December 11, 2003 

Front Page

Flu appears on decline as more vaccine arrives

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

San Juan Basin Health Department and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are asking for community support in targeting remaining influenza vaccine to high risk populations: very young children ages 6 to 23 months, adults over 65 and those people with chronic illness, underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems.

The Pagosa Springs office of San Juan Basin Health received a limited supply of the regular flu vaccine Wednesday and will offer shots 8-9 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

In addition, children under 9 who received their first-ever flu shot this year will be offered the required second dose if it has been at least four weeks since the first shot was administered.

A spokesman in the Pagosa office said they will dispense the vaccine until it is all gone and is not sure if there will be more.

The state announced Tuesday it had found 4,000 unused doses, and that it would route them to the counties with the most serious problems. It had yet, however, to identify those specific counties.

Nationwide, the two manufacturers of the vaccine say all of their more than 83 million doses have been administered.

Dee Jackson, general manager for Upper San Juan Health Service District, told The SUN Tuesday the district expects to receive 100 doses sometime this week. She did not specify the source.

The high-risk populations are more likely to contract the flu and to develop life-threatening complications due to influenza.

One good sign is that absenteeism as a result of the flu is improving in all four Pagosa Springs schools.

Secretaries at each school said the number of ill students is dropping and there are signs the worst might be past.

At the elementary school the absentee list is still higher than normal but dropping and nowhere near as bad as it was a week ago.

Intermediate school secretary Nancy Blaine said the rate is improving daily and is far better than a week ago.

At the junior high, Kim Forrest said the absenteeism is much improved. "We have only 13 out today (Wednesday) and not necessarily all with the flu."

Melinda Volger at Pagosa Springs High School said the rate is still higher than normal but is lessening. "We still have some sickness, but no where near as much as before."

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, "This year it appears that many more people than in recent years received a flu shot during October and November, and unlike other years, there is a high interest in obtaining flu shots in December."

Because of the demand for the vaccine, supplies have become limited.

There are still substantial doses of the new nasal spray flu vaccine mist, but it is generally recommended only for those healthy persons between the ages of 5-49 who want to avoid getting the flu. It should not be used by those with asthma or those who have other ailments which could be complicated by the vaccine.

Dr. Ned Calonge, the state's chief medical officer, said that to obtain enough supplies of regular vaccine to immunize children 6- to 23-months of age, who are vulnerable to serious bouts of the flu, he is making two recommendations:

1) That the remaining supply of flu vaccine for children in Colorado be used for children in the target age group rather than providing second shots to healthy children two and over; and

2) That half doses of available adult doses, if located, be administered to children from 6 to 23 months of age with permission of their parents.

To avoid the flu, make sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid people who are ill. If you or your child are having flu-like symptoms, make sure to stay home from work or keep kids home from school to protect others from becoming sick.

People may wish to contact their doctor within 48 hours of experiencing sudden onset of flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and cough. Anti-viral medication may be prescribed to shorten the length of illness or decrease the severity of symptoms.

If your child is ill, contact a physician if they have difficulty breathing, are inconsolably irritable, have a fever that cannot be controlled, become dehydrated due to diarrhea or vomiting, or have a continued decrease in activity level after other symptoms have gone away.

Children should not be given aspirin or other medications containing salicylates, including Pepto-Bismol, to avoid the rare but serious disease, Reye syndrome. Make sure to read all labels carefully before giving any over-the-counter medications to children.

For more information on the flu and answers to questions visit or call (888) 692-0269.


Helping Hand pleas increase; more donations needed

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Picture, if you will, a child with no Christmas tree - and with no presents.

How about a family with no Christmas dinner?

Since 1989 this community, through efforts of Operation Helping Hand, has demonstrated outstanding generosity to make that picture brighter. Donors have often given up something badly wanted, but not really needed, in order to make a child smile at a time of need.

From that early beginning, when 22 families without the basic necessities for a merry Christmas were aided, the rapidly increasing population and a sluggish economy combined to make the list of needy much longer.

In fact, 196 families are on the list of those in need of help this year. And more donations are needed as the deadlines near.

Anyone who has ever been down on their luck at Christmas can understand the feeling of not being able to provide for a family, of not having adequate clothing or basic elements for a cheerful meal.

There has rarely been a community as responsible and generous as Pagosa Springs has been in the past. The outpouring of concern seen in the past gave this community a reputation for caring.

According to Operation Helping Hand organizers, 602 people - including 318 children, 225 adults and 59 senior citizens - have registered for Christmas season assistance from the program. This is an increase of 30 families or 62 people, over 2002. The deadline for registering has passed.

Perhaps the biggest indicator of the greater need this year is the number of gift tags still hanging in the two City Markets. Each of them contains the description of an item requested by one of those individuals seeking assistance. It may be a pair of warm gloves, winter boots, or a toy they have no hope of getting without citizen generosity.

If you want to participate, pick a gift tag off one of the displays, purchase and wrap the item listed, and return it by Tuesday, Dec. 16 to one of the drop-off spots you'll find specified later in this article.

As the tags are removed from the displays, there are more to be added. Each one removed will be replaced until all the requests have been posted.

If you want to participate but don't want or have time to do the shopping, monetary donations are always welcome. Organizers report donations are down over $2,000 compared with this time last year. They will be used to fill the wishes not directly supported by citizens. And, they will be used to help fill the dinner baskets and to add meat to them so that all families in the county have a reason to celebrate.

Program organizers coordinate the charitable work of area civic clubs, churches, business organizations and individuals. Please note the deadlines listed below.

Add to them 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 15 through 18 for dropping off donations at the Extension Building.

Used items needed

Organizers are getting numerous requests for used furniture, blankets, pots and pans, VCRs, DVDs and electric blankets. These items, which organizers say can be "used, but still usable," should be brought to Social Services offices in Town Hall, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center or Coldwell Banker, on Put Hill by Dec. 16. The Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs assists with this portion of Operation Helping Hand by sorting the items, and assisting program recipients with locating items they need.

Toy Outreach

This branch of Operation Helping Hand provides an opportunity for children to get involved in the program.

Parents can help their children select a toy or toys they no longer use, but which are still in good condition, for donation. Used bikes, Playstations, X-Boxes, stereos and CD players are especially high on the wish lists of many young people. Donations should be brought to Department of Social Services, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center or Coldwell Banker, on Put Hill by Dec. 16.

Project Empty Stocking

Volunteers have written over 1,000 requested items on paper stockings at both City Markets. These requests range from socks and underwear to snow boots, pants and coats. To fill one of these requests, remove a stocking from the board in City Market, then purchase and wrap your gift, attaching the stocking to your package so the gift will be delivered to the correct individual or family. Take your gift to Department of Social Services in Town Hall, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center or Coldwell Banker, on Put Hill by Dec. 16.

Secret Santa Toy Tree

This program seeks to provide at least one new toy to each child in need this holiday season.

There is a special Christmas tree in the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center with ornaments for each child registered with Operation Helping Hand. There are a variety of requests for toys in all price ranges. Requests this year include dolls, Barbies, dishes, cars, models, CDs and CD players. To be a Secret Santa, choose an ornament from the tree at the Visitors Center and deliver your newly purchased, wrapped toy to Operation Helping Hand at Social Services in Town Hall, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center or Coldwell Banker, on Put Hill by Dec. 16.

Bucks for Bikes

The folks at GMAC Four Seasons Land Company raise donations from local real estate agents and title companies to purchase new bikes for children.

Snowflake Program

Volunteers at Community United Methodist Church are participating by assisting families with their holiday needs in cooperation with Operation Helping Hand.

Christmas food boxes

Food donations are always needed for Christmas dinners. It is the goal of Operation Helping Hand volunteers to provide the ingredients for a holiday dinner to those who otherwise would go without this holiday season. Nonperishable items may be brought to Department of Social Services in Town Hall, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center or Coldwell Banker, on Put Hill by Dec. 16.

You can also help by purchasing a City Market gift certificate and bringing it to The Pagosa Springs SUN or mailing it to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. These certificates will be used to purchase turkeys and other perishable items.

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

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

Monetary donations can be made to Operation Helping Hand account No. 6240417424 at Wells Fargo or mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


PAWS levy down; rates may change

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

After a final review, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District budget for 2004 received unanimous approval by the district board of directors Tuesday night.

Two key points emerged from the board's discussions with staff before and after the approval: district mill levies will be down from 2003, while rate structures will be overhauled for the second year in a row.

Concerning mill levies, "The reductions are in the area of debt service," explained Carrie Campbell, district general manager.

The 2004 debt-service mill levy for District 1, which provides water and sanitation services to the core area of subdivisions west of town generally located north of U.S. 160 and west of Piedra Road, is set at 11.88 mills.

That's a reduction of .756 mills from last year. The operating mill levy for District 1 will remain the same as last year, holding at 6.09 mills. When combined, the two levies total 17.97 mills.

District 2 provides water service (only) to subdivisions west of town and south of U.S. 160, the town of Pagosa Springs and areas near town that were formerly served by the Archuleta Water Company.

The 2004 debt-service mill levy for District 2 is set at 6.39 mills, a decrease of .483 mills from one year ago.

The operating mill levy for District 2 remains unchanged at 1.949 mills. The combined levies for District 2 amount to 8.339 mills.

With respect to rate structure, "In some way, it's going to have to change," said Campbell, before requesting board approval of a rate study scheduled to be initiated early next year. Current estimates for the study indicate the price tag is not to exceed $6,000.

In addition, Campbell indicated Integrated Utilities Group Inc., the same firm that completed a similar study earlier this year, will once again be hired for the task.

One reason a reevaluation is necessary is "district revenues from water sales are lower than we projected for this year," said Campbell, reiterating a point she made last month.

It's a bittersweet scenario, said Campbell, because lower revenues are an indication that district customers remain diligent in their water-conservation habits.

In response, some members of the public on hand said a potential rate increase after a year of conservative usage by district customers may seem like a backhanded compliment.

One in attendance asked if the district is taking other measures to offset the loss in revenue, stating, "Don't put the burden strictly on those who have been conserving."

Acknowledging such sentiments, "I don't want to throw up red flags ... don't want to have everybody lose faith in what they've been doing this year," said Campbell. "We're extremely pleased with the response we've had, and certainly want it to continue."

However, said Campbell, while the district always looks for methods to efficiently reduce expenses, increases in fixed costs - insurance rates, regulation issues, etc. - are outpacing revenue losses, creating the need to make up the difference.

Currently, the specifics relating to how and where the rate structure will be modified remain uncertain.

"We can't give a concrete idea, right now, of where the weight of change will be," said Campbell. "A portion may have to be on the base rate, but that's something this study will help determine.

"Rates will continue to be based on the idea of 'you pay for what you use,' and my gut feeling is that they will probably be lower than what customers were paying at this time last year," she concluded.

The proposal won approval from the board, but not without concerns.

In response to a question from board member Karen Wessels regarding where in the budget the funding for the study will come from, staff responded enough had been set aside in "outside reserves."

Though he eventually made the motion to approve the study, board member Bob Frye advised staff to undertake as much of the effort as possible to lessen the cost.

Acknowledging that some of the tasks entailed are beyond the district's current capabilities, "I'm afraid we may be paying them to do something that perhaps we should be doing," Frye concluded.

District staff indicated potential rate changes associated with the study will likely not take effect until June or July of next year.

For updates and other district information, visit the district Web site at

Lake levels

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

- Lake Hatcher - 86 percent full

- Stevens Reservoir - 88 percent full

- Lake Pagosa - 68 percent full

- Lake Forest - 92 percent full at seven inches below spillway

- Village Lake - 28 percent full.

