November 18, 2004 
Front Page

County ponders facilities future

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Have any thoughts on where a new county administrative building would look just dandy?

How about a new courthouse, jail and, possibly, a complementary criminal justice center?

If so, the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners would like to hear from you.

At the request Tuesday of Bill Steele, county administrator, the board instructed staff to develop a request for proposals outlining how and where interested individuals envision the potential establishment of new county facilities.

The directive followed a discussion regarding what the future may hold for the current county courthouse - a discussion in which Steele indicated he has recently been "approached by an individual with the idea of potentially purchasing the courthouse."

In response, the board agreed the pursuit of similar proposals is both timely and worthwhile.

"I think this would be a golden opportunity for the citizens of Archuleta County that might not come along every day," said Commissioner Alden Ecker.

"So I think it ought to be explored," Ecker concluded.

With regard to a potential locale for new administrative quarters, one option discussed this week was a parcel of county-owned land on Hot Springs Boulevard across from Town Hall.

However, existing covenants forbid construction of a new jail at the Hot Springs Boulevard site, meaning the county may ultimately have to consider at least two separate parcels should relocation become a reality.

As a result, said Steele, the county will solicit proposals that include the notion of "a package deal" - scenarios that address not only the fate of the current courthouse, but a variety of related aspects as well.

The county expects to issue a detailed request for proposals within the next two weeks.

In other business this week, the board:

- approved a hotel/restaurant liquor license for Montezuma Vineyards;

- set a public hearing for discussion of Jaycox Gravel Pit for Dec. 15, 7 p.m.;

- approved final plats for Bauer Townhouses II and Reserve at Pagosa Peak Phase IV;

- approved renewal of 5311 Grant contracts with Colorado Department of Transportation for 2005;

- approved a fairgrounds sewer line extension bid from T.C. Pipeline in an amount not to exceed $210,000.80, as well as a subsequent contract contingent upon review and approval by the county attorney;

- adopted a resolution outlining the annual Highway Users Tax Fund inventory for roads; copies of the resolution and accompanying road list are available for review at the county clerk's office.


Health district financial talks hinge on needing to know 'what's right'

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"What's right is the problem," Upper San Juan Health Service District board member Jim Pruitt said, holding several pages of financials and looking at graphs presented by the district's business manager. "What are we going through this for if we don't know what's right?"

Both Pruitt and board member Bob Scott requested one, consolidated district balance sheet instead of three or four different reports during Tuesday's meeting.

"I couldn't make them (the numbers) add up any way I tried," Pruitt said, going from one statement to the next.

"How do you get to receivables?" Scott asked.

Business manager Allen Hughes said reports from five different sources were used to come up with receivable numbers. Each of those reports is received at a different time, making it difficult to match those precisely with the accountant's records produced for board meetings.

"Doesn't everything go into an accounting program before bookkeeping?" J.R. Ford asked from the audience. The answer was no, because of the outsource companies used, made more complicated by a recent changeover and the management and accounting programs. As long as reports are coming through different management programs, Ford said, the books are never going to match, no matter what an accountant does.

The board agreed that some method needs to be devised to give the board a consistent check-and-balance system on the financials and instructed Hughes to research possible solutions in the coming months.

From there, they went on with the business manager's financial report.

According to Hughes' presentation, patient visits for October compared to the same month last year were down significantly at the clinic, but patient numbers were up slightly at EMS. Revenues were up somewhat from last month overall, but down from 2003 numbers. Expenses are down slightly when compared to October a year ago.

Hughes said $36,000 of a $50,000 line of credit has been used since it was approved early in November to help with cash flow problems. As of Nov. 16 at 5 p.m., the district had about $7,000 cash on hand with around $24,000 needed to make the next payroll.

"We have 10 days before we have to do payroll again," Hughes said, "and we're starting to see checks coming in." He was optimistic that, as cash flow improved, bills could be covered, payroll met and the line of credit paid back. Under the district's agreement with Citizens Bank, the line of credit extends through Dec. 31.

Hughes said by that date it should be possible to repay the line of credit and have no bills overdue more than 60 days.

"It is the aim of this district at some point to be able to pay our debts as we incur them," Board Chairman Pam Hopkins said. The district has struggled to pay down an estimated $150,000 in overdue bills uncovered since May.

In other business, the board approved the 2005 budget. Projected property tax revenues are an estimated $753,000, slightly above 2004 projections. Income from patient fees for the medical clinic and emergency medical services combined are about $1.3 million, showing a slight increase over 2004 projections, but still below 2003 budget numbers.

Total revenue for the district is projected at $2,301,915.60. The 2005 budget does allow for placing $55,000 in a capital reserve fund, about $52,000 in required Tabor reserve and another $38,345 in district reserve. The Tabor reserve and district reserve line items have been at zero since 2001. No capital reserves have been carried over from 2004.

The board also heard a report on two grants. If approved, a $20,000 grant submitted to the Caring for Colorado Foundation would assist in recruiting an additional primary care physician to the community. The other grant, for $16,000, to the Colorado Rural Health Center would fund a consultant to come in and "evaluate the feasibility of developing a Critical Access Hospital here in Pagosa." A critical access hospital designation would allow the district to recoup fees from ambulance transports to a local facility for medicare patients.

Several board members and at least one audience member requested the consultant be directed to take the next step and make recommendations as to the best course for the district, not just whether or not it meets qualifications for a critical access hospital designation.


Six file for school board vacancy

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

From zero to six in one swift move might seem like a touchdown scored at the last minute. And, in a way, it was.

The board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint was worried last week that it had received no applications for the board seat vacated by Carol Feazel's move from the district.

Directors agreed then that, if they had not received applications by a special meeting this week, they would extend the deadline.

When that meeting arrived Tuesday, they were handed six applications from area residents seeking the board District 1 seat.

With that late score in hand, the board, after extensive discussion of proper handling of the applications, scheduled another special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29.

Each of the six applicants will be invited to make a five-minute presentation on why they feel they should be on the school board.

And then the board will go into executive session to hopefully make a decision that night.

The push for an appointment as soon as possible hinges on the board's desire have the new member attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards meeting next month and participate in some of the special conferences to get an early start on school board operations.

The applicants, with brief synopses from their letters, are:

- Linda Muirhead, a district resident since 1980, former physical education teacher and coach in the district, and member of the Booster Club; holds degrees from the University of Richmond and Williams College of Massachusetts; and has been extensively active in community organizations.

- Christian Pitcher, a Pagosa Springs High School graduate with a degree in civil engineering from Colorado State University last year. He has two children, one in school and cites his "relatively recent student experience in the Pagosa school system" and feels fortunate "to have the opportunity to give back to the community that has provided me with not only an education but also a definition of who I am."

- Donna Mundy, a former high school teacher who believes she could bring educational experience "that will be beneficial to the board and make me an excellent candidate for the position ... " A parent of four, she wants them to have outstanding educational opportunity.

- Mark Burggraaf, a five-year resident of the district with two sons currently in high school and a wife certified as a teacher and substitute. A licensed consulting engineer, he has worked with many school boards, administrators and facility managers, including consulting services for school projects in Grand Junction, Montrose, Cortez, Telluride, Center and La Jara and worked on recent bond proposals in Westcliffe and Ouray. He has experience as a school board member in Grand Junction and has served over two years on the current high school accountability committee.

- Roy Ball, a resident of the far north portion of the district in Hinsdale County, who cites his 10-year residency, having worked for the school district, and his role as both a parent and taxpayer who feels he "would be a positive addition to the board."

- Matt Aragon, a Pagosa Springs native, graduate of the local high school and current business owner whose mother served on the school board for over 10 years. He is father of three children attending classes in the district and serves on the town's parks and recreation committee. He cites a desire to give back to the community and "strong interest in the intrinsic worth of all children and a belief that each individual child merits the opportunity to succeed."

Board member reactions to an initial examination of the letters ranged from "very pleased," to "excited" and "a great field to choose from."

The administration was directed to contact each applicant and invite them to the Monday meeting, and to make sure each is in fact a resident of the district.

There were some concerns that it might not be proper to make a decision that night if one or more of the applicants was not able to make a personal presentation.

But, in the end, the board agreed to the special session.

It is probable, if all candidates are heard, a decision will be made in an executive session to follow.


Assault charges filed in stabbing; other counts may follow

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A Pagosa resident was stabbed multiple times following a disagreement with an acquaintance Nov. 14.

According to Archuleta County Sheriff's Department reports, deputies were dispatched to the 100 block of Sundown Circle at 1:46 a.m. When they arrived, they found a man covered in blood in the front yard who told them, "I've just stabbed my friend. He's inside, please help him."

Lt. T.J. Fitzwater said deputies found the victim, Joshua Lowe, inside the home. He had been stabbed an estimated seven times. The injuries were concentrated on his left shoulder and upper back. Lowe, whose age was unavailable, was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Durango where he was treated and released.

Based on the facts at the scene, Fitzwater said, David Hollingworth, 33, was arrested and booked on charges of first-degree assault. Hollingworth received a stab wound to his left inner thigh in the incident. He remained in custody early Wednesday morning on a $25,000 bond.

Fitzwater said investigation into the incident continues. Other charges are being considered.


 Inside The Sun

Cluster boxes for U.S. mail demanded by new resident

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A nice home on Saturn Drive, lovely views and a 30-year dream of living in Pagosa were shattered by the news - no home mail delivery.

That was part of the story told Nov. 11 by Bill Pollock as he lamented the lack of mail service "though we had been told when we bought that home delivery was available."

He said he plans to operate an Internet-generated business from the home and regular mail service is a necessity,

He said he visited with the postmaster in Pagosa Springs and was told there has been a long-term problem between Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association and the postal service over the issue of cluster boxes for the area.

The 10-day resident of the area said there appears to be an "ongoing challenge to resolve issues of cluster land sites, placement on site, payment for service, etc." and that "there never should have been such a problem."

Citing his bona fides as president of a Denver area home owners association and helping to develop the Albuquerque suburb of Placitas, he said such problems can be overcome with persistence and planning.

"In the other areas we initially had some postal problems, easy access was missing to workable sites, but those problems were overcome.

"I asked the postmaster for relief," he said, and "he said they can no longer buy and install cluster boxes but will maintain and deliver to them if they are purchased and installed appropriately at an approved location."

The county's road and bridge department must approve any cluster box site proposed outside municipal limits, ensuring there is proper ingress to avoid interfering with traffic and proper egress for the same reason.

Citing the estimated $1,700 cost for a 16-box cluster Pollock said installations would be much more reasonable for Pagosa Lakes residents than driving downtown and trying to maneuver "that ridiculous serpentine entry to a parking nightmare."

For some Pagosa Lakes residents, he said, the round trip to the post office can be "up to 24 miles and that could add up to a cost, with today's prices, of $2 a day for every resident just in gasoline."

And, even if you get to the post office without accident, said Pollock, there are no parcel boxes. "This whole matter is a high-profile but largely unrecognized problem in the community," he charged.

Cluster box installation, he argued, is now a standard cost of developing for builders in most communities and should be in this area, too.

Pollock suggested appointing a committee of one representative from each of the association's 26 subdivisions to work on the issue of cluster or individual box placement, cluster site ownership, safety of access, easements and a working relationship with the post office.

The cost for 400-500 people traveling into town everyday would, he said, be reduced significantly as would the wear on their vehicles and the roadways.

Director Fred Ebeling pointed out residents who already have cluster boxes would be loathe to agree to pay for similar installations in other locations.

And, he noted, those who do not have delivery can get a box in the post office - free.

Ebeling said postal service has been a problem with the advent of development throughout the county "and not just here. With 180-250 homes built per year," he said, "and 16 units per cluster, 10-15 such installations would be needed every year until build-out.

"I'm sure there are locations where clusters could be installed," said Ebeling, "but not without some revisions of regulations."

Director David Bohl, board president, said the post office "originally was not going to put any cluster boxes out here. The people went over their heads and got them installed in some locations. The major metro areas are not the same as the roads and development you see here."

Director Gerry Smith recalled that "several months ago we were told this problem had been resolved. What happened?

"There appears," said general manager Walt Lukasik, "to have been a shift in cost and installment."

Pollock argued he was told "by downtown" that the boxes can be installed "if someone can ensure basic cost and installation site features are covered."

Ebeling said the board was told earlier that people on "mail contract delivery routes can get delivery to individual mail boxes at the front of their property."

"That lasted about 60 days and was rescinded," Lukasik answered.

"Three weeks ago," Ebeling said, "there were six new mail boxes on Cloud Cap being serviced."

"Yes, but no more," answered Lukasik.

Pollock told the board the postmaster himself has just bought in the same neighborhood and can't get delivery there.

He also told the board he had called Washington, D.C., and talked to the assistant comptroller for the postal service who "indicated long-term policy is for delivery to everyone when affordable."

Smith suggested Pollock form an ad hoc committee to come up with a recommendation for postal service.

"We are not developers," he said. "We have to question who would pay. Some have boxes already and could logically ask, since they paid for their own, why they should subsidize service for someone else."

"The Postal Service must deliver our mail," argued Pollock. "It is typical government bureaucracy to want you to pay for your own service when it is mandated in their contract."

Director Hugh Bundy said Pollock should "develop the primary data you have and see how many people and properties might be involved, with even gradual growth."

There was no formal decision to form an association committee before the discussion ended, but Pollock was assured he can meet with administrative staff to work out details of developing and presenting the information.


Four-hour school board executive session airs volleyball mom's gripe

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

After a nearly four-hour executive session Tuesday to discuss issues a student-athlete's parent had broached, a two-paragraph statement was released by the Archuleta School District 50 Joint board of education.

Read aloud by Director Mike Haynes, board president, after the regular special meeting was reconvened, the statement said:

"The board has considered the issues presented by Mrs. Griego. The board appreciates Mrs. Griego's patience and willingness to follow policies.

"The board takes these issues seriously and will consider them upon renewal of coaching contracts for the 2005-2006 school year."

Leading up to the events which prompted that statement was a Letter to the Editor published in The SUN in September from Noreen Griego challenging the method of selection of players on the high school volleyball team and charging selection was made "according to who you are and not by your skill or ability to play."

The same letter indicated Griego's belief the player selection process had been a bone of contention for 17 years "and others have complained before."

Griego had appeared before the board in an earlier executive session, and the final appearance with her daughter Tuesday was designed to give student, parent and coach Penné Hamilton an opportunity to be heard.

Because of the confidentiality of executive session discussion, none of the parties could make public statements regarding the outcome.

In other personnel action at the end of the marathon meeting, the board:

- accepted the resignation of Sean O'Donnell as high school junior varsity basketball coach;

- approved the athletic director's recommendation to hire Wes Lewis to replace O'Donnell;

- approved the employment of Troy Redmon to fill a first-grade teaching vacancy created by the sudden resignation four weeks ago by Jolyn Ihly. Redmon, originally from California, has 22 years experience and comes to Pagosa Springs from Madison, Wis.


Town budget to be adopted in December

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Town sales tax receipts for August are up 8.7 percent when compared to the same month last year. Year to date, the town has seen close to a 4-percent jump.

Still, that good news wasn't enough to convince the town council to project an 8-percent sales tax jump for 2005 as proposed in a draft of next year's budget.

Town Manager Mark Garcia said the 8 percent was what he had to use in order to make the budget work under TABOR restrictions and adding an estimated $140,000 increase needed to bring town staff salaries in line across the board with a recently-completed salary survey.

"We've always been behind the ball where it came to salaries," Garcia said. "That's why this is such a big hit for us." The proposed 2005 budget also includes four new positions: a full-time custodian, a recreation coordinator, a part-time police officer and part-time help at the community center.

The council asked Garcia to be slightly more conservative and ratchet projections back to a 6 percent increase by spreading the salary increases over two or three years.

"If sales tax receipts don't meet projections we'll be in a world of hurt," council member Bill Whitbred said of the 8-percent proposal. He said that the council could take another look at the budget when August 2005 receipts come in and adjust it upward if necessary. "If we've got the money I say let's give it to them (the employees). I think we show good faith, but we also need to be faithful to the constituents. Let's do this in a responsible manner."

The initial draft of the 2005 budget projected revenues at an estimated $4.9 million with the majority, $2.7 million, stemming from sales taxes. Under an agreement with the county, 50 percent of the town's sales tax total must go toward capital improvements.

Improvements budgeted for next year include reconstruction and repaving of four or five blocks of Lewis Street, sidewalks, repaving and some reconstruction of Apache between 7th and 8th streets; a couple of pedestrian trail projects and $35,000 for rocks to be used in a river restoration project. Phase II of the Cemetery Road project, paving from Hilltop Cemetery to Bienvenido Circle will also be completed. Sixty thousand dollars was reserved for hiring a master planner to help complete the comprehensive planning process. That will be a temporary position set to last 12 to 18 months.

The budget will come before the council for approval Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. in Town Hall.


A fence is a fence, but who's? Open range cattle vex PLPOA

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A budgetary concern about replacing or repairing fencing along 28 properties which front National Forest lands became a cattle controversy Nov. 11.

The question evoked comments like, "Our employees weren't hired to be cowboys," "the property owners should take care of it themselves" and "with 184 green belt areas involved and the green belts owned by Fairfield, why aren't they responsible?"

The scene of this discourse was the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors meeting and the issue whether the association should consider in its upcoming budget the expenditure of an estimated $13,000-$15,000 to upgrade portions of the fencing in question.

Director Fred Ebeling said he feels the association should cease maintaining the fencing because it "benefits such a small percentage of the property owners and spending that much can't be justified."

The association declarations, he said, "specifically state that the property owners themselves should take care of the fences.

"The problem of cattle coming off the National Forest into a subdivision is undesirable, but not dangerous," Ebeling argued.

Director Hugh Bundy disagreed, noting free range cattle could pose a hazard in residential areas if able to bypass the fencing and enter through the green belt areas. "That can create a very dangerous situation for youngsters playing outdoors, couples and children walking the neighborhoods ... we have been and should keep doing the maintenance on the fencing."

While Ebeling continued to argue homeowners themselves should manage the fencing, Walt Lukasik, association general manager, said staff already is forced to manage stray cattle.

"We have greater diversity now than in the past," he said, "there is a different climate of residential use than existed 30 years ago."

About every 10 days, the general manager told the board, PLPOA staff gets reports of stray cattle in the neighborhoods. "One time alone there were 50 head," he said, "and on another occasion there were buffalo wandering one subdivision.

"We had to go out and round them up," he said, spurring Ebeling's comment, "Our people are not here to be cowboys."

"I think," Ebeling added, "we should quit throwing money down the drain."

Director David Bohl, board president was the first to wonder why Fairfield was not involved in the problem and its solution if they, in fact, own the green belts. "Why are they not responsible?" he asked.

Ebeling responded, "Mr. Eaton (Pagosa Lakes developer) wanted the cattle chased out and we started doing it then. Ruth and I even saddled up and escorted out the strays."

That was 30 years ago, Bohl noted, adding, "we need to point out Colorado is a 'free-range' state in which cattlemen have the right to graze their animals on open forest lands. If you want subdivision intrusion stopped, you have to put up fences."

But, he continued, "Fairfield should bear some of the cost responsibility."

Since it was being considered as a budgetary item that requires a two-thirds vote of the board for approval or dismissal, the subject became temporarily moot because only four of the seven directors were present, thus no two-thirds vote was possible.

Lukasik also noted "there are different sets of restrictions on neighboring properties in the area. One, for example requires a 42-inch fence and adjacent property requires only 'a fence.'"

The fencing in question is in the two Martinez subdivisions.

Larry Lynch, association property and environment manager, said probably half of the fencing is new in the last 15 years and in reasonably good condition.

"The northern section, however, is very old and much needs to be replaced," he said.

"There's been too many years of band-aid repairs and there's no place left to tape it up," he added.

He estimated costs for a two-year program at about $15,000 per year, but said he had been initially thinking of a 7- to 8-year effort picking the worst sections to do first.

Director Gerry Smith suggested "it is imperative the absent directors be apprised of the situation and familiarize themselves with the question so we can get the two-thirds vote necessary, one way or the other, even if we have to have a special meeting do take the vote."

Absent were directors Fred Uehling, Bill Nobles and Pat Payne.

