November 20, 2003 
Front Page

You may be ill, but officially, it isn't flu

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

You have a fever. You feel run down. Your chest is congested and your head feels like its about to explode.

Got the flu, right?

Nope. Not in Pagosa Springs. At least not confirmed.

No cases of influenza have been confirmed by doctors at Pagosa Springs Family Medicine, Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic, or reported to the Pagosa Springs office of San Juan Basin Health Department.

What there is evidence of, according to Susie Kleckner, health department director, is a "surge of upper respiratory congestion."

She, in fact, took a day off for that very reason.

Still, people all over town are reporting they have the flu when they call in sick. Students are out of school because of the flu.

But, the officials say, it is not real flu, though it may be nearly as uncomfortable.

Information from the Centers for Disease Control Web site defines influenza (the flu) as a contagious disease that is caused by the influenza virus.  It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs).  The flu is different from a cold.  The flu usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:

- fever

- headache

- fatigue (can be extreme)

- dry cough

- sore throat

- nasal congestion

- body aches

These symptoms are usually referred to as "flu-like symptoms."


Most people who get the flu will recover in 1 to 2 weeks, but some people will develop life-threatening complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu.  Millions of people in the United States - about 10 percent to 20 percent of U.S. residents - will get the flu each year.  An average of about 20,000 people per year in the United States die from the flu, and 114,000 per year have to be admitted to the hospital as a result of influenza. 

Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems from flu can happen at any age.  People over 65, people of any age with chronic medical conditions, and very young children are more likely to get complications from flu. 

Pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections are three examples of complications from flu.  The flu can make chronic health problems worse.  For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may have worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu.

The flu is spread, or transmitted, when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes, or speaks and sends flu virus into the air, and other people inhale the virus.  The virus enters the nose, throat or lungs of a person and begins to multiply, causing symptoms of the flu.  Flu may, less often, be spread when a person touches a surface that has flu viruses on it - a door handle, for instance - and then touches his or her nose or mouth. 

Flu is contagious

A person can spread the flu starting one day before they feel sick. Adults can continue to pass the flu virus to others for another three to seven days after symptoms start.  Children can pass the virus for longer than seven days.  Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body.  Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms.  During this time, those persons can still spread the virus to others.

Your respiratory illness might be the flu if you have sudden onset of body aches, fever, and respiratory symptoms, and your illness occurs during November through April (the usual flu season in the Northern Hemisphere).  However, during this time, other respiratory illnesses can cause similar symptoms and flu can be caught at any time of the year.  It is impossible to tell for sure if you have the flu based on symptoms alone.  Doctors can perform tests to see if you have the flu if you are in the first few days of your illness.

You can escape the flu by getting a flu shot.

Kleckner said her office has given 1,250 flu shots this year and has a new supply of vaccine coming in today.

Shots are given 8-9 a.m. at the health department offices, 502 South 8th St.

Individual doctors, too, have been administering the shots in their offices.

And, while Centers for Disease Control said there are new strains not anticipated this year, the best bet for your safety and comfort is to get the shot while the vaccine is still available.


Reserve, value spike keys to fire budget

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Fire Protection District Board accepted the 2004 budget Tuesday - with a few minor changes.

The draft budget included a general fund of about $1.3 million, debt services of about $580,000 in monies left over from the bond and interest payments and a $2.5 million pension fund.

In an interview before the meeting, district manager Diane Bower said the general fund budget is up about $320,000 over 2003 numbers because of an estimated $400,000 carryover of reserves and an increase in assessed valuations.

"The assessed valuations are up about $35 million in our district," she said.

After a flurry of remodels and construction funded by a $2.8 million improvement bond passed in 2002, capital improvements for the district are projected to slow down dramatically in 2004. Those left include adding a bay to Station 3 on U.S. 84 to store equipment, installing three dry hydrants, adding stucco and paving around the burn tower at Station 3 and possibly constructing a single-bay substation in the Lower Blanco area .

"Some of our projects (funded by the bond issue) came in lower than estimates, so we're trying to finish up some little things," Bower said. "We don't want to go back to the voters again for quite a few years."

The proposed budget also included funding for an additional staff person - a maintenance assistant. The position showed funding at $25,000. That would bring the number of full-time paid staff up to six.

The other major expense considered for 2004 is a rescue truck. The fire district agreed to officially take over extrication duties at accident scenes in 2003. When that happened, they received some used equipment from Emergency Medical Services. The district purchased all new extrication equipment in 2003, but is using a truck equipped for wildland fires to transport it to scenes.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said the truck is packed to the brim having to hold both fire equipment and extrication tools. The compartments along the truck are also not ideal when firefighters lift and maneuver the heavier extrication equipment.

Bower estimated the cost of a new rescue truck at $220,000. The district has applied for a FEMA grant to cover all or part of that cost. Should that not come through the district plans to explore a lease-purchase agreement.

Assessed valuation for the fire district is at $877,332,009. The tax levy for the general operating fund is 4.067 mills. The levy for debt service on the bond issue is 1.92 mills. Revenues from property taxes are budgeted at $765,946 in the general fund for 2004.


Town sign code to be reexamined

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Planning Commission will take another look at part of the town's sign code Dec. 2.

Commission Chairman Rice Reavis called for the workshop at the beginning of the regular meeting Tuesday.

"I have problems with part of the sign code," he said. The area of concern is nonconformance, the last section of the code which outlines the triggers for bringing signs that do not conform with the code into compliance.

Both Reavis and Commissioner Judy James said it is possible the code needs some fine tuning.

"We're trying to make this user-friendly for everyone," James said.

The commission scheduled the workshop for noon, Dec. 2, in the municipal court room on the second floor of Town Hall, 550 Hot Springs Blvd. The meeting is open to the public.

According to the sign code passed in May, signs must be brought into conformance when the business remodels or expands requiring a building permit, or when a change of ownership occurs. Sign owners were restricted from altering a nonconforming sign unless the alteration reduced the nonconforming features.

As written, the code also included a deadline of five years for all signs within the town to come into conformance. However, this type of amortization was outlawed at the state level days after the code was passed.

Prior to scheduling the workshop, the commission, acting as the design review board, was set to address two sign issues - a variance for the Ski and Bow Rack sign at 345 East Pagosa Street, and a comprehensive sign review plan for the River Center, also on East Pagosa Street. Both issues were tabled.

The town began looking at its sign code in the summer of 2002. A special volunteer committee of staff and local business owners was formed to create the document. Their goal was to bring an outdated code up to date and make it more user-friendly. The committee worked on a draft of the code for more than nine months, sometimes meeting once a week. Several codes from other communities were studied as guidelines. The code was approved by the Pagosa Springs Town Council in May on a 4-3 vote.

Since the ordinance passed, seven variances have been issued. In most cases, a compromise was reached to give business owners an extension of between three and five years to bring signs into compliance with the codes. However, at least one business owner, Allen Bunch, has expressed some concerns with the level of restrictions outlined in the code.

A letter he wrote to the commission reads, in part, "I can see from reading the ordinance that a great deal of effort went into development of these codes. It is still a very subjective document and simply caters to someone's taste as to what is 'appropriate.' It is an area of government that I would hope the Town of Pagosa Springs would prefer to abstain. By all means, do for us what we can not do for ourselves but strive to remain objective in all you do."


Many pet owners fail to claim impounds

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Your beloved dog somehow managed to escape his tether and get out of the yard.

You searched and searched and couldn't find him.

As a last resort, you called the Pagosa Springs Humane Society shelter and you were in luck.

He'd been reported as roaming the area, was impounded by an animal control officer, and by claiming him and paying a fee, you were able to get him back.

You were one of a small group. The ones who actually got their animal back.

Amazingly, less than 50 percent of the pets impounded at the shelter are reclaimed by their original families.

That may make some other family happy, because they get to adopt a pet already - generally - trained and obedient.

But the numbers offer a frightening revelation about county pet owners.

They own, but a high percentage seem not to care.

Take, for example the statistics through October for the 26 subdivisions which make up the Pagosa Lakes community.

Through October, animal control officers had impounded 91 dogs from those areas. But they weren't the only ones arriving at the shelter. Sixty more dogs, either strays or animals running at large, were turned into the shelter by other residents.

That makes a total of 151 dogs, of which 73 or just 48 percent, were claimed by their owners.

During that same time period, 92 more animals were impounded for the balance of the county and 56 from the Town of Pagosa Springs.

And that's where the statistical comparison of owner loyalty would seem to change.

Of the 92 impounded from the county, 85 were reclaimed by owners, or 92 percent. In the town, however, only 26 of the 56 impounds, 44 percent, were reclaimed.

Robbie Schwartz, Humane Society manager, said the totals show 698 animals impounded in the first 11 months of the year and at the same time, a surprising 685 going out.

The statistics are not all joyful.

Some animals are in such bad condition when received that they cannot be saved, but the percentage is relatively low.

To wit, 15 animals died in shelter after being brought in; 102 were transferred to other shelter programs where their chances of adoption into a new home were enhanced; and "regrettably" according to Schwartz, "58 animals had to be euthanized."

The reasons for euthanization are varied. But in most cases it was because of an incurable illness or threatening and uncontrollable behavior.

The good news is that 326 animals were adopted from the shelter in the 11-month study period, including 90 dogs, 73 puppies, 90 cats and 73 kittens.

In the same time period, one dog, 11 puppies and seven kittens were released to foster care.

Volunteers take the animals in to help them recover from surgeries, health problems needing constant supervision to allow return to near normalcy and to provide, perhaps, the first loving care the animal has experienced.

At the end of October, the shelter had 42 animals in custody including 10 dogs, five puppies, eight cats and 19 kittens.

While the outgoing figure for the study period was 685 compared to the 698 incoming, it is important to remember that 73 (shelter deaths and euthanasias) are included in the outgoing total.

And, one must note that 25 of the incoming total were animals surrendered voluntarily by owners, including 13 in town, 10 in the county and two in Pagosa Lakes.


Flood-damaged bridge

key to Lower Blanco plan

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Board of Commissioners agreed this week to embrace plans for the possible establishment of a local improvement district in the Lower Blanco Basin.

Kathy Keyes, a resident of Rio Blanco Valley Subdivision I, appeared before the board Tuesday to request support and guidance for the potential LID, and explained why there is an apparent, immediate need for its formation.

Quoting from her letter addressed to the board, Keyes told the commissioners "the Rainbow Road bridge connecting the residents of (the subdivision) to County Road 335 was damaged" during a flash flood Sept. 9.

While temporary repairs have been made, said Keyes, an assessment of the bridge by Sue Walan, county engineer, indicates it should last approximately 90 days barring another flood event.

The bridge currently serves residents of 30 homes and provides the subdivision's only means for vehicular travel across the Lower Blanco River and subsequent access to U.S. 84.

However, according to Mary Weiss, county attorney, since the infrastructure in question is privately owned, there is one minor obstacle that must be overcome before the process can officially move forward.

In order for the county to assume a role in the project, said Weiss, easements must be obtained or granted that would enable the road (and/or bridge) to be designated as a public thoroughfare.

That responsibility falls to the area's property owners, or at least those who are interested in taking measures to initiate the process.

Reaffirming the board's stance, "Once you have that done, we can move forward with an LID," Alden Ecker, board chairman, told Keyes near the end of the discussion.

The commissioners' consensus to support the conceptual plans Tuesday marks the third time this year such districts have won the favor of the board; LID proposals for improvements to Hackamore Place and Antelope Drive in the Ranch Community were given initial approval this spring.

The county is currently serving as the administrator for both of those efforts while ensuring work is done according to county specifications, but is bearing no fiscal responsibility for the projects.

In other business this week, the board:

- indicated it will not meet Nov. 25 or Dec. 2

- awarded bids regarding the cleaning of county department offices to Clean Touch LLC and Rainbow Cleaning in an amount totaling roughly $3,400 per month

- authorized the expenditure of $103,001.60 from the Road Capital Improvement Fund to cover the county's share of funding associated with the joint effort with the town of Pagosa Springs for improvements to Talisman Drive, Village Drive and Piñon Causeway

- authorized the expenditure of $110,000 from the Road Capital Improvement Fund to cover expenses associated with the reconstruction of South Pagosa Boulevard/Meadows Drive (funds not expended from that amount this year will be encumbered to the 2004 budget)

- approved a joint resolution, citizen participation plan and residential anti-displacement plan enabling the continuance of Housing Solutions for the Southwest's low-to-moderate income homeowners rehabilitation and replacement initiative

- agreed to a request to consider/seek suggestions concerning county and public participation in the upcoming celebrations of the 100-year anniversaries of the United States Forest Service (2005) and San Juan National Forest (2006)

- based on the recommendations of the planning department and Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, approved a conditional use permit application for Constant Gravel Pit No. 1, to be located on the east side of the San Juan River on 9.9 acres of a 320-acre parcel at 12500 County Road 500

- agreed to allow the county attorney and planning department to determine whether a warranty bond for Timber Ridge Ranch Phase III in the amount of $127,680 may be released effective Dec. 4, 2003, or extended to June 30, 2004 and reduced to $45,000 (pending the completion of minor repairs)

- agreed to honor a private citizen's request it look into the possibility of improving snow plowing and snow removal procedures at Stevens Field.



