October 2, 2003 
Front Page

Blaze levels Aspen Springs home; one fireman hurt

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

An Aspen Springs home was destroyed by fire Sept. 26.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said the two story cabin at 150 Pipestem Court was fully involved when firefighters arrived about 6 a.m. Friday. The total loss was estimated at over $100,000.

"The house was located on a hillside with a steep driveway that hindered getting the trucks up to the house," Grams said. Six fire trucks including two engines and four tankers were used to fight the blaze. To get water, a relay was set up, using trucks to haul water up hill to where it could be used.

Grams said firefighters were limited to a defensive attack because the flames were already to a point that made it impossible to put people inside the home. By the time the blaze was under control, most of the front of the home had burned.

To squelch hot spots in the floors, a backhoe was used to knock down the remainder of the house. Even then, Grams said, firefighters were called back to the scene Friday night and Saturday to put out residual fires.

The home was owned by Philip Wiener, of Woodland, Calif., and was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

Seventeen firefighters responded to the first call. One was injured falling through a floor before the structure was knocked down. The firefighter was transported to Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center where he was treated and released.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. An investigation is underway.


Landfill use fees raised

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Board Of Commissioners approved a resolution this week that will raise fees in three disposal categories at the county landfill within the next five weeks.

Appearing before the board Tuesday, Clifford Lucero, county solid waste director, told the commissioners certain increases are needed to keep pace with the growing expense to process waste, especially items that require special attention before they can be disposed of safely.

For instance, said Lucero, special steps have to be taken to ensure items containing Freon - such as refrigerators and freezers - have been properly purged of the low-toxicity gas before they are buried at the landfill.

The cost to the county to have private interests perform such preparation amounts to $10 per appliance, while the current charge for such an item equals $3.

In addition, said Lucero, the rationale for a rate increase relates to the fact that the overall costs to operate the landfill have increased over the years while rates have remained steady.

The board concurred, unanimously voting to approve the resolution, and as a result the following landfill rates will take effect Nov. 1:

- The rate for items that do not qualify as household waste will increase from $6 per cubic yard to $8 per cubic yard (the charge for household refuse will remain at $2 per load)

- For appliances that have not had Freon removed, the fee will increase from $3 to $15; for items accompanied by a certificate verifying Freon has been properly removed from them, the charge will hold at $3

- The disposal rates for large tires - those over 16 inches in size - will increase from $2 per tire to $5 per tire. (Tires under 16 inches in size will continue to be disposed of at the rate of $2 per tire. )

While Lucero indicated he realizes residents will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets to comply with the new fees, he pointed out that even with the increases, the rates still come in below those of nearby counties.

According to a cost comparison included in a memo to the board from Lucero, the county's landfill rates, on average, have been roughly $3 to $8 cheaper in past years than those of neighboring counties.

For example, the memo states Bondad Landfill in La Plata County charges $9 per cubic yard, while the Durango Transfer Station charges $14.61 per cubic yard.

On a similar note, rates at the Rio Grande Landfill in Del Norte and the Cortez/Montezuma County Landfill run as high as $21.50 per ton and $26.50 per ton, respectively.

The memo also asserts the rate increase may prolong the life of the landfill by discouraging non-county residents from bringing refuse into the county simply to take advantage of lower disposal rates.

Lastly, in other action related to the landfill, the board approved a tire-baling services contract with Rebound USA for a cost not to exceed $9,500.

The landfill has been accepting tires for disposal for the past three years, and, according to estimates supplied by the solid waste department, approximately 10,000 tires have accumulated in that span.

In other business, the board:

- commended Andy Fautheree, county veterans services officer, on his accomplishment of finishing fifth in the world in the individual ranks at a recent black powder long-range cartridge firing competition in Bisley, England

- appointed Elizabeth Hanson as the third and final member to a citizens' review panel whose primary function will be to provide a forum for addressing potential grievances concerning the conduct of social services department personnel in performing their duties

- in accordance with state statute, approved an expenditure in the amount of $895 to cover indigent funeral expenses for a county resident

- approved a proclamation recognizing the week of Oct. 5-11 as National 4-H Week

- approved a request from Cathie Wilson, county finance director, to disseminate the remaining $36.59 balance in the Pagosa Lakes Trails Fund to the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner's Association and close the account thereafter

- scheduled a public hearing for consideration of a conditional use permit for the Constant Gravel Pit for Oct. 27, 7 p.m.

- approved a request from Tim Smith, airport manager, to purchase a final parcel (.02 acres) needed to complete a federal land acquisition contract from Mark and Gretchen Sherman at a price of $900 plus closing costs

- granted a request for release of the improvements agreement and a $10,000 irrevocable letter of credit for North Cove Condominiums, Phases I, II and III and Buildings I, II and III

- granted requests for partial release of escrow funds for San Juan Veterinary Services in the amount of $21,969.85

- approved submittal of the county's Highway Users Tax Fund report to the state after a summary from Richard McKee, public works director, indicating the report is unchanged from last year and that approximately 550 miles of county road are eligible for HUTF funds.


Hit and run driver sought; teen hurt

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A Pagosa Springs juvenile was injured in a hit and run accident on Hermosa Street Sept. 25.

According to Pagosa Springs Police Department reports, the 15-year-old, whose name was not released, was walking eastbound on Hermosa Street near Town Park about 12:30 p.m. The vehicle struck the victim from behind causing bumps, bruises and injuries to one arm.

Family transported the victim from the scene to the Pagosa Springs Community Center where emergency personnel responded. The victim was transported to Mercy Medical Center.

Police are looking for a yellow vehicle in connection with the case. Anyone with information on the vehicle involved is asked to call Archuleta County Dispatch at 264-2131 as soon as possible.


Home rule proposition gets voter test Tuesday

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

After 20 years of on-and-off discussion, the Town of Pagosa Springs will leave the future structure of local government in the hands of voters.

Residents of the town will vote yes or no Oct. 7 on a proposed home rule charter.

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.

Mayor Ross Aragon said the charter as written is an alternative that allows for flexibility as the town grows and changes.

"I'm very happy with it because it can always be amended and that's the flexibility of it," he said. "The charter will allow the town to operate more efficiently, be more effective in solving local problems and more expedient because we don't need a grant from the state."

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.

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.

Copies of the proposed charter are available at Town Hall and at the Ruby Sission Library.

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



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Rain chance foreseen in Pagosa Country forecast

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Pagosa Country residents enjoyed almost perfect autumn weather the past week, the only blemish on otherwise azure skies coming courtesy of smoke from a wildland fire in the Grand Canyon.

However, a switch to cloudy skies, lower temperatures and the chance for rain is in the works for the latter part of this week, according to the latest regional forecasts.

"We've got a wet-weather system moving across the state that originated in the Pacific off the coast of California," said Troy Lindquist, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"With it comes increasing clouds and a 30 to 40 percent chance for thunderstorms through (today) and into Friday morning," added Lindquist.

"It doesn't appear to be a real cold system, but elevations above 10,000 feet across the San Juan Mountains could see some light snow before clouds clear out sometime late Friday or early Saturday," Lindquist concluded.

According to Lindquist, morning cloud cover today will become thicker by this afternoon with the chance of scattered thunderstorms growing to around 40 percent by this evening.

Southwest winds at 10-15 miles per hour are expected, as are high temperatures in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-30s.

Friday is expected to be slightly cooler, with highs predicted in the mid-50s to mid-60s; lows should fall to near freezing. The chance for rain is listed at 20-30 percent.

Saturday and Sunday call for partly-cloudy skies, a minimal chance for rain, highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s.

Mostly-sunny conditions are forecast for Monday and Tuesday, with highs expected to top out in the upper 60s. Lows each day should dip to around 30.

Wednesday's forecast foretells of mostly-sunny skies, a 20-percent chance for rain, highs in the upper 60s and lows in the 30s.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 73 degrees. The average low for the week was 35. Precipitation totals for the week amounted to zero.

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

The U.S. Department of Agriculture describes regional drought conditions as "severe," a slight upgrade from the former classification of "extreme."

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 85 cubic feet per second to 53 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Oct. 2 is roughly 85 cubic feet per second.


Sports Page
Parks & Rec

A look at how the district meets requests from users

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Upon my return from the annual state conference hosted by Colorado Parks and Recreation Association, I feel compelled to write about our great town.

We have our problems, but so far growth and what our town offers have advanced together.

Our park advisory committee, the town board, and all departments within the town have the same interests: to preserve, build, and enjoy the quality of life as citizens of Archuleta County.

We often put long hours into planning, hours into building and hours running an activity.

Park survey

In 2000, a communitywide recreation survey was completed. The following is excerpted from that report and amplified with new data.

Over 40 percent of the surveys said Pagosa had good leaders who were doing a good job, along with the park commission, but people did not think more staff was needed for youth, adult or special event programs.

Participants felt players should pay for themselves, through player participation fees (including youth programs) and there was no need to change the fee structure.

People participating in programs had a means of getting to the facilities, were interested in recreational activities and felt safe while participating. But some did not participate more because of health problems.

Almost half of participants said they found out about programs through the newspaper, but felt more publicity was needed.

Activities participated in, but not offered by the town, were walking/hiking, fishing, bicycling, skiing, swimming/diving and horseback riding.


Over 80 percent of survey participants felt parks were attractive and well maintained and almost 90 percent wanted to see the River Walk continued.

Over 90 percent said the parks added beauty to the town and that it was important to acquire more parks for the future; but almost 70 percent did not want tax dollars spent on purchasing new park lands.

The following is a list of capital improvements (desired by people returning surveys, and where appropriate, I've noted the actions taken to meet those desires):

- continue the trail along the San Juan River ($145,000 budgeted for 2003)

- offer a community recreation center (completed in August 2002)

- create a center for teen activities (completed in 2002)

- add more athletics fields (land was donated in 2001 and a master development plan completed in 2003)

- roller skating/skateboarding park ($10,000 upgrade completed at South Pagosa Park in 2003)

- covered ice rink

- covered tennis courts

- horseback/riding trails

- aquatic center

- bowling (private business opened in 2003).

Additional comments made about what was needed in Pagosa Springs included more neighborhood parks (Sports complex /park targeted in 2004-05); communication about events; catch and release fishing in San Juan River; indoor horse arena; public hot springs; improvement of adult programs.

As a parks and recreation department, we depend on public input. We submit all park use and changes to an advisory council then go on to the town board for total representation in our programs of all the town's elected and volunteer officials.

We like to provide the public with what town government and taxpaying citizens feel are the highest and best uses of tax dollars. This includes applications for grant proposals and land use plans.

40 years service

Thank you Jackie Schick for your unselfish years of service to our community.

Jackie raised two children and sent them through our system and she always put the children and the needs of locals first when she was working for the town.

She was always first in line to sponsor a kids' team, donate blood, buy a rock, buy a brick, or whatever the town needed to help its citizens.

Jackie, you are going to be missed, but with your leadership, you have trained us all well and we will continue your legacy of working hard, and providing the best for the people of Pagosa Springs.