Finally, concluding the discussion, Lukasik advised the board "there is no language or declarations for either of the particular subdivisions involved mandating fence maintenance. It has been proposed as a budget item as something we have been doing for years. The question is whether we should continue to do so."


PAWS might lower mill levy in 2005

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

They are subject to change, but early budget projections may hold good news for taxpayers residing within the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District.

The preliminary version of the 2005 PAWS budget suggests district mill levies for debt service may decrease in the coming year.

According to a fund summary distributed to the district board of directors this week, the district estimates the mill levy for water debt service will decrease slightly from the current level of 6.39 mills.

Likewise, the mill levy for wastewater debt service, currently at 5.49 mills, is also expected to fall a bit.

However, district staff acknowledged final mill levy figures for debt service may differ from current calculations when directors formally adopt the budget in early December.

"There are still a few things pending that we will be working out in the next two weeks," Shellie Tressler, district administrative assistant, told directors Tuesday.

"For example, we need to factor in salary revisions and the final report of assessed valuations from the county assessor's office," she added.

"So there are some early positives, but the budget, of course, is still purely tentative at this point," Tressler concluded.

Another aspect of the 2005 budget that should please district customers is the fact current data does not include mention of potential increases to water or wastewater service charges.

Other data in the proposed 2005 budget supplied to the board Tuesday, also subject to changes, include the following fund summaries:

- The net operating cost of the district is approximately $2.85 million, excluding capital projects or debt service;

- The General Fund includes budgeted expenditures of roughly $910,000, of which $383,000 is a transfer to the Enterprise Funds and $209,000 is a transfer to the Capital Projects Fund. The majority transferred to the Capital Projects Fund is for the planned expansion of the administration building. The operating expenses of the General Fund, net of these transfers, are approximately $318,000;

- The Special Revenue Fund has budgeted totalling roughly $5.5 million, which primarily represents transfers to the Capital Projects Fund for the Dutton Ditch and Stevens Reservoir projects. This is a significant decrease from the 2004 budget due to more accurate projections based on progress to date on these projects;

- The Capital Projects Fund includes budgeted expenditures of approximately $8.7 million, which includes the $5.5 million listed in the Special Revenue Fund as well as other capital projects on behalf of the Water and Wastewater Enterprise Funds. This is a decrease from budgeted expenditures in 2004 relating to revised projections for the Dutton and Stevens projects;

- The Debt Service Fund reflects expenditures of approximately $1.37 million, representing general obligation debt service of about $920,000 in water-related bond payments and roughly $403,000 in wastewater bond payments, plus a prior-period adjustment transfer to the General Fund from fund balance. These projections are based on preliminary assessed valuations reported by the county assessor's office;

- The Water Enterprise Fund reflects total budgetary expenditures of about $3.6 million, including $1.35 million of capital projects and nearly $483,000 in debt service. This is a 20-percent increase over 2004, though all but 2 percent of the increase is due to rises in capital project and debt-service outlay. Net operating cost of the Water Enterprise Fund is roughly $1.76 million;

- The Wastewater Enterprise Fund reflects total budgetary expenditures of about $2.67 million, including $1.61 million of capital projects and just over $286,000 in debt service. Similar to the Water Enterprise Fund, a substantial increase in projected expenditures for capital projects has been budgeted. The net operation cost of the Wastewater Enterprise fund is approximately $771,000.

In other business this week, the board:

- approved an expenditure in the amount of $4,000 to aid funding of the 2004-2005 cloud-seeding program, an initiative that involves joint participation between PAWS, Western Weather Consultants and the San Juan Water Conservancy District. The board agreed to pledge up to $10,000 toward this year's cloud-seeding program this summer;

- approved investigation of the possibility for acquiring additional San Juan River water rights.

Lake levels

According to the latest readings provided by Carrie Campbell, district general manager, reservoirs were at the following levels early this week:

- Lake Hatcher - 9 inches below spillway

- Stevens Reservoir - four inches below spillway

- Lake Pagosa - 27 inches below spillway

- Lake Forest - 16 inches below spillway

- Village Lake - 21 inches below spillway.


County landfill fees rise;

Chromo station to close

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Archuleta County residents have until the end of the year before they'll need to dig deeper into their pockets to cover county landfill and transfer station fees.

Citing a continual rise in operating costs and the need to shift the county landfill toward self-sufficiency, county commissioners approved a slate of fee increases this week that will take effect Jan. 1.

During Tuesday's session, the board indicated it was "initially hesitant" to consider the fee hikes, but changed its tune after a thorough cost analysis.

A main element in that analysis was a recently-completed report on county landfill operations by Golder Associates, a Lakewood-based engineering firm specializing in landfill studies.

Golder and Associates' full report is available for review in .pdf format on the county's Web site,

In summary, the report states, "The rate charge at the transfer stations should be adjusted to better reflect actual size of load, and to ensure that expenses for acceptance, storage, management and transport of recyclables ... are being properly offset."

As a result, the fee schedule approved by the board this week is based primarily on the "use more - pay more" premise.

The following is a breakdown of adjusted landfill and transfer station fees for 2005:

- Pagosa Springs transfer station - $14.75 per cubic yard, $10 minimum;

- County landfill - $12 per cubic yard, $10 minimum;

- Arboles transfer station - $15 per cubic yard, $10 minimum;

- Tire disposal - $2 each, tires over 18 inches $5 each;

- appliances - $3 each, appliances with Freon $15 each.

Chromo station to close

In related business Tuesday, the board moved to approve the permanent closing of the Chromo transfer station on County Road 382.

The scheduled date for closing is Jan. 1.

Trends toward increased operating and maintenance costs and encroaching use by out-of-state residents were cited as the main factors in the decision.

Chromo residents seeking alternatives to hauling solid waste to other transfer stations or the county landfill can contact two local refuse companies that service the area - At Your Disposal (264-4891), and Waste Management (264-5622 or (800) 274-6284.)

For further information concerning the closing of this facility, contact the county solid waste department at 264-0193.


Village Lake buoy plan with attorneys; two set for Hatcher

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

One buoy situation is on hold and another got a green light Nov. 11 from the board of directors of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.

Realignment of the buoy line in Village Lake awaits legal opinions from the association's counsel on proposals agreed to with property owners.

At issue has been a matter of perceived danger from errant golf balls and denial of access to the lake for some residents.

Walt Lukasic, general manager, told the board he had expected data back from counsel prior to the meeting but instead they asked for additional information.

Hearing that, Laura Bond of the Village Lake neighborhood asked from the audience if the line will be brought in before winter.

Larry Lynch, association property and environment manager, said it was scheduled to come out this week.

Director Hugh Bundy, a member of the Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee, noted two new aerators are planned in Lake Hatcher and wondered if the buoys, which will be four feet above float level, will cause some of the same kinds of resident complaint.

Lynch said they will be mostly out of view. "We plan to basically hide one of them near the dam and the other will be just about in the middle of what is a very big lake."

He said an explanation of what is planned was in the September association newsletter and that he got only two calls voicing concerns, which he was able to allay.

The purpose of the installation is to improve the quality of the lake, he said, "both for the aquatic and fish life therein."

Bundy noted the aerators will be solar powered as opposed the those currently in operation, and will be substantially quieter.

In other action, the board:

- learned a grant application for Lake Forest Trail extension had been confirmed received, in order, and ready for processing, and saluted Lynch for the diligent work in preparing the bid;

- learned the animal control report for October showed four dogs impounded, eight dogs returned to owners, 11 verbal and three written warnings issued and one summons issued;

- were advised no new data has been received from La Plata Electric with reference to extension of supplemental lines at the Hatcher dam area;

- heard that approximately $940,000 or 93.3 percent of all $1.08 million billed in dues assessments has been received, a rate 1.1 percent ahead of that for last year;

- learned that about 200 notices of intent to lien have been sent out to owners delinquent in dues for the previous year; and

- affirmed 11 unprotested fines levied by Department of Covenant Control for "unattractive (weed and grasses) growth." All fines were for "visual disharmony" with surrounding properties and all were complaint driven.


Fire district weighs $1.37 million budget

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

With projected tax revenues totaling nearly $700,000 in 2005, the Pagosa Fire Protection District will consider an estimated $1.37 million budget in December.

According to a draft 2005 budget reviewed by the district board Nov. 8, the budget is up about $125,000 from 2004 figures. Both general property tax and specific ownership tax returns are expected to increase.

The board had few questions, except to name a new line-item: capital acquisitions. For several months, the board has discussed adding a reserve fund to the budget to begin to prepare for future vehicle or other capital purchases with the goal of avoiding going back to the taxpayers by saving now.

Board member Debbie Tully said with the last bond issue, the goal had been to keep district equipment under 30 years old. Now, they'd like to reduce that by another 10 years to provide the volunteer firefighters and the citizens of the district the best possible protection.

In 2005, under supply purchases, the district will spend an estimated $73,500 for heads-up display upgrades for the self-contained breathing apparatus used when volunteers enter a burning building. These upgrades will allow firefighters to see a digital display of oxygen levels inside their masks. Twenty-one masks will be "fit-tested" to specific firefighters in another attempt to meet industry safety standards.

"We're in a financial condition now to do this and become compliant," said Diane Bower, district manager.

The projected general fund levy is 4.067 mills.

As far as the debt service for 2005, the board debated whether or not to approve only enough of a mill levy to cover the annual debt service or to keep it at current levels in order to pay off the debt early.

The board considered a letter from George K. Baum, an investment banking company, asking the board to consider maintaining the current 2.314 mills for at least two years to accumulate at least a half-year's payment. A levy of about 1.89 mills is all that's needed to make this year's payment of $503,668.

Board member Dusty Pierce asked if the district could pay off the bond early by leaving collections at the higher rate, and reducing the interest paid.

"We're not asking for a higher mill levy," board chairman Dick Moseley said. "The voters approved this amount, why can't we stay with that so we can pay it off early?"

Bower said she would consult with district attorneys first.

In other action, the board approved a 2005 pension fund budget of $2,240,626.


Roads for the future target for PLPOA advisory committee

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Reactivation of the Road Advisory Committee for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association is still planned, but will be briefly delayed.

That was the upshot of discussion by the board of directors Nov. 11 that included an e-mail report from Bill Ralston who will be committee chair.

In the meantime, however, one board member reported the county's road and bridge director had hoped for the PLPOA committee to be active prior to seating of new members of the county commission.

Ralston recommended holding off on naming committee members until after the commissioners are seated, and also said surgery planned for his wife in January will delay committee actions briefly.

In a basic outline, he suggested having no more than seven committee members, with no more than one from any subdivision. He also said the panel should act as liaison between the commissioners and PLPOA.

Director Gerry Smith told the board he could see problems with committee vision and with "no visibility of what the future will hold.

"There has been no mill levy rate hike for road purposes and no process of equality of road maintenance evidenced," he said. "Our committee will need to work for complete designation of all roads and for open discussion of how much the county has to spend - and will spend - to meet the needs of those designations."

And, he said, "we need to know what they think would be necessary to meet the goals of our neighborhoods."

Director Fred Ebeling said at least part of that demand already has been met. He said he had discussed road issues with Dick McKee, county public works director, two weeks earlier.

"He didn't think it would be logical to wait until the new supervisors are seated to name our committee," Ebeling said.

"In fact," Ebeling said, "he said he wants to work with the committee ahead of that time to keep them advised and up to date on what his road plans will include."

That, said Smith, "sounds like a ploy to get advance support for his plan."

Director David Bohl, board president, agreed, and added, "He may not even be there after the new board is seated."

Ebeling said McKee advised him the classification of roadways has been completed, and now the county "is working on cost of maintenance data for the various classifications to keep them in desirable condition."

Smith said the board needs to be able to tell its constituents "what they will get from the amount of money to be spent."

Since roadways, their condition and possible future upgrade are inexorably linked to the ongoing Property Owners Involvement and Input Initiative, Smith asked that the board be apprised monthly of what is being done to advance the cause.

"That includes what has happened and what is expected before the next meeting," he said.

"Let's define what works and what doesn't, and learn what our residents believe Pagosa Lakes should be like ten years from now," he said.

Ebeling professed confusion in asking people to look 10 years ahead. "A lot of them won't be here, and experience has shown even the declarations are good for only 10 years or less."

"This is not a question of declarations or rules," replied Smith, "but a request for vision, a look at recreational amenities, whether there should be more parks, more trees or fewer - in short, a feeling for community in the future."

It is obvious, he concluded, that roads, and their adequacy, will have a huge role to play in that future.


School board delegates power of expulsion to superintendent

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

After weeks of study and a strong recommendation from advisory panels, the board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint has revised its expulsion policy.

The primary change takes from the board the right of expulsion and delegates that power to the superintendent or his designee.

What that basically will mean is that expulsion hearings will not be held as lengthy executive sessions by the board during regular board meetings, but will be handled administratively.

The change adds a section to official policy designating the superintendent or designee as hearing officers with authority to deny admission or to expel for any period not extending beyond one year.

All such actions must be reported to the board of education and the parent or guardian of any student designated for expulsion retains the right to appeal the action directly to the school board.

In other policy action Nov. 9, the board:

- eliminated Policy GBGL which had established personnel leave policy for staff for attendance at state level competitions, noting it had been incorporated into another policy;

- approved unanimously a revised four-page state recommended policy on evaluation of instructional staff designed to "improve instruction, enhance the implementation of programs in curriculum, and measure the professional growth and development of personnel and level of performance of each licensed employee."

This is the second revision of the policy originally approved Jan. 9, 2001 and first revised Sept. 10, 2002. Changes this time involved removing specific time limitations on teacher observations before a report is written and changing the time allocation for making sure the report is thorough.


Mary Fisher update at LWV meet tonight

The League of Women Voters' monthly informational meeting will take place 6:30 p.m. today in the South Conference Room of the community center.

Members of the Upper San Juan Health Service District will present an update on progress being made at Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. The public is invited to attend.


Rotary readies for winter coat


It is that time of year again, when the Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs has its annual Operation Winter Coat collection and distribution drive.

This year the distribution will be 1-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, in the Extension building at the county fairgrounds.

This is a wonderful time for anyone who needs warm coats, hats, boots and gloves to come by and pick them up - free of charge. There is always enough to go around.

For more information on distribution or collections, call Coleen Myers at 731-6378 or Gloria Haines at 731-2100.


NWTF chapter providing turkeys to needy families

During this season , members of the San Juan Gobblers Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation pause to reflect on all that they're thankful for - their families, friends, good health and the freedoms they enjoy in this country.

The local chapter is taking part in the Turkey Hunters Care Program providing turkeys to families through the local Helping Hand program, to help complete the centerpiece of an all-American Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

Free Thanksgiving dinner at First Baptist

A free Thanksgiving Celebration Dinner will take place Nov. 21, 5:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, West U.S. 160. Families invited. Those planning to come who did not receive a free ticket should call the church office, 731-2205. The program will feature country gospel singer, Myra Green.


FBLA chapter follows this year's theme: 'Jumpstart Your Future'

By Claire Versaw

Special to The SUN

FBLA is at it again. As in "Jumpstart Your Future" (this year's theme).

Pagosa Springs Chapter will have little trouble complying.

The chapter currently has 71 paid members and more joining every day.

The first chapterwide activity was the installation meeting Oct. 26 with keynote speaker Merissa Grandell, District 8 vice president for Colorado FBLA.

Officers installed were Kelli Ford, president; Brett Garman, vice president; Kyrie Beye, secretary-treasurer; Heather Andersen, historian; Brittany Corcoran, parliamentarian; and Jim Judd, vice president of Peak Award.

In addition, the FBLA members involved in running the school store, the Treasure Chest, were recognized. They include Daniel Aupperle, Travis Marshall, Landry Ward, Sara Baum, Josiah Burggraaf, Matt Nobles, Victoria Stanton, Anna Hershey and Veronica Zeiler.

Advisors are Dorothy Christine and Lisa Hudson.

The second activity for FBLA was the annual retreat at the community center Oct. 29, an all-day activity in which members, officers and advisors joined forces through a number of bonding activities.

The goal, which was to bring FBLA together, was reached at a satisfactory level.

Upcoming events include district competition Feb. 8, the FBLA state leadership conference in Vail next spring, and the national leadership conference in Orlando, Fla., in June.

To succeed, we all know it will take hard work, patience, effort and dedication.


Final NRA handgun safety course for season Nov. 19-20

The Archuleta County Sheriff's Department is sponsoring the last NRA handgun safety course for this year.

This course meets all the requirements for issuance of a concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit in Colorado. There are 22 states that honor Colorado's CCW permit.

Class will be split into two sessions: the first on Friday evening, Nov. 19, for classroom instruction, the second a live handgun firing the following morning.

Class space is limited to 20 students. If there are more than 30 who wish to enroll, a second class will be scheduled within two weeks.

There is a nonrefundable $100 fee per student which must be paid in advance.

For class reservations, call Curtis Roderick at 731-1999 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, or contact him at the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department at 264-8443.

If there is no answer, leave a message and Roderick or one of the instructors will contact you as soon as possible.


Operation Helping Hand seeking donations for holiday program

Operation Helping Hand assists our less fortunate neighbors during the holiday season.

Donations of nonperishable food items such as dressing mixes, canned vegetables, canned hams, gelatin mix or any other nonperishable ingredients for a holiday dinner, as well as gift items, used clothing and used household items, can be dropped off at Coldwell Banker or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill, and at Kid and Kaboodle on Pagosa Street.

For those wishing to assist by purchasing new clothing, household items or toys, written requests will be posted by Thanksgiving Day at Sears, both City Market locations, Wells Fargo Bank and the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center. After purchasing the requested item, it should be wrapped and the request tag attached so it will be delivered to the correct person. Purchased gifts can be dropped off at the above mentioned locations.

Monetary donations should be made out to Operation Helping Hand and deposited in account 6240417424 at Wells Fargo Bank or account 20014379 at Bank of the San Juans. Donations may also be mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Families seeking assistance for Christmas may pick up an application at the Department of Social Services, with offices at Town Hall. Forms should be completed and returned by 3 p.m. Dec. 6. For more information, call the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.

Read next week's SUN for more details.



SAR units helped save 14 lives in hunting season

By Gary Grazda

Special to the SUN

"Upper San Juan Search and Rescue volunteers helped save the lives of 14 people between Sept. 1 and Nov. 10 this year," said Greg Oertel, search and rescue coordinator for the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office.

"It has been a really busy season this year," Archuleta County Sheriff Tom Richards said. Both men explained that hunting season is traditionally the busiest time of the year for the group which, this year, spent 232 hours on lost hunter missions. "Last year there were only three rescues during the same period," said Oertel.

"Too many hunters go into the wilderness without a map, compass, or GPS, and some who have the devices are unfamiliar with their use" Richards said. Many hunters are also ill-prepared for spending the night out. "By the time SAR members locate a lost hunter, he is usually wet, cold, hungry and dehydrated," Richards concluded.

Oertel said every mission was successful this year. That no lives were lost is a compliment to the training and capabilities of the volunteers, he added.

"Our people spent 451 hours in training preparing for these missions," Oertel said. "That includes Upper San Juan Search and Rescue and Colorado Mounted Rescue members who work together under SAR during rescue missions."

"We always have room for men and women who would like to participate in search and rescue missions and who are willing to attend training classes," said Oertel. Interested applicants should call 731-4799 and leave a message.

Many talents and skill levels are useful, including wilderness navigation, climbing skills, communications and first aid. Those who would participate in the field should be in good physical condition and be able to pass a background test.

As is the case with most emergencies, many of the search and rescue missions happen at inconvenient times. SAR members recall that more often than not, the call for help comes as darkness is approaching, bringing cold and wet weather with it. Sometimes the call comes in the middle of the night or on weekends.

"Seems like most people wait until it's almost dark to finally reach out for our help," Oertel said. "Much like the volunteer fireman, our people put their own affairs on hold and respond to that call for assistance. That's one of the great things that makes our group of volunteers special."


No logical reason seen for forest desecration

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

The late morning was clear and bright and the temperature downright balmy, as slanting rays of an autumn sun streaked through the stout branches and thick pine boughs overhead. High above, visible pockets of a brilliant azure sky glared through in sharp contrast to the forest-green canopy of great ponderosas, while below, in the dense understory of mixed junipers, Gambel's Oak, and assorted bunchgrasses, only filtered light unveiled our narrow earthen path leading to the river.

