December 16, 2004
Front Page

129 drug-related arrests made in

county this year

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Since December 2003, local law enforcement officials have tackled 17 drug distribution cases involving cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms.

Twelve people have been arrested on distribution charges alone. Six search warrants have been served leading to arrests, recovery of drugs, drug paraphernalia and money.

Archuleta County Sheriff's Department records show 129 arrests on drug-related charges since the start of the year. This includes all drug-related charges - from possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to manufacturing and intent to distribute. Since January 1, drug offenses total 64 with 20 coming in November alone.

Taken as a whole, local law enforcement officials said, the cases are the result of hours of investigation, surveillance, some good intelligence work, cooperation between agencies and a heightened community concern.

Pagosa Springs Police Detective Scott Maxwell said about a year ago ties between countywide thefts and burglaries and drugs as well as indications of drugs in the schools led to a community call for action. That, and a little luck when it came to information-gathering has snowballed into a series of arrest warrants and search warrants executed by both the police and the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.

"It's pretty much got to be both of us because it (the drug problem) doesn't stay on one side of a jurisdictional line," Maxwell said.

Both he and Lt. T.J. Fitzwater, of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department agree each drug case starts with information.

It may come from a patrol officer, a citizen, or even a drug user looking for a way out. Over time, Fitzwater said, with investigation and surveillance, the information can build into a clear enough picture to request an arrest warrant or search warrant. A few weeks ago, such a search warrant led to the arrest of five people suspected of methamphetamine distribution. Last week, it resulted in seizure of almost 200 jars used to grow psilocybin mushrooms.

"As separate entities we're weak," Fitzwater said, "but by working together we have been able to do a lot more with a lot less." Six of the 17 recent distribution cases involved assistance from other agencies, including the Southwest Drug Task Force, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Ignacio Police Department.

"Drug investigations are hardly ever a one-man proposition," Maxwell said. On average, each police department case has required five officers and 27 hours of time. On several cases, they have requested the assistance of the county's Special Enforcement Detail, a team of officers who have volunteered time for specialized training in hostage and barricade situations as well as executing high-risk search warrants.

"You never know what's going to be on the inside of a door," Fitzwater said. "The SED team insures the safety and well-being of not only the team members, but the subjects we are looking to apprehend." On any search warrant, SED team members work with the investigator in charge, social services and other law enforcement personnel to determine the best and safest way to execute a warrant.

Maxwell estimated distribution cases at the police department had taken up 434 man-hours of field-investigation. Fitzwater said his men logged 140 hours of unbudgeted overtime on a single recent operation. And that doesn't include time spent writing reports and processing evidence.

Drug-related crime also doesn't end with addiction. Law enforcement officials estimate close to 90 percent of the burglaries committed are drug-related, including a string of break-ins in the county in 2003. That's a close tie to a considerable amount of crime considering Archuleta County Sheriff's Department statistics show 73 reports of burglaries and 117 thefts since Jan. 1.

In one case, stolen property was being take to a local house, transported to Durango and sold for drugs. Other stolen property has been shipped to Aztec and Farmington where it was traded directly for drugs. Recently, investigators discovered cash stolen from a Pagosa business was used to purchase drugs.

Once goods are stolen, Fitzwater said, some are stored until needed, others are pawned or sold to a friend. Some are even sold at yard sales to support what can become a several gram a day addiction. According to statistics from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, in 2001, prices for crack cocaine ranged from $2 to $50 per rock and $20 to $200 per gram. The average price of methamphetamine ranges from $20 to $300 per gram nationwide.

Currently, sheriff's department officials are searching for at least one man with suspected ties to a fencing operation where money was used to buy drugs.

Kenneth "Roy" Glass, 57, is white, 6-feet tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds. He has gray hair and brown eyes and is wanted on a felony arrest warrant for theft by receiving. Anyone with information regarding Glass, or his whereabouts, is asked to call dispatch, 264-2131, immediately.

Fitzwater said officers suspect Glass was in the area about two months ago.

It'll be a year before law enforcement officials know whether key arrests in burglary or drug distribution cases have had an impact on drug availability in the area, although Maxwell said rumors floating around now suggest drug prices have gone up with recent arrests. Still, he said, nationally, methamphetamine labs continue to go up which means availability is only going to get better.

Both Fitzwater and Maxwell agreed more leads will always be waiting.

"It's not something that's ever going away," Maxwell said. "As long as there is a demand, there'll be a supply. As long as there's greed the pattern will continue. I don't think Pagosa Springs has more drugs or less drugs than the next town - it's just how much pressure we want to put on these people."


School tax levy down 3 percent

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A pleasant holiday surprise for taxpayers was provided Tuesday by the board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

The board unanimously certified a total mill levy of 28.600 for the district, a decrease of 3 percent from last year.

And while the levy is down, due to an increase in assessed valuation of the district, it will produce an extra $18,492 in revenue if all taxes are collected.

The joint district serves most of Archuleta County and a portion of Hinsdale County. Assessed valuation for the Archuleta portion has been set at $190,736,837 and for the Hinsdale portion at $1,440,520.

The total levy includes 24.249 mills producing $4,640,891 for the general fund and refunds and abatements, and 4.451 producing $855,381 for payment of general obligation bonds and interests.

The drop in rate in the latter fund resulted from a refinancing of bonds last year that reduced the interest rate.

Total revenue from the levy is pegged at $5,496,272. The assessed valuation against which the mill levy is assessed was up $6,489,874 from last year.

For those unsure of how a mill levy works Nancy Schutz, the district's business manager, explained briefly:

A mill is 1/10 of a cent or one thousandth of a dollar. A mill levy is the number of dollars a taxpayer must pay for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.

For residential properties, actual value (shown on the owners Notice of Valuation) is multiplied by the residential assessment rate in order to arrive at the assessed value (the residential assessment rate is set by the state, currently set at 7.96 percent). The assessed value is then multiplied by the mill levy to arrive at your property tax bill.

Thus, for example, if the actual value of a home is $150,000, this figure would be multiplied by the assessment rate of 7.96 percent for an assessed value for taxing purposes of $11,940. This assessed value would then be multiplied by the mill levy of 29.50 (.0295) for a property tax bill of $352.23.

Earlier in the three-plus hour session, the board had heard an update from Michael C. Branch who conducted the annual audit presented last month.

He had been asked to come back with some additional insight on the process, and be prepared to answer any board questions.

Branch said every governmental entity should ask itself key questions when considering its financial status:

1. What shape are we in? Should we be worried?

2. What about expenditures vs. revenues? Are we dipping into reserves?

He noted "cash reserves are the first measure of healthy financial condition and those districts which have gotten in trouble have allowed themselves to get upside down."

It is easy, he said, for a district to get a false sense of security "when it collects significant portions of its tax income in the spring and then goes weeks and months without more. The barometer of health says the money came in, let's spend it."

But the same barometer measures the outflow and any district must be able to balance the two.

"This district," he said, "has done an excellent job. In fact, it's financial status is the envy of any in the state. Your reserves are excellent and your cash flow is closely controlled."

Reference his second set of questions, Branch noted "you have a $196,000 carryover in the general fund and expenses under control."

This district, he said, always plans ahead. "You continue to build the general fund to the point where overall revenues exceeded expenses by $168,000."

This board's stance, he said, "has been to spend what was anticipated and no more ... unless faced with an emergency.

"You have been conservative and cautious on revenue and pessimistic on expenses ... assuming the possible worst case scenario," he said.

Overall, he said, the district "is in fine financial health, has sufficient reserves, good cash flow and stays within the budget.

"You get straight A's on your financial report card," he said.

All the internal controls necessary for a sound fiscal policy "are in place and being adhered to," Branch said, noting "the one weak point four or five years ago, asset control, has been improved with all fixed assets identified, tagged and accounted for."


Health board officers caught in fund crunch; want better data flow

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

After seven months in office, members of the Upper San Juan Health Service District board of directors are still asking the same question:

Where's the money?

They want understandable financial documents. They want usable financial documents. They want financial documents that show exactly how much money is in the accounts on a given day, where it's coming from and where it's going. How to get that information was the topic of conversation for over two hours during a special meeting Tuesday.

"That's what I want," Jerry Valade said at one point, following discussions of accrual versus cash accounting, ledgers, balance sheets, accounts payable and accounts receivable, "I think we need a couple of pieces of paper that shows us where we are month to month. I know it can be done."

Others wanted more. Adjustments logged at the time bills were booked. Monthly ledgers from each account to track spending. Consolidated information bringing together each of the district entities: administration, EMS and the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

All of it, apparently, is possible, but it will take time.

"I've said all along the critical date for you to make it to would be the middle of March," finance committee chair David Bohl said. "Now you're within 90 days of that. Once you're there, it'll be OK." It'll be OK because changes in accounting can be made to simplify district books - and because 2005 tax monies will begin to hit the bank.

As Bohl pointed out, starting in January:

- Urgent care will no longer be a separate entity, simplifying accounts.

- Revenue from property taxes will be divided among divisions according to a percentage system instead of bouncing in and out of different accounts.

- Questions about adjustments will be addressed with the billing agent and possibly subtracted in a more timely fashion, giving the board and management a better overall picture of revenues.

- Meeting times can even be changed to allow the board a chance to see monthly financial statements sooner.

The board briefly discussed moving meetings up two weeks from the third Tuesday to the first. That would cut the lag time on monthly financials from 45 days to around 30.

Meanwhile, cash flow, interrupted by a change of billers, a constantly changing staff, debt accrued by past administration and contract problems, continues to be a struggle. Earlier in the year, the district was able to cut its accounts payable overruns from $150,000 down to about $75,000, but with the end of the year crunch, overdue bills continue to plague the district, resulting in at least one service supplier cutting them off completely.

So far, the district has used $49,000 of a $50,000 short-term line of credit from Citizen's Bank with one employee pay period of about $30,000 to go before the new year.

Bank statements from Oct. 31 showed the district checking accounts at around negative $17,000. Business manager Allen Hughes said a best guess on current numbers puts $3,000-$4,000 in the bank with revenues continuing to pick up.

A check for about $26,000 in tax dollars is expected from the state. Another $9,000 is supposed to be coming from a fire detail, plus $3,000 due on a contract with Wolf Creek Ski area. Hughes said around $2,000 per business day is coming in from fees for service. Together, he expects the revenues to cover payroll.

The board remained concerned. The short-term line of credit, which is as good as gone, is only available through Dec. 31. After that, an extension would have to be granted.

Board member Jim Pruitt said with about $40,000 in revenues expected this month and expenditures of around $5,000 a day, payroll might be covered but little else.

Chairman Pam Hopkins asked for a list of aged payables. "I'd like to be aware of the process and be part of the decision-making."

Few decisions can be made, Hughes said, with no money to write the checks, adding that changes continued to be made to improve billing procedures and collections.

For instance, he said, recently Medicare billing was improved when staff was instructed to begin calling for claim numbers. Staff hadn't been trained properly because the district had no process, or policy books available, to show them what to do.

Board member Dick Blide said a procedure manual was supposed to have been in place in the summer of 2003.

"The day-to-day operation was never written down," Hughes said. Current training at the clinic has been done using handwritten notes taken by employees in transition.

Meeting dates and other specifics on financial statements will be addressed again as part of the board's regular meeting agenda, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. in the board room at Fire Station 1 on Hot Springs Boulevard.


Airport advisory panel reestablished

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Following several months of debate, the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners moved this week to reestablish a county airport advisory committee.

A similar entity, known as "The Airport Authority," was created in 1991, then terminated in September 2002, apparently because it had come to be viewed by many as an unnecessary layer of government.

Prior to the decision to resurrect such a panel Tuesday, Ken Fox, county airport manager, was asked if he believes there is "a strong need" for a new committee by Commissioner Mamie Lynch, board chair.

"I do," replied Fox. "I think there is expertise out there that we can tap into and give you a better product."

The subsequent motion carried by the commissioners realizes a proposal from Fox which calls for a five-member committee to be appointed by the board.

According to the proposal, a primary function of the forthcoming committee will be "seeking ways to have the airport become more self-sufficient."

Likewise, "Providing optimum benefits to the county and its residents, as well as to the airport tenants and users is a necessary goal."

Other committee objectives include advising and assisting Fox in areas such as airport operations, safety, improvements and maintenance.

Members of the committee will include a "Taxiway Bravo hangar owner, airport tenant or user, FBO, airport-related business owner and member-at-large."

All committee members will eventually be expected to serve three-year terms, however the initial aim will be "to create an environment where there will always be overlap."

Accordingly, "initial terms will be as follows: one member will initially be appointed for a one-year term. Two individuals will be appointed for a two-year term, and two members will be appointed for a three-year term."

A committee chairman, vice chairman and secretary will be elected from within the committee and such officers will be expected to serve one-year terms.

Areas of concern the newly-appointed committee will be expected to address, as outlined in Fox's proposal, include the following:

- federal, state and local rules and regulations to include, but not be limited to spill prevention, control and countermeasure, storm water management, EPA requirements, building and fire codes and local planning considerations;

- continued upgrade, on at least an annual basis, of the Capital Improvement Program used by the Federal Aviation Administration and State Division of Aeronautics to authorize and allocate grant funding;

- continued upgrade of airport minimum standards and policy guidelines;

- development of a viable airport business plan;

- midfield apron build-out to include architectural standards, hangar construction, aircraft parking facilities, utilities infrastructure and long-term airport automobile parking;

- development of the annual county budget.

The proposal indicates committee meetings will be conducted according to state open-meetings laws, with times and locations to be published, and held "as needed, but no less frequent than bimonthly."

A committee chairman, vice chairman and secretary will be elected from within the committee and such officers will be expected to serve one-year terms.

The county will advertise for prospective committee members for the next two weeks, and the board is tentatively scheduled to review applications and/or appoint the panel during its Jan. 4 meeting.

County budget

During a brief pubic hearing Tuesday, the board adopted the county budget for 2005.

According to Bob Burchett, county finance director, the document is nearly in final form, but "is not totally complete."

A narrative and a few supplemental schedules, said Burchett, will be added to the budget prior to its submittal to the state before Jan. 31.

On a related note, county mill levies are scheduled to be certified by the board at 2 p.m. tomorrow.

Once finalized, highlights of the 2005 county budget and a general summary of mill levies will appear in a future edition of The SUN.

In the meantime, the budget can be downloaded for review in .pdf format at the county Web site,

In other business Tuesday, the board:

- approved construction and shared use/lease agreements with Pagosa Springs Enterprises and a grant funding agreement with Great Outdoors Colorado which authorize the establishment of restroom facilities at the county fairgrounds;

- approved revisions to the county pay plan;

- approved the 2005 drug and alcohol testing agreement with Drug & Alcohol Testing Associates Inc.;

- on behalf of Upper San Juan Health Department, approved a $298,270 energy and impact grant contract aimed at remodeling and expanding the Pagosa branch of USJBHD offices;

- approved release of warrant bonds for Timber Ridge Phase IV and Reserve at Pagosa Peak Phase I.



 Inside The Sun

The light of life shines it's brightest in death

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Sharing, support and comfort are the hallmarks of the Hospice of Mercy program in Pagosa Springs.

And while Hospice is there to provide the comfort and support at life's end, its members find themselves nurtured and supported by the people they care for.

That was just one of the messages heard Thursday as the organization staged its annual candle-lighting ceremony at the Chamber Visitor Center.

Camaraderie, treats, music and stories of people who have been cared for and who, in turn, made the providers feel cared for, were highlights of a late-arriving group of about three dozen.

Don Strait, Hospice chaplain, delivered the short message about how the lamps never run out, that there is always brightness.

"In the Bible we're told that when there was a shortage of lamp oil, God provided," he said.

"As we come up on the darkest day of the year in Christmas week," he added, "we can all see the darkness in the world ... and the promise of light.

"We come here first to remember those loved ones who have passed on," he said, "but also to celebrate the fact that in each life the light was restored. God uses the light to let us see the past, know hope and see the promise of the future.

"Breaking into the greater advent of life we could ever know," he said, "we hear God promising I am the light of the world. We should give thanks that He, no matter how dark we see life to be at a given moment, never lets the lights burn out."

Sadness, several pointed out, turns to joy in the light of God. One person described the scene as a loved one lay on his death bed, close family and a Hospice worker gathered around.

Several times, the relative said, he asked them to close the blinds because "the shining is so bright."

The blind was closed. The light, she's sure, was delivered by God to light the man's final trip - to be with Him in Heaven. And he then took his wife's hand, said, "I love you," and was peacefully gone.

Another told of the Hospice worker being like family. "She hugged me, cried with me and became a part of the passing."

That is what Hospice is all about. Making the end easier for all concerned, with a knowledge that God has provided the light to lead the way.

Then the group lighted candles from a master inside and trailed through the snow to the Hospice Garden along the San Juan River where the candles were attached to a small evergreen as symbolic of the way being lighted, anew.

A prayer, another song, and the quiet dignity of death seemed a part of the continuation of life.


Seeds of Learning director picked for leadership program


Lynne Bridges, Seeds of Learning Family Center director, has been invited by the Anschutz Family Foundation to participate in the Colorado Nonprofit Leadership and Management program.

Each year the Anschutz Family Foundation selects 10 individuals from around the state to sponsor in the program.

Jeff Pryor Anschutz, executive vice president, informed Bridges of her selection, telling her she was the foundation's top candidate.

The program provides innovative leadership and management training for executive directors of Colorado nonprofit organizations. The comprehensive training helps participants develop greater self-awareness of their leadership capacity, master new management techniques and cultivate meaningful professional relationships.

Each participant is given the opportunity to develop a working partnership with an experienced mentor selected from the Colorado Association of Fund-raising Professionals and the corporate and foundation communities.

The yearlong program is designed to enhance overall leadership and management capabilities of each leader on an individual, organizational and community level.

The program consists of a series of six training sessions, five two-day training sessions in Denver and a four-day team-building retreat in Breckenridge.

Bridges will begin training in January.


It's a seasonal, Pagosa style feel-good story

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

This is a tale of a Wholf, an Eagle and in its pursuit evidence the adage of history repeating itself is based on fact.

The Wholf in this case is Richard, a Pagosan for many years and a former Eagle Scout.

The Eagle is not just his but one which a fellow Pagosan - until now - earned but never received.

The historic fact is that both Wholf and David Schaefer completed their Eagle Scout projects decades ago.

The similarity is that in each case there was a misfiling or missed connection of information and the Eagle project records were lost.

In Wholf's case, there was someone who took up the cause. A scouting official who traced and tracked and provided proof of the project completion and won Wholf his award.

For Schaefer, there was no guiding angel to the award. His project, reroofing a church roof in the northern Nebraska community of Crofton, near the South Dakota border, was completed and documented.

But somehow, the paperwork became lost in or en route to the scouting district headquarters in Omaha.

He never received the award, but true to the cause, continued in scouting everywhere he has lived since, including the last seven-plus years in Pagosa Springs.

When Wholf learned that Schaefer was going to move back to Nebraska, he decided something must be done about the injustice.

He tracked former scout leaders who remembered the Schaefer project. The scoutmaster is now deceased, but the widow remembered Schaefer and his work. Others recalled the project.

But there was no paperwork to prove it.

Wholf said his first call to Omaha hinted problems. The person attempting to print out the records apparently pushed the delete button instead. Suddenly, he said, there was nothing there.

When it was time for a Pagosa Springs Eagle Scout ceremony recently, Wholf decided Schaefer should get his just reward.

As an adjunct to that ceremony, he presented his own Eagle award to Schaefer. His, documented, can be replaced. Shaefer's no longer documented effort cannot be awarded nationally because of a limit for such awards to scouts 18 and younger.

To satisfy Pagosa scouts, a photo of the presentation was staged, partly to prove in the future that it really did happen.

The Wholf caught the Eagle and an adage was proven more than a fable - Pagosa Springs style.


State seizes Ridgeview Mall, 'complete liquidation' ordered

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Business property at Ridgeview Mall has again come under new "ownership."

Due to apparent nonpayment of over $14,000 in state sales taxes and wage withholdings, the Colorado Department of Revenue recently seized the property and has ordered a "complete liquidation" of the premises.

As a result, Durango-based Treasure Auction Service has scheduled a public auction of the mall's contents for 11 a.m. Dec. 28.

According to Pat Story, co-owner of Treasure Auction, prospective bidders should bring proper identification with them and arrive early in order to hear itinerary details.

As for payment, "In most cases, the department of revenue has required cash or certified check on site," said Story.

The auction will include inventory items from Back Alley Bar and Grill, Local Motion Roller Skating and Check'RZ snack bar.

Story indicated a detailed listing of auction items will be advertised in next week's edition of The SUN.

The state seized the property Dec. 7, marking the second time this year the mall's interior has fallen silent due to apparent financial woes.

In late February, the "Pagosa Family Entertainment Center," also known as the "Pagosa Fun Place," closed its doors amid allegations of improper management of assets and lagging rental payments.

According to Archuleta County Sheriff's Department Detective George Daniels, criminal charges against former management stemming from that incident are still being investigated. The Colorado Division of Securities is assisting in the investigation.

Prior to its seizure by the state last week, the building housed Ridgeview Lanes, a subsequent business endeavor spearheaded by local resident Mike Chenoweth.


New Social Studies curriculum readied for schools

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

An entire new social studies curriculum is expected to be introduced in the Pagosa Springs school system next year.

