Ballot error: New vote likely for school seats
By Tom Carosello
A printing error on this year's General Election ballots mailed to registered voters in Archuleta, Mineral and Hinsdale counties will invalidate at least a portion of votes cast on ballots that have already been mailed or returned to the county clerk's office.
The mistake involves the portion of the ballot naming the candidates for election to the board of directors for Archuleta County School District 50 Joint. The ballot lists candidates Michael Haynes, Sandy Caves and Gene Crabtree in the same space and erroneously reads, "Vote for two."
However, Crabtree and Caves are in competition for the District 3 seat being vacated by Randall Davis, while Haynes is an incumbent school board member appointed to replace Russel Lee and is running unopposed for the District 2 seat.
According to June Madrid, county clerk, what happens next is dependent upon the response she receives from the office of the Colorado Secretary of State, a response that had not been given as of press time.
"More than likely," said Madrid, "that ballot section will be corrected, reprinted and remailed to registered voters as early as possible, and the resulting votes counted by hand."
Madrid said another scenario is the entire ballot may have to be remailed once corrections are made.
"We just didn't catch it," concluded Madrid.
Police seek info on local ATV thefts
By Tess Noel Baker
Two all-terrain vehicles worth an estimated $12,000 and a trailer were stolen Oct. 12. A reward for information leading to an arrest in the case has been offered.
Detective Scott Maxwell, of the Pagosa Springs Police Department, said the theft took place about 10:45 p.m. in front of a residence at 180 North 7th Street.
Two men were seen coupling the trailer loaded with ATVs to a brown, older model, full-sized Chevy Blazer or Ford Bronco-type vehicle. The vehicle left the scene, crossed U.S. 160 and continued south on 7th Street.
The stolen ATVs are both Polaris 325 Magnum 4-by-4s. One of the ATVs is a model year 2000. It is green and brown camouflage in color. The other is a green 2001 model. Both were loaded on a Karavan brand snowmobile trailer.
The owner of the ATVs is offering $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of suspects and/or the recovery of the ATVs. Anyone who believes they may have information relating to this case should contact Maxwell at 264-4151, Ext. 241.
Health board to draft new strategic plan
By Tess Noel Baker
The last short- and long-range strategic planning done for the Upper San Juan Health Service District was completed over 20 years ago.
This was before the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center was built. Before Urgent Care. Before paramedics. Before 24/7 in-quarters ambulance service.
Over the past few years, working on a new strategic plan has been listed as a goal by several different board members. Now, a Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been formed to lead the way in possibly reaching that goal. At this point, they are working to gather information from the community.
According to a news release provided by the district, the committee is organizing workshops in October to, "include the views of as many of our community partners as possible."
Public relations coordinator Kathy Saley said the workshops will include: county officials, business owners, consumers, district employees, religious representatives, private and public physicians, local agencies and law enforcement personnel. Participants will be issued special invitations. Each group will work from a similar syllabus to discuss health care issues facing Pagosa Springs now and in the future.
According to the release, the board's objective, "is to make every attempt to meet the needs of the community while preparing for health care challenges in the future."
"I feel it's really important to get input from the community before embarking on making decisions for the district," steering committee member Debra Brown said. "We can never get enough input and it's never too late to get input."
Results of the workshops will be presented to the board of directors at a strategic planning retreat Nov. 1.
In the short-term planning, they will look at the next six months to one year. In long-range planning, the goal is to project out between one and three years.
Part of the focus of the planning will deal with managing local impacts of the national health care crisis.
According to the release, "Healthcare providers today face the challenges of managing an increasingly complex business environment. The medical business environment is faced with rising cost, consistently changing structures and community needs, which place heavy demands on health care. At the same time, consumers are demanding alternative methods to traditional health care. Sixty percent of Americans are seeking complimentary health care. As our population ages, the demand on the system becomes a greater challenge."
Members of the steering committee include: board members Ken Morrison, Brown and Patty Tillerson, as well as district staff - Kathy Conway, Nina Allen, Dee Jackson and John Farnsworth.
Land-use panelists approved
By Tom Carosello
The first steps in the process that could result in the creation of new Archuleta County land-use regulations got the green light Tuesday from the county board of commissioners.
Approved was a tentative slate of land-use, focus-group sessions presented by Marcus Baker, associate county planner, outlining when and where each meeting will be held.
Accompanying the schedule is a list of selected volunteers who have shown interest in participating in the sessions, which includes residents from various backgrounds and geographic areas of the county.
"It seems like we have a diverse group of people here," Baker told the board, "It's a pretty good mix."
The list has been in the works since the planning department received board approval to begin implementation of the remaining policies outlined in the Community Plan roughly one month ago.
Those choosing to participate will take part in question-and-answer sessions and be asked to offer suggestions regarding how they feel the county should pursue the revision of current land use regulations, or the development of new alternatives.
While subject to change, the current list includes the following dates, locations and participants:
- Oct. 24, 1:30 p.m. at Pagosa Springs High School. Student participants: Mallory Mackey, Rachel Scheer, Brandi Whomble, Brett Ford, Marlena Lungstrom, Brianna Scott and Darin Prokop.
In addition, Timothy McAlister, Jesse Morris, Daren Hockett, Alexander Tapia, Eric Rivas, Kyle Wiggers, Kaylee Burnett, Josiah Burggraaf and Julie Olds.
Also, Jake Cammack, Chris Matzdorf, Robert Garcia, Chris Mueller, Matt Nobles, Randye Taylor, Taryn Burnett, Melissa Voelker and Justin Chapman.
- Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m. at the Betty Shahan residence in Chromo. Participants: Lynn Constan, Jim Bramwell, Ben and Ginny Douglas, Chuck, Ron and Drue Hartong, Stan and Marcella Maddux, Frank Reardon and Arthur Valdez.
Also, Kathy Muth, Jerry Fields, Bob Engle, Bruce Edwards, Tim Shrier, Sherry Schutz, Don McGovern and Leslie Allison.
- Nov. 3, 6:30 p.m. at the Vista Clubhouse. Participants: Jim Carson, Fred Ebeling, Bruce Andersen, Lynda Van Patter, Melanie Kelley, Burl Collyer, Sheila Hunkin, Nancy Bush, John Tallman, Tom and Katherine Cruse and John Weiss.
- Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m. at Navajo State Park. Participants: Joe Collins, Penny Holmes, Larry Garcia, Franklin Anderson, Tom Arthur, Chris Chavez, Sandy Gladfelter and Greg Gummersall.
Also, Phil Lane, Janine and Don Masterson, Judy McDonald, Keith Miller, Bill Helms, Jack Lamb, Tammy McDowell and Linda Jaycox.
- Nov. 18, 6:30 p.m. at the Chimney Rock Restaurant. Participants: John Brungard, Heather Hunts, Claudia Smith, Cindy and Ron Gustafson, Bernie Schuchart and Roberto Garcia.
Also, June and Walt Geisen, Curt and Dot Jones, Karen Aspin, Robert and Mary Curtis, Ronnie Zaday and Patrick Ullrich.
- Nov. 20, 6:30 p.m. at Pagosa Springs Community Center. Participants: J.R. Ford, Bill Ide, Bob Nordmann, Lee Riley, Lisa Jensen, Steve Schwartz, Larry Dick and Sue Anderson.
Also, Lisa and Bill Egg, Jerry Curtis, Debra Brown, Cristy Holden, Gary Hopkins and Jode McKee.
Residents whose names appear in the preceding list can verify their interest in participation by contacting the planning department at 264-5851 or stopping by the department office at 527 A San Juan St.
In other business this week, the board:
- approved a request to waive landfill fees during town fall clean-up week, Oct. 25-28, and county fall clean-up day, Oct. 25
- approved the annual Colorado Office of Emergency Preparedness program papers
- approved payments relating to the reconstruction of Pagosa Boulevard, Meadows Drive and Buttress Avenue
- recognized Julie Stoffer, RN as the provider of a voluntary employee assistance program for county employees (at no financial burden to the county; participants will be personally responsible for the associated costs)
- appointed Sue Walan, county engineer, as the county representative to a water-conservation task force being formed by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District
- accepted a preliminary copy of the 2004 county budget from Cathie Wilson, county finance director (in-depth budget hearings/work sessions will be scheduled in the next few weeks)
- approved a hotel/restaurant liquor license for Cactus Pete's Inc.
- approved the final plat for the Harvey Minor Impact Subdivision
- tabled a request for final plat signing of Crowley Ranch Reserve, Phase IV (no future date given)
- tabled a consideration of additional expenditures for the salary survey conducted by Lee & Burgess Associates (no future date given)
- approved access agreements enabling the future relocation of a portion of Phantom Ranch Road in conjunction with upgrades at the county airport.
Safety factors key start for school update plan
By Richard Walter
Faced with facilities which, in some cases, have outlived usefulness and in other cases are outright dangerous, local school officials have taken the first step for a long-range facilities development plan.
With their new maintenance director, Steve Walston, outlining suggestions, the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint moved - after lengthy discussion Tuesday - to fund a preliminary study of site possibilities for a new combination transportation and maintenance departments hub with administrative department offices and possible cooperative development with the Town of Pagosa Springs.
Walston told the board it is time to start planning for the future, citing facilities declining in usefulness and becoming more costly to operate.
"We need an action plan that includes funding for a number of major problems," he said "and safety of students, staff and visitors is one of the prime concerns."
He outlined a proposed four-phase program with phases 1-3 near term and involving substantial costs including $2.162 million at the elementary school with $820,000 of that amount for heating, ventilating and air conditioning work needed to make the structure "user friendly."
He said $1.4 million was earmarked for that school this year, with another $363,000 delayed until Phase 2.
Development of intermediate school parking facilities is the bulk of an estimated $733,000 in updates for the intermediate school, and a new roof is the major portion of an estimated $1.146 million in work needed at the junior high school, he said.
But the major construction aspect of the plan would eliminate the transportation department barn southeast of the elementary school.
It would go, along with facilities for the maintenance department and administrative offices, into a new facility on the southern portion of the current high school property.
That would eliminate several safety issues in the current structure, including roof leaks, water running across the floor where electronic devices are operated, and a structure at least 50 years old that was rebuilt in 1970 but has long outlived its serviceability.
The town has long been in discussion with the school district about the possibility of a joint bus-town garage operation.
The board was told Town Administrator Mark Garcia feels the town may still be a year away from being able to participate in funding.
Superintendent Duane Noggle said it might be conceivable for the school district to build the facility and then reach a lease agreement with the town for bay and storage areas.
Overall, Walston said, the projects envisioned would carry a cost of $4.5 million, funded over a period of four to five years.
A slide presentation showing some of the dangers at the current bus barn and around the elementary school, also indicated combination funding for the long-range facilities plan from Whit Newton funds, capital reserve funds, lease agreement and, possibly, cooperative town funds.
The elementary school problem is many-faceted, the board was told. In addition to the work needed inside the building, a more realistic traffic flow solution is needed and removing the maintenance building can help in that solution.
Walston told the board traffic counts were made Monday and Tuesday. In a 25-minute period the first day, 62 cars pulled through bus traffic to pick up children; 15 vehicles were illegally parked, three blocking bus lanes. Eastbound traffic in the same time period was recorded at 370 vehicles, traffic which backed up buses waiting to turn into the complex.
In a similar count Tuesday morning, 45 cars pulled in to drop off children from among 206 eastbound vehicles. The average was 10-14 per minute with 208 westbound cars passing buses waiting to turn in.
"I can see potential budget snags," said director Randall Davis. "But if we wait it will only get worse and cost more to bring our facilities up to date."
Walston asked the board to commit to a long-range plan with an initial agreement to authorize spending up to $12,000 for an aerial survey and topographic study of the site at the high school campus.
Included would be a "footprint" for a contemplated structure to house the departments named earlier.
Before the motion and vote, however, board members chimed in with concerns.
"The current garage facility, itself, is a huge problem," said Director Mike Haynes. "There are safety factors everywhere. It's a scary scene."
Transportation Director Dolly Martin agreed, noting people have to come there to register kids for bus use "and I'm always afraid of someone falling. I've already done it once," she said.
"It is a serious concern, as is parking for staff," she added. "We don't want an accident or a fatality and a lawsuit."
Director Clifford Lucero hoped town participation can be arranged.
"Both they and the school district need new facilities," he said, "and it makes more sense to spend taxpayers' money only once instead of twice for duplicate facilities."
Asked for a timeline on possible construction, Noggle said the earliest the district could advertise for construction bids would be April or May of 2004. "Design and plan development would have to come first."
"It is mandatory that we do something to eliminate the problems we now face," said Haynes. "If we don't, we probably will have OSHA or some other agency ordering us to do it."
Lucero agreed. "We have to do something and do it soon. I want us to be sure, however, that we have a firm hand on cost control and that whatever we build is designed to last for years to come.
"I've examined all the structures we're dealing with," he said, "and without some action by this board it is just a matter of time before we have a major disaster."
But, he added, "let's crawl before we walk. Let's approve the preliminary study and see where we stand. Maybe we'll need to look at an alternative site. Maybe this one will be perfect. We need to know before we commit to a major project."
On his motion to go ahead with the concept plan, with an upper cost limit of $12,000, seconded by director Carol Feazel, the board gave unanimous approval (director Jon Forrest was absent). It is to include cost estimates, specific location, any landfill needed, and development of a site recommendation.
All the other projects, save those already underway in the elementary school, are on hold until that is received, hopefully by the November meeting.
At that time, the board is expected to make a decision on the proposed long-range plan.
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Two youth soccer leagues end their action this week
By Joe Lister Jr.
This is the final week for youth soccer league play. The 5-6 year-old age group will finish up its season today.
Thanks to these coaches and sponsors for a wonderful year:
- Strohecker Asphalt and Paving - Kip Strohecker
- Concrete Connection - Dan Appenzeller
- Edward Jones and Associates -Stan Gidley
- T. Miller Custom Homes - Chris Andersen
- North Pagosa Shell - Andrew Jones
- Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate - Chris Pitcher
- Timber Ridge Ranch - Steve Koneman.
The 7-8 year-old division will also finish its season this week, and we give special thanks to these sponsors and the volunteer coaches:
- PQC Builders - Ian Weestra
- Rocky Mountain Cable - Tom Greenly
- Wolf Creek Land and Cattle - Todd Shelton
- Crazy Horse Outfitters - Coach Wally
- Bank of the San Juans - Bob Lynch
- Schmidt Chiropractic - John Egan.
The week of Oct. 21-24 will feature single elimination tournament action for the 9-10, and the 11,12 and 13 year-olds.
We will acknowledge the sponsors and the coaches next week.
Basketball registration for the 7-8 year-old division is going on now, with sign-up deadline 5 p.m. tomorrow at Town Hall.
A coaches' meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22. Tentative start date is Oct. 28.