Jackie and I were following an apparent access to a new and unfamiliar stretch of a favorite trout stream, and as we walked softly in the still mountain air, we could hear only the faint drone of distant rapids, occasionally interrupted by the low croonk, croonk of a common raven somewhere in the forest beyond. It was a patently tranquil moment, and as always, with the anticipation and perceived promise of new discovery, our shared excitement mounted with every step.

The simple trail is really more suited to the movement of game than people as it winds through the woods half-a mile or so, but the hike is easy enough, even while dropping into a shallow canyon rather quickly at first, before finally leveling off as it reaches the flood plain. Upon our descent, signs (or a general lack of them) seemed to indicate minimal human use in recent months, hence the further we walked, the more rudimentary our course, and the greater our sense of solitude.

Jackie and I have explored many miles of literally dozens of Colorado rivers and streams over the years, and if we've learned anything, it's that few potentially grand adventures actually culminate with the desired outcome. But as they say, in life a journey is often greater than its final destination, and with that in mind, we're always eager to follow new paths, even if they don't always lead us to another honey hole.

Regrettably, we failed to reach the river that day, though not because of injury, adversity, or the inability to find our way, but because of a disturbing discovery which instantly transformed our overriding disposition of sheer exuberance to one of sadness and utter disappointment.

There it was, a lovely primitive campsite set in a lush grassy area beneath a towering ponderosa. A glorious mix of smaller pines, aspen, Douglas Fir, and blue spruce lined its perimeter, and a sizeable well-constructed fire pit lay near its center. But in the middle of the pit, piled high among its neatly-arranged river rocks, were literally dozens of empty beer bottles. Many were shattered against the rocks, while others remained in tact, but all had been left by careless revelers without regard to others, to the resident wildlife, or to the pristine nature of the surrounding forest.

Jackie and I stood in total disbelief, gazing upon an otherwise picturesque scene, where scores of cigarette butts, shards of broken glass, and bits of discarded food packaging lay scattered over a wide area. An ailing young pine stood adjacent to the big tree, its protective bark outwardly ravaged by the repeated blows of a hatchet for no apparent reason. The lowermost branches of other nearby conifers had all been stripped away, likely for kindling and makeshift bedding material during an overnight stay.

For a long moment, we wondered who could have so carelessly defiled such natural beauty, as if viable answers to our bewilderment would somehow come to mind. We considered what the people were like, how old they were, if they realized the gravity of their recklessness, and if they could have felt even the slightest remorse for their conduct. But there is no logical reasoning for that kind of desecration, and a rational analysis of such irrational behavior can only conclude that fundamental apathy is to blame. No doubt, those responsible knew the difference between right and wrong, but simply didn't care.

Standing there amid the debris of absolute indifference, we felt violated, and somehow wanted to quickly right the wrong. But, of course, physical damage to the trees was irreversible, and without the necessary tools for gathering and containing such quantities of glass, aluminum cans, plastic wrap, and the like, we were plainly helpless to affect an immediate cure. Therefore, instead of pushing on to the river as originally planned, we hiked back to the Jeep in hope of finding a large trash bag or some kind of container that would allow us to at least begin the cleanup.

The walk uphill, while not terribly arduous, took significantly longer than the trek down, and given the gamut of emotions running through us at the time, seemed to last forever.

Along the way, we calculated the enormous effort requisite to carrying so many rocks from the river to the site, and the obvious care given to placing them so precisely around the shoveled pit. Attention to detail was clear, and those who fashioned the fire pit must have realized a level of pride, which guided their labors. Consequently, for the architects of such a fine campsite to be the same people who ultimately dishonored it seemed incomprehensible.

We thought too, of the substantial work required in carrying the coolers of beer and food in, and wondered why lighter cans wouldn't have been easier than bottles. At least any cleanup that might subsequently follow would be less troublesome to those who cared enough to complete it.

As we walked, thoughts of such blatant selfishness and disdain for others gave rise to anger and frustration, which gradually conceded to fear for the well-being of wild creatures like young foxes or mule deer fawns, certainly vulnerable to life-threatening injury while foraging through the derelict area in search of food. But eventually only sorrow remained, as we soon realized there were no tools or containers in the Jeep, and no visible relief to our crisis appeared readily attainable.

Nearing day's end, with the autumn afternoon too quickly winding down, we faced having to leave in solemn defeat. But as we drove out of the forest, we vowed to return soon, and amend our insensitive fellows' unwarranted deeds. We will also be certain that a shovel and trash bags are in the Jeep for all future outings.


Comments sought on Piedra Area burn proposal

The Pagosa Ranger District is seeking public comment on a proposal to conduct prescribed burns on portions of the Piedra Area.

The goal of the burns is to reduce fuel loadings and reestablish a more natural role for fire.

Due to steep terrain throughout much of the area, ignitions would be made from the air by helicopter.

Approximately 14,350 acres of primarily ponderosa pine along with some mixed conifer and aspen are proposed for burning.

The exact areas and actual number of acres to be treated will be determined in an upcoming environmental analysis process. If approved, the first burn would be scheduled for 2006.

Public comments on this proposal may be sent to: District Ranger, Attention: Rick Jewell, PO Box 310, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Comments may also be faxed to 264-1538.

The Pagosa Ranger District is requesting comments be submitted by Dec. 17.

Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal and will be made available for public inspection.

For more information, contact Jewell at 264-1509.


Tours set of lands areas proposed for forest exchange

On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20, the USDA Forest Service will host public field trips to the Archuleta County land parcels proposed for exchange between the Forest Service and Tom and Margie Smith.

The private land parcels offered for exchange to the Forest Service are (1) Laughlin Park, on the Jackson Mountain Road north of Pagosa Springs (containing about 63 acres); and (2) Spiler Canyon, off the Kenney Flats Road southeast of Pagosa Springs (about 160 acres).

The land proposed for exchange to the Smiths comprises two parcels of National Forest System land in the area known as Oakbrush Hill. This land area is adjacent to the Job Corps site on Piedra Road (the Job Corps site is not being considered for exchange). The Oakbrush Hill parcels contain about 330 acres.

Each trip will visit all three parcels, weather permitting, and last about six hours (including driving time). Each trip will begin at 9 a.m. at the Pagosa Ranger District Office at 180 Pagosa St. in Pagosa Springs.

Participants should dress for the weather and be prepared for short hikes at each location, and bring water and a light lunch. A vehicle with good ground clearance is advised. Forest Service resource staff members will host the trips and document observations of participants.

As part of the environmental analysis process, the Forest Service is inviting public comments regarding this proposed land exchange. The comment period ends Monday, Dec. 13. Comments received during this scoping period help identify the issues and opportunities that form the basis of the environmental analysis.

A draft version of the analysis will be available for additional comment later this winter. All written comments should be sent to the Pagosa District Ranger, San Juan National Forest, Pagosa Springs, CO 81301.

Contact Glenn Raby, Pagosa Ranger District, at (970) 264-1515 for further information, and to RSVP so that we can reach people if inclement weather requires a change of schedule.


Conservation district is taking tree, shrub orders

The San Juan Conservation District is taking orders for high-quality, reasonably priced seedling trees and shrubs to be planted especially for conservation planting.

Conservation plantings include windbreaks, hedgerows, living snow fences, dust and visual screens, wildlife habitat enhancement, soil stabilization, reforestation/afforestation projects and Christmas tree plantations.

The seedlings are grown in Fort Collins at the Colorado State Forest Service nursery and are then sold and distributed by cooperating conservation districts in southwest Colorado.

To participate, landowners need to own at least two acres of land, use the seedlings for conservation purposes and not landscaping, and agree not to resell seedlings purchased through the program as living plants.

The seedlings are available as either bare root or potted planting stock, and include a wide variety of native and introduced coniferous and deciduous trees and deciduous shrubs.

All bare root stock is sold in bundles of 50 seedlings of the same species. Deciduous trees and shrubs are $29.40 per bundle, plus tax and coniferous trees are $30.40 per bundle, plus tax.

The potted stock is sold in containers with 30 seedlings of the same species, and sells for $38.04 per regular container plus tax and $26.28 per container, plus tax, for small potted seedlings.

Landowners can obtain a seedling ordering application from the San Juan Conservation District office at 505A Piedra Road or the CSU Cooperative Extension Service at the Archuleta County Fair Building.

The sooner the seedling orders are placed the better your chance of getting the desired species.

For more information, please call the San Juan Conservation District at 731-3615.


Forest Service special use permit

regulation revised

Commercial guide companies and special-event sponsors who use Forest Service roads and trails for commercial purposes or large group gatherings must now have a special-use permit.

For decades, special-use authorization has been required for commercial or large-group use of National Forest land. But, commercial outfitters and special-event organizers, who used only National Forest roads and trails, could operate legally without a permit.

Under a recently revised regulation, conducting any of the following activities on San Juan National Forest roads or trails now requires a special-use permit:

- any commercial tours or outfitter guide services (jeep, ATV, horse, bike, foot, etc.);

- equipment or livestock drop-off services, such as mountain bike shuttles or horse delivery, when the equipment or livestock is transferred on National Forest roads and/or will be used on National Forest trails;

- special recreation events, such as organized foot races, poker runs, mountain bike and motorcycle tours, that occur on National Forest roads and/or trails;

- commercial filming and commercial still photography;

- noncommercial group uses involving 75 or more people.

Most commercial operations on the San Juan National Forest are covered by an approved special-use permit. Current commercial operators, using forest roads and trails, should contact the local Forest Service permit administrator for further information about implementing this revised regulation.

The purpose of the revised regulation is to promote consistent treatment among individuals and businesses which provide commercial or group services to the public on National Forests.

This change also makes Forest Service regulations consistent with existing BLM regulations, which require a permit for all commercial activities on BLM lands.

Operating commercially on National Forest lands without a permit could constitute a fine of $5,000 and/or six months jail time.

For more information, contact Richard Speegle, (970) 375-3310 or Carolyn Long, (970) 884-1404.



McJobs hooker

Dear Editor:

My wife and I live in Florida, and have owned vacant property west of Pagosa for five years. We have followed the discussions of the proposed Village at Wolf Creek.

As a Florida native, who has seen what "development" can do to paradise, let me offer some free advice - do whatever you can to stop the Village at Wolf Creek.

The Florida of my childhood is gone forever because of "development."

The argument that it brings jobs and economic benefit is like an aging hooker in dim light. She looks good from a distance, but up close she ain't so pretty.

The siren song of "jobs" and "economic benefit" came with the arrival of Disney to central Florida 30 years ago. Now many of us refer to the big Mouse as "the rat that ate Florida." We have to pass bond issues to buy land just to keep it out of the hands of private developers, so we can try to preserve some small slice of the natural environment.

And the sort of jobs such a development will bring are themselves illusory. "McJobs" is what they are! Low paying service industry work, with few benefits other than a weekly paycheck. Are McJobs worth the cost in traffic congestion and haze in the air?

If you think so, come here and spend just one hour in drive-time traffic some August afternoon.

We would personally benefit from the Village. Since its approval by Mineral County, we have received multiple offers to purchase our property, at a rather nice profit, from developers. We don't even respond to the offers. Money is not the issue here - it's quality of life.

Knowing that in 48 hours I can drive to my hilltop in Colorado, put up my tent and still see the Milky Way at night - which hasn't been visible in Florida for a generation - is worth far more than any McJob will ever be.

Those of you for whom a McJob is attractive need to think about that aging hooker. She won't look so good when morning comes around.

Gary Beatty

Sharpes, Florida


Superb job

Last Thursday, the 11th, I attended my first Veterans Day breakfast sponsored by the junior high eighth-grade class at the community center.

It was an awesome affair, well attended, good food and patriotic music but the gold star goes to the students who did a superb job of seeing that we were well fed and had someone to talk to. They were really super.


Pat Curtis


God bless them

Dear Editor:

I, and I'm sure I am speaking for all my fellow veterans who attended the eighth-grade Veterans Day breakfast, say God Bless Them all.

Mr. Scott and his eighth-grade students went all out to show their appreciation for our veterans.

I invited one of my friends to go with me. A newcomer to Pagosa Springs and a veteran himself active in veterans' organizations for years, he told me he was very impressed. In all his years he had never seen anything like the young people honoring veterans in place of city dignitaries on Veterans' Day.

As he stood by the wall and read the letters written by members of the eighth-grade classes, I could see the tears in his eyes. I later told him they do it to me every year.

Many of us returned home from the wars with no big parades or banners flying, with medals in our pockets and an airline ticket home without a thank you or a God bless you. Only, in later years to find out they are losing many of their benefits which were promised.

And now these eighth-graders, who are learning what this world is about, understand and know how to show their appreciation to all the veterans. They have given us pride and honor on this Veterans Day and again I say, God bless you.

Ernie Garcia

Sgt. at Arms

American Legion Post 108


Wildlife periled

Dear Editor:

Those who seem to be concerned with wildlife should give input to the agencies involved by saying, "just leave it alone."

This is the only input that is needed and this is the only action that needs to follow that input. It's so simple and there'll be plenty of all kinds of wildlife.

Instead, what we're headed for is "money animals only" in sort of an open zoo setting and the (blank) with all the rest of the kinds of animals and birds. They don't matter because the don't make money.

They should take the coyote off the bounty list right now. If somebody kills a coyote, that person should be forced to eat rodents forever. This would be justice and balance both at once.

But, oh no, after we decimate the coyotes we can control rodents with poison. We can solve everything with the force of educated ignorance, they say. Chemical science will get the job done for sure. How many more college degrees will it take to bury us? Real mountains are becoming bureaucratic mountains instead, but this is where the money is for these types. They actually belong in the desert.

Who is it that decided to invade this area because of its attractions, but goes ahead and wrecks everything anyway? Nobody really cares enough to do the right thing about anything; not even those in charge of the store.

Those who care the most have the least to care with.

John Feazel


Greed monument

Dear Editor:

"Be careful what you ask for, the gods may give it to you." King Midas wanted nothing more than to acquire wealth. He was granted his wish and everything he touched turned into gold. He enjoyed his passion for money until he touched his beloved daughter and realized that he had destroyed the very thing that he loved the most.

In the original, unsanitized tales, she remained a golden statue forever, a lifeless monument to his greed. Red McCombs, Bob Honts and the Mineral County commissioners would do well to take this tale to heart.

In their quest for money, they will make of Wolf Creek a lifeless monument to their greed.

Mary Kurt-Mason


Save this land

Dear Editor:

My environmental impact statement comments on the proposed Village at Wolf Creek have not been printed in The SUN, so I will speak from my heart.

The Village at Wolf Creek land has to be saved, either as a state park, a conservancy or as part of BLM.

This was originally proposed as 200-plus units. Twenty years ago 200-plus units may not have been as detrimental to nature as today. Today most of our lands are being paved over. Today, even one hotel would be too much development in this special area.

Folks, write your senators, congressmen and local governments.

Save this land from development.

Pam Morrow


Get realistic

Dear Editor:

At some point in time in this rapidly growing population area, some hard decisions must be made to sustain the quality of life for the folks presently living in this area, and for future generations.

An individual's desire to do as he or she wishes must be modified if the impact on those living in close proximity is heavily negative. I understand that an individual property owner has a right to do with his/her property as they desire (within legal, ethical and moral limits).

We do attempt, as a community, to build in safeguards so that unexpected surprises due to future expansion can, or should be held to a minimum. When these safeguards are circumvented, bypassed or ignored, for whatever reason, thoughtful, concerned citizens must speak.

Once a tree is felled, a wet land drained or filled, a stream diverted, a road built, a structure raised, it is too late. Questions must be asked and honestly answered before the first shovel hits the ground.

Some of these questions concern the proposed development known as Wolf Creek Village:

1) What is to be the location of affordable housing for personnel who will be hired to service and maintain this facility?

2) Where will the educational facilities be located that will need to be provided for the children of service personnel?

3) Has the Colorado Department of Transportation been consulted regarding the impact of traffic congestion on U.S. 160 at the Pass and at U.S. 84 ?

4) How will emergency medical services, road maintenance/snow removal, law enforcement, fire protection, etc., be provided "within" the proposed development?

5) Why hasn't the Forest Service opened up this issue to full blown public hearings instead of "open house" meetings?

6) Have the Archuleta and Mineral County commissioners discussed this looming proposed development? The answer is no, as this seems to be another county's business.

7) Is the state engineer involved regarding water, rights, how much, where from?

We really need to get realistic. Our elected and appointed representatives on all levels need to communicate, to thoroughly investigate both the positive and negative potential impacts; and then to take direct and decisive action on decisions reached. There is much more at stake here than an increased property tax base for Mineral County and some job opportunities for residents of South Fork and Pagosa Springs.

Some additional issues include wastewater, air quality, wildlife habitat, etc. It is truly amazing that the very state and federal agencies that were responsible for the introduction of the Canadian lynx and the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars to capture, transport, medicate, feed, track and care for this program of reintroduction, are now strangely silent when a proposed massive development has the potential to block the lynx corridors.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if our state, city and county elected representatives got involved, not just the bureaucrats, to look out for the existing electorates' interests.

Jim Peironnet


Paradise in peril

Dear Editor:

A 12-year-old boy walked with his dad to the National Forest to hunt rabbits. Yes, he could actually walk to the forest! When his dad was working he would go there alone, just to play and to enjoy the trees, squirrels, deer, elk, foxes and birds. In this paradise near his home, the boy could see God's creative hand and know that God loved him.

He pretended to defend a fort which was really a weathered old catch-pen, and scratched his name on the inside. He worked hard and saved his money to buy a horse, then proudly rode her with his dad along side through this same forest paradise; growing closer to God as revealed in His handiwork.

This boy, a man now, applied that work ethic to his studies in dental school, but that little piece of forest is still one of his favorite places to recreate when he gets home for a visit.

Now a different god threatens to rule this forest, the almighty dollar. To make a wealthy developer even richer, this piece of paradise may be traded for a few comparatively worthless parcels of nearly inaccessible land that this boy/man will never see.

How many such boys will be impoverished by the loss of Oak Brush Hill and God's wonders there to enrich another greedy developer?

Please don't let this travesty take place. I was informed that the Forest Service is not a democracy and that I do not have a vote in the matter. Perhaps, however, a vociferous public outcry would help to stay the destructive hand of this totalitarian "National" Forest Service. The loss of this wonderful little piece of wildlife habitat and recreational paradise would long be mourned by Pagosans and all nature loving Americans who have been blessed by it!

Glenn Rutherford


Major concerns

Dear Editor:

We would like to voice our opposition to the Wolf Creek Village development as proposed.

We realize this is private land, through an ill-advised swap with the Forest Service. However, the intensity of the currently planned development is well beyond reasonable use.

The owners should have the right to build, and the original 200-some units would not create too much havoc, but more than 2,000 units on such a small spot of land is ridiculous.

The Forest Service should seriously consider the effects of not only granting the easement, but the overall effects on the surrounding forest lands.

This development is so concentrated that in the off ski season, when folks staying up on the mountain take off on the trails, fish the streams and lakes, it is surely to be a disaster. In an avalanche-prone area, the more vegetation that remains, the better; the less people around, the safer it is for wildlife.

The developers say this resort will help the local economy, but seriously consider this scenario: The high dollar skier will stay up on the hill, in million dollar homes and condos, and enjoy the ski-in, ski-out advantage, eat in their restaurants, rent their skis, etc., and never come down until they leave. The mid- to low-dollar skier will probably stop coming at all. They won't be able to stay up there, the lift and restaurant prices will be out of their range, and all that they love about Wolf Creek will be gone - lack of crowds, no lift lines, untrammeled snow, laid-back atmosphere, etc., will all disappear. This will include locals as well as weekend skiers from New Mexico.

What will happen on both sides of the pass, in the Pagosa Springs and South Fork areas, is that local businesses will suffer from the loss of these customers. The motels and other lodging, restaurants and tourist services will struggle to survive. There are too many motels here now; probably only three times a year do they fill up.

Proponents will say that they would be replaced by the "worker bees" from the mountain resort living in our community (they couldn't afford to live up there). The reality of the situation is they would put a great strain on our already stretched services - the schools, fire and police, medical facilities, roads and other community services. The irony of it all is - we (Archuleta County) would bear this burden but receive no property taxes to aid the situation, as the development sits in Mineral County.

