November 27, 2003 

Front Page

Wilson, Garcia resign health district board

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Two more members of the Upper San Juan Health Service District Board of Directors have submitted letters of resignation.

In interviews Monday morning, both Wayne Wilson and Martha Garcia said they had sent letters of resignation to the board chairman in the last month. Wilson said his went out the week following the October meeting. Garcia said hers was sent the last week of October.

"I just got tired of the politics and the amount of time I was losing at work," Wilson said. "I have never, prior to this position, sought political office and I guess I was naive and thought I would able to assist and do some good, but the politics have just been more than I can personally stand."

Garcia chose not to comment on her reasons for leaving the board, saying they were outlined in a letter to be read before her peers at the district's regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. (Because of the holiday and a short publication week, results of that meeting will be published in next week's edition.)

Representatives of the Upper San Juan Health Service District refused to confirm or deny these two resignations.

When asked for an outline of the district's procedure for filling the vacancies, public relations coordinator Kathy Saley said, "I don't have an answer for you, I have not seen any documentation regarding the subject, therefore, I can't comment on it."

Board chairman Charles Hawkins also refused to comment on the specific resignations. "I can't say anything about any resignations that will happen at a future board meeting," he said, citing "policies and district association rules and guidelines," which allow a chairman to announce resignations at the next regular meeting following the receipt of the resignations.

"Nothing is official until it happens at a board meeting," he said.

As far as the policy for filling future vacancies, Hawkins said, "it's not going to be done like it was last time." He was referring to the resignation of Sue Walan. Her resignation letter was read at a district board meeting and nominations for a replacement were offered immediately by other board members. Debra Brown was appointed to fill the slot. Since then, several people have complained about the speed with which the position was filled and the lack of advance notice given to other board members or the public.

Because of that response, Hawkins said, future vacancies will be filled only after an application process. "Interested parties will submit applications," he said. "The applications will be reviewed as they have been in the past. Candidates will be interviewed and the board will vote upon those applicants."

To apply, Hawkins said, a person would simply turn in a brief summary of themselves and an explanation as to why they would like serve on the district board.

As of Monday afternoon, board member Ken Morrison said, "I have not been officially contacted by a member of the board or district regarding any resignations."

He did, however, know about the resignations - but only because he sought out Garcia and Wilson individually.

"I do think it's the responsibility of the district to notify people when something like that happens." In the past, he said, he always received a phone call when something of the magnitude of a resignation occurred.

These latest abdications leave Ken Morrison and Patty Tillerson as the only two elected board members remaining. The rest - Dick Blide, Brown and Hawkins - have been appointed to fill vacancies created in the last year.

According to Colorado Revised Statutes, the board has 60 days to fill a vacancy or the Board of County Commissioners may make the appointment.


Village Drive paving plan put on hold

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

With Old Man Winter apparently here to stay, paving plans for the portion of Village Drive extending from Talisman Drive to Piñon Causeway will have to wait until next spring.

The segment had been scheduled to receive a fresh layer of asphalt from Strohecker Asphalt & Paving, the firm contracted to perform the paving as part of joint reconstruction effort between Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs.

But intermittent bouts of inclement weather since mid-October have apparently made it difficult for Strohecker to move forward with paving operations in a timely fashion.

Early this week, officials from both entities were hopeful the operation could be completed before conditions worsened.

"I think if we get a good gap of weather, we can push them to finish it this year," Mark Garcia, town manager, said Monday. "Otherwise, we'll have to have it maintained as a gravel road through the winter."

However, according to Bill Steele, county administrator, the latter of those scenarios became reality Tuesday after a meeting between Garcia and Dick McKee, county public works director, ended with the understanding the road will indeed be graveled/maintained by the town through the winter months.

"There will be some additional approach work done this year, but paving will not occur until the weather breaks sometime next spring," said Steele, indicating the road has already been layered with gravel.

Work that began on the thoroughfare in late September was the result of an intergovernmental agreement reached between the town and county this summer.

In addition to Village Drive, the agreement targets the stretch of Piñon Causeway from Village Drive to the intersection with U.S. 160 for a facelift and small portions of Talisman Drive as well.

It also states the "county shall provide construction supervision" during the improvement efforts while serving as the projects' administrator, while work is to be performed in accordance with town roadway construction standards and requirements.

According to the agreement, shortly after the projects' completion, the town is expected to annex the roads and assume all future responsibilities regarding their maintenance, repairs, easements, improvements and rights-of-way.


Two missing dogs may be mountain lion victims

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Two pets of residents in Pagosa Lakes subdivisions are missing - one in Lake Forest Estates and the other in Meadows - and assumed to have been victims of a mountain lion.

There is no proof a lion or lions were the cause said Mike Reid, Division of Wildlife agent in Pagosa Springs.

But, he added, at least in the Lake Forest case, a photo of a track at the scene appears to be that of lion, but it was not taken the same day the pet disappeared.

"It is likely," he said of that case, "but not surprising. We've had sightings throughout the area this year, even in town."

But, he added, "Humanity has encroached upon their territory ... it's not the other way round."

The first animal, owned by Herman and Joan Hageman disappeared early on the morning of Nov. 6.

The 16 1/2-year-old, 12-pound Yorkie-cockapoo mix had grown a little incontinent and needed to go out regularly during the night.

Joan Hageman was out of town and her husband put the dog out, sitting as usual, where he could see her in the yard light.

The dog took a momentary step out of the light and Hageman heard a cry. When he investigated he could not find the dog or any trace of her.

The next day Hageman and friends spent most of the day looking but could find no trace of the animal.

Some time after Joan's return, the Hagemans were moving their motor home and spotted a track within seven feet of the house. A photo of that track accompanies this article. It shows a print about 4 1/2 by 4 1/2 which, Reid says, is probably that of a mountain lion.

The other case reportedly occurred in Meadows in the area of Harvard. In that case a 16-pound Schnauzer was reportedly taken and a trail of blood was followed for about 20 feet. No carcass and no attacker were found.

Reid said he heard of that incident, but that no report was made to his department.

There is no telephone number listed for the name of the owners given to The SUN, and Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association has no record of anyone with the name given.

Still, Reid, said, it is possible, if not probable, that if the incident happened, it could have involved a mountain lion.

Their range can be as small as 10 square miles or as great as 370 square miles, he said, depending on availability of prey.

He said the lions will often return to the scene of a kill and cited an instance earlier this year when repeated sightings of a lion lead to its capture.

It had been killing beaver, he said, and the wildlife officers were able to utilize a beaver carcass as bait for the lion.

Three other lions were taken from the areas south and west of Pagosa this summer by ADC agents (government trappers) due to degradation of stock herds.

Reid said there are a number of reasons dogs become listed as "missing."

In many instances, he said, animals are hit by vehicles in traffic or shot by a neighbor who considers them a threat.

"It isn't right, but it happens," he said.

Still, mountain lion sightings or signs of the animal's presence are reason for a repeated warning by his department.

"The lions are there. If you are putting out a dog or letting the children go out to play near their natural habitat, check the area first. Watch for tracks, particularly now with some snow on the ground," he said.

"People need to be constantly alert, not just reacting to a sighting or a disappearance, as heartbreaking as it might be," he said. "Constant vigilance is the key, just as it is for bear, in season."

He said there have been far more children attacked by dogs than by lions, but "there have been fatalities from lion attacks in the state and we all need to be aware of their presence."

If the Meadows area attack was in fact by a lion, as the other appears to have been, Reid said, it is entirely possible it could have been the same animal involved.

"They have potentially big territories and they overlap," he said. "They show no exclusivity, some males sharing area with several females. They mate year-round and young can be kicked out of the nest at any time."

"If this is a mountain lion from that group," Reid said, "it could be establishing its territory or just a transient following the flow of wildlife out of the high country."


Focus on growth concerns, controls

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

How should Archuleta County address the rising need for growth management?

That question was the central topic of discussion for volunteers participating in the sixth and final land-use focus group hosted Thursday night by county planning staff.

"We're here to listen ... to try to get an understanding of where people want to go with the Community Plan," said Marcus Baker, associate county planner, to a group of 10 at the onset of the session inside the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

In short, Baker told attendees the goal of the planning department is to use the commentary offered during the four-week series of focus groups as an aid in the process to develop "alternative scenarios of what the future (land-use) regulations might become."

Baker also indicated a synopsis outlining the information gathered during the sessions will be made public during a presentation to the board of commissioners in early December.

That report will include opinions expressed by participants of last week's session, who revealed a bit of background information before answering a slate of general land-use questions prepared by staff.

In summary, participants' residency durations in the county ranged from a high of 20 years to a low of one year, with an average of eight years of "full-time" residency.

Overall, the group was comprised of diverse segments of the county's population; Canada, California and Manitou Springs were among the "I moved from" responses, while occupational backgrounds ranged from Realtor to teacher to retiree.

The following are excerpts from the group's discussion concerning how the county should/could pursue the revision of current land use regulations, or the development of new alternatives.

'Not even Durango'

In response to the question of which communities appear to be good models for land-use planning and vice versa, participants voiced a number of concerns.

"No Vail or Aspen," was one answer, while "Not even Durango" was another.

Subsequent concerns included the potential negative impacts associated with "suburban sprawl," the need for environmental and wildlife preservation and the potential economic impact chain stores could have on local merchants.

"It's important to keep the Wal-Marts out," surmised one resident, because they "kill the little guys."

Notions garnering favorable comments included mention of establishing consistent "themes" to protect the county's character, heritage and unique architectural styles.

The possibility of heightened collaboration between the county and the town of Pagosa Springs on land-use issues was another suggestion that received favorable responses.

Current regulations

With regard to how the county's current land-use regulations handle growth and development, the panel offered a number of views.

The notion of additional industrial park designations "preferably away from the highway" was one panelist's suggestion to eliminate the possibility of "visual pollution" of the county's scenic corridors.

The advantages of industrial parks, said the panelist, are twofold; they would serve to limit the threat to aesthetics along county roadways while improving convenience by providing a central location to serve residents' needs for car repairs, building supplies, etc.

But others pointed out that the county's current industrial reserve, Cloman Industrial Park, has not achieved the level of success many had hoped for, raising the notion of better incentives for industry-based businesses.

In addition, some said sections of the current regulations, particularly those related to limited-impact and conditional-use permits, are somewhat vague, allow too much staff interpretation and are in need of refinement.

Some type of "zoning system" and improved notification standards are needed, said some, to avoid gravel pits and asphalt plants being "dropped in" close to neighborhoods and subdivisions.

On the flip side, others argued that due to the nature and requirements of such projects, it isn't feasible to simply "stuff them in a corner."

In summary, "You can't define every square foot of your county," said one member," adding that even the most thorough regulations will always require some level of staff interpretation.