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Temps to nose-dive, more snow expected

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A frigid low-pressure system descending from the Pacific Northwest should maintain enough strength to augment Pagosa Country snow totals over the weekend.

According to the latest regional forecasts, the system is expected to move into southwest Colorado late Friday or early Saturday and pull temperatures to their lowest marks of the season thus far.

"We're telling people to pay special attention to their thermometers in the next few days," says Joe Ramey, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"This air mass is very cold, and temperatures could fall to dangerously-low levels Saturday and Sunday, with highs probably only in the 30s and lows in the single digits," added Ramey.

"There's also the chance for some pretty decent snowfall in the mountains, though totals will probably not exceed last week's levels," concluded Ramey.

According to Ramey, partly-cloudy skies and southwest winds in the 10-20 mile per hour will persist throughout today and into tonight.

Daytime highs should range from the mid-40s to mid-50s, and evening lows should fall into the 20s.

Breezy conditions should continue into Friday with the chance for occasional gusts up to 40 miles per hour by late afternoon. Increasing clouds are expected throughout the day, and highs should reach into the 40s while lows should dip to around 20.

Overcast skies and a 50-percent chance for snow showers are in the forecast for Saturday, as are highs in the 30s and lows in the single-digit range.

Snow showers are expected to taper off throughout the day Sunday and the chance for precipitation should dwindle to around 20 percent by late afternoon. Highs should hit the mid-30s; lows should range in from around 5 to 15.

The forecasts for Monday through Wednesday predict overcast skies, a 30-percent chance for snow each day, highs in the upper 30s to mid-40s and lows in the 10-20 range.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 42 degrees. The average low for the week was 22. Precipitation/moisture totals for the week amounted to 1.41 inches, with 4.50 inches measured as snowfall.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 66 inches, a midway depth of 64 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 96 inches.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the currently avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is moderate below timberline and considerable near and above timberline.

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 234 percent of average.

San Juan River flow ranged from approximately 60 cubic feet per second to 105 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Nov. 20 is roughly 65 cubic feet per second.


Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Youth basketball registrations due Friday

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The 2004 youth basketball registrations are due Friday, Nov. 21.

Please turn in your forms at Town Hall. You can get your registration forms there and we have sent them home through the local public schools.

Registration is for players in the 9-10 and 11-12 age categories, if they have not yet entered seventh grade. All boys and girls are welcome to sign up. The cost is $20; all late entrants will be put on a waiting list.

Basketball clinic

On Nov. 22, the Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department is proud to host a clinic for 9-10 and 11-12 age group basketball players.

Jim Shaffer the head basketball coach for the high school boys team will direct the clinic. Coaches and players are urged to attend.

A clinic for coaches begins at 9 a.m., with the players coming at 10. Please put this on your calendar, it should be fun.

Elks Hoop Shoot

The annual Elks Hoop Shoot competition will be held Dec. 13 in the intermediate and junior high school gymnasiums.

Track events grant

The National Recreation Foundation has sent word that the Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department, along with Archuleta School District 50 Joint, has been awarded a $15,000 grant to help with the creation of two sponsored track and field events.

Hopefully, the seed money will be used to buy equipment to host two annual events per year.

Terry Hershey, local ranch owner and donor, is a member of the National Parks and Recreation Board. She encouraged us to apply for the regional grant, with the specific goal that any age participant can enjoy the lifelong sports of running and walking, by grabbing a pair of athletic shoes and mustering the determination to get out and participate.

Mrs. Hershey will be the foundation's liaison for the project.

Many thanks go out to Mrs. Hershey for her diligence and her help in guiding us to apply for the grant.

We hope to start two annual events that people of Pagosa Springs can enjoy, capitalizing on the investment the school district has put into the track and the athletic complex.


Pirate boys gear up for 2003-2004 season

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

With the close of the fall sports season, the outside athletics fields at Pagosa Springs High School have fallen silent under a thin veil of white.

The school's interior, however, has been alive with winter sports activity for the past seven days.

Common each afternoon are the squeals of shoe soles shifting on the gym floor, occasional rumbles of rims and backboards recovering from slam dunks and the telltale echoes of inflated leather hitting hardwood.

Also familiar is the baritone voice of Pagosa Head Coach Jim Shaffer, who has been directing nearly 40 varsity and junior varsity basketball hopefuls through conditioning drills since practice opened Nov. 13.

This season will mark the third year at the varsity helm for Shaffer, who garnered Intermountain League Coach of the Year honors during the 2002-2003 season while coaching the Pirates to a 7-1 IML record, an overall record of 20-5 and a berth in the Great Eight during Class 3A state playoffs.

While success of that magnitude is extremely difficult to surpass or even maintain, expectations among Pagosa faithful will likely be high when the Pirates take the floor for official competition in early December.

With nine players - including three starters - returning from last year's varsity roster of 11, the Pirates boast arguably the most-experienced squad in the IML.

Back at the starting forward/center position this year for Pagosa are senior Clayton Spencer and junior Caleb Forrest. Returning at starting guard/point guard is senior Ryan Goodenberger.

The rest of this year's returning varsity cast features seniors Ty Faber, David Kern, Jeremy Caler, Casey Belarde and Coy Ross, as well as junior Otis Rand.

All of the above saw a good deal of action last season and figure to be key if the Pirates hope to stake a claim for the 2003-2004 IML title and make another appearance at the state level.

The remainder of Shaffer's varsity roster will likely be penciled in following an assessment of needs and talent in the next few days; look for a complete, detailed breakdown of this year's team in upcoming issues of The SUN.

In the meantime, the Pirates' varsity schedule, while subject to change, currently includes the following:

- Friday, Dec. 5, away at the opening round of the Buena Vista Tournament against Salida, game time 5:30 p.m.

- Saturday Dec. 6, away at the second round of the Buena Vista Tournament against Battle Mountain or Buena Vista, game time 7:30 p.m. (Friday winners' bracket), or 4:30 p.m. (Friday losers' bracket)

- Dec. 12-13, at home for the Wolf Creek Classic, start times to be announced

- Dec. 19-20, away at the Pueblo Holiday Classic, start times to be announced

- Jan. 9, away against Aztec, N.M., game time 8 p.m.

- Jan. 16, at home against Bayfield, game time 7 p.m.

- Jan. 17, away against Bloomfield, N.M., game time 7:30 p.m.

- Jan. 22, away against Kirtland, N.M., game time 7 p.m.

- Jan. 23, away against Monte Vista, game time 7:30 p.m.

- Jan. 29, away against Ignacio, game time 7 p.m.

- Feb. 6, at home against Centauri, game time 7 p.m.

- Feb. 7, at home against Monte Vista, game time 7 p.m.

- Feb. 12, at home against Ignacio, game time 7 p.m.

- Feb. 13, away against Bayfield, game time 7 p.m.

- Feb. 21, away against Centauri, game time 7 p.m.

- Feb. 27-28, at home for the IML tournament

- March 11-13, state playoffs at Fort Collins.



Ladies look for firing pin to prime scoring cannons

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The ammunition is there. It may just be a matter of finding the right primer.

The Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates welcome a corps of returning letter winners for the 2003-04 basketball season hoping to build on the 12-10 record from the previous year, a mark that surprised many Intermountain League observers.

Gone from that squad are rebounding demon Katie Bliss and dynamic point guard Shannon Walkup.

But second-year coach Bob Lynch has the big guns back from last year.

Start with 6-1 junior post Caitlyn Jewell, an all-conference player in her first year of varsity competition who led the team with 206 points and in rebounds with 139.

Toss a pair of 5-10 junior forwards into the mix and consider they were mainstays of the team last year even though one, Lori Walkup, missed several games with a broken bone in her shooting hand.

She still was both an offensive and defensive factor and, with running mate Bri Scott, the team's leader in 3-point conversions, the offense should have three prime weapons.

Another junior, who had been counted on this year, Molly Honan, has moved to the Aspen area. But there are a number of candidates for the guard positions.

Probably the leader at this time is sophomore Liza Kelley who could be the primer Lynch needs.

Also back from last year with a lot of playing time under their belts at 5-10 sophomores Emily Buikema and Caitlin Forrest, and junior 5-9 forwards Melissa Maberry and Kari Beth Faber.

Lynch will also have a pair of JV players from last year vying for varsity spots, sophomore China Rose Rivas and junior Laura Tomforde. Tomforde is recovering from a leg injury suffered in volleyball and can't begin to practice until at least next week.

Also in the mix are several members of an undefeated league championship team moving up from eighth grade.

The latter include the coach's daughter, Jessica, a slick ball handler, Kim Canty, who could be a contender down the line at both guard and forward, and Laurel Reinhardt who can go inside or out.

It will be a team, most agree, to be reckoned with in the IML.

Banking on experience

Lynch hopes the year of experience will make his team more aware of opponent defenses and offensive tendencies than the young squad he fielded last year. And he looks for his charges to be more aggressive down the stretch in close games.

Last year's team showed great flashes and then inexplicably would play down to an opponent.

Perhaps the finest effort of the season came in the preseason Rye Classic. The Ladies met a veteran Manitou Springs team and found themselves down by 16.

They clawed, battled, scratched and shot their way back, surged into a lead and beat a team considered a state contender 53-47 and pulling away.

The downside for the season came at Ignacio. Down 10, Pagosa scrambled back and a forced an overtime. In the overtime it was nip and tuck until, with four seconds left, Bri Scott hit a long trey to give the Ladies a two point lead.

It was to be short-lived.

The Lady Bobcats' Carol lee Jefferson took the ensuing inbound pass and launched a 60-footer in stride - a prayer shot that was answered as a three-pointer and a one-point victory.

Lynch, at the first practice Thursday, told the Ladies they are expected "to give the best you have every time you go on the floor, whether in practice or in game situations."

With a first-day turnout of 40 and prospects of at least five more who were either ill or injured at the time, Lynch said the program will, for the first time, field four teams this year - varsity, junior varsity, freshman-sophomore and C-team.

"That means we'll likely have at least ten participants at each level," he told the team and promised, "You'll all get to play."

He obviously has at least five varsity swing positions to fill and thinks the competition will be fierce for varsity action.

Still, in order for the guns to fire they must be loaded and that's where the persons picked for the point guard spot comes in.

The shooters have proved they can score if they get the ball. Someone must prove she can fill that role.


Their first test will come Dec. 5 at the Buena Vista Invitational when they play Salida in the tourney opener at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will play either Battle Mountain or the host school for the championship at 6 p.m. the following day. First-day losers will play for third place at 3 p.m. Dec. 6.

After that, the girls will be at home for the annual Wolf Creek Classic, pairings not yet set.

They'll close out the preseason with a trip to the Rye Girls Classic, opening against Florence at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19. The following day they face perennial power La Junta at 2:30 p.m. and then come back against Trinidad at 5:30.

Play will resume post-holiday with a non-league tilt at Dolores at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8 and another at Aztec the following day at the same time.

The Ladies will open IML play Jan. 16, hosting Bayfield with JV first at 5:30 p.m. The following day they visit Bloomfield at 6 p.m.

Then it's back to conference wars Jan. 23 in Monte Vista and Jan. 29 in Ignacio with the first game at 5:30 p.m.

The team comes home for three games: Feb. 6 against Centauri, Feb 7 hosting Monte Vista, and Feb. 12 for the close of the regular home season against Ignacio.

The last two regular games will be Feb. 13 at Bayfield and Feb. 21 at Centauri.


Eight Pirates named Academic All-State; 14 honorable mention

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The Colorado Activities Association has named 22 Pagosa Springs High School fall activities participants for Academic All-State or honorable mention recognition.

The announcement came Nov. 14 from Bill Reader, CHSAA commissioner.

He said the students received honors for excellence in the classroom as well as accomplishments in the activities area. Of the recipients, eight earned First Team honors while an additional 14 earned honorable mention recognition.

First team honors went to students with a 3.6 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher grade point average; students with GPAs of 3.3 to 3.59 earned honorable mention.

Each student receives a certificate acknowledging the achievement.