One major concern is water availability. The developer has some water rights, but nowhere near what is required to service such a large population, permanent or not. Tank farms are a proposed solution, but they are ugly and the water has to come from somewhere. It can only take away from the current users on both sides of the divide, including our threatened ranches and farmers. We live in a drought-prone area and must conserve what water we can legally keep.

Harold and Joan Slavinski


What it means

Dear Editor:

As our wonderful eighth-graders came up to us at the Veterans' Day breakfast and asked, "Can I get you something? More coffee or more to eat?" I was so impressed with their hospitality!

But more than that, they had a true desire to talk with and thank our American veterans. What a privilege to share with them what it means to serve this country in the military. They asked deeply thoughtful questions, and I was moved by their honest desire for personal stories of our veterans. We were further honored by their band and choral offerings.

Very special thanks to each student and to the teachers and other adults who made it such an incredibly memorable event.

Don P. Strait


Suspect leases

Dear Editor:

On Nov. 9, 2004, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted its fourth and final oil and gas lease auction of the year. On the chopping block were an unprecedented number of beautiful and pristine unprotected wilderness quality lands in Colorado.

The majority of these areas are located in the northwestern and western parts of the state. Many of these parcels are located within the boundaries of Citizen Wilderness Proposals (CWPs); these are lands citizens have spent thousands of hours exploring and verifying as eligible for wilderness designation. I believe these lands should be off-limits until Congress has had a chance to evaluate them.

The BLM, however, doesn't see it that way. The Nov. 9 sale offered more than 11,000 acres, located within seven CWPs, which are pending before Congress for wilderness protection. Including this most recent sale, approximately 40,000 acres of citizen proposed wilderness in Colorado have been auctioned off in the past eighteen months.

The BLM says it is required to offer oil and gas leases in these special places. This is not true. The Mineral Leasing Act gives the BLM the discretion to decide whether or not to lease any given tract of land. There is plenty of public land in the state where oil and gas leasing would be more appropriate. The BLM seems to be singling out the most wild and beautiful unprotected landscapes remaining in Colorado. This is so disheartening to me.

I'm not suggesting the BLM stop offering oil and gas leases. However, I do feel strongly that protecting the most special places for future generations to enjoy is not only a reasonable request, but our obligation.

David Warren


Common ground

Dear Editor:

I had the privilege of having a conversation with a young Marine. He had recently served in Iraq and was soon to return there and to Afghanistan. His job is to defuse ordnance hidden along roadsides. Although he supported President Bush and I did not, we found agreement on many points of discussion.

Of particular relevance was our talk about the impending destruction of Fallujah.

This sprawling slum of a city with over 300,000 inhabitants is a hotbed of resistance and insurgent activity. It's also home to thousands of innocent children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, etc.

The young Marine and I found agreement in the fact that bombing a civilian population center is a crime against humanity. I'll not claim that he didn't support President Bush and the use of American firepower to reduce Fallujah to rubble, for he was committed to serving his country and his brothers in arms.

I reminded this soldier of how Russia bombed the Chechen capital of Grozny into a wasteland in order to "save it." The United States along with the rest of the "civilized" world strongly condemned this murderous brutality. But that was a different time, a different place.

In discussing the horrible fate to come of Fallujah, my new friend and I also agreed that to bomb so many innocent people, for the death toll may easily surpass 10,000, that we as a nation are no better than the hijackers who flew airplanes into the WTC on 9/11.

This is an important point to contemplate. The Iraqi civilians living in Fallujah have never harmed the United States. They are innocent people trying to survive in a brutal world. They want to raise their children in peace and lead normal lives. Yet we premeditatedly planned a major military offensive against their city in order to force the political objectives of a failed policy.

We should consider this predicament whenever we call up 9/11 to justify our behaviors. The terrorists who destroyed the WTC killed nearly 3,000 people. Now we plan to inflict even greater destruction on a city that has done us no harm.

We are at war, that is true. There are insurgents hiding in Fallujah and they will not go willingly. That is also true. But we are at war by choice, not by necessity. If we have to destroy Fallujah through a massive aerial bombardment and ground assault, that is another choice we make. It's not by necessity that we do these things.

May God help this country and what we've become.

John Woodard

Columbia Falls, Mont.

Community News

Russ Hill Memorial Bazaar

open at CUMC

The 41st annual Russ Hill memorial Bazaar opened Monday, Nov. 15, at Community United Methodist Church of Pagosa Springs.

For the ensuing three weeks the church will be transformed into a colorful workshop with 40-50 workers gathered daily through Dec. 3 to make the holiday decorations.

Proceeds from the bazaar make it possible for the church Supper Fellowship group to support the ministry in the church and the community.

Last year, over 750 wreaths and 175 table arrangements were made, their sale netting a profit in five figures.

Originally, the bazaar's purpose was to raise funds for the needs of the church. In recent years, however, as the name of the church indicates, Community United Methodist has contributed over 50 percent of the profits from the bazaar to over a dozen nonprofit organizations in the community.

Volunteers from the community are welcome to join the church members making the decorations - more elves are always welcome.

Hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. The bazaar will also be open 6-8 p.m. Nov. 16 and 23.

Prices for the basic wreaths of pinecones and red velvet bows are $19 (8-inch inside width) and $27 (14-inch inside width). Table arrangements begin at $15.

Visit the church halls, decked out with sample wreaths and arrangements. Many people were disappointed last year when the makers ran out of greens, so citizens are being urged to place their orders is the first week of the bazaar this year.

The deadline for wreath orders is Wednesday, Nov. 24.


Galleries spice up the fare for PSAC's gala walk Friday

By Marti Capling

Special to The PREVIEW

It's time to make those last minute arrangements with your friends and neighbors to attend the second annual Gala Gallery Walk sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council 5-7:30 p.m. Friday.

Each of the seven participating galleries will be festively decorated and ready to share their wares, along with refreshments, music, door prizes, and local artists on hand to meet and greet.

An update on the latest happenings includes live music by Hot Biscuits at Moonlight Books and Gallery, live music also at Handcrafted Interiors, and Karen's special mulled cider with whipped cream drizzled with caramel sauce and nutmeg at Taminah Gallery and Frame Center where Pat Erickson will be the featured artist.

Don't forget that Jeff Laydon will be offering portrait sittings during the evening for a small donation to the PSAC. Participants will receive one copy and the opportunity to purchase others. Also at Astara's Boutique there will be informal modeling of Monika's handcrafted items

Begin the evening by stopping in at the Chamber of Commerce where Sally's farewell will be happening 4-7 p.m., then continue on to visit all the participating galleries: The Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park and Gallery on U.S. 84, Lantern Dancer Gallery in the River Center, Astara's Boutique next to the Chamber, and Taminah Gallery and Frame Center, Moonlight Books and Gallery, and Pagosa Photography all on Pagosa Street in the historic downtown area.

The walk is self guided, so visit in any order you choose. Most of the downtown area can be covered on foot, providing a little fresh air and exercise to work off the refreshments.

Tickets at $10 or $8 for PSAC members are available at WolfTracks, Moonlight Books and Gallery, the Chamber and the PSAC Art Center Gallery in Town Park. Last-minute shoppers can pick up tickets at the Chamber or any of the participating galleries Friday evening. Let's have a great turnout to support our local merchants, artists and artisans.


Spanish classes set at Ed Center; solar power workshop, too

Would you like to sharpen your Spanish conversation skills?

The Archuleta County Education Center is offering an Intermediate Spanish class for students who already have basic knowledge of Spanish vocabulary and grammar.

This class will run 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays for six weeks Dec. 1 - Jan. 5. Tuition for the class is $60.

The Education Center will also be offering a Beginning Spanish grammar and vocabulary class 6-8 p.m. Mondays Nov. 29-Jan. 3. Tuition for this class is also $60.

Are you interested in a natural way to heat your home this winter?

If so, the Education Center is hosting a one-day workshop on solar power.

David Conrad will teach the basics of solar electricity and how to design a solar powered system for your home. The workshop will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Dec 17, at the Center. The class is free, however, there is a $5 annual registration fee.

If you are interested in taking classes offered at the Education Center call 264-2835 or stop by the office at 4th and Lewis streets.


Menu is revealed for finger food feast at madrigal dinner

By John Graves

Special to The PREVIEW

Etiquette experts disagree on whether chicken should be eaten with the fingers - or if the fingers should be eaten separately.

However, those attending the Music Boosters' Madrigal Dinner on the weekends of Dec. 3-4 and 10-11 won't have to wrestle with such niceties.

In medieval times, utensils were virtually unknown, so the concept of finger food covered almost everything but soup (which you drank). So, at Pagosa Spring's gala musical Yuletide feast, much of the meal will be subject to digital manipulation.

Michael DeWinter, who is catering the dinner (as well as designing, creating and coordinating the sets and costumes) has revealed the menu for the Royal Table (and everyone else):

- crudite;

- minced vegetable soup;

- one quarter roasted fowl with seasoned sauce;

- broasted potato;

- corn on the cob;

- apple cinnamon pastry ;

- beverages, including water, ice tea, wassail (spiced cider), and coffee.

While indulging in this rare repast, the Royal Court and all the guests will be entertained by 16 madrigal singers, four recorder players, a harp, jugglers, jesters, and medieval mayhem from the serving serfs and wenches.

The doors open at 7 p.m. and festivities begin at 7:30. Reserved tickets are required and may be purchased at the Plaid Pony (970) 731-5262 .

Prices are $24 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $18 for students and children.

This is one banquet where you'll want to wash your hands both before and after dinner!


Film Society to screen 'Cabaret'

By John Graves

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Springs Film Society has undergone some major changes during recent months, but it now has a permanent home (with a television screen large enough to make subtitles readable).

From now on, the location, date and time should be consistent. The location is The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, in Unit 15, Greenbriar 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. The meetings will be held 7 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month.

The Nov. 30 meeting will screen and discuss director Bob Fosse's 1972 musical "Cabaret," starring Liza Minelli.

There will also be a brief discussion on the future of the Film Society, as related to film selection and the utilization of recent developments such as DVD subscription membership organizations.

"Cabaret" has recently been selected by the Smithsonian Institute as one of eight films to be permanently placed in its collection. Based on the Broadway musical (which was based on the book and play, "I Am a Camera," which were based on the late Christopher Isherwood's "Berlin Stories") the Cabaret film won a total of eight Academy Awards, including Best Director, Best Actress (Liza), and Best Supporting Actor (Joel Grey).

Next week's SUN will have more details on the story line and background of this classic thought-provoking musical. Make sure to reserve the last Tuesday of the month for this and future meetings.


Pueblo Community College

offering courses in Pagosa

Pueblo Community College will offer several courses in Pagosa Springs for the spring 2005 semester beginning Jan. 10 and ending May 7.

All classes will be held in Pagosa Springs High School.

Courses being offered include Bio 105 - Science of Biology, 6-7:15 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, with a lab 7:30-9:25 p.m. Thursday; ECE 240 - Administration of Early Childhood Programs, 6-8:45 p.m. Monday; and PSY 102 - General Psychology II, 6-8:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The biology and psychology classes transfer to Fort Lewis College for general education credit.

In addition, PCC offers several courses on line. Preregistration for these classes is now open. Financial aid is available for eligible students.

For more information, contact PCC in Durango at 247-2929.


Community Choir sets two days of Christmas concerts

By Sue Diffee

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Springs Community Choir will perform a free concert entitled "Christmas Is the Best Time of the Year" with two performances in Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium.

Presentations will be 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5.

The program will open with the Children's Chorale followed by a short intermission. The concert will last approximately 90 minutes and consist of favorite Christmas songs selected to kick off the holiday season.

The ladies group will sing "Santa Baby," with soloist Nancy Artis, and the men's group will sing "We Three Kings." Our Jazz Group will also do two numbers.

Our all-volunteer choir has been providing the community with free concerts since the early 1990s. It now consists of 66 talented local singers under the co-direction of Pam Spitler and Larry Elginer and accompanied by Sue Anderson.

The Children's Chorale, now in its second season, is organized and directed by Sue Anderson and is a delightful mix of enthusiastic youngsters ages 7-11.

The Children's Chorale concert will consist of about 20 songs including "Silent Night"/"All Is Calm," with soloist Joe Nanus, "Medieval Noel," "Sing a Song of Christmas," "Christmas Is the Best Time of the Year" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

It will be a wonderful evening and afternoon of music. Don't miss it.

The Pagosa Springs Community Choir is pleased to provide free admission for this program as our gift to you. We gratefully accept your donations (which are tax deductible).

See's Christmas Chocolates will be available for purchase after the concerts.


Second caroling and cake walk event slated Dec. 15

By Mercy Korsgren

Special to The PREVIEW

The second annual Community Center Christmas Caroling and Cake Walk will be held at the Pagosa Springs Community Center 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15.

This event will be good old fashioned family holiday fun - an event not to be missed.

The evening will begin with folks gathered around a 12-foot Christmas tree inside the multi-purpose room to watch the lighting of the tree. Then, there'll be the Christmas caroling and a cake walk contest to be done alternately while kids get a chance to visit with Santa to tell him what gifts they wish to have.

A local photographer will be available for those who wish to have their children's pictures taken with Santa.

This event will be a success with the help, support and participation of the community. We invite interested singers and musicians, both individuals and groups, to join the fun and lead the carolers in singing holiday songs.

We also need donations of cakes for contest prizes. Volunteers are always welcome.

An event without food is no fun. So, we also invite a couple of nonprofit organizations to provide free food for the evening. Hot drinks and cookies are always popular. This may be an opportunity to advertise your organization.

We look forward to hearing from you. Call the community center at 264-4152, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

This event is free for everyone to enjoy the holiday season.


Unitarians invite Thanksgiving tales from the past

The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold what is hoped might become an annual event Sunday, Nov. 21.

For this special evening service, everyone is invited to bring a favorite traditional (or not so traditional) holiday food, and a brief memory or story from a Thanksgiving past to share.

Following the program of memories and sharing, the Fellowship will provide the turkey main dish and the drinks for a community potluck feast to welcome this holiday week.

The service will begin 4:30 p.m. in the Fellowship's new permanent home in Unit 15, Greenbriar 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.

As always, everyone is welcome.


St. Patrick's welcomes new rector Sunday

St. Patrick's Episcopal Church will welcome the Rev. Robert G. (Bob) Pope as it's new Rector Sunday, Nov. 21.

In addition, the congregation will celebrate Interim Rector Fr. Kelsey Hogue's service to the church. Fr. Kelsey has been instrumental in supporting the growth, service and outreach of the community of St. Patrick's since his arrival in February.

The church plans a 9:30 a.m. service, followed by a covered dish luncheon. The Pagosa Springs community at large is invited to join in the celebration.

St. Patrick's is at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd., next to the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.


The Christian's home is the restored Eden

By Jeff Daley

Grace Evangelical Free Church

Each year, as Thanksgiving approaches, I get very excited. Thanksgiving is a time to acknowledge God for who He is and all He has done, a time for the four Fs-family, food, fun and football!

However, I must also admit that a small part of me would rather not go through it. Maybe it is my melancholy nature, but sometimes I find myself unable to enjoy these times because I'm plagued by awareness that, sooner or later, it must end. The family will leave, the house will once again become quiet and my heart will ache.

It seems no matter how fabulous the festivities are they fall short of my expectations. It feels like there is always something missing, an unsatisfied ache deep within the human heart. We may feel a similar ache as we observe the sun setting or star gazing on the last day of summer vacation, holding our spouse's hand as a warm summer breeze blows through the evening. We wish we could suspend time; we ache for something more permanent.

We also see the expression of this ache in popular music. Bruce Springsteen's song "Everybody Has a Hungry Heart," identifies this ache. Joni Mitchell's anthem of the '60s proclaims, "We are stardust, we are golden, caught up in the devil's bargain, we've got to get ourselves back to the Garden."

How is it that we have a "homing instinct" to return someplace we have never been?

Let's face it - since Adam and Eve, we have all been born outside the Garden of Eden. None of us has gone for a Garden stroll with the Lord in the cool of the day as Adam did (Genesis 3), yet we yearn to return to a place we have never been. Why?

The answer the Bible provides might surprise you. Are you ready for this?

You want to return to the Garden because you, in some sense, have been in the Garden.

The Apostle Paul tells us that when Adam sinned all men became sinners (Romans 5:18). In other words, God considers Adam to be our Federate, our representative for the entire human race. When Adam sinned in the Garden, you and I were there with him. This is mysterious and difficult to comprehend, but somehow, in a very real sense, we were with Adam in the Garden.

This explains why we sense life is not as it should be. Because of our desires and our inability to satisfy them, we know that we have lost something of inestimable value. The great theologian St. Augustine said, "We were made for God and our hearts are restless until we find rest in Him." The French philosopher Blaise Pascal said, "What can this incessant craving, this impotence of attainment mean, unless there was once a happiness belonging to man, of which only the faintest traces remain, in that void which he attempts to fill with everything within his reach?"

As much as we long to get back to the Garden, the Bible teaches that the way is not back, but forward.

In Revelation 22:1-5 we see a grand picture of Eden restored. Through Adam's sin, death entered the world, expelling us from the paradise of Eden. But through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the gates of Eden are thrown open to all who will trust Him for salvation. This is what God has in store for those who will love Him.

So this Thanksgiving as you spend time enjoying your Lord and family, recognize that God has made provision once and for all to satisfy the deepest longings of your heart.

Home is where your heart is, and the Christian's home is the restored Eden, where we will once again walk with Him and see Him face to face (Revelation 22:4). The desire and ache of your heart is truly the expression of your deepest hope.



Local Chatter

Preserving classic holiday recipes

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

Congratulations to the students who won places in the Reuben R. Marquez patriotism writing contest. They are: first, KaTrina Reese; second, Bree Haynes; third, Shanti Johnson. Runners-up are Isaiah Vigil and Travis Furman.

This is the fifth year for this contest. All the winners are sophomores and students of Jack Ellis at Pagosa Springs High School.

Each winner received a certificate and cash award during Veterans Day ceremonies at the American Legion Hall.

Around town

Only twice in my married life did I have to prepare a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. We were always at a family dinner or at a friend's home, and I always looked forward to certain dishes.

And then, over the years, things changed. My friend Josephine didn't include tomato soup aspic on her Thanksgiving menu. And then Cousin Alberta left out her oyster casserole. Both said something like, "I just thought people were tired of it!"

Not me!

Anyway, while cleaning out the recipe box last summer, I set aside the recipes, and knowing me and my sometimes faulty filing system, I'm putting them where I won't lose them - I'm including them in a Local Chatter column.

Oyster casserole

In a casserole dish greased with oleomargarine layer soda crackers (crumbled - not too fine) and oysters. Start and end with crackers. Dot with 1/4 stick of butter and top with about a pint of milk. Cover crackers. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until brown. The ingredients will puff up. Use one pint of oysters or, if the main dish, use two pints of oysters.

Tomato soup aspic

(Recipe note: This is taken from the Memphis Junior League's 1952 cookbook, The Memphis Cookbook.)


2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup cold water

1 can tomato soup

3 3-ounce packages cream cheese

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup chopped stuffed olives

1 heaping tablespoon grated onion

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

1 or 2 teaspoons tabasco

salt to taste.


Soften gelatin in cold water. Heat soup in double boiler, add cream cheese, whip with rotary egg beater and add gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Cool, then add other ingredients. Pour into oiled mold or pan. Chill until firm. Serves 6-8.

(Note: Two cups of cooked shrimp or lobster can be added.)


Senior News

Instructors needed for arthritis course

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Musetta and Silver Foxes Den participant Elaine Lundergan attended the Senior Energy Health Summit in Montrose in October.

The objective of the health summit was to gather information to bring back to Archuleta County to enhance the well being of the seniors locally.

Many topics were covered and the decision on which courses to pursue was overwhelming. After narrowing it down to two, the team conducted a survey to determine which course was to be offered.

Based on the results of the survey (and it was a close one), a class will be offered in improving the health of those who suffer from arthritis.

While a portion of the funding will be provided through the Senior Energy Health Summit, the team is in the process of applying for other grants. The monies will be used to provide training to those interested in instructing the classes. If you are interested in becoming an instructor contact Musetta at 264-2167 by mid November.

