December 23, 2004
Front Page

Jaycox gravel pit permit request

tabled until Jan. 4


By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Numerous public hearings have been conducted in the Archuleta County courthouse over the past two years.

Some have been standing room only affairs charged with high emotion and sudden outbursts, heated debates lasting well into the night.

Others have opened and closed in mere minutes with, save for the presiding body and its own exchange, nary a soul and scarcely a sound entering into public record.

A Dec. 15 hearing in which the county board of commissioners considered - and eventually tabled - a decision on the Jaycox Gravel Pit conditional use permit application fits somewhere in between.

Before roughly 40 onlookers, the board heard civil testimony in support of and against the pending endeavor which, if approved, will occupy about 10 acres of private property off County Road 975 near Arboles for at least five years.

Conditional approval of the application was recommended to the commissioners via a 3-2 vote of the Archuleta County Planning Commission Nov. 10.

The recommendation, recently revised by county planning department staff, includes 18 conditions the operation must adhere to if approved.

According to a county planning staff report, the applicant, Pagosa Valley Gravel Products, will have the opportunity to re-apply for additional permits after the original permit expires, with such applications being reviewed separately and according to county land use regulations that exist at that time.

A brief history of the permit application, along with subsequent approval conditions, were read into record at the onset of the hearing by Marcus Baker, associate county planner.

Conditions of approval determined by the planning commission and planning staff, said Baker, include improvements agreements, dust and noise mitigation and site reclamation schedules, among other requirements.

Also set forth in the slate of conditions are the hours of operation for gravel mining and crushing at the site, listed as 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, with equipment maintenance and gravel sales/hauling permitted Saturday, and activities prohibited Sundays and holidays.

Vehicles hauling from the site will be limited to a maximum of 35 round trips per day, though "a temporary increase in vehicle trips may be allowed - up to 50 vehicle trips per day for not more than 60 days - for a specific purpose or project" if authorized by the director of county development in advance.

The hauling route will trace a path beginning at a site-access road adjoining County Road 975, extend to Colo. 151 and north to U.S. 160 through downtown Pagosa, then south on U.S. 84 and east to Strohecker Asphalt Plant on County Road 302, which is also known as Mill Creek Road.

Baker also outlined a number of public concerns related to potential effects on traffic and road maintenance and degradation, as well as other issues raised by individuals and entities during the application review process.

Citing a project opinion handed down Dec. 9 by the Colorado Department of Transportation, Baker indicated CDOT "does not recommend approval of Mr. Strohecker's proposal until all the access issues have been resolved" at both highway intersections along the proposed hauling route.

According to CDOT, the Mill Creek Road-U.S. 84 intersection is "very substandard," is in "non-conformance" with the state highway access code and "would require substantial improvements" due to project impacts.

With regard to the County Road 975-Colo. 151 intersection, the CDOT opinion states it is "highly unusual" that an intersection design has not been submitted to CDOT, or the county, for preliminary review prior to board approval.

In addition, CDOT wants to avoid granting variances from the state highway access code, says the opinion, "to try to make the design work."

Following Baker's summary of project status, Bill Whitbred addressed a number of concerns voiced by project skeptics during the application review process.

Representing John and Linda Jaycox, owners of Pagosa Valley Gravel Products, Whitbred acknowledged the pit proposal has been mired in controversy, but stated much debate has resulted from "misinformation that has happened through the rumor mill."

For example, said Whitbred, some believe a subsequent application for an on-site, hot-mix asphalt plant will follow a decision to approve the project.

However, "This is strictly a gravel crushing operation, only," said Whitbred, adding there is no intention to seek a permit for asphalt plant operations.

While 35 and perhaps 50 round trips are the proposed maximum for hauling from the site, said Whitbred, because Strohecker "only has four trucks," a more realistic daily estimate "would be 12 to 20 trips per day."

With respect to the notion of increased traffic, Whitbred stated there will not be a traffic hike because hauling trips from the site "will only maintain the status quo" by replacing, not augmenting, loads from other gravel pits which are scheduled to cease operations in the near future.

Whitbred concluded his comments by stating the applicants fully intend to comply with all corresponding county, state and federal regulations, and have done or will do "all they can" to mitigate public safety and welfare concerns.

Regarding CDOT issues, if the project can't meet requirements, "Then this whole thing goes away," concluded Whitbred.

Public comments were the next order of business, with Durango-based attorney Jeff Craig being the first to step to the podium.

After indicating he represents Joe and Terrie Collins, but speaks for over a dozen other Arboles residents, Craig told the board he has major concerns with the proposal "and what the applicant has failed to do, we think."

Recounting a similar application submitted and eventually withdrawn by Pagosa Valley Gravel Products after it was unanimously recommended for denial by the planning commission in 2002, "Nothing has really changed to warrant a different conclusion," said Craig.

Due to the potential for noise and air pollution, number of proposed trips to and from the site and a CDOT report outlining the expected, continual deterioration of Colo. 151, the proposal "continues to be a threat ... and should be denied," Craig added.

Craig also referred to passages in an eight-page letter presented the board earlier the same day, a narrative relaying additional concerns.

One of those passages references a Nov. 10 planning department report regarding project improvements agreements, stating, "My clients understand that applicant has proposed to provide gravel for improvements, but that the actual improvements would be done and paid for by the county."

Furthermore, "County taxpayers should not be required to fund extensive improvement costs to County Road 975 for the benefit of a private enterprise."

The project is likely to be detrimental to public health, safety and welfare, said Craig, adding, "The only conclusion is denial," or that the application is still incomplete, at best.

Others opposed to the approval of the application expressed similar concerns, while some acknowledged the need for a reliable gravel supply, but suggested further traffic information and associated studies be pursued prior to a final consideration.

Others in attendance supported approval of the application, suggesting the pit and others like it simply fulfill the laws of supply and demand.

One supporter, Mike Davis, said he believes aggregates derived from gravel operations are "a commodity" from which a wide range of private and public interests benefit.

"And the impact to supply affects us," said Davis, asserting asphalt prices have been and will continue to rise as long as supply dwindles, especially if there is a need to haul asphalt in from outside county boundaries.

Commenting on traffic load impacts to Mill Creek Road, Davis said he estimates asphalt-related travel contributes between 1.3-4.5 percent of the road's daily average.

With respect to concerns the project might require improvements to the Mill Creek Road intersection, Davis indicated that scenario is not a new discovery, concluding "improvements to Mill Creek were warranted years ago."

Additional comments from the public revealed further differences in opinion.

A final speaker, Chris Chavez, told the board the notion of limited gravel supplies and subsequent arguments centering on "supply and demand" should not factor in the decision since, in his opinion, "There is an abundance of gravel here if people go out and look for it."

Applicant rebuttal was permitted after the public comment portion of the hearing, with the board hearing commentary on the matter from Linda Jaycox.

After telling the board she is a 16-year resident of the area and involved in numerous local organizations, "I would never do anything to that community ... to endanger it," said Jaycox.

Reiterating Whitbred's sentiments, Jaycox told the board she and her husband have done or will do everything possible to mitigate any risks to public safety.

"But we started this project five years ago, and I think it's time for a decision," she concluded.

Whitbred added some final insight, responding to some of Craig's comments regarding why the planning commission recommended denial of the 2002 application.

"There were no mitigation plans in place at the time," concluded Whitbred - a notion supported by a planning department report that notes the denial was "based on limited information" and that details such as hours of operation, gravel/asphalt production and traffic generation were unknown.

In the end, the board reached a consensus to revisit the issue during its Jan. 4 meeting.

"I'd like to take a little time to digest all of this," said Commissioner Bill Downey.

"I would prefer not to make a decision tonight ... I don't think we're ready, anyhow," he added. "And I think we need to consider CDOT's concerns."

Board Chair Mamie Lynch agreed, as did Commissioner Alden Ecker.

"Based on what I've heard tonight, I could probably make a decision," said Ecker.

"But out of respect for my fellow commissioners' wishes, I agree we should postpone any decision," concluded Ecker.

If no decision is reached Jan. 4, the matter will have to be reevaluated by the new county board after it is sworn in Jan. 11.