The notable thing about Pagosa's list is that the First Team honorees are all female and the honorable mentions all male.

Cited as First Team Academic All-State were senior Jenna Finney, a member of the Lady Pirate cross country team; and volleyball representatives juniors Caitlyn Jewell, Brianna Scott, Courtney Steen, Laura Tomforde, Lori Walkup and Brandi Whomble and senior Amy Tautges.

Honorable mention went to cross country runners Aaron Hamilton and Dan Lowder; golfers Casey Belarde, Ty S. Faber and Steven Sellers, and to soccer players Caleb Forrest, Levi Gill, Ryan Goodenberger, Casey Kiister, Drew Mitchell, Jesse Morris, Kevin Muirhead, Ty Peterson and Kyle Sanders.

Now in its ninth year, the Academic All-State program has recognized thousands of students throughout the state in the three sports seasons.

"The Academic All-State program continues to showcase the impressive students we have in our schools. This program is one of just a few that honor those special individuals who have succeeded in the classroom as well as in their chosen activities," Reader said.

"We know through a myriad of research that those students who participate in high school activities are more likely to remain in school, miss fewer days and enjoy greater success in life," he added. "A Colorado study shows that the average participant in our state holds a 3.06 grade point average. Interscholastic activities are a critical ingredient in the education of our young people."

To earn Academic All-State status, a student must be a significant contributor on his/her athletic team, or a major contributor in his/her activity; meet specific academic criteria of the program, be a participant in one or more CHSAA-sanctioned activities; and be a junior or senior in academic standing.



Cloia Morman

Cloia Marie Morman of Pagosa Springs died at home on Friday, Nov. 14, 2003.

She was born in Concord, Ill., on Nov. 18, 1914, the daughter of Edward Sartor and Martha Leone Bjene Sartor. She was married to Grady Franklin Morman, who preceded her in death.

A homemaker most of her adult life, Mrs. Morman is survived by four daughters: Jaddis Martin of Pagosa Springs; Francille Jarreau of Mobile, Ala.; Elizabeth Boujikian of Las Vegas, Nev.; and Pat Cantu of Cerritos, Calif.

Burial will be in Norman, Okla.

Richard Ruegger

Richard Adolph Ruegger of Pagosa Springs passed away Nov. 4, 2003, at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center.

He was born Sept. 19, 1922, in Highland, Ill., to Reinhardt and Mable McQuinny Ruegger. He was married to Lynne Ruegger.

Mr. Ruegger served in the U.S. Army and later worked as a watchmaker.

He is survived by a son, Steve Ruegger of Pagosa Springs.

Joseph Zeida

Joseph F. Zeida of Arboles passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2003. He was 90 years old.

He was born Sept. 5, 1913 in Concordia, Kan., the son of Anastasia Jacobie and Joseph Zeida.

Joseph married Lois M. Harris in Pagosa Springs on Feb. 27, 1976 and had worked as a lumber yard layout director and as a ship builder. A member of the Knights of Columbus, he also enjoyed hunting.

Survivors are his wife, Lois of Arboles; daughters Sybil Malouff and Josephine Fletcher, both of Arboles, and a sister, Agnes Bart, of Menlo Park, Calif.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Recitation of the Rosary was on Friday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial was at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, both services at St. Peter Santa Rosa Catholic Mission in Arboles and both officiated by Father Eddie.

Interment followed in Rosa Cemetery with Pagosa Funeral Options in charge of arrangements.


Inside The Sun

PLPOA board president will relinquish post

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Just four months into his second term as president of the board of directors for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, Tom Cruse will relinquish his seat next month.

The board was notified Thursday and the decision announced at the board meeting that evening.

Cruse, an engineer who has been a consultant to National Aeronautics and Space Administration, has taken a two-year post with the Air Force.

He will be chief of the engineering division at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, where a number of research projects are underway.

The board will advertise the board opening and seek to make an appointment to fill Cruse's unexpired term after he steps down following the Dec. 11 meeting.

In his absence Thursday, director David Bohl served as president pro tem.


Lake Forest trail plan cost is estimated at $173,358

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A preliminary cost estimate of $177,358 has been received for the planned Lake Forest Estates trail project.

Funding for the development would come from the money on hand for Lake Forest from the Fairfield settlement.

Larry Lynch, director of the department of parks and environment for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, explained the plan to directors Nov. 13.

Lynch said the estimate provided by Davis Engineering includes 6,400 feet of trail, 8-feet wide, stretching from Beaver Circle to North Pagosa Boulevard.

That total cost figure, he said, includes a $26,000 contingency fund. "Without that, we would come in almost exactly at the amount available in the settlement fund."

The total cost would include excavation, recompaction, 3/4-inch base, grading, seeding, etc.

Lynch told the board there are two possible time lines for the project, if approved, noting the trail project was the number-one choice of Lake Forest residents in recently conducted polls.

The first time line, he said, would allow site and survey work in December, development of bid plans in February, advertising the project in March, awarding a contract in April with a May work start and construction completed in August.

Engineering costs of about $18,000, he said, were included in the total estimate.

The second time line would cause the project to be delayed a year and would use the Lake Forest settlement amount as matching funds for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant application.

While this would delay the project a year, Lynch told the board, it also would double the amount of funds available, assuming the grant was received.

That would mean the board could then go ahead with the Lake Forest project and tie it into the overall master trails development plan.

"It would allow us to link up," he said, "and we wouldn't have a new Lake Forest trail starting and going nowhere."

Involved in the expanded project, he said, would be completion of the Park Avenue project up to Cloud Cap and extension of the North Pagosa Road trail to the lake Forest Circle intersection.

Director Fred Ebeling made a suggestion that instead of the trail project, at least a portion of the funds be devoted to mail box clusters, one of the other items of the survey.

He said many residents of the area have evidenced chagrin at the mail delivery system and would like mail boxes.

Ebeling said he had researched the issue and found three sites, two on North Pagosa Boulevard and one on Lake Forest Circle, where the clusters could be installed.

He said his research indicates that "for about $53,000 we could install 450-600 boxes utilizing the three sites."

In answer to a question from the audience, he said the Lake Forest Circle site would be in the green belt north of the north entrance to Beaver Circle.

The North Pagosa sites would be north of the South Antelope Drive intersection and south of the Dutton Drive access.

"If we're going to consider seeking a GoCo grant," he said, "why not take the $53,000 for the mail boxes out first. That would still leave $100,000 as matching funds for the grant bid."

Asked by an audience member if a GoCo grant can be guaranteed, Lynch said it could not. "But," he added, "we've been successful on two out of three."

Director David Bohl, sitting as president pro tem, agreed with Lynch. "The potential for doubling is very great, especially if we get county support as the governmental agency for the project."

Ebeling agreed the chances for funding are good, "especially in view of the questions circulating lately about how GoCo has been spending funds on suspect projects."

Director Gerald Smith questioned, "If we go the GoCo

route, how can we and the Lake Forest residents be assured the $153,000 available for them is spent there."

Lynch assured him it would be no problem. "We have a cost estimate. Even if the price of gravel, for example, were to go up in the next year, I think we'd be within the estimate range." In fact, he noted, the last two projects done have come in under estimate.

Another audience member asked, "If we took the $53,000 for mail boxes, and did not seek the GoCo grant, could we still complete the trail project."

Lynch said no.

Bohl said there would be no decision that night, wanting instead to have a full board present before deciding which time line to follow. Directors Tom Cruse, Bill Nobles and Hugh Bundy were absent.



South Shore Estates fears 'vision pollution' in power update plan

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Residents of South Shore Estates subdivision near Lake Hatcher are concerned about the "vision pollution" that could be caused by a planned new power line.

Members of the board of directors of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association reviewed letters about the problem Nov. 13 with input from Larry Lynch, the association director of parks and environment.

La Plata Electric, when installing power to the community originally, put its line underground as desired. There was no loop done to provide additional outside current flow in emergencies, just the single line inflow.

A request for additional lines to be put in produced a proposal that would extend a line to the base of the dam, then raise it go across the dam on two poles before dropping it underground again.

It is that pole proposal which disturbs residents. They don't want to have to see the poles.

"They see it," Lynch told the board, "as a visual sight line obstacle."

Some have suggested taking the line underground through the dam itself. But that, it was pointed out, would require a state permit and inspection by authorities for structural stability.

Director Gerald Smith said the line is necessary and "we have to bury it if possible."

He noted South Shore Estates is an unusual entity in that while it is a member of the association, it has its own property owners' association and owns its own roads.

Most board members agreed the power line is necessary, but that it should be kept underground as much as possible.

While Fred Ebeling felt "we must keep it buried," Pat Payne railed against "any attempt to breach the dam."

Gerald Smith suggested adoption of a resolution to "minimize any potential visible pollution" but Payne argued "we should not resolve to do anything until we have all the facts."

LPEA is continuing to investigate the possibilities, Lynch said, and further detail should be available next month.

In other action the board:

-learned the county has amended its roadway non-maintenance policy to include both bar ditches and culverts. Association subdivisions have 32.6 miles of roadway designated as non-maintained

- heard Bohl report the 2004 annual assessments will be in the mail the first week in January and a late fee will be assessed after May 1. The actual fee will be determined after completion of the budget process next month

- approved a new clubhouse users' policy as outlined in detail the previous month, and increased clubhouse use fees. Currently at $35 for the small room and $65 for the bigger room, fees will be increased to $50 and $75 respectively. In the past year, the board was told, the structure housed 350 events "and we barely brought in enough to pay the utilities." It was noted the Pagosa Springs Community Center charges $365 for its big room, the only other such facility aside from large motels or restaurants

- learned the anticipated new administrative policy for pay levels was not yet ready and will be presented in December

- learned Archuleta County and Pagosa Area Water and Conservation District are considering, in budget development, contributions of $8,300 each to the PLPOA-initiated watershed survey for the area. The Town of Pagosa Springs is also considering a $2,000 investment. PLPOA would pick up the balance of the estimated $26,000 cost. Any funds remaining after initial contribution would be returned on a prorated basis if the overall cost were less than estimate

- heard animal control statistics for the month of October in the PLPOA environs reporting 3,240 minutes of patrol, 376 miles driven, 22 reports taken, seven dogs impounded, one cat impounded, one cruelty case, two dogs returned to owners, six verbal warnings issued, one written warning given, 28 miscellaneous contacts made and two summons issued.


Police seek owners of lost bicycles

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Police Department is searching for owners of lost bicycles.

Police Chief Don Volger said over the past six months several bikes have either been found by officers or turned in to the police department.

"These bikes could've been taken from anywhere, ridden and then dumped," Volger said. The officers would like to return them to their rightful owners, if possible.

"We're asking people to call and describe their lost bikes and we'll check our inventory," he added.

If not claimed soon, the bicycles will be donated to area thrift stores prior to the winter holidays. Anyone inquiring about a lost bicycle should call 264-2131 or 264-4151, extension 239.


Intermediate, junior high CSAP scores viewed as a key to educational analysis

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

CSAP, the dread acronym for many state educators, is proving just another tool for those in Pagosa Springs.

Results of the most recent round of tests in the Colorado Student Assessment Program identified by that acronym, were detailed last week for the intermediate and junior high schools.

And principals Mark DeVoti and Chris Hinger each told the board of education for Archuleta District 50 Joint that the CSAP results are just part of a broad-scale comprehensive evaluation of student performance on a wide variety of educational opportunities.

At the intermediate school (grades five and six) level, DeVoti said, "viewing the percentages of students moving into proficiency and advanced ranges over time will help educators evaluate their teaching focus and practices concerning Colorado Model Content Standards and the CSAP assessments."

He noted it is important for those viewing the scores to keep in mind that "CSAP scores provide only a brief, partial assessment of a student's abilities, and neither the Colorado Department of Education nor CSAP publisher CTB-McGraw Hill have conducted validation studies of the CSAP tests."

A far more comprehensive assessment of individuals, he said, "may be realized by viewing the whole student through ongoing formal and informal, traditional and alternative assessments."

He pointed out the new federally No Child left Behind program mandates that students reach certain proficiency levels on a yearly basis.

On the basis of CSAP alone, he said, a broad spectrum of students tested in his school reach the required level to be considered proficient. Graphics charting comparisons over those three years also are reaching higher levels of proficiency.

As with all graphics, there are specific peak and bottom bell curves.

In 2001 and 2002, for example, fifth-grade reading was at a wide 15-percent peak ranging from unsatisfactory medium to proficient low.

Testing at the same level this year produced a high point of 27 percent at proficient low and a wider bell base, extending to 2-percent proficient high and then riding upward to over 5-percent advanced, while curves in the two previous testing periods had continued to decline.

