May 27, 2004 
Front Page


County may face $600,000 budget amendments

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A full plate of budget amendments will likely be on the menu for the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners in the coming weeks.

During a May 18 work session, the board was informed by Dick McKee, county public works director, that adjustments to the tune of approximately $600,000 are needed in order for the county road and bridge department to keep pace with a growing list of road-maintenance issues.

"These are projects that have come up since we went into the budget process last fall, projects that were unforeseen," said McKee.

Referred to as "necessary unbudgeted projects" on last week's agenda, the list outlined by McKee includes the following:

- North Pagosa Boulevard near Sweetwater Drive - culvert reinforcements, $23,000

- Upper Navajo Bridge, County Road 382 - repairs to bridge decking, $10,000

- Park Avenue - stabilization of failing portion of roadway, $16,000

- Upper Blanco Road - reconstruction/stabilization of half-mile segment, $75,000

- Peninsula Place - easement acquisition for culvert placement, $10,000

- Intersection of Meadows Drive and U.S. 160 - stabilization and repairs to failing portion, $40,000

- Contracting for proper disposal of hazardous waste/chemical barrels - $6,000.

In response, "I would prefer to have all of this in writing," said Mamie Lynch, board chairman.

"I really need to see it all justified, to help me find out where all this is coming from," added Lynch.

Acknowledging the concern, McKee replied the road and bridge department carries one-third of its road-maintenance budget in fund balance "for reasons such as this - we have about $400,000 - that's where this will be coming from."

On a related note, in later discussions concerning potential budget shuffling, McKee told the board discussions with Ken Fox, interim county airport manager, ended with the decision to request the purchase of two new, heavy-duty trucks specifically designed to handle extensive snow plowing.

The intent is to replace a pair of outdated, $230,000 motor graders formerly used for snow plowing "that would have to be replaced next year, anyway," said McKee.

According to McKee, the vehicles best-suited for the task are manufactured by Oshkosh Truck Corporation and carry a price tag of $210,000 each.

"Would ordering these trucks constitute a savings in the overall picture?" asked Commissioner Alden Ecker.

"Yes," McKee replied, citing less maintenance and greater reliability and efficiency as a few of the advantages of purchasing new equipment.

"But we would need to order them within the next three weeks to have them here by the first of the year," he added.

That notion puts an additional strain on the budget, said McKee, "But we could work them into the budget for 2005 to offset the immediate costs," he concluded.

Finally, McKee indicated he and Fox had also discussed the possibility of acquiring "a giant snowblower" to further assist with runway snow removal at Stevens Field.

All of the points covered by McKee are likely candidates for consideration on upcoming board agendas.


Early signs hint local economy poised for gains

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Is the local economy on the verge of a rebound?

Though a definite answer may be premature considering the expected onset of mainstream, tourist-generated revenue inflow is just beginning, early indicators are subtly hinting at "yes."

For example, sales tax revenues, which are split evenly between Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs, have been in roller-coaster mode but are keeping pace with last year's figures, thus far.

"They were up in January, down in February, then up again by about 3 percent in March," said Mark Garcia, town manager.

"But overall, collections are holding even compared to where we were at this time last year," Garcia concluded. "At least we're not seeing sharp declines."

Adding to hopes of a financial turnaround is the fact recent activity in at least two other major economic arenas - real estate and construction activity - has been marked by favorable trends.

According to a summary report provided by the Pagosa Area Association of Realtors, the numbers and rates of sale for most types of property are higher when compared with the same sales period in 2003.

Heading the list is a surge in home sales; excluding condominiums, which are listed in a separate category, statistics from Jan. 1-May 1 of 2003 indicate 66 homes sold whereas this year's total for the same timeframe amounts to 90, an overall increase of 36 percent.

Homes at the highest end of the spectrum, those listed at a price exceeding $500,000, showed the greatest jump - this year's sales total of seven is up 250 percent over last year's tally of two.

Homes listed at a selling price of $100,001-$150,000 exhibited the second-highest climb, with this year's mark of 20 up 82 percent over last year's total of 11.

Likewise, home sales in every other pricing category, save for one, were up significantly as well, the lone exception being homes listed between $400,001-$500,000. Homes in this category totaled six in 2003, but fell to one this year, an 83-percent decline.

The overall average number of days Pagosa homes are spending on the market and the number of homes available are down also; days-on-market average is down from 230 in 2003 to 184, while available inventory shows a drop from 389 in 2003 to 367 this year.

Condominium sales lagged behind 2003 numbers, however, falling 50 percent from 12 to six, with condos in the $75,000-and-under range showing the only rise, up one from last year's total of two.

As the lower sales total suggests, days-on-market average for condominiums and available inventory this year has risen to 250 and 75, respectively, up from 2003 totals of 182 and 63.

In the vacant-land sales category, statistics show a trend toward maintaining the status quo, with this year's overall sales tally coming in at 97; last year's total was 96.

Days-on-market average for vacant land was up from last year's mark of 259 to 367 this year, while available inventory fell slightly, dropping from 886 to 880.

Larger tracts, those over 11 acres, showed the highest increase in sales - 100 percent - with this year's total of 14 doubling last year's mark of seven.

Similarly, area farm and ranch sales were up 100 percent as well, rising from 2003's total of nine to 18 this year.

Available inventory and average days on market for farms and ranches rose, however, from 120 to 131 and 215 to 457, respectively.

Sales of commercial property demonstrated a 25-percent increase, rising from a total of eight in 2003 to 10 this year.

Days-on-market average in the commercial property category this year was identical to last year's average of 282, while available inventory rose to 111, up slightly from the 2003 total of 93.

On a related note, reports obtained from the county building and planning department indicate the number of building permits issued for this year is off slightly from 2003 same-period totals.

Statistics provided by Julie Rodriguez, county building and planning director, indicate the number of building permits issued through April 30 this year totals 114; down 11 from the 2003 tally of 125.

However, the decrease may be misleading due to the fact the largest discrepancy in figures points to the number of "other" permits issued. Last year's total amounted to 58; this year's mark is 42.

"Other" permits include relatively small-scale improvements such as building additions, garages, storage sheds and repairs. Also included in the category are demolitions, though Rodriguez indicated there have been no such permits issued thus far this year.

"House" building permits are up one - from 54 to 55, while mobile home permits are down the same margin, from 10 to nine.

However, commercial permits are up 100 percent (from three to six), and while not every building permit issued in a given year results in actual ground breaking, the rise seems to reflect a spike in commercial-development interests in the area.

In conclusion, though modest, gains in a number of telltale financial sectors suggest the summer tourist season will apparently begin in the midst of a scenario that has Pagosa Country's economy poised for an upswing.


$5,000 cocaine confiscated in Arboles arrest

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Archuleta County law enforcement seized over $5,000 worth of cocaine May 22, following a traffic stop near Arboles.

A 33-year-old Bayfield man arrested in the incident attempted to elude police and then assaulted an officer before being taken into custody with the help of witnesses.

According to police reports, Deputy Jon Gaskins was responding to a cold burglary case in Arboles when he spotted a vehicle at the Arboles store with expired license plates. Once the vehicle entered the roadway, he stopped it and approached the driver. Upon contact, the driver, Roger Dusenbery, presented a fictitious name.

A more in-depth check through dispatch showed Dusenbery's driver's license had been revoked following two drinking and driving offenses. When Gaskins attempted to arrest Dusenbery, the suspect took off on foot.

Sgt. Bob Brammer, of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department said Gaskins caught up with the suspect and a struggle ensued. At one point, according to the reports, Dusenbery threatened Gaskins with a softball-sized rock. Because the officer was unable to activate his radio, a witness grabbed a radio in the police vehicle to request assistance. Another witness approached the struggling men and helped subdue Dusenbery. No one was injured in the incident.

A search of the car uncovered five bags of cocaine, a total of about 18.3 grams.

Dusenbery was arrested and booked on charges of resisting arrest, second-degree assault of a peace officer, flight to avoid prosecution, attempted escape and driving under revocation.


Monument dedication opens area ceremonies

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

"Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o'er,

Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,

Dream of battled fields no more.

Days of danger, nights of waking."

- Sir Walter Scott

It is new, but has elements of the old. It is carefully, lovingly hand-crafted and stands as an open salute to American and Archuleta County military history.

As the nation prepares to honor the veterans of World War II with dedication of a special memorial in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Pagosa Springs will honor all Archuleta County veterans with dedication of a new monument here.

It contains within its base a portion of the former traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall that visited Pagosa Springs several years ago.

It has twin flag poles flanking each side and will have pole bases for removable ensigns for each of our military services. Eventually, it will have a plaque memorializing the service of county residents.

As the nation salutes the new monument in Washington, Pagosans will have the opportunity to join in the salute to its veterans - living and dead - in a series of weekend events.

"Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic."

- General John Logan

May 5, 1868

The issue of vandalism already has been a problem in Pagosa Springs. Twice, American Legion members report, their monument construction efforts have been vandalized.

It should be noted the monument, while it stands adjacent to the Legion parking lot on Hermosa Street, is on town property.

That makes it taxpayer owned, and while the town took no part in the monument construction, the people of the community should be aware it is their tribute to the community.

Holiday weekend ceremonies will begin with a Legion-hosted breakfast at 8 a.m. Saturday for all veterans, whether Post members or not. Similar breakfasts will take place at Legion posts across the nation.

Pagosa's will be in the Legion building, prepared and served by Legion members. A voluntary donation will be asked to help pay for the monument construction.

At 9 a.m., dedication of the memorial facing Hermosa Street will begin. A special speaker has been promised, but at press time the identity was not known.

Sunday's portion of the traditional Memorial Day weekend will include placement of flags on 300 veterans' graves in Hilltop Cemetery, beginning at 4 p.m.

Members of local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops will assist Legion members in flag placement. The Legion provides the flags and special holders on each grave.

In addition, special decorations are being donated this year by an independent group for mounting with the American flag on graves of all Civil War veterans.

Joyce Hines, a half-year resident of the county and a member of United Daughters of the Confederacy, Julia Jackson Chapter 141, of Fort Worth, Texas, will be a key ingredient of the ceremony.

Wearing the traditional all-black "Widow's Weeds" she will help decorate the graves. Her chapter has adopted Confederate graves as its project but will decorate all Civil War grave sites with flags, blue for the Union and Gray for Confederate.

She will not use the controversial battle flag but will put the "Stars and Bars" on Confederate graves.

Then, during the cemetery ceremony Monday, she will recite a poem entitled "The Knot of Blue and Grey" which tells of how a civil war can divide a family and still keep it tied as one.

For the Pagosa Springs ceremonies, she is to represent the widows of all the wars. She is the great-great-granddaughter of a Civil War widow. While her heritage "is on the confederate side," she said, "I had ancestors who also fought for the Union." She also is a member of Daughters of the American Revolution.

On Jan. 19, 1999, Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii introduced Senate Bill 189 calling for the restoration of the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30. As eloquently stated by Inouye in his introductory remarks:

"Mr. President, in our effort to accommodate many Americans by making the last Monday in May, Memorial Day, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our nation. Instead of using Memorial Day as a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices made by Americans in combat, many Americans use the day as a celebration of the beginning of summer. My bill would restore Memorial Day to May 30 and authorize our flag to fly at half mast on that day. In addition, this legislation would authorize the President to issue a proclamation designating Memorial Day and Veterans Day as days for prayer and ceremonies honoring American veterans. This legislation would help restore the recognition our veterans deserve for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation."

That bill did not pass and as a result America still celebrates on May 31.

Locally, that means two special ceremonies Monday, the first a rifle salute and reading of fallen county military personnel in a 9 a.m. ceremony adjacent to the new monument.

An hour later, at the Legion flag pole in Hilltop Cemetery, a more formal salute will be made with special speakers, a rifle squad salute, another reading of the list of war dead, and the continuation of the spirit of dedication and role of protector the Archuleta County servicemen and women have contributed to the nation.

Then, at 4 p.m., 24 hours after they were displayed, the flags will be removed from the graves to serve again next year.

Statistics indicate at least 800 veterans now reside in Archuleta County.

Those planning the ceremonies hope each local veteran will attend, if possible, and that everyone who knows a veteran will make a special effort to thank that person for the role they played in protecting freedom.

On April 29, as a service and tribute to members of the World War II Generation, the National World War II Memorial opened for public viewing, exactly one month prior to the formal dedication ceremony taking place Saturday. It is the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during the Second World War. The memorial, established by the American Battle Monuments Commission, honors all military veterans of the war, the citizens on the home front, the nation at large, and the high moral purpose and idealism that motivated the nation's call to arms.


 Inside The Sun


County to develop new magnesium chloride policy

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Archuleta County residents living along non-maintained roads may soon have to reach a little deeper into their pockets to reimburse the county for dust-abatement services.

That's the pending scenario after a May 18 workshop in which the board of commissioners directed Dick McKee, county public works director, to develop a policy outlining how requests for magnesium chloride application to roads outside the county maintenance umbrella will be handled in the future.

The decision to establish new guidelines for the procedure came shortly after McKee informed the board the county's current "unwritten policy" falls short of recouping the cost to perform the task.

"We provide a service to private citizens, and they reimburse the county for material costs," said McKee, "but not for the 'prep' work."

Once the costs for grading, rolling, etc. are factored into the equation, the county is "coming out on the short end," said McKee.

Adding to the dilemma, said McKee, is the domino effect.

"After it's done on one street, everybody wants it, of course," said McKee.

"We're trying to handle more and more requests, but it's getting to the point we aren't able to take any more," he added.

In response to questions from the board regarding what type of policy is currently in the books, "I don't think there was ever a formal policy," said Kathy Holthus, assistant county administrator.

"But at some point in the past, I believe it was advertised that the public could pay for abatement materials," Holthus concluded.

In light of the county budget crunch, "I know we've been covering the cost of prep work, but I don't know how we can continue to do that," replied Commissioner Alden Ecker.

As a result, after further discussion the board instructed McKee to establish a new policy - "... a policy whereby the total cost, if folks wish to do it, is passed on to them," concluded Commissioner Bill Downey.

However, even a new policy won't necessarily guarantee all private requests for magnesium chloride service will be honored by the county.

According to Jeff Robbins, county attorney, "There may be a time when we have to say, 'Where do we cut it off?'"

Employment of private contractors, said Robbins, may have to be the suggestion of the county in some instances, given the fact roads on the county maintenance agenda cannot be neglected at the expense of treating private thoroughfares.

"There is a need to establish the ability to draw the line," concluded Robbins. "It could be done on a first-come, first-served basis, but stopped after the work load reaches capacity."


Efforts to eliminate Lower Blanco bridge danger hit snag

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

There's a lot they'd like to do - but legally - not much they can do.

"I guess we're basically at the end of the road, there," concluded Mamie Lynch, chairman of the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners, during a May 18 work session in which the board revealed it has learned it is limited in its power to determine the fate of an ailing bridge in 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 a condition of deterioration and in danger of failing.

The bridge, which has often been described as "an old rail car," suffered serious damages during a flash flood last autumn, and though temporary repairs were made, the structure's lifespan remains uncertain.

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.

Preliminary aid efforts were to have been expedited with assistance from the county following an April 20 board decision to have county personnel assist with administration, financing and construction-related tasks.

The commissioners had asked that Dick McKee, county public works director, make road and bridge department personnel available for initial engineering and surveying, with expenses for the measures to have been taken from the fund balances of the Road Capital Improvement Fund and/or Road and Bridge Fund.

In addition, the board requested that Kathy Holthus, assistant county administrator, look further into the possibility of orchestrating the establishment of a local improvement district in the near future.

However, according to a written opinion on the matter provided by county legal counsel, Goldman, Robbins and Rogers, LLP, the county's options and participation in the process are severely limited.

Commenting on the opinion last week, "It seems to be pretty clear there's not much we can do," said Commissioner Alden Ecker.

"We can't loan them the money for repairs and we can't do the work for them," he added.

On the bright side, McKee indicated during the work session he is willing to offer his own time to assist the affected residents.

In addition, landowners who had formerly been unwilling to negotiate with residents on easement acquisitions have apparently indicated a willingness to reconsider.

But several snags remain; several engineering and surveying requirements must be completed before reconstruction can occur, and both are responsibilities of the affected property owners, who apparently don't have sufficient finances available, currently, to cover the costs.

In the meantime, however, the board indicated it will continue to look into other options.

"I'm very disappointed we're in a situation where we can't do something more for the home owners," concluded Ecker.

"But I think we can at least do as much as we can to make them aware of what they can do to help themselves."


Olympians to teach at local wrestling camp

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Pagosa Country is high school wrestling country, a source of consistently excellent individual athletes and Pirate wrestling teams.

It is also becoming a prime destination for high school wrestlers and teams looking for a quality summer training experience.

For several years now, local wrestlers and coaches have hosted a summer camp. This year, the event will be bigger and better than ever, featuring some of the best known wrestlers on the national scene.

The camp will be held June 2 - 6 at the Poma Ranch. Teams from Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona and Colorado will attend, bringing more than 150 wrestlers and coaches.

Featured clinicians are U.S. wrestling legends Terry and Tom Brands. Brad Vering, 2004 Olympic team member, will be a guest and hold a technique session. Members of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team will also be present.


Town hears arguments about smoking ordinance

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The rights of cigarette smokers came up against the rights of nonsmokers - or anyone exposed to secondhand smoke - in a 40-minute public hearing before the Pagosa Springs Town Council Tuesday.

At question was a proposed smoking ordinance that, if passed, would ban smoking in all bars and restaurants inside town boundaries. In fact, as written, the ordinance would ban smoking everywhere except in private homes, a maximum of 20 percent of motel rooms, and theater productions requiring smoking.

Mayor Ross Aragon said the hearing was called to allow the council to gather information in response to a request from the public. No decision has been made whether or not to move forward with the ordinance as presented or some modification of the ordinance.

Thirteen people spoke. Eight were against a smoking ban in restaurants and bars. Five spoke in favor of the ordinance.

Representatives from the Pagosa Bar, the Bear Creek Saloon and Squirrels Pub and Pantry all said that type of ban would hurt already struggling businesses.

Peter Dach, of the Pagosa Bar, said nearly 90 percent of his patrons smoke. Or, he added, if they don't smoke anywhere else, they like to smoke while they drink, so much so that he has started stocking individual cigarettes behind the bar.

"This seems to be pointing at pushing bars outside the city limits," he said, adding that those who don't like the smoke are free to choose to go somewhere else.

He also took exception to a part of the draft ordinance requiring smokers to be at least 25 feet from any enclosed area when going outside to light up.

"Where are they going to go?" he said. "Even at the county building, where are they going to go? I think you should allow people to choose for themselves."

Harry Prop, who owns the Silver Mine said, "Smoking is a dirty habit, but it's my dirty habitat." He said although he has banned smoking in his own business, it should remain a choice for other business owners, not a mandate.

If smoking is banned now, Pat Rydz asked later, what's next?

"Today it's smoking and tomorrow it could be fast foods, we all know how bad that is for you," she said. "It can go on and on and on until you don't live in a free society anymore."

Others said the issue at hand was secondhand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke, which, according to the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, causes an estimated 53,000 deaths annually in the United States, including 3,000 lung cancer deaths, more than 2,000 SIDS deaths and more than 35,000 deaths from coronary heart disease.

Susan Kleckner, of the San Juan Basin Health Department, stressed the dangers of secondhand smoke on children.

According to a 1992 study by the Environmental Protection Agency, she said, exposure to secondhand smoke causes 150,000-300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in children under 18 months of age, resulting in 15,000 hospitalizations.

"We are in full support of this smoking ordinance," she said.

Another audience member, Pamela Bomkamp, addressed the economic issue.

She said a study of Duluth, Minn., before and after the passage of smoke-free policies showed an increase in retail sales of both restaurants and bars following implementation of the policies and an increase in the number of bars and restaurants in the community. The study was based on data from the City of Duluth Sales Tax Department and prepared by the Minnesota Smoke Free Coalition.

An examination of the economic impacts of smoke-free ordinance in Minot, N.D., prepared by Minot State University, and based on sales tax revenues showed no negative economic impacts on revenues.

According to a brochure from the Colorado State Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership, when dining out, 77 percent of Colorado adults request nonsmoking sections.

"Really, what the intent is, is to protect those who have chosen not to smoke," Chris Philips said. "It's the secondhand smoke that's the issue." Secondhand smoke, he said, is classified as a Group A carcinogen by the EPA. No safe level of exposure to Group A carcinogens has been established.

Near the end of the meeting, after several other discussions, Garcia asked the council for direction on the smoking ordinance.

"I don't like it," board member Darrell Cotton said.

Council member Stan Holt said he had some suggestions for possible changes to the draft ordinance.

Garcia suggested setting a workshop date and time at the June 1 council meeting to discuss council questions and possible changes to the draft ordinance. That could lead to a first reading of the ordinance the first Tuesday in July if the council wants to move forward with some type of broader smoking ban.


Sobriety checkpoint is planned Friday

Pagosa Springs police, Archuleta County Sheriff's Office deputies and the Colorado State Patrol will conduct a sobriety checkpoint Friday in the 800 block of San Juan Street (U.S. 160).

National traffic studies confirm that roadside sobriety checkpoints increase perception of "risk of apprehension" thereby reducing the number of alcohol related traffic crashes. Participating agencies strongly encourage motorists not to drink and drive.


Butterfly walk slated Sunday

Enjoy a two hour butterfly walk with naturalist Carol Bylsma Saturday, May 29, at 10 a.m. Dress for the outdoors with comfortable walking shoes. Bring water. Sponsored by San Juan Mountains Association and San Juan National Forest. Sponsored by the San Juan National Forest. Call 264-2268 for directions and more information.


Old fashioned barbecue set next to wetlands

"Gather at the Pond" for an old fashioned barbeque 5-8 p.m. Saturday, June 12, next to the community center and the town wetland. Look for the big tent.

Chef Matt is cooking up a traditional ranch barbeque dinner with all the trimmings. Enjoy the evening festivities including good food, beer and wine, bluegrass music by Randall, Rico, Lincoln and Clay, and a pie auction, all with the wonderful wetland area and San Juan River in the background.

Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under. Tickets are on sale at Moonlight Books downtown and Wolf Tracks uptown. Or call the Southwest Land Alliance at 264-7779.

Proceeds of the event, co-sponsored by the Town of Pagosa Springs and The Springs Resort, go to protecting open space, wildlife and family ranching, the mission of the local non-profit organization: the Southwest Land Alliance.

Land Alliance volunteers assist landowners who want to protect their land from development by setting up protection measures that insure their wishes are fulfilled into the future. To get involved with the event or learn more, call the Land Alliance at 264-7779.


Horsemen will hear how to reshoe on trail

How do you reshoe that horse or mule when you're out in the backcountry?

You'll get the answer if you attend the June meeting of Four Corners Backcountry Horsemen where farrier Greg Wells will tackle the topic.

The session is scheduled 7 p.m. Thursday, June 3, at Calvary Presbyterian Church on Mill Street in downtown Bayfield.

Wells will discuss how to solve the on-the-trail problem of no shoe, no hoof, no horse when you're eight hours into the wilderness.

Attendees will be able to sign up at the meeting for a hands-on packing clinic later in the month and plans for clean up-fix-up rides on lower Dutch Creek and lower Elbert Creek will be finalized.

The July 1 meeting will be at La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango.


'Click it or Ticket' seatbelt campaign now in effect

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Colorado, including Archuleta County, is joining a nationwide effort to buckle up drivers and passengers and reduce highway traffic deaths and injuries, according to a Colorado Department of Transportation news release.

Now through Sunday, June 6, the Colorado State Patrol and 101 local law enforcement agencies will step up strict enforcement of Colorado's seat belt and child passenger safety laws.

"Last year's Click It or Ticket campaign resulted in increased seat belt use in Colorado," said Tom Norton, CDOT executive director. "CDOT coordinates and supports this campaign because it saves lives and taxpayer dollars that help underwrite the costs of traffic crash victims."

In 2002, Colorado's seat belt use rate was 73.2 percent. After the Click It or Ticket campaign last year, seat belt use increased to 77.7 percent. The increase in seat belt use also contributed to a corresponding decrease in traffic deaths for drivers and passengers in 2003, compared to 2002. In 2002, 578 drivers and passengers died on Colorado highways, compared to 474 in 2003, an 18-percent reduction.

While the goal of the campaign is voluntary compliance, those who continue to violate seat belt laws will risk getting a ticket. If drivers are stopped for another offense and they are not buckled up, they will get a ticket The enforcement also targets drivers with unbuckled children in the vehicle. Those drivers can be stopped and ticketed without another violation.

"The CSP will be supporting Click It Ticket by putting every uniformed officer on the road. This commitment is part of the CSP's Colorado Target Zero effort to significantly reduce highway deaths," said Col. Mark Trostel, Chief of the CSP. "We know we can reduce serious injuries and fatalities if motorists would use their seat belts and make sure their passengers are buckled up."

Variable message signs across Colorado will carry the message, Click It or Ticket - Buckle Up, Please, to remind drivers about the enforcement campaign. The messages will run from May 17-June 6, including the heavily traveled Memorial Day weekend.

Colorado's child passenger safety law includes both secondary and primary enforcement. The booster seat portion of the law is secondary enforcement, meaning a driver must be stopped for another driving offense before they can be ticketed for a violation of the booster seat provision. Starting Aug. 1, officers will write tickets for booster seat violations. Until then, warnings will be issued to drivers.

