December 09, 2004
Front Page

Crime with drug links increasing in county

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The time has come to turn and face some disturbing trends in drug-related crime in Archuleta County.

That's the consensus of a county court judge, the district attorney and local law enforcement officials who see those trends in the type of crimes crossing their desks, especially at it relates to methamphetamine use.

Archuleta County Court Judge Jim Denvir said statewide felony filings have gone up between 5 and 10 percent consistently over the last 10 years. This year alone, Archuleta County is experiencing a 50 percent jump in felony cases.

"What I'm seeing," Denvir said, "are cases tied to possession, use or distribution charges, or crimes likely to be derivative of methamphetamine use." Those derivative cases include many of the burglaries and robberies being prosecuted in the county.

"Meth is so easy to manufacture and so incredibly addictive," Denvir said. "It can take over a community so quickly." To fund their addiction, many users turn to other crimes including burglaries, robberies, thefts.

Archuleta County Sheriff's Lt. T.J. Fitzwater said the department has obtained at least eight search warrants and a half-dozen arrest warrants in recent months, all on drug-related charges.

The warrants represent two and a half years or more of intelligence gathering efforts that are now painting a picture leading to drug pipelines in New Mexico and possibly other states.

"The problem has always been here. It's always been present," Fitzwater said. "But if we continue to be proactive, we can continue to address the problem."

Pagosa Springs Police Detective Scott Maxwell said although methamphetamine is a growing problem in the community, cocaine "is probably still predominant here."

Most of the officials agree drugs issues have appeared brighter on the radar in recent months for a number of reasons, including proactive efforts by law enforcement agencies to pool resources, an almost flamboyant attitude by members of the drug pipeline in the area and an ever-increasing population base.

Over the next few weeks, the Pagosa Springs SUN will delve into some of the reasons for the problem, as well as some of the solutions being proposed.

"We want to serve notice on these people, especially those who deal, that we're going to do our level best to send them to jail. They're selling death," Westberg said.


Health district adviser cites 39 billing problems

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Cut back on the numbers of Medicaid patients seen per day. Renegotiate contracts with insurance companies for better rates. Train physicians, nurses and front desk staff to glean proper information on each and every patient visit.

These were just a few of the suggestions medical billing specialist Stephanie Kimbrel had for the Upper San Juan Health Service board Wednesday morning.

The board hired Kimbrel, co-owner of Automated Billing, just over a month ago to take over billing services for the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

Yesterday, Kimbrel outlined 32 problems with billing practices and procedures at the clinic and seven at emergency medical services. Allen Hughes, district business director, said since the contract with Kimbrel began, they had been on the phone almost daily addressing these issues. The results of those conversations won't be known until next month when changes will make their way through the system.

One red flag came in the form of a Child Health Plan contract, a managed care plan that included payments up front based on the number of patients in the area, but very little in payments after a patient was actually seen, Kimbrel said.

For the month of bills she's processed, six patients using the plan were seen, resulting in $860 in charges. Of that, $23.01 could be recovered. Now, it appears the district's contract with Child Health Plan may have expired - either in July of this year, or perhaps back in the summer of 2002.

"It's just another example of the nightmares that continue to occur," board chairman Pam Hopkins said.

Hughes outlined a number of problems with past billing practices that continue to plague the district, including a stack of bills which never reached the patient because the address numbers were transposed.

Those kinds of errors continue to stall the district's ability to collect revenues and get an accurate financial picture.

"Are we better off with or without contracts?" Bob Goodman asked several times. "That depends," was the answer.

"I'd like to see what our payer mix is," Bob Scott said. "I just want to see one month, that's all I want to see."

Kimbrel said it could be done. In fact, she said, records show 89 Medicare patients came to the clinic in the month she billed. That's 22 percent of the patient population.

"Include everything you can and we'll tell you if we need it," Hopkins said.

"How long does it take from when we see patients to when you send the bill off and we know what the bill is?" J.R. Ford asked from the audience.

The answer - two weeks. And that's not what the district will actually receive, that's just what's billed.

That lag time, Ford said, will continue to remain the district's biggest problem. "Every week you ought to know where you are financially," he said. "I personally think this district has to get a handle on finances. I've been yelling about that for a year and a half. It's got to come to a point where you know what your finances are." He also pointed out that refusing to schedule Medicare, Medicaid or indigent patients because of cash flow is something the district, as a tax-supported entity, simply can't do.

For over two hours, the board discussed options, including hiring a manager for the clinic, bringing in a consultant to propose options for restructuring and moving toward full-time urgent care operations instead of being a regular private practice.

"We need to spend money to research this," board member Jerry Valade said. "We need to hire a person to do this, somebody needs to step up to the plate and recommend a course of action."

The board took no action Wednesday because the meeting was posted as a workshop, but set a special meeting 7 p.m. Dec. 13 in the EMS board room to discuss financial statements. An executive session has been set following that meeting. They will also spend the next month considering five different proposals from Kimbrel regarding amending her contract.

When the contract was negotiated, she said, about 30 claims a week were anticipated. The first month, she processed 100 claims a week.


'Village' comment deadline now Jan. 5

By Tom Carosello

and Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writers

The U.S. Forest Service has extended the comment period on a draft environmental impact statement regarding The Village at Wolf Creek to Jan. 5.

The draft was released in early October and addresses an application for access easements submitted this spring by the controversial endeavor's funding entity, the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, requesting transportation and utility easements across a 250-foot strip of Forest Service land that separates the project site from U.S. 160.

In summary the draft environmental impact statement, or "DEIS," states the Forest Service's proposed action is to grant the request, allowing developers access to the site via two entry points.

That notion has not gone over well with village opponents.

In addition to prompting an immediate lawsuit by Colorado Wild upon its release, the DEIS has drawn heavy criticism from a wide range of village skeptics, including State Rep. Mark Larson and U.S. Rep. Mark Udall.

Throughout the initial comment period, numerous individuals and entities appealed to Peter Clark, forest supervisor with the Rio Grande National Forest, to extend the comment deadline.

But until recently, Clark had seemingly been hesitant to reconsider.

In written response last week to a letter from the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners requesting a deadline extension, Clark stated his opposition.

"To summarize, I do not feel that additional public meetings or an extension of an additional 90 days ... would add substantially to the extensive public involvement already done for this project," said Clark.

Monday, however - the day the original comment deadline had been set to expire - Clark apparently changed his mind, deciding to extend the deadline into early next year.

Citizens seek resolution

For the second time in less than a month, a request involving The Village of Wolf Creek has been voiced in the county courthouse and town council chambers.

At its Nov. 9 meeting, county commissioners were asked by county planning staff to adopt a formal stance opposing the village.

The board did not honor the request directly, but instructed staff to prepare a letter to the Forest Service suggesting the comment period on the village EIS be extended 90 days.

The board also directed staff to arrange a meeting with Mineral County officials to address village issues - an effort that has proved fruitless, to date.

During this week's board meeting, the board again heard pleas for a resolution condemning plans to construct the village, the request coming from several county residents opposed to the project.

Representing a group of concerned citizens collectively known as "Locals Opposed to Village Development," Richard Goebel told the board an official declaration against the village is necessary "to protect our quality of life here, especially with respect to our future generations."

After citing the potential for numerous environmental and socioeconomic impacts to surrounding communities, "This project should not be considered a done deal," said Goebel.

Goebel also called into question the competence of project developer Bob Honts, asserting Honts "has no accomplishments whatsoever in developments.

"In fact, he has failures," said Goebel, referring to a recent article in the Austin American Statesman in which Honts' history as a Texas businessman and real estate developer is recounted in detail.

Mark Truax, a Pagosa Springs High School senior and chairman of "Students for Change," echoed Goebel's concerns.

If the village moves forward, said Truax, "it would do nothing but hinder my ability to successfully raise a family" in Pagosa Springs.

To remain idle in the village debate "would be a grave injustice," concluded Truax.

Similar concerns were presented by Juana Lee Park and Cary Ellis, who asked the board to at least consider a resolution aimed at protecting the region's environmental and economic basis.

"When we look at ourselves as a region, it is our job to do something," said Ellis. "Please help us to take a stand."

In response, Mamie Lynch, board chair, indicated she is personally opposed to the project, "But what we can do as a county commission becomes a different story."

With regard to the Mineral County board, "I feel like if we just yell at them right now, we've closed the door, because they are adamant about this," added Lynch.

After indicating he has always been a "strong proponent of private property rights," Commissioner Bill Downey acknowledged the project should be closely scrutinized.

"Personally, I kind of hope these folks fall through and aren't able to do this," said Downey.

However, Downey added he would be unwilling to support opposition to the project so long as it develops "within the bounds of legal requirements."

In the end, the board agreed to consider a final request to draft a resolution regarding the village.

"Absolutely, consideration will be given to it," concluded Lynch.

The same group of four citizens repeated their pleas for formal action at the town council meeting several hours later.

Both Ellis and Truax said the time was right to attach concerns to the public record to both begin to be heard and to protect the town in the long run.

In two November meetings, the town council considered a draft resolution opposing The Village at Wolf Creek and calling for formation of a joint task force with representatives from across the region potentially impacted by the development. The council agreed to hold off on adopting the measure to allow Honts a chance to address specific concerns.

Town Manager Mark Garcia said the draft resolution was not on the agenda for consideration Tuesday.

"Your points are well taken and we will represent you the best way we can," Mayor Ross Aragon said.

Later in the meeting, Truax asked the council to set a special meeting prior to the close of the DEIS comment session to consider the resolution.

"I think we have to honor the commitment we tried to make with The Village at Wolf Creek folks to listen to the Wolf Creek consultant, council member Stan Holt said. "We've committed to give him (Honts) a chance. I think we ought to contact him and give him a due date."

Aragon said Honts received the list of specific questions and concerns prepared by the town Dec. 7. Prior negotiations with the Texas developer over scheduling a meeting hit a stumbling block when the town requested the meeting be open to the public.

A special town county meeting is set for noon Dec. 21 to further address the issue.

In an interview Wednesday morning, Garcia said the town sent a staff letter of comment on the DEIS Dec. 6.

DEIS Comments

Comments regarding The Village at Wolf Creek DEIS must be postmarked by Jan. 5 and sent to Tetra Tech Inc., 5205 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1400, Falls Church, VA 22041.

The DEIS is available for review on the Rio Grande National Forest Web site:

Copies of the DEIS can be obtained from the following:

- Tetra Tech Inc., 5205 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1400, Falls Church, VA 22041;

- Divide Ranger District of the Rio Grande National Forest, 13308 West U.S. 160, Del Norte, CO 81132;

- Public Lands Center, 1803 West U.S. 160, Monte Visa, CO 8114 and;

- by contacting Bob Dalrymple at (719) 852-5941.

Comments may also be sent electronically to: or faxed to (703) 931-9222.

Comments should be specific, as Forest Service guidelines suggest "only those individuals or organizations who submit substantive comments during the comment period may file an appeal."


'Big box' moratorium extension considered

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Town Council agreed Tuesday to consider a 120-day extension of the moratorium on big boxes, at the request of a citizen's task force.

Kirsten Skeehan, representing the Alliance for Responsible Growth, said although members of the group have agreed on their findings after months of research, information gathered from a recently commissioned economic study to be completed in March could take the process one step further.

With information from the study, Skeehan said, the group could bring finalized legal documents to the council and the county for approval, not just recommendations.

"We're ignoring key information if we go forward with the recommendations now," she said, adding that the task force's recommendations will include some combination of size restrictions, community impact fees, design criteria and provisions for vacancies.

She also asked the council to consider adding a 55,000 square foot limit on grocery stores to the moratorium, effectively slamming a back-door into the community some big box stores have used in the past - building a grocery store, then expanding into retail space.

"Have you met with any opposition to this plan yet?" Mayor Ross Aragon asked.

Skeehan said opposition to some sort of big box regulation had been "sporadic" with one or two negative comments at a public hearing in September and one or two others commenting in favor of big boxes on the task force Web site since.

"Most say I can't afford to drive to Durango, also I want to have more jobs," Skeehan said, adding that the job argument could actually turn into a net loss with the construction of a big box retail store in Pagosa Springs because of the possible loss of smaller retailers unable to compete.

Town Manager Mark Garcia said, with the council's approval, an ordinance outlining provisions for the extension would be prepared for the Jan. 3 council meeting.

Funding for the economic baseline survey, another piece of planning puzzle set to be presented to a comprehensive planner this year, is coming through the Community Vision Council. Garcia said estimated cost of the study is $25,000-$40,000. It will take three months to complete.

According to a news release from the vision council, consultants from Economic and Planning Systems, of California and Colorado, will gather and evaluate data related to housing, jobs and tourism, as well as to current and future demand for retail and commercial development throughout the county.

They will also conduct a public hearing on economic issues such as affordable house, jobs, big box impacts and potential downtown improvements in late January.

These data would provide the baseline information required for a "fiscal impact analysis," the second part of the study. The fiscal impact analysis would look at the community's financial conditions and trends, thereby allowing a review of the capital needs and revenues for new facilities and infrastructure projects. The final part of the study will provide a plan that identifies alternative courses of action for the town, including strategies to generate revenues for high priority programs and improvements.

Angela Atkinson, the vision council's executive director, said currently the consultants are also participating in master plan work in Telluride and consulting on the new Mercy Medical Center hospital in Durango. They've also used baseline economic data to assess impacts of Super Wal-Marts in Carbondale and Bozeman, Mont.

"I think this study will have broad-reaching benefits for the community," Garcia said. "It's going to give us great data that we desperately need."

On a related note, Skeehan's request to extend the moratorium before the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning was met with favorable response.

"I am not opposed to it," concluded Mamie Lynch, board chair, "but we need a little time to plan and develop for further consideration."

Likewise, county attorney Jeff Robbins indicated the county cannot grant such an extension arbitrarily.

"It needs a factual basis establishing what has happened, to date," advised Robbins. "And why it's necessary for more time."

The board agreed to consider the extension at a future meeting.


Psychedelic mushroom growth jars

found in raid

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Local law enforcement officials seized nearly 200 Mason jars used in growing hallucinogenic mushrooms from a home near Pagosa Tuesday.

Two people were arrested and booked on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance, a Class III felony.

Archuleta County Sheriff's Lt. T.J. Fitzwater said, "based on reliable, confidential sources," a search warrant was obtained and executed at a home on Hurt Drive, in Aspen Springs. Inside the home, officials found the Mason jars containing "fungus cakes" used in the early stages of psilocybin mushroom cultivation, plus other equipment and small quantities of marijuana and methamphetamine.

Robert Dieter, 27, and Billie Rapoza, 29, were arrested in the incident. Both were booked into Archuleta County Jail on charges of manufacturing illegal drugs. Rapoza was also booked for possession of methamphetamine. As of Wednesday morning, she was being held on $35,000 bond. Dieter was being held on a $25,000 bond.

Archuleta County Detective George Daniels said evidence at the scene points to the operation as an ongoing one and not the couple's first attempt.

Because the growth was found at such an early stage, Fitzwater said, establishing a street value for the possible crop is difficult. The going market rate for the mushrooms, which are generally dried and mixed with food before being consumed orally, is around $8 a gram.

Members of the Pagosa Springs Police Department and the Southwest Colorado Drug Task force participated in the bust.


 Inside The Sun
Zoning tabled for 90-acre tract between subdivisions

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Ninety acres bordered by Piedra Estates and Pagosa Hills will remain unzoned.

The Pagosa Springs Town Council stopped short of approving zoning on the recently subdivided property Tuesday at their regular meeting, opting instead to send the question back to the planning commission after two letters of opposition, one signed by 27 residents, were presented.

The council required applicants John and Lee Collins to request zoning for the property as a condition of approval for subdividing 90 acres of their property into two parcels - one 55 acres and one 35 acres. The minor subdivision was approved in November.

Later the same month, the town planning commission recommended approval of residential zoning on the property allowing single family residences on a minimum three acre lot if developed.

Collins said the topography on the 35-acre parcel - which the couple would like to sell - would allow for three or four houses at the most.

"I'm just trying to reduce my tax base and also make a little money," he said. "The topography isn't conducive to building a bunch of houses."

Anthony Doctor, a resident of the area, said his concerns focused on traffic impacts. Since he moved into the area in 1993 Pike Drive, the road accessing the proposed 35-acre parcel, has been maintained by the property owners at their own expense. An increase in traffic attached to additional homes would be a burden to everyone.

Bob Bledsoe agreed. "I'm all for breaking up the property into three-acre lots," he said. "The problem, in my opinion, lies strictly in access. Three to 10 families moving in could be disastrous to that road." Access to U.S. 160 from the drive is also a problem, he said.

Collins rebutted the concerns, saying that the additional families - provided the parcel was developed - could mean more revenue for road repair and maintenance.

"I had to put in a mile of road to get to my house," he said. "Nobody maintains that but me."

Mayor Ross Aragon laid out two choices for the council - vote on the zoning or send the issue back to the planning commission.

Town Council member Jerry Jackson made a motion to send it back for further discussion. The motion passed.

Following the vote, Todd Shelton, an audience member, questioned the board's decision.

"I think maybe you're letting something go tonight that could come back and bite you," he said, pointing out the Collins' were simply following the instruction of town staff, were surrounded on two sides by subdivisions with parcels as small as a half acre and as large as four acres and would have to come back before the council if a development were ever designed for the property - if it were zoned, that is.

"As a public person, it doesn't make sense," he said.


Sports complex grant use phases outlined


By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN columnist

As most of you read in last week's SUN, the Town of Pagosa Springs, and the parks and recreation department received an early holiday gift.

Julie Jessen our special projects coordinator and, in this case, our grant writer, received a faxed letter from Senior Program Manager of Great Outdoor Colorado, Wally Piccone.

Piccone had previously sent us at least three other letters from his desk in Denver, denying us grant monies for different projects around Archuleta County.

This letter was different. It stated, "I am pleased to inform you that on December 1, 2004, the Board approved your project at a grant amount up to $200,000."

GoCo received 47 applications requesting more that $7.1 million altogether. In all, the board approved $3,996,183 for 25 projects. So, Pagosa Springs did get to open its Christmas gift early.

The project is the long-planned expansion of recreation facilities along South 5th Street.

The first phase includes engineering site plan, grading and drainage of site, irrigation, utilities, 5th Street parking improvements, landscaping/irrigation, full size soccer field, and graded improved road to access the river. The town and county, and contractors can extract water from the river for use in a river access which will also serve as an access point for rafters and kayakers. This phase should be finished by fall of 2005.

Phase 2 will cover street lighting, park lighting, architecture for restrooms, picnic area shelters, and an outdoor classroom area. This work could be completed in 2006 depending on future grant application success.

Phase 3 will involve completion of a combination youth league/adult softball field, with lights, playground, interpretive signage that would tie all our river trails system together and interpretive signage throughout the designated wetlands.

GoCo is the managing trust for the Colorado Lottery, we hope to include future grants to upgrade and build new additions to the San Juan River Walk. There is also a possibility of purchasing adjacent properties to protect our open space and increase our parks system.

With the inevitable growth that our county and town will see in the next 20 years, it would be nice to acquire some more land for parks and open space.

If you have any questions or wish to help with fund-raising ideas for our newest gem, feel free to call me at 264-4151, Ext. 231.


Work zone road patrols prove effective; second saturation effort planned


By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

After four years of near-constant traffic delays on Wolf Creek Pass, work is nearly complete.

The tunnel is open.

The cones are gone - or at least moved to the side of the road for winter.

And amped-up patrols of work zones as part of a statewide crackdown on unsafe driving are complete - in one case.