The same improvement was evidenced in the graphic on fifth-grade reading. While the high point was not quite as high in the previous two years, the bell curve base was much broader at the higher levels, indicating more students performing a higher level.

Fifth-grade math, too, took a longer, broader climb to reach the 25-percent proficient-low level. But overall, the base of the curve was much broader.

Sixth-grade reading, too, produced a much higher bell peak at 30 percent between proficient-low and proficient-medium. But, the declining leg to advanced went lower (2 percent) than in the two preceding years (4 and 6 percent respectively.)

Sixth-grade writing results were similar, the current year peaking at 28-percent proficient-low compared to 25 percent at a high of partly proficient in 2002 and 19 percent at the same level in 2001.

Sixth-grade math performance showed 20 percent at a high point of proficient-low this year compared to 23 percent in 2002. But the broad open base of the curve indicated much more achievement the line from proficient-high to advanced was much higher at about 8 percent.

At the junior high level, Hinger noted, the CSAP tests serve as an accountability tool that provides feedback to students, parents, teachers and administrators. "We use the this data to analyze and monitor learning, curriculum and instruction."

He noted the graphics at his level also reveal progress of the same students over an extended period, a grouping referred to as cohort groups.

"Both types of graphs," he said, "reveal systemic progress as well as areas of concern ... analysis and interpretation will enable the district to improve educational experience for all students."

For example, students tested in reading in 2001 and 2002 (the class of 2006) peaked in a narrow curve between proficient-low and proficient-medium at between 25 and 30 percent. The second year bell, however, spread wider and stayed higher in the advanced level.

Scores in the same subject for the Class of 2007, except at the unsatisfactory-high level, peaked higher and on a broader middle spectrum from partly proficient-low to advanced all at a higher level in the 2003 testing.

Eighth-grade math scores were the least encouraging.

In each of the three years of testing the curve peak was at unsatisfactory-high and in 2003 the percentage at that level was higher than in the previous two years.

The dropoff, however, plunged to 7 percent at partly proficient-medium whereas the plunge had stopped at 15 percent or higher in the previous two years. And, with the exception of 13 percent at proficient-low, the 2003 level was overall lower than in the previous two years.

Overall, both principals were pleased with results but not satisfied. They plan to continue close scrutiny of CSAP proficiency as a part of an overall examination of student achievement.

And both cited commitment to increasing the bell curve base widths because that will indicate more students are achieving higher levels of comprehension.


High school television a hit in Pagosa, next stop L.A.

By Cayce Brown

Staff Writer

A grey No. 3 with a black circle around it flashes on the screen of a television set positioned in the corner of Curtis Maberry's room, as it does in every other classroom in Pagosa Springs High School.

It is soon followed by a similar-looking No. 2 and just as you expect to see a 1 following suit, it begins.

Pagosa High TV's ninth official broadcast.

In 15-20 minutes, a student cast covers topics ranging from memories of the homecoming dance to a touching story about an autistic student and his struggle to deal with his situation.

During the broadcast, every student at the school pays attention. Halls are cleared of students wandering to the library or the office. They are sitting in their C-hour classrooms, absorbing the information relayed to them by their peers.

After the broadcast comes to a close, cast members breath a sigh of relief - another successful broadcast.

Soon after, students and faculty members throughout the building congratulate cast members and give "mad props" to the members of the PHTV cast.

"The best part of being on the PHTV cast is seeing how people respond to the broadcast," said Melissa Maberry, one of the lucky 28 to be in the fall cast.

PHTV has come a long way since its first broadcast, Dec. 14, 2001.

An original cast of 12 spent a year prior to the first air date learning how to use the equipment, and the cast has grown to 28 for the fall semester and will be 24 during the spring semester.

Curtis Maberry, the pioneer and faculty member in charge of the PHTV program is happy to see the number of students interested in joining the program growing. Starting this year, he began to admit students who wished to be part of the fall season through an application process.

"I hate to have to turn students away who are interested in the program," he said, "but we need to keep it down to a concentrated number of students who will remain dedicated to the program throughout the semester."

The fall semester cast includes Ellen Emmanuel, Amy Tautges, Jeremy Gallegos, Danny McGinnis, Drew Mitchell, Liesl Jackson, Emmy Smith, Liza Kelley, Kody Hanavan, Emily Buikema, Melissa Maberry, Cindy Neder, Ty Peterson, Audrey Miller, Danine Mendoza, Kari Beth Faber, Sierra Fleenor, Ana Valdez, Hattie Mayne, Amber Farnham, Lyndsay Abbott, Sandra Griego and Heather Dahm.

Dedication to the program by some students has been rewarded by a probable spot in the next semester's cast, and also a trip to Los Angeles.

In January, 12 students will attend a first-ever high school television convention to be held at the University of Southern California.

Pagosa students who will attend the event are Amy Tautges, Lindsay Abbott, Danny McGinnis, Drew Mitchell, Emily Buikema, Sierra Fleenor, Liesl Jackson, Sandra Griego, Ellen Emmanuel, Amber Farnham, Hattie Mayne and Jeremy Gallegos.

Maberry was appointed to the executive council of the Student Television Network, a national organization that is sponsoring the convention. This allowed him to secure the 12 spots and work it out so the Pagosa students can arrive early to help set up the event, providing them an additional learning experience.

"I'm glad we have this great opportunity to become more knowledgeable in video editing and production by attending the convention in L.A.," said senior Jeremy Gallegos.

The trip will cap what is arguably the program's best year to date. Last year, the team assembled an eight-minute video for United Way which is still currently in use. Amy Tautges and Abby Lucero nabbed a national award for second place out of 60 entries for "Best Public Service Announcement" for a segment they did on smoking.

The program also holds its own award ceremony - the Kermit Awards. A panel of six judges awards students a small statue of Kermit the Frog for accomplishments in certain fields.

Now, the big question on everyone's mind is "Where is PHTV going to go from here?"

Maberry has a few ideas: "The sky's the limit, the only thing holding us back is our limited funding. I would like to work it out so we had our own studio and could give it a more 'newsroom' feel. We also plan to enter into more contests and get our program more recognition."

Businesses interested in assisting the program can become a PHTV sponsor for one to six broadcasts. For the sum of $40 per broadcast, a business will receive recognition on the broadcast and a copy of the program, by request.

PHTV's recent 11th broadcast was a success and with five additional broadcasts slated for release this year, the crew will continue to secure its place in Pagosa Springs High School history.


Tips for stretching your grocery dollar

Everyone knows that budgets are stretched a bit around the holidays. Gifts for friends and relatives can quickly add up. Now's the time to start thinking of ways to cut costs around the household.

One easy way to save on home expenses is to cut down the amount of your grocery bill. Perhaps you've heard tips like avoiding the grocery store when you're hungry, using coupons and buying only the items on your list.

However, there are several other ways to save when you set out for the market. Here are some tips, courtesy of The Dollar Stretcher (

The first thing you should do after making your grocery list is to try to figure out the total cost of your grocery bill. Make sure you've got everything on the list that you'll need because after you've made an educated guess you're going to take that amount of money from your wallet and leave the rest behind.

Grab your keys and head to the store with just your list and cash. This will definitely cut back on the unnecessary extras you'd be tempted to purchase because you won't have the credit cards, debit cards, and checkbook to fall back on.

Don't pass up the day-old-bread rack or the "about to expire" section of the meat department. You have to be careful, but you'll probably be able to tell whether the item is good. Just make sure to use the item right away; don't let it sit in your refrigerator for a week.

Another thing to consider is the time of day, time of week and even time of month that you are shopping. When the grocery store is less busy, like in the middle of the week or early morning you'll be able to shop more efficiently without having to dodge other shoppers in the aisles.

Look high and low for savings, literally. Higher-priced name brand items usually pay to be positioned at eye-level on shelves so that they'll be spotted easily. The lower priced generic and store-brand items are usually higher or lower than the brand name items. Don't assume that generic will equal a lower price, however. Play it safe and review costs carefully.

Lastly, try to set up a shopping pool in your neighborhood. Have another mom or dad watch the kids and then you can do the shopping for both of you, and vice versa.

It's much easier to shop without children because you won't be tempted to buy things to keep them quiet and you'll have more time to comparison shop.




Ethics standards

Dear Editor:

You've heard our commissioners' basic positions on a county code of ethics. Is the state's ethics code truly enough? Perhaps I can highlight some key differences between the state code and the code desired by some local citizens.

1. The state cheapens potentially good standards with words like "may" and "should." Proposed county code: Pretty much lays out that no commissioner/administrator should participate in any official action if he/she has an interest in the matter, and that interest must be disclosed.

2. The state suggests voluntary financial disclosure. An official " may, prior to acting in a manner which may impinge on his fiduciary duty and the public trust, disclose the nature of his private interest. Such disclosure is an affirmative defense against any civil or criminal matter or sanction." Proposed county code: Commissioners/administrator must file an annual disclosure statement, which only lists names and principal business activities of each financial interest held by the official or immediate family member - no monetary figures. Some interests, such as business interests less than 3 percent of total equity value, certain annual incomes under a figure not yet agreed upon, and real estate outside or noncontiguous to the county, are exempt.

3. The state liberally uses the subjective measurement of whether an interest or value is "substantial" to determine conflicts. Examples: Prohibits accepting " a gift of substantial value or a substantial economic benefit tantamount to a gift of substantial value." Allows gifts " of perishable or nonpermanent value, including, but not limited to, meals, lodging, travel expenses, or tickets to sporting, recreational, educational, or cultural events." Proposed county code: Recognizes that what one person considers "substantial" can be worlds apart from another's view. Therefore, it seeks to fully define "financial interest," so the term "substantial" can, hopefully, be eliminated. Applies a stricter gift definition to help reduce potential conflicts of interest.

4. The state leaves it up to the official with the conflict to determine whether he/she is in compliance. Complaints should be directed to the district attorney. Recalls and elections are other options. Proposed county code: Establishes an advisory opinion process to provide a more immediate, less disruptive investigative procedure that could either substantiate or eliminate concerns, without necessarily eliminating officials. It ensures concerns are addressed for prompt settlement, so county business can move forward with the peoples' full confidence.

The primary goal of a county code is simple: The commissioners and administrator must be able to understand how to comply, and answers to accountability must be unbiased and reasonably swift to keep government efficiently working in the public's best interest.

The county's last revision shows progress in many areas, but some very problematic language was inserted. With minor revision, we have the potential for a good code. The people must continue to eliminate gray areas, leaving little question as to what "must" and "shall" be done to prevent breaches of public trust.

Finally, work to finalize the code continues. The county ethics code will become a 2004 campaign issue.

Karen Aspin

Why change?

Dear Editor:

My compliments to Richard Walter on his excellent article in last week's SUN about the late Ralph Eaton and his contributions to our community.

If it were still true, Richard correctly stated, "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." That was the idea when the center was named for him; but now the new sign on the building just says "Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center" and the address.

What right does the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA) have to change the name? If the current officials will check to see how PLPOA came to own that portion of Lot 3-G of the Central Core subdivision left after Mr. Eaton donated part of 3-G to the fire district for its first station and offices, they will find that he donated it (2.03 acres) to PLPOA. It was PLPOA's idea that part of the agreement be that the recreation center would bear his name. How soon we forget. PLPOA still owns 1.73 acres of that land. Three-tenths of an acre was deeded to the fire district for lease to the hospital district for the existing EMS building.

Earle Beasley


Dear Editor,

The contempt that the Democrats have for the Republic and our Constitution, seems more obvious daily. They, in their desperation for power, are starting to show their real colors in regards to the things they say they care about, such as race, gender and other social issues.

They say they are for minorities, but blocked Miguel Estrada, who like most Hispanics is pro-life. Though immensely qualified, he did not meet the pro-death litmus of the left. In one recently discovered Democratic memo, Estrada's main disqualifier was that he was "Latino." Now they have blocked the nomination of another qualified nominee, Judge Janice Rogers Brown, because, as the Dems are concerned, she is too "concerned about private property rights."

Or was it because she is black? Or perhaps, rather than Judge Brown just being another big mouth liberal feminist, she might actually be an intellectual bright star among African American woman, and as such a model for that most oppressed of all minorities.

The Dems by their actions, are convincing us to believe their real motive is to continue to keep the back race enslaved by it's new master, the federal government.

Class warfare, redistribution of wealth, and prejudicial obstructionism are all the classic definitions of socialism. There can be little doubt any longer that the lust for power and the agenda of seizing all control, through lies and manipulation, has become the true motive of the liberal Democrats. The Democratic Party as a whole, is trying to drive the old Republic toward the destructive abyss of the much promoted and worshiped "democratic process." Leaving all minorities at the mercy and whim of a selfish and greedy "majority."

