December 18, 2003 

Front Page 

Town's new sign code 'triggers' face amendment

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Reconstitute the sign code committee and start over.

Retain the code as approved in June.

Retain all existing signs.

Burn all existing signs.

The public discussion on possible changes to the Pagosa Springs sign code bounced from those extremes to several spots in between over 45 minutes Tuesday night at the town's planning commission meeting. At least 16 people addressed commission members and a standing room only audience.

When it was over, the commission voted to recommend a couple amendments to the code - but took grandfathering off the table -a change they considered following a workshop Dec. 2.

Mayor Ross Aragon, a member of the planning commission, said although it was impossible to please everyone, the goal was compromise.

That compromise, several audience members agreed, should not mean grandfathering all existing signs.

"We should all be equal under a law," Tony Simmons said. Simmons is considering opening a business in town.

Others said their signs were essential to their business revenue. Because Pagosa is a drive-through tourist stop, rather than a destination, a business' only hope is a sign tantalizing enough to pull people off the highway, some said. To achieve that, signs must be large enough to be read at 45-50 miles per hour.

On another side, businessman Cappy White suggested removing all the signs and destroying them as a marketing tool - making sure to invite the national media.

"Let's take all the signs down, pile them on the football field and start a fire," White said. "I'll put my sign on the very bottom. It'll be the first one.

"I'll light the first match," he said a little later.

"I'll put it out," quipped another audience member.

Angela Atkinson, a downtown business owner and a member of the citizen's committee who worked over nine months to write the current ordinance, spoke about the process. The committee, she said, included representatives from several businesses. After months of debate, she said, of poring over sample ordinances from other towns and considering research on signage, they came up with something they felt, "was reasonable, fair and enforceable."

It's also an ordinance, Atkinson said, that focuses on improving size of the economic pie available for the whole community, not just one person's piece of the pie.

"We were working toward a betterment of all of Pagosa's businesses as well as a healthy economy," she said.

Grandfathering signs simply encourages outdated, dilapidated signs to hang around forever, she added, leading to a "low-rent feel" that is counterproductive if the goal is to get people to treat Pagosa as a destination community rather than a drive-by community.

Early last summer, the committee presented its finished product to the planning commission. It was reviewed, some concessions were made to businesses unhappy with size restrictions, and recommended to the town council. The council passed the code on a 4-3 vote.

Since then, at least seven variances to the ordinance have been issued. Other business owners, have come forward with complaints, seemingly unhappy with the variance process, put in place to allow for the exceptions that couldn't possibly all be covered in one ordinance. The root of the problem seemed to be the last section of the code addressing when business owners had to bring signs into compliance.

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

The code also included a deadline of five years for all signs within the town to come into conformance. This type of amortization was outlawed at the state level days after the code was passed. However, town legal counsel has recommended the town retain the amortization period because of probable legislation addressing this issue in light of signage.

Complaints eventually led to a workshop with town council members and then a workshop with the planning commission. The public hearing followed.

Town staff presented three options:

- retain the code as written

- remove the "triggers" for bringing signs into conformance and grandfather existing, permitted signs

- or amend the current triggers.

They approved a version of the third option after another half an hour of discussion.

Both Aragon and commissioner Judy James proposed adjusting two of the current triggers for bringing signs into conformance in the code.

The first has to do with amortization. In the current ordinance, the timeline stands at five years. James and Aragon proposed extending that to seven years.

The second addresses the expansion or remodeling trigger. To this trigger, they suggested adding a specified minimum amount of $40,000 before the trigger kicks in.

Commissioner Tracy Bunning suggested budgeting some incentives for people who might not be able to meet the amortization deadline, possibly through donated labor from town crews or some kind of grant program. The trigger based on sale of a business was also discussed, because of its difficulty to enforce, but left alone in the end.

Commission chairman Rice Reavis said he had been, "pretty much in favor of grandfathering," and wanted to see the timeline and minimums go even higher if possible.

Aragon adjusted the amount tied to expansion up to $80,000, but left the timeline for conformance at seven years. A motion to that effect passed. The story continues though.

The planning commission's recommendation will be forwarded to the Pagosa Springs Town Council for final consideration. The council will most likely face the issue at its next regular meeting set for Jan. 5 at 5 p.m. in Town Hall.


County tightens belt in budget

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

After hearing no comments from a public which did not attend, the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners adopted the 2004 county budget Monday.

How does next year's budget stack up to this year's document?

In summary, "I'd say maybe we're just tightening our belts a little for next year," said Cathie Wilson, county finance director.

Stagnating revenues, said Wilson, played a major role this year in the decision to go the conservative route for 2004.

"Revenue was the tightest I've ever seen it," added Wilson, who has been spearheading the county's budgeting efforts for the past six years.

"I'd say we're going to be okay - the department heads were very helpful with respect to what we wanted to accomplish in reducing the budget," she added, "But we've certainly felt a bit of a revenue crunch."

As a result, total monies appropriated for expenditures from all of the county's 26 funds in 2004 are slightly lower than they were for this year, totaling $30,296,958.

In addition, anticipated sales tax revenues were "budgeted flat," or kept the same for next year, said Wilson, because through September, year-to-date sales tax revenues were at their lowest levels since 1999.

Another key difference in the 2004 budget is that the county's three-month operating reserve, which amounts to $1.47 million, is not currently appropriated.

"We chose to leave it out of appropriations," said Wilson, explaining funds will not be available next year without the board taking special action to amend the budget.

Instead, the funds have been assigned the definition of "designated for a special purpose" within the county General Fund.

"It's our emergency cushion, but it would take near-catastrophic events for us to have to tap into it," said Wilson.

In case of emergencies, said Wilson, an unreserved fund balance totaling roughly $110,000 can be used pending budget amendment approvals, and additional reserves totaling about $10,000 are available on a line-item/contingency basis.

Newly created funds and departments listed in next year's budget include the "county facility designated fund" and the "global information system," or GIS department.

The county facility designated fund will hold reserves aimed at the construction of new county facilities, while the GIS department, which has a budget of $65,000, will aid in providing analysis and mapping services for public needs and various county departments.

With respect to county property taxes, the effective levy rate for next year is set at 18.760 mills, up slightly from this year's rate of 18.545 mills.

Based on an assessed county valuation of $192,072, 826, the 18.760 levy rate will generate $3,603,190 in property tax revenue next year - slightly over this year's total of roughly $3.34 million.

Property tax revenues for 2004 will be divided among three separate funds, with $2,842,870 of the total going to the General Fund, $672,255 going to the Road and Bridge Fund and $88,065 headed to the Social Services Fund.

The county work force will also expand slightly in 2004; anticipated personnel additions that factored into next year's budget currently include one position in the fleet department and another in the road and bridge department.

With respect to the degree of "guess work" involved in the budget process, "Budgeting is not an exact science; you have to base many calculations on a lot of 'floating' items," said Wilson, adding that the 2004 version includes new appendices and revenue source graphs aimed to improve the document's clarity.

Another added feature to next year's budget is a new fund summary on page 9, which defines fund types and lists all the funds falling under those types.

Acknowledging concerns that the document is often difficult to comprehend for those not immersed in the daily number-crunching routine, "We don't currently have a special, full-time 'budget team' like some other counties employ year-round to improve understanding," said Wilson.

Copies of the 2004 budget are available at the Ruby Sisson Library and the commissioners' office, and anyone interested in purchasing a copy can do so at the clerk's office.


State report on clinic complaint a week away

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Colorado Health Department officials are still working on their response to a complaint filed against the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

Jeanne-Marie Ragan, public information officer with the Health Facilities Division, said the report will be made public only after it is completed and the facility named receives a copy. Ragan said Wednesday morning the report is scheduled to be finished later this week. It will most likely be available to the public around Dec. 23. She would not release information on the nature of the complaint.

Dee Jackson, executive director of the Upper San Juan Health Service District, the special district in charge of the clinic, said it was her understanding the complaint was filed soon after the board voted to rebuild the clinic instead of privatizing this past summer. A complaint was apparently filed stating all the employees had left. Nothing more.

In fact, she said, the state inspector who visited in mid-November seemed somewhat surprised the clinic was still open. Jackson said the inspector spent a day in the district looking at the medical center's policies, protocols and procedures and talking with staff.

Jackson said the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center is the only health care office in the community that comes under the division's review.

"We have to operate under more stringent guidelines, and I think the public ought to find that comforting," she said.

According to the Health Facilities Division Web site description of the complaint program: "The division can investigate complaints relating to quality of life and quality of care at a facility, including residents' rights, abuse, dietary concerns, staffing and environmental concerns. The division cannot investigate complaints relating to billing or insurance claims."

When a complaint is filed, it is "prioritized on the basis of actual harm to resident health and safety." An inspector does an on-site inspection and may decide to, "substantiate the complaint allegations or find the allegations are unsubstantiated. The investigator may also cite the facility for deficient practice."

Ragan said this has been the only complaint filed against the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center in recent years.


Property value rises; school tax levy dips

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Increased assessed valuation of property within its bounds will mean a lower tax levy for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

The district's board of education approved the levy of 29.5 mills against a total assessed valuation of $185,687,483 during a rescheduled meeting at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 12.

That assessed valuation total includes the Hinsdale County section of the district valued at $1,469,824.

Nancy Schutz, school district business manager, told the board the levy will - assuming all taxes are paid - produce $5,477,781 in revenue.

The 29.500 levy includes 24.457 in general operating expense for a total of $4,541,359; 0.302 for refunds and abatements totaling $56,078; and 4.741 for general obligation bonds and interest totaling $880,344.

Schutz noted the levy is down from 30.4 mills last year, a 3-percent drop, assessed valuation is up in excess of $10.2 million (despite a slight decrease in the Hinsdale County portion), a 6-percent increase, allowing an increase in revenue of $144,290 or 3 percent.

What do all these figures mean to the average property tax payer?

Schutz provided some data to help property owners determine for themselves.

First, a mill is 1/10 of a cent or $.001 (a thousandth of a dollar).

A mill levy is the number of dollars a taxpayer must pay for every $1,000 of assessed value.

For residential properties your actual value (shown on the notice of valuation received from the county assessor's office) is multiplied by the residential assessment rate in order to arrive at your assessed value (the residential assessment rate is set by the state and is currently at 7.96 percent). Your assessed value is then multiplied by the mill levy to arrive at your property tax bill.

Thus, if the actual value of a residential property is $150,000, that figure would be multiplied by the assessment rate of 7.96 percent producing an assessed value of $11,940.

