April 22, 2004 
Front Page

County will pursue 'emergency' airport loan

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Archuleta County commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday ratifying their April 6 decision to pursue what amounts to a sizable "emergency" loan to fund ongoing improvements to Stevens Field.

In short, the board's action this week authorizes Bill Steele, county administrator, to submit a loan application to the Colorado State Infrastructure Bank for the sum of $2.5 million at 4-percent interest for a 10-year term.

Provided the application is approved, the resolution also officially authorizes the appropriation of the borrowed funds for improvements to Stevens Field.

Pursuit of the loan is necessary to keep pace with a series of contract agreements struck between the county and Federal Aviation Administration that have pumped millions in federal grant funding into the airfield since improvements were initiated in the mid-'90s.

The development of the midfield terminal area is the next step in the process, a slate of requirements that includes construction of a new, fixed-base operations facility and relocation/replacement of eight box hangars and several fuel-related structures.

The county must comply with the provisions in the FAA agreements - which set the project completion date for October - or risk responsibility for the payback of over $10 million in resulting, associated funds and revenues.

Estimates for the current slate of tasks amount to just over $3.2 million, though roughly $640,000 of that figure could be carried by federal fund matches.

Much of the remaining balance includes cost requirements the county apparently had not anticipated until recently, though Steele indicated this week some of the price tag may eventually be trimmed.

"There are still some issues in the wind that could cause us to not have to spend so much money," said Steele.

For example, original engineering estimates are not etched in stone, said Steele, and hasty principal payments could further lessen the county's financial burden in the long run. (The county's initial payment on the loan would not be required until fiscal year 2005.)

In addition, according to Cathie Wilson, county finance director, roughly $130,000 in other airport expenses - including just over $83,000 in final payments for the lease-purchase of the airport taxiway - will come off the books before the end of the year, potentially freeing up additional cash.

On a related note, Mamie Lynch, board chairman, indicated the airport situation qualifies as "de-Bruced," meaning previous questions regarding possible TABOR repercussions resulting from the county "getting that much money" at once via the $2.5 million loan have been satisfied.

In other business concerning Stevens Field, the board approved a contract with private land owners Tuesday securing the purchase of two-hundredths of an acre for future airport development.

The contract, which had apparently been mired in lengthy negotiations until this week, lists a purchase price of $900.

Finally, in response to a request that he be given direction regarding legal representation, the board directed Steele to consult with the county's current legal counsel, Goldman, Robbins and Rogers LLP, when airport matters are concerned.

Prior to the board's decision this week, Mary Deganhart had served as the county's legal counsel on airport issues.


Sources, storage top water concerns

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

What to do about water.

It was the main topic of discussion as four of six candidates vying for three seats on the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors addressed area voters during this week's special-district election forum.

The event was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County and presented to an Extension building crowd of over 130.

Present Tuesday night were PAWS board candidates Robert Hart, Windsor Chacey, Darrel Cotton and Robert Huff.

Candidates Allan Bunch and Steven Hartvigsen did not participate, though forum moderator Nan Rowe indicated Hartvigsen, an employee of the Pagosa Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service, was unavailable only because of a prior commitment to attend a mandatory training seminar.

(However, in a background flyer intended for distribution at the forum, Hartvigsen summarized his interests in serving on the board; in fairness, highlights of his qualifications are included at the end of this article.)

Each candidate was given three minutes for introductory statements, one-minute limits to respond to questions from the public, then two minutes for closing statements.

Order was chosen at random, with Hart getting the first nod.

During a summary of qualifications and background, Hart, a local business owner and resident since 1999, stated he has a degree in business administration and formerly served as chairman on the PAWS Community Advisory Committee.

A key water issue, said Hart, is the need for future supply/storage and how to meet that need.

The district's Dutton Ditch and Stevens Reservoir projects "are good, but I think we need bigger plans, something much larger," said Hart.

Hart said a multiuse, recreation-type reservoir may fill the bill, and suggested the use of the San Juan River as a reliable water source be expanded.

In addition, Hart indicated he would investigate the possibility of reimbursing district customers who have paid availability fees "without ever using a drop of water," perhaps crediting such customers when they apply for building permits.

In conclusion, Hart said he would like to minimize or eliminate executive sessions and concluded by stating he believes that, although state law permits disposal of them after a 90-day period, minutes of executive sessions should never be destroyed.

Next up was Chacey, who began by posing a question to the standing-room-only crowd.

"Is the drought over? Nope," said Chacey, adding that researchers predict the coming of a long-term water crisis fueled by increasing and competing water demands.

Chacey, a former educator/administrator, director of the San Juan Water Conservancy District and Pagosa resident since 1994, explained her platform is based mainly on "the three a's" - (water) affordability, (water) availability and district accountability."

Ample management of district operating costs and fair rates are other key concerns, said Chacey, who regularly attends PAWS board meetings, has written several articles on water issues and participated in joint efforts to secure grants for pollution protection of area lakes and reservoirs.

Lastly, Chacey said she feels adequate planning is a necessary element in the district's future growth scenario.

"Together we can plan by keeping water affordable and available and all of the district accountable," she concluded.

The next speaker, Cotton, a lifetime Pagosa resident and longtime member of the Pagosa Springs Town Council, took only a few seconds to convey his message.

"I will approach this as fairly as I can, and I don't have an agenda," said Cotton.

The final candidate to speak, Huff, initiated his comments by stating water "is an incredibly precious commodity, more so than oil; there is no substitute for water."

The time to plan - and plan well - is now, said Huff, a 16-year Pagosa resident and current member of the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission.

With the county moving toward "zoning" and PAWS facing unavoidable growth, "Doesn't it seem like a good idea to have one hand know what the other is doing?" asked Huff, suggesting a collaborative approach to growth issues and corresponding water needs.

In further commentary, Huff stated he currently "doesn't have all the answers," but also has no preconceived notions and therefore no agenda.

Huff concluded by indicating he will honor current and past district plans, but will also look critically at future issues and development plans.

"I will not be captured by the staff and just led along, an easy pushover," concluded Huff. "But nor will I be a hard-nose."

The question-and-answer session followed, and one question from an audience member requested candidates' opinions regarding PAWS' recent rate increase "in spite of" admirable conservation efforts last year by district customers - a decision spurred, mainly, by the need to keep pace with rising fixed costs.

In short, "There are always costs, and those costs go up," answered Cotton, the first to respond.

Fixed expenses, said Cotton, especially for large-scale entities, "are never going to get cheaper" and therefore need to be recouped to ensure continued operation.

Acknowledging Cotton's sentiments, Chacey suggested more needs to be done regarding cost analysis and containment.

"Where can we cut costs, reduce costs or make some changes?" asked Chacey, adding she believes in rewarding customers who employ conservation measures with something other than what she described as "a slap on the wrist."

Regarding the district's recent rate schedules, which have been based on the "higher use equals higher charges" premise, "I believe the ladder structure works," said Huff.

"But I also feel that if you're a big user, there ought to be a variance ... or some appeal process," said Huff, especially in cases where customers are "getting hammered" with charges.

Finally, "Charges made to members should be directly related to costs," said Hart, indicating he favors a proportional approach.

"But I think more can be done to lower costs and understand them further," Hart concluded.

The candidates' closing statements came a short while later, with each offering some final notions.

Huff concluded by offering a comparison, a scenario related to what he generally described as the importance of identifying water priorities.

A recent news article, said Huff, indicates the quantity of water necessary to sustain an estimated 4.7 billion people "is the same amount the United States uses each year to water golf courses."

Huff then concluded by praising his opponents, stating, "I could vote for any of them."

Cotton suggested voters contact him personally for further information. "If anybody has questions, feel free to call," he said.

Chacey invited the audience to read an article she composed for the 2003 issue of Builders Magazine entitled "Every Drop Counts" for additional insights concerning her stance.

After suggesting the community consult local experts regarding current and future growth and water issues, Chacey asked for the support of voters.

"Please join me in helping to resolve the coming water crisis," she concluded.

Hart stated he believes in a "fairness policy" based on fees and rates directly related to costs "across the board."

In addition, Hart indicated he feels construction and growth "should pay their fair share," and reiterated his beliefs that executive sessions should be reduced and that executive session minutes "should be kept permanently."

Hart ended his comments by stating he feels the main issue is currently "storage, storage, storage."

With respect to Hartvigsen, information he provided indicates he is a lifelong resident of the "Intermountain/Rocky Mountain arid West" and became interested in water issues at an early age.

Key aspects of Hartvigsen's platform include "ensuring long-term sustainability" of natural, limited resources while effectively operating within budget constraints.

Regarding his view for water-resource management, "Conservation is key," says Hartvigsen, "and includes not only prudent use of water but efficient diversion, storage, delivery and post-use treatment as well."

Fairness in cost sharing, obtaining additional water rights, protecting ecosystems and examining future storage and growth issues are other aspects Hartvigsen identifies as important.

In conclusion, Hartvigsen indicates he feels he could offer a "unique perspective" given his extensive Forest Service background, and states, "I believe my objectivity, fairness and communication skills would add value to the board's goals."

For more information on each of the six candidates for the PAWS board, refer to the special section in the April 15 issue of The SUN entitled "Election Tracker."


Forum features health district hopefuls

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Financial accuracy. Credibility. Accountability. Trust. Clarity. Vision.

These were some of the political goals, some of the characteristics candidates for the Upper San Juan Health Service District espoused during the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County forum Tuesday night.

Eleven of the 12 candidates for six open seats on the district's board of directors - three two-year terms and three four-year terms - attended the forum. Jeff Schmidt was the only one absent. Each was given three minutes for an opening statement, one minute to answer questions posed by the audience and two minutes in closing statements.

Six of the 12 candidates are running as a slate and some of those spoke of the need to elect all six so that a complete "team" combining people with experience in business, finance and medicine is in place. The slate includes: Bob Goodman, Neal Townsend, Bob Scott, Pamela Hopkins, Richard Blide and Jim Pruitt.

"I know this is the right team," Goodman, a business owner, said of the slate of six. "Please do not put in another candidate to hamper our goals."

Goodman, Blide, Pruitt and Hopkins added that a "strong" board of directors was needed, one capable of setting management goals instead of letting management direct the board's actions.

All six also advocated an integrated health care system to bring together all the local doctors instead of forcing competition between public and private clinics.

The five other candidates in attendance - Debra Brown, Pat Rydz, Dean Sanna, Edward Norman and Henry Silver - highlighted their strengths as being "open-minded," "independent thinkers" or "creative thinkers."

Sanna, a local chiropractor appointed to the district board a couple months ago, and Norman, a doctor of oriental medicine, both said it would be important to consider the role of alternative medicine in the coming years, with more of an emphasis on preventative medicine.

Rydz, who has a master's degree in finance, and Silver, who has a M.B.A. in financial management, discussed the need for creative financing, the national health care crisis and the rising costs of health care. In fact, nearly all the candidates addressed the issue of finances - both locally and in regard to rising insurance costs and falling insurance reimbursements.

When all 11 answered a question from the audience regarding whether or not a tax levy increase would be needed in the future to fund the district, the answers ranged from "no," to "I don't think so," and "I don't have enough information yet."

Brown, a business owner, said despite rebuilding efforts which have weakened the district's financial position compared to 2003, the district shouldn't need a tax boost in the near future, not when the district received a big hike in 2001. What the district does need, she said, is a board of people willing to work, "not just warm the seats."

Townsend, a manager at a business, said in an initial review of district finances it appears enough money is available to run current operations without a tax hike. However, he said, five or 10 years in the future voters might want another bond issue to fund an expansion of services.

Scott, a business owner, concurred that an initial review of the district's finances seemed to indicate another tax increase would be unnecessary. In the future, he said, it would be important for the board to make decisions based on up-do-date financials and use strict financial sense to avoid future bailouts.

Sanna said because of the falling reimbursements of insurance companies, major changes in health care are coming no matter who likes it.

In regard to his own business, he said, "I would rather treat people for free than take money from the insurance companies."

Rydz was against any kind of tax increase. She said the district had to become more creative when it comes to finding funding sources.

Silver said with no crystal ball, it was impossible to predict the needs of the future.

"I do know the Mary Fisher clinic is operating at a fraction of its capacity," he said, a fact that made him optimistic.

Pruitt, a physician, said a tax hike would not be necessary.

Goodman said if the board was financially responsible and could work off of solid budgets with up-to-date financials, "there should not be a reason to tap into other funds."

Blide, a retired physician, said no to additional taxes, adding current expenses could be reduced.

Norman said once a new board stabilized the district, innovations in rural health care could be made using grant opportunities to avoid further tax increases.

Hopkins also keyed in on grants and modernization of the district's operations. She added the district should get out of competition with local doctors and move back to its original mandates to provide the facilities and equipment to better health care in the community.

Panel members were also asked whether or not they would retain the current management, including executive director Dee Jackson.

Silver declined to say yes or no, saying it was a politically charged issued and he would have to make up his mind based on future research and experience.

Pruitt said management was the responsibility of the board of directors and couldn't be allowed to "run amuck with the district."

Goodman said the current manager was not providing the district board with current financials, something that would have to change if that person wanted to stay.

"I would have to see how she operated in other aspects of the business," he said.

Blide said, "I can't think of anything positive she (Jackson) has done in the past year." As a result, he said, he would vote to release her.

Norman said the manager would have to be accountable for moving forward with decisions made by a new board. It could be, he said, the current management has lost so much credibility, it would have to be changed.

Hopkins, a retired nurse, said a group of six strong directors should be able to make management accountable. She said what happens with management will depend on how that staff satisfies the needs of the elected board. She added later that Jackson should not be serving as emergency medical services operations manager, a position she holds because the former operations manager was apparently demoted.

"She (Jackson) is absolutely not qualified to hold that position," Hopkins said. "That I would change immediately."

Brown said, in her opinion, with regard to business dealings, Jackson had been excellent. With employees, Brown said, Jackson has a tendency to be blunt at times, but has been on a political hot seat for a year, causing her to be defensive. Under a revised operational flow chart, Brown said, managers had been put in place to deal with employees, taking some of that burden off Jackson.

Townsend said, "I feel it's unfortunate that an individual employee of the district has become a central issue in this race." A manager's credibility, integrity and trust, he said, must flow up to the board and down to district employees. If management fails in that, he said, new blood is required.

Scott said it's too early to make a judgement on personnel. Deciding that would require a close look at the state of the district's finances. A manager, he said, must be accountable to the board.

Sanna said Jackson is, "extremely hard-working. I've never seen somebody with so many things at the tips of her fingers."

He said he did talk with Jackson about possibly leaving the district if it was decided that would be the best situation for the community.

Rydz said if elected she would have to do her own research on the management situation to, "separate the chaff from the wheat."

After-hours care for the community was another topic discussed several times in different parts of the forum.

"I am proud of the fact that we do have 24/7 service," Brown said. In fact, the lack of such a service was what first brought her to a board meeting many months ago - to complain. She has since become an appointed member of the board.

"I stood up and started complaining and I got recruited," she said.

She said the "community doctors," those on staff at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, had agreed to provide such a service. To do so, they must take on-call shifts of 96 hours at a time. The doctors are, Brown said, backed up by a nurse triage phone service which reduces the number of times they have to answer calls.

"They assured us they would come to us and tell us if they were burned out," she said.

Scott, Goodman and Blide all talked about "true" 24/7 on-call, a program that would include doctors from both the public and private clinics.

Blide said a 24/7 on-call program requiring a doctor to work 96 hours was unacceptable. "Do you think a doctor on call 90 hours straight can give you good care at night?" he asked.

The candidates also answered questions about the original health service plan approved by voters in the 1980s, employee morale, the length of time patients are seen by a doctor, Medicare and Medicaid status and the district's financial history.


Nature's bluster greets four lynx released in the region

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

No cheering. No confetti.

There was nothing to be confused with the type of traditional fanfare one might associate with an event of such rarity.

Save for the occasional clicking of camera shutters and the incessant whine of blustery mountain winds, the event was marked only by appreciative silence.

Scott Wait wanted it that way.

Wait, a terrestrial biologist with the Durango office of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, served as the proverbial master of ceremonies during the Sunday morning release of four Canadian lynx in the Williams Creek area.

Wait and several representatives from the DOW and U.S. Forest Service took part in the reintroduction effort, the latest in a series of releases aimed at reestablishing a self-sustaining population of the once-native cats in Colorado.

The program began in 1999 with the release of 41 lynx, followed by 55 more in 2000 and 33 in 2003. Up to 50 more lynx will be released in 2005, and another 15 may be released in 2006 and 2007.

Introduced to new territory Sunday were four of 37 cats scheduled for release in southwest Colorado this year - two males captured and transported from British Columbia, and two females, both captured in Quebec.

Encircled by an oft-shivering, group of roughly two dozen attendees that included several members of the public, Wait set forth some ground rules prior to the cats' arrival at a rendezvous point off Piedra Road.

Among the most important, "Please try to be as quiet as possible," said Wait, indicating captive lynx become stressed by excessive human chatter.

Further briefing included scenarios of what to expect when the doors to the cats' "nesting boxes" were raised; Wait stated some of lynx "will bolt outright," while some, he said, may initially be hesitant to venture into their new surroundings.

"Their nesting boxes are the one place in this world, right now, that they are very familiar with, very comfortable with," said Wait, explaining the lynx are housed at a private facility in the San Luis Valley where they are fed and examined to be sure they are in peak condition when returned to the wild.

Minutes later the cats arrived and were given a caravan escort north to the heart of a rugged parcel of private property surrounded by national forest land.

Living up to Wait's expectations, the first cat - a 1-year-old female - peered cautiously at the cast of onlookers when its gate was raised, then decided to lie low, apparently satisfied with its current quarters.

Several minutes passed before personnel retrieved the other female, a 4-year-old, and placed its cage beside that of the reluctant lynx and raised the gate.

After a brief pause, the second cat scampered silently into a distant treeline, and, apparently spurred by the bravado of its elder, the younger female soon followed suit.

A short while later, the two male lynx, both 5-year-olds, were released in succession and followed a similar path into the wilderness.

Though all of the cats seemingly vanished into the high-alpine countryside, multiple efforts are made to ensure the DOW can monitor the cats' movements on a regular basis.

In addition to radio collars that enable tracking from air and ground units, tiny microchips are also implanted in the lynx to facilitate identification.

"The chips are very, very small, about the size of a grain of rice," explained Tony Gurzick, DOW assistant regional manager.

"One is implanted under the cat's chin and another is set in the shoulder region," added Gurzick. "They're mainly to serve as backups in cases where radio collars have slipped off or the batteries have gone dead."

Blood and hair samples are also taken and filed accordingly, said Gurzick, which further aids identification efforts.

"Then, through DNA testing, we can trace the identification of not only, for example, a mother lynx and her kittens, but also the identification of the father cat," concluded Gurzick.

Optimism for lynx recovery in the state has been increasing each year as the Division continues to learn more about the cats, and heightened further last year when DOW tracking crews confirmed the births of at least 16 kittens to six lynx mothers last spring, the first time reproduction has been documented since the program began.

In recent months, DOW tracking crews and researchers confirmed that at least six of the kittens have made it through the winter and are already hunting on their own.

To that effect, "We're pleased with the process so far, but we realize there's still a long way to go," said Mike Reid, DOW district wildlife manager for the Pagosa area.

Releasing the cats in April, said Reid, boosts the odds the lynx will find ample prey species, get a foothold in their new territories and, if all goes well, continue to exhibit successful breeding habits.

With continuing public education and cooperation, said Reid, the state may grow closer to achieving a benchmark that was once reserved for the distant horizon.

"Reproduction was really the main thing we were waiting on," he added. "Now the goal is to have the reproduction rate exceed the mortality rate."

Lastly, Reid said human interference with that goal can carry heavy consequences.

"Violators face state penalties, and up to $100,000 in fines at the federal level," he concluded.

The crowd that braved frigid conditions Sunday to catch a brief glimpse of the lynx seemed bent on anything but intervention.

As one witness remarked after their release, "They're worth being frostbitten."

For more information on the lynx reintroduction in Colorado, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/species_cons/lynx.asp.


Inside The Sun

Burglaries seen linked to drugs; $10,000 in property recovered

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Archuleta County Sheriff's detectives recovered about $10,000 in stolen property from a pair of Pagosa Springs residences over the weekend. The recovered property has been linked to at least 17 burglaries committed over the winter.

Archuleta County Detective George Daniels said an ongoing investigation into the burglaries, committed in summer homes while owners were away, uncovered intelligence leading to two search warrants. One was executed Friday night. The other Saturday.

Arrests in the case now number seven, the most recent being Anthony Maugham, 21, of Pagosa Springs, who is charged with three counts of burglary. Arrest warrants are pending on at least six others.

Lt. T.J. Fitzwater said the suspects do not appear to have been operating as an organized group. Apparently, separate pods of people were out committing the same crimes at the same time, "but not in unison with each other," he said, and the cases are being treated separately.

The one connection is drugs, Fitzwater said. The motivation for the crimes seems to have been to sell or trade the stolen items for a variety of illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.

The first report in this string of burglaries was filed in November. More followed in December, January and February.

A Crime Stoppers reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction 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.


Record turnout for 9Health Fair

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The SUN

With 650 people attending and 250 volunteers working, the 2004 9Health Fair broke all past records.

These people must be congratulated for taking responsibility for their health; the medical and nonmedical volunteers and exhibitors who made their day possible deserve the gratitude of the community.

A very sincere "thank you" from the core team responsible for this year's event: Sharee Grazda, Pam Hopkins, Mary Brooks, Bob and Peggy Case, Mary McKeehan, Dee McPeek, Charlotte Overley, Robin Ball, Margie Richter and Patty Tillerson.

People began to line up by 7:15 a.m. and by 8 a.m. were able to begin taking advantage of screenings of every sort - height and weight, body mass index, hearing, vision, bone density, body fat analysis, breast exams, body in balance and much more. Health and safety information was everywhere. Colorectal kits to test for occult blood in the stool were available for $5. One of the most active stations featured goggles which simulated being under the influence of alcohol. State police officers could be seen encouraging people to try to walk a straight line under the influence of the goggles.

By far the benefit most utilized by the community was the low-cost blood chemistry analysis. Ninety- seven fair volunteers had their blood drawn Friday; on Saturday 527 Fairgoers went through that line. At the other end of the line during peak hours 23 phlebotomists drew blood. Most worked without break for the first two hours and many worked for four hours straight.

These service-oriented individuals came from a wide cross-section of the community: USJHSD EMTs and paramedics, independent EMTs and paramedics, RNs and LPNs from Pine Ridge, Mercy Hospice, Pagosa Family Medicine, San Juan Basin Health, San Juan Regional (Farmington) and three from the community at large. An outstanding centrifuge team prepared the blood specimens for shipment to Quest Laboratory. Their professionalism was a pleasure to observe.

The Breast Exam station doubled its numbers from last year to 36. Halfway through the morning 150 Colorectal kits sold out. One lone audiometrist screened 120 people for hearing. In Lung Function, approximately 200 people went through the Peak Flow screening. Of those, 35 had some degree of difficulty and were referred to spirometry where the respiratory therapist counseled several seemingly healthy young nonsmoking, non-drinking people to exercise and to practice deep breathing.

The Bone Density Station screened a total of 130 people, referred 15 percent for full hip and spine scan and informed five people they had osteoporosis who were unaware of their condition. The activity was intense in a dozen other screening areas.

At the end of the morning, those seeking further information about their health took the time to stop and Talk with a Health Care Provider to discuss the results of their various screenings with a doctor — another totally free medical benefit.

If you failed to make the Pagosa Health Fair, there are 165 sites statewide; the one closest to us will be held in Bayfield, April 24. For more information and for additional sites call (800) 332-3078 or log on to www. 9HealthFair. org.


New lakes aeration units eyed

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A new type of aerator may be used in the future in the waters of Pagosa Lakes, pending an evaluation by Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District.

That information was given the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors April 8, with an indication it could save at least $12,000 a year.

Walt Lukasik, association general manager, said PAWS is researching data on the pumps to see if they're as equitable as it seems on the surface.

If they prove worth testing, Lukasik said, the first test site might be at Stevens Reservoir. If it works there, the next installation could be in Lake Hatcher.

On a separate lakes issue, the board was told there is some question of liability and owner rights in areas near both the golf course and lakes.

The board was told a number of homes have been built in areas where there were previously no trespassing signs.

The question is whether those signs - installed in some cases to protect people from errant golf balls - apply to the new residents themselves.

"Does it mean the property owner can't walk the shoreline of his own tract?" directors were asked. "If they are there and are hit by a golf ball, who's liable? Are we? Is there a trespass issue?" were other questions.

Lukasik told the board the issues are under investigation.

In other action the board:

- heard Lukasik report assessments payments are still lagging, now 500 behind last year, but beginning to pick up in the past couple of weeks

- heard animal control statistics for March indicating 8,580 patrol minutes in association subdivisions with 1,205 miles driven, 12 dogs impounded, 12 dogs returned to owners, nine verbal warnings issued, 29 citizen contacts made and one summons issued

- advised directors Pat Payne, Gerry Smith and Hugh Bundy, whose terms are expiring, they need to file nominating petitions if they intend to seek reelection, and asked them to do so as soon as possible. The newest director, Fred Uehling, was appointed after having filed a petition and need not file a new one if he seeks the seat for an additional year

- heard Lukasik ask for a work session with the board before the next meeting to discuss the subject of trailers and RV parking and a number of other issues where there are no established standards or definitions.


Sites, specifics for May 4 district elections

The following are guidelines for registered voters wishing to participate in the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and Upper San Juan Health Service District elections.

