August 28, 2003 
Front Page

Pagosa couple's son slain on Iraqi street

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Navy Lt. Kylan A. Jones-Huffman, a third generation military man, son of retired Col. James A. and Dagmar Huffman of Pagosa Springs has become the community's first casualty link in Iraq.

Lt. Jones-Huffman was shot to death Aug. 21 by an unidentified gunman in Al Hillah, 45 miles south of Baghdad becoming, at that time, the 65th American soldier to die since major combat was declared over on May 1.

Military authorities say the officer was on temporary duty with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. He was a passenger in a vehicle stalled in traffic when the gunman walked up and shot him before fleeing into a crowded market.

Jones-Huffman had reportedly left active duty in 2001 but was still involved in military affairs, teaching Greek and Nazi history at the U.S. Naval Academy and working with the Navy's investigative arm. It was unclear when he was called to join the expeditionary force which serves as the Marine command in Iraq.

"He was a naval officer, wrote poetry, studied martial arts, loved Kipling, had an insatiable curiosity, read everything he could get his hands on. His house looked like a library, and he's gone," his father told a California newspaper after being notified of his son's death.

Earlier in the week he was slain, Jones-Huffman posted a message to an online group saying he was headed out, again, and would be fine as long as he avoided kill zones. He left what apparently was his last poem:

"uncomfortable -

body armor

shifting on the car seat."

Kylan Jones-Huffman was born in Santa Cruz, Calif., while his father was serving in Vietnam. The family moved frequently when he was young, following his father's military postings. His early childhood was spent in Georgia, North Carolina and Germany.

In 1980 the family was posted at Fort Ord and found a home in nearby Aptos, Calif., where they lived until moving to Pagosa Springs last year. "It was the only home he ever knew", said the father of their California home.

His son graduated high school in Monterey and from the Naval Academy four years later before earning a master's degree from the University of Maryland.

He married his high school sweetheart, Heidi Lynn Jones, of Monterey, in 1995 and they adopted the hyphenated name.

The slain officer had planned to become a professor of literature when he left the Navy.

Survivors in addition to his wife and parents are a brother, Niko Huffman, of Phoenix, and a sister, Alexia Huffman, a student at Dartmouth.

Services are pending.


Judge approves Fairfield fee suit

settlement plan

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Judge David L. Dickenson has approved the proposed Fairfield USA settlement with property owners in subdivisions in the Pagosa Lakes area.

The action in Archuleta County District Court earlier this month clears the way for 10 years of legal confrontation to come to a close.

As approved, the decision means property owners who have not paid the annual amenities (FUSA) fee levied by Fairfield on select properties can make the back payments and get a 10-percent discount and waiver of all interest on unpaid amounts if the fees are paid by Sept. 1.

Additionally, the discount is set at 5 percent if the fees are paid by Oct. 1; and refunds will be made of all 2003 fees paid if the property owner was fully paid up by the end of 2002.

Those who had not paid fees through 2002 by the deadline are not eligible for the discounts.

The final date in the process is Dec. 1 when all fees unpaid are due, with no discounts, and with all interest payments still due.

Those who have not paid by that date will be subject to foreclosure for all fees due up to the end of 2002.

The major component of the settlement, according to Keith Newbold, a Durango attorney who has represented Fairfield and its later purchaser, Cendant Corp., in all class action suits, is that with fees paid up through Dec. 31, 2002, the fee goes away forever.

That means those current on payment and taking advantage of the amnesty period, will not be billed for the fee "ever again."

Notices explaining the judge's decision, the payment dates, and legal status of property owners with reference to unpaid fees have been sent to all property owners of record as members of the class action suit.

The issue involved a fee levied by Fairfield Resorts Inc. since 1983 against some property owners in 27 separate subdivisions.

For the first 10 years thereafter, said Newbold, there were no questions of legality.

The settled suit against Fairfield, one of four filed, was brought by Lorie Church individually and as representative of a class consisting of all persons owning interests in Pagosa Development properties sold after March 1, 1983.

The suit charged Fairfield acted improperly in filing the declaration of restrictions on the properties and in assessing and collecting the disputed use fee.

In December 1998, however, District Court Judge Gregory Lyman upheld validity of the fees and awarded attorney fees for defense of those actions to Fairfield.

Property owners had an opportunity to drop out of the proposed settlement or remain party to the action.

It has been reported that only eight chose to opt out of the settlement class. Because the case had languished in the courts for over 10 years, the parties thereto felt the settlement reached in this decision was beneficial to all concerned.

Newbold said the amnesty period was agreed to by Fairfield/Cendant because "many of those who did not pay did so on advice of others that the fees were not valid."

He pointed out that Judge Dickinson specifically noted "the settlement agreement was a fair, reasonable, and adequate compromise of all claims and defenses and commended all parties on bringing the matter to a final and just resolution."


County approves lifting fire restrictions

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Honoring a request Tuesday from Sheriff Tom Richards and Chief Warren Grams of the Pagosa Fire Protection District, Archuleta County commissioners approved a resolution lifting countywide fire restrictions that had been in effect since late June.

The decision to ease restrictions came after Richards told the board monsoon rainfall and cooler temperatures have resulted in higher average humidity levels across the region, thereby lowering the risk of wildfire.

Richards' summary of the current fire hazard was supported by Sgt. Karn Macht, who told the board two fires over the weekend that "had the potential" to explode into large-scale blazes were subdued before growing larger than one-quarter acre in size.

However, "If we don't have favorable weather down the line, we'd like to reinstate the ban if necessary," added Richards.

On a related note, U.S. Forest Service officials elected last week to rescind all fire restrictions on the San Juan National Forest and San Juan Field Office-Bureau of Land Management lands in southwestern Colorado.

The resolution adopted this week by the commissioners effectively lifted county fire restrictions as of 4 p.m. Aug. 27.

In other business the board:

- approved the following fee schedule for the recently-adopted Rural Land Use Process: Preliminary plan, $850. Final plat, $400, plus $10 per lot. Plat review fees: first review, $100 per sheet for plat maps and engineering plans; second review, no charge; third review, $60 per sheet for plats and engineering plans. RLUP document purchase fee, $5

- awarded a bid for reconstruction and fencing of the runway at Stevens Field to Kirkland Construction in the amount of $9,067,015.30

- approved a conditional use permit for the Bramwell D.C. Gravel Pit to be located on County Road 391 (Edith Road) and consisting of two phases, the first of which is expected to be completed by late 2006 and the second is projected for completion by late 2009

- contingent upon compliance with established state statutes regarding noise levels for light-industrial uses, approved a request from the Public Service Company of Colorado for a conditional use permit allowing a compressor station to be located near the intersection of East Fork Road and U.S. 160

- at the request of Erlinda Gonzalez, director of social services, approved several contracts regarding the department's provision of day treatment services for local schools.




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Drier weather forecast for holiday weekend

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Prolonged showers and thunderstorms during the past seven days prompted flash flood warnings and resulted in the highest weekly rainfall totals of the year in Pagosa Country.

Regional forecasters are indicating the monsoon is still alive and well, and while a trend toward drier weather is expected for the weekend, more widespread showers are predicted in the next 48 hours.

"We'll have moderate monsoon activity through Friday as we get a fairly moist flow from southern California," said Brian Avery, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"Some of that moisture is associated with the remnants of Hurricane Ignacio," added Avery, "And for the next day or two, the Four Corners will see afternoon and evening showers before drying out a little by Saturday.

"We're also anticipating cooler temperatures with highs in the upper 70s over the weekend, although it may feel a bit sticky because humidity levels will remain relatively high," concluded Avery.

According to Avery, morning clouds today will build into the afternoon, raising the chance for mountain showers and thunderstorms to around 30-percent.

High temperatures should reach into the low 80s and nighttime lows are expected to fall into the 50s.

Friday calls for partly cloudy skies, a 30-percent chance for afternoon thunderstorms, highs in the upper 70s and lows in the upper 40s.

The forecasts for Saturday and Sunday predict mostly-sunny to partly-cloudy skies and high temperatures ranging from the upper 70s to low 80s. Lows each day should dip into the mid-40s.

Labor Day skies should start off partly-cloudy and end up mostly-cloudy by late afternoon. A slim chance for rain is predicted, as are highs in the upper 70s and lows in the upper 40s.

Tuesday and Wednesday share twin forecasts that include a 30-percent chance for afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Highs should approach 80 while lows are expected to range from the upper 40s to low 50s.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 78 degrees. The average low for the week was 48. Precipitation totals for the week amounted to just over two inches.

Although fire restrictions on Forest Service lands have been lifted, the Pagosa Ranger District continues to list the current regional fire danger as "very high." Conditions are subject to change rapidly this time of year; for updates and more information, call the district office at 264-2268.

The National Allergy Bureau rates area pollen counts as "high" and lists sage and ragweed as the current dominant pollens.

Aided by heavy runoff, San Juan River flow ranged between approximately 35-135 cubic feet per second through town last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of August 28 is roughly 125 cubic feet per second.



Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Pagosans fourth, fifth in Rockies Challenge

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The state finals for the Rockies Skills Challenge were held Sunday with Ryan Charles and Mary Britton placing fourth in the state, while Anissa Lucero brought home the fifth-place award.

The Rockies Skills Challenge is a program in which boys and girls from around the state compete at the local level, winners advance to regional level, then the finale in Denver with state finals is hosted at Coors Field.

A free picnic lunch was served at the state finals to contestants and their families, and participants attended a game between the Atlanta Braves and the Colorado Rockies.

Seeing the participants' and families' excitement during all the events down on the field was unbelievable.

Our kids did their best and Pagosa Springs can be very proud of their achievements.

The program, sponsored by Colorado Parks and Recreation Association, gave participants their first taste of competition at the state level.  I wouldn't be surprised to see our competitors return next year.

Grant news

Park Advisory Board member John Perea and I attended a meeting Aug. 24 with EDAW, and Aimee Wesley of GoCo, the state board of the Great Outdoors Trust.

In the first meeting with EDAW, the final master plan was approved, along with a budget for the whole project, as well as budget for phasing the project at the Pagosa Springs Sports Complex.

They were very helpful in putting together data that will be used in our grant application and in building of the facility.

At the GoCo meeting we discussed formatting and information that grant reviewers look for. We also presented GoCo a rough draft and Aimee helped edit the grant, so when it comes time for the final presentation we have the information necessary to be competitive in this funding cycle.

With every step we have taken in this process, we get more and more excited about the great possibilities of having a sports complex built within the next two years. We were not expecting everything to fall in place this quickly.

If you would like more information on where  we are with the sports complex, stop by Town Hall and visit me or call at 264-4151, Ext. 231.


Open gymnasium at the community center is a great success.

If you are planning to get on a team, come to the gym on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. for open gym. Teams and individuals can hone their skills and start to organize teams for an adult coed league.

Soccer/flag football

The deadline has come and gone for anyone interested in signing up for youth soccer. If you are interested in getting put onto a waiting list call the number below for more information.

Adult flag football is being organized. At press time two teams had signed up and a minimum of four are needed to organize a league.

Anyone interested should call Chris Corcoran at 264-4151, Ext. 232.


Lady Pirate volleyball season starts tonight against Cortez

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

The 2003 Lady Pirate volleyball season starts tonight at the Pagosa Springs High School gym.

First up on the schedule are the Cortez Panthers, a team that has developed into a regional power during the last decade.

Lady Pirate coach Penné Hamilton enters her 18th season with the program looking for some replacements at critical positions in the back court.

One of last year's strengths on the Lady Pirate team was back-row defense, passing and serve receive - functions ably handled by two seniors now gone.

Hamilton must find a way to ensure consistency at those positions (probably instituting a three-player serve receive) and must hope that an attack with great potential develops quickly.

Three Lady Pirates return this season with experience as starters under their belts and a lot to offer at the net.

Lori Walkup, a 5-9 junior, returns to set, hit and block, possessing a fine touch as a setter, and imposing power as a hitter.

Courtney Steen, at 5-8, is back at outside hitter after a productive USVBA club season. Steen brings strength to the outside attack as well as experience to the back row.

Bri Scott, 5-9, returns as a middle hitter. Scott had more than credible form as a sophomore last season, is a force on the block and has an excellent sense of the game.

The power at the net will be enhanced by the presence of junior Caitlyn Jewell who, at 6-2, will cast a shadow in the middle. Jewell saw varsity action at season's end and appears ready to assert herself as a hitter and a blocker.

