January 29, 2004 
Front Page

Health district releases fiscal

data for 4 funds

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

As Executive Director of the Upper San Juan Health Service District Dee Jackson began to lay out her financial report for 2003 to the board, several members of an audience of 60 or 70, seemed to lean forward.

Two months ago, board member Debra Brown announced an audit of September financials and an effort to bring bank statements back into balance. At the time, Jackson said it was important to wait until the right figures were available before presenting an accounting of 2003.

Tuesday, the crowd waited in anticipation. Seconds into Jackson's report, several people from the audience asked her to speak up.

"Have her stand up and talk to us," Jim Sawicki said from a back corner of the room.

Board chairman Charles Hawkins said Jackson was on the agenda to make her presentation to the board.

"Why even have a meeting if you're not going to speak so we can hear you?" another audience member asked.

"She's speaking to the board," Hawkins said again.

Board member Ken Morrison replied, "I'd be happy to stand at the back of the room if that's what it takes so people can hear."

After a little more back and forth, Morrison said, "I'm asking you to be polite and speak up."

Jackson continued with her report. The volume remained the same. The complaints continued. She said the figures available were close, but that some review continued and slight revisions were possible.

In the administrative budget, which includes the tax revenues, actual revenues for 2003 were $925,266, an 11-percent increase over budgeted revenues. Total expenses were 33 percent over budgeted figures.

Jackson said the expense increase was mainly due to significant jumps in worker's compensation insurance and the property insurance liability pool. The district's worker's compensation premiums are 21 percent higher than the national average because of the number of claims, she said.

According to the financial statements, worker's compensation costs for 2003 were about $19,000, around $17,000 more than budgeted. The property insurance liability pool came in at almost $28,000. Nothing had been budgeted.

Another increase, she said, came in legal fees. The district budgeted $10,000 for the year, but spent almost $29,000.

According to the financial statements, another budget increase came in hiring a training coordinator for a portion of the year at about $25,000 and consulting fees of about $9,000. Neither of those items was listed in the 2003 budget.

Some decreases were also apparent. Under regulatory compliance, the district spent under $9,000 - $20,000 had been budgeted. The interest expense for the bond was projected at about $44,000 and cost about $30,000.

Net income for the administrative budget was $578,275, about $8,000 below budget. Jackson said an estimated $20,000 in income corrections needed to be added.

Looking at the Emergency Medical Services budget, Jackson said she was "excited" to see total revenues up slightly from 2003 budget projections.

The problem, she said, is that adjustments were also up - 66 percent in fact. "We're making more revenue, but we didn't keep as much of it," she said. The district must adjust revenue down when certain insurance agencies, such as Medicare and Medicaid, do not reimburse the full cost of care. In those cases, the district cannot bill the patient for the difference, but must write it off.

Actual cost of adjustments for 2003 was $273,285, according to the financial statements, compared to the $164,000 projected. That dropped gross revenues about $95,000 below 2003 projections. Total expenses for EMS were also below projections - $568,041 compared to $610,945 projected.

EMS ended the year with a $209,745 loss overall, about $50,000 more than reflected in the 2003 budget.

The Doctor Mary Fisher Medical Center bottom line indicated a $148,000 loss, compared to a projected $11,000 loss. Of course, when the 2003 budget was created, the cost of restructuring the clinic was not included. That happened about halfway through the year.

Jackson said actual income for 2003 was 14 percent below projections, less than anticipated since having to hire a whole new staff. Expenses were up 5 percent, mostly due to the locums, or contract staff, that had to be paid to keep the doors open until a permanent staff was in place. For instance, costs for a radiological technician locum were about $87,000, compared to about $25,000 budgeted. With locums, she said, the district did save some on malpractice insurance. Adjustments were lower than budgeted.

Income from Urgent Care services was up 2 percent over budget figures, Jackson said. Adjustments in that division were also lower than projected. Expenses in Urgent Care were higher than projected - $99,582 compared to $78,101 in the budget. Total loss for Urgent Care was $29,731. However, Jackson said the district was overcharged for some locum work and should receive a $12,000 credit.

Jackson invited board members with additional questions to come meet with her at the district offices for a more in-depth look at the figures. Using a computer program, she said, it was possible to click on any figure and see what went into the calculations.

Board member Brown said now that a majority of the audit work has been completed, "no major discrepancies were found. No fraud. Still there is a lot of work to be done."

She said in the last two months, several requests for financial information have been processed. Initially, she said, requests were denied, because, "I thought why give out information you know is not correct? As a business person I didn't think that was correct."

Once district legal counsel informed them that they had to meet the public's requests for financial information, with the exception of patient records, she said, they began to process requests. She invited anyone interested in the audience to make an appointment at the district offices to come in and review the finances.

In separate action, the board approved Michael Branch, a local accountant, to perform the district's 2003 annual audit.

 

Vacancies filled but questions remain

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

And then there were seven. Well, six. Six board members for the Upper San Juan Health Service District.

The five sitting board members voted after some discussion at Tuesday's regular meeting to appoint Lorie Woodmansee and Dean Sanna to fill a pair of vacant seats.

Sanna took the oath of office and participated in the rest of the meeting, but Woodmansee was unavailable. She had been called out-of-town on an emergency and is expected to take the oath of office at the February meeting.

Before voting on the appointments, the board nominated a slate of three candidates from a field of eight applicants. The applicants included: Sanna, Dr. Robert Brown, Dan Keuning, Woodman-see, Freda Whisman, James Carson, C. Don Lundergan and James L. Knoll III M.D.

Board member Patty Tillerson, as secretary, asked for nominations from the board. Sanna was nominated by Debra Brown. Dr. Dick Blide nominated Dr. Jim Knoll, and board chairman Charles Hawkins nominated Woodmansee. After that, nominations were closed by a vote of the board.

Blide, reading from Robert's Rules of Order on parliamentary procedure, asked if the voting would be cumulative. According to the 2001 Random House Webster College Dictionary, cumulative voting is, "a system that gives each voter as many votes as there are persons to be elected from one representative district, allowing the voter to accumulate them on one candidate or to distribute them."

Tillerson said yes, and then told the board members to, "vote for two." She apparently meant for the board members to vote for two of the three candidates. This is not cumulative voting.

When the ballots were examined, Blide had apparently voted for Knoll twice, as allowed in cumulative voting.

"We asked you to vote for two people, not one person twice," she said.

Blide maintained his vote should be allowed under cumulative voting procedures from Robert's Rules of Order.

Chairman Hawkins said the board was not mandated to follow Robert's rules and also had to consider special district law.

"Try to do that at the county courthouse and see what they say," he said to Blide.

Sanna and Woodmansee were declared the winners. In doing so, Tillerson, who was counting the votes, threw out one of Blide's votes. Apparently, board member Ken Morrison also cast two votes for Knoll, expecting a cumulative count. One of his votes was also thrown out.

In an interview Wednesday morning, Morrison said he felt the vote had been "manipulated."

"I think it's important for people to know how blatant this was," he said. "Confusion aside, it's obvious to me the attempt was to make sure Jim Knoll was not on the board."

Sarcastically, he added, "We certainly don't want a doctor on the board, especially one with an idea." Morrison added that he had attempted to contact all the candidates for interviews and had no problem with Sanna. Woodman-see, he said, he was unable to reach by phone.

In a short presentation to the audience, Sanna, owner of Chimney Rock Chiropractic, said as a member of the board he would focus on giving Pagosa the best 24/7 clinic possible. With the tax money flowing into the district, he said, it should be possible to put the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center in a strong financial position and give the community the health care options needed.

Sanna said as the owner of several businesses in his career, he had a strong financial background.

"I know I can bring clarity to the situation," he said. He also urged people to put the past in the past and move forward.

Woodmansee, according to information from district public relations coordinator Kathy Saley, also works at a local business and has served as chairperson on the Lodgers Tax Advisory Board in Los Alamos County.

The discussion on appointments didn't end there. When Sanna took his seat, Tillerson made a motion to amend the district bylaws to include a section on procedures for filling vacancies on the board. In just over a year, the health service district has made five appointments to fill empty seats.

"There's never been a procedure and we've done it several different ways," she said. Tillerson proposed that the procedure used to fill the most recent seats become the official protocol.

To fill the latest vacancies, the board set a deadline for people to turn in a resume and letter of interest to the district offices. The resumes were then distributed to the sitting board members for consideration. Each board member was responsible for interviewing any or all candidates on an individual basis.

"We tried to come up with the fairest way we could think of," Hawkins said.

Both Blide and Morrison asked for some time to review the motion before taking a vote. Morrison asked if the complete motion could be included in the meeting minutes delivered two weeks prior to the February meeting to give him ample time to review it.

The board voted on continuing Tillerson's motion until the next meeting. Five approved the continuance. Sanna abstained. "I'm not up to snuff," he said.

 

 

School support service building OK'd

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A green light was flashed Jan. 23 for a new combined services building for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

But it was not the one envisioned by planners and outlined for the board Jan. 13.

Trimmed from the project was the administrative offices portion of the proposed structure. Added was a receiving and warehousing section to take some of the load off the current administration building and open more space therein.

Director Carol Feazel, board president, initiated the discussion at a 6:30 a.m. work session, expressing her opinion the administrative building and offices should remain a part of the downtown scene.

"I had a bad feeling after the earlier meeting about where it should be," she said. "I worried over it and I believe the administration facility should remain where it is."

Steve Walston, maintenance director for the district and Steve Eccher a Durango architect who devised the preliminary plan the board was considering for a site southeast of the high school building, were asked what effect the change would have on design and cost.

They agreed eliminating the administrative portion of the project might cut total cost by up to 40 percent.

School officials said overall cost of the project, including what already has been spent, what will be required for complete drawings, site plans and biddable specs, and actual construction and outfitting, considering possible bid alternatives, could run up to $1.3 million. The original concept would have carried a $2.2 million price tag.

Still alive, though not discussed at the first session Jan. 13, is possible joint use of the facility by the Town of Pagosa Springs. Walston told the board he'd been in further discussion with town officials and that the idea would be to provide three extra vehicle bays in the structure for town equipment maintenance and repair.

The board voted unanimously to authorize Eccher to proceed with the drawings and biddable specifications for the project, with an eye toward a possible April bid advertisement and July bid opening.

The architect, who had told the board earlier that the slope of the prospective site could be adapted to the multi-departmental plan, said the change to provide for receiving and warehousing would allow use of slope for easier loading and unloading on site.

