February 5, 2004 

Front Page


Winter storm shuts schools, county offices

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Old-timers will tell you it's what the winter season is supposed to bring, or used to bring, to southwest Colorado.

Snow depths measured in feet.

Vehicles stranded in ditches.

Occasional school closings.

And the ceaseless, collective hum of activity stemming from the widespread use of snowblowers, snowplows and, last but not least, myriad hickory highlifts - otherwise known as snow shovels.

For the second time in as many months, Pagosa Country residents experienced winter conditions Tuesday and Wednesday reminiscent of what used to be dismissed as average.

Though it lacked the visual impact of the system that swept through the region Jan. 1-3, this week's winter storm was strong enough to deliver roughly one foot of new snow to the downtown area, closed county government offices and emptied Archuleta School District 50 Joint classrooms for the first time in several years.

And more snow, albeit less quantities, could arrive shortly.

According to the latest forecasts, while lingering showers are expected to taper off throughout today and end by tonight, Old Man Winter may pay another visit to the Four Corners region this weekend.

"There will be some scattered flurries left over through (today), but the majority of heavy snow showers should be ending by evening as the storm is now headed into the Midwest," said Jim Daniels, with the National Weather Service. "We're expecting a bit of a lull in snow activity from Friday through Saturday," added Daniels. "The mountains may see additional light snow, but lower elevations will most likely see only cloudy to partly-cloudy conditions.

"Then another system out of the Pacific Northwest could move into the region by early Sunday," concluded Daniels. "But it is not expected to be as significant as the one that passed through this week."

According to Daniels, morning flurries today should become less frequent by afternoon, with the snow chance dropping to around 20 percent by evening.

High temperatures should hit the upper 20s, while lows should drop into the single digits.

Friday and Saturday call for partly-cloudy to mostly-cloudy skies, a 10-20 percent chance for scattered flurries, highs in the 30s and lows in the 5-15 range.

The chance for snow climbs to 40 percent for Sunday and Monday; highs are predicted to peak in the mid-30s, while lows are expected to fall to around 10.

The forecasts for Tuesday and Wednesday include a 20-percent chance for snow, highs in the 30s and lows in the teens.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 31 degrees. The average low was 9 degrees. Precipitation/moisture totals for the week amounted to .70 inches; snow depth equalled 5.75 inches.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 130 inches, a midway depth of 122 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 280 inches.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is "moderate" to "considerable."

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 151 percent of average.

San Juan River flow ranged from approximately 45 cubic feet per second to 60 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Feb. 5 is roughly 52 cubic feet per second.


Hotel plan gets town go ahead

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Developers Matt Mees and Bill Dawson fielded several questions from the audience and a few from members of the town council before receiving approval for a minor subdivision request to accommodate a planned hotel.

Mees and Dawson, owners of The Springs, had originally brought two items to the council Tuesday night for discussion, a height variance and the subdivision request.

"At this point we'd like to withdraw our variance request as to height," Dawson said. Their original design, presented to the Pagosa Springs Planning Commission in December, showed a large, boxlike four-story hotel with a height of 51.5 feet. Town requirements for that area limit height to 45 feet.

Tuesday, Dawson displayed a rendering of an L-shaped three-story hotel with a pool and tennis courts to be located behind the Bank of the San Juans on Hot Springs Boulevard. The hotel, a Holiday Inn- Stay Bridge, would be made up of one and two bedroom suites. Dawson said the goal was not to compete with accommodations already available, but to attract a higher-end client who planned an extended stay. Rooms would rent for $165-$200 a night to start, approximately $30 above anything currently charged in the area with the goal of moving up to the $250-$300 range.

Dawson said Intercontinental, Holiday Inn's new parent company, had developed 165 similar units throughout the United States - but never in a town as small as Pagosa Springs. Access to the hotel would be via a road developed between the Bank of the San Juans and the Springs property. Access to the bank would also be moved to the new road. When asked, he described the "look" of the hotel as "Bavarian.

"We do want to add some architectural features to help us achieve compatibility with our other structures," Dawson said, with something like a European village as the ultimate goal. For instance, they described roof features as being more rounded than the peaked and cupolated design presented Tuesday to blend more with the current bathhouse look.

That vision drew some criticism from the audience, some of whom advocated forming a committee, or hiring an outside consultant to arrive at a common vision for the area before launching construction on a key building which could be there for 50 or 100 years.

David Brown, speaking from the audience, said the location of Mees and Dawson's property would make anything constructed there a keystone in the future development of the town, a fact that gave them "a moral obligation to the community and future generations," to be thoughtful about development. Because of that, he said, it was an opportune time to gather people together for a discussion of questions like: "Who are we?" and "What is our vision?"

Herman Riggs, another audience member, called the hotel design "ordinary," and asked the developers to consider using historic, local designs and building materials.

Both Mees and Dawson said they were aware of the impacts of development in this particular site, had considered options and would welcome insight from the public.

"We could have sold it umpteen times to the McDonalds and the Burger Kings," Mees said. However, he added, making financial sense out of the development was the bottom line and sometimes that meant building something more unique than the log cabin image many associate with the area.

"We don't want Park Meadows Mall down here and that looks like Park Meadows Mall," another audience member said of the design.

After more discussion, Mayor Ross Aragon thanked the audience for the discussion and asked for a motion. The minor impact subdivision request was approved.

The hotel project, and the rest of the projects planned for Mees and Dawson's property south of Hot Springs Boulevard, will still have to go through the rest of the town's design review process.

Town Administrator Mark Garcia said the Hot Springs Boulevard Master Plan would be used as a guideline for the process. He said the town's regulations are written, "so the developer has the ability to create." With that in mind, he said, guidelines were created to ensure a blending of buildings rather than a cookie-cutter approach to style.

Town Planner Tamra Allen said the developer's appearance Tuesday was part of a process which has a total of three stages: the pre-design conference, the preliminary development plan and the final development plan. In each step, the applicant is required to refer to neighborhood design guidelines for such things as lighting, landscaping and outdoor spaces, and applicable zoning ordinances.

In the preliminary and final phases, the project is reviewed by the town planning commission and town council. Public hearings are required at town council meetings where the final approval or denial authority rests. Allen said the Hot Springs Boulevard Design Guidelines allow the preliminary and final plats to be combined at the discretion of town staff.


Sign code revisions approved

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Revisions to the Town of Pagosa Springs' sign code passed on first reading at Tuesday's regular town council meeting.

After several months of debate over a series of triggers written in the code to force nonconforming signs into conformance, the council took just one question from the audience before approving the revisions recommended by the town planning commission.

Under the revised document, no new permanent sign permits will be issued unless all nonconforming signs on the property in question are brought into conformance.

Property owners with one or two signs are allowed two years to bring signs into conformance with the code once they trip one of three "triggering events."

These events are:

- request of a required building permit for construction valued at $50,000 or more, "according to the most recently amended International Code Council Valuation Chart"

- a change in business use or activity, or

- the repair, relocation or alteration or a nonconforming sign decreasing the sign's nonconforming features.

On properties containing three or more signs, owners must submit the required paperwork for the comprehensive sign program within 60 days of the triggering event. They also have two years to bring signs into conformance.

The code does allow an area or height variance of up to 10 percent for one existing nonconforming sign per property. This is meant to help existing business owners whose signs are just slightly over the maximums. Some slight changes in illumination and structural anchors were also included in the revisions.

One incentive was added to the code. According to the revisions, the $25 sign permit fee will be waived for sign owners who voluntarily bring signs into conformance. Changes must be reviewed and approved by the Design Review Board, the planning commission and town staff.

Nan Rowe, owner of a small business downtown, lauded the incentive. She was the only one to address the fee schedule resolution.

That fee, plus a $25 fee for applications to permit banners to hang across Hot Springs Boulevard on the town's new poles, was adopted in a separate resolution. No second reading on resolutions is required.

The planning commission's recommendation on the sign code revisions was approved at a meeting Jan. 28.

Mayor Ross Aragon opened the discussion.

"I'd like to address the building permits and value," he said. "In a spirit of compromise, and considering inflation, I think the $10,000 is probably too low. I'd like to propose $50,000." Ten thousand dollars was the amount of a building permit request to trigger sign conformance proposed by town staff and the sign committee.

Planning commission member Judy James agreed.

Three people spoke at that public hearing, including Rowe, who commended the town and sign committees for their hard work in creating the original document.

"I want to stress you're not going to please everybody," she said. "The $50,000 is good in a spirit of compromise, but I urge you not to go any higher."

Business owner Todd Shelton said forcing sign owners to change their signs is a form of taxation on existing businesses. He added that the sign code still fails to address certain odd shaped parcels when it comes to sign maximum and minimums, and the building permit trigger could still keep some business owners from remodeling.

Town council member Stan Holt clarified some of Shelton's statements, and members of the commission said the variance process was in place to address oddities and hardships.

Planning commission chairman Rice Reavis said the proposed changes seemed to be workable. "I think this comes the closest to a fair compromise, giving us an enforceable document with a minimum of variances that have to be dealt with."

The revisions will come before the town council for a second reading March 2. If approved then, they become law.


Commissioners approve

transit system upgrades

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

At the request of Dave Sedgwick, county transportation director, Archuleta County commissioners approved a grant contract Tuesday that will enable further upgrades to the county public transit system.

Specifically, the grant agreement struck this week between the county and Colorado Department of Transportation outlines the scope of services the county will provide this year with respect to the growing demands of the county's elderly and disabled residents.

According to the contract, the county will continue demand-response service Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. downtown and along the U.S. 160 corridor west to the Pagosa Lakes area.

