June 5, 2003 
Front Page

Hot shot crews battle wildfire

16 miles north

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A wildfire west of Pagosa Springs defied attempts to squelch it Tuesday, growing to about 50 acres.

Bob Frye, a representative of the Pagosa Ranger District, said winds of 25-30 miles per hour in the afternoon pushed the fire, near Trail Creek and Piedra Road, up into steep, rocky country, making it difficult to stop.

Nearby, a second fire, this one about a quarter of an acre in size, also started. Both are between three-quarters of a mile and a mile west of Piedra Road where it crosses the river. In fact, Piedra Road from McManus Road to Kleckner Lane was closed Wednesday. Traffic was being routed up McManus.

About 30 firefighters were on scene Tuesday. By the end of the day Wednesday, that number was expected to reach 70.

Frye said Wednesday morning Hot Shot crews were en route from Pike National Forest and Rocky Mountain National Forest. Two helicopters were also on-scene with another on standby in Durango. An air tanker from Grand Junction made one drop Tuesday.

Frye said lightning Sunday most likely started the fire. It smoldered silently until conditions were right and spread through grass up into Ponderosa and mixed-conifer fuels.

"Even with the moisture we've gotten, it's still dry out there," he said. "The grass may be green, but the fuels remain dry."

On a related note, the Archuleta County commissioners are holding a special meeting this afternoon in order to draft language that will likely require residents to notify county dispatchers when the residents plan to conduct "open burns."

It is also likely such language will recommend all county residents contact dispatch before initiating "ditch fires" and similar burns regardless of whether or not they live within the boundaries of the Pagosa Fire Protection or Los Pinos Fire Protection districts.

The board indicated no fees or permits will be required for such burns, and stated the end result of today's meeting centering on "prior notification" will be included as an amendment to the county's pending fire ban ordinance and published in an upcoming issue of The SUN.

In another action related to fire control, the board approved the purchase of three self-contained, foam-dispersal units at a cost of approximately $9,000 each.

The units, or tanks, will be loaded on county trucks and utilized as means of providing rapid, initial-attack suppression in the case of wildfire.

 

Young father drowns in Lake Pagosa

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A Pagosa man drowned May 28 in Lake Pagosa. He was apparently canoeing to visit a friend when the accident happened.

Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht said the body of Brian Kirsop, 25, of Pagosa Springs, was found in 6-8 feet of water May 29. His canoe was found floating about 100 yards away. An autopsy showed the cause of death was drowning.

Sgt. Karn Macht, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue coordinator, said he responded to the scene about 11 p.m. May 28. Search and rescue members located Kirsop's canoe about 1:40 a.m. Meanwhile, deputies contacted family and friends in the hope of finding the husband and father alive and well.

On the lake, several spotters used four boats and began to search the water. Since the lake is only about 16 feet deep at most, Macht said, spotters were able to see the bottom over a large portion of the search area.

"We were getting ready to send a dive crew in to look at the deeper portions when we found the body," he said.

Karn Macht said searchers located Kirsop's body about 8 a.m. He was not wearing a life jacket.

The Pagosa Fire Protection District aided in the search by providing a ladder truck with powerful lights to illuminate the water. Boats were on loan from a private citizen, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.

Kirsop is survived by his wife, Breanna and three sons, Kyle, Kaleb and Xander. Private funeral services were held Sunday.

Two separate memorial funds have been set up to assist the family with expenses.

One is at Wells Fargo Bank where contributions can be sent to Account No. 9866512438.

The second is at Vectra Bank with Account No. 4958259139.

 

New owners for The Pagosa Springs SUN

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Since its creation more than 94 years ago, The Pagosa Springs SUN has had several owners and publishers.

For the last 50-plus years, the newspaper had two owners and publishers. David C. Mitchell took over as owner, publisher and editor of the newspaper in 1981 and maintained it until his death in October 2002. Prior to that, Glen Edmonds owned and operated The SUN for 32 years.

As of May 30, The SUN has its newest owners, and they are no strangers to the business. Terri and Todd House, longtime employees of the newspaper completed transactions making them the new owners of the newspaper. Terri House assumes duties as publisher of The SUN.

The closing of the deal May 30 transferred ownership to the Houses and an as-yet unnamed corporation from the Mitchell family and their corporation, The Pagosa Springs SUN, Inc.

Terri House came to work at The SUN one month after her graduation from Pagosa Springs High School in 1982, working part-time doing paste-up and layout.

In October 1982 she became the newspaper's classified advertising manager and shortly thereafter was made the manager of the composition room.

Learning as she went, House took a position in advertising sales, during some of the roughest economic times in recent memory. She was promoted to advertising sales manager in 1988 and to general manager in 1997.

Having mastered the business aspects of the operation, House was promoted to assistant publisher in 2001.

Todd House has an equally lengthy history with The SUN, beginning work at the business in maintenance in 1984. He was promoted to the position of pressman and went to work in the newspaper's darkroom operation in September 1985. Todd House has served as The SUN's production and purchasing manager since October 2002, and will continue in that capacity.

"There is no doubt I still have much to learn about running a community newspaper," said Terri House. "The SUN will continue to be a newspaper that reflects Pagosa Springs - our community. It has been a longtime goal of this newspaper to provide the most comprehensive, accurate news, while providing an effective advertising vehicle for our advertisers. In honor of David Mitchell's spirit, I intend to continue this tradition."

House indicated there are no changes planned in The SUN's staff or management following the change in ownership.

 

Weather

 

Date High Low Precip
Type
Depth Moisture

5/21

75

36

-

-

-

5/22

74

35

-

-

-

5/23

79

40

-

-

-

5/24

81

39

-

-

-

5/25

74

37

R

-

.27

5/26

78

39

R

-

.06

5/27

81

41

R

-

.04

Breezy mix of sun and clouds forecast

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The late-May pattern of afternoon showers gave way to clear skies and brief intervals of gusty winds across Pagosa Country in the first days of June, a trend forecasters are predicting will continue through the weekend.

Despite the talk of snow across the northern half of the state, the latest indications are the Canadian cold front that may produce flurries in Denver will not sag far enough south to affect the San Juan Mountains.

"There's really not much of a chance the Four Corners area will see any precipitation, let alone snow," said Paul Frisbie, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"The chances are really low for any significant precipitation, maybe 10 or 20 percent at the most," said Frisbie, "An isolated shower and breezy conditions would be the most I think you could expect in the next few days."

According to Frisbie, morning sun will give way to partly cloudy skies by this afternoon. Southwest winds in the 15-25 mile per hour range are expected, along with highs in the 70s and lows in the mid-30s.

Friday's forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, highs stretching into the mid-70s and nighttime lows in the 30s.

Saturday and Sunday should be dominated my mostly sunny skies, light westerly winds, highs in the upper 60s to low 70s and lows in the 30s.

A slight warming trend is expected for Monday and Tuesday; highs should range in the upper 70s to mid-80s while lows should fall into the 40s.

The forecast for Wednesday includes a 20-percent chance for afternoon showers across higher elevations, highs in the low 80s and lows around 40.

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 area pollen counts as "moderate to low" and indicates the dominant pollens are currently oak, grass, cedar and juniper.

Water temperature in Navajo Reservoir is reportedly in the 60s, and the lake's surface level is currently listed at an elevation of 6,017 feet and rising. The boat ramp at Navajo State Park is open.

San Juan River flow peaked at over 2,600 feet per second during the past week, and exceeded the historical median flow of roughly 1,500 cubic feet per second for seven consecutive days.

 

Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Park Fun program counselor ratio expected to be 6-1

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The summer of 2003 is off and running, with the parks and recreation department in full spin.

Park Fun started this week, with many new faces, and many returning children.

We had over 50 inquiries about the program, and average daily attendance is expected to be around 30-35 children.

Our student to supervisor and student to counselor ratio should be about 6 to 1.

Summer favorites include trips to the Spa swimming pool, to Power House for skating, and the annual free fishing day.

This year the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Turkey Federation and the Town of Pagosa Springs will sponsor the free fishing day June 20, at the fishing ponds behind the River Center. There will be free fishing poles for all youngsters under the age of 16, free hot dogs and drinks provided by local chapter of the Turkey Federation.

The day will also include contests for anyone under 16, including the Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher look-alike contest; the biggest fish, smallest fish, first fish; and if we can get some tagged fish, we will have prizes for them also.

Basketball camp

The annual Pirate basketball camp, with coaches Jim Shaffer (boys) and Bob Lynch ( girls) will be held June 16. For more information, call Shaffer at 264-5070 or Lynch at 731-3007.

We hope to have some past all-state players as camp counselors this year.

Fireworks class

Anyone interested in a free fireworks seminar, plan on attending a class put on by the parks and recreation department, hosted by Fire Works of America.

We are looking for a few pyro-techs to volunteer for this year's Fourth of July fireworks display to be held at the Pagosa Lodge.

Class will be held June 18 in Town Hall starting at 7 p.m., with class final exam including the firing of a few shots  at the Sports Complex after dark, pending approval from the fire chief.

Call Joe Lister Jr. at 264-4151, Ext. 231 to reserve your spot for this free seminar.

Phone Numbers

The following numbers are in place for this year if you need to specific information:

- Softball cancellations due to weather: 264-6658. When it appears inclement weather will be in the area we will post voice messages every hour starting at 3 p.m. until game time

- Park Fun line: 946-1228

- Chris Corcoran for all baseball, softball and umpire schedules: 264-4151, Ext. 232

- Joe Lister Jr. Parks and Recreation director 264-4151, Ext. 231.

