September 25, 2003 

Front Page


County audit shows 'strong'

fiscal position

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

An audit report prepared by a Grand Junction-based accounting firm and given this week to the Archuleta County commissioners revealed no significant discrepancies in the county's financial reporting for fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2002.

According to a visual presentation given Tuesday by Todd Beckstead, an accountant with Chadwick, Steinkirchner, Davis & Co. PC, the county's fiscal practices in 2002 were relatively conservative.

As a result, at the end of last year the county was in what Beckstead described as "a strong financial position."

In addition, Beckstead indicated county personnel were very helpful during the week he and four others from the firm sampled numerous financial records in order to complete the analysis.

"Everybody was cooperative; everybody worked real hard to get us the information we needed," Beckstead told the board.

Highlights of the 2002 county audit included in Beckstead's presentation indicate:

- the county adopted no significant new accounting policies last year

- 15 audit adjustments were performed for last year, however, "For a county your size ... 15 audit adjustments is not excessive; that's really pretty good," explained Beckstead

- funds slightly over budget for 2002 included the tourism, community service, emergency 9-1-1 and solid waste funds

- the county's ending general fund balance for 2002 was approximately $2 million

- the firm engaged in no disagreements with management regarding any of the findings in the audit report

- prior to his firm's retention, no ultimatums/conditions were offered by the county regarding how the audit should proceed.

In addition, Beckstead said last year the county had two "significant accounting estimates," or financial figures based mainly on management's assumptions - one regarding fleet inventory and another concerning the hypothetical cost associated with closing the county landfill.

Recommendations to the board from Beckstead to improve the accuracy of such estimates for the 2003 audit included "tightening inventory controls" with respect to the fleet maintenance fund and a suggestion that fixed asset accounting for the solid waste fund "be brought in house."

Lastly, said Beckstead, the county will be required to adhere to the principles established in the Governmental Accounting Standards Board's statement No. 34 when supplying information for the 2003 audit.

Recently developed as a new accounting tool, "GASB 34" is generally aimed at improving local governments' accountability in financial reporting and providing additional information for decision-making.

With respect to the future of county financial policies, "The biggest impact is it will bring infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.) onto the books," explained Beckstead.

Following the presentation, Commissioner Bill Downey asked Beckstead if a $2 million general fund balance is "an excessive amount."

"I think it's probably conservative," responded Beckstead, while indicating such a rainy-day sum is good to have "because you don't know when times are going to go bad."

Overall, the board was pleased with Beckstead's analysis, and Commissioner Mamie Lynch offered some final insight near meeting's end.

In summary, "I think the important thing to note is that we maintained our financial integrity," said Lynch.

In other business this week, the board:

- appointed Steven Wadley and Richard Manley to a citizens' review panel whose primary function will be to provide a forum for addressing grievances concerning the conduct of social services department personnel in performing their duties (the county is still in need of a third volunteer to serve on the panel)

- approved an emergency management contract with the Colorado Department of Public Safety, Office of Preparedness, Security and Fire Safety

- pending approval by the town of Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees, scheduled a work session to discuss the proposal of a new intergovernmental agreement regarding jail services fees for Oct. 1, 10 a.m.

- granted a request from the planning department to approve the improvements agreement for the Reserve at Pagosa Peak, Phase IV

- reached a consensus to grant a request from the assessor's office to pursue additional GIS/IT personnel since the additions will not affect the overall department budget for the remainder of the year

- set a work session for discussion of options relating to the vacant, county-owned parcel adjacent to the Ruby Sisson Library (old CDOT maintenance site) for Nov. 3, 10 a.m.


Home rule charter goes to Pagosa voters Oct. 7

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The registered voters of the Town of Pagosa Springs will determine the future structure of their government Oct. 7.

On that day, the Town of Pagosa Springs Home Rule Charter will go before the voters for a final aye or nay.

A home rule charter is a document - something like a local constitution - that sets government structure and organization for a community. Those communities not governed by home rule are statutory and are bound to follow state statutes when it comes to things like term limits and number of council members. Since its incorporation, Pagosa Springs has been a statutory municipality. Now, voters have an alternative.

According to the Pagosa Springs charter's prefatory synopsis, "The charter is intended to safeguard the well-being of all the inhabitants of the town, to maintain a community that sustains livability and places the highest value on the good of the entire community, and to set a framework for the future growth and development of the town while protecting both its fundamental identity and its future economic vitality."

A nine-member commission elected by the people in April spent three months creating a document for Pagosa using a variety of charters from other communities as a template.

Commission co-chairman Darrel Cotton said by pulling ideas from other charters and mixing in some items specific to Pagosa Springs, they achieved a draft charter that could give the town a leg-up in the future.

Several members of the commission said they are pleased with the end product because it puts local government in the hands of local people.

"It's going to be better for the town and the populace because it gives us more control over our own destinies rather than the Front Range politicians having all the control," Bill Whitbred, commission member, said.

Overall, the proposed charter makes few changes to the way the town government is structured. The council-manager system remains, meaning "the policy-making and legislative powers are vested in a council composed of seven members including the mayor." The mayor is recognized as the, "head of the town government for all ceremonial purposes and shall execute and authenticate legal instruments requiring the signature of the Mayor." The town manager is the chief administrative officer and must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the town council.

The board will continue to have seven members and regular municipal elections are still scheduled for April of even-numbered years.

It does, however, provide for three members of the town council to be elected from districts. Until now, all members of the board, including the mayor, have been elected at large.

Under the proposed charter, "the districts shall be contiguous, compact and have approximately the same number of registered voters." District boundaries cannot be changed more often than once every six years, "unless change is necessary to conform to constitutional apportionment standards."

One board member will be elected from each district. The three other board members and the mayor will be elected at large. All will serve four-year staggered terms.

"It will ensure we have representation from all areas," charter commission member John Steinert said. "That way, no one faction can really take over."

The charter also removes term limits from local government positions.

"We decided to do it because in a town this size it can be hard to get people to serve," Steinert said. Doing away with term limits allows those with the time and desire to serve their community the avenue to do so as long as the people continue to elect them.

To protect the voters and continue to give them a say in the local government, provisions for initiative, referendum and recall are included in the charter.

Becoming a home rule community does not mean the town can simply ignore state statutes. In all matters of statewide concern, the town will still be bound to state law. Home rule only allows a community flexibility in matters of local concern.

That edge of local control, Cotton said, could help the town somewhere down the line.

Both Whitbred and Cotton are also members of the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees.

The charter is 45 pages long and includes 14 articles covering: general provisions, town council, procedures for the council, elections, initiative, referendum and recall, town attorney and municipal court, town administration, boards and commissions, budget and finance, utilities, franchises and town property, land use, development and districts, legal provisions, and transition provisions.

Polling for the home rule charter special election will be conducted at Town Hall on Hot Springs Boulevard. All registered voters in the town of Pagosa Springs are eligible. Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 7.


Water restrictions lifted, voluntary controls urged

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Based on reservoir storage data presented by district staff, the board of directors of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District voted Tuesday night to lift Level I water restrictions.

However, while reservoirs are in better shape than at this time last year, the district is cautioning against excessive usage and is recommending what are referred to as "voluntary restrictions."

"What 'voluntary' means is we should all be watchful, cautious and mindful of things we can continue to do in order to conserve water," explained Gene Tautges, assistant general manager.

Tautges indicated the decision to lift restrictions is due in large part to the cooperation and efforts of those served by the district.

In addition, while the goal of the district has been to keep 2,200 acre feet of water in reserve this year, a recent staff review of usage projections resulted in a reduction in the reserve goal for 2004 to 1,800 acre feet.

"Because our customers have been doing such a good job on conservation, we're planning to use 1,800 acre feet as our reserve level next year," said Tautges.

"Right now, we have more than that, and of course we can revisit these objectives on a regular basis if necessary," concluded Tautges.

The board's decision to lift restrictions means the "drought surcharge, "or increased usage fees incurred by customers using in excess of 8,000 gallons per equivalent unit will appear on bills received in the next week or so, but will not appear on bills mailed in early November.

Drought update

According to Tautges, as of Sept. 15 district reservoirs were at the following levels:

- Lake Hatcher - 76 percent full at 20 inches below spillway

- Stevens Reservoir - 85 percent full at 11 inches below spillway

- Lake Pagosa - 73 percent full at 26 inches below spillway

- Lake Forest - 94 percent full at three inches below spillway

- Village Lake - 28 percent full at 43 inches below spillway.


Pagosa teens charged in puppy theft

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Durango puppynappers have been found - in Pagosa Springs.

Durango Police Detective Rita Warfield said two teen-agers, ages 14 and 15, were arrested on charges of second-degree burglary, a Class IV felony Sept. 22.

The two suspects were sought in connection with the burglary of two female shepherd mix puppies from the La Plata County Humane Society Aug. 11.

Warfield said a Pagosa Springs probation officer recognized the girls from a surveillance photograph taken at the La Plata County Humane Society the day of the burglary and printed in the Sept. 18 SUN.

The teen-agers were interviewed Monday. Warfield said one was wiling to cooperate with police. Apparently, the girls were shopping at WalMart in Durango Aug. 11 with one of their mothers. She is not a suspect in the case.

While the mother was in WalMart, the two girls walked to the humane society in the 1100 Block of Camino del Rio, entered the building through a window and stole the puppies.

They returned to the car and said someone had been giving the dogs away in front of the store. The puppies traveled home with them to Pagosa Springs where the dogs stayed with the girls for about two weeks. At that point, they were told they had to get rid of them.

Warfield said both puppies, Brandy and Candy, were recovered at the Pagosa Springs Humane Society Aug. 28. They are now back in Durango.

Both suspects 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.

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.

Warfield said the suspects are both on probation.




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Sunshine, above-average temps dominate forecast

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

There is good news in the forecast for Pagosa Country residents who have been enjoying the picture perfect weather that graced the Four Corners region over the past week; more is on the way.

According to Joe Ramey, a forecaster with the National Wether Service office in Grand Junction, a high-pressure ridge situated over Nevada will swing into the state early next week, bringing with it more blue sky and mild temperatures.

"If you like what you had last week, you're in good shape because the trend is going to continue for at least the next seven days," said Ramey.

Along with abundant sunshine and gentle breezes will come temperatures slightly above average, added Ramey.

"Daytime highs should exceed normal by three or four degrees each day except for Sunday, probably climbing into the mid-70s," said Ramey.

"We're watching some energy coming in off the Pacific, but I would say that doesn't have the potential to change Pagosa's weather until late next week," he concluded.

In the meantime, sunny skies and high temperatures around 75 are expected for today, as are southwest winds at 10-15 miles per hour and lows in the mid-30s.

More of the same is predicted for Friday, with highs again expected to range in the 70s. Lows should dip into the 30s.

With the exception of Sunday, the forecasts for Saturday through Wednesday play like a broken record; mostly clear, highs in the 70s, lows 35 to 45.

Predictions for Sunday include a slight cooling trend and slim chance for light rain, with highs expected in the upper 60s and lows near freezing.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 71 degrees. The average low for the week was 33. 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 is falling, and ranged from approximately 130 cubic feet per second to 66 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Sept. 25 is roughly 85 cubic feet per second.



Sports Page

Parks & Rec

26 teams in youth soccer action

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Youth soccer is underway with a total of 26 teams. More than ever before, kids are having fun and all the games are close matchups. Thanks to all the sponsors who support this and other youth programs.

Adult volleyball

Adult volleyball has begun with only four teams this season. Although the number of teams is down, it should make it a fun season for all. If you are interested in joining a team, contact Chris Corcoran at Town Hall, 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Youth basketball

Youth basketball registration for the 7-8 year-old league will be held in schools in early October. Games will be played on Tuesdays and Thursdays with an occasional Saturday game. Competition will begin in late October or early November.

Look for the registration forms for basketball in your Monday packets. Registration for older age groups will be sent out in November and games will begin in January.

For more information or answers to any recreation questions call the number above.


Lady Pirates need five games to beat Ignacio

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

The Lady Pirate volleyball team and the Ignacio Bobcats figured to be contenders for the Intermountain league crown this season.

Ignacio came to Pagosa Tuesday with an 8-2 record, led by their crafty mentor, Coach Melanie Taylor. The Ladies, fresh off wins over 4A Alamosa and Montrose, were 5-4.

Each team took the court with one IML win and one league loss. To stay in the hunt, a win was necessary.

It was a clutch match. And it came down to who wanted it most.

Or, rather, who wanted to give it away.

Turns out, the Lady Pirates decided to snatch the win in the deciding fifth game, but victory was never certain.

Pagosa's offense clicked in the first game as the Ladies went out to a 7-2 lead getting kills from Lori Walkup and Liza Kelley and three points on formidable blocks. The lead extended to 15-6 as the Bobcats handed over points with hitting errors.

The game proceeded in fits and starts and Ignacio crept closer, cutting the home team's lead to 22-17. Then, as would be the case most of the evening, the Lady Pirates decided to be generous. All the Bobcats had to do was return the ball, using a stiff back row defense, and Pagosa would give up a point with an error. Six consecutive errors put Ignacio in front, 23-22.

Pagosa middle hitter Caitlyn Jewell gained the tie with a cross-court kill but a solo block by Ignacio's Carol Lee Jefferson put Ignacio ahead 24-23, needing only a single point to win.

The Bobcats couldn't get it done. An Ignacio serve error produced a point and a side out. Walkup crushed a kill from outside and Jewell finished the game, 26-24 with a kill from the middle.

Ignacio had an 8-5 lead in the second game only to see the Pagosa blocks go up and force hitting errors. Courtney Steen killed from outside and Laura Tomforde tipped for point to tie the game.

The teams struggled to a 12-12 tie before Jewell scored from outside and Walkup nailed a quick set from Tomforde. The Ladies rolled out to a 22-14 advantage with the help of several Ignacio mistakes, two kills by Jewell and an ace by Steen.