When asked, in view of the changes, what he thought of the proposal, director Jon Forrest, a contractor himself, suggested the facility need not be as complex as original design indicated.

He said an all-metal structure designed to blend in with topography and the existing high school building and vocational education annex would be cheaper and more realistic for the type of use planned.

The board authorized the project contingent on having no additional bonded indebtedness accrue.

Funding will come from the capital improvement fund now holding in excess of $2 million and from unrestricted Whit Newton funds willed to the district.

Feazel said the action came with full understanding that extensive repairs still are needed at both the junior high and elementary school buildings.

Both have continuous water leakage problems and will get immediate repair work when weather allows.

The junior high, she said, will get an all new roof in a three-phase project and leaks at the elementary school also will be corrected.

The multiple services building, on approximately two acres of a 10-acre site the district owns adjacent to the high school, is a culmination of ideas to eliminate several safety concerns throughout the district.

First and foremost, it will eliminate, to a great degree, the congestion at the elementary school by removing the bus yard and maintenance facility and opening additional parking and student pickup and drop-off areas.

A state-installed access lane onto South 10th Street at the entrance to the school has had only minor success in avoiding bottlenecks that border California freeway conditions at some times.

The current maintenance building, too, has severe leakage problems and is totally inadequate as an ongoing repair facility spacewise, safetywise and in terms of utilities needed for adequate operation.

Receiving and warehousing has been relegated to small room added to the administration building that has proved both inadequate and a detriment to student safety.

Warnings have been issued concerning delivery trucks trying to access the site and the danger they pose to students on the combined intermediate-junior high campus.

The board, Feazel said, indicated it expects the new facility to be "serviceable and designed to provide districtwide relief to serious safety concerns.

"I'm very pleased with the board's action," said Feazel. "We'll solve a conglomerate of problems in one effort and still keep the administration a part of the downtown."

And, she added, "Because we and our business manager have planned ahead, there are funds available, meaning we won't have to ask the voters for more money."

 

PAWS adopts fee adjustments

to equalize costs with services

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Some are slightly higher. Some are slightly lower. Some are new, and one doubled.

A portion of the costs included in the 2004 Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District fee schedule will have new district customers digging a little deeper into their pockets to cover district capital investment and inclusion fees, while costs for water meter connections under one inch in diameter will be lower than in 2003.

In addition, a pair of separate, special-circumstance fees that had not appeared on the schedule in past years - an "administrative" and "field trip" fee - has been added to the slate as the result of actions taken by the district board of directors Tuesday night.

The following is a breakdown of the fee changes adopted by the district this week.

Capital investment fees

District capital investment fees for water and wastewater are up 3 percent across the board when compared with last year's rates.

With regard to the capital investment fee for water, residential customers will be required to pay 94 cents per square foot in 2004; last year's mark was 91 cents per square foot.

Commercial customers will be charged $1,880 per equivalent unit, up from the $1,820 rate charged last year.

This year's capital investment fee for wastewater stands at $1.42 per square foot for residential customers (up from $1.38), while commercial establishments will be charged $2,840 per equivalent unit (up from $2,760).

Inclusion fees

The 2004 application fee for those seeking inclusion into the district for water or wastewater service is $600, or double last year's fee of $300.

Acknowledging concerns from the board that this year's rate may seem like a gouge, "The district has been charging $300 for inclusion applications since at least the early 1980s," said Carrie Campbell, district general manager.

"We didn't arrive at the $600 figure arbitrarily," added Campbell. "We need to offset our expenses, keep pace with the rising costs we incur for processing the applications."

The increase is appropriate, said Campbell, because "it's roughly the amount we need to recoup once we factor in staff time, the amount of legal work that goes into preparing the applications for publishing and district court, plus occasional engineering costs."

Conversely, actual inclusion fees for water and wastewater rose only slightly from last year's figures.

The inclusion fee for water stands at $3,198, up from 2003's price tag of $3,170, while the corresponding fee for wastewater is now $1,770, up from the previous mark of $1,625.

Connection costs

Costs for connections to water meters this year are set at $760 for a five-eighth inch meter and $800 for a three-quarter inch meter. Both costs are down from last year's respective totals of $795 and $820.

The costs to connect to larger meters are up, however - a one-inch meter connection is $890 ($875 last year), connection to a 1.5 inch meter is $2,375 ($2,315 last year), and connection to a two-inch meter is $2,690 ($2,630 last year).

The connection cost for wastewater (four-inch pipe) is set at $205, or $25 higher than last year's fee.

New fees

Lastly, two new fees will be in effect for some district customers in 2004.

The district will charge a $10 "administration fee" this year to cover the expenses related to processing the required paperwork when a residence served by the district changes owners, and when a rental property served by the district changes tenants.

The district will also charge a $20 "field trip" fee when it is necessary to perform a meter reading outside what are considered normal meter-reading hours.

Lake levels

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

- Lake Hatcher - 80 percent full

- Stevens Reservoir - 100 percent full and spilling

- Lake Pagosa - 80 percent full

- Lake Forest - 94 percent full

- Village Lake - 43 percent full.

 

 

Weather

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

1/21

31

1

S

1.50

.16

1/22

35

3

-

-

-

1/23

37

6

-

-

-

1/24

38

7

-

-

-

1/25

29

10

S

.25

.03

1/26

28

-9

-

-

-

1/27

29

-14

-

-

-

Weekend may spell snowy end for January

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Pagosa Country received only a couple of inches of snow last week as the nucleus of a potential winter storm system shifted to the north of the Four Corners Region late Saturday.

However, indications are the chance remains at least decent for January's snow total to increase by a few inches this weekend.

According to the latest regional forecasts, another low-pressure system is slated to brush across southwest Colorado tomorrow night and into Saturday.

"We're tracking a pretty fair-looking system that is moving southeast out of the Pacific Northwest," said Dan Cuevas, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"It's too early yet to determine how much snow is possible, but I'd say the mountains will almost certainly pick up a few inches if the system stays on course," added.

"It looks like Friday night and Saturday stand the best chance for snow at this point," concluded Cuevas. "But we could see some leftover cold temperatures and flurries into Sunday as well."

According to Cuevas, high temperatures in the upper 30s can be expected today, along with partly- cloudy skies and nighttime lows in the single-digit range.

Friday's forecast includes a 40-percent chance for snow as clouds are predicted to increase in number throughout the day. Highs should hover around 40, while lows are expected to drop to around 10.

The forecast for Saturday lists the chance for snow at 50 percent, with highs expected in the mid-30s and lows near or below zero.

Sunday through Tuesday call for partly-cloudy skies, a 20-30 percent chance for snow, highs in the low to mid-30s and single-digit lows.

The snow chance drops to 10 percent for Wednesday; highs should top out in the mid-30s, while lows are predicted to fall to around 10.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 32 degrees. The average low was 1 degree. Precipitation/moisture totals for the week amounted to .19 inches; snow depth equalled 1.75 inches.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 106 inches, a midway depth of 98 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 251 inches.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is "moderate" to "considerable," except near the Wolf Creek area, where the danger is reportedly "low."

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

According to the latest SNOTEL data, the snow-water equivalent level for the Upper San Juan Basin is currently 150 percent of average.

San Juan River flow ranged from approximately 20 cubic feet per second to 60 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Jan. 29 is roughly 55 cubic feet per second.

 

 

Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Pagosa youngster advances to regionals in Elks Hoopshoot

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Kain Lucero was the lone winner from the three contestants who advanced to the regional shoot-out in Cortez last weekend.

Brooke Spears and Mary Brinton were the other local contestants, coming home with third and fourth place respectively.

Kain shot a blistering 19 out of 25 shots to advance to the state finals to be held in March. If Kain wins at this level, he will have the opportunity to compete at the Regional United States Shoot Off, location and date to be announced.

Congratulations to all contestants, and good luck Kain.

Youth basketball

This is the last week of the regular season for the 9-10, and the 11-12 year old youth basketball groups.

This week will be our busiest of the year with games being played from Monday through Saturday.

Tournament play begins Feb. 2 for all age groups. The final league standings will determine tournament seeding.

Come watch these youngsters play in the single-elimination tournament on Championship Saturday, Feb. 7, with championship games for both leagues being played at the community center gymnasium. The first game is at 10 a.m.

Adult basketball

As of Tuesday, we have received only three complete teams for adult basketball. Rosters and players' fees must be turned in by 5 p.m. today at Town Hall.

Volleyball clinics

The Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department is in the planning stages of a series of clinics for girls ages 10-18. The clinics will be held in conjunction with all area school coaches.

We plan to host local girls for clinics in late March; preliminary plans have us hosting clinics Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays throughout the spring and summer.

The clinic schedule will be very flexible to work with club and high school coaches' pre-scheduled events.

Camp director will be Myles Gabel the new recreation supervisor, who has 18 years of collegiate Division 1 coaching experience as an assistant to volleyball powerhouse University of Southern California, which won four national championships.

Clinics will be held for coaches and players to learn new skills and technique.

Coaches interested in working at clinics should contact Myles Gabel at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

 

Pirate wrestlers tie Centauri, prepare for final meets of regular season

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Oh, so close.

Pirate wrestlers fought a dual match against the Centauri Falcons at La Jara Jan. 23, with both teams needing the win to stay alive in the race for the Intermountain League title.

When the smoke cleared, the teams were tied 39-39 and the win was awarded to the Falcons on criteria.

The match was peppered with forfeits on both sides of the mat. Action started at 119 pounds and Michael Martinez nailed an emphatic 10-2 win over Centauri's Rory Keys - a wrestler who battled the Pirate hard last year during the regular schedule and in the post season. Martinez beat Keys 5-3 last season to win the Class 3A championship at 112.

"This was a great match for us," said coach Dan Janowsky. "It was the first time Michael really scored on him in all three positions."

Daren Hockett lost a close one at 125 to Jacob Sheridan. This time, Hockett stayed close enough to Sheridan to be in position to win, losing only 4-2.

"It's the closest Daren's been to Sheridan so far," said the coach. "Daren gave up the first takedown and had some trouble getting off the bottom. But, he got a takedown and this was one of Daren's best matches. Daren keeps running into really good wrestlers at this weight, and he is handling it."

Ky Smith lost his match at 130 and Centauri forfeited to Raul Palmer at 135 and James Gallegos at 140.

Aaron Hamilton came up big for Pagosa at 145. The senior earned maximum points with a second-period pin of Centauri's Brian Atencio.

"Aaron was real aggressive," said Janowsky. "He did the job for us."