Tautges also indicated crushing operations to reduce excess stock piles of rock at the district office are scheduled to begin sometime next week; residents living near the district office will be mailed a notice detailing the activity in the next few days.


EMS staff now full-time; health budget detailed

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A new scheduling system, complete with a full-time staff, has been implemented at emergency medical services.

The result, Upper San Juan Health Service District board member Debra Brown and Executive Director Dee Jackson said, is a system that provides more coverage to the people of Pagosa Country.

To start, the district moved to a modified-Kelly scheduling system. "It's a standard EMS and fire system used far more often across the country than our old system," Jackson said. "It standardizes our system like the rest of the world."

Under a modified-Kelly system, the district has three teams of employees, just like it always has. Teams are composed of three full-time employees - one paramedic, one intermediate-EMT and one basic-EMT. The basic schedule is 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, then four days off.

"Anytime they work over 40 hours, they receive time and a half," Jackson said.

The schedule also allows for two part-time EMTs, either intermediates or basics, to sign up for all shifts. When both the part-time slots are filled, Jackson said, the system gives the community one more person in quarters than was ever available before.

In the old system, two full-time paramedics worked 36 or 39 hour overlapping shifts. Jackson said although many of the public thought two paramedics were available at all times, there were actually 19 hours of the shift where just one paramedic was in quarters. The two remaining slots of each shift were filled by part-time EMTs.

Last summer, Jackson and Brown said, the district had times when two or three calls came in on top of each other. During the week, when many of the part-time employees work their full time jobs, that could mean struggling to find the personnel to respond. Under the modified Kelly system - with five people in quarters - at least two can generally be left behind to answer a second call.

It's up to the paramedic on each shift to make the resource call as far as who stays and who goes, Jackson said. At the end of the month, she said, the district will employ a total of five paramedics. One is the operations manager and will always run calls. Another is out on medical leave. That gives the district three paramedics for three teams. A paramedic from Bayfield has been filling in until the third full-time member joins the team, Jackson said. That person will continue to be available to fill in as needed.

Two full-time intermediates have also been hired. One intermediate spot remains open to be filled by the paramedic currently on medical leave. That will give one team two paramedics.

The teams are filled out with three EMT-basics hired from the part time pool.

To make the new system work, Jackson said, the 2004 EMS salaries budget had to be increased by about $40,000.

"It all went to the EMTs and providing medicine," Jackson said. "None of it was in additional administrative costs." Total projected salary costs for EMS equals $316,500 in 2003. Next year's projections show a total budget for salaries at $361,000 to include the full time staff and part-timers.

However, money was shifted around, with some funds coming out of the part-time pool. The EMT basic part-time budget shows a drop from $62,600 to $30,000. On the full-time basic side, the budget increased $16,400 to $72,000. Full-time intermediate positions show an increase from $47,000 to $87,000, while part-time intermediate pay dropped from $33,000 to $20,000.

Jackson said the part-time pay scale had not changed, although those salaries are under review. Part-timers are currently paid a base rate of between $25 and $45 a shift, depending on their level of training and experience. They also receive an hourly wage for time actually spent on a call. If they roll with the ambulance and are gone at least 15 minutes, Jackson said, they receive pay for a two-hour minimum.

The changes in the budget, which is only projected figures - a best guess - she said, go back to resources management and the paramedic supervisor on each team. In the past, four or five people on staff might respond to the first call, leaving quarters empty. Now paramedics will determine who goes and who stays on each call. They are also working to prevent six people from showing up on a call, expecting payment, when two or three people may be needed. On the other hand, in the case of a major accident, five people are available right away.



Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture











































Frigid temps, a chance for light snow forecast

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Thanks to an early-week storm that dumped as much as 16 inches of new snow across higher elevations, Pagosa Country snowpack remains well above average.

According to the latest forecasts, snow depths across much of the southern San Juan Mountains may be bolstered even further with the arrival of a pair of low-pressures systems between today and early next week.

"The first storm should drop into the area by (tonight) and move out by late Friday," said Dave Nadler, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"Then another system should move in by late Sunday, dropping temperatures and bringing the chance for snow up to around 30 percent for Sunday night and Monday morning," added Nadler.

"Snow accumulations in town probably won't be significant, but the mountains could pick up several inches if these systems maintain strength through the weekend," concluded Nadler.

According to Nadler, occasional clouds will build throughout this morning and result in overcast conditions by afternoon.

The chance for snow is listed at 20 percent; high temperatures should hit the mid-30s while lows will fall to around 10.

Mostly-cloudy skies and occasional flurries are predicted for Friday, as are highs in the upper 20s to mid-30s and lows in the 5-15 range.

Saturday should bring partly-sunny skies, a minimal chance for snow, highs in the 30s and lows in the single digits.

The chance for snow (30 percent) returns to the forecasts for Sunday and Monday, with highs predicted in the mid-20s to mid-30s. Lows should bottom out in the single digits.

Tuesday calls for partly-cloudy skies, a slight chance for leftover showers, highs in the 30s and lows around 5.

Mostly-sunny skies are predicted for Wednesday, along with highs in the 40s and lows in the teens.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 45 degrees. The average low for the week was 16. Precipitation/moisture totals for the week amounted to four-tenths of an inch; snow depth totaled 3.25 inches.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 69 inches, a midway depth of 63 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 126 inches.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is "moderate" except near Red Mountain Pass, where the danger is listed as "considerable."

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 169 percent of average.

San Juan River flow ranged from approximately 40 cubic feet per second to 75 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Dec. 11 is roughly 55 cubic feet per second.


Sports Page
Parks & Rec

Several rules changes in place for basketball

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The 2004 Youth Basketball League will take on some rule changes to help divide the teams more evenly, and to make the league more diverse, allowing all players equal opportunities and playing time.

We must remember the leagues put on by the town of Pagosa Springs are for recreational purposes, and allow these young athletes an opportunity to enjoy the game of basketball. For some of the youngsters it is their first exposure to a team sport.

We will try to instill teamwork, sportsmanship, and character building techniques to insure the parks and recreation department is making everything equal and fun.

One of the major changes in this year's league will be that each coach will be assigned to a team. If a coach has a child who plays he will automatically get his/her child, losing a draft pick in the projected round in which the basketball commissioners have placed that particular child. If a parent chooses to be an assistant coach, he/she will follow their child in the draft, and be assigned to a head coach.

There will be many more changes covered at the coaches' meeting.

All 9-10 games will be played in the community center gym on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The 11-12 group will play on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays in the junior high gymnasium.

All rules changes come with a lot of thought concerning what we are trying to accomplish as a department, and what kind of program we want to offer our young players.

One goal we would like to accomplish is to instill sportsmanship, teamwork, and character building skills in our young athletes.

Coaches will change their substitution patterns and coaching strategies in order to be competitive, while still allowing equal playing time.

Elks Hoop Shoot

The Elks Foundation along with the Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department will host the annual Elks Hoop Shoot.

Contestants can sign up at the community center Dec. 13. The Hoop Shoot is for boys and girls ages 8-13 and will start at 8:30 a.m. at the community center.

Winners will advance to a regional tournament in Durango. Times and dates will be in a later issue of The SUN.

Skating ponds

The ponds in River Center Park are open, with the best skating times being early in the morning or late in the evening.

Warm daytime temps have made midday skating a little tough.

Recreation supervisor

The recreation supervisor position has been offered to Myles Gabel of Incline Village, Nev. which is on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

Gabel comes to Pagosa Springs with a ton of experience, and we hope his experience and enthusiasm will bring new energy to our regular programs and that his past experiences will lead to new programs for our department.

He will be at the Dec. 13 Hoop Shoot, and his first official work date is Dec. 15.

Some of his experience includes playing collegiate baseball for University of Southern California, head women's volleyball coach at both New Mexico State, and San Diego State.

Gabel has worked several years in collegiate intramurals, and in the recreation field in general.

He has coached in many nationally recognized volleyball camps all over the United States, including those with Nike, Asics, Baden, Mizuno and Gatorade as corporate sponsors.

The parks department would like to see new programs, and new ideas come from its new addition.

GOCO grant

The department received a little setback in the past week.

We were not one of the projects selected for 2004 funding, but we will immediately regroup and try for another Great Outdoor Colorado grant during the next funding period.

We may start some preliminary site preparation on the 16-acre South 5th Street site in 2004 with monies set aside for construction of the park. We will stick to our top priority parks project and move forward. We are just as excited about the master plan and plan on keeping the ball rolling on this project.

Department thanks

The Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department thanks all volunteers, coaches, sponsors, Archuleta County, school district 50 joint, PAWS and everyone else who has helped out, or were partners in on park/recreation projects throughout the year.

Without such efforts we could not supply the amenities or the activities for the public.

Happy holidays to all and we look forward to working with you in the years to come.


No. 1 Pirates top No. 5 Demons to claim Buena Vista trophy

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Ah, the quest for a perfect 10.

Prior to the varsity boys' championship game Saturday night at the Buena Vista Invitational Tournament, the combined record for participating Pirate basketball teams stood at 9-0.

All Head Coach Jim Shaffer and the Pirates had to do to complete the sweep was beat No. 5-ranked host Buena Vista on its home floor in front of a capacity crowd dominated by boisterous Demon fans.

No Problem.

Spurred by the gutsy play of senior guard Ryan Goodenberger, who was not expected to play after sustaining an ankle injury the night before, the Pirates showed early why they occupy the top spot in the Class 3A ranks.

Pirate senior Clayton Spencer took the tip, then put home a pass from junior Caleb Forrest to put Pagosa up 2-0 in the first minute.

Buena Vista's Kenny Kramer responded with a lone free throw to make it 2-1, and that's as close as the Demons would get as the Pirates dictated the pace for the remainder of the evening.

A quick eight from the Pirates by way of a layup and pull-up jumper in the key from senior Ty Faber and a pair of free throws and dunk from Forrest put Pagosa on top 10-1 and settled the home crowd with three minutes gone.

The Demons called a time-out to reorganize, but Faber's steal on the resulting inbound pass led to a Spencer jam and 12-1 Pirate lead.

The Demons answered with a deuce and tried to press, but a trey from Faber and inside baskets from Spencer and senior Luke Brinton extended the gap to 16 before a three from Buena Vista's Drew Hunter cut the lead to 19-6.

Pagosa's next hoop came on a Kern back-door layup off a dish from Spencer, and after the Demons added a charity toss, Buena Vista trailed 21-7 at the end of the first period.

A pair of steals by Goodenberger to open the second stanza led to a trey from Casey Belarde that boosted the Pirate lead to 24-7, and the intensity level elevated in the next few minutes as fouls mounted and neither team could put together a strong scoring run.

The Demons cut the lead to 24-13 before Forrest followed a hoop off a Goodenberger pass with two free throws to put Pagosa up 28-13 with less than a minute to play.

Buena Vista got a late basket from Kramer, but went to the locker room down 28-15.

Jeremiah Welch opened the second half with a deuce for the Demons, then Goodenberger and Kramer traded baskets from beyond the arc to make it 31-20 in favor of the Pirates.

After a pair from the line from Forrest pushed the lead to 13, Buena Vista attempted to slow the pace, but couldn't establish an offensive rhythm as the Pirates traced the Demons' every move throughout the period.

Forrest supplied the next three for the Pirates, and though the Demons hit for an occasional two, the third quarter ended with Brinton converting a baby hook in the lane at the buzzer after an interior feed from fellow senior Coy Ross. Pagosa led 38-22.