Pagosa Pirate golf team places 11th in history-making state tournament trip

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs High School golfers made history this week, taking a full team to state competition for the first time ever.

While dreams of championship were quickly dashed, the Pirates, as a squad and individually, fared well.

The Pirates finished 11th of 13 teams represented and each of the four team members ranked well as individuals among the 86 competitors from 22 schools at the 4A level.

Leading the Pirates with two-day totals of 81-76 was Ty Faber whose 157 total put him in a tie for 17th place.

Only four strokes behind him, tied for 20th spot at 161 was Tom Huckins, with rounds of 76 and 85.

Three more strokes back was Casey Belarde whose 84-80 for 164 tied him for 24th place.

Jake Mackensen fired rounds of 79 and 88 for a 167 total and a tie for 25th place.

For comparative purposes, Tom Glissmeyer of Cheyenne Mountain and Erik Lundberg of Montrose (long-established prep golf bastions) finished in an individual tie at 136 with Glissmeyer winning the individual title on the first playoff hole.

The team title went to Montrose with a 435 total.

Coach Mark Faber felt his squad had a chance after the first day, standing in eighth place, and just 10 strokes out of second, "but we let it slip away."

Still, he was imminently pleased with the performance of the squad all year. "This was a team which gave me no problems, no worries. They were a pleasure to work with."

Each day of the tournament, he said, two players came on strong, the first day Huckins and Mackensen, the second day Faber and Belarde.

"Looking back is no help," said the coach, "but if on either day we'd had three players making a charge, it might have made a difference in final standings.

"But we can't complain," he said. "We put a full team into state competition for the first time in the school's history and the boys acquitted themselves well."

The second day, he noted, there were no course surprises, no tricky cup placement or new hazards.

The team had played the course twice in the week leading up to the state competition, the last time on Sunday as they worked on club selection, playing the wind and avoiding traps.

In the second round, Faber was just two shots over through 15 holes, but hit a water hazard on 16 and took a bogey 7 for the hole.

Belarde was 9 over after the front nine, but came charging back, playing the back nine just one over.

Huckins and Mackensen both had tough second days after being the first-day team leaders, but still fought their way into situations where a single stroke could have meant a hole but couldn't get it down.

"It has been a great year for this team," the coach said. "It was a group which set going to state as a team goal and then made it happen.

"We felt the kids were prepared for Alamosa (Cattails Golf Course) and they played solid golf," he said.

"It wasn't that they didn't try, but at that level you have the cream of the crop in the state. We were on the edge of being in that status and with Tom (Huckins) back for next year, we'll hope to challenge again."

A number of younger players got junior varsity action this year and are expected to challenge for varsity spots next year.

Faber said the athletic department also is considering the possibility of fielding a girls' team in the spring. This year, as in the past, any girl trying out for golf had to play with the guys. This year's entry was Samantha Ricker.

"If we can get enough girls interested," Faber said, "we can get a program going for them."

Initially, he said, there have been perhaps 10 girls expressing interest, but many have never played or played only sparingly before.

But, back to Alamosa. Faber said he was surprised and pleased by the number of Pagosans in the gallery for the state competition.

"All of the parents, some grandparents, brothers, sisters and just everyday citizens who like the game were on hand to cheer our kids on," Faber said.

At each hole where there was a Pagosa player 10-15 people from home were cheering him on.

That kind of support can only make the competitor more enthusiastic.

The season may be over on the links, but not for the team.

The coaches are working with players to determine possible collegiate programs attractive to their families.

"We don't want to let them think we're through with them," he said. "It they want to play college golf, we'll help them pick the program where they have the best chance to achieve that dream."

The team will have a season-ending banquet at a date yet to be announced and will formally receive its second-place plaque for regional competition.


Schur, Hamilton first; Pirate teams 1st, 2nd in Bayfield cross country

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pirates dominated the Bayfield cross country meet Saturday, earning first-place individual finishes in both the girls' and boys' varsity races.

For senior Aaron Hamilton, it was the first win of the season, and the first of his career.

"We had him go out a little faster this time and it paid off," Head Coach Scott Anderson said. "He controlled the race from the front and posted a fast time. It should not be his last victory of the year." Hamilton finished the race in 18 minutes, 19 seconds.

Sophomore A.J. Abeyta continued to improve, finishing fourth in 19:08. "Each week he continues to chip away at his times from last year," Anderson said. "Right now he's posting some of the best times for a sophomore in the region."

Orion Sandoval was not far behind, finishing in 19:56 to claim 11th place. Anderson said the sophomore made the largest improvement among the boys from a week before. "We're developing three solid runners at the front of the guys' pack," he said.

The front three were followed by sophomore Paul Hostetter who finished 28th in 22:12, senior Chris Matzdorf who captured 29th in 22:14, freshman Riley Lynch, who came in 31st in 22:26 and sophomore Chris Nobles who crossed the line in 23:03 for 34th place. Hostetter returned to competition after a two week hiatus due to illness.

Their efforts were good enough to earn a second-place team finish.

The Lady Pirates went one better, claiming first as a team and first through third as individuals.

Sophomore Emilie Schur returned from illness to chalk up yet another win on the year finishing in 20:53. "She posted an excellent time despite having no one to push the pace," Anderson said.

Teammate Jessica Lynch claimed the second-place spot. The freshman crossed the line in 22:12. Freshman Laurel Reinhardt finished third with a time of 22:41.

Sophomore Heather Dahm closed out the top-10 finishes for the team with a seventh place finish in 23:25. Senior Jenna Finney ended the day with an 11th place effort, crossing the line in 24:11.

In other varsity action, junior Marlena Lungstrum took about four minutes off her time in 2002 to finish 15th in 25:02. She was followed by senior Lacie Ream who claimed 20th in 25:15, sophomore Drié Young who took 21st in 25:28, freshman Kristen Ducharme who finished 25th in 25:45, junior Janna Henry who finished 30th in 28:08 and senior Lauren Caves who finished 31st in 28:12. "Caves finished bravely despite an ongoing illness," Anderson said.

Starting Saturday, Pagosa will compete on faster, fairly level courses, somewhat like what they could face at state later this month. This weekend, the Pirates will be in Mancos for a meet at the Chicken Creek Ski Area.

Anderson said the Mancos races will be another small meet, giving the team a chance to improve pack times. The race is run over a cross country skiing trail.

Postseason races begin Oct. 10 with the league meet in Monte Vista.


Pirate kickers coast in 7-0 romp over Farmington JV

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Forty-one to three.

Not the score, but the discrepancy in shots on goal.

It is indicative that Pagosa's soccer Pirates had little opposition Sept. 25 when the Farmington Scorpions came to Golden Peaks Stadium with a mostly junior varsity lineup.

The result of those 41 shots? A 7-0 Pagosa victory, hiking the seasons record to 8-2.

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason substituted through the 17th player suited for the varsity.

The scores included four more from Kyle Sanders, boosting him to 25 for the season, two by Moe Webb, and one by Kevin Muirhead.

In the first three minutes, Pagosa misfired three times, Drew Mitchell wide right, Muirhead stopped by Farmington keeper Marcus Richardson and Sanders stopped from the left wing.

At 4:40, Sanders opened the floodgates for Pagosa drilling a lead from Josh Soniat for a 1-0 lead and the rout was on.

Two minutes later a beautiful team play for Pagosa went for naught. Sanders crossed the ball to Muirhead whose drop pass to Soniat was partially missed and easily stopped.

Sanders had a breakaway at 8:13, but drilled his shot off the crossbar.

And, when Drew Mitchell's left wing shot was blocked three minutes later, Sanders got the rebound but his shot was wide right.

Ty Peterson was also wide, on a free kick from the 20, but at 16:40 Muirhead rebounded a Sanders shot and drilled it for a 2-0 Pagosa lead.

The Pirate lead went to 3-0 at 29:15 when Webb converted the first of his two, unassisted on a breakaway just right of mid-net.

The only thing close to a shot on goal by Farmington in the first half was by Kemper Lewis and blocked by Ryan Goodenberger before getting to Caleb Forrest in goal.

Sanders scored again at the 36-minute mark, converting a center lead from Peterson and the score was up to 4-0 as the half wound down.

The Pirates jumped out quickly the second half with consecutive scores by Sanders on assists by Forrest, moved to attack with Soniat replacing him in net.

The first came at 43:39 when Forrest missed from deep right, but got his own rebound and led Sanders in front of the net. The second, one minute and 50 seconds later, was almost a carbon copy without the first on goal by Forrest.

Just 31 seconds later, Webb scored again, unassisted, and the lead was at 7-0 where it would stay as the Pirates worked a possession-keep away game the rest of the half while getting extended playing time for backups.

Farmington got three shots on goal in that time span, two of which were stopped easily by Soniat. The other was right at him but fumbled before he knocked it down and fell on it for the save.

The last 20 minutes featured the Pirates working on midfield ball control, overlapping passes and running give and go routes.

Many of the efforts were designed to get scoring opportunities for players still not on the scoring list for the season.

Drew Fisher, Caleb Forrest, Caleb Ormonde, Derrek Monks, and Jesse Morris all got shots but none were able to convert.

Perhaps the most fan pleasing, frustrating and perhaps funny play of the game came at 78:10 when the Pirates suddenly swarmed the Farmington goal.

Sanders hit the left post, Drew Mitchell the right post with his rebound effort. Sanders was stopped on a middle reverse and Mitchell missed the rebound. Then Muirhead's header off the last rebound hit the crossbar. In a span of 20 seconds, five missed shots, but the crowd enjoyed the action. Coach Kurt-Mason only moaned.

That action set up a Saturday showdown with Center on the latter's home field. (See separate story).


Scoring: 4:40, P-Sanders (22) assist Soniat; 16:40, P-Muirhead (6) unassisted; 29:15, P-Webb (4) unassisted; 36:00, P-Sanders (23), assist Peterson; 43:39, P-Sanders (24), assist Forrest; 45:29, P-Sanders (25), assist Forrest; 46:06, P-Webb (5), unassisted; Shots on goal, P-41, F-3; Saves: P-Forrest, 0, P-Soniat, 3; F-Richardson, 16.


Defense stout as Pirate kickers blank Center 1-0

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

"Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet ..." the nursery rhyme says.

The Pagosa Springs Pirates soccer team found tuffets of a different variety anathema to their attack Saturday.

The Center High School football/soccer field is one of those victims of the elements which forces teams to make moves they ordinarily would not consider.

A clump here, stubble there - and balls seemed to change direction on their own, leaving kickers on both sides with sweeping strikes at nothing.

Both teams came into the clash undefeated in league play, Center's only blemish a 2-2 tie with Bayfield.

The homestanding Vikings came out with their first loss, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the defense-minded Pirates playing without their standout offensive threat, Kyle Sanders, who again is leading the state in scoring. Sanders was out of state.

And, for a while, Pagosa seemed out of sorts without him as the spine of its three-attacker basic offense.