Parents, please stop by at town hall for your youngsters' sign-up sheets.
It is imperative to have the number of youth playing sign up on schedule so we can order shirts and get sponsors.
League honors in hand, Pirate runners head for regional meet
By Tess Noel Baker
The Pagosa Pirates cross country teams passed their first post-season test with flying colors Friday.
They returned from the Intermountain League meet in Monte Vista toting awards for runner of the year, team league champion, and five all-conference runners. Eight team members posted personal record times.
Aaron Hamilton scored his fourth win in a row and earned Runner of the Year honors after crossing the finish in 17 minutes and 34 seconds.
"Aaron showed great potential considering he wasn't challenged at all," Head Coach Scott Anderson said. "He's ready to go experience a greater challenge at regionals."
The senior was followed by sophomore A.J. Abeyta, who faced stiff competition from a Bayfield runner to finish fourth in 17:55. "This was his first race under 18 minutes," Anderson said. "It was the best race of his cross country career." Both Hamilton and Abeyta were named to the all-conference team.
Pagosa's third runner across the line, sophomore Orion Sandoval turned in a solid performance of his own, finishing sixth in 18:33.
Senior Dan Lowder, running in just his second race of the season, finished 31st in 20:26. "He will continue to improve," Anderson said. Sophomore Paul Hotstetter ended the day 34th in 20:37, a personal record good enough to earn him the last spot on the Pirate's regional team. Anderson said the boys continue to close in on rival Bayfield.
The Wolverines won the league meet for the second year in a row, edging Pagosa by seven points.
"At the beginning of the year I knew the boys would get better," Anderson said. "I could only dream we would be in a position to challenge Bayfield."
Those running their final race of the cross country season included: freshman Riley Lynch who claimed 36th in 20:45 and senior Chris Matzdorf who finished 39th in 21:03. Both posted personal records.
The girls continued to build on a successful year, claiming another team championship with three top-five finishes.
Sophomore Emilie Schur led the effort with a 19:21 finish, a personal record. The time was good enough for second place, and the start of a two, three, four triple threat.
Freshman Jessica Lynch ran away with the third spot, crossing the line in 20:40. She was followed by freshman Laurel Reinhardt who finished fourth in 21:10. All three of Pagosa's top finishers earned spots on the all-conference roster.
Senior Jenna Finney was the fourth Lady Pirate to cross the finish, placing 12th with a time of 22:08. "She continues to improve each week since coming off a midyear injury," Anderson said.
Sophomore Heather Dahm finished 18th in 22:52, and was the last member to make the regional squad.
Senior Lauren Caves wrapped up six years of cross country racing with a personal record 23:27 finish. Her time put her in 22nd place. Senior Lacie Ream also closed out her career at the league meet, finishing 23rd with the same time as Caves.
Freshman Kristen Ducharme finished 29th in 23:54, setting a personal record. Junior Marlena Lungstrum crossed the line 36th in 24:19, junior Janna Henry finished 38th in 24:33, setting a personal record, and sophomore Drié Young claimed 41st in 25:04.
Anderson said he was pleased with the team's performance in the league, but "we're looking for bigger fish."
The Pirates will find all the competition they're seeking at the regional meet in Buena Vista Saturday. The top 15 individuals and at least four teams, maybe more depending on the size of the field, will qualify for state.
The regional races will start at the River Front Park in Buena Vista. The girls run at 10:30 a.m. followed by the boys at 11:15 a.m. To find the park, turn east at the stop light on U.S. 24/285 and continue past the elementary school to the park. Parking is located at the east end of Main Street, at the elementary school or at the community center.
Pirates pummel Bobcats 24-0, stay atop IML ranks
By Karl Isberg
"I'm a little frustrated with the way we performed at times, but I guess we can't be too upset with a league record of 2-0."
Such were the sentiments of Pirate Head Coach Sean O'Donnell following his team's 24-0 victory over Intermountain League host Ignacio Friday night.
In a game that marked a return to action for several Pagosa Springs players, the Pirates took the field at least as healthy as their opposition for the first time this season.
With starting quarterback Adrian Abeyta and fullback/linebacker Ben Neil out of the Bobcat lineup, Ignacio tailback Lorenzo Rodriguez was forced to take over under center - and the Pirate defense showed him no mercy en route to Pagosa's second IML win of the year.
With both teams getting strong play from their defensive units early on, neither offense threatened to cross the goal line until an interception by Ignacio's Ben Jacket set the Bobcats up with a first down at the Pagosa 8-yard line with five minutes left in the opening quarter.
But the Pirates were able to dodge the bullet and took over on their own 3 after Pagosa's Coy Ross forced a Bobcat fumble on third and goal that was recovered by his team with three minutes left in the period.
Pagosa crossed midfield on the resulting drive early in the second quarter, but was forced to punt after a 43-yard run to the Ignacio 7 by fullback Kory Hart was wiped out by a clipping penalty.
Pagosa's Bubba Martinez got the ball back for his team with a fumble recovery near midfield, but Ignacio soon had possession at its own 31 after penalties forced the Pirates to punt on fourth and long.
The resulting Ignacio drive was brief - stops for no gain from the Pirate defense and a holding call backed Ignacio inside its 25 before Pagosa's Jaren Kinkead picked off Rodriguez on third and long and returned the ball to the Bobcat 13.
Hart burst up the middle for the game's first score on the next play from scrimmage, and Pagosa led 7-0 with under four minutes left in the half after the point-after kick from place-kicker Daniel Aupperle.
Ignacio went backward on its ensuing possession, and was forced to punt following consecutive Pirate tackles for loss from Hart and Jeremy Caler.
Pagosa set up at the Bobcat 49, then moved inside the 20 on first down with a 30-yard pass from Pirate quarterback David Kern to tight end Craig Schutz, who dragged a trio of Bobcat defenders the final five yards to the Ignacio 19.
Three plays later Kern connected with flanker Paul Przybylski to set up a first down at the 4, and Hart plunged in from 1 yard out on third and goal to put Pagosa up 13-0 with 18 seconds left in the quarter.
Aupperle's kick split the uprights, and the Pirates went to the locker room up by 14 after Ignacio failed to score before the half expired.
The teams battled evenly to open the second half, and Ignacio seemed to have gained the advantage in field position after downing a punt inside the Pagosa 3-yard line late in the quarter.
But strong running from Hart gave the Pirates breathing room and a first down at the 15, and one play later Kern faked an option pitch to the right, then cut back against the grain and raced 85 yards down the left sideline for a score to stretch the Pagosa lead to 20-0.
Following a successful point-after kick from Aupperle, the Pirates led 21-0 with just over a minute remaining in the stanza, and the quarter ended with the visitors in possession once more after a bad snap led to a fumble recovery by Pagosa's Jake Cammack at the Ignacio 21.
A first-down sack pushed the Pirates outside their 30, but consecutive 6-yard runs from Hart and Michael Martinez gained back enough ground to enable Aupperle to drill a 35-yard field goal that put Pagosa on top 24-0 with 10:45 to play.
Ignacio was held to negative yardage on its next possession, and the Pirates took over inside the eight-minute mark on their own 11 following a Rodriguez punt.
Pagosa worked the clock on its ensuing drive, and alternating runs from Kern, Hart, Martinez and Caler moved the ball across midfield with five minutes left in the contest.
Ignacio was forced to burn its final time-out with 3:34 to play after Kern hit wideout Brett Ford between the numbers for a gain to the Bobcat 23, and Pagosa was soon lining up for an Aupperle field goal attempt with 1:21 to play.
Ignacio's Lee Adair got a hand up and blocked the kick, but Pagosa took possession on the next play after Bubba Martinez deflected a Rodriguez pass into the hands of Aupperle, who returned the ball to the Bobcat 13.
The Pirates used three running plays to run out the clock, and when the final gun sounded Pagosa had preserved its first shutout of the season and second IML win.
Coy Ross led the Pirate defensive charge with seven tackles, followed by Kern, Bubba Martinez and Kory Hart with six apiece.
On the offensive side, Kern led Pagosa with 92 yards on 11 carries and completed seven of 13 passes for an additional 98. Caler and Kory Hart each tallied 42 yards on 18 and 9 carries respectively, while Michael Martinez toted four times for 29 yards.
While happy with the win, O'Donnell indicated after the game that he still sees room for improvement, especially from an offensive standpoint.
"I was hoping by this point in the season we would be executing better on offense, blocking better, and I really haven't seen that on a consistent basis," said O'Donnell.
At the same time, "I know Ignacio played without two of their best players on offense, but my hat's still off to our defense," he added. "It's tough to keep a guy like Rodriguez in front of you all game, and they did a heck of a job containing him tonight."
With respect to preparation for his team's final two regular-season games that will factor heavily in its quest for a playoff berth, "We'll get back to basics during practice and work on doing the little things better," said O'Donnell.
"We control our own destiny," concluded O'Donnell. "As long as we continue to win football games, nobody else can determine whether or not we reach the postseason."
The Pirates boosted their overall record to 4-3 with the win and head into tomorrow's home showdown with league foe Centauri tied with Bayfield for the IML lead.
The Pirates can secure a playoff berth with a win over the Falcons, and a victory will also keep Pagosa on track toward its fifth straight IML title.
Kickoff at Golden Peaks Stadium is set for 7 p.m.
Pagosa 0 14 7 3 - 24
Ignacio 0 0 0 0 - 0
Pag - K. Hart 13 run (Aupperle kick)
Pag - K. Hart 1 run (Aupperle kick)
Pag - Kern 85 run (Aupperle kick)
Pag - Aupperle 35 field goal
Listless league champ Pirates pull out 2-1 win over Ridgway
By Richard Walter
With the league soccer title already secured and the prospect of an undefeated run in the league looming, the Pagosa Springs Pirates sleepwalked their way through nearly 65 minutes of action Saturday before taking command to beat a much-improved Ridgway team 2-1 in Ridgway.
The Pirates played strong offensively for the first eight minutes but were unable to dent the Demon defense.
Derrick Monks, starting in place of the injured Kevin Muirhead, gave Pagosa an early chance with a perfect lead just 1:09 into the game to Kyle Sanders but Ridgway keeper Ryan Bartashius flagged it down.
Two minutes later, Bartashius again stopped Sanders, this time from the right wing. At 7:35 Sanders crossed up the defense faking a shot and passing to Josh Soniat on the wing but his shot, too, was stopped.
And then the Pirates, for whatever reason, became spectators, booting the ball deep instead of working plays, and watching as the opponent stormed back at them.
Pirate keeper Caleb Forest stopped a point-blank 18 yarder by Hayk Sargasyan, tipping it up and over the net, then stopped a drive by Blake Tankersley, who got his own rebound but fired it wide right.
And then, Ridgway, the only league team to score against the Pirates in their first nine games took the lead.
It came when the Pirates gave up possession at the 40 and diminutive Joseph Shane went to the corner, came back inside and drilled a crossing pass to Max Henry who beat Forrest high right.
Pagosa was down 1-0, and seemed lethargic.
Once again, the Pirates were unsure how to deal with a wide field, often bunching in the middle or to one side and leaving wide-open lanes for Ridgway attackers.
Pagosa still got shots but all were contested and generally there was no support for the shooter. Sanders was wide right, Soniat stopped all alone in front.
At 22:10 the Pirates put together a rare team effort, Moe Webb leading Sanders whose cross to Soniat was in step but the shot blocked.
Block/takeaways by Levi Gill and Keagan Smith kept the Pirates out of trouble until 32:20 when Sargasyan was granted a free kick from the 25 after a Pirate defensive error.
His shot clanked off the crossbar.
Finally, at 34:05, the Pirates got even with Sanders scoring his 36th of the season and 101st of his career on a give and go move with Soniat, who got the assist.
For a brief period that seemed to awaken the Pirates offensively, but Sanders was stopped two more times, one a free kick blocked, and only a block/takeaway by Ryan Goodenberger broke up a three-on one offensive surge just before the halftime whistle.
And so it went, into the second half and beyond. Webb was wide left from 40, Drew Mitchell hit the left post and no one was inside for the rebound. Sanders was wide right.
At 52:14 Gill got a yellow card for "illegal takedown," one of many surprise calls the Pirates were hit with in the game.
On another, also involving Gill on a takeaway, the official explained his call awarding the ball back to Ridgway, saying "he looked at the attacker before going to the ball."
On still another occasion Pagosa was denied ball possession on a ruling of "excessive speed." No one had ever heard of such a rule.
It's like telling Aaron Hamilton he didn't win the regional cross country meet because he was running too fast.
The Pirates often seemed lethargic, if not lackadaisical, but still the tie held.
As the half wore on, one began to wonder if either team would score again.
Sargasyan was wide right from 20 and Pagosa's Ty Peterson was stopped by Bartashius on a lead from Sanders.
Gill had a block/takeaway but Pagosa turned the ball right back at midfield and Sargasyan cut inside and ripped a shot from 20 that was hauled in by Forrest.
And then the Pirates, as listless as they had been for what seemed like eons, suddenly caught fire and began assaulting the Ridgway zone.
It began with a Goodenberger block/takeaway on a move by Shane. His long lead to Soniat was crossed in stride to Sanders but the shot was wide left. Pagosa, however, kept the ball in the zone but Sanders again was stopped by Bartashius, then stopped again on an inside lead from Chris Baum, back in action after missing three weeks with a broken bone in his foot.
At 77:13 Soniat was stopped on a right-wing breakaway and it began to look as if overtime were in the offing.
But a senior combination for Pagosa made sure that wouldn't happen.
Drew Mitchell, deep in the left corner, did a spin move to come out then drove inside where
Sanders was breaking on a 45-degree angle to the net.
Mitchell's lead to Sanders was perfect and Bartashius had no chance to stop the shot. Pagosa had a 2-1 lead with 1:32 left.
And then the defense joined the offense in awakening. Smith, Jesse Morris and Webb all broke up Ridgway attacks and, fittingly, as the whistle sounded, Gill had another block/takeaway and Ridgway was left to consider what might have been.
The victory gave Pagosa a perfect 10-0 mark in league play and moved them to 13-2 on the season.
Scoring: 18:20, R-Henry, assist Shane; 34:05, P-Sanders (36, 101) assist Soniat; 78:08, P-Sanders (37, 102) assist Mitchell. Shots on goal, P-16, R-19. Saves, P-Forrest, 12, R-Sargasyan, 13. Penalties: P-Gill, yellow.
Sanders nails goal 100; Pirates blank Center 2-0
By Richard Walter
Kyle Sanders turned 100 Oct. 9 with about 100 of his faithful supporters on hand to celebrate.
The century mark took him only four years.
Sanders, you see, is the all-time leader in scoring for Pagosa Springs High School soccer.