Health district election

The health district election will be a mail-ballot election; ballots were sent to all active registered electors of the district - voters who cast a ballot in at least one of the last two district elections.

Registered electors who haven't cast a ballot since before the 2002 election are considered inactive and are required to go to the district offices in person to request a ballot and cast a vote.

The return address for mail ballots in the health district election will be the Archuleta County Clerk's Office. The clerk's office will not have ballots available for walk-in voters, however, nor will it be a drop-off point for ballots.

Voters who do not receive a mail ballot or who wish to hand deliver their ballot must take their ballot to the health service district offices, 189 N. Pagosa Blvd., by 7 p.m.

PAWS election

Registered voters who reside or own property within the district can obtain and cast ballots May 4 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at the district's designated polling location, Pagosa Fire Protection District Station No. 1, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.

Deadline for voters who wish to receive absentee ballots mailed from the district office is April 27. Voters seeking absentee ballots that do not require mailing have until 4 p.m. April 30 to obtain them from the district office.

Stop by the district office at 100 Lyn Avenue or call 731-2691 for further information.


It is always a good idea to have personal identification ready when participating in an election.

Appropriate forms of voter identification include the following:

- a current, valid Colorado driver's license

- a current, valid Colorado Department of Revenue identification card

- a current, valid U.S. passport

- a current, valid pilot's license with a photograph

- a current, valid U.S. military identification card

- a current valid employee identification card with photograph

- a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other document showing elector's name and address

The county clerk's office will be mailing additional identification information to voters this week.


Lower Blanco bridge danger spurs county action

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Board of Commissioners took actions this week aimed at preventing the loss of road access for several residents of the Lower Blanco Basin.

In summary, Rainbow Bridge, which spans the Lower Blanco River and provides access to County Road 335 for residents of Rio Blanco Valley Subdivision I, is in danger of failing.

The bridge, described Tuesday as "an old rail car," was damaged extensively during a flash flood last fall, and though temporary repairs were made, the structure's lifespan is in question.

The bridge currently serves residents of 30 homes and provides the subdivision's only means for vehicular travel across the river and subsequent access to U.S. 84.

Adding to the urgency of the situation is the fact that plans for the formation of a local improvement district, recommended and supported by the board last fall, have hit an apparent snag on at least two levels.

According to Dick McKee, county public works director, residents' negotiations with a land owner aimed at acquiring necessary easements for reconstruction/relocation of the bridge have proved fruitless.

In addition, initial engineering and surveying are also required; both are responsibilities of the affected property owners, who apparently don't have the financial means available, currently, to cover the expenses.

As a result, after further discussion the board reached a consensus to take preliminary steps to prevent what was described as "a precarious situation" by Commissioner Alden Ecker.

"We fall into a matter of, I guess, health safety and welfare ... we need to do everything we can," said Ecker.

The board then directed Sheryl Rogers, county attorney, to investigate all potential scenarios that could help resolve the issue.

In addition, the commissioners asked that McKee make road and bridge department personnel available for initial engineering and surveying; expenses for the measures will apparently be taken from the fund balances of the Road Capital Improvement Fund and/or Road and Bridge Fund.

Finally, the board requested that Kathy Holthus, assistant county administrator, look further into the possibility of area residents expediting the process of establishing a local improvement district in the near future.

Acknowledging the county's current financial strife, "Ultimately (the residents) have to step forward," said Commissioner Bill Downey. "But we have to act."

Finally, "I think it becomes our responsibility to try to alleviate the situation," concluded Ecker.

In other business this week, the board:

- appointed Mineral County resident Emily Rogers to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission

- agreed to draft a resolution that will aid in changing the name of the county department of social services to the "department of human services"

- scheduled a work session regarding the potential development of business-incentives policies for April 30, 10 a.m.

- approved the final plat for Pargin Condominiums (Lake Pagosa Park )

- approved a joint water waste proclamation and corresponding checklist

- received a detailed quarterly report from individual department heads of the county public works department


Blood draw set April 24

United Blood Services has scheduled a blood draw 9 a.m.-1 p.m. April 24 at First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs 2900 U.S. 160 West. Identification is required for all donors. Donors may sign up at www.unitedbloodservices. org.


Land use decisions workshop planned

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission will host an April 28 work session-roundtable discussion with the board of county commissioners, planning staff and the county attorney's office on rules, roles and responsibilities in undertaking land use decisions.

The 7 p.m. session in the commissioners' meeting room in the county courthouse, will cover general suggestions as to the conduct of meetings and planning staff's presentation of materials, and will include a briefing on general land use law.


Mortgage 'elimination' program believed a scam

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

If it looks to too good to be true, it probably is. And this, probably is.

It's a mortgage elimination program popping up around the country. It's come to Pagosa Springs, and after a month-long investigation, the police department believes it's most likely a scam meant to bilk consumers of their money, if not their homes.

Detective Scott Maxwell, of the Pagosa Springs Police Department, said calls from concerned citizens spurred an investigation into several individuals in the Pagosa Springs area who are involved with these homeowner's clubs.

Maxwell said the investigation, conducted with the assistance of the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, delved into one local organization in particular - Genesis Homeowner's Club (not affiliated in any way with Genesis Mortgage).

Club representatives, possibly as many as 15 operating in Pagosa Springs alone, offer what they claim is a legal tested and guaranteed method of eliminating or "settling" a mortgage in 12 months without raising monthly payments. The membership fee is $2,500, which is nonrefundable after being accepted into the club.

Maxwell said the club claims the ability to provide members access to a mortgage settlement through a suspicious program utilizing, "exclusive access to top international banks," "fractional reserve lending," and an unidentified "charitable trust." Maxwell said the program has hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme, a Prime Bank or high yield investment-type scheme, many of which claim to yield as much as 10 to 100 percent per month.

An article from a United State's Department of Treasury Web site describes an example of such a scheme: Investors are told that since the 1940s banks have engaged in trading programs that yield these incredibly high reserves at little or no risk. However, only a few select traders authorized by the Federal Reserve are allowed to take part in this type of "secret trading pool." Pools of somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million must be made in order to participate, and traders must sign nondisclosure agreements and promise to contribute half of the profits to a charitable cause.

Everything listed in the example above is false, according to the Treasury article. "Nevertheless, thousands of people during the past decade have fallen prey to scams based on similar claims and lost billions of dollars believing they were investing in such mythical trading programs."

Maxwell said the Genesis Homeowner's Club also makes claims similar to those made by organizations which have been found to be operating "mortgage elimination" or "debt elimination schemes," in that they claim to offer a way in which you can legally avoid having to pay off your mortgage debt, for an up-front fee.

As part of the investigation, Maxwell contacted several other agencies, including the FBI, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Secret Service, the Colorado Attorney General's Office and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Several had posted warnings about similar-type schemes or frauds.

An advisory letter relating to debt elimination, put out by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System warns:

"Members of the public are being harmed as borrowers generally pay significant amounts of money without eliminating or reducing their overall debt obligations which of course is not in fact possible through any of these programs. Also, the cessation of legitimate loan payments increases the risk of a foreclosure or other legal action being taken against the borrower, and in addition could negatively affect a borrower's credit rating."

Another warning, this one on the FBI's Web site, reads:

"The perpetrators of these schemes offer to take advantage of loopholes in the system that will eliminate your entire mortgage for an up-front fee. Don't believe it. There are no loopholes."

Another scheme popping up across the country and on the Internet claims to be able eliminate mortgages and debt by filing complicated paperwork. These usually require an up-front fee of $2,000 and $7,500. Many of these schemes involve the presentation of fictitious documents called sight drafts, bond for discharge of debt, bill of exchange, due bill redemption certificate or other similarly titled documents.

Maxwell said neither he nor any of the agencies he spoke with during the course of his investigation were able to find proof of even one mortgage being settled or eliminated through any of these programs. Several of these programs are under investigation or have resulted in indictments or prosecutions.

After attempting to contact local "independent contractors" for the homeowner's club, Maxwell said, he received a call from Rick Cyr, a Genesis Club official in Salt Lake City. Maxwell requested information on anyone who has successfully "settled" a mortgage through the program. So far, he hasn't received that information. The man identifying himself as Cyr also refused to name any of the individual banks reportedly involved in the program.

So far, no victims of these schemes have come forward in Pagosa Springs.

As a result, Maxwell said, no criminal charges against any residents will be pursued at this time.

"I believe those who may be participating in the apparent scheme and even promoting it locally are doing so unwittingly. It is the higher-ups in the program who are reaping the lion's share of the financial gain and often times the independent contractors have to pay significant amounts of money to secure their positions."

Maxwell plans to forward the results of his investigations to federal law enforcement officials for continued investigation and cautions residents to by extremely wary of participating in any scheme that sounds too good to be true.

Local law enforcement personnel encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a mortgage elimination scheme to contact them immediately by calling dispatch at 264-2131 or the Pagosa Springs Police Department, 264-4151.


Recent stories of draft reinstatement called erroneous

The Selective Service System, the federal agency charged with conducting a national draft, and the one which advertises "It's the Law" for men 18 and over to register, has no plans for a new draft because of the situation in Iraq.

The agency's Web site carries the following current message:

"Notwithstanding recent stories in the news media and on the Internet, Selective Service is not getting ready to conduct a draft for the U.S. Armed Forces - either with a special skills or regular draft.

"Rather, the Agency remains prepared to manage a draft if and when the President and the Congress so direct. This responsibility has been ongoing since 1980 and is nothing new.

"Further, both the President and the Secretary of Defense have stated on more than one occasion that there is no need for a draft for the War on Terrorism or any likely contingency, such as Iraq. Additionally, the Congress has not acted on any proposed legislation to reinstate a draft.

"Therefore, Selective Service continues to refine its plans to be prepared as is required by law, and to register young men who are ages 18 through 25."


A 'beyond-the-scope' motion raises red flags

Rep. Larson's Report

Friday was the 101st day of the 120-day session. With only 14 working days remaining, the work load intensifies.

Now we will be monitoring bills in several stages of the process. Most bills that originated in the House are now in the Senate. Accordingly most bills that started in the Senate are now in the House. Even at this late date, bills are still being introduced (so-called "late bills" approved by leadership).

Bills that have cleared both the House and the Senate are either going back to the originating body for consideration of any amendments that were put on in the second house or if unamended, are sent directly to the governor.

Bills that come back to the originating body for approval of amendments must be monitored closely to assess whether the amendments to the bill are acceptable or not. In the House this action is called, "consideration of Senate amendments to House bills."

If a member is not happy with the changes made, he or she can request that a conference committee be formed to try to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions. And if that member feels that changes need to be made to their bill that neither house had considered as it was going through the process, the member will ask that the conference committee be allowed to go beyond the scope of differences between the houses.

This motion is one that always raises red flags for me since a "beyond-the-scope" motion basically means anything can happen to that bill as long as the changes "fit under the title."

In the House of Representatives the majority leader decides when bills will be heard. Some days we will hear bills on second reading and debate them on the floor. Other days we will work on "concurrence" bills and if amendments from the second house are approved, we will readopt the bill and send it to the governor. If not approved, the bill will be sent to a conference committee. Sometimes we work on conference committee reports.

And we will still have third reading (final approval) work as well. It is important to note that once a bill is on the calendar, it can come up for action at any time. This means the members are constantly looking at their calendars to stay up on legislation they are interested in. Due to the uncertainty of when specific bills will be heard (most of the time we have some idea but not always) legislators are spending late night hours reading bills and preparing for debate.

It is a particularly hectic time of the session and the long hours begin wearing on the members. I have to admit I enjoy the spontaneity of the action even though preparation can keep you up very late.

Friday also saw some very interesting votes on bills.

Two bills in particular (banning teachers from serving on school boards and "opt-in" only on certain payroll deductions) were hotly debated on second reading on Thursday. Both passed on a close committee of the whole amendment vote.

That set up the Friday third reading vote. Generally bills that pass second reading the day before also pass on third reading. Judging by the many sidebar discussions that ensued immediately after the vote on these two bills, the sponsors must have miscounted their votes or someone who had committed forgot that commitment or changed their minds without telling them.

I personally was pleased to see these two bills go down in flames on identical 32 "yes"- 33 "no" votes, but the political fallout will be interesting to observe. The final days of session are an action packed adventure.


Arguing for a bill designed to meet state's nursing needs

Sen. Isgar's Report

When I've had to publicly argue for a bill or take a position on an issue, I've found that proving one side right over another can be a matter of sorting through small details and fine distinctions.

Two issues last week, involving a health care bill and the state budget, were good examples of this experience.

Last week, I testified before the Health, Environment, Welfare, and Institutions Committee on HB 1014, which I was carrying as the Senate sponsor.

This bill would allow a certified nurse aide, who met specific prerequisites, to be trained as a medication aide. Although this change in current law would only apply to nursing homes on a voluntary basis, it did raise some concerns that I wanted to address.

Many of the objections to HB 1014 centered on the fear that nurse aides are unqualified to dispense medication, which often carries certain risks. I was careful to listen to these concerns, especially since the patients who would be affected included vulnerable people and the elderly.

However, I was convinced that the bill was sensitive to the arguments raised against it. First, the prerequisites for any Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to be eligible would include six months of work in the same nursing home, along with letters of recommendation from the director of nursing and two charge nurses where the CNA is employed.

Second, any new medication technician would have to complete a training program involving classroom hours, return skills demonstration and clinical experience.

Third, the job of these new technicians would be limited to routine tasks. The medication could only be administered orally, patients would be monitored and everything would be documented.

But more importantly, the bill was designed to relieve Colorado's nursing shortage by freeing more time for nurses to provide direct care for their patients. This idea was what justified changing the law in the first place, and the care the bill took to protect nursing home patients made it workable overall.

As for the state budget, the issue again involved a technical argument that would significantly affect a larger issue for the state.

You may recall past columns in which I discussed the federal flexible funds that were provided to states to assist them with budget difficulties. The controversy over these funds in Colorado began when the governor allocated them without consulting the Legislature.

Arguing on the grounds of our constitutional authority, I've been urging the Legislature to take action, in addition to the pending suit in the courts, and appropriate the $113 million of the federal flexible funds that are still unspent. The issue has not been so much over how the governor allocated the money, but over who has the power to appropriate and spend it.

Appropriating the $113 million, along the lines the governor already laid out, would only require a new bill. But officially making the money part of the state budget is a forceful declaration from the Legislature. Doing so would reaffirm the Legislature's constitutional authority, insure that the money would not be reallocated when we're out of session, and make the money accountable to the same rules applied to all state funds.

My argument on the budget may seem like insider baseball, but there is a larger principle behind the finer points. If the state constitution requires the Legislature to appropriate state funds, then we have a responsibility to keep watch over where the money goes. Moreover, if we ignore our responsibility and don't appropriate the funds, then I believe we've damaged the separation of powers in our state government and lowered the prestige of the legislative branch.

We'll see what happens.

Editor's note: The Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling April 19 stating the Legislature has authority over the governor when it comes to spending federal funds that are not earmarked for a special purpose.

The Legislature has agreed to let this year's spending by Owens stand.


Aid chemo patients with oncology caps

Edelweiss Needlework Chalet is helping area chemotherapy patients by donating hand-knitted hats to the Southwest Oncology Center in Durango.

Interested knitters can purchase the yarn at Edelweiss to make the cap with the provided pattern. The simple pattern is quick to knit with the colorful novelty yarn. Upon returning the finished cap, the shop will provide an equal value credit for the knitter's personal project.

Edelweiss owner Shirley Brinkman says a customer suggested the project. "I thought it was a wonderful idea to help our area chemo patients through a difficult time," Shirley explained.

For more information, call Edelweiss at 264-3233.


Blood draw April 29 at Methodist church

United Blood Services, the community blood center for the Four Corners area, has scheduled an April 29 blood draw in Pagosa Springs.

It will be 1:30-6 p.m. in Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St.

Identification is required for all donors. You may sign up online at www.unitedbloodserices.org.

UBS asks donors to remember patients' lives depend on their generosity.


Event successes prove community center many things to many people

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

A Community Center is many things. 

On a basic level, it is a place for events to happen - family reunions, meetings, conferences, etc. 

More actively it offers the community services it needs, such as the teen center and it brings the community together in spirit to produce and enjoy family fun events. 

In January, the Harlem Ambassadors appearance was just such an occasion and this month, the circus repeated that phenomenon.

Late March - the question: Is the circus coming to town?  First, a venue was needed. Clearly the community center building was not appropriate. 

Matt and Lois Mees and Bill and Eva Dawson stepped forward and offered their field adjacent to Hot Springs Boulevard.  Without a location there would have been no circus.

Then, tickets had to be conveniently available and the event advertised.  Quickly, tickets were everywhere - Bank of Colorado, Bank of the San Juans, Citizens Bank, the Corner Store, the Chamber of Commerce, Shang-hai Restaurant, Shell Station, Vectra Bank, Wells Fargo Bank and the community center.  People at each location took time to sell tickets and thus helped to make the event possible.

And the word got out:  articles in The SUN every week, public service announcements on KWUF and KSUT. Businesses all over town agreed to post posters. And the bell tower message board was utilized.

Finally, tickets had to be bought. At the community center we saw the activity increase as we approached the date and on the 14th we did nothing but sell tickets as our outlets exhausted their supplies.

The community responded in another way:  Every member of the Chamber of Commerce was called early to purchase children's tickets.  Of those who were called, many donated some or all of those tickets back to the center to be distributed appropriately through the help of Barbara Hendricks at Archuleta County Social Services.  The names here are so many that we cannot list them.  But they know they helped bring the circus to many kids who might not otherwise have had the experience.

Thursday, April 15: There were two sellout performances of the circus with a fair share of the proceeds coming to the community center and the parks and recreation department.  These funds will go right back to the community in recreation programs and a brand new portable dance floor for the community center.

A very big thank you is due everyone who made this event possible and for creating the community spirit that made it such a success. 

Hardly recovered from circus fever, the community center prepared for its first Spring Cleaning Rummage Sale last Saturday.  This is one of those useful services that the center offers the community. 

Most households go through the spring ritual of cleaning and getting rid of things; a place inside, out of the wind and weather, where residents can sell these family treasures is a convenience this early in the year. 

And treasures there were - everything from tires and tools to lovely gift baskets. Refreshments were available and people had a chance to chat and get to know each other over coffee and muffins or a light lunch.

The event was a success with everyone agreeing that they would do it again. So the rummage sale will become a yearly event with some changes based on input from the participants.

A community center is many things but, perhaps most importantly, it is a place that fosters the feeling of community in the face of so many things that divide people?


Alcohol abuse topic for Social Action Sunday

The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship explores "Alcohol Abuse and Rehabilitation Programs in Archuleta County" April 25, in its second Social Action Sunday.

Alice Kelley, masters addiction counselor with the Rio Blanco Counseling Center, will cover the steps involved in her substance abuse therapy program, from referral through completion.

This is a statewide program supported by the Department of Colorado Human Services, and it is operated right here in Pagosa Springs.

Kelly is licensed by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division and is also a certified criminal justice specialist. She has over 22 years of experience in the field, and will be happy to answer questions in an open dialogue form following her presentation.

The program will begin at 10:30 a.m. in Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza, located on Greenbriar Drive, off North Pagosa Boulevard. Unit 15 is on the east (back) side of the commercial plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big new sign.

All are welcome.


Kid's carnival at Mary Fisher Saturday

Spring Fest, a kid's carnival for children of all ages will take place 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

The event is planned as part of Week of the Young Child and in conjunction with National Child Abuse Prevention Week.

Lots of fun and games, as well as some serious moments, are planned. There will be fun events like finger painting, a cake walk, lots of games and a sack race, and a serious program about WAC (Whistle Away Crime).

In reading the newspapers and watching television, we are made aware that children are picked up by strangers each and every day. The WAC program addresses this situation. If the message of this day reaches only one child, planners from Upper San Juan Health Service District will consider the WAC presentation worth the effort.

Other activities during Spring Fest will include a chili cookoff for children 6-16. If your child wishes to participate, call Melissa at 264-9014 for more information. The children themselves will judge the contest.

The planning team for Spring Fest includes Amy Hill, Heidi Martinez, Kathy Saley and Neal Dennis.

If you have any questions about events other than the chili cookoff, call Saley at 731-5812, Ext. 107.


Humane Society chocolate auction is set April 29

By Annette Foor

Special to The PREVIEW

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.

Wednesday, April 28, is the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs' annual SunDowner and Chocolate Auction at the Humane Society Thrift Store, 269 Pagosa St.

Come downtown and enjoy an evening of delectable food, beer, wine and assorted beverages, and don't forget the incredible chocolate desserts such as the gourmet chocolate basket, double chocolate silk pie and chocolate freakout cake that are being donated to the auction.

Prizes will be given for the best man's and woman's costume.

All proceeds from this event will benefit the homeless dogs and cats of Archuleta County.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and the cost is $5. Costumes will be provided for this year's theme, which is Toga.

For more information call 264-5549.


Storm stirs memories of fishing 'private' ponds with old 'friend' Eddie

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

While driving past Lake Forest a couple of weeks ago, I glanced over the open water with hope of spotting the resident swans, some Canada geese or, perhaps, a few ducks, teal, or other waterfowl that inhabit the Pagosa Lakes area.

At the same time, the sky above was dark with swirling cumulous, and sharp northerly gusts were kicking up whitecaps out beyond the nearby cove.

I pulled over to observe the impending spring storm, and immediately caught sight of what appeared to be a large trout as it rolled in the more placid shallows just off shore. As I watched for another rise, a blinding flash of lightening, with a loud clap of thunder, brought torrential rain and pea-sized hail to the scene.

I didn't see any water birds, and the fish never rose again, but the entire setting reminded me of a time when my so-called friend, Eddie, invited me to fish some private water for large cutthroats. Several years have since passed, but it too was a stormy spring day, and one I probably won't forget.

Eddie and I used to guide together, but he was more like one of those friends everyone seems to have, but nobody really needs. Tall and somewhat lanky, he was nice enough and largely well-meaning, but lacked good judgment, and I always felt barely a step ahead of trouble whenever we were together. As I sat looking over Lake Forest the other day, I wondered if Eddie had ever ended up in jail.

The day he invited me to fish, I was living in Vail. It was a Saturday in May, and halfway through my first cup of coffee, the early morning silence suddenly shattered with a blustering ring of the phone. It was Eddie.

"You awake?" he asked.

My roommate was still sleeping, so I whispered, "yea, what's up?"

"Wanna fish some private ponds for big cutthroats?"

"Well, ah, sure." I said. "Where?"

"Never mind," he replied. "I'll pick you up in half an hour."

When Eddie arrived, we threw my gear behind the seat of his old pickup, and drove 30 minutes west to a winding gravel road leading north onto the Flattops and into the forest. On the way, curiosity was killing me, so I prodded him for more information.

"So, where are these private ponds?" I asked.

"They're on a ranch that's listed for sale," he explained. "I guess it used to be an old hatchery."

"Well, how did you get permission to fish there?"

"I know a guy who's a real estate agent, and when I told him I had a couple of clients who might be interested in investing in some land with good trout fishing, he told me about it. It's way up this road and inside a locked gate, but I have a key."

It was another half an hour before Eddie abruptly slowed, and cautiously nosed his truck up to an old rickety gate next to a towering Ponderosa pine. A rusty padlock hung from a chain, which held the gate securely to a stout cedar post in a barbed-wire fence. A for sale sign hung precariously from the top strand, next to the post.

"Here, see if it works," Eddie said, handing me a well-worn key.

One easy turn and the lock popped open, convincing us that we were in the right place.

Finding the gate was encouraging, but the real estate company tag hanging from the key ring was perhaps more reassuring. It persuaded me that Eddie really did have permission to fish the ponds. With him, you can never be sure.

The property is roughly 9,000 feet in elevation. It gradually slopes to the west a quarter of a mile, then drops sharply into a deep canyon with a narrow freestone stream at the bottom. Near the fence at the top, the forest is a mix of Ponderosa pine, aspen, and Gamble oak, but in the canyon, and along the creek, the trees are all gigantic spruce and fir.

Three spring-fed ponds sit on the slope just above the canyon rim, and a primitive two-track road leads to them and the remains of two small cabins, abandoned for more than 50 years. Stopping short of a nasty mud bog, we parked between the cabins and the first pond.

By the time we were rigged and ready to fish, it was already late morning. A few large cumulous had quickly gathered, suggesting a threat of afternoon thunderstorms. With the two-track road barely passable in dry weather, we figured on a few hours fishing at best.

Ponds are more productive in the lower light of early or late day, so we decided to try the stream first. Eddie's friend mentioned that four species of trout were there, and a light cane rod, with a short leader and any dry fly, would do the trick.

He was right.

We took turns roll-casting to every tiny pool, and after roughly two hours, each of us had landed and released nearly 20 wild and colorful small-stream trout. Most were 10 or 11 inches in length, and the majority were rainbows and browns. While a few red-bellied brookies came to the net, the native cutthroats appeared absent.

With clouds building fast, and thunder rumbling over the valley, we quickly ascended the hill toward the ponds and some big cuts. The sun was still out, but the temperature was falling, and the western sky had turned cobalt blue.

We looked at the lower pond first, but it was shallow and choked with thick reeds. Casting a fly to it seemed all but impossible. The middle one was small and shallow at the banks, but appeared deeper in the center. It too, was weedy around the edges, and offered few signs of resident trout.

The upper pond was the biggest and obviously the one to fish. Open water was within easy reach, and casting was a cinch from its high western berm. An occasional rise ring suggested good-sized trout, and I found myself wishing I had a belly boat.