Still others wondered aloud if the development of a "home rule county" might aid in the facilitation of new or revised regulations.

Pro growth vs. no growth

When asked for opinions regarding population growth, one group member responded it appears as if most people "want to be the last one in and shut the door behind us."

However, he continued, the reality is a vibrant community requires at least some form of moderate growth, especially with respect to the local economy.

Addressing the concern for the economic future of county youth, "Most jobs (here) are fairly-low paying," observed another participant, adding that he believes the current scenario is forcing a large number of youths to seek employment elsewhere.

Others cited the rising cost of homes, the trend toward service-industry employment and the resulting lack of a balanced job market as factors that could limit younger generations' ability to earn a comfortable living within county lines.

Further comments centered on the apparent need to grow "not only on the high end," but on all levels and resurrected talk of establishing additional industrial parks to attract new employers to the area.

While acknowledging that an understanding of the balance between "quality of life versus quantity of money" has been the norm here for some time, most said they felt change will be necessary, yet difficult.


One of the final topics of discussion concerned zoning, a notion that seemed to have the support of the majority of those in attendance.

"Predictability" appeared to be the nucleus of favorable comments on the subject; as one panelist mused, "It would be nice to know where things are going to be."

Many said they feel without some form of zoning - whether it be "area" or "neighborhood" zoning or a general plan - there will always be a significant degree of uncertainty where private or commercial real estate decisions are concerned.

While participants acknowledged zoning would not completely eliminate the guessing process altogether, most said they felt it would offer stability "at least for a while."

Also agreed upon was the need for a balanced set of regulations based on a wide variety of viewpoints if zoning were to become a reality.

If steps toward zoning were taken, said one member, they should be "fair and equitable" with respect to the wishes of large-parcel and ranch owners as well as those residing in subdivisions.

The next step

"We don't expect this is going to be easy," Baker told group members at evening's end, adding the development process will include several opportunities for the public to offer comment before anything concrete is presented for consideration by the county commissioners.

According to Baker, the next step will involve a request to the board to appoint a citizens' committee to help guide the process, which is expected to last roughly another nine months.

Barring any snags, said Baker, possible draft regulations could be inked as early as next spring, with final policies scheduled to be ready for review by next fall.



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Holiday forecast includes weekend snow chance

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Inclement weather shouldn't hinder Pagosa Country residents whose holiday travel plans include destinations within the Four Corners region.

According to the latest regional forecasts, while the north and north-central portions of the state could see significant snowfall in the next few days, the chances for precipitation in southwest Colorado are minimal.

"It doesn't look like there will be a whole lot going on in the Pagosa Springs area until the weekend," said Jim Pringle, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"Winds could kick up at times, but there won't be much of a chance for snow until a system out of the Pacific Northwest starts dragging its tail across the state late Saturday or early Sunday," added Pringle.

"Even then, a 40-percent chance on Sunday is probably the best the area could hope for, with things clearing out by Monday afternoon," concluded Pringle.

According to Pringle, partly-cloudy skies and west winds in the 10-15 mile per hour range today will give way to clear conditions by evening.

High temperatures are predicted in the 30s, while lows are expected to drop into the teens.

The forecast for Thanksgiving Day predicts mostly-sunny skies, breezy conditions, highs in the mid-30s and lows in the 5-15 range.

Friday calls for partly-cloudy skies, continued breezy conditions, highs in the upper 30s and lows in the teens.

Clouds are expected to increase throughout the day Saturday, with a 30-percent chance for snow by evening. Highs should hit the upper 30s; lows should fall into the 10-20 range.

A 40-percent chance of snow is included in the forecast for Sunday, as are highs in the 30s and lows in the teens.

Morning clouds Monday should give way to mostly-sunny skies by late afternoon. Highs should hover around 40, while lows should sink to around 10.

The forecasts for Tuesday and Wednesday entail mostly-sunny skies, highs in the 40s, a minimal chance for snow and lows in the middle teens.

The average high temperature recorded last week at the Fred Harman Art Museum was 39 degrees. The average low for the week was 14. Precipitation/moisture totals for the week amounted to less than one-half inch.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 63 inches, a midway depth of 58 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 102 inches.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is low to moderate below timberline and moderate 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 197 percent of average.

San Juan River flow ranged from approximately 35 cubic feet per second to 90 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Nov. 27 is roughly 65 cubic feet per second.


Sports Page

Parks & Rec

High school players, coaches make the day for youngsters

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

As the 7- and 8-year-olds wind down their basketball season, we start to gear up for the 9-10 and the 11-12 age groups.

What better way to start than to have a clinic put on by the Pagosa Springs High School boys varsity coach and his varsity players, coaching and working stations at what we hope is an annual event.

Over 60 wide-eyed youngsters attended Saturday, making the event a huge success, thanks to the older Pirates donating their time to show the youngsters the skills they have learned so well under Coach Shaffer's tutelage.

Volunteer coaches from the parks and recreation youth basketball league walked around from station to station learning new drills and teaching techniques from Coach Shaffer and his team.

The young athletes enjoyed two hours of basketball fun, with the highlight of the day coming when some of the clinic counselors put on a slam dunk contest. It left the younger players excited about the start of our season.

Both age groups will start with an evaluation clinic and draft to be held sometime after Dec. 8. We plan to have the draft prior to Dec. 14 so teams can have the Christmas break to get together and practice.

We envision games starting the first week in January. We will be calling the players and the volunteer coaches concerning workout dates and the player draft.

Thank you to both varsity head coaches, Bob Lynch and Shaffer, for taking time to put on the youth basketball clinics. We hope to see them again. They each did an outstanding job with the kids.

Job applicants

We received over 35 applications for the recreation supervisor position and have scheduled six interviews for this week, hoping to fill the position by early December.

The decision process leading to our final six candidates was a difficult one, and the final decision will probably even more difficult.

Ice skating ponds

We have noticed a little ice forming on the ponds. A few more days of temperatures less than 20 degrees and we will be skating before you know it.

Please call the sports hotline for all basketball schedules and ice conditions. We will change the message as needed for daily updates. The sports line phone number is 264-6658.

For any other questions you are welcome to call Joe Lister Jr. at 264-4151, Ext. 231.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Pirates poised to deliver on 'high expectations'

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Thus far, Pagosa Head Coach Jim Shaffer likes what he sees.

Two weeks into varsity basketball practice, his Pirate boys squad appears energized, focused, and ready to defend its Intermountain League crown.

"They have a great attitude; they've been working their fannies off," says Shaffer. "In terms of where we want to be, I'd say we're in good shape."

That's welcome news for Pirate fans, who turned out in large numbers last year to watch as Shaffer coached the Pirates to a 7-1 IML record, an overall record of 20-5, and a berth in the Great Eight.

Accordingly, Shaffer garnered Intermountain League Coach of the Year honors and his team earned statewide recognition for its efforts.

While predictions of a repeat performance are somewhat premature in late November, with nine players - including three starters - returning from last year's varsity roster of 11, on paper the Pirates certainly seem capable of a return trip to state competition.

Starters Ryan Goodenberger, Clayton Spencer and Caleb Forrest return from last year's team that used a balanced offense and a black-plague defense to claim titles at the IML and regional levels en route to an appearance at the state playoffs in Colorado Springs.

A 6-2 senior, Goodenberger is a versatile shooting guard who figures to once again cause headaches for opposing squads at both ends of the court.

Well-versed in the Pirate offense, Goodenberger will likely see some time at point guard this year as well, according to Shaffer.

A 6-7 senior, Spencer makes up one-half of the Pirates twin-towers presence inside, sharing the low-post responsibilities with Forrest, a 6-8 junior.

Both are double-digit scoring threats and aggressive shot blockers who can stretch defenses due to their inside-outside capabilities.

When both are in the game at the same time, rebounds should be hard to come by for the opposition.

In summary, "We've got athletic big kids, guys that can shoot from outside, guard people on the perimeter and get up and down the floor," says Shaffer.

Projected to assume the role of starting point guard this year is 5-10 senior Ty Faber, an experienced floor general who saw a good deal of action as the No. 2 point man for Pagosa during last year's campaign.

A capable scorer and astute passer, Faber hit the floor for more loose balls last year per minute than any other Pirate, and his hustle figures to be a welcome attribute this year as well.

Rounding out what Shaffer refers to as his "top six" are senior guards David Kern and Jeremy Caler.

At 5-9, Kern is arguably Pagosa's best defender, and was often assigned to opponents' most-prolific scorers last season, starting in several games that required special defensive attention.

According to Shaffer, Kern offers a more-balanced game this year after working hard to polish his offensive skills in the offseason.

Caler, also 5-9, is capable of quickly putting up impressive scoring totals, and will be a definite concern for opposing defenses, especially when behind the three-point arc.

Says Shaffer, "Jeremy probably had the most consistent shooting touch over the summer; if you give him time, he's going to knock some shots down."

The remainder of Shaffer's returning varsity cast lends a wealth of experience to the team; 5-7 senior point guard Casey Belarde, 6-0 senior guard/forward Coy Ross and 6-1 junior guard Otis Rand are all regulars from last year's varsity slate who will contribute this season.

Also expected to secure a spot on the varsity roster are 6-3 senior guard/forward Luke Britton and 6-3 sophomore forward Craig Schutz.

In certain scenarios, a number of reserves may be called upon to add depth to the lineup, including sophomores Daniel Aupperle (5-6), Casey Schutz (6-0), Paul Przybylski (5-10), and Michael Snarr (5-9).

Freshmen who may occasionally see varsity action include Kerry Joe Hilsabeck (5-6), Jordan Shaffer (6-0), Caleb Ormonde (6-4) and Casey Hart (6-1).

Overall, a good blend of height and speed enables Shaffer to employ a variety of schemes that should make the Pirates a formidable IML foe for the second straight year.

"We've even looked at some situations where we could have one big kid out there with four guards," says Shaffer. "We can press and really get after people defensively with that much speed on the floor at once."

In conclusion, since most of the elements that made last season a great success are in place once again, "We have high expectations," says Shaffer.

Expectations this year will likely be high among Pagosa faithful as well, and fans can bet nothing would make Shaffer and the Pirates happier than a healthy complement of black and gold in the stands at each and every contest.

Such was the case last season, and if the team's current attitude is any indication of how it will perform, odds are Pirate fans are in for another good ride this year.

Following a trip to the Buena Vista Invitational Tournament Dec. 5-6, Pagosa will open home play against Palisade Dec. 11 in the Wolf Creek Classic, one of five times the Pirates are scheduled to take the floor this season on a Thursday.

Game time in the high school gym is set for 6 p.m.

Pagosa Springs Pirate Varsity Boys Basketball

2003-2004 schedule

Dec. 5 at Buena Vista Invitational 4 p.m.

Dec. 6 at Buena Vista Invitational TBA

Dec. 11 Wolf Creek Classic 6 p.m.