The board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint accepted the proposal on first reading Tuesday and it will come up for final vote at the Jan. 11 meeting.

A draft of the curriculum plan is on display in the school district administrative offices on the junior high-intermediate school campus and can be read there by any member of the public.

The plan supersedes one submitted earlier in the year that was rejected by the board and sent back for revision.

Bill Esterbrook, high school principal, headed the staff committee which reworked the curriculum proposal.

Superintendent Duane Noggle said the faculty team spent more than a month and a half of hard, intense work to create the new format, based on new state standards.

Esterbrook told the board his panel audited the whole district curriculum in the topic "and found that somehow, it had gotten away from where it should be.

"We are making the changes to put us in line state mandates," he said. "The books have been ordered and we're making the changes we see as being necessary.

"We're doing everything we can, to bring the curriculum back where it should be," Esterbrook said. "I believe you'll see some dramatic changes in the future as the program is integrated through the system."

He noted the new format for writing curricula was developed by principals of all four schools in the district through consultation with the superintendent and representatives of the Board of Cooperative Services (a five-district cumulative effort system serving Southwest Colorado from offices in Durango).

Also accepted for first reading with approval expected in January was proposed elimination of one board policy, changes to two others, and the addition of two more to comply with state regulations.

In other action, the board:

- in keeping with its stated desire to visit all the schools in the district (the elementary school was first) scheduled a session Jan. 24 in Pagosa Springs High School, with focus on developments in the math and English departments;

- noted a vacancy will exist in 11 months on the Colorado Association of School Boards for the district serving Pagosa schools and encouraged any member to consider seeking the post;

- agreed to send a delegation to a CASB leadership conference Jan. 19 in Pueblo, specifically including new board member Matt Aragon who sat in his first board session Tuesday;

- approved payment of $308,709.70 in claims for the month of November; and

- on the recommendation of administration, approved the hiring of Jack Constant as a high school custodian, Barry Yount as transportation department mechanic, Brian Drahnak and Jennifer Sanchez as substitute teachers, Michelle Lee as a food service substitute, Jim Sellers, John Sjoblom and Terry Thornton as custodial substitutes, and Duane Shields as a custodial and bus driver substitute.


Property transfer surge has PLPOA directors alert

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Directors of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association plan to watch closely what is happening to property in the 26 subdivisions it contains.

The board heard Dec. 9 from Walt Lukasik, general manager, that by year's end, the association's accounting department will have processed approximately 1,200 property transfers this year.

Calling that an exceedingly high number, Lukasik said one out-of-state company is responsible for purchase of almost 350 lots in the community.

But even discounting those, he said, transfers for the year total 200 properties more than the average 650 per year.

With all that property transfer action, he said, construction permits for the year remain low with year-to-date totals of 96 single family residences, six multifamily projects and one mobile home.

Director Fred Ebeling said local real estate dealers have told him it appears the land acquisitions are not aimed at near-time homebuilding. Instead, he said, they feel the buyers intend to hold on to the property for resale, expecting to profit by the financing.

But, he said, "the Realtors here are worried."

Lukasik told the board he had met "with a principal" of the buying firm who indicated "only about 10 percent in any such acquisition are initially built out" and the rest normally are held for resale.

The ongoing "Property Owners Involvement and Input Initiative" committee, Lukasik said, has involved eight property owners and three others have volunteered.

Primary purpose of the panel is to aid in formulating marketing strategies aimed at gaining property owner participation in a review process.

They have been shown the "confusions" existing within current governing documents and difficulties in interpreting various conditions in the enforcement of those regulations, Lukasik said.

Committee members, he said, "have requested copies of enforcement documentation to study prior to the next meeting."

In conjunction with another ongoing property dispute, Lukasik reported a draft of an agreement concerning use of Village Lake had been received from counsel, reviewed, modified and then presented to subdivision property owners.

The dispute over location of a buoy line drew further recommendations for modification by the owners.

Several others within the buoy line area are reviewing the proposed agreement and a final draft is probably by the January meeting, Lukasik said.

"Be sure," board president David Bohl said, "that they are all aware that any decision by the property owners must be unanimous ... 100 percent agreement ... or it dies."


PLPOA budget approved; holds the line on dues

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Property owners living in the subdivisions which make up Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association got some good news Dec. 9.

As the board of directors adopted a budget for the new year, it was revealed the carryover from this year was enough to avoid an anticipated dues rate increase.

Instead, said Walt Lukasik, general manager, the dues will hold at $160, the same as this year. Directors had been anticipating a need for at least a $5 increase.

The budget, as adopted, allows for $1,483,777 in total operating expenses, with $98,686 transferred to the reserve fund which, with interest, would grow to over $100,000.

The budget notes $1,008,000 was billed in association dues for the new year and $996,834 is expected to be collected.

In fact, in excess of $959,000 already has been paid, representing a collection rate in excess of 95 percent.

That, Lukasik said, is about a half percent ahead of last year at this same time.

Total administrative expenses for the budget year were set at $561,223, which will include a new employee benefit that is expected to result in a saving to the association.

The benefit involves a change in the employee health insurance program, keeping Rocky Mountain HMO as the carrier, but taking advantage of recent federal legislation, creating a Health Reimbursement Arrangement for employees.

Under the HRA, the association will deposit $120 monthly into each employee's HRTA account, to be used by the employee for allowable health care expenses.

If the employee does not use all the funds in the plan during a calendar (plan) year, the funds will remain available to that employee for the next year of the plan. When the person ceases to be an employee, the HRA dollar amount up to the date of termination belongs to that individual.

The HRA is, in effect, owned by the individual, who is responsible for all procedures and fees related to the plan.

There will be no increase in overall cost to the association, Lukasik said.

And, he said, "because of our record of minimal health coverage claims and the fact we will be utilizing the HRA accounts, our actual health insurance premiums will be reduced."

In an aside, reference funding and income, Director Fred Ebeling said he has been a little surprised by recreation center use figures.

Only the aerobics room is showing an increase, he said, up about 22 percent.

All other rec center facility use figures are down, he said, from 14 to as much as 87 percent (for the basketball area).

"These are significant differences," he said, "and we need to keep an eye on what it may mean down the road."

He noted basketball use always falls off in winter and the upcoming heavy ski season influx may well boost other uses to near normal.

  Further talks between town and Honts appear unlikely

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A meeting between town officials and Village at Wolf Creek developer Bob Honts appears unlikely.

Mayor Ross Aragon said Tuesday that after a meeting scheduled with the Community Vision Council Dec. 6 had to be canceled, agreement on a second meeting had not been reached.

Honts, chief executive officer and managing venturer of The Village at Wolf Creek, also known as the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, agreed to consider meeting with town officials late in November when the council took a first look at a resolution in opposition to the project.

In both November and December, local citizens called on the Pagosa Springs Town Council to take action opposing the development because of concerns regarding its size, impacts on the environment and overflow impacts on the local community.

If it becomes reality, The Village at Wolf Creek will occupy roughly 290 acres of private land in the Alberta Park area, entirely within Mineral County and adjacent to Wolf Creek Ski Area.

The resulting community would include a maximum of 1,200 hotel rooms, 222,000 square feet of commercial space, 129 lots for single-family usage and 1,643 multifamily units. The project was approved with conditions by Mineral County Commissioners last month.

The town council held off addressing its resolution to give the developer time to respond.

The sticking point has apparently been the structure of such a meeting.

"I am reluctant to meet with just him," Aragon said. "If we're going to meet, I wanted to meet in an open, public meeting. I have ensured him it would be orderly and civil, decorum would be preserved."

In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Honts said although he "wasn't interested in a public hearing," he'd agreed two separate times to meet with the Community Vision Council, town officials and members of the local media to address their concerns.

"I don't need to ask the city to take any official action on this," he said. "I'm not looking to get up in front of 200 or 300 or 9,000 people."

That, he said, has been his position in a total of six letters sent to the mayor since Oct. 21 when Mineral County officials asked him to address some concerns raised by Pagosa Springs.

A meeting with members of the vision council was initially set for Dec. 6. That was canceled because vision council co-chair David Brown was unavailable.

Aragon said after that Honts was given three alternative dates, Dec. 13, 14 or 17. "He didn't call back," the mayor said.

"I told him we were doing this out of respect," Aragon said. "You asked the town board to wait until you could talk with the CVC and then have a meeting with the town board. Neither one of those things have happened."

Honts said a second meeting was scheduled for the afternoon of Dec. 17 only that, too, was canceled.

There's also some discrepancy regarding the town's list of concerns which were reported to have been delivered to Honts Dec. 7. The developer said he did not receive them until late Dec. 13.

Aragon said the questions which focused on traffic, water and wastewater as well as more localized impacts of the project, were sent three different times earlier in December and appeared to transmit correctly.

No matter what the confusion, Honts said he would have been prepared to answer the questions this Friday as well as any other questions raised at the meeting. He said he has also suggested the town put together an advisory committee that could continue to address questions about the village as development occurs.

The Pagosa Springs council has set a special meeting for Dec. 21 at noon to reconsider the resolution opposing the project.

Can the eighth-grade veterans breakfast become national?

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Should the increasingly popular eighth-grade breakfast for veterans on Veteran's Day become a nationwide event?

The suggestion arose during Tuesday's meeting of the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

Board president Mike Haynes said he continues to get comments from the community about the sincerity, dramatic presentation and immense satisfaction the event generates.

Chris Hinger, junior high principal, said the original idea was developed by Dan Janowsky five years ago and it began on a small scale.

"But Dan kept after it and even after he moved to the high school, it has continued to grow," Hinger added.

There are now poetry and artistic efforts displayed by the children, they have learned to greet, meet, eat with and talk to the veterans, he said, and the veterans, too, "seem to feel more comfortable. They want to talk. They appreciate the interest."

The event, he said, "has become a living history of how these generations of veterans have served, a method of expanding the lessons learned about history in the classroom."

One person even asked, he said, "Why can't this be done nationally?"

"What a cool idea," remarked Haynes. "Just picture every eighth-grade class in the nation hosting veterans from their community at the same time on Veteran's Day."

"I don't know how we could get something started on such a scale," he said, "but it would be great to see it happen."

Asphalt plant electrical fire causes $30,000 damage

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

An electrical trailer at a local asphalt plant was gutted by fire Dec. 10.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said someone driving by Strohecker's batch plant on Mill Creek Road called in a sighting of flames and smoke. Ten firefighters with four pieces of equipment responded just before 11:30 p.m.

It took about 20 minutes to knock down the blaze, Grams said, but about an hour to put it out completely because of the electrical panels involved.

"We had a lot of fire inside traveling through the insulation of the trailer," he said. Fire nearly destroyed the floor, making it an extra challenge for the entry team. "Thankfully none of the transformers exploded," Grams said.

Damage was estimated at around $30,000. No one was injured in the blaze.


Helping Hand still needs cash donations

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

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.

Monetary donations are still needed by Operation Helping Hand to fill toy and gift requests not taken from boards posted at local businesses by Dec. 12, as well as to purchase food for Christmas dinner boxes.

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

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


'Our Lady of Guadalupe' feast Sunday

St. Peter/St. Rose Catholic Church in Arboles will celebrate its annual "Our Lady of Guadalupe" feast day Sunday with mass beginning at 12:15 p.m.

After mass, there will be a roast beef dinner with all the trimmings and many goodies, a silent auction, a fish pond for children and a raffle/giveaway.

All are invited to attend, with proceeds helping pay the insurance bill for the church and hall.

 Toys for Tots drive underway

For the first time this year, Pagosa Springs has its own Marine Corps League Toys for Tots campaign.

Right now there are only four drop-off locations here, according to Robert Dobbins who is coordinating the local effort.

Those sites are Pagosa Springs Community Center, the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office, Navajo Laundry and Triple A Propane.

Dobbins said the League seeks new, unused, unwrapped toys for children of all ages.

While it is being run this year as an adjunct to a long-organized program in Durango which has sent toys to Pagosa in the past, he hopes to make it a locally organized and operated effort by a Pagosa Springs branch of the league.

Right now there are only four members while Durango has about 60. Seven are required to establish a local unit of the League.

Donations by check can also be accepted at Toys for Tots, PO Box 2543, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147.

Toys collected locally, Dobbins said, will be turned over to the Department of Social Services for distribution. Monies donated will go to the Durango unit until such time as a separate Pagosa organization is founded.

But Durango, he said, shares readily with Pagosa Springs if it learns of youngsters who are not going to have a real Christmas.

Anyone interested in joining the planned local unit of the Marine Corps League may call Dobbins at 731-2482.



Omnibus bill establishes permanent access fees for public land recreation

By Kitty Benzar

Special to The SUN

Despite a last-minute outpouring of letters and phone calls and a flood of negative editorials, an Ohio congressman has forced a measure through Congress to implement permanent access fees for recreation on all land managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation.

Ralph Regula, R-Ohio, the original architect of the unpopular Recreational Fee Demonstration Program (Fee Demo), attached his bill as a rider to the giant omnibus appropriations bill.

Originally passed Nov. 20, the omnibus unexpectedly had to be revisited by Congress because of language objectionable to privacy-rights groups that would have allowed certain members of Congress to scrutinize individual tax returns.

The omnibus bill passed Monday evening, Dec. 6.

Opponents of Regula's bill seized the opportunity to mobilize a massive phone call and letter-writing campaign in a last-ditch attempt to delete it before the final vote. Despite thousands of letters and phone calls and press coverage coast to coast, the effort failed. Fee opponents have vowed to take their fight to the next Congress.

The fee bill, HR 3283 or the Recreational Access Tax (RAT), allows the federal land management agencies to charge access fees for recreational use of public lands by the general public. It has been highly controversial and is opposed by hundreds of organizations, state legislatures, county governments and rural Americans.

"This is a bad bill and it is a bad tax. It will not be accepted by the American people," said Robert Funkhouser, president of the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition, one of the groups coordinating opposition to public lands fees. "It was forced through without passing the House or any hearings or debate much less a vote in the Senate. Such a major change in policy should be done in an open public process not behind closed doors. Congressman Regula has sold out America's precious heritage of public lands."

Key provisions of the RAT include permanent recreation fee authority for National Forests and BLM land as well as all land managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Park Service. Failure to pay the fees will be a criminal offense.

Drivers, owners, and occupants of vehicles not displaying either a daily or annual pass will be presumed guilty of failure to pay and can all be charged, without obligation by the government to prove their guilt. The measure encourages agencies to contract with private companies and other non-governmental entities to manage public lands. The bill also establishes a national, interagency annual pass called the America the Beautiful Pass, expected to cost $85-$100 initially.

"Congressman Regula has claimed that fees will be limited to only highly developed facilities," said Funkhouser. "But the actual language is very broad and contains internal contradictions. The RAT prohibits entrance fees for Forest Service and BLM managed lands on one hand and authorizes basic or standard fees for the very same lands on the other. It gives the agencies a free hand to decide how large an area a fee can apply to, and it calls for essentially only a toilet in order to qualify. Make no mistake, this bill transfers ownership of our public lands from the taxpaying public to the agencies. These agencies have a long history of financial bungling and mismanagement, and should have more congressional oversight, not less."

Fee opponents plan to work closely with the incoming 109th Congress to repeal the Regula bill, and anticipate strong bipartisan support in both houses.

In the meantime the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition will be monitoring agency implementation of the RAT to ensure that the agencies do not implement fees outside this new law. Regula's bill failed to attract a single western sponsor but was cosponsored by seven eastern congressmen.

Regula is seeking to become chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and is running into stiff opposition from Congressmen Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and Hal Rogers, R-Ky. While Regula has no public land in his district, both Lewis and Rogers district's have vast tracts of Forest Service and/or BLM managed public lands.


High Country Reflections

Calendar says winter's due; we know it's here

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

It is early December and, according to the two calendars in my office, winter is still a week away. However, as any southern Colorado resident living at 7,000 feet knows, it actually began suddenly one night just after Thanksgiving, when a sharp northerly wind brought plummeting temperatures, and the season's first real snowstorm cloaked even the lowest mountain valleys in a thick blanket of white.

Of course, I'm being somewhat facetious in referencing two different definitions of the same term in the same context. Like most expressions in the English language, the word "winter" holds several meanings, although most of us think of it as one of the four "seasons" we enjoy here between the northern 23rd and 66th Parallels. Generally speaking, winter is a broadly definable period of time largely relevant to our global position and/or elevation. But scientifically, it also marks a specific time frame between two definitive astrophysical events which, more or less, coincides with our winter season.

Webster's defines winter as, "the coldest season of the year: in the North Temperate Zone, generally regarded as including the months of December, January, and February." It also describes it as, "in the astronomical year, that period between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox."

Thus, when the calendar suggests that winter is still weeks away, it is because scientifically, it begins on the winter solstice, or about December 21. But here at 7,000 feet, we know the winter season has begun when days are short, nighttime temperatures drop to single digits, and the snow accumulates ever deeper with each passing storm.

Despite science, reference to a calendar, or even the cold and snow, a multitude of other indications suggest winter is upon us. For instance, we gaze upon wide-ranging aspen forests, or the Narrowleaf Cottonwoods lining our valley floors, and we see sleeping deciduous trees and low-lying shrubbery stark and leafless against a backdrop of white. Vast stands of pine, Engelmann Spruce, and Douglas fir stretch upward toward treeline, their boughs more frosted with every apparent gain in elevation. And the peaks themselves are pure white, buried in a deep mantle of snow that has piled up since October.

In town, traffic has slowed and neighborhoods are quiet, with only the soft serenades of Mountain Chickadees, or the more animated call of a raven, interrupting the tranquil drone of afternoon breezes wafting through the ponderosas. Surrounding meadows that were once alive with ground squirrels and Gunnison's Prairie Dogs, are now fields of white, occasionally frequented by herds of elk in search of easier fodder. Meanwhile, valley rivers and streams that were once tumbling cascades of pure crystalline flow, are reduced to mere trickles in channels newly clogged with considerable layers of ice.

For Jackie and me, the arrival of winter over the past couple of years has meant a resumption of caretaking duties of a hundred-year-old country home south of town. The dwelling is part of a seasonal commercial property, and sits at the base of a north-facing slope covered with ponderosa pines and Colorado Blue Spruce. Several towering spruces encircle the house, which sits neatly tucked under a thick canopy of branches and boughs, and from the lowest of branches, three substantial bird feeders dangle just outside the large living room picture windows.

Happily, the property owners are devoted animal lovers, and each season, leave us with several containers of wild bird seed for the feeders. As periodic storms roll through, and the surrounding snow pack steadily mounts, a growing array of birds fly in each day for the comparatively easy spoils.

Among them, a small band of Gray-headed Juncos are usually the first to arrive. Fiercely competitive, these little sparrow-like birds have white outer tail feathers that appear to "flash" in flight, and with astounding speed and agility, they take turns chasing each other from the feeders to small branches in the spruces above.

Not long after daybreak, a mix of slightly smaller Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees appear. With brilliant black and white markings and an incredible metabolic rate, they seem constantly excited, as their acrobatic feeding frenzies keep them darting back and forth from the feeders to various perches on the ground or in the canopy. All the while, White-breasted Nuthatches constantly come and go, but are usually content with crawling (head first) up and down the tree trunks, watching for larger seeds dropped by the smaller juncos and chickadees.

Of course, other birds occasionally frequent the feeders, including Steller's Jays, magpies, and even the odd raven. But a new favorite this year, that we hadn't seen (or noticed) before, is the tiny Red-breasted Nuthatch. Unlike their larger white-breasted cousins, these colorful, streamlined little tree-climbers readily come to the feeders throughout the day.

Interestingly, as the onset of winter brings birds to the feeders, it also brings a large gathering of elk to the hillside across the highway. At some point each year, high-country snows drive them down, and for about four months, we see dozens of them every dawn and late afternoon. Early one Saturday morning, I quickly counted 52 cows and calves, and from my particular vantage point (inside the living room window), I could only see about a third of the total hillside.

While changing weather patterns may be the most obvious signs of winter's return, the movements of many birds, mammals, and other wild creatures are clear signals of seasonal change. Robins and bluebirds have left the area in favor of a warmer southern climate, while Bald Eagles, following a six-month absence, have returned from the summer breeding grounds of Alaska and British Columbia. Black bears, marmots, and ground squirrels have all gone into winter hibernation, and stream-borne trout have slipped into a state of stasis at the bottom of the deepest pools available.

Winter is here, even if the calendar still says autumn. I know, because the cats seem content remaining indoors, there is a slight chill in the room, and the stove needs another load of pellets.



Chaotic morass

Dear Editor:

I have always admired your quick wit, biting sarcasm, opulent use of verbiage and great knowledge of all things "food." To the last item, you are truly the Julia Child of journalism. However, I was a bit surprised at your "Editors note" comments to my last letter, particularly the thin veil of condescension hidden within your politically correct, "fair and balanced", and I might add, very sensitive rebuttal in defense of the "left."

In regard to "trust in the Constitution," you and I would be in total agreement, if it were not as John Adams said: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious (Christian) people; it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Relativism, an invention of the liberal left and secularist, has left our society in a chaotic morass of determining what is right and wrong and ultimately what is truth.

Liberalism, is no more compatible with our Constitution today than slavery was in the 19th century. Today's liberals must change the meaning of a word, concept or thought in order for it to line up with their particular agenda, which, ultimately always seems to be "I have rights."