It is that figure against which the mill levy would be figured. The assessed value would be multiplied by the mill levy of 29.500 (.0295) for a property bill of $352.23.

Keep in mind that would be the bill for school taxes only. Other taxing district levies would be added on to determine the total tax bill, but the same formula would apply.

Schutz also provided a general study of the district's mill levy history for the past 11 years, showing the current charge at the lowest point in that time for bond retirement.

In 1993 the bond fund levy was 6.35 and the total levy 46.430 mills. It dropped regularly as debt was reduced until the 1997 bond issue for the new high school which boosted the bond levy to 10.633 mills and the overall school total to 50.713.

The following year the Tabor Amendment went into effect and both totals have dropped yearly since that time.

At the same time, the board accepted the annual audit submitted in November by Michael C. Branch. Acceptance had been delayed a month because of questions by two board members with reference to specific financial terminology.

The two, Mike Haynes and Sandy Caves, authored the motion for acceptance and it was approved unanimously.



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No 'heat wave,' but mild warming trend expected

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Ice scrapers and engine batteries were put to the test across Pagosa Country during the past week as low temperatures consistently registered in the single-digit range for the first time this year.

While certainly noteworthy, Tuesday's numbing low of minus 12 degrees fell significantly short of the record low for December in Pagosa - a dangerous minus 35 recorded in 1909.

For residents growing weary of arctic conditions, the latest indications are a modest warming trend will be the norm for the next few days.

"I wouldn't call it a heat wave, but average temperatures should come in slightly higher across the region than they did last week," said Paul Frisbie, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"Cloud cover over the next few days will help insulate a bit, pushing highs into the 40s," added Frisbie, "And the area could see spotty snow showers throughout the day Sunday."

"Lows could still hit near the zero range, but more than likely they will be in the teens," he concluded.

According to Frisbie, mostly-sunny skies should prevail throughout today and into tonight, with highs in the 40s and lows around 15.

Partly-cloudy to mostly-cloudy skies are predicted for Friday and Saturday, as are highs in the upper 30s to mid-40s and lows in the teens.

A 30-percent chance for snow showers, highs in the 40s and lows in the 10-20 range are predicted for Sunday.

Morning clouds Monday should give way to blue skies by evening, with mainly clear conditions persisting into Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs each day are expected to range from 25-40, while lows should fall between zero and 15.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 36 degrees. The average low for the week was 6. Precipitation/moisture totals for the week amounted to one-quarter of an inch; snow depth totaled two inches.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 67 inches, a midway depth of 63 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 137 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 151 percent of average.

San Juan River flow ranged from approximately 30 cubic feet per second to 75 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Dec. 18 is roughly 55 cubic feet per second.


Sports Page

Parks & Rec

County, town cooperating in recycling, tree disposal

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Archuleta County, through Clifford Lucero, and the town of Pagosa Springs, through this office, have worked out a use for tons of recycled glass.

We are excited about the opportunity to utilize the recycled resource and to have the county's equipment and manpower haul the recycled glass from the Durango Recycle Center to a storage area at the proposed new sports complex site on South 5th Street.

Stan Martinez and I toured the recycling facility Dec. 10. About three times a week Stan goes to Durango to deliver cardboard or paper and plastic products for recycling. Until now, the truck had been coming home empty and that started the wheels turning.

Some of the glass is crushed as fine as masonry sand, and is perfect for use to even out parks and athletic fields prior to putting on the topsoil. The fine-ground glass will provide aeration and is expected to allow plantings to sink deeper roots. The idea should be successful, with us using the recycled glass in a way that is safe and productive.

Clifford Lucero with Archuleta County and our department in Pagosa Springs are working very well together to try to utilize taxpayers' monies and starting with the use of recycled goods to help save precious landfill space for the future.

Christmas tree disposal

Archuleta County and the town are also working hand in hand in another great recycling program that benefits all the citizens of Archuleta County.

Clifford Lucero and Julie Jessen, administrative intern for the town, have put together the following sites for Christmas tree disposal:

- City Market West, Dec. 26-Jan. 4

- South Pagosa Park, Dec. 26-Jan. 4

- Transfer station, Dec. 26-Jan. 4.

The City Market location will have a Dumpster in its parking lot. Please deposit only undecorated trees. South Park will have an area snow-fenced, where people can bring their trees; the town parks crew will then haul the trees to the landfill to be chipped into mulch for future park use.

The most ideal timesaving method of disposing of your tree is to take it directly to the transfer station where the county commissioners have waived all fees for Christmas tree disposal during this time frame. Again, please bring undecorated trees.

The town parks department will end up hauling the mulch to a storage area to cure for the winter, and the mulch should be ready to use in the spring of 2004.

Youth basketball

The 9-10 and 11-12 basketball rosters are firm and team practices are underway

Teams have been divided via a draft; the draft was installed to split teams up as evenly as possible.

This year's draft was very successful with the coaches and basketball commissioners having a great time. We look forward to a great year, so if you are suffering from cabin fever and need to get out of the house, come watch these kids play.

Games begin Jan. 10 at both the junior high and community center gymnasiums. Game time for the first Saturday is 9 a.m. at each location.

This year our 9-10 participation is up. Last year at this time we had six teams, this year we have nine with an average of nine players per team.

The growth at this age level causes severe scheduling problems. However, we have ironed out a schedule that will end with a season-ending tournament in early February.

If you have any question about youth basketball feel free to call Myles Gabel, recreation supervisor, at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Sports hotline

We are trying to utilize the sports hotline to convey all sporting events, practice events, and other parks and recreation events schedule.

If you have questions about the start time or canceling of an event due to weather or scheduling problem, please call the hotline number (recording) at 264-6658.

Recreation supervisor

Myles Gabel the new recreation supervisor started work Dec. 15 and jumped right in with a full schedule of practices, and is preparing game schedules for the winter leagues. Come by Town Hall, introduce yourself and meet our new team member.

Open Gym

The recreation department will host open gymnasium during Christmas break for school ages 14-18. Open gym will be 2-5 p.m. on Dec. 22-23, 27, 29-31.

Please come with clean basketball shoes. This activity is sponsored by the department to help break some of the monotony of long holiday breaks and to give this age group a place to go to burn some calories and get out of the house.

Come have fun with us and have a good holiday season.


Pirates outgun Cowboys to claim Wolf Creek crown

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

So far this season, Pagosa Head Coach Jim Shaffer and his varsity Pirate squad have made the math easy: two tournaments entered equals two trophies claimed.

Also, five games played equals five games won.

Those are the current equations after the Pirates easily defeated Gunnison on their home floor Saturday night in the final round of the Wolf Creek Classic to claim their second tournament trophy of the season and remain undefeated at 5-0.

In a game that was really never in doubt, Clayton Spencer controlled the tip for Pagosa and scored on a quick layup to put the Pirates up 2-0.

Gunnison's Chris Somero responded with two points for the Cowboys, but a baseline scoop from Pagosa's Ty Faber put the Pirates in the lead to stay with one minute gone.

The Cowboys were overmatched at both ends of the court from that point on, and continued to fall further behind in light of an unyielding Pirate defensive campaign.

Spencer provided the next five with a three-point play and putback, and teammate Caleb Forrest supplied nine straight for the Pirates as Pagosa raced to an 18-8 lead with under four minutes to play in the first quarter.

Luke Brinton, David Kern and Ryan Goodenberger pumped in free throws for the Pirates and Spencer added a deuce in the closing minute; Pagosa led 23-10 after one.

Jeremy Caler struck for three for the Pirates to open the second quarter off an assist from Faber, and Pagosa's lead swelled to 32-15 in the first three minutes after a pair of free throws from Spencer and consecutive baskets from teammate Coy Ross.

Cowboy turnovers netted four more points from Spencer and the half closed with Pagosa up 40-19 after a free throw from Craig Schutz, a Forrest deuce and a free throw from Faber with 3.4 seconds to play.

Forrest's jumper from the elbow and subsequent reverse layup had the Pirates leading 44-20 early in the third, and except for a deuce from Casey Belarde, the remainder of Pagosa's points in the period belonged to Brinton.

Gunnison had no answer for Brinton's inside prowess as the 6-3 senior forward recorded a total of 12 points in the paint and from the line to extend the margin to 58-28 by period's end.

The Pirates missed several attempts from the line to open the fourth, but a drive from Kern eventually put Pagosa back on track with a 60-33 lead at the five-minute mark.

Craig Schutz and brother Casey combined to score the final 10 down the stretch for the home team to give Pagosa the 70-39 win, tournament title and fifth victory of the season.

Spencer and Forrest each had 13 points and six rebounds, while Brinton also put up 13 points and pulled down five boards.

Faber and Forrest led in assists with four apiece, followed by Kern and Goodenberger, who each totaled three.

The tournament award ceremony took place after the game, with Faber, Goodenberger, Spencer and Forrest claiming four of the five all-tourney team slots for their efforts over the weekend.

In addition, Forrest took home the tournament's most valuable player award after averaging 18 points per game.

"We did a great job on defense early, and that made it easy to get things going on the offensive end," said Shaffer during a post-game interview.

When asked to evaluate Brinton's third-quarter effort, "It's great to have him back in the program; he's another kid playing a role for us that he probably wouldn't pick," said Shaffer.

"Luke can shoot the ball well from outside and play at guard, but we need him on the inside to back up Clayton and Caleb," he added.

"And that's what makes us successful; we've got a bunch of kids that sacrifice themselves at both ends of the court to do what's best for our team," said Shaffer.

The Pirates travel to Pueblo tomorrow to battle Pine Creek in the opening round of the Pueblo Invitational Tournament. Game time in the Pueblo East High School gym is 9 p.m.

If the Pirates defeat Pine Creek, they will take on either top-10 Denver Christian or Skyview at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at CSU Pueblo.

If the Pirates lose to Pine Creek, they will play the loser of the Denver Christian/Skyview contest at 3:00 p.m. Saturday at Pueblo East High School.

With respect to the upcoming tournament, which is likely to provide a higher level of competition, "It's going to be a good tournament with quality basketball teams, and we know we're going to be challenged," said Shaffer.

"I think it's going to be good for the kids to have to play in some close games."