Junior Laura Tomforde, 5-8, is a setter with the ability to hit the ball with power.

Likely to join her junior cohorts as a starter is Brandie Whomble, a 5-6 outside hitter who has developed her skills and should provide help at the net and in the back row.

Rounding out the core varsity are two seniors. Amy Tautges, at 5-8, should see time with her steady play in the back row. Hannah Lloyd, 5-8, is ready to jump into the action when called on.

Several excellent junior varsity players figure to swing to the varsity, with a changing cast expected during the first part of the season.

The likely all-junior starting lineup will be put to the test tonight as the Panthers take the court in the Pagosa Springs High School gym. The past four years, Cortez featured some of the better outside hitters in Colorado 4A in Casey Bauer and Stefanie Allison. Those players are gone, but Hamilton expects the Panthers to be formidable.

Since the teams began playing each other in 1995, a healthy rivalry has developed, with the win/loss ledger well balanced.

Cortez beat the Lady Pirates twice last year but failed to advance to the state 4A tournament after two straight appearances in Denver.

Losses to graduation could put a dent in the Panther attack but replacing talent has not been a problem for coach Lindy Mortensen in recent years.

"Cortez is really disciplined defensively," said the coach. "They move very well in the back row."

At the net, says Hamilton, the Panthers figure to throw a now-typical attack at opponents: putting high sets to the outside hitters. Contrary to form, however, the Panthers have the ability this year to strike from the middle and that attack will need to be countered by both Lady Pirate blocking tandems.

"From what I saw in preseason," said Hamilton, "Cortez runs a 5-1, with a very good setter, but they also tend to hit out a lot. If our blocks are up, maybe they'll hit out even more."

What both teams will have to adjust to is a change to rally scoring this season.

The faster pace should be a treat for fans, but players will need to change their perception and tighten their execution.

"We're getting used to rally scoring," said Hamilton. "It will interesting to see how other teams do with it, and it will interesting to see how much quicker C and junior varsity games are played. In the past, you would have long exchanges of sideouts without a point scored. Now, every exchange produces a point."

Hamilton's varsity will need to mind the technical fine points of the game in order to succeed; sheer power will no longer guarantee a team the victory.

"If you're going to stay with it," said Hamilton, "you have to take care of all the little things. It brings the level of play up a notch. Physically, our varsity players will rise to whatever level they need to be at; it's going to be an interesting mental game from that point on."

The action at the gym begins today at 5 p.m. with a junior varsity match.



Pirate lightning scuttles foes in scrimmages

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer


On the field and off.

That was the story for the Pagosa Springs Pirates at Saturday's soccer scrimmage involving six teams at Golden Peaks Stadium.

Visitors were Bayfield, Durango, Alamosa, Bloomfield and Aztec.

Since it was scrimmage format, with each team scheduled to play the other five for two 20-minute halves, and without official referees, no formal score was kept.

For Pagosa, the veterans showed early in the opener against Bayfield, that they have a power attack to be reckoned with.

In fact, the game was barely underway before a Pagosa offensive thrust produced a picture-perfect goal by the state's leading scorer in 2002, Pirate senior Kyle Sanders.

Moments later he added a second marker, each assisted by fellow senior Kevin Muirhead, another of the state's leading scorers from last year.

And then it was Muirhead's turn, on a crossing lead from Sanders, to find the net.

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, speaking after lightning had driven the teams from the fields before the final match could be played, said he was aware Sanders "is on a mission" this year, "but even I wasn't sure what would happen."

But it wasn't just the offense which sparkled. Defense, keyed by Levi Gill, Ryan Goodenberger, Chris Baum and Drew Mitchell, blanked their first two foes - Bayfield and Bloomfield.

And Gill, taking advantage of a defensive lapse when wings sank back on Sanders and Muirhead, intercepted a pass in his own zone and stormed right up midfield.

One defender came to stop him and Gill simply stopped on a dime, did a quick reverse step, dropped the ball aside - to himself - and roared in for a goal.

Baum was a story of perpetual motion. The sophomore had Kurt-Mason wondering when "his spring would run down" and it never did.

He impressed on both defense and offense with speed, ball control and passing accuracy.

Still, it is unfair to single out any individuals on a standout day for the team. Every one who played contributed to the team's success.

Pick a name, any name on the first day roster and you'll find one who made a contribution. Josh Soniat played offense and goal. Caleb Forest was unscored upon in goal and got his first playing time in the field at a defensive wing position.

Moe Webb figured in several scoring drives and both Casey Kiister and Caleb Ormonde had picture moments in the all-day action. And Paul Muirhead gave opponents a hint of ongoing familial distress with one goal and three "near goals", one of which beat the keeper but slammed off the right post.

Drew Fisher and Jessie Morris, Tad Beavers and Keegan and Kevin Smith also got in quality time along with Ty Peterson, who was paying ill, and Josh Stuckwish.

Kurt-Mason had expected his offense to score, but had been unsure of how the defense would come together.

On this occasion, there was no question about the starting defense.

Aside from Gill's continual presence in the midst of the action, Goodenberger had seven block-takeaways and assisted on one goal with a perfect looping lead to converging wings at midfield.

Midfielders Soniat and Webb also worked well together, keying off each other on switches to get the ball upfield to the attackers.

Goodenberger had another assist on a goal by Keegan Smith and Webb got a goal on an unassisted move to a rebound 18 yards out. Kiister had a chance from 40 that clanked off the crossbar.

As the day wore on, the approach of storm clouds from the southwest keyed speeded up action as teams tried to get all the scheduled play in.

But David Hamilton, Pagosa's athletic director, stopped play with two games still underway and a last yet to be played.

His action came after consecutive lightning strikes near the field and lightning seen also to the northwest and north.

Kurt-Mason now has to decide which players will represent Pagosa in the first game action of the season.

"I'd like to take them all," he said, "as a reward for what I saw today. If Colorado Springs Christian has a junior varsity team, we may be able to play them."

That will come Friday when the Pirates take their show on the road for the first time, scheduled to meet the Lions from the Tri Peaks League at 4 p.m.

The next morning, Pagosa will move a little northwest to take on the Manitou Springs Mustangs from the same league at 10 a.m..

Because it is Parents Weekend at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, motel reservations were hard to come by.

As a result, the Pagosa team will stay in Pueblo, motor to the

Friday game, return to the motel and then drive to Manitou for the Saturday morning encounter.

In Saturday's action, Forrest gave up a lone goal on the day, on a penalty kick by Alamosa. Soniat who played on offense in the first half of each game, gave up three in his keeper session, all to Alamosa.

For the day, Forrest had 12 stops and Soniat 7, his best move coming with just 40 seconds left against Alamosa when he dived flat out to his right to snare a drive that could have knotted the score.

Kurt-Mason said the team as "is nearly ready," based on the performance he saw Saturday.

But, he added, "I saw some things we need to work on ... some defensive switching and positioning was a little slow. But I was very impressed with our performance."

After playing against no one but themselves for nearly three weeks, the athletes, too, seemed to be happy to pit skills against strangers. How well they have learned will be shown on the fields of the Front Range before home fans get to see them in action again.

After this weekend's matchups against Tri Peaks opponents, the Pirates go on the road again, playing league foe Crested Butte on the latter's home field Sept. 5 and then motoring east on Route 50 to meet Salida, also of the Tri Peaks League at 1 p.m. the following day.


Pagosa runners start season at huge Front Range meet

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

They've been pounding the pavement, and the hills, the valleys and meadows for a couple weeks now in practice. Today, is the real thing.

Pagosa's cross country team gets its first taste of the year's competition at 3 p.m. this afternoon in Colorado Springs on the same turf set for the site of the state meet in October.

Head Coach Scott Anderson said around 85 teams are set to compete, making it the largest meet Pagosa's team has ever competed at.

"This will give us a good glimpse of how we stack up against the competition," he said. It will also give them a trial run over a course they expect to see at the end of the season.

A total of 19 runners are out for the team this year - 14 girls and five boys.

On the girls' side, three are returning from the sixth-place team finishers at state last year. They include sophomores Emilie Schur and Heather Dahm, and senior Jenna Finney. Schur finished second at state last year, the highest finish ever for a Pagosa runner. Dahm posted a 53rd place finish and Finney came in close on her heels in 54th.

Other seniors on the team include: Becca Blauert, Lauren Caves, Amber Farnham and Lacie Ream. The three juniors are: Marlena Lungstrum, Janna Henry and Racheal Welch. Adrian Young rounds out the sophomore contingent. Jessica Lynch, Kristen Ducharme and Laurel Reinhardt are the freshman on the list.

The boys' teams consists of three sophomores and two seniors. The upperclassmen include Aaron Hamilton and Chris Matzdorf. The sophomores are: A.J. Abeyta, Paul Hostetter and Orion Sandoval.

After today's test, the team will return home for the Wolf Creek Invitational. Meet action begins with the junior high runners at 9 a.m. The high school races begin at 10:30 a.m. Races start in the lower parking lot of the ski area. All are encouraged to come cheer on the teams.


Huckins, Belarde pace Pirate golfers to best team score in two seasons

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The northern Western Slope proved both a challenge and a boon to the psyche for Pagosa Springs High School golfers Aug. 20 and 21.

The first day they played the challenging Devil's Thumb layout in the Delta Invitational and finished with a 253 over the par-72 layout to finish 14 of 23 teams entered, including the bigger schools in the region.

Tom Huckins again paced the Pirates, scoring an 82. He was closely followed by Casey Belarde, who continues to lower his scores, with an 85. Ty Faber was third with 86, Jake Mackensen fourth at 91 and Steven Sellers had his worst day of the season coming in at an even 100.

But Coach Mark Faber was not oblivious to the serious challenges of Devil's Thumb.

"I'd call it a target course," he said, "with a number of environmentally sensitive areas that cannot be entered. If a ball goes in, it cannot be retrieved."

And, he noted, there is heavy, thick buffalo grass along the edges of the course.

These borderline hazards, however, are compensated for by "slick, fast greens."

The kids had to play the fairways carefully, and then try to hold approach shots on the green, he said.

"It was a struggle for them," Faber said, "but I was proud of the way they stayed after it."

And that attitude carried over to the following day when the squad returned to Montrose for another invitational and fired their best team round in two years with a 230.

That placed them sixth of 22 varsity squads and of 24 teams overall in the tournament.

This was a diametrically different type of course, he said, "a par 70, relatively simple layout traditional course which can challenge if you aren't prepared."

Again, it was Huckins and Belarde leading the way for Pagosa with scores of 75 and 77 respectively and Sellers storming back from his disappointment at Delta with a 78. Faber came in at 81 and Mackensen at 86.

The key to this course, the coach said, "is to keep the ball in play. The putting is easier with greens not so undulating or quick as they were in Delta."

And, he brought the team back from the first day tournament early so they could practice the greens in Montrose.

"That really payed off," he said. "They found out they could play with anyone in the field," he said, "and they did just that."

Both Belarde and Sellers, he said, are learning to keep their game under control and not trying to do more than they are capable of.

"The result," with just a couple of setbacks, he said, "is consistently lower scores and positioning to challenge for regional honors.

"They keep out of trouble and keep the ball in play," he said, and that means a lower score and a boost for the team total.

From Montrose, the squad played the Ridgway course on the way back, getting practice on a layout they'll face later in the league season. "They played it extremely well," Faber said. "I was proud of how they wanted to work at the course and determine for themselves where its challenges lie and how to attack them."

Afterward, he said, "I told them it is a pleasure to take five high school students on a trip like this and not have to worry about them."

The squad has no action this week, the schedule kept open so players can concentrate on the first week of school.

Sept. 3, the junior varsity will fill the scheduled varsity commitment in the Monte Vista Invitational and the varsity will travel to Alamosa to play the course where the state finals will be held.

And, Sept. 5, both squads will travel to Kirtland for the annual challenge match.

In last week's prep golf coverage, the figures in the team total for the Dalton Ranch tournament in Durango were transposed. The team total was 247, not 274, but placement in the field was correct.


United Way golf tourney set Sept. 6

Now is the time to sign up your four-person team for the fifth annual United Way Golf Tournament.

This year's format will be a Scramble with only one of the team members allowed to have a handicap lower than 10. Everyone is welcome to play in this event.

The Pagosa Springs Golf Club will help set up teams. Call 731-4755.

The Sept. 6 tournament will have a 9 a.m. shotgun start.