Ignacio got two points on Lady Pirate mistakes, but Pagosa scored with a Walkup kill, a kill by Bri Scott from the middle, and a tip by Scott from outside to take the game 25-16.

Call game three the "Unearned Point Fiesta."

Pagosa surrendered 12 unearned points with sloppy fundamentals to allow Ignacio to run off with a 25-23 win.

The Ladies trailed through the midpoint of the contest then used strong hitting by Walkup and a spate of Bobcat errors to take a 23-18 lead.

Then, the wheels came off.

Flatfooted back-row play gave up a point and three consecutive hitting errors gave Ignacio points.

Jefferson came up big on a solo block and the game was tied 23-23. Pagosa put three attacks across the net, but the Bobcat defense was perfect and the visitors responded with a point on a tip. Pagosa's back row, on the other hand, failed to produce, allowing a roll shot to drop to give Ignacio the 25-23 victory.

If the third game was a Fiesta, the fourth game of the match was a Jubilee. Pagosa gave up 17 unearned points in a 29-27 loss.

Despite the erratic play, the Lady Pirates had chances to win the game and finish the match. The home team led 9-6, 14-11 and 22-19. With just three points needed to seal the win, miscues doomed the effort.

Ignacio put a tip down behind the Pagosa blockers and a net violation gave up a point.

The Bobcats responded with a mistake at serve but a Pagosa hitting error balanced the action. The Ladies led 23-22. Ignacio's Jackie Guffey put a kill to the floor to tie the score and the Bobcats went in front courtesy of a complacent Pagosa back row.

Jewell was not going lightly into that good night. The junior killed from outside to tie the score at 24-24 and Ignacio provided a point with a passing error.

Not content to finish off their opponents, the Ladies responded with a combined setting and hitting error.

Following the trend, Ignacio committed a passing error, but remedied the situation as Jefferson tipped over the block to tie the game, 26-26.

Ignacio took the lead on a Pagosa setting error then Walkup put a controversial kill to the back line.

That was all she wrote for Pagosa: A gift on a passing error put a point on Ignacio's side of the scoreboard and a hit off the block that came down in bounds produced the Bobcat win.

What should have been a three-game match went to a deciding fifth game, to 15.

Ignacio had a 3-1 lead and the teams tied at 5-5 as Scott came alive in the middle with two kills for Pagosa. Scott then put a quick set to the floor and Ignacio committed two hitting errors in the face of Pagosa blocks.

Pagosa could not hold the lead. Two hitting errors and disjointed back row play allowed the Bobcats to tie at 8-8.

Each team scored twice with Tomforde's successful roll shot the only earned point in the flurry.

At 10-10, the Lady Pirates woke up. Steen scored on a tip and Tomforde hit an ace serve that rolled over the top of the net. Jewell put a point on the scoreboard with a tip.

Ignacio got a final point on an errant Pagosa hit before Walkup blasted two powerful kills from outside to end the game and match, 15-11.

Lady Pirate coach Penné Hamilton was happy to post the IML win, but less than happy with the difficulty of the task.

"I thought we should have won in three," she said. "The first three games Ignacio didn't stop our offense, but they came back and put some things down on us. We beat ourselves in the fourth game. The last game was a test, and we passed, but we should not have been in that position."

The Lady Pirates have only one game this week and it, too, will be a test.

Durango comes to town Saturday for a Homecoming match.

The Demons lost their premier middle hitter Tuesday in a match with Cortez, but the team will no doubt be ready for Pagosa. There should be a measure of revenge in the Demons' game plan; last year, in the season opener, the Ladies beat the Demons in Durango and, no doubt, the visitors would like to return the favor.

Action at the PSHS gym will begin with a 10:45 a.m. junior varsity match, followed by the varsity contest at noon.


Kills: Jewell 14, Scott 13, Steen and Walkup 11 each

Assists: Tomforde 27, Walkup 13

Ace serves: Jewell, Steen, Tomforde, Walkup and Whomble 1 each

Solo blocks: Walkup 6, Jewell 4

Digs: Kelley 16, Steen 13, Scott 11


Comeback highlights Lady Pirate win

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

During each sport season, a team is faced with a hill or two - or three - that must be climbed for that team to mature and advance to another level of play.

Montrose put a hill in the way of the Lady Pirate volleyball team Saturday. The Ladies climbed it, beating the 4A Indians 3-0 and, if the altitude is maintained, the team will be better for it.

The action took part in a triangular meet involving the host Ladies, Montrose and Alamosa.

In the first match of the day, Pagosa beat 4A Alamosa 3-1. Montrose then defeated Alamosa 3-1, displaying a well-tuned back-row defense and an attack featuring two credible hitters.

The Ladies' fate so far this year hinges on one major factor: the number of unearned points they concede to opponents. When that number is six or less, Pagosa is in relative control and wins the game. When the number exceeds six, the game is in jeopardy.

In each of the first two games of the match, Pagosa surrendered six unearned points to the Indians on hitting and serve errors. The Ladies won the first game 25-22 and the second game 25-23. In the third game, the number of unearned points went to 10, and the hill had to be climbed before the home team could eke out an inspirational 26-24 victory.

The teams battled head-to-head in the first game, with Pagosa's attack clicking in better fashion than it had in the early part of the schedule. Caitlyn Jewell was effective from the middle, logging five kills over decent Indian blocks. The Ladies also got points on kills by Bri Scott, Laura Tomforde and Lori Walkup, who returned to action after a two-match absence. Tomforde and Walkup hit ace serves to put points on the board.

The teams exchanged the lead throughout the game and Montrose led 21-19 before the Ladies put an end to the Indians' hopes. Jewell nailed a kill and Montrose responded with a kill off the block. Then, the Indians wilted in the face of Pagosa blockers, surrendering three points on hitting errors. Walkup hit her ace to put the Ladies in front 24-22 and an Indian hit went out of bounds to give the home team the game.

In the second game, Pagosa got points on tips by Scott and Liza Kelley, kills by Scott, Courtney Steen, Tomforde, a solo block by Jewell and an ace by Tomforde to stretch a lead to 14-8.

Montrose battled back to tie the score at 16-16; Pagosa responded and went ahead 18-16 before the Indians pulled even again. The teams tied at 19, at 20. Jewell killed to put Pagosa up 21-20 and Montrose hit the ball out. The Indians scored one more time on a tip then gave up two points on hitting errors before getting a kill to the floor. Pagosa led 24-22.

A Pagosa hit went out of bounds and Montrose inched closer. Scott put an end to the Indians' hopes with a tip over the blocks that found an empty spot on the floor and the home team was up 2-0.

A parade of Pagosa mistakes early in the third game turned over too many points to Montrose and the visitors shot out to a seemingly comfortable 15-8 lead.

Walkup and Jewell scored with kills, Montrose got a kill off the block, Jewell responded with a block for a point and Scott slammed a stray Indian pass to the floor. The Montrose lead was 16-12.

And so it went, with each team scoring two and three points in a run, the visitors' lead staying at 5 to 6 points. With Montrose leading 23-17 and needing only two points to win the game, the Lady Pirate prospects seemed slim, the hill too steep.

Not so. In their brightest moment so far this season, the Ladies put the system into overdrive and powered over their opponents.

Jewell got a kill, tipped a quick set for another point then got a roll shot to the floor.

Montrose had a 23-21 lead and came one step closer to victory with a successful tip over the Pagosa blocks. Walkup then put a kill to the floor.

Pagosa sophomore Caitlin Forrest entered the game and went to the serve. Walkup killed again and Forrest hit an ace to tie the score 24-24. Jewell stuffed an Indian hitter and a Montrose attack went out of bounds. The Lady Pirates had the game 26-24 and the match in three games.

Coach Penné Hamilton was pleased with her team's performance as the team went to 5-4 on the season. "They really played like a unit," she said. "They got themselves down, then came back and won. I saw a lot more of a killer instinct and I saw good blocks. The kids saw the floor better and picked their shots."


Kills: Jewell 14, Scott 9, Tomforde and Walkup 7 each

Ace serves: Tomforde 2, Scott, Tautges and Walkup 1 each

Assists: Tomforde 17, Walkup 15

Solo blocks: Walkup 6

Digs: Steen 9, Kelley 6, Tomforde and Walkup 5 each


Pagosa scores 3-1 volleyball win over Alamosa

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Alamosa's Mean Moose trooped into town Saturday, but they weren't mean enough to beat the Lady Pirate volleyball team.

The Lady Pirates beat 4A Alamosa 3-1 to take the opening match in a triangular meet at the PSHS gym.

The match provided more of a familiar story regarding the still-young Pagosa team: when the Ladies play a consistent, fundamental game they cruise. When they loosen their focus and drift into a series of errors, they lose.

Against Alamosa the Ladies went in front 4-2 before giving up two points with receive and serve-receive errors.

Alamosa led 10-6 before Pagosa put on a run to take a 13-10 lead.

Lori Walkup scored with a tip; Courtney Steen nailed a kill from outside then put a tip to an empty spot behind the blockers. Bri Scott hit two consecutive ace serves and Steen finished the spree of earned points with a kill from outside.

Then it was the Mean Moose who went on a rampage, pulling to 16-16, getting four of six points handed to them on Pagosa miscues.

With Pagosa in front 18-17, the Ladies closed the door on their guests.

Scott started the end game with a putback of a stray Alamosa pass and the Moose handed over a point on a hitting error. Alamosa scored, then gave up two straight points with balls hit out of bounds. An Alamosa free ball fell between two Pagosa defenders, apparently invisible in a sudden fog, but Scott took back momentum with a successful roll shot. Caitlyn Jewell scored with a solo block then finished the game with a kill to the back corner of the court. The Ladies had the first game, 25-19.

Alamosa got the best of Pagosa in the second game, with the lady Pirates handing over 11 of the opponents, 25 points with fundamental errors.

Pagosa led 1-0, 9-7 and 10 -9, but the Moose pulled out to a 19-12 lead with a six-point run fueled by five unearned points. The Ladies struggled to close the gap to 20-17, but Alamosa capitalized on Pagosa's sloppy play to log the 25-20 win.

Despite giving up 10 unearned points in game three, the Lady Pirates managed a 25-21 win. The teams stayed close in the early going, trading the lead several times. Pagosa got points on a kill by Jewell, a successful roll shot by Liza Kelley and an ace by Steen. Jewell and Walkup combined on a block and Scott crushed an errant Alamosa pass. The ladies were ahead 7-6.

The home team ran the advantage to 20-17, getting points on a roll shot and a kill by Steen, two kills by Walkup, two kills by Kelley and a perfect tip on the run by Laura Tomforde. The score went back and forth and a tremendous dig in the back row by Steen that rolled off the tape and to the floor on the Alamosa side put the Ladies in front 22-20.

For a moment, it seemed the Lady Pirates would give up ground with mistakes as a setting error put Alamosa back in the running, 22-21. Fortunately, it was the visitors' turn to come undone. The Moose surrendered a point on a passing error, saw that familiar fog settle on their side of the net as a Pagosa free ball dropped at the feet of the back row players and committed a passing error to give the Ladies the 25-21 victory.

The match went to the home team as the Ladies cut their mistakes in game four, boosted their focus and cruised to a 25-14 win.

Pagosa never trailed in the game, powering to a 4-1 lead with an ace by Tomforde, a kill by Walkup, a kill off a quick set by Jewell and a successful back row attack by Tomforde. The advantage stretched to 12-3 as Lady Pirate blockers nailed a point, Amy Tautges hit an ace serve, Kelley slammed a poor Alamosa pass to the court and Scott did the same from the middle.

With her team up 14-5, Scott's block caused an Alamosa hitting error, and Jewell swung outside for a kill. With a 16-9 advantage, Pagosa scored seven points to Alamosa's one to shoot in front 23-10. Kelley killed down the line, Scott nailed a quick set to the back court, Walkup stuffed an Alamosa attacker and Tautges hit an ace.

The visitors got three consecutive points as the Ladies handed the scores over with passing, setting and serve-receive mistakes. An Alamosa mis-hit put the Ladies on the brink, 24-13.

Alamosa took advantage of a lazy Pagosa block to put one final point on the board before Tomforde closed the action, 25-14, with a kill.

"We played more in sync with each other," said Coach Penné Hamilton.

The coach noted the improvement in the Pagosa offense. "We improved overnight," she said. "Our passing was better and that gave us a chance to run our offense. I saw a much-improved team from Thursday night (against Kirtland N.M.) and Saturday afternoon."


Kill: Scott 9, Walkup, Kelley and Jewell 8 each, Steen 7, Tomforde 6

Ace serves: Scott and Tomforde 2 each

Assists: Tomforde 19, Walkup 18

Solo blocks: Walkup 4, Jewell and Scott 1 each

Digs: Steen 6, Tautges 5


Shorthanded Ladies bow to Kirtland

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Last week, Pagosa volleyball fans had to be thinking: One of these days, the Lady Pirate volleyball team will have a stable lineup on the floor for more than two matches.

When that happens, the process of developing a team that can compete at season's end for the right to move on to tournament play will begin in earnest. The Lady Pirates are a young team, and the maturation process will take time.

The team traveled to Kirtland N.M. Sept. 18 to take on the Broncos and, while Pagosa lost the match 3-0, falling to 3-4 on the season, Coach Penné Hamilton saw some small changes that pleased her.

"In the first game," said the coach, "the girls started slow, then slowly got back on track. We were still missing Lori Walkup from the lineup, but late in the first game, the girls seemed to be getting used to it."

That awareness was obvious in the second game of the match, the best game of the evening.

"We went down 5-1," said Hamilton, "and kind of dug ourselves into a hole."

The situation didn't last. The Lady Pirates came back to tie the game at 10-10, 14-14, 20-20, then at 24-24.

"It ended up being a good game," said the coach. "We had two chances to win and couldn't do it. They finally beat us 28-26."

