November 13, 2003 
Front Page

Second ethics code unnecessary: County

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A citizens' proposal for the adoption of a supplementary ethics code for county officials hit a dead end during a Nov. 5 work session conducted by the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners.

"We discussed it at length, and it was our opinion that the ethics code provided in state statute is adequate," Commissioner Bill Downey said Tuesday.

"Of course, that's not to say that the board feels ethics are not of great importance," added Downey. "But right now we're focusing attention on particulars - the county budget and land-use issues for example - that we feel take priority at this time."

Echoing those sentiments, "There's a chance we'll eventually adopt the state code as the official ethics code of the county," said Alden Ecker, board chairman, "but we're not planning to expand on it."

Since 1988, all county officials have been expected, if not legally required, to adhere to the standards of conduct set forth in Title 24, Article 18 of Colorado Revised Statutes.

According to Nan Rowe, who helped author the proposed code given final review last week, there is concern among some that the state's ethic code is simply too vague and therefore nearly impossible to apply.

Therein lay the rationale, said Rowe, for the creation and presentation of a slightly more stringent ethics code this spring, one that required greater detail with regard to financial disclosure and definitions concerning conflicts of interest, among other things.

Rowe first appeared before the board to discuss the proposal in March, and she and Mary Weiss, county attorney, collaborated to refine the document until the issue was laid to rest.

"I realize it isn't feasible to try to legislate ethics," said Rowe, "but I strongly disagree with the notion that the state language is adequate."

More specifically, "What the state document attempts to outline is extremely subjective; there are no objective standards for the public to measure," Rowe added.

In addition, Rowe said she feels there is little recourse for those who allege violations of the state code, making it difficult to enforce.

That's not necessarily the case, says Downey.

"There can always be public pressure; there are a lot of ways to express an opinion toward holding officials accountable," said Downey.

"People can make themselves heard by showing up at board meetings, writing letters to the (newspaper) editor, and even petitioning for a recall, to name a few," Downey added.

The bottom line, according to Downey, is "if people are inherently ethical, they will act accordingly - if they're not, usually nothing on paper will change that."

However, the board's decision last week not to pursue a secondary ethics code was not entirely unanimous.

"I supported it from the beginning," said Commissioner Mamie Lynch. "I felt like we needed more and better definitions on the state level, and I believe it never hurts to have a stronger official operating code."

"But I also realized that it was probably time to let it go," concluded Lynch.


Welfare check nets pot stash

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

An estimated $13,000 worth of marijuana was seized in a Pagosa home Nov. 6.

Archuleta County Sheriff Det. Carl Smith said the drugs were found during a social services welfare check at a residence in the 400 block of Lakewood Street.

Social services representatives were apparently called in Nov. 5. They returned the next day to inspect the home. During this search, the inspectors uncovered a small amount of marijuana and called the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.

Smith responded to the scene and the inspection continued. Eventually, he said, a second stash of marijuana was found. Some of the marijuana had been packaged in small bags. The rest had apparently been "groomed," or prepared for packaging. Total weight of the marijuana found was estimated at 2.95 pounds, carrying a street value of nearly $13,000.

Mark Richard Coughlin, 34, a tenant in the home, was arrested on charges of felony drug possession and possession of a schedule two controlled substance with intent to distribute. Coughlin is out on bond.


PAWS budget data reveals potential for rate changes

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A draft version of the 2004 budget for the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District was made public during this week's meeting of the district board of directors.

According to Carrie Campbell, district general manager, while next year's budget is not in final form and "still needs some tweaking," preliminary analysis of current year data reveals numbers in at least one area could come in lower than originally projected.

With regard to cash flow resulting from water sales, "The bottom line is it looks like we could be lower in our revenues than we anticipated," said Campbell.

On one level, said Campbell, the potential for lower revenues can be interpreted as a good sign - an indication that district customers have taken the concept of more efficient water management to heart.

"They are continuing to be diligent about their water conservation habits; their response has been overwhelming," said Campbell, lauding the efforts to cut back on excess usage.

The flip side, however, is a matter of simple economics.

When revenues fall unexpectedly for a substantial duration, it is sometimes necessary to recoup the lost funding somewhere down the line.

With regard to that potential scenario, "The point is - because we are not selling as much water, we may need to cover the difference with a fee increase in the future," said Campbell.

That revelation raised some eyebrows and a few questions from members of the public attending Tuesday night's meeting.

In short, attendees voiced concern that a possible increase in water fees may eliminate the incentive, for some customers, to continue with conservative usage habits.

In response, "I don't want this to throw up red flags and have everybody believing this is definite," said Campbell. "We just want to make everyone aware of the possibility at this point."

Campbell indicated the district does not anticipate an increase in sewer charges for next year, and said a water fee increase, if necessary, wouldn't necessarily affect the base charge.

"It could be applied to the second or even third tier of the rate structure," concluded Campbell.

The district's current water rate structure, adopted in June, includes a base monthly service charge of $5.50, and a volume charge of $1.85 for every thousand gallons up to 8,000 gallons (for single-family residences).

For usage between 8,000-20,000 gallons, a charge of $3.70 applies. Usage over 20,000 gallons carries a price tag of $4.50 for every thousand gallons.

Lake levels

According to the latest readings provided by Gene Tautges, assistant general manager, district lakes and reservoirs were at the following levels early this week:

- Lake Hatcher - 73 percent full

- Stevens Reservoir - 86 percent full

- Lake Pagosa - 68 percent full

- Lake Forest - 86 percent full at seven inches below spillway

- Village Lake - 28 percent full


A tiny table tells a profound story

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

As they crowded into the small room, few noticed the small table in the corner.

It was set for a meal, like the rest, but somehow it was different.

It had a lone seat, with a banner over the back.

The water glass was inverted.

The plate bore a lone slice of lemon.

A single red rose stood in the shadows, all on a gleaming white table cloth.

The crowd was there to celebrate Veterans Day, a celebration two days early because of workweek commitments.

Many were there to receive blue star flags signifying they have a serviceman or woman on active duty.

Others were there to receive yellow star flags, symbolic of having lost a loved one on the field of battle. Two of those were saluting men lost in Vietnam, one in the Korean conflict and the other an officer slain in Iraq.

But the small lonely table was the center of the program.

It had a single purpose.

Celebrating the POW-MIAs of our land, those who did not come back, who did not show up on the lists of missing or slain, those who, as the prayer goes, "are still with us, still fighting for their right, whether in a dingy cell or locked deep underground in some nation on our earth."

The single table and chair were to salute everyone's missing comrade, to provide humble tribute to all those falling in the POW-MIA category, "a humble tribute to them and witness to their absence at our table."

The white tablecloth was to demonstrate the purity of purpose of the soldier going into action, the red rose emblematic of the blood shed. The slice of lemon indicative of the bitter fate and a sprinkle of salt over it a memory of fallen tears.

The glass inverted showed it waited to be used and a candle was lighted on the table to show the way home. Lastly, a small American flag stood on the table awaiting a salute on the person's return and standing still to ensure our freedom.

A brief comment prior to the dinner, sponsored by The American Legion Auxiliary, drew attention to the National World War II monument in Washington, D.C.

Bill Clark told of local efforts to raise funds for the memorial in 2000 and of nearly $8,000 of the total cost being covered here in Archuleta County.

At long last, he said, and much too late, the memorial will be dedicated on the mall in Washington, D.C. next May 29 - at a cost of over $2 million.

And then the presentation of flag banners drew both tears, smiles and applause.

Mothers wept when a slain son's name was called. Others smiled with joy at the privilege of being a military mother and one man told of a son, grandson, nephews and grandnephews all serving in the American military.

There was the solemnity of prayer for those lost, for those who returned, and for those whose case is not yet closed, those celebrated by the empty chair at the lonely corner table.


School staff assured of right to be heard

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A proposed resolution spelling out the right of staff members to communicate with members of the board of education never made it to the floor Tuesday.

It had been drafted prior to the meeting of the board of Archuleta School District 50 Joint by director Carol Feazel, who earlier in the meeting was elected board president.

Her draft had indicated board policy BHE - Complaints to board members, as outlined in the Personnel Handbook for District Employees "is a problem in that the people of our district feel they cannot speak to the board."

But, after a 92-minute executive session which also resulted in the expulsion of two students for the balance of the school year, Superintendent Duane Noggle read a statement to the board acknowledging "feedback agonizingly shows individuals who feel disenfranchised and have a feeling of not being heard.

"As the educational leader of the district," he said, "I take full responsibility for this brewing storm. If there is an ambiance of disenfranchisement, no matter what my intentions may be, I will not be able to accomplish the goals of the district. That would mean failure, and we cannot accept failure. There is too much at stake."

Feazel's proposed resolution had noted "a feeling of growing separation between staff and the administration ... staff members are deeply disturbed by this mounting 'wall.' "

Noggle's statement said, "One thing that I have come to realize is all of us have a different perception of what the main thing is. While we all promote student achievement as the main thing, we have different perceptions of what student achievement is. Some define it as it is defined in No Child Left Behind, while others define it in more humanistic terms. We must make a renewed effort for a common vision of student achievement or we will be in constant turmoil."

Feazel's draft had suggested that, possibly, complying with No Child Left Behind, CSAP record-keeping and updating vast mountains of district policy "has depersonalized the board and administration, but whatever the cause, the board does not want 'walls,' legal, policy or otherwise."

The superintendent said the difference in perception leads to misunderstanding of motives and "distrust of each other. For example, I view the revision of the board policy manual and the publication of the personnel handbook as a good step to take to protect the district and to bring us into compliance with state and federal statutes. At the same time, many view it otherwise.

"While these changes may appear to be important," his statement continued, "they have distracted us from the main thing and have drowned out the voices of a dedicated and caring staff."

The Feazel resolution would have had the board direct the superintendent "to pull down the walls at any and every opportunity and we will work to do the same wherever we can. It takes every one of us to make this district shine."

Noggle's statement indicated his goal is to "bring the staff back together and to focus us on keeping the main thing the main thing " doing what is best for our children."

He said the district will have to "reconcile mandates of No Child Left Behind, because it is the law, with our strong desire for local control of the educational program. To achieve this task will be difficult but I am optimistic it can be done."

He said he and the board agree "it is imperative that we restate our strong commitment to staff input and express our desire to encourage their voice ... commit to a common vision."

Feazel then withdrew her resolution, saying "it is no longer necessary."

And, she said, "I and the board reaffirm our open door policy for district staff and the public. We will hear you and will consider your thoughts and ideas."


Date High Low Precip
Depth Moisture











































Heavy snow, rain forecast for Pagosa Country

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Widespread, intermittent snow showers across higher elevations bolstered conditions for a variety of Pagosa Country winter sports enthusiasts over the past week.

Wolf Creek Ski Area was the beneficiary of 15 inches of snow in the past seven days, and summit depth now stands at 45 inches while midway depth is listed at 40 inches.

Those totals should climb even higher in the next 12-18 hours, as the latest regional forecasts predict heavy rain across lower elevations and winter-storm conditions in the highlands.

"We've got a warm yet very moist air mass that originated in the tropics moving across the Four Corners," said Joe Ramey, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"There's a strong possibility for white-out conditions above 8,500 feet, and some of the projected snow totals we're coming up with are in the two-foot range," added Ramey.

