Burglary list grows to 17, five arrested
By Tess Noel Baker
Reports of burglaries of summer homes in Archuleta County climbed to 17 over the weekend.
Meanwhile, arrests increased to five.
Archuleta County Sheriff's Department Detective George Daniels said tips from a business owner in New Mexico led law enforcement officers to arrest three more men in the case. All have ties to Pagosa Springs, but two were living in New Mexico. Two others, a juvenile and another adult, were arrested last week. The names of the suspects were not released due to the nature of the ongoing investigation.
Daniels said the latest break in the case came when a New Mexico shop owner recognized some items coming into his store. The owners of the items identified the property and called their caretaker in Pagosa Springs, who reported the burglary to the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.
County officials traveled to New Mexico where the shop owner was able to identify two suspects. Both were later arrested.
Daniels said because the burglars targeted vacant summer homes, it has been difficult to pinpoint the exact time of the burglaries. The first report was filed in November. More followed in December, January and February with the three most recent filed over the weekend.
Homes have been hit around the county, Daniels said. A total value for the missing property has not been compiled yet as some home owners have not had a chance to inventory their belongings.
According to reports, electronic equipment, power tools, winter clothing, firearms and jewelry have been taken from the homes. Damage to the residences themselves has been minimal.
Daniels said in the past week antlers, spurs, a pair of chaps, a firearm, a microwave oven, some jewelry, guitars, an amplifier and satellite receivers taken in the burglaries had been recovered.
The search for both suspects and property continues.
A Crime Stoppers reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of suspects in this case. Anyone with information regarding the suspects or knowledge about the stolen property is asked to call Daniels at 264-8470 immediately.
1960 state champions honored
Forty-three years and counting...
The 1960 Pagosa Springs High School state-championship basketball team was the first and last Pagosa athletics team to claim a state title.
The 1960 Pirates achieved the accolade by defeating Ouray, Fowler and then Gilcrest in the "Class B" championship series in the Denver Coliseum.
A March 24, 1960, front-page story appearing in The SUN states team members, upon their triumphant return from Denver, "were presented with a key to the town and given a very warm welcome."
Prior to the opening tip of Thursday night's Intermountain League contest between Pagosa and Ignacio, members of the championship squad were honored on the current Pirates' home floor during a special-recognition ceremony conducted at half court.
Cat Creek B&B denied; board overrules plan panel
By Tom Carosello
Land-use issues returned to center stage during this week's meeting of the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners.
After a brief discussion, the board voted Tuesday to deny a conditional use permit application that could have resulted in the establishment of a business endeavor on Cat Creek Road.
The board's denial differs from the decision reached by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, which recommended conditional approval of the permit for Mountain Creek Manor Bed and Breakfast at its Jan. 14 meeting.
While the majority of planning commissioners supported the proposed establishment, commissioners Betty Shahan and Dan Aupperle sided with neighboring residents, who viewed the expansion of an existing residence at 750 County Road 700 for commercial intent as inappropriate.
In addition to citing, among others, concerns for the potential effects on wildlife, water availability and quality of life, residents argued the proposal should be forbidden because covenants for the area, known as Four Corners Vacation Property, prohibit commercial operations.
Planning commissioners voting for approval acknowledged as much, but indicated the commission "is not the authority" to render a decision regarding covenants, but, based on planning staff recommendation and county land-use regulations, should only decide if the requirements needed to obtain a conditional use permit have been met.
Michael Goldman, county attorney, reiterated that notion at the onset of a Feb. 3 public hearing scheduled by the county commissioners to further address the issue.
"The board of county commissioners has only the authority that is granted to it by state Legislature," explained Goldman, prior to public-comment proceedings that included several impassioned pleas to the board from residents objecting to the proposal.
With reference to the county land-use regulations, "The board has the specific job of applying its code," added Goldman. "It cannot apply extraneous rules or regulations."
In summary, the issue of covenant enforcement, said Goldman, "is not this board's concern ... that is for a court to decide."
The commissioners tabled consideration of the permit application at the conclusion of the hearing, but each offered an opinion on the matter prior to voting to quash the request Tuesday.
"I don't feel that this is an appropriate change in the use of the land out there," said Commissioner Bill Downey shortly after moving to deny the application.
"We speak of compatibility," added Downey, "But these sorts of changes are not compatible, in my mind, with single-family usage."
Commissioner Alden Ecker echoed Downey's sentiments after seconding the motion; Ecker indicated he understands the concerns of nearby residents that such an establishment "would certainly interfere with their welfare."
Ecker also expressed he is not in favor of establishing "commercial businesses in the middle of people's lives."
Offering a final thought, "If we had zoning, this would never have come about," said Board Chairman Mamie Lynch.
"I heartily disagree," responded Downey, but further commentary on zoning was suspended as the board voted unanimously to carry the motion to deny.
Community Plan update
Addressing another land-use issue, Marcus Baker, associate county planner, briefed the board on the progress being made by the Community Plan Implementation Team, which held its first meeting Feb. 12.
Team members are charged with supplying input and feedback on several growth-management blueprints, including existing concepts and others that are comprised of information gathered by planning staff during a series of volunteer, land-use focus groups conducted late last year.
The task force was presented six preliminary land-use scenarios during last week's session, said Baker, and reactions were generally favorable to all of them save for one.
After reviewing the "pros and cons" of each concept, "The only one they wanted to throw out is our existing system," said Baker.
Baker stated the current scenarios, which are available for public review at the planning department office, will be polished and refined with greater detail in the coming weeks.
According to Baker, barring any snags, new or revised land-use policies resulting from team sessions could be inked in draft form as early as this spring, with final policies scheduled to be ready by this fall.
Baker also indicated an additional resident is being sought from the Arboles area to replace a team member lost to scheduling conflicts.
Anyone interested in representing the Arboles area on the task force should contact the county planning department at 264-5851 or stop by the department office at 527 A San Juan St.
Other business conducted by the board this week included:
- agreeing to draft letters of support relating to the continued efforts of Housing Solutions for the Southwest and The Conservation Fund
- appointing Marcina Mitchell, Veronica Doctor and James Super to serve three-year terms on the county fair board
- renewing an annual agreement with Hinsdale County regarding the provision of emergency medical services
- approving documentation that will further the effort to obtain Great Outdoors Colorado grant funding for the establishment of sewer lines and restrooms at the county fairgrounds
- tabling a resolution outlining policy related to waiving building permit and planning review fees.
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Forecast hints at mix of snow, rain and wind
By Tom Carosello
A low-pressure system trekking in from Southern California should provide Pagosa Country with a modest amount of moisture through this afternoon.
That's the word from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, which estimates anywhere from two to six inches of snowfall is possible before the system moves east tonight.
According to the latest data, widespread snow showers accompanied by south winds at 10-15 mile per hour should be the norm until early afternoon.
Winds are expected to shift to the west by late afternoon, with gusty conditions possible by evening as the chance for snow dwindles from 60 percent to around 20 percent.
High temperatures should range in the 30s, while lows should fall to around 10.
The forecast for Friday predicts partly-cloudy skies, a 20-percent chance for scattered flurries, highs in the upper 30s and lows in the teens.
The chance for light snow and/or scattered rain showers rebounds to 40 percent for Saturday; highs are predicted in the upper 30s while evening lows should drop into the teens.
Mostly-cloudy conditions, a 20-percent chance for snow, highs in the 35-45 range and lows in the teens are in the forecasts for Sunday through Tuesday.
Wednesday calls for intermittent sunshine, a 30-percent chance for snow, highs around 40 and lows in the teens.
The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 35 degrees. The average low was 6. Snowfall totals for the week amounted to a half inch.
Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 111 inches, a midway depth of 103 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 301 inches.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is "moderate" below timberline and "considerable" near and above timberline.
Recent reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture describe regional drought conditions as "moderate."
According to the latest SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan River Basin is 111 percent of average.
San Juan River flow south of town ranged from approximately 15 cubic feet per second to 55 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Feb. 19 is listed at 55 cubic feet per second.
Cost to operate sports is subsidized by town
By Joe Lister Jr.
In every sport season, every year, we get someone who asks questions about fees and length of season.
The town of Pagosa Springs has a recreation budget for all youth and adult sports. All players' fees go into the general fund.
We have prepared an estimate for one sport to help people understand the costs of running a single program.
Adult basketball leagues
17 teams, at $250 per team; $4,250
Average of seven players per team at $20, 17 teams; $2,380
(based on 66 regular season games and approximately 34 playoff games)
Referee 1 (100 games at $20 per hour) $2,000
Referee 2 (100 games at $20 per hour) $2,000
Supervisor 1, 75 games at $15 per hour, $1,125
Supervisor 2, 75 games at $9 per hour; $750
Scorekeeper, 100 games at $7.50 per hour, $750
Clock, 100 games at $7.50 per hour, $750
Approximate subsidy: 14 percent
In the past 15 years or so the county has given the town a portion of its lottery proceeds, which must be used for capital improvements. The town has used most of the funds toward fire mitigation on Reservoir Hill and this year is seeking more grants to build a softball/baseball field, soccer field, nature trails and an outdoor classroom area.
The sports complex is being planned on a 16-acre tract just east of the high school football field next to the San Juan River.
The town has taken on great responsibility to provide some sort of recreation for the populace of Archuleta County.
The philosophies of the recreation department are to provide recreational activities for the citizens of Archuleta County in a safe environment, and at a reasonable cost.
The purpose is not to develop players and teams capable of competing at the highest levels, but to develop players whose behavior and attitudes are a credit to themselves, their families and their community.
Players, coaches and spectators are to conduct themselves as good sports at all times. Be a good example to your children, relax, enjoy their/your play. As much as we all want to win, the true champions in life are those who carry themselves with dignity at all times.
The sports culture in Pagosa Springs is getting more and more competitive; we can only provide recreational opportunities locally. Many club type sports have sprouted up in the past few years for the young athletes who would like to take their skills to another level, and play in a sanctioned league with the opportunity of participating in state and national tournaments.
The parents of Pagosa have taken on this responsibility, and we are fortunate to have assertive parents to offer our kids a chance to compete.
Our problem is separating recreational sport from competitive sport activities.
When we sign a child up to play, we have drafts to divide all teams as evenly as possible; special league rules for equal playing time; and let the young athletes decide if the sport they are participating in is the one they would like to continue later in life.
Three Pirates wrestlers win region, eight qualify for state
By Karl Isberg
And, the winner is ...
Pagosa Pirate wrestlers hosted the regional tournament Feb. 13 and 14 and treated their guests rather brusquely, winning the title with 205 points.
While the Pirates' victory was a highlight, almost as satisfying was the fact the five Intermountain League teams dominated the top half of the tournament standings. Centauri finished in second place with 193.5; Ignacio placed third with 166; Monte Vista was fourth and Bayfield fifth.
"It was our best performance of the year, top to bottom," said Pirate coach Dan Janowsky of his team. "We won a lot of matches when I thought we were the underdogs and we didn't lose the matches where I thought we were the favorites."
Pagosa ended the tournament with three champions, two wrestlers in second place and three fourth-place finishers. The eight move on to the Colorado Class 3A championship tourney that begins today at the Pepsi Center at Denver.
Michael Martinez, as expected, took the title at 119 pounds. The senior - last season's state champ at 112 - won three matches on his way to the top spot.
Martinez began with a bye in the first round then met Doug Boher, of Florence. The Pirate dispatched with the Husky, pinning Boher 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the match.
The win advanced Martinez to the championship semifinals against Cray Caler, of Manitou Springs. Caler came into the bout with a 21-6 record and left 21-7. Martinez pinned Caler at 5:31.
That created what was somewhat of a surprise championship match. Many knowledgable spectators picked Monte Vista's Kyle Francis as the likely opponent but Rory Keys, of Centauri, defeated Francis in the semifinal producing a rematch of last year's 112 state championship.
And the result was the same.
Martinez took Keys down in the first period, then gave up an escape to lead 2-1. In the second period, Martinez allowed Keys to escape and tie the score, then the Pirate took control of the match, nailing a takedown and a three-point near fall.
Heading into the final period with a 7-2 advantage, Martinez produced another takedown, allowed an escape, then took Keys down one last time for the decisive 11-3 win.