The efforts made in the second game were nonexistent in the final game of the match as the home team beat the Ladies 25-6, holding Pagosa to no earned points.

"They had some big girls," Hamilton said of Kirtland, "but it is a team we could have beaten. Despite the loss, I saw some good things compared to our match with Bayfield. Defensively we were better in some small ways, doing better staying on the lines. Our setting was a little better but our serve receive was not."


Kills: Jewell and Scott 6 each

Ace serves: Faber, Scott and Whomble 1 each

Assists: Tomforde 18, Kelley 7

Solo blocks: Jewell 1

Digs: Tomforde 10, Scott 8, Steen 6



Defense keeps game in check until offense comes alive

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

I wasn't pretty, especially the first half.

In fact, it was downright ugly at times.

To wit, 24 shots on goal for Pagosa in the period - with one finding the nets; Kyle Sanders, the state's leading scorer as the game began, was 0-14 in the half; Pagosa keeper Caleb Forrest was called upon to make only three saves in the period.

As those statistics indicate, Pagosa's offense was in possession most of the first half against Bayfield on the latter's home field Tuesday. And, they indicate, the Pirates were firing blanks.

With the exception of right winger Josh Soniat, that is.

He gave Pagosa a 1-0 lead at 28:38 cutting to the middle from right wing on a pass from Keegan Smith and drilling it at ground level just inside the left post.

It was the one that got away from Bayfield keeper Tyler Gardner who, to that point, had made a number of spectacular saves, most of them against Pagosa's Sanders and his running mate striker Kevin Muirhead.

As has been the case so often for the Pagosa kickers this season, defense was the key to the half.

Keegan Smith and Jesse Morris controlled midfield and Ty Peterson, Levi Gill and Ryan Goodenberger stopped nearly every Wolverine attack before they could get a shot away.

The portent of things to come was evident early. Just 48 seconds into the game, Gardner stopped Muirhead's curving blast from the right box. At 2:36 Sanders hit the right post and 20 seconds later, after Drew Mitchell retained possession for Pagosa, Sanders' reverse of Mitchell's corner lead was stopped by Gardner.

The next trip downfield, Muirhead led Sanders to the left middle and Gardner again made the stop.

A Bayfield corner kick to a driving striker resulted on no shot when Morris blocked it and led downfield to the Sanders-Muirhead tandem on attack. Gardner stopped Sanders bid to score off Muirhead's lead and then stopped Smith trying to convert the rebound.

Sanders was stopped on three consecutive attempts, a free kick from the 18, a steal and shot wide left and the wide right from the 20.

Forrest's first save and Bayfield's first shot to reach the goal, was a dribbler from 22 by Levi Copenhauer which was an easy snare.

Then it was Webb stopped from 40, Soniat wide left, Sanders indirect kick right at the keeper and Muirhead stopped by Gardner.

Forrest made his second save, a high leap for a drive by Ryan Johnston at 25:30 and then came Soniat's goal which would prove to be all the offense Pagosa would need.

In the next four minutes, Smith, Muirhead and Sanders each was stopped on good drives at Gardner.

As the half wound down, Webb was high from 30, Gardner stopped Sanders' breakaway attempt, Muirhead's header off a Mitchell corner throw-in was stopped by Gardner and Sanders was over the net from 20, again from 15, and then wide right just before the buzzer.

The second half opened much the same way, Pirates controlling the attack and missing the nets.

Just 57 seconds in, Smith's shot was over the top. Then Sanders was wide left, hit the crossbar and was wide right on consecutive attacks as the Wolverines found it almost impossible to clear the zone.

And so it went: Sanders stopped on a breakaway, Soniat wide right on an indirect from 40, Sander over net from 25, Muirhead wide right from Smith and Sanders, Sanders stopped head-on and Mitchell's corner throw right on net but stopped.

After block/takeaways by Gill, Ty Peterson, Goodenberger and Smith, Forrest made a save, Gill stole the Bayfield outlet, and Bayfield got back to the attack.

Johnston was over the net on a corner kick header and then, in the Wolverine's best scoring opportunity of the game, hit the right post.

At 65:17, Sanders scored, finally, on a drop lead from Smith and then, at 69:22, converted his second goal on a looping lead from Webb.

The balance of the contest was a Pagosa control game that led to seven additional Pirate shots and just one more for Bayfield as the Pagosa defense kept the Wolverines at bay.

After the contest, Pirate coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said he felt the team began the game flat, perhaps a little overconfident, and had some bad choices on shot selection.

But the second half, he said, was Pirate soccer. "Control the ball, set the pace, find the open attacker and keep the opponent out of the attack zone. Those are the keys to our success," he said.

He cited specifically the play of the entire Pirate defense for bottling up the Bayfield attack and the continued pressure by his defense even when it was not scoring.

The Pirates host Farmington at 4 p.m. today at Golden Peaks Stadium and then go on the road Saturday for a contest at Center where the Vikings are 4-0-1 having defeated Ridgway and Telluride twice each and playing to a 2-2 tie with Bayfield.

Pagosa's victory hiked the team record to 7-2 and Sanders' two goals gave him 21 for the season.


Scoring: 28:38, P-Soniat, unassisted; 65:17, P-Sanders, assist Smith; 69:22, P-Sanders, assist Webb. Shots on goal, P-32, B-8; Saves, P-Forrest, 5, B-Gardner, 22. No penalties.


Soccer Pirates record 9-0 whitewash of Telluride

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

When a continually strong team has an off season the tendency among their league foes is to "paste them while you can."

That the Pagosa Springs Pirate soccer team attempted to avoid that type of action Friday against Telluride was to its credit.

Still, with 38 shots on goal, the Pirates could not avoid building a 9-0 lead, four of the goals coming from the state's defending scoring leader, Kyle Sanders, who hiked his season toll to 19.

But, to their credit, with Pagosa having pulled two players and the 9-0 lead facing them, Telluride kept trying to score

Miners coach Moussa Konare substituted freely, getting his mostly inexperienced youngsters more playing time and pointing toward the future.

In the meantime, Pagosa coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason was playing every person on his bench; and he even moved Sanders to a defensive midfield position for part of the final 10 minutes.

The 38 Pagosa shots on goal in the first half came against one of the few Miner veterans, keeper Hanley Fansler, and - in the second half, with Telluride already trailing 5-0 - against Will Carol. He would surrender four additional Pagosa goals.

It took just over four minutes for Pagosa to get the first goal, a Kevin Muirhead header off a corner lead from Drew Mitchell. Prior to that goal, Sanders and Moe Webb each had been stopped from 30 by

Fansler and a beautiful four-player offensive drive from Sanders to Josh Soniat to Kevin Muirhead to Webb had been turned aside on a shanked kick.

Webb and Muirhead combined for another chance at 6:08 but Muirhead's drive was wide.

Then, at 9:28, Webb made the score 2-0 hammering in a long lead from Ryan Goodenberger.

With Kurt-Mason substituting freely, the offense took no breaks. First it was sophomore midfielder Chris Baum stopped on an 18-yarder before Sanders got his first goal at 21:24 on an assist off a long outlet kick from keeper Caleb Forrest.

Telluride's first shot on goal had come at 9:22 when Lance Kipfer's bid was wide left. They got a second shot at 22:54 when Nick Kenworthy's header off a corner kick was wide right.

Muirhead had a breakaway just over two minutes later, but his shot was wide. Sanders bid for a second goal on a penalty kick hit the cross bar and his rebound was high left.

A shot up the middle by Telluride's Matt Horner never got to Forrest in goal. Sweeper Levi Gill blocked the attempt and his deep running mate, Goodenberger, stopped the Telluride rebound attempt.

Muirhead was wide right on the next possession and Webb high on a blast from 40 yards.

Sanders got his second and the team's fourth goal at 33:16, scoring on a crossing lead from Muirhead, missed a chip from the middle, and then made it 5-0 with his third goal at 36:32, again assisted by Muirhead.

Telluride had an indirect free kick from the 30 with 40 seconds left in the half, but Forrest snared it easily.

Sanders hiked the lead to 6-0, scoring unassisted from the 30 at 42:22.

At 49:03 Mitchell made it 7-0 Pagosa converting from the left wing on an assist by Sanders for the senior's first varsity goal. He had scored for the junior varsity as a freshman, but missed the past two years with injuries.

In the interim Soniat, Webb and Muirhead all had been stopped by Carol and Keegan Smith had picked up a yellow card for roughing, the Pirates' first card of the season.

Straying from the norm, Pagosa tried to work on surprise plays for future use as the shutout seemed assured.

Twice Sanders, on penalty kicks from the 18, chipped over the defensive wall instead of driving the ball. Each time his intent was to get a goal for Smith. Each time, however, Smith was unsuccessful.

In the meantime, the offensive load shifted to Soniat who was first wide left, and then hit the crossbar from 30. Switching to left wing on the next attack, he was stopped by Carol and then his corner kick to Drew Fisher was also halted in by Carol.

Smith and Ty Peterson were each blanked twice as Pagosa kept rotating attackers from midfield positions.

A penalty kick by Telluride's Kenworthy was blocked by Gill and another by Kipfer was hauled in by Forrest.

Webb converted his second goal and Pagosa's eighth at 72:10, heading in a corner kick from Soniat.

Finally, Muirhead closed the scoring at 75:07 ripping in his second goal on a perfect loopover lead from Gill.

The Pirates might well have been able to double that score had not Kurt-Mason kept the attack positions shifting and the defense working like a well-oiled machine.

The four goals by Sanders boosted his state-leading total to 19. He led the state - in all classes - with 30 last year.

Telluride had only 11 shots on goal, including three penalty kicks.

The victory hiked Pagosa's season record to 6-2. The Pirates host Farmington at 4 p.m. today in Golden Peaks Stadium and then journey to Center for a 1 p.m. league tilt Saturday.


Scoring: 4:07, P-Muirhead (4), assist Mitchell; 9:28, P-Webb (2) assist Goodenberger; 21:24, P-Sanders (16), assist Forrest; 33:16 P-Sanders (17) from Muirhead; 36:32, P-Sanders (18) assist Muirhead; 42:22, P-Sanders (19) unassisted; 49:03, P-Mitchell (1) assist Sanders; 72:10, P-Webb (3), assist Soniat; 75:07, P-Muirhead (5), assist Gill. Shots on goal, P-38, T-11; Saves, P-Forrest, 8; T- Fansler, 12, T-Carol, 8.


Kickers blank Bloomfield 2-0 after slow start

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Perhaps they were overconfident, having seen the visitors in a home scrimmage before the regular season.

Perhaps they were looking ahead to a clash with league foe Telluride the following day.

Whatever the reason, the Pagosa Springs soccer Pirates started slowly Thursday against the visiting Bloomfield Bobcats and the game was scoreless at the halftime break.

It is not known what coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said to his charges at the break, but a distinctly different Pirate team came out for the second half.

In the end it was a 2-0 Pagosa victory, both goals scored by state leader Kyle Sanders, boosting his total at that point to 15.

The first half standoff was more a Pagosa failure to organize and set the offense than the play of the Bobcat defense.

The Pirates seemed intent on rushing the attack and as a result the early shots were often ill-advised and/or out of range.

Only the play of midfielder Keegan Smith seemed inspired. As the Pirates struggled to find a rhythm, Smith became a whirling dervish diving, sliding, blocking and basically thwarting any Bloomfield offensive foray.

The game started nearly 17 minutes after the scheduled time due to late arrival of the officials.

And, at 1:12, Bloomfield's Cary Dennis had the game's first shot on goal, a dribbler stopped easily by Caleb Forrest.

After consecutive block/takeaways by Smith and Levi Gill, the Pirates got their first shot at 2:57 when Moe Webb's header off a Smith lead was stopped by Bobcat keeper Drew Torres.

Then it was Forrest stopping Dennis again and Kevin Muirhead stopped by Torres before Josh Soniat's corner kick aimed for Sanders sailed high and long beyond the nets.

Forrest made saves at 10:34 and 12:52 but neither was threatening to find the net.

Pagosa's best early scoring opportunity came at 14:43 when Soniat broke free and Muirhead's lead cross hit him in step. But Torres made the stop.

Gill's block/takeaway thwarted a two-on-one Bobcat attack but moments later the visitors' Ben Stogsdill was open from the left side 20 but hooked his shot into the outside of the net.

Sanders' reverse kick was wide left from 20 yards at 20:14 and his header off a lead from Caleb Ormonde was wide left a minute and seven seconds later.

Torres stopped Muirhead 24 seconds later when Webb found him open on the right. Sanders was stopped three more times and Muirhead once as the Pirates wound down the half and ended it with another block/takeaway By Gill.

Less than a minute into the second half, Sanders was on the attack and as Bobcat defenders closed on him he found Soniat wide open on the right wing with a crisp crossing pass. Soniat, however, ripped the lead wide right.

As the offense spread out, Pagosa's attack seemed much more organized and the defense kept getting them the ball. First it was Gill, then Smith stealing a Bloomfield attack and setting the offense.

Bloomfield got away one shot from 40 which trickled wide left and Forrest made a stop on Doug Carter at 58:50.

Twice in the ensuing four minutes, Sanders was stopped by Torres and Muirhead was frustrated by a diving save by the Bobcat keeper.

But by this point it was becoming evident Pagosa was in command.

Finally, at 66:56, Sanders broke the scoring ice, giving Pagosa a 1-0 lead on a beautiful lead from Ormonde that put him in control from eight yards.

Muirhead was wide right on the next attack and then the defense for Pagosa put on a display of thievery. First it was Ryan Goodenberger stealing two consecutive attacks, then Smith and again Goodenberger.

At 72:40 Sanders again was the beneficiary of a Pirate defensive stand. Smith raced into a two-man Bloomfield attack, cleanly stole the would-be lead pass and drilled - all in one smooth motion - a pass to Soniat running the right center.

With Sanders coming from the left mid post, Soniat led him perfectly and Torres was faked out of position when the shot went low right for a 2-0 Pagosa lead.