The founders well knew that without a moral compass to guide our government, power, greed and the public's lust for our government's massive financial coffers would soon drive us from a constitutional republic, to a morally bankrupt democracy, to socialism and finally a totalitarian dictatorship.

The checks and balances put in place over our three different governmental branches, would in time, crumble as the democratic abuse of "majority rule," would sweep away the boundaries set in place by the Constitution.

The Democrats in the Senate, using illegal and unconstitutional tactics in the Senate Judicial Committee, and their unbelievable subversive and treasonous tactics in the Senate Intelligence Committee, must be brought to accountability with the upcoming elections of 2004. If not, our country will be torn apart and our foundations destroyed, and our enemies will take full advantage of our vulnerability.

God save the Republic!

William Bennett

League study

Dear Editor:

The ad placed in the Nov. 13 issue of the Pagosa Springs SUN by the Pagosa Springs League of Women Voters has largely been paid for by a generous donation to the League of Women Voters Education Fund. We appreciate very much this donation made by a local member of the League. We continue to solicit donations directly or to the LWV Education Fund (tax deductible) in order to fully cover the cost of this ad.

 We decided to place an ad summarizing this important study of Archuleta County finances that took two years to produce because the SUN felt such a volunteer study not conducted by "professionals" was somehow not worth reporting on. This position is contrary to my prior experience in several U.S. cities where League studies, conducted as this one was by League members, are recognized for their quality and importance to the local electorate.

 I urge those of you who care about and support the notion of an independent organization devoted to important local voter interest issues to get involved in the Pagosa Springs League of Women Voters by becoming national members ($50) or local members ($15). As stated in the ad, you can join this fall during our membership campaign by contacting Merilyn Moorhead, the membership chair at 731-2323.

Tom Cruse

Editor's note: In the interest of accuracy it must be noted there has never been a conversation between the author of the letter and editorial staff concerning this issue.

EMS conclusions

Dear Editor:

The public needs to know what was included in the EMS report that the SUN covered, in summary, in October. These are two of the conclusions:

Political Issues:

It is difficult to express the depth of negative emotions we encountered during our review. The political climate within this district is dismal. There is a great deal of turmoil that has affected nearly all aspects of the EMS department. There are conflicts between management, physicians within the community, clinics, community leaders and the board, with most of the issues residing at the upper management and board levels.

These conflicts must be resolved to reduce/eliminate liability, preserve quality patient care and ensure that operational changes within the organization can occur. It is surprising to us that within this climate of discontent; there is a functional, if not palpable work environment. Interagency cooperation exists during a call for service and operational issues appear to be worked out within an atmosphere of cooperation. This effort to work together is occurring at the department/provider level.

It is clear to us that should the conflict continue without resolution, the result will be injury or worse to a patient, litigation and the termination of local emergency medical services. A solution to these issues must be found immediately.


The overall impression of the review team was that of amazement. To some degree, it is remarkable that the EMS department is able to function as well as it does. Given the financial concerns, lack of a local physician advisor, inadequate medical control, staffing shortages, and political struggles, to name a few, patients were still treated and 911 calls were still answered.

We have identified a number of organizational practices that need to be addressed. It is our opinion that all identified deficiencies need immediate attention and therefore have the same "number one" priority ranking. Some areas of operations need new programs or processes to improve business practices. Others need to be re-evaluated and redesigned.

There are viable solutions to all deficiencies outlined in this report. Until all issues are resolved, the organization remains vulnerable to liability. With that said, if the political turmoil and climate of hatred and distrust are not resolved, these deficiencies can not be adequately rectified.

We feel very strongly that without an immediate and focused attempt by the Health Services District Board of Directors and administration to rectify the deficiencies identified in this report, the department's ability to respond to requests for service will be short lived. We believe that there will be either a catastrophic event connected with the care of a patient, a complete drain on the personnel resources or a complete lack of backing by the stakeholders (constituents) of the district before significant or unpopular decisions are made and carried out."


Pat Curtis

Serve again

Dear Editor:

There are over 1,000 veterans who live in Archuleta County but less than 150 belong to the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

We fight for your rights. All of the benefits you receive come from these organizations, not from a politician.

Strength comes in numbers ... if you are proud to be a veteran, you should join us; we need you and you need us.

We are a brotherhood that can only be achieved by service to our country. We can continually serve as members in the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

I challenge you to serve again, to be proud of what you were and proud of being a veteran today. Serve with us now. We need your help.

May God bless all of you and may God bless the United States of America.

Charles Ed Dailey,


American Legion Post 108

Job well done

Dear Editor:

Hats off to the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County and deep bows to Jim Carson, Bob Bigelow, Bonnie Masters, M. Stern and Lynda Van Patter for an enormous task well-executed. I'm referring, of course, to the full page report on county finances in last week's SUN.

As stated in the report, the league's five-person committee presented 11 thoughtful and constructive recommendations to county commissioners. The responses from our elected representatives to several of those recommendations seem particularly important to me.

Their agreement with No. 3: "Provide fund descriptions and definition of terms in the budget document as required by state law." It is encouraging to know that the commissioners intend to abide by Colorado's governing statutes, but rather unsettling to think that this apparently has not been policy and practice all along.

Their agreement with No. 10: "Hire an outside accounting firm to assess the budget and accounting system, and evaluate qualifications for the finance office." Our county's growth has outpaced our infrastructure in some areas, including financial oversight. A professional, objective view is essential.

The commissioners' lack of comment on No. 8 and No. 9: "Develop a five-year (or longer range) plan for capital improvements and road maintenance." Most area property owners' associations, which are like "microcosmic" counties in many ways, have long-range plans for major expenditures. The ones I am very familiar with also have exceptional accountability in this critical area of reserves. It involves planning for specific expenditures as well as the accumulation of enough money to pay for them. We deserve at least as much from elected, paid officials and their staffs.

I hope we can soon commend the board of county commissioners with the same enthusiasm earned by the League of Women Voters. By the way, we're renewing our membership.

Kerry Dermody

Great impact

Dear Editor:

Thank you for the excellent story, editorial and obituary about Ralph Eaton. When all the history is finally written and digested, it may turn out that he had as great an impact on the Pagosa area as anyone.

I was privileged to speak at his funeral in Phoenix last week. I knew him for 41 years and even worked in his irrigation ditches as a teen-ager.

He was a meek and humble man, even though very successful and influential, and exceedingly generous.

He was my friend and my mentor among mentors.

Jerry Driesens

Something better?

Dear Editor:

If I wrote the following, I'd mean it.

It ought to be an insult to those who have joined the military to say that they joined because the best system of economics wasn't good enough or that America's culture of death and killing was inspirational in their signing up.

Most people in the military are being used in police actions rather than mass indiscriminate slaughter of innocents anyway. Blood thirsty types don't survive in the military unless they're already at the top such as at the Pentagon, where there's no attribution or accountability.

As far as choice is concerned, our capitalist system leaves more choices to disadvantaged people than other systems do. There are also disadvantaged and poor people who have not joined the military.

"From a judicial system of institutionalized injustice" such as affirmative action. Is this what the author of the Nov. 13 letter means?

"From a science that tells us we're just purposeless beasts" ... the man-made theory of evolution. Is this what she means? Incidentally, things in science can be proven; things in theory can not.

I see practicality in patriotism, but I seen nothing except waste, demoralization and disintegration coming from those who are anti-American.

To put forth an indictment of America and its patriots means there must be something better. Pulling the foundation out from under America means what?

As far as the "unregenerate heart of man" is concerned, survival is a very unrepentant activity.

This is the trouble with erudite neo-philosophers with their highly developed social-control nonsense. Their views are unworkable and there are no solutions whatsoever, but they sure want the unbridled control over everybody else.

People need to say what they mean and be specific instead of hiding behind a wall of double-talk. Here's my method: tell the reader the problem, who is causing it, and how to fix it. I don't believe in wasting 500 words to hide an agenda. What's being hidden in a treatise on America, or is it Marx? I'll answer this by assuming the worst.

John Feazel

We salute you

Dear Editor:

To the eighth-grade teachers and students of Pagosa Springs Junior High School:

Last week you presented veterans several programs at the community center. You honored us, entertained us and fed us royally, even served us while we were seated.

You showed us that your group is bright, caring and patriotic, and we truly respect you for that, and sincerely thank each of you for the effort you put into the event.

The number of veterans is shrinking nationwide by about 1,000 a day. Soon only a handful will be left and the torch will be passed to you to carry on to do what is necessary to protect our freedom in this great country.

You should know that for many hundreds of years each generation has had to fight to maintain its precious freedom. Those who did retained freedom. Those who didn't lost it and a terrible price was paid as a result.

For nearly 30 years as an Air Force pilot, I have been blessed with opportunity to live in the greatest country in the world. While some people knock the USA, isn't it curious how many want to come here to live and be just like us?

We are fortunate to live in the greatest country in the world, with its many, many blessings. As you grow and mature, never forget that we aren't perfect, but neither is anyone else, and we don't want to fight to retain our freedom, but we would rather do that than give it up. We veterans salute you.

E.A. "Sandy" Lohman

Col., USAF, retired

Get a life

Dear Editor:

I just perused the loquacious diatribe by Wendy Wallace (letter, Nov. 13) on her observations of our country's aims, justice and contributions to world democracy and I feel a response is required.

Having proudly served as a Marine for over 33 years, I can assure Ms. Wallace that neither I, nor any of our active service men and women need or desire her sympathy.

Her comments reflect a need to adjust to the benefits which the armed forces and veterans have fought to protect.

If she would rather reside under fanaticism, Nazism, communism or dictatorship, I recommend a move out of our great country to develop an appreciation for our blessings.

Nevertheless, many a life has been sacrificed to give her the right to speak her mind. Let's hope she resists the urge to do so in my presence.

Sepp Ramsperger,

Col. USMC (Ret.)

God, guns, guts

Dear Editor:

Yes indeed!

Wendy Wallace easily answered my question in her Nov. 13 letter of doom and gloom. She emphatically verified that America has never found "such men and women" hiding and squirming under her negativity rocks.

Just where are your solutions to all that negativity Ms. Wallace?

Be of good cheer Wendy, there is a possible fiery collage on the sunrise. I'll even let ya borrow some of my Crayolas. How's this for a hue of horror: Hillary will run in 2004.

Ya know, it is entirely possible the Wicked Witch of the West Wing could even tap Al Sharpton as her vice president. What do ya think? Good choice? They could be less than a year from victory.

Why you might personally consider assisting Hillary in her campaign run. You could offer to be her euphoric Goddess of Grim or maybe her Woman of Woe. Then the three of you could regenerate the "unregenerate heart of man." How wonderful it would be. Better yet, there is an answer to all your doldrums. Just face the soothing, warming glow of The SUN opinion page and slowly - inhale.

Ms. Wallace, speaking from a veteran's standpoint, even if everyone were combat-related quadriplegics, none of us desire nor do we need your condescending sympathies. No doubt this will violently counter your obvious philosophies.

Regardless, God, guns and guts keep America free.

Jim Sawicki

Health care goals

Dear Editor:

Joe McDonald of the Manchester, Mass. Union Leader stated:

"The problem with politics in this country is that we argue about the smallest issues instead of addressing the big ones."

It seems that discord is the theme of the times; rather than using constructive criticism and/or constructive support, folks get the most pleasure from chaos and destruction while complaining that nothing ever gets done.

For my part in this community, which is focused on health care needs, I want to assure you that I am using my energy to meet the expressed wishes of many for a 23-hour hospital with a birthing center, increased visiting specialists, and highly qualified health care professionals to serve these goals. The work has begun!

Visit the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Clinic and meet the medical director, Dr. Guy Paquet and staff. I believe you will be pleased.

Patty Tillerson


Dear Editor:

The ink was barely dry on my letter in last week's SUN pointing out continued deception of the citizens by the Upper San Juan Health Services District Board when they proved my points by publishing their own "newsletter."

One can deceive by omission as well as by telling as bald face lie. Most people learn about telling "the whole truth" as children. It is so basic a principle that it is written into most of the laws and religions of the world.

An elected board is required by state law to be openly and completely honest with the citizens about all district business. The district's newsletter is an effort by some of the board members to deceive the public. None of the real district news, as reflected from the cover of recent issues by The Pagosa Springs SUN, is evident in the newsletter.

There is no mention of the recent and scathing professional audit report. No numbers to back up their claims. No thanks or information about the fire district often having to help on ambulance runs. Blatant omissions and no honesty.