Scoring: Forrest 5-6, 3-3, 13; Goodenberger 0-0, 2-2, 2; Craig Schutz 2-6, 2-4, 6; Casey Schutz 1-3, 3-4, 5; Spencer 4-6, 5-6, 13; Kern 2-5, 2-5, 6; Faber 1-5, 1-2, 3; Caler 1-5, 0-0, 3; Brinton 5-7, 3-7 13; Belarde 1-3, 0-0 2; Rand 0-0, 0-0 0; Ross 2-4, 0-2 4; Przybylski 0-0, 0-0 0, Shaffer 0-0, 0-0 0. Three-point goals: Caler 1. Fouled out: none. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 21. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 38. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 20.


Pirates overcome slow start to rout Palisade 65-43

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

What's the difference between competing in a basketball game and competing in a beauty pageant?

In a basketball game, you can sometimes win ugly - or at least without being very pretty.

Of course, it helps if you're the No. 1 Class 3A team in the state, and in a trademark case of playing down to the competition, Head Coach Jim Shaffer's Pirates overcame a sluggish start Thursday night to eventually rout Class 4A Palisade 65-43 in the opening game of the Wolf Creek Classic.

After controlling the tip, Pagosa took a 4-0 lead on a 16-foot jumper from Caleb Forrest and an interior deuce from Clayton Spencer in the game's first minute.

After a bout of turnovers and missed opportunities by both teams in the next three minutes, Jeremy Caler hit Forrest for a reverse layup to make it 6-0 before Palisade's Michael Embrey put up four straight to draw the Bulldogs within two.

The Pirates's final seven points of the quarter came via a jam and layup from Forrest and a trey from Caler, but due to a cool Pagosa shooting percentage, Palisade was able to cut the gap to 13-10 by the end of the first period.

Pagosa got a baseline hook for two from Craig Schutz early in the second, but turnovers and more cold shooting enabled Palisade to take a 17-15 lead with five minutes to play in the half.

Forrest tallied Pagosa's next six to keep the Pirates close in the following minutes before Ty Faber won a permanent lead back for the home team with a trey to make it 24-22 with 2:00 to play.

Due to a surge in defensive effort from Shaffer's squad in the final 90 seconds, the first half ended with the Pirates up 27-24 after Pagosa's Ryan Goodenberger added a jumper and free throw that was answered by a late deuce from Palisade's Ryan Farlow.

Shooting accuracy improved for Pagosa early in the third; Goodenberger drained a three, then the Pirate press netted two from Forrest and another trey from Faber to make it 35-24 with two minutes gone.

But the Bulldogs fought hard to stay within striking distance, and the quarter ended 45-37 in favor of Pagosa after Spencer, Schutz, Forrest, Luke Brinton and Coy Ross supplied the next 10 for the Pirates.

Palisade got as close as 47-42 after Faber opened scoring for Pagosa with a follow in the first minute of the final quarter, but consecutive baskets from Caler and Brinton extended the lead to nine at the 4:30 mark.

While outside shooting had kept Palisade close from early on, the Bulldogs could not find the range in the final four minutes as Pagosa contested every offering and limited the number of good looks from beyond the arc.

Brinton and Goodenberger supplied four straight from the line, then Forrest converted a dish from Spencer to put Pagosa up 57-43 after a lone free throw from Palisade's Brian Austin.

The Bulldogs continued to launch treys, but none found the mark and Palisade would not score the remainder of the game.

Meanwhile, the Pirates took turns adding to the margin from the charity stripe, taking a 63-43 lead after a final free throw from Casey Belarde with 1:02 to play.

Scoring closed after a seemingly-impossible layup from Forrest fell true after he was fouled in midair while leapfrogging Palisade's Cory Swetnam in the final seconds.

Forrest's free-throw attempt rimmed out, but the 6-8 junior finished the game on a high note nonetheless, leading all scorers with 22 points on 11-13 shooting from the field for the win.

Faber and Goodenberger added 10 apiece and each had three assists, while Spencer tallied three blocks and grabbed 5 rebounds to pace the defense.

The victory boosted Pagosa's record to 3-0 heading into Friday night's contest against Class 4A Clear Creek.

Commenting on his team's first-half performance during an interview later in the tournament, "If you don't come ready to play, it's usually too late to change your attitude once the game starts," said Shaffer.

"We didn't come ready to play against Palisade - at least in the first half - and we fell behind for the first time all year," added Shaffer.

"It's that type of mental letdown we're going to have to guard against all year in order to get where we want to be," he concluded.

The Pirates travel to Pueblo tomorrow to take on Pine Creek in the opening round of the Pueblo Invitational Tournament. Game time in the Pueblo East High School gym is 9 p.m.

If the Pirates defeat Pine Creek, they will take on either top-10 Denver Christian or Skyview at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at CSU Pueblo.

If the Pirates lose to Pine Creek, they will play the loser of the Denver Christian/Skyview contest at 3:00 p.m. Saturday at Pueblo East High School.


Scoring: Forrest 11-13, 0-1, 22; Goodenberger 2-7, 5-6, 10; Craig Schutz 2-4, 0-0, 4; Spencer 3-6, 1-2, 7; Kern 0-3, 0-0, 0; Faber 3-11, 2-4, 10; Caler 2-6, 0-0, 5; Brinton 1-6, 2-2 4; Belarde 0-0, 1-2 1; Ross 0-0, 2-2 2. Three-point goals: Faber 2, Goodenberger 1, Caler 1. Fouled out: none. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 10. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 26. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 12.


Pirates get defensive in 70-34 win over Clear Creek

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

After a somewhat stale victory over Palisade Thursday night, whatever Pagosa Head Coach Jim Shaffer said to motivate his team for its outing versus Clear Creek the following evening worked.

And worked well.

"Tonight we got back to playing Pirate basketball," said Shaffer after his Pirate cagers clubbed Clear Creek 70-34 during second-round action at the Wolf Creek Classic.

Pagosa quickly returned to normal form Friday night before an appreciative home crowd and buried the Golddiggers with a first-half surge led by 6-8 Caleb Forrest and 6-7 Clayton Spencer.

Forrest tallied a trio of baskets, including one from three-point range, and Spencer added an interior deuce and free throw as Pagosa jumped out to a 10-6 lead midway through the opening period.

Then a steal by David Kern led to a successful drive through the paint by Ryan Goodenberger; Kern followed suit with a double-clutch layin, Goodenberger added a jumper and the lead was 16-6 with 1:30 left in the stanza.

Ty Faber's baseline deuce at the one-minute mark put the Pirates up 18-6, and the quarter ended shortly after Luke Brinton hit Spencer on the block for two more to widen the gap to 20-6.

Forrest and Spencer supplied firepower on assists from Faber to start the second quarter, and though Clear Creek tried to keep pace, the Golddiggers fell behind 27-10 after Jeremy Caler snared a rebound and raced coast to coast for two.

Shaffer kept the Pirates energized by rotating personnel throughout the quarter, and the lead widened to 38-12 behind a stingy defense and a baseline deuce from Coy Ross, a trey from Casey Belarde and a layin from Luke Brinton.

Ross added a free throw to the first-half total just before the break, and Pagosa led 39-12 at the horn.

Forrest and Ross tallied Pagosa's first four of the second half, and after an interior basket from teammate Craig Schutz with 4:28 on the clock, the Pirates led 45-16.

The highlight of the game came roughly one minute later as Forrest broke loose after a steal near midcourt and brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous, two-handed reverse jam to put Pagosa up 47-16.

The ovation continued as Caler supplied the next six with a trey and three-point play, Faber sank a pair from the line, and Forrest and Spencer added a basket each before the quarter ended with Pagosa on top 59-20.

Strong defense was the mainstay as various Pirates kept stat keepers busy throughout the final period, and free throws from Brinton, Ross and Kern resulted in a 63-27 lead with 4:00 to play.

Pagosa guards Paul Przybylski and Otis Rand took turns feeding Craig Schutz, Casey Schutz and Brinton for the Pirates' last seven, and although Clear Creek's Robert Sherman hit a final jumper at the buzzer, Pagosa was soon celebrating its fourth straight win.

Forrest topped the scoring chart with 20 points and hauled in six boards. Spencer added nine points for the Pirates, followed by Caler with eight and Brinton with seven.

Forrest and Brinton each totaled four steals to lead the defense, while Faber added two thefts and led in assists with four.

"When we play our game on defense it leads to a lot of opportunities in transition," said Shaffer.

"Then it becomes a fun style of basketball; the kids have a blast and it's a lot more entertaining for the crowd to watch," he added.

Commenting on another solid outing from his reserves, "It's nice to be able to use our depth to keep people fresh or when some of our guys lose concentration," said Shaffer.

"Especially since we have a lot of kids that can get in there and compete - that's what having eight seniors can do for you."

The Pirates travel to Pueblo tomorrow to take on Pine Creek in the opening round of the Pueblo Invitational Tournament. Game time in the Pueblo East High School gym is 9 p.m.

If the Pirates defeat Pine Creek, they will take on either top-10 Denver Christian or Skyview at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at CSU Pueblo.

If the Pirates lose to Pine Creek, they will play the loser of the Denver Christian/Skyview contest at 3:00 p.m. Saturday at Pueblo East High School.


Scoring: Forrest 8-13, 3-4, 20; Goodenberger 2-2, 0-0, 4; Craig Schutz 2-3, 1-2, 5; Casey Schutz 0-0, 1-2, 1; Spencer 4-8, 1-2, 9; Kern 1-4, 1-0, 3; Faber 1-2, 2-2, 4; Caler 3-6, 1-2, 8; Brinton 2-5, 3-4 7; Belarde 1-3, 0-0 3; Rand 0-0, 0-1 0; Ross 2-5, 2-4 6; Przybylski 0-2, 0-0 0. Three-point goals: Belarde 1, Caler 1, Forrest 1. Fouled out: none. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 14. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 29. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 15.


Pirates grapplers third at Buena Vista, head for Warrior Classic

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

A preseason evaluation of the Pirate wrestling team included the observation that the squad would be better in a standard tournament than the dual meet format.

With the second dual meet tournament of the year under their belts, the Pirates are proving otherwise.

For a second week in a row, the team surpassed expectations, taking third place at the 12-team Buena Vista Duals and competing very well with two of the top 3A teams in the state - Eagle Valley, the tourney winner, and second-place Centauri.

"I think there is a clear difference between us and average teams," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "We forfeited 12 points in each of our duals at Buena Vista, and yet we hung in there. We're ahead of where we expected to be considering how many of the guys in the lineup are new to varsity wrestling."

Janowsky was particularly pleased with the progress made by his athletes in the week since the season opener at Rocky Ford.