Add to that the fact Kevin Muirhead, his running mate at the striker position tweaked a previous back injury not once, but twice, in the contest and you've taken away the Pirate's offensive thrust. Save, that is, for Moe Webb and Josh


Subtract, too, the presence of Chris Baum, normally first off the bench, now out for at least two weeks with a broken bone in his left foot.

Right away, you knew it had to be a defensive struggle.

And Pirates' Ty Peterson, Levi Gill and Ryan Goodenberger added some luster to the squad's growing reputation as an unbreakable wall.

Each was brilliant at times and Peterson, particularly, played midfield as if he had proprietary rights.

Time and again Center offensive thrusts were turned aside, if not by Peterson, then by Keagan Smith or Jesse Morris.

Center's own pair of prolific scorers Carlos Moreno (11) and Antonio Aguilar (5) were a non-factor. Moreno was stopped cold and Aguilar was not on the field, no explanation given for his absence.

The game had the feeling of absence - no concerted attacks, no flying, diving stops, no reverse headers. It featured, instead, nose to nose, foot to foot, hard scrabble soccer on the type of field where the game might have been invented.

And for over a half, neither team could get the upper hand. The fast-firing Pagosa offense, for example, was outshot 9-2 in the first half. The first of those shots, at 7:38, split the goal posts right down the middle.

But it was the wrong game for a field goal and Keagan Smith's drive was too high to get into the net.

Then, Center's Alan Butler was wide left with a drive at 9:45 and then stopped by Caleb Forrest 29 seconds later when Center controlled the outlet kick and went back to the attack.

Moe Webb had Pirate hearts pounding just over four minutes later when he spurted from midfield on a breakaway and closed down on Viking keeper Jesus Renteria. His bid for the game's first goal went wide right.

Moreno threatened to break the scoreless deadlock at 21:45 but his shot was wide left, the result of Peterson and Goodenberger forcing him out of his intended attack lane.

Forrest made his second save 3:10 later diving right for a low liner by Butler.

After a pair of block/takeaways by Goodenberger on consecutive Viking forays into Pirate territory, Moises Jiminez had an open shot from 20 but was far left.

Another Forrest save led to the Pirate's best scoring chance of the first half with just 30 seconds left.

His outlet kick was gathered in stride by Webb who feinted left, then spun and crossed a pass to the driving Muirhead whose shot skittered just outside the right post as the period wound down.

Just 17 seconds into the second half, Moreno got his second scoring chance but Forrest was up to the challenge, literally. The 6-7 keeper was as high as he could get to haul down Moreno's drive.

He got help from another Caleb (Ormonde) on the next Center attack. The youngster stopped a Butler blast and his play set up the Pirate score.

That came at 44:36, Pirates in possession as a result of Ormonde's block. Peterson's crossing pass out of the left corner found Muirhead on the near right wing. He drove for the offensive right, then dropped a reverse lead to Webb who gave Pagosa the lead, and winning 1-0 margin, driving the ball just inside the right post.

After the game one of the officials said, "No keeper at any level could have stopped that shot. It was in the perfect spot."

But better than 35 minutes remained on the clock and a one-goal lead seemed tenuous.

Ormonde, getting more and more playing time, teamed with Ryan Wienpahl, making his varsity debut, to give Pirate defenders key rest breaks.

Ormonde also had a pair of shots on goal, each being stopped by Renteria.

Center had another chance at 48:49 when Jaime Vasquez clanked one off the crossbar, but for the most part, the second half was a valiant performance by a determined Pirate defense.

Gill blocked a looping corner shot by Clemente Sandoval; Peterson had a midstep takeaway from Moreno that left the Viking striker attacking thin air; Webb stopped a shot by Vasquez before it could get to goal and Forrest made a great save on a Center free kick from 25 yards.

The Pirates had a great opportunity to pad the lead at 66:19 when Casey Kiister's indirect kick from 28 was tipped to Drew Fisher in front of the net. His reverse kick was just wide right.

Less than two minutes later, Center's Adrian Rodriquez' bid to tie the game was over the net.

Three more saves by Forrest, another block/takeaway by Gill and a stop by Renteria of a Muirhead blast off a lead from Ormonde highlighted the next 10 minutes.

Center's final bid, last gasp to knot the game at 1-1 came at 77:57 when Rodriguez hit the right post.

Then, with Peterson as the pivotal defender, Center was bottled in its own zone for the last two minutes and Pagosa had protected the 1-0 lead for over 35 minutes and had its ninth victory of the season in hand.

The Pirates entertain Telluride at home at 1 p.m. Saturday and then host Bayfield at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Golden Peaks Stadium.


Scoring: 44:36, P-Webb (5) assists Peterson and Muirhead. Shots on goal C-17, P-16; Saves, P-Forrest, 10; C-Renteria,10. No penalties.


Homecoming Pagosa Pirates scuttle Monte's breed 28-20

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Whenever Pagosa Springs and Monte Vista meet on the gridiron, a Pirate victory is never in doubt.

Never mind the fact the mascots for both schools bear the same namesake; backers from both sides believe year in and year out their team will prevail in the oft-heated annual clash.

Friday night's Intermountain League opener at Golden Peaks Stadium was no exception, and in the most important game of the season to date, the hometown Pirates took the field with eight starters either sidelined or available only on a limited basis due to afflictions ranging from concussions to strained medial collateral ligaments.

Nevertheless, the home crowd went away happy as Head Coach Sean O'Donnell and his relatively depleted black and gold squad initiated Homecoming weekend with a 28-20 victory over their archrivals from the San Luis Valley.

In a contest that required O'Donnell to delve into his freshman roster to keep pace with the injury bug, Monte Vista took an early 6-0 lead when quarterback Sigi Rodriguez scored on a 5-yard run with just over five minutes gone in the first quarter.

But Pagosa's Bubba Martinez blocked the extra-point attempt, and Pagosa took over on its own 34-yard line after a 30-yard kickoff return from Daren Hockett.

Pagosa would need only six plays to get even; senior quarterback David Kern soon had Pagosa in scoring range after completing a 40-yard bomb to Hockett and a 15-yard strike to Craig Schutz to move the ball to the Monte Vista 11.

Four plays later senior halfback Jeremy Caler scored the first of his four touchdowns on the night, darting 6 yards up the middle to tie the game at 6-6.

Though diagnosed with a mild concussion earlier in the week, place-kicker Daniel Aupperle was cleared for limited play and added the extra point to put Pagosa up 7-6 with 4:55 remaining in the period.

Monte Vista was forced to punt on its next possession after a third-down option was stuffed by Pagosa's Kory Hart, Casey Hart and Paul Armijo, but soon had the ball back inside its own 30 after a Pirate fumble late in the quarter.

Monte Vista capitalized on the turnover, taking a 14-7 lead three minutes into the second quarter following a 3-yard touchdown run by Rodriguez and successful two-point conversion run from Oso Reyes.

Pagosa answered on its following possession with a march highlighted by a perfect pass from Kern to Armijo on fourth and 6 from the Monte Vista 31 that set the home team up with first and goal inside the 10.

Caler pounded in from 5 yards out three plays later for his second score of the contest, and Aupperle's extra-point evened the score at 14 all.

Spurred by the home crowd and sideline, the Pagosa defense asserted itself on Monte Vista's ensuing possession, and a sack from Jake Cammack was key in forcing the visitors to once again kick away after a quick three and out.

Pagosa took over on its own 35 and moved to near midfield on Kern's quarterback keeper before a pair of false-start penalties pushed the home team back inside its own 40 with less than three minutes to play in the half.

Then on first and 20 from the 30-yard line, the offensive line opened a huge rift on the left side and 70 yards later the Pagosa crowd was celebrating Caler's third rushing touchdown of the half.

Aupperle's point after was good, and the home team went to the locker room up 21-14 after Monte Vista failed to put additional points on the board before the clock expired.

Pagosa couldn't get into scoring range on the opening possession of the second half, and though Kern's punt backed Monte Vista to its own 20, the visitors drove to the Pagosa 21 before Kern pounced on a loose ball to end the threat.

Pagosa used a balanced attack to chew up the remainder of the third quarter, getting several strong runs from newly-crowned running back Hart, who filled in on short notice due to an early-week injury to starting fullback Marcus Rivas.

Pagosa drove to the visitors' 15, but successive penalties forced the home team into a field goal attempt on the first play of the fourth quarter, and Monte Vista escaped further harm when Aupperle's kick drifted just wide of the right upright.

On the resulting change of possession, a pair of long passes from Rodriguez to Medina set Monte Vista up for its third score of the game, a 5-yard crawl from Reyes that made the score 21-20 with under 10 minutes left to play.

To the surprise of many on hand, the visitors then lined up for a two-point conversion attempt, and the decision soon proved fateful as Kern downed tailback Brandon Sims short of the goal line on a sweep to preserve Pagosa's one-point lead.

The momentum continued for Pagosa on the ensuing kickoff when Pagosa's Michael Martinez fielded the ball deep, then zigzagged all the way to the Monte Vista 41 before the opposition brought him down.

A pair of keepers by Kern resulted in first and 10 from the 30, and one play later Caler was off to the races once more, reaching the end zone for the fourth time behind stellar blocking from the offensive line.

Aupperle booted the extra point, and Pagosa led 28-20 with 8:31 remaining in the contest.

Tasting victory, the Pagosa defense held Monte Vista to three and out following Aupperle's kickoff, and on Pagosa's next possession Kern converted a crucial fourth and inches at midfield with a quarterback sneak that kept the clock rolling with four minutes to play.

Monte Vista was forced to call timeouts from that point forward, and eventually took possession with time for one last gasp after a Kern punt on fourth and 6 from the Monte Vista 41 rolled dead at the 10 with 2:03 to play.

The visitors crept forward using a no-huddle offense, but on first down from the Monte Vista 28, Caler picked off a Rodriguez pass in the flats to give Pagosa the ball at the 1:07 mark.

Out of timeouts, Monte Vista could do nothing to stop the clock as Kern took a knee and Pagosa celebrated its third victory of the season and first in IML play.

Kern led Pagosa in total offense, completing six of 13 passes for 113 yards and carrying 16 times for 98 yards. Caler carried 12 times for 136 yards, while Hart added 29 yards on eight carries.

Manuel Madrid tallied the most tackles for the victors with 12, followed by Bubba Martinez with 11 and Caler with 10.

"We knew we faced a challenge this week because we've been hit with so many injuries, and I'm proud of the way our players responded and got the job done tonight," said O'Donnell after the game.

"I'm especially pleased with some of our younger players - guys like Karl Hujus, Matt Nobles and Casey Hart - who stepped up and performed when we really needed them," added O'Donnell.

With respect to the leadership shown by the upperclassmen, "I thought David (Kern) really ran the ball well and threw the ball well, and obviously we got a lot of good things from Jeremy (Caler) tonight also," said O'Donnell.

"And Kory Hart begged me to play fullback this week; he swore up and down he'd spend extra time learning the plays, and he did just that," said O'Donnell. "Overall, it was just a tremendous team effort by everybody."

