September 18, 2003 
Front Page


Public rancor follows health

chief's stance

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

It was a circus without the benefit of cotton candy or elephants.

With a few exceptions, for over three hours Upper San Juan Health Service District board members and members of the audience at the district's regular board meeting engaged in a he said/she said discussion that, in the end, got nowhere.

It started even before the minutes from a series of previous meetings could be approved - the second item on the agenda after establishing a quorum.

"Don't shake your head, Dan," Board Chairman Charles Hawkins said to Dan Keuning, who was sitting with the rest of the public. Keuning, a family nurse practitioner, is a former employee of the district who now works for a private family medical practice in the community.

Keuning and the rest of the audience had been sitting quietly up to that point. (In a later interview, he said he was shaking his head because of the number of corrections being made to a long list of minutes.) After Hawkins' comment, Keuning got up and left the room. The rest of the crowd began laughing.

During the laughter, Hawkins made a comment to another member of the audience, Jim Sawicki.

"I can laugh if I want to," Sawicki replied. The two argued back and forth for a few moments, their voices escalating.

"Get the officer to escort this man out," Hawkins screamed at one point. A Pagosa Springs police officer entered and asked Sawicki to leave.

Sawicki did.

Audience members vocally expressed their displeasure.

"Are we going to get back to business or are we going to listen to these people who don't matter?" Hawkins said. That comment led to an outright uproar.

"I won't tolerate this nonsense," Hawkins said. "If I have to clear the room I will."

"You can't" and "Go ahead and try" were just some of the responses heard in the community center conference room.

Hawkins replied that he could have the whole audience of 40 or 50 removed, "because this is my meeting, not yours."

One woman screamed for the officer to come back in and escort Hawkins out, others yelled directly at the board. The officer returned, asking everyone to calm down.

Eventually, the board returned to approving the minutes and then committee reports.

During the reports, Director Patty Tillerson apologized for Hawkins stating that he and several other board members had been working hard under a great deal of stress for a long time. Just this week, she said, Hawkins, had been under added strain because of some severe illnesses in family members.

"He's hardly slept," she said, asking the crowd "to find it in their heart" to accept the apology.

Hawkins interrupted to say that he needed to apologize for himself, and did.

"I've been under terrible pressure in the last week," he said. "We need to move forward."

Tillerson continued with her report, telling the crowd that not only did Hawkins put in extra hours with the district, he actually called individual board members to "pick our brains" on issues, involving everyone in decisions.

She went on with her report on the grants and funding committee, saying that before moving forward with grants, the committee was waiting until some of the planning for the future was complete.

"Stay tuned," she said. "We are working, but we're going to do it right."

Things calmed down somewhat. Audience members periodically fired questions at district staff or board members throughout the rest of the meeting and received answers in most cases.

During discussion of district board bylaws, Board Member Debra Brown asked if 24/7 on call coverage could be added at the end of a list of "goals" for district services - listed by funding priority. By 24/7 she meant having coverage beyond EMS which always operates on a 24/7 schedule.

Dr. Jim Pruitt, sitting in the audience, asked if she meant on call coverage by a physician as discussed at past Citizen Advisory Committee meetings, or if physician assistants and nurses would be used as well.

What followed was a long discussion of who said what at which meeting when.

Another citizen said he wanted local coverage by local doctors only. "I don't want some doctor in Alamosa saying do this, do this. I don't want any nurse practitioner or registered nurse giving me advice. I want this doctor and this doctor," he said, pointing to local health care providers in the audience.

Hawkins replied that having local doctors on call evenings and weekends is something the district is working toward. It isn't fully operational yet. Brown's request was approved with rest of the bylaws without specifying "physician" coverage.

A little later in the meeting, tempers flared again when the board began to discuss Dr. Dick Blide's appearance at a recent League of Women Voter's Forum.

Blide, a member of the board, spoke at the meeting, calling the board, "deaf, dumb and blind," - figuratively - because, he said, they simply rubber stamp ideas handed down by the district manager and because they failed to do anything about the entire staff of the medical center resigning back in March.

Blide told the audience at the forum he was speaking as a private citizen, not as a board member. He also said he respected the people involved, but disagreed with them, "100 percent."

At the league meeting, he called for the resignation of both the board chairman and the district executive director, Dee Jackson.

Board member Brown said the negative attacks on Jackson and the board were upsetting, especially those concerning Jackson which should have been addressed through the district's personnel grievance policy, not in a public meeting.

She went back and forth with members of the audience and Blide about when during his speech he actually said he was speaking as a member of the public. Some said it was right at the beginning. Brown contended it was more like 10 minutes into the speech.

She asked Blide if his negativity was going to continue, how it was going to be possible to work together as a board.

"Are you ready to go forward on rebuilding the clinic and EMS?" she asked.

Blide said at every level of government up to the Supreme Court the voice of dissention is allowed to be heard. Many times, he said, it's the voice of accountability.

The discussion continued with comments fired between board members and board members and the public. Topics included the situation at EMS, the clinic staff resignations, Hawkins' experience in health care and his relationship with district management.

"I am my own person and nobody directs me," he said.

Through the public comment part of the meeting, the accusations continued.

Pruitt took the two minutes allotted to each person to speak to the audience about his concerns with the current lack of communication between local doctors and EMS as far as quality assurance. Once again, comments flew around the room about who had called who to try to open communication with local doctors, how many times and so on.

When asked by Hawkins if communication could be opened now, Pruitt said, "No," under the current board.

Audience member J.R. Ford said as long as the board chairman continues to walk a fine line with the truth, the board will continue to lose credibility with the public.

Hawkins maintained he stated the facts.

Board members and one or two in the audience pleaded with everyone to stop the attacks, the destructive behavior, the fingerpointing and to move forward. To work together.

It didn't happen. At least not Tuesday night.


County sets prayer code for center

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A policy containing draft language addressing prayer during senior functions at the Silver Foxes Den in the Pagosa Springs Community Center was adopted this week by Archuleta County commissioners.

According to Bill Steele, county administrator, the policy is based on guidelines set forth by Colorado Area Agencies on Aging and adheres to the principles of the federal Older Americans Act.

The draft language included in the policy adopted by the board Tuesday states, "Each individual participant clearly has a free choice whether or not to pray, either silently or audibly. The county, in any manner, including any and all employees of the county, will not sponsor lead, or organize the prayer."

The decision to adopt the policy comes one month after roughly 20 senior citizens attended the Aug. 12 commissioners' meeting to voice support for Billie White Evans, who appeared before the board to protest a late-July decision by management to prohibit open prayer before meals at the center.

During a lengthy appeal to the commissioners to address the ban on the center's "lunch-time blessing," Evans told the board she was prepared to pursue legal action if the matter was not resolved to the satisfaction of those seeking reinstatement of the prayer.

In the interim, the county agreed to allow the prayers to continue while seeking legal advice on the issue from the state attorney general's office and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, but neither could recommend a viable solution.

A subsequent appeal for guidance to the state area agencies on aging network ultimately led to this week's decision, which garnered favorable comments from Evans.

"This is what we wanted," Evans told the board, "Thank you."


Health panel adopts mission, vision and core values statements

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Amid the fingerpointing, shouting and rebuttles, at Tuesday's Upper San Juan Health Service District meeting, some board action was taken, including adoption of revised mission, vision and core values statements.

The mission statement, revised from one passed in 1997, reads: "Our mission is to provide the highest quality physical, mental and preventive health care for citizens and visitors of Archuleta, Southern Hinsdale and Western Mineral counties in a cost-effective and responsible manner."

The vision statement, which had to be written from scratch, reads: "We will strive to provide an integrated, expanding and educating health care system while maintaining quality professional service for our community."

And the core values, expanded from a paragraph to a list, read:

"The district believes in the following:

- Accountability: accepting responsibility as health care providers, and investing pride in our work,

- Initiative: taking positive action to accomplish our mission with continuous improvement as a daily process,

- Respecting our diversity: treating each other with respect and dignity,

- Professional development: enhancing our skills and increasing our knowledge to achieve our personal best,

- Innovation: searching for new and creative ways of providing service,

- Communication: board members, employees and community members openly sharing and receiving ideas and information,

- Leadership at all levels: challenging the process, inspiring vision and leading the way,

- Teamwork: approaching decision-making and problem solving by involving all employees and focusing on people first, then processes.

Charles Hawkins, board chairman, said the board devised the new statements during a pair of work sessions in September.

Business Manager John Farnsworth told the board after a full month in a rebuilding mode at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, the district's overall cash position is actually better than expected.

Back in July, Farnsworth provided the board with a cash flow projection based on rebuilding the clinic instead of privatizing. In that projection, ending cash for the district in August was placed at $456,187. Now that actual figures are available, that number is $483,187 - $27,000 more than expected. Net cash losses in both EMS and the clinic were less than projected.

The costs of locum tenens - contracted doctors who've been covering the district temporarily until permanent staff can be hired -  and a temporary technician, also didn't drain district coffers as much as some in the public expected, Farnsworth said.

According to the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center income statement, actual total staff expenses for the month of August totaled $52,842. The amount budgeted for the month back in Oct. 2002, totaled $51,870. The result is a budget overrun of less than 2 percent.

Kathy Saley, public relations and training coordinator, reported that results of a customer service survey of clinic patients conducted in August and September were very positive.

Patients were asked to rank the clinic on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best on seven factors of their visits, including: waiting time, cleanliness of the facility, telephone courtesy, professionalism of the nurses and physicians and the efficiency and friendliness of the check out process.

The average (weighted) response on nursing staff professionalism, knowledge and helpfulness was 8.69. The lowest score came on wait time. That average weighted response was 7.44.

Saley said surveys were distributed to those coming into the clinic one week, filled out by phone another week and mailed out a third week to cover a variety of bases.

The board also approved a motions to adopt employee policies on responsible use of the Internet, outside employment, direct deposit of earnings and exit interviews.


'Zoning plan' wording makes process debut

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A request from the Archuleta County Planning Department to begin implementation of the remaining policies outlined in the Community Plan received the green light Tuesday from county commissioners.

Heading the list of issues included in the Community Plan, which was adopted as a visionary guideline for growth in 2001, is how the county will choose to address the rising need for growth management.

While past discussions on the subject have only alluded to what has been referred to as the "z word," Commissioner Mamie Lynch's motion this week to approve a trio of planning staff recommendations to begin the implementation process included specific reference to a "zoning plan."

During a lighthearted exchange in which Commissioner Bill Downey asked Lynch if she might consider amending her motion to include the terminology "land use districts" instead of "zoning plan," Lynch responded, "No, sir, I will not."

"I'll second it anyway," replied Downey, and the motion carried unanimously thereafter.

In short, planning staff's plan targeting how the county will tackle the growth issue is based on a high level of community participation and feedback, including volunteer participation in focus groups, surveys and public hearings.

One of the notions approved by the commissioners this week was a recommendation from planning staff to create a committee charged with selecting diverse groups of individuals - representing various areas of the county - from the pool of volunteers the planning department is seeking to participate in the process.

Those selected will serve on focus groups, participate in question-and-answer sessions and be asked to offer suggestions regarding how they feel the county should pursue the revision of current land use regulations, or the development of new alternatives.

The board moved to appoint itself as the selection committee for the focus groups, and indicated it will take on the responsibility in accordance with suggestions from the planning department and county administrators.

Though subject to modification, the following is a general outline of planning staff's initiative in its entirety:

- planning six meetings in five different areas of the county. Meeting locations will include Chromo and Arboles (at a home, school or church), the Vista Clubhouse, Aspen Springs (at a home or possibly the metro building) and the community center. An additional meeting, held exclusively for students, will take place at Pagosa Springs High School

- recruiting volunteers from the meeting areas and then submitting a volunteer list to the county commissioners for review; the commissioners will then select 12-15 individuals from each area that will constitute a focus group at each meeting

- after all of the focus groups have concluded, the commissioners will appoint a "Community Plan Implementation Team," or citizens' committee, to continue the process

- in addition, planning staff will compile all of the qualitative information gained, acknowledge similarities and differences in responses and analyze the results

- a bilingual survey based on the results will then be recommended in order to determine whether or not the general public agrees with the findings

- following the survey, all cumulative data will be provided to the Community Plan Implementation Team for review

- the resulting preferred scenarios will then be presented to the planning commission and county commissioners during a joint work session and public hearing(s), then be presented for additional public comment.

The timeline involved with the proposal calls for possible new regulations to be ready for consideration by the commissioners within one year.

"We hope to have a draft policy ready for review by next spring," said Marcus Baker, associate county planner, "And we plan on having something concrete ready for adoption by fall of next year, if not sooner."

Anyone interested in volunteering to participate in the process should contact planning staff at 264-5851 or stop by the planning department office at 527 A San Juan St.



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Colorfest forecast: Blue skies and mild temps

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

If the latest forecasts for Pagosa Country hold true, anyone wishing to attend this week's outdoor Colorfest activities need not worry about the possibility of being rained out.

According to Brian Avery, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, the monsoon is most likely over and abundant sunshine mixed with mild temperatures should be the norm for the next seven days.

"The weather pattern for the Four Corners region has shifted away from a monsoonal flow and back to a north by northwesterly flow," said Avery. "In other words, we're heading into a fairly dry, benign weather activity period for the coming week."

As a result, said Avery, this weekend's hot-air balloon ascensions should take place under azure skies, though early-morning temperatures will be on the chilly side.

"We've got some of the coolest air masses of the season dipping into the state from the northwest," said Avery. "Daytime highs will hit the mid-70s, but we could hit the freezing point by Sunday morning."

Otherwise, according to Avery, the forecast is generally pleasant, with highs today expected to range from the upper 60s to mid-70s. Nighttime lows should fall into the mid-30s.

Sunshine and clear skies are predicted to dominate the forecast for Friday; highs should peak in the mid-70s while lows should settle into the upper 30s.

Saturday and Sunday call for mostly-sunny skies, light afternoon breezes, highs in the 70s and lows around freezing.

The forecasts for Monday through Wednesday are redundant in foretelling of mostly-clear skies, highs in the low to mid-70s, and lows in the mid-30s.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 68 degrees. The average low for the week was 38. Precipitation totals for the week amounted to zero.

The Pagosa Ranger District continues to list the current regional fire danger as "low." 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.

San Juan River flow ranged from 400 cubic feet per second over the weekend to approximately 135 cubic feet per second Wednesday morning. The river's historic median flow for the week of Sept. 18 is roughly 80 cubic feet per second.



Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Youth soccer, coed volleyball underway

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Youth soccer is in full swing, with 26 teams from the ages of 5-13. We have games scheduled for Tuesdays/Thursdays, with the possibility of some Saturday play for weather related make-up games. Games are scheduled through Oct. 16.

If you do not have children playing but enjoy watching the little ones play soccer, please stop by the soccer fields just south of the elementary school, or in Town Park.

Adult volleyball

Coed adult volleyball is set to start next week with games to be played in the community center gymnasium on Mondays and Wednesdays through November.

Parks association

The annual conference for the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association will be held in Steamboat Springs. The event attracts vendors, and leading speakers in the field of parks and recreation.

In 2004 we plan to build the first phase of the Pagosa Springs Sports Complex. With this in mind,  it will be nice to talk to vendors and contractors. The vendors especially interesting to us will be the lighting and landscape architects. We do have a master plan, but the total design of Phase One will be up for bid, hopefully in February.

Capitol improvements

We had budgeted for remodeling the Town Park gazebo this year. However, with the busy summer, then the tax revenue shortfall, we are cutting back the improvements.

The building was reroofed, and the restrooms painted. The last little improvement will be to put in new stalls in both restrooms.

The work done has made a big difference in the building. You can see the plans by coming into town hall and seeing the rendering of the gazebo.  

We hope to paint and stucco the exterior next spring.


Pirates qualify team for state golf tourney

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

There was dramatic, nail-biting tension.

Pagosa Springs senior Casey Belarde calmed himself and readied a putt for par on the 18th hole Tuesday in Pueblo.

Make it and the Pagosa Springs High School golf team qualifies for state. Miss and only three players will go as individuals.