The infant seat, child safety seat and seat belt provisions of the law are primary enforcement, meaning the driver can be stopped and ticketed if an officer sees an unrestrained or improperly restrained child in the vehicle. The child passenger safety law clearly defines child safety seat and seat belt use from birth through age 15 as follows:

- The law requires infants to ride in a rear-facing child safety seat until they are at least 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds.

- The law requires children ages one to four years old who weight between 20 and 40 pounds to be restrained in a forward-facing child safety seat.

- The law requires children who weight over 40 pounds or who are at least 4 years old be properly restrained in a child booster seat or with a child safety belt-positioning device. Children must ride in booster seats until they are 6 years old or 55 inches tall.

- A child who is at least 6 years old or at least 55 inches tall must be properly restrained with a safety belt.

Drivers under age 17 are restricted to only one passenger in the front seat and may only have as many passengers in the back seat of the car as there are seat belts. The driver and all passengers must be buckled up and the driver can be stopped and ticketed for violating the law. The minimum fine is $40 and two points against the minor driver's record.

The seat belt law for adults requires the driver and front seat passengers to buckle up. The law is a secondary offense, meaning a driver must be stopped for another offense before receiving a ticket for a seat belt violation. The minimum fine is $18.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), if the state's usage rate was brought up from 77.7 percent to 82 percent, an estimated 22 lives, 270 serious injuries and $65 million could be saved annually in Colorado. The national Click It or Ticket mobilization is conducted by the Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign of the National Safety Council in conjunction with NHTSA, state highway safety offices, law enforcement agencies and the National Transportation Safety Board.


Wildfire scars 156 acres south of town

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A 156-acre wildfire that erupted 15 miles south of Pagosa Springs on Southern Ute Agency-Bureau of Indian Affairs land Friday has been fully contained.

According to Ken Vanzee, forest manager with the BIA, approximately 80 personnel battled the fire amidst windy conditions through the weekend and were able to fully contain the blaze by early this week.

Vanzee said two helicopters, Type I and Type II fire crews and additional personnel from the Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest responded to the blaze, which was labeled the "Montezuma Mesa Fire" shortly after it was reported between 4:30-5 p.m.

As to the cause of the fire, "At this point, we're assuming it was started by a lightning strike," said Vanzee.

"The area is extremely remote with limited access; someone would have to try real hard to climb all the way up there and start a fire," he concluded.

Due to an extended period of windy and dry conditions across southwest Colorado, state and local fire officials are encouraging people to use extreme caution over the holiday weekend as the risk of wildfire continues to climb.


PAWS: Stevens project, 2-initiative conservation program gain speed

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors learned Tuesday a main ingredient in the Stevens Reservoir enlargement project is forthcoming.

During this week's session, Carrie Campbell, district general manager, told the board approval of a long-awaited Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit - a key requirement in the Stevens project - is nearing finality.

"We've received the permit, and though it's not yet in final form, the overall outlook is very positive," said Campbell.

"I would expect in the next one to two weeks we can sign off on the permit and begin to pursue land negotiations with surrounding property owners," she added.

Meanwhile, plans for preliminary geotechnical engineering, hydrology studies and design of the reservoir dam are also moving forward.

Initial studies began in early March after the district received an opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicating a favorable assessment of the district's plans to enlarge Stevens.

According to Mike Davis of Davis Engineering Service Inc., the firm hired to oversee the process, "All of the preliminary work should be completed by the end of July or early August."

Finally, Gene Tautges, assistant general manager for the district, indicated plans to conduct a recommended, pilot study of water quality in Stevens is still pending.

The analytical study calls for the temporary use of an on-site "miniature water plant" that will monitor water quality and help the district determine which type of water plant will best suit Stevens after reconstruction.

Conservation program

Two initiatives in this year's district water conservation program are set for lift-off.

Denise Rue-Pastin, program director, indicated this week the district's first-ever toilet rebate program will begin June 1 and run through November 30.

"The goal is to make this a three-year program," said Rue-Pastin, explaining the initiative is designed to encourage residents to replace outdated toilets with low-volume, water-efficient toilets.

According to a program outline available on the district Web site, "This year's program will enable property owners to replace, up to two, high-volume fixtures with the assistance of a $75-$125 rebate credit that would be applied directly to your PAWSD account where the fixture is being replaced.

"The $75 rebate will apply to low-volume fixtures that cost $100 or more for the tank and bowl. The $125 rebate will apply to higher cost dual flush, flapperless and power flush fixtures."

Program guidelines and an application form are scheduled to be included with May billing statements, which should arrive in early June.

In addition, Rue-Pastin indicated the district will offer a "responsible landscaping workshop" Saturday, June 5, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Archuleta County Extension building.

The workshop will feature presentations by professional landscape architect Ken Ball, and topics will include the benefits of soil testing and amending, site analysis and development and water-efficient irrigation, among others.

Private design sessions will also be offered on a first-come, first-served basis at a cost of $170 per session.

Stop by the district office at 100 Lyn Ave. to register for the workshop (cost is $10) or call 731-2691.

For more information on district events, updates and operations, visit the district Web site at

Lake levels

According to the latest readings provided by Art Holloman, district superintendent, district reservoirs were at the following levels early this week:

- Lake Hatcher - four inches below spillway

- Stevens Reservoir - 100 percent full and spilling

- Lake Pagosa - 100 percent full and spilling

- Lake Forest - 100 percent full and spilling

- Village Lake - one inch below spillway.


'Best museum in Colorado' open for season

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Anyone interested in history of the area owes it to themselves to visit San Juan Historical Society Museum.

From the outside it doesn't look like much. In fact, it looks suspiciously like a town water supply facility.

That's because it once was. And that history blends with the displays, both inside and outside, that tell the history of Archuleta County and many of its citizens from the past.

The museum, at 1st and Pagosa streets just west of the bridge over the San Juan River at the east end of town, opened for the summer season May 17.

Hours have been increased this year, with the facility open to the public 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

In the first week an estimated 400 visitors, including groups of fourth- and seventh-grade students have examined the displays reflecting pioneer life in Archuleta County.

The museum features a new exhibit this year, an expanded geology exhibit coordinated by Glenn Raby, forest service physical scientist.

According to Raby, the exhibit - Gemstones and Minerals - includes "common rock-forming minerals, the kind of minerals that essentially make up Colorado and the rest of the world.

"Some of the gemstones," said Raby, "are those the pure form of minerals can create and they include the Colorado gemstone, aquamarine, a form of beryl, the same type of gemstone as emerald."

Raby said he hopes to expand the exhibit soon, "to add elements of how earth is put together - planetary geology, how the earth works. Perhaps we can make the addition this season."

What was life like in old Pagosa? The museum has displays of kitchen gadgets designed to make life easier for the frontier homemaker. Some will be familiar, some will amaze viewers.

Horses and other animals were keys to settlement and to work in the fields and forests, and another display shows early saddle and tack.

Every frontier town had to have a dentist and Pagosa Springs was no different.

This one, however, was not the fly by night variety. Dr. B.D. Ellsworth came, and stayed. Literally hundreds of current Pagosa Springs residents got their initial dental treatment in the Ellsworth chair.

If they want to remember the treatment much of his equipment, including the chair, is in a special display thanks to members of the Ellsworth family and their generosity.

New clothing was available in the "good old days," but homemade was often more realistic and economical. That understood, it is interesting to see the sewing machines on display, machines which came from homes in the county where yard goods were converted into the clothing of the day, both for work and play. Many examples of clothing are also on display.

Also to be seen are photos from the past, many detailing early stores and early fires which destroyed them.

Much of the farm equipment, the wagons which hauled people to town, and the equipment used in the lumber mills, was forged locally.

Another special display in the museum will familiarize viewers with how a blacksmith shop operated and many of the tools used to forge specific metals into usable shapes.

Many visitors have called this the "best museum in the state" and those who live here and have not been in recently should come in and see why.

The museum is a participant in the City Market Value Care Program. To aid the museum in fund-raising, all you need to do is bring your value card to the museum or call the museum at 264-4424 and give the number off the back of the value card. There is no cost to participants, but the museum will receive funds from City Market based on the number of people who enroll in the program.

And if you're looking for an outlet for some of your stored up energy, the museum staff is always looking for volunteers. No prior knowledge of Archuleta County history is required, only an interest in learning. Call Ann Oldham at the number above to find out about volunteer opportunities.

The museum is an ongoing project of the San Juan Historical Society which meets at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of every month - in the museum, of course. Anyone is welcome to attend these meetings.

The staff is always open to ideas about possible display additions or suggestions for future exhibits.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children.


Mayor's Council refines plans, seeks funding

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Creating a conceptual master plan for the downtown area, launching an image campaign and market research.

These are the next steps for the Mayor's Council for the Future of Pagosa Springs.

That is, if it can raise the funds to do it.

The council met twice, May 12 and May 13 to hammer out its future plans and organization.

May 12, the focus centered on setting goals.

Planning and positioning came to the forefront. In planning, the top priority will be creating a conceptual master plan for the downtown core area stretching from 12th Street on the west side, to the intersection of U.S. 160 and 84 to the east, Lewis Street to the north and the high school campus on the south.

According to notes from consultant Marianna Leuschel, the council will solicit bids from four planning firms and an economic consultant to determine the costs of a two-day workshop to gather thoughts from the community on a master plan and receive some recommendations.

The group also weighed the idea of launching a poster campaign by late July to begin the strategic positioning process.

In the first quarter of this year, Leuschel and two other consultants were hired by the council to create a positioning strategy for Pagosa Springs, a strategy aimed at attracting the kinds of residents, tourists and businesses that would help maintain the best of the community as it is.

That strategy was summed up with the phrase: Pagosa Springs, Real People, Unreal Lifestyle. A poster series to go with that statement featuring "real" people in the community out enjoying the "unreal" natural resources in the area was designed. Nine people were photographed for this series earlier in May and now the council is working on a possible unveiling in July.

Market research was the third goal. This, according to the notes, would focus on documenting the demographics of visitors coming into the community and their attitudes, opinions and ratings of their experiences here. The data would be made available to all organizations involved in outreach and promotion of the area.

All of these items will require funding. Leuschel said different members of the council will be asked to solicit money from three to five local, state or national groups in a capital campaign over the next several weeks. So far, the council's activities have been possible through a series of private donations and $10,000 from the town.

The council reached out to a larger group May 13, gathering together about 20 people from different areas of government, economic development, business and nonprofit organizations to discuss growth, planning and the future of Pagosa Springs.

Mayor Ross Aragon pointed out the importance of zoning to control local aesthetics.

Town Manager Mark Garcia discussed plans to begin a Main Street U.S.A. program in Pagosa Springs, the search for funding to create a comprehensive plan for the town and plans for Hot Springs Boulevard.

On the county side, business owner J.R. Ford, county planner Marcus Baker and county administrator Bill Steele touched on a land use plan proposed for the county now in the works.

"It seems like a good compromise," Steele said. Trails and sidewalks were also discussed.

Carol and David Brown, local landowners and founding members of the visioning committee, proposed the possibility of expanding the high school campus to include all grade levels, allowing the school system to share sports resources and improve safety for all students.

In the end, most of the discussion acknowledged the prospect of future growth and the variety of proposals being considered to address it over the next several years. Nearly all agreed the opportunity to gather to discuss these efforts - so that they could possibly be coordinated in some manner - was valuable.

The group agreed to meet quarterly and continue the discussion.

"You cannot move forward unless you know what the end goal is," County Extension Agent Bill Nobles said at one point in the meeting. "Everyone needs to be on the same page, and everyone needs to be involved."

To help the visioning committee move forward with a focused purpose, they created a mission statement. It reads: "Given the inevitability of increased growth in the area, the Mayor's Council recognizes the need to guide growth in a way that preserves the intrinsic qualities of Pagosa Springs. Through a combination of positioning and planning strategies, the Mayor's Council seeks to encourage a healthy economy while sustaining the unspoiled natural environment of the region and a vibrant and diverse community."


High marks flow in intermediate school

Twenty-eight Pagosa Springs Intermediate School students maintained perfect A grade averages through the entire 2003-2004 school year.

Included were 16 sixth-graders and 12 fifth-graders, according to principal Mark DeVoti.

Listed from the sixth grade were Julia Adams, Thomas Bernard, Ashley Brooks, Megan Bryant, Casey Crow, Taylor Cunningham, Victoria Espinosa, Emily Greer.

Also, Michael Heraty, Amber Lark, Kala Matzdorf, Brian Montoya, Jefferson Reardon, Sierra Shepard, Josie Snow and Ashley Taylor (Miller).

Fifth graders with all-A marks were Amanda Barnes, Briana Bryant, William Candy, Kayla Catlin, Andrea Fautheree, Mele LeLievere.

Also, Christopher Martinez, Dakota Miller, Caitlin Mueller, Cy Parker, Rachel Snow and Garrett Stoll.

In addition, 33 sixth-graders and 49 fifth-graders were named to the A-B honor roll for the entire year.

Sixth-graders so listed were Riley Aiello, Gary August, Denise Bauer, Jessie Bir, Seth Blackley, Jessica Blum, Mary Brinton, Bridgett Brule, Jordan Caler.

Also, Shelby Chavez, Michael Flihan, Jordin Frey, Samara Hernandez, Paul Hoffman, Kara Hollenbeck, Courtney Hudnall, Jonathan Hudson, Kiala Humphrey.

Also, Austin Jones, Tamra Leavenworth, Waylon Lucero, Casey Meekins, Amanda Oertel, Rose Quintana, Rebekah Riedberger, Ryan Searle.

Also, Taylor Shaffer, Lauren Silva, Sarah Smith, Ryan Stahl, Carlee Tamburelli, Wesley Vandercook and Amie Webb (Shearston).

Fifth-graders on the list include Angela Brousseau, Christopher Brown, Daryn Butler, Gabrielle Dill, Cheyann Dixon, Aaron Finney, Michelle Garcia, Trace Gross.

Also, Mariah Haynie, Chanlor Humphrey, Shaun Jackson, Mitch Johnson, Shea Johnson, Trent Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Hope Krogh (Forman).

Also, Taylor Loewen, Joshua Long, Kelsi Lucero, Zachary Lucero, Cody Madsen, Virdiana Marinelarena, NaCole Martinez, Kaitlin Mastin, Tayler McKee.

Also, Patrick McKeouh Larkin, Kelsie McNutt, Zack Montoya-Thomas, Lukas Morelock, Nathaniel Owens, Roxana Palma, Kelvin Parker, Natalie Pintal, Erika Pitcher.

Also, Crystal Purcell, Kimberly Rapp, Sierra Riggs, Ernest Romero, Preston Sandoval, Rebecca Schaefer, Brittnie Sharp, Justine Smith.

Also, Katherine Smith, Sienna Stretton, Sarah Stuckwish, Courtney Swan, Jefferson Walsh, Colton Ward and Karlie Willis/Rivas.

And, speaking of perfection, three sixth-graders and six fifth-graders were cited for perfect attendance for the entire year.

Included were Megan Bryant, Victoria Espinosa and Trenton Maddux from the sixth grade and fifth-graders Kelsi Lucero, Kelsie McNutt, Rocio Palma, Roxana Palma, Justine Smith and Courtney Swan.

For the fourth and final quarter of the school year, 10 sixth-graders and 12 fifth-graders were on the All-A honor roll.

Sixth-graders named were Julie Adams, Thomas Bernard, Ashley Brooks, Emily Greer, Michael Heraty, Amber Lark, Brian Montoyaa, Jefferson Reardon, Sierra Shepard and Ashley Taylor (Miller).

Fifth-graders listed were Amanda Barnes, Christopher Brown, Kayla Catlin, Andrea Fautheree, Christopher Martinez, Kelsie McNutt.

Also, Dakota Miller, Caitlin Mueller, Cy Parker, Crystal Purcell, Rachel Shaw and Garrett Stoll.


DS3 designed to expedite benefits for severely wounded

A young Army sergeant first class recuperates in his bed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center with the leader of the nation's largest veterans' organization standing at his bedside, asking him how he's feeling and if there is anything the Legionnaires "back home" or in the nation's capital can do.

He told American Legion National Commander John Brieden during the recent visit that he yearned to return to active duty and to complete his Army career. The "leader" in him was unimpaired despite his wounds. He told the commander: "Thank you for visiting. But you don't need to spend time with me. I am a little older with different life experiences. I can handle what happened to me. You need to spend time with the 18 and 19 year olds that are devastated at their injuries." He was already treated in Afghanistan and at Landstul, Germany, before arriving at Walter Reed.

He requested that the ward nurse "treat that other soldier" before treating his own wounds, then told Brieden he wanted a prosthesis and a prompt return to active duty rather than a medical discharge because, "I want to return to my troops, because they need me."

Brieden, an Army Ranger who served during the Vietnam War, understood.

Some of the wounded simply appreciate a visit. Some can benefit from a service officer's counsel on benefits-related decisions. Virtually all wish for a speedy return to active duty and are proud of both their service and their mission.

And, thanks to a new Army program, the Disabled Soldier Support System (, all severely wounded soldiers will have The American Legion and other veterans service organizations at their disposal.

"Our nation - the Pentagon, civilian agencies, troops, their loved ones, and the community of warriors past and present - are in this global war on terror together," Brieden said. "When the families are praying for the safe return of their deployed members, we Legionnaires are praying with them. For those who come home with debilitating wounds, we appreciate the Army letting us offer our services and support directly; the sooner the better."

Otherwise known as "DS3," the Army's new program is designed to expedite the offering of benefits and services from the Department of Veterans Affairs for severely wounded soldiers, such as amputees. The program also gives them an early option to seek assistance from a veterans' service organization. Among its services to veterans and troops, The American Legion (

- provides free, professional assistance - for any veteran and any veteran's survivor - in filing and pursuing claims before any administrative or judicial body of the Department of Veterans Affairs

- helps the family of a deployed service member - ranging from errands to household chores to providing someone to talk to - through the Family Support Network, (800) 504-4098

- offers temporary financial assistance to help needy families of deployed troops meet their children's needs.

The organization's service "For God and Country" encompasses the survivors. American Legion honor guards perform more than 100,000 solemn funeral honors annually for KIAs and veterans. Its American Legacy Scholarship Fund raises money to provide educational assistance to the children of U.S. service members killed while on active duty on or since Sept. 11, 2001.

The 2.7 million-member American Legion is the nation's largest veterans' organization.


U.S. 550 will be closed for Iron Horse Bicycle Classic

U.S. 550 from Silverton to Durango Mountain Resort will be closed from 8:15 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29, for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.

The road is closed by the Colorado State Patrol with a special permit applied for by the bike race.

The closure will ensure the safety of the traveling public, as well as the cyclists. The road will be open for any emergency vehicles traveling either north or south.

Goeglein Gulch Road will be closed Monday, May 31, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. for the cross country races. Travelers are asked to use North College Drive.

This is the 33rd running of one of the largest and longest continuously run bicycling events in the United States. This unique event features a road race on a closed road, cross-country, criterium and a kid's race.

This is a not-for-profit organization; the proceeds of the race will go to Mercy Health Foundation, American Heart Association and to support cycling events in the Durango area.


Private school names graduates, honor students

Pagosa Springs Education Center has graduated four students and has two who will graduate within a matter of weeks.

Nelson DelBianco, school director, said the two who have graduated, with high honors, are Anthony DelBianco and Katie Price. Graduating with honors are Misty Davis and Joel Flaugh. Graduating within two weeks will be Heather McCauley and Josh Soniat.

Named for high honors in addition to the two graduates are Joshua Gallegos, Megan Loran, Travis Loran, Derek Lorenzen, Allonah Podvin, Isaiah Rivas, Stephanie Shawcroft, Michelle Soniat, Jeshua Thomas and Shoshana Tom.

Making the honors list in addition to the graduates, were Jacqueline Bell, Jessica Blesi, Colton Calavan, Kylie Corcoran, Cory Davis, Luke Enns, Stephen Firth, Autumn Gallegos, John Gilbert and Kaitlyn Kennedy.

Also, Taylor Loran, Heather McCauley, Shay Monkiewicz, Brittany Pacheco, Alexander PeBenito, Shelby Schofield, Tabatha Short, Tiffany Short, Davidlee Trujillo, Allan VanNess, Kody Walton, Devin Whomble and Timothy Yount.


Blood donations 'dangerously low'

With the three-day Memorial day holiday looming, the Four Corners area faces a "dangerously low" blood supply.

United Blood Services announced the shortage Tuesday, citing donations a critically low point.

Randy Hubbs, UBS representative said, "We simply do not have enough blood on the shelves when compared to projected usages. Current donations are down and advanced bookings for the week after Memorial Day are only 50 percent of projected inventories."

Hubbs said, "We met hospital orders today, but there is no guarantee for tomorrow. We are particularly vulnerable to emergency."

Normally, Hubbs said, "this is a period when we are building inventories for the upturn in summer demand. The fact we are just day-to-day is a major concern."

Prospective donors may contact United Blood Services to schedule a donation at the blood drive nearest you. Call 385-4601 or log onto


Congressional candidate runs on promise of commitment

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Gregg Rippy wants to go to Washington to replace the retiring Scott McInnis.

He brought his campaign to Town Park in Pagosa Springs Saturday, explaining to party faithful why he's petitioning to get on the ballot instead of going through the nomination convention process.

You can call it commitment, he said.

In his second term in the state Legislature, Rippy said he felt a commitment to those who elected him to state office.

And, in a year in which legislative action was expected to plot a course out of the state's economic crisis, he felt he should be there instead of on the campaign trail.

A seatmate of State Rep. Mark Larson of Cortez, Rippy said the two have shared many ideas and have discussed regional problems he might address in Washington.

The Glenwood Springs Republican, on a self-mandated 29 counties in nine days air tour, told the Pagosans his motto is "be honest and be accessible."

He said his business experience in road construction and four years in the state Legislature give him a rare combination of skills that make him believe in the success of his venture.

The commitment to voters of his state House district is the same he would carry to Washington, Rippy said. "When their calls come about a specific problem at home, you better be prepared to answer and help solve the problem."

Asked to describe his thoughts on the nation's and region's major problems he would address if elected, Rippy cited:

- we must keep in mind that we are in a war, that we should never awaken without a silent thought of thanks for those defending us

- keep in mind that members of Colorado's National Guard and Reserves are on the front lines on our behalf; and we need to make sure our military families have sufficient income to live on while their income providers are gone

- affordable health care and insurance are at a national crisis level and should be a top focus of everyone serving in Congress; national health care like that in Canada is not the answer

- Water, water and, again, water. "We must consider basin of origin rights. Of course this is a big issue in Colorado because we provide water to most of the Southwest. Gail Norton's decision on reducing California use of Colorado's water was a great first start. It is obvious that more storage in-state is a prime concern. It is not a short-term process, either. Note for example that Animas-LaPlata is now under construction - and it was approved initially in 1976. We must defend Colorado's water rights, not let the 'beneficial use' and 'endangered species' arguments detract from our own needs." Water, he said, "has always been the lifeblood of Colorado and 87 percent of it is in the western part of the state; 87 percent comes from snow, and 87 percent is used for agricultural purposes"

- foreign policy: Rippy said we must demonstrate to the rest of the world how democracy works and succeeds. "We have a responsibility to minimize human rights violations, to provide technical help, economic assistance and when necessary, military intervention."

- defense: "We must always work toward a smarter, more efficient defense, but never allow our nation to be put at risk. We must remain nimble and responsive, ready to defend our own borders"

- immigration: "... we must welcome those who seek to pursue a better life in America, but at a rate that is sustainable

- budget and economy: "The best incentive to production and growth of the economy is to allow Americans to keep more of the money they earn in their won pockets. The president's tax cuts are good but we have to get deficit spending under control. We should also eliminate the death tax"

- Social Security: "We must start today to ensure the viability and sustainability of Social Security while honoring commitments to those who have paid into the system throughout their working years"

- environment: "The EPA must protect the environment with consideration to outcomes, and the costs to consumers and business, now and in the future. There are extreme views on all sides of the environmental issues. We must come to the table and work together toward solutions that we all can live with"

- crime: "Our prisons are overflowing and at an annual cost of $60,000 per inmate, we must look at alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, and support community-based solutions for alternative sentencing"

- 2nd Amendment rights: "I am a staunch supporter ... it is one of the most basic rights givens our citizens. I prefer the term '2nd Amendment rights' over 'gun control'. Safety training and background checks are as far as I'd ever want to go in regulating this fundamental constitutional freedom."

For over an hour he'd led county Republicans into question and answer sessions, shared ice cream bars and alluded to the need for party unanimity.

And then he was off, to another of the 29 counties in nine days and another distribution of petitions to be signed.


Train your dog to be a good citizen

By Julie Paige

Special to The SUN

As part of Pet Pride Day activities, the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs is holding an American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen® evaluation June 26.

The AKC Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that teaches responsible dog ownership to owners and basic good manners to dogs.

Training for the CGC test is fun and the activities are useful in everyday life. There are 10 steps in the evaluation which involve the dog accepting a friendly stranger; sitting politely for petting; accepting light grooming and examination from a stranger; walking on a loose lead - even among people strolling about and chatting; coming when called; responding calmly to the approach of another dog; responding appropriately to distractions such as loud noises, joggers, or a person in a wheelchair; sitting and lying down on command; and remaining calm while the owner is out of sight for three minutes.

In order to prepare for the evaluation, the Humane Society is offering free practice sessions in Town Park during the three weeks prior to Pet Pride Day.

The first practice will be Friday, June 4, at 6 p.m. at the soccer field in Town Park.