For nonmembers the entry fee of $65 will get lunch, coffee and doughnuts along with greens fee and cart. $10 of the entry fee goes directly to United Way of Archuleta County. For club members, the entry fee is $30.

Various contests and golf giveaways will be held during the tournament.



Ernest Godfrey

Ernest (Ernie) Allen Godfrey passed away Aug. 19, 2003, at the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, N.M., at age 56, from cancer.

A military graveside service will be held at Greenmont Cemetery in Durango Aug. 29, 2003, at 2 p.m. A potluck dinner will be held after the service for the family at the American Legion, 878 East 2nd Ave, Durango.

"Ernie" as his friends and family affectionately knew him, was born in Durango July 19, 1947, to Charles (Allen) and Lena Godfrey. The family later moved to Pagosa Springs, were he attended and graduated from high school in 1965.

On Feb. 13, 1967, Ernie enlisted in the army and served a tour in the Vietnam War. After returning from the war, he enlisted in the Army National Guard. He was still serving with the Bravo Battery 3rd Battalion 200 ADA in Farmington.

Upon his return to the civilian work force, he was an officer for the Pagosa Springs Police Department for several years. He then moved to Farmington, where he was also an officer with Farmington Police Dept.

In 1988, he started his own business "The Handy Man" for which he was well known for completing the "honey-do list." Ernie was the hardware manager at the Alco Discount Store in Kirtland.

On June 10, 1978, he married his high school sweetheart, Eva Emerson, and they settled in the Farmington area, where they were currently residing. All three of their children also reside in the Four Corners area.

Ernie is survived by his wife, Eva Godfrey, of Farmington, and three children: son, Robert E. Sims and wife Kathi of Montrose; daughter Eve Boellstorff and her husband Brian of Cortez; son Carl E. Godfrey of Cortez. He is also survived by a grandson, Dallas Sims, granddaughter Samantha Sims, six grandcats and one granddog; by two brother-in-laws, Pete Tackett of Allison and Wayne Emerson of Durango, several nieces and nephews and numerous great nieces and nephews.

Ernie was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Lena Godfrey, sister Alene Tackett, and daughter Ernestine Godfrey.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Ernest "Ernie" Godfrey, P.O. Box 6685, Farmington, N.M. 87499.



Inside The Sun

PAWS: Dutton, Stevens projects remain on track

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Efforts to obtain permits that will allow the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District to upgrade Dutton Ditch and Stevens Reservoir remain on track, according to this week's staff update to the district board of directors.

"The plans for Dutton Ditch encasement are going very smoothly and we're continuing to collaborate with the Forest Service and work toward getting the required special use permit," said Carrie Campbell, district general manager.

"But it's a lengthy process, especially since so many consultations are needed from the numerous agencies involved," added Campbell. "We were hoping to begin construction on the pipeline this fall, but I think, realistically, that's not going to happen until probably next year after the spring melt."

On a similar note, Gene Tautges indicated that recent visits to Stevens Reservoir by representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service resulted in favorable assessments.

"I think it was advantageous for them to see the project site in person instead of relying heavily on paper reports," Tautges told the board.

With regard to the level of impact the reservoir enlargement will have on the surrounding environment, upon inspection of the landscape, agency officials "didn't come out and say 'no brainer,' but there was almost a sigh of relief," said Tautges.

Both projects require special permits before major construction efforts can begin; the Dutton Ditch encasement/pipeline requires an environmental permit from the U.S. Forest Service and Stevens Reservoir enlargement requires a 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.

However, preliminary testing of the sites is permitted, and the board awarded two proposals regarding soil and water analysis at Stevens Reservoir to a pair of instate engineering firms Tuesday night.

Sundale Associates Inc., of Durango, got the nod to perform soil tests at Stevens Reservoir. Cost estimates for the proposal amount to $6,260 but are contingent upon the determination that figure includes the firm's designation of "test pit" sites at the location.

Denver-based engineering firm Camp, Dresser & McKee Inc. will handle water quality analysis, which will be used to determine what type of treatment plan will be needed when the Stevens project is initiated. Cost for the analysis is estimated at roughly $2,500.

Drought update

According to the latest information provided by Tautges, district lakes and reservoirs are at the following approximate levels:

- Lake Hatcher - 20 inches below full pool

- Stevens Reservoir - 12 inches below full pool

- Lake Pagosa - 26 inches below full pool

- Lake Forest - four inches below full pool

- Village Lake - 44 inches below full pool.

Water restrictions

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

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

2002 Audit

A summary of the district's 2002 audit by Carla Clark of Clark, White and Associates indicated there were no errors in the district's financial reporting for the year and that the district continues to operate below budget.

In short, "The bottom line is she gave us a clean report," explained Campbell after the presentation.

For more details concerning the audit or to request other PAWS information, call the district office at 731-2691 or visit


Full text of use tax ballot question

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Archuleta County commissioners approved an amended resolution Tuesday which presumably finalizes their decision to submit three "use tax" issues in one ballot question to be decided by voters in this year's general election.

Utilized by several counties in Colorado, "use taxes" are aimed at recouping what is essentially "lost" sales tax revenue resulting from purchases made outside county lines.

In short, the resolution adopted this week by the commissioners proposes the establishment of a 4-percent tax on all building materials purchased outside the county (for use in the county), including those related to oil and gas production and facilities.

Also included in the proposal is the notion that all motor vehicles purchased outside the county for registration within the county would be subject to the tax.

The actual ballot question voters will be asked to decide Nov. 4, in its entirety, reads as follows:

"Shall Archuleta County taxes be increased $1,085,000.00 annually (first full fiscal year dollar increase in 2004) and by whatever additional amounts are raised, by the imposition of a 4% use tax on construction and building materials, including those used in oil and gas production and facilities, and for motor and other vehicles purchased at retail on which registration is required, and shall the net revenues from such tax be distributed equally between Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs to be used generally for construction and maintenance of roads, trails, parks, and open space and other growth related issues and shall such use tax commence January 1, 2004, and may all revenues generated from such use tax be collected, retained and spent as a voter approved revenue change, offset and exception to the limits that would otherwise apply under Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law, all in conformance with Archuleta County resolution No. 2003-68?"

In summary, if the proposed use tax initiative is approved by voters, the resolution will call for the county and town of Pagosa Springs to split the resulting net proceeds equally and divert the revenues to projects that benefit the general public.


Local DUI checkpoint stops 256 vehicles, nets three arrests

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

In five hours Aug. 22, area law enforcement officers stopped 256 vehicles at the corner of U.S. 160 and Piedra Road at a sobriety checkpoint.

Sgt. Karn Macht of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office said, of those, two drivers were arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One driver was also charged with intent to sell or distribute a controlled substance. Approximately three ounces of marijuana was found in that vehicle.

Macht said a total of 12 officers participated in the checkpoint - seven from the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, two from the Colorado State Patrol and three from the Pagosa Springs Police Department. Between 9 and 11 p.m., officers stopped every fifth car. From 11 p.m.-2 a.m., every car was stopped with the exception of semi tractor-trailers.

Cost of conducting the checkpoint was paid through a $25,000 grant from the Law Enforcement Assistance Fund. Macht said the grant monies must be used to fund officer overtime for enforcing DUI laws. It will cover the cost of at least one more checkpoint this year.

The purpose of the checkpoint was to maximize the deterrent effect and increase the perception of "risk of apprehension" for motorists who might operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs or both.

Macht and Undersheriff Bob Grandchamp both said the main purpose was public safety and awareness.

"I was very pleased with the success of the effort and the attitude of all the officers involved," Grandchamp said.


Mudroch remains critical, account established

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The 6-year-old Pagosa boy who was washed into Navajo Lake in a flash flood Aug. 13 remained in critical condition at The Children's Hospital in Denver Wednesday morning.

Casey Mudroch was sleeping Aug. 13 when the tent he and several friends were in was swept into the lake. A friend of the family, Liz Marchand, and two teen-agers, held on to the tent and pulled Casey out, starting CPR immediately.

He was transported to the Navajo Lake boat dock where an emergency services crew picked him up. He was taken by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center. From there, he was flown to Denver.

An account to help the Mudrochs with medical bills and considerable transportation expenses since the accident has been set up at the Bank of Colorado.

The account number is 8500394046. Checks can be mailed to the bank at P.O. Box 3460, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Anyone with questions concerning the account can call Marion Francis at 731-4166.


Local residential historic landmark renovated

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Renovation on the first residential structure designated a local landmark is complete.

After a year of construction, the home at 138 Pagosa St. is liveable once more. It's also been restored on the exterior to its original late-Victorian self.

Owner Susan Winter Ward said reconstruction started with little more than studs inside. "It was like building a new house, only worse."

A former owner had started demolition inside, taking out some walls and redesigning the interior, Ward said. For whatever reason, they simply stopped construction. That was at least a year before she purchased it. "When I bought it I felt really sorry for it."

Bill Woggon, who headed up the design and construction on the house, said the neighbors were all asking, "Are you going to tear it down?"

"The exterior was pretty much in whatever state you want to call it " said Woggon.

"Shabby," Winter Ward supplied. Everything, including electrical and plumbing had to be updated. A new roof was added. Siding was matched and replaced. New doors and windows were hung.

Throughout, Woggon said, they tried to remain true to original detailing - when they could find the original - or at least the late Victorian time period.

According to assessor's records and a historical survey of the property completed in 2002, the house, an L-shaped two-story with a gable roof, was probably constructed in 1892. At the time, the property was owned by Alice Phillips (1862-1942), who also constructed the Phillips Building (now known as the Hersch Building) in downtown Pagosa Springs.

Records show the property was also owned by Ralph Flaugh in 1907, James Jones in 1930 and Mary Herrera in 1952. Flaugh, who was originally from Pennsylvania, arrived in Pagosa Springs from Silverton. Jones was listed as a single farmer in the 1932 San Juan Basin Directory.

According to local history recorded in the Remembrances series, Vol. 1, Dr. Mary Winter Fisher had an office in the building in 1895.

The residence received local landmark designation in July 2002, becoming the fourth Pagosa building, and the first residence, to achieve that status since the program was made available.

Now, after a year of work, it has been returned to its former glory - maybe even better. After all, things like electricity and central water and plumbing have been invented since then. Custom windows were made to fit the original openings. A side porch has been modified to match late-Victorian stylings. Front porch accents have been replicated from templates made from original pieces glued back together. The railing has been rebuilt. New paint flatters the horizontal wood siding.

Inside, Woggon found sections of the original walls still intact. Beams still boasting their bark, were nailed together with square-headed nails. To show off some of the history, Woggon framed sections of the walls bearing old, possibly original, blocks of wallpaper. He dry-walled around the saved section and then a piece of glass was placed over it as the frame.

Finished, the house is being used for both commercial and residential purposes.

To help ease the blow of at least some of the costs of remodeling, Ward, who has a background in historic preservation planning, applied and qualified for both state and federal tax credits for the property. Structures given the local landmark status are eligible for tax credits because Pagosa Springs is a Certified Local Government.

"The town of Pagosa Springs was very cooperative, accommodating and supportive," Woggon said. After all, the goal of Pagosa's local landmark ordinance, is to provide incentives rather than punishments for people wanting to preserve historic properties.

Three investment tax credit programs related to historic structures are available in Colorado: a 20-percent federal tax credit, a 10-percent federal tax credit and the 20-percent state tax credit. Unlike a deduction, which reduces taxable income, these tax credits actually reduce the amount of tax owed and can be spread over several years - 20 in federally qualified projects and 10 in state-qualified projects.

Town Planner Tamra Allen said most local projects will qualify for a 10 percent federal and a 20-percent state tax credit.

To qualify, buildings must be considered historic in most cases. That is, they must have been designated a local landmark, or qualify for the state historic register or the national register.

However, Allen said, the 10 percent federal tax credit can be obtained for any commercial building constructed before 1936 that undergoes at least $5,000 in improvements.

Rehabilitation must be substantial. For the state tax credit, that means spending at least $5,000. Projects must be completed in 24 months, or broken into smaller projects over several years and the property cannot be sold for at least five years after completing the work. Applications have anywhere from one to three parts and do require a fee paid prior to consideration of the plans.

According to information from the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, work that qualifies can include: demolition, carpentry, plaster, and/or Sheetrock, painting, ceiling or floor repair, doors and windows, roofing and flashing, cleaning, brick and mortar repair, wiring, light fixtures, stairs, elevators, heating systems and so on.