As did Kory Hart at 152. Hart continued his winning ways, earning a 17-1 technical fall over Chris Flores.

"Kory had no trouble at all," said the coach. "We could have used a pin, and I thought we had it several times. Kory had the kid buried a couple times, but didn't get the call."

David Richter lost his match at 160 and Matt Nobles received a win by forfeit at 171.

Pagosa's regular 189-pounder, Marcus Rivas, was ill and unable to compete at Centauri. Janowsky moved James Martinez from 215 to 189. Martinez lost his match, as did Joe Romine at 215. The Pirates forfeited the match at heavyweight.

The brightest moment of the night might have come in the final battle.

"We got to 103," said Janowsky, "and we needed Orion Sandoval to pin his man to get us the tie. There was some real drama in that match."

The drama played out well as Sandoval, the sophomore, pinned his man in the second period.

"Orion is doing a great job for us and he really came through," said Janowsky of the win.

"I thought our team was obviously better this time around," said the coach. "Duals and matchups are difficult to explain sometimes, but I think we showed we are making strides. Centauri is a good team. They beat us by six earlier in the year (Dec. 13, at Buena Vista) and we tied this time and lost on criteria. We are real competitive."

And, said Janowsky, the team can become more competitive in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 13-14 regional tournament.

"I thought nearly everyone wrestled better at Centauri" he said. "Michael wrestled great; Daren was way better; Aaron Hamilton looked real good; Kory was doing what he has to do, and Orion was a real surprise. We still have a lot of time to continue to improve. One adjustment here, another there, can make a difference, and we'll keep looking for the breakthroughs.

Next up for the Pirates is a tri meet tonight at Del Norte, with Salida joining the fray. Pagosa fights a dual against each team, with action starting at 6 p.m.

The Pirates travel to Ignacio Jan. 31 for the annual Ignacio Invitational.

The tourney starts at 10 a.m.

 

Pirates at 13-0 after toppling Battle Mountain 85-45

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Fort Collins is roughly 340 miles from Pagosa Springs.

Why is that important?

Because unless someone slows down Head Coach Jim Shaffer and the Pirates, Fort Collins may be the spring-break destination of choice for many locals when the Class 3A boys' state basketball tournament begins March 11.

Heading into Saturday's clash with Class 4A Battle Mountain, Shaffer was mildly concerned about fatigue being a factor when his crew took the home floor for their third contest in less than 48 hours.

Such concerns melted away throughout the course of the game as the Pirates posted their highest scoring total of the season while dealing the Huskies an 85-45 loss to improve to 13-0.

Pagosa senior Clayton Spencer took the opening tip, and the Pirates got four each from Caleb Forrest and Jeremy Caler as they jumped out to an early 8-4 lead.

Connor Drum, a lone bright spot at the offensive end for the Huskies, cut the lead to 8-6 with two from the block but Forrest's three-point play and a trey from Caler put the home team up 14-6 with just over three minutes remaining in the opening frame.

Then the Huskies' Chris Romero knocked down a trey after a wild scramble for a loose ball at the Battle Mountain end, and the first quarter ended with the Pirates holding an 18-9 advantage after a hoop each from Forrest and Ryan Goodenberger.

The Huskies got two each from Drum and Thomas Pacheco early in the second stanza, but Spencer, Goodenberger and Coy Ross converted assists from Ty Faber into eight points to push the lead to 26-13 with 5:20 left in the half.

The back door was open for Pagosa throughout the remainder of the period, and Spencer and Luke Brinton paired up for the next Pirate six before Goodenberger lobbed to Forrest and Craig Schutz scored on a dish from Caler to make it 36-18 with 1:25 to play.

Then Faber scored on a back-door cut and Forrest dropped in two from the inside to answer a deuce from the Huskies' Shea Phelan as the half ended 40-20 in favor of Pagosa.

The Pirates pulled ahead 49-20 in the first two minutes of the third as Caler drilled a trey, Forrest crushed a put-back jam and Faber hit for five straight with a layin and three-point play.

The offensive barrage continued for Pagosa in the final six minutes of the quarter, and the Pirates led by 34 after Casey Belarde threaded a bounce pass through the lane to Craig Schutz, who converted to make it 62-28 at the horn.

The margin swelled to 36 with two minutes gone in the fourth as David Kern hit Brinton for two inside and the Pirates got free throws from Ross and Craig Schutz to lead 67-31.

Drum added to his team's total with an occasional basket, but the Pirate trio of Otis Rand, Casey Schutz and Paul Przybylski spent the better part of the period dishing inside to freshman forward Jordan Shaffer, who scored 10 straight points to put Pagosa up 77-39 with 2:15 to play.

Craig and Casey Schutz added two each down the stretch and Jordan Shaffer added four more before the buzzer sounded to end the contest with the scoreboard reading 85-45 Pirates.

Forrest led Pagosa with 17 points and pulled down 10 boards, followed by Jordan Shaffer with 14 points and Caler with 12. Brinton and Craig Schutz added 10 points apiece.

In addition, Faber handed out eight assists and totaled four steals to go along with seven points; Spencer added five assists and Goodenberger tallied four.

In summary, "Offensively, we played really well, but at times in the first half I thought we slowed down a little on defense," said Coach Shaffer after the game.

"But the kids picked it up again in the third quarter, which is tough to do when you travel as much as we did this week before playing your third game in three days," added Shaffer.

"Overall, this week was a good test for us, because we played the same type of schedule we'll have to play if we get to the state tournament," said Shaffer.

With respect to tonight's Intermountain League battle at Ignacio, "We need to get after their shooters; we can't let them stand behind the line and pop threes all night," said Shaffer.

"If we take care of business on defense, we should be all right," concluded Shaffer.

Game time in the Ignacio High School gym is set for 7 p.m.

Summary

Scoring: Forrest 8-11, 1-1, 17; Goodenberger 2-5, 0-0, 4; Craig Schutz 4-6, 2-2, 10; Casey Schutz 1-1, 0-0 2; Spencer 3-5, 0-0, 6; Kern 0-2, 0-0, 2; Faber 3-4, 1-1, 7; Caler 5-9, 0-0, 12; Brinton 4-7, 2-2 10; Belarde 0-0, 0-2 0; Ross 1-3, 1-2 3; Rand 0-1, 0-0 0; Przybylski 0-2, 0-0 0; Shaffer 4-4, 6-7 14. Three-point goals: Caler 2. Fouled out: Faber. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 31. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 36. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 20.

 

First-quarter goose egg dooms Monte in 74-35 Pagosa win

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Omelette, anyone?

One night after holding Kirtland, N.M. to a first-quarter goose egg, Pagosa Head Coach Jim Shaffer's Pirates served up another to the host Monte Vista Pirates in the first frame of Pagosa's 74-35 Friday night win.

Holding an opponent scoreless for an entire quarter of basketball is a genuine rarity for most teams; doing the same twice in one season is virtually impossible for any team.

But Shaffer's squad has proven all season that it's not just "any team," and, to the dismay of a stunned home crowd, served notice again during a 24-0 first-quarter trouncing of their Intermountain League rivals.

Pagosa junior Caleb Forrest scored the game's first five points via an inside feed from David Kern and drive for a three-point play, then Ryan Goodenberger hit a baseline trey to make it 8-0 with three minutes burned.

The lead grew to 12-0 on a deuce from Kern and two free throws from Forrest, then 15-0 after a three-point play from Clayton Spencer and a dish from Ty Faber to Forrest with 3:30 to play.

Though Monte Vista's Clinton Medina - one of the state's leading scorers - was able to squeeze off a few shots in the quarter, none found the mark as he grew increasingly frustrated due to constant hounding from Kern and Goodenberger.

As a result, a jumper in the key from Goodenberger and assists from Faber to Forrest and Jeremy Caler soon put Pagosa up 21-0, then Forrest tallied the final points of the period with a drive and free throw to complete a three-point play.

Monte couldn't manage a shot in the final 16 seconds of the quarter, and Shaffer's troops left the floor to a standing ovation from the Pagosa crowd after the horn sounded with the visitors up 24-0.

The lead grew early in the second as Faber hit Forrest and Craig Schutz for points in the paint before Clinton Medina ended Monte's drought at 6:25 with a jumper to make it 28-2.

But eight straight from Pagosa, including a free throw and trey from Coy Ross, a Forrest deuce and two at the line from Casey Belarde widened the gap to 36-2 midway through the quarter.

Monte got five more from Clinton Medina and three from C.J. Medina in the final minutes, but the half ended with Pagosa in command 43-10 after Spencer and Caler combined to add seven to the total down the stretch.

Goodenberger hit Kern for an eight-foot jumper to open the third, then sank a jumper of his own to make it 47-10 at the six-minute mark.

Monte went down 51-10 after baskets from Spencer and Forrest, then trailed 55-12 after Forrest got four straight to counter a lone deuce from Clinton Medina.

Monte would score no more in the period, and trailed by a staggering margin of 51 after single baskets from Ross and Craig Schutz and a pair from Luke Brinton made it 63-12 Pagosa with three quarters gone.

Monte got occasional baskets from Sigi Rodriguez, Alex Ibarra and both Medinas throughout the fourth quarter, but Pagosa answered with a rotating lineup featuring Brinton, Belarde, Otis Rand, Paul Przybylski, Casey Schutz, Craig Schutz and Jordan Shaffer.

Brinton and Craig Schutz combined to get the first five of the quarter for the visitors and Jordan Shaffer netted the final six as Pagosa improved to 12-0 on the season and 2-0 in the IML with the 74-35 win.

Forrest shot 10-11 from the field and 4-5 from the stripe to lead Pagosa with 24 points, followed by Craig Schutz with eight and Spencer and Goodenberger with seven each.

Faber led in the assist category with seven and snared six steals, while Goodenberger tallied five assists and Spencer added four.

Reflecting on his team's effort, "It was the best defense we've played all season for sure, considering the fact they got zero points in the first and only two in the third," said Shaffer.

"But we just did what we normally do with the defense," he added. "We probably played a little harder, but other than that, we really didn't change our approach."

With respect to Clinton Medina, who entered the contest averaging roughly 24 points per game and finished with nine, "David (Kern) and Ryan (Goodenberger) did a heck of a job keeping tabs on him in the first half," said Shaffer.

"Any time you can hold a guy like that to around 10 points, you can feel good about what you've done out there defensively," concluded Shaffer.