His two goals in the team's home field victory over Center put him at exactly the 100 mark for his career, and gave him 35 for the season with one game to go in regular league play.
The first score came early against a tough Center defense.
Ty Peterson set up the goal at 3:12 with a steal just outside the midfield line and found senior Drew Fisher with a crossing pass to the right wing.
Fisher's drop to Sanders in the middle had Center keeper Jesus Renteria braced for the expected Sanders blast.
He was fooled when the striker simply tapped it high right with his knee and the 100 goal was within one.
But Center wasn't about to let him get it easily.
The Vikings put a continual marker on Sanders with a secondary backup on every Pagosa attack.
In the meantime, the Pirate defense, to a man, thwarted attack after attack by the visitors, including 18 block/takeaways by sweepers Levi Gill (11) and Ryan Goodenberger (7), and a pair of brilliant saves by Pirate goalie Caleb Forrest.
Still playing without the injured Chris Baum, an ailing Josh Soniat (flu-like symptoms) and backup midfielder Casey Kiister (only one half of eligibility left in regular season) coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason dipped again into his junior varsity and was rewarded with strong supportive performances from Ryan Wienpahl and Derrick Monks.
Forrest was the first defender to shine, stopping Center's Carlos Moreno at 4:20 with a leap high to his left for a ball headed for the upper corner.
Then it was Gill with a block/takeaway and Ty Peterson blocking a Center indirect kick by Clemente Sandoval. Sandoval got the rebound but his second effort was wide left.
Forrest's second save was the exact opposite of the first, a dive flat out to his right for a shot by Antonio Aguilar.
After Kevin Muirhead's bid for a goal was hauled in by Renteria, Wienpahl corralled the rebound and fired from the right wing but he, too, was stopped by Renteria.
At 5:25, Pagosa's Moe Webb was open right up the middle from 20 but sailed the ball over the net. Keagan Smith intercepted the Viking outlet and fed Muirhead. His drop to Sanders in the middle was shot wide left.
Sandwiched between block takeaways by Peterson and Gill was another Forrest save on a dive to his right to snare a shot by Jorge Hernandez.
The Pirate offense bogged down late in the first half with ill-advised passes and shots off the mark, but the defense continued its brilliant performance, including block/takeaways by Goodenberger and Wienpahl and a steal by Wienpahl that set up a Sanders to Muirhead attack on which Muirhead's intended looper became a line shot wide left.
The second half opened much the same way but with Pagosa showing a little more intensity. On their first corner kick of the game, Drew Mitchell's lead to Sanders was perfect but the striker's shot was over the net and 100 was still just a target.
Center's Aguilar had a breakaway on perhaps the only Pagosa defensive mistake of the game, but Forrest ripped down his drive.
Goodenberger thwarted the Center attack with a steal and drop to Smith whose shot sailed high. Forrest stopped the next Center drive with a routine trap of a dribbler. Seconds later he flagged down a drive by Alan Butler and then, at 57:01 made probably his best play of the game.
Center had a free kick from 20 and had their leading scorer, Moreno lined up to take it. He faked the approach and the shot was fired by Adrian Rodriguez to the upper right corner.
The 6-7 Forrest went as high as he could and came down with the ball.
Gill then became a defender possessed. On four consecutive Center attacks he took the ball away and started an offensive move for the Pirates.
Another save by Forrest led indirectly to the only penalty of the game, a yellow card for Center's Butler for use of foul language.
Gill and Forrest again stopped Center threats until, at 68:58 the anxiety ended.
Webb came out of a midfield tangle with the ball and drilled a long right wing lead to Fisher. He drove around one defender and then led Sanders for his second goal and number 100 of his career.
The balance of the game was a repeat of earlier portions: Pagosa block/takeaways turning aside any hope the Vikings may have had of an upset.
First Gill, then Muirhead, Webb and Gill, again, stopped Center drives. Forrest made two more saves. Smith and Mitchell joined the takeaway clan, and, just to top things off, Gill turned in his eleventh and final takeaway of the game as the clock wound down.
The win hiked the Pirates record to 12-2 over all, 9-0 in the league, with a game remaining against Ridgway.
The SUN has attempted to determine if the 100 career goal mark is a state record, but no one we've been able to contact is aware of such records being kept.
Colorado High School Activities Association, coordinator of all prep activities, said it does not keep such records. Denver metro newspapers also had no such data.
Other possible sources had no idea if such data exists or did not answer our calls.
But it is certainly a mark that should stand up to challenge.
The victory will assure Pagosa draws a bye in state playoff action beginning this week. The Pirates will host a second round game - foe, time and date yet to be determined.
Kurt-Mason was expected to get one of his walking wounded, Baum, back for the Ridgway game, but Muirhead was expected to miss it with a collection of nagging injuries and is questionable for the first playoff game, though he insists he'll be ready.
Scoring: 3:12, P-Sanders (34 season, 99 career) assists Peterson, Fisher; 68:58, P-Sanders (35, 100), assists Webb, Fisher. Shots on goal, P-19, C-13; Saves, P-Forrest, 9, C-Renteria, 6. Block/takeaway leaders, P-Gill, 11; Goodenberger, 7; Peterson, 4; Smith, 3. Penalties, C-Butler, yellow.
Ladies 2-2 at Fowler, prepare for key IML matches this week
By Karl Isberg
For many years in the 1990s, the Fowler Grizzlies dominated Colorado 2A volleyball and, at the same time, devoured any team, in any division, that had the nerve to play them.
After a few off seasons, the Grizzlies are nearing top form this year and were 11-1 heading into action at their invitational tournament Saturday.
The problem for the Lady Pirates was not simply that they had to face Fowler - a team with which they were, in ordinary circumstances fairly evenly matched - but that they had to take on the Grizzlies in the last match of the tournament, at 9:30 p.m., after nearly 12 hours in the gym.
Were the Grizzlies in the gym for 12 hours?
Not likely. Most of the Grizzlies had more than ample time to go home for a nap and dinner before returning to play Pagosa.
By the time Pagosa's players took the court for the match, they had played three other matches, one involving four games, another taking five games.
The Lady Pirates never led in the first game of the match, falling behind 11-3 before starting the climb out of the hole.
Using Fowler errors and a kill by junior outside hitter Courtney Steen, Pagosa pulled to 14-8. Too many errors on their side of the net, however, kept the Ladies from gaining significant ground.
Fowler used the mistakes to build an overwhelming 24-13 advantage, needing only a point for the win.
It would not happen quickly.
Pagosa's blockers finally clicked into place and forced one poor hit after another, bracketing a kill by junior Laura Tomforde. Before the Grizzlies could put the final point on the board, Pagosa scored six times. The final score: Fowler 25, Pagosa 19.
A long day dragged into a very long evening.
Fowler went up 11-5 in the second game. Pagosa got earned points on a solo block by Caitlyn Jewell, a kill by Bri Scott and a kill by Tomforde. The Ladies crept a bit closer, getting points on a Fowler hitting error, and on a kill by Steen and another block by Jewell.
The problem: For every point Pagosa put on the scoreboard, Fowler managed to add two or three points.
The Lady Pirates got kills from Steen, Lori Walkup, Scott and Tomforde, and a point on a roll shot by Steen but trailed 23-17.
As in the first game, Fowler scored to move one point from victory, but Pagosa responded. A Grizzly serve error turned over a point, Jewell scored with a block and Walkup killed for a score. The run, and the game, ended with a Pagosa hitting error and the Ladies lost 25-20.
The third game was mercifully short, as the Grizzlies scored at will against an exhausted Lady Pirate team.
The home team was up 13-2 in short order. Brandi Whomble put a ball down for a Pagosa point and Walkup hit an ace serve. A Pagosa free ball fell to an empty spot on the floor and a Fowler hitting error gave the Ladies a sixth point.
The tide turned and the Grizzlies went on the prowl, knocking off six unanswered points. It was 20-6 and the night was getting dark.
Pagosa managed a few more points - three courtesy Fowler errors and two on kills by Walkup and Steen. Fowler, however, was too far in front and took the 25-11 victory and the match.
Coach Penné Hamilton knew her charges would have a difficult time, given the circumstances of the day-long affair on the prairie.
"They're a hard team to beat," she said of the Grizzlies. "They are very disciplined and they attack all night long. They try to break you down with their attack. Our blocking wasn't strong, and we were inconsistent on defense."
That defense was scheduled to get a lot of work this week in practice, prior to tonight's key Intermountain League matchup with Ignacio, at Ignacio.
"We're working on defense this week," said the coach. "That's how the game is played successfully. We need to work on our transition game so we can be consistently aggressive with our hitting. We also need to work on our blocking this week, making sure we get there, close the block and do our jobs on the court."
The final two IML games - tonight at Ignacio and Saturday at Centauri - took on added significance when Bayfield dropped a match to Centauri.
On Monday, Pagosa, Bayfield and Ignacio were tied for the league lead at 4-2. After Pagosa's loss to Bayfield last week, it looked as if the Wolverines would advance automatically to regional competition as the regular season champ.
Now it seems at least two teams will tie for the lead and, thus, the district tourney next week will be wide open, with the top two finishers advancing to postseason play. The psychological boost that comes of a win at this juncture is critical.
No doubt, Ignacio Coach Melanie Taylor will have her Bobcats ready to play their best tonight, and the bobcats have one of the best teams in years. The Ignacio gym should be rocking.
"This league race is interesting," said Hamilton. "Obviously the fat lady has not sung. Anyone can beat anyone else at this point and we need to care of business tonight and Saturday."
The varsity match at Ignacio is set for 6:30 p.m. Varsity action at Centauri Saturday is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Pagosa takes five games to defeat 4A Fountain-Fort Carson
By Karl Isberg
The Lady Pirate volleyball team has not gone five games in a match many times this season and the 3-2 win over 4A Fountain-Fort Carson at Saturday's Fowler tournament proved the lengthy contest can put wear and tear on players and take years off a fan's life.
The Trojans gave the Lady Pirates run for their money in the first game of the match, going in front 9-1 before surrendering a point with a ball hit out of bounds. Lori Walkup put a roll shot down for Pagosa but the Ladies gave away two points with mistakes and trailed 11-3. Not a good sign in a rally-scoring match.
Then it was the Trojans' turn to make mistakes. They gave up three consecutive points before a Pagosa net violation turned over a point. Courtney Steen scored with a kill and with Bri Scott at the serve, the Ladies ripped off four more points, getting a kill from Laura Tomforde, a point on a block by Caitlyn Jewell and a kill by Steen.
A ball hit out by the Ladies gave the Trojans a point but Steen responded with a kill for Pagosa. A receive error gave the Trojans a point and a hitting error returned a point to the Lady Pirates. The teams kept this up all the way to a 19-19 tie.
Then, Fountain-Fort Carson got a break - a three point run with all three points handed over on unforced Pagosa errors. The Trojans led 22-19, but not for long. A Trojan hitting error gave up a score and Scott hit an ace that dropped down off the tape.
Suddenly, the Pagosa back row disappeared and a ball dropped to give the Trojans a 23-21 lead. An ace put the team from the Colorado Springs area one score away from the win.
Pagosa would not have it. Walkup scored with a kill. Steen scored with a kill. Tomforde hit an ace and stayed at the serve as Steen polished off the Trojans with two more blasts from outside. Pagosa had stolen the 26-24 win with a five-point unanswered run.
The momentum carried over to the second game. Pagosa never trailed in the contest and committed few errors as the team went ahead 12-5 and 19-13.
Brandi Whomble hit an ace serve, Scott killed from the middle, Tomforde scored with a block and a Pagosa free ball went untouched to the floor. The Ladies led 22-13.
The Trojans managed two scores with unearned points. Pagosa got a point on a Trojan serve error before Jewell took over at middle hitter with a kill. Jewell then polished off the opponents, demolishing a stray pass to seal the 25-15 win.
Then, the wheels came off.
If there was ever a clear example of what happens when the human body runs out of energy, when blood sugar plummets and brain and body fail to work, the third and fourth games against Fountain-Fort Carson are that example.
In a phrase, Pagosa vapor locked. Feet didn't move, bodies didn't jump, passes weren't made, the dig became a foreign concept.
The Trojans snapped up the third game 25-18, then went on to win the fourth game of the match 25-13, capitalizing on a stream of Lady Pirate errors.
It all came down to the fifth game - to 15. And it was touch and go all the way.
The Trojans had a 3-1 lead but Jewell killed twice to even the score. The Trojans led 5-3 but a block by Scott and a kill by Steen evened it again, 6-6.
Fountain-Fort Carson jumped in front 9-6, but Scott killed once and Steen twice to tie the game. Fountain-Fort Carson led 11-9 on two Pagosa errors; Steen killed twice to knot the score. With a Lady Pirate net violation, the opponent was ahead 12-11.
Jewell killed for a point and Steen scored with a roll shot. A Lady Pirate passing error gave away a point and it was 13-13.
Walkup hit cross court for a point but the Trojans got the tie with a Pagosa ball hit out of bounds.
A Trojan player ran into the net and Pagosa was up 15-14, needing only a point to gain the required two-point margin of victory. It came as Jewell hit an ace serve that fell just inside the back line.
Fortune had smiled on Pagosa and the players had persisted despite their fatigue. The team was 2-1 in tourney play with one match remaining.
Coach Penné Hamilton saw the effect the rigors of the trip and the competition had on her players and realized it nearly cost the match. "We struggled," she said "because we were so tired. We ended up winning, but it was a fight all the way. We were lucky to get the win."
Kills: Scott and Steen 7 each, Jewell 6
Assists: Tomforde 18, Walkup 13
Ace serves: Scott, Tomforde and Whomble 1 each
Solo block: Jewell 3, Scott and Walkup 2 each
Digs: Kelley 21, Steen and Walkup 18 each
Pagosa drops match to 3A rival Lamar
By Karl Isberg
Over the last decade, Pagosa Springs and Lamar have developed one of the feistier rivalries in 3A volleyball, facing each other frequently at regional and state tournaments and, for the past few years, competing at the Fowler Invitational tournament.
Lamar rebounded last year at Fowler from a couple defeats at the hands of the Lady Pirates and made it two in a row this year with a 3-0 victory.
Only the first game of the match was tight, as Pagosa battled Lamar's 6-3 middle hitter and several strong outside attackers throughout the contest.
Pagosa led 4-1 with an ace by Laura Tomforde, a kill by Courtney Steen and two passing errors by the Savages.
The teams struggled to tie at 5-5, 6-6 and 7-7 before Pagosa made a run, getting a kill from Steen, another kill by Caitlyn Jewell, an ace by Bri Scott and a point on a ball hit out of bounds by Lamar.
The teams traded points until Pagosa led 15-11. The Ladies got a kill inside the block by Jewell, a kill by Lori Walkup from outside, and points on a solo block by Jewell and a left-handed tip down the line by Liza Kelly. A Savage passing error made it Pagosa 16, Lamar 11.
