in place: watering on odd-numbered days of the month only, between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. the following morning.

The board made no further adjustments to current water restrictions, and residents living within the district who have addresses ending in even numbers may continue to water on even-numbered days of the month; residents whose addresses end in odd numbers may water on odd-numbered days of the month.

Watering is permitted between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. the following morning.

Customers who use over 8,000 gallons of water per month will be billed $3.50 (in addition to the regular monthly base charges) for every additional 1,000 gallons used - effective for up to 20,000 gallons.

Customers who exceed 20,000 gallons of usage will be charged $4.50 for every 1,000 additional gallons accumulated.

Also, a surcharge of $5.25 for each customer remains in effect. The charge has been levied to recover unexpected costs (pumping, etc.) incurred due to last summer's record drought conditions.

In other business the board:

- approved the request for the use of district maps by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association for a watershed mapping study (contingent upon approval of the town of Pagosa Springs and Pagosa Fire Protection District)

- tabled a consideration of an agreement with Davis Engineering Services for design services associated with the Dutton Ditch encasement project and directed staff to obtain additional details concerning the scope of the services.


First lynx kittens found in region

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Colorado Division of Wildlife researchers found two baby lynx huddled with their mother at a remote site in southwestern Colorado May 21, the first documented reproduction since the agency's lynx reintroduction began in 1999 under direction from Gov. Bill Owens.

John Marshall, public information officer with the Division, said the discovery was made in rugged terrain south of Wolf Creek Pass.

"Of course, we do not want to pinpoint the exact location, because we in no way want the site disturbed," said Marshall. "We are, however, obviously very excited with the find, and hope it will serve as not the only, but first of many of its kind."

Owens was equally optimistic. "The first step toward recovery was the reintroduction of lynx into Colorado," Owens said. "The next step is a population sustaining itself in the wild. This is an encouraging and important step toward the ultimate goal of recovery of the lynx here in Colorado."

"These lynx kittens represent an enormous milestone in species recovery," said Greg Walcher, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. "To be able to say we actually left Colorado a better place than we found it, we must be willing to do more than just say we care about endangered species. We must be willing to actually work toward recovering these magnificent animals."

Wildlife biologists found the lynx and kittens in a den amid downed timber on a steep hillside at 11,000 feet in typical lynx habitat. Both of the kittens and the mother were in excellent condition, and there are lots of snowshoe hares in the area.

The researchers were at the site for only 11 minutes. The mother stayed close to her kittens, typically the case with lynx mothers when humans approach a den. Canadian researchers have found that brief interruptions by humans do no disturb the bond between the mother and kitten and have not caused abandonment.

The Division first released 41 lynx in 1999 and another 55 in 2000 in the San Juan Mountains. The area was chosen because of the availability of habitat and prey.

While Division researchers had determined that lynx were finding adequate prey species and had settled into suitable habitat, they hadn't documented reproduction until this week. Carnivore researchers in Colorado and elsewhere suggested that breeding may not have occurred because the density of lynx is too low.

They recommended releasing more lynx to determine once and for all if the wild cats could still thrive in the state. Last month, 32 lynx captured in Quebec and British Columbia were released in the same core area of southwestern Colorado. The Division plans to release 50 more in each of the next two years and up to 15 lynx in 2006 and 2007.


Arrows, stones don caps, gowns to graduate

Richard Walter

Staff Writer

They were compared to arrows - and to rocks.

They laughed, yelled and some cried tears of joy.

As a group they outlined how they had arrived at this juncture in their lives, listed those present from the very beginning and those who joined each year to make the final group complete.

Afterward, they partied across the width and breadth of Pagosa Country, celebrating the work, sacrifice and support which got them there.

They are the graduates of Pagosa Springs High School, Class of 2003.

With a huge crowd spilling out of the gymnasium to the commons area where many watched the event on television, the newest group to complete their 12 years of public school received diplomas and a bevy of scholarship awards.

Keynote speaker, at the invitation of the class, was Sean Downing, who is leaving his teaching position at the school. He was introduced by Travis Reid.

It was Downing who likened the seniors to arrows, implements needing a strong straight shaft to go on into new challenges, to face the demands of preparing for careers.

But it isn't just the shaft which must be right, he told the graduates. The feathers which stabilize flight and help guide the arrow to the target must be just the proper angle and weight.

He likened the process of preparing the arrows for action to that of the teachers, parents and other family members who have been involved in developing their educational background.

On another occasion, the students were compared to boulders in a river.

Stones are hewn by the currents, reduced by the shifting, sifting sands to workable elements in the flow of time.

So, too, are the students moulded into workable parts of society where they can find a niche. The rough edges are chipped away, the uneven surfaces smoothed out and the contribution of the original stone honed for motion.

Each of the four co-valedictorians offered brief comments to their classmates and the crowd.

Clay Pruitt told of an outing at Navajo Lake when a boat overturned and he was reminded of an old idea: "Bird, Rock, Jump."

The bird represents a spot where the person in trouble can focus that is distant from the obstacle at hand; the rock is the obstacle and the jump is the action necessary to reach the rock and hence a means of safety.

"We stood at the edge of a cliff," he told the other graduates. "And we've said to ourselves "Bird! Rock! Jump! Here we go, into the future."

Fellow valedictorian Jolyn Rader told classmates the class motto - "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" - has proved correct:

"We are at an end, and at a new beginning," she said. "Nothing will ever be the same again. We are crossing over into college and whatever challenges lie ahead with eyes wide open."

Other top graduates speaking were Holly Gustafson who urged her classmates to remember "... where education began, who helped along the way ... how we got here together"; and Justin Smith who reminded the class "... we have grown together, lived togetherness, and togetherness made this happen."

The number of scholarships awarded to the class is an indication of the individual achievements.

Schoalrship recipients, with the number of stipends in parentheses are:

Adam Young (1); Alan Wanket (1); Amber Beye (1); Andrew Knaggs (1) Arlie Johnson (1); Brandon Charles (8); Brent Coen (1); Clay Pruitt (6); Clayton Mastin (2); Danny Lyon (6); Drisa Carizzo (4); Hannah Emanuel (3); Holly Gustafson (6); Jared Earley (1); Jared Lincoln (6); Jason Schutz (12); Jennae Mendoza (1); Jennifer Espinosa (1); Jeremy Buikema (1); Jerry Parker (1); Jesse Trujillo (3); Jessica Buikema (4); Jolyn Rader (1); Jonathan Richardson (3); Jordan Kurt-Mason (1); Justin Bloomquist (1); Justin Smith (10); Katie Bliss (1); Kiley White (1); Kyle Frye (4)); Lauren Arnold (1); Lawren Lopez (1); Lila Garcia (2); Marylou Villalobos (8); Meagan Hilsabeck (3); Mike Zeek (1); Mylinda Blankenship (1); Randy Ferguson (3); Robin Willett (1); Sara Aupperle (5); Sarah Riley (2); Sarah Smith (2); Stacey Smith (1); Todd Mees (3); Travis Blesi (1); Travis Quiller (1); Tricia Lucero (2); William Feht (1); and Zeb Gill (1).

One member of the class is going into the United States Army and four into the U.S. Marine Corps.

Only one of the graduates received an athletic scholarship, but a large number indicated their plans are to enter medicine and/or health-related fields.

Graduates in the school's 93rd commencement exercise were:

Lauren Arnold, Sara Aupperle, Amber Baker, Amber Beye, Mylinda Blankenship, Travis Blesi, Katherine Bliss, Justin Bloomquist, Jeremy Buikema, Jessica Buikema.

Also, Holly Candelaria, Ceth Carnley, Drisa Carrizo, Brandon Charles, Nicholas Chavez, Everett Claw, Brent Coen, Daniel Coggins, Michael Dach, Andrea Dean.

Also, Nicole Dominguez, Jared Earley, Kristina Elledge, Hannah Emanuel, Stephen Erickson, Jennifer Espinosa, Sky Fehrenbacher, William Feht, Randy Ferguson Jr.

Also, Zane Fitzgerald, LeeAnn Foutz, Jarrett Frank, Kyle Frye, Lila Garcia, Zebulun Gill, Nicole Gruis, Holly Gustafson, Joshua Hardin, Brian Hart, Timothy Hewett.

Also, Meagan Hilsabeck, Kimberly Hitchcox, Clifford Hockett, Mark Hughes (at American School of Kuwait), Arlie Johnson, Andrew Knaggs, Kelly Koch, Martin Kuros.

Also, Jordan Kurt-Mason, Jared Lincoln, Abel Lister, Lawren Lopez, Bradley Lowder, Lyndsey Lucero, Tricia Lucero, Daniel Lyon, Michael Maestas, Anthony Maimer II.

Also, Melissa Marks, Jeremy Marquez, Jessie Marquez, Pablo Martinez, Clayton Mastin, Kristen Maulsby, Terrence McAlister,

Amanda McCain, Todd Mees.

Also, Jennae Mendoza, Matthew Mesker, Adam Miller, Stephanie Montoya, Teresa Morris, Tiffany Noggle, Jeremiah Oertel, Jerry Parker, Senna Parker.

Also, Jared Payne, Clay Pruitt, Jessica Quick, Travis Quiller, Jolyn Rader, Christopher Rea, Bobby Read, Travis Reid, Jonathan Richardson, Alexandra Rigia.

Also, Sarah Riley, Susie Rivas, Randy Roeder, Brandon Rosgen, Derek Samples, Annette Sause, Jason Schutz, Justin Smith, Sarah Smith, Stacey Smith, Amanda Snyder.

Also, Charles Sosbe III, Devin Stoddard, Joshua Stone, Richard Stowe, Brittany Thames, Caleb Thompson, Jesse Trujillo, Jamie Turner, Ashley Valencia, Humberto Valenzuela.

Also, Marylou Villalobos, Fermin Villareal, Ashley Wagle, Shannon Walkup, Alan Wankett, Ryan Wendt, Kiley White, Robin Willett, Adam Young, Amy Young, Mark Young, Jesse Zacher and Michael Zeek.