Pagosa's schedule this week has the Pirates traveling to Ignacio to take on the rival Bobcats. Game time tonight in the Ignacio High School gym is set for 7 p.m.

Summary

Scoring: Forrest 10-11, 4-5, 24; Goodenberger 3-6, 0-0, 7; Craig Schutz 2-4, 4-5, 8; Casey Schutz 0-0, 0-0 0; Spencer 3-6, 1-2, 7; Kern 2-4, 0-0, 4; Faber 0-1, 0-0, 0; Caler 2-4, 1-2, 5; Brinton 2-3, 1-2 5; Belarde 0-1, 2-2 2; Ross 2-3, 1-3 6; Rand 0-1, 0-4 0; Przybylski 0-0, 0-2 0; Shaffer 2-0, 2-2 6. Three-point goals: Goodenberger 1, Ross 1. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 24. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 38. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 24.

 

Pirates buck Broncos in overtime to post 37-31 win

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

They wanted a little push; what they got was a full-blown shove.

After defeating their first 10 opponents by an average of 26 points, Pirate Head Coach Jim Shaffer and his charges traveled to Kirtland, N.M. Thursday night hoping for a test from the 2002 and 2003 state champs (Division 4A).

And the No. 2-ranked Broncos, who compete in a home facility that makes some college venues seem obsolete, were happy to oblige.

But the test was one of patience for Shaffer's crew and Pirate faithful as Kirtland effectively employed a stalling strategy that could have been patented as a surefire cure for insomnia.

Nevertheless, thanks to some overtime heroics from the Pagosa trio of Ty Faber, Caleb Forrest and Clayton Spencer, the Pirates were able to leave town with a 37-31 win.

After Kirtland's slowdown antics failed on early possessions, Pirate senior Jeremy Caler scored the game's first deuce on a baseline feed from Ryan Goodenberger, then hit Faber with a stolen pass for a layin to make 4-0 with five minutes gone.

A steal and resonating jam from Spencer made it 6-0 at the 1:43 mark, and Caler finished a one-sided first quarter with a corner trey to make it 9-0 Pagosa at the horn.

The only blemish on an otherwise admirable first-period stat line for Pagosa was the number of team fouls recorded - the Pirates tallied four, the Broncos none.

The discrepancy would prove beneficial to the Broncos in the second; they were soon in the single bonus after Kirtland standout Devon Manning scored 90 seconds in to make it 9-2, and at one point held a 10-1 advantage in the fouls column.

The Pirates got a deuce from Craig Schutz and a free throw each from Faber and Luke Brinton, but by halftime several Pagosa starters were in foul trouble and Kirtland had cut the margin to 13-11, with seven of their total coming from the line.

With the pace and turnover rate picking up in the second half, Forrest hit a pair of jumpers from the top of the key and Spencer scored underneath as the lead began to alternate early in the third.

Manning was kept off balance by a rotating defensive lineup featuring David Kern, Coy Ross and Caler, but baskets from Kirtland's Adam Huff and McKay Hathaway put the Broncos up 21-19 with 2:30 left in the period.

Then Forrest and Kirtland's Aaron Adams traded free throws to make it 22-20 before Faber struck for three to give the Pirates a one-point advantage late in the frame.

Manning regained the lead with two from the line, but Caler found the bottom of the net with his second trey of the game just before the buzzer sounded; Pagosa led 26-24.

Kirtland's Larrin Benally tied the game seconds into the fourth quarter, but the Pirates responded with a Goodenberger-to-Caler deuce on an inbound pass to put the visitors up 28-26 at the five-minute mark.

The Broncos took a 29-28 lead midway through the period with a Benally free throw and a floater from Adams, then brought the game to a standstill by holding the ball near half court for nearly two minutes after the Pirates failed to convert.

The Broncos eventually put the ball on the floor at 1:57, but an illegal screen gave Pagosa possession at 1:17.

Then Faber connected on a baseline three with 49 ticks remaining to put Pagosa up by two, but Manning responded with a 14-footer to knot the score at 31 with 35 seconds left.

The Pirates had a chance to put the game away on their last possession, but some miscommunication in the final five seconds forced Goodenberger to hoist a hail-Mary from several feet behind the arc and the teams headed to overtime.

Neither team threatened in the first two and a half minutes of the extra frame until Faber picked Adams' pocket with 1:35 to play.

Shaffer instructed his team to hold, then put the offense in motion with 30 seconds left.

Ten seconds later Faber drew the defense into the lane with a drive and slipped a back-door pass to Forrest, who converted with his left hand to give Pagosa a 33-31 lead.

Kirtland pushed the ball up the floor, but Faber sealed the victory with a steal and assist to a breaking Spencer, who scored with a layin, then converted both free throws on the ensuing intentional foul call to put the visitors up by a final margin of 37-31.

The final six seconds were academic as the resulting inbound pass was knocked to half court, and the Pirates were soon celebrating their eleventh win of the season.

Caler shot 4-5 from the field to take top scoring honors for Pagosa with 10 points, followed by Faber with nine and Spencer with eight.

Defensively, Faber led the Pirates with four thefts, followed by Brinton and Goodenberger, who tallied two apiece.

With regard to the slow tempo, "What's great about this game is we found a way to win against a team that used a very different style of play, something we really haven't seen before," said Shaffer after the game.

"They (Kirtland) also played great defense - their matchup zone caused problems down the stretch, but I was happy with the way we found a way to score when we absolutely had to," he added.

"It's rare to get a win in here, and I can't say enough about our kids and the way they responded tonight," concluded Shaffer.

Next up for the Pirates is an Intermountain League showdown with host Ignacio tonight. Game time in the Ignacio High School gym is set for 7 p.m.

Summary

Scoring: Forrest 3-6, 1-2, 7; Goodenberger 0-6, 0-0, 0; Craig Schutz 1-1, 0-0, 2; Spencer 3-5, 2-2, 8; Kern 0-0, 0-0, 0; Faber 3-8, 1-2, 9; Caler 4-5, 0-0, 10; Brinton 0-1, 1-2 1; Ross 0-0, 0-0 0. Three-point goals: Caler 2, Faber 2. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 11. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 23. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 16.

  

First-period point surge, steady defense pace Ladies over Monte

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A super first quarter and a consistent game both offensively and defensively thereafter keyed a 55-42 Pagosa Springs victory over Monte Vista Friday night.

From the moment Bri Scott drilled the first of her two treys in the game on the first offensive possession, Pagosa was never headed.

Scott's consistency after a series of games in which she was up and down, was a key element in the Pirate win, along with strong bench play by Melissa Maberry, Laura Tomforde and Caitlin Forrest.

Scott's opening three-pointer unleashed a Pagosa offense Monte Vista could not rein in and by the end of the period the Pagosans were up 19-7.

Scott added a second trey, Maberry contributed another and sophomore point guard Liza Kelley had six points on two layins and a short jumper in the period.

Of perhaps greater satisfaction to Coach Bob Lynch was the fact junior forward Lori Walkup also was two-for-two in the frame. Walkup had been lectured for her hesitancy to shoot in the last two games prior to Monte Vista, but came out firing Friday.

Five of the seven first-period points for the San Luis Valley Pirates came from their leading scorer, Tabitha Guitterez, who would end the game with 20, the other two from guard Judy Moran who finished with eight in the game.

Guitterez and Leesa Gonzales tried to pull Monte back into contention in the second period, gunning in six and seven points respectively. Pagosa, getting points from five players in the period, was outscored 16-11 and fell behind in the battle for the boards - temporarily.

Many of Monte's points in the period came on second-chance shots and at the half they led in offensive rebounds, 11-7.

Pagosa scores in the period came from Scott, freshman guard Jessica Lynch on a left-handed reverse layup, Maberry, Tomforde and Forrest.

Monte Vista, meanwhile, got two each from Duran, Krystal Kramer and Erin McCaullife to close the gap to 30-23 for Pagosa at the halftime break.

Pagosa increased the margin by one at the end of three, outscoring Monte Vista 8-7 in the frame on buckets by Scott, Lynch, Walkup and Tomforde. Guitterez answered with a pair of two-pointers for the Valley Pirates and Alesia Romero came off the bench to contribute a field goal and a free throw.

Pagosa's inactivity on the boards was a thing of the past in the final period. They controlled nearly every rebound and ended the game with a 36-25 margin, though lagging on offensive takebacks 15-14.

The key to the period, however, was the steady offense, no matter who was on the floor for Pagosa.

Scott added four points in the stanza as did Forrest, who also had four of her six game rebounds in the period.

They got supplemental scoring support from Kelley, Walkup and Caitlyn Jewell, each with three points in the period.

And while Jewell was held to just those three points in a one-for-five night from the field, she was the game's leading rebounder with nine, four coming in the last period.

Guitterez had five more markers in the final period and Duran added four, McAuliffe two and Stephanie Wright one.

For the game, Pagosa was 25 of 56 from the field for a .446 percentage and Monte Vista 17 of 49 for .346 percent.

Pagosa was six-for-11 from the foul line and Monte Vista just seven of 17 from the charity stripe.

The win gave Pagosa a 10-3 mark for the season and a 2-0 standing in the Intermountain League. That puts them in a tie for the league lead with Centauri which is 11-1 on the season, living up to its preseason billing as the top challenger for league honors.

The Lady Pirates travel to Ignacio for an IML contest at 5:30 p.m. today then are idle until welcoming Centauri for a 5:30 p.m. contest Feb. 9 and hosting the same Monte Vista Pirates Feb. 7 at the same time.

Ignacio comes to town Feb. 12 then the Pirates close the season on the road - Feb. 13 in Bayfield and Feb. 21 at Centauri in La Jara.

The league tournament this year will be in Centauri.

Summary

Scoring: P-Scott, 5-12 (two treys), 2-2, 14; Lynch, 2-5, 4; Kelley, 4-7, 1-2, 9; Walkup, 4-8, 1-3, 9; Maberry, 2-5 (one trey), 5; Jewell, 1-5, 1-2, 3; Tomforde, 2-5, 1-2, 5; Buikema, 0-2, 0; Forrest, 3-6, 6; MV: Brandy Archuleta, 0-2, 0; Duran, 3-7, 2-5, 8; Gonzalez, 3-5, 7; Guitterez, 8-15 , 2-4, 20; Kramer, 1-3, 2; McAuliffe, 2-3. 0-2, 4; Romero, 1-11, 1-3, 3; Wright, 0-0, 1-1, 1. Assists: P-Scott, 3, Lynch, 2, Kelley, 3, Walkup, 3; Steals: P-Walkup, 3; Kelley, Maberry, Jewell, 2 each. Blocked shots, P-Jewell, 2, Tomforde, 1. Total fouls: P-16, MV-15; total turnovers, P-14, MV-16

 

 

Special Olympics Winter Games set

Approximately 70 Special Olympians from the Southwest region of Colorado will compete in the Special Olympics Winter Games Feb. 7 at Durango Mountain Resort.