Teammates Tom Huckins and Ty Faber, already in with sparkling qualifying rounds, urged Belarde to "go for birdie."

But he opted, with two strokes left for par, to chip to the hole with a wedge and then putt out for par. He did and it meant a second-place finish in the regionals for the Pagosa team.

Canon City fired a 218 for first place. Pagosa Springs was second at 235 and the host school, Pueblo West, finished a stroke back at 236.

Only two teams advance from regional action.

Other players can qualify individually if they finish within 10 strokes of the low score of the last team qualifier. For this tournament that figure was 79.

That meant that Pagosa's fourth finisher, Jake Mackensen was one stroke off qualifying with his score of 90.

The Pirates, despite the play by Belarde down the stretch, were paced by senior Ty Faber who shot a 75 on the par 72 course.

He was 4-over after the first four holes, but stormed back to play the last 14 holes 1-under.

Tom Huckins was close behind at 78, playing steady golf all day, never far from the lead and keeping space between himself and pursuers and Belarde came in at 82.

That 18th hole, coach Mark Faber said, is a tough par-4 with sand traps right and left and an uphill lie.

"We knew as Casey came in that he had to par the hole for us to go. His fairway shot went through the right bunker and climbed up to the lip."

Wind, which the team had experienced in a practice round on the course the day before, was not a factor until Belarde's last three holes Tuesday.

"But," said the coach, "it turned out to be a favor because it came up at his back."

Not allowed to coach his senior, who has cut 16 strokes from his early season average, Faber was pleased to see him go for two shots rather than trying for birdie.

"On our practice round, we all had trouble holding the green with putts rolling far past the hole. When Casey opted to go for par, it was the right decision for the occasion."

The kids went wild when his 2-footer dropped in the hole for his par, Faber said.

"It meant we were going to state as a team."

All season long, the coach had been saying he could see no reason Pagosa could not qualify a team entry for state.

On Tuesday, the golfers proved him a soothsayer.

Ty Faber was the only member of the team who had seen the course before the practice round Monday, having played there in regionals last year as Pagosa's lone representative.

"He remembered the struggles with the wind, and as we practiced it was he who first noted how fast the greens were," the coach said.

On that basis, he said, "we decided we'd be better off to chip short and putt for par rather than take a chance on the ball running."

With the temperature at 90, the wind growing, a crowd of 75-100 in the 18th hole gallery and the pressure mounting, Belarde put the issue to rest.

"And then," the coach said, we waited around to be sure, to see the totals posted. It was bittersweet that Jake didn't make it."

But it proves that one stroke given up anywhere on the course can come back and get you at the end.

"There was a great Pagosa Springs turnout for the playoffs," said Faber. A tribute, he said, to "families and friends who will sacrifice their personal time and take off from work to support what many see as a minor sport.

"These kids proved it isn't a minor effort to them, and we hope the Pagosa crowd will be even larger when we go to state competition Sept. 29 and 30 in Alamosa."


Pirates improve to 2-1 with 27-14 win over Delta

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

In high school football, road wins over teams from larger school districts are often hard to come by.

That's why Class 2A Pagosa Springs' 27-14 victory last weekend over Class 3A Delta was especially satisfying for Head Coach Sean O'Donnell and the Pirates.

Throw in the fact the Pirates climbed onto the bus before daylight Saturday, crossed the Continental Divide twice during their 400-mile round trip and returned home after 10 p.m., and the win is that much sweeter.

However, Delta appeared ready to take advantage of the road-weary Pirates from the onset when some miscommunication by the Pagosa defense enabled Panther tailback Brett Christie to burst 85 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown on the third play of the game.

The point-after attempt failed, but the home crowd was celebrating the Panthers' homecoming weekend with a 6-0 lead just one minute into the contest.

Things looked even brighter for the Panthers after a third-down fumble on the Pirates' opening possession gave Delta the ball back within striking distance at the Pagosa 36.

But the Pirate defense answered the challenge, and Delta turned the ball over on downs after a sack from Pagosa's Bubba Martinez forced the Panthers into a failed pass attempt on fourth and long.

The Pirates had to punt on their ensuing possession, but after the defense held Delta to three and out, Pagosa set out for what would prove to be a long scoring drive from its own 17-yard line.

Alternating runs from Pirate tailback Jeremy Caler and fullback Marcus Rivas and a key third-down strike from quarterback David Kern to Brett Ford moved the ball across midfield.

Then a short gainer from Caler and an encroachment penalty gave the Pirates a second and 1 from the 40, and sophomore tailback Daniel Aupperle evened the score on the next play, taking a handoff and galloping to paydirt with 28 seconds left in the opening period.

Aupperle's extra-point attempt was good, and following his kickoff the first quarter ended with Delta facing second and long from its own 30, trailing the visitors 7-6.

Pagosa's Manuel Madrid recovered a Panther fumble at the 25 on the first play of the second stanza, but an interception just two plays later by Delta's Curtis Englehart ended the Pirate threat and gave his team the ball on its own 6-yard line.

Delta looked to be on track offensively from that point and was moving the ball efficiently until Pirate senior defensive end Coy Ross forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Korey Hart at the Panther 35.

Caler made good on the turnover two plays later, breaking tackles en route to a 35-yard scoring jaunt that put the Pirates up 13-6 with 8:00 left in the half.

After converting the point-after attempt, Aupperle booted the ensuing kickoff into the end zone for a touchback and the Panthers set up from their own 20 trailing 14-6.

The teams then traded punts with neither mounting a scoring threat until Pagosa set up for a 42-yard field goal attempt by Aupperle with 38 seconds left in the half.

The kick drifted wide left, however, and the half ended with the Pirate lead holding at 14-6 after Panther quarterback Blake Carlquist took a knee to run out the clock.

The Pirates would strike quick to open the second half; Aupperle returned the Panther kickoff to the Pagosa 34, then followed up with a first-down carry to the Pirate 45.

Two plays later Kern ducked inside on a quarterback keeper and raced untouched for a 55-yard score that extended the Pirate lead to 14. The point-after attempt failed, but Pagosa led 20-6 with 10:29 left in the third.

On Delta's next possession, Panther wideout Brendon Simmons fumbled at his team's 43-yard line after being hit by Pagosa's Paul Armijo, and once again Hart came up with the loose ball for the Pirates.

Pagosa failed to move the ball into scoring range, but Armijo's punt pinned Delta inside its own 20-yard line and the Panthers were soon in punt formation at the goal line after an intentional grounding call on third down.

O'Donnell put the punt block on and Kern smothered the attempt inside the goal line; Caler recovered the ball for the score and Pagosa led 27-6 after the extra point from Aupperle.

However, following Aupperle's kickoff, it looked as if the tide might turn in favor of the Panthers as the Pirates appeared to be suffering the effects of the long road trip for the first time in the contest.

Pressed for time, the Delta offense opened up and drove to the Pagosa 35 to end the third quarter and scored on a 5-yard pass from Carlquist to Rider before completing a two-point conversion to make it 27-14 with 10:46 on the clock.

After holding the Pirates to three and out on their next possession, the Panthers used a series of quick passes to drive inside the Pagosa 5 with under seven minutes to play.

But Aupperle came up big for Pagosa on Delta's first and goal from the 3, intercepting Carlisle in the end zone and returning the ball to the line of scrimmage with 6:30 remaining in the game.

Kern dashed to the Delta 39 three plays later, and although the Pirates came up shy on fourth down from the 32, a Caler sack on Delta's ensuing fourth down gave Pagosa possession at the two-minute mark.

Rivas carried for a first down in the final minute, and the Pirates ran out the clock to win 27-14 and improve their season record to 2-1.

Kern led the Pirate ground attack with 126 yards on 15 carries, followed by Caler with 76 yards on 17 carries. Aupperle contributed 68 yards on 7 carries.

Rivas led the way defensively, tallying 11 tackles for Pagosa, followed by Bubba Martinez with nine and Armijo with eight.

"We had a difficult week with a lot of kids being sick, and we ended up having to shift guys around the best we could," said O'Donnell after the game, "But we got by with a win."

One of the adjustments put Rivas at fullback this week, and O'Donnell indicated the 200-pound junior will likely stay there for the remainder of the season.

"I think the move (from center) makes us tougher; he's a good, physical blocking back," said O'Donnell. "We can still run out of a split-back set with him, and he also enables us to line up in the 'I' formation when we want to."

With respect to his team's overall performance, "I was pleased with the way the defense bounced back after giving up that first quick score," said O'Donnell, "But we're still not quite playing at the level we need to be.

"And I'm a little frustrated with the offense, trying to pinpoint exactly where the problems are," added O'Donnell. "We're just not clicking consistently; we're missing some reads, making wrong reads and committing too many penalties.

"But we're certainly happy to be 2-1," he concluded.

O'Donnell and the Pirates stay home for their next three contests, the first of which takes place tomorrow against Class 3A Montrose. Game time at Golden Peaks stadium is set for 7 p.m.


Pagosa 7 7 13 0-27

Delta 6 0 0 8-14

First Quarter

Pag - Aupperle 40 run (Aupperle kick)

Del - Christie 85 run (kick failed)

Second Quarter

Pag - Caler 35 run (Aupperle kick)

Third Quarter

Pag - Kern 55 run (kick failed)

Pag - Caler fumble recovery after Kern punt

block (Aupperle kick)

Fourth Quarter

Del - Rider 5 pass from Carlquist


Lady Pirates beat Centauri for second IML win

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

If the Sept. 13 Pagosa win over Centauri proved anything about the Lady Pirate volleyball team, it is that there is great potential on the team and a lot of work to be done before season's end.

The 3-1 win, the second Intermountain League victory of the young season, was achieved without consistent, effective play, giving rise to the thought that the Ladies will be formidable when all the elements of their game come together.

Pagosa let the Falcons hang close in the first game of the match, with Centauri taking a 12-10 lead.

Sophomore Liza Kelley took the serve and stayed there for eight points, hitting two aces during the run. The Ladies got points on blocks by Caitlyn Jewell and Lori Walkup and on two kills by Walkup.

With Pagosa ahead 19-13, that should have been enough, but Centauri refused to give in and used a series of Lady Pirate errors to close the gap to 23-21. Pagosa mistakes continued to plague the team and, combined with a Falcon ace and a stuff block by the Centauri middle blocker, the Falcons went in front 25-24, needing only one point to take the game.

Laura Tomforde killed for a point to tie the score then hit an ace. Walkup crushed a Centauri pass that crossed the net and the Ladies escaped with the 27-25 win.

Pagosa went in front 6-2 in the second game, but the Falcons played a good back row game and took advantage of continuing Pagosa mistakes to stay close, drawing to within three, 19-16.

At that point, the Lady Pirate game came unraveled and the visitors ran off five consecutive points, handed over on a rash of receive, serve and passing errors.

The teams battled back and forth, tying at 22 and 24. Pagosa went ahead 25-24 on a Falcon hitting error, but Centauri got a kill and a point on a poor Pagosa attack to lead 26-25.

Jewell killed off the pass to tie the game at 26. Centauri went ahead by a point on a serve mistake by Pagosa but junior middle hitter Bri Scott killed to tie the score again.

The next Pagosa serve went out (one of 15 serve errors in the match), giving up a point and an attempted kill was out, giving Centauri the 29-27 victory.

Centauri managed a 5-3 advantage in the early going in game three but a solo block by Jewell and two consecutive kills by Walkup sent the home team ahead. The Falcons got a boost on another Lady Pirate serve error but Pagosa took the serve back and Walkup was at the serve for four points. Pagosa led 11-6.

The Ladies stayed in front the remainder of the game getting earned points on kills by Jewell and Walkup, and a stuff block by Scott. Centauri lingered within reach, however, garnering points as a result of unfocused back row play by the Ladies and a bevy of Pagosa hitting errors. Sophomore Caitlin Forrest ended the game at 25-17 with an ace.

Pagosa took off well in the fourth game of the evening, running off four points with Jewell at the serve and building a 6-3 lead. The teams traded two-point runs before Centauri went in front 11-8.

Scott and Forrest combined on a block, Pagosa received a point on an errant Falcon kill and Kelley put a roll shot down to tie the game at 11-11.

It was back and forth in the midsection of the game: Centauri went up 14-11 but the Ladies benefitted from Falcon errors and an ace by Scott to go in front 15-14.

Centauri took a 17-15 lead, then built the lead to 19-16 before the Ladies rallied to tie the score, getting a point on a Falcon hit that went out, a kill by Jewell and an ace by Kelley.

The Falcons got their last advantage of the evening on a kill but a serve error gave a point and the serve to Pagosa. With Jewell at the serve, the Ladies ran the table. Scott hit to the back line, Walkup scored with a kill, Forrest nailed a putback of a faulty Falcon pass and the blocks went up, stifling Falcon hitters and forcing them into two consecutive errors. The Ladies had the 25-20 win.

Coach Penné Hamilton highlighted her team's lack of consistency and intensity against a Centauri team lacking the usual height and skill at the net.

"I thought we were out of sync without Courtney Steen (away at a family wedding) and Lori Walkup feeling under the weather. A lot of the kids had an off night."

All was not dark, however. "On a positive note," said the coach, "the girls stuck with it, showed character and did some good things at times. The players who came in off the bench did a great job for us. Liza Kelley's serving saved us at critical times. She had 25 serves and scored 18 times."

The Ladies travel to Kirtland N.M. tonight for a match against a tall and talented Bronco team. Pagosa returns to the home court Saturday, playing 4A Alamosa and Montrose as part of a triangular meet. The Ladies contend with Alamosa at 11 a.m. and return for a match against the Indians at 3:30 p.m.


Kills: Walkup 10, Scott and Tomforde 7 each

Ace serves: Kelley 4, Tomforde 3, Scott 2

Assists: Tomforde 16, Walkup 12

Solo blocks: Jewell 3, Walkup 2

Digs: Scott 8, Kelley, Tomforde and Walkup 7 each


Win on the road gives Pagosa head start in league race

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Monte Vista's volleyball team has high hopes for success this year, putting a seasoned team on the court for the first time in several years, and running under the leadership of a new head coach, Michelle Schaefer.

Hopes were bolstered in Monte Vista by a preseason tourney win over Intermountain League rival Centauri so, when Monte entertained the Lady Pirates Sept. 11, the team was ready for an upset of the perennial league leaders.

It didn't happen.

In fact, Monte Vista was unable to win a game, falling to Pagosa 25-16, 25-19, 25-19.

The gap in the scores could have been much greater had the Lady Pirates turned over fewer points on mistakes. As it was, Monte put only 12 earned points on the books.

The home team led Pagosa twice in the first game of the match, going out to a 3-0 lead, then catching up to and passing the Ladies for a 4-3 advantage.

Brandi Whomble tied the score with a kill from outside and, with senior Amy Tautges at the serve, the Lady Pirates went on a 5-point run. The blocks were up and Monte hitters put the ball out three times - a factor in each of the three games - and a Monte serve error accounted for the fifth point.

Pagosa's attack functioned well in the first game. The Ladies went ahead 12-6, getting three points from Bri Scott who killed from the middle and the strong side, and from Whomble. Pagosa lapsed momentarily, giving up five unanswered points with errors before Caitlyn Jewell scored and took back serve with a kill from outside. Junior Laura Tomforde put two aces down for points and stayed at serve for a 6-point spree. Jewell scored with a solo block, Lori Walkup crushed a ball from the weak side and Courtney Steen put a kill down from the strong side.

Pagosa gave up five points with mistakes but went on to the win with scores from Walkup, Scott on a putback of an errant Monte pass, Walkup - again, on a solo block - Tomforde on a putback and the final point on a Monte hitting error.

It was Pagosa's turn in the seccond game to go ahead 3-0 and the Lady Pirates pressed on to lead 10-4, and 14-7. Monte crept back into contention, drawing as close at 18-15, but surrendered three points on errors and gave up a point to Tomforde. Monte Vista got three charity points from the Lady Pirates, but Pagosa scored with Scott swinging to the weak side for a kill and the home team gave up the deciding score with a net violation.

In the third match, the teams tied at 7-7. Pagosa got earned points from Jewell, Walkup and Scott.