Measuring student progress tricky process


By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The ways of measuring achievement in the classrooms of Pagosa Springs schools are as varied as the students themselves.

From the standard student report card to the Colorado Student Assessment Profile, from the school accountability report to the annual accreditation report, student progress or lack thereof is measured.

And after all the basic measurements, the data is restructured, broken down, disaggregated to create individual student profiles.

Recent reports on these student efforts were released by the school administration Dec. 14. Each indicates the schools in the district each are at average compared to peers regionally, statewide and nationally.

What does that mean?

Basically, our students are performing at the middle of the road from subpar to exceptional with, of course, many individual scores very high - or very low.

One of the buzz titles in education in the last two months has become Average Yearly Performance.

Methods of determining AYPvary from district to district for a number of reasons.

Each school district is assigned a set of targets based on enrollment, racial makeup of that enrollment, number of free-meal students, per capita income of the community and many more.

Schools in this first year of AYP determination were expected to meet or beat the base goal for their profile.

Pagosa schools did that with room to spare. The local schools had 65 targets to meet - the average statewide was 55 among 182 districts involved in the assimilation and comparison of data.

But being average now doesn't mean your school will stay at that level next year. Census data may change, enrollment characteristics may change, and there is the added educational system mandate:

Every district must make tier-step advances every year until the point where 100 percent of the students tested in any given year must meet 100 percent of all educational testing levels.

Thus, administrators have discovered, for every student whose performance is unsatisfactory on a given test, three must score at proficient or higher to offset the difference.

Again, for purposes of comparison this year only, of the 70 districts with 55 or more targets, 60, or 86 percent, failed. That means the local schools, on this measuring stick, were among only 14 percent in the group with more than 55 targets which met AYP.

The percentage of schools achieving AYP rose consistently statewide as the number of targets declined. Pagosa fell in the upper quarter of the 41-77 target group in which 28 of 46, or 61 percent, passed.

When a problem is found in the school system, it often is traced to the beginning and must be changed from elementary through high school.

That is precisely what the local district has embarked on with changes in the social studies curriculum to begin next year.

The district's own accountability committee discovered extensive shortcomings in the program in use and is changing it for next year.

Administrators believe test performance in a variety of related fields will improve drastically with the new program.

The annual CSAP tests are designed to study the individual student's annual progress at each progressive grade level, and his or her standing within the overall class level.

Included to date have been statewide examinations in writing, reading, mathematics and the sciences.

Again, Pagosa Springs schools have held in the average category. And again, the administration and teacher committees are upgrading programs and techniques to meet the demands of the state.

Add to all this the federally mandated No Child Left Behind program, which decrees that every student must perform at a designated level in a specified time or the school district itself will be penalized.

Superintendent Duane Noggle told the board of education meeting Dec. 14 that "CSAP is working, whether we wanted it or not. It has made us exercise a greater focus on the children and individual progress. Data is more rapidly available on the analyses of the tests and the analysis, itself, is faster."

He said the increased testing can more quickly pinpoint an individual problem and methods for dealing with it can be worked into the regular schedule.

Accountability reports are compiled for each school within the district.

In the most recent experience, freshman and sophomore high school students were graded in reading, writing and math. Seventy-five percent were proficient or advanced in reading, compared to a statewide average at class level of 66 percent.

Writing scores at the same class level showed Pagosa students 51 percent proficient or advanced compared to 52 percent statewide.

Mathematics, locally and statewide, produced substantially lower scores. In Pagosa 23 percent were proficient or advanced; statewide the figure was 30 percent.

At the intermediate school (fifth and sixth grades) level the math grades were much higher than at the high school level (45 percent proficient or higher) but still below the statewide average of 56 percent for the grade level.

Both reading (67 percent local level and 68 percent statewide) and writing, (43 percent local and 56 percent statewide) were lower percentages than the high school students achieved.

The same trend, except for math (27 percent locally and 41 percent statewide), held true at the junior high. The reading level was at 63 percent both locally and statewide. Writing was at 46 percent proficient locally as compared to 51 percent statewide.

At the elementary school level (grades one-four) only reading and writing were tested with reading scores at 75 percent proficient or better compared to 68 percent statewide, and writing at 52 percent both here and in the state.

Other factors revealed in the accountability reports show local schools students to teacher rations of 22.8 at freshman level down to 19.2 at senior level in the high school; 17.2 for seventh grade and 15 for eighth grade in the junior high; 14.9 for fifth grade and 13.7 for sixth grade in the intermediate school; and from 16.8 in first grade down to 14.3 for fourth grade in the elementary school.

Average teacher salary is also compared in the report. The elementary school average was $39,085 with the statewide average at $43,319; in the intermediate school the local average was $39,214 with the state average exactly the same as at grade school; the same comparison came at junior high level were the statewide average held and Pagosa's was $39,969. At the high school level, Pagosa's average of $41,036 moved much closer to that same statewide average.

Finally, and all part of the increasing teacher load while affecting program development, is a comparison of enrollment history locally.

In the last 10 years, for example, local enrollment has grown from a total in the four schools of 1,479 in 1995 to a funded (state tax formula-endorsed) enrollment figure this year of 1,587. The current funded figure is up six from the previous year but does not include 77 students involved in alternative programs at various levels within the district.

By school, the current enrollment without the special groups mentioned is 566 in elementary (100 in kindergarten, 112 in first grade, 123 in second, 111 in third and 120 in fourth); 249 in intermediate school (125 fifth and 124 sixth); 261 in junior high (119 in seventh and 142 in eighth). That eighth-grade figure makes it the largest class below high school level. High school figures show a total of 501 including 126 freshmen, 155 sophomores (biggest class in the system) 119 juniors and 101 seniors.

In the 10-year comparison period, elementary enrollment is up only 12, intermediate down 10, junior high up 12 and high school up 98.

Overall, administrators, principals and school board members are satisfied with performance but concede it should - and will be - better.

Curriculum changes, teacher professional progress, program coordination and the challenge to meet mandates will ensure that.

If the anticipated growth in the district produces as many new students as some say it will, there will be the added need for more teachers, more classrooms, more programs and more dollars to finance the educational program.

That is an area in which this district has been the "envy of the state" as an auditor pointed out.

And one principal said "we may be average, but we're a high average and we will get better."


Town resolved: Cannot endorse 'Village' plan


By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Town of Pagosa Springs "cannot endorse," the Village at Wolf Creek as approved by Mineral County Commissioners.

That's the bottom line of a resolution unanimously accepted by the town council at a special meeting Tuesday. One member, Darrel Cotton, was absent.

No public comment was taken, but an audience of about 20 applauded the decision.

Mineral County commissioners approved development plans for the village in October. At full buildout, it would occupy roughly 290 acres of private land in the Alberta Park area 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 town's resolution acknowledges Pagosa has "no jurisdiction over the development proposed," but requests a "comprehensive fiscal economic impact analysis be completed for the development so that direct impacts imposed on adjoining communities are identified."

According to the resolution, impacts on population, affordable housing, public sector agency coverage, the local economy and associated transit elements throughout the region are not fully addressed in the draft environmental impact statement prepared for the U. S. Forest Service.

Those impacts are a "reason for serious concern by the Town Council and many residents of Pagosa Springs." The resolution calls for the formation of a regional task force made up of "agencies, jurisdictions and entities," affected by the proposed village.


Health district seeks another bailout

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Upper San Juan Health Service District is in "desperate straits" financially, according to Pam Hopkins, chairman of the district board of directors.

In eight days, the district must come up with $50,000 to cover a line of credit extended by Citizens Bank about a month and a half ago for operating expenses. The district has spent the money but has not collected enough expected revenues to pay it back by a Dec. 31 deadline.

At a board meeting Tuesday, Hopkins and business manager Allen Hughes told directors they expect to fall about $40,000 short of repaying the loan. Under state law, all loans secured with tax dollars must be repaid by the end of each calendar year in which the loan was made.

To cover the debt, the board agreed to send a letter requesting emergency assistance from the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation, a nonprofit fund-raising group. Although the foundation extended such a line of credit once, recently its directors have focused their efforts on equipment purchases rather than bailouts.

"I explained we're in this mess not of our own creation," Hopkins said. "It's not as though we've gone out and squandered the money."