Architect, engineer and development costs are not covered. In the case of the state tax credit and the 20-percent federal tax credit, projects must also fit within the Secretary of the Interior's Standards of Rehabilitation. For instance, the work must help retain the historic character of the building. New additions must be in keeping with the historical character of the property and deteriorating historical features should be repaired rather than replaced whenever possible.

Woggon said the application for tax credits was fairly straightforward. He did encourage anyone applying for the credits to take lots of before and after pictures of both the interior and exterior of the structure.

For more information on the tax credit incentive program or designating a property a local landmark, contact Allen at Town Hall, 264-4151, extension 235.


Archery season opens Saturday in county units

With Colorado elk populations at near record numbers and deer herds stable or rebounding in most areas, the 2003 Colorado archery hunt promises to be as good as it gets.

"If you're an archery elk hunter, Colorado is unbeatable," said Jim Goodyear, northeast assistant regional manager for the Division of Wildlife. "No other state or Canadian province gives an archer more elk hunting opportunity in terms of season length, elk numbers and public property."

Deer hunters have it good as well, with more than 560,000 deer in the state and many of them inhabiting huntable public lands. The combined deer and elk archery season west of I-25, including game management unit 140, begins Aug. 30 and ends Sept. 28.

The season offers archers plenty of time to pursue deer and elk during the most magnificent and dynamic time of the year. Beginning with late summer weather, running through the fall foliage season and potentially ending in snowfall, the four-week archery season offers the best of all hunting worlds.

"The early part of the season gives archers a chance to get out and hunt animals that haven't been chased," said Allan Nielsen, of Meeker. "The season typically begins around here with little hunting pressure and hot and dry conditions - it's a good time to hunt around water.

"By the middle of the season, the weather usually cools and action picks up with the bulls bugling - that's when we see more hunters taking to the woods."

According to DOW biologists this season will start hot and dry in many areas. However, compared to last season conditions have generally improved.

"Early spring moisture has resulted in good forage," said Bob Davies, southeast senior wildlife biologist for the DOW. "Expect deer and elk to not be as concentrated from dry conditions as they were last year."

New for this archery season is the availability of over-the-counter archery antlerless elk licenses valid in all game management units in or partially in Archuleta County.

The antlerless archery elk licenses are List B licenses, meaning that a bowhunter can possess the antlerless license as well as an either-sex archery elk license.

Also new for the 2003 archery season are restrictions on the sale of archery bear licenses. Archers can no longer purchase over-the-counter bear licenses for the following game management units 77, 78, 80, 81, 751, and 771 in the county. Licenses for archery bear hunting in these units are limited and were available only through the drawing or through the leftover license sale (all leftover archery bear licenses have been sold).

As in the past, archery deer licenses throughout the state are limited and are available only through the drawing or through the leftover license sale. For a list of leftover deer licenses still available for purchase visit the DOW's Web site at or call (303) 297-1192.

Archers are reminded to consult a 2003 Big Game Brochure before heading to the field to ensure they're hunting in a legal game management unit with their license.

"Every year we have bowhunters with unlimited, over-the-counter elk licenses hunting in limited units," said Dan Prenzlow, area wildlife manager for the DOW. "It's a good idea to double-check your license against the game management unit you're planning to hunt to make sure they're compatible."


Shorter days, cool temps aid trout fisheries

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

As summer rolls to a close and autumn grows nearer, increasingly shorter days and cooler nighttime temperatures will serve as the catalysts for transition in Pagosa Country trout fisheries.

While monsoon runoff is currently affecting water clarity, regional streams and rivers will become more productive in the coming weeks as rains subside and water temperatures fall into a range more conducive to trout activity.

In addition, tributaries that have seen a high number of anglers since spring will likely receive less pressure in the coming weeks as the summer tourist season winds down and many anglers trade fishing rods for hunting rifles.

Reservoirs will also benefit from a reduction in daylight hours, and catch rates on most will steadily improve until they begin to turn over. Success rates temporarily worsen during turnover, but favorable conditions resume once clarity returns and can often last for several weeks depending on elevation.

For anglers who aren't willing to hike in to one of the region's productive high-altitude fisheries along the Continental Divide, Williams Creek and Big Meadow reservoirs are two easily-accessible fisheries that provide steady action for trout through late October.

The following is a breakdown of conditions at some regional fishing hotspots:

- Navajo Reservoir - Surface level is listed at an elevation of 6,000 feet and dropping. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for boat launching at Navajo State Park. Water temperature is in the high 60s. Catfish are being taken during the night on blood/stink baits. Fishing for smallmouths, largemouths crappie and northern pike is reported as fair.

- San Juan River (through town) - Flows are averaging about 60 cubic feet per second but will spike with runoff. River is often running off color due to afternoon rains. When water clears, successful anglers are using spinners, streamers, salmon eggs and flies for rainbows and browns.

- Echo Lake - Lake is clear and up a few inches due to runoff. Largemouth bass, crappie, small sunfish and perch are being taken early and late on live bait, ultralight jigs and small plastics. A few anglers are catching catfish after dark using nightcrawlers. Trout are becoming more active and are taking flies, flashy spinners, salmon eggs, worms, and PowerBait.

- Williams Creek Reservoir - Anglers seeking rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout are reporting fair action with live bait, PowerBait, surface flies, streamers, small marabou jigs and metallic spinners. Kokanee fishing continues to be slow but will improve with cooler temperatures.

- Big Meadows Reservoir - Water is off color and fishing is fair. Brook trout are still the predominant catch and are hitting PowerBait, flies, and spinners.

- East Fork of San Juan - Flows varying with runoff from afternoon rains. Fishing for pan-sized rainbows and browns through the isolated stretches is reportedly fair.

- Piedra River - Has been murky due to runoff, but is fishing OK when the water clears. Browns and rainbows are the predominant catch and are hitting flies, streamers and flashy spinners.

- Middle Fork, Piedra River - Extremely low flows unless affected by rainfall. Fishing is slow, with small browns and rainbows occasionally being taken on flies and small jigs and spinners.

- Fourmile Creek - May be off color depending on rains, but brookies and cutthroats are taking attractor-pattern flies and lightweight spinners in the upper sections. A few rainbows and browns are being caught in the lower portion.

- Williams Creek -Clarity is affected by afternoon rains, but flies and small spinners are working near the dam for brookies, cutthroats, browns and rainbows when the water clears. Browns and rainbows are the main catch farther downstream.


Public comment sought on proposed fee increase

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a proposal to increase permit application fees for the majority of permits the agency issues.

"Permits allow people to legally conduct wildlife-related activities they couldn't otherwise," said Service Director Steve Williams. "We are seeking these fee increases because our ability to effectively provide these special services to the public depends in part on user fees."

Since 1982 when the $25 permit application fee was first established, the service's costs to administer the permits programs have risen in line with cost-of-living increases nationwide.

The new proposed fees range from $50 to $300, and are based on a variety of factors, including: the level of complexity required to process the type of permit; whether the permittee stands to benefit commercially from the permit; and whether the permitted activity serves the public interest.

The proposed increase would apply to all service permits except those for possession of eagle parts and feathers for Native American religious and cultural use and for refuge special use permits.

To access the proposed rule and fee schedule, visit: http://permits.

Send comments by Oct. 9, 2003, to the Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MBSP 4107, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1610. Alternatively, comments can be faxed to (703)358-2272, or sent by e-mail to

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses nearly 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.

It also oversees the Federal program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit


Our Savior Lutheran School gets new principal, teacher

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

For Corey and Melissa Brandenburger, arrival in Pagosa Springs had a long geographic twist.

The new principal at Our Savior Lutheran School and his wife are both natives of upper tier states, she from Minnesota and he a Montana native.

Both hold bachelor's degrees from Concordia College in St. Paul, Minn., and both come to Pagosa Springs from St. Mark's Lutheran School in Houston, where they served as teachers and he was the assistant principal. With eight years experience, she's been teaching a year longer than her husband.

While in their first year of the call to Our Savior, he will be working on his masters degree and will teach kindergarten and first grade.

Mrs. Brandenburger will initially teach sixth-eighth grades, but is expecting the couple's second child in about a month. The couple has a daughter, Abigail, who is 19 months old.

"I will be back to teaching as soon as possible," she said. "It's my life work."

At present, the school has 55 students enrolled in K-8 classes and 55 more in preschool.

Both said they love the Pagosa area and "can't understand what people are complaining about when they comment on the heat here."

Anyone who's been in Houston, Corey said, "knows what real heat is."

They also are impressed with the slower pace of life in Pagosa Country.

"Not everyone is still trying to get somewhere at 2 a.m. like they are in Houston," he said.




Use tax folly

Dear Editor:

Once again, I am amazed by the lack of rational logic by our county commissioners, by proposing a flawed 4 percent Use Tax. The rational for the proposed tax is to recoup lost tax revenue when people go outside the county to purchase items, in lieu of buying them locally.

The logic behind this thought is as follows: the items purchased are available locally, the purchaser opts to go outside the county to buy them, and thus, incurs a penalty.

Construction materials are abundantly available locally, so there is a choice on where to buy.

I don't know that much about the availability of oil and gas production equipment, but I do know about vehicles. Since most people don't like to take a chance on buying someone else's problem, they opt for a new vehicle purchase. Please tell me where I can purchase a new vehicle in Archuleta County?

Given that question, please answer another question for me. How is the county losing tax revenue by someone going outside the county to purchase an item that is not available for purchase in the county?

A use tax should penalize purchasers when a choice on where to buy is available. Folks, if this measure is passed in November, buying a $20,000 automobile would cost you an $800 penalty, not for purchasing it outside the county, since you have no choice, but for simply purchasing it.

I think a Use Tax on breathing would be more logical. At least air is available for consumption in Archuleta County.

Given the stupidity of this proposal, and its almost sure defeat, one wonders if the commissioners are trying to put themselves in a no-lose situation. Given the "heat" they're getting on road maintenance, they indicated that 90 percent of their half of the Use Tax proceeds would be directed to roads.

When the issue fails in November, they can say, "Well, the voters defeated the issue, so they don't want to pay for better roads and road maintenance, and we're off the hook!" It will be interesting to see if I'm right.

Bottom line is, they won't be off the hook, regardless, because there is another election coming the following November.

Roy K. Boutwell


Dear Editor:

Some readers of my letter last week, regarding the accuracy of information conveyed to the PLPOA board by Charles Hawkins, interpreted it to be a criticism of the EMTs on duty in the example I used. Nothing could be further from the truth as I have the highest regard for all our EMTs and know many of them.

They are performing as well as possible under very difficult conditions and I give them a lot of credit for getting the job done under those conditions.


Pat Curtis

Who's responsible?

Dear Editor:

To Mr. Rhoton of Amarillo:

You appear insulted that you, as a "responsible" citizen, are banned from fires in our forest. The issue is more complex.

First, how would you suggest we determine who is "responsible" and who is not? We nearly lost our home in another part of the state a few years ago to an 11,000-plus acre fire that began with a campfire. I'm sure those campers thought they were "responsible." Ask the many homeowners who lost everything in Buffalo Creek, High Meadow, Missionary Ridge, and other places how "responsible" those smokers were.

Second, when conditions are extremely hot and dry, it doesn't matter how "responsible" one is. I've watched a "responsible" neighbor sink into despair as his "controlled" trash burn in a 55-gallon drum (which he was watching closely) threw out sparks, igniting and devastating his property. I've seen wind pick up a piece of burning plywood from a small "controlled" burn and deposit the burning wood in the trees.

A single burning ember caught by the wind can ignite dry grasses/duff/brush, often beyond the camper's reach. Unless one has fire-suppression equipment/water available, all the "responsible" camper may be able to do is watch the fire race across the forest. By the time any help can be obtained, the fire will have already burned many acres and may be extremely difficult to control. The issue is not whether the camper is "decent" and "responsible", but of how uncontrollable the conditions are.

Have you ever seen a fire travel up a mountain faster than you can run? Talk to the families of the 14 firefighters who died on Storm King. Talk to the despondent firefighters from Murphy Gulch and Hayman and numerous other large fires who had to constantly retreat and write off homes as they tried to find a place where they could stop the fire's advance. Talk to the residents still living in the areas of Buffalo Creek. High Meadow, Missionary Ridge or any other major burn and ask how they are dealing with the erosion, mudslides, and flash flooding that occur for years following a burn.

Yes, lightning does start some fires but, historically, the majority of large fires began with a human. Regardless of the statistics, it is not reasonable that preventable fires be eliminated.