The newsletter is composed entirely of the self-serving "believe in us, we are in charge, we know better than everyone else, everything is wonderful" deception they have endlessly vented while actively crippling our health care system.

Considering that board members likely to have an entirely different and more honest appraisal of the district were not given the opportunity to provide input and considering there is an election coming soon, this can be seen as nothing but pure political propaganda and not a newsletter from the district.

If it is a district publication they have once again violated the principles of Colorado's Sunshine Laws by omitting real news and covering up the truth. If it is the propaganda of four board members then it is political advertising and the four members should pay for it from their own pockets and not the taxpayers'.

The district has several thousand tax dollars in its "advertising budget." You watch, they will spend it between now and the May election for purely self-serving and political reasons.

Sure, it's against the law; no problem here!

Norm Vance


Community News

Senior News

A look at what counseling services can provide you

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

We are pleased to have Susan Stoffer coming Nov. 21 to present, "How Can I help?" an explanation of what general counseling services can provide you.

Susan's background as a nurse and counselor enables her to deal with the emotional as well as the physical aspect of problems, illnesses or conditions.

Susan will continue to serve our senior population by offering a sliding-scale fee based on income, starting at $15 per session, with a maximum of $35. Her talk will start at 12:45 p.m. in the lounge.

We had a big turnout for Bill Noble's presentation "What Color is Your Personality?" People stayed for almost two hours asking questions and finding out what makes their neighbors tick. Everyone enjoyed themselves so much that they are already looking forward to Bill's next visit Dec. 17.

Bill will show off another talent, singing Christmas carols during lunch. Make sure you are all here and we can all join in.

We have been hearing good things about the Colorado SHARE food program. The produce is very good and the prices very reasonable.

The December holiday dinner sounds fabulous: 8-pound spiral ham, cherry pie, French cut green beans, 20-ounce sliced pineapple, brown and serve rolls, regular potatoes, yellow onions, a pound of carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, apples, bananas and oranges ... all for only $26. (This price includes a transportation fee).

You can order this meal at the Senior Center from Darcy Nov. 26 and Dec. 3 at 12:30 p.m. Pick up the order Dec. 20 at First Assembly of God Church. This would make a wonderful gift for a needy family as well.

George, an old ranch hand at the SC_None (Senior Center Bars None) remembers an old radio program called "Can You Top This?" that had some great humor.

On one program, Imy went to the doctor complaining of sore feet. The doctor told him to take a vacation in Florida and soak his feet in the ocean. Imy goes to Florida and when he gets to the beach, he sees a lifeguard there. Imy hasn't been to the ocean before, so he asks the lifeguard how much a bucket of water costs. The lifeguard decides to joke with him and says, "It's two bits." Imy gives him a quarter and gets a bucket of water to soak his feet.

Later on in the afternoon, he decides to get another bucket and soak his feet again. When he gets to the beach, the tide is out. Imy looks at the beach and then at the lifeguard and says, "You have a heck of a business here!"

Do you have any good memories to share?

Keep in mind that on the first three Fridays of December there will be a video program filled with the music of the Christmas season. Gather in the lounge following lunch to enjoy these together. We will show "Silent Night with Jose Carreras, Joy to the World" celebration videoed in Nashville, and "Christmas: A Time for Joy," filmed in the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham.

Watch for charges

If you have ever been in the hospital, you might have noticed how extensive and confusing your hospital bill is. It is common to be overcharged for services, so you might want to look over your bill to spot common overcharges.

Look for: Excessive charges for routine admission process; private room charge for a patient who has a semi-private room; charges for medications that were not administered or were declined by the patient; double billing; charges for services the doctor did not order or were not administered; charges for tests or services that were performed a second time because they were done incorrectly the first time.

If you have any questions about your bill, contact the hospital billing office and they will go over the bill with you. Also, if you need help with a Medicare bill, contact our Medicare counselor, Jim Hanson, at 731-4631.

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


Friday - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Medicare counseling, 11; senior board meeting and "How Can I Help? with Susan Stoffer, 12:45 p.m.

Nov. 22 - Colorado SHARE food pick-up at First Assembly of God, 10:30- 11 a.m.

Nov. 24 - bridge for fun, 1 p.m.

Nov. 25 - yoga, 9:30 a.m.; advanced computer class, 10:30; pinochle, 1 p.m.; Thanksgiving meal at Francisco's, 2-4 p.m.

Nov. 26 - beginning computer class, 10:30 a.m.; Colorado SHARE food orders taken 12:30 p.m.

Nov. 27-28 - Center closed for Thanksgiving.


Friday - Porcupine meatballs, 3-bean salad, muffin and orange wedges

Nov. 24 - Beef cutlet, mashed potatoes, spinach, roll and citrus cup

Nov. 25 - Meatloaf, noodles, mixed vegetables, whole wheat roll and plums

Nov. 26 - Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, tossed salad, roll and pumpkin pie.

Chamber News

No shortage of fun-filled

holiday events in Pagosa

By Sally Hameister

As the "most wonderful time of year" approaches, we are busy here at the Chamber decorating and lighting for the big day, Dec. 6, when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to spend time with all the little ones listening to Christmas wishes and handing out candy canes.

Also available, of course, are all the delicious cookies baked by our very own "Cookie Lady" and board director, Sally Hovatter. We know what a huge task it is to bake those beauties, but we have grown addicted to them as have so many of the folks who visit us that day. Hot spiced cider will be on tap as well along with Jeff Laydon of Pagosa Photography who will capture those priceless moments with Santa for you to share with all family members who can't be here.

We are always delighted to welcome the Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus who arrive in our parking lot around 5 p.m. to lead us in all the traditional carols. This year we are thrilled to have cast members from "A Wonderful Life" joining us with tunes from the show and Christmas music as well.

Terri Smith and the wonderful gang at Circle T/Ace Hardware are again providing transportation for our precious cargo and also for our float in the Parade of Lights the following Friday. I just talked to Rodney at Ace and told him that I could only hope that they knew how much we appreciated their driver and transportation contribution year after year. He assured me that they did, but I truly can't say it enough. Thanks, fellers.

One of my favorite moments of the year occurs around 5:30 p.m. when Santa comes out to the deck of the Chamber and performs his magical countdown to the official beginning of the holiday season in Pagosa when the eighty squillion lights go on at the Visitor Center. If you have never seen this little miracle, it's about time you did. I never tire of spectacle or of the looks on the faces of all the little ones when they come on. Join us please for a bit of holiday magic.

The Parade of Lights will occur the following Friday night, Dec. 12, and this year there is no entry fee, so we want to see everyone participate. You have nothing to lose but a bit of time and effort and $100 to gain if you win the "Best and Brightest" in one the three categories: business, family or organization. Stop by the Visitor Center to pick up your registration form or give us a call, and we'll fax it to you. The parade begins on 6th Street and ends on 2nd, and you can call with questions at 264-2360.

Santa at Pagosa Kid

No wonder the jolly old elf needs a year to rest between visits because he is just everywhere for the few weeks preceding Christmas. He will appear at the Pagosa Kid Dec. 13 from 2-4 p.m. Refreshments will be available as well as complimentary digital photos of your little ones with Santa. Photos will subsequently be posted on the Pagosa Kid Web site for easy download to send to friends and relatives.

Please plan to join Santa, Angela and the gang at Pagosa Kid, or call with questions at 264-9330.

Marketing Pagosa

In an effort to keep you abreast of our marketing efforts, we invite you to come into the Visitor Center and check out our bulletin board just chock full of ads that we have out there.

We know that our recent television ads in New Mexico were very successful because of the phone calls that were generated as a result. We ran them for a week on every CBS affiliate station in New Mexico at prime times and were most pleased with the subsequent number of yellow license plates spotted in town and at the ski area.

We also sent a Pagosa representative to ski shows in Austin, Albuquerque, Dallas and Houston. Jennifer Martin represented the Chamber and Pagosa, armed with all kinds of marketing information for the area. We know that Austin was not very well attended and that Albuquerque was a raging success with a huge turnout. Pagosa was extremely well represented at Winterfest with the Chamber, Wolf Creek Ski Area and several of our lodging members in attendance with their own booths.

There is indeed strength in numbers, and the more booths and representatives we have at these shows, the better for all of us.

We are also running radio and newspaper ads in Chama touting all of our holiday activities. We feel that reaching 30,000 Chama Valley residents and the folks in northern Rio Arriba and Los Alamos County is a real good idea because our holiday events are simply the best and we think folks in those areas will be happy to join us for them. Who could resist Christmas in Pagosa and our Parade of Lights? Our neighbors to the west aren't as inclined to come for these things, but our neighbors to the east and south might very well.

Colorado travel trends

We're always happy to pass along information we receive from the Colorado Tourism Office concerning recent travel trends. We've passed along several in the past few months and add this latest to the list.

Some of you may not be at all surprised to learn that six out of 10 travelers interested in visiting Colorado have used the Internet to find travel information and prices in the past year according to a study that appeared in the 2003 National Leisure Travel Monitor.

The study also reveals that nearly four out of 10 prospective visitors have used the Internet to actually make a reservation. Among those who make reservations online, air and hotel are the most popular. A growing percentage also book rental cars or complete vacation packages.

The percentage of travelers interested in visiting Colorado used the Internet in the last 12 months to make the following reservations: 66 percent, hotel reservations; 59 percent, airline reservations; 34 percent, car rental reservations and 24 percent, complete vacation packages.

'A Wonderful Life'

How fabulous that the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters have established a holiday event for us which can only enhance the spirit of the season. Last year, we were treated to the time-honored "A Christmas Carol" and this year we look forward with great anticipation to "A Wonderful Life."

A cast and chorus of 47 of our friends and neighbors will combine to bring us this musical production, singing, dancing and acting their little hearts out. Needless to say, the "unsung heroes" behind the scenes will be creating sets, lighting, building, painting and moving large items and sewing costumes. It makes my head swim to just think about the magnitude of work and dedication that go into such a formidable endeavor, yet the Music Boosters pull it off every time with remarkable finesse and professionalism. We are indeed lucky to have these generous and talented folks among us.

Performances will take place at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium on the evenings of Dec. 4, 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee Dec. 7. Tickets are priced at $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (60 and over) and $6 for students and children. Reserved seat tickets are available at The Plaid Pony, or you may call 731-5262 for information.

Newsletter insert

There's still time to bring your insert to the Visitor Center for the December issue of the Chamber Communiqué with a deadline of Nov. 26. Take advantage of this opportunity to convey your holiday greeting, announce holiday specials, herald the opening of your new business or just remind folks about the great bargains they will always find at your business.

Bring us 750 copies of your insert and a check for $40, and we'll take it from there. No one could deny that this is one of the best marketing bargains you will ever find, especially in light of the fact that one of our neighboring communities charges $150 for the same thing. With the holidays quickly approaching, inserts provide an inexpensive way to get the word out.

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

Pagosa Perks

This week you will find good sports Lynn Cook, Claudia Weger, Mike Stoll and Briana Jacobson in our ad for Pagosa Perks, and it is clear that they had a fabulous time while posing for Jeff Laydon.

Lynn is President of the Pagosa Springs Association of Realtors and the other "goblins" in the picture are officers or board directors who are encouraging their colleagues and associates to give Pagosa Perks to clients and customers this holiday season. 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.

Holiday gallery tour

I know you think your December calendar is about as full as it can be, but I'm thinking that you need to make room for another fun event. The Pagosa Springs Arts Council is sponsoring a Gala Holiday Gallery Tour Dec. 19 from 5-7:30 p.m.

A variety of folks will be hosting that evening and invite you to stop by and enjoy refreshments, entertainment, door prizes and no small amount of warm Pagosa camaraderie. Plan to visit Pagosa Photography, Moonlight Books, Taminah Gallery, Handcrafted Interiors, Lantern Dancer, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park and the PSAC Gallery in Town Park.

Tickets are available for $10 and $8 for PSAC members at the above businesses, Chamber of Commerce and WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company. PSAC members will need to pick up their tickets at the gallery in Town Park.

Christmas concerts

The annual Community Choir Christmas concerts are just around the corner and attendance at at least one of them should be mandatory for everyone who savors every delectable drop from the holiday season.

The first concert will be held Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., 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.

Another performance will be held at the same time Dec. 13, 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." If you don't leave with boatloads of holiday spirit, have someone check your temperature.

Call Sue Kehret at 731-3858 with questions.

Open house

While making your plans for Christmas in Pagosa Dec. 6, include the open house at Moonlight Books and Gallery 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Santa begins his appearance at the Visitor Center at 3 p.m. 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, 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.