According to the letter prepared for the foundation, the district's problems go back to " poorly executed billing procedures recently uncovered in-house." Around the same time, a change in outsource billing companies nearly stopped the district's revenue stream for 45 days. Billing now appears to be back on track, but because of the nature of the business, it is estimated to take about six months for the revenue stream to be up and running normally.

As a result, the district is searching for a way to limp through until the first tax check comes into the accounts in March. Hence, the request to the foundation.

With the board's approval, the request for $40,000 will be presented to the foundation's executive committee within the next couple of days. If it's approved, the district board has offered to make a "best effort" to repay the line of credit in the second quarter of 2005.

They still have to make it to March. To do that, Hughes requested approval of a $200,000 line of credit from Citizens Bank to open in the new year.

The $200,000 represents the tax dollars allocated in the budget for the first quarter of 2005. Those dollars, Hughes said, will not be issued by the state until March. They'll be needed before that to make up the difference between revenues and expenses. After March, the tax monies can be used to pay down the second line of credit and put the district back on its feet.

Hughes pointed again to problems stemming from past administration. Prior to his arrival, he said, from January to June, the district was losing about $315 a day. From July through October, it was operating with about $518 of daily reserve. However, those numbers included tax revenues and not just fees for service.

"We have just got to get a handle on what we're spending, and what we owe," board member Jerry Valade said. Both he and Bob Scott agreed that if the numbers didn't work out to pay back the $200,000 by March as expected, "drastic action" would be warranted.

"We've already gone $50,000 in debt we can't pay back," Jim Pruitt, another board member said, asking a little later, "Is our patient flow enough to ever pay for expenses?"

Scott, Neal Townsend and Bob Goodman stressed the need to stay on top of receivables. The district's accounts receivable sits at about $813,000 currently, but it's unclear how much of it can be collected.

"This is tight the way we're doing it," Goodman said, "but I don't think we have a choice."

The board also looked at payables - what the district owes to various vendors - which have ballooned in the last couple months to $134,000 because of disruption of revenue.

In the end, the board approved the request for a $200,000 line of credit to start after Jan. 1. Withdrawals from the account will require two signatures.

In order to get a better handle on financials, board members voted to move their regular meeting from the third Tuesday of the month to the first Tuesday of the month. That change will begin in February.

 Inside The Sun

Trailer, contents lost in Monday

evening blaze


By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

An uncontrolled wood stove fire destroyed a mobile home in Aspen Springs Monday.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said smoke and flames were visible in the home when firefighters arrived about 5:30 p.m.

"The living room and kitchen were on fire," he said, "and fire was extending down the hall. We were able to keep it from extending outside of the building. We had some exposure problems with a barn and some other outbuildings, and we were able to keep it contained."

The trailer, a single family rental unit at 1084 Hurt Drive, was a complete loss. Grams said the living room, dining room, one bedroom and a bathroom were destroyed. The other rooms were severely damaged by heat and smoke. The trailer, constructed in 1971, was uninsured.

Twenty-six firefighters from the Pagosa Fire Protection District responded to the blaze and used eight pieces of equipment. Two teams entered the structure, one through the front door and one through the back. No one was injured.

Grams said one of the renters was starting a fire in the wood stove when flames grew out of control.

Daniel Gutierrez, who was living in the trailer at the time with his wife, Christine McMillan, thanked the firefighters for their efforts. He said they lost everything.


New LPEA chief executive

once served Pagosa district

La Plata Electric Association's Board of Directors announced Dec. 15 that Greg Munro will replace Emery Maez as chief executive officer.

Maez announced his resignation in October, and Munro will take over as CEO Jan. 3. Munro is currently LPEA's chief operating officer, and he served as interim chief executive officer during the search that brought Maez to LPEA.

Departing CEO Maez said of the board's decision, "When the board asked me for my recommendation, I told them that Greg is more than qualified to lead LPEA. He has been a good co-worker and a good assistant CEO. I am confident that he can take LPEA to the next level."

LPEA board president Davin Montoya said about choosing Munro, "Greg is a hard worker and very dedicated to LPEA. The board felt lucky that he was willing to take the helm."

Munro has a long history in the electric utility industry, beginning his career with Western Colorado Power in 1969, working as a power plant operator and dispatcher. After the sale of Western, he moved to the engineering department at Delta-Montrose Electric Association in 1975. Next came a stint as business agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, followed by employment again at Delta-Montrose as engineering manager and later held other management positions.

He arrived at LPEA in 1993 as the assistant district manager/economic development director in the Pagosa Springs District. In 1993, he moved to Durango to work as LPEA's operations manager, and was later promoted LPEA's chief operating officer.

He has also been the CEO of Western Energy Services of Durango, Inc., one of LPEA's subsidiaries, for the last seven months. He holds associate's degrees in civil engineering and electrical engineering and is one class away from a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Munro called it an honor to work with Maez the past few years, and said he has no plans on major changes at LPEA.

He added, "I plan to continue the course that Emery so successfully established, and to continue our efforts in gaining efficiencies and making LPEA one of the best electric providers."


Local Humane Society gets state grant for spay-neuter program


The Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund (CPOF) has awarded a grant of $3,000 to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs.

The grant will continue to fund a spay/neuter program for pets of low income residents in the Archuleta County community.

The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs will be working in collaboration with local veterinarians. Their Fix-It-Free and Spay Aid spay/neuter vouchers and mobile spay/neuter clinics resulted in a 13 percent decrease in the number of incoming puppies and kittens this past year.

The grant is part of $150,000 in grants awarded in 2004 to community coalitions of veterinarians and animal care and control organizations in underserved areas of Colorado.

Funded primarily through donations on Colorado state tax forms, CPOF subsidizes spay and neuter surgeries and education efforts to reduce euthanasia of stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats.

Approximately 43,000 unwanted pets in Colorado were euthanized in 2004.

In the same year, CPOF helped fund over 6,700 spay and neuter surgeries.

Each one of these surgeries is crucial to reducing pet overpopulation and the number of euthanasias.

"One cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in seven years, and one dog can produce 67,000 puppies in six years, making each spay and neuter critical in our efforts to reduce pet overpopulation," said Dr. Keith Roehr, CPOF chairman and assistant state veterinarian for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "We are proud to support the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs and others that work collaboratively to reduce pet overpopulation."

To learn more about the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, call 264-5549 or visit online at www.humanesocietyof


Power outage traced to junction box hit by pickup

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A pickup truck hit a junction box in the 900 block of 5th Street and knocked out power throughout the downtown area for more than an hour Dec. 17.

That much police know.

Finding the culprit has been a more difficult problem.

Police Chief Don Volger said vehicle parts left behind at the scene point to a 2002-2004 White Nissan Frontier pickup. The vehicle sustained damage to the right front fender and quarterpanel.

Anyone with information regarding this vehicle, or the crime, is asked to call dispatch, 264-2131, immediately. Cost of the damaged junction box is estimated at $1,800.

Dave Waller, La Plata Electric spokesperson, said power went out from 6:05 a.m.-7:20 a.m. About 1,039 residences were affected.


Contractors' dogs get growl from attacked jogger

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A report on animal control activities in Pagosa Lakes communities indicated Dec. 9 that action has increased.

But for one property owner, it wasn't enough.

Jerry Baier reported he's fed up with dogs at construction sites that are not under control and cited an incident near a home under construction on Twin Creek Circle when he was attacked while jogging.

He said he talked to the construction workers about keeping their dogs tied or out of the area and was told there is no law saying they have to.

Baier wanted to know if the association can mandate leashing or prevent contractors from bringing dogs into the neighborhood.

He was told that if an incident occurs again he should call sheriff's dispatch, report time, location and description of the animals.

Director Hugh Bundy said he's seen similar incidents. Once, he was approached "but they turned out to be good dogs."

"At the same time," he said, "I don't think builders' dogs should be allowed to run free when property owners' animals are impounded for such action.

"Can't we include something in the builders' packet," he asked, "mandating dogs either be leashed and tied, or not brought into the area?"

Director Fred Ebeling said he, too, had experienced the misfortune of being jumped by a loose dog.

"I reported it, animal control responded, and the dog was confiscated," he said.