In addition, the contract states the county will receive a vehicle upgrade in the form of a new, 25-foot bus outfitted with 18 ambulatory seats, two tie-downs and a wheelchair lift.

The bus currently being used for such service, expected to be replaced sometime this spring, has tallied over 160,000 miles and is not equipped with a wheelchair lift.

The slated improvements to the transit system are the latest in a series which began last summer, when the county augmented its Mountain Express operation with the introduction of Saturday service (Routes 1-7, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.) and a new, state-of-the-art Startrans bus.

While the county must provide 19,940 one-way trips to fulfill the standards of performance set forth in this year's grant agreements, Sedgwick indicated that figure will more than likely be achieved without difficulty.

"Under last year's contracts, we were obligated to provide roughly 16,000 one-way trips," explained Sedgwick.

"And we totaled over 19,300, so we are definitely experiencing some growth," he said, adding that ridership for the senior transportation and Mountain Express services last year was up by roughly 5 and 26 percent, respectively, when compared with 2002 figures.

"There's no reason to believe we won't surpass this year's number as well, especially since our Saturday service is continuing to do quite well," Sedgwick concluded.

For information and updates regarding the county public transit system, contact the transportation department/Mountain Express at 264-2250.

In other business this week, the commissioners:

- received an update from county planning staff indicating the first meeting of the Community Plan Implementation Team (land-use task force) will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Pagosa Springs Community Center

- denied a request seeking a waiver/reduction of $1,500 in fees charged annually for Seeds of Learning's lunch program, citing the fact the program is already heavily subsidized by county funds

- accepted resignations from the county fair board from Kellie Hudson and Terry Smith

- appointed Harold Slavinksi and Larry Ash to serve one-year terms on the county building board of review

- appointed Larry Garcia to serve on the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission for the remaining duration of former commissioner Sandra Bramwell's term

- approved a request from the town of Pagosa Springs seeking a letter of support from the board to Great Outdoors Colorado regarding grant funds for the development of the town sports complex

- scheduled a public hearing regarding a request from the sheriff's department for a minor budget amendment for March 3, 7 p.m.

- scheduled the following work sessions: Feb. 17, 2 p.m. - planning/building department fee policies; Feb. 17, 3:30 p.m. - discussion of policy regarding parking/snow removal on county roads; Feb. 23, 10 a.m. - discussion of delinquent property/mobile home tax collection procedures; Feb. 23, 1:30 p.m. - budget and finance updates.




Date High Low Precipitation

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Please refer to Front Page story "Winter Storm shuts schools, county offices"



Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Youth basketball semifinals are on tonight's calendar

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The NCAA has its version, high schools have their version - of basketball tournament madness.

They call it March Madness.

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department is hosting the 9- and 10-year-old, and the 11- and 12-year-old youth basketball tournaments this week.

The 16 teams have been playing and practicing since early December, and played a six-week schedule to determine seeding for the tournament.

With our own February Madness underway we invite the public to come watch these young, excited athletes compete for the tournament championship.

Opening games have produced exciting finishes, and it will only get better.

The whole philosophy is to get our youngsters to join the program and to compete on evenly-manned teams. All athletes must play a minimum of two quarters per game. With this philosophy and modified rule changes, we have 16 very even teams.

The final standings in league play showed:

9-10 division

Car Quest Jazz - 8-0

Lucero Tire Nuggets - 7-1

KWUF Sonics - 5-3

Pagosa Glass 76'ers - 4-4

Honda Hauls Cavs - 4-4

JJ's Upstream Lakers - 3-5

Ace Hardware Celtics - 2-6

Davis Engineer Service Pacers - 2-6

Pagosa Shell Spurs - 1-7

11-12 division

Cat Creek Trucking Sonics - 9-1

Elkhorn Cafe Kings - 8-2

Jones Mechanical Nuggets - 5-5

Schmidt Chiropractic Celtics - 3-7

Edward Jones & Assoc. Lakers - 3-7

Buckskin Towing Jazz - 2-8

We would like to thank all officials, scorekeepers, sponsors, and especially our volunteer coaches for the time spent with our local youth teaching fundamentals, sportsmanship, and more importantly how to win and lose graciously. The friendships that develop during youth athletics are priceless.

Come out and watch tonight as we host the 9-10 semifinal games at the community center gymnasium. The finals are to be held in both divisions starting at 10 a.m. Saturday in the center.

4th of July

Vendors and fireworks enthusiasts, please start thinking about what we can do to make this year's July 4 celebration a great one.

The fireworks will be held at the softball fields this year and we will be organizing a Fourth of July Committee to see that we put on a great show. If you are interested in participating in this year's planning call me at 264-4151, Ext. 231.

Ice skating ponds

The ice skating ponds are in good condition. Please skate with respect to the rules set forth during resurfacing nights.

Adult basketball

There will be three different leagues this year: Men's Competitive, Men's Recreation League and a Women's League.

We are planning the first games next week. The tentative plan is to play Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings. We also have Thursdays open for make-up games and/or practice nights or open gym time for those not wanting to play in an organized league.

For additional information call Myles Gabel, 264-4151, Ext. 232.


Bench bounces Bobcats with backboard bravado

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Bench depth can make or break a team in Colorado girls' high school basketball.

A good argument for that belief can be found in the performance of the Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates Thursday in Ignacio.

Caitlin Forrest, Melissa Maberry and Laura Tomforde came off the pines to toss in a combined 13 points and haul down 15 rebounds in Pagosa's 48-37 win over the Bobcats.

It was a game that started out like a Pagosa runaway but suddenly turned into a tight contest as the visitors blew a 13-point lead and actually fell behind by one in the third quarter.

Junior guard Bri Scott, who would lead the Pirates with 10 points in the game, had the first four markers for Pagosa, both on 12-foot jumpers from the right of the key.

But Ignacio, with a pair of free throws and a trey from Jennifer Ruybal, scrambled back for a brief one point lead.

Caitlyn Jewell got it back with her only basket of the first half, but quickly picked up a pair of fouls and took her 6-2 frame to the bench.

Emily Buikema stretched the lead to three with an offensive rebound putback before Forrest made her presence felt at both ends.

She had an offensive rebound putback for two, was fouled on the next possession and hit a pair from the line, and then muscled her way inside for a soft left-handed semi hook.

Miranda Russell got a pair back for Ignacio and Kyla Bartley hit two from the line to cut the Pagosa lead to 17-9 and the quarter break.

Then, as has been their disturbing habit all season, the Pirates turned the second quarter into a turnover-plagued performance and let Ignacio right back in the game.

Point guard Liza Kelley built the lead to nine with a 10-foot jumper, and Maberry converted to stretch it to 11. Buikema hit a six-footer and the lead was at 13.

Then the Pirate ship hit a shoal and the prowling Bobcats took advantage of seven Pirate turnovers to trim Pagosa's lead at the half to 24-21 and rouse the vociferous Ignacio fans to ear drum breaking sound.

Kyra Bartley was the Ignacio key in the period, hitting a pair inside on offensive rebound putbacks and dropping in a pair from the charity stripe.

While the Bobcat's regular scoring leader, Carol Lee Jefferson, was building an 0-13 night from the floor, her teammates stepped up to combat her cold night. Among her misfires were four trey bids, all short of the mark.

Ruybal hit a layin off a feed from Russell, Tierney Bellino got a pair on a feed from Jefferson, and Rebecca Kenner added a deuce as Bartley tipped the ball back to her for a 10-footer.

The third period opened with Bartley hitting inside again and then adding two from the line on the next Bobcat possession to give Ignacio the lead, wiping out the entire 13-point Pagosa margin.

Scott hit a 12-foot jumper for Pagosa to take back a one-point edge, but Bartley answered with an uncontested drive inside and Ignacio was back on top.

Jewell, fouled shooting, hit one of two from the stripe and the Pirates were back in a tie.

And then, in perhaps her best move of the season, she gave the Pirates the lead for good, faking right on a post drop from Walkup and then spinning the other way for a left-hander that brought the substantial Pirate crowd to its collective feet.

Then it was Kelley's turn, driving the left lane, hitting Buikema in the high post and taking a return pass for a back-door layup and the Pagosa lead grew.

When the firing was over for the period, the Pirate lead was back to five at 36-31 as Jewell hit a turnaround and another charity toss just before the buzzer.

With the exception of four more points from Bartley and a deuce by Kenner, the third period was all Pagosa.

As had the first and third stanzas, the fourth opened with Scott drilling a medium range jumper to stretch the lead to seven. Then Maberry added her second basket before Bartley hit the first of her two field goals.

Kelley added a reverse layup on another back-door play with the assist on a pinpoint pass from Maberry and then a pair of free throws on the Pirates' next possession.

Scott, too, added a pair of free throws and the final Pagosa marker came from Lori Walkup, her only basket of the game, on only three shots from the floor. Two other attempts were blocked by Jefferson.

That sealed the verdict for Pagosa - a 48-37 final in a game they almost gave away in a seven minute stretch from the middle of the second quarter to the middle of the third in which the committed 13 of their 20 turnovers in the game.

Scott paced Pagosa's balanced scoring attack with 10, Kelley adding nine, Jewell eight, and Buikema and Forrest each contributing six.

Forrest, again, was the leading rebounder with eight, hiking her team-leading season total to 86. Maberry was right behind with seven (66), Walkup had six (62) and Buikema five (47). Walkup was the assist leader with five and she and Buikema each had a blocked shot.

Pagosa shot 19 of 37 from the floor for a .515 percentage but only 10 of 20 from the foul line. Ignacio was only 13 of 45 from the floor for .248 percent but was 10 of 17 from the line. The Pirates had a 36-17 rebounding edge.