Kern hit Spencer for two to open the final period, then a trey from Kramer was countered by a drive for two from Faber and the Pirates led 42-25.

The Demons briefly cut into the margin as Joel McWhirter was on target for three and Welch added a deuce, but a jump-hook from Forrest with 3:30 to play pushed the lead back to 14 at 44-30.

Then Faber and Pirate senior Jeremy Caler each sank a pair from the line to put the Pirates up 48-30, and Belarde added two more down the stretch as Salida was forced to foul in desperation.

Kramer added a late basket for the Demons, but the tournament hardware went to the Pirates after junior Otis Rand fed Ross at the buzzer for the game's final points and Pagosa celebrated its second win of the young season.

Forrest led the Pirates in scoring with 15 and hauled in eight rebounds, followed by Faber with 11 points and three boards. Spencer added eight points and seven boards.

Faber, Caler and Spencer each handed out three assists, while Goodenberger led the defensive effort with five steals, followed by Faber with four and Caler with two.

"This is obviously a tough place to play, and this is a good win," said Shaffer during a post-game interview. "We did a good job against their man-to-man defense, and we're not very far away from being really effective with our zone offense.

"I think tonight was a pretty good indication of what we'll see all year - a lot of pressure on our guards - and we handled it pretty well," he added.

"We had a few turnovers but the kids we're trying to do the right things out there tonight," said Shaffer. "The best part is we're really nowhere close to as good as we can be on offense, yet."

With respect to Goodenberger, "He's a tough kid, a huge part of what makes this team successful," said Shaffer. "This win is an unbelievable credit to his determination."

In conclusion, "The kids are busting their rear ends out there, and it's fun to watch," said Shaffer. "And we can't wait to get back and play in front of our home crowd (this) week."

For Shaffer and the Pirates, the wait ends tonight when Pagosa takes on Palisade to open the Wolf Creek Classic. Game time in the high school gym is 6 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 5-12, 5-8, 15; Goodenberger 1-4, 0-0, 3; Craig Schutz 0-3, 0-0, 0; Kern 1-3, 0-0, 2; Spencer 4-6, 0-0, 8; Faber 4-6, 2-4, 11; Caler 0-4, 2-2, 2; Brinton 2-4, 0-0 4; Belarde 1-4, 2-4 5; Rand 0-0, 0-0 0; Ross 1-1, 0-0 2. Three-point goals: Goodenberger 1, Faber 1, Belarde 1. Fouled out: none. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 14. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 34. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 14.


Forrest paces Pirates in 66-35 win over Salida

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

"Dude, these guys are tall!"

Such was a young Salida fan's summation of top-ranked Pagosa Springs as Head Coach Jim Shaffer and the Pirates emerged from the locker room Friday night at the Buena Vista Invitational Tournament.

Then, after watching from the baseline shadows as the Pirates warmed up to take on the Spartans, "Dude, we're gonna get - "

Though the opening horn drowned out the remainder of his comment, the events of the opening minutes left little doubt as to the intended conclusion.

Salida took the tip but trailed after Pirate senior David Kern forced a jump to give the Pirates the ball and junior Caleb Forrest opened scoring with a follow to put Pagosa up for good at 2-0.

Following another steal by Kern, Forrest's inside deuce and put-back jam on the Pirates' next two possessions made it 6-0, and the lead was 12-0 after Forrest and senior Clayton Spencer combined for six straight as the Spartans failed to muster a point in the first five minutes.

Salida's James King finally broke the ice at the three-minute mark, but Pagosa senior Jeremy Caler answered immediately with a baseline drive to make it 14-2.

The Spartans got a deuce from Josiah Kaan to trail 14-4, but Pirate sophomore Craig Schutz drew a charge on Salida's next possession and subsequent scores from Caler and Spencer put Pagosa up 18-4.

Pirate senior Ty Faber added a free throw after a steal, drive and foul with a minute left, and though the Spartans added two late baskets, Salida trailed 19-8 at the end of one.

Forrest put Pagosa up 21-8 with two from the block to open the second stanza, then a Faber steal led to a baseline out-of-bounds play at the Pirate offensive end.

Seconds later Pirate fans were fearing the worst as senior Ryan Goodenberger lay injured along the sideline after landing awkwardly on a three-point attempt.

Goodenberger was taken to the locker room for an evaluation and would later return to the sideline with a badly swollen ankle, but did not return to the game.

Forrest finished off the possession with a strong inside move to give the Pirates a 23-8 lead, and Salida got the next four to make it 23-12 with three minutes gone.

The margin widened behind a pair of free throws from Forrest and low-post baskets from Schutz and senior Luke Brinton; Salida trailed 29-15 at halftime.

Kern fed Spencer to extend the lead to 31-15 early in the second half, then Forrest and Salida's Chris Modrezejewski alternated baskets to make it 33-19 at the 7:05 mark.

Things got sloppy for the Pirates in the next 60 seconds, and though Shaffer soon had his starting five on the bench to regroup, the lead grew in the next five minutes due to stellar effort from its second unit.

Modrezejewski scored to draw Salida within 12 at 33-21, but a deuce from Pirate junior Otis Rand soon pushed the lead back to 14.

The gap grew to 16 when Pirate senior Casey Belarde found Brinton on the block for two, and widened further as Belarde, Schutz, Brinton, Rand and Coy Ross collaborated to limit Salida's offensive opportunities.

Two strong baseline drives by Ross capped off a Pagosa run resulting in a 42-25 lead before the first unit returned to the floor with just over a minute left in the period.

The margin held until early in the fourth when a determined scoring spurt from Salida cut the lead to 42-33 two minutes in.

But the Pirates put the pedal down after a Shaffer time-out; Caler started what would prove to be a 24-0 run with two free throws at the 6:00 mark and Kern followed with a layup to make it 46-33.

The Pirates clamped down defensively, shadowing every Spartan move while the offensive surge gained momentum. Faber connected from behind the arc to make it 49-33, then a deuce from Brinton, a trey from Belarde and a Faber drive for two more made it 56-33.

The Spartans couldn't solve the press, and the broadside continued. Brinton hit a baseline jumper, then Forrest scored with a putback and the Pirates led 60-33.

A steal by Faber and assist to Forrest trailing down the lane led to a two-handed flush, then Caler fed Schutz in the paint for a deuce after a Spartan turnover and the lead was 64-33 with 1:30 to play.

Forrest hit a pair of free throws before the run ended with a late Salida score, and Schutz swatted away a final Spartan offering at the buzzer to preserve a 66-35 Pirate win and the right to advance to Saturday night's championship game.

Forrest led all scorers with 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Brinton added 10 points and five boards, while Faber, Spencer and Belarde each scored six.

Belarde dished out six assists and had two steals, followed by Faber and Kern, who tallied four assists and five steals apiece.

"I thought we played good defense for the first five minutes, but then it looked like we were content to just chase people around," said Shaffer after the game.

"Defense sets the whole tempo for the game and enables us to get out and run," he added. "And for a while there in the third quarter, we didn't play hard on defense and the offense suffered at times."

Lauding the effort of his reserves, "When (Salida) cut the lead to nine, it was nice to see the bench get in there and start to do some things on offense," said Shaffer.

With respect to the defensive effort that led to the crushing fourth-quarter run, "We didn't want to show the press tonight, but we had to change the pace to get our guys going a little bit; I'm happy with the end result," he concluded.

The Pirates open home play tonight in the Wolf Creek Classic against Palisade. Game time at the high school gym is 6 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 10-16, 4-4, 24; Goodenberger 0-2, 0-0, 0; Craig Schutz 2-3, 0-0, 4; Casey Schutz 0-0, 0-0, 0; Spencer 3-7, 0-0, 6; Kern 1-2, 0-0, 2; Faber 2-6, 1-2, 6; Caler 2-6, 2-2, 6; Brinton 5-8, 0-0 10; Belarde 1-1, 0-0 3; Rand 1-1, 0-0 2; Ross 1-3, 1-1 3; Przybylski 0-0, 0-0 0. Three-point goals: Faber 1, Belarde 1. Fouled out: none. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 20. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 33. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 14.


Pirate cheerleaders in state competition Saturday morning

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A Pagosa Springs High School group will be in the state championship limelight as the final fall sports playoffs are staged this weekend.

The 13th annual State Spirit Championships are set for the Denver Coliseum Friday and Saturday.

Coach Renee Davis and 13 members of her Pagosa squad left today. They are scheduled to appear at 11:40 a.m. Saturday.

Enthusiasm and excitement will abound as 208 spirit teams compete in four categories, including cheerleading, pom pons, jazz dance and coed cheerleading.

Those teams represent over 8,000 young men and women in the Colorado High School Activity Association's newest sport.

Eighty-five teams will compete in the Class 5A cheer and pom pon competition, while 10 jazz dance teams and 11 co-ed groups compete for state titles.

The Class 5A competition kicks off the show at noon Friday, with the Class 2A, 3A and 4A going on Saturday. The jazz dance and co-ed competition also take place on Friday. The Class 2A competition starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, followed at 11:25 a.m. with the 3A teams and at 3:40 p.m. The finals in each classification, plus awards presentations will follow each classification's competition.

There are a number of special events planned for the State Spirit Championships, including performances by a number of collegiate and professional spirit teams, including the Denver Nuggets performance team.

Additionally, CHSAA will recognize Douglas County High School student Maureen Martin who was severely injured 13 months ago when her car was hit by a train in Castle Rock. Martin was a member of the Douglas County cheerleading team.

Also on the schedule is the first state performance of the Colorado Stars, one of the state's two special needs cheerleading teams.

Tickets go on sale at the Denver Coliseum box office an hour before the first performance. Ticket prices are $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. Parking is approximately $7 per car in the Coliseum lots.

Ladies stun hosts 55-42 to win Buena Vista crown

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

They had a statement to make.

The Lady Pirates did it with aplomb Saturday, dispatching the state's third-ranked Buena Vista Lady Demons 53-42, shocking a standing room only crowd for the championship of the Buena Vista Invitational.

Featuring a balanced offensive attack and a 30-17 rebounding edge, Pagosa overcame a 27 point outburst from the Lady Demons' Lindsey Eggleston, an acknowledged all-state candidate.

Pagosa coach Bob Lynch knew going in that his squad had three keys to stopping Buena Vista.

One was to control 5-10 junior forward Kelsey Crist, second was to limit the effectiveness of 5-5 point guard Brea Runyon; and third try to force Eggleston to struggle.

The result was a Lady Demon squad that became increasingly ineffective and frustrated against the Pirate defense. Runyan was held to six points, all in the first half. Crist was stopped by the pressing defense and managed a lone field goal in the waning seconds to go with a pair of free throws.

Runyan opened the scoring with a short jumper and that was the last time Buena Vista saw the lead.

Caitlyn Jewell answered with a pair of quick layups driving inside off screens by Emily Buikema. Lori Walkup drilled Pagosa's first trey of the season to put Pagosa up 7-2.

Jessica Lynch hiked the lead to 9-2 with a short jumper but Eggleston came back with two jumpers from the lane and the first of her two treys in the game.

Laura Guiterrez scored a layup for Buena Vista but Walkup came back with a pair 12-footers, one from each side of the lane, and Caitlin Forrest added a free throw.

Pagosa had a 14-11 lead after one period and the "upset" was underway.

Eggleston was blanked in the second period and the Pirates, working a ball control offense with no rushed shots, outscored their foe 10-6 in the period with Bri Scott, Liza Kelley, Walkup, Buikema and Forrest each scoring a single field goal.