I'm sure you expect guests in your home to respect your property. We welcome visitors but also expect them to do what is necessary to protect our land. Surely, when conditions are bad and fires are banned, you can derive some pleasure from horseback riding, fishing, hiking, even camping, without the traditional campfire and roasting marshmallows.

The risk is too high and the consequences are too great to ignore the danger.

Jane DeBry

Pledge explained

Dear Editor:

I am writing concerning the PLPOA's contribution of $50,000 over 10 years to the San Juan Hospital District. At a recent meeting of the PLPOA board of directors, there was questioning of the PLPOA's intent at the time the motion was made to make the contribution.

I was the vice president of the board at that time, and I was also the maker of the motion. I know exactly what the motion was and what the intent was.

Bob Huff, then president of SJHD, and Bill Bright, then executive director of SJHD, informally approached several PLPOA board members about the need for remodeling the ambulance building to provide living quarters so that 24/7 ambulance service could be provided with on-site personnel. President Nan Rowe, along with me and several other PLPOA board members attended a meeting of the SJHD board to learn more details. President Rowe suggested that a presentation by SJHD be made at the next PLPOA board meeting.

Mr. Huff and Mr. Bright did attend the next PLPOA meeting, made a presentation, and the meeting was opened up for audience comment and discussion by board members. The majority favored making a contribution because they felt 24/7 ambulance service was desirable for PLPOA residents, especially the many retired, elderly people. A minority felt the PLPOA members should not be paying more than other residents in the hospital district.

The motion was made to contribute $5,000 in June of 1999 to the SJHD and an additional $5,000 yearly for nine additional years and included the provision that any documents needed to enable the SJHD to borrow against the pledge be provided by Rowe and board member Pat Curtis (because he had previous banking experience).

The intent was simple and straight forward: to enable the remodeling of the ambulance building to be undertaken immediately to enable 24/7 ability to provide conveyance to the nearest available medical facility. There was no discussion and no intent to provide 24/7 medical service, and no discussion of EMS vs. EMT vs. paramedics vs. ride-along physicians. The intent was to provide capitol improvement funds for a building. Period!

In 1998/99 there was no move to lynch the SJHD executive director and to tar-and-feather the board; nobody was calling our local MDs greedy country club docs; nobody was calling the employees whiners; and the only discussion of substance abuse was in regard to the PLPOA Public Safety Dept. having a drug-sniffing dog.

The intent was to fund the remodeling, and the SJHD did, indeed, do the remodeling. If there is a mortgage based upon that pledge, the PLPOA is obligated to continue the yearly payments as pledged.

If there is no mortgage, then the PLPOA needs to determine what the money is being used for at this time, and act on the matter accordingly.

The PLPOA board should be very careful not to get involved in the current SJHD controversy, and should not be used by adversaries in that controversy.

Joe Donavan

Back Christians

Dear Editor:

Tom and I consider Pagosa Springs our second home. We have taken the paper to keep up with friends and events since we left in '98. We look forward to the paper each week.

In reading the article about prayer at the senior center I was shocked to learn they were taking the lunch prayer away from the seniors. We back Billy White-Evans and the other Christians 100 percent.

Prayer is a big part of our life as it is for most Americans. We are seniors and we feel that those three people can say their own prayer or leave the room if they do not want to hear the prayer. It is time for Americans to stand up and be heard. We have rights also and from what I read the majority want the prayer.

If you were in the Middle East and it was time for them to pray do you think for one minute they would not pray because you believe in Jesus and not like they do.

It's time for America to wake up and be heard. In God We Trust is what America is all about. In America anyone can worship as they please or not worship at all. Our forefathers came to America for religious freedom. Christians Stand Up and say "Enough is Enough." We also have rights.

Pagosa and our friends, we love you.

Tom and Nancy James

Aspen answers

Dear Editor:

I am responding with disappointment to Jerry L. Evans' letter entitled 'Simple math.' The topic in question is the investigation of facts pertaining the possibility (and I emphasize possibility) of piped water into Aspen Springs.

In July, several citizens formed an advisory board to help gather, process and disseminate information to all property owners. This is a service to the community by people who care. It is time-consuming and is not a paid position.

One of the ways we hope to serve you is to let you have as much information as possible prior to he next election. Only property owners who are Colorado residents can vote; this is the law, not a committee decision. Any owner who is a Colorado resident (even if not living here) can vote, but must request an absentee ballot. Call the county clerk's office at 264-8350.

There are 735 residents who can vote, not 700. Scary? Well, hang on. Of those, only 432 are active registered voters. That means 303 of us need to register if the majority is to be heard. The deadline is Oct. 6 and you've got to be in it to win it, so they say. This means that if you have not voted since the 2002 election you need to go to the county clerk's office to obtain a ballot. If we don't all vote all the disparaging letters to the editor will be moot points. These are the kinds of facts we need to focus on, not on petty criticisms concerning the lack of published phone numbers.

Another FYI derived from the Aspen Springs database is that there are 2,600 lots, not 2,800 and $20 million divided by 2,600 lots can be rounded off to $7,700. Costs are estimated at $600 per year per lot ($50 per month per lot). This does not mean all can afford this or even want it. The advisory committee is not pushing it. Read your newsletter; much effort went into its preparation.

Besides the bond issue, one well and a more local loading station are offered as options. There is other useful information that regards parks and recreation wherein monies are available from the state for trails, parks and playground development. That is a fact and something we could vote on to benefit our community.

Moreover, it would be well-noted that each committee member has had their name published in the newspaper and newsletter. I did some research in the phone book and all but one committee member is listed. I, too, welcome input and am interested and open minded to receiving information prior to casting my ballot this fall.

Let's all be open minded and check and double check our math as information is received. There is much at stake here and something of this magnitude is never simple. Don't forget to register to vote.


Helen Hunts

Slippery slope

Dear Editor

I had the misfortune of meeting a woman at the library last week by her shoving a copy of the Durango Herald in my face, and gleefully celebrated the front page article about stopping prayer at the senior center, even though she didn't live here.

She began to divulge her venomous hatred for Christians and expressed her mission in life was to stop all Christian prayers where ever they existed and that there was no greater call.

When I challenged her assertion that public prayer was illegal, her response was to shove her open hand in my face and say she didn't want to hear it. When I said that "separation of church and state was not in the U.S. Constitution," she said she didn't care. This person has done a "terrorist hit and run," as she has now gone on to another state to do the same thing.

The reason the Pilgrims and Puritans came to the new world was to escape the liberalism which had not only invaded British secular society but the Church of England as well. This continent was the only place where those hated for their Christian orthodoxy could come.

On close examination, the colonials expressed their Christian beliefs in both their Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. How Americans could now let the left and the atheists dictate, not only religious practice, but also the social makeup of society, is very disturbing.

America now appears to be on the same slippery slope that the Anglican church in England has taken. Churches are being closed down there, as they offend the Muslim community. Even though we live in a small mountain town, it appears that the very foundations of this republic, based on religious liberty, are under attack just as in Washington D.C. If liberty fails here in America, it fails everywhere.

To the liberals and anti-Christian lot, it was Christian blood that was shed that you might have the liberty to have an opinion expressed openly. It was shed first at the Cross of Christ and then on the battlefields from Bunker Hill to Normandy. American Christians and Jews have had open prayer, monuments to the Ten Commandments and to God in the public arena for 228 years.

Will more blood have to be shed on our own shores against our own citizens in order to preserve the Constitution and this wonderful "Christian republic"? Just one more thing - to the Christians - does this not show you just how powerful prayer is - so much that atheists are afraid of it!

Clair Mayne

Locum lunacy

Dear Editor:

At the Upper San Juan Health District meeting Aug. 19 I heard its board chairman state that the district was performing just fine and way ahead of schedule in their reorganization efforts.

Then the district accountant gave his report and remarked, "revenues were down across the board." Which honestly did not surprise me since they've lost all of their recent doctors, nurses, technicians, etc., because of bad management. And, I'm sure the cash flow situation in the future will have current management in the dire panic mode should they keep compensating the locum X-ray technician $3,000 a week as was stated at the meeting. I wanted to ask if that included overtime pay for the X-ray tech but I was fainthearted to do so.

Should district management continue to structure this amount of largess to any locum, I forsee management immersed in the biggest Colorado "cowpie" prescription to ever hit the ground in Archuleta County.

I wonder what the previous X-ray tech was earning? I'm certain it wasn't anywhere near the tune of a possible $156,000 a year. Does anyone know what it's costing the taxpayer for the locum physician management has hired but resides in Cortez, who really contributes, basically - nothing?

If future locum salaries continue in the current X-ray tech range, ya best hold onto yer wallet Archuleta taxpayers. Management will soon be asking for another mill levy increase to keep the district out of bankruptcy.

Ya know what I'll vote to give them to keep them out of insolvency?

One large, slightly incensed cowpie!

Jim Sawicki

Aspen Springs

Dear Editor:

I am responding to the letters published Aug. 21 regarding the Aspen Springs water issue. I am the chairman of the advisory committee, a volunteer committee that was formed after the July 15 Metro meeting.

The mission of this committee is to be an information source to help to get the data that has been gathered to date by the Aspen Springs Metro District board out to the community. Names of representatives of the committee were printed in the paper after the July 15 meeting. Since then we have added additional members, and all of the names were published in the newsletter that was mailed to every property owner in Aspen Springs.

Most of the committee members numbers are listed in the phone book. An Internet e-mail address was provided; phone calls and mail posted to the Metro District at PO Box 488 is reviewed and sent to the representative of that unit.

Mr. Evans' allegation that these committee members are not being effective is erroneous. In less than one month from establishing the committee, they published, with board approval, a six-page newsletter; 1,959 copies were mailed on Aug. 15, one to every owner of Aspen Springs property. Currently, they are picking up surveys at the Metro office, Turkey Springs, The Buck Stops Here, Paul's Place, Citizens Bank branches, City Market stores and e-mails from property owners.

I will not address his math since Mr. Evans, being on the committee, has access to accurate numbers.

I will address who can vote. Any Colorado registered voter who owns property in Aspen Springs is eligible to vote on this issue. However, the clerk's office informed me that if you are registered out of the county, you will not receive a mailed ballot. You must apply for an application for an absentee ballot prior to receiving same; it must be mailed to you and sent back to the county clerk no later than Oct. 31.

Mr. Evans asked for responses but did not provide e-mail address or phone number to contact him after presenting a very biased attitude and erroneous information.

Regarding Mr. Petty's letter: I appreciate his request that owners fill out the survey and vote. However, he has only commented on one sentence in the Harris report and must not have reviewed other reports provided the board; those maintain there is enough water.

The only way to find the answer to this question is to start somewhere, and by starting off with alarms and burrs in his saddle, we are not looking for possibilities.

I ask that the property owners look at all of the facts, and get involved in this issue. Also, contact the county clerk with regard to voting, especially if you have not voted since prior to the 2002 election.

Ronnie Zaday

Editor's note: Our apologies to Mr. Evans and to our readers. Mr. Evans did include the requisite numbers in his letter. The mistaken omission is our responsibility.



Community News

Senior News


Cowboy poetry postponed; aid for the blind talk slated

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Today is a big day at the senior center.

We are having our ice cream Social at 1 p.m. and the Jack Hanson Trio will start playing wonderful music at about 11:30 a.m. We also have a senior board meeting at 12:45 p.m. for anyone who wants to sit in and see what's going on.

On Sept. 2 we will have Seeds of Learning kids here to sing. They are always so cute, and are always good about giving out hugs at the end of their presentation.

We had to postpone Bill Downey's cowboy poetry last week. We are hoping to have Bill come back as soon as his schedule allows. Keep reading the Senior News to find out when that will be.

On Sept. 3, Mary Kay Taylor will give us new information and aids for assisting the blind. She is new to Southwest Center for Independence in Durango, so we will be happy to meet her and learn new things.

The kitchen staff at the center would like to thank Galles Properties for donating the shredded pork and baked beans we ate at our picnic in the park. It was delicious.

Definition of an elder

"An elder is a person who is still growing, still a learner, still with potential and whose life continues to have within it promise for, and connection to the future.

An elder is still in pursuit of happiness, joy and pleasure and her or his birthright to these remains intact. Moreover, an elder is a person who deserves respect and honor and whose work it is to synthesize wisdom from long life experience and formulate this into a legacy for future generations."

- The Live Oak Project

A senior personal ad

"I am into solitude, long walks, sunrises, the ocean, yoga and meditation. If you are the silent type let's get together, take our hearing aids out and enjoy quiet times!"