Power cut could have been worse

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It was a severe power outage for hundreds of Pagosa area residents, affecting the town of Pagosa springs and the southeast quarter of Archuleta County.

But, the shutdown just seconds after 9 p.m. Sunday, could have been much worse.

David Waller of La Plata Electric Association, said the outage was the cumulative result of earlier lightning storms passing through the area.

Strikes caused internal damage at an area substation which migrated steadily until power was cut off.

Initial electronic tests pinpointed the trouble but association crews were hesitant to restart power because of possible transformer damage.

Waller said a crew was brought in from Durango to test the transformer and to repair significant damage to the distribution system.

Basically, he said, "we lost two of three main service lines out of the substation."

He was quite pleased with the reaction time leading to restoration of service.

"Had we found transformer damage," he said, "it would have been a much longer and more expensive proposition. That's a half- million dollar piece of equipment."

"We had restored 400 customers after two hours, 700 after two and a half hours," he said.

Still, the overall outage lasted nearly four and a half hours and "we're following up the review process to see if there are things which can be amended to make the process shorter in the future."

"We had to replace a lot of computer-based equipment as a result of the lightning strikes," he said. "We're looking at possible reconfigurations to prevent similar instances in the future."

A number of area service stations reported potential consumers upset that they could not get gas during the power outage. At least one had significant computer damage barring use of cash register links.

Other residents attending movies, concerts and play rehearsals were forced to stop in their tracks.

In downtown Pagosa Springs the outage started just after 9 p.m., was partially corrected after 3 hours, 34 minutes, was on 14 minutes and the went dark again for 8 minutes before full restoration.

Traffic lights were inoperative and street lights darkened but there were no reports of serious accidents or crime during the outage.



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Trend toward drier weather forecast

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Morning sunshine mixed with afternoon thunderstorms to supply the Four Corners climate with all the characteristics of a premature monsoon season over the holiday weekend, but forecasters are indicating a quick return to normal is in store for Pagosa Country over the next few days.

According to Brian Avery, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, the recent spell of isolated thunderstorms will continue through Friday before giving way to warmer, drier weather patterns.

"There's a big ridge of high pressure seated over the entire Southwest right now," said Avery, "And all signs are pointing to a trend toward hot, dry weather for the coming week."

Despite the high pressure barrier, Avery said there is a minimal possibility for afternoon rain showers in the immediate forecast.

"There is a chance some moisture may slip under the ridge and into the area from the south (today) and Friday," said Avery, "But any showers will most likely be isolated to the mountains and short-lived."

According to Avery, today's forecast calls for afternoon clouds to replace morning sun, and a slight chance for showers through the evening. High temperatures are predicted in the 80s; evening lows should fall into the 40s.

Partly cloudy skies and a 20-percent chance for afternoon thunderstorms are included in Friday's forecast. Highs should hit the mid-70s and lows should settle into the upper 30s.

Saturday and Sunday call for mostly sunny skies, highs in the low to mid-70s and lows in the 40s.

The mostly-sunny trend is expected to continue for Monday and Tuesday; highs are predicted in the 70s while lows should fall into the 40s.

A 30-percent chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms is predicted in the forecast for Wednesday. Highs should stretch into the upper 70s; lows should dip into the upper 30s.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 77 degrees. The average low for the week was 38. Precipitation totals for the past seven days amounted to approximately four-tenths of an inch.

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

The National Allergy Bureau rates the area's current pollen count as "moderate to high" and the dominant pollens as grass, cedar, juniper and cottonwood.

San Juan River flow ranged between approximately 1,200 cubic feet per second and 2,000 cubic feet per second during the past week. The river's historic median flow for late May is roughly 1,500 cubic feet per second.


Sports Page
Parks & Rec

Park Fun summer camp program to start June 2

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Park Fun, our summer camp for children 5-12 will start June 2.

Parents and guardians can obtain information about the program and registration by calling Town Hall today or tomorrow during regular working hours, 264-4151, Ext. 231.

Camp will be held daily, 7:45 a.m.-5:15 p.m. at the intermediate school.

There will be no camp July 4. Last day of camp will be Aug. 1.

We are looking forward to a fun season, with many activities to make sure your child's summer is fun and busy.

We are proud to announce this year's Park Fun staff.


Terri Lynn Davis, a graduate of New Mexico State University has been hired to run this year's program.

She comes to Pagosa with a bachelor's degree in English, with hopes of pursuing a teaching certificate, along with obtaining her master's degree. Her family has lived in Pagosa for the past 10 years; Terri was raised in Farmington and graduated from Farmington High School.

Terri's goals for the summer are experiencing Pagosa's great cool summer activities, learning more about our area, and having fun with the kids of Park Fun.

We are excited to have Terri this summer; she will be in charge of scheduling and most physical education activities at the camp.


Miss Tessie, as she is known to many, will be joining our staff this year to help run the art portion of the program. She promises there will be many different art projects during the summer.

Tessie Garcia is a native of Pagosa Springs and has worked for the school district since 1985. She attended Adams State College in Alamosa, receiving a bachelor's degree in art and has taught art at the elementary school for the past 10 years.

Tessie and the crew at Park Fun are excited to get the summer going. This program is very popular, and has just become better with the addition of  Ms. Tessie.

Camp counselors

Becca Blauert is back for her third year. Becca is in her final year of school and plans to attend college studying early childhood development.

Becca adds excitement and energy to all activities, but has a tough time losing at any game.

Amanda McCain is also back for another summer. She always comes to work with a big smile and enjoys the outdoor activities we offer the kids.

Amanda is our marathon girl - she can out-hike, and out-run, anyone in the camp.

Caitlyn Forrest is a sophomore at the high school. She is a natural, with a great big heart. Caitlyn is probably our most active counselor, participating in summer volleyball and basketball camps, all while putting in 40 hours a week with us.

Kate Lister, last year's director, is helping with the organization portion of the program. Many of the popular activities from last year will be brought back.

We are blessed to have so many talented people of Pagosa Springs helping out to make Park Fun a great summer program.

Please note that registration for Park Fun will take place tomorrow from 2-6 p.m. at Town Hall. Cost is $80 for a five-day pass and the price includes swimming, roller skating and all art projects.

We anticipate a great turnout, so don't be left out; come register early.

If you have questions, please call Joe Lister Jr. at 264-4151, Ext. 231.


All-conference honors abound for tracksters, coach

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

It was a banner year for the Pagosa Springs tracksters. One for the record book.

Make that books.

Twelve Pirates earned all conference-honors in 2003. Two set Intermountain League records. One, Jason Schutz, received an all-state accolade and was named IML male athlete of the year.

Schutz, a senior, received all-conference awards in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, the discus and the 800-meter relay. He was also named to the all-state lists in the discus - the event in which he set a new league record with a throw of 165 feet, 8 inches.

Back at home, Schutz holds individual school records in the 100, 200 and the discus. He has also been part of the school record 800 and 1600-meter relay teams.

All that makes him just one of 10 seniors who will be sorely missed next spring.

"I believe they have been the ones to set the example for years to come," said head coach Connie O'Donnell, who was named IML boys' Coach of the Year.

"Our success in the future can be credited to them because they pushed our younger kids to be the best that they could be. This year's juniors will take their place, and I believe they will carry on the tradition of hard work, a great attitude and a desire to win."

And the juniors aren't the only ones set to impact the future of Pirate track.

Freshman Emilie Schur finished this season with all-conference honors in the 800- and 1600-meter runs. In the 1600, she already holds the league record with a time of 5 minutes, 32.03 seconds. In the Pirates' own annals, she can claim a sweep of the distance events, holding records in the 800, 1600 and 3200, not to mention as part of the 3200-meter relay team.

Other 2003 individual all-conference athletes included: Mia Caprioli in the 100 and Brandon Samples in the 800. Samples added two more all-conference accolades as part of the 1600 relay team with Jeremy Buikema, Otis Rand and Danny Lyon, and the 3200 relay team combining Buikema, Aaron Hamilton and Todd Mees.

The final round of all-conference awards went to the 800 relay team featuring Paul Armijo, Jared Kinkead, Schutz and Coy Ross. All three of these boys' relay teams also claimed school records this year.

On the girls' side, school records fell to Mollie Honan in the 300-meter hurdles, the 3200 relay team of Katie Bliss, Schur, Ashley Wagle and Amanda McCain, Alex Rigia in the triple jump and Roxanna Day in the pole vault.

In a separate awards ceremony, O'Donnell gave out a few titles of her own.

Bliss earned the leadership award for working hard to "set the example to the rest of the track team." Rigia, who went from failing to mark in the triple jump last year to placing in the event at more than one meet this year, received the improvement award.

Most valuable player awards went to Schur and Schutz for scoring the most points for the team at meets this year. Schur finished her 2003 season with 162 points. Schutz closed out his high school track career with 166 points.


Lauren White scholarship tourney winners announced

The first annual Lauren White Scholarship golf tournament drew 112 participants and raised over $4,000 for the scholarship fund.

The format was four-person scramble.

First place went to the team of Wayne Huff, Don Ford, Dennis Yerton and Keith Gronewoller. The foursome blistered the course with a 16-under par 55.

Second place went to Alan Schutz, David Lynch, Randy Sorenson and Russ Hatfield who scored a 57.

Third place was the team of Mike Moore, Mark Faber, Paul Bauer and Truett Forrest which shot 59.


Women golfers open league play in Aztec

Pagosa Women's Golf Association sent eight of its lowest handicap players to Aztec's Hidden Valley for team play May 8 where they picked up 31 1/2 points against Dalton Ranch of Durango.

There are eight teams in the league this year with Cortez Conquistador, Hillcrest, Pinon Hills, San Juan Country Club and Kirtland Riverview the additional participants.

Representing Pagosa in the competition were Jane Stewart, Bonnie Hoover, Lynne Allison, Barbara Sanborn, Kathy Giordano, Carrie Weisz, Sue Martin and Sho-Jen Lee.