For Buena Vista the story was not being able to penetrate the Pirate defense. Time and again they were turned away with steals - five of the Pirate's eight thefts came in the period. Runyan had her final four points of the game and Tamela Brewer chipped in with her only field goal.

At the half Buena Vista trailed 24-16 and the margin was destined to grow in each succeeding stanza despite Eggleston's performance.

In the third quarter, for example, she had eight points, including her second trey, but got only a single field goal, from Kara Crist, a 5-4 freshman backup, in support.

The Lady Pirates got four each from Jewell and Walkup in the period as the offense switched to a high-low, in-and-out switching pattern. Scott added a field goal.

But the defining moment of the period belonged to the freshman guard Lynch.

Working a set play perfectly, she dished out from the right corner to Scott and broke for the lane where Scott's bounce pass was a perfect return lead and Lynch hooked it in from seven feet with her left hand.

As the period wound down Pagosa had built its lead another point and ended with a 36-29 margin and the final statement yet to come.

Again, Eggleston tried to bring her team back, scoring 12 in the fourth period on four field goals and four free throws. But Christ's aforementioned trey was her only support.

The Lady Pirates, meanwhile, opened the lead even further when Scott drilled a three just 30 seconds into the period and Lynch added her first trey.

Buikema, silent since the second period, added two field goals and a free throw in the stanza, one on a breakaway, full-court drive and right-handed layup. Freshman Laurel Reinhardt scored her first varsity field goal, Lynch added a two-pointer and Walkup a pair of free throws to hike the Pirate's lead to 16 before Crist's final trey.

And then came the final Lady Pirate statement - Champions!

For the game Walkup led Pagosa with 15 but got balanced support from Scott and Lynch, each with nine, Jewell with eight, Buikema, seven; Forrest with three, Kelley and Reinhardt with two apiece.

Coach Lynch was most pleased by his team's calm demeanor when confronting a state-ranked foe, and the dramatic cutdown in turnovers from their victory the previous night over Salida. They had only nine, compared to 21 in the first game, and just three of those came in the second half.

He also liked the fact they cut down on fouls, recording 15 to 14 by the Lady Demons after a 24-11 ratio against Salida.

Forrest, as she did in the first game, came off the bench to lead in rebounding with six while Jewell and Buikema, the post tandem, each had five.

Walkup led in steals with three while Scott, Lynch and Kelley each had a pair.

The Ladies take their modest two-game winning streak into Pagosa's own invitational, the Wolf Creek Classic this week.

They open against Clear

Creek at 6:30 p.m. Friday then face Cortez and Gunnison Saturday at 12:30 and 5:45 p.m. respectively.


Scoring: P-Scott, 9 (3-10, 2-2); Lynch, 9, (4-7); Kelly, 2 (1-3, 0-2); Walkup, 15 (5-8, 2-2); Reinhardt, 2 (1-3); Jewell, 8 (4-5); Maberry (0-1); Buikema, 7 (3-5, 1-3); Forrest, 3 (1-2). BV- Ingram (0-2); Runyan, 6 (3-7); Kara Crist, 2 (1-2); Eggleston, 27 (10-18, 5-7); Brower, 2, (1-1); Guitierrez, 2 (1-3); Kelsey Crist, 5 (1-12, 2-2). Rebound leaders: P-Forrest, 6, Jewell and Buikema 5 and Walkup 4; BV- Eggleston, 5 and Runyan and Kelsey Crist 4 each.

Ladies open year with 57-38 win over Salida

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Eight of 12 players scored, and all but one made the statistics list, as the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates opened their season with a convincing 57-38 victory over Salida Friday in the Buena Vista Invitational.

After a sluggish start the Ladies, paced by junior forward Lori Walkup, cruised to a 14-7 first quarter lead and never looked back. Walkup finished with 15 points.

Junior forward Caitlyn Jewell, double-teamed most of the game and banged, slammed and held throughout, still had nine points, two blocked shots and seven rebounds in the game.

But, with the Lady Spartans trying to contain Jewell, 5-11 sophomore Emily Buikema found herself free time and again and paced the Pagosans with 17 points.

Offensively, the Lady Pirates led 26-18 by the half, 38-23 after three and won going away.

Still, coach Bob Lynch was nonplussed over the number of fouls called against his squad - 24 - as compared to only nine against Salida.

"Many of them were silly, unnecessary fouls," he said, "but a lot of them, too, were very questionable."

The Lady Spartans were paced by co-captain Andie Davis who finished with eight points and by Heather Granzella and Krista Quintana with six apiece.

Quintana's layup was the only field goal for Salida in the opening stanza, the other five points coming from the charity stripe.

Walkup answered with five in the period to pace Pagosa while Jewell chipped in with three and Liza Kelley, Buikema and Melissa Maberry each had a field goal.

Davis got six of her eight to keep Salida close in the second, including two from the line, but the Pirate offense responded with an attack keyed to Buikema.

With Jewell screening off for her and penetration passes by both Kelley and Jessica Lynch, Buikema had six in the period. Kari Beth Faber, Jewell and Caitlin Forrest each added a field goal for the 26-18 halftime lead.

In a seesawing offensive pattern, Pagosa went back to the outside offense in the third period, keyed by a pair of Walkup jumpers and a driving layup by Bri Scott. Jewell added a pair of free throws, Buikema one from the charity stripe and Forrest cashed the front end of a one-and-one then hit a short jumper before Maberry closed the scoring with a rebound putback.

Walkup and Buikema spread a thick layer of icing on the season opening cake walk with big fourth quarters.

Walkup had six markers in the period including a driving reverse layup and Buikema was a demon on the offensive boards, scoring eight in the period and adding four of her seven rebounds for the game.

Much of the credit for the Pirate success has to go to Forrest who came off the bench to contribute five points and led all players in the game with nine rebounds, five at the offensive end.

Lynch, making her first varsity appearance with 46 seconds left in the first period, had assists on the first two Pagosa possessions after her entry, and led the team in that category with four.

Buikema, in probably her best all-round game as a varsity player, was a surprising steals leader with five in the contest. Forrest had three, Walkup and Kelly each chipped in with a pair while Scott and Jewell each had one.

In addition to the fouls, coach Lynch was chagrined by the number of early turnovers - 14 in the first half. But he quickly noted the Lady Pirates cut that to only five in the second half as confidence began to build. Salida gave the ball away an even worse 21 times.

Jewell and Forrest each had a pair of blocked shots and Walkup added one.

The Lady Pirates outrebounded their foe 36-15. Davis had six of Salida's total.

That win in the tournament opener set the stage for Pagosa to play for the championship Saturday against the winner of the game between host Buena Vista and Battle Mountain.


Scoring: P-Scott, 3 (1-7, 1-2); Kelley, 2 (1-6); Walkup, 15 (6-10, 3-5); Kari Beth Faber, 2 (1-2); Jewell, 9 (3-6, 3-8); Buikema, 17 (8-11, 1-2); Forrest, 5 (2-4, 1-3); Maberry, 4 (2-6), China Rose Rivas (0-1). S-Charley DePriest, 3 (1-2, 1-2); Granzala, 6 (0-2, 6-6); Chelsea Klossner, 5 (2-2, 1-3); Davis, 8 (2-2,4-7); Quintana, 6 (2-4, 2-2); Laura Gross, 4 (2-2); Rosie Mosier, 4 (1-1, 2-2). Fouls, P-Scott, 4; Lynch, 2; Kelley, 5; Walkup, 4; Faber, 1; Jewell, 3; Buikema, 4; Forrest, 1; Maberry, 1. Steals: P-Buikema, 5; Forrest, 3; Walkup, 3; Kelley, 2; and Jewell, 1.

Pirates take third at Rocky Ford, Buena Vista Duals ahead

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

It was a fine way to start the season.

Pirate wrestlers returned from the Rocky Ford Duals with a third-place finish in a difficult field, equalling the program's best-ever finish at the event.

Pagosa placed behind winner La Junta and Canon City in the 12-team field.

In first-round pool competition, the Pirates beat both opponents, taking Taos, N.M. by a score of 48-30 and defeating Crowley County 52-12.

In the semifinals, Pagosa and 4A Canon City tied 33-33, but Canon City got the win on criteria.

In the battle for third place, the Pirates defeated Platte Valley, 35-32.

"There were a lot of positives at this tournament," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "We were right last week when we wondered whether the flu and the illnesses we suffered would affect our guys. There was some fatigue, but the kids fought through it for the most part."

Janowsky was pleased with the performance of those Pirates who took their places on the varsity for the first time.

"We had eight new guys in the lineup," he said. "That's a lot of changes. Our inexperience showed at times, but their work was encouraging. They were battling; they competed well, figured ways to win. It wasn't always pretty, but it worked. A lot of times, though, they had spells when they wrestled the way we wanted them to wrestle. As far as mistakes go, we can work them out as time goes by."

Four Pirates went undefeated at Rocky Ford: Michael Martinez, Daren Hockett, James Gallegos and Kory Hart.

Martinez, last year's Class 3A state champ at 112 pounds, is fighting at 119 and is back at the level where he left off. He got a fall in the second period against his Taos opponent; repeated the feat with a second-period pin of a Crowley County wrestler; nailed an 18-3 technical fall against the athlete from Canon City; and managed another tech fall 20-4 versus his Platte Valley opponent.

Hockett took third last season at 103 and has moved up to 125 for the start of the new season. Hockett dominated the wrestler from Taos, scoring a fall a mere 44 seconds into the match. Against Crowley County, Hockett managed another fall, just into the second period. A 15-0 tech fall followed against the opponent from Canon City and Hockett ended the tourney by pinning the Platte Valley wrestler at 3:26.

Gallegos took the mat for the Pirates at 140. He began his tournament with a 10-6 decision over the Taos competitor. Gallegos got a forfeit against Crowley County then went on to eke out a 4-3 victory against his Canon City opponent. In his final match of the day, Gallegos earned an 8-4 decision over the wrestler from Platte Valley.

Last year, Hart brought home a medal for fifth place from the state tournament. The Pirate senior is fighting at 152 to start this season and began with a fall in the first period versus Taos. Hart got a forfeit against Crowley County and came back strong, forging a 14-2 decision against Canon City's entry. Hart finished the tournament in fine fashion, pinning his Platte Valley opponent at 1:10.

Ky Smith took the mat at 130. Smith pinned the Taos 130-pounder in the first round and pinned Crowley County's wrestler at 1:58.

Raul Palmer competed at 135 for Pagosa Springs. Palmer nailed a fall against Taos at the 38-second mark and pinned the wrestler from Platte Valley at 1:35.

Manuel Madrid had an excellent tournament, going 3-1 on the day at 145. Madrid began with a 13-4 decision against Taos then pinned the Crowley County wrestler at 2:37. Madrid's other victory, against Platte Valley, was dramatic: a 9-7 overtime decision.

Aaron Hamilton got a win at 160. The senior scored an 11-3 decision against a Canon City athlete.

David Richter was 3-1 at 171. The senior Pirate began action with a 16-0 tech fall against Taos and followed it with a 25-9 major decision against Crowley County. Richter's third victory came with a 9-2 decision over a Canon City athlete.

Marcus Rivas won two matches at Rocky Ford at 189. Rivas got both wins with pins. His first came against a Canon City wrestler, at 2:08; the second was scored against a Platte Valley athlete, at the 51-second mark of the match.

James Martinez put two wins in the book at 215. Martinez, a sophomore, pinned the Crowley County wrestler at 1:20 and scored a 13-5 decision in his match with a Canon City opponent.