"Elevations below 8,000 feet may see an occasional flurry, but will most likely see heavy rain, perhaps up to an inch before the system moves out of the area late Thursday or early Friday," Ramey concluded.

According to Ramey, there is a 60-70 percent chance for rain showers in town throughout today and a 50 percent chance for light snow showers after midnight.

High temperatures are expected in the mid-30s to mid-40s, while evening lows should dip into the 20s shortly after sunset.

Most of the showers are expected to move out of the area by noon Friday; highs for the day should peak in the 40s while lows are predicted in the upper teens.

The forecasts for Saturday and Sunday indicate mostly-cloudy skies will be the norm, along with highs in the mid-40s and lows ranging from the teens to mid-20s.

A 40-percent chance for snow is included in the forecasts for Monday and Tuesday; highs should reach the upper 30s to low 40s while lows are expected to settle into the teens.

Wednesday's forecast predicts mostly-sunny skies, a minimal chance for precipitation, highs around 50 and lows in the 20s.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 46 degrees. The average low for the week was 22. Precipitation totals for the week amounted to a half inch.

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

The latest reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture describe regional drought conditions as "severe."

According to the latest SNOTEL data, the snow-water equivalent level for the Upper San Juan Basin is currently at 181 percent of average.

San Juan River flow ranged from approximately 140 cubic feet per second to 170 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Nov. 13 is roughly 180 cubic feet per second.


Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Youth co-ed recreational basketball signups end Nov. 21

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The 9-10 and 11-12 recreational league basketball sign-up deadline is Nov. 21 at Town Hall.

The divisions are set up for co-ed play. This year, games will be played in both the junior high and the community center gymnasiums.

Cost for the program is $20. Students in seventh or eighth grade are not eligible for this program.

Jim Shaffer, Pagosa Springs High School boys basketball coach, will host a basketball clinic 10 a.m.-noon Nov. 22 in the junior high gymnasium.

Fundamentals will be taught, with the attendees getting a jumpstart prior to the first practices scheduled to begin in early December. This clinic is free and all children in the above age groups are welcome.

Elks Hoop Shoot

On Dec. 13 we will co-host the annual Elks Hoop Shoot.

Winners advance to a regional tournament in Durango, with those winners advancing on to the state competition.

Times and places will be announced within the next few weeks. Watch The SUN for more information.

Job opening

The closing date for applications for the recreation supervisors position was Nov. 7, and we received 28 applications.

We are in the process of reviewing applications and resumes. We plan to interview within the next two weeks, in hopes of hiring someone by Dec. 1.

Restrooms closed

All public restrooms are closed for the winter. There is a year-round restroom at Bell Tower Park, open 24 hours a day. that facility can stay open year round, thanks to our geothermal heating system.

We had a great year in the parks and look forward to a great summer in 2004.

Semiannual inspections

Our state insurance agency was in Pagosa yesterday for our annual safety audit. The parks crew has been working hard to prepare for the inspection.

We are also in the process of getting our winter gear ready to start helping with snow removal and ice skating preparations.


Schur is All-State for second year

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Sophomore cross country runner Emilie Schur earned All-State honors with her top-ten finish at the state meet in Colorado Springs this year.

Schur finished third at the state 3A competition with a time of 18 minutes, 35 seconds - her second year in the top five.

As a freshman, she claimed second place at state, the highest finish for a female in the history of Pagosa's cross country teams. In 2002, she also captured wins at the Intermountain League and regional races.

This year, Schur claimed several wins over both hilly and flat courses in both Colorado and New Mexico. At the home meet, the Wolf Creek Invitational, she set a course record.

At state, Schur faced a faster course and some very tough runners to claim the third individual spot. The state winner, Rachel Gioscia, of Buena Vista, stole the 3A trophy with a time of 18:10.


Three Lady Pirates earn IML honors

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Three members of the Lady Pirate volleyball team received postseason Intermountain League honors following completion of the 1993 high school season.

Juniors Courtney Steen and Lori Walkup were named to the IML all-conference first team and junior teammate Caitlyn Jewell was named to the league's second team.

Steen, a 5-8 outside hitter and backcourt standout registered 152 kills on 478 attempts during the season for a .317 hitting percentage. Steen served 14 aces and led the team with 263 digs in the back row.

Walkup, at 5-9 and in her third varsity season, worked as a hitter when the rotation took her to the front row and as a setter coming out of the back row. Walkup hit .354 with 153 kills in 432 attempts. She had eight ace serves, 51 solo blocks, 144 digs and 312 assists.

Jewell, a 6-2 middle hitter, had 150 kills in 418 attempts, for a .358 efficiency. She finished the year with five ace serves and 65 solo blocks.

Steen and Walkup were joined on the all-conference first team by Ignacio's Carol Lee Jefferson, Karissa Gallero and Jackie Guffey, as well as by Janice Hill of Bayfield.

Jefferson was named Player of the Year in the IML and Melanie Taylor returned to Ignacio from a hiatus to earn well-deserved honors as Coach of the Year.

The three Lady Pirates return next season with their team intact, but for the loss of Amy Tautges to graduation. The Ladies went 16-11 this season, winning the District 1 tournament and advancing to regional action. Five of six Lady Pirate starters at season's end were juniors, one a sophomore.


Seven Pirates named to all-conference grid list

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The voting results for all-conference football honors are in, and Pagosa Springs senior Jeremy Caler has been named the Intermountain League Co-Player of the Year for the 2003 season.

Caler and Bayfield senior running back Kyle Wolff will share the player-of-the-year title since the pair garnered an equal total when votes for best performer and other all-conference recognition in the IML were tallied last week.

As a result, both will represent the IML in the coaches' association all-state game to be held next June.

Caler, a two-way starter for Pagosa who played at tailback and linebacker, heads a slate of six Pirates receiving all-conference honors and was named to the IML first-team offense and defense in addition to getting the nod as the league's top player.

Joining Caler on the list of Pirates named to the IML first-team offense are Pagosa senior lineman and two-way starter Coy Ross and sophomore place-kicker Daniel Aupperle.

Also receiving recognition for Pagosa is junior Manuel Madrid, who gained an honorable mention in the offensive lineman category.

Senior David Kern, also a two-way starter for Pagosa Head Coach Sean O'Donnell's squad, rounds out the list of Pirates who earned offensive plaudits; Kern garnered an honorable mention at quarterback.

Kern also nabbed a spot on the first-team defense roster for his efforts at safety/cornerback this season, while senior Kory Hart and junior Marcus Rivas join Caler on the list of honorees who received first-team defensive recognition at the linebacker/lineman slots.

Seven seniors depart from this year's Pirate team that finished the season at 5-5, nabbed at least a share of the IML title for the fifth consecutive year and earned a trip to the state playoffs.

With respect for the Pirates' chances for a sixth straight IML title and return to postseason play, "Hopefully the guys will work hard over the off-season and do the things that will help us become a better football team by next season," said O'Donnell.

"We're also going to need some guys to step up and set a good example for the younger guys if this program is going to have continued success," added O'Donnell.

"It's all going to boil down to having good leadership - on and off the football field," concluded O'Donnell.



Ralph H. Eaton

Ralph Hartwell Eaton, 91, the guiding light in the developments west of downtown Pagosa Springs, died Nov. 3, 2003 in Phoenix, Ariz. where he was regarded as one of the real pioneer developers.

The collection of 26 subdivisions now collectively known as Pagosa Lakes, was primarily developed by Eaton International after his firm merged with Navajo Trail Corporation in 1969.

Eaton, who spent most of his life working in real estate development in Arizona and Colorado, was born on a farm near Steelville, Mo., 95 miles south of St. Louis, on Dec. 18, 1911, one of 12 children.

Survivors include four children: David of Phoenix, Helene Winter of Santa Barbara, Calif., Philip of Seattle, and Timothy of Santa Barbara; 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services were scheduled 10 a.m. Nov. 10 in Bethany Bible Church of Phoenix, with Grimshaw Mortuary in charge of arrangements.

Eaton and his late wife, Frances Perry Eaton, who preceded him in death in 2001, spent 21 summers in their home on Lake Pagosa. In 1976, they founded Pagosa's Community Bible Church, along with David Mitchell, Leonard Carey and Jerry Driesens. They later donated the land for the church and made a matching gift for its construction in 1980.

Eaton, in papers left with corporate offices, designated the following associations to be listed in his obituary, groups in which he was deeply involved:

He served of the boards of Phoenix Salvation Army, Rotary Club 100, Dallas Theological Seminary, Wycliffe Bible Translators Association, Young Life International, The Christian Business Men's Committee USA, and was a founding member and past board member of Bethany Bible Church, and past board member of Phoenix Christian High School.

Mr. Eaton was regarded as an optimist and dreamer to the end, aspiring always to high standards of principle, integrity, honesty and hard work and seeking to be faithful to God's call on his life, loyal and loving to family and friends, generous and helpful to so many people and organizations that have sought to make a difference.


Inside The Sun

Operation Helping Hand now accepting donations

Operation Helping Hand is underway for the 2003 holiday season.

Organizers are working on collecting donations to provide Thanksgiving food baskets for our less fortunate friends and neighbors throughout Archuleta County.

Donations of nonperishable food items such as dressing, canned vegetables, canned hams, gelatin mix or any other nonperishable ingredients for a Thanksgiving dinner may be dropped off at The Pagosa Springs SUN, 466 Pagosa St., Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Monetary donations to be used to purchase turkeys and other food items can be made to Operation Helping Hand account No. 6240417424 at Wells Fargo or mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Operation Helping Hand assists our less fortunate neighbors throughout the county during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Some families and individuals that seek help from this program are victims of domestic violence, children of single parents, physically challenged, mentally challenged or senior citizens living on a limited income.

Families seeking assistance from Operation Helping Hand for Thanksgiving or Christmas may pick up an application from the Department of Social Services located in Town Hall on Hot Springs Boulevard.

Forms should be completed and returned to the Department of Social Services by 3 p.m today for those requesting assistance at Thanksgiving. Persons requesting assistance for Christmas must return their applications by 3 p.m. Dec. 4.

Civic organizations and church groups have united to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure as many holiday season needs and wishes as possible can be accommodated.

Questions about Operation Helping Hand should be directed to the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.


School audit acceptance delayed for one month

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It seemed a clear cut decision but Mike Haynes wanted more time to study the report.

The result of his request to delay acceptance of the school district audit received last month left the board in a scheduling quandary Tuesday.

Nancy Schutz, business manager for Archuleta School District 50 Joint, had told auditor Michael Branch there had been no questions voiced about the audit.

But Haynes asked Tuesday for more time to "digest the figures."

The board agreed to delay audit acceptance to the December meeting, but then realized there would be a conflict with other meetings.

When the board decided to accommodate the change by moving the meeting date to Dec. 16, Schutz said she would not be there because of a state meeting.

And, she said, the annual levy verification must be submitted by Dec. 15, making the following day too late for action.