Rights of course that are not based upon documents of the Republic, interpreted under the "intent" of the authors of those documents, but rather from a rebellious and selfish bent on "what's best for me."

"Positive and productive coexistence of diverse peoples and points of view"? I would argue from history that "positive and productive," might be "relative" terms "thoughtful and devout" people on both sides, might be willing to go to war for. One could once again argue that the 19th century liberal notion that slavery as an evil, was worthy of going to war over.

When one studies the events leading up to America's Civil War, one must also conclude that it took very little to provoke a country into the slaughter of 600,000 human beings. Lincoln's administration butchered the Constitution, in order to bring a tragic and moral evil to an end in America.

Lastly, my comments last week, were mostly directed to the body of Christ here in Pagosa. Your reaction was precisely why the letter was written. Most of the "Frozen chosen", could care less what freedoms have been sacrificed on the alters of convenience, unity, recreation, comfort and relativism. After all, just the privilege of living in Pagosa Springs ought to be enough to keep people of Christian conscience silenced. Idolatry comes in strange packages.

Be blessed!

William Bennett


Time for change

Dear Editor:

This letter is to my long silent fellow Republicans who once were willing to admit a degree of moderate thinking on domestic matters, but who remained silent when the party was hijacked.

My question is: Where do you want to go from here?

A well executed national campaign with a disastrous war lurking in the background, plus a cynical assault on handpicked "moral" issues, carried the day. We won it all. However that day has passed and the same domestic problems that have been growing in magnitude for four years are still with us.

Who is going to initiate a party movement to deal with jobs, education, medical care and the various critical social support programs that have been starved out for lack of funding?

How long does it take to recognize that the current economic boom is a jobless recovery that has left the working middle class out?

In the heat of the campaign the designation of "liberal" was so vilified and demonized that progressive thinking about economic and social issues has become a form of treason.

So do we now ignore the existing problems for fear of being thought to be "too liberal?"

As a third generation republican and 40 years as a "Rockefeller Republican" I remember when fiscal conservatism and social awareness were successful and party members were proud to be considered moderate. These same people brought Colorado out of the economic dark ages.

It is time to be heard and take the party back.

Glenn Bergmann


Leave it alone

Dear Editor:

If the members of the CVC wanted a real plan, instead of saying let's hurry and ruin what's left of this area before it changes, they'd do everything possible to keep it from changing - thereby preserving what's left of the quality of life in this area. This would surely lead to a real plan, which no one is interested in.

Those promoting this are people from elsewhere, but they have facilitators from here. They intend to do big city things in order to preserve our small town atmosphere. This is absolutely moronic. What they're really trying to do is feather their nests and then brag about how they saved Pagosa by wrecking it.

They are asking for opinions, commitment, encouragement. Well, here are all of these rolled into one brilliant concept: Leave it alone. If something doesn't need changing, just leave it alone and it'll get along without the CVC's devastating plan to be.

The planner says to "build upon our two greatest assets ... the river corridor ..." I say don't touch the river or its banks. Once again, leave something alone. Leave a place for the wildlife for once. The wetlands need to be left alone also. Why do people detest this area so much? The environment must really have betrayed them. Incidentally, the conservation easement that the Town of Pagosa Springs supposedly deeded to the people has now been trashed by big rocks. These rocks should have gone for making gravel on the pass, thus sparing still another nice place from being mined.

Nobody can improve upon what God has given us and those who think they can are arrogant beyond measure and they wind up destroying what they touch. They have nothing but contempt for what He has given us. If they can spoil as much as possible for those who live here, they have more control. It's a method of demoralization.

Somehow these types are afraid of the natural environment. They're also jealous because they know good and well they cannot do better and this is another reason for their wanton destruction of this area: to get rid of the proof. But will God forget them?

No. Reservoir Hill doesn't need any more trails. Mankind has besieged it too much already.

We don't need commercial buildings or establishments right on the river banks, either.

These aren't creative ideas - they're destructive ideas.

Here's what the so-called vision committee should do. They should have all the Realtors sell only to smart people from now on as they have heretofore discriminated against same, obviously. They also need to get rid of 90 percent of the heavy equipment that's in the county now.

The natural environment is too sophisticated for them and our biodiversity overwhelms them.

Whose town and whose county are these, anyway?

John Feazel


Not cutesy

Dear Editor:

To members of the Community Vision Council:

We came to live in Pagosa Springs in 1968. We wanted to raise our four children here, run our ranch, and enjoy the beauty of the area and its small town ambiance.

We didn't come here with the idea of changing Pagosa Springs, but to be a part of the community.

We attended the presentation meeting put on by your group and we are opposed to the idea of overhauling our little town. Your proposed changes would be dramatic and might make it appealing to tourists, but not to locals.

We don't have to be a cutesy town. One of the things that attract them here is the small town atmosphere and its eclectic look yet what is proposed will destroy all of that. Do we really need more gift shops, hotels, motels, resorts and bed and breakfast inns?

If all those new facilities that are mentioned in your plans are built, the ones we already have here will be struggling to stay in business.

Is that your objective? You have said that growth is inevitable. So why would you want to market us? Just so a few could make more money?

Please listen to us all.

Elaine and Burt Hyde


No evidence

Dear Editor:

While watching television this past week, I saw Chris Matthews interview the author of an article on the birth of Jesus that will appear next week on the news stands.

Since he claimed the article represented an attempt to bring scholarly opinion to the question of the Christmas story, and since I've done some graduate study in the area, I availed myself of a copy from the Internet. To my surprise I found that much of the article was based on presuppositions of what might or might not have happened rather than hard evidence.

Here are some observations:

St. Matthew did indeed use a Greek translation for his famous "Behold a virgin shall conceive," but it was from the Septuagint which was translated by rabbis from Hebrew to Greek in 200 B.C.

St. Luke does indeed speak of Jesus being born in a stable while Matthew talks of a home. Why? It took the Magi nearly two years to get by caravan from Persia to Palestine. We know this because of Herod's order to kill the male children two years and under (Matt. 2:16). Joseph, being a good parent, had moved to better accommodations.

There was indeed census taking in the Roman empire (contra Raymond Brown). A papyrus discovered by archaeologist Wm. Ramsay in the late 1800s and dated c.104, tells of regular census taking that required citizens to return to their tribal homes for the occasion (20th Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. I, pg. 222). In c. 200 Tertullian refers to a Roman census having been ordered around the time of Jesus' birth.

Since both Matthew and Luke make it very clear that Mary and Joseph were descended from David, such a census would have required them to return to Bethlehem for the occasion.

Finally, the suggestion that the disciples who were Jewish and from the working class employed the sophisticated writing methods of Plutarch is so absurd that it deserves no comment.

True, Luke was a Grecian doctor, but he is the only non Jewish writer in the entire Bible. He took his sources from the disciples who were tax collectors and fishermen (Luke 1: 1-4).

Phil Janowsky


Lucky town

Dear Editor:

Regarding the letter to the editor from Zach Mayne in the Dec. 2 issue of your paper, what a marvelous response!

No matter what his politics, religion, whatever, his well thought-out, well documented statements are very impressive. Pagosa is lucky to have young people like him to help us old folks.

Jim McLaughlin

Midland, Texas


Wrong star

Dear Editor:


Several have challenged me about my "Star" comment in a recent letter to the editor.

I thought I described the "Lone Star Ranch" sign, viewed when sitting at the stop sign on U.S. 84 when waiting to turn onto U.S. 160.

It is illuminated at night. It is so large it looks, to me and our arriving visitors, as if they are entering a town called "Lone Star."

I was as offended as any resident when I learned of the vandalism to the star on Reservoir hill, illuminated during the holiday season. I am glad to hear the Rotary is assuming maintenance and upkeep of those signs and applaud the work of Beta Sigma Phi sorority over the years in presenting this simple elegant message.

The more important issue of my letter was my support for the planning process concerning our town, how it will grow and look in the future.

I am sorry that got lost in the fuss over the star.

"Ed, darn it, proof read - prior to hitting the send button!"


Ed Lowrance


Three views

Dear Editor:

In recent months the Village at Wolf Creek and a downtown redevelopment plan have been brought to our doorsteps here in Pagosa Springs. How should we respond to these developers? Allow me to describe three Pagosa scenes to answer that.

The first is the very scene I'm blessed to view from my own doorstep: The distinctive curves of Chimney Rock with the walls of the Great House Pueblo highlighted by snow. Sometimes bald eagles fly in the canyon between my house and the ancient kivas. Just last week a cow elk went bounding up the hillside as we watched from our window.

The second scene is also one we should all recognize: Steam from the hot springs searing the morning sky as we drive into old Pagosa on an icy winter morning. Liberty Theatre, the river, the hot springs themselves and the structures of The Springs meld together to form a view we all appreciate...

The third scene is what I have to view each time I drive home into Pagosa: The road outside town is lined with chain link fencing, garish signs, self-storage warehouses, even a geodesic dome and a circus tent. Abandoned cars, neglected boats and trailers, and an occasional scrap pile to punctuate the view...

All three of these scenes are forms of development, but only two of them show us that development doesn't have to be ugly. Pagosa is enhanced by development that has been done in a responsible and creative way. But what lies outside of town shows us that unbridled development can simply ruin the surroundings.

In listening to Dave Brown of the Community Vision Council and Bob Honts of the Village at Wolf Creek, I hear a common thread: What they envision are places that look like a town within a National Park. When I think of the Awahnee Hotel at Yosemite or Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone, I certainly don't think "eyesore." Those structures contribute to a sense of place, and neither of those parks would be the same without them. Certainly some would say the parks should be left in their most pristine and untouched condition, but who can appreciate a place you can't drive to or stay in?

What I fear is that our town's opposition to development only opens us up to the very worst aspects of development. At one time those on the edge of town probably felt they were free from encroaching development, when instead they only got the worst of it by not planning for it.

We can't turn back the hands of time, nor can we give future generations Pagosa Springs as it is now, and I doubt we even should try. Instead, let's be part of moulding and shaping Pagosa into the type of place our children will want to stay in and return to. Rejecting development isn't the way to do that; harnessing it into something that serves us all might just be the best way.

Britt Muhlig

Editor's note: There is no organizational or conceptual connection between the Community Vision Council and Mr. Honts and others involved with the proposed Village at Wolf Creek. The two are entirely separate ventures.


Better alternative

Dear Editor:

In first grade a cute little blonde girl named Mary Purse impressed the whole class when she brought to school a red pencil just like Ms. Samaniego's grading pencil. Mary's fame was so compelling that the next day, I took a similar red pencil to class.

Mary saw mine and claimed it as hers, whereupon Miss Samaniego took it away and gave it to Mary. She had her pencil and now she had mine as well, leaving me bereft. I didn't like Mary until the next year when she told me I was her boyfriend.

Now the U.S. Forest Service in its infinite "wisdom" proposed to take away my (our, the public's) Oak Brush Hill sanctuary and give it to a wealthy developer to scar and devastate all we moved to Pagosa to escape. Does anyone among the public that is supposedly served by the Forest Service really desire this trade? I haven't heard of a single one, except the wealthy developer who stands to make millions out of our loss.

The list of losers in this land swap is long and includes you and me (the public): campers, hikers, hunters, skiers, snowshoers, horsemen, surrounding property owners who paid a high premium for their land bordering national forest, resident elk, migrating elk, resident deer, bear, lions, squirrels, fox, rabbits, etc. I have shared this pocket of paradise with all of these, and pray that I may continue to do so.

I have a better suggestion. How about purchasing the adjacent 1,600-acre former Dolese ranch from the Smiths and combining it with Oak Brush Hill to make an even better refuge for wildlife and for us! Everyone would be a winner and the Forest Service would really be serving the public.

Please, everyone, let the Forest Service (Glenn Raby or Jo Bridges) know how you feel while there is still time to save our little piece of heritage, beauty, and life.

Glenn Rutherford


Dump fee foe

Dear Editor:

I feel the county commissioners are making a huge mistake in approving a landfill fee hike.

This "use-more, pay-more" premise is going to lead to a use-less premise until we get free dumping during clean-up week in the spring premise.

A fee increase may not hurt someone who gets 40K plus benefits a year but to a senior citizen on a fixed income or someone who needs a food basket, or someone making a whole lot less than the commissioners, faced with a higher heating bills, outrageous gas, food and medical bills it can make a big difference.

I encourage the commissioners to tour the Dumpster sites next year during clean-up week and see all the hundreds of appliances, tires and piles of trash and realize that if people could afford to pay a reasonable price to get rid of it, they would; and also realize that all of this trash is headed for the landfill at a higher cost to the county.

To discontinue free dumping during that time would turn Archuleta County into a back road dump site which would cost the county even more to clean up.

If the landfill can't be self-sufficient without charging what many citizens can't afford, then subsidize the cost, because the alternative will cost even more in the long run.

For those of you who have your trash picked up, you had better put aside some extra money because it is only a matter of a month or so until rates will take a big jump up

I hope the commissioners will reconsider the fee increase. I am sure that any tourist, hunter or EPA official who stumbles over a discarded mattress or washing machine in the mountains really won't care that we have a landfill that is self-sufficient.

Maybe the sheriff's department can start having bake sales and also become self-sufficient and we can use those tax dollars that we saved to build a bigger airport so all the thousands of residents can use it to park our corporate jets.

Richard Sutherland


It can be saved

Dear Editor:

When I first saw Old Grey he was sitting in motion not far from Alberta Peak, his sharp eyes focused through the snowflakes, into the dark forest below.

There! He sees her, the silver-gray flash of his once alpha female, moving quickly through the trees, snow flying, old memories and emotions experienced as if today. After her he howls! If I catch her there'll be puppies by spring!

Released from his cage of steel, a short glide, and the pursuit is on. Faster and faster down the hillside as gray, white and green are all a blur, until once again, side-by-side and stride-for-stride, they glide deeper into the forest. Just a day in the life of

The Grey Wolf Skier


Some would say,

I've passed my prime.

My body all

played out with time.


Yet when I am skiing

in the Wild,

I'm excited as

a precious child.


We ski for joy now,

no longer for the show.

The gift of one more day,

on this side of the snow.


That summer, three wolf pups were seen playing on the slopes of Serendipity. The pup's names? Spring, Hope and Eternal.

The fragile heritage of Colorado's Wolf Creek, once protected by the public through our Forest Service was offered in trade to satisfy the development interests of Mr. McCombs, a Texas billionaire. Although the trade compromised federal policy of protecting the continuity and ecological integrity of the public's forests, Mr. McCombs' request was hastily approved.

However, if there is sufficient interest, the Wolf Creek property could be returned to the public through the legal rights of Colorado. In Colorado, eminent domain has been used to create green belts and preserve wildlife habitat for the greater benefit. Colorado's valued heritage of encouraging public use of ecologically sensitive areas, under policies that preserve the integrity of the high-mountain environment, need not be compromised.

As a former Colorado resident I'm optimistic that Wolf Creek can be preserved, both for its intrinsic ecological value as a wildlife corridor, as well as for human enjoyment. Although eminent domain is not a trivial right, and best applied with caution, such application would seem justified with respect to Wolf Creek.

Fair and just compensation must be provided to the property owner. Federal documents list the value of the Wolf Creek property as equivalent or less than the value of the grazing land Mr. McCombs provided in trade. The unique arrangement of skiing and ecological protection of Wolf Creek can be preserved if we realize that only once can wolves and wildlife watch silently from the shadows of the receding forest; effort and participation are required.

Ohmygollygosh! I forgot all about those wolf pups. What's on your minds young pups; do you believe your parents are good stewards of creation? And just what do you think you can do to secure the future of your heart's desire?

Please keep little Hope alive, become engaged.

William J. Todd

Baton Rouge, La.


Pray for McCombs

Dear Editor:

To Mr. Red McCombs and Mr. Bob Honts:

I wish to let you know that so many of us are praying for you and your decision to destroy the awesome beauty of God and nature at the Alberta meadows at Wolf Creek Ski area.

We cannot understand how any one would wish to destroy such beauty that so many thousands of people yearly enjoy so much - the peace, the quiet, the recharging of one's batteries as we view and enjoy the splendor of this awesome area that you wish to destroy for ever with your village of condos.

Personally, I would think that no one would ever wish to have their name used in vain by thousand of people each day of each year as they view or experience that village that you wish to construct.

Your name will be used in vain by all who treasure the beauty of God and nature forever, for you are spoiling this beauty forever.

I would choose to have my name praised by thousands each and every day forever; I would choose to have people say "Atta Boy" or God Bless to my name rather than use my name in vain. I would donate this land to the land grant, forever preserving this beautiful place for people to enjoy.

A small neat marble statue could be positioned in the middle of this beautiful area, letting everyone forever know that you two donated this beautiful place to be enjoyed by all following generations forever and ever plus a day.

We pray that God is in your heart, mind and planning and that you choose to keep this place as it was designed by God and nature, keep it natural.

I thank you for this consideration, may God direct you and bless you.


Gale Tuggle


Kate's Calendar

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist


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.


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.

Dec. 19

Grand opening of N.O.R.A, the National Organization for Recovering Alcoholics and Addicts at Vista Clubhouse, 3 p.m.

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

Teen Center hours listed for holidays

By Mercy Korsgren

Special to The PREVIEW

Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is busy preparing for this joyous holiday.

Our youth will be out of school starting next week and we wish to inform all concerned that the Teen Center regular hours are: Monday 1-5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday 1-8 p.m. and Saturday 4-8 p.m.

We are closed Sundays.

In observance of the coming holidays, the community center will be closed Dec. 24-26 and Dec. 31-Jan. 2. However, the Teen Center will be available for our teens 4-8 p.m. Dec. 24 and Jan. 31 in addition to the regular hours.

Jean Johnson, our new fill-in staff member will be available to supervise the teens.

This Friday is movie night and the title of the movie is "Eight Crazy Nights," starring Adam Sandler. It is about an animated Christmas story. Refreshments will be served.

The Teen Center is part of the community center at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. The phone number is 264-4152, Ext. 31.


Unitarians tree-lighting set Sunday

This Sunday, Dec. 19, members and friends of the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold their annual Holiday Service, featuring the special tree lighting ceremony which has become a part of this Fellowship's tradition.

Individuals are invited to come forward to the unlighted tree and tell of a memorable happening in the past year which has had a meaningful effect on them. As they do so, they will turn a bulb on the tree to make it light, resulting in a fully illuminated tree at the end of the program. A family potluck will follow the program.

This service will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Fellowship's new permanent home in Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign.

As always, all are welcome.


Traditional Christmas Eve candlelight services at Our Savior Lutheran

By Julie Martinez

Special to The PREVIEW

Our Savior Lutheran Church once again will host two traditional candlelight worship services on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, the first at 7 p.m. and the second at 9.

Both services feature the wonderful scriptural account of the birth of our Lord, singing by warm candlelight (candles provided), and accompaniment by organ, brass instruments and acoustic guitar. All are welcome to join us in celebrating the coming of our Messiah.

Our Savior Lutheran School's Christmas Program will be presented 7 p.m. today in the school gymnasium. This is always a well-attended event, so plan to come a little early.

Our Savior Lutheran Church and School are at 56 Meadows Drive, at U.S. 160 on the west side of town.

In-Step's New Year's Eve Ball is open to all

The In Step Dance Club's New Year's Eve Ball is slated 7 p.m.-midnight Friday, Dec. 31, in the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave.

Everyone (21 or older) is invited to join the dining, dancing and entertainment. It is a potluck dinner, so bring a main or side dish. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and desserts are provided.

"One man's junk is another man's treasure," as they say, so join the fun by bringing a wrapped white elephant gift to exchange.

Formal dress is suggested but not required, as the hall will be beautifully decorated with festive ambiance.

There will be lots of dancing to a variety of CD music as well as dance exhibitions performed by some of the In-Steppers, including a group demonstration of "The Tango Lesson."

A champagne toast at midnight will complete the evening.

For more information, call Deb Aspen at 731-3338.

Helping Hand still needs cash donations

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

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.

Monetary donations are still needed by Operation Helping Hand to fill toy and gift requests not taken from boards posted at local businesses by Dec. 12, as well as to purchase food for Christmas dinner boxes.

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

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.


Artwork sought for Four Corners exhibit

Entry forms are available at Durango Arts Center for the 2005 Four Corners Commission exhibit scheduled Jan. 7-Feb. 5.

This juried exhibit invites regional artists to submit work that exemplifies the diversity of heritage and uniqueness of the Four Corners region.

Juror for the exhibit will be Krista Elrick of Santa Fe who holds both BFA and MFA degrees in photography. She will select the works to be presented in the exhibit as well as choose the award winners. For more information see Elrick.

Artwork must be dropped off for jury consideration on Tuesday, Jan. 4. Prizes include $500 for best of show plus postcard reproduction of the winning artwork; a $100 juror's choice award; a $75 merit award; and a $75 people's choice award selected by gallery visitors.

Additional awards and exhibit opportunities are offered through Durango Area Tourism Office.

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

For more information on the show, call 259-2606.


Loaves and Fishes 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.


Education center seeks activity instructor

Would you like to share some of your favorite activities with kids?

The Archuleta County Education Center is looking for a Friday afternoon activities instructor to do just that.

Fun Fridays begin at 1:15 p.m. and are filled with exciting activities such as crafts, art projects and physical fitness games, or maybe you have an activity you would like to teach to children.