Final results from the highway safety campaign, "Slow for the Cone Zone," have been compiled. Across Colorado, more than 1,000 citations were issued in selected work zones - including Wolf Creek Pass - since the program, a joint effort by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol, began in early July.

Troopers logged over 380 hours of enforcement on Wolf Creek Pass alone, including 315 on the east side, the highest number of hours of enforcement for any project in the state, according to CDOT. In that time, troopers contacted 555 vehicles on U.S. 160, issuing 124 citations. Ninety-five of the tickets involved a "hazardous violation," or action that can result in an accident.

Statewide from July to September, CSP troopers logged 2,192 overtime hours and made contact with 3,262 vehicles, resulting in 1,839 citations, including 13 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. None of the DUI arrests occurred on U.S. 160.

This winter, the program will be reviewed for effectiveness and impacts on driver behavior. According to 2002 statistics, the most recent available, 133,700 accidents occurred in Colorado construction zones resulting in 1,238 injuries and 20 deaths. The number of injuries and deaths caused by work zone accidents has doubled in the last year.

Nationally, over 52,000 were injured and 1,181 killed in work zone crashes the same year.

At the same time one program ends another begins. December DUI enforcement efforts begin this weekend.

Governor Bill Owens announced Dec. 6 there is $1.5 million in Law Enforcement Assistance Fund grants to help 50 police and sheriff's departments across the state with increased patrols during the holidays. Archuleta County will receive $28,000 for its crackdown and saturation efforts.

The Heat Is On campaign will start the first of its December DUI enforcement periods with the Office Party Weekend starting at 6 p.m. Friday through 3 a.m. on Dec. 13. The Colorado State Patrol and 51 police and sheriff's departments will participate. A second campaign enforcement period will take place on New Year's Eve, a Friday night.

In addition, the CSP will receive $303,675 in federal highway safety funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for DUI enforcement. The Colorado Department of Transportation administers the DUI enforcement grants.

Owens also signed a proclamation designating December as Colorado Law Enforcement Appreciation month. Owens noted Colorado led the nation by decreasing traffic fatalities by 15 percent in 2003, resulting in 111 fewer traffic deaths compared to 2002. He cited the dedication and diligence of law enforcement officers as critical contributions to achieving the decrease.

All Coloradans are asked to help law enforcement officers by celebrating responsibly and using these simple steps:

- Offer to be the designated driver for your family and friends.

- Take the keys from someone who shouldn't be driving.

- Let a friend stay overnight, if they've had too much to drink.

- If you've had too much to drink, make the responsible decision: Do not get behind the wheel.

"Reducing traffic deaths and the costs associated with them is a critical safety goal for CDOT and the DUI enforcement campaign is one of our most important programs," Tom Norton, CDOT's Executive Director, said.

According to the Department of Transportation, the average alcohol-related fatality in Colorado costs $1.1 million and $2.5 million in quality of life losses. Alcohol-related crashes accounted for an estimated 18 percent of Colorado's auto insurance payments. Reducing alcohol-related crashes by 10 percent would save $50 million in claims payments and loss adjustment expenses.


PAWS adopts 2005 budget; mill levies down

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District's proposed budget for 2005 received unanimous approval by the district board of directors Tuesday night.

And for the second time in as many years, district mill levies will be down overall, despite the addition of a nominal third mill levy to the slate for 2005.

According to Carrie Campbell, district general manager, the need for a third mill levy, to be known as the "abatement" levy, stems from what amounts to an unexpected loss in revenues due to a high number of county property tax abatements.

"We had anticipated an additional $6,000 from District 2, but we didn't get it so we have to make up for that somewhere," explained Campbell.

As a result, the 2005 abatement mill levy for District 1, which provides water and sanitation services to the core area of subdivisions west of town generally located north of U.S. 160 and west of Piedra Road, is set at .033 mills.

The debt-service mill levy for District 1 is set at 11.534 mills, down from this year's mark of 11.88.

The operating mill levy for District 1 will remain the same, holding at 6.09 mills. When combined, the three levies for 2005 total 17.657 mills, as opposed to this year's total of 17.97 mills.

District 2 provides water service (only) to subdivisions west of town and south of U.S. 160, the town of Pagosa Springs and areas near town that were formerly served by the Archuleta Water Company.

The 2005 abatement mill levy for District 2 stands at .052 and the debt-service mill levy is set at 6.296, down from this year's mark of 6.39.

The operating mill levy for District 2 remains unchanged at 1.949 mills. The combined 2005 levies for District 2 amount to 8.297, a decrease from this year's figure of 8.339.

With respect to the district rate structure for 2005, "We do not anticipate any increases to the current rate structure for the coming year," concluded Campbell.

In other business this week the board:

- approved resolution authorizing the filing of a joint application (with the San Juan Water Conservancy District) to the Colorado Water Court for additional San Juan River water rights;

- tabled consideration of a raw-water agreement with Fairfield Resorts, Inc.

Lake levels

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

- Lake Hatcher - 10 inches below spillway

- Stevens Reservoir - spilling

- Lake Pagosa - 22 inches below spillway

- Lake Forest - 15 inches below spillway

- Village Lake - 18 inches below spillway.


County budget hearing extended to Dec. 14

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Adoption of the 2005 Archuleta County budget will have to wait.

Due to a series of minor setbacks, including a courthouse computer crash, the county board of commissioners elected to extend Tuesday morning's budget hearing into next week.

The remainder of the public hearing and subsequent board consideration of the budget is scheduled for Dec. 14 at 9 a.m.

Though the primary purpose of next week's special meeting will be to address the budget, Board Chair Mamie Lynch indicated the session may include "other items as needed on the agenda."

In other business this week, the board:

- approved the annual Law Enforcement Assistance Fund contract;

- reappointed Roger August to a three-year term on the Southwestern Water Conservation District Board of Directors;

- approved a request for permission to "unofficially" post county agendas on non-county Web sites;

- agreed to draft a letter of support and consider a financial contribution to Housing Solutions for the Southwest;

- approved a Homeland Security grant application totalling nearly $100,000;

- approved Phase III of Cloman Industrial Park;

- approved a 90-day extension for the improvements agreement for Crowley Ranch Reserve Phase IV;

- approved release of warranty bonds for Powderhorn and Reserve at Pagosa Peaks subdivisions.


Airport overhaul at 63%, FAA deadlines loom

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The sounds of heavy construction at Stevens Field have fallen silent for the year.

"For all practical purposes, it's stopped for the season," said Ken Fox, airport manager, during a construction progress update given Tuesday to the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners.

"Overall, we're right at 63 percent complete," added Fox.

According to a memo to the board in which Fox outlined a variety of tasks accomplished this year, roughly half of the runway has been reconstructed and is now open for use, while the remainder is scheduled for reconstruction next spring.

Also scheduled for next spring are additional grading, drainage, fencing/gate installations and the realignment of Condor Drive.

The memo indicates work on the midfield apron has been nearly completed, and the area is now rated at a maximum weight capacity of 70,000 pounds.

In addition, steel and a wide range of additional elements have been ordered for construction of a new fixed-base operators' facility and eight hangars, with corresponding architecture, foundation and bid-package plans also in the final stages.

With regard to progress on the new "fuel farm," Fox indicated foundation supports and the pad for the loading area have been constructed, and associated lighting fixtures are ready for installation.

Fuel tank delivery and installation is slated for early next year.

Progress toward gaining and granting accesses and easements is also moving forward, said Fox, as well as efforts to implement new utilities systems.

However, Fox indicated one area of concern involves the possibility that Kirkland Construction, the firm contracted to complete a number of airport tasks, may not be able to adhere to project deadlines.

For example, through change orders and a supplemental agreement to the original construction contract, the county granted Kirkland a 90-day extension to complete work on the midfield apron area earlier this year.

The agreement was reached "with the understanding that the work would be accomplished in conjunction with work on the runway itself."

Fox's memo to the board states, "As of today's date, Kirkland is 30 days into the 'extra' days" granted.

Furthermore, "In my opinion, unless Kirkland performs at a much more efficient rate than they have this year, they will not finish the project on time, which will result in (Federal Aviation Administration) penalties and the associated, potential 'legal posturing.'"

According to Fox, Kirkland will have roughly 60 days to complete the remainder of the project once construction begins next spring.

"I'm not saying it can't be done," concluded Fox. "But they might have to do things a little differently."


Salvation Army donations stay in the county

The Salvation Army was established in Archuleta County in 2001.

Funds are raised primarily by bell-ringing from Thanksgiving to Christmas, with some private mail donations. These funds are disbursed, only in Archuleta County, for people who need assistance with medical, food, auto, rent, insurance, utilities and overnight lodging.

All money raised is spent to help people except for 0.5 percent which is spent for operating expenses. For example, for $6,000 raised, $30 is spent for operating costs and $5,970 is given to people in need.

This is an extremely low expense ratio. The Salvation Army disburses money throughout the year, contrary to some people's belief that the money raised during Thanksgiving and Christmas is spent only during this time.

Finally, volunteer bell-ringers are always needed. This is an excellent opportunity to spend an hour or two to share in the joy of helping others who are down on their luck.

If you are interested, please call Jim Haliday at 731-9082. Finally, if anyone wishes to make a mail-in donation, it can be sent to Salvation Army, PO Box 1567, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147-1567.


New dump fees take effect Jan. 1

New fees will go into effect Jan. 1 for the county's landfill and transfer stations.

The charges will be:

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

- Landfill, $12 per cubic yard; and

- Arboles transfer station, $15 per cubic yard.

The fee changes were made per recommendation of a study completed by Golder Associates of Lakewood. The study may be reviewed on the county Web site at www.archuletacounty,org

The landfill and both transfer stations will have holiday hours, being closed Dec. 24 and 25 and again Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.


Comment period extended on forest land swap proposal

The Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest has extended the deadline for public input on the issues to be studied in an environmental analysis of a land exchange proposed to the U.S. Forest Service by the Smith family.

Public input will now be accepted until Thursday, Dec. 30. The earlier deadline had been Monday, Dec. 13.

"We have been receiving good response, but we wanted to make sure that everyone who wants to has a chance to comment," said Jo Bridges, Pagosa district ranger.

Tom and Margie Smith of Pagosa Springs propose trading to the San Juan National Forest 264 acres of private property, in exchange for 330 acres of National Forest land. Private lands, which would become National Forest in the exchange, are:

- Laughlin Park: 62.5 acres surrounded by National Forest in the Jackson Mountain area northeast of Pagosa Springs, typified by subalpine forests, meadows, and wetlands in an area identified as lynx habitat.

- Spiler Canyon: 160 acres in the Kenney Flats area southeast of Pagosa Springs, typified by ponderosa pine forests, rangelands and a creek.

- Chaffee County mining claims, four patented mining claims totaling 41 acres surrounded by National Forest lands managed for semi-primitive, non-motorized recreation in an area above timberline near the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area.

Federal lands, which the proponents would acquire in the land exchange, are:

- Oak Brush Hill: 330 acres of National Forest land just off the Piedra Road west of Pagosa Springs adjacent to the USFS Job Corps Site (which is not part of the proposal); a dry hill of oak brush and ponderosa pine surrounded by private development, bisected by a road, and including an old gravel pit.

Federal law allows National Forest lands to be exchanged for non-federal lands if the transaction consolidates public and private lands inside National Forest boundaries; the exchange benefits the public, in terms of resources acquired vs. resources traded; public acquisition of the private lands is compatible with management of surrounding National Forest lands; and values of the acquired and traded lands are equalized.

Written public input should be mailed to Pagosa Ranger District, Attention:

Glenn Raby, P.O. Box 310, Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147.

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

Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, those who only submit anonymously will not have standing to appeal the subsequent decision.



Spiritual battle

Dear Editor:

II Chronicles 7:14 says, "and My people who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (N.A.S.B.)

We are as a nation, far below any standard of righteousness, particularly in regards to honesty, integrity and courage. How is it we have allowed the world's standards of "the ends justifies the means," "religion and politics don't mix" and the endless, mindless dribble that says "who are you to judge me?" and "I have 'right' to say or do, whatever I want," to become so pervasive?

Selfishness and contempt for the law, the Constitution, and ethical morality, has replaced our foundations of honesty, purity, generosity, and Godly moral character. If we therefore, cannot even rise as a people to the basics of decency, then how can we be called God's "people"?

The problem is not what's wrong with the nation. The problem is what is wrong with "My people." God's promise to this generation of genuine Christian believers is that He will heal our land and forgive our sin. But as with all of God's promises, it is conditional to our turning from our wicked ways. We must tremble when we consider that if God does not forgive our sins, the consequences will be our own destruction and slavery.

Christians must accept that if repentance from among God's people doesn't come soon, the freedoms which we have enjoyed and have prospered our nation, will soon disappear. The "Left," now controls the minds of 50 percent of America's population. How they hate our Constitution, Christian Judaic traditions and foundations, and how they, in their rage against God, our nation and Christianity, will stop at nothing to have power.

We must be willing to do everything morally correct to stop them. We start with repentance, turning from our wicked ways, with humility, and seek the promises of God and His Providential aid.

While so many seem to remain quiet, the enemies of our souls and our freedom make continued greater advances against our nation and our faith. For now, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the power, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 (N.A.S.B.). How long will it be until this spiritual battle spills out into the streets of America?

William Bennett

Editor's note: No doubt there are many thoughtful, and devout individuals among us - none of them who can be conveniently stuffed into the hollow straw man of the "Left" - who think the "battle" will never spill into the streets. That belief is based on a trust in our Constitution and in the fact it was created to allow for the positive and productive coexistence of diverse peoples and points of view.

Bouncing checks

Dear Editor:

I have worked in the retail sports industry for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to serve many wonderful and conscientious customers. To them, I say thank you.

Unfortunately, my letter concerns those "customers" who come in and fraudulently take merchandise from a store and write a check they know is no good.

We are very lucky in Pagosa Springs that retailers even still continue to accept checks. I truly believe that most people are honest and know that mistakes do occur.

These are not the people I am referring to in this letter.

It's the people who knowingly write checks on closed accounts or accounts with insufficient funds. This is stealing. The merchants in Pagosa Springs cannot afford to have this happen. The owners of local shops make a living, not a fortune.

The shop I work in rarely sees out-of-town or out-of-state checks returned - they're always local. How regrettable it would be for Pagosa merchants to be unable to accept local checks anymore.

A few bad apples can ruin the bunch. I encourage other business owners to follow up on check fraud. Upon receiving a bad check, call the suspect and try to solve the problem sans authorities. If this is unproductive, send the suspect a certified letter requiring restitution. If the suspect does not respond, you may then file a report with police.

Retailers owe it to themselves to be strict in dealing with bad check writers.

And to the rest of the local population, please be understanding when you are asked for ID and a phone number upon writing a check.

It's nothing personal; we are just trying to be as careful as possible.

Connie Cook

Stop the swap

Dear Editor:

Early this morning I took a walk on Oak Brush Hill with the new snow on the ground. Ahead of me I could see the heads of 40-50 elk moving amidst the brush. I hunkered down by a tree and watched in awe of how such large animals can move so quietly.

Then I was saddened by the thought that this may be no more, if the land gets swapped to developer Tom Smith. Instead, the elk's silence will be replaced by the sound of bulldozers and equipment.

Jo Bridges, in The SUN's article two weeks ago, said we must look at the big picture. It would be a long time before Spiler Canyon would be in danger of development, being 1 1/2-2 hours out of town. Laughlin Park was for sale previously because the owner couldn't develop it. The picture is, the Forest Service wants Laughlin Park. Mark Stiles, Durango ranger, has said that is their driving force. They don't care about Spiler Canyon and they sure don't care about 40 acres of defunct mines in the middle of the state at an elevation of 11,000-13,000 feet.

Bridges says this is not a vote count. Dale Bosworth, head of the Forest Service in Washington, D.C., has said in his speeches, "You (the public) own your National Forests and grasslands. We (Forest Service) are here to serve you."

It is the mandate of the Forest Service to protect and manage public lands for the public. Should one developer count more than the populace of the area affect because he has dollars and we don't?

The Smiths bought the former Dolese Ranch knowing it had access for only three residences on the ranch via Stevens Lake Road. He counted on his money to buy another way in.

The Forest Service has other means to acquire lands through the Federal Conservation and Reinvestment Act. I understand why they wish to get rid of private inholdings in a forested area, but not at the expense of trading away something that is special, close to town, where everyone can enjoy the forest, even if they only have a free hour.

My husband died on the space shuttle in 1986, and I moved here several years ago to enjoy the serenity and beauty of the area, living surrounded by wildlife. Isn't that why we live here? What will be the next piece of our forests that will be traded to help developers?

Please write opposing the swap by Dec. 13 and give your reason for opposition. Send to Glenn Raby, PO Box 310, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Marcia Jarvis

Visitor viewpoint

Dear Editor:

Over the past 25 years I've been visiting the Pagosa Springs area, normally during the summer. This year during Thanksgiving I skied for the first time in my life and had a wonderful time.

I enjoy the beauty of your area and the pristine wilderness. I think it would be a terrible mistake to develop the Wolf Creek area.

It would ruin the natural beauty of the area and bring a commercial and carnival atmosphere to a lovely natural setting. In addition I think the development would have a disastrous affect on the local infrastructure to support how many hundreds of part-time tenants whose only connection with the area will be a timeshare at Wolf Creek.

I hope the citizens opposing the development will make their voices heard and stop this shameful effort to fatten the pockets of absentee developers at the expense of local residents.

Tim Miller

Sumner, Iowa

Land trade issues

Dear Editor:

In regard to land trades, i.e., Oak Brush Hill area and, for that matter, any forest land trades, I ask the Forest Service to protect our lands, not only for the public, but for the wildlife.

We need and the wildlife need more open space. True, growth is occurring, but we can slow it down. The forest land is the first step to slowing growth. Protect our lands, don't give it away for future development.

The proposed Village at Wolf Creek is not a simmering issue as the SUN reported Nov. 25, it is a hot issue. Why? That was and is all over a Forest Service land trade.

Think it out wisely.

Pam Morrow

First complaint

Dear Editor:

I do not understand why Mr. Lowrance is "offended" by some lights on a hill. If it bothers him so much, he should refrain from looking up there.

I am not sure when the star went up, but I have been coming to Pagosa Springs since 1965 and have lived here for 13 years and his is the first such complaint I've seen or heard.

That should tell him something. His comment offends me so I simply will not read his letter again. Get a life, Mr. Lowrance.

My other issue is Christmas. Christians (and others) have celebrated Christmas in this country for hundreds of years. Now we have some whiney jerks complaining if some six-year-olds are singing Christmas carols in a public school (they haven't learned hate yet!) or a storefront displays some red bows.

I do not understand why these people cannot deal with Christmas being celebrated once a year. We deal with them 365 days a year.

Sharon Sawicki

No mandate

Dear Editor:

Looking back at the just-concluded presidential election, a few key events stand out as turning points. Historians will mark the headlines that may well have carried President Bush to victory, like, "Bush Bets Presidency on Environmental Record" and "Voters Rally Behind Bush's Green Agenda, Rove Says."

If you're inclining your head because you can't remember seeing these headlines, don't worry. No such headlines ever appeared. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in the days following the election showed that the environment played a decisive role in the votes of only a small minority.

Nonetheless, EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt called the election "a validation of our philosophy and agenda" on the environment, claiming a mandate for the administration's second-term environmental priorities. In the weeks since the election, those priorities have become clear: weakening a whole host of environmental and public health protections, including the Clean Air Act, passing a polluting, budget-busting energy bill, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, and repealing the Roadless Rule which protects 58.5 million acres of pristine national forests, including 4.4 million acres here in Colorado.