On a bittersweet note, Paul Armijo suffered a serious calf injury (muscle tear) in the first half of the contest and was treated at Mercy Medical Center in Durango before undergoing surgery earlier this week. His return to action this season is tentative.

This week's home matchup pits Pagosa against nonleague opponent Taos, N.M. Game time Friday at Golden Peaks stadium is 7 p.m.


Monte 6 8 0 6-20

Pagosa 7 14 0 7-28

First Quarter

Mon - Rodriguez 5 run (kick failed)

Pag - Caler 6 run (Aupperle kick)

Second Quarter

Mon - Rodriguez 10 run (Reyes 2-point run)

Pag - Caler 5 run (Aupperle kick)

Pag - Caler 70 run (Aupperle kick)

Fourth Quarter

Mon - Reyes 5 run (2-point try failed)

Pag - Caler 30 run (Aupperle kick)


Lady Pirates beat Durango, face key matches

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Last year, a height-challenged and inexperienced Lady Pirate volleyball team went to Durango for the first match of the season and came home with a huge upset win.

Saturday, the 5A Demons traveled to Pagosa Springs, ready to gain some revenge.

Didn't happen.

Durango was rarely in a position to win and the Lady Pirates shut the door each time, coming away with a 3-0 victory and extending their season record to 7-4.

The teams stayed close in the first game of the match with Pagosa leading 7-4 then giving away five points with sloppy play to trail 9-7. The teams tied at 10-10, and again at 11, 12, 13 and 14. Durango would lead only one more time, at 17-16.

Courtney Steen started the surge for Pagosa with a kill from the middle, one of six the junior would log on the day. Durango gave away two points and the Ladies returned the favor, surrendering a point on a tip and giving up two scores to their opponent with hitting errors.

Durango made the final three mistakes of the game, committing a net violation, hitting a ball out over a sturdy Pagosa block and committing a hitting error. Pagosa had the game 25-20.

At the start of the second game, the Ladies allowed eight unearned points and trailed the Demons 9-4. The circus of errors continued on the Durango side of the net with the Demons giving up four consecutive points on errors forced by Pagosa blocking tandems. Steen hit successfully down the line and the Ladies tied the game 9-9.

Durango took a brief lead before Steen returned to form with two kills. Laura Tomforde followed with a kill from outside and a Durango passing error put Pagosa in front 13-10.

For the only time during the match, the Demon offense caught fire. Durango hitters put four kills to the floor in front of a stagnant Lady Pirate back row and a Pagosa hitting error gave up a point. Durango was ahead 15-13.

Not for long.

Each team continued to turn over points with mistakes, but Durango made more mistakes than their hosts. Steen hit an ace serve and Pagosa went back in the lead, 20-17.

It was a race to the finish. A Durango kill went down inside the block and Pagosa committed hitting and passing errors to give up points. The teams tied at 21, then at 22 and 23.

A successful finish of a quick set put the Demons in front 24-23, but Caitlyn Jewell responded with a kill from the middle and the Lady Pirate blockers stuffed a Demon attack off the quick set.

The race was not over. Durango got a point on a serve error and another on a Pagosa passing mistake to lead 26-25, one point from a win.

Lori Walkup was not going to let it happen. The junior scored with a solo block. Liza Kelley killed for a point from the outside and, suddenly, the tables were turned. The momentum had shifted, the Demons were back on their heels.

A Lady Pirate serve was clearly on its way out of bounds, but a Demon misjudged the flight of the ball, mishandled the serve, and the game was over. Pagosa had the second game, 28-26.

There was nothing close about the third and deciding game of the match.

Durango had one lead, at 2-1. The next thing the Demons knew, Pagosa was ahead 8-3, largely due to Demon errors, but with earned points from Walkup on a hit inside a block and a kill by Tomforde.

Tomforde scored again on a soft shot off the pass, Steen killed from outside and Tomforde hit an ace. Durango did the rest of the work for the Ladies as the home team went up 12-9.

The teams continued to swap unearned points until Pagosa was ahead 17-13. Tomforde killed cross-court and the Demons committed three hitting errors as the Lady Pirate blockers intimidated them at the net.

With their team ahead 20-14, Bri Scott and Tomforde stuffed a Durango attack for a point, Brandi Whomble hit an ace serve and Scott put a shot to the back line. Durango gave away another point on a hitting error.

The Demons managed two more scores before Scott put a kill down inside the Demon block to end the game, 25-16.

"The girls seemed a little flat at the beginning of the match," said Lady Pirate Coach Penné Hamilton, "but they came alive and I was definitely pleased with the outcome."

Hamilton was also pleased with the determination shown by her team, coming back strong after digging itself into a hole at several junctures. "They came back each time," said the coach, "and, in general, played well, considering it was a tiring week and a lot of focus at the school was on Homecoming."

Now, Hamilton and her charges prepare for an important Intermountain League match.

The Ladies took a 3-0 decision from Monte Vista in Monte Vista earlier in the month and the IML opponent comes to town for a rematch, tonight (varsity only) at 7 p.m.

Pagosa currently sits in second place in the IML standings with a 3-1 record, behind Bayfield.

To stay in the race, Pagosa must win the battle tonight then deal with road games against Bayfield, Ignacio and Bayfield to round out the league schedule.

The Lady Pirate C and junior varsity teams play Monte Vista at the home gym Saturday, with action beginning at 10 a.m.

Tuesday, the key battle with Bayfield takes place on the Wolverines' court. The varsity squads should clash at approximately 6:30 p.m.


Kills: Steen 6, Scott, Tomforde and Walkup 4 each

Ace serves: Steen, Tomforde and Whomble 1 each

Assists: Walkup 11, Tomforde 8

Solo blocks: Jewell and Walkup 3 each

Digs: Steen 9, Kelley 8


Inside The Sun

Plea agreement accepted by doctor

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Dr. Bob Brown accepted a plea agreement in District Court in Pagosa Springs Wednesday and received a deferred judgment.

Providing Brown complies with all the terms of the agreement - including one-year supervised probation, completion of an after-care treatment program and payment of $759 costs -  the court can dismiss all charges.

The district attorney filed two felony charges against Brown Aug. 6, one for possession of a Schedule 2 controlled substance, and one for unlawful use of a controlled substance. The substance involved was Demerol.

As part of the agreement, Brown pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful use of a Schedule 5 controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

According to statements in court Wednesday, the incident the case hinged on took place in November 2002. Michael Goldman, Brown's attorney said Brown voluntarily acknowledged the problem, then entered and completed an inpatient treatment program shortly thereafter.


Reward offered for info on safe, cash theft

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Police Department is looking for at least two men suspected of stealing an undisclosed amount of cash from the Car Quest auto parts store on San Juan Street Aug. 16.

Investigator Scott Maxwell said the back door of the business was forced open, and a small, light-colored Sentry safe containing cash and checks was removed. The burglary happened around 3 a.m.

Maxwell said the investigation has revealed that at least two males are involved. Police are also looking for a small, older model station wagon in connection with this case.

The owner of Car Quest is offering a cash reward for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call Maxwell at the Pagosa Springs Police Department, 264-4151, Ext. 241 as soon as possible.


Mild weather strengthens reservoir trout bite

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Unseasonal weather is producing a strong trout bite at several Pagosa Country reservoirs as fish congregate near shore each evening to feast on a variety of prolific insect hatches.

Some of the hottest action is reportedly occurring at Williams Creek Reservoir, and local anglers are indicating the entire western shore of the lake comes alive from 6 p.m. until shortly after dark.

While brook, cutthroat and rainbow trout are apparently willing to sample whatever hits the water during this window, favored baits have been Humpies and streamers in green and orange, marabou jigs in black, red or brown and spinners weighing one-eighth ounce or less in metallic hues.

Another local fishery boasting heightened fish activity toward dusk is Echo Lake. While fishing for bass and sunfish has become marginal in the past week, trout are hitting smallish Rapalas and other reactionary baits on a regular basis.

While abnormally high temperatures have been a boon to reservoir fishermen, relatively low, warm flows are resulting in spotty catches in area streams and rivers.

However, stream anglers in pursuit of brown and brook trout should fare better in the coming weeks as the autumn spawn hits full stride.

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

- Navajo Reservoir - Surface level is listed at an elevation of 6,000 feet and steady. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for boat launching at Navajo State Park. Water temperature is in the low 60s. Catfish are being taken during the night on chicken gizzards/liver, and Kokanee fishing is steady near the dam. Fishing for other species is reported as fair.

- San Juan River (through town) - Flows are currently averaging about 55 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 has fallen off. Slow presentations will produce a few strikes. Trout are active and taking flies, Rapalas, Mepps/Panther Martin spinners and streamers.

- Williams Creek Reservoir - Fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout is good to great. Fish are being taken on small jigs, attractor flies and metallic spinners. Kokanee fishing is reportedly good near the inlet.

- Big Meadows Reservoir - Fishing for brook and rainbow trout is good lakewide. Fish are hitting pop gear, 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 but spotty. 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 -Falling flows, but 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.


Ski and Sports Swap set Oct. 18

The San Juan Outdoor Club will hold its 7th annual Ski and Sports Swap 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 18 in the exhibit hall at the Extension Building at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds on U.S. 84.

"This is the largest service activity of the San Juan Outdoor Club, with about 40 people helping with various jobs," said John Clay, club president.

"It makes equipment and clothing available for people to try out new activities at low cost," noted Nancy Cole, one of the event organizers, "as well as providing a place for people to sell their used equipment."

Items for sale are provided by individuals as well as businesses from Pagosa Springs to Durango. "We get great participation from local businesses," added Jim Cole. "We couldn't provide such a wide selection without them."

One of the sidelights of the swap is the sale of baked goods provided by members of the club.


County genealogist becomes an

author tracing Pfeiffer legend

By Frank Schiro

Special to The SUN

Most authors write out of passion. For local author, Ann Oldham, her passion is a love for Pagosa Springs, its people and its colorful history.

Oldham just published her first book, an in-depth biography about Indian agent, soldier and mountain man, Albert H. Pfeiffer.

After dedicating years to the study of local genealogies and working at the Pioneer Museum, Oldham has turned part of her time to capturing some of the local characters on paper.

Oldham and her husband of 47 years, "Leroy," moved to Pagosa in 1974, because they missed the mountains.

"My husband was in the service and we spent four years in Alaska. We really missed the mountains and were thinking of moving back. Dad came up fishing and camping, and told us about the area," Oldham said.

Once the Oldhams settled here, Ann became interested in researching local genealogies, a hobby and passion she brought with her. In fact, Oldham has since cofounded the Archuleta County Genealogical Society. During that time, she also heard the tale about the famous fight between Albert Pfeiffer and a "giant" Navajo warrior.

That was all it took to start Oldham on her literary quest. She began looking at Pfeiffer's military records and studying letters he wrote. Oldham painstakingly compared Pfeiffer family stories to the historical records.

Oldham determined that Pfeiffer originally emigrated from Germany to probably New York in 1844. From New York he traveled to Missouri and then to Santa Fe and Taos.