Pagosa held the lead up to 20-17, when Lamar got three unearned points on Pagosa passing, serve-receive and setting errors. Suddenly, the game was tied.
A Savage hitter put a ball off the block to a hole in front of statue-like Lady Pirate back row defenders and the team from the southeast corner of the state went in front 21-20.
The Ladies came back with a kill by Jewell and a point on a Lamar mistake but a fault serve gave the Savages a 23-22 lead.
A passing error on Pagosa's side of the net put Lamar on the brink of the win 24-22, but Tomforde responded with a tip for a point. One more point was not in the cards for Pagosa. A fault serve gave a score and the game to Lamar.
With the loss in the first game, the wind seemed to go out of Pagosa's sails.
The teams tied at 3-3, with Jewell and Scott killing for points, but Lamar jumped out to an 8-3 advantage and never looked back.
Pagosa got earned points on kills by Tomforde, Steen, Jewell and Scott, on a block by Scott and an ace by Kelley, but fell by a score of 25-18.
The Pagosa defense evaporated in the third game, and there was little intensity or focus on the Lady Pirates' side of the net.
Pagosa went ahead 2-1, only to watch Lamar hitters swing away to go in front 6-2. From there, the Savages took off in fourth gear, never leading by less than six points and, at one point, going in front 21-11. The final score: Lamar 25, Pagosa 13.
"We started strong," said Coach Penné Hamilton, "and we had them in that first game. We were playing well, hitting the ball around their big girl in the middle. Their coach called a timeout and they came back on the court fired up. We couldn't put it together. At that point, we stopped playing aggressively and we stayed that way for the rest of the match."
With the loss, Pagosa dropped to 1-1 in tournament action.
Kills: Jewell 9, Steen 7, Scott 6
Assists: Tomforde 15, Walkup 12
Ace serves: Kelley 3, Scott and Tomforde 1 each
Solo blocks: Jewell and Tomforde 1 each
Digs: Kelley 8, Tomforde 7
Women's golf team finishes strong with fourth place tie
By Lynne Allison
Special to The SUN
The Pagosa Women's Golf Team wrapped up its season Oct. 2 at San Juan Country Club with their highest total of the season and a spurt in the final standings.
The Pagosa team stood in seventh place after a 31-point outing Sept. 18 at Piñon Hills Golf Club.
They burned up the links at SJCC, scoring 42.5 points against Cortez Conquistador, and moving up to a tie for fourth place in the final standings.
Team members were excited and very pleased with their final match and Sho Jen Lee, interim captain, said "They played very well under pressure."
Participating for Pagosa were Julie Pressley, Lee, Bonnie Hoover, Lynne Allison, Carrie Weisz, Josie Humel, Audrey Johnson and Sue Martin.
Final team standings showed Hillcrest of Durango on top with 299 points; Dalton Ranch of Durango second with 297, Piñon Hills third at 294.5; Pagosa Springs and Aztec Hidden Valley tied at 290.5; Riverview was next at 290; San Juan at 288.5 and Cortez Conquistador at 254.
Pagosa opens Fowler tourney with win over La Junta
By Karl Isberg
In their opening match of the 2003 Fowler Invitational volleyball tournament, the Lady Pirates captured a 3-1 victory over La Junta.
The Ladies came to the action following a long bus ride from Pagosa to Pueblo the evening before and another bus ride out onto the prairie early Saturday morning.
The team took a while to shake off the effects of the trip, losing the first game of the match to the Tigers 25-23.
Pagosa had leads of 5-3 and 9-6 in the first third of the game but surrendered a six-point run to La Junta, giving the opponents five unearned points. The teams traded points through the remainder of the game but the Ladies never got the train on the tracks, handing over a total 15 unearned points, four of them on service errors, on the way to the defeat.
The second game of the match was a different story as Pagosa never trailed La Junta.
Courtney Steen killed from the outside to put her team on the board and Laura Tomforde followed with an ace. Caitlyn Jewell crushed an errant Tiger pass for a point and Pagosa was ahead 3-0.
When Pagosa gets a decent pass to the setter, and the setter is able to put a quality set to the net, the attack is formidable. Lori Walkup took such a set from Tomforde and killed inside the Tiger block. Steen hit an ace. The Ladies took a commanding 14-8 lead and put together a four-point run to go up 17-8.
La Junta didn't have the blocking or the back row to deal with Pagosa's offense. The Ladies got kills from Jewell and Walkup and La Junta continually handed over points with hitting errors.
With her team in front 22-13, Bri Scott tipped for point. Walkup stuffed a Tiger hitter for a point and Tomforde dumped the ball to an empty spot in the Tiger back row to end the game 25-13.
The error bug bit the Ladies again in game three, but the team trailed La Junta only once, at 9-10. Three consecutive tiger hitting errors put Pagosa ahead 12-10; Walkup scored with a solo block and Jewell killed from the middle.
La Junta failed to score an earned point from that juncture while the Ladies put points on the boards with efforts by Scott, Jewell, Tomforde, Steen and Walkup.
Tomforde hit an ace to put Pagosa in front, 23-18. La Junta got a point on a fault serve. Walkup killed and the Lady Pirate blocks went up, forcing a La Junta hitter to put the ball out of bounds. The Ladies had the 25-19 victory.
That error bug would not let go. Fourteen times the Ladies surrendered unearned points in the fourth game, but still emerged with a 25-22 victory.
The teams battled back and forth in the early going until, with the score tied 7-7, Pagosa began to pull ahead.
Jewell hit to the back line and Tomforde scored with an ace. Liza Kelley put a kill down cross-court and Scott tipped a quick set. Tomforde went up to nail a stray Tiger pass, and Kelley got a ball to drop off the tape. Pagosa was ahead 19-13. A serve error gave La Junta a point and La Junta returned the favor with a serve error of its own. Kelley aced a serve and the Tigers bungled a serve receive. Pagosa had a seemingly comfortable 22-14 lead.
It didn't last. La Junta scrambled back to trail, 23-17.
Tomforde tipped for a point and Pagosa was one point away from the win. But not before the Tigers put five more points on the scoreboard, four of them courtesy Pagosa passing and hitting errors.
Finally, Jewell went up and stuffed a Tiger hitter to end the game and match.
"We started slow," said Lady Pirate coach Penné Hamilton, "but we did fine when we got going in the second game. From the second game on, I thought we were in control. There was no panic when we lost the first game."
Pagosa was 1-0 in tournament action and looked to battle 3A rival Lamar in the next match on the Lady Pirates' schedule.
Kills: Scott 12, Tomforde 10, Jewell, Steen and Walkup 8 each
Assists: Tomforde 30, Walkup 20
Solo blocks: Jewell 6, Walkup 2
Aces serves: Tomforde 4
Digs: Scott 11, Steen 10
Joe and Anita Zielinski
Pagosa Springs residents Joe and Anita Zielinski died simultaneously in an automobile accident Saturday, Oct. 4, 2003.
Joe was born to George and Mary Zielinski of Wisconsin on April 2, 1957. He met his wife, Anita Edgmon, and married her in Estancia, N.M. at the First Baptist Church in April, 1985.
They moved to Pagosa Springs in 1999.
Joe served his country in the Air Force and retired as a disabled veteran. He was known in Pagosa as a helping hand with auto body work and as a good neighbor.
Anita was born to Earl and Anna Edgmon on Aug. 25, 1959 in Mesa, Ariz., After moving to Estancia, N.M., with her parents, Anita worked as a law enforcement administrator for the Estancia police department. She and Joe met in Estancia and made their home there until moving to Pagosa Springs in 1999. She was a faithful and loved dietician at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center.
Joe is survived by his mother, Mary Zielinski; brothers Tommy and Danny, and a sister, Georgia Zielinski, all in Wisconsin.
Anita is survived by her brother, Jerry, and his wife, Dawn Edgmon, in Arizona; sister Diana and her husband, Ron Schmidt of Estancia; and a brother, David Edgmon, and his wife, Sandi, of Moriarty, N.M.
Both Joe and Anita are survived by their children, Chris Zielinski and wife, Kim; daughters Trina and Joie Zielinski, all of Pagosa Springs; and various nieces, grandnieces, nephews and grandnephews.
A private visitation was held at Pagosa Springs Funeral Options Chapel on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2003. Funeral services were at the First Baptist Church of Estancia, N.M., with the Rev. Louis Day officiating.
A public memorial service will be held at a later date when the daughter, Joie, is released from the hospital. Memorial contributions can be made for hospital expenses and support by contacting Pagosa Springs Funeral Options at 264-2386.
LWV ballot issues forum focuses on use tax, water plan
By Tom Carosello
Officials from the local and state level addressed a crowd of roughly 50 people Tuesday night during a ballot-issue forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County.
Topics covered during the question-and-answer session inside the Archuleta County Extension Building included discussion of the county use tax ballot question, Referendum A and Amendment 32.
Officials taking part in the forum included Sen. Jim Isgar, Alden Ecker, chairman of the county board of commissioners and Keren Prior, county assessor.
Rounding out the participants was Pagosa Springs resident Roy Boutwell, who was invited to participate in a debate with Ecker concerning the county use tax ballot question.
Use tax ballot question
The first issue to be addressed was the county use tax ballot question, which garnered a variety of pro-and-con comments from debate participants Ecker and Boutwell.
In summary, voters will be asked this fall to decide whether or not the establishment of a "blanket" 4-percent tax on construction materials, including those used in oil and gas production and facilities, and motor vehicles purchased outside the county's boundaries (for registration here) is a worthwhile venture.
If approved, net revenues from the tax - estimated at $1.1 million - will be split equally between the county and town of Pagosa Springs.
A resolution approved by both entities in August mandates that 90-percent of the county's net share of funds will be allocated to its Road Capital Improvement Fund while the remaining 10 percent will go to a fund to be known as the "Archuleta County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Fund."
The resolution also states that 65 percent of the town's share will go toward "streets, roads and mutually beneficial projects in cooperative efforts with the county."
Of the remaining 35 percent of the town's share, 10 percent is earmarked for trails, parks and recreation while 25 percent will be aimed at "growth related issues and economic development."
Speaking in support of the initiative, Ecker told those in attendance, "I don't like to be taxed any more than anyone else does."
However, "This really isn't a new tax," said Ecker, "It simply closes some of the loopholes ... for not paying the county sales tax."
Ecker used building materials as an example, explaining that if an individual or contractor wishes to construct a home in the county and purchases the materials needed locally, the county's 4-percent sales tax is levied on such items.
However, if someone chooses to ship building materials for a new home (or the home itself) in from outside the county, no county sales tax is levied on the items.
"That's where we're trying to level the playing field," said Ecker, indicating he feels it's a matter of fairness.
It is important to note that the use tax would not result in double taxation; if proof (a receipt, bill of sale, etc.) can be offered that verifies sales tax has already been paid on out-of-county items, the tax would not apply.
With respect to motor vehicles and oil and gas-related items, Ecker stated the toll exacted on county roads by each warrants the need for additional revenue that can be used for maintenance purposes.
Currently, revenue directed toward county road maintenance is obtained through the Highway Users Tax Fund, a 3.5 mill levy and county sales tax.
Acknowledging the county is in need of a detailed, comprehensive road plan, Ecker indicated a "road asset management plan" is currently in the works, but will need a solid source of funding before it can become truly effective.
"We go out and maintain roads, and in some cases, two days later we have to do it all over again," said Ecker.
In order to make any road plan work on a consistent basis, "We have got to find a stable source of income," Ecker told the crowd. "It's your call."
In opposition, Boutwell stated he feels the proposed use tax is "a regressive tax" that, if passed, will hit residents with lower incomes the hardest.
The use tax, said Boutwell, penalizes people for taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase items at lower prices and is one of the most "malicious, horrendous types of taxes you can have."
While acknowledging he believes in supporting local merchants and understands that they have to charge prices that are often higher than those found at chain stores, "There comes a point in time when you can't subsidize inefficiency," said Boutwell.
Also, said Boutwell, merchant competition, whether local or otherwise, boosts the quality of products and encourages price reduction, thereby benefitting consumers.
If someone can ship items in from outside the county, pay all the associated handling costs and still beat the county price, "I say - more power to them," stated Boutwell.
Lastly, Boutwell opined that he feels the use tax is "a stick-it-to-you" because some items, such as new cars, are simply not available within county boundaries.
In closing, while both men agreed that it is appropriate for the town and county to share such revenues, they differed when asked whether or not there are alternatives for new "road revenue" if the measure fails.
Aside from the current sources, (HUTF fund, mill levy, etc.), "No, we really don't have any place else to go," answered Ecker.
Boutwell suggested the county investigate the possibility of pulling revenues from investments in the money market, such as high-return certificates of deposit.
Following the use-tax debate, Sen. Jim Isgar took the podium to voice his opposition to a proposed state water initiative known as Referendum A.
At first, said Isgar, he and other West Slope legislators liked the general idea of creating more water storage.
"Then we saw the proposal, and it doesn't help us," said Isgar.
If given voter approval, Referendum A would allow the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the state's primary water policy and planning agency, to borrow up to $2 billion for public and private water projects by issuing bonds.
The bonds must then be repaid from the water projects' revenue, and the repayment cost, including interest, would be limited to $4 billion.
However, in the event of a default, there would be no prohibition against the state repaying the debt.
The measure would also exempt the bonds, interest and project revenue from state revenue/spending limits.
Proponents view the referendum as a way to provide relief to the drought-stricken state while accelerating the process by having a single state agency evaluate and obtain financing for new water projects.
Opponents assert that, among other things, the initiative is vague, could result in the largest state debt in history and places small communities at risk.
According to Isgar, one problem is that the referendum is being sold as a cure-all for drought, but provides false hope because it does not specify the projects to be built, associated costs and who would have to repay the bonds.
In addition, Isgar said the difficulty with moving forward with the development of new water projects has never been in obtaining funds, but conducting feasibility studies and environmental assessments.
Referendum A does not provide funding for feasibility/environmental studies, and therefore is risky in a time of budget shortfalls, said Isgar.
Also, "There is no mitigation ... that was left out of this proposal," said Isgar, indicating one of his concerns with the measure is the fact it allows for the proceeds to be used - by public or private interests - for the purchase of water rights.
Isgar said the result could mean little or no protection for water users on the West Slope.
For example, said Isgar, if front-range interests targeted southwest Colorado for water rights, "What are (they) going to do with the basin (they) are taking water from?" asked Isgar.
Furthermore, since the proposal stipulates that at least one water project would have to be recommended by the CWCB and approved by Gov. Bill Owens before the end of 2005, "The timeframes are totally unrealistic for us," said Isgar.