The report spurring Baier's comments indicated animal control statistics for November showed 19 reports taken on formal complaints, 12 dogs impounded, three cruelty cases, seven dogs returned to owners, 13 verbal warnings issued, two written warnings given, 31 miscellaneous citizen contacts made, four summons issued, and 20 calls from dispatch to the animal control officer for service.

In other action, the board:

- approved the appointment of Arthur T. Matcham to the Environmental Control Committee, noting he had been a volunteer and had spent two months observing the committee in action;

- unanimously affirmed eight Department of Covenant Control unprotested fines and accepted notices of violations and hearing on new cases;

- amended a resolution adopted at a special meeting a week earlier to correct a date on an association legal action and indicate it was filed by, not against the association as had been recorded; and

- heard that Bill Ralston, who will chair the association's new Road Advisory Committee, had reported meeting with the two newly elected county commissioners and said they indicated they want to solve road problems, not just in Pagosa Lakes but in the county as a whole, and that it will be their top priority.

Director Fred Ebeling said the county engineer has submitted an extensive list of roadway grouping regulations "in what seems like an attempt to get approval before the new commissioners are seated (Jan. 11). The whole list is difficult to understand and I think we should try to dissuade the board from adopting anything with reference to roads before the new board is seated."


Mary Fisher Medical Center to offer 24/7 on-call

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center is happy to announce: 24/7 physician on call 24 hours a day."

That's the headline of a flier ready to be distributed to local hotels and public information kiosks starting Jan. 1.

The flier directs people who need medical advice after hours to call 731-3700. From there, they will be connected with a nurse triage service and, if needed, connected to a local on-call physician. In case of emergency, 9-1-1 should be called immediately.

The yellow flier reflects the ongoing struggle to provide 24/7 emergency coverage to the community.

Back in August, the district board approved a definition of 24/7 care as "a medically trained physician available either directly at a clinic or via telephone to come to a clinic to see an emergency patient 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The physician should be at least within 15 minutes of the designated clinic." They also discontinued a nursing triage service in favor of allowing dispatch to release on-call information.

Around the same time, the board decided to cut urgent care hours at the clinic and reduce the number of providers by one to try to staunch some of the financial bleeding.

In September, the district board agreed to a contract with Pagosa Family Medicine Center, a local group of doctors, for "physician coverage for ambulance patients," two days of the week at the clinic to give the district's two doctors a break.

It still doesn't cover all the holes.

Board member Dr. Dick Blide said because the contract for Thursdays and Sundays only covers ambulance patients, those people who have medical concerns, but who may only need to talk to a doctor, are slipping through the cracks.

"We do not have any good triage plan for after-hours coverage," he said. Because of protocol and state regulation, neither dispatch personnel, nor EMS personnel are qualified to triage patients over the phone.

"Dispatch has made a conscious decision not to be in the referral business for physicians on-call," district business manager Allen Hughes said.

To remedy the problem, the district reversed its August decision last month, agreeing to return to a nurse triage system after hours. Under that system, the district contracts with an out-of-town company to provide nurses to answer questions and, if necessary, forward patients on to the doctor on call, or to an ambulance.

Still, holes could not be patched because the contract with Pagosa Family Medicine Center only called for ambulance coverage, no doctor on call was available for the triage service on those days.

"I don't think we can train the public to do one thing five nights a week and do something different the other two," Allen said.

Bilde offered two options at the board's regular meeting Tuesday - reconstruct the contract with private physicians which expires Dec. 31 to include all after-hours calls forwarded through the triage system or make other arrangements with the doctors at the Mary Fisher Medical Center.

Dr. Guy Paquet said in the month of November during the five days of the week after-hours calls were answered by Mary Fisher physicians, they were called to the office only five times. In December, once.

Dr. Jim Pruitt, owner of Pagosa Family Medicine Center and a board member, recused himself in order to discuss changing the contract.

"I'll have to talk this over with my partners," he said. "It's a hard time of the year to get everyone together at the drop of a hat."

"Do you think we could expedite this so we can get an answer in the next couple of days?" Blide asked.

"I think it's unlikely because everyone's not here," Pruitt said.

Currently, the district is paying the contracted doctors $200 for service Thursday nights from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. and $400 for coverage starting at 8 a.m. Sunday and ending at 8 a.m. Monday.

Board member Jerry Valade suggested the district return to contracting with their own physicians for 24/7 coverage for the month of January, allowing the triage service to start up again and giving the private doctors a chance to discuss the issue.

Chairman Pam Hopkins said Dr. Dan Hepburn, one of two doctors currently on staff at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center had agreed to cover all calls for the same price the district was paying the private physicians.

The board approved a motion to contract with Hepburn, provided he remain in town while on call, starting Jan. 1. They also approved the fliers notifying the public of the plan.


Public can help fight meth menace

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A man walks into the police station, sits down and confesses he's addicted to cocaine and wants help. He's willing to name his dealer. Within a matter of hours, the dealer is arrested.

That's happened in Pagosa Springs, but it's not the norm.

"I've got cases I've been working on for four or fives months," Detective Scott Maxwell of the Pagosa Springs Police Department said.

In drug cases, including recent arrests involving cocaine and methamphetamine, a combination of surveillance and intelligence gathering is required. To get there, Maxwell said, law enforcement officials need the help of the community. They need people to be observers, to write down specifics of suspicious activity and to report it.

"We may not be able to act on all the information all the time it's received," he said. "Sometimes we can do that, but even if all we do is make a record, that type of information can be used later in obtaining a search warrant to corroborate newer, fresher information."

Archuleta County Lieutenant T. J. Fitzwater agreed.

"The type of information you're given drives the investigation," he said. Over time as more and more pieces come together, it creates a picture that can be taken to a judge and then on to a district attorney for prosecution. It does take time.

Local law enforcement officials from both the police department and sheriff's office attended a training on methamphetamine last February to learn some of the indications of drug manufacturing operations. Information from the class, provided by Maxwell, follows.

For every pound of methamphetamine manufactured, approximately six pounds of toxic waste is produced. This waste may look at first glance like ordinary garbage, but it is far more harmful and may cause sickness or even death to anyone coming in contact with it. Children are especially vulnerable. Meth lab waste dumpsites could be found anywhere - in the back yard where it's being "cooked" or manufactured, in the woods, public Dumpsters or in garbage bags along the roadside.

Over-the-counter cold medication (such as Sudafed or generic equivalents) containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine is the key ingredient in manufacturing meth. Any attempt to shoplift or purchase more than one or two boxes of these medications should be considered suspect. Frequently methamphetamine cooks or meth users recruited by the cooks will go to stores, sometimes in groups. The group will separate once inside the store with each person purchasing two or three boxes of pills. They may do this in several stores throughout a community.

Another key ingredient used in the most common process for manufacturing methamphetamine is iodine crystals, which are highly toxic. Iodine crystals are sold at feed stores and are available on the Internet. The crystals are used legitimately to treat thrush, a hoof disease in horses. However, when manufacturing methamphetamine, a large and continuous supply is needed. Clerks at stores selling iodine crystals should be on the lookout for new customers purchasing iodine crystals, frequent purchases, or for anyone the clerks don't believe is treating a horse.

If iodine crystals are not available, meth cooks may also produce their own using tincture of iodine, which is widely available.

Equipment to set up and operate a methaphetamine lab may be portable and could easily fit in the trunk of a vehicle. A current trend has been for the cooks to set up these portable labs in motel rooms. The dangerous chemicals left behind can be absorbed by the carpet, bedding or even the walls of the room. An unknowning guest or maid entering the room after a cooking operation could be exposed to harmful or toxic substances.

Many people think that those who operate meth labs are all chemists or scientists gone bad, but this is not the case. Methamphetamine can be produced by anyone who can read and follow instructions and who is lucky enough not to blow themselves up.

Citizens are asked to be on the lookout for the items listed below, alone or in combination. These could indicate the presence of a methamphetamine lab and should be reported to the authorities immediately.