Students in kindergarten through fourth-grade participate in the program.

If you are interested, call 264-2835.


Perfect time to get involved in Girl Scouts

By Jennifer Kemp

Special to the PREVIEW

Are you a girl between 5 and 17 years old? Would you like to have fun and meet new friends? Do you know a girl who would like to have adventures and learn new talents?

Then Girl Scouts is the answer! You can register for Girl Scouts at any time, and now is the perfect time to get involved.

Girl Scouts offers girls the opportunity to build courage, confidence, and character in a safe and educational environment. Through activities and programs, girls have fun, meet new friends, and build life long skills for the future.

Registration is $10 and financial assistance is available. For more information about Girl Scouting in the Southwest Colorado area, contact Kathy Kasper, membership development director for the Durango/Southwest Colorado area, at 247-2713 today.

Girl Scouts of Chaparral Council, Inc. serves more than 6,800 girls and 2,500 adults in nine counties in New Mexico and five counties in southwestern Colorado. Chaparral Council is committed to helping girls, ages 5-17, develop values, social consciousness, self-esteem, and skills for success in the future. Through the many enriching experiences provided by the Girl Scouts, girls can grow courageous and strong. Chaparral Council welcomes all girls and adults to join the organization as members or volunteers. Contributions for programs, financial aid, or other organizational needs are welcome as well.

To volunteer, join, or contribute, call (800) 658-6768, or visit our Web site at

Local Chatter

A Marine's memory of a Christmas visit

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

This poem written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan, was in the Dec. 2003 Kentucky Retired Teachers' Association Newsletter.

As the editor wrote: "There is no greater gift to them than to say 'Thank You.'"


The Gift

T'was the night before Christmas,

he lived all alone,

in a one bedroom home

made of plaster and stone.


I had come down the chimney

with presents to give, and to

see just who

in this home did live.


I looked all about,

a strange sight I did see,

no tinsel, no presents,

not even a tree.


No stocking by mantle,

just boots filled with sand,

on the wall hung pictures

of far distant lands.


With medals and badges,

awards of all kinds,

a sober thought

came through my mind.


For this house was different,

it was dark and dreary,

I found the home of a soldier,

once I could see clearly.


The soldier lay sleeping,

silent, alone,

curled up on the floor

of this one bedroom home.


The face was so gentle,

the room in such disorder,

not how I pictured

a United States soldier.


Was this the hero of whom

I'd just read?

Curled up on a poncho,

the floor for a bed.


I realized the families

that I saw this night, owed

their lives to these soldiers

who were willing to fight.


Soon round the world,

the children would play,

and grownups would celebrate

a bright Christmas day.


They all enjoyed freedom

each month of the year,

because of the soldiers,

like the one lying there.


I couldn't help wonder

how many lay alone,

on a cold Christmas Eve

in a land far from home.


The very thought

brought a tear to my eye,

I dropped to my knees

and started to cry.


The soldier awakened

and I heard a rough voice,

"Santa don't cry,

this life is my choice;


I fight for freedom,

I don't ask for more,

my life is my God,

My country, my corps."


The soldier rolled over

and soon drifted to sleep,

I couldn't control it,

I continued to weep.


I kept watch for hours,

so silent and still

and we both shivered

from the cold night's chill.


I didn't want to leave

on that cold, dark night,

this guardian of honor

so willing to fight.


Then the soldier rolled over,

with a voice soft and pure,

whispered "Carry on Santa,

It's Christmas, all is secure."


One look at my watch, and I

knew he was right.

"Merry Christmas, my friend,

and to all a good night."


Fun on the run

Summer vacation was almost about to start and the teacher asked little Sammy about a family trip she vaguely knew he would be going on.

"We are going to visit my grandmother in Minneapolis, Minnesota."

The teacher asked, "Good, can you tell the class how you spell that?"

Sammy said, "Actually, we are going to Ohio."


Senior News

December birthday celebrations will be Wednesday, Dec. 29

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Attention December birthday babies: We will be having our December birthdays celebration on the 29th, as we were just informed that the Center will be closed Dec. 31.

Be sure to note the new day to celebrate, and don't come in for lunch Dec. 31.

Your Heart, Your Life

"Your Heart, Your Life" is a Web-based training course that teaches you how to take action against heart disease.

The first part of the course, prepared by the National Institutes of Health and available in English and Spanish, focuses on physical activity. For more information, go to

Wish list ideas

Seniors, here are some good ideas for your Christmas wish list:

This year for the holidays, ask for a smoke alarm, batteries for the smoke alarm, a carbon monoxide alarm, grab bars for your bathroom, non-skid rugs, night lights, bath mats and help getting your chimney cleaned.

Perhaps you could also use an iron with an automatic shut-off feature or need help with arranging your furniture so you can safely walk around it. You could also ask for help arranging your cupboards, so the stuff you need is on the bottom shelves.

Maybe you need help organizing all of your books and magazines or assistance with cleaning your house. Use these ideas on your kids, friends and neighbors.

Suki is still teaching Yoga in Motion 10 a.m. every Tuesday. She has noticed a decrease in attendance this month, but hopes the crowds will come in next month. She also teaches Qi Gong 10 a.m. Fridays. If you think our aerobic video is too much exercise for you, consider either of Suki's classes to help your strength, balance and peace of mind.

Christmas week is finally here! We have been celebrating for a week or two already here at the center, but we have more fun stuff to do this week.

On Friday, we will be showing our free movie at 1 p.m. It's titled "Station Agent" and is a comedy-drama about 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 his neighbors, which turns his life upside down.

We are pleased to have the "Sounds of Assurance" sing for us at the center at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 21. They will do a number of holiday songs to put us in the holiday mood.

Besides enjoying Penny's wonderful massages and healing touch Tuesday, Dec. 21, we will be going to Sky Ute Casino at 1 p.m.. If you are feeling lucky, sign up in the lounge to get on the Sky Ute bus.

We are also very pleased to have Bill Pongratz here Dec. 22 to talk to us about Chimney Rock. Bill is a volunteer there and knows just about everything you need to know about Chimney Rock, Be sure to attend his talk at 1 p.m.

Come in and join us for some exercise with Richard Simmons' video 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. We will continue it for the month of December to see if anyone wants to sweat with the oldies. (The music, not the people.)

Medicare counseling

Medicare counselors will be available to help you sign up for the Medicare drug cards. Don't miss out on the opportunity to receive a discount on the drug card for those that qualify. Our counselors are here to help you determine if you qualify and also guide you through the process of choosing the Medicare drug card that is right for you.

Checking account fraud

Checking account fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation, according to law enforcement officials. The Federal Reserve estimates losses from this crime will hit $10 billion this year.

Since you are the first line of defense against checking account fraud, here are a few tips:

- Never respond to unsolicited requests for your checking account, Social Security or other financial information.

- Safeguard checks at home and on your person; never leave them in your car or workplace.

- Shred unused checks before disposal, even if they are from a closed account.

- Never have your Social Security or driver's license number preprinted on your checks.

- Notify your bank and postal authorities if newly ordered checks or routine bank statements don't arrive in a timely manner.

- Immediately notify your bank and file a police report if personal checks, or any checks payable to you, are stolen and close any compromised accounts.

- Excerpted from AARP

Just a reminder that the Den will be closed Friday, Dec. 24, for the holiday.

Here is a head's up for next week:

Monday, Dec. 27, Natalie Shelbourn from Kinder-Morgan will be here to discuss donating to Colorado Energy Outreach. She will be here at noon to ask for your opinions and answer your questions.


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

Monday, Dec. 20 - Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 21 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; basic computer class, 10:30; "Sounds of Assurance" will sing holiday songs, 12:30 p.m.; massage and healing touch, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Sky Ute Casino, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 22 - Aerobic video class, 10:30 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.; Chimney Rock overview with Bill P., 1 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 24 - Center closed.


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

Monday, Dec. 20 - Lasagna, Italian vegetables, tossed salad, breadstick and plums.

Tuesday, Dec. 21 - Baked potato with broccoli and cheese, glazed carrots, whole wheat roll and sherbet.

Wednesday, Dec. 22 Roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, cranberry sauce and whole wheat roll.

Friday, Dec. 24 - Center closed.


Chamber News

Parade of Lights got a last minute reprieve and scored

By Mary Jo Coulehan

PREVIEW Columnist

Did I confuse everyone enough this past Friday with the Parade of Lights? Just keepin' you on your toes to see if you were paying attention to the information I was giving out!

And you did very well; congratulations on your first test.

Actually, the real story behind this year's Parade of Lights was that we almost didn't have a parade. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, we did not have enough entries to make a parade. However, upon news of canceling the event, several businesses rallied, and a parade of 11 sparkling floats took place.

In addition to the Chamber float starting out the parade, we had floats created by the WW II veterans, the Archuleta County Fair Royalty, Joy Automotive, Ace Hardware, the limousine from Montezuma's Restaurant, Farmer's Insurance, the Springs Resort and Ben Gerrie, Conscious Construction, First Assembly of God and Arrowhead Solar Energy.

So, it is with great pride that I announce the winners of the sixth annual Parade of Lights.

In the Best and Brightest Business category, our winner of $100 was the Springs Resort with a brightly lit bath house and way overdressed bathers (no one was brave enough to weather the cold and bikini the parade).

For our Best and Brightest Organization, the First Assembly of God Church garnered top honors and also $100. Their nativity scene delighted onlookers, with special oohs and aahs going to the fluffy sheep.

A special thanks goes to all who participated in this charming event and to all those who braved the not-too-cold temperatures.

Here at the Chamber, we thank Mark Garcia and Jim Miller with the Town, their crews and Don Volger and his staff for allowing us to even have this event. We appreciate you blocking off the streets for us to have some evening enjoyment and make our town special for the holiday season. Will Spears and KWUF radio again provided holiday music for us both while we decorated floats and during the parade.

The judges this year - from our ministerial contingency - were Father Carlos Alvarez, the Rev. Bart Burnett and Louis Day.

But just you wait until next year! You businesses and organizations better be expecting some calls from me. There are just too many creative people out there for this parade to be anything but spectacular. So light up your thinking caps, get your staff members involved like you do for our Fourth of July parade and plan on joining us next December.

Holiday events

The holiday season is not over yet. There are still many parties to attend, way too many cookies and too much fudge to eat, and only a few more weeks left until you really have to crack down and start on that exercise program for the new year. So until that time, here are a few more functions for you to squeeze into your calendar.

Today, new member Touch of the Tropics is having an open House 9 a.m.-6 p.m., 302 Pagosa St. There will be discounts on products and gift certificates for services, hourly drawings for door prizes, mini chair massages, and food provided by Pages Leaf Catering. Go on over to Touch of the Tropics and relieve some of the holiday stress.

Shopping is definitely an event and the showdown draws near. Remember some easy gift-giving ideas. The Chamber's Pagosa Perk is a generous and one-size-fits-all gift idea. Perks come in $10 increments and can be used for any Chamber member service (a list is provided with the purchase of your coupons). No need to worry about giving the right size or color this year.

For the hunter in your family, don't forget to buy that raffle ticket for a private guided hunt in 2005 on behalf of United Way. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased here at the Chamber, Citizens Bank, Old West Press or by phone at 946-2057. The drawing will be held at noon Dec. 31, here at the Visitor Center. With only 1,500 tickets being sold, you have a better chance at winning the hunt than winning big in the lottery. Help benefit Archuleta County by supporting United Way of SW Colorado and purchase a raffle ticket or two.

And don't forget to shop local this season. From the west side of town to the east, our hometown shops are offering great deals, discounts and fabulous merchandise. You can get an gift or buy a gift certificate for a dining experience or service. Don't stress over the crowds and the parking lot messes - visit your neighborhood stores to give the gift of quality to the recipient and ease of shopping to yourself.

New members

We split the new members and renewals this week at four each.

We welcome Duane Graham with San Juan Snowmobile Tours. Duane offers one- and two-hour rides as well as half and whole day tours. Snowmobiles are available for one or two riders with ages 5 and up welcome. Contact them at 731-6801 for reservations for when the family arrives for the holidays. Let it snow!

Either pack a lunch or grab breakfast or lunch on your way to the mountains by stopping by Hot Stuff Pizza in downtown Pagosa Springs next to Mataya's Chevron. Hot Stuff Pizza now has breakfast biscuits, croissants and burritos along with the lunch pizza rolls, taquitos and wraps and, of course, their pizza and bread sticks with a freshness guarantee. You can only eat so much holiday turkey or ham, so give them a call for your order at 264-9654.

After a day of winter sporting or while some of the family is heavy into the outdoors, give yourself a treat and visit Touch of the Tropics for some spa activity. This full service spa offers 1 1/2 hour massages, spa pedicures, manicures, and facials featuring Yon-Ka Paris products. You can enjoy spa packages from two to five hours. And don't forget their open house today at 302 Pagosa St. You can call for an appointment at 264-6471.

Rounding out the new member list is Aspen Village, 390 Boulder Dr., Suite 200 right off U.S. 160 West. Aspen Village is a new mixed-use community developed with old-world village traditions in mind while providing a beautiful environment for working, shopping, dining or living. Contact John Ranson at 731-1244 for sales or development information.

Renewals this week are Carole Walters and At Your Service Travel, Shoffner's Piano Service, Aspen Springs Property Owners Association and Dr. Kitzel Farrah with San Juan Veterinary Hospital.

And just a reminder: Should you refer a new member to the chamber, you will receive a free coupon for admission to one of the SunDowners as a small token of our appreciation. So belated congratulations to Kathryn Heilhecker for her referral of last week's new member, HTI Builders.

If you're traveling during the holidays, have a safe trip with lots of good weather. If you're staying home, enjoy those special family visits. Remember, school is out so watch out for the kiddos. We'll see you all around town.


Veteran's Corner

Internet can connect veterans with old duty stations, crews

Andy Fautheree

SUN Comumnist

The Internet is a great source of information for veterans and information about old military duty stations, outfits and branches of the service.

The other day one of our veterans stopped by to bring me a picture of him for the local veteran picture display in my office. He happened to be a fellow sailor (I was in the Navy as a lowly Seaman). I have quite a display of all kinds of pictures and newspaper clippings of our Archuleta County veterans.

Arctic duty sailor

This veteran told me about his duty aboard an icebreaker ship in the arctic and antarctic. I asked him if he had ever looked up his old ship on the Internet. He replied no he didn't know much about that.

I promptly did a "search" on the Internet for his old ship and found quite a bit of information on the ship with pictures in only a few moments. There were quite a few pictures of his ship along with pictures of shipmates over the years. I noticed one of the pictures was a group of crew members in the Antarctic trying to coax a penguin to come closer.

Recognized himself

I showed the picture to the veteran and he instantly recognized himself. It was taken sometime in 1947, shortly after WWII. He was really surprised and I was glad that I could print out the picture right then and there. I asked him to sign and date the picture of himself and it now is proudly displayed on the picture bulletin board in the office.

We also registered his name and information on his ship's Web site. He had been listed as location unknown. Because of this link and the information we supplied to the site fellow shipmates will be able to contact him and know his whereabouts.

Internet pictures

I have looked up my old ship at times over the last few years and have found a great deal of information on it. I have several pictures hanging in my office of the ship that I was able to print from Internet images. I even found pictures of my ship being scrapped out in the 1970s.

I urge all you veterans to use the Internet to find out information about your outfits and military service. There is a world of this kind of information out there. And, the best part is the price it is all free.

Internet assistance

If you do not have Internet access you are welcome to stop by my office and I will be glad to assist you as time permits. I'm sure we can find out information that you will enjoy knowing about where and when you served in the military. For some of you many years have passed since your military service and I'm sure you will enjoy a walk down memory's lane as you recall those days. Frequently there is information about reunions that you might want to attend some day.

Local e-mail list

The Internet is a wonderful tool of information and communication. Many of our veterans are on my Veteran's Corner e-mail list and receive my column each week as it is published in The Pagosa SUN. Many of our veterans communicate with me by e-mail with questions about VA benefits. In some cases I have communicated with active duty personnel in war zones via Internet e-mail.

One of my questions in interviewing a new veteran is if they have an e-mail address. If it has been a while since you stopped by, or your e-mail address has changed, I encourage you to advise me so I can add to or update my e-mail database. It is a local database and no information is ever given out or revealed to anyone else. You will never get spam or nuisance e-mail from this office or source.

I have run into some problems for those of you that have already given me your e-mail address at and Apparently those e-mail servers see my e-mail sent out to all of you at one time as spam e-mail, and reject it. This is probably the reason you are not getting my VA column and VA information each week if it contains those e-mail extensions. I get a list back of rejected e-mails each time I mail out my column which usually contains those mail servers.


Don't forget to call or stop by my office with your VA health care appointments for the "Share-A-Ride (SAR) 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. Albuquerque VAMC phone number is (800) 465-8262.

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 is 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

Autism, mystery keys to two

highly-rated books featuring dogs

By Lenore Bright

SUN Comumnist

This week we feature two book club recommendations that concern dogs.

The national best seller "The Dogs of Babel," by Carolyn Parkhurst, is a Back Bay Readers' Pick and one of the Booksense ten top picks. It tells the story of a man's quest to solve the mystery of his wife's death with the help of the only witness: their dog, Lorelei.

Anna Quindlen found this fiction debut enormously engaging on both the emotional and intellectual level. The New York Times calls it a captivatingly strange book.

"The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time," by Mark Haddon, is a New York Times Notable Book, a Today Show Book Club Selection and was the Whitbread Book of the Year.

Haddon worked with autistic individuals and invites us to enter the world and mind of a boy who hasn't the words to describe emotional pain. He gives us a new kind of hero in a new kind of detective novel. It is at once funny and sad and leaves us wondering about our own coping skills. This is one to read and reread.

Skip the wasabi

Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter for December suggests you can't clear your sinuses with the Japanese spicy substance which comes from the wasabi plant. And their final word on the Atkin's diet is that it is not possible to follow this diet healthfully.

Eating blueberries may help battle Alzheimer's and may also help lower cholesterol and reduce the side effects of radiation. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms meet the criteria of a bonafide mental disorder.

These news bites and other interesting subjects are covered in this issue. Also information on the Vioxx recall and the suggestion to review your arthritis treatment. Do you need a wonder drug? This issue explains them all. Tufts also suggests foods that help.

Holiday candy canes

Margaret Wilson made delightful reindeer candy cane figures to sell for 50 cents. We have a few left for stocking stuffers. We also have a few new CDs for sale.

All proceeds go to the building fund. Come by and look at our wares.

Over 45 and loving it?

The Extension Office of Colorado State University put out a white paper on how we can stay healthy as we grow older.

Do you know your energy needs? What does high altitude do to you? At this altitude by the time you feel thirsty you are already 1 percent dehydrated. At 3.5 percent dehydration, the body reacts severely (heart irregularity, pulse drops, blood pressure increases, etc.)

A special handout of visuals for sizing up portions is very helpful. (A half cup of rice is the size of a computer mouse.) For more information about changes in dietary needs as we age, ask for a copy at the desk.


Our thanks for materials go to Ron Tinsley, Monika Murphy, Susan Baker, Richard Clare, Laura Huddleston, Sue Iverson and family, Bev Warburton, Carol Curtis, Jerry Hannah, Cindy Gustafson, Barry Thomas, Phyl Daleske, Ron Halvorson, Rex Shurtleff, Donna Johnson, Vivian Rader, Tamra Allen, Kerry Dermody, Linda Lawrie and Shirley Snider.

Our building fund is richer this week through the efforts of these generous donors: Winston and Mary Marugg and Sonlight Christian Camp in honor of the youth of Pagosa Springs; Mamie Lynch in memory of Doug Lynch; Jim and Kris Miner in honor of Dorothy Coltson and Kathleen Miner; Erna Bone and Judy Meyer in memory of Faye Brown; Gary Vos, Diane and Kevin Geraghty, Paul and Cathy Henry, Albert and Kathie Marchand, Bob and Jan Clinkenbeard, Roger Ptolemy and Colorado Land Title, Todd M. Harris, Col. Ted and Kathleen Fink, Prafulla and Malavika Gupta; Bruce, Lucy and Sialia Baizel in honor of four generations of Turner women: Lucy S. Turner, Elizabeth Feazel, Lucy Feazel Baizel and Sialia Baizel.


Arts Line

Photography Club meets tonight;

framing, matting guidance on the agenda

By Leanne Goebel

SUN Columnist

Linda Lerno will speak at tonight's meeting of the Pagosa Springs Photography Club. She will demonstrate the fine art of matting and picture framing techniques.

Linda, owner of Affordable Framing of Pagosa Springs, 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 6:30 p.m. in the community center. Any questions should be directed to Jim Struck, 731-6468.

Art of Italian cooking

Join Diane Bouma and Fran Jenkins for "Strictly Pasta: The Art of Italian Cooking" at Bear Mountain Ranch, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15.

Emphasis in this culinary class will be on pasta made by hand and machine, with appropriate sauces. Six dishes will be prepared. There will be a tasting of Parmesan cheeses and appropriate wine, provided by Plaza Liquors.

Cost is $45 for PSAC members and $50 for nonmembers. Space is limited to 20 people, so make your reservation early as this class will sell out quickly.