"We need to develop water resources we can benefit from," said Isgar, adding that the impacts resulting from the passage of such a measure could be devastating to smaller communities that are heavily dependent on a sufficient water supply.
"You go out and see them boarded up, and then you'll understand," said Isgar.
While acknowledging metro areas' need to find ways to replenish their water supplies, "There are better ways ... we shouldn't be pitting one side of the mountain against the other," added Isgar.
In conclusion, Isgar indicated he and other West Slope legislators are prepared to take corrective measures should the referendum gain approval.
"If it passes, we're going to try to fix it," he concluded.
(To view this and other ballots in their entirety, visit the state Web site at http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/balpage.htm)
The final presentation of the evening was given by Keren Prior, county assessor, and included explanation and background regarding Amendment 32.
Proposed as a change to the Colorado Constitution, if approved by voters during this year's Nov. 4 General Election, Amendment 32 will:
- increase the taxable portion of residential property from the current level of 7.96 percent to 8 percent beginning with 2005 property taxes
- repeal the requirement to reduce the percentage in the future
- repeal the constitutional requirement to maintain a constant ratio of taxable property values between residential and all other property.
In short, Prior indicated the proposal would lock in the assessment rate for residential property (homes, condos, apartments, etc.) at 8 percent while leaving the assessment rate for nonresidential property (commercial, vacant land, etc.) unchanged at 29 percent.
Currently, a procedure known as the Gallagher Amendment requires the state Legislature to change the residential assessment rate when property is revalued so that roughly 45 percent of the state's total taxable property is residential and roughly 55 percent is "all other" property.
Under the Gallagher Amendment, when the value of residential property rises faster than the value of other properties, the residential assessment rate decreases.
Conversely, when the value of all other types of property rises faster than residential property, the residential assessment rate increases, though the state constitution requires voter approval for an increase.
According to Prior, since 1986, the residential assessment rate has declined from 21 percent to the current 7.96 mark while the nonresidential assessment rate has remained the same.
Meanwhile, said Prior, the value of residential property has increased exponentially since then, but the 45-55 state ratio has held.
Since revenue resulting from all property taxes are disbursed among entities such as county governments, school districts and water districts, proponents feel the proposed increase could help maintain services residents receive from local governments while improving the state business climate.
Opponents argue that the increase is unnecessary because residents can decide through local elections whether or not to raise taxes in order to pay for desired services.
"Nonresidential taxpayers see the current scenario as an unfair tax burden because they don't receive an increase in amenities, though they pay what amounts to a larger portion of taxes," said Prior.
"I think they need some relief," added Prior, "After all, it all goes into the same pot."
School board candidates answer five key questions
By Richard Walter
Candidates for the Archuleta School District 50 Joint board of education have specific views on problems facing the district.
The SUN asked each of the three appearing on the ballot five different questions. Keep in mind that Gene Crabtree and Sandy Caves are in competition for the seat being vacated by Randall Davis. Mike Haynes is an incumbent board member appointed to replace Russel Lee and running for the seat unopposed.
We offer here their answers, in no specific order and with no intent to steer votes one way or another, but to make readers aware of the candidates' positions on what we felt were some key issues.
What drew you into the race for a school board position?
"I decided to run because of my work in and with the schools for the last nine years.
"I like to work from the inside to get things done, and the experiences I have had make this seem a natural progression of my involvement."
"I've been in education almost all my life, from Boy Scout camps through Easter Seal camps and at every level - from elementary to high school - as a classroom teacher.
My political life past, I had time on my hands and felt my experience could be of value to the community schools. With the experience I've amassed, I felt I had something to offer."
"The big thing has to do with having children in district schools myself and wanting to see a good education continue for them and all other students.
"I feel, as a business person, I can add some insight into the financial side of the picture. Under Gallagher (Amendment), the commercial property owners carry a big portion of the school tax load and I can be an advocate for all taxpayers."
What do you feel are the primary problems ( if any) facing the school board and what would be your suggested solution(s)?
"The biggest issue is budgetary. The district is looking at perhaps 50 fewer enrollees than last year and that means the loss of tens of thousands of dollars. There is no one simple solution. We need to involve all our efforts with the education of all the children taken into consideration. Education comes first. I'm optimistic that the right solutions can be found."
"Budget, without doubt. The district has an excellent financial director to keep everyone in line spendingwise. But policies and proclamations by both the state and federal governments make it difficult for education to work in the small communities, especially those with limited resources. I also see a growing problem with maintenance of buildings and buses with a need for better control of spending and scheduling."
"Obviously, funding. Already, since my appointment to the board this year, we've seen the economy slow and though there are signs of moderate recovery, the challenge is to make the tough decisions on expenditures or hold back temporarily and focus funding on keeping the teachers we need."
What is your reaction to the glut of both federally and state mandated, but unfunded, programs and how do you feel the district can meet those demands with per capita funding cut or eliminated in many cases?
"First, I think there is some degree of misinformation circulating. I have seen indications there are some Title 1 funds available. That is one reason former superintendent Terry Alley was rehired by the board, to do grant writing and fund administration. It is true that Title II funding was eliminated last year (we lost two teachers in the elementary school) and that limits districts in meeting the "highly qualified" mandate with regard to teachers in specific fields. The cuts cannot be recovered. The No Child Left Behind program seems to be a lose-lose situation with people who are not educators or parents dictating what education should entail."
"State and federal directives are a part of traditional education, but it is true they never fund adequately. To meet the challenge, there must be a 'we' in the board and administration operations in determining how to approach dictates without strapping available funds. In small rural areas like this, every penny counts. I would think we may have to go to the growing trend of having extracurricular activity participants pay to play, whether athletics or fine arts. It is a growing trend nationwide."
"It is hard enough to have state mandates, but now the federal government steps in. At some point the school districts have to stand up to them.
"There is a problem in government as a whole. The founding fathers left an opening for the states to take care of themselves. Now we need to let the local school boards make decisions based on local circumstances. We need to concentrate on helping the poorly performing students and encouraging the advanced students to keep on the path. We don't want a mediocre bunch of students worrying about the future.
"We need to say to big government, 'leave us alone and let us do our job.'"
What is your educational philosophy?
"Educate our children in the areas where their parents or guardians are not able to because they have less expertise. Enable teachers to teach the children what they need to know to be capable of entering life on their own as functioning adults. Help the child learn not only facts but responsibility and accountability for their actions. My basic premise would be to help them learn to start their adult lives as societally functioning adults."
"That every student has a potential for something. It is the educators' job to provide help and opportunity for the student to utilize that potential and keep their eyes and ears open to meet the challenges of the outside world. We need to give the best opportunity to make choices when confronted with what they'll meet out there."
"I've studied past actions of the board and note the goals set. I want to see us graduating students who enjoy learning, who have been challenged. If they can enjoy learning, they can say 'Hey, I can do this.' If we can develop that character in our students, we have gone a long way to creating a positive educational experience and that is the main goal."
If elected, what would be your first proposal for action by the newly constituted board?
"I would want first to transition into being a cohesive board member. I've been attending board meetings for the last 10 months and have become somewhat familiar with current problems. I have no immediate action proposals but see the need for a lot of work ahead. I feel I would be an efficient school board member and with my homework have an understanding of the issues. I feel I could be a compassionate and understanding board member able to recognize all sides of all issues."
"I'd make sure I let the board know I would not be serving as an 'I' member with issues, but as a member of a 'we' board. I want to be involved and share my experiences. I would ask the board to make meetings more user friendly to the public. Members should face the crowd so they can be heard, with no support personnel between themselves and the audience. The agendas should be in plain English without all the acronyms that people have no understanding of. The board needs to tell the public straight out what it is considering and spell out what the proposed actions are."
"Too many times a newly elected person goes in with a mindset of changing something immediately. I'm not sure that's the right way.
"We have concerns with aging of facilities, maintenance problems because of that condition, an inadequate transportation facility and administrative offices in the wrong place.
"I would say updating our plants to standard is the primary goal right now and would back actions along those lines."
Hand-carved bench honors Mitchell
By Richard Walter
A hand-carved bench designed to honor David C. Mitchell, the late owner-publisher of The Pagosa Springs SUN, was delivered and placed in front of the newspaper's offices Friday.
A number of local residents were involved in the project, including Mark Thompson and Don Taylor, Mike Sexton and Jim Downing.
The wood used to build the bench was from a tree cut down on Taylor's property on Mesa Heights. Taylor had the carving done in Guatemala.
Mike Sexton cut and sanded the planking from the tree and Thompson inset the carving.
Script work was done by Jim Downing and a durable weather resistant finish was applied.
David Mitchell died one year ago today while on his way by bicycle to his 50th high school class reunion in Houston.
Deputy discharged following probe
By Tess Noel Baker
Following an internal investigation, the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department has terminated one employee.
Undersheriff Bob Grandchamp said Deputy Don Heald's employment with the department ended Oct. 8. Heald had been a deputy in the county for 11 months. He came Pagosa with seven years of experience with the Crowley County Sheriff's Department.
The internal investigation was triggered by a traffic stop incident in July 2002. Grandchamp said the case was submitted to the district attorney's office earlier this week. A decision on whether or not criminal charges will be filed is expected to be made after an ongoing investigation is completed - possibly in the next couple weeks.
Because of the ongoing investigation, Grandchamp declined to release the details of the case at this time.
Draft budget for health district offered
By Tess Noel Baker
The Upper San Juan Health Service District budget committee presented a draft of the 2004 budget to board members at a special meeting Tuesday.
Copies of the proposed budget are available at no cost to the public at the district offices on North Pagosa Boulevard.
A public hearing on the budget has been set for the district's regular November meeting Nov. 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs Community Center.
In other business Tuesday, the board approved a motion to move the regular October board meeting back one week to allow the budget committee to complete work on financials.
The meeting was rescheduled for Nov. 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.
School board candidates answer questions at forum
By Tess Noel Baker
Two candidates vying for the District 3 seat on the board of education faced off Tuesday at the League of Women Voters forum.
Sandy Caves and Gene Crabtree were each given four minutes to address the audience of about 50 gathered in the Archuleta County Extension Building before fielding questions.
Caves said years of working with teachers, staff and others as a parent of children in Archuleta School District 50 Jt. demonstrates her dedication and commitment.
Caves' four children attend classes in the district. The oldest is a senior. The youngest is in fourth grade. Since the beginning, she said, she has been involved in their education, volunteering in the classroom, serving on committees and helping out in any way she could. She has been attending board of education meetings since December 2002.
At one point, she went into a seventh-grade reading class and asked how she could help. The second semester she decided to buy each student a book. The program has continued, providing books to hundreds of students. In fact, the first class she started with is graduating this year.
"I have the time, energy and caring it takes to be a productive school board member," she said in conclusion.
Crabtree said serving on the board of education would simply be another step in a lifetime spent in education. He is a retired teacher and school administrator who still serves on the North Central Evaluation Committee, a group that is called upon to evaluate school districts in areas of Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
Crabtree said he believes in being involved and returning to education has been on his mind since he began ranching in Pagosa Country. However, he got sidetracked for a while in county government, serving as a county commissioner for four years.
"I have something to offer to the present school board," he said, "Š I want to do something productive."
The audience queried both candidates on curriculum development, budget, sources of revenue and class size.
Moderator Nan Rowe started the ball rolling with a question from the league - if the candidates could change one thing within the district what would it be?
"I'd love to see more parent participation," Caves said, "and not only in the classroom." She said she'd like to see more parents attend board of education meetings and understand what goes on at that level.
Crabtree said he'd like to see the district explore options for bringing in more grant money.
"You have to start at the top and that's the bottom line - the budget," he said.
Both said budget concerns, including finding the funds to meet federal and state mandates were the biggest issues facing the district.
Crabtree said it would take everyone working together to determine how to implement the mandates, "and still be innovative with the curriculum." To keep up the flow of ideas, he suggested an exchange program whereby student body officers from here would go to a different school system - either smaller or larger - to observe and exchange ideas.
Another question centered around class size and whether or not it was important to make small classes a budget priority.
Caves said class size is a sensitive issue the board should continue to track. "Reducing class size would be a wonderful target goal," for upcoming grants, she said.
Crabtree said having smaller classes is always a good idea, especially through grade seven, but the reality always goes back to the budget. In the upper grades, he said, he would present some ideas for using "innovations going around the country."
One of the last questions the candidates fielded had to do with whether or not having children in the school system was a conflict of interest for someone running for a seat on the board.
Both candidates saw no conflict of interest.
"I can't think of a better person for the board than someone who has children in the halls," Caves said. Caves will have at least one child attending school here through 2012.
"We are here to stay," she said.
The candidates had two minutes each for closing.
"Some of you have asked, 'Why are you running?' 'What is your motive?,'" Crabtree said. "I have lived and I will probably die an educator. I would like to take this education I have and share it."
Caves said running for the board is another way of being actively involved in the district and a method of continuing to "do something constructive." She said her experience, history of service, dedication and willingness to research will serve her in good stead as a member of the board of education.
A District 2 school board seat is also up for grabs. In that race, incumbent Mike Haynes is running unopposed. Haynes was appointed early this year to fill a seat left vacant by Russel Lee who moved out of the district.
The election will be conducted by mail-in ballot. Election day is Nov. 4.
School audit shows spending surge, income dip but strong reserve position
By Richard Walter
"You had a profit of $69,000 last year - or a loss of $1 million - depending on the accounting method used."
That was his opening remark Tuesday as Michael C. Branch delivered his report on school district finances to the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.
He pointed out "part of the presentation of your operating results has changed dramatically this year because the district adopted the provisions of Government Accounting Standards Board rules 34 and 37."
That means the manner in which expenditures are recorded is amended to show amortization over the life of the purchase or purchases made by the expenditure.
In the past, he noted, expenditures were recorded at the time of action, as were income figures. Under that method, the board overspent income by nearly $1 million last year.
Under the GASB method, however, the more realistic "life of purchase" amortization reduces the one-year effect of spending.
In a cover letter to the board, Branch said "the balance sheet now includes all fixed assets at estimated value and accumulated depreciation. It also includes all debt. The presentation of the Statement of Activities (income statement) is very different. It divides all district expenses by activities, such as instruction and pupil transportation and shows any related revenues associated with these costs."
The district, he said, has always budgeted on expenditures, "that is, if you needed to purchase a bus or build a new track, you treated the costs in the year that it occurred, regardless of the life of the asset.
"Revenue," he said, "was not considered as current revenue unless it was available to pay for current costs. An example of revenue not included using the old basis of accounting but would be under GASB 34, is uncollected tax revenue due at June 30, 2003."
For the first time since 1995, he said, the district did spend more money from the general fund than it brought in last school year.
But, Branch said, "this did not particularly hurt the financial condition of the district because during the years of excess revenues, the district was able to increase cash reserves from $3.4 million to $6.9 million."