"He fell in love with the mountains. He began, like so many others, looking for gold and silver. But, he had a great curiosity and explored much of New Mexico and Colorado," Oldham said.

The historian-turned-storyteller continued by describing Pfeiffer's special relationship with Kit Carson. According to Oldham, Pfeiffer possibly met the great scout and frontiersman at Pfeiffer's store in Taos and formed a special relationship when he served under Carson as an Indian agent.

Along with these morsels, Oldham illuminates many other great stories from the local legend's past.

Oldham is much more reserved when it comes to telling her own story.

"I'm not a writer, really. My first love is genealogies. I've had a few things published in genealogy quarterlies and books and I've contributed to the ('Remembrances') books at the museum to help keep the doors open," Oldham explained.

It wasn't until Glenn Raby, a U.S. Forest Service employee who edits "Remembrances" for the Pioneer Museum, gave Oldham a nudge that she considered undertaking an entire book about Pfeiffer.

"I had written a piece for one of the museum books about Pfeiffer," Oldham said.

"Glen Raby told me I needed to write a book about his life."

That was all it took. The book, "Albert H. Pfeiffer Indian Agent, Soldier, and Mountain Man," is now in print and available for other history lovers to purchase.

To publish the book, Oldham received help from her daughters, Terri House and Shari Pierce. House is owner/publisher of The Pagosa Springs SUN and sister Shari is advertising manager for The SUN.

"Terri helped set up the pages. Then we went online and found Instantpublisher.com that did the actual printing. They don't do any editing, just the printing," Oldham said.

Now it will be up to Oldham to find markets for her book. It can already be purchased at the Pioneer Museum and on their Web site www.rootsweb.com/~cosjhs/museum.htm. It can also be ordered from Oldham's personal Web site at www.pagosasun.com/wilson/pfeiffer. Oldham is pursuing numerous other outlets for her books including local and national bookstores.

When not writing or working at the Pioneer Museum, Oldham helps out at the library and at the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints assisting others research genealogies. She also enjoys crafts, hiking in the beautiful mountains she and Leroy moved to enjoy and reading.

However, it is really no surprise that Oldham turned to researching and writing about genealogy and history. It appears to run in the family.

"I got my love of history because my great grandma, my grandma, my grandpa and my dad would tell me stories about our family," Oldham said.

And, it appears the tradition may continue. Oldham shared that at least one of her three grandsons and one granddaughter has apparently inherited grandma Oldham's interest in history. For Pagosa residents and history lovers alike, we can only hope she's right.




'Religious right'

Dear Editor:

The increasing signs of a cultural civil war, looming on the horizon, should be addressed from a factual historical standpoint before the politically correct, revisionist, liberals try and pin the first volley as being fired from the so called "religious right."

William James, considered the "father of modern psychology" said, "There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it." The left has spent a half a century or more stating over and over "separation of church and state" so often now as to make the rest of us believe that our founders were nothing but a "bunch of deists," fearful that God would somehow restrict our freedoms if allowed into public life.

My complaint here is not so much with the way liberals and their lackeys, the Democrats, are trying desperately to rewrite not only history and the Constitution, but rather how their treachery has affected the innocent of our society.

I remember as a kid watching my first presidential election and thinking there wasn't any real difference between the parties. That was then. Now the battle lines have been drawn and the hatred that the Democrats have for Christian morals and principles is evident as they stonewall and filibuster one strict Constitutionalist after another in the Senate.

They made it clear pro-life, Catholic or Protestant judges need not apply. Or perhaps it's just the very minorities they say they care about, Blacks and Hispanics, they don't want as federal judges and justices.

John Jay, founding father, and first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, said on October 12, 1816, "Providence has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." Clearly the Democrats and half the Justices on the Supreme Court have decided the founders were wrong.

Maybe we need to consider that under the liberals in Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House, we now murder 1.5 million babies a year in the womb. Our daughters now have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the western industrial world, and our youth have the highest rate of sexually transmitted disease.

Our children with unrestrained moral clarity, gun down their peers in our high school and college campuses, while immoral judges try to remove the very Commandments and religion which clarify morality.

We are a Christian Republic and not a democracy! More than ever we need to vote accordingly.

William Bennett

'Service' missing

Dear Editor:

News Flash - The Pagosa District of the U.S. Forest Service has just removed the word "Service" from its title. Its now just "U.S. Forest."

This took several years to accomplish by "hassling" the campers in the Williams Creek area by closing their "premier" campground, the Williams Creek Campground just as the fall colors arrive and the hunting season is in process. In talking to employees of the US Forest, its always, "the water system will freeze" - "or you can camp at Bridge C.G. or Teal C.G."

Lets just analyze these year-after-year canned statements.

First, the Williams Creek C.G. is the largest (66 camp sites) and has by far, the most choice campsites, which is very important to campers.

Second, the water system at Williams Creek C.G. has been reworked; if the U.S. Forest didn't put in a couple of freeze-proof taps, when spending all that money, then shame on them.

Third, the U.S. Forest has spent significant funds on installing new restrooms at Williams Creek C.G.

Fourth, if worrying about water freezing in September is a "fetish" with the U.S. Forest, cut the water off. Most adult campers know how to haul water, but leave the campground with the most and best camp sites open until the end of the hunting season.

If you must close another campground, close Bridge C.G. Most all of the sites are in the open anyway, but leave Williams Creek C.G. open until the end of hunting season.

Is there any logical explanation for the U.S. Forest behavior? No, not a logical explanation, but a governmentese, "I don't care about the quality of the camper's experience in my district" attitude.

I have been responsible for bringing 10 to 15 campers/hunters to the Williams Creek area for over 10 years. Unfortunately, due to the "I don't care" attitude of the U.S. Forest, they don't want to come back to the Pagosa Springs area. Multiply this number of campers/hunters by the average dollars spent over a 10-day period and you have the amount of money that will not be spent in the Pagosa Springs area any longer. There are many other groups of campers and hunters upset over this issue also and don't plan on returning to the Pagosa area. This is really a shame as all the business we have come in contact with provide excellent goods and services

If the U.S. Forest, (Pagosa District) decides to put the word "Service" back in its name, please let me know.

J.R. Berry

Known by letters

Dear Editor:

Reading the Letters column in the Sept. 18 edition of The SUN convinced me that this was probably the most amusing and challenging issue of the past five years. Here were letters from each of our local Three Musketeers of the Reactionary Right: Feazel, Sawicki and Bennett.

I know these men only by their letters. I am confident that in person they are respectable and at times even pleasant to be with, but their philosophies and politics leave me shaking my head.

Mr. Feazel's attack on the ACLU and its effort to assure a fair and accurate vote in California's upcoming election exposes to everyone an arrogant, disdainful attitude toward people who have not received the privileged upbringing that most of us have had. Perhaps he would prefer a society more like ancient Rome's where there was no civil law, no protection for the poor and weak. Would that he then be one of the strong!

I always look forward to Mr. Sawicki's letters at Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans' Day. He is an honorable patriot. Yet he has the unfortunate habit of sending off strong letters blasting areas where his feet appear to be on soft ground. The tax on Social Security, of which he complains, seems quite reasonable when you consider that the employer's contribution is a tax deduction for him and a gain (therefore income) for the recipient. Then consider the value of the benefits received over time compared to the amounts paid in. My wife and I have already received more than we contributed and will continue to receive. That, too, is a gain.

Wait until Congress wakes up to the fact that health insurance benefits which are presently a tax deductible expense for a business could also be called income to the employee! As for calling someone a Polish Dimwit, I wonder about the origin of Mr. Sawicki's own name.

In the past, Mr. Bennett's letters have always given me the feeling that he is indeed a kind of guru for the reactionary right. Gurus, though, usually affect a kind of serenity in their utterances. What kind of agitation could have caused him to write "Disses Dems" and assume that Democrats are a lock-step and sieg-heil pack similar to the Gingrich Republicans? He creates a whole catechism of beliefs he assumes - no he states - Democrats have to believe. How would he know? The fact is that most Democrats are freethinkers, anything but monolithic in the way they see problems and solutions or robots in the way they respond. So often this very weakness divides them, leaving them open to defeat by more focused panzer types. Could this be the source of his outrage: that Democrats are not stationary targets?

Is there a lesson here? If there is, it is "Don't Believe Everything you Read." If you are looking for a political party to join or support read the rhetoric both of the members as well as the candidates. These are the people you will join. What groups do they come from? What are their real goals? Do they say what they mean and tell the truth? Are they shooting from the hip, as these Three Musketeers, or do they really know and believe what they say? Choose quality.

Henry Buslepp


Dear Editor:

One hears so many uses these days of the term "awesome." Maybe it's a new bubble gum flavor, a skateboard maneuver, or a weird-looking running shoe. But last Saturday, I was able to experience the true and full meaning of the word.

My "Roast and Toast" was probably the most rewarding, emotional, and humbling evening in my life. My friends who flew in from New York and Chicago, who go to many such events, said it was the most meaningful and impressive of any they've attended. Great food, beautiful decorations, and terrific talent ... plus insightful personal gibes and tributes. (Although, it would appear that many Pagosans tend to be a trifle timid in the area of invective.)

The aspect of this wonderful event that most affected me emotionally was the realization of all the time and energy sacrificed on my behalf. Planning, parody lyrics, rehearsals, secretive phone calls, artwork, publicity, programs, hauling, setting up and taking down, cooking, and serving ... all involved precious time taken out of busy lives.

I've often heard it said that "The gift of one's self is the greatest gift." For me, it will no longer be just a saying. It will always remind me of an evening where my relationship of love with an incredible community was returned in a way I can only call ... awesome!

A. John Graves

Mailbox idea

Dear Editor:

Recently a request was circulated for suggestions as to how to best spend the monies from the Fairfield settlement for the benefit of the majority of Lake Forest residents. The purpose of this letter is to suggest a possible use of these funds that was not included on the list of suggested topics.

There are no cluster mailboxes for Lake Forest residents. Those residents who do have boxes must pick up their mail from the cluster located on Vista Boulevard. As you are well aware, picking up mail there can present a significant safety hazard. All of these boxes are allocated to Lake Forest residents, yet the number of boxes is not sufficient to accommodate all of our residents. A number of the recently arrived must collect their mail elsewhere.

The available funds could be used to build a shelter that would house a sufficient number of boxes for all our residences. One of our recently arrived residents provided photos and characteristics for such a shelter. These photos are of a shelter in Bayfield. This shelter allows off-street parking as well as a drive through mail deposit box. Bulletin boards accommodate the posting of official and personal notices. A central location of such a shelter would not only benefit a majority of our residents, but would provide a safe and convenient facility.

If this option would benefit you, we suggest you call Walt Lukasik at the PLPOA, 731-5373, and express your interest.

Thank you for your consideration.

Don and Elaine Lundergan

Pastor departs

Dear Editor:

This past Sunday, our pastor, James Coats preached his last sermon for the Healing Waters Presbyterian Church. Health problems require that he and his wife, Bonnie, move to a warmer climate.