No such mandate to weaken America's environmental protections exists. Polls conducted during the president's first term show that a large percentage of Americans disagree with his handling of environmental issues. A March 204 Gallup Poll, for example, found that almost half of all Americans think Bush is doing a poor job protecting America's environment. The public is not shy about expressing their disapproval. For example, when the administration proposed to gut the Roadless Rule last summer, almost 1.8 million Americans, including more than 29,000 Coloradans, submitted comments opposing the policy change. We can only hope that the administration chooses to heed the will of the public while making a final decision on this issue.

Election returns show a consistent trend of support for strong environmental protections, when those issues were presented to voters.

Color the state of Colorado red on the presidential map, but add some green because 53 percent of Colorado voters approved Amendment 37, requiring the state's largest utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015.

President Bush presented himself as an environmental champion during the campaign. In response to a question posed at the second debate, Bush stated, "I guess you'd say I'm a good steward of the land. The quality of the air's cleaner since I've been the president. Fewer water complaints since I've been the president. More land being restored since I've been the president." With the scant amount of coverage given to the environment during the campaign, this was all many voters heard about his plans for the environment in his second term.

It's no secret Bush and environmental groups have butted heads over the past four years. But the next four years don't have to be more of the same, not if Bush and key figures in his administration read the words he uttered in the second debate and pursue an agenda truly worthy of "a good steward of the land."

Jake Schlesinger

Environment Colorado


Brilliant music

Dear Editor:

Hoots, hollers and palm-shattering applause to The Children's Chorale and the Community Choir for the Christmas program.

We are relieved to hear quality sound is being recorded, because musical performances have been so brilliant in this town, especially since the high school theater showed up as the gateway to Trujillo Valley.

By the way, are you DeWintered? You know you are if you go to a local stage show and the scenery and costumes made you wonder if it's Broadway.

If you peep into the community center gym and it's a very authentic-looking medieval banquet hall ... you just might be DeWintered ... as in Michael.

If you're skeptical, pick up tickets for this weekend's Madrigal dinner show in that setting.

Harvey Schwartz


Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist


The Mountain View Homemakers will meet with Natalie Tyson who lives at 273 Meadows Drive. Directions: Take Meadows Drive off U.S. 160 West. First house on right.


Pagosa Bow Club meeting, 7 p.m., Archuleta County Extension Building. Election of officers, 2005 dues structure and end of the year celebration.


Wolf Creek Trailblazers Snowmobile Club will celebrate the holiday season at their monthly meeting, 6:30 p.m., in the Fellowship Hall of the Methodist Church on Lewis Street. Members will share in a potluck supper. New members are welcome. Call Charlie Rogers, 264-4471, for more information.

Dec. 10

The annual potluck for the Sisson Library staff given by the library volunteers - 11:30 a.m. Spouses are invited.

Dec. 10

Pagosa's sixth annual Parade of Lights, 6 p.m. The parade will start at 5th Street and end at 2nd Street.

Dec. 10-11

The Madrigal Dinner, the holiday gala sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $24 for adults, $20 for seniors and $18 for students and children. Reserved tickets are required. Call The Plaid Pony at 731-5262 to purchase tickets and make reservations.

Dec. 11

Pi Beta Phi alumni club Christmas potluck luncheon and angel ornament exchange at the home of Donna Gregory at 11:30 a.m. Bring a side dish to share and a wrapped angel ornament (under $10) to exchange. RSVP by today to Lisa Scott at 264-2730 or Gregory at 731-1065.

Dec. 12

Christmas Singalong, 3 p.m., at Community United Methodist Church. Five choruses from Handel's "Messiah" will be featured with audience participation. Free admission.

Dec. 15

The second annual Pagosa Springs Community Center Caroling and Cake Walk, 5:30 p.m. Free. Call 264-4152 to make cake donations.

Dec. 16

Members of the Woman's Civic Club of Pagosa Springs will celebrate at a Christmas party with their husbands at Barb Draper's. Members are to bring a dessert.

Dec. 16

The Pagosa Springs Photo Club meets at 6:30 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. The speaker will be Linda Lerno, owner of Affordable Framing. Lerno will demonstrate matting and picture-framing techniques. She will also discuss the most current materials available for laminating archival prints. The club welcomes new members and persons of all photographic skill levels. Questions can be directed to Jim Struck, 731-6468.

Jan. 6 to March 31

A free lunch will be served Thursdays at the Parish Hall, 451 Lewis St., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Come one and all. Bring only your appetite. Meal is sponsored by Loaves and Fishes.


Community News

Blood donation can be the best gift you'll give

As the Christmas season rapidly approaches, many people will be in need of emergency blood transfusions.

And it is a season when contributions normally decline with the pressure of getting all the shopping done.

It is a season when blood donations are always needed, and you will have a chance Monday, Dec. 13, to make that gift of life.

United Blood Services, the community blood center for the Four Corners Region, will conduct a draw noon-4 p.m. that day at the Pagosa Fire Protection District building, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.

Current identification is required of all potential donors. You may sign up for local drives on line at

During this season of giving, don't forget to give the gift of life - donate blood.


Cut your own Christmas tree

with USFS permit

Christmas tree permits, which allow you to cut your own Christmas tree on public lands, are now on sale at Pagosa Public Lands Office, 180 Pagosa St.

A permit, which costs just $8, allows you to cut one tree up to 20 feet tall for personal use.

Permits come with a brochure that explains regulations and offers helpful tips.

The local office also sells maps and offers free advice on the best areas for tree harvesting, and the best species of tree to cut.

Call the San Juan Public Lands Center at 247-4874 for up-to-date information on road conditions (National Forest/BLM roads are not snowplowed).


Student Christmas program Dec. 16 at Our Savior Lutheran

By Julie Martinez

Special to The PREVIEW

The students of Our Savior Lutheran School will host their annual Christmas Program at the school 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16.

This special program features the students in song, drama, and scriptural readings in which the children express their faith and joy in the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All are invited to this very special evening.

The school is at 56 Meadows Drive at U.S. 160, and the program will be presented in the school gymnasium. This event is always well-attended, so plan to come a little early to get a good parking spot.

Mark your calendars also for the traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight worship services to be held again this year on Friday, Dec. 24 at Our Savior Lutheran.

Two services will be held, the first at 7 p.m. and the second at 9. Everyone is invited to come and celebrate with us the birth of our Lord.


Lend a Helping Hand to your friends and neighbors; gifts due Tuesday, Dec. 14

Operation Helping Hand is a volunteer-based program designed to assist less-fortunate members of the community throughout the holiday season.

Eligible families and individuals who benefit from the program include victims of domestic violence, children of single parents, persons who are physically challenged or mentally challenged and senior citizens living on a limited income.

Project Empty Stocking

Volunteers have written over 1,000 requested items on paper stockings that are on display on boards placed at both City Markets, and at Wells Fargo and Sears. These requests range from socks and underwear to snow boots, pants and coats.

The Project Empty Stocking boards come down Sunday morning, Dec. 12. Please choose your stockings before the boards are removed.

Monetary donations are needed to fill requests not taken from the boards by Dec. 12, as well as to purchase food for Christmas dinner boxes.

Donations of money can be made out to Operation Helping Hand and deposited in account 6240417424 at Wells Fargo Bank or in 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.

Secret Santa Tree

This program seeks to provide at least one new toy to each child in need this holiday season.

There is a special Christmas tree in the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center with ornaments for each child registered with Operation Helping Hand. There are also toy requests posted on boards at both City Market locations, and at Sears and Wells Fargo.

There are a variety of requests for toys in all price ranges. Requests include dolls, Barbies, dishes, cars, Tonka trucks, cassettes and CD players. Last year over 150 children asked Santa for toys.

The following is a sample of the many items you will find posted at the above mentioned locations. To fill a request, remove a stocking from one of the boards, then purchase and wrap your gift, attaching the stocking to your package so the gift will be delivered to the correct individual or family.

Deliver your gift to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill, Kid and Kaboodle on Pagosa Street, Mary Fisher Medical Clinic on South Pagosa Boulevard, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association administrative office or to the Pagosa Lakes recreation center by Tuesday, Dec. 14.


Caroling and cake walk at community center

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 Wednesday, Dec. 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Please take note - this is the correct time, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Doors will open at 5 p.m.

This event will be a 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 multipurpose room to watch the lighting of the tree.

Then, we'll have the Christmas caroling and cake walk contest to take place alternately while other kids get a chance to visit with Santa to tell him the gifts they wish to have.

Lili Pearson, a local photographer, will be available for those who wish to have their pictures taken with Santa.

Members of the Pagosa Springs Community Choir - Jeannie Dold, Susie Long, Bill Norton, Sandra Behr and others - will lead the Christmas caroling.

If you missed the Christmas concert last weekend this is your opportunity to hear them sing. They have awesome voices.

Got food?

Yes, the Friends of the Community Center will sell the infamous Kiwanis Club chili with Fritos and lots of cheese. Remember when this group used to have chili dinners at the parish hall? Well, I got permission to use their recipe and the chili will be available Dec. 15. In addition, hot dogs, hot chocolate and cider will be available.

So, come early and have your dinner here before the fun starts. Money raised will be used to buy a 32-inch TV for public use.

We still need donations of cakes for the cake walk contest. More cakes means more fun and more people will take home a cake for the family to enjoy. After all, Christmas is all about love, peace, joy, and giving. We'll have different age groups in this game. This event will be a success with the help, support and participation of the community. Volunteers are always welcome.

Call the community center at 264-4152, Monday through Friday 8 a.m to 5 p.m. This event is free. So bring the whole family for an evening of fun, food and music.


Holiday sing-along, 'The Messiah,' at CUMC

The community is cordially invited to Pagosa Springs' first Christmas Singalong.

This holiday musical event is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, in Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street.

Come celebrate the "reason for the season" by singing along to five glorious choruses from one of Handel's most inspired works, "The Messiah."

Accompaniment will be provided by two violins, oboe, flute, bassoon, two trumpets and piano under the direction of Dr. Carroll Carruth.

Following these choruses, audience requests will be taken for holiday favorites.

A few copies of "The Messiah" score will be available for loan that afternoon but those with their own copy are asked to bring it.


Unitarians will consider the

Hindu philosophy of maya

This Sunday, The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold a service on the Hindu philosophy of maya.

The guest speaker will be Nikhileshwari Devi, who comes from the Barsana Dham Ashram outside Austin, Texas, which is part of an international nonprofit religious and educational organization whose aim is to teach the original knowledge of the Hindu (Vedic) Scriptures.

According to Devi, the cosmic material energy that has produced the universe, which is called "maya" in Sanskrit, has been very prominent in the sacred writings of Hinduism.

He will explore how these teachings describe maya's internal and external influence, and how this relates to internal peace for oneself and a greater peace for humanity.

The service and children's program begin 10:30 a.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 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.


Come to the

Royal Hall for the Madrigal Dinner

By John Graves

Special to The PREVIEW

Tomorrow night, Dec. 10, marks the third night for the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters' Madrigal Dinner!

The doors open 7 p.m. and the festivities begin at 7:30 in the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

This traditional Yuletide festivity goes back to the days when kings and queens, along with their knights and ladies, would host a grand holiday feast in the Great Hall of the palace. In Pagosa, this Royal Hall will be the completely transformed and beautifully decorated community center gymnasium.

It's not only an evening full of wonderful holiday entertainment, gorgeous costumes, pomp, and pageantry - it's also a sumptuous, four-course feast of fowl, catered by Michael DeWinter and delivered to the Royal Court at the head table on huge platters held high in a grand musical procession.

Up to 250 adoring subjects (who are invited to come in costume) will then share in the bountiful banquet, while being entertained by a chorus of 16 madrigal singers, dancers, a trio of recorder players, a harpist and other instrumentalists, as well as jugglers, magicians, and the hilarious antics of the court Jester.

This holiday gala for the whole family will be repeated Saturday. 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.

There are still some good seats left, but they're going fast.


Loaves and Fishes, a new nonprofit, plans free lunches

A newly-formed group of local women will offer a free lunch on Thursdays Jan. 6 through March 31 in the Parish Hall.

The nonprofit group, calling themselves Loaves and Fishes, has already received assistance from City Market and Wells Fargo Bank. They have asked various churches and civic organizations to donate desserts for each meal.

Meals will be served from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and the menu will vary. All are invited and should bring only their appetite.

Donations for the program are being accepted at Loaves and Fishes account, attn: Diane Pollard, Wells Fargo Bank, 50 Harman Park Drive, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. No donations will be taken on site.


Special classes, holiday events at ed center

Whatever your education needs you will likely find them addressed at the Archuleta County Education Center.

Come to the center and take advantage of programs that will help you meet your daily life and career needs.

The center offers English classes for non-English speakers.

If you need to complete your GED or know of someone who needs to start the process of getting their GED, the education center is offering classes weekly. These classes help the student prepare to take the five tests required to obtain a GED certificate.

Wally Lankford, GED coordinator, is available 1:30-3:30 Monday-Thursday 5-8 p.m. and Monday and Wednesday to assist in tutoring or any questions you may have regarding the GED program.

Graduates of the program are rewarded at the end of the school year with a cap and gown graduation ceremony, along with a graduation picture.

If you are interested or would like more information contact us at 264-2835.

Family night tonight

Parent and Child Together Night at the Archuleta County Education Center is scheduled 5:30-7 p.m. today.

Hands-on activities with a focus on "feeding your piggybank" and "helping your community" will be the theme. Frito pies will be served for dinner.

Holiday retreat

The Archuleta County Education Center offers a holiday retreat for kids.

The holiday season is upon us and the shopping has begun. Do you need a safe place for your children to go while you shop?

The education center has the answer.

In the spirit of the holidays the center invites kids in first through sixth grades to participate in a "Kid's Holiday Retreat," 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11.

The day will be filled with crafts and movies. Snacks will be provided, however, students will need to bring a bag lunch. The cost for the day is $5.

To register your children or for more information call the Archuleta County Education Center at 264-2835.


Deadlines for Operation Helping Hand programs approaching

After collaborating with Pagosa Springs Rotary Club to distribute Thanksgiving meals and clothing to more than 130 families at the Extension building Nov. 19, program volunteers are focusing their efforts on Christmas.

That means additional holiday help will soon be on the way for less-fortunate members of the community.

According to Operation Helping Hand organizers, more than 400 people have registered for Christmas season assistance from the program.

Program organizers coordinate the charitable work of area civic clubs, churches, businesses, organizations and individuals. Since 1989 Pagosa Springs' civic organizations and church groups have united to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure as many holiday season needs and wishes as possible are accommodated.

Helping less fortunate

Operation Helping Hand assists our less fortunate neighbors throughout the county during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Some families and individuals seeking help from this program are victims of domestic violence, as well as children of single parents, physically or mentally challenged residents, or senior citizens living on a limited income.

Project Empty Stocking

Volunteers have written over 1,000 requested items on paper stockings at both City Markets, as well as at Wells Fargo and Sears.

These requests range from socks and underwear to snow boots, pants and coats.

To fill one of these requests, remove a stocking from one of the boards, then purchase and wrap your gift, attaching the stocking to your package so the gift will be delivered to the correct individual or family. Stockings must be picked off the board by Dec. 12. The boards will be taken down at all locations the morning of Dec. 12.

Deliver your gift to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill, Kid and Kaboodle on Pagosa Street, Mary Fisher Medical Clinic on South Pagosa Boulevard, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association administrative office or the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center by Tuesday, Dec. 14. Please help us fill our neighbors' empty stockings.

Monetary donations are needed to fill requests not taken off the board. 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.

Secret Santa Tree

This program seeks to provide at least one new toy to each child in need this holiday season.

There is a special Christmas tree in the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center with ornaments for each child registered with Operation Helping Hand. There are also toy requests posted on boards at both City Market locations, and at Sears and Wells Fargo. Take a request from the boards before Dec. 12. The boards will be taken down the morning of Dec. 12.

There are a variety of requests for toys in all price ranges. Requests include dolls, Barbies, dishes, cars, Tonka trucks, cassettes and CD players.

Last year over 150 children asked Santa for toys. You can be a Secret Santa by choosing an ornament from one of the above mentioned locations and deliver your newly purchased, wrapped toy to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill, Kid and Kaboodle on Pagosa Street, Mary Fisher Medical Clinic on South Pagosa Boulevard; Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association administrative office or the recreation center by Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Toy outreach

This branch of Operation Helping Hand provides an opportunity for children to get involved in the program. Parents may help their children select a toy or toys for donation they no longer use, but which are still in good condition. Used bikes, Nintendos, stereos and CD players are especially high on the wish lists of many young people. Volunteers are assisting with this portion of the Operation Helping Hand program by collecting and cleaning items.

Donations should be brought to the sites listed earlier by Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Kiwanis Club and The Key Club - something old, something new

The Kiwanis Club and The Key Club of Pagosa Springs assist with this portion of Operation Helping Hand by sorting items, and assisting program recipients with locating items they need.

Organizers receive numerous requests for used furniture, bunk beds, blankets, pots and pans, dishes, silverware and electric blankets. These items can be "used, but still usable."

Deliver your donations to the same sites listed above by Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Bucks for Bikes

Each year, the Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors raises donations to purchase new bikes for children through their Bucks for Bikes program.

Eligible children must qualify through the Helping Hands program. Last year the community raised enough money to purchase 53 new bikes for children between the ages of 5 and 16. This year the goal is to raise $4,000 for this project.

Businesses and individuals are invited to contribute to the program before December 8. Donations can be mailed to Brent and JaNae Christians at: Bucks for Bikes, c/o Galles Properties, PO Box 4867, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or drop your donation off at Galles Properties in the Country Center next to Radio Shack. Make checks payable to "Bucks for Bikes." Contact Brent or JaNae Christians at 731-6250 for more information.

Snowflake program

Volunteers at Community United Methodist Church are participating by assisting families with their holiday needs in cooperation with Operation Helping Hand.

Christmas Food Boxes

Food donations are always needed for Christmas dinners.

It is the goal of Operation Helping Hand volunteers to provide the ingredients for a holiday dinner to those who otherwise would go without this holiday season. Nonperishable items may be placed in containers which will be located at both City Market locations by Tuesday, Dec. 14.

You can also help by purchasing a City Market gift certificate and bringing it to the Pagosa Springs SUN or mailing it to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. These certificates will be used to purchase turkeys and other perishable items.

Questions about Operation Helping Hand should be directed to the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.

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.



The real benefits sports offer young participants

By Myles Gabel

Sun Columnist

People ask me all the time about their child's ability to play youth sports in Pagosa Springs.

The questions always seem to surround the idea of one's child against another. The "what ifs" of participating in youth sports will always be part of our culture.

Instead of worrying about the wins, losses, scores, mistakes and triumphs of youth sports, try to understand the real benefits that youth sports has for your child.

The following text is from the American Sports Education Program and gives us an opportunity to view the real benefits of participation in Youth Sports.

"It has been estimated that 22 million children and youth, ages 6 to 18, are involved in organized sports outside of school (Poinsett, 1996). Research indicates that participation in sports can promote healthy development. The American Sport Education Program has examined how sports enhance aspects of children's social development. Specifically, studies now conclude that youth sports contribute to the development of social competence and self-esteem.

"According to the American Sport Education Program (1994), sports participation:

- builds an appreciation of personal health and fitness;

- develops a positive self-image;

- teaches how to work as part of a team;

- develops social skills with other children and adults (such as taking turns and sharing playing time);

- teaches both how to manage success and disappointment; and,

- teaches how to respect others."