Dec. 12 Wolf Creek Classic 8:15 p.m.

Dec. 13 Wolf Creek Classic 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 19 at Pueblo Holiday Classic TBA

Dec. 20 at Pueblo Holiday Classic TBA

Jan. 9 at Aztec, N.M. 8 p.m.

Jan. 16 Bayfield 7 p.m.

Jan. 17 at Bloomfield, N.M. 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 22 at Kirtland, N.M. 7 p.m.

Jan. 23 at Monte Vista 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 29 at Ignacio 7 p.m.

Feb. 6 Centauri 7 p.m.

Feb. 7 Monte Vista 7 p.m.

Feb. 12 Ignacio 7 p.m.

Feb. 13 at Bayfield 7 p.m.

Feb. 21 at Centauri 7 p.m.

Feb. 27 IML Tournament TBA

Feb. 28 IML Tournament TBA

March 11 state tournament TBA

March 12 state tournament TBA

March 13 state tournament TBA



How will the 'sleepers' do? Pirate season hangs in balance

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

The known elements are in place, it is the newcomers who will make the difference.

When Pirate wrestlers met for their first practice of the season, Coach Dan Janowsky knew he had experience and talent at several positions, based on performances at last year's state championships.

He had a state champion returning in the person of senior Michael Martinez. He had a third-place finisher in junior Darren Hockett. Kory Hart was back for a senior season after a fifth-place finish at state. Then ...

"I'm optimistic," said the coach. "I think we'll compete well all year long but one of the things that will define our season is how well our 'sleepers' adapt."

Martinez is anything but a sleeper. The senior suffered a major injury during the 2002 football season and sat out a significant portion of the 2002-2003 wrestling season before storming back to take the state title at 112 pounds.

The champion returns this season after attending the Cadet Nationals last summer, in good health, ready to contend at 119.

"Michael sets a tempo for us in the practice room that everybody respects," said Janowsky. "From a credibility standpoint, he helps us a lot: When he wins, we all win to a degree."

Hockett took third at 103 last season and has done some serious growing in the interim. The junior will fight this season at 125 - a very tough weight class.

"There's a huge difference between wrestling at 103 and at 125," said the coach. Janowsky calls Hockett, who won five matches at 119 at the Cadet nationals, "'a real worker.' He is a lot stronger now in the wrestling room."

Hart was fifth at state last season at 140. The senior is likely to go this season at 145 or 152. Hart's power and aggressive style have been his hallmark and the Pirate seems to be on track.

"Kory's been real strong in the practice room," said Janowsky. "He's been dominant. He's more relaxed this year, more comfortable. He's pushing himself better than in the past."

Then, the sleepers - the athletes who will make or break the team season. Some have varsity experience, others will step on the varsity mat for the first time.

At 103 and 112 are two sophomores: Shane Hawkins and Orion Sandoval respectively. "They're real young," said the coach.

"Young" in wrestling jargon translates to "learning" in a sport with a deep dimension of subtle technique often unobserved by the casual fan.

At 130, the Pirates will begin the season with sophomore Ky Smith.

Junior Raul Palmer will take the mat at 135. "Raul has some varsity experience," said the coach," he could surprise people."

At 140, the Pirates will start the year with senior James Gallegos. Gallegos broke his hand last season and has healed. "James is a strong kid. He's tough and knows his technique. He could be a significant player."

While Hart could go at either 145 or 152, he is joined in the range by senior Aaron Hamilton. "Aaron was an overtime match away from state last year," said Janowsky. "He has an unbelievable work ethic."

Manual Madrid is the frontrunner at 160. The junior will be a bit light for the class but Janowsky describes Madrid as "very athletic and strong."

Being light for the weight class is a common characteristic of the Pirates in the upper weight bracket.

Senior David Richter, who went to Cadet Nationals last summer, will be light at 171. "David is a good athlete, though," said the coach, "and he knows his wrestling."

At 189, junior Marcus Rivas brings varsity experience to the mat. He, too, will be light for the class but he contended well last season and could get a state berth.

Bubba Martinez is set to work at 215. The sophomore is strong and durable and should make great strides on the technical side of the spectrum this season.

At this point in time, the Pirates will not have a wrestler at 275.

"We have four sophomores in our tentative starting lineup," said Janowsky. "And we have three other sophomores - Matt Nobles (171), Justin Moore (152) and Reynaldo Palmer (189) - who could play roles for us before the year is over. You just can't tell."

With the core of three accomplished state performers, the Pirates should have a good chance for success in tournaments, with two or three wrestlers going deep into the tournament and a number of other athletes earning significant points. "We have guys who will be dynamic tournament wrestlers. The tougher the tournament," said the coach, "the better we're likely to fare."

The Intermountain League title will be determined on the basis of dual meets, however, and that could be another story for Pagosa. "To win the duals and the IML," said Janowsky, "our relative newcomers will need to score points for us. How well we do as a team will depend, to a large extent, on how well our guys stepping into varsity spots do. We have the guys there who have the potential to compete at a high level."

The wrestlers will practice another week before beginning the season at the Rocky Ford Duals, Dec. 6. The first matches at Rocky Ford begin at 9 a.m.

Pagosa Springs Pirate Varsity Wrestling

2003-2004 schedule

Dec. 6 at Rocky Ford Duals 9 a.m.

Dec. 13 at Buena Vista Duals 9 a.m.

Dec. 19 at Warrior Classic noon

Dec. 20 at Warrior Classic 9 a.m.

Jan. 8 Monte Vista 5 p.m.

Jan. 8 Durango 6 p.m.

Jan. 9 Monticello 6 p.m.

Jan. 10 Rocky Mountain Invitational 10 a.m.

Jan. 17 at Alamosa Invitational TBA

Jan. 20 at Bayfield 6 p.m.

Jan. 23 at Centauri 6 p.m.

Jan. 29 at Del Norte 6 p.m.

Jan. 29 Salida (at Del Norte) 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 31 at Ignacio Invitational 10 a.m.

Feb. 5 Ignacio 6 p.m.

Feb. 13 host regional tournament TBA

Feb. 14 regional tournament TBA

Feb. 19 state tournament TBA

Feb. 20 state tournament TBA


Ladies meet someone besides teammates in Durango and Cortez scrimmage Saturday

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The preliminary steps are completed.

The next phase is underway.

And after Saturday Bob Lynch will have a much better idea of what he can look for in his 2003-04 edition of the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates.

The first moves were made last week when the more than 40 girls who reported for practice were split into specific squads.

Of those, 15 are working with the varsity and junior varsity, with no more than 12 to be suited for any varsity game.

The squad features seven returnees from last year's 12-10 team which lost only two seniors. Included are Melissa Maberry, Bri Scott, Lori Walkup, Caitlyn Jewell, Liza Kelley, Emily Buikema and Caitlin Forrest. The latter three are sophomores, the rest juniors. Sophomore China Rose Rivas is back from last year's junior varsity.

Added to the mix are a strong freshman contingent including Laurel Reinhardt, Jessica Lynch, Kim Canty, Kristen DuCharme, Iris Frye, Lindsey Mackey and Jennifer Haynes.

With two full weeks of practice behind them, the Ladies are looking forward to seeing someone else on the floor Saturday.

They will travel to Durango for a three-team scrimmage session with the host Lady Demons and the Lady Panthers from Montezuma-Cortez.

Earlier this week Lynch held a parents-only meeting to outline for them his goals for the team, the rules of conduct, and the need for strong support.

Height should be a key for the Ladies in the upcoming season.

Jewell comes in a seasoned veteran at 6-1 and is expected to get strong support on the boards from Buikema and Forrest, both over 5-10.

Strong rebounders at 5-9 are

Walkup and Maberry.

While he's carrying 15 on the varsity practice roster, Lynch indicated there are several others just below them who could challenge if any of the first choices falter.

Depth, in fact, seems to be a trademark of this year's squad. There are, for example, no seniors out for the team.

Movement, continual movement, is another angle Lynch has been preaching to his charges.

"You can't start the weave and not be the one driving for the basket at the end," he told one.

"We're doing all this running now so we will be in top condition to run, run and run while our opponents wear down," he said.

Each day, Lynch said, he sees improvements in the small things - things like cutting and turning on the correct foot; no slowdown on inlet passing; convergence of defenders on the ball; and improved shooting touch from 18 feet in.

The latter was one of the team's weak points last year. Time after time, break opportunities were wasted with pull-up jumpers.

The speed engendered this year, he believes, will get the shooters inside faster and result in better, high-percentage shots.

Lynch also indicated the squad is working on and will expect to use multiple defensive strategies, again pegged on perpetual motion and utilization of height.

After the scrimmage, it will be all-out practice for the first four days next week as the team braces for the real thing - tournament action to open the season.

The Ladies will play the opener in the Buena Vista Invitational at 4 p.m. Dec. 5 against Salida. The winner will play either Buena Vista or Battle Mountain at 6 p.m. Saturday. Losers will meet for third place at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The following week, local fans will get their first chance to see the squad in action in the Wolf Creek Classic.

Pagosa will meet Clear Creek of Idaho Springs at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 and the following day are scheduled against Cortez at 12:30 p.m. and Gunnison at 5:45 p.m.

The balance of the schedule was in last week's paper and is repeated in a chart published today.

Pagosa Springs Lady

Pirate Varsity Basketball

2003-04 schedule

Dec 5-6 Buena Vista tournament 4 p.m. first day

Dec. 13-14 Wolf Creek Classic 6:30 p.m. first day Dec. 19-20 Rye Classic 5:30 p.m. first day

Jan. 8 at Dolores 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 9 at Aztec 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 16 Bayfield 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 17 at Bloomfield 6 p.m.

Jan. 23 at Monte Vista 6:15 p.m.

Jan. 29 at Ignacio 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 6 Centauri 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 7 Monte Vista 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 12 Ignacio 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 13 at Bayfield 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 21 at Centauri 5:30 p.m



Louis B. Herrera 

Louis B. "Bennie" Herrera, 79, died of natural causes Nov. 18, 2003, at his home in Ignacio.  Recitation of the Rosary was held Nov. 21, 2003, at 6:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and  funeral services were Nov. 22, also at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. 

Father James Koenigsfeld of St. Columba Catholic Church officiated.  Visitation was at Hood Mortuary and burial was in Greenmount Cemetery in Durango. 

Bennie was born Aug. 25, 1924, in Durango, the son of Venceslao and Rita (Barry) Herrera. When he was a junior in high school, he was drafted into the Army in 1943.  He was wounded in 1944 in Saipan and also in 1945 in Okinawa.  He was honorably discharged in May of 1946. 