"We were gunning for three wins," said Janowsky. "In reality, we were 3-0-1 and took third in a field that included some of the top 3A teams in the state, as well as a couple 4A teams that are awfully tough in a dual meet format."

That same format will be the order of the day Saturday as the Pirates travel to the Buena Vista Duals.

The Buena Vista tourney will feature 12 teams - including, like Rocky Ford, some of the better 3A teams in the state, several of them teams the Pirates will see at the regional qualifying tournament.

Along with the Pirates and the host Demons, the field will include highly-ranked Centauri as well as Florence, Eagle Valley, St. Mary's, Manitou Springs, Lake County and Middle Park. Two 4A teams - Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs - will join the fray.

"This is a good tournament as far as 3A teams are concerned," said Janowsky. "The teams from the Colorado Springs area will be at regionals, and Centauri will be there - a top-five team, a contender for the state championship and probably the favorite to win this tournament. All the teams at this one are really solid; there are no easy matches."

Action at Buena Vista begins at 9 a.m.




Tough decision

Dear Editor:

An important decision is about to be made that will affect nearly every person and business in our community. It is a decision that will have long-lasting implications for how our town appears visually and, ultimately, how our community fares economically.

This decision will impact tourists, residents, our children and even those just driving through town. A new tax law? A new development?

No. It's our new town sign ordinance. The town planning commission is under extreme pressure from a few business owners to alter the sign code so that they do not have to comply.

They would like to see all existing signs "grandfathered" so that only new businesses would have to conform with these reasonable standards - in other words, a permanent competitive edge would be given to older businesses and their larger, non-conforming signs.

These business owners complain that if they have to bring their signs into conformance, they will suffer an extreme amount of economic hardship - customers won't see their signs, they won't be able to sell their businesses, etc. They fear that the perceived costs of conformance will put them out of business. In their opinion, the code is anti-business.

They are wrong. The costs of not addressing our community's signage will have far greater negative economic ramifications.

Take a look at those communities that have implemented character-preserving sign codes - Durango, Telluride, Steamboat, Breckenridge and Crested Butte. These are towns that have recognized that their character, natural beauty, and uniqueness set them apart and are the basis for their strong tourism and economic base. These communities realize that the visual clutter of unchecked signage is harmful to their local economy. Visitors don't return again and again to these places because they remind them of the strip mall back home. They return because of the unique qualities and aesthetics of the community.

If everyone is shouting, no one is heard. If our signs are disproportionately large, glaringly bright, and overly cluttered, the message gets lost. Studies on visual perception have shown that when the size and number of signs are reduced, the viewer actually sees more. Thus smaller, well-designed signs better promote your business while retaining the aesthetic character of buildings, streetscapes, and our natural surroundings.

Pagosa is going to grow with or without this progressive sign ordinance. Shall we develop with the visual clutter and homogeneity of unregulated signage? Or shall we "grow smart" with a sign code that encourages reasonable signage and carries Pagosa into the future responsibly and conscientiously?

So far, the planning commission has heard largely from one side. Please voice your opinions by attending the public hearing on Dec. 16 at 5 p.m. in town board chambers. This meeting will be followed by a board meeting at 5 p.m. Jan. 6. Do not let this important issue be decided without your input. Please attend these meetings.

Angela Atkinson, Camille Cazedessus, Ken Harms, Stan Holt, Roger Horton, and Steve Schwartz -town appointed advisory board on Pagosa's sign ordinance

Sad Eye dies

On Sept. 20, while enjoying the day ATVing, we found Sad Eyes. She was a coon dog hound, and she looked to be injured. Not knowing how bad she was injured, we tried coaxing her to come out of the 8-foot ravine she was in, to no avail.

We then noticed that she'd had puppies sometime recently. We headed back to the ATVs to leave when she hobbled up the ravine and then tried getting up on the ATV.

It was then we noticed how bad off she really was. There was no way she was staying in that ravine any longer, she wanted out of there. This is when we named her Sad Eyes. As long as we shall live we will never forget the sadness in her eyes.

We rode her home on the ATV and began calling every one that could help her. We called the Humane Society, all the vets, even called animal control. Since it was a weekend it was hard to find her help. After calling for help we then went back to the ravine to look for any puppies; we didn't know if she had them there or somewhere else before ending up in that ravine. No puppies were found.

Animal control called back and said we were doing what they would do for her, and for us to keep her until we could get her medical help. Then our regular vet called Sunday morning, and that is when we took her to him for medical help.

Her injuries were severe as we thought. She had a broken leg, which was going to have to be removed. She was starving, dehydrated, and had a hole in her nose which was making her bleed severely. Also her liver had been shredded. We asked Dr. Eustis to do what he could for her and we would cover the cost, just try to save her. He did everything he could for her, but she come to her demise two days later. Our hearts were broken. Then an investigation was started.

This is what we learned from the investigation. Sad Eyes had been rescued twice. She had been hit on U.S. 160, resulting in the broken leg. She was taken to Elk Park either by the person that hit her, or in a car following behind them who's occupants saw her get hit. This person offered to fix her leg, if they could keep her.

The vet knew the owner of Sad Eyes and put in a call informing him of the situation. The owner came down and claimed his dog, without getting her medical help for her leg injury. He refused to let the other person who brought her in for medical help keep her. That is when he took her out by where we found her and shot her.

Nothing is being done to this cruel owner of Sad Eyes. They say he made a good faith effort on trying to kill her. Well the way we see it is he left his good faith effort at the vet's office when he didn't allow this other caring person to keep her. How good of a good faith effort was it when he botched the job of shooting her, leaving her helpless, injured, and suffering?

The only comfort we find is knowing that she knew we cared enough to help her. It was love and caring that she will remember, not the cruelty of her owner's last act toward her.

Why he decided to make the decision he did is beyond our comprehension. You hear everyday of any animal getting along just great with a missing limb. Because of this you decided to shoot her? Well you should have made sure you did the job right, and that she was dead, but you didn't.

We don't know this owner of Sad Eyes and that is probably a good thing. What you did was unjustified, and inhumane.

Sad Eyes rest in peace; you are now safe from your owner.

R.T. Brown, and G. Francavilla

Answering Vance

Dear Editor:

In response to Norm Vance's letter last week using my name in an unflattering manner, I guess I should have taken Norm seriously when he threatened my 23-year, as he put it, "flawless reputation."

Over time, the opposition has successfully driven away several board members who were honest, hardworking and each providing endless hours of volunteer time to the district. Their reward has been gossip, threats, loss of business and prejudice. Now it is my turn to endure the negativity.

I will not be distracted and will continue to work toward a positive direction of providing health care for all.

My nomination and its process, was done in the same legal manner as in years past. Sue Walan hinted to the board and your group a month earlier that she might resign. It was no surprise upon her formal resignation that you had your nominations in place for a month, as we did. Now two positions are vacant and the process will be by interview and vote.

I first became involved last March after the public and private doctors announced in January that they were not taking calls for anyone from Friday night to Monday morning.

That action affected each citizen regarding health care and economics. I have been involved through the whole process of privatization vs. public health care.

Read Rep. Larson's article last week regarding health care. La Plata County years ago gave up its Community Health Care System and chose to privatize it ... and it failed. In Durango no new Medicare patients are being taken. They have no public health care net for the shortages caused by Medicare, Medicaid or the uninsured. Their possible answer: form a Special Health District.

A community clinic/hospital takes tax revenues and profits from enterprises and contributes these back to the community by providing a safety net for all.

Yes, I voted for rebuilding our public community clinic (my vote was not the deciding vote). Our nation is in a health care crisis and its effects are taking a toll on our community.

What the district has accomplished during reorganization:

- Medical director hired, Dr. Guy Paquet, board certified physician

- Mary Fisher Clinic opened daily 8 a.m.-5 p.m; the only local state inspected clinic

- Urgent care every weekend 9-5 Saturday and noon-4 Sunday

- After-hours, 24/7 nurse call service (physician backed) 7 days/nights

- Educational health forums-integrative medicine

- EMS schedule to the Modified Kelly for more EMT coverage for the community

- Emergency phone reinstalled at clinic.

We still have a lot of hard work ahead. Special thanks to district employees, EMTs and especially Dr. Paquet for becoming medical director and providing after-hours physician-backed call coverage. Please support Mary Fisher Clinic some we can continue to proved the 24/7 care you expect.

My holiday wish for the community is good health and most of all peace on earth and here in Pagosa Springs.

Volunteering for our community for 23 years:

Debra Brown

Sign controls

Dear Editor:

In April of this year the Town of Pagosa Springs received advice from its attorney concerning the proposed sign code ordinance. In it, Mr. Cole properly presented information that both supported the basis for enacting such an ordinance and warned of some of the caveats involved in such codes.

It appears the town accepted the legal basis for the codes but chose to ignore, or at least not remember clearly, any of the warnings. The town is now upset that enacting controversial codes has generated, well, uhhhh controversy!

This is unfortunate but not insurmountable. There are several factors at play in this process and both sides need to accept responsibility for their respective roles in our current situation.

We the business sign owners were provided ample warning via legal and proper publication and additional news coverage in the local paper. We missed it, either by choice or through inattention. Not really excusable but I believe understandable and defensible from my perspective but I'll leave that topic for another missive.

The town for their part did not actively seek out the special interest opinions they knew, or should have known, were the opposition. Instead they now fall back on the "we did all the statutes required" spoken so often in these situations. Enough already!

The reality is that we now have a set of sign codes in which not all agree. Where do we go from here? I've stated from the beginning and still maintain that the codes need to be thoroughly reviewed from the business perspective.

I am adamant that all of the town needs can be achieved without infringing on anyone's civil rights or intruding into the business decision arena. It simply needs to be done in an environment where differing opinions can be expressed without incurring the wrath of the opposing view.

Last week's planning commission work session was a very useful beginning, but not all subjects were discussed and it appears as though we're headed for some changes anyway. Why not probe for all of the objections and get them out on the table for all to see. Postpone any recommendations until we have aired all of the areas of concern in a constructive, non-confrontational manner.

Everything needs to be on the table and subject to revision. If there is any portion of the new sign code ordinance not subject to this review process I fear we will never come to a consensus and ill feelings will be harbored by many.

My initial request of the town trustees was to reconstitute the Sign Development Committee with stronger input from the business community and I still feel this is the only productive approach.

Again, I apologize for being so late to the process, but as I said before: "I was working and depending on the bureaucracy to act in my best interest in my absence." Now that the business community is awake, let's put together a set of sign codes we can all enjoy and be proud of.

Allan Bunch

Eaton belongs

Dear Editor,

Having been out of town, We did not know that Ralph Eaton's name was no longer on the recreation center.

What a shame that the "Johnny come latelys" didn't have the privilege of knowing such a great, yet humble man. Had they known him, they'd never have removed his name from the recreation center.

We would like to see his memory preserved by being once again placed on the center sign. There are many of us in the community who knew him, respected him greatly and want his memory preserved.

If you feel as we do, let either the PLPOA or the recreation center director, Ming Steen, hear from you. You can e-mail them at

Bobbie and "Doc" Carruth

Out of balance

Dear Editor:

Among interesting items in the Health Services District approved budget are the following:

Revenue from grants: $ 8,000

Expenditures: Professional Services-Grant Writing, $10,000

Way to go, board.


Pat Curtis

It ain't broke

Dear Editor:

Some of the assertions in Nan Rowe's letter in the last SUN are less than appropriate. For instance, potential conflicts of interest in businesses, real estate, loans, etc. appear to be problematical; don't elect. Having to file "financial disclosure statements" annually will discourage successful and experienced persons from becoming candidates.