The board finally agreed to change the December meeting to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, giving sufficient time for the tax levy validation.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

- approved a Colorado High School Activities Association cooperative agreement allowing three Pagosa swimmers to travel to Durango High School twice a week for team practices and to travel with and compete for Durango High School

- adopted, after second reading and with review committee recommendation, new policies and policy revisions dealing with the district review committee; liability of school personnel and providing staff protection; defining professional staff, professional staff positions, highly qualified teachers and professional staff recruitment; discipline, suspension and dismissal of professional staff; support staff positions; and Title I parent involvement

- heard Schutz announce the anticipated decrease in enrollment was not as large as expected with a validated funded student figure of 1,576, down 13 from last year. Earlier estimates had indicated a probable drop of 30 or more

- received for first reading and study prior to the December meeting, proposed policies on school accountability reports, waivers of state laws and regulations, code of conduct, grounds for suspension/expulsion and screening/testing of students. In each case, the changes were necessitated by changes in either state or federal law and in most cases are minor

- saw a videotaped presentation of the current PHTV programming and saluted the students involved and the mentor, Curtis Maberry, for the significant improvement shown. At the same time the board was reminded the program received a national award last year and that students will be attending a national conference in January in California where they will have an entry in contention for honors

- heard fifth-grade teacher Mary Kurt-Mason report for the District Review Committee. She cited three current questions under study, including possible credit to teachers, for pay purposes, for Votec earned credits; high school level concerns that audiovisual programming is being directed more at younger students; and a staff manual section dealing with complaints to board members which has now been clarified with staff now indicating a greater feeling of freedom to so communicate

- heard a report from director Jon Forrest on activities of the Board of Cooperative Services indicating a problem replacing two departed psychologists and thus, a shortage of service to the Pagosa Springs schools.


Election winners are seated, Feazel selected school board president

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The changing of faces began Tuesday with the swearing in of two newly elected members of the board of education for Archuleta School district 50 Joint.

With outgoing board president Randall Davis conducting the swearing-in ceremony, Sandy Caves and Mike Haynes became duly elected members.

Caves, who defeated Gene Crabtree by 750 votes in the Nov. 4 election, takes the board seat being vacated by Davis who was unable to run again because of term limit legislation.

Haynes, appointed to the board to replace Russel Lee who moved from the district, polled 2,103 votes running unopposed for the seat.

His final act as a board member completed, Davis became a member of the audience as the newly formed board went about the task of electing its own officers.

Haynes' motion to elect Clifford Lucero as board president was seconded by Jon Forrest. But before the board could vote, Lucero declined the nomination.

"I'm truly honored by the confidence the motion shows, but in good conscience, with all the job and familial responsibilities I have," Lucero said, "I cannot accept the nomination."

He, in turn, nominated director Carol Feazel, sitting as vice president, for the top spot and the vote was unanimous.

With Feazel then in control, Lucero nominated Haynes for vice president and again the vote was unanimous. Caves was unanimously selected as secretary-treasurer and she also volunteered to be the board liaison to the District Review Committee.

Feazel will continue as the board's delegate to Colorado Association of School Boards and as the board's Legislative Network representative.

Forrest will continue as the board's delegate to the Board of Cooperative Services, a multi-district joint effort toward specialized staffing and bulk materials purchases.

In other personnel moves the board:

- granted administrative leave for Cindy Halverson, elementary School-Within-A-School teacher and Debbie Reynolds from the same program. They will attend the National Council of Teachers of English in San Francisco starting Nov. 19. They will make special presentations on how their program strengthens the connection between community and children and how the parental role as co-reader facilitates reading development in the school

- accepted with regret the resignation, for health reasons, of Judy Valdez a half-time teacher of English and American History in the high school

- accepted the resignation of Wes Lewis as head boys basketball coach at the junior high school

- approved the use of Kameron Cheney as a volunteer high school basketball coach, contingent upon completion of necessary background checks

- approved a recommended list of substitutes including John Watters and John Kellogg in custodial staff; Cynthia Snarr, Marsha Tucker, Denise Rue-Pastin, Philip Hamburg Michele Ziegler and Chris Corcoran as substitute teacher; Jeannie Alexander in secretarial staff; Robin Dill in food service; Ziegler and Corcoran as teacher aides and Corcoran for office subbing.


School board asked to weigh new junior high-intermediate facility


By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Embryonic plans for a possible new joint maintenance-administration-transportation facility for Archuleta School District 50 Joint drew a public foe Tuesday.

The plan was put into early movement last month with authorization for an engineering study for the possible facility on school property south of the high school.

Appearing before the board Tuesday, Nancy Miquelon, a counselor working with children and their families in Pagosa Springs, voiced opposition.

She said she has regular occasion to be in all the school buildings and that moving the bus barn away from the elementary school makes good sense and is very necessary.

Miquelon said the high school seems to have been well designed to deal with safety, traffic, buses and parking.

However, she argued, the intermediate and junior high school buildings need the same consideration.

"I witness almost daily the congestion and danger there. Not only is the junior high area congested with school buses on city streets, but parents are there picking up students, as they are at the elementary and high schools.

"The difference is that it is on city streets. It is also at the busiest intersection in town ... Pagosa Street is not only the main artery through town, it is a major highway ... truck traffic is incredibly heavy ... this is no place for a school anymore."

Then came her bombshell.

"We need a new junior high and intermediate school," she said. "The junior high building is falling apart and has been for quite some time. I have trouble justifying fixing a roof that has been fixed over and over and continues to leak ... the building is poorly designed inside and out."

Not only is the very small playground adjacent to the busy highway, she said, but children have to cross the thoroughfare to get to fields for physical education.

"It is not only dangerous," she said, "but gives the students a message that somehow they don't count as much when in junior high."

She said the district needs a new building and the first choice would be to have it next to the high school, thus eliminating a huge amount of congestion downtown.

She noted such a plan would put the junior high next to the high school sports complex, giving both schools use of the newly redesigned facility.

"The land south of the high school that is being considered for the bus barn, administrative offices and warehouse also happens to have one of the most spectacular views in the county. The children deserve first consideration for this space," she said.

Perhaps, she said, there is room for all of the proposed buildings at this site.

Obviously unaware the recreation fields she referred to across Pagosa Street from the junior high-intermediate campus are part of Town Park and owned by the town, not the school district, she proposed putting the bus barn facility where the recreation fields are, or selling those fields along with the land where the junior high sits, as prime downtown development sites with income used for the development of new facilities.

She suggested the old school, the intermediate school, "is a great old building, a historical landmark. Perhaps it could house administration offices, conference rooms and a warehouse facility and this building (administration) could become a warehouse, too."

Members of the school board thanked her for her interest.


First solo at 72 puts flyer's future up in the air

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

After a series of events that began in the late 1940s changed his life forever last month, Jim Mollendor's future is up in the air.

And Mollendor wants it that way, literally.

That's because the 72-year-old veteran, known as "Mo" to his friends, has recently returned to a former pastime - aviation - and intends to be airborne on a regular basis since completing his first-ever solo flight Oct. 8.

"I'm still walking pretty high," said Mollendor shortly after his successful solo takeoff and landing at Stevens Field in a single-engine Grumman AA-1B owned by his flight instructor, Brad Handy.

Having earned his instructor's rating at age 19, Handy has been qualified to teach people the rules of flight for 15 years, and feels Mollendor is quickly becoming a consummate student.

"I've got total confidence in him," says Handy. "He's only able to go up once or twice a week, but he's already a very good pilot."

Mollendor is neither a newcomer to air travel nor the oldest person to ever complete a solo flight, yet his saga is somewhat unique.

This past May marked the first time he'd been in an aircraft - of any kind - since a presumed final flight in the late '60s.

Why the prolonged layoff?

The explanation comes via a history that begins over a half-century ago, when Mollendor's interest in aviation was sparked soon after he joined the Marines in 1948 at age 16.

"I got into the airway and found out when you did good things, you were awarded credits - what they called flight scans," explained Mollendor.

"Basically it amounted to extra flight pay and sometimes more time in the sky, so I took advantage as often as I could," added Mollendor.

But involvement in a pair of plane crashes, one in 1949 and another the following year, dampened Mollendor's enthusiasm a bit.

"Nobody was killed, but I did get to feeling pretty spooky at times from then on," said Mollendor.

The mishaps weren't enough to keep him grounded, however, and Mollendor continued to rack up flight hours through the years, spending much of his time earning his "1,000 mile-an-hour patch" in the back seat of an F-4B supersonic jet.

Then Mollendor was involved in another potential disaster soon after his promotion to 2nd Lt. in 1966 and subsequent service as an ordnance officer in Vietnam.

"Technically I was what they called a 'ground officer,' but they decided to put me in a flare plane as safety personnel," said Mollendor.

"There were always lots of lights on inside the plane," added Mollendor, "and I remember thinking, 'We're lit up like a Christmas tree up here; I'm sure the enemy can see us plain as day.'"

As it turned out, Mollendor was right, and on one occasion a .50-caliber machine gun round pierced the plane's cockpit, badly injuring the pilot and copilot.

"But those pilots were darn good, and we made it back to the strip without too much trouble," said Mollendor. "Although after that I finally decided that disabled aircraft aren't really all that much fun."

As a result, Mollendor gave up flying altogether after being awarded his combat wings in 1967, apparently the only Marine Corps ground officer to garner such merits during a tour in Vietnam.

After retiring from the Marine Corps in 1969, Mollendor owned and managed a restaurant in Yuma, Ariz. for 18 years before eventually relocating to Pagosa Springs, but never wavered on his vow to remain flightless.

Until last spring.

"I just got the urge again - this is one of my last hurrahs, something I felt I had to do," said Mollendor of his return to the skies.

He started taking lessons with Handy, to whom Mollendor gives all the credit for his recent accomplishments.

"If it hadn't been for Brad, I would have folded the tent after the first few weeks," said Mollendor.

Due to the lingering memory of prior close calls, "It was rough at first, teaching an old dog new tricks and all - especially the landings," said Mollendor. "But Brad convinced me to keep going every time I'd get shaky and think it was time to quit."

With regard to his pupil's occasional jitters, "Nervous is normal, but flying is just like anything else," explains Handy. "You simply have to practice to become more comfortable and make strides.

"Most people probably don't remember the first time they swung a hammer," says Handy. "But they probably hit their thumb a few times at first, and learning to fly is no different; you just have to stick with it to get better."

According to Handy, "solo flying is the best confidence builder there is" for new pilots, a sentiment that seems to ring true in Mollendor's case.

"Now that I've got the solo out of the way, I'm definitely going to continue to work toward my private pilot's license," says Mollendor.

"I guess you could say I want the whole enchilada."


State track meet conflict changes PSHS graduation

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The best laid plans of school administrators can be cast astray by the whim of state authorities.

Witness the planned graduation of Pagosa Springs High School seniors on Saturday, May 22, 2004.

It seemed a logical date when chosen as part of the school calendar for the year, a selection voted on by the entire high school staff.

But, in a letter to the board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint, principal Bill Esterbrook described an unexpected need for change.

His letter noted that the graduation date was selected with the annual state track meet in mind. That meet, he said had always been held on the third weekend in May, which would have had it ending the weekend prior to graduation.

The governing board of Colorado High School Activities Association, however, switched the track event this year to the fourth weekend of May.

That would have it coinciding with the planned Pagosa graduation and would seriously hamper the track chances of a number of Pirate athletes.

That having been said, Esterbrook told the board the staff was asked to vote again, and unanimously approved switching the graduation to 2 p.m. Sunday, May 23, giving participating state track athletes time to get back home for the conclusion of their high school careers.

The board voted unanimously to accept the recommended change.

Esterbrook told the board he is working through administrative channels to get the state to return the track meet in future years to the third weekend of the month of May.