- pills, including cold pills, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or generics containing ephedrine. Also diet or "energy" pills;

- iodine crystals or tincture of iodine;

- large quantities of matchbook strikers or flare strikers;

- glassware (anything from laboratory beakers to Mason jars), including Pyrex-type glassware, pie plates and bowls, often stained yellow, white or red. Coffee carafes are also commonly used;

- large quantities of solvents such as, alcohol, benzene, toulene, acetone, phenylacetone, ether, paint thinner, Naptha and chloroform;

- products such as "Heet," Coleman fuel or white gas, engine starting fluid, lighter fluid, Red Devil lye, Drano, Liquid Fire, bags of kitty litter, muriatic acid, salt or rock salt, hydrogen peroxide, battery acid or Epsom salts;

- plastic tubing used as hoses, often stained and found Duct-taped to and sticking out of some type of bottle or container;

- coffee grinders or blenders, aquarium water pumps, PH testing papers, electric hot plates or skillets, camp stoves, propane bottles, microwave ovens, coffee filters (may be stained red with iodine), plastic sports drink bottles, plastic two-liter soda bottles, buckets, Mason jars, bowls, aluminum foil, antifreeze containers, red plastic gas cons, lithium batteries;

- excessive trash, including items listed above;

- unusual odors;

- buildings with the windows blacked out and/or the same people or vehicles coming and going at unusual hours;

- renters who always pay in cash;

- individuals with iodine stains on their clothing, hands or fingernails.

Anyone who suspects a meth lab in their neighborhood, thinks they have found a dumpsite containing waste from a lab or who witnesses suspicious activity that may be associated with a lab should write down exactly what they see and contact authorities immediately by calling Archuleta County Dispatch at 264-2131. If possible, descriptions should include license plate numbers, a physical description of individuals, names of chemicals, types of containers, etc.

Citizens should not approach a suspected lab or dumpsite and should never touch suspicious items. A simple phone call by a store clerk, motel clerk or a concerned citizen may be all it takes to put law enforcement on the trail to dismantling a meth lab.


Cole, Weiler join land alliance board

Nancy Cole and Mark Weiler have been named to replace outgoing Southwest Land Alliance board members and Mike Reid and Bruce Andersen. These appointments round out the year's end board changes.

Cole, a former university education professor and dean, as well as educational testing expert and administrator, was also selected by board members to chair the group.

She brings extensive experience to help lead the non-profit organization in its organizational, legal, technical and public issues. She shares a love of the land around Pagosa and is an avid hiker and skier. She, along with husband Jim have been active in Gray Wolf Ski Club and the San Juan Mountain Club.

She's been an SLA member for several years and a dedicated volunteer assisting with conservation easement document revisions.

During her professional career, Cole served as professor and associate dean of the College of Education at the University of Pittsburgh, professor and dean of the College of Education at University of Illinois, and executive vice president of Educational Testing Service, the world's largest private educational testing and measurement organization headquartered in Princeton, NJ.

Weiler is president of Parelli Natural Horsemanship with an extensive resume of business success. He is an accomplished business leader and motivator with particular strengths in marketing, financial management and strategic thinking. He serves on the Community Vision Council in Pagosa Springs and teaches entrepreneurship as a guest lecturer at Fort Lewis College.

Weiler is quick to point out he has lived in many places and built many homes in his life, but this is the last one. He loves it here and is very attached to the land and community.

He sees conservation easements contributing a tremendous value to the community and something landowners with such designations should be very proud of. "They help bring out the best in what Pagosa Springs has to offer."

Reid leaves the board after serving five years. He has been instrumental in maintaining contact with landowners through the annual monitoring process of existing conservation easements and is a valued expert and advisor in wildlife and environmental matters. As a district wildlife manager with Colorado Division of Wildlife, Reid and his colleagues will continue to advise SLA on wildlife values as they effect conservation on private lands.

Andersen served the Southwest Land Alliance for three years, the past 18 months as chairman. He was instrumental in reorganizing and stabilizing SLA finances, sought to bring the cause of land conservation more into the public eye, and worked to bring additional skills and expertise to the organization's board of directors. He will stay on board as an advisor and past chairman to continue further SLA's land conservation efforts in the community.

The Southwest Land Alliance is a nonprofit organization charged with the mission of preserving open space, wildlife habitat and family ranching. People interested in getting involved or taking advantage of the services SLA offers should contact 264-7779.



BLM, Forest Service begin planning joint survey


A Notice of Intent to prepare a joint BLM Resource Management Plan/National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan for San Juan Public Lands was filed in the Federal Register Tuesday.

This begins the formal public scoping period for the joint plan revision process. For the next 60 days, public input will be accepted on the scope of issues to be studied in an Environmental Impact Statement for the revision process.

The San Juan's joint planning process will produce an EIS to guide management of some 2.5 million acres of National Forest and BLM lands in southwestern Colorado for the next 10 to 15 years.

The San Juan planning effort will be unique in that it will conduct long-range BLM and Forest Service planning together. The current plans, which date back to the 1980s, are in need of revision. Newly emerging issues, higher levels of controversy around existing issues, and new (unforeseen) public land uses and concerns that have arisen over the years, include:

- Off-highway vehicle use and transportation planning -- revision of current decisions to reflect changes in national policy for both agencies.

- The need to address the Healthy Forests Initiative and hazardous-fuel management.

- New and changing recreational uses of public lands, such as mountain-bike use, ski-area development, and increased recreational demands.

- Availability of lands for mineral development and terms under which lands are made available for leasing.

Community Study Groups will begin meeting in January to help the agencies identify issues and concerns to be addressed in the plan revision process.

These citizen groups will meet simultaneously in Cortez, Durango, and Pagosa Springs this winter and spring. Fort Lewis College Office of Community Services will facilitate the meetings, with agency staff on hand to answer questions.

Participants will learn about San Juan Public lands, make recommendations to the agencies on issues to be studied in the EIS, and suggest suitable uses for particular landscapes.

Those interested in signing up to serve as a member of a Community Study Group should contact Shannon Manfredi, Fort Lewis College Office of Community Services, at 247-7468 or David Baker, San Juan Public Lands planning coordinator, at 385-1240.


A call to arms?

Dear Editor:

Mr. Bennett, a call to arms surely you jest.

Your vision speaks of true believers filling the streets, casting out the new secular thinkers ... in defense of which belief or imparted right in the Constitution or Amendments? You speak as a true believer but ask others to mount the ramparts are you but another pamphleteer.

Your comments speak of a man well read but beg the question whether you are a conservator or libertarian. A conservator seeks only to preserve the simple cleanliness of the past. This can not be your position as the total past harbors worship of symbols and nature.

Nay, you must be a libertarian, as your selected thoughts attempt to build a bridge while missing supports and planks with which to proceed across or at least justify the message. If uncertain as to your position, then you can only have selected a chaste point in chronicled time and are seeking an ideological "home."

Benefit of doubt, lets presume that you are a conservator, then during the revolution you would have been seated on the Left side of that now famous church in Paris with the Jacobeans (radical republican leftists) as the Right side was filled with moderates seeking only governmental change and willing to forego the lopping of heads.

Mr. Bennett, a call to arms surely you jest, what would the President think?

Dave Blake


Back to where?

Dear Editor:

Last week's letters contained a call from a nostalgic "Rockefeller Republican" to take back the party. Back to where? Presumably, the good old days, when moderate Republicans were a permanent, docile minority in the House and Senate, and their greatest election successes were in country club boardrooms. No thanks.

After cataloguing a list of complaints against the Bush administration that appears to have come directly from Kerry campaign literature, the wistful writer longs for a return to so-called "progressive" thought regarding social and economic issues (read more taxes). Guess what? There's already a party with a platform like that - it's called the Democrats and they get beat nearly every time they're honest enough to run on it.

The Republicans are doin' just fine, thanks. The majority of the members think so, and the majority of American voters agree.

N.G. Constan



Bitter medicine

Dear Editor:

Our friend Bob Honts is quick at attempting to mesmerize we locals (yokels?) with the thought that we too can be the next Jackson Hole.

Have you been to Jackson in the last decade?

Rampant development, traffic, congestion and outrageous prices are but a few of its stellar attributes. Yes, it does enjoy the Tetons - some of the most spectacular mountains on the planet - if you can find a quiet place to contemplate them.