With that margin, the Pirates stayed defensive.

Goodenberger's steal and long lead to Ormonde led to a shot stopped at top of the box.

Then Gill and Peterson each recorded a pair of block/takeaways, the last leading to the final Pagosa shot, a 20-yarder by Sanders that was wide left.

A routine save by Forrest with 27 seconds left brought the game to a close, hiking Pagosa's record to 5-2 for the season.

Block/takeaway statistics tell the story of the game for Pagosa. Gill had 7, Smith and Goodenberger 6 each, Peterson 5 and Morris 3.


Scoring: 66:56 P-Sanders (14),; assist Ormonde; 72:40, P-Sanders (15), assists Smith and Soniat; Shots on goal, P-19, B-10; Saves, P-Forrest, 7, B-Torres, 11.


Two runners missing, Pirate ladies fourth at Shiprock

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs cross country team continues to battle illness as well as the competition - especially on the girls' side.

The Pirates' top runner, sophomore Emilie Schur, didn't compete in Saturday's race at Shiprock because of a cold, Head Coach Scott Anderson said. Senior Lauren Caves also stayed off the track because of an illness, and two other varsity runners coming off illness and injury competed in the junior varsity race to give themselves a chance to rebuild strength.

With all that, the Lady Pirates still walked away from a field of 14 teams with a fourth-place team finish paced by freshman Jessica Lynch, who finished seventh in 21 minutes, 25 seconds.

Freshman Laurel Reinhardt was close on Lynch's heels, crossing the finish in ninth place with a time of 21:43. The third runner in for Pagosa was senior Becca Blauert who finished 28th with a time of 22:57. Drié Young finished in the 35th place with a time of 23:34. The final runner for the Pirates was junior Marlena Lungstrum who finished 53rd in 24:32.

Senior Aaron Hamilton paced the Pirate boys' team, finishing fourth in a field of 20 teams with a time of 17:05.

"Aaron ran a great race again," Anderson said.

Sophomore A.J. Abeyta also gave it everything he had, "running his best race of the year," the coach said, to finish 16th with a time of 17:54. Another sophomore, Orion Sandoval claimed 52nd with a time of 19:26.

"Each week he continues to take minutes off his times from last year," Anderson said.

To round out the boys' efforts, Riley Lynch finished in 21:55 for 85th place, and Chris Nobles finished 92nd in 22:28.

"Of the 14 people who ran in varsity and junior varsity races at Shiprock, 10 of them ran personal bests," Anderson said. "I was very excited to see that."

This Saturday, the team travels to Bayfield for a meet that will feature many league teams. The coach said it will give Pagosa a chance to see where they stack up moving into the second half of the season.

The varsity girls are set to run at 10:30 a.m., followed by the boys at 11 a.m. Races start and finish on the Bayfield track next to the high school.


State corrects goof: Mackensen qualified for state golf tourney; Pirates field full four-man team

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

They have their tee times.

They played the course again Tuesday, shooting during morning hours to replicate those tee times.

Now it is all up to the four Pagosa Springs High School golfers going as a team - a first for the school - into state playoff competition Monday and Tuesday on Cattails Golf Club layout in Alamosa.

Yes, four players.

Colorado High School Activities Association, reviewing the finishes in regional competition at Pueblo, has ruled that Pagosa's Jake Mackensen didm, in fact, qualify within the 10-stroke rule, and will join the team for the state competition.

The rule in question, finishing individually within 10 strokes of the lowest team qualifier, had been overlooked when the scores were compiled.

The result means Pagosa takes a full, four-man team into competition Monday and Tuesday.

And that wasn't the only good news for the Pirate golfers.

As the closest contending team to the tournament site, the Pirates have been adopted as "home team" by course management.

The proximity of the club, within 90 miles of home, gave the team a chance to play the course a second time to familiarize themselves with the traps, hazards, winds and greens speed.

And, because of the "adoption" said coach Mark Faber, course manager Bryce Bervig sat down with the team members, explained the course layout, what clubs are advised and how winds affect the balls trajectory at different times of day.

Tuesday, for example, there was no wind at the beginning of the practice round.

"Bryce was just great toward our team," said Faber. "He went out of his way to make things easy for us and then wouldn't even charge us for the practice round."

For the balance of the week, Faber said, the team will be working on individual needs as determined by the players themselves.

Referring to the CHSAA decision on Mackensen, Faber was "tickled.

"Jake earned it, it wasn't a gift. He should have been there as a qualifier all along and CHSAA made good on its error overlooking his qualifying score," he said.

He said the team will spend the last practice hours concentrating on deciding what action to take and then doing it.

"We want them to go in with a game plan based on understanding of the course and their capabilities," he said. "We want them to be ready to decide the club, decide the swing based on what they've learned, and develop their own game plan without having to think about it."

The squad, and all other competitors, will get one last chance to play the course Sunday when all entrants get a collective practice round.

And then, it will be tee time starting at 9 a.m. Monday

Taking the Pirate black and gold on the team title quest will be Tom Huckins, teeing off at 9 a.m. from the first tee; Ty Faber at 10:12 a.m. from first tee; Casey Belarde at 10:30 on the 10th tee and Mackensen at 10:57 from the 10th tee.

After the first day's action, coach Faber said, the entrants will be regrouped by finish for the second day's competition.

The Pirates qualified for the state finals by finishing second to Cañon City in regionals in Pueblo.

"We've seen the course, talked about the course, played the course. Now we have to own the course," Faber concluded.

"And, he said, "I'm optimistic that if we stay within ourselves mentally, we'll have a great chance."


Pirates fall to Montrose, begin IML play tomorrow

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Is turnabout fair play?

The answer - at least the one posed by the Montrose Indians football team Friday night against host Pagosa Springs - is a resounding "yes."

After falling 49-28 to the Pirates at home last year, Class 4A Montrose rolled into town last week intent on turning the tables on its Class 2A foe.

To the dismay of Pirate faithful, the Indians were able to accomplish their goal, dealing Pagosa a 37-15 loss at Golden Peaks Stadium that evened the home team's record at 2-2.

Both defenses stood tall early on, and neither team threatened offensively until an interception by Montrose's Tyler Rawlings set up his team at the Pagosa 40-yard line late in the opening frame.

Three plays into the drive, Montrose halfback Andrew Brennecke broke lose for a 26-yard scoring run as the first-quarter clock expired, and although the extra-point attempt failed, the Indians were up 6-0 at the end of one.

Just over a minute later, the visitors were in position to score again after a Pagosa fumble on third and 4 gave Montrose the ball back at the Pirate 15.

The Pirate defense held, however, and after a first-down sack by Manuel Madrid and a second-down run for no gain, David Kern and Marcus Rivas combined to force a fumble that was recovered by teammate Korey Hart at the 25.

But a holding call on the Pirates' ensuing possession stalled their drive, and Pagosa was forced to punt on fourth and long from deep inside its own territory.

Montrose took over at the Pirate 41, but the Indians came up empty after a tackle for loss from Hart and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty backed the visitors out of scoring range.

After the teams traded punts, Pagosa got a break with three-minutes left in the first half when, following a bad snap from center, Kern tackled Montrose punter Trent Archer in the end zone for a safety to pull his team within four at 6-2.

But the Pirate offense couldn't get on track following the Montrose free kick, and the Indians made good on the ensuing punt when Brennecke took a reverse handoff from teammate Jacob Palmer and raced 60 yards down the sideline to make it 12-2 with just over a minute left in the half.

Following the Indians' successful point-after attempt and kickoff, the Pirates put together a drive to the Montrose 35, but were unable to score before the half ended with the visitors up 13-2.

Montrose extended its lead on the opening possession of the second half when Brennecke punched the ball in from 3 yards out to complete a 69-yard drive that put the Indians on top 19-2. The point-after was good, and Montrose led 20-2 with 10:04 remaining in the period.

The Pirates responded on their next possession, and behind good blocking from the offensive line, halfback Jeremy Caler ripped off a 68-yard run on second down from the Pagosa 24 before plunging in from 8 yards out two plays later to get his team within 12 at 20-8. Daniel Aupperle's point-after kick made it 20-9, and it looked as if momentum was turning in favor of the home team.

But Pagosa would get no closer. Palmer stole the wind from the Pirates' sails on the ensuing kickoff, finding a seam and sprinting 90 yards for a touchdown to put Montrose up 26-9 with 8:10 left in the quarter. The point-after made it 27-9, and the Indians would control the game from that point forward.

Sloppy play from both sides resulted in turnovers throughout the remainder of the quarter, and although Kern blocked a punt near midfield late, Montrose took the ball back at the Pagosa 43 two plays later after a Pirate fumble.

On its ensuing drive, Montrose was the beneficiary of a questionable pass interference call in the end zone early in the fourth quarter and went up 30-9 after a 20-yard field goal from Seth Bean.

Penalties then stymied the Pagosa offense throughout the period until a fumble recovery by Madrid gave the Pirates the ball at the Montrose 30 with under six minutes to play.

Kern scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper a short time later, and after a failed two-point conversion attempt, the Pirates trailed 30-15 with four minutes left in the contest.

Pagosa set up for an onside kick, but Aupperle's attempt was recovered at midfield by Rawlings, and Montrose took advantage of an exhausted Pirate defense to go up 36-15 on a 4-yard scoring run from Brennecke with under two minutes remaining. The extra-point kick made it a 22-point game, and Palmer intercepted a deflected pass in the final minute to preserve the margin and his team's 37-15 road win.

Following the game, Pirate Head Coach Sean O'Donnell reflected on his team's performance.

"It's always tough to take losses. It's never fun to lose, but they have some very good, very capable athletes," said O'Donnell. "I don't know if we could have beaten them under different circumstances, but I certainly think we could have played them harder than we did.

"Defensively, we weren't too bad, but we got caught up in traffic a few times and gave up a couple of big runs," added O'Donnell.

"Offensively, our team blocking was poor, altogether kind of a total letdown. And the two major breakdowns on special teams coverage - one giving up a punt return and the other a kickoff return - obviously those really hurt us."

Despite the loss, the good news for the black and gold is last week's contest will have no bearing on Pagosa's bid for a fifth straight Intermountain League title and a shot at postseason play - a quest that begins at home tomorrow against league rival Monte Vista.

"We can put this behind us now and turn out attention to Monte Vista," said O'Donnell, "But we've got a lot of work to do in the meantime."

Kickoff for the IML opener at Golden Peaks Stadium is 7 p.m.


Montrose 6 7 14 10-37

Pagosa 0 2 7 6-15

First Quarter

Mon - Brennecke 26 run (kick failed)

Pag - Kern tackle in end zone for safety

Second Quarter

Mon - Brennecke 60 punt return (Bean kick)

Third Quarter

Mon - Palmer 3 run (Bean kick)

Pag - Caler 8 run (Aupperle kick)

Mon - Palmer 90 kick return (Bean kick)

Fourth Quarter

Mon - Bean 20 field goal

Pag - Kern 1 run (2-point try failed)

Mon - Palmer 4 run (Bean kick)




John L. O'Caña

John L. O'Caña was born Nov. 28, 1928 and passed away Aug. 29, 2003, at the age of 74 years and nine months. He died at home in Colorado Springs where he had lived since he was 19 years old.

He was born at home in Pagosa Springs to Marcelino and Cerilia Martinez O'Caña, the youngest of 11 children.

He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Opal P. O'Caña Archuleta, Julian O'Caña, Virginia O'Caña LaVarta, Ruth O'Caña Lovato, Carnellio O'Caña, Sylviano, Frank, Joe and Marguerite O'Caña Collins.

Surviving are a sister, Betty O'Caña of Louisville, Ky., and numerous nieces and nephews.

He attended and graduated from Pagosa Springs High School.

There will be a memorial service at a later date at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs.


Lillian Handy

Lillian Handy passed away peacefully in her Pagosa Springs home Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2003.

She was born April 30, 1919, and was 84 years old.

She had worked at the Rolling Pin Bakery before it closed. She enjoyed dogs, needlework and music, playing the trombone, piano and organ. She had played organ at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and piano at Assembly of God services.

Friends gathered at Pagosa Springs Funeral Options Tuesday evening to pray and say their final farewells.

A memorial service will be held Oct. 2 in Assembly of God Church with Pastor Micah Wells officiating. The service time may be obtained by calling either the church or Pagosa Springs Funeral Options.

Interment will be in Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs.



Inside The Sun

Flash flood victim returns home

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Casey Mudroch is home.

The 7-year-old critically injured in a flash flood at Navajo Lake in August returned to Pagosa Springs Sept. 19 after over a month in The Children's Hospital of Denver.

"He was thrilled," his mother Denise Mudroch said. "Getting home was all he could think about."

Casey was sleeping in a tent with friends when the flash flood came down the canyon, sweeping the tent into the lake. Family friends pulled him out, started CPR and transported him to rescue personnel. He was later flown to The Children's Hospital where he was in intensive care not once, but twice. After he had been downgraded a first time, an ulcer caused by steroids he was being treated with ruptured Sept. 3 causing him to hemorrhage.

Doctors now expect a full recovery. Mudroch said the family will have to return to Denver in a few months for some additional testing, but everything looks good.

Casey will continue to work on getting stronger. He may even start school part-time next week. Mudroch said as soon as Casey is able to run around with his friends, a big party is in order. After all, Casey celebrated his seventh birthday in the hospital.

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

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

A benefit golf tournament has also been planned for Sunday at the Pagosa Springs Golf Club with a 10 a.m. shotgun start. The tournament will be a four-person scramble. Cost is $65 per person for members and $100 per person for nonmembers. Of that, $57.50 will go to benefit Casey. For information on the benefit, call Francis at the number listed above or Liz Marchand at 946-2859.


Natural gas shortage will spur rate hike bid

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It won't be "anywhere near" what consumers served by Xcel Corporation are facing, but customers of Kinder Morgan can look for a natural gas rate hike request this fall.