Healthy aging

Colorado Department of Human Services says September is Healthy Aging Month.

This is an annual observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older.

One thing they recommend is getting enough Vitamin E in your diet. An estimated 75 percent of adult Americans are not getting the 15 milligrams per day RDA for vitamin E. Best foods for Vitamin E: almonds, hazelnuts, broccoli, peanuts and wheat germ. For more information log on to the site at or

Visitors and guests

This week we met Carolyn Conway, Ralph Biel and Bert Kirkpatrick. We also got to see Ron Arrington, Bob Formwalt. Ernest Rivas and what a treat to see Mr. Yamaguchi or "Gooch." We also got to see Don and Ilse Hurt again.


Friday - 10 a.m., Qi Gong; 11 a.m. Medicare counseling; noon, Jack Hanson Trio playing; noon, Spirit Day, wear your Silver Foxes Den T-Shirt; 1 p.m. ice cream social - only 50 cents. We have toppings but you can bring your own; 12:45 p.m. senior board meeting in Town Hall

Sept. 1 - Center closed

Sept. 2 - 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 advanced computer class; 11:30, Seeds of Learning Kids sing for us

Sept. 3 - Beginning computer class; 12:45 p.m. Aids for the Blind with Mary Kay Taylor.


Aug. 29 - Green chili stew, stewed tomatoes, orange, crackers and gingerbread

Sept. 2 - Turkey enchiladas, stewed tomatoes, applesauce, crackers and chocolate cake

Sept. 3 - Lasagna, tossed salad, garlic breadstick and fruit cup.



Veterans Corner

Problems in Durango seem to be dwindling

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

The Veterans Service Office will be closed Aug. 28 -Sept. 19.

For scheduling the veterans' transport vehicle call Archuleta County Commissioner's Office, Jan Santopietro, at 246-8300. Please note she is not able to answer VA-related questions, but does have on hand some general VA information sources.

Durango VA Clinic

Some of you may recall a Durango Herald newspaper article earlier this year regarding issues with the Durango VA outpatient clinic. Some of the issues were critical of the clinic itself, by the clinic's staff, including Dr. Daniel Hepburn. The staff also expressed frustrations with Federal Health Net Services, the agency responsible for operating the contract for the Durango VA clinic.

I recently discussed with Dr. Hepburn the idea of a VA Clinic instead of a contract VA clinic. According to Dr. Hepburn the Durango Clinic, which is contracted for through Federal Health Net Services, continues to experience difficulties trying to deal with both FHNS contractors and the VA Health Care system.

When the Durango VA Clinic was in the final planning stages over a year ago local area veterans were given a choice of whether to go with a VA-owned clinic or a contract VA Clinic. We were told by VA health care officials a contract clinic could be up and running in months. A VA-owned clinic would take perhaps as much as a year or more to get into operation. The veterans voted and decided to go with the contract clinic.

Time to rethink

We were told at that time that if the contract clinic did not work out to everyone's satisfaction we could still get a VA-owned clinic down the road. Perhaps it is time to begin again thinking of a VA-owned health care clinic in Durango. This would allow the Durango Clinic staff to work directly with the VA health care system, rather than through a third party.

In the past I, too, have expressed some concerns in this column about the Durango VA Clinic. Much of that had to do with startup issues when the clinic first opened and the sudden and untimely death of the physician at the facility, which created some temporary scheduling problems.

However, of late I have been getting good reports on the clinic from many of our veterans. Many have told me they received prompt response from clinic personnel for their appointment schedules, questions or prescription needs.

Excellent service

I can attest to this personally. Like so many of our Archuleta County veterans, I am enrolled in VA Health Care. Pretty hard to sell something you don't use yourself. As many regular readers of this column know, I am a strong advocate for VA health care and encourage every veteran to enroll.

I have had occasion to personally call the Durango clinic for health care services recently, and have had excellent response to my needs. I called last week to see about getting an appointment to renew prescription drugs. Dr. Hepburn called me back personally, discussed my prescription needs and approved renewals right over the phone. This saved me a trip to the clinic and the doctor's time to see me personally for prescription renewals. Time that may be better spent seeing a veteran for more serious needs.

This may not be possible in many cases, as I'm sure it would depend on the level and needs for certain prescriptions. In my case, the prescriptions are not for any serious conditions. I was very satisfied with the timeliness and professional handling of my needs.

Open to new patients

The Durango clinic is one of the few VA health care facilities in this whole region able to take a steady stream of new patients without prolonged waiting periods. The clinic told me recently they are seeing new patients at the rate of about four a day, in addition to the schedule of appointments for existing veteran patients. They indicated they are able to schedule new patient appointments in about 90 days. Most VA health care clinics and hospitals are closed to all new veteran enrollments, except those with the 50 percent or higher service-connected disability rating.

Positive support

This is excellent service. Most other VA health care facilities have a much longer waiting period for veterans who do not have a high priority classification, or are closed entirely to new enrollments of low priority classification. Veterans with 50 percent or more service connected disabilities are now promised enrollment and assignment to a primary health care provider in a maximum of about 90 days at most facilities.

However, most of our Archuleta County veterans enrolled in VA health care do not have service-connected disabilities, so their priority classification is much lower. Yet, they are still able to get into VA health care in about 90 days, if they qualify under the current income guidelines.

So, not all is as it may seem. There may be some problems at the Durango clinic. I suspect those problems will be addressed and handled properly by the VA processes and in the long run our veterans will continue to benefit from the close proximity of the Durango clinic and the excellent services they provide.

For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the fax number is 264-5949, and e-mail is afautheree@ 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

Big weekend ahead with festival and sale

By Sally Hameister

This is the big weekend for our Four Corners Folk Festival beginning Friday and running through Sunday.

The lineup is stellar, as always, so you can look forward to seeing our own Pagosa Hot Strings, Eddie from Ohio, Tony Furtado and The American Gypsies, the Laura Love Band - and lots of others that you can check out the FCFF Web site at www.folkwest. com or call (877) 472-4672 for info about tickets and such. You can also come into the Chamber to pick up a festival brochure that will most likely cover most of the questions you might have.

Crista and Dan are very excited about regaining their gorgeous and popular venue on top of Reservoir Hill, and I know the many folks who are participating and attending share this sentiment.

There has been a great deal of cleaning, clearing and mitigation up on the Hill, so the Folkwest crew is especially anxious for all to see the "roomier" look. It's a perfectly delightful event and a marvelous way for us to end our summer season and welcome the fall. Hope to see you all up on Reservoir Hill this weekend.

Sidewalk Saturday Sale

Of course, in conjunction with the Four Corners Folk Festival, we also encourage you to Shop Pagosa First at the eighth annual Sidewalk Saturday Sale Saturday, Aug. 30, from the far west of town to the far east of town at all our participating member merchants.

The Sidewalk Sale presents the perfect opportunity for our merchants to shed the summer merchandise and make room for their winter inventory, so it's major savings time for locals and festival revelers alike.

Look for the ad in this week's SUN, and keep an eye out for the bright yellow posters you will see in merchant windows announcing the Sidewalk Saturday Sale. I don't mean to make you cringe, but think in terms of getting a head start on your Christmas shopping and saving lots of dough at the same time.

Casey Mudroch account

I'm sure most of you have heard the terrifying and tragic account of the camping trip which ended in a flash flood that ultimately put 6-year-old Casey Mudroch in a Denver hospital intensive care unit.

It has clearly been a nightmare for parents, Denise and Jim Mudroch, as well as for close friends and family, but the latest reports are most hopeful for Casey's recovery. As you can well imagine, this particular nightmare included a lot of transportation from beginning to end with ambulances and helicopters. (Mother, Denise, was quoted as saying that Casey will be very upset to learn that he was not conscious during these cool rides.)

To help defray both the transportation expenses and the costs incurred over and above the insurance limits, a special account has been set up at Bank of Colorado located at 205 Country Center Drive. Just ask for the Casey Mudroch Account #8500394046 to make your donation. If you have questions, the Bank of Colorado contact is Marion Francis at 731-4166.

For those who would like to send a card to Casey, who will celebrate his seventh birthday this coming weekend, please send the cards locally to P.O. Box 4252, 81147, and Liz Marchand will personally deliver them to Casey this weekend.

We at the Chamber extend our most positive thoughts to the Mudrochs and send Casey our love and very best wishes for his seventh birthday.

Community Choir

Now that you're over the initial shock of being reminded about the approaching yuletide season, you might be ready to hear that the Community Choir is revving up for their 2003 Christmas Concert and looking for new voices to join them in this splendid endeavor.

This year the choir will present evening concerts Dec. 12 and 13 and a Sunday afternoon matinee Dec. 14 at the First Baptist Church. If you have never attended this concert, you have an amazing treat in store.

Pam Spitler will direct this year, with Sue Anderson accompanying on the piano. This year's concert will include exciting new music selections with a wide range of styles including upbeat renditions of traditional carols. Local instrumentalists will be featured as well.

If you love to sing and would enjoy being a part of a group dedicated to bringing the joy of music to others, this is the group for you.

The first rehearsal will be 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St. Subsequent rehearsals will be every Tuesday 7-9 p.m. Call Pam Spitler at 731-4510 or Sue Kehret at 731-3858 with questions about the Community Choir.

Seeds available

The San Juan Conservation District is offering local landowners the opportunity to purchase at a reduced price a variety of native seed mixtures for different conservation uses such as erosion control, weed suppression and grazing land improvement.

These mixtures have been developed to provide a low growing ground cover that requires very little watering. A native wildflower mixture is also available for those who want to beautify their property. Biodegradable erosion control blankets are also being offered at a discounted price.

If you have a leaky ditch or pond, you can ask the folks at SJCD about PAM, which is a granular polymer that can be used to seal earthen canals and ponds. For more information about seeds or PAM, call 264-5516.

SBA meeting

The Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College invites you to attend an SBA Town Hall meeting to let Southwest Colorado residents know what the SBA is and how it can help small businesses.

Patricia Barela Rivera will present the SBA services available to you 6-8:30 p.m. today at the City Hall in Durango.

The contact person for this presentation is Joe Keck at 247-7009 at the SBDC in Fort Lewis College. Joe is the charming man who offers free business counseling to Pagosa Springs Chamber members Visitor Center once a month. If you would like to make an appointment with Joe for his next visit, give Doug a call at 264-2360.

Paradise found

Those of you who subscribe to the Rocky Mountain News hopefully caught the marvelous spread on Pagosa Springs in the Aug. 16 issue.

An independent journalist, Joe Garner, came into town and interviewed a number of people and visited a number of places completely on his own and proceeded to write a wonderful article on his findings about Pagosa and some of its people and places.

Those of you who have some marketing experience know that it is not unusual for a writer to contact the Chamber and say that they are interested in writing a piece about our town and request complimentary lodging and food in return. That was not the case with Joe Garner, and I found his information to be both accurate and objective. The article covered two pages replete with some color photos. If you would care to take a peek, please stop by and we'll share our copy. This kind of exposure about Pagosa is truly priceless, although I know that there are those of you who would love to keep us a deep, dark secret. Probably, truth be known, there's a part of all of us that would love to close the door.

Colorado travel trends

The Colorado Tourism Office has just released the results of a study conducted to find what visitors are looking for in a Colorado leisure travel experience sometime in the next two years.

I am happy to pass those findings along to you, and it goes something like this: 89 percent are looking for beautiful scenery; 78 percent want to visit a new and different place; 61 percent are looking for an opportunity to eat different and unusual cuisines; 55 percent are seeking hotels with casually elegant atmospheres and decors; 46 percent want nightlife and live entertainment; 42 percent are interested in hotels offering historical atmosphere and decor; and 41 percent yearn for a remote and untouched destination.

They also found in their study that adults visiting Colorado appreciate more physical activity while on vacation. The most popular include the following: 45 percent look for hiking and outdoor adventure; 30 percent want to ski our slopes; 28 percent seek white-water rafting; 27 percent want to bicycle through our beautiful countryside; and 14 percent are looking for the ultimate snowboarding experience (I'm guessing that is a younger population.)

More than half of all adults interested in visiting Colorado say they are interested in physical activity on vacation compared to about 40 percent of leisure travelers across the country. I find these results interesting and hope you do as well.


We are happy to introduce new owners this week as well as three new members and 17, count them, 17 renewals. Lovin' life.