With the approach of the holidays, we would like to remind you about the best-ever gift that takes all the fuss, muss, stress and bother out of your shopping -Pagosa Perks! Pagosa Perks were introduced last year and were a big success. They can still be purchased in $10 increments, are good for six months from the date of purchase and are accepted "same as cash" at all Chamber member businesses. We accept them here at the Senior Center as well. Why not help out your senior parent or friend by buying lunches or transportation for them? You can purchase your Perks at the Chamber of Commerce along with a special gift envelope and a list of Chamber members who accept Perks.

Seniors love free food and transportation; get a Perk pack today!

Thank you everyone for signing up for the blood drive last week. We had a wonderful turnout and great snacks were served. If you didn't get to donate this time, keep your eyes open for the next sign-up.

Do you want an opportunity to help kids read? One our local teachers, Ina Noggle, would like some help from our seniors. She asks you to read with her fifth-graders one-on-one to help improve their reading skills. She offers convenient times to get together with her kids, so give her a call if you want to volunteer. Her work number is 264-2257 or 264-6222 in the evening.

You won't want to miss Myra Miller's Nov. 19 presentation on diet and arthritis. Myra is our own registered dietician from Durango and at 1 p.m. she will "dish" out information on how diet can affect arthritis. Don't miss out, it'll surely be a good one.

We will be showing our free movie "18 Again!" at 1 p.m. Friday. This is a delightful fantasy comedy in which George Burns plays an 81-year-old whose soul exchanges bodies with his 18-year-old grandson in a freak accident. George helps out his grandson and finds out how people really feel about him. Be young again and laugh along with George about life. Popcorn is only 25 cents.

We will also be celebrating November birthdays Friday , as it is the last Friday we will be serving lunch in November. (We won't be open on the 26th). If you have a birthday in November, come in for lunch and we'll be serving birthday cake.

Come in and watch the Broncos game Sunday on our large screen TV. Game starts at 11 a.m. and we'll open up at 10:30. Bring your Broncos colors and maybe some munchies to share and watch the game in the lounge. RSVP would be helpful; please let us know at 264-2167.

Our Medicare counselors will be available 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 22 and Dec. 6 to help you sign up for the Medicare Drug Cards. Don't miss out on the opportunity to receive a discount on the drug card for those who qualify. Our counselors are here to help you determine if you qualify and also guide you through the process of choosing the Medicare Drug Card that is right for you. Be sure to come in one of these two days and, if transportation is difficult, remember the senior bus may be an option for you, providing door-to-door service in certain areas with a suggested donation of just one dollar.

Twenty four hours advance notice is appreciated.

Since Tuesday, Nov. 23, is a busy day and a lot of our folks will be in Durango, we have rescheduled Bonnie from Slices of Nature who will be teaching us how to gift wrap on a budget to Tuesday, Nov. 30.

November is flying by and we are already to Thanksgiving. We have some special guests who will be serving our Thanksgiving meal Wednesday the 24th. We will also have Glenn Raby here on the same day to talk about, "Exploring the Southwest" at 1p.m., so plan on eating turkey and listening to Glenn's talk that day.

Please note the Silver Foxes Den will be closed Nov. 25 and 26 for the holiday.



Friday, Nov. 19 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; blood pressure check, 11 a.m.; celebrate November birthdays, noon; "Diet and Arthritis" with Myra Miller 1 p.m.; Free Movie Day: "18 again!" 1 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 21 - Broncos game in the lounge, open 10:30 a.m.

Monday, Nov. 22 - Medicare and drug card counseling, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Medicare Drug Card information and sign-up, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 23 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; basic computer, 10:30 a.m.; Gift Wrapping on a Budget with Bonnie from Slices of Nature, 1 p.m.; Thanksgiving meal for seniors at Francisco's in Durango, 1:30-4 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 24 - canasta, 1 p.m.; "Exploring the Southwest" with Glenn Raby, 1 p.m.

Nov. 25 and 26 - center closed for Thanksgiving.


Friday, Nov. 19 - Salisbury steak, oven parsleyed potato with gravy, Brussels sprouts, roll and plums.

Monday, Nov. 22 - Baked fish fillet, Red Bliss potatoes, asparagus, Mandarin oranges, Gingersnap cookies.

Tuesday, Nov. 23 - Baked potato with broccoli cheese, glazed carrots, whole wheat roll and sherbet.

Wednesday, Nov. 24 - Roast turkey, stuffing, yams with apples, Oriental vegetables and pumpkin pudding.

Nov. 25-26 - center closed.


Chamber News

Going away party for Sally will begin at 4 p.m. Friday

By Doug Trowbridge

SUN Columnist

Tomorrow night is the Chamber's going away party for Sally and we hope you're planning to come and spend a few minutes between 4 and 7 p.m. to add your voice to the choir as we sing her praises.

We'll be offering snacks and beverages, but with other members holding an event the same night, we're asking everyone to drop in to say "goodbye" before heading out to the

Holiday gallery tour

Sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, the Gala Holiday Gallery Tour takes place 5-7:30 p.m. Friday. Eight local businesses will be showing off their wares, offering refreshments and music, and each will offer you the opportunity to win a great raffle prize.

The businesses you are invited to visit are Pagosa Photography, Moonlight Books, Taminah Gallery, Astara's Boutique, Handcrafted Interiors, Lantern Dancer (in the Riverside Center) and the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park on U.S. 84. Tickets are only $10 per person ($8 for PSAC members) and tickets are available at the Chamber, WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company, Moonlight Books and the Arts Council.

This is a great way to jump-start your holiday shopping, support local businesses and help out the Arts Council.

Newsletter inserts

Just in case you missed last week's article, the deadline for inserts in "The Chamber Communiqué," our quarterly newsletter, is fast approaching. The next issue will be dropping early in December and we need your inserts by Wednesday, Nov. 24, because Morna and I make a Thanksgiving tradition out of collating the inserts.

This is always the most popular time to take advantage of this Chamber membership perk because it gives everyone the opportunity to enlighten all members about the holiday specials, the open houses and the great gift selections available at their businesses. We encourage you to take advantage of this extremely economical marketing opportunity with the guarantee that it will reach each and every Chamber member.

All you need to do is bring us 750 copies of your 8 1/2-by-11 inch insert on colorful paper and a check for $40, and we'll take it from there. Please plan to deliver those inserts to the Visitor Center by Wednesday, Nov. 24. If you have questions, give me a call at 264-2360.

Santa, Parade of Lights

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Dec. 4, for the official opening of the holiday season in Pagosa Springs, Christmas in Pagosa.

This has to be one of the dearest traditions in the history of Pagosa, with the arrival of Santa at the Visitor Center, dozens of cookies baked lovingly by our "Cookie Queen" and board president, Sally Hovatter, hot spiced cider, magical moments captured forever by Jeff Laydon with Pagosa Photography, all our favorite Christmas carols provided by the Mountain Harmony Ladies Choir and the most magical moment of all, the countdown to the lighting ceremony.

All of this takes place at the Visitor Center 3 p.m.-dusk Dec. 4, and we hope you will plan to bring all the little ones for what is always a memorable occasion.

The following Friday, Dec. 10, we will present the sixth annual Parade of Lights beginning at 6 p.m. What this one lacks in size it most assuredly makes up in sheer charm. The entries can always be counted upon to be entertaining, colorful, spirited and bright with the lights of the season.

Entry forms will be available at the Visitor Center, so please be thinking about what you can create. There is no entry fee and $100 prizes will be awarded to the Best and Brightest in the categories of Business, Organization and Family. Give me a call at 264-2360 with any questions.

Memorial Bazaar

The Community United Methodist Church has embarked upon the 43rd year of the Russ Hill Memorial Bazaar offering beautiful, handmade wreaths to ship anywhere in the U.S. and to other destinations.

You can order wreaths and centerpieces created by the 40-50 little elves who volunteer their time every year for this project. Obviously you'll want to be there to order for yourself and friends here.

Proceeds from this project support youth and Christian education programs, contribute to adult education in the community and contribute to Christian camp scholarships, church youth scholarships and community assistance programs.

The Chamber always orders a wreath, which hangs over the front door of the Visitor Center during the holiday season. If you would like an order form, stop by the church or give a call to 264-4538. Please act quickly because the orders can be filled and sold only until the volunteers run out of greens.

Parent/Child Together

Tonight, 5:30-7:30 p.m., you are invited to attend Family Night at the Education Center, focusing on the theme of "Feeding Your Piggybank."

This is a great opportunity for families to spend time together exploring literacy themes through a variety of hands-on activities. There is no fee but preregistration is required to ensure adequate supplies and enough Frito Pies to go around for dinner.

Microsoft Word computer classes will begin Nov. 29 and will run 6-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday for two weeks in the junior high school. If you would like more information or to enroll, call the Education Center at 264-2835 or stop by the offices at 4th and Lewis streets.

Photography Contest

The time for the 17th annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest is fast approaching. Now is the time for local photographers to start making their selections and preparing their photos for display. As always, the show will be held at Moonlight Books Feb. 5-26.

The opening reception is 5-7 p.m. Feb. 5. Visitors to the show will not only be able to view the immense talent pool that resides in the Pagosa area, but they can also vote for the People's Choice Award. This show never fails to impress, so mark your calendars and plan on visiting Moonlight Books to check it out.

For more information on how to enter the show, drop by Moonlight Books and pick up the rules and regulations.

Red Cross training

The Southern Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross is looking for volunteers to take part in their Disaster Action Team training 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday.

This full-day training is offered as part of an effort to put together an Archuleta County Disaster Action Team. This team would respond with assistance to our neighbors in times of disaster with food, clothing and shelter.

The training is free and lunch will be provided by Backcountry Barbeque.

Reservations are requested, so please call Edie at 731-6350 and become a part of this very worthwhile endeavor.

United Way hunt

Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for the avid hunter in your family? How about a chance to win a guided hunt worth $7,000?

Dennis Schutz, of Big Bones Outfitters, has donated a guided hunt on private land for the 2005 season. The winner has lots of options open to them. They can choose archery, black powder or rifle. They can hunt bear, elk, turkey or mountain lion.

Chances are $20 and you can buy as many as you like. Tickets are available at the Chamber, the downtown Citizens Bank, Old West Press or you can charge them by phone at 264-2057.

Holiday calendar

The Chamber's not the only one putting on the holiday festivities. We'll be offering up more information on the many holiday activities in coming weeks. So that you can start planning, however, here are the events we know about:

The Pagosa Springs Community Choir Christmas Concert will take place 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5

The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters will offer "A Magical Madrigal Dinner" on consecutive Friday and Saturday nights, Dec. 3-4, and 10-11.

The Community Christmas Sing-A-Long will be 3-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12.

The Community Center's Community Christmas Caroling and Cake Walk will be 7-10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15.

Don't forget to let the Chamber know if your event isn't listed here. Give us a call at 264-2360.


Two new members and nine renewals to crow about this week.

Our first new member is The Getaway owned by Daniel Roehrs. The Getaway will offer family affordable, casual dining, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner including: egg sandwiches and burritos, juicy hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, fresh-made frozen custard (premium ice cream), old fashioned sundaes and shakes, gourmet coffee and espresso drinks. They'll be at 27B Talisman Dr. No. 7, which is the new construction taking place adjacent to the Citizen's Bank on the west side of town. They hope to be open by the first of the year, so keep your taste buds in check until you hear more. Their phone number is 731-2737.

Our next new member is Claudia Matzdorf with Southwest Silver Gallery. Claudia does business online at and offers authentic Native American jewelry, Zuni fetish carvings and unique handmade creations from Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, Santo Domingo and Southwest artisans. She offers international shipping and free gift-wrapping as well. If you have questions, you can call Claudia at 731-9692 or toll-free at (877) 615-3003, or e-mail her at

Our renewals get started with Bernie Schuchart and his two businesses The Buck Stops Here and Cabin Fever Log Homes. We also welcome back Peak Physical Therapy, P.C., Gary and Carol Dillard with The Corner Store, John and Carol Frakes with Eagle Eye Inspection Services, Bob Scott with Edward Jones, Teri Matzdorf with Upscale Resale, Jody Cromwell and Sharon Crump with Mortgage One and Associate Member Melba Dillard.

Our thanks to our members new and old for helping our Chamber thrive. Don't forget to "Shop Pagosa First" this holiday season!


Veteran's Corner

How about a Share-A-Ride

program for clinic visits?

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

I was recently at the Durango VA Clinic around 10 a.m. for my VA health care appointment and noticed other Archuleta County veterans at the clinic for their appointments.

There were four other veterans from here and I was only aware of the appointment of one of them.

All of us traveled to the same location, at the same time, in five different vehicles. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to add up those fuel costs: 5 vehicles x 120 miles x $2.09 per gallon of gas = $$$$$.

Durango patients

I spoke to the Edie, the clinic receptionist, and she informed me that quite often half of their patients in a day are from Pagosa Springs. That in itself tells me we have a lot of veterans traveling to the Durango VA Clinic and probably most do not know each other.

Considering I have filed about 600 VA health care application forms for our area, which represent about 50 per cent of our veteran population, we may have as many veterans going to the clinic as from other areas.

LaPlata County has a population of about 50,000 with an estimated 6,000 veterans.


I would like to start a "Share-A-Ride" program for our veterans. We can help each other.

If all you veterans in Archuleta County will call me with your VA health care appointments, I will keep a schedule and advise you when it might be possible to share a ride to Durango, or other locations such as Farmington and Albuquerque.

The VA doesn't share this information with me, so I have no idea who might be going where for their appointments.

Coordinate transport

If you will call me and give me the location and time of your appointment I will attempt to coordinate who is going where and advise you how to get in contact with them to "share-a-ride." You can also share fuel costs or driving.

Additionally, we have the two VA health care transport vehicles now available for use by veterans who do not have reliable transportation of their own, or for health and other considerations. If you wish to use one of these vehicles you need a valid Colorado Drivers License and sign some special liability forms.

Advise your schedule

If you are using your own vehicle, or plan to checkout our Archuleta County VSO vehicle, let me know when and where your appointment is. I will keep a computerized schedule of those appointments and try to coordinate veterans helping each other to their appointments.

Just call 264-8375 with your appointment and I will advise you if another veteran is going to the same place on the same day. If I am unable to take your call please leave a message with your name, appointment time and date, and your phone number so I don't have to call your back for the information. I will advise you if someone else is going your way and you veterans can work out the rendezvous details between you.

Let's see if we can make this work and help a fellow veteran.

Durango VA Clinic

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

Further information

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


Library News

Look at the names that help grow a library

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

These generous folks helped us raise money for the building by donating prizes to the Civic Club Raffle: Bonnie Nyre and Slices of Nature, Blondie's Fruit Stand, Edelweiss Needlework Chalet, Bruce Andersen, Vicki Kulyk and Holy Smokes, Marge McRae and MarMac Farms, Richard Sutherland, Syl Holly-Lobato, Alex Rankin, Robin Ball, Betsy Gill, Ralph and Scotty Gibson.

Also, Patty Hart, Paula Bain, Fran Shelton, Terri Andersen and Discovery Toys, Linda Sapp and Loma Clay Works, Marietta Gordon, Jennifer Hedrick, Dale and Betty Schwicker, Melissa Rodgers and High Point Primitives, Monica Archuleta, Pamela Bomkamp and Southern Living at Home, Michael DeWinter and the Plaid Pony, Patti Stewart, Doug Schultz and Uncle Zack's, Mary Cardin, Treva Wheeless, Sharon-Leah Pay, Isabel Webster and the Flying Burrito, Maggie Inskeep, Greg Coffey Arts, Pagosa Piecemakers, Jacky Reece, Liz Schnell, Chris Powe, Margaret Wilson, Ann Cheers, and George and Dorothy Reeves.

Next week we'll have the list of winners. By then, all should have been contacted to pick up their prizes.

New book

"Leadership," by Rudolph W. Giuliani, explores many of the skills that helped him deal with the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Giuliani was one of the most effective mayors we've ever seen. In explaining his ideas about leadership, he tells fascinating stories of how he learned his skills.

Time Magazine chose him as Person of the Year in 2001. They had this to say: "For having more faith in us than we had in ourselves, for being brave when required and rude where appropriate and tender without being trite, for not sleeping and not quitting and not shrinking from the pain all around him. Rudy Giuliani, Mayor of the World."

Psychological reactions

We have two documents with tips about what to do for children during time of national terror, and how to counter the psychological effects of terror. You may have free copies of these reports. Ask for them at the desk.

Library supporters

Our final fund-raising push is on. We need to raise the final $45,000 to help furnish the new library addition and renovation. All donations are tax deductible and you may give in honor or memory of someone and the names will be on the wall.

Here are the people with new donations helping to bring you your new library addition as of last week: Ron and Cindy Gustafson in memory of Rick Kimble's Dad, Bill Kimble; Ron and Sheila Hunkin; Diego and Judy Valdez in memory of Horace C. Jones; Carl Kummer in honor of Pagosa Lodge No. 114; James Frazier; Julie Crilley; Mary Miller; Edith Blake in memory of Elizabeth Margaret Hartley; Dot Alber; Cory Warden in honor of Theo Rogan Warden.

Mr. and Mrs. Olin Garrison in honor of their grandchildren Cayman Garrison and Colton Champe; Karl and Joanne Irons; Stan and Marcella Maddux; Bruce Wayne and Lisa Peterson; Richard and Marcia Barrett; Edward and Ethel Lane; Greg Giehl; Bob and Mary Ann Huff; Jim and Patty Latham; Don and Elaine Lundergan; Mr. and Mrs. James Waters; Marilyn and R.D. Copley; Gerald Sawatzky; Helen Hoff; Harold and Joan Slavinski; Martin and Gerda Witkamp; Virginia Sheets; R.A. and Ruth Newlander; James and Jean Carson; Donald and Helen Bartlett; Betty J. James in memory of her parents Ross Emerson and Lena Warrington See; Gene and Joan Cortright in memory of Lee Sterling.

Dave Krueger in honor of the public library; Richard and Phyllis Alspach; Don and Kathy Weber in honor of their son Donald Andrew Weber; Leland and Laurie Riley in honor of Doris Monahan; Shirley and Sherwin Iverson; Robert and Carole Howard; Barbara Sanft in memory of Richard S. Sanft; Richard and Violet DeVore; Sepp and Tanis Ramsperger; Randy Zimmer; Alex and Betty Shaw; Joan and Malcolm Rodger; Nick and Lynn Constan in memory of Elizabeth Hartley; Arthur and Lucille Lemmon in honor of our library project; Barbara Sackman; Kenneth and Alice Coughron; David and Bonnie Brooks in honor of Lynn Cluck; James and Cynthia Peironnet; Ron Alexander; William and Ann Shurtleff; Melinda Baum and Don Weller; Leo and Marjorie Beard; Rick and Sherry Murray in loving memory of Dorothy K. Reeves; and in special honor of George H. Reeves; Harry Young in honor and memory of Joan Young; Harold Cunningham; Barbara and Don Rosner; Paige and Jean Gordon; and Billie White Evans.

Library closing

The library will be closed Nov. 25-26 for Thanksgiving.


Arts Line

Take the gallery tour and bid Sally farewell

By Leanne Goebel

PREVIEW Columnist

Gala Holiday Gallery Tour is 5-7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are available at the Chamber, Moonlight Books, WolfTracks, and the PSAC Art Center/Gallery in Town Park.

This $10 ticket ($8 for PSAC members) entitles one to visit the following galleries: Pagosa Photography, Moonlight Books and Gallery, Taminah Gallery and Frame Center, Astara's Boutique, Handcrafted Interiors, Lantern Dancer Gallery and Gifts, and the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park and Gallery.

Each gallery will be decorated for the holidays and will offer refreshments, music and raffle prizes for your browsing pleasure, as well as providing an opportunity to meet several of our fine local artists and artisans. It promises to be a most enjoyable evening and a chance to support our local merchants and benefit the Pagosa Springs Arts Council.

Don't forget to stop in and say goodbye to Sally Hameister at the Chamber that night. Then come visit me at Astara's Boutique where I'll be helping out.

Artist directory

PSAC is putting together a directory of local artists and craftspeople. The publishing date is the end of December.