Traveling ski teams will be on hand from Pagosa Springs, Farmington, Durango, Montrose, Telluride and Cortez.

Durango Mountain Resort, in conjunction with Adaptive Sports Association, will host the Alpine skiing and snowshoeing events 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

After the awards ceremony, there will be a victory celebration with dinner and dancing for athletes and their families at Elks Lodge in Durango.

The following day, St. Columba Catholic School of Durango will host a basketball tournament for Special Olympics squads from Cortez, Farmington and Durango.

Athletes competing in the Southwest Area Winter Games will qualify for the Special Olympics state competitions to be held at Copper Mountain Resort Feb. 22-23 for skiing and March 13 at University of Northern Colorado for basketball.

This year's state competitions are also a qualifier for World Games to be held in Nagano, Japan in 2005. Six gold medal winners will be chosen from Colorado for the 300-member United States Special Olympic Team.

For more information on Special Olympics, call Lynn Martens, area manager, at 385-8545.

 

Letters

 

Separate issues

Dear Editor:

I am going to try to respond to Mr. Sawicki's letter in the Jan. 22, SUN. It appears that there are two issues Mr. Sawicki insists are interdependent and can not be separated.

The first is the public support of our active duty troops in a time of war and encouragement of continuing Veterans Administration medical and support services for the veterans of current and past conflicts.

The second issue, though not quite as well defined, seems to be that President Bush, in his part time role as commander in chief of the armed forces, should be totally immune from any criticism as part of our obligation of troop support.

The first issue of troop support has become a euphemism for discrediting, as not patriotic, anyone not sharing the same political beliefs. This is totally without basis in fact because I have never heard of a single individual who does not feel the loss of every killed or wounded service man or woman, and the families left behind.

I suggest to Mr. Sawicki and all of like mind that perhaps the time has come to do something besides give lip service to troop support. The best thing we could give the active duty units and the reserve and guard units being called to active duty, is a new command structure. Commanders have been relieved in the past, when they failed in their duties, and events of the past year raise serious questions about our top civilian command structure.

Veterans' benefits, though obviously related to the current conflict, are a much wider problem still in meeting obligations to service personnel from WW I on. I share with Mr. Sawicki approval of the recently added funds, which are still short of meeting the growing demands on the VA system. I do not believe however that VA benefits are some form of gratuity from our current commander and chief.

I have had an ongoing relationship with the VA since drawing educational benefits following WW II, and then medical benefits following the Korean War. The VA medical system has passed through several stages of adequacy or inadequacy in meeting the growing needs of an aging veteran population.

We are very fortunate in this county to have had in recent years a series of Veteran Service officers who all have gone well beyond their job requirements in getting the very best service for us. The personnel at the clinics in Farmington, Durango and Chama have given their best as well.

This having been said, it does not or should not support making this a political issue. The current federal administration either should meet the ongoing obligations to the citizens who have carried the burden of past and present wars or be made accountable

I am a third generation Republican, and since 1964 still wondering why the GOP cannot be both fiscally responsible and socially progressive.

Glenn Bergmann

Blide replies

Dear Editor:

I am responding to last week's letters to the editor submitted by two members of the Upper San Juan Health Service District board - Patty Tillerson's 'Truth of the matter' and Debra Brown's 'Letter derided.'

First I, as a board member, requested in early December a copy of the district's general ledger for the last six months of the year. I asked for this information because we, the board, were told by management that the district's financial records were in disarray; however, we were given no factual information.

I take my fiduciary responsibility as a board member very seriously, so asking for the general ledger was the most obvious way to get factual information. I was refused this information by the executive director, the board chairman and the treasurer. I was told this was a "work in progress" and I couldn't see it until it was finished.

Our district's attorney verified that they had to provide this information to me. Management checked this out with two other attorneys and was told the same thing. So, finally, in mid-January this information was provided to me.

The USJHSD is not a private business, it is a public entity. If management and these two board members had read the Special District Association's rules and the Open Records Act, they would have known that these records are available to all citizens of Archuleta County.

If this simple request for information by a board member, to which I had a right, had been met with an equally simple supplying of the document, all of this hullabaloo would have been avoided.

Secondly, I asked for these records as a board member, not as a "private citizen" as stated by Patty Tillerson in her letter. Therefore, it was not necessary to remove any information from these files. This unnecessary, time-consuming work on management's part was of their own making. I asked that they put this information on a CD which would have taken them all of 10 minutes. I had no intention of letting anyone else see the general ledger, nor have I done so.

Patty Tillerson and Debra Brown, you need to reexamine your statements for the "Truth of the matter." I have e-mails from both the treasurer and the executive director to back up my statements.

One of the core values the board established at a workshop in September 2003 was "treating each other with respect and dignity." I ask that we do just that.

An election is coming up May 4 for six positions on the USJHSD board. I only hope and pray that between now and then we can carry on the campaign process in a civil and positive manner.

In the end the voters will decide what the future of the health service district will be. Our job is to provide them with the information to make the best decision possible and that is what we will do.

Dick Blide

Covenant ignored

Dear Editor:

Ron and I live in 4 Corners Vacation Properties, a subdivision about 10 miles west of town. The subdivision has a recorded covenant stating "No Businesses."

Yet, when someone bought a piece of property in this subdivision with the sole purpose of running a bed and breakfast, the majority of the planning commission ignored the covenants and the many letters written by the land owners objecting to any business in our subdivision, the planning commission still gave them permission to go ahead with the bed and breakfast. I thought a bed and breakfast was a business.

What gives the planning commission the right to ignore the covenants and override us here in the subdivision?

I thought we lived in America.

Our concern is what will be next - an apartment building or a car body shop? Whichever will bring in more revenue for the county, I suspect. There are many other areas of concern as well. What about our water supply, fires and wildfire?

We feel we were lied to, ignored and railroaded in this decision and we certainly were not treated fairly by out public officials.

If you live in a tract with a covenant - beware!

Disillusioned and confused,

Sharon Cairns

Filling vacancies

Dear Editor:

A little history on filling vacancies to the Upper San Juan Health Service District board of directors.

There has never been an established policy for this. I have served on this board under three different chairmen. Under John Weiss, vacancies were filled at the same meeting as the resignations by a hand-picked individual of the chairman and voted in by the members. This practice continued under the next chairman, Dick Babillis. When Dick resigned from the board before his term was up, the board meetings were chaired by the secretary, per bylaws.

The five remaining members decided to try something new and that seemed to be more fair. We announced the vacancies, took time to accept applications, then held interviews before an open public meeting. From these interviewees, we elected two applicants who had served on the Citizens' Advisory Committee. Following this, we elected Charles Hawkins to serve as chairman until the time of the regular election of officers which, per bylaws, is done at the first meeting following the May elections every other year.

We received much criticism for this new plan, mainly that it was awkward for the applicants. So, when we found ourselves with another vacancy, we returned to the "old way" and elected another person who was active on the Citizens' Advisory Committee. We were again criticized for our method of election, even though this had been acceptable by past boards.

In contrast to former board chairmen, our current chairman, Charles Hawkins, encourages input from all members on issues of importance; thus board members offered a number of suggestions to him to arrive at an acceptable procedure.

This time the vacancies were advertised, a deadline of Jan. 9 was set for receiving applications, and following the deadline, copies of all applications were provided to every board member for examinations and private interviews, if they so desired. Since elections to fill vacancies due to resignations are open to board members only, this seemed fair to all.

By the time this reaches print, the vote will have been taken and the vacancies filled. I will add that, while all applicants had the credentials to provide this volunteer service to the community, I based my vote on the commitment of the individuals to continue the good work we have done, commit to building for the future and guarantee quality health care services for all our citizens and tourists for decades to come. That is the major issue - guaranteed services.

Patty Tillerson

 

 

Community News

Senior News

Silver Foxes Den will benefit from Red Shoes Trio concert

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Big news for all you classical music lovers: Do we have a concert for you! Be ready for a great show the evening of Feb. 12.

The Fort Lewis College faculty group, dubbed the "Red Shoes Trio" for this event, will perform at Community Bible Church at 7 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center and the Fort Lewis scholarship program.

Ticket sales will begin Monday at the senior center - adults $10, children 12 and under $8 and seniors with membership cards $8.

Tax help

AARP Tax Program is back. Volunteers are here again to help with your taxes. They will also review your self-prepared tax form and assist with any questions you may have.

This service is available to any age, low and moderate income. They will also e-file for you for free if AARP tax volunteers prepared the tax form.

They will be here to assist you 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays in the arts council room of the community center. Appointments can be made weekdays in the dining room by signing up, or at the Thursday sessions. Walk-ins are accepted by arrival time, if and when counselors are available.

Membership benefits

Don't forget to buy your 2004 Archuleta Seniors Inc. membership.

The sooner you get your membership, the sooner you can get great discounts. You or your spouse must be at least 55 years old to qualify. You get good deals around town and help our seniors for only $3 a year. In February, the new hours to buy memberships are Monday, Wednesday or Friday, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Photo contest

The U.S. Administration of Aging is pleased to introduce the 2004 Older Americans Month National Photography Contest. The purpose of this contest is to enhance the image of older Americans to all generations through pictures. The photographs are to reflect the photographer's interpretation of the Older American's Month theme: Aging Well, Living Well.

This contest is open to nonprofessional photographers, age 60 and older. Only senior center directors can submit entries, so bring your entry in before Feb. 7.

The photo subject should include at least one older person or groups of older people and reflect the above mentioned theme. Photos may be in black and white or color and must be 5 x 7 or, if using a digital camera, include a print of the photo and a copy of the digital file on a disk (floppy, Zip or CD). Images made from negative must include the original negative. First, second and third place winners and their senior center representative will receive an award and a trip to Washington, D.C. for the awards ceremony to be held in May 2004.

We are sorry we aren't giving you much time to produce a winner, but it's still a great opportunity to show the world how cool our seniors are in Colorado and maybe go to Washington, D.C. with Musetta. Contact her for more information at 264-2167.