Many other school authorities, he said, have found the same problem with the scheduling.


Parents plead for reinstatement

of terminated school bus route

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Whose numbers do you believe?

When the board of education for Archuleta District 50 Joint cut school bus route 17 last month, it was because ridership did not meet district minimums.

The board was told that daily logs indicated fewer than the minimum five mandated in school policy were riding the line and that normal rider rate was three or less.

A delegation of parents from the affected route down Colo. 151 from U.S. 160, some charging they did not receive notification until the day before the route was stopped, pleaded Tuesday for its reinstatement.

And they argued loud and long that the ridership figures were erroneous. Two parents said that between them they have seven children on the bus every day ... now they have to drive them to the 160-151 intersection boarding.

One parent told the board she has tried to find a solution "but we're in some kind of no man's land."

She noted her family lives 18 miles from the current bus pickup and, while in Archuleta County, in the Ignacio school district.

"We pulled our children out of that district's schools, not only because of low CSAP scores, but because of fear for their safety. We put them in Pagosa schools because of the reputation for educational excellence.

"But," she said, "we can't afford to drive them all that way every day."

She said her family and others on the no-longer running route, pays taxes but seems to get nothing in return.

Parent Floyd McKee suggested the route could be reinstated if some of the field trips using buses were dropped, if the bus were parked in the pickup area at the end of the day as it was in the past, and days when one group of students go to school when others don't - like parent-teacher conference days - are more closely controlled.

He told the board its action in halting the route has put himself and other parents into undo hardship.

Another parent, Don Nix, asked, "Is there anyone of the board who can understand what we're going through?"

Carol Feazel, newly-elected board president, told him the route past her home also was cut.

Nix asked, "Are your children dropped off where there is no shelter, no phone, and placed in danger?"

He, too, challenged the ridership numbers, saying he could easily see a minimum of 12 students riding daily.

He and other parents admitted more children ride in the morning than in the afternoon because many are involved in after-school activities like sports, band and cheerleading.

Saying he is retired from law enforcement, Nix told the board the "criminal element has moved into this area. Our kids are left to their own devices of protection if dropped off far from home.

"Don't punish us because we live in a rural area," he pleaded. "We pay taxes but get no service."

He suggested the board study the time period 1948-1952 when the current consolidated school district was formed with the promise to all rural districts being dissolved that "our children would be transported to the central school facility."

Director Clifford Lucero asked for a reading of the specific district ridership policy being challenged. It specifically sets the five rider minimum.

The parents argued they already had lost the mileage allowance formerly granted for parents driving their children to the bus stop or to school. And then, the route was halted, "giving us a double hit in one year."

Another parent said many residents in their area are now home schooling their children "although they admit they are not teachers. They just can't afford to drive their students to school."

When another parent said, "We've gotten all kinds of excuses from Dolly (transportation superintendent Martin)," Lucero jumped to her defense.

"Don't attack her. She merely carries out the instructions of the board. We asked her to find ways to save money in her department and a bus line with less than minimum ridership was one of those ways."

Lucero suggested the possibility of revisiting the Route 17 issue, "but I guarantee you that if we restart it and there is insufficient ridership it will be cut again."

Feazel asked the parents to provide specific numbers on "guaranteed ridership and we'll study it at our December meeting. Get the numbers to Dolly and we'll compare them with actual on-board count."

The parental delegation agreed.


One man's dream affected future of Pagosa Country

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

From his days as one of 12 children of a south central Missouri farmer, he was a tireless person who learned what an earned dollar was for.

He did everything a farm boy takes for granted - tended crops, milked cows, and fed chickens and hogs.

When a little older he scrambled for jobs. With a brother, he became a produce man, borrowing on every asset to get the $2,000 they needed to establish a food distribution company.

"We hung on for several years in a rented shed," he once reported. "And we grew ... once creditors learned you were honest they would go a long way with you."

"I've never failed to pay what I owe," he added. "It has always been an abiding principle of mine."

The man all these facts describe was, in fact, one of the primary reasons Pagosa Country is what it is today.

He was Ralph H. Eaton, founder as his entrepreneurship developed, of Eaton International, the firm which proposed, designed and began the area now known as Pagosa Lakes after a 1970 merger with Navajo Trail Corp.

Eaton, who with his wife, Frances, spent 21 summers in their home on Lake Pagosa as his dream grew around him, died Nov. 3 in Phoenix.

But this is not about his death. It is about his impact on what we all call home today.

His business ethic was such that almost everything he attempted was a success.

The food purveyor became one of the West's most respected businessmen with a multi-state construction and land development operation.

That reputation got its start in post World War II Phoenix where he constructed one of the first residential subdivisions and then began developing industrial properties. Business and industrial parks he developed are part of the Phoenix persona of today.

He was drawn to the Pagosa area by its beauty and the possibility of creating something special.

The outgrowth was a 26,000 acre planned resort community consisting of clusters of villages, each with its own lifestyle, personality and recreational facilities blending in with the natural surroundings.

Through it all, he maintained a Christian ethic in every dealing.

From corporate files, The SUN received this note written by Eaton himself and titled simply "My Philosophy for life:

"My own personal philosophy for life is a fairly simple one. The basic ingredient is a personal faith in the lord Jesus Christ, therefore, my desires, ambitions and motivations are all centered in and around my Christian commitment.

"I had a very humble beginning - I was one of a very large family, taught early in life the necessity to work to earn one's needs, learned the value of honesty and integrity in human relationships both in family, social, community and business life.

"The practice of compete honesty and integrity in all my business affairs has been my total objective. I have tried it and it works.

"I believe in treating others as I like to be treated. I believe people are more important than material things. I believe that being successful is a very worthy ambition and goal and I have worked hard to achieve success in whatever I have undertaken.

"However, I will not compromise my Christian commitment for success or personal gain."

His commitment to the Pagosa project produced the lodge and expanded it; added lakes to those already existing; started the golf course, a racquet club, riding stable, winter sports center and miles of roads and underground utilities.

The recently expanded Ralph Eaton Recreation Center keeps his name alive in the community, alive for hundreds of users who probably have no idea who he was.

They need to know his "Pagosa in Colorado" was what he called "the most beautiful country in America."

He was dedicated to the principle of preserving and protecting the early day history and landmarks of the area while developing it for the use and enjoyment of others.

The Eatons, along with four Pagosa businessmen, founded the community's Community Bible Church in 1976 and four years later the Eaton's made a matching grant for construction of the congregation's house of worship.

Fred Ebeling, a current member of the board of directors for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, was one who knew Eaton well for many years.

"He was a real neat guy, one with strong religious beliefs, and a man everybody respected," said Ebeling.

He agreed Eaton was the prime individual mover in the development of the residential areas west of the town.

"He wanted the very best possible development he could get. Some things, naturally, did not live up to his expectations, but that can be said of any large business venture."

There is no doubt, he said, "that Mr. Eaton was the guiding and driving force after the development had problems in the beginning, before he became involved."

Effects of the Eaton development were readily recognizable as a significant economic factor.

The SUN reported on May 27, 1982, the conclusions of a study by Western Colorado Rural Communities Program at Fort Lewis College on "A New Community: Its Development and Governance."

Among other things, it concluded that in the previous two years more than half the growth in the county was in the Eaton development; between 41 and 48 percent of all taxable property in the county was in the Eaton area; and Eaton developments' population was 24 percent of the entire county while, in comparative terms, the town of Pagosa Springs had dropped from 50 percent to 37 percent between 1970 and 1980.

That is telling data reflecting the difference in the county after Ralph Eaton's planned community became at least partial reality.


Holding onto anger increases your risk of severe disease

It's natural to feel angry and stressed once in a while. But it's not healthy to stay agitated, bottle up your anger or express it with explosive outbursts.

Here are a few tips from the book "Mayo Clinic on Depression" that can help you deal with anger and stress in a more positive way:

- Identify what triggers your anger and prepare for it

- Remove yourself from the situation, then choose your response

- Express your frustration calmly rather than in a verbal outburst

- Find a constructive way, like writing or dancing, to release the energy produced by your anger

- Release "hot thoughts" that rekindle anger.

Researchers believe harboring vengeful and painful feelings places your body under continuous stress. In addition to harming your emotional health, holding on to anger may increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

So, how do you let go?

You learn to forgive. Anger may be fueled by a lingering resentment toward someone who wronged you or hurt you. A study of women who survived incest found that those who learned to forgive lessened their anxiety and depression. Forgiving doesn't mean denying or condoning what happened, but it is a way to keep negative feelings from consuming you.

Sometimes simply becoming aware of what causes you stress can make it easier to cope. Your stress may be linked to external factors like work, family or unpredictable events.

Or it may stem from internal factors, like perfectionism or unrealistic expectations. Concentrate on those stressors you can change. In situations beyond your control, look for ways to remain calm under the circumstances.

One of the best ways to manage your emotional health is to anticipate and solve potential problems before they become worse. This means embracing habits that support your emotional health, like exercise and good nutrition.

Be aware of the warning signs that your emotional health is out of whack, like waking up early in the morning, eating more than usual or irritability over trivial matters. Life naturally brings ups and downs; occasionally feeling sad or blue doesn't mean you're sinking into depression. But if these feelings persist, see your doctor or therapist.

To help you develop healthy habits, Mayo Clinic Health Information is offering a free booklet, "Live Longer, Live Better." Write to Mayo Clinic Health Information - Live Better Booklet - OE-6, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55905.


High school girls learning how to avoid risk of rape

By Cayce Brown

Staff Writer

"No!" screams the young female as the man grabs her arm.

She pivots around and begins to hammer away at the sparring pad her instructor, Chuck Allen, has secured to his arm.

"Good job," Allen says before reminding her to keep her stance wide and balanced.

Allen, a Pagosa Springs police officer, along with Liz Wontusiak of the Victims Advocate Office, was teaching rape defense to freshmen and sophomore girls at Pagosa Springs High School.

The class is part of the Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, program. Allen is RAD certified and has taught classes for 20 years, including sessions at Mesa State College and for various public groups.

RAD programs teach women of all ages how to prevent getting in a situation where they could be raped, and how to get out of it if they are put into the situation.

First, a small booklet is given to participants. The participants read sections that describe certain situations to avoid, and they answer questions to self-check their comprehension.

The interactive part of the course, where most of the class time is spent, is a hands-on training section in which students are trained to defend themselves in the event they find themselves in a situation they can't avoid.

Allen shows students how to escape if they are grabbed, where to strike attackers for the best results and how to find witnesses.

The Pagosa Springs High School girls are more than happy to take this class.

"I think it's real good that we are taking this class," said freshmen Sabra Brown. "Just in case something does happen it would be good to know how to defend yourself."

Allen knows the importance of having to defend yourself. He had only to reveal one surprising statistic to justify the program.

" The entire purpose of this program is to not have victims," he said. "One in four girls who attend a four-year college will be sexually assaulted."

This is a startling number and makes this a good class for young girls to take, considering many of them will probably go on to a college.

This is the first year the program has been part of the girls' physical education curriculum at the high school. It will take place next semester and possibly continue beyond that to next year.

Both students and teachers have responded to the program in a positive way.

Physical education teacher Penné Hamilton said, "I think it will be very worthwhile for the girls who are attentive. It provides useful skills to protect themselves in the event that they are put in a bad situation."