While the Colorado Public Utilities Commission was considering Xcel's second rate hike request this year Wednesday, a Kinder-Morgan spokesman said the firm which serves Pagosa Springs "will be filing a rate increase request in mid-October."

"We've been very fortunate with our hedging program," said Natalie Shelbourn, senior representative in business relations, from the firm's Delta office.

"We've tried to structure our own purchases of natural gas to minimize the impact of any possible increase," she said.

"But the increasing cost to the distributors must be covered by use fees from the consumers," she added.

The exact amount of the rate increase Kinder Morgan will seek has not yet been determined.

"It will not be anywhere near what Xcel customers are facing," Shelbourn said.

She noted the impact of the other firm's price is more dramatic because it was granted a 63-percent hike last March, an increase which came after the bulk of the winter heating season.

The requested increase of more than 9 percent now, makes the future for the coming heating season hold huge increases for users. It was approved late Wednesday.

"We'll find every way we can to keep our cost to the consumers at the lowest rate possible," Shelbourn said, "but our costs indicate some form of increase is needed."


Plans for Ranch Community LIDs move forward

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Plans for the development of two local improvement districts in the Ranch Community took another step forward Tuesday night during public hearings conducted by Archuleta County commissioners.

After taking favorable comments from former Ranch Community board member Joe Donavan, the commissioners agreed to support future resolutions that will enable the formation of improvement districts aimed at paving Hackamore Place and Antelope Drive.

Once resolutions are approved, the county will serve as the projects' administrator while ensuring the work is done according to county specifications, but will bear no fiscal responsibility for the projects.

The board also awarded engineering contracts for improvements to the two roads to Civil Design Team in the (total) amount of $16,600 contingent upon the necessary funding being in place before work commences.

Since CDT's price only holds until Nov. 1, unless the county has verification of the required funds for the projects from the Ranch Community/Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association before that date, the scenario will have to be reevaluated.

Donavan, who indicated he was asked to appear on behalf of residents living along the thoroughfares, told the board he believes the funding will be in place one way or another.

According to Donavan, funding for the Hackamore project, estimated at about $32,000, shouldn't be a problem. But the Antelope project is considerably more expensive, carrying a price tag of roughly $227,000.

One option, said Donavan, is the possibility of issuing bonds to cover the cost of the Antelope project. That notion will be investigated by the county and the Ranch Community in the coming weeks.

Donavan also told the board "if we get desperate," one of the residents living on Antelope has offered to front the money and be reimbursed at a later date.

If the funding is secured on time and the resolutions are approved, all persons who own property on the roads will be required to pay a share of the cost, and lot owners will have the option to pay their portion in one lump sum or in up to five annual installments.

The cost breakdown is a current estimate of $1,442 per lot for 12 lots in the Hackamore plan, and 35 lots at an estimated $3,461 each for the Antelope project.

A public hearing will be scheduled to address the assessments, and if the majority of property owners are still amenable to those amounts, the process will move forward.

The projects have been in the works since April, when Kathy Holthus, assistant county administrator, first informed the commissioners of the PLPOA's intent to upgrade the roadways.


New fees at state parks in effect Jan. 1

Sept. 19, the Colorado State Parks Board approved an adjusted fee structure for the agency that will be implemented Jan. 1.

The adjusted fees include increases to the State Parks Annual Pass, the Senior Aspen Leaf Pass, multiple-vehicle passes and annual boat registrations.

The board also created new passes including a limited income pass and a non-resident snowmobile permit.

Directed by the state legislature to become more self-sufficient due to a reduction of general tax dollars, Colorado State Parks developed a fee proposal in May 2003.

The proposal was opened to public comment and garnered significant response, including 200 attendees at four public meetings and two roundtable discussions, as well as approximately 170 written letters and 330 e-mails received before the package was presented before the board.

"The board took the initiative to review all of the public comments received and worked hard to find a balance in meeting the needs of both the user and the parks," said Lyle Laverty, Colorado State Parks director.

User fees support the operating and maintenance budget of Colorado State Parks. In fiscal year 2003-04, approximately 82 percent of the operating budget will be generated by park fees and other non-tax sources, while only 18 percent will come from general tax dollars appropriated by the State Legislature.

The operating budget is used to cover the daily maintenance costs for the parks.

Funds from the Colorado Lottery and Great Outdoors Colorado make up 70 percent of the state park facility construction budget, used to acquire, develop and build recreation facilities to support the growing number of visitors.

Changes approved include:

Annual vehicle pass up from $50 to $55; Aspen Leaf Pass increased from $10 to $27 and age of eligibility hiked from 62 to 64 years; Aspen Leaf camping from no fee Sunday through Thursday except for $6-$9 utility fee, to 50-percent discount of full price on the same days; multiple vehicle passes up from $15 to $20; multiple Aspen Pass cut from $15 to $10.

Boat registration fees were hiked, by category as follows:

Less than 20 feet, from $18.25 to $25; 20 to 29 feet, from $24.25 to $30; 30 feet from $30.25 to $50; Dealers: 30 feet plus, from $30 to $50; and duplicate fees from $5 to $10.

A new $20 nonresident snowmobile permit fee was approved as was a limited income pass fee of $12.50 and the Columbine Pass fee was held at $12.50.


Trout angling improves with onset of fall spawn

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Monsoon season is over, and runoff in local streams and rivers has fallen off considerably in the past week.

Water clarity is at or near maximum levels, and with the onset of lower flows and nighttime temperatures near freezing, early spawning activity among brook and brown trout has picked up.

Though the peak spawning window is still a few weeks away, local anglers are already reporting increased catch rates for both species, and the trend is likely to continue as fish become more territorial with the passage of each day.

Fourmile Creek, Williams Creek Reservoir and Big Meadows Reservoir currently offer the best fishing for brookies, while the Piedra River and Williams Creek are the favored spots for browns.

Casting dark-colored streamers, marabou jigs and spinners to slicks behind midstream boulders and other seams in the current will often do the trick throughout the spawn.

While lower temperatures mean better fishing for trout and kokanee, the odds of having a successful outing for bass and other warm-water species will wane significantly as lakes continue to cool in the coming weeks.

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

- Navajo Reservoir - Surface level is listed at an elevation of 6,001 feet and steady. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for boat launching at Navajo State Park. Water temperature is in the low 60s. Catfish are being taken during the night on chicken gizzards/liver. Fishing for smallmouths, largemouths crappie and northern pike is reported as fair. Kokanee fishing has picked up near the dam.

- San Juan River (through town) - Flows are currently averaging about 65 cubic feet per second and falling. River has cleared and successful anglers are using spinners, streamers, salmon eggs and flies for rainbows, cutbows and a few browns.

- Echo Lake - Lake is showing signs of turnover. Fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, small sunfish and perch is fair. Live bait, ultralight jigs and small plastics are the favored baits. Trout are taking flies, live bait, Mepps/Panther Martin spinners and streamers.

- Williams Creek Reservoir - Fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout has improved. Fish are being taken on jigs, PowerBait and metallic spinners. Kokanee fishing continues to improve with lower water temperatures.

- Big Meadows Reservoir - Water slightly off color but fishing is good near the inlets. Brook trout are still the predominant catch and are hitting PowerBait, flies, streamers 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. Fishing remains slow, with small browns and rainbows occasionally being taken on flies and small jigs and spinners.

- Fourmile Creek - Clear flows, 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. Browns are the main catch further downstream.


Asthmatics should avoid use of melatonin

People with asthma should consider limiting the use of melatonin as a sleep aid, according to researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

Pulmonologist Rand Sutherland, M.D., M.P.H., and his colleagues report in the September 2003 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that higher levels of melatonin were associated with an overnight loss of lung function is asthma patients.

Previous studies by the same group have shown that melatonin induces the release of chemicals that promote inflammation, a hallmark symptom of asthma.

"For patients whose asthma worsens at night, we found the higher levels of naturally occurring melatonin are associated with impaired lung function," said Sutherland. "These findings, on top of previous ones linking melatonin to inflammation, suggest that all patients with asthma should avoid using melatonin supplements until more is known about their safety."

Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, is an important regulator of circadian rhythms in the body, especially sleep. It is released at night, generally beginning in the evening hours before bedtime, peaking in the middle of the night, and ending about the time people awaken. Because of its association with sleep, over-the-counter melatonin has become a popular dietary supplement sold as a treatment for jet lag and insomnia.

However, melatonin has also been shown to enhance inflammation in cell and animal studies of asthma. Airway inflammation is one reason people with asthma have difficulty breathing. A significant portion of asthma patients experience increased symptoms at night. Sutherland and his colleagues hypothesized that melatonin may play a role in this nigh time worsening of asthma.

The researchers had seven people with nocturnal asthma, 13 with non-nocturnal asthma, and 11 healthy controls establish a regular sleep schedule for seven days. On the eighth night, small blood samples were taken from the sleeping patients every two hours. These samples were evaluated for their melatonin levels. The study also performed lung function tests before going to bed and after waking up.

The patients with nocturnal asthma had the highest levels of melatonin and the greatest drop in lung function overnight. Peak levels of melatonin averaged 67.5 picograms/milliliter in nocturnal asthmatics, 61.1 pg/mL in non-nocturnal asthmatics, and 53.5 in healthy controls.

Lung function, as measured by the amount of air patients can exhale in one second (FEV1). dropped an average of 18.8 percent in nocturnal asthmatics, 5.1 percent in non-nocturnal asthmatics, and increased 1.5 percent in healthy controls. The correlation between overnight change in FEV1 and melatonin levels showed strong 0.79 correlation in patients with nocturnal asthma. There was a slight, but not statistically significant, correlation among patients with non-nocturnal asthma.

"These findings suggest that melatonin naturally produced by people with nocturnal asthma increases inflammation in their airways, leading to worse lung function," said Sutherland. "Given that previous work has shown that melatonin promotes inflammation in the cells of both nocturnal and non-nocturnal asthmatics, any person with asthma should be cautions about taking supplements that would further raise their melatonin blood levels."




Back of bus?

Dear Editor:

Having just read the Sept. 18, 2003, edition of the paper, I only have two things to say:

1) Re: "Public rancor follow Health Chief's stance," perhaps the adults in the meeting, especially Mr. Charles Hawkins, should follow the example of the children in our community - act your age.

2) How did our cheerleaders end up behind the Fiber Fest and on the page with the Public Notices? Aren't they supposed to represent our "teams" with school spirit? Why do they always appear in the "back of the bus"?

Thank you,

Sharon Book

Stop pollution

Dear Editor:

The people who say how wonderful it is to have more geese must be hiding in the dark. They sure aren't testing the pollution in our lakes, walking on my neighbor's lawn or on the golf course.

Sure nature is beautiful, but we are allowing nature to take over and spoil our environment, the geese need to be controlled.

Incidently, the e-mail address given in the letter from the protect the geese people for comment was erroneous. The correct address is, the underline is just between the words.

Stop the pollution, please. Please comment.

R.G. Broom

Not needed

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank the wonderful citizens of Pagosa for allowing me the opportunity to serve this community for the last eight years. It has been a privilege to be allowed into your lives during times of crisis and illness.

I have tended your wounds, held your hands, been honored to be present at the passing of beloved family, cried with you, laughed with you and hopefully provided you a small measure of sanity during situations of chaos.

I am fortunate to have held a job that not only provided myself and my family a source of income, but is also my passion.

Due to the controversy and volatile circumstances within and surrounding USJHSD I recently, albeit reluctantly, made the decision to resign my position as full-time paramedic.

I was offered and accepted a position with San Juan Regional EMS as a paramedic in Farmington. I will commute to Farmington to work 10 24-hour shifts each month which would have allowed me to continue assisting within my community the other 20 days.

At the time of my resignation from the USJHSD I offered my services to the district as a part-time paramedic and was granted permission to continue serving my community in that capacity.

This last Saturday I was told, first by my peers and then by my supervisor, that word had come down from the district's executive director, Dee Jackson, that I was no longer employed by the district nor was I allowed to be in the building.

I questioned the rationale behind the decision to not accept my assistance as a part-time paramedic for the agency and was told there was no reason given for the termination.

As we have been told over and over and now again in the new employee manual, Colorado is an "At Will" state and no reason is needed for termination.

In order to legally be able to perform my duties as a paramedic within Archuleta County I must be considered at least a part-time employee of the district. If I was to perform these duties now that I have been terminated, I could lose my certification and my livelihood.

Therefore it is with a heavy heart that I present you this news. I would love to continue to serve this community, my friends, and family, but my hands have been tied.

Crystal Coughlin


Dear Editor:

I was stunned by William Bennett's depiction of Democrats - all Democrats, apparently. How beguiling to simply airbrush millions of people with the black ink of one-dimensional judgment. I suspect Mr. Bennett is one of those rare individuals whose favorite color is white.

Kerry Dermody

Failed discourse

Dear Editor:

Messrs. Bennett, Feazel and Sawicki (Letters, Sept. 18, 2003) are in no danger of elevating the level of political discourse in our community.

William Bennett (surely not the Republican high moralist of the same name who, while instructing us on the subject of public virtue, was busily losing over $8 million in slot machines all over the country) would have us believe that the Democratic Party is responsible for every ailment known to modern man since the plague.

Mr. Feazel tells us that the ACLU, which in his view owns the Ninth Circuit, should be prohibited in every state save California.

Mr. Sawicki informs us that the Democrats, who brought us Social Security, are seeking to destroy it.

Given the breathtaking certitude with which these gentlemen express their views, perhaps they can tell us where the weapons of mass destruction are in Iraq, how their grandchildren (and everybody else's) are going to pay for the massive deficits accruing this year and into the future, and when the millions of people who have lost their jobs since January 2001 are going to get them back.

Perhaps they will even sponsor a survey to establish the median benefit to Pagosa Springs families from the serial Republican tax cuts of the last two years.