Sanborn, team captain, said that considering the very cold and blustery conditions it was a good showing for the team's first match of the year.

The teams in the league play twice a month in May and September and once a month in June, July, August and October. Each team has four twosomes paired according to handicaps.

Each of the 18 holes is played in match play format with one point awarded per hole so that the total number of points any twosome can win is 18 per round.

The team continued league play May 22 at Riverview in Kirtland against Cortez with Jan Kilgore, Josie Hummel, Hoover and Marilyn Smart new performers as the team picked up 37 1/2 points and now stands in seventh place in the league.

Next competition will be June 19 in Cortez.

The association featured an "Honest John" format for its own 18-hole round May 20 with each golfer asked to guess what her total gross score would be before teeing off.

Kilgore and Lee tied for first, each correctly guessing their actual gross score at 87 and 90 respectively. Kristin Hatfield and Weisz tied for third each guessing one stroke less than scored, 99 and 100 respectively. Lee Wilson with 98 and Hummel with 102 tied for fifth shooting two strokes more than they had estimated; and Stewart was seventh with 89, four strokes more than estimated.



Marvin Lopez

"A cowboy who lives on."

Marvin Bill Lopez, 41, died May 16, 2003, at Rehoboth Hospital in Gallup, N.M.

He was preceded in death by a son, Marvin Lopez Jr.

Survivors are a daughter, Andrea Lopez, son Jerod Lopez, and stepson, Joshua Sanchez; his loving parents, Bill and Cecelia Lopez of

Gallup; and siblings Patricia (Doug) Jackson, Richie (Bertie) Lopez and Darin (Norma) Lopez; two nieces and three nephews; his former spouse, Marcella Martinez, and former in-laws, Santana and Emma Lujan of Pagosa Springs.

"You will always be remembered in our hearts. We love you."

John Schoenborn

John Walter Schoenborn of Pagosa Springs died peacefully Sunday, May 25, 2003, in Mercy Medical Center Hospital in Durango. He was 67.

John was born in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Feb. 3, 1936, to Ruth Mary Reynolds and Walter John Schoenborn. He was married to Mary Jane McMahon of Silver Springs, Md., prior to his marriage on June 11, 1991, to Genevieve (known as Jenny) Reed Ogsbury of Somers, N.Y.

After serving four years in the Army after high school, John attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Engineering Science degree. In 1984 he graduated cum laude from the Pace University School of Law in White Plains, N.Y.

John joined IBM in 1961, working first in the field, then as a product manager in industry support at various sites throughout the United States, including the White Sands Missile Range in Las Cruces, N.M. In 1980, John moved to Japan as a manager of special products. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1987, John joined IBM Litigation Analysis as a case manager while attending law school at night in New York. He retired from IBM at the end of 1988 and became a litigation consultant for Cravath, Swaine and Moore. In 1993, he and his wife, Jenny, moved to Pagosa Springs and, after spending two years of commuting to New York City from Pagosa Springs, John retired in 1995.

During the 10 years he lived in Pagosa Springs, John was active in several nonprofit organizations, including Special Olympics of Pagosa Springs which he and Jenny started in 1997, the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County (also founded by John and Jenny), the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs (John served on the board of directors as treasurer for seven years) Adaptive Sports Association of Durango and as a volunteer for U.S. Forest Service.

In recent years John was active in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. He was a PSIA Level 1 adaptive ski instructor.

His gentle, yet convincing voice taught a number of blind and disabled skiers that skiing is for everyone. He loved skiing in knee-deep powder in the winters and hiking among the beautiful wildflowers of the San Juan Mountains in the summer.

He is survived by his wife of 12 years, Jenny Schoenborn of Pagosa Springs, and his children - son Walter John, daughter-in-law Jane Winchester Burley and granddaughter Sabrina Bennett, all of New York City; daughter Elizabeth Jane, son-in-law James Pea Kaai, grandson Christopher Robert and great-granddaughter Leanna Kuhilani, all of Honolulu; daughter Amy Ann, of San Francisco - and a sister, Jayne Champion, of Monroe, Conn. He was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth Reynolds, and a brother, James Reynolds.

A celebration of John's life will be held at 11 a.m. May 30, 2003, at the Schoenborn home, 140 E. McCabe St. A community potluck will be held at the home following the service. All are invited to attend and to bring a dish to share.

A memorial fund has been set up in John's honor by Pagosah Unitarian Fellowship (more information will be forthcoming in The SUN next week) or contributions may be sent to Special Olympics of Pagosa Springs.


Inside The Sun

Flora, fauna focus of county board session

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Botany, biology and geology were the main topics of discussion during a May 13 meeting of the Archuleta County commissioners as the courthouse meeting room was temporarily converted into a miniature theatre of natural science, complete with slide shows.

Appearing before the board first was Frank Ratliff, director of county weed and pest control, requesting an ordinance that will enable him, if need be, to take the necessary steps to enforce the county's noxious weed act in worst-case scenarios.

"They think they're pretty," said Ratliff with regard to how some landowners are reluctant to control nuisance weeds such as yellow toadflax and Canada thistle.

Despite their floral appearance, such weeds are not indigenous to the area and often crowd out native flowers and grasses, conditions Ratliff would prefer to avoid.

"Just having it (an ordinance) as a tool would at least open the door for me to talk to them," said Ratliff, speaking in reference to private landowners who have shown little or no regard for the county's current regulations pertaining to invasive weeds.

The board agreed with that sentiment, and Commissioner Bill Downey's motion to direct the county attorney to draft such an ordinance carried unanimously.

Next on the agenda were John Sovell and Peggy Lyon, representing the Colorado National Heritage Program. A nonprofit organization, CNHP is a sponsored program of the department of fishery and wildlife biology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. 

Lyon, a member of the program's botany team, explained to the board that CNHP tracks and ranks Colorado's rare and imperiled species and habitats, in addition to providing information and expertise on such topics to encourage biological resource conservation.

After receiving funding from several sources, including the San Juan Conservancy and Great Outdoors Colorado, program team members conducted such a study, focusing some of their efforts on areas within county boundaries.

The findings revealed 62 potential "conservation areas" and a variety of rare plant and animal species. Lyon said it is possible some species, such as a tiny white flower given the name "Pagosa gilia," may grow nowhere else on the planet.

"It's basically down to us," said Lyon with respect to the future of such species, indicating most are granted no legal protection.

While each feels identifying existing and potential future habitat for rare species is necessary, Lyon and Sovell indicated such areas should be taken into consideration voluntarily by both private and public interests when issues related to land-use planning arise.

According to Sovell, a zoology/ecology team leader, one such area identified includes a portion of both sides of the U.S. 84 corridor, the segment generally located between Mill Creek and Echo Lake. Sovell said the area supports a large population of Gunnison's prairie dogs - a species apparently in decline.

However, in response to a question posed by an attending member of the public, Sovell reiterated the goal of the study was simply to inform and identify, and not to pit conservation against the rights of individual property owners.

Sovell concluded, "They're simply areas on the maps where we've drawn boundaries including these rare plants and animals."

Finally, Walt Brown, a geologist with the San Juan Public Lands Center in Durango, briefed the board with regard to the Northern San Juan Basin coal bed methane environmental impact report.

Brown told the board approximately 2.5 trillion cubic feet of methane gas lies beneath the surface of the basin, which stretches eastward from La Plata County into the western edge of Archuleta County. The impact statement will outline the potential effects well drilling/methane production operations may have on the area.

According to Brown, roughly 45 percent of the area is privately-owned land, 37 percent is Forest Service land and the remaining portion is owned by a blend of entities, including the state and Bureau of Land Management.

Initiated in April 2000, a draft of the impact statement will be made public by the Forest Service and BLM in late June.

After its release, public comment on the statement will be accepted for two months, followed by a final publication, then a final decision in January of next year.

While Brown said most of the wells will be located in La Plata County, of particular concern will be the effects drilling operations may have on the HD Mountains, which straddle the boundary separating La Plata and Archuleta counties.

He explained that while much of the area is roadless, the mountains are not designated as wilderness, and therefore not protected from gas exploration and development.

"It appears there is going to be some level of development ... what concerns do you have?" Brown asked the board afterward, indicating methane-related operations in the area may last 30-60 years.

"I'd hate to see one well for every 20 acres," said Alden Ecker, board chairman, indicating he would prefer well spacing restrictions in the county to remain relatively stringent (currently one well for every 320 acres).

Downey explained that while he is an avid outdoorsman, he believes in the multiple use of public lands for public benefit. At the same time, said Downey, "I would like to see as minimal impact as possible."

In conclusion, "Reclamation to me is a big issue," said Commissioner Mamie Lynch, indicating she would prefer to see the effects of service roads and other impacts to the area's forestlands mitigated, or eliminated altogether.


Memorial Day observed at local ceremonies

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

By latest estimates, 162 American service personnel died in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Two more are missing at sea on the way home from the conflict, apparent victims of shipboard accidents.

Unknown numbers also perished in the Afghan conflict and, still on the ground in the Middle East and the Nile Valley, American military personnel are intended victims of suicide bombers and sneak attacks.

With those figures fresh in their minds, and the memory of the huge crowd at ceremonies in 2002 after the terrorist attacks on the United States, large crowds were anticipated for Memorial Day ceremonies in Pagosa Springs.

Unfortunately, those crowds never materialized. But the sentiments uttered were to the point and, whether at the Legion Hall or later in Hilltop Cemetery, added reverence to the occasion.

The scene was set at Legion Hall with the official flags of each branch of the armed forces flying from the west roofline. Beneath the flagpole were eight yellow ribbons symbolic of those veterans who have joined their service mates on rolls of the military dead in the past year.

"Because of them, and those gone on before, we have the privilege of freedom and the right to participate in this ceremony today," the crowd was told.

The poem, "I Am The Flag" was read, with certain words emphasized - words like Old Glory, confidence, pride, respect, fear and triumph.