Drie Young, a sophomore, had this to say about the program: "It's fun and it's good to know because 70 percent of the girls who take this class will not become victims of rape. I feel much more secure now that I have taken this class."

The threat of rape is a serious issue and something all young women should realize is a problem they might someday confront.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a woman is raped every two minutes.

Even more surprising is the number of rapes that go unreported. The FBI estimates only 37 percent of all rapes are reported to police.

Justice Department statistics are even lower, revealing only 26 percent of all rapes or attempted rapes are reported to law enforcement officials.

Part of the local high school curriculum also teaches the girls to be unafraid to report a rape crime and never to think it is their fault if they are assaulted.

Allen was pleased with the girls in his class and said he looks forward to teaching additional classes.

"I am very happy to see that the girls have responded so well to the class. Many of them have positive attitudes and are also having a lot of fun with what we are doing," said Allen, as he proudly displayed the bruises members of the class gave him during the sessions.




Ethnics Conflict

Dear Editor:

Elections. Recall. Jail. Colorado State Ethics Code. According to county commissioners Bill Downey and Alden Ecker, there are already enough mechanisms in place to address conflicts of interest and ethical behavior.

After several work sessions, drafts, revisions, and considerable taxpayers' expense, commissioners Ecker and Downey agreed, in Downey's words, " the state statutes cover ethics adequately and satisfactorily." Downey elaborated that elections are the way for the public to "take care of it."

Downey had shown earlier, though nominal, interest in a county code, but said he'd thought it over and changed his mind. Ecker, who never showed support for a county code, was quick to jump on Downey's bandwagon.

Commissioner Mamie Lynch defended the effort with, "I'd like to offer a different viewpoint." She said she had "no problem with financial disclosure," that a county code "cleans things up for voters," would be "stronger and more definitive," and she considers "the state (code) "minimum standards."

Ecker noted that he thinks it's a non-issue here based on his extensive meetings with the public and other commissioners in the state. He claims he's never had any citizen bring it up. How soon we forget

When Ecker and Downey were members of the previous board, with then commissioner Gene Crabtree, the newspaper was loaded with charges of conflicts of interest. As a result, around 100 citizens desiring to learn how to do something about it showed up for a meeting conducted by the nonprofit organization Citizens' Voice. Presented with five model reform ordinances, from developer disclosure to taxpayer right-to-know, an ethics code was the one almost unanimously chosen to pursue back in March 2002.

Lynch, the newest member of the board, included adoption of a county ethics code in her 2002 campaign platform, which may have contributed to her overwhelming victory over the incumbent commissioner, Gene Crabtree.

How Ecker and Downey could dismiss all this surprises me. Since both are up for re-election next November, they must realize some boards need a real ethics code. Was this a risky decision?

To actually pass the code requires two favorable commissioner votes. Lynch recognized she was outnumbered and continued discussion was, as she put it, "an exercise in futility." Lynch said, "It's time to put this to bed there's no point wasting any more county money."

Folks, the state statute was created for politicians, by politicians - smoke and mirrors to make it sound like they have ethics standards. The county courthouse could fit through the loopholes that are woven with "mays," and "coulds," and subjective, ineffective standards.

In May, 80 percent of Denver voters passed an amendment to strengthen their code. The Boulder City Council unanimously passed a new ethics code. Certainly, the citizens of Archuleta County deserve to have the highest possible ethical standards, too.

So, looks to me that determining key local election issues for 2004 is "E-Z" - add the "E" word to the "Z" word. It's simple - vote!


Karen Aspin

Hidden data

Dear Editor:

I think it's interesting that Patty Tillerson feels compelled to publicly defend the actions of the health services district board whenever a controversy arises, which is quite often.

Her letter last week completely missed the point of "the report" fiasco. The point is not whether the "manager" was aware of what was in the report or that she has been working on the indicated problems, or that she was interviewed for the report.

The simple point is that the report was a scathing document on the EMS operation and it was kept from the members of the board, and the public, for over a month while efforts were made to get it revised. The members of the board should be asking themselves what else has been kept from them and by whom.

On another matter, EMTs were part of a search and rescue team that recently located an injured party, stayed with him overnight, and had him flown out of the mountains the next day. The patient required medical aid and medications during the night and the following morning. EMTs provided those services as they have on many missions over the years.

It was a great team effort and all those involved felt good until the district sent search and rescue a bill for $762.50 for services and meds. Who received the meds and aid, the search team? Hardly, it was the patient.

Search and rescue has never been billed for this kind of service in connection with a mission. If the district wants to bill someone for their services, it had better be the patient. What kind of operation are these people running?


Pat Curtis

Facilitator speaks

Dear Editor:

I would like to say thank you to all of the citizens of Pagosa country who participated in the focus groups recently hosted by the Upper San Juan Health Service District.

As the facilitator of these groups I want to say how much I appreciate how all of you arranged your schedules so we could sit down together and talk about the district and, in particular, listen to your perceptions and needs of the district services.

When I was handed this project just three weeks ago I was skeptical, to say the least, about arranging so many meetings with so many people given the timeframe for completion. We tried to reach as many representatives of the district population as possible. I was greatly impressed with your response, not only indicative of another one of the great things about small town intimacy, but also about the degree of your concerns about health care delivery in this community.

Every citizen of the district is a player in the same drama being enacted here in Pagosa country that is being enacted in many other places in this country. Change is upon us everywhere and, unfortunately, the health care system is not exempt.

As that ripple is being felt here, Pagosa country is faced with either a crisis or a unique opportunity-a crisis that disintegrates into polarization and judgment and the pain and suffering that results, or an opportunity to pool talents and resources and design a system that gives people what they really want from health care, i.e., health care that works. It starts with inviting citizens to dialogue and proceeds from there.

Again I thank you for your willing and cooperative response. The information collected from these focus groups has been presented to the management and to the board of directors of the district and it is my understanding that a public comment is forthcoming.

In closing I would like to say that given the wealth of talent represented in this community, Pagosa can surely rise to the opportunity.

Karma Raley


Dear Editor:

I was somewhat amused/confused by Patty Tillerson's allegation in her letter of Nov. 6 that a SUN article was "pure power politics." Since Ms. Tillerson does not directly identify the article to which she makes reference, I can only presume that it pertains to The SUN's front-page story on the USJHSD board meeting of Oct. 28.

Should my assumption be correct, I fail to comprehend where Tillerson can establish that The SUN article reeks of power play politics. But I do accept that they will publish coverage of any significant meeting that takes place in the county.

Possibly Tillerson just has became temporarily blinded by the brightness of the SUN logo - as her interpretation of power politics is dubious and totally different from most folks'.

Should you desire to observe a defining demonstration of "pure power politics" in the future, stick around and pay attention to the May 2004 election for USJHSD board positions. The results will most likely provide a severe jolt of power politics. Its label will then be the "pure power" of concerned voters.

There was one significant statement made at the USJHSD meeting Oct. 28 that The SUN did not reveal which was paramount to me as a taxpayer. The executive director of the district made a comment that does signify her attitude toward those who pay her salary. A lady in the assembly asked what I considered to be a fair and acutely vital question. Jackson's immediate retort was "That is an irrelevant question."

Well, any assiduous executive director of a tax-supported organization who does not realize there are absolutely no "irrelevant questions" from a taxpaying audience best look for other employment, quickly.

It was also stated at the Oct. 28 meeting that the district was paying a locum physician $2,000 per weekend of coverage for the clinic, which did openly astound one of the district board members. I wonder if directors would consider this amount to be judicious management of taxpayer funds?

If the district continues this excessive waste and abuse of our tax dollars, I hope it is understood that there will never be another mill levy increase to save everyone's posterior.

Ms. Tillerson, just a few more questions for you concerning your efforts at "continuing work in progress."

I noticed that the USJHSD accountant was not present at your Oct. 28 meeting and your executive director couldn't even produce a cash flow status. Why? Is there any current master and commander of our money, or is somebody simply engaging in another power play? Maybe the accountant just disappeared on some "irrelevant" administrative leave somewhere: I hope, without pay.

Us right-wingers periodically get curious. But isn't it amazing how much a "dimwit" can observe by just watchin'?

Jim Sawicki

Twisted rhetoric

Dear Editor:

An ad and a board director communicated in last week's SUN the way they want things to be at the Upper San Juan Health Service District - not how they are.

The ad tries to make the Emergency Medical Service sound robust and fully ready to serve while it is under sanction from the state. A professional report now informs us EMS could produce a "catastrophic patient event" and "complete shutdown of the service."

Citizens with scanner radios know these type problems continue, as do police, fire, etc. The potential liability is enormous.

Patty Tillerson insists the board has seen an "outpouring of support" from the public. I remind the reader this is the director who insisted for most of the last year that only "a small group of trouble makers" were the problem and most of the employees fully supported the board. She continued this refrain until every last clinic employee turned their backs on the board and its policy, and resigned.

This is the second professionally prepared report paid for by the taxpayers, that this board has sought to hide, ignore and discredit. Both reports agree on the basic problem: The board and the management have failed us.

It is each board member's legal responsibility to openly tell the truth about any district business. This board subverts the principles of "Sunshine Laws" by continued and gross misuse of executive session telling only what it wants the local press to report and citizens to hear. Good citizens like J.R. Ford and others have to devote personal time and money, do research, and play frustrating word games with the chairman to get the truth. Where is our district attorney?

If an elected board ever needed a vote of confidence to carry on its policies, this is it. The sheer magnitude of the problems and two years of citizen dissent demand it. The board could ask any one of the several civic-political volunteer groups to organize an independent, random and statistically valid phone survey. It wouldn't cost a cent or take a long time to answer the question of confidence or no confidence.

Do I think this will happen? As likely as a snowball's chance in Death Valley!

The election is coming. The election is as sure as taxes and death and just as final.

We all need to pray daily the catastrophic event does not happen and there is something left to salvage in May.

Norm Vance

Easily answered

Dear Editor:

Lest this letter be misconstrued, I'd like to state that I have a great deal of sympathy for our troops; those who are currently engaged and the veterans who nobly enlisted or were drafted into fighting the rich men's wars at such great cost to themselves. I contribute regularly to their organizations, which is more than can be said of our current commander-in-chief, who is cutting their funding while calling more to the killing fields.

A standing army to protect the borders of a country is both biblically and politically sound. A class of unwitting cannon-fodder created by the elites to serve their interests is not.

I think Mr. Sawicki's question regarding the troops in our military: i.e., "Lord, where do we get such men and women?" is easily answered.

We get them from a country that has glorified weapons, killing, and death since its inception:

From an economic system that leaves no hope, and little choice for the disadvantaged but to learn to kill, on the streets or in the armed services:

From an education system that spits out nearly a third of it's students before graduation, graduates millions of unskilled children who cannot read, and produces millions more who cannot think and do not want to:

From controlled media that promote thoughtless action and cultivate brutality.

We get them from a government that incessantly lies about nearly everything:

From a society dumbed-down and indoctrinated with fraudulent "patriotism":

From politics of cynicism, favoritism, deceit, and broken promises:

From knowing little and caring less about the people of other countries, or even this one.

We get them from a language that has disintegrated into euphemistic doublespeak, perpetual profanity, and sound-byte slang:

From a public discourse (radio talk shows, television bully pulpits, "real life" conversations) in which few are willing and/or able to thoughtfully consider a point of view different from their own, wherein screaming vituperation overwhelms the rare voice of reason.