Odds and ends

We are celebrating January birthdays Friday. Come in for lunch if your birthday is this month.

We'll offer a new class soon: Tai Chi Chih starts 10 a.m. on Monday, March 15. Jerry Granok has been a certified instructor for about 10 years. This is an eight-week course to learn the basics. Come in and check out this easy and relaxing movement class.

Old George continues to reminisce at the SC_O (Senior Center Bars None)...

"I was watching a basketball game the other night and it reminded me of when I played center on the team in high school.

"I remember after each shot, the ball was returned to the center circle where the referee tossed it in the air and we had a jump ball. That slowed the game down severely and it was unusual to have a basketball game where over 30 points were scored.

"Another thing that has changed a lot in basketball is the three-point shot. Now, if the shot is from a designated area it will count for three points. This has increased the scoring of most teams and has been a favorable addition to the game.

"Football has changed somewhat too. The biggest change is that a player no longer has to play on both offense and defense as we did many years ago. There wasn't much resting on the bench, as I remember.

"Baseball, the 'All American Sport' however, is still played much the same way as it was when I was young. Whenever three or more kids got together on a vacant lot in the summer a baseball appeared and a game began. Do you remember?"

Events

Friday - Qi Gong, 10 a.m. Medicare counseling and blood pressure checks, 11 a.m.; celebrate birthdays, noon; senior board meeting, 1 p.m.

Feb. 2 - Art class - no talent required, 12:45 p.m.; tax talk, 12:45; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Feb. 3 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; advanced computer training, 10:30; Seeds of Learning kids sing, 11:30

Feb. 4 - Beginning computer, 10:30 a.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.

Feb. 5 - Tax Preparation, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Feb. 6 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.; veterans benefits, noon

Menu

Friday - Breaded pork chops, whipped yams, broccoli, whole wheat roll, spiced applesauce

Feb. 2 - Salisbury steak, boiled potato, spinach, onion roll, peaches

Feb. 3 - Meatloaf, baked beans, cole slaw, whole wheat roll, pears

Feb. 4 - Pork chop suey, rice, oriental vegetable, fruit mix cookie

Feb. 6 - Beef stew with vegetables, tossed salad, cornbread, plums

 

Chamber News

Sally Hovatter elected Chamber president

By Sally Hamiester

Our thanks go out to Bob and Mary Hart for allowing us once again to invade their gorgeous accommodations for our annual board retreat.

This time we actually inhabited two of their cabins, one for our meeting and one for our lovely lunch, and both were as comfortable and beautiful as one could possibly hope for.

We are so grateful to the Harts and can't thank them enough for their amazing hospitality.

The really astonishing thing is that we are invited back next year, and we will take them up on that offer in a New York minute. Thank you Mary and Bob for your friendship and willingness to host us every year.

Your Chamber board of directors, Morna and I spent all day Friday looking at the year 2004 and planning our strategy.

Our new directors, Jessie Formwalt, Tony Gilbert and Patti Renner were totally initiated into our craziness and brought some of their own along with them. They arrived with matching black T-shirts announcing they were the "Class of 2007" on the front and "Chamber Director" on the back. They were perfectly accessorized with red bandanas and wild animal slippers (I confess that Tony had grave reservations about the slippers and was heard to mutter toward the end of the day, "I don't know about these things - I think I'm going to have to give them away.") At any rate, they were a joyous addition to the Chamber gang in attendance that day: Scott Asay, Bob "E" Eggleston, Sally Hovatter, Angie Gayhart and Toby Karlquist. You will be happy to know that we worked all day long and accomplished a great deal. We are all ready and willing to attack the new year with enthusiasm, zeal and a dedication to having a good time while working to make our Chamber better than ever.

One of the things we do at the retreat is elect new officers for the year and Friday was no exception. Sally Hovatter is our new president, Toby Karlquist, vice president, and Jessie Formwalt, Class of 2007, is our secretary/treasurer. She was greatly relieved to learn she isn't required to take minutes or handle money in her new position.

Congratulations to Sally, Toby and Jessie on the election and their collective status as "executive board."

Winterfest

I mentioned last week that it looks like we'll be able to safely say that the "Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race" will take place at 1 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Best Value High Country Lodge three miles east of town on U.S. 160.

We can all look forward to the balloon ascensions on Saturday and Sunday mornings as long as Mother Nature cooperates, and we can also count on the Winter Perch Tournament at Hatcher Lake on Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. This event will be the second of its kind this year sponsored by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, and hopefully will be even bigger and better than the first.

Open to the public, tickets can be purchased at Ponderosa Do-It-Best, the Sports Emporium, Chamber of Commerce, Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center and Pagosa Lakes administration offices for $5 pre-event price and $7 at the event.

Hundreds of dollars in cash prizes will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners in the two categories: most perch caught and largest perch caught. Kids 16 and under are free, and no ticket is required. All kids can compete for ice-fishing tackle prizes.

This day of fun and fishing will wrap up about 2:30 p.m., and you are welcome to call the PLPOA offices for more information.

Upscale anniversary

Teri at Upscale Resale will soon be celebrating her second anniversary and invites you to join her Feb. 7. I'm sure she will have a treat or two in store for you to boot. We wish Teri a very happy anniversary and hope that she will celebrate many more. You can give her a call at 731-4779 with questions or just drop by 117 Navajo Trail Drive Feb. 7.

Photography contest

Don't forget the 16th annual photography contest coming up in February with an entries deadline of 5 p.m. Feb. 4. Sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council and Moonlight Books, this competition is open to all amateur and professional photographers who may submit three entries in either black and white or color, but only two entries in any one category. Each photo must be at least 5 x 7 (unmatted/unmounted) and the total circumference of a matted/mounted/framed photo may not exceed 85 inches.

All are invited to attend the opening reception at Moonlight Books Feb. 7 from 5-7 p.m., and the photos will remain there on display until Feb. 28.

F.I.S.H.

We've already talked about a fishing tournament in this column, but I'm about to address fish of another variety sponsored by Vectra Bank and your friendly Chamber of Commerce. F.I.S.H. is an acronym for "Fresh Ideas Start Here" and you have the opportunity to attend a three-series workshop exploring all kinds of new ideas for your business.

These two-hour sessions will be held in the Visitor Center board room on consecutive Tuesday evenings beginning Feb. 17 and continuing Feb. 24 and March 2 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Among the topics covered by David Broyles in these seminars are: 10 Fatal Business Mistakes, How to Improve Cash Flow, How to Develop Top-Quality Customer Service, How to Start a Business, Buying and Selling a Business and many more.

I will also tell you that these workshops have been conducted in other towns and cities and have been extremely well-received by business people. I will also caution you to contact us immediately if you are interested in attending because there are only 15 openings and seven are already taken.

The series of three is $29 per person, and you are invited to come to the Visitor Center to register or call us at 264-2360. Your completed registration form and check will assure you a spot for F.I.S.H.

Lord of the Springs

Pagosa Pretenders is gearing up for their four performances of "Lord of the Springs," an original play based loosely on the J.R. Tolkien trilogy.

The third film in this trilogy just received the Foreign Press Golden Globe award for best picture of 2003, so that makes "Lord of the Springs" even more alluring.

This is family entertainment with actors of all ages, produced by Pagosa Pretenders in association with Artstream Cultural Resources, Inc.

Performances will be held at Pagosa Springs High School Feb. 20, 21, 27 and 28 beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Moonlight Books.

Membership

We have one new member to introduce to you this week and four renewals. Bringing new folks into the Chamber fold and renewing loyal existing members always makes these cold, cold January days just a bit warmer for us.

Welcome to new Associate Member, Jamie Dinkler who was recruited by our Top Recruiter, Kathryn Heilhecker. I must remember to ask Kathryn exactly how many recruitment notches she now wears on her belt - a lot, I assure you. Nice going, Kathryn.

Our renewals this week include Teri Matzdorf with Upscale Resale; Verna L. Lucas with The Touchstone Gift Shop; George R. Johnson and Laurie Phillips with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; and Dave Pokorney with Diamond Dave's Jewelry and Pawn, Inc. Street. We thank each and every one.

 

 

Library News

Treat yourself to a 'knot of toads' and a 'wealth of words'

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

Glenn Raby is allowing us one more opportunity to display his exceptional mineral collection before it goes to a new permanent home.

Glenn is well known for his Chimney Rock work, and other lectures on many geological subjects.

You are invited to see this collection that rivals that of any museum.

Altered books

Cathy Dodt-Ellis, who used to live here in Pagosa, turned us on to a new creative technique involving collage, old books and freedom to play around.

"Altered Books, Collaborative Journals, and Other Adventures in Bookmaking," by Holly Harrison, is a grand introduction into this new field. (At least new to me.)

This book lets you learn how to choose a book to alter, what you can do to its pages and cover, and then how to experiment with common household materials to create unique bindings.

You will find out how to start a round-robin group or join one on the Internet. You may discover ways to maximize visual impact through techniques such as burning, photo transfers, gelatin prints and more. You will meet new multimedia artists.

If you like collage, painting, rubber-stamping, bookbinding, sewing or just keeping a diary or sketchbook, you will find a wealth of ideas for creating books and journals.

Holly Harrison is a free-lance writer and editor. She's authored many art books and contributes to numerous magazines.

The author asks, "What is it about the nature of books that makes altering them so much fun?"

This time of year is perfect for a new hobby to challenge your creative spirit. Check out "Altered Books."

More new books

How many of you own a copy of a world almanac for 2004? It is a fact that almost 75 percent of all reference questions can be answered in this one small inexpensive paperback book.

The one we buy each year is the "New York Times World Almanac and Book of Facts for $11.95." It is number one in coverage, currency and usability. I am sure our bookstores would be glad to order a copy for you.

It is fun for those of us who enjoy words to browse through the pages. On page 620, are Eponyms (words named for people) leotard - a close fitting garment - was named for Julius Leotard, a 19th century French aerial gymnast. Bloomers - full, loose trousers gathered at the knee - after Amelia Bloomer, an American social reformer who advocated such clothing in 1851. (I think I was still wearing them as gym suits in the '40s.)

The other one I really like is the collection of animal group names such as "congregation of alligators," a "sleuth of bears," "convocation of eagles," an "exaltation of larks." Treat yourself to a "knot of toads," and a "wealth of words."

"The Illustrated Guide to World Religions," edited by Dean Halverson is primarily a book for Christians covering other religions. It was originally written for students planning to be Christian missionaries.