The Lady Pirates dominated the midsection of the game to lead 18-9 and 20-12. Monte took advantage of sloppy play on the Pagosa side of the net to run off five consecutive points, earning only one with a kill. Pagosa replied with four straight points, one a gift on a Monte serve mistake, the others on an ace by Tautges, a kill by Scott, and a block by Walkup and Scott. The final Pagosa point, and the win in game and match came when Walkup put a kill to the floor.

"I loved it," said Coach Penné Hamilton of her team's first IML win of the season. "The Monte girls came out loud and hyped up and our girls stayed focused. We were more aggressive and just played our game. In general, we controlled the net with our blocking and Monte got frustrated."

Hamilton acknowledged Monte Vista is an improved team. "They are a lot better on defense," she said, "and they have a couple of girls who can swing at the ball. I watched who got frustrated and we served to them. If they played the serve receive deep, we served short. When they moved up, we served long. It worked."

Pagosa travels to Kirtland, N.M. tonight for a game with a tough Bronco squad. Saturday, Pagosa plays Alamosa at 11 a.m. in the home gym then returns to the court as part of a triangular meet, playing Montrose at 3:30 p.m.


Kills: Scott 7, Jewell, Tomforde, Walkup and Whomble 5 each

Ace serves: Scott, Tautges and Tomforde 1 each

Assists: Walkup 14, Tomforde 13

Solo blocks: Jewell 3, Walkup 2

Digs: Steen 6, Tautges and Tomforde 5 each.


Lady Pirates drop IML match to Bayfield

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

If anyone finds the wheels to the Lady Pirate volleyball wagon, please return them as soon as possible.

They fell off Tuesday night as the Bayfield Wolverines came to town and swept the Ladies 20-25, 24-26, 28-30, in the first of two regular season Intermountain League meetings between the two rivals.

Every aspect of Pagosa's game faltered as the team handed over too many points on errors to Bayfield. The first game of the match saw the teams stay close in score until the end of action, but the Ladies failed to take advantage of leads in the other two games of the match.

In the first game, the teams tied throughout, at 5-5, 10-10, 17-17, before the Lady Pirates were bit by the error bug and gave up four points in a five-point Bayfield run. The home team managed to close the gap to 20-23 but a successful Bayfield back-row attack and an ace serve gave the victory to the visitors.

Pagosa took a 5-1 lead in the early going in game two and was ahead 7-2 before another rash of mistakes in the back row surrendered an unearned point. The Ladies put together one of their few runs of the evening to extend the advantage to 15-8 then traded points to stretch the lead to 20-12.

There was no putting the game on ice. Bayfield scored three points, getting an earned point on a tip - a play that worked consistently for the Wolverines - and two points on Pagosa hitting and passing mistakes.

The Pagosa lead dwindled to 22-17 and Bayfield made a move running off six points to the Ladies' one. The score was tied 23-23.

Pagosa scored and Bayfield responded. A Pagosa net error put the Wolverines ahead 25-24 and the visitors won on a Lady Pirate setting and passing mistake.

The teams stayed close in the third game, up to 9-9, before Pagosa surged, getting five unanswered points. Bayfield came back immediately to close the gap to 14-13.

Pagosa put on another move - the last of the evening for the home team - to lead 20-14, but four consecutive serve-receive mistakes turned over points to Bayfield and the Wolverines were within striking distance 20-19

A Pagosa back-row attack succeeded, but the Wolverines turned the tables again, getting one earned point and freebies off two Pagosa serve-receive mistakes and a Lady Pirate passing error to snatch the lead, 23-21.

From there, it was a race to the finish line. Pagosa's best chance to win came when the team went in front 25-24; a net violation tied the score. Bayfield went up 26-25; the Ladies got a tip to the floor to tie.

A Pagosa attack went out of bounds but a Bayfield hitting error allowed the Ladies to tie the game 27-27. A Wolverine hit went inside the block for a point; Bayfield surrendered a point with a setting error.

Bayfield went ahead from the 28-28 tie to the win courtesy of Pagosa setting and hitting errors.

The Lady Pirates, now 3-3 on the season and 2-1 in the IML, seek to rebound tonight at Kirtland, N.M. in a 6:30 p.m. match with the Broncos. Action heats up Saturday at the PSHS gym with an 11 a.m. match against 4A Montrose and a 3:30 meeting with 4A Alamosa.


Kills: Jewell 9, Scott and Tomforde 5 each

Ace serves: Whomble 3, Tomforde 2

Assists: Tomforde 17, Kelley 6

Solo blocks: Jewell 2

Digs: Steen and Whomble 12 each, Scott 11


Lady golfers net 34 points against Kirtland

By Lynne Allison

Special to The SUN

Pagosa's women's golf team took on Kirtland Riverview Club Sept. 4 and picked up 34 points in league standings, now at sixth place.

Barbara Sanborn, team captain, said six of the teams are very close in point totals with only four and a half points separating Pagosa and the team in second place.

Representing Pagosa against Kirtland were Jane Stewart, Jan Kilgore, Sanborn, Lynne Allison, Sho Jen Lee, Bonnie Hoover, Carrie Weisz and Josie Hummel.

Pagosa was to play Pinion Hills at Pinion Hills layout today. The last match of the season will be Oct. 2 at San Juan Country Club.

Opponents will be chosen according to each team's final league standing: first vs. second, third vs. fourth, etc.


Lady thinclads second at Aztec; boys third

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Both the boys' and girls' cross country teams overcame a few bumps in the road this week to finish in the top three in Aztec.

"We're into the duct tape and bailing wire portion of the season," Head Coach Scott Anderson said. Just three members of the original ladies varsity team were able to set foot on the course. The others were out with illness.

Still, the Lady Pirates finished second as a team - just three-points short of first-place Bayfield. Sophomore Emilie Schur set her second course record of the year, crossing the finish first with a time of 21 minutes, 42 seconds.

Freshman Jessica Lynch claimed second, finishing in 22:36. "She ran a spectacular race," Anderson said. "She is coming on really strong."

Senior Becca Blauert stepped it up a notch when it was needed to finish 11th in 24:34. She was followed by sophomore Drié Young in 17th with a time of 25:44, and junior Marlena Lungstrum in 19th with a time of 26:09. Senior Lauren Caves finished 22nd with a time of 26:24.

The Pirate boys' team finished third, a pleasant surprise for some.

Senior Aaron Hamilton led Pagosa's attack, finishing second in 18:01.

"He ran a spectacular race," the coach said. "For a new runner he's showing a lot of patience."

Sophomore A.J. Abeyta battled his own illness to finish eighth with a time of 19:34. Sophomore Orion Sandoval ended up 24th on the day, finishing in 20:39. Riley Lynch finished 35th with a time of 23:56. Sophomore Chris Matzdorf followed on Lynch's heels, earning 36th place with a time of 24:12. Travis Jones was the final runner for the boys, finishing 43rd in 28:35.

League rival Bayfield swept the varsity races, winning team firsts in both the girls' and boys' events.

In New Mexico races, a team consists of five members, with a sixth used as a tie-breaker when necessary. That's one more than allowed in Colorado.

Anderson said runners competed over a new course in Aztec, tackling an old motorcross track with one long hill in the middle. Pagosa will face another significant hill this Saturday in Shiprock.

"This is a large, fast meet," Anderson said. Several top teams from Arizona and New Mexico are expected to compete. "This will give us another shot at a statelike experience."


Pirates turn offensive to rout Ridgway 9-1

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

What a difference a day makes.

Confounded by inaccurate shots Friday, the Pagosa Springs Pirates erupted in a scoring binge Saturday, burying Ridgway 9-1 at Golden Peaks Stadium.

It wasn't just their traditional two-man attack the Pirates threw at the Demons but a controlled, multidimensional assault.

The two referred to above - Kyle Sanders and Kevin Muirhead - were definitely involved, but so was the rest of the Pirate offense.

And again, the defense was nearly perfect for the Pagosans.

It started off something like the day before when Sanders was wide left on a lead from Josh Soniat and his effort on a drop from Muirhead was stopped by Demon keeper Ryan Bartashius as was Moe Webb's rebound effort.

It was Soniat who broke the scoring barrier and began the onslaught for Pagosa.

As has often been the case, the play began with a Levi Gill takeaway and drop lead to Sanders. His cross to Keegan Smith was stopped but Soniat was on hand for the rebound and the first score.

Forty five seconds later Sanders was stopped on has attempt to convert a left-foot lead from Webb.

But, at 8:38 there was no stopping Sanders who ripped one past the outstretched Bartashius for a 2-0 lead, assisted by crisp passing from Drew Mitchell and Muirhead to set up the play.

Soniat had another chance at 10:06 when Muirhead and Sanders traversed the length of the field on a Goodenberger lead out and found Soniat alone on the right. Bartashius saw him, too, and managed to flick his shot away.

One minute later Muirhead was stopped and visions of his last three games must have flickered through his head, three games in which he was blanked despite great opportunities.

And, at 13:44, he proved he had escaped the dry spell. Webb's center attack resulted in a side kick to the right wing and Muirhead raced in one-on-one to drill it low left for Pagosa's third score.

After saves for Pagosa by Caleb Forrest were sandwiched around a Sanders drive wide left the score climbed to 4-0 when Webb converted his first of the season at 17:49 on a smooth give-go-get exchange with Muirhead and a wide open net with Ridgway's keeper keying on Muirhead.

Bartashius might have been wise to keep that thought in mind because Muirhead suddenly was his worst nightmare.

He stole a pass at midfield and led Keegan Smith for a dink that was stopped. But a Ridgway penalty gave Muirhead an indirect kick from 25 at 20:06 and it was good as gold for a 5-0 Pagosa lead.

With coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason going deep into his bench, Ridgway got a scoring opportunity at 25:20 with an indirect of its own but it never got beyond the defense of Smith, who was to become a human target the rest of the game.

Sanders, showing why he was Colorado boys' soccer scoring leader last year and current Class 3A leader with 13, drilled the Pirates' sixth goal at 25:56.

This time he didn't need the defense to get the ball for him - he stole a Ridgway outlet and drove directly downfield.

Bartashius came out to cut down the angle but found himself alone as Sanders suddenly faked left, went back right and found an open net awaiting.

Muirhead drilled one off the crossbar, Webb had drive wide right and Sanders' indirect was stopped as the offense slowed for a while. Sanders was stopped again on a corner kick from Smith and both Webb and Caleb Ormonde were stopped on short efforts.

Smith was foiled again but just a minute later, Sanders made it 7-0 with a drive off a lead cross from Soniat.

For Ridgway that was a break because it came just 21 seconds before the half and gave the visitors a chance to regroup.

Sanders opened the second half with a indirect free kick from 35 at 40:30 but Bartashius flagged it down.

After Forrest, returning to the offensive side of the ball, was stopped on a liner left, Soniat snared a Ridgway bid to break the drought foiling a nice deke move by Jimmie Discoe.

The next 16 minutes were a Pagosa display of possession soccer, not forcing shots and not running up the score.

Featured were block takeaways by Gill (2), Goodenberger (2) Morris (2) and Peterson (2).

Each time Ridgway tried to make something happen they looked up to see the ball in Pirate control.

At 58:28, the Pirates had an opportunity they couldn't resist.

It started with another Gill steal. His looping lead down the right wing found Forrest in step and his lead into the middle was headed in by Sanders. Score: 8-0 for Pagosa.

Ridgway desperately tried to make a comeback. A botched Pagosa outlet, one of few errors on the day, resulted in a collision and an ensuing free kick. That put two attackers free to attack Soniat.

He was up to the challenge, stopping the first shot and batting aside the second attacker's rebound effort.

Then Mitchell went on the offensive. A cross from Chris Baum was right in step but Mitchell's shot was high right. Thirty seconds later he came out of a 4-5 player scrum with the ball on his own, drilled one shot that was blocked and then rebounded his own, again stopped.

Forrest was blanked on the next Pagosa possession and Sanders was wide with consecutive reverse kicks. Soniat had a simple save and Muirhead was wide right before Ridgway got on the boards at 69:16 when Dylan Lacie's free kick from thirty sank faster than Soniat expected and dribbled past him into the net.

After both Muirhead and Sanders missed shots off a lead from Webb, Sanders scored the final marker in the 9-1 game with a back header at 71:20 off a corner lead from Forrest.

Ridgway's Hayk Sargysyan had three late opportunities to make his team's total more respectable, first shooting wide right on a breakaway, then wide left from 35 and finally blanked on a double block by Peterson and Soniat with 27 seconds left.

For Pagosa it was the fourth win of the season against two losses.

The Pirates host Bloomfield at 4 p.m. today at Golden Peaks Stadium and then go on the road for league games at 5 p.m. Friday in Telluride and 7 p.m. Tuesday in Bayfield.


Scoring: 4:18, P-Soniat (1), assists Sanders and Smith; 8:38; P-Sanders (9), assists Mitchell and K. Muirhead; 13:44, P-Muirhead (2) assist Webb; 17:49, P-Webb (2), assist Muirhead; 20:06, P- Muirhead, indirect from 25 (3); 25:56, P-Sanders (10), unassisted; 39:39, P-Sanders (11), assist Soniat; 58:28, P-Sanders (12), assist Forrest; 69:16, R- Shane; 71:20, P-Sanders (13), assist Goodenberger.


Pirate kickers' shots spray Golden Peaks in 1-0 win

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

One would not have been blamed if he concluded Pagosa and Crested Butte soccer players had sneaked a Nerf ball into the game ball Friday.

Pirate shots, 34 of them, were sailing everywhere except into the nets.

For Crested Butte's Titans, it was more a duck and get out of the way effort.

Pirate shots, launched from varying angles and distances hit almost every out of play immovable object in sight - with the exception of the concession stand.

Balls sailed over the north fence, off the east side ticket booth, off the flag pole and even one off the scoreboard at the south end.

Luckily for Pagosa, Kyle Sanders found the nets at 21:32 with a left footer giving Pagosa a 1-0 lead, and the defense turned in a spectacular performance to make that lead stand up.

After the game Pagosa coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason lamented the scattergun attack his Pirates showed.

"All week long," he said, "we practiced spreading the field and controlling the ball between the 30s to set up our offense.

"We wanted attacks from more than just the wings, we wanted overlaps, and crisp passes," he said.

"What we got was a bunch of shots from 30 and 40 yards, shots that sprayed in every direction," he added.

Despite the fact Crested Butte had only five shots on goal in the game, it was the kind of situation "where a mistake can kill you," Kurt-Mason said.

"Thank God our defense responded to the offense's inaccuracy," he concluded.

Key to that effort was the play, again, of Levi Gill (seven block/takeaways) and Ryan Goodenberger (five B/Ts).

Pagosa's first opportunity came at 2:45 when Sanders led Kevin Muirhead on the right wing and broke to the net for a return pass only to see a Titan defender intercept.

Two minutes and 51 seconds later Titan Keeper Ryan Houseman stopped an attack by Pagosa's Moe Webb. And then the misfires began.

First was Jesse Morris, breaking from his midfielder position for an open shot that went wide right.

Gill turned in consecutive block/takeaways on the next two Crested Butte possessions and at 8:11 Webb was on the prowl for Pagosa.

Taking a clearing lead from Keegan Smith, he broke defensive containment inside the 30, deked left, went right with a defender behind on the ground and then ripped a shot wide right off the track fence.

Goodenberger stole the Titan in-bound and led a streaking Muirhead whose effort was stopped by Houseman.

At 11:29 Sanders' bid to give Pagosa the lead was hauled in by Houseman after he shanked the strike off the side of his foot.

Then it was Caleb Forrest's turn. Playing offense instead of goal in the first half, he got a perfect lead from Ty Peterson but his right footer from the right wing clanked off the top of the right corner post.

Then it was Webb's turn. Driving the middle, he got a lead from Sanders and bludgeoned the ball, a drive which nicked off the ticket booth way wide right.

Just 21 seconds before the Sanders score, Muirhead was stopped again by Houseman.

All that rubbed off on Drew Mitchell. The left mid was open from 20 but his shot, too, was over the net.

Gill stole the next CB attack at midfield, led to Morris whose reverse drop lead found Drew Fisher streaking in. His shot was over the net at the high right corner.