And, it concluded with the phrase "My finest hour is yet to come, when I am torn into bandages to wrap the wounds of those who serve under me."

The Rev. Phil Janowsky recalled Old Testament stories of Moses and then Joshua and how their faith saved their people.

He noted it has been more than 200 years since there was no "free" country in the entire world.

That was the time the American upstarts decided "they could govern themselves and the Europeans laughed at them."

After the Revolution, "others wanted a taste of that freedom for themselves. The die had been cast and freedom was the way of the day.

"That freedom was not given,"

he said. "It was earned with the blood of soldiers on both sides."

"Today," he remarked, "we saw on television an example of peaceful assembly protest in Iraq; our president placed the traditional wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; and in Flanders' Field and cemeteries across the world American veterans are remembered.

"Were it not for the graves in those burial grounds," he said, "there would be no such place as the land of the free."

People throughout the world were saddened by the spectre of death and sacrifice, but "are eternally grateful for that sacrifice," concluded a final prayer at the Legion Hall.

At Hilltop Cemetery the speakers were the same, the message the same and the crowd slightly larger.

Some unusual sights there:

- A pair of young girls picking flowers from the roadside were asked what they planned to do with them.

"We're going to put them on graves," said the older sister. "A lot of them appear to never get any attention," said the younger one. "We just want to make them look nice."

- A member of the Legion honor guard and flag presentation unit was apparently overcome by heat and was escorted to a spot in the shade, refusing to leave the cemetery.

- Tears welled in the eyes of some as familiar names from the past were read, names of those from Archuleta county known to have died in service to their country.

- Small children sat at the feet of their parents, silent but wondering what the reason was for their presence. They were suddenly alert when the firing squad leveled its salute, the sound echoing through the silence of the moment.

- A veteran on crutches moved forward to hear more easily the words of the speakers - and saluted smartly as the bugler played "Taps."

As the ceremonies drew to a close, families gathered in silence to visit graves of long-deceased veterans.

Others spread out across the cemetery with garden equipment, obviously intent on brightening, for a day at least, the hallowed ground where their loved ones lay.

And on the perimeter road as others wound their way out to Cemetery Road, there was a small dog lying at the foot of a grave cleanly prepared for the occasion.

It was decorated by one of the Legion flags.

The canine mourner seemed unaware of all that had gone on around him.

It was, perhaps, not a dog who knew its master lay beneath the soil, stone and flowers.

A great many of those who saw it, however, preferred to think so; to take it as an omen of reverence for a life and master taken away.


One Missionary Ridge trail reopened; seven still closed but signs stolen

The U.S. Forest Service has reopened the Freeman Park Trail (also known as the lower part of the Endlich Mesa Trail No. 534), on the west side of Vallecito Reservoir, to public access.

The trail was closed last summer after the Missionary Ridge Fire burned through the area leaving many hazards.

Members of the San Juan Hotshots and the Columbine Trail Crew have cleared downed, woody material and burned trees that posed an immediate hazard, on approximately three miles of trail from the Vallecito Chamber of Commerce up to Freeman Park.

The crews dropped trees that were expected to fall in the near future, but left numerous black, fire-scarred trees that could come down under the right combination of conditions, such as during a heavy windstorm or if the ground were to become saturated. Caution should be taken any time you enter the burn area.

Portions of the trail still need to be reconstructed to improve the tread and drainage. This work should begin by the first week in June.

The Forest Service reminds the public that there are still seven closed trails within the Missionary Ridge Burn Area and they need to respect the closures.

Trail signs notifying the public of hazards have been disappearing, which is a great disservice to visitors who may not be familiar with the hazardous conditions that exist on these trails.

Crews are busy assessing the trails and removing hazards; the trails will be reopened as soon as hazards can be removed.

Recreationists are also reminded that should there be a major weather event, trails that are now open may be closed to prevent resource damage if major portions of the walking surface are damaged or there is a lot of blowdown in the area.

For information, call 247-4874.


Storms bring lightning, small fire, local crews on alert

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Lightning strikes have been widely scattered throughout the past 10 days, but have caused some consternation for local fire crews.

U.S. Forest Service reports only eight such strikes causing fire this year, but there were five in the last week on non-private lands.

One of the strikes was to a power cell on a telephone pole and others led to the power shutdown experienced Sunday night in some areas of Pagosa Country.

Still, fire crews from both the county and Forest Service have maintained a high level awareness of fire potential.

Scattered rains have helped keep the fire danger down to some extent, but with the rain has come the afternoon and evening lightning which could significantly affect the area.

Spokesmen for county fire crews were in training as this was written and not available for comment.

It is known, however, that they battled at least three lightning strike blazes on private property in the last week, one in the upper Blanco and two northwest of town.

Fire danger is still regarded as moderate, but rising temperatures the next few days, accompanied by a forecast of less precipitation, causes fire officials to warn those going out into the forests to beware of the possibility of fire and to follow all restrictions.


Pagosa man sentenced to 60 days in jail, probation for sexual assault

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

After being convicted of sexual assault May 19, a Pagosa Springs man is currently serving 60 days in the Archuleta County Jail as part of a probationary sentence handed him by Sixth Judicial District Court Judge Gregory Lyman.

Registration as a sex offender and submittal to genetic testing are additional stipulations included as part of the probation given Scott Firth, 53, after he pleaded guilty to an amended count of sexual assault on a child 15-17 years of age by one in a position of trust, a Class 4 felony.

The case dates back to last summer. Firth was arrested and booked on those charges July 19, 2002, after an arrest warrant was issued for him the previous day.

Firth must also enroll in a sex offender treatment program, comply with a restraining order, submit to HIV testing, pay all counseling costs incurred by the victim while on probation and be placed on an electronic home monitoring until it is determined he has made sufficient progress to be removed from such.

While Firth's probation includes a duration described as "10 years indeterminate to natural life," which means he could remain on probation as long as he is alive, Craig Westberg, assistant district attorney, feels Firth's actions deserve a harsher sentence.

"It is the position of our office that this defendant should not have received probation and certainly merits a department of corrections sentence, and that will continue to be our position," said Westberg, indicating the parameters for such a sentence with respect to Firth's conviction are a minimum of 2-16 years in prison and a maximum of life.

"Obviously the judge felt otherwise, and it's his determination in such cases," added Westberg. "If we can rehabilitate, we certainly need to do that, but with a crime of this magnitude the community is entitled to some form of retribution, if for nothing else other than the grotesque nature of the offense."


Sculpture picked for new park site

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The old town hall site at the corner of Lewis and San Juan streets has an official name and will soon be the site of Pagosa's newest piece of public art.

The triangular-shaped park complete with parking, bell tower and bathrooms, was christened "Bell Tower Park," at the May 6 town board meeting. The winning name was selected from 51 entries submitted during a name-the-park contest.

Julie Jessen, town administrative intern, said because four different people actually submitted the Bell Tower Park, they placed all the finalists in a hat to draw the winner. Rita Moody will receive a $100 gift certificate to a local business.

At the same meeting, the board of trustees approved the design for a sculpture to be placed in the park.

Artists from across the country submitted plans for the public art project sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. The winning design, "Three Little Rascals," a bronze sculpture featuring a mother bear and three cubs, came from Forest Hart, of Monroe, Maine.

Jennifer Harnick, a member of the public art committee, said over 40 artists answered a call for entries made in October. In January, an arts council committee began meeting to narrow down the selection, rating the submittals on quality, timelessness, realistic depiction of wildlife and cost among other factors.

Once they picked a finalist, they presented it to the town's Park and Recreation Commission. The design received final approval from the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees.

Harnick said Hart's submission stood out because of its ease of maintenance, the subject matter and its positive, family-oriented design. "Three Little Rascals," as installed will be about 4 feet tall and 5 feet, 3 inches long. The piece will actually be created at a foundry in Paonia and the goal is to have it installed before the snow flies this winter.

Cost will be approximately $45,000 which includes both the bronze sculpture and base. Harnick said current plans are to raise the funds through private local donations.

"Three Little Rascals" is intended to be the first of three or four such public art projects to be placed in parks all around Pagosa Springs.

"We feel like now, having been through process for the first one, the next one will be much easier," Harnick said.


Tax season's over but new scams are arising

Although the federal tax filing season ended April 15, the Internal Revenue Service continues to see new tax scams.

Two new schemes target families of those serving in the armed forces and e-mail filers.

In both schemes, people represent themselves as being from IRS.

The service has seen isolated instances of the scam that targets the families of those serving in the nation's military.

It warns consumers to be aware of any variation of a scenario in which a telephone caller posing as an IRS employee tells a family member he is entitled to a $4,000 refund because his relative is in the armed forces - and then requests a credit card number to cover a $42 fee for postage.

The scammer provides an actual IRS toll-free number as the call back number in order to make the call seem legitimate. However, the scammer then makes numerous unauthorized purchases with the victim's credit card number.

Genuine IRS employees who call taxpayers do not ask for credit card numbers or request fees for payment of a refund.

"Tax season may be over, but tax scams continue," said Mark Everson, IRS commissioner.

"These types of shameless schemes hold out the allure of easy money. The IRS warns taxpayers to be on the lookout for these schemes. And we urge taxpayers to remember that the IRS does not charge for refunds or solicit credit card information."

In another scheme, victims receive an e-mail that appears to be from the IRS. The e-mail contains links to a non-IRS Internet Web site that asks for personal and financial information. Such information could be used to steal the respondent's identity and get access to sensitive financial data or accounts.

Identity thieves can use someone's personal data to:

- take over his or her financial accounts

- run up charges on the victim's existing credit cards

- apply for loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim's name

- file fraudulent tax returns.

The IRS does not request sensitive personal or financial data by e-mail.

Both of these schemes are being reviewed by the office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration which is authorized to investigate the misuse of the IRS name, insignia, seals and symbols.

Taxpayers who are on the receiving end of one of these scams should contact TIGTA at a toll-free fraud referral hotline - (800) 366-4484 by faxing a complaint to (202)927-7018, or writing to TIGTA Hotline, PO Box 589, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C., 2004-0589.