Having read numerous letters to the editor proudly submitted by these correspondents, certain themes emerge. Feazel's solution is that if you don't agree with something, ban it. Sawicki comes close to expressing the view that immigrants, presumably of the non-fair skinned variety, are subhuman. Bennett is convinced that the Democratic Party is the root of all evil.

These views appear to be those of persons dismissive of the democratic process, and wishful that they could impose their personal ideologies on the rest of us.

Thus far, our system of government has worked to prevent the ascendancy of absolutists, minor league or otherwise.


Ben Douglas

Unenforced laws

Dear Editor:

Last year, I contacted the police to request a speed limit sign be posted closer to my home, as people are always speeding on our street. I was told the current sign will not be moved. By the time vehicles get to that sign, they are well over the speed limit.

Recently, a vehicle was speeding down the hill; going 35-40 mph. A marked police car passed the vehicle and didn't so much as flash his lights. I was told that I should write the license plates of speeding vehicles.

I also requested that a sign be posted stating children at play and was told children "are not to play in the street." While walking with my children, we have had to jump in the ditch to avoid being struck by speeding vehicles. This summer while using the cross walk, three vehicles slammed on their brakes to avoid us. A cop passed by and did nothing. One vehicle stopped to see that we were okay and commented that the cop didn't take action on the motorists who almost struck us.

Recently, an off duty deputy entered a store my friends were in and accused my friend of drinking and driving. My friend was put through an embarrassing display of events while the deputy adamantly accused him of driving.

After viewing the video tape from the store, the case was dismissed as it showed my friend exiting from the passenger side. My friend was jailed, lost his license and dignity, due to false accusations by the deputy. My friend didn't even receive an apology from the deputy.

Finally, youth soccer games begin at 4, 5, and 6 p.m. Last week we arrived at the fields to find that parking was scarce. The school parking lot and the space across the field were full. During the games, an officer arrived. He parked on the side that states no parking, just as many others had, and got out with his ticket book.

Parents were upset that this officer was ticketing soccer parents because there was no other place to park. I asked the officer where I should park. He said he didn't care as long as it was legal. He mentioned that if people knew how to park, there would be space for everyone. Are there no crimes in this town, other then parking violations caused by parents who are supporting their children?

From my experiences it seems that some police officers in Pagosa either do nothing or go too far. There are many wonderful officers in our town. These officers deserve our respect and should be commended for their service. Yet there are still those who ignore people's rights and requests, falsely accuse the innocent and pick on supporters of community activities.

I suggest that the police department re-examine their employees. Suspend the ones who make mistakes, fire the ones who blatantly cause injustice, and reward the ones who uphold the law. Give us a department we can respect and stand by.

Jaymie Edmondson

Editor's note: In the interest of accuracy, it must be noted there are two local law enforcement departments, the town police department and the county sheriff department. Deputies are employed by the county; officers by the town.

Beetles better foe

Dear Editor:

Mr. Sawicki may be pleased to know that his Arboles Troglodyte is busy spending his time fighting the piñon bark beetles. I find the beetles are a far more formidable and intelligent foe than the Pagosa right wing hate mongers.

Bob Dungan

Waste of money

Dear Editor:

In late response to the Mary Fisher Clinic Newsletter, my first question is how much of the taxpayers' money was spent on that newsletter. It was not only self-serving, but was canned nonsense - absolutely nothing to do with health.

My husband refused to waste his time reading it and after reading it, I decided it was the first and last one I would read.

As far as we are concerned, the Mary Fisher Clinic should save their effort, not waste newspaper space and for goodness sake, not waste the taxpayers' money on advertisements.

Equally disgusting was the radio ad blasting the League of Women Voters. How can the hospital board, excluding Dr. Blide, hope for success in a community when they alienate many in the community?

We weren't at the latest health district board meeting, but we are apparently some of the people who do not matter.

Joan Guckert

Hire psychiatrist

Dear Editor:

I read with interest your article on the front page "Public rancor follows health chief's stance" in the Sept. 18 issue of your paper, and if the board is still thinking of hiring more doctors, perhaps they should consider hiring a resident psychiatrist.

Earl Hoover

Praise Blide

Dear Editor:

In regard to the League of Women Voters forum addressed in the Pagosa SUN Sept. 11 of 2003:

We praise Dr. Dick Blide's comments and recognize him even more so for speaking the truth as a concerned citizen and member of the health district board. Also, Dr. Pruitt spoke of the community coming together. We have. We are not being listened to.

As a nurse, I commend the past medical staff of Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic, having to work under undue pressures. Possibly, as a community, we could boycott Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Clinic.

We need good health care here, but we don't need Mercy Health Care to control our health care.

Let's not be at mercy with Mercy. Praise our local doctors and nurse practitioners and send the new residents their way.

Above all, stay healthy.

Pam Morrow and Jerry Ethelbah



Dear Editor:

I was outraged to hear the chairman of the upper San Juan Health Services District, Charlie Hawkins, say at a public meeting that he did not want to hear comments from "people that did not matter."

Unless I miss my mark, Mr. Hawkins was elected by the people to serve the people - all of the people. Not some of the people, not just the people who agree with Mr. Hawkins, but all of the people.

What's next? Is he going to start deciding who gets medical attention by whatever protocol he decides makes a person matter - or not?

Jeffrey J. Schmidt

Editor's note: Mr. Hawkins was not elected to the board. He was appointed by the board to fill a vacant position.

Divide walker

Dear Editor,

This past weekend I took the 9-hour drive around the Weminuche Wilderness. I had just made it up Monarch Pass when I noticed a hiker at the shoulder.

I went on by, but that voice says to me, "Ah turn around and give this young man a lift." So I did. His saddened face brightened into a smile as I circled and pulled up next to him. He leaned his tall frame down and said, "I'm going to Salida." I said "Sure, it's on my way." He put his back pack in the truck and got in.

"Out for the weekend?" I asked. "Actually, I'm from California." He looked at his watch and continued. "This makes three months since I left the Canadian border in Montana to hike the length of the Continental Divide trail to the Mexican border. I sure hope this weather stays nice so I can get on through Colorado. Wow this state is sure beautiful. That early snow up north kinda slowed me down there a bit." It's his story so I just let him talk.

"I'll stay in Salida tonight, get supplies, put something I'll need in the mail to my next stop and then I'll be coming back up to Monarch to continue the trail. My next supply stop is Lake City and Pagosa Springs after that. I'm keeping a journal of the trip. I'd like to make it to the Mexican border by November 20 so I can be home for Thanksgiving."

As we got to Salida I asked where he'd like to go. He said "a motel close to the post office." That would be the Circle R - I think - Yes that's it.

As he got out I asked if he would write down his name and address so I'd be able to know how this story ends. As he wrote it down he asked for my name so he could record it in his journal. We said our good-byes.

I stopped at Wolf Creek summit and got the facts from the sign.

The Continental Divide Trail is this country's longest scenic trail going through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. It is on the Divide one fifth of the 3,102 miles and crosses 25 national forests, three national parks and 475 watersheds.

He'll be coming to Pagosa Springs in two or three weeks and I'm sure he'll be staying at a motel close to the Post Office.

I'm going to leave him a note of encouragement. His name is Tom Whitaker. How about it Pagosans?

Ray Stanton



Community News

Senior News


Victim assistance, adult protection program set

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

We will have a talk Sept. 30 about victim assistance and adult protection by Carmen Hubbs and Kathy Kulyk from Social Services and Leslie Davis from San Juan Basin Health.

These women have a lot of experience in this subject and are a good source of information.

The National Center of Elder Abuse estimates only one in every eight cases of elder mistreatment is reported. Colorado is one of six states that does not mandate that community professionals, outside county agencies and law enforcement report elder or at-risk adult abuse or mistreatment.

The typical abuse victim in Colorado is a white female over the age of 75. The majority of cases of are of self neglect. In the remaining cases, family members and "close friends" are the perpetrators. Come find out what you can do to protect yourselves and loved ones.

It's the time of year to see the fall colors. We will send out a bus to explore all of fall's beauty Oct. 2. We will leave in the morning and "check out Chama" and Cumbres Pass. The ride is only $5 and you will want to bring some money for lunch. Sign up at the center and enjoy the fall colors before the snow comes.

Don't forget this Friday is Spirit Day, so wear your T-shirts. We are also celebrating birthdays the last Friday of the month. If you are a September baby, come in for cake.

ColoradoSHARE will be at the center to take food orders Oct. 1 and 8 at 12:30 p.m. If you placed a food order in September, you should be able to place an October order and pay for it at the same time you pick up September's package. Darcy Christenson is in charge of taking orders at the center, so if you have any questions, call her at 731-0867.

Do you want to learn how to write short stories or fiction? We have a willing teacher if we can find willing students. Give us a call at the center if you are interested: 264-2167.

We need volunteers to make cookies for Oktoberfest. Sign up or call the center to tell us how many cookies you want to donate.

Do you want to be artistic? We've had a request for another art class, so we need people to sign up as students and we need a teacher. If you want to fill either role, give us a call at the center and we'll try to get a class started.

We have a bus that goes to Sky Ute Casino once a month. We would like to know how many people would like to go twice a month. Call us at the center and give us your input.

'Walkin' With George ... '

While waiting in line for lunch last week Lena, our 5-nothing Brooklyn bombshell, couldn't see the menu because of the extremely tall gentleman in front of her. I think he was so tall he probably had to stand on a chair to scratch his head - but I bet he had a grand view.

Visitors and guests

This week we got to see Robert and Jean Fletcher, Carol Frakes, Elizabeth Thissen, and Billy and Iris Stevens. We also met Charles Young and Musetta's aunt-in-law, Margie Malloy. It was good to see Nicholas Weber again as well.


Friday - 10 a.m. Qi Gong ; 11 a.m. Medicare counseling; 11 a.m. blood pressure check; noon, Spirit Day, wear T-shirts and celebrate birthdays; 12:45 p.m. senior board meeting.

Sept. 29 - 1 p.m. bridge for fun

Sept. 30 - 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 a.m. advanced computer class; 12:45 p.m. victim assistance and adult protection with Kathy Kulyk, Carmen Hubbs and Leslie Davis

Oct. 1 - 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class.


Sept. 26 - Beef stew with veggies, cole slaw, cornbread and plums

Sept. 29 - Pasta primavera, tossed salad, garlic roll and peaches

Sept. 30, Country baked steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, biscuit and plums

Oct. 1 - Baked fish fillet, boiled potato, 4-bean salad, muffin and fruit cup.

Chamber News

Record-setting Colorfest success

By Sally Hameister

We are ever so grateful for all the rave reviews you have been good enough to share with us about our Caribbean Wine and Cheese Tasting, Picnic/Concert and, of course, the magnificent balloon ascensions.

It was truly a fabulous party on Friday evening with the most festive crowd, all of whom seemed to be very excited about the wines, cheeses and "glowing goblets."

The highlight of my evening was the moment that everyone in the tent raised their glasses in a toast to good times and the spectacle in living color created by the strobing goblets was quite the sight to see. We set attendance records for both events: 420 revelers showed up for the tasting and over 300 people came to eat Enzo's amazing ribs and listen to Bluegrass Cadillac. There's nothing quite as gratifying as breaking existing records.

I want to thank Liz and Mike Marchand for the years they have spent creating the relationships with all the pilots who can't seem to get enough of Pagosa for these rallies.

I have mentioned before that this year was particularly difficult for them because they were so involved in caring for Casey and the Mudroch family. Liz was making frequent trips to Denver while trying to get it all together, and I can't say enough about what a great job they did with this year's event. I'm almost positive that we had more pilots than ever with others just chomping at the bit to come next time. Congratulations to Liz, Mike and Reach for the Peaks. Great job.

As always, we have so many people to thank for making the weekend a rip-roarin' success, so allow me to thank the following folks.

Doug and Morna Trowbridge have been working on this event for weeks, and continued the insane pace throughout the weekend without a break. We are fortunate indeed to have these folks who continue to be the essence of dedication and loyalty to the Chamber. It's comforting to me to know that they are always there covering my back, and I am so grateful to them.

We are so grateful to Bobbie Miller and the folks at Plaza Liquor for doing such an outstanding job of selecting all the wines for the tasting. People were marking their programs all evening with their favorites, so I'm sure Bobbie will see some "tasters" who found some new wine treasures.

Kathy and Kirsten at Pagosa Baking Company created a veritable food frenzy with their tequila lime bars, coconut and mango mini-cakes and chocolate-covered bananas. I must confess that they disappeared so quickly I never saw them, but heard nothing but raves about how divine they were.

Dan Aupperle obviously made many people happy as little clams with the keg of Pin Stripe Red because there wasn't a drop left at the end of the evening. This is the third year for this tradition, and this year he even provided mugs for those who prefer beer over wine. Many thanks to Dan for providing this option.

We want to thank Pagosa Springs Police Chief Don Volger and Officer Tony Kop for providing their presence Friday evening. We always appreciate the service they offer this community and the comfort I consistently feel when they appear.

Thanks to our Diplomat helpers Marti Capling, Lillian Steele, Joan Cortright, Jean Sanft, Sara Scott, Joan Slavinski and Rose Smith for performing all the tasks so critical to the success of these events like folding programs, washing glasses and cutting the cheeses for us.

The Evil Twin, Betty Johann, not only created our, well, unusual costumes but offered her incredible decorating services on Friday. The woman is a whirling dervish to work with and completes things faster than I thought humanly possible. Along with Betty, I want to thank board directors, Angie Gayhart and Toby Karlquist, and the lovely Renae, and Diplomat Karen Kelley for being on the decorating team.

Doug, Toby, Bob Eggleston and Chris Larson all helped schlep tables and chairs to and from the Extension Center, and Robert Soniat was good enough to loan us his trailer for the trip. Thanks to Ron and Sheila Hunkin, Ken and Jan Harms, Bob Eggleston and Will Spears for loaning us coolers.