Reservations can be made by calling PSAC at 264-5020 or e-mail Or you may mail your reservation with payment to: PSAC, P.O. Box 533, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147.

Diane is a personal chef and certified culinary professional at BootJack Ranch and formerly worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif. Fran is a Certified Culinary Professional with the International Association of Culinary Professionals and has taught numerous cooking classes.

Photo contest coming

There's something for everyone in the annual PSAC photo contest: cute kittens, a fun family photo or the grand landscape.

With a submission deadline of 5 p.m. Feb. 2, it's not too early to begin preparing your prints. A generous list of categories ensures that you, too, have a photo to submit to this annual contest.

Categories are: domestic animals, architecture, autumn scenic, general landscape, patterns/textures, sports, flora, people, up close, winter scenic, black and white, wild animals, sunrise/sunset, special techniques (any type of manipulation), open (any picture that doesn't fit other categories).

Dozens of local shutterbugs get involved each year, and any photo has a chance for a ribbon. It doesn't seem to matter if it's a simple, matted print or a high-end framing job on a big enlargement. Judges tend to look at the overall impact of the photo.

Each exhibitor may submit a total of three photos, but no more than two in any single category. Contest rules and information are available at Moonlight Books in downtown Pagosa.

The annual photo contest is a highlight of Pagosa's art scene. And, the opening reception scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. has turned into quite a social event. Put the date on your calendar now!

Appenzeller benefit

"El Rancho de las Golandrinas," an original painting by nationally acclaimed, award-winning Western artist Wayne Justus, is 24-by-36 inches in a barn wood 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 undergoing aggressive treatment. Dan is doing well, but his medical bills are astronomical, even with Insurance.

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.

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@centurytel. net. 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.

Holiday Boutique

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

This boutique offers 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 artist

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).

Winter snow scene watercolor lessons

Internationally known artist, Pierre Mion (who is neither French nor stuffy) will lead winter snow scene watercolor lessons in January. Class is limited to 10 students. Classes will be held Saturdays in January, following the first snow of the year. Sign up early as you may need supplies.

Contact Pierre at 731-9781 for more information.

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 through 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 who is an accomplished documentary photographer holding bachelor's and master's degrees in photography. Her resume is on file at the DAC reception desk. 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 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 - Photography club meets at community center.

Jan. 15 - The Art of Italian Cooking at Bear Mountain Ranch, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Feb. 5 - PSAC photo contest opens at Moonlight Books, 5-7 p.m.

July 24 - Home and garden tour.


Food for Thought

If it falls off the truck ... roast it

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Let's say it fell off the back of the truck.

No questions, please.

A peek in the bottom drawer in my refrigerator reveals the beast in all its glory, coiled there like a bloated and bloodied creature from a cheesy '50s horror flick.

But, horrible it's not.

It is, rather, a mass of flesh that brings a smile to the face of a dedicated carnivore and inspires giddiness in a gourmand.

A beef tenderloin.

Just in time for the holidays.

There it is: The whole shebang, a vacuum-packed subprimal, ready for a loving touch and worshipful treatment. Hormones? Antibiotics in the feed? Grass fed? Who cares; it's a tenderloin.

What to do with a tenderloin, you ask?

Not many alternatives, as far as I'm concerned: roast the mother or cut it into steaks. Or both.

Serious beef buffs generally agree the tenderloin, while affixed with a ponderous price tag, is far from the most tasty cut on the cow. True: There are much more flavorful cuts - in particular some of the tougher, cheaper cuts, suitable only for a comfy, long braise. There are steaks - the sublimely marbled rib eye, the husky porterhouse (which includes a good hunk of tenderloin) and the T-bone (which also includes a bit of tenderloin) that clobber the unadorned tenderloin in terms of depth of taste.

But, factor in tenderness and ease of preparation, add health-related considerations (if you insist), appreciate a screaming need for some sort, or sorts, of sauce and the tenderloin, in one of its many manifestations, is a doozy. Meat royalty, if you will.

Especially if one happens to fall off the truck.

The tenderloin is a prize that has been clearly defined in terms of its potential and, as is the case with a lot of our finer food, those darned French came up with names for the parts. It's one of the few things they do well, along with smoking cigarettes, making wine and cheese, capitulating in the face of adversity, wearing black clothes, being cynical, drinking incredibly strong coffee, smoking cigarettes and, well, smoking cigarettes.

The tenderloin is part of the primal cut called the short loin which itself is part of a larger hunk of the cow called the loin. In the short loin you find both the 13th rib and the small of the back.

The hip bone's connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone's connected to the

What makes the items you fashion from the short loin so nice is they are muscles the animal uses the least. These are not the fibers used for locomotion or in the rare and entertaining steer fight, therefore they are buttery soft. And expensive.

The tenderloin is the inside, small muscle of the short loin and extends from the 13th rib to the pelvis. The butt end of the muscle extends into the sirloin.

Let me pause here and apologize, dear reader. I intended to accompany this column with dazzling graphics and worked for hours on a detailed rendering of the particulars of the short loin and the placement therein of the tenderloin. I rendered a profile of the entire animal in the manner of Gustav Klimt, complete with gold foil arrows indicating the key primals. Unfortunately, I left the work of art on the Ottoman and my dog, Arnie, did unspeakable things to it. Words must suffice.

Try to visualize this: The tenderloin is long, and tapered. The muscle can weigh quite a bit, if left untrimmed. When the useless fat is removed and the silver skin is cut off, an average tenderloin might weigh in the neighborhood of four or five pounds.

You can roast the entire thing, tucking the tapered end of the cut, or the tail, under itself and tying the piece to give it a fairly uniform, tubular shape.

Or, the tenderloin can be cut into pieces (here comes the French, hold on to your berets!).

If you cut nice rounds from the tail end, you get filet mignon.

Next up in size are tournedos.

As we get bigger, we hit filet steaks then, in the middle of the tenderloin, we have chateaubriand.

Move to the butt end of the tenderloin and you're wearing tight, black clothes, surrendering to whatever opponent shows up, drinking super strong coffee and you can parlez biftek.

I decide to take my prize and produce a couple filet mignon, a tournedo or three, a small chateaubriand and a couple biftek.

I take the slab from the drawer and, cradling it in my arms like a baby, set out for Jack and Patty's bar. I search the garage for an old infant car seat, but can't find one. As risky as it is, I use the seat belt, strap the meat down and drive very slowly across town. There is a kitchen at my pals' bar, with a machine that encases food in an airtight package. I intend to do Code Blue surgery on this beauty, then seal and freeze the remnants of the patient.

Shannon, the cook, is in the kitchen when I arrive. Shannon knows her stuff and her eyes light up when I flop the flesh on the cutting board. Turns out, when meat fell from the truck, she copped a tenderloin too. What follows is reminiscent of Eakins' "The Anatomy Lesson."

We discuss the fine points of the tenderloin as I remove globs of gnarly fat and the silver skin from the meat. The silver skin is a remnant of connective tissue, is indigestible and, furthermore, distorts the shape of the meat as it toughens into an unpleasant nuisance during the cooking process.

I pause to enjoy a touch of carpaccio - a paper-thin slice of the raw meat. Shannon passes. Ah, what I'd give for a curl of top-grade Parmegiano-Reggiano and a splash of extra virgin olive oil.

With the meat cut and packed, only one question remains: how to eat the entire tenderloin during the upcoming two weeks?

The filets I've cut about two inches thick. No problem here. They'll be tied and grilled, served with a snappy bernaise. Or, if I'm in the mood, I'll flatten them somewhat, buy a tin of paté, a box of puff pastry and whip up a Wellington, with a wild mushroom and wine sauce.

The tournedos - easy. I am going to mutilate them: Pound them into medallions, season them with salt and pepper, cook them super fast in a butter and oil mix over medium high heat, remove them to a warm plate and prepare a simple sauce with some minced shallot and garlic, a small amount of beef stock to deglaze the pan, a splash of cognac and red wine, some parsley, butter and a whisper of coarse mustard.

I'll use beef stock since I don't have any veal stock. To make matters worse, there's not a smidge of demiglace in the house. I refuse to taint a tenderloin with that crummy commercial beef stock, with its vein-ripping load of salt and all those additives they throw in to make it brown and whatnot, so I'm going to have to make my own stock.

I'll pick up a mess ( a "mess" is three or so pounds) of what the store calls "soup bones" several packs of short ribs and a hunk o' chuck. I'll wash the meat and bones. The bones I'll wash two or three times.

I'll put the dry bones in a roasting pan and roast them at 400 until they are toasty brown. I'll make sure I get all the crispy goodies left in the roasting pan.

Next, I'll take a large stock pot and deposit the bones and the chunked meats in it, add about two quarts of filtered water, put the pot on the burner on medium high heat and get the water to a near boil, skimming off the crud that rises to the surface as the water heats. I won't let the water to come to a full boil.

In will go some whole black peppercorns, a couple onions halved, a couple carrots and leeks rough chopped, a similarly chopped small turnip, a rough-chopped stalk of celery, some parsley, a teeny bit of salt and some thyme. I'll adjust the heat so an occasional bubble rises to the surface, cover and wait, skimming the mix periodically.

It'll take six or seven hours.

I'll strain the stock, pressing on the sludge to extract as much flavor as I can, then I'll taste it. If it needs to be seasoned, I'll do it. If it needs to be reduced to increase its potency, I'll do it. When it is ready, it gets cooled quickly in a cold water bath and the fat is skimmed. Most of the stock will go into portion size containers and be frozen. The rest can be refrigerated for about three days.

The chateaubriand will be the centerpiece of a holiday dinner. Pan-roasted in the oven. A minimalist production.

The meat is dried and seasoned with a healthy amount of kosher salt and fresh-cracked black pepper. I use a canola oil/butter mix in a hot pan and I brown every surface of the meat, including the ends. Into a 400 oven it goes for about 20-25 minutes, until its internal temp is 125 degrees. Out it comes and on to a warm platter it goes. It's tented and allowed to rest for 15 minutes so the moist goodies are distributed throughout the roast.

Into the roasting pan goes diced shallot, some roasted garlic. A moment or two later in goes a half cup or so of the beef stock and the same amount of a good cabernet. A bit of thyme is added and the sauce is reduced. When it is ready, it is taken off the heat and a major glob of butter is swirled into it.

As for the biftek, I got four of 'em - we're looking at a quick saute for the first two and a place on the plate with a mushroom ragout. The second pair will get a quick treatment with a marsala finisher. Maybe I'll change my mind and whip up a gorgonzola sauce starting with a weak white roux to which I add chicken broth, white wine, fresh lemon juice and some pepper. Add to that a handful of crumbled, top-end gorgonzola and a slap of coarse mustard (moutard, to you Frenchmen) and the meat can be blanketed in worthy fashion.

Regardless of my choices, I'll eat, I'll enjoy. In each instance, I'll repair to the couch after dinner where I'll work on developing my own tenderloin as I wait for the next hunk of heaven to fall off a passing truck.


Extension Viewpoints


Pricing accuracy important

during busy holiday season

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Saturday, Dec. 19 - 4-H Oil Painting, Evi Minor's studio, 5 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 24 - Office closed.

Savvy consumers will be happier consumers during the holidays, according to officials at the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA).

Shoppers should double check their receipts, whether shopping for expensive or smaller items.

"Most sales are rung up correctly, but scanner errors are certainly not unusual," said Kristin Young, chief of the CDA Measurement Standards Section. "The best way to avoid overcharges is to be aware of prices on the shelf, the tag or the advertisement as well as to report any inaccuracies to store management."

Each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, CDA inspectors make a sweep of stores throughout Colorado that cater to holiday shoppers.

Last year, 10 inspectors checked more than 4,500 items in 76 tests during the sweep. Store performance was good overall, although 40 lots were stopped from selling due to pricing overcharges.

"Stores often hire new temporary or seasonal employees to assist with the holiday shopping rush," said Young. "Inexperienced employees, higher sales volumes and more sales can lead to more pricing errors."

Throughout 2003, inspectors at the department's Division of Inspection and Consumer Services completed more than 700 scanner tests, checking about 50,000 items during unannounced store visits. Tests are done at grocery and department stores, drug stores, auto and home supply outlets, convenience stores and other retail businesses that use electronic scanning devices and UPC look-up equipment.

Overall, inspectors statewide found 1.2 percent of items were overcharge errors, a rate that is within the national recommended standard of 98-percent accuracy for a passing score.

Problems identified by inspectors included errors made during price changes, sale price errors, and incorrectly stocked shelves.

CDA inspectors use test procedures that follow national guidelines, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The size of the store dictates how many items will be checked.

Overcharges are the errors that cost the shopper money. Promising one price, and charging a higher price is against the law. Stores that fail are subject to stop orders and civil penalties. Undercharges are pricing errors in the customer's favor, and although they are noted and brought to the store's attention at the time of inspection, these are not counted toward the business' pass or fail rate.

Last year, there were 90 failed tests, resulting in 593 stop sale orders and 69 cases when civil penalties were issued.

Complaints on scanning errors can be filed with the Measurement Standards Section. For additional information, contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture at (303) 477-4220 or visit the web at

Giving food safely

Whether you're making selections from a gift catalog or spending Saturday baking your favorite treats, gifts of food are often a welcome choice. They're a good way to express your thanks and say you care - without worrying about size or color.

Food gifts, however, can pose problems for both giver and receiver. Beyond the issue of whether the recipient will actually like the food sent, a major concern is whether the gift will arrive safely and in good shape.

Most mail-order companies enjoy a good safety record, but hazards can and do exist. Delays in shipment could mean frozen items possibly thawing and spoiling before arrival. Even if the package arrives safely at the doorstep, if nobody is there to take care of it, it may spoil.

You can protect yourself against these mishaps by knowing what to look for when sending and receiving gifts of food. USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline recommends the following safety tips when sending and receiving perishable items.

When ordering food gifts through the mail, transit time and a cold source are key. Be sure to specify overnight delivery and request that the company send your gift with a frozen gel-pack or dry ice in the packaging. This will help guarantee that the food arrives firm and refrigerator-cold.

Make sure any mail-order item of an unusual nature comes with storage and preparation instructions. Nothing is worse than to open a package from Aunt Mary that you know is food, but you're not sure if it's safe or even what to do with it.

If you're packing your own perishable food gift to send, refrigerate or freeze solid first, then pack in an insulated cooler or a heavy corrugated box packed with a frozen gel-pack. Be sure to fill any empty spaces in the packing box with crushed paper or foam "popcorn," as air spaces encourage thawing. Properly label the package "Perishable — Keep Refrigerated" on the outside and provide a complete mailing address and phone number to ensure proper delivery.

Alert the recipient that you are sending a perishable package and arrange a mutually agreeable delivery date and place. If possible, send to the person's home rather than office. Many offices don't have adequate refrigerator space to house gifts, and it's too easy to forget and leave the gift at the office. Also, it's best to send packages at the beginning of the week so they don't sit in the post office or mailing facility over the weekend.

If you receive a food item marked "Keep Refrigerated," open it immediately and check its temperature. Ideally, the food should arrive frozen or partially frozen with ice crystals still visible, or at least refrigerator cold to the touch.

If perishable food arrives warm, notify the company if you think you or the sender should receive a refund. Do not consume the food. Remember, it's the shipper's responsibility to deliver perishable foods on time, but it's the customer's responsibility to have someone at home to receive the package.

Refrigerate or freeze perishable items immediately upon receipt. Even if a product is partially defrosted, it's generally safe to refreeze, although there may be some loss in quality.

If mail-order food arrives in questionable condition, the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (800) 535-4555 can help determine the safety of the product. To register a complaint about a mail-order company, contact the Mail Order Action Line of the Direct Marketing Association, 1111 19th St., Suite 1100, Washington D.C., 20036.

Pagosa Lakes News

Volunteering, modestly, can lower risk of mortality

By Ming Steen

Sun Columnist

The recreation center and the Pagosa Lakes administration building both have been drop-off sites for Operation Helping Hand, merely two of many, many drop-off sites.

I'm blown away by the sheer quantity of gifts that have been delivered for the needy in our midst. Every single person - from the one who purchased a gift to the folks who are the organizational energy behind Operation Helping Hand - are all volunteers.

For so many of you who do so much so willingly, I want to share this bit of information.

Researchers recently concluded what volunteers have long known: Volunteer activity benefits many; the giver and the receiver. Volunteer activity can also add years to your life. "Volunteering in moderate amounts does produce a lower risk of mortality," reports Dr. Marc Musik and colleagues at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

These folks examined federal government data on the life-styles and death rates of nearly 9,000 Americans, age 60 and over, to determine the relationship between volunteering and health. About one-third reported volunteering during the previous year. Respondents who report better health and more physical activity also tend to volunteer.

I guess it harkens back to the classic question of which comes first - the egg or the chick. People who like other people are generally more positive-minded and willing to help. These same folks also have a closer network of friends and are inspired to bring gifts of love and service to humanity.

Ironically, those who volunteer the least amount of time - less than 40 hours a year and for one organization - saw the strongest benefits. Those who volunteered the most received no benefit in terms of reduced mortality. Too much of a good thing? Everything in moderation?

The reason, researchers have speculated, might be due to "role-strain." The emotional and physiological benefits of helping others may be undermined by the stress of doing too much. They also theorize the volunteers committed to just one organization may "derive a more meaningful experience from that activity than do multiple group volunteers."

There certainly is enough evidence that social participation in later life contributes to successful aging.

Thank you, dear volunteers, for all the hard work, care and support that you all provide. I like to think (and I believe) the strangers I'm helping today are just family I have yet to come to know.

Recreation center memberships for 2005, along with lake use permits, are currently on sale at the center. All 2004 memberships and permits expire Dec. 31 and renewal is required to continue use of facilities.

The PLPOA administration office will be closed Friday, Dec. 24. The recreation center will close at 6 p.m. Friday (Christmas Eve) and all day Christmas Day.

Business News


Biz Beat

Need a little pick me up?

Liz Marchand owns and operates the All About You Day Spa. It's the newest getaway in town. All About You specializes in body treatments, facials, massage, nails, skin care and waxing. They also use and recommend Epicurean Discovery products and treatments. All About You also offers Jane Iredale, the skin care makeup, products by Skin Science, Sanitas Hemps and Queen Bee Sauce.

All About You Day Spa is in a beautiful and revealing atmosphere that will allow you to remember that it can be all about you! The spa is located at 190 Talisman Dr., Suite C-2. Stop by or call 731-3391 for more information.



Preview Profile

Carrie Trumble

EMT, Upper San Juan Health Service District


Where were you born?



Where did you go to school?

"Paradise Valley, Arizona."


When did you arrive in Pagosa Springs?

"Approximately two years ago."


What did you do before you arrived here?

"I was a medical assistant for three doctors."


What are your job responsibilities?

"To give the best patient care to our community."


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

"First and foremost, all of my partners that I work with and the community are the most enjoyable aspects of my job. The least enjoyable is all the negative politics concerning EMS."


What is your family background?

"I have been a widow for four years. My mom and step-dad live here in Pagosa and my daughter, Meredith, 23, lives with me."


What do you like best about the community?

"I like the closeness of the community, and the caring for one another."


What are your other interests?

"I am studying to be a victim's advocate because I love to help people in need."


Cards of Thanks

Archuleta family

We wish to extend a thank you to all our relatives and friends who shared their kindness and support as we mourned the loss of our son, brother and uncle, John C. Archuleta. The food, flowers, cards, money, visits and phone calls were a tremendous support to us and we greatly appreciate them.

We would also like to thank Father Scott for John's final blessing, as well as the EMTs who tried so earnestly to help John.

Thank you to the Guadalupe Society, the Chorus, Father Carlos and Deacon Tom. Finally, a special thank you to Louis Day for all your help in ensuring that John received the final farewell he so deserved.

Our apologies if we have left anyone out in error.

James and Charlotte Archuleta

and family

Holiday bash

Cody and Dawn:

Our Christmas Party was a blast! Thanks bunches. We are proud to work for such great bosses.

Happy Holy Merry Christmas to all Pagosa

The staffs of


Generous donors

Casa De Los Arcos would like to thank the following people and organizations for their generous donations.

Irene Barry for the lovely plant. Nancy and Cloyd Jacobs for the clothing. An anonymous donor for food. Alice Kelly for the toiletries. Pagosa Baking Company for the pastries and bread. Dr. Moore's office for the magazines. The beautiful Christmas tree that appeared on Thanksgiving eve from Kyle Blair. Helping Hands for the delectable Thanksgiving food boxes. Kyle Blair for picking up and distributing all those food boxes to the residents' apartments. LPEA for their annual Santa visit and goodies.


Molly O'Brien Johnson

Sports Page

Pirates lose to Aztec 62-52, but win trophy

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Three times Saturday Pagosa spotted Aztec's Lady Tigers 10-point leads. Twice they stormed back to within one point.

The last time, however, en route to a 19-for-60 performance from the floor, the cold-shooting Pirates dropped a 62-52 decision to the New Mexico entry in the Wolf Creek Classic.

But Pagosa still won the tournament championship trophy on the basis of points against common opponents.

And again, the home team found a new scoring leader - sophomore Jessica Lynch with four treys in her 16 points - but got an uncommon scoreless game from the other guard, Liza Kelley.

With senior Kelsi Elkins hitting an early pair of field goals, Aztec jumped out to a 4-0 lead and sophomore Patricia Malouff hit the first two of her game-high 17 points to stretch it.