American Sport Education Program, (1994). SportParent. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc. Poinsett, Alex. (1996). "The role of sports in youth development (1998, May 13)."

Hoop Shoot contest

The Elk's Hoop Shoot Basketball Free Throw Contest is a nationwide contest for boys and girls ages 8-13 and free to all participants!

Hoop Shoot T-Shirts will be given to all participants in this weekend's competition. The schedule is:

Saturday, Dec. 11 in the Pagosa Springs Junior High School Gymnasium at 9 a.m. for age groups 8-9 (age 7 is OK, if you are 8 before April 1, 2005); 10-11 and 12-13 (too old to participate if you turn 14 before April 1, 2005)

Winners of the Pagosa Springs age group competition will compete with winners from the Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio Hoop Shoot at Escalante Middle School in Durango on Saturday, Jan. 8. Winners then advance to the Western Colorado District contest to be held Jan. 22 in Hotchkiss.

Youth basketball

If you are still interested in signing up your child for the 9-10 or 11-12 youth basketball leagues please come to Town Hall and place your child on the waiting list as soon as possible. We will make every attempt to place your child on a team.

Open volleyball

In an effort to continue to offer adult volleyball to the Pagosa Springs community, the department will offer open adult volleyball 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays. When we accumulate enough participants for a league, one will be formed. Please continue to contact friends and neighbors and sign up now for this exciting sports league.

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.

Girls' softball

If you are interested in becoming a part of the future of girls' softball in Pagosa Springs, please contact Maddie Baserra at 264-6835. A group is interested in developing girls' softball in the Pagosa Springs area and are looking for others interested in this goal.

Have questions, concerns or need additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs?

If so, contact me at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Local Chatter

 Local music productions showcase artistic talents

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

The community choir concert was excellent. People come and go in Pagosa Springs and praise the talent they find here. And this is another example.

Larry Elginer, one of the directors of the concert, opened the evening's performance saying this: He came to Pagosa from Southern California where he had been a band and choral director. When he got here he "was surprised and pleased to find the tremendous pool of artistic talent in vocalists, instrumentalists, theater and also in the fine arts including wood works."

He adds, "I salute the great service that the Community Concert Choir, the Music Boosters, the Pretenders and the Whistle Pig Concert," offer.

And along with reporting this praise, we can talk about the first Madrigal Dinner that the Pagosa Music Boosters are putting on. The Madrigal Dinner is a traditional yuletide festivity that "goes back to the days when kings and queens and their courts would host a grand holiday feast in the Great Hall of the Palace.

There will be a wonderful food and traditional pomp and ceremony that goes with such an event. Check Kate's Calendar for more information.

Benefit for Dan

Dan Appenzeller is a well-known musician in Pagosa Springs and one of the founders of the Four Corners Folk Festival. His terrible bout with cancer this past year has been a great concern for those who know him or know about him. He was insured, but his family now faces financial hardship due to prescriptions and treatments and loss of work.

Recently, Western artist Wayne Justus surprised the Appenzellers by offering one of his original oil paintings for sale to defray expenses.

The painting is of El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living museum located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

This painting is available at Taminah Gallery in downtown Pagosa.

Wayne Justus is a renowned Western artist. This original oil on canvas is 34-by-24 inches and is valued at $6,500. One could buy it and enjoy it or one could buy it and donate it back (for another sale) and get a tax deduction.

Thin ice

A couple weeks ago a black labrador retriever fell through the ice on Village Lake - near the sixth tee box. The Pagosa Fire Protection District had just received - the day before - an inflatable raft - called a rescue boat - and used it to retrieve the dog. Lt. Mike Valdez from the fire district and sheriff's deputy Richard Robinson did the rescuing.

These safety measures are important to pass on. The ice is only one-half to three-fourths of an inch thick. It won't support dogs, and of course not people. Dogs that run loose, chase geese, go on the ice and then fall in. Search and rescue, a nonprofit volunteer organization, is generally responsible for the rescue, even in summer when boats tip over and people fall out. So watch the ice and watch your dog.


This is more about "Loaves and Fishes," the free soup kitchen that will open Thursday, Jan. 6, at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street.

To make a money contribution, send a check to Wells Fargo Bank, the Loaves and Fishes account, attn: Diane Pollard.

To make a food donation or to volunteer, call Joanne Irons at 731-4289. If you have any other questions, please call me at 264-2529.

Fun on the run

A patient complained to his doctor, "I've been to three other doctors and none of them agreed with your diagnosis."

The doctor calmly replied, "Just wait until the autopsy, then you'll see that I was right."


Senior News

Holiday party will be Dec. 10

Once again, Glenn Raby had a big crowd for his presentation, "Exploring the Southwest."

He is a wonderful speaker and we're hoping he will come back again in the spring to share more exciting information.

Bonnie from Slices of Nature was here last week and had a good crowd for "Gift Wrapping on a Budget." She gave us good ideas about wrapping presents, and has donated a number of items to give to our seniors. Thank you, Bonnie.

It's already time to start celebrating the holidays. We will have our holiday party Dec. 10, starting at 11 a.m. with your senior board providing cheese and crackers and other snacks for us to enjoy. We will also be decorating our tree.

We have a small gift for everyone who attends and you may bring a gift for an exchange if you like.

If you'd like to participate, mark on the gift whether it's for a man, woman or unisex and please don't spend more than $10 on your gift.

Of course, we will also have music to create a beautiful holiday mood. Come join us.

On that same day, Patty Tillerson will be here at 11 a.m. to check blood pressures, and at 1 p.m. the senior board will meet. Members are welcome to attend.

Did you know?

Almost half of the financial losses reported to AARP Elder Watch in 2003 involved family or caregivers.

Eighty-four percent of all elder abuse goes unreported.

Financial elder abuse can lead to malnutrition, poor mental and physical health, homelessness and even institutionalization. Older consumers are more vulnerable to fraud and scams for a variety of reasons. Some are socially isolated. Many represent a generation raised to believe in trust and honor and predators take advantage of that. Others fear they may outlive their resources and are easy marks for false opportunities to make money.

In addition, many older women relied on their husbands to manage the finances and, therefore, lack financial literacy. This often makes them easy prey after the death of their spouse.

The key to combatting financial elder abuse is education and many front-line service providers including banks provide training to assist staff in serving older consumers and identifying the signs and symptoms of financial exploitation.

AARP ElderWatch's mission statement is to ensure that no older person is left to suffer alone and in silence at the hands of those who exploit them.

For more information about elder abuse, come to our noon presentation Dec 14.

Liz is the assistant director of the Archuleta County Victims' Assistant Program and will be available for questions afterwards.

Musetta will also have a video to view at 1 p.m. regarding identity theft. These are both important topics to understand, so we hope you can attend.

There is even more going on here Dec. 14. Every Tuesday, Penny comes in to give a free massage and healing touch to our seniors 11a.m.-1:30 p.m. She is already quite popular, so come in and enjoy.

The White Cane Society support group will meet 11 a.m. Dec. 15. This is a support group for visually challenged people, so if you know someone who might need advice or support, or you need visual aids, please come and join this group.

For those of you who need some motivation to exercise, come to our Richard Simmons Sweating with the Oldies aerobic class. It has great music and will definitely get you moving. Check with your doctor, wear comfortable clothes, grab a buddy and come exercise with Richard.

We have a special movie for you on 1 p.m. Dec. 17. It's called "Station Agent" and is a comedy-drama of a dwarf who is a train enthusiast and prefers to keep to himself. When he inherits a train station house he finds he keeps meeting with his neighbors, which turns his life upside down!


Fri., Dec. 10 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; blood pressure check, 11; holiday party, noon; senior board meeting, 1 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 13 - Medicare and Medicare drug card counseling, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 14 - Basic computer, 10:30 a.m. massage and healing touch, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; What is Elder Abuse?, noon; identity theft video, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 15 - Exercise video class, 1030 a.m.; White Cane Society support group, 11 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 17 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; free movie, "Station Agent," 1 p.m.


Friday, Dec. 10 -Ham salad sandwich, cream of broccoli soup, lettuce/tomato salad and citrus cup.

Monday, Dec. 13 - Stuffed bell peppers, whole kernel corn, tossed salad, breadsticks and plums.

Tuesday, Dec. 14 - Swedish meatballs with cream gravy, rice/mixed vegetables, whole wheat roll and fruit mix.

Wednesday, Dec. 15 - Oven baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli blend biscuit and strawberry fruit cup.

Friday, Dec. 17 -- Sole Almondine, steamed carrots, Waldorf salad, onion roll, orange wedge and chocolate pudding.


Dec. 31 is deadline to apply for Medicare drug discount credits

If your loved ones are people with Medicare, they are eligible for savings on the cost of prescription drugs through a Medicare-approved drug discount card.

Almost everyone with Medicare is eligible for a Medicare-approved drug discount card that provides savings on the cost of most prescription drugs.

Approximately 1 million people with Medicare are also eligible for up to $1,200 in credits covering the costs of most prescription drugs. If your loved ones' monthly income is less than $1,048 (single) or $1,406 (married), they are probably eligible.

Helping your loved ones take advantage of the credits available through a Medicare-approved drug discount card is simple - just call 1-800-MEDICARE.

If your loved ones have already received a Medicare-approved drug discount card in the mail without applying for it, they have to activate it - or an alternative Medicare-approved card - to receive the benefit.

If your loved ones have not received a card in the mail, call 1-800-MEDICARE to find out if they are eligible and for help in choosing a card.

Customer service representatives at 1-800-MEDICARE can also help you compare cards to find one that can provide the best savings and can help you enroll your loved ones.

Your loved ones must act before Dec. 31 to take full advantage of the Medicare-approved drug discount card credits that might be available to them.

If your loved ones are eligible and act by Dec. 31, they are entitled to up to $1,200 in credits from Medicare that can be used until the end of 2005 - $600 for 2004 and any amount not used in this year carries over to 2005 and $600 for 2005. Call 1-800-MEDICARE to find out if they are eligible and for help in choosing a card.

If your loved ones act after Dec. 31, they might still be eligible for the $600 credit for 2005.

To make sure that everyone who is eligible takes advantage of the available credits, let family, friends, neighbors and community members know they need to act by Dec. 31.


Chamber News

Parade of Lights tomorrow in downtown Pagosa Springs

By Mary Jo Coulihan

SUN Columnist

As I write this column, it is snowing outside.

This past weekend standing-room only was the rule at the Chamber for Christmas in Pagosa, as we were treated to the angelic voices of the Pagosa Springs Community Choir and the Children's Chorale.

We lit the Chamber with voices with the Magical Madrigal cast, the Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus and the Children's Chorale gracing the occasion while lots of little children arrived in all their holiday finery to tell Santa their wishes for Christmas.

It doesn't get any more special than this!

I'm also discovering that, at the beginning of my column, I must take the time to thank people in our community who make things happen for us here at the Chamber and in Pagosa.

First, when you drive down Pagosa Street and look at the brilliantly lighted Chamber building, please realize that this illumination would not have been possible without the hours and days of work put in by our own Doug Trowbridge. He and his son, Nathan, labored and strung and hung thousands of lights. And wasn't it fun when they found a strand that didn't work!

Morna and I got the easy job of working on the inside of the building. If you see Doug, give him a big "what a great job."

In addition, a big thanks goes to the "Cookie Queen," Sally Hovatter, our Chamber board president who baked more than 80 dozen cookies. If she doesn't see a bag of flour in the near future, it will not be too soon.

Also donating brightly sparkled cookies was Kathy Keyes at Pagosa Baking Co.

We had lots of little elves helping to set up lights and turn them on: Mike Alley stringing the tall trees and the Town of Pagosa checking our breakers; Joe Steele, Toby and Renae Karlquist, Don McKeehan and Tony Gilbert all helping to flip the switch.

We had the Archuleta County Fair Royalty turning on lights, serving refreshments and entertaining the children, as well as Jessie Formwalt and her granddaughter, Tristen, serving drinks and cookies.

What would Christmas in Pagosa be if it weren't for Santa and Mrs. Claus? How nice of you to take time out of your very busy schedule to stay for hours and entertain our children.

And logging all the activities was Jeff Laydon with Pagosa Photography. To those who braved the cold and participated in the events, we hope to make it always better and to keep the fun for you.

Parade of Lights

Speaking of fun, the sixth annual Parade of Lights begins 6 p.m. Friday. Starting on 5th Street and going to 2nd Street, cars, trailers, and other modes of transportation will be illuminated and traveling the route.

You need to pick up an entry form at the Chamber. There is no entry fee, however there is the opportunity to win $100 for the Best and Brightest in the categories of Family, Business or Organization.

So grab your hot chocolate, pack up the family and either participate in, or come and watch this charming parade.

More holiday events

"A Magical Madrigal Dinner" - just looking at the costumes in this presentation is worth the price of admission. The attention to detail to make this event as authentic as possible, the costumes, the decorations, the dinner makes this function a must-attend.

The Madrigal Dinner will be presented 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11 in the community center. Tickets are available at The Plaid Pony or by calling 731-5262.

Community singalong

A community singalong will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, at the Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street.

This is a free event and a great time to once again gather the clan and come join in some holiday music. Of course cookies and beverages will be served after the singing.

Early SunDowner

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15, CenturyTel will sponsor the December SunDowner at Montezuma's Restaurant.

Due to the Christmas holiday, this event will not be held the usual fourth Wednesday of the month.

Re-mark your calendars and come and enjoy good food and drink for the usual $5 admission price. SunDowners are open to the public, not just Chamber members.

Caroling, cake walk

You can leave the SunDowner and attend community caroling and a cake walk at 7 p.m. in the community center.

Voices will ring as we celebrate this holiday season. And what better way to get out of baking something for a party you are attending than to win a cake or pie at the cake walk? Local bakers will donate items for us to walk for and win, all the while being entertained by live music.

For more information you can contact Mercy Korsgren at the center at 264-4152.

Ed center offerings

It's a little hard sometimes taking the children along while you shop, especially if you're trying to surprise them with their Christmas gift.

The Archuleta County Education Center has the answer for you. On Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., children from first through sixth-grades can participate in a "Kid's Holiday Retreat."

The day will be filled with crafts, movies and snacks. You will need to provide a bag lunch for your child. The cost of the fun filled day is only $5.

For the adults, the center is offering a First Aid/CPR class, starting 8 a.m. Saturday. It's a good time to update your certification.

For information on either of these programs, contact the center at 264-2835.

Pagosa Perks

Do you have some friends who are difficult to buy for or you can never get the right color or size for?

Well, here at the Chamber we have the answer for a gift: Pagosa Perks.

Coupons in $10 increments can be purchased and given to employees, family or friends and the Perks can be used at any Chamber participating business.

Use these coupons at a participating convenience store for gas, the market for food, get your computer worked on or have some financial work done, have coffee, lunch or dinner at one of our great restaurants, or have the recipient of the Perks treat themselves to a nice gift from one of our great retail stores.

As a Chamber member, you reap the rewards of the sale with a guaranteed payment.

These coupons are great gifts in themselves or as stocking stuffers. The recipient will thank you for your generous gift and for allowing them to spend these coupons at the business and need of their choice.

Please stop by or call us for more information on this and many other great gift ideas from your Chamber of Commerce.

New members

We have five new members this week.

For my first official sign-up of a new member we have Colleen Bond, MA, LMFT joining us. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist providing counseling and consulting to individuals, couples and groups in a compassionate and confidential manner. You may contact her at 264-6467 for information or to schedule an appointment.

Hessman Trades Incorporated (HTI) joins us this week providing professional service from designing and blueprinting to construction and completion of energy efficient custom homes, including structural insulated panels and straw-bale construction. For more information on their construction services contact, call Torry or April Hessman at 731-3373.

Liz Marchand joins us with her new day spa services with All About You Day Spa on Talisman Drive. Liz provides body treatments, facials, massage, nail and skin care and waxing. Let her take care of you and call 731-3391. Remember the holidays.

San Juan Snowcat out of Creede, offers an exciting service to Pagosa visitors and locals. Ed Vita offers backcountry access sightseeing tours to skiing. With experienced guides and lunches provided for their guests, let them take you off the beaten track. Contact them at (719) 658-0430 for an exciting ski adventure.

Last but not least is Mike Marchand with Adventure Real Estate. These professionals specialize in spectacular mountain properties with residential, commercial or vacant land listings. The office is at 190 Talisman Dr., Suite C-1. Give them a call at 731-5120.

Our renewal this week is from the American Legion Post 108. They assist U.S. veterans and their families during and after war. Don't miss Bingo on the first and third Thursdays of the month where the funds go to scholarships and community projects. For more information, call 264-4884.

I leave you this week with lots to do during this holiday season. Make sure you spend time enjoying good food, good fun and good friends. See you around town!


Veteran's Corner

 New national defense act alters

retiree, disability compensation

Andy Fautheree

SUN Comumnist

The FY 2005 Defense Authorization Act just signed by President Bush authorizes full concurrent receipt of retired pay and veteran's disability compensation for some 14,000 retirees with 100 percent VA (noncombat) disability ratings, as of January 2005.

That means they'll be exempted from the 10-year phase-in schedule that will gradually restore full-retired pay for other retirees with non-combat-related disabilities rated at 50 percent or higher.


Unfortunately, about 30,000 retirees being paid at the 100-percent disability rate because the VA rated them as "unemployable" won't be covered by the new change, but will remain under the 10-year phase-in schedule. (Note: the "10-year" description is somewhat misleading, because the phase-in schedule is relatively front-loaded. Retirees with 50 percent and higher disabilities will get 96 percent of their retired pay back within the next three years).

Vet groups fight hard

Veterans groups have fought hard to win equal treatment for all disabled retirees paid at the 100-percent rate, and report receiving many inquiries from understandably upset members in this category, asking how they were excluded from the change.

Apparently the bill originally contained inclusion of the 100 percent unemployable veterans, but was changed at the last minute as a compromise by Congress to win passage.

New ID cards

The VA is proceeding with issuing new VA Health Care ID cards, in an effort to help fight identity theft.

The new identification card will ensure veterans' personal information is protected. The new card will no longer show a Social Security number.

Private information

The card, formally known as the Veterans Identification Card (VIC), will have the veteran's photo on the front and identify him or her as an enrollee in the VA's health care system.

The card includes the words "service connected" under the photo if the veteran has a VA rated service-connected disability (SCD). This will assure SCD veteran can get top priority and does not have to carry around their VA papers for proof.

Veterans should request the new card at the Albuquerque VAMC or nearest location that can provide this service. Processing will take five to seven days once eligibility is verified.

VA hopes to complete the conversion to the new, safer card quickly. The existing cards will remain valid until veterans receive their new cards.


Don't forget to call or stop by my office with your VA health care appointments for the "Share-A-Ride program. Help a fellow veteran who may be going in the same direction to the same VA facility.

Give me a call if you can provide transportation or need transportation. I will keep a calendar of who is going where to coordinate this important program.

Durango VA Clinic

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

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, e-mail The office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.


Library News

Story of Ghost Ranch donated

By Lanora Bright

SUN Comumnist

We are thankful to one of our patrons who donated a copy of "We Called It Ghost Ranch" by Arthur Newton Pack.

Ghost Ranch located down U.S. 84 in New Mexico, has meant many things to many people.

It was originally a Spanish land grant. The colorful region has been a hunting ground for Indians, a gateway to lush beaver trapping territories for the mountain men, a grazing place for the pioneer Spanish-American cattleherds and later for the Anglos, a dude ranch and now the site of a conference center. It sits in one of the most beautiful and intriguing spots in the country.

The book tells the story of the ranch and Mr. Pack's early experiences.

Pack was a well known civic leader, philanthropist and writer. He founded Nature Magazine, and his love of the region is well reflected in this book.