He noted general fund revenues were down a little over $100,000 in interest income, mineral leasing and textbook support while the bulk of the increase in expenditures was in wages, with payroll increased over $600,000.
He cited the board for its "save for a rainy day frugality" because "it rained last year and you had accumulated reserves to more than meet the demand."
That doesn't mean, he said, that such action can continue unabated. While he sees an easing of the financial crunch and a probably resurgence in daily attendance, "You must stay the course of continuing to save when possible."
He noted income for the insurance fund was $18,000 more than expended. "It is hard to forecast health care costs. They range from dramatically high to unrealistically low."
Costs for the alternative school were up $35,000 last year, too. Food service costs also rose but that was to be expected with the economy as it was.
He noted, also, that expenditures exceeded revenues in the capital reserve fund by $471,000 "but this was budgeted ... and reserves in this fund are still nearly $1 million."
"Overall, the financial health of the district is still good," he said. "I calculate your cash reserves over minimum requirements are still in excess of $3 million."
He concluded saying "the position of this district has been that you save revenue in good years and spend it in bad years so as to eliminate large swings in budgets, salaries and personnel."
In answer to a board question, Branch said his study indicates expenses for the first quarter of this school year are running less than last year and revenue is equal, pending equalization receipts based on a downtrend in enrollment.
"I don't expect that trend to continue in this era of growth," Branch said. "You gear to the amount of support per student. When it goes up, great. When down, you escape some of the revenue traps because you planned ahead."
He said the revenue stream may be down again this year, "but I assure the board there is no reason for panic. For three or four years, you have sufficient reserves in place."
When Director Clifford Lucero asked if "any flags were seen in controlled expenditures that we should take as warnings," Branch said that is a judgment auditors don't make.
"We look at the broad picture of 'did we plan for the expenditure' and if we did, 'we did the right thing.'"
"I'd like to see the board stay conservative," said Director Randall Davis. "We're not out of money, but we don't want to run out, either."
Data overdose worries school board;members see personal touch fading
By Richard Walter
Confronted Tuesday with what appeared, on the surface, to be a new form of data overdose, local school board members appeared initially stunned.
It all came when Superintendent Duane Noggle told directors of Archuleta School District 50 Joint that "data-driven decisions will be more simply accomplished by this new form of report."
Principles and department heads will compile data monthly with respect to all phases of operation and pass it on to the board in data format for continued statistical update analysis. The administration will supply a written report backing up the data.
"You will have the data to make informed decisions," Noggle said, "and it will be graphed out for you. You'll be able to compare periods of operation statistically at a glance."
Director Clifford Lucero was impressed with the data provided, but worried, "Are we getting into a new form of micromanagement?"
And director Carol Feazel said, "research is my forté, but broadsiding us with this kind of data every month makes formidable the task of assimilating the data. We can see past performance and probably long-term trends, but I saw nothing wrong with the superintendent's written reports analyzing data for us.
"Will we have to listen to all this datatribe every month?" Feazel asked. Noggle said there will be a written report accompanying each data distribution.
Lucero wondered, "When will the principles and others find time to do all this data gathering? Aren't we already pressuring them to accomplish miracles in their daily jobs."
Much of this data assimilation already is required under various state and federal mandates, Noggle explained.
Feazel wasn't convinced.
"The principals know the kids and know how they're doing. Doesn't this move us away from the human, personal, caring side of education?," she asked.
"As we collect data on each individual student," Noggle said, "we should know them better, have a more wholistic view."
Still, Feazel argued, "I'm concerned about the personal stance in this district, about keeping in touch with the students and not turning them into statistical profiles only."
School boards, Noggle said, are now driven by state and federal laws and no longer have "true local control."
He pointed out there are three levels of controls imposed on local public schools - accreditation levels to achieve, No Child Left Behind formats to follow and state assessment requirements mandates for proficiency at various levels.
"We've hoped for a way of developing just one controlling factor," Noggle said, "but, yes, there is the probability of losing the personal touch."
Feazel replied, "I don't want that personal attention to student needs to be trampled under. Statistical data is great, but kids have feelings and personal attention is a key to success."
Director Mike Haynes agreed with Feazel that "we're inundated with data. When do we get time to digest it? Isn't that the administration's job?
"Do we need to hire extra help for Nancy (business manager Schutz) to collect and interpret data?" asked Haynes.
He was told there is no money available for such a hire now and there are few if any grants available for administrative help.
Director Randall Davis said "Sooner or later, the federal government is going to realize programs like No Child Left Behind won't work and will change the way their mandates affect local schools."
Finally, Noggle told the board, "All the data we have now is not being used to the best interests of either the board or the students. This procedure will allow us to track, by compiled data, all the trends in grade levels, specific classes and on individual bases so that we can provide the best education possible with the facts to back up our decisions."
Please let me respond to Michael Greene's letter of Oct. 9.
Mr. Greene is confused about who "fled" to Plymouth Rock.
First it was Pilgrim "separatists," and not the Puritans, who settled at Plymouth. Puritans believed they could "purify" the Church of England from within, while the Pilgrims, wanting to escape the Church of England's iron grip over all Christian expression, escaped from Holland and England to worship freely in Virginia, desiring a "more pure religion."
But let these early founders speak for themselves from the Mayflower Compact, Nov. 11, 1620. "In ye name of God, Amen, We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God ... having undertaken for ye glory of God, and advancement of ye Christian faith and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant ye first colony in ye Northern Virginia, do by these present solemnly and mutually in ye presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick for our better preservation and furtherance of ye ends aforesaid."
King James' "authorized version" of the Bible was for the common man the first real effort in English to bring the scriptures into a modern language and, as such, was hardly a great matter of contention, at least with English speaking Protestants.
Mr. Greene's declaration that many of our nation's early and present symbols are Masonic in origin is without dispute. But it must be made clear that by Washington's own admission of having only attended Lodge three times in his lifetime hardly qualifies him as a high degree Mason.
But again let him speak for himself. "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." On Sept. 19, 1796 he said: "Of all the dispositions that lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports." Washington's "Prayer for the United States of America" starts with the line, "Almighty God; we make our earnest prayer that thou wilt keep the United States in thy Holy protection;" and ends with "Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Finally, Mr. Greene, make sure when you patronize the Scriptures, you quote them correctly. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness." If it's justice you want, be sure that God will give you what you deserve.
"Blessed is the nation who's God is the Lord!" - Psalm 33:12.
I would be delighted to have Mr. Sawicki assist me in my war on the pine beetles. I am sure his hot air would kill all the beetles for miles around. And no doubt his bull-manure would be beneficial to the few remaining live trees.
Since the death of my son, Steve Poleski, of 1314 Oak Drive, Aspen Springs, his property has been burglarized. Some of the items taken were his trailer (he lived in it), his electric saw, his Craftsman tool chest with all his tools, his food juicer, his canoe and his shotgun.
In the trailer were his clothes and personal items the family wishes they could have had for remembrance. It is very sad that this had to happen to a nice man and his family.
If anyone knows anything about this, it would be appreciated if they would notify the sheriff's office in Pagosa Springs. Since we live in Illinois, it is difficult to keep track of the situation.
Ron and Dee Poleski
Orland Park, Ill
The Sharon Colby Memorial Trees will be planted at 11 a.m. Oct. 22 at Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center.
The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club cordially invites you to attend this brief memorial ceremony.
Regarding a letter to the editor from Crystal Coughlin:
Unfortunately, I was unable to respond to Ms. Coughlin's letter in a timely manner. I did, however, peruse the Letters to the Editor the two weeks following her letter, and was saddened to see that not one person in this community felt led to respond to her letter and the unnecessary loss of yet another medical professional.
Although Ms. Coughlin, because of circumstances, resigned her position as full-time paramedic at USJHSD, she still wished to serve her community as a part-time paramedic, and was granted permission to do so. Sometime later, following the decision to allow Ms. Coughlin to work on a part-time basis, USJHSD management changed their minds, and utilizing all their wisdom, decided to fire her without explanation.
It defies common sense to understand how USJHSD management could not see the value of retaining Ms. Coughlin, with her long experience as a paramedic, to continue serving our community.
By way of personal experience with Ms. Coughlin, I share the following. A little over two years ago, my wife called the paramedics for what she thought was a blood clot in my lung following knee surgery. When the paramedics arrived, Ms. Coughlin was the lead paramedic and immediately took charge. As you might imagine, this was a very tense time for me as we took the long ride to Durango Mercy Medical Emergency. During this time, Ms. Coughlin provided care to me in a very professional, skillful, compassionate, and tender manner. That is a morning I will never forget. I have always felt blessed that I was under the care of Ms. Coughlin, and to this day consider her as my paramedic angel.
This is the person USJHSD management has seen fit to dismiss, and to deprive her of her desire to serve this community, and to deprive the community of her vast experience and dedication to her profession.
Everyone in this community should be concerned about the loss of Crystal Coughlin.
Mr. Buslepp's negative and sarcastic attacks on Messrs. Feazel, Sawicki and Bennett in the 10/02 SUN without any constructive addressing of issues are typical of the liberalism of which I wrote previously. May Bennett, especially, continue his erudite writing.
My purpose in writing again is to challenge Mr. Buslepp's defense of the ACLU. Surely he cannot support their recent tendencies toward gross immorality exemplified most recently by their strong efforts, as in the Kansas case, to influence liberal courts to legalize sexual activity between adults and children, what used to be condemned as statutory rape, in the name of "liberty."
Worse than this, liberals in Congress are trying again to allow partial birth abortion, an excruciatingly painful murder with scissors of a live child whose head and neck have emerged from the mother during birth. Fortunately, Republicans overwhelmingly voted against the bill.
Most Democrats supported it as a "procedure" while never mentioning the true status of the victim as child, fetus or living human being born with a right to live. Now the bill goes to the Senate where its outcome is uncertain.
Years ago, Kruschev stated that the message of the Gospel was stronger than that of Communism, but that communists would prevail for world dominion because they were more enthusiastic than Christians.
He was wrong. Today, while we fight to free millions of oppressed people and defeat terrorism around the world, we must become more enthusiastic in defending and promoting morals, values and principles being attacked vigorously on every side here at home.
Do the words of Jeremiah the Prophet (11:8) apply to us today? "They obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked everyone in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore, I will bring upon them all the words of this convenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not."
Put on your lederhosen, it's time for Oktoberfest
By Laura Bedard
Oktoberfest is fast approaching - Oct. 18 to be exact - from 4:30-11 p.m. at the community center.
Our wonderful volunteers will be serving up bratwurst, (vegetarian bratwurst available) sauerkraut, applesauce, German potato salad, coffee, tea and dessert. A commemorative glass stein is included in the price of the ticket.
Adults are $15, seniors with membership card $10. Children ages 5-12 are $10. Fill your commemorative stein with authentic style German Beer, Left Hand/Tabernash for $4. Soda is available for $1.
Authentic German music will be provided by our 12-piece oom pah band, Pauken Schlagel. The evening will include traditional favorites, sing-alongs and dancing. Traditional costumes are encouraged.
Tickets are available at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center, Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books, WolfTracks and at the door. Get out that lederhosen and get ready to polka!
Besides dressing up for Oktoberfest, think about your Halloween costume for our center's celebration Oct. 31. There will be prizes for the best costume.
We will also be celebrating birthdays, so I think the cake will go well with our lasagna layered with bat wings and swamp salad with slime dressing. Come have fun with us on Halloween!
Senior board meeting is also Oct. 31 at 12:45 p.m. in Town Hall. This should be an interesting meeting if everyone dresses up. All are invited to attend.
Beginning Oct. 27, Pine Ridge will be hosting an Alzheimer's support group, "Communicating with Kindness" the last Monday of every month at 6 p.m.
There will be a potluck, and bring your loved one. This month the guest speaker will be Elaine Stumpo from the Alzheimer's Association. For more information, contact Ernie at 731-4330.
More from the SC_O
"Every day when Cindy goes to town with her buckboard she loads up some of the good cooking prepared by Dawnie and her crew. On her way she stops by to give a meal to some of the older folks who are unable to cook for themselves. The seniors anxiously await the arrival of the Meals on Wheels, or as I affectionately think of it - The Buckboard Buffet."
On Oct. 21 we go to Sky Ute Casino. Transportation is free and they give you discounts on lunch. Sign up at the senior center, first come, first served. Leave the center at 1 p.m. and you'll be back at about 5:45 p.m.
Our fall colors trip to Chama and the Cumbres Pass was a big success. The aspens put on a beautiful display and everyone enjoyed the lunch. Just being outside this time of year is a joy and good preparation for the winter months inside for our seniors.
Visitors and guests
We had a nice mixture of new people to meet and old friends to greet at lunch this week.
Karen Demonti, George Dudley, Ernestine Bowers, Hilda Kuhne and John Martinez came in to eat and it was good to see the Jernigans again.
Katheryn Ide came in after her hip surgery looking quite spry, and we were happy to see Bill Smith, Doris Zier and the Schnells. Cindy and Ron Gustafson came in soon after Ron's heart surgery, and he is looking better than ever! (I'll bet he'll be dancing at the Oktoberfest!)
Oct. 17 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.
Oct. 18 - Oktoberfest, 4:30-11 p.m.
Oct. 20 - Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.
Oct. 21 - Yoga, 9:30 a.m.; advanced computer class, 10:30 a.m.; pinochle, 1 p.m.; Sky Ute Casino trip, 1 p.m.
Oct. 22 - Beginning computer class, 10:30 a.m.
Oct. 17 - Oven chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, peas and carrots, biscuit and plums
Oct. 20 - Baked ham, yams, carrot/raisin salad, whole wheat roll and pears
Oct. 21 - Spaghetti/meatballs, tossed salad, garlic roll and apricots
Oct. 22 - Braised beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli blend, apple crisp and whole wheat roll.
Second annual Oktoberfest
benefit for seniors Saturday
By Sally Hameister
Please join us for the second annual Oktoberfest to be held at the Pagosa Springs Community Center Saturday evening, from 4:30-11 p.m. to enjoy food, fun, music and genuine German brew produced especially for the Oktoberfest celebration.
You will find bratwurst, authentic German potato salad, sauerkraut, dessert and a 19-oz commemorative glass beer stein to take home with you.
For those of the vegetarian persuasion, vegetarian bratwursts will be available so that you can enjoy the dinner right along with your meat-eating pals. For children ages 5-12, the food fare will include hot dogs, potato chips and dessert.
The food line problem has been resolved this year with double lines so you can get to those brats much faster. The aforementioned beer will be Left Hand Tabernash and, if memory serves from the years I lived in Germany, it will be full-bodied and hearty.