The win gave Pagosa a 3-0 mark in the Intermountain League and a 11-3 record overall. They host preseason league favorite Centauri at 5:30 p.m. Friday and welcome Monte Vista at the same time Saturday.


Scoring: P-Scott, 4-6, 2-3, 10; Lynch, 0-1, 0; Kelley, 3-5, 3-4, 9; Walkup, 1-3, 2; Reinhardt, 0; Maberry, 2-5, 4; Jewell, 3-5, 2-3, 8; Buikema, 3-5, 6; Forrest, 2-4, 2-8, 6. I-Ruybal 2-5, 3-4, 8; Bellino, 1-2, 0-2, 2; 0-13, 0-3, 0; Kenner, 2-4, 4; Russell, 2-4, 1-2, 5; Bartley, 6-14, 6-6, 18. Total fouls, P-12, I-16.


Pirates step outside to bury Bobcats 69-39

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Bobcats made it a game in the first half, but seemed to prefer a sparring match in the fourth quarter after being put away with a taste of their own medicine.

Such was the case Thursday night for Pagosa Head Coach Jim Shaffer and his top-ranked Pirates during their 69-39 conquest of Intermountain League foe Ignacio.

After faltering early at the line and in the paint, Pagosa launched a long-range shooting assault led by seniors Jeremy Caler and Ty Faber to fend off the trey-popping Bobcats, then pulled away with balanced scoring in the second half.

Following missed shots and turnovers from both squads in the opening minute, consecutive swats by Pirate senior Clayton Spencer led to a layin from teammate Caleb Forrest and Pagosa led 2-0 with 5:55 to play in the first.

Ignacio methodically worked the perimeter on its next possession, but a traveling call resulted in a 5-0 Bobcat deficit when Faber buried a baseline trey off an inbound pass from Ryan Goodenberger.

Back came the Bobcats; Mike Jefferson responded with a three, and Ignacio cut the margin to 6-5 after a jumper from Ben Neil midway through the period.

But Faber's second trey of the stanza and a low-post dish from Caler to Luke Brinton put Pagosa up 11-5, and the Bobcats took a time-out after Caler struck for three more from the top of the arc to push the lead to 14-5 with 2:30 to play.

Ignacio got an eventual deuce from Jason Guzman with 45 ticks left, but the Pirates led by nine with one frame gone after Spencer hit Goodenberger for a late jumper to make it 16-7 at the horn.

Pagosa missed chances from the line early in the second, but David Kern kept the ball in Pirate hands by drawing a pair of Bobcat charges that netted four straight inside points from Forrest and the visitors led 20-7 with 6:05 to play in the half.

Ignacio was able to cut into the lead in the next 90 seconds before Goodenberger sank two from the line and Caler nailed a trey to put Pagosa up 25-14 at the three-minute mark.

Then the Pirates missed several front ends of the single bonus and the Bobcats once again roared back, cutting the margin to five after a steal by Lorenzo Rodriguez with 16 seconds remaining.

But Goodenberger made sure the half ended on a high note for the visitors by drilling a three at the buzzer; Pagosa led 28-20 at the half.

Derek Rodriguez caught fire for Ignacio in the third, but each of his three early treys was answered in turn by two free throws from Kern, a three-point play from Forrest, then a back-door slash for two from Goodenberger.

Spencer and Forrest then hosted a shot-block party, and Caler added a point from the line, then drained his third trey of the game after a Bobcat turnover to make it 39-28 five minutes into the frame.

Forrest posted a deuce after teammate Coy Ross forced a five-second call at the Ignacio end, and the lead widened to 44-29 when Caler found the range for the fourth time behind the arc.

Then Goodenberger added two late charity tosses that were matched by a pair from Neil, and the quarter closed with Pagosa in front by 15 at 46-31.

The Bobcats' frustration with a tightening Pirate defense became obvious seconds into the deciding quarter; Kern drew a blatant shove from Lorenzo Rodriguez that garnered an offensive whistle, and Pagosa went up 48-31 on the ensuing deuce from Spencer.

Forrest, Goodenberger and Spencer made use of the back door to combine for the next Pirate six, and the Bobcats grew increasingly physical as Pagosa began to put the game out of reach.

Goodenberger hit two from the line to make it 56-35 at 4:24, then Forrest left a final back-door gift for Caler and the lead was 23 with 3:10 to play.

Ignacio got a deuce from Neil, but a put-back from Caler and an eight-footer from Spencer boosted the advantage to 62-37 at 2:30.

Abel Romero supplied Ignacio's final points, but was benched shortly after converting two free throws for hip-tossing a Pirate rebounder on the play resulting in his trip to the line.

No technical foul was called after the incident, which occurred at the Pagosa end after Ross added a point from the stripe, but the Pirate lead grew nevertheless as Casey Belarde, Ross, Brinton, and Craig and Casey Schutz mopped up down the stretch.

Ross and Brinton tallied two each from the block, then Casey Schutz hit Brinton on the baseline for a deuce at the buzzer and the Pirates improved to 14-0 (3-0 IML) with the 69-39 win.

Caler led all scorers with 17, followed by Goodenberger with 15 and Forrest with 14.

Spencer recorded seven of the Pirates 10 blocked shots, while Faber led in assists with five, followed by Goodenberger with four.

"It was closer than I wanted it in the first half - we were slow to call out the back screens and they were getting some open looks for threes," said Shaffer after the game.

"But they were so cognizant of taking our big guys away that they ended up giving us the three and we knocked a bunch (7) down," he added. "Plus, we started defending better in the second half and got our shots off quicker, before they were getting all their guys back."

With regard to how his team is handling the expectations associated with its No. 1 ranking, "They realize they have a target on their backs every time they step into the gym," said Shaffer.

"They've done a great job dealing with the pressure that comes with that, and we all know it's not important to be No. 1 in late January, but on March 13."

The Pirates, who are now ranked at the top of every major poll in the state, host Centauri tomorrow night then stay at home to take on Monte Vista Saturday. Game time for both contests is set for 7 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 6-9, 2-3, 14; Goodenberger 4-10, 6-6, 15; Craig Schutz 0-0, 0-0, 0; Casey Schutz 0-0, 0-0 0; Spencer 3-5, 0-1, 6; Kern 0-2, 2-2, 2; Faber 2-6, 0-0, 6; Caler 6-11, 1-2, 17; Brinton 3-4, 0-4 6; Belarde 0-1, 0-0 0; Ross 1-2, 1-3 3. Three-point goals: Caler 4, Faber 2, Goodenberger 1. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 17. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 33. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 20.


Pirates wrestlers win Ignacio tournament, face Bobcats in IML dual at home tonight

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

The Ignacio Bobcats are the 2003-2004 Intermountain league wrestling champions following dual meet wins over Centauri and Monte Vista.

But, it appears there is another IML squad that is a better tournament team than the Bobcats.

The Pirates.

Pagosa defeated the Bobcats at the Jan. 10 Rocky Mountain tournament then smacked Ignacio at the Bobcat's own invitational Jan. 31, winning the event while the hosts did no better than third. Pagosa, in fact, beat the Bobcats by 35 points in the eight-team tourney.

The Pirates had four champions at Ignacio: Michael Martinez, Daren Hockett, Aaron Hamilton and Kory Hart.

Martinez continued his winning ways at Ignacio (he has lost only once this season) and captured the title at 119 pounds.

The Pirate started the day by pinning Brian Ehmke of Dolores in the second period. In the semifinals, Martinez scored a 17-2 technical fall over Cory McConnell of Piedra Vista.

The final, against Vince Bazile of Mancos, went to Martinez with an 18-6 major decision.

"Michael is wrestling much better every time out," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "He was named Outstanding Wrestler for the lower weights at the tournament."

Hockett took first at 125, starting his trek with a 16-1 tech fall over Seth Underwood of Piedra Vista.

Hockett posted the same score in the semifinal against Julio Saenz of Ignacio.

In the final, Hockett met Jacob Guynes of Dove Creek, beating his opponent 10-5.

"Daren had a good tournament," said the coach. "The kid he fought in the final hung in there pretty good, but he was no match for Daren. He's picking up the tempo like he'll have to do to compete in the postseason."

Hamilton, a senior, posted his first-ever tournament championship as a Pirate, at 145.

Brandon Jacquez of Aztec was Hamilton's first victim. Moving on to the semifinal match, Hamilton pinned Gideon Condon of Dolores in the third period.

Hamilton's championship match was against Matt Stiasny, of Dove Creek. The Pirate put the Bulldog's shoulders to the mat in the third period.

"Aaron is improving in all phases," said Janowsky. "His takedowns were clicking and he followed up with back points."

Hart has dominated his competition this season at 152 and the senior kept up the pace against a fairly weak contingent at Ignacio.

A first-round bye took Hart to a semifinal match against Cody Moore, of Bayfield. Hart fashioned an overwhelming 17-0 technical fall against the Bobcat.

In the finals, Hart pinned Brian Swigart of Dolores in the second round.

"It was an easy day for Kory," according to the coach. "He basically did whatever he wanted to do with both his opponents."

Two Pirates finished in second place at Ignacio: Marcus Rivas (189) and James Martinez (215).

Rivas drew a first-round bye then pinned Jerome Padilla of Piedra Vista in the second period of the semifinal. Rivas lost to Gunnar Simon of Ignacio in the finals.

Martinez, too, drew a first-round bye. In the semifinal round, Martinez pinned Riley Maloy of Bayfield in the second period of the match. Martinez lost in the final to Lauren McKee of Piedra Vista.

Sophomore Ky Smith took third place at 130. Smith beat Hiroshi Sakai of Bayfield with a second-period pin then lost a close match, 9-8, to Dove Creek's Drew Buffington. Smith beat Charlie Hicks of Piedra Vista to advance to the battle for third place against Mickey Swigert of Dolores. The Pirate took the match with a pin.

