September 23, 2004 

Front Page



Two West Nile Virus cases confirmed in county

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

She describes her age as simply, "senior" - somewhere in the range of years between 60 and 80.

And by her own account, Pagosa Country resident Tillie Manning has never had good reason to "act her age."

"If you want to be old, go be old; if you want to be young, go be young," says Manning, who lives just outside of Arboles.

But that perspective temporarily changed early this month, when Manning was diagnosed with West Nile Virus.

According to San Juan Basin Health Department reports, Manning and a man in his 60s are the first two confirmed West Nile cases in Archuleta County.

Both are home recovering, and Manning says her condition has improved "100 percent" since she was diagnosed over Labor Day weekend.

But things looked bleak for awhile, says Manning, who began to exhibit symptoms in late August, almost immediately upon her arrival in Alaska to visit relatives.

"I couldn't even turn over in bed; I would start sentences and not be able finish them," said Manning, recalling the worst of her experience with the potentially-fatal virus.

In addition to partial paralysis and occasional lapses in coherency, Manning says she experienced severe chills, a rash, neck stiffness and bouts of fever - all classic symptoms of West Nile.

"I had no idea what I had; I thought it was flu," said Manning. "I was completely unaware of the symptoms of West Nile, and the doctors in Anchorage had no suggestions as far as treatment."

Acting on the advice of her daughter, Manning returned to Colorado "on the first flight out" and promptly visited her personal physician in Durango.

Lab results on blood drawn during Manning's visit later confirmed she was infected with West Nile.

"Once you have it, there isn't much you can do about it," said Manning, indicating she was advised to drink fluids containing electrolytes and get plenty of rest.

"The doctor told me I could feel the effects for up to six months," said Manning. "But now, I'm feeling pretty well, though I still get tired very easily."

Some words of encouragement from Manning to anyone who experiences similar symptoms: "Go and get the blood tests right away; it doesn't hurt to have a diagnosis."

West Nile prevention

Statewide, confirmed reports of human infections as of Sept. 21 stood at 218 cases resulting in two deaths. Eleven cases have been reported in neighboring La Plata County.

Though mosquito activity is decreasing with the onset of cooler weather, health officials are continuing to encourage precautions aimed at preventing mosquito bites, thereby reducing exposure to West Nile.

Recommendations include limiting outdoor activities during dawn and dusk hours, using insect repellent containing DEET in concentrations between 10-30 percent and wearing long sleeves and long pants when outdoors.

West Nile symptoms

According to the state health department, most people who are infected with West Nile Virus never exhibit symptoms or become ill.

For those who do become ill, symptoms usually occur 5-15 days after becoming infected and include fever, headache, body aches and occasionally skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.

In serious cases, the disease can progress and cause encephalitis and/or meningitis. Symptoms associated with severe conditions include persistent headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, muscle weakness and convulsions. Persons with severe symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

In horses, symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of limbs and/or partial paralysis. Persons who believe their animals are infected with West Nile should consult with a veterinarian to determine if blood tests are needed.

For more information, call the Pagosa office of the San Juan Basin Health Department at 264-2409, or visit or

Pertussis spreading

In related news, San Juan Basin Health Department reports that pertussis, or "whooping cough," is spreading in La Plata County.

According to a SJBHD news release, the department is currently investigating about 10 possible cases. Nine cases were confirmed earlier this month.

"The concern is that a person who has pertussis will infect other people, especially infants," says Joe Fowler, SJBHD regional epidemiologist. "Even with medical treatment, a person is still infectious for five days."

Pertussis has the potential to be life-threatening for babies. Anyone exhibiting symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

Early symptoms are similar to common cold (stuffy nose, red eyes, sore throat) and progress to include repeated episodes of uncontrolled, severe coughing resulting in vomiting, difficulty inhaling or periods of not being able to breathe at all.

Pertussis has been on the rise over the past several years and most severely affects infants and young children, with a fatality rate of up to 1-percent in infants.

The disease can last 6-10 weeks and passes through close contact with an infected person. Antibiotics generally don't shorten the course of disease, but decrease the duration of contagiousness.

Infants are immunized for Pertussis at 2, 4, and 6 months of age, with boosters at 18 months and 4-6 years as part of the DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis) vaccine.

After the final booster, immunity gradually decreases, leaving older children and adults susceptible.

Parents are encouraged to begin immunizations as soon as children reach 2 months of age, and to keep them on the recommended schedule. Children under 7 years old can receive a pertussis vaccine. There is no immunization available for adults.


Weekend rains send river flows

sky high

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Did it qualify as a flood event?

Officially, no.

And it's purely coincidental an emergency preparedness guide compiled by Russell Crowley, Archuleta County emergency services director, is included with this week's edition of The SUN.

But ask Lower Blanco resident Retha Kornhaber how she describes last weekend's bout of heavy rains and raging rivers spawned by remnants of Hurricane Javier, and you'll get a different perspective.

"At around 11 o'clock Sunday night, I thought for sure some houses had to be getting flooded," says Kornhaber, whose residence on County Road 337 sits near the bank of the Blanco River.

Before the initial round of showers hit the area Saturday afternoon, flows in the Blanco were tumbling along at a modest 17 cubic feet per second.

By late Sunday night, the Blanco was roaring at an alarming rate of roughly 3,200 cubic feet per second, endangering everyone and everything in its path.

"We had moved the cars to higher ground," said Kornhaber, "but it washed all of my lawn furniture away and contaminated our well."

The thundering torrent also forced evacuations at nearby RV parks and threatened to eliminate Rainbow Bridge, which spans the Blanco and provides access to County Road 335 for residents of Rio Blanco Valley Subdivision I.

Normally, the water level of the Blanco rests about 15-20 feet beneath the decking of Rainbow Bridge, said Kornhaber, "But by Sunday night, the water was only a foot below.

"And the boulders washing downstream were huge - some were probably 10 feet across," concluded Kornhaber.

In downtown Pagosa, the San Juan was putting on a similar display, rapidly carrying a summer's worth of driftwood, debris and trash to Navajo State Park via flows reaching nearly 4,500 cubic feet per second.

To the west, the Piedra River near Arboles rose from Saturday morning's average of 45 cubic feet per second to over 2,000 cubic feet per second by Monday afternoon.

By the time the majority of rain-bearing clouds moved to the northeast Monday night, over two inches of precipitation had fallen across Pagosa Country.

The local forecast for the next seven days, however, predicts a return to weather patterns of a less biblical variety.

Reports provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction indicate mostly-sunny skies for today and tomorrow, with highs in the 60s and evening lows from 25-35.

Saturday through Tuesday call for occasional clouds, highs ranging from 65-75 and lows in the 30s.

The forecast for Wednesday suggests continued sun but cooler daytime conditions, with highs around 60. Nighttime lows are expected to fall to around 30.

The average high temperature recorded last week in Pagosa Springs was 63 degrees. The average low was 37. Moisture totals amounted to 2.31 inches.

The Pagosa Ranger District rates the area fire danger as "low."

For updates on current fire danger and federal fire restrictions, call the Pagosa Ranger District office at 264-2268.

San Juan River flow through town ranged from a low of about 35 cubic feet per second to a high of approximately 4,500 cubic feet per second last week.

The river's historic median flow for the week of Sept. 23 is roughly 90 cubic feet per second.


Land use planning survey on


By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Looking for an excuse to spend a little more time on the Internet?

As of Sept. 30, Archuleta County residents will have a good one, if all goes according to plan.

Next Thursday is the county's target date to begin an online survey designed to gather public feedback related to the ongoing development of new county land-use regulations, collectively known as the Archuleta County Performance Development Code.

The survey is scheduled to be available for review and completion on the county's Web site,

According to Marcus Baker, associate county planner, while the preference is to have as many residents as possible complete the survey online, hard copies will be available at the county planning department, 527-A San Juan St.

Surveys will also be distributed at additional locations throughout the county until the completion deadline of Nov. 5, and are expected to be available near polling locations during this year's Nov. 2 general election.

In addition, "If people would like for the survey to be mailed, we will mail, upon request, a survey to a household," said Baker.

Baker said efforts to boost participation and awareness levels will coincide with the survey process and include a mass mailing of instructional "postcard reminders," as well as advertisements and press releases in the local media.

Public workshops are also being proposed in order to provide additional survey information and address related questions.

During this week's county board meeting, Baker stressed that maximum participation in the survey process is essential to the validity of the resulting analysis.

For example, "If there are two people living in a household, we want two surveys filled out," said Baker during a review of survey goals at a recent county work session.

"If we don't reach our goals ... we will have workshops in those areas to get more people involved and more surveys filled out," concluded Baker.

All county residents are eligible and encouraged to participate in the survey.


Much of the new land-use code currently in development is the end result of eight months of collaboration between county planning staff, the county planning commission, and an eight-member citizens' task force appointed by the board of commissioners in January.

Originally deemed the "Community Plan Implementation Team," panel members were charged with supplying input and feedback on several growth-management scenarios comprised of information gathered by planning staff during a series of volunteer, land-use focus groups conducted late last year.

Its task completed, the citizens' task force was disbanded as scheduled Tuesday after being recognized with utmost gratitude by the board and planning staff.

In short, the resulting code calls for the creation of five geographical planning districts in the county - "allowing for more localized, community influence on design and review within each district."

The five pending districts are: Southwest District (including Arboles), Southeast District (including Chromo and the Upper Blanco area), Northeast District (including Pagosa Springs and the Lower Blanco area), Northwest District (including Aspen Springs and Chimney Rock) and Pagosa Lakes District.

The forthcoming survey will ask residents to assign specific values to a list of "performance criteria" that will be used to evaluate future development proposals within respective districts.

A draft of the pending survey explains, "For example, people that live in the (proposed) Southwest District would be able to determine how important it is to encourage paving of parking lots within their district without influence from citizens in the Pagosa Springs area or the Chromo area."

Additional examples of performance criteria county residents will be asked to consider include evaluating the importance of having parks and/or playgrounds in subdivisions, covenants, and the preservation of historic buildings and mature landscaping, to name a few.


Town adopts interim building guidelines

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

After a pair of special meetings this week, the Pagosa Springs Town Council approved an emergency ordinance adopting interim design guidelines for buildings in all downtown districts.

With the ordinance in place, all new buildings, building additions or alterations, and site additions or alterations within the downtown area will be required to meet certain criteria for building size, architectural elements, landscaping, site planning, vehicle access and screening.

According to the ordinance, such development will also be required to receive approval from the planning commission at two stages, preliminary and final. Once final approval is received, the applicant can request a building permit from the building inspector. Appeals will go before the town council.

Tuesday, Mayor Ross Aragon initially suggested tabling the interim design criteria, created to give the town a stopgap measure as they work toward a comprehensive plan and a master plan specifically for downtown, for 30 days.

This, he said, would allow input from the Community Vision Council. Council member Jerry Jackson said he, too, wanted a chance to give more input on future design criteria.

"I've never been settled with the old criteria," he said. Design guidelines for the town's D-4 district, much of which lines U.S. 160 west of downtown, were implemented about two years ago.

However, as discussion continued, several voiced concerns about what might happen if the council waited 30 days to adopt interim rules.

"I don't want to see us get into something we can't recover from," council member Judy James said.

Briefly, the council considered a 30-day moratorium on building inside town limits, but rejected the idea once it became clear that wouldn't cover remodels or additions.

They also looked at shortening the period for tabling interim guidelines to two weeks. That, said town planner Tamra Allen, would give the vision council time for review while allowing the interim guidelines to be put in place in a timely manner.

Still, several council members were worried about an application filed in a day that could be exempt from the process.

Allen said, because the issue had been pulled from the agenda, the emergency ordinance outlining design guidelines for downtown was not prepared.

James suggested a second special meeting Wednesday to put the emergency ordinance back on the table.

"Are we overreacting to this issue?" James asked.

"It's a judgment call," Allen replied.

Jackson said even though no requests for building permits that might be a concern had been received it was always possible if the issue was tabled.

A special meeting was called for Wednesday at noon in Town Hall at which time the council unanimously passed the interim design guidelines, "to allow the continued consideration of development applications and ensure compatibility with neighboring structures and prevent a deterioration in the architectural character of the town."

The interim guidelines may be reviewed and amended at a later date, Allen said.





 Inside The Sun


Search for health service district managers continues

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The search for a permanent business manager and EMS operations manager continues at the Upper San Juan Health Service District.

Dr. Jim Knoll, chair of both search committees said, following a regional search, 27 applied for the business manager position and 12 applied for the EMS opening. Three candidates for each position will be interviewed Oct. 4 and 5. A final recommendation will be made to the board at its regular meeting in October - set for a week earlier than usual after a vote Tuesday night.

The district board voted to move the October meeting up one week in order to meet state budget deadlines. According to the state, the board must receive a draft of the proposed 2005 budget by Oct. 15.

The regular October meeting is now set for Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in the meeting room at Fire Station 1 on North Pagosa Boulevard.

In other business, the board:

- heard a report from Joy and Brian Sinnott outlining EMS billing errors dating back to October 2003. According to the Sinnotts, an analysis of EMS records showed a total of 45 calls that had never been billed by either the previous administration or the district's billing service at the time. The estimated gross receivable value of the bills was $50,050 with an approximate income for the district of $27,600.

- accepted the resignation of Norm Vance, chair of the Citizen's Advisory Committee. Vance stepped down for "personal reasons," according to a letter to the board. On a recommendation from Knoll, Joanne Irons was appointed as the new chairperson. She agreed to work with board member Jerry Valade on direction and goals for the citizen's committee.

- received balance and income sheets reflecting year-to-date and monthly financial data. This is the first time since six members of the board took office in May that financials have been available because of issues with accounting practices.

- appointed board member Jerry Valade to be a liaison between the district and the board of the senior center, the Silver Foxes Den. The appointment came following a request from Don Lundergan, a member of the senior center board, who said members of that board would be willing to serve on any advisory committee of the district in order to work toward greater geriatric care for a community which is "top heavy."

Lundergan said estimates show over the next few years, those over 60 will make up almost 20 percent of the population in the county.


CU regent candidate anything but mellow on funding problems

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Jennifer Mello is Coloradan to the core and nothing like what her last name might imply if spelled with one additional letter.

She wants to serve the people of the state in one of the least glamorous, least known and under current circumstances, one of the most important elective posts in the state - Regent at Large for the University of Colorado.

Her name will be on the ballot when you cast your vote in November.

Born and raised in Colorado, she attended schools in Littleton, graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in public policy and history from the University of Denver and holds a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University.

She says she believes in asking the tough questions - and finding solutions - and is a passionate believer in University of Colorado's education, economic and social mission and in aligning that mission with the state's goals.

Citing the school's recent selection as the 11th best public university in the country, she said there is still great educational work taking place on the campus.

At the same time, she points out, the school's reputation has suffered and the athletic recruiting scandal is the first thing on everyone's mind.

To overcome that, she said, the school needs a regent with a fresh perspective - someone who will demand accountability.

"The way to restore the school's reputation is not to sweep this crisis under the rug," she said. "Instead, we need to implement real changes and be open to public concerns about how the school handles recruiting, athletics, alcohol abuse and sexual assault/harassment."

It might be well to note here that while at the University of Denver she was a founder of the rape awareness counseling and prevention program and was president of the College Democrats on campus.

Hopefully not lost in the recruiting furor, she said, is the serious issue of funding CU and the entire higher education system in the state.

She notes CU experienced a total of $228 million in state funding cuts for operating and capital expenses from 2002 to 2004 while tuition and student fees were increased significantly.

"Economic recovery might be on the horizon," she said, "but constitutional restrictions on state budget mean the situation is not improving for colleges and universities."

She feels the state is at an important crossroads and we, together, must make decisions about the kind of state in which we want to live, what we want government to do, and how much we want to pay in taxes. Answers to those questions, she said, will determine the future of the University of Colorado.

During the recent recession, she points out, state funding for expenses in its colleges and universities was reduced by $180 million. Money for buildings facilities was dried up completely.

At the state Capitol, she said, the response was to change how the state distributes money for colleges and universities.

"Soon we'll have stipends attached to students and 'fee-for-service' contracts. Because stipends technically go to students instead of the universities, many schools will qualify for enterprise status. Simply put, that means more flexibility to raise tuition without concern for constitutional spending limits. The only new money in the system will come from higher tuition and student fees."

And, she said, thing are about to get worse. "In 2005, the Legislature will have to reduce state spending somewhere between $200 million and $400 million. And higher education will once again have the funding cut target on its back."

She believes the state needs to "sustain, if not improve, current state funding for CU so we can minimize tuition and fee increases.

"CU may be a good value relative to its peers, but many Colorado families struggle to cover the costs of tuition, fees, room and board and books."

Mello believes there are three critical actions CU can take to bring greater stability to its fiscal relationship with the state:

1, Fight to protect CU and the entire higher education system from additional budget cuts during the 2005 legislative session.

2. Support bipartisan efforts to put a measure before Colorado voters addressing current constitutional provisions that impact the state's ability to provide funding for higher education (TABOR, Gallagher and Amendment 23).

3. Dedicate at least half of any new state funding to maintaining affordable tuition.

With reference to the athletic department problems, she noted the administration at CU has already taken several actions to better integrate the athletic department and crack down on alcohol abuse and sexual assault.

"As a regent," she said, "I will make sure these changes are permanent. I will continue to question administrators and hold the accountable long after public attention has shifted elsewhere."

In light of the university president's decision to continue the employment of Chancellor Richard Byyny, athletic director Dick Tharp and football coach Gary Barnett, all of whom demonstrated management failures, she said, "I will encourage her to hold them accountable for implementing change. If demonstrable, positive change does not occur, senior managers should lose their jobs."


School board studying

proposed policy changes

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A pair of proposed policy statements - one dealing with home school students and one with members of the public who wish to appear before the board - were given to school board members last week for first reading.

It is anticipated both will be on the agenda for approval in October.

Superintendent Duane Noggle told Archuleta School District 50 Joint directors at the Sept. 14 meeting it is the administration's belief that "instead of viewing home school families as competitors, public school and home schoolers should be seen as complementing each other.

"More important," he said, "mutual recognition and respect can be the basis for developing a productive relationship."

He said there are many home-schooling families who want to build positive working relationships with the public schools.

The policy change proposes granting to all students currently enrolled in a home school program the ability to enroll part-time in public school classes.

There are three specific requirements:

1. The student must have on file, in the district administration office, a home school notification form for the current school year and must be in compliance with all other requirements of the state's home school law.

2. There must be room in the class for the student.

3. The student must be enrolled for enough class time for the school district to receive partial state funding (at least 90 hours of teacher-pupil instruction and teacher-pupil contact in the semester of the count date).

Director Sandy Caves said she believes the idea is a good one.

No one has command of every subject, so the proposed change " could give the student a chance to experience working with a skilled teacher in a field in which the parent is weak," she said.

The other policy would be a new one, setting bounds for public participation in school board meetings.

Specifically, it would require members of the public to first follow a simple step-by-step process with questions and concerns involving instruction, discipline, instructional materials, transportation and personnel addressed first to the teacher, then the principal and administrator, and finally the superintendent.

If a question or problem cannot be resolved at the lower level, any county citizen or school staff member may request to appear before the board of education.

And, for the first time, the new policy would require anyone wishing to make a formal presentation before the board to complete and file a public participation form by noon on the Tuesday preceding the scheduled meeting date.

If approved, the policy will allot 30 minutes at each open board meeting for public participation with a maximum of three minutes per individual speaker.

The board president will invite those who have submitted appropriate notice to come to the podium and address the board on any subject with the exception of personnel and/or student issues.

Organized groups speaking on the same topic would be restricted to a total of 10 minutes and asked to cover only points not made previously. Copies for distribution must be submitted prior to the meeting with the participation request form.

After audience participation, the proposed policy says, discussion topics will be restricted to board members only.

That brought comment from Director Mike Haynes who said he feels having people still in the audience to answer board questions after their own presentation is a logical process.

Finally, the policy would ask all persons, when addressing the board, to concern themselves with issues, not personalities.


Kids Voting program gets school backing

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The annual Kids Voting Program sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County got double-barreled school support last week.

First, Superintendent Duane Noggle sent a letter of support to program chair Windsor Chacey, Secondly the board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint adopted a resolution endorsing the program.

Noggle lauded the program, as he has seen in the last four years, as "very worthwhile.

"I have been able to observe students experiencing our democratic system at work ... it was exciting to see the ballots counted and then compare those results to those at the state and national levels.

"As citizens we all share in the responsibility of promoting our democratic system and voting," Noggle said. "To that end the board believes teaching our students the values of our culture is a key component of the educational program. Kids Voting fills an important curricular need in helping students understand the election process."

The ensuing board resolution said, in part:

"Whereas, the need for Kids Voting is greater now than ever because we must make every effort, use every resource, and collaborate with every partner to educate our students about why it is so important to be active citizens, to be involved in their communities, to play active roles and use their votes and their voices, we must prepare our youth to be leaders, voters, good citizens and good neighbors."

It was adopted unanimously.


Route 151 school bus route revived

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

If at first you don't succeed ...

Residents living along Colo. 151 south of U.S. 160 have complained for two years about their school bus route being cut.

Time and again they have pleaded for its restart.

Time and again the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint has pointed out consistent ridership does not meet district minimums - until now.

On the recommendation of Dolly Martin, district transportation supervisor, the board voted Sept. 14 to restore the route because current ridership figures substantiate the move.

At present, Martin said, there are 14 riders being picked up at the 160-151 intersection "and nine of them live down 151 which means sufficient numbers to meet board guidelines."

She noted the ridership is less in the afternoon because of school activities but, as agreed earlier, "that is an important part of school life and cannot be held against them."

While voting unanimously to restore the route, the board cautioned a future drop in ridership could force it to be dropped again.

Ridership will be monitored to ensure minimums are met.


Enrollment surge brings a new first-grade teacher

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Confronted with an unexpected enrollment surge in lower grades and seven options for solution, the choice Sept. 14 was to add a first-grade teacher and leave a teacher aide position open.

The board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint picked the option as having the least direct effect on the budget.

As a result, Jolyne Ihly was promoted from her aide position to the new first-grade teacher's post.

Funding for the action will come from vacating the aide position, increased enrollment and an added budgetary amount. Cost for the position, said elementary school principal Kahle Charles, will be $25,000-$30,000, including the benefits package.

Current school district enrollment is at 1,583, but for state funding purposes, the actual enrollment on Oct. 1 will be the base for money decisions.

By school, enrollment is:

- elementary, 562, up 11 overall, much higher in first and second grades;

- intermediate, 257, up 16;

- junior high, 262, up 2;

- high school, 501, down 10.

The net gain over last year is 19.

During the meeting, the board had a short break to introduce and celebrate the arrival of 13 new teachers in the district, and invited each to say a little about themselves.

Several were not present but the new staff includes Morgan Anderson as a School Within a School teacher; Amber Anderson, junior high computer teacher; Sue Ratcliff, junior high math teacher; Carrie Toth, intermediate school severe needs teacher aide; Michol Brammer, fifth-grade teacher; Heather Hunt, School Within a School teacher; Bob Hemenger, high school special education teacher; Linda Rackham, high school special education teacher aide; Jerrilyn Raine, high school interpreter; Debbie Morton, high school librarian; Marge Jones, ELL teacher; Karmen Lameraux, high school assistant basketball coach; and Andy Rice, junior high volleyball coach.

In line with enrollment growth and teacher changes, Superintendent Duane Noggle thanked the custodial and maintenance staff for having all buildings ready for classes at the start of school "with two weeks less time to do so than ever before."


College Night set Monday at PSHS

The counseling department at Pagosa Springs High School will present College Night 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, in the high school auditorium.

This is an information meeting for senior and junior students and their parents. This event is a must for any student contemplating education beyond high school.

The topics covered will range from "the insider's view of why colleges accept students" to "finding financial aid (read free money)" to "the secret of choosing a college that is right for you."

All private school students and home-schooled students are also cordially invited.


County supports establishment of Aspen Springs post office

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Archuleta County commissioners agreed to support plans this week that may result in the establishment of a post office in the Aspen Springs area.

Appearing before the board Tuesday, "What we are requesting is - we feel the need to have a contract station in Aspen Springs," said Maria Olsen.

In addition to reducing concerns related to road-travel time and safety, Olsen said a new post office could "ease the stress" of the workload at the downtown office while offering a convenient alternative for the area's growing population.

Some of the area's residents currently use cluster boxes but "no more are being offered," said Olsen, adding that many residents have been required to take post office boxes in town in order to receive mail.

Olsen also told the board that initial responses to the proposal from management personnel at the downtown office have been favorable.

Furthermore, there is space available at the Turkey Springs Trading Post, said Olsen, that would allow for the construction/development of a new postal facility.

After presenting the board a petition comprised of over 200 residents' signatures who support the proposal, "What we're asking is for the commissioners to say 'yes, we agree' or 'no, we disagree,'" said Olsen.

In response, "I do agree that there is a need for a post office, there," said Mamie Lynch, board chair.