We're pleased to introduce Pete and Catherine Carter who are the new owners of Harmony Works-Juice Bar located at 145 Hot Springs Blvd. These good folks offer a fun shopping experience in a friendly atmosphere. You will find organic, healthy food, veggie tonics, smoothies and espresso drinks, all freshly prepared to go, along with healthy products for both the body and soul. Stop by to welcome our new owners to the "hood" or give them a call at 264-6633.

Julie Rezelman joins us as a new member this week with Arbonne International-Independent Consultant. Julie offers natural, botanical answers to PMS, hot flashes and estrogen overload as well as a wonderful line of pH correct skin creams, masques and cosmetics. She can also offer you a terrific herbal muscle massage cream and guarantees all her products. Her anti-aging products are so unique, they are patented. To learn more about Arbonne International, please call Julie at 731-5800.

Rada Neal joins us next with The Music Studio. Rada invites you to learn how to play the piano with the assurance that it can be fun and easy. With Rada at the helm, adults can play both hands in a 45-minute lesson with absolutely no prior experience.

I wish Rada had been around years ago when I had a piano and wasn't too successful with the lessons. Give her a call at 731-0021 to learn more about The Music Studio.

Rada's husband, Chip, joins us next with The Art of Remodeling/Neal Construction. Chip would like to help you make your home a castle. He specializes in bathroom and kitchen remodeling, but is capable in all areas of construction to include plumbing and electrical. He is dependable and fastidious and would love to chat with you about how he can help you with those home projects at 731-0021. You will find a picture of Rada and Chip in the aforementioned article found in the Rocky Mountain News, so I applaud their exquisite timing in joining the Chamber.

Renewals this week include Susan Durkee with Pagosa Nursery Company; Frances Martinez with Rio Grande Savings and Loan Association; Ida Theys, President, TARA Historical Society at Navajo Lake; Doug and Katrina Schultz with Uncle Zack's; Randy Roberts with East Creek Fly Fishers in Bayfield; James G. Kahrs with The Kahrs Insurance Group; Walter A. Lukasik with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association; John Weiss with Navajo State Park; Dawn and Cody Ross with Pagosa Auto Parts, Inc.; Doug and Jamie Sharp with FireFly (Llama) Ranch; Carol and Gary Dillard with The Corner Store, Inc.; Crystal Howe with BootJack Ranch; Jann Pitcher with Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate and Susan Neder with the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club.

Our Associate Member renewals this week include our amazing Diplomat team, Ron and Sheila Hunkin, A.R. and Melba Dillard and Robin and Jim Struck. Many thanks to each and every member for your continued support.


Library News

Donations enhance library's

Western history collection

The library will be closed Sept. 1 for Labor Day.

Becky Porco announced that we will be upgrading the circulation/cataloging program Sept. 4 so we will be closed on that Thursday until 1 p.m.

Hummingbird info

It used to be thought that we should take down the feeders at Labor Day. Now the experts are encouraging all of us to leave them up until the number of hummers is very small.

Margaret Wilson tells us she has it on authority that the birds will stay as long as they can get protein from insects so that is until the first really big frost.

The rude Rufous will leave first. Many have already gone.

I was thrilled to see a Calliope this year. We have a small fountains situated near our feeders and we have been entertained all summer with the water antics of the hummingbirds and gold finches. We'll continue feeding and watering until snowfall.

New books

"The Coronado Expedition 1540-1542," by George Parker Winship, was donated by Ron Alexander.

Few adventures can surpass the journey of Coronado from Mexico City to the plains of Cibola (now Kansas). Fortunately, the Spaniards were fanatic about documenting their history.

Winship started his research on Coronado while he was a student at Harvard. He published his first report for the Smithsonian Institute in 1896. Some of the most important historians and anthropologists have chosen to study this work because it was the first in its field to be written in English. Scholars have discovered relatively few errors in the Winship work.

While this is an old book, it is still an exciting subject of interest to all of us who live here in Coronado country.

Ron also donated another book, "The McKenney-Hall Portrait Gallery of American Indians," by James Horan. This is one of the most impressive undertakings in publishing history.

It contains over 125 color portraits of some of the most famous Indians in our history. They were painted more than 150 years ago by many artists. Horan added written biographies of each Indian to go with the paintings.

McKenney was superintendent of Indian trade under several presidents including John Quincy Adams. Hall was an author who helped McKenney put together the original portfolio. The first printed in 1836. The originals were on display at the Smithsonian and were destroyed by fire in 1865.

Thanks to Ron for adding these two fine history books to our collection.

Bookmarks, postcards

Library volunteers will be selling bookmarks and the special postcard up at the Four Corners Folk Festival this weekend. We are indebted to the 16 artists who supplied the artwork for these keepsakes. The proceeds go to the library building fund for the new children's area.

The Folk Festival up on Reservoir Hill is now in its eighth year and offers three days of musical activities. Congratulations to Crista Munro and Dan Appenzeller who have made this annual event a truly professional and nationally renowned happening.


Thanks for material from Glenn Rutherford, Addie Greer, Willie Hammer, and Gayle Broadbent. Thanks for financial help from Lisa Hartley, and Gil and Lenore Bright in memory of David Krueger's stepmother.




Carla Victoria Eyre was born at 12:40 p.m. July 7, 2003, in Saint Raphael, France. Kevin and Stephanie Eyre are the proud parents and they are living in Agay, France. Carla's proud grandparents are Glen and Linda Eyre from Pagosa Springs, and Dr. Gerard and Monique Adhoute of Agay. Carla's proud great-grandparents are Gretchen Eyre from Johnstown, Colo., Chuck and Kay Herren from Bullhead City, Ariz., and Anna and Pierre Roger Seite from Marseille, France.




Brandi Timmerman, a graduate of Pagosa Springs High School now a senior at Valparaiso University in Indiana, has been inducted into the National Residence Hall Honorary at the university.

The daughter of Blair and Lee Timmerman, now of Newberg, Ore., she is majoring marketing in the school's College of Business Administration.


Deborah Hartvigsen of Pagosa Springs received a master's degree in educational technology during the summer commencement Aug. 8 at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.


Five generations and a host of other relatives and family friends gather Sunday at the Pagosa Springs home of Velma Wood to wish her heartiest congratulations on her 95th birthday. The formal date isn't actually until tomorrow, but getting that many generations together could only be accomplished Sunday. With her are her daughter, Cleda Campbell; great-granddaughter Lorie Williams, granddaughter Cindy Eaklor, grandson Jack Eaklor, and great-great-grandchildren Jay Allen and Cutter Ty Williams. Mrs. Wood was born into the Kingsley family on a ranch in Chromo country and has been a lifelong resident of Archuleta County. She said her secret is to "eat what I feel like eating and not worry about things I have no control over."

Harry and Alene Cole will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Aug. 30. An Alaskan cruise gift from their family will take place in May.



Fighting Back: Three time winner

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"I'm convinced I'm here for a reason."

Nancy VanMatre is not sure what the reason is. Perhaps, she said, it's something she's already accomplished. And, maybe, it's still to come. But, for whatever reason, VanMatre has been given not just a second chance, but a third and a fourth. From 1995 through 2002 she battled cancer three times. And won.

And the equation for success was simple, she said: "God and Harry."

Her faith, and the prayers of friends and family gave her the strength to push through. To wake up thankful for the day, despite challenges like relearning to walk and talk. To never give up.

Harry, her husband of 23 years, was behind her all the way, working with doctors to bring her home as soon as possible and helping her reach her goals of independence. Learning to do laundry. And not complaining about it.

She would ask for her walker, he said. He would reply, "I can't find it right now," and follow her, inches away - just in case - as she walked, by herself, to the bathroom or to get a glass of water. He was also right on her heels as she tried cross country skiing, with oxygen, for the first time and as she climbed V-Rock Mountain a couple weeks ago.

"The real story is her courage and faith," Harry said. "Nancy is the most positive person I've ever met."

The VanMatres, both retirees, moved to Pagosa Springs nine years ago from New York. "Like a lot of people," Harry said. "We found Pagosa by accident."

They purchased property out near Lake Hatcher and built an adobe home together. They joined the Presbyterian church in Allison. Nancy also volunteered at a local thrift shop. They spent many hours enjoying outdoor activities, enjoying each other.

Then, in 1995, a routine mammogram showed cancer "like buckshot" through one of Nancy's breasts. Because of the type of cancer, their only option was surgery - a modified radical mastectomy - to completely remove one breast. They quickly agreed, and Nancy opted to have tissue taken from her stomach to have the breast "rebuilt" by a plastic surgeon. That surgery resulted in a hernia and a procedure to fix that was scheduled.

"They told me I had to have a chest X-ray before the hernia operation," she said. The chest X-ray revealed cancer in her left lung. Again, because of the type of cancer, surgery was the only option. One lobe of the lung was removed.

In September of 2001, another chest X-ray, this one to make sure the cancer hadn't spread, revealed a problem with her right lung. Cancer, again. A PET scan at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale proved it was malignant. Surgery, again. This time, there were complications. Before the surgery could begin, Nancy went into shock. She recovered but the anesthesiologist opted to change all three of the drugs being used. Two days later, Nov. 8, the surgery went off without a hitch.

"In fact people commented on how good she looked when she arrived in the patient room," her husband wrote in a short memoir, "The following day, her progress seemed so good that she was negotiating an early discharge with the doctor."

Two days after the surgery, Nancy contracted pulmonary edema in the left lung. Pulmonary edema occurs when the lungs fill with fluid, effectively drowning the victim. Now, Nancy was living on just one of her original five lobes.

On the specialist's recommendation, they placed her on a ventilator to allow her body to heal the infection. The procedure required sedation to the point of unconsciousness and feeding VanMatre through IVs. "At one time I counted 10 separate bags hanging from IV stands supplying the materials necessary for life support," Harry wrote. It was supposed to last three to four days.

"After about ten days of absolutely no progress, the situation was dire. It appeared that Nancy wasn't going to survive. I was increasingly despondent. She received numerous cards and I taped all of them on the wall next to her bed, hoping that their positive energy would somehow be conveyed to her body. It was evident that many people were praying for her recovery. Our pastor, Jeff Finch, made a number of visits, always elevating my spirits."

Still, there was no progress. The head pulmonologist suggested a "controversial therapy consisting of massive doses of steroids administered by IV." Harry gave the go ahead and continued to watch by her side, spending part of each day praying.

"My prayers would evolve into the conversations with God," he said. "During one particular conversation, perhaps at his lowest point, Harry asked God to "please take care of her soul, " admitting, "there is nothing more I can do." When he finished the prayer, he said, he was in a state of peace. Soon after, Nancy began to respond to the treatment.

That was near Thanksgiving. A few days later, Nancy was transported to Kindred Hospital in Denver to be weaned off the ventilator.

"When Nancy arrived at Kindred, she could not move her arms, legs, hands or feet. Subsequently, a neurologist diagnosed her as having acute care myopathy and neuropathy, which means that both her nerves and muscles were profoundly weakened by both the length of her stay in intensive care and the administration of massive amounts of steroids." The cure - intensive physical therapy.

She continued to improve, regaining consciousness at the beginning of November. Her first memories are of Christmas Day, 2001. Her first wish was to get home. It happened on Jan. 2. "I had never been so sick and so happy at the same time," she said.

She also told her husband of a dreamlike experience she had while under sedation. (Although the doctors said she would remember nothing.)

VanMatre said she was walking along an aisle in a cylinder with a bright, white light at the end. With her was a friend from back east. Through a transparent panel, she could see her brother and three friends, all deceased, all who had a strong influence over her life. They communicated through eye contact and then, her brother said, "Honey, go back, it's not your time yet."

Nancy is convinced this experience coincided with Harry's conversation with God. Later, they learned that the friend she saw in the experience was hospitalized with a severe heart arrhythmia. He also survived.

When the VanMatres returned to Pagosa Springs, Nancy couldn't walk. Or talk. She couldn't take a shower on her own. Or even go to the bathroom on her own.

"When I was coming out of unconsciousness, I began to make a mental list of things I wanted to accomplish," she said. "Stand up. Walk. Walk up to the water tower and so on. The final thing on my list was to hike V Rock Mountain."

She's accomplished the whole list in a year and a half - hiking V-Rock Mountain a couple of weeks ago with her husband and a llama to carry the extra oxygen tanks.

At this altitude, with only two lung lobes out of five, VanMatre must still use a little extra oxygen when she sleeps and while exercising. Even that is "much better than the alternative," she said. All of her treatment, with the exception of the stay at Kindred and the PET scan was done in Durango at Mercy Medical Center or here in Pagosa Springs.