Russ Hill Bazaar

The Community United Methodist Church's 40th annual bazaar kicked off Monday morning, so run on down to Lewis Street between 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 9-noon on Saturday to order your beautiful wreaths and/or centerpieces created by 40-50 volunteer elves.

All of the proceeds and fruits of their labors will benefit the church and community, so you can't possibly go wrong on this one.

Last year these generous souls created over 750 wreaths and 175 table arrangements. You must place your orders by the 24th, 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.

It's worth the trip just to peek in on this generous group of volunteers and see them busily creating beautiful things. It's very much like looking in on Santa's workshop, only we know these elves by name.

Call 731-5918 with questions.


Our apologies go out to Justin Davis of SkyWerx Wireless Internet for the incorrect phone number we passed along last week in our membership welcome. That is the last thing we would do intentionally, Justin, and the correct phone number for this new business is 731-9790. SkyWerx provides a wireless alternative to wired internet across solutions such as DSL and cable modems. Give Justin a call at the new, improved correct number.

We will now go about the pleasant business of welcoming two new members and congratulating the renewals on their amazing savvy for renewing with our Chamber.

Jody Cromwell joins us with Mortgage One located in the Bank of Colorado at 205 Country Center Drive. Mortgage One has been serving Pagosa Springs, Durango and the Four Corners as their preferred lender for 11 years by meeting clients' needs with a broad range of services. Give Jody a call at 731-4166.

Members Angela and Andy Bauer, owners of Edelweiss Roofing and Construction, join us with a second business this week: 4-Seasons Rental located at 533 B Alpine Drive. This is a recently completed lovely furnished town home located in the San Juan River Resort just six miles east of Pagosa. There are two units available with kitchen, TV, satellite, direct TV and much more. Give Angela and Andy a call at 264-0345 for more information about 4-Seasons Rental.

Our renewals this week include the good folks at Sky Ute Casino and Lodge in Ignacio; Wade Duncan with Genesis Mortgage; FastQ Communications in Phoenix; Susan Hampton with Black Bear Custom Homes, LLC; Steve Schwartz with Spectrum Construction; Bob Goodman with Goodman's Department Store; Mary Candy with Pagosa Health and Fitness' The Club; Bernard Schuchart with Cabin Fever Log Homes; Bernie (again) with The Buck Stops Here; Carmen Miller with American Legion Post 108; Linda and Charity Love with The Hideout; Kerry Dermody with Management of Fine Properties; Steve and Bobbi Wirth with Village Interiors Carpet One; and Dan Aupperle with Citizens Bank. Whew, and thanks to all.


Library News

History collection will be sold to highest bidder

We recently acquired a large collection of history books that we are going to auction off sight- unseen.

We have 12 boxes, each holding approximately eight to 10 books. They are mostly American and European history in excellent condition.

The auction price will start at $250 for the entire collection. The highest bid over $250 by closing time on Dec. 29 will win. We will post the current highest bid daily at the library until Dec. 29 Please come in and sign the bid sheet.

High bidder must pay and pick up the boxes of books by 5 p.m. Dec. 30. All proceeds from the sale will go to the building fund.

Colorado history

"Place Names in Colorado," is the name of a small pamphlet put together by J. Frank Dawson back in 1954. Our copy is yellowing with age but still viable.

He tells us that five flags have flown over Colorado - Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas and the Stars and Stripes.

Other interesting facts include:

The mean altitude of Colorado is 6,800 feet above sea level according to the National Geographic Society.

Dawson researched 700 communities listed, 150 of Spanish or Indian origin.

The railroads were responsible for many names that were originally given to section houses (usually six miles apart) and later developed into communities.

The Bible furnished some names. Two were spelled in reverse; Egnar being one of them. Leadville had six different names.

Ignacio was a member of the Weminuche band of Utes. He was the son of a famous medicine man and not a chief by heredity. He was however, a sub-chief under Chief Ouray and had charge of the Southern Utes. In 1895 Congress recognized his services and designated him as head Chief of the Utes.

Chromo was named for Chromo Mountain in New Mexico and is a Greek word meaning "color." It was first called Price for Charles Price, its first postmaster. Piedra means rocks or stones.

Dawson had help from the Denver Public Library and the Colorado Historical Society in this collection. You may check out this interesting study.

And speaking of railroads - do come by and see our train display. It will get you in the mood to set up the track for the holidays.

Artists' bookmarks

We are almost out of the 15 original bookmarks produced by local artists. We have a few left for sale at the library. They will make great stocking stuffers for your friends and relatives who are not fortunate enough to live here in Pagosa Paradise.

And please take note of Joan Rohwer's beautiful postcard of the stained glass she created above the circulation desk. She also wrote a beautiful poem to go with it. Come by and see her work and send a few postcards this festive season.

Building fund

We have so much to be thankful for.

We have almost made our goal of $590,000 since this time last year. A remarkable feat thanks to the support of our friends and patrons. The state was so impressed with what we have accomplished that it granted us $175,000 to match your efforts. As of today, we are just $30,000 short.

We invite any of you who have not given to the fund to do so. You may give in honor or in memory of someone, and your names will be inscribed on our new wall plaque.

You may pick up a donation letter at the desk. The letter explains the levels of gifts and they are tax deductible. And on behalf of the board of trustees, the staff, volunteers and patrons, we thank you all.

Veteran's Corner

Priority groups determine VA health care eligibility

I frequently refer to the current VA Heath Care enrollment priority groups when discussing health care with veterans. The priority groups determine the veteran's VA health care eligibility.

The key element of VA health care is to meet the highest priority group possible. This usually is based on the veteran's income in the lowest priority groups, and VA rated service connected disabilities in the higher groups.

Most of our veterans fall into the lowest priority groups and do not have any service-connected disabilities. Their enrollment will depend on their income.

A good rule of thumb is about a $30,000 income limit for a veteran with one dependent (spouse, etc.) to qualify for the lowest priority group.

Remain active patient

As I often report in this column, if you enrolled and remained an active patient before January 17, 2003, you are "grandfathered" into the VA health care system.

You still must make an annual income report on a "means test" form (financial means to qualify for co-pays). You won't be kicked out of VA health care if you make over the income threshold, if enrolled previous to that date, as long as you remain in active patient status.

If you do not see the VA doctor or complete the means test for over two years, you may be dropped from VA health care enrollment, and may not be able to get back into the system because of your income over the minimum threshold.

Most of the time veterans are seeking VA health care for the low cost VA prescription drug program because they cannot obtain, at this time, low cost prescription drugs through Medicare.

No private care scrips

The VA does not accept prescriptions from private care physicians at this time. Though I expect something to be worked out on this in the future there is nothing pending at this time that I know of.

To receive the benefit of the VA low-cost prescription drug benefit, you must be seen by a VA doctor. And, once seen by a VA doctor for those prescriptions, you must go back to the VA doctor for periodic checkup and renewel of those prescriptions.

I frequently find veterans, especially in advanced ages, that went to the VA once in the last year or two, got VA prescriptions, and then have not returned for follow-up VA health care visits. Then they find their prescriptions have run out or can't be renewed without a doctor visit. This might mean a long delay for an appointment. The veteran must then obtain their prescriptions from regular private sources and may be very costly.

Follow-up appointments

It is extremely important to go back to the VA doctor every six months or so for checkup and prescription drug renewals. Often it is up to the veteran to make sure he or she is scheduled for an appointment.

Some VA health care facilities do not automatically schedule patients for future appointments. I suggest you make an appointment in six or 12 months with the VA doctor as you are leaving from the current appointment to ensure you don't forget later on to make a new appointment.

Next week I will outline more specific information on the priority groups.

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 The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.



Three Pagosa Springs High School juniors are members of this year's All-State Women's Choir. Victoria Stanton, Danae Holloman and Christine Morrison were selected following an audition process and will be in Fort Collins Feb. 1, 2 and 3 to rehearse with other vocalists from Colorado schools. The choir will perform Feb. 3.



Down the busy road ...

Officials consider highway, trails plan

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Drive up Put Hill at night. Piedra Road in the early morning or evening. The clash of transportation systems is easy to spot.

On one side, the pedestrian. Walking, maybe with a dog or a baby in a stroller. Jogging, determined to meet the nightly goal. Biking.

On the other side, the motor vehicle traveling to and from outlying subdivisions. The fastest way. The most convenient. Necessary, it may seem.

In the instant they pass each other, they represent the old and new - the past and the future of transportation in Pagosa Country (with a nod to horses of course.) Tuesday, the Pagosa Springs Planning Commission considered its part in that local system in a two-hour meeting.


The future of the local highway system was the first order of business. Colorado Department of Transportation representatives said creation of a 25-year highway plan for the southwest region, including Pagosa Springs, started in September. Over the next year, members of CDOT and the regional planning commissioner will work through wish lists, visions and goals to come up with a plan that's fiscally sound and meets the needs of the area.

To do that, CDOT representatives Ed Morlan and Lori Blands said, they would need the help of local governments to make sure each community's main concerns are met. After all, getting projects on the drawing board - and into the 25 year plan is just the first step. To be funded, projects must make it from there onto the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan, the STIP.

Blands said for the first time, the 2030 plan will also include corridor visions for the region with each state highway being one corridor. This is intended to create a unified vision for the entire "system," instead of just one piece of the puzzle. A vision statement, goals, objectives and strategies is being written for each corridor, including U.S. 160, U.S. 84 and Colo. 151 in this area.

Backing up a couple years in vision, the town planning commission also considered a U.S. 160 access management plan. Town Administrator Mark Garcia said the plan was designed to help simplify the planning process for both town staff and developers when it came to permitting access points along the highway.

The plan covers an area from approximately Meadows Drive at the west to 8th Street at the east. The current conceptual draft shows five additional signalized intersections. At the west end of town, Meadows Drive and Vista Boulevard would be moved slightly to create one intersection with a traffic signal. Signals are also planned at an undeveloped access near the Timber Ridge sales office and at Majestic Drive, Great West Avenue and 8th Street. Other accesses would be restricted to right in/right out only.

For the plan to be finalized, an intergovernmental agreement will have to be reached between the town, county and CDOT regarding the accesses, CDOT representative Melinda Ice said, adding that it would have to be written to allow flexibility when necessary.


In between highway presentations, the board considered a draft of a Trails Master Plan created by Four Corners Planning and Design Group, of Durango in cooperation with Archuleta County, the town and the Pagosa Area Trails Council. Representatives of the design group, Tom Maynard and Paul Wilbert, outlined the plan, noting that it was created as a conceptual document to assist planning and development of trails over the next 20 years or more.

Five longer trails were identified and named in the study. The San Juan River Trail, the backbone of the system, would run from Navajo Lake to Wolf Creek, linking one end of the county to the other. At complete buildout, it would cover approximately 46 miles.

The Springs to Springs Trail would connect Aspen Springs, Pagosa Lakes and Pagosa Springs. This trail would cover approximately 12 miles and be located farther from major roads and highways in the county.

The Pagosa Trail, another 12 mile segment, would run north to south through Pagosa Lakes from Hatcher Lake to Trujillo Road.

The Pagosa - Blanco Trail as planned would cover the north to south segment east of town to take bikers and pedestrians away from U.S. 84. This segment would include a combination of trails, low-volume subdivision roads and forest lands. Length is estimated at 8 miles.

The U.S. 160 Trail would parallel the highway through the county, forming the major east/west route and covering an estimated 42 miles.

The plan breaks these trails down into shorter segments for priority ranking. Fifteen segments of trail are identified as "highest priority" trails, ranked there because of safety levels and anticipated levels of use.

The trails are also broken down by ideal surface material and primary user groups. Commuter bikeways, probably 10-foot concrete trails, would connect major destinations such as schools, shopping areas and recreation centers.

Primary trails could be either 8-foot concrete or asphalt, and would collect traffic from feeder trails, directing users to major destinations.

Secondary trails located within residential and commercial areas of the county and leading to the larger trails are termed "all-weather." A crushed gravel surface is recommended.

Dirt or natural surface trails are planned for the mostly recreational loops featuring the more scenic corridors through the county. The fifth type of trail would be a shared-roadway where the non-motorized and motorized traffic would come together - most likely on residential streets linking one system of transportation to another.

The consultants said the document is designed to allow the development of trails to be opportunity-driven as well as priority-driven. For instance, a lower-priority segment of a trail may need to be developed first because a road is scheduled for repair or easements are available.

Trail-type is also flexible. Those trails projected to be concrete someday may be laid out in crushed gravel first and improved as time and money allows.