"I can't imagine anything, from our standpoint, other than support," added Commissioner Bill Downey.

Likewise, "I totally agree," concluded Commissioner Alden Ecker. "I think it's very feasible."

As a result, the board reached a consensus to issue a letter acknowledging support of the initiative.

In other business this week, the board:

- approved a grant agreement with the Durango Fire and Rescue Authority resulting in $33,800 in county Homeland Security funds;

- approved a resolution ratifying a 2003 decision by motion to abandon Regester Loop;

- agreed to take no official stance concerning the inclusion of the county courthouse into the town of Pagosa Springs' proposed historic business district;

- approved an intergovernmental agreement regarding the establishment of a joint capital improvement fund in collaboration with Archuleta School District 50 Joint and the town;

- approved a letter supporting the Forest Legacy Program's intent to secure appropriations for the preservation of Banded Peaks Ranch;

- gave preliminary approval to a pending budget amendment involving change-orders related to the Talisman Drive-Village Drive paving project totaling approximately $13,500.

- approved a third extension for the Crowley Ranch Phase IV improvements agreement.


District settles Piedra Estates sewer line dispute

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Divide the number of lots in an area served by the town sanitation district by the total cost of a sewer line extension. The answer is the amount each property owner or developer will pay.

That's the gist of a resolution clarifying existing rules and regulations passed by the Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District Wednesday following a special meeting.

The clarification comes following a dispute between land owners in Piedra Estates over a sewer line extension nearly seven years ago.

Back then Tracy Bunning said, he and one other property owner, Jim Kelley, entered into an agreement with the sanitation district to pay for a estimated 2,500-foot main line extension.

Under the agreement, Bunning said, the town secured a low-interest loan for $36,000 to fund the project - giving the property owners seven years for repayment. The debt has since been cleared. However, Bunning and Kelley contend the agreement also included an understanding that as other property owners tapped into the extension, the two who originally paid for the line would be reimbursed, with everyone paying an equal share.

Since then, one other property owner, Randy Johnson, has hooked onto the line. As part of his closing costs he paid $12,000 for his portion of the line extension. His understanding was also that as others hooked on, he would also be reimbursed.

Another property owner, Ruben Mesa, disputes the claim of equal payment. Mesa, who owns the property closest to the start of the extension, argued reimbursement should be based on the length of the sewer line to his property, a distance less than 1/7th the overall length, requiring payment of less than an equal share. Mesa is currently attempting to tie into the line.

He said back in 1997 he was initially told by Kelley his cost would be between $1,600 and $1,800 to bring the line the 150-170 feet to his house. He agreed and then backed out when he received a contract requesting between $8,000 and $9,000 payment.

This year, he again intended to hook into the town's sewer system. Initially, he said, he was told he would owe $2,100. Then, the story changed. The figure went up to $5,000 to cover his portion of the cost of the 1997 extension. He refused. For the last two and half months, he said, he's been waiting for proof of his obligation to pay a 1/7th share of the original extension.

That proof, apparently does not exist, making deciding the dispute, "a monster," Mayor Ross Aragon said.

"Anytime you don't have a written agreement or written documentation, you really don't have any feel for anything," said Aragon. "It's guesswork. We inherited this problem and now we have to deal with it."

Bunning said because of the precedent set with Johnson, who paid an equal share, the board should uphold the original verbal agreement.

Mesa argued that an original agreement affecting seven property owners should have been signed by seven property owners. Instead, two determined the future for the rest of them.

The new clarifications require written agreements. The board was given the option of setting a time limit for reimbursement at 5, 10 or 15 years. The time limit reduces the headache or returning money to property owners who may have moved on. A 10-year reimbursement period was approved.

The clarification of the rules can be used to govern future line extensions and to decide the Piedra Estates dispute, according to a memo from Town Attorney Bob Cole, "because there is no prior written agreement regarding the Piedra Estates line extension. This would then allow for cost recovery for a 10-year period from when the line was accepted by the Town (equivalent to when service was connected). As a condition of connecting to the line, it would also require payment of the equal share of the original cost."


Local cooperation pledged to proposed mental health facility

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Crossroads, an inpatient mental health facility proposed for the Durango area, will receive ongoing support from Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County if constructed.

That's been the pledge of the town council, county commissioners and the local health service district directors over the last couple weeks.

"Rest assured, we will participate," Mayor Ross Aragon said earlier in September when Rep. Mark Larson and Sen. Jim Isgar along with several others, appeared before the town council to plead the need for a psychiatric urgent care, triage and detox facility.

Likewise, "I can guarantee you we would like to contribute, but what I can't tell you, right now, is an exact amount," said Mamie Lynch, chair of the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners during a similar visit from Larson and Isgar.

Since 1999, when Mercy Medical Center closed its inpatient psychiatric unit, which was at times experiencing $400,000 in annual losses, the five-county region of southwest Colorado has been the only region in the state more than two hours, by ground, away from an inpatient psychiatric bed. Patients in the five county region must be taken to Pueblo - 6-8 hours away.

Generally, patients must be chained and shackled, transported over the road by law enforcement officers despite having committed no crime. When they arrive in Pueblo, they are taken off their medications, reevaluated and placed on new medications. Many times they are unreachable by family and friends and have difficulty with the transition back to home.

"There's no end to the misery of a large number of our residents," said Bern Heath, CEO of Southwest Mental Health Center. In an earlier interview, he labeled the current system, with it's inability to care for local residents near their homes and families as "disrespectful, traumatizing and primitive."

And even that resource might be short-lived, Larson and Isgar said. State budget cuts may necessitate reducing beds at Pueblo and other state inpatient resources, further slamming doors.

The search for solutions for the region including Archuleta, La Plata, Dolores, Montezuma and San Juan counties, has been ongoing. In March 2003, the Community Psychiatric Resource Task Force was formed in an attempt to establish a regional psychiatric inpatient resource and maintain it fiscally. The task force includes, Isgar, Larson, Heath, John Albright (Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center board president), Bill Mashaw and Dr. Jim Knoll.

Crossroads, Heath said, will include facilities for psychiatric urgent care, triage and detox. It will be operated by Southwest Colorado Mental Health. Current plans call for construction of a 12,870-square foot building on an acre of land on the new Mercy Medical Center campus in Grandview. Mercy has signed a letter of intent to donate both the land and a parking easement to allow for later expansion if necessary.

La Plata County and the City of Durango have promised $150,000 each annually to help with construction, which will total around $2.3 million, and then operations. Heath said, according to the projections for operations, although some money will come in, an estimated 60 percent of the people served by the center will not have the resources to cover the cost of care.

The task force plans to approach San Juan and Dolores counties next with similar requests. The goal is to open Crossroads sometime in July 2005.

So far, none of the Archuleta County bodies have put numbers to their commitments.

Heath and the rest of the task force requested annual contributions of $15,000 from the town, $25,000 from the county and, Tuesday night, $10,000 from the health service district.

According to task force statistics, about 80 mental health evaluations are done on Archuleta County residents annually. Of those, four or five must be hospitalized.

"I've been a physician in Pagosa Springs for over 20 years and there's no question we need the facility," Dr. Mark Wienpahl said from the audience. "I also thing the tax base should contribute something to this. It's just a question of how much."

The health district board, like the town council and county commissioners promised the members of the task force to send the funding request to the people putting together their 2005 budgets to see what level of funding might be available.

Knoll, another member of the task force, said the verbal commitment alone would help when it came to grant writing and other funding requests. In fact, the task force has already requested $500,000 in energy and mineral impact grant money, with the possibility, they said, of being eligible for $1 million more in another grant cycle provided they can show regional support.

"I think this is part of the mandate of the district," Knoll said, adding that for the most part, mental health issues are being totally ignored in Archuleta County except by the local doctors who must try to help in addition to tending to their other patients, and law enforcement officers who are forced to handle mental health issues using a Safe Bed at the jail. "It's health care. That's what it is."


Cattlemen will host brand commissioner

La Plata-Archuleta Cattlemen's Association will host Gary Shoun, state brand commissioner, at the 7 p.m. meeting Sept. 27.

Shoun will provide instruction and information on the National Identification Program.

The meeting will be in the Animas Room of the LaPlata County Extension building in Durango.



Ranger District plans prescribed burns in three separate areas

Conditions permitting, the Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest will do prescribed burning during September, October, and November.

Prescribed burns are planned for the Benson Creek, Mule Mountain, and Fawn Gulch areas of the forest. The Benson Creek burn is the first priority; however the actual order of burning will be determined by weather and ground conditions.

Before any fire is ignited, all conditions described in an approved burn plan must be met. Those conditions include temperatures, fuel moisture level, wind predictions, smoke dispersal, and available crew, back-up crew and equipment. Burns will be ignited and monitored by ground crews.

The fires will be kept at a manageable intensity and contained with natural and man-made firebreaks. The goal is to burn undergrowth and ground debris, but leave larger trees alive.

The Benson Creek prescribed fire area is southeast of Pagosa Springs and east of U.S. 84 between Blanco Basin and Buckles Lake Roads. The intent is to burn up to 1,250 acres within multiple units bordered by Big Branch Road (#664) and the Alpine Lakes development.

For public safety, portions of Big Branch Road may be closed for a short period during active burning adjacent to the road. The effort will be accomplished with fire personnel from Pagosa Ranger District, additional personnel from the San Juan National Forest, including the San Juan Hotshots. It is likely that at times there will be assistance from members of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Due to the anticipated staffing, more than one unit may be burned at one time, which will be visible as more than one column of smoke.

Daytime smoke will travel to the northeast and down slope along the Blanco River at night, where smoke will linger until mid-morning.

The Mule Mountain prescribed fire area is north of U.S. 160 and approximately 23 miles west of Pagosa Springs. The intent is to burn 550 acres. The unit is northwest of the Devil Creek Wildfire that burned 235 acres in July of 2003.

Devil Mountain Road (#626) may be closed for a short period during active burning. Daytime smoke is expected to rise and move toward the northeast. Nighttime smoke will move down slope, but is not expected to impact populated areas because of the remote area of operation.

The Fawn Gulch prescribed fire area is about five miles northeast of Pagosa Springs and east of U.S. 160. The intent is to burn up to 691 acres within three units south of Fawn Gulch Road (#666). For public safety, side roads off the upper part of Fawn Gulch Road may be closed for brief periods during times of active burning. Daytime smoke will travel to the northeast and downslope at night toward the San Juan River, where smoke will linger until mid-morning.

These projects are part of the National Fire Plan underway across the nation to make public and private lands safer from wildfire by reducing natural fuels build-up. Prescribed fire improves the health of ponderosa pine stands by reducing competition from Gambel oak, removing ground litter to expose mineral soil for seed germination, and releasing natural minerals and nutrients into the soil.

Local radio announcements will be made just prior to the beginning of each of these prescribed burning projects. For more information contact the Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268 or stop by the office at 180 Pagosa St.


Conservation incentive funding programs listed

Landowners in the area are being urged to sign up for the fiscal year 2004 Environmental Quality Incentive Program at the Natural Resources Conservation office in Pagosa Springs.

With an annual budget of $200 million authorized through 2002, EQIP is USDA's largest conservation program designed to conserve and improve land while it remains in agricultural production.

EQIP is designed to help landowners address some of their most pressing natural resource concerns - including grazing lands, soil erosion, water quality and quantity, and wildlife habitat. NRCS in Colorado received approximately $26 million.

Under the program, two- to 10-year contacts will be available to landowners to provide costshare and incentive payments for 50 percent of the cost of certain conservation practices.

Funds are available for major resource concerns, sometimes referred to as priority issues. There are five priority issues identified: grazing lands, water quality, wildlife habitat, forestry and soil erosion. Landowners in this area are eligible for assistance through one of the priority issues.

To ensure funds are allocated for the practices that will achieve the most environmental benefits, all EQIP applications will be evaluated using a ranking system. Participants will also need to work with NRCS field personnel to develop a conservation plan, which is a requirement of any EQIP contract.

If you would like more information about EQIP, or would like to complete an application, contact the NRCS office new location at 505A, CR 600, Pagosa Springs, Colo., or call 731-3615.



The adaptable bear traces man's tidbits and faces death

By Chuck McGuire

Sun Columnist

Not long ago Jackie and I were enjoying an evening stroll, when suddenly, we stood face-to-face with a medium-sized black bear. A magnificent creature with thick blonde fur, he probably weighed between 150 and 200 pounds. Apparently, he was foraging in our neighbor's garden as we approached, and upon hearing us, promptly stood erect for a moment, then galloped a hundred yards up the nearby hillside, where he stopped and stared us down until we eventually walked off.

It was a rare and wonderful encounter, and though we have not seen him since, various neighbors have reported similar sightings in the same general area, and one man has even told of seeing a smaller bear, much darker in appearance than the one we saw.

To clarify, black bears are not always black. The name refers to a species, rather than color, and in fact, about 75 percent are some shade of brown, cinnamon, or even blonde. And for the record, adult males average about 275 pounds, while females may average 175 pounds.

We live along a short gravel road just off the highway a few miles south of town. After leaving the pavement, our road crosses a small river, then switches back to the north, where it parallels the stream (and highway) for a quarter-of-a-mile before ending in another neighbor's yard at the brink of a thick conifer forest. Where the road turns north, a more primitive two-track branches off to the south, and also parallels the river for half-a-mile to its abrupt end. It is along the two-track where Jackie and I walk most evenings.

Because the lane dead ends, and only a few modest cabins line its course, there is never any vehicular traffic, and only occasionally do we meet another resident or two on foot. Apart from a little highway noise across the river, the area is delightfully quiet, as our path leads through open meadows and a mix of Narrowleaf Cottonwoods, Quaking Aspen, Blue Spruce and Ponderosa Pine.

The surrounding countryside is fairly mountainous and relatively remote, with broad expanses of primitive forest, including spruce, pine, and aspen. Gamble's Oak, Chokecherry, Western Serviceberry, and a variety of grasses, sedges, and other fruit-bearing shrubbery comprise much of the undergrowth, and the entire region constitutes excellent bear habitat under normal conditions. I guess it makes sense when a glance at an area topographic map reflects the names of such nearby prominent features as Bear Mountain and Bear Basin.

We've only lived in the area for about 15 months, and our bear encounter was the first since our arrival, but our long-established neighbors have recounted numerous stories of prowling bears over the years, especially in the spring and fall. 'Gladly, none involved any so-called "problem bears," and no significant property damage, or threats to the community welfare, ever resulted. This is, no doubt, the product of responsible behavior in bear country.

In all honesty, the term "problem bear" is really a misnomer. Something like "bear as a result of problem people" might be more to the point, for a bear only becomes a neighborhood concern when irresponsible humans living in bear habitat leave bird feeders, pet food, garbage, greasy barbecue grills, or other attractants within reach, thereby enticing hungry bruins to stop by for an easy meal. With an insatiable appetite and a sense of smell 20 times that of ours, a bear thinks with its stomach and simply follows its nose to the nearest fare.

Of course, not all bear-human conflicts are attributable to careless behavior. Many are simply unavoidable as human development continually expands deeper into remote areas where bears invariably live. In an ongoing search for food, black bears may range from 10 to 250 square miles, with males covering the largest areas. With an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 black bears in Colorado, and an ever-increasing human population, encounters are inevitable.

Nevertheless, black bears are incredibly elusive when they want to be. As a back-country flyfisherman and guide for more than 15 years, I used to spend a great majority of my summer days leading people into remote rivers and high mountain lakes, but until our recent sighting, I'd seen only one other bear in the wild. As one might imagine, I've discovered countless tracks, and some were so fresh I quickly glanced around, half-expecting to find the beast that left them, practically standing over me.

For a few years, I was fortunate to have exclusive guiding access to a beautiful 22,000-acre ranch, and one summer, the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) captured a female bear in an isolated draw, and fitted her with a radio collar. I never saw her, but the ranch manager described her as a healthy average-aged sow except that she was totally blind, and had apparently been so, since birth.

What's more, the DOW tracked her the following year, but even as her collar transmitted regular signals, researchers never got close enough to actually see her, as she constantly eluded them in the thick underbrush. They did manage to find her two healthy young cubs though. Apparently, her other senses more than made up for whatever she lacked in sight, and according to the ranch manager, she cared for her youngsters through their second summer, before sending them off on their own.

If a blind bear can overcome man's extreme technological advantage to evade capture, imagine what a hungry bear with all its faculties can accomplish when a tempting tidbit is at issue.

Every year, it seems, I read of incidents where bears have broken into locked cars containing bags of groceries or coolers of meat or fish. They've readily breached garage doors, locked sheds, and enclosed porches after stored pet food, and as the overwhelming aroma of good old, down-home cooking beckons, they've even found their way into homes through open first-floor doors or windows. Sadly, as a bear loses its fear of humans, and begins associating them with food, the DOW is left with little choice but to capture and destroy it.

Left to their own, bears are highly adaptable creatures, and as omnivores, they'll eat anything from grasses and broadleaf flowering plants, to berries, nuts, insects, and carrion. In late summer and early autumn, while preparing for winter hibernation, they'll feed 20 hours daily, and eventually pack on 30 percent of their entire body weight.

Observing a wild bear foraging in its natural environment is a rare and wonderful experience, but to encourage its approach, whether through ignorance or indifference, effectively imposes a death sentence upon it. Certainly, people and pets must eat too, but handling our own provisions with a little common sense goes a long way in avoiding unwanted and unwise bear visits, and it surely save lives.



Firewood access permits offered

Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest is providing public access to white fir logs for free firewood.

A road into two thinning units in the Turkey Springs area will be opened for gathering the cut logs for a short time this fall, weather permitting. Access is only to the thinning units and for firewood gathering.

With a free personal-use permit, the public may remove the white fir logs that are on the ground.

Permits, maps to the units and additional information can be obtained at the Pagosa District Office, 180 Pagosa St. in Pagosa Springs.


Chimney Rock program

features music and moonrise

A Harvest Moon Program will take place at Chimney Rock Tuesday, Sept. 28,

Everyone is welcome as the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association presents the last Full Moon Program for the 2004 season.

Charles Martinez will play his Native American flute and Ron Sutcliffe will be the special speaker at the evening presentation.

Relax to the sounds of the flute as the sun sets and the stars appear in the night sky. After the rise of the harvest moon you will descend the Puebloan trail by moonlight with the Volunteer Light Brigade, taking with you the beauty and peace experienced by those who inhabited the area 1,000 years ago.

Gates open Sept. 28 from 5:15-5:45 p.m. only.

The program starts at 6:16 and moonrise is at 7:15.

Bring a working flashlight as well as a blanket to sit on. Dress for the weather.

Reservations are required and must be prepaid with Visa or MasterCard. Tickets are $10 per person and the program is not recommended for children under the age of 12.

To make reservations, call 883-5359 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.


Sportsmans Club clay shoot Sunday

The Upper San Juan Sportsmans Club will host another in a series of sporting clay target shoots at noon Sunday, Sept. 26.

The location for the shoot is 1.2 miles south of the fairgrounds on U.S. 84. There will be a sign on the green gate at the site.

All clay target shooters are invited regardless of skill level.

For further information call J.P. at 731-2295 or Nolan at 264-2660.



Bulletin board

Dear Editor:

Just planting a seed ...

A large community bulletin board, centrally located, would be a beneficial boon to the town.

Any business willing to put up such a board would benefit greatly from the activity generated. People in the community could advertise yard sales, lost pets, special notices and activities.

I've discussed this with many people in the community, and all are in favor of it. I hope some enterprising person will think about it, and act on it.

Cheryl Barlow


Man of principle

Dear Editor:

Thank you for your insightful tribute to the late Fitzhugh T. Havens of Chromo, Colorado, in the opening paragraphs of last week's editorial. Those of us who knew him and worked with him are truly blessed; and we would agree with you.

The last conversation I had with Fitzhugh was when he called and asked if I thought it was an appropriate time to send a letter to The SUN on the subject of the inequitable distribution of the county sales tax revenue between Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County. The letter was published in the Aug. 26, 2004, edition. That letter is a classic example of your sentence, "Like his opinion or not, one could not claim it was poorly reasoned or incompletely expressed." I regret that I didn't call and compliment him on the letter.

The point of that letter is to "urge the county commissioners to spend considerable time and effort toward changing the present 50-50 split to something more equitable to county residents living outside town limits."

In closing Fitzhugh noted that, "It seems the independent candidate has already pledged allegiance to the town mayor and probably couldn't help much." That observation proved to be correct.

At "The candidates meet the Geezers" meeting Monday morning, the question of changing the present 50-50 split was asked of Nan Rowe and Robin Schiro.

Both agreed that the distribution should be equitable. Schiro said a 50-50 split isn't equitable; she thinks the distribution should be based on population, miles of roads or a combination of pertinent factors. She would be in favor of taking a look at the question. Rowe said the 50-50 split is equitable. Of course both had several points supporting their positions.

In his letter Fitzhugh stated that the town and county each received $2,462,113 in sales tax revenue in 2003. He stated that the town population is about 15 percent of the county population, based on Chamber of Commerce numbers. He stated that, "With a truly equitable division, the town would have received 15 percent or $738,634." With a suggested 75 percent county-25 percent town, the town would have received $1,231,057, leaving the county with an additional $1,231,056 for road maintenance.

Finally I want to share former county commissioner Roger Candelaria's comments in response to my e-mail telling him of Fitzhugh's death. Roger is now director of compliance at the University of Maryland.

"Bless his soul. I can't say I've known many who so accurately exemplified what is meant by the phrase, 'a man of principle.' As tough on his own thinking as on that of his opponents, he was a reminder of how to think something through and accept and propound the truth or your reasoning. If there are liberals in heaven, he'll eventually have them reasoning more consistently. Thanks for letting me know. Roger."

Earle Beasley


World War III

Dear Editor:

Christianity: the religion which gave Americans "freedom of speech." Christian warriors, from George Washington to those who served in Iraq, are the ones who sacrifice, to allow others the right to disagree.

First let me say, that a student of the Bible, particularly one of orthodoxy such as Rev. Janowsky, is far better equipped to speak with Biblical authority than someone who continues to use God's name in vain by quoting the words of the Creator out of context. On the other hand, for me to argue scriptures in this format would only bring further confusion to the unlearned.

Secondly, to suggest that "weekend warriors," are to be equaled to "draft dodgers," in the same sentence is to infer that those in the Guard and Reserves who have fought in wars since the Spanish American War are less than patriotic or courageous as those who were drafted to fight "police actions," is an insult to those brave men and women in this community and others who have received legitimate Purple Hearts for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Finally let me remind the left, that it was under Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt that, the day after we were attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, we declared war on Japan and three days later declared war on Germany and in effect, Italy.

Only a less than honest individual with no understanding of past historical fact would suggest that to go to war with Iraq, which has been at war with the free world since at least 1990, isn't at the very least comparable to those events on December 8 and 11, 1941.

Bush has shown his superior ability to wage war against this new fascist regime of radical Islamists, by creating a beachhead early, between two states that support terror, Syria and Iran. As the war progresses, we now have a launching site for bringing down the evil that continues under the blessing of the moon god, "Allah."

Recent events in Russia, Indonesia, Sudan, Spain and, as always, Israel, should show the world that, like the 1930s we are a world at war with radical fascists. Like the 1930s the Dems would like America to be neutral, even after we have come under attack and lost nearly 4,000 citizens since Jimmy Carter was president.

World War III is not a nuclear war between super powers. It is a war against fanatics who bayonet babies, rape little girls and shoot children in the back as they shout "Allah is greater."

William Bennett


Raise ski rates

Dear Editor:

I have been following the Wolf Creek Village controversy. I think this development would be very bad to the local wildlife corridor and watershed. If you look at drought conditions and other environmental factors it makes even less sense. I also think the impact on traffic would be negative.

I have an idea on how you could effectively stop the development in its tracks. Limit ticket sales. Take you average ticket sales figure and set the daily limit higher than that. In conjunction with this you could also offer two lift ticket prices - one for residents set at current rate and a substantially higher non-resident rate.

Wolf Creek Ski Area could turn this into a marketing opportunity by marketing season passes to locals and frequent visitors and offering current ticket holders a first right of refusal on the following season.

The combination of these policies would effectively shut out the "village people" from lift passes.

Once you set the policy you can publicize it and this should serve as a huge disincentive for the project. Why buy a condo if you can't get a pass.

Is there anything under the U.S. Forest Service permit that would not allow this?


Matt Brosious

Westchester, Calif.


Knows scripture

Dear Editor:

Kudos to Wendy Wallace. It was a pleasure to read a letter from a writer who knows her scripture, the difference between the New and Old Testament and the difference between right and wrong.

Bob Dungan



Kerry's cause

Dear Editor:

Senator Kerry's way out of our current predicament is to further compromise our country by calling for help to the UN. The UN did nothing about Iraq except cut deals with Saddam Hussein for 12 years.

Kerry thinks the French, Germans and Belgians should have gotten on board with us before we went to war if that's what it really was when these countries were trading guns and munitions for oil. That's who was after Iraq's oil. Actually, France was in bed with Saddam for 30 years.