He met his future wife, Elsie (Lucero), in Ignacio and they were married March 4, 1946, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Durango.  He was employed with Harrison Construction for seven years and drove buses for the Ignacio school district for 25 years until his retirement in 1990.  Since he had worked for the school district for so long, he became and true and tried fan of all of the Ignacio Bobcats sporting events.  Bennie enjoyed fishing, dancing, camping, hunting, telling stories, socializing and watching some of his favorite television programs; The Price is Right, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.

He is survived by four sons, Joe L. Herrera, Louis D. Herrera, Bennie M. Herrera and Eliseo A. Herrera Sr. all of Ignacio; 13 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, a niece, a nephew and numerous other relatives.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Elsie, on July 7, 1997.

Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society, 3801 N. Main Ave., Durango, 81301 or Hospice of Mercy, 375 E. Park Ave., Durango, 81301.


Inside The Sun

House on Lewis Street receives landmark status

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

When Austin and Kate Collins moved to Pagosa Springs just over three years ago, they started looking for a home.

Something with character. History. A home that inspired the imagination.

For a while, they came up empty, finding nothing that matched their dreams or their pocketbooks. In fact, when they first saw the two-story Victorian on Lewis Street, they were considering renting.

"It was out of our price range," Austin said. "Then, on a whim, we went into a real estate office and it was available and something we could afford."

Since then, they have added a white picket fence, landscaped the yard and finished the remodeling started inside by the previous owners.

"Luckily it was in great shape when we bought it," Austin said. "We were nervous - a house almost 100 years old could have a lot of secrets."

To help preserve its secrets for future generations, the couple decided to seek a local historic designation for the structure. Earlier in November, the town board granted their wish and the little "hipped box" home at 121 Lewis St. became the second residence granted a local landmark status in town.

According to the ordinance designating the home's new status, the residence is historically significant because of its age, its connection with the Warr family, a multi-generational family that remains in the area and its architectural style - the "hipped box."

A historic survey of the property completed in 2002 gives a brief background of owners, going as far back as 1890. After Warr built on the property in 1913, only one other owner of historical note is listed, W.F. Schoonover, in 1925. That is according to records available at the court house. Also noted in the survey documentation were, "four large blue spruce trees growing in the yard probably more than 40 years old."

Austin said a rumor persists that at one time several families in the area marked birthdays or other special events by planting trees. From the top of Reservoir Hill several other stands of trees of similar size can be seen, he said.

Of course, the real story behind the trees remains a secret at this point, lost to time like so many tales. The Collins' said they simply hope their efforts to secure a historic designation will keep the home intact for many generations to come. Their own chapter in the little home is almost over. They have decided to make a move back east.

"At least we want to be able to drive our kids by and say this is where you came home the first time," Kate said. The couple has a 16-month-old daughter and a second child on the way.

According to the town's historic preservation ordinance, in order to qualify for a designation, a property "must by at least 50 years old, determined to have historic significance due to one of the following factors and must have the property owner's written consent or application."

The "following factors" include elements of historic character, interest, value, location, identification with a person or persons who contributed to the development of the town, exemplification of cultural economic, social or historic heritage, a distinctive architectural style, work of an architect or architectural design or unique location.

For more information on attaining local landmark status for a property, call Tamra Allan, town planner, at 264-4151, Ext. 235.


How to avoid - or meet the threat of a mountain lion

"Much of Colorado is prime mountain lion country. This simple fact is a surprise to many residents and visitors."

That is the introduction of a Division of Wildlife flyer called "Living With Wildlife in Lion Country."

These large, powerful predators have always lived here, preying on plentiful deer and playing an important role in the ecosystem.

Generally, the publication says, lions are calm, quiet and elusive, and are most commonly found in areas with plentiful deer and adequate cover.

Such conditions exist in urban fringes and open spaces such as those on the bounds of Pagosa country.

"Consequently," the flyer says, "the number of mountain lion-human interactions has increased."

What do you do if you live in lion country?

The Division of Wildlife urges property owners to follow these tips:

- make lots of noise if you come and go during the times mountain lions are most active - dusk to dawn

- install outside lighting to light areas where you walk so you could see a lion if one were present

- closely supervise children whenever the play outside, making sure they are inside before dusk and not before dawn; and talk with them about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one

- landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions, especially around childrens' play areas

- planting nonnative shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat encourages wildlife to come onto your property because predators follow prey

- keep your pet under control since roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions; bring the pets in at night or left outside, keep them in a kennel with a secure top; and don't feed pets outside because that can attract other animals that are eaten by lions

- warn your neighbors of the situation and encourage them to follow the same precautions because prevention is far better than a possible confrontation.

While people rarely get more than a brief glimpse of a mountain lion in the wild, it is recognized that most attacks on humans are by young lions, perhaps forced out to hunt on their own and not yet living in an established area.

Every situation is unique unto itself with respect to the lion, the terrain, the people involved and their activity. But, in general, wildlife officers feel the following suggestions can be useful if you encounter a mountain lion:

- When you walk or hike in mountain lion country, go in groups and make plenty of noise to reduce you chances of surprising a lion; a sturdy walking stick is a good idea and can be used to ward off a lion; make sure children are close to you and in your sight at all times

- do not approach a lion, especially one feeding or with kittens; most lions will attempt to avoid a confrontation, so give them a way to escape

- stay calm, but talk firmly to a lion and move slowly

- stop, then back away only if you can do so safely; running may stimulate a lions instinct to chase and attack; face the lion and stand upright

- do all you can to appear larger; raise your arms, open your jacket if wearing one; protect small children by picking them up so they won't panic and run

- if the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back; wave your arms slowly and speak firmly; convince the lion you aren't prey and that you may in fact be a danger

- fight back if a lion attacks you - they've been known to be driven away by prey that fights back.


A Pagosa cowboy gives show for queen

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

"Buckingham Palace calling!"


"They want you to give a demonstration."


"Her Majesty, the Queen of England."

And so began a modern saga for a Pagosa horseman, a story, as it were, of the cowboy and the queen.

Pat Parelli, who with his wife, Linda, and their Savvy Team members had presented 53 demonstrations in the United Kingdom, many with members of the Kings Troops present.

Those traditional horsemen had incorporated many of the Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship training techniques into their training techniques and had touted the system to their audiences.

Obviously the word got back to Queen Elizabeth who asked that arrangements be made for Parelli to demonstrate his skills for her, the Queen's Cavalry and the Kings Troops at the Royal Mews, the working stables for Buckingham Palace.

And so, on Nov. 5, the Colorado cowboy and the British queen met for the show.

The planned 30-minute demonstration held Her Majesty's attention for an hour and 15 minutes.

It is rumored she even laughed at his jokes.

Linda reports, "We all stood when Her Majesty came in, and she smiled her gracious regal smile. Pat took off his hat and believe it or not, winked at her. When I asked him later if he realized he had winked at her, he said, 'Yeah, and did you notice that she winked back?'"

Parelli, after brief comments, had three students - Silke Vallentin of Germany and Ingela Sainsbury and Charlotte Dennis, both of England - perform for the Queen before his own appearance.

Silke, in a motorized wheelchair for the past 19 years as the result of an auto accident, was the first to demonstrate the Parelli style and noted the queen's eye widen in awe as she simply pointed to the horse trailer and her Friesian loped in - no halter and no lead rope.

Parelli was provided a royal horse to "play with," as he calls it. It was a horse - an Irish draft-thoroughbred cross - that was according to the queen "quite dotty, really."

They said the horse spooked at everything and was unpredictable.

As Parelli talked, played with the horse and worked his magic it began to relax. And later, with the gentle talking continuing, the horse put his head on Parelli's shoulder. It was a different animal. The queen was supposed to leave but was so riveted by the performance she stayed another 45 minutes.

Parelli summed up the appearance:

"I usually ask myself whether something will benefit our mission statement, which is to elevate the level of horsemanship worldwide. The answer to this situation was, of course it would. The mission is the important thing. Doing it for the queen was a bonus."

(Materials for this article were provided by Kate Riordan)


Spark ignites roof vent at junior high

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A small fire on the roof of the junior high sent fire trucks rolling the evening of Nov. 20.

Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Warren Grams said the cause of the fire was probably a spark created while repairs were being completed on the roof earlier in the day.

The wood backing on a vent door on the roof smouldered, creating smoke that leaked down into a classroom directly beneath the vent.

A janitor reportedly detected the smoke and called the fire department.

Grams said a minimal amount of water was needed to squelch the smoke. No damage was done to the roof or the interior of the school.


Community Thanksgiving dinner served for over 200

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

More than 200 people came out Sunday night to enjoy a Community Thanksgiving Dinner offered free at the First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs.

Jerry Arrington, church administrator and minister of education, said the meal was a way for the congregation to reach out to the community using some of the proceeds from a special "First Fruits" offering.

"It's a churchwide effort," he said, estimating that by the time people actually sat down to eat, over 100 church members had participated in planning, hosting or cooking the meal.

All the church members are encouraged to invite neighbors, those who might not have any family in town to cook a Thanksgiving meal, or those in need, Arrington said. Special invitations were issued to people in low-income housing and the assisted living facility.

"This is a ministry to the community," Arrington said. "We want them to recognize our church is an area where they can come and feel welcome." And, more than that, he said, it's an annual event that captures the spirit of caring present in the outreach of all of the churches in the community.

"We want to let people know there's a place where you can come and feel comfortable, where we can be of service to you and let you know we care for you," he said.


No special hunts for those who didn't fill tags this year

Despite being home to the largest elk herd in North America and offering plenty of additional opportunity through additional licenses, preliminary results would indicate that harvest rates during Colorado's 2003 big game season didn't reach the high expectations of both hunters and biologists.

Nevertheless, there will be no special postseason hunts offered to adult hunters who didn't fill their tags during their designated season.

Unseasonably mild weather lasting through the first three of Colorado's four rifle seasons gave the state's elk herd the upper hand allowing them to avoid hunting pressure from most of the state's nearly 300,000 hunters.

While Division of Wildlife biologists worked hard to offer as much opportunity to hunters as possible in the form of additional either-sex and cow tags, as always, weather was the major factor for success.

Last year, by emergency regulation, the DOW opened the entirety of game management units 54 and 55 to late season hunters and those who had not filled their antlerless elk licenses to hunt those areas during the late season. This change in regulations along with several other regulation changes throughout the state allowed hunters to harvest significant numbers of elk in those units, bringing the population down to the long-term objective.

Consequently, the DOW will not be allowing hunters who did not fill a tag during the regular seasons to hunt during the late season, with the only exception being those with unfilled youth licenses. And only the original portions of these units outlined in the big game regulation brochure will be open for hunting.

The late season youth hunts will continue this year. This allows any hunter holding an unfilled youth cow elk tag or either sex elk tag to hunt during any late season cow elk hunt (those hunts that began after Nov. 12). If the youth holds an unfilled either sex license, the license must be brought to a DOW office and exchanged for a cow elk license.