World class coach drills Pagosa wrestlers

 

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

By Dan Janowsky

Special to The SUN

For the eleventh year, high school and junior high wrestlers in Pagosa Springs participated in a training camp conducted by wrestling great Terry Brands.

Brands is one of the best known names in the sport of amateur wrestling, having won numerous national titles as well as two world championships and an Olympic bronze medal.

Recently retired from competition, Brands is now one of the country's most highly sought clinicians and now works as head wrestling coach at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Adding to the athletic experience was location of the camp in facilities provided by Matt Poma and the Poma Ranch. Mats were placed outside on the ground next to Weminuche River at the ranch.

Athletes brought tents and sleeping bags, the meals were provided and the local participants received plenty of fresh air, recreation and one-on-one instruction last weekend from one of the world's elite athletes and coaches.

Coach Brands will return the first weekend in August to conduct another training camp.

Interested parties can contact Dan Janowsky at 264-4554.

 

Outfield advertising approved for Pirate baseball operation

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

With one advertiser already signed up, the Pagosa Springs High School baseball program is about to join most of the others in the region.

The plan is for outfield fence advertising, a continuing source of revenue for sports programs, Bayfield being the most notable example in the area.

Coach Tony Scarpa said the team has received permission form the school to conduct the advertising campaign.

Signs, each 4 by 8 feet, will be up from March through August each year and will be renewable.

Cost will be $300 each and Scarpa said there is room for 50 to 60 if all the outfield fence area is used.

Since the program is a first for the Pagosa Springs team, members hope to get reservations in early so the signs can be ordered and ready for display for the next baseball season.

All proceeds will go to the high school baseball fund with expenses of the program, including uniforms, equipment and field maintenance and improvement as targets for spending.

The Pirate baseball team was co-champion of the Intermountain League this season and advanced to state competition, losing in extra innings to Eaton, the eventual state champion.

 

Pagosa gymnasts take first place in Level 4 competition

Pagosa Springs Level 4 gymnasts, competing last weekend in Steamboat Springs, captured the first place trophy.

Competing at Level 4 were Re'Ahna Ray, Casey Crow, Sienna Stretton, Stephanie Lowe and Toni Stoll.

Ray and Crow paced the squad, with Ray tied for first in the all-around with a score of 35.65, winning the uneven bars at 8.09, placing second in floor exercise at 9.2 and tying for fourth in vault with a score of 8.8.

Crow had her best personal meet ever, placing third in the all-around with 35.30, taking second on balance beam with 9.15, fourth on bars at 8.4; and tying for third in vault with 9.0.

Stretton placed sixth in all-around and tied for fourth on the balance beam.

There were 29 participants representing four teams in the Division.

Team score is dependent on the top three scorers on each team and it girls to do well to win the team title.

Competing at the optional B level were Raesha Ray and Shelby Stretton.

Stretton tied for third in the all- around and Ray placed fifth among the seven competitors in Optional B.

Because of the small number of Optional B competitors only three medals were awarded with Stretton bringing home bronze for bars with an 8.5 and her all-around medal.

The team has just one competition left, June 14 in Glenwood Springs, before the state meet scheduled June 28 in Evergreen.

 

 Obituaries

Mary Muirhead

Mary Walquist Muirhead passed on May 25, 2003. She was 80 years old. Born May 16, 1923, in Burlingame, Kan., to Sara and Theodore Walquist, she was reared on a farm along with a brother, Theodore Jr., and three sisters, Dorthea, Oma Ruth and Patricia.

After high school graduation she moved to Illinois where she met and later married Bruce Muirhead of the Plato Center clan. Bruce was serving in WW II when they married and they shared many happy experiences and sadness of absences due to military assignments.

The couple had three children, Barry of Salt Lake City and Crested Butte, Joanne of Crested Butte and George of Pagosa Springs. Others surviving are their spouses, Bruce, her three sisters, nine grandchildren and two great-grandsons.

Mary loved to travel and, as a travel agent, had the opportunity to do so, sometimes with her husband and sometimes with other travel agents. She helped Bruce build an airplane which allowed for more travel and exciting experiences.

Mary was a very loving wife, mother, sister and grandmother. An active Methodist all her life, she taught Sunday School, sang in the choir and enjoyed her many friends there. She also enjoyed calling on shut-ins and leaving them cheered. As an ambitious quilter, she made quilts for her home and also for each of her grandchildren, which they cherish.

The Muirheads lived in Boulder for 28 years and when they retired in 1980, they chose Pagosa Springs to live out their lives. They were married almost 60 years.

Mary will be sorely missed by all who knew her. A memorial service is planned June 10 at 1 p.m. in Community United Methodist Church in Pagosa Springs. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Alzheimer's Association.

Vicente Duran

Area resident Vicente Ferrel Duran Sr., died Sunday, June 1, 2003, at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center in Pagosa Springs.

He was born in Ensenada, N.M., on Oct. 2, 1909, to Rosario Duran and Dolores Martinez Duran. Vicente was 93.

A rosary service was held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, 2003, in Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs and funeral services were scheduled at 10 a.m. today with interment to follow at Hilltop Cemetery.

Services were to be officiated by Monsignor Leo Gomez.

 

Inside The Sun

Asphalt foe's outburst spurs call for deputy assist at planning commission hearing

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Tensions ran high during a public hearing conducted at the May 28 meeting of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission - an event punctuated by an outburst that sparked a temporary request for assistance from the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.

The hearing focused on an appeal of the hours of operation set forth as part of county planning staff's May 1 approval of a limited impact use application for a temporary asphalt plant operation on Mask Ranch property, northwest of the Holiday Acres subdivision off County Road 119.

The conditions of approval for that application (submitted by A&S Construction Company) included limiting the plant's hours of operation from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday while prohibiting operations Saturdays and holidays.

Asphalt produced at the plant, which is set to begin operation in late July, will be used in the repaving of portions of U.S. 84, a project sponsored by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Representing A&S at Wednesday night's hearing, John Ary explained to the commission that the decision to seek extended hours of operation relates to timeliness.

If permitted to operate from at least 7 a.m.-6 p.m. five days per week, said Ary, "We feel we can complete the project this summer."

But on any given day, "Once we're shut down, we're shut down," added Ary, indicating weather delays and equipment breakdowns could delay the project's completion until next spring if his company were held to shorter work hours.

Ary then supplied the commission with letters from CDOT expressing similar concerns. "Basically they're asking for this, putting in their two cents worth for this to be approved," said Ary.

Acknowledging the recent public protest from area residents concerning the possibility of air and water pollution associated with the plant, Ary informed the board he is aware of the potential hazards.

"We have plenty of information on hand concerning what our plant is and does," concluded Ary, adding that A&S has secured all the necessary permits and will be required to comply with all applicable state and federal regulations regarding emissions.

Before requesting public opinion, Bob Huff, board chairman, asked for comments from his fellow planning commissioners.

"My concern is with the people," said Commissioner Betty Shahan, I really would like it, for these people, for the plant to be moved."

Huff responded by citing the fact that relocation was not within the scope of the appeal, and therefore not a consideration to be addressed by the commission.

"There's really only one issue here, the hours of operation," said Huff, "We don't have the capability to say (A&S) shall move ... that's not our option."

Then, before taking public comment, "Please keep it to the point," said Huff, reiterating that any comments should be related only to the hours of operation.

Residents of Holiday Acres comprised the majority of those who spoke, and most called for the commission to consider what one resident referred to as "the strictest hours possible."

Another resident, Walter Green, chose to address issues not related to hours of operation and voiced displeasure with the plant's approval in general.

"The (limited impact use) application is not worth anything if you're not going to enforce it," said Green at the onset of what would prove to be an increasingly-animated display of frustration before the board.

"This is outside the scope of discussion," warned Mary Weiss, county attorney.

But Green continued. "Why don't we abide by our own regulations?" shouted Green as he proceeded to toss selected sections of the county land use regulations onto the desks of the commissioners before slamming the remainder of the documents to the courthouse floor.

The outburst prompted Huff to call for order several times before asking, "Can we get some help here?"

"There's a panic button right underneath the desk," replied Weiss, as Julie Rodriguez, county building director, headed down the hall toward the sheriff's office.

"I'm not worried about the sheriff," answered Green, "If I'm out of order, tell me to sit down."

"You are out of order, please sit down," replied Huff.

Green obliged, and no participation from the sheriff's office was required as the hearing continued without further incident.

However, not everyone who spoke was opposed to an extension of operating hours. Some supported the idea of expanding the hours in order to get the project over as soon as possible.

"We have to look at the good of the county, not just a few," said Gene Crabtree, "I'm sure that will be unpopular ... but let's get this project done so we can get the tourists back and make some money."

Near the end of the hearing, the planning commission echoed such sentiments.

"Get in, get it done, and there will be less of an impact," said Commissioner Bob Walkinshaw.

Commissioner Lynn Constan agreed; "I feel it's more important to get the work done now rather than risk going into next summer."

"Nobody likes putting up with a highway project," said Huff, "But we all want the highway ... that's the pinch we're in."

After further discussion, the commission unanimously carried a motion (recommendation to the board of county commissioners) to extend the plant's hours of operation to 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

"I'm sorry if it didn't go as you had hoped," said Huff to those who opposed the decision, "but we're trying to do our best."