It's Kerry's kind who have put us in the expensive, intolerable predicament we're in now throughout the world. By saying what he'd do to handle the Iraq crisis is to put us in further jeopardy because the enemy is soaking it up and laughing at us.

Kerry is also implying that he could negotiate with terrorists which is the whole problem, the way I see it. There never should have been any negotiation with them. It's done nothing but get our people killed.

He would never operate from a position of strength, but would continue to degrade our nation's abilities in order for us to regain face with the world. Of course, the world would love to see this, except for that part of it that depends on us and has faith in us. He'd rather have 200 countries pretend to be for us and hang the other 40 faithful countries out to dry.

The New York Times, which he worships, won't dare tell us that the Iraqi people want our troops there, otherwise things would return to the way they were pre-entry. Reporters don't have to work if they keep saying the same thing every day. They have no courage whatever to go get the real stories.

Kerry said he'd fire Halliburton, but this is the only company that can rebuild Iraq. This is what nobody's telling us. Oh, you like Schlumberger? It's a French company and why would we want contracts with it when our men are being killed with French guns and has been working against us ever since the Gulf War?

Let's see. Guns for oil for food? Nope: For more castles and ammo dumps and more fear and poverty. This is the position many Democrats have taken. Make the people worship dictators, poverty, and death to America. This is what they stand for as far as I can tell.

President Bush is on the right track. He cannot say what he intends to do about further strategy on the Iraq situation because it would jeopardize his ability to do what he needs to do in order to finish the job.

Kerry can sound off all he wants because he's not in a position of great responsibility. It's sort of strange because they're both in a very awkward position if they want to sell themselves to the people. Basically, they can't.

Isn't this amazing?

John Feazel


Job terminated

Dear Editor:

I would like to inform my patients that due to restructuring decisions made by the Upper San Juan Health Services District, my position was terminated effective Sept. 17, 2004.

I have greatly enjoyed serving the Pagosa community over the past year as a physician assistant at Mary Fisher Medical Center. I appreciate the trust and confidence that patients have placed in me and it has been an honor to provide primary care services in this area. I trust my patients will find continuity in their health care provided by another clinician at the Mary Fisher Medical Center.

I wish the Upper San Juan Health Services District success with the restructuring process and hope that local medical services shall continue to improve.

I shall continue to practice medicine in the Four Corners region and hope to provide care in Pagosa again if the opportunity arrises.


Jonathan Fox


Who gets to play?

Dear Editor:

School is back in session. The teams for each sport have been chosen. Once again the high school volleyball teams were chosen according to who you are and not by your skill or ability to play.

I would like to have filed my complaint with the Pagosa Springs High School Athletic Director, but found there to be a direct conflict of interest. The director is the spouse of the person I have the problem with.

I know that several complaints have been made in the past, after speaking with parents who have gone through the same thing we are going through now. I have been told upon speaking to the superintendent, that I cannot go before the school board to make a public complaint as their attorneys have advised them not to listen to complaints about school employees in a public meeting.

He has assured me he will look into this matter. In the meantime, I want to reiterate that we do have a problem, whether our school administrators acknowledge it or not. Next year and the year after that, as in the last 17 years, I want it to be known that others have complained before.

Noreen Griego

Editor's note: In the 17 years noted, the high school program has been singled out by knowledgable observers in the state as one of the most successful in Colorado. Extensive skills tests are administered by the coaching staff to every player at the beginning of the practice season. It is very hard, if not impossible to imagine a program succeeding as this one has if coaching decisions are not based on evaluation of skill.

In this sport, or any sport where a coaching staff must cut players or assign players to different level teams, a number of players and their parents are invariably upset. Some see the decision as a challenge and are motivated to work harder in practice, to improve and to move up. Others do not.


Water matters

Dear Editor:

Did you receive your letter "Water Matters"?

The water conservancy district sent me one, asking for a vote for increased water storage. I wrote back to them and thanked them for explaining their whys, but I can't agree.

Water storage equals development, I wrote. As well, they say Lake Powell could be dry by 2007 - is this humorous to ask for increased storage and give Lake Powell as an example? People developed dependence on Lake Powell ... then what by 2007? Well folks, we could say the same here in Pagosa.

What our community needs is slow growth and to look around and say we have a healthy environment.

Or better yet, as I have suggested many times, reuse our waste water. Smaller areas than Pagosa are doing it.

Pam Morrow


Wake-up call

Dear Editor:

I should like to quote from insights contained within an extended cloud physics research program published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in November, 1998:

"Transformations are observed in air masses moving into areas affected by biomass burning smoke or urban air pollution, such that coalescence and thus precipitation, is suppressed even in deep tropical clouds."

From 1979 through 1992, I worked for the government of an island in the Atlantic Ocean where we found that the continuous long-term rainfall decline there could be attributed to urban and industrial air pollution.

After extensive tests with a new material, we applied it to the island's clouds and were able to reverse the precipitation inefficiency for eight years with gratifying results, until island politics prevented a continuation of our work, and former conditions with severe precipitation inefficiency returned to the island - without changing cloudiness and air moisture.

Since that time our parallel observations on local atmospheric conditions and clouds over our mountains suggest a growing tendency toward precipitation inefficiency, especially during the warm season.

In view of the possibility of considerable increase in population within our county and some neighboring counties, this tendency questions the outlook regarding ample water supply for the expected population and everything related to it.

It is highly commendable to increase water storage facilities - but those must be filled and kept filled, even if drought conditions could remain or worsen.

Are applied policies regarding domestic water supplies versus population increases sufficient, and can we remain complacent until local water availability becomes a real problem that perhaps could be irreversible?

Sincerely yours,

Albert H. Schnell


Wrong is wrong

Dear Editor:

In a recent letter to the editor, dated Sept. 9, Melynda Parker wrote, "wrong is still wrong no matter what you mask it with." This is true. Wrong is still wrong no matter what you mask it with.

The Rev. Dr. Clark M. Sherman

Bozeman, Mont.


Never too loud

Dear Editor:

Recently I observed a T-shirt which expresses my opinion about music.

The T-shirt read, "If it's too loud, then you're too old."

It brings back my youth, and my father. I was the last of six children, and my father had "worn thin nerves" when it came to teen-agers. No matter what level of volume I played my music, it was always way too loud for him.

I vowed that I would not become too old to enjoy music at any setting of volume and, so far, so good! I should think that a person who found music too loud should thank God for their excellent hearing. Those among us who are deaf would long to hear the melodious sound of fiddles, banjos, and the like.

Once again I thank Dan and Crista for another fine Four Corners Folk Festival. As always, a job well done. The rain created a new atmosphere, but the rain was so welcome no one seemed to mind.

The location for the festival is perfect and I hope it stays put for many more years. Next year will be the 10th year wonderful music has blessed Pagosa for three days out of 365. Not nearly enough, but we consider it a blessing at all cost!

If you have not attended the festival, plan to next year. I feel those who might oppose it would be pleasantly surprised by the joyous surroundings , friendship to all, and music, music, music !

Seven come eleven, I'm 67 !

Mary Lou Sprowle


Stop it now

Dear Editor:

It was our great fortune to spend three months this past summer in Pagosa Springs. My husband and I enjoyed every moment of the many activities provided by the area such as the rodeo, county fair, the excellent and helpful staff at the Sisson library, coffee at WolfTracks, soaking at The Springs, and the many friendly people we got to know.

We delighted in hiking and rafting and just being outside in the glorious mountains. The comfort and ease of the small town renewed our spirits; but we are distressed at the same time.

As I looked out daily on the mountains and foothills of the San Juan range, I wondered how anybody could invade this beautiful setting with drilling rigs or immense developments. I live in a city that has both. The odors, the explosions, the constant noise, the traffic and the sheer ugliness that results from commercial exploitation is precisely what brought us to Pagosa Springs.

Whatever money you think will be made from the planned ski village or drilling in the National Forest, I can guarantee that it will not be worth the devastation to the once-beautiful mountains. In the town itself, there are still a few peaceful meadows between commercial areas. Nothing you can build on this land will equal a single foot of the serenity that will be lost if commercial development is allowed to squander every inch.

Wake up, Pagosa citizens. Guard your precious gifts. Enact zoning, halt the drilling and the ski village, rein in development and keep safe what you have. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.

Lucy Wiley,

Houston, Texas


Kate's Calendar

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist


Continuation of Pagosa Springs Arts Council's first juried art show. The show closes Wednesday, Sept. 28. The council's building is in Town Park.

Sept. 24

Join TLC's Catering and chef Peter Stanley at 6 p.m. to support the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program for an evening of fine food and entertainment. Seating is limited. Cost is $100 per person. Call 264-9075 for more information and reservations.

Sept. 30

United Blood Service drive at Mountain Heights Baptist Church, 2-6 p.m. Reservations honored before walk-ins. Call 385-4601 to make a reservation.

Sept. 30

The Sisson Library volunteers will meet for lunch at 11:30 a.m. at Dionigi's Italian Cafe (the former Italian Kitchen).

Oct. 1-3

The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters will host the annual Southwest Colorado Community Theatre Festival. Please check The SUN for details.

Oct. 3

Pagosa Area Singles will meet for dinner at 6 p.m. at Dionigi's Italian Cafe. All singles age 35+ welcome. Call 731-2445 for reservations.

Oct. 9

Pagosa Area Geology, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Pagosa area has a complex and violent geologic history. A driving trip with several collecting and interpretive stops will explain how the mountains, valleys, rivers and hot springs came to be, and what may be in store for the future of our area. Visitors of all ages are welcome, but small children will need to be watched, since the tour will stop along busy roads and near streams. Bring a pack lunch, water, camera and outdoor clothing. No lengthy hiking is required, but wear comfortable walking shoes. Meet at the arts council building in Town Park on Hermosa Street for a short orientation, then drive to several places from town up to the Wolf Creek Overlook.

Oct. 9

A Four Corners Chi Omega Alumnae Chapter is being formed. Anyone interested is invited to meet at noon at the Cypress Cafe, 725 East 2nd Avenue, in Durango. For more information, contact Celeste Langdon Nolen, 264-5674.

Oct. 14

The Newcomer Club will meet at The Office Lounge on North Pagosa Boulevard at 6 p.m. Cost is $7 per person and reservations are not necessary. All newcomers are most welcome. The club is sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service. For more information, please call Kim Braselman at 264-6826.

Oct. 14

Monthly meeting of the Wolf Creek Trailblazers snowmobile club, 6:30 p.m., at the Methodist Church Fellowship Hall on Lewis Street. Club members are anticipating good winter snow and will be discussing club day rides and overnight rides scheduled through the season. New and prospective members are welcome to attend. For more information, call club president, Charlie Rogers, 264-4471.


Community News

A haunting we will go - at a community Halloween party

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

As part of its outreach to Archuleta County youth, the Pagosa Springs Community Center will host its first Community Halloween Party Friday, Oct. 29, for all kids in the county.

In order to make it a spectacular fun time for kids, the center is inviting businesses and every nonprofit organization to take part by sponsoring a booth - free. The center will provide the space and each group manages its booth, including decorating and providing games and prizes.


Well, it is important that there be lots of things for kids to do. What's a party without fun and games and prizes? For the little kids we could have digging for coins in the sand, fishing, bowling, crawl inside the maze, face painting and many spooky games. How about the inflated jumping game? Would someone sponsor it? This is always a fun activity. We need ideas for the bigger kids and lots of prizes for everyone participating.

We are hoping the Kiwanis Club will provide the food. For the rest of the games and activities we need sponsors and, again, that's where the community comes into the picture. Please don't let our ideas limit your thinking about fun things to do.

Of course, we must have a costume contest with more prizes. Imagine the categories -- most original, most gruesome, most grotesque, etc. And a haunted house - dark and scary.

Beginning to get into the swing of things? If so, call Mercy or Pauline at the community center and let us know what part you want to play in all this fun - 264-4152 or send e-mail to mercyk@ or to PSCommunity

While you are thinking community center, here's a reminder of what else is available there.

Computers are available for a nominal one-time use 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 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 your event.

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

Right now staff at the community center is working on a number of programs simultaneously. Developing an organization of Friends of the Community Center, building our Halloween Party and promoting the multi-purpose room as a center of morning activities.

Let's take the last one first. The multi-purpose room is not heavily used in the morning and it should be. It's a big, wonderful room where groups could come together to pursue a great variety of interests; the room is so large that several groups could be "doing their thing" at the same time.

Imagine this scene: In one corner separated off by room dividers is an exercise group. Way over in the opposite corner is a group practicing conversation in a foreign language - Spanish, French, whatever. In another corner is the Majong group intensely concentrating on their individual strategies. In the kitchen is a cooking class.

That is just one day. On another, it might be a book discussion group, a bridge game, a yoga class and a meditation group. The concept is to offer the community a place to gather to pursue their interests and to do it free of charge. Anyone with an idea is invited to call or come by and see what can be worked out.

Work continues on the Friends of the Community Center Project. If you have an interest in becoming involved in your community, this is your opportunity. As a Friend you will represent the interests of the public and work toward increasing the number and variety of events and services offered to the public. Businesses can participate as a Friend or support the Friends by offering a store or service discount to Friends.

Individuals interested in any one or all of the above projects, call Mercy or Pauline at the Community Center - 264-4152 or drop by 451 Hot Springs Blvd. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Singer, songwriter Louise Taylor next guest at Whistle Pig

By Bill Hudson

Special to The PREVIEW

The Whistle Pig Concert Series has been going on for nearly ten years now, presenting local and nationally renowned musicians in a variety of Pagosa venues.

I have a strong feeling our upcoming concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 with singer/songwriter extraordinaire Louise Taylor is going to be one of the most memorable concerts to date.

As part of our marketing for the Whistle Pig Series, we have developed a popular Web site that lets talented performers from all over the country know about our venue and our concerts. We get one or two promotional packages a month, with demo CDs enclosed, from musicians who would like to be a part of our Series.

Many of the demo CDs we receive are, frankly, pretty run of the mill. Every now and then, however, we get a CD that knock our socks off, and that is exactly what happened last spring when we received the recent release "Velvet Town" by Louise Taylor, a Vermont resident, with a voice and musical style that is simply impossible to categorize.

We have played her CD almost every day since, and it is as fascinating, each time through, as it was on the first listen.

When we tell people about Louise's upcoming concert, they inevitably ask, "What kind of music does she play?" And I am forever at a loss for the right words. Yes, her voice is sultry and mysterious at times, so that you might imagine yourself in a dimly lit club late at night, a haze of smoke in the air, unexpectedly sharing a table with an attractive stranger who seems to know all about you.

Yes, her songs are poetry - the words are simple and familiar, but they leave you wondering if you have somehow wandered into a foreign country, where things are not what they seem to be.

Yes, her guitar work seems to draw inspiration from numerous great American folk guitarists - so why does this song make me think of an African mbira played in a thatched hut?

Perhaps the best answer to the question: "What kind of music does Louise Taylor play?" is to let yourself join our audience and decide for yourself. Or better yet, bring a friend along, and conspire to figure it out together.

The Whistle Pig Concert Series is pleased to present this remarkable musician "up close and personal" in the living room of the Hudson house, located in downtown Pagosa at 446 Loma Street.

Seating is limited to 45 people, so advance reservations are strongly recommended. Reservations can be made by calling Bill and Clarissa Hudson at 264-2491. Admission is $10 and includes homemade desserts, coffee and tea during intermission.

The Whistle Pig Concert Series is sponsored by Artstream Cultural Resources, a local nonprofit arts organization which promotes educational and cultural arts events and classes in the Pagosa Springs area. For more information about Artstream, call 264-2491.


Boosters will host Colorado Community Theatre Festival

By John Graves

Special to The PREVIEW

For the first time, The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters will host the annual Southwest Colorado Community Theatre Festival, with the community theater groups of Crested Butte, Montrose, Paonia, and Durango participating along with our own Music Boosters.

The event takes is scheduled the weekend of October 1-3.

There will there be seminars and workshops for registered participants, and each group will offer a slightly scaled-down version of its biggest hit of the past season. The event will be open to the public for a small general admission fee.

The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters will present a slightly shortened version of its summer success, "The Hills Are Alive..." at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 2 in the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium.

The remainder of the performance schedule is as follows:

- 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1, "Art," by the Durango Act Too Players;

- 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 1, "Silvia," by Montrose's Magic Circle Theatre;

- 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2, "Greater Tuna," by the Crested Butte Mountain Theatre;

- 10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 3, "The Perils of Paonia's Past or Will Fetch and Carry Get up and Go," by the Warehouse Playhouse (Paonia).

With the exception of "The Hills Are Alive...," these plays may contain adult language and situations.

For more information, call Michael at 731-5262.


Teens take a look at the lighter side

By Karen Carpenter

Special to The PREVIEW

The video camera has been hard at work filming interviews, teens at play and the lighter side of life.

The movie "Man on Fire," with Denzel Washington, was full of suspense Friday night. It was a hit and kept everyone glued to their seats. Saturday we had baked potatoes with chili, cheese and the works, with a side of watermelon.

The Japanese Club meets 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The written language, bonsai tree growing, sushi making and the arts are just some of the topics covered so far.

The next dance, "Fall Bash," will be 7:30-10:30 p.m. Oct. 9.

If you are a teen looking for something stress-free to do after school or on Saturday evenings, we welcome you to the Teen Center.

The next advisory board meeting will be 5:30 p.m. Oct. 7. We are still looking for two new board members.

If you are an adult wanting to support teens and teen activities please give us a call at the Teen Center. Or just stop by.

Teen Center hours are 1-5 p.m. Monday, 1-8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 4-8 p.m. Saturdays . The center is in the community center on Hot Springs Boulevard. The phone is 264-4152.


Texas pastor to lead revival at Mountain Heights Baptist

Dr. Howell W. Burkhead will lead Mountain Heights Baptist Church in a revival and spiritual renewal emphasis Oct. 3-6.

The pastor of First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Texas, he has been in the ministry since he was 15 and first began serving as pastor of a one-room country church while in high school. He preached his first revival when he was 16.

Joining him will be his wife, the former Tileta Johnson of Festus, Mo., an accomplished vocalist who has sung gospel professionally. They have two children, James, a junior at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, majoring in agriculture science and ranch management; and Emily May, a freshman at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas, majoring in elementary education.

Known as an entertaining and "down-to-earth" speaker, Rev. Burkhead loves getting to know people and learning from them. Although he has earned a doctor of philosophy degree, he is most comfortable being known as an "old-fashioned country preacher."

The revival services at Mountain Heights will begin 11 a.m. Sunday Oct. 3 and continue that evening and each following evening at 7 p.m. through Oct. 6. A potluck dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. on the last day.

For more information call the church at 731-4384 or 731-6515.


Music in the Mountains successes spur planned expansion

By Carole Howard

Special to The PREVIEW

This summer's Music in the Mountains classical music festival in Pagosa Springs set so many records that the steering committee has decided a major expansion will be needed next year to meet the increasing demand.

"We are thrilled with the popularity of our programs," said Jan Clinkenbeard, chair of the committee. "It's obvious we need to evaluate all options to see how we can expand our offerings."

This is the third consecutive summer of Music in the Mountains events in Pagosa Springs. Each new year has been more successful than the last.

Among the records set this season were a highly successful benefit at Keyah Grande that raised funds for classical concerts and children's musical events, three evening concerts under the tent at BootJack Ranch that sold out more than a month before curtain time, our town's first-ever Family Festivo that drew almost 600 people to Town Park for a free performance of "Peter and the Wolf" and other entertainment, plus the highest number of donors and volunteers ever involved.

Family Festivo returning

The committee already has decided that Family Festivo will return to Pagosa next summer. What is yet to be determined is how other events can expand to include more people.

"Our capacity in the tent at BootJack Ranch has been 230 seats for the past two years," Clinkenbeard said. "As soon as those concert tickets go on sale, they are snapped up in a flash. Now we are looking to see how we can expand our seating capacity for next summer's concerts while maintaining the intimate feeling that is so popular with our audience."

With Pagosa's classical music concerts featuring famous performers from around the world playing in the spectacular setting of BootJack Ranch, word of our festival has spread across the United States.

As a result, we now are seeing ticket sales from a wide geographic area. In fact, this summer's tickets sold to music lovers from the West Coast (Oregon and California) to the East Coast (Pennsylvania, New York and Florida) and many states in between.

"We feel badly when locals wait too long to buy tickets and miss out on the opportunity to attend one or more of our concerts," Clinkenbeard said. "Even our system of maintaining waiting lists is not very helpful when the demand exceeds supply by so much."

Funding growth

Clinkenbeard pointed out that ticket prices typically cover less than a third of the cost of classical music concerts. "Obviously we will need expanded revenue sources to enable us to grow as much as we would like. We are looking at all options, including greater seating capacity, increased ticket prices and an expanded donor base."

In fact, Music in the Mountains in Pagosa is possible only because of contributions from individual donors and larger organizations in town.

Family Festivo sponsors included Bank of the San Juans, the Lodge at Keyah Grande, Montezuma's Seven Flags Grill and Winery, LPEA Roundup Foundation, The Springs, Jim and Bonnie Van Bortel, Page's Leaf Custom Catering and the Town of Pagosa Springs.

Support for scholarships and musical programs in the schools came from the Bank of Colorado, Well Fargo Bank and the Rotary Club. The colorful banner that hung above Hot Springs Boulevard near Town Park during the festival was donated by The Source for Real Estate.

As well, all of the planning and organizational work for Music in the Mountains events is done by Clinkenbeard and her local volunteer steering committee composed of Melinda Baum, Sally Hameister, Mike and Lauri Heraty, Carole Howard, Crystal Howe, Teresa Huft, and Bob and Lisa Scott.

"As decisions are made, we will let everyone know what next year's plans are," Clinkenbeard promised.

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


Seeds of Learning sets United Way pace with 100% participation

By Kathi DeClark

Special to The PREVIEW

Seeds of Learning, one of the pacesetters this year in our United Way campaign, has done it. They achieved 100-percent participation with payroll deduction.

"This is a huge accomplishment and says a lot for the employees of Seeds of Learning," said Lynn Bridges, executive director. "I am so proud that my staff has gotten behind this valuable drive.

"Seeds of Learning is a recipient of United Way Funds and know how important it is to our operation," said Bridges. "United Way helps to fund our toddler program. Without the support of United Way and others in our community we would not be able to serve as many children.

"As the need increases each year we are moving closer to needing a new and larger location. I am confident that our community will get behind this effort, as we did with our commitment to United Way."

As United Way begins its 2004/2005 campaign it asks all employers to please encourage 100-percent participation with payroll deduction. It is an easy, painless way to support our community. The money raised here stays here in Archuleta County.

We support the following agencies and their programs: Affordable housing: Habitat for Humanity, Housing Solutions, Crisis Intervention, Pagosa Outreach Connection, Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center and Volunteers of America Safehouse.

Other agencies and programs include: American Red Cross, Archuleta County Education Center, Archuleta Victim Assistance, Community Connections, Seeds of Learning, San Juan Basin Agency on Aging, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Southwest Youth Corps.

All of these programs exist because of United Way funding. When we look at this list of programs, we realize that this is our community. Any one or more of these agencies and their programs touch our lives on a daily basis.

Won't you please support United Way? If you don't already have United Way, coming in to do a payroll deduction campaign, call Kathi DeClark today at 731-9920.

Make your Caring Count.


French fare set for film society

The movie to be screened and discussed by the Pagosa Springs Film Society, as it resumes its regular monthly meetings, will be director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's award-winning comedy-romance, "Amelie," starring Audrey Tatou.

The showing is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall in Greenbriar Plaza. A suggested donation of $3 will benefit The Friends of the Library.

"Amelie" is a charming, quirky and lighthearted film set in a romantic, sanitized Paris (they even scrubbed off the graffiti in their outdoor locations). This French film is subtitled and rated R for some sexual content.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall is in Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Unit 15 is on the east (back) side of the commercial plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign.


Life Teens flip the flapjacks for Church causes

By Mary Jo Revitte

Special to The PREVIEW

To paraphrase an old adage: if you feed them well, they will come. And come. And come.

A group of teenagers at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish has discovered the proof is in the pancakes, so to speak.

Once a month, the Life Teens take over the parish hall for a Sunday morning all-you-can-eat breakfast, not just for parishioners but hungry residents from far and wide.

The word is out, helped in part by a little advertising in The SUN and some artful flyers ("It All Stacks Up") strategically placed around town.

On the first Sunday of every month, young men and women wearing white aprons ply their appreciative patrons with pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice and coffee. The tab is $5 per person or $15 per family of four.

Proceeds not only go toward funding the Life Teen program, but also benefit worthy causes chosen by the 25-member group.

After listening to a priest from Food For the Poor, Inc. describe poverty in Haiti, the young people focused on helping people in that Caribbean country. In fact, the IHM group wanted to not only raise enough money to sponsor a house in Haiti, but devised a plan to travel there and build the house. Civil unrest in that country nixed that plan.

Undaunted, the young people sent $1,000, the entire proceeds of August's breakfast, to Haiti.