There are still some leftover licenses left for both deer and elk, but hunters should be aware that many of these are only good for hunting on private land. Please consult the DOW Web site at or call a DOW customer service representative at (303) 297-1192 for additional information.

John Ellenberger, state big game coordinator for the DOW, said he expects the elk harvest to be similar to 2001 levels when just over 42,000 elk were harvested. Ellenberger believes that while low harvest numbers will keep the elk population over objective for the time being, strides will be made in the future.

The effort to get elk numbers closer to objective is one that both hunters and the DOW will have to work toward over several seasons. Over the past several years a season with low success rates has been followed by a record year, such was the case in both the 2000 and in 2002 seasons.

"The results from the harvest this year will be factored into next year's season setting process," said Ellenberger. "We are in the process of planning that right now and if we have to include more licenses with different seasons that is what we'll do."


Cut your own Christmas tree, permits on sale now

Christmas tree permits are now on sale at the local National Forest/BLM office.

An $8 permit allows you to cut one tree up to 20 feet tall for personal use.

Permits come with a brochure that explains regulations and offers helpful tips.

National Forest/BLM offices also sell maps and offer free advice on the best areas for tree harvesting. Call the San Juan Public Lands Center at 247-4874 for up-to-date information on road conditions (National Forest/BLM roads are not plowed).

Permits are on sale at Pagosa Public Lands Office, 180 Pagosa St. The Pagosa office will be open from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. on three upcoming Saturdays to sell Christmas tree permits: Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and 13.




Common sense

Dear Editor:

There have been several letters to the editor recently touting a proposed "ethics code" for the county commissioners and administrator and crabbing because it has been rejected.

This eight-page document is just another exercise in more red tape, legal gibberish and futility. The state already requires that any conflict of interest must be disclosed.

This proposal would require filing (but doesn't say where or with whom) a financial disclosure statement giving income, personal bank accounts, real estate holdings, business interests, etc. This is an intrusion into privacy.

Furthermore, the only sanctions called for are "private or public censure" by the other commissioners, which may or may not be given. If we feel there has been any conflict of interest or other actions we don't like, we can recall or vote the rascal out.

Also, why ethics only for the commissioners and the county administrator? How about other officials - shouldn't they have ethics, too?

The commissioners are to be commended for their common sense in rejecting this ridiculous proposal.

Fred A. Ebeling

Best senior center

Dear Editor:

Folks, do you know how great our senior center is?

It is one of the very best.

The classes, the advice, the support they offer, just on asking, the list goes on and on.

The staff is creative, to say the least. Working with the older members of a community can be filled with wisdom, but it also can be stressful.

Our senior center does it all. Give them a big thank you.

As a person who has a degree in gerontology and physical education, as well as being a nurse, I have created many programs for the senior group, with focus on physical education. I have served at many senior centers across the west and ours is the best.

Pam Morrow

Proud veteran

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response Wendy Wallace's comments of Nov. 13.

I proudly volunteered in the United States Navy for World War II. There were 21 of my friends and neighbors on Guam at the same time.

We all came from Enid, Okla. Where in this world did you come from, "Windy"?

My younger brother volunteered in the United States Army for Korea. He gave his life for our country.

We veterans are very proud of our service to this wonderful country. Without our service, we would be living in conditions none of us ever want to think about. We are free and we helped and are helping so many other nations to have these same privileges.

Wendy, why are you living in freedom if you do not enjoy it? Our government may not be perfect, but it's better than anything else on the market.

A very proud veteran,

Chuck Pelton

Diverse rights

Dear Editor:

Surprising isn't it, the diversity of reflection and definition that people have come to recognize in the meaning of such articles as democracy, human rights and free speech.

After reading Mr. Ramsperger's comments (letter, Nov. 20), I found myself wondering if he has ever afforded himself the time to reflect on exactly what he was upholding during his career as a U.S. Marine.

With his unfortunate and thoughtless statement "Let's hope she resists the urge to do so in my presence," he completely negates his argument.

It would do Mr. Ramsperger well to realize that the benefits he alludes to adhere to, are not for his exclusive use. They are benefits which Wendy Wallace, and everyone else, has a right to exercise. This is not a right that any act of legality will guarantee, rather, it is a right of basic human existence.

Or does Mr. Ramsperger want us all to believe that because he served in the Marines for 33 years, free speech has somehow come to mean that we all have to follow his thoughts and opinions or suffer the consequences?

To adopt his own words, this is exactly the kind of thinking that led to the rise of Nazism, so-called communism, a host of dictatorships all over the world and the demise of intelligent dialogue.

With all of the social problems inherent in the world today, and especially for the lives lost in the struggle for fundamental human rights, it's a pity that Mr. Ramsperger could not use his own life experiences to remind us all, not just of the cost of free speech, but also of it's value.

Anthony Steventon

Abysmal level

Dear Editor,

I'd like to thank Messrs. Feazel, Sawicki and Ramsperger for so aptly and predictably demonstrating the accuracy of my observations, particularly the ones regarding the current abysmal level of public discourse, and utter disregard for truth.

Wendy Wallace


Community News

Senior News

Video series will highlight weeks before Christmas

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

We hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with friends and family. But now

Christmas is fast approaching and we will be starting our Christmas video series 12:45 p.m. Dec. 5 in the lounge.

The first video will be "Silent Night" with Jose Carreras and should be just the thing to put us all in the Christmas spirit.

We will have two more videos to show the following Fridays to keep us in the holiday mood, so be sure to come in and watch the show.

Thank you to the Baumgardner's for sharing these videos.

We are sad to announce that Richard Harris won't be teaching our Tuesday yoga class any more. He and Jan will be moving to Arizona, and we will miss them greatly as they both were generous with their time and magazine donations. If there is anyone out there willing to teach our seniors (gratis) please call Musetta at 264-2167.

If you are interested in playing cards or board games, sign up at the center, stating your preference, and we will try to get you hooked up with other folks wanting to play

Yesterday, down at the SC_None ranch, our old ranch hand, George, was reminiscing about the cars of old.

"In 1922 my folks bought a new Model T Ford Touring Car. Of course it was black, there weren't many colored cars in those days, all cars were black.

"It had a canvas top, a crank and brakes on the two rear wheels. We thought it was a wonderful car.

"It wasn't the easiest thing to drive because you had so many gadgets to play with. On the floor were three pedals. The one on the left was the clutch and when pushed all the way down it was the low gear. When you let it out and released it the car went into high gear.

"The middle pedal was reverse. If you held the left pedal with your left foot in the clutch position, and with your right foot you pressed the reverse pedal, the car would back up.

"Often times, on a steep hill, drivers found it possible to climb the hill better if they put the car in reverse and backed up the hill. The pedal on the right was the brake. This brake was only connected to the two rear wheels. Four wheel brakes were yet to come.

"Of course, people didn't go as fast in those days - maybe 15 to 25 mph - and cars could be brought to a stop readily.

" The car was also equipped with a crank. There were no self starters yet. If a person wanted to start the car he adjusted the gas lever on the steering wheel, then he adjusted the spark lever on the other side of the steering wheel post. Then he got out in front, put the crank into the drive shaft opening and without putting his thumb over the crank he gave the crank a twist, hoping the motor would catch. Sometimes after two or three tries he decided he had better 'choke' the car. There was a wire choke down to the left side below the radiator and with that he would pull the choke a little ways, crank it again and it usually took off.

"The gasoline tank was underneath the front seat. (Talk about your hot seat!) To get gas in the car you had to remove the front seat and take off the gas tank cap. You also measured the gas here. The car came equipped with a long black ruler and with this you could measure the gas to see if you needed to put in more. Then the cushion was replaced and the driver took his seat, but he had to get into the car from the right hand side. On the left hand side where the driver's door should have been there was only a raised surface that made it look like a door but it would not open. It was part of the Ford's body.

"The Ford was also equipped with a canvas top. This top could be let down similar to the roadsters of the day. That's why it was called a 'touring' car. When the weather was bad or it was raining the top was put up and side curtains were put on. These curtains had some little Ising glass windows so people could see out.

"Another important fixture was the tire iron. It was always carried. If you had a flat tire, you removed the tire from the rim with the tire iron, got the inner tube out, found where it was punctured and applied a patch to the hole. These patches came in little kits and were always carried in the car. How many of you remember the good old Model T Ford?"

The Fun Center has been kind enough to give seniors a bowling discount 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays. A game only costs $2.50 and that includes shoes. However, they have new hours so are asking folks to give them a call on Wednesday to let them know if you will be there Thursday morning so they can open early for you. The phone number is 731-1112.

Do any of you have an urge to play music? We have a number of talented seniors who are thinking of starting a band. If you are rusty and need an excuse to practice, this might be the perfect opportunity to get started. Give us a call at the center to sign up.

We are planning a Christmas tree decorating party Dec. 2.

We would like to do a treat exchange at that time, as it was a popular event last year. You bring in your treats, all wrapped up or boxed and exchange them for the same amount of someone else's treats. You can bring a batch of your favorite cookies and come home with a great variety pack.

The Seeds of Learning kids will be here that day to sing - they might want a treat as well. It should be a great time with singing, lunch and the Treat Exchange. The Christmas tree will be up and ready for anyone to decorate, and around noon Hospice will do a dedication and provide dove ornaments on which people can write the name of a loved one. We will have extra decorations and you can bring some too.

Visitors and Guests

Our numbers have been dropping somewhat as people are moving south or staying indoors with the colder weather, but Carl Hilland and Keith Gilbert have been coming in to eat and even do some dancing. We got to see Kurtis Killion's son, Cliff, last week and Charlie Martinez came in to play piano for us. We saw Mary Matison, Dave Swindells and we were pleased to see Della Truesdell and Cora Woolsey after a long absence. It's good to see old friends, and this is the place to see them.


Nov. 28 - Center closed

Dec. 1 - Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Dec. 2 - Advanced computer class, 10 a.m; Seeds of Learning kids sing, 11 a.m.

Dec. 3 - Beginning computer class, 10:30 a.m.

Colorado SHARE food orders taken 12:30 p.m.

Line Dancing class, 1 p.m.

Dec. 5 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.

Medicare counseling and blood pressure checks, 11 a.m

Christmas video, 12:45 p.m.


Friday - Center closed

Dec. 1 - Baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, tossed salad, muffin and pears

Dec. 2 - Macaroni and cheese, stewed tomatoes, garden salad, whole wheat bread and baked apple

Dec. 3 - Roast pork, broccoli blend, tossed salad, onion roll and orange wedges

Dec. 5 - Hot turkey sandwich, massed potatoes and gravy, green beans, fruit cup and cranberry sauce.
Chamber News

Prepare for arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on Dec. 6

By Sally Hameister

This week's Chamber article offers you a little challenge.