"We made the technical corrections last week, and no one got beat the same way when they lost. We didn't repeat the mistakes of a week before. Now, some new things have surfaced, things to work on. Our whole goal is to remedy everything that shows up prior to the postseason tournaments."

Three Pirates remained undefeated this young season.

Michael Martinez continued to clean up at 119 pounds. Martinez started the day against Florence with a fall at 3 minutes, 17 seconds of the match. In his match versus the wrestler from Buena Vista, Martinez nailed the pin at 1:45. Basalt's entry's shoulders went to the mat with a mere 54 seconds elapsed and the Centauri 119 lost by a fall at 5:00. Against Eagle Valley, Martinez won a 19-7 major decision.

"Coaches from opposing schools appreciate Michael," said Janowsky. "They appreciate his relentlessness and his humility. They appreciate him as much as we do."

James Gallegos continued to excel at 140. Gallegos pinned the Florence athlete at 2:38 then pinned his Buena Vista opponent at 4:51. A 10-7 decision over the man from Basalt was followed with another fall, over the Centauri wrestler, at 4:59. Eagle Valley forfeited the match to Gallegos.

"James is showing a lot of savvy," said the coach. "He has good instincts when he's in scoring position; he follows through well. He also has good instincts when he's not; he finds ways to get out of trouble."

Senior Kory Hart stayed unbeaten at 152 starting his day with a fall over Florence at 1:13. Hart pinned the Buena Vista wrestler at 1:10, got a forfeit against Basalt and pinned Centauri's athlete at 1:36. Hart nailed a 15-2 major decision over Eagle Valley in his final match.

Pagosa finished pool competition with two wins, beating Florence 41-36 then coming to life against Buena Vista, losing only one match and winning 78-18

In the next contest, the Pirates lost to Centauri 36-42 but won six of 12 matches wrestled.

Eagle Valley got the best of Pagosa, 45-23. "They matched up against us better than Centauri," said Janowsky. "We let a few get away from us."

Many of the Pirates contributed points to the team's totals during the day.

Orion Sandoval won three of five matches at 112. Sandoval pinned opponents from Buena Vista (5:10), Basalt (2:57) and Centauri (3:18).

Darren Hockett won three matches at 125. Hockett pinned the wrestler from Florence at 4:51 and won with falls against Buena Vista (:28) and Basalt (:39).

Ky Smith had two victories at 130. Smith scored an 11-2 decision against Florence and pinned the Buena Vista wrestler at the 18-second mark.

Junior Raul Palmer logged three wins at 135. Palmer won all three matches with pins: against Florence at 2:38; against Buena Vista at 3:25; and against Basalt at :42.

At 160, senior Aaron Hamilton had one victory. Hamilton, wrestling light at the weight, pinned his opponent from Buena Vista at 1:18. Basalt forfeited to Hamilton.

David Richter pinned the Centauri wrestler at 2:29 at 171. Richter accepted two forfeits.

Marcus Rivas had three wins at 189. He began with a 13-1 major decision over Florence then scored a fall at 44 seconds against Buena Vista. In his last match of the day, Rivas scored a 6-4 overtime decision against Eagle Valley.

James Martinez won three matches and got a forfeit at 215. The sophomore continued to impress, with three falls: against Florence at 1:33; at :32 against Buena Vista; and at 2:42, versus Basalt.

This weekend is time for the Pirates to find out whether or not they are the tournament team they were predicted to be.

Pagosa travels to Grand Junction for action Friday and Saturday at one of the premier tournaments in the four-state region. The Warrior Classic features 34 teams and many consider it tougher than the state tourney at season's end.

Last year, the Pirates returned to the Warrior after a hiatus and the scene was not pretty. Janowsky expects better this time around.

"Last year," he said, "we were a dinged-up crew and we didn't get anyone through to the finals. This year, I expect to get wins from almost everyone and to have some guys go deep into the tournament. As tough as this tournament is, we've got balance in our lineup and we can fare well. We'll need points from our returning state placers. To succeed we also need to compete with those guys who are on a par with us."

Janowsky said the Warrior will end a satisfying preholiday schedule. "It's been interesting so far," he said. "Our guys have been more competitive. They're more savvy; they don't get overconfident when they're ahead and they don't get down when they're behind. So far, this has been a good start for us."

With the Warrior over, the team takes a holiday break and returns to action Jan. 8 with an Intermountain League dual meet at home against Monte Vista.


Pirate cheerleaders garner a 4th place tie in state prelims

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

In perhaps their finest performance in years, Pagosa Springs High School cheerleaders finished in a three-way tie for fourth place in state competition Saturday.

The 13-member Pirate spirit team was among 21 schools in their category.

They finished in a 77-point tie with Eaton and Estes Park but judges awarded the fourth spot in the finals to Eaton.

Colorado Springs Christian, D'Evelyn and Holy Family high schools finished in the first three spots.

The Colorado Springs school was the first-place winner in spirit competition and D'Evelyn took first in poms.

Pirate coach Renee Davis believes it was the highest finish by an all-girl Pagosa squad. In the past, a coed team finished second.

Davis is excited for squad chances next year.

"I had a young team and all will be back next year," she said. "That experience and the challenge to improve on this year's performance should mean more spirited competition.

"When this group goes back as a veteran squad," she said, "others will be gearing to beat them. We will have to continue to develop our techniques and routines to keep climbing the ranks."

She said the judges' decision concerning which team got to advance from the tie was based on tenths of a point performance evaluations.

"We missed by one-tenth of a point of still being in a tie with Eaton," she said.

Davis also noted she is a member of the state spirit competition committee and stayed beyond the competition to help work out competition decisions and formats for next year's championships.


Buikema, Walkup drive Ladies to 4th period defeat of Gunnison

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Coming back from a cold-shooting disaster against Class 4A Cortez earlier in the day, the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates had their biggest one quarter point output of the season with 23 in the opening stanza against Gunnison Saturday night.

They were paced by a pair of treys from Bri Scott who had eight points in the period and three field goals from Lori Walkup who had been blanked from the floor against Cortez.

Melissa Maberry hit her first trey of the season, Caitlyn Jewell had four points, and Caitlin Forrest added two in the first period explosion.

Gunnison, upset earlier in the day by Clear Creek, answered with 15 in the period, six from Shallee Keener who was to finish with 20 and be named to the all-tournament team as was Pagosa's Scott.

Keener got support from Stevie Henkle with four of her 18 in the period and Brittany Cole with the first of two treys.

And then, once again, the roof seemed to cave in on Pagosa. They were outpointed 13-5 in the second period, hitting only two of nine from the floor, while Gunnison poured in 13 to forge a 28-28 halftime tie.

The Lady Cowboys got six from Henkle and four more from Keener in the period.

The third period was more of the same with Gunnison outpointing the cold-shooting Lady Pirates 12-11 to lead 40-39 after three periods. Again it was Keener leading the way for Gunnison with another six points. Cole added her second trey and Haley Burton hit a three-pointer for her only points of the game.

Scott drilled her second three to keep Pagosa close and then Emily Buikema, silent for a game and a half, drove inside twice to pick up a pair of field goals. Walkup contributed a 12-foot jumper and Jessica Lynch a pair of free throws to keep Pagosa in striking distance.

Scott opened the fourth dropping in a pair of free throws to give Pagosa a short-lived lead but Keener took it back with her final field goal of the game.

Walkup hit one of two from the stripe to rekindle the tie before Forrest gave Pagosa the lead with an offensive rebound putback. Henkle tied it back up with two free throws and then gave the Lady Cowboys the lead again with a driving layup.

Then it was Walkup's turn to shine. She drove the left lane, carried a defender up with her and hit a driving lefthander to tie it up again.

She gave Pagosa the lead with another field goal and a 14-foot jumper and Henkle tied it again with two more free throws.

Buikema suddenly took control of the game. First she hit an 8-foot fall-away jumper on a feed from Jessica Lynch and then, with 41.9 seconds left, made the signature play of the game.

The 5-11 sophomore post player picked up a ball knocked away just behind the center line by Lynch and drove the length of the floor to score and put it out of reach for Gunnison.

Jewell, silent from the floor after the first half, add three free throws in the period and Pagosa had a hard-fought 56-50 victory, leaving their season record at 4-1.

Coach Bob Lynch was extremely pleased with his team's fourth quarter surge. "We proved we can be down and come back," he said. "And we got the cold shooting off our backs thanks to Emily and Lori down the stretch."

And, he was pleased that the Lady Pirates cut their turnover total to 13 after giving the ball away 31 times to Cortez.

He felt the second key to Pagosa's success in the game was strong rebounding. Jewell led the category with six, five at the offensive end, while Forrest and Buikema each had five.

Finally, as the third key in the victory, he cited the performance at the free throw line where the Lady Pirates converted 10 of 14, their best percentage of the young season.

Walkup and Scott led the Pagosans with 13 apiece while Jewell and Buikema each had 9.

Pagosa had 27 rebounds to 14 for Gunnison. Kelley was the steals leader for the game with three and Buikema added to her scoring effort with a game-leading three blocked shots.

Pagosa takes its pre-holiday quest on the road again this weekend, participating in the Rye Girls Classic.

The Ladies play Florence at 5:30 p.m. Friday, LaJunta at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and close out the 2003 portion of their season with a 5:30 p.m. Saturday clash against Trinidad.


Scoring: P-Scott, 13 (4-10, three 3s, 2-2); Lynch, 2 (0-5, 2-2); Kelley, 0 (0-3); Walkup, 13 (6-12, 1-2); Reinhardt , 0 (0-0, 0-0); Maberry, 6 (2-3, one 3, 1-2); Faber, 0 (0-1); Jewell, 9 (3-12, 3-4); Buikema, 9 (4-5,1-2); Forrest, 4 (2-4); Gunnison: Watier, 4 (1-2, 2-2; Barton, 3 (1-1); Keener, 20 (7-11, 6-8); Cole, 6 (2-3, two 3s); Henkle, 18 (4-4, one 3, 9-9); total fouls, P-20, G-11; turnovers, P-13, G-9; total rebounds, P-27, G-14.


Ladies go ice cold in home tourney 67-37 loss to Cortez

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Shoot 11 of 50 from the floor against a top-notch higher classification foe and you'll probably lose in today's girls' high school basketball.

Turn the ball over 31 times - unforced turnovers they're called - in the same type of game and you'll probably lose.