This month, Life Teen is handing over proceeds from the popular breakfast to the IHM Parish building campaign.

"Life Teen wants to give back to our Church community and wants to be involved with the future of our parish," explained Jessica Harms, a group leader and youth representative on the Parish Pastoral Council. "Every September's proceeds will go to our parish building effort until the proposed religious education center on South Pagosa Boulevard is built."

The monthly fund-raisers began last February, established by Pamela Bomkamp, a core leader for Life Teen. Core members are parish adults who devote time and energy to local teens in a loving and giving way. Pam said a church benefactor donates food supplies for each month.

The Life Teen got started at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in September 2000, using a model of religious education for high school aged youth developed in Mesa, Arizona, by Monsignor Dale Fuchek. The mission of Life Teen is "to bring teens closer to Christ."

According to Bomkamp, "We would like to invite any high school student to come to Life Teen. We lead teens closer to Christ with a lot of fun activities. We meet at the Parish Hall every Sunday night from 5 to 6:30 p.m., always with snacks for all." There is no cost to attend.

Life Teen also has a Mass at IHM at 6 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month.


IMH women's fashion show

has 'The Nutcracker' theme

Ladies of the Immaculate Heart of Mary fashion show committee are hard at work planning another festive event Nov. 13 in the Parish Hall.

This year's theme is "The Nutcracker," featuring musical and dancing entertainment as well as the latest in fashion.

John Graves will provide piano music and - straight from the stage - there will be ballerinas.

Mary Meyer, fashion coordinator, assures everyone the local shops providing the garments will present the very newest in fall and winter styles.

Darhl Henley is planning a wonderful menu for lunch. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce. You can reserve an entire table for 10, but you must buy the tickets first, then call Mary Daltroff at 731-5121 to reserve your table.

Tickets always go fast for this event and it is always sold out, so don't wait. Tickets will be available starting Oct. 1.

Doors for the show will open at 11:45 a.m., lunch is to be served at noon and the show will begin shortly thereafter.

Door prizes from local merchants will be available and if you wish to contribute, call Yvonne Ralston at 731-9234 or June Geisen at 731-5429.



Jelly Beans and Squiggly Things great after school

The Jelly Beans and Squiggly Things after-school club sponsored by Community Bible Church will open its third year Oct. 6 in Pagosa Springs Elementary School.

Hours will be 3:10-4:30 p.m. in Room 18 at the school.

Many of the participants have been with the program since its inception. Coordinators say time is well spent in music and games with the goal being in teaching lessons of lasting value and encouraging children to just "be who they are."

Call Tammy Searle at 731-3143 or Virginia Humphreys at 731-2937 for answers to any questions or for more information.

The staff says there are 11 ways the club helps meet the needs of today's child:

1. provides a safe place for a child one afternoon a week;

2. children feel cared about when an adult listens and accepts their feelings regardless of what they say;

3. helps alleviate some of the isolation and loneliness of being home alone after school;

4. a place a child can discuss feelings, values, philosophy or spiritual values;

5. brings a loving, caring, available, never-forsaking adult into the realm of everyday reality;

6. provides message of unconditional love;

7. provides an opportunity for forgiveness which is a difficult concept for children;

9. allows the child to begin to see value in himself or herself and learn they are loved;

10. provide direction and clarification of values for the child;

12. provides Bible lessons with real people who have both failed and succeeded.


Unitarians schedule 'soap box' service

The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold a "Soap Box Sunday" service Sept. 26.

Members of the Fellowship's Programming Committee stress that while they don't want to encourage complaining per se, they welcome input from members and friends about their interests regarding topics for upcoming services, so those attending will have the opportunity to make their opinions and suggestions known.

This special service will start at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall in Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Unit 15 is on the east (back) side of the commercial plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.


Blood draw scheduled here Sept. 30

Only one blood draw is scheduled in Pagosa Springs through Oct. 8.

It will be 2-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, at Mountain Heights Baptist Church, 1044 Park Ave.

United Blood Services, the community blood center for the Four Corners area, reminds potential donors they must have current identification to donate.

Donors may sign up at

For more information call 385-4601 or (800) 863-4524.


Local Chatter

Steak 'n gravy missing on favorite foods list

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

Back in June I read a publication with an AP weekly feature on old-fashioned favorite foods and it named steak 'n gravy as one.

It seemed to me that this would make a good Chatter column so I started asking around, and you know what, no Pagosan selected steak 'n gravy.

My selection was the closest - that of a hot brown sandwich and mashed potatoes.

Jess Ketchum was close with chicken fried steak, and Derek Farrah with a good beef stew and mashed potatoes. And Ruth Vance said mashed potatoes and gravy and chicken soup.

Now Becky Porco says that her favorite comfort food is Pennsylvania Dutch potato filling. I'm lost on this one, but if Becky says so, it's OK with me for she's an excellent cook.

Don Porco goes for macaroni and cheese as does Casey Ketchum, only she adds pork chops and lima beans.

For Donna Geiger it's chicken and homemade noodles. Her husband, Don, says his favorite comfort food is whatever is available.

Muriel Cronkhite says she wants creamed spinach and homemade chicken soup. (Incidentally, she's promised to give me her soup recipe. It sounds interesting. I'll pass it along.)

Margaret Wilson opts for cheese. Any kind. And Nancy Cole says pasta - any kind.

B. Ann Luffell who comes up from Houston every summer says she can't wait to get one of a local restaurant's grilled chicken on sourdough sandwiches.

Without having to give it much thought, Joyce Hines quickly said a BLT. Jerry Hines says it's sirloin steak. Gerry Smith opts for porterhouse steak and Lil Smith wants lamb chops.

And then there are the quick and easy things such as popcorn that Jackie Welch says fits the occasion.

Lucy Johnson wants buttered toast and hot tea, and Kay Grams wants Campbell's soup and toast and butter.

Norman Vance wants graham crackers and peanut butter, and Beverly Arrendell wants bananas and cottage cheese.

And now for the sweet things. Warren Grams wants milk and chocolate chip cookies. Robbye Reedy wants fudge and Kitzel Farrah wants chocolate, light chocolate.

Dallas Johnson wants tutti-frutti ice cream, and Ashley Bloomdahl wants all kinds of ice cream. Bill Laverty wants strawberry shortcake topped with chocolate ice cream and Peggy Laverty says that it depends on the mood she's in.

Maybe I just didn't ask the right people to get steak 'n gravy as a favorite comfort food but Pagosans aren't the average run of people. Right.

Around town

The Pagosa Springs Art Council is continuing its first show of juried art through Sept. 28. It is very good.

Fun on the run

When the minister picked up the phone, Special Agent Struzik from the IRS was on the line.

"Hello, is this the minister?"

"Yes, this is."

"I'm calling to inquire about a member of your congregation, a Dr. Shipe. Do you recognize the name?"

"Yes, he is a member of our congregation. How can I be of service?"

"Well, on last year's tax return, the doctor claimed that he made a sizable tax-deductible contribution to your church. Is this true?"

"Well, I'll have to have our bookkeeper verify this information for you. How much did Dr. Shipe say he contributed?"

"Twenty-five thousand dollars," answered Agent Struzik. "Can you tell me if that amount is true?"

There was a long pause. "I'll tell you what," replied the minister. "Call back tomorrow. I'm sure it will be."


Senior News

Prepare for Oktoberfest, get involved, celebrate

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

October is soon here and the third annual Oktoberfest is just around the corner - Oct. 16 to be precise.

This year's festivities kick off with a parade down U.S. 160 ending at the community center.

Next comes the main event-music, food, dancing camaraderie and full evening of fun for the whole family.

Be a part of the excitement of Oktoberfest by volunteering. There are many ways to help out, and right now we are asking for people to sign up for making cookies. Our sign-up list is in the dining room, just tell us your name and how many cookies you want to bring for Oktoberfest! You can also sign up for other positions as well. Call Susi at 731-0866!

Our Amateur Half Hour was once again a fun time, but only two of you talented people stood up and performed. Don't be shy, step right up and show off your talent. Come in Oct. 12 for our next Amateur Half Hour. (Charlotte Archuleta, bring in your accordion.)

Kitty Schildt was here on the Sept. 15 and gave an excellent presentation on foods that can decrease the risk of cancer. She had excellent handouts, so if you missed it, give me a call and I can make you a copy. Thank you Kitty for your information. Kitty's husband, Richard, (an oncologist) will be here Oct. 20, and as of this writing we are looking forward to his presentation on skin cancer. He will also answer general questions at that time.

We need to finish September before we can think about October, and we like to celebrate our September birthdays at the end of the month. Come in for lunch Sept. 24 and we'll serve cake with the meal and a card for you if your birthday is in September.

Dance Club meets Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. Bring your own music and your dancing shoes and kick up your heels.

If you dance too much, Ed Norman will be here Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. to present, "Effective Pain Relief" using acupuncture, herbs and nutrition. Come in and find out how alternative medicine can fit in with traditional treatments and how they work on their own.

Andy Fautheree will be here at noon Oct. 1 to answer any questions you may have on veterans' benefits.

Heads Up! On Thursday, Oct. 7, we will take a bus to Cumbres Pass to check out the fall colors. You will leave in the morning, have lunch somewhere on the way and be back by the afternoon. Suggested donation for the bus will be $10, but will be less if we get our maximum of 15 people. Bring your camera and don't forget some money for lunch. Sign up quickly, this tour fills up fast.

Do you need help with the challenges of aging parents or a loved one?

Life is busy when you are raising children, have a house to take care of and maybe even animals, so life gets even busier when your parents live in the same town (or not) and need your help as well.

The situation can be compounded when they don't want to admit to needing help, but can't do things without it. Where do you go for help? You aren't the only one who is struggling to help your parents and loved ones stay healthy, safe and in their homes.

We would like start a support group to share concerns and work on solutions to these daily challenges. Please call us at 264-2167 if you are interested in joining our group, and we will decide on a time and date to meet.

Our new sweatshirts are available and are they ever nice; they'll be warm and cuddly for the winter and will make great gifts too. The sweatshirts are $20, call and place your order today.

The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center is run with state and federal funds as well as some monies from the county and a few private donations to fill in the gaps.

The state budget has been decreased and with the growing Silver Fox population and expansion of services into Arboles we are asking for your assistance. It's that time of year again that we ask you to consider donating to keep your "Den" alive. Your donation is tax deductible and very much appreciated.

Donations can be sent to the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center, P.O. Box 1507, Pagosa Springs, Co. 81147.


Friday, Sept. 24 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; celebrate birthdays, noon; pinochle, 1 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 27 - Medicare and drug card counseling, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 28 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; Dance Club, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 29 - Effective Pain Relief with Ed Norman, 1 p.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 1 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Veterans' benefits with Andy Fautheree, noon; Pinochle, 1 p.m.


Friday, Sept. 24 -Roast Beef, Bliss potatoes, mixed vegetables, tossed salad and cherry cobbler

Monday, Sept. 27 - Meatballs, baked beans, coleslaw, roll and peaches

Tuesday, Sept. 28 -Sloppy Joe, steamed carrots, broccoli salad, fruit cup and peanut butter cookie

Wednesday, Sept. 29 - Pasta seafood salad, 3 bean salad, tossed salad, and strawberry sundae

Friday, Oct. 1 - Oven fried chicken, rice pilaf and gravy, asparagus, whole wheat roll and almond peaches.


Chamber News

Mother Nature couldn't spoil all the ColorFest festivities

By Sally Hameister

SUN Columnist

I suppose, in a perfect world, we would have had two morning ascensions this past weekend and a glow on Saturday night, but alas, we are mortals living in the real world where Mother Nature dictates the terms and we simply acquiesce.

To accentuate the positive, we had a fabulous party Friday night with the Wine and Cheese Tasting and a crowd clearly dedicated to having a great time. We want to thank Liz and Mike Marchand who have worked so hard for so many years developing the great relationships they enjoy with all the pilots who simply love coming to Pagosa thanks to Liz and Mike's Reach for the Peaks hospitality.

As always, we have many to thank because it takes a lot of helping hands over a considerable length of time to pull off such a busy weekend, and certainly this year's ColorFest weekend was no exception. Thanks always to Chamber staffers, Doug and Morna Trowbridge, for the hours expended before, during and after this event. They are usually the first on the scene and the last to leave each event and I am most grateful to them.

I am personally indebted to the lovely Renae Karlquist for picking up where the Evil Twin left off and coming up with a totally wild idea for costumes. In case you weren't there, Renae and I were covered with bright autumn leaves from top to bottom, literally, and I'm not kidding.

Renae glue-gunned our sweat suits, hats, shoes and masks with over 4,000 leaves, and my big contribution was throwing a bit of glitter on everything. It was way too much fun, and I thank Renae for the clever idea and the considerable time she invested in these "Leaf Me Alone" crazy creations. Renae also helped greet and pass out glasses and programs that night and Toby was our "right-hand man" doing just about everything that needed to be done.

Dan Aupperle and Don Taylor were clearly the heroes to those who weren't wild about wine Friday evening when they generously donated and served two kegs of Pin Stripe Ale in Citizens Bank mugs. We are so grateful to Bobbie Miller at Plaza Liquor for selecting and providing such a terrific array of wines; we thank Kathey and Kirsten at Pagosa Baking Company for the delicious sweets; thanks to Chris Powe, Mike Schaffer and family for the delicious picnic dinner at the Extension building and thanks to Police Chief Don Volger and Carl Smith for providing security Friday evening.

We are grateful to Bill Nobles and the Extension gang for allowing us to use their facility and borrow tables and chairs and to Charlie and Emily Rogers for the colorful tents used both nights. Bill Hudson once again loaned us his stage for the Bluegrass Cadillac boys to entertain at the picnic and we thank Bill and Clarissa for their continued generosity.

Diplomats Carol Gunson and Shari Gustafson put in serious kitchen time washing a lion's share of the over 600 ColorFest wine glasses, and Barbara Mason and Joan Sager kindly folded shirts for our sales booth. Robert Soniat once again loaned us his trailer for schlepping tables and chairs, and Tony Gilbert, Bob Eggleston and Scott Asay set up all the tables and chairs at the Extension building for the picnic.

As always, the decorating team had a grand old time creating the environment for both the Wine and Cheese and the picnic. Couldn't have done it without Angie Gayhart, Karen Kelley, Toby and Renae Karlquist, Patti Renner and board president Sally Hovatter. Special thanks go out to Renae Karlquist's mother, sister and niece for their help in both setting up and breaking down tables at the Extension building and well as the Karlquist's pilot guests. They all put in double and sometimes triple duty over the weekend, and we are most grateful.

We are indebted to those who serve at the Wine and Cheese Tasting and are quite sure that each year we have the best pouring team on the planet, to wit: Mike Branch, Patti Renner, Andy and Sue Donlon, Robert and Tina Soniat, Don and Mary McKeehan, Tony and Nancy Gilbert, Karen and Mike Kelley, Angie and Ken Gayhart, Bob Eggleston, Dawn Thomas, Bonnie Masters, Dick Babillis, Scott Asay and Robin and Frank Shiro. Joe and Lillian Steele performed admirably at the sales table (sold out of shirts!) and Sally and Walter Hovatter were great greeters and ticket-takers at the gate. Sally was also my partner in crime selling tickets for the picnic Saturday. Special thanks to Jody Cromwell for helping us break down the tables at the tent on Friday night.

I'm quite sure the above list of helping hands points out once again that we get things done at the Chamber only with the help of our many directors, past directors, friends and family. We are aware that ColorFest weekend is a busy time for just about everyone and that it is certainly not convenient to leave your guests and homes to schlep tables and chairs, decorate and/or sell tickets. Please know that we appreciate all you do for us and never take that for granted.

Thanks again to all, and if I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me.

Victim assistance benefit

The Archuleta County Victim Assistance Organization invites you to attend an evening replete with delicious food, fine libations and entertainment to benefit the various invaluable programs they provide to this community.

The event will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at TLC's Bed and Breakfast. The menu has been prepared by TLC's Catering and Peter Stanley with Dudley Enterprises and includes fine hors d'oeuvres, Hoisin glazed salmon filet or marinated rib eye, rosemary roasted potato duxelles, vegetable, cheesecake with warm berry compote, and wine and beer. The price is $100 per person with seating limited, and you are encouraged to reserve a table with a group of your friends. Please RSVP at 264-9075.

Just so you know, the Victim Assistance Program includes children's programs, domestic and sexual violence advocacy programs and sudden mishap or loss assistance with a lot of counseling, education and support with all those situations.

It is obvious they provide services critical to every community, and we hope you will support their efforts by attending what sounds like a very elegant evening.

Father John

Hats off to the whole Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation for organizing such a successful going-away party Sunday afternoon for their beloved priest, Father John Bowe.

It was a splendid and loving tribute to this man who means so much to this community and many tears were shed over his departure.

I have never seen that much food in one place, so no one left hungry, for sure. We all will look forward to the day that Father John returns to Pagosa to enjoy a much-deserved rest and retirement. The Chamber wishes you all the best in San Luis, Father John.

Save the date

Just a heads up to mark Saturday, Nov. 13 on your calendars to attend the annual Immaculate Heart of Mary fashion show and luncheon beginning at noon in the Parish Hall. This year's delightful theme is "The Nutcracker" featuring music provided by John Graves with dancing honors performed by local ballerinas. Our Pagosa merchants will supply the very latest fashions, and Dahrl Henley can always be counted upon to serve only the finest and tastiest food around. It's always a beautifully executed event and tons of fun.

Tickets are still only $18 and can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce beginning Oct. 1. Please get your tickets early because this event always sells out in very short order. Should you want to put together a table of ten, you must first purchase the tickets and then call Mary Daltroff at 731-5121 to reserve the table in your name.

The door prizes donated by local merchants at this luncheon are always outstanding and feel free to call chairwoman Yvonne Ralston at 731-9324 or June Geisen at 731-5429 if you would like to donate an item or two. Plan to attend this wonderful annual luncheon and bring all your friends.

Jim Tatum benefit

A benefit for Jim Tatum was held at Squirrel's Pub and Pantry Tuesday evening, and even though you may not have known about it, you are still invited to contribute to a trust for Jim.

Jim and his two boys, Eric and Ethan, have been members of our community for many years, and Jim is battling his third round with cancer and could use your help. If you would like to donate to Jim's trust, please call Radine or Shana at 264-6763 or 264-4173,

New address

The San Juan Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have relocated to 505A CR 600 (Piedra Road) approximately 0.4 miles north from U.S. 160 next to Piedra Car Care. Their new phone number is 731-3615 and the fax is 731-1570. You are invited to stop by and say hello and check out the new digs.

Arts council exhibit

You still have time to visit the gallery in Town Park and admire all the beautiful paintings and drawings currently on display. I attended the opening night of this exhibit and was ever so impressed with the gorgeous work created by local artists.

This was the first juried show ever in Pagosa, so expectations were high and no one was a bit disappointed. Please stop by to view the art work and cast your ballot for the People's Choice award which will be determined and presented after the show closes Tuesday, Sept. 28. Gallery hours are noon-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


Even during one of the busiest weeks of the year here in Pagosa and definitely one of the busiest weekends, folks somehow managed to join up or renew. We are grateful to those folks and pleased to share their names with you.

Our new members join the ranks as Associates and were recruited by our very own board director, Patti Renner. We welcome Deborah Jacob Timmer and Don Timmer as new members of the Chamber family and will send off a free SunDowner pass to our Patti post haste with our thanks for all she does for us.

Renewals this week include board president Sally Hovatter and husband Walter; Susan Schwab with Piedra Automotive; Maria D. MacNamee with Happy Trails Lady's Boutique; Stuart and Kim Bishop with the Skyview Motel; and our old friend Harold Slavinski with Custom Craftsmen and home offices. We are thankful for each and every one.


Veteran's Corner

New Mexico dedicates highway to WW II hero

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

It was my privilege recently to attend a highway dedication to a real American Hero. Also in attendance were more American heroes paying tribute to one of their own.

I'm speaking of Pvt. Jose F. Valdez of Blanco, N.M. The highway between Dulce and Bloomfield was named in his honor. Who was Pvt. Valdez and why was he a real American hero?

Pvt. Valdez was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for valor above and beyond the call of duty. He was killed during WW II in France, while valiantly fighting the enemy.

Attending these dedication ceremonies were three other Medal of Honor recipients: Maj. Drew Dix, U.S. Army Special Forces; Capt. Raymond Murphy, U.S. Marine Corps; and Cpl. Hiroshi Miyamura, U.S. Army. All three are from New Mexico. They were at the dedication to honor their fallen comrade in arms, and fellow Medal of Honor recipient.

Notice I use the term "recipients," not "winners" when referring to those that have received the medal. You don't win it, you are awarded the Medal of Honor. It is quite often awarded posthumously.

I have pictures of myself with the Medal of Honor veterans in my office, and believe me they tower above me in every way. They are giants. Giants in personal conviction, deeds, valor and courage. They are quiet, unassuming individuals. These veterans speak softly and say little about their courageous acts. The gold medal with the blue ribbon around their necks speaks for them. To them, they were just doing their duty. The President of the United States said differently, and said they acted "above and beyond the call of duty" to a grateful nation.

Privilege and honor

I felt it a privilege and honor to even be in their presence.

I was part of the color guard portion of the ceremonies. I even wore my newly-restored Navy uniform, fully complete as issued. I served in the Navy from 1957-1960, which was during our nation's peacetime. Nobody was shooting at me. It was something I never had to face during my military service.

Ironically the ceremonies were the culmination of much work by one our locally known military veterans, Lt. Col. Juan C. "J.C." Gomez. Juan was killed in an accident last month after attending the funeral of his uncle Celso Gomez. Celso was also known by many in Archuleta County.

Veteran advocate

I came to know Lt. Col. Gomez well while participating with his efforts in the Korean War Memorial ceremonies last year in San Luis Valley. Juan was a tireless veteran advocate.

I was an escort for three Medal of Honor recipients attending those ceremonies commemorating the end of the Korean War. Two of those recipients attending the Valdez Highway dedication were also at the San Luis Valley ceremonies.

I had remarked to Juan when I saw him shortly before his fatal accident that I would like to restore my Navy uniforms. I had lost them many years ago and I would like to participate with our local veterans in various color guard functions, parades, etc. Without blinking an eye Juan told me he could arrange that due to some military connections.

Restored uniforms

Sure enough, my newly-restored uniforms arrived just in time for the Valdez Highway dedication.

The dedication was not only to honor Pvt. Valdez, but also in memory of Juan Gomez who had worked so hard to gain the state of New Mexico's support in renaming the highway.

In Juan's memory, I was wearing the very uniform he was responsible for obtaining for me only days earlier. I felt it an honor to pay this tribute to my friend and fellow veteran.

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 is 264-8376, e-mail afautheree@ The office is open 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.



Library News

Signs of impatience require practice of calming virtues

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

I recently saw a TV commercial that really got to me. It played on the "are we there yet?" theme. At my advanced age I should have figured out that we are never "there."

We are always "here," and we might as well relax and enjoy it.

I see more and more signs of impatience in myself and most everyone I know. I'm sure it is caused by stress and the many worries we face at all levels. Whatever the cause, I'm trying to remember that patience is a virtue that needs to be worked on constantly. I'm practicing.

The powers that be are working on the building plans and trying to determine what we can afford, when and if we can build this year, and how we will manage construction and staying open. They are still optimistic that we can start this fall.

I'm still practicing.

New books

"Founding Mothers: the Women Who Raised Our Nation," by Cokie Roberts, is an illuminating look at the women and their families who were just as crucial as the rebellion that brought about our new nation.

The women behind the men have been little noticed by historians. While the men went off to war, the women managed the businesses, often defended their doorsteps and gave political advice. These are the elite women who had the ears of the Founding Fathers.

Roberts draws on correspondence, and private journals to bring surprising stories of the strong women whose everyday trials and triumphs helped the country survive. Until now we've had a one-sided view of the Revolution; this book will introduce you to some new heroines like Eliza Pinckney, Mercy Otis Warren and Catherine Littlefield Green, among others.

This is the kind of book that makes history fun. And another fun history book is "Remembrance: Voices from the Past Volume 9," published by the San Juan Historical Society. This volume includes some of the Founding Families stories including the Lujan, Martinez, and Velasquez histories.

We have the other volumes of Remembrances that help tell our local history. They are all very special thanks to the hard work of the San Juan Historical Society Book Committee including Ann and Leroy Oldham, Shari Pierce and Glenn Raby.

"Paradigms Regained," by John Casti is an exploration of the mysteries of modern science. "How did life begin on earth? How do children acquire language? Does intelligent life exist elsewhere in the galaxy? Is reality simply based on individual perception?" With sharp wit and penetrating insight, Casti explores the "what-ifs" of the natural world.

Could you design a monument that would survive for 10 millennia and still deliver a clear message? We now have a repository where 6 million cubic feet of nuclear waste will be entombed. The plutonium will last 24,000 years. How will we warn people not to poke around the site?