For additional training dates or further information, contact Julie Paige at 731-0231 or Jan Nanus at 264-2556.


IRS has help for owners opening or closing a firm

The Internal Revenue Service has numerous free resources that can help small business taxpayers comply with their tax responsibilities, and none of them are further than a mouse-click away.

On the small business section of, taxpayers can, for example, learn how the tax code treats different business structures, apply for an Employer Identification Number or make tax payments, even watch a streaming video of a small business workshop.

"Running a small business is a big responsibility, and the IRS wants to help simplify the process for this important group of taxpayers," said Dale F. Hart, Commissioner of the Small Business/Self-Employed Division of the IRS. "Whether a person is just considering opening a business or has years of small business experience, we provide a wide range of tools and educational assistance to help him or her succeed."

Here is a sample of the resources and services that small businesses can find on

- starting a business - everything from a new business checklist to selecting a business structure

- operating a business - find out about various expenses associated with a business and business taxes that may apply. Also lists requirements for small businesses with employees and information on how to structure a retirement plan

- closing a business - more than shutting the door, procedures are provided for getting out of business, including forms to file

- the self-employed community - this one-stop shop for the self-employed was built with the help of taxpayer feedback

- industries and professions - advice on how to avoid problems in construction, cosmetology and more. Information on more than a dozen industries in all

- international taxpayers - addresses the special tax requirements of the international community

- where to file - riling addresses, by return type, for self-filers and tax professionals. Includes the top filing errors made by type of form

- order free products - choose from the Tax Calendar, Small Business Resource Guide and more, all developed for the small business or self-employed individual

- small business online classroom - IRS courses, self-directed learning and access to streaming video of IRS small business workshops

- state links - a collection of links to state government and commercial web sites. is also the gateway to a host of electronic services for small businesses:

- e-file - filing options for employment taxes, information returns, partnerships, corporations and estates and trusts can all be found here

- employer identification number (EIN) - small businesses may apply for one online

- electronic federal tax payment system - EFTPS is an alternative to paying taxes by check or money order. Small businesses can make payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Over the past few years, the Internet has opened up vast new possibilities for communication between the IRS and small business. But IRS employees are still available by phone to speak with small business owners and the self employed. For telephone assistance with tax issues, small businesses may call (800) 829-4933.


MADD calls for sober holiday for drivers

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is asking the public to designate sober drivers before Memorial Day celebrations begin and to buckle their safety belts when out on the roadways.

"It is important to recognize the toll of impaired driving in Colorado," said Christy Le Lait, executive director of MADD Colorado. "During this time of families gathering and remembering those lost, let's keep the roads in our state safe. Please don't drink and drive and please don't let your friends drink and drive."

MADD is working in all 50 states to remind everyone that the best party mix does not involve cars and alcohol.

Statistics indicate more than 40 people die every day in drunk driving tragedies in the nation. Each year, more than 17,000 alcohol-related traffic deaths occur and half a million individuals are injured.

In Colorado, 342 persons died in alcohol-rated crashes in 2002.

Memorial Day is one of the worst holidays for alcohol-related deaths according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2002, 237 people were killed in alcohol-related Memorial Day weekend crashes, representing 48 percent of all traffic deaths in that period.

Nearly two-thirds of all people killed in traffic accidents that same year were unrestrained and evidence indicates restraint use declines as alcohol use increases.


Pagosa Scouts capture 'Best of the Best' flag

Boys Scouts of Pagosa Springs Troop 108 are celebrating their winning of the coveted Mesa Verde District Traveling Flag for "The Best of the Best."

They brought the ensign home after competing against troops from around the region at the new Haycamp Mesa Scout Ranch near Dolores.

Scouts from throughout the Four Corners area were commemorating Theodore Roosevelt's centennial with special emphasis on the creation of our national parks and forest system.

They participated in such competitions as orienteering with maps and compass, history and traditions of Scouting, speed frying a tasty edible egg over an open fire, ethical problem solving and insights into Scouting with disabilities, Hawk and Knife (basic frontier survival skills), lashings and knots, U.S. Forest plant identification, First Aid basics, and some noncompetitive learning events.

At the award ceremony, Troop 807 had amassed the most points and received the flag which for many years had been held by troops from Durango.

They will retain it until it is put up for competition again in February when the Klondike Camporee competitions will take place.


Design for heart and home' at First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church Women's Ministry will host a workshop for women 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. June 12. There will be a $5 registration fee that will cover a noon luncheon and all materials.

Theme for the event is "Design for Heart and Home" featuring guest speaker Vikki Walton from Colorado Springs, an interior designer, award-winning writer and frequent speaker at Christian women's events.

She combines the humor and tragedies of life with God's Word to inspire others in their walk with the Lord.

In addition to Walton's message to the group, there will be special breakout sessions dealing with topics of specific interest to women.

Ada McGowan will speak on "Hospitality: Reflecting Christ in Your Home"; Peggy Forrest on "Creating Character Qualities and Memories in Your Home"; Judy Patton on "Building and Maintaining Relationships in the body of Christ"; Tina Hughes and Anne Broyles on "Praying for Your Family"; and Cynthia Minor on "A Woman Who Hurts and a God Who Heals."

All ladies in the Pagosa Springs area are invited. Please preregister by calling First Baptist Church office, 731-2205. Childcare will be provided for children through age 4.

If you have children needing care, please advise the church when you preregister and bring a sack lunch for your child June 12.

The deadline for preregistraton is May 30.


ACS Relay for Life will celebrate survivorship

By Tom Thorpe

Special to The PREVIEW

Most of us know someone in our family, among our coworkers or in our circle of friends, who has had an encounter with cancer.

In Pagosa Springs, cancer has been part of the lives of public officials, philanthropists, organizers of arts and entertainment events, well-known volunteers in the community and everyday folks.

The sixth annual Relay for Life will bring people throughout the community together to support the fight against the many forms of the disease.

Relay is also an opportunity to celebrate cancer survivorship. All cancer survivors - those newly diagnosed as well as those considered cured are invited to join in the Relay for Life Survivor Ceremony.

Beginning 6 p.m. Friday, June 11, cancer survivors will be honored in the opening ceremonies for the Relay. Then, at approximately 6:30 p.m., they will walk the first lap of the Relay. This "Victory Lap" will be followed by a reception where survivors will be greeted with friendship and refreshments in celebration of their personal conquest. Please join them.

At about 7 p.m., teams of 10-15 individuals will walk, run, or rock around the track at Town Park for 15 hours into the morning of June 12 to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Money donated at this event, most of which stays right here in Archuleta County and Southwest Colorado, is used for cancer research, education and patient services.

All family members, friends and particularly caregivers are invited to join in the Survivor Ceremony and Relay for Life. There will be a variety of entertainment for the whole family.

If you or someone you know would like to participate in the Survivor's Program, please complete a registration form and mail it to ACS Relay for Life, PO Box 2531, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 by June 7 or bring it the Relay registration 5:30-6 p.m. June 11.

Forms are available at Mary Fisher Medical Center, Pagosa Springs Family Medicine, The Pagosa Springs SUN office or the Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about the ceremony or to request a registration form, contact Susan or Tom Thorpe at 264-5253.


KWUF will host Colgate Country Showdown again

Pagosa Radio KWUF will again host Colgate Country Showdown with over $200,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded nationwide.

The event, the 23rd edition of the nation's largest country talent search, will culminate locally during the Archuleta County Fair and nationally in a television special hosted by Walt Disney World Resorts.

The quest is designed to find the most promising country talent in America, giving them a chance to launch their professional careers.

The road begins each spring with hometown talent contests sponsored by more than 400 radio stations across the country.

Local winners advance to 40 state contests where prizes include $1,000 in cash and the opportunity to compete at one of the six regional showdown contests in he fall.

"The Colgate Country Showdown is one of the most anticipated events in country music," said Will Spears, owner of KWUF. "It is an exciting community event which not only promotes a greater appreciation of country music, but provides aspiring artists from our area an opportunity for state, regional and national exposure."

The event is open to vocal and/or instrumental performers, individuals or groups with up to seven members, who have not performed on a record listed in the national record charts of Billboard, Radio and Records, or the Gavin Report within 18 months preceding local competition.

A uniform judging system on all levels of the competition ensures fairness. Entry forms are available at local retailers or by calling KWUF at 264-5983.


School dismissal gives Teen Center attendance spurt

By Karen Carpenter

Special to The PREVIEW

It was not hard to tell school is out. The Teen Center gained many new friends.

All the kids were full of the new- found freedom that summer brings. If any adult out there has a heart for teens and would like to help, please let me know. Our numbers are climbing and I would like to keep the ratio of adults in proportion.

This Friday we will be showing "Last Samurai" with Tom Cruise. The movie takes place after the U.S. Civil War. Algren (Cruise) is commissioned by the emperor of Japan to tutor the Japanese army. He is captured by the Samurai, nursed back to health, and becomes one with his captors. The photography and musical score are what make the movie.

I must caution: There are strong violent battle scenes.

The new version of "Peter Pan" was shown throughout the week.

There is still time to enter our Teen Center logo contest. So put your creativity and artistic skills to use and win a gift certificate and recognition.

We will be closed May 29-31 for the Memorial Day weekend. When we are able to secure more funding we will be able to open at these crucial holiday times.

We are looking forward to a wonderful summer of activity.

The Teen Center is in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard and is open 1-8 p.m. weekdays. Call 264-4152.


Annual Pagosa Fiber Fest features full slate of events

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

The fourth year of the Pagosa Fiber Fest comes to the Archuleta County Fairgrounds this Memorial Day weekend, May 29-30, with fiber workshops Friday at Mountain Heights Baptist Church.

The Pagosa Fiber Fest is a celebration, an ambitious exposition of fiber animals, fiber artists and the many products of cottage industries that have grown up around the lifestyle of the small sustainable farm.

Later this summer, Mountain High Fiber Ladies, a mini-fiber processing mill, will open in Pagosa, further enhancing the economic development of these cottage industries.

Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado and Operation Healthy Communities have both shown their support with grant funds because the festival supports their goals.

The 2003 Region 9 report states, "Economic diversification is a high priority for the Region." Whether raising animals for breeding, sale and fiber production (alpacas, llamas, goats, sheep and rabbits) or working their fibers (spinning, weaving knitting, felting, designing patterns) to make products for sale, these people are helping to diversify economic activity in the area.

Employment economies in Archuleta County are currently based primarily on tourism, construction and retail trade. At the same time, according to the Region 9 report, "The preservation of a rural lifestyle and landscape have been identified as priorities in all discussions of economic development in the region." The Fiber Festival provides the small livestock raiser a venue to promote their product, thus helping to make a rural lifestyle economically feasible.

What to expect during the two day event: Daily fashion shows, shearing of sheep and goats, demonstrations on dyeing, weaving, knitting, spinning, crocheting, livestock for sale and viewing, lectures on the care and maintenance of small livestock and fiber artists selling a variety of outstanding textiles and clothing articles. At the end of the day on Sunday a silent auction will offer visitors a selection of hand-crafted articles made in the area. For the first time this year there will also be a knitting bar where anyone can sit down and work with provided needles and yarn. In addition, there will be lively entertainment and tasty food to round out the weekend attractions.

Who are the fiber artists appearing at this year's event? First, the three women on the Preview cover.

Lois Burbach and her husband, Jim, started Navajo Lake Alpacas after their "retirement" and move to the Four Corners Area three years ago. Lois' background in knitting and sewing made for a perfect fit with their wonderful fiber-producing animals. Felting quickly became a natural outlet for Lois' skill and artistic talents. Her "Red Hats" have made quite a name for themselves and have found their way all over the country. Lois is offering a Felting Class on Friday.

Claire Walker is a four-time recipient of the "Silver Medallion" (Grand Champion) award at the Taos Wool Festival. Her exquisite, hand-spun yarns have won numerous other awards, including reserve and grand champion at the Estes Park Wool Market. She also writes Fiber Tips, an on-going column in Alpacas Magazine.

Barbara Witkowski (with Princess Peach) and husband Gene moved to Pagosa to "retire," allowing Barbara the chance to start her own small herd of Angora goats and grow her own fiber to take to her loom upstairs. Using beautiful natural fibers in her knitting and weaving project has interested Barbara since she began to knit 20 years ago. Barbara cannot wait to get her hands into Peaches' fiber.

Then the additional six women fiber artists who are offering classes Friday:

Rita O'Connell owns her own knitting pattern design company, Earth Heart Designs. She began knitting at age 12 and started designing very soon thereafter. Many of her patterns are available nationally, she is the knitting pattern columnist for Alpacas Magazine, and she has been featured in INKnitting Magazine. She is an award-winning knitter, having won grand champion in hand knitting twice at the Minnesota State Fair. Rita is offering two classes on Friday, Knitting Sock and Knitting Scarves and Shawls.

Pam Ramsey has over 20 years experience in raising wool-producing sheep and spinning their fleece into yarn. She also has extensive experience as a fiber instructor, having taught at the Estes Park Wool Market, the Taos Wool Festival, and also teaching Navajo spinning classes for the Elder Hostel groups at Fort Lewis College. Ramsey is offering a class in Painting Rovings on Friday.

Pam Dyer lives in Marvel, just southwest of Durango. She and her family raise Navajo (Dine) Churro and Corriedale sheep which produce beautiful colored fleeces. She has been working with wool for 20 years by spinning, knitting, felting, and locker hooking. She serves on the board of the Durango Farmers Market. Pam is offering a class in the Basic Technique of the Drop Spindle.

Rose A.B. Vigil and her husband Eugene are together in their love of Spanish traditional textiles. In their weaving of rugs together, they are fulfilling the dream of keeping their traditions alive and passing their culture on to children and community. By learning how the early generations of Chimayo weavers worked, Rose and Eugene implement their own work, keep their traditions alive, and become culture bearers. Rose is offering a class in Rio Grande Weaving.

Debbie Wyckoff has a degree in fabric design and has been weaving for the past 26 years. She teaches weaving for adults and children at the Weaving Room in Durango. She is a member of the Four Corners Weavers Guild and The Hand Weavers Guild of America. Debbie is offering a class in Beginning Weaving.

Arlene Burkhard and husband Walt raise alpacas on their farm in Cortez. Arlene's work with crocheting goes back 50 years. She is also a self-taught hand knitter and has been working with knitting machines since l960. Now she has the opportunity to work with alpaca fiber, which she loves. With this fiber she makes scarves, vests, ponchos, mittens and gloves.

Saturday, May 29 9 a.m. - Open

9 - Frank Ratliff (Archuleta Weed and Pest Control) on Weeds Poisonous to Small Livestock

9 - Knitting Bar available all day both days.

9:30 - First shearing demonstration (shearing will take place on the hour, both Saturday and Sunday)

10 - Jean Carson, dyeing demonstration using rainbow dyes

10:30 - Weaving demonstration, Debbie Wycoff (the weaving demo will be ongoing through 2 p.m.)

11 - Dr. Kitzel Farrah, speaking on Camelid reproduction

11 - Arlene Burkhard - crocheting demonstration

noon - enjoy your lunch

1 p.m. - Jim Burbach, Navajo Lakes Alpaca, speaking on "Setting up your Fiber Ranch."

1 - Pam Dyer, Drop Spindle spinning demonstration

2 - Claire Walker, spinning demonstration

3 - Rita O'Connell, knitting demonstration

4 - Jean Carson, dyeing demonstration

4:30 - Fashion Show. Fashions provided from fiber artists and vendors

Sunday, May 30

9 a.m. - Open for visitors

10 - Debbie Wycoff, weaving demonstration (through 2 p.m.)

noon - lunch

1 p.m. - Arlene Burkhard, crochet demonstration

2 - spinning demonstration, Claire Walker

3 - Rita O'Connell, knitting demonstration

4 - Silent auction

Friday, May 28, the fiber festival will sponsor a series of classes at Mountain Heights Baptist Church featuring top fiber artists of the Four Corners.

- Pam Dyer will teach a beginning locker hooking class where students will learn to hook rugs using strips of unspun wool to create beautiful rugs, pillows, saddle blankets, etc. Participants will be given a needle (hook), a small amount of canvas and wool to practice with. Supplies to make larger pieces will be available to purchase. (To do a 2' x 3' rug: cost is $65, and includes wool, book and one yard of canvas 60" wide.) Class time is four hours and the cost is $40

- Rita O'Connell will teach a knitting class. Scarves and shawls are popular projects for beginner to advanced knitters. In this class students will start knitting a basic triangular or rectangular scarf/shawl using the several patterns provided in class. While knitting, instruction will concern different styles and ways to shape scarves and shawls (rectangles, squares, triangles, semicircles, and circles). Rita will also talk about how fancy yarn and simple stitches can be used to make a head-turning scarf, or basic yarns and fancy stitch work to create a lacy work of art. Class time is four hours (morning) and cost is $45 including several patterns

- Arlene Burkhard will teach a beginning or intermediate class in crochet. Students will learn basic stitches and then a number of variety stitches that can be used in a variety of patterns. Class time is four hours (afternoon)

- Lois Burbach will teach a felting class for beginners to intermediate students. Hats are becoming the "hot" fashion item. Learn to felt your own. Or, felt a special one-of-a-kind purse. In this class students will get their hands wet and have fun while learning to felt without seams. They will leave with their finished hat or purse, (ready to decorate after it dries). Hat blocks will be available in a choice of hat shapes. Students will learn how to finish the edge, as well as decorating and finishing tricks and hints. Class time is all day and the cost is $75

- Pam Ramsey will teach a beginner to intermediate class in creating painted rovings. Students will learn to develop and create those wonderful painted rovings that are a fortune to buy. They will be asked to push their comfort level with color and see how some very unusual color combinations can be stunning. They can expect to get messy but will take home enough spinnable samples to create a small scarf or socks. Class time is three hours and cost is $40

- Pam Dyer will teach a beginning level class in spinning with the drop spindle. Students will learn an ancient art that has changed little over the centuries. Hand spinning, once the basic technique is mastered, is highly relaxing and quite portable. It is an ideal way to feel real kinship with our foremothers. If you then knit or crochet the finished thread into something you can wear or use, your pleasure and satisfaction in your skill will be doubled. Class time is four hours (morning) and cost is $40

- Rose A.B. Vigil will teach a class in Rio Grand Weaving for beginners and intermediate students. Students will learn to design and weave a Rio Grande/Chimayo weaving. They will be using a 4/13 tapestry weight or a single rug weight depending on ends per inch used by each individual. Class time is all day and cost is $75

- Debbie Wykoff will teach a beginning weaving class. Students will learn to plan a project, learn the components of a loom, and various weaving techniques sure to amaze everyone. They will weave a sampler of 10 to 12 weaving techniques. These include plain weave, twill weave, a little tapestry, rug weaves, and finer weaves. Looms and selection of yarns will be provided for use. Class time is all day and cost is $115

- Rita O'Connell will teach a class in knitting socks for advanced beginners through advanced knitters. Colorful hand-knitted socks are popular today. In this class students will learn how to knit on double point needles and learn all the steps to make a sock. They will knit a small sock (suitable for an ornament) in class on large in order to practice all the steps, including the heel. They will take home a basic sock pattern sized for children to adults to work with the wonderful thin sock yarns available today. They will also learn about the variety of sock designs to be found among the many sock patterns out there, and the amazing variety of sock yarns. Class time is four hours (afternoon) and cost is $45, including two patterns

For more information on classes and registration, call Susan Halabrin at 264-5447 or

For further information about the Fiber Fest or to reserve a vendor or exhibitor space, call Jane McKain at 264-4458 or online at




Interpretive Alliance summer programs outlined

By Phyllis Decker

Special to The SUN

The Interpretive Alliance has begun its fourth year of events.

To add to your enjoyment of the Pagosa area, you can take a wildflower walk, view the work of local artists, learn how fire and ice shaped this country, learn about life during the old times, learn about bats, birds, bears, butterflies and so much more.

The Interpretive Alliance provides provocative, enjoyable and memorable programs focusing on Pagosa Springs and surrounding areas - free. Programs include walks, talks, tours, events, children's programs and campfire programs.

Locations include Navajo State Park, the town of Pagosa Springs, Pagosa Springs Pioneer Museum, and the Southern Ute Indian Cultural Center in Ignacio and many places on the San Juan National Forest. Watch for calendars posted throughout the area during the summer.

The following free events are coming up through mid-June:

- Saturday, May 29, at 10 a.m. - enjoy a two-hour butterfly walk with naturalist Carol Bylsma. Meet at the entrance to Wolf Creek Campground. Dress for the outdoors with comfortable walking shoes and bring water. Sponsored by San Juan Mountains Association and San Juan National Forest. Call 264-2268 for more information

- Saturday, June 5, at 10 a.m. - take a Wetland Walk at Navajo State Park to learn how wetland habitats are unique and significant. You will see many bird and plant species. Meet at the Sambrito Wetland Trail for an easy 2/3-mile hike. Dress appropriately. There is an entrance fee for the park and the program is free. For additional information, call 883-2208

- Saturday, June 5, 2 p.m. at Navajo State Park the Kid's Corner program entitled Beady Buddies - kids will learn about pond life and make a dragonfly out of beads. Meet at the Visitor Center

- Sunday, June 6, 10 a.m. at Navajo State Park the "Kid's Corner" program about Native American Games - meet at the Amphitheater

- Tuesday, June 8, 9 a.m. enjoy a 2-3 hour wildflower walk with Dick Moseley through Piedra Canyon and experience the variety of plant life that abounds in the open meadows and the deep canyons. Meet at the Piedra River Trailhead north of Pagosa Springs. Dress for the outdoors with comfortable walking shoes. Bring water. Sponsored by San Juan Mountains Association and San Juan National Forest

- Tuesday, June 8, 10-11 a.m, as part of the Summer Reading program, children will enjoy stories of pioneers and covered wagons. There will be stories for preschool children and stories and games for children of school age at the Sisson Library. For more information, call 264-2209

- Wednesday, June 9, 2 p.m., at Navajo State Park, children of all ages will enjoy the Kid's Corner program about fire safety. Learn about fire and fire safety tips. Meet at the Amphitheater

- Friday, June 11, 8 a.m., take a bird watching walk with San Juan National Forest wildlife biologist, Skip Fischer. Skip is scouting out a good location for the walk, so please call 264-2268 a few days in advance for directions to the meeting place. Dress for the outdoors with comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars and water. Sponsored by the San Juan National Forest. Call 264-2268

- Friday, June 11, 10-11 a.m., as part of the Summer Reading program, children will enjoy the pioneers dance and music program. Presented by Paul and Carla Roberts for children of all ages at the Sisson Library. For more information, call 264-2209

- Saturday, June 12, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., attend the free horse/mule packing clinic at Vallecito Lake. Sponsored by Four Corners Backcountry Horsemen and the San Juan Mountains Association. Call Kathe Hayes at 385-1310 to register

- Saturday, June 12, 9 a.m. at Navajo State Park, enjoy a Bird Watch. You will see many summerbirds that frequent the unique wetland environment. Binoculars and bird books provided. Meet at the Sambrito Wetland Trail. Dress appropriately

Saturday, June 12, 2 p.m., at Navajo State Park, children of all ages will enjoy the Kid's Corner program about Food on the Fly. Learn about some Colorado birds and make your own natural bird feeder for your campsite or home. Meet at the Amphitheater

- Tuesday, June 15, 9 a.m., take a wildflower hike with Dick Moseley and enjoy the early summer wildflowers that occur along the Williams Creek Trail. Meet at the Teal Boat Ramp at Williams Reservoir. Dress for the outdoors with comfortable walking shoes and bring water. Sponsored by San Juan Mountains Association and San Juan National Forest

- Wednesday, June 16, 5-8 p.m., come to the Pioneer Museum open house to view the minerals collection recently donated to the museum by geologist Glenn Raby. You will be surprised at the treasures within the old waterworks at First and Pagosa Streets. The usual nominal entrance fee will be waived for this evening. Sponsored by the San Juan Historical Society. For information, contact the museum at 264-4424.

The mission of the Interpretive Alliance is to interpret the natural and cultural resources of Pagosa Springs and surrounding areas in an effort to enhance public interest and appreciation of those resources.

Current partners include the San Juan National Forest, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Parks (Navajo State Park), San Juan Historical Society, Sisson Library, Friends of Archuleta County History, Friends of Native Cultures, Southern Ute Indian Cultural Center, Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Pagosa Springs Town Historical Preservation Board, Pagosa Springs Arts Council, TARA, San Juan Mountains Association, and the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association.

If you are interested in participating in the Alliance or if you have ideas or suggestions of programs you would like to see, please contact one of the partners.

For additional information, contact Phyllis Decker at Pagosa Ranger District Office, 264-2268.


DOW to host anglers' roundtable in Pagosa Springs

The Colorado Division of Wildlife will host an anglers' roundtable Thursday, May 27 at the Pagosa Springs Community Center from 7-9 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The purpose of the meeting is to gather public comments and to provide information on issues affecting local fishing in the San Juan River and Dolores River basins.

Topics of discussion will include an update of fish stocking plans for this year, including high-lakes stocking with Colorado River cutthroat trout.

Pros and cons of special fishing regulations for the San Juan River will also be discussed, and copies of this year's fish stocking schedule will be available for public review.

Division biologists will be available to discuss other fishing issues of interest, and time will be provided for comments on the Division's fisheries management program.

For more information, contact Mike Japhet at the Division's Durango Service Center by calling (970) 375-6748.


SJMA plans trail work, seeks volunteers

The San Juan Mountains Association will be hosting a National Trails Day event June 5.