The following folks helped us pour the divine wine and serve the cheeses: Dick Babillis, Sharon Catania, Mark and Erica DeVoti, Andy and Sue Donlon, Bob Eggleston, Ron and Sheila Hunkin, Angie and Ken Gayhart, Walter and Sally Hovatter, Toby and Renae Karlquist, Mike and Karen Kelley, Bonnie Masters, Poor Don and Mary McKeehan, Nan Rowe, Robert and Tina Soniat, Will and Christie Spears and Stan Zuege.

Thanks to Vince Sencich and his gang at Enzo's Catering for the delicious "Ribfest" dinner they served to over 300 hungry diners. I'm pretty sure I saw some folks going back for thirds and fourths on the ribs. It was a perfectly delicious dinner.

Everyone adored listening to the Bluegrass Cadillac gang, Randall Davis, Robin Davis, Clay Campbell and Kevin Dunn. The guys played nonstop for over two hours because they felt the audience was so "into it" and appreciative. I could hear them from my ticket-selling position outside, and they were indeed awesome. I also thank Bill Hudson for loaning us his stage for the Cadillac gang performance. Thank you so much guys.

Thanks to my ticket-selling buddies, Don and Mary McKeehan, who have maintained this invaluable tradition for many years now with my sincere appreciation. They also helped us clean up the Extension building along with the Trowbridges, the Karlquists, Chris Larsen and Sally and Walter Hovatter. As always, the Chamber gets by only with the help of their friends, and we are grateful to each and every soul who helped us out with the exceptional weekend we just enjoyed.


The second annual Oktoberfest will be held at the community center Oct. 18, 4:30-11 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 get 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.

Spring in fall

Imagine a spring garden party in November with a gourmet lunch prepared and served by good friends, door prizes a'plenty, gorgeous fashions from local shops and a very special award for the most beautiful garden hat.

You're not dreaming; it's just time for the annual Immaculate Heart of Mary fashion show/luncheon which will take place Nov. 8 at Parish Hall.

This is one of my favorite things in Pagosa, and I was honored to be asked to narrate the fashion show this year.

I especially love the theme of "Spring Garden Party," which allows all of us of the female persuasion to wear an outrageous, gorgeous, one-of-a-kind hat. I adore any occasion which allows me to do so, so I'm grateful to whoever thought up the theme.

Please keep in mind that this event always sells out, so I would encourage you to purchase your tickets at the Chamber of Commerce as soon as possible after Oct. 1. Tickets are $18, and you can reserve a table for nine if you wish. Please call Yvonne Ralston at 731-9324 or Joan Slavinski at 731-2255 with any questions or to let them know you would just love to help them out.


We're happy to welcome two new members this week and 11 renewals.

Aaron Horton (yes, that's Roger's son) joins us with Aaron's Fitness and Strength Training at 565 Village Drive, Suite H. I'm so glad that I ran into Roger in the City Market a few weeks ago because he filled me in on Aaron's new place of business, and we both agreed that Aaron would need to join the Chamber. (Poor kid never had a chance.) Aaron's Fitness and Strength Training offers one-on-one personal training in a clean, cool, comfortable environment. Aaron will personally guide you through learning about weight loss, nutrition, strength training, body building, rehabilitation and total body transformation. I can tell you that it works because I know more than one person who has been transformed, and it's quite stunning. You can call Aaron at 731-2577 to inquire about your own personal transformation. We thank our Lizzie Marchand for recruiting Aaron and will send off a free SunDowner pass which she can use in several months when she has recovered from Colorfest.

Pamela M. Suneby joins us next as a Tupperware representative with offices located in her home. Pam and I chatted recently and concurred that sometimes folks just need to know who to contact with their Tupperware needs or perhaps to host a party. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I would guess that there will be even more looking for gift items. Pam can help with both the parties and catalog sales if you give her a call at 731-5188.

Our renewals this week include Rev. Louis M. Day, MDir, with Servant Ministry; Summer Phillips with Summer Phillips/Goldsmith ; Chris Pierce with Arborilogical West, Inc. ; Will Spears with Wolf Creek Broadcasting; Granton Bartz with Cowboy Carpet Cleaning with home offices; Shellie Hogue with Hogue's Glass of Pagosa, Inc.; Ray and Robin Ball with Abracadabra, LLC,; Chamber board director, Sally Hovatter, with The Daily Scoop; Scott Miller with Allclean Carpet Cleaning ; Mike Haynes with Ponderosa Home Center and Pamela Lein Russon with The Village of Chama.

Our Associated Member renewals this week claim to have been recruited by "The Queen," and we are always delighted to renew Ray and JoAnn Laird. Even though Florida seems to have claimed them for a part of the year, we need to see them here in Pagosa more frequently.


Library News

Audio theater CDs received and are now available

We are the recipients of two CDs from the audio theatre collection of the L.A. Theatre Works and the National Endowment For the Arts.

We understand that we will be getting play productions on a regular basis.

"The Crucible," by Arthur Miller stars Stacy Keach and Richard Dreyfuss. The classic play about witch hunts and trials in 17th century Salem is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria.

Written in 1952, "The Crucible" famously mirrors the anticommunist hysteria that held the United States in its grasp. You will recognize the voices of many other famous actors on this CD.

"Zoot Suit," by Luis Valdez was produced by Raymond Guarna. In 1943, Los Angeles exploded in the infamous Zoot Suit Riots provoked by the Los Angeles Sleepy Lagoon murder case that railroaded young Chicano gang members who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This play synthesizes fact and fiction and pulses with the beat of the '40s Big Band Music and traditional Latin songs.

L.A. Theatre Works, founded in 1974, produces the world's finest audio theatre tapes. We will be getting new ones on a regular basis thanks to the generosity of this group.

"Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, and Flavorings," by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz is a comprehensive source book on virtually every seasoning a cook might want to use.

Each entry gives a bit of history and instructions on how to use each ingredient, the ingredient's affinity with other flavorings, and special preparation techniques and decorative uses.

More than 750 colored photos show precisely what each looks like and how to use it effectively.

Bonnie and Earl Hoover donated "Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase," by Roger G. Kennedy. Kennedy reveals how the Louisiana Purchase had a major impact on land use and the growth of slavery.

He describes how slaveholders' cash crops (first tobacco, then cotton) sickened the soil and how the planters moved from one desolated tract to the next. Kennedy shows how Southerners struggled with the moral dilemmas presented by the presence of Indian farmers on land they coveted.

This book gives quite a different aspect to Jefferson's life - his stated aspirations and what actually happened. It is an excellent book for anyone interested in American history. Kennedy is the Director Emeritus of the National Museum of American History, and a past director of the National Park Service.

Civic Club bazaar

Barbara Draper tells me it is time to be thinking about the bazaar. She is in charge of booths for the event. She sends out invitations to sign up for booth space, and you may call her for more information at 731-9979. The bazaar is Nov. 1.


Financial help came from Rita O'Connell for a subscription to "High Country News." Building donation help came from a matching gift from Bank of America. Materials came from Ed and Elsie Ragsdale, David Belskis, Gil and Carol Gilliland, Donna Anderson, Frank and Rita Slowen, Kimberly Coleman, Peg Cooper, Patti Gramzow, and Terry Hershey.


Veteran's Corner

Two VA clinic options for local veterans

I received a call from an old friend at the Health Centers of Northern New Mexico in Espanola the other day about the Chama (VA) Community Clinic. The news was good.

According to Ralph Moya, a new contract has been signed with VA health care that will insure the Health Centers will be able to continue to provide health care to VA patients, including the Chama Community Clinic. The Chama clinic is a satellite of HCNNM. The contract is good for several years, which includes periodic reviews. I believe the contract is good for about five years.

Affects Archuleta County

How does this affect Archuleta County?

After all, we are in Colorado, not New Mexico. The reason it affects us is that about 100 Archuleta County veterans were signed up for VA health care with HCNNM at the Chama facility during a period of almost a year in 2002, when it was about the only option for our veterans to enroll in VA health care.

At the time, the Farmington VA Clinic was closed to new applicants, and the Durango VA Clinic was still on the drawing boards.

There was about a one-year window when it was our only option for new VA health care enrollees. Of course, this was during the period when any honorably discharged veteran could enroll in VA health care. Eligibility wasn't the problem. The problem was there were no facilities within easy reach to obtain the services.

Chama connection

Then I heard about the "Chama connection." It was just what we needed and proved to be a very successful alternative VA health care facility.

The Chama clinic is not a direct VA contract clinic. It is the Chama Community Clinic, part of HCNNM, which does have the contract with the VA. However, Chama does not have a direct computer link to the VA.

The Durango Clinic, also a contract clinic, is directly controlled through the VA and does have a computer link to the VA health care system. The HCNNM contract came about as a pilot project some years ago to provide VA health care in as many local communities as possible.

Physicians at Chama must relay the information through other communication means to the Espanola HCNNM center, where the information is entered on behalf of the veteran patient and the Chama medical services.

Assured quality care

Moya assures me Chama will be able to provide quality health care for our local veteran patients and is encouraging us to continue to use that facility.

He also said the medical professional personnel have remained constant for some time now, solving a problem that had plagued the Chama facility during the time we were enrolling veterans.

Turnover among the medical staff at Chama was frequent during that early period.

He also said additional services such as in-home care are a part of the new contract. However, it was not clear when we spoke, how this might benefit Archuleta County veterans.

Viable alternative

Given these parameters I agree the Chama connection remains a viable alternative for VA health care services.

This means we have two VA health care facilities within less than an hour's drive.

In the current crowded VA health care environment where many eligible veterans are unable to obtain VA health care in a timely manner or at great traveling distance, it is welcome news that we have these choices.

For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-8375, the fax number is 264-8376, and e-mail is afautheree@ The office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.





Sam and Mary Espinosa are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Jennifer Espinosa, to Travis Sutherland, son of Jim and Vanessa Sutherland. They are planning an August wedding.



Friends have been invited to a party for Floyd Bramwell on his 90th birthday Sept. 27. It will be held at Pine Ridge Extended Care on Bastille Drive. The program is planned 2-4 p.m. Participants will also celebrate Floyd and Virginia's 63rd wedding anniversary (Virginia will be 88 on Dec. 23). No gifts, please.







Bug Hunting

Volunteer naturalists lead elementary students on morning hikes

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer





These were the words of the day as a group of 25 second-graders tried their hands at being insect scientists.

They climbed out of a yellow school bus on the grounds of Four Mile Ranch north of Pagosa Springs Sept. 19 with backpacks bigger than themselves - and made history.

"You are the first second-graders to come here and do this field trip," Leigh Gillette, of Durango Nature Studies told them. Then, she asked for a big round of applause for the grown-ups who made it possible.

Volunteers. Parents. Teachers. And Terry Hershey.

"I have been looking for ways to use the ranch to educate," Hershey said. For years, Joyce Farrow, the wife of her ranch manager, Alan, had been bringing her elementary school classes to the ranch to study science on the banks of a small pond.

This year, with the blessing from Hershey, they took the next step in expanding the program - opening the ranch gates to all second- through fourth-graders in Pagosa Springs Elementary and naturalists from Durango Nature Studies to introduce Children Discovering Nature field trips.

Children Discovering Nature is a program started in 1994 by Durango Nature Studies, a nonprofit education organization dedicated to bringing nature into the lives of people of all ages. Since the program's inception, 14,039 youth from around the region have received more than 42,000 hours of nature education, according to the Durango Nature Studies spring 2003 newsletter.

In Durango, students are treated to a period of classroom instruction and then an opportunity for a half-day nature walk at the Durango Nature Center, 140 acre wildland area along the Florida River.

For the Pagosa Springs pilot of the program, classes will spend a morning at Four Mile Ranch enjoying a nature walk, scientific activities, games and the chance to learn more about their world on a portion of the property set aside as a conservation easement.

On this perfect fall Friday, insect investigations was the goal of the day.

Gillette gave the students five simple rules before starting on the short hike down to the activity stations:

- Keep yourself safe

- Keep your friend safe

- Keep nature safe

- No climbing on the stumps meant for seating.

And perhaps the most important: Don't stop having fun.

"I am the head of the centipede," she said. "You all are the legs of the centipede and the grown-ups are the back of the centipede. And it's OK for the legs to go two-by-two." Moments later, they were off.

The walk ended at a small cabin porch surrounded by stumps cut just for elementary school legs. To put the numbers of insects in perspective, Gillette asked the students to all turn their backs to her and listen. She picked up several containers filled with BB's. Each BB represented "500 kinds of critters," in each class of organism.

For instance, when it came to mammals, the container had just nine BBs. Gillette instructed the students - with eyes closed - to simply listen as nine BBs fell into a metal bowl. Then came the amphibians. Eleven BBs hit the bowl. Reptiles warranted 16 BBs. Birds climbed up to 19 BBs, and the fish class claimed 50 BBs.

It was time for insects. How many different insects are there in the world?

With a rush of metal against metal, 2,000 BBs hit the bowl - representing more than 1 million different kinds of insects.

"That's only the kinds scientists know about," Gillette said. It is estimated there could be as many as 5 million different kinds of bugs in the world.

"That means," she said, "one of you could discover an insect nobody has ever seen before."

That got them moving. Minutes later, the whole class was peering under their stumps for an unnamed critter.

For the hands-on portion of the morning, the class was divided into three groups. Each second-grader was handed a bug box with a magnifying glass for collecting critters and the groups headed down the hill to an eighth of a mile loop.

The first activity for Timothy Krayer's group was a visual search for bugs. Grasshoppers, crickets and spiders went into the bug containers - along with some grass for food.

Another group went to try their hand at netting bugs, and a third headed to a stream to collect water insects. Once the students, or "insect scientists" in Krayer's group found some success, it was a little difficult to get them moving again. Their eyes were trained on the ground at all times. Sometimes they dropped to crawl after a particularly nice specimen. A downed tree got even more attention.