Casti discusses this and also the mysterious Voynich manuscript held at the Yale University Library. The 400-year-old, 240- page document filled with handwritten text and crudely drawn illustrations is written in an unknown alphabet that has defied all attempts at translation. It has been attributed to both Roger Bacon and Leonardo Da Vinci. It has been considered a medieval treatise on the elixir of life, or a 16th century hoax. Until now, it had foiled all attempts to crack the code.

Since 1990, a group of between 100 and 200 individuals all around the globe connected through the Internet have been working to transcribe the text. In the September issue of Wired Magazine, it is reported that Gordon Rugg cracked the 400-year-old mystery. You will enjoy "Paradigms Regained," and learning about the Voynich manuscript in the book and in Wired.

How to preserve CDs

CDs can suffer from "rot." Buy ones coated with gold rather that silver. A CD has three layers. If the lacquer coating gets scratched, air can get to the data coating and eat it away. Silver oxidizes, gold doesn't. Gold CDs will last a decade or two if cared for. But what device will read them then?

We could use your help

Our telephone directories are in bad shape and out of date. If any of you are traveling we'd appreciate it if you could bring us some new ones.


Thanks for materials from Ellen Wadley, Jim Gavic, Pamela Spaulding, Mike Branch and Patty Sterling.



Arts Line

Summarizing elements of 'Healing the Arts' sessions

By Leanne Goebel

PREVIEW Columnist

Twelve hours a year.

That's the average amount of time board members of arts organizations spend actively working for their organization. One hour a month.

I know board members who work significantly more hours than that and I know board members who might not even meet the national average.

I'd say in our community, board members of arts organizations work a lot more than 12 hours a year.

Over the next few weeks, I will summarize some of the key elements from the discussions and workshops at "Healing the Arts in Colorado," beginning with Russell Willis Taylor and her keynote address on the characteristics of sustainable arts organizations. This information is courtesy of National Arts Strategies, Inc.

Every organization has a lifecycle: Start-up, pre-peak, peak, post-peak and decline. The challenge for every organization, every business, is to recognize post-peak and rethink their purpose and existence and reinvent the organization. This is what leads to resurgence. Things cannot and should not stay the same. What is necessary for an organization in Start-up is different from what is needed for pre-peak and peak performance. Every organization will begin a post-peak decline and every organization needs to reevaluate and reposition for the future.

There are three areas in which the organization must evaluate its health: management and organizational health, financial health, and program and audience.

Management and organizational health includes evaluating leadership, governance and staffing; understanding the external environment, competition and market forces; planning practices, realistic strategy and measurable goals; community involvement; and facilities and equipment.

Who are the organizational and community leaders? Are they on the board? How is our organization governed? Is it run by volunteers? Do we have a paid staff? What are their roles? Who is our competition?

Yes, we have competition; we all compete for the same dollars, not just other arts organizations, but other nonprofit groups. How about TV? Sports? What market forces are affecting us directly? Decline in foundation giving? Lack of state funding for the arts? War? Elections? Do we plan? What are our goals? Do we have a strategy? Grant writers understand the necessity of measurable goals. How does your organization measure goals? How do we get the community involved?

Who is our community? Is it Pagosa Springs? Archuleta County? Southwest Colorado? The Four Corners region? What facilities and equipment do we have? What do we need to achieve our goals? How do we get there?

Financial health includes reviewing financial systems. Where do we get our money? How much of our money is from foundations? State or local government? Private donors? Corporations or businesses? How can we generate revenue? What is earned? What is contributed? What is the strength of our financial profile? Do we have cash flow? Are we invested? What about creating an endowment?

Program and audience includes matching the organization's mission with its programming. If the mission is to support all of the arts and 80 percent of the organization's programming is in the visual arts, does that fulfill the organization's mission? What is the artistic environment and the quality of that environment? It wouldn't make sense for Pagosa Springs to try and start its own symphony because we don't have enough classically trained musicians in town and our population base is not large enough to support such an endeavor. (We can however, enjoy Music in the Mountains and the San Juan Symphony).

One of the more successful recent ventures for the Pagosa Springs Arts Council was the creation of a watercolor club. There is a significant number of artists painting in water media and an equally significant number of fine art watercolorists in our community, so the club has some of the highest attendance of any PSAC group.

Lastly, who is our audience? What do they look like? How many people participate in our programs? We all know that there is a relatively small group of participants, championed by Ron and Cindy Gustafson, who show up at every event and program in the community, from Music Booster productions, to gallery openings, to Humane Society auctions. How many viable organizations can this small demographic support?

Creativity infusion

Barbara Rosner sent me some information on a fabulous opportunity Aug. 19-22, 2005 at the Ghost Ranch, Santa Fe campus (Paseo de Peralta and the Old Taos Highway, just blocks from the Plaza).

Pat Jeffers is a basketry artist who lives in Wyoming and creates baskets with swirling, shifting patterns of color and texture reminiscent of our western landscape. View her work and learn more about Pat on her Web site: Pat's award-winning baskets are on display at Blaire Carnahan Gallery at 225 Canyon Road, Santa Fe.

Pat will be leading a workshop next August during Santa Fe Indian Market for beginners and experienced weavers alike. The retreat includes the materials to make the baskets, lodging Friday-Sunday nights, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday-Monday. (Check out is on Monday morning unless you make arrangements to stay Monday night.) Time is scheduled for exploring Indian Market on your own or with other participants during the retreat.

Cost is $550 per person double occupancy or $650 single occupancy. If you bring a spouse or a friend who will not be weaving, the cost if $775. Class size is limited to 18 weavers. To reserve your place, send a 50 percent deposit, payable to Pat Jeffers to: Barbara Rosner, 645 Bear Run, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. If you want more information, call Barbara at 264-6502 or e-mail or Sign up early as this will sell out quickly.

Ongoing workshops

Beginning Watercolor with Denny Rose and Virginia Bartlett, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday at the Fairfield Activities Center. Call 731-8060 to reserve a spot for $25.

Upcoming workshops

Hidden in the Ordinary, "Seen in his Glory," the 2004 Christian Artist and Writer's Retreat, Sept. 24-27, hosted by Blanco Dove Ministries in Pagosa Springs, and the Southwest Christian Writers Association. Workshops on sketchbook journaling by Sharri Lou Casey, writing by Lauraine Snelling and Jan Jonas (editor of the Albuquerque Tribune), poetry with Connie Peters and special guest speakers: Steve Oelschlaeger, Lynne Cumming, and Betty Lucero. For more information contact Betty Slade at 264-2824 or e-mail her at Check out the Blanco Dove Web site at

Writing Workshop with Mary Sojourner, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 2, in Durango. Sojourner will shape this workshop to fit the longings and gifts of ten writers-to-be, journal-keepers, daily writers, those who will, can, and must write. You will write for most of the time. Talk and theory have their place, but not in Mary's writing circles. There will be room for jump-starts, honing of craft (character development, writing tight transitions, letting dialogue come alive), for moving into the stories you have meant to tell, the poems that ache and sing in your blood.

A 64-year-old writer and writing teacher, Sojourner is the author of the short story collection, "Delicate"; an essay collection, "Bonelight: Ruin and Grace in the New Southwest"; the memoir/meditation, "Solace: Rituals of Loss and Desire"; and the forthcoming novel, "Going Through Ghosts". Sojourner moved to Flagstaff 19 years ago with two intentions: to fight for Southwestern land and community and to write. She keeps those promises on a daily basis. She lives in a scrap wood cabin with no running water, a wood stove, a computer, and only a little more solitude than is necessary for the work. You will need to bring a chair, a notebook, writing implements and intention. We'll work 9 a.m.-noon, take a two-hour lunch break and resume working from 2-5 p.m. Group size is limited to 10, so please register early.

To register, contact Sojourner at or send a check to Mary Sojourner, 7409 Old Munds Highway, Flagstaff, AZ 86001. Cost $100.

FLC workshops

"Discover Your Life's Work - The Career Decision Workshop," 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. Doc Roberts will guide you through this highly acclaimed one-day workshop with a hands-on process, utilizing time-tested exercises and specialized vocational testing, to enable you to identify and do what you truly love for a living.

"Exploring the Cuisine of India," 6-9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27. Learn about the unusual ingredients and spices that make Indian cuisine so intriguing. You will also help prepare a delicious meal from soup to dessert and enjoy it with your fellow chefs.

"Northern Italian Cuisine," 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28. Northern Italian good is so much more than red sauce and garlic. Create an elegant menu, from hors d'oeuvres to dessert for fall entertainment or just to treat the family.

"Beginning Conversational Spanish 1," 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays, Sept. 28-Nov. 16, with Fort Lewis College instructor Maria Spero.

"Conversational Spanish 2," 6-9 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 29-Nov. 17.

Contact Margie at Fort Lewis College, 247-7385, to register for any of the above courses.

"An Introduction to Art History," 6-7:30 p.m. Mondays, Oct. 11-Nov. 15. In this course you will discuss art history, the elements of art and principles of design, various media, and art interpretation with Terry Hobbs, a visiting instructor in Fort Lewis College's Department of Art.

"Master Class in Oil Painting," 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Oct. 14-Nov.18. This course is designed to provide intermediate level students with an even deeper foundation of oil painting. You will be provided a sound understanding of materials and techniques in the use of color and design, as well as the varied ways the combination of all of these elements may be used to foster the student's personal visual expressions. Class projects will include still-life work, portrait and/or self-portrait work, landscape work, exterior/interior work, and copy/inclusion work. Intermediate painting skills are necessary. John Maxon is a visiting instructor of Art in the Fort Lewis College department of art. As an artist in the fields of drawing, painting, and sculpture, Maxon has had many solo as well as group exhibitions in not only galleries but also museums across the country.

"How to Get Your Book Published," 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23. Learn the elements of - and how to write - a convincing query letter; the fundamentals of a compelling book proposal; how to find, and deal with, a literary agent; which publishers to approach for different genres of books; the basics of a publishing contract -advances, rights, royalties, copyright, sales, marketing, etc.; and much more. William R. Gray was a writer, editor, photographer, and publisher for more than thirty years with the National Geographic Society.

For more information, please contact Fort Lewis College Extended Studies Program at 247-7385, visit them on campus at 450 Berndt Hall, e-mail or log on to, click on Community & Culture then Extended Studies.

Workshop ideas wanted

The calendar of events is getting shorter which signifies that fall is approaching. Submit your workshop ideas, proposals, and recommendations to the Pagosa Springs Arts Council and let's fill out that calendar.

Gallery gift shop

The gift shop at the gallery in Town Park is available to local artisans. Please consider consigning your original work in our store. Contact PSAC at 264-5020 for more information.

Artist opportunities

Deadline approaching! Pumas on Parade will use the display of painted life-size pumas to both showcase the work of artists and highlight the importance of careful stewardship of our vulnerable public lands. With seed money from the National Endowment for the Arts and USDA Forest Service Rural Communities Initiative Grant, the project will build strategic partnerships among artists, businesses, communities, and public land managers.

Timed to help celebrate the San Juan National Forest Centennial in 2005, the painted sculptures will debut in local downtown areas next summer.

Pumas on Parade is open to creative people working in all mediums: from the celebrated to the emerging artist, the professional to the amateur. Youths as well as adults are invited to submit designs. Artists can go to to download the images and information forms. Or call Felicita Broennan at (970)533-0241 for more information. Designs must be received by Sept. 30. Sculptures will be delivered to the chosen artists no later than Jan. 1, 2005.

"Spirit in Hand" holiday exhibit and sale at the Durango Arts Center, Dec. 14-24. "Spirit in Hand" is an opportunity for fine craftspeople and local artists to share their inspired and creative work with the community during the holiday season.

This juried sale will feature fine crafts and arts in the Barbara Conrad Gallery. Artists creating original, unique gift items in ceramics, jewelry, fiber, metal, glass, wood, paper, calligraphy, photography, sculpture, printmaking, painting, and drawing are invited to apply. Fine craft items are the focus of the sale. No reproductions or color copies allowed. Items should range in price from $15-$350. Participants should plan to have a minimum of 12 items in the sale, with additional back stock available. A maximum of four slides or photographs must be submitted for the selection process.

Applications must be received by Oct. 22. Entry fee is $15 for DAC members and $30 for nonmembers. Contact DAC at 259-2606 or e-mail


To Sept. 28 - First Juried Painting and Drawing Exhibit at PSAC gallery in Town Park.

To Oct. 2 - Eclectic: DAC members exhibit, Durango Arts Center.

Sept. 24-27 - "Hidden in the Ordinary: Seen in His Glory" Christian artist and writer's retreat at Blanco Dove.

Sept. 24 - Colorfest Gallery Walk in Durango. A gala evening of receptions and artwork by featured artists. Call 259-2606 for more information.

Sept. 24 - A special preview of - "Skins" an original performance experience by Fort Lewis College theatre professor Kathryn Moller, inspired by the art of Elizabeth Ingraham, at the Rochester Hotel and during Gallery Walk.

Sept. 30 - Pumas on Parade design deadline.

Sept. 30 - Woodworking exhibit opens at PSAC gallery.

Oct. 1-3 - Southwest Colorado Community Theatre Festival in Pagosa Springs, sponsored by Music Boosters.

Oct. 5 - Trio exhibit, reception with the artists, Durango Arts Center 5-7 p.m..

Oct. 5-30-Trio Exhibit: Joycelyn Audette, Katherine Barr, and Lisa Pedolsky at Durango Arts Center.

Nov. 5 - Outsider Art: Visions from the Edge, reception with the artists, Durango Arts Center 5-7 p.m.

Nov. 5-Dec. 10 - Outsider Art: Visions from the Edge at Durango Arts Center.


Food for Thought

Gray around the muzzle and fading fast

By Karl Isberg

SUN Columnist

The other night I'm petting my dog, Arnie, and I notice he is getting gray around the muzzle. It is one of those poignant moments when you realize a treasured friend is getting long in the tooth, entering the fourth quarter of the Big Game.

I go to the bathroom to wash my hands. I look in the mirror.

I am getting gray around the muzzle.

I too am in the fourth quarter of the Big Game. I'm several steps slow and I can't hold the block. My team is losing.

And I can't punt.

It is anything but poignant.

This business of getting old is getting old.

The signs of my decline are everywhere. Since I am obsessive by nature, I dwell on the signs.

When I take my blood pressure medication in the morning. When I take any of my numerous other medications. When I pay for my medications.

When I am nearly hit broadside after failing to look both ways before pulling into an intersection. The other driver yells at me and, amidst a flurry of justified obscenities, I hear the word "old."

When I search frantically for my keys. I swear I put them in my pocket. Where are they?

My memory is shot (not that it was ever very good, given my ferocious case of ADD). I forget appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, phone numbers, addresses.

I can't recall names; I have to fake it when conversing with someone whose name I can't remember. "Hey (long pause) good to see you again. How's work? (Gotta keep it generic. I can't remember what a person does for a living.) "How are things going?" (I don't dare ask about the family - they might not have one. I can't ask about the wife or the hubby - they might be dead or in prison).

To compensate for my fading memory, I write notes.

I forget to read the notes.

I can't see well - Kathy calls me "bat boy" - and I can't hear. The other night, I strolled the sidelines at the high school football game. I turned to see how much time was on the clock. I'm a mere 30 yards from the large, well-lit scoreboard and I can't read the numbers. You know that little crawler that runs along the bottom of the television picture, giving you updates on who is being bombed or what stock just went into the tank? I can't see it from across a narrow room. I have no idea where bombs are exploding much less who won the afternoon's NASCAR race.

My most common response to someone who speaks to me is "Huh?" or "What?"

Then there's the worries: health, death, retirement, the kids, the grandkid. You name it. Advancing age is not accompanied by a Zen master-like talent to empty the mind of needless concerns.

Add to all this disturbed sleep patterns and the occasional leg cramp in the night. The full bladder at the most inconvenient time. I won't even discuss the prostate.

Worse yet is the lack of perspective. Don't let anyone tell you that wisdom is a necessary consequence of aging. I believe the opposite is more likely to be true, judging by the stunning number of older morons I come across. The ability to keep things in perspective, to react in accord with the real import of a situation or event erodes in many people as they get old.

How's that, you ask?

Let's take a couple of facts and use them as baselines, shall we?

Important: Recently, a hurricane swept over the island of Grenada. Some estimates had 90 percent of the homes on the island destroyed. People were without shelter, food, water, medicine, electricity.

Getting old important: I am worried about a pothole in my road. I am more than worried: I am enraged. My truck rattles if I hit the pothole. For crying out loud, I'm going to ruin my shocks!

Important: There is a civil war raging in North Africa - a religious and ethnic war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and displaced. Murder, rape and mayhem are the rule; the innocent suffer.

Getting old important: I am peeved because some neighbor kids occasionally ride motor bikes on the streets when law forbids it. The noise is incredibly disturbing. After all, I like to listen to Bach when I read. It's my right.

Important: Young Americans and Iraqis are killing and being killed in a war that does not seem to have a tidy or quick end. There are terrorists who detest everything I cherish and who wish earnestly to kill me, my children and grandchild just because we are who we are. The economy has not yet fully recovered, health care is in a crisis, Social Security is a wounded animal skulking off to die in the bush, kids surprisingly close by go without proper nutrition and education, are raised without a complete and stable family.

Getting old important: I read where folks my age are irate that a buoy has been placed in a lake. I read where others my age are adamant concerning what is "owed" them. After all, they pay taxes.

This aging thing - the horizon can shrink, the world becoming more personalized and restricted, collapsing on itself. What was once a red giant becomes a white dwarf and, eventually, a black hole the size of a thimble. The text of experience is written in progressively teensier letters. What is it with those loud car stereos and those dumb-looking kids with their hats on sideways? Don't they have somewhere else to be, something else to do besides bother me and lower my property values? What happened to military school?

As a result, too often aging means getting stressed

Being stressed requires a lot of energy and there's less and less to expend when you're graying around the muzzle.

I can't figure out how to set up the DVD player. It stresses me out.

And here is the last straw: I know now, for certain, I am on a steep grade leading to the bottom of the pass. Without brakes.

It's the grocery store.

They just remodeled and enlarged the store.

I can't deal with it. I'm agitated, where once I was in a state of bliss.

The old store - I had the joint memorized. There was a place for everything and everything was in its place. I could walk through the front door and, blindfolded, find anything I needed. I was comfy. No stress. I'd stroll around without a care. The place was like a spa.

Now the place is twice as large as before, and they've moved everything.

Instinct tells me to go straight to the back of the store from the entrance for the meat, and now I find packs of cheap shredded cheeses.

I head for a can of cashews and I find nail polish remover.

Eggs? Where are the eggs? Certainly not in the health and beauty department where I stand in a corner, unable to figure out where to go next.

I get lost in the produce department trying to find my way from organic to toxic; the deli counter is the length of an airport runway.

Furthermore, they brought in a legion of unfamiliar faces to staff the place. I'm stressed: I've known people who worked at the local store for 19 years; they're my second family. Now, the place is full to the brim with folks I don't know and who don't know, or particularly care about, me. This is a problem since the staff has provided me with most of my meaningful social contacts.

When they were old, my grandmothers listened to Lawrence Welk in elevators and department stores. I'm lured down the aisles of the grocery store with music of the '60s and '70s: Motown, the British Invasion. They're pumping The Four Tops, Petula Clark and Herman and the Hermits through the speakers to create an encouraging, nostalgic atmosphere for us old folks. It's insidious. What's next, Jimi Hendrix? Arthur Lee and Love? Miles Davis, perhaps?

Then, the worst of it: The new, wow-we're-high-tech checkout stands.

If I didn't know I was getting old before I went to one of the newsstands, I knew it after I finally made it out of the store with my groceries.

No one tends this checkout stand, scanning and weighing your groceries, chatting with you about the weather or commenting on the idiot who brings 55 items into the Express Lane. No, now there is a machine that talks to you.

It doesn't so much talk to you as give orders. You respond robotically, or else. Robots confuse us old folks.

"Welcome. Please scan your Value Card."

Where's my value card? I can't remember my keys. How am I supposed to remember my value card, since it's on my key chain? Already, I'm befuddled, in trouble.


"Please scan the first of your items."

Okay, that's easy. Put the bar code down and slide it across the all-seeing eye of the check stand.


"Please put the item in the bag."

Sounds innocuous. If, however, you don't do what the machine tells you, it demands you page a human who steps over and rebukes you at the behest of the checkout stand.

Put the item in the bag, whatever you do.

Then, I get confused. When it comes to produce, you gotta do everything a certain way. It involves all the things that, as an aging guy, I am incapable of doing: following a prescribed routine, remembering numbers, etc.

The machine gets mad at me. With each transaction I get more confused, the machine gets angrier.

It is merciless.

I am old and feeble.

Finally, I pay and shuffle out of the store.

I occurs to me as I run yet another stop sign on the way home that, should I reach the stage where an "assisted living facility" is my only alternative, I will be tended by a machine that issues orders, and gets mad.

I have a lot to look forward to.

I decide to start working on recipes and techniques I can use in my dotage.

Most of the dishes will involve soft foods. I'll incorporate ingredients that can sit around on counters, in cupboards, in the fridge for a long, long, long time.

Expiration dates will mean nothing to me; I'll reuse plastic implements and utensils.

I'll make lots of soft-boiled eggs. I'll get used to cereals soaked for hours in blue-tinted, nearly transparent skim milk, until the high-fiber pellets begin to decompose.

Soup? Yep. As long as there's nothing chewy floating in it.

Gotta cut out the spices, the onions, peppers and garlic. Bland is the mode of the day.

I'll learn to like Jell-O. I'll make Jell-O salad with small curd cottage cheese. For a special occasion, I'll knock off a load of odd-colored ambrosia.

Every once in a while, when I am in a festive mood and my acid reflux disease isn't acting up, I'll make a strata and invite some other oldies over. White bread, eggs, mild cheese. I won't be able to load it down properly, with tons of hot Italian sausage, sauteed onions and garlic, sharp cheddar, roasted pasilla peppers. But, I'll cheat. I'll use half-and-half instead of skim milk. It'll be my little secret and I'll chuckle as I watch my gray-around-the-muzzle friends lap it up and ask for seconds.

As long as I remember to turn off the stove, I should be all right.

Has anyone see my keys?


Education News

Homework Center can help your children overcome

By Livia Cloman Lynch

PREVIEW Columnist

Is homework time a stressful time of the day at your house? Is it hard to get your kids to read or do their homework each evening?

If you answered yes to either of these questions then take notice, there is help available to you and your children.

Every afternoon after school there is homework help and tutoring available at your child's school (grades K-8) operated by the Archuleta County Education Center.

At the elementary school, kids gather each afternoon for reading and tutoring under the direction of tutoring coordinator Lucille Stretton. Two sessions operate each week, a Monday-Wednesday session and a Tuesday-Thursday session. We are able to provide tutoring for a total of 40 kids each week and there are currently spaces available. A typical after school tutoring session begins with a recess break because we know that kids need time to unwind and get "the wiggles" out before they can sit down and concentrate on their studies.

After recess the kids come back into the building for a nutritious snack. After snack time each student is paired with a teen-age tutor who works with him or her individually. Your child's teacher provides a written assignment sheet each week that lets the teen tutor know exactly what your child needs to work on for the week. After lessons are completed for the day, the teen tutor and your child participate in an enrichment activity. The enrichment activity could be a craft, art or science project, or the group could learn a team or leadership game.

This is our eighth year operating the tutoring program at the elementary school and it continues to be a very successful program. So many parents thank us each year for helping make their evening time with their children - fun time. For registration and additional information please call 264-2835.

Homework coordinator

Becky Johnson coordinates the Homework Center and enrichment activities for the intermediate/junior high age group. She provides homework help in the junior high school library. For this age group the homework center is operated on a drop-in basis Monday through Thursday after school until 5:30 p.m.

Becky and the other tutors are available to assist with homework, school assignments, and provide instruction to help improve a student's reading skills. Maybe your child needs access to a computer to finish a school report. If that is the case, have them drop by the Homework Center because computers are available four afternoons a week.

Enrichment activities in art, science or foreign language are also offered on a regular basis at both the elementary school and the junior high.

In addition to youth classes we also offer adult classes such as Adult CPR/First Aid. A complete lineup of computer classes is also scheduled for this fall. Additionally, we have our popular Conversational Spanish classes starting soon.

For information about any of our programs or activities please call the Archuleta County Education Center at 264-2835. We are located downtown Pagosa Springs at the corner of 4th and Lewis streets.


Cruising with Cruse

We made the flight, our luggage didn't

By Katherine Cruse

SUN Columnist

I wasn't going to write any more about airplane travel in this airline-downsizing, post-9/11 security-upping world. Truly I wasn't. But it can't be helped.

Recently I went with my mother on an Elderhostel trip called "Lake Michigan and Beyond." It was billed as a fact- and fun-filled week traveling around this great lake on a cruise ship, learning about the lake's history, the people who settled along the shores and the shipping business on its waters.

Instead of meeting me in Chicago, my mother decided to come and spend a few days here first. That way we could travel together. That way, too, we could both check our suitcases into the tender mercies of the airline baggage system. I mean, if she was going to lose her bag, I might as well do it too.