The focus of this project is to help restore and maintain trail conditions along the first four miles of the Colorado Trail.

The project will include various forms of trail maintenance and rehabilitation. All ages and levels of experience are welcome.

For more information or to register contact the San Juan Mountains Association at 385-1242.


Phase II of Rio Blanco River restoration Project nears completion

By Jerry Curtis

Special to The SUN

The sounds of earth-moving equipment up and down the Rio Blanco River signal Phase II of the Rio Blanco restoration project is underway.

Cliff Hockett of Elk River Construction will complete rehabilitation work on the 2.2 mile stretch of the river approximately three-quarters of a mile south of the Rio Blanco River "green" bridge and the RV park bridge.

Work began May 3 and will be completed by the end of May. Upon completion, 3.3 contiguous miles of the river will have been rehabilitated. The goal is to restore another six miles to reach the San Juan River juncture.

Local property owner participation is another accomplishment in this effort. Due largely to results of the demonstration segment, all 72 property owners have endorsed the project and granted permission for work to continue.

Southwestern Water Conservation District sponsored an Environmental Protection Agency S-319 grant application for $250,000. This grant has made much of the work possible.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment administers the grant. The group has applied for a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help complete remaining work. It is estimated that costs for completing the remaining six miles will be in excess of one million dollars.

Matching funds and in-kind contributions from state and local agencies have totaled over $167,000. Partners include the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado Division of Water Resources, Archuleta County, Southwestern Water Conservation District, Lower Blanco Property Owners Association, Wildland Hydrology and San Juan Water Conservancy District.

The Bureau of Reclamation is providing trucks and drivers for hauling 2,500 large boulders to be placed in the river. This contribution cuts hauling costs by half.

Water quality and habitat improvement are primary goals of the river restoration project. Aesthetics and recreational improvements are secondary benefits.

A series of beautiful pools will soon create adequate habitat for rainbow trout. High water temperatures during summer low flows have eliminated rainbow trout populations. A reintroduction of rainbow trout is desired once additional river has been restored and water quality issues have been corrected.

Concurrently, Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Division of Water Resources are working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to develop an operations plan that would assist in maintaining the state's in-stream flow water rights on the Rio Blanco, while ensuring the San Juan/Chama Project water yield.

The Rio Blanco River originates in the San Juan Mountains, flows through Archuleta County and eventually enters the San Juan River approximately 10 miles south of Pagosa Springs.

For more information about the restoration project, please contact:

- Dan Merriman, (303) 866-344, Colorado Water Conservation Board, 1313 Sherman Street, Room 721, Denver, CO 80203

- Jerry Harris (970) 264-6834 or

- Jack DeLange, (970) 731-2691, San Juan Water Conservancy District, P.O. Box 4632, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

- Lynn Herkenhoff, (970) 247-1302, Southwestern Water Conservation District, P.O. Box 475, Durango, CO 81302.

Additional photos and information can also be found on the Web at


New study shows economic impact of wildlife recreation

Colorado residents and visitors continue to flock to the state's backcountry to engage in fishing, hunting and wildlife watching, making wildlife recreation a large contributor to the state's tourism industry.

A new report commissioned by the Colorado Division of Wildlife concludes that hunting and fishing generated an estimated $1.5 billion for Colorado's economy in 2002, including $800 million in direct and $700 million in indirect revenues.

According to the report "Economic Impacts of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Watching in Colorado," the state fishing industry generated $460 million and hunting generated $340 million in direct revenues. Together, the industries supported some 20,200 jobs around the state.

Meanwhile, wildlife watching - an activity often linked to other outdoor recreation - generated an estimated $560 million in revenues and an estimated $940 million in total economic impacts in 2002. However, the report's author, Denver-based BBC Research and Consulting, cautions that wildlife watching is more difficult to track as a dedicated activity and the numbers are not directly comparable to those for hunting and fishing.

"This report supports what the DOW has known for years. Wildlife-related activities are important contributors to Colorado's economy and remain among the most popular pastimes for residents and visitors," said Linda Sikorowski of the Division's policy and regulations section, who helped oversee the gathering of data used in the report. "Colorado offers incomparable, year-round wildlife viewing and sporting opportunities that contribute to local communities in virtually every corner of the state."

The first of its kind in seven years, the report was based on hunting and fishing license sales, Division and other surveys, equipment sales, lodging information, and other direct and indirect expenditures associated with state wildlife-related activities. Also factored in was "re-spending" by people employed in wildlife-related jobs.

The DOW will use the data to assess how local economies are affected by wildlife-management policies and environmental conditions such as drought and wildfires. The agency will also tap into the information to tailor marketing efforts aimed at residents and nonresidents.

In addition, wildlife managers will study the report to determine how to improve data-gathering mechanisms used to assess the economic impacts of wildlife watching, fishing and hunting. The Division, which receives no state tax money, is funded by the purchase of fishing and hunting licenses, by federal funds generated by an excise tax on the manufacture of arms, ammunition, fishing tackle and other sporting equipment, by donations to the Nongame Fund, and by federal endangered species funds.

Based on the findings of the BBC report, hunting and fishing activities compare respectably to Colorado's powerhouse ski industry, which recently reported annual revenues of $2 billion for the 2001-2002 season. While the economic impacts of hunting and fishing are not as large as those generated by the ski industry, they end up in every county of the state and comprise a considerable portion of the economy in some Western Slope communities.

Because of newly available survey data specific to Colorado, economists were able to more accurately assess the economic impacts of resident and non-resident fishing and hunting on a county-by-county basis.

While heavily populated Front Range communities generated a large portion of the transportation and equipment sales, the overall impact of hunting and fishing is small relative to the total size of the Front Range economy.

Meanwhile, hunting and fishing comprise a much larger portion of the economy in many rural communities. For example, hunting and fishing activities support about 1 percent ($58 million) of Mesa County's economy and almost 4 percent ($26 million) of Moffat County's.

The report notes Colorado continues to be a major destination for outdoor enthusiasts from outside the state. Statewide, non-resident hunters and anglers contributed an estimated 42 percent of total hunting and fishing revenues.

According to the BBC report, most of the $800 million in direct revenues generated by hunting and fishing was spent on food and lodging (28 percent) and sporting goods (27 percent). Money spent by hunters and anglers on trips and equipment had a further impact when businesses re-spent it in the local economy to pay for supplies, labor and other overhead.

This secondary spending, along with DOW expenditures in local communities, was factored into the total economic impact of hunting and fishing.

In recent years, the DOW reported that hunting and fishing generated $1.7 billion in annual revenues for Colorado. However, that figure has been revised to reflect a more conservative approach, said BBC Director Todd Pickton. He also said extreme drought conditions had some negative impacts on hunting and fishing participation in 2002.

For more information about hunting, fishing and wildlife watching in Colorado, visit the DOW Web site at:


CWD can spread through indirect environmental sources

A team of Colorado and Wyoming researchers has reported chronic wasting disease can be transmitted through environments contaminated by whole carcasses or excrement of animals infected with the fatal illness.

The research confirms long-held theories that CWD can be spread through indirect environmental sources. Previous published research that involved two of the authors of the new study has already shown that CWD was either directly or indirectly transmitted through interactions between infected and healthy mule deer.

Funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the research paper is published on-line in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The authors are Division of Wildlife Veterinarians Michael Miller and Lisa Wolfe, Colorado State University Senior Research Scientist Tom Hobbs and University of Wyoming Professor Elizabeth S. Williams.

"Based on anecdotal observations over the years, we have long suspected that CWD could be transmitted when healthy deer were exposed to excreta and carcasses of mule deer that had the disease," said Miller, the study's principal author. "Our findings show that environmental sources of infectivity may contribute to CWD epidemics and illustrate how potentially complex these epidemics may be in natural populations."

Williams, who recently received a grant to study CWD transmission mechanisms in greater detail, agreed.

"We've had a great deal of circumstantial evidence suggesting that indirect transmission occurs," Williams said. "The experimental findings show that we need to consider several potential exposure routes when attempting to control this disease."

Hobbs, who works in CSU's Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory in Fort Collins, said the research could be important in helping to slow the spread of CWD.

"Ultimately, we want to develop models that predict the behavior of the disease," Hobbs explained. "For example, we would like to predict how prevalence changes over time in different areas of Colorado."

Hobbs said previous disease models have been based on animal-to-animal contact as the sole source of infection and that disease prevalence was expected to decline as the number infected animals is reduced.

"Our findings that contaminated environments can cause transmission means that these declines in infection rates may be much slower than would be predicted by models that only consider animals-to-animal transmission."

Miller said that while the research shows environmental contamination is possible in a captive setting, the impacts in the wild are still unknown.

"We really can't estimate the relative importance of these different routes of infection from our experiment, but each could play a role in sustaining natural epidemics," Miller said. "Although confinement likely exaggerated transmission probabilities, the conditions we simulated by this experiment do arise in the wild."

The research confined healthy deer in three sets of separate paddocks. In the first set, healthy deer were exposed to another deer already infected with CWD; in the second set, deer were exposed to carcasses of deer that had died of CWD; in the third set, deer were confined in paddocks where infected deer had previously been kept.

A few of the healthy deer contracted CWD under all three exposure scenarios over the course of one year.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological ailment of elk, white-tailed deer and mule deer. Most researchers believe the disease is caused by an aberrant prion protein that misfolds in the brain, destroying brain tissues as it progresses. Clinical signs include lethargy, excessive salivation, loss of wariness of predators and slowly deteriorating body condition. The disease is always fatal and there is no known cure or treatment to prevent CWD.

Federal and state health officials have found no connection between CWD and human health. As a precaution, health officials and the DOW recommend that the meat of animals infected with CWD should not be eaten. The Division offers a testing program that allows hunters to have deer, elk and moose checked for CWD. More than 45,000 animals have been tested in this way in the past two years in Colorado.

DOW managers have used selective culling to remove animals infected or exposed to CWD in areas where prevalence is highest. The goal is to slow the spread and reduce prevalence to 1 percent or less in each deer and elk data analysis unit in Colorado.

"Although live deer and elk still seem the most likely way for CWD to spread geographically, our data show that environmental sources could contribute to maintaining and prolonging local epidemics, even when all infected animals are eliminated," Miller said. He said the appropriateness of various culling strategies may depend on how quickly the CWD agent is added to or lost from the environment.

"The dynamics of various transmission mechanisms and their implications for disease management need to be more completely understood," Miller said. "We hope our findings bring us one step closer to that complete understanding."


If there are deer present, there may be mountain lions

Making lots of noise, staying in groups, avoiding outdoor activities at night, dawn and dusk, and being aware of surroundings are all tips to help reduce your chances of an encounter with a mountain lion in Colorado.

"In any place you've seen deer or signs of deer, there is potentially a mountain lion present as well," said Wildlife Officer Claire Solohub of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. "Since the motion of running deer triggers a predator instinct in lions, people who choose to run or even mountain bike - especially at dawn and dusk - are increasing their risk of a mountain lion encounter."

In Colorado's first 100 years of statehood, there were no human deaths attributed to cougars in Colorado. Then, in 1991, a mountain lion killed Scott Lancaster, 18, while he was jogging near his high school in Idaho Springs. In 1997, 10-year-old Mark Miedema of Lakewood fatally encountered a lion while running on a trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

In addition to the two known fatalities, there have been a number of lion attacks and narrow escapes.

- February, 2004. Heil Ranch Open Space, Boulder County. Two women, walking dogs off leash in the "no dogs" area of the park, faced off with a mountain lion on a trail. One of the dogs chased the lion up a tree and no serious injuries were reported. The encounter occurred during daylight

- January, 2002. Colorado Springs. A 46-year-old man was treated and released from a local hospital after a confrontation with a mountain lion. The man went outside about 9 p.m. to investigate a commotion in his back yard and saw an animal attacking his small dog

- April 30, 1998. Roxborough State Park (southwest of Denver) - A 24-year-old man hiking in the park survived an attack by a young lion; the man suffered deep cuts on forehead and scalp

- Oct. 20, 1997. Walker Ranch, Boulder County - An adult man from Denver encountered a lion while biking in the Walker Ranch area (Boulder's Parks and Open Space) less than 1.5 miles from the parking lot. The lion aborted an attack, and then followed Dunbar to the top of the ridge. The lion was close enough at one point that Dunbar touched its nose with his bike

- July 14, 1997. Mesa Verde National Park. A 4-year-old boy from France was grabbed by a lion while the family was being escorted to the parking lot by a ranger. The boy's wounds were not life threatening.

The increased interest in outdoor running and mountain biking - especially in mountain lion country - increases the chances of a serious encounter somewhere in Colorado, especially when runners and bikers are concentrating on their personal activities and unaware of their surroundings.

"Although we've only had two or three reports of lion attacking or following bikes, but it's significant to note that seeing bikes is becoming more familiar to wildlife. Being on a bike doesn't make you any safer from attack, especially if the rider's attention is focused on the trail," said Solohub.

Lions are prompted by deep instinct to chase and attack running prey, especially deer. The speed of a runner or a biker can trigger a cougar's chase response, so recreationists need to be aware that their behavior may put them at risk.

To reduce chances of attack, stay on trails with heavy use, run or bike with a group of friends - never alone. It is not advisable to take pets in areas where they may attract predators, but if you do, they must remain close by and under your control at all times. The presence of dogs can create an unpredictable element during wildlife encounters; although some people say they feel safer with a dog, there is evidence indicating a lion may determine the dog is a threat or prey. So having a dog with you could increase the likelihood of an encounter.

"Both lions and dogs are individuals and we cannot predict by species alone how either will behave in a certain situation," Solohub said. "While some people may feel safer having a dog with them in an area where there may be predators, having a dog may attract interaction with a predator: the predator sees and smells prey and may come closer. Having a dog off-leash can compound the situation since there have been stories where a dog encounters a lion or bear, turns tail and runs immediately back to his owners, but with the predator on his heels. The people are now in a conflict situation due primarily to the dog leading a predator to them.

It's true that some dogs may engage or attack the lion in order to protect the owner; what is not known is whether the lion would have been attracted to the hiking party at all if the dog was not present."

The DOW estimates there are between 3,000 and 7,000 lions in Colorado, with the number most likely in the 4,500-to-5,000 range.

Lion experts recommend:

- people should make noise when hiking, cycling or running

- when hiking or camping in lion country, stay in groups. Do not let small children hike or play by themselves. When hiking, keep small children within arm's reach

- if you see a lion, do not approach it. Stay calm and stand upright. If there are small children, pick them up and keep them quiet. Summon any companions to your side. Talk loudly and firmly at the lion and move slowly away while facing the lion

- do not run: Experts believe running can trigger a predator instinct in mountain lions; the lion will react to you the same way it reacts to a fleeing deer or elk

- mountain lions tend to avoid people and rarely attack unless cornered. A cougar that is about to attack may have ears held back, snarl or growl, or twitch its tail

- do all you can to appear larger: raise your arms and hold your jacket open wide

- if the lion appears aggressive, throw stones or branches, or anything that is handy

- if you are attacked, fight for your life. Use any weapon and advantage available: direct your defense to vulnerable areas such as eyes, throat, inner nose and ears, ribs and abdomen

- never approach or touch lion cubs or other baby animals, even if they appear abandoned. Wildlife, including mother mountain lions, are extremely protective of their young.

For more information on coexisting with mountain lions, go to and follow the links to Education and Coexisting with Wildlife.


Wolf management panel named; goals outlined

The 24 members of the Wolf Management Working Group that will draft a statewide wolf management plan for submission to the Division of Wildlife director will hold its first meeting on June 10 in Denver.

"The first meeting will be primarily organizational in nature, focusing on the overall process agenda, procedural ground rules, issues, and information needs," said Gary Skiba, multi species coordinator for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

The Division's wolf management working group page can be accessed online at wildlife.state., and will include a link to notes from the meetings and documents that the group will use as the draft plan progresses.

The Wolf Management Working Group is composed of members of the livestock, environmental, and sportsman communities as well as wildlife biologists, local government employees, and employees of federal and state government agencies. The multi-disciplinary work group will be asked to develop a draft plan by the end of August of this year.

Members of the Wolf Working Group will include:

- Del Benson, professor of wildlife biology at Colorado State University

- Anne Ruggles, consulting wildlife biologist

- Michael Bond, Front Range sportsman

- Dick Steele, President of the Colorado Sportsman's Wildlife Fund

- Les Hampton, Moffat County Commissioner

- Robert Bray, rancher from southwest Colorado

- Bonnie Kline, Executive Director of the Colorado Wool Growers Association

- Duke Phillips, rancher from eastern Colorado

- Jean Stetson, rancher from northwest Colorado

- Rob Edward, Director of Sinapu Carnivore Restoration Program

- Mark Pearson, Executive Director of the San Juan Citizen Alliance

- Dyanne Singler, land stewardship manager for the National Wildlife Federation

- Gary Wockner, biologist from northeast Colorado

- Joe Duda, Colorado State Forest Service

- Jim Grady, Colorado Department of Agriculture

- Susan Linner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

- Stefanie Dalgar, Colorado Office of Economic Development

- Raul Morales, Bureau of Land Management

- Michael Yeary, U.S. Department of Agriculture (Wildlife Services)

- Nancy Warren, U.S. Forest Service

- Gary Skiba, Colorado Division of Wildlife

- Tom Bender, Larimer County Commissioner

- Bob Moon, Park Services

- Dan Prenzlow, Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Member nomination forms can be viewed at:

Gray wolves have been reintroduced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service into Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona. Colorado's wolf management plan will help prepare the state and for the possibility of wolves inhabiting the state in the future by addressing the wide variety of issues surrounding wolves.



Election's over

Dear Editor:

I am puzzled by Patty Tillerson's letter, "Poor history," in last week's SUN. Doesn't she know that the election is over?

The SUN published her numerous letters defending the health district board's record and plans for the future. Many of the letters contained rebuttals to the public outcry and the positions of the minority board members. The results of the election show that she didn't sell it to the public then. Why does she think she can sell it now?

Some statistics are in order. Dr. Pruitt got almost as many votes as the total of all six of the losing candidates (2,729-2,775). The average number of votes received by the winners is 2,553 and 463 for the losers, more than five to one. The lowest number of votes for a winner (2,404) compared to the highest for a loser (640) is nearly four to one. The winners got a total of 15,318 votes compared 2,775 for the losers, 84.7 percent to 15.3 percent. Clearly the voting public has spoken.

Tillerson and Dr. Blide are the only members of the new board who were also members of the former. In her final paragraph Tillerson appears to be appealing to the new board to adopt and "Šmake good use of the strong foundations we now have in place."

She is a part of the new board and should be addressing her fellow board members directly, instead the public in letters to the editor. She and Dr. Blide are in good positions to provide some continuity and different points of view as the board determines policies to guide the future of the district.

The directors of the Upper San Juan Health Service District and Ambulance Service are members of a board and have no authority as individuals, unless the board has delegated the authority for them to perform specific duties.

A good argument can be made that it is inappropriate for them to write letters to the editor or otherwise make public statements about decisions the board has made, or issues likely to come before the board in the future.

Earle A. Beasley

Road problem

Dear Editor,

The May 20 SUN brought a reminder of the long standing problem of repair and maintenance of Archuleta County roads.

I congratulate Tom Carosello for attempting to clarify the provisions of a confusing set of county proposals suggested to the property owners as a means of dealing with current road conditions.

For those property owners who are short-time residents of the county and who now are being faced with some hard choices and major cost increases for road problems, I offer a brief history that is not often mentioned by county representatives.

Pagosa Lakes was developed in the 1970s and '80s by at least two developers, Eaton and then Fairfield. Improvement agreements covering the construction of all roads to county specifications were executed.

In the latter days of Fairfield, default on completion of the roads initiated county legal action which ended when Fairfield filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

The county and PLPOA both filed claims in the Federal Bankruptcy Court for funds to complete the road system. The claims were joined and settled for approximately half of the $13 million claimed. The funds were awarded to the county and PLPOA jointly, with $6.5 million designated to be used solely on the Pagosa Lakes roads. A separate agreement between the county and PLPOA gave the county complete control of the road project, with PLPOA having the right to approve all expenditures, later changed to right to review only (never exercised).

The county prepared an invitation to bid the total road project. A jointly appointed "Roads Committee" set the order of priority. (The Roads Committee had only advisory authority, without voice in any later changes).

Four or five general contractors submitted bids, all but one between $6.4 million and $6.2 million for the total project. The first clue that something was off track was when the "low" bidder was approximately $1 million low.

The county prepared a contract for the total project which the low bidder signed without taking exception to any provision of the contract. The contractor submitted a completion bond in the amount of $5.5 million.

North Pagosa Boulevard was to be paved. Before it was completed, sections of the surface asphalt were deteriorating. When the contractor did not replace or repair the damaged sections I brought the matter to the attention of the county commissioners, twice. I submitted two reports based on the project contract, pre-engineering and bid requirements and reported that the completion bond was still in force.

The final result was that the county had failed to engineer the project or supervise the contractor and did not seek money from the completion bond to make necessary repairs.

Details of this project are public records from commissioners' minutes (2001), the county road and bridge department (1997-2001), Archuleta County District Court (01CV87)(01CV115) and Colorado Court of Appeals (02CA1547).

Property owners may find that reviewing the past project then forming a citizens committee for direct participation in any new project will help protect their interest.

Glenn Bergmann

We have 24/7

Dear Editor:

It was Tuesday evening, May 4, and I remember the beautiful full moon riding beside the car window as we drove toward the EMS Station on North Pagosa Boulevard. My husband drove into the parking lot and in what seemed like less than a minute I was moved into the ambulance and surrounded by Dr. Wienpahl and a team of medical professionals.

Yes, it was the real thing, I was having a heart attack.

They moved me to the doctor's office where Dan Kuening joined the team. They were in touch by phone with cardiologists in both Durango and Albuquerque as they worked to stabilize my condition. A helicopter wasn't available, so they called for a medical plane from Albuquerque.

Around midnight I was able to be moved to the plane that landed at Stevens Field right here in Pagosa Springs. A new quality medical team cared for me during the hour's flight to Albuquerque where an ambulance met the plane and carried me to Presbyterian Hospital.

The surgical team was awaiting my arrival and in two more hours a catheter had been inserted in my blocked artery and the crisis was over. While I was in the hospital, Dan Kuening stayed in contact with Dr. Lee wanting to know, if they had done everything possible for me and how was my progress.

I am writing this today in such detail for all of you who wonder as we did, "Do we really have 24/7 health care in our San Juan Health District?" The answer is yes, and the very best anyone could receive anywhere.

If you wonder about the cost of Stevens Field, let me point out that it was an important part of my medical care and without it being here I might have lost the battle. I hope no one else needs this service, but look at the airfield as an insurance policy and be glad it is here.

Since returning home, an entire team of doctors has continued to be involved 100 percent in my recovery and consults regularly with the doctor in Albuquerque. Their thoroughness and compassion have given me much confidence and assurance of recovery.

To my caregivers, words cannot express how grateful I am to you all. You've made a negative experience a very positive one. Thank you for being here for us all.


Norma Buslepp

Citizen's duty

Dear Editor:

Yesterday I attended a swearing in ceremony in Denver and became a naturalized American Citizen.

It was a moving ceremony in many ways. I have lived in this country for 22 years and love many, many things about being here. It is my home. The ceremony was very moving and spoke about freedom and diversity. Fifty people were sworn in from 30 different countries.

However, what was interesting was that the majority of people whom I told I was going to become a citizen said things like, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Which I realized meant that on some level they are ashamed of America and what is going on at this time both globally and at home. As part of the Oath of Allegiance one swears to uphold the Constitution.

The recent Patriot Act denies citizens their basic freedom, originally guaranteed by the Constitution. Freedom of speech, the right to assemble, freedom of the press, all these freedoms are being severely compromised by the present administration.

At this time, the president has the right to detain a person without due process, without representation by a lawyer, without the right to a speedy trial. This concerns me deeply and I feel it is my duty as a new citizen to speak out and encourage you, my fellow Americans, to stand up against these acts and policies that compromise deeply what this country stands for and the wonderful ideals upon which it is founded.

The present administration blatantly creates measures to compromise our environment and drags its heels when it comes to curbing corporate pollution. It has converted a budget surplus into a huge budget deficit, at present over $400 billion, alienated much of the world community and continues to act like the bully on the block.

It is easy to feel powerless in the face of the huge forces of corporate wealth and greed coupled with administrative collusion and cover-up.

Many action groups exist. For example check , with nearly two million members. Together we must take a stand and speak out against those policies that compromise our freedoms and lower our standing in the world community.


Michael Udgar Parsons


Dear Editor:

At 3 p.m. (local time) this Memorial Day, it will be a time to pause and to recall all those who sacrificed their lives for America. Where you are or with whom makes no difference; it is performing this simple act that matters.

Sponsored by the White House Commission on Remembrance, the National Moment of Remembrance is needed more than ever. According to a recent Gallup poll on the subject, 72 percent of Americans do not understand the true meaning of Memorial Day. The National Moment is a time to reflect and rededicate, to pay our debt to Americans who paid for our freedom with their lives. The sacrifice they made should be kept alive in our memories for generations to come.

Somehow, I think it's also a time to remember the wounded - for them a war never ends. It just enters a new phase, one often more powerful and certainly longer-lasting than the first. The scars, both physical and psychological, are daily reminders of combat. How the public soon forgets, the warrior never does.