Shoot just barely over .500 from the foul line - 14 of 27 - and it is likely you will lose.

The Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates melded all those possible problems into one lackluster performance Saturday against Class 4A Montezuma Cortez and proved the theory: Do it and you lose.

So ended a three-game winning streak to open the season, a streak which saw the ladies knock off number three ranked Buena Vista and take games comparatively easily from Salida and Clear Creek.

The inability to score from the floor seemed infective - almost every member of the squad shot below 50 percent for the game.

Only 6-2 center Caitlyn Jewell and 5-10 sophomore Caitlin Forrest were effective, Jewell hitting six of 12 from the floor for 12 points and Forrest coming off the bench to go 3-for-4 from the floor and 2-of-6 from the line for eight points.

In fact, Jewell's drive and layup from the right side was Pagosa's only score in the opening stanza, a period after which Pagosa trailed 14-2, and Brittany Whiteman, who would be named the tournament's most valuable player, already had nine markers for the Lady Panthers.

Jewell and fellow junior Bri Scott tried to lead the Lady Pirates back in the second period, with an assist by Forrest.

Scott had five in the period including a trey and Jewell added two more field goals. Forrest had one from the floor and another from the line. Melissa Maberry added two from the stripe but no other Pirates scored.

In fact, Lori Walkup, averaging almost 15 points a game to that point, was held to two last minute free throws as the shooting freeze seemed a class action.

If anything, the Lady Pirates were even more ineffective in the third period while Whiteman went wild with 10 more points, including her third three of the game, and The Pirates were down 48-20 after three periods.

Thanks to Jewell and Forrest Pagosa's Ladies had a respectable 17-point output in the fourth period, but still were outscored by two points for a final of 67-37.

The sole comfort the Lady Pirates could gain from the final period was that they shut down Whiteman from the floor. She did, however, add four foul shots and finished with 29 points for the game.

Coach Bob Lynch, commenting after the game said, "We were afraid of some kind of letdown but didn't expect anything like this."

"It seemed to make little difference who we put on the floor, the die was cast in the first period and seldom did anyone find the range," he said.

Lynch said Montezuma Cortez is an "excellent team which will probably challenge for its own league title. But they're not 30 points better than us, although the final score of this game would give you that impression."

Look, if you will, at these shooting statistics and you'll understand his frustration.

Scott, while scoring seven points, was just one of nine from the floor, the second quarter three-pointer.

The two point guards, starter sophomore Liza Kelley (0-4) and freshman Jessica Lynch (0-3) got their only points from the line where Lynch was two for four and Kelley one for seven.

Walkup was 0-7 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the line. Freshman Laurel Reinhardt who had given the squad a spark off the bench in the tournament's first game against Clear Creek, was 0-7 from the floor while Kari Beth Faber was 1-3 and China Rose Rivas 0-1.

Emily Buikema, the 5-11 sophomore dual post with Forrest, was almost not in evidence for the game, going 0-1 from the floor, not appearing at the line, while pulling down only three rebounds.

Cortez shot just over 42 percent from the floor for the game, hitting 22 of 47, and also hit 22 from the line in 35 attempts. Pagosa was charged with 21 fouls in the contest, Cortez with 17.

A statistical oddity of the contest is that Pagosa outrebounded their foe 39-24, their highest total of the season to date.

Lynch said the reason was that "Cortez rarely missed and our girls were so cold they often missed two or three times on a single possession." Pagosa had 18 offensive and 21 defensive boards compared to totals of 13 and 11 for Cortez.

Pagosa's leaders in the category were Jewell with 10, Reinhardt with 7 and Forrest with 6.

Scott, Walkup, Buikema and Forrest had the only assists for Pagosa and Scott the only blocked shot.


Scoring: P- Scott, 7 (1-8 , one 3 , 4-4); Lynch, 2 (0-3, 2-4) Kelley, 1 (0-4, 1-7); Walkup, 2 (0-7, 2-2); Reinhardt, 0 (0-7); Maberry, 2 (0-0, 2-2) Faber, 2 (1-3); Jewell, 12 (6-11); Rivas, 1 (0-1, 1-2); Buikema 0 (0-1, 0-0); Forrest, 8 (3-3, 2-6); Tomforde 0 (0-1); Cortez: Julie Oliver, 3 (0-0, 3-4); Elise Stephens, 2 (1-2); Sasha Yarbrough, 2 (0-2, 2-5); Natalie Johnson, 2 (1-1); Andrea Jensen, 2 (1-4); Lindsey Wilson, 11 (3-9, 5-6); Courtnie Lanier, 2 (1-1); Christina Schaalk, 2 (0-0, 2-4); Tiffany Jacket, 11 (5-9, 1-5); Whiteman 29 (9-17, three 3s, 7-9); Snow Wing, 2 (0-2, 2-2). Total fouls, P-21, C-17; turnovers, P-31, C-10.


Ladies' height comes up short; but sharpshooters save the day

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

When your twin posts, the usual rebounding powers, come up missing in action, where do you look for leadership.

For Bob Lynch the answer was obvious in the opener of the women's division of the Wolf Creek Classic Friday evening against Clear Creek's Lady Golddiggers.

When the interior tandem of 6-2 Caitlyn Jewell and 5-11 Emily Buikema could produce only six points and five rebounds between them, Lynch looked to other veterans for firepower.

Up stepped 5-9 junior forwards Bri Scott and Lori Walkup with 12 and 13 points respectively to pace the Lady Pirates and 5-9 freshman Laurel Reinhardt who came of the bench in the first period for four quick points on driving layups in a 52-39 win.

Fortunately for the home team, Clear Creek's offense was even more stale, picking up only five points in the first period on a single field goal from Megan Hudson, who would be their top scorer for the game with 10, and three free throws from Kaytlyn Hyser, who would finish the game with eight points.

Scott drilled the first of two long treys in the game in the first period and added a short jumper.

Walkup hit a pair from 14 feet, Kari Beth Faber came off the bench to hit a layup and Liza Kelley added a charity toss as the Lady Pirates spurted to a 16-5 lead after one.

They cooled a little in the second period but Scott hit another three-pointer Walkup added a field goal and a charity toss, Jessica Lynch contributed a deuce and Buikema recorded her first field goal late in the period.

Clear Creek improved from one field goal to two in the period and added five points from the line to trail 26-14 at the half.

The Lady Golddiggers from Idaho Springs tried to stage a third-period comeback with two quick baskets by Megan Hudson, cutting the lead to eight.

But Scott and Walkup each answered with a pair of field goals, Kelley a field goal and her second free throw, Reinhardt another driving layup and Caitlin Forrest with the putback of an offensive rebound and the lead built to 41-25 after three periods.

With Lynch going 14 deep on the bench - everyone suited seeing action - Clear Creek staged a minor comeback in the final stanza, outpointing the home team 14-11 on the strength of six points, including a trey, from Megan Hudson's older sister, Kassie, who had been silent until then. Jessica Cash added a basket and four free throws and the younger Hudson chipped in with her final field goal to conclude the scoring.

Despite the fact Jewell attempted only two shots in the game and hit only one, and that Buikema was two for six from the floor, the Lady Pirates shot nearly 46 percent from the floor as a team.

The foes, meanwhile, were hitting just 13 of 33 for a little over 39 percent. They hit 12 of 20 from the free throw line while Pagosa was only 5 of 11 from the stripe.

Jewell and the freshman Jessica Lynch led the Pirates in rebounds with four each with Melissa Maberry and Caitlin Forrest each adding three.

Scott and Kelley each had three steals to lead in that category, Lynch led in assists with two, and Reinhardt, Jewell and Forrest each had a blocked shot for Pagosa.

The victory boosted the Pagosa record to 4-0 for the season, setting the stage for a lunch-hour clash the next day with Class 4A Montezuma Cortez.


Scoring: P-Scott, 12 (5-9, two 3s); Lynch, 5 (2-5, 1 3); Kelley, 4 (1-4, 2-2); Walkup, 13, (6-7, 1-2); Reinhardt, 6 (3-4, 0-1); Maberry, 0 (0-3); Faber, 2 (1-2); Jewell, 2 (1-2, 0-2); Buikema, 4 (2-6); Forrest, (1-4, 1-2); Tomforde 1 (0-1, 1-1). CC-Cass, 9 (2-10, 5-6) K. Hudson, 6 (2-4, one 3, 1-3); Nikki Brown, 2, (1-2); Erica Bessler, 2 (1-2); Hyser, 8 (1-3, 6-9); M. Hudson, 10, (5-9, 0-1); total fouls, P-20, CC-10; total rebounds, P-22 (13 defensive) and CC-20, 16 offensive.




Seniors vote

Dear Editor:

Many seniors came out on Monday, Dec. 15, to participate in the annual meeting of Archuleta Seniors, Inc. and to cast ballots for officers and other members of the board of directors.

We are grateful for all the enthusiasm and support for our organization. Special thanks to the majority of those attending who gave a standing ovation to center director Musetta Wollenweber.

Officers of

Archuleta Seniors Inc.

Bins stolen

Dear Editor:

As many of you might know from reading my previous letter concerning recycling at the post office, I consider recycling an important activity that all of us should do.

That's why I was disappointed when one of the two recycling bins at the post office was gone. What even disappointed me more was that I have recently learned that there used to be four recycling boxes in the lobby.

Want to guess what happened to three of them? Did the post office decide they didn't need them? Nope. In fact I have been told that the new postmaster has made recycling a priority. Did these thick plastic bins fall apart? Nope. What really happened was that someone or several someones stole them!

That's right. Here in good old Pagosa Springs someone decided that their needs were more important than the rest of us, so they just walked off with them. That's pretty low, not to mention it is a federal crime to steal from a United States Post Office. Why don't you bring them back so we can all use them.

John Eustis

Sign law kudos

Dear Editor

To the Pagosa Springs sign ordinance advisory board: Kudos for their efforts and thoughts. They are right on target.

Their letter to the editor of Dec. 11 could not have been more apropos.

Business owners need to look beyond their 1,000 square foot sign blocking their view of the rest of Colorado. We are a tourist town, for better or for worse.

So with whom do we compete for those tourist dollars? New York City, for the shopping on 5th Avenue? No, of course not. The Front Range? Nope; they have far more shopping choices than we do. Arguably, not even Durango. Many people go from here to Durango to shop.

So, with no opprobrium intended for local shop owners, we stand at pretty much the bottom of the barrel for shopping.

Why in the world would tourists come here, then? Far and away, it is for the scenic beauty which Pagosa has to offer.