On a three-man attack less than a minute later, one of the few they executed, Webb led Sanders who fed a crossing pass to Muirhead. His shot, again, was wide right.

At 28:52, Houseman made a great save, hauling in a drive by Sanders of leads from Webb and Muirhead.

The litany goes on and on. Forrest to Sanders, shot wide right; Webb wide left on a breakaway; Forrest stopped on a corner drop from Peterson; Goodenberger stopped on a free kick from the 40 - and then halftime.

During all that offensive display, Josh Soniat was tested only once in goal for Pagosa, snaring a dribbler from Chris Garren at 33:22. It was to be one of only five Crested Butte shots on goal in the game.

The second half was more of the same with Muirhead stopped twice in the first minute by Houseman and then, his attempt to convert a free kick from Sanders was wide left.

Sanders followed suit when his shot off a drop return from Muirhead was blocked.

Sanders shanked a shot wide right and Soniat, playing offense in the second half, joined the charade with a drive off the right post; three and a half minutes later he was high from 30; and Sanders free kick from 30 was stopped by Houseman.

Crested Butte's best scoring opportunity came at 53:25 on a free direct kick hauled in by Forrest.

After a block/takeaway by Peterson, Sanders took his lead and found Caleb Ormonde wide open in front of the net but he missed the kick.

Again Peterson stole an attack pass, leading Webb whose drop to Sanders was headed over the crossbar; Muirhead was stopped again on a breakaway effort and then Forrest got to make his second save on a dribbler to his right.

After Soniat's next drive hit the crossbar, Crested Butte's Chris Nicolaisen drilled one from 20 but right at Forrest for the save.

After Pagosa efforts by Sanders and Smith were hauled in by Houseman, Webb drilled one from 40 which glanced off the scoreboard deep behind the south goal.

The exercise in missed opportunities thankfully ended when Sanders' penalty kick was blocked by Houseman and Soniat's rebound effort was off the right post.

Final: 1-0 Pagosa.

And Kurt-Mason, shaking his head, walked off the field saying: "This was frustrating. We showed no patience. We need to support each other and work for the good shot, not fire at will."

The victory hiked Pagosa's record to 3-2 on the season, 2-0 in league play.

The Pirates host Bloomfield at 4 p.m. today at Golden Peaks Stadium and then have league games at Telluride (5 p.m. Friday) and Bayfield (7 p.m. Tuesday).


Scoring: 21:32, P-Sanders (8); Shots on goal, P-34, CB-5; Saves, P-Soniat, 1, P-Forrest, 4; CB-Houseman, 16.




Joe Manzanares

Joe Patricio Manzanares passed away peacefully in his Pagosa Springs home on Sept. 15, 2003.

Joe was born Oct. 25, 1925, to Vincente Manzanares and Lucia (Atencio) Manzanares in Monte Vista, Colo. He was 77 years old.

It was in 1944 that he married his lifelong sweetheart, Dora Villareal, in the San Luis Valley.

Joe was both a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus since moving to Pagosa Springs with his wife in 1956. He enjoyed hunting, woodworking and spending time with his family when he was not working as a heavy equipment operator for the local sawmill.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and one brother, a son, Joe A. Manzanares, and a daughter, Petra.

He is survived by his wife, Dora of Pagosa Springs; a sister, Francis Soliz ,of Delta, Colo.; daughter and husband Jeanette and Randy Dean of Choctaw, Okla.; daughter Diana Bruder of Pagosa Springs; sons and spouses Vicente and Sis Manzanares, Gerald and Jane Manzanares, Billy and Lori Manzanares and Fred and Virginia Manzanares, all of Pagosa Springs; 14 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Both the Rosary at 7 p.m. today and the Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 19, will be held in Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs, the Rev. Father John Bowe officiating. Burial will follow in Hilltop Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the American Cancer Society, 3801 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301, or call 1-800-227-2345.



Inside The Sun

Multi-agency workshop proposed to develop water plan guidelines

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A three-agency joint workshop examining watershed issues, possible retention basin locations, sediment settling ponds, lake water depths and possible needs for dredging will be proposed by Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.

That decision was reached Sept. 11 after PLPOA directors heard a preliminary report they contracted from Chris Phillips of Riverbend Engineering.

The board agreed it will invite Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and Archuleta County to participate in the joint workshop.

Using base maps provided by PAWS and overlays showing his own observations, Phillips showed all lakes in the Pagosa Lakes area and delineated their water sheds.

He also showed spots which could or should be designated wetlands, and sites where retention basins and sediment ponds might be logical.

Phillips told the board his studies indicate the need for all agencies serving the area to determine what, where, when and how water supply needs will be met.

"We can identify problems, develop action plans, present the plans and provide mapping as a planning tool for any consultant," Phillips said.

He noted his staff has met regularly with the PLPOA committee and they have been kept informed of study developments.

He said a questionnaire was developed and circulated to a number of personnel in other advisory entities, including county and town staffers.

Summarizing responses, he said key issues seem to be water levels, site drainage and regulations to meet the issues.

The consensus, he said, was that the main responsibility would be that of PLPOA and PAWS.

Larry Lynch, PLPOA's property and environment manager, said cooperative efforts of several agencies will be required to develop an active water management plan.

In addition to the three agencies specified, he said, the golf course operation and town of Pagosa Springs also might want to be involved.

"I agree with Chris that we are at a point where we need to have people preparing plans and achieving goals. We need to educate officials at all levels about watershed protection needs."

Phillips said the area "hasn't had to face the impositions of development yet, but now the issues are beginning to surface. We need to plan now to avoid more costly projects in the future."

Director David Bohl, association treasurer, asked if anyone has determined if there are federal grants available for this type of project "to supplement whatever funding we (multiple agencies working together) might supply?"

Phillips cited EPA Clean Water Act funding like that used on the Lower Blanco restoration project and said "319 funding is worth exploring."

Director Fred Ebeling warned the participants need to be wary of definitions, such as identifying a site as a "wetland."

Phillips said wetland is defined legally and jurisdictionally in applicable codes. "It is important for your staff who review building permit applications to have documents showing where those wetlands are."

Ebeling questioned who would be responsible for dredging if it was determined necessary.

Cruse, board president, said his belief is that "dredging for capacity would be PAWS' responsibility, but dredging to remove sediment cutting off water flow for recreation or causing a health problem could be everyone's problem."

And Lynch noted "these are private lakes used for recreation purposes for a specific group; but they are also the area's primary drinking water supply."

Bohl said there are number of lots in association subdivisions that could be designated as wetlands and ponding areas, "sites which we want to avoid having structures on because of waterflow channeling."

Cruse directed Lynch and Phillips to put together a presentation package on what they perceive as the goals of the study to take to the other boards.

And, he directed Walt Lukasik, general manager, to begin working to set up a workshop when the presentation package is ready, with representatives of all three organizations.


Recreation center project in under budget

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The summerlong construction project at the Ralph Eaton Recreation Center is 99.9 percent complete.

That was the message Sept. 11 to the board of directors of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.

Walt Lukasik, general manager, said the recent heavy rains have shown some minor leaks in the new roof that will be repaired.

The best news, he said, is that the project will come in about $12,000 under the original contract figure of $407,784.

In addition to repairing the roof leaks, he said, the date for redoing the epoxy surface on locker room floors was delayed until this week. It should be completed today.

"I would like to commend Ming (Steen, center director), her staff, and the contractor's workmen for keeping the center operating during trying times," said Lukasik. "All did a fine job and our members were well-served."

In a related action at the end of the meeting, the board approved an administrative recommendation to name Jack Ellis as the new chairman of the Recreation Center Committee.


PLPOA agrees continuation of Dr. Mary Fisher pledge

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It came nearly seven months after the normal due date, but the board of directors of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association has approved its annual payment of a $5,000 pledge to Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation.

The Sept. 11 vote to pay was a culmination of weeks of discussion and review of what the board that made the original pledge intended the money to be used for and it came on the heals of a presentation by Bud Brasher and Bob Huff of the foundation board.

Brasher said it was obvious to all that there had been a lot of confusion about the relationship between the foundation and Upper San Juan Health Service District.

However, he said, the letter to the editor of The Pagosa Springs SUN from Joe Donavan was an essentially correct summation of that relationship.

He set the background for the pledge by briefly tracing the history of the medical center, the foundation, the hospital district and the health district.

In October, 1959, he said, Ray Macht and a group of citizens formed the Mary Fisher Medical Center with hopes of retaining ongoing medical care in the community.

"In 1991-92," he said, "they ran into financial trouble. In fact, I don't know of a time when there wasn't some problem."

He said, "They had sold stock in the Mary Fisher Medical Center at either $1 or $5 per share - stock which had and continues to have no value - it was merely a receipt for donations and an indication of right to vote at the organization's annual meeting."

He said the organization was reorganized again in 1996 into a foundation because the board found it "didn't know how to run a medical clinic."

The district floated a bond issue and received a deed to the property where the clinic now stands, he said, "and simultaneously transferred it to the then-Upper San Juan Hospital District."

He said the funds solicited and provided by PLPOA were advanced by the foundation to complete the remodeling of the EMT building. "There was never an attempt to tell the public there would be 24/7 service other than EMT and ambulance," he said.

He read a paragraph from the foundation-PLPOA agreement indicating it was based on 24/7 EMT-ambulance service with housing for the personnel just 500 yards away.

The foundation was reorganized again in 1997 as a foundation for the specific purpose of supporting the district so far as the clinic was concerned.

The request for PLPOA funding, he said, "came to us through the district. We have and will continue to stay out of the current controversy."

He said the foundation has an annual audit review and files required tax returns. The board meets quarterly on the second Tuesday from the end of each calendar quarter in the Chamber of Commerce board room, and encourages public attendance.

He noted two members of the health district board, by charter mandate, are also members of the foundation board. They are Dick Blide and Patty Tillerson.

Huff told the board the project funded in part by PLPOA's cash was a capital improvement project, "as you have been told."

The board which approved the annual payment did so "on a handshake agreement initially. The foundation had taken $50,000 of its own endowment and put it into the building. The resulting PLPOA commitment has been followed, until now."

The upshot "is we have the facility. We may not like the way it is being used, but it is there and will be there."

PLPOA director Tom Cruse, board president, asked if the foundation could guarantee "a call to 9-1-1 today would provide an ambulance and EMTs."

"We can't," said Huff, "and I don't think that makes any difference to our deal."

Brasher said the foundation, when founded, started with $150,000 that came from the town with its purchase of the old clinic building and companion lots on East San Juan along the river.

"We had written offers on the table for more money," he said. "But we sold to the town because it had given us the lots initially and they were used through the years for clinic purposes."

Donavan, an association member and former vice president of the board of directors, said the association didn't have $50,000 to invest when it was initially approached to join in the funding.

"But we determined we could pledge that amount in total by making it in portions of $5,000 per year over a 10-year period," he said.

"We concluded we wanted 24/7 ambulance and EMT service for our members and that, as an association of those members, we could justify being involved.

"We made a pledge so they could borrow the money," he said "and they did.

"The full intent was to pay each year of the 10-year pledge."

In summary, said Cruse, "it appears a clear case has been made for the fact the money was intended to provide support for the building project and is not affected by the current crisis."

Director Bill Nobles said he feels it important "to honor an obligation by a previous board."

With no other questions from the board or audience, Cruse called for a motion to "lift from tabled status the motion to meet the $5,000 obligation."

Motion received and approved, he entertained a motion to pay, noting "we now have an accurate statement of what the money was and is for."

With that, the directors voted unanimously to pay the pledge.


PLPOA denies bid to form health services study panel

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A request to create an ad hoc Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association committee to study health care and emergency services, tabled last month for a more formal presentation, was rejected Sept. 11.

Bobra Schaeper had made the request, saying the services designated are issues "that affect the lives, health, welfare and property values in this community."

She pointed out Article 1 of PLPOA bylaws says the association " ... shall have as it purposes and goals and objectives:

"(1) improve, protect and enhance the quality of life and environment and preserve property values at Pagosa Lakes; and

"(2) promote the general welfare of the members of the association and inhabitants of the community ..."

"Surely," she said, "nothing could be more important to our welfare and yes, our property values, than the assurance of quality health care and emergency services."

She said the committee she proposed would be a fact-finding group and function in an unbiased and nonpolitical manner. "You can assure this with your oversight."

Suggested goals, she said, "would be current status of these services; demographics of community as related to health care and emergency services; similarity to other communities and what solutions or problems they may face; availability of financial help; and other goals as can best be determined by a team working together in an organized fashion."

Director Tom Cruse, board president, interrupted to note he had met recently with a group called PACK, a private group, which has a subcommittee with a similar charge.

PACK, he said, is not an acronym, and it is not a political action committee in any sense.

"It is an unbiased group of Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated registered voters," said Gene Cortright of Lake Forest Estates, after being recognized by Cruse.

He said all members are registered voters, the group has no officers and no treasury.

"The objective," he said, "is to identify and support candidates for county office in each of the parties."

Because of the confusion over USJHSD, he said, "we have formed a group to determine chronology of how our health service got to where and what it is today.

"We will collect facts and at some point come to some conclusion and make a recommendation," he said.

Schaeper said what she proposed would be a factual collection but not call for political action.

Director Fred Ebeling argued he failed "to see what the work of the proposed committee would achieve."

And director David Bohl said he didn't think "this board should appoint any committee to investigate the operations of a taxing body."

Cruse said he understood she was talking about "raw material information, not about trying to even sides or resolve issues ... not to become involved in current controversy."

Ebeling insisted the data to be collected already are available from many sources while Schaeper argued. "We'd collect facts, not opinions."

Dick Babillis, former health district board president, said he has been working with Mercy Medical Center in Durango on statistics on their services to Archuleta County people, and would be willing to share that data.

Ebeling moved to deny the request to form the committee and got a second from Bohl.

Before the vote could be called, director Bill Nobles said, "it sounds like we're trying to educate the public about health services and options and I think that as a property owners association we want to do that."

Director Hugh Bundy said statistics and people change very quickly. "I have a feeling that by the time we see the results the facts may have changed."

The board voted 4-2 to deny creation of the committee.


Piñon Causeway, Talisman, Village drives to undergo facelifts

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Following action Tuesday by the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners, the county and the town of Pagosa Springs are set to begin a joint effort to reconstruct portions of Village Drive, Piñon Causeway and Talisman Drive.

After receiving word for a final go-ahead last week from Mark Garcia, town manager, the board approved both an agreement for paving services with Strohecker Paving & Asphalt Inc. and a subsequent notice to proceed with the project.

According to the notice to proceed, work is scheduled to begin no later than Sept. 25, meaning residents living along the trio of roads could encounter work crews before the end of next week.

The agreement reached between the county and Strohecker lists the costs for road surface reconstruction and associated supplemental work at $184,434.

As stipulated in an intergovernmental agreement reached between the town and county earlier this year, the costs of the project - which amount to roughly $200,000 - will be shared equally by the two entities.

The agreement states preparatory engineering work and construction management for improvements to the thoroughfares are scheduled to be performed by Davis Engineering Services Inc.

In addition, the town will be expected to annex the roadways shortly after the project's completion and assume all future responsibilities regarding their maintenance, repairs, easements, improvements and rights-of-way.

The agreement also states the "county shall provide construction supervision" during the improvement effort while also serving as the project administrator.

Designated for improvements are the portion of Village Drive from Talisman Drive to Piñon Causeway and the stretch of Piñon Causeway from Village Drive to the intersection with U.S. 160.

Also targeted will be portions of Talisman Drive extending a short distance north and south of its intersection with Village Drive.


Rec plans on the table; funding comes next

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Soccer fields. Picnic areas. A ballfield. Playground. Walking trail. Riverboat access and changing station. Outdoor classrooms. A combined performance plaza and water feature.

These are the recreation elements included in a master plan for the Pagosa Springs Sports Complex - currently a field of dirt - located between 5th Street and the San Juan River across from Golden Peaks Stadium. The plan was created by EDAW Civil Design Team, of Denver, for the town of Pagosa Springs, owners of the 15.5 acres.