Perhaps the central part of recuperation for those seriously disfigured is validating the sacrifices made on the battlefield. If that soldier believes his limb was lost in pursuit of a worthy cause, the emotional trauma of learning to start life over is eased considerably. And make no mistake about it - coping with a severe wound requires starting anew in many ways. None of these champions of freedom want people to feel sorry for them. They want people to support them.

Time spent with the wounded, especially amputees, immediately renews respect for today's soldiers. If you think these heroes don't shed a tear now and then you are sadly mistaken. Every wounded veteran appreciates some cheering up. Yet, you will see them standing proud and tall in the face of their personal challenges, and that will make you wail inside - overtime. Visit a VA hospital amputee ward - you'll get the message.

Pride and bravery are attributes shared by all who pass through any army medical center or naval hospital from a battlefield. The American public must come to know that. Regardless of how you may feel about the war in Afghanistan or the one in Iraq, it should never color your views on those who serve. We sometimes forget, I think, that you can manufacture weapons, and you can purchase ammunition, but you can't buy valor, and you can't pull heroes off an assembly line.

As some of us know, confusing the war with the warrior happened once before with catastrophic consequences. Society does not have the right to let that ever happen again to another generation of war veterans. By all measures, it seems as though the American people are determined to support their troops.

Let's just make sure that, once the wounded stop gracing the front pages of newspapers and magazines, they're not forgotten in our hearts and minds.

Isn't that what Memorial Day is also about?


Jim Sawicki


Community News

Senior News

Join us for photo award ceremony Friday

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

We will have our award ceremony honoring Phyllis Collier for her winning photo Friday, May 28. She submitted a beautiful photo that won third place in a national senior photography contest sponsored by the Administration on Aging. Please join us at 1 p.m. to celebrate.

Please note that the Senior Center will be closed Monday, May 31, for Memorial Day.

The last Friday of the month is always busy at the center. Besides honoring Phyllis Collier, we will be celebrating May birthdays. If you had a birthday in May, come and join us at the center for lunch and we will also serve cake.

There is much talent in our seniors, and we want to expose it. We will have an Amateur Half Hour at 11:30 a.m. June 1. Bring your instrument, your voice, whatever talent you have and we will let you show it off before lunch. You might inspire others to start brushing up on their talents as well. Give it a try. (Charlotte Archuleta - bring in your accordion.)

Are you interested in rafting? Wilderness Journeys is once again giving our seniors a special rate to get wet and wild. Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 5, 9 a.m.-noon. It will be a three-hour trip, all gear will be provided and the cost is only $30 for our seniors. You will not be fed, so I recommend that you bring a snack and water. Give us a call at 264-2167 to sign up.

Bev Brown will be doing massages on Tuesdays in June, but she will go back to doing certain things on certain days.

June 1 she will be doing foot massage and reflexology, and will hand out information on diabetes and foot care; June 8 will be table massage with information about osteoporosis; June 15 she'll give chair massages with information about the importance of drinking water; table massage returns June 22, again with handouts on arthritis; chair massages are set June 29 with information about high blood pressure. Massage will help with all of these conditions, so come get a massage and get smarter too.

Beginning in the month of June, we have decided to start a Game Day the fourth Thursday of every month; June 24, 1-3:30 p.m. will be the first date. We will have bingo, Mexican train dominoes, card games available, whatever you want to play. Bring your friends and set up your own game or join in with others. We will even have some prizes for you bingo players. Lunch is not served Thursdays so eat first or bring it along.

Our cello and piano concert May 22 was cozy and filled with music and laughter. Phil Hansen and Lisa Campi caressed our ears with wondrous music. Thank you Phil and Lisa.

Old George remembers the "good old days"Š

"Do you remember the first airplane you saw? The other day I was looking skyward and saw a beautiful contrail in the clouds. It reminded me about the first time I saw an airplane. It was far different than the giants we see in the air today.

"It must have been the early 1920s when a biplane crossed over my town. Something went wrong and it had to land in an alfalfa field to the east. The whole town turned out in mass to see that plane. The alfalfa field was too short to take off from. When it was repaired well enough to fly again it was loaded onto a truck and driven down to the Denver Airport, later renamed Stapleton Airport. It was a sight I will never forget. Where were you when you saw your first plane?"

Attention snow birds: Remember to renew your membership so you don't miss out on all the great discounts around town. We ask that you stop in between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. June 4-14. Membership remains at $3.


Friday, May 28 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; MicroSoft Word, 10:30; celebrate May birthdays, noon; award ceremony honoring Phyllis Collier's winning photo, 1 p.m.

Monday, May 31 - Center closed for Memorial Day

Tuesday, June 1 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; advanced computer, 10:30 a.m.; massage, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Amateur Half Hour, 11:30;

Wednesday, June 2 - 10:30 Beginning computer, 10:30 a.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.

Friday, June 4 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; MicroSoft Word, 10:30; veteran's benefits, noon


Friday, May 28 - BBQ pork chops, baked beans, broccoli salad, roll and almond peaches

Monday, May 31 - Center closed

Tuesday, June 1 - Mandarin chicken salad, old fashioned vegetable soup, whole wheat roll, fruit medley and oatmeal cookie

Wednesday, June 2 - Baked fish fillet, Red Bliss potatoes, spinach, whole wheat roll, Mandarin oranges and ginger snaps

Friday, June 4 -- Roast beef and gravy, baked potato, green beans/mushrooms, whole wheat roll and citrus cup


Senior program needs volunteer drivers

Do you enjoy a drive in the country? Well, get out and enjoy our countryside; the senior folks in the southwest corner of our county in Arboles are looking for volunteers.

Volunteers from Pagosa Springs are needed to transport meals from the Senior Center in Pagosa Springs to the Catholic Church in Arboles on the first and third Thursday of every month. Volunteers will transport meals, assist in light record keeping during the meal and provide general assistance. Approximately 3.5 hours will be spent volunteering on these days.

This program is ready to roll, but your help is needed.

Call Musetta Wollenweber at 264-2167 for more information.


Library News

Remodeling will create a notable landmark

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

It is finally here: The actual design of the new library addition as it was unveiled last week.

Please come by and see the model and the pictures of how it will appear from the highway. The trustees wanted the new library to be easily identified and they've achieved their goal. It will be a notable landmark.

I am very pleased we will be working with Don Heitkamp who is representing the trustees as "clerk of the works." Don is overseeing the entire project. He is volunteering his time to do this important job, and we thank him for this "in-kind," important gift to the community.

Peggy Bergon is the staff liaison assisting me as we begin our close relationship with the contractor and architect. The project is underway and we should have a groundbreaking ceremony in just a few weeks.

I'll have more to report as soon as the contract is signed and we have a definite date of completion and final cost.

We want to thank the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association for the use of their club house for our unveiling party and presentation. And thanks to Mary Jo Coulehan and her staff for catering the affair.

Hispanic genealogy

We were excited to receive the first volume of the "Colorado Hispanic Genealogist," the Journal of the Colorado Society of Hispanic Genealogy, (CSHG).

Their aim is to promote Hispanic genealogical and historical research and education, and to expand the awareness and knowledge of Hispanic culture, history and traditions. CSHG will offer genealogy records of Colorado and New Mexico families from the Spanish Colonial period on to the present.

A membership in CSHG will allow a search for ancestors, and the Hispanic culture and history of the Spanish frontiers here in North America. All of this will be done by experienced researchers.

Colorado is steeped in Hispanic history. In 1598, all territory drained by the Rio Grande was claimed for Spain by explorer Juan de Oñate. CSHG has a Web site:

The library will be joining this important group and we invite everyone interested in this new venture to also join. As part of the membership, we will receive the quarterly journal and have access to the growing library of research material. Come by and pick up a membership application. Dues are very reasonable.

The members of this organization include descendants of the first colonization efforts in Colorado.

The first journal has many interesting articles including one concerning pioneer families, and how to get a Pioneer license plate and certificate.

Another article tells how the mosquito changed U.S. history over 200 years ago. This is a timely article since we are concerned with West Nile Virus today.

San Juan Museum outlier

We received the latest newsletter of the Salmon Ruins Research Center down in Bloomfield, N. M.

Lots of exciting things are going on down there. Anyone interested in archaeology and Chacoan satellites must visit this site. It also has a connection with Chimney Rock and the other ruins. It is a nice day trip down to visit this working dig. And the Web site is

Summer reading

Registration will begin Tuesday, June 1. Families may register all that week, and the actual program will begin June 8 and run until July 2. For more information, call 264-2209. There will be story times on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. Barbara Draper promises lots of fun surprises this year.


We appreciate financial help to the building fund from Genelle Macht in memory of Sue Gast and Ralph Manring; The Pagosa Springs Presbyterian Fellowship, in memory of Ralph Manring; Gil and Lenore Bright in memory of Ralph Manring and Paul Cronkhite; Robert and Dahrl Henley in honor of the Henley and Miller Families; Helen and Bill Miller in memory of Lauren Cameron White; Greg Giehl; Ralph Frank and the Subway Franchisee Foundation; The Pagosa Piecemakers for a lovely quilt to raffle; Mell Cassidy for a subscription to Air & Space Magazine; Edgar Lowrance for a subscription to American Heritage. Thanks for materials from Sharon Sawicki, C.D. Lundergan, Betsy Gill, Don McKeehan, Barbara Carlos and Kim Hutcherson.


Chamber News

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation chapter schedules annual banquet

By Sally Hamiester

SUN Columnist

The San Juan Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will hold its annual banquet Saturday, June 5, at the Extension Building located at the fairgrounds beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets for this ever-popular event are available at $70 per couple or $50 for a single and includes your meal and the annual Elk Foundation membership.

If you purchase your tickets on or before June 4, you will receive the opportunity to purchase a "buy one, get one free" on the raffle tickets.

As always, you can count on good food and good fun for a good cause. That good cause would be the $2,000 raised last year for a scholarship just awarded to Ashli Winter to help her with her pre-veterinary studies at Fort Lewis College.

Please plan to attend this fun-filled evening, and if you need more information, you can call Fran Bohl at 731-5903.

Lamppost adoptions

We are very pleased with the response to our offer to adopt a lamppost in our spring/summer effort to pretty up our little corner of the world.

Letters have been sent to all members, and just in case you didn't receive one, I will briefly fill you in on the particulars.

We have come to the conclusion that the only answer to dying flowers, faded silk flowers, etc. on the lampposts is flags. They require no upkeep at all once put into place and will add a colorful, festive look certain to brighten up the place.

The adoption process is the simplest one ever conceived and basically requires only a check for $225 to get the ball rolling. This price includes the flag, the brackets and the end ball, and each flag will boast a colorful Potentilla design.

You need to fill out an adoption form claiming the gender of your lamppost and naming same. Your name and the lamppost's name will appear on a plaque which will be prominently placed in the Visitor Center, and you will receive our undying gratitude.

We ask that you "parent" for two years just in case the flag or post falls ill and needs some attention. We guarantee that the lamppost will not keep you awake at night crying, require a diaper change, wreck your car at age 16 or ask for an allowance to buy candy bars that will rot its teeth and require thousands of dollars in dental/orthodontic work. Wow, where was this proposal when both my kids were in college?

Call us at 264-2360 for more information about this adoption program.

Sidewalk sale

This is an altogether different type of sidewalk sale that offers not only great summer buys on gardening tools and outdoor sports equipment, but warm, furry sweet animals.

Yep, you can buy a neutered kitten or puppy or probably an older animal of either variety if you like, as well as score some great bargains on everything at the thrift store.

The sale takes place at the Humane Society Thrift Store tomorrow, May 28, and Saturday, both days 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. You can enjoy free hot dogs and lemonade while shopping for your new furry friend.

If you have questions, please give Robbie a call at 264-5549.

Great Date Auction

If you would like to bid on a great date for a great cause, you will have that opportunity Friday, June 4, at Montezuma's Vineyard.

The Rising Stars of Pagosa Springs invite you to join them for this unique fund-raiser from 6-9 p.m. which includes live music, hors d'oeuvres buffet and an auction which includes not only great dates but packages for a singles night out and parents night out with babysitter.

Tickets for this event can be purchased at the Rising Stars Center for $15 for singles and $25 for couples.

Sounds like a million laughs to me, and you can call 731-5437 or 731-0361 for more information on how to become an auction item.

Fiber Fest

You have many options from which to choose with this weekend's Pagosa Fiber Fest, and we're sure that you'll enjoy selecting those which interest you most.

You can take advantage of lessons, demonstrations, attend a silent auction or a fashion show, or just plain hang out and take in all the cool things that are offered in this wonderful annual event.

Lessons for a variety of fiber-related skills will be offered at the Mountain Heights Baptist Church Friday. If you would like to learn more about knitting, crocheting, felting, locker hooking, painted rovings, spinning or weaving, you need to contact Susan Halabrin at 264-5447 for information and/or registration.

Saturday's festivities begin at 9 a.m. and continue on through the fashion show presented by the fiber artists and vendors at 4:30 p.m.

A knitting bar will be featured this year for those who are yearning to learn the difference between a purl and a cable. Free knitting needles and yarn will be provided for those interested in a crash course.

Demonstrations taking place all day long will include on-the-hour shearing, dyeing, weaving, drop spindle spinning and crocheting. Speakers will include Dr. Kitzel Farrah, Jim Burbach and Frank Ratliff.

The festival continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m with more knitting, crocheting, weaving and spinning demonstrations. At 4 p.m. the silent auction will take place and should provide ample opportunities for you to purchase all the lovelies you've admired during the festival. For more information on vendor or exhibitor space, contact Jane McKain at 264-4458.

New Trails

Children of all ages are invited to participate in the Ruby Sisson Library summer reading program, "Discover New Trails at Your Library."

This four-week program offers "Pioneers and Covered Wagons," "Trails in the Woods," "Cowboys and Cowgirls" and "Gold Mines and Railroads."

Registration begins Tuesday, June 1, and the story hour begins Tuesday, June 8, at 10 a.m. and continues through Friday, July 2.

The program will include contests, prizes, a live pony, a dance and music presentation, a model railroad and a gold miner.

Also included will be an ongoing Archuleta County Scavenger Hunt.

Be sure to register for this fun and informative summer program on June 1 at the library or give Barb Draper a call at 264-2209 with questions.

Chair Event

If you have been in any of our local banks recently, you have surely noticed the beautifully decorated chairs, desks, stools, rocking chairs and small tables that are accompanied by bidding sheets just crying out for your attention.

These pieces have been embellished by local artists and donated to raise funds for the Cancer Society in conjunction with the upcoming Relay for Life.

You will find them in the banks until June 10 when they will be moved to Town Park for the June 11 auction bidding finale from 6-8:30 p.m. during Relay for Life.

Pick up a one-of-a-kind art piece and donate to a worthy cause all at the same time.

Karaoke finals

The fifth and final night of Karaoke competition at Squirrel's Pub and Pantry produced a grand prize winner and a night of very exciting competition for both the participants and the audience.

Six finalists presented quite the decision dilemma for the judges and the audience, but indeed a winner emerged. The three top contestants were Candy Flaming with a sassy Britney Spears rendition of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" that earned her third-place honors. Second place finalist, June Marquez, brought to life the immortal Patsy Cline classic, "Crazy."

It was, however, Jeannie Dold singing the blockbuster Celine Dione hit, "My Heart Will Go On" who captured top scores and the $100 grand prize. Jeannie will also enjoy a night's stay at the Sky Ute Casino.

Congratulations are also in order for stellar performances presented by Celestial Starr, Christopher Young, Michelle Rasmussen, Melanie Miser, Shana Young, Dale Schlaht, Joe Willhelm, Dawn Riveria and Micky Smith.

Music in the Mountains

Remember to pop on by the Chamber as soon as possible to pick up your tickets for the three upcoming Music in the Mountains concerts. Our supply is rapidly diminishing, and I don't want you to be disappointed.

The dates for these concerts are July 23, July 30 and Aug. 6, and all will be held on Friday evenings at BootJack Ranch beginning at 7 p.m.

Please plan to join us for one, two or all of these magnificent conerts featuring world-renowned classical musicians.

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.

Flower baskets

Even though we announced a May 26 deadline for ordering the hanging baskets, we are aware that busy people sometimes allow deadlines to come and go.

If you would still like to place an order, give us a call. I think we can still provide for those who would like a basket or two. These 12-inch baskets have been created especially for the Chamber and are filled with soil containing Hydrosorb crystals and time-release fertilizer.

The flowers used are Proven Winners, Plant Select and especially drought resistant to endure our hot, windy Colorado summers.

Remember that one of your very own Chamber board directors or staff members will deliver your basket(s) in person, and you really can't put a price tag on that kind of precious commodity, now can you? Who could resist?

We're hoping to deliver these lovely creations sometime the first week in June, so get that order in today.


We bring you one new member this week and 15 renewals, two of whom are associate members. We thank you all for your support and cheerfully share your names with our readership.

Our new member this week is Chuck McGuire who joins us with Mountain Appraisal located at 138 Pagosa Street, Suite B. In the valuation of all forms of real estate, Mountain Appraisal promptly provides honest and accurate real property appraisals, reflecting estimates of fair market value. You can reach Chuck at 264-5700 with questions concerning your appraisal needs. We thank Jackie McGuire at Vectra Bank for recruiting Chuck (love those family connections) and will send her a free SunDowner pass for her efforts along with our gratitude.

Renewals this week include the Rio Grande Preservation Corporation located in Chama, N.M.; Doug Snow with the Durango Coca-Cola Bottling Company located in Durango; JJ's Upstream Restaurant, Inc.; Ron Cromwell with Log Home Systems and Realty; Mary Blandford with Vectra Bank Colorado; Marcel and Bev Theberge with TravelHost Magazine of Four Corners located in Bayfield; Mary Deganhart with Law Offices of Mary Deganhart; Marguerite Seavy with Mountain Greenery; Ron Bubb with Switchback Mountain Gear and Apparel; Jeff Greer with Summit Ski and Sports; John Hostetter, president, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; Judi Ferguson with Bello Lago; and Cindy Plate with Galles Properties.

Our associate member renewals include the first-ever adoptive parents for our Adopt a Lamppost program, Jack and Katy Threet. Just for your information, their lamppost is a bouncing baby girl named Sister Sue. We are also pleased to renew our valued Chamber Diplomat Karen Kelley and her husband, Mike.

Veteran's Corner

Veterans' office closing for two weeks

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

The Archuleta County Veterans Service Office will be closed for two weeks - May 31 through June 11 - while I'm on vacation. I will return June 14.

Cathy Creech in the county commissioners' office will be able to handle veteran's vehicle scheduling and provide other information while I am gone. Her number is 264-8300.

Contact me after I get back if you have questions about VA claims or enrollment in VA programs.

I will be traveling to my hometown of Roseburg, Ore., on my vacation to spend time with my parents.

A family for veterans

My dad served in the Army Airborne Infantry 507th during WW II and was in the D-Day Normandy invasion, Battle of the Bulge, and the final drive into the German homeland operations. Needless to say, he is my favorite veteran and my hero.

Like so many of WW II veterans he never said much about his wartime experiences. He always said he was just doing his duty, nothing special. Once in a while as a child I would get him to talk about the war, but he would usually only talk about some incident he could find a little humor in, rather than the horrors of war. It is his way. But, his many decorations, including the Bronze Star, speak for him.

Mom's a VA volunteer

Not to be outdone in veteran interests, my mom is still a volunteer at the VA Medical Center in Roseburg. The VA Hospital there is a National Landmark if I remember right, having been at that location since the late 1800s. The hospital abounds in beautiful grounds and red brick structures.

I believe my mom received a pin a few years ago acknowledging her many years of volunteer work of over 3,500 hours. Dad is enrolled in VA health care at the hospital.

Senior role models

Some may ask why I mention this in a column here in Colorado. Well, considering my dad will turn 89 and my mom will be 88 this year, I'd say it is a good reason to show what senior citizens can do.

Maintaining good health is so important all our life, but especially as we get older. My parents are always getting their health checked and fine-tuned on a regular basis so that they enjoy a good quality of life that allows them to continue to participate and enjoy an active lifestyle.

Maintain your health

I urge all of our veterans and their loved ones to maintain their health. Get a complete physical examination every year if you are over 50 years old, or if other symptoms or reasons suggest annual checkups. Some may need checkups every six months or even more often.

The VA health care system is an affordable service for veterans and qualified family members. If you have enrolled in VAHC in the past I urge you to stay in the active patient rolls with at least a yearly exam. If you are not enrolled I urge you to stop by and see me about getting VA health care.

Joined the senior ranks

I turned 65 earlier this year and officially joined the ranks of seniors. I hope to follow in my parents' footsteps for a healthy and active senior life-style. I do plan to continue as your Veterans Service Officer for some time to come, or at least until somebody tells me they don't want me here any longer. I enjoy my work helping veterans too much. I'm not ready yet for the rocking chair. Too much to do and too many veterans who need help. And, you can be assured I will do my best to maintain my health.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is at 400 S. Camino Del Rio, Suite G, Durango, CO 81301. Phone number is 247-2214.

For further information

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


Arts Line

Courses, camps, exhibitions fill summer calendar

By Leanne Goebel

PREVIEW Columnist

The National Endowment for the Arts announced $2.03 million in 2004 grants for Colorado arts institutions. That figure might turn out to be only $1.89 million.

The amount listed as the annual grant to the Colorado Council on the Arts is $637,500. The Colorado Legislature appropriated $500,000 to fund the Council. NEA grants require a dollar for dollar match.

"The Colorado Council on the Arts will have to demonstrate that it complies with the terms of its partnership agreement to receive the full amount," said NEA spokeswoman Ann Puderbaugh. NEA Chairman, Dana Gioia, has various options in terms of approval of time or use of money.

Also scheduled to receive money are The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, $24,000; the International Tap Association in Boulder $10,000; The Museum of Western Colorado in Grand Junction, $30,000; and the Denver based Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), $1.33 million.

Summer art camp

Summer art Camp begins June 1 at Pagosa Springs Elementary School. Camp is 9 a.m.-noon Monday through Friday and continues through the month of June.

Tessie Garcia, Lisa Brown, Mark Brown, and Susan Hogan bring this terrific opportunity for children who love art. Mark Brown will teach 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. Sign up for the entire month or for one day. The daily rate is $15.

Pick up a flyer and drop off your payment at the gallery in Town Park. The cost for this year's art camp is $300 per student. 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, please contact Doris Green at 264-6904 or 264-5020.

Elation Center

Elation Center for the Arts, a new nonprofit arts organization, based in Pagosa Springs, is dedicated to the preservation of the folk heritage of music and dances from around the world, and utilizes these traditions as a basis for new explorations in the performing arts.

The primary focus for Elation is children and the objective is to develop and implement cultural enrichment programs and to provide schools with arts-in-education programs, which enhance the social studies curriculum, by teaching students about music and dance from different cultures.

Known as Residencies, these programs provide students an opportunity to develop their awareness and appreciation for world cultures. Students study music, dance and literature from several ancient cultures and perform a school concert incorporating this learning experience with their own original artistic interpretations of these ancient cultures.

Through the residency programs, Elation Center for the Arts introduces students to creative artistic experiences, which are not ordinarily part of standard curriculum and which are generally outside of the expertise and training of schoolteachers.

Elation's program directors, Carla and Paul Roberts, use international folk dance and music as a basis for new explorations in the performing arts. The Roberts have devoted themselves to the cultural enrichment of children for over 20 years. Their school assemblies and performing arts residencies are popular throughout the southwestern U.S.

The Roberts use innovative techniques in their work with children to help them develop creativity and teamwork skills. According to Carla Roberts, "Being able to improvise in music and dance is one of the greatest joys. Our focus is on combining tradition with new creation."

In the ensemble class, children perform concerts and participate in video productions. This is a real performing arts immersion with songs and dances, colorful costumes, instruments from around the world, as well as stories and skits adapted from the world's great literary traditions.

Elation is offering dance and music classes for children of all ages, including toddlers, beginning June 14, here in Pagosa Springs at the PLPOA clubhouse and the Community United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.

The world dance class, for ages 5 to 10, is an introduction to dance, rhythm, and music from around the world.

The toddler class, for ages 2 to 4, is a lively exploration of music and movement.

A hand drumming class offers an exciting exploration of a variety of percussion instruments.

A costume design class will focus on the creative design process from start to finish. This will be an opportunity for children to learn how to create their own costumes.

Thanks to the Supper Fellowship of the Community United Methodist Church, scholarships are available for families who qualify.

Call 731-3117 for class schedules and other information.

Creative courses

Be part of the inaugural Durango Digital Film Institute this summer at Fort Lewis College. The Office of Extended Studies will be offering a hands-on four-week course to learn how to write, shoot, edit, produce and act in your own film. The course starts June 1 with Dr. Kurt Lancaster teaching.

Your tastebuds will be tempted as you master the Art of Chinese Cooking. This one-evening course will be offered 6-9 p.m. June 17 at Fort Lewis. Albuquerque gourmet chef, Gilda Latzky will teach you all the techniques of preparing a fabulous Chinese meal.

The first-ever advanced five-day program designed specifically for homebrewers, the Advanced Homebrewing Program takes hobby brewers beyond beer kits and extract brewing into the realm of advanced brewing techniques. And it goes beyond simple classroom instruction: This is a total brewing experience. The course starts on Monday, June 21, and ends Friday, June 25.

Spanish for Educators, Tuesday evenings, starting June 8 and ending July 27. This course will provide educators with practical skills such as speaking with and understanding students and parents, reading and writing reports, and communication with the Spanish-speaking community on an elementary level. This course is for educators who are not fluent in Spanish.