A letter was sent out to all artists on the PSAC mailing list, stating the information was needed by the end of October. Please disregard that letter. PSAC is accepting information until Dec. 27. There is no charge for this listing, so get your information to Victoria right away.

Portrait clinic

The November Pagosa Springs Photo Club meeting will be 6:30 p.m. today in the community center. Featured speaker will be Jeff Laydon of Pagosa Photography who will present a clinic on portrait photography. New members of all levels are welcome.

Contemporary Artist

Are you a contemporary artist? Do you want to get together with other contemporary artists for exhibitions, performances, happenings and educational events? Then contact Jules Masterjohn at 382-0756 and join DECAF (Durango Exhibitions and Contemporary Arts Forum).

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 only $25.

Upcoming workshops

Drawing workshop with Randall Davis 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at the community center.

FLC workshops

Scribbles, Scrawls And Tadpole People, 9 a.m.-noon, Saturday. There is a marvelous magical quality to children's first scribbles and scrawls. The product of their efforts and, more importantly, the process by which they create them provide insights into the child's mental, emotional, and physical development. While the progressive scribbles, scrawls, and drawings of all children, regardless of culture, will follow the same stages at the same ages, yet, expressions of individual personality also become increasingly evident.

An overview of preschool graphic development and its significance in child development will be illustrated and discussed. A context will also be provided in which to understand and appreciate the graphic symbolism in children's earliest scribbles and drawings. This workshop will be of special interest to parents and teachers.

Jan Milburn Mark Reddy has a master's degree in the psychology of handwriting and has a special interest in cross-cultural aspects of preschool graphic expression in children and universal symbolism in writing. Mark has been studying handwriting since 1978 and is a certified graphologist, graphoanalyst, and master graphologist. Cost is $20.

Ideas wanted

The calendar of events is getting shorter which signifies winter's approach. 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

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

This juried sale in the Barbara Conrad Gallery features works by artists creating original, unique gift items in ceramics, jewelry, fiber, metal, glass, wood, paper, calligraphy, photography, sculpture, printmaking, painting, and drawing. 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. Contact DAC at 259-2606 or e-mail

Adventure tour

Join artist Cynthia Padilla for a fantastic tour of Costa Rica. Journal, draw, paint, photograph or just enjoy this tropical paradise March 20-27. The tour departs from Denver and arrives in San Jose. On day two, drive to San Carlos, visit the Arenal Volcano, and swim in Tabacón Hot Springs. Day three travel north to the Caño Negro Lake and Wildlife Reserve where you will enjoy a boat trip with exotic birds such as osprey, storks, and herons. Day four travel to Santa Rosa Park and stay in a jungle lodge, take a hike or go horseback riding. Day five, journey to the Guanacaste, one of the last tropical dry forests on the planet, stop at Santa Rosa National Park, and then arrive at your seaside hotel. Day six is a free beach day or choose to take a snorkeling excursion. Day seven, return to San Jose for dinner and prepare for your return to Denver on day eight. Sign up anytime!

For more information contact me at 731-1841, e-mail, or pick up a brochure at the gallery in Town Park.


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

Today - Photography club meets at community center.

Nov. 19 - Gala Holiday Gallery Tour in Pagosa Springs, 5-7:30 p.m.

Nov. 20 - Drawing class with Randall Davis at the community venter, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Nov. 20 - Writers workshop with Jerry Hannah. Contact Leanne for more information 731-1841.

Nov. 21 - Salon at the home of Cristy Holden. Contact Leanne for more information.

Nov. 27 - Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair at Pagosa Lodge.

Dec. 3, 4 - Magical Madrigal Dinner at community center.

Dec. 9 - John Fielder presentation at Durango Photo Club.

Dec. 10, 11 - Magical Madrigal Dinner at community center.

March 19-16 - Costa Rican Adventure Tour with Cynthia Padilla.

July 24 - Home and garden tour.


Food for Thought

Get out the old clothes, and hold the tofu

By Karl Isberg

SUN Columnist

I'm in Denver, at the Denver Coliseum.

I'm watching the state volleyball tournament.

There's a problem.

More precisely, Butch Madrid, our local radio announcer, the man sitting beside me, has a problem.

It's me: I'm outgassing.

I'm doing my best to control the situation but I'm battling an autonomic function and I am failing, miserably.

The problem?


My Nordic genes do not accommodate the venerable soy bean curd. My Viking ancestors would have been stopped dead in their predatory tracks by tofu. Soy bean curd could have prevented immeasurable damage wrought by blue-tinted berserkers - the guys rendered unable to travel great distances trapped in small boats with a crew of well, you get the picture.

I should have known better but, thrilled with the prospects awaiting me in the big city, set atwitter by a tantalizing list of food options, I lost touch with bodily realities.

There it was, in a large pan on a steam table at a Whole Foods market: curried tofu, the turmeric-tinted blocks of curd bedded on succulent vegetables, glazed with delectable sauce. I bought some and ate it as I sat in the car in the parking lot.

It was darned good.

Until the next morning.

As I sit on press row at the Coliseum.

Next to Butch - whose friendship I value.

There I am, hunched over, guts in a dither. It's like Berlin 1945 down there: a desperate struggle is taking place.

The tofu is the Russian Army.

Guess who I am?

Guess how things are going down in the bunker?

It occurs to me to move a seat or two down the row but, with the carnage occurring in my small intestine, the move would do little good.

What to do?

I realize I have no choice: Tighten up, make a heroic effort (for Butch's sake) and make plans for lunch and dinner.

Ostensibly, I am at the Coliseum to cover the state high school volleyball tournament. When the reportorial veneer is stripped away, my primary motivation for the trip is a food safari. I'm in the city, there's a ton of good eats out there and I haven't a moment to waste.

Day one: I'm looking at a break in the early afternoon, then facing a big decision regarding dinner. For lunch, a joint near the arena. Lower downtown Denver is five minutes away and, since I wangled a parking pass, I have in-and-out privileges.

The familiar haunts in old north Denver are across a viaduct, treasures awaiting on West 38th and in nearby environs. There are Mexican and Italian delights there - at the original Chubby's with some of the best, incendiary green on the planet; in the form of Italian wonders at Three Sons, Carbone's and Parise further to the west.

Downtown, I've got my beloved Mori for some of the choice Japanese chow in this part of the world (hold the tofu, please); Mount Everest, for some dandy Tibetan fare; Little India (featuring one of the prime lamb vindaloos west of the Mississippi) or The Imperial for sea bass with black bean sauce (keep the curd at a distance, if you will).

This critical decision process is interrupted by a commotion. In the first row of the stands directly above me and Butch sits a bevy of parents from a well-known volleyball mecca located on the northeast plains. They are upset with the referee who, in their wisdom, they have deemed responsible for the imminent demise of their team. It can't be that their kids are doing a crappy job, after all. We don't live in an honest age.

Apparently a young fan of the opposition has said something the patriarchs don't appreciate. The gentlemen are bellowing at the lad, threatening to remove his head and perform rude acts with the remaining body parts.

Ah, parenting at its best. No doubt, in this case, fueled by a stultifying existence on the plains and overexposure to bovine growth hormone.

I dodge a water bottle tossed by a furious, spittle-festooned mom and get back to work on my list. To my horror, I realize I have a serious problem: my gotta-get-my-weight-and blood pressure-down diet.

No refined flour, no refined sugar, watch the salt.

It is a crushing realization. This is the first time I've visited the city since I went on the regimen.

I'm doomed.

Mount Everest?

A platter heaped with momos?

With that sticky hot dipping sauce?

And a mess of their "Himalayan meat?"






Not a chance.

Three Sons?

Pasta of any kind?

Out of the question.

How about that foccacia at Parise? A panini?

Gotta be kiddin'.

Again, my study is interrupted by parents in the stands. This time, a dad and mom are convinced they know more than the coach - a common ailment. They scream instructions to the team and loudly voice their displeasure. They are experts (just ask them), as are so many parents when it comes to sport and matters in the classroom and, since their hollow lives must be filled by their children, they are desperate when their baby's team is losing and their precious love bug is not the center of attention, the object of adulation.

When he is not complaining or second-guessing his daughter's coach, dad whistles. He whistles loudly.

The man screams his daughter's name, again and again, breaking her name into two parts, for effect - "Bree-Anna, Bree-Anna"- the plaintive and pathetic call of a frustrated soul, a being whose existence is linked to a dying star, her light growing weaker by the moment.

I can no longer hear anything in my right ear; the fillings in my teeth are loose.

But I am undeterred in my pursuit of critical things.

How about a trip to Little India?

Biryani? Kofta? Saag paneer?

Forget about it.

There'll be no garlic naan for Karl.

I decide I'll make a few calls, see what the walk-in possibilities are at a couple French joints nearby. I whip out the cell and dial numbers between matches.

After all, there are times when nothing beats dinner for three: a chef, a waiter and me.

I'm thinking Le Central, for moules. I'll just skip the bits of baguette, for sopping.

"Sorry, we don't seat singles on Friday."

Well, there's Brasserie Rouge. A grilled veal chop. Veal demiglace.

"Sorry, we don't seat singles on Friday."


After the last match of the evening, I hustle out to the parking lot, release a stupendous load of gas and beat a depressed path back to Whole Foods. I purchase a carton of roasted spicy eggplant salad, a bit of creamed spinach and a slab of turkey meatloaf. I microwave the humble fare at my mother in-law's house, take a solitary meal in a darkened kitchen and turn in early.

The next day: More volleyball, more depression. I snack on an apple and a low-carb, high-protein energy bar.

When the action ends, I call my daughter, Aurora Borealis. I need to see her and granddaughter Ipana.

Aurora is a diet expert (she's been on more of them than anyone I know) and she informs me there is light at the end of my dismal tunnel.

"Hurry over," she says, "we'll drive to El Gio. These folks will save you. And me, as long as you're buying."

When I arrive at Aurora's, Ipana greets me at the door in full fairy mode.

She's ready to go out on the town. Her hair is newly corn-rowed, she's wearing a snazzy yellow corduroy dress with big, bright buttons, argyle leggings and a pair of dilapidated fairy wings.

"I'm flying, grandpa. I'm way up in the air, except when I'm ice skating. I'm flying and I'm hungry. Let's go to El Gio."

We're off and on our way to a tacky little dive in old Arvada, hard to find and worth the trip. The building looks like an abandoned franchise drive-in. The cuisine: Veracruzano, Caribbean.

I take a gander at grease-filmed photos of the prize menu items thumb-tacked to the wall above the counter. I'm excited.

I'm happier when I scan the menu: Lots of fish, dishes typical of eastern Mexican and Gulf cuisine. I don't hear English being spoken - another good sign.

Aurora and Ipana eat here every week, so the staff greets them warmly, eyeing me as if I were an alien who dropped off the saucer.

We opt for choriqueso as an appetizer - big hunks of browned, homemade chorizo, mixed with sauteed sliced onion, minced garlic and green pepper, covered with a thick blanket of melted jack cheese. As a transport - warm, fresh corn tortillas, made by large gals in El Gio's kitchen. Put a bit of the gooey sausage mix in a bit of tortilla, splash on a bit of fresh, cilantro-infused salsa. Eat. Yeehah.

Aurora orders a fillet of salmon, bathed in mango sauce.

Ipana requests her favorite shrimp tacos - small shrimps pinked up on the grill, heaped on a soft corn tortilla in the company of a smidge of shredded lettuce, some guacamole and a peppery mayonnaise-based sauce. She wears most of the food on her little mug as she plows through the tacos. The yellow dress is history.

Me, I consider sea bass poached in olive oil and garlic, then shrimps and scallops prepared the same way.

Then my eye lights on what I thought was a Cuban dish: Ropa vieja.

Ropa vieja means "old clothes" and there are Spanish and Cuban versions of this classic, which amounts to a stylized, shredded pot roast.

This, says the waitress, was ropa vieja, Veracruzano.

I order it.

The meat comes braised and shredded, the sauce thickened by the addition of a beaten egg just before serving. On the side are sliced, pickled jalapenos and a dish containing a chile paste I can't deconstruct.

At last, something to counter the tofu.

The evening ends well: Aurora and I are sated; Ipana still carrying half her dinner on her dress, is rewarded with a trip to a local creamery for a dish of ice cream topped with Gummi Bears. When I leave Aurora's place, the kid has her wings strapped on and she is bouncing off the walls like an amphetamine-saturated housefly.

The ropa vieja saves my day, my weekend.

I intend to make ropa vieja soon. I'll take a big hunk of chuck roast, season it, then brown it in olive oil in a heavy pan. I'll take out the meat and toss in a couple white onions, sliced, as well as sliced green and red peppers. I'll season then saute the veggies.

Next in go six or seven cloves of garlic, minced; a carrot finely diced; a half can or so of crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes and their sauce; salt, pepper, a bit of red wine vinegar; some oregano and cumin; a cup or so of red wine; two serrano peppers, finely sliced; a dash of cinnamon and several cups of rich beef broth.

I'll bring the mix to a slow boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce the heat to low and braise for a couple hours, adding more broth if necessary. I might even do the braising in the oven, at 350.

When the meat flakes easily with a fork, out it comes and the broth will be reduced to a quasi syrup. The meat will be shredded - tattered like your old clothes - and added back to what remains of the broth. Right before serving, I'll stir in a well beaten egg.

It'll go great with some rice to which a cup or so of cooked green peas and some minced scallion have been added. (I can't eat the rice, but I'll make it anyway).

If anything resembling a ripe Haas avocado shows up on the supermarket shelf, I'll chance a batch of guacamole. It'll be weak this time of the year, but I'll plop it on some spring mix, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. In fact, I'll nail the ropa vieja with some of the cilantro just before serving. A couple steamed corn tortillas (the best alternative to fresh), and life will be good.

Just keep the tofu and the sports parents, at a distance, please.

I tend to get gas.

Education News
Extension Viewpoints

Fee increases proposed for livestock owners

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Friday, Nov. 19 - Cloverbuds at community center, 1-3:30 p.m. first year rabbit project, 2 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 25 - Office closed for Thanksgiving

Friday, Nov. 26 - Office closed

A fee increase is proposed to offset the higher cost of administering the state brand inspection program. The State Board of Stock Inspection will hold a hearing Dec. 9, in Denver, to discuss the fee increase.

"Our costs have risen dramatically, especially during the past two years, and we're trying to maintain the same level of quality service to our customers," said Gary Shoun, brand commissioner at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "With the change in state laws, this is the first year that we can set our own fee rates."

In previous years, the fees were determined by state statute.

The rising operating costs include higher overhead and employee benefits as well as lower livestock numbers. Colorado has seen the lowest livestock numbers since 1966 due to the drought conditions during the past five years.

If the fees are approved, they will take effect Feb. 1.

The Division of Brand Inspection is charged with five principal regulatory responsibilities.

Inspectors and office staff record livestock brands; verify ownership of livestock prior to a sale, movement beyond 75 miles, and slaughter; license packing plants and livestock sale businesses; license domestic elk facilities; investigate cases of lost or stolen livestock.

Below are the proposed fee increases.

- all cattle per head fee (increases by 15 cents);

- country and sale barn cattle, 55 cents;

- direct to slaughter from feedlot under 500 lbs., 53 cents;

- direct to slaughter from feedlot over 500 lbs., 50 cents;

- direct from certified feedlot, 38 cents;

- minimum fee, increases by $5;

- finished cattle from feedlot direct to slaughter, $15;

- country horses, $15;

- country cattle, $10 plus 55 cents per head;

- horse per head fee increases by $1;

- all market consigned horses, $2;

- permanent travel cards for horses increase to $25;

- sheep inspection fee, increases 40 cents;

- hides at by-products plants increases to 25 cents;

- fee waiver applications increases to $50;

- new brand applications, transfers and lease forms increase to $50.

For more detailed information on the proposed fee increases, contact the Division of Brand Inspection at (303) 294-0895.

State TB precautions

Officials at the Colorado Department of Agriculture want livestock markets to be vigilant against bovine tuberculosis (TB).

"In the last few years, TB has become an increasing concern in the U.S., since 75 to 80 percent of all of positive cases identified at slaughter originate from Mexico," said State Veterinarian Wayne Cunningham.

"While some Mexican states are working very hard to control TB, others are not, which potentially exposes our cattle to the disease."

In Colorado, all Mexican cattle imported into the state for recreational purposes such as rodeos must be tested for TB within 60 days of entering the United States.

The state veterinarian's office is encouraging livestock markets to ensure that all imported cattle, especially Mexican roping cattle, be properly tested. Approved animals have a bright official U.S. Department of Agriculture test tag. All cattle returning to the countryside must be tested for TB. Otherwise, they should be sent to slaughter, which includes feedlots.

Colorado has been free of bovine TB since 1935. Any case of the disease will jeopardize this status, which is important to the marketability of the 2.4 million cattle and calves across the state.

Tuberculosis is a contagious disease of both animals and humans. Bovine TB has existed for centuries and can be transmitted from livestock to humans and other animals.

Once the most prevalent infectious disease of cattle and swine in the United States, bovine TB once caused more losses among U.S. farm animals than all other infectious diseases combined.

A U.S.D.A eradication program, which began in 1917, has nearly eradicated bovine TB from the country's livestock population.



Pagosa Lakes News

PLPOA offices collection points for Operation Helping Hand

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association administrative office and the recreation center are collection points for Operation Helping Hand.

On your visits to these two places, please bring nonperishable food items, toys, coats, or you may make out a check out to Operation Helping Hand to make a donation to purchase a ham or turkey.

If you know a family that will be needing some assistance toward Christmas - toys for the children, food to celebrate - encourage them to go by the Social Services offices before Dec. 6 to register for the packages to be distributed by Operation Helping Hand.

The annual Turkey Trot, historically an event sponsored by Friends of the Library, has been resurrected by the Pagosa Porpoises Swim Club (with proceeds going back to the club).

This year's walk/trot will take place Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, on a loop course near the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center starting at 10 a.m.

Participants are offered the choice of a two-mile walk or a five-mile run. This is great - pop the bird in the oven, get some exercise, then create the rest of the meal - and enjoy the feast with an appetite sharpened by fresh air and a good workout.

Competition divisions for men and women are set for 16 and under, 17-40 and 40 and over. Prizes will be awarded and baked goods will be available for sale. Perhaps I'll find a loaf of good hearty bread and who knows - maybe some oyster stuffing to go with the turkey.

Registration for the race takes place on the day of the event at the recreation center, beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more information, call the recreation center at 731-2051. I encourage you to turn this into a family affair; kids, grandkids and dog if you wish. The more the merrier.

The PLPOA offices will be closed Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26. The recreation center will be closed only on Thanksgiving, Thursday Nov. 25, and will open its doors at 6 a.m. Friday so you can start working off the turkey.

Helen and Bill Miller will be moving back to Tulsa, Okla., this week. After many years of being actively involved in volunteer work in this community, their departure will be a big loss. We wish them the very best as they make this necessary transition.





Jason, Brynn and Katie Earley are proud to announce the arrival of Evora Claire Earley. Evie was born Oct. 22, 2004, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, Colo. She weighed 6 pounds, 5.5 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long. Paternal grandparents are Ruth and Don Earley, maternal grandparents are Nancy and Russ Mackensen. All live in Pagosa Springs.



The nicest things come in small packages, wrapped in joy, filled with goodness and sent with love. On Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004, Monica Rodriguez and Danny Salas were blessed with the arrival of Kyrah Rose at 8:48 p.m. She weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces and was 18 inches long. Grandparents are Danny and Rosemary Salas and Pete and Julie Rodriguez, all of Pagosa Springs. Great-grandparents are Lester and Lila Rivas, and Leo Landon, all of Pagosa Springs.


Business News


Natural Resources Conservation Service

Jerry Archuleta manages the local Natural Resources Conservation Service office. NRCS specializes in providing assistance to private landowners concerning the conservation of natural resources.

Other resource concerns NRCS addresses include soil erosion, irrigation system planning, wildlife habitat enhancement and grazing management.

NRCS is located at 505 County Road 600 - Piedra Road - near the airport.

For more information call 731-3615.



Preview Profile

Scott White

Teacher, Pagosa Springs Junior High School


Where were you born?

"Austin, Texas."


Where did you go to school?

"Kindergarten through third grade I attended school in Shiprock and Dulce, New Mexico. Fourth though 12th grades I attended Pagosa schools and I went to college at Fort Lewis."