Pagosa answered with a pair from the stripe by Lori Walkup. But Aztec's sophomore post Rayla Doty and sophomore forward Charity Gillespie each followed suit.

Caitlyn Jewell scored on a reverse move inside for Pagosa but then fouled Malouff on consecutive possessions and the sophomore drilled all four charity shots.

Pagosa got two free throws from Emily Buikema and a single free throw from Caitlin Forrest to trim the lead to 18-10 at the end of the period.

Then, they came storming back, performing another of their bewildering "which team will you see" routines.

This was the scoring and rebounding team.

Lynch paced the way with three for four from three-point land in the period, Walkup drilled a trey and scored on a near-dunk driving the right lane, and Bri Scott nailed a trey before Aztec could get untracked.

But the visitors wouldn't go easily.

Elkins drilled a three of her own and Malouff hit two more from the line before adding a pair on a soft hook.

Jewell got a pair on an offensive putback and Buikema added one from the line as Pagosa wiped out the deficit and carried a 30-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The cold-shooting Pirates were the ones on the floor in the third period, with only Forrest able to score more than once in the frame, both on power moves inside.

Her output was matched by Malouff with two field goals and Gillespie with a free throw and a trey. Scott answered the last effort with a three of her own and Melissa Maberry and Jewell had scores off drives inside.

Elkins answered with a short left elbow jumper, Wynter Carlyle with two from the free throw line, Aspen Shelby on a breakaway layup off a steal, and Melissa Vandruff on a similar play.

The result was a 47-43 lead after three and fans were expecting the second period Pirates to show up for the fourth.

It didn't happen.

They were outscored 15-9 in the period, with six of those markers coming on three-for-three shooting inside by Jewell.

In the meantime Gillespie and Malouff each drilled a trey and Carlyle added a field goal.

Lynch gave Pagosa a last ray of hope with her fourth trey of the game, but the Pirates would not score again.

Doty and Vandruff each added a field goal and charity toss for Aztec as the Tigers wore the Pirates down.

Pagosa shot 19 for 60 from the floor (seven of 19 3s) and seven of 16 from the line. Aztec was 22 for 42 from the floor (four of six 3s) and 15 of 27 from the foul line). Pagosa led in rebounding, 31-28, Buikema leading the way with nine and Doty matching that number for Aztec.

But for Pagosa it was a loss with a silver lining.

Aztec had lost to Montezuma Cortez 50-45 in the tournament opener Friday.

Pagosa Springs defeated Montezuma Cortez 53-43 in their first game Saturday. Both squads had defeated Gunnison - Aztec by eight, 47-39, and Pagosa by 19, 57-38.

The loss put the Pagosans' record at 3-2 for the season, having defeated The Classical Academy and lost to the host school in the Buena Vista Invitational the preceding week. And it left one game on the schedule, Monday's home game against Piedra Vista, before the Christmas break.

Malouff was the game's high scorer with 17, Lynch right behind with 16 for Pagosa. Jewell, with 12, was the only other Pirate in double figures.

Gillespie and Elkins each had nine for Aztec while Walkup added the same number for Pagosa.


Scoring: P-Lynch, 4-7, 2-4, 0-0 16; Scott, 2-10, 0-5, 0-0, 6; Kelley, 0-2, 0-3, 0-0, 0; Walkup, 1-1, 2-7, 2-2, 9; Maberry, 0-3, 0; Jewell, 6-9, 0-2, 12; Buikema, 0-4, 3-7, 3; Forrest, 2-4, 1-3, 5. A- Elkins, 1-3, 3-6, 0-0, 9; Carlyle, 1-2, 4-8, 6; Shelby, 1-2, 2; Arellano, 1-1, 0-1, 2; Doty, 2-10, 2-7, 6; Malouff, 2-2, 4-7, 6-7, 17; Vandruff, 3-6, 1-3, 7; Chism, 1-2, 2. Total fouls: P-24, A-11. Total rebounds, P-31, A-28.


Walkup's diverse effort paces Pirates over Cortez

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

When you play the Montezuma-Cortez Lady Panthers, the goal is to stop Brittney Whiteman - or at least slow her down.

Pagosa went into the Saturday Morning contest in the Wolf Creek Classic with that thought in mind against the 4A school.

While Coach Bob Lynch said before the game that he planned to hawk Whiteman with senior Lori Walkup, it didn't always work that way but the Pirates still managed a 10-point win over the guests.

The defensive plan was partially overridden by the absence of 6-2 Pirate center Caitlyn Jewell, who was taking ACT tests.

With her gone, Walkup jumped center and rotated inside against 5-10 Sara Chappell.

Whiteman scored 15 to lead all players in the game but had to accomplish that with 18 shots, many forced by the pressing Pirate defense.

Both teams were cold at the outset, going almost two minutes before Walkup gave Pagosa a 2-0 lead with a 16-footer from the right wing.

Whiteman answered with the first of her three treys (in nine attempts) and Cortez had the lead at 3-2 - briefly.

Emily Buikema scored on a power drive inside, was fouled, and hit the free throw and Melissa Maberry added three more for Pagosa with a long three from just behind the circle.

Whiteman answered with a deuce and then her second trey off a pass steal.

Walkup hit a short pull-up jumper and Liza Kelley and Kari Beth Faber each added charity tosses to give Pagosa a 12-10 lead after one period.

The ensuing quarter was the downfall for the visitors who shot only two for 10 in the quarter, Whiteman going 0-5.

Pagosa, meanwhile, became a three-person offensive threat with Buikema and Forrest leading the way on the boards to set up scoring events.

First was Lynch with a deuce from 10 feet. Scott drilled back-to-back threes and Maberry dropped in a charity toss.

Natalie Johnson got four of her 14 for the game with two drives off inside picks.

Kelley drilled a long three from the left wing and on the next possession scored on a coast-to-coast drive when the Panthers failed to fill the defensive lane.

Megan Hanson got a free throw for Cortez but Kelley matched it and added a second as Pagosa outscored the Panthers 17-5 in the period.

Walkup opened the Pirate third with an 8-foot jumper and the Pirates were on their way to a 10-8 quarter featuring improved defense by Cortez.

Daphne Shorty opened the period with a rebound putback for a pair and Whiteman, silent since the opening burst, added a driving layup.

Maberry answered with a 10-footer for Pagosa but Johnson matched it at the other end. And Megan Hanson scored on the ensuing play when she stole the Pirate in-bound pass.

Pagosa had one more burst to put on the boards - and it was all Buikema.

She pounded her way inside for a left-handed layup, stole the inbound pass but missed the shot. That made no difference, because the 5-10 junior got her own rebound and scored again, fouled on the play, and added the charity toss for a five-point tear in less than 30 seconds.

With a 39-23 lead after three, the Pirates were aware Cortez would fire away from long range - and they did. And they were aware that with the big lead, Cortez would be forced to foul to try to regain possession. Both assumptions were correct.

Whiteman hit one trey and Hanson two. Johnson had three field goals, all on inside shots. But Walkup and Forrest answered for Pagosa with strong moves inside.

Whiteman added a deuce and Johnson a pair of charity tosses, but Lynch and Scott each drilled a pair from the line for Pagosa and Kelley added three from the stripe.

A player wearing No. 20 (not on the roster) added the final point for Cortez from the foul line.

Then Forrest, Buikema and Walkup scored from the stripe and Pagosa had a 53-43 win over the big school, a win that would prove more than just a victory by the time the day was over.

Pagosa had three players in double figures - Kelley with 11, Scott and Buikema with 10 each - and Walkup right behind with 9.

Whiteman had 15, Johnson 14 and Hanson nine for Cortez.

Walkup was the obvious difference in the game, switching defensively from Whiteman to Chappell and back and adding four assists, three steals and seven rebounds.

As has been the story all season, the Pirates had a wide margin - 27-14 - on the boards with Buikema close behind Walkup with six.

Pagosa shot 16 of 45 from the field (four of nine treys) while Cortez was stone cold from the floor, hitting 17 of 62. Pagosa was 17 of 36 from the foul line and Cortez four of 7.

Scott was the assist leader for Pagosa with five and Buikema had a pair of blocked shots.


Scoring: P- Lynch, 0-3, 1-2, 2-5, 4; Scott, 2-3, 1-8, 2-5, 10; Kelley, 1-1, 1-5, 5-8, 11; Walkup, 0-2, 4-9, 1-3, 9; Maberry, 1-1, 1-1, 1-2, 6; Faber, 0-3, 1-2, 1; Buikema, 3-5, 4-6, 10; Forrest, 1-3, 1-4, 3. M-C- 0-1, 1-6, 2; Johnson 6-10, 2-4, 14; Shorty, 1-4, 2; Hanson, 2-4, 1-5, 1-2, 9; Whiteman, 3-8, 3-9, 15; #20, 0-0, 1-1, 1. Total fouls, P-13, M-C, 22; Turnovers, 13 each team.


Pirates score in spurts to beat Gunnison 57-38

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

These Pirates seem to score in spurts - and then go into shooting slumps that are unexplainable.

Fortunately, the scoring spurts were more prevalent in their Wolf Creek Classic opener against Gunnison Friday and they came out on top 57-38.

Stevie Henkel hit the game's first basket, a long trey, to give Gunnison the early lead, but before the Cowboys knew what hit them, Liza Kelley and Caitlyn Jewell had propelled the Pirates into a commanding lead they would never give up.

Kelley was first, with a driving lay-up and a long trey. Jewell hit a charity toss and then drove the lane for a deuce, scoring off an assist by Emily Buikema at the high post.

Then Kelley added a three and another deuce, Jewell was fouled while scoring again inside and hit the free throw.

In a return for the earlier assist, Jewell dealt a back-door pass to Buikema for two.

Gunnison answered with a pair of free throws, one each by Shalee Keener, who would eventually lead her team with 16, and Casey Noone.

But Kelley hit a pull-up jumper from 10 feet and added a charity toss to put Pagosa up 18-5 after one period.

Pagosa was outscored 13-12 in the second period, with Keener drilling three deuces and adding a charity toss, Henkel picking up her second trey and Lisa Goldman matching that effort.

Pagosa answered with a trey by Lori Walkup, her first of the season, an offensive rebound putback by Jewell, Buikema hitting a short jumper from the lane and Caitlin Forrest coming off the bench to hit two field goals and a free throw.

Any hope Gunnison had of keeping the flow going was quickly dispelled by the Pirates.

Walkup opened the second half with another trey and Bri Scott soon followed suit. Keener responded with a left-handed drive, but Jewell hit a deuce and was fouled, scoring the free throw, too.

Henkel had an offensive putback for Gunnison but Scott and Walkup each answered with pull-up jumpers from 10 on opposite sides of the lane.

Julie Wattier hit a pair of charity tosses after being fouled while shooting by Kelley, but Pagosa was not through. Buikema scored on an inside power move and Melissa Maberry drilled a short jumper in the lane and Forrest added another charity toss.

After three, Pagosa was up 47-25 and the invitation was there for coach Bob Lynch to get all the girls dressed for the game into the action - except junior guard China Rose Rivas, still nursing an ankle injury expected to keep her inactive until after the holiday.

Maberry and Kari Beth Faber got Pagosa going in the period with offensive putbacks. Henkel and Keener matched those efforts. Kelley got a Pagosa field goal and then Keener went on a two-shot scoring binge working inside.

Kelley answered with another free throw for Pagosa and Henkel with a pair for Gunnison before Rikki Viehman closed out the scoring with a deuce for the Cowboys.

Pagosa still had one score to record, a driving layup from the right side by sophomore Alaina Garman. Also seeing action for Pagosa were Lyndsey Mackey (0-1 from the floor); Kristen DuCharme (1 rebound); Kim Canty and Jennifer Haynes.

As noted, Keener was the game's leading scorer, with 17 followed for team honors by Henkel with 12.

Pagosa was led by Jewell with 13, Kelley with 11 and Walkup with 8.

The big edge for the Pirates came on the boards where they compiled a 40-15 edge led by Forrest with 11, six at the offensive end. Keener led Gunnison with five boards, three offensive. For Pagosa, Jewell had eight rebounds, Maberry, six and Walkup, five.

Five Pirates, Jessica Lynch, Scott, Kelley, Maberry and Buikema had two assists.

Pagosa shot 24 of 56 from the floor (five of 12 trey attempts) and only six of 13 from the foul line. Gunnison was 13 of 27 from the floor (three of seven treys) and nine of 21 from the charity stripe.

Coach Lynch was pleased with the squad's improved shooting, having gone 19 of 60 the week before against Buena Vista, but felt "we should shoot .500 or better and are going to have to work on that element of the game." The fact they were only six of 13 from the line indicated they'd get more work there in practice.

Still, he said, getting a win to open your home tournament "is a good way to get things going as we head toward the Christmas layoff."


Scoring: P-Lynch, 0-4, 0; Garman, 1-1, 2; Mackey, 0-1, 0; Scott 2-5 (one 3), 5; Kelley, 4-8 (one 3), 1-2, 11; Walkup 3-4 (two 3s), 8; Maberry, 2-4, 4; Faber, 1-5, 2; Jewell, 5-13, 3-7, 13; Buikema, 3-7, 6; Forrest, 2-4, 2-4, 6. G-Goldman, 3 (one 3); Henkel, 4-8 (2-5 3s), 2-8, 12; Keener, 7-13, 3-6, 17; Noone, 0-1, 2-5, 2; Viehman, 1-1, 2; and Wattier, 0-1, 2-2, 2; Fouls, P-16, G-12; Blocks, P-Forrest, 4, Buikema, 1, Walkup 1; Steals, P-Forrest, Walkup and Maberry, 3 each; G-Keener, 3 and Henkel, 2.


Pirate cheerleader squad makes state's final four

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The pessimists might say, "Oh, you were just fourth again."

For the Pagosa Springs cheerleading squad, it was not just "fourth again." It was fourth, no tie, a member of the final four. Getting to compete twice for honors because you're in that select few.

The Pirate spirit squad reached that lofty goal Saturday when they competed at the Denver Coliseum.

The tie reference is to last year's performance when they finished in a tie for fourth and did not get to go on to the finals.

Coach Renee Davis said the girls "were awesome this year.

"We have only one senior, Kelcie Mastin, and the rest of the girls dedicated the tournament to her. They wanted her to have something great to remember about her time with them."

And despite the finish, or perhaps because of it, she said, "it was a total success."

With all the others returning and probable new entries to the team, Davis said, "We will be back. And, I'm promising right now there will be a state trophy coming home with us next year."

Davis said the team routines at state "were solid ... the only problem was with the pre-programmed music and they got slightly ahead of the beat. At the end they were done before the music.

"The performance itself, however, was right on," she said. "They kept going like nothing had happened and that's the mark of confidence in your skills."

She noted Pagosa finished ahead of both Colorado Springs Christian and Faith Christian, who bested them last year.

The top four in this year's competition were Holy Family, Estes Park, Roosevelt and Pagosa Springs.

Davis has given the squad the rest of this year off. "We've been going steady since the start of soccer season," she said. "The girls need a rest. But we'll be back after the holiday break and spirit will be alive and well at Pagosa Springs High School."


Fifty-three skiers in Wolf Creek's first Fun Race

The traditional Wolf Creek Fun Race series got underway Saturday with 42 male and 11 female competitors.

Stephanie Atkins of Monte Vista, running in girls' 12-14, had the best female time of the day, running the course in 30.56 seconds.

Best time of the day, however, went to Jeff Grag of Austin, Texas, who recorded a sparkling 24.76.

Other female times were, in girls' 15-17, Leona Regious of Alamosa finishing in 35.38 and Chantalle Rizza of Pagosa Springs crossing the line in 35.48.

Laura Elliott of Monte Vista was first in girls' 18-20 with a time of 35.55. Robin Gjellstad of Denver captured women's 25-30 with a run of 36.48 followed by Felice Gurule of Espanola in 1:27.27.

In women's 41-50, Marky Egan of Pagosa Springs was first in 30.60 and Diane Denko of Center second in 33.06.

Marcia Vitrano of Pagosa Springs won women's 51-60 with a run of 38.37 and Jean Shah of Pagosa Springs was first in women's 60+ at 41.39.

On the male side, Devan Monkiewicz of Pagosa Springs was first in boys' 6-8 with 35.76, followed by Evan Crock of Castle Rock in 39.99.

Myles Evans of South Fork captured boys' 9-11 in 33.70.

In an all Pagosa finish, Wesley Laverty captured boys' 12-14 in 27.95 with Seth Rizza second in 29:65 and Kyle Monks third in 32.96.

Jason DeCarlo of Gunnison was first in boys' 18-20 with a run of 28.58. Grag's top time was just enough to edge Eric Deitemeyer of Pagosa Springs who ran the slope in 26.78.

The men's 31-35 competition was captured by Mike Thomas of Denver in 27.72. John and Mike Schubert of Richmond, Texas, were second and third with 31.81 and 32.30 respectively.

Men's 36-40 went to Brian Burgan of Pagosa Springs in 27.01 with David Fudge of Austin, Texas, second in 2941.

Scott Anderson of Pagosa Springs was winner in the men's 41-50 competition with a 27.23 run. Second was Mike Evans of Tyler, Texas in 34.52 with Eddie Haley of Monte Vista third in 36.96.

Men's 51-60 went to Mike Evans of South Fork in 25.23. P. Davis of Colorado Springs was second in 27.54 and Bob Filice of Pagosa Springs third in 29.13.

Ron Chacey of Pagosa Springs captured the division for men 60-plus with a run of 27.65. Bill Craig of Pagosa was second in 28.66 and Dick Bond, also of Pagosa, third in 29.18.


Forrest tall order for Tigers, Pirates top Aztec 71-41

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Saturday night's 71-41 Pirate win over Aztec in the Wolf Creek Classic finale featured two teams whose characteristics lie at opposite ends of the basketball spectrum.

On one side - the Pagosa Springs Pirates, who thus far have earned a living this season by using team quickness to score in transition while beating opponents up and down the floor.

On the flip side - the Aztec Tigers, a team with mammoth size which, as its namesake suggests, uses mass and power to subdue opponents in half-court sets.

Advantage: Pirates, at least this time around.

The teams meet for a re-match Jan. 7 in Aztec, but unless Caleb Forrest gains roughly 100 pounds of holiday flab between now and then, the Tigers might again have trouble keeping pace with the 6-8 Pirate senior.

Forrest, sidelined with foul trouble for most of the first half in Pagosa's 73-58 win over Battle Mountain Saturday afternoon, vented his apparent frustration by posting 29 points, 14 boards and three blocked shots against the Tigers.

The end results were plentiful: head coach Jim Shaffer's squad took the tournament crown and improved to 5-0 on the year, while Forrest was voted the Classic's most valuable player, joining Pirate juniors Craig and Casey Schutz on the all-tourney team.

Forrest got rolling early, converting an assist from Paul Przybylski to put the Pirates up 2-0, then hit a short jumper to keep Pagosa in front after an Aztec deuce in the paint.

A put-back by Craig Schutz and trey from Przybylski made it 9-2 home team, then two more from Craig Schutz and a break-away jam from Forrest courtesy of Przybylski had Pagosa up 13-2 with three minutes remaining in the first period.

Aztec's Matt Thompson hit a pull-up to stop the bleeding, but the Pirate lead soon grew to 19-7 on a combined six from Craig Schutz and Jordan Shaffer.

Forrest added a point at the line, and the first quarter ended with the Pirates leading 22-7 after a late goal-tending call against the Tigers.

Aztec got on the board first in the second frame, but a free throw from Craig Schutz and ensuing trip to the line after a steal by Otis Rand had the Pirates up 25-9 at 5:50.

Kerry Joe Hilsabeck fed Craig Schutz for two on an inbound pass, then Forrest took a Hilsabeck pass the distance for two on the break and Pagosa led 29-9 with four minutes to play in the quarter.

Aaron Rowland knocked down a pair at the line for Aztec, both teams traded turnovers in the next two minutes, then Przybylski dished to Forrest inside and the lead was 31-11 at 1:50.

Aztec got a charity toss from Ricky Gillespie and a jumper from Thompson, but trailed 31-14 at the break.

The Tigers' Jack Bishop nailed a trey to open the second half, Forrest sank a pair of free throws after a technical foul on Aztec wiped out a fast break chance for Rand, and Casey Schutz buried a jumper to make it 35-17 at 6:40.

The Tigers fought back to 35-21, but a board and bucket from Craig Schutz and Forrest's second flush of the contest extended the lead to 39-21 with four minutes gone in the third.

The gap widened as Forrest converted on the block, Craig Schutz netted a jumper and Shaffer got two with a drive at 1:55.

Zant Doty and Slate Stout added two apiece for the Tigers in the final seconds, but Pagosa took a 45-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

Forrest tallied Pagosa's first four of the frame at the line, Stout matched the effort, then Forrest hit Casey Schutz for two as the Pirates pushed to a 51-32 lead three minutes into the frame.

The Tigers whittled at the lead for the next two minutes, but two from Rand and six from Forrest made it 59-36 with just over three minutes to play.

Casey Schutz got five straight for Pagosa, then Craig Schutz worked inside for two more and Pagosa held a 30-point advantage with 1:45 remaining.

Sophomore Travis Richey hit James Martinez for a three-point play, then A.J. Abeyta supplied Casey Hart with a baseline jumper for the final Pirate two and the clock expired with Pagosa owning a 71-41 edge.