The TIGTA Web site is found at

In the past, scammers have impersonated IRS agents by going to taxpayers' homes to "collect taxes." Genuine IRS special agents, field auditors and collection officers carry picture IDs and will normally try to contact the taxpayer before they visit.

In another scam, the scheme promoters sent out fictitious bank correspondence and phony IRS forms in an attempt to trick recipients into disclosing their personal and banking data. The scheme promoters then used the information to impersonate the taxpayer and gain access to taxpayer records.

Additional information on tax scams may be found on the genuine IRS site, by going to The Newsroom page and then clicking on the "Scams/Consumer Alerts" link under the Topics sidebar.

Noise code

Dear Editor,

The county commissioners are responding to citizens' concerns about noise.

The newly-proposed noise ordinance identifies noise as "a major source of environmental pollution which represents a threat to the serenity and quality of life in Archuleta County" and states "excess noise often has an adverse physiological and psychological effect on human beings, thus contributing to an economic loss to the community."

The draft ordinance, which will be presented for public comment at a public hearing at 7 p.m. June 3 in the commissioners' meeting room in the county courthouse, contains sections which are unacceptable in addressing this issue.

We specifically object to the exception set forth in Section 8. — Motor Vehicle Maximum Sound Levels for Off-Highway Vehicles, which would allow dirt bikes and ATVs, for example, to operate at nuisance noise levels, specifically exempted from complying with reasonable levels and time periods otherwise established for noise that "constitutes an unreasonable interference with enjoyment of life, quiet or outdoor recreation of an individual or individual(s) of ordinary sensitivity or habits." The regulation specifically allows these noisy vehicles to operate at 82-86db, depending on their speed (35 mph or less, and 35-55 mph, respectively), without time constraints.

In the ordinance's present form, the wording allows unrestricted usage of these noisy two-stroke vehicles, even on small lots within subdivisions. It is not that we are against the use of these vehicles, in general. It is simply that we believe that if a noise level of over 50-55db is deemed unacceptable for most other normal land usage within residential areas, restrictions should be applied fairly across the board, requiring everyone's compliance.

We hope you will not be faced with the prospect of a motocross racetrack next door to your house, as we are in our neighborhood.

Please join us in our request to the board of county commissioners to reconsider this wording or strike Section 8 from the noise ordinance, also eliminating the loopholes in Section 7.f. that would enable someone to pursue these types of activities under the guise of a nonprofit corporation.

We ask that you contact the county commissioners at 246-2536 and voice your concerns, as soon as possible. If you would be interested in signing our petition, please call Victoria at 731-3585, or Karen at 731-3138, or e-mail madeintheshade Please come to the public hearing.


Bill and Karen Aspin

Elizabeth Carter

Walt and June Geisen

Ron and Cindy Gustafson

James Mollendor

Jerry and Victoria Pratt

Pat and Carolyn Ullrich

Healing waters

Dear Editor:

On April 18 my husband and I headed out for Pagosa Springs for what I had thought was the starting of our dream come true. You see, 13 years ago while on our honeymoon, you might say God directed our path to Pagosa Springs. After years of planning we were finally meeting with some builders to get things rolling.

Little did I know that my husband was going to give me the news that he wanted out of our marriage. Wow, talk about an eye opener! I knew he had not been himself lately and to say I was living with a bear for the last few months was an understatement.

I don't need to tell you all the details. A breach in trust is a breach in trust no matter how or what form it comes in. Well I knew we needed help and we needed help, now.

It is no secret that Pagosa Springs has some of the finest saints alive and I was on a mission to find a majority of them to seek out prayer.

I have to first say that if you have ever doubted the power of prayer - don't. Second, if you are reading this right now and you may be facing a similar situation, let me tell you there is hope. Our God is in the business of reconciliation. He came to earth as a matter of fact to reconcile Himself to man.

Funny, we were on a hike one day (we remained to finish our vacation out as I was coming home to a full-time position as caregiver to my mother) and we came upon a couple and in the course of our conversation we were informed of "the curse" put on marriages in Pagosa.

My husband and I looked at each other and smirked. Little did this couple know the trial we were walking through. Was there really a curse put on marriages? I don't know; maybe someone can enlighten me. My focus was not on the curse but on the name of the town: Healing Waters. I prayed earnestly for the Holy Spirit's healing waters to flow.

I would love to share with you all how God worked in the following week. All I can say is thanks to all you prayer warriors and most of all thanks to our Lord who never gives up on us my husband had a change of heart. You might say open heart surgery provided by the Master surgeon.

I'm standing in the gap for all marriages in Pagosa Springs. May it never be said again that Archuleta County has a high divorce rate, let it be said that families flourish in the town of Healing Waters.

Lura Dunn

Reading angels

Dear Editor:

There are angels in this town.

Paul and Muriel Cronkite started a program called Reading for The Blind. Each Thursday volunteers would read the contents of The Pagosa Springs SUN onto a tape and then the Cronkites would transcribe this onto anywhere from three to nine individual tapes and send them out to people unable to actually read the paper. This has been going on for several years.

Now that Paul Cronkhite is ill Muriel will be unable to continue this program, but there are many in the community who would offer their thanks to this couple who kept them in the swim.

Cindy Gustafson

Keep involved

Dear Editor:

I want to thank all the wonderful people I have met while presenting the "6 part Plan" for the development of a Healthcare Delivery System in our area. Dr. Dick Blide and I have met with over 25 groups and 200 people to explain the plan and to answer questions.

Each meeting has been a delight. Everywhere we have presented, people have been supportive, open and asked good hard questions that have helped us to modify the plan. (It was Draft 7 that was approved by the district board).

We have met with people from every side of the issue. This includes the Mary Fisher Clinic, Drs. Pruitt and Picarro, members of the Mary Fisher Foundation, district employees, leaders of the recall petition movement, Mercy Hospital and even the Rotary Club members who were very gracious in listening to us.

I especially would like to thank the EMS employees who just keep doing their job saving lives which gives the rest of us the time to work out solutions.

The whole process shows what can happen when the public gets involved and the usually "silent majority" wakes up. The amount of knowledge, experience and expertise residing within Archuleta County is tremendous. As long as the public continues to stay involved and work toward a solution, we will not only succeed, but will create a healthcare system that can be a model for small rural communities.

We still have a long way to go and a lot of hard work to do. I hope that our citizens will stay involved, active, supportive and keep us on our toes. The citizens advisory committee chaired by Debra Brown has put together a Web site where I hope you will feel free to contact us with your ideas and questions. It can be found at

Open and free flow of information and communication is the ultimate key to success.

Remember it is your health and your life we are talking about.

Jim Knoll, M.D.


Medical Advisory Committee

Health care

Dear Editor:

Quality health care for our community is at a crossroads. Members of the health services board of directors have received suggestions from several interest groups in our community, all well-intentioned, but with a variety of viewpoints.

The citizens advisory committee, a permanent standing committee of the board, has recently provided an e-mail address ( to which you, the citizen, can address your opinions and recommendations. The chairman of this advisory committee will forward all messages received to every member of the board of directors and the medical advisory committee.

We believe it is vital that we receive input from as many of you as possible and hopefully, you will take time to consider some of the following and send and e-mail to the committee.

Our health services in this community are extremely fortunate to have the support of local funding through mill levies that were designated for emergency care in our community.

Issues to which we need your input and reasoning include the following and of course, any others that concern you personally:

1. It has been suggested to subcontract our EMS to an outside entity. Do you believe that it is more important for our EMS personnel to be led and locally trained?

2. Do you believe that it is important to staff the Urgent Care Center with a physician trained in emergency care to work in tandem with EMS to provide physician access for emergency care to tourists as well as locals?

3. Do you believe it is ethical (to the detriment of emergency care) to transfer your tax money to support private practice clinics when there are loans available for this, just as with any other business?

These are just a few questions we have been asked to address; you probably have others. Please help us make the right decisions regarding the future growth of health care services for you, our taxpayers. As you realize, we cannot please everyone all the time, but we will certainly consider your input as we move along.

Patty Tillerson

Board liaison

Citizens Advisory Committee


Community News
Senior News

Summer events stacking up on our calendar

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Greetings all; I'm back from eight days of rafting in Desolation Canyon with my husband and friends.

It was peaceful and quiet on the river, so it was hard at first to face all the noise and hubbub of Pagosa. It was nice to be missed, though.

Speaking of the river, you may have noticed the San Juan is finally up and running, so we are offering a white water rafting trip for our seniors June 7.

Everyone meets at Pagosa Lodge at 8 a.m. and they get off the river about noon. Cost is only $22.50. Please sign up by June 3 at the Senior Center. Wayne assures us it will be fun but not too wet. Come enjoy the river while you can.

If you would rather keep your feet on dry land, we are pleased to announce a line dancing class the second and fourth Wednesday of every month, starting in June.

This class will be free of charge to seniors and will be at 1 p.m. in the Terra Cotta Room at the community center. Deb Aspen, who teaches all kinds of dance at the Vista Clubhouse, will be our instructor.

We have a lot of people already signed up, so come in and register as soon as you can or you may miss out. Be sure to come dressed in your best western clothing, and be prepared to have fun.

We have a date for our trip to Creede. The Repertory Theatre will be performing "A Tuna Christmas" June 21 at 2:30 p.m.

If we can get enough people, our cost is only $14.45 per person. Please make your reservations with us by June 6. We should be able to get a van, but we encourage people to car pool. Let us know if you can drive and carry passengers. The trip to Creede is beautiful, so come see the scenery and the show.

We started a group called Book Talk. This is an idea inspired by an AARP Web site. Book Talk will meet the last Wednesday of every month in the lounge at 1 p.m.

May's book was "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden with insights into the life of a geisha (it wasn't an easy life).

We will need a host or hostess to lead the next discussion. Call me if you want to volunteer or have a book suggestion for June.

We found a set of keys at the senior center last month. If you have lost keys, please call to identify and claim them.