Another resounding roll of thunder had us quickly casting to the center of the tarn. Eddie started with some sort of streamer, and I tossed a size-14 Light Cahill. Within minutes, I was into a brightly-colored and reasonably large cutthroat, prompting my companion to switch to an Adams.

At once, a cold and blustery gust swept over the pond, as the ominous sky darkened overhead. A few large raindrops pelted my hat, and I thought it time to give in.

But, just as I started reeling in line, I noticed the movement of a huge fish cruising the shallows just off shore. With one more cast, I dropped the Cahill two feet in front of him, momentarily attracting his attention. As he apparently lost interest and slowly turned away, I gave the fly a little twitch. The big cut turned again, and in what seemed like slow motion, softly sipped in my offering.

A steady rain settled in as I battled the fish to the bank. Eddie ran over with his net in hand, and following the release, 22 inches of red and yellow splendor flipped off toward the depths of the pond.

I hated to leave, but the weather had gotten serious, and Eddie suddenly seemed eager to go. In fact, he drove us to the gate as quickly as the rough road allowed, breathing a huge sigh of relief as he pulled the truck through.

"What's the matter, man," I asked. "You disappointed that you didn't get anything out of the pond?"

"Oh no," he said. "Watching you with that big one was good enough for me."

"Well, what then?" I continued. "Didn't you think we'd make it over that road?"

"No ," he said. "I just need to get back to town before my friend realizes this key is missing."


DOW annual report on Web site

The Colorado Division of Wildlife's (DOW) 2003 annual report is now available at DOW offices and on the Internet at wildlife.state.co.us/AnnualReport/2003/report.pdf.

A copy of the report is also printed in the March-April issue of Colorado Outdoors.

"The annual report is an important tool for us," said Bruce McCloskey, acting director for the DOW. "It allows the DOW to demonstrate to our constituents what we have accomplished with regard to protecting and enhancing the state's wildlife. We are proud of what we accomplished in 2003 and are pleased that we have the opportunity to inform people about the DOW's important mission."

In 2002, the Colorado Wildlife Commission approved a five-year strategic plan that organizes agency goals into four main categories: hunting, fishing, species conservation and wildlife stewardship.

The annual report for 2003 covers activities in support of goals in each of those categories. The report also contains the DOW's annual financial statement.


Learn map, compass techniques in SJMA orienteering class

The San Juan Mountains Association is offering an introductioin to orienteering class.

It will cover basic map and compass techniques and will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 28 and 29 in the Public Lands Center in Durango.

A field day in conjunction with the class will be 9 a.m.-noon May 1 at a site yet to be determined.

To register or for more information, call Nicole Smith, 385-1210.


PLPOA will host noxious weed workshop Wednesday

The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association will sponsor a public meeting April 28 concerning noxious weeds and the West Nile Virus.

The time will be 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse in Vista. It is open to anyone interested.

The first half will be dedicated to a discussion on noxious weeds including identification and control and the implications of noxious weeds for Colorado and the west.

Noxious weeds are non-native or introduced plants that have been determined to be a serious threat to the native ecosystems of the state. They are typically very aggressive and difficult to control. They include such plants as musk and Canada thistle, knapweeds and leafy spurge as well as a number of others.

Frank Ratliff, the Archuleta County Weed and Pest Department supervisor, and Larry Lynch, PLPOA Department of Property and Environment manager, will present a slide show concerning the various noxious weeds that affect us here in Pagosa Lakes and Archuleta County and will also discuss ways that homeowners can control these weeds on their property.

Ratliff will make a short presentation and identification session on poisonous plants in the county. This may be of particular interest to those people who own livestock.

The second half of the meeting will be dedicated to a discussion of West Nile Virus and the implications for Archuleta County.

Joe Fowler, regional epidemiologist with San Juan Basin Health Department, will make a presentation on the mosquito that carries the virus, it's characteristics and habitat and steps that you can take to protect your family from West Nile Virus this year.

This should be a very informative meeting and anyone is welcome. If you have any questions please feel free to call Lynch at the PLPOA Administration office at 731-5635.


Navajo Lake opens for new boating season

Navajo State Park is now open for boating. The reservoir has risen 16 feet in the last month, and the boat ramp is operational.

"The lake is four feet higher than it was at this same time last year. The snowpack is also much better, and it is looking like we are going to have enough water for folks to play on all summer," said John Weiss, Navajo State Park manager.

On April 13, the United Stated Bureau of Reclamation announced that the most probable scenario is that the lake will rise another 24 feet to an elevation of 6,036 surface acres and then drop to 6,028 surface acres by the end of the summer. This forecast is based on current snowpack, weather predictions, irrigation demands and endangered fish needs.

"The lake dropped to an elevation of 5,995 surface acres last season. Even the minimum probable prediction shows the lake with much more water than last year," said Weiss.

Park staff is asking visitors to be prepared for unpredictable weather, cool nights and cold water. Boaters need to make sure their vessel is ready to go mechanically, has the proper safety equipment on board, and is registered. Boat registrations can be obtained at Navajo State Park or online at www.parks.state.co.us.

For more information, contact the park at (970) 883-2208.


It's bear time again; here's tips for dealing with them

Colorado's black bears are already awake from their winter slumbers and are beginning their search for food to fill bellies that have been empty since last fall.

Spring is a crucial time for people to avoid attracting bears since the habits they pick up in April will stick with them through October.

Keep trash, pet food, livestock feed, bird seed and other attractants away from bears. If bears don't find "people" food, they'll return to the natural forage they evolved with.

Intentionally feeding bears is both unethical and illegal and raises the risk of encounters between people and bears.

Black bears will continue to look for food throughout October and early November as they prepare for hibernation. Please avoid leaving food, trash and other attractants anywhere bears can locate them.

Colorado has been home to bears since their earliest ancestors evolved in North America. These large, powerful animals play an important role in the ecosystem.  Today, increasing numbers of people routinely live and play in bear country, resulting in more bear/human encounters.

For many people, seeing a bear is rare and the highlight of an outdoor experience. Learning about bears and being aware of their habits will help you fully appreciate these unique animals and the habitat in which they live.

Black bears at a glance

Black bears are the most common and generally the smallest of North American bears. Others include the grizzly/brown and the polar bear.

Today, only the black bear is known to exist in Colorado. Although it is not known exactly how many black bears live in Colorado, population estimates range from 8,000 to 12,000 bears. A black bear may live 20 years in the wild, although very few do, and up to 25-30 years in captivity.

Black bears are very agile, can run in bursts up to 35 mph and can run up or down hills quickly and easily. Their short, curved claws help them to climb trees. Black bears are strong swimmers.

Threats to black bears include accidents, disease, motor vehicles and starvation. Natural enemies include other bears and mountain lions. Humans are responsible for the deaths of most black bears through loss of habitat, feeding, illegal killing, destruction of bears that pose a threat to people or livestock and property.

Prior to 1935, there was unlimited hunting of black bears. The designation of bears as game animals in 1935 provided for their management and protection.  

Current hunting regulations protect cubs and females with cubs, and prohibit the use of dogs and baiting.

Physical appearance

Ursus americanus, meaning "American black bear" is the bear's scientific name. Despite the common name, black bear, they aren't always black. They may be honey-colored, blond, brown or black. They may have a tan muzzle or a white spot on their chest. Most Colorado black bears are some shade of brown, and they sometimes appear cinnamon-colored, leading some people to mistake them for grizzly bears.

A black bear's body appears heavy and is supported by short, powerful legs. The highest point of a black bear is the lower-middle of its back. There is no prominent shoulder hump as there is on the larger grizzly bear.

Black bears vary in size and weight, with males generally being larger than females. Adult males average 275 pounds while the adult female may average 175 pounds. Depending on the season, food supply and gender, they may weigh anywhere from 125 to 450 pounds. Black bears measure about 3 feet high when on all 4 feet or about 5 feet tall standing upright.

Signs and sounds

Black bear tracks are very distinctive - the hind footprint resembles that of a human. All bears have five toes, with the front foot short and about 4-5 inches wide. The hind foot is long and narrow, measuring about 7 inches. Claw marks may or may not be visible.

Bears use trails just as people do since it's easier to travel on a trail than through underbrush. Being aware of tracks, droppings and other bear signs (claw marks on trees, rotten logs ripped apart and hair on tree bark from rubbing), will allow you to determine better the presence of bears.

It's easy to recognize a black bear's sizable droppings of plant leaves, partly digested berries, seeds or animal hair.

Black bears are solitary. They don't associate with other bears except sows with cubs or during breeding. Bears may gather at a place with abundant food - for feeding.

Bears are intelligent and curious. They can see colors, form and movement. Although their vision is good, they generally rely on their acute senses of smell and hearing to locate food and warn them of danger.

Adult black bears make a variety of sounds. However, the most commonly heard sounds are woofing and jaw-popping. The young ones whimper or bawl.


Black bears have long been viewed as forest dwelling animals. However, an unbroken expanse of forest doesn't provide enough food for black bears. They need berry patches and stream bottoms to satisfy their appetites for plants and insects.

In Colorado, the largest black bear populations are found in areas dominated by Gambel's oak and aspen near open areas of chokecherry and serviceberry bushes.

Every bear has a home range where it finds all it needs. It travels to different areas of its home range as snow recedes, plants sprout and berries ripen.

In general, black bears may range from 10 to 250 square miles. Adult males occupy the largest areas, while females usually establish their home range close to their mothers'.

Hunting, feeding habits

Bears may be active anytime, day or night, most often during morning and evening twilight. When not feeding or looking for food, they rest in day beds - next to a log in a windfall, in dense brush or in a depression.

Black bears are omnivores - they eat both plants and animals. About 90 percent of a bear's diet is made up of nutritious plants, while about 10 percent of its diet consists of animals.

Bears will eat broad-leafed flowering plants, berries, nuts, insects, carrion (dead animal carcasses) and grasses. 

In late summer, black bears are trying to fatten up for winter hibernation. During this period, they may be actively feeding for up to 20 hours per day and may ingest 20,000 calories daily.

Bears and winter

Since little food is available during winter, bears would have difficulty surviving if they remained active, so they hibernate. In Colorado, female bears enter their dens in late October and males in early November.

Black bears commonly den in rock caverns, excavated holes beneath shrubs or trees, in hollow logs or rotten trees and in brush thickets. Rock caverns are the most common kind of den in western Colorado.

A hibernating bear's heart rate and breathing slow, and its body temperature drops 4-12 F. During this time, bears do not eat, drink or eliminate body wastes. They maintain their energy levels and water balance by using stored fat.

When bears leave the den, snow may still be on the ground, but green-up has usually begun at lower elevations. Many bears will move to lower areas in spring. Also, it's a couple weeks before the bear's digestive system becomes active. During this critical period, the bear must rely on the remaining stored fat.

Mating and breeding

In Colorado, male bears are capable of breeding at 3 years of age. A few female bears may have cubs at 3 or 4 years, although 5 years is more common.

Bears mate in early summer, but development of the fertilized egg is delayed until November. If the female enters the den in poor condition, it is believed she will reabsorb the fertilized egg rather than continue development of a fetus.

The female bear generally does not breed again while her cubs are with her.

Birth to maturity

After a 2-3 month gestation period, one to three (usually two) tiny cubs are born in midwinter. They are blind, toothless and covered with very fine hair at birth.

Nurtured with their mother's rich milk, they grow from less than a pound at birth to an average of 10-20 pounds by the time they all emerge from the den in mid-May.

Care of the cubs rests solely with the female. The cubs watch their mother and learn by mimicking her. Most black bear cubs stay with their mother for a year. The young may climb trees for protection or when they are threatened.

By the time the black bear cubs' second spring arrives, they have become more self-reliant. Littermates may stay together through the summer and perhaps even den together. Cubs will usually not reunite with their mother. Some cubs separate from their mother in their first autumn and become independent.

Living in bear country

If you choose to live, or have a summer home, in bear country, make sure you don't contribute to resident bears becoming "garbage" bears. Most conflicts between bears and people are linked to careless handling of food or garbage. Don't let your carelessness cause the unnecessary death of a bear.

Learn to live responsibly with wildlife!

Black bears eat almost anything. They will eat human food, garbage, hummingbird food, and pet and livestock food when available. Once a bear has found the easily accessible, consistent food source that human settlements can offer, it may overcome its wariness of people and visit regularly, increasing the chance of a human/bear encounter. You and your neighbors can make a difference. Your actions may prevent the unnecessary death of a bear:

- make your property safe by keeping garbage out of reach and smell of bears. Use bear-proof trash containers. Be sure garbage cans are emptied regularly. Periodically clean garbage cans to reduce residual odor - using hot water and chlorine bleach or by burning. Store trash in a bear proof enclosure. Contact the Division of Wildlife for designs

- if you have pets, do not store their food or feed them outside. Clean your BBQ grill of grease and store inside. Hang bird seed, suet and hummingbird feeders on a wire between trees instead of on your deck or porch. Bring all bird feeders in at night. Do not put fruit, melon rinds and other tasty items in mulch or compost piles

- as you might guess, beehives attract bears. You can protect your bees, honey and equipment if you surround the hives with fences designed to keep bears out. Contact the Division of Wildlife for designs

- most bears sighted in residential areas within bear habitat do not cause any damage. If a bear doesn't find abundant food, it will move on.

Camping, hiking tips

Although black bears are generally shy and avoid human contacts, there are some precautions you can take to avoid encounters if you camp and hike in bear country.  You are responsible for doing all you can to prevent conflicts with bears. If a bear gets food from you, it's likely to behave more aggressively toward the next people it meets. Don't reward a bear for associating with people.


- keep your camp clean. Store food and garbage properly at all times. Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food. Burn all grease off grills and camp stoves. Wipe table and clean up eating area thoroughly

- store your food safely. Store all your food and coolers in your car trunk or suspended from a tree - at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet out from the tree trunk. Don't underestimate the ingenuity of a bear! Vehicles are not bear proof

- dispose of garbage properly. Put it in bear-proof garbage cans where available or secure it with your food and then pack it out. Don't burn or bury garbage. Bears will dig it up

- sleep well away from food areas. Move some distance away from your cooking area or food storage site

- store any toiletries safely. Store them with your food - the smell of toiletries may attract bears. Abstain from sexual activity. Practice good personal hygiene.


- enjoy the woods. Hiking at dawn or dusk may increase your chances of meeting a bear. Use extra caution in places where hearing or visibility is limited: in brushy areas, near streams, where trails round a bend or on windy days. Avoid berry patches in fall. Reduce your chances of surprising a bear by making noise - talk or sing

- make sure children are close to you or at least within your sight at all times. Leave your dog at home or have it on a leash.

If you meet a bear

There are no definite rules about what to do if you meet a bear. In almost all cases, the bear will detect you first and will leave the area. Bear attacks are rare compared to the number of close encounters. However, if you do meet a bear before it has had time to leave an area, here are some suggestions:

- remember: Every situation is different with respect to the bear, the terrain, the people and their activity

- stay calm. If you see a bear and it hasn't seen you, calmly leave the area. As you move away, talk aloud to let the bear discover your presence

- stop. Back away slowly while facing the bear. Avoid direct eye contact as bears may perceive this as a threat. Give the bear plenty of room to escape. Wild bears rarely attack people unless they feel threatened or provoked

- if on a trail, step off the trail on the downhill side and slowly leave the area. Don't run or make any sudden movements. Running is likely to prompt the bear to give chase and you can't outrun a bear. Do not attempt climbing trees to escape black bears. This may stimulate the bear to follow and pull you out by the foot. Stand your ground

- speak softly. This may reassure the bear that no harm is meant to it. Try not to show fear

- in contrast to grizzly bears, female black bears do not normally defend their cubs aggressively; but send them up trees. However, use extra caution if you encounter a female black bear with cubs. Move away from the cub; be on the lookout for other cubs

- bears use all their senses to try to identify what you are.  Remember: Their eyesight is good and their sense of smell is acute. If a bear stands upright or moves closer, it may be trying to detect smells in the air. This isn't a sign of aggression. Once it identifies you, it may leave the area or try to intimidate you by charging to within a few feet before it withdraws

- fight back if a black bear attacks you. Black bears have been driven away when people have fought back with rocks, sticks, binoculars and even their bare hands.

Who do you call?

If you have a potentially life-threatening situation with a black bear or if an injury occurs, please contact the Division of Wildlife, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday contacting them locally through Archuleta County Sheriff's dispatch - 264-2131. After hours, contact the Colorado State Patrol or the sheriff's department. To report property damage, please contact the Division during normal business hours at:

Central Regional Office

6060 Broadway

Denver, CO 80216

(303)291-7227 or 297-1192

For the most part, people and wildlife can coexist. Living with wildlife is an enjoyable part of being a resident of Colorado. The key to coexisting is to respect wildlife and its habitat.


Wildfire mitigation tours set for local residents

Want to see the results of project work in Archuleta County to lower wildfire risk around our property and homes? Come join our local fire officials in tours to sites where vegetation has been thinned specifically to protect homes during wildfire emergencies.

Join Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Warren Grams Saturday at 10 a.m. for a driving tour to a site where this wildfire mitigation work has been completed and to an untreated site nearby. Meet at the main fire station at 191 North Pagosa Blvd.

The same day, a tour will be conducted in the Chimney Rock area by Bureau of Indian Affairs-Southern Ute Agency Fire Management Officer Jim Sheperdson. This tour will include the most-recent hazard reduction project in the county in the middle of an area where two wildfires burned last summer. Meet at 1 p.m. in the parking area of the Chimney Rock Restaurant.

April is Colorado Wildfire Prevention and Education Month. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come out and see what can be done to help protect our homes and property for the future. Sign up for the tours by April 23 by calling Tom Ferrell at 731-4248.


Great concern

During an interview on the local radio station April 17, Mr. Silver intimated the motivation for the candidacy of the Progressive Healthcare Coalition might be for financial gain.

Of course the one most likely to be targeted by this statement would be Dr. Pruitt.

For anyone who might be concerned by this I would like to relieve their mind and give them assurance. In the last 25 years I have enjoyed a relationship with Dr. Pruitt in a variety of capacities - as employer, as employee, as colleague, as patient and as a friend. I do not think we will find anyone with greater concern for the community at large or for the future of the health care system.

If there is an integration of services there will be financial consequences but I feel this will be faced with expertise, experience and integrity and accountability.

Perry Ball

Kerry's votes

Dear Editor:

John Kerry's voting record speaks for itself in regard to terrorism. It is Kerry who has consistently voted down defense spending. This issue, philosophically, brings great joy to liberals for their hatred of the military.

Bill Clinton cut military spending and strength in half during his administration with the help of Sen. Kerry. They both castrated the intelligence community during the '90s. Our nation's lack of courage and resolve for the past 20 years allowed Osama bin Laden and others to believe we were too weak to stand against terrorism.

Starting with the bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut under Reagan's watch and ending with the disgraceful retreat from Somalia under the Clinton presidency, our nation has been has been at war with radical Islamic, anti-Christian and anti-Jewish philosophy.

National defense and the defense of our friends and allies, is an issue that constitutionalists understand is one of the few, and yet most important items our great founding document allows us, as citizens of this Republic, to be taxed for.

Almost all the weapon systems that brought us a quick victory in Desert Storm and the more recent hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, were voted against by Sen. Kerry. Starting when he took office, Kerry opposed the B-1 and B-2 stealth bomber, Apache attack helicopter, Patriot missile, F-15 jet, F-14A and F-14D jets, AV-8B Harrier Jet, the Aegis Air Defense Cruiser and the Trident Missile system. Kerry also was in favor of cutting back the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley Fighting vehicle, the Tomahawk Cruise missile and the F-16 .

Kerry's voting record is the most liberal of all his fellow Senators. No wonder our enemies are pulling for Kerry's victory. The Dems continue to give aid and comfort to our enemies with diversionary tactics on our own public during our time of war. Be sure the terrorist will try to manipulate this election in favor of the anti-war, pro-U.N. globalist Kerry.

Finally, let us hope the Dems won't again try to stop the military's absentee ballots in Florida from being counted this election. As we are at war, our young men and woman in the service of our country, more than ever, need to be heard. That's something more to think about come November.

William Bennett

Sense of loss

Dear Editor:

I've been involved in USJHD politics since there were only a few of us citizens in attendance, but I've held off writing to this forum.

The recent ad placed by The Committee for Rebirth, stating it is all about the money, has provoked a deep sense of loss for the dedicated service of many who either were "let go" by current management, or left when they could no longer stand being treated in such a manner.

The best asset of almost any organization is its people. Can anyone tell me exactly how many people have left USJHD in each year?

Don't get me wrong; financial fiscal responsibility is important, but the management style of an organization needs to be proactive team building, with a true open-door policy. This includes people being given the opportunity for input in making improvements in the workplace, and in the delivery of quality medical care for its customers, the citizens or guests in this great community.

Whoever is elected to the USJHD board needs to strive for healing, and to rebuild an atmosphere of cooperation, by building an honest open forum so we stop bickering and get back on track and focus on the goals and objectives of the current and future mission statement for USJHD.

Michael A. Blum

Girl Scouts

Dear Editor :

Today marks a special day in Girl Scouting. April 22 is Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day. This is a special day when Girl Scouts, families, and communities thank their Girl Scout leaders for everything they do to help young girls grow strong.

Without these dedicated volunteers, Girl Scouting would not be possible in our communities.

These individuals take time from their busy schedules to help organizations succeed. Our non-profit organization, Girl Scouts of Chaparral Council, Inc. has more than 2,600 adult volunteers. If our organization is an example, imagine how many volunteers we have throughout our state.

Volunteers help shape young children's futures. Volunteers help in libraries, museums, schools, zoos, gardens, churches, food banks, shelters, hospitals, and humane societies. These individuals have hearts that keep giving to others, helping improve lives around them.

Girl Scouts is a volunteer-based organization that helps deliver the Girl Scout program to every girl, everywhere. Every Girl Scout volunteer helps shape a young girl's life.

Girl Scout volunteers and the volunteers in many organizations across the state donate their time to help others. These individuals ask for no payment, just the reward of helping others and making a difference in our communities. This is the greatest gift anyone can give.

Girl Scouts of Chaparral Council thanks not only our Girl Scout leaders, but also everyone who volunteers their time across our great state. Your gift is truly appreciated and you genuinely help make a difference in the lives around you. Thank you for everything you do!


Nancy Bryant

Chief executive officer

Girl Scouts of Chaparral Council


Dear Editor:

As human beings we are always acting on an imperfect understanding of incomplete information. Mistakes are inevitable. The wise person recognizes, analyzes and learns from them.

In his recent news conference, President Bush was asked what mistakes he made relating to the Iraq war. He responded that he could think of none. I hope he was prevaricating. After all, what is more dangerous than a man in a position of great power who cannot recognize his own mistakes?

Jim Buslepp

Input needed

Dear Editor:

Maybe some folks remember the Archuleta County Community Plan process that took place a couple of years ago. Now we are about to have implementation of the land use regulations part of that plan.

The Community Plan is only a plan, not regulations. The regulations are now in the process of being developed and it is very important that all interested citizens give their input. If you want to have your say concerning what private property rights you think need to be preserved, or what aspects of the community environment should be preserved, you need to give your input now.

As a member of the Citizens Task Force, which has been working on a system of new land use regulations (zoning), I want to invite you to come to the public meetings that will be held the second and third weeks in May. Look for ads in The SUN a couple of weeks before the meetings to give you information about them as well as where and when they will be held.

All participants will be provided a survey/questionnaire to fill out to assist in determining planning districts and to help with assigning priorities to various aspects of the regulations. These questionnaires may also be picked up at the county planning office May 11-21, but to receive the full explanation of what this is all about, it would be best if you come to one of the meetings.

The Citizens Task Force has worked very hard to develop a system (a composite of several zoning systems) which we believe will be of benefit to all citizens on the county. We need your input to take the next step and start developing the details. I hope to see you at one of the meetings in May.

Ron Chacey


Dear Editor:

Regarding the issue of Oriental customs, as discussed in a couple of recent letters, if the Arabs should ever like to see a President John Kerry kowtow, they would have to get in line behind France, Germany, Russia and the UN.

Kerry would like us to believe that nothing valid happens in this world without the help and approval of these so-called allies who were, in fact, the primary supporters and beneficiaries of Saddam's illegal weapons deals and the corrupt UN-run Oil for Food Program. But Kerry says we should turn the entire Iraq operation over to the UN - the same UN that cut and ran less than a year ago at the first sign of trouble. Is he really dim enough to believe that these friends of Saddam are the solution to this conflict? Of course not, but he hopes we are.

To support his credentials in this area, Kerry likes to invoke his status as a war hero. Maybe he once was, but he is no hero today. Kerry is a man who performed heroic acts over 30 years ago and, by word and deed, has spent the rest of his life repudiating those acts.

By reputation, he is an unprincipled political opportunist, and his continual flip-flopping and fence straddling regarding nearly every issue - taxes, the war, the Patriot Act, gun control, gay marriage - supports that view.

In the 1970s, Kerry's slander of his fellow soldiers and the war effort in general approached sedition and he's not far from it today. He might make a good president, just not of the United States.

N. G. Constan

Alaskan thanks

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank the Pirates' girls soccer team for the many thoughtful letters we received thanking my wife and me for helping out with their trip to Alaska to participate in the Spring Fever Soccer Tournament.

They were an enthusiastic and energetic group of young women and a pleasure to have here in Juneau. I personally find it encouraging and rewarding to meet such a talented group of high school students who are willing to put time and effort into accomplishing worthwhile goals whether it be in sports, academics or the arts.

In your girls' soccer team you have a group of young women who were wonderful ambassadors for the community of Pagosa Springs and you have much to be proud of in each and every one of them. To the girls, thanks for a thoroughly entertaining weekend and good luck on the rest of your season.