Again, then, with whom do we compete?

In all likelihood, other small, mountain towns that boast of great outdoor recreation: Crested Butte, Telluride, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Aspen, Lake City. Maybe even Durango.

I'm not completely sure, because I don't sit on the Chamber of Commerce Board. But what I do know is that when I go to these other towns, I find them a lot prettier.

They have worked hard to avoid the "strip mall" look. Pagosa, sad to say, in many respects has not. Many parts of the downtown have been spruced up nicely over the past several years. However, there are still a number of business signs here which are loud, ugly and obnoxious.

It really does detract from the beauty of the town.

Personally, I would rather go to the other towns to shop and enjoy wandering the streets. What Pagosa can market is beauty, not a Times Square experience. Let's play our strength.

Let's be forward thinking, not myopic in our viewpoint. Let's make Pagosa more beautiful, and bring those tourist dollars where they belong.

Reid Kelly

Response to Brown

Dear Editor:

In reading past editorial letters I realized some really important stuff. I want to address this directly to Debra Brown and her recent self-defense letter.

Hi Debra. We have known each other for a long time. I was reading your response in last week's paper and decided to put this in a different perspective.

It seems your rebuttal about your appointment to the USJHD board was in defense of your integrity as a volunteer. I don't think anybody questioned your integrity.

The question was about the board's integrity and the way you were elected. I fully believe you have the utmost integrity, just like some of the other current and recent past board members. I think some members of the board conned you into taking the position and conned you into taking their side. All we need is for you and a couple of others on the board to realize what is really going on.

Debra, you spoke of all the time you have volunteered in our community. You are really special for doing that. Now, look at how many good folks were volunteers at EMS three years ago when all this woe started. And, don't forget all the thankless and underpaid hours that the clinic staff used to put in on citizen emergencies.

Then look around and see how many volunteers are left at either place. Almost all personnel at EMS are full-time staff and many of them have just moved here because they were hired to work here.

Then go to the clinic. All of the doctors and nurses are new and transplanted into town. Transplanted into a clinically sick body of a clinic in hopes of postponing it's death.

No one questioned your integrity. We question your ability to step back and look at what is really going on around you and what you, "Nurse Debra" can do to save this dying system.

Step back from your title, "board member," and remember that you were a taxpaying citizen the day before you took up your new volunteer cause. Walk away and ask some of the real, down-in-the trenches volunteers what they think has happened to us.

Yes, the last two directors had real time problems and they messed up our system. I know because I started my EMT career 14 or 15 years ago and since have become inactive due to my current work schedule. In the past, 40-50 EMTs actually participated in calls. We raced to sign up for shifts and raced to be the first at EMS so we could save the day or night, for free.

Now you have to page three or four times for a driver for a transport to Mercy before someone actually goes to the trouble of calling in.

Something is wrong, bad wrong. I don't think it's 50 people that are wrong, with four or five board members and a director being right.

Thanks for caring enough to listen.

Larry L. Little

Pitiful story

Dear Editor:

I do not believe I have ever read a more pitiful account of the way a poor, hurt animal was treated. We have an animal cruelty law, so where are the people who are supposed to enforce this law?

They pick up animals who are out of their yards, but cannot enforce a law where an animal is deliberately shot, then left out in the cold to die?

I personally would like an explanation of why my tax money is not being used to enforce all the laws, not just the laws that are easy or laws that are popular at a certain time.

Thank you to R. T. Brown and G. Francavilla for your kind, caring treatment of this animal. What does it say about us when we allow this kind of mistreatment go unpunished.

A copy of this letter is going to the Archuleta County Sheriff and I hope other animal lovers will submit their protests, also.

Pat Payne

Catatonic state

Dear Editor:

Here it is the enchanting holiday season in these gorgeous snowcapped mountains and "The Best of Colorado." It's a time of uplifted spirits and good cheer but I've been hopelessly demoralized.

My present state of mind is approaching hara-kiri. I feel I'm losing all my Crayolas.

I've been dragged from participating in fraudulent patriotism, through the lament of sympathy to the dirge of inferiority. The situation is beyond desperation.

The latest letter from Wendy Wallace of Dec. 11 and her divulgements that yours truly might be another inferior, undereducated dimwit who most likely killed with a bunch of military morons for 33 years is almost more than I can digest.

The accusation is worse than the anticipation of a gut refill at my favorite fast food emporium only to find out they're outta freshly slaughtered meat - the absolute epitome of severe stomach angst.

What's really disheartening is that I cannot remember what my ASVAG (Armed Forces Vocational

Aptitude Battery Test) score revealed, since I took that test some 50 years ago. So, depending on those results, I could also be classified "moron" - it's depressing.

I am in a catatonic state. At least Ms. Wallace didn't place firearm and police under the same dire umbrella. So, I have some slim hope, folks. With the New Year it's just gotta git better. Maybe Hillary will indeed run.

However, I understand some patriotic morons handcuffed and placed behind bars the so-called "Lion of Baghdad" and self-alleged "Tiger of the Tigris." Wonder if Wallace thinks Saddam might possibly be a positive omen for the future of the global arena?

My every Santa Claus wish is that I could somehow be equal in Wendy's eyes. But then, the claim to equality is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. What it expresses is the itching, smarting awareness of an inferiority which Ms. Wallace refuses to accept, and therefore resents. Tough.

In closing, I'd like to thank Wendy fer takin da time to help this war enthusiast deal with my moronic reality and inferiority.

Have a holly jolly Christmas.

Jim Sawicki


Community News

Senior News

Five candidates run for three spots on Chamber board

By Doug Trowbridge

Robin Auld, Jesse Formwalt, Tony Gilbert, Sherry Neill and Patti Renner.

The few, the proud: The Chamber board candidates.

Hopefully our members will find their way into the Chamber and cast their votes for three of these very capable candidates.

Each member receives one ballot per membership and we encourage everyone to exercise his or her right to vote. Ballots will be accepted through Jan. 17 at the Mardi Gras Party and annual meeting.

The Chamber will be pleased to welcome any of the candidates onto the board, but it is up to the members to choose which three will have the (dubious) honor of serving for the next three years. So, drop by the Chamber today and cast your vote.

Parade of Lights

If you were lucky enough to be downtown at 6 p.m. last Saturday, you saw some great floats rolling through town.

This year's Parade of Lights had 15 entries and the competition was fierce for top prize.

As always, this event couldn't happen without a lot of help from our friends, so here we go Š

A great big thank you to Don Volger and the Pagosa Springs Police Department for all the extra work they have to go through every time we want to have a parade, especially at night. Closing the street and keeping all our entrants safe is no small feat and they always do it with a smile!

Jack Wilshire, our parade chauffeur, and the good folks at Circle T / Ace Hardware who donate the truck and trailer that ushers the Chamber's rather charming float along the parade route, deserve our undying thanks, as well. Thanks, also, to board members Angie Dahm, Ken Harms, Sally Hovatter and Toby Karlquist for helping Sally and I decorate this year's Chamber entry.

Tom and Wyoma Richards, alias Santa and Mrs. Claus, are perennial favorites and greatly appreciated by the Chamber for all their time spent helping us out every holiday season.

And another thank you to the Archuleta County Fair Royalty for joining the Chamber on our ride through town.

Finally, we would like to thank this year's judges - Annie Ryder, Don Ford and Lewis Day - for attempting to determine a winner from the many worthy entries.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for Š our winners.

In the category of Best and Brightest Business we have a tie: The $100 prize will be shared by The Springs Resort and Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation.

In the category of Best and Brightest Organization our winner is Our Savior Lutheran School.

And in the category of Best and Brightest Family we have another tie. Our congratulations to Fermin Villareal and Jacob Lucero for their efforts; they, too, will split a $100 prize! Thanks to everyone who entered this year! Now get to work on next year's entry.

Pagosa Perks

By now, you have all heard about the Chamber's Pagosa Perks Program. I assume you have because we have sold out of our first batch and had to place an emergency order for more!

Yes, it seems that Pagosa Perks are a hit! The good news is our supply has been replenished and there are plenty of Perks to go around.

Merchants should be receiving them in droves as holiday shoppers make their last minute purchases.

Another wave should hit on Dec. 26, when everyone who received Pagosa Perks in their stockings on Christmas morning heads out to spend their new-found wealth.

If you're still hunting for that perfect gift and the stress is getting to you, consider stopping by the Chamber and picking up some Pagosa Perks for those hard to satisfy people on your shopping list. For more information on the Pagosa Perks Program, call the Chamber at 264-2360.

Gallery Walk

Last chance to get your tickets to the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gala Holiday Gallery Walk set for Dec. 19, 5-7:30 p.m.

Enjoy refreshments, entertainment, door prizes and good times at 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 at the Chamber of Commerce and WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company. PSAC members can enjoy the evening for only $8 if they pick up their tickets at the gallery in Town Park.

Photography contest

The time is fast approaching for the 16th annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest at Moonlight Books.

The show is open to amateur and professional photographers and attracts an amazing amount of talent each year.

Entries will be accepted at Moonlight Books through Feb. 5 at 5 p.m. The cost is a mere $4 per entry and rules can be picked up at Moonlight Books, Pagosa Photography and Mountain Snapshots.

Start looking for that perfect shot and get ready to show it off during the show in February.

Springs article

Congratulations to The Springs Resort for their write up in the Denver Post Travel Section Dec. 14. This article on hot springs in the state of Colorado describes The Springs Resort as "Šone of the most eye-catching in the state."

We always love it when our members earn recognition, as it reflects well on the whole town.

Congratulations to The Springs Resort for some very positive and well-earned publicity.


Three new members and four renewals round out another great week at the Chamber. Our first new member is Joyce Little - spare time millionaire. She joins us with Enliven International Business Associate - Spare Time Millionaire. For over 2,000 years, the Polynesian people have relied on the Noni plant to improve their health, lose weight and beautify their skin. If you would like more information you'll find Joyce at 282 Lakeside Dr., or you can call her at 731-4995, fax her at 731-3218, e-mail her at or check out her Web site at

Next up is Julianne Schultz with Schultz & Associates, Inc., publishing southwest Colorado's premier lifestyle magazines — the biannual Durango Magazine and, introducing, Pagosa Springs Magazine, Guide to Pagosa Living. Schultz & Associates are located at 124 W. 21st St. in Durango. You can reach them at 385-4030 or fax them at 385-4436. Check out their Web site at or e-mail them at

Our last new member is Shoffner's Piano Service, run by Robert and Patricia Shoffner. They offer piano tuning, regulating and repair, refinishing and restoration. You can reach them at 731-6547 or drop them an e-mail at

We get rolling on renewals with Richard Hodgson and Bad Moon Rodeo in Blanco, New Mexico. We also welcome back The Pagosa Springs Film Society and their always entertaining monthly screenings and discussions of classic films. We are pleased to have Massage at the Springs back in the fold with new owner Nina Heron. Our thanks (and a free SunDowner) to Anna O'Reilly for dropping off a new form so we could get Massage at the Springs back on the books. Our final renewal this week is Lisa Boelter with Peak Physical Therapy.