I said that as a joke.

There was a little anxiety as the day for departure grew near. I was concerned about getting both of us up and out of the house and to the Durango airport by 5:30. In the morning. My mother worried about the car breaking down en route. She thought we should spend the night in Durango. I said, "No. If the car breaks down on the way to the airport, it doesn't much matter where you are." I didn't tell her that there was a much greater likelihood of our being attacked by a suicidal deer on that lonely road in the predawn hour.

I also didn't tell her that there was a slight possibility that the crews would be running so late the day before that the last flight from Denver might get cancelled, in which case there would be no airplane waiting for us in Durango that morning.

But none of those bad things happened. We got there easily. The plane was waiting. The TSA inspectors examined our bags and put them on the cart. We made the connection in Denver without a hitch.

But when we went to get our luggage in Chicago, there were no bags. The baggage agent looked up the record. Seems that somewhere between the TSA inspection and the airplane in Durango, the system broke down. Our bags never made the flight we were on. I can just imagine the airline people in Durango after the plane had departed, throwing up their hands in dismay. "Oh my goodness, what have we here?" The bags were loaded onto the next plane from Durango, three hours later. Needless to say, they missed the connection in Denver.

"But don't worry," said the Chicago baggage agent, "They're on the flight that gets in here at 6 p.m. You'll have them tonight."

"Tonight we're on a ship that's leaving at 8 p.m.," I tell her. "Crossing the Big Lake. Next stop, Holland, Michigan."

She wrote RUSH on the lost baggage form, right after the location of where to take the bags, should they arrive: Ship called Grande Mariner, docked on north side of Navy Pier.

At 5:30 I called the 800 number on the form. I got Simon, the voice-activated idiot. Simon speaks slowly and he hopes you do, too. If he doesn't understand you, he says, "I'm sorry, did you say 'FRAMMERWHITZEL?'"

Then of course you say, "No," and Simon starts the whole process over. You can, maybe, shortcut his labored technique by saying, "Different problem."

Simon then says that he'll transfer your call to an customer service representative. A new voice eventually comes on the line to let you know that an agent will speak with you in approximately 14 minutes.

If your cell phone battery was fully charged at the beginning of the call, it might be out of juice by the time Simon gets through with you.

Well, the bags arrived around 6, but nobody called me until 7. "Oh, I don't know if they'll get there in time," said the disembodied voice. "When do you leave?"

The captain allowed as how he could delay the sailing time from 8 until 8:30. At 8:40 there were two of us calling all over Chicago, trying to find out where the delivery van was. "Five minutes away," said the dispatcher. At 8:45 the van stopped beside the ship. And the driver pulled out one suitcase, my mother's. "Where's the other one?" I asked, ready to cry. "This is the only bag they gave me," he said.

So the ship sailed. Heaven knew where my bag was. Next day, after we had come near land again, I called Hotshot. He travels a lot; he's got perks.

Like a special number to call for lost luggage.

No Simon for him. He talked with a live person right away. She located my suitcase, under a pile of other lost bags somewhere in the bowels of O'Hare airport. She found it by - surprise - that little number that's printed on the checked baggage form. That was good, because the airline had entered my baggage record under my mother's name. Left to the devices of Simon and his minions, I probably never again would have seen that black roll-aboard suitcase with the yellow ribbon on the handle.

"Send it back to Durango," Hotshot said. "She'll pick it up when she goes home." We all realized that having that bag chase us around Lake Michigan was a sure recipe for failure, even if the airline would have tried. I can just see it getting to Manistee, or Sault Ste Marie, or Mackinac Island, each time right after my ship had sailed away.

Meanwhile I went to a mall in Holland (the one in Michigan) and bought some clothes to tide me over. I bought a small suitcase to carry them home in.

And I learned that you can get by with a lot less than you thought you'd need.

When people on the ship asked, I told them the suitcase would be waiting when I got home, although there are no guarantees in this life. When the suitcase reached Durango, someone called my house and left this message, which I heard after I had gotten home, "We've got this suitcase of yours. What do you want us to do with it?"

Gee, the possible replies that come to mind are endless.


Extension Viewpoints

Busting myths about college admissions

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Tuesday, Sept. 28 - 4-H Council meeting, Extension office, 6 p.m.

There are many myths about the college admissions process that just don't bear up under investigation.

Myth: Smaller independent colleges are more likely to review an applicant's entire folder while larger public institutions are more likely to operate on the basis of formulas.

Not so, says College Board consultant Gretchen Rigol, who authored Admission Decision-Making Models, a resource for admissions professionals.

Many institutions, large and small, public and private, use complex, multi-step procedures that involve multiple readings.

"The only safe generalization that can be made is that the process tends to be more complex if the number of applicants is considerably higher than the number of available spaces," Rigol adds.

Myth: You have to be interviewed to be accepted.

While some colleges request students to come for an interview, most don't require it (either because they couldn't possibly manage to conduct all those interviews anyway or because they don't want to disadvantage students who live at a distance and would find it impossible to come).

If you can get to the campus for an interview, by all means do so, but for your own benefit. Visiting a college is a great way to learn firsthand what a school is really like.

Myth: It's impossible to figure out what a college is really looking for.

On the contrary, most colleges go to great lengths to specify what kinds of students they're looking for. You'll find lots of information on their Web sites about their academic requirements; you'll often find profiles of previously-admitted classes.

Myth: There's only one perfect college for me.

"Perhaps the most harmful myth in college admissions is that there's a perfect school for you and your life will be ruined if you don't get into it," says Delsie Phillips, dean of admission and financial aid at Haverford College.

Chances are there are many colleges that will meet your educational and personal goals. "Looking for colleges, based on what's important to you, has never been easier," says Phillips. Search by a variety of different characteristics on www. - you'll be amazed at how many opportunities are available to you.


Pagosa Lakes News

Argentine teen newest exchange student in Pagosa

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

For the past 13 years our Pagosa Springs Rotary Club has sponsored incoming foreign exchange students. They've come from Norway, Italy, France, Australia, Belgium, Sweden, Ukraine, Denmark, Brazil, New Zealand and now, Argentina.

Pagosa Springs Rotary has sponsored, in addition, "outbound) youth exchange students from Pagosa Springs High School. Starting in 1994, Pagosa students have participated in this international exchange in Sweden, Australia, Turkey, India, New Zealand and France.

The "out-bound" program has both a one-year exchange and a month-long summer exchange.

Rotary Youth Exchange is a club-to-club program which promotes peace through better understanding via the exchange of high school students who are hosted by local Rotary Clubs and families. The program aims to enable students to acquire knowledge of life in their host community and to promote the general interest and good will of international exchange.

Annually, over 7,500 young people participate in exchanges supported by Rotary clubs in 80 nations. Youth exchange continues to grow and it is regarded as one of Rotary's most popular and enduring programs, standing as a perfect example of what the organization is about: elevating the human condition by promoting friendship and understanding among people of all nations and cultures.

Maria Paula Alves (Pau) from Olavarria, Argentina, arrived in Pagosa in August. She is being hosted by the Garmans - Susan, Michael and their daughters, Brett and Alaina. Brett, a senior at Pagosa Springs High School, spent five months of her junior year as an AFS exchange student in Perth, Australia. Pau's adjustment to living in Pagosa has been greatly eased by Brett's own recent experience and her host family's patience and inclusiveness. Thank you for welcoming Paul into your home.

Pau is the youngest of four children and her parents are both teachers. Her hometown of Olavarria is located in the province of Buenos Aires, about 350 kilometers from the capital city of Buenos Aires. Olavarria has a population of 130,000 and the economy is based on agriculture, cattle ranching and mineral industry.

My interview with Pau follows:

What kind of application process was involved for this exchange program?

"There was a meeting with 13 boys and girls. We had to answer questions about the country we wanted to go, about Argentina and we had to speak in English. The first five people could go."

What have you found here in Pagosa that you didn't expect - or that surprised you?

"I think that the best thing about Pagosa is the people. Everyone has been so nice to me that I feel like at home. Another thing that I like about this town are the mountains and the landscapes. They are really beautiful."

What are the biggest differences between teen-ages back home and here in Pagosa?

"There aren't many differences about the teen-agers. But I can say that in Argentina the teen-agers are more independent; we can go to the discos at night. And we spend more time with friends than with family."

When people back home advised you on what to expect in the USA, what Americans were like, how you should behave, etc., etc. - what was their advice?

"What they told me that life in America it's like the movies. And it's true ... the school, the food, the families. But it's not too different than the life in Argentina, except for some things about customs."

What are your future plans for study and work?

"I'm going to be a lawyer and after I finish high school I will study political science. There is a big difference between the colleges here and there. In Argentina they are free, but they are also more difficult."

Pau is applying herself diligently at school here in Pagosa, both academically and as a member of the junior varsity cross-country team. Last year Pau was selected to be a part of the Argentinian Softball All-Stars (under 17) team. She hopes to have a chance to play her favorite sport here in our country.

We are glad Pau is here to share a year with us.

If you would like to look into the organization behind Rotary International Youth Exchange, you can contact Joann Irons (731-4065) who will be happy to help in your desire to embark on this adventure of a lifetime.

Or, if you would like to host an exchange student for three months, contact Jann Pitcher (731-4065). During the course of a year's exchange, the student lives with four different families.



No births this week.



Mike Bramwell

Mike Bramwell, 54, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2004, in Odessa, Texas, following a long illness.

Born Dec. 5, 1949 in Durango, Colo., to Carl and Minnie (Castle) Bramwell, he grew up and lived most of his early life on the family ranch on Mill Creek Road in Pagosa Springs.

At the age of 11 he became a jockey in Colorado and New Mexico and, until his health deteriorated, ranching and being a cowboy was his lifelong love. He later moved to Hereford, Texas, where he worked in the feed yards.

Some of his favorite memories were of the Fourth of July rodeo in Pagosa Springs where he participated in many events. Above all, he loved running the relay races on his favorite horse, Tonto. He also loved chasing wild horses on Carracas Mesa. Mike was as good a cowboy on horseback as one will ever find; his kind is a dying breed.

He was a beloved son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle and friend. He, in turn, loved his family and his Lord. He received salvation before his death and left this world peacefully. Mike is gone, but not forgotten.

He is survived by a brother, Leon Bramwell of San Diego, Calif.; sisters Nora Tuck of Odessa, Texas; Kathy Archuleta and Jennie Bramwell, both of Durango; numerous nieces and nephews, brothers-in-law and many close friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents Carl and Minnie (Castle) Bramwell; a brother, Joe; sisters Glenda Gurule and Patty Castle; a nephew, Kent Bramwell; two nieces, Tazlynn and Mary Gurule; a great-nephew, Preston Potts, and a great-niece, Tazlynn Gurule.

A private memorial service will be held.

"Behold, I stand at the door; and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and I will sup with him, and he with me." - Revelations 3:20.


Ross R. Cone Jr.

A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, in Community United Methodist Church of Pagosa Springs for Ross R. Cone Jr. who died Aug. 12, 2004, in Dallas, Texas.

Mr. Cone was born Jan 21, 1921, in Dallas.

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Howell Cone; a daughter, Sandra Cone Chalyy; a son, Clifton Cone and wife Kimberly Kirby Cone; stepchildren Thomas Parrish and wife Shirley; Jim Parrish; Kimberly Guinn and husband, Phil; grandchildren Kirby and Mary Alline Cone; sister Frances Burnam and husband, C.W.; sister-in-law Dorothy Swadek; several nieces and nephews and other relatives and a host of friends.

Mr. Cone served as a captain in the 8th Air Force during World War II; graduated from University of Texas in Austin with a chemical engineering degree; and worked for Sun Oil Corporation for 35 years.

He had lived in Venezuela, the Philippines, Niger and England before retiring to Pagosa Springs in 1985.

A member of Community United Methodist Church, he also was an avid golfer and created silver jewelry as a hobby.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Community United Methodist Church, PO Box 300, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147.


Business News

Pagosa Ventures

Jim Rafferty is looking for new business opportunities in this area and is seeking to develop those businesses that seem most likely to succeed.

Jim has founded five companies in the past: two were successfully sold and two went public in the stock market. He now brings his business savvy to the Pagosa Springs area.

His business, Pagosa Ventures is offering an opportunity for 12-percent return on investment dollars through the "12% Fund" and Coyote Growth Management. According to Rafferty, for the last 30 months the "12% Fund" has returned 1 percent per month to investors.

Some of the investment dollars are being used to fund growth in the Pagosa Springs area. One example is a new 5,000 square-foot office complex located behind the new Wells Fargo Bank.

Contact Rafferty at his home office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.



Preview Profile



Robert Shawn Murphy

Detention officer, Archuleta County Jail


Where were you born?

"Torrance, California."


Where did you go to school?

"Pagosa Springs High School."


When did you arrive in Pagosa Springs?

"I got here in 1997. In 1999 I left for the Army and I just got back about a week ago."


What did you do before you arrived here?

"I was a paratrooper, a sniper, a guard at a prison in Afghanistan and many other things."


What are your job responsibilities?

"Taking care of the prisoners, booking and releasing."


What are the most enjoyable and least enjoyable aspects of your job?

"I enjoy the people that I work with; they are all pretty funny. I like everything about my job, I get treated real well, I know what is worse, so I appreciate this job."


What is your family background?

"I have a wife, Renee, and a son, Shawn, who is two months old.


What do you like best about the community?

"I like the area, the scenery and the seclusion."


What are your other interests?

"Law enforcement, jumping out of planes, fishing, dirt biking, four wheeling, all that stuff is fun!"


Cards of Thanks


Havens family

We would like to express our thanks to all of our friends and neighbors for their kindness and support during this most difficult time.

A special thank you to our wonderful Chromo community for all that they have done for us. It is gratifying to know that there are still places where neighbors help neighbors without a moment's hesitation.

The Fitzhugh Havens family


IHM committee

The Immaculate Heart of Mary committee for Father John's farewell celebration expresses a special "Thank You" to the following groups and businesses for their support and donations: Kiwanis Club, The Plaid Pony, Wells Fargo Bank, IHM Knights of Columbus, Guadalupana Society, Altar & Rosary Society, Mounted Rangers, Pagosa Springs Mayor's Office, Pagosa Springs Community Center, Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce and all the individuals who came forth to lend a helping hand. The celebration last Sunday was a great success in spite of the heavy rain - thank you Pagosa Springs.

Roger Behr

Deacon, IHM Parish


Olympic effort

Way to go coach! What an amazing presentation of the Olympics at the elementary school. From the opening ceremonies, the paraglider dropping the torch, the release of the doves, to the finale of fallen aspen leaves from a plane, this was a spectacular sight to see. But the best part was the enthusiasm of the students and how proud they were to be a part of this event. Lindsey Kurt-Mason goes above and beyond the call of duty. If you missed this wonderful event, catch it again in four years. It's worth the wait.

Nick Toth


Road and bridge

Thanks for your very timely response to rechannel the Square Top drainage. Your efforts stopped additional flooding and private property damage.

Your expertise is much appreciated; a job well done.

Robert and Thelma Smith



No weddings this week.




No information this week.



Sports Page


Pirates 2-0 in league with win over Bayfield

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Last year, the Bayfield Wolverines volleyball team gave the Pirates fits during the regular season. When the district tournament was held at Bayfield, there were many in La Plata County who thought the pattern would remain the same.

Not so. The Pirates thumped the Wolverines, winning the tourney, ending Bayfield's season and Pagosa went on to regional action.

The first meeting of the new year between the two teams took place Tuesday night in Bayfield and the Pirates continued to exact revenge, taking a 25-18, 25-20, 25-15 win, running the season record to 3-2 and advancing to a 2-0 Intermountain League mark.

Bayfield started four sophomores and, but for 10 Pirate serve errors and a bevy of Pagosa mistakes, would have had few points on the scoreboard. When the Wolverines did hit the ball successfully, it was against a still erratic Pirate block, often with off-speed shots.

Pagosa, on the other hand, had its best night yet this season on offense. More passes made it to the setters, more sets were where they needed to be, more hitters attacked the ball successfully.

In the first game of the match, Pagosa quickly established dominance, going in front 8-2. Caitlin Forrest, Lori Walkup and Caitlyn Jewell all contributed to the point total with kills. Bayfield crept close courtesy Pagosa mistakes but, ahead 12-8, the Pirates put the pedal down and gained distance. With the Pirates in front 19-10, Bayfield again benefited from poorly set Pagosa blocks, running off a series of successful attacks and drawing as close as 21-15 but the Wolverines could not catch the Pirates who finished off the home team when Walkup blasted a kill off a Bayfield block.

The Wolverines had their best showing of the evening in the first half of the second game of the match, going ahead 2-0, then tying the Pirates 4-4, 5-5, 6-6 and 8-8.

With the ball back on a Wolverine double touch, Pagosa put five straight points on the board. A Bayfield ball went out; Forrest killed to the back line, Bri Scott crushed an overpass then killed from the middle; Liza Kelly and Scott combined to stuff a Wolverine hitter . The Pirates led 14-8 and watched Bayfield in the rearview mirror to the end of the game. Though the Pirate defense continued to suffer from ragged blocking, the hitters blasted away at the home team and the second game was in the books.

The third and final game was nowhere as close as the 25-15 score might indicate. The Pirates continued to press the offense and went out front 9-2 - a gap the Wolverines could not close without the help of Pagosa errors. Pirate serve mistakes gave the hosts a boost, and a porous block allowed several Wolverine hits to reach the floor. Bayfield narrowed the margin to 16-11, but that was the end of their story.

Walkup returned serve and scored. Courtney Steen scored from outside then, two-points later, repeated the move. Scott killed as part of the run and the Pirates were ahead 23-11. Two charity points and two kills through the block gave the Wolverines their final points. Scott hit an off-speed shot for a score and a Bayfield passing error closed out the action.

Coach Penné Hamilton was pleased with her team's offensive show. "The offense was awesome at times," she said. "I've got to think our passing is improving or we wouldn't have been able to set so many good balls."

On the defensive side of the net, there is work still to be done. "We worked on blocking the day before the match for at least a half hour," said the coach, "but we still don't have the block where I want it. We need to keep working on that, and keep working on our digging techniques. Plus, we had way too many serve errors. You can't give away those easy points."

The Pirates go to yet another out-of-town gym tomorrow night for the first IML match of the year against Centauri, in La Jara.

"I really don't know what to expect," said Hamilton. "We're on the road again. Centauri didn't lose as many players to graduation as Bayfield or Ignacio, and they have a new coach. I don't know how they'll be."

Hamilton does know to expect a couple things when the Pirates hit the highway again Sept. 28 to take on Ignacio in an IML contest. "I know Ignacio will play very tough defense, that's for sure. And they have a very good outside hitter. We need to have our block going by then."

Action begins at La Jara and Ignacio with C team matches at 4 p.m.


Kills/ attacks: Walkup 10-16, Scott 6-15, Steen 4-13

Assists: Kelley 14, Walkup 12

Aces serves: Walkup 1, Kelly 1

Solo blocks: Walkup 2

Digs: Steen 11


Pirates defeat Monte Vista for first IML victory

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs hosted a young Monte Vista team Saturday night as the Intermountain League volleyball schedule got underway for the Pirates. Pagosa came away the winner, 21-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-16.

The Pirates' start was agonizingly slow and sluggish play colored the match for the home team. Monte Vista took the early lead in the first game, 3-1 and, as the teams tied throughout the first half of the game, the visitors seemed confident. Coming to town with an IML win over Bayfield under the belt, Monte Vista played at a higher level than have teams of the last few years.

Problems that would dog Pagosa during the match showed up immediately - specifically blocks that were not closed, serve errors and slow-footed defense. The team's strengths also showed: When the pass was adequate and the set on target, several Pirate hitters were knocking the cover off the ball.

With the teams tied 10-10 a furious rally culminated with a great dig by Courtney Steen and a tandem block by Caitlin Forrest and Caitlyn Jewell, giving the Pirates the lead. As happened so often in the first game, Monte came back courtesy a Pagosa error. The Pirates extended the lead to 14-11 when Jewell stuffed a dump off the pass by the Monte setter then nailed a solo block on a Monte hitter on the next play. That was the last lead the Pirates would see in the first game. Monte put on a five-point run, three of the points coming via Pirate errors.

On the way to the 25-21 win, Monte got seven charity points from Pagosa mistakes. The Pirates got points from Bri Scott and Steen, each killing from outside, and on a kill when Jewell slid to the outside for a set from Lori Walkup.

Monte took a 2-1 lead in the second game. Pagosa tied at 3-3, then Monte went in front 6-3 taking advantage of sketchy blocking. A Monte setting error gave Pagosa a point and, with Walkup at the serve, the Pirates ran off seven straight points getting a kill from Steen, a point on a tandem block by Liza Kelley and Scott, an ace from Walkup and a kill by Kelley. The team from the San Luis Valley would not lead again.

Steen and Kari Beth Faber scored from the outside, Jewell hit successfully off the block and came back to score with a solo stuff. Pagosa led 16-9. Walkup, Steen and Kelley put balls to floor to help the team to a 24-13 lead and Kelley finished off Monte with a kill.

The third game stayed close in the early going, with Pagosa leading 10-6, Steen hitting for two of the points. Walkup killed from the middle, Steen scored from outside and the Pirates led 15-8. Again, though, slack play allowed the visitors back into the game. Monte Vista tied the score 16-16 when the Pirates gave up six points with serve receive and passing errors and allowed a Monte hitter to tip over the block to an open spot in front of the back-row defense. Monte was just as inconsistent and replied in kind with five charity points.

Pagosa led 21-17 when Faber killed cross-court, but the Pirates surrendered points with two hitting errors and an open block to let the opponents back in the game 22-20.

Walkup put an end to any hope of momentum on Monte's side of the court with a blast from the middle. Pagosa gave away a point with a serve hit out of bounds but Walkup stepped up again, crushing a set and scoring. Monte hit a ball out and the third game belonged to the hometown Pirates.

Pagosa took the early lead in game four. Jewell scored with a stuff, Walkup and Scott scored with kills and the Pirates led 8-5. Steen scored from outside, Scott killed over the Monte middle blocker, Kelly stuffed for a point, a quick set to Scott resulted in a kill and Forrest hit successfully to the back line. Pagosa was up 13-5

Monte stayed alive courtesy of Pagosa mistakes and closed the gap to 16-12 before Walkup put a point on the board with an off-speed shot from the 10-foot line. Steen killed twice in succession and Pagosa crept ahead 20-13. Steen scored again, Forrest tallied a kill inside the block and Jewell scored twice, the last point in the Pirate win coming on her successful roll shot. Pagosa had its first IML win of the year.

"We had a very slow start for a league match," said coach Penné Hamilton. "We talked about how important it is to play our best in league matches, but we didn't come out strong. We had a lot of hitting errors and struggled with our serve. By 12-7 in the second game, we had seven serve errors - way too many.

"On the other hand, our back row was a little better than the last match. We had more digs, and in the longer rallies our passing kept things alive. We had two or three players hitting well, but we need to keep working on our approaches. If we can get everyone hitting well at the same time, we should be very hard to stop. Now we just need to keep getting stronger. League matches mean everything."


Kills/attacks: Steen 10-22, Walkup 9-16, Jewell 8-18

Assists: Walkup 21, Kelley 15

Solo blocks: Jewell 5

Ace serves: Forrest 1, Scott 1, Walkup 1

Digs: Steen 7, Walkup 6, Forrest 4


Pirates beat Kirtland 3-0 for first win of season

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

The Kirtland Broncos volleyball team couldn't receive serve, couldn't hit against a block and couldn't beat the Pirates Thursday night.

Pagosa ripped off the first win of the season in a home match against the Broncos, with a relatively easy 25-10, 25-10, 25-17 victory over the visitors from New Mexico.

Each game of the match followed a similar pattern in the early going, with the Pirates surging to a healthy lead.

Pagosa trailed the Broncos only once all evening, falling behind 0-1 in the first game when a hit on the first exchange went out of bounds. From that point on, the Pirates were ahead and, at times, by a wide margin.

The hometown team ran off six consecutive points with Kari Beth Faber at the serve to go ahead 6-1 in the first game then, leading 11-7 and with Bri Scott at the serve, ran off 9 straight points. During the run Scott hit three ace serves, Caitlyn Jewell stuffed two attacks for points and Liza Kelley and Caitlin Forrest each scored with kills.

Kirtland managed a point on a Pirate ball hit out then gave up four points, three on errors and one on an ace by Kelley. Two Pagosa setting mistakes surrendered points before a block by Lori Walkup ended the game.

Before the Broncos could orient themselves in the second game, the Pirates were ahead 7-0. Kelly served the seven points and Jewell killed for a score from the middle. Another kill by Jewell gave her team an 8-2 lead. On the way to a 13-4 advantage the Pirates got four of the points gratis, due to Bronco errors while Walkup hit an ace.