We get them from parents who cannot or will not stay home enough to love and nurture their children:

From a culture of consumption and the quick fix.

We get them from a government/big business collusion of cronyism and corruption:

From a judicial system of institutionalized injustice:

From a science that tells us we are purposeless beasts:

From a psychology that encourages our confinement to the impulses of the reptilian brain:

From a philosophy that says we came from nowhere, are going nowhere, and have nothing real to live for:

From an ethical system that insists there is no truth, there are no eternal consequences; that "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law."

We get them from a religious system that denies an undeniable precept of its life-giving, death-destroying Founder, and sends its children to kill in His name.

We get them from the natural desire to sacrifice, protect and defend.

We get them from the unregenerate heart of man.

Wendy Wallace


Community News

Senior News

Glucosamine helps blend sulphur into the cartilage

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

There was an error in the November Senior Newsletter - line dancing will only be held Nov. 19, not Nov. 12 or 26.

I understand the line dancing class went to the Vista Clubhouse on Halloween and wowed the crowd with a demonstration of their prowess. Come join the group and have some fun.

We are showing a movie Friday, "O Brother, Where Art Thou," at 1 p.m. in the lounge. Popcorn is still only 25 cents and as always, the movie is free. Come and enjoy the show.

At the SC_None ... George used to get a stitch in his gitalong, now at his age he gets a hitch in his stepaside!

George's brother used to like to buy new cars, so George is wondering if you remember some of the old cars: Lexington, Star, Durant, Marmom, Overland and Chalmers? If you have any good memories, let me know.


Allegedly real notes found in patients' medical files:

- patient has chest pains if she lies on her left side for over a year

- the patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears depressed

- healthy appearing decrepit 69-year-old male, mentally alert but forgetful

- she is numb from her toes down

- the patient refused autopsy

- she stated that she had been constipated most of her life, until she got a divorce.

What is glucosamine?

Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body.

This one-molecule substance consists of glucose and a hydrogen and nitrogen amine.

Because of its composition, it is classified as an amino sugar. Amino sugars are different from other body sugars, as their function is different. They do not provide an energy source, but rather are included in body tissue structure.

Glucosamine helps blend sulfur into the cartilage. When people grow older, their bodies may lose the capacity to make enough glucosamine, so the cartilage in their weight-bearing joints is destroyed, then hardens and forms bone spurs, causing pain, deformed joints and limited joint movement.

Glucosamine is not available from any primary food source, but is commercially prepared.

A number of studies show that glucosamine works to stimulate joint function and repair. It can also aid in treating sports injuries, bursitis, food and respiratory allergies, asthma, osteoporosis, tendonitis and some skin problems.

Individuals on potassium reduced diets, with heart disease, renal disease or high blood pressure related to salt intake should avoid taking glucosamine supplements. Diabetics need to be aware that glucosamine is a glucose containing food and can raise glucose levels, so they should be very careful.

Always be sure to check with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.

Are you knowledgable in Medicare? If so we can use your help. We are planning to provide free training for one or two individuals in the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program. For more information, contact Musetta at 264-2167.

Sign up now for Francisco's Thanksgiving dinner 2-4 p.m. Nov. 25. Tickets are free, but there are a limited number. The bus is already full, this is a popular event. Call the center to sign up for tickets.

November is National Family Caregivers Mouth.

The intent of this program is to develop and provide a system of support for the family caregiver who is providing services to the elderly population of Colorado. It is families, not social service agencies, that provide the majority of care to the elderly.

The National Caregiver Support Program provides five basic services for family caregivers: information, assistance in obtaining assistance, individual counseling, respite care and supplemental services.

For more information, contact Eldercare at 1(800) 677-1116 or, or call Leslie at San Juan Basin Health, 264-2673.

Visitors and guests

We had some non-seniors for lunch this week: John Frasz, Nicholas Weber and Darrell Belger (it's good to have young people here).

We also fed Bert Kirkpatrick (although we missed Byrd) and we met a bunch of Grants - Dillard, Janice, Chet and Juanita.

We also fed Glen Raby after he gave a wonderful presentation.


Friday - Qi Gong, 11 a.m.; Medicare counseling, 11; blood pressure check, 11; AAA elections, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; free movie, "O Brother Where Are Thou?," 1 p.m.

Nov. 17 - bridge for fun, 1 p.m.

Nov. 18 - yoga, 9:30 a.m.; advanced computer class, 10:30; pinochle, 1 p.m.; Sky Ute Casino trip, 1 p.m.

Nov. 19 - beginning computer class, 10:30 a.m.; line dancing, 1 p.m.


Friday - Cubed steak, boiled potatoes, spinach and whole wheat roll.

Nov. 17 - Chicken chop suey, rice, oriental vegetables, cookie and pears.

Nov. 18 - Ham and beans, broccoli, peaches and cornbread.

Nov. 19 - Tuna loaf, creamed peas, pickled beets, whole wheat roll and mixed fruit

Nov. 21 - Porcupine meat balls, three-bean salad, muffin and orange wedges.


Chamber News

Pagosa Perks: Great gifts keeping the money at home

By Sally Hameister

Don't forget to bring us your insert for the upcoming December issue of the Chamber Communiqué by the deadline Nov. 26.

This is the perfect time to send your holiday greeting, announce holiday specials, herald the opening of your new business or just reinforce the consistent bargains to be found at your place.

Just bring us 750 copies of your insert and a check for $40, and we'll take it from there. We like to think of this as the best marketing bargain of the century, and the December issue is a particularly effective one because of the holiday sales potential.

Give us a call at 264-2360 with questions and remember the Nov. 26 deadline.

Pagosa Perks

Please check out the ad in today's SUN with Carrie Campbell, manager of Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation, announcing to the world that she will be giving her employees Pagosa Perks gift certificates as bonuses this year.

We hope all employers will consider this option as a great way to keep a good chunk of the holiday shopping dollars here in Pagosa.

It's as simple as coming to the Visitor Center and buying whatever amount you would like to give as gifts for all occasions. Remember that these are not only holiday gifts but equally as welcome for birthdays, anniversaries, graduation and basically any and every special occasion.

Another great thing about these beauties is that they come in increments of $10 so that you can spend as little as 10 or as much as you like - the sky's the limit. We will also provide special envelopes for presentation with a list of all Chamber members enclosed so that your recipient will know that they have many, many options as to where they elect to spend the Perks.

As I have mentioned before, Pagosa Perks will buy groceries, pay utilities or go just about any blasted place you want them to go.

Pagosa Perks also allow you to give the absolute perfect gift to everyone because the lucky recipients have the luxury of selecting exactly what they would like.

What could be better? Just think of the stress you will eliminate by not worrying about sizes, colors and tastes. Pagosa Perks could make you the most popular gift-giver in town. Give us a call with questions at 264-2360.

Christmas concerts

Do indeed mark your calendars with the dates for these Community Choir concerts, because your season just won't be complete until you have attended at least one.

The first concert is being held 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, so you can attend the Parade of Lights downtown at 6, and still have time to make it over to First Baptist Church on U.S. 160.

If that's a little frenzied for you, the same time Dec. 13 is another option, or you can attend the 4 p.m. concert on Dec. 14. You will be treated to some of the finest voices in Pagosa in traditional music like "Silent Night" or more current tunes like "White Christmas." What you are guaranteed is an evening that is both inspirational and loaded with warm holiday spirit. I always leave feeling so much better.

If you have questions, you can call Sue Kehret at 731-3858.

Open house

While making your plans for Christmas in Pagosa on Dec. 6, include the open house at Moonlight Books and Gallery which will be held all day long - 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Santa begins his appearance at the Visitor Center at 3, so plan to come to town early to hit Moonlight Books before your visit with Santa. Local artists, Denny Rose, Virginia Bartlett and Bruce Andersen will be there with demonstrations and discounts, Glen Raby and Shari Pierce will share a brief history of Pagosa Springs, and snacks and drinks will be served throughout the day. Just another event to add to the festivity of Pagosa's official holiday season opening.

Free counseling

Give us a call if you would like an appointment with Joe Keck, director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College.

Joe will be here in Pagosa at the Visitor Center Nov. 20 with free business counseling and would be happy to spend time with you. He is the recognized guru of business affairs throughout the Four Corners area and can answer all kinds of questions concerning business start-up, plans or whatever aspect you would like to discuss.

Please give Doug a call at 264-2360 to set up your appointment.

Lord of the Springs

The Pagosa Pretenders Family Theatre in association with Artstream Cultural Resources invites you to audition for their upcoming original play, "Lord of the Springs."

They are looking for actors, musicians and dancers, both children and adults, to participate in this project.

The fabulous thing about this is that everyone who auditions is guaranteed a part - that certainly takes the stress out of auditioning, doesn't it?

An audition will consist of a simple improvisational game and families are particularly encouraged to participate. The play will be presented Feb. 20, 21, 27 and 28 at the high school auditorium.

For information, contact Mark Brown at 731-3546 or Bill Hudson at 264-2491.

Holiday fun

The holidays are just around the corner, so mark your calendars so you won't miss a single event during an always particularly festive season in Pagosa.

The annual Christmas in Pagosa which officially kicks off the holidays locally will take place on Dec. 6, with Santa and Mrs. Claus presiding at the Visitor Center 3-5:30 p.m. with candy canes for all the good little boys and girls.

The Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus will grace us with their beautiful voices and lead our caroling and at dusk, Santa will perform his magic and light up the Visitor Center.

Delicious Christmas cookies and hot spiced cider will be served throughout the event, and we will have an official photographer to capture those precious moments with Santa for posterity.

The following Friday, the fifth annual Parade of Lights will take place downtown beginning at 6 p.m.

In the spirit of the season, this year there will be no entry fee - none at all - but the prize money will still be awarded for the best and brightest floats in the business, family and organization categories.

More on this later, but just wanted to make sure your calendars were filled in with the proper dates.

CUMC annual bazaar

Beginning Monday, through Nov. 24, you will have the opportunity to order a gorgeous fresh wreath or table arrangement from the spunky little Christmas elves at Community United Methodist Church.

As many of you know, this bazaar is a time-honored Pagosa tradition carried out by 40 to 50 volunteers who put in hours and hours to benefit the church and the local community.

Last year these generous souls created over 750 wreaths and 175 table arrangements.

You must place your orders by Nov. 24, and the bazaar will end on Dec. 5. The wreaths make beautiful gifts to send from the great state of Colorado and range in price from $19 to $27. Table arrangements begin at $15.

Get your order in early so you won't miss out.


We are especially happy to welcome two new members and a nice even dozen renewals this week.

Our first member, who is president of the Builders Association of Pagosa Springs, nicely completes the list of executive officers of that organization. We are proud to say that Curt Johnson (vice president), Mark Mesker (secretary) and Maggi Dix-Caruso (treasurer) are all current Chamber members, so it is a special pleasure to welcome the group's president, Ken Hamblin, to our merry organization.

Ken brings us K-H Construction. Ken not only will build you a custom log home, he will repair your current log home and offers insurance fire and water damage repair as well. The extra benefit that Ken offers is that he has been a Pagosa Springs resident for the last 37 years so is very familiar with all the "local customs" and local folks. You can give him a call at 264-5725 to learn more about K-H Construction.