 

Talks underway for town and county project to improve two local roads

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

With construction season in full swing, it might seem as if orange is everywhere.

It's on Wolf Creek, stretches down Hot Springs Boulevard, is on the north side of the road headed east of town and lines the way down U.S. 84.

And it's not over yet.

The town and county are still negotiating an intergovernmental agreement to reconstruct a portion of Village Drive and Pinon Causeway. The two roads, notable for their potholes, were used mainly for residential and hotel traffic until last summer when the intersection of Talisman Drive and U.S. 160 became right-turn only off Talisman.

That improvement was made to prevent accidents at that intersection. Today, traffic is diverted down Village Drive and onto Pinon Causeway. A temporary traffic light at Pinon and U.S. 160 allows drivers to turn left onto the highway more safely.

Improvements, however, are needed.

At Tuesday's meeting of the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees, members had the chance to view cost estimates for the improvement project to include milling the existing surface and adding four inches of new asphalt along Village Drive from Talisman to Pinon and continuing up Pinon to the lights at U.S. 160.

When completed, Village Drive would have a 24-foot paved surface with a two-foot gravel shoulder. The paved portion of Pinon would be 32 feet wide with a two-foot gravel shoulder. According to Davis Engineering Service Inc. estimates, the cost of the project would be about $200,000 with the engineering, design, administration and contingency fees.

Originally, plans were to bid the project in a package together with the county's project to pave South Pagosa Boulevard through to Meadows Drive. County Administrator Bill Steele said engineering estimates on the Meadows portion of that project are due this week. Advertisements for bids will follow, possibly sometime yet this month.

As for the intergovernmental agreement with the town on Pinon Causeway and Village Drive, discussions continue, Steele said.

"We are still looking into the possibilities to insure it will fit into our plans for the summer construction season."

In other business:

- Trustees appointed Stan Holt to fill the vacancy on the board left open when Jeff Jones resigned in May. Jones moved outside the town boundaries making him ineligible to continue to serve as a trustee

- Town Administrator Mark Garcia announced that vacancies in the police department and the building department have been filled. Scott Maxwell, of Page, Ariz., has been hired as the new police investigator. Maxwell has over 10 years experience in law enforcement, including time spent with the Garfield County Sheriff's Department, the Eagle Police Department and the Parachute Police Department in Colorado. He starts June 19.

Steve Koneman, of Pagosa Springs, has been tapped for the building inspector/code enforcement officer position. He was previously employed in the construction business and starts work June 9.

- Garcia announced that town sales tax receipts are down 1.7 percent from this time in 2002.

 

 

County denies asphalt plant extended operating hours

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County board of commissioners was split in its decision this week to deny an appeal for extended hours of operation for an asphalt plant scheduled to begin operation in late July on Mask Ranch property south of town.

Commissioners Mamie Lynch and Bill Downey voted for the denial following the respective arguments of county planning staff and A&S Construction Company, the firm that filed the appeal. Alden Ecker, board chairman, cast the dissenting vote.

The denial goes against the May 28 decision reached by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, which recommended extending the plant's asphalt production hours from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to 7 a.m.-6 p.m. in order to accelerate the completion of the U.S. 84 repaving project.

However, Marcus Baker, associate county planner, explained to the board that planning staff has recommended denial of the appeal for extended hours since its inception, a point he reiterated Tuesday.

Since the plant was approved as a limited impact use on the basis of it being an extension of an existing operation, "We feel it is important to extend the hours (8-5) of the original conditional use permit (Mask Ranch gravel operation) to this application," said Baker.

"We want to keep it as limited impact use," continued Baker, adding that although parameters for operating hours are not specified in the county land use regulations, they are open to interpretation by staff and "we interpreted 8 a.m.-5 p.m. as having a lesser impact" than longer hours.

Ecker acknowledged those sentiments, but cited two letters from the Colorado Department of Transportation indicating the repaving project could extend into next year if longer production hours were not granted.

"Personally, I would like to avoid that, for the residents of Holiday Acres and the citizens of Archuleta County," said Ecker.

While both agreed that the project should be finished as soon as possible, Lynch and Downey were reluctant to change the hours, saying they felt the need "to stick with the original conditions of the limited impact use permit."

To that suggestion, Mary Weiss, county attorney, responded, "It seems like you are not giving due consideration to the decision of the planning commission."

Lynch disagreed. "I have given it due consideration," said Lynch, "Perhaps they didn't give due consideration to planning staff's recommendation."

Ecker replied by stating that, in his opinion, the notion of expanding work hours during the summer is not unreasonable. "To get (the project) done, I would have to be in favor of extending the hours."

Representing A&S, John Ary said that a denial for extended hours could result in a magnification of the controversy at hand.

"Clearly, there is going to be more impact if we stretch this out," said Ary, "Extending the hours, you will have a minimal impact."

Ary added that his company had agreed to abide by the 8-5 parameters with regard to hauling operations, and was requesting the extension specifically for asphalt production.

But ultimately, said Ary, the weather will control the speed of the project, therefore the more hours granted, the better the likelihood the project is completed on time.

Lynch was not swayed, however, and her motion for denial a short time later was seconded by Downey, who offered some final sentiments.

"I think I'm willing to take that risk," said Downey, referring to the possibility the U.S. 84 project may extend into next year while adding he feels the plant "probably should have been considered as a conditional use from the start."

In other business the board:

- scheduled a work session regarding county land use regulations and limited impact use permits for 7 p.m., June 16

- tabled consideration of adoption of a county employee salary survey and corresponding pay plan recommended by Lee & Burgess Associates

- approved the appointment of Michael C. Branch to the county use tax task force

- approved a reduction in landfill dumping fees from $6 to $4 per cubic yard at the request of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District in exchange for +/- 2,500 yards of biosolid fill material

- scheduled a work session regarding the language and adoption of a proposed code of ethics resolution for 1:30 p.m., June 23

- granted final approval of the Pagosa Area Trails Project while choosing to retain a 5-percent portion of the money due the contractor until such time the seeding and mulching phases of the project are completed.

 

County noise ordinance heads back to drawing board

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County board of commissioners postponed a decision to adopt a countywide noise ordinance Tuesday night, choosing instead to send the draft back to the drawing board for minor revisions.

The board's decision to table any action on the ordinance followed a 7 p.m. public hearing in the courthouse meeting room.

During the hearing, which garnered comment from roughly a dozen members of the public, several gray areas within the ordinance were brought to light.

The most notable of those "discrepancies" concerns a statutory distinction between the maximum permissible noise levels for yard equipment (chain saws, lawn mowers, etc.) and off-highway vehicles.

In short, section five of the ordinance states the maximum noise level for residential property is 55 decibels from "7 a.m. to the next 7 p.m." and 50 decibels from "7 p.m. to the next 7 a.m."

However, "It shall not be considered a noise disturbance if a person uses lawn mowers or other commonly accepted yard equipment ... which exceed the maximum noise levels set forth above ... limited to no more than one consecutive hour during the hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m."

That language served as the focus of attention for the majority of the hearing as several in attendance voiced concerns that it conflicts with section eight in the ordinance, which outlines the maximum sound levels for off-highway vehicles.

It reads that it is prohibited to operate such vehicles "in such a manner that the sound level emitted" exceeds 82 decibels where there exists a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, and 86 decibels in areas having a speed limit of more than 35 mph but less than 55 mph.

Most who offered comment on those parameters felt the gap between the maximums for yard equipment and off-highway vehicles should be reduced.

"If those noise limits (for yard equipment) are considered annoying, why not apply the same to off-road vehicles?" asked Karen Aspin.

"I'm picturing that moto-cross track in Aspen Springs where they get going 35 or 45 miles per hour," continued Aspin, questioning whether or not the county has the authority to limit such activities.

Mary Weiss, county attorney, explained such limitations are not possible under the county's current land use regulations.

"If we had zoning, perhaps we could do that," replied Weiss, indicating that until zoning is a reality, for the most part the county must adhere to existing statutory guidelines.

Weiss added that the state's rationale for setting higher permissible noise levels for off-highway vehicles is more than likely related to their "inherently louder" nature.

Bill Steele, county administrator, supported that notion.

"It appears as though that is exactly the case," said Steele, explaining his check of industry standards seemed to indicate that current regulations take into account how the vehicles sound "right off the showroom floor."

In comparison to some other states, said Steele, which set such levels as high as 106 decibels, "These numbers might be relatively reasonable."

Some on hand argued that the ordinance should be adopted "as is." Then, said Fred Ebeling, changes could be made as necessary.

"Zoning could take care of it," added Ebeling, "But it's impossible to draft regulations covering everything that comes down the pipe."

Other options mentioned included the notion of setting time limits for "dirt bike" activities or restricting them to a common area designed for such.

Near hearing's end the board acknowledged the document needs some additional brainstorming before being considered for adoption.

"We'll review this and see if we can come up with something that's closer to what you want," Alden Ecker, board chairman, told the crowd after roughly an hour and a half of commentary.

"I don't think we're going to get this resolved at this meeting," he said, " because I'm fixing to call this meeting to a close real quick." Ecker indicated a workshop aimed at fine tuning the ordinance will be scheduled at the board's June 17 meeting, probably for a date in mid-July.

"We've got our plate completely full right now," concluded Ecker.