Martinez will head for the state tournament with a 34-1 record. His first bout at Denver will be Brent Havens, a junior from Olathe with a 23-16 record.
"Guys wrestle Michael so defensively, " said Janowsky. "It's a problem, but Michael overcomes it. He's so hard to get in on, so hard to score on. He would prefer a scrambling flurry of a match and I'm pretty sure he'll get them at the state tournament.
"I was watching Michael in the final and I realized it was his last match in our gym. He has been a exceptional representative of our program."
In one of the most exciting matches seen in Pagosa in years, Daren Hockett defeated Centauri's Jacob Sheridan to finish first at 125.
The two wrestlers met several times this season and each time Sheridan got the win. In the first period at the regional tourney, Sheridan seemed in control. The Falcon took Hockett down then posted two back points. The 4-0 lead did not hold up; Hockett refused to give in and managed a reversal to end the period behind 4-2.
In the second period, Sheridan rode Hockett for nearly two minutes. With 20 seconds remaining, Hockett reversed Sheridan to tie the score 4-4.
Sheridan started in the down position and took a 5-4 lead at the start of the third period with an escape. Hockett had the momentum, however, and took Sheridan down. The Falcon then gave up a point on a stall. An escape cut Hockett's lead to 7-6, but he thwarted any move by Sheridan and captured first place.
"I can't say enough about Daren's final," said the coach. "He persevered. He was down 4-0 to a guy who had beaten him three times during the season. The final was a stirring victory and it clinched the team title. It was two state placers in a wonderful match. Both wanted to win and how they responded to that pressure makes them special and makes the sport special."
Hockett goes to state with a 27-11 record. He faces sophomore Trenton White (16-15) of La Junta today.
Hart has dominated 152-pound opponents all season and he steamrolled his way to first place at the regional tournament.
The senior began his quest with a bye then smacked Centauri's Chris Flores with an 11-1 major decision.
In the semifinal, Hart decisioned Bayfield's Cody Moore 8-2.
That set up a final against Justin VanHout, of Platte Canyon, the second-seeded wrestler in the bracket.
Hart was the aggressor in the first period, as is his style. The Pirate nailed a takedown for two points, then added two, two-point near falls before period's end to forge a 6-0 lead.
The remainder of Hart's points were scored in the third period. Hart escaped for a point, then took VanHout down to complete a 9-0 decision.
Hart will enter the state tournament at Denver with a 31-3 record. Today, he begins action with a bout against freshman Matt Ocanas (16-15) of Eaton.
"Kory was very sick prior to the tournament," said Janowsky. "He wasn't as energetic as he could have been. He gets the same deal as Michael: people try to slow him down. This year, he's come a long way, continuing to learn the sport. He's worked hard finding different avenues to score. He's contributed a lot to our program; take him out of the lineup and you've got a very different situation."
Raul Palmer finished in second place at 135 pounds.
The junior Pirate had a first-round bye then met Centauri's Cody Shawcroft. Palmer put Shawcroft's shoulder to the mat at the 4:46 mark.
Next up was James Pacheco of Monte Vista. Palmer outdueled Pacheco to gain the 8-4 decision and the right to move to the finals. In the final, Palmer lost to one of the state's premiere wrestlers - Adrian Abeyta, of Ignacio.
Palmer will begin the state meet Thursday with a 20-13 record. His first-round opponent is Brandon Kammerzell (25-16) a freshman from Eaton.
"Raul's semifinal match was a dandy," said the coach. "Raul did a great job executing the plan we worked up for him. He was focused and it was a great win."
Sophomore James Martinez took second place at 215 and will make the first of what should be several trips to Denver.
Martinez had a first-round bye. Kinney Rooks, of Florence then took the mat against Martinez and didn't last long. Martinez pinned Rooks with a mere 49 seconds elapsed in the match.
The win put Martinez in the semifinal against Lance Stuht, of Trinidad. Again, the Pirate managed to dominate his opponent and earn bonus points with a pin. Stuht's shoulders were down at 1:39.
That put Martinez in the final against arguably the toughest wrestler in the state - Andrew Arellano of Centauri. A loss to Arellano will, no doubt, provide the young Pirate with valuable experience to take to Denver. Martinez will compete with a 21-12 record, starting today against freshman Mike Mazzucca (23-13) of Salida.
"I think James can score for us at state," said Janowsky. "He's a sophomore and at regionals he's wrestling in a pressure situation and he's scoring bonus points. He came to play against Arellano; he attacked him and he scored on him."
Sophomore Ky Smith will go to Denver by virtue of a fourth-place finish at 130. Smith byed in the first round then lost to Seth Withrow, of Florence.
The trip back began with a 5-3 win over David Ornelas of St. Mary's. Smith then pinned Trinidad's Jerry Passarelli at 4:51. A 6-3 loss to Mike Seegmiller of Manitou Springs put Smith in fourth.
Smith starts his tournament today with a match against senior Larry Todd (29-5) of Hotchkiss.
Janowsky praised Smith for "having a goal and keeping that goal in front of him. Ky earned his trip to state; he had to fight like crazy."
James Gallegos was fourth at 140. The senior's first win was over Dan Bertrand, of Manitou Springs, with a pin at 1:50. Dropped to the consolation bracket with a loss, Gallegos fashioned a 13-0 major decision over Anthony Herrera of Florence. Gallegos lost to Joe Kelso of Monte Vista 6-3, to finish in fourth place.
In his first match at the Pepsi Center, Gallegos meets Josh Hunt, a junior from Brush with a 28-9 record.
"James is a real sleeper," said Janowsky. "He had the tournament champ down 6-5. His is a very positive story: He was injured last year and he came back to salvage this season and make the most of it. He's an opportunist and he gets to go to the state tournament because he's taken chances and succeeded. James got stronger all year. When he leaves, there'll be a hole in our lineup."
Aaron Hamilton had to scramble to earn a spot on the team, traveling to Denver to fight at 145. But, when the pressure was on, the senior responded.
Hamilton began with a 19-3 tech fall over Seth Christopher, of Manitou Springs, then scored another tech fall, 21-3, over Bayfield's Jake Zink.
A loss to Josh Lopez, of St. Mary's, put Hamilton in the consolation bracket where he dropped a match to Cody Espinoza, of Florence. That put Hamilton in a bind: He had to win the battle for fifth-place, then hope that Espinoza beat Jeremiah Dyer of Platte Canyon to allow a wrestle-back for a chance to advance to the state tourney.
Hamilton came up big in the battle for fifth, smacking Brian Atencio of Centauri 13-6. Espinoza then did his part, pinning Dyer.
That was the door Hamilton needed and he stepped through, beating Dyer in the wrestle-back and advancing to a prelim at state versus Roy Elliot of La Junta, a senior with a 33-5 record.
"You talk about working hard," said the coach of Hamilton. "He had to fight off his back three or four times in that last match to get the win. That's the moment of truth - you're on your back, everything's going down the drain. Aaron got off his and earned his spot. He's been working on this since seventh grade. He's an ambassador of the sport and of our program."
Every other Pirate earned valuable team points during the two-day regional tournament.
Orion Sandoval pinned Eric Hinton of Monte Vista at 103. He then pinned John Fenton of Rock Canyon and Ernest Abeyta of Centauri then scored a 10-2 major decision over John Bailey of Florence to advance to the battle for third place. Sandoval lost to Roy Westbrook of Bayfield then lost in a wrestle-back to Daniel Montoya of Trinidad.
At 160, David Richter fought his way to fourth place only to lose the spot in a wrestle-back. Richter pinned Drew Harrell of St. Mary's and Bremin Vance of Platte Canyon. The Pirate advanced to the third-place match with a 13-8 decision over Casey Day of Florence. Richter lost to William Flores of Centauri then dropped the wrestle-back to Day.
Sophomore Matt Nobles was fifth at 171. Nobles pinned Jon Sulzbach of Colorado Springs Christian at 2:49 to take fifth place.
Marcus Rivas was fifth at 189. The junior overwhelmed Taylor Austin of Colorado Springs Christian, pinning the Lion at 41 seconds of the match.
Joe Romine took sixth at 275. Romine had one victory on his way to the finish, pinning Michael Martinez of Florence at 1:28.
"Our balance made a of difference in winning the team title," said Janowsky. "The home gym made a big difference too; you could feel the intensity and it affected our kids. Also, I'm proud of the fact the IML took the top five places. We've made each other tougher; the league's gotten real competitive and it raises everyone's level. I think you'll find a lot of top kids at state coming out of our league."
What are the chances in Denver?
"Anything can happen," said Janowsky. "All our kids are capable of getting on a roll. A kid who's mentally prepared can shock people. If a guy gets a good bracket, who knows?"
First round action at the Pepsi Center is today, at 3 p.m.
Wolverines run into Forrest, bow to Pirates 62-38
By Tom Carosello
"Gee, you can see Fort Collins from up here!"
It's what the remainder of Head Coach Jim Shaffer's Pirates must have been thinking Friday night when 6-8 junior Caleb Forrest put his team on his shoulders and carried Pagosa to a 65-38 win at Bayfield.
With injured starter Clayton Spencer out of action for the second straight night with a toe fracture, Shaffer was looking for someone to step up against the young but steadily-improving Wolverine squad.
Forrest obliged, scoring a season-high 33 points and blocking eight shots in the victory, which sealed the regular-season Intermountain League title for the Pirates and improved their overall season record to 18-0 (7-0 IML).
Pagosa gained control early behind Forrest's opening trey, a jumper from Ty Faber and a Forrest-from-Faber alley-oop smash that put Bayfield behind 7-0 just over a minute into the contest.
The Wolverines trailed 11-2 until three straight from Jeremy Sirios, then fell behind 15-5 at 1:50 after six more from Forrest and a put-back from Luke Brinton.
Forrest notched the final two of his 13 first-quarter points with a jam from the right baseline, then teammate Coy Ross traded jumpers with Bayfield's Troy McCoy to make it 19-7 Pirates after one.
Craig Schutz scored the first deuce of the second period with assistance from David Kern, and Pagosa went up 23-10 after Ross answered a trey from Bayfield's Sam McDonald with a short jumper at the six-minute mark.
Jacob Posey got Bayfield's next five, but the Pirates held a 28-15 lead at 4:34 after a Kern free throw and four additional markers from Forrest.
With both teams pressing in the final four minutes of the period, Forrest put two home from Faber, Craig Schutz added a free throw and Goodenberger hit a trey to offset four from the Wolverines as the visitors held a 36-19 edge with 1:45 to play.
First-half scoring closed after a strong tip by Forrest and a trey from McDonald; the Pirates led 36-22 at the break.
McCoy struck first for Bayfield in the third, but a basket apiece from Goodenberger and Forrest plus an inside deuce from Brinton courtesy of Jeremy Caler stretched the margin to 43-24 midway through the quarter.
Forrest supplied four straight after a Bayfield time-out, then countered two from McDonald with a three-point play to give Pagosa a 50-26 advantage at 2:19.
Pagosa got four more on a Goodenberger trey and charity toss from Forrest, McCoy added two for the hosts, and the period ended with the Pirates in front 56-28 after a dish from Casey Belarde to Craig Schutz in the waning seconds.
Both teams were unable to break into the scoring column in the fourth until Forrest sank a pair from the line at 6:15 to widen the gap to 30.
Sirios added a free throw for the home team, then accounted for five straight after Brinton worked inside for two and Pagosa led 60-34 with 3:16 to play.
Bayfield added four additional points, but Pirate freshman Jordan Shaffer netted two free throws and a late three-point play on an assist from Paul Przybylski after a steal by Daniel Aupperle as Pagosa remained undefeated with a 24-point win.
Forrest's 33 was tops in the scoring category for Pagosa, followed by Goodenberger's eight and Brinton's seven.
Faber added five assists and a steal, while Goodenberger totalled four and three, respectively.
Lauding Forrest's effort for the night, "He's obviously a great basketball player, and he'd be first to tell you a lot of that has to do with the unselfishness of the rest of the guys," said Shaffer after the game.
"The kids do a great job of getting him the ball in position to score, and he takes care of the rest," he added. "Our kids are the epitome of 'team.'"