In addition to Forrest, Craig Schutz tallied double figures for Pagosa with 17 points and pulled down eight boards.

Casey Schutz added nine points for Pagosa, while Shaffer and Rand tallied four apiece.

Przybylski recorded seven assists to lead the Pirates, followed by Hilsabeck with four and Craig Schutz with three.

After the game, Shaffer indicated the winning philosophy against Aztec was to "make this a 94-foot game.

"We wanted to pressure their guards, make it tough for them to get it into the post and then get baskets in transition," said Shaffer. "And we did a good job of that tonight, for the most part.

"For a while there in the third quarter, I thought we looked content to just chase people around and play the speed Aztec wanted to play," said Shaffer.

"But that style of play doesn't fit us well, and we were able to get back to Pirate basketball after the first few minutes and dictate the pace," he added.

As for an early-season review of his team's performance to date, "I'd probably have to say we're playing better than I expected; I didn't know if we'd play this well, this early," said Shaffer.

"But of course we always look for ways to improve, because we also know it's important to be playing well in March, and not just in December," concluded Shaffer.

Next up for Pagosa are back-to-back home contests against Piedra Vista, N.M. Friday (a change from the original season schedule) and Kirtland, N.M. Saturday. Both games are set for 7 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 10-18, 9-10, 29; Craig Schutz 7-16, 3-4, 17; Casey Schutz 3-7, 2-2, 9; Hilsabeck 0-1, 0-0, 0; Przybylski 1-2, 0-0, 3; Shaffer 2-4, 0-0, 4; Rand 1-5, 2-2, 4; Ormonde 0-1, 0-0, 0; Hart 1-1, 0-0, 2; Abeyta 0-0 0-0, 0; Richey 0-0 0-0, 0; Martinez 1-1 1-1,3. Three-point goals: Shaffer 1, Casey Schutz 1. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 21. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 27. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 16.


Pirates use balance, topple Battle Mountain 73-58

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

"We're not a one-man gang."

Such was head coach Jim Shaffer's synopsis of his Pirate basketball team after a 73-58 win Saturday afternoon over Class 4A Battle Mountain in the second round of the Wolf Creek Classic.

Shaffer's nutshell summary came in response to a postgame question asking him to evaluate his team's performance during the final 11 minutes of the first half, a span during which senior stand-out Caleb Forrest was sidelined with foul trouble.

"It's probably the thing I'm most happy with - the way guys have stepped up at both ends when he's been out of the game has been huge," said Shaffer.

"Obviously, we never want to see Caleb sit for most of the half, but we've got good balance and a lot of other ways to hurt you, offensively," said Shaffer

"And the way this team has battled back and responded when things haven't gone our way has been great."

Great, yes - unless, of course, you've been a Pirate opponent during the past two weeks.

And as the talented Huskies discovered Saturday, Shaffer's comments are an accurate depiction of this year's Pirate crew.

Pagosa took the tip, but failed to convert and Battle Mountain took a 2-0 lead via a deuce from Kyle Leffler 30 seconds into action.

Forrest answered with one of two at the line, and the Pirates went on top 5-2 after a baseline jumper from Craig Schutz followed by a put-back from Casey Schutz less than a minute later.

Pirate senior Otis Rand added a free throw, then hit Forrest for two that upped the lead to 8-2 with 5:05 to play in the period.

Rand and Battle Mountain's Trent Beckley traded two at the stripe to make it 10-4 at 3:40, then Forrest was forced to sit after picking up his third foul with three minutes left in the stanza.

Leffler cut the lead to six with a pair of free throws, but Shaffer answered with seven straight for Pagosa and the Pirates led 17-8 at the two-minute mark.

The Huskies trimmed the margin at the line, Casey Schutz converted an offensive board and Battle Mountain's Connor Drumm completed a three-point play to make it 19-13 Pirates with seven seconds to play.

The quarter ended with Leffler getting an early Christmas present via a steal and layin that came well after the buzzer, and Pagosa led 19-15 after one.

Kerry Joe Hilsabeck found Casey Schutz underneath for the first Pirate points of the second quarter, then Rand fed Craig Schutz for another two inside after a Huskie put-back and Pagosa led by six at 6:35.

Rogelio Loya got Battle Mountain to within three on a deep trey, but Craig Schutz and Shaffer stretched the lead to 30-20 with a deuce, trey and pair of charity tosses.

Beckley and Leffler countered with five straight, Shaffer drained two free throws, Drumm hit a trey and Beckley sank two at the line to make it 32-30 late in the frame.

Then Shaffer connected on two of three free throws after being fouled behind the arc, and Casey Schutz broke loose for two in transition to give Pagosa a 36-30 lead at the half.

After a scoreless first minute to open the third quarter, the Pirate lead hovered around double digits behind a bucket and two free throws from Craig Schutz, a jam from Forrest and jumper from Casey Schutz.

Pagosa led 44-35 when a rejection by Forrest netted two for Shaffer on the break, the Huskies got three straight, Rand hit a free throw to finish a three-point play and Paul Przybylski kissed a drive off the glass to make it 51-38 Pirates with 30 seconds remaining.

The Huskies turned the ball over with eight seconds to play, and for the second week in a row Craig Schutz was on target with a trey at the third-quarter buzzer; Pagosa led 54-38.

The Huskies never threatened in the final period thanks to a pair of opening free throws from Craig Schutz, a follow-up jam from Forrest and two charity tosses from Rand to put Pagosa in front 60-46 halfway through the quarter.

Forrest added four more for Pagosa, and the Pirates began to spread the floor and milk the clock at the 2:30 mark.

Subsequent free throws from Hilsabeck, Shaffer and Craig Schutz were the final markers for the Pirates, and the contest ended with Pagosa holding a 73-58 advantage.

Casey Schutz took scoring honors for Pagosa with 19, while Shaffer added 16 and Forrest booked 12.

Przybylski was tops in assists with four, followed by Hilsabeck, Rand and Casey Schutz with three each.

The victory improved Pagosa's record to 4-0 and put the Pirates in position to secure the tournament crown with a victory over Aztec the same night.

Offering some final comments on the performance, "It's not perfect; we're not doing everything we need to be doing yet," said Shaffer.

"But it's a long year, and we're going to continue to improve," he concluded.


Scoring: Forrest 4-10, 4-6, 12; Craig Schutz 5-13, 2-2, 13; Casey Schutz 7-14, 4-5, 19; Hilsabeck 0-2, 3-4, 3; Przybylski 1-1, 0-0, 2; Shaffer 4-9, 7-9, 16; Rand 1-5, 6-7, 8; Ormonde 0-0, 0-0, 0; Hart 0-0, 0-0, 0. Three-point goals: Shaffer 1, Casey Schutz 1, Craig Schutz 1. Fouled out: Forrest. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 15. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 31. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 18.

Pirates overcome shaky start, trounce Gunnison 75-37

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

If you're a Pagosa Springs Pirate basketball player, an intensity lapse doesn't occur very often.

But such an affliction dogged the Pirates Friday night in the first half of Pagosa's 75-37 win over Gunnison.

To set the stage - it's the home opener, the first round of the Wolf Creek Classic, and you're heavily favored on your home floor against the Cowboys.

But you come out a little flat on your feet, and the other guy is quicker to the ball and glass through most of the half; you leave the court nursing a two-point lead.

It's not a "Hallmark moment," but head coach Jim Shaffer offers you a few words of encouragement during the break.

As a result, you emerge from the locker room with renewed motivation and win going away.

Initially, however, what looked to be a laugher early quickly became anyone's contest as the Pirates began to struggle with apparent lethargy.

After taking the tip, the home team raced to an 11-2 lead behind eight points from senior Caleb Forrest, a deuce from junior Casey Schutz and a charity toss from sophomore Jordan Shaffer.

But after a time-out with two minutes to play in the first quarter, Gunnison's aggression on the offensive glass enabled the Cowboys to get as close as 11-8 before Shaffer hit junior Craig Schutz inside for a late deuce to give Pagosa a 13-8 lead at the end of the frame.

Gunnison's Chris Garcia stole for a deuce to open the second quarter, an assist from Pirate sophomore Kerry Joe Hilsabeck got Forrest two on the break, Tyler Campbell sank a jumper for Gunnison and Pagosa led 15-12 with 6:05 till the half.

Then the lead swelled to 23-14 after two from Shaffer, four from Forrest and a 16-footer from Pirate sophomore Caleb Ormonde to answer two Gunnison free throws.

But again the Cowboys were able to keep opportunity alive on the offensive boards and converted several put-backs to cut the margin to 23-17 at 1:50.

Pirate senior Otis Rand sank one of two after earning a trip to the line with 90 ticks left, but Gunnison got two inside from Campbell and a late trey from Jacob Dalbey to trim the lead to 24-22 at the horn.

But when Pagosa returned to the court in the third quarter, it was soon evident the Cowboys might be in for a long half.

Craig Schutz opened scoring with a reverse layin, Casey Schutz added a pair at the line, Gunnison notched two from outside and Forrest tallied a three-point play to give the Pirates a 31-24 lead after one minute of play.

With the defense in high gear, Pagosa began a 13-point streak as junior Paul Przybylski hit Casey Schutz in transition for a deuce, Forrest sank two at the stripe and Rand scored on the break.

Craig Schutz pumped in a trey from the top of the arc, then hit the floor for a loose ball and threw downcourt to Hilsabeck for two and the Pirates led by 18 with three minutes burned in the third.

Shaffer scored with a steal and drive to make it 44-24 before Dalbey ended Gunnison's scoring drought with a trey at 3:15, but the gap widened as Forrest, Shaffer, Rand and Hilsabeck collaborated for 16 straight Pirate points to give the Pirates a 59-27 lead down the stretch.

Campbell banked home a three for Gunnison at the buzzer, then hit a lone free throw to start the final quarter, but Pagosa led 64-31 at 6:17 after a deuce from Craig Schutz and trey from Forrest.

A rejection by Ormonde led to a fast break and lay-in for Craig Schutz, Shaffer buried a deep trey and Ormonde connected with a jumper as Pagosa pushed the lead to 73-37 inside of two minutes.

Ormonde inked the game's final points on a put-back with just under a minute left, neither team scored in the final seconds and the horn sounded with Pagosa on top 75-37.

Forrest shot 11-15 from the field and 4-4 from the line to lead all scorers with 27 points while adding eight boards and eight blocks to the books.

Craig Schutz tallied 15 points and nine boards for the night; Shaffer and Ormonde added 10 and seven points, respectively.

Casey Schutz led in the assist category with seven, followed by Craig Schutz and Przybylski with four apiece.

The win improved Pagosa's season record to 3-0 and gave the Pirates a good boost of momentum heading into Saturday's second-round contest against a strong Class 4A Battle Mountain squad.


Scoring: Forrest 11-15, 4-4, 27; Craig Schutz 7-13, 0-0, 15; Casey Schutz 2-5, 2-4, 6; Hilsabeck 2-3, 0-0, 4; Przybylski 0-1, 1-4, 1; Shaffer 4-7, 1-2, 10; Rand 2-4, 1-2, 5; Ormonde 3-4, 1-2, 7; Hart 0-0, 0-0, 0; Martinez 0-1 0-0 0; Abeyta 0-0 0-0 0. Three-point goals: Shaffer 1, Craig Schutz 1, Forrest 1. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 19. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 29. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 12.


Pirate wrestlers dominate field at Buena Vista tourney

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Pirate wrestlers stepped it up a notch at Saturday's Buena Vista Duals, won five dual meets and came home with the tournament championship.

The Pirates battled in pool play against four teams, the first competition of the day against St. Mary's of Colorado Springs.

The Pirate-on-Pirate clash was the closest meet Pagosa had all day, winning 47-32.

Shane Lloyd received a forfeit and six points at 103 pounds.

Josh Nelson and Orion Sandoval lost their matches at 112 and 119 respectively.

Daren Hockett began what would be his second undefeated dual meet tournament in a row, getting a pin at 125 in the first period. Hockett moved down to 125 for the Buena Vista tournament, having competed the week before at Rocky Ford at 130.

Pagosa forfeited at 130 but the slot could be filled soon by any of a number of wrestlers.

Raul Palmer began a strong day, pinning his opponent at 135 in the first period of the match.

Kyle Smith got his tournament off to a good start, scoring six points with a pin in the second period of his match at 140.

Dale August saw his first action of the year at 145 and managed \a 17-2 technical fall in the third period.

Manuel Madrid took a forfeit at 152.

Matt Nobles lost his match at 171.

Reynaldo Palmer earned team points at 171 with a pin in the third period.

Marcus Rivas dropped a decision at 189.

Bubba Martinez walked out to accept a forfeit at 215.

Jakob Reding lost his match at 275.

Next up was 4A Steamboat Springs. The Sailors didn't put up much of a fight as Pagosa won the meet 70-6.

Steamboat forfeited seven matches, giving Pagosa 42 points without a struggle.

Hockett fought at 125 and, again, pinned his man in the first period.

Raul Palmer put his opponent's shoulders to the mat in the first period at 135 and Smith did the same at 140.

Both teams forfeited at 171, coach Dan Janowsky choosing to complete the double forfeit so he could move Reynaldo Palmer up to 189. Palmer replaced Rivas, who continues to be hampered by a shoulder injury, and defeated the Steamboat wrestler 17-5.

The host team, Buena Vista, was next on the schedule for the Pirates and the Demons went down 60-15.

Lloyd got six points at 103 with a pin. Nelson lost at 112 and both teams forfeited at 119, allowing Sandoval to move up to 125 where he pinned a Demon in the second period.

Hockett continued to roll, moving up to 130 and getting the pin in the first period.

Raul Palmer, likewise, continued to prove unstoppable. The senior scored with a pin in the second period at 135.

Smith lost at 140 and August lost at 145. The Demons forfeited to Madrid at 152 and the teams each forfeited at 160.

Nobles moved up to 171 for Pagosa and pinned his man in the second period. Reynaldo Palmer followed suit, getting the second-period pin at 189.

The Pirates finished in fine fashion with Martinez scoring six points with a second-period pin at 215 and Reding nailing his first victory at heavyweight for Pagosa with a pin in the first period of his match.

The Pirates' last opponent in the preliminary round was Del Norte. The Tigers forfeited eight matches to Pagosa, in effect giving away the victory. Pagosa got six easy points per match at 103, 135, 145, 169, 171, 189, 215 and 275.

Nelson earned his own six points at 112, pinning his man in the first period. Sandoval lost in the third period of his match at 119 and both teams forfeited at 125.

Hockett remained in the groove, moving up to 130 and getting the pin in the first period.

Smith earned six points with a pin in the second period of his 140-pound match.

Madrid finally got a chance to go at 152 and made good on the opportunity, taking a 6-4 decision.

The victory over the Tigers put Pagosa in the finals against Florence, traditionally a strong Class 3A program.

Saturday, the Huskies' bark was worse than their bite as the Pirates defeated them 50-24.

Lloyd lost his match at 103.

Nelson evened the score, getting a first-period pin at 112.

Sandoval scored with a 12-9 decision.

Hockett went back down to 125 and managed to win his fifth match, with a first-period pin.

Pagosa forfeited at 130.

Raul Palmer scored a convincing 13-5 win by decision.

Smith got a pin at 140 in the first period of the match.

August put team points on the board at 145 with a 12-2 win.

Madrid lost his match at 152.

Nobles stayed on the winning track with a 15-11 decision at 160. Reynaldo Palmer lost at 171.

Rivas overcame his injury and pinned his opponent at 189. The senior could be light enough to drop to 171 soon.

Martinez steamrolled his opponent at 215, nailing the pin in the first period.

Florence forfeited to Reding at 275.

The Pirates had the trophy.

"I suppose the unfortunate aspect of the tournament was the lack of matches," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "There were a lot of forfeits. But the positive side of the experience is, when we were on the mat, we were wrestling hard."

Janowsky was pleased with the aggression shown by his fighters. "There wasn't a lot of standing around, " he said. "The guys were hustling back to the center and they kept going."

While the Buena Vista tournament did not provide consistent, top-level competition, it did give the Pirates a chance to work out some of their early season wrinkles.

"There are areas where we need to get better, or we'll stumble against better opponents," said the coach. "But the meet at Buena Vista made for some exciting wrestling. Our guys were real aggressive, trying hard to score points."

The Pirates will get plenty of chances to face high-quality opponents when they travel to Grand Junction for the Warrior Classic Friday and Saturday.

The Warrior is regarded as one of the top tournaments of the year, at times rivaling the state tourney in quality of competition. While the number of out-of-state teams has dwindled in the last few years, the Warrior still attracts some of the best talent in the region.

"It'll be the first real test for us, the first place we'll see a lot of the top guys," said Janowsky. " We have some guys who haven't been beat yet, but they'll be pushed at Grand Junction. They will finally have to wrestle the same pace for six minutes if they want to win.

"We'll see where we're at," said the coach. "There'll be a lot of good teams there, including some great 2A teams like Meeker, Nucla and Paonia. They're as good as they get.

"We'll see a different, aggressive style of wrestling at the Warrior - different than what we tend to see in other places. We'll see some techniques at this tournament we don't see the rest of the year. It'll help us, regardless of the outcome.

"What we'll do is wrestle hard, learn our lessons, make sure we stay in matches and get as much mat time as possible to prepare for the second part of the season."

Action at Grand Junction starts Friday at noon. Saturday, the tournament resumes at 10 a.m.

Jewell, Walkup named by foes to all-tourney team

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

They were key support players in the tournament, and one even missed a game. They were integral parts of a team effort for Pagosa in last weekends' traditional Wolf Creek Classic.

And both downplayed their own efforts in the three-game appearance.

But Lori Walkup, the 5-9 Pagosa Springs High School forward-guard and her running mate 6-2 senior center Caitlyn Jewell, were named by their foes to the weekend tournament's all-tournament team.

Walkup guarded the opposition's anticipated top scorer in each contest, worked the wing and high post positions alternately, drove the lane, rebounded and put Intermountain League foes on notice she's not about to let her senior season get away.

In the three games she scored eight, nine and nine points, had 18 rebounds, recorded two blocked shots, had 10 steals, and was a certified thorn in the side of all opponents.

Jewell, Pagosa's 6-2 center, missed one game in the tournament while taking the ACT tests. She had 12 and 13 points in the two games she played, had a total of 14 rebounds, and had two steals and two assists.

Also named to the all-tournament team were veteran Gunnison star Shalee Keener, a repeat nominee; Aztec's Patricia Malouff and Wynter Carlyle and Montezuma-Cortez veteran scoring leader and another all-tournament repeater Brittany Whiteman, who was also named the tournament's most valuable player.


Parks & Rec

Remember fun, fair play and good sportsmanship

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

I have been involved with sports since the time I was eight years old and over the years I have learned a variety of skills from playing, coaching, managing and refereeing of sports.

Probably the most valuable lesson I learned came from my first coach, my dad.

After the little league tryouts of my first year, there remained a group of us who would have made the Bad News Bears look like the (insert major league team here). Well, my dad stepped up and took on this group of rag tag kids and taught us the basics of being ballplayers.

Although we didn't win many games that first year we all learned another important part of the game - how to be a good sport.

Picture "The Wonder Years" kitchen, the whole family sitting around the table after a game. This is where I learned about other aspects of the game from my dad, such as fairness, as he talked about making a lineup that included everyone, teamwork, respect for others regardless of their ability, and how important it was to have fun.

My dad had a rule as a coach that everyone got to play in every game, regardless of skill level. This rule helped me learn that having an opportunity to play was more important than winning.

As I think back over those years, even when I receive phone calls from disgruntled parents, I cannot help but remember all of the key plays that have been made by those players regarded as "not as good."

More vividly, I remember the screams of joy and the feelings of confidence that were bursting from those players in these moments and the pride that was beaming from their parents' faces. It is these moments that reinforce to me how important it is not to forget to teach fun, fair play and good sportsmanship when teaching the other basic skills of any game.

Thanks Dad!

Hoop shoot winners

On Saturday, Dec. 11, the Elk's Club Hoop Shoot Basketball Free Throw Contest was held at Pagosa Junior High School.

Pagosa Springs had over 40 participants in this year's contest. The winners of this age-group competition will go on to compete at the regional competition on Jan. 8 in Durango.

The winners of this year's competition are:

8-9 Division

Girls - Anissa Lucero

Boys - Dean Hampton

10-11 Division

Girls - Cheyann Dixon;

Boys - Kain Lucero

12-13 Division

Girls - Brianna Bryant

Boys - Taylor Shaffer

Youth basketball

The draft for the 9-10 and 11-12 divisions for youth basketball was held Monday.

If you have not received a call from your coach concerning your placement on a team or your first practice, call the recreation department at 264-4151, Ext. 232

Open volleyball

As an attempt to continue to offer adult volleyball to the Pagosa Springs community, the recreation 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.

Open basketball

The 2005 adult basketball leagues will start in February. We are planning open gym nights throughout January.

Start putting your teams together now for this exciting, adult league. Recreational and competitive leagues now forming. New teams are welcome.

Hiring referees

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department continues to seek individuals interested in officiating youth and adult basketball starting in January. High school students may apply. Compensation is $10-$25 per game depending on age group and experience. We will be meeting this month to discuss schedules so call immediately if interested.