 

Guilty plea entered in dog attack case

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

One of two people charged with ownership of a dangerous dog in the case of the attack on 9-year-old Garrett Carothers two days before Christmas has pleaded guilty to reduced charges.

Sandra Schultz, mother of David Martinez, who owned the dogs, pleaded guilty May 29 to one count of ownership of a dangerous dog causing bodily injury, a Class 1 misdemeanor. She was originally charged with four counts of ownership of a dangerous dog.

Sentencing in the case is set for July 24 at 1:30 p.m. in Archuleta County Court.

A Class 1 misdemeanor carries a possible sentence of between three and 18 months jail, a $500-$1,500 fine, or both.

Martinez is scheduled for a jury trial July 28 in connection with the incident. A pretrial readiness hearing is scheduled June 16.

Carothers was attacked by two dogs Dec. 23 while standing on a neighbor's porch in the Vista Subdivision. The dogs apparently dragged him into the street and continued to bite him until spotted by two men driving in the area.

By the time the attack was over, Carothers had suffered bites over most of his body and severe lacerations to his head, ear and face.

One of the two dogs suspected of the attack, a Pit Bull, was shot the day of the attack as it lunged at a sheriff's deputy.

The other dog, a retriever-Rottweiler mix, was captured and kept under quarantine. It has since been euthanized, with Martinez's consent.

A civil case is also pending.

 

Things to know about childhood asthma as spring pollens appear

With spring in the air it is a good time to focus on asthma and ways life can be made easier for those with the illness, particularly children.

Asthma affects more than 15 million people in the United States, leading to nearly half a million hospital stays each year.

Now at epidemic proportions, of most concern is the growing number of children with asthma.

Since 1980, the largest increase in asthma cases has been in children under the age of five. In fact, one third of all pediatric emergency room visits are the result of asthma attacks.

"I have seen a steady rise in asthma cases among children since I started working in the schools," said Yvonne Yousey, a pediatric nurse practitioner with University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Nursing.

Yousey provides primary health care services to school-based health centers in association with The Children's Hospital in Denver.

"We don't know exactly why there is a continued rise in asthma cases among children, but we know that through proper treatment and management, the illness can be controlled with little to no effect on a child's lifestyle," she said.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that can be life threatening. It causes breathing problems that are called asthma attacks or episodes. Symptoms include coughing during exercise or while resting after exercise, having shortness of breath, a wheezing sound when breathing, or a feeling of tightness in the chest.

Any one of these symptoms alone or in combination may indicate asthma. These symptoms are clues of the onset of an attack.

Typically, asthma symptoms are triggered by something that irritates the lungs. These triggers include viruses, allergies, gases and particles in the air, exercise and weather conditions. Identifying the trigger of an asthma attack may be difficult, but it is important in controlling the illness and resuming a normal lifestyle.

"There are easy steps that can be taken to control asthma," said Yousey. "People shouldn't be afraid of using recommended medications. Not only do they control the illness, they prevent future, more serious lung problems."

With children, the important thing is to keep them active and healthy said Yousey. With proper management, children with asthma can lead happy, normal lives.

For more information call the Colorado Association for School-Based Health Care at (303) 399-6380 or visit casbhc.org.

 

Region's lynx kitten total now at eight

Four more lynx kittens have been found with their mother by a Colorado Division of Wildlife tracking crew at a remote, high-elevation den in southwestern Colorado, bringing the total number of lynx kittens to eight this spring.

Three lynx have now given birth within the core area of southwestern Colorado: a British Columbia female released in 2000 was found with two kittens May 21 and a second female from British Columbia was found with two kittens May 26.

"We found the lynx Saturday at about 11,000 feet in a den under a very large downed log that sheltered the kittens from rain and snow," said Tanya Shenk, the division's lead lynx researcher. They were only a few days old and appeared to be in good health when briefly examined by Shenk.

For good measure, Shenk also noted two snowshoe hares - the lynx favorite prey - as she and the crew approached the den.

The mother, a Yukon lynx released in 2000, apparently mated with a Yukon male from the 2000 release based on radio signals that allow the division to track their movements. The same pair may have bred last year based on radio tracking, but no young were found. This time, three males and one female kitten are the result.

The division has released 129 lynx, 41 in 1999, 55 in 2000 and 33 this spring. The division hopes to release another 50 lynx in 2004 and 50 more in 2005. Fifteen lynx will then be released in both 2006 and 2007.

Shenk's crew is currently tracking 63 lynx. Another 45 are confirmed dead with human-caused mortality from gunshots and vehicle collisions the biggest cause of death. The status of the rest is unknown, though at least two have slipped their radio collars and the batteries have run down on the collars of others.

The first pair of lynx kittens found two weeks ago was in a den beneath the trunk of an Englemann spruce on a steep mountainside at 10,600. Both the mother from British Columbia and the father from Yukon Territory were released April 2, 2000.

Snowshoe hares, the primary diet of lynx in winter, are common in the areas where the lynx were found.

Division biologists hope there will be more births in 2003. This spring, radio signals from collars indicated that nine pairs of lynx were together during breeding season, offering hope that more mothers may be about to give birth.

"For some of the lynx, all of the factors necessary for successful reproduction have come together," Shenk said. She said the factors include having a female and male in the same area for one to two years and having sufficient prey so they're in good condition.

"What we have learned is that for all these factors to come to fruition takes a number of years," Shenk explained. But she pointed out that based on monitoring information the division has collected, not all females have established stable territories while others are have chosen areas where there are no males.

"That's why augmentation (bringing in more lynx) is necessary to increase densities so that all the females have the opportunity to breed," she said.

The lynx program has been paid for primarily with Colorado Lottery money through the voter-approved Great Outdoors Colorado program and the division's nongame and endangered species checkoff on the Colorado income tax form.

But additional funding is necessary to keep the program operating and the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation is working to raise money to support reintroduction. To learn more about helping lynx recovery in Colorado, call the Heritage Foundation at (303) 291-7238.

 

Self-defense for women course set

A women's self-defense course will be offered July 11 and 12 in the south conference room of the community center.

Officer Chuck Allen of the Pagosa Springs Police Department will conduct the sessions designed to help women feel more sure of themselves in threatening situations.

Classes will be 6-9 p.m. the first day and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. the second. Fee is $5 if the participant can afford it, but can be waived for the indigent.

Allen said the minimum age for the class will be 14 and said mother-daughter combinations are welcome.

He said there have been several requests for a summer session of the class and these were the most convenient dates.

In the fall, he said, the program will be incorporated into physical education classes for girls at Pagosa Springs High School.

 

 

Letters

 

Health reality

Dear Editor:

In response to the three questions posed by director Tillerson in her May 29 letter:

The short response:

1. No

2. Yes

3. No

The longer response:

Pagosans have historically held unrealistic expectations of the local health care "system."

Newcomers and old-timers alike need to be educated and re-educated to the realities of Pagosa's system given the current funding model.

I think Pagosa's medical services have historically exceeded what one should expect for a community of this size.

Since 1976, I and my wife, Sue, have been volunteers, employees, and participants in Pagosa's medical community.

I was one of the first group of volunteer EMTs, and director of public safety for the Pagosa Lakes community. Sue was clinic R.N. for the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Clinic, and in the early '80s the Archuleta County Public Health Nurse. We lobbied for the creation of the current statutory district.

Our children were born in Durango because inpatient OB services were not available in Pagosa Springs.

We accepted the risks of this reality when we chose to nest here. We did not blame the medical community, county officials, or Dr. Mary Fisher directors for any perceived inadequacies. We did not believe the system was inadequate. Our expectations were based on reality - something Archuleta County medical service consumers need to understand, soon.

Our second child was born prematurely in 1979, and subsequently died at Children's Hospital in Denver after being flown there from Durango. Had we lived near Children's Hospital (or the Mayo Clinic), her chances of survival would have dramatically increased.

Bottom line: If I am accustomed to, and require the services offered by the Mayo Clinic, I should consider looking for real estate in Rochester, Scottsdale or Jacksonville - not Pagosa Springs.

Health care in Pagosa is available via private enterprise and public funding. The common denominator is economic viability. As a community, we need to ask ourselves: What can we reasonably expect for our dollars, and/or how many additional dollars are we willing to spend to raise the bar? We can babble, drone, criticize, throw down gauntlets, and take sides over silly, egotistical personality issues, but until the above questions are answered it is all a ludicrous exercise in immature muscle flexing.

I am interested in efficiency within the current economic mode. Dreams, hopes, wishes and desires are important, but absent educating the community as to the attendant costs for different options, they are merely flights of fantasy.

I encourage the board and new committee of volunteers and professionals to be brutally honest and stop pandering to the whiny nonsense of those who prefer to live in Fantasyland. I'm sure there are those who'd be unhappy living there as well.

Andrew (Andy) Donlon

P.S. For the record, and no doubt against the grain of my former emergency medical peers, I support Dee Jackson for what she represents. I've never met her, but have discounted the street rumors to date.

Tennis ignored

Dear Editor:

I spoke with someone at the "city" of Pagosa Springs the other day about the 16-acre sports complex to be built next to the high school. He said the completed facility is still three to four years away.

Specifically, I asked why, with 16 acres available, no tennis courts were planned, but a skateboard facility was. I was told it wasn't in the budget, and their survey from 1999 indicated that no tennis courts were wanted or needed.

My concern is that everyone, including kids who want to learn, should have access to this great sport on public courts, of some sort for free.