Join the Office of Extended Studies for the four-week, twice weekly class Casual Geology of the Four Corners Area. The course will help you enhance future explorations of the Four Corners region. The course starts June 8.

For more information or to register call 247-7385. Preregistration for all courses is required.

Artists' opportunities

June 1 is the deadline to apply for the Contemporary Art Exhibition at the New Evergreen Arts Center, June 26-Aug. 1. Juror for this event is Patty Ortiz, director of programming for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. Mail entry to: Contemporary Art Exhibition, Evergreen Arts Center, 23003B Ellingwood Trail, Evergreen, CO 80439. Visit the Web at or call (303) 674-0056.

June 1 is the deadline to drop off art for the Durango Arts Center's 28th Annual Juried Exhibit, June 4-July 1. Regarded as one of the best exhibiting opportunities for local and regional artists, this exhibit offers $750 in prizes. The juror is artist and professor, Charles Parson who has taught university level art for 30 years, is currently the chairperson of the Sculpture Department at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver, and has recently published a book on contemporary sculpture. He holds a B.F.A. in painting/drawing and an M.F.A. in painting with a minor in materials technology.

Artists Alpine Holiday in Ouray Aug. 7-14. Early registration deadline is July 15. Artwork must be delivered to Ouray Community Center, 340 6th Avenue, Aug. 2, between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. This year's judge is Ralph W. Lewis, retired professor emeritus of the University of New Mexico. Check out for more information. Or contact DeAnn McDaniel at (970) 325-4372 or Diane Larkin at (970)325-9821.

Upcoming workshops

Felicia Lansbury Meyer will instruct a three-week acting workshop for teens.

In her youth workshops, Meyer 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 3-5:30 p.m. June 7-25 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) in the community center. The cost is $125. Class size is limited. For more information, contact Pagosa Springs Arts Council, 264-5020 or Meyer, 264-6028.

The Light As Color Foundation will present a Color Consciousness Workshop June 12-13. This is a hands-on experience for artists, healers, and those with no experience in either, that will include visual energizers, chakra cleansing, painting, exploration of the seven rays and auric development. Moonwolf, a color master, color healer, and artist-educator will present this workshop. Registration is limited and the cost is $155 which includes all art materials and camping. For more information or to register e-mail or call 264-6250.


Now-June 16 - Bonnie Davies and Rita O'Connell art exhibit

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

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

June 7-25 - Teen acting class with Felicia Meyers; all day

June 17 - Photo club meets, 6:30 p.m. in the community center. Speaker Terry Aldahl will discuss filters and what's new in digital photography.

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

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

June 26 - Bird house contest

June 27 - Writer's workshop with Jerry Hannah meets at noon.

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, 5-7 p.m.

July 1-28 - Joye Moon exhibit at the gallery

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 - Photo club, 6:30 p.m. in community center

July 15-31 - Batik and Screamers paper 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. 15 - Home and garden tour, noon-5 p.m.

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's The Business of Art an Art pARTY

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


Family Festivo features 'Peter and the Wolf,' local entertainers, free food

By Carole Howard

Special to The PREVIEW

Listening to Lisa Scott describe how "Peter and the Wolf" will come alive in Town Park this summer is a little like having a bedtime story read to you.

Even though you are in familiar surroundings, by shutting your eyes you can easily visualize a magical wonderland where a little Russian boy faces adventures with a duck, a bird, a cat and a wolf.

That will be just part of the excitement when Music in the Mountains hosts a free children's concert called Family Festivo for young people and their families at Town Park on Thursday, July 29, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Also entertaining the audience will be local performers including Jana Burch's tap dancers, Jennifer Martin's gymnastics group and Stephanie Jones' San Juan Dance Academy. As well, there will be games for children and free food for all after the entertainment.

"We want everyone to enjoy the music and other performances in a casual, picnic-like setting," said Scott, who is co-chairing the Family Festivo activities along with Claudia Rosenbaum. "We hope families will bring blankets and chairs and really have a fun time."

Highlight of the day 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.

In late June Felicia Meyer and Melinda Baum will arrange an open audition for boys and girls aged 10-12 who would like to play one of the eight to 10 characters in the story.

Peter is the main part. He is a little boy who lives in Russia on the edge of a meadow and his curiosity gets him into trouble. Peter is represented by the string instruments of the orchestra. Other characters include the grandfather, represented by bassoons, who warns Peter that the meadow is dangerous; the bird, represented by flutes; the duck, represented by oboes; the cat, represented by clarinets; the wolf, represented by French horns; and the hunters, represented by percussion instruments.

To help the audience enjoy this experience even more, Mischa Semanitzky will demonstrate the various instruments. He is the originator and conductor of the Music in the Mountains symphony orchestra, 15 of whom will play for us at this concert. As well, chief librarian Lenore Bright will include "Peter and the Wolf" in the children's summer reading program.

After the concert, hot dogs, chips, ice cream, lemonade and water will be served free, thanks to the generosity of Montezuma's Restaurant, The Springs, and Jim and Bonnie Van Bortel. As well, donations from the Bank of the San Juans, LPEA Roundup Foundation and the Town of Pagosa Springs are helping to fund the event.

"Many adults who now love classical music were first introduced to symphonies in their childhood when they attended a performance of 'Peter and the Wolf,'" Scott said. "We know our Pagosa kids will enjoy this concert and the characters in the story. We also hope they will be encouraged to learn more about great music and the many instruments that bring it to life.

"I also want to stress that 'Peter' is a delightful orchestral work that adults will enjoy as well," Scott said, "so this is a concert for children of all ages."

This is the third consecutive summer that Music in the Mountains will offer musical events here in Pagosa, and the first time we have had a free outdoor concert for young people and their families. It is a companion to the ever-popular Family Festivo event that has been held for several years in Durango.


Dance your way, or theirs, at a special community center event

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Springs Community Center will be the scene Saturday, June 5, of some great dancing. Deb Aspin, In Step Dance Club director and instructor, will DJ the event.

Put this date on your calendar and get your friends together for a fun night of lively dancing. Don't forget your boots and hat but no spurs please.

For those of you who want to improve you western dance step, Deb will offer instruction in country line dancing and demonstrations in country western swing, progressive swing and country polka.

Deb will play a variety of country music from the old time country of the '60s through the contemporary beat. There will be something to please everyone.

Tickets are $6 for couples and $4 for singles. Wine, beer, coffee and snacks will be served. Instruction in line dancing will start at 8:30; the dance will start at 9 and end at midnight.

Here's a reminder about what else is available at the community center. Computers are available for a nominal onetime fee. The gym is available for programs or individuals interested in basketball or volleyball. This same space is equally appropriate for big weekend events, such as the recent After Prom Night or the future Humane Society Auction for the Animals. Large events can take advantage of a PA system, a stage or room dividers, if needed. Comfortable meeting rooms can be had for a nominal hourly fee and can include phone and video service. Use of the kitchen can be a nice complement to an event.

Community center staff invites users of the center to submit particularly good quality photos taken during past events for potential inclusion in publications.


ZZ Top leads ticket sales for state fair

Three rock legends collectively known as ZZ Top are so far the most popular 2004 Colorado State Fair Concert Series performer, according to box office ticket sales reports.

Since tickets went on sale May 15, ZZ Top has sold more than 3,500.

ZZ Top, also know as "the little ol' band from Texas," is slated for induction this year into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

The band, still rocking with its three original members, takes the state fair Events Center stage at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24. Tickets are $23 and $33.

Also enjoying success at the box office is Clay Aiken of American Idol fame. More than 1,800 tickets have been sold to Aiken's Sept. 2 concert.

Rounding out the three top sellers as of May 19 was country sensation Brad Paisley. The solo artist who will perform Saturday, Aug. 28 in conjunction with the State Fair PRCA Rodeo, has sold more than 1,500 tickets to his grandstand stage show.

The 2004 Colorado State Fair Concert Series runs Aug. 21-Sept. 5.

Other artists performing at this year's fair on the State Fair Grounds in Pueblo are Stacie Orrico, Chris Cagle, Chris LeDoux, Dierks Bentley, Trick Pony, REO Speedwagon and Olivia Newton-John.

Tickets to the state fair concerts are available at State Fair Box Office, at all Ticketmaster locations including or by calling (719) 520-9090.


Food for Thought

In memory: A soldier in the family

By Karl Isberg

SUN Columnist

As Memorial Day approaches, I am reminded of my father, who served in the medical corps in North Africa. The old man was one of those kind of guys who didn't say a whole lot about his experiences but, given what he had to deal with, one hardly wonders why. I remember him frequently, of course, but I remember him as a soldier on Memorial Day.

There is another soldier in the family I remember.

My maternal grandfather, Everett McCoy.

I say I remember him and in doing so realize it is an odd comment to make, given that I never met him. He died long before I was born.

Very little was said about Everett when I was growing up. I was given his name as my middle name. I knew he, like my grandmother, Minnie, came from Central City, the mining town west of Denver. I knew he trained in architecture and design and worked on several of Denver's high schools - South, East and West. I later learned he came to the gold camps of Colorado as a child, his family traveling from Pennsylvania. I knew he was in the army, in World War I.

That was about it.

No one but my grandmother, great-uncle and aunt got to know him all that well. He died when my mother was very young, and she had no clear memory of him. Add to that the fact my grandmother was the most stoic of people, devoted to keeping her problems, her sufferings, to herself. She was tough as nails, not given to superficial sentiment - a woman who suffered enormous tragedies and overcame them with iron resolve. She didn't tell stories about my grandfather because, in doing so, she would need to tell a story about herself.

I encountered Everett, the man, the soldier, later.

When my grandmother died, I inherited some remarkable documents and family artifacts, and from them learned more details about my grandfather.

Everett graduated from high school in Central City a couple of years before my grandmother. When the war drive began in earnest, Everett enlisted. Back from basic training, he scooped up his adolescent love, ran away to Utah in 1918 and got married.

Then, it was back to the army for Everett. There was a war on, and there was still a need for troops. He went off for further training and I have his letters to my grandmother, written when he had spare time in the barracks.

The guy was in love. It was obvious he wanted to be home, in the mountains, with his wife.

Then, history took hold of my grandparents, by the scruff of the neck.

Where most U.S. troops were shipped to Europe and to the waning action on the Western Front, Everett went another direction.

He was part of the American Expeditionary Force sent to Siberia in 1918. He was attached to the 27th U.S. Infantry Division, a division that traces its history back to the War of 1812. He and his comrades arrived in Vladivostock in August 1918. They were there to accomplish myriad things: to protect millions of dollars worth of military equipment shipped to the nearly vanquished White Russian army; to assist in the rescue of a Czech army; to collaborate with the 12th Division of the Japanese Army in combat against the Bolshevik army and marauding Cossack warlords.

Part of the assignment was to secure the Trans-Siberian Railroad and the troops moved to the Ussuri region. They became renowned for a march of more than 1,000 miles in less than a month, in the grip of deep Siberian winter, in pursuit of the Bolshevik army, earning the name "Wolfhounds."

The army, including another division in Archangel, came to be known by some as "The Lost Army." The reason: When the guns on the Western Front fell silent and the war ended, my grandfather and his compatriots were left in Siberia, under increasing pressure from their enemies. Little if anything was said about their venture.

They were left in Russia along with the Japanese army, forced to fend for themselves, to survive in an environment made hostile by weather and bullets alike.

They did not return home until 1920, a year and a half after the peace treaty was signed, ending World War I.

I have a packet of postcards collected by my grandfather in Siberia. None of them were ever filled out or sent, since mail made it home only at the beginning of the expedition. Many of the cards are Japanese - reproductions of watercolor paintings or woodblock prints of Japanese soldiers, all heavily bundled against the frigid conditions, often on horseback, always portrayed strong, Samurai-like.

Others cards are typical of the time: Photos of the area, reproduced in post card dimensions, ready for mailing. Titles on the front of the cards are in Japanese and English.

There is one card with a photo of Japanese officers entertaining American officers at Ussuri Station. Another card shows American troops disembarking from wooden railroad cars at a siding set in a bleak landscape

I have a card with a photo of the U.S. Army and Navy YMCA room at Vladivostock; one showing a column of Japanese cavalry passing over a railway bridge; another of the same bridge after it was blown up by the Red Army; one of a heavily armed boat on Lake Baikal.

Then, there are the photos of winter - of bridges and boats covered with blankets of ice; of Russian children swathed in layers of clothing and furs; of troops laboring to free railroad engines from snow-clogged track.

And there is a photo of my grandfather.

Everett stands alone in the photo set against a bleak, interior backdrop, wearing a fur hat and gloves. His calves are wrapped above his heavy snowcaked boots, his thin body lost beneath a bulky winter parka, his face - a face that looks like my sister's face - set off against the high fur collar around his neck.

He looks like a gentle man, put somewhere far less than gentle by forces beyond his control, his gaze clear and focused, ready to do his duty, prepared to work hard, to survive. In that, he is typical of so many of the men we remember this Memorial Day.

I also have the one note from Everett to Minnie that made it out of Siberia. The letter is censored, with the signature of the censor prominently displayed.

The note is written on the backs of two photos Everett took with him to Russia. The first photo was taken in Utah, when Everett and Minnie were married. The couple stands in front of a short wrought-iron fence, at the front of a church yard. Everett is in uniform: khaki shirt and pants, with tie and puttees. He wears his campaign hat set square on his head. He looks serious. Married.

Everett has his arm around my grandmother, all of eighteen, but already a schoolteacher for three years. She is beautiful and brooding, her head against his shoulder, her face half concealed by shadow. She wears a long white dress and what appears to be Everett's dress uniform jacket.

On the back of the card is written, "She is mine own, and I am as rich in having her as twenty oceans, if all the sands were pearls, the water crystal and the rocks pure gold. Love knows not mine or thine, but only ours."

The second photo shows my grandmother standing with her little brother Jack in the center of an immense, mine-ravaged open space high on the mountain above Central City. The remainder of the note, written on the back of the photo, has a date affixed, and a location: "July 5, 1919. Verkhna, Udansk, Siberia."

Everett wrote: "One year ago today, God made us man and wife, and it was the happiest day of my life. Today, although I am many miles away, I feel your presence, for I know your thoughts today are as mine. I only wish I could reach out and take you in my arms and keep you there forever. I pray God for strength to live my life to always make you happy. My darling."

What a guy. Typical of so many we remember this Memorial Day.

Everett made it back to his love in 1920, but he did not make it back in good shape. The torturous circumstances had produced severe physical problems. My mother was born a little more than a year after Everett returned, but by the time she was 3, her father was gone. An abdominal hemorrhage was uncontrollable; surgeons fought to save him, reportedly opening him with little if any anaesthetic, but they could do nothing. He died of a war wound, three years after the fact.

My grandmother never remarried; she never went out with another man, not once in the sixty-plus years she lived following Everett's death.

And she rarely said anything about him. Her actions spoke for her.

She and my Aunt Hazel went to Siberia, many times. It wasn't until I inherited those letters and cards that I really understood why.

The two old dames rode the train across the Russian wilderness. They stood on the shores of Lake Baikal. They walked the streets of Vladivostok. They saw the Ussuri River, stayed in Ussuri and Khabarovsk, where Everett stayed, walked down Anrurski Muravjev Street, where he walked.

I'll take that photo out May 31 and look at him, my progenitor, 85 years ago, staring straight ahead at me from somewhere in a dangerous, wintry Russian wilderness.

Everett endured incredible danger and dire conditions and he died because of it. He was what the vast majority of those we will remember May 31st were: A courageous person who did what he had to do, who knew who and what he loved and why. Someone who made a sacrifice for all the right reasons.


Cruising with Cruse

All kinds of ways to offset the aging process

My neighbor Buck and I never discuss politics. We're too far apart. I won't say either of us is a rabid, foaming at the mouth, liberal or conservative.

At least, I've never seen him foaming. But there is a definitely wide gap between us.

He says I'm a tree-hugger. He shows me his T-shirt that says Vegetarian is an old Indian word meaning lousy hunter. He calls my New York Times newspaper the Daily Worker.

But I think he's missing out on some interesting stories.

For instance, I've learned a lot about the new culture of beauty and anti-aging. Remember that ancient Roman prophet, the Cumaean Sibyl? When she was young and beautiful she was loved by the god Apollo. He offered to grant her one wish. Sibyl picked up a handful of sand - I guess they were on a beach at the time - and said, "Let me live as many years as there are grains of sand in my hand."

Be careful what you wish for. Sibyl forgot to say that she wanted to be YOUNG and BEAUTIFUL for all those years. So she aged at the normal rate and then lived on and on, an old crone in a cave, for six hundred years. She got a pretty good reputation for wisdom, not surprisingly, and people used to come and ask her advice. Her wisdom came a little late to benefit her, however.

According to articles I've been reading lately, we can do all kinds of things to offset the aging process. Forget the old drastic facelift surgery; that's becoming a thing of the past. Now women, and men, who can afford it are getting all kinds of procedures, long before their faces are wrinkled and pouchy.

Botox injections and fat-cell injections fill out tissue and make wrinkles go away. The nice thing, maybe, is that these effects aren't permanent. Or you can get more drastic things done to "ameliorate deficiencies in pulchritude." There's a mouthful. You can get your lips puffed out, so that you look like your boyfriend has been bashing you around. You can get your cheeks planed, your eyebrow line redone, your forehead raised.

Forehead raised? That's what it said. Isn't that the effect women in the 14th century tried to achieve by having their hair plucked out? Just like a lot of other areas of our bodies, high foreheads also go in and out of fashion. If we could hang around as long as Sibyl, we'd see it all, probably more than once.

Or maybe it's your teeth that don't measure up. The latest big market news for teeth is whitening. I remember hearing this complaint about Private Ryan, the one who got saved in that violent movie about World War II; his teeth were impossibly white and regular, even if he was a milk-fed boy from America's heartland. Of course, actor Matt Damon is right in style.

Now, you could read a lot of this beauty stuff in other papers. I mean, it's big news right now. But I'll bet you didn't see anything in any other papers about the new trends in caring for your pet fish. What's the latest?


Yeah, right, I thought. Surgery for fish? I remember when a sick guppy was a flushed guppy. But fish owners and fanciers have gone way beyond guppies and neon tetras like the ones I kept in big glass jars because I couldn't afford a proper fish tank.

There are fish shows, where Koi owners bring their high-priced investments to compete against the others. I'm going out on a limb here and guessing that the judging is only on the fish's appearance and not its personality.

A Koi that wins the fish equivalent of AKC Best in Show can retire to a long life of lounging around the pond, eating handfed tidbits and reproducing.

These fish are worth thousands and thousands of dollars. Not to me, of course, but to someone.

You don't want your high-priced investment getting sick and dying on you. So the latest in veterinary medicine is - ta da! - fish medicine. There are already maybe 2,000 vets currently practicing fish medicine. They can do basic exams, blood workups, CAT scans. They can fix broken bones and give fish enemas, remove impacted eggs and treat scoliosis.

Fish get lots of ailments (who knew?) included the mysterious buoyancy disease that makes fish float, or sink, in odd postures - head down, tail down, upside down. Surgically you can correct this by inserting a tiny stone in the fish's abdomen, sort of like ballast in the hold of a ship. That little bit of surgery costs between $150 and $1,500 depending on where you live and what the market will bear.

Not all Koi are show quality fish; some are just Ugly Pond Fish. But the Koi lovers don't care. The people who bond with fish are campaigning to have the ones that wash out of the show circuit be put up for adoption, rather than flushed down the toilet.

I have to admit that I can't quite fathom the attachment some people have for their fish. I've never met a fish I cared to cuddle up with, let alone give a name to. I can't imagine the patience it must take to teach a fish to fetch and dunk basketballs, but some folks do this. Some people put on music and dance with their fish, albeit on two sides of the glass partition.

Some people spend money for cosmetic improvements for their fish. The new fish vets can do plastic surgery - anything from glass-eye implants to what's called surgical pattern improvement, which might be scale transplants, scale tattooing, or removal of unsightly scales.

Of course, other people are only interested in how fish taste. Buck and I could probably agree about that.


Local Chatter

Red Hats steeped in wisdom of age

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

Life begins at 50!

That's what it's all about for the Red Hat Society.

This organization was started in 1998 by Sue Ellen Cooper. She'd taken on an appreciation for Jenny Joseph's poem that begins, "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me," and started giving red hats to all her friends when they turned 50. And this led to her forming the Red Hat Society.

How could she have foreseen that by 2004, there would be a membership of 400,000 with chapters in every state?

That's how it all started nationally and, in 2002, Marilyn Pruder brought up the idea from Florida which makes her the Founder Queen of the PS I Love Red Hats Society in Pagosa Springs.

What do the Red Hats do?

Let's start with what they don't do. They don't follow rigid By Laws.

As to what they do: They wear red hats and purple clothing. This identifies them right off.

They gather to eat and chat, just like women like to do - only this time they are all dressed up and can enjoy the ambience of the occasion. Pure fun!

The Red Hats have taken the media by storm as guests on The Today Show and have been written about in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Good Housekeeping and other publications. And they have a yearly convention - this year in Dallas but in Las Vegas next year.

Each chapter has a royal court. In the Pagosa chapter, Kathryn Heilhecker is Queen. The princesses are Betty Gibbons, Peggy Carrai, Topsy Woodson and Jan Dotson. Beverly Arrendell is Lady Harmony and Sue Liescheidt is the Court Jester.

The Red Hats meet the first Wednesday of the month. Through the winter, they met at Victoria's Parlor but this summer they will meet at JJ's Upstream Restaurant. Call Kathryn Heilhecker, 731-6421, to make reservations. The Red Hats Society is open to all and Kathryn can give you the information you need.

There is a book just out: "The Red Hat Society - Fun and Friendship after Fifty," written by Sue Ellen Cooper, founder and Queen Mother of the Society. Moonlight Books has copies. The cost is $12.95.

As Good Housekeeping wrote: "Members of the Red Hat Society are banding together Š refusing to fade away. The society celebrates the wisdom and freedom that comes with age."

Fun on the run

While on maternity leave, a woman took her new bundle of joy into the office for her co-workers to see. She also had her 7-year-old son with her.

Everyone gathered around the baby, and the little boy asked, "Mommy, can I have some money to buy a soda?"

"What do you say?" she asked.

Respectfully, the boy replied, "You're thin and beautiful."

The woman reached in her purse and gave her son the money.


Extension Viewpoints

Bats a massive group in Colorado

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Today, May 27 - 4-H Oil Painting, Minor residence, 4:30 p.m.

Colorado is home to at least 18 species of bats. Nearly 1,000 species live in Earth's tropical and temperate ecosystems. Colorado's bats include some of our most fascinating mammals, some of our least known and some of our most maligned and misunderstood.

One or more species is present in most habitats in the state, but bats are most abundant and diverse in the southern and western counties and in the foothills of the Eastern Slope.

Bats are the only mammals that fly. Many species of bats are difficult to distinguish from one another, however. Most Colorado bats are brownish, but the western pipistrelle is ashy gray. The spotted bat is black with three large white spots, the hoary bat is frosted white on brown, the silver-haired bat is black with silver-tipped hairs on its back and the red bat is reddish. Ears vary from the small, rounded ears of the hoary and red bats to prominent black ears of modest size in several species. The magnificent ears of the spotted and western big-eared bats are so large the animals roll them up when they sleep.

Our smallest bat, the western pipistrelle, is just 3 inches long and weighs only one-tenth of an ounce. The hoary bat is 5 1/2 inches long and weighs seven-eighths of an ounce. Bats also have distinctive calls - although most of them are far too high pitched for humans to hear and must be altered electronically to be recognized.

Bats are not blind, but have tiny eyes. Colorado bats depend upon their hearing to avoid obstacles and to find prey. They emit high-pitched sounds and listen for the echo from objects in their surroundings. All Colorado bats eat insects, and nearly all of them eat insects only.

The Pallid Bat may forage on the ground and eat scorpions, centipedes and non-flying insects, however. The hoary bat eats smaller bats when opportunity allows. Some bats will eat almost any insect, but others are specialists. The western big-eared bat and the long-eared myotis hover to capture single insects from leaves. Several species eat moths.

Bats search for food at night, mostly after dark (although the tiny western pipistrelle may begin to feed in late afternoon). Often they awaken to feed again before dawn. Then they move to a suitable day roost to sleep. Many species live in caves, crevices, mines and tunnels. The big and little brown bats frequently roost in houses. Silver-haired bats roost behind loose tree bark. Because their insect prey is a seasonal resource, Colorado bats either hibernate or migrate when cold weather comes.

Seven species of bats are known to hibernate in Colorado, and five are known to migrate. Where the other five spend the winter is unknown. That is just one example of how much we still don't know about these fascinating animals.

Most bats have a single young each year after a gestation period of about two months. Young develop quickly and learn to fly at about one month of age. A variety of predators (especially owls) capture bats. Senseless human harassment kills many of them, and some die because of the stress of hibernation.

Maximum longevity in bats is remarkably long for a small mammal. The little brown bat can live over 30 years. Bats sleep all day and some of the night, and some hibernate for eight or nine months of the year.

How many bugs eaten?

Adult bats are such swift, efficient hunters they can fill their stomachs in an hour. The little brown myotis is estimated to eat one-third its body weight in insects within half an hour. One bat expert figures Brazilian free-tailed bats being studied in Texas could consume nearly 20,000 tons of insects in a year statewide. Some adult bats can devour 12 mosquito-sized insects per minute.

The 100,000 Brazilian free-tailed bats inhabiting the San Luis Valley could conceivably consume 72 million bugs in a one-hour feeding frenzy.

Bats in the attic?