"This tree, when it falls down, becomes soil, the very thing stuff grows out of," Krayer said. "It takes about 10 years for this tree to become dirt." Both insects and microorganisms help in the transformation. For a few seconds, the students looked over the log.

Then, "There's a daddy longlegs," one student announced. The rest went scrambling over and around the downed tree and the spiderlike creature headed for higher ground, right up one of the second-grader's legs.

Screaming and hopping ensued until someone said, "Oh there it is," and pointed at the ground. Everyone immediately went back to capture mode.

"That's cool, I got a daddy longlegs," one boy said.

And then, as he watched it move around in the container, "How gross."

The group had a chance to practice metamorphosis through a team game and built a bug and a spider using magnets.

Sweeping for bugs using nets was a fruitful way to catch the critters, but challenging when it came to transferring the bugs into the containers. Several "escaped," either because the excited scientists tipped their containers upside down to get a better look, or decided they didn't like the catch in the first place.

"I let my fly go and now I want to catch something else," one girl said.

Dawn Hollenbeck, the class' teacher, thanked Hershey for opening the ranch to the students.

"The kids are loving it," she said. "They are so engaged. There's not a minute of boredom." Activities lasted until a little after 11 a.m. Then, it was time for lunch and the ride back to school.

A total of 10 local volunteer naturalists were trained for the special pilot program Aug. 23. After all, it wouldn't work without the volunteers. From 1994-2002, Durango Nature Studies staff were assisted by 200 volunteers donating an estimated 5,500 hours of time to teach the program to students from across the Four Corners region.

During the next month, Gillette said all Pagosa second- through fourth-graders will have a chance to participate in the Children Discovering Nature field trips. Third-graders will study water, and fourth-graders will get an introduction to plant and animal life cycles.

Whether or not the program continues here will depend on funding, she said. This year's efforts are being covered by the school and Hershey. In the future, however, Gillette said it would be nice to expand and introduce the entire program. In Durango Children Discovering Nature is a two-part program that starts with a naturalist visiting the classroom with activities to complement the science curriculum and excite the students about the nature walk. The program, like all of the Durango Nature Studies curriculum, supports state education standards.



Pagosa's Past

1911 - the year Mill Creek became a killer

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

The great flood of October 1911 ravaged Pagosa Springs, Archuleta County, and the San Juan Mountains. On a scale measuring from one to 10, it was a resounding 10.

Two men died locally. Homes and outbuildings were swept down the river. Homeless people searched for a place to spend the night, or many nights to come. The initial report said every bridge in the county was wiped out. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad connecting the San Juan Basin with the outside world was shut down while workmen scrambled to replace washed out bridges and roadbeds.

Today, weather experts are fond of talking about "one-hundred year" floods. The title is more of a description of probability than of extent. It really means, mathematically that in any given year the chances of flood waters reaching a pre-determined level are 1 percent, one in a hundred. If a 1,000 year flood line were drawn, it would mean the chances of such a flood in any given year are one in a thousand, one-tenth of 1 percent.

Such measurements were not used back in 1911. I've talked with weathermen who, in retrospect, think the flood of 1911 may have been a one thousand year flood, or worse. We get a glimmer of an idea of how much water roared down the river bed when we realize that the water level nearly reached the level of Pagosa Street - Main Street - in downtown Pagosa Springs.

As far as most local folks were concerned at the time, the fall of 1911 was pretty much the same as any other year. According to the newspaper, on Tuesday morning "the sun rose in all of its glory and the day was an ideal one."

Wednesday morning, a drizzling rain set in and by nightfall the formerly pleasant San Juan had changed into an ugly, boiling monster. By early Thursday residents of the Park, the residential area along Hermosa Street, began to evacuate.

The Dowell brothers seemed to have little to worry about at their homestead on Mill Creek. The place has had many names down through the years, including the Mill Creek Ranch, but it was originally homesteaded by the Dowells and a fine place it was. A stately, two-story house looked over extensive meadows. The home had been built during the 1890s by the same carpenter who built E.T. Walker's house at what is now the junction of highways 160 and 84. A number of outbuildings graced one of the county's finest the cattle ranches. One of those buildings was a blacksmith shop located on the banks of Mill Creek.

Old maps of Pagosa Springs show the creek entered the San Juan River just below town carrying the name of Agua Fria, Cold Water Creek. But, some of the first lumber mills in the county cut Ponderosa from its drainage, leading to the name change.

Mill Creek crossed the Dowell property not far from the house where its beneficent waters were a real blessing because they provided water for the extensive hay fields, the family garden, for livestock, and during the summer provided recreation. Nowhere was the water more than waist deep, certainly not a threat to man or beast. In most places, one could almost jump across from side to side.

By Thursday morning, Mill Creek had changed from a purring kitten into a snarling tiger cat. B.F. Turner, J.C. Dowell, a hired man named Snack, Lowell Dowell, and son, worked with a horses to clear away debris accumulating in the creek above the blacksmith shop. As they worked, large logs carried by the roiling water smashed into the drift wood, knocking it loose and into the current.

Turner, John Dowell, Loyal and Snack, and a team of horses went down with the drift and Jake Dowell went to help them. John Dowell floated down the stream some distance and saved himself. Loyal held onto some driftwood until a rope was got to him. Snack saved himself. Jake Dowell and Turner disappeared.

After hours of poking and prodding the chocolate waters, the heartbroken search party was forced to quit. Jake Dowell and Turner were dead, victims of Mill Creek's wrath.

News of the deaths cast a gloom over Archuleta County. The Dowell brothers had been prominent citizens starting with the early pioneering days. John Dowell had been the first mayor of Pagosa Springs.

Much talk and not a few tears were shed by friends, themselves homeless because the waters of the San Juan River almost cleaned out the heart of the town.

But flooding was not limited to the San Juan and Mill Creek. Archuleta County and its neighboring counties to the north are blessed with many streams - both branches of the San Juan; the Navajo and Little Navajo, Blanco and Rito Blanco, Piedra and its branches, and more. All reared up above their banks, ripped huge trees out by the roots, battered and bruised buildings, and filled with the debris, roared downstream.

Fortunately, only Jake Dowell and Turner lost their lives. Others lost property, expensive but replaceable. The town lost its water works nestled proudly below Reservoir Hill on East San Juan Street. The railroad almost lost everything.

More next week on the flood of October 5, 1911.





Rhetoric of labels

Such an empty and unproductive state of affairs - when dialogue and debate turn to trade in labels. Unfortunately, this style of argument is becoming more prevalent, as mirrored in letters to the editor and the redundant chatter of talk radio and television "news" channels, as citizens seek to emulate their favorite talk show hosts in order to bolster their identities and egos.

It seems the number of people who take refuge in stereotypes is increasing. They work to reduce people and ideas to labels, using those labels as shorthand to build a case in political debate. Human history reveals a distressing willingness to do the same regarding race, economic status and gender. Commentators from all parts of the political spectrum have used the technique to attack issues and individuals, often with disastrous and tragic results.

The danger of a rhetoric of labels should be obvious, but given its apparent popularity and the frequency of its appearance, it seems many among us are oblivious to the danger.

The use of labels in political discourse, it can be argued, is destructive to a process that requires a genuine clash of ideas in order to move forward. The oversimplification required by the rhetoric of labels is a trapdoor that opens to oppression.

Contrary to the spirit of fruitful debate, we're becoming a society of label mongers. The labels change with fashion and, upon examination, are waste bins for prejudice, conduits for the transmission of sublimated anger and the relief of frustrated ambitions and desires.

The label as a tool of discourse is the refuge of a lazy mind, a mind unwilling to open to studied consideration of ideas and a pragmatic test of their efficacy. The label is a transparent shorthand that ultimately tells us more about the labeler than the thing, or person labeled.

We can't use the thin lens of a label to understand a person or an idea. We cannot conduct a dialogue floating in a universe of meager abstractions, there because those easy constructs allow us to avoid ambiguity, to ignore the difficulty of dealing with other human beings and needs.

The trend toward labeling is unproductive because of the intellectual inflexibility it requires and the ire it inspires. If one needs profound examples of the threat, they existed a mere 65 years in the past and are impossible to ignore.

More significant, the use of labels, of stereotypes, is morally weak. To engage in label-riddled discourse is, first, to limit one's self, to erect personal barriers in the midst of possibility. To define one's self over and against another is to do the self and the other grave damage.

To label others is to dehumanize them, to refuse to deal with them as an equal. To do so is to risk spiraling into the moral predicament of using others as means to an end, rather than regarding them as ends unto themselves. At the core of every significant moral dictum, from Christ's Great Commandment to Kant's imperative, is the notion of regarding the other as one's own self, of regarding the other with abiding concern, as an end, never as a means to an end. Labels and their use to enflame unbounded emotion work contrary to those dictums.

It is probably in vain we hope the tendency to abbreviate the intellectual process and oversimplify situations and ideas will soon ebb. There are too many angry and frustrated people in the world. What we can do is hope most of us do not listen to the label mongers, do not allow the barriers to be built and the poison to do its work.

Karl Isberg



Pacing Pagosa

Memories lurk on Lewis Street

By Richard Walter

Time to return to a leisure stroll about Pagosa Springs. You'll remember I left you for the week on North 6th Street.

I don't know who or when, but the ditch along the west side of the street has been cleaned out. It was, at one time, one of the worst eyesores in town.

Now, save the occasional burger wrapper, all the major trash is gone. Continuing north, three youngsters are in the basketball area at the Archuleta County Housing, going 2 on 1 (he's the biggest).

The stone wall constructed around the facility last year is getting a brushing from a young girl who says "it gets really dusty."

Around the corner onto Fourmile Road (5th Street) and up the hill. Three girls and a woman are loading goodies for a picnic into their car, laughing and joking about the fun they expect to have.

At the top of the hill you make a left turn, go half a block and enter the one way alley rising up and winding below the old Bennett home.

Around the curve lies the Archuleta Alternative School and there are students outside waiting for classes to start.

Turn left on Lewis Street and head northeast. Two youngsters are riding bicycles on the elementary-middle school campus, alone with their thoughts as they silently play follow-the-leader.

At the top of the hill, Lewis bends to an easterly track and the Victorian painted lady at 2nd Street stands as a reminder of the past. I once lived across the street from it in what was believed to be one of the early schools of the community, converted into an apartment building. It has burned and the lot still is vacant but the memories are rampant. I remember that our next door neighbor was Daisy Fitzhugh whose exploits as a child in Pagosa Springs while Fort Lewis was here have been chronicled in a number of publications.

I remember her giving me a New York Yankee's saucer with Babe Ruth's caricature upon it when she learned I loved baseball.

I recall her caring for a grandson (I believe) who lived with her and was a victim of polio.

I remember the old Catholic church next door and stare at it as I pass by. Now a private residence, it doesn't look much like a church now.

Still going, I see the Church of Christ sitting in a lot where once Pagosans like Abe Rodriquez, Larkin Villareal and I played baseball day and night. It was where I learned to throw a curve ball.

On east, past the Odd Fellows Lodge and the old Orrin Ford home on the corner of 2nd and Lewis, past the Forest Service parking lot and the old St. Patrick's church building; east to the original water works and turn south toward Pagosa Street. A lawyer's office on the west side reminds me of Margaret Fowler once saying I took the turn by her home at 50 mph. No one could have done that and kept the car upright.

Cross Pagosa Street at the bridge and veer off onto the River Walk extension. Down along the San Juan and stop at Cotton Hole.

Remember how children for generations learned to swim here. Back out onto Hermosa Street and then home. This tour has ended.




90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Sept. 26, 1913

The new bridge across the San Juan at Trujillo, recently built and completed by J.A. Latta and accepted by Chairman Peterson of the board of county commissioners, collapsed this week under the weight of 1,000 head of sheep crowded onto the structure. The fault is in nowise due to Mr. Latta or Mr. Peterson - the bridge was simply overloaded. Mr. Latta has agreed to repair it for $175.

Even the churches and the charitable societies of the county are feeling the hard times that have descended on the great masses of the people.

Work on the new Yellowjacket - Squaw Creek road is progressing nicely although some doubt is expressed that it will be completed before winter.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Sept. 28, 1928

The prompt action of Forest Fire Warden U.S. Chambers, his sons, and Mark Amyx narrowly averted a conflagration on September 20. The lightning storm of September ignited an old snag near the head of Six Horse Canyon, a branch of the Big Blanco. Shortly before noon on the 20th Mrs. Chambers noticed the smoke rolling out of the canyon and about the same time Mark Amyx hurried over from his place to report the fire to Warden Chambers. In short order Mark had brought Mr. Chambers and the boys from the hayfield. Mr. Chambers says, "If we'd waited to eat dinner it sure would have been some fire." As it was, only an acre was burned over and by night the fire was out. All hands are agreed that they'd rather make hay.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Sept. 25, 1953

The weather is really fall-like and the hills are assuming their autumn hues. The hills are dry and the San Juan River through town is just about as low as it ever gets. It has been necessary for the town to have additional work done at the intake headgate in order to secure sufficient water to turn the water wheel at the water plant. If the river should get much lower it is doubtful if they will be able to get enough water to run the wheel and will have to rely on their diesel motor for pumping power.

The old Mee house is being torn down by Harvey Catchpole to make room for his house, which he plans to move there. The house is one of the oldest in town and papers found while dismantling it indicate that it was built in or around 1885.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Sept. 28, 1978

Some welcome rain was received in town this past week and some of the high mountain peaks had white caps when the storm cleared away late Monday. Since then the weather has been very nice and the moisture helped with the fire danger - still very high - and also washed off the foliage so that the fall colors are very beautiful.

Hersch Super Market has been sold to Circle Supers, headquartered in the Colorado Springs area. The change in ownership is effective October 1.

The First Pagosa Industrial Bank will be holding an open house at its new facility in the Poma Building this Saturday. The grand opening of the bank will be October 2.

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