When asked what his team needs to do down the stretch, "We just need to try to be better every time we step on the floor and continue to play great defense," said Shaffer. "That's the key to winning this whole thing."
With regard to Spencer's availability in the coming weeks, "He's scheduled for X-rays (tomorrow), so we'll know more then," said Shaffer.
"We don't like it, but the situation could help us in the long run by getting more good minutes for Craig (Schutz) and Luke (Brinton), who both will be factors in how far we go in the end," he concluded.
"But we definitely want and need Clayton back in time to make a run at state."
Shaffer indicated the 6-7 senior will most likely play at Centauri in Saturday's IML finale if the results of tomorrow's X-rays are favorable.
Game time Saturday in the Centauri Middle School Gym, in La Jara, is set for 7 p.m.
Scoring: Forrest 13-21, 6-7, 33; Goodenberger 3-6, 0-0, 8; Craig Schutz 2-7, 1-5, 5; Casey Schutz 0-0, 0-0 0; Brinton 3-5, 1-2, 7; Kern 0-1, 1-2, 1; Faber 1-3, 0-0, 2; Caler 0-2, 0-0, 0; Belarde 0-1, 0-0 0; Ross 2-2, 0-0 4; Rand 0-0, 0-0 0; Przybylski 0-0, 0-0 0; Shaffer 1-4, 3-5 5. Three-point goals: Goodenberger 2. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 17. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 33. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 12.
Bobcats swept away by defense in 60-32 Pirate win
By Tom Carosello
The Jan. 29 Pirate-Bobcat bout in Ignacio was decided after halftime; the rematch was over early.
Behind a 17-2 first quarter, Head Coach Jim Shaffer's Pirates inched closer to the regular-season Intermountain League title Thursday night with a 60-32 victory over the Bobcats on the former's home turf.
Though the Pirates competed without starter Clayton Spencer, who is temporarily sidelined with a big-toe fracture (right foot), they got plenty of stand-in firepower from Luke Brinton and Craig Schutz to help subdue the Bobcats, who were kept off balance throughout the evening by a rabid Pagosa defense.
After a scoreless first minute, Pirate senior Ryan Goodenberger opened the books with a free throw that was followed by an acrobatic layin from Ty Faber and Pagosa led 3-0 two minutes into the contest.
The Pirates dug in defensively, and the Bobcats were forced to call a time-out midway through the period after a baseline trey from Brinton and a dish from Faber to Goodenberger made it 8-0.
The Bobcats got a deuce from Mitch Davis when play resumed, but were soon trailing 15-2 at 1:05 due to five straight from Forrest and two in the key from Craig Schutz.
A steal by Pagosa senior Coy Ross after Ignacio's second time-out of the frame led to a layin from teammate Jeremy Caler, and the Bobcats found themselves down by 15 at the first intermission.
Lorenzo Rodriguez tallied Ignacio's first deuce of the second stanza, but Forrest made it 19-4 with two from the line following a technical foul call on the Bobcats "for taunting and baiting."
Ignacio was able to claw back to within 19-9, but Goodenberger wrapped a three ball and a dish from David Kern around a pair of Forrest charity tosses to put Pagosa up 26-9 and keep the Pirate student section standing with 2:30 to play.
Then Craig Schutz traded two from the stripe with Lorenzo Rodriguez and Caler stepped behind the arc for the final three points of the quarter to give the Pirates a 31-11 advantage at the half.
Goodenberger's inbound lob to Forrest and five straight from Ignacio had the scoreboard reading 33-16 Pagosa before the Pirates began to struggle with a bout of mishandles early in the third.
Despite Pagosa's momentary offensive lull, the defense stood tall as the Bobcats managed only a deuce on a turnaround jumper from Ben Jacket before the Pirates settled down and got a combined nine from Forrest and Faber to lead 44-18 at 1:04.
Then Brinton and Lorenzo Rodriguez traded markers from the line in the final seconds, and Pagosa led 46-20 at the third-quarter horn.
Craig Schutz scored with a lefty hook seconds into the fourth before a pair of blocked shots and a behind-the-back pass from Forrest resulted in a three-point play from Ross and a 51-20 Pirate lead.
Craig Schutz added to the margin with a baseline spin for two and a lob to Brinton before Ignacio's Ben Neil answered with a three-point play that made it 55-23 with 5:08 remaining.
Then Goodenberger and Otis Rand netted points from the line before Casey Belarde hit Rand for two at the block to counter a deuce from Neil and Pagosa was up 59-25 with under four minutes to play.
Pagosa freshman Jordan Shaffer sank a final free throw for the home team, and although Neil and Derek Rodriguez combined for seven late points for the Bobcats, the buzzer sounded with the Pirates on top by a final margin of 60-32.
Forrest led Pagosa with 16 points and 13 boards in the win, which gave Pagosa an overall season mark of 17-0 (6-0 IML).
Goodenberger tallied 11 points and six rebounds, while Craig Schutz added eight points and six boards from the bench.
"I thought our kids came out focused and ready to play tonight," said Coach Shaffer after the contest. "There's always a chance of getting caught up in the hype when we play (Ignacio), but we did a nice job of maintaining our composure and playing Pirate basketball."
Acknowledging another strong defensive effort, "Everything we do starts with our defense, and we did a lot of good things in transition tonight because of the way we handled things at the defensive end," said Shaffer.
Besides the rash of turnovers early in the third, "If there's anything else I was a little disappointed with, it was our half-court offense," added Shaffer.
"To make a run at winning this whole thing, we'll need to improve in our half-court sets, especially in man-to-man situations," concluded Shaffer.
With regard to Spencer's status for Saturday's IML regular-season finale at Centauri, indications are the 6-7 senior will most likely play against the Falcons if the results of tomorrow's scheduled X-rays are favorable.
Game time Saturday in the Centauri Middle School Gym, in La Jara, is set for 7 p.m.
Scoring: Forrest 5-10, 5-5, 4-4, 12; Goodenberger 4-7, 2-5, 11; Craig Schutz 3-5, 2-2, 8; Casey Schutz 0-0, 0-0 0; Brinton 2-4, 2-2 7; Kern 0-0, 0-0, 0; Faber 2-6, 2-2, 6; Caler 2-3, 0-2, 5; Belarde 0-0, 0-0 0; Ross 1-4, 1-1 3; Rand 1-2, 1-2 3; Przybylski 0-0, 0-0 0; Shaffer 0-0, 1-4 1. Three-point goals: Brinton 1, Caler 1, Goodenberger 1, Forrest 1. Fouled out: Brinton. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 15. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 38. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 21.
Buikema, Scott lead stretch run for 37-35 win over Ignacio
By Richard Walter
To paraphrase biblical reference, "She who gives may reap rewards of satisfaction."
Pagosa's Lady Pirates were the givers Thursday as they handed the ball over to Ignacio's Bobcats 25 times.
But the reward comes to those who give - this time in the form of a 37-35 victory for Pagosa on their home court.
Neither team shot well for the game, Ignacio converting just 15 of 44 from the floor for a .340 percentage while Pagosa was only slightly better at 14 for 39 and a .357 mark.
The Bobcats, a team which lives and dies by the three-pointer, had six treys in the game, Pagosa just one in two tries.
In the end, the game turned on accuracy from the foul stripe where Pagosa junior Bri Scott hit seven of nine, including three in the last 70 seconds, and two strong moves by sophomore post Emily Buikema, the second giving the Pirates the final margin with 42 seconds left on the clock.
The game did not start out the way it developed.
Each team protected the ball well in the first period and the lead teeter-tottered back and forth with the Bobcats leading 13-11 at the period break.
Carol Lee Jefferson put the Bobcats on the board first, hitting the first of her two treys in the period and Caitlyn Jewell answered with a power move inside.
Kyra Bartley, who would finish as the game's high scorer with 19, matched that with a short jumper.
Lori Walkup, on the next Pirate possession, hit a pull-up 10-footer but Jefferson built the Bobcat lead with her second trey.
Walkup answered with a trey of her own, but Bartley countered with the first of her three three-pointers.
Sophomore point guard Liza Kelley and Buikema tied the game for Pagosa with consecutive deuces but Tierney Bellino put Ignacio back up by two at the break scoring off a Jefferson assist on the only Pagosa turnover of the period.
But, despite treys from Jefferson and Bartley, and their own sudden propensity to feed the ball to the other team, the Pirates found themselves up by one, 22-21, at the halftime break.
Four of those points came on inside power moves by Buikema on assists from Jewell, four more by Kelley on a left-handed layup and a 10-foot jumper. Kelley added one from the charity stripe and Scott the first two of her seven.
The eight turnovers in the period by Pagosa set a standard they were to repeat in each of the next two quarters, giving them 25 for the game.
But, as alluded earlier, give and ye shall receive.
Bartley hit a quick three to open the second half and Ignacio had the lead back by two. Buikema tied it with a soft 14-footer but Bartley, fouled on the next possession stepped to the line and drilled a pair to take the lead back.
Scott for Pagosa and Bellino for the 'Cats each hit a pair from the line before Bartley, again, drove the lane for a deuce.
Buikema answered with a eight-foot hook and Ignacio led 29-28 as the buzzer sounded to end three periods. At that point the Pirates had committed 17 game turnovers, the Bobcats only seven.
Jefferson stretched the Ignacio lead to three with a strong move to her off left hand but Scott converted one of two from the stripe and Jewell tied the score at 31 with an offensive rebound putback.
Then it was Buikema and Bartley trading two-pointers to knot the score again at 33.
That left it up to Buikema and the sophomore responded by going outside again, taking a kickout pass from Jewell and putting the game on ice with a 14-footer drawing nothing but net.
Two defensive takeaways by Pagosa - executed by Walkup and Buikema - and a pair of missed desperation shots by Ignacio marked the last 22 seconds before the Lady Pirates collected their victory reward for giving.
Bartley's game leading 19 points came on seven-of-18 shooting from the floor and two of three from the line.
Pagosa was paced by Buikema's 14 on seven-of-10 from the floor. She missed her only two free throws.
Jewell, with nine, was the game's leading rebounder as the Pirates collected 35 boards to only 21 for the Bobcats.
Ignacio's six successful treys came on 12 attempts while Pagosa (Walkup) hit one of two tries from long range.
Pagosa had four steals (two by Kelley) and Ignacio three. The Pirates recorded nine assists (four by Jewell) to eight for Ignacio (two each by Maria Rivera and Bartley).
The Pirates, despite Scott's effort, were only eight-of-18 from the free throw line while Ignacio hit four of six.
The win boosted the Pirate's season record to 13-4, 4-1 in Intermountain League competition, their only loss to league leading and sixth-ranked Centauri.
The Pagosans get a final chance to avenge that loss when they close out the league season on the Falcons' home court in La Jara with a 5:30 p.m. game Saturday.
The league tournament is scheduled on the same court next week, game times and matchups still to be decided.
Scoring: P-Scott, 0-3, 7-9, 7; Lynch, 0-1, 0-0, 0; Kelley, 3-5, 1-2, 7; Maberry, 0-1, 0; Jewell, 2-10, 0-2, 4; Buikema, 7-10, 0-2, 14; Forrest , 0-3, 0-0, 0. I-Rivera, 0-2, 0; Ruybal, 0-3, 0; Bellino, 1-3, 2-3, 4; Jefferson, 5-13, 13; Russell, 0-5, 0; Bartley. 7-16 , 2-3, 19. Total fouls, P-10, I-18. Total turnovers, P-25, I-11.
Ladies find consistency, trounce Wolverines 56-24
By Richard Walter
It - or rather it's absence - has been the bane of coach Bob Lynch in the peripatetic performances of his Lady Pirate basketball squad.
They regularly went hot and cold, good and bad, with no set sequence of performance though they had built, before Friday, a sparkling 13-4 record.
Friday was a different story. It was called ... consistency.
Bayfield's Wolverines were the unfortunate squad to meet the Pagosans in their new mode.
The result was quarter scores of 12, 15, 11 and 12 for Pagosa as they rolled to a 56-24 win on the Bayfield home court.
Both teams started slowly and Bayfield led 1-0 early in the game on a charity toss from standout freshman Whitney Howard. It was the last time the Wolverines would see the lead.