Starting with the southern boundary which adjoins the sanitation district, the master plan shows an access road already in existence will be improved to accommodate a loading lane and changing facility for rafters and kayakers using the river.

The "ballfield center" will be located on the southwest corner. This will feature a building for storage, maintenance, a concession stand and restrooms, tables, benches, a plaza, concrete bleachers for viewing games and dugouts. Warmup areas will flank both sides of the field.

The combination softball/baseball field will extend out from that corner. In order to provide maximum flexibility for variety uses and age groups, the ballfield will be lighted, with a 300-foot outfield fence. The fencing will be removable to accommodate softball, baseball or T-ball. Removing the fencing will also create a large lawn space for events like "Ride the Rockies," concerts or a fourth youth soccer field.

Continuing east, visitors will encounter a walking path that will encircle the entire park area and an existing wetland mitigation project.

A playground and picnic center will be located in about the middle of the property, bisecting the ballfield and soccer field areas. This area features a shelter, tables, benches, a plaza, playground, and a performance plaza/water feature that doubles as an outdoor classroom.

According to the plan, "a shrub and perennial bed, entry and sign wall, and ornamental trees create a focal point and greet visitors as they enter from the nearby parking or drop-off areas." A small water feature will lead into a dry creek bed covered in river rock. This addition to the original concepts will carry some of the site's stormwater into the river and provide a strong visual link between the park and the river. The water feature will double as a performance plaza and outdoor classroom when turned off. Informal seating for this site is provided through a small sloped lawn.

The northern half of the site will be large enough to contain a regulation-size high school soccer field, or three youth soccer fields, depending on size. Along the river, plans include areas for picnicking sites, a riverfront plaza and a wetlands overlook.

Parking is a combination of on street along 5th Street and parking lots across 5th Street from the field on Pagosa Springs High School property. Parking spaces will total 308 at complete build out.

To protect pedestrians, the plans call for crosswalks placed at key access points and traffic calming measures such as curb bump outs and special crosswalk paving.

Potential future uses include an ice rink, skate park, tennis courts, administration and a bus center. These were uses not listed in the original recreation survey, but came up in a series of public meetings held on the sports complex plan in January and March. Some of these, listed on the original two concepts for the site presented in March, were dropped because of "spatial constraints and incompatibility with other uses."

Parks and Recreation Director Joe Lister Jr. said the focus of the design was based on a parks and recreation survey completed in 2000 and the realities of local youth sports. Between 250 and 300 youth participate in baseball and soccer each year. Available space is at its max and games for the younger children must sometimes be played late at night. These fields are expected to alleviate some of that stress.

Full build out on the master plan may take five years or more. It is planned to be completed in phases, with the soccer field, baseball/softball field, the river loading and unloading road and some landscaping and parking to be included in the first phase.

Funding is the next, and possibly greatest hurdle. A total of $30,000 was budgeted by the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees for planning the project in 2002 and 2003. The money to turn plans into reality must still be found. Sources will most likely be grants, private donations and possibly the town's capital improvement fund, depending on future sales tax revenues.

Lister said a $200,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant application has already been completed. Word on whether or not they will receive those monies is expected to come in December. Another grant cycle comes in January.


Durango police eye possible

Pagosa link in puppy theft

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A Durango police detective is searching for a real live Cruella De Ville.

Maybe two.

Detective Rita Warfield said two females, possibly in their late teens, are being sought in connection with the theft of two puppies during an Aug. 11 burglary at the La Plata County Humane Society.

Both puppies, Brandy and Candy, shepherd mixes, were recovered at the Pagosa Springs Humane Society Aug. 28. They are back in Durango, safe and sound, but the search for their abductors continues.

Warfield said the two suspects, and a third girl possibly involved, were photographed by surveillance cameras while visiting the La Plata County Humane Society during operating hours the day of the burglary. The girls had apparently spent some time at the puppies' cage and asked questions about them.

They were told the puppies were not yet available for adoption. According to the shelter's policy, the puppies were to be held for seven days to make sure they were healthy.

Between 8:30 and 9 p.m. Aug. 11, Warfield said, burglars broke a window, entered the shelter and stole the puppies.

A few weeks later, a volunteer at the La Plata County Humane Society was looking at animals available on the Pagosa Springs Humane Society Web site and spotted the two pups in a picture.

Warfield said Brandy and Candy were dropped outside the Pagosa Springs Humane Society Aug. 28.

The Durango Police Department asks anyone with information regarding this case to call Warfield at 385-2934 or Crimestoppers at 247-1112. Rewards have been offered.


Report: Most county bridges

sufficient, all safe 3-5 years


By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A biennial update given this week to Archuleta County commissioners by Denver-based engineer Jim Inglis indicates most of the larger bridges maintained by the county are in good shape.

Inglis is employed by Range Engineering, one of several private firms contracted by the Colorado Department of Transportation to perform detailed bridge inspections every two years.

Inglis explained Tuesday that his firm uses standards set forth by CDOT while establishing bridge maintenance models, then "looks for things that deteriorate ahead of the model" when assigning a bridge what is referred to as a "sufficiency rating."

Sufficiency ratings range, conceivably, from 1 to 100 for bridges still in service, though Inglis explained there is no direct correlation between a low sufficiency rating and a bridge's potential for failure.

Instead, said Inglis, sufficiency ratings outline the need for repairs which, if neglected for too long, could eventually result in major damage. A higher rating indicates a lesser need for repair, and vice versa.

During a lengthy report of his findings, Inglis told the commissioners of 19 county bridges qualifying for inspection - those spanning at least 20 feet - eight have a sufficiency rating of over 80.

In addition, three had sufficiency ratings between 50-80 percent, said Inglis, and eight have a sufficiency rating of less than 50.

Following his presentation, "In summary, you have a good collection of bridges and you've been proactive in your maintenance approach, but you still have some needs," Inglis told the board.

Topping the list of structures with the highest sufficiency ratings are:

- the bridge over Cat Creek on County Road 700, with a sufficiency rating of 100

- the bridge over the Navajo River on County Road 359, with a sufficiency rating of 99.9

- the bridge over the San Juan River on County Road 500, with a sufficiency rating of 99.7.

Bridges scoring the three lowest sufficiency ratings are:

- the bridge over the Piedra River on Navajo Road, with a sufficiency rating of 16.3

- the bridge over the Rio Blanco on County Road 337, with a sufficiency rating of 21.7

- the bridge over the San Juan River on County Road 557, with a sufficiency rating of 29.6.

Included in reports given Sue Walan, county engineer, and Dick McKee, county public works director, are maintenance recommendations from Inglis, as well as a list of priorities outlining the scope of work he feels should be done first.

"We're certainly going to follow those recommendations," said Walan, adding that Rich Vick, an engineer from ConStruct Engineering of Durango, will tour county bridges with her and McKee next week in order to begin the planning process.

However, said Walan, none of the bridges covered in Inglis' summary pose an immediate threat to public safety.

Reiterating a point made clear by Inglis during his presentation, "Even the bridges that have the absolute lowest ratings are probably safe for at least the next three to five years," concluded Walan.


Hometown girl one of three new junior high teachers

By Frank Schiro

Special to The SUN

What do an environmental biologist, a hydrologist and a Texas football coach have in common?

All of them believe Pagosa Springs is a terrific place to live and an even better place to help mold young lives through teaching.

Emily Neder, J.D. Kurz and Owen Garrison have all joined the Pagosa Springs Junior High teaching corps this fall.

For Neder, joining the junior high staff is actually more of a homecoming.

"I was always looking for something I could do where I could come back to Pagosa. I grew up in Pagosa Springs and my family still lives here. Now I'm teaching where my high school was," Neder said.

Neder never ventured too far from home. She graduated from the University of Colorado with degrees in environmental biology and psychology. Right out of college she taught preschool science for two years in Boulder. After that, she spent a year at Denver University Law School starting an environmental law degree.

But, the lure of coming home to Pagosa Springs was just too strong.

Neder is now running the computer science lab part-time at the junior high. She also sponsors the Wednesday afternoon, science club "Wiz Kids" and works Friday afternoons at the Adult Education Center, teaching computer classes. Although this is Neder's first season in teaching, she is adjusting quickly to her new role.

"I was really intimidated when I started, but now I'm having a great time. I'm learning to handle the dynamics of a classroom and sometimes the kids are so good at computers I feel like I'm learning as much as I'm teaching," Neder shared.

Neder uses posters from computer-generated movies to relate to the kids. She is excited about helping them see that besides being fun and cool, there are a number ways to apply computers to life and a number of careers where they are used.

Kurz, another newcomer, didn't grow up here, but it took him a very short time to decide this is where he wanted to settle down.

"I moved here the day after graduation. I graduated on Saturday and got here late on a Sunday. The street signs were so dark, I had to use a flashlight to find the street I was going to live on. I just wanted to live in a small mountain town," Kurz explained.

He graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, with a bachelor's of science in watershed science. He has been in Pagosa Springs for four years and worked during that time for a local hydrologist.

During that time, Kurz started helping coach cross-county and track at Pagosa Springs High School.

"That's when I realized I enjoyed working with kids and decided it made sense to do something to help kids rather than just helping fish," Kurz said.

Kurz brings a vast amount of experience and knowledge to his eighth-grade earth science classes. By working in the field after graduating, he can effectively explain how the theory relates to the real world.

"I really enjoy it when the kids understand the concepts. You can see the light go on and that they're really thinking; they come up with great questions. Some kids really make applications to life and are good at explaining the world around them," Kurz said with a prideful smile.

This fall's third new teacher, Owen Garrison, and his wife, Sharon, took a little longer than the other two to make Pagosa Springs their permanent residence. Texas was home for most of Garrison's life. He went to high school in Dallas and went to Texas A & M for college, where he played football. However, making the move to Pagosa Springs was always on their mind.

"We kept saying we want to move up here. We'd come skiing in the winter and camping and fishing in the summer. Finally this summer we decided to do it and make the move to live here," Garrison said.

Garrison worked in the Garland Independent School District outside of Dallas, Texas, for the last 13 years. There, he taught physical education and health and was the head coach of a 5A football program. Garrison has been teaching and coaching for a total of 34 years.

At Pagosa Springs Junior High, Garrison will be teaching two physical education classes and helping with the football program primarily as an offensive and defensive line coach. So far things seem to be working out as planned.

"Everything is great. Everybody has been very nice and the kids are starting to accept me. The coaching staff that is here are all great guys and we are all working to see if we can mold and direct these young men," Garrison said.

The coaching strategy appears to be working. The junior high football team has won their first two games.

Garrison shares a key to continued success that the other two new teachers would likely echo.

"Parents here are really involved. One of the most important things in life is getting support from family in whatever you're doing," Garrison said.


San Juan heads list of fall fishing hotspots

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Monsoon season in the Four Corners region is all but over, and water clarity in Pagosa Country streams and rivers is improving daily.

The results are increased catch rates for anglers willing to endure hit-or-miss conditions as flows stabilize and fish continue to adjust to lower water temperatures.

For those not willing to risk the chance of an early-season snowstorm or lacking the time to venture into the high country, the easily-accessible San Juan River may be just the ticket.

Increased flows and the combined stocking efforts of local merchants and the Colorado Division of Wildlife are paying off with good catches of rainbow, brown and cutbow hybrids all along the public stretch of water through downtown Pagosa Springs.

The Piedra River, Williams Creek and East Fork of the San Juan are also fishing well according to local guides.

Warm-water reservoir fishing conditions are currently spotty, but feeding patterns should stabilize in the next two weeks. With the fall spawn approaching, action should pick up at inlet-fed, cold-water reservoirs harboring populations of brook and brown trout.

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 steady. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for boat launching at Navajo State Park. Water temperature is in the 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 currently averaging about 180 cubic feet per second and falling. River is nearly clear and successful anglers are using spinners, streamers, salmon eggs and flies for rainbows, cutbows and browns.

- Echo Lake - Lake is clear and up a few inches due to runoff. Fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, small sunfish and perch is fair. Live bait, ultralight jigs and small plastics are the favored baits. A few anglers are catching catfish after dark using nightcrawlers. Trout are becoming more active and are taking flies, Mepps/ Panther Martin spinners and streamers.

- Williams Creek Reservoir - Anglers seeking rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout are reporting steady action with live bait, PowerBait, surface flies, streamers, small marabou jigs and metallic spinners. Kokanee fishing continues to improve with lower water 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 are low and clear. Fishing for pan-sized rainbows and browns through the isolated stretches is reportedly fair.

- Piedra River - Water is clearing and fishing is good to great. 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 still slow, with small browns and rainbows occasionally being taken on flies and small jigs and spinners.

- Fourmile Creek - Clearing daily, and brookies and cutthroats are taking attractor-pattern flies and lightweight spinners in the upper sections and beaver ponds. A few rainbows and browns are being caught in the lower portion.

- Williams Creek - Clarity is good and 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.


Woman's West Nile Disease test inconclusive; second horse dies

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

"It has not been confirmed. That does not mean it was not a case of West Nile Virus, but it will not be counted."

That was the comment of Joe Fowler, an epidemiologist for San Juan Basin Health Department concerning tests on a Pagosa Springs woman whose doctor thought she had been infected.

The unidentified woman had reported the infection and the story ran last week in The SUN.

Fowler said results were inconclusive.

Meanwhile, the department reported two new human cases in the Four Corners area and locally, another horse was reported dead from the disease.

One victim was a 44-year-old Bayfield woman now at home recovering. The other was a 50-year-old Montezuma County woman. To date, said the department's Danni Lorrigan, there have been 12 confirmed cases in La Plata County, nine of them county residents.

"Although West Nile season is winding down, it isn't over yet," said Fowler. "We could continue to see cases into October and so people should keep taking precautions against mosquito bites."

These precautions include limiting outdoor activities during dawn and dusk hours, using insect repellent containing the chemical DEET in concentrations between 10 and 30 percent, and wearing long sleeves and long pants when outdoors.

Meanwhile, a second horse has died in Archuleta County from the disease.

Dr. Kerry Hoobler-Riek of San Juan Veterinary Clinic said the animal died late last week.

Without naming the owner, she said it was stabled in Pagosa Springs, south of U.S. 160.

It was one of "six or seven positive tests we've received after the first death two weeks ago," she said.

All the other animals, she said, are recovering.

Humans who become ill usually exhibit symptoms 5-15 days after becoming infected. They may include fever, headache, body aches and occasionally skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.

In horses, symptoms include fever, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of limbs and/or partial paralysis.

Vaccinations and booster shots are available from veterinarians to protect horses against the life-threatening illness resulting from the disease.

No such safeguards are available for humans.


Bayfield Chamber slates its first golf tournament

The Bayfield Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a golf tournament 11 a.m. Saturday at Hillcrest Golf Club in Durango.

The tournament is a four-person scramble format.

The cost is $39 per person for Hillcrest members and $64 for nonmembers.

Entry includes a burger and beverage at the end of the round.

The tournament is limited to the first 15 teams that enter, and prizes will be awarded for closest-to-the-pin shots on par 3 holes. There will be prize money for the top four teams.

Golfers can register for the tournament by calling Hillcrest at 247-1499 and asking to be in the Bayfield Chamber Scramble.

The tournament will benefit the chamber's building fund.

For more information, call John Mankins at 884-9566.



Nine Pagosa Springs High School cheerleaders were nominated at summer camp in Durango for All-American tryouts. All competed and two were selected for the team, comprised from winners across the nation, who will make appearances this school year in Florida, California and Dallas, the first in December in Florida. Each has to raise her own fare for the trips but will perform on arrival with some of the finest cheer team athletes in the nation. The two selected are freshman Berkley Ruthardt and sophomore Linda Johnson. The nominees were: Carmen Cook, Ashley Maddox, Kelsie Mastin and Rebecca Williams, Amanda Kovacic, Randye Taylor and Keyton Nash-Putnam. Coach Renee Davis said the final choices were very close and each Pagosa contender "can be proud of being a nominee."




Disses Dems

Dear Editor:

Now that even local politics are beginning to heat up, I thought it would be a good thing to inform the public what it takes to be a good Democrat.