Melinda Baum and her merry band of lederhosen-adorned band members will be there with Pauken Schlagel and all the oom-pa-pa you could ever wish for. Joining Melinda will be Lisa Hartley, Dave Krueger, Shawna Bolt, Tim Bristow, Bruce Andersen, Randi Andersen, Sara Baum, Don Weller and Alex Baum.
Tickets for this event are $15 for adults, $10 for children 5-12 and seniors with a membership card. Tickets can be purchased at WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company, Moonlight Books, Chamber of Commerce or the Senior Center. You will also be able to purchase tickets at the door on Saturday evening.
You can find all the information you would ever want about Oktoberfest on the net at www.brew-haus.com/oktoberfest.htm.
In conjunction with Oktoberfest, The Springs Resort, just a walk away from the community center, is offering a package deal for $89 which includes accommodations for two for Saturday night plus unlimited access to the hot tubs and pool.
Remember this event is the primary fund-raiser for the nonprofit Archuleta Seniors, Inc., which helps those in need to pay for medical, optometric and dental bills. These monies also help to fund social and cultural events for the seniors of Archuleta County.
If you have traveled in and out of the La Plata/Durango Airport in the past several years, you may have noticed the Pagosa Springs lighted display right next to the Avis Rental Car location with six brochures available to our travelers.
One of our investors will be dropping out Nov. 1, so if you would like to take advantage of this great advertising opportunity, please give us a call very quickly as these spots tend to go very quickly when they appear ever so rarely. It is a way to capture the visitor right away while they are renting their car or picking up their bags (it's located right across from the baggage claim area).
The cost for this is $50 per month, and the spot is available beginning Nov. 1. You, of course, would need to provide us with several boxes of your brochure so the folks at the airport can keep the rack well stocked.
Please give us a call at 264-2360 if you are interested in airport advertising.
Spring in fall
I certainly hope that you're all putting together your hats for the upcoming Spring Garden Party in November featuring, among other things, 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.
It's time again for the annual Immaculate Heart of Mary fashion show/luncheon which will take place Nov. 8 at Parish Hall. This event is always beautifully organized and executed as well as very well attended, so I encourage you to buy your tickets early as it is sure to sell out.
This year's theme of "Spring Garden Party" allows all of us "girlie-girls" to wear a beautiful hat, and it would seem that these days that is the rare occasion indeed.
I attended a wedding in Houston in the spring and was the only one in attendance who wore a hat. What is that all about? I don't really miss the glove thing, but I sure would love to see more hats on the scene.
I remind you once again that this event always sells out, so I would encourage you to purchase your tickets at the Chamber of Commerce as soon as possible. Tickets are $18, and you can reserve a table for nine if you wish.
Please call Yvonne Ralston at 731-9324 or Joan Slavinski at 731-2255 with any questions or to volunteer your services for this event.
Mark your calendars for Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. so you will be sure to show up for the Pagosa Showcase performance at the high school auditorium.
You can enjoy a wonderful array of local talent and support an arts-in-education program for the sixth-grade classes of Mrs. Leanne Skoglund all at the same time.
The esteemed John Graves will act as host and emcee as well as perform on the concert grand piano. Bluegrass Cadillac, who recently entertained an enthusiastic and appreciative audience at our Colorfest picnic, will be there along with Carla and Paul Roberts performing on all their instruments from around the world with the delightful Gypsy Moon Children's Dance Ensemble.
Arrive around six in the commons area for the pre-concert festivities featuring the blues and ragtime guitar renderings of Steve Rolig, the artwork and costumes of the Ancient Cultures Project and various concessions. Pagosa Showcase is sponsored by Artstream Cultural Resources and the Pagosa Springs Arts Council.
For more information, please call 731-3117.
As we look to "driving" more travelers to Pagosa Springs, a recent survey conducted by the Colorado Tourism Office indicates that hitting the highway seems to be the best pathway to success. According to this survey, leisure travelers interested in vacationing in Colorado are almost twice as likely to use their "personal automobile" than any other means of transportation to take their vacations.
I might mention, as an aside, that the Chamber is taking this survey very seriously and looking into doing more marketing on the Front Range, Colorado Springs and, generally, all over the state.
More than eight in 10 leisure travelers interested in visiting Colorado have used their personal automobile to drive to a vacation during the past year compared to just over four in 10 who flew on a schedule airline. Lingering concerns about airline travel have clearly impacted this trend as well as the decision by more Americans to vacation closer to home, typically within a 4-5 hour drive radius.
The stats for modes of transportation on leisure trips breaks out something like this: 84 percent use personal automobile; 43 percent airline; 19 percent rental car; 7 percent bus; 7 percent cruise ship; 6 percent rail transportation and 7 percent "other."
Another little interesting travel tidbit I found was that leisure travelers interested in visiting Colorado are more likely than their counterparts elsewhere around the country to do so: 67 percent say they are willing to take their kids out of school to take a vacation - compared to 55 percent of leisure travelers nationwide.
Governor Bill Owens recently announced that Colorado's economy appears to be perking up with state revenues coming in $30.1 million above projections during the first quarter of the current 2003-04 fiscal year.
Corporate income taxes were $24.4 million ahead of the forecast and individual income taxes were up $13.9 million over the projection made by Nancy McCallin, the governor's chief economist. Owens further stated that this was good news for Colorado's economy and a positive sign of recovery. He was clearly relieved to announce that since both corporate and individual tax revenues are running ahead of the forecast, additional budget cuts are unlikely for this fiscal year. It looks like we may very well have reason to be optimistic about a rebounding economy for the first time in 2 1/2 years. Let's hope so.
We're happy to welcome three new members this week, two of whom were recruited by Kathryn Heilhecker, and two renewals. We do indeed appreciate that Kathryn is out there talking up the Chamber to our newcomers as she makes her calls for the Welcoming Service and are always delighted to send her passes to our SunDowners. I'm just guessing that right now, Kathryn has a squillion passes in her drawer and will never again pay at the door. We are very grateful to you, Kathryn, and encourage you to keep up the good work in our behalf.
A hearty Chamber welcome to Debbie Bennett who brings us Cactus Pete's (bar and restaurant). Cactus Pete's is Pagosa's newest entertainment spot with sport attractions and live music on weekends. You will also find the best burgers as well as steaks and ribs. If you would like to learn more, just give Debbie a call at 731-0683.
We next welcome Susan Schwab with Piedra Car Center (formerly Piedra Car Care and Car Wash). These good folks offer used car sales, car repairs, car wash, detailing and towing. You can reach them by phone at 731-3335 for more information about their services. We thank Kathryn for both of the above new members.
I stopped by with a membership form soon after these folks opened their doors and am pleased as punch that Jim Garcia with A Shoe or Two Plus is joining us this week. These folks are at 565 Village Drive, Suites F & G, and make that shopping center 100 percent in the membership category which always puts grins on our faces here at the Chamber. A Shoe or Two Plus carries a variety of shoes and apparel for the whole family as well as some jewelry and gift items all moderately priced. To learn more, please give the Garcias a call at 731-8064.
April Holthaus, formerly of April's Apple, rejoins us with Survivor's Hope, Inc. April brings a newsletter and retreat ministry of compassionate encouragement and hope to those who are widowed (women or men). Please give her a call at 731-9832 to learn how she can help you during those times when you could use a little help.
Our renewal this week is our good friend Maria MacNamee with Happy Trails Lady's Boutique.
Virginia Bartlett painting a Civic Club raffle item
This year's Civic Club raffle is honored to have Virginia Bartlett's gorgeous painting of Treasure Falls as one of the raffle items. Helen Bartlett's joyful birdhouses quilted wall hanging will also be one to win. We will list the rest of the items next week.
Raffle tickets are six for $5 and all proceeds go to the library building fund.
Tickets can be purchased at the library or from any Civic Club member. The raffle will be held at the Civic Club Bazaar 4 p.m. Nov. 1 at the community center.
Come by the library and view all of the raffle items. For more information, call Barb Draper at 731-9979.
The Civic Club Bazaar is truly a community affair. It's been going on for many years - over 25 that I know of. This year we thank the Knights of Columbus for helping set up the booths.
There will be good things to eat all day at the bazaar thanks to the ladies working in the kitchen. Plan to have brunch and lunch with them. And their tasty bake sale items are always a special treat. The pecan pies go very early.
The state sent some pamphlets on lead poisoning.
If you have a home built before 1978, please call (800) 424-LEAD and get information on health concerns.
Most of the danger comes from lead-based paints and the dust that forms when the paint is scraped, sanded or heated. Lead in the soil can also be a hazard.
You may check out one of the pamphlets. Ask at the desk.
New Web sites
Go to www.consumerworld for a link to almost anything you might want to know. There are more than 900 consumer resources here.
This is a "directory," that will take you on shopping sprees as well as just topical travels.
Insurance company ratings dwell here with appliance makers' addresses.
The lists of lists are ongoing. I understand there is even an Internet address finder where you can search for someone's e-mail address.
Google has some new tricks. It has a phone book that can be broken down into residential or business. If you'd like a copy of the directions to use it, ask at the desk.
Another new service is "froogle," that makes it easy to find information about products for sale on line. We have directions for that too.
"The Redhunter," a novel based on the life of Sen. Joe McCarthy by William F. Buckley Jr., is a blend of fact and fiction.
McCarthy rose and fell in just four years, yet he gave a name to an era. In 1952 he was the most hated man in America. This is an entertaining book for students of history.
Thanks for materials from Dick and Lorraine Raymond, Glenn Raby and Fern Huckins.
Compensable disabilities not required to be combat related
A veteran may be entitled to VA disability compensation for any medical condition or injury that was incurred in, or aggravated by his or her military service.
"The veteran must have been discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from the period of service in which the injury or disease was incurred or aggravated.
"No compensation shall be paid if the disability is a result of the person's own willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs."
The above two paragraphs are directly out of the VA manual relating to service-connected disability compensation.
However, as an example, suppose you injure your knee while playing sports behind the barracks while on active duty in the military and that injury continues to get worse as time goes by. Is this a compensable injury?
If the accident or injury happened while on active military duty and you reported the injury to military or even civilian medical personnel, that injury may be compensable. The military encourages personnel to engage in physical activity for fitness and well-being.
Suppose you were injured in some kind of freak accident at home, while on leave, that is disabling. Is that compensable? Yes, it may be, if the accident was not due to negligence.
I handled an actual case a while back where a veteran fell from a horse while on military leave, and permanently injured himself. He was awarded a service-connected compensation claim for those injuries. If he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and fell from a horse, it would be negligence and not compensable.
Obviously, disabilities are not necessarily the result of wartime combat.
Compensation is awarded typically in percentage of disabling injury.
Hearing, for instance, may be a 10-percent disability. Tinnitus or ringing in the ears may be another 10-percent disability. Suppose there are also permanent knee and shoulder injuries. This may be another 20 percent for each disability. However, the total disability percentage does not necessarily add up to 60 percent, but may be some other total, such as 40 percent.
The VA has formulas for awarding individual disability percentages, and total compensation percentages. These percentages are decided by expert VA claims personnel by special formulas.
You can be awarded a disability in some cases, with zero compensation. I won't try to go into those specifics for these informational purposes. Needless to say it is a very complicated process.
You may have heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is typically an anxiety disorder resulting from very traumatic incidences while in the military.
Most frequently, PTSD is the result of combat related trauma. But it can also be sexual trauma for men or women. The traumatic experiences are called the "stressor."
It is very difficult for the veteran to file PTSD compensation claims because it requires the veteran to relive those traumatic experiences that are the very cause of the anxiety disorders.
Two basic factors are required for VA compensation claims: Current medical evidence of the mental or physical disability, and official military records that show the disability occurred while in the military.
Sounds simple, but it can be a very complicated claims process. I have the information, and experience, on hand at this office to help you with these kinds of special claims cases.
The VA has implemented in recent years a "fast track" claims processing for veterans in advanced ages and/or extreme disability health problems.
Technically, there is no deadline for applying for VA compensation claims. However, time between military service and onset of the disability, or delays in seeking medical help for that disability, can be a factor in determining compensation.
VA compensation claims processing used to require a year or more to be decided. Of late, efforts have been made to cut this time down dramatically. Recently I have witnessed compensation claims being decided in as little as a few months, when the claim was complete, well-founded and documented.
Part of the interview process for new veterans that I encounter is discussing any possible medical problems that may be connected to their military service.
It is common for veterans to be unaware of their service-connected disabilities.
If you think you do have service-connected disabilities or any questions in that regard, I encourage you to contact me so that we can address those concerns.
For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. The office number is 264-8375, the fax number is 264-8376, and e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
Kaeley Dawn is proud to announce the wedding of her mommy, Amber Dawn Smith, to Daniel Ray Martinez on Sept. 9, 2003. Amber is the daughter of Iva Jacobs/Latimer of Durango, Colo. and Donald Smith of Pagosa Springs. Daniel is the son of Joseph and Barbara Martinez of Pagosa Springs. The newlyweds are at home in Pagosa Springs.
SUN job shop operator retires after 41 years
By Richard Walter
He remembers being scared when walking into the old Pagosa Springs SUN office to ask for a job.
That was just over 41 years ago.
"I couldn't do anything," he said.
"But I was fresh out of the Navy, partially disabled, and needing a job."
That was one of the first thoughts Ronnie Willett had when discussing his retirement Oct. 2, a retirement four decades after that quivering beginning.
In the interim he has done everything possible in the production end of the business and for many years has operated the firm's job printing division.
When he approached then owner-publisher Glen Edmonds about a job, Willett said, the timing was unexpectedly perfect.
Carlos Madrid was the incumbent pressman but had just graduated high school and had enlisted in the Army. He was going to be gone two years, Willett was told, and was promised his job back after military service.
Before leaving for boot camp, Madrid taught Willett to run the presses. And then he made the military a career, leaving Willett the task of keeping the presses running.
Next, he said, he learned to do page set-up, ad work and hand set type, all under the instruction of John Chavez.
He learned to "pour pigs," do page layout and develop ad design.
But when Edmonds bought a small press to feature job work, Willet's career took a new direction.
"In a very short time, the amount of work doubled and kept growing," he said.
Edmonds recognized his was the only job press office in the region and pushed its service. Soon, Willett said, "we were doing jobs from South Fork, Chama, Dulce, Bayfield and Ignacio."
He recalled doing bumper stickers in the job shop, an operation that drew hundreds, particularly from Dulce. A shop wall was covered with previous stickers.
"They came in and knew exactly where the one they wanted was," he said.
He said the biggest and most pleasing project he developed was the annual Red Ryder Roundup program, the posters advertising it, and the tickets for performances.
"Glen was on the rodeo committee," Willett said, "and the first year the project was done in another shop. We knew we could do a better job and asked for it."
But he didn't anticipate how it would grow. At first, everyone with an idea brought it in "on match book covers, paper bags or a slip of notepaper.
"They'd say 'here's what we think' and tell me to do something with it."