Having lived the decade of the '90s in Wyoming, the byword amongst its residents was, and still is, that Jackson's millionaires were moving to Cody and Dubois - because billionaires are pricing them out of the market in Jackson. Does the name Kevin Costner ring a bell?

And this is what Mr. Honts suggests we aspire toward? Isn't it only more of the same bitter medicine he prescribes for us, disguised as the "Village" at Wolf Creek?

A recent article in the magazine Cowboys and Indians, a horse- based periodical for the financially elite, beats the drum loudly for Pagosa as the place to bring your horses and live the better than good life. A photo of actor Tommy Lee Jones and his horse on the cover lends assured credibility to that promise.

Do you realize that within the past year, a mere six acres in the upper Piedra, with a very modest cabin on it, sold for roughly $350,000? That's almost $60,000 an acre.

It seems to be coming at us from all sides. The Big Box syndrome, The Village At Wolf Creek, Oak Brush Hill, Cowboys and Indians, etc. Even though Mr. Honts is dead wrong about the benefits his "Village" on our fabulous mountain will bring to us, he may be right about Pagosa becoming another Jackson Hole.

Where do you think it will all end up? And what do you think we should be doing in response?

Dean Cox


A lot of garbage

Dear Editor:

After pondering the proposed 500-percent increase in the garbage dumping fee, I now see the great wisdom of our elected officials. Our local rural citizens can ape the behavior of the Pagosa urbanites and dump their garbage along the road.

Citizens who are more environmentally sophisticated can haul their garbage up to Pagosa and dump their garbage in front of the county commissioners' office.

The sub-set of locals who own a park pass can haul their garbage down to the park and deposit same in the Navajo Lake Dumpsters.

I plan to roll my trusty Trebuchet out of my cave and flip garbage bags onto the passing gravel trucks. I figure at five bucks a toss I can rake in a tidy sum.

Bob Dungan


PS: Since Bill Gates' dictionary writers don't know what a Trebuchet is, I'll inform the readers of The SUN that it is a siege weapon useful for throwing rocks and diseased cadavers over castle walls.


High and dry

Dear Editor:

The Denver Post reports the Michigan Great Lakes Water Conservation Groups are intent on devising ways and means to keep the water in place for future use.

Lakes Huron and Superior hold 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water, and there have been attempts to ship millions of gallons to Asia like it was a drop in the bucket.

Colorado and Kansas are in existing turmoil over water, and they are not as far away as Michigan! What in heaven's name is Bob Honts thinking of, when he wants to establish a village supporting 2,000 more people in an area plagued by drought for the last five years? When the water is gone, Honts would have his money and we would all be left high and dry.

Dorothy B. Jones



Dear Editor:

What do Americans think of marriage? The answer was pretty clear Nov. 2 with voters in several states deciding by huge margins to preserve in their state constitutions the age-old definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

All of the 11 states with constitutional amendments on marriage passed them - by upwards of 60 or 70 percent of the vote in most cases. Hopefully, that sends a message to our new senator and representative (the Salazars) in Washington that we want, and expect, them to similarly protect this sacred institution in the U.S. Constitution.

Sadly, though, the ballot box is no match for the judge's gavel in modern-day America. Don't be surprised if the next headline you read about this issue involves a state court ruling one of the amendments constitutional - usurping the power rightly delegated to the people.

That's why the only real remedy to efforts to render marriage meaningless is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Gary McLaren

Monte Vista


Don't do it

Dear Editor:

I am writing regarding the proposed development of the Wolf Creek Pass area presently being considered.

I hope and pray that you will reject this terrible proposal. I have been a regular summer visitor to this area of southern Colorado, as well as other Colorado mountain areas, since I was 4 years old.

This is one of the last unspoiled wilderness areas left in Colorado as well as in the lower 48 states. Do not let greed and the "bigger is better" mentality overcome common sense.

This area is largely inaccessible and trying to create another blockbuster ski area there is likely to fail due to the difficulty of travel to it.

I can remember as a small girl visiting my great aunts and great uncle on their dairy farm in Broomfield and waking up and being able to see the glorious mountains from their house and yard, milking the cows twice a day and the incredible excitement that the contrast that farm living represented to my small town/citified normal experience.

In Broomfield all you can presently find is houses, malls and other commercial establishments, and you can't even see the mountains from there anymore on most days. What a tragedy development brought to that area!

I can remember taking my children as 4-year-olds to Steamboat Springs and flying kites in the mountain meadow there. Now that meadow is filed with thousands upon thousands of condominiums and there is nowhere left in that meadow for children to fly kites. It makes me want to cry! Another tragedy for Colorado.

It has long been one of my dreams to retire to Colorado and live there full time. And the Wolf Creek area is under strong consideration because it retains a balance of farming and ranching, hunting, camping and fishing and other non ski related activities.

My brother lives near there and tells me of watching elk and deer in the meadow he can see from his house. He tells me about families of wild turkeys lining up and walking across the meadow all in a row hunting for bugs to eat.

If you allow this development to proceed, these sights and thousands of others like them will go the way of the mountain views in Broomfield and the kite flying meadow in Steamboat Springs, and you will have brought another tragedy to Colorado.

Bigger is not better! Development is not better! There are plenty of large, fancy, expensive and exciting, and wonderful, ski areas already in Colorado. Think Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Beaver Creek and Keystone. Do you really need another?

Leave this corner of Colorado to the people who like sports other than skiing, such as fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, and other sports that don't destroy the ambience, the view, and the ecosystem.

Sincerely yours,

Carol E. Greenwald

Dayton, Ohio


Kate's Calendar

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

Dec. 24

The Anglican Fellowship Church service will be at 4 p.m. at the Pagosa Lodge.

Dec. 24

Community United Methodist Church services will include a family service at 7 p.m. and a candlelight service at 9 p.m.

Dec. 24

The 6 p.m. family service at Restoration Fellowship Church will include carol singing and communion.

Dec. 24

The First Baptist Church will have a candlelight service at 6 p.m.

Dec. 24

Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church will conduct a 5 p.m. Children's Mass and a Midnight Mass. On Christmas Day, mass is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 26 mass will be performed at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Dec. 25

Services at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church include a 5 p.m. family service with a pageant and an 8 a.m. service.

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.

Jan. 6

The monthly meeting of the San Juan Outdoor Club starts 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. This month's program will feature a slide show of a Grand Canyon rafting trip by Pierre Mion, noted National Geographic artist and local club member. Signups for activities this month include several snowshoeing and cross country skiing outings and a hiking trip to the Grand Canyon. For information, call Sue Passant, 731-3836. Visitors welcome.

Jan. 8

Pagosa Area Singles will meet for breakfast, 9 a.m. at Victoria's Parlor Restaurant. All singles age 35-plus welcome. Call 731-2445 for reservations.

Jan. 13

Monthly meeting of the Wolf Creek Trailblazers snowmobile club, 6:30 p.m in the Fellowship Hall of Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street. A family ride and an overnight trip to Durango will be discussed. New members are welcome. For more information, call Charlie Rogers, 264-4471.


Community News

A welder turned jeweler masters complex art form


By Erin K. Quirk

PREVIEW Columnist

It has been said that a fine piece of jewelry can move a woman to tears. If that is true, then the work of Pagosa Springs gem artist, Michael Christie, might move a woman to pass out cold.

Christie, who can be found sipping coffee with his buddies at a local café every morning, is best known in Pagosa Country for his singular pearl and precious gem pendants with the fine gold work detail. What most Pagosans don't know is that pendants are just one part of a complex art form that Christie not only taught himself but has mastered.

He calls his major pieces a "jewel for your jewels," and said, "I work with the finest and most flawless materials, for the gem connoisseurs of the world."

Those major pieces, called "essence bottles," are not really made to hold perfume, as the name suggests. The tiny bottles are designed to hold Christie's fine pendant and earring sets on a lady's dressing table, so she may enjoy them while not wearing them. Made of polished crystals, richly-hued precious gems and intricate gold work, a four to six-inch tall bottle might take Christie four years to create.

The bottles have brought Christie so much acclaim that the international auction house, Christie's of London (no relation), published a book of 100 years of jewelry artists. Only four Americans were named. Christie was one.