Bats may enter attics of buildings by squeezing through cracks as narrow as 1/4 inch and create a nuisance by making squeaking, scratching, scrambling, and crawling sounds. They deposit odorous feces and urine which may stain the ceiling. They can transmit rabies to humans but occurrences have been greatly exaggerated. Bat ectoparasites including ticks, fleas, and mites rarely bite humans but bat bedbugs occasionally get into bedding.

The best long term solution to problems with bats in the attic is exclusion. Bats can be excluded by plugging all holes with caulking, flashing, screen, fiberglass insulation, or stainless steel wool. Before attempting bat-proofing, make sure that all bats are out of the building. If bats are present, leave one small hole open and plug it a few hours after dark after all bats have left for the evening.

If all bats have not left the attic or if you are not certain if all bats have left, a commercial bat excluder (a funnel valve) can be placed over the hole to allow exit but prevent reentry.

Bats can be encouraged to leave attics by placing five pounds of naphthalene crystals or flakes per 2,000 cubic feet of area. Place these materials in stockings or cloth so that they can be removed after the bats leave. Bright lights placed in the attic also encourage bats to leave. Ultrasonic sound devices do not appear effective in frightening away bats. No fumigants or toxicants are registered for use by the general public to control bats.

Bat ectoparasites can be controlled in houses with a fumigant after bats have left the building. Respirators should be worn when removing bat guano to avoid contracting histoplasmosis.

If a person has been bitten by a bat, the bat should be captured without damaging the head. The local health department should be contacted to have the bat examined for rabies. If the bat is confirmed rabid, the patient must undergo rabies post-exposure vaccination.


Pagosa Lakes News

Free fishing derby for children slated June 4

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

Bring the children out Friday, June 4, for a free fishing derby.

Hosted annually by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, the derby will begin at 9 a.m. at Lake Hatcher on the west side near the jetty and boat ramp area.

Children 16 and younger are eligible. Every child will have a chance to receive a prize with categories that include largest fish, most fish and smallest fish in each of four age brackets: 13-16, 11-14, 7-10, and 6 and under. Prizes will include fishing poles, tackle boxes, lures and other fishing related items.

Larry Lynch, the association's property and environment manager, hopes for every child to go home happy. No one will be left out. This is equal opportunity fishing at its best.

Fishing for derby entrants will be done from the shoreline as no boats will be allowed. Parental or adult supervision is required. A PLPOA-issued lake use permit is not required for this event. When fishing with youngsters, the most popular bait is garden worms or night crawlers. Bring pocketful.

For what it's worth, here's advice from an ancient fisherman, my son when he was 6. "Worms perform best when kept warm. To do it, keep the worms in your mouth," he said.

I was glad my son checked with us before he followed the ancient one's advice.

Plan on a full morning of fishing, food and fun. A hot dog lunch will be provided for all who attend. The derby participants will need to bring their own fishing poles and equipment to fish, plenty of sunscreen and a hat. The annual fishing derby is always a whole lot of fun for the kids and the parents alike.

A couple of years ago, this little tyke landed a good sized trout. But in the process of bringing it in, the overactive fish jumped off the line. Without a second's hesitation, mom was in the water trying to recapture the errant fish. Excitement is never lacking. I love to eat fish but am a hopeless fisherwoman.

For our 29th wedding anniversary, my husband went out on the lake and caught me a fish. Small price to pay for 29 years of companionship. I've decided that if I can learn to walk on water, I can go trawling for fish and get my daily aerobic requirement all covered at the same time.

The derby will run until noon, at which point fish totals will be added up and lunch will be served. In the event of inclement weather, call Lynch at 731-5635 for an update.

Lake Hatcher was recently stocked with over 2,500 pounds of 12- to 16-inch rainbow trout and the fishing has been excellent this spring.


Shepherd's Staff

God is source of all - especially truth

By Rev. Richard Bolland

Our Savior Lutheran Church

Truth and the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be excluded from one another. Indeed, Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

Sometimes in the discipline of theology we speak of the various attributes of God. We learn from Holy Scripture that God is all-powerful, all-knowledgeable, all-present, and the like. Also we learn from Scripture that God is love, compassion, grace, perfectly just, and utterly righteous (sinless).

But we fail to understand the nature of God if we only think that He possesses these characteristics. Rather, it is necessary to comprehend that God IS the very characteristics which describe Him.

Therefore, it is necessary to know that whatever wisdom, whatever compassion, whatever power, whatever knowledge, and whatever justice exists in the world, it is God who is the source of it all.

This is especially true of truth itself. Once Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea during the time of Christ, asked Jesus a question. It was a very good question that is often asked by all of us.

Pilate asked, "What is truth?" Now, in the context of the conversation Pilate was having with Jesus, Pilate might well have been sarcastic but it is difficult to know for certain. The irony of Pilate's question was that the very one he was conversing with and looking at was truth incarnate Š truth in the flesh! The governor was looking at truth itself, and demanding to know what truth was.

That still happens today. God has graciously revealed Himself to humanity through the Word of God, the Holy Bible. He used mere men to write the words and paragraphs He wanted written by verbal inspiration. In II Timothy 3:14-16, St. Paul writes: "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Likewise, in II Peter 1:19-21, St. Peter writes: "And we have the Word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place Š Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Despite such clear passages that the Bible is God's Word, not man's word, people will insist as they read it that they may ignore any sections with which they choose to disagree.

Thomas Jefferson, this nation's third president, held this same faulty view of the Scriptures. Sitting down with a copy of the Bible and a pair of scissors, Jefferson simply cut out those portions of God's Word he didn't happen to like and kept what appealed to him. Today, many do precisely the same thing. Tragically, this renders the whole of Scripture useless.

Frankly, if you can't trust all of it, then you can't trust any of it! If we insist on picking and choosing which parts of Holy Scripture are God's Word and which parts aren't, then we make ourselves out to be God and insist on putting words in His mouth!

Naturally, sinfully, mankind likes nothing better than to assume the authority that God holds to Himself. That is, in fact, the sin of our first parents in the Garden of Eden. In choosing to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they not only disobeyed God's direct command, they chose to be their own authority and in so doing, rejected the authority of God. This violated not only the command of God, but the very relationship that was supposed to exist between man and God. It also violated the very nature of God.

Scripture says: "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." In the fall of Adam and Eve truth itself became a victim. That is why men reject the truth when they read it in Scripture. Like Pilate, staring truth in the face, we ask, "What is truth?"

Fortunately, God's one and only Son, Jesus Christ became flesh and lived, suffered, died, and rose to life precisely so that we might be able to see and know the truth! Suffering our penalty for sin, dieing in our place, and rising victoriously from the grave; our sins are forgiven completely as, by His grace, we are translated from death to eternal life!

What is truth? Jesus Christ is very truth of very truth! Listen to His Word and live!




Katherine and Robert welcomed their new sister Reese Hunter Harnick on April 12, 2004. Born at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, Reese weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long.

Parents are Jennifer and Jim Harnick of Pagosa Springs. Grandparents are Dodie and Bud Brown of Kansas City, Mo. and Jack and Pat Harnick of Midland, Mich.


Business News
Biz Beat


Eagle Eye Inspection Service

Eagle Eye Inspection Service offers you security of mind when you leave your house unattended while on vacation or when heading to your winter home.

John and Carol Frakes, the owners of Eagle Eye Inspection Service, will visit your home twice a month, year round, providing a written report at the end of each month. If they feel something is wrong or out of the ordinary, they will contact you as soon as possible via fax, e-mail or phone.

Eagle Eye Inspection Services checks for leaks caused by snow loads, evidence of break-ins or break-in attempts and whether your furnace is working, along with other home-security inspection procedures.

John and Carol take pride in the fact that many of their customers are now good friends. They can be contacted by calling 264-4840 or by e-mail at




Preview Profile


Cathne Holt

Elementary school librarian


Where were you born?

"Indianapolis, Indiana."


Where did you go to school?

"I graduated from New Castle in Indiana and did undergrad work at Ball State and received my M.S. from Indiana University."


When did you arrive in Pagosa Springs?



What did you do before you arrived here?

"I taught abroad for 15 years in private schools."


What are your job responsibilities?

"I keep track of selections, ordering and processing of the library collection. I try to find the perfect book for each child. If you listen to them they'll tell you exactly what they want to read. Letting them read what they want is the key to getting them hooked early."


What are the most enjoyable and least enjoyable aspects of your job?

"I enjoy seeing the joy and excitement in the kids' eyes when they finish reading a book that they enjoyed and come back asking for more. The least enjoyable part is not having enough help running the library and the reading programs."


What is your family background?

"I am single with two grown daughters who live in Telluride."


What do you like best about the community?

"The wonderful people of Pagosa, especially the children, and that we live in a place where beauty abounds."


What are your other interests?

"I enjoy outdoor activities, especially camping and hiking; sewing, stitching, knitting and, of course, reading."




Dawn Olson

Dawn M. Olson (Gonzales) graduated from Pueblo Community College with an associate in arts degree April 30, 2004.

The 1994 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School is the daughter of Lucy Gonzales and the late Alcadio Carl Gonzales. She will continue her education at Pueblo, majoring in psychology.

Kiwanis scholars

The Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs would like to congratulate this year's scholarship winners. Three deserving high school seniors were awarded scholarships of $1,000 each. Kiwanis scholarships are given out to deserving students who will be attending a vo-tech or two-year college. Scholarships are awarded based on a variety of qualities, including work experience, school and community activities, academic record and financial need.

This year's winners are Cynthia Neder, who will be attending the American Musical and Dramatics Academy in New York City; Liesl Jackson, Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif., theater; and Jeremy Gallegos, Community College of Aurora, Colorado, film/video technology.

UNC grads

Two Pagosa Springs students were among those receiving degrees during University of Northern Colorado commencement May 8.

They were Valerie Niesen, with a bachelor of science in sports and exercises science, and Michelle Thaxton with a bachelor of arts in communication disorders: speech.

Jeremiah Oertel

Marine Corps Pvt. Jeremiah J. Oertel, son of Theresa M. and Gregory L. Oertel of Pagosa Springs, recently completed 12 weeks of basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif.

Oertel and fellow recruits began their training at 5 a. m., by running three miles and performing calisthenics. In addition to the physical conditioning program, Oertel 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. They performed close order drill and operated as a small infantry unit during field training.

Oertel and other recruits also received instruction on the Marine Corps' core values - honor, courage and commitment, and what the core values mean in guiding personal and professional conduct.

Oertel 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.

Oertel is a 2003 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School.

Heidi Driesens

Heidi Driesens, daughter of Jerry and Joan Driesens of Pagosa Springs, received a bachelor's degree in psychology during commencement exercises May 15 at Gordon College, Wenham, Mass.

Driesens is a 2000 graduate of Pagosa Christian School. She graduated Gordon Magna Cum Laude.

Life Teen scholars

The first ever Life Teen/Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Scholarship has been awarded to four outstanding individuals. Jenna Finney, Danielle Jaramillo, Clint McKnight and Estreberto Palma will each receive a $1,000 scholarship renewable annually to an accredited college of their choice.

The Life Teen/Immaculate Heart of Mary Scholarship Fund, originated by friends of Life Teen, hopes to continue to award scholarships to deserving students in the future. It is the fund's mission to support young adults in their educational and faith journey as well. For more information or to contribute to the fund please call Sheila McKenzie at 731-4689.



. Larry and Judy Melendy of Pagosa Springs are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Cherie Melendy, to Matthew Ford, son of J.R. and Connie Ford of Pagosa Springs. The couple plans a December wedding in Pagosa.


In Memoriam



In loving memory of Michael Charles Shepard Roman


Son, brother, husband, father, grandson and friend.

One hundred eight days ago you were suddenly

Taken away from us. Today is your birthday

And although we are apart, you and your life

Will be celebrated today in your honor.

Our loving memories of you will last a lifetime.

We love and miss you more than words can express.


Mom, Dad, Tony, Shelley, Blake and Grandpa Shepard.


Cards of Thanks


Special Olympics

Special Olympics held its regional aquatics meet and Law Enforcement Torch Run in Pagosa Springs May 15. Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center was the host of this year's regional aquatics meet.

Swimmers from Durango joined the Pagosa Springs team for the Saturday morning event and lunch was supplied by the United Methodist Women.

Special thanks to Pagosa Springs head coach Jim Johnson and assistant coach Keren Prior for volunteering their time. Other day-of-event volunteers included John Porter, Marilyn Bunch, Ron and Cindy Gustafson, Kathy Pokorney, Ken Berg and Karl Irons.

Volunteers for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, which is a statewide fund-raiser for Special Olympics, included members of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, the Pagosa Springs Police Department and Pagosa Fire Protection District. A short parade featuring several Special Olympians and emergency vehicle personnel concluded in Town Park while the torch continued toward Greeley being carried by volunteer law enforcement members. Thank you to all who participated and showed support for this wonderful event.

Becky Berg

Pagosa Springs Special Olympics Volunteer Coordinator

EMS personnel

The dedication and constant effort that it takes to excel as a pre-hospital caregiver is frequently overlooked. As the newcomers to your scene, know that we deeply appreciate your dedication and spirit, even through the most trying of times.

This being National EMS Week makes it appropriate to come right out and say it: On behalf of the new board, Dick and the community - thank you.

All the new USJHSD board members also want to thank Joanne Irons for the reception and delicious food she served at our first regular meeting. We also wish to thank Mercy Korsgren and Pagosa Springs Community Center staff for their help with the meeting.

Pam Hopkins, board chair

Upper San Juan Heath Service District


Sports Page


Pirates leap to fifth in state track meet

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The fate of the Pirates boys' track season wasn't decided until the last minute.

It took the efforts of the 1600-meter relay team in the final event of the two-day state track meet in Pueblo to secure a top-five team spot.

Junior Otis Rand, senior Aaron Hamilton, senior Dan Lowder and Junior Turner, a junior, fought off the competition to earn third-place in the event, crossing the finish in 3 minutes, 30.85 seconds, almost two seconds faster than their qualifying time the week before, and a tenth of a second behind the second-place finisher Roosevelt.

The additional six points boosted the Pirates into a 32-point tie with Colorado Springs Christian for fifth place in the state among 41 3A teams. The effort also set another school record for Pagosa Springs, a record the squad first broke earlier in the year.

Of course, the frosting on the cake supplied by the 1600-relay team was only possible because of some stellar efforts starting Friday to move the Pirates into contention for a top-five finish.

Pagosa picked up the first points in the triple jump. Casey Schutz leaped 40-1 3/4 to claim eighth place in the event, with just 3/4 of an inch separating the sixth through eighth place finishers.

Coach Connie O'Donnell said the sophomore's triple jump finish made more than one coach take notice at state.

"He was put in the triple jump in the beginning because he wanted to try some different events," O'Donnell said. "He kind of liked it and did OK, but he's really worked to improve. It's just amazing he jumped so far so soon."

Dustin Pittman of D'Evelyn won the 3A triple jump with a leap of 45-11 1/2.

Hamilton added more points with a seventh-place effort in the 800-meter run. Less than two seconds separated fifth through eighth place in this battle. In fact, only a lean at the tape after a 2:05.77 effort put Hamilton ahead of one challenger.

Saturday, the Pirates stretched even higher, claiming top-three spots in the 1600 and two field events.

Sophomore Dan Aupperle set the pace with a 20-7 1/4 effort on his second of three tries in the long jump. The leap was good enough to put him on the podium in second behind Brad Gamble of Eagle Valley, whose 21-1/2 jump captured first.

O'Donnell said Aupperle had jumped 20 feet before and was expected to place, but not so high.

Field events, she said, was one of two areas, the other one being relay handoffs, that received a huge boost from practicing in the new home facility.

"For the first time we had a place to teach people what they're supposed to do," O'Donnell said. "Before they were just jumping into the grass. For the high jump, they were either practicing in the gym or in the grass, and it's just not the same."

Pirate senior Clayton Spencer juggled the high jump, and running in the 400 relay Saturday. He cleared 6-4 in the high jump to secure third place and another six points for the team. Jeremy Tidwell, of Buena Vista won the high jump, with a leap of 6-6.

Spencer joined the fleet feet of Aupperle, junior Paul Armijo and sophomore Paul Przbylski to capture fifth in the 400 relay. They were clocked at 45.5.

In the 3200 relay, Hamilton, Rand, Lowder and sophomore A.J. Abeyta combined for a fourth place medal, putting the final runner across the finish in 8:23.20, almost 13 seconds faster than their qualifying finish at regionals.

The combination of efforts placed Pagosa Springs in the top five - actually top six - in team competition because of a tie for first. Eagle Valley and D'Evelyn ended up co-champions with 78 points a piece.

O'Donnell said the leadership on the boys' team and their successes throughout the year really impressed her.

"I never expected to be regional champions," she said. Then, to set a goal of finishing in the top five at state days before getting on the bus and having that realized was extra-special.

"I'm really happy with the year, and happy that we just keep getting better," she said.


400 relay: 5. D. Aupperle, C. Spencer, P. Armijo, P. Pryzbylski, 45.5. 1600 relay: 3. O. Rand, A. Hamilton, D. Lowder, J. Turner, 3:30.85. 3200 relay: 4. O. Rand, A. Hamilton, D. Lowder, A.J. Abeyta, 8:23.20. 800: 7. A. Hamilton, 2:04.77. Triple jump: 8. Casey Schutz, 40-1 3/4. Long jump: 2. D. Aupperle, 20-7 1/4. High jump: 3. Clayton Spencer, 6-4.


Five ladies capture state track medals

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Of the nine female Pagosa tracksters making their way to Pueblo for the state track meet, five survived a combination of heat, wind and competition to return with medals.

Clear skies, a strong sun and wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour beat down on Dutch Clark Stadium for Friday's preliminaries. Only junior Janna Henry survived the qualifying rounds to move on to Saturday's finals, running a 16.86 second race in the 100-meter hurdle preliminaries.

"I am so proud of her," Coach Connie O'Donnell said of Henry. "She came so close to breaking the school record in the hurdles this year, and the record dates back to 1986. I think she was within a hundredth of a second in one race."

The Pirates collected their first points near the end of the day when Emilie Schur kicked up her pace to claim third in the 800-meter run. Schur finished the race in 2:19.67, nearly five seconds faster than her qualifying time two weeks earlier and only a half-second behind the second-place runner. Christy Johnson, of Holy Family, won the race in 2:17.25.

Saturday, winds were calmer, but sun and dehydration still plagued competitors. Pagosa opened competition with their highest finish - placing second in the 3200-meter relay. The foursome of freshman Jessica Lynch, sophomore Schur, junior Bri Scott and freshman Jennifer Shearston came into the event with the second fastest time in the state.

The Pirates made their way near the front of a 19-team pack early, but league-rival Centauri - ranked third by qualifying time coming into the race - stayed just far enough ahead to take the win, crossing the finish in 9:48.38.

O'Donnell said one of the advantages of having a track in place in Pagosa Springs this year was the ability to hone handoff skills for all the relay teams making their way to state. Still, every relay race in Pueblo made her nervous.

"Batons are in my nightmares," she said.

The Pirates finished the 3200 relay in 9:50.56, clipping almost 12 seconds off their qualifying time. "That was really impressive," O'Donnell said. "I thought they ran with a lot of heart in that race."

A few minutes later, Henry took to the line in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing fifth in the state in 17.06. The 3A champion 100-meter hurdler was Rachel Schmucker, of Hotchkiss.

Schur captured a third state medal in the 1600-meter run, finishing fourth with a time of 5:22.16, once-again chopping several seconds off her qualifying time. Rachel Gioscia, of Buena Vista, won the race in 5:11.38.

The Pirates finished 12th out of 42 teams competing in 3A. The team championship went to Hotchkiss with 74.5 points. They were followed by University with 45 points and D'Evelyn with 43 in third.

O'Donnell said the girls, a very young team, impressed her with their state effort.

"It makes me excited for the future," she said. "Some of the girls who didn't make it through to Saturday's finals were a little disappointed. Now they know what it feels like at state and I'm hoping they'll want to work to get back their again."

The team's only senior, Roxanna Day, competed in the pole vault, requiring her to practice in Bayfield. She injured an ankle at the beginning of the month, clearing 7-0 in a competition at Bayfield and was unable to compete to qualify for state.


3200 relay: 2. J. Lynch, E. Schur, B. Scott, J. Shearston, 9:50.56. 100 hurdles: 5. J. Henry, 17.06. 1600: 4. E. Schur, 5:22.16. 800: 3. E. Schur, 2:19.67; 13. J. Shearston, 2:31.37; 15. J. Lynch, 2:32.79.


Four Pirate kickers named all-conference

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Four members of the Pagosa Springs Pirates girls' soccer team, three seniors and a freshman, have been selected for all-conference honors.

Named by coaches of the Southwest Mountain League were senior striker Melissa Diller, senior keeper Sierra Fleenor and freshman striker Laurel Reinhardt as first team and senior sweeper Jenna Finney for honorable mention.

Diller is a three-time selection for all conference honors and Fleenor was an honorable mention last year.

To top off the season in which the Pirates surprised many around the league with the performance of their vast array of youngsters, coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason was named the league's coach of the year.

The Pirates finished with a 6-3-1 league record and were 6-6-1 overall before stopping Salida in a double overttime, extended sudden-death shootout to earn the number 16 seed into the state tournament.

They lost 10-0 to number one ranked Colorado Academy.

Telluride the league champion, also placed three players on the all-conference team - seniors Shelly Hale, Britt Whitelaw and Caitlin Kirst.

Ridgway, the third league team in regional playoffs (a 5-0 loser to St. Mary's Academy), also placed three on the all-conference squad - seniors Eve Donegan, Porsha Hunger and Jamie Scoville.

Representing Bayfield were sisters Danielle (freshman) and Suzanne Bemelen (a junior). Center was represented by outstanding keeper Leticia Bustillos.

Honorable mentions went to juniors Traci Ranta of Telluride, Eva Duce of Ridgway and Tyrell Blevins of Bayfield, and Vicki Owens of Ignacio.


Runners, beware of heat-related problems

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

As outdoor temperatures increase, so does our risk for developing heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

That's why runners need to take special precautions when running in warm weather. "Of all the adversities that runners and marathoners face," says Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach of The Running CenterTM, "heat is the No. 1 offender because it can bring on two conditions that can negatively affect your performance - overheating and dehydration." Because running in the heat exacerbates both, Solkin recommends taking the following precautions:

1. It takes approximately two weeks of consistent running in the heat and humidity to get acclimated to warmer conditions.

2. Remember that thirst is not an indicator of dehydration. Once you are thirsty, you are already low on fluids. Indicators of dehydration are an elevated heart rate during and after your run and dark, golden-colored urine. After your run, keep drinking fluids until your urine is clear.

3. During your run, drink about 4 to 8 ounces of water and/or sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Weigh yourself before and after your run. Drink 16 ounces of fluid for every pound of weight lost. Important note - do not use this as a method of weight loss!

5. Apply a sunscreen of at least SPF 15. Make sure that it is a non-drip formula that won't run into your eyes.

6. Wear sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB rays and/or wear a cap with a visor.

7. Wear light-colored, micro-fiber clothing.

8. Run when your shadow is taller than you are, and when the sun is not high in the sky. If you run in the morning, you'll avoid the heat, but may encounter a higher humidity. The air quality is also better in the morning, since ozone levels increase soon after dawn, peak at midday, and then again in the early evening. Avoid running from noon till 3 p.m.

9. Eat salty foods and drinks such as pretzels and tomato juice.

10. Check the Heat Index Chart on for apparent temperature. This number calculates the air temperature with the relative humidity to determine what the temperature feels like and if there is a risk of a heat-related illness.


Mountain bike point series comes to Bayfield

The Four Corners mountain bike point series continues with the Bayfield Burrito Bash Bike Race June 12.

The race will start and end at the Bayfield Community Center (the old middle school on South Street) instead of at Saul's Creek, as in years past.

This year's course is similar to that of earlier races, but will start and finish in town with a parade down Buck Highway led by Bayfield Mayor James "Herm" Harrman.

The parade/race start will take place at 10 a.m. in front of the community center. Registration forms are available at local bike shops, or day of race registration can be handled at the center 8-9:30 a.m.

Awards and a free burrito lunch will immediately follow the race at the community center.

This is the seventh in the 13-race series but the first in Colorado. The series started March 13 in Utah with a triathlon, and races have been held in other Four Corners states, including Arizona. The balance of the series will be in Colorado, concluding Sept. 12 at Vallecito Lake.

Over 40 people already have signed up for the series and it's not too late to register for upcoming competition.

For more information or to have a registration form mailed, call Doug Call at Bayfield Community Center, 884-9034.


Narrow Gauge races start at 10 a.m. Sunday

Line up now for the 27th Annual Narrow Gauge Ten Mile and 5 K Runs at 8:15 a.m., Sunday, May 30, in downtown Durango.

The starting line is on Narrow Gauge Street between 7th and 8th streets, and runners will race the DSNGRR train.

Registration fees are: 10 mile race, $25 by today, $30 May 28-30; 5K race, $25 by today, $20 May 28-30. Durango Motorless Transit club members get a $5 discount off early fee.

Special Dri-Release logo T-shirts are for the first 220 registered participants.

Registration forms are available at Brown's Sport Shoe, Pine Needle Mountaineering, and online at

The event is one of the oldest continuously staged runs in the region and is produced by the Durango Motorless Transit running club, a Roadrunner Clubs of America affiliate.


Par takes a beating in Men's Golf League

By Rich Bloom

Special to The SUN

The Pagosa Springs Men's Golf League event May 19 featured a scramble format and lots of low scores.