Volunteers are needed to help with the Archuleta County Fair. There are many ways to help out, and our seniors are very talented in that regard. The senior center is just one place in town to sign up to volunteer.

Mental health

Approximately 20 percent of Americans ages 55 and over experience specific mental disorders in any given year.

The most common disorders, in order of prevalence, are: anxiety disorders, such as phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder; severe cognitive impairment including Alzheimer's disease; and mood disorders, such as depression.

Schizophrenia and personality disorders are less common. However, there is evidence of underreporting of mental disorders in older adults.

Mental disorders represent a grave threat to the health and well being of order adults. Older adults have the highest rates of suicide in the United States and while they represent only 13 percent of the population, individuals 65 and over account for 20 percent of all suicides.

White men ages 85 and older are especially vulnerable with a suicide rate six times greater than that of the general population. Mental disorders can also negatively affect the ability of older people to recover from other health problems.

Heart attacks are more likely to be fatal for a person who is depressed. The risk of death for nursing home residents with major depression is 60-percent higher than for residents who do not have this mental disorder.

The onset of their disorders varies widely in older adults with mental illness. Some have suffered from serious and persistent mental illness most of their adult life, while others have had periodic episodes of mental illness. Many people experience mental disorders or mental health problems for the first time late in life.

Bereavement of loved ones or other loses that occur in old age frequently exacerbate these problems. Mental disorders also range in severity, from problematic to disabling to fatal. Unfortunately, while effective treatments exist for many common mental disorders, there are still barriers to identifying and treating mental disorders in older adults.

Visitors and guests

Carolyn Conway and Madeline Gregory ate with us Friday and we were pleased to see Ron Buck and Jack and Eleanor Jones come back to see us.

We also met Keith Gilbert and Lanore Cannon from Albuquerque and Richard and Grace Qualls. Aida McKeen and Ava Martinez ate with us Tuesday and we are even getting to see Bobby Risinger at lunch every once in a while. He's a busy fellow, but he always has a smile and a wave for you. We met Gene and Doreen Sartor Wednesday.

We are pleased to see more people coming into the center. Summer is definitely on the way.

Upcoming events

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

Veterans Corner

1.8 million eligible for Korean medal

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

As we soon approach the 50th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the fighting in Korea, it is befitting to note U.S. veterans of the Korean War are eligible to wear a medal initially offered to them more than 50 years ago, but never issued.

On May 25, 2001, Republic of Korea Defense Minister Seong Tae Cho formally announced that his government would provide the Republic of Korea War Service Medal to eligible U.S. veterans of that conflict, or to their surviving next of kin.

The medal was to be provided at no cost to veterans. The U.S. Air Force has been designated the lead agency to receive and distribute the medals.

Anniversary ceremonies

The U.S. and Korean governments will conduct anniversary ceremonies throughout this year and medals may be applied for at any time during this period. The war began on June 25, 1950, when North Korean forces invaded ROK territory. The armistice on July 27, 1953, ended the fighting, although a formal peace treaty has never been completed.

The medal was originally offered by the ROK in 1951 to United Nations forces serving in Korea and adjacent waters. At the time U.S. law prohibited the U.S. military from wearing medals issued by foreign governments. Congress changed that in 1954, but then most U.S. service members eligible for the medal had returned home.

1.8 million eligible

In 1998, the government of the Republic of Korea renewed its original offer of the medal to U.S. military personnel. On Aug. 20, 1999, the Defense Department approved the acceptance and wear of the medal. Approximately 1.8 million U.S. veterans of the Korean War are eligible to receive it. Next of kin to eligible deceased veterans can also apply for the medal.

Eligibility requirements

To receive this medal, veterans must have:

- served between the outbreak of hostilities, June 25, 1950, and the date the armistice was signed, July 27, 1953

- been on permanent assignment or on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days

- performed their duty within the territorial limits of Korea, in the waters immediately adjacent thereto or in aerial flight over Korea participating in actual combat operations or in support of combat operations.

I have the application form in this office and will be happy to assist you in filling one out.

For information on these and other veterans' 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

Support United Way on Keyah Grande tour


I won't whine anymore about the fact that I won't be able to attend the Keyah Grande Tour, but I will indeed encourage you to go and take copious notes so you can report back to me.

I would dearly love to join you, but I will be celebrating my mother's 87th birthday at that time and just can't miss that.

That said, United Way of Archuleta County is pleased to offer a Wine and Cheese Tour of Keyah Grande on Saturday, 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 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.

Family entertainment

Dan McGuire, new owner of the Pagosa Family Entertainment Center is kind enough to give me updates to assure everyone that this wonderful facility is truly going to become a reality. We all know there has been a false start or two on bowling alley projects, so Dan is dedicated to communicating that this is the real deal.

Final renovation plans to modify parts of the building are in place, and installation of the 12 bowling lanes should be going on as you read this. State-of-the-art lanes, balls, shoes, scoring, tables and seating will all be in place before we know it, in a smoke-free environment.

I would encourage you to get your team together so you can sign up for league play and take on the Chamber team. We already have our shirts, and let me tell you that they are some kinda wonderful.

The requests for league play have been so overwhelming that Dan is considering adding a third night of play with a 5:30 p.m. league and an 8:30 p.m. league on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Dan also has 100 pairs of roller skates due in for use on the 6,000 square foot indoor skating rink. Since I spent many hours of my youth in Indiana roller skating, I just may have to try that out too.

It sure will be fun to see the Pagosa Family Entertainment Center up and running - I can't wait.

Big game banquet

The San Juan Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is holding its annual Big Game Banquet Saturday 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 fundraising 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

Please don't dilly-dally about purchasing your tickets for Music in the Mountains and risk missing out on these amazing summer events. You will never forgive yourself when you hear the raves from those who attend.

Regret is a perfectly useless waste of energy, so don't be a part of it.

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

Aviram Reichert and festival musicians will present "Romancing the Piano" July 25, and Antonio Pompa-Baldi and festival musicians will present Dvorak and other piano works Aug. 1 followed by a reception. 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. 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 tomorrow night at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Kevin Johnson, Carol Turner, Stephen Tholberg and David Sachs combine their musical talents to bring a concert sure to please all ages.

Doors will 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 breakdown 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. 1-3.

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.


Oops - I did it again. My sincere apologies to Aimee Melendy for neglecting to include her telephone number in last week's column.

Monday was one solid distraction, and, unfortunately, Aimee's number got lost in the melee. Aimee joined us with the Handymaids Cleaning Service and can be reached by phone at 946-1555.

Along with being distracted, my eyesight is clearly deteriorating because I misread the phone number for Jack and Patti Renner's new adventure, The Office Lounge, and would like to correct that as well. The Office Lounge opened Friday evening, and these folks can be reached at 731-2999. All I can say is sometimes it's not easy being me.

I must say that I am extremely pleased to introduce three new members and two renewals that have presented themselves in a mere three days.

Because of the holiday, those of us who write weekly columns were asked to submit one Monday and another Friday. I am grateful to those who have joined us and renewed and will share them forthwith.

Shari St. Michaels joins us as the new kid on the block who is not afraid - she's "just chicken." She brings us "Poultry in Motion" at 358 E. U.S. 160 on the east side of town next to JJ's Upstream and former location of The Spanish Inn. Poultry in Motion offers a healthy, delicious gourmet broasted chicken to take out, take home or take to the park from their convenient drive-thru. You are encouraged to call ahead so your order will be ready to go when you arrive. Just call 731-8753 to place an order for broasted chicken, broasted quartered potatoes, Cole slaw, rolls, beans, salsa and ranch for dipping. Shari was kind enough to provide her chicken and spuds to the recent Chamber board meeting, and all the directors were smacking their lips over this new addition.

We welcome back Norm Vance with Homestead Publishing after a bit of membership hiatus, and even though the name is the same, Norm brings us a brand new publication. "The Anasazi Illustrated" is an easy-to-read history of the Anasazi with illustrations presented in magazine form. This colorful piece can be purchased at the Chamber for $6.95, and Norm can be reached at 264-4542 with questions.

Our third new member this week, Coleen Myers, joins us as an associate member with the Wells Fargo Investments group at 166 Village Drive. I spent some time recently with this delightful woman who offers full-service brokerage services including life insurance, Trust and Estate planning and Investment Management. You can reach Coleen at 731-8753 to learn more.

Renewals this week include Donnie Dove with Canyon REO Rafting in Durango and Yvonne D. Giesen with Pagosa Springs Sears. Our sincere thanks to one and all.

Library News

Summer reading program begins June 9

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

Our annual summer reading program begins June 9. This year's theme revolves around food.

We hope all of our children will "Chews to Read."

Children of all ages may come in anytime that week to sign up for six weeks of activities, contests, and general fun. Barb Draper and her committee have many surprises waiting for the good readers. Story times will be announced during the sign up time.


There are always brand new books for the summer reading program. These are purchased with a grant from the Friends of the Library. "Epossumondas," is illustrated by Colorado artist, Janet Stevens.

Janet visited Pagosa several years ago and showed children how to illustrate and publish a book. We hope to have her back again some time soon.

"Epossumondas" is told by renowned author, Coleen Salley. Salley was a professor of children's literature for 30 years and now travels widely as a storyteller. Stevens, the award-winning artist lives in Boulder.

Poster gift

We were honored to have a framed poster of Elijah Wood reading with the title "Read - Make it a Hobbit." This was a gift from Addie, Dell, Emmi and Evan Greer "to honor enjoyment of fine literature." Thanks to the Greers for this gift. It will hang in a special place.


Belated congratulations to the Mountain View Homemaker Club celebrating their 40th anniversary. The history of our community is closely tied to these lovely women and their work, and has been through the years. Their efforts are untiring and continue to make a difference.

Book jacket history

We always tell folks not to take the bookjackets off their books. The value of a book plummets if the jacket is gone. Supposedly the first "dust cover," appeared in London in the 1600s. In the 1700s Benjamin Franklin covered 142 of his books with shellac to protect against water and mildew for an ocean voyage.