Justin Davis joins us next with SkyWerx Wireless Internet which provides a wireless alternative to wired internet access such as DSL and cable modems.

They extend the "last mile" offering high-speed IP-based data services to those who can and cannot receive them. If you would like more information, please give Justin a call at 731-9740.

Our renewals this week include Dave and Suzy Belt with Echo Mountain Alpacas and Fibre Arts Studio, Inc.; Stephen Saltsman with Flexible Flyers Rafting in Durango; Marta E. Bonsignore with United Country Premier Brokers; Lynn Shirk with JTL Appraisals, LLC,; Josie Sifft with Spirit Rest Retreat; Pat Richmond with the Creede/Mineral County Chamber of Commerce; John G. Fargerson with Silverado Clothing; Jim Knoll with PACK; and Jim and Jennifer Harnick with Pagosa Custom Homes.

Our Associate Member renewals this week include our old pal and former board director, Andy Donlon, Gary and Wanda King and John Smith. We are grateful to each and every new member and renewal for your support.


Library News

Model railroad display highlights month at library

Once again we are honored to display a wonderful collection of trains.

The miniature equipment was loaned from S Helper Service, Bob Nordmann, Richard Wholf and Tim Bristow. The display is part of the observance of National Model Railroad Month by members of the Pagosa Springs Model RR & Railfans Group.

It is dedicated to the fond memory of club member Carl Jolliff who was a cofounder of the Pagosa Model Railroad Group.

One of the models is the passenger car the "Pagosa Junction Combine" that was used between Pagosa Springs and Pagosa Junction. The Pagosa Springs branch line turned around in what is today the downtown City Market parking lot. The railroad station still exists about a block south and is now a private residence.

Come see our trains and if you want more information about joining the group, call Richard Wholf at 731-2012.

New book

Carole Howard is always bringing us interesting books, magazines, and great ideas. Her latest gift is a booklet entitled "12 Immutable Laws of Chairmanship: The Inside Story of Non-Profit Board Governance," by John F. Budd Jr. Mr. Budd calls it a "Street Smart" Gospel learned serving on 22 volunteer boards.

In his preface, Budd reminds us that American generosity in public and civic services was noted by Alexis de Tocqueville in his classic, "Democracy in America."

Some 40-percent of Americans did some volunteer work last year totaling an estimated 81 hours per week.

Budd estimates there are over 2 million serving on boards - some are trustees, some are directors. Their job is to maintain fiduciary integrity, and also maintain transparent and coherent operations among other leadership charges.

He states that the boards set the tone, and the goals of every organization.

But Budd admits that board meetings can get incredibly boring and can dull the appetite for civic service. He has spent 30 years sitting in monotonous board meetings, and as he says, "I escaped the toneless droning by dreaming of how I'd do it differently."

Thankfully, he has come up with 12 memos with practical tips to help board chairmen. I recommend this wonderful piece to anyone serving on any board.

Carole Howard and Mr. Budd just attended a reunion of people who have been named "Distinguished Lecturers in Public Relations" by Ball State University over the past 25 years. Carole was the honoree in 1990.

Library closing

Becky will be updating the computer network on Monday in the afternoon so we will close at noon. Thanks for your patience. The upgrade should have many more features that will be of help to both patrons and staff.


Many thanks to those of you who have given to the building fund. I will be listing the names soon.

Thanks for materials from Livia and Bob Lynch, Dr. Dohner, Dana Dellmore, the Dermody family, Dr. Lindsey Inouye, Raymond Taylor, Steven Benson, Nancy Metcalf, John and Heidi Emanuel, Denny Bell, Lory Thompson, Dick and Kay Redfield, Mike Clinton, Sharon Pack and Sheryn Young.

Veteran's Corner

Clinic scheduling can be a veteran's nightmare

Hundreds of Archuleta County veterans are enrolled in VA health care.

VA health care issues are constantly changing and the need for veterans to be vigilant in their own needs has never been more important.

A case in point is the ever-changing process of appointments at the VA health care clinics. This includes appointments at Durango, Farmington and Albuquerque.

Frequently I have noticed that veterans tell me about their appointment at one of these facilities early in the morning for routine checkup and physical examinations.

The person making the appointment for the veteran at the VA facility often does not take into consideration the travel distance involved for an early morning appointment. They simply look at the veteran's name and Social Security number and schedule the next available appointment, usually when the veteran has just completed an appointment or is calling for an appointment.

Early appointments

If the early appointment is in Durango it means the veteran has to leave Pagosa Springs before 7 a.m. to insure arriving on time.

If the appointment is in Farmington the veteran would have to leave before 5 a.m.

Albuquerque requires a drive of four to five hours. Luckily the Albuquerque VA Medical Center provides an overnight accommodation for veterans traveling long distance, such as from Pagosa Springs. Most veterans are familiar with this program, but if you need information, I have it here in the office.

I suggest veterans discuss the need for an early morning appointment with the person making the appointment, to insure that it is the only available option and that the person understands the travel distance involved.

In other words, don't just accept this appointment as the only option. It may be the VA appointment person does not realize you are traveling a considerable distance. It may be they have just picked the next available time and date. Ask if there is a better time because of the travel distance.

Afternoon appointments

Another problem I have observed recently at the Durango Clinic is scheduling a veteran for his first complete physical at or after 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or on a Friday.

The person making the appointments may be temporary help and not completely familiar with the patient and his travel distance.

I am told the Durango VA clinic does not take blood draws after 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or on Fridays. Therefore, the veteran scheduled for a physical complete with blood draw during those periods will have to return for a second appointment just for the blood draw.

Obviously this requires a two-hour trip twice for something that could be scheduled all at one time, if it is before 3 p.m. or not on Fridays.

I urge our Archuleta County veterans to be sure the appointment fits your travel needs.

Also, it is a good idea to call the VA facility a few days before your appointment to ensure that appointment is still good. Frequently the clinics have to change scheduling. They may not have been able to advise the patient of that schedule change so it is a good idea to make a follow-up call to the clinic ahead of time to make certain your appointment is still on that schedule. It could save a wasted trip.

Travel needs

Speaking of VA health care, Archuleta County Veterans Service Office provides a program to help veterans get to their VA health care appointments if they are in poor health or do not have adequate transportation.

We have two vehicles that can be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. All that is required is a valid and current Colorado driver's license held by the veteran or a volunteer driver.

The veteran checks out with a clean vehicle with a full tank of fuel, and returns the vehicle washed, clean and with a full tank of fuel.

A logbook in each vehicle is used to record the trip information and the mileage.

I keep a calendar of the vehicle schedule so I know at all times who has it reserved and when. Keys are picked up and returned to the Archuleta County Sheriff's dispatch office, which is open 24-7.

Contact this office for more specific information on this program.

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



Ralph and Genevieve Phelps will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary 2-4 p.m. Nov. 23, at Mt. Allison Grange Hall in Allison. The presence of friends, or cards, will be appreciated in lieu of gifts.


Chuck Wagon Cooking

Joe Bob Leake wins cooking contest with Mexican pork roll recipe

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

It's 1870. The cattle drives from Texas to the northern railheads are in full swing.

The dust is thick. The brown, red and black hides of steers and cows twitch in the heat of the day. Sweat runs down the necks of the 10 or so cowboys circling around each herd. At night, they can be heard singing softly to the milling beasts, their saddles creaking quietly.

The work is hard and long, sometimes lasting several months. The cowboys may ride for days without ever seeing a settlement.

Everything, including their food, must travel with them. In general that means a chuck wagon, one hopefully well-stocked with the basics - beans, beef, potatoes, biscuits and just maybe, a sweet dessert made from canned peaches or tomatoes.

These outfits rolled across the open prairie for about 20 years, and then they were gone. Just not quite forgotten.

Here and there, and in Pagosa, a hearty chuck wagon meal can still be rustled up with the right connections.

Twenty-nine year residents Joe Bob and Donna Leake have years of experience cooking with Dutch ovens in the chuck-wagon style. Their skills take them to two or three cowboy festivals a year where they compete for most authentic chuck wagon and best food awards.

The rules are fairly simple.

Cook using tools and recipes available from 1870 until the early 1900s when 6 million or more beef animals traveled from Texas to points north.

Rubber-tired vehicles are not allowed. Neither are plastic or stainless steel utensils. Spices are limited to salt, pepper, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

The menu is the same as it was 130 years ago. The meat is beef because there was plenty of it. Biscuits, sourdough or plain, because flour traveled well for the four months spent on the drives. Beans because they can be dried. Peaches and tomatoes could sometimes be bought at the cow towns along the way.

Leake likes cooking the desserts: bread pudding, cobblers. (He still uses his mother's recipe for peach cobbler, the first thing he ever tasted out of a Dutch oven.) Tomato pie. And his wife's grandmother's recipe for biscuits.

"They're always popular," he said. And useful. It's the day-old biscuits that become the desserts. "Those cooks just used what they had," he said. "If they had biscuits from a day or two they'd use them."

The Leakes were one of 23 chuck wagons invited to the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering Western Swing Festival Oct. 24-26, in Fort Worth, Texas. Although they didn't win the chuck wagon cook-off, Joe Bob did come home with a first-place prize in the Pace products challenge, a separate event in which contestants entered a recipe using some of the Pace line of salsa products.

Joe Bob defeated the competition with a Mexican Pork Roll accompanied by Rosemary potatoes. His entry was a recipe created just for the competition - after all, once he won he had to give the rights of the recipe to Pace.

Leake said 17 of the wagons at the cowboy gathering entered the products contest. Winning came as a surprise.

"You get an extreme amount of good cooks at these events," he said. "On any given day, anyone can win.

"This was our first time at the Red Steagall event," he added. "It's really hard to get into. It was a real prize for me just to be there."

Leake was introduced to Dutch oven cooking by his mother.

"Western life and cowboy history has always been a fun deal," he said. He got serious about outdoor cooking in the 1970s.

"The chuck wagon was a hobby before I made it a business," Leake said. "It was a business until a year ago and now I'm making up another chuck wagon and it's going to be a hobby again."

His old rig, the one he used to serve hunters in Pagosa Country and at special engagements in five western states, was sold to some friends - right after the cook off in Fort Worth.

"I thought I was going to get out of it," he said. He's apparently been on the trail too long for that. He just happened to find someone with an old military escort wagon and was immediately smitten since it was similar to the wagon Charles Goodnight (1836-1929) - one of the most prosperous cattlemen in the American west - supposedly used to make the prototype.

Chuck wagons, Leake said, were made from pretty much any kind of ranch wagon the trail boss could find. No two were exactly the same and still aren't today. Still, the connection to the first one and the Goodnight-Loving trail which came up into Colorado was not something Leake could resist.

Goodnight and his partner, Oliver Loving, set out across Texas in 1866 with the bright idea of moving 2,000 head of cattle from Belknap to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, to reap higher prices than could be found in the south following the Civil War.

On that first trip, the duo made $12,000, according to the PBS eight-part documentary "New Perspectives on the West," and opened what became known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail. The trail was eventually extended from Alamogordo Creek, New Mexico to Granada, Colorado and became one of the most heavily traveled routes in the southwest.