Thoreau's essays, poems

"Thoreau, Collected Essays and Poems," is one of the classics in our Library of America set.

Henry David Thoreau is our greatest nature writer and a political thinker of worldwide impact. "Civil Disobedience," his great exploration of the conflict between individual conscience and state power continues to influence political thinkers and activists. It is well worth re-reading today.

The Library of America Collection is dedicated to preserving our best and most significant writing. We invite you to turn off the TV and renew your acquaintance with our greatest authors.

Air quality control report

The Department of Public Health has issued the latest report that gives our area fairly good marks. Our air quality program is helping to clean up our air. The report may be checked out.

South Beach Diet

The Johns Hopkins "Health After 50," gives the bottom line on this particular diet and the rationale behind the meal plan.

Does it work? Read the article for the answer.

This issue also discusses a new strategy for controlling atrial fibrillation.

"Health After 50" is just one of the excellent health white papers we get every month. Keep up with the latest health trends by reading these timely reports.

EPA fuel economy guide

Each year about this time the government sends the latest publication telling about the new model cars, sport utility vehicles and light trucks. It gives side-by-side vehicle comparisons, and offers fuel-saving tips.

The 2005 guide may be checked out. Read it before buying a new car.

Colorado Outdoors

The November issue has several interesting bird articles.

The "Underwater Songbird," tells of the American Dipper, the unusual little bird that we see walking on the bottom of a stream, diving underwater and doing all of these aquatic trips right here in the middle of winter.

"A Wild Goose Chase" is the story of the state's attempts to find out about the goose breeding populations. It appears that Colorado-bred birds are not migrating to traditional winter areas. They are wintering in their nesting area, or just south, depending on the severity of the winter. Ours are staying near the Colorado-New Mexico border - or on our golf course right here in Pagosa.

Wood rats

Or they are also known as "pack rats."

We've had many requests for information about these varmints this year.

According to the latest information, there is a popular thought that they always leave a replacement for something they take. The experts think that it might be that they just can't carry more than one item at a time and in their excitement over finding treasures, they drop the one they were carrying when tempted once again.

They are especially fond of small, bright, shiny objects. They are primarily nocturnal and vegetarian. They have been known to deliver up to five litters per year with as many as five young per litter. Most rodents are polygamous, and become sexually active after 60 days.

Be ready for another big infestation next year. Plug those holes early.

Building donations

I want to make a correction on donations last week. One of the names should have been "Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Baumgardner."

We are still in need of money to furnish the new addition and buy equipment and we are thankful to the following patrons who are helping our final fund-raising push this week: Lorrie Carpino, Deborah Morton and Steve Hartvigsen, Mark Mueller and Sandy Kobrock, Pam Barsanti, Cristy Holden, Robert and Evelynn Thomas, Jan Fiorucci, Sally Hanson, Jean and John Taylor in memory of Pagosa pioneers Lillie May Carlin, and H. Ray and Genelle Macht.


Arts Line

Award-winning artist's work

donated for sale to aid in medical bills

By Leanne Goebel

SUN Columnist

"El Rancho de las Golandrinas," an original painting by nationally acclaimed, award-winning Western artist Wayne Justus, is 24-by-36 inches in a barnwood frame. The painting, donated by Justus, is available for sale at Taminah Gallery in Pagosa Springs.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to help pay medical bills for Dan Appenzeller, co-director of the Four Corners Folk Festival who has been battling throat cancer for over a year and is under aggressive treatment. Dan is doing well, but his medical bills are astronomical.

The painting will make a lovely holiday gift or housewarming present for some lucky resident or visitor.

Contact Taminah Gallery at 264-4225 for price information or just stop in the gallery at 414 Pagosa St. and see the painting in person. It is hanging above the counter.

Photography club

Linda Lerno, owner of Affordable Framing of Pagosa Springs, will speak at the Dec. 16 meeting of the Pagosa Springs Photography Club.

Linda will demonstrate the fine art of matting and picture-framing techniques. She will also display the most current materials available for laminating archival prints.

The club welcomes new members and persons of all photographic skill levels. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the community center. Any questions please contact Jim Struck, 731-6468.

Gallery walk winners

Several more lucky locals are enjoying the door prizes donated by participating galleries at the Gala Gallery Walk Nov. 19.

Taking home gift certificates from Astara's Boutique were Mary Webb ($30), Marilyn Harris ($20), and Muriel Cronkite ($10). The winner of Lantern Dancer Gallery's $50 gift certificate was Pam Kircher, and Malcolm and Joan Rodger won a framed photograph from Pagosa Photography.

Photographer Jeff Laydon reported a few people did participate in the portrait sitting offered during the evening for a minimal donation to the Pagosa Arts Council, and the photos were very nice. Next year, PSAC hopes to expand the hours of the Gallery Walk so more people can take advantage of this generous opportunity.

Thank you again to everyone who made this event so enjoyable and plan to join in the fun next year.

Artist directory

It's not too late to get listed in the PSAC directory of local artists and craftspeople.

Submit information to Victoria until Dec. 27 at PSAC@ You may contact Victoria at 264-5020 for more information. The listing is free of charge, so don't miss out on this free publicity.

Spirit in Hand Boutique

"Spirit in Hand Holiday Boutique" opened this week at the Durango Arts Center. This special exhibit and show runs through Dec. 24.

A reception for artists is set 5:30 p.m. Friday.

This boutique offers unique, one-of-a-kind gift items such as pottery, paintings, jewelry, cards, photographs, textile work and more, crafted by local and regional artists and artisans.

Contemporary artists

Are you a contemporary artist? Do you want to get together with other contemporary artists for exhibitions, performances, happenings and educational events?

If so, 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.

FLC workshops

Fort Lewis College office of Extended Studies is offering a bevy of classes this winter. Contact the Extended Studies office for more information at 247-7385 or e-mail Below is a short list of cultural offerings:

- "Marketing on the Cheap: How Small Businesses Cut Costs by Writing Their Own Promotions," Jan. 22, and Feb. 12.

- "Grant Writing," Jan. 22.

- "Expressive Writing," Jan. 25-March 15.

- "Fiction Writing," Jan. 25-March 15.

- "Writing Personal Essays," Feb. 7-March 14.

Artist opportunities

Entry forms are available at the Durango Arts Center for the 2005 Four Corners Commission exhibit to be held Jan. 7-Feb. 5. This juried exhibit invites local and regional artists to submit work that exemplifies the diversity of heritage and uniqueness of the Four Corners region.

The juror is Krista Elrick from Santa Fe, an accomplished documentary photographer, who holds a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. in photography. She will select work to be presented in this exhibit as well as choose the award winners. For more information, see her Web site at

Artwork must be dropped off for jury consideration on Tuesday, Jan. 4. Prizes include a $500 Best of Show award plus a postcard reproduction of the winning artwork, a $100 Juror's Choice award, a $75 Merit award, and a $75 People's Choice award, which will be chosen by gallery visitors. Additional awards and exhibit opportunities offered through the Durango Area Tourism Office (DATO).

Entry forms are available in the lobby of the Durango Arts Center or one can be requested by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Four Corners Commission, Durango Arts Center, 802 E. 2nd Ave., Durango, CO 81301.


Through Dec. 24 - Spirit in Hand Holiday Boutique at Durango Arts Center.

Today - John Fielder presentation at Durango Photo Club, Animas Room at La Plata County Fairgrounds.

Friday - Artist reception at Durango Arts Center for Spirit in Hand Holiday Boutique.

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

Dec. 10, 11- The Nutcracker, performed by the David Taylor Dance Theatre at Community Concert Hall in Durango.

Dec. 12 - Community Christmas Singalong at the Community United Methodist Church, 3-4 p.m.

Dec. 15 - Community Christmas Caroling and Cake Walk at the community center, 7-10 p.m.

Dec. 16 - Photography Club meets at community center.

July 24 - Home and Garden Tour.


Food for Thought

It's just canned salmon, so will she call?

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

I was on the prowl, at the hunt in the local market.

I wandered aimlessly, staggered up and down the aisles looking for the odd tidbit I'd not seen before, giving myself time to make more important decisions. I was the Alpha male, out for prey, scanning the storescape for the night's meal, which I would (figuratively) kill and take home to the gatherer waiting in the cave.

I looked up at a sign above the end of an aisle; it told me what I could expect to find in the cases, on the shelves. The final item listed on the sign was "Frozen Mexican." I wondered why anyone would want an entire frozen Mexican. I'd need a large chest freezer in the garage if I wanted to keep a whole frozen Mexican at the house, otherwise he would thaw and spoil before I could use him. I wondered if they sold quarters, or primals. Those, I could handle.

Hey, there's a "kosher" section with a box of cheesy shabbat candles on the shelf! Oooh, look, gefilte fish all gray and gooey in a glass jar. Everyone's favorite! Just down the way is the Asian section, loaded with brightly colored boxes of American, imitation Thai taste treats. And there's a bevy of semi-Chinese condiments. Hands across the sea. You can tolerate almost anything if there's enough sugar in it.

I looked in vain for the French aisle. There was no section with Scandinavian foods (of course, the debate rages as to whether there is a Scandinavian cuisine worth noting) and there was not a package of smoky Hungarian paprika or a slab of headcheese to be found anywhere.

I like to wander the store for another reason: Most of my productive social contact takes place there. I see many friends and acquaintances at the store; it is the perfect place to meet and chat. And, since there is a task at hand, the chat is necessarily and mercifully brief. Just the way I like it. If I want to get deep with someone, I'll ask him or her over for dinner. Since I haven't done that in over a year, well

I cruised past the "fresh" fish case. It had been a while since any of the goods there were in the water, so I passed it by. I was put in mind of a story about Thomas Keller, one of the world's great chefs. At his restaurant in Yountville, California, Keller receives fish not an hour out of the ocean and insists they be kept in ice in their natural, swimming positions. Don't think we'll see that anytime soon hereabouts.

The idea of fish stayed with me as I rushed past the pork loins (injected with all manner of industrial goodies), hurried by the beef (this one's got hormones, that one doesn't). The package of hormone-free beef was emblazoned with the image of a smiling, happy, healthy looking, middle-age woman. I tried to make the connection.

I steered to the produce section and picked up a couple batches of organic spinach and a head of garlic. I flopped a wad of what they call "spring mix" in a bag. That's PLU 4825 for those of you addicted, like me, to the self-check express stand experience. When you scan your own groceries a computer talks to you, tells you what to do, gives you orders and a plan that must be followed. It's an ideal situation for a masochist: The computer's voice is somewhat female, like a strict first-grade teacher with a personality disorder who gives you a gold star if you do everything she asks. If you fail to do the computer's bidding, it loudly reprimands you and makes you wait at your station to be ridiculed by a real, live store employee.

I tossed a net bag full of cherry tomatoes in my basket and hustled off to the canned foods aisle, fish still on my mind.

I decided to do something odd. Buy canned fish.

First up were cans of tuna. No thanks. I can think of all sorts of things to do with some imported Italian tuna, packed in olive oil. None of that at our store.

There were some cans of "Jack Mackerel." I had no idea who Jack is but the notion of mackerel spun me into a short but intense reverie, complete with the memory of smells: thoughts of saba, Japanese mackerel, the plump boogers split in half and grilled, served with grated daikon, shoyu and thinly sliced serrano pepper. I'm not finding that in a can. I moved on.

So, it was down to salmon.

That's not a bad option, believe it or not. Salmon patties. I've made them with "fresh" salmon. I've made them with smoked salmon. I'll go out on a limb and make a brash statement: They're darned good made with canned salmon.

And good for you, too.

I was reading a men's health magazine at the recreation center the other day as I rode a recumbent bike. My only other option was to stare at the enormous rear end on a guy laboring on a stair climber a few feet in front of me.

I had finished an article titled "Make her crazy! She'll call YOU the next day" and I turned the page to a short piece about how to get more fish oil and prized antioxidants into your diet. No more heart attacks, squeaky clean arteries, blissful thoughts, a stress-free life absent free radicals, etc, etc. The author swore by canned salmon and the upshot of the article was, if you boost your Omega 3 fatty acid intake, she will call YOU the next morning.

Sounded good to me. I took a large can of sockeye salmon from the shelf, the most expensive of the lot. I careened back to the produce section and snagged a couple lemons. I was ready to rock.

By the time I got home, I had the dinner figured out: salmon patties with a yogurt/tarragon sauce; sauteed spinach with garlic; greens and cherry tomatoes with a lemon and olive oil dressing - made with a super-expensive extra-virgin Italian oil I purchased because it came pretentiously packaged in gold foil. I savored the irony: high-grade olive oil turned to plebe purposes in a simple dressing - low-end canned fish spruced up as the main attraction.

First, the salmon. I took the salmon from the can, draining all but a bit of liquid off and throwing away the large bones and the skin. I can hear some goofball reacting to this move: "Those bones are full of calcium, and they actually add an interesting crunch to the food. Leave them in."

Put yourself in a sack and jump in the river.

The bones are repulsive. If I need crunch, I'll eat tortilla chips. If I want calcium, I'll triple my cheese ration. The bones and the icky skin went to the garbage disposal.

I finely diced some shallot and diced and mushed a clove of garlic and into the salmon it all went, along with some minced parsley, a bit of dried tarragon, salt, pepper, a bunch of bread crumbs and one beaten egg. I formed the meat into patties and let them sit, to amalgamate flavors.

I finely diced a couple more shallots and wreaked havoc on another clove of garlic then gently sauteed the aromatics in olive oil in a saucier over medium high heat, until soft. Then I added a half-cup of chicken broth and began to reduce the broth.

I washed and drained the spinach. Twice. I rough chopped the spinach then squeezed it to remove as much moisture as possible. I peeled and thinly sliced three large cloves of garlic.

I washed and drained the spring mix, rinsed off a gaggle of cherry tomatoes and plopped them in with the greens. I juiced half a lemon and mixed it with twice the amount of that fancy-schmantzy olive oil. To that I added salt and pepper and - what the heck, I knew it would overwhelm the flavor of the oil, but, so what - a wad of coarse French mustard. Some salt and pepper and the dressing was ready to emulsify with a small whisk. I composed salads in shallow bowls: the greens, the tomatoes, some oil-cured olives, a couple slices of leftover roasted beet, some crumbled feta. The salads were good to go.

I heated some olive oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium high heat. I took each salmon patty, dredged it in egg wash and coated it with panko breadcrumbs. I sauteed the patties until golden brown on each side then popped them in a shallow baking pan and put them in a 350 oven.

More olive oil was heated in another nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and into the oil went the spinach. As the greens wilted, I added a bit of salt, a touch of lemon juice, a whole lot of fresh-ground black pepper , a teensy bit of grated nutmeg and the garlic, stirring to make sure the garlic didn't brown. At the last moment a knob of butter.

At the same time, I noticed the chicken broth had reduced to a thick liquid studded with the shallots and garlic. I took a large amount of organic sour cream and tossed it in the pan, turning down the heat. I added a major amount of dried tarragon, salt, pepper, some of that French mustard, a touch of lemon juice. When the concoction was hot, in went a glob of butter.

Bingo, everything came together at the same time: Out of the oven came the salmon and each patty got a heroic dollop of the sauce. The spinach was perfect. After a couple turns with the whisk the dressing was spooned atop the salads.

The Alpha male grunted, summoning the gatherer to the table.

She ate.

She liked.

A lot.

But, she didn't call me in the morning.

After all, it was just canned salmon.


Education News


plans Dec. 16 program,

now enrolling for next year

By Crista Munro

Special to The SUN

School-Within-A-School (SWS) is an innovative educational program for first through sixth graders. The program is a part of the public school system and is free to all first-sixth grade students, with the only requirement being that a parent or mentor of each student volunteers a set number of hours each month.

The three SWS classrooms are all multi-age, beginning at Pagosa Springs Elementary School with a first/second and a third/fourth, then moving to Pagosa Springs Intermediate School for fifth/sixth.

A sense of community is developed in School-Within-A-School through parental involvement, community service, and multi-age classes, which build relationships over the years. Creativity and individuality are encouraged by involving students and parents in the curriculum, while meeting all educational standards.

Because of the individualized nature of the SWS classroom, the program can accommodate students of a wide range of ability levels.

The three SWS classrooms together have adopted a Hopi community in Second Mesa, Ariz., for the holiday season. The Pagosa students will learn about the Hopi culture and traditions as they collect gently used toys and gifts to send to boys and girls who might otherwise be without.

Then all three classes will join forces to present a creative holiday program 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 in the high school auditorium. Refreshments will be served in the lobby following the show, which is open to the community.

The SWS program is currently enrolling students for the 2005-2006 school year. If you are interested in learning more about the program, you are encouraged to call the teacher for your child's grade next year and schedule a time to visit the classroom. Class sizes are limited, so don't wait.

The first/second teacher is Debbie Reynolds, 264-2229, Ext. 38. Morgan Anderson, the third/fourth teacher, can be reached at 264-2229. In the intermediate school, fifth/sixth teacher Heather Hunts' number is 264-2256, Ext. 450.


Extension Viewpoints


Christmas tree selection and care

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Friday, Dec. 10 - Colorado Kids meeting, 2 p.m.; Beef Project meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 13 - Pagosa Peaks meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 14 - Junior Stockman meeting in Chromo, 6:30 p.m.

Check out the new Archuleta County Cooperative Extension Office Web site at www.coopext.

Live Christmas trees have been brought into homes and decorated during the holiday season for more than 500 years.

Each year, more than 33 million live Christmas trees are used in households across the United States.

Live Christmas trees have an attractiveness, fragrance and tradition that cannot be matched with artificial substitutes.

Christmas trees are grown throughout the United States and Canada, and you can choose your tree from a wide variety of species. It takes five to 12 years to grow a Christmas tree, and for each tree harvested, two or three seedlings will be planted.

You can select your live Christmas tree from a local retail lot, where there can be a variety of trees from the United States and Canada. Or you can visit a local choose-n-cut Christmas tree farm to cut a fresh tree from the field where it was grown.

Selecting your tree

Keep these points in mind when choosing a specific tree:

- Check the height of the ceiling in the room where you will display your tree. Select a tree that is at least one foot shorter than the ceiling height.

- Run your fingers over the branch along the needles. Needles should be pliable and adhere to the branches. They should bend, but not break or fall off.

- Shake or bounce the tree to be sure that the needles are firmly attached. If the tree is fresh, few needles should fall off. Some loss of needles inside the tree is common.

- Avoid trees that have a wilted look.

- Make sure the handle of the tree is straight. The handle must be six to eight inches long to allow placement in the tree stand.

- Check for insects and dead needles inside the tree crown. Have dead needles shaken or blown out when you buy the tree.

In-home tree care

If you don't plan to put the tree up right away, cut one inch off of the base, put the tree in a bucket of water and stand it in a shady place.

When you bring the tree indoors, cut 1/2 to one inch off of the base of the trunk and place in a tree stand that holds at least one gallon of water.

Do not place the tree near a fireplace, heater vents or other heat sources.

Always keep the tree well-supplied with water. Check the water level in the stand several times each day. Trees may use several quarts of water a day.

Never let the water level fall below the base of the tree. If this occurs, the cut end can seal over, preventing further water uptake. The tree must then be taken down and a fresh cut made to allow water uptake.

Adding aspirin, soda water, bleach or sugar to the water in the tree stand is no more effective in keeping the tree fresh than adding plain water each day.

Fireproofing your tree

The best way to keep a tree fresh and fire resistant is to keep it supplied with water at all times. A fresh tree supplied with water presents little fire hazard. As long as the tree takes up water, it will be relatively fire resistant.