Critics have also likened Christie to a modern-day Faberge - the Russian goldsmith and jeweler whose designs, especially the famous eggs, were unmatched in opulence and imagination. And while a portion of Christie's work can be seen around the necks of ladies in Pagosa Springs, much of it resides in museums, private collections and galleries.

One would never know the gentle, quiet Christie, who hangs out at the coffee shop every morning, operates at this level in the gem art world.

"I like to stay in the background and let the bottles speak for themselves," he said.

Christie got his gem art training by, of all things, welding chassis on Formula race cars. As a kid he pulled a 1940 Ford out of a field and fixed it and loved his souped-up old tractor. Christie drag raced in Denver in the 1960s and was an amateur Formula race car driver in California. Consequently, he spent years welding in automotive shops there.

"I took my welding experience and reduced it down to fine gold, the macro to the micro," Christie said. "Now, I'm better at gold work than building chassis of course."

After auto racing in California, Christie began what he calls his "self-realization phase." At that time he and a buddy quit drinking beer and began fasting, doing yoga and studying. They also became friends and students of a Buddhist monk from India who introduced them to the study of color awareness.

"We live in a world of color," Christie said. "At a molecular level color is vibration."

The study of color, like welding, proved to be a precursor to Christie's evolution as an artist. While the color study now informs many of his gem choices, he's also been a vegetarian for 30 years because of it. He explains that the color of plants and vegetables is a direct result of solar energy. Therefore he feels it's wise to go straight to the source for food energy rather than to the secondary source found in animals.

Christie's yoga practice is also a result of his "self-realization phase." He uses yoga to protect his creative process by keeping his mind, body and spirit in balance.

"Yoga is the science of life, of uniting bodies into one," he said. The objective is to be healthy and unscattered."

To be a successful artist living in Pagosa Springs, being healthy and unscattered is crucial. He said when he and his wife, world-class internal gem carver Susan Allen, moved to Pagosa 23 years ago, there was a lot of snow and not much to do. He said he never could have progressed this far in his medium were he still living in California.

"We put ourselves in a place where there was no shopping, no nightlife, no friends and we were ten miles out in the snow," Christie said. "You're left with yourself, and a lot of people can't handle that."

Christie and Allen not only handled it, but flourished, becoming top artists in their mediums.

A favorite piece of Christie's is an essence bottle entitled "Love at First Sight." The piece took him eight months to create and has never been sold, though, at one time, it listed in Japan for $225,000.

"This is a total water energy bottle," he said.

Christie started with a flawless, 190-karat aquamarine crystal and placed it on a base made of Chrysoprase, which is a watery blue-green Australian stone. Atop the crystal is the "dipper" that is actually a diamond and South Sea, white-pearl pendant, to be taken out of the bottle and worn. Next to the bottle, housed in the base, are diamond starfish earrings.

If that weren't ornate enough, Christie created a hinge mechanism out of gold that allows the crystal to open off its base revealing another hidden chamber that might hold the earring backs or other treasures.

What puts the piece well over the top is a contribution by Allen, who, incidentally, was another of the four Americans mentioned in the Christie's of London book.

Allen finished the piece by carving into the crystal a three-dimensional underwater scene, where an angel fish and a baby octopus are caught looking at each other with, as Christie puts it, "an expression of attraction."

To say the piece is exquisite, states the obvious. To say the piece is a blinding flash of mutual creativity, preciousness, whimsy, heartbreaking beauty and painstaking craftsmanship might begin to describe it.

Christie's goal as an artist, he says, is to make his pieces as elaborate, technically complicated and beautiful as possible. This is clearly evidenced in another of his pieces entitled "Ambrosia," where his desire for unity and fascination with color also come through.

Ambrosia's deep fuchsia body, made of Bolivian Amethyst with a flawless Tahitian peacock pearl pendant atop it, makes it look, in color, like a rainforest flower. The piece is dotted with Colombian emeralds and sits on a Russian Charoite and Burmese Jadite base. Open the piece up to find African, red tourmaline earrings hidden inside. Allen again topped off her husband's piece with a tiny temple carved inside the amethyst. Christie said a man from Las Vegas bought it for his wife for their 13th wedding anniversary.

"He was happy as a lark," Christie said. "And I was elated. That was a one of a kind piece."

Christie's work can be seen on-line at More on Susan Allen next week.


Our Savior sets Christmas Eve rites


By Julie Martinez

Special to The PREVIEW

Our Savior Lutheran Church once again will offer two traditional candlelight services on Christmas Eve, Friday.

The first service will begin at 7 p.m., 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!

Additionally, the church will be holding its annual New Year's Eve worship service 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31. All are invited as we celebrate the New Year that God has graciously given to us.

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


Broke Mountain Bluegrass band sets free Pagosa concert Dec. 29


The Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band will bring its hard-driving, award-winning original bluegrass music to Bear Creek Saloon in Pagosa Springs 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29.

This is a free program with an opportunity for music fans to see one of the nation's up and coming group of performers.

And this is more than just a performance of a touring group. It is a homecoming for Robin Davis, 2003 state mandolin champion, who grew up in Pagosa Springs and is one of three members of the group residing in Durango.

With one foot rooted in the traditions and structures of bluegrass music, and the other pressed firmly to the gas pedal, Broke Mountain brings a young energy to the country's oldest music form.

Since the band's inception in spring 2003, it has entertained audiences from Oregon to North Carolina. Only two months after forming, the group was awarded first place in the prestigious Rockygrass Band Contest and individual members of the band also won banjo and mandolin contests.

This past summer the band released its much anticipated first album "Cabin in The Hills," which contains mostly original material they believe will stand the test of time.

Broke Mountain has been named on a short list of bands as "the future of Colorado bluegrass," not only because of flawless musicianship, tight vocal arrangements and unique song selections, but because their live shows exude an energy that will grab hold of seasoned bluegrass fans and newcomers alike.


Unitarians will celebrate start of Kwanzaa


The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will celebrate the beginning of the cultural festival of Kwanzaa with a special service Sunday, Dec. 26.

DeAnna Hoyle will be the program leader and Pagosa author and astrologer Julie Gillentine will be the speaker exploring the history and traditions of this colorful celebration, and displaying some of its artifacts.

Following a near-death experience in Mexico in 1966, Gillentine has pursued the symbols, myths and spiritual teachings of many traditions. Her 1977 novel, "Messengers," took the reader on an incredible journey to Egypt, wherein three adventurous scholars hoped to uncover the lost records of an ancient civilization.

The service and children's program will begin 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, Unit 15, in 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.

All are welcome.


Two Christmas Eve services at

Methodist church


Community United Methodist Church will host two Christmas Eve services, the first at 7 p.m. and the second at 9.

These are basically musical celebrations with a short pastoral message from Rev. Don Ford.

Traditionally, the services are closed with a candle-lighting ceremony while singing "Silent Night."

Child care will be provided, Rev. Ford said, but many families prefer to keep the whole group together for these special services.


Business, economics conference at FLC


By Chris Aaland

Special to The PREVIEW

Wells Fargo Durango and Wells Fargo Ignacio will sponsor the 13th annual Southwest Business Forum 7:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, in Room 130 Noble Hall at Fort Lewis College. Admission is free.

This year's event, hosted by the Fort Lewis College School of Business Administration and the Office of Economic Analysis and Business Research, is entitled "Focus on Our Future: Business and Economics."

The event begins with a 7:30 a.m. free continental breakfast and introduction to the program at 8 a.m. by Patty Burkholder, president of Wells Fargo Durango and Wells Fargo Ignacio, and Tom Harrington, dean of the School of Business Administration.

"The School of Business Administration at Fort Lewis College is honored to host the 13th annual Southwest Business Forum for our region's ranchers, farmers, business owners and investors," said Harrington. "We have gathered a distinguished panel of experts to give their assessment of the current and future state of the economy."

Harrington acknowledged the role that Wells Fargo Bank plays in the annual event.

"I would like to thank Wells Fargo Durango and Wells Fargo Ignacio for sponsoring the forum," he said. "In particular, I want to recognize Patty Burkholder for being the driving force to ensure the annual continuation of this forum designed to provide economic knowledge and information for better business and personal decision making."