"Ky had his best tournament of the year," said Janowsky. "He got a lot of mat time."

James Gallegos finished third at 140, starting his day with a second-period pin of Chris Cundiff of Bayfield. After a loss to Anthony Maestas of Mancos, Gallegos defeated Joe Larimore of Dove Creek to earn a trip to the third-place match with Eric Stiasny of Dove Creek. A pin gave the Pirate the bronze.

Matt Nobles finished fourth at 171.

The sophomore beat Ignacio's Matt Olguin 7-6, then lost to Adam Sanders of Piedra Vista. A bye followed then Nobles lost to Ignacio's Ross Melton.

Joe Romine finished fourth at heavyweight. His effort included a win by pin over Aaron Elliot, of Mancos, and losses to wrestlers from Piedra Vista and Aztec.

Raul Palmer won a match for his team at 135. Manuel Madrid scored a single victory at 160.

"I had some concerns," said Janowsky. "I thought our guys were flat and casual at the start of the tournament. As the day went on, they picked it up. I'm excited to see signs of steady improvement on the things we work on during the week, and I saw a lot of that at Ignacio."

Pagosa and Ignacio will have a chance to square off one more time before the regional tournament. The teams meet at the PSHS gym tonight in the final IML dual meet for each team.

"This should turn out like we figured it would all season long," said Janowsky. "Ignacio has five or six real good wrestlers. They've won all their league duals, and we haven't. This one should come down to matchups, and I expect a lot of jockeying with the lineups. It should be a lot of fun."

Action begins at 6 p.m.


Wrestlers pin losses on Salida and Del Norte

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

A trip across Wolf Creek Pass Jan. 29 paid big dividends for the Pirate wrestling team.

The trip involved two dual meets at Del Norte, one against the hosts, the other against Salida.

Pagosa crushed both teams, beating Salida 76-12 and Del Norte 76-0.

The evening was a veritable Pagosa pin parade, the Pirates logging 11 falls in 18 bouts wrestled.

The process began against Salida.

Ky Smith got a pin at 130 pounds, putting his opponent's shoulders down in the first period.

Raul Palmer followed with a second-period pin at 135.

James Gallegos earned bonus points with a 14-1 major decision at 140.

Sophomore Matt Nobles added another win to his season record with an 18-4 major decision at 171.

Marcus Rivas made short work of his opponent at 189, getting the fall in the first period.

Sophomore James Martinez repeated the feat at 215 with a first-period pin.

The Spartans forfeited six matches. Pagosa forfeited one match, at 112, and lost only one match wrestled.

The shutout was pitched against the host class 2A Tigers, normally a fairly competitive program.

Del Norte forfeited to Orion Sandoval at 103 and each team forfeited the match at 112.

Michael Martinez got a period and a half of action at 119 before he pinned his opponent. The Tigers forfeited to Daren Hockett at 125.

Smith notched his second fall of the night at 130 in the second period of the match.

Palmer also scored with his second fall of the night at 135, in the first period.

Gallegos pinned his man at 140 in the third period.

Aaron Hamilton got into the fray at 145 and scored a 15-4 major decision.

Kory Hart was ahead 10-0 in his fight at 152 before the Tiger took an injury default.

Justin Moore got some mat time at 160 and pinned his opponent in the second period.

Nobles stayed on a roll at 171. He scored with a second-period pin.

Del Norte forfeited at 189 to Rivas and Martinez nailed the pin in the first period of his match at 215.

Joe Romine put six points on the team total with a pin at heavyweight.

"A lot of the matches started off close," said coach Dan Janowsky, "as I expected. But, our kids asserted themselves and got on a roll."

The duals gave the Pirate wrestlers an opportunity to work on techniques and strategies emphasized in the practice room and Janowsky was pleased with the progress as the end of the regular season approaches.

"They wrestled well," he said. "They're doing things we've worked on in practice. Our mat wrestling has been of interest to us all year and it looked good at Del Norte - our ability to ride guys and to turn them."

Only one regular season match remains on the schedule. The Pirates face this year's Intermountain League champion Ignacio tonight at the PSHS gym.

"This should be a good one," said Janowsky. "Ignacio has the title, since they beat Centauri and Monte Vista."

Action begins tonight at 6 p.m.




'Social Utopia'

Dear Editor:

As American voters consider the elections of 2004, they may want to consider how liberal philosophy has changed another society, which most of us might think is not so different than our own.

The left will often use Great Britain as the example of the "Social Utopia," they seem to aspire to. Often they point to the fact that Great Britain is a less "violent" society due to their extreme gun laws. The left fails to mention that 120,000 illegal guns enter the country each year.

The adage, "when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns", is not only reality in Britain, Australia and soon Canada, but if the liberals get their way, here in the U.S. as well.

Liberal courts in England have repeatedly punished crime victims more severely than criminals, because the courts often rule in favor of criminals who were injured or killed on the property of their intended victims. Consider Britain under the Liberal Labor Party that now pays 40-percent income taxes, and 80-percent fuel tax on each liter of "petrol." the highest cost in Europe.

Consider the National Health Service, the model Hillary Clinton tried to sell America on as a national health care solution. Not only is the system in dire need of tens of thousands of nurses and doctors, but emergencies often take hours to receive attention and many catastrophic illnesses like cancer, go months before such treatments as chemotherapy or radiation are initiated; the delay often resulting in death. Simple surgical procedures can take months or even years to finally be performed.

Finally, our own ACLU is arguing in Massachusetts that the North American Men/Boys Love Association has the right to inform its members on techniques on how to seduce young boys into homosexual indoctrination. The liberals in Great Britian pushed their own homosexual agenda more forcibly. In spite of the fact that in national polls, better than 80 percent of the population, did not want Section 28, which stopped homosexual indoctrination in public schools, to be repealed, Tony Blair still single handedly, not only repealed Section 28, but also lowered the age for "consensual" homosexual sex to 16. The very next day, liberal members of Parliament began to force a measure to lower "consensual homosexual sex" to age 14.

Space does not allow the hundreds of other statistics and issues the liberals in Great Britian have brought about under the liberal Labor Party, the very least of which has been to give away the very sovereignty of the country to the European Union. It is more than obvious the Democrats in America have decided nothing less than the destruction of American culture and our Judeo-Christian foundations is acceptable. Something to consider come November!

William Bennett

Be sure to register

Dear Editor:

Last year I carried a petition for a person who wanted to be a candidate in the school board election. Although I had gathered more than enough signatures, the petition was rejected.

The reason was that too many of the signers mistakenly believed they were registered voters and that their signatures would count. However, they had stated addresses that did not jibe with the county clerk's voter registration file.

One week from Friday - Feb. 13 - will be the last day citizens may register in order to vote in the precinct caucuses where the process for choosing candidates for the November election begins.

To participate you must be a registered voter. If your name and address in the county clerk's voter registration file are not current, you are not a registered voter.

If you have moved or changed your name or address since the last national election and not provided this information to the county clerk so the file could be updated, you are not a registered voter and you will be prevented from participating.

If you have any doubts or questions regarding your voting eligibility be sure to contact the county clerk's office before this deadline.

Don't let Friday the 13th be your unlucky day. Democracy depends upon voters.

Henry Buslepp


Dear Editor:

I find it incredible that Ms. Tillerson can continue to write letters extolling the virtues of the health district board and its misguided policies.

Instead of huddling at the table and conducting inaudible conversations with Mr. Hawkins and exchanging sotto voce comments with Ms. Jackson, she might have bothered to look around at the many people in attendance.

Their very presence should have given her pause to reflect on the fact these members of the community were there because of general dissatisfaction and doubts about the way the district was being managed.

As reported in The SUN, while income had increased by 11 percent, expenses were 33 percent over budget. This gap of over 20 percent should give her as much concern as it does the taxpaying citizens of the community.

Similarly, the 66-percent upward adjustment to the budget for Emergency Medical Services is a glaring example of fiscal mismanagement. The adjustments caused by Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement policy are well known to all Medicare recipients and any substantive review of records should have enabled the management to prepare a budget in line with this reality based on past experience.

The method used to appoint new members of the board can only be likened to kangaroo court proceedings. Ms. Tillerson's gall in proposing a change to the bylaws to institutionalize those proceedings can only be compared to Marie Antoinette's statement to the public "let them eat cake," but she should remember, the French Revolution followed.

Ms. Tillerson's obvious support of Mr. Hawkins' statement that "we (the board) don't use Roberts Rules of Order, we have our own," as well as totally ignoring requests for conducting the board's business so the audience might glean some information can only be characterized as reflecting the board's attitude of "Let the public be damned."

Ralph Goulds

No breaks due

Dear Editor :

This to Zecheriah Flaugh: How dare you think because you are in the army that makes you better than others? You picked this job for that amount of money so I don't feel you should get a break.

What about our police force, fire department, search and rescue, teachers, parents and the rest who love this country and put their lives on the line everyday just walking out their front doors? So start showing respect to those I've mentioned. My hat is off to all, no matter what job they have, protecting freedom. Stay safe.

Madeleine Heath

Same old board

Dear Editor:

Again, it's the same old, same old as far as the Upper San Juan Health District meeting of Jan. 27.

A huge crowd of citizens showed up at the meeting, all concerned with several issues.

First on the agenda was election of two people to fill vacancies on the board. Eight candidates applied for the positions and only five were interviewed, because the board felt that was all that was necessary.

Of the five interviewed, three were nominated. "Oh, how do we vote again? One name or two on one piece of paper, or is it one name on one piece of paper two times?"