For additional information about any of the recreation department adult or youth sports programs, contact me at 264-4151, Ext. 232.


Youth sports are designed to give all an equal chance

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The 7- and 8-year-olds just finished up their basketball season. Two years ago we started the youngest age groups in tee-ball and basketball, six weeks before the 9-10,11-12 divisions to free up gym time, coaches' time and parents' time.

We have not heard any complaints about the different schedule; it also helps us get out of the gymnasiums at a decent hour. It seems we are getting out late because of daylight-saving time, but most evenings we have the kids home before 9 p.m.

In the 7-8 division we do not keep score. We try to focus on the fundamentals, along with trying to have every player succeed. By succeeding, we mean if they each make a basket or two, learn how to play with other teammates, and follow instructions, that is success.

Many parents and coaches are competitive by nature and do not understand the fact that we do not have a score clock or the fact all kids get equal amounts of playing time.

We have suggested a substitution grid that helps a coach with equal playing time and to try to have children of equal ability on the court at the same time. If this happens, barring injuries, absenteeism and an equal number of players, we should have close games regardless of the age group playing.

We also offer basketball to children from first to sixth grade; we stop at that level because in junior high they offer basketball to both boys and girls.

At the 9-10 level the game gets a little more like basketball, with some special league rules to help control the game, again to make it fun for all players.

At the 11-12 level, we are going to open up the game to the players who may already have three or four years of experience, making a few modifications to help this age group still enjoy the game and see if it is something they may enjoy at the next level or as a life sport, playing recreationally.

Kids will be kids, and when the competition level is raised up a notch or two, it is important that the parents still consider this recreation and exercise. The lessons learned or the relationships developed will be around a lot longer than that first-place medal.

Every year we have to share our philosophies with parents about what we are trying to accomplish, and that we are just trying to facilitate a league in the best way possible for equal playtime and equal participation for all kids who join.

Park news

The town council has agreed to let me stay in negotiations with tower companies to locate in Reservoir Hill Park. We are on our third set of cellular phone tower companies and with each negotiation we learn.

We try to maintain the integrity of the hill, while at the same time creating revenue that will help us with money to spend on capitol improvements or to leverage against other grant opportunities that may come up.

The company negotiating now is considering a taller tower with the capabilities of putting three other receivers on the pole for more revenues from the same site. They call this a "co-locate situation," where the town can control the ground lease and stay in the negotiation and revenue circles with other providers on the same pole. Most companies try to negotiate a 25-year agreement.

Sports complex

We are starting to get calls on the actual building of the first phase of the Sports Complex. This is exciting, yet stressful.

We have always just had the pipe dream and drawings of the park. Now the decisions made are going to affect the layout of the other phases, how we envision use patterns and the quality of the people's experiences for the next 50 years. As a director you want to think of every user, and try to facilitate their needs the best ways possible.

We envision dirt work starting next spring. With the best sod available in July and August, followed by our rainy season, we should have good root growth with some play on the soccer field in September.

Keep your fingers crossed and keep an eye on the Web site for bids and updates on this program.

Skating ponds

After opening the skating ponds, Pagosa Country has been blessed or cursed, however you want to look at it, with very warm weather.

In order for the ice skating experience to be at its best, we ask the public to stay off the ponds midday when the temperatures are in the 40s and 50s.

We have been experiencing layers of ice, which makes for less than satisfactory conditions. This also makes for rough skating. We need too have at least three to four days of below zero temperatures to get the ice solid and to create a new skating surface for there to be improved skating conditions.

The ponds are open. However, we will be watching and closing the ponds if temperatures stay warm. Sorry for the inconvenience, but safety first.



Time to remember

It is an appropriate time to reflect on our good fortune and how many of us take it for granted. With the holidays upon us, thoughts turn to gifts, celebrations, feasts, the company of friends and family. Our blessings as Americans are manifestly obvious this time of the year and we take advantage of them, to the extreme. We are spoiled and, as such, we tend to forget important things.

Our good fortune begins with the basics. All of us have access to clean water and sewage is piped away and treated. Electrical service is seldom interrupted, and rarely for a significant period of time. The roads we drive are passable, maintained in nearly all cases in usable condition. It is not often we are confined to homes, immobilized due to bad weather. Our homes are heated, gas or electricity delivered on demand.

When was the last time the shelves of the grocery were empty, a gas station unable to provide fuel?

Law enforcement maintains a high degree of order compared to other places in this world. Firefighters respond to every call. An ambulance arrives when medical help is needed. There are physicians ready to render aid, hospitals nearby to care for the ill and injured.

We send our children to schools - public and private. We don't wonder if the school will be open.

Many of us are busy shopping for lavish gifts during this holiday season, planning menus for gatherings. Most have money to spend and we live in a system utterly careless in its willingness to extend credit. Dare we say it: Even the poorest members in our society live at a higher level than many other citizens on this globe. Few of us are without shelter, a TV, a car, a refrigerator, without light and heat or access to food.

We are extraordinarily fortunate, blessed with a superabundance of comfort and more than a measure of security. We complain but, seen from a realistic perspective, we live well.

We are spoiled.

We are also at war.

What is wrong with this picture?

American men and women are abroad, fighting and dying on several fronts. We argue about the venture, lament that more lives will be lost - some believe justifiably, some not.

Drop the arguments for a moment though, and ask: What are we sacrificing?

Only the families of those who fight and die for their country are making a sacrifice.

What of the rest of us? What are we giving up as we breeze along as if this holiday were like any other?

Agree with the reasons for conflict or not, that fellow citizens are embroiled in battles with no choice and no way out, should touch every American as we indulge our luxuries, cozy up on the couch to watch a mindless TV sitcom, attend a concert, go to work or school. It should make a difference to us as we shop at the market, buy a new car, eat at a restaurant.

There are Americans will not be home for the holidays, who will not shop for gifts or sleep in a warm and clean bed, who must be wary of every step they take, of every corner they turn.

As we decide which car to drive, ponder the purchase of a new home or worry about the grade our child got on a final exam and plan our assault on teacher and school, as we peruse items in the store, putting together goods for our holiday extravaganza - regardless of our attitude concerning the policies that put them where they are, we need to think about these other Americans and keep them in our prayers.

We should be mindful of what they are giving up, and what we are not.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

How do you use Jesus' name?

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Throughout history there have been references to Jesus Christ in a desultory and insulting manner.

There have, as well, been those which credit him as the man without sin, the man born of a virgin, who was also part of the triune God and is regarded by Christianity as the Savior of all who believe and confess their sin.

With the Christmas season signaling that birth as God's gift to those he had created, I thought it might serve us well to recall some of the comments made with reference to Jesus.

For example, the author Havelock Ellis, writing in Impressions and Comments, Series 3, opined:

"Had there been a lunatic asylum in the suburbs of Jerusalem, Jesus Christ would infallibly have been shut up in it at the outset of his public career. That interview with Satan on a pinnacle of the temple would alone have damned him, and everything that happened after could but have confirmed the diagnosis."

On the other hand, Joseph Ernest Renan in the introduction to "La Vie de Jesus," wrote:

"The whole of history is incomprehensible without him (Jesus)."

Mary Baker Eddy saw in her faith in Jesus one who was more than a pillar for the faithful.

Writing in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she observed, "Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe. He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause."

It has been said all the world is a stage and its people actors thereon. Some actors, however, had similar views on their importance. Charlie Chaplin is quoted by his wife Lita in "My Life with Chaplin" as having said, " I am known in parts of the world by people who never heard of Jesus Christ." He was not stating it in pride, but as a matter of fact. More recently, the singer-songwriter John Lennon was quoted in a London Evening Standard interview as saying, "We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first - rock n' roll or Christianity."

Those convinced Jesus was the chosen savior can take solace in the words of the apostle, John, who wrote in his epistle to the Hebrews that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of which I am chief," and later reflected, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever."

In "The Sensible Man's View of Religion," however, John Haynes Holmes wrote, "If Christians were Christians, there would be no anti-Semitism. Jesus was a Jew. There is nothing that the ordinary Christian so dislikes to remember as this awkward historical fact."

Perhaps to counter that type of thought, the noted Malcolm Muggeridge in his 1975 piece titled simply, "Jesus," wrote, "As Man alone, Jesus could not have saved us; as God alone, he would not; Incarnate, he could, and did."

The fiery Simon Bolivar is credited with, "The three greatest dolts in the world: Jesus, Don Quixote, and I."

If I have titillated your own remembrances of comments regarding the Lord, let me close with this from "The Easter Hymn": Jesus Christ is risen today; Alleluia!"




90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Dec. 18, 1914

The gradual growth of Archuleta County as an agricultural and stock raising section has been of more benefit to more people than a sudden rise in real estate prices would have been. The recent sale of the E.T. Walker and Loucks ranches, both at good prices, indicates that far-seeing farmer-business men are beginning to realize that Archuleta County offers exceptional opportunities.

There is such a thing as being so conservative that even your mother-in-law can't understand you.

The new postmaster, Mrs. McGee, is giving good satisfaction to the patrons of the office, a fact the New Era is pleased to record.

A girl who marries for a home is paying too much rent.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 20, 1929

Two Pagosa lads today paid a fine of $10 and costs each in Police Magistrate R.C. Hill's court for committing combat upon one another last evening. Three other lads were last week brought before His Honor for minor disturbances but were released upon promise of good behavior.

On Monday, Dec. 16, a count was made of the cars traveling over Wolf Creek Pass highway, the number being 24. Unless the snow storm, which set in this evening, amounts to heavy proportions, there is no reason to believe that there will be any appreciable decrease in the traffic over the pass for some days to come.

A sprinkler was used on the streets of Pagosa Springs Tuesday and Wednesday on account of the heavy accumulated dust.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 17, 1954

The snow last week kind of speeded up the Christmas spirit around and a few decorations are showing up. The elementary school is to have something unusual in the way of decorations this year and music will be used to meet the theme of the decorations.

The first conference game for the basketball team is this week at Pagosa Springs. Thanks to the Lions, the Legion and the Quarterback Club, there are plenty of seats so come on down and watch Pagosa win another one.

Christmas is just around the corner and the big free party for kids is this Saturday afternoon. Bring them in and let them have a good time, courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce.

 25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 20, 1979

Share the meaning of Christmas with the less fortunate of the community by donations of canned foods and money. Leave them at Pagosa Administration office or here in town at the Parish Hall.

This is the time of the year when you begin to get the feeling that your wallet is lined with Teflon and nothing will stick to it.

Despite the fact that snowfall has been somewhat scarce this year, skiing at Wolf Creek Ski Area remains very good. The temperatures up there have been low enough so that the snow that fell early is not melting. Wolf Creek is one of the few areas in the country with enough natural snow for good skiing. Many other areas are operating on man-made snow, or haven't opened.



Orient Express: Pagosa teacher travels to Japan on Fulbright program

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"I enjoyed communicating with people in spite of the language barrier. That was the part I was most nervous about, and it turned out to be the most fun. It was fine somehow."

That's one of the lessons Mary Kurt-Mason, a special education teacher at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School, learned during her three weeks in Japan this fall.

Three weeks she spent immersed in a different culture. Three weeks hosted by the Japanese government. Three weeks spent learning about teaching from a different perspective.

"I returned with both a greater appreciation for the Japanese culture and the American culture," she said. Kurt-Mason traveled to Japan in mid-November as part of the Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program, a program fully-funded by the Japanese government designed to increase understanding between the two cultures.

According to the Fulbright Memorial Fund Web site, in nine years more than 4,000 American primary and secondary school teachers, as well as administrators, have participated in the program. Three times each year, a group of up to 200 educators is selected through an application process.

During the stay in Japan, successful applicants receive an orientation to Japanese culture, attend seminars hosted by government and educational leaders, visit cultural sites, meet with teachers and students, and participate in a weekend home stay. Once they return home, program participants use what they've learned to design activities for their schools and classrooms in America.

Kurt-Mason received an informational e-mail regarding the program over a year ago. After researching a little, she decided to fill out an application. In April, she learned she'd been accepted and would have the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of traveling to Japan with the full support of Pagosa's school district.

"My dad used to travel a lot when I was young," she said. "Japan was one of the places he went, and he would come home and tell us about the bullet trains and the banquets." As she grew up, the fascination continued.

On November 14, the Japanese memorial program allowed her to leave Pagosa Springs for the reality she'd only been reading about. She returned better educated, with an extra suitcase brimming with gifts and purchases for herself, her family and her school.

"They keep you very busy," she said. Each minute of the day was planned from morning until dinner with meetings, tours and observation of schools. Interpreters were provided for most of the meetings, but that was all. In the evenings, the participants were on their own to explore the country and communication.

One night, Kurt-Mason said, a group went out to dinner and simply pointed to plastic cutouts of food displayed in the window. Another night, they told the server, "You pick," until they got the point across.

"It was fine," Kurt-Mason said. "The Japanese people were so gracious. So many times they would stop what they were doing and make sure you got to where you were going." In Nagano, she and other participants went into a store to ask for directions to a restaurant that would serve noodles. The store owner didn't know of one and called someone else. After finding directions, the man closed his own store to walk them several blocks to ensure they found the right restaurant.

Things like that, Kurt-Mason said, happened all the time. Every place they went, they were given gifts. Every day, no matter where they visited, they started with a formal speech and the serving of green tea.

"In Japanese culture," she said, "people go out of their way to make sure the rest of the people are happy, to make sure you are all right. They think more of the group than the individual. The children are very focused and disciplined. Parents are very involved. In the United States, students are less focused and disciplined, but are more creative. Unlike Japan, we're multicultural and I think that's one of our greatest strengths, but also creates difference in finding a common ideal."

As an example of the group focus, she listed the way students in Japan help with the running of their school. At the elementary school she visited, three students stood at the doors to greet all the other students. Students came to school in groups wearing matching hats and backpack, a memory Kurt-Mason listed as one of her favorites.

"At the head of the group was a student with a banner. Another student had a whistle for crossing streets. To see all those kids with yellow caps and matching backpack, it looked like they all were their own school bus."

For 20 minutes a day, all of the students participated in cleaning the school. Students were also responsible for picking up lunches, serving the other students and cleaning up after themselves. To help keep the school clean, they wore special inside shoes they changed when entering gym class. Entering the bathroom required still another pair of shoes.

Kurt-Mason said some restaurants and private homes also provided "bathroom shoes," canvas shoes with rubber soles, sometimes with "toilet" written on the top.

Curriculum in Japan is mandated by the federal government, leaving less room for creativity by the teachers, Kurt-Mason said, but education is taken very seriously by the students, "who feel responsible for their own learning." School is mandated only through junior high although most students continue through high school and college - providing they pass the entrance exams. To prepare, Kurt-Mason said, many students will attend regular school, participate in after-school sports, eat dinner and head directly to private "cram" schools geared toward preparation for the advancement tests.

Now, that she's back, Kurt-Mason is working to organize 13 rolls of film into a multimedia presentation for the fifth and sixth grades and the school board. She is also developing lesson plans to teach each of the fifth-grade classes a different traditional Japanese art project.

One class will do Ikebana, flower arranging. Another will tackle a handmade paper project. Another will try gift wrapping with a special furoshiki cloth and one more will attempt Koma, making a New Year's ornament of cardboard, ribbon and cloth. She may also try sashiko, a Japanese style of stitching.

"I'll start after New Year's, finish by May and then I'll have to submit a report to FMF," she said.

The Fulbright Memorial Fund Program was started nine years ago by the Japanese government to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. government's Fulbright scholarship program, which has enabled more than 6,000 Japanese to come to the United States for graduate education and research. Two hundred educators and administrators, two from each state, are selected for each of three sponsored trips scheduled in June, October and November. In 2003, over 2,000 people from every state and the District of Columbia applied.

Kurt-Mason said it was an experience anyone could benefit from and encouraged other local teachers to apply for 2006 slots. Further information may be gleaned by calling the Institute for International Education (888) 537-2636 or applying online at


Pagosa's Past

By January 1881, Fort Lewis

was mostly gone from Pagosa

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

Sharp shooting Northern Utes hung a corral of lead around Major Thornburg's troops Sept. 29, 1879. The ring of fire laid down by the angry Utes cut off the Bluecoats from water, escape and possibly any hope of aging gracefully, if at all.

Capt. Dodge and Company D of the Ninth Cavalry, lately of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs, broke through the Ute lines in an effort to save their beleaguered countryman. Instead of rescuers, the Buffalo soldiers found themselves pinned down as well. Were Thornburg and Dodge going to join Custer as leaders of the worst defeats suffered by frontier troops?

Known historically as the Meeker Massacre, the battle joined above was fought along Milk Creek north of Meeker, Colo. We will describe the progress of the battle in a later article. Right now, we're trying to explain how an Army camp at Pagosa Springs called Camp Lewis became a college campus in Durango called Fort Lewis.

Shockwaves from the Meeker confrontation upset settlers all over the western part of Colorado, including those living in the San Juans. Would Ouray and Buckskin Charley and Ignacio and other Ute leaders encourage the Southern Utes to attack whites in the Southern part of the state? The settlers primed their weapons, gathered in the best defensive postures they could assume, and waited.

We are told Utes peered down from hillsides surrounding Pagosa Springs, ready to attack if told by their leaders to do so.

Within days, Gen. Hatch, commander of the Department of New Mexico, and 600 infantry troops were on their way, traveling first through Pagosa Springs and on to Animas City, today's Durango, where they set up camp. Ouray and the other Southern Ute leaders, perhaps influenced by the quick military response, kept the peace. The conflagration did not flame up in the San Juans, even though there was much posturing and more than a little skirmishing by both sides.

Following the Meeker Massacre, Gen. Buell was ordered to find a better site than Pagosa Springs for Fort Lewis. He recommended a site on the Mancos River, but his recommendation was overruled by Gen. John Pope who ordered the fort built on the La Plata River at a location we now know as Hesperus. A verbal order was issued Aug. 15, 1880, to begin constructing Fort Lewis at its new location.

General Orders No. 10 dated Jan. 21, 1881, read: "By the direction of the Secretary of War the new post on the Rio de la Plata, Colorado, will be known and designated as Fort Lewis, and the name of the temporary camp at Pagosa Springs, Colorado, will be changed from Fort Lewis to Pagosa Springs. By command of General Sherman."

The buildings of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs were staffed by a skeleton crew until December of 1882 when the secretary of war order the post closed and all buildings dismantled.

And so, in 1882, Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs was no more. The buildings were not dismantled, but were used as temporary quarters by new settlers into the 1890s. Some or all of the four officer barracks may have survived until nearly 1900.

A building on the R.D. Hott Ranch north of town is said to be made up of logs obtained by dismantling two of the officer buildings, numbering the logs, and reassembling them at the Hott Ranch, then owned by one of the Macht brothers. No other buildings from Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs have been identified as remaining.

And so, by January of 1881, for all intents and purposes, Fort Lewis had moved from Pagosa Springs to the La Plata River a few miles west of Durango.

Fort Lewis remained as a viable military fort at its new location until May 21, 1891. On that date, the Army decided the presence of troops and a fort was no longer needed in the San Juans and closed the fort as a military establishment.

However, the name Fort Lewis did not die. Some 10 years earlier, Congress had provided that unoccupied Army posts could be used as schools for Indians.

In March, 1892, Fort Lewis Indian School was organized. Lewis Morgan of Fort Defiance, Ariz., was named head of the new school. He brought several Navajos with him. Soon about 100 men, women, and children from Ignacio, Blue Mountain (Utah), and Navajo Springs, now Towaoc, Colo., were on site. By June of 1892, 25 Apache children came, elevating the total number of students to 46.

The second summer after establishing the school, an epidemic caused the death of several children. Many irate parents came, especially Utes, and forcibly took their children home.

Much of the information presented in this article concerning Fort Lewis was taken from "Blue Coats, Red Skins, and Black Gowns," a book written by Dr. Robert L. Delaney, formerly the director for the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College.

More next week on the evolution of Fort Lewis College from Army camp to college campus.



Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture











































Sunshine, moderate temps predicted into next week

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

If you hate gray skies and snow, odds are you'll love Pagosa Country weather for the next several days.

Forecasts provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction suggest a ridge of high pressure will occupy the Four Corners region into next week.

The results should be an extended trend toward above-average temperatures, meager chances for widespread snow showers and mostly-sunny skies across southwest Colorado.

The latest reports indicate moderate cloud cover this morning will be replaced by increasing sun as the day progresses.

Highs today are forecast in the 30s while evening lows are expected to fall to around 10.

Mostly-sunny skies are in the forecast for Friday, along with highs predicted between 35-45 and lows in the single digits.

Saturday calls for occasional clouds, highs in the 40s and lows ranging from 10-20 degrees.

The forecasts for Sunday and Monday predict partly-cloudy skies, highs around 40 and lows dropping into the 10-20 range.

Tuesday and Wednesday should bring patchy clouds, a 20-percent chance for isolated snow showers, highs ranging from the mid-30s to mid-40s and lows in the teens.

The average high temperature recorded last week in Pagosa Springs was 45 degrees. The average low was 14. Moisture totals for the week amounted to six-hundredths of an inch.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit snow depth of 62 inches, a midway depth of 54 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 117 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 75 cubic feet per second to a high of approximately 145 cubic feet per second last week.

The river's historic median flow for the week of Dec. 16 is roughly 55 cubic feet per second.