With a surprise all-junior starting lineup for the first time this season, Lynch looked for board superiority early and found it.
Starting for the first time were Melissa Maberry and Laura Tomforde and both scored in the opening period as did fellow juniors Lori Walkup and Bri Scott (two field goals. The usual starting point guard, sophomore Liza Kelley, entered the game late in the first quarter and contributed a pair from the line.
Bayfield got a Howard field goal early in the frame and free throws from Ivy Shank and Cassie Dunavant, and a field goal by Dunavant to stay close at 12-7 by the end of the period.
That was the last hurrah for Bayfield.
Period two was a 15-2 Pagosa runaway started by Caitlin Forrest canning a pair from the stripe after gathering in a rebound with Dunavant on her back in her first action of the game.
Kelley hit a driving layup from the left side and added a pair of free throws. Walkup drilled a trey from 20 feet on the left side and added a charity toss. Sophomore Laurel Reinhardt chipped in with a deuce and the other regular starter, sophomore high post Emily Buikema, hit a free throw and an offensive rebound putback.
Pagosa led 27-9 at the half and got the first bucket of the second half on a pull-up jumper from Kelley. That came moments before the crowd was stunned to silence when Kelley hit the floor head first after a mid-court scuffle for the ball with Bayfield's Ashley Shaw.
An obviously dazed Kelley was assisted from the floor and tended on the bench until paramedics arrived in the Bayfield gym.
After her condition stabilized she was taken to Mercy Hospital in Durango for evaluation.
She was back in school Tuesday.
Shaw, without Kelley to guard her hit a pair of field goals in the wake of the Pagosa injury, and that seemed to spur the Pirates.
Walkup got them started with a steal and a coast-to-coast drive for a layup and then Caitlyn Jewell, silent the entire first half, became a floor leader with a purpose.
She drove the lane for a pair from the left, took a kickout pass from Tomforde to drill a 12-footer, and then slammed home a shot off an offensive rebound. Buikema added a charity toss and Pagosa was up by 19 as the period closed.
Danika Friedby had a deuce for Bayfield and Dunavant added a pair of free throws in the 8-point period for the Wolverines.
But, despite four points from Howard and three from Dunavant in the fourth period, Pagosa was in runaway mode.
Scott, who had not converted since the first period, drilled a trey from the top of the key and Walkup hit the last of her game high 12 points with a 12-foot jumper from the right and a spinning reverse layup on a dish from Scott.
Reinhardt added another pair as her playing time increased with Kelley's absence; Jewell converted another pair of field goals on inside power plays and added a charity toss; and Forrest had a free throw and an offensive rebound putback to exactly match her season scoring average of five points per game.
In addition to her offensive outburst, Walkup had eight steals in the game and six rebounds, the latter total matched by both Jewell and Forrest.
Their domination of the backboards, a 41-13 margin, allowed Pagosa 57-35 shots attempted advantage but only a .368 shooting percentage on 21 success in the 57 attempts.
Bayfield, meanwhile, was just seven of 35 from the floor, an anemic 20 percent average. The Pirates shot only 12 of 24 (50 percent) from the foul line, while Bayfield was 10 of 24 (.416 percent).
Walkup and Buikema each had a blocked shot for Pagosa and Scott was the assist leader with three.
The Pagosa squad will hope for more consistency this week as they take their now 14-4 record on the road to La Jara and vie for a share of the IML title with league leading Centauri.
A victory puts the Pirates in a tie for the league crown.
The following week, Centauri will host the league tournament.
Scoring: P-Scott, 3-9, 0-1, 7; Lynch 0-4, 0; Kelley, 2-7, 4-6, 8; Reinhardt, 2-3, 0-1, 4; Maberry, 1-4, 2; Kari Beth Faber, 0-2, 0; Jewell, 5-9, 1-2, 11; China Rose Rivas, 0-1, 0; Tomforde, 1-3. 2; Buikema, 1-5, 3-6, 5; Forrest, 1-3,3-4, 5. B-Howard, 2-11. 4-7. 9; Shaw, 2-10, 0-2, 4; Shank, 0-3, 2-7, 2; Dunavant, 2-5, 4-6, 8; Becca Broad, 0-1, 0; Carrie Bulwan, 3-5; Friedby, 1-2, 2; Tawny Farmer, 0-0,0-2, 0; Estelle Harrmann, 0-1. Total fouls: P-22, B-22. Total turnovers, P-15, B-11.
Referring to the article in last week's Pagosa Springs SUN on cumulative voting I, too, talked to the USJHSD's attorney, Jim Collins, about this subject. Jim indicated that, to his knowledge, cumulative voting had not ever been used in government elections - local, state or federal.
The special district association rules do not specify how balloting should be done. Nowhere does it say alternative voting systems, including cumulative voting, cannot be used. Apparently no one has ever tested this system in the Colorado special districts in court. In the article last week, Jim Collins is quoted as saying, "No weighted voting or cumulative voting is ever allowed for a special district board."
Inasmuch as this is not in the special district association rules or the Colorado Revised Statues, this is an unsupported opinion. 32-1-1001 (1) (m) CRS is quoted; however, no conflict has been demonstrated so this isn't applicable either. To my knowledge, the Colorado Constitution does not support this opinion either.
There actually is a long history of cumulative voting at all levels of government dating back to the nineteenth century. "Cumulative voting was used to elect the Illinois State Legislature from 1870 to 1980." (Center for Voting and Democracy, 7/02).
"... since the passage of the significant 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act ... there has been a quiet proliferation of alternative voting systems (including cumulative voting) in the United States." (Richard H. Pildes, University of Michigan Law School, 1995).
In recent years cumulative voting has been used to resolve voting rights for city council elections in Texas and Illinois, county commission elections in Alabama and school board elections in South Dakota. In 1944, a federal judge imposed cumulative voting in a Maryland voting rights case.
Cumulative voting is a commonly used method by corporations to elect boards of directors, including Hewlett Packard, Toys 'R' Us, Walgreen's, AON, etc.
I realize this dialogue about cumulative voting is not going to make a difference now in the election held for two new USJHSD board members on 1/27/04. However, I suspect that, if this case were brought to court, cumulative voting would be allowed, as has been the case in jurisdictions across the country in recent years.
A little research on this subject gives a clearer perspective of cumulative voting. I am not an attorney and claim no legal knowledge other than what can be obtained by a lay person, so the above is how I see the situation on cumulative voting. I feel it is important that both sides on this issue be presented to the public.
In your Feb. 5 edition, below the school and courthouse closure following the one-foot snowstorm, I was reminded of the winter of 1979 by you 25 Years Ago Today column.
I was a teacher from 1975 until 1984. Abner Hahn was the superintendent of schools and Terry Alley was the middle school principal, my boss. Mr. Hahn allowed only one "snow day" and it was in 1979, and not for only one foot of snowfall; we had lots of those.
Mr. Alley had called early that morning to say school had been cancelled. I could hardly believe it because we had always been told in teachers' meetings to never call to see if classes were still on because, "The buses will run and lunch will be served; teachers, you can make book on it."
Mr. Alley said teachers who would volunteer to come in and shovel snow off the gymnasium roof would be paid an additional $25. I had a master's degree so was probably making $9,000 per year by then. We had 180 days of classes then, so that was $50 per day and $25 didn't sound that great; besides I had plenty of shoveling to do at home. The snow off the metal roof on the north side of my house was backing up on the roof and was against the window. (It would be one of five times that winter I would have to shovel it away.)
About two hours later Mr. Hahn called wanting to know why I wasn't down at school shoveling. He pitched me on the idea that I could earn an additional $25 on top of the $50 I was already getting for "doing nothing but sitting on my duff." I blurted out that I thought Mr. Alley had said the shoveling was on a volunteer basis.
He said, "Mr. Driesens, do you have a bad back?" I said no, and I knew he knew I did not. He said it would be very wise if all teachers who had neither a bad back nor tenure did, in fact, volunteer. I actually did have tenure by then, but he went on to explain that in all contracts there was a clause that in addition to the assigned teaching and coaching duties (I was the high school baseball coach) the teacher would also "perform all such other duties as the superintendent shall direct." Further, he reminded me that while there was tenure for teaching, there was no such thing for coaching.
Mr. Hahn must be getting a good chuckle about Pagosa closing schools after a one-foot snowfall. Gilbert Davidson was the president of the school board in those days and he insisted I write this letter.
Yours for more snow days,
What are odds?
Early in January, we had reason to visit the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. Considering the harsh beauty of that region, we took our camera to capture a few scenes. However, the camera was lost but we had no idea where.
Yesterday (Feb. 9) we received a phone call from Mr. Tom Carnley, also from Pagosa Springs. He and his daughter found the camera in the parking lot of the clinic. We want to thank Mrs. Carmin Cox of Durango and her father, Tom Carnley, for finding and returning the camera.
Now, consider the odds of this event ever occurring. Hundreds of people from all over the world visit the Mayo Clinic daily. Two families from our local area visited the clinic on the same day, parked in the same lot (there are several lots), in the same vicinity in the lot, in close proximity in time, and one found the camera before any other visitors sighted it.
So it is with amazement and gratitude we welcomed the call from Mr. Carnley. Thank you again, Mrs. Cox and Mr. Carnley.
Don and Elaine Lundergan
Share your vision
The Health District election looms in little more then a couple months. Let us not blow the opportunity to elect a board that reflects the consensus of the community.
Selfless candidates please come forth! Share your vision and qualifications.
Certainly having some solid business experience would be good but having a ruthless sense of self-honesty (i.e. sanity and integrity), being a quick study and owning a rather thick skin may be even more important.
We need a forum for this campaign outside the board meetings. And the notion that the incumbent board or staff should run the election seems untenable.
Peace be with you,
Why do you print letters that spread obvious false information?
I'm referring to Ron Parker's letter regarding the proposed Forest Service land swap. He parrots the false information supplied to us in Marcia Jarvis' letter the week before.
Most locals know that Spiler Canyon is located 10 miles south on U.S, 84, not 40 miles as stated twice by Mr. Parker. Kenny Flats, which surrounds the private inholding under consideration for the swap, is a very popular recreation area for local people. Many people favor the trade.
Mr. Parker and Ms. Jarvis obviously have no clue where the properties involved in the swap are even located, yet they feel free to supply us with false information. Mr. Parker is upset that an out-of-state developer may acquire land in the swap. Mr. Parker lives in a subdivision recently created by an out-of-state developer.
I feel the Forest Service has a plan. Their plan is based on knowledge supported by facts. I wish people would care enough to get their facts straight before spouting off in your forum.
1. The proposed swap, in fact, involves two private inholdings in exchange for land at the old Job Corps site: a 62.5 acre parcel near the Jackson Mountain Road and the 160-acre site at Kenney Flats (please note the spelling).
2. The proposed swap is, according to a Forest Service source, still "very informal," lacking as it does approval from the regional office.
3. Our letters section is intended to convey opinion. A trip to the dictionary to check meanings of "opinion" and "fact" is revealing. We assume your opinion is that the proposed swap is legitimate and that Mr. Parker's opinion is that the swap is not desirable, regardless of assessments of mileage.
In Washington, D.C., a "Federal Marriage Amendment" has been proposed to the senators and representatives. I feel this proposed constitutional amendment is inappropriate and insulting. The people who oppose gay marriage (which I define as marital union between two consenting adults of the same gender) have every right to refuse to sanctify such unions within their respective houses of worship, but proposing to outlaw such unions at the foundational level of our country demonstrates immense disrespect for the basic rights of our fellow and sister citizens.
Arguments in favor of this proposed amendment seem to rely heavily on references to religious texts or religious viewpoints about marriage. Again, houses of worship have every right to refuse to bless unions between two adults of the same gender. However, withholding blessing or approval of a union is separate from making such a union illegal in the first place.
Through this amendment, we as a country are being asked to use a religious argument as a basis of a secular law. In the very least we citizens should be wary of the assumption that one religious viewpoint is more important than another.
Merely 35 years ago, our nation dissolved laws that prevented persons of different races or religious creeds from marrying. This sweeping action was a startling redefinition of legal marriage, yet our congresspeople did not rush to create a constitutional amendment to define marriage at that time of great change. Why is there a push to create such a definition now? And if you disagree with my viewpoint, then I ask why a constitutional amendment is necessary when one federal law would outlaw gay marriage throughout the country?