When did you arrive in Pagosa Springs?

"I moved here in 1976, then I came back in 1999 after college."


What did you do before you arrived here?

"I was a teacher in Aztec, New Mexico."


What are your job responsibilities?

"I teach eighth-grade American History and I'm also a high school football and track coach."


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

"I really love to teach and coach. Sharing my interest in history and trying to pass that on is always fun and challenging. Least enjoyable is grading essay exams."


What is your family background?

"I am single with two wonderful kids. My parents, grandmother, brother and sister all live in Pagosa. Most of us are teachers. I feel very lucky to have such a close family all together."


What do you like best about the community?

"The mountains. I love living where I can be fishing and hiking a few minutes out the door."


What are your other interests?

"Flyfishing, mountain biking, hiking, anything outdoors."


Cards of Thanks


Special helper

We would like you to know about a special lady. Her name is Mrs. Meyers. She volunteers in our second-grade classroom almost every day.

Mrs. Meyers helps us with our work and is fun to be around. She is great at explaining things. We are thankful for her kindness.

Mrs. Hollenbeck's second-grade class:

Austin Courtney, Ben Bard, Brandon Pollard, Ceraela Raine, Chantal Caraveo, Christopher Archuleta, Courtney Sullivan, Dylan Castorena, Hayleigh Brown, Kaylnn Daignault, Kellen Bandy, Lance Ulery, Larissa Turner, Maggie Quezada, Marcos Quezada, Martin Rodriguez, Oden Engelhardt. Owateeka Murphy, Ryder Dermody, Taylor Webster, Tyler Sidhom and Tyreese Tyndall


Library benefit

Once again, the Woman's Civic Club extends a big thank you to all who contributed to the success of our annual Holiday Bazaar at the community center Nov. 6. Hundreds of you turned out to enjoy our baked goods, cafe and raffle, as well as the merchandise offered by over 50 vendors.

We appreciate your continued support, and remind you that the monies raised by this event go toward the building fund for the upcoming addition to our Ruby Sisson Library.

A special thanks goes to the members of the Knights of Columbus. Without the efforts of these men who help us so much with the heavy moving of pegboards and tables, we would not be able to offer such a successful event. The Chamber of Commerce, The SUN, and KWUF, as well as all the businesses which displayed our advertising posters, were a great help in getting the word out. We all enjoyed the day tremendously and hope you did as well.

See you all again next year.

Woman's Civic Club


Lujan families

We would like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped us get through our difficult time of sorrow. Thank you for all the phone calls, visits, flowers, food, monetary donations and prayers.

Thank you to the EMTs, the advocate, and everybody who was involved with helping at the scene of the accident.

A special thanks to the Assembly of God Church for the donation of the motel rooms; to Bobby Hererra for the backhoe; to Hank Rivas and band for the beautiful music; the Guadalupanas for the meal; to Jackisch Drug, UBC, The Flying Burrito, Pagosa Funeral Options (Louis Day), Father Carlos of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and to Gerald Manzanares for the tow truck.

A very special thank you goes to Ernie and Valerie Garcia and Clarence and Angie Espinosa for helping grandpa with his last months of life, and to Blailand for being a ray of sunshine in his life.

A huge thanks to Darlene Lujan, Marcella (Lujan) Silva, Fred and Lenore Martinez, Maria and Angela Gallegos, Stan and Annette Martinez, Carol and Adolph Mestas, and to all the pallbearers and honorary pallbearers. Also, to the families of Frances (Stollestiemer) Lujan and the families of Phil Lujan for all their support and contributions.

We are so blessed to live in a community with such caring and giving people. Without your support, we would not have been able to get through this. If we have overlooked anyone, please forgive us. Again, thank you all very much.

The Frances Lujan Family

The Emilio Lujan Family

The Marvin Lujan Family

The Lance Lucas Family

The Rudy Stollestiemer Family


Sports Page

Pirates and Broncos clash at Coliseum

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

The Pirates finally came alive at the state volleyball tournament in their third game with Platte Valley Saturday morning but, down 2-0 - after losing 25-14, 25-1 - a narrow 25-23 loss to the Broncos finished tourney action for Pagosa.

The Broncos went out to an early 7-3 lead in the first game of the match, the Pirates getting earned points from Lori Walkup in the middle and from Courtney Steen. But, it would be a game in which Platte Valley would score three points or more for every score that went up on Pagosa's side of the board.

Pirate blocks faltered and, with Platte Valley ahead 15-8, the roof fell in. The Broncos ran off four straight points, three courtesy Pirate errors, and led 19-8 - a nearly insurmountable advantage in the rally-scoring format.

Caitlyn Jewell came back with a point on a tip but the Broncos answered. Walkup went outside to score; Platte Valley's Stevie Hagemeister put a point off the block. Hagemeister would be the Pirates' nemesis all match long.

Steen killed off the block but Hagemeister ran a slide and scored for the Broncos.

A Bronco serve went out and Steen again scored off the block. Pagosa trailed 23-13. Hagemeister converted a short set and a Pirate attack went out. Pagosa got one more point, a kill inside the block by Bri Scott, but a Bronco hit went off a Pirate blocker's hands and out of bounds to end the game.

In the second game, Pagosa went ahead 2-1 on a kill by Walkup and an ace by Kari Faber, then fought back to a 4-4 tie.

Trailing 8-6, the Pirates suffered a fatal lapse as the Broncos scored seven unanswered points. Pagosa, in turn, managed five points, closing to 11-15 as Jewell and Walkup stuffed a Bronco attacker. The teams traded points, with Walkup scoring on a tip that went down off the block.

From there on, the story was one point Pagosa, two or three points Platte Valley.

Jewell scored on a slide to the outside, Walkup put a ball down off the pass and Platte Valley gave away two points with miscues. Platte Valley led 23-14 and a Pirate serve error and hitting error gave the game to the team from Kersey.

The third game appeared to be yet another runaway at the outset, with the Broncos gaining an 8-2 lead.

Pirate coach Penné Hamilton chose at that point to make a personnel change, substituting three of her swing players into the game - Kim Canty, Emily Buikema and Jennifer Hilsabeck. The infusion of fresh talent gave the Pirates a spark and, for their part, the Broncos began to make mistakes.

Canty killed for a point from outside, Scott hit off the block. Buikema went outside to score, Walkup hit successfully off the block. Pagosa trailed 10-12. The Broncos hit a ball into the net, Walkup stuffed a Bronco hitter and the teams were tied 12-12.

Pagosa would tie the Broncos one more time, at 15-15, getting a kill from Walkup and help from the Broncos as they continued to make mistakes on their side of the net.

The Broncos got two points, the Pirates one, with Steen going down the line.

The Broncos scored twice, the Pirates once, as Canty garnered the point with a hit off the block. Platte Valley committed a hitting error and had a 22-19 lead. The teams traded errors, ceding scores to their opponent. With a successful tip, the Broncos were on the verge of a win 24-20.

There was no quit in the Pirates: Walkup went outside for a score, then put a vicious kill off the head of a player in the Bronco back row - a fitting exclamation point on a brilliant four-year career.

Platte Valley gave up a point to Pagosa, getting the Pirates one point away from the tie but a Pirate mis-hit ended the game with the Broncos winning 25-23. The loss ended Pagosa's season.

Coach Penné Hamilton tried to prepare her charges for what she called "a harder game to play in terms of motivation. With the two earlier losses, the game didn't mean anything in terms of our ability to move ahead in the tournament. I told the girls they were playing for pride. They remembered what happened to us in Platte Valley a year ago (with a loss to the Broncos at the regional tournament). But, we didn't pass well, we had too many calls for being into the net and we had too many serve errors to be able to win the match."

As for the season?

"It was a good season," said Hamilton. "I really enjoyed coaching these girls. They worked very hard and we saw some real improvement, real progress from the beginning. These girls were willing to learn and they were dedicated to getting better. And it got them to the state tournament."


Kills/attacks: Walkup 10-25, Steen 4/13, Jewell 3-20

Ace serves: Faber, Forrest, Kelley 1 each

Solo blocks: Walkup 2, Jewell 1

Assists: Canty 4, Walk and Kelley 3 each

Digs: Steen 8, Scott 6


Pagosa meets old rival St. Mary's at state

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Following the Pirates' loss to St. Mary's Friday at the Denver Coliseum, two things came to mind: the phrase "Win with the pass, lose without it," and the term "discomboobulated."

St. Mary's was a team with which the Pirates matched up well and, following the first contest of the day, against Valley, Pagosa figured to be in the hunt facing the team from Colorado Springs, a familiar foe over the years.

But only if the Pirates played at the same level they displayed against Valley.

Instead, Pagosa ended up discomboobulated.

The Pirates stayed in the race with their opponents in the first game, up to an 18-18 tie. From that point on, Pagosa was rarely in the picture.

Pagosa clawed out of a 6-2 hole in the first game, struggled along with two- and three-point bursts and finally evened the score at 10-10.

On the way, Pagosa got earned points from Lori Walkup (a kill and an ace) Courtney Steen, Bri Scott (two kills) and Caitlyn Jewell with a tip and a kill off a St. Mary's mis-hit.

The teams tied at 11, with Walkup sliding to the left side , then at 12-12 after Walkup scored from the middle.

Pagosa got the lead on a St. Mary's ball hit out then used a kill by Steen to play catch-up and tie at 14-14. Another kill by Steen knotted the score at 15-15. Steen then hit an ace to give the Pirates their last lead of the game, 16-15.

A Pirate serve error surrendered a point and St. Mary's scored with a tip - something that, along with an attack off a short set, would work to their advantage the rest of the match. A St. Mary's hitting error gave Pagosa the 17-17 tie.

St. Mary's scored off the block and Jewell responded with a hit to the back line.

That was it for the Pirates.

St. Mary's scored seven unanswered points to cruise to the 25-18 win, getting two points on blocks, one on an ace, one on a successful quick attack from the middle and a game-ending kill off the block.

That's where the real problems began for Pagosa: decreasing focus and intensity, combined with a sudden inability to pass the ball accurately. If the pass doesn't make it to an advantageous spot, the offense cannot get in gear. The Pirate offense was sporadic, at best.

Pagosa never led in the second game. Plagued by a sluggish back row and a bevy of mental errors, the Pirates found themselves behind 9-5, getting points from Scott on two kills and a solo block and tip by Steen. Then, St. Mary's scored twice, to one point for Pagosa. The pattern repeated as St. Mary's went in front 13-7.

Pagosa put three points on the board, the first on a St. Mary's mis-hit, the second on a block by Jewell and Steen, the third on a kill by Walkup from the right side. A serve error gave a point to St. Mary's and the Colorado Springs team led 14-10.

It was that crucial mid-game zone in which a team needs to make its move.

It was St. Mary's that made the move. Ahead 14-10, St. Mary's scored on a short-set attack, with an ace and two kills.

The Pirates got a gift point and Emily Buikema put a point on the board with a solo block.

But, with little offense, and poor back-row play, Pagosa could not stop the opponent. Working on a 19-13 lead, St. Mary's stepped up the attack; the Pirates came unhinged, allowing a pass to drop to the floor and watching a serve do the same. Down 23-15, the Pirates got a point on a poorly hit St. Mary's serve, gave up a point on a soft shot off the short set, scored as Jewell put a floater to the back line, then watched as a kill by St. Mary's only consistent hitter Kaitlyn Burkett, went out off the block to end the game, 25-16.

Problems that dogged the Pirates in the second game worsened in the final game of the match and, for a while, it seemed Pagosa would not break into double figures. One Pirate mistake after another, and a nearly total lack of effective passing allowed St. Mary's to go in front 17-8.

Jewell got a point on a kill, a St. Mary's hit went out and Forrest scored with an ace. St. Mary's put two on the board, Walkup annihilated the ball from the middle. A Pirate hitting error gave away a point; Steen killed from the middle. St. Mary's led 21-13. Then 22-13 as Burkett put a ball down untouched.

Liza Kelley came back for a score with a soft shot on the outside and St. Mary's put an attack out of bounds. St. Mary's scored twice with an attack from outside, Scott returned with a point and Jewell stuffed the St. Mary's setter on an attempted sweep off the pass. A Pirate serve went out and the game and match were over, 25-17.

"St. Mary's was a team I thought we could beat," said Pirate coach Penné Hamilton. "And the girls thought we could beat them. I think our kids just put too much pressure on themselves. I think we beat ourselves - we had too many errors to win."


Kills/attacks: Jewell 7-17, Walkup 7-21, Steen 6-24

Ace serves: Forrest, Steen, Walkup 1 each

Solo blocks: Jewell , Steen 1 each

Assists: Kelley 7, Walkup 6

Digs: Steen 11, Walkup 8, Scott 7



Valley defeats Pirates in tourney opener

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Pagosa's first match at the Class 3A state tournament was against Valley - a powerhouse from the northern plains.

Many pundits had the Vikings ranked no lower than No. 2 in the state and few of the wags thought the Pirates could give the Vikings a run for their money.

They were wrong. Despite the fact Valley forged a 3-0 win, the victory, and the margins in each game of the match, resulted as much from critical Pirate mistakes as from the Vikings' skills.

The match was closer than the 25-18, 25-15, 25-22 scores might indicate.

Pagosa's undoing came at the serve line, on serve receive and in allowing the Vikings to put together substantial runs at key points in the games.

The Pirates led the first game 3-2, but Valley went on a six-point run, getting three points gratis on Pirate serve-receive errors and one point on a passing error in the Pirate back court.

Pagosa responded, getting a score when a Viking serve went out, another on a Valley hitting error and a third point as Liza Kelley killed off the block.

Pagosa stayed close as Kelley scored from the right side and Caitlyn Jewell put a hit down the line. Valley was ahead 12-11.

Then, another Viking run, this one worth five points, four of the scores coming as the Pirates hit three balls out and gave up a score on a shanked serve receive.

Lori Walkup ended the spree with a kill from outside, Valley scored, stuffed a Pirate hitter and Walkup came back with a score off the block.

The Pirates had their hands full with Valley's premiere outside hitter, Nia Ingram and the senior put one of her successful attacks down and followed by assisting on a block.

Walkup was having none of it - she put two attacks back in the Vikings' faces, blocking two different hitters with the balls dropping on Valley's side of the net. A Valley hitting error kept the Pirates in the game, trailing 15-20. The teams traded points before a Pagosa carry gave up a point and a Viking hit fell inside the block.

Kelley came back with a blast from the middle but another Viking attack fell inside a Pirate block. Each team then surrendered a point with a hitting error and the game was over.

The teams stayed neck and neck to 13-13 in the second game.

Jewell asserted herself at the start of action; the senior middle hitter scored three times to give her team the 3-1 lead and got to her blocks, thwarting the Viking attack. Valley crept back in, however, and tied the game 4-4.

Walkup slid outside for a kill down the line and a Viking hitting error gave the Pirates a 6-4 advantage.

Then: one of those fateful runs for Valley.

A Pirate serve went out, a Viking kill went inside the block, the Pirates were called for four hits and a Pagosa serve-receive error put Valley in front 8-6. Valley mis-hit the ball then hit a ball out off the block.

A Viking ball went out, the team was called for four hits, Kari Faber stuffed a Viking hitter. Pagosa led 10-9.

A Pagosa serve sailed out but Kelley killed from the right side. Ingram scored, Walkup answered. Ingram scored but a Viking serve was out. Ingram put a ball down from outside and the teams were knotted 13-13.

Then, a Valley run at the critical mid-game point: The Vikings scored six more unanswered points, four of them courtesy Pirate miscues.

Walkup stopped the bleeding temporarily with a score from the right side and a Viking ball hit out cut the margin to 19-15, but the Pirates could not prevent Valley from running the table and gaining the 25-15 win.

The Pirates were far from finished and, given one or two fewer errors, could have taken the third game of the match.

Pagosa went in front 4-1 on the backs of three Viking errors and a kill by Walkup from the middle. The Pirate senior was in the groove if she got a good set and the ball was put down with authority.

Ingram was in the groove too; the Viking put a kill cross-court then scored off the block. A Valley ace gave the Vikings a 5-4 lead, but the Vikings surrendered it with a bad serve and a ball hit out. Pagosa stayed in front, getting points on Viking hitting errors and on a tremendous blast from the left side by Walkup. Valley closed the gap to 11-10 then hit a ball out. Bri Scott killed to give the Pirates a 13-10 lead but a Viking ball fell inside the block and the Pirates suffered a back-court meltdown, giving away three points with passing mistakes. Valley led 14-13.

Scott turned the match Pagosa's way with a solo block, Valley hit out and Walkup hit a soft serve in front of the Viking back row to give Pagosa the 16-14 lead.

A Pirate pass went out and the Viking setter scored with a sweep off the pass. The teams were tied 16-16.

The Pirates took their last lead of the game as Scott again stuffed the Viking attack for a point.

Then ... the run.

A passing error gave away a point to the Vikings. Ingram tipped through the Pirate tandem block and the Vikings scored again with a tip.

Ingram hit to the back line then scored off the block. Another Viking attack fell inside the Pirate block and Valley was in front 22-17.

The Pirates were not done.

Caitlin Forrest scored down the line on the left side. Scott hit an ace, Jewell killed from the middle then put a short set down. The Pirates trailed by one, 22-21.

A Pagosa hit went out, then a Viking hit went out before the official called a Pirate into the net, putting Valley ahead 24-21.

Pagosa got a final point on a botched Viking serve but Valley came back with a successful attack from outside to take game and match.

"Our goal," said Pirate coach Penné Hamilton, "was to relax, release and play the game. Have some fun. Valley's serving took us by surprise and our passing was off. But, I was proud to see the girls stay with them. We did some very good things in the match - things I hadn't seen us do in a long time."


Kills/attacks: Walkup 8-22. Jewell 7-13, Kelley 4-11

Ace serves: Forrest, Scott, Walkup, 1 each

Solo blocks: Kelley, Scott, Walkup 1 each

Assists: Kelley 11, Walkup 9

Digs: Forrest 9, Steen 9


Forrest signs basketball letter of intent

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs High School senior Caleb Forrest has been awarded a full-ride, basketball scholarship to Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.

Forrest signed a letter of intent to play for Washington State Nov. 10, and will be competing in the PAC-10 Conference when he begins practice with the Cougars next year.

Forrest helped lead the Pirate boys' basketball team to an overall record of 42-7 and two berths in the Class 3A state playoffs during its past two seasons.

In addition, he earned Intermountain League player of the year honors for his efforts during 2003-2004, a campaign that saw the Pirates ranked at or near the top of state polls throughout the season.


Parks & Rec

Department negotiating for additional tower use on Reservoir Hill

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

We are busy looking into renting more tower space on Reservoir Hill. Presently there are five towers that send and receive radio waves up and down our valley floor.

Reservoir Hill is the No. 1 location for tower sites because it has electricity, the town owns the property and it lines up with Oak Brush Hill, which transmits most of the radio frequencies in our county.

Conderosa is working with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Council to secure a site for the next 25 years. This site differs from the other two cellular phone sites. We are trying to negotiate a higher antenna to accommodate more than one vendor.

By doing this, the town can reserve the ground space and share in the rental fee with other vendors wishing to co-locate on the same antenna.

There are many benefits to this lease and with each lease we seem to learn a little more about cellular phone transmission. It is a great source of revenue for the town without a lot of negative impact.

Money from leases could go toward building new parks or possibly to help leverage the purchase of more property.

As of Tuesday, Nov. 16, with the help of LPEA, we put up a "dummy pole" to assess the visual impact from different locations in town. Evaluating the site picked by Conderosa we noticed little visual impact made by the 90-foot dummy pole.

Bench donation

The family of the late Morris Gheen has purchased a bench in memory of their loved one.

Immediately following Morris' death the family asked if they could take in money in lieu of flowers and donate to the parks and recreation department.

The first thought was to put something at the proposed sports complex because of Morris's love for softball. Since that time, family members have purchased a bench that will sit at the fishing ponds so the public can enjoy another beautiful spot on our Riverwalk.

Thank you, for thinking of the parks and recreation department when you are memorializing a family member or friend. It is such an honor to know that all enjoy our department.


How to relate to your athletic child

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

Here are some tips on how best to deal with an athletic child.