Do not allow the water level in the tree stand to fall below the base of the tree.

Use only UL-approved lights and nonflammable decorations.

Never leave home or go to bed with the Christmas tree lights on.

Pagosa Lakes News

Community comes to rescue of Pagosa star


By Ming Steen

Sun Columnist

Last week's paper carried Richard Walter's article about the vandalism to the star on Reservoir Hill.

It struck a chord with community members who are infuriated with the senseless actions of the vandals. It also created sympathy for the sorority sisters who have had to bear the direct pain of seeing their work destroyed.

At the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club's regular board meeting, a decision was made for the club to get the star and the cross (on the northeast end of town) lighted up for this season. Gene Crabtree, on behalf of the Rotary Club, a town maintenance crew and La Plata Electric employees carried out the repairs and thanks to them we can continue to enjoy this community Christmas tradition.

It's that time of the year again. Membership to the recreation center and lake-use permits will be available starting Dec. 15. Come by or call 7331-2051 for more information.

There will be a Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board meeting at 7 p.m. today in the Pagosa Lakes clubhouse. The following agenda was approved by PLPOA:

- call to order;

- approval of agenda;

- approval of minutes of Nov. 11 board meeting;

- general manager's report;

- public comments;

- treasurer's report; written copies to be distributed;

- committee reports (no meetings since last board meeting;

- Old business:

Bill Ralston of the Road Advisory Committee is reviewing the list of potential committee members. As was mentioned last month, Mr. Ralston's wife is having surgery in January which will delay the start of the committee until some time in February.

- Recurring business:

Continued discussion of "Property owners involvement and input initiative".

- New business:

A. Appointment of new committee members;

B. 2005 association budget presented for adoption in accordance with bylaws;

C. Affirmation of eight DCC unprotested fines. Notice of violations and hearing are attached for review.


John C. Archuleta


John Charles Archuleta was born Aug. 21, 32 years ago.

He was welcomed by dad and mom, James and Charlotte Archuleta, and joined six siblings: Eddie Archuleta, Martha Valdez, Madeline Villarreal, the late Dennis Archuleta, Sally Alling and Charlene Sangster.

John graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1991.

During the course of his lifetime, some of the things John loved were fishing and camping, music, and watching the Denver Broncos play. Above all, John loved his nieces and nephews and took great pride in each of them.

After a long battle with epilepsy, John left Nov. 29 to be with the Lord.

John, we love you. We are sad to see you go. Our maker is calling you.

Farewell for now, John. We'll be seeing you again soon.

Business News


Steven Sewell is program director for N.O.R.A.

N.O.R.A. is planning an event to mark the grand opening of its center, 3 p.m. Dec. 19 in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

The N.O.R.A. center for alcohol and drug addiction is located in downtown Pagosa Springs, 422 Pagosa St., Suite 13. The nonprofit organization provides a 10-day regimen of intravenous amino acids as treatment for addiction. Sewell said thousands have completed the treatment with no withdrawal or side effects. Five years after treatment, he said, 85 percent of recipients remain clean and sober.

All treatment is outpatient and Sewell said this is just the third establishment in the country to offer the treatment. Included is a physical by an M.D., administration of the amino acids by a registered nurse, individual counseling as needed, two sessions of group counseling, a support group and oral supplements for six months.

For more information call Sewell at 264-4816 or online at



Cards of Thanks


In good hands

On the morning of Dec. 1, we had an emergency situation at our home in Vista.

Our electric range began shooting out sparks from the oven and began to catch on fire.

Thanks to the quick action and response of the Pagosa 911 dispatcher, animal control officer Brian (who was first on the scene), a sheriff's department officer and the very quick response of the fire department, we sustained only damage to the kitchen range and no damage to our home.

We feel very fortunate to live where we have such dedicated, courteous and competent emergency officials who respond so quickly in times of emergency.

Thanks to all who had any part in saving our home. It sure feels good to know we are in the good hands of some wonderful, responsible people.

John and Kathryn Gallagher

and Tina Bryan

Movie thrill

We would like to extend a great big thank you to Mike and Lisa Kraetsch at the Liberty Theatre for a wonderful "Polar Express" experience. The kids had a wonderful time as did the adults present. We would also like to thank Mr. Claus for his surprise visit at the end of the show. It was an unforgettable experience.

The students and staff at Our Savior Lutheran Preschool and School

Seeds salutes

Seeds of Learning would like to thank Kid and Kaboodle for donating 10 percent of its sales on Friday, Dec. 3. Thank you for contributing to our new facility.

Seeds would also like to thank Liberty Theatre for showing a special "Polar Express" matinee for the Seeds of Learning families and staff. It was wonderful.




Michael Voorhis, a 2004 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, is an Eagle Scout. Voorhis received the highest rank in scouting after completing his Eagle Community Service Project - making and installing trail signs in the East Fork area. Voorhis is the son of Steve and Barbie Voorhis. He is attending college in Arizona.


Sports Page

Schutz brothers net 40; Pirates take Buena Vista crown

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

He's Schutz ... he scores.

It was the unofficial slogan for Saturday night's 70-48 Pirate win over top-10 host Buena Vista in the Buena Vista Invitational Tournament finale.

It applied to Pirate juniors Craig and Casey Schutz, who together registered 40 points while leading Pagosa to the tournament crown.

Behind 23 points from Craig Schutz and 17 from Casey Schutz, the young Pirate squad effectively passed its first major test of the season in impressive fashion.

In addition to displaying a great deal of poise and balance throughout the contest, the Pirates accomplished their feat despite centerpiece Caleb Forrest playing just five minutes in the first half.

As a result, pundits who had the Pirates ranked at or near the top of the Class 3A standings when the season's first polls were released last week will be unlikely to reconsider.

In a game that saw the Demons lead just once, Forrest controlled the opening tip and Casey Schutz soon hit Craig Schutz on the left baseline for a 2-0 advantage.

Buena Vista's Jeremiah Welch responded with a deuce, Craig Schutz drained a trey, and the Demons' Nate Solder pumped in four straight to give the home team its only edge of the night at 6-5 with just under two minutes gone in the opening quarter.

Forrest put Pagosa up for good with two in the paint after a brief scoring lull, but had to sit for the remainder of the half after being whistled for his second foul at 3:29.

The Pirate lead would not wane, however, and eventually grew after sophomore Kerry Joe Hilsabeck fed Casey Schutz for two, Welch netted a trey for the Demons and Craig Schutz hit one of two from the line to give Pagosa an 11-9 lead at 1:28.

Then Pirate sophomore Jordan Shaffer added a late trey on an assist from Hilsabeck, and the first frame ended with Pagosa up 14-9.

The Pirates tightened the defensive reigns in the second stanza, and an early Demon turnover enabled Shaffer to feed Craig Schutz for an inside deuce and seven-point lead.

Solder added two for the Demons, but Pirate senior Otis Rand countered with four straight on a pair of strong drives to the rim and a break-away layin from Casey Schutz gave Pagosa a 22-11 lead with 4:17 left in the half.

The Demons narrowed the gap to 22-16 with two minutes to play, but would not score again in the frame and a late jumper from Casey Schutz had Pagosa up 24-16 at the break.

Forrest returned to open the third quarter, and following an early trey from Craig Schutz, was fouled behind the arc and buried three charity tosses to boost the Pirate advantage to 30-16.

Welch banked home a trey to break the ice for Buena Vista, but Forrest and Craig Schutz combined for Pagosa's next six with assistance from Paul Przybylski and the Pirates led 36-19 with five minutes left in the third.

Both teams lit up the scoreboard in the next two minutes as Solder got two inside, Forrest hit one of two at the line, Jon Woolmington hit a jumper for the Demons and Shaffer hit Rand in the key to make it 39-24 Pirates at 3:25.

Welch cashed in on a trey, Forrest and the Demons' Vance Ray traded two apiece at the stripe, Solder converted on the block and Forrest tallied a late put-back to keep the margin in double figures at 43-32.

Then Przybylski tracked down a Demon misfire with eight seconds left and lobbed downcourt to Casey Schutz, who pulled up just outside the three-point arc and drained a buzzer-beating trey that pushed the Pirate lead to 46-32 after three.

The scoring pace remained steady at the onset of the fourth quarter as Casey Schutz got a deuce, Woolmington hit a trey for the Demons, Craig Schutz matched it and Solder got two at the line to keep Buena Vista in range at 51-37.

Woolmington answered a Casey Schutz jumper with a trey, Forrest and Buena Vista's Adam Blake traded lone free throws and Craig Schutz completed a three-point play after Rand kept an offensive board alive following a missed Pirate charity toss.

Pagosa led 57-41 at 3:40 when Przybylski spotted Craig Schutz on the break for two, Solder countered with a deuce and Casey Schutz hit one of two free throws after drawing a charge, then sank a pair at the line to put the Pirates in front 62-43 with 2:16 to play.

Then Craig Schutz added a board and free throw after a Demon miss, Buena Vista's Caleb Graff hit a runner and Shaffer dropped in a layup on the break for a 65-46 lead at 1:12.

As the home crowd filed out, Hilsabeck and Shaffer added a free throw apiece, the Demons' Matt Wolford recorded Buena Vista's last basket and Shaffer scored the game's final points on a drive as Pagosa improved to 2-0 with the 70-48 win.

The combined 40 points posted by Craig and Casey Schutz was tops for Pagosa, while Forrest contributed 15 to Pagosa's winning total and snared 11 boards. Shaffer added eight points and Rand tallied six.

Przybylski led in assists with seven, followed by Hilsabeck and Rand with three apiece.

"This was a fantastic way to begin the year," said Pirate head coach Jim Shaffer after the win. "I think everything our kids knew they had to do to be successful tonight, they did."

The Pirate defense, as it had been the night before in an 83-41 win over The Classical Academy, was again a major factor in the victory, said Shaffer.

"For us, everything starts at the defensive end. I thought we did a good job of contesting shots and then getting a lot of opportunities in transition," said Shaffer.

"They got a few threes in the second half," he added, "but overall I thought we had great effort tonight defensively. It was huge holding them to 16 points in the first half and extending the lead with Caleb (Forrest) on the bench.

"And I thought we did a heck of a job on the boards tonight against a team that is taller than us at just about every position."

Overall, "I think the beautiful thing is how well we're playing together as a team," said Shaffer.

Black and gold fans will have the chance to see the Pirates in action on three occasions this weekend; next up for Pagosa is the home opener against Gunnison in the first round of the Wolf Creek Classic Tournament. Game time tomorrow is 8:15 p.m.

Saturday's schedule pits the Pirates against Battle Mountain at 1:30 p.m., and Pagosa returns to the court to face powerhouse Aztec, N.M. in the tournament finale Saturday at 8:30 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 3-11, 9-11, 15; Craig Schutz 9-16, 2-5, 23; Casey Schutz 6-10, 3-4, 17; Hilsabeck 0-1, 1-2, 1; Przybylski 0-0, 0-1, 0; Shaffer 3-8, 1-4, 8; Rand 3-4, 0-1, 6; Ormonde 0-0, 0-0, 0; Hart 0-0, 0-0, 0. Three-point goals: Shaffer 1, Casey Schutz 2, Craig Schutz 3. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 21. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 30. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 12.


Point guards push Pirates to 83-41 win

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

'Tis the holiday season, and far better to give than to receive.

Just ask Pirate point guards Paul Przybylski and Kerry Joe Hilsabeck.

In Friday night's season opener against The Classical Academy Titans in the Buena Vista Invitational Tournament, Przybylski and Hilsabeck combined for 21 assists and just four turnovers.

The result was an 83-41 Pagosa win that kept statisticians scrambling to keep pace as the backcourt duo's generosity enabled four Pirates to put double digits in the scoring column.

Benefitting most often from the assistance was Pirate senior Caleb Forrest, who finished with a game-high 26 points while shooting 10-16 from the field and 5-5 from the line.

Also frequently on the receiving end were Pirate juniors Casey and Craig Schutz, who tallied 18 and 13 points, respectively.

The Titans struck the first scoring blow, however, taking a 2-0 lead 30 seconds into competition on two free throws from Matt Swiontek.

But the lead soon evaporated as a lone charity toss from Craig Schutz and a pair from Forrest gave Pagosa a 3-2 edge and permanent lead less than a minute later.

Then Hilsabeck stole a Titan pass and lobbed downcourt to Forrest for a two-handed flush, Pirate sophomore Jordan Shaffer hit a deep jumper and Forrest followed with a trey to put Pagosa in front 10-2 at 3:30.

Academy's Jason Privett countered with a deuce, then Craig Schutz scored on a back-door cut and Shaffer hit a pull-up jumper in the lane to stretch the lead to 14-4.

The Titans added three from the line before quarter's end, but Forrest sank a 12-footer then converted an inside feed from Casey Schutz and Pagosa led 18-7 after one.

The Pirates upped the tempo at both ends early in the second stanza, and the margin grew to 25-7 via a three-point play by Forrest, a break-away layin from Casey Schutz and a Hilsabeck-to-Forrest deuce at 6:02.

The onslaught continued after a Titan time-out as Forrest and Casey Schutz combined for the next Pirate eight before Daniel Sohm ended the Titan drought with a deuce to make it 33-9 at 2:50.

Casey Schutz and Academy's Kendall Franks traded layins, then Craig Schutz put back an offensive board to put Pagosa up 37-11 with 50 seconds to play.

The Titans would not score again in the half, and the horn sounded with the Pirates in front by 30 after Hilsabeck hit Shaffer for two on the break and Craig Schutz went coast to coast to make it 41-11.

Craig Schutz netted four points after assists from Przybylski and Pirate senior Otis Rand to offset baskets by Franks and Academy's Ryan Sikich early in the third, and Pagosa held a 47-15 advantage at 5:32.

Casey Schutz drained an 18-footer and Academy's Vince Mazzarella countered with a trey, then Forrest converted a lead pass from Przybylski, sank two from the line and jammed home an assist from Hilsabeck for six straight to make it 55-18 at 2:55.

Hilsabeck hit Shaffer at the top of the arc for three, Swiontek matched it for the Titans, then Casey and Craig Schutz alternated for the next six as the Pirates widened the gap to 64-21.

Academy's Daniel Mesward added a late basket for the Titans, but Craig Schutz tallied the final deuce of the period and the Pirates owned a 66-23 lead heading into the final quarter.

Przybylski found Pirate sophomore Caleb Ormonde inside for a deuce to open the fourth, then sank a pair at the stripe and soon retired for the evening having committed zero turnovers.

The Titans kept pace with the Pirates throughout the remainder of the quarter, but never cut the advantage to below 36.

Ormonde scored one at the line and two on an assist from Casey Hart, James Martinez hit A.J. Abeyta for two, Shaffer sank a baseline jumper and Hilsabeck canned a trey as the Pirates maintained an 80-39 lead with 1:45 remaining.

Hart tallied a free throw and made good on an assist from Hilsabeck for Pagosa's final three points, Academy's Luke Northam beat the buzzer with a jumper and the books closed with the Pirates on top 83-41.

Hilsabeck was tops in the assists category with 12 and netted three points in the win; Przybylski tallied 9 and two, respectively.

In addition to 26 points, Forrest recorded 11 boards, two steals, two assists and four blocked shots.

Craig and Casey Schutz booked four boards and three steals apiece to go along with double-figure scoring efforts, while Shaffer inked 11 points, five boards and three steals.

In retrospect, Pirate head coach Jim Shaffer was happy with his young team's effort in the victory, especially the play of Przybylski and Hilsabeck.

"That's as good of a performance at point guard that we've had since I've been here," said Shaffer. "I was very pleased with the way they pushed the ball and spread things around to get us a lot of easy baskets."

"We had a bunch of layups and ended up shooting over 50 percent (34-65) from the field, which is a credit to this team's unselfishness," said Shaffer.

With regard to the Pirates' defensive effort, "Definitely, holding them to 11 points in the first half was outstanding," said Shaffer.

"They scored more in the second half, but when you're up by 40 the intensity is obviously going to change a little bit," he added.

"Overall, it terms of team concept, this was really, really good," concluded Shaffer.

Next up for Pagosa is the home opener against Gunnison in the first round of the Wolf Creek Classic Tournament. Game time tomorrow is 8:15 p.m.

Saturday's slate pits the Pirates against Battle Mountain at 1:30 p.m., and Pagosa takes on powerhouse Aztec, N.M. in the tournament nightcap at 8:30 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 10-16, 5-5, 26; Craig Schutz 5-8, 3-4, 13; Casey Schutz 9-14, 0-0, 18; Hilsabeck 1-4, 0-0, 3; Przybylski 0-2, 2-2, 2; Shaffer 5-8, 0-0, 11; Rand 0-0, 0-0, 0; Ormonde 2-6, 1-2, 5; Hart 1-4, 1-3, 3; Abeyta 1-3, 0-0, 2; Martinez, 0-0, 0-0, 0. Three-point goals: Shaffer 1, Hilsabeck 1, Forrest 1. Fouled out: Ormonde. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 29. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 37. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 18.


Pirates win two, lose two at Rocky Ford Duals

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Is the glass half full, is it half empty?

Following the Pirate wrestling team's 2-2 performance at the Rocky Ford Duals, coach Dan Janowsky would likely describe the glass as half full, but filling.

The Pirates are in the habit of opening their season at Rocky Ford. The meet provides quality competition and gives the team a chance to see some 3A opponents.

Pagosa began action at Rocky Ford, however, against 4A Sand Creek, a team from Colorado Springs. The Pirates defeated the Scorpions 40-28.

Junior Shane Lloyd started the march to the win, pinning his opponent at 103 pounds.

Freshman Josh Nelson duplicated the feat at 112.

Orion Sandoval fought his first match at 119 after battling last year at 103. Sandoval scored a 15-0 technical fall in the second period.

The Pirates forfeited at 125.

Daren Hockett, who will probably wrestle at 125 as the season progresses, began what would be a banner day at 130, nailing a pin 1 minute, 38 seconds into the match.

Raul Palmer returned to his form of last season at 135 with a 17-3 decision, also on the way to an excellent tournament.

Ky Smith fought at 140, losing a close 8-7 decision.

With Manuel Madrid on a college scouting trip, the Pirates forfeited at 145.

Justin Moore got a 3-2 win at 152.

Matt Nobles lost in the first period at 160.

Juan Martinez lost a 12-4 decision at 171.

Marcus Rivas suffered an 11-4 loss at 189.

At 215, Bubba Martinez got off to a fast start with a 14-4 win.

Joe Romine finished up for Pagosa, scoring points at 275 with a first-period pin.

Next up in the first round of action was host Rocky Ford.

"They have a good team," said Janowsky of the Meloneers, a program long a force in Colorado 3A wrestling, in particular in the lower weights. "They've got a full team, fairly young. They lost to Canon City by three points in the tournament championship."

The Meloneers did not lose to Pagosa, taking the match 42-32.

Lloyd, Nelson and Sandoval all lost their matches against Rocky Ford foes.

Hockett stayed on his pace, getting a pin the first period.

Palmer mirrored the accomplishment at 135, pinning his man in the first.

Smith came through with a 15-7 decision.

Following the forfeit at 145, Moore lost in the second period at 152.

Nobles got his first win of the day at 160, with a 12-4 decision.

Juan Martinez scored his first victory of the season, pinning his man in the first period.

Rivas lost a 6-1 decision at 189.

Bubba Martinez continued to look formidable, pinning the Meloneer at 215 in the second period.

Romine lost his 275-pound match in the third period.

With the loss, the Pirates went to the pool of teams battling for second place.

The journey started well; Pagosa thumped Trinidad 60-18.