We as individuals may not necessarily agree with such a lifestyle. Each person has the right to choose to not live such a lifestyle for oneself. But as United States citizens, gay and lesbian adults have every right to enjoy the freedoms that all adult citizens are guaranteed under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
After reading Anne Frank's diary as a young girl, I promised myself to speak out publicly if I ever saw my own country propose separate and blatantly unequal rights for particular groups of citizens in such a sweeping manner.
Legislation such as this rings warning bells in my head, as it reeks of a gradual decay of our civil liberties. If such a decay is allowed to continue long enough the rights of all of us are at risk. If this goes on, we will no longer be a free people.
As a woman who got married in a county courthouse, I am well aware that federally recognized marital union is separate from religiously sanctioned ceremony. Let's continue this well-established policy by telling our congresspeople to dissolve the proposed amendment. I already have done so. Specifically, I urge you to call or send a fax to your congressional representatives in Washington D.C., and tell them to oppose House Joint Resolution 56 and Senate Joint Resolution 26.
Rangers serve us
The Colorado Rangers/Colorado Mounted Rangers have served the people of Colorado from 1861 to the present, except for a short period of time after the Department of Safety Act was abolished on April 1, 1927. Gov. Teller Ammons reorganized the Colorado Rangers as a voluntary service group on Feb. 21, 1941, under the name, "Colorado Mounted Rangers."
As volunteers the Colorado Mounted Rangers have served as a trained auxiliary when called upon by county sheriffs, police chiefs and fire chiefs. They have assisted with search and rescue, traffic and crowd control at parades, fairs, sporting events and at disasters like floods, snow storms, forest fires and plane crashes.
During the Hayman forest fire, Rangers from Troop "B" stationed in Cripple Creek evacuated livestock from ranches in the path of the fast moving smoke and fire.
At the same time Rangers from Troops "D" and "F" were helping at the Missionary Ridge fire near Durango. They helped direct traffic and evacuate people and livestock from the fire zone. The task of managing the Red Cross shelter set up for people displaced from their homes was given to the Rangers and they served in this capacity on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week schedule for the duration.
Troop "J" serving Fremont and Custer counties, was called into service at the Iron Mountain Fire near Canon City. They provided traffic control and security and also monitored the fire movement throughout the night.
Troops "B" and "I" assisted in these operations. The Rangers donated 15,000 hours of service to the people of Colorado in the year the forest fires devastated our forests. The dollar amount for this donated service has been estimated at more than $500,000.
This free volunteer service to the people of Colorado may come to an end if well-intended but poorly directed legislation is passed that restricts these volunteer services to only post certified police officers.
Volunteer services could be a thing of the past in Colorado at a time in our nation's history when our president is calling for more volunteers to aid in the war on terrorism.
The Rangers are not post certified police officers, but train and work under the direction of post certified officers, thereby releasing the post certified officers for the more technical duties.
Editor's note: Gov. Bill Owens has declared Feb. 21, 2004, as "Colorado Ranger/Colorado Mounted Ranger Day."
Service is vital
Pagosa Springs has a reputation for compassion and kindness toward all and this Pagosa philosophy is what brought us to organize a special district to support health care services several years ago.
The upcoming election in May for members of the board of directors is one of the most crucial decisions this county has faced, for it is a choice that affects not just standards of health care but access to health care for all, including our valuable tourists.
I am the only current board member who is not due to be reelected, as I have two years remaining on my term.
In have invested many hours over the past four years. The first two years were frustrating as the district had many problems; the next year was spent in getting the district back on course; and this past year has been extremely gratifying as my goals for an organization based upon the principles of honesty and integrity, along with high-quality health care are being met.
I am extremely proud to have been on the board during this time and look forward to bringing to reality the additional services outlined in our strategic planning meetings. I am excited!
Some who plan to file for a position on the board do not appreciate the need for community-based health services. They believe a for-profit business can do a better job and if they are elected to this board, that is exactly where your tax dollars will go.
Under the umbrella of the health district management is the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic, the Urgent Care Center and Emergency Medical Services. Coordination of these services results in a smoothly-knit organization for the community.
To assure that these services continue, it is vital that folks who believe in us file for a position on the board of directors. This must be done by Feb. 27. I strongly encourage good citizens who want to make a difference for the community to go to the health district offices, 189 N. Pagosa Blvd., and complete the necessary application. If you have questions, please call me at 731-5160.
I end this letter with the following thought: Robert Kennedy wrote in regard to hope, "Our answer ... is to rely on youth - not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. Yet ... the road is strewn with dangers."
A major danger he lists is that of "timidity. Few ... are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence."
This letter is in response to the article in last week's SUN about the Dr. Mary Fisher photograph and display "missing" from the clinic.
Now that the "writing is on the wall" for this health district board and its manager is about a hundred feet high and glaring over our community, they choose to attack the people who have been most outspoken against their actions.
Charging one of the kindest and most gentle citizens in our community, Dr. Richard Blide, with physical harassment is laughably absurd and completely frivolous. Now they accuse Ruth and I of theft. We have never been in better company.
It might interest Mrs. Jackson to know that her treatment of former employees was so aggravating and distrust of her so great that hundreds of items also donated or on loan were removed from the clinic in the final days. These included dozens of photographs, art works, plants, personal medical and work tools, on down to tea bags and toothpicks.
This display wasn't stolen, it was rescued.
It is also a fact that some items, worth hundreds of dollars that I personally raised the money for, purchased and donated to the clinic were inventoried and left behind.
So, Mrs. Jackson sorely misses the display. I doubt that. The truth is she wants it back to make the clinic look a little better for the Chamber of Commerce SunDowner later this month. An ex-patient going for medical records recently described the clinic atmosphere as "tomb like."
Mrs. Jackson and the current board majority have proven over and over again they do not deserve to represent the treasured name of Dr. Mary Fisher. Thursday's paper has became a topic of conversation in the county. Many people insisted: Don't give it back for this very reason.
Sorry, the photograph and display have been returned. Dr. Blide appealed to my sense of May 5 and the short 75 days left of this horrible saga.
For those of you who attend the SunDowner, take a good look at Dr. Mary's face, young and old. Read her history of kindness, honor and dedication to goodness. Discover the respect she earned and commanded. Then think of the unnecessary and uncalled-for destruction to our community health care system and our traditional health care workers.
Start sharpening those pencils for the mail-in election, get registered if you need to, and talk to your friends and neighbors. In early May we will have the chance to set this situation straight and make a firm statement about how we want to do things in Archuleta County health care.
There is great news for the future coming soon; stay tuned and keep the faith.
Editor's note: The special district election date is May 4. Ruth Vance was not publicly accused of "theft."
Red Shoe Trio was no snoring event
By Laura Bedard
Thank you to all who showed your support by attending the Red Shoe Trio concert.
If you thought you were in for a snoring evening, then you missed out. It was a lively, yet relaxing evening full of great music. We look forward to their next performance.
By the way, cellist Phil Hansen will return in May. Keep an eye out for more information.
Bill Downey's cowboy poetry was very well attended, and Bill evoked many different wonderful feelings from us. We hope he comes back again sometime.
We also had a lot of people at our Valentine Party. John Graves and his troop entertained, Shady Pines 4-H brought cookies and we had an impromptu hugging contest.
The winners of our Valentine contest were Elaine Nossaman, Vera Murphy and Dorothy O'Harra.
AARP will continue to prepare tax returns for low to moderate income folks every Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the arts council room of the community center. Sign up for an appointment in the dining room or show up on Thursday and see if they can take you.
We will be having a widow/widower support group 1 p.m. Feb. 20. Studies show that sharing your grief helps the healing process. If you have lost a loved one or know someone who is still grieving, this might be the support group for you, because you are not alone.
On Feb. 23 we will have Faith Poet here to talk about her trip to Denmark at 12:45 p.m. She will have a slide show presentation and will answer questions. If you want to know more about Denmark, join us that day.
We will be celebrating Mardi Gras Feb. 24. We made some masks Feb. 17, but we will also encourage you to wear bright clothes and be ready to dance a little. We will have a King's Cake, so a prize will be given to whoever finds the "baby." Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold, so come and make your mask while supplies last.
We are also pleased to present a felting class 12:45 p.m. Feb. 25. Susie Belt will be teaching the class and will demonstrate basic felting. This is a fun and free class so come and see how you feel about felting.
We are currently looking for several volunteers to provide assistance on our senior bus approximately once a week. Duties may include assistance from the home to bus, carrying groceries and assisting with grocery shopping. A background check will be completed on all applicants. Help brighten the day of a senior today by helping out. Call 264-2167 for more information.
Don't forget your Archuleta Seniors, Inc. membership for 2004. For the month of February, you can buy them Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. They're only $3 and give you great discounts around town. You can also sign up to participate in the City Market value card program - every time you use the card, a percentage will be given to Archuleta Seniors, Inc. donation program. We get a donation and you get your discount. What a great deal! Ask about this program when you get your membership.
We have packets of information for you about diabetes from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Stop in today and pick up a packet.
April Owens will continue to teach Microsoft Word at 10:30 a.m. Fridays. Her classes have been full enough that she needed to keep teaching. Come in and find out why she is so popular.
Old George continues to reminisce: "Do you remember when teamsters cut their horses' tails short, it was called a bobtail.
"When women began cutting their shoulder length hair it was said they bobbed their hair. With the advent of bobbed hair there were fewer hats worn and that led to the disappearance of the hat pin.
"The hat pin was 6 to 8 inches long so it would go through one side of a hat, through the long hair piled on top of the woman's head and out through the other side of the hat. The pin kept the hat from blowing off but it was also a favorite weapon. A woman armed with a hat pin advancing on a burglar or other would-be criminal changed his mind quickly and he often fled unceremoniously. Do you remember those long hat pins?"
We will be celebrating February birthdays on the 27th. If your birthday is in February, come in for a meal and get cake and a card!
Friday - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Medicare counseling, 11; widow/widower support group, 1 p.m.
Feb. 23 - Denmark with Faith Poet, 12:45 p.m.; art class, 12:45; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.
Feb. 24 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; advanced computer, 10:30; Mardi Gras Party, 1 p.m.
Feb. 25 - 10:30 Beginning computer class, 10:30 a.m.; felting class with Susie Belt, 12:45 p.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.
Feb. 26 - Musetta will visit with folks at the Grange in Allison at noon. A nurse from the Mary Fisher Clinic will join her and check blood pressures.
Feb. 27 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Medicare counseling, 11; February birthday celebrations, noon.
Friday - BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, coleslaw, whole wheat roll and apricots
Feb. 23 -Porcupine meatballs, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, fruit mix and whole wheat roll
Feb. 24 - Tuna and noodles, Scandinavian veggies, stewed tomatoes, and pineapple cake
Feb. 25 - Turkey divan with broccoli, tossed salad, pears and muffin
Feb. 27 - Beef Stroganoff, rice, green beans and tomatoes, peaches and roll.
'Lord of the Springs' begins run Friday
By Sally Hamiester
Friday evening begins the four-night performance run of "Lord of the Springs" in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium, beginning at 7 p.m.
You can catch this delightful family-focused entertainment Saturday evening at the same time, and the following weekend, Feb. 27 and 28.
Over 100 Pagosans of every age, size and shape have joined forces to help local theatre artist Mark Brown fulfill his artistic dream of creating a locally-flavored version of the marvelous Tolkien trilogy that has captured such amazing attention in the past few years. The Pagosa version boasts a 12-foot puppet, evil sorcerers, dancing Hobbits, talking trees and a wonderful ending that just might clear up the question of how the hot springs came about.
We can thank Bill Hudson, Brown, the Pagosa Pretenders and Artstream Cultural Resources for their considerable collaborative efforts to bring this production and the many they have presented in the past.
Tickets for "Lord of the Springs" can be purchased at Moonlight Books and WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company for $7 adults, $3 for children 12 and under and $6 for PSAC members. Proceeds from the show will support more family theater in Pagosa and more arts and theater activities for local school children and adults.