At first, he said, it was all ads and "I thought they needed some other content. I suggested a history of the rodeo and why it is important in the community. They bought the idea and it is still there."
He designed and printed all the rodeo posters, including the colors for the Red Ryder apparel and in many cases "they became collectors' items. Rodeo planners had to be careful where they put them, because they'd disappear as fast as they were put out.
"One collector of western and rodeo memorabilia out east wanted to buy all the originals at what would have been an astronomical price," he said, "and couldn't understand the posters were trademarked and not for sale."
Then he got to the ticket job. A map showed every seat, every post, every angle or view. He printed the tickets in the newspaper shop, then took them home and he and his wife, Betty, carefully hand numbered each with section, seat and row.
"We did it free," he said, "our little contribution to a community event."
He attributes his career to the tutelage and friendship of Edmonds.
His motto was "Work hard, play hard," Willett said, "and we did just that."
He recalled once when a new type-producing system broke down he had to drive to Durango, set all the type for that week's edition and make proofs, drive back to Pagosa for editing by Edmonds and then back to Durango to make corrections and punch the type for production.
And as hard as the work might have been, "it was made for me," he said. "I literally loved my job - until the market began to decline."
As for the fun, he and Edmonds had identical trail bikes and identical street bikes. They and Edmonds' two young sons built model rockets and took them out to the airport, "where there were no buildings and just one rutty runway to launch them. Some had parachutes, some had cameras, and we all had fun."
Perhaps the most fun he ever had on a community project, he said, came in membership with the Jaycees.
"They sponsored the soap box racing derby, and we went out and got sponsors for the kids. We hit every business. Then we guided the construction and the painting of the machines and covered the races. The only problem was that I got too old for their membership age limit after just one year."
Still fresh in his memory was the Jaycees' Labor Day Coffee Break on Wolf Creek Pass.
"Not a break for members, but for drivers going over the pass. The Jaycees made them stop and have coffee or a soft drink. No one got over without stopping," he said, "and there were only one or two who objected.
"We all had our own vests, our badges and insignias, and we wanted people to be sure they were prepared for pass driving."
He became a jack-of-all-trades on the production side of the newspaper and mastered every new printing idea that came along.
"It was the place to be at one time for me," he said. "But it was time to go now. The job shop business was losing money and I felt I needed to get out while I still could be proud of what I'd accomplished."
He said he plans to spend some time doing work on the home he and Betty have on Lewis Street, a home, incidentally, once owned by Edmonds.
"We don't plan any long trips or big expenditures," he said. "In fact, Betty will keep working at Jackisch (Drug). She calls it her 'fun money.'"
Utilizing his home computer system, he will continue publishing the American Legion newsletter, a task he has relished as he has held every local Legion post at one time or another.
He has started his own memory book, filling it with snapshots of the "hard work and good times" he remembers.
"I'd have to say I wouldn't have changed anything in the last 41 years," he said.
From hand-set type to computer generated pagination - Ronnie Willett has been a major part of the history of newspapering in Pagosa Springs.
The great flood opened new paths into Pagosa
John M. Motter
The flood of Oct. 5, 1911, stole a great deal from Pagosa Country. What the hungry waters didn't pilfer, they altered.
For example, the town's first water and electricity generating system washed out. The system had been constructed in 1902 at the east end of San Juan Street on property purchased from Dr. Parish. A brick building at the bottom of Reservoir Hill housed the electricity generating plant. The plant was used to power a pump which lifted the water to a holding reservoir on top of the hill
The town soon built another water treatment plant in a new location, this time a gravity-fed system in the building which now houses the pioneer museum. The electrical generating plant was resurrected about a mile south of the hot springs at the corner where Mill Creek Road makes the sharp turn to the north.
I believe the electrical generating plant was installed in a building first erected as a flour mill. The water power used to grind grain turned the electricity-generating turbine instead.
Another result of the flood is Wolf Creek Pass. This local landmark probably would not have been built if the rampaging San Juan had not wiped out the government road in the bottom end of the San Juan East Fork.
One of the earliest routes connecting Pagosa Country with the San Luis Valley and the rest of civilization had been the route across Elwood Pass. Like most early roads, the Elwood Pass route had several branches.
The earliest writing I have seen concerning that route described trips made by miners from Summitville to the Pagosa Hot Springs during the early 1870s before Pagosa Springs sprouted in 1877-1878.
When the Army planted Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs in 1878, it seems they planned to supply the new post via a road from Fort Garland across the mountains near Summitville. With that in mind, a Lt. Ruffner was directed to survey the new route, a directive he dutifully complied with.
Ruffner directed several surveys in the San Juans and might have known these mountains better than anyone else at that time. He also surveyed the 6 square-mile site set aside as a military reservation to house Fort Lewis in the Pagosa Springs area.
Ruffner's route ultimately became known as the Old Military Road or the Old Government Road. It didn't take long to get old in those days.
In any case, Ruffner's survey crews followed transits and chains westerly from Fort Garland, striking the Rio Grande River a little downstream from Alamosa. They then followed the Alamosa River westward into the mountains, crossing the top a little south of Summitville. The route then plunged down the west side of the mountains through Elwood Pass, followed the East Fork of the San Juan River to its junction with the West Fork, then continued into Pagosa Springs.
Federal funds were allocated and spent to build the new road. Construction started on the eastern end and probably reached at least as far as the Continental Divide, although it is unclear to me how far the construction really went. In any case, a few Army supplies and a considerable number of settlers reached Pagosa Springs via the military road over the next few years.
It took only one San Juan winter to convince the Army the supply route plans were impractical. The San Juans caught too much snow. That first winter, and every winter after, Army supply trains were forced to circumvent the southern San Juans, sometimes called the Conejos Range, by going down the Rio Grande River, crossing the mountains at Ojo Caliente in New Mexico, then following the Chama River north on their way to Pagosa Springs. A lot of the supplies during latter times came in from Fort Marcy, located at Santa Fe.
For several years after the feds stopped using the old road, the Colorado government budgeted small amounts of money to keep it open. After all, there weren't many decent non-train routes into the San Juan Basin.
One feature of the Old Military Road was the narrow canyon it traversed from approximately Joe Mann's Cabin to the East Fork/West Fork juncture. And that feature ultimately led to abandonment of the route. The flood of 1911 devastated the road through the canyon, wiping out all bridges and much of the road bed.
The state faced a quandary: rebuild the old road or search for a new route. Survey crews again combed the south San Juans. It seemed the state was going to restore the historic route when, at the last minute, the state engineer chose to build a road down Wolf Creek instead. The surprising thing is, Wolf Creek had never been used as a pass, not even as much as a trail. You just couldn't get through that way, even a single man on a single horse. The state engineer prevailed, the road down Wolf Creek was built, and the Old Military Road was essentially abandoned.
In fact, the East Fork was pretty much abandoned as a permanent place to live. The last full-time residents locked up their home and moved out following the flood. Once upon a time prior to 1911, when prospectors roamed the mountains in considerable numbers, several families lived year around on the upper East Fork. You could say the flood of 1911 changed all of that.
People in town rallied following the flood. A mill levy of 32 cents was approved to fund replacement of town property destroyed in the flood. In a few months the bridges were replaced, folks had drinking water and electricity again, and things were pretty much normal.
The flood of 1911 was gone. It may never be forgotten.
Stats are revealing
The value of statistics is debatable, but they sometimes make
for a revelation. The Taxpayer's Network recently released statis-
tics that shed light on key aspects of our current local and national state of affairs. It is worth reading.
The booklet contains tables listing statistics in a variety of categories: demographic, taxes and revenues, government, economic, education, transportation, public safety, and health and welfare.
Some of the material can help us as we struggle to adjust our perspectives, as we consider our existence here in Pagosa, in Colorado, in the U.S. Too often, we are guided by presuppositions and desires not in accord with what concrete data reveals.
One statistical concern is state population change. Data verifies the obvious. Colorado was sixth in the nation for population increase July 1, 2001, to July 1, 2002, going up 1.66 percent. Locally, that percentage was much higher; Archuleta County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state.
Growth is real; with it has come increased demand for services and amenities and, often, unrealistic demands, considering the rural character of the community and its economic realities. Colorado ranked 13th in the nation for median family income during the period, at $56,017. Per capita personal income averaged $33,206. It is debatable whether local per capita income reached this level.
With all the howling about the tax burden, it is interesting to note that, in 2001, Colorado ranked 45th in the nation in state and local tax burden as percent of income, at 9.1 percent. The local level has probably crept upward with the success of bond issues. It is still low by comparison. In terms of the average tax burden on retirees, the state ranked 42nd in the nation.
The percent of state population below the poverty level was 9.6.
How is money we give to government spent and how successful is that spending in terms of our future?
Concerning education funding, the state ranked 40th in 2001-02, spending $6,244 per pupil in K-12. A student/teacher ratio of 17-1 put the state 10th in the nation but, in 2002, the estimated statewide high school graduation rate was a miserable 62 percent, good for only 38th. The average salary for a public school teacher in Colorado in 2001-02 hit the exact middle of the range for all states 25th.
Our state is near the middle of the pack in most other rankings. Things are not too bad in physical, fiscal terms.
But, there are startling figures at the back of the booklet that hint at our moral condition and future - that speak to the question of where the community, state and nation, might go in the next few decades.
In 2001, 14.9 percent of state residents were without health insurance.
In that same period, Colorado spent 35.7 percent of Medicaid expenditures on long-term care. The per capita state spending on long- term care put the state 42nd among 50 states.
Most dire of all, however, is the note that 25 percent of all live births in Colorado were to unmarried mothers. One in four. At that, Colorado had a far lower percentage than most states. Some, for example nearby New Mexico, saw 46 percent of all children born to unmarried mothers. The percentage topped 50 in the nation's capitol, Washington, D.C.
We are spending less on the care of the aged and infirm while we bring more children into the world to be raised in single-parent families or by grandparents, to be shaped by entertainment media that care nothing for the content of their products. And, sooner or later, to be paid for by the state.
We gripe about taxation, we fret about the cost of living, we split hairs about pragmatically irrelevant concerns. If the statistics in the back of this booklet are correct, and the trend continues, what on earth is going to happen and what can we do?
Speed least common crash cause
By Richard Walter
What causes a traffic accident?
The answers are as varied as location, season, and dealing with the unexpected.
And, while most people would probably say speed is the predominant factor, that is not the case in Pagosa Springs.
Instead, says Police Chief Don Volger, the two primary causes of accidents in the community are failure to yield right of way and following too closely.
Speed is a secondary factor, he said, but reviews of accident report data in order to create an accident profile indicate it is rarely the primary factor.
Our discussion came after I watched traffic for 20 minutes Oct. 8 as drivers reacted to the mobile speed sign set up for the evening at the intersection of E. Pagosa and 2nd Streets.
In that period, 127 westbound cars were observed. Initial reaction indicated five were under the 25 mph speed limit which begins at that intersection, four were right at it, and all the rest were over, with speed readings ranging from 26 to 57 miles per hour.
Asked how accurate the speed monitor is,
Volger said it is very close, but can be influenced by a number of other factors.
For example, in a group of approaching vehicles, it will pinpoint the fastest, or sometimes the largest vehicle. And, it can be influenced by traffic going in the opposite direction.
Citing the specific intersection, he noted the speed limit for east bound traffic goes to 35 mph and the monitor will often read the speed of the fastest car going away from it instead of the next one approaching.
Still, the monitor has been a key element in a concerted effort to control speeds on thoroughfares in town.
In the time I was watching, a number of drivers slowed when they saw the speed registered as they approached, but many immediately speeded up again after passing the monitor.
Volger said speed will always be a concern and "we try to keep a lid on it, but it is not the primary causal factor for in-town accidents when looking at the statistics over an extended period. It may be in one crash and not in the next 10."
Still, residents of the area see the monitor, see the speeds being flashed, and wonder why police aren't there, stopping people.
"We could do that, and we could get many cases thrown out of court because proving the speed recorded by the monitor could be hard to do. We could do it and get a reputation of being a speed trap," Volger said, "but the statistics, again, do not justify full time concentration on speed as a primary causal factor."
"In fact," he said, "I can't remember the last accident in which speed was a proven cause for an accident here in town. It might have been incidental, but in general some other driver error is at fault."
One of those other causal factors was witnessed while watching the monitor. An eastbound driver suddenly decided to make a U-turn right in front of the no U-turn sign. He then got himself trapped by the monitor and couldn't get back into the westbound flow.
Volger shook his head, then said, "We can't control stupidity, there's no law against it."
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Oct. 17, 1913
A young ladies' class in gymnastics will be started for the winter months. Fees two dollars for eight lessons - two lessons per week. We offer dumb bells, Indian clubs, wands, marching tactics, games and folk dancing.
The cattle in southwestern Colorado should not be valued as high for taxation purposes as those within easy reach of the markets. It costs approximately $5.00 to place a steer in Denver from this section and the shrinkage by shipment will decrease the worth further.
Mark Todd has sold his interest in the Star Bakery to Joe Belarde, who has been with the Sparks Hardware for several years and who has resigned his position at that store to take charge of his own business.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Oct. 19, 1928
Robert, the oldest son of Sheriff and Mrs. Frank Matthews, who was last week operated upon for acute appendicitis, is making a splendid recovery from the ordeal.
The city coffers were enriched this week to the extent of $102.50 when a local citizen contributed that amount for alleged indiscretions against the peace and dignity of this bailiwick.
Mrs. Myra Day is now prepared to take care of the sewing and dressmaking needs of her former patrons and many new ones at her home on east Hermosa Street.
We pay 25¢ per lb. for No. 1 dry hides. - Hersch Merc. Co.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Oct. 16, 1953
At last the dry spell in this area was broken early Monday morning when rain started falling and continues more or less steadily through Tuesday. In the higher country snow was falling and about 8 inches have been reported on Wolf Creek Pass. Here in town up until Tuesday night .60 inches of moisture had fallen. While this rain is most welcome and the moisture is badly needed it should be remembered that the woods are still exceptionally dry; forest fires are still a very distinct danger. All hunters are urged to exercise extreme caution.
A ski tow is being built by the ski club at the John Masco place just north of the city limits. This tow will provide an excellent place for the skiers and those wishing to learn from this community.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Oct. 19, 1978
House numbers for the town of Pagosa Springs are prescribed in a recently adopted town ordinance. The ordinance tells how the system works, gives requirements for numbers and when the structures are numbered it will be easy to find any given building. Street signs have also been installed and now one can say that he lives at such-and-such a number on such-and-such a street, instead of next door to Joe Blow.
The SUN this week is one of the larger issues of the year. It contains 18 pages of local news, a new street and house number map, as well as a number of articles, photos and special features. This is one of the larger issues of the year. The price is the same, however.