Lloyd got his second tournament win with a first-period pin.

Nelson lost at 112 in the second period.

Sandoval came back with a 19-2 win at 119 and his performance was followed by three pins by Pagosa wrestlers: Hockett in the second period, Palmer in the first period, Smith in the third. Moore scored a 12-3 decision at 152.

Nobles pinned his opponent in the first period, Juan Martinez got a pin in the third.

Rivas put a win in the books, pinning his man at 189 in the second period.

Bubba Martinez got his third win of the day, an 18-9 decision. The win was significant for the Pirate junior. "The kid Bubba beat," said Janowsky, " was a kid he split with last year. It was the guy who eliminated Bubba at the state tournament last season."

Romine finished the rout with a pin.

Any momentum the Pirates gained came to a crashing halt as La Junta beat Pagosa.

Lloyd got a win with a forfeit, but Nelson and Sandoval each lost his match.

Hockett and Palmer scored their fourth wins of the day. Hockett pinned his man in the first period; Palmer got the pin in the second.

Smith and Moore each lost in the second period and Nobles lost his match in the first period.

Juan Martinez got points on a forfeit.

Rivas finished strong with a 5-4 decision.

Bubba Martinez won by forfeit.

Romine lost in the third period.

"This was one I was disappointed with," said Janowsky of the loss to La Junta. "Up to that point in the tournament, I thought we were progressing, but we were flat against La Junta and they jumped right in the middle of us and wrestled well. They deserved to win. We got pinned in some of the matches; we were fairly competitive, but some of our guys got back on their heels, reacting to everything their opponents were doing. They caved in to the pressure, and they got pinned. Those pins hurt."

But, while the glass ended up half full, it is filling.

"Overall," said the coach, "I'm pretty upbeat about the tournament. The La Junta dual left me scratching my head and, as a result, I'm having a hard time determining the identity of our team. Up to that dual, it looked like we were improving, getting better as the day went on. Then, we finished on a bad note."

The bright side?

"Hockett, Palmer and Bubba all left with four wins, the matches fought against decent opponents. All three won in convincing fashion. They set a good example for the rest of the guys and showed we can succeed if we stick to what we know."

Janowsky also highlighted the performances of Lloyd and Juan Martinez, with 3-1 tourney records. "I'm very pleased with them," he said. "And Marcus Rivas ended up with two wins. He fought a string of pretty tough guys. Despite a shoulder injury that bothered him more as the day went on, he kept going. I'm real pleased with him. And all our other guys wrestled well at times. I'm convinced there's a lot of potential on this team."

The next chance to work on actualizing that potential is Saturday at the Buena Vista Duals - a 10-team tournament.

In action, with Pagosa, will be the host team, Centauri, Florence, Del Norte, St. Mary's, Steamboat Springs, Lake County, Salida and Middle Park.

"We'll get to see two more of our regional opponents, St. Mary's and Florence," said Janowsky. "I expect Centauri to be real strong and Middle Park will probably be pretty solid.

"It will be a good tournament. This weekend will be a good outing for us in that it will give us another chance to take a good look at ourselves and determine where we are and what we need to do."

The tournament at Buena Vista starts at 9 a.m.


Hamilton named IML

coach of the year by peers

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Following yet another successful season, Pagosa Springs High School volleyball coach Penné Hamilton was named by her fellow Intermountain League coaches as IML coach of the year. It is the eighth time she has been so honored.

Her award mirrors the fact her 2004 team placed five members on the IML all-conference team - out of 12 named from the five-team conference - with senior Lori Walkup named as IML player of the year.

Hamilton's team in 2004 was similar to most of the squads she has coached in her 19 years at the helm of the program: a team that finished the year with a winning record and advanced to several levels of post-season competition.

This past season, Hamilton guided the Pirates to the program's 11th league championship during her tenure at the helm.

Thirteen times, Hamilton's teams have won district championships and advanced to regional competition. The Pirates have won six regional championships; the team has competed in the Colorado Class 3A championship tourney 11 times.

Twice, Hamilton has been selected to coach a team at the annual Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State Game.

With a 19-9 record in 2004, Hamilton moved her career win-loss record to 353-128 putting her in the top 10 for total wins among active coaches in all classifications of Colorado high school volleyball.


Buena Vista evens score with Pirates

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Buena Vista had, understandably, been waiting a year to avenge a defeat on their own floor, in their own tournament, at the hands of a then unranked squad of Pagosa Springs Pirates.

The wait was worth the effort for the homestanding Demons Dec. 4 and gave Pagosa a look at some of the things the team needs to work on.

One of those things is shooting. The Pirates were a dismal 18 of 60 from the floor in a game between two top-10 teams according to most polls.

Strangely, however, Buena Vista had only one more field goal, hitting 19 of 41 shots from the floor.

So, where do you look for the difference in the 55-37 Pagosa loss.

The foul line.

Pagosa nailed just five of 10 from the stripe while Buena Vista was 14 of 17.

The Pirates came out ice cold, missing their first six shots from the floor before Bri Scott finally hit a pull-up jumper. Brea Runyan, the diminutive (5-5) Demon guard had already hit a driving layup and converted a pair of free throws. Consensus all-state candidate Lindsey Eggleston had added a pair of charity tosses and the Demons were up 6-2.

Sophomore guard Jessica Lynch cut the lead to two with a short jumper in the lane, but that's as close as Pagosa would get.

Runyan drove the middle unchallenged for a pair and Eggleston hit again from the line. Caitlyn Jewell had a putback for a pair for Pagosa and Eggleston countered with a field goal at the other end. Caitlin Forrest forced up a runner to give Pagosa a pair, but the foul bug bit again when senior Kelsey Crist hit a pair just ahead of the buzzer and Buena Vista had a 14-8 lead at the end of a period.

Scott hit the first shot of the second period to cut the lead to four, but Buena Vista stormed back.

Runyan hit a pull-up 12-footer from the left wing and Eggleston hit two inside, both on rebounds of her own first-shot misses.

After Forrest made one of two from the stripe the Demons' senior Lindsey Ingram drove the right side for a pair.

The balance of the period turned into a duel between Pagosa's Emily Buikema and Kelsey Crist.

Buikema, suddenly a force inside, went to the hole three times for scores, once on an offensive rebound.

Crist hit a pair of field goals and two from the line after being fouled by Jewell.

The score stood at 28-17 at the half, a nine-point margin Pagosa hoped to erase.

Instead, they were outscored 13-7 in the third period as Buena Vista, for all practical purposes, put the game out of reach.

Runyan opened the period with a trey from just inside the midcourt stripe and Eggleston followed with two field goals in six tries as the Pirate defense seemed disorganized.

Scott countered with a soft jumper from the right corner and Forrest brought Pirate fans to their feet with a fake in the lane getting Eggleston off her feet and then a left-handed hook for the score.

Maberry scored off an offensive rebound and Buikema drilled a free throw. But senior Tamela Brower and Crist answered with two quick Demon field goals and Brower chipped in another pair from the stripe.

That ended three periods with Pagosa on the short end of a 41-24 game.

And though the Pirates would almost match their hosts in the fourth quarter, a 14-13 Demon margin, Pagosa's shooting percentage would be its lowest (.360) in years.

Ingram opened the period with a trey, hiking the Buena Vista lead to 20.

Scott got two back with a drive from the left side and Liza Kelley, suddenly caught fire to cut the margin to 14 with two quick buckets in the lane. Kari Beth Faber cut the margin to 12 with an 8-foot jumper, but Pagosa would get no closer.

Runyan, Brower and Crist answered with field goals of their own before Maberry hit from 14 feet for Pagosa. Eggleston picked up one from the line and added a field goal in three tries (she was 6 of 19 from the floor in the game).

Jewell got a field goal on a power move inside and added two from the stripe and Buikema hit one from the line before the Demons' Breanna Orth converted a pair of free throws to end the scoring in a 55-37 Buena Vista win.

Coach Bob Lynch was nonplussed at is team's poor shooting percentage.

"We can't keep firing away like that without results," he said. "It seemed too often the girls were rushing shots, trying to get back in the game in one shot instead of working the offense."

Scott and Buikema, each with eight points, led Pagosa. Scott was 4 of 12 from the floor, Buikema 3 of 10.

Buena Vista was led by Eggleston with 16, Runyan with 15 and Crist with 12.

Pagosa actually outrebounded Buena Vista 30-24, including 17 offensive boards, but too often were unable to convert after retaining possession.

The Pirates return to the tournament wars this weekend when they host the annual Wolf Creek Classic.

Pagosa meets Gunnison in the third game Friday, tentatively at 6:30 p.m.

The following day they are scheduled to play Cortez at 11:45 a.m. and Aztec at 6:45 p.m. In each instance, the girls' game will be followed by a Pagosa boys contest.

Also coming to town is Battle Mountain for boys' competition, only.

The tournament opens 3 p.m. Friday with Cortez girls taking on Aztec and Battle Mountain boys facing Aztec just before the Pagosa contests.

Saturday's games begin at 8:15 a.m. with Aztec and Gunnison girls and then boys from the same two schools.

Other games Saturday, in addition the Pagosa contests, have Gunnison girls playing Cortez at 3:15 followed by Gunnison boys vs. Battle Mountain at 5 p.m.

And, for a final excursion onto the court before the Christmas break, Pagosa girls will host Piedra Vista Monday with junior varsity action at 5:30 and the varsity at 7.


Scoring: P-Lynch, 1-3, 2; Scott, 4-9, 8; Kelley, 2-5, 4; Walkup, 0-4, 0; Maberry, 2-3, 4; Jewell, 2-7, 2-2, 6; Buikema, 3-10, 2-3, 8; Forrest, 2-3, 1-4, 5. BV-Ingram, 4; Runyan, 15; Eggleston, 16; Brower, 6; Orth, 2; Crist, 12; fouls, P-11, B V-8; turnovers, P-11, BV, 7.


Scott keys Pirates' burst into new season

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

In less than a minute, The Classical Academy Titans were fully aware of the shooting prowess of Pagosa's Bri Scott.

In the opening game of the Buena Vista Invitational Tournament Dec. 3, Scott had seven points in the first 59 seconds and it was all downhill for the young Colorado Springs team after that.

With all 12 Pagosa Springs players suited seeing action - and 11 of them scoring - Coach Bob Lynch substituted freely and got some sparkling efforts.

The Titans are entering their eighth year in existence and have been building their program from scratch.

The Pirates, on the other hand, come off a fourth-place finish in the state in the 2003-04 campaign, and field a squad of seasoned veterans.

Scott's seven early points, including a trey, were the beginning of her 16 markers in the game, but she got a lot of support early.

Senior forward Melissa Maberry also had a trey in the first period while Caitlyn Jewell, Emily Buikema and Caitlin Forrest each had a field goal.

Pagosa was up 16-5 at the end of the period, the Titans getting a three-pointer from senior Kelsey Travis for their first points with just 2:01 left in the period, and a final score from senior Janel Baron with 20 seconds left.

Pirate guards Jessica Lynch and Liza Kelley each had a pair of second period field goals, Scott added another on a driving reverse and Buikema tallied one from the charity stripe as Pagosa worked for the best shot on each possession.

The Titans got two free throws from junior Julie Emmanuelson and field goals from Emily Hanenburg and Katie Mazzacco for six points in the period and trailed 27-11 at the halftime break.

Pagosa went on a 17-10 spurt in the third period, keyed by five more points from Scott, including her second trey of the game. Jewell for Pagosa and Emmanuelson for Classical Academy each had a pair of field goals in the period. Hannenburg, Andrea Austin and freshman Kerri Zynen also scored for the Titans.

But Pagosa's firepower was more frequent, most of it keyed by total domination on the backboards. Forrest, on her way to a game-high 10 rebounds for example, ripped down a missed Pirate shot and carried two defenders back up with her to score.

Buikema also had an offensive rebound putback in the period. Lori Walkup chipped in with what would prove to be her only score of the tournament, and Lynch added a free throw and Pagosa was up 44-21 after three periods.

With the entire bench crew in action in the fourth period, guards Lynch and Kelley added five and four points respectively in a 22-10 outburst for the Pirates.

Only the inside scoring of sophomore Austin kept the score from being even worse. She had six of her game-high eight points for the Titans in the fourth period. Emmanuelson added a field goal to join Austin with eight points and Hannenburg and Lyndsi Jeffcoat both had one charity toss.

For Pagosa, Scott added her final points to total 16 for the game, and then went to the bench to watch Maberry drill a second trey, Faber her second field goal and Buikema a free throw.

And then the youngsters added to the total. Sophomore Kristin DuCharme was two-for-two from the floor, sophomore Kim Canty added two from the stripe, and sophomore Lyndsey Mackey picked up her first varsity assist.

Junior guard China Rose Rivas missed the contest with an ankle sprain suffered in practice two days before the tournament. There was no immediate word on her availability for this weekend's Wolf Creek Classic in Pagosa Springs.

The Pirate's total dominance in the game was evidenced by the rebounding edge - a 35-6 margin, with 18 offensive boards.

And, in what might sound like a repeat of last year, the top sweeper for Pagosa was Forrest with 10. Buikema was close behind with 7 and Jewell had 5.

A strange statistic for the game had Pagosa with 16 turnovers (Lynch had hoped for 12 or fewer), but with the same number, 16, of steals.

The Pirates' one statistic that bothered Lynch was the relative inability to score on the easy shot. Hitting just 27 of 64 shots from the field, the Pagosans shot .421 for the game, and were only 6 of 11 from the free throw line.

Scott with 16, Lynch with 10, Kelley with 8 and Buikema with 7 were the scoring leaders for Pagosa. Lynch led in assists with five.


Scoring: P-Lynch, 1-5 3s, 3-8, 1-2, 10; Scott, 2-4 3s, 5-9, 0-0,16; Kelley, 3-9, 8; Walkup, 1-4, 2; Maberry, 2-3 3s, 0-1,6; Faber, 2-5, 4; Jewell, 2-3, 0-1,6; Buikema, 2-5, 3-4, 7; DuCharme, 2-2, 0-1, 4; Forrest, 2-4, 0-1, 4; Canty, 0-0- 2-2, 2; Mackey, 01, 0-0, 0. TCA-Emmanuelson, 8; Travis, 3; Hanenburg, 5; Zynen, 2; Jeffcoat, 1; Austin, 8; and Mazzacco, 2. Fouls, P-17, TCA-10.


Pirate spirit faces test in state cheerleader competition Saturday

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Working tougher routines, involving more physical action, keeping spirit high.

Those are some of the attributes of being a cheerleader this year at Pagosa Springs High School.

And there is one more small challenge: After tying for fourth place in state competition last year, coach Renee Davis' charges want to move up the ladder.

They get their chance this weekend with 16 of them making the trip to Denver for State Spirit Squad competition.

Davis said she has incorporated more action into squad routines this year, and more emphasis than ever before is placed on coordination.

"We know we have the skills to compete with anyone at state in our class," the coach said, "especially since D'Evelyn moved up to a higher classification this year."

Parents got a chance last night to see their squad in action as the girls worked their routines in a special show for them, demonstrating why they've been gone from home for all those hours of practice.

The girls will make their appearance at 1:06 p.m. on the venue at the Denver Coliseum.

They will actually drive to Denver early Friday and watch the upper classification competitions, a tradition for the younger squad members.

Representing Pagosa in the state competition will be Kelly Gilbert, Beth Lujan, Erika Lucero, Lynda Johnson, Clara Barber, Larissa Harwood, Bree Haynes, Kelcie Mastin, Ashley Maddux, Amanda Kovacic, Nikki Kinkead, Mandie Waldrup, Berklee Ruthardt, Kaitlin Simmons, Brittanie Garcia and Jenny Tothe.


Pirate coach, seven players claim IML football honors

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Seven Pagosa Springs High School football players and Pirate head coach Sean O'Donnell have been named to the Intermountain League all-conference honors list.

O'Donnell is the IML coaches' selection for coach of the year after leading the Pirates to an overall record of 7-3, IML championship (4-0) and berth in the state Class 2A playoffs.

Heading the list of players voted to the IML honor roll is Pirate senior quarterback/safety Paul Armijo, who garnered first-team offense and defense honors as well as the nod for IML player of the year.

Also honored as first-team offense selections for Pagosa were junior running back Josh Hoffman, junior wideout/return specialist Paul Przybylski, senior lineman Richard Lafferty, junior lineman Jake Reding and junior placekicker Daniel Aupperle.

In addition to offensive recognition, Reding and Lafferty join junior Bubba Martinez on the IML slate of first-team defense honorees in the lineman/linebackers category.

Additional selections to the IML first-team offense are Centauri seniors Jacob Sheridan and Trevor Thomas, Monte Vista juniors Omar Gonzales and Keaton Roosen, Monte Vista senior Clinton Medina and Bayfield senior Brandon Luter.

Rounding out the IML first-team defense are Bayfield seniors Brandon Luter and Simon Van Abbema, Centauri seniors Jordan Norton and Trevor Thomas, Centauri junior Estevan Armenta, Centauri sophomore Kyle Martin, Monte Vista juniors Sigi Rodriguez and Omar Gonzales and Monte Vista senior Joe Kelso.


Local barrel racing series winners named

A number of Pagosa Springs riders were among the top winners for the season in National Barrel Horse Association Colorado No. 8 competitions which ended Nov. 21 in Ignacio.

Among them were Marissa House, first in 2D, with 15,941 points.

Also, Katelyn McRee with 27 points and Marissa House with 14 in 1D open; In 2D local winners were Marissa House with 21; Jill House, 17; Katelyn McRee, 15; Melissa Denison, 13, and Sharman Denison, 9.

In 1D youth competition, local winners were Matelyn McRee, 42; Raesha Ray, 25; Marissa House, 12; and Beth Lucero, 2.

Local 2D winners were Marissa House, 34; Melissa Denison, 9; Katelyn McRee, 6; Raesha Ray, 6 and Beth Lucero, 4.

Winners in 3D included Raesha Ray, 37; Melissa Denison, 28; and Marissa House, 18,

Winners in 4D included Re'ahna Ray, 52; Raesha Ray, 10; Beth Lucero, 5; Melissa Denison, 4 and Marissa House, 3.

Pagosa Springs youth saddle sponsors for first-place winners are Boot Hill, Best Western Hotels, The Pagosa Springs SUN, Red Ryder Roundup committee, Harold Thompson, Goodman's Department Store and Vita Pagosa LLC.

Local open sponsors include Log Park Trading Co., Bank of the San Juans, The Hide Out and Impact Printing.

Officials noted the efforts of Raesha Lynx Ray, 13-year-old daughter of Mike and Gwen Ray and an eighth-grader in Pagosa Springs Junior High School.

In addition to her barrel racing efforts, she is a level 7 competitive gymnast, involved in 4-H livestock programs and loves hunting and rodeo.

She currently competes on two horses, an Appaloosa she's had for many years in 3D competition. But she wanted and prayed for a new horse and got Dancer on a Cloud. after her family drove to Canada to purchase him.

She says her favorite rodeo personality is Ty Murray.

"Everything I do in rodeo is because of my admiration for him," she said. "I have been a champion calf rider and sheep rider. Now I compete in a number of rodeo events. I started gymnastics because I knew Ty Murray had done it to better his career."

She joined NBHA Co. No. 8 knowing, she said, that "in NBHA beginners can be winners."

Her biggest goal right now is to the make the Little Britches Finals Rodeo.

The organization's spring schedule includes events Feb. 6 and 27 in Ignacio, March 26 and April 10 in Cortez and April 24 in Ignacio.


Sunday meeting set for volleyball club information

What are you looking for in a volleyball club?