Jim Dorn

Juneau, Alaska

Sheltered - alone

Dear Editor:

This letter concerns one particular situation in Pagosa but I am sure that there is more than one home that fits this description in Pagosa. Maybe if you see your situation in print and see that it bothers other people you might change the situation.

I have lived here for four years and every day on my drive to work I have seen the same two dogs tied up in the same place. These dogs have shelter, they have food but I have driven by them almost every day at all hours of the day and night and they never move. They never get taken for walks, they never get to run free, they just sit there day after day, week after week and watch the world go by. If they were people living like this we would call them convicts who have committed some crime that they are paying for.

As far as I can tell the only crimes these dogs could be guilty of is being cute when they were puppies. They are cute and fun when they are puppies but now that they are grown up they can be tied in the yard and forgotten. What's even worse and what prompted this letter now is that a few weeks ago they got a third dog. Again, this dog has a house, it apparently has food but this poor dog can't even reach the other two, so he is more isolated than the first two.

Legally, these dogs are "well taken care of" so there is nothing that can be done by animal control - but morally and ethically?

If these are your dogs, go play with them, take them for a walk, or even find them a new home where the dogs might get to do something other than watch the world go by.

Imagine if that were you.

Pets are a lifetime responsibility.

John Eustis

We could do better

Dear Editor:

Gas prices at the pumps are jumping. The price squeeze by OPEC's crude producers in the Middle East is a not-so-subtle reminder of who's got the oil, and the opposition of the 22-member Arab League to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Major religious groups in Iraq gave up competition for control and joined forces. Their leaders are religious leaders. Acting against them and their followers' positions the U.S. as an adversary in a Religious War, just justifying jihad. Well, Rats!

Iran (one of three nations in the 'Axis of Evil') quit talks with the U.S. about its nuclear capabilities, and stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, saying the talks are "going nowhere." Iran is known to harbor Hezbollah, a terrorist organization whose avowed aim is to kill Jews and destroy Israel.

Our "road map" for peace between Palestine and Israel took a new direction as Israel announced unilateral terms for peace with Palestine with our president's personal endorsement. Israel then assassinated the leader of the terrorist group, Hamas, and Hamas promised to take 100 Israeli lives in retribution.

Troops in Iraq were notified of another extension of their terms of service. Morale is sharply down among about 70 percent of them, a survey showed. Rumsfeld acknowledged that we may need reinforcements. Paul Bremer now says we cannot hand over security to Iraqi forces on June 30; they're not up to it.

All the world was invited to see evidence of the shabby state of our intelligence capabilities on television. More embarrassing was the revelation that no one was finally responsible for evaluating what evidence there was prior to 9/11, distinguishing between threats posed by bin Laden and by Saddam Hussein, and making decisions on what action or actions to take. The buck that never stopped is still floating around out there.

As casualties mounted, Russia announced it's pulling out of Iraq. Osama (no doubt congratulating himself for the regime change in Spain) broadcast a deal to other nations: Get out of Iraq and we won't kill your civilians.

Bob Woodward, the journalist whose reporting on Watergate led to Nixon's resignation, is bringing out a new book about preparations for the Iraq war. Interviewed on 60 Minutes, he said, if I understood him correctly, that our president diverted funds authorized by Congress for the Afghanistan conflict to preparations for the Iraq invasion. A violation of the Constitution, he noted.

If Osama bin Laden was asking, "What more could I ask for?," I might ask the same. We could do better, it seems to me.

Michael J. Greene

Jackson backer

Dear Editor:

I've been an R.N. for 30 years and over that time period had numerous bosses who ran the gamut from terrific to awful. Therefore, I feel qualified to write the following.

It's been a year since I began working at Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. During that time, I've never had any problems with Dee Jackson. She's bright, brave and passionately committed to providing top-notch health care for this community. She's an excellent listener, a strong encourager, and not afraid of being transparent and admitting it when she's wrong. She delegates well but will provide appropriate assistance when required.

One day last summer we had nine emergency patients at one time in urgent care (seven from one accident). Dee cleaned gurneys, ran errands, got food for everyone and generally made herself available for any task. It's been over 25 years since I've had a boss who'd work like that.

For any Pagosan who wants a strong public health presence here, I urge you to vote for the candidates who support Dee Jackson.

Alana Hoeben

Ad data incorrect

Dear Editor:

Once again I find my name in print in your newspaper - last week in an ad by Debra Brown where, as usual, the information is incorrect. I would like to take this time to correct it

1. I am not a candidate for the board! Comments and efforts would be better directed toward issues and ideas and improving the health care district.

2. In contradiction to her statement, Ms. Brown and I never attended a political action committee together. I have no idea how she came up with this, but I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that perhaps she does not know what a PAC is; and is just mistaken.

3. I also do not understand where Ms. Brown got the idea that "the Mary Fisher Clinic and the building would be given to private corporation physicians ..." - whatever that is - sounds like a redundancy to me. The district, in my opinion, would be remiss in giving any of its assets away. Also, I doubt that legally it could if it wished to. So why this issue was raised, I have no idea.

4. Ms. Brown seems fixated on my old Six-Point Plan. It was a transition plan of over a year ago to help the old board get out of the mess it had created, calm down public anger and keep some of our community providers in Pagosa. This plan was initially approved and then abandoned as the board continued in flux until finally there was no longer a need for a transition. But regardless, why would a six-month "subsidization" of local physicians be worse than the present permanent "subsidization" of two Mary Fisher Clinic physicians presently paid by the board?

5. As to the comment of "Now let's go back in history....", I would say, "No let's don't." Instead let's go forward. The history of the district is for historians at this point. Instead, lets look forward, be creative and inclusive. Let's quit blaming others and start solving problems.

6. If the present board would spend more time on building trust and a coalition with the public and local doctors instead of researching old minutes for contradictions and innuendo, then we could actually build a modern and financially sound health care system.

7. Time is running out for this health care district to get its act together. Yes, it may be a free show as your reporter said, but it is embarrassing. And even worse, it is dangerous because it is our health we are playing with.


Jim Knoll

At what cost?

Dear Editor:

The circus was in town. Everyone was elated. It was so much fun! Especially those elephants.

Do people ever think about how the animals might feel? How they are treated?

In his book, "The Circus Kings," Ringling Brothers founder Henry Ringling North noted that at circuses, tigers and lions are "chained to their pedestals, and ropes are put around their necks to choke them down and make them obey. All sorts of other brutalities are used to force them to respect their trainer and learn their tricks. They work from fear."

He also wrote that trainers commonly break their bears' noses or burn their paws to force them to stand on their hind legs and that monkeys and chimpanzees are struck with clubs while they scream. The fact is, animals do not naturally ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls or jump through rings of fire. To force them to perform these confusing and physically uncomfortable tricks, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks and other painful tools of the trade.

Tigers and lions usually live and travel in cages 4 feet by 6 feet by 5 feet. Many elephants live their whole lives in chains. In the wild, the life expectancy of elephants is the same as ours, but in the circus, many elephants die prematurely of disease and stress of confinement.

Do you truly believe that a gentle giant like the elephant could be enjoying it's life being dragged around in cages from city to city and standing on its hind legs, or giving rides to humans?

You see them receive treats after a performance. Does that make it OK? What if you were forced to be tied up or caged up your entire life so that you could perform tricks for laughter instead of wandering hundreds of miles in one's natural habitat with one's family and your mate?

Sweden, Denmark, Finland, India, Switzerland and the U.K. have all banned or restricted use of animals in entertainment. We Americans are constantly seeking to be amused at the cost of what? Anyone interested in learning more about these cruelties can log onto www.peta.org/about/faq-ent.asp or www.circuses.com/.

Marie Layton

Salute to Rangers

Dear Editor:

It is amazing that at almost all of the events that take place in Pagosa Springs the Colorado Mounted Rangers volunteer their time to help control traffic and help with funerals.

They do this with citizens in town cussing them, pointing their middle finger, because they are asked not to park in a certain place or to turn right or left.

Not only are the people rude, but the people the Rangers are working for never acknowledge them. For example, the 9Health Fair people thanked everyone in the community, but left out the Rangers who arrived at 7 a.m. to make sure things ran smoothly.

The circus was a huge success and all went smoothly because the Rangers were there on their own time when they could have been home with their families. The Colorado Mounted Rangers took shifts through the night keeping the home builders' fair booths safe, not to mention year after year their service at art fairs, folk fests, dances and on and on.

People, look around at who your law enforcement trusts to help with these events to insure safety for you and your children. The next time you're at a parade or a fair, tip your hat to the Colorado Mounted Rangers. Those of you with clean records, check out this organization and become involved.

Leona Mizel

Airport furor

Dear Editor:

I would lay down even money that I am not the "stand alone" taxpayer in this county who would like to know who signed and exactly when the initial contracts were negotiated with the FAA that launched us into this endless $2.58 million Stevens Field underhanded intrigue without taxpayer approval.

From all appearances, The SUN April 8 cover story indicates the voter can assume that absolutely no one in the county hierarchy is willing to produce the details on how the current situation came to be. Since the county can't seem to produce any information, it should be a slam-dunk that the FAA can quickly bring forth those initial contracts and all necessary background information.

Suggestion: Maybe the county administrator, Bill Steele, could request FAA to send copies of those contracts with all pertinent details, then reveal to the taxpayer who did what and when. Rather than making some knuckle under and stunningly ineffective statement to the public, "But we have to proceed," i.e. ... get the money.

I'd like to assume that for his yearly salary and benefits package he'd be absolutely what those contracts specify. Should Steele have difficulty interpreting the language in said documents, I believe he does have quick access to a county attorney.

Should the FAA not have its act together, and cannot produce copies of those agreements, we have solved a large problem - no contracts, they receive no taxpayer money. Those funds can then be utilized to improve the poor roads in the county.

It struck a sympathetic chord to read in your coverage of the April 6 commissioner meeting that Commissioner Ecker displayed slight empathy by affirming, "This is an expense we weren't counting on." Yet, it wasn't very long ago that Ecker took it upon himself to take hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to pave taxiways to private hangars at Stevens Field, which the taxpayers, also, never counted on.

I reckon Commissioner Downey must maintain intimate contact with the angelic and mysterious FAA airport fairy. Since he remarked at the April 6 commissioner meeting, "Much of this came about from a leap of faith ... that we could use the existing building as the terminal."

If this is the type of decision-making criteria employed by any commissioner when it comes to proper utilization of public funds , there are bigger problems looming on the horizon in some commissioners' hidden agenda.

Maybe it's due time for the remaining "Two Amigos" to leap on their horses and gallop off into permanent retirement.

It is prudent to be cautious and forthright when spending millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. But it's also well-advised to close the open bank account when you are entering our community into some good spirit "leap of faith" with their assets and their cash.

Jim Sawicki


Community News

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

April 24

Kid's Fair at Mary Fisher Medical Clinic parking lot, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free event for children to participate in a variety of activities and games. Lots of food, raffles and fun. Join them for a fun day.

April 24

The United Blood Service at First Baptist Church of Pagosa, 2900 West U.S. 160. Hours are 1-5 p.m. ID required. To make reservations, call 365-4601 or e-mail at www.unitedbloodservice.org.

April 24-29

Week of the Young Child. This week is designed to celebrate young children and their families as well as the people and organizations that support those children and families. This year's events promise to be a week full of fun and educational activities.

April 26

This will be Doll Day in Pagosa. Hundreds of adults and children will decorate cutout dolls and have them placed in business storefront windows. The dolls serve as a reminder of the importance of investing in children. Call Mardel Gallegos at Head Start, 264-2484, for more information.

April 27

Night of the Young Child at Pagosa Springs High School auditorium, 6:30-8 p.m. This year's program will feature Pagosa Springs Gymnastics, San Juan Dance Company, Melinda Baum's piano students and much more. Free.

April 28

The Humane Society will host the Chamber of Commerce SunDowner, 5-7 p.m. This is the annual chocolate auction.

April 29

Bingo at the American Legion the first, third and fifth Thursdays of every month. Doors open at 6 p.m. and games start at 7. Free coffee and smoke-free environment.

April 29

Sisson Library volunteers will meet for lunch at 11:30 a.m. at the Down Side Moose restaurant located in the center at U.S. 160 and Piñon Drive.

April 29

Car seat safety check at Seeds of Learning parking lot 3:30-5:30 p.m. Bring your child's car seat in and have it checked free. This is a great opportunity to see if your child is in the appropriate car seat for their size and age.

April 29

General meeting of the Pagosa Piecemakers will be held at 10 a.m. at Mountain Heights Baptist Church. Shirley Brinckmann of Edleweiss Needlework will do the program and there will be a free class on flour basket design. Cost of kits is $12.50. Call Selena Hughes at 731-6009 if you are not already signed up and wish to participate.

May 2

PALS (Pagosa Area Singles) meets for dinner 6 p.m. at Back Country BBQ on North Pagosa Boulevard. All singles 35 and over welcome. Reservations required, Call 731-2445.

May 8

The Cinco de Mayo celebration will be held 5-7 p.m. at Vista Clubhouse.

May 8 and 9

The Pagosa Springs Community Choir, along with the Pagosa Springs Children's Chorale, will present its second annual spring concert, titled "On With the Show", at 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m Sunday. Both performances are in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium. Admission is free.

May 13

The Newcomer Club will meet at The Office Lounge on North Pagosa Boulevard. The Office will be open at 6 p.m. and the buffet cost is $7 per person. Reservations not necessary. The club is sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service. All newcomers are welcome. Call 731-2398 for more information.


Senior News

A change in scheduling for in-town medical appointments

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

A note to our Silver Foxes Den seniors: In the event you need to schedule an in-town medical appointment, please contact Musetta at 264-2167.

The best times to make your appointments are midmorning and midafternoons Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The transportation department will no longer schedule the in-town appointments.

Please continue to schedule your Durango medical appointments through the transportation department at 264-6371. If you have any questions, call Musetta at 264-2167.

Don't forget our Senior Prom at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 2, at the high school. Tickets are $3 for members of Archuleta Seniors, Inc. Included in the price of ticket are a corsage or boutonniere, sandwiches, snacks, a photo and more. A date is not necessary, nor is it necessary to come all gussied up; just come and enjoy the dance. If you are in need of a ride or can provide a ride, we are encouraging carpooling, so give us a call and we'll add you to the carpool list.

Only two more weeks of Tai Chi Chih class, and since everyone is so fired up about it, Jerry has moved the class up to start at 9:30 a.m. to get everything in. Last class is May 3. Will Jerry start another class? Keep reading the Senior News to find out.

Dr. Nelson was here again April 13 and his talk on macular degeneration was well attended, as was Dr. Paquet's presentation on hypertension. Both adroitly fielded many questions outside of the scheduled topic, so if you have a topic you would like presented, call Laura at 264-2167. We also want to thank Dr. Nelson and Dr. Paquet for donating time and knowledge to us.

Free movie day is Friday. We are showing "Under the Tuscan Sun" in the Lounge at 1 p.m. This is a feel-good, sunny movie with great scenery. Popcorn is only 25 cents.

Patty Tillerson will be checking blood pressures at 11 a.m. Be calm and happy when you come to see Patty.

Don't forget that we have a brand new Mexican Train Dominoes set that is itching to be played. If you feel the urge to play, come in after lunch and give it a try.

Our widow/widower support group, "Living with the Loss," will meet at 1 p.m. April 26. Grief can be felt over the loss of a pet as well as a human. Share your feelings and memories and heal the pain. We have some neat outings planned to help live with the loss.

There will be no Yoga in Motion class on April 27.

Our newsletter is available at www.archuletacounty.org/Seniors/newsletter.htm Follow the links from there and enjoy. You may choose to have the newsletter e-mailed to you. If you prefer, give us a call and we'll add you to the list.

Old George remembers old fashioned fun.

"Do you remember hayrack rides? Years ago it was not unusual for a group of young people to get together and go to someone's ranch for a hayrack ride. Many of the farmers provided rides as an extra source of income.

"Oftentimes it was in the evening and the hayrack ride would end up at a campfire with great food being served. On the trip home it would be dark and it was a great opportunity for young couples to do a little 'spooning.' Do you remember?"

Go fly a kite

It is a brave and foolhardy thing to try to plan a kite flying event around here, since a windy day is only likely when the hot air balloons are going up, but we are a brave lot here at the senior center and we are proclaiming Friday, April 30, as a kite flying day.

Bring your kite and give it wings after lunch, and a big thank you to Matt Mees for letting us take flight from his field. Musetta will have a fit if no one joins her in one of her favorite childhood pastimes; join in the fun or come watch Musetta have a fit and fly her kite alone.

Even if we don't get to fly, we will still be celebrating April birthdays on the 30th. If you have a senior birthday this month, you might want to join us for lunch. We always serve cake with the meal on the last Friday of the month to celebrate another year on earth.

We are playing a new game at the center on Fridays: "Guess Who I Am." People fill out a form answering questions about their past; for example, Where were you born? What was your first job? Then we randomly draw a form, read the answers and people guess who that person is. Carolyn Hanson knew we were reading about Marie Corcorran's life, so she won a prize.

Volunteers needed

Are you looking for a way to volunteer some time to your community and make an immediate impact on someone's life?

The Archuleta County Silver Foxes Den Senior Center has an opportunity for you to make new friends while you donate one lunch hour per week to the home delivered meal program for our senior citizens.

Applications are currently being accepted from individuals as well as businesses, churches and other organizations that would like to make a difference. All applicants must provide their own vehicle and be available in one hour increments, once a week. We are also accepting applications for substitute drivers. A background check will be completed on all applicants.

Volunteers are needed to provide assistance on our senior bus approximately once a week. Duties may include assistance from the home to bus, carrying groceries and helping 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.

We also need more birthday cards donated to the center. If you have any to spare, please consider dropping them off at the office. Thank you.


Friday - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; MicroSoft Word class, 10:30; blood pressure check, 11; Free Movie Day, "Under the Tuscan Sun," 1 p.m.

April 26 - Tai Chi Chih, 10 a.m.; Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Widow/widower support group, 1 p.m.; bridge for fun, 1

April 27 - No Yoga in Motion; advanced computer class, 10:30 a.m.; massage. 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

April 28 - Beginning computer class, 10:30 a.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.

April 30 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m. MicroSoft Word, 10:30; celebrate birthdays, noon; kite flying 1 p.m.


April 23 - White chili, tossed salad with tomato and cucumber, bran muffin, and cottage cheese with fruit

April 26 - Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad, garlic roll and peaches

April 27 - Broccoli/ham/cheese quiche, carrots, tossed salad and sherbet

April 28 - Fish fillet, baked potato, vegetable medley, bran muffin and fruit cup

April 30 - Oven fried chicken, mashed potato and gravy, mixed vegetables, biscuit and citrus cup


Chamber News

Workshop chance for home-based businesses

By Sally Hamiester

SUN Columnist

Randy Johnson, president of the Rocky Mountain Home-Based Business Association is happy to present a workshop for all interested home-based folks on May 18 here in Pagosa if enough people are interested.

I mentioned it on the radio last week and although only one person has responded thus far, I'm giving it another shot because it would be excellent for home-based people.

For only $15, you can learn invaluable tips and information about a successful home-based operation and probably share some of your wisdom and experiences with other people in the same boat.

I need to give Joe Keck at the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College a call by tomorrow afternoon if we want Randy to come with this workshop, so if you are interested in attending Home Base Business Basics, call the Chamber at 264-2360 and let us know. We have registration forms here for you.

Calling all Diplomats

Thank heavens we will soon be enthusiastically welcoming our Diplomats back for the summer season, and not a minute too soon.

These generous volunteers not only allow us to keep our doors open but allow staff members to work without interruption throughout the week. It's such a blessed relief to have them here and way more fun as well, so we are awaiting their arrival with great anticipation and glee.

We're always looking for more volunteers and invite anyone who is interested in becoming a Pagosa Springs host/hostess to come to one of our Diplomat training workshops and learn more about what we do here. Plan to attend April 29, 9-11 a.m.; April 30, 2-4 p.m.; or May 4, 9-11 a.m. Just give us a call at 264-2360 to let us know which session you would like to attend.

This is a great group of people who are terrific to work with and who enjoy their invaluable role here at the Chamber. They do so much for us here at the Chamber and for the entire community, and I think you would love the experience.

Cinco de Mayo

The Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club will host a Cinco de Mayo celebration May 8 at the Vista Clubhouse, from 5-7 p.m.

This is a family affair with games and prizes provided by nonprofits and hot dogs and refreshments served by the Spanish Fiesta Club.

Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Grupo Espinosa, a local family of talented young Folklorico Dancers. Under the instruction of Gloria Lopez, this troupe has danced to the delight of many audiences.

The 2004 Fiesta Grand Marshall will be announced and the coronation of Spanish Fiesta Royalty will take place at 6 p.m. Applications are currently available at the Chamber of Commerce or you can call Natalie Ortega at 264-4604. Nominations for grand marshall are welcome at P.O. Box 71 in Pagosa, 81147.

At 7 p.m. the clubhouse will be cleared out and doors will reopen at 7:30 for the dance featuring a local favorite, Variety Express. Cost for the dance is $10 and will begin at 8 p.m. The Guadalupana Society will offer delicious posole and tortillas, and the Fiesta Club will serve other refreshments. You can purchase a slice of Cinco de Mayo cake from the Grupo Espinosa dancers with proceeds benefiting each organization. Door prizes have been donated by several Pagosa individuals and businesses, and the best dancers of the evening will be rewarded with prizes.

If you would like to volunteer for this event or are interested in being a part of the Spanish Fiesta taking place June 19, give a call to Jeff Laydon, 264-3686, or Lucy Gonzales at 264-4791. You are also invited to attend the next Spanish Fiesta Club meeting April 13 at 5:30 p.m. in the Chamber of Commerce boardroom. Viva la Fiesta.

Folk routes

We are delighted to learn that cellist Philip Hansen is returning to Pagosa Springs with piano accompanist Lisa Camp for his third concert, "Folk Routes-Music from Around the World for Cello and Piano."

Philip is the charming and talented brother of Musetta Wollenweber, who heads up Archuleta Seniors, Inc. and The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center located in the community center.

Philip and Lisa will appear May 22 at the Community Bible Church. Tickets will go on sale at the community center and Chamber of Commerce May 10 at $10 for adults and $8 for children and seniors with a membership card. As always, proceeds from the concert will benefit the senior citizens of Archuleta County.

I have it on good authority that we might also be able to order a Philip Hansen CD at the performance or even win one if we are lucky.

Call Musetta or Laura at 264-2167 for more information.

Music in the Mountains

I ran into Music in the Mountains organizer extraordinaire, Jan Clinkenbeard, in Durango Friday subsequent to attending a meeting there, and she informed me that well over a third of the tickets have been sold for this summer's three Music in the Mountains concerts.

I'm sure this is 'nuf said for those of you interested in attending one or all and that you will head on down to the Chamber post haste to secure your seats at the concerts of your choice. The dates for these concerts are July 23, July 30 and Aug. 6, and all will be held at BootJack Ranch beginning at 7 p.m.

The programs include two unequivocal favorites of previous performances here in Pagosa like Aviram Reichert and Antonio Pompa-Baldi with internationally acclaimed newcomers, Anne-Marie McDermott on piano and Philippe Quint on violin. Don't pass up the opportunity to enjoy these wonderful musicians in the magnificent setting at BootJack Ranch.

If you would like to get on the mailing list for these and all future Music in the Mountains events, call 385-6820 and specify that you want to be on the Pagosa Springs mailing list.

Choral concert

"On With the Show" is the title of the spring choral concert featuring the Pagosa Springs Community Choir and the Pagosa Springs Children's Choir.

The Pagosa Springs Choral Society is proud to bring you two performances - May 8 at 7 p.m. and May 9 at 4 p.m., both in the high school auditorium.

These are free concerts, but donations will be cheerfully accepted, and bake sales will be conducted with proceeds benefiting both groups.

If you have questions, contact Sue Kehret at 731-3858. Plan to attend what is sure to be an uplifting, entertaining evening dedicated to ushering the spring season into Pagosa.

Four Corners Folk Fest

Don't forget that the deadline to save $10 on advance-purchase prices on two-day, three-day or on-site camping festival passes at this year's Four Corners Folk Festival is rapidly approaching.

You have until the end of the month, and the three easy ways to order include calling toll free at (877) 472-4672 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., printing the mail order form from the Web site and sending it in with your credit card number, check or money order or ordering online using Pay Pal. Single day passes will go on sale May 1. For complete festival information, visit www.folkwest.com.

Anniversary open house

We're delighted to announce a fifth anniversary celebration at Curves for Women on Navajo Trail Drive right behind The Hogs Breath 9 am.-noon Saturday. The cool thing about this, other than the fact that it represents five successful years, is that men are invited in as well as children and teens. Normally Curves is a "strictly women only" environment, so this is a rare opportunity for men and children to see what goes on in those hallowed halls.

There will be drawings for prizes every half hour for members and nonmembers, balloons for the kids, samples of Curves vitamins and protein shakes and a free water bottle will be given to anyone who purchases a supplement that day. Give April a call at 731-0333 for more information.

Chocolate and togas

I doubt the ancient Greeks ever held a chocolate auction, but that doesn't mean that our Pagosa Springs Humane Society can't.

Join us for their annual Chocolate Auction and Toga Party SunDowner 5-7 p.m. next Wednesday at the Thrift Store location, 269 Pagosa St.

Where else can you enjoy beer, wine, great hors d'oeuvres and rich, decadent chocolate all in one location for only $5? At the SunDowner, that's where, and you don't have to worry about a costume because one will be provided at the door when you arrive.