You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding. You have to believe the same teacher who can't teach fourth-graders to read is qualified to teach them sex education. That guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear technology in the hands of the Chinese and North Korean Communists. That art didn't exist before federal funding.

You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity. You have to believe hunters don't care about nature, but radical activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do.

You have to believe that the N.R.A. is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution. You have to believe that ATM charges are too high but taxes are too low. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but race quotas are not. You have to believe that conservatives who tell the truth should be in prison, but a liar and sex offender belongs in the White House.

You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, but a manger scene at Christmas should be illegal. You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding from the Chinese is okay but funding conservative organizations like the N.R.A. should be stopped.

You have to believe the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere else in the world is because the right Clintonista's haven't been in charge. You have to believe that Americans are not intelligent enough to know what's best for our families, our businesses and our country.

Let's tell it straight, shall we? The radical Democrats were the pro-slavery bunch before the 1860s. Since the 1960s their agenda remains the same. To the Dems running for office may we all say, "Give me liberty or give me death!"

William Bennett

ACLU a cancer

Dear Editor:

The ACLU controls the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California so that there is no justice in that state. Unfortunately, what happens in California infects the whole country.

The recall vote was blocked because there are still some chad machines that should have been replaced in the last three years. But Graywater Davis and his cronies didn't want to. Since these counties would not get their things together, they deserve to be left behind or use the voting machines they have.

Did the 9th Circuit outlaw those machines so they can't be used? They should have been replaced first.

After Florida, if there's somebody who can't figure out how to vote, then these types don't know enough to vote. They don't know who or what they're voting for anyway.

The ACLU says it's illegal to discriminate against people who they think don't know how to vote. Likewise, they're saying that people who live in America who do most things right most of the time should be discriminated against. They're also saying that their "own people" so-called Latinos (actually impoverished pawns) are too stupid to figure out how to vote until the ACLU can tell them who and what to vote for so as to weaken America further.

Mr. Graywater doesn't want to fix California's $38 billion debt either, because he knows that the feds, which means the rest of America, will bail him out.

If it weren't for the American system the ACLU would have nowhere to stand and if it weren't for the ACLU there'd be equal justice and freedom for all.

The ACLU is a cancer that is bringing America down to a level where it can be sued at whim. This organization should be given what's left of California to run its experiments upon and it should be expelled from all other states and territories.

As soon as California became the ACLU's own country the experiments would stop, wouldn't they? They'd use America as the best example to put value back into that state.


John Feazel

Salute Pagosa

Dear Editor:

Jim, Casey and I cannot express the depth of our gratitude to all of our wonderful friends and family in Pagosa. We have been able to concentrate solely on Casey and not give a second thought about our home or pets.

We have known how other families have been supported by our great community but had no idea how loving and generous it truly is. Your prayers, cards and thoughts have gotten us through each day.

Casey continues to greatly improve, surprising us and medical staff alike. We cannot wait to bring him home!

Your fund-raising efforts are phenomenal and greatly appreciated. All funds not needed for Casey's medical expenses will be donated in his name to the Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House which have done so much for us.

Again, thank you all. We love you and miss you.

Denise, Jim and Casey Mudroch

Vexatious deeds

Dear Editor:

After stumbling through that fearful terrorist labyrinth in the leadoff letter in the SUN of Sept. 11, I assume the "Nattering Nabob's of Negativity" (liberal Democrats) are equipped to wager that Howard Dean will carry the banner in 2004.

I sincerely hope that they will prevail in getting him the convention nomination. It will be an absolute delight watching those "Bushees" pulverize his attempt at the presidency.

Suggestion: The table odds are infinitely higher that Al Sharpton would give the "Demon Crats" more possibilities at their liberal craps table.

Don't get too excited folks, but I'm turnin' over a new aroma. The Nabobs have won over this Dysfunctional Polish Dimwit. Professor Bob "Arboles" Dungan currently has this Crayola under refinement at his infamous Islammabubba Coloring Book Academy of Fine Old Arts. I'm now coloring in a no-win situation.

But I digress. So let's just sling a few vexatious cowpie kudos in that direction commemorating some rather sullen liberal achievements of the past.

Since I might be placed in the senior citizen category, let's focus on a few issues that directly affect this group and should be remembered in November 2004 when venturing into that voting booth.

Because many of us seniors have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month and are finding that we are being taxed on 85-percent of the money we paid to the federal government to put away, others may be interested in the following:

Cowpie Kudo No. 1: To President Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic controlled House and Senate who took Social Security from an independent fund and put it in the general fund so Congress could spend it.

Cowpie Kudo No. 2: To the Democratic Party for placing a tax on Social Security. But it is kinda sweet that liberals pretend to care about Social Security.

Cowpie Kudo No. 3: To Al Gore for casting the deciding vote, and his liberal Democratic Party, for increasing the tax on Social Security.

Cowpie Kudo No. 4: to the Democratic Party for deciding to give money to immigrants. That's right, immigrants moved into this country and at 65 got SSI Social Security. The Democratic Party gave that to them although they never paid a dime into it. Then, after doing all this, the Democrats turn around and tell you the Republicans want to take your Social Security. And the worst part about it is people believe it.

In conclusion: Yes, the Democrats do need an exit strategy for Iraq - to have a chance at winning the White House in 2004.

Suggestion: They might want to mimic Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam War plan. Then they will surely reap multiple, fragrantly incensed cowboy cowpie kudos.

That's just the way the big rodeo arena is planted out here in the Old West - near Arboles.

Jim Sawicki

Bad experience

Dear Editor:

We were attracted to Pagosa Springs for its setting, scenery and especially, the quality of people we have met here. We have lived in many parts of the country and have found the people and business owners of Pagosa Springs more friendly, helpful and honorable than most anywhere we have lived.

Unfortunately we had our first negative experience in a private purchase wherein an individual, who is also a local businessman, was less than straight forward and honorable. In fact, the final communication was personally quite insulting.

We sincerely hope this behavior, more reminiscent of the East Coast, does not permeate into other local Pagosa Springs people and businesses.

Jim Thatcher

Read Newsletter

Dear Editor:

I hope the folks throughout our three-county area will take time to read the Newsletter published in last week's SUN, which will also be mailed to all taxpayers.

Members of the board end employees contributed to this effort of the Citizens Advisory Committee to provide you with a record of past history and present activities of your Upper San Juan Health District services. Two of our seven board members refused to contribute.

The recent personal attacks against members of this board and our employees as correctly reported in the SUN bring me cause to once again write to you, my friends, and I will make this brief, as always.

In addition to the recent public display, there also are ongoing behind the scenes activities to damage and even cripple our emergency services.

This first Newsletter is lengthy, as we believed it necessary to provide as much true background as possible for your information. The future ones, which will be sent out quarterly, will provide updates on activities and I hope you will find them helpful.

This board of directors will continue to protect all of our employees who are interested only in providing quality care to you - we will deal with the politics as best we can while working diligently to expand quality health care access to you.

Many small, rural communities would love to have the security provided by our EMS folks; for most, it is minimal or completely absent.


Patty Tillerson

Needed project

Dear Editor:

As one involved over the last year or so with the health care issue it is wonderful to report a positive side to the events. I believe something historic in the annals of county medicine is happening and I want everyone to know about it.

Susan Kuhns announced a couple of weeks ago, she will be opening a new medical clinic with a focus on woman's health care issues. This clinic, Pagosa Woman's Health and Wellness, will be located in the small log cabin on Pike Drive a half block north from Pizza Hut.

Susan, along with nurse Ruth Vance and businessperson Terry Sellers were part of the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic staff who recently found themselves out of work. Susan, mustering courage and vision, decided to open her own clinic and ask Ruth and Terry to join her.

The real story here is how they are doing it. The building needed work and the practice is starting from scratch. These ladies have dug down deep, rolled up their sleeves and are doing most of the work themselves. It is altogether inspiring to walk into the future clinic and see three women ripping out flooring, pulling down walls, masking off for painting, and doing what has to be done. Susan is acting as her own contractor arranging for the jobs they cannot do.

Along with manual labor there is also planning. As decades old layers come off, possibilities of new colors, textures and space are realized. New lights, new carpet, and everything will be spotlessly clean, everywhere, all the time.

Away from the building Terry is working out the business requirements and Ruth is ordering supplies and sewing their own fabric needs. Susan has gone from quiet family practitioner to small business tycoon juggling incorporation, multiple meetings, and the mysteries of the musical cell phone.

These women are going to make it. Support from area women has been very gratifying and enthusiasm for the project runs high. They are doing something positive and developing a practice that is needed and desirable in our community.

They welcome you to stop by and say, "Hi," but be forewarned: Their excitement and enthusiasm is contagious and you may end up with a paint brush in your hand.

While no longer connected with the Mary Fisher Clinic, Susan is certainly following in the footsteps of that grand lady. She is a certified nurse practitioner. Mary Winter Fisher was a doctor of homeopathy and they both exemplify the spirit of "doing it my way."

If Mary is smiling down on anyplace in Pagosa Country, it is on that little cabin on Pike Drive.

Norm Vance

Animals blessed

Dear Editor:

An old song pleads, "Bless the beasts and the children, for in this world they have no voice, have no choice."

Well, in Pagosa Springs the animals truly have been blessed. Our Humane Society has for many years been noted for its dedication to making the lives of homeless, helpless companion animals safer and more secure.

From Robbie Schwartz, executive director, who tirelessly oversees all facets of its activities to Dan Pickins, shelter manager, and his hard-working, compassionate staff, to the employees of the Thrift Shop sorting, pricing, selling articles donated, to the board of directors and finally the volunteers who provide services above and beyond - these folks are true blessings to the animals in our community.

Everyone who has ever loved and been loved by an animal companion owes the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs and those who comprise it a heartfelt "thank you."

Joyce Webb

Opposes use tax

Dear Editor:

The Archuleta County commissioners and the Pagosa Springs town council appear to be gleefully anticipating the $1.085 million they expect to receive if the 4-percent use tax ballot issues are approved by voters.

If they have clear and specific needs for these funds, they are not telling us what they are. The vague ideas are that money will be used for roads, bridges, parks, trails and recreation.

The town board decided to drop the wording "for the benefit of the citizens of Pagosa Springs," because it was perceived as restrictive.

These taxing entities are concerned that local citizens are depriving them of sales taxes by purchasing items outside Archuleta County. However, free people making choices and taking actions in their own interests are depriving no one. Government is the aggressor here, not the citizens.

I am wondering if these governing bodies of Archuleta County need a review of "Economics 101" and the Law of Unintended Consequences?

Higher taxes produce higher prices, and decrease products and services - always! If you have to pay the county 4 percent in extra taxes after the aging, ancient family sedan or truck finally gives up the ghost, necessitating the purchase of a new vehicle which is unavailable here, you have 4 percent less to spend locally for carpet, paint, hardware, clothing and local services.

Do you really think local building supplies are going to sell for 4 percent less than those outside the county? Do you think oil and gas suppliers will somehow not pass the 4 percent on to their customers? Ask yourself who will benefit from these proposed "use" taxes.

It gets worse. A recent headline in the Pagosa SUN reports: "Nov. 4 general election will be by mail ballot only." Apparently if you didn't vote in the 2002 general election, and didn't return your continuation post card, you may not receive a ballot.

Why did we allow a law stating that voting in the last election determines whether you are a registered voter or not? Nevertheless, you have until Oct. 6 to call the county clerk to confirm your voter registration if you want to vote on these ballot issues.

I consider the use of tax issues and the accompanying mail ballot issues a wake-up call to the citizens of Pagosa Springs and all of Archuleta County to inform themselves about the shenanigans of our elected officials and make their voices heard.

Sara J. Wilson


Dear Editor:

As one of the attendees at the League of Women Voters health district informational forum last week, I feel compelled to clarify a couple of points made in The SUN's coverage of the evening.

I am not a member of the league, but I am a grateful admirer of the citizen and voter education services they provide to our community. Last week's forum was no exception.

For the chairman of our tax-supported health district board to have refused to participate in such a perfect opportunity to address the public directly in this informational format was inexcusable. To have spent district tax dollars to run false radio ads placing the blame for his nonparticipation on the league was reprehensible.

We district taxpayers can only wonder how much we paid for his radio ads - and how much did we pay for the board's recent self-serving two-page ad in the paper? Wouldn't it have made more sense for him to have just participated in the league's forum?

Fortunately, I'm not the only citizen in the community who appreciates what the league does in the way of educating our citizens, and who was appalled at the radio ads personally attacking the league's president that day.

One attendee at the forum, who wishes to remain anonymous, was so incensed at the health district board chairman's refusal to participate in the forum, while spending district funds to run radio ads instead, that she pledged $1,000 in matching funds to the league to enable it to acquire office space and part-time support staff in Pagosa Springs.

I wish the league all the best in its efforts to raise matching funds to accompany that very generous donation.

Finally, I just wanted to mention that, contrary to the report in the newspaper, the audience for the forum was considerably more than 30. Two of us counted just over 70 in the audience. Additionally, I was told by the treasurer of the league, Tom Cruse, that the League received more than 40 feedback comment cards from the audience that night.

Every one of those individuals obviously considered this topic to be important enough to brave torrential rains that evening to become more informed on our community's health care situation.

Thank you, League of Women Votes of Archuleta County. Keep up the good work.

Joan Young



Community News

Senior News


Several guest speakers due this week

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

We have a lot of interesting talks scheduled this week at the Silver Foxes Den.

At 12:45 p.m. Monday, Glen Raby will come to talk about volcanoes. This should be a fascinating talk since we live in an active area, as evidenced by our hot springs.

Darcy Christenson will lead a guided meditation called Peace and Health Through Meditation at 12:45 p.m. Sept. 23 in the lounge. This should be a relaxing experience, so wear comfortable clothing.

Nathan Trout, a local physical therapist, will speak at 12:45 p.m. Sept. 24 about fall prevention and physical therapy.

Please note there will be no yoga class Sept. 23.

Is anyone interested in volunteering to teach art classes to our seniors? If so, give us a call at the center, 264-2167.

We are starting to ask people to bake cookies for our Oktoberfest coming up next month. Any kind are welcome, as long as they are tasty. There are many other positions you can volunteer for as well. Call the number above to sign up for cookie baking.

Also, be aware that our next line dancing class will be at 1 p.m. Sept. 24 in the gym. Be sure to bring socks and a sweater; it might be cool in the gym.

Stop the calls

The Federal Trade Commission telemarketing sales rule gives consumers the power to stop unwanted telemarketing calls and gives state law enforcement officers the authority to prosecute fraudulent telemarketers who operate across state lines.

To put your phone number on the list, go to the Web site at, go to hot topics and click on National Do Not Call Registry. If you don't have a computer, call the center and we will do it for you.

Protect yourself

You can learn how to protect yourself from West Nile Virus by viewing a video we have at the senior center. This was produced by the Centers for Disease Control, and cannot be checked out, but you can watch it in the lounge. I know one way to prevent West Nile Virus is to pray for snow.

Visitors and guests

I have been told that I sometimes misspell people's names or say someone is new when they have been here before, so please forgive my errors. We still enjoy seeing you even if we can't always get your name right.

Hopefully, I am correct in saying Marietta and Howard Adams visited us this week, as well as Linda Bundy and Lee Daniledes. We were also pleased to see Phil and Nita Heitz back to see us for three weeks. Mary Gurule and Carol Tindell also came back for a visit with friends. It was good to see them all.


Friday 10 a.m., Qi Gong; 11, Medicare counseling

Sept. 22 - 1 p.m. bridge for fun

Sept. 23 - 10:30 a.m. advanced computer class; 9:30 yoga class cancelled; 12:45 p.m. Peace and Health Through Meditation; 1 p.m. pinochle

Sept. 14 - 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class; 12:45 p.m. fall prevention and physical therapy lecture; 1 p.m. line dancing class


Friday - Beef stew with veggies, cole slaw, cornbread and plums

Sept. 22 - Baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, tossed salad, raisin roll and pineapple

Sept. 23 - Seafood chef's salad, cauliflower, applesauce and cinnamon roll

Sept. 24 - Roast pork, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, bran muffin and applesauce.