May elections cannot come soon enough.

And speaking of the May elections, since the district manager is so busy with trying to balance the books and get grant monies, why doesn't she turn over the election to some neutral outside organization? Several options were given by members of the audience, such as hiring the League of Women Voters, as they would be impartial.

But here, again, the board had its way. (Same old, same old). "It would cost too much" and "it's never been done that way before." Oh, please, give us a break.

Then Pat Curtis brought up a compromise. Let's have June Madrid choose from her list of qualified election monitors. Motion made, seconded and passed so quickly you'd think the board did not want to entertain any more suggestions from the audience.

Most of the audience would rather see someone outside the district monitor the election, but that was not an option the board wished to vote on.

J.R. Ford had his two minutes plus, and had relevant questions for the board. Somehow, he never did get a straight answer. Whenever the board can't or won't answer a question directed to them, they always seem to skirt around the issue with "let's go on to the next question."

We need a board that will respect our opinions and weigh the value of our questions. They are supposed to be the voice of the people. With the exception of perhaps a few board members, the voice is not of the people.

Diane E. Rieck

Personal issues

Dear Editor:

Once again, the controlling three board members of the Upper San Juan Health Service District completely ignored voting an applicant to the board who has workable solutions and respectable credentials.

It was kinda obvious they want no part of Dr. Jim Knoll's input. I wonder why. What could they possibly be afraid of - common sense?

Ms. Debra Brown, the board's current finance guru, continues to baffle me. For months now, she has repeatedly indicated at meetings how terribly stressed and overworked she has been in performing her fiduciary responsibilities, but continues to prove that she's never heard of the time-honored and logical concept: "Work smarter, not harder." Even a leader who might possess absolute reservoirs of learning will entertain a different mode if it will present few difficulties.

Mr. J.R. Ford has offered his help to Ms. Brown at previous public meetings. Yet, when Ms. Brown was asked at the Jan. 27 meeting why she refuses his assistance, Ms. Brown almost knocks me out with her reply: "I have personal issues with Mr. Ford."

Well, Ms. Brown, since when do personal issues come into play when you're facing financial catastrophe of a public entity? Grasping at personal issues as the excuse for declining free help when its offered is a cop out.

Reluctantly, I must give Ms. Brown kudos for utilizing useful gray matter at the Jan. 27 fiasco.

The USJHSD is planning a SunDowner at the clinic in the future and they needed to expend some of my tax dollars for hors d'oeuvres at the blowout. After vocal public pressure at the Jan. 27 debacle, Ms. Brown offered to provide the hors d'oeuvres at her expense versus the taxpayers' after she was informed our Chamber of Commerce does not freely provide dem kinda antipastos.

There was one other incredible revelation made at the Jan. 27 meeting that just about knocked me into Disney World.

When Ms. Dee Jackson, the executive director of the health district, was asked by a board member how she was doing with the application for an almost guaranteed Southwest Retac grant amounting to thousands of dollars, Ms. Jackson stated, she'd been too busy handling other board members' requests for financial documentation. This is the executive director who wants a salary kick to over $60,000, when you include benefits, in the proposed 2004 health district budget.

Idea: Maybe Ms. Brown and Ms. Jackson could combine their talents pursuing the Southwest Retac grant. Possibly the public would then voice approval to utilize some of their money for canapes at the Chamber SunDowner. At least it would keep Ms. Brown outta da kitchen.

It is most unlikely, but ya jist might entice The SUN's editor to your SunDowner should the hors d'oeuvres be appropriately gorged with respectable homemade sausage.

Jim Sawicki

'New math'?

Dear Editor:

Thank you to Tess Noel Baker for the article last week detailing the filling of two board vacancies for the Upper San Juan Health Service District. I would like to add one more detail.

As you reported, after it was determined that Ken Morrison and Dick Blide each voted for Dr. James Knoll twice, Patty Tillerson disqualified one of each of their votes. Patty then declared the final vote count was four for Lorie Woodmansee, four for Dean Sanna and two for Dr. Knoll.

Apparently Woodmansee and Sanna each accumulated an extra vote after Dr. Knoll's votes were disqualified. An interesting interpretation of "cumulative voting."

Is this the "new math" that will be used to count the votes during the May election?

M. Stern


Dear Editor:

One year ago services of the Upper San Juan Health Services District were in disarray - employees unwilling to adjust to necessary changes to meet growing community needs.

Past boards had failed, mostly due to lack of professional management. Two years ago we hired a professional to manage the district and help us move ahead.

What we had at that time was an outpatient clinic where two physicians were sharing with two private practice physicians the after-hour calls for local patients only.

Soon after, those four physicians came before the board stating that providing after-hours calls one night out of every four and one weekend out of every four simply placed too much strain on their personal lives. They clearly stated "this is not about money, but family time." So, we were left with an 8-to-5 clinic five days a week, with after-hour service placed upon EMS through 911 with personnel who were still suffering from an environment of favoritism, threats, and coverups from the former manager, and they trusted no one.

Something had to be done - the public demanded it!

It was obvious that current employees were not interested. They soon resigned to enter private practice where they could control their schedules and have the personal time they desired. We took this as an opportunity to rebuild our services to meet the total health care needs of the community.

This was an enormous challenge, but with professional management, we have succeeded and we are not through. Your "wish list" is long and we will continue to work to meet all of it.

There is one thing you do not receive at our facility and that is "political talk." Your time and money are focused upon your health concerns.

Warmest regards to our new board members, Lorie Woodmansee and Dean Sanna.

Patty Tillerson



Community News

Senior News

Silver Foxes Den will share

funds from trio's show

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Classical music lovers get ready for a delightful evening. The Red Shoes Trio will perform 7 p.m. Feb. 12 in Community Bible Church, 264 Village Dr. The trio is comprised of Mikylah Myers McTeer, violin: Katherine Jetter Tischhauser, cello; and Lisa Campi, piano.

This performance will be an outstanding example of the arts we enjoy in our community.

Advanced ticket sales began Feb. 2 and tickets are available at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center. Tickets will also available at the door. Prices are, adults $10, children 12 and under $8 and seniors with membership cards are $8.

All proceeds will benefit the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center and the Fort Lewis Scholarship fund.

Tax help

Don't forget, AARP Tax Aides are at the senior center to help you fill out your taxes 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. every Thursday.

Sign-up sheets for appointments are in the dining room on the bulletin board, or you can sign up during the Thursday sessions. They will be working in the arts council room this year and will be available until April 15.


Old George's reminiscing seems to have sparked other folks' memories. Elaine Nossaman remembers driving long agoŠ

"My folks said that I took my first automobile ride in their 1926 Model T Ford, which was the same year I was born.

"Sometimes we would break down on the way to Farmington, but Dad could always walk out to a fence, find a piece of baling wire and come back and fix the car. Sometimes we ran out of gas. There didn't seem to be a gas gauge on the car. He'd stop in at a farm house and get some from a farmer. Once he got a mixture of gasoline and kerosene that a lady was using in her washing machine!

"One time we were coming home from Farmington and we came to a farm west of Bayfield that had some Holstein calves for sale. Dad paid the man ten dollars for the calf and loaded it in the back seat with my cousin and I. We put the back seat up on edge and Troyetta and I perched on the edge of the seat with the calf standing in front of us.

"We didn't have seat belts in those days, we never traveled very fast. We also didn't use antifreeze. In winter Dad always drained the radiator so we didn't travel much then, and when we did it was often with a sled and horses. It like to broke my Dad's heart when we finally got a 1933 Chevrolet but that wasn't until the early forties, I guess."

Odds and ends

We are going to Durango Feb. 12. Sign up in the lounge. Suggested donation is $10.

April Owens has been kind enough to teach a Microsoft Word class Fridays at 10:30 a.m.

We started Jan. 23, but you can come in anytime and learn something new about the computer. Come in and check it out.

Three times is a charm! We are hoping to hear some Cowboy Poetry from Bill Downey at 12:45 p.m. Feb. 9. He's had to cancel twice before, so we have been hungrily anticipating this bit of western entertainment. Come have lunch and enjoy some profound prose.

We have new hours for buying Seniors, Inc. memberships. Come in 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays to get great deals around town, and help our seniors.

Also, the Seniors, Inc. board encourages you to come in and fill out a Value Card fund-raising form to help support Seniors Inc. You don't need to be a senior, only have a City Market card. City Market donates a percentage of the amount you spend to the organization of your choice, in this case, Seniors, Inc. The cards are available to fill out when you renew your membership.

Speaking of poetry, Valentine's Day is coming up.

We will have material available to make Valentine's bags, or maybe you want to decorate a box. You are welcome to bring some of your own material and a unique container, because we will have a prize for the best Valentine's container.

Of course, this means you can bring cards for people at the party, which will be on Friday the 13th. By the way, Shady Pines 4-H will be providing Valentine's cookies on Friday and we'll be showing "Open Range" for our free movie that day, so be sure to come on the Feb. 9 to start decorating your container.


Friday - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Microsoft Word class, 10:30; Medicare counseling, 11; veterans benefits, noon

Feb. 9 - Decorate Valentine's bags, 12:30 p.m. art class, 12:45; Cowboy poetry with Bill Downey, 12:45; bridge for fun, 1 p.m.

Feb. 10 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; advanced computer, 10:30

Feb. 11 -Beginning computer class, 10:30 a.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.

Feb.10 - Durango trip, 8 a.m.; The Red Shoe Trio at Community Bible Church, 7 p.m.