The editor states: "In our tolerant and relativistic age it is not in vogue to talk about a particular religion as being unique. But such attitudes cloud the claims to exclusivity that Christianity and other religions make, not allowing a person to actually grapple with those claims. If you are not a Christian, I invite you to consider the arguments for Christianity that are presented here."

Donations

Our thoughtful donors continue to strengthen the building fund. Thanks to Vectra Bank for a Millennium gift; Mr. and Mrs. Kingsbury Pitcher are Sponsors; Roseanne and Davey Pitcher join as Associates.

Joann and Jerry Sager donated to our book fund in memory of her mother, Berniece Campbell, who loved to read. Materials were thankfully received from Chuck Watkins, Jeanne Simpson, Marty Gallo, Violette Hamblin, Nancy Walls, Irene and Terrence Burke, and Sandy Lohman.

 

Veteran's Corner

World War II Memorial dedication drawing heavy local interest

It appears a number of veterans from Archuleta County are planning to attend the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. this Memorial Day.

I have heard there could be a million people attending the ceremonies and most of them will be WW II veterans.

This will probably be the greatest gathering of WW II participants since the war itself.

Memorial Day dedication

The dedication is scheduled May 31 at the Memorial site located near the Reflecting Pools between the Washington and Lincoln Monuments. It is located in such a position so it will not disrupt the clear view between the two existing monuments. In fact I think, if my memory serves me correctly, there is a law the view cannot be obstructed.

I've been at the monuments more years ago than I care to say (hint - a WW II general was president), and it is a most honored and beautiful place. Gives one pause to think about the great deeds Washington and Lincoln did for our country. Both found their places in our nation's history for their leadership during a time our country was at war.

It is befitting the men and women who served in WW II are being honored on this hallowed ground.

Local veterans attending

Among those WW II veterans from Archuleta County making plans to attend the dedication that I know of are Bill Clark, Bert Hyde, John Walker, Bruce Muirhead and Charlie Young.

If you are planning to attend or know someone who is, please give me a call and let me know. I'm sure some of those already planning to make the trip will want to coordinate plans with others from Archuleta County.

Financial help

As I recently wrote, there is some money through the Colorado Veteran's Trust Fund available to help pay for expenses for WW II veterans to attend. It won't pay for all the expenses, which I estimate could run as much as $2,500 for the five days or so, including travel, lodging, meals, etc., but it will help.

The only requirement for the money is the WW II veteran is in need of financial assistance to make the trip. The money is being dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis of up to $1,000 per veteran. I have the application forms available at this office for the travel money.

Donated corporate jet

As I understand it, a Denver company has also donated some 10 seats on a corporate jet for transportation to and from Washington D.C. for this occasion.

It is uncertain at this time how many seats are still available. They are also being filled on an as-needed basis, first-come, first-served, and may be already filled as you read this.

If you are interested in either of these assistance offers contact me as soon as possible so we can make the proper application for you.

If I do not have you in my local files, we will need a copy of your DD214 or some form of verification of WW II military service.

Local legislator helps

We can thank local state Sen. James Isgar for sponsoring the bill through the Legislature last year. The Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs has also played a role in obtaining funds for the project.

It just so happens chairman of the CBVA Ted Johnson also lives near here. It seems southwest Colorado is well represented when it comes to affairs for veterans.

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

 

 

People

Jerry Parker of Pagosa Springs graduated from Marine Corps Combat Training Dec. 19, 2003, at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

His training culminated with a teamwork exercise known as "The Crucible" in which his platoon covered 45 miles on foot in three days while averaging two hours sleep per night and only one meal per day.

A 2003 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, the son of Johnny and Glenda Parker is currently attending MOS schooling at Twentynine Palms, Calif.

 

Stephanie Bliss Gordon, a freshman from Pagosa Springs majoring in English, has been named to the dean's list for the fall quarter at Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, Va.

Students named to the list have attained a 3.4 average or better of a possible 4.0.

 

 

Eleven Pagosans inducted into National Honor Roll

Eleven Pagosa Springs students have been inducted into the spring 2003 National Honor Roll.

The National Honor Roll recognizes high school and middle school students.

"Young people like these inductees, who work hard to attain academic success, deserve to be congratulated," said Lynn Romeo, publisher of the national list.

Sixty-one percent of the inductees on this honor roll averaged A- or better.

Pagosa Springs students named were Kirsten Andrews, Emily Campbell, Roxanna Day, Melissa Diller, Kelly Johnson, Tim Johnson, Angelica Leslie, Hannah Lloyd, Mallorie Mackey, Natalie Przybylski and Rachel Schur.

 

Features

A new Discovery

Rising Stars opens after-school program

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The last bell of the school day rings. Students scatter, some home with parents, others to empty homes, some to after-school programs.

Friday afternoon, two students left class and boarded a bus to a metal building off Majestic Drive. They climbed unfinished stairs and turned right into a room recently remodeled just for them. Comfortable kid-sized furniture, art supplies and a new teacher await.

Heavy winter wear is removed. Both Allison Kuhns and Parker Hill give teacher Ashley D'Ambrosi wide grins.

The smiles kick off a Friday at Pagosa's newest after-school program for students age 6-13. It's part of Discovery Junction, a childcare center and preschool operated under the nonprofit organization Rising Stars of Pagosa Springs. Cost is tiered depending on parents' income. Classes run from 3:15-5:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 1:15-5:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Four days a week, the students focus on homework and then group activities. Fridays they change tracks, spending their time on art projects, including bookmaking, papermaking, texture rubbing and monoprinting. "I like to incorporate examples from books you can go to the library and check out as well as different careers into the lessons," D'Ambrosi said.

Popcorn and juice is next. After all, who can create on an empty stomach? Allison is anxious to show off a book of animals she got from the library. Then, they gather supplies for the day's art project. This week's focus is collage and zig-zag books. The students will learn about some of the parts of a book, and about collage - an art technique using overlapping materials - in this case cut or torn paper.

"Parker, why don't you bring the scissors," teacher Ashley D'Ambrosi said. "Allison, you bring the place mats."

Once seated, the three began a review of the parts of a book.

A zig-zag book, D'Ambrosi, explained, has a front cover, back cover and end pages, just like any book. The difference is the pages are all connected, and the book is made by folding. A reader may look at each individual page, or fold them out to get one big picture.

The theme of the books is winter. D'Ambrosi said after brainstorming things that go with the theme, students picked at least five from the list to illustrate their books.

"What is something your book doesn't have?" D'Ambrosi asked her students.

"Words," was the correct answer. "We have to tell the story about winter without using words," D'Ambrosi said. In a few minutes, the students were off and running, concentrating on their scissors and a whole box of great papers.

Unlike other school-age or after-school programs in the community, Amy Hill, director of Discovery Junction, said this one will be offered year round. In the summer, it will be a full-day alternative for families.

"So many children go home to no parents or just siblings after school," Hill said. "We just saw a need for consistent, year-round school-age care."

Pagosa, she estimated, has about 400 elementary school students. If 70 percent of those students have two working parents, she said, its likely 50 percent of those have nowhere to go after school. Discovery Junction's program offers another option. So far, it's a class of three, but the room is built for 20. Getting the word out is the next step, Hill said.

The after-school program and the rest of Discovery Junction is part of Rising Stars of Pagosa Springs. Rising Stars is a nonprofit organization with a board of directors working, " to enhance the lifestyles of individuals, families and youths through cultural awareness, physical activity, creativity, education and the arts," organized just over a year ago by Jennifer Martin, director of Rising Stars of Pagosa Springs gymnastics, and now executive director of the nonprofit.

Martin was in search of more room. The building she occupied in 2002 was simply too small. Insulation was poor and the layout kept her from hosting tournaments. She knew gymnastics on its own couldn't float a building. How to pay for it? Martin said she'd visited places, including Grand Junction, where the gym was part of a larger facility offering childcare or other family-centered activities. The same thing, she thought, might work here. When equipment was moved out of a metal building just east of Piedra Road, she saw her opportunity and jumped at it.

Hill and dance instructor Stephanie Jones agreed to join the effort.

In June, they opened Discovery Junction, a childcare center for toddlers and preschool students. San Juan Dance Academy took up another part of the space. They've been growing ever since, adding programs as construction finished in different spaces.

Currently, gymnastics serves about 150 students, Martin said. Dance another 50. Eighteen preschoolers and five toddlers attend Discovery Junction. Oh, and recently they decided to sponsor a junior golf league. A 12-week parenting class, "The Incredible Years," starts soon. Doors open at Discovery Junction at 7:30 a.m. They close at 5:30 p.m., but the building is still busy. The last martial arts class doesn't end until 9 p.m. some nights.

All try to keep costs down to make the services an option for everyone.

"Our goal is not so much to make money from it, but to offer another service to the community," Martin said.

So far, that's meant a lot of grant writing and hands-on work. Martin and a friend have done all the remodeling themselves.

"Before I was just a ski bum playing with the kids in the afternoons," Martin said.

When she leased the building, classrooms had to be created. Special floors and padding were needed for dancing and gymnastics. And then there's grant writing. A grant from the Temple Buell Foundation funded the after-school program startup. Now, they're working on grants to help with operating costs.

Still, all that hasn't been as hard as becoming a nonprofit.

"It was a nightmare," Martin said. "Mostly because there are no resources in Pagosa to help you do it, no lawyers or anybody to help you along." The gymnasts moved into the new building in February 2003. Martin incorporated and began to tackle nonprofit forms.

"It took us until June to figure out how to send in the application," she said. The final approval arrived just a couple of weeks ago.

The detail required was amazing, Martin said, especially because they were looking to be classified as a school. They had to have a nondiscrimination clause; a detailed explanation of activities offered and budgets to cover the next three years of operation.

"They wanted to know where every dollar would be spent," Hill said.

To continue to keep the costs down, grants and donations will be the center's lifeblood.

"It's a forever process," Hill said. In fact, she had to leave to meet with a group working on the most recent grant effort. They will depend on donations, "just to support what we have going on here."

Along that vein, they plan to sponsor one major fund-raiser a year - a golf tournament and auction in August. Their first netted the organization $6,000, a figure both Hill and Martin were proud of, "considering we pulled it together in about three weeks."

In three weeks, they may be capable of anything. They haven't stopped yet.

For more information on Rising Stars of Pagosa Springs and Discovery Junction call 731-5437.

 

Pagosa's Past

Shootings and lynchings mark the halcyon cattle days

John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

In the halcyon cattle days, feuds between San Juan Basin ranchers burned with a fury amounting to civil war.