"People in the area are very interested in the economy at all levels and the turnout continues to be stronger every year," said Burkholder. "We believe that you will find the Southwest Business Forum an especially informative and valuable session for your business, nonprofit organization, government agency or personal enterprise. The more you understand the economic influences on business, the better decisions you can make."

Deborah Walker, assistant professor of economics at Fort Lewis College and director of the Office of Economic Analysis and Business Research, will examine the composition and trends of the La Plata County economy. Rich Wobbekind, director of the Business Research Division and associate dean for external relations at the University of Colorado at Boulder, will look at the state economy. Wells Fargo senior economist Scott Anderson will explore the national and international economies.

At 8:10 a.m., Walker will begin discussing the La Plata County economy. Her main interests are in the areas of political economy, industrial organization, the economics of women's issues, Austrian economics and applied microeco-nomics.

She spent most of her career teaching at Loyola University in New Orleans, with a brief stint in Washington, D.C., as a public policy analyst. Having been born and raised in Cortez, she wanted to return to the mountains of Southwest Colorado and enthusiastically accepted a teaching position at Fort Lewis in 2002.

With the retirement of Vernon Lynch, Professor of Economics Emeritus at the end of last year, Walker inherited the position of director of the Office of Economic Analysis and Business Research and editorship of the Econometer.

She holds a doctorate in economics from George Mason University, master's degrees from George Mason and Arizona State University, and a bachelor's degree from Arizona State.

At 8:50 a.m., Wobbekind will discuss various Colorado economic sectors.

Wobbekind develops an annual consensus forecast and performs various economic impact assessments of the Colorado economy. He participates annually in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Regional Roundtable and is a contributor to the Western BlueChip forecast newsletter. Wobbekind teaches senior undergraduate and MBA students in macroeco-nomics, public policy, and managerial economics.

Wobbekind joined the CU business faculty in 1985. He was appointed associate director of the research division in 1988 and director in 1991. He assumed his current position as associate dean in 2000. For his efforts in community development and outreach, Wobbekind was awarded the 1997 University of Colorado Bank One Community Outreach Award. He has received three awards for teaching excellence from CU business students.

He received his bachelor's in economics from Bucknell University and his master's and doctorate degrees from CU-Boulder.

At 10:10 a.m., Anderson will speak on the national and international economies. He has made many television and radio appearances, and his research is widely read by the financial and business community.

As a senior economist for Wells Fargo, Anderson analyzes and forecasts international, national and regional economic trends. His areas of interest include monetary policy, financial markets and international economics. Anderson produces a daily analysis of U.S. economic releases, and covers the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan as part of a bimonthly international early warning report. He also authors the Wells Fargo California Outlook report and contributes to the weekly Financial Market Strategies report and monthly Economic Indicators report.

Before joining Wells Fargo, Anderson was an economist for, a Philadelphia area economic forecasting and consulting firm where he was responsible for international, financial market and regional analysis. Before that, he was employed by the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research on global financial markets and fund economic growth policies.

Anderson earned his doctorate degree from George Washington University and did his undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota.

After Anderson's lecture, attendees can participate in questions and discussions. The program adjourns at 11:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Harrington at 247-7294 or


Harlem Ambassadors return to Pagosa for community center benefit game


The internationally-acclaimed Harlem Ambassadors 2004-2005 "Around the World Tour," covering Europe, Asia and North America, will again include a stop in Pagosa Springs for a game in the high school gym 5 p.m. Sunday Feb. 13 as a benefit for the community center.

"It's amazing, but with ten overseas tours in the past five years, the Ambassadors actually cover more of the globe than that other 'Harlem' team that has 'globe' in their name," observed Ambassadors president Dale Moss.

"It's Not Your Grandfather's Basketball Show," is the slogan for the Ambassadors. "It means we offer a younger, fresher, livelier basketball show," explained Moss.

The Harlem Ambassadors Basketball Show features high-flying slam dunks and dazzling ball-handling. The show also features comedy routines uniquely led by the woman star of the show, K.B. Buckner, the "Show Basketball Princess." She competes against opposing men players on a nightly basis and represents a great positive role model for young girls.

The Ambassadors do not travel with a pre-selected opponent or present a choreographed show.

"We like to be challenged by the best local players," said Buckner, "There are always a few tough players in any place we go." Dealing with opposition who do not know exactly what will happen next creates an Ambassadors show that is loaded with spontaneous improvisation humor.

The Ambassadors tour has carried the team to 46 states and 19 foreign countries. The Harlem Ambassadors are a leading provider of entertainment to the United States military, having performed at over 110 different bases worldwide.

"We are extremely proud of our relationship with the military," Moss noted. The team has performed for troops deployed in frontline positions in the Balkans and Korea. The Ambassadors also recently performed for the Marines guarding captured al-Queda terrorists at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Harlem Ambassadors are coming back for another exciting fun game with the Pagosa Ringers. Buckskin Towing and Troy Ross Construction are major sponsors for this fund-raising event.

Watch for further details in The SUN or call the community center at 264-4152 if you wish to be a sponsor.

Tickets are available at all local banks, the Chamber of Commerce, Ski and Bow Rack and at Pagosa Springs Community Center.


County, town get grant to step up DUI patrols


Archuleta County law enforcement officers will step up DUI patrols over the New Year's weekend. Enforcement will being Dec. 31 and end Jan. 3.

Archuleta County Sheriff's Department and the Pagosa Springs Police Department join 48 other agencies across the state with increased patrols during the holidays. Local agencies received $28,000 in state grant funds to put extra officers on the streets.

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

Statewide December has been designated as Colorado Law Enforcement Appreciation month.

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

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

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

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

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


Final blood draw of year set for Dec. 30

The final local blood draw of the year by United Blood Services, is scheduled noon-4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30.

Hosting the event will be Community United Methodist Church at 434 Lewis St.

All potential donors should be aware current identification is required.

Those who wish, may sign up at

United Blood Services is the Community Blood Center for the Four Corners Region and staff urges area residents to give the gift of life to someone for the holidays.

Local Chatter


Pagosans tell their wishes for Christmas

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

What do you wish for this Christmas? Asking around town, I got these answers.

There were many who voiced their wish for peace in the world: Lil Smith, Fran Smith, Deb Aspen, Jim Dor, Bob Newlander and Ella Faye Day.

Jody Laurence wishes for peace in Jerusalem and health for her daughter, Tammy.

Carole Howard wishes for peace in the world and that all the military in Afghanistan and Iraq come home safe and sound.

Sally High wishes for the end of violence in Iraq where her only brother is in the service.

Barbara Preston wishes for peace in the world and that there be more love among people.

Meg Bobbit wishes for her family to be well and happy.

Ruth Newlander wishes for peace in the world and for her health.

Muriel Cronkhite's wish is that her grandchildren be safe and sound.

Nancy and Bill Crouse wish that their family be together.

Cynthia Sharp wishes that her family be all together and happy.

Nancy Miguelson wants peace for her kids.

Larry Johnson wishes for more people to worship the Christ Child - not only at Christmas - but always.

And there are more.

Donna Geiger wishes for good health insurance for everyone in the country.

Dallas Johnson, who has macular degeneration, wishes for two good eyes.

Bob Woodward wishes for good health to be able to continue volunteering in the community.

Wendy Rockets wishes for a house.

Ben and Judy Collins' wish is that everything goes well with their move to Pagosa Springs.

Lenore Bright has a wish and that is that the new library addition be built so that she can retire. Husband Gil agrees.

Harvey Schwartz would like to have two or four more musical-loving students.

Becky Porco's wish is that the proposed village on top of Wolf Creek not be built and that no kill shelters for pets be built.

Bill Hudson would like to see Santa's sleigh.

And Nancy Cole wishes for more snow.

On the other hand, Father Bob Pope, rector at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, who commutes from Bayfield where he lives, hopes for light snow on Yellow Jacket Pass.

And Don Geiger wants Kate's column to go on forever. And so do I!

And what do I wish for? Peace in the world - yes. Goodwill to all - yes. Specifically, for my fourteen great nieces and nephews and their parents and grandparents, I wish good health and loving communication. And I wish for you to have a Merry Christmas.

Fun on the run

For over 40 years, the man put