This is always a fabulous event with lots of hilarious "auction action" connected to competing for the divine chocolate items. I will once again bake my "chocolate freak-out cake" so bring lots of dough and your sense of humor.


We're happy to bring you one new member this week along with seven renewals. It's a grand way to begin the week.

Our first new member is actually a former member with a new business. We're happy to welcome back Leslie Montroy who brings us The Sewing Source located at 527 San Juan St. in the San Juan Plaza right next to the Pagosa Springs Office Supply. Leslie is a Bernina authorized dealer who also offers sewing machine sales and service on all makes and models. She will also help you with all your alterations, upholstery and custom sewing needs with 25 years experience. Leslie teaches sewing classes and is also the new Bodo Quality Cleaners downtown pick-up and drop-off location.

Please give her a call for more information at 264-5600. We are grateful to Bobbie Miller who recruited Leslie and will be rewarded with a free SunDowner pass and our thanks.

Our renewals this week include the other blonde, Todd Shelton with A-Affordable Storage; Kinder Morgan, Inc. & Affiliates; Mercy Korsgren and Jeff Laydon with Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club; Jo Bridges with the Pagosa Springs Ranger District, San Juan National Forest; Tony Simmons and Bill Hudson with Site Five Productions; Tom Thorpe and Mary Blandford with Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs and last, but far from least, Chamber board director, Jessie Formwalt with Appraisal Services, Inc. Thank you each and every one.


Library News

Despite surprises, design plan process continues

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

The theme of this year's national library celebration is to honor the people who work for you in your library.

We are indeed fortunate to have an excellent staff and the many volunteers who are dedicated to work on your behalf. You will soon be introduced to some of these fine people in this issue of The SUN.

My eternal thanks to every one, past and present, who has been associated with the library. They make everyday a joyful celebration at your library.

Building plans

By next week we should have the preliminary building design in hand and be well on the way to choosing a contractor for the project. Dennis Humphries and his team have been working on the concept.

We had some surprises when the site plan showed an unexpected impediment. We knew we were on a floodway and had building restrictions to consider because of an underground culvert. And now we just found out there is a sewer line between the library and U.S. 160 that also limits where we can go. Life's little surprises.

This challenge along with the rising prices of construction materials will no doubt bring about some financial changes to our plans. We'll have more to report very soon. We plan to break ground this summer and be in by this time next year.

We were shocked and saddened to learn of the death of our good friend, Sue Gast. Sue loved the library and was helping us raise funds for the addition.

We will have a memorial in her honor. Anyone wishing to donate may do so to PO Box 849, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


Gifts in memory of Sue Gast were received from the Bank of Colorado, and the First National Bank of Durango Payroll Department. Other gifts came from the Pagosa Lodge No. 122 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Evangeline Catchpole; a gift in honor of Cindy Gustafson from her daughter Kelly Glannon. Materials came from Linda Warren, Lyn Frank, Bob Curvey, Linda Hutchison, Virginia Kyle, John Norris, Meryle Backus, Joe Nanus, Donna Michael, Val Fulco, Henry Buslepp and Ethel Rasnic.

Thanks to the Pagosa SUN for the excellent coverage of library activities through these many years starting way before I came in 1983. Much of our success is due to the positive exposure we've received in the newspaper.


Veteran's Corner

American Legion, VFW need community's help

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

Lately I have written about several partners I work with in the process of assisting veterans with their needs.

These are partners I work with routinely to provide the best possible service to our veterans. So far I have mentioned partners from out of the area.

Closer to home, your Archuleta County Veterans Service Office works with local nonprofit veterans groups such as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

These organizations provide much-needed veteran links to many services and community patriotic needs.

Veteran total growing

We are a small community, but we have a large, growing veteran population, and growing needs.

The American Legion and VFW struggle to provide these veteran and community programs. Membership growth and sources of income are not keeping up with the increased demand and costs for their programs. They need our help.

The local American Legion Post 108 provides our community with numerous veteran and patriotic programs. They also provide a scholarship program for children of veterans who belong to their association. The American Legion routinely works on our local cemetery, cleaning it up, cataloging unmarked graves of veterans, and ordering headstones.

Honor guards

They also provide honor guards at many veteran funerals, memorial events and parades. These members are all volunteers, unpaid. Some of our veterans are members of both American Legion and VFW.

The VFW for the past few years has been meeting at member homes since the sale of their building west of Pagosa Springs. It is my understanding they have purchased land and are planning to build a new facility.

Joined forces

The VFW joined with the American Legion in 2002 in support of a successful grant to purchase a new vehicle for our veterans to use to travel to their VA healthcare appointments.

This was a much-needed vehicle as our veterans travel to five different locations for their VAHC needs.

Both organizations have joined again in support of another grant this year, for another new vehicle to replace the older of the two now in use. Archuleta County government is also a partner in this effort.

Veterans memorial

The American Legion and VFW are also teaming up to construct a Veteran's Memorial Monument in the Town Park to honor all veterans.

The platform of an old Vietnam monument is being used for the foundation. A plaque honoring all veterans will be placed on it with a sculpted eagle on the top.

Dedication ceremonies are planned May 29 in conjunction with the ceremonies to be held in Washington at the new WW II Memorial

Cost estimate for this project is $2,000, with a special fund set up at Wells Fargo bank where donations may be made.

Help needed

The American Legion is very much in danger of not being able to meet these, or even its minimal needs to pay for utilities for their building.

These veteran organizations need our help.

One way our community can show support to veterans and help American Legion and VFW is by joining them as veterans or families of veterans, and by participating in the their programs to raise funds.

The main source of revenue for the American Legion organization has been its weekly Bingo games. However, participation in this program has fallen off in recent times, and the event is not earning enough to pay for itself, let alone support additional programs.

Support games

Bingo games are played at the American Legion building, located next to the Pagosa Springs Town Park, by the river. The games are held the first, third and fifth Thursday of the month staring at 7 p.m. It costs $20 to play 22 games, with prizes ranging from $15 to $40 on each game.

I urge our veterans and citizens to support this fun program and at the same time help our American Legion continue with its community programs. It's a worthy cause.

Contact Info

Both organizations can use your membership support. A good contact for both organizations is Robert Dobbins, American Legion Commander and member of VFW at 731-2482. Join one or both of these organizations and meet and enjoy good fellowship with a fine bunch of fellow veterans and their families.

For further data

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


Arts Line

Council on Arts gets $500,000 in new state budget

By Leanne Goebel

PREVIEW Columnist

The recently passed Colorado state budget included $500,000 for the Colorado Council on the Arts.

Like last year, the Legislature faced tough choices between schools, seniors, children and the disabled. 

The budget includes $100 million in cuts. Since the state's economic downturn, the Legislature has employed onetime accounting measures to balance the budget.  Starting next year the Legislature will have to address the structural deficit caused by those onetime budget balancing measures.

Other positive notes in this year's state budget include the restoration of $600,000 to the regional library system and $2.5 million for tourism promotion.

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council utilizes funds from the Colorado Council on the Arts to provide workshops and classes, including the upcoming summer art camp for children. The Four Corners Folk Festival also receives funds from the Colorado Council on the Arts and this event fills our hotels, restaurants and shops with tourists.

Local Colorado school districts will have more money per student than in the past. The question is how much, and where the districts will choose to spend these funds. 

Local control is the motto of many legislators in regard to spending Amendment 23 money. This only works to the benefit of arts educators if local school boards know that their arts educators are an active and unified force.

It is important that parents, community members and teachers inform our local school board members about the importance of arts curriculum in Archuleta County.

It is also important to contact our legislators by mailing a short handwritten postcard or sending a brief e-mail. To locate your legislator visit www.vote-smart.org/index.phtml.

Other links: Colorado Department of Education atwww.cde.state.co.us/index_home.htm and the Colorado Alliance for Arts Education www.artsedcolorado.org.

To check the impact of current school finance proposals on your school district, log on to: www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/schfin/sfprint.htm.

Artist opportunities

Call for entries: Contemporary Art Exhibition at the New Evergreen Arts Center, June 26-Aug. 1, 2004.

Juror for this event is Patty Ortiz, director of programming for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.

Entry deadline is June 1. Mail entry to: Contemporary Art Exhibition, Evergreen Arts Center, 23003-B Ellingwood Trail,  Evergreen, Colorado 80439. Visit their Web site at www. evergreenarts. org or call (303) 674-0056.

Upcoming workshops

Beginning/Intermediate Watercolor with Internationally known artist Pierre Mion. Ten Tuesdays, beginning May 4, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Four indoor meetings at Vista Clubhouse and six outdoor meetings. Contact Mion at 731-9781. Ten students only.

Third Saturday workshop in May: Randall Davis will discuss and instruct figure drawing, with considerable focus on the human eye. Davis is a talented artist, who draws paints and sculpts, as well as a charming man and a naturally gifted teacher. You're gonna love the class, so mark your calendars. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Don't forget your lunch. Cost is $35.

An in-depth workshop on the Basics of Watercolor with Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett will be repeated May 19-21 (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. The classes each day will start promptly at 9 a.m. and continue until 3:30 p.m. or so. Each day you'll need to either bring your lunch or plan to eat (on Wednesday and Friday) at the senior center. Cost is $130 or $123.50 for PSAC members. Call 264-5020 to register or stop by the gallery in Town Park.

 Acting Workshop for Teens, a three-week program with Felicia Lansbury Meyer. She is a Los Angeles performer and filmmaker who has worked on stage in New York, Los Angeles and Europe and has appeared in numerous television roles. She received her M.F.A. in directing from the American Film Institute, where she directed the award-winning short film, "Desert Snow." She has taught previous acting workshops in Pagosa Springs, Sun Valley, Idaho and directed "An Evening of Shorts - Revelations for FoPA" in Pagosa Springs last year.

In her youth workshops, she emphasizes fostering individuality and leadership, as well as teaching the skills necessary to listen, communicate and collaborate.

This upcoming workshop will focus on aspects of creating character, using objectives, being present, listening, memorization and blocking in a contemporary scene. There will be an informal presentation of scenes at the end of the session.

The workshop will run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays June 7-25, 3-5:30 p.m., at the community center. The cost is $125. Class size is limited. For more information, contact Pagosa Springs Arts Council, 264-5020 or Meyer at 264-6028.

Summer Art Camp for Kids is June 1-30 at Pagosa Springs Elementary School 9 a.m.-noon,

Monday through Friday. Once again, Tessie Garcia, Lisa Brown and Susan Hogan bring this terrific opportunity for children who love art. This year, Lisa's husband Mark Brown will be teaching Crafts for Boys and Lisa will lead Multicultural Art, Just for Girls. Tessie Garcia will teach Clay'n Around and Susan Hogan will teach Drawing and Painting.

Pick up a flyer at the elementary school and drop off your payment at the gallery in Town Park. The cost for this year's art camp is $300 per student. A 10-percent discount is available for those who register by May 7 and PSAC members receive an additional 10-percent discount. Leave a message at 264-5020 to reserve your space today.

A limited number of scholarships are available for art camp. If you would like to donate money to the scholarship program, contact Doris Green at 264-6904 or 264-5020.


April 27 - PSAC board meeting, 5 p.m. at the community center

May 7 - High school art exhibit opening reception at the gallery in Town Park, 5-7 p.m.

May 6-19 - High school art exhibit

May 12 - Watercolor Club, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the community center

May 13 - Photo Club, 5:30 p.m. at the community center

May 15 - Third Saturday workshop with Randall Davis, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m at the community center

May 16 - Writers workshop with C.J. Hannah

May 19-21 - In depth on the Basics of Watercolor with Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the community center.

May 20 - Bonnie Davies and Rita O'Connell opening reception for the artist at the gallery in Town Park, 5-7 p.m.

May 20-June 1 - Bonnie Davies and Rita O'Connell art exhibit

June 1-30 - Summer Art Camp for Kids at the elementary school, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon

May 25 - PSAC board meeting, 5 p.m. at community center

June 7-25 - Teen acting class with Felicia Lansbury Meyer, all day

June 22 - PSAC board meeting, 5 p.m. at community center

June 19 - Third Saturday Workshop, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at community center

June 28-30 - Amy Rosner, Expressing yourself in Mixed Media Workshop - all day

July 1 - Joye Moon reception for the artist at the gallery in Town Park from 5-7 p.m.

July 1-28 - Joye Moon exhibit at the gallery in Town Park

July 5-8 - Joye Moon workshop, Unleashing the Power of Watercolor - all day

July 8 - Photo Club, 5:30 p.m.

July 14 - Watercolor Club, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

July 15-31 - Batik and Screamers papier maché workshop

July 27 - PSAC board meeting, 5 p.m.

Aug. 5-31 - Watercolor exhibit with Denny Rose, Ginnie Bartlett and watercolor students

Aug. 11 - Watercolor Club, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Aug. 12 - Photo Club, 5:30 p.m.

Aug. 11-13 - Basics II, Denny and Ginnie watercolor workshop

Aug. 16-21 - Cynthia Padilla Botanical Art Workshop

Aug. 21 - Third Saturday Workshop, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Sept. 11-12 - Colorado Arts Consortium, The Business of Art an Art pArty

Sept. 17-19 - Juried art exhibit for PSAC members


'Fame' set for three performances at PSHS

By Cayce Brown

Staff Writer

"Fame," a musical derived from the '80s TV show of the same name, is the story of a group of talented students in a performing arts high school.

The story follows the changes and experiences students go through in high school, all the way to the end of their senior year - the last year for the school.

It is somewhat ironic that the young Pagosa actors and actresses involved in the last high school production of the year are part of this musical.

It is even more so for the seniors in the high school drama program. Brandon Samples, Hattie Mayne, Amber Farnham, Cindy Neder, Ryan Versaw, Angelica Leslie, Liesl Jackson, Kelly Johnson and Jenna Finney are all preparing to perform the last play of their high school careers.

Underclassmen acting in the play are Tim McAllister, Jesse Morris, Randi Andersen, Chris Baum, Veronica Zeiler, Joe Quick, Danae Holloman, Christine Morrison, Michael Spitler, Katie Vowles, Matt DeWinter, Tiffanie Mayne, Havi Kornhaber, Anna Hershey and Angelica Leslie, Taryn Burnett, Ben DeVoti, Chelsea Taylor, Esther Gordon, David Smith, Darran Garcia and Kyle Pedersen.

"Fame" was chosen by co-director Lisa Hartley for its entertaining dance numbers and upbeat music.

Hartley is directing the play with Dale Morris and Melinda Baum.

"One of the main reasons we chose 'Fame' as our play, was to make sure that the last high school drama performance this year was fun and interesting for the students," said Hartley.

In the play, we are introduced to students at the performing arts high school working in three areas: drama, dance and music.

At any time, but most often during classes in their specializations, the students break out in song, accompanied by a well choreographed dance routine.

An orchestra backs these musical eruptions: Larry Elginer on trumpet, Shawna Bolt on trombone, Kimberly Judd on saxaphone, Paige Gordon and Jim Morris on guitars, Jana Vorhis on bass and Melinda Baum on piano. The group provides live music that adds a new dimension to the musical.

Throughout the play, the characters' relationships with one another fuel the story line.

In drama class, the budding friendship between Nick and Serena is a focal point.

Schlomo, a quiet kid who likes classical music, develops an ear for rock and roll. Jack, a streetwise dancer with his own style, works to gain recognition from his choreography teacher and, eventually, some of the students get together and focus their talents in a different direction by forming a band.

Along with observing the students' struggles to refine their talents, the audience is brought into the young performers' personal lives which, for some, have dark undertones to them. "Fame" deals with such issues as drug addiction and illiteracy through the lives of characters Carmen and Jack respectively.

The set for "Fame" was built to accommodate the story. There is a curtain-height structure for the actors to work with and the stage crew created a graffiti-littered backdrop.

The crew helping keep the set and lighting under control are Victoria Stanton, Jacob Smith, Tim Kamolz, Stephen Wallace, Tim Johnson, Casey Kiister and Don Ford.

"These guys have worked so hard. Some of them are in sports, so it's a long evening for the people who practice until 5:30 and then come over to the auditorium and rehearse," said Hartley, referring to the cast. "They even took part in extra dance rehearsals."

"We have a lot of new talent this time around and it should help to make a great show," said Hartley. "And we have a handful of seniors who are ready to have fun with their last show."

Performances of "Fame" are tonight at 7 p.m., Friday at 7 and a 1 p.m. Saturday matinee.

Tickets are available at the high school office and The Plaid Pony. Price for admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children.


Whistle Pig concerts will return May 1

By Bill Hudson

Special to The PREVIEW

The Whistle Pig Concert Series kicks off its 2004 House Concert season May 1, with an unlikely duo: folk singer/songwriter Jane Voss, an acclaimed performer with roots going back to the folk movement of the 1960s and '70s, appearing with her partner of 25 years, Hoyle Osborne, a master of ragtime and early jazz piano, and a distinctively original composer.

The pair's Pagosa Springs appearance will be the first stop on a national tour to promote the release of not one, but three new CDs by these talented musicians. The concert begins at 7 p.m. in the Hudson House, 446 Loma St. and, as is the norm with Whistle Pig concerts, includes homemade desserts, coffee and tea, during intermission.

Jane Voss was born and raised in Ohio, and began her performing career in San Francisco in 1970. She took to the road in 1972, appearing at folk festivals in the U.S. and Canada and becoming a familiar presence in the folk music scene on both coasts. Inspired by the music of the original Carter Family, she quickly earned a reputation as one of the foremost interpreters of old-time country music, before that style had a wide following. This part of her career culminated in her 1976 release, "An Album of Songs," which has been called "hands down, among the finest albums ever made by an interpreter of old-time country songs."

By this time, she was already broadening her stylistic reach as a performer to reflect the diversity of her influences, adding old-time popular, jazz, and classic blues to her repertoire.

In 1976, she formed her enduring partnership with Hoyle Osborne. Her work with Osborne also took her into the territory of swing, a style now enjoying a new surge in popularity. As a duo, Voss and Osborne recorded four albums, to repeated critical acclaim, including "Get to the Heart" (Green Linnet), which won a Stereo Review Record of the Year Award in 1982, and the 1990 CD "Sparkle and Shine" (Front Hall).

Her singing, says Dave Van Ronk, "is a model of passion and control." She has been described as "a force of nature" (Steve Gillette); "a tiny powerhouse of energy" (Old Colony Memorial, Kingston, Mass.); and "an American Piaf" (Laurie Lewis).

Voss has been featured, with Osborne, on Mountain Stage, Fresh Air, West Coast Live and All Things Considered. She has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Great Hudson River Revival, Old Songs, and the Winnipeg, Toronto, Mariposa, and Philadelphia Folk festivals, and in concerts coast-to-coast at venues ranging from The Great American Music Hall (San Francisco) to Caffe Lena (Saratoga Springs).

By his appearance, demeanor and talent, Hoyle Osborne might have lived an earlier life as a saloon and riverboat piano player. He is the resident piano player at the Diamond Belle Saloon in Durango, and once spent 18 months working on the Mississippi River paddlewheel steamboat The Delta Queen.

His composition "Enchantment: A New Mexican Serenade" was awarded second place in the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation's Ragtime Composition Contest 2000, and Osborne performed the new tune at the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Missouri. Then, in 2001, Osborne's composition, "The Trickster," took second place in the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation's Ragtime Composition Contest.

Osborne also composes, arranges, and produces for theatrical and video productions. The Aztec Media multi-image show, Mesa Verde, runs nightly during the summer at Mesa Verde National Park. Osborne collaborated with Jeanie McLerie and Ken Keppeler (Bayou Seco), harpist Sylvia Zurko, and bass player Bob Cordalis, on music for the annual summer-long Farmington, N.M., production, "Black River Traders." Osborne's music has been used in various shows produced by Rocky Mountain Public Television and Aztec Media.

The Whistle Pig Concert Series is now in its fifth year of presenting nationally recognized performers in Pagosa Springs. The series is produced by Artstream Cultural Resources, a local nonprofit arts and education organization. All of the proceeds from Whistle Pig concerts are donated to the performers. Seating is extremely limited for these concerts and reservations are strongly recommended by calling the Hudsons at 264-2491.


Music in the Mountains tickets are going fast

By Carole Howard

Special to The PREVIEW

Tickets are selling briskly at the Chamber of Commerce for this summer's three Music in the Mountains classical concerts which will bring world-class musicians to Pagosa Springs in July and August. All concerts are $35, the same price as last summer.

"We expected good sales, and the tickets are going even more quickly than we anticipated," said Jan Clinkenbeard, chairman of the committee organizing these local events. "We urge music lovers to buy your tickets promptly so you are not among those who will be disappointed when they are sold out."

The concerts will take place Fridays at 7 p.m. at BootJack Ranch on U.S. 160 east of Pagosa Springs, thanks to the generosity of David and Carol Brown, owners of the ranch.

Several of the world-renowned soloists who thrilled Pagosa concertgoers last year will return, and we also will experience exciting new talent:

- pianist Aviram Reichert returns July 23 to perform works including Schumann's "Piano Quintet" with several members of the Dallas and Baltimore symphonies. Reichart, who has won numerous awards and performed with major orchestras in Israel and Europe, wowed Pagosa audiences when he played here last summer

- Antonio Pompa-Baldi brings his piano mastery back to Pagosa July 30. He too was a great hit with local audiences last summer. He will perform solo and then join his wife Emanuela Friscioni, also an award-winning pianist who has appeared on stages around the world, in piano for four hands selections

- Pagosa welcomes two new internationally famous musicians Aug. 6 - Anne-Marie McDermott on piano and Philippe Quint playing the violin. Their performance will include Martinu's "Madrigals" and Brahms' "Piano Quintet."

In addition, Music in the Mountains will host a free children's concert for kids and their families in Town Park 11 a.m. Thursday, July 29. Highlight of this event will be "Peter and the Wolf," a work created by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev to teach his children about the symphony. Each character in the story - Peter, his grandfather, the wolf, a cat, a bird, a duck and some hunters - is represented by an instrument or instrumental family and will be acted by local children. To help the kids enjoy this experience even more, librarian Lenore Bright will include "Peter and the Wolf" in the children's summer reading program.

Since its debut in 1987, Music in the Mountains has grown to become one of the best summer music festivals in the country. This is the third year concerts have been held in Pagosa. In past years all the events have sold out in advance of the concert dates

"We're incredibly lucky to have first-class musicians who have performed to rave reviews around the world come to Pagosa to play for us," Clinkenbeard said. "And thanks to the Browns, we will enjoy this music in a tent in a spectacular mountain setting at the foot of Wolf Creek Pass."

She said ticket prices pay for only a small portion of the cost of the concerts. "It is thanks to contributions from individual donors and larger organizations like the Bank of the San Juans, Rotary Club and Wells Fargo Bank that our Pagosa festival is possible," Clinkenbeard said.

As well, all of the organizational work is done by Clinkenbeard's local volunteer steering committee composed of Melinda Baum, Sally Hameister, Mike and Lauri Heraty, Carole Howard, Crystal Howe, Teresa Huft, and Bob and Lisa Scott.

To get on the mailing list for these and future Music in the Mountain events, call 385-6820 in Durango and specify that you want to be on the Pagosa Springs mailing list.


Darrell Scott concert to benefit FolkWest staff members

By Crista Munro

Special to The PREVIEW

A concert to benefit FolkWest staff members and Pagosa Springs residents Dan Appenzeller and Rick "Bear" Bolhouse will be held May 1 at the Abbey Theater in Durango, featuring Nashville singer-songwriter Darrell Scott.

Dan Appenzeller, event director of the Four Corners Folk Festival, spent his fall and winter battling carcinoma of the neck that was diagnosed shortly after the 2003 Four Corners Folk Festival. He finished radiation and chemotherapy treatments Jan. 30, and now faces a long recovery period. His prognosis is good; a CT scan done in March revealed that the tumor was gone.

Bear Bolhouse, co-head of security of the Four Corners Folk Festival, had emergency surgery in October to remove a blood clot from his brain. The clot was a result of a previously undiagnosed rare auto-immune disorder. Since then, Bear has been on a course of steroids to suppress his immune system and chemotherapy to put the disease into remission.

Fellow folk festival staff member Beth Warren got the idea to have a fund-raising concert for the two men, and found a willing participant in Darrell Scott.

Scott, who has appeared at several FolkWest events including The Four Corners Folk Festival, Winterfolk Music Festival and the Festival in Paradise Cruise, agreed to perform two shows in Durango for free if Beth would fly him out and give him a place to stay.

As a songwriter, Scott has contributed a string of hits that reads like a list of the best modern country music has to offer. There's "Long Time Gone" and "Heartbreak Town," both top hits for the Dixie Chicks. "Great Day to be Alive" helped Travis Tritt complete his comeback; "Born to Fly" was a No. 1 hit for Sara Evans, while "Family Tree" was successful for Darryl Worley and "When No One's Around" extended Garth Brooks' run. "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" was cut in the same year by both Patty Loveless and Brad Paisley. In all, Scott has had more than 40 cuts by other artists.

His success led to ASCAP naming him Songwriter of the Year in 2002. The National Songwriters Association International awarded Scott its Songwriter of the Year honor the previous year.

Scott also plays a plethora of instruments - "most anything that can be plucked, beat or blown," as the Musichound Folk Essential Album Guide put it. But he's perhaps best known for his distinctive ability on guitar, dobro and mandolin, which put him in great demand among discerning fellow artists. In recent years, he's toured extensively with Guy Clark, Sam Bush and Tim O'Brien and recorded with Patty Loveless, Randy Travis, Steve Earle, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Trisha Yearwood and Kate Rusby, among scores of others.