St. Patrick's Parade
Hard to imagine that we're just a month away from the wearin' of the green and one of the world's most underrated events, the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce St. Patrick's Day Parade.
This year, the Irish celebration falls on a Wednesday, and tradition dictates that we will begin lining up at 3:17 p.m. and that you will pay the huge sum of $3.17 as an entry fee. The lineup will take place behind Sears in the alley and the parade will enter the highway at the light on 5th Street. Those of you who know about this parade also know that it is all about fun and that the one and only requirement is that all participants wear green.
We welcome children, animals, adults and just about anything or anyone that will make a colorful addition to the parade. Entry forms will be found in our upcoming newsletter, the Chamber Communiqué, and I'm sure that Doug O'Trowbridge will make them available at the Visitor Center sometime soon. I just wanted to give you plenty of time to get those creative juices flowing for this ever-so-darlin' event. Call us at 264-2360 with any questions.
Kathy at Pagosa Baking Company has asked that I pass along to you the exciting news that they are in the final phase of remodeling and will close their doors Feb. 24 to complete the process. The good news is that they will reopen March 3 replete with an in-house kitchen so you can look forward to the aroma of fresh-baked goodies each time you enter in the future.
You will be happy to know we just shipped our brochures to Berlin, Germany, to be distributed at the International Tourism Bureau Show there March 12-16.
Only 10 tourism industry members of the Colorado Tourism Office could participate in this show and Pagosa Springs is one of them.
Our information will be distributed to folks in Germany who comprise the second largest market for international tourism in Colorado with an estimated attendance of 60,000 people at the show. We are delighted to be a part of this CTO marketing endeavor and will be watching our Visitor Center numbers very closely this summer tracking our European visitors.
Our good friend, Joe Keck, director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College, will be here Feb. 24 with his considerable fund of knowledge and educated business tips.
Joe visits us once a month to spend time with our members helping them with any and all questions concerning business, and he charges absolutely nothing for his expertise and advice. Yep, we're talking free counseling here, and that is a commodity almost impossible to find these days. We will be happy to make an appointment for you with Joe if you will just give us a call at 264-2360. He normally begins appointments at 9 a.m. and will continue until he runs out of customers.
Making a difference
I am honored once again to serve as a table captain for the annual Education Center fund-raiser, and have put together an amazingly cool table of amazingly cool people. This year's third annual "Making a Difference" fund-raising luncheon will be held March 9 at the Pagosa Springs Baptist Church beginning at 11:30 a.m.
I am absolutely ecstatic about this year's guest speaker and can hardly wait to hear him. Dr. Lew Hunter is the keynote man and has more credentials and credits than I have bills. For starters, Dr. Hunter is a screenwriter, bestselling author of Screenwriting 434 and Chair Emeritus of the renowned UCLA MFA Screenwriting Program. This gentleman boasts a career which includes serving as an executive for Walt Disney, NBC, ABC and various motion picture companies for three decades. He found his true calling with teaching, and his seminars and workshops are offered all over the world in places like Africa, Australia, China, Croatia, Denmark, England, Finland and Greece.
I believe you might recognize some of the screenplays written by his students in the UCLA Screenwriting Program: "Jurassic Park," "Men in Black," "Forrest Gump," "Lethal Weapon" and "Under the Tuscan Sun."
"Naked Screenwriting" is the title of Lew's much talked-about but as-yet-unseen collection of 22 interviews with Academy Award-winning screenwriters to be published and released this year. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't miss an opportunity to hear about this man's experiences for anything.
Tickets for this fund-raiser are available at the Education Center at 4th and Lewis streets for $45. Don't miss this opportunity to hear all about Lew Hunter's excellent adventures.
We're happy to report to you that our Chamber of Commerce Web site visits have tripled since we were able to start tracking in 2001.
During that year, we had 101,000 for the year averaging 610 visits per day, and in 2003, we had well over 300,000 visits with around 872 visits per day. It is encouraging to see that in January of this year, we had 990 visits per day for a monthly total of 30,700. Not bad for a sleepy little mountain town.
Visitor Center figures held no surprises with the states represented and the number of folks who stopped in from those states. We should all feel encouraged by the fact that we hosted well over 5,000 more people in 2003 than in 2002 with 38,396 over 32,984. Over 7,000 Texans came our way, and our Colorado neighbors were in second place with 4,698. New Mexico placed third with 3,219 followed by Arizona with 1,902 and Oklahoma came in with 1,551.
About 450 travelers came a long way from England, Germany and Canada with the "other" category at about 420. Basically, around a thousand people visited us from outside the borders of the United States.
We sent out a total of 4,417 information packets with 2,598 responses to summer information, 1,055 to winter information and 764 to relocation requests. We received over 2,600 requests via e-mail, 1,911 from phone and friends, 470 referrals from Woodalls' Campground Guide and 125 from AAA.
To the question, "How did you hear about us?" once again the "friends and family" response took first-place honors with over 3,000, with the Fairfield time shares coming in next at 1,118. Over 900 people were just driving through when they discovered us, with 186 surfing on the 'net and 179 finding us through AAA. Around 100 people said they picked up our information in another city which speaks to our brochure presence in various places and probably trade shows.
Around 1,300 folks indicated they were here for at least the second time, and we love those return visitors. Please understand that these figures are not at all inclusive but are simply excellent indicators for tracking and marketing purposes. It was a good year for visitors and our strong winter and potentially strong summer should produce some very good numbers for the year 2004. I think we have cause to be optimistic about the coming months.
It's clearly a red-letter week here at the Chamber with two new members and 22 renewals. I love it.
A good pal of mine, Terri Beecher, joins us this week with her home-based business, Out West Saddlery. Terri and Bob have given thoughtful consideration to joining the Chamber and researched carefully before making the commitment. I appreciate and encourage that kind of scrutiny and consideration and obviously applaud their decision. Out West Saddlery specializes in high quality, old-time style custom cowboy/horse gear. They also carry a wide variety of cowboy/horse gear made by other companies. If you would like to hear more about how Terri and Bob can help you, please give them a call at 264-2524, (800)863-6405 or at www. outwestsaddlery.com.
Our next new member, Juli Morelock, joins us as a Real Estate Associate with Coldwell Banker, The Pagosa Group. You can reach Juli at 731-2000, (800) 888-5755 or www.pagosacountryrealestate.com.
Our renewals this week include longtime member Allan Bunch with The Malt Shoppe; Norm and Freda Whisman with A-1 Pagosa Communications; Jari Sage with High Meadows Mortgage, LLC; Connie Bunte with the Choke Cherry Tree; Sharon Porter with Holistic Health with home offices; John L. Applegate with Pagosa Area Trails Council; Mark Holladay with Holladay Auto; Harry Kropp with Silver Mine Country Company; Maurice (Mo-Reece) Woodruff with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Bern Heath, President/CEO, Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center; Catharine Carter with Harmony Works and Juice Bar; David Grad with DIG Enterprises, LLC; Anna O'Reilly with Deep Peace-Energy Balancing Massage; Becky and Jim Dorian with San Juan Saunas with home offices; Nannette Colaizzi with Pinon Park Campground and RV Resort in Arboles; Eddie Dale with Dale Construction, Inc.; Spencer Snell with Spencer for Hire Drafting Service; Matt Yoksh with Pagosa Ski Rentals; Michael Roberson with Mykey's Lock and Safe located in his totally mobile office and Rev. Don Ford with Community United Methodist Church.
We welcome two associate members this week, one of whom is Archuleta County Commissioner Alden Ecker. We're happy Alden has joined us and hope that he might have a little more time since he no longer heads up a construction company. We're delighted to renew Ray and Sharon Pack with our thanks to Ray for serving as a dedicated and loyal Chamber diplomat.
Cookie recipes are now on file
By Lenore Bright
Carole Howard, with Lisa Scott's approval, donated two Holiday Cookie Exchange Recipe Books for our collection.
Lisa does an annual cookie exchange and we appreciate the many different possibilities for cookies year round. Volume One and Two will be ready to check out for good eating. We think you should celebrate favorite cookies all year round. Thanks to all the good bakers in Pagosa.
Our STATElinc documents this quarter were devoted to a number of pamphlets about our state. "Discover Colorado History: a Guide to the Sites and Museums of the Colorado Historical Society," pinpoints nine museums around the state that cover our history. The two closest are Fort Garland and Pike's Stockade.
Fort Garland was once commanded by Kit Carson. It is 25 miles east of Alamosa; 45 miles southwest of Fort Garland is Pike's Stockade where Zebulon Pike and his men camped during the cold winter of 1806-07. Located on the Conejos River, the stockade was reconstructed from notes in his journal.
Official state rock
A Girl Scout troop introduced a bill to make Yule Marble our official state rock.
The marble has been used in more than 30 buildings in the state and in more than 100 buildings in the country including the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Yule Marble is exceptional because larger blocks of it may be quarried than can be had from most other quarries in the world.
For more information, ask to see our copy of "Rocktalk," from the Colorado Geological Survey.
For anyone interested in the plan to introduce the Canada Lynx to our region, the Forest Service sent a copy of the Southern Rockies Canada Lynx Amendment Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The draft documents the results of an analysis of four alternative ways to manage the lynx habitat. Ask for it at the desk.
Colorado wildlife viewing
If you are interested in traveling to attend the Sandhill Crane Festival in Monte Vista, mark your calendar for March 12 and 14. The Sandhill Cranes stop in their northward migration to rest and feed. Thousands of the tall birds bow, leap and mill about the fields and wetlands.
Crane watchers will enjoy guided bus tours. There are lectures, demonstrations, and an arts and crafts fair. Besides the cranes, there are waterfowl, bald eagles and other raptors. For information visit the Web site "cranefest.com," or call (719) 852-3552.
Another Colorado festival is the High Plains Snow Goose Festival in Lamar Feb. 27-28. The irrigation reservoirs created wonderful habitat for migrating water birds. In late winter, thousands of snow geese stop by the many ponds and lakes of eastern Colorado to rest and feed. It is part of the western Central Flyway. The geese have spent the winter in southeastern Colorado, New Mexico, the Texas panhandle, and northern Mexico.
Lamar will also offer tours, an arts and crafts fair, and lectures. Their Web site is www. lamarchamber.com
And of course, there is the wonderful Bosque del Apache experience in New Mexico before these. Information on this festival is available from the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. It will be happening soon.
Financial help for the building fund came from the "Cents for Sisson" campaign; a Director gift from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph J. Lee; a Donor gift from Charles and Anita King.
Materials were received from Rita O'Connell, Glenn Raby, Carole Howard, Lynn Constan, Ariana Rackham, Dick and Ann Van Fossen, Karen Rhoda, Joe Nanus and Jenny Schoenborn.
VA budget rising; are we spending wisely?
The federal government has passed a huge budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs. I have heard the VA budget is the second largest federal allocation, next only to the Department of Defense (DOD) budget. We're talking a massive VA budget of $62 billion.
Much of that will go for veteran's entitlements and VA health care. As I understand it this could add to the increased national deficit that all of us will have to repay down the road in years to come. I admit I don't know much about all this budget haggling.
What I do wonder about sometimes is whether we're spending this money wisely, in the best areas, to benefit the maximum number of veterans.
I worked in the private sector before becoming your Veterans Service Officer. As many of you know, working in private businesses and jobs, it is important to ensure every dollar is spent very wisely to increase productivity and profits, which expands the business and creates more jobs. Often that means use of new ideas, new technology, working smarter. The VA could use the same philosophy.
Why separate VAHC?
For instance, in my simple thinking, I wonder why we have separate VA medical facilities, sometimes alongside private medical facilities, offering the same services.
What makes veterans different from other health care patients?
Besides some health issues particular to veterans there isn't much difference. Veteran health care patients need routine care, the same as private care patients. Veterans need emergency health care, the same as private care patients. Veterans need prescription drugs, the same as private care patients. Veterans need nearby health care, the same as private care patients. Veterans are often on low or fixed incomes, the same as private care patients.
A great many veterans are over 65 and on Medicare, the same as private care patients. Many veterans do not have any health insurance, the same as private care patients.
Traveling to VAHC
So why do our veterans have to travel long distances, sometimes out of state, for a routine physical exam and prescription drugs, etc?