She continues to receive routine checkups. Her mammogram checks have dropped to once a year. Her lungs are scanned once every three months. The checkups are hard, she said. Battling cancer three times is enough for anyone. But she gets through it and goes on - thinking up a new list of things to accomplish and trying to convince others to see the glass half full.

"If I could get one person on oxygen hiding in their house out shopping, it would be worth it," she said. The real story, after all, is about living instead of dying.


Pagosa's Past

Tales of wicked trade

on the Old Spanish Trail

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

They were captives, formerly residents of the Great Basin and now destined for servitude in a New Mexico household.

The time was the 1830s, 1840s, or even 1850s, the place- somewhere along the Old Spanish Trail in Archuleta County.

The captives were known as Pahute, or Paiute, or Piute or even as Digger Indians. They lived in the arid regions of Utah and Nevada, a region crossed by traders along the Old Spanish Trail, a route connecting the Spanish colonies of New Mexico and California. The trail crossed the southwestern corner of Archuleta County.

Pack trains with as many as 200 mules carried woolen goods from New Mexico to California to be traded for horses and mules. But there was another, more profitable, item of barter - humans.

The so-called Digger Indians scratched out a meager existence in the wastelands of the Great Basin. Not infrequently, fathers willingly traded children for horses or other goods.

In other cases, Ute Indians raided their weaker neighbors, captured women and children, then bartered their human contraband to the traders. Sometimes mountain men or even the New Mexicans themselves raided Indian villages in search of slaves.

Indian slavery in Spanish America was as old as the Spanish colonies.

Slavery was not unknown among the various Indian groups, and was especially practiced by dominant cultures such as the Aztecs in Mexico. Captured in war or purchased, the slaves were known as genízaros and could be exploited, bartered or sold by the owners. Much of the enmity between Apache and Hispanic was the Spanish practice of working Apache slaves in the mines of Mexico. But, our focus here is on slave trade along the Old Spanish Trail and through Archuleta County.

A man prominently connected with Hispano-Ute relations during the second half of the 18th century was Manual Mestas, a Ute genízaro, who served as an interpreter for 50 years. An example of Mestes' influence is described in "Old Spanish Trail" by LeRoy and Ann Hafen.

According to the story, in 1809, a band of some 600 Utes, Piutes, and Jicarilla Apaches went on a buffalo hunt in eastern Colorado. While on the upper Arkansas River, they were attacked by Comanches and Kiowas. Ute chief Mano Mocha and several of his braves were killed.

The Utes complained about the white's friendship with the Comanches and threatened to make war on the Hispanics. Mestes convinced the Utes that the whites were innocent, thus averting warfare.

An 1812 Spanish law prohibited slavery, but it was ignored. Because the trade was illegal, little was written about it by the traders.

In 1813, Maurico Arze and Lagos García were brought to trial in Rio Arriba for slaving. They had been, according to their testimony, to Utah Lake where the Timpanogos Utes insisted on trading slaves. When the Spaniards refused, the Utes began killing Spanish horses. The traders fled to the Sanpete River where they met a band of Sanpete Utes, described by Escalante as bearded Indians in 1776. The traders did no business with the Sanpete tribe, but on their way home while crossing the Colorado River at an unidentified location, they were met by the Ute Chief Wasatch.

Because they had been ill-treated by the previous bands of Utes, Arze and García testified, they were afraid not to deal with Wasatch, so they traded for 109 pelts and 12 slaves, which they carried to New Mexico and attempted to sell.

Mountain Man Dick Wootten, while talking of the fur trade in Utah in the 1830s, said, "It was not an uncommon thing to see a party of Mexicans in that country buying Indian slaves."

A Dr. J. H. Lyman, who crossed the Trail in 1841 recorded: "The New Mexicans capture them as slaves; the neighboring Indians do the same; and even the bold and usually high-minded beaver hunter sometimes descends from his legitimate labor among the mountain streams, to this mean traffic. The price of these slaves in the markets of New Mexico varies with age and other qualities of person. From ten to fifteen years old sell from $50 to $100, which is by no means an extravagant price, if we take into consideration the herculean task of cleansing them fit for market."

Another information source said "boys fetching on an average $100, girls from $150 to $200. The girls were in demand to bring up for house servants, having the reputation of making better servants than any others."

By the early 1850s, the Utah legislature outlawed the practice. It is not the subject of this story, but many stories exist of these same slaves growing up in Hispanic households, adopting the family name, and ultimately moving into Hispanic culture, their Indian origins hidden forever.

Our purpose in writing this article has been to show the activities taking place along the Old Spanish Trail through Archuleta County. Certainly uncounted numbers of slaves were carried across the county before it was named or occupied. Trader camps certainly would have been made near today's Arboles or Caracas communities.

Many of the traders who lived at the Abiquiu trailhead are ancestors of current Pagosa Country residents. It would be interesting to discover any family histories containing stories of journeys along the Old Spanish Trail.



A big sales job

It's going to be a tough sell. The proposed use tax, set to appear on

the Nov. 4 ballot will, no doubt, provide for a great deal of local

debate. It is critical the debate take place prior to election day, that the tax be explained and arguments for and against enactment of the tax be voiced clearly. Those in favor face some tough sledding.

This use tax can be defined simply: It is a compensatory tax designed to provide revenues to county and town missed when certain types of materials purchased outside Archuleta County are not subject to 4-percent local sales tax. Local government leaders have decided to ask voters to approve the levy of a 4-percent tax on major purchases made outside the county - specifically those they believe lead to additional stress on infrastructure and services.

The cooperative effort by county and town has produced three targets for proposed taxation.

First, building materials, with the category containing two of the targets. Key to this category are materials used to construct homes and businesses. Many homes and businesses constructed in the past decade have included basic materials purchased outside Archuleta County.

The category also includes materials needed to construct oil and gas facilities. County officials estimate, had all oil and gas permits taken out last year led to construction, and had materials been subject to the proposed 4-percent tax, as much as $750,000 in revenue would have been realized.

The third, perhaps most controversial, category subject to the proposed tax is auto sales. Most automobiles purchased by county residents, and all new motor vehicles, are bought out of county.

Proponents assert these materials and machines put stress on infrastructure and services. Homes add population and put more cars on the road. There is increased need for services: law enforcement, courts, social services. Added pressure is put on recreational facilities and staffs at town and county offices. Oil and gas development, with its truck traffic is a factor in the erosion of road quality.

Recognizing the need to "construct, repair and maintain roads throughout Archuleta County as well as to provide for parks, recreation and open space," Archuleta County has promised 90 percent of its 50-percent share of use tax revenues will be put into a Road Capital Improvement Fund. Ten percent of the revenues will be dedicated to acquisition and development of parks, recreation areas and open space.

The Town of Pagosa Springs has pledged 65 percent of its revenues to streets, roads and cooperative capital improvement projects with the county. The remainder will go to economic development (35 percent) and parks and recreation (10 percent).

Supporters have finalized ballot language and are now on a rocky election road, attempting to convince voters to look on the proposal with favor. They will have to fight the perception that "enough is enough" as regards taxation. They need to fight questions many voters have concerning recent special district bond elections and the use of the funds approved at the polls. They will have to convince voters that more money is part of a successful answer to our problems.

Voters will need to decide: If they build a home, will they pay 4-percent tax on materials purchased outside the county? Should oil and gas development pay that same tax on materials? When they purchase a car outside the county, are they ready to pay an additional 4-percent to local government?

Are the problems the revenues are intended to help solve enough of a concern to warrant another dip into the pocketbook?

We'll know in slightly more than two months.

Karl Isberg



Pacing Pagosa

Growth facts reflected in schools

By Richard Walter

Want some offbeat statistical proof of the growth of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County over the past 50 years?

That's good, since I just happen to have it.

When school officials at last week's freshman orientation reported this incoming class at Pagosa Springs High School was the largest ever, with over 150 registered, I decided my 1953 graduating class probably ranked near the bottom and checked.

For example, there are more students in the high school alone, now, than there were in the entire school district 50 years ago.

The Pagosa Springs SUN of Sept. 4, 1953, reported initial district enrollment for the school year at 503. That was up from 474 at the end of the previous year.

The high school, including its 15 seniors, (we had 16 in the class which had graduated in the spring of that year) had a total of 107 students, relatively few more than the number who initially turned out for football practice early this year. Included were 29 freshmen, 30 sophomores and 23 juniors.

For this school year, the district has 1,580 for funding purposes and a predicted 1,640 overall (including part time and half day students).

It is important for this comparison to remember there was just a single school building housing all students in all grades in 1953 - the structure which now serves as the intermediate school. And the current intermediate school gymnasium in the junior high complex, was a new stand-alone facility separated from the actual school building.

Into that school building were herded 54 first-graders in two classes; 51 second-graders in two classes; 27 third-graders and a third- and fourth-grade combination class of 30; more fourth-graders totaling 66 in two classes; 36 in a single fifth-grade class and 27 in a combined fifth- and sixth-grade class; 38 sixth-graders; 49 seventh-graders and 57 eighth-graders.

The structure still housed its original gymnasium, a below-ground-level facility with balcony seating on three sides and windows on the north. The ground floor housed administrative offices, science laboratories and home economics facilities. A shop where woodwork and plastics forming was taught was on the second floor's east end. It was also the first year all students had lockers. Until that time, all had to keep all their books in a homeroom desk and carry them class to class. Coat hooks lined the hallways and overshoes were standard below each coat hook in bad weather.

This year's graduating class will be, if all members enrolled at the beginning go to the caps and gowns march, bigger than the entire high school enrollment entering in fall 1953.

It is interesting to note, too, that Lady Pirates had not yet made an appearance on the scene. The only sports offered were football, basketball and baseball, and all were male only.

Today's athletic program is still growing. It offers soccer and basketball for both boys and girls, volleyball for girls and wrestling for boys, cross country and golf for both sexes and competitive track, now with a new facility beginning next year, for both sexes.

If trends continue, it is conceivable tennis, swimming and gymnastics will be added.



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of August 29, 1913

The force of men now working on the county road up the river will soon go over on Yellowjacket to work on the road that is to be built over Yellowjacket divide.

Wednesday Charlie Schaad, Pagosa's most troublesome or oftenest caught violator of the anti-saloon and anti-liquor laws, was fined $300 by Judge Caldwell, police magistrate, for a violation of a town ordinance in selling liquor without a license. Schaad promptly appealed to the county court, but later offered to withdraw his appeal if the fine would be reduced to $200. This offer was accepted and the offender promised to offend no more. This start to clean out the bootleggers, although coming late, will be approved by all men who are not themselves law breakers.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of August 31, 1928

Dr. A.J. Nossaman of Pagosa Springs has been appointed registrar of vital statistics for Archuleta County by the state board of health, and Dr. B.F. Jackson, also of this city, has been appointed deputy. All births and deaths in the county should be reported to one or the other.

The public librarian will teach all who care to learn the art of binding books in the afternoon and evening of Wednesdays and Saturdays of each week. The only provision is that they must bind at least four books if they start the work.

The Women's Civic Club will meet next Wednesday at which time the members will assist in binding books. At the last meeting Mrs. Jessie Hayden gave splendid talk on her work in "Americanization."

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of August 28, 1953

This week-end will see the Archuleta County Fair get underway with a record number of entries and exhibits. The fair is scheduled to start on Saturday with judging of the exhibits at the High School gym and the entries at the Red Ryder Round-Up grounds. Sunday is the big day at the rodeo grounds with awards, parade of livestock entries and a junior rodeo.

On Saturday the San Juan Forest Advisory Council met for an informative tour of forest projects in this area. The tour was used by the Forest Service to demonstrate the multi-use of the forest and the activities incident to this use. Some of the projects views showed the council timber sale activities, grazing areas, re-seeding areas, recreational areas and test plots.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of August 31, 1978

Enrollment in the local schools is up 30 students over opening week last year. The school year started with 907 students enrolled. Traditionally this increases by about 30 students by mid-October.

The assessed valuation of Archuleta County is up by almost $3 million over last year, according to County Assessor Genevieve Olsen. The increase came in new construction, utility evaluations, natural resource evaluations and in subdivisions. This is the highest assessed valuation in the history of the county.

The San Juan River is at a record low in its flow through town this month. Records for the past 10 years show the lowest steam flow for August 20 of any of the past 10 years and far below average.