Much of the news is the same as last week because of the short holiday deadline, so avid readers have to hunt for the nuggets of new news this week.

Community center carols

The Pagosa Springs Community Center will host its first Community Christmas Caroling and Cake Walk Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m. They'll get things underway with the lighting of a 12-foot Christmas tree and follow that with some fun community caroling.

To help keep you warm, they'll be serving up hot chocolate and hot cider along with some scrumptious Christmas cookies. After the singing, everyone will head inside for a visit with Santa and a chance to win some more holiday calories at the cakewalk.

The folks at the community center would like to remind anyone looking for a place to hold their holiday party, that the center has rooms to meet all needs. From small and intimate to big and boisterous, the center has the space you need to hold your festivities.

Give them a call at 264-4152 to book a room or drop by to see what they have to offer.

Christmas in Pagosa

As the "most wonderful time of year" approaches, we are busy here at the Chamber decorating and lighting for the big day on Saturday, 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 to 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 Dec. 6 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 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 the lights 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 Street. You can call with questions at 264-2360.

"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.

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.

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. 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 at the corner of Piñon Causeway and U.S. 160, or you may call 731-5262 for information.

Pagosa Perks

Look for Chamber friends, Bob and Mary Hart, in this week's Pagosa Perks ad. Bob and Mary own Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat and are members of the Builders Association of Pagosa Springs with Hart Construction Company.

They recognize the importance of shopping Pagosa first and are encouraging their colleagues and associates to support the local economy by giving 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 that 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, 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.

Community concerts

The annual Community Choir Christmas concerts are just around the corner and attending 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 on Saturday night, Dec. 13, or you can attend the 4 p.m. concert 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.

Please call Sue Kehret at 731-3858 with any questions.

Open house

While making your plans for Christmas in Pagosa on Dec. 6, include the open house at Moonlight Books and Gallery 9a.m.-5 p.m. Santa begins his appearance at the Visitor Center at 3, so plan to come to town early to hit Moonlight Books before your visit with Santa.

Local artists, Denny Rose, Virginia Bartlett and Bruce Andersen will be there with demonstrations and discounts, Glen Raby and Shari Pierce will share a brief history of Pagosa Springs, and snacks and drinks will be served throughout the day. Just another event to add to the festivity of Pagosa's official holiday season opening.

CUMC bazaar

The Community United Methodist Church 40th annual Russ Hill Memorial Bazaar kicked off Nov. 17, so run on down to Lewis Street between 9-3 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.

The bazaar will end 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.

Please call 731-5918 for more information.

Better brewer

Local homebrew enthusiast, Tony Simmons, is off on another brewing adventure, this time as the recipient of the Lallemand Scholarship.

Tony is enjoying a two-week Concise Course at the Siebel Institute and World Brewing Academy in Chicago.

Since becoming involved in home brewing, Tony has garnered numerous awards for his work in competitions across the country, including the top medal for the last two years at the Colorado State Fair. Make sure and congratulate Tony when he gets back into town, but let him buy the beer! He really knows his stuff!


We have four new members to report this week and 10 renewals. And the new members are:

Karen Carpenter joins us with Pagosa Home Owner Services, 494 Saddle Circle, 731-0314. Karen offers home care and concierge services for the part-time resident homeowner.

Ed Raymond joins with Resort Properties of Pagosa Springs, 122 Lighthouse Dr., 731-6729, (800) 731-6729, cd-edmar@ Ed is a timeshare resale specialist/buyer agency, qualified for all properties listed in local MLS.

And with his second new business, Raymond brings Grace Evangelical Free Church, 731-6200,, Join Pastor Jeff Daley and Grace Evangelical Free Church at the Community Center at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. at 10 a.m. Sundays. Small groups meet in homes - call for details and times.

Our fourth new membership is Charlie and Maryla Robertson with Southwest Representative Service, P.O. Box 3145, 264-6923, Their company represents manufacturer's products by supplying sales and service in the Four Corners area.

Our renewals this week include: Robert Sprague with Acres Green RV Park, Christopher Smith with Wildwood Mountain Homes and Property, Lyn DeLange with CSE Advertising Specialties and Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service, Rev. Richard Bolland with Our Savior Lutheran Church and School, Steve Potter with Security Contractors, Jennifer Simon with the American Cancer Society, Mercy Korsgren with the Pagosa Springs Community Center, and associate members Curl and Dot Jones and Jerry Dermody.


Library News

$590,000 miracle is just $30,000 away

This is certainly our time for thanksgiving.

We are about to reach the goal of $590,000 to build a much-needed addition to the library without raising taxes or creating any bond issues. We are just $30,000 short as of today.

Quite a feat for a county with more deer and elk than people.

Listed here are the generous folks who believe in a strong library.

If your name is not included and I have somehow missed your donation, call me at 264-2209 so we can trace it.

If your name is not here and you wish to have it on our new wall plaque, please call or come in for a donation statement.

All gifts are tax deductible, and you may give in memory or in honor of someone. Their names will also be on the wall.

If you wish to give a larger donation and have your name appear in a higher gift recognition category, we would love to accommodate you.

Here then, are the people responsible for the new addition:

Major gifts

Bank of the San Juans, David and Carol E. Brown, Thomas and Judith A. Clark, Roy and Betsy Gill, Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation, Terry Hershey, George Reeves, Mr. and Mrs. William Seielstad.

Millenium gifts

Lynn D. Constan, Bob and Carole Howard, Folkwest-Four Corner Folk Festival, John and Rebecca Porco, John Regester, Glenn and Cathy Rutherford, Margaret and Jim Wilson.

Directors and above

Roy and Marjorie Beard, Victor C. Bilbo Jr., R. D. and Marilyn Copley Jr., Bob and Jessie Formwalt, Carl and Gloria Macht, Will and Christie Spears.

Benefactors and above

Mark and Jana Allen, Glenn Bergmann and Merilyn Moorhead, Tony and Holly Bergon, Community Methodist Church Supper Fellowship, Kerry and Jerry Dermody, Nancy Giordano, Warren and Kay Grams, Dallas and Lucille Johnson, Dorothy and Ernest Jones, Donald Logan and Patricia Howard, Genelle Macht, Moonlight Books and Gallery, Rick and Sherry Murray, Ralph and Genevieve Phelps, Marsha and Bunk Preuit, St. Patrick's Episcopal Church.

Sponsors and above

James and Ione Adams, Astraddle A Saddle, Robin Auld, Earle and Betty Beasley, Roger and Kathy Betts, Gil and Lenore Bright, B.F. and Patsy Broyles, Robert and Barbara Carlos, Terry and Kathy Carter, Ron and Windsor Chacey, Dr. Cherie Clodfelter, Rev. James and Bonnie Coats, Gene and Joan Cortright, Maureen and Ralph Covell, Barton and Jackie Cox, George and Patricia Creighton, Phyllis Decker, Jack and Lyn DeLange, Dr. Alton V. Dohner, Film Society, Arvold and Carol Fisher, Charles and Donna Formwalt, Ralph and Lois Gibson, M. E. and Marietta Gordon, William and Marjorie Hallett, Harry and Jane Hanson, Earl and Bonnie Hoover, Betty Jane James, Susan and Bob Kanyur, Ray and JoAnn Laird, Sidney and Phyllis Martin, Sherry Matthews, Margaret May, Mary Miller, Maureen and Jack Mojecki, Martha Jane Moore and Judith Waples, Dick and Lori Moseley, Mountain View Homemakers Club, Sylvia Murray, Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service, William Pongratz, Rebecca Porco, Ethel and Don Rasnic, Richard and Lorraine Raymond, Rice Reavis, Lloyd and Betty Reynolds, Malcolm and Joan Rodger, San Juan Veterinary Hospital, Gerald Sawatsky, Gene and Jackie Schick, Jenny and John Schoenborn, Fred and Fran Shelton, William and Bernice Storm lll, Barry J. Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Threet, Bruce and Nettie Trenk, Dick and Ann Van Fossen, Glenn and Lynda Van Patter, the Richard Walter Family, Sue Fryer Ward, Peter and Jackie Welch, Wells Fargo Bank, James and Carol Ann White, Martin and Gerda Witkamp, Don and Kathy Weber, Karen Wessels, Charles and Bev Worthman, Harry and Joan Young, Howard L. Zacher, Randy Zimmer.

Associates and above

Susan Anderson, Bank of America, Meryle Backus, Don and Helen Bartlett, Jan and Ken Brookshier, James and Jean Carson, William and Glenda Clark, Harry and Alene Cole, Dr. J.R. and Jane Cook, Jim Denvir and Barbara Parada, Frances Ferrell, Ray and Teddy Finney, John and Carol Frakes, Michael and Susan Garman, Don and Donna Geiger, Chuck and Drue Hartong, Jane Hardesty, Lisa Hartley, Beverly Haynes, Char and Dave Hemauer, Dick and Betty Hillyer, Ron and Sheila Hunkin, Mark and Pam Kircher, David Krueger, Judith James, B. Ann Luffel, Walter and Ellen Lukasik, League of Women Voters of Archuleta County, Mamie Lynch, Tara McElhinney, William and Helen Miller, Wilma and Harold Morrison, Jim and Waynette Nell, Lorna Ogden, Old West Press, Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, Pagosa Springs VFW Aux. 9695, Pagosa Springs Music Boosters, Pagosa Veterinary Clinic, Carol Pierce and Chris Philips, Sepp and Tanice Ramsperger, Albert and Elsbeth Schnell, Gautam and Mary J. Shah, The Simpson Family, John Treanor and Margaret Smith, Patricia Sterling, Cecil and Barbara Tackett, Kathryn Terry, Tiny Thibaut, Dalas and Carrie Weisz, Judy Wood.

Donors and above

Bruce and Wendy Adams, Donna Anderson, Ron and Jerri Anderson, Pauline Benetti, Donald Brinks, Thomas and Gayle Broadbent, John and Bernice Brungard, Mary Helen and David Cammack, Harold Cunningham, Randall and Patricia Davis, Violet and Dick DeVore, Dorman and Betty Diller, Fred and June Ebeling, Donald and Stevana Erickson, Jean Garcia and Affinity Mortgage, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Gibbons, Paige and Jean Gordon, Ralph and Sam Goulds, Jeff and Addie Greer, Walter and Carol Hakala, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Horky, Bob and Mary Ann Huff, Elaine Hyde, Sherwin and Shirley Iverson, James and Elizabeth Jarvis, Suzan Joy, Kathy Keyes and Kirsten Skeehan, Vossa and Elizabeth Leach, Russ Lee, C. Arthur and Lucille Lemmon, Sherman and Patsy Levin, Eugene and Eleanor Lohman, Judith Meyer and Erna Bone, Elizabeth Morris, Bob and Margaret Page, Diana and Eugene Quadri, Mike and Jacky Reece, Barbara Rosner, Rev. Anne E. Ryder, Jean Sanft, Virginia Sheets, William and Ann Shurtleff, Joseph and Loretta Siminski, Joan and Harold Slavinski, Leonard and Shirley Sterling, Don and Melinda Volger, Luther and Janice Wilt, Carole Young.