Chamber News

Colorfest festivities abound throughout the weekend

By Sally Hameister

It's here - Colorfest has arrived and you need to head down to the Visitor Center post haste and purchase your tickets before 5 p.m. so you'll still get the great price of $25 instead of the $30 you will pay at the door.

You can count on getting a big bang for your bucks with all the goodies that will be provided to you from 5:30-7:30 Friday evening.

Actually, it will be worth the price of admission just to see what the Evil Twin, Ms. Johann, has created for the two of us to wear that evening. Tradition has it that I never see the particular ensemble until shortly before the affair begins, and let me tell you that I have worn a few things that would curl your hair. You must join us on Friday to see what the little devil has created for an event that truly invites insane costumes. We invite you to be as creative and colorful as you wish to blend in with the theme and decorations.

The fun begins, rain or shine, under the big tent Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the Visitor Center parking lot.

Doug has simply outdone himself with the cheese selections this year. As they arrive, we conduct a "taste test" to make sure they are all acceptable, and this year's samples were outrageously delicious. Brace yourselves for the Flaming Pepper selection - the top of my head nearly came off because it really lives up to its name.

Bobbie at Plaza Liquor will have just the perfect wines to complement the zestiest or the mellowest cheeses as she is something of a pro at doing just that.

Kathy and Kirsten at Pagosa Baking Company have come up with the final selections of bite-sized sweets that are not only in keeping with the Caribbean theme, but sound like heaven. You can count on a delicious sweet ending whatever it is.

Thanks to our friend, Dan Aupperle of Citizens Bank, the keg of beer will be there to take care of all those who prefer the foamy stuff to wine. Pin Stripe Red is the selection for the evening in the beer category with our thanks to Dan for providing the option.

There will be two ascensions during Colorfest Balloon Rally presented by Reach for the Peaks, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

The Saturday ascension will be just south of the Bank of the San Juans on Hot Springs Boulevard, and the Sunday ascension will take place in the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center area around 8-8:30 a.m.

Mike and Liz Marchand have worked for many years to create the amazing event we enjoy each fall, and although this has been a particularly difficult time for them because they are good friends of the Mudrochs, they are moving ahead with all the Rally arrangements.

The Colorfest party continues Saturday afternoon at the fairgrounds Extension Building with a picnic, concert and, weather permitting, a "Margaritaville Balloon Glow" at dusk.

Vince at Enzo's Catering will be serving up a "RibFest" dinner with all the trimmings for $10 (adults) and $6, and you know that when Vince is cooking, you will not leave hungry.

Bluegrass Cadillac featuring the considerable talents of Randall Davis, Robin Davis, Clay Campbell and Kevin Dunn will provide our picnic concert this year, so you will have to learn how to eat and tap your toes at the same time. We're happy to have this ever-so-popular local group join us this year for our Colorfest celebration.

In keeping once again with the theme, we will hold the "Margaritaville Balloon Glow" at dusk if Mother Nature is good to us. Expect to hear Caribbean steel drums and Jimmy Buffet tunes during this always awesome spectacle.

Please plan to join us this weekend for what has become a real Pagosa tradition - Colorfest weekend. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance so you won't have to pay the extra $5 at the door for the Wine and Cheese Tasting. We hope to see everyone at this year's Colorfest Balloon Rally/Wine and Cheese Tasting and Picnic and Concert.

St. Patrick's Bazaar

Just to make sure that your weekend is absolutely perfect, St. Pat's Episcopal Church will hold their annual bazaar Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. just so you won't be bored between the ascension and the picnic/concert. How thoughtful is that?

The bazaar will be held at the church located at 225 South Pagosa Blvd., with chili, nachos and drinks available for you to munch on while you check out all the wonderful bargains.

Expect to find one-of-a-kind hand-painted items in the arts and crafts section, St. Pat's cookbooks, the ever-popular frozen casseroles with more choices than ever (I suggest you get there early because they tend to sell out of these very quickly), baked goods (these ladies can bake like no one else), gently-worn clothing in the boutique, "guy stuff" in the yard sale and unique and items aplenty in the silent auction section.

All in all, you can eat and enjoy for as long as you like and contribute to the church's building/landscape fund at the same time.

SunDowner 2004

For those businesses wishing to host a SunDowner in 2004, it's time to assign someone in the office to appear at the Visitor Center Oct. 1, to claim a month.

The SunDowners have become a very popular way for businesses to showcase who they are and what they do, and there are only 10 to claim because the Chamber hosts September (Wine and Cheese Tasting) and January (Annual Mardi Gras).

It's as simple as it can be, but might require someone to rise a bit earlier than they normally would to be here.

We encourage you to be here at around 7 a.m. to make sure you will get the month you want.

As you can imagine, the summer months are quite competitive because a lot of folks like to have their party outside.

I believe they are so popular because it's a fairly easy and simple way to throw a party. Basically, the Chamber sends the invitations, collects the dough at the door and provides all the libations and the host business is responsible for the food.

If you have questions, please give Doug a call at 264-2360 or just plan to show up bright and early Oct. 1.

Roasting John

Don't forget to pick up your tickets for The Roasting and Toasting of John Graves to be held Sept. 27 at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

This entertaining evening will be sponsored by Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and proceeds will benefit Friends of the Performing Arts.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend due to the fact that I will be languishing on a beach in Florida trying to rejuvenate myself, but I certainly will be there in spirit. Roastings are traditionally a hoot and the victim du jour usually enjoys it more than anyone there.

Please join the fun Sept. 27 from 6-9 p.m. at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse and feel free to dress as elegantly as you like. Tickets for this event are $45 and will include a full catered buffet dinner, wine and entertainment. You may purchase tickets at WolfTracks Book Store and Coffee Company, the Chamber of Commerce and Pagosa Baking Company.

Aspens and Balloons

Pertinent to the season would be Bruce Andersen's upcoming fall photo workshop entitled "From A to B - Aspens and Balloons" to be held this weekend beginning Friday evening from 7-9 p.m. at the community center. (You can still attend the Wine and Cheese Tasting from 5:30 until 7, you see.)

This is an immersion workshop with lots of hands-on instruction designed for intermediate to advanced students.

The Friday session will be classroom and slide presentations to stimulate photographic ideas and discussion.

The group will photograph the hot air balloon ascension early Saturday morning, take a short break and spend the afternoon and evening in the field photographing fall colors and other natural splendors.

To reserve your spot and learn more about the workshop, call the arts council at 264-5020 or Bruce at 731-4645. Cost for this photo workshop (three sessions) is $125 and $115 for PSAC and Photo Club members.


The second annual Oktoberfest will be held at the community center Oct. 18, from 4:30 to 11 p.m. offering all the ingredients that make Oktoberfest popular all over our country and Europe.

You will find bratwurst, authentic German potato salad, sauerkraut, dessert and a 19-oz commemorative glass beer stein to take home with you. The kiddos' meal will be a hot dog, potato chips and dessert.

For those of you who spent a little more time in the food lines than you might have liked last year, this year's double lines should nicely eliminate that problem. The beer will be of the German persuasion, of course, and is Left Hand Tabernash, specifically produced for the Oktoberfest season.

Any Oktoberfest worth its salt offers music, dancing and "zing alongs" and this will be no exception with music provided by Pauken Schlagel who will grace us with the best oom-pah-pah around.

Tickets for this event are $15 for adults, $10 for children 5-12, and seniors with a membership card, $10. Tickets can be purchased at WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company, Moonlight Books, Chamber of Commerce or the Senior Center. You will also be able to purchase tickets at the door on Oct. 18.


At the genesis of this lovely Colorfest week, we are especially delighted to welcome two new members and six renewals.

The anticipation of Colorfest, fall in the mountains, new members and renewals combine to make it a mighty fine beginning for us.

James L. Watkins joins us with Silvercreek Custom Homes, LLC, located at 243 West Log Hill Road. James is the general contractor and distributor for Jim Barna Log Systems. Jim Barna offers a wide variety of log profiles with various sizes and wood species. To learn more about Silvercreek Custom Homes, LLC, please give James a call at 264-JBLS (5257).

Tom and Gayle Broadbent join us next with a most unique business, Wings Over Pagosa located at 777 CR 600 (Piedra Road). Wings Over Pagosa offers two exciting opportunities: the thrill of flying in their open cockpit Boeing Stearman biplane OR experiencing the majesty of the San Juans from their Cessna aircraft. Both planes are flown by an Airline Transport-rated pilot who has flown more than 11,000 accident-free hours over 36 years. To learn more about Wings Over Pagosa, please call 264-2349 or (970) 946-6380.

Renewals this week include Janelle Karas with Pacific Auction Exchange; F.C. Trask with The Lighting Center; James Huang with Hunan (Chinese) Restaurant; Linda Sapp with Loma Clay Works; and Mike Dalsaso with Dalsaso Associates. Our Associate Member renewals this week are Doug and Judy Galles. Many thanks to one and all, and I hope to see every one of you at the Wine and Cheese Tasting Friday night.


Library News

Plaques honoring town clerk

on display at Sisson Library

Jackie Schick is retiring after serving for 40 years as town clerk.

Her service to this community is well known and appreciated. In fact, she may be the only person in Archuleta County to have been recognized in the Congressional Record. In February, Rep. Scott McInnis read into the record an account of Jackie's years of dedication as a civil servant.

Jackie had the striking framed tribute hanging in her office and she graciously loaned it to us to display at the library for a short time. What an honor for Jackie to be recognized in this way.

Also on display is Jackie's lifetime achievement award from the Chamber of Commerce for her considerable contribution to the town of Pagosa Springs.

Beside the long list of accomplishments listed in the tribute, we'd like to also express gratitude to Jackie for her many years of hard work on behalf of the library.

Jackie served as treasurer on the library board of trustees for twelve years when the library was in one room in the old Town Hall. Many days she ran the town and the library at the same time. She retired from the board in 1985.

Please come by and see the two prestigious plaques honoring a great lady.

New books

"Family Reunion: Everything You Need to Know to Plan Unforgettable Get-Togethers," by Jennifer Crichton is an indispensable book for many reasons.

"The first generation tries to preserve, the second generation tries to forget, the third generation tries to remember," writes Ted Solotaroff of the urge "to connect with family, to honor the past and celebrate continuity Š"

As Crichton tells us, " We are the people who left home Š no other country takes it so in stride when the members of a family scatter across the face of a continent and still presume to call themselves close.

"Now with our relative affluence and assimilation, we have the security to stop, turn around, and look back. How did we get here from there?"

We are grateful to those who made this life possible. Reunions are one way to honor our forebears and that struggle. Now our sense of "home" is much less a place than the family itself. A reunion can reinvent that feeling of home, place and culture.

This book is indispensable to anyone wanting to begin or renew family relationships. It covers everything from finding the perfect site to intergener-ational games, reunion etiquette, and cooking for hordes. It is an idea-packed guide with an insight into family dynamics.

"Einstein's Refrigerator: and Other Stories From the Flip Side of History," by Steve Silverman is a collection of weird and bizarre true life tales he gathered to spice up his high school science lectures. It has two Colorado connections. The first, Mike the headless chicken who lived for eighteen months in Fruita.

The other concerns WWII and the paper balloons with bombs the Japanese launched to bomb the United States. The paper balloons were about 33 feet in diameter filled with hydrogen gas. They were designed to fly at 38,000 feet and stay aloft for around 70 hours. They would be carried by the jet stream at speeds of 200 miles per hour to the United States.

It was an ingenious plan and it is estimated that 1,000 balloons made it to the North American Continent. We aren't mentioned in the book but it is my understanding that one of them made it to Archuleta County. We are researching that little known fact.

In the meantime, you will enjoy this story and the other oddities in the book including one about Ernest Vincent Wright who authored a novel that did not use the letter "E" in any word. E is used more than any other letter in the alphabet and it would be very difficult to write anything without using the letter. Wright's E-less novel was titled "Gadsby." Just one more fun story for you in this book.


Thanks for financial help to the building fund from the Pagosa Women's Club; The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters Club in memory of David Kruger's step- mother.

Thanks for materials from Shaun Martin, Wanda Garner, Kay Redfield, Marti Gallo, Elaine Lewis, Doug and Claire Bennett, Eugenia Hinger and the Assembly of God Church.

Veteran's Corner

More veteran benefits means

more money spent in county


The Veterans Service Office remains closed through 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.

The following is a reprint of an earlier article

Benefit claims up here

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

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

Benefits to veterans in Archuleta County increased by 11 percent in 2002, over the year 2001, to a total of $1,065,000. Compensation and Pension money paid to veterans and/or surviving spouses and dependents was up 8.6 percent in the same period, for a total of $990,000. Official VA records indicate 1,273 veterans in Archuleta County were receiving some sort of VA benefit in 2002. This is a 36-percent increase over the previous year 2001 of 817.

The figures from 2000 to 2002 show a very large increase in veterans in Archuleta County receiving benefits.

Veterans receiving compensation or pension money in that two-year span jumped 25 percent. Other comparisons of veteran population and other benefits paid to veterans during the two year period was not available for direct comparison in the VA official reports.

Impact on county

Why does this impact Archuleta County so significantly?

Consider that this is direct "new" money coming from federal sources outside of the state and county. Money paid directly to veterans in our community. And, those payments are continuous, in most cases for the life of the veteran or the dependent. It isn't a onetime payment, it goes on year after year.

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

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

A wise investment

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

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

Pride in services

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

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

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




Tiffany Nicole (Nikki) Davis and Caleb Kyle Mellette were married Aug. 9, 2003, at Byers Assembly of God Church, Byers, Texas, the Rev. Micah Wells officiating. The bride is the daughter of Loretta and Michael Davis of Pagosa Springs. The groom is the son of Marsha and John Hill of Cisco, Texas, and Dell and Sherry Mellette of Pagosa Springs. Misti Davis, sister of the bride, and Summer Overstreet were bride's attendants. Josh Mellette, brother of the groom, and Eric Mesker were groomsmen. Flower girls were Emmy Davis, sister of the bride and Mackenzie Peterlin, cousin of the bride. Ringbearer was Michael Appleby, another cousin of the bride. The reception was held in the youth center of the church and hosted by the bride's parents. The rehearsal dinner, hosted by the bride's grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Cratus Davis, was held in the fellowship hall of the church. After their honeymoon in San Antonio, the couple will move to Alaska.


Family and friends join Joe and Faye Cordova to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Aug. 2. They renewed their wedding vows at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and then had a reception and dinner in the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Special thanks to all who came from out of town.


Pagosa Springs High School graduate Hank Wills has accepted the Fort Lewis College Roy Dalpra Scholarship for the 2003-04 academic year.

A Dean's List student at Fort Lewis, Wills is the son of Jerry and Vicki Wills of Pagosa Springs.

Roy Dalpra Scholarship recipients receive $1,000. To be eligible for the award, the recipient must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours for each of two terms for which the award was received. The recipient must attain and retain a Fort Lewis College cumulative grade point average of 2.00 and annual awards may be renewed. Residents of La Plata County are considered first.







Intro to Alpacas

Fiber Festival offers something for everyone

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Alpacas 101. It was just one of several presentations offered at the Pagosa Fiber Festival last weekend. On the final day, at about the last hour, a dozen or so people, in addition to a few curious alpacas peering through their wire pens, gathered for the course.

Dave Belt, owner of Echo Mountain Alpacas in Pagosa Springs, talked from a small platform in the livestock tent at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds. Around him, visitors mingled with caged animals and vendors, asking questions, comparing notes, discussing breeding possibilities and making purchases.

Alpacas 101 started with a little genealogy.

Alpacas, Belt said, are actually one of six members of the Camel Family, or Family Camelidae. For that matter, so are llamas. He asked the audience to guess the other four.

The answers came, but slowly:

- bactrian, the two-humped variety,

- dromedarian, the single-humped camel,

- guanaco, the wild llama, and

- vicuna, a threatened species found in the Andes, capable of producing just 6-8 ounces a fleece a year.

In this family group, it's truly a matter of blood being thicker than water. It is the shape of their red blood cells that ties them together. The camel family has elliptically-shaped red blood cells capable of using water and oxygen very efficiently. This, Belt said, allows them to adapt to high altitudes and extreme weather conditions better than other animals.