Jim and Bonnie joined us two years ago from Rico. They immediately made many friends in the community by entering into local activities such as the Newcomers Club and as guides at Chimney Rock.

In addition, they taught reading in the local schools. Jim was a frequent contributor to the "Shepherd's Staff" - a religious column in The SUN.

Jim's spiritual leadership will be missed by the congregation. Bonnie's and Jim's presence will be missed by their many friends.

Good health and God speed to Jim and Bonnie as they leave Pagosa Springs for a new life experience.

Ralph C. Manring

Save our society

Dear Editor:

Apropos of the recent Republican/Democratic tete-a-tete in SUN letters, I offer the following.

I have long sought an accurate explanation for the past century's societal rise in liberalism and its concomitant breakdown of traditional values and morals. People demand "rights" without recognition of others' rights, obligations, or justice, often skewing the Constitution to justify and promote actively their self-centered pursuits.

Corruption is rampant at all levels, judicial (removing the Ten Commandments while retaining a statue of a pagan god), legal, media, educational, entertainment, and even ecclesiastical. Homosexual, child sexual abuse, anti-fetal life and other immoral agendas are fostered in the name of "freedom," while traditional values are dismissed as outdated.

Ten Democratic presidential candidates, espousing liberalism, offer no positive or constructive platforms but engage in negativism and vitriolic Bush-bashing. The most recent declared candidate, the controversial retired General Clark, with no stated domestic agenda or experience, suddenly rises to the top, and, according to one poll, would receive more votes than Bush if the election were held today.

Why? Sixty percent of Democrats cannot name even one of the ten, yet blindly follow their liberal stances without intelligent critical evaluation. They complain of Bush's "deed of greed" (Dean), spending and his $350 billion tax cut (which in the last quarter boosted the economy 3.3 percent) while proposing in the Senate spending amendments of $1.919 trillion (according to CBO, OMB and the Congressional Register, not reported by the media).

A partial explanation was offered by a liberal TV panelist who admitted recently that if you vote with your head, you vote conservative, but if with your heart, liberal. Another echoed that liberals do not think. I finally came across a more complete explanation while rereading "Newman Against the Liberals," 25 classic sermons by John Henry Cardinal Newman delivered 100 years ago while he was still an Anglican clergyman searching for truth.

He said: "Liberalism is the deification of man ... who becomes the supreme being ... with God as the ultimate myth. It is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion. Human society fosters a new character of mind made by the enemies of our souls. We have not acted from a love of truth. Societies sometimes fall to pieces by their own corruption."

Newman's solution is to follow the example of Jesus who appointed only the twelve to go into the world and baptize all nations and teach them to observe all that He had commanded them.

Newman said, "every great change is effected by the few, not the many, but the resolute, undaunted, zealous few. Doubtless, much may be undone by the many but nothing is done except by those specially trained for action."

May we all join the zealous in promoting truth, restoring values and morals, and reversing the influences of liberalism to save our society.

Eugene Witkowski


Community News

Senior News

Calling all hands to help with Oktoberfest prep

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Oktoberfest preparations continue. We are asking for help in making centerpiece decorations and baking cookies. Sign up or call the center with your name and number of cookies you will bring; or meet at the center at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 12 to hunt scrub oak and pine branches for decorations.

Bring clippers or saw and a side dish, as lunch will be served at Billie Evans' ranch. Call Susi Cochran at 731-0866 for more information.

We had a big crowd for Glen Raby's talk about volcanoes Sept. 22. Everyone was fascinated by the talk, so I asked Glen to come back in November - and we don't even have a topic yet. He might speak again about volcanoes if enough people who missed in the first time request it. If you have any topic suggestions, call me at 264-2167.

Darcy Christenson will be here at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 8 to take orders for ColoradoSHARE food packages. You do not need to be a senior or low income to benefit from this inexpensive food program. You do have to pay for your order at the time you place it. For more information, call Darcy at 731-0867.

Darcy also did a wonderful meditation Sept. 23. One of our seniors said she felt better than she had in awhile because of it. If you would like to have Darcy lead another meditation, give me a call.

George Golightly has been helping me out with this column by giving me little tidbits of stories called, "Walkin' with George." Now he has a different theme.

"I have an active imagination," says George, "and I often think of the senior center as a western ranch. I've named it the SC_0 (SC Bar None) because our senior center bars no one. I heard today that Dave is contemplating buying a ranch next to ours. To buy his spread, he said he will need a little help from the bank so he is going to call his new ranch 4UI_O (For you I borrow).

"Christy and Lena drive the stagecoach four days a week. The other days they leave it parked at the ranch. The rear wheels were speaking and Christy decided they needed grease. She got some bear grease from the old trapper, Kurt. She jacked up the rear wheels, pulled the wheel partway off, and Lena paddled some grease onto the axle. They replaced the wheel and tightened the lug nut again. They did this on all four wheels.

"Lena wanted to know if I wanted some of that bear grease for my hair. I told her it was brown bear grease and I couldn't use it. I had to use bear grease from a white polar bear."

George has done a lot of writing in his life, so this work seems to come easy to him. If you have a hankering to write, tell Musetta or myself. We have a willing teacher with a lot of writing experience herself, so if we have enough interest, we will start a class.

October is National Healthy Lung Month. The American Lung Association says influenza epidemics in the U.S., which generally occur from December through April, are responsible for an average of 36,000 deaths per year. The rates of infection are the highest among children, but rates of serious illness and death are highest among people 65 and older.

Speaking of which, this year flu shots are recommended for everyone as there are some particularly nasty bugs about. San Juan Basin Health will be at the senior center 11 a.m.-noon Oct. 7 to give the shots. Shots are free to people on Medicare, Medicaid and HMO member; all others pay only $15. No need to sign up. Just show up and don't get sick this winter.

Visitors and guests

Last week we fed Anne Cox, Lyz Jerrigan and Irving and Yvonne Johnson from Los Alamos. We were pleased to see Elaine Nossaman's granddaughter Laura (what a lovely name) and John Cramer. June Wells also ate with us and we hope she brings Glen along sometime as well. We met Norma and Smitty Walker, Charlie Roberts and Helen McKee. It was a great surprise to see Charlie and Wilma Weber, as well.


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

Oct. 6 - 1 p.m. bridge for fun

Oct. 7 - 9:30 a.m. yoga; 1030 advanced computer class; 11-noon, flu shots given by San Juan Basin Health; 1 p.m. pinochle

Oct. 8 - 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class; 12:30 p.m. ColoradoSHARE orders taken

Oct. 9 - 8 a.m. Durango trip


Friday - BBQ chicken, Scandinavian veggies, cole slaw, apricots and roll

Oct. 6 - Pot roast with veggies, spinach, biscuit, plums and orange juice

Oct. 7 - Tuna melt on English muffin, vegetable salad and pineapple

Oct 8 - Turkey tetrazini, broccoli blend, tossed salad, pears, and blueberry muffin.

Chamber News

'A Walk in the Park' is on stage tonight

By Doug Trowbridge

We hope you'll be able to join the Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus for "A Walk in the Park" this evening at the Pagosa Springs First Baptist Church auditorium.

The show gets under way at 7:30 p.m. as the auditorium is transformed into Town Park.

The Ladies will present popular tunes from the 1890s and early 1900s in barbershop style.

You'll be able to enjoy favorites from the era such as "Shine on Harvest Moon" and "Cohan Medley." You'll also enjoy seeing many of our local and talented actors making appearances as visitors to the park.

Special guest for the evening is Women's Prerogative, an 11-voice barbershop group from Durango, directed by Kris Larsen. Rumor has it that LaPlata Lil will be making an appearance.

After the show, the Ladies invite you to join them for refreshments and a few more songs in the fellowship hall. This show is for the whole family and is offered free of charge, although donations will be gratefully accepted. Proceeds beyond show expenses will be given to local charitable causes.


The second annual Oktoberfest will be held at the community center 4:30-11p.m. Oct. 18, 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 kids' meal will be a hot dog, potato chips and dessert.

For those of you who spent a little more time in the food lines than you might have liked last year, this year's double lines should nicely eliminate that problem.

The beer will be of the German persuasion, of course, and is Left Hand Tabernash specifically produced for the Oktoberfest season.

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

Tickets for this event are $15 for adults, $10 for children 5-12, and seniors with a membership card are $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.

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 Nov. 8 at Parish Hall.

This is one of Sally's favorite things in Pagosa, and she was honored to be asked to narrate the fashion show this year.

She especially loves the theme of "Spring Garden Party" which allows all of you of the female persuasion to wear an outrageous, gorgeous, one-of-a-kind hat. She adores any occasion which allows her to do so, so she's grateful to whoever thought up the theme.

Please keep in mind that this event always sells out, so you're encouraged to purchase your tickets at the Chamber of Commerce as soon as possible, starting today.

Tickets are $18, and you can reserve a table for nine if you wish.

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.


One new member and seven renewals round out another exciting week at the Chamber.

We welcome Crista Munro, of Four Corners Folk Festival fame, with her new, off-season venture, Pagosa Graphics/Pagosa Springs Menu Guide. Crista will be bringing us a comprehensive guide to Pagosa Springs dining establishments. She will publish twice annually with in-room and rack distribution all over Pagosa. You can reach Crista by phone at 946-2090, fax at 731-5582 or e-mail at crista@folkwest.com.

Our renewals include Michele Mesker with Paint Connection Plus; Carol Muratides with Timber Homes; Raymond Barron with KFLH Radio; Christie Anderson with United Country - Northern New Mexico Real Estate; Paul Aldridge with Ole Miner's Steakhouse; Stacia Aragon with Pagosa Glass; and Wayne Walls with Wilderness Journeys/Pagosa Rafting Outfitters.

As always, we are thrilled to have such a supportive membership and encourage everyone to look for the Chamber sticker in the window of your favorite stores. You can be sure that these businesses are interested in keeping Pagosa Springs moving forward.


Library News

Historical society's history belongs on every bookshelf

Congratulations to Shari Pierce, Glenn Raby and the San Juan Historical Society for the "Brief History of Pagosa Springs."

This book is published as a fund-raising project for the society. Funds raised go to offset expenses of operating the museum located at the corner of Pagosa and 1st streets. Everyone should have a copy of this little book.

One of the most fun books we've ever received is "Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life," edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz. It gives insights and advice from more than 30 of the world's most popular and respected storytellers and is illustrated by some of the best Peanuts comic strips.

A powerful lineup of bestselling novelists including Elmore Leonard, Clive Cussler, Danielle Steel, Ray Bradbury and others cover everything from finding ideas and getting started to creating characters and dealing with rejection.

If you want some good inspiration to get started on a writing career, this is the book to get you started.

"The Victors: Eisenhower and His Boys, the Men of World War 11," by Stephen Ambrose is the story of the war in Europe from D-Day, June 6, 1944, to the end, on May 7, 1945.

This narrative account is drawn from Ambrose's five acclaimed books about that conflict. It includes stories of individual battles, raids, and acts of courage. From Utah Beach through the Bulge and on to Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Germany.