Other and above

Ron Alexander, Tess Noel Baker, Ernestine Bowers, Lorrie Carpino, George Esterly, John and Ann Graves, Helen Hoff, Maggie Valentine Inskeep, Nancy Krzyzankski, Gary and Colleen Liescheidt, Bob and Ruth Newlander, Dan and Sarah Potts, Robert and Suzanne Pritzker, Mark and Sondra Skomal, John and Shirley Snider, Billie White and Sidney Evans.


Veteran's Corner

A look at VA healthcare Priority Group ratings

Last week we talked about VA Health Care Priority Group ratings that determine VA enrollment eligibility.

This week we will go into detail on Priority Groups 1 through 6. I know all this information looks a little intimidating, but it is important to know for any veteran seeking or planning to enroll in VA health care to understand how eligibility is determined.

Once in, stay in

Before I discuss the VAHC eligibility categories I want to emphasize some very important considerations. If you are already enrolled in VA health care it is important to remember two things:

1. Get a minimum yearly physical. This ensures you remain in active patient status.

2. File a Means Test financial report each year on your enrollment anniversary date based on the previous calendar year's income. Your previous year's income tax report is the proper source for this information.

Yearly physical

Get a yearly physical exam at your VA clinic even if you feel you do not have any health care issues that need attention. Failure to do either of these for a prolonged period could get you un-enrolled from VA health care and it may be very difficult to get back in. Besides, everyone should have a yearly physical over the age of 50 anyway, and you can't beat the price.

Enrollment Priority 1 is a veteran with service-connected (SC) disabilities rated 50 percent or more disabling. These veterans do not have to file a Means Test (MT) and these veterans do not have to co-pay for VAHC. They do not have to pay for prescription drugs. Secondary insurance provider will be billed for non-service-connected (NSC) conditions.

Enrollment Priority 2 is a veteran with SC disabilities rated 30 percent or 40 percent disabling. These veterans are required to provide a MT. They do not pay for prescription drugs for their SC disabilities. They do pay for prescription drugs if the medication is for a NSC disability. Secondary insurance provider will be billed for NSC conditions.

POW's, Purple Heart

Enrollment Priority 3 is a former POW, Purple Heart recipient, veterans whose discharge was for a disability that was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, veterans with SC disabilities rated 10 percent or 20 percent disabling, and veterans under certain limited special eligibility classification. These veterans are required to provide a MT. They do not pay for prescription drugs for their SC disabilities. They do pay for prescription drugs if the medication is for a NSC disability. Secondary insurance provider will be billed for NSC conditions.

Catastrophically disabled

Enrollment Priority 4 is for veterans who are receiving aid and attendance or housebound benefits and veteran who have been determined by VA to be catastrophically disabled. These veterans are required to provide a MT. They pay for prescription drugs if the medication is for a NSC disability. Secondary insurance provider will be billed for NSC conditions.

Enrollment Priority 5 is for NSC disabled veterans and noncompensable SC veterans rated 0 percent disabled whose annual income and net worth are below the established VA MT thresholds, veterans receiving VA pension benefits and veterans eligible for Medicaid benefits. These veterans are required to provide a MT. They pay for prescription drugs. Secondary insurance provider will be billed for NSC conditions.

0 percent SC disabled

Enrollment Priority 6 is WW I, Mexican Border War and veterans who are 0 percent SC disabled and are solely seeking care for disorders associated with presumptive conditions (long list of details-ask for specifics). These veterans are required to provide a MT. They do not pay for prescription drugs for SC disabilities or for presumptive disorders. They pay for prescription drugs for any other disorders. Secondary insurance provider will be billed for NSC conditions.

Next week, part 2

Priority 7 and 8 and other important information will be discussed to conclude this two-part series on VAHC eligibility.

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



James (Jac) and Leila (Lee) Constant, lifelong friends, lovers and spouses, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Nov. 21. Jac was born in Albuquerque and met Lee in McIntosh, N.M., when he was 11 and she 10 years old. He married her six years later. Lee was born in Lawrence County, Ill., but was raised in Pagosa Springs. They have three sons and daughters-in-law: Jesse and Gina of Albuquerque, Jack and Andrea of Pagosa Springs and Mitchell and Jeanine, also of Albuquerque. The have five grandchildren: Tim, Jessanyum, Hollie, Tyler and Alicia. The Constants raised their family in Albuquerque where Jac retired after 30 years at Sandia National Laboratories and Lee retired after 30 years with the Department of Energy. They currently live on their ranch in Pagosa Springs where Lee sells real estate and Jac plays steel guitar, in addition to ranching. Their children honored them with an Oct. 11 celebration in the Pagosa Springs Community Center. They were joined by 150 relatives and friends for a night of dinner and dancing.


Jon Eric Gaskins, of Pagosa Springs, a deputy with the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, was inducted into the Alpha Rho Theta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Pueblo Community College Nov. 16.

Gaskins, majoring in criminal justice, is married to Adina Gaskins.

Established in 1918 by two-year college presidents, Phi Theta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious honor society serving two-year colleges around the world.

The society serves to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and provide opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership and service programming.

Students must rank in the top 20 percent of the class to be invited to membership in Phi Theta Kappa and must maintain high academic standing during their enrollment in the two-year college. Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1.5 million members and 1100 chapters located in 50 United States, United States territories, Canada, Germany and Japan.



Romeo & Juliets

Workshop gives students tools to develop characters

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Never was there so sad a tale as that of Romeo and his Juliet.

Or Juliets, in this case.

Five teen-agers turned an art room at the Pagosa Springs Community Center into an old theater in the round Thursday night, taking an audience of 20 back to the time of the Montagues and Capulets.

Four Juliets - Randi Andersen, Liesl Jackson, Veronica Zieler and Kiva Belt - and one Romeo, Chris Gnos, performed a series of monologues from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," as the culmination of three weeks of acting classes taught by Felicia Meyer - a Pagosa resident with experience in acting, directing and producing.

Meyer said the workshop focused on techniques for building characters. She chose Shakespeare, specifically "Romeo and Juliet," because it was a play the students were familiar with but had never performed.

"If you've never done it before, there can be this fear around it," she said. "It can become this picture in your mind that the characters are so dramatic they're inaccessible."

The key, Meyer said, is to give the students the tools to give it a first shot. That can mean embracing the worst in stereotypes of Shakespearean actors. At that point, they can begin to play and learn, "that getting from here to there is just a leap of faith."

Meyer started the class by showing the students several classical paintings, teaching them to use the paintings as another way "in" to characters from another time.

"We used the classical paintings as inspiration for movement, shape and gesture," she said. "We worked on using that as a springboard. From there they had to fill the characters." To help get a feel for the paintings, the students tried to replicate what they observed in the paintings. They experimented with tableaus and then a series of improvisations, choosing and developing their monologues on the side.

"It's another way to access a world very far away, a way to get in, and once you're in, you find out they're not far away at all, they're just people, " Meyer said. This was the second such class she's led in Pagosa Springs.

Meyer started acting when she was a teen-ager. Before moving to directing and producing, she performed on stage in New York, Los Angeles and Europe and appeared in numerous television roles. She received her M.F.A. in directing from the American Film Institute, where she directed the award-winning short film "Desert Snow." When Los Angeles became too crowded, she, husband and son William made the move to Pagosa Springs.

"I came to Colorado in 1994 and fell in love with it," Meyer said.

Teaching, she said, is the one thing that allows her to pull from all of the areas of her experience. "Teen-agers are my favorite age to teach," she said. "I really feel I have a special connection with them."

One of her goals, she said, is to give the students a space where they feel comfortable to explore, a place in which they can feel both free and confident.

"My main goal is to empower the students, because if they have true aspirations to be an actor - it's competitive," she said. "Their best shot is if they have really high self-esteem."

For their final class, the students arrived with bags in tow, bringing costumes from home.

Gnos, the lone Romeo who arrived first, said he decided to take the class, "just for the experience of learning how to act." He enjoyed, "messing around, seeing what we could do with the different characters, their attitudes and stuff."

For Randi Andersen, it was her second workshop with Meyer.

"I did the one in the summer, and I absolutely loved it. I want to be an actress so I want to find anything I can do that can help me."

"You are an actress," Meyer said.

Their costume choices were as individual as the students. One was dressed in black like the night. The other in orange and yellow for her role as the sun. A forest green robe swirled about another. Flowing skirts. A green vial for a prop. Four Juliets and a 21st century Romeo in baggy shorts and a T-shirt.

"The first Romeo was very forward thinking in his day," Kiva Belt observed.

"Shoes, I need shoes," Liesl Jackson said, going through her bag. "I don't have any shoes."

"I like the bare feet," a classmate observed. "It works."

Meyer opened the class with a final improvisation idea to work through some bugs in the transition elements of the monologues. She gave the class five minutes to come up with a girl meets boy scenario to include, "a 10-second game, a surprise encounter, whisper, first encounter, 10-second gaze, teasing, and a fade or dissolve." These elements were to take place in four locations, a town with people around, a school hall, in a park hanging out with friends and a quiet street at night.

In an improvisation, Meyer said, "I give them the outline of the story and they have to fill it out using some of the tools we've worked on." The exercise also allows the actors a chance to develop collaboration and communication skills, two very necessary tools in any business.

She gave them five minutes.

"Use this as your warmup," she told the students. "Practice filling your form. Don't do anything halfway."

"One more minute."

In their first attempt, the students picked one Juliet and played out several chance meetings with her Romeo. Meyer asked them to try again, this time giving each Juliet a moment to connect with Romeo, something that would help the monologues flow more seamlessly.

John Porter, a guest at the class watched them play through the improvisations and offered one piece of advice. "Shakespeare is carried as much by the physical movement and gesture as it was by the verse," he said, encouraging the students to explore the physicality of the play as much as anything else.

"You have to decide why you're leaving him," Meyer told the Juliets later. "Whatever you're feeling we have to see it, otherwise we miss all that."

With the suggestions and some alterations, the improvisation exercise morphed into something that could be used to introduce the audience to the five characters for the performance later in the evening. To give the art rooms in the Pagosa Springs Community Center a little more theatrical appeal, Meyer hung green sheets in the doorway, and the actors scattered for some last-minute preparations as the audience began to arrive.

A moment of silence and then the four Juliets came through the curtains to begin Pagosa's own rendition of the famous tragedy.