It's already difficult enough to get such people to run for office.

She infers that the folks who have lived here for any length of time should be aware that officials furthering their own private interests is not an academic occurrence. Baloney!

I have lived here and dealt with the commissioners for over 33 years and for 17 of those years I was a county department head. While I have not always agreed with their decisions or actions, I have never been aware of any ethical transgressions by any of the many commissioners I have known and worked with over all those years.

As the saying goes, 'If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it" - that'll just mess things up. The proposed eight-page Ethics Code tries to fix something that "ain't broke."

Again, the commissioners should be commended for their common sense in rejecting this unneeded and superfluous proposal.

Fred Ebeling

Coming home

G'day mates!

I am writing to send you a "holidaii" greeting from down under. I wanted to say a special hello to all my school mates, community friends and family.

There is no place like Pagosa Country! For those who don't know me, my name is Brett Garman. I'm a 17-year-old junior at Pagosa Springs High School.

Presently though, I am on exchange in beautiful Perth, Western Australia. During this holiday season, I find myself missing home and the magic of Pagosa's snowy winter. It is summer time in the Southern Hemisphere and it is hard to realize that Christmas, New Year's Day and other holidays (usually covered in snow) are quickly arriving and I am walking on the beach in shorts and flip-flops!

Halloween and Thanksgiving are not really celebrated in Australia so the shops and the city have been Christmas decorating since mid-October!

I've greatly enjoyed my "fair dinkum" experiences on exchange since I left home in late July. I've attended a private school for the past four months and learned to speak "Aussie." However, I haven't forgotten my home and I'm looking forward to returning to my wonderful hometown in the mountains.

I wish the PHS Pirate basketball and wrestling teams a great season. Sorry I missed football, volleyball and soccer. I've heard the Booster's "A Wonderful Life" play was awesome. Also, heaps of luck to everyone in the upcoming Pretender's production "Lord of the Springs." I can't wait to see it after I return in January.

So, beautiful country and great friends, I'll be seeing you soon! "Happy Holidaii" to all of Pagosa!

Kind Regards,

Brett Garman

No intolerance

Dear Editor:

The letter from Bill and Terri Clayton of Bixby, Okla., brings one reply to mind: Stay home and save Bixby. Pagosa Springs will stand based on understanding, not intolerance.

Nita Niece

Bond idea lunacy

Dear Editor:

It is astonishing. I deeply regret I was not in attendance the evening of Dec. 2 to publicly congratulate the USJHSD board chairman, Charles Hawkins, on his statement.

Charlie, you win the Pagosa carnival kewpie doll. Yer comment was right on. The board would most definitely be "fooling themselves" to believe that they could get the Archuleta County taxpayers to approve any bond issue to save their hides when you haven't been able to even produce cash flow figures for September, cannot seem to balance a bank statement, but could somehow approve a 2004 budget. To add insult to injury, even your treasurer, Wayne Wilson, resigns.

Just how much is this "special audit" going to cost me? I'm sure the figure will be in the thousands and is far from a "minimal amount." Sounds like some more chaotic administrative folly. Very soon you'll be like Patty Tillerson who believes you're all performing at the top of a magical "continuing work in progress" pyramid. Yuck!

Why is the district accountant still on "paid" administrative leave? If the accountant is part of the problem, why are you retaining his services and compensating him to do absolutely nothing? Why not terminate the individual? It will save some tax dollars and I'm tax poor already.

Sooner or later, the truth will surface. It might well be wiser to come clean right now. You will not be able to continue hiding behind the repetitive remark, "We can't discuss that."

Time ta get smart, folks. One could say that you are presently faced with a great opportunity, brilliantly disguised as an impossible situation - the hour is now - seize it.

Jim Sawicki

Many gays here

Dear Editor:

I had to respond to the letter from Bill and Terri Clayton of Bixby, Okla. Perhaps they should stay where they are. Do they not realize that they will be moving into a community populated with many gay couples?

Who are we to point fingers in judgment; this should be left up to God. I am taking a stand, a proud stand next to one of the many gays and lesbians who volunteer their time for the good of this community.

The God I worship is a loving God.

Dru Sewell


Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to Ian Vowles' letter last week stating that, "the vast majority of our local church oppose the election of an openly homosexual bishop."

I am a member of St. Pat's church and took offense to this. Whether or not Ian's statement is true or false, it is inappropriate for him to publicly make this statement.

It is inappropriate for him to speak for anyone other than himself.

Carrie Toth

'Reality' reply

Dear Editor:

The more one has invested in a belief system the less likely reality is to interfere with it, but I'll fit as much reality as possible into 500 words, in response to war enthusiasts.

The Progressive Policy Institute states: "About 6 percent of 18-24 year old enlistees have any college experience". Ten percent of Army and Navy recruits are high school dropouts.

The ASVAB (Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery Test) consists of 99 questions. Answering 21 to 40 of them correctly qualifies one for entry into one or more branches of the military. Sample questions online.

An IQ of 80 is the minimum for the armed services; 60 is classified "moron," 100 "average."

Puerto Rico is the most fruitful recruiting grounds. Unemployment is 40 percent, average annual income $8,000.

During Operation Desert Storm, more than 50 percent of front-line troops were people of color, largely Latino.

Two-thirds of all recruits never get any college funding from the military.

The Veterans Administration estimates that one third of homeless people are veterans.

The average post-Vietnam-era vet will earn between 11 and 19 percent less than non-veterans from comparable backgrounds.

Low family income and a large number of siblings raise the probability of enlisting.

Only one U.S. Senator or Congressman has a son or daughter serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

As for "fighting for our rights": Germans never threatened to overrun our shores and take away our rights, nor did Iraqis, or Somalians, Serbs, Afghanis, Columbians, Vietnamese, Nicaraguans or Filipinos. The current administration, however, by the "Patriot Act" and executive orders, has demolished the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, and tenth amendments to the Constitution, as found in the Bill of Rights.

Relevant quotes:

Hermann Goering, Hitler's propaganda chief, testified: "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."

Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps, (two Congressional Medals of Honor), author of "War Is A Racket," 1933: "Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in raping half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested."

Enlisted man serving in Iraq, 20 years military service: "Wake up America! Your sons and daughters are dying for nothing! This war is not about freedom or stopping terrorism. Bring us home now! We are dying for oil and corporate greed!"

Type "Jay Shaft" and "Veterans Against War" on an Internet search engine and follow links for sources and information. I say with them, "Support our troops! Bring them home now!"

Wendy Wallace


Community News

Senior News

'Light' disaster overcome with aid of good old friends

By Sally Hameister

When an emergency presents itself, I tend to rely on old friends, and, indeed, that's what just happened and I turned to Robert Soniat and Curt Johnson and they both came through for me.

We had something of a "light disaster" here at the Chamber. I desperately needed a quick solution, and Robert and Curt were there for me again as they both have been in the past, and I am ever so grateful to them.

As I have said many times, I get by only with the help of my friends, and I am proud that Robert and Curt are among that wonderful group. Thanks, guys.

Board candidates

I regret to announce that one of our candidates for board director, Linda Gundelach, has withdrawn her name from the ballot. We are sorry to lose Linda and hope that she will reconsider running at a later date.

That leaves five extremely well-qualified candidates for your consideration: Robin Auld, Jesse Formwalt, Tony Gilbert, Sherry Neill and Patti Renner.

You are welcome to come into the Chamber to vote any time before the deadline of Mardi Gras in January. We hope you will give careful consideration to your choice for your voice in the Chamber of Commerce.

Parade of Lights

There is still time to register for Friday's Parade of Lights with no entry fee, folks. Yep, this year is on us, so if you win the "Best and Brightest" prize in your category (family, business or organization) that becomes your very own "mad money" to spend as you like.

Give us a call with questions at 264-2360 or just stop by to pick up your form.

The Parade of Lights begins at 6 p.m. on 6th Street and continues on to 2nd Street. Don't forget, the Pagosa Baking Company will be serving free coffee, tea and hot chocolate and providing samples of their holiday menu from 5-6:30 p.m. that evening. Among the goodies, you will find Yule logs, custard tarts and Christmas cookies, and if you place a holiday order that night, you will receive a 10-percent discount.

Also keep in mind that on the outside chance that we get over 3 inches of snow, the parade may be cancelled for safety reasons, but we certainly don't anticipate such a thing.


The Pagosa Springs Arts Council will not, repeat, will not be holding a wine tasting at Montezuma's Dec. 11, so please remove that event from your December calendar.

Christmas in Pagosa

We have so many people to thank for the best-attended Christmas in Pagosa ever, held last Saturday here at the Chamber.

First and foremost, we need to thank Doug Trowbridge for hours and hours spent putting up the 40 zillion lights on the building. Doug spends several weeks hanging off ladders and such making sure we light up like Disneyland when Santa works his magic.

Our sincere thanks to Terry Smith, owner of Circle T/Ace Hardware, and driver, Jack Wilshire, for allowing us the use of their truck for our precious cargo, the Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus, who so graciously shared their beautiful voices with us again as they have for years. This year both Jack and the ladies dealt with a small glitch and came through like real champs.

We were thrilled to welcome the cast members from "A Wonderful Life" who graced us with one of the beautiful songs from the play.

We also want to thank Mike Alley at LPEA for helping Doug with the lights on the trees and Nathan Trowbridge, Pete Tackett, Toby and Renae Karlquist, Will Spears, Scott Asay and Dan and Laurie Williams for helping with the plug-ins. Diplomat Charlotte Overley was so helpful with plating the cookies for the troops.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were awesome, as always, and saw a record-breaking number of children this year. Sally Hovatter's 53 dozen cookies were enthusiastically consumed with cries for more, and Jeff and Laura Laydon snapped an unprecedented number of precious children on Santa's lap.

Special thanks to Richard Miller for spelling me behind the cookie counter while I ran out to greet the ladies and to help Santa light up the place.

In a time-honored tradition, Don and Mary McKeehan were once again the last to leave with staff that night after helping us clean up the crumbs and sticky stuff from the candy canes. They are such good friends to this Chamber and have put in hours and hours of clean-up time for and with us.

Santa and Open House

Santa will appear at The Pagosa Kid 2-4 p.m. Saturday, so if you missed him here last Saturday, you have another opportunity. Refreshments will be available as well as complimentary digital photos of your little ones with Santa. Photos will subsequently be posted on the Pagosa Kid Web site for easy download to send to friends and relatives.

Also this Saturday, you are invited to join Bonnie Nyre for a special holiday open house 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Slices of Nature. Bonnie is offering a 20-percent storewide discount to include all espresso drinks. You will receive a free McCalls candle with purchases and have the opportunity to register for a 3-foot brown bear to be given away on Dec. 21.

Marketing news

Just so you know we're attempting to "green up" our holiday season in Pagosa, with the lovely moisture and white stuff we've experienced this week, we are now conducting a statewide TV campaign in New Mexico encouraging those folks to visit our fair town and ski Wolf Creek. The ads emanate from KOB-TV in Albuquerque but appear on all NBC affiliates throughout the state.

I just attended a Southwest Colorado Travel Region meeting in Durango with other members of that organization, and we will be receiving a grant from the state in the amount of $20,000 (for which the SWCTR matches $10,000) to use on our maps, fulfillment and 800 number through the region.

Also, Tosch and Associates which handles the marketing for the region, has created some awesome ads for several publications that will appear in the upcoming months in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and some spots in the Midwest.

Our membership in that organization continues to be invaluable to all of us in the Four Corners area of Colorado and allows us to stretch our marketing dollars as a coalition.