Friday - Beef stew with veggies, tossed salad, cornbread and plums

Feb. 9 - Baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli salad, biscuit and pears

Feb. 10 - Baked ham, mashed yams, spring blend vegetables, roll and vanilla pudding

Feb. 11 - Beefy Spanish rice, gazed carrots, tossed salad, and pineapple


Chamber News

Balloon, sleds, fishing warm a winter weekend

By Sally Hamiester

This weekend you will have the opportunity (with Mother Nature's cooperation, of course) to see around 50 balloons ascend into the blue winter skies on Saturday and Sunday mornings in the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center area.

Liz and Mike Marchand and the Reach for the Peaks gang have done it again with bringing all these "balloonatics" to Pagosa to grace our skies with their colorful and fascinating balloons, and we look forward to the spectacles.

The Chamber of Commerce is proud to share title sponsor honors with Dahl of Durango-Wirsbo, but salute Reach for the Peaks for doing all the organization and hard work it takes to create this event. Please plan to be at the balloon launching site around 8:30-9 a.m. both mornings to take it all in. KFC-Taco Bell is sponsoring the Balloon Glow, to be held in the same place, at dusk Saturday night, and I can assure you that it's well worth bundling up to see.

On Saturday you can also plan to head out to Lake Hatcher around 9:30 a.m. for the Winter Perch Tournament sponsored by the Pagosa Lakes Property Association. 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. Tickets are $7 at the event. Hundreds of dollars in cash prizes will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place winners in the two categories of 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.

After the Sunday ascension, head on over to the "Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race" at the High Country Lodge Best Value Inn about three miles east of town on U.S. 160. Dick and Kathey Fitz, and son Leroy, will be your hosts, and this family always does a beautiful job of making everyone feel welcome at their place, and will once again offer free food and drink.

This year, along with the cash prizes, there will be drawings for great additional prizes donated by Bear Creek Saloon, Studio 160, Ski & Bow Rack, Radio Shack, Frankie's Place, Loredana's, Springs Inn Bathhouse and Rocky Mountain Lube and Oil. Sledding contestants will be towed to the top of the hill by Snow Country Adventure Tours, and each team (or sled) will make three runs and the best time wins. All sleds must be homemade and have brakes that actually work and stop the blasted thing. Doug Trowbridge will have the final word on the safety of the sleds.

If you have not registered before Sunday, you may do so beginning at noon Sunday, but we encourage you to register at the Visitor Center so we will have a better idea about numbers. Call us with questions at 264-2360 or we will just plan to see you on Sunday for the "Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race" beginning at 1 p.m.

Airport advertising

We have had a couple of slots open up in the Pagosa Springs brochure rack at the Durango La Plata Airport and invite you to join us in this reasonable, effective advertising opportunity.

The rack is well located, right next to the Avis Rental Car across from the baggage claim area. While arrivals are awaiting their baggage, they tend to roam around in that area looking for places to go and things to do, so we are in an extremely good place to capture the attention of newcomers to the Four Corners area.

The staff at the airport does an excellent job of stocking the racks, and the cost for this service is $50 per month. Please give us a call if you are interested in becoming an investor in the ongoing airport advertising endeavor.

Valentine Perks

Just a little reminder that Valentine's Day is quickly approaching, and I want to keep all the guys out of hot water.

I had an interesting conversation with someone the other day about the fact that women almost never, ever forget Valentine's Day - you can count on that about 99.9 percent of the time. Historically, it doesn't seem to occupy quite the position of importance on the calendar with most men.

I know these are gross generalizations, which I normally try to avoid, but I don't think there are many folks out there who would disagree that most women adore Valentine's Day and most men not so much.

I also know that I have heard numerous ugly stories about the fate of individuals who forgot this day dedicated to cupid and romance and have never been seen again. Pity.

The moral to this story is that we have many local merchants who would be delighted to help you find just the right thing for your special Valentine, or if you are puzzled, Pagosa Perks are available year-round.

If you give Pagosa Perks, you don't need to bother yourself with size, color or whether or not you recipient will necessarily appreciate your choice. You allow that person to take all the time in the world (six months, to be exact) to select her/his own gift at an amazing variety of Chamber member stores with the added huge plus that the money stays here in Archuleta County.

Even though we sold well over $5,400 of Pagosa Perks over the Christmas holidays, they are available year-round here at the Chamber for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations and just about any special occasion you can come up with.

Give us a call at 264-2360 with questions, but no matter what you decide to do, don't forget that Valentines' Day is Saturday, Feb. 14.

Upscale anniversary

Don't forget to visit Upscale Resale Saturday to help Teri celebrate her second anniversary. I'm sure she will have a treat or two to offer along with grand savings. 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 this Saturday.

Opening reception

You are cordially invited to attend the opening reception of the 16th annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest at Moonlight Books Feb. 7 from 5-7 p.m. and view this year's entries in this annual competition.

You can count on viewing stunning photos from local amateur and professional photographers in 15 different categories and then casting your own vote for the People's Choice Award. First-, second- and third-place ribbons will be awarded in each category as well as Best of Show.

Don't miss this opportunity to examine and applaud the remarkable work of some of our talented local folks.

"Lord of the Springs"

Pagosa Pretenders will soon offer four performances of "Lord of the Springs" an original play based loosely on the J.R. Tolkien trilogy.

With all the attention focused on "Lord of the Rings" in recent years, the timing on this production couldn't be better. 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 on February 20, 21, 27 and 28 beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Moonlight Books.

Red Shoe Trio

All those folks who have enjoyed the last two years of Music in the Mountains in Pagosa Springs will be delighted to know that more classical music will be available to them Feb. 12 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Community Bible Church at 264 Village Drive.

The Red Shoe Trio (Fort Lewis Faculty Trio) boasts Mikylah Myers McTeer on violin, Katherine Jetter Tischhauser on cello and Lisa Campi on piano, and these folks are sure provide a memorable evening for you.

Tickets are available at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center and will also be available at the door. Adult tickets are $10, children 12 and under are $8 as well as seniors with membership cards.

All proceeds will benefit the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center and the Fort Lewis College scholarship fund. Call Musetta at 264-2167 with questions.

Big game meeting

The Colorado Wildlife Commission is reviewing proposed updates to Colorado's big game hunting and management policies, and you are invited to provide input during an upcoming forum to be held Feb. 10 in the South Room at the Pagosa Lakes Vista Clubhouse from 7-9 p.m.

Your comments could help shape the 2005-2009 big game season structure which will determine when, where and how hunters can harvest big game wildlife in Colorado each year.

Wildlife Commission Chairman Rick Enstrom stated, "The big game hunting tradition is part of Colorado's rich outdoor heritage. We welcome the viewpoints of hunters and others willing to help us determine the next big game season structure. Public feedback is an indispensable part of this process."


We are delighted to bring you two new members this week and a whoppin' nine renewals. Helps warm the cockles of our hearts during this especially cold February, I assure you.

Leo Milner, D.C., joins us with Milner Chiropractic located at 302 Pagosa St. This gentleman offers chiropractic care utilizing various force and non-force techniques. He brings 20 years experience to this practice and welcomes house calls. For those four-legged friends of yours, veterinary orthopedic manipulation is available with veterinarian supervision. To learn more about Milner Chiropractic, please call 264-6471.

We next welcome an old friend with a new second business: Agape Gifts, located at 432 Pagosa St., right in the middle of downtown Pagosa Springs. Lois Higgins has already established herself as quite the business woman with her long-established Made in Colorado Shoppe and has just recently opened Agape Gifts. You will find gifts of love - inspirational gifts, candles, silver jewelry, Black Hills gold, greeting cards, Hello Kitty, Christmas nativities and ornaments and Christian books and CDs. I stopped in for Agape's grand opening Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed wandering through all the lovely things. You can give these good folks a call at 264-4744.

Our renewals this week include Cynde Jackson with Coin Crafters & Engravers Olde Tyme Concessions; Linda Erskine with Design-A-Sign; Pastor Don Ford with Community United Methodist Thrift Shop; Danna and Steven Mahaffey with Pagosa Pastimes; Stan Maddux with Foam Insulation Specialists, LLC; Lew Woodard with First Inn of Pagosa, Inc.; James Hallock with Earth Block, Inc.; and Robbie Schwartz with both the Humane Society Thrift Store and the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs. We thank you all for your support, both new and continued.



Library News

LPEA foundation grant assists building fund

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

We are pleased to announce that the La Plata Electric Association Round Up Foundation has awarded the Friends of the Library $5,000 for the library building fund.

The award letter stated, "Libraries should be vital components for any community, and it is clear to our board that yours fills this role commendably in Pagosa Springs. We send you best wishes for a successful expansion project."

The LPEA Round Up Foundation helps many local organizations with funds collected from users that allow LPEA to round up cents to dollars on their monthly bills.

If you are interested in this painless way of donating to local projects, call LPEA at 382-3505.

We are honored to have our grade-schoolers collecting "Cents for Sisson."

A major part of the building project is to provide a much larger children's area for programs, arts and crafts and other activities. According to Cathne Holt, school librarian, some of the boys would like a room with running water so they can do some science fair projects. Now there is a good "patron" suggestion.

We encourage everyone to give us suggestions for what you would like to see included in the project. We will be holding some focus group meetings and doing some phone interviews. If you would like to be included, call me at 264-2209.

Red Ryder

A good friend in Denver sent me a Wall Street Journal article about Fred Harman and the BB gun that appeared in the movie, "A Christmas Story." It is always fun to brag about our famous Pagosans. (Which I do with great regularity.) We watch that movie every year and anguish with Ralphie Parker and his tortured quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. The gentleman who wrote the article toured the Fred Harman museum and ends with "But for all the Ralphies the world over - both fictional and real - this museum is a fitting tribute and well worth a visit." How many of you have had the pleasure of touring the Fred Harman Museum?