It is said that the shellac congealed and the books were fused together. He tossed them overboard.

In 1800 London, a cheap paper cover was made to protect against "bird drops, slobber stains and infants' scribblings."

1810 brought a ban on dust jackets because they were "fire hazards."

In Rome by 1854, a suggestive drawing on a jacket was condemned for being "filthy." Sales leaped. This avenue of advertising took hold and we've forever since judged books by their covers.


In keeping with historical thoughts, here is a curse against library book stealers: "For him that stealeth a book from this library, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy and let there be no surcease to his agony till he sink in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final punishment, let the flames of hell consume him for ever and aye." (Found in a monastery of Sand Pedro, Barcelona.)


Thanks to Nancy Krzyzanski for a donation to the building fund. Thanks for materials from the Methodist Thrift Shop.




Michael Julian Archuleta was born May 1, 2003 at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. He weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long. His parents are Julian and Vanessa Archuleta of Pagosa Springs. Grandparents are Renee Blythe and Val Montoya, Mike and Connie Blythe and Julian Archuleta Sr. and the late Matilda Archuleta.


Business News
Opening June 2, Discovery Junction is currently enrolling toddlers and preschoolers, 1-5 years old.

The program is headed by director Amy Hill and is part of the Rising Stars nonprofit organization.

Located at 1860 Majestic Dr. behind Ponderosa Do-It-Best, the center's hours are Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

To receive additional information, contact Amy at 731-9152.



John Davis, originally from Litchfield, Ill., and Patricia Rydz, who has lived in Pagosa Springs for seven years, and is originally from Green Bay Wis., are happy to announce they were married in a small private outdoor ceremony on Memorial Day on their property just west of town. They would like to announce a change of venue for their reception. It will be held June 7 starting at 4 p.m. at the Ridgeview Center on Navajo Trails Drive. Since there was no time to send out invitations, Pat and John would like to take this opportunity to invite friends, family and their extended client family to attend. There will be food and drink and music and dancing, and Pat and John look forward to seeing everyone there.

Long-time Pagosa Springs residents Ken and Donna Youker were married June 27, 1953 in Cable, Wis. They will celebrate their 50th anniversary June 27 in Hildreth, Neb. with their family, including children Nick Youker, Ken Youker Jr., and Patti Roads. Cards may be mailed to Youker, c/o RR 1, Box 162, Hildreth, NE 68947.



Kayla Mackey, daughter of Butch and Debbie Mackey of Pagosa Springs, will be attending the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., this summer.

While attending Georgetown, she will also be completing an internship. Kayla is a senior at Fort Lewis College in Durango were she is majoring in economics and marketing.



Steven and Dolores Butler of Pagosa Springs proudly announce the graduation of their grandson, Abraham Laydon, from the University of Colorado School of Law, receiving his Ph. D. in law. He served as 2003 class vice president and was associate editor of the Colorado Journal of Environmental law and Policy.



Racing for the Finish

Pagosan competes in Boston Marathon

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"It doesn't matter if you

average 11-minute miles or sub-5's.

If you've ever given it everything

you had for 26 miles and

still found a final kick

you and I have run

the exact same race."

- Josh Cox, top American,

2001 World Championships

This quote was on one of the T-shirts available at the 2003 Boston Marathon. Ming Steen wrote it down during her first experience as a competitor in the famous race that drew 20,580 entries this year. After all, she said, that's the whole point.

"It really doesn't matter if the Kenyans finish in two hours and 10 minutes and I finished in 3 hours and 52 minutes, we've all run the same course, put in the same hard work and leave with the same satisfaction," she said.

Steen, of Pagosa Springs, qualified for the marathon in Las Vegas in February of 2002 with a time of 3 hours and 55 minutes, beating the needed mark by a full ten minutes. Only she didn't know it. In fact, she didn't discover that she was eligible until January 2003 while perusing the Internet. By then, she had already registered for another marathon just 10 weeks before Boston. She decided to do them both.

After running in the first one, she gave herself 10 days to recover and then began training in earnest for the historic race run on Patriot's Day each year. She knew her strength - endurance. What she wanted to work on was speed. Going to Boston meant shooting to do her best running up against the world's elite.

"I spent the eight weeks on intense speed training and taking a lot of long, lonely runs by myself," she said.

April 21, she joined the thousands of other runners and their families for the journey to the starting line. Buses begin shuttling runners to the town of Hopkinton for the start at 6:30 a.m., Steen said. That's four and a half hours before the gun fires. On site, participants are lined up according to their qualifying time.

"I was 12 minutes behind the first group of elite runners," she said. With that many on the course, it can be a feat even to reach the start.

"The first three miles is pretty much focused on survival," she said, "making sure you don't get trampled of trip or trip over somebody's shoe and fall."

From Hopkinton, the course follows Route 135 through Ashland, Framingham, Natick and Wellesley. It continues on Route 16 through Newton Lower Falls to Commonwealth Avenue and then turns right for the run up to the Newton Hills. The route then passes a reservoir onto Chestnut Hill Avenue to Cleveland Street. Runners make a left onto Beacon Street, travel past Kenmore Square and back to Commonwealth finishing near the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square.

The runners are never alone, Steen said. Spectators line the entire 26.2 miles. They cheer. They play music. As they passed Wellesley College girls stood outside with signs that read, "Kiss me."

"Some of the guys thought it was worth it to lose a few seconds to stop and kiss the girls," she said.

People in all the small towns along the way offered water, treats and cries of encouragement. They didn't have to, Steen said. They did it because they could.

"Every single child wanted to give you a high five," she said. "For about the first 15 miles I ran with one arm out and then I decided I better conserve energy."

She would need it. Especially coming down the backside of "Heartbreak Hill." The hill in the town of Newton is the last in a series of three hills beginning at the 17.45 mile mark. The slope dubbed "Heartbreak" actually commences at mile 20.7 and surges upward for 600 meters. Steen said right after the crest, her body let her know it wasn't happy. Muscles in her legs began to cramp. She thought about slowing down. After all, running for Steen is a relaxing pastime. Something done for pleasure, not for the record books. Boston was never a goal.

In the end, it was the memory of a dear friend that pushed her forward. Steen dedicated her race to her friend, Debra Kelly, who died April 4 while training for the Lavaman Triathalon in Hawaii.

Debra remains an inspiration, Steen said. Kelly's husband, Reed, traveled to Boston with the Steens, running the last nine miles with Ming to help her through the final kick.

It worked. Steen's time of 3 hours, 52 minutes is a personal best. Overall, she finished 9,702 out of 18,000. In the women's division, she finished 2,716 out of 6,309. Among her age group, 50-59, she finished 63rd out of about 500. Steen is 50.

When finished, she joined the other participants in donning a Mylar suit for the cool-down.

"It help keeps you warm," she said.

"We kind of looked like 20,000 Martians marching back and forth." She finished the famous race just six years after she started running and less than two years after her first marathon back in October of 2001.

The Boston Marathon remains the only major marathon outside the Olympics requiring runners to post a qualifying time to gain entry. It's been that way since the early 1970s when qualifying times were used to help limit the field size.

The historic race, organized by the Boston Athletic Association, was run for the first time in 1897. Eighteen entered. The numbers topped 100 for the first time in 1906. It was 62 years later when entries cleared the 1,000 mark. In 2003, Steen said, about 18,000 crossed the finish line.

The first woman, unofficially, to run in the marathon was Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb in 1966. According to historical notes in the official 2003 program, Gibb joined the field shortly after the gun went off and finished in 3:21.40 to place 126 overall. In 1967, Katherine Switzer became the first woman to receive a number in the Boston Marathon. She accomplished the feat by signing her name "K.V. Switzer" on the entry form. By her own clock, she finished the race in 4:20.

Five years later women were officially invited to line up with the men. That first year, eight joined the field. The inaugural women's race was won by Nina Kuscsik in 3:10.26. Today, honors go to the top men and women in the open division, the master's division and the wheelchair division. A total of $525,000 in purses is up for grabs. But only for the elite. The majority come just for the experience.

For the bands, the crowds lining all 26.2 miles, the memories, the opportunity to say not only "I think I can," but, "I did."

Today, Steen has that right. She also earned the opportunity to go back and do it again.

Her response.



Pagosa's Past

Penitentes, The Brotherhood

of Light, were in region early

Deadly boring, one led to the other. Sudden death was always just over the horizon. Such was life for northern New Mexico Hispanics before Anglo settlement. Hope clung to the robes of priests and the cross of Christ borne by the Catholic Church.

Northern New Mexico history bears greatly on Pagosa Country history. The Land of Enchantment was the launching pad for the first exploration of the San Juan country.

Hour after hour, day after day, Hispano pioneers tended flocks and gardens, wove wool into cloth, baked bread and hunted wild game, all time-consuming, tedious tasks. The repetition created boredom, boredom led to laxity, and laxity provided opportunity for watching Native American raiders swoop in and claim property and lives.

The first conquistadors treated the indigenous peoples badly. Their children paid the price.

No town was safe. Poorly armed and badly outnumbered, the settlers got along with Jicarilla Apache and Pueblo neighbors, for the most part. Not so with the other natives. Comanche raiders slipped in from the east, western Apaches from the southwest, Navajo from the northwest, and Utes from the north.

During the early days under Spanish rule, towns were constructed as centralized fortresses, but the plan didn't work. By the time Americans came, villages were scattered out and without walls or fort-like defenses. Hopefully, the approach of the enemy would be noted and the main house defended. The raiders could take the livestock, which was what they were after anyway. Some of the raiders joked that they always left a few livestock behind so the settlers could raise more meat for them.

Most of the Hispanic settlements stretched along the Rio Grande River. By the time Anglos came, a few settlements were edging up the Chama River. In general, Nuevo Mexico was divided between Rio Abajo and Rio Arriba; the dividing line somewhere between Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Rio Arriba, meaning the upper river, stretched north along the Rio Grande and Chama rivers. The country reaching from Espanola to Chama and the Colorado border is known today as Rio Arriba County.