It was a time when decent folks stayed inside, especially at night. Doors were bolted and strangers watched carefully.

Charles A. Jones, publisher of the Dolores News at Rico from 1878 to 1886, leaves us this account of the lynching of Bert Wilkinson, a victim of this form of frontier warfare. Jones' story is published in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country."

Jones was joined in business by frontier newsman Frank Hartman, who had lived for some time near Farmington, N.M. Hartman had a shirttail relative named Bert Wilkinson.

Wilkinson followed Hartman to Rico. Jones described him as a big boy, kindly, and most willing.

At about the same time, Rico blossomed as a sort of headquarters for the Stockton-Eskridge gang. Dow Eskridge claimed the Simmons gang of Farmington was rustling cattle from his La Jara Creek ranch.

Warfare between the two gangs escalated. Each side added to their numbers until running battles were being fought from horseback. Men bled and died.

Eskridge's younger brothers, Harg and Dyson, were of the restless age and led the gang until Ike Stockton, a celebrated killer from Texas, moved in and took charge. Ike was the leader, followed by Harg.

At one time when the Stockton-Eskridge party were throwing down a few drinks in Durango, the Simmons gang peppered the town with rifle fire from the bordering rim rocks.

Jones heard so much from the Stockton-Eskridge bunch about how bad the Simmons "rustlers" were, he began championing their cause in his newspaper. New Mexico territorial governor Lew Wallace also heard about the shooting and bloodshed and offered rewards for capture of members of the Stockton-Eskridge gang. Wallace also asked Colorado Governor Frederick W. Pitkin to help capture the Rico gang.

Jones ghost-wrote a letter to each governor defending the Stockton-Eskridge bunch and pointing out that the Simmons gang had foully murdered Tom Lacy because he was Ike Stockton's friend.

Then he armed his staff, cut portholes in the log newspaper office, and waited for Simmons' retaliation.

Meanwhile, Bert Wilkinson joined the Stockton-Eskridge gang and became a reckless, daredevil young man.

Along in September of 1881, the Rico outfit, while drinking in a Silverton dance hall, raised the stakes by shooting out the lights. One of the gang shot down Marshal Clate Augsbury when he attempted to restore order.

A member of the gang by the name of Brown was immediately caught and lynched. Bert Wilkinson and Dyson Eskridge were afoot and on the run.

Jones searched the San Juans in an attempt to find and save Bert and Dyson. Then a strange thing happened: Gang leader Ike Stockton decided to cash in on the reward money. Ike delivered Wilkinson to Silverton, collected the reward money, and slipped out of town with an armed escort. That night the Silverton sheriff was overpowered and Wilkinson mounted on a chair with a noose around his neck. It is said he shouted "Audios, gentlemen" and kicked the chair away, saving the posse from having to perform the execution.

La Plata County deputy sheriff Jim Sullivan, said to be friendly toward the Stockton-Eskridge gang, obtained a warrant to arrest Ike Stockton. It is believed he pulled his six-shooter at the same time he handed the warrant to Stockton in Durango. The soft-nosed .45 shell bored a big hole in Stockton's femur. Stockton was taken to the San Juan smelter office where he bled to death. It is also said a small crowd watched him die while chanting, "Go to hell and face Bert Wilkinson."

More next week on the early cattle industry in Pagosa Country.

 

Editorial

Register to vote, now

It seems early to sound this note, but we will soon be in the thick of a vital political season. As a result, it is time for many residents of Pagosa Country to register to vote and to participate in the political process. Before we know it, April 13 and party caucuses will be here; May 4 brings an important local district election. The party process will be in full swing with assemblies held between April 23 and May 13. The primary elections will take place Aug. 23 and on Nov. 2 a general election will be at hand.

In order to participate in the party process, you must be a registered voter. If the traditional party system holds no appeal, the unaffiliated voter must register in order to vote this spring and next fall.

An important call goes out to our fellow citizens between the ages of 18 and 35, and to those who are disenfranchised, distanced from the political process. It is imperative you get involved, now.

There are substantial reasons for the younger members of the community to become politically active. It is the young who are fighting a war, and will fight others. It is the young who are starting or will soon start families. The young have recently entered the job market, or will soon enter it, seeking prosperity, and security. It is the young who will be called upon to bear financial burdens to tend our nation and its older citizens. The young will assume government debt. It is the young who will march into an uncertain future, bearing our community's and country's standards and hopes.

Citizens 35 and younger must step up and engage the political process by voting and running for office, and participate in the management of their communities. This community, for example.

There is little doubt the majority of older and retired people in our community will vote, as they should. But, take a look at our local elected officials and note their ages. If you are young, it should be clear others determine your political and economic future if you do not participate. It's not that others are oblivious to you or your values, but they do not always see the world through your eyes, they sometimes do not reckon with your needs.

Those disenfranchised from the politiical process must reach the same conclusion and take the same course to remedy their situation.

Only you can make your marks, and you will not do it with complacency. Someone will set the course for you if you do not set it yourselves.

It is fashionable to deride our democracy, to ease out of responsibility, cushioning the retreat with mathematical arguments about how one vote does not matter, supporting political failure with comments about how, when all the votes are counted, the system is run by the same powerful interests, by the same old men.

There is a grain of truth to this, in particular as the political arena grows larger. And it will be the case in Pagosa Country if our younger and disenfranchised residents do not respond in an active way.

Political realities are different in a small community than at the state or national levels. A small community can be influenced, if you make the effort. Start here.

Register to vote at the county clerk's office. To vote May 4, you must be registered 30 days prior. To participate in the April 13 caucuses, you must be registered 30 days before. The same holds for the Aug. 10 primary and the Nov. 2 general election.

It is time for young people to register to vote; it is time for the disenfranchised to do the same. Now.

It is time to swell the ranks of voters and political parties with new faces and different interests, and move ahead.

Karl Isberg

 

Pacing Pagosa

Faith in man restored - for now

Just when you begin to sour on the current edition of mankind, a series of incidents puts a damper on the tendency to condemn.

It happened for me last weekend returning from covering Pagosa Springs High School basketball in Bloomfield, N.M.

The car, which had been running ever so smoothly through the winter to date, suddenly began to overheat as I was in the middle of an area where I chose not to have to be stopped.

As the temperature climbed and dash lights flashed, I reasoned my best bet was to try to get to Durango.

Up Bondad Hill and across Florida Mesa I went, spewing dark smoke and watching the temp gauge climb to the top. Suddenly, it plummeted and then spurted back up again just as I reached the top of Farmington Hill outside Durango.

And then the on-board computer, obeying warnings from trouble sensors, shut down the engine and I coasted to a stop just barely across a busy side road.

As I attempted to call my motor club for service, another vehicle stopped and its occupants inquired if I needed help, stayed on hand until I contacted the motor club and had help on the way, and then offered to help push my vehicle back out of the side road entrance.

The man, his wife and her mother all joined the effort and the attempt was a quick success.

The motor club said it would take 30-45 minutes for the tow truck to arrive and worried that I would be safe until that moment. They said they'd notify state patrol of the breakdown and the location.

In just over 20 minutes, the tow driver was on the scene and in five minutes had the car hitched up and we were on our way back to Pagosa Springs.

The fact it is operating today is a tribute to the automotive design engineers who programmed the computer system to protect the vehicle and to the local mechanics who put hours into repairing all the small systems which were damaged by the heat and the shutdown - i.e., thermostat, belts, gaskets, fluids, control systems, and the key sensor which burned out telling the computer to shut down.

I remember as a teen being unafraid to tear into an engine - particularly on a 1948 Mercury I owned - replace parts and update systems. A yard full of parts was easy to reassemble with a little planning.

With today's modern automobiles, however, I almost need a manufacturer's spec sheet to get the hood open and with all the modern technology, wouldn't know where to start to get it working again.

The modern automobile is a marvel of engineering acumen when working properly, but one really needs a trained and competent mechanic and systems analyzer to discover and repair damages to its mysterious inner operations.

During the several days I was without the car, untold numbers of locals volunteered rides to and from work, to and from the market, and to and from the repair shop.

Thanks to all of those involved for restoring, at least temporarily, my faith in humanity.

 

Legacies

90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Jan. 30, 1914

Pagosa Springs is surely sufficiently cosmopolitan to pass an ordinance requiring sidewalks in front of business houses to be kept clear of snow - the ordinance ought not be necessary; it should be done as a matter of civic pride.

Last Saturday the O'Neal Park school house was completed and a housewarming dance was held in honor of the occasion. There will be about 30 scholars in attendance when the school opens April 1st.

J.B. Patterson of the Arlington Hotel, is making extensive repairs on that well known caravansary. Newly painted inside and out, and with the rooms repapered and thoroughly renovated, the Arlington Hotel will be one of the best of its kind.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Feb. 1, 1929

Otis Snooks of Piedra has succeeded in killing another mountain lion, making two within two weeks, for which he also received the Denver Post bounty of $25.

Boiler trouble developed Saturday afternoon at the temporary light plant. It was necessary to send to Durango for the boilermaker at the smelter to come and make the repairs. Mr. Dornbass arrived on Sunday morning, and early the following morning service was resumed.

A passerby yesterday morning discovered the roof of the residence of Philip Johnson to be afire; the alarm was sounded and the hose carts rushed to the scene, but a few buckets of water made their use unnecessary. A spark from the chimney had set a few shingles afire.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 29, 1954

The storm over the weekend resulted in the mail being delayed here Monday and again on Tuesday and Wednesday. The eastbound mail truck was held up until 2 a.m. Tuesday morning with the Monday evening mail. The delay came about when Wolf Creek Pass was temporarily closed because of a large truck crossways of the highway on this side.

The location of the REA office in Pagosa Springs has been changed, it was announced this week by the La Plata Electric Association. The office of the co-op has been located in the old bowling alley next to Goodman's store for the past several years, but is now moved to Lewis Street. The office is being moved this week and will be open for business on February 1.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Feb. 1, 1979

Snowfall on Wolf Creek Pass is inching up there towards a winter record this year. January snowfall, until Wednesday totaled 110 inches. This isn't the heaviest snowfall of record for January, but it comes on top of record November and December snowfall. The Pass was closed again the first of the week because of slide danger, but it is in good shape for travel at present.

Several school events were cancelled the past week because of stormy weather and a day of school was cancelled because of weather. This is the second time in 21 years that school has closed because of too much snow. Most of the events have been rescheduled and by the first of the week all school events will be back on schedule.