In a scramble, each team member hits his shot and then the team decides which one they want to use. Everyone then hits his next shot from that point and they repeat the process.

Since the odds are high that at least one team member will deliver a good result on each shot, scores are typically well below par.

Such was the case in this four-man scramble.

Fully half the teams in the competition were at least 4 shots under par for the round.

The team of Davis Prokop, Alan Leo, Jim Hitchcox and Frank Hutchins carded a 9-under-par 63 top win the event.

The team of Jim Horky, Bob Howard, Ed Day and Bob Chitwood took second, followed by the team of Ed Toner, Ray McComber, Bob Jones and Rick Baker in third; and in fourth was the team of Jon Bower, Warren Grams, Tom Bish and Jerry Adams.

The Men's League is open to golfers of all levels. League dues are $25 for the season, payable in the pro shop.

Competition begins every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Sign up in the men's locker room before 5 p.m. the Tuesday afternoon before each play day.


Wise golfer takes safety precautions

When it comes to sports-related injuries, golf likely doesn't rank high on the list. However, injuries can occur out on the green.

Besides traps and bunkers, injury can come from the sun, lightening, golf balls and golf carts. The wise golfer takes precautionary measures before teeing off.

The sun

Many golfers enjoy being out in the sun for a game of nine or 18 holes. However, without the proper skin protection, you may be headed for a serious case of sunburn. Apply an abundant amount of sunscreen before the game, wear a hat to protect your head and sunglasses to protect your eyes. Also remember to drink plenty of water to avoid sunstroke.


When you are out on an open course, you may be more prone to be struck by lightning. Metal golf clubs can attract a powerful strike of lightening.

If you see that a storm is approaching, end the game and head indoors. Your golf cart will not provide adequate protection. It's not worth risking your life for "one more hole."

Stray golf balls

As silly as it may sound, getting hit with a stray golf ball can be a dangerous event. Those small balls, when traveling at fast speeds, have the potential to cause head trauma or a concussion. Many onlookers and players are injured in such a manner. Keep your eyes open when out on the course.

Golf cart operation

Oftentimes, unsafe operation of golf carts can result in injuries. They can be fun to drive, but are not for joy riding. Because they are motor vehicles, the same rules of driving a car apply as when driving a cart on the golf course.

Children should never be allowed to drive golf carts - you are just asking for trouble. Most golf courses have strict rules concerning cart operation. Be sure to heed the regulations for safety's sake.


Women golfers good guessers on final scores

By Lynne Allison

Special to The SUN

The Pagosa Springs Women's Golf Association featured an "honest John" format for 18 holes of league play May 18.

Each golfer was asked to guess what her total gross score would be before the group teed off.

Lynne Allison and Loretta Campuzano tied for first place, each shooting the exact gross score they and originally estimated - 92 and 98 respectively.

Jane Day, Kathy Threet and Karen Carpenter tied for second, each guessing one less stroke than scored at 94, 117 and 124 respectively. Josie Hummel also tied for second, estimating one more stroke than her actual 95.

The association sent its eight low handicap players to Riverview at Kirtland May 20 and garnered 38 1/2 points against San Juan Country Club in match play competition.

Representing Pagosa were Jane Stewart, Barbara Sanborn, Lynne Allison, Sho-Jen Lee, Cherry O'Donnell, Kathy Giordano, Audrey Johnson and Loretta Campuzano.

The team is currently in fourth place. The next match is at Cortez Conquistador June. 17.


Parks & Rec


Summer Park Fun program director and assistant hired

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Park Fun is in the planning stages and we recently hired a director and assistant director.

Heather Hunts was named director of this year's program and comes to us with great credentials and great references.

Tessie Gurule-Garcia, "Ms. Tessie," is in her second year of employment, working with us leading the arts and crafts portion of the Park Fun programming.

Enrollment will be held 1-5 p.m. today and Friday, May 28, at Town Hall. To preregister your child you will be required to provide medical history, including notice of any allergies, as well as drop-off/pickup information.

Park Fun is a program for children ages 5-12 with daily exercise and art projects in mind. Activities enjoyed in past summers included swimming, hiking, skating, and games.

In the art section of the program, Ms. Tessie brings over 20 years of experience to our program. Creative and fun art projects keep the children happy and excited about coming back to Park Fun.

Costs for the program are $80 for a five-day punch pass, or $160 for a 10-day pass, (inquire about a multiple child discount). We welcome walk-ins, but will reserve the right to limit enrollment to 35 kids per day.

We meet at the junior high school office Monday-Friday at 7:45 a.m., with pick-up by 5 p.m.

Come take advantage of our preregistration program, and the children can begin an exciting summer Tuesday, June 1, for the first day of Park Fun.

Bike to Work activities

Come buy your discount voucher for $5. It will get you the following discounts at these businesses: Wolf Tracks, 10 percent off any drink for the month of June; Harmony Works, 10 percent off for the week of June 1-4; and at Juan's Bike Shop enjoy $1 tubes (one per voucher holder), and 10 percent off bike tune up for the month of June.

At 11:30 a.m. June 4 we will have a meeting at Town Hall for anyone wishing to join in a bike ride through town with Ruthie Mathes, former world champion, and former Olympic mountain biker. We will all ride to or meet at JJ's for a luncheon. Cost is $7.50 for a buffet lunch, and fountain drink. Please RSVP Joe Lister Jr. 264-4151, Ext. 231. Ruthie will be the guest speaker at this event.

Last but not least, the $5 voucher will get you an entry into a drawing for one adult bike, and one youth mountain bike at the luncheon June 4. Bring your bikes and come have some fun with us.

Look-alike contest

We will stock our ponds with fish and have a free picnic luncheon June 18, provided by the National Turkey Federation.

We are in the process of seeing if the Division of Wildlife will provide free fishing poles again this year.

We will have a Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher look-alike contest at 11:30 a.m.

Prizes will be awarded for best costumes.

You will find more information about this event, as we solidify our sponsors, in later publications of The SUN.

Adult softball

The Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department held its first managers' meeting for all teams interested in participating in our adult leagues.

If you did not attend this meeting and would like to place a team in our league for the 2004 season, you must contact Myles Gabel at 264-4151, immediately Team registration forms are available at Town Hall.

Youth baseball

Play Ball!

Our 2004 Youth Baseball continues with great team play and beautiful weather. All teams are exhibiting great ability and sportsmanship.

Beginning in early June our teams will add competition from Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio. Come out and root for your teams at the Sports Complex Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Girl's softball

Practice for girls ages 9-14 who would like to participate in our softball leagues will take place 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays at the Sports Complex. Call Myles Gabel, 264-4151, Ext. 232 for more details. We are moving ahead with a season of girl's softball and hope to compete against teams from the surrounding cities in hopes of building this great girl's sports program.

Volleyball open gym

We will offer open gym women's volleyball Wednesday nights through June. The sessions will be 6-8 p.m. in the community center.

If there is enough participation we may split into an "official" women's volleyball league at a later date.

Hiring umpires

If you are interested in umpiring youth baseball or adult softball, contact Myles Gabel at the number above. Play begins this week so call immediately.

Rockies Challenge

The Colorado Rockies Baseball Skills Challenge will take place here Friday, June 25.

The Challenge is a baseball competition that allows youngsters to showcase their talents in base running, batting and throwing with scores based on speed, distance and accuracy. It is a youth program of the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association with the support provided in the form of a grant through the Colorado Rockies and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Age group winners from Pagosa Springs advance to regional competitions. Regional winners advance to a Rockies game and compete for the state championships. Call the recreation department 264-415, Ext. 232 for more details.

Hershey challenge

Track athletes be ready!

The recreation department will host the Hershey Track and Field Challenge. Running, jumping and field events will be held.

Call 264-4151, Ext. 232 for more details.




Step back, move forward

Doubt has been expressed in this space concerning the value to

local politics of the precinct-based party process. That doubt

remains, buoyed by an inability to recognize clear partisan positions relative to local issues. But thought should be given to the potential the precinct model has to turn around a national political process growing more distant from the ordinary citizen and party members, a situation that swells the ranks of deserters from the two-party system and encourages failure to exercise the right to vote.

County precinct caucuses and assemblies, and the state's party conventions, bring to mind a time when local politics had a more direct bearing on national politics. With the presidential election circus gaining momentum we are reminded that, prior to national conventions, we've already identified major party candidates. What a shame. It is time to reflect on an alternative that existed not so long ago.

Campaign finance law is full of loopholes and has not returned political clout to the majority of American voters and party members. We have transformed our presidential political process from a grassroots affair to one based on primaries where enormous amounts of money spent in select states for primary elections flushes out a candidate prior to the national convention. The convention is a feeble exercise with critical party energy and money delivered long before the fact. We are already watching presidential campaign ads on television.

Here is an idea, and not one unique to this forum: return the weight of the process to the precinct level. In doing so, we might be able to accomplish two goals. First, to invigorate a party process gone stale because of legitimate feelings of impotence. What reason, for example, do Democrats have to feel empowered at the precinct level this season when it comes to selection of a presidential candidate? Where and when does the grass roots debate take place? Does it take place?

Second, we might reduce a negative polarization of the political world in America, with opinion now driven on both sides by self-important television commentators and talk radio hosts. Perhaps we could return substance to a dialogue that has been replaced by a one-dimensional battle of caricatures. Where better to recognize a presidential candidate than in dialogue with your neighbors? Our history shows it's worked magnificently, on many occasions.

There are some who worry about the reemergence of old-style ward politics in the precinct process. There are reasons not to fear this. The amount of information available to the average American voter is enormous and the skill of the voter in seeking it is keen, if motivation is present.

Granted, every local arena has its share of delusional characters who envision themselves as operatives, Machiavellian presences manipulating the process. There are those who foolishly represent themselves as influential characters in a party, amalgamating "power," forming committees whose members inflate one another with chatter, pretending to work behind the scenes like puppeteers. They are the only ones who do not laugh at the joke. This community, like most, has more than its share of fair and free thinkers. The task is to involve them in a valid two-party process. Energize the party process at the base level and the illusions will fade. Put clout in the process and a significant number of unaffiliated voters could return to party ranks. Give the process meaning and we will discover the majority of party members are not sheep led by arrogant shepherds, but discriminating, independent thinkers ready to debate issues and make decisions absent the guidance of a self-styled precious few.

We need to get back to basics, change our presidential political system. This could be one situation in which taking a step back propels us forward.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa


A turkey shoot on Put Hill

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

"They're havin' a turkey shoot up on Put Hill. Wanna go up an' watch?"

That was more than 50 years ago.

I didn't want to watch turkeys being shot, so I thought maybe we should go and try to stop the slaughter.

Little did I know that they weren't really shooting turkeys. They were shooting targets and turkeys were the prizes for the best marksmen.

I use that anecdote as a means of looking again at the changing face of Pagosa Country. The turkey shoot was held about 200 yards off U.S. 160 along Piedra Road.

Targets were aligned against the base of the hill where now stands the structure housing the various enterprises of Rising Stars.

There were no churches where the two now stand along Majestic Drive, which also did not exist.

Neither did the cluster of motels, restaurants, business and financial offices and service businesses now flourishing across the area.

Put Hill, in fact, had a lone business, the old store owned by the Belmear family on the curve where U.S. 160 swerves from north to westbound.

There was no Pagosa Golf Club with its manicured greens, no major lumber companies with coded and neatly arranged stacks of building materials, no strip malls and no stop lights.

There was no Pagosa Lodge, no Village Center Mall, no fast food restaurants. In fact, Pagosa Lakes may have been only a glint in an entrepreneur's eye and the John Stevens Ranch was still just a ranch, not yet a scene for movies and the drawing card for big money it was to become.

Downtown Pagosa Springs, surprisingly, looked much as it does today ... some of the structures still exist, others have been modernized and still others are replacements. The bridge across the San Juan River, which once carried San Juan Street to its eastern end beneath the water tower on Reservoir Hill, was still there and beneath its rusty beams one of my favorite fishing spots produced great catches of Rainbow and Brook.

The Spa was Pagosa's outdoor swimming pool, where those youngsters who didn't learn to swim in the river at Cotton Hole found instruction and fun if they had 50 cents to spend.

There were hints of growth ahead. My friend Jim Sopowinik and I were lifeguards at the outdoor pool during our 15th year. His father was a heavy equipment operator who did a lot of ditching for water to drain into Sullenberger Lake west of Piedra Road. On days off from the pool we accompanied his dad and watched as the drainages took shape.

This was the real beginning of Pagosa Lakes. Sullenberger became, I believe, Lake Pagosa, the jewel of early development of the Stevens ranch.

Bicycles, much as they are in some seasons today, were still the main mode of transport for we teens still under driving age.

Archuleta County had a population of about 3,500 as I recall, with about 1,400 of that total in the town of Pagosa Springs itself.

It was the Pagosa I could not see changing.




90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of May 29, 1914

Pagosa bootleggers are now trying to dodge the law by combining Oregon grape root with cheap whiskey reduced to the same alcohol percentage as the patent peruna dope. The bootlegger is sure a busy old boy these dry Pagosa days - nothin' doin'.

Trout season opened May 25th but the river is too high at present to permit any successful sport.

Bicycle riding on the sidewalks is a nuisance. It is a common occurrence in the town at present and should be strictly prohibited. Let the proper authorities get busy.

Lorin J. Catchpole this week purchased the Luther R. Johnson property in the park. Good neighborhood - we live there.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 31, 1929

The Memorial Day program, rendered yesterday in the park, was greatly enjoyed by the large crowd attending, as was also the brief program following at Hilltop Cemetery, where everyone gathered to decorate the graves of the dead.

At the Pagosa Springs High School commencement exercises last Friday night, the Hersch Merc. Co. made its annual presentation of gold medals to the two students in the class ranking the highest. First honor went to Marie Nelson, class valedictorian, and second place to Myron Catchpole, the salutatorian.

Work of re-roofing the Rumbaugh building, recently damaged in the fire, is nearing completion, and the building will shortly be occupied by Geo. Alley's Variety Store.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 28, 1954

The local American Legion post will conduct Memorial Day services in Pagosa Springs on Sunday, May 30th. Members of the Legion will march in parade formation from their hall in the town park, down the Main street to the intersection of Lewis Street with Main street. From there they will ride up to the gates of the cemetery where they will fall into formation again for the ceremony at the graves of their fallen comrades. There are veterans of three wars buried in the local cemetery who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country as well as other loved ones of the community and it is only fitting that on this day they should be honored and remembered for their contributions to keeping our country great and free. If we forget, who shall remember?

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of May 31, 1979

The San Juan River reached its peak so far this season Sunday and Monday with a depth of 7.05 feet in town. It is considered likely that a depth of eight feet would bring some lowland flooding. However, the cooler weather this week has caused the river to drop back a little, and unless there are heavy rains or unseasonably warm weather there may be no flooding this year. The runoff has been estimated at 200% of normal following very heavy snows this winter. To date the runoff has gone along near normal levels for that much snow.

A flood of mud, trees, rocks, and debris across Highway 160 at the West Side Chain Station early Saturday closed the road until Monday afternoon.




Swimming with Dolphins: Pagosa boy attends special program in Florida

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The legend, myth and mystery surrounding dolphins can be traced back for centuries. Most everyone has at least heard of the luck associated with dolphins jumping at the prow of ocean vessels, guiding them safely home.

Imagine then, the luck associated with actually swimming with dolphins. That was the experience 14-year-old Pagosan Jason Smith had about a month ago in the Florida Keys. Smith traveled to the Dolphin Research Center on the Grassy Key to attend the first-ever, "Dolphin Journeys for Deaf Children," a five-day workshop to introduce hard of hearing children ages 7-17 to dolphins.

Jason, who was born with severe to profound bilateral hearing loss, flew from Albuquerque to Atlanta and then on to Miami before riding the last two hours in a car to the Keys where he joined two other students, Tiger, 7, and Alexis, 13, for the program. Over four and a half days the students participated in educational classes, interacted with the dolphins and shared the experience through art, movement and group discussion.

As for the best part, Jason didn't hesitate, "Swimming with them!"

The first day, he said, they learned the hand-signals necessary to communicate with the dolphins and then had the opportunity to pet one - Pandora.

"Their skin feels really, really, smooth," he said, "Like this." He pointed to the shiny paper of a calendar on the wall. "But I learned it's not really smooth. It's the water that makes them feel that way." In reality, the dolphin's skin is bumpy, one of many facts Jason learned during dolphin physiology, husbandry and training classes.

The second day, he and the other students climbed into the lagoon with the dolphins, getting in up to their waists. They met Kippy - and even had the chance to shake his fins. In this maneuver, the dolphin comes out of the water far enough for those waiting to grasp the fins and shake.

"All of us jumped out of the water the first time, it was so cold," Jason said.

The third day, the students swam with Calusa, a 3-year-old dolphin. This time, they were able to get all the way into the lagoon and have a waterfight - with the dolphin taking part, too. Calusa took them each for a swim by placing his nose on their feet and pushing them forward through the water.

"It was cool, very cool," Jason said. During their stay, an interpreter traveled with the students to sign as necessary.

"In the afternoons," he said, "we went to the ocean and I looked for shells for my mom and dad."

Mom, Susie Hall, said it was a terrific experience for the teen-ager who, as the only deaf student in Pagosa's public schools, doesn't have a lot of opportunity to interact with other kids working with his same challenge.

"Any experience where he has the opportunity to meet other kids like him is a wonderful thing," she said.

According to www.dolphinjourneysfordeaf, The Dolphin Research Center is a nonprofit education and research facility. It is home for a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and two California sea lions. Several dolphin-assisted therapy and recreational programs operate out of the Dolphin Child Department and center staff are trained to assist marine mammals in distress. The facility is the only one in the Florida Keys licensed by the federal government to assist injured or distresses manatees.

"Our dolphin interactions act as therapeutic adjuncts, serve as agents of change and represent contacts with nature as well as increase the capacity for enjoyment Š" the Web site said.

Self-esteem can be a real problem among deaf children, because of their struggles to communicate with others.

"It can get very frustrating," Hall said. Still, she added, Jason is adamant about remaining in public school.

"We chose to mainstream him," she said. Jason's hearing loss was discovered when he was 22 months old. He was fitted with hearing aids - which improve his hearing some and began learning to sign, read lips and speak, traveling to Durango three times a week before services were available in Pagosa Springs.

"It took him about six months to learn to say 'mom,'" Hall said. "For the longest time, he said, 'mop.'" Still, he kept at it, always wearing his aids, always wanting to try new things, always wanting to know everything going on around him something that continues even today.

"I don't think there's really a right or wrong way to do it," Hall said. "I think you have to look at each individual child." In Jason's case, the school provides a full-time interpreter to sign what the teacher is saying.

"With modifications," Smith said, "he's been able to do mainstream work." It's not easy. Jason must watch both the teacher and his interpreter all day. He works constantly on his speech and must learn to spell by memory alone. Writing and speech continue to be difficult, subjects he said he must work twice as hard at than the other students.

In the fall, he will enter high school, a topic, he said, that makes him nervous. "It might be boring," he said. "I'll probably have to work three times more harder."

Still, mention his interpreter, Ron Danhauser, who is leaving this year, or his "favorite teacher," Justin Cowen, and his face lights up. Both, he said, are great guys who have helped make junior high better. And then there are his friends, Josh Trout, Chance Adams and Brad Iverson. Mention those names and school and more smiles are immediate.

"It's a learning experience for everyone who comes in contact with him," Susie Hall said. Next year, he also plans to continue with football and other sports. And let's not forget his two favorite activities "fishing and hunting."

In April, Jason brought his experiences at the Dolphin Research Center back to the classroom in a two-page research paper outlining everything he learned, including: "Š the dolphins are very smart and maybe even smarter than you. I would bet that you didn't know that the dolphins are also known as killer whales. Also, there are over 30 different kinds of species. In the Atlantic Ocean the bottlenose dolphins are most common species that are seen in Florida. Š The dolphins have about 88 to 100 conical shaped teeth. Dolphins do not chew their food, but they swallow the fish whole Š"

Dolphin Journeys for Deaf Children was organized by Dr. August Vanderbeek, a licensed psychologist, who now lives in Pagosa Springs and counsels Smith twice a month.

Vanderbeek, according to the Web site, has a bachelor of arts in American Sign Language Psycholinguistics and a doctorate in child psychology. In the late '90s she developed the Deaf and HH Outpatient Mental Health Program at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami.

For some time, Jason said, Vanderbeek had worked on designing a program to combine dolphins and children with hearing difficulty, but she was sidelined by the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and a year when no one wanted to fly.

This winter and spring, she tried again and signed up three students, half of a full program. Jason said local organizations like the Rotary Club, Kiwanis and the United Way helped fund his trip - one he hopes to make again and again.


Pagosa's Past


Cowboy ministry was fraught with threats

John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Not all pioneer settlers were cowboys, although cowboys certainly played their part.

Sharing in the danger and excitement of carving a new home in the wilderness were the proverbial butcher, baker and candlestick maker. More than one preacher was involved. Could it be that one or more of those preachers might also have been a cowboy?

Some say that the Rev. Hugh Griffin founded the Methodist Church in Farmington in 1882. What we might not expect is that Griffin had been a cowboy from the plains of Texas.

Our writer, Mrs. Troy King asserts that Griffin was typical of the men of the day in "this western country," had seen a great deal of the western life, and probably had been wild and reckless in his early days.

But, the story goes, God got "aholt" of Griffin, cleaned him up, and filled him with a missionary zeal to share his experience with others.

The first preaching services in Farmington were conducted in a little adobe building on Main street used as a community building. School, church, almost any kind of public gathering took place here. Most frontier towns started with a similar arrangement. Pagosa boasted of a log cabin near the Great Pagosa Hot Spring which served the same purpose. In any case, Griffin used the Farmington adobe building to organize the first Methodist class, as well as a Sunday School.

By today's standards, Griffin met with unusually trying experiences. The local cowboys "tried his nerve." Often he was roughly treated as he preached in various parts of the area. Many a cowboy's idea of fun was to worry some one, see how far they could be pushed. They were very free with firearms. It was not unusual for the morning religious services to be disturbed by cowboys riding around the church firing six-shooters and yelling at the top of their voices. Night services were worse. Sometimes the cowboys shot out the lights.

At one time, Griffin was at Bloomfield sitting by the fireplace, trying to get warm on a very cold day. After deciding that the presence of a preacher somehow lowered the acceptability of the neighborhood, some of the cowboys decided to scare him off. They commenced firing their six-shooters into the fire, some of the bullets landing near Griffin's feet. Some of the bullets are said to have gone through his pants leg.

Used to this kind of treatment, determined to prove his mettle, and maybe still cold, Griffin refused to acknowledge the presence of the cowboys by so much as turning around or asking them to quit.

His bravery spoiled their fun, but earned their allegiance. The preacher and the cowboys became fast friends.

In 1885, the Farmington circuit included the following preaching places: Farmington, Flora Vista, Center Point, Cunningham School, Cox School, Upper La Plata, Lower La Plata, Bloomfield, McHenry and Hay Gulch. Earlier quarterly conference reports also mention Dolores and Parrott City.

On the La Plata, services were conducted by Edward Thomas, who still has descendants in the area.

In 1885, even though the pastor had eight or nine preaching places, he received only $97 a year. That money was augmented with chickens, venison and produce in season.

In 1886, one of the church trustees donated a lot and a small adobe building was erected for use as a church and school. It was very plain - just the usual adobe building with a dirt roof. The Rev. Griffin died in 1900 leaving a wife and several children. Two granddaughters settled in Durango.

The story of The Rev. Hugh Griffin is contained in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country," Vol. IV. More next week on Pagosa Country pioneers.




Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture











































Slight chance for showers in holiday forecast

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

As humidity levels continue to fall across Pagosa Country, fire danger continues to climb.

Thus far, moisture totals for the month of May amount to just over one-hundredth of an inch, well shy of the average mark of 1.38 inches.

Throw the prediction of continued wind gusts into the picture, and the fire risk escalates even further.

However, according to the latest forecasts, the holiday weekend will usher in the possibility for scattered thunderstorm activity across the Four Corners region.

"The chance for precipitation at lower elevations in the Pagosa area is not all that good, but we should see scattered showers over the San Juans," said Jim Daniels, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"Look for winds to pick up Friday and into Saturday, then settle down a little by Sunday," added Daniels.

"Besides wind, lower temperatures will be the most significant weather features this weekend as a shot of cold air moves into the state from the northwest," said Daniels.

"Highs should come in below average, probably in the 50s to mid-60s until early next week," he concluded.

According to Daniels, sunny skies, winds in the 10-15 mile per hour range, highs in the 70s and lows in the 30s are forecast for today.

Friday's forecast includes predictions of wind gusts at 10-20 miles per hour, highs in the 70s and lows around 40.

A 30-percent chance for scattered thunderstorms is in the forecast for Saturday; highs are expected to range from 55-65 and lows should drop into the 30s.

Sunday calls for partly-cloudy skies, a 20-percent chance for afternoon showers, highs near 60 and lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s.

The forecasts for Monday through Wednesday predict partly-cloudy skies, a 20-percent chance for isolated rain showers, highs in the 70s and lows in the 30s.

The Pagosa Ranger District rates the current area fire danger as "high." Conditions are subject to change rapidly this time of year; for updates, call the district office at 264-2268.

San Juan River flow through town ranged from approximately 2,000 cubic feet per second to 1,000 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of May 27 equals roughly 1,400 cubic feet per second.