As the Pirates increased the lead to 16-8 the teams each handed over points with mistakes on their own sides of the net. An ace by Scott started a five-point Pirate surge and the home team led 21-8. Two Pagosa hitting errors gave the Broncos their last points of the match.

Kelley dumped the ball off the pass to an empty spot in the Bronco defense, Kirtland committed two costly mistakes and Jewell stuffed a Bronco hitter to finish the second game.

As in the two previous games, the Pirates went out to the early lead in the third game, this time 6-0 scoring with kills by Walkup and Jewell. Kirtland continued to have problems handling the serve, either surrendering the ace or failing to connect on a decent pass. The Broncos also continued to be intimidated by the taller Pirate blockers who regularly doubled and tripled the Kirtland hitter. Jewell scored from the middle and Kim Fulmer hit an ace. Pagosa led 8-2.

Faber crushed a Bronco overpass and Forrest put a kill down from outside while the Pirates continued to receive gifts from the Broncos.

The lead was 14-6. Forrest slid to the middle for a kill and Walkup crushed a ball from the right side; Jewell tipped over the Kirtland block. The Broncos stayed in the game, however, getting some gift points and managing to put several balls through holes in the Pagosa block and past the back-row defense. The Pirates led 17-12.

Walkup responded with strength, blasting an errant Bronco pass to the floor, but Kirtland came back with a kill and an ace. Scott scored with an off-speed shot from the middle that touched down at the 10-foot line and a Bronco hit went out of bounds, but Kirtland refused to give in, putting two more points on the board.

Forrest killed to make it 21-16 then scored again with a left-handed return of a Bronco overpass. Kirtland hit the ball out and Pagosa was up 23-16.

The Broncos' last point came on a Pagosa serve-receive error but the Broncos returned the favor with a serve into the net.

Jewell put out the lights with a kill from the middle, serving notice she is well on her way to recovering from an ankle injury that kept her out of the first match of the season.

Despite the lack of a consistent challenge from the Kirtland side of the net, coach Penné Hamilton saw progress in many of the areas the Pirates concentrated on in practice during the week. "More of our hitters were on," she said, "and it seems our serve receive is slowly improving. Our blocking was much better. Kirtland didn't get a lot over the net at us but I think our back-row defense was a bit improved over what it was in our first two matches. Our kids covered the perimeter better than they have."


Kills/attacks: Jewell 6-10, Forrest 6-14, Kelley 4-10

Assists: Kelley 13, Walkup 10

Ace serves: Kelley 5, Scott 4, Forrest 3

Solo blocks: Jewell 4, Walkup 3

Digs: Scott 5, Faber 5, Forrest 4


Pirates deal Montrose 20-10 homecoming loss

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

It's always nice to earn a win on homecoming.

Especially if victory comes against the school crowning kings and queens for the weekend.

And Pagosa was literally a royal pain Friday night at Class 4A Montrose, spoiling such festivities for the Indians en route to a 20-10 win.

In contrast to a lackluster home performance Sept. 10 against Cortez, head coach Sean O'Donnell's crew played impressively on both sides of the ball, mixing a wealth of speed and jolting tackles to frustrate Montrose throughout the contest.

Though the Pirates were held to three and out after receiving the opening kick, a second-down tackle for a loss by junior linebacker Bubba Martinez stalled the ensuing Montrose drive and the Indians were forced to punt.

Pagosa took possession at its own 37-yard line, and senior quarterback Paul Armijo weaved to the Montrose 35 on first down, then moved the ball inside the Indians' 18 on two additional carries.

A false start, bad exchange and incompletion on third down jeopardized the drive, but Armijo hooked up with junior tight end Craig Schutz for a 25-yard touchdown on fourth down and Pagosa led 6-0 with 5:38 to play in the first.

Pagosa's extra-point attempt failed, but a sack at the Montrose 30 from Pirate junior lineman Jake Cammack to follow backfield tackles by teammates Karl Hujus and Jake Redding on the Indians' next possession brought out the punt team on fourth and long.

The Pirates were then held to three and out, junior halfback/safety Tyler Rawlings led a late Montrose charge and the first quarter ended with the Indians threatening inside the Pagosa 15.

Then Redding prevented further penetration with a fumble recovery at the Pirate 18, both teams traded punts and Pagosa was in scoring range at the Montrose 30 after a first-down pass from Armijo to Craig Schutz went for 51 yards with eight minutes to play in the half.

Rawlings intercepted on the next play to give the Indians possession at their own 20, but Montrose was soon forced to punt after consecutive pass breakups by Jordan Shaffer and Paul Przybylski.

The Pirates set out near midfield and drove inside the Montrose 10, but failed to add points as junior placekicker Daniel Aupperle's 22-yard field goal attempt missed the mark with 1:25 remaining.

Montrose quickly pushed to the Pirate 35 on the resulting possession, but a late holding call followed by a bobbled snap with three ticks left sent the home team to the locker room trailing 6-0.

The Indians came out determined to put points on the board in the second half, and chewed up most of the third quarter while using a balanced attack to march inside the Pirate 10 on its opening drive.

But Pirate senior Raul Palmer pushed the Indians back to the 15 with a sack on third down, and the Pirates took over at their own 5 after Montrose failed to reach the end zone on fourth and goal.

Josh Hoffman gave Pagosa breathing room with consecutive four-yard gains, then Armijo hit Przybylski for a first down at the Pirate 19.

Montrose dug in defensively, however, and got its first points of the game after a bad snap on Pagosa's fourth-down punt attempt sailed through the back of the end zone for a safety.

Trailing 6-2, Montrose was soon operating within the Pirate red zone after Indian sophomore Seth Palmer returned the ensuing free kick to the Pagosa 42.

But Armijo and Przybylski doomed the drive by breaking up a fourth-down pass attempt from the 18 on the first play of the final quarter, and each team was forced to punt on its next possession.

With 8:23 to play, Pagosa took over at its own 47, moved to the Montrose 36 on a 17-yard keeper by Armijo, then gained a first down at the 14 on a 22-yard strike from Armijo to Craig Schutz.

The Indians temporarily stymied the drive with a pair of tackles for loss, but Shaffer responded by leaping high between two Montrose defenders in the end zone for an 18-yard toss from Armijo and the Pirates took a 12-2 lead with 6:26 till the gun.

Armijo then hit senior flanker Daren Hockett on a slant for a successful two-point conversion, and Pagosa led by a dozen at 14-2.

But the Indians would not go quietly, and needed just over two minutes to get back in the game with a 74-yard drive that culminated with a 5-yard TD pass from Landon Hornbeck to Taylor Elm.

Hornbeck then threw to Rawlings for two, and Montrose trailed by just four with 4:18 to play.

Pagosa would answer - after taking over at their own 20, the Pirates moved near midfield via carries from Armijo and Hoffman.

The knockout punch came at the 2:34 mark as Armijo ducked inside on a keeper then cut to the flats and raced 55 yards to make it 20-10 Pagosa.

The Pirates' two-point try failed, but Montrose could not put together a scoring drive in the final two minutes and the contest ended with Armijo taking a knee to run out the clock at the Indian 12.

Armijo led Pagosa's offense with 188 yards on the ground and completed 10 of 20 passes for an additional 166 yards. Hoffman added 59 yards rushing, while Schutz hauled in three passes for 101 receiving yards.

Redding and Armijo tallied 15 tackles apiece to lead the defense; Bubba Martinez and Przybylski totaled 10 and nine stops, respectively.

The win boosted Pagosa's season record to 2-1.

Commenting on his team's performance, "Any time you can come up here and leave with a win, you've got to be excited about it," said O'Donnell after the game.

With respect to the defense, "We worked hard this week on being smarter and knowing our responsibilities," said O'Donnell.

"Sometimes it's hard to keep everybody involved because we have nine linebackers who can go out and play, but I guess that's a good problem to have," added O'Donnell.

As for the Pirate offense, "We got some big plays when we needed them tonight, and I thought we did a better job blocking this week, especially in the second half," said O'Donnell. "But it's still a weakness we'll continue to work on."

In conclusion, "We're not going to hang our hats on this win," said the coach.

"We've got a tough road in front of us, but if the kids commit to trying to get better each week, we'll have a good chance to be successful from here on out."

The Pirates head south of the border this week to take on Taos, N.M. Kickoff for Friday's game with the Tigers is set for 7 p.m.


Pagosa 6 0 0 14-20

Montrose 0 0 2 8-10

First Quarter

Pag - Schutz 25 pass from Armijo (kick failed)

Third Quarter

Mon - Safety

Fourth Quarter

Pag - Shaffer 18 pass from Armijo (Armijo pass to Hockett for 2)

Mon - Elm 5 pass from Hornbeck (Hornbeck pass to Rawlings for 2)

Pag - Armijo 55 run (2-pt. try failed)


Lady Pirates take third at Shiprock, boys 10th in field of 20

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The depth of the Pagosa Springs girls' varsity cross country team continues to be tested, and week after week, they rise to the top.

Against 20 teams in Shiprock, New Mexico, Saturday, the Pirates finished third as a team, placing two individuals in the top five.

Junior Emilie Schur finished second overall, crossing the line in 20 minutes and one second, just two seconds behind leader Tiffany Sorrell, of Window Rock. Coach Scott Anderson said Schur was fighting a cold as well as the competition.

Teammate Laurel Reinhardt wasn't far behind, finishing fifth in 20:55 and carving 50 seconds off her 2003 time.

"It was breakthrough race for her," Anderson said.

The top two were followed by sophomore Jen Shearston, finishing in 22:13 to claim the 19th spot. Sophomore Elise McDonald captured 22nd with a time of 22:21, and junior Drie Young finished 46th in 24:04, taking 30 seconds off her 2003 time in her first varsity race of the season.

As a team, Pagosa's third was a strong showing considering they were racing without juniors Heather Dahm and Jessica Lynch. Both are injured. Anderson said Lynch should be back this week in Bayfield. It would be the returning state-qualifier's first meet of the season.

"This is the first year in a long time that we have enough depth to allow us to do as well as we did as a team, even with 5A scoring," Anderson said. In New Mexico, as in Colorado 5A meets, the team score is tabulated by adding together the scoring of five runners. A sixth runner is the tie-breaker. In Colorado 3A, four runners constitute a team. The fifth runner is the tie-breaker.


In the boys' varsity races, the Pirates finished tenth out of 20 teams.

"I'm actually happy with the boys' effort," Anderson said. "Our first through third runners are packing together nicely and running well. If our fourth runner continues to improve, I think our chances come regionals will be good."

Senior Otis Rand was the first Pagosa runner across the line in Shiprock. He finished 31st with a time of 19:02.

"I'm really excited to see him flirting with the 18 minute barrier," Anderson said. "I think fairly soon he should be underneath it."

Junior Orion Sandoval finished 37th in 19:13, running a solid race Anderson said.

Sophomore Riley Lynch finished the course in 19:42, earning 50th. Crossing the line in 85th-place with a time of 22:20 was freshman Isaiah Warren. Travis Moore, another freshman, rounded out the Pirate's effort, finishing 102nd in 28:23.

The Pirates will stay closer to home this weekend, competing at the Bayfield Invitational Saturday. The day begins with junior high races at 9 and 9:30 a.m. Junior varsity boys are set to race at 9:50. At 10:30 a.m. the junior varsity and varsity girls will run a combined race. The boys varsity is set for an 11 a.m. start. Races will begin at the football stadium next to the high school.


Rising Stars golf tourney set Oct. 2

Rising Stars of Pagosa Springs will hold its annual golf tournament Oct. 2 at Pagosa Springs Golf Club.

Sponsorships are available by calling Rising Stars at 731-6983 or to play in the tournament you can sign up at the golf course.

Rising Stars is a nonprofit organization the mission of which is to enhance the lifestyles of individuals, families and youths through cultural awareness, physical activity, creativity, education and the arts.

The Rising Stars facility is at 1860 Majestic Drive and the programs include parenting classes, Discovery Junction Child Development Center, providing child care for ages 2-12, incorporating gymnastics, acting, music, dance and swimming.

For more information on the golf tournament or Rising Stars call 731-6983.


The Moe -- and friends - Show blanks Bayfield 10-0

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

On the basis of goals alone - six of them - some might call it "The Moe Show."

But don't let the scores mislead you.

The Pagosa Springs Pirates 10-0 soccer whitewash of Bayfield's Wolverines Tuesday was a full team effort.

With a stiff wind blowing from the southwest into their faces during the first half, the Pirates paid little attention to the weather, even though it included clearing, sunshine and warmth riding on that wind.

What they were intent on was getting into position to score with crisp passing, lane creation and multiple-person attacks.

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason had preached that type of offense repeatedly and the message finally seemed to get through: You can't score if you don't shoot.

Too many times early in the season open attackers passed up shots looking for even better position.

Tuesday's contest in Pagosa's Golden Peaks Stadium opened with the Pirates moving right to the attack, the first shot a drive by Caleb Ormonde that hit just outside the left post.

Then, the Webb boys took over.

At 2:28 Shon Webb stole a Wolverine outlet pass at midfield, found his brother, Moe, racing the middle and led him perfectly for the shot, goal and a 1-0 Pagosa lead.

Playing possession ball for a while, the Pirates did not score again until 15:24, but it wasn't because of lack of effort.

Ormonde was stopped by Wolverine keeper Ryan Wirth on a crossing lead from Moe Webb; Keegan Smith's drive from 20, off an Ormonde drop pass, sailed over the net; Jessie Morris, on a midfield steal, was stopped by Wirth; Paul Muirhead was wide left; and Shon Webb was wide right.

Then Moe Webb went on another tour of the Wolverine defensive zone. With a centering lead from Morris, he zigged, zagged, stopped and turned until only Wirth stood between him and his second score. He bore straight in on the sophomore keeper and beat him low right.

Just two minutes and 17 seconds later, Muirhead intercepted an outlet pass, went right, then cut sharply left and drilled a left-footer back to the net for Pagosa's third goal, unassisted.

Derek Monks, basically a defender, took on an offensive personality in this game, too. At 21:39 he took a cross from Levi Gill at midfield, beat two defenders on the right side and then drilled a cross to Moe Webb for goal 4.

After a block by Gill and a long looping lead pass, Moe was high over the net; Kevin Blue hit the crossbar on a breakaway and Keegan Smith was stopped by Wirth on back-to-back attacks.

Awarded a penalty kick at 35:34, Kurt-Mason's decision to have Blue handle the effort proved a wise choice. He drilled the ball high to Wirth's left and over his head into the back of the net for a 5-0 lead that held until the half.

The second half opened with Wirth stopping Smith, Gill stopping a Wolverine drive; and a nice Moe-to-Shon-to-Keegan three-man attack but a missed final kick.

Midfielder Morris keyed the next drive, stealing the ball just inside the zone, skirting two defenders to the right, and drilling a centering pass to Ormonde who converted for goal 6 at 47:43.

After Muirhead was stopped on the next Pagosa offensive, Bayfield had its first shot on goal, a drive by Juan Guzman stopped easily by Pirate keeper Caleb Forrest.

Moe Webb was awarded a penalty kick from the 18 at 55:14, but Wirth was up to the challenge this time.

After shots by Blue and Muirhead were wide left and stopped by Wirth, respectively, the spotlight was back on the Moe Zone.

It all came after an Ormonde shot was blocked but not cleared from the zone.

Webb got a cross from Muirhead off the left wing, drove past a pair of defenders directly at the left post, and then veered quickly to his right and reversed the kick over Wirth for Pagosa's seventh goal.

Ormonde's header off a corner kick narrowly missed being the eighth goal, tipped at the last second by Wirth and off the crossbar.

But: Heeeere's Moe.

He took an outlet pass from Forrest and looked upfield to find a wide open center path for 30 yards. As the defense closed in to cut off that scoring lane, he faked two steps to the left, came back to the right side and rifled a blistering drive past Wirth for Pirate marker eight.

Gill made a double stop on the next Wolverine possession, blocking shots by two separate attackers before intercepting a pass and leading the ball to midfield.

Morris found a wide open lane to the left, crossed to Monks on the right wing and goal nine for Pagosa was his first varsity marker at 69:40.

Smith, Muirhead and Ormonde all worked for the 10th goal but were thwarted by Wirth.

Pagosa, playing two players short because of the lead, got the game-ender from - you guessed it - Moe Webb at 77:10.

This time he got an assist from Morris. Webb's drive from 18 on a right wing cross from the senior caromed off the shoulder of a defender in front of the net and over Wirth's head for goal 10 and the mercy ruling stopping the game.

Coaches said Bayfield was without several players either ineligible, under suspension, or who have quit the team.

Pagosa played again without midfielder Chris Baum, recovering from a ligament tear and Thomas Martinez, felled by a math grade.

The victory moved the Pirate's season record to 2-5, 2-1 in the Southwest Mountain League. They host Telluride at 4 p.m. Friday in Golden Peaks Stadium and then welcome Center in the same venue at 4 p.m. Tuesday.


Scoring: 2:28, P-M. Webb, assist S. Webb; 15:24, P-M. Webb UA; 17:41, P-Muirhead, UA; 21:39, M. Webb, assist Monks; 35:34, P-Blue, PK; 47:43, P-Ormonde, assist Morris; 62:51, P-M. Webb, UA; 65:38, M. Webb, assist Morris; 69:40, P-Monks, UA; 77:10, P-M. Webb, assist Morris. Shots on goal: P-22, B-4; Saves, P-Forrest, 3; B-Wirth, 10.


Pirates lead 70 minutes fall 3-2 in soccer overtime

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

You always want to play well in your league season opener.

The practices, scrimmages and out-of-league games are behind and these are the ones which really count.

For over 70 minutes Friday Pagosa's high school soccer squad took that feeling to heart and stout defense had them leading 2-0.

Then the roof caved in. In a one minute, 11-second span, Crested Buttes' Titans scored a pair of goals and the game was tied.

But, let's set the stage for the first overtime game of the season, coming on the Pirate's home field in Golden Peaks Stadium.

Just 41 seconds into the game Pagosa had a fine scoring opportunity when Levi Gill's chip over the top to freshman Shon Webb was right on target, but Crested Butte keeper Ryan Houseman was up to the challenge.

After a block by Gill, Pirate keeper Josh Stuckwish had his first save on a tricky dribbler from the left wing. The Titans kept the ball in the attack zone and a second shot crunched off the cross bar.

Stuckwish stopped the rebound and keyed a Pirate break with a long outlet kick taken in stride by sophomore Caleb Ormonde whose shot from just outside the box was hauled in by Houseman.

But the Pirates would not let up. A three-man attack with Kevin Blue swinging into the middle resulted in game's opening score at the seven minute mark when he drilled a cross from Ormonde past Houseman.

Crested Butte's Nick Catmor sailed one over the top of the net. Catmor stole the inbound pass but his shot at 11:45 was wide left.

Gill turned in a sparking block-takeaway on the ensuing play, setting up another three-man Pirate attack.

Keegan Smith took Gill's pass, led Blue on the right wing, and his pass to Moe Webb was a shot setup for Webb stopped on a brilliant play by Houseman.

Three minutes later Webb was again stopped, his drive sailing just over the bar. Then Chi Hoon Lee appeared to have a second Pirate goal with a looper over the keeper from 10 yards - but it caught a draft and sailed just outside the right post.

The balance of the first half featured another block by Gill, five stops by Stuckwish, Moe Webb driving another shot high and finally, a save by Stuckwish at the buzzer.

Pagosa opened the second half with an offensive purpose. After a block by Gill, Keegan Smith's bid for goal was stopped by Houseman but Moe Webb kept the ball in the attack zone. His lead to younger brother Shon resulted in a drive that hit just behind the right post.

At 48:25 Pagosa made the score 2-0 with Muirhead's corner kick resulting in a reverse goal by Ormonde.

After another Gill block, Pirate Derek Monks broke free for his first shot of the season off a cross from Jesse Morris, but Houseman was ready.

The next 14 minutes were a midfield scrum, neither team gaining an attack advantage, though both keepers were credited with a save in the span.

At 54:40 Moe Webb appeared to have broken the tedium with a cannon-shot blast. Houseman, somehow, stopped the shot tipping it off the right post. But his test wasn't over. Shon Webb had the rebound and Houseman stopped him point-blank.

As time wore on Pagosa seemed to gain confidence with sharp defense breaking up move after move by Crested Butte. Blue's looping cross to Ormonde resulted in a shot taking a Crested Butte defender full face. Then Ormonde was stopped by Houseman before Gill's bid for a header goal off a corner kick hit the bar.

Then came the Crested Butte rally. Stuckwish made a stop on the Titan's Chris Garren but somehow it dribbled away from him and into the net. A minute and 11 seconds later, the ball never having left the Pirate zone, Titan Zach Vosburg caught Stuckwish cheating to his left and drilled one into the corner to tie the match with 8:12 left.

In that time, Blue was stopped on a squibber, Gill had another block-takeaway, Smith drew a yellow card, Stuckwish had a save, Ormonde's bid to be a hero went just outside the left post and Moe Webb's clock-ending drive was over the net.

Overtime was next, five minutes of sudden death.

Muirhead was the first to try to bring the afternoon to a halt but Houseman hauled in his reverse.

Moe Webb broke free just inside the zone with 40 seconds left, deked right, then roared down the middle, drilling a shot past Houseman for an apparent Pirate lead.

But officials called an offside penalty on Pagosa, negating the goal.

As the clock ran down toward a second overtime, Crested Butte was awarded the ball out of bounds deep in the Pirate zone and with just two seconds remaining Titan David Jelinek beat Stuckwish high to his left and the game was over, a 3-2 Pagosa loss.

It was of little solace that one official told Pagosa coaches after the game that he had erred on the out of bounds call, that it should have gone to Pagosa.

The loss dropped the Pirate record to 0-5 for the season, 0-1 in the Southwest Mountain League. Having already beaten Telluride 3-1 and Ridgway 4-0, Crested Butte hiked its league mark to 4-0 the following day with an 8-1 victory over Bayfield.


Scoring: 7:00, P-Blue, assist Ormonde; 48:15, P-Ormonde, assist Muirhead; 70:37, CB-Catmor, UA; 71:48 , Vosburg, UA; 84:58, Jelinek, UA. Shots on goal, CB, 20, P-20; Saves, P-Stuckwish, 15; CB-Houseman, 15.



Pirate kickers top Ridgway 3-1 to break losing streak

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

In every endeavor there seems to be one location which just lends itself to strife.

For Pagosa Springs High School soccer teams the site is Ridgway.

Invariably, something unusual happens when the Pirates are scheduled there - things like heavy snow blinding players, elk grazing on the playing field and leaving their calling cards.

This time it was a schedule foul-up that came close to canceling the game after Pagosa arrived following a four-hour bus trip Saturday.

The Pirates were happy the game was played, under somewhat unusual circumstances, because they came away with their first win of the season, and a league win, at that.

The scenario:

Pagosa's schedule showed the game on tap for 1 p.m. - Ridgway's schedule had it for 11 a.m. Ridgway players had been on the field for over an hour when Pagosa arrived.

An official told Pirate coaches they could have no more than 20 minutes to get players ready for the game - and that they would play only 30 minute halves because the three officials were scheduled to work late afternoon games in Montrose.

Pirate coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason protested the short time and worried players could be injured without proper warmup time.

Finally, officials agreed to a 30-minute preparation time, but later started the game after 24 minutes.

Pagosa's Levi Gill, an omnipresent gold flash all afternoon, started the action with a block as a Ridgway attacker failed to fake him out of position.

Pirate midfielder Keegan Smith was stopped by Ridgway keeper Wyatt Mangelson and a Ridgway shot was snared in by Pirate keeper Josh Stuckwish.

Then, Ridgway mounted its only real threat when a loose ball was in front of the Pirate net and Stuckwish, Gill and Thomas Martinez each blocked shots before the Pirates could clear the zone.

Pagosa's Paul Muirhead was stopped from the left corner and Kevin Blue's penalty kick from 22 yards was flagged by Mangelson.

Two blocks by Gill and a save by Stuckwish followed before a sudden surge in wind produced gusts up to 45 mph and Caleb Ormonde's header off a corner throw-in took off like it was nuclear powered.

A Martinez cross through traffic to Muirhead gave Pagosa another scoring opportunity but the shot was squibbed. On the next play Muirhead's drop to Moe Webb resulted in a shot wide left.

Ridgway took a 1-0 lead on a mistake by Stuckwish. He made a fine stop on a shot by Ridgway's Jimmy Discoe and then, for some reason, rolled a soft outlet pass way short of the left wing. Discoe was right there and drilled it past him to give the home team a 1-0 lead at 31:50.

That seemed to put some new energy in the Pirate game and they came storming back.

Moe Webb's pass to Shon Webb resulted in a shot wide left. Gill made another steal, Stuckwish a save and Gill a double block turning aside two shots before they could get to his keeper.

And then Pagosa netted the tie on as classy a play as you'll see all season.

It started with a Jesse Morris steal at midfield. His crossing pass to Keegan Smith was perfect and Smith spotted Muirhead breaking from the left corner.

He chipped over a defender and Muirhead drilled a reverse kick into the net.