Pagosa's Past

Cattleman tells tales of early days in San Juan Basin

John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

C.C. Hampton, a cattleman, was one of the first settlers in the San Juan Basin, according to his story titled "A Cattleman's Yarn."

Hampton's story was recorded Jan. 25, 1925, and is published in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country, Vol. 1."

Born in Georgia in 1850, Hampton would have been a young teen-ager during the Civil War. He "landed" in the Florida River Valley Nov. 11, 1875. Everyone knows the Florida - Florida is given its Spanish pronunciation in this part of the country - is located between Bayfield and Durango.

Hampton spent that first winter with T. J. McCluer and D. L. Murray. At the time, they were the only settlers east of the Animas Valley for 100 miles, according to Hampton. That 100 miles includes Pagosa Springs where no one lived. There were settlers and Los Tierra Amarilla and in the San Luis Valley.

Coming into the San Juan Basin, Hampton followed the tracks of T.D. Burns' freight wagons. Burns was shipping supplies from Tierra Amarilla to Frank Trimble, located at Trimble Springs a few miles above today's Durango. Durango wasn't even a dream in 1875.

Hampton was driving a herd of cattle. He doesn't tell us where he started from, where he got the cattle, or how he reached Tierra Amarilla. The year 1875 would have likely have been too early for Cumbres Pass.

Hampton doesn't tell us if Burns' freight route followed the Dominguez-Escalante trail across Carracas Mesa, or if the route came through Pagosa Springs. Either route was viable. I wish he would have been clearer.

In any case, Hampton soon accompanied McCluer on a visit to Captain John Moss on a visit to what would become Parrot City, the first county seat of La Plata County and an old gold mining town.

Moss introduced McCluer to Chief Ignacio, who gave the pioneers permission to winter on the Florida River.

"Ignacio said he would not care for us staying but pretty soon 'Mer-I-cats' (Americans) would come in 'so thick you couldn't count them,'" Hampton said.

Before he left for the winter, Ignacio told Southern Ute Indian Agent McCluer that he was returning in the spring with all of his people and he would take us out the way we came in, either by Tierra Amarilla or by Silverton. It didn't happen. The next spring he was in a better mood.

The first settlers got along fine with the Indians, according to Hampton, until the first Texas cow-punchers came into the Basin.

The Texans caused trouble by trying to show the Indians they were boss. McCluer managed to keep peace between whites and Indians during those first years, Hampton said. Ignacio was said to be a good friend who was truthful and appreciated a favor when he needed help.

Mail, at 25 cents a letter, came to the Las Animas River settlements by way of Tierra Amarilla. Again, the route wasn't specified. My guess is, it came through Pagosa Springs, crossing the San Juan River about a mile south of the Great Pagosa Hot Spring.

Newspapers came in later after a mail route was established through Howardsville, up the river from today's Silverton. In those days, Silverton was still called Baker's Park.

Pioneer newspapers were often printed on the red or brown butcher paper much in vogue at that time. Mail was carried on snowshoes during winter and by pack burro during the summer.

Soon after locating on the Florida, Hampton looked over the Dolores River area as a cattle ranching prospect. He soon returned to the Florida, but later homesteaded near Dove Creek.

"At that time the cowboys gathered the cows and calves from the range and held them in a herd and when fairly complete branded for days near one big fire," Hampton wrote. "The fire herder kept the long irons hot, others held the herd, while the ropers brought calves to the fire. In later years the fashion in roundups changed. After the Texans came we began to brand the cows and calves wherever we found them; the cowboys carried saddle irons and when they found a calf they roped it, built a fire, heated the irons, and branded right there."

More next week on C. E. Hampton, early San Juan Basin cattleman.



Themes of thanks

Today is the Thanksgiving holiday, the national celebration established in a national myth, set by presidential decree. Thanksgiving is bound up with legend, with the story of the colonists at Plymouth and their celebration with Native Americans, of their survival and their arrival in a new place, of their readiness to establish a life consistent with their beliefs.

Beyond the veneer of myth, our Thanksgiving falls neatly into a form recognized by many cultures throughout history- a celebration of the harvest that includes recognition of the bounty that ensures our survival and an acknowledgment of the social bonds needed to produce that bounty and our security.

With the commercialization of the holiday - a blight that infects all our holidays - it is tempting in a society of consumers to forget the basis for the celebration. Many of us are far too worried about the size of the turkey and the right wine to serve with dinner; there is a chance we could fail to focus on the meaning of the event. As an acquisitive people, we slide smoothly into commercial traps, propelled by slick images and fancy goods. In our attempts to attain a superficial ideal, we risk losing touch with the central idea behind our celebration.

In other cases, we chance losing sight of the bonds we should celebrate - the social connections, family, friends - that make our way of life possible. There are far too many impediments in contemporary life - work, divorce, estrangement among them.

It is heartening that most of us are able to work our ways through the temptations and the television images, through the desire to duplicate cooking magazine scenarios, past the obstacles that stand between members of families, that threaten friendships. When the shopping is done and preparations made, Thanksgiving still packs the right punch. It is still done for the right reasons.

SUN employees responded Monday to the question, "What will you be thankful for on Thanksgiving?" Their answers were very much alike, typical of what most of us are thinking today.

Shari said "I've got a place to live; a lot of people don't. There are so many things to be thankful for, I'll keep it short: health, family and friends."

That theme would be repeated.

Terri: "For family, employees, friends. There's so many things, I put these at the top of the list."

Robert: "Family and friends."

Crystal: "For healthy and happy family and friends."

Tess: "My daughter, Sierra, my friends and family."

Cayce: "That I have a family that cares and that I live where I do, with the upbringing I've had."

Kerri: "For my baby, Sterling."

Todd: "For life and for health."

Others would add themes.

Jacque: "I'm going to be thankful for the day off and some good food and drink."

Tom: "For the time to actually cook home-cooked meals. And I'm thankful I'm not a turkey."

Kanaka: "For friends and family, and for all the people in our military who are suffering hardships on our behalf."

Richard: "To live in a county where residents are so concerned about the welfare of their fellow residents."

Thanks for family and friends. Thanks for good health, security and happiness. Thanks for the food that is so plentiful. Thanks for the charity and good will of those around us.

This is a day when we should reflect on our good fortune, on the great good luck to have been born when and where we were, and thank all those who sacrifice and labor to maintain the foundation of that fortune.

We need to take a lesson from the thoughts and feelings attached to this holiday and attempt to extend them throughout the year.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Guess who wins the WFS Bowl


By Richard Walter

It's that time of year again.

Friends are calling friends with tips for the occasion.

Even enemies are counseling each other on how best to meet the challenges of the all-important event.

While wives, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts and others are in the kitchens today, these stalwarts will be glued to the tube watching football, considering strength of schedule, thinking about the Bowl Championship Series and how their alma mater, with a just a little help, can jump a spot or two in the listings and find gridiron nirvana playing for a nonexistent title.

Hey, we're just as fanatic about sports as the next guy, but this BCS business is carrying the alumnus attachment just too far.

Think what we could do with a BCS rating for the nation as we all enjoy the Thanksgiving repast in our own individual ways.

You think strength of schedule would have had any effect on the British sailing toward the colonies to put down their threat of declaring independence.

What schedule? Why, those bumpkins don't even have their own ammunition or flintlocks. They can't even put down the repeated attacks by the wild natives.

Nah. Strength of schedule would never have played at Fort McHenry or as Washington and troops crossed the Delaware.

Lets see, the BCS also determines its finalists at various levels by weighing media reports, coaches' polls, computer rankings, number of losses and a complicated bonus point system providing for quality wins.

How about the nation? Fellow named Ben Franklin did a lot of writing in the early days and became a leader in the new government. Likewise, Thomas Jefferson.

The new democracy had no computers, in fact hadn't even heard of them, but perhaps we might substitute purpose of freedom for that point in our BCS for Thanksgiving.

America's had her losses, not just battles and ideals, but the lives of hundreds of thousands of her sons and daughters striving to maintain the status developed in the very beginning, the status of equality for all and the chance for anyone of any color or creed to dream of and achieve success.

Wars being the challenge to freedom and security, we found ourselves involved in many confrontations with those who would have been world conquerors.

We've fought for American rights and beliefs on nearly every continent, in most of the nations of the world.

We've been classified winners - and losers - by ally and enemy alike. We've given our best and received little or no thanks but we've stayed the course; provided for the survival of other nations beset by the rudimentary evils befalling new democracies; and have shouldered the worries of the world while fighting the devils of terrorism on our own soil.

Enjoy the game from the deep south today, watch the traditional regional battles on the big green field tomorrow, but keep in mind the biggest winner of all is The United States of America in the World Freedom Series Bowl.



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Nov. 28, 1913

A local enterprise that has grown in merited popularity is the Carther wagon factory, which is turning out farm and light wagons of a superior grade and finding a ready sale for all made. Just now Mr. Carther is building a number of sleds to meet a local demand. He is a practical wood-worker and wagon-maker of long experience and when he turns out a vehicle it not only has the best features of all other makes, but is also built on his knowledge of local requirements in a wagon.

Unquestionably the greatest permanent industry in Archuleta County is that of cattle growing - the greatest because practically every ranchman in the county is engaged in the business, most of them in a limited way and a few of them to considerable extent.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 30, 1928

Robt. T. Williams and Chester W. Gibson have taken over the pool and billiard parlor in the Rumbaugh building, and will open it to the public tomorrow under the name of Williams & Gibson's Recreation Parlor. Both are well known locally and will no doubt enjoy a liberal share of patronage.

Mrs. J.P. Sisson desires to announce that she has completed a laundry room at her home and the Pagosa Laundry is now ready to handle all washing and mangling. Special rates to regular customers.

Charles Tann was an arrival Saturday from Telluride to accept a position as pharmacist at the McComas drug store.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 27, 1953

More winter weather the past week with a frigid 2 below zero being recorded on Sunday morning. Considerable more snow fell during the latter part of last week and turned off clear Saturday night. In town most of the snow has melted but the bare spots in the country are becoming fewer and farther between.

In the high country and on the Pass the winter snow pack has started with four- and five-foot depths being reported.

The town water has been off several times due to the slush ice in the river and from present indications it might be wise, unless you live in the lower sections of town or close to the water plant, to save out a little coffee water every night.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 30, 1978

A storm moved into the area last week and left some moisture at lower elevations, a good deal of snow on top of the mountains and gave Wolf Creek Ski Area enough new snow so that there should be no shortage the remainder of the winter.

There have been several small fires in town the past few weeks. The Fire Chief asks that local residents check their heating systems, especially the chimneys and flues, and that everyone avoid overloading electrical circuits.

The new truck trap on Wolf Creek Pass is complete and ready for emergency use. The trap has a steep grade, is surfaced with a thick layer of sand, and should allow runaway trucks to come to a stop before they hit the dangerous curves on the Pass.