Pagosa Perks

Keep us in mind as you begin to look at bonus options for your employees and when you are stumped as to what to give anyone and everyone on your Christmas list this year.

Pagosa Perks are the absolute simplest and easiest answers to your holiday quandary, and we hope you will take advantage of this time and stress saver. It's as simple as coming to the Visitor Center and buying whatever amount you would like to give as gifts for all occasions. Remember that these are not only holiday gifts but equally as welcome for birthdays, anniversaries, graduation and basically any and every special occasion.

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

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

Pagosa Perks also allow you to give the absolute perfect gift to everyone because the lucky recipients have the luxury of selecting exactly what they would like. What could be better? Just think of the stress you will eliminate by not worrying about sizes, colors and tastes. Pagosa Perks could make you the most popular gift-giver in town.

Give us a call with questions at 264-2360.

Holiday gallery tour

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

A variety of folks will be hosting that evening and invite you to stop by and enjoy refreshments, entertainment, door prizes and no small amount of warm Pagosa camaraderie.

Plan to visit Pagosa Photography, Moonlight Books, Taminah Gallery, Handcrafted Interiors, Lantern Dancer, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park and the PSAC Gallery in Town Park.

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

Christmas Concerts

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

The first concert is at 7 p.m. Friday, 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 Saturday, or you can attend the 4 p.m. concert Sunday.

You will be treated to some of the finest voices in Pagosa in traditional music like "Silent Night" or more current tunes like "White Christmas."

If you don't leave with boatloads of holiday spirit, have someone check your temperature.

Call Sue Kehret at 731-3858 with questions.


It puts a little holiday jingle in the day to introduce four new members and seven renewals. It will make the Parade of Lights just that much brighter for us here at the Chamber.

We first welcome Peter Stanley who brings us The Lodge at Keyah Grande on West U.S. 160. The Lodge at Keyah Grande offers lodging and food accompanied by recreational facilities including horseback riding, sporting clays, skeet and trap, fishing, hiking, hunting and so much more. Please give Peter a call at 731-1160 for more information.

Francie Peterzen joins us next with Rocky Mountain Cable which offers complete cable service throughout the Pagosa Springs area. She will be happy to answer all your questions at 731-2211.

Michele Smith is our third new member this week and brings us Satori Boutique and Gifts located at 162 Pagosa St. Satori's is an eclectic boutique with a "Far East meets Southwest" feeling. You will find unique clothing (XS-Plus), jewelry, imports, home décor, local artwork and just generally really neat stuff. You are invited to come and explore all the goodies or call 264-9227 for more information. We thank Bonnie Nyre at Slices of Nature for recruiting these folks and will reward Bonnie with a free SunDowner.

Steve Kuhlman is our fourth new member this week with Kuhlman Hardwood Floors with home offices. Steve specializes in hardwood floor installation, finishing and refinishing. He can supply all materials needed or work with the customer's materials. The emphasis is on artistic pattern work and flooring inlays at Kuhlman Hardwood Floors. To learn more about how Steve can help you, please give him a call at 731-1303. Thanks to our good friend, Kathryn Heilhecker for the recruitment, and we will cheerfully add to her formidable collection of free SunDowner passes for all of her amazing efforts.

Our renewals this week include Mike Ferrell with Rocky Mountain Maintenance; Dale and Deborah Castleberry with Castleberry Cottage; Terri Andersen with Discovery Toys; Maggi Dix-Caruso with Envelopment Architecture; Troy Ross with Troy Ross Construction, LLC; Brad Handy with Pioneer Aviation; and Karen Cox with Taminah Gallery and Taminah Custom Frame Center.


Library News

Only one bidder to date for history collection

Come on you history buffs, 12 boxes of books, more than 100, are awaiting your silent bid. So far, only one bid has been entered. A private individual owned this collection and the books are in good to excellent condition.

The proceeds of the auction will go in our building fund so you can win both ways - help us build and buy a fabulous prize at the same time.

Carole Howard brought the library six more copies of the book, "12 Immutable Laws of Chairmanship: The Inside Story of Non-Profit Board Governance" by John F. Budd Jr. Carole sent Mr. Budd a copy of our library review column and in turn, he sent these copies to us.

If you serve on a board of directors or trustees, and would like a copy for your organization, call me.

New books

Becky got a big box from our wholesaler; Shirley and Ann have them catalogued, processed and on the shelf. This will probably be the last order for the year. Other new books include:

"Cry the Beloved Country," by Alan Paton, a new Oprah Winfrey Book Club edition. We are pleased the American Library Association and Oprah are again providing free copies of the reading club books to small libraries.

Paton was one of South Africa's greatest writers. This book was an immediate worldwide bestseller when it was first published in 1948. It is a novel about a black man's country under white man's law. Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalome are characters in a classic work of love and hope. It is said to be the greatest novel to emerge out of the tragedy of South Africa.

"The Midnight Writers," by C.J. Hannah is a story about a person attending a weeklong workshop for murder mystery authors with the aim of getting publicity for a novel. To do this, the writer in turn murders several of the authors attending the meeting. As the murders continue, the workshop leader is drawn into an ethical dilemma surrounding the killer's story &endash; much intrigue.

Mr. Hannah, now a resident of Pagosa Springs, is the author of many published works. He is the Founder of the Asilomar Writer's Consortium; a university teacher of writing, and leader of numerous writers conferences. We welcome Mr. Hannah and look forward to more good mysteries. I hope we can also interest him in staging some writers' workshops here in Pagosa.

Jan Brookshier brought us another new mystery book by her sister, M.K. Preston. "Song of the Bones," a Chantelene Mystery.

Ms. Preston edits and publishes "Byline," a nationally distributed trade magazine for writers. She received great reviews on her first mystery novel, "Perhaps She'll Die." She was the finalist for a Mary Higgins Clark Award. The latest book again takes place in Oklahoma "where the rivers run red in springtime and the cottonwoods lean toward the North Star." Ms. Preston may come to Pagosa for a book signing in the spring.


Our building fund continues to grow thanks to new gifts from Directors - V.C. Bilbo Jr., Scotty and Ralph Gibson; Sponsors - Kathy Wunderlich, Anne Allison; Associate - Sally Hameister; Donors- Bob and Margaret Page in memory of L. A. Patton.

Gifts were received in memory of Wilma Morrison from Ron and Cindy Gustafson, Gil and Lenore Bright.

Materials were gratefully received from James Corboy, Carol Dillard, Ed Day, Patty Harris, Susan Baker, Deborah Bobbett, Patty Sterling, Lisa Peters, Charlene Baumgardner, and Sherri Baucus on behalf of Elizabeth Davis.



Sara Joy and Jared Gertzen were married at the Venetian in Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2003. Parents are David and Petra Joy of Pagosa Springs, Gary Gertzen of Minneapolis and Pamela Rezac of Faribault, Minn.


Jan and Ken Harms were married 20 years ago on Dec. 17, 1983, in Springfield, Ill. They will celebrate their 20th anniversary in Ixtapa, Mexico, on the same beach where they spent their honeymoon. Jan and Ken have lived in Pagosa Springs eight years with their daughters Jessica, Jamilyn and Jaclyn.



Lending a Helping Hand

Junior High joins community effort to make holidays brighter for those in need

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"We hope each of you will smile a little smile for the child who had Christmas because of you for the family who had a Christmas dinner because of you for the family whose life struggles you lightened at least for one day."

That's part of a thank you sent out by Operation Helping Hand - Pagosa's own jolly Christmas elves. Their goal is a turkey on every table and presents under every tree. Their dream is a happy holiday for everyone - no matter how down on their luck they may be.

But making that dream a reality for the 602 people - including 318 children, 225 adults and 59 seniors - who registered for assistance this year takes more than a hand. It takes hundreds of hands coming together in a single effort - making the holidays a little brighter for someone else.

Businesses. Civic groups. Private citizens. Youth. Operation Helping Hand requires all hands on deck. Food and toys must be bought, collected, sorted, wrapped, distributed. All before Christmas. All during one of the busiest times of the year.

Some of this year's helping hands belong to students at the Pagosa Springs intermediate and junior high schools. At the junior high, the reconstituted student council has taken command of the project.

After four years with no student council, a new sponsor was found and the group is up and running with one representative from each of the school's 13 home rooms. Operation Helping Hand is just one of a long list of projects they were asked to lead.

"The student body made a list of projects - service and activities - and then the student council prioritized," sponsor and seventh-grade social studies teacher Sally High said. It's a long list, but Operation Helping Hand was included.

Their goal, council member Clara Barker said, is to collect 36 boxes of food for Christmas dinner. That's three boxes per home room. To help remind the students of the goal, Barker made a thermometer of success to post on the office window. As the boxes are filled, the thermometer will be filled in, all the way up to the goal - and beyond. The thermometer actually reaches 48, the number possible if each home room went one better and collected four boxes full of food.

Another council member, Stephanie Loe, said the school is focusing on nonperishable items: stuffing, canned vegetables and fruits, boxed dinner roll mixes, cranberries, boxed potatoes, Jello and pudding mixes.

Leah Silver said besides decorating the office wall, announcements are being made every morning and festively decorated boxes are being placed in each of the home rooms. Students can also sign up for certain items.

"Tuesday, one week from today is when they come and get the food," High said. "It's important to step up the energy and start talking this up."

Several of the council members said they had already brought food. Others said they planned to add to the drive soon. Tomorrow even.

"We would like to encourage people to bring food because people don't have money and it's nice to help people who don't have food," Loe said.

Andy Abresch echoed her concerns: "We want to help people who don't have money to buy food for Christmas for dinner and people who don't have money to help."

At the intermediate school, not only have the students promised to bring food, but at least one class is taking the plea to the community. Heidi Keshet's students wrote 10 letters to the editor, urging people in the community to participate. A few of them follow under the heading, "Dear Editor":

I think it's really important that everyone is helping out on Operation Helping Hand. I think people should celebrate holidays. It's fun, and with helping hand you give poor people food so they can spend their little money on presents for their children. Everyone needs to have a good meal once in a while and I think the holiday is that special time to do it. So thank you for having the Operation Helping Hand in our newspaper.


Tanha Sell

I think the reason we have Operation Helping Hands is because some people aren't so lucky and wake up to a house full of friends and family or even presents. That's when Operation Helping Hands comes in. We let them have a full stomach and can sit and talk with friends and family.

I am personally really thankful that people have a good enough heart to do this. I am positive that all the homeless people are thankful for Operation Helping Hand. I have already brought lots of food, but I will keep bringing it to the school. Because after all someday that could be me.


Jesse King

It is important to participate in Operation Helping Hand because a lot of people don't have any money to buy food or presents. If they don't have food or presents they will starve and will have nothing while we have delicious food and great presents.


Josh Jones

Operation Helping Hand is very important because there are so many families that don't have food to eat on the holidays. That is why we need to help the people that don't have a good meal to eat on the holidays. I think that if we did not have a good holiday feast to eat they would donate some food as well. All of us need to try really hard to get as much food as we can so that everyone can enjoy a nice hot meal to eat on Christmas Day and the people that get the food would probably be as happy as you. I could all ready guess what they are going to give thanks to and it would probably be you for donating such a good feast.


Victoria Espinosa

Operation Helping Hand organizers said more assistance is still needed this year. So far, monetary donations are down over $2,000 when compared to 2002. This money is used to buy any outstanding presents and perishable food items for the dinner boxes.