The Chamber wishes you, your friends and family a joyous holiday season, while we are work to make 2004 a very prosperous New Year.


Library News

Top bid $275 for history book collection: two weeks to go

Thanks to another student of history, we have a bid of $275 for the collection of books.

You still have two weeks to get in the winning bid. All proceeds go to the building fund. There are 12 boxes of books for the top bidder.

We need some more folks to get in the game. Call in with your bid at 264-2209 to win this superb collection, previously owned by a private individual.

New books

"Pueblo Stories and Storytellers," by Mark Bahti, gives a pictorial history of the storyteller beginnings.

"Many of the pueblos of New Mexico have a long tradition of clay figurines and effigy vessels. The first contemporary one did not appear until 1964 when Alexander Girard encouraged Helen Cordero of Cochiti to expand on the mother and child figurines called 'singing mothers' to create one with many children. The figure she made was of a pueblo man with five children on his lap and shoulders."

It was made in memory of her grandfather, Santiago Quintana. She wanted to honor him because he had worked with visiting anthropologists for over 40 years, helping keep the Pueblo traditions alive through storytelling.

The book shows how the clay, which is considered a living substance, is worked and polished by the potters before the painting is done.

Also included are actual stories to accompany the photographs.

The stories are meant to be spoken aloud, not read. The stories are folk tales.

The religious leaders were reluctant to record Native American materials as their religion has often been suppressed. There is a suggested reading list for those interested in more information

"100 Keys to Great Acrylic Painting," by Judy Martin, is an at-a-glance guide to creating special effects with this exciting art medium.

Versatility is the secret of acrylic painting. It can imitate every other known art medium, and it can do things never dreamed of in any other medium.

It is time to explore and experiment with new techniques. If you have yearned to express yourself with some artwork, here is the place to begin. You can't fail with this little introduction.

"Bob Hope - a Tribute," by Raymond Strait, is a biography of the American legend whose humor entertained us for more than sixty years.

The book does not sugarcoat the fascinating life story of this show business icon who influenced presidents. The book does not glorify or demean Mr. Hope, but presents the man in his entirety.

"Murder at the Brown Palace," by Dick Kreck, is the true story of seduction and betrayal in Denver in 1911.

"High Society, adultery, drugs, multiple murder, all this and more set in Denver's grand old hotel. Hollywood could not have contrived a thriller as chilling as this factual account of a double-murder." Dick Kreck is a Denver Post columnist.

Fund donations

A Benefactor gift from Matt and Stacia Aragon and Pagosa Glass.

Sponsor gifts from Howard Zacker, Mark Mueller and Sandra Kobrock.

Associate gifts from Cynthia and Jim Peironnet in memory of William David Drane, Old West Press in memory of Lee Sterling.

Donor gift from Dr. Elizabeth Ann Morris. Other gift from friends of Pete and Karen Demonte by way of Helen and Bill Miller.

Thanks for donations of materials from Dr. Alton Dohner, Vivian Rader, August Warr, Chamber of Commerce, Marilyn Dahm and Ralph Davis.

Veteran's Corner

Alcohol, substance abuse programs lacking for vets

I am often asked about VA programs for alcohol or substance abuse programs. The VA does offer such programs, usually on a limited basis. Programs vary depending on the location of the VA facility.

Programs are available for both inpatient and outpatient programs. However, there are difficulties for local veterans in obtaining these benefits because of our remote location. There are no locally based VA-related "rehab" programs. Veterans seeking this kind of help must travel quite some distance to obtain these VA services, sometimes out of state.

Inpatient vs. outpatient

I'm sure these programs are available at major metro areas in some form or another, that have a VA Health Care Medical Center. The easiest to obtain would mostly likely be outpatient programs. Inpatient programs often have a long waiting list. Waiting lists are not much help to a veteran needing immediate help.

Albuquerque VA Medical Center is the nearest full-service facility that offers alcohol and substance abuse programs. However, they do not offer walk-in rehabilitation programs. Veterans must be enrolled in VA health care and referred to the program by a VA primary physician.

Must be enrolled

A veteran would need to meet the current enrollment criteria that are often written about in this column. This includes proof of military service (DD214) and meeting the income thresholds (as of Jan. 17, 2003). Applicants must fill out a 1010EZ form including this information and assigned to a VA health care facility such as the Durango VA Outpatient Clinic.

Once enrollment is accepted the veteran needs to see the physician and be given a referral to the Albuquerque VA Medical Center alcohol and substance abuse program.

Once the initial VA health care requirements are met the veteran will be given an appointment date to begin the rehab program. The program is an outpatient program only.

Albuquerque program

The program is four weeks and begins on the first Tuesday of the month. Classes are conducted Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Veterans from this area in the program will be given overnight accommodations on Tuesday and Wednesday nights only because of the distance involved. It is possible the veteran could also receive travel allowance if they meet these criteria through normal VAHC enrolment (income thresholds and distance traveled).

Additional information and questions regarding this program can be obtained by calling Albuquerque VAMC (800) 465-8262, Ext. 4833.

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



Paul and Etta Faye Day of Pagosa Springs will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Dec. 27 with family. Paul and Etta Faye were married in Garland County, Ark., at the home of Roy and Tessie Cosby, the bride's parents. Paul is the owner of Day Lumber Company and Etta Faye is a homemaker. The couple have four children: Paulette Hise of Aztec, N.M.; Rocky Day of Pagosa Springs; Tracy Lucero of Pagosa Springs; and Benjamin Day of Meridian, Idaho. They also have six grandchildren. Cards may be sent to P.O. Box 351, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147.


Bob and Topsy Woodson of Pagosa Springs will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Dec. 21, 2003. Bob and Topsy were married in 1953 in Bluffton, South Carolina, while Bob was home on leave from his Air Force duty station in Scotland. The Woodsons have three children: daughters Beth Woodson and Kathi Syzdek, and son Robert Woodson. They have been blessed with three grandchildren: 17-year-old Houston Wier; 15-year-old Austin Wier; and, most recently, 8-month-old Eric Woodson. A reception in their honor has been scheduled for Dec. 21 from 4-6 p.m. at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, 225 South Pagosa Blvd.



Taking education home

Family nights encourage parents, kids to learn together

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

In the midst of Christmas parties, shopping, wrapping and running, 25 people took a break Tuesday for some family fun.

They gathered around tables at the Archuleta County Education Center. Two here. Four there. Three across the room. On each table rested all the supplies for a series of activities revolving around the theme of community service.

Some groups worked on making a book of community helpers. They could choose law enforcement officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, construction workers, teachers, bankers, cooks, waiters, grocery clerks, mechanics or others. Each one was colored on a sheet of paper shaped like a person and then folded into a book along with the answers to questions like: Who are they? What do they do? How do they help us?

"You do the face," a mother said. "You're much better at faces." Both the police officer and firefighter ended up with big grins as a result.

At other tables, families cut out pictures of various community buildings, colored them and placed them on a map of the town.

In the community board game, participants had to first choose where the game would start and end and the order of turns. Some made it fairly easy. Others went for a more challenging finish. To complete the game, contestants had to be able to follow directions from one building to the next, understand a compass, read cards and find correct intersections.

Marge Jones, a local teacher who helped organize the first Family Night, said the goal was to offer ideas for activities the whole family could enjoy. "We wanted to bring parents and children together using literacy as a link," Jones said. Each activity requires a certain amount of conversation, discussion and decision making.

"It's how you learn about each other," Tom Dang, one of the youth in attendance, said. He and his partner, Jones, had decided to end the board game at a gas station in the far corner of the community map. They removed the card that said, "Go to the gas station" and rolled the dice, or spun the wheel in this case. They were finding it a challenge as the turn of the cards kept them away from the finish line.

Lynell Wiggers, GED Coordinator and a member of the Family Night committee, said for a first night, the turnout was good.

"We were very encouraged," Jones said. "Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves."

The family nights are part of a nationwide program funded by the federal Adult Education and Family Literacy Act. Monies are administered through the Colorado Department of Education Center for At Risk Education. The national program has state, regional and local committees working on these intergenerational literacy activities. Locally, family nights are being organized by a four person committee that includes Jones, Peggy Schwartzkopf, Lynell Wiggers and Cynde Jackson. They plan to meet monthly to lay out activities and a food plan. Tuesday night's attendees dined on pizza and salads.

Wiggers said two members of the education center attended a training session last fall to prepare for the program. To get them started, they received a 4-inch thick binder of activity plans - both center-based and take-home. According to the introduction to intergenerational literacy activities in the binder, "Connecting adult learning with early childhood education will strengthen the parent's role as an educator and encourage the transfer of learned skills to the home environment."

To help make that transfer, each family receives an activity packet to take home at the end of the evening.

Tuesday's take-home packets included exercises to develop vocabulary, fine motor skills, patterns and oral language development. In one activity, the family could make a book with one page for each day of the week. Each page contained the Spanish and English translations. A blank page with the days of the week gave the families a chance to make a book specific to their lives. Jones said families were encouraged to bring the books back to the next Family Night.

Poetry was another activity. Families were encouraged to fill out information about themselves, about their likes and dislikes to make a poem. One example went like this:

"My favorite things are pizza and stickers,

But I don't like spinach at all.

I'm a very good gymnast

But I'm not a good fighter.

I like my family,

But my little sister bugs me."

Five more family nights at the Archuleta County Education Center are planned, one a month for the remainder of the school year. Events begin at 5:30 p.m. and themes include: Consumer Economics, Jan. 22; Employment, Feb. 19; Health, March 25; Housing, April 22 and Transportation, May 27. All families in the community are invited. For more information, call the education center at 264-2835.


Pagosa's Past

Tim McCluer was a valuable man to befriend

John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

We've been writing from the memoirs of C.E. Hampton, one of the first cattlemen in the San Juan Basin. Hampton, who first settled on the Florida River in 1875.