Oprah's book club

"One Hundred Years of Solitude," by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, has been reprinted for the book club. It is Marquez's most famous work and tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Bendia family. One interviewer says this book should be required reading for the entire human race. Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

Oprah Book Club selections are donated to us by the American Library Association, Harper Perennial Publishers and Oprah Winfrey.


A Sponsor gift from Fred and Jo Rose was received in memory of Jo's mother.

Thanks for materials from Tom Steen, Marti Gallo, Kim Leg and family, Lois Portenier, Nancy Wells, Moonlight Books, Eric Wade, Mary Nichols, Barbara and Robert Carlos, and Carol Anderson



Veteran's Corner

Durango VA clinic moves to new location Feb. 17

The Durango VA Medical Clinic plans to move to its new location and be in operation Feb. 17. They plan to complete the moving processes over the preceding weekend.

The location is 400 S. Camino Del Rio in Durango. This is in a strip mall, close to Big Five Sports on the right just past the Durango Mall, before you cross the river into Durango. Phone numbers will remain the same 247-2214.

I have seen the plans for the new location and it looks like it will be a first class facility, with lots of well-lit, roomy offices and examination rooms. Best of all, parking will be vastly improved with easier access especially for handicapped parking.

Stop by for a visit

No formal open house is planned on the opening day, but I'm sure they will welcome all veterans and interested persons to stop by and see the new facility. I plan to be there for a while on Feb. 17 and hope to see you there.

I had my first appointment with Dr. Salter the other day and was very impressed with his thoroughness and the staff responses to my questions. They took good care of my needs without any delays. They are giving first-class service, in my estimation.

Record VA Budget

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will receive a record budget of $64 billion for the current fiscal year, up $4.2 billion from the previous spending level.

"I'm grateful for President Bush's leadership in ensuring that VA can honor our nation's commitment to its veterans," said Anthony J. Principi, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. "I'm also appreciative of the support that Congress has shown when it comes to taking care of veterans."

The budget for fiscal year 2004, which began Oct. 1, 2003, comes as VA is putting the finishing touches on the administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2005, which will be formally unveiled Feb. 2.

Health care upped

Among the major items in fiscal year 2004 budget are $28.4 billion (including $1.7 billion in collections) for health care, up $2.9 billion from the previous year, and $32.8 billion in benefits programs.

Other budgetary categories include:

- $143.4 million for the National Cemetery Administration, an $11 million hike over last year, plus nearly $32 million in grants for state cemeteries

- full funding to expedite the handling of veterans' claims for disability compensation and pensions - a total of $1 billion for all programs

- nearly $176 million for health care and other programs to assist homeless veterans, an increase of over $22 million from fiscal year 2003

- $101 million to support state extended-care facilities, $3 million more than last year and

- $522 million for construction, plus the authority to transfer another $400 million to health care construction.

"This budget will ensure VA is able to meet the needs of the latest generation of combat vets who are now returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, while continuing to care for those from earlier conflicts," Principi said.

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




Bradley Davis

Navy Seaman Recruit Bradley J. Davis, son of Pamela A. Poitras of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and Charles W. Davis of Pagosa Springs, recently completed Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Davis completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, fire fighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. Emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations," an exercise giving recruits the key skills and confidence they need to graduate and join the fleet.

Davis is a 1998 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School.


Kari Blodgett

Kari Anne Blodgett, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Dana Blodgett Jr. of Pagosa Springs, has been named to the dean's list for the fall semester at Samford University, Birmingham, Ala.

To qualify for the honor, a student must have earned a minimum 3.5 grade point average out of a possible 4.0 while attempting at least 12 credit hours of coursework.




Sharing the Snow

Task force organizes winter recreation on pass

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Start talking about recreation on Wolf Creek Pass and some may immediately think of the ski area.

Others may think of the drive over the top as a recreational activity - especially in the winter. But meeting the real users of Wolf Creek Pass means pulling off the beaten, or asphalted path.

Snowmobilers, backcountry skiers, sledders and others use the national forest on both sides of the top of the pass throughout the winter. It makes sense: In these parts, that's where the snow falls first and lasts longest. It is a local "Mecca" for snow lovers.

With so many enthusiasts using the same area, conflict is always a possibility. That's why, three years ago, the Forest Service asked for volunteers to meet to address winter use issues on both the north and south sides of U.S. 160 at the top of the pass. In a few meetings, the Wolf Creek Task Force was formed with recreationists from South Fork and Pagosa Springs representing a wide variety of winter sports. Others represented the Forest Service, the ski area and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Jo Bridges, of the U. S. Forest Service Pagosa Ranger District, said the task force allowed the people who use the pass to be part of the decision-making process.

"This is a real opportunity to have people listen to one another and come up with guidelines that make sense to the people impacted."

The other option is for the Forest Service to simply make the rules. That's possible, Bridges said, but mandatory regulations upset everyone. Plus, in this case, people are dealing with two forests, the Rio Grande National Forest on one side of the pass and the San Juan National Forest on the other. If everyone's at the same table, recommendations made can usually be accommodated and, hopefully, result in greater voluntary compliance.

"They've been very earnest about trying to work out something that's going to work for everyone," Bridges said.

It has at times been a tedious process. Once formed, the task force met, sometimes twice a month during the winter, at the Wolf Creek Ski Area. Each representative was expected to represent a user group and continuously poll constituents in an effort to bring all issues to the table. As a task force, they raised money for seven meetings with a special conflict resolution facilitator from Wyoming. In 2003, they produced surveys. About 200 other winter users of the backcountry around the pass were polled. Answers were analyzed and debated.

Some of the items at issue were the noise and exhaust created by the snowmobiles, safety for everyone and the rights of hybrids - people, generally snowboarders, who climb the backcountry hills on snowmobiles and board down.

"Part of the problem that arose is that it's a relatively small area and in years like the last couple where we have less snowfall, people congregate in certain areas," Jimmy Britton, a member of the task force said. Britton represented the Wolf Creek Trailblazers, a local snowmobile club. On a recent Friday, the parking lot for Lobo Road on the north side of the pass had just a few vehicles. The south side had just one. Last year, Britton said, it was not uncommon to see both sides overflowing.

To address the problem, the task force designated areas for different types of uses.

Because the north side, off Lobo Road, contains the slopes backcountry skiers frequent, snowmobiles are restricted to the road, a groomed trail. This allows hybrid recreationists access to the slopes and improves safety for the skiers.

The southside parking area is recommended for motorized users. Here, snowmobiles have access to both groomed trails and off-trail areas. Snowmobiles are asked to stay out of the Rock Garden Area near the Wolf Creek Ski Area. Skiers and snowshoers are asked to yield to snowmobiles and snowmobilers are asked to slow down for skiers and snowshoers.

"I think what we did is we actually got to know one another on a personal basis and that helped us understand how the other groups felt," Britton said. "I think we all wanted a peaceful outdoor experience without conflict."

Last year, maps went up on both sides of the pass outlining the preferred uses for each area.

Currently, a brochure to be displayed at local businesses is being developed. This, members of the task force said, could help educate visitors about the voluntary rules on the pass, especially since the sign on the south side is currently buried under mountains of snow. The brochure is titled, "Share the snow at Wolf Creek Pass."

The introduction reads:

"In an effort to provide quality recreation experiences for everyone at Wolf Creek Pass, the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests are asking winter visitors to follow voluntary guidelines for safe and fun winter recreation.

"These guidelines were developed by a task force representing local motorized, non motorized and hybrid recreationists as well as outfitters, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Wolf Creek Ski Area and the U.S. Forest Service.

"Additionally, the Backcountry Snowsports Alliance and the Colorado Snowmobile Association represented recreationists statewide."

Both Deitz and Britton are hoping that the combination of signage and brochures will be enough to inform both locals and visitors of the task force's work.

"This, I think, has already brought less conflict," Bridges said. "I think we're getting pretty good compliance with the voluntary regulations. A few still break out on their own, but I think time will improve that compliance because individuals out there will say something to these people."

Deitz said signs reminding motorized traffic to go slow and remain on the groomed road have also been posted along Lobo Road on the north side of the pass.

"We all want this to work without mandatory regulations," Britton added.

The task force continues to meet and collect comment sheets from boxes attached to signs on both sides of the pass. In May, Deitz said, the group will review the input and consider changes.

The important thing at this point is that everyone keeps talking and the snow keeps falling.

"We may not have solved the problem completely," Britton said, "but we'll keep coming back with give and take and solve it to everyone's desires."



Pagosa's Past

Early cattle trade spread

money into the community

John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

According to Ethel Sheets Wood, during the early 1870s in Colorado, "The cattle business was, without a doubt, the favored occupation and dominated mining and all else in the West at that time; it was here that my father came to seek his fortune, going into the cattle business on the Greenhorn, also."

Her father was Major Daniel L. Sheets. The Greenhorn referred to was in the Rye area, a little north and west of Walsenburg, Colorado. The area was a named for a Comanche Chief who was run down and defeated by the Spanish in that area.

Word reached the Greenhorn area that the entire San Juan country from Pagosa Springs to Cox's Crossing (near Aztec, N.M.) was one vast extent of grasslands. After riding with one of his men to look over the San Juan, Sheets drove his entire herd of some 2,000 head to the San Juan.

Among the drovers were Louis Paquin, Charley Frink, Deacon Jackson, and the writer's uncles Granville and Wiley Graybeal.

Parquin, Frink and Wiley remained in the San Juan country, later settling near Mancos.

Winter overtook them near Wagon Wheel Gap, where some 400 cattle were lost by spring. Some were lost to exposure and others to Indians foraging for food. The herd was evidently driven over Stony Pass to Silverton, then down the Animas River.