The chuck wagons that followed the cowboys on all these trails north generally had two improvements added to the wagon box: a boot underneath for the cast iron ovens and utensils, and a chuck box in back containing shelves and drawers to hold food items. In general, the chuck box had a hinged lid that dropped to serve as the cook surface. The rest of the wagon was used for the cowboy's gear and probably packed to the hilt.

The only manufactured chuck wagon was made by Studebaker, Leake said. By the time it came out, the cattle drives were almost over.

Leake's goal is to have his newest chuck wagon finished in March in time for the Festival of the West in Scottsdale, Ariz. Last year he won two firsts there - in meat and potatoes.

"We like to get out of the cold, go to Arizona and get warm for a week," he said. Who knows, maybe it's his year.

"I'm always looking a recipe, getting recipes and making up recipes," he said. The germs of his ideas come from newspapers. From magazines. After awhile, he said, it becomes second nature to look at a recipe and decide whether or not it will work in the chuck-wagon style.

For instance, the pork roll recipe that won the Pace contest in Fort Worth actually started as a pear pork roll with a orange marmalade glaze. Leake turned that into a bacon wrapped roll stuffed with lime and garlic salsa and topped with jalapeno jelly that earned him $500 and some bragging rights.

He's even started to think about what he might bake up next - if he meets up with another special challenge along the trail that is.

Pagosa's Past

Laura Manson White, preserving the early history of Pagosa Country

John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Pagosa Country history buffs are much indebted to Laura Manson White for her work in preserving much of the area's history.

White was not a Pagosa pioneer, though she came here shortly after 1900. Her family did arrive as pioneers in the San Luis Valley.

White's great contribution was based on her personal acquaintance with many of Pagosa Springs' first pioneers, coupled with an interest to ask questions and a willingness and ability to write down the answers.

Many of White's writings are on file with the Denver Public Library. Some of her articles were published in Colorado magazine and in Pioneers of the San Juan Country. As far as I know, she wrote during the 1920s and 1930s.

During the 1930s, White wrote a play containing history of Pagosa Springs titled, "Fifty-Five Years." The play tends to focus on the first meeting of Methodists in the new community. My photostatic copy of the script has faded over the years. Most of the pages are unreadable.

The following pertains to early Pagosa history.

In the play is a character named Pagosa. Pagosa says:

"Now, in Pagosa, in 1879, the Government Army Post was on this side of the San Juan River (I guess the play was presented on the west side of the river) and was called Fort Lewis. Across the river, in the park and on the hill side, was the settlement called Pagosa Springs. Here settlers were coming in every day. Freighter's wagons, men on horseback, people with covered wagons, and lighter vehicles were crossing over the mountains right along, and there were many crudely constructed buildings, which served as homes for the travelers.

"Of course not all who came stayed, but when our first Sunday School was held in 1879 in a little log cabin that stood at the front of where the old Springs Hotel now stands, enough pupils attended so they could not all get inside the building. They grouped themselves around the door and windows, and some classes were held out under the trees.

"Our first Sunday School Superintendent was Watson Hover, a son of Dr. Hover of the Army Post. Rhoda Taylor Whitaker was assistant superintendent a couple of years later."

The play script under action for Episode III notes that "The oldest organ in town is probably at the San Juan Hotel and could be borrowed for the occasion, but it does not play well." Edna Sparks is the organist.

The actor portraying Watson Hover leads in the singing and then holds up a bag of money saying, "This is money that has been given us by the soldiers at the Post so that we may buy this cabin, where we may always hold our Sunday School. We are very proud of our Sunday School and hope it will continue to grow."

Episode IV begins with the actor portraying Pagosa saying:

"After the removal of the Army post, the town of Pagosa moved over to this side of the river. New settlers came in rapidly, and with them came schools and churches." (Pagosa turns to Archuleta).

"This was still Conejos County, when in 1885, by Legislative Enactment School District No. 5 of Conejos County was made into the county you now represent.

"Occasionally, a traveling missionary came to hold services for us. Baptisms have taken place, and eulogies for the dead were read by folk not regularly ordained ministers of the gospel, in those early days, but gradually it has come about that they have been sent to minister unto our spiritual needs."

Action continues as a young mother and father with a sickly child yearn for a minister to baptize the child while he lives. And, just then, a pastor from Chama shows up and baptizes the child, delaying only to hold a service first.

The script continues through the years, tracing Dr. Hover's donation of two lots on Lewis Street, the site of the first and the present Methodist Church.

Much of White's work is on file in the history section of the Denver Public Library.



Through a unique lens

When Ralph Eaton died last week, his passing served as an occasion to review the recent history of Pagosa Country through a unique lens, to again evaluate the transformation of a community. Eaton was a conscientious, prime mover in the development of more than 26,000 acres of land west of the town of Pagosa Springs into the subdivisions collectively known as Pagosa Lakes. What he and others like him did was help change this part of the state in profound ways, with both positive and negative results. The area serves as a microcosm of what has happened statewide.

As any reader of John Motter's Pagosa's Past column is aware, the economy in Pagosa Country up to the 1970s had two foundations: ranching and logging. Until environmental and cost restraints curtailed the logging and lumber industry - ending its tenure in the late 1980s and early 1990s - it produced jobs and income for the limited population.

Likewise, ranching was a staple way of life for many area families. Over the last quarter century or so, the economic viability of cattle and sheep ranching eroded. Many large ranch properties went on the market when operations faltered and failed, until today, remaining ranches struggle to operate in the black.

What filled the void was tourism and development, the sale of real estate, the construction of homes, the migration to the area of a new population with varied needs and ideas. The Pagosa Lakes subdivisions were among the most notable developments, providing a base for the arrival of Fairfield Communities and the timeshare regimes that are one of the steadiest, most productive economic elements in Pagosa. Other large properties in the county were purchased, developed and sold off as lots or as the now omnipresent 35-acre parcels that are often graced with the amusing label "ranch."

Eaton and other developers, in essence, saved the local community. New businesses and a flood of new residents that continues to this day countered the decline of traditional industries.

While the energy of the new economy is undeniable, and the retail grace notes it has spawned enhance the quality of life for residents, the growth of population and the decline of the old way of life has its hazards. The problem of a dying economy was solved; new problems were created.

For one, it is debatable whether we have exceeded the carrying capacity of this environment, whether there are already too many of us for this part of the world to support over the long haul. The recent drought and water crisis highlights this possibility. The danger of wildfire destroying properties now built much closer to forest and wilderness, with all the loss that implies, is another example.

With more people comes more stress on basic infrastructure, more demands for government performance concerning roads, medical and educational services, law enforcement, courts and jail space. With an increasing resistance to more taxes, the task of satisfying demands is difficult.

With an increasing number of wealthier new arrivals there is, like it or not, a widening gulf between economic and cultural groups in this community - not experienced in dramatic fashion in the past. The haves and the have-nots grow apart, cleave to their own and become strangers. A significant number of residents live paycheck to paycheck as members of a service and labor pool that is perilously dependent on a healthy economy.

The positive changes occasioned by the transformation of this community are clear. For them, we should be thankful. The negative changes are also clear but the consequences are not.

Not yet.

Not with as many as 8,000 lots and parcels sitting empty.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Old thoughts, current meaning

By Richard Walter

There are things to be learned from past authors. Many might have been living today.

For example, Thomas Paine in "Common Sense," spoke thusly; "When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary."

Too deep for you? How about one of Thomas Jefferson's statements, this from "Notes on the state of Virginia": "Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

Perhaps you are more into the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe idiom. For example, this from "Elective Alternatives, II: "No one would talk much in society, if he knew how often he misunderstands others."

Or, the lament of Henry Clay in an 1801 letter observing to a friend, "How often are we forced to charge fortune with partiality toward the unjust!

Those prone to hyperbole might take note of this thought attributed to Washington Irving in "Tales of a Traveler": "I am always at a loss to know how much to believe my own stories."

How often have we been stunned by a public statement and, like Lord Byron in the dedication of "Don Juan," felt like saying, "I wish he would explain his explanation."

John Clare, in a 1932 letter to a friend, may have spoken for all of us when he wrote, "If life had a second edition, how I would correct the proofs."

Some politicians might need to consider Jules Michelet's rule in "Le Peuple," observing, "What is the first part of politics? Education. The second? Education. And the third? Education."

On the same line, one might recall Simon Cameron saying, "A honest politician is one who when he's bought, stays bought."

Some memories might best be left behind and that feeling was thus expressed by Letitia Elizabeth Landon in "Despondency:" "Were it not better to forget than to remember and regret?"

And what, we might ask is happiness? Matthew Fontaine Maury, in "Autobiography ," suggested, "Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be."

Henry David Thoreau put "rightness" in its place when he wrote, in "Civil Disobedience" that "any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one."

And what of making a mistake? Henri-Frédéric Amiel, in "Journal In time," wrote, "An error is the more dangerous the more truth it contains."

Evil in our lives has a source. Dostoevski, in "The Brothers Karamazov," opined, "If the devil doesn't exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness."

Who to trust? Dr. Benjamin Spock replied, "Trust yourself, You know more than you think you do."

Who deserves thanks? Duc de La Rochefoucauld suggested, "The gratitude of most men is merely a secret desire to receive greater benefits."

One more Goethe comment, if you please as I sum up the importance of historic comment: "Nothing," he said, "is more terrible than ignorance in action."



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Nov. 14, 1913

The San Juan Forest Reserve has reached that point where it is of practical value to this section and has come to be regarded with kindlier feeling than in the beginning. Rough-shod methods have been eliminated, trails and roads built, telephone lines erected and a part of the income devoted to county purposes. The homesteader is helped and advised rather than fought and hindered, as formerly. The San Juan forest office is to be congratulated on having the confidence of the people.

The friends of the county officers are predicting that they will not be candidates for re-election. But the lure of county office is strong and the time for conventions months away.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 16, 1928

While cranking a Ford truck near Devil Creek Saturday morning, Raemy Wylie had the misfortune to fracture his right arm. Having suffered considerable financial damage from fire and water in the Pagosa Bakery two weeks previous, one would have thought that he had already experienced his share of ill luck for the time being.

Fred Catchpole and Harry Macht returned home Wednesday from the Aztec vicinity, where they had been purchasing cattle.

Henry Cooper on Sunday completed moving from Park View, N.M., to his ranch on Piedra.

We pay 25¢ per lb. for dry hides. - Hersch Merc. Co.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 13, 1953

Monday of this week marked the last day of the big game season with what will probably be a record kill for this area.

On Tuesday night of this week the Town Board finally managed to get enough members together to hold their regular meeting for the month. A report on water activities was read, in which it was shown that the big water wheel was again becoming an expense and extra parts were ordered in order that the town would not have too long a water outage, should the diesel engine also fail.

Last week gave an indication of what coming days will be like. There was rain, quite a bit of snow and the thermometer drops progressively lower as time goes by.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 16, 1978

Wolf Creek Ski Area will open for the season tomorrow. Snow conditions are reported as good, all lifts are operating, and skiers will have a long winter of skiing ahead. The opening is one week earlier than last year.

Winter arrived for sure this week after a few false starts earlier in the fall. The mountains are covered, the snow is almost down to town, temperatures have dropped, and the big game that hunters were looking for has moved down where they can be seen quite often. Snowfall on Wolf Creek this month has totaled 38 inches.

The school board approved a $1,800,000 budget Tuesday, incorporating in it teacher pay raises of $1,025 for everyone and more for most.