Just two minutes and two seconds later, the Pirates took the lead for good on a give and go middle drop from Caleb Ormonde to Moe Webb who was right on target for the 2-1 lead at 36:24.

After a seven-minute halftime break Ridgway got a shot on goal stopped by Stuckwish and then the Pirates were attacking again.

First it was Muirhead to Moe Webb whose lead to Shon Webb created a shot opportunity stopped by Mangelson.

Then it was a Martinez-to-Muirhead effort that was stopped before Gill made another steal.

After a pair of routine saves by Stuckwish, Blue was wide right on a header lead from Gill and Moe Webb was stopped by Mangelson on a breakaway.

Finally, at 60:50, the Pirates boosted the lead to 3-1 with Moe Webb scoring off a header lead from Gill.

Seconds later Gill, from his deep defensive position had fans from both sides gasping in disbelief as he weaved his way through the entire Ridgway defense and roared in on Mangelson. At the last second he attempted a drop pass to Martinez which went awry, ending the scoring chance.

Then it became a Pirate possession game. Each time Ridgway advanced, a Pirate was there to thwart the charge.

Only twice in the balance of the game did Ridgway get into the zone. Morris had a block, Gill a pair.

In the meantime, Pagosa worked keepaway soccer, advancing only twice on open breakaways by Shon Webb, one resulting in a stop by Mangelson and the other hitting the right post.

And finally, the Pirates were off the loss streak, moving to 1-5 for the season and 1-1 in the Southwest Mountain League.

The Pirates host Telluride at 4 p.m. Friday in Golden Peaks Stadium and then welcome Center at the same time Tuesday in league confrontations.


Scoring: 31:50, R-Discoe; 34:22, P-Muirhead, assist Smith; 36:24, P-M. Webb, assist Ormonde; 68:50, P-M. Webb, assist Gill. Shots on goal: R-14, P-22; Saves, P-Stuckwish, 10; R-Mangelson, 13.


Pirate golfers open regional play today

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Mark Faber knew he'd have a building job on his hands with a squad of basically inexperienced players on the Pagosa Springs Pirate golf team this year.

With that in mind he has switched up rosters for tournaments, trying to get every person who came out for the team some big-time competition as he builds for the future.

And now all the tournaments are behind and regional competition opens today at Holly Dot golf course in Rye.

In preparation last week, the team took four players to that same course Tuesday and a different crew to a two-day Montrose competition Wednesday and Thursday.

At Rye, the Pirates finished 20th of 24 teams entered, paced by Ben DeVoti with a 103. Second for Pagosa was Cody Bahn at 108. Jeff Moore, a newcomer after being injured in football, came in at 109 and Clayton King at 110.

"It was great exposure, a great experience for these youngsters" Faber said.

Pueblo West, a perennial prep golf power, was the tournament winner at 226. Three persons tied for best individual performance at 73.

The two-day tournament in Montrose, played over two courses saw the Pirates finish 16 of 18 teams entered.

Opening day rounds on the Black Canyon course featured an 89 by Darin Prokop, 92 from Tim Kamolz, 97 by Damian Rome, 102 from Joey Bergman and 104 by Michael Bradford.

On the second day, playing the new and supposedly tougher Cobble Creek course, Pagosa played better, "much better", said the coach, noting every player cut strokes off first-day scores.

Prokop came in with an 87, for a two-day total of 176 over 36 holes; Kamolz had an 88 for a two-day 180; Rome at 94, two-day 191; Bergman at 93, two-day 195; and Bradford 95, for a two-day 199.

The team averaged 278 the first day and 10 strokes better at 268 the second day.

Representing Pagosa in regional competition today are Prokop, Kamolz, Bergman and Rome.

Faber took the squad to Rye Wednesday to play a practice round, to see each individual hole and work on identifying proper club choices.

The coach estimated it will take a score between 79 and 81 to qualify for state at the regional.

"Obviously we have some work to do in a short time," said the man who took a full team to state for the first time last year.

"But this is a bunch who can do it if they put their minds to it," he said.

"We'll spend time this week working on chipping and putting around the greens, the place where most of our problems have come this year," he said.

In addition to regionals squad, the eight other players were taken to a tournament on the same course Tuesday, giving them a chance to experience a playoff layout first hand.



Parks & Rec

A compassionate man

taught all

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

I had the pleasure of attending the "farewell party or "thank you party" for Father John Bowe Sunday and seeing all the happy faces, happy that they had been privileged to have a man like John "Jack" Bowe in their life.

Men like Father John instill many of the values we have here in parks and recreation. He leads by example. His love for people, especially kids and their well-being is his legacy.

In the infant stages of the development of our Park Fun program, player fee-based costs, and other expenses that kids or parents could not come up with, it seemed like we would get a mini grant from some benefactor.

I'm sure the lead at the Catholic Church came from Father John, for a place where children of need could enjoy what all the other kids were enjoying.

If you ever had the chance to be around the man, you know he was never judgmental and lived his life for all the people. He weighed out all the positives and all the negatives, and then did what was best for the whole town and its residents.

He educated us all in sportsmanship and fairness - with no hidden agendas. The question might not have been about sports or recreation but the lessons learned are practiced every day by our crews.

We are community servants and the parks and the programs are the peoples', weighed out and made the best programs possible, with fairness in mind.

Little did we know that our forefathers would name the river that runs through town after such a great mentor. Thank you, Father John for the groundwork you have laid for our generation to follow. We have big shoes to fill but you have taught us well.

Basic values

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." - Plato

We seem to be living in a time when traditional values can no longer be taken for granted. It seems that we need to have reminders whether it is from recreation professionals, books, movies, etc. to maintain an awareness of the importance of preserving basic human values.

Traditional values of sportsmanship are being challenged from all sides: professional, college, high school, and even in recreational adult and youth sports. As a recreation professional, I believe that unless we remind ourselves of the essentials of good sportsmanship it will gradually fade away.

According to Fred Engh the author of "Why Johnny Hates Sports," even young children can learn to be good sports by learning basic life skills, such as how to be unselfish, to share, to abide by rules and to have fun playing simple games with others.

Engh reminds us that "we, as parents, become so engrossed in the winning; we forget to stress the importance of sportsmanship!"

I would like to see our town recommit ourselves to guiding our youth, reminding them what sportsmanship is all about; rewarding them for showing good sportsmanship and showing, by our example, that sportsmanship is still alive and valued in youth sports today.

Here's a checklist I have found for kids to follow as they try to develop a habit of good sportsmanship. Help your child through this checklist and spend some time showing your child why sportsmanship should be a top priority. Remember this quote from Heywood Hale Broun, "Sports do not build character. They reveal it."

Sportsmanship Checklist for Kids:

I abide by the rules of the game.

I try to avoid arguments.

I share in the responsibilities of the team.

I give everyone a chance to play according to the rules.

I always play fair.

I follow the directions of the coach.

I respect the other team's effort.

I offer encouragement to my teammates.

I accept the judgment calls of the game officials.

I play hard but accept the outcome.

Sportsmanship is the ability to:

- win without gloating (don't rub it in)

- lose without complaining (don't make excuses)

- treat your opponent, and the officials, with respect.

Sportsmanship Tips:

- If you make a mistake don't pout or make excuses. Learn from it, and be ready to continue to play.

- If a teammate makes a mistake, encourage, don't criticize.

Volleyball leagues

Fall volleyball leagues are right around the corner. Start putting your teams together now for the upcoming season. Managers are currently meeting to assemble four-person coed leagues. Play will begin in late September/early October so get your teams together today.

Youth soccer

We also continue to look for business sponsorships for Youth Soccer. The program has grown so much this year that the teams have surpassed our sponsors. For $150 sponsorship includes: plaque with team picture, signage, and designation in newspaper plus the sponsorship is tax deductible. If you are interested in sponsoring one of our youth soccer teams, call Myles Gabel at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Hiring referees

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department continues to seek individuals interested in officiating soccer, basketball, volleyball and baseball. High school students may apply, Compensation is $10-$25 per game depending on age group and experience.

Adult softball meeting

The goal of the department is to meet the wellness needs of our community. To this end, we would like to schedule a meeting of anyone who would like to have input into our adult softball leagues in the future. Please put in writing any item that you would like to see added to an agenda, bring to Town Hall or send to: We will compile these agenda items and schedule a general meeting for all to attend in the near future. It is our hope that we will be able to present a softball program that everyone has a part in helping to make enjoyable and successful.

Parents, We still need your help.

Thanks to everyone who has made the effort to return their children's team uniforms from this past basketball and baseball/T-ball season. If your children still have their basketball or baseball jerseys/pants, please return them to the recreation department as soon as possible. '

For any questions or additional information concerning any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department Adult or Youth Sports Programs, contact Myles Gabel, recreation supervisor at 264-4151, Ext. 232, or 946-2810, 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.



Another amendment

Colorado voters will make a decision in November on proposed Amendment 35. The amendment seems straightforward: It would hike the state tobacco tax then dedicate a projected $175 million in annual revenues to targeted programs. Those programs have a legitimate appeal: medical programs cut by the state Legislature in the wake of TABOR, children's health insurance, prevention programs, some primary medical care and detection programs that have taken a budget hit in recent years.

If passed, 35 will raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes in Colorado 20 cents, to 84 cents per pack. Of the total, 39 cents is a federal tax. The amendment would send 3 percent of the remaining tobacco tax revenues to town and city governments and to old-age pension programs. Towns and cities would continue to receive 27 percent of tobacco tax revenues as per existing state law.

The rest would be portioned out to the specified programs.

Sounds OK if one is not a smoker and dislikes the ravages of smoking on young and old alike. Help small government, fund health programs, fund tobacco prevention education.

The flip side must be considered before voting.

First, the fairness of the tax.

Is it fair to ask smokers to provide the extra revenue when the programs to be funded have a much wider client base? Colorado residents who smoke are estimated to comprise 20 percent of the population. Why should they (and they are usually poorer than non-smokers) have to pony up for general health care plans?

Second: How much more cluttered will we allow our state constitution to become? The document is becoming Byzantine and now, with damage already done to the overall budget process as TABOR holds the state to recession spending levels, we have the prospect of yet another protected revenue source kept away from lawmakers facing massive budget cuts again this year and next. Yes, Amendment 35 would produce $175 million in additional revenue. No, our elected officials could not use that revenue to create greater budget flexibility, since the amendment prohibits the funds from being substituted for existing funds.

TABOR forces more and more government by initiative, the passage of constitutional amendments to raise and spend additional revenues at the state level. If someone thinks this is ultimately a good thing, they have their head in a hole. The more complex our constitution becomes, with contradictory amendments making their way into law, the more difficult our problems are to solve. Some would trumpet this process as an example of government by the people. It is not. When a great number of voters barely understand the fine print in initiatives, when many voters are easily swayed by oversimplified rhetoric and partisan name-calling, when votes are cast for the best slogan or the most emotionally gratifying cliché, what kind of government do we get?

To add to the problem, it is likely, if passed, Amendment 35 will be in direct conflict with HB1455 in which funding for many of the programs the amendment would support was cut. If it passes the amendment could require a trip to the courts to clarify its relationship to HB1455.

On the other hand, where is the funding for many of the valuable programs desperately hurt by cuts going to come from? What's wrong with funding education programs designed to prevent young people from smoking? What's wrong with funding early detection programs for cancers and lung disease? What's wrong with insuring children's health?

What's wrong is we are being forced to do it by further polluting our constitution. What's wrong is TABOR, its nasty little secrets, back alleys and poisons. Until we modify TABOR, we will have to make tough decisions on proposals like Amendment 35.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Bald heads, birds and skunks

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Now, I ask you, is that a bald pate you see above?

I like to think of it as just "well aged" like a good piece of beef or cheese.

Seems some youngsters in the community have another vision.

Twice in the same evening last week I was stopped by teens from a local church youth group on a scavenger hunt.

Each group said they had, among other things, to rub a bald-headed man's pate and get a picture of the action.

Always accommodating, though arguing I was (am) not bald, I agreed in each instance.

This was the same evening, walking first north along 8th Street and then east on San Juan Street, that a state patrolman and I nearly had a tete-a-tete which he obviously would have won.

He was departing a car wash as I started onto the sidewalk in front of the service station. Neither of us saw the other until the last minute. He graciously motioned me to pass in front of him.

These are not the only things which befall one who walks the streets of Pagosa regularly.

Not too long ago, trudging south on 6th Street below the bluff, a blackbird apparently became enamored of my head. Time and again it dived toward me, veering off at the last second as I flung my arms in wild gyrations as a defense.

I couldn't be attacked by tiny mosquitoes ... in fact I saw very few of them this summer at all. No, I was targeted by a kinky blackbird with an obviously blind eye to beauty.

Come to think of it, he might have been a distant relative of the woodpecker who had me believing for a while that there was a mouse trapped in the walls of our home.

For several minutes on a recent evening, no matter where I went in the house, I kept hearing strange sounds. I was almost convinced of the mouse theory when I happened into the smaller of two bedrooms upstairs and the sound became much louder and more staccato than before.

I peeked out the drapery and there, banging away on the metal storm window frame, was an increasingly frustrated woodpecker.

After a few seconds of his attack, I banged on the wall from the inside near the spot where he was pecking away. One last violent rap and he was gone.

He hasn't been back.

And then there are the skunks. They seem to have an affinity for me, too.

Almost invariably when I walk through the Town Hall property there are one or two who appear to be stalking me.

They, too, may be related to pests at home. For the past several years, skunks on grubbing missions have torn up sections of my lawn annually and in the last three weeks signs of their new burrowing have been more and more evident.

I went down to the river late Sunday after the torrential rains. Photo-op it cried. Logs, trees, tables, beach balls, all were careening downstream. A man, riding a plastic drift board, was in among the flotsam. Just begging to be hit by a log. I'd rather have my head rubbed.



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Sept. 25, 1914

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Selby are the proud parents of a daughter, born Sept. 17th.

Chas. Butcher recently received a letter from English relatives stating that flour is now five dollars per sack in London.

Bumper crops seem to concern people of this vicinity more than politics.

Grant Shahan was severely kicked by a horse last week.

The threshing machine will begin work the 28th.

A baby boy was born Monday to the Rev. and Mrs. C.J. Mekkleson. The family had intended leaving for their new home in Wyoming very soon, but will now delay their departure for a few weeks.


75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Sept. 27, 1929

R.W. Smith of Pagosa Springs, president of the Wolf Creek Pass Highway Improvement Association, has called the annual meeting of the organization to be held at the Liberty Theatre in this city at 10:30 a.m. next Sunday, Sept. 29. Large delegations are expected to be present from San Juan Basin and San Luis Valley points for the purpose of taking up the problems of the association.

Miss Edna Sparks will on Monday begin teaching a six months' term of school at Kearns.

J.B. Patterson is home from Silverton where he spent several weeks on mining business.

Vernon Cato was an arrival Saturday from Denver to spend the week visiting with Pagosa relatives.


50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Sept. 24, 1954

One of the most enjoyable fall affairs in this county and one of the least publicized is the annual Caracas fall barbecue in the southeasternmost part of Archuleta County. Each year one of the ranchers in the area donates a steer in thanksgiving for the harvest and all residents of that area gather to participate in the festivities.

Father Bernard Rotger of the Pagosa Springs Catholic Church offered Holy Mass and blessed the food and they all gave thanks and prayed for a bountiful harvest next year. This day of thanksgiving was started years ago by residents of that area as a purely local affair, but each year it grows to where it is now one of the biggest attractions for people all over the county.


25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Sept. 27, 1979

Fall colors are appearing, fire danger is extreme, and the weather is warmer than is normal for this time of the year. The new snow that fell in the high mountains a couple of weeks ago has all but disappeared.

State Game and Fish officials report that a hunter in the area near Platoro was attacked by what is believed to have been a grizzly bear. If so, this will be the first verified sighting of a grizzly in many years. The game and fish department a few years ago conducted an intensive search in the southeastern part of Archuleta County, just this side of the Continental Divide for grizzlies believed there. The area is not far from where the hunter was attacked by the bear last weekend. None were found at that time.



Farewell Father John

Beloved priest leaves Pagosa after 30 years

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"Well, here we all are."

That favorite phrase of Father John C. Bowe was repeated time and again at his farewell party Sunday by the 400-some who braved the pouring rain to wish the longtime priest good luck.

They've heard him say it in mass after mass, seven days a week, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on Lewis Street. And once a month in the four missions: St. John the Baptist in Pagosa Junction, St. James the Apostle in Trujillo, St. Francis in Frances and the Chromo Mission Station in Chromo. Heard it and loved it, because it somehow sums up who he is: humble, loving, Christ-like according to many at the farewell.

"If you've ever walked in his back door and seen the constant traffic of people and phone calls you can understand," Stephen Van Horn said, prior to leading a group in singing two hymns - "On Eagle's Wings" and "Here We All Are." The second was written by Van Horn in honor of Father John's 80th birthday.

"We've known him forever, since he's been here," Sarah Sutton said. "We say he's our Pope."

"He's by far the holiest man we've ever known," Rose Griego said. "He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. He's so full of love for everyone."

And he's leaving. The Bishop of his order, the Theatines, clerics regular, is sending Father John to San Luis to serve under another priest, reducing his administrative tasks and responsibilities.

"It'll be simpler," Father John, who is 81, said.

He will serve in a parish with Father Pat Valdez, a man Father John has known since Valdez was a teen-ager.

Still, it's not easy.

"You just go," Father John said. "I'm getting used to the idea." He's also getting used to the idea of packing 30 years worth of stuff. His two nephews came last week to help.

"I could never do it (packing) without help, never, ever, not in a month of Sundays," he said.

He will be missed and remembered. Father John has called Pagosa Springs home for most of the last 30 years. The Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish was his first church. Before that he was in the military, in the restaurant business, in seminary, a teacher, a coach, a piano player. Now, he is leaving.

"We used every chair in the building," Mercy Korsgren, community center director said, looking around at the crowds. It took nearly an hour to get everyone through the serving lines. "I could've used more, but we didn't have any."

The multipurpose room was filled with parishioners and community members alike, for Father John didn't just circulate among his parishioners, he got involved. And more involved. And more involved.

For 10 years, he worked as a substitute teacher at the Pagosa Springs high school and middle school as well as the Lutheran school.

"The middle school was just half a block away so I could just go up there," he said.

He was a founding member of the Pagosa Springs Kiwanis Club, chaplain for Hospice Services, helped establish the Pagosa Outreach Connection, a combined secular and sacred organization working to give Pagosa residents a helping hand, served on the Child Protection Team, was a member of the American Legion and the ministerial alliance. He remains the president of the Archuleta County housing board.

"One of the things I've always loved about Father John is I'm not a Catholic and he didn't seem to care," Sally Hameister, chamber of commerce director said prior to listing some of his many accomplishments - including being awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 1997. It seems the list goes on so long, even Father John doesn't remember all his service.

In an earlier interview, he was interrupted by a parishioner who listed many of the priest's accomplishments in the community.

"Didn't you help start Spanish Fiesta Days?" he asked.

Father John said yes, prior to the festival, he used to conduct Masses in Spanish in the park.

"Roger, Bless your heart," Father John said to the man, later adding that one of the biggest changes he's experienced since becoming the leader of a church, is how the parish lines have blurred as people recognize similarities between religions instead of differences.

"You just make them feel welcome," he said. And it's making people feel welcome, serving them with marriages, baptism, first communions, even funerals that make up some of Father John's best memories. He pointed to a picture on his desk of his latest class of second-graders who participated in their first communion in May. They are beaming, dressed all in white.

"That says more than words can say," he said. "All of those are dear moments."

Other fine memories include presiding over his parents' 50th wedding celebration and driving 62 high school students to Mexico for a five and a half week adventure when he was teaching prior to coming to Pagosa Springs.

More than one parishioner also mentioned the joy of watching Father John say Mass at the Vatican in Rome as part of his celebration of 25 years as a priest.

Father John didn't enter the seminary until he was 32. And then he spent the next 18 years in school, learning his chosen profession.

"I had the desire for it ever since I was little," he said. The priest was born in Minneapolis, Minn., the oldest of eight. In eighth grade, he spent one year in Tucson recovering from asthma. It was there that he first learned to speak Spanish - a skill that's served him well in an order dedicated to Hispanic ministry. He attended high school at the St. Thomas Military Academy and spent five years in World War II, serving as a technical sergeant in the army.

He returned home to try out several careers, including working for social services, before finally entering the seminary in New York. The entire time, he maintained an interest in music, learning to play the piano and the organ, which he still does at every service.

Mercy Korsgren said his music is one of the things she will miss most, that and "his love, and he's very caring."

"I think that he's just great," Charlotte Archuleta said. "He's a very patient and kind person, and I will miss him, but he will always be in my prayers."

Waiting in a buffet line wrapping halfway around the community center Sunday, Karen Cox said the priest epitomizes unconditional love.

"Very, very unique," was how Marlys Raymer described him, explaining that the priest calls each person by name when distributing communion. In fact, she said, he remembered her first name, a difficult one, the very first time she attended church.

"One person is as important as another to him," she said. "It doesn't matter if you are a big donor or nobody, everyone is the same to Father John."

He will be missed.

Pagosa's Past


Abiquiu once had more residents than Pagosa today

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

A few miles north of Española, N.M., on the west side of U.S. 84, is the old community of Abiquiu. Abiquiu has a direct bearing on the history of Pagosa Country because it functioned as a gateway to the San Juan Mountains and Basin.

During the past couple of weeks we've reviewed a little New Mexico history in order to identify the foundation events leading to the establishment of Abiquiu. Dates are important because they establish a basis for comparing what was happening in one place with what was happening in another place at the same time. We'll look at some dates as we move along.

Hispanic pobladores - settlers - soon outgrew the region of their first settlements near Española, especially in the Santa Cruz area. The obvious direction for expansion was up the Chama River, which joins the Rio Grande River at Española. That expansion was paid for with the blood of many of those pioneers.

The first settlements north of today's Española (it wasn't Española then) were made in 1724, more than 75 years before the Louisiana Purchase or Lewis and Clark, 50 years before the American Revolution) by Juan de Mestas and his married sons. By 1744, these settlements stretched as far as, and included, Abiquiu. All of the settlements were subject to attack from nomadic Indians. By 1744, Spanish settlers of the Abiquiu area totaled 20 scattered families, with homes as much as a mile apart. Another 46 families lived in the Ojo Caliente area.

All settlements west of the Rio Grande were attacked by nomadic Indians in August of 1747. Carried off were 23 women and children. An old woman and a young girl were killed on the spot because they resisted. As the settlers followed the tracks, they discovered the bodies of more women and a newborn child. A punitive expedition attacked a band of Utes, only to learn that Comanches had been responsible for the raids.

In 1748, the communities of Abiquiu, Ojo Caliente and Pueblo Quemado withdrew to safer settlements.

The abandoned areas were resettled in 1750 as a result of orders from the governor. In 1754, 34 Genízaro families were planted in Abiquiu under the leadership of Franciscan friar Félix Ordóñez y Machado. The first years of the Abiquiu mission were extremely stormy and marred by tragic events. Father Ordóñez died in 1756. A spreading illness caused numerous deaths. People began to suspect sorcery, especially when the replacement missionary fell seriously ill.

The alcalde of Santa Cruz launched an investigation based on the complaint of a Genízaro woman who accused another Genízaro, Juachinillo (Juaquín Trujillo was born a Kiowa) of poisoning her. He identified himself as a seer rather than a sorcerer, but promised to identify the sorcerers. A lengthy investigation followed which resulted in a small number of people being punished for sorcery. The actual cause of the sicknesses may have been infectious hepatitis.

Success in finally settling Abiquiu and the Chama River Valley has been attributed to using Genízaros as settlers. Because they were formerly nomadic Indians themselves, the Genízaros understood and could resist attacks by nomadic Indians, primarily Comanches and Kiowas.

After Fray Francisco Atanacio Domínguez visited Abiquiu in 1776, he had little good to say about the Genízaro settlers. He also criticized the commercial bent of the community. That commercial bent and the need for trade with the Indians, however, led to exploration of southwestern Colorado and much of Utah. The Hispanic frontier settlements were surrounded by tribes of nomadic Indians more powerful than themselves. They had to trade with these Indians in order to survive.

By the time of the 1776 Domínguez-Escalante visit, Abiquiu had become the chief center of trade with the Utes and hosted an annual trade fair with them. Most of this trade was unauthorized and therefore required confidential understanding among the trading partners to avoid intervention from authorities.

The population of Abiquiu increased from 166 Genízaros and 617 Hispanics in 1760 to 246 Indians and 3,029 Hispanics in 1821. In 1821, the town clearly had more people than does the town of Pagosa Springs today. If you visit Abiquiu any time soon, you'll wonder where all of those people went. They were, in fact, the ancestors of a majority of Hispanics living in Pagosa Country today.

The information concerning Abiquiu presented in this article is taken from "Pobladores," written by Frances Leon Quintana. "Pobladores" is probably available at Moonlight Books in Pagosa Springs. We'll write more about Abiquiu in next week's column.



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