There will be two shows: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available in Pagosa Springs at Moonlight Books. Seating is limited, so plan to buy your tickets in advance.

For additional information, call Beth Warren at (970) 563-0255.


'On With the Show' with the Community Choir

By Bob Nordmann

Special to The PREVIEW

Mark your calendars: The Pagosa Springs Community Choir in conjunction with the newly formed Pagosa Springs Children's Chorale will present its second annual spring concert entitled "On With the Show!" May 8 at 7 p.m. and May 9 at 4 p.m. The location for the concerts will be the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium.

The Community Choir, a 50-plus member mixed choir of local singers, will present a one-hour upbeat program with a wide variety of music, ranging from Broadway to love songs and from gospel to baseball.

Selections include "Over the Rainbow," "Can't Help Lovin' That Man," "Amazing Grace," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and, of course, "On With the Show."

The choir will also introduce its new vocal jazz group which will perform "Blue Skies" and "Singing in the Rain."

Co-directors Pam Spitler and Larry Elginer will share the conducting duties and pianists Sue Anderson and Rada Neal will provide the keyboard accompaniment.

Making its debut at these concerts will be the Pagosa Springs Children's Chorale. This 27-member group of singers ages 7-12 will kick off the concert with four numbers, including "Concert Etiquette Rap" and "Do-Re-Mi." They will also join the Community Choir in three selections. Five of these talented youngsters will put on a tap dance exhibition during one of the numbers.

Children's Chorale directors are Sue Anderson and Rada Neal, who, along with rehearsal assistants Kate Kelley and Janna Voorhis, have worked hard since February to organize the group and prepare for this program.

Be sure to bring Mom and the whole family - what a great treat for Mother's Day. And speaking of treats, there will be fresh baked goodies of all descriptions for sale in the lobby after each concert.

The choir is pleased to provide free admission for this program as our gift to the community. Donations are gratefully accepted and are tax deductible.

Come help the choir welcome spring with song.


Education News

Fifth-grade teacher will study in Japan

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Mary Kurt-Mason, a fifth-grade teacher in Pagosa Springs Intermediate School, has been awarded a highly competitive Fulbright Memorial Fund teacher scholarship.

As a recipient, one of only 200 selected nationally, she will study in Japan as a result of school board action April 13.

The board of Archuleta School District 50 Joint was told last week, before approving the trip, that the program "aims to increase the understanding of U.S. educators who will help shape and educate the next generation."

The Fulbright prospectus said the program is designed to provide key American educators "with first-hand opportunities to experience Japanese culture and education through school visits, interactions with teachers and students, seminars and home stays."

Her trip will be Nov.13-Dec. 3., beginning with an orientation session in San Francisco.

In other personnel action, the board approved:

- appointment of Dale Morris as an assistant drama coach

- the resignation of Emily Neder as junior high computer teacher

- the appointment of Pam Monteferrante as junior high assistant track coach

- naming Sally High as junior high student council coach

- the transfer of Jolyne Ihly to a teacher aide position

- a one-year leave of absence request for Mable Barber.


Four Pagosa seventh-graders winners in state science fair

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Four Pagosa Springs Junior High School students were among the award winners in the 2004 Colorado Science and Engineering Fair.

Dylan Burkesmith and Kyle Brookens, both seventh-graders, won third place in Junior Best Team Projects with their "The Perfect House" entry.

The same entry won a team award nomination in the Junior Engineering classification.

Seventh-grader Rachel Jensen's "The Dark Force" entry in Junior Earth and Space Sciences was awarded third place.

The same entry won the American Vacuum Society, Rocky Mountain Chapter, matching $50 award to teacher/sponsor.

Julia Nell, another seventh-grader, got an honorable mention in Junior Engineering with her "Lights, Sound, Stop!" entry.

The same project garnered Nell $50 and a certificate of award from Society Of Women Engineers, Rocky Mountain Section.

Each of the winners had advanced from the local science fair through regional competition in Durango to the state meet.


School Menus

The following menus will be used for the breakfasts and lunches served in the Pagosa Springs public schools April 23 through April 29.

Friday, April 23 - Breakfast: Scrambled egg, tortilla, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Bean burrito, salsa, cheese, lettuce, corn and popsicle.

Monday, April 26 - Breakfast: Breakfast pizza, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Stuffed crust pizza, tossed salad, mixed vegetables and cookie.

Tuesday, April 27 - Breakfast: Sausage and cheese muffin, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Fish patty, bun, lettuce, tomato, potato wedges, corn and fruit sherbet cup.

Wednesday, April 28 - Breakfast: Cinnamon rolls, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Spaghetti and sauce, tossed salad, breadsticks and peaches.

Thursday, April 29 - Breakfast: Biscuit and gravy, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwich, lettuce, tomato, green beans, tater tots and pudding.


Cruising with Cruse

Ah! The sparkle of spring sun - on discarded aluminum cans

By Katherine Cruse

SUN Columnist

What's another sign that spring is here?

Why, it's the bright glint of sunlight off aluminum cans, as the snow melts and reveals all the detritus that was deposited along the roads in late fall and winter.

And not just cans. Plastic bottles, moldering paper and cardboard, and, of course, beer bottles have also resurfaced. Yes boys and girls, it's time to start the highway cleanup season again.

I have my own little private stretch of road to pick up, a section of Meadows Drive. Hotshot used to do it, and I'd help him, but not very much.

Picking up roadside litter makes me cranky.

PLPOA supplies me with sturdy tan plastic bags. And a lightweight aluminum device to pick up the stuff without bending over. You squeeze the handle at one end and the suction cup-tipped fingers at the other end close down on whatever you're trying to pick up. They do a pretty good job. The gripping part opens wide enough to fit around bottles and cans, and it can close right down on paper and plastic bags and those nasty foam packing peanuts.

The system is not foolproof. The plastic bag tends to pivot and turn and close up. Now that they've designed the grippers, we need a better bag.

Maybe one with a loop that goes over your shoulder, like the kind that cotton pickers used to drag behind them as they trudged down the rows.

I'd like to report that Budweiser, the King of Beers, is getting heavy competition from Colorado's own - Coors. And it seems that there were a lot more bottles this year, almost as many bottles as cans. Does this increased preference for beer in bottles reflect a more discriminating bunch of consumers?

I told Hotshot about all the bottles. He said, "Yeah, there are probably as many bottles as cans." So there went that theory. We don't have more bottles; we have an inexperienced collector - me. After he said that, I didn't bother to mention that I thought there were more exotic beers in the collection. He'd probably say that he'd seen them all the time.

There were soft drink cans, some of them so bleached that I could barely read the labels. There were plastic soft drink bottles, the kind that the town collects for recycling, but not after they'd been lying beside the road all winter.

There were bottles that had hit rocks and broken when they were tossed. There were bottles that someone, for some reason, had screwed the tops back on. I'm wondering why they made the effort.

And, I found three or four small whiskey bottles, the flat kind that might fit in your hip pocket. Makes me wonder if at least some of the drivers who slid off the snowy roads last winter were impaired by more than a blinding snowstorm.

When you're picking up the roadside trash, you start speculating about how the stuff got there. You have to do something to occupy your mind. Hotshot says he thinks the people who toss the whiskey flasks really aim for rocks.

Must be something really satisfying about the sound of smashing glass, when you're also a little bit smashed yourself.

We do a lot of eating and drinking in our cars. They're mobile dining rooms.

I found chip bags, takeaway bags, cookie packages, and drink cups of all kinds. I found a drinking straw that someone had carefully formed into a circle, sticking one end inside the opening at the other end.

Since this was the first pass of the season, and the week after the Easter snow to boot, the ground was still pretty wet. Soggy. I went early in the morning. Ice covered the water in the ditches, and drops of dew sparkled on the grasses, as bright as bits of broken glass.

After the previous two weeks of cold and gray and wet weather, the sunshine was a welcome change. A meadow lark in a pine poured out his liquid song, and he was answered by another one farther away.

The grasses have barely started growing, so it's easy to walk the ditches.

Later, in July and August, the weeds will be scratchy and the sun will be baking. Early spring is better.

Picking up trash can be kind of social. I exchanged waves and nods with the drivers of all the cars that went past. Told myself what a good example I was setting. Speculated on whether any of them could be trash tossers.

Eventually I gathered six large plastic bags of trash. Not bad for a mile of road after a six month hiatus. The heaviest items were cardboard boxes that had spent all winter soaking. The most irritating were Styrofoam packing "peanuts," but there weren't too many. I guess most of them blew away in the fall.

Roads aren't the only places where litter accumulates. My rafting friends Fearless Leader and Any Day have just came back from a cleanup trip on the San Juan River in the canyons above Lake Powell.

They told me that each evening around the campfire the members of the group competed for the most interesting find of the day. The most interesting thing I found was a golf ball. I know the people who clean up U.S. 160 along the golf course find a lot of stray balls, but on Meadows Drive? C'mon. That's one heck of a swing.

My roadside trash was nothing compared to what the river group gathered:

Tires half submerged and filled with mud, a refrigerator, a rusted car body.

River Barbie, her hair matted and red with river silt. A large shop-size fire extinguisher, still charged. More Styrofoam clam boxes for takeaway food than you can possibly imagine. The group spent a week gathering all this trash.

Makes my little chore seem like a lovely stroll.


Local Chatter

Kazan, 11, felled by cancer

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

This is an obituary.

It's not an obituary for a well-known person, but for a well-known dog. Her name is Kazan.

The story goes back some years. When Kitzel Laverty married Derek Farrah, she had a golden retriever by the name of Abbey. A few years later, Abbey died of cancer.

Then Kitzel found another golden retriever. They named her Kazan (pronounced Kay 'zun) after a beloved German shepherd that belonged to family friends of Derek's family when they lived in Zimbabwe, Africa.

When nine pups were whelped by Kazan all were adopted by local people. They soon took on the name "The Golden Nine" and to celebrate their first birthday, Shirley Mateer, who got the only male pup, gave a party for them. It was a real social bash. The first of three more to come.

Invitations were sent.

"Come formal," they read and the puppies did. With the help of their moms, they wore wools, college emblems, necklaces and sequins and satins, etc. - not that they remained in them for the whole party, but they at least had arrived dressed fancy-like.

And there were games, prizes, a gift exchange, a prize for best-dressed, diplomas, hats to wear, even a special cake from a dog bakery in Kansas City.

The cake was part chocolate and appetizing to look at. Good enough for anybody to eat.

Max was a wonderful host. The obvious thing was how they seemed to recognize each other - forming their own family clan.

Kazan didn't get to the first party for the day before she was discovered paralyzed and had been taken up to the animal hospital at Colorado State University. There she was diagnosed as having a rare immune disease that wasn't transferable. But she made those birthdays in years to come.

Kazan had a special toy, a stuffed horse, that she greeted visitors with as though trying to share it with them. She was a loving dog.

And then this past Palm Sunday weekend, Kitzel discovered that Kazan was paralyzed and took her to Denver. This time it was an inoperable tumor on her spine and Kazan had to be put down. She was 11 years old. It was a time for the family and many friends and clients to grieve the passing of a favorite pet.

Kitzel knows I am writing this and she asks that I thank - for her - all the many people who sent cards and flowers. She requests that any money donations be made to the Cancer Research Center at Colorado State University.

As in all obituaries, survivors are listed and I would like to include the names of some of Kazan's dogs and their owners.

They are: Atticus, named for the central figure in "To Kill a Mockingbird," belonging to Steve and Shelly Marmaduke; Saffron, belonging to Don and Barbara Rosner; Shandy, belonging to Bob and Joan Arnold; Beau belonging to Michelle Schultz; Cedar belonging to James and Jean Carson; Custer, named for George Armstrong Custer, belonging to Clark and Jamie Sherman; Duchess belonging to Fred and Norma Harman; and Maximus of Squaw Canyon (called Max), belonging to Shirley Mateer.

These pups were born April 20, 1996.

Fun on the run

Tired of having to balance his wife's checkbook, Mike made a deal with her: He would look at it, but only after she had spent a few hours trying to wrestle it into shape.

The following night, after spending hours pouring over stubs and figures, Susie said proudly, "I've done it! I made it balance!"

Impressed, Mike came over to take a look, "Let's see mortgage $55, electricity $70.50, phone $35."

His brow wrinkled as he read the last entry. "It says here, ESP, $615. What the heck is that?"

"Oh," she said, "that means, Error Some Place!"


Extension Viewpoints

Volunteers are the key to 4H success

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Today - 4-H Entomology, Extension office, 4:30 p.m.; 4-H Oil Painting, Minor residence, 4:30

Friday - 4-H Leader's Appreciation Dinner, Hog's Breath, 6 p.m.

April 24 - 4-H Cooking Unit 1, Bomkamp residence, 9 a.m.

April 26 - 4-H Dog Obedience, Extension office, 4 p.m.; 4-H Sports Fishing, Extension office, 4; 4-H Shooting Sports, Ski & Bow Rack, 4

April 27 - Changing Landscapes Workshop, Extension office, 1 p.m.

Each year, thousands of volunteers in Colorado donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. These volunteers will be among the millions across the country spotlighted during National Volunteer Week, ending Saturday.

One group that relies heavily on volunteers is the Archuleta County 4-H program. This year, over 35 volunteers, both young and old, have served as club leaders and project leaders for the seven 4-H clubs in Archuleta County.

Volunteers spend numerous hours working on tasks such as helping organize an event at the county fair, helping a child with a 4-H project or leading a community service project.

Club volunteers are only one group of leaders across the state who are instrumental in carrying out the mission of the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. They are involved in every aspect of the county extension system, including determining the needs of the residents, planning programs, securing resources and evaluating programs.

The work of Extension volunteers is continuous. Every day a volunteer is lending a helping hand to make Extension programs beneficial to the residents of Archuleta County.

I have been a county agent in Archuleta County for 15 years and it never ceases to amaze me what a great group of people who support our 4-H program. So, I would like to explain to you what I think defines a 4-H volunteer.

Somewhere between the sternness of a parent and the comradeship of a pal is that mysterious creature we call a 4-H volunteer.

These volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, and may be male or female. But they all have one thing in common - a glorious twinkle in their eyes!

4-H Volunteers are found everywhere, judging contests, at fairs, workshops and talent shows. They are always preparing for, sitting through, participating in, or recuperating from a meeting of some kind. They are tireless consumers of doughnuts and muffins, expert at taking knots out of thread, peerless coaches, and they spend hours on the telephone.

A 4-H volunteer is many things: an artist making a float for the Fourth of July, a veterinarian prescribing for an under or overfed calf, a counselor at camp, a lawyer filling out reports, and a shoulder to cry on when that dress just won't fit.

Nobody else is so early to rise and so late to get home at night. Nobody else has so much fun with so many boys and girls.

We sometimes forget them, but we can't do without them. They receive no salary, but we can never repay them. They are angels in aprons, saints in straw hats. Their only reward is the love of the kids and the respect of the community. But when they look around them at the skills they've taught and the young people they've developed, there's an inner voice from somewhere that says, "Well done."

Thank you, for all you have done!

Landscape workshop

A "Changing Landscapes" workshop will be held 1-5 p.m. April 27, at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.

The workshop is free of charge and open to the public. It is sponsored by CSU Cooperative Extension and Colorado State Forest Service.

Topics to be covered include the Piñon IPS Beetle epidemic and other forest insects and diseases of note; clean up, salvage, and reforestation of beetle infested areas; wildfire hazard mitigation; and revegetation.

Please come and learn more about important issues affecting our forests and woodlands, and to ask questions.


Food for Thought

Potato cookies and feathers, in the best of all possible worlds

By Karl Isberg

SUN Columnist

For Proust, the madeleine.

For me, the clown face.

Tickets on the Mnemonic Express.

It happened as I strolled around the south side of town last week. I took a turn and there's the clown face, huge, garishly colored, painted on the side of a semitrailer.

The trailer was one of many tugged around the country by a circus troupe.

That's right, a circus was in town, and for once it didn't involve the meeting of a local governmental body. Granted, both local government and a circus feature an overload of cheap entertainment, but this was the genuine article.

I spied the face of the clown as I walked across the field toward a cluster of large vehicles, toward the burgeoning throng of local residents who flocked to the site. People were there to watch the circus arrive in Pagosa, to watch the Big Top rise above the barren ground: old-timers, families, kids and their teachers from the elementary school. Me.

The sight of that painted image tumbled me into the fit of memory.

Suddenly, I was walking again across a broad expanse in Denver, in 1954. I'm not sure if I was near the Denver Coliseum or, more likely, in a field near Alameda Avenue and the Platte River. The circus train had stopped on a siding.

There I was, 8 years old, a short, wide, gap-toothed, profoundly myopic lad, at the age where his guardians let him go off on his own for a while as they shepherded his irritating little brother and cousins.

I waddled down the avenue between the smaller tents that formed the midway, squinting up at the garish signs above each tent entrance. Those were the days when grotesque genetic mutations still captivated your average citizen, when barkers promised unimagined thrills, when the allure of exotic dancers accompanied by odd Middle Eastern music lured ordinarily stable dads away from their families, titillated teen-age boys.

Of course, I wasn't sure what I was looking at since I saw things clearly only out to a distance of ten inches. Beyond that, everything floated indistinct, in a mist. That visual fog was the backdrop for my hyperactive imagination.

What I did see clearly was a clown face painted on the side of one of the railroad cars. There was no missing it, it was so big. And what I saw next put a serious dent in my young consciousness. The door to the car opened and out of that railroad car, sashaying in slow motion down the iron steps, was a line of the most incredible creatures in the universe.

Circus girls, in all their gaudy glory, clad in dangerously brief, high-chroma spangly costumes, faces slathered with brothel makeup, perfect heads all feathered and tousled, legs as tall as the tent poles in the Big Top.

Geez, I had no idea.

That night (and the next three nights, after I browbeat my grandmother into taking me back to the show) I sat front row center under the tent. I didn't care about the clown car; I didn't pay attention to the daring-do on the high wire or the trapeze. I completely missed the big cats going obediently through their paces, fearful of another jolt from the cattle prod. All I saw were you guessed it the circus girls.

I'm sure all little folks have their fantasies and I know, in the pre-TV days, fantasies were a big part of the mental life of a lot of imaginative kids. Most of my friends kept their fantasy life to the basics: baseball star, fireman, jet pilot, war hero.

Not me.

After my experience at the bottom of that stairway, I was a special member of the circus crew, a blessed resident of the best of all possible worlds.

As I sat in the classroom, daydreaming, or rested in my little bed at night, I drifted away to that other world. I rode in that big train car with the huge clown face painted on the side, going from city to city, part of a collective effort designed to bring joy to Americans everywhere. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please direct your attention to the center ring "

Picture it: There I was, an adorable, short, chubby guy who spends all his time with the circus girls. Their mascot, their confidante, their attendant. Little Karl is in charge of combing the feathers on the headdresses, of making sure the gals have all their necessary equipment ready for the big show. I tidy up around the railroad car, do laundry, assist whenever one of the willowy masterpieces suffers a circus-girl injury (and that happens more often than you would imagine). One and all adore me. In my minds' eye, I can see each of them; I give them names. I design new costumes and routines; I negotiate with the tyrannical circus owner for higher wages.

This fantasy occupied most of my waking hours, for several months. Those darned circus girls were mesmerizing. And I was, if nothing else, utterly devoted to them.

I even cooked for the troupe. By the time I was eight, my Aunt Hazel, the cooking teacher, had introduced me to a few basic dishes and techniques. My circus girl cuisine, if I remember, was somewhat limited, but the gals enjoyed it immensely. After all, they enjoyed me immensely. I would prepare a meal in the comfy confines of our circus car, then sit back and fluff a couple headdresses while the circus girls ate and complimented me profusely. I whipped up teensy crustless crab salad sandwiches and watercress-graced delights (for the figure, you know), warmed milk at night, baked pan after pan of potato cookies to serve with fresh raspberries and heavy cream. When they tucked me in for the night, each circus girl patted me on my wide head and gave me a little smooch on the forehead.

Life was good on the circus train.

I was totally obsessed with the circus fantasy. After relentless harassment on my part, my maternal grandmother succumbed that Halloween of 1954 and had a special costume made for me: a Ringmaster suit, extra-husky in size, complete with red coat with tails, white pants, fake high black boots and a top hat. I tried on that costume every night for a week, gazing at myself in the mirror with, of course, a bevy of circus girls behind me, admiring my apparel, begging for more cookies.

I was set for the trek with my pals through the neighborhoods around Washington Park. It would be the greatest Halloween ever, and I would occupy the center ring, king of circus girls everywhere. We knew all the best houses, we had super-large bags ready to carry the treats. Hudson was Flash Gordon; Walsh was Babe Ruth; Kermish was a ghost (his mom had an old sheet she needed to be rid of). Unknown to my pals, The Ringmaster would be accompanied by five or six willowy dames clad in scanty costumes, all wearing high heels and feathered headdresses.

The whole scenario crashed in flames when I took desperately ill with the flu. I spent Halloween evening draped like an overcooked wide noodle on my grandmother's couch, clutched by fever, dressed in my special costume, a wretched feeb watching his aunt dispense home-baked treats to his friends.

Thankfully, the girls were there to nurse me back to health.

Ah, but all good things must come to an end. It was not long before the girls and I parted ways.

Two things happened: First, my folks figured out I was nearly blind and had me fitted with eyeglasses. In an instant, I realized there was a world with edges out there, with identifiable things occurring at a distance. Second, my dad had a crew pour a large concrete patio area behind the house and I built a hockey goal. In no time, with the aid of modern optical technology, my fantasy changed. I was out back of the house, hour after hour, nearly every day, sometimes well after dark, in the grip of a new obsession, firing pucks at the Russian national team goalie, winning the Olympics for the USA.

The visual fog that had facilitated a vivid inner life, necessitated it in fact, was gone. As were, alas, the gals. They boarded the train car with the huge clown face painted on the side and rolled away toward the mountains west of town, toward the setting sun. They leaned out the car windows as the train pulled away and waved goodbye, their smiles radiant, the feathers on their headdresses fluttering in the breeze.

I was offered a ticket to go to the circus last week, but I refused. I knew better.

The wisdom of my decision was clear when I looked at the images our photographer brought back from the event. She clicked off shots of the animals, the clowns, the ringmaster and, yes, the circus girls.

The hammer of fact can strike a mighty blow; Some of those women should not wear those costumes.

And yet, I'll bet there was a chubby little guy front row center at the circus performance who saw tall, willowy, glamorous denizens of a mysterious world.

Geez, he no doubt thought, I had no idea.

I hope he knows how to cook.

Circus girls love potato cookies


Pagosa Lakes News

Ancient Asian practice eases sore muscle pain

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

Who would have thought that an ancient Asian practice would help ease sore muscles and joints and increase mobility?

Actually, the Chinese, who had been practicing tai chi for centuries, had a pretty good idea that their sequences of flowing, controlled movements were good for the body as well as the mind.

Now, some of the 43 million arthritis sufferers are "waving hands like clouds" and "pushing the mountain," and feeling the better for it.

Doctors have long known that exercise can increase flexibility, reduce pain and stiffness and build muscle tone - all important benefits for people with musculoskeletal conditions.

But finding an exercise regime that doesn't put more wear and tear on already aggravated joints and muscles has been a challenge. Exercise that's too vigorous causes joints to swell and stiffen; so does inactivity.

Now, research shows that tai chi joins yoga and water exercises as effective ways to improve flexibility and build muscle strength gradually.

According to Chinese philosophy, tai chi's slow, synchronized postures improve the flow of "chi" the vital life energy, throughout the body. Though western doctors may not embrace the notion of chi, studies show that tai chi improves balance and range of motion. The weight-bearing aspect of the exercise may stimulate bone growth and strengthen connective tissue, and the soothing routines seem to reduce anxiety, which has been linked to pain.

And tai chi can be practiced by almost anyone, almost anywhere, with no expensive equipment.

A good start is this Saturday's free class at Town Park. Lynnis Steinert will teach the class, starting at 10 a.m., to celebrate World Tai Chi Day, a worldwide celebration of tai chi. For more information, call Lynnis at 264-2831.

PLPOA dues are due at the end of this month. Payments received after May 1 are considered late and will be subject to a $20 per lot late fee.



Brian, Holly and Alec Fulbright would like to announce the arrival of the newest Fulbright - Tai Allen. Tai was born Feb. 4, 2004, at Mercy Medical Center. He weighed 7 pounds, 3.5 ounces, and was 21 inches long. Tai is also welcomed by grandparents Rebecca Smith and Rod and LouAnn Marler of Pagosa Springs, and Dave and Laura Fulbright of Haslet, Texas. He is also fortunate enough to have several great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.



Jimmie Kirkham

Jimmie Neil Kirkham died April 10, 2004, at his home, surrounded by his family.

He was born June 24, 1941, in El Campo, Texas, to Ira Joe Kirkham and Bobbie Chapman. Jimmie and Dorothy Jean Reed were married Oct. 23, 1965, at Oak Shade Baptist Church in Cleveland, Texas.

Jimmie joined the U.S. Air Force in 1961 and served four years on active duty. He later served in the Texas Air National Guard and the Texas Army National Guard, retiring in 1996 after serving a total of 22 years in the U.S. military.

He worked for Shell Oil Company in Houston from 1965 until his retirement in 1991. He was a 1984 graduate of the University of Houston. After retiring from Shell, he worked for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD with special education children.

He and his family moved to Pagosa Springs in 1996 where he worked as a substitute teacher at Pagosa Springs High School and where he worked part-time in the garden center of Ponderosa Do-It-

Best. Jimmie was active with the Boy Scouts of America for many years, both in Houston and Pagosa Springs.