Ambrose is also the author of other books on Eisenhower and the war, and of "Undaunted Courage," the account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

New magazines

Terry Hershey donated a subscription to "Bats."

Did you know that bats are vital to the balance of nature? There are more than 1,100 kinds of bats and account for one-fourth of all mammal species.

They've lived on Earth since the dinosaurs. They've been persecuted and are victims of human misinformation and needless fear. Bat populations are threatened worldwide.

Bats are the primary predators of many insects including mosquitoes. Please help protect bats. Read our magazines and share the information with others so we can protect these amazing mammals.

We have a catalog on bat houses, jewelry and other items you can buy to help with the conservation project.

We will soon be getting "High Country News," thanks to Rita O'Conell and Terry Hershey. This highly acclaimed newspaper covers 11 Western states and gives commentary on water, public lands, wildlife, logging, mining wilderness, growth and politics on issues changing the face of the west.

Terry Hershey is also giving us a subscription to the Audubon Newsletter.

Many thanks to Rita and Terry for these important subscriptions.

Other donations

Material came from Becky Porco, June Geisen, Mell Cassidy, Dan Rabinowitz, Barbara Lindley, Chris Pierce and Steve Benson.

Financial help came from Ernest and Dot Jones in memory of Mary Muirhead and Lee Sterling; Sidney and Billie White Evans in memory of Joan Sager's mother; and the Pagosa Women's Club.

Our continued thanks to all of our generous donors.

Veteran's Corner

Contact VSO if there are health care delays

I know I must sound like a broken record sometimes talking about VA health care issues in this column.

This is one benefit that affects the most veterans these days. I can say with certainty that most of my time as your Veterans Service Officer is spent in enrolling veterans or follow-up work in the VA health care system.

The downturn in the economy the past couple of years has affected many veteran's health care opportunities in the private sector.

Many of our veterans are getting older and are faced with declining health. Still others are now over 65, retiring, and are faced with a need for low cost prescription drugs, which Medicare does not cover.

Our numbers are increasing as more and more people move to our beautiful area to retire. Retirement usually means advancing age, or "Golden Years" as senior citizens often say. Nearly every male much over the age of 50 is a veteran. Military duty was compulsory for a long time after World War II.

Huge influx

What this means is more and more veterans are seeking VA health care.

We have already experienced the changes in VA health care policies and procedure to deal with the huge influx of new enrollees.

But, with government snafus what they are, top officials often dictate new policies or guidelines, but fail to provide the adequate means to accomplish those new rules. (In case you don't know what "snafu" means, it is an acronym for "situation normal, all fouled up").

Delayed information entry

Applications for VA health care used to be entered at many VA clinics. Someone recently changed the procedure and all applications must now be submitted to Albuquerque VAMC for this district.

It seems they didn't work out the fact they didn't increase the personnel in one location to handle the huge additional entry work.

Now, we come to some new problems I have been informed of recently. New applications (1010EZ forms) that have been submitted to the Albuquerque VA Medical Center in recent weeks or months are not getting entered into the VA computer systems right away.

I have been informed that delays up to several weeks or more are possible, due to a shortage of staff and changes in procedures, all occurring at the same time.

Applicants not informed

To make matters worse, veterans who enrolled in recent months have not been informed of these delays or what is happening to their applications. They simply don't hear anything.

I have been experiencing an increase in veterans contacting me asking about their applications and the fact they haven't heard anything.

Of course I call the health care facilities, sometimes the Durango VA Clinic, or the Albuquerque VA Medical Center, to get the answers.

Usually, the delayed situation can be resolved. Sometimes its just a matter that the application was put into the VA system, but the veteran was not informed, so they did not know what steps to take next.

Contact me about delays

If you have enrolled in VA health care or applied for any VA benefit and have not heard anything in a reasonable period, by all means contact me by phone or drop by, and I will check into the problem.

I can usually "cut to the chase" and get some answers for you.

You can bet I will be discussing these problems with VA officials right away. It has always been my policy the burden should never be on the veterans to negotiate their way through the VA system. That is what VA and veteran's service officials, like myself, are there for.

For information on these and other veteran's 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@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.



Jesse Schmidt and Grace Brinton will wed Nov. 1, 2003, in First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs. The couple will reside in Westminster, Colo. Grace's parents are David and Dorothy Brinton of Pagosa Springs. Jesse's parents are Dale and Ellen Schmidt, also of Pagosa Springs.


Army Pfc. Zechariah Clay Flaugh, son of proud parents Lisa and Darwin Flaugh of Pagosa Springs, has graduated from advanced basic training and airborne school at Fort Benning, Ga., and is now at Fort Bragg, N.C., continuing training for Special Forces duty. Zech said he was "born for this." His mom said she's "not so sure."


A house of God

Mission rededicated after years of renovation

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Bishop Arthur Tafoya called the little St. Francis of Assisi Mission Church "a symbol of the people of God."

It is, he said during a rededication service Sunday, a place for people to find healing, peace, a connection with God and one another, and forgiveness. After all, the people are the "living church, the living stones."

Stone by stone, board by board, dollar by dollar, the people of Pagosa Country worked to restore the little Catholic mission southwest of Pagosa Springs on Colo. 151. The rededication ceremony was the end of over a decade of work, except of course for the landscaping. Flo Gallegos, who spearheaded the renovations and helped pull together Sunday's Fiesta said that's next.

"She's a very convincing lady," Beverly Papierniak, a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Pagosa Springs said of Flo. "She doesn't take no for an answer." Papierniak's husband, Donald, and many of the other Knights of Columbus from Pagosa were just a few of the volunteers to lend a hand with the project.

The renovation of the mission started back in the 1980s with a new roof, Gallegos said. In the ensuing years, projects would begin and end as the money was available.

The collection plate was passed when services were held, one weekend a month. An artist sold a rug. Families from the Piedra Valley chipped in. Sometimes donations were $20 or $30. Sometimes much more. At two crucial times, Gallegos' mother-in-law stepped in to push the project ahead.

"It added up little by little," Gallegos said. Once they finished with the outside - hiring craftsman skilled enough to do the adobe by hand in the traditional way - they started on the inside. All the time, the doors stayed open for monthly services.

Much remains original. The stations of the cross. The statues. The crucifix. Some of the stained glass.

Each piece, Gallegos said, has a story. Her husband, Junior Gallegos, is the fifth generation of his family to live in the valley between U.S. 160 and Arboles. His ancestors built the first mission church about two miles from its present location. That one burned. In the early 20th century, the Catholic church bought two acres from the Southern Ute Indian tribe to rebuild. From then, until today, the little mission has graced the end of Old Gallegos road, visible to all who passed on the highway.

Historically, Junior Gallegos said, a different family each year took care of the maintenance on the church and was responsible for transporting the visiting priest to and from Arboles.

They also periodically bought things to adorn the church - gifts to God. Gallegos said during World War II one of his aunts promised God in prayer she would buy a crucifix for the altar if her two sons would return safely from the war. They did.

"It took her five years of saving to do it," he said.

Others who attended a small school nearby, passed down stories of an other-worldly inhabitant. According to the history, these students would have to pass by the mission each morning on their way to get water for the school. As they did, they could hear wailing from inside locked doors.

The crucifix remains. Each statue, each window has a similar sponsor. Each a similar memory wrapped up in love, in sorrow, in thanksgiving, in prayer. Even the original adobe bricks, covered now, were marked with handprints and signatures of those who put them in place.

Junior's daughter, Germaine, remembers when she was a little girl, a family would still ride up on horseback for services.

As memories built, time and weather took its toll on the little building. "The roof was leaking. Animals would come in and nest," Germaine said.

Her mother decided it was time for a change. It was simply an extension of years of promises, of work, of maintenance by their ancestors, Junior said.

Sunday, the people came to celebrate the completion of this effort. To rededicate the little mission to God. To touch base with family, friends and neighbors. To feast. To tell new stories.

Take the carved wooden statue of St. Francis outside by the door. The statue, Papierniak said, was raffled off on the last night of the annual Knights of Columbus fish fry in Pagosa Springs in 2001. It was no secret Flo Gallegos wanted the statue for the little mission. Only Papierniak's name was drawn at the end of the night.

"Don came up and said, 'Flo really wanted that, you know. Maybe we should give it to the church," she said. "I said, 'Yes, that's where he belongs.'"

Generally, Germaine said, a crowd always gathers for the Feast of St. Francis, a celebration held on the first Sunday in October. At first, 50 or 60 attended, all families from the valley. Sunday, chairs for 300 or 400 awaited the crowd. This year it was held a week ahead of schedule so that the Bishop from Pueblo could attend the rededication. A member of the Southern Ute Tribal Council was also in attendance, as were the Knights of Columbus in formal attire.

Members of the congregation, family, friends and neighbors filled the mission's narrow wooden pews and spilled out onto the yard for mass. Little girls in white dresses played in front of the church door. Nearby, meat roasted over sweet-smelling wood in underground ovens. Homemade posole, beans and red chili bubbled in pots. Side dishes and desserts covered in Cellophane weighted down tables.

Bishop Tafoya called people into the church until every seat was full. Others listened to his words under a cloudless sky so bright and blue it made the church hard to look at.

The mass was conducted partially in English and partially in Spanish with communion served both indoors and out. At the end, a procession of the priests, the choir and the congregation wound around the outside of the building, celebrating their mud and wood symbol of family.

It was, indeed, a day for alleluias.

"It is done and I think she did a very good job," Junior Gallegos said, giving his wife credit, a smile lighting his face on a picture-perfect fall Sunday.

Pagosa's Past

God put that house there

John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Side by side they stood, laughter and tears, helping Pagosa folks overcome the devastation wrought by the flood of 1911, the greatest natural tragedy to ever afflict Pagosa Country.

The facts surrounding Judge E.K. Caldwell, one of Pagosa Country's pioneer leaders, provide a good example.

Raging waters from the San Juan River discovered Caldwell's home resting politely on its foundation along Hermosa Street in the town's best residential district. As if playing a giant, horrific prank, the swirling chocolate demon yanked the dutiful lumber residence from its mooring, swirled it around and around like a child tossing a toy from hand to hand, and finally, tiring of the game, dropped it in the middle of the park.

At first folks felt sorry for the Judge and his family. Sorrowful eyes punctuated sincere offers of help. In addition to condolences and a dry place to get in out of the weather, the offers included an old red rooster or two to help the family through its time of trial.

Time passed - days, weeks, and years. Folks quit giving food and began offering to help move the house, when the Judge was ready of course. Frankly, as more time passed, the house began to irritate folks, taking up space as it did in the middle of the park. When kids wanted to run, the house was in the way. Decent folks couldn't picnic without the Judge looking out to see what was going on. Complaints to the town dads brought no results. Their local eminencies merely told the Judge, "You know, you really ought to move the house." The Judge nodded in an absent minded way and went about his business.

Finally, enough became too much. The town board took a vote and sent the marshal over to talk to the Judge. "I'm sorry," the marshal said, "but you're going to have to move the house."