He writes of dealing with Tim McCluer, agent to the Southern Utes at that time. From the following article, we learn that McCluer was a valuable man to befriend.

Some of McCluer's activities are recorded in an article titled "Our Great Pacificator" written by Lena S. Knapp and published in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country, Volume IV."

Veteran San Juan Country newspaperman Frank Hartman wrote of McCluer, "Back in the days when the White man and the Indian viewed each other with hostility, Tim McCluer did more than any other individual, soldier or civilian, in the San Juan country to prevent trouble, save white lives and adjust differences between the races. His word was the last word no matter whether settlers or government men were charged with the mission of peace."

McCluer had been born in Alabama March 31, 1839. During his teens, Tim traveled to the California '49 gold camps with his brother. When the Civil War broke out, Tim served in the Confederate Army, his brother with the Bluecoats.

Following the Civil War, Tim settled near Pueblo, Colorado, where he married Mellie Gallegos, a descendant of Cabeza de Vaca. She had a Paiute Indian girl as a personal servant. The girl had a slave tattoo on her brow, but was called "Lady Trudy." She served the family all of her life and is buried on the Florida Mesa, the epitaph "Faithful" carved on her tombstone.

During the first three years of married life, Tim lived near Huerfano where he developed the beginnings of a cattle herd.

Hearing rumors of a cattlemen's paradise in the San Juan Basin, early in 1875 he began the journey form Huerfano (near today's Walsenburg) to the San Juan Basin.

Mrs. McCluer, accompanied by her two small children, drove a four-horse prairie schooner loaded with household equipment and several months worth of food. McCluer and half-brother David Murray trailed the cattle.

Progress was slow. Most of the way, roads had to be blazed, temporary bridges constructed, and at some points the wagons were lowered over cliffs with ropes.

Months passed before they reached the present site of Durango and Animas City. Here they found but one cabin, the ranch home built by Robert Dwyer a couple of years earlier.

They left the wagon at Dwyer's and drove the pack animals and cattle to the Lower Florida. Upon arriving, Mr. McCluer said "I want nothing more beautiful than this!" It was better than expected for cattle ranching. The only threat was from unfriendly Indians.

Even though the homestead was three miles outside of the reservation, resentful Indians camped all around them.

According to Knapp, the Indians were determined to force the McCluers to leave, by persuasion if possible, by force if necessary. McCluer persuaded the Utes to let his family stay. The Utes agreed, but many of them remained resentful.

The McCluers and Murrays built adjoining cabins, complete with portholes. Even the women were taught to handle guns. Nightly Indian dances were among the disturbing circumstances that made restful sleep difficult.

The new home was luxurious compared to other pioneer homes of the time. Instead of dirt, the floors were of lumber. Windows contained real glass instead of white cotton cloth dipped in tallow or covered with gunny sacks. The greatest luxury was a cookstove at a time when most families cooked on the fireplace.

Early in the fall, the McCluers and Murrays were joined by Evans Hampton from the La Veta country. McCluer talked the Utes into allowing Hampton to settle nearby. The homes were surrounded by teepees.

Next week we will continue with more about Hampton, the McCluers, and the Murrays and the early cattle industry in the San Juan Basin.



Compromise anyone?

May you live in interesting times. We've noted this curse before; one need reflect for only a moment on the dominant local news during the last year to understand its meaning. There is another statement equally appropos when considering recent events: Beware of getting what you want.

Each statement provides a perspective as we review the hotter issues in Pagosa Country.

The issue of longest standing, carrying with it the clumsiest baggage, is the conflict concerning the Upper San Juan Health Services District and the management and operation of the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center and Emergency Medical Services.

A situation has developed regarding differing opinions about the town's sign code and, by extension, about the importance of the aesthetic character of Pagosa Springs.

In a related matter, we are reinventing a wheel built with the development of the Community Plan in an attempt to someday take action on significant land use planning in Archuleta County - a move that will bring differing opinions into play concerning the extent to which government should usurp what some see as private property rights.

All these issues contribute to our interesting times. All are, are becoming or could become, more interesting - and we more cursed - as time goes on.

The health services district predicament spawns repeated nastiness in a dialogue overwhelmed by personal agendas, exaggerations, deception, ego-driven public displays and underhanded tactics. From parties on both sides of the issue.

We don't doubt there are citizens on both sides of this situation who have the community's best interests at heart and are working to those ends, but they often cannot be heard over the racket made by those with axes to grind. With a district election coming next spring, the tenor of the situation shows little sign of changing.

Interesting, too, is the current debate over the town's sign code. It brings out cliches, inspires loud declarations that cannot conceal the bald self-interest that lies at the core of many arguments - arguments that, purportedly, revolve around the clash of self-determination with government control. Seldom is it pointed out that the concept of community involves a cooperation that, while not producing immediate financial rewards, promises myriad sustained rewards for the greatest number of citizens in the future.

So it is with land use planning. The current process has been sluggish since the acceptance of the Community Plan by the county commission. Land use in the county is at the heart of any attempt to shape our future; it should have taken place decades ago and must happen soon lest what remains unsullied swirls down the drain, pushed by unchecked greed.

Obviously, the fact the process has been snail slow could benefit certain candidates who might run for a place on the commission next fall. One can pay lip service to ideas, or delay commitment to ideas, if plans are still in process. The finger of blame can always be pointed at someone else when the delay is noted.

It is interesting, to say the least.

To those with extreme and arbitrary positions relative to these issues, our second phrase applies: Beware of getting what you want.

Beware, if you ponder wholesale removal of political leadership and established systems, of getting what you want.

Beware, if you are driven by short-term economic gain or a shortsighted take on the meaning of personal liberty, of getting what you want.

When all is said, we will be best served if we remember politics is the art of compromise. If fortune smiles on us, compromise will reign in the new year.

Karl Isberg

 Pacing Pagosa

Music talent abounds at PSHS

By Richard Walter

At this time of year, the focus in most schools - and Pagosa Springs High School is no exception - is on how good the basketball teams are going to be.

It is a logical thing when you consider the apparent skill level. But athletes are not the only talented students in the school, as evidenced by the annual holiday concert Dec. 11 by the combined band and chorus.

A combination of songs, including Fantasia for Christmas, based on "The Ukrainian Bell Carol," and themes from the "Nutcracker," introduced the holiday concert with perfectly blended tones.

And then there was the percussion ensemble with an interpretive presentation of "Frosty the Snowman" which brought the house down. Featured were Kimberly Judd and Jesse Morris playing mallets on the xylophones.

Talk about talent and you can't leave those two out. Their number was preceded by the announcement Morris had just been named to the all state orchestra. And Judd followed that performance with a saxophone solo as the jazz ensemble presented "Linus and Lucy."

There were other highlights, too.

Take, for example, the combined choir opening its performance with a number of traditional carols and some not so common, completing each to much deserved applause.

A highlight of the band's appearance came in a flute duet by Monica Fehrenbach and Heather Andersen playing a Christmas medley while the curtain was closed as the balance of the performers were changing the stage setting. They played as if they'd been in front of crowds of hundreds - hundreds of times.

The choir followed up the band's performance with their parade onto stage in costumes from days of yore - long gowns, caps, some gloves, and a walk along the main street of a make believe town - the set from the recent Music Boosters' production.

One of the most revered of seasonal tunes, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," featured the voices of Nikki Kinkead, Danae Holloman, Matt De Winter and Ben Loper.

Loper was to return later on guitar as he and Chris Baum, on violin, capably accompanied the choir on two separate tunes.

Perhaps the defining moment in the entire presentation came in the combined groups' presentation of "Santa Baby" featuring the continually astounding voice of Cindy Neder in the solo role, with the full choir backing up her meeting with Santa adding their own pleas for special holiday gifts.

The tenor of the presentation was interrupted only briefly for a performers' favorite special delivery of "Riversong," complete with six dancers doing the special steps required for the traditional ring dance.

To spread the warmth of the production, performers also included "A Celtic Christmas" set, accompanied by members of the band playing from below and in front of the stage.

As the choir reached a crescendo on its Variations of "Jingle Bells," a surprise arrived: High school language teacher Kathleen Isberg joined the group for a high-energy chorus and high note (with glass breaking in the background) which had the crowd enthralled.



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Dec. 19, 1913

The government weather station conducted by E.T. Walker without pay is a value to the community that is unappreciated or rather not taken advantage of. A knowledge of the annual precipitation and the summer months in which the most and the least occurs would benefit every farmer who has such knowledge and applies it to his farming operations.

Local politics are beginning to pester the thoughts of some who are "natural born" politicians. We hope they won't spring any reform movement - the country is now experiencing reform and it would be tough to unload another consignment in our front yard.

Dry farming will be a winner all over Colorado next season.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 21, 1928

What are known as the Mooney cabins and lots on the former Springs property have been purchased by Mr. and Mrs. C.M. Van Pelt, thus restoring the property to its original entity.

Our extreme cold wave continues, making it a difficult proposition to keep warm.

The Pagosa Springs telephone exchange office will be closed next Tuesday, Christmas Day, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Everyone in the Eighth grade has recovered from the flu, and we are hoping that we have no more flu cases. Robert Matthews returned to school Monday. We are glad to have him back. On Monday the Eighth grade drew names to buy presents for each other.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 18, 1953

Santa Claus is due to arrive in Pagosa Springs this Saturday afternoon when he will attend a Chamber of Commerce sponsored free movie and hand out candy to all the kids at the show. After the movie, Santa Claus will appear in person and with the assistance of the C of C members hand out treats for all the youngsters.

The past eleven nights have all registered zero or minus zero readings as minimums and the frost line is sinking lower into the ground. Snow cover is not heavy although prospects for more snow and moisture this weekend are good. Other sections of the country have been having more snow than here and the places usually heard of as the coldest places in the nation are warm compared to the temperatures here.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 21, 1978

Biggest news in the community and area this week has been the storm that blocked mountain passes, created hazardous traveling conditions, caused power outages, lots of sore backs from snow shoveling, and just generally paralyzed the area. There was no mail, no freight, no bus service, and travel was difficult. Wolf Creek Pass and other passes in the area were closed. Snowfall in the storm totaled 25 inches, most of which was melted by the rain and warm temperatures.

A big free Christmas party for the small children of the community will be held Saturday, complete with movies, candy and a visit from Santa Claus. The Chamber of Commerce sponsored affair is for any child in the community.