In 1876, the Major returned to Muddy Creek to fetch his wife and the remainder of the family. They traveled in two covered wagons and a spring wagon, completing the journey in 17 days.

During the trip, the travelers were visited by Chief Ignacio and three braves who shared coffee. Ignacio attempted to trade horses for the writer's money. Even though the ante climbed from three to 20 horses, the Chief was not successful.

When fording the Pine River about four miles north of today's Bayfield, the wagon turned over throwing "my mother and the baby" into the icy water. They were rescued and a proper fire built to dry out everyone. The final destination was Animas City. (This trip must have been made by way of Cumbres Pass or even by way of Ojo Caliente. If they came over Stony Pass, I don't know why they'd be crossing the Pine River near Bayfield. I don't think Cumbres was passable with wagons in 1876, ergo, they probably traveled through Ojo Caliente ).

When Durango superseded Animas City ca. 1881, the Sheets moved to the railroad town.

"My father was quite prosperous at this time," Ethel Sheets Woods writes, "in spite of beef selling on the hoof and over the counter at from three to five cents per pound; the cattle business spread lots of money in the community and was the life of all other business."

Major Sheets later served in the Colorado House of Representatives and when the U.S. Land Office was established in Durango the Major served as receiver for many years.

The writer neglects to tell us where her father's cattle ranch was located. The family apparently lived in town most of the time.

Another early pioneer, though not a cattleman, was Walter S. Weightman.

Weightman established a grocery business in Animas City in 1879. I mention Weightman because his writer's description of shipped freight from Alamosa is interesting.

"Groceries were very high in price due to the cost of freighting them in. Many are the jokes about the 'old cracker barrel' but that was the way they were shipped into Animas City. Oatmeal, vinegar, and molasses came in barrels, too; while butter, sometimes rather strong in flavor, was packed solid in wooden firkins. Cigars and chewing tobaccos were shipped in what might be called a giant humidor - a box larger than a trunk of heavy oak, wood lined with zinc."

We are not told by which route the goods described were shipped. I have to guess - because the year was 1879 - that the goods were freighted from the end of the rail line somewhere between Alamosa and Chama across Cumbres Pass and through Pagosa Springs.

Eva O. Pearson wrote the story about Weightman, her father in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country." Information about Major Sheets was also taken from "Pioneers of the San Juan Country."

More next week about pioneer cattle raising and life in the San Juan Basin.



It's our own fault

Enough is enough. A middle-aged and marginally skilled pop

star bares a breast on national television during the halftime

show at the Super bowl. Television news broadcasts highlight the indiscretion, making it a top story. Daily newspapers put the incident on the front page. Three days later, the event is still at the front of our news consciousness, generating the sort of shallow moral issue that feeds coffee shop conversation without forcing anyone to delve into what the incident means.

Everyone involved in the halftime show is apologizing (and profiting); officials are reacting, legislators are scheduling committee hearings.

At the same time, a professional basketball player is suspended for a game for uttering an obscenity and criticizing officials. He loses approximately $300,000 for missing one game.

We look at these situations and understand something about the sad state of our culture: It's our fault; we are willing captives of celebrity and of commercial interests obsessed with sales - of a flagging pop star, of high-dollar athletes, of low-value entertainment.

What is wrong, we wonder, when we find the pop star on the front pages, at the same time our nation is involved in a cultural and religious war that puts fellow citizens and others in harm's way, and robs us of valuable young lives? Why is it we give a moment's notice to tawdry nonsense when we should spend our time considering the chance the war will continue for years, perhaps decades?

How is it we are so easily directed to the "controversy" of the pop star's indiscretion - Was it planned? Was it an accident? - when the profound moral issue swirling around a potential $500 billion federal deficit, and its impact for years to come, is pushed off the front page? What should take precedence here?

Why is it so difficult to put the Super Bowl incident into context: as part of an entertainment culture that dumps increasingly misogynistic and violent mental and emotional garbage on our children and us. Why don't we do something about the context?

Cultures clash. Poverty and need crush the spirits of peoples around the world. An economy lags. Kids shoot each other at school. Debt increases. Children are raised without parents. A large population heads toward retirement like a puppy through a python, with all the needs and demands that implies. While we absorb superficial drivel about an adolescent display on national television - a display that would have no place in that situation, were it not for commercial potential.

The basketball player is fined for using an obscenity, for criticizing the authorities in his sport. Fans are outraged. About what? That he could not play? Could the real problem be the fact he makes nearly $300,000 for playing a child's game, for an hour?

We need to wake up. There is no need for a mindless backlash, blind censorship of all things mundane or offensive; there is a time and place - and proper audience - for nearly everything. The issue hidden behind the cheap thrills headlines is whether or not we'll ever set and recognize limits that correct our self-indulgent, lazy tolerance.

There is little that will be done about the fact that grotesque amounts of attention and cash are given to entertainers and athletes as long as there are people willing to pay them, buy their products and support the commercial interests behind them.

We need to stop spending that money, then demand that attention be paid to significant issues, ensuring our vital concerns are given precedence while our trash is kept where it belongs.

Karl Isberg



Pacing Pagosa

NCLB hamstringing educators

First of two parts

Across the nation, educators are reacting with all forms of malice against the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Wisconsin Education Association Council, for example, criticized the program not so much for what it requires but for what it forces students to do without.

The Capital Times in Madison called the Act "another of those programs with a sugar-coated name that leaves behind a bitter taste for those who are forced to follow its dictates."

The Chicago Tribune cited the Act's effect on city schools, particularly the premier ones offering students a wide-ranging curriculum.

It noted that because the federal reforms focus only on reading and math, schools are concentrating on them but not things like history.

The paper cited the case of a downstate Illinois school whose principal sacrificed a semester of social studies so his juniors could prep for the tests with an additional math class.

Out on the West Coast, educators verbally shredded the legislation saying, "It will actually damage the quality of K-12 education."

At a meeting in Lafayette, Calif., state Assemblyman Loni Hancock said,"This law presents a problem for every school district, especially for those already struggling to meet state standards."

A Berkeley school representative reported his district's report card "is better than most California schools ... but it failed the national adequate yearly progress mandate" implying it was because the school already rated so highly.

In mid-America, the din is as strident. U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, speaking at a forum in Missouri, said his major concern, a thought echoed across the land, is "lack of government funding to support the bill's requirements."

"I voted for the bill," he said, "but I do have reservations now, absolutely." He plans to introduce a bill allowing school districts to suspend NCLB for a year at a time until it is fully funded by the federal government.

One educator speaking at that meeting said, "It take five years to learn a language, yet these students are expected to test at proficiency, sometimes in three months. That's more than a little bit of an issue."

"It's a great name for a piece of legislation," said another. "Unfortunately it didn't live up to it's name."

Next door in Kansas, State Rep. Sue Storm, speaking as a teacher, asked, "How do you explain to parents when a school is named a Blue Ribbon School one year and a failing school the next?" It happened, she said, in Shawnee Mission where a board member said the title is good. "You can't leave kids behind ... but all kids can't learn in the same time and the same way."

In Bennington, Vt., the principal of Mount Anthony High School was shocked when she received a letter demanding a list of her students' names, addresses and phone numbers. She said it was against policy, but military recruiters cited No Child Left Behind mandates for release of such data.

Pagosa Springs schools, like these, are struggling to meet the law's mandates.

Next week: Equal but different.



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Feb. 6, 1914

The thoroughbred bull No. 28, a stock show prize winner, arrived this week from Denver, having been purchased by John Dowell. A splendid animal and a tidy sum he cost. He will be added to the herd at the Dowell ranches on upper Mill Creek.

Rocky Farrow and Carl Burster were up this week from the Piedra trying to secure a county bounty on grey wolf scalps.

The millinery store of Estella May Reese is now located in the building recently vacated by the Sun. New paper has transformed the room and with the neat fixtures and complete stock of ladies' headgear Miss Reese will conduct a thoroughly up-to-date establishment.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Feb. 8, 1929

The continuous snow storm of the past week has provided about all the moisture that was needed in this section for some days to come. The heavy wind of yesterday has caused a blockade of Cumbres Pass, and no tickets to eastern points were sold at the Pagosa Springs station this morning. Just when the pass will be reopened to traffic cannot be ascertained.

Mrs. Lucy Brown Day, formerly of Pagosa Springs, is now being frequently heard by Pagosa radio enthusiasts, who tune in on KNX of Hollywood, where her pipe organ selections are being broadcast.

Archuleta County receives $1,067 as its share of the public school fund for the last half of 1928.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Feb. 5, 1954

The entire town was without water for about six hours last Sunday and a goodly portion of the eastern part of town and portions of the surrounding rural areas were without telephone service when a main broke in the alley west of the water plant. The break was occasioned by high pressure as a result of pumping directly into the main and left the entire town without water from noon until six or seven that evening. It was necessary to get a jack hammer to drill through the frozen ground to get at the main for repairs and this took considerable time. At the same time the main broke it caused damage to the underground telephone cable in the alley and interrupted telephone service to all patrons of the company served by that trunk line.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Feb. 8, 1979

Jerry Miley, weather observer on Wolf Creek Pass, reports that thus far in February 11 inches of new snow has been received on the pass. This brings the total snowfall on the Wolf Creek Pass for the winter to date to 469 inches, a record high for this date.

Town Board topics at its regular meeting Tuesday night were mostly related to snow caused problems. The board also heard of two new building projects proposed for the area east of the bridge, including a new shopping center, a steak house, and possibly a motel.

Two men were arrested and two aircraft seized and impounded at Stevens Field Monday. The actions were taken in connection with an alleged conspiracy to smuggle marijuana into the United States.