Are you the athlete just beginning to learn the sport? Are you the athlete trying to make the school team?

Are you the athlete looking for the "edge" in order to impress your coach and break into the starting lineup?

Or are you the athlete with long range goals of competing in volleyball at the collegiate level?

If one of these descriptions fit you, High Peaks Volleyball Club will provide you with the fundamentals, background and skill level to reach your goals.

A meeting for information concerning High Peaks Volleyball Club will be held 6 p.m. Sunday at the community center. View schedules, uniforms and ask any and all questions concerning this United States Volleyball Association sanctioned team.

Age group divisions will include 12 and under, 14 and under, 16 and under and 18 and under. Age groups are determined by the following:

18 and under - players who were born on or after Sept. 1, 1986

16 and under - players who were born on or after Sept. 1, 1988

14 and under - players who were born on or after Sept. 1, 1990

12 and under - players who were born on or after Sept. 1, 1992

Call 731-1711 for questions or more details about this meeting.


Parks & Rec

The real benefits sports offer young participants

By Myles Gabel

Sun Columnist

People ask me all the time about their child's ability to play youth sports in Pagosa Springs.

The questions always seem to surround the idea of one's child against another. The "what ifs" of participating in youth sports will always be part of our culture.

Instead of worrying about the wins, losses, scores, mistakes and triumphs of youth sports, try to understand the real benefits that youth sports has for your child.

The following text is from the American Sports Education Program and gives us an opportunity to view the real benefits of participation in Youth Sports.

"It has been estimated that 22 million children and youth, ages 6 to 18, are involved in organized sports outside of school (Poinsett, 1996). Research indicates that participation in sports can promote healthy development. The American Sport Education Program has examined how sports enhance aspects of children's social development. Specifically, studies now conclude that youth sports contribute to the development of social competence and self-esteem.

"According to the American Sport Education Program (1994), sports participation:

- builds an appreciation of personal health and fitness;

- develops a positive self-image;

- teaches how to work as part of a team;

- develops social skills with other children and adults (such as taking turns and sharing playing time);

- teaches both how to manage success and disappointment; and,

- teaches how to respect others."

American Sport Education Program, (1994). SportParent. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc. Poinsett, Alex. (1996). "The role of sports in youth development (1998, May 13)."

Hoop Shoot contest

The Elk's Hoop Shoot Basketball Free Throw Contest is a nationwide contest for boys and girls ages 8-13 and free to all participants!

Hoop Shoot T-Shirts will be given to all participants in this weekend's competition. The schedule is:

Saturday, Dec. 11 in the Pagosa Springs Junior High School Gymnasium at 9 a.m. for age groups 8-9 (age 7 is OK, if you are 8 before April 1, 2005); 10-11 and 12-13 (too old to participate if you turn 14 before April 1, 2005)

Winners of the Pagosa Springs age group competition will compete with winners from the Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio Hoop Shoot at Escalante Middle School in Durango on Saturday, Jan. 8. Winners then advance to the Western Colorado District contest to be held Jan. 22 in Hotchkiss.

Youth basketball

If you are still interested in signing up your child for the 9-10 or 11-12 youth basketball leagues please come to Town Hall and place your child on the waiting list as soon as possible. We will make every attempt to place your child on a team.

Open volleyball

In an effort to continue to offer adult volleyball to the Pagosa Springs community, the department will offer open adult volleyball 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays. When we accumulate enough participants for a league, one will be formed. Please continue to contact friends and neighbors and sign up now for this exciting sports league.

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.

Girls' softball

If you are interested in becoming a part of the future of girls' softball in Pagosa Springs, please contact Maddie Baserra at 264-6835. A group is interested in developing girls' softball in the Pagosa Springs area and are looking for others interested in this goal.

Have questions, concerns or need additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs?

If so, contact me at 264-4151, Ext. 232.



A dangerous drug

A headline in The SUN announces recent action by town police and county sheriff personnel in their fight against local drug traf-fickers. Busts the last several weeks are taking drugs off the streets and putting dealers out of commission. Face it: Just like all other American communities, we have residents here who sell and use illegal substances.

There has been talk lately about the presence of methamphetamine in the community. The SUN begins a series this week dealing with the drug, its nature, availability and effects - personal and social. Chances are good the use of this drug is increasing; we are catching up with most of the rest the nation in this regard. There is no question the drug is dangerous, no question it is a factor in crime, and no question it is available to our young people.

And, yes, there is still a good deal of marijuana smoked here, cocaine sold and used. There are illegally obtained and distributed prescription drugs in circulation.

Local law enforcement officials are sincere in their efforts to curtail illicit drug sales and use. They work hard to develop information and establish legally defensible cases that allow them to act.

If we are honest, however, we need to recognize our major problem drug is not methamphetamine - no matter how alarming that drug might be. Nor is it cocaine or opiates, or prescription drugs. It is not marijuana.

It is alcohol. And there are dealers here who should be arrested.

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug in our midst when considered in terms of the widespread damage it does to persons and property, in terms of its overall social costs. It contributes to mayhem on the highways and plays a verified role in violent crime. And it is the No. 1 illegal substance abused by our young people.

More youngsters drink than use other drugs, and those who use other drugs likely begin their experimentation with alcohol. The mean age for first use of alcohol continued to drop throughout the '90s, falling to 16 in 1996 - the last year the assessment was made. In that year, of the nearly 8,000 drivers ages 15-20 involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents, more than 20 percent had been drinking. Studies have shown nearly half of 17-year-olds admitting use of alcohol within a month's time consume enough to be considered binge drinkers or heavy drinkers. Young drinkers are more likely to use other drugs, twice as likely as nondrinkers to suffer problems at school and three times more likely to say they have deliberately tried to hurt or kill themselves. Youngsters who drink heavily are more likely to run away from home, to steal from others, to be involved in violent acts toward others and to vandalize the property of others. They are more likely to indulge in risky sexual behavior and are more susceptible to sexual coercion.

A study of high school seniors in 2003 by the Monitoring the Future Study, and reported by the U.S Department of Justice, revealed 47.5 percent of the youngsters said they used alcohol within 30 days of the interview. This compares to 21 percent who used marijuana and 5 percent who used stimulants. While the use among young people of "illegal" drugs appears to be falling, it is debatable whether alcohol use by underage drinkers has undergone a parallel change.

Here's our problem: Young people must obtain their alcohol from adults who legally purchase alcohol and who believe it is acceptable, or amusing, to provide alcohol to minors. Parents, friends or strangers to the child, it doesn't matter - they are drug dealers. They deserve to be arrested, booked, thrown in jail, taken to court. Perhaps, soon, one of the drug busts reported in The SUN will include the names of some of these individuals.

If so, we will have made a major step in a battle against our most dangerous, and readily available drug.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Call it 'another Pagosa miracle'

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

One Pagosa civic group has come to the aid of another in the continuing display of concern for fellow residents.

Last week's column about the vandalism to the star on Reservoir Hill maintained for years by Beta Sigma Phi sorority, and the damage which dimmed its lights, was the last hurrah for the sorority.

Members felt the task was beyond their continued financial capacity and announced that a new benefactor would be sought for the ensuing season.

While we'd like to cite power of the press - the star was relighted the same day the column was published - it is obvious something far more important was at work,

That was the community pride of Pagosa Springs.

Sorority spokesperson Susie Kleckner said the lights project (including the cross northeast of town) has been assumed by Pagosa Springs Rotary Club on the strong recommendation of Gene Crabtree. Several other offers of support were received, she said. The fact the star was relighted in such a brief time was termed "another Pagosa miracle".

"We still do not have a total figure on the cost to repair the damage," Kleckner said. "I'm sure there were many volunteer efforts behind getting it rebuilt and shining again, efforts by people we'll probably never identify."

That is the kind of public spirit Pagosa has become known for. When a friend or neighbor is in need, people who often are total strangers to each other join efforts to make recovery a success.

With the aging of its members and a decline in public donations over the years, it became clear to the sorority that it could no longer keep up the operation.

Reluctantly, Kleckner said, the group had determined it was a project in need of a newer, younger group of backers.

Rotary, as it has so often in this community, jumped into the sponsorship role.

But it is a bigger commitment for the community. The star and cross have become symbols of a way of life in a small Colorado mountain town, a community where pride is evidenced in many ways.

The shining star is emblematic of that pride and the cross is a symbol of moral understanding at a time of international strife which is regarded by some as a pending worldwide religious showdown.

From the days when pennies and nickels received in change were dropped into small cannisters in community businesses to keep the star's lights burning, Beta Sigma Phi has taken the lead in providing for the seasonal display.

Now, the mantle has been assumed by Pagosa Springs Rotary Club. And the lights again are shining for all to see each night during the holiday season.

That is no reason the community should not continue to give to keep the lights shining. It has been and should continue to be a community effort, guided as in the past, by a concerned group of Pagosa citizens.

And vandalism, of any sort, must be halted before it gets out of hand in star country.




75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 13, 1929

With the completion of the repair work on one of the Arlington hot water wells the first of the week, an appreciable and satisfactory difference has been noted in the flow and pressure of all the wells which supply the necessary heating element to several business houses in Pagosa Springs. The drill rig will be left in this city until next spring, when the other Arlington well will also be repaired.

Nine or ten families on the lower San Juan are now under quarantine for smallpox in light form. About sixty in that section this week submitted to vaccination, and it is now believed the epidemic is nearing control.

Miss Edna Sparks is quarantined at her home in Pagosa Springs for smallpox contracted at Kearns, where she is teaching school.


50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 10, 1954

Some weeks ago the Lions Club, in cooperation with the American Legion, launched a drive to raise funds to provide additional seating in the high school gym. The gym has been filled to capacity for the last couple of years or more at home basketball games and many people have had to stand. It is estimated that the rebuilding of the seats will enable about four hundred more people to be seated in the gym. The work is expected to be completed prior to the next home game on December 17.

The town board met on Monday night of this week. From present appearances the town will come through this year well within their budget and will also, for the first time in many years, have a surplus in the water department funds.


25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 13, 1979

The geothermal committee this week gave approval to a preliminary design for the system that is planned for the town. It will reach from one end of town to the other, public building may hook on, as may private businesses and residences. Final design is expected after the first of the year and bids may be called for early next summer. It is emphasized that the plan is preliminary and might change as new data develops.

Construction work has started on the new shopping center which will house a supermarket, bank and other business enterprises. The work is expected to continue through the winter months and completion of the center is scheduled for early next summer.



Children's chorale performs for community

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

They sang in a round, sang a partner song with two sets of words going on at once, swayed, shimmied and shook their fingers to mime the shine of Rudolph's nose.

Through four holiday songs Friday and Sunday, the Pagosa Springs Children's Chorale wowed a nearly full house at the annual community choir Christmas concert.

"It was awesome," said Jana Burch, one of the moms of the group. "They did a really great job."

The chorale, made up of 30 youth ages 6-12, kicked off the holiday program, singing with poise and confidence after two months of weekly rehearsals. Selections included "Christmas is Coming," "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "Happy Winter" and "All Because of Christmas."

When finished Sunday, the chorale received applause twice. Once when the curtain closed and, again, when they took their seats to watch the adults perform.

This year, the children's chorale can celebrate the success of its second formal concert along with another milestone. In just a few weeks, the chorale will begin its second season in Pagosa Springs.

According to the chorale handbook, the group started in January 2004 as an outreach program of the Pagosa Springs Choral Society, a group that also includes the community choir and Mountain Harmony, a women's barbershop group. Sue Anderson, a private piano instructor, accompanist and former music teacher, has directed the group, with assistance from several others, since its inception.

"Sue really was the answer to prayers allowing these kids to have this opportunity," Burch said.

The first informal auditions for the chorale were held last winter, with each child being asked to sing a short song, and a group of about 30 formed. Anderson said participation requires that youth "be able to read at a first-grade level, have at least a 20-minute attention span and be emotionally mature enough to handle both practices and performances." Practices are two hours long and scheduled Fridays during spring and winter seasons. The chorale does not meet in the summer.

Each practice, Anderson said, combines activities to strengthen musical skills with preparation of concert selections. It starts with motion. "We do lots of movement to get our bodies ready to sing," she said. From there, the group begins to vocalize, working on tonal production, or "how to make a pretty sound." That leads them into practice on concert pieces and then - a snack.

The second half of practice begins with a game or activity designed to help the students learn sight reading, notes or rhythms. Then it's back to learning concert music before guardians arrive to pick up their children.

"I really rely on my moms," Anderson said, adding that each one signs up for a week to bring snacks to practice. "They volunteer over and over to sit and take tickets or sell candy - and just getting their kids to practice. I don't know how some of them do it with four or five kids going in different directions. I have a really great group of mothers."

Parents are responsible for making sure their children are punctual, paying fees which work out to between $1.25 to $2 an hour, and providing part of the performance outfit which, in the past, has meant black pants or skirt, shoes and a belt. For the spring concert, polo shirts were purchased. At Christmas, they added white shirts, red cummerbunds and matching red ties. Anderson said the goal is to build a "closet" of attire that can be rotated through the years and through the kids who sometimes seem to do nothing but grow.

Moms Burch and Anna Harbison, couldn't say enough about the choir's benefits.

Burch said her daughter, Ashlyn, 10, "sings all the time around the house." She's been with the chorale both seasons so far and, "loves it," Burch said. "I think it's built her self esteem and her confidence," she said. "It's made her appreciate the arts more."

Both Ashlyn and Ami Harbison, 12, also play the piano.

"Ami has a lot of musical talent," her mother said. The family moved to Pagosa Springs from Texas where Ami had been participating in local musicals since kindergarten. When they arrived here, Ami participated in Music Boosters. Still, Harbison, said, "I was really thankful for the children's chorale because I think it's important for her to be with children her own age. It's a wonderful, wonderful thing they're doing."

Anderson also relies on talented musical assistants who, so far, have included Rada Neal, who has helped with directing and accompaniment, Kate Kelley, Jana Voorhies and Judy Patton. She said for the chorale's second season, just wrapping up now, numbers are holding steady. Half are returns. The other half are new.

"I would like to see that stabilized so I have a strong core group of singers that understand the expectations," she said. According to the group's philosophy, those expectations include commitment, a desire to strive for musical excellence, poise, self-discipline and community awareness. She also hopes to increase number of participants with the goal of splitting the group into two or three chorales based on age and ability. More boys would be good too, she admitted. This season, there are four.

Currently, one of the biggest challenges of directing is finding music that fits such a wide age range - pieces to hold the older student's interest while staying within the skill level of the younger set, Anderson said. "Everybody has their own musical tastes."

Still, working with a 6-year age range has allowed some mentoring to occur.

"The 12-year-olds really act like mother hens to the younger ones," she said. "We don't allow any kind of putdowns anyway, but they've been very supportive of the younger ones, real role models."

Ultimately, she'd like to model the group after a chorale in Colorado Springs started in the 1970s that now boasts around 300 youth participants.

The current chorale will be performing their holiday selections again Dec. 14 at 7 p.m., in the Pagosa Springs Community Center and Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. in the Pine Ridge Extended Care Center. The program for the 14th will include tap dancing and solo piano performances by other local youth. Rehearsals for the chorale's spring season begin in January or February. Watch The SUN for the audition schedule.


Pagosa's Past

 Fort Lewis moved to Hesperus; became an Indian school

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

We've been documenting the steps which resulted in a frontier Army camp matriculating into a modern college campus. We're talking about Fort Lewis, of course, which was birthed as Camp Lewis in Pagosa Springs.

Soldiers began building Camp Lewis in 1878 on the same soil that currently supports the main downtown business block in Pagosa Springs. It soon became apparent that a fort located further west would better serve to pacify the Southern Ute Indians.

By January of 1881, a new Fort Lewis was established on the La Plata River near today's Hesperus. At the same time, the name of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs was changed to Pagosa Springs. By 1882, the Pagosa fort was completely abandoned.

Fort Lewis at Pagosa Springs had been constructed of logs and contained 10 enlisted barracks, four officers' quarters, and a few other buildings. Fort Lewis on the La Plata was more substantial and contained a large number of brick buildings. Several buildings from the La Plata fort can be viewed to this day.

By 1892, troops were no longer needed to control Indians in the Four Corners area and Fort Lewis was abandoned. Almost immediately, the buildings and facilities there were converted into an Indian school attended by Ute, Navajo, and Apache children.

From Dr. Robert W. Delaney's "Blue Coats, Red Skins, and Black Gowns," we read:

"The whole emphasis of Indian education at that time was on practicality with knowledge of the three R's. Pupils attended academic classes for one-half day and spent the other half in vocational training. Indian men and boys learned to handle horse drawn machinery and to tend livestock plus blacksmithing, shoe making, and carpentry. Great rolls of leather were brought in for the making of all kinds of shoes and for several years the shoe shop was under the supervision of a Sioux Indian.

"Females learned in the laundry, the kitchen, the bakery, and the sewing shop. They were taught to churn and store butter and to cut and sew clothes in the way of the non-Indian. The whole idea was to assimilate all Indians completely into the mainstream of society within a very few years. For this reason, the Dawes Severalty Act was passed in 1887 providing for allotments of land to individual Indians who should so elect. The Department of Indian Education in the BIA, like all of non-Indian society, was completely convinced that the ownership of private property would soon eliminate all differences between Indians and non-Indians. They took no account of different value systems or differences between Indians themselves."

Delaney also tells us, as was customary at that time across the nation, that Indian students were required to speak English and punished for speaking their native languages. They were required to wear white man's clothes and abandon native religions.

By 1910, the BIA issued a document transferring Fort Lewis with its buildings and grounds to the State of Colorado as an educational facility and granting Indians free tuition and equality with whites in perpetuity. The school was no longer needed because the government had built a considerable number of schools on nearby reservations.

Fort Lewis Indian School was accepted by the state in January of 1911 based on a bill submitted by Sen. West, a pioneer San Juan Basin cattleman. Language in the accepting legislation designated the school as an agriculture and language arts facility.

It should be noted that the facility with its buildings and grounds remained at the Hesperus location.

More next week on the transition of Camp Lewis in Pagosa Springs into Fort Lewis College in Durango.



Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture











































Forecast suggests chance for 'warming' trend

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Arctic conditions are expected to linger for a few more nights, then Pagosa Country is in store for a warming trend.

Granted, predictions of sunny skies with high temperatures in the upper 30s and lows around 10 may not qualify as a tropical heat wave.

But considering last week's average low was 7 degrees, the latter half of the forecast for the coming week seems almost toasty.

According to the latest reports provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, today's weather should consist of partly-cloudy skies, highs in the 30s and lows in the single digits.

Friday calls for plenty of sun, highs ranging from 35-45 and evening lows near zero.

The forecasts for Saturday and Sunday indicate mostly-sunny skies, highs in the upper 30s to low 40s and lows below 10.

Monday and Tuesday are expected to bring occasional clouds, highs near 40 and lows in the teens.

A 20-percent chance for scattered snow showers is in the forecast for Wednesday, as are highs predicted in the upper 30s and lows in the teens.

The average high temperature recorded last week in Pagosa Springs was 34 degrees. The average low was 7. Moisture totals for the week amounted to just over one-fourth of an inch.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit snow depth of 69 inches, a midway depth of 58 inches and year-to-date total of 106 inches.

For updates on snow and road conditions at the ski area, visit the Web at

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is "moderate" at or above timberline with pockets of "considerable."

At lower elevations, the danger ranges from "moderate" to "low."

According to the latest SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan Basin is currently at 123 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 70 cubic feet per second to a high of approximately 150 cubic feet per second last week.

The river's historic median flow for the week of Dec. 2 is roughly 55 cubic feet per second.