He was a member of Cypress Bible Church in Houston, where he served as a deacon. After moving to Pagosa Springs, he became an active member of First Baptist Church of Pagosa and served on many committees.

Jimmie is survived by his best friend and wife, Dorothy (Dot); two sons, Robert McNeil Kirkham and wife Sara of Colorado Springs and James Duncan Kirkham of Pagosa Springs; his mother, Bobbie Kirkham of Cleveland, Texas; a brother, Lloyd "Tookie" Kirkham and wife Cordella, and sister Joann Hansbro and husband Charles, all of Cleveland; a brother-in-law, Howard Reed and wife Wanda of Pasadena, Texas; and a sister-in-law, Pat Capps and husband David of Cypress, Texas; numerous loving nieces and nephews, and a host of friends.

A memorial service will be held 10 a.m. April 24, 2004, at First Baptist Church in Pagosa Springs.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs, the Boy Scouts of America, or to a favorite charity.


Charles Dunagan

Charles J. "Chuck" Dunagan left this world to go to his heavenly home on April 10, 2004, at the age of 76. Through his lifetime, he touched the hearts of everyone who knew him.

Those left to celebrate his life are his wife of 53 years, Eula; son Charlie and wife Vicki; daughter Denise Stevens and husband Rod; and daughter Mary Kay Cornwall and husband Steve. "Bumpit's" grandchildren are Tara Olson and husband John, Shawn Dunagan and wife Lori, Kirk and Michelle Stevens, Calvin and Laura Lee and Stevie and Brett Cornwall. His great-grandchildren are Cole and Blake Dunagan.

He has left wonderful memories in our hearts and will be missed by all.

A celebration of his life was held 2 p.m. Monday at the Aztec, N.M. home of Steve and Mary Kay Cornwall.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Baptist Children's Home and Northwest New Mexico Hospice.


Faith Christians

Brent and JaNae Christians and the family of Faith Christians invite the community to a celebration of her life.

A service will be held Saturday, April 24, at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church.

A visitation will held at First Baptist Church April 23, 6:30-8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions be made to a memorial fund established in Faith's name at Bank of the San Juans, to benefit the Denver Ronald McDonald House.


Business News
Biz Beat

Curves for Women

April Bergman owns Curves for Women.

Curves for Women is celebrating its five-year anniversary with an open house April 26, 9 a.m.-noon at 117 Navajo Trails Drive, behind the Hog's Breath restaurant.

Curves offers fitness that's fun, a 30-minute total body workout, weight loss program, nutritional supplements and much more.

Business hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday 8 a.m. to noon and 4-6:30 p.m.; and Saturday 8-11 a.m.

Call 731-0333.


Preview Profile

Steve Hentschel

Assistant fire management officer

U.S. Forest Service

Where were you born?

"Colorado Springs."

Where did you go to school?

"I graduated from Doherty High School in Colorado Springs and then attended the University of Montana."

When did you arrive in Pagosa Springs?

"About a month and a half ago."

What did you do before you arrived here?

"I was a fire engine captain for the U.S. Forest Service in California."

What are your job responsibilities?

"Directing fire suppression activities; assisting the manager with fire suppression and prescribed fire."

What are the most enjoyable and least enjoyable aspects of your job?

"I get to go all over the place and see things not many other people get to see."

What is your family background?

"I have been married for eight years and my wife and I have a 4- year-old son."

What do you like best about the community?

"The people here are extremely nice."

What are your other interests?

"Hunting, outdoors and computers."



Sue Donlan

Sue Donlan, of Pagosa Springs, was recently commissioned a Lt. j.g. in the U.S. Navy Reserve Nurse Corps. She was officially commissioned at a site on the bank of the San Juan River adjacent to the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center by Lt. Chad Tidwell Denver Naval Reserve Command recruiter.


Michael Zeek

Marine Corps Pvt. Michael A. Zeek, son of Rita M. and Anthony Zeek of Pagosa Springs, recently completed 12 weeks of basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif.

The training is designed to challenge new Marine recruits both physically and mentally.

Zeek and fellow recruits began their daily training at 5 a. m. by running three miles and performing calisthenics. In addition to the physical conditioning program, Zeek spent numerous hours in classroom and field assignments which included learning first aid, uniform regulations, combat water survival, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and assorted weapons training.

Zeek and other recruits also received instruction on the Marine Corps' core values - honor, courage and commitment - and what the words mean in guiding personal and professional conduct.

He and fellow recruits ended the training phase with The Crucible, a 54-hour, team evolution culminating in an emotional ceremony in which recruits are presented the Marine Corps Emblem, and addressed as "Marines" for the first time in their careers.

Zeek is a 2003 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School who joined the Marine Corps in November 2003.


Cards of Thanks

Gheen family

The family of Morris Gheen would like to thank his extended family of friends for attending his memorial service. The overwhelming number of people in attendance made it difficult for us to speak to everyone.

Thank you to Diana Nordine for all of your help and to everyone who brought the comforting gifts of food. Thank you to Paul's Place for hosting the food and fellowship following the service and to Duane and Tina Graham for use of the tent that saved the day. Thanks also to all of those who have made contributions to the new baseball field.

Morris is now at rest in the arms of the Lord, who he always told his parents would take care of him. All of your prayers, cards, thoughts and kind words have made this time of loss and retrospection easier for his children, Ohea, Joby, Lucas, Jesse; his parents, Dwight and Freda; and siblings Rick, Connie, Carol and Angela.

Bear victim

God bless and thanks to all the caring people who offered prayers, comfort, and helping hands after my accident. Your thoughtfulness, despite your own busy lives, has helped make my recovery BEARable (yes, the bear is doing fine, also).

Thanks to Dick and Vimmie Ray, fellow Wildlife Park employees, all my exceptional, one-of-a-kind friends and neighbors from Trujillo Road who brought green chili, tortillas and laughter. Thanks also to Archuleta County's finest EMTs, Mary Fisher Clinic staff, Pagosa Health and Wellness Center, Rocky and Adriana McClellan, Tanya and Ron from Shear Talk, the folks at

Bear Creek Saloon and Grill, The Rose Restaurant, Carol Riley at the Malt Shoppe, Gerlinde Ehni, Rainbow Gift Shop, Rice Reavis, Mountain Snapshots, Pagosa Candy Co., Helene at Hi-Peak Homes, Betty Willett, Cynthia Harrison, Verna Lucas, DNK Auto, Shirley at Edelweiss, Shell station, Mataya's, Everyday Store, Ampride, Yvonne Samples, Karen and Jeff McVey, Leah and Steve Mustill, Juanita Archuleta and to that small bundle of energy, Dee Shanks. May the Lord bless and keep you all.

Jeanne Hanson-Colburn


In today's fast-paced society, volunteers are almost extinct.

Here in Pagosa, people still find time to volunteer. These people give part of their life by teaching, caring, role modeling and many other great characteristics. Our volunteers are extraordinary people because they give their time in ways many people do not.

Leaders are not born, they are grown and the 4-H volunteers help to grow future leaders, cultivating a sense of confidence that helps children move on to do great things. And where would we be without volunteers? They give the kids of Pagosa a chance to become leaders and responsible adults. They do so much and should know how greatly appreciated they are.

If you see one of these volunteers please tell them just how much you appreciate all they do:

Robin Bell, Pamela Bomkamp, Shirley Brinkman, Jean Brooks, Sandy Caves, Cheryl Class-Erickson, Kitzel Farrah, Mike Ferguson, Kathy Fulmer, Addie Greer, Lynn Johnson, Kenneth Jones, Charlie King, Jeff Laydon, Pam Martin, Sabra Miller, Evi Miner, Jan Nanus, William Newell, Bob Newlander, Mary Nickels, Rita O'Connell, Mary Ann Page, Doug Purcell, Gwen Ray, Tiger Regester, Mike Reid, Lisa Scott, Betty Shahan, Diana Talbot and Brenda Wanket.

Rachel Carrell

Maddux family

We've said it many times, but it is worth repeating: We are so fortunate to live in Pagosa.

When we lost our home to fire, our neighbors and friends were right there. They held fire hoses, comforted children and tended animals. They found us a temporary home and had food and clothing waiting for us. There was such an outpouring of concern and support. It was truly wonderful.

We would like to thank some special people who helped us through the ordeal:

Kitzel Farrah and staff at San Juan Veterinary Hospital for accepting our cat and caring for her; residents of Alpine Lakes Ranch who were the first on the scene, manned water hoses, offered moral support and stayed late into the night; the Pagosa Fire Protection District, who made it to our home in record time and once again showed their professionalism in fighting the fire; the thrift stores, who have opened their doors to us; the churches who stood by us; all our friends in Archuleta County 4-H, and so many others who have sent cards and letters.

We greatly appreciate your support. We are truly blessed to have each and every one of you in our lives.

The Maddux Family


Sports Page

Pirates take fifth at Pueblo Challenge Cup

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Pirates traveled to the Front Range over the weekend to take on 21 teams at the Pueblo Challenge Cup, a meet run on the same track as state.

Pagosa's boys finished fifth, claiming two firsts, despite missing several key athletes because of other school activities, confirmations and injury.

"The weather was beautiful and the competition was great," Coach Connie O'Donnell said. It was made even better by the Pirates' performances.

Senior David Kern leaped into his season with a win in the long jump, earning him a medal and a letter. His winning jump covered 19 feet, 3 inches.

Over on the track, senior Aaron Hamilton attacked the competition for a win in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 6.87 seconds.

"He also had a 2:05 split during the boys 4-by-800 because he was trying to catch the team in front," O'Donnell said. "He didn't catch the guy, but he sure was eating up a lot of ground by the end of the race." The relay team of Hamilton, junior Otis Rand, sophomore A.J. Abeyta and senior Dan Lowder finished second in the 3200, crossing the line in 8:39.63.

Pagosa's Junior Turner placed in three events on the day. His highest finished came off a second-place jump of 39-7.5 in the triple jump. The junior took to the track with Lowder, freshman Gunner Gill, and Rand for a third-place finish in the 1600-meter relay. They claimed the medal with a 3:45.76 effort. Turner placed fourth in the long jump to complete his weekend effort.

Rand added to the team's points with a sixth-place finish in the 400-meter run, and sophomore Casey Schutz ended the day with a sixth-place award in the triple jump.

Paul Przysbylski closed the Pirate's efforts earning seventh place in the 100-meter dash, "a great effort for a sophomore in a big meet," O'Donnell said. "Both Paul and David (Kern) were part of the sprint relays. I was really impressed with the relays because they were missing two of the boys who usually run, and you could hardly tell because the handoffs were very smooth."

The Pirates also competed in a meet in Ignacio April 13, but official results from that meet have not been forwarded to Pagosa officials yet.

Friday, the junior varsity runners will compete in Del Norte. The varsity travels to Bloomfield Saturday for their next contest. Fans of the team should find the Pirates' new uniforms easier to spot in the crowds of runners. The colors are Vegas gold with black and white stripes on the sides.


3200 relay: 2. O. Rand, A.J. Abeyta, D. Lowder, A. Hamilton, 8:39.63. 100: 7. P. Przybylski, 12.00. 400: 6. O. Rand, 54.10. 800: A. Hamilton, 2:06.87. 1600 relay: 3. D. Lowder, J. Turner, G. Gill, O. Rand, 3:45.76. Long jump: 1. D. Kern, 19-3; 4. J. Turner, 18-6. Triple jump: 2. J. Turner, 39-7.5; 6. C. Schutz, 37-3.


Pagosa long jump record set at Pueblo

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

One school record fell this weekend in Pueblo as Pagosa's female tracksters faced down the competition to claim fifth as a team.

The record fell in the triple jump where sophomore Liza Kelley leaped 33-feet, 3-inches, breaking Pagosa's old record of 31-2.5 set by Alex Rigia. Kelley's leap was also long enough to secure third place at the Pueblo Challenge Cup.

The Pirates' lone first-place finish came in the 3200-meter relay where the foursome of junior Bri Scott, freshman Jessica Lynch, freshman Jen Shearston and sophomore Emilie Schur combined for a 10:32.79 finish. Both the 3200 team and the 400-meter relay team which took fourth, "showed a lot of potential for post season action," Coach Connie O'Donnell said.

The fourth-place 400 relay team included freshman Lyndsey Mackey, freshman Kim Fulmer, junior Janna Henry and sophomore Mia Caprioli. They crossed the finish in 56.55.

Several runners also racked up points as individuals.

Henry competed in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, finishing fourth and second, respectively. In the 300 hurdles, she finished in 51.38. Her time in the 100 hurdles was 17.80.

Mackey finished seventh in the long jump and made the finals in the 300 hurdles but, in the finals, slipped on the first hurdle and went down.

O'Donnell said Mackey showed her toughness by getting up and finishing the race, nearly catching the girl in front of her. "She is going to be a great runner and hurdler," the coach said. "It is fun to have so many girls who place regularly in individual events now."

Continuing to rack up the points, Caprioli finished second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.48 and sixth in the long jump. Fulmer placed fourth in the 200 meters, crossing the finish in 28.93.

Sophomore Emilie Schur claimed fourth place in the 3200 with a time of 13:05.31. She added fifth-place finishes in both the 800 and 1600.

On Schur's heels were Lynch who picked up a seventh-place finish in the 800 and Shearston who claimed seventh in the 3200.

The Pirates travel to Bloomfield Saturday for their next test. They are sporting new uniforms this year with help from the Booster Club. Fans should look for Pagosans in Vegas gold with black and white stripes down the side.


Triple jump: 3. L. Kelley, 33-3. Long jump: 6. M. Caprioli, 14-6.5; 7. L. Mackey, 14-3. 100 hurdles: 4. J. Henry, 17.80. 100: 2. M. Caprioli, 13.48; 200: 4. K. Fulmer, 28.93. 300 hurdles: 2. J. Henry, 51.38. 800: 5. E. Schur, 2:38.38; 7. J. Lynch, 2:42.87. 1600: 5. E. Schur, 5:45.83; 7. J. Shearston, 5:48.90. 3200: 4. E. Schur, 13:05.31. 3200 relay: 1. B. Scott, J. Lynch, J. Shearston, E. Schur, 10:32.79. 400 relay: 4. L. Mackey, K. Fulmer, J. Henry, M. Caprioli, 56.55.


Pirates thwart strong Ignacio goal keeping for 5-2 victory

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

With three starters participating in state FBLA competition, Pagosa coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason dipped again into his freshman pool Tuesday.

His choice of Mariah Howell to play the left wing position proved fortunate.

The youngster scored a pair of goals and had an assist as the Pirates defeated Ignacio 5-2 on the Bobcats' home field.

It must be noted that Ignacio, too, had three players missing and with only 13 on the roster, that left them one short from the outset.

Kurt-Mason declined to take advantage of the shortage, choosing instead to go 10-on-10 with the Bobcats.

The first 14 minutes of the contest were highlighted by miss after miss by Pirate attackers as their midfielders controlled the game and set them up with accurate passing.

Howell had the first opportunity just a minute into the contest, but her blast from the left wing sailed just over the crossbar to the upper right.

Then it was time for senior midfielder Melissa Diller to experience inaccuracy. Twice between the sixth and eighth minutes she was wide right on crossing leads from Amy Tautges, playing the right wing.

Another of the freshman corps, Laurel Reinhardt was stopped on a breakaway by Bobcat keeper Jamie Lucero, the first of her 15 saves in the contest, and then Howell was wide left on a feed from sophomore Jennifer Hilsabeck.

In the 10th and 11th minutes, Tautges was stopped by Lucero and then wide right on a shot off a drop lead from Brittany Corcoran.

Finally, at 14:56, Howell put Pagosa in front 1-0, converting from the left wing on a crossing lead from Corcoran who seemed to be in the middle of almost every play.

Then it was Tautges digging out a loose ball and bearing down on Lucero, only to see her shot go wide right again. Reinhardt, too, was wide right on a drop lead from Tautges and Diller was stopped by Lucero at 26:05.

Midfielder Caitlyn Jewell got a rare scoring opportunity less than a minute later when she stole a Bobcat outlet and roared down the right sideline alone. Perhaps surprised by her open field, she may have shot too soon, and Lucero made the stop.

The Pirates retained possession, however, and Lucero was forced to make another save, this time on Hilsabeck, before Ignacio could clear the zone.

Perhaps Lucero's finest moment came in a 50-second standoff starting at 17:31. She stopped Diller on a breakaway, Kailey Smith on a rebound, and then thwarted Diller, again.

The most spectacular play of the game came at 33:28 when Jewell had a handstand 35-yard throw-in intended for the breaking Diller. The toss, however sailed over both Diller and keeper Lucero into the upper right corner of the net. Had it been touched in flight, it would have been the second Pagosa goal, but it was not touched and Ignacio got a goal kick outlet.

On succeeding plays two minutes later, Lucero again stopped Diller and then Tautges.

But finally, her magic ran out as the half wore down. At 37:25 she stopped an initial drive by Diller off a lead from Tautges, but Howell kept the ball in front of the net. Lucero tapped it out but Diller was right there for the score and Pagosa led 2-0.

Then, with seven seconds remaining in the half, Brett Garman had a scoring chance on a lead from Jewell, but she too was wide right.

Exactly one minute into the second half, the lead went to 3-0 when Howell scored again from the left wing on a fake shot and crossing pass from Diller.

Seven minutes later, Diller had another scoring chance, this time on a penalty kick from 20 yards. It was right on target, but hit the crossbar. Thirty seconds later Reinhardt was stopped by Lucero but Pagosa kept the ball in the zone when Kyrie Beye stole the outlet. Her blast from 25 yards sailed just high to the left corner.

But Pagosa was on an offensive surge, refusing to be stopped.

At 53:06, Diller hiked the lead to 4-0 converting on a lead from Reinhardt. And, just 59 seconds later, she got her third and the team's fifth goal on a corner-out lead from Tautges.

From that point, Kurt-Mason chose for his team to go into a possession mode, passing crisply but making few assaults on goal.

Finally, at 57:47, Ignacio speedster Julia Thompson dented the scoring column for the Bobcats, scoring unassisted after stealing the ball just inside the zone and leaping over a fallen defender.

On the ensuing possession, Reinhardt was stopped by Lucero and Ignacio roared back to the offense, only to be thwarted when Emily Sanford's drive hit the right post.

Hilsabeck was stopped on the next Pagosa possession, but Ignacio went quickly back on attack, their three missing players having arrived from Aspen. Kurt-Mason, however, stayed with a shortened 10-person lineup on the field.

After consecutive blocks by Kody Hanavan and Alaina Garman and a clearing kick by Roxanne Lattin, Ignacio got the final goal of the game from Sanford on a breakaway at 78:14.

One final shot by Reinhardt, with nine seconds left, was stopped by Lucero.

After the game, Kurt-Mason said the keys were "tighter marking, something we learned in Alaska, and a constant movement, get to the ball first possession game."

Pirate keeper Sierra Fleenor had four saves as the defense, for the most part, kept the ball away from her.


Alaskan trip a growing experience for Pirates

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Juneau, Alaska's capital city, lies near Mendenhall Glacier, a symbol of ancient freezing temperatures carried into the present.

The girls' soccer team from Pagosa Springs may have been intimidated by that icy cap.

In a three-game expedition into the northernmost state last week, the Pirate kickers came up winless.

In terms of soccer, said coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, "We got chewed up and spit out."

But, he said, "this trip was more than just soccer ... it was a chance for bonding as a team, for learning how others react to challenge, and a way to strengthen bonds."

There were a number of factors the team had not faced before.

First, they played (the first game against Juneau) before a crowd of between 1,000 and 1,500, about 10 times as many as they've ever played before in Pagosa Springs.

Second, this is basically a young team trying to find its own persona and they were put up against teams which have third and fourth generation players in programs developed over decades.

The coach didn't remember the score of the first game, only that the foe had more than 70 players suited out and never substituted any of the varsity players out of action.

"What our girls got out of this," he said, "was to see some great hockey and a lot of really good soccer players."

"They (the Alaskan teams) play a fast, one-touch per player, over- the-top game that provides consistent scoring opportunities. There is no hesitation and there is constant movement, things we've been trying to teach in Pagosa."

After the initial defeat, the Pirates lost 5-0 to both Palmer and Chugiak, teams playing the same type of game but with less depth.

Still, soccer wasn't the only key for the trip to the invitational tournament.

"We wanted the girls to see another type of environment, another way of life," Kurt-Mason said.

To accomplish that, the girls visited the glacier mentioned above and got a geology lesson and were exposed to the forest ecology of the tundra.

They were taken to a beach to walk the sands as the tide came in and realized how quickly it moves and that they had to get back out of its path.

Juneau, which lies in a fjord, has only 40 miles of roadways and there is a tradition for visitors to seek "the end of the road."

"We took them there, again ending out on a beach," he said, "watching seals and sea otters cavorting."

They got to take a walk on a muskeg, a spongy peat bog type surface about 4 feet thick and saw stunted growth trees standing no more than 4 feet high.

Riding a 110-foot catamaran, they went out to sea and saw whales and sea lions rising.

After the final game on Saturday, the girls were taken to downtown Juneau to visit the shops and do the normal tourist things.

Then, Kurt-Mason said, "I went downtown and purchased chunks of beef fat and we went to another beach. We began tossing the chunks high into the sea and for a while nothing happened.

"Then, what I expected started. Bald eagles began to appear, they were actually picking the chunks out of the air as we threw them, circling in close looking for food because the fish which are their normal diet were not yet running."

The girls were housed in the homes of host families throughout the area and that created a bit of a problem for one of the biggest highlights of the trip.

At about 11 p.m. one night, Kurt-Mason looked out and saw the most impressive display of the Northern Lights he'd ever seen. (He lived in the area for several years before coming to Pagosa.)

"I called as many of the host families as I could," he said, "urging them to awaken the girls to see this miracle of the north. It lasted until 3 a.m. and was just spectacular."

Back to soccer, Kurt-Mason said the Chugiak coach was so impressed by the Pagosa team and their insistence on making the trip, that he would like to bring his team here next year if a sufficient number of games can be arranged.

Asked how the teams his squad faced compare to others in our area, the coach without a hesitation said "They're on a par with Fort Lewis or Mesa State (college squads)."

"I was proud of our girls," he said. "They were outclassed and knew it but it didn't stop them from giving it everything they had."

"I think, in the long run," he added, they got a lot more out of this experience. It wasn't just soccer competition, but a chance to see new styles of the game, new styles of life and new means of accomplishment."


Wolverine hitters chew up Pirates for twin bill sweep

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The wolverine is one of the most powerful animals for its size in the world.

That description from World Book Encyclopedia was not intended to include baseball players, but the Bayfield prep team emulated their mascot's description Saturday.

Preseason favorites to return as Intermountain League titlist, the visitors attacked Pirate pitching with a vengeance, slamming out 29 hits including seven home runs - one a grand slam - in a doubleheader sweep 15-4 and 13-8.

The scene was set early.

Left-handed swinging Bayfield shortstop Sam McDonald picked a high fast ball from Pagosa's Randy Molnar and drove the 1-1 pitch over the fence in left center to open the first game,

Molnar, effective in his first two appearances for Pagosa, gave up eight runs in 2 1/3 innings in the opener before fellow junior Levi Gill calmed the storm temporarily in relief.

First game detail

After McDonald's blast, a fielding error by Gill allowed Will Latimer to reach first. He was moved to third by pitcher Jeremy Sirios' single and scored on a single by right fielder Cody Moore.

After third baseman J.T. Cathcart went down swinging, catcher Eric Yarina flied to center and center fielder Jacob Posey hit into a fielder's choice, Moore cut down at second by shortstop Michael Bradford.

Pagosa's half of the frame was short. Third baseman Marcus Rivas and Bradford each struck out. Catcher Ben Marshall was hit on the helmet by a Sirios pitch and stole second. But he died there when Gill went down swinging.

First baseman Tim Smith opened Bayfield's second with a double to right, again off a fast ball high in the zone from Molnar. Second baseman Clay Rampone was out on a grounder to Rivas, Smith moving to third. But Molnar suddenly lost the plate completely, walking both McDonald and Latimer before Sirios delivered a single to score Smith. Moore followed with a sacrifice fly to center, and Cathcart singled for another run before Yarina struck out and Bayfield was up 5-0 with Pagosa coming up in the second.

Freshman right fielder Karl Hujus was robbed on a great diving play in left by Latimer which, on another day, probably would have opened a big Pirate inning.

That was because freshman first baseman Casey Hart drew a walk as the next batter and was advanced on a single by center fielder Jeremy Caler, the Pirate's first hit of the game. But sophomore left fielder Josh Hoffman took a called third strike and Molnar went down swinging.

The third was to be the first of two four-run innings in the game for Bayfield.

It began innocently with Posey grounding out to short. But Tim Smith doubled to left and Rampone ripped Molnar's next pitch over the fence in left. That was enough for Pirate coach Tony Scarpa who summoned Gill to the hill.

He got McDonald on a grounder to second for the second out, but walked Latimer before Sirios homered to center. Moore singled to right, but Gill bore down to get Cathcart swinging to end the half inning, Pagosa trailing 9-0.

Pagosa got its first run in the bottom of the third featuring some wildness by Sirios.

Rivas opened drawing a walk and immediately stole second. Sirios wild-pitched him to third, and then repeated the wild pitch routine allowing Rivas to score.

Bradford flied to center and Marshall to right before Gill singled to center and Hujus reached on an error by Cathcart. Hart fanned to end the inning and Pagosa still trailed 9-1.