Yes, they tell us to go play on the Fairfield courts, but those courts have just been resurfaced and the powers that be there decided to pass the cost along to the users: it now costs $15 per person per hour and a half for nonmembers to play there - if sponsored by a member. If you'd rather be a member the annual membership cost is $145 per person.

That's the only game in town for tennis, folks, and there is nothing else on the horizon. Many towns our size have a least one tennis court. Durango, not a whole lot larger, has at least four different places to go that have courts for free.

So, the town is using a survey that's four years old, and nothing will be will be ready for use for four years or so ... gee, I wonder if the composition of the community or their opinions about an issue of this sort might not vary over eight years?

I'm sure demographics don't indicate a large skateboarding faction in this town - and it tends to be a 'fad' kind of sport, falling in and out of favor over periods of many years. In other words, by the time the skateboard facility is built, it might not get much use, despite being right next to the high school.

If nothing else, having no public tennis courts is simply backward.

Why not join other forward-thinking towns of our size and put one in? I simply cannot believe that with 16 acres to work with there is no space for at least one court without even altering the rest of the plan much - and still keeping the skateboarding, if so desired.

Shawn Lacey

Will miss friend

Dear Editor:

Pagosa Springs Special Olympics will miss the friend it had in John Schoenborn.

It was John and his wife Jenny who are responsible for bringing the Special Olympics Program to Pagosa Springs seven or eight years ago. Even though they moved on to other adventures, John and Jenny never forgot the athletes or the volunteers.

It was always a pleasure to have them volunteer, as time permitted, or to speak with them as new and exciting opportunities unfolded for the program to expand. John's gentle but strong smile was always an inspiration.

So long, dear friend; may you rest in peace.

Kathy Pokorney

Local coordinator

In memory

Dear Editor:

Over 70 wonderful folks from Pagosa had signed up to walk on the Relay for Life "Take Courage, Friend" team for John Schoenborn.

With his passing, the participation of the team has been cancelled.

However, folks can participate in John's memory by lighting a luminaria, walking on another team or sponsoring another walker.

Also, in John's honor, donations may be sent to either the John Schoenborn Memorial Program Fund, c/o Carol Joliff, treasurer, The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 171 Glen Eaton Drive; or the Pagosa Springs Special Olympics, c/o Kathy Pokorney, PO Box 2112, Pagosa Springs, 81147.

Jenny Schoenborn

Health opportunity

Dear Editor:

With the influx of young families moving into our area over the past few years, there is a real need to expand our health care services to include these young families and middle-aged folks. Many of them travel to Durango for their health care.

The Upper San Juan Health Service District has a unique opportunity to meet these needs locally as the current clinic staff moves into private practice. The Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center facility was constructed with the intent to provide up-to-date routine health care to all ages, both local and tourists, with physician emergency care access through the adjoining urgent care area.

Expanding health care services could include:

1. Recruiting a family practice physician with up-to-date training in the health care needs specific to infants and children, adolescents, and women as well as general medicine.

2. Recruiting a full time family practice physician with up-to-date training in emergency management to serve as physician advisor to EMS and staff the Urgent Care Center on weekends.

3. An Urgent Care Center open weekends to both locals and tourists, providing walk-in emergency care and ambulance services with physician availability after hours.

4. Lab availability 24/7 for routine tests with referrals to Mercy Same Day Care Center for more comprehensive studies when indicated.

5. Continuing to provide clinic space for visiting specialists from Durango.

It has been suggested to turn the Mary Fisher Center into a diagnostic center; however, it has been noted that this would be something in the future as the current population could not support this expense. Mercy Hospital has a well-equipped diagnostic center with experienced technicians. We are fortunate to have them so close and soon they will be even closer once the new hospital is constructed.

We need to hear from you, our public, if you believe these unmet needs are important to you, your family, and your guests. Please e-mail the Citizens Advisory Committee at pshealth@pagosa.net. We need your input.

Patty Tillerson

Board Liason to

Citizens Advisory Committee

 

Community News

Senior News

 

Focus on fire, night driving safety and men's health

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Aging and Adult Services Division is promoting healthy lifestyles by presenting a health issue each month.

For the month of June, we would like to focus on fire safety and night driving safety for seniors; and the week of June 9-15 is National Men's Health Week.

The purpose of men's health week is to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among boys and men. More information is available by logging on to the Web site at www.menshealthweek.org or www.nsc.org.

On June 6, Phyllis Decker will tell us about all the new programs the Interpretive Alliance has this summer. Last year they had a lot of classes to choose from, so this year should be just as exciting. Come and find out what's going on and then take your family for an outing. Phyllis will speak in the lounge after lunch.

Art Jacobs will give us an overview June 10 of legal services available to our seniors. Arthur is an attorney from Durango. His presentation will be at 12:30 p.m. in the lounge.

Our first line-dancing class will start at 1 p.m. June 11. Make note of the date, as there was a small error in the senior newsletter. We are excited about having a professional instructor teaching us the moves. Deb Aspen also teaches at the Vista Clubhouse, but she really likes working with seniors and promises us a lot of fun.

We will have the class in the dining room (Terra Cotta Room) so while we encourage you to dress in your best western costume,we ask you to dance in your socks so we don't scratch up the floor. This class is free to seniors, so bring your friends along to laugh and have fun. We even have a few people who won't dance but want to watch, so whatever your fitness level, come join us.

We are looking for a Medicare counselor for the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program. Training is provided. Call Musetta at the senior center for more information.

We will be having our picnics in the park starting June 20. We meet in Town Park by the arts council building once a month for a meal at noon.

And, what a meal! Dawnie and the staff always have lots of great food, but it seems to taste even better outside.

We will have horseshoes available for throwing and on hot days, we have even been known to get out our squirt guns for some wet fun. Bring your hat and your appetite to the park June 20.

Don't forget Creede Repertory Theatre June 21. The production is "A Tuna Christmas." Sign up ends Friday.

Visitors and guests

We were happy to see Lupe Henrichsen again at lunch last week. We also got to see Ralph Bartlett, Hanni Cohen, George Dudley, Bill Korsgren and Betty Hayes. Vernon and Jimmye Day are finally back for the summer, as well. Kurt Killion also brought his family with him this week - Shirley and Michelle, and sons Wes and Cliff.

We are always happy to see Kurt ... under supervision.

We met Bill and Vera Bang for the first time Friday, and at the same time we got to feed everyone who came to the basketmaking class at the community center.

No matter what you are up to, a meal at the senior center can be fast and convenient. Come in at noon Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and see your friends.

Upcoming events

June 6 - 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 a.m. Medicare counseling; 11 a.m. veterans' benefits review with Andy Fautheree; 12:30 p.m. talk on the Interpretive Alliance with Phyllis Decker; last day to sign up for Creede Repertory Theatre trip.

June 7 - 8 a.m.-noon, white water rafting trip.

June 9 - 1 p.m. bridge for fun.

June 10 - 9:30 a.m., yoga; 10:30 a.m., advanced computer class; 12:30 p.m., overview of legal services with Art Jacobs.

June 11 -  10:30 a.m. beginning computer class; 1 p.m. line dancing class.

June 12 - 8 a.m. Durango trip

Weekly menu

June 6 - baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, cole slaw with pineapple, muffin and plums.

June 9 - Spanish meatballs, parsley potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrot cake and roll.

June 10 - fish burger, tossed salad and peach cobbler.

June 11 - Salisbury steak, boiled potatoes, green beans, onion roll and fruit cup.

Veterans Corner

VA benefit claims up in county\

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

The Archuleta County Veterans Service Office has seen a substantial growth in VA benefits to veterans in this area, that directly affect the economy of the county.

VA compensation and pension claims directly affect not only the well being of the veteran, but substantially affects the economy of Archuleta County.

Benefits to veterans in Archuleta County increased by 11 percent in 2002, over the year 2001 to a total of $1,065,000. Compensation and pension money paid to veterans and/or surviving spouses and dependents was up 8.6 percent in the same period, for a total of $990,000.

Official VA records indicate 1,273 veterans in Archuleta County were receiving some sort of VA benefit in 2002. This is a 36-percent increase over the previous year total of 817.

The figures from 2000 to 2002 show a very large increase in veterans in Archuleta County receiving benefits. Veterans receiving compensation or pension money in that two-year span jumped 25 percent. Other comparisons of veteran population and other benefits paid to veterans during the two year period were not available for direct comparison in the VA official reports.

Impact on county

Why does this impact Archuleta County so significantly? Consider that this is direct "new" money coming from federal sources outside of the state and county - money paid directly to veterans in our community. And, those payments are continuous, in most cases for the life of the veteran or the dependent. It isn't a one-time payment; it goes on year after year.

This is very important considering the state is reducing some budget considerations toward veteran services. The new money and benefits coming into the county for veterans is from federal VA sources, not affected by state budget concerns.

The veteran, of course, needs goods and services in Archuleta County. The money the veteran receives is circulated in the community, and the recipients pay taxes on the sales of those goods and services. Everyone in the community benefits directly or indirectly from growth in veterans benefit payments.

Wise investment

It becomes very evident it is a wise investment for the county to provide good veteran services. The veteran population of Archuleta County is growing rapidly as more and more retirees move to our beautiful area. Many of them are veterans.

The more we invest in helping our veterans obtain VA benefits, the more it contributes to the economy of the county. It might be said providing veteran services actually pays for the cost of the services, and produces a substantial profit in revenue.