We have excellent health care facilities right here in our community that can provide these services, as does most every community.
We have full-service Mercy Medical Center in Durango 110 miles (round trip) away. Albuquerque VA Medical Center providing basically many of the same services is 565 miles round trip. Veterans must pay for additional travel costs because of the distance. The VA pays for overnight lodging, and in some cases pays for mileage expense. All because they want the veteran to go to a VA facility instead of a private care facility.
Some local medical facilities actually need increased patient loads to continue to provide good service and improve their service. Some are faced with financial problems because of low patient use. The VAHC system is worried about overcrowded patient loads and local medical facilities are aggressively seeking more patients.
Now comes a real question in my mind. Many of our veterans are enrolled in VA health care just for the low cost VA prescription drug program. VA physicians must prescribe VA prescriptions under the current VAHC policies. Many of the veterans are older, on Medicare or do not otherwise have access to low cost prescription drugs.
I know this is the reason they are enrolled in VAHC, because I am guilty of enrolling hundreds of veterans so they can get this benefit. I suspect that as much as 70 percent of veterans are enrolled to get the drug benefit, but they would just as soon go to their local doctors if they could get the same benefit.
It seems to me that if 70 percent of veterans were enrolled in VAHC for the prescription drug program only, why not allow private care physicians to send their prescriptions to the VA for veterans through cooperative medical agreements?
Less demand, less cost
If veterans could go to their local doctors instead of traveling hundreds of miles for some of these basic VAHC benefits they would leave the VA system in a minute.
This would, of course, cause a dramatic decrease in demand for VAHC. A decrease in demand for VAHC would also decrease the demands on the VA budget or at least redirect it toward specialized veteran care. Veterans who really need VAHC services would be able to obtain those services without delay, such as happens sometimes now in the VA system.
It seems to me the use of modern technology would allow cooperative efforts between VA, SSA, Medicare and DOD where it is needed to make efficient use of all services.
Changes cost affective
There are old ways of doing things, and there are new ways to do things. Perhaps it's time for the VA to look forward to some of the new ways of doing things. We're not talking about losing any benefits, just finding new ways to use existing services to the advantage of everyone and making it more cost effective. Work smarter, think "outside the box," to use the current catch phrase.
Seems pretty simple to me. Maybe we could be reducing budgets instead of increasing budgets.
For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Archuleta County 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 VSO office.
Private Andrew Wesley Knaggs graduated from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry, United States Army Infantry Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia, Dec. 17, 2003.
Andrew is the son of Michael and Pamela Ferrell, and a graduate of Pagosa Springs High School in May, 2003.
Andrew's training at Ft. Benning included challenging physical, mental, and emotional exercises. Included were culminating field training exercises with a 15-mile foot march, seven days in the field practicing combat skills, and a 25-mile, 24-hour, final training event.
Andrew's parents attended the "turning blue" ceremony in which Andrew was presented the coveted Infantry shoulder cord, as well as his graduation ceremony.
After a brief break for Christmas, Andrew reported for duty at the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment at Ft. Wainwright, Alaska, and will continue his Army training with a Scout unit, and Ranger training.
Three former Pagosa Springs High School students were named to the winter dean's list at Fort Lewis College.
Former Pagosa Springs students who earned dean's list honors (with majors) include: Andrea Ash, interdisciplinary studies; Amber Brown, English; and Kellilyn Patterson, interdisciplinary studies.
To be eligible for the dean's list, a student must attain a grade point average of 3.4 or higher in not less than 14 hours of graded credit, and must have completed all work for which they are registered by the end of the semester.
On the Home Front
Pagosa soldier returns after 11 months serving in Iraq
By Tess Noel Baker
Trevor Peterson is home.
After 11 months of service as part of the army's 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault, in Iraq, Peterson returned to Pagosa Springs Feb. 13 for 30 days worth of visiting family and friends.
What did he miss the most?
"Pagosa itself," he said. "Everything."
Pfc. Peterson, who graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 2002, boarded a plane for Kuwait in February 2003. He entered Iraq March 22 with the 3rd Infantry Division of the Army - the first of the military to cross the border.
"My platoon sergeant told us in January we would be in Baghdad by April," Peterson said. They were operating on high alert. As a rapid deployment division, they were trained to be able to go anywhere in the world in 72 hours. Still, it was difficult to believe. After all, the Third Brigade, of which he was a part, had been in Afghanistan just seven months earlier.
"We thought they were bluffing all the way until we landed," he said.
Across the border in Iraq, his division spent 36 hours traveling across the desert in five-ton trucks to Camp Exxon, a refueling stop for military helicopters. His gear included a 120-pound rucksack and somewhere around 40 pounds of clothing. Body armor. Ammunition. Night vision goggles. His job - provide security.
According to a summary of Peterson's activities written by his mother, Betsy Carpino, on April 4 the platoon was finally able to remove their chemical weapon suits. They were loaded onto helicopters again and transported to Camp Shell, another refueling point. After that, they helped open a highway to lead the army to a faster route to Baghdad. On the way, they took over Al-Hillah, an ancient city known as "the old Babylon." Troops from Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard and Fedayeen Saddam, a paramilitary group, surrendered to Peterson's Infantry Division.
Back in Pagosa Springs, his family, including his mother, father, Pete Peterson, brother, Ty and grandparents, Paul and Yai Yai Carpino, scrambled for news.
"You didn't want to miss one top of the hour," his mom said.
Grandma and Grandpa are certified, "news junkies," capable of scanning several channels at once. In fact, his grandmother recorded the media coverage of the war on three video tapes for Trevor. She also gave him a book of articles clipped from various newspapers.
"I thought, someday, he might find it interesting," she said.
When television anchors would start with a tidbit about the 101st and move on to news about Michael Jackson or Koby Bryant, or fail to give out names, the family logged on to the Internet in hopes of speedier information.
"My hair went gray," Betsy said. She eventually located a site specifically for moms of the division.
Pete, Trevor's father, connected to an Israeli newspaper for up-to-date information. He exercised to relieve some of the tension. Trevor's brother tried to stay busy.
They watched, read and waited. Prayed.
"You were on everyone's prayer list," Yai Yai said, listing the names of several states where people prayed for her grandson.
They sent mail.
Mail, Peterson said, was a big morale booster when it got through - usually once a week. On the other end, Betsy said sometimes it took two months for a letter from Peterson to make it into her hands.
They sent care packages. Jerky. Hand sanitizing wipes. Disposable cameras.
Peterson would use up the film and send the camera back home.
"I'd develop them and people would ask me about the pictures and I'd have no idea," Betsy said.
On the ground, Peterson knew little of what was going on in other parts of Iraq. The news he received - when there was a television - was two weeks old. In fact, he would ask for updates when he had the chance to phone home.
The calls home were few and far between. "I didn't have a chance to call my Dad from March 18 to July 1," he said. Finally, a German physician on duty at a hospital where they were working allowed members of the platoon two minutes each on his cell phone.
Later in July, a satellite phone was made available for use once a week, usually on Tuesdays, "until someone threw it against the wall," Peterson said. About four phones were lost that way, apparently the casualties of long distance battles between husbands and wives.
When Trevor did call, it was generally to grandma and grandpa. They were home more. And because of the 10-hour time difference, it was sometimes at 2 or 3 in the morning.
Peterson's platoon moved into South Baghdad April 11 and were stationed at an old air defense base. Their job - patrol the streets on foot. Peterson and his company searched old Fedayeen headquarters, school buildings and other structures on tips from Iraqi people. They also searched Hussein's palaces in Baghdad. Seven days later, the company moved into the ministry of defense "Hospital City." Peterson found himself guarding bridges, ministry of defense buildings and hospitals.
When his company finally arrived at the Baghdad International Airport he was allowed a two-minute shower. It was his first in 52 days.
After that long, he said, the worsening of smell was noticeable by the week, not by the day. His shirts stood on their own.
He was then transported to Sinjar, in northern Iraq, by Chinook helicopter and spent the next seven months guarding the Syrian boarder, the largest area of operation for any military group.
During his time there, at least four searches were made for Hussein. When the war intensified again, Peterson was moved to Mosul. His unit was given three hours notice. It required, he said, leaving behind much of their food, especially those things sent from home which couldn't be packed in the rucksack. The mice took over while they were gone.
In Mosul, the soldiers slept in an old television station building near a university. From there, the unit carried out large operations to combat the insurgents attacking troops and citizens. He earned his air assault wings at a seven-day training school held at Q-West south of Mosul. The training was the first of its kind conducted in a war zone.
He was there for his 19th birthday. On Christmas, his unit was taking mortar fire.
He was also lost to his family for almost 36 hours.
Two Blackhawk helicopters went down, killing 17. No one was releasing names. All Peterson's family knew was that it involved members of the 101st.
He'd been on guard duty at the time. It was even he who'd called in the sound of the crash to his superiors, attempting to pinpoint the location with his compass. He could see nothing.
"I guessed three kilometers," he said. "It was more like five."
His family breathed a sigh of relief and turned back to their televisions. In the end, not one of the 600 people in his battalion died in Iraq.
Peterson said regular training was part of his whole time in Iraq. "Whenever you weren't doing anything else, they said you'll have a training."
The men also "adopted" several pets. Kittens. A hedgehog named Sonic. Two dogs, Turner and Hooch. Six scorpions.
Pretty much everything in Iraq either stung, bit or scratched, he said. Snakes. Spiders as big as a man's hand. The scorpions.
Peterson finished his tour back in Sinjar, where the situation was generally good, he said. The Americans were liked. They assisted the local police, built schools and helped redesign trucks. And waited.
"I know we were the last ones who were part of the original invasion to still be there," he said.
Peterson's mother and brother flew to Kentucky to meet him Jan. 15. More family met his plane at Denver International Airport a month later.
Back in Pagosa Springs, the televisions are silent. The computers are dark. Sunday evening the immediate family - soldier, brother, father, mother, grandparents- gathered around a puzzle of Rosie the Riveter, to talk with a hometown reporter and make an announcement that brought nothing but smiles.
Trevor Peterson is home.
When his 30 days are up, Peterson will report back to Ft. Campbell, Ky., where he will continue his service in the army for another year and a half.
He said he has no idea where his next assignment might be or when, or if, his unit might go back to Iraq.
When discharged, Peterson plans to return to Colorado to attend college. He hopes to one day earn a degree in environmental science.
Clippings tell Hott story in early Pagosa Country
John M. Motter
Pagosa Country is still cattle country, even if the kinds of cowboy thrills that light up Western movies are a thing of the past.
Descendants of those days remain around us, some still in the cattle business.
Most of those first cowboys were pretty tight lipped. The events which excite us when we hear about them were considered pretty routine on the raw San Juan frontier. Most of the old stories are lost because the people involved didn't think they were important enough to record.
One such old-timer in Pagosa Country is R.D. Hott, who ranches up Four Mile Road.
Following are bits and pieces concerning R.D.'s grandfather, R. P. Hott, a cowboy and rancher whose life was the stuff Western movies are made of. Hott fathered Powell, Rex, Manley, Virginia, Dailey and Emmett, all well known in Pagosa Country.
From R.P.'s obituary in the Durango Herald, we learn that R.P. passed away during the summer of 1934. The story begins, "One of the San Juan Basin's most colorful and successful stockmen, Robert P. Hott, 73, of Ignacio, was called by death Š"
According to the obituary, R.P. was born Jan. 30, 1861, in West Virginia. At an early age he moved to Verdure, Utah, where he got his start in the cattle business. Verdure is one of those if you blink you'll miss it places just south of Monticello. In 1895, R.P. married Emma Peterson of Moab, Utah. Her lineage ran with Mormon converts who came to the United States from Sweden and crossed the prairies with wheelbarrows to their promised land of Utah.
During his early days in the saddle, Hott worked in the Blue Mountains of southeastern Utah. Hott ranched on the upper Piedra in the vicinity of what now is called Cow Camp, or O'Neal Park. Sen. West was his longtime partner in that particular venture. The Blue Mountains had the reputation of sheltering the worst outlaws in the West.
Three large, English cattle outfits headquartered near Monticello. Hott apparently worked for the Carlyle bunch.