The Judge inhaled, inflated to his full height and considerable girth, all of the time toying with the beard cascading down across his chest like Treasure Falls at full flood. For what seemed like hours, his honor stared at his boots. Finally, he cleared his throat, raised his head and began to speak, the stentorian tones aimed across the park at everyone in general and no one in particular.

"Move it?" he asked. "Move it?"

The staring eyes dropped. Piousness flooded his face. His voice changed from stentorian to incredulous.

"Move it, you say. Gentlemen, I can't move it. Who do you think I am? God put that house there. Should I, a mere mortal, tamper with the hand of God?"

Unimpressed, the town dads ordered the house moved post haste, and that is what the judge did.

Caldwell was one of those deliciously colorful characters who helped shape Pagosa Country. The E.K. stood for Ephraim Kelly. Ephraim was used in frontier America as a general name for bears as in "Old Ephraim broke into the chicken house last night." In the Old Testament, Ephraim was the name of Joseph's second son and ultimately was used to refer to Israel. Our pioneer parents tended to favor Bible names.

Born in Ohio Dec. 19, 1842, the Judge died Sept. 26, 1915, at Cedar Hill, N.M. He would have been 69 years old at the time of the 1911 flood. He married Cynthia Dyke in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1869 and the young couple moved to Northern New Mexico during the early 1870s soon after Denver and Rio Grande tracks opened up logging in that area. We are not told if Cynthia was related to the Dyke brothers, also Pagosa pioneers.

Caldwell is said to have built the first lumber mill in Chama. He followed the railroad west, living for a time at Monero and Amargo before crossing into Colorado at Pagosa Junction when Sullenberger's lumber mill came to that town. After operating a hotel at Pagosa Junction for a short time, Caldwell moved his family to Pagosa Springs where he served eight years as county judge and two terms as mayor.

Another tale from the 1911 flood was a favorite among old-timers I knew during the 1970s, old-timers instrumental in forming the present local historical society.

They told of a roofless county jail located at the edge of the river near the former bridge connecting the east and west segments of San Juan Street. Local officials regarded the log hoosegow as a choice site for drunks. One night's confinement in the cold dampness along the river would surely discourage the most dedicated drinker from repeating the experience, or so they hoped.

In any case, the 1911 flood waters failed to respect government property. The jail building, presumably empty, was whisked up by the rampaging waters, hustled from rock to rock and bank to bank downstream, finally coming to rest in Jake Latta's orchard at Trujillo. Apparently it was never claimed by its rightful owners and served its new masters as a storage shed for many years.

Downstream residents watched a lot of things bob past, houses, outbuildings, furniture, trees, and a considerable number of farm animals. In addition to buildings and bridges, the deluge swept away the town water system. The debacle provided town residents with a reason to go back to Missouri where life was more gentle, but they didn't quit.

Just one day after the flood, The SUN editor wrote: "On the streets are seen clusters of people congregated together, and one who happens along for a moment will hear them consoling and sympathizing with each other in their loss. The people of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County are a class who can stare calamity in the face and smile. A class of people who will not bow to discouragement. A class who will go ahead with the battle of life with renewed energy. With this class of people, the ruined homes will soon rise from their present state, and will be built up to the same standard that they were before the flood.

"We can yet boast that we live in the Switzerland of America. We still have the beautiful mountain scenery, plenty of hunting, thousands of acres to grow abundant crops, the famous hot springs and a hundred other facilities within our reach. The recent incident will pass into history, while we will remain and enjoy privileges as heretofore."

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



No on water issue

You can smell it in the air. No, it's not the scent of fall leaves on the

ground. It's not that particular aroma that precedes the arrival of

a winter storm. Rather, it's the distinct and unpleasant odor given off by the arrival of the political season, when some candidates and advocates begin the ritual of making inflated promises, falsifying their accomplishments, telling people what they think the voter wants to hear, jockeying for attention in the public eye; when supporters of ballot issues begin to exaggerate claims and develop scary scenarios to bolster their cases.

This week, let's sidle up to that last group. To a group of advocates who dispense dire scenarios to a select population and hide the weaknesses of their plan with spirited rhetoric. In this case, it is a very expensive plan.

We visited this topic before, and it bears a repeat visit.

Those of us on the Western Slope should be concerned about Referendum A, which will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Referendum A, say its supporters, would protect excess water resources in the state by allowing the state to issue as much as $2 billion in bonds for water projects.

The majority of the water lost comes from the Western Slope, from the Colorado River and its tributaries. The water, say supporters, could be used more productively in Colorado than in Nevada, or California. And by "here" the supporters likely mean somewhere on the Front Range. And a good bet is most of the water would not make its way to Eastern Slope farmers and ranchers but would enhance Front Range metro areas and fuel their continued growth.

Problem No. 1: We don't know what needs our "excess" water would satisfy if the referendum passes. Why? Because the referendum is vague when it comes to projects the bonds could fund. All we know is a list of projects would be drawn by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and our governor would select a project or projects from that list.

Problem No. 2: How much water is being lost that could be captured? Backers of Referendum A toss around numbers like 1.2-1.5 million acre feet of water flowing out of the western part of the state that rightly belongs to us. Others put the number nearer 500,000 acre feet. And that is without the amount that will be taken by projects already on the drawing boards.

Problem No. 3: The cost of moving water from one side of the Divide to the other.

The bottom line is we on the Western Slope are in a position of sacrificing water we could use for Western Slope agriculture, wildlife, and recreational interests and, if that water were to be shipped east across the Divide, to share in the enormous cost it would entail.

As it is, the Colorado River Compact of 1922 allows Colorado (read the Western Slope) to take approximately 25 percent of the annual flow of the Colorado River and its tributaries. The Compact leaves little doubt that we can use the excess, whatever it is, but we must find a way to guarantee it is used at or near its source.

The better vote on this referendum, as it stands, is to say no and, thus, to tell the urban areas on the Eastern Slope they must deal with their growth and attendant problems with the resources they currently have available. And to tell supporters of Referendum A that, should they wish to find ways to use our "excess" water, give us specific ideas on how that will be done to our benefit on the West Slope. Don't give us an open-ended proposition and check book that looks like a loser for western Colorado and its water-dependent industries.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Fall color's a short drive away

By Richard Walter

Sometimes the best fall colors are right in your own backyard.

Don't believe me? Just take a drive downtown and notice the hues emanating from the cottonwoods in Town Park and the trees on Reservoir Hill.

But if you want to get out into the country and see the colors, this may be your best weekend to do so.

Where should you go? There are a number of routine suggestions, easy-to-drive roads with vibrant colors everywhere.

And, there are some of the less traveled ones, roads that are not paved and some not too well maintained.

However, if you really want to get out and see the fiery reds, the aspen yellows and oak browns, here are some of my favorite locations.

Four Mile Road/Plumtaw crossover. Take Four Mile from Pagosa Springs northerly toward Williams Lake. Go all the way to the lake and the turnaround at the north end. Casually drift back down the road, watching for the right turn onto Plumtaw. Turn there and follow that road until you find yourself back on Piedra Road. Driving conditions fair to good on gravel.

Fossett Gulch Road. Take the turnoff just at the base of Yellowjacket Pass and follow the forest service and county road through heavy growth and a prime turkey sighting area. Keep your speed down and in addition to the colors and turkey you're likely to see many other forms of wildlife. The trip will bring you out on Colo. 151. From there you can return to Pagosa Springs or go on south and pick up County 500 (Trujillo Road) for a trip back to town along the lower San Juan and a chance to see many different forms of lower altitude color.

Upper Blanco Road. Go south on U.S. 84 about eight miles until reaching Blanco Road. Turn left and follow it up into and through the valley. Colors will be bright on the eastern slopes of mountains on the east side of the valley. Good road and leisurely pace will allow you to see great color spots.

East Fork Road. Go east on U.S. 160 to the East Fork Road turnoff just beyond the West Fork bridge. Follow the road to the left (not on private property to the right) and a long steady climb will eventually lead into the East Fork Valley. Again, beware of private property duly marked. Road is gravel and has a few washboardy spots.

If you want to make it a longer tour, when you come back out of East Fork turn right on 160 and go on toward Wolf Creek Pass until you see the sign directing you to West Fork Campground on the left.

Turn there and follow the road through Bruce Spruce Ranch and across West Fork. The road will veer left and then curl back to the north. At a V in the road, turn south and go about a mile to see heavy brush and trees girding for fall. As you turn to go back, you'll get great views - across the valley - of Treasure Falls and the surrounding mountains with varying shades of color.

Want a shorter drive? Try Eight Mile Mesa. Go south from Pagosa on 84, turn right on Eightmile road. Follow it, slowly, up the winding, rutted-at-times road with spectacular views of the lower Blanco and, at the top, a look at the town against a mountain color palette.


90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Oct. 3, 1913

Horses are cheaper on the local market than for many years. In fact there is no market, as there are no buyers.

The "Spanish Sunset Trail" is to be the official name of the state highway running through Pagosa Springs. A very appropriate title.

Except a good-sized order received a while back by the Pagosa Lumber Co. the demand for lumber is limited and confined almost exclusively to the home and near home market.

The Sun has concluded to follow the New Era and discard the costly patent insides. A saving of six or eight dollars per month is not to be sneezed at in these prosperous Democratic times.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 5, 1928

A fire alarm Monday afternoon caused considerable excitement but little damage was done. An abandoned chicken house at the Paul DeFoe home on Lewis Street caught fire in some unexplained manner during their absence from the house and was destroyed.

The property of E.M. Parr on Lewis Street has undergone several needed repairs, which are now completed. The work was done under the supervision of Mrs. Frank Matthews of this city.

County Clerk Philip R. Johnson on Tuesday issued marriage licenses to the following: Joe Sandoval and Miss Pabilita Velasquez, both of Pagosa Junction, and Juan Rafael Gallegos and Miss Maria Clofes Martinez, both of Dyke.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 2, 1953

A forest fire on Gordon Creek in the O'Neal Park area burnt over 150 acres of forest land on Tuesday of this week before being brought under control by the Forest Service. The extremely dry area was touched off by lightning in the early morning hours Tuesday. A crew of 35 men was taken to the area and the fire was brought under control that night.

A man is now lodged in the county bastille as the result of an altercation with members of his family, but only after putting a gash in Town Marshal Ray Murray's head that required several stitches to close. Murray was called to the residence early Monday morning. As he came in the door, he was struck on the forehead with what is presumed to have been a claw hammer.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 5, 1978

The town board is having a busy month. In addition to hasseling a proposed budget with not quite enough money to go around, the board is also confronted with space problems at El Centro, traffic problems at school crossings and numerous complaints abut the overabundance of skunks in the city limits. Efforts will be made to trap the stinky animals.

Cattle rustling seems to be a pastime in the county. The sheriff's office reports that one rancher is minus 13 head of cattle, believed to have been stolen and butchered.

A truck driver was killed in a runaway truck accident on Wolf Creek Pass early Sunday morning. It has been theorized that he may have gone to sleep.