From there, he focused particularly on alpacas, "sweet-tempered, inquisitive, quiet, pastoral animals." Females, he said, mature at between 15 and 18 months, or 100 pounds. Males mature between two to three years. Gestation for an alpaca is between 11 and 12 months and births are almost always single. Babies are called crias and are born weighing between 15 and 19 pounds. In the first weeks of life, they will gain about a half pound a day.

Before being bred again, Belt said, an alpaca mother needs just two to three weeks to recover. Unlike some other animals, alpacas show no physical signs of their 18-21 day reproductive cycle. The weeks after birth are the best time to pinpoint reproductive activity.

Because of their foot structure and digestive habits, Belt said, alpacas are especially suited to small acreages. Their feet - although they may look like hooves at a quick glance - are made up of a hard toenail on top of a soft, leatherlike pad.

In the Andes, the pad acts like a snowshoe, spreading the weight. In a pasture, Belt said, the shape of the foot and the animal's relatively low weight help prevent soil compaction.

In addition, he said, the alpacas have very little odor. And, they have communal dung piles. Alpacas will select two or three places as a "bathroom," making for easy cleanup and less of a fly problem. It also prevents contamination of an entire field.

"They do their job to make things easy for us," he said. Alpacas are sheared once a year, producing between five and 10 pounds of fleece. (In South America, Belt said, they are also used for food and the meat tastes something like flank steak.) Here in North America, their fleece can be woven, knitted or felted into a variety of products for sale. Belt's daughter, Kiva, demonstrated two methods for spinning the fleece into thread - a drop spindle and a spinning wheel.

From there, it was time for a chance to pet Champ, a real, live alpaca wearing a brightly colored halter.

"I'd say the disposition of the alpaca is very much like that of a cat," Belt said. Some alpacas are aloof, wary of human touch. Others are curious, accepting of touch and attention. Champ was one of the latter.

Belt said, in his experience, a modified massage on the neck or flank works best. He told those interested to approach the llama where they could be seen. Then, using a closed fist, extend two fingers toward the animal and rub in small circles.

"The slower you move your fingertips, the better they seem to like it and the longer they will stay still," Belt said.

A slightly larger crowd gathered for "Nutrition for Fiber Growing Animals," by Dr. Kerry Hoobler-Riek, of San Juan Veterinary Services, another free presentation.

Good nutrition, she said, is a key element to raising any kind of healthy, happy animal. Alpacas and llamas are even easier than some because they've adapted to be able to extract more nutrition from lower quality food.

In their native habitat in South America, these creatures can be found at 12,000 feet elevation. Their nutrition is available on a sort of feast or famine cycle, Hoobler-Riek said. During a short, wet season, the grasses grow well, forming lush pastures. The rest of the year, grasses might be sparse.

Although it's possible to get some nutritional tips from cattle and sheep studies, she added, llamas and alpacas are not true ruminants, having three parts to their stomach instead of four.

The first two parts to the stomach contain a bacteria necessary to break down the stems and leaves encountered in their main food staple - grass hay. The final section is a "true stomach," where acid secretions finish the food breakdown.

It takes about four days for food to work its way from one end of the animal to the other, she added.

Water and protein are perhaps the two most important elements of the alpaca and llama diet. Water should be clean and fresh. Protein should come from a good grass hay.

"If it looks moldy, sunbleached or older than one year, it's probably not a good idea to feed it," Hoobler-Reik said. Owners of alpacas and llamas also need to be careful not to feed too much alfalfa hay because it's actually too high in protein.

For energy, these animals need just a small amount of carbohydrates, or grains. Too much can cause serious health issues.

As far as vitamin and mineral supplements, Hoobler-Riek said, people should be careful. If concerned, they should have soil tests or hay tests done to determine if the feed or pasture is deficient or toxic in anything.

"Most of it's common sense," she said. "If what you're feeding is working for the animal, and they like it, you're probably doing a good job."

Both presentations were part of the three-day festival. From Friday to Sunday, beginners through breeders of fiber animals had the opportunity to visit, exchange information and educate others on the world of fiber animals. It was organized through the Pagosa Fiber Festival Inc., a nonprofit organization established in 2001 to educate the public, as well as support and promote the fiber arts and those who raise fiber-bearing livestock.



Pagosa's Past

It was The Big One: the flood of 1911

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

The flood of 1911. PHEW! That was a flood!

It's about that time of year when the old-timers start talking about the flood of 1911. When I say old-timers, I'm not talking about those of us who've only been here 20 or 30 years or so. We don't know nuthin'.

I'm talking about old-timers who remember hearing railroad whistles in Pagosa Springs, folks who watched thousands of sheep and cows kick up dust down Main Street. Fast food in those days was the peanut butter and jelly sandwich your mother made, or maybe it was frijoles wrapped in a tortilla.

Probably no eyewitnesses remain since that was 92 years ago, unless you count Faye Brown, and even Faye wasn't too far removed from her crib at that time. And so all of the stories we hear are second hand except for the excellent and exciting newspaper accounts.

Still, when the aspens first begin to blush and snow spots the high mountains like a bad case of dandruff, old-timers begin the remember whens.

One of the striking things about the flood of 1911 was how widespread the destruction was. Not only were Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County hammered, every county in the San Juans was hit on both sides of the mountains.

Folks in Pagosa Springs had little warning of the impending disaster. In those days, the town was laid out pretty much as it is now with one exception. In the down town area, the bridge across the San Juan connected San Juan Street so that, as you were driving east along San Juan Street and approaching the river, you could continue dead ahead across the river and go to the hot springs. The bridge we currently use to cross the river to the Hot Springs and post office was not installed until the 1950s.

The other bridge at the east end of town was also in place allowing east bound travelers who wanted to cross the Rockies by way of Elwood Pass to leave in that direction. Wolf Creek Pass had not been dreamed of. In fact, impetus for the creation of Wolf Creek Pass originated as a direct result of the flood of 1911.

Nothing particularly remarkable happened during the year of 1911 prior to the flood. Sullenberger's big mill in South Pagosa was still cranking out lumber at the rate of 100,000 board feet or more a day. The Pagosa and Northern's narrow gauge train still made its daily trip between Pagosa Junction and Pagosa Springs.

Other tracks branched across the county like a spider web. Pagosa Lumber Company tracks reached toward the West Fork of the San Juan, up Four Mile Road, over toward Yellowjacket, and points in between. Another branch ran down the west side of the San Juan, branched into Taylor and Burns canyons, and nearly reached Trujillo. Even more, New Mexico Lumber Company tracks probed from Edith up the Navajo, Little Navajo, Coyote Creek, Blanco and Little Blanco, and Echo Creek, finally ending on Mill Creek a scant few miles from town.

Clearly, lumber was king.

Not far behind the lumber barons were cattle and sheep ranchers. Folks who lived here still made a living directly from Mother Earth. Tourism had not yet become the dominating industry. The nurturing qualities of the Great Pagosa Hot Springs attracted a few health seekers. Diehard fishermen still came to exploit the native rivers. Elk and deer had nearly vanished, but a guide mountain lion hunting service was conducted from the Arlington Hotel.

Pagosa Springs was moving into the modern era with telephones, central water, electricity, and such. To be sure, those modern conveniences didn't extend much beyond the town limits. Still, those who long for the apparent innocence of the good old days would have liked the Pagosa of 1911.

As winter approached, life for locals moved along at its usual pace. Of course there was no radio or television. Young boys still gathered the town cow herd each morning, drove the bawling bovines outside of town for grass during the day, and returned them to their respective owners in the evening.

Sheepherders drove thousands of sheep down from the high country, sold off most of the lambs and some of the breeding stock that had outlived its usefulness, then drove the survivors on south to places in northern New Mexico like Gobernador to escape the harsh Pagosa winters.

School age kids belonging on ranches outside of town moved into town where they boarded with someone or, if they were lucky, their families also had homes in town. Traveling from the ranches to school in town was a daunting task in those days.

The flood came suddenly and without warning Thursday, Oct. 5, 1911. Headlines in the Pagosa Springs SUN read, "San Juan Breaks RecordŠGets on Rampage and Leaves Death, Devastation, and Ruin in its Path.

The newspaper writer waxed elegant, an overtone of horror gilding his words. "Tuesday morning the sun rose in all its glory and the day was an ideal one. Wednesday morning a drizzling rain set in and kept up until torrents caused the San Juan to change from a smiling, pleasant stream to an angry, raging, terrific river. Early yesterday morning (Thursday) the citizens became aware that dire calamity was about to prevail on Hermosa street and in the park vicinity. Business, for the time being, was suspended and all rushed to the aid of those in the doomed district. All teams available were brought into action, and all goods that could be were hauled out."

More next week on the flood of 1911.





Make a change

Here's an idea for health service district board members. The situation is on the road to resolution with the expansion of private medical practice in the area so, to hasten continued improvement from now until the May elections when many of you might lose seats on the board, why not do two things: change your leadership and listen to some people with expertise in the medical field?

If it wasn't clear before your Sept. 16 meeting, it is obvious now your current leadership is too confrontational, too lacking in diplomatic skill to meet one of your recently stated core values: to exhibit "Leadership at all levels: challenging the process, inspiring vision and leading the way." It's time for a change to produce that leadership.

Who are the experts you can listen to?

Local physicians, practicing and retired: People who know something about providing medical services to a patient and a population.

While you seek the advice of experts, restrain for a while your quest to reproduce another publicly-funded medical clinic and contemplate the future with more information in hand. After all, you've stated you value "Innovation: searching for new and creative ways of providing service."

With the departure of local physicians and staff from the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Clinic, basic medical service is heading back where it belongs: to the private sector. The use of public dollars to fund primary medical care is questionable: government dominated medicine is arguably ineffective.

Believe it or not, Drs. Jim Pruitt, Mark Weinpahl, John Piccaro and Bob Brown have much to offer, if you will listen. So do the many retired physicians and medical administrators living in the community, as do physicians you hire or contract with in your operation. Perhaps much of the revenue you have available could be better directed to supplementary, additive clinical systems and processes. How do you know what those processes are if you don't discuss them with experts in a non-adversarial atmosphere? Prolonged, extensive and productive discussions with local physicians can only benefit all of us

Jim Pruitt made several telling remarks at the League of Women Voter's forum last week. He urged the board to consider the original goals of the district, among others support of a center to provide urgent and emergency care, lab facilities, a birthing facility, those things necessary for outpatient surgery. He spoke about the district's goal of facilitating a system that integrated and supplemented the skills of all local physicians. This fits one of your core values like a glove. "We will strive to provide an integrated, expanding and educating health care system while maintaining quality professional service for our community."

It is time to take these ideas into account as you discuss our health care future.

True, things have been chaotic but there is a positive aspect to chaos. True, it is frustrating when you are confronted by loud and self-interested outside voices, but chaos affords opportunities to be creative, to aspire to greater things, to forge new allegiances and reestablish old connections.

Your ad placed in last week's SUN indicates the district is hardly a dead entity. There are people working for and in the district who are serious about their commitments to the community. Your mission, at this point, is still a tabula rasa - an empty slate on which you can write anything you want.

Don't do it without bridging the gap between you and local experts. Don't attempt to do it with your current leadership. Make a change and extend a hand again, reform the Medical Advisory Committee; you are in a unique position to do it. If the gesture is refused, it can't be said you didn't try.

Remember, you value "Initiative: taking positive action to accomplish our mission with continuous improvement as a daily process."

So, take the initiative. Today.

Karl Isberg




Pacing Pagosa

A stroll into new season's lure

By Richard Walter

Nothing like a long walk on a crisp near-fall morning, a sky clear of any form of cloud, and the blooms of fall bursting forth along the pathways.

That's one of the beauties of living in Pagosa Country ... flowers displaying for all the benefits of a few days of rain.

Turn south on 10th street at the elementary school. Buses being washed at the bus barn, soccer fields glistening with the dew of a fall morning as they ready themselves for the rumble of hundreds of tiny feet with the parks and recreation department's annual leagues about to begin.

Follow the roadway around the hill and then stay on 10th. A man and two teens cutting and stacking wood for the winter; another man sealing the blacktop on his drive/parking area.

Note the historic cemetery has been cleaned up, the gate locked and the fence portion that had been broken down has been repaired. Everywhere preparations are under way, people, places and things repairing their countenance for the season in which we'll set the stage for winter.

Keep on going. Nests high in the pines near Hillcrest Avenue seem to be spewing small wings in all directions. The young, nurtured in spring and trained in summer, are now learning to survive on their own.

An older woman, wearing a sweater and a bandanna, is raking twigs from her yard. Two doors down three youngsters are getting in some final time on the trampoline before it has to be stored for winter.

La Plata Electric has roll upon roll of wire of varying types and sizes stored in its yard just below the radio station. Winter is known to wreak havoc on suspended lines when they become laden with heavy wet snow and ice. These wires will be on hand to fix the outages.

Turn back downhill at Apache and follow it to 8th Street. On the way you see a man spreading winter treatment on a small lawn and get a hearty wave.

Go north on 8th and see the improved skateboard units in South Pagosa Park, note the pine cones rapidly ripening on nearby trees and the enthusiastic call of a high-flying gaggle of geese as they head for the river area.

Do they know something we don't? You wonder. Are they heading south or just to warmer waters?

Fence posts being set as a yard is tucked in for the winter; new roofing being installed to keep the home warmer, too; excavation for a sewer line extension to a new home.

The sights and sounds of Pagosa are everywhere.

Turn down to 7th street and pass a new home for an old business that has just added the striping to its parking lot, giving a sense of stability.

Take 7th north, across San Juan, and past a tiny brook with two little boys casting play fish lines into the water from plastic poles hoping, as do their fathers and older brothers, to hook the big one.

Round the corner onto north 6th and you see another new home nearing completion on the hill above. This stroll will be continued next week.





90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Sept. 19, 1913

A male gray wolf 27 inches tall and measuring 5 feet 5 inches from tip to tip was killed on the West & Hott ranch this week by Bill South, who on horseback outran and killed the varmint with his sixshooter. Another wolf escaped by running in an opposite direction. Heretofore there was supposed only one wolf in the section.

Civic pride in Pagosa Springs is about as active as an Egyptian mummy. The commercial club, the boys' band, the public library, all have reached or are reaching a state of innocuous desuetude.

The school board is to be commended to stamp out if possible the tendency among some parents to allow their children to remain out of school or attend very irregularly.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Sept. 21, 1928

Fire from the engine of the Henry Akers sawmill, located near Dyke about Sunday noon set fire to the mill, which was completely destroyed as well as about one mile square of cut-over timber land. Desperate efforts were successfully made to save considerable lumber and ties, but numerous shacks were burned. The Forest Service took charge and confined the fire to a comparatively small area considering the enormous start that it had.

Mr. and Mrs. George Alley and the former's brother, Albert Alley, left Monday for Denver. Before departing George closed a deal for the purchase of the E.M. (Doc) Taylor Variety store and will return in a few days to take possession.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Sept. 18, 1953

Hugh Farr, "the fiddlin' fool" of the Sons of the Pioneers, went to bat Wednesday during the Milk Maid contest at the State Fair and helped Peggy Seavy, 14, of Bayles, take the honor with 10.9 pounds of milk in three minutes. Gov. Dan Thornton comforted the cow being milked during the contest. Peggy said she's been milking for eight years, but usually without music.

For the past several Sundays, members of the local American Legion Post have been gathering down at the hall in the park and started to work on the construction of the new addition to the east side of the hall. The foundation and plumbing have already been completed and the cement block walls are on the way up.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Sept. 21, 1978

The area received some very welcome moisture over the weekend with a total of .73 inches of moisture being received. This was in the form of rain at lower elevations but on the high mountains about six inches of new snow fell. This left the peaks with white tops and indicated that summer is no longer with us.

A 25-year-old man was rescued by Mounted Rangers, EMTs, and a WCO this past weekend. Richard Povich accidently shot himself in the leg with a revolver while camped at Fish Lake. A helicopter was summoned to bring him out, but could not land because of weather conditions. After a day and a half and two nights he was brought out on horseback.

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