Bayfield's fourth was the only scoreless inning for the Wolverines. Gill got Yarina and Posey on successive infield ground outs before Smith reached on a throwing error by Rivas. Rampone singled, but McDonald bounced back to second.

Then it was the Pirates' turn for an uprising. Again, it stared simply with Caler grounding to first for an easy out.

Josh Hoffman singled to right and first baseman Adam Trujillo, batting in Molnar's spot, reached on an error by Rampone. Rivas ripped a single up the middle and the Pirates had the bases loaded. Two successive wild pitches by Sirios allowed Pagosa runs to score and Rivas scored when Marshall hit into a fielder's choice. The next two batters - Marshall and Gill - hit long drives hauled down by Wolverine outfielders. Score 9-4 Bayfield.

But the Wolverines came back with another four-spot in the fifth. Latimer flied to center to open it and Sirios drew a walk. Moore singled to right and he and Sirios executed a double steal putting runners on second and third. Cody Tinnin, batting for Posey, reached on an error at first and a run scored. Smith was hit by a pitch and Rampone and McDonald both singled before Latimer grounded to second to end the inning, Bayfield leading 13-4.

Hujus drew a walk to open Pagosa's fifth and advanced to second on another Sirios wild pitch. Hart popped to short for the first out and Caler singled, Hujus holding at third. Caler stole second to put both runners in scoring position but the Pirates were unable to capitalize, Josh Hoffman and Trujillo each going down on strikes.

Bayfield picked up two more runs on two hits in the sixth, a double by Yarina and a single by Posey, sandwiched in between a walk and a pop-up to put their run total at 15 and set the stage to end the game with the 10-run mercy ruling if Pagosa was unable to score.

The Pirates opened with Rivas out on a fly to center and Bradford lining to first. Marshall drew a free pass and advanced on a Sirios' wild pitch. Gill singled, Marshall holding at third. But Hujus grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning and the mercy rule was called. Final, Bayfield 15, Pagosa 4. Bayfield's runs came on 16 hits (three home runs) and two Pagosa errors. Pagosa's four runs came on six hits, all singles.

Second game detail

With the freshman Bradford starting on the mound for Pagosa, Bayfield got a run in the top of the inning without benefit of a hit.

McDonald opened lining to short. Latimer, pitching in the game, drew a walk and advanced all the way to third on Bradford's throwing error and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Sirios, playing shortstop in this game. Moore popped to short to end the inning.

Rivas grounded to second to open Pagosa's second but Bradford was drilled by a Latimer fast ball. Marshall singled to center and the Pirates had runners on first and second with one out. But Gill popped to second and Hujus grounded to second to end the threat.

Bayfield got another run in the second, this time on three hits, the first an infield single by Cathcart. He was out at second when Rampone hit into a fielder's choice. The Wolverines' Hiroshi Sakai struck out but Smith singled to right scoring Rampone. Yarina singled to left, Smith holding at second, but McDonald flied to right to end the half inning.

And then the Pirates, for the first - and unfortunately last - time all day, took the lead.

Rivas grounded to short to open the Pirate half, but Bradford and Marshall drew consecutive walks and Gill ripped a double to center to plate one run. Hujus popped to first for the second out, but Hart reached on a throwing error by Latimer which allowed another run to score. Caler drew a walk and Hoffman reached on an error by Rampone, Hart scoring. Caler, however, was out at third on the play.

But the Pirates led 4-3 after three.

It was to be a short-lived lead.

Rampone and Sakai drew back-to-back walks to open the Wolverine fourth. After Smith popped to short, Yarina drew another walk to load the bases.

They were just as quickly unloaded on McDonald's grand slam to right center and Bayfield was back on top 7-4. Latimer popped to short for the second out but Sirios reached on an error by Gill. He was out at second when Moore hit into a fielder's choice.

The Pirates, showing no quit, got one back in their half of the inning.

John Hoffman opened with a fly to right but Rivas was hit by a pitch and went to second on a Latimer wild pitch. Bradford singled to score Rivas, but Marshall hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Bayfield picked up a pair in the fifth on back-to-back home runs by Cathcart and Rampone. Tennin, pinch-hitting for Sakai, grounded to third for the first out. Smith doubled to left advanced on a wild pitch. He stayed at third as Yarina grounded out to third and McDonald to first.

The Pirates answered with a run in their half of the fifth.

It opened with Gill grounding out to second before Hujus ripped a single up the middle. Hart was hit by a pitch and both runners advanced on a Latimer wild pitch. Caler drew a walk but was out stealing as Hujus scored. The inning ended when Josh Hoffman hit into a fielder's choice, Pagosa trailing 9-6.

Bayfield added a run in the sixth. After Latimer grounded to short, Sirios singled to left but Moore popped to short for the second out. Cathcart and Rampone had back-to-back singles for a run before Tennin hit into a fielder's choice to end the top of the inning.

The sixth was quick for Pagosa. Trujillo was out on a bunt attempt. Rivas bounced back to the pitcher and Bradford grounded out to third.

Bayfield jumped on the tiring Bradford in the seventh. He hit Smith leading off and Yarina singled to center. McDonald walked and Latimer singled to drive in two.

That signaled the end for Bradford, Marshall called to the mound in relief.

He walked Sirios but got Moore on a fly to right and struck out both Cathcart and Rampone to end Bayfield's seventh, the wolverines leading 13-6.

Still, the Pirates wouldn't go without a fight.

Marshall drew a walk to open Pagosa's seventh. Gill grounded to short and Hujus struck out. But Hart singled with Marshall moving up to third from where he scored on a Latimer wild pitch. Caler drew his third free pass of the game and Travis Richey delivered a double driving in Hart. But Trujillo bounced to first to end the inning and the game with the score 13-8.

Bayfield's 13 runs came on only eight hits, but four were home runs. Pagosa's eight runs came on seven hits, three of them doubles.

The Pirates take their 2-2 league record on the road Saturday for a doubleheader in Monte Vista starting at 11 a.m.


Parks & Rec

Hard work behind scenes made circus success here

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The Big Top was a success last Thursday thanks to a lot of hard work by your local public service personnel.

Behind the scenes we can thank Chris Gallegos (and his street crew), Mercy Korsgen, Jim Miller, Don Volger, Colorado Mounted Rangers, Cliff Lucero, Stan Martinez, and Carson and Barnes Circus.

Carson and Barnes, with a finely tuned marketing plan that was easy to follow and with the partnership agreement in hand, began telemarketing the shows in a timely fashion. Pagosa Springs, they said, was the most successful show of 2004.

Cabin fever, the income tax deadline, and Pagosa Springs' open invitation to fun and excitement all helped produce a great experience for one and all.

Arbor Day

Colorado celebrated National Arbor Day April 16. All states set different dates to celebrate. Our parks crew prepared a spot near the Town Park gazebo for a beautiful willow type tree that will offer great shade and beauty in our park for years to come.

Adult basketball

The 2004 adult basketball program finished up with three successful tournaments.

In the women's division, CarQuest was crowned tournament champion.

The recreation division champ was La Familia and in the Competitive League, Bear Creek Ballers finished first.

In the finals of the men's recreational league, La Familia defeated the Ruff Ryders by a score of 52 - 45. La Familia was led by Dom Lucero with 18 points while the Ruff Ryder's Ronnie Martinez had 21.

The men's competitive league was won by Bear Creek which defeated High Mountain Performance 84-80. David Snarr led the scoring for Bear Creek with 26 followed by Les Lister with 21. High Mountain Performance was led by Yul Wilson with 23 points.

This year we had 17 teams participating, with revenues of approximately $6,630. Our expenditures, based on 86 regular season games and 14 tournament games, awards, referees, scorekeepers and recreation supervisors came out to approximately $7,985.

The Pagosa Springs parks and recreation department subsidized the program to the tune of 14 percent.

All in all, the program was very successful and we look forward to summer programs.

We encourage public input on all activities. The budgets are here at the office for all to review.

Thanks to everyone for a fine season, and try to remember that all programs sponsored by the town are for recreational purposes only. Come out and have fun.


Tee-ball continues with three more weeks of spirited action. The fundamentals and sportsmanship being taught to these 5- and 6-year-olds will set a foundation for later athletic competition.

All teams are scheduled to play outdoors, weather permitting, for the remainder of the year.


The recreation department is still accepting applications for baseball and softball.

Parents must register their children as soon as possible, as we are putting together team rosters and scheduling tryouts. Applications are available at Town Hall. Call Myles Gabel at 264-4151, Ext. 232 with additional questions or for information. Opening day/picture day is scheduled May 8.

Women's volleyball

We will offer open gym women's volleyball Wednesday nights. The open gyms will be held at the community center 6-8 p.m. If there is enough participation we may split into an "official" volleyball league at a later date.


Important election

While the Upper San Juan Health Services District election has garnered the lion's share of attention there is another, perhaps more important election coming May 4, this one to select directors for the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation district, the county's largest supplier of water and sanitation services. The district supplies water to the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions and to the town of Pagosa Springs, thus to the majority of the county's population.

The health district captured the attention of many local voters due to the marquee value of the topic of medical care and emergency medical services and the sometimes exaggerated importance of those subjects to an aging population. The erratic and explosive nature of that district's situation has amplified interest.

But the topic of water, its availability and use, involves a problem that eclipses the issues in the health care election. This is an age-old problem, one highlighted by our recent drought, one that will loom larger as our population continues to grow, long after the health district's bruises are soothed. The water problem will not go away, and even partial solutions are not possible without serious work, by well-informed people with vision. There is more to do than set rates and encourage conservation.

PAWS, as much as any other local tax collecting entity, will determine the character of our community for years to come. It is important we vote for directors who reflect our points of view regarding water and, therefore, growth in the area. The two are inseparably linked.

Currently, the district is moving ahead with projects to deal with short-term water acquisition and storage needs: work on Dutton Ditch and Stevens Reservoir. These projects, successfully completed, with current growth continuing, could help avert a crisis for up to 15 years.

The district has in hand a 40-year plan. Reservoir capacity, says the plan, must be increased significantly, preferably in league with San Juan Water Conservancy District, with 10 to 20 years left to finish the work. That work must start soon. The ability to procure water from the San Juan River to which the district has rights must be increased. A new pipeline to the Snowball treatment plant and new pumping facilities could be constructed and the current San Juan River uptake capacity increased.

That's potentially a lot on the district's plate. But, first things first; directors of this and other water entities must first consider basic assumptions before they look farther down the line.

It is assumed by many candidates and voters that continuous, relatively unchecked growth is a given. We must, they say, find and store the water needed to serve a population that could reach 52,000 by 2040. No decision by directors should be made before considering whether this scenario is desirable. We and our candidates should assess the relation between water and growth. If we have ample water, will it cause growth? Will that growth happen anyway, forcing us to provide water? What causes what? Do we accept that our population should grow to 50,000-plus, that development should continue on that pace?

If our answer is no, we should ask candidates what they can do to constrain too-rapid growth via control of water. The district currently has a moratorium on inclusions. Should it continue? How does the call to increase raw water storage affect the prospect for growth? How can it be managed to help control growth?

If we believe growth should continue as it has, what should directors be doing to ensure that a population potentially five times the current number has abundant water supplies? How will we pay for what we'll need?

These are but a few of the critical considerations facing new directors. This is an important election.

Karl Isberg

Pacing Pagosa 

You think you know the county?

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It's geography lesson time.

Think you know Archuleta County like the back of your hand? If so, see if you can locate some of the following:

Skeeter Park and Skeeter Peak; We Creek and Headache Creek; Charleys Peak and Gramps Peak; or, how about Brushfence Lake and Sexto Creek?


Understandable, but all are in Archuleta County, albeit the far eastern portion adjacent to Conejos County and far from the familiar Pagosa Springs.

Come closer, you say? OK.

How about Villareal Canyon, Agua Canyon or Seguro Canyon?

They're in the county, too. All three are almost due south of Pagosa Springs, providing drainoff from Archuleta Mesa.

Speaking of mesas, we also have Abeyta Mesa, Vigil Mesa, Mesa Pedregosa, and La Mesa del Media. A mesa is defined as a plateau or tableland, but where are these?

All lie along the Little Navajo River southeast of Chromo.

Maybe you know where Oakbrush Hill is. Actually, there are two, a scant six and a half miles apart. One lies along North Piedra Road west of Stevens Reservoir. The other is due south of the first, equidistant between Burns Canyon and Billy Goat Point.

I suspect everyone knows where East Fork is and that with West Fork it forms the San Juan River. But does anyone know where Tie Creek, Deer Creek and Johnny Creek are? All are in the northern portion of Archuleta County, and all are tributaries of East Fork just before the confluence.

Laughlin Park has been in the news recently with reference to Forest Service land trades. Do you know where it is? It lies south and west of Forest Road 037. Oh, sure, you say, and where is that?

It runs west off U.S. 160 just south of where Coal Creek drains into the San Juan almost directly east of Jackson Mountain.

I'm reasonably sure you all know where that is but, in case I'm wrong, watch for the Jackson Mountain Road signs showing a narrow gravel road running west off U.S. 160.

Still looking for something closer to town, something you might recognize?

How about Stinking Springs Canyon? The head of it lies a scant mile southeast of Sunetha Flats. Of what? Sunetha Flats, once the original golf course in the area, lies east of Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic.

I'm sure you all know where Martinez Canyon is and that Martinez Creek drains into Stollsteimer Creek which in turn drains into the Piedra River south of Chimney Rock.

But, what about Bull Creek, Goose Creek and Ignacio Creek?

They, too, all drain into the Piedra south of Chimney Rock, but from the west rather than east.

The county has dozens of mountains and peaks, sites like Haystack Mountain, Horse Mountain, Mule Mountain, Coyote Hill and The Ant Hill.

And it has a Death Valley Creek. Can anyone tell me where it is.



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of April 24, 1914

The town park is in a bad shape. The work of improving and beautifying this pretty place should not be postponed another year. The expense of setting out and protecting young trees is not exhibited, consider the returns in the way of beauty and shade and a pleasant resting place on a warm day.

The town is without lights, the result of a serious accident to part of the machinery Monday. The electric lights will, if plans do not miscarry, be on Saturday.

Since the Pagosa Lumber Co.'s sawmilling plant passed under the management of O.S. Galbreath, Jr. the annual output of manufactured product has increased fully thirty per cent over any previous year's - and with less cost expense.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 26, 1929

The laying of brick at the new Wicklem garage building, at the corner of San Juan and Fifth streets is now in progress.

John H. Galbreath has filed his declaration of candidacy to succeed himself as president of the school board of district No. 1. The election will be held in the primary room of the school house on May 6.

A post office will soon be in operation at Dyke's, Mrs. Dyke having recently received her commission.

Saturday morning at the Harpst mill at the upper end of town, occurred a serious accident when Orin C. Reed, while unloading logs, was caught by a log, mashing his leg above the ankle. Drs. Clock and Winter amputated his foot.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 23, 1954

The high school has a mighty fine bunch of athletes this year. Their record in football was very good, in basketball phenomenal and it looks like they will repeat in baseball. A word of appreciation is certainly due them and their coach for the fine manner in which they have conducted themselves and for their enviable record.

The river has cleared up somewhat although still high. Unless there are some more storms between now and the 15th of May, fishing should be excellent on opening day.

A good crowd was present at the Legion open house last week. The new building is a credit to the Legion boys and the members can be proud of their efforts.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 26, 1979

There was no measurable precipitation in town last week, temperatures were mild, streams were high, the grass was getting green and the snow is melting. It is spring, and to date the runoff is running about normal. Any real warm weather, or heavy rains could cause some flooding, though.

Wolf Creek Pass was closed for several hours Tuesday of this week when a large mud slide, or bank cave-in, blocked traffic. The slide was just at the lower end of new construction on this side of the Pass. This is the time of the year when there are numerous rocks rolling onto the roadway on Wolf Creek Pass, and in some other areas. Motorists should take extra precautions in those areas.



Library staff keep noses out of books and on the grindstone

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

They are detectives. Public relations experts. Creative people in love with books.

They are the eight staff members at the Ruby Sisson Public Library in Pagosa Springs and this week their boss, Librarian Lenore Bright, is tooting their horn a little louder than normal. After all, it's National Library Week until Saturday and the focus is on library staff.

"There's a misconception out there that library staff get to sit around and read all day," Bright said. "It's actually an extremely complicated job."

According to the American Library Association, in the last ten years library visits have more than doubled - to 1.2 billion across the country, with those people borrowing 1.79 billion items in one year alone.

To serve them, library employees must love people and research, books and computers. Protecting the right to public information. Preserving the past. Their fingers brush the delicate pages of fragile text and the newest technologies.

Even in Pagosa Springs a staff member researching the possibility of a separate room dedicated to research materials for families searching for historical documents, is the same person who goes online during her workdays searching Colorado and perhaps the nation for interlibrary loan materials.

"When Shirley (Iverson) and I started," Bright said, "you could do anything on paper. Now anyone who works in a library will have to be very versed in computers. They must have the technical knowledge to work with computers, to maintain computers."

The Sisson Library is now almost totally automated. The card catalogues have "extinct" signs posted on them. Books can be found online and patrons are issued a bar code on their library card.

It is a world, she said, that is constantly changing, and the staff must be able to change with it. For instance, Peggy Bergon has been working to learn to use a digital camera and download photographs onto the Internet. Sometime this summer, when work on a $600,000 addition begins, Bergon will photograph the work and send the pictures to the architects based in Denver, allowing them to keep daily tabs on construction when it's not possible to have someone in Pagosa Springs.

"We're in the process of cross training so everyone knows how to do everything," Bright said. The daily tasks are listed in a three-ring binder, containing checkoff lists and pages of instructions necessary to keep the library up and running.

Even shelving a book is a process requiring many steps and a variety of knowledge, Bright said.

Books may be donated or purchased. If purchased, one of the staff must search through "multiple" catalogues to evaluate what is needed in the collection, or what is popular on best seller lists. That list goes up against the budget and those books that can be afforded are purchased.

Once books come in, a cataloguer takes over. That person is responsible for entering identifying information from the book, including author, title, keywords and subject into the computer, a "long and involved" process, Bright said. When a book comes off the shelf, the opposite must happen.

From there, the book goes to the processor. That person attaches the plastic protective covering, types the spine label, stamps the book and attaches the bar code. Only then can it be checked in and shelved.

In Pagosa Springs, these tasks along with checkouts, interlibrary loan functions, assisting public computer users and answering questions from the public, are completed by a staff of seven in addition to Bright - a seasonal addition of one and somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 regular volunteers.

Shirley Iverson, assistant library director, has walked among Pagosa's stacks as an employee for 17 years, the longest on the current staff.

"If you have to work," she said. "I can't think of a better place to work."

Before moving to Pagosa, Iverson was a stay-at-home mom, doing a little book work on the side. She and her husband moved here in the 1980s.

"It was time to get out of the house," she said. A friend at church knew about an opening at the library (then housed in one room at Town Hall) and Iverson applied.

It turned out to be a good fit.

When asked what she enjoyed most about working in the library, she replied, "All of the wonderful people, the wonderful volunteers, the kids and the books of course. Everything."

The biggest challenge? "Keeping the books straight on the shelves so you can find them."

How about the biggest change?

Moving into the new building, Iverson said. When it happened, it seemed there was so much space it'd never be full. Now, an addition is on the immediate horizon, and a storage unit is needed to hold the collection. Kids who were just babies when she started are now teen-agers, some are friends of her grandson.

"When they get together, I can say, yeah, I've know you all since you were this tall," putting her hand about two feet off the ground.

The rest of Sisson's staff are more recent additions, most started three years ago or less. started getting paid. Started getting paid that is. They were library users, or volunteers, long before that.

Jackie Welch remembers working in her high school library and thinking how neat it would be to one day work in a library or own a book store. Life took her in other directions until she retired and moved to Pagosa Springs. She started working in the library here as a volunteer, but her knowledge of computers landed her on the staff. She focuses on cataloguing and working the circulation desk.

Bergon, a longtime resident of Pagosa Springs, also volunteered before becoming part of the team.

"I love working with the public," she said, "being around books and finding the things people want."

For her, the library holds many pleasant memories, but none so sweet as one of her children checking out books back before the computers, the new building, the rows on rows of books. Back in Town Hall.

"There was a wooden step stool in front of the circulation desk," she said. "They had to climb up to check out their books. I can see all my children climbing up there to check out their books."


Pagosa's Past 

The story of a 'neutral' Indian healed by hot spring waters

John M. Motter

Staff Writer

"He wouldn't be happy if they hung him with a new rope," is an expression from the Old West that describes a lot of us.

Personally speaking, I was born more than 70 years ago and should be proud to own all of these years. If truth be known, I'd rather have been born about 150 years ago when I could have wandered around Pagosa Country before it acquired so many human footprints.

That didn't happen.

The next best thing is to pore over the footprints of those who came earlier.

We talked last week about the adventures of George Patton and his family, stopping with the note that George worked at Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs circa 1878-1880.

One of the interesting stories he leaves us from that time is of the healing of an Indian by the therapeutic values of the Great Pagosa Hot Spring.

The Indian was apparently from a neutral tribe. I don't know what that description means.

What attracted their attention to the poor man was that the skin of his body had the appearance of the bark of a tree. Every day he covered himself with the slimy mud from the seep of the mineral springs along the bank of the San Juan River. Then he sat for hours in the warmth of the mud. Toward evening, he rinsed off the mud and wrapped himself in a filthy blanket.

No one knew where he spent the night. The army men suspected he was hungry and left food where he could find it.

Toward spring he discarded the filthy blanket for a new one and a "G string." As if by miracle, his skin was healed.

Soon after, he disappeared. Both the Utes and the Navajo avoided him. Perhaps because of his skin ailment, they thought he was evil.

Our next story concerns how Bayfield got its name. People had been settling along the Pine River in the vicinity of Bayfield at least since the mid-, maybe even the early, 1870s. The locale was identified as Pine River by those early settlers.

According to one source, Bayfield was homesteaded by George Morrison and later sold to R.C. and Clarence Hensley.

In 1894, maybe 20 years after the first settlers, it was sold to W.A. and Laura E. Bay, for whom the town is named. Bay passed away in Denver in 1960 at the age of 98.

He had left Missouri in 1890, hoping to find a good home in the west. He found it on the Pine River and homesteaded his ranch and farm. On land once owned by Bay, the town was laid out in 1898.

At about the same time, the Calvary Presbyterian Church was organized and Bay, who was very religious, helped form the organization. He also gave the land on which the church was built. The church was dedicated in June, 1900, and The Rev. Mervin A. Stone was the first pastor. Bay also donated land to the Free Methodist Church. All of this area is north of the main street.

On the south side of the street, Warren Schiller laid out lots, and gave the ground for the Union Church. This farm land had been homesteaded by Wash Keith about 1879. The flour mill was on the south side of the main street, owned by H.C. Schroeder, who also had a general store and the first threshing machine in the area.

The first store was run by W.D. Taylor, who sold it to Henry Arnold, who later was mayor of Denver. The livery stable was built by J.M. Darnall, and at one time the town had two blacksmiths, Andy Hartman and Leon Bartholemew.

Early doctors were Dr. Wrightsman and Dr. Joseph. Dr. Newland was slightly later, and he built and operated the first drug store. Dr. Robbins came to Bayfield after the turn of the century, and Dr. Downing in 1911.

The town incorporated in 1906 with George Wheeler as the first mayor. The first newspaper was the Bayfield Blade, published by Dan Egger. The first white settler is said to have been a Mr. Been and an irrigation ditch has been named for him.

Motter's note: Dan Egger also founded Pagosa Springs' first permanent newspaper, The Pagosa News, in 1890. Egger also started a newspaper in Ignacio. I don't know why Egger left Pagosa Springs some time after 1900. He has descendants still living in the San Juan Basin.

More next week on pioneer days in Bayfield and Pagosa Country.



Date High Low Precipitation

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Chance of rain lingers into next week

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

After several days' worth of "windy and dry," Pagosa Country weather recently returned to "cloudy and gray."

Whether or not the word "wet" deserves mention in that description remains to be seen, though there is a continuing chance for modest precipitation in the short term, according to the latest forecasts for the Four Corners region.

According to data obtained from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, mostly-cloudy conditions, a 30-percent chance for rain and southwest winds in the 15-25 mile per hour range should be on tap for today.

High temperatures should approach 50, while lows are expected to settle into the upper teens to low 20s.

The chance for rain and isolated snow showers falls to 20 percent for Friday; highs are predicted in the 40s, lows in the teens.

The forecasts for Saturday through Monday include partly-cloudy skies, a 20-percent chance for scattered showers, highs in the mid-50s to mid-60s and lows around 25.

Mostly sunny conditions are foreseen for Tuesday and Wednesday, as are highs in the 60s, lows in the 30s and a 20-percent chance for rain.

The average high temperature recorded last week at the Fred Harman Art Museum was 60 degrees. The average low was 19. Moisture totals for the week amounted to zero.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is "low" with pockets of "moderate."

The Pagosa Ranger District rates the current area fire danger as "low." Conditions are subject to change rapidly this time of year; for updates, call the district office at 264-2268.

According to the latest SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan River Basin is 93 percent of average.

San Juan River flow south of town ranged from approximately 400 cubic feet per second to 580 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of April 22 equals roughly 520 cubic feet per second.   The Web Site contains material which is protected by international Copyright and trademark laws. No material may be copied, reproduced, republished, broadcast or distributed in any way or decompiled, except that you may download one copy of the Materials on any single computer for your personal, non-commercial home use only, provided you keep intact all copyright and other proprietary notices. On-line publication, Copyright 2004, The Pagosa Springs SUN. Web page design, Copyright 2004, The Pagosa Springs SUN, Inc.