Make sure your child knows that win or lose, scared or heroic that you love them, appreciate their efforts and are not disappointed in them. This will allow them to do their best, to avoid developing a fear of failure based on your look of disapproval if they do mess up.

Be helpful but don't "coach" them on the way to the track, diamond, field or court ... on the way back ... at breakfast ... before they go to bed and so on. Sure, its tough not to, but it's a lot tougher for your child to be inundated with advice, pep talks, "when I played" sermons and often critical instruction.

Teach them to enjoy the thrill of competition, to be "out there trying," to be working to improve their skills and attitudes to take the physical bumps and come back for more.

Be the person in their life they can look to for constant positive reinforcement. Learn to hide your feelings if they disappoint you.

Try your best to be completely honest about your child's athletic capability, their competitive attitude, their sportsmanship and their actual skill level. I will even make it even easier, just follow the steps below:

What to say to your child before a match:

1) Play hard.

2) Have fun.

3) I love you!

What to say to your child after a match:

1) You were fun to watch.

2) What do you want to eat or drink?

3) I love you!

Youth basketball leagues

Only a couple of weeks left to sign up your child for 9-10 and 11-12 youth basketball. Sign-ups will continue through Nov. 26.

Basketball Skills Assessment Day will be held Dec. 4 with the Elks Club Shoot-out Dec. 11.

Practices will begin Dec. 13 with games beginning Jan. 4. Sign up today.

Girls' softball

If you are interested in becoming a part of the future of girls' softball in Pagosa Springs, contact Maddie Baserra at 264-6835. They are interested in developing girls' softball in the Pagosa Springs area and are looking for others interested in this goal.

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.

For additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs contact Myles Gabel, recreation supervisor at 264-4151, Ext. 232.




Right person, right time

You live in Pagosa Country for any length of time and you will say goodbye to friends and associates. It's a familiar story: Someone relocates to this part of the world, enchanted by the physical beauty, comforted by an abundance of friendly people. Then, one day, they decide to move on. You say goodbye, you regret the loss of a valued acquaintance.

Less often, you are forced to bid farewell to someone who has been and who has done much more - someone who played a positive and deep role in community life.

Such a person is Sally Hameister.

Since 1995, Sally served as the executive director of the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. As such, she made her mark throughout the community doing an important job.

When she was hired she was the right person at the right place, at the right time - and she made the most of it. But she went far beyond her job description in what she did to make Pagosa Country a better place for all of us.

We first met Sally in 1995 when she took the reins from Mamie Lynch at the Chamber. Then she began writing the Chamber of Commerce column in our PREVIEW section. Suddenly, the pages of our center section were alive with gaudy expressions, studded with a forest of exclamation points. The column was personal, and pathologically enthusiastic. Just like the woman herself, the column jumped out at us, colored with terms like "Wowsers!" as the author addressed her readers as "kiddos" or "boys and girls." Editorial evil eventually prevailed, limiting her to three exclamation points per column, per week, but Sally's enthusiasm never waned. She was the proverbial hummingbird - albeit one with a surfeit of adrenaline in her system.

She came by it honestly, in a career that included work as a teacher, a flight attendant and as a professional in the lodging and hospitality industry. She was a mother and had lived the life of a military wife, moving from base to base. She was a lot tougher than she looked.

Many folks in Pagosa Country will remember Sally for her goofy outfits, worn at many special occasions; many will recall her wild laugh and her raucous sense of humor.

Better yet, we will remember that, beneath her highly polished exterior, was a person of great emotional depth, sharp intellect and uncompromised standards.

She also knew how to work, and work hard.

The community will benefit a long time from what she did at the Chamber. Yes, she was the Queen of the special event, reigning over festivals, awards banquets, Mardi Gras celebrations, wine and cheese tastings, SunDowners, bringing people together in a social atmosphere. But she also labored tirelessly to bring a spirit and identity to the Chamber that fit a radically changing commercial community.

During her tenure, Chamber membership grew to 750 - the greatest per capita membership in the state. Extensive and good relations were maintained with local government. Sally was also a ceaseless promoter of Pagosa Country, doing what she could with resources available. The Chamber Visitor's Center became a port of entry for tourists, for those wishing to build and move here, for those wishing to do business here. Last year, more than 35,000 people entered the Visitor Center to be greeted by staff and Chamber Diplomats. Nearly 1,300 people visit the chamber's Web site each day and the Chamber sent out approximately 15,000 information packets last year. The system works because of Sally's organizational skill and energy.

Beyond the Chamber, Sally gave her time to a variety of organizations and events, volunteering her help, her expertise. If there was something happening, chances are she was there. But, no more.

Portland's gain is our loss.

Best of luck, Sally, and thanks for all you've done.

Karl Isberg

Pacing Pagosa

A well, some land and a dream

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

There was a deep well on the property which produced pure, clear water unlike any other in the area.

That, alone, made the site a perfect one to raise a family in a new wilderness home.

But with the cabin built, the loft holding the baby's room and a rocker for Helen to sit in while watching her, Harry worried about the upcoming holiday.

They had a roof over their heads, and superb water, but little else in the way of worldly possessions, save the garden carefully cultivated and growing the melons, vegetables and small fruits that hopefully would get them through the winter.

As the grizzled, weather-beaten man took another draw on his corn cob pipe, he tried to picture what life in the valley would be like in the future.

"Seems like we otter have some kinda gov'mnt to watch over us," he speculated to himself. Why, with Ol Josh down at the end of the draw and the Wilhammers just arrived on the tract over the rise with their three young'uns, we might even have to think about buildin' a school and hiring a schoolmarm.

It was a reach to figure anything would ever be more beautiful to the wandering eye than the views he could see in every direction from his home is this valley.

It was only half a mile to the river, fishing, trapping, and the bridge that carried Farnam's mail wagon to the ramshackle building he called a post office.

He looked out at the hides nailed to the shed wall to dry and figured he'd be able to make enough to get them through the winter as soon as he could trail them out to the market downstream in New Mexico.

"Fella could live here forever with all the natchurl resources waiting to be used," he thought. And with a family he'd have to expand the garden, maybe grow some wheat or oats to sell them folks up the valley with all the horses and cows. "Mite even be able to git us some meat in trade," he thought as his mind quickly considered what might be needed.

"Shucks," he considered, "must be near a hunnert people in the valley already and we shore don't want it gittin' too big."

Man needs a place to call his own, a place to roam and a place to sit and rest a spell when all the thinkin' gets to draggin' down the spirit.

He took a look at Helen hangin' out her wash on the wire he'd stretched from cabin to shed and thought again "what a lukky cuss I am to have a wife like that in this great land. Mebbe them newcomers will come to visit sometime and she'll git to show off all that fancy tableware she had me lug all the way from the Midwest.

"Can't never have too much table settin'" she'd said. "Never know when company'll come a'callin." He began to doze, nodding slightly, as he dreamed of the food on the table, the joy of the little one's first Thanksgiving. A loud roar awoke Harry. Giant metal contraptions were speeding across his land, smoke and fumes hung in the air from buildings everywhere.

It had been a dream. Pagosa Springs in 2004 was no longer the land in his mind. It had become a modern gentrified, privatized wasteland of monumental greed - and Harry cried.



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Nov. 20, 1914

The menace of the wolves in this section has become so serious that stockmen are alarmed for the future of their business. The wolves seem to be increasing rapidly and have already killed many calves in the past year or two along and near the upper Piedra.

The young wolf that P.J. Fisher adopted last spring is now about six months old and has grown into a handsome specimen of his kind. He is as playful as a young dog and thus far has shown no disposition to be vicious toward any person or a menace to the poultry. Curiosity is the animal's most noticeable trait. Many people are interested in the attempt to domesticate an animal that thus far has shown none of the characteristics of his supposed kin, the coyote, which has never been domesticated.


75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 22, 1929

Following the disclosure that Jose Pablo Archuleta, the Pagosa Junction youth who was shot at Juanita Saturday night and died in this city early Monday morning, was recovering from smallpox, tho no longer in a contagious stage, an investigation was made as to health conditions in the lower country. It was found that practically the entire Pagosa Junction and Juanita sections had been infested with the disease, but with no fatalities, the disease being in light form.

A daughter was born Saturday to Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Belarde at a Durango hospital, where the mother has been a patient for some time with a broken leg which she sustained in a fall recently. The mother and babe are getting along splendidly.


50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 19, 1954

The new Pagosa Springs High School was officially dedicated last Thursday, Nov. 11 and the cornerstone was put in place by the school board of District 50 Joint. The new building gives the students of this district a chance to study many new subjects and also allows many of the vocational educational studies for the first time in the school's history.

Lester W. Mullins Post No. 108 of the American Legion in Pagosa Springs celebrated the first nationwide observance of Veterans Day on Nov. 11 with an open house for all veterans of the county at their hall in the town park. Ernest Yamaguchi showed slides of scenes taken on his travels over the European continent with the Air Force.


25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov 22, 1979

Heavy snows arrived here this week, with snow starting to fall early Sunday morning. At present there is about eight inches on the ground in town and about three feet on the ground on top of Wolf Creek Pass. This is the first major storm of the year.

A public hearing was held Tuesday regarding an address system for the entire county, which will be similar to that used in La Plata County. There was also a public hearing on the proposed long range plan for enlarging and improving the airport facilities at Stevens Field.

Wolf Creek Ski Area will open Thanksgiving morning for season's operation. Snow conditions are said to be excellent, the chair will be operating, and skiers will get their first outing of the year in this area.




Local history told by the people who lived it

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Nine years ago, the San Juan Historical Society, a nonprofit group of citizens working to maintain the local museum and continue to preserve Pagosa Springs history, was in search of a fund-raiser to help keep the lights on each summer.

Resources were limited and the group was small so they started by looking at what they had. Stories. Files and files of local history told by the people who lived it. The people who helped make Pagosa what it is today. The people who followed a long series of explorers, missionaries and the U.S. Army to discover paradise for themselves.

"We thought at first maybe we could do some kind of newsletter people could subscribe to," said Glenn Raby, editor and chairman of the book committee . After investigating costs, the board opted to go with printing a small photocopied book somewhere between 100 and 120 pages, highlighting local history.

"We realized with the information we had, we could've filled a thousand newsletters," Raby said. They dug into the files, coming up with pictures and stories from local families, descriptions and maps of Fort Lewis, census records.

A local computer whiz, Bob Urbanek, put together the cover, editing was completed to showcase the voice of the people providing the accounts and Volume one of "Remembrances" was printed.

Nine volumes later, the group has realized, "we can never stop," Raby said. The next three volumes are already planned: "A Women's Work," the history of Fort Lewis, the history of the forest service in the area and, perhaps, a decade retrospective. "I imagine the deeper we dig in the museum files, the more we'll find," Raby said, "and new things come in all the time."

The most recent volume, "Voices from the Past," is a careful transcript of interviews done with 18 longtime Pagosa residents, conducted in 1975. "These are wonderful stories of all of these folks that have basically been sitting in the files since the '70s," Raby said and include a number of amazing stories regarding bootlegging; law, or lack of it, in the area; election fraud; general living and, of course, founding family histories which are part of each volume no matter what the theme.

In "Voices from the Past," John Stevens, who arrived in Pagosa in 1903, told this story about feeding sheep during a snowy winter:

"Yes, 'course I had some hay, but I could skimp them on hay and get by. And then it crusted and they fed right on the crust, then when it thawed in the spring, that's when we had our trouble trying to get the haystacks. In them days we stacked our hay; we didn't bale it like we do now.

"All you could tell where a haystack was just a higher mound of snow there. Then when we'd open a stack of hay, then have to shovel a stack of hay because the cattle could come over there and walk right over there and go into the stack. You'd have to build a trench around your stack so they couldn't get into the snow stack. I never worked as hard in my life as I did that winter. Then the snow would pile up and you'd have to throw it on out, so you could open it on out. You can imagine six or seven foot of snow on top of a haystack - you'd really have to shovel."

Stories of local legend, Gertrude Larsen, are highlighted by several of the interviewees.

Nearly all described her the same way: tough, capable of out-cussing or out-working anyone - with a kind heart hidden under all the bluff. According to George Alley Sr., who operated a hardware store for a number of years, Larsen was living in Omaha with a drunkard for a husband, working as a telephone operator when she read about cheap land in Pagosa. She started out with $1,200, but landed in this area completely broke except for a diamond ring which she hocked for $100. She homesteaded near O'Neal Park.

When Alley arrived in Pagosa fresh out of high school and began working at a mercantile, Larsen was his first customer. She wanted a pair of gloves.

"Naturally, a greenhorn from the city," Alley said, "I went over to the ladies' department, and I gave her a sales pitch and I got out all the ladies' gloves. She never said a word. I got them all spread out and she said, 'Are you all through?'

"And I said, 'Yes, and she said, 'No, I don't want any of them things, I want a pair of men's gloves.'

"So I said, 'fine' and went over to the other side, and showed her some men's gloves, and in those days the pig skin was a good work glove, and I gave her a spiel on those pigskin gloves, and she said, 'Will they work?'

"And I said, 'Yes, and she said, 'OK, I'll take them, but if they don't wear I'll come back and break your neck, young man.'"

Fred Harman II, who used Larsen as the basis for the character "Duchess" in the Red Ryder comic strip said, " She was a good lady, tough as they made them, but she was good at heart. She used to wear black bloomers and a big bull whip. Every man in town was afraid of her because she had something on them."

And then there's the story of Harman and Walt Disney attempting to take aerial footage while laying on the wings of a plane. And family histories highlighting the Lujans, the Martinezes and the Velasquezes. Dutch Henry Born also has his own chapter.

After the first two or three books, Raby said, they started trying to design the books around a certain theme. Some relate to anniversaries of specific programs or groups. Others are events or particular families. And sometimes - such as the topic for Volume 10, "A Women's Work," or Volume 5, "Living in God's Country" - a broader topic suggests itself. Each volume contains an alphabetical index of names to help those seeking family histories.

Although, as Raby said, the museum continues to receive stories of local lore, a few of the founding families have yet to contribute to "Remembrances."

"We've got folks working on some of our older families in the area to try and get them to write something," Raby said. "We're so grateful for the community's support of this project and we hope it will continue. We also hope to continue to receive information for use in future editions." And, he added later, the historical society is always looking for more volunteers to help with all projects. Currently, the book committee includes just four: Ann and Leroy Oldham, Shari Pierce and Raby. A few others pitch in when needed.

Generally, Raby said, little editing is done to stories selected whether they are two pages or 30.

"We try to print everything they give us," he said. The exception might be obvious spelling or grammatical errors, stories that are negative toward a family still living in the area, or a picture that simply won't print.

"We try to leave it in the voice and tone of the people who wrote it," he said. "These are their memories." In Volume 9, even the "pertneer's" and other colloquial phrases are left behind to lend added flavor to the voices on the page.

All proceeds from the sale of the books go to operating costs for the Pioneer Museum located at 1st and Pagosa streets.

"Remembrances" are for sale at the museum, opened May-September, and at Moonlight Books in downtown Pagosa Springs. Cost is $25 per volume. During the off season, books may be ordered from the historical society through the mail by writing: P.O. Box 1711, Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147. Name, address and the volume numbers desired should be included. Shipping and handling is $3.50 for one or two volumes, or $7 for three or four volumes. All nine volumes are also available at the Sisson Library.


Pagosa's Past

First troops arriving found a post office already here

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

The first Pagosa Springs post office, located about one mile south of the Great Pagosa Hot Spring, opened its doors June 5, 1878.

The post master was Joe Clarke, a bachelor who had a great impact on the establishment of the town, even though he is little remembered by old-timers.

Justification for the post office was probably based on Clarke's request to the government for a post office to serve 100 citizens living in the immediate vicinity.

We'd have a hard time today naming those first 100 letter writers. Clarke was apparently connected with a group from Leavenworth, Kansas, intent on developing the hot springs as a health spa and resort.

Since Leavenworth was a major command post at that time for the Army of the West, it is tempting to connect Clarke and the Leavenworth interests with the Army, or at least some of its leaders, who had visited the hot springs in connection with various negotiations with the Ute Indians - especially the Brunot Treaty of 1874 which opened much of the San Juan area for settlement.

In any case, when the Army marched into town with orders to commence building Camp Lewis, the Blue Coats were greeted by a number of civilians already squatting on government land, including Clarke and his combination post office and general store.

Golden aspen leaves must have twinkled in the crisp fall breezes when troops from Companies I and B of the 15th Infantry camped on the banks of the silvery San Juan during October of 1878.

Camp Lewis was first commissioned as an outpost of Fort Garland, located on the eastern rim of the San Luis Valley across the southern San Juan Mountains, often referred to in those days as the Conejos Range. It is said the troops left Fort Garland traveling in a westerly direction, crossed the Rio Grande near its juncture with the Alamosa River, followed the Conejos River up to the Continental Divide, then dropped into Pagosa Springs by coming down the Blanco River.

Several surveys had already been conducted across the San Juan Range looking for the best travel route. The surveys were conducted out of Fort Garland under the supervision of an Army engineer by the name of Ruffner.

Among Ruffner's surveys was one through Del Norte, Wagon Wheel Gap, and across Stony Pass to Silverton and then down the Animas River toward what would eventually become Durango.

Another survey crossed what would become Cumbres Pass connecting the Conejos River Valley with Chama (not yet in existence).

A survey went through the pass south of Cumbres and leading to the Tierra Amarilla settlements; and there was a survey up the Alamosa River, across Elwood Pass and down the east fork of the San Juan River to Pagosa Springs.

The Elwood route was chosen by the Army and was used regularly, during the summer, until the flood of 1911 rendered it useless.

In the meantime, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad conducted its own set of surveys and chose to cross the mountains via Cumbres Pass. More pioneers with wagons followed the Cumbres route into Pagosa Springs than any other route.

Work aplenty faced the new troops, a collection of soldiers with building skills. On the table were plans to build four officer's quarters, 10 enlisted men's quarters, and facilities for administration, laundry, horses and more. Shelter was needed to house supplies, including hay and grain for the horses. William S. Peabody, related to a coming Colorado governor, was the post trader. The race was on to build shelter before winter set in.

Structures for the new post were built of logs, a readily available resource. One can only speculate that the low hills surrounding Pagosa Springs were denuded in rapid order. And even as the troops built, more civilians arrived to take advantage of the opportunity to provide goods and services for the troops.

More next week on the first days of Pagosa Springs. The troops, the people and the beginnings of what we see today.




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Rising chance for weekend snow forecast

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Weather patterns across Pagosa Country were rather mundane early this week, but weekend snow is once again in the forecast.

According to reports provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, the Four Corners region has been under a "split flow" for the past several days, resulting in the jetstream tailing far to the north and little potential for snow.

However, a low-pressure trough moving in from the west is expected to build strength over the next few days.

As a result, the short-term forecast predicts widespread cloud cover and colder air across southwest Colorado, as well as decent chances for scattered snow showers through the weekend.

Today's snow chance is listed at 20 percent, as spotty clouds this morning are expected to increase through the afternoon.

High temperatures are predicted in the 45-55 range. Lows should fall to around 20.

Similar conditions are forecast for Friday, including a 20 percent chance for snow, mostly-cloudy skies, highs near 50 and lows in the teens.

Saturday calls for partly-cloudy skies, a 20- to 30-percent chance for snow, highs in the 40s and lows ranging from 5 to 15.

The chance for snow climbs to 40 percent for Sunday; highs should top out in the 40s while lows are predicted to fall to around 10.

Monday's forecast includes a 20-percent chance for lingering showers, highs near 50 and lows in the single digits.

An increase in sunshine is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, as are highs in the 40s and lows in the teens.

The average high temperature recorded last week in Pagosa Springs was 45 degrees. The average low was 27. Moisture totals for the week amounted to .17 inches.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit snow depth of 43 inches, a midway depth of 34 inches and year-to-date total of 48 inches.

For updates on snow and road conditions at the ski area, visit the Web at

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.

According to the latest SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan Basin is currently at 94 percent of average.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture describes regional drought conditions as "moderate."

San Juan River flow through town ranged from a low of about 140 cubic feet per second to a high of approximately 200 cubic feet per second last week.

The river's historic median flow for the week of Nov. 18 is roughly 75 cubic feet per second.