He later ran cattle on the Upper Piedra near what is now known as Cow Camp.
The family moved to Pagosa Springs in 1905 before moving in 1908 to a ranch on Spring Creek between Tiffany and Ignacio. R.P. was a friend of Emmit Wirt, Sen. West and other well known people of his time.
Whatever Hott and his family did seemed to make news as attested by the following items, mostly taken from Pagosa Springs newspapers.
- June, 1907 - Bob Hott, for many years one of the best known cattlemen of the Blue Mountains (the mountains west of Monticello) country, left Pagosa Monday with about 70 head of horses for Albuquerque, where he will receive and drive through 2,000 head of cattle for himself and George West. The drive will require the services of about 16 men. Those who went with him were Henry Gordon, two Harlan boys, Otto Burster, and Nordyke and Carmack of Bayfield
- George Harlan and Ernest Burster have gone with George West to Santa Fe to purchase some cattle which the latter has purchased there
- Mrs. George Harlan, who has been visiting with her daughter Mrs. D.D. Pargin, returned to her home in Pagosa, accompanied by the latter, who intends to stay a week
- July 5, 1907 - The West-Hott cattle arrived at Pagosa Wednesday afternoon and an attempt was made to swim them across the river below town, but after a horse was all but drowned in the attempt, that mode of crossing was abandoned and the cattle were driven in small bunches past the bridge. The stock looked well considering the long drive from Albuquerque, which was made without incident except the losing of a few head of cattle at Edith
- Last Monday a part of a bunch of 1,800 head of Arizona cattle being driven from Albuquerque by George West and Bob Hott stampeded onto the new county bridge across the Navajo at Edith and caused the structure to collapse, one rider and many of the cattle being plunged into the river. The rider escaped uninjured, but several of the cattle were drowned. We have not learned the extent of the damage to the bridge which was recently built at a cost of $1,050, but first reports say it was nearly, if not quite, destroyed beyond ordinary repair
- Aug. 1907 - The Demandels visited the Cavinesses at the West ranch this week and found Mrs. Caviness much worried about the mountain rats. The rodents came one night and stole a quarter of beef. The next night they came and helped themselves to knives and forks, salt and pepper, and a good frying pan
- Sept. 1907 - Bob Hott and family are now living in one of the McMullen cottages on Lewis Street. Notwithstanding that Bob is fresh from the Utah legislature, we can vouch for him as being one of the whitest men that ever lived and certain to make Pagosa an outstanding citizen
- Sept. 1913 - Bill South shot two large timber wolves in the West and Hott pasture Wednesday, but in spite of the wounds the beasts got away
- Jan. 5, 1934 - We've heard it remarked on many occasions: "Bob Hott's the best cowman in Colorado." Being acclaimed "the best cowman in Colorado" it's natural to suppose that Mr. Hott owns the best cows in Colorado, and so he does. Saturday, Dec. 23, one of Mr. Hott's fine Holstein cows dropped two fine calves, and Tuesday following, another one of his fine Holstein cows dropped two calves equally as fine as the first set of twins. Bob Hott is a modest, unassuming cowman Š and he said, "the cows in the United States, like all the good men and women, have adopted a code of their own to bring about national recovery
- Feb. 1914 - Last week West and Hott shipped in 150 head of cattle from their Spring Creek Ranch to their O'Neal Park Range.
The following item is taken from "Pioneers of the San Juan Country," specifically about a pioneer family named Mead.
"One day a band of terror stricken Indians rode into the Mead Ranch (located in Largo Canyon near Bloomfield) shouting "White man on the war path! White man on the war path!" For some time trouble had been brewing between cattlemen and sheepmen over grazing rights. The range had been pastured to a saturation point and each group was trying to crowd each other off.
"The climax came that morning when three riders for the Carlyles, cattle barons of New Mexico and Utah, awoke to find their cabin ablaze and surrounded by heavily armed sheepmen, ready to settle the issue. The cowboys must have been in league with the elements because a sudden shower extinguished the flames on the roof, while their grub held enough flour to quench the inside flames.
"Two of the cow punchers, Steve Roup and Lee Hamlet, had only six shooters, while the third was armed with a Winchester. He took refuge in the chimney, refused to come out or surrender his gun for the defense of the others. In the intermittent firing that continued on both sides for hours, a Mexican was killed. Bob Hott, a Carlyle rider, chanced to come that way, learned of his companion's plight and started at top speed for sheriff Dan Sullivan."
That Hott survived to become a cattle king of the Southwest attests to the poor marksmanship of those sheepmen.
Sheriff Sullivan came to the rescue. Hott survived, raised a large family, and leaves a western legacy of valor for those of us who came later.
Our Focus feature on the front page of Section B deals with the
return of a native son. Trevor Peterson is back from Iraq, home
after 11 months with the 101st Airborne in Iraq. He is not the only Pagosan to go to Iraq during this war, nor is he the first to return. There are Pagosans in Iraq as you read this. More will be deployed there.
The feature provides details about Trevor's service in Iraq and introduces readers to his mother, father, brother and maternal grandparents as they welcome him home.
He stands as an example of all the local men and women serving during this difficult time and his return provides an occasion for some thoughts.
We have known Trevor and many other Pagosans in the military all or nearly all their lives. Saturday, Trevor attended the regional wrestling tournament, greeting old friends and the coaches who, not long ago, were tutoring him as a member of the Pirate wrestling team. We observed he is taller and stronger than the youngster who left Pagosa for basic training. We observed something else.
Look at the photo in our feature, the one of Trevor and two of his comrades in arms. The soldiers wield serious weapons and project an ominous image. But, look past the garb and the high-tech armaments, just as we looked past the taller, stronger young man at the gym Saturday.
What you see are three youngsters, on the precipice of adult life, put in harm's way.
They are typical of who we send to war, these youngsters. For the most part, it is they and their families who make the sacrifices.
We wonder whether we make enough sacrifices for them.
Once the televised hell-bent-for-leather rush of armor was over and the statues fell, this war was transformed into a grimy event with no conclusion in sight, marked by terrorist attacks, roadside ambushes and suicide bombings that take the lives of our young people a few at a time.
Much the same holds true with our vaunted War on Terrorism, ignited when planes flew into skyscrapers and images flashed repeatedly on television screens. It has tapered off into color-coded alerts that will have little meaning until the next shocking attack.
The point? We at home are urged to live as if everything is normal. We're asked to spend, to travel, to exist as if little is amiss. We're asked, in so many ways, to distance ourselves (unless we are parents and relatives) from the reality of war, to let others do the job, to get worked up at special moments but otherwise to go about business as usual. We remain obsessed with entertainment and celebrity, with conspicuous consumption.
We're not asked to do even simple things to assist in what will be a lengthy conflict - not just in Iraq where, whether we like it or not, no matter who we elect as president, we are committed to the long haul - but most likely elsewhere: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines. Where else?
No one asks us to curtail our consumption of oil, revenues from which are used, even by so-called allies, to fund terrorism and institutions that breed hatred for us and our way of life. We manufacture and purchase fuel-wasting vehicles because they bolster a weak sense of self; we build homes for two far larger than a reasonable family of six would require, with all the waste that implies.
Are we doing enough?
When young men and women return from service, we should reflect on the delusional distance we are asked to maintain between ourselves and the realities of an increasingly dangerous world.
We need to ask what we should do to return the favor to these people and to all who will follow.
How do you fit into this data?
Interesting data can turn up in the most unexpected places.
For example, in the brochure explaining the school district's refinancing bond issue distributed to members of the school board last week, statistical snapshots of the district's support base indicate:
- 23.6 percent of the county's population is aged 0-17 and there is an almost exact percentage for the group aged 35-49
- the biggest population group, at 36.2 percent, is comprised of those 50 and over
- only 7.5 percent is in the 18-24 bracket and only 9.2 percent in the 25-34 group
- on Nov. 30, 2003, the county's workforce totaled 5,541 with 4.7 percent unemployed, the latter figure a decrease of nearly 3 percent from the previous year. That compared to 5.6 percent unemployed statewide and 5.9 percent nationwide on the same date.
Wonder how you fit into all those statistics?
Maybe the following from the same brochure will help:
- in 2003, 27.7 percent of county households had effective buying income of $50,000 or more, compared to 41.2 percent statewide and 35.0 percent nationally
- 43.1 percent were under $20,000 as compared to 16.8 percent statewide and 22.3 percent nationally
- 26.9 percent of the county fell in the $20,000-$34,999 range compared to 21.6 statewide and 23.2 nationally
- that means the smallest category, $35,000-$49,999, took in 22.3 percent of the county income earners compared to 20.4 percent statewide and 19.5 percent nationally.
Where do the people who are included in the survey work?
Data available as of Dec. 31, 2001, indicate the county itself was the largest employer with 132 on the payroll full time. The school district was right behind with 130; City Market third with 92 in two stores; and Fairfield Resorts Inc., fourth with 57.
But, perhaps the most telling statistic in the brochure, based on datum from the Archuleta County Assessor, is the list of the top 10 taxpayers in the school district.
Ready to see if you're included?
Probably not, but here's the list, in terms of assessed valuation:
1. Pagosa Lakes Ranch Inc., $1,266,617
2. BP America Product Co., $1,044,459
3. Dillon Real Estate, $994,627
4. Elm Ridge Operating Co., Inc., $946,167
5. Fairfield Pagosa, Inc. $931,653
6. Colorado Timber Ridge Ranch, $917,107
7. Keyah Grande LLC, $724,191
8. Pagosa Springs Valley Golf Club, $506,432
9. Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs, $496,408
10. Jacek and Halina Mrowca, $484,752.
Total assessed valuation of the district at that same reporting point was $185,687,483, with 99.2 percent of that in Archuleta County and the balance in Hinsdale County.
In 2003, the school district levied $5,256,935 in property taxes and actually collected $5,250,755, a remarkable 99.88 percent.
Finally, in 2003, 49.02 percent of taxes levied were against residential property; 14.88 percent on commercial; and 27.66 on vacant land.
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Feb. 20, 1914
A new grocery store has been opened up in the Mary Brown building on San Juan Street by that lady and Mrs. Chas. Day under the firm name of Brown & Day. From the appearance of the bright, clean and complete stock the ladies, who are widely and favorable known in this community, ought to command a good share of the brisk trade of Pagosa and vicinity.
The death of the old pioneer, Barzillai Price, was the first one to occur in Pagosa Springs for almost a year.
We hereby register a vow that if these Pagosa bootleggers don't increase the quality of the whiskey they are peddling, this paper will start a war of extermination. P.S. Leave samples at the front office.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Feb. 22, 1929
Persons contemplating marriage in Colorado must give at least five days notice of intent to marry before they can obtain a marriage license, under the provisions of a bill passed by the state senate Friday.
The natural hot water from various artesian wells in town was utilized Wednesday by town officials to melt the accumulated ice and open frozen culverts at different places in the city. The work was effectively and efficiently done.
Chas. E. Harris, who is up from his Montezuma ranch today, reports the appearance of robins and prairie dogs - indications of an early spring.
The plastering in the new courthouse has been completed.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Feb. 19, 1954
Postal Inspector Stavely told a representative of the SUN this past week that extensive changes in the mail set-up are proposed for Archuleta County this coming summer with a major portion of the county to be served by a star route. This new route will do away with the Pagosa Junction post office, but will not affect the Arboles post office. It will enable persons living on or near the route to get mail every day except Sundays and holidays and will expedite mail service considerably.
The weather this past week brought a little moisture to the area when snow fell Sunday night and rain on Monday afternoon. The snowfall was light in town but better than a foot fell at the higher elevations.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Feb. 22, 1979
Retail sales in Archuleta County for the third quarter of 1978 were up over the same period in 1977, but manufacturing was down by a substantial amount. This was due to the closure of San Juan Lumber Co.
There will be cross country ski races and an anything-but-ski race this weekend as part of the annual Frosty Frolics Winter Carnival. The cross country race is Saturday at Inn at the Pass, and the anything-but-skis race is Sunday at the school recreation complex.
It is winter time again in this part of the world and the usual number of fender benders are taking place on the streets and highways. Wolf Creek Pass had about 18 inches of new snow this week, and more than six inches had fallen in town by press time.