Abiquiu, along the Chama River, was the northernmost settlement for many years. Several settlement attempts at Abiquiu were thwarted by Southern Utes. Success finally resulted from sending genizaros, Hispanicized Indians as colonizers.

The northern frontier was isolated from Santa Fe, almost estranged from Mexico, and totally separated from Spain. Because of the isolation, as the Spanish language used in Spain and Mexico changed, the Spanish used by northern settlers remained the same as in earlier centuries. The same was true of religious practices. And so, Penitentes continue to flourish in northern New Mexico, even today. The practice was outlawed in Europe centuries earlier.

The Hispanic name for the Brotherhood of Penitentes is Cofradia de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno, Confraternity of Our Father, Jesus the Nazarene. This particular practice of expiating sins by corporal punishment began in medieval Europe. It included flagellation, processions bearing crosses reenacting the Passion of Jesus, and many other activities, some conducted privately. Spain outlawed self-flagellation as early as 1777.

Frances Quintana describes Brotherhood practices in New Mexico in her history titled,

"Pobladores," a book available at Moonlight Books in Pagosa Springs.

Penitente practices were almost universally followed by Hispano settlers in northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. Many horrified Protestant Anglo settlers attempted to quash the practices. Catholic church leaders in New Mexico also discouraged Penitente affiliation and practices. Consequently, many followers of the practice are unwilling to publicly acknowledge their allegiance or sympathy.

Whether practice of the Penitente way is good or bad depends on the observer's value system. Quintana makes a case for certain social values of the system. Apparently, Penitentes helped each other, looked after the widows and children of members, and performed many other good deeds.

Although an Anglo, Quintana was married to one of the Rosa Quintanas. There can be little doubt that the Penitentes practiced in that community.

Penitentes were an all male society and met primarily in secret. Their churches, or places of worship, are called moradas. Many moradas remain. Last week I wrote about Gene Martinez of Edith, whose father was a Penitente. His father's morada stands in good shape at Nutritas, just south of Edith.

Other moradas with their cemetery companions remain at Lumberton, Monero, Abiquiu and undoubtedly throughout the Chama and Rio Grande Valleys, including the Conejos area and other settlements in the San Luis Valley.

As to the practice, talk with almost any local resident 50-years old or more and they will tell you they have either seen Penitentes or their parents have seen penitentes.

I heard discussion of a funeral this past week at Lumberton during which penitente practices were conducted by relatively young men.

So what?

So add to your vision of settlement days in Pagosa Country the picture of processions of gasping men carrying crosses up a hill, lashing themselves with leather thongs containing sharp metal tips, blood and sweat dripping along the pathway.

Earnest men, devoted to their families at a time when death was just a war whoop away. Is it any wonder they stagger the last bloody mile, encouraging divine protection by the most extreme practices they could imagine?

Life was deadly; not a time to be bored.



Media diversity a must

Those in the news business who work hard to provide fair and accurate coverage to readers and customers are under constant siege, at all levels. And it seems the forces arrayed against the principle of unbiased coverage are on the ascendancy. In the newspaper business, people seeking to change, to ignore, to omit, to spin the truth are ever present, their voices a constant chorus.

A newspaper office, especially a small-town office, is beset by pleas, demands and orders from people who want to influence the news.

There are calls from attorneys asking that clients' names not appear in a publication, calls and visits from friends and families of criminals, demanding the truth not be revealed.

There are complaints from hypesters that "too much truth" will tarnish the image of a place they wish to promote. There are confrontations with spinmasters eager to take the edge off news, urging journalists to soft-peddle, adjust or conceal the truth, to gild the lily, to promote a point of view, to fertilize a partisan political garden or aggrandize a favored occupation.

Other forces act to shape the news.

Many small-town newspapers have been snapped up by larger companies with scant connection to the local scene. Many of those newspapers adjust editorial policies to harmonize with the whims and attitudes of people who do not live in the community, who are out of touch with its realities.

Granted, the news business is, to a degree, discretionary; but there is always pressure to go beyond this, to constrict the scope of reporting, to weaken the urge to seek fact.

This same process occurs at a larger level, and there are events on the horizon that could limit diversity and exaggerate the already biased nature of many national and big-city news organizations.

There has been little information released to the public concerning proposed changes to Federal Communications Commission rules regarding media ownership, little discussion of these proposed changes on television talk shows and news shows that tout their lack of spin while promoting the political agenda of ownership.

Small wonder. The changes suit the needs of media giants. If adopted, they will make it easier for large companies and interests to gobble up more print and broadcast outlets.

Changes are proposed to FCC rules put in place between 1941 and 1975, rules motivated by the desire to encourage competition, to stimulate diversity of approach and opinion - rules designed to prevent a select few organizations and individuals from determining what most people read, hear and see.

The original rules prevent mergers of networks and limit the number of radio and television stations a company can own. The rules also prohibit ownership by one company of a newspaper and a radio or television station in the same market area.

With the success of cable and satellite stations, promoters of the changes believe the rules are outdated and inhibit competition. Some argue the rules stifle creativity at traditional media outlets.

This is a dubious argument, and the end result of the changes, if successful, would allow control of media providers by fewer and fewer interests, allowing those interests to select and shape news to fit their needs and those of the individuals and groups they support.

This is undesirable and cannot benefit the American public.

We must remain vigilant - at every level - to ensure that pressure to homogenize, sanitize and simplify our news is successfully deflected. If all goes well, the proposed FCC changes will be defeated. If all goes well, small newspapers will remain independent and in touch with their communities providing readers a diverse selection of news and commentary.

Karl Isberg

Pacing Pagosa

Memorial Day's missing crowds

By Richard Walter

Perhaps the shock of 9/11 has worn off, the reaction to an attack on America fading into the past.

Perhaps the culmination of hostilities in Iraq was not really that important to the psyche of Archuleta County.

Where, for example, were the hordes of folks who paraded every Wednesday morning on Pagosa Street as Operation Iraqi Freedom wore on.

Perhaps it was the overnight power failure which made electronic alarms sound nearly four hours later than expected.

Whatever the reason, the number of persons attending Memorial Day services was substantially smaller than normal.

In the initial service at Mullins-Nickerson Legion Hall on Hermosa Street, fewer than 50 were present for the stirring ceremony saluting America's and Archuleta County's war dead and all those who have served in harm's way as their nation faced foreign threats

Just 39 minutes was required for that ceremony and for the one an hour later in Hilltop Cemetery.

A short time out of a busy day - a time that could have made an important contribution to family celebration and understanding of what has been given by those who did not return from the wars.

Missing also from the ceremonies, with perhaps two exceptions, were any vestige of high school students. Some younger children were present but probably weren't sure why they were there.

Their biggest thrill was, perhaps, the sounding of the rifle salute.

The ceremonies were poignant, filled with names of Archuleta County men and women who helped guarantee the right to hold open celebrations such as this a part of the story of freedom.

The ceremonies were different even though they had the same speakers and same program of events.

In the park, motorcycles and big rig trucks roaring by on U.S. 160 through downtown often drowned out the voices of those participating.

At the cemetery there was a more solemn tribute. The sound of rifle fire echoed through the rows of trees and flag draped graves. Voices carried as if on wings of wind, not to be subdued by passing traffic.

In the park, at least one community official was on hand, but none from the county. The same was true at the cemetery. Veterans on crutches, stooped by the burden of the wars of the past, were there, but none of the community or county leaders of today.

Flags were raised to the peak of the pole and then lowered to half staff. A female veteran sang the national anthem. A bugler sounded the Call to Colors and Taps.

The Gold Star Mother was given a rose signifying her loss of a son in the Vietnam War.

A veteran was overcome by heat and helped from the scene into a shady spot.

Emotions surged, waned, and surged again.

There were tears, smiles and some breaking voices as names were read.

But few were there to notice.


90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of May 30, 1913

The San Juan River at Pagosa, which showed the highest water of the season this week, is still nearly two feet lower than the record up to this time last year. The forest office gives us this information, hence it is official.

A big grey wolf, the first known in this section for many years, has invaded the upper Piedra country and is creating havoc in the West & Hott herd. The boys who are looking after the herd have found the carcasses of seven calves that have fallen victims to the wolf and are afraid there are more.

It has been definitely decided that Pagosa Springs will give the biggest Fourth of July celebration this year in the town's history and it has had some good ones.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 1, 1928

Seldom has a pall of gloom settled over a community as occurred Wednesday in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County when the word was passed around that Dr. Mary Winter Fisher, undoubtedly the most beloved woman in the entire county, had died shortly after the noon hour.

Though she had been ill at her home for about two months, necessitating the suspension of her extensive practice and closing of her office, the seriousness of her condition was known to no one but herself. The past week, realizing that her time on earth was but a matter of hours, she revealed to her husband and a few intimate friends that for the past three years she had been suffering from cancer of the breast.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 29, 1953

The building around town is increasing each week and it looks as if there will be a substantial number of new buildings before the middle of the summer. The Basin Court is being remodeled by H.G. Risinger, owner. A large addition is being made to Vic's Service Station. The Fussy Gussy Drive-In is also receiving a new building and other improvements are being made there. A new heating plant is being built at the school building and several very nice, modern apartments and cabins are being constructed at the Spa. All these improvements are a step forward for the town. These improvements will increase considerably the number of modern, up-to-date tourist housing units available during the summer months and during big game season.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 1, 1978

A large earth slide on Wolf Creek Pass is wreaking havoc with the highway there. The slide, which is located just above the West Side Highway Camp at the end of the new four-laning project last summer, is bringing down mud, trees, rocks and clay. This is a very unusual occurrence and was probably brought about by a very dry year last year and a very wet year this year.

Recent power outages in this area have been caused by someone shooting insulators on the power line, according to Bill Montgomery, local REA supervisor. He said that the insulators could have been shot at any time in recent weeks and when rains came moisture seeped through the cracks, shorting out the power lines.