Pride in services

Archuleta County can pride itself in being a leader among Colorado counties, especially rural counties, in having the vision to provide a high level of veterans services. It has built this service to our veterans through a history of strong support of the county Veterans Service Office by past and current county government officials.

I would like to urge veterans and citizens of the community to express your appreciation to our county officials for continued support of veterans services next time you have the opportunity. It pays big dividends for all of us, right in our pocketbooks.

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@archuletacounty.org. The office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

 

Chamber News

Newcomers add spice to 'Nunsense' cast

Hallelujah! My favorite wacky nuns are returning this month, and I couldn't be more excited to catch up with their current antics.

What in the world (or heavens) do you think Sisters Mary Regina, Mary Amnesia and Mary Hubert have been up to since we last laughed ourselves silly watching them in "Nunsense?"

Newcomers Candy Flaming, Sister Robert Anne, and Amber Farnham, Sister Mary Leo, join the considerable talents of Mary McKeehan, Joan Hageman and Kathy Isberg, all of whom are reprising their roles, in "Nunsense II, The Second Coming."

The Little Sisters of the Hoboken Convent are sure to make us howl, hoot and holler again with their singing, dancing and general "nunsense nonsense" that made the first production in 1999 such a rip-roarin' success.

Apparently, the Sisters are currently involved in a musical production and a party to thank all those whose contributions enabled the nuns to dispose of frozen corpses who were victims of a mysterious food-poisoning incident. There's nothing the least bit funny or ludicrous about this premise, of course.

"Nunsense II, The Second Coming" is presented by the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters with Michael DeWinter directing, Lisa Hartley as musical director and Dale Morris handling the choreography. Shows will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium on June 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 with a 3 p.m. matinee June 22.

Reserved seating tickets may be purchased at The Plaid Pony and at Moonlight Books. Adult tickets are $12, seniors are $10, and children and students are $6. Please call 731-5262 for more information. Plan on attending two or three performances because once simply won't be enough.

Hanging Baskets

It's that time of year, folks, when beautiful hanging flower baskets are offered through the Chamber with a guarantee of delivery by a real, live board director or staff person. How lucky can you get?

The letters go out to the membership today with the hope that we can deliver around the middle of the month. Historically, we wait until the spring winds calm somewhat so the plants will thrive instead of shrivel up and blow away.

We have extra order forms here at the Visitor Center, so feel free to pick one up to order yours today. The baskets are $22 each (which includes delivery, by the way) and we order a limited number so don't delay.

Kendall, at Circle T/ Ace Hardware, assures us these 12-inch baskets will be filled with beautiful, weather and drought-resistant flowers to last all summer long with just a minimum of TLC. If you have questions, just give a call to 264-2360 for info about the baskets.

Thank you

We want to thank Lillian Steele, Ron and Sheila Hunkin and Margaret Wilson for their "above and beyond" assistance helping us collate our quarterly newsletter, The Chamber Communiqué. I believe we had a record number of inserts, so this was an especially daunting task this time, and we are most grateful for the helping hands.

We're always thankful for our awesome board directors, but recently most especially for their help with our May SunDowner.

Doug is the "SunDowner Guy" every month and pretty much organizes, schleps and single-handedly runs the show for these events. Doug was on vacation during last month's party, and the directors (and spouses) stepped up to the plate and got Morna and I through all the lifting, schlepping, pouring, anon, anon. Once again we are reminded how fortunate we are to have such a wonderful, fun, supportive board of directors. You all did real, real well when you elected them -thank you.

Keyah Grande tour

It's still possible for you to attend the Keyah Grande tour even though you will have to pay $30 the day of the event, you silly person, because you didn't buy them before June 4. It would be worth far more than that to me to attend, but alas, you must be my representative.

United Way of Archuleta County is pleased to offer the Wine and Cheese Tour of Keyah Grande Saturday, 3-6 p.m. You will be able to purchase the tickets at Keyah Grande as you enter the ranch. If you have questions, you can call Kathi DeClark at (970) 946-2057.

Music in the Mountains

The tickets for Music in the Mountains are diminishing from one day to the next, so please stop by and pick up what you need. You don't want to be one of those folks from last year who were crying in their beer about missing out on these incredible events. I hope to see all of you there, and with luck, we'll make these annual events here in Pagosa.

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

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

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

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

July 4 Parade

Heads up. The theme for this year's fabulous Rotary July 4 Parade has been announced so you can start planning your float. "Our American Heroes" is what our Rotarians have designated as this year's theme so go for it and come up with the best float you can.

While we're on the subject, the Chamber will again sponsor the famous Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival in both parks July 4, 5, and 6 and the concert at Pagosa Lodge on the night of the Fourth. The Pagosa Hot Strings will be our headliners again with the wonderful addition of the Community Choir gracing us with lots of patriotic music both before and after the Strings' performance.

We're also planning to have the games and contests out at the Lodge beginning in the late afternoon on that day, so look for all the details coming up soon on July 4 in Pagosa Springs. It is truly one of our premier holidays with endless activities and fun stuff for every member of the family.

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. 1,2 and 3.

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

Volunteers under 18 years of age require parental consent and kids 10-13 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

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

Membership

Before I get on with the always pleasant task of introducing the new and renewed members, allow me to announce the opening of one of our brand-new members welcomed in the column last week.

You can now drop by the drive-through at Poultry in Motion and sample some of the lovely broasted chicken, broasted potatoes, cole slaw, rolls, beans, salsa and ranch dressing for dipping. Owner Shari St. Michaels encourages you to call ahead with your order at 731-8753 so you can just pick up your order and be on your way very quickly. Poultry in Motion is at 358 East U.S.160, former location of The Spanish Inn. We wish Shari the best of luck with her excellent new adventure.

I couldn't be more pleased to announce that we have more new members this week than renewals. We are always so delighted to welcome the newcomers to our business community and warmly thank our renewals for their loyal and continued support.

We're delighted to welcome new member Robert Baxley with The Greenhouse Restaurant and Bar located at 505 Piedra Road. The Greenhouse actually had been a member for many years and just took a little hiatus, but to our total delight is back with us again. Since 1985, The Greenhouse has offered fine dining in Pagosa Springs featuring innovative, contemporary cuisine, pub fare and a generous, fully stocked bar in a fabulous location with gorgeous views. If you have any questions for the folks at The Greenhouse, please give them a call at 731-2021. We are grateful to Kathryn Heilhecker (again!) for recruiting Robert and will gladly reward her with a free SunDowner.

Jack and Cheryl Barlow join us next with Whiskey Jack's working out of home offices at 1087 Simmons. At Whiskey Jack's you will find saddles and antique horse gear as well as related items. You will also find the Pagosa Pete Coloring Book and "Enchantment," fairy tale hand-painted children's furniture. To learn more about Whiskey Jack's and their inventory, please give the Barlows a call at 731-5848.

It's especially gratifying to welcome our next new member, Kathryn Nelson, who joins us with Curves in Taos, N.M. Kathryn is a longtime friend who was with our local Curves until a few months ago when she decided upon a new adventure and opened the Taos business. She is joining our chamber because she is ever so impressed with all the benefits we offer at a significantly lower rate. Besides, in her words, "I love you guys." So, women's fitness is still her game in Taos, and she can be reached locally at 731-3499.

Ron Geers joins us next with Wolf Creek Communications with offices in his home at 585 Handicap. Wolf Creek Communications offers sales, service, and installation of telephone systems, voice mail, computer networking and home theatre. He would be happy to answer any and all questions at 731-5051. Welcome to the neighborhood, Ron.

Cheryl Grindle joins us next with Blue Rose of Colorado, LLC, at 4420 U.S. 160 West. These folks plan to create a beautiful, peaceful outdoor market environment for your enjoyment as well as a fun shopping experience. Your shopping might be for veggies, fruit, gourmet coffee or even for information about natural healing alternatives provided by trained individuals interested in the enhancement of your personal health and well being. Growers and potential vendors are encouraged to contact Cheryl for more information. They are now in the process of permits and paperwork, but ask that you stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, please call Cheryl at 731-1044 for more about Blue Rose of Colorado.

We're happy to welcome new owner, Duane Graham, who brings us the Diamond Hitch Stables at 2404 Piedra Road formerly owned by Matt Poma. Duane proudly offers horseback trail rides, pony rides for the little ones as well as horse boarding services. Trail rides are taken daily by permit on San Juan National Forest Lands, and services at the Diamond Hitch Stables are offered to you seven days a week. Please give Duane a call at 731-7433 for more information.

Next, Jan Beasley brings us Virtual Foundations with offices in her home at 185 Pines Club Place. Jan provides small business owners and entrepreneurs with off-site administrative assistance and office management enabling clients to focus time and energy on what they do best. For more information on how Jan can help you with any management needs, please give her a call at 731-0108.

Our renewals this week include Judy C. David with Home Reflections, in South Fork; Connie Giffin with Mountain Classic Mortgages; Melinda Baum with Colorado Pines; Marcie Lewis with CPR Title; Lisa Flaugh with Holy Smokes Stoves and Fireplaces; and Pagosa Central Management. Thank you all for your support.

Library News

Contests, prizes set for summer reading program

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

Next Monday is the first day of our six-week "Chews to Read" summer reading program for readers of all ages.

Come in anytime to sign up.