"The plan strongly discourages the use of the power of eminent domain, which, under Colorado statutes allows a county or municipality to condemn private property for public use," according to the introduction page of the document. "Furthermore, it is the intent of this plan to acquire the rights-of-way or build trails on private property only with the consent of the property owner or as part of the development process whereby trails are one of many required improvements, which also typically include streets, sidewalks or utilities."

To understand where trails were needed in the county, the consultants interviewed approximately 40 people between December 2002 and May 2003. Participants included various types of trail users and representatives of public and quasi-public entities. Two public meetings were held.

In the end, the commission recommended approval for both the U.S. 160 Access Management Plan and the Trails Master Plan. The town board of trustees will have the final vote on both. Should the plans be approved, both will become planning documents used as guidelines for future development. The Upper Regional San Juan Planning Commission is also considering action on this document.


Pagosa's Past

Native American ethnic

mix getting complicated

John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

One of the pleasant distinctions of Pagosa Country is the great ethnic diversity of her population: Anglo, Hispanic and Native American.

Look deeper without looking into Anglo ethnicity. Classify the Native Americans as Southern Ute, Jicarilla Apache, and Navajo. Classify the Southern Ute as Capote, Moache, and Weeminuche. That isn't the end. When one gets to know some of the Native Americans personally, another light dawns. The ethnic mix gets more complicated.

One reason for the complication isn't so obvious to Anglos, but is based on a problem faced by nearly every young Southern Ute and Jicarilla Apache. As the age to marry approaches, the young person looks around and discovers that a high proportion of the marrigable-age young people are relatives. Since the traditional desire is to marry another Native American, the solution is to visit other reservations in search of mates.

Underneath, of course, is the obvious: More than 50 percent of all Native Americans live in urban areas. A high percentage of those marry Anglos, or in New Mexico, Hispanics.

In any case, discussion of family trees with individual Native Americans can be extremely interesting and extremely enlightening.

Living in Dulce, the agency headquarters for the Jicarilla Apache, are approximately 3,000 tribal members. A tribal member is defined as at least three-eighths Jicarilla. But, there are only about 300 full Jicarilla Apaches

And so, one finds Apaches married to Navajo, Ute, various of the Pueblo Indians, Sioux, Blackfoot, and the list continues. A shallow knowledge of Apache history discloses the reason for the small population.

Guesses about the Jicarilla population before the U.S. took over the Southwest during the 1840s vary from 3,000-4,000, up to as many as 10,000. What happened?

Forget the early deaths from white man diseases that might have killed half of all Indians.

Just as do the Navajo, the Jicarilla have their own trail of tears. By the time the Jicarilla were awarded their present reservation in 1887, settlement of New Mexico by Anglos and Hispanics had pretty much taken up most of the usable land. During the four or five decades while that settlement was taking place, the Jicarilla were like the boll weevil, looking for a home.

They tried to settle in their historic homeland near Cimarron, they tried to settle near Abiquiu. The government promised them a reservation near Tierra Amarilla and some Jicarilla moved there.

Then the government promised them a reservation near Amargo and many Jicarilla moved there.

Then the government decided to send them to the Mescalero Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico. When the Jicarilla balked, Buffalo soldiers were sent in to root them out. Some remained hidden. But the bulk, old and young, male and female, walked across the New Mexican deserts and mountains to the Mescalero reservation.

From there, a large number vanished into the wilderness, hiding out near Cimarron or Abiquiu or wherever they could. Some crossed over, declared themselves Spanish, and claimed homesteads under U.S. homestead laws.

Finally, in 1887, the current reservation became a reality, and the Jicarilla walked back. Even then, the promised homeland was more of a concentration camp for a people yet unaccustomed to making a living in the white man's way. Diseases ravaged the undernourished population, especially tuberculosis. By the beginning of the 20th century, the population was down to perhaps 300 threatened individuals.

Exacerbating the problem was the BIA policy of forcing the young people to leave home and live in tightly-sequestered school dormitories where they could be "Americanized." The death rate from communicable diseases was high, almost as high as the annihilation of any personal pride.

And so, even today as I sit at lunch in the Senior Center in Dulce and talk with men and women in their 50s and 60s, I hear stories of unacceptable treatment of humans - not ancient history, but a time within our own memories.

Typical is the story recited matter-of-factly: "They took me from home when I was four years old and made me live in the dorm. They cut my hair and washed my mouth out with soap if I spoke a word in my native language. Sometimes we had to kneel for an hour or more as punishment. I only saw my parents for about 20 minutes at Christmas time. If anybody tried to run away to see their parents, they were chained to their beds."

And then other, unrecorded stories come out. "We were hiding on Dulce Rock from the Spanish soldiers (New Mexico militia). When they came by, they held their hands over the babies' mouths so they wouldn't cry and give away our positions."

Or, "There was a battle with the soldiers near today's Edith. They left the bodies of some of our men to float down the Navajo River. We couldn't go get them."

The stories go on. So does life as a race of people struggles to restore dignity and pride.

And I wonder about my own history. Was there a time in Europe when ancestors of my own family were conquered and forced to live according to the dictates of another people?

Sure there was.

I wonder which identity survived? Who am I?



A generous season

One of the first things a new arrival to our part of the world notices,

if he or she is aware of what is happening around them, is what a

generous community this is. Hardly a week goes by that some organization is not seeking donations of money, energy and effort for a notable cause. And the citizenry invariably comes through. This has been the case regardless of the economic climate: People in Pagosa Country have responded if the need is there.

Bottom line: this could be a difficult season for a lot of families, children and seniors. All year there have been indications that a significant number of our friends and neighbors are having problems making ends meet. The job market has tightened, people are playing their economic cards closer to the vest, waiting for the tide to turn in emphatic fashion.

There are residents of Archuleta County heading into the holidays who will find it hard to do much more than get by. Some will not manage.

We have a good barometer at hand: The Operation Helping Hand Thanksgiving program that will distribute at least 119 food boxes tomorrow to those in need reports an all-time high number of requests this year - an increase of as much as 30 percent over the previous high.

With Thanksgiving a memory, winter looms, the pressures on everyday life increase, the bills for basic services grow and, if the Thanksgiving figures are a sign of what is to come, there could be as many as 30-percent more Archuleta County residents who need assistance.

It is time to respond: The need is there.

Operation Helping Hand is one of the best ways to provide assistance where it is needed. It is a cooperative project, designed to avoid duplication of efforts to serve residents who need help, who are experiencing difficulty or are down on their luck, especially children and seniors. The program utilizes the work of local service clubs, government, churches, schools and other individuals and organizations. With the Thanksgiving project complete, member organizations and others are collecting used and new clothing and household items, as well as non-perishable food items for the Christmas season. Operation Helping Hand is taking monetary donations as well, having exhausted its budget for the Thanksgiving program.

The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club opens the pre-Christmas activity Nov. 21, with Operation Winter Coat. Coats will be provided to those in need tomorrow, from 1-5 p.m. at the Extension building at the county fairgrounds on U.S. 84.

Three locations are currently accepting donations of new and used household goods and clothing, as well as nonperishable food items, all to be dispensed as Christmas approaches: the Department of Social Services in Town Hall, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center and Coldwell Banker, on Put Hill.

The collection of donations of toys and gift items will begin in earnest this weekend with placement of Project Empty Stocking boards at both local City Market stores. The Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center will soon display the Secret Santa Toy Tree.

Operation Helping Hand organizers ask local groups, organizations and individuals to hold food, clothing and toy drives and contribute the items raised to the collective effort.

Families and individuals needing assistance this holiday season are urged to pick up a program application at the Department of Social Services office in Town Hall and return the completed application by 3 p.m. Dec. 4.

The upcoming season, more than any other, is alive with people working to do good deeds, to provide comfort and a measure of joy to the less fortunate members of the community. It is time to pitch in with donations and labor. Anyone interested in helping with Operation Helping Hand or needing more information should call 731-3735.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

'Big' steak dinner challenge met

By Richard Walter


That was the favorite greeting of a Navy buddy from Texas.

Well, to hear J.D. tell it, he wasn't just from Texas, he was from Nacogdoches, a graduate of the state college there. Had a teacher's certificate. And don't you forget it.

He was about 6-2 and weighed in the neighborhood of 280, give or take an East Texas county or two.

College graduate. Teacher's certificate. And here he is in the navy as an enlisted man. Why?

He wanted to go to sea. Wanted to pilot a craft. Wanted to be a boatswain's mate.

He became one, a good one. So good in fact that the commander of the carrier division singled him out to pilot his private craft whenever we went into port.

J.D. could eat as well as he could pilot.

A restaurant in downtown Honolulu offered a free meal to anyone who could eat its complete steak dinner.

Hold on now. This was no common steak dinner. It started out with a 32-ounce Porterhouse cooked any way you wanted it. Came with baked potato with hot butter and sour cream topping, a healthy serving of mixed vegetables and a slice of Hawaiian pineapple pie.

No one had ever gotten the free meal - until J.D. came along.

That all changed when he saw the sign and couldn't resist the challenge.

He ordered his steak medium and asked for a bottle of wine to accompany the meal. Shipmates took bets on whether he could do it. Odds were 4-1 against success.

But he laughed, sipped the wine, and when the meal was served, broke into a huge smile, tucked his napkin inside his jumper collar, and began a professional job of satiation.

Sure he was large. And he'd starved himself all day just for the challenge. No extra trips through the chow line as would have been normal. No snacks from the admiral's mess. No treats from the geedunk.

Large portions of meat disappeared as if spirited away by an unseen companion eater. Vegetables often stuck to the dripping steak bites. The huge baked potato became a memory in less than six bites. And occasionally, another sip of wine to slicken the gullet.

Half the steak was gone and he seemed to slow, then surprised all when he asked the already open-mouthed waitress for a salad.

It was delivered and the fastest demolition of a giant meal you can imagine was completed right before our eyes.

The steak was gone, the potato and topping, the vegetables and salad, all out of sight.

But the pie remained. He had to finish the whole meal. It just wasn't possible. He couldn't possibly get down that island delight.

Don't you believe it. He asked for a brown sugar sauce, a house specialty, to pour on the slice and it was gone in about three bites.

When he was done he asked if he could have the free dinner. Veterans Day kindled the memory. It was the first of four times I saw him do it. Each time we entered port he had to do it again as our crew put him up against a new disbeliever. Each time J.D. began with a joyous, Howya'llmom'nem? And then stoked steak.





90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Nov. 21, 1913

Wednesday morning Fred Catchpole, member of the Elwood Pass Highway commission, sent his resignation as such to Chas. E. Herr, Durango member of the State Highway Commission. Mr. Catchpole's retirement from the commission is due to discord arising out of the manner of proceeding with the construction, or rather lack of construction, of the Elwood Pass road.

Today the deal was completed whereby Barney Pettyjohn and Ralph Russell become the owners of the Woolery barn on Lewis Street, Mr. Woolery selling all the equipment and good will. The new owners get 11 head of horses, six or seven first-class rigs, the transfer outfit, a number of saddles and an auto.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 23, 1928

George Potter and family have moved into the former Mrs. Emma Bayles property on Sixth Street, recently purchase by them.

We are this week sending a copy of the delinquent tax list to all who are not subscribers to the Sun and whose addresses we were able to obtain - all without additional expense to the county.

Eugene Groves, architect for the Archuleta County court house, is to arrive here from Denver tonight.

Machine trouble developed yesterday and has not only caused us lots of grief but has somewhat delayed this issue.

E.C. Mowbray of Arboles will shortly reopen the Pagosa Bakery, recently damaged by fire and water.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 20, 1953

On Thursday at a meeting of the La Plata Electric Association directors held in Pagosa Springs, an announcement of rate lowering equalization was made. The new rate schedule will go into effect the first of the year and bills received February first will reflect the new rates. The rates will show a 31-percent decrease for commercial users in Archuleta County and about an 11 percent decrease of rural users on an overall average.

A great deal of credit is due to Paul Decker and H. Ray Macht in their efforts as directors of the REA to obtain lower rates for residents of this area and to equalize the load of payment over the entire REA. Both men have put in a lot of work and time on the matter.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 23, 1978

The Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, Saturday night, made a dual presentation of its "Man of the Year" award. Recipients were Bill Lynn and Ralph (Hoppo) Yamaguchi. The two men were honored at a dance and party at the Trails Club House. They have been joint sponsors of the Pagosa Boxing Club, and have made notable progress coaching the young boxers, with some of them winning high honors. In addition both men served on the Town Board, Yamaguchi was also mayor. Both men have worked with young people and Hoppo is a veteran of World War II. This has always been their home, they both have a host of friends, both in long time and newcomer residents, and have worked on many community projects.