The group also urges community members to continue to participate in Project Empty Stocking. Volunteers have written over 1,000 requested items on paper stockings at the grocery stores. The requests include stockings, underwear, snow boots, pants, coats and kitchen towels. Participants are asked to select a stocking, purchase the gift indicated, attach the stocking to the package to ensure it's delivered to the right family and then deliver the gift to the Department of Social Services in Town Hall, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center or Coldwell Banker on Put Hill by Dec. 16.

A separate list of gifts is located on the Secret Santa Toy Tree at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center. This tree holds ornaments with toy wishes from each child registered with Operation Helping Hand. All price ranges are available. To be a Secret Santa, choose an ornament from the tree, deliver the newly purchased, wrapped toy to the three places listed above - still be Dec. 16.

Monetary donations should be made to Operation Helping Hand account No. 6240417424 at Wells Fargo or mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

 Pagosa's Past

Abandoned homes spark historian's search for answers

John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

What makes a historian? I can't speak for other historians, but I know a few things about myself.

First of all, I'm old enough to be history. Like my boots, I'm run down at the heels, turned up at the nose, and wrinkled all over. I've been shined and polished so many times, the outside and inside are almost the same layer.

How does age help me as a historian?

Well, when I see World War II events on the History Channel, they remind me of my youth. I learned to read about 1940 and sharpened my reading skills by going over and over newspaper accounts of military battles in the South Pacific, North Africa and right on to the end.

I remember my older sisters listening to the radio, and then reporting, "The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor."

We lived about three miles outside of Grants Pass, Oregon, when WW II ended. Sounds of the victory celebration easily crossed those three miles, loud and clear. Firecracker explosions, car horns, and shouting and screaming lasted long into the night.

Being old helps in other ways. In the years surrounding 1943, we lived in a log cabin without electricity or running water. I was in the fourth and fifth grades and walked about three miles to the two-room country school where a single teacher taught the first eight grades. The teacher lived in one of the rooms.

In any case, I cut across the backcountry on my way to and from school. Located along the route were the remains of two or three abandoned homesteads. At one place, an entire, empty house remained, the door flapping in the wind and admitting any wild animal looking for shelter. Scattered around the house were leaning outbuildings, the remnants of fences, and piles of debris. Old-fashioned yellow roses clung to the porch, a few lilacs survived at the corners, and hollyhocks bloomed out back every year.

Whose house was this, I wondered. Where are they? Why aren't they here to continue building their dreams? I knew my own folks had moved often, first from the dust bowl in Kansas, then from job-to-job and house-to-house in Oregon. I knew there were reasons for those moves, dreams of a better life and of a place of our own to call home. That's why I couldn't understand what happened to the people who owned the vacant house.

In fact, I was downright sad. Something had happened to cause those folks to abandon the house, abandon their dreams, and move on? That something had to be a horrible tragedy or they'd still live here, surrounded by the joy of fulfilling their dreams. At the time, it didn't occur to me that they might have moved on to claim a better opportunity. To me, life was already as good as it gets.

Because of those abandoned homes, an attitude developed in me, an attitude of questioning, of wondering who had been here or there. Why had they come and why had they gone? As years passed, the questions grew broader, encompassing communities, counties, states, countries, whole peoples.

Even as the search to know focused on understanding other people, a subplot developed. Who am I? What tragedies or opportunities in the family past caused me to be where I am today?

Living among Native Americans as I do now, the focus on "Who am I?" sharpens. My neighbors have few doubts about their ancestry. But as for me, I have few answers.

Oh, I can get back as far as when a European ancestor from somewhere near the Rhine River and a place called the Palatinate immigrated to the United States. Beyond the immigration, how long had that ancestor lived in that area? Why did he leave? Was he Protestant, Catholic, or something else? Was he slave or free? Was he educated or ignorant? Had his ancestors always lived on that part of the earth or had they been a member of one of the almost countless waves of conquerors who swept across Europe down through the ages?

You and I both know we'll never really know. We do know that generation after generation, there was a mother who delivered a tiny baby, nurtured that baby into adulthood, watched that now-grown baby march off into the world to fend for itself. Or maybe the mother saw the baby captured by invading warriors to be raised by aliens in a strange culture.

Who knows what zigs and zags mark our individual pasts?

This we do know, based on the nature of mankind. Each generation of our ancestors had hopes and dreams, goals that carried them forward. And so the question of who lived in and abandoned that empty house is germane to our own lives.

The study of history really helps us. By understanding who other people are, we understand ourselves a little better. The truth is, we are all historians.



Sow seeds of charity

There is snow in the high country as the holiday season approaches. The peaks to the east of Pagosa Springs are covered with a mantle of snow nearly five feet deep. This is great news: Tourists will no doubt flock to Pagosa Country to take advantage of snow lacking in other nearby Colorado and New Mexico winter recreation areas.

With the snow come reservations at local lodging establishments, full timeshare units with their inhabitants buying groceries, shopping at local stores, eating at local restaurants. For at least two weeks, Pagosa Country will be full to the brim with holiday visitors who should be made welcome, considering they are the foundation of a seasonal economy that has been thin in recent years.

Whether we can attribute the snow to the cloud seeding program that began with the first November storm is debatable. Adjacent regions have engaged in coaxing snow from the clouds by artificial means and have not reaped anywhere near the reward to date.

There is another kind of seeding possible this holiday season, however, and if we engage in it, our success will be beyond question. We can sow the seeds of charity and good will, and the act fits with the spirit of the season. Charity and good will grow in the community and pay enormous dividends now and in the future.

We noted the work of Operation Helping Hand in this space earlier this year. The SUN has featured articles in the main sections and in the PREVIEW to promote this major holiday effort by a consortium of local organizations and individuals. We will continue to do so - witness an article and a feature in this issue - until the response from Pagosa Country meets the needs of those members of the community who find themselves in less than fortunate circumstances.

Time is growing short, and the need is still there.

In fact, the number of fellow Pagosans who have fallen on hard times and need a helping hand has grown from the 22 families who requested assistance when the program began in 1989 to an all-time high 196 families this holiday season - an increase of 30 families from last year. The program is working to provide help this season to more than 600 residents - 318 of them children and 58 of them senior citizens.

Gift tags are hanging at the two City Market stores in Pagosa, each tag listing an item needed by someone in the community. Items run the gamut from winter clothing to a toy to make the season memorable for a youngster.

Many tags remain to be taken by generous donors.

Food is the centerpiece of any holiday celebration, and dinner baskets are being prepared for delivery to those in need. This week's SUN feature in Section B shows how local students are working to put together food boxes. You can provide food for boxes and a front-page article tells you where food and other items can be delivered, and gives you information about deadlines and the many subsidiary efforts that make up Operation Helping Hand.

Monetary donations are needed as well. Donations of money to the project are down significantly from last year - more than $2,000. More money is required to purchase meats and other foods for baskets as well to support all other aspects of the project.

It is time to help Operation Helping Hand meet its goals. It is time for the prosperous members of the community and those who will benefit from our holiday season to share, and spread the seeds of good will.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

What if Mr. Can Do can't

By Richard Walter

The old never-leak faucet always leaked and by now it leaked more from below the faucet than came through the spout.

Not to worry, Mr. Can Do is on the job.

Let me speed off to the hardware for a new one. Installation? A snap.

Turns out the "snap" was to be within the macho man himself.

Never have I seen so many pipes and such a tiny area in which to try to replace connections than in the area under our kitchen sink.

Mr. Can Do became a human pretzel, flat on his back, staring upward into the dark limited area behind the double sink bowls, trying desperately to be confident.

Twist, turn, balance your head on the incoming water pipe. Left arm up and over the horizontal drain, right grasping a special installation tool recommended by the hardware guru.

Now, see if you can get that tool to link with the connecting cover flange after first coating the threads with Teflon tape (recommended on the box in which the faucet came).

Twist, turn, bump elbows, break fingernails, read the instructions again, bump your head on the back wall.

One hour. Two. Nearly three hours later and finally, with a satisfied grin, you extract yourself from pipe heaven and turn on the water.

It spurts wildly from the final connection you just made. Quickly, shut it off again. Go to the toolbox and get your own special tools, a pair of pliers and a sure-grip wrench.

Back under into a plumber's nightmare you go, determined to whip this grotesque task. Clamp one on the service line and the other on the lock sleeve. Turn both and it seems to move slowly into position.

You've done it Big Guy. Turn on the water. Only a small drip, a bucket strategically placed will take care of that. What's important is that water flow from the faucet, not around it.

Satisfied, pleased, a little pompous, perhaps at having demonstrated such skill.

Hours later a call from the kitchen.

Guess what?

The connections are reversed - hot from cold, cold from hot. But, yes, there is no leak.

Ah, success.

The next day dawned as usual - except for the muscles aching in places no macho man will admit having sore muscles.

Rib cage bruised. Right thigh likewise. Wrist limp from reverse angle strain. But the faucet still works.

Strange noise, however, whenever the toilet in the bathroom is flushed. Sounds like the house is coming apart at the seams with increased water pressure. Never heard that before.

Could it be that Mr. Can Do can't?

Impossible. A blow to his pride.

What about that old television antenna still on the roof? Planned to take that down three years ago, right?

Well, yeah, but my ladder's not tall enough. Buy a new one? Why? I'll get on the porch roof from the short one and reach up to get the antenna down.


Right now I'm just too sore.



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Dec. 12, 1913

The death of Ignacio, chief of the Southern Utes, which occurred at his home at Navajo Springs, in the lower end of the Navajo valley, a few days ago, will be regretted by his white neighbors as well as his own tribesmen, among whom his will was law. Ignacio was supposed to be about 85 years old at his death. He was of the Weminuches, which with the Capotes and Moaches constitute the three bands or sub-tribes of the Southern Utes. The Durango Democrat tells us that Ignacio's mother was a Shoshone. It advances the opinion that the dead chieftain, like Ouray, will be buried in a secret place, probably on Ute Mountain.

If we are going to have a moral town let's class the other law-breakers with the bootleggers.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 14, 1928

It would be easier to enumerate those who have not battled with influenza, rather than attempt to name those who have.

A daughter was born last evening to Mr. and Mrs. Thos. B. Nossaman. The little lady happened to arrive on her father's birthday.

The Dyke school now has enrolled eight pupils. They are working on a little Christmas program to be given Friday, Dec. 21st, after two o'clock. The public is invited to come see the Christmas tree and hear the program.

David Hersch of Pagosa Springs and Walter Zabriske of Pagosa Junction, commissioners-elect of Archuleta County, are this week in Colorado Springs to attend the annual session of commissioners of the state.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 11, 1953

The County Commissioners met on Monday of this week for their regular meeting at which time they received the resignation of Norman Ottaway as county sheriff. Mr. Ottaway has been sheriff since 1946. The sheriff's job in a county of this size is not a desirable one from the standpoint of pay and Mr. Ottaway felt that he could do better for himself in other lines. The office does not pay a salary, but all earnings must come from fees from the office. In order to make a living here, the sheriff must take other employment.

The battle of the thermometers is on in Pagosa Springs for the winter. The mercury skidded to below zero readings every night since Saturday and a chilly 16 below was registered Tuesday night of this week.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 14, 1978

A real winter storm hit the area last Tuesday night late, bringing 18 inches of new snow to town and more than four feet of new snow to Wolf Creek Pass. It was followed by sub-zero weather that saw the thermometers drop to 25 below zero.

A large number of ducks have been observed in the pool near the Pagosa Spring Inn. It is not known whether they are transients, stopping to warm up in the warm water, or whether they are residents for the winter.

The annual meeting and election of officers for the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center will be held tonight in the court house at 8 p.m. Anyone is welcome at the meeting but only stockholders will be eligible to vote in the election.