Parents may read library books to children. Adults may enter too.

Keep cool and check out books for everyone in the family.

Barb Draper has done a marvelous job of planning activities for this summer. Story time will be each Tuesday 10-11 a.m. Friday mornings will have special programs from 10- 11 a.m.

Barb has contests and prizes all lined up for each week. Readers must sign a contract to read at least six books at their age or grade level or above, (that goes for grownups too).

It has been proven that continued reading and writing during summer recess keeps up the vital learning skills. Our program will help parents provide fun ways to maintain the skills.

Friends book sale

This year the sale will be later in the summer than in the past. The dates are Aug. 15-16.

The Friends annual meeting and private sale will be held Aug. 15. The public sale is Aug. 16.

Mark your calendars for this fun event.

Friends dues are $5 for an individual, or $10 for a family. Join the Friends and you're invited to the Friday meeting featuring food and drink and first chance at the many books.

New books

"Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home," by Rupert Sheldrake is a great book that gives new information about the animal behavior that defies scientific understanding.

We've all heard stories about the animals that travel long distances to get back home. If you have stories about unusual animal happenings, this book invites you to share your stories and even do research.

The book covers birds and fish as well as domestic animals. We're learning more everyday about the connections between man and animal. Sheldrake is a British scientist with excellent credentials.

"The October Horse," by Colleen McCullough is the last in a six-book series.

Ms. McCullough is an Australian neurophysiologist who once worked as a researcher and teacher at Yale Medical School. Her writing career really took off with "The Thorn Birds."

McCullough has authored 10 other novels and also writes lyrics for musical theater. She now lives on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific. This book covers the famous love affair of Caesar and Cleopatra and the establishment of Rome.

Severe euphemisms

A librarian offered some new variations produced by "over-sensitivity" and what the euphemisms really mean.

"Cerebrally challenged" (stupid). "Chronologically gifted" (old), and "vertically inconvenienced" (tall). I guess I must be "horizontally challenged" (fat).

Donations

We thank Cindy and Ron Gustafson for a donation to the building fund in memory of Mary Muirhead. Thanks for materials from Dick and Ann Van Fossen, Carol Hakala, Lois Portenier, Albert DeWitte, Sandy Allen, Pauline Castillo, Barbara Carlos, Brenda Rottman, San Juan Conservation District, Carole and Bob Howard.

 

Births

 

Chad and Dana Thompson of Brighton, Mich., announce the birth of their daughter, Sophia Grace, on Nov. 3, 2002, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Also welcoming her birth were siblings Michael, 12, and Madison, 2 1/2. Grandparents are Tom and Pam Schoemig of Pagosa Springs, Michael and Pamela Sencich of Pinckney, Mich., and John Thompson of Denton, Texas. Great-grandparents are Ruby Jones of Dallas and Edith Vann of Canton, Mich.

 

 

Business News

 

Dr. Marianne Calvanese, neuropathic physician and Edward Norman, doctor of oriental medicine and licensed acupuncturist, offer affordable and complete natural health care.

Together the two have 30 years of combined experience in Homeopathy, acupuncture, herbs and cutting-edge nutrition.

Appointments can be made by calling 560-2100.

 

 

 Features

Commission on change

Group of nine works to write charter for town government

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Every other Thursday, a group of nine - seven men and two women - are meeting to discuss the future of local government.

They are the Town of Pagosa Springs Charter Commission and they are working to write a charter for the community: a document that would organize local government under home rule - an alternative form of government organization available under the Colorado State Constitution.

According to the Colorado Municipal League Home Rule Handbook, the charter "outlines the organizational structure of the municipality, establishes the basic procedures to be followed when the governing body acts and imposes restrictions on the powers of the municipality."

It can include provisions for: form of government, qualifications of elected officials, size of governing council, terms of office, filling of vacancies, powers of the council, mayor and city manager, election procedures, administrative organization, boards and commissions, ordinances and resolutions, personnel, legal and judicial departments, budget control and financing, municipal borrowing and eminent domain.

The commission has just 120 days to pull it all together. After that, it must present what it has produced to the town board and to the public for a vote. If the charter passes scrutiny by the residents of the town, it becomes the "constitution," of sorts, for the town. If it fails in the eyes of voters, Pagosa remains a statutory municipality, governed by state statute in every area of local government.

But a vote is a few months away. September at least.

For now, the group of nine is working two or three hours at a time to put together a document that works for the present and the future of Pagosa Springs.

It's been going well, said Julie Jessen, the town's administrative intern who's been providing staff support for the commission.

The group tackled council structure May 1; May 15 it was council procedure and elections, and May 29 commission members were scheduled to take a crack at recall, initiatives and ordinances. Recall will have to wait until at least June 12, but progress has been made.

"We get good discussion," commission co-chairman Darrel Cotton said. "It's not hard-nosed, just good discussion."

Jessen said the commission has worked completely through two articles - general provisions and the general structure of the board of trustees and town government.

"It's pretty much what we had before," Jessen said, "This just spells it out."

The group has discussed a few changes such as removing the term limits and creating voting districts - three districts, with two members of the board of trustees elected from each district. They are still debating how to elect representatives from the districts, she added.

The question is: Should only the people in a district elect the representative from that district or should all the residents of the town have the opportunity to vote on representatives from the various districts? Homework over the next week includes polling family and friends about their feelings on the issue.

"I've asked several people today," commission member Mike Moran said. He also calls and asks friends in other home rule communities how certain things work.

After all, the commission is not reinventing the wheel. Over 80 Colorado municipalities are currently governed by home rule charters that, according to proponents, allow more flexibility, more options and greater local control over local government.

Pagosa's commission is considering examples from six other home rule communities, including: Brighton, Basalt, New Castle, Carbondale, Monument and Rico.

To find something that might work for Pagosa Springs, Jessen said, commission members consider population and economic basis for each community. By evaluating the alternatives, they hope to come up with something that will fit Pagosa to a "T."

They have a lot of options.

According to guidelines provided to Pagosa's commission, home rule charters are required to have provisions outlining procedures in three areas: initiative, referendum and recall, continuing, amending or repealing existing ordinances and a prefatory synopsis.

The charter is restricted in its impact on franchises and from diminishing the tax rate established for state purposes by the general assembly or interfering with the collection of state taxes for state purposes.

Moran said the goal and the biggest challenge of the commission has been to keep the charter broad in nature. "We want to create something general in nature but forward-thinking enough to prepare for the future of the town," he said. "The tendency is to look at minutia."

Under the municipal league guidelines, broad, general charters work best in the long run. "One of the major advantages of home rule is that it frees the municipality from the often excessive or outdated restrictions found in state statutes. If the home rule charter is itself extremely detailed or restrictive, the municipality and its citizens may not obtain the benefits offered by home rule." Instead, those things should be addressed in the ordinances or resolution process.

Because it's all new, Cotton said, it's hard to know what to expect, and hard to know what the document will look like in the end. He remains optimistic.

"I think it will be a good option," he said.

The home rule commission's 120 days are up Aug. 6, but the goal is to present a completed document to the board of trustees at the regular meeting Aug. 5. The commission has just a handful of meetings and one public hearing to go and a good attitude to take with them.

"I think it will get a positive reaction from the community," Moran said. "It's a fun group, a very serious group but it hasn't been contentious at all. There are no personal agendas, everyone is very amiable."

Other members of the charter commission are Ross Aragon and Darrel Cotton, co-chairmen; Judith James, secretary; Tracy Bunning, Jerry Jackson, Marsha Preuit and Bill Whitbred.

 

Pagosa's Past

Post near 'boiling springs' would not give protection, searcher said

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Northern New Mexico was the jumping off point for exploration and settlement of the Four Corners area, especially Pagosa Country.

Settlers tended flocks and planted gardens in the Tierra Amarilla area as early as 1862, maybe earlier. Permanent settlement waited another 15 or so years before coming to Pagosa Springs.

By the time Joe Clarke built the first store and post office in Pagosa Springs during late 1877 or early 1878, sizable towns were flourishing at Lake City, Silverton, Ouray and Del Norte.

A number of pioneers were clearing land at Los Pinos, now the Bayfield area. Others were making home further down the San Juan River in the general vicinity of Aztec and Farmington.

But, earlier than any of those communities, in about 1862, homesteaders started a new life in a number of plazas along the upper Chama River in an area known as Los Tierra Amarillos.

Among those plazas were Los Ojos, Los Brazos, Ensenada and others. Chama didn't come along until the railroad came through in 1880. Another of the plazas was Las Nutritas, known today as Tierra Amarilla.

Tierra Amarilla remains the county seat of Rio Arriba County, a county which runs the length of the Chama River Valley to the other side of Espanola.

When miners first came into the San Juan Mountains during the early 1860s, especially on the southern side, the nearest place to buy groceries was Tierra Amarilla.

Regular supply routes developed between TA and the upper Animas Valley mining regions. A number of routes were used. One led through what was to become Pagosa Springs. Another crossed today's Jicarilla Apache reservation at Caracas. Still another followed Largo Canyon.

Fittingly, the first Army post in the San Juan region was built near Los Ojos in 1867. The following report by Bt. Lt. Col. E.H. Bergman was filed from Camp Plummer, New Mexico, March 15, 1867. The report was sent to Major General J.H. Carlton commanding the District of New Mexico from Santa Fe. Camp Plumber was located at today's Los Ojos down the road toward the fish hatchery.

Bergman had been instructed to find a place for a post on the San Juan. He started Jan. 30 with an escort of 23 men and Nepomureno Waldez as a guide over "frightfully rough country, deep snow, through dense forests, and without a road."

Bergman leaves us this description of his trek between T.A. and the Piedra River:

"Very little can be said in favor of that portion of the country commencing a little beyond Camp Plummer and running up to nearly where the reconnoitering trail strikes "Rio Piedra About 8 miles before the above mentioned river appears a beautiful phenomenon - a boiling spring. The rocky cavity of this spring in circumference, has an almost perfect funnel shape and measures nearly two hundred feet. Several soundings made, proved a depth of 41 feet. The temperature of the water is at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit and in unceasing agitation. Large bubbles rising from the bottom are violently drawn some inches above the surface of the water and cloudy vapors strongly impregnated with sulfur are rising in large quantities from the same."

Bergman wasn't much of a scientist - the bottom of the Great Pagosa Hot Springs remains to be found, but is well over 1,000 feet, and the water temperature is around 144 degrees Fahrenheit. Gas bubbles bouncing out of the water no longer occur.

"A post located on the River San Juan in the vicinity of the boiling springs," Bergman noted, "would not afford protection to the settlers on the rivers west of this stream. In the wintertime troops would hardly be able to move out of the fort."

Later, in 1878, the Army ignored Bergman's recommendation and constructed Fort Lewis at Pagosa Springs near the "boiling spring."

Bergman also concluded: "This part of New Mexico and Colorado territory is beyond doubt, the best portion of it, altho I viewed it in the most unfavorable light, and needs only an industrious population to the advantages nature so generously affords here. The population will soon flock to this region as soon as the fact is known that they shall have protection from the Indians. Men who were in 1860 and 1861 here in search of gold have expressed there desire to return to this country for the purpose of farming, mining, stock-raising and indeed many are already preparing to go, as soon as they hear troops will be sent to protect them."

 

Editorial

Game, set and match

Pagosa Country politics is a game with repeated volleys crossing

the net before points are scored, before any victory, however tem-

porary, can be predicted and secured. The game is often played amid controversy, with some measure of risk. Such is the case with the process leading to a decision Tuesday by county commissioners concerning operational details for an asphalt plant south of town near the San Juan River.

This match, (which may not be over), is a clear example of how government in a small community works, or doesn't - of how people express themselves and of the uncertain art of compromise. More important, it illuminates our lack of a consistent means for handling land use problems in the county.

The problem began with objections to a gravel pit operation at a site south of town. A proposal was then made to put an asphalt plant nearby for a limited period of time. Planning staff determined the request fit the limited use category, and an administrative decision was made to approve the operation through Oct. 1 without a public hearing process.

Residents with nearby properties flared - some with false accusations, stating there was pressure brought to bear on the planning staff - but others with reasonable concerns. Some exaggerated the situation with alarmist proposals of a Three Mile Island within earshot of town and chances for catastrophic pollution to air and water. The alarmists clouded the very real complaints any of us would have if we woke to hear, see and smell an industrial plant close by.

The other side of the situation: The operators of the plant intended to produce asphalt for the paving of U.S. 84 from town to the border, and to meet all requirements, including those monitored by the state department of health and environment.

The plant met standards. It was approved.

When the operators went to the planning commission last week to request an extension of operating hours, they again met with valid objections, and some inexcusably poor public behavior.

Their argument: Allow additional hours per day and the number of days the plant operates with attendant noise, smoke, potential hazard is kept to a minimum. Deny the hours, and possibly force the plant to move, create worse highway traffic and safety problems and, perhaps, prolong the life of the project and the need for the plant. Opponents continued to voice their concerns about potential problems, arguing about the nature of regulations.

The planning commission recommended the extension, agreeing with former county commissioner Gene Crabtree who urged that benefit to the greatest number of people - swift completion of the highway project - should guide the decision.

Tuesday, the commissioners voted 2-1 against the planning commission recommendation and refused the request for extended hours.

The game is over, but the match is undecided. Siding with opponents of the plant, the commissioners take the risk of delaying the paving enough to push the work into next year, keeping U.S. 84 hostage to the project, continuing all the problems, physical and economic, that implies.

Then again, maybe the compromise, greasing the squeaky wheel, will pay off.

That's the game.

The situation indicates we still have a greater problem to remedy. We lack comprehensive land use regulations to deal with growth, where defined populations in the county can determine what happens on the land in the zone around them.

For those residents of Holiday Acres who are concerned about the asphalt plant, for those residents in the river valley nearby, such regulations might have kept this game from ever occurring. It's time to use the frustration and lessons of the experience to stimulate prompt institution of comprehensive land use regulations throughout the county.

Only then will we have game, set and match.

Karl Isberg

 

Pacing Pagosa

The land of 2-vehicle families

By Richard Walter

You're sure there has to be a gazillion more cars on Pagosa Country roads now than when you arrived in Archuleta County.

Or, like many, you can remember the old, old days when purchase of a new automobile was front page news.

You see new roads being built, old roads being rebuilt, and traffic signals proliferating.

You've had to wait up to five minutes to make a left turn off westbound U.S . 160 at 6th, 7th or 8th streets and just knew the community must be overrun with tourists - and it's not even summer yet.

Right! On all counts.

But you'd be at least partially wrong to blame the tourists or those just passing through, though it would be logical conclusion.

Behind the whole traffic congestion spurt in the county is a huge increase in the number of licensed vehicles using the roads and registered in the county.

June Madrid, county clerk, is the keeper of auto registration statistics and her office is the one where license plates are issued for everything that rolls down our roadways.

Now, first you have to keep in mind that the last census showed this is a county with approximately 10,000 residents.

As of the last day of 2002, the county had 19,923 registered vehicles using the roadways. That's nearly two for every family in the county.

That means we're just like the rest of the country, two cars in every drive. Some may have more, some less.

And the total includes everything which must be licensed - 18-wheelers, gravel trucks, cement trucks, pickups, automobiles, travel trailers, mobile homes, personal trailers and even motorcycles.

Of course, licensing is a statistic always in flux. Each day finds new expirations and new registrations but computers have allowed Madrid's office to stay on top of the statistical nightmare that has created a great portion of the traffic problem we see.

The statistics do not take into account vehicles being used commercially in Archuleta County or those of people who have moved here and not transferred their license plates.

When it comes to trying to get out onto U.S. 160 from almost any side street in what we might call the county's urban area, it sometimes seems like all 20,000 vehicles are approaching at the same time - from one direction or the other.

The average per family might be skewed, too, by Census Bureau data. Most residents, including Madrid, aren't sold on the 10,000 population figure as being accurate. A more common assumption is closer to 15,000 if all heads were actually counted.

Number crunchers can have a field day trying now to figure out just how many of those 20,000 vehicles are on the roads in the county every day, how many more are added by the pass-through traffic and vacationing tourists.

Maybe the highway planners on the front range ought to look at the Internet picture from the camera atop the courthouse during our "rush" hours.

They might then realize more accurately how the rest of Colorado has grown.

 

 

Legacies

90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of June 6, 1913

Last Friday a dozen survivors of the grand army that soldiered in the many campaigns from Bull Run to Appomattox marched again to Pagosa's cemeteries in remembrance of sleeping comrades. Next year those who are left will again remember, but the straggling line will grow thinner with each recurring Memorial Day and soon, all too soon, the boys of '63, will live only in the memory of a grateful nation.

Archuleta County has the burden of heavy work to do. Regarding this Fred Catchpole says: "I don't know now just how we are going to get through, but we are going to build our part of the road." Among the heavy pieces of road work is one stretch of 700 feet in solid granite, where the road must be cut.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 8, 1928

The water cistern at the Yellowjacket ranger station is being enlarged this week.

Contractor J.W. McGee has completed the fine new sidewalk and bridge across McCabe Creek, opposite the San Juan Livery barn, for the town of Pagosa Springs.

M.J. Wicklem, who has the contract for building the new court house, wishes to announce to the public that he can furnish all kinds of building material, such as cement, plaster, all board, flooring, etc.

Notice is hereby given to all owners of dogs that dog tax is due and payable at the office of the Town Clerk and Recorder on the first day of June. Unless tax is paid on or before the 15th of June, all owners of dogs will be prosecuted as provided by ordinance.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 5, 1953

While stormy weather has threatened a few times the past week there has been no moisture. The temperatures have remained fairly high in the daytimes with some down-right warm days. The rivers are still high and roily, altho clearing somewhat. The wind has blown quite a bit and on Monday blew very hard.

The cold weather, high water and wind have all combined to make the fishing good in the streams. Very good catches are being reported in the higher beaver ponds and lakes.

The Town Board met on Monday night and hired a new marshal, bought a diesel engine to pump water and transacted their regular and routine business. The new marshal is Ray Murray.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 8, 1978

The high school rodeo last weekend was a success and over 200 contestants from all over the state were entered in the rodeo events. Sara Lee Shahan, who was chosen as Red Ryder Roundup queen Sunday morning suffered a broken leg in the grand entry for the rodeo that afternoon. This was the only serious injury reported from the event.

Town board members approved a water main extension, hired a building inspector, a town attorney, and transacted business of a wide and varied nature at the regular meeting of the board Monday night.

Wolf Creek Pass was closed for three nights and two days over the weekend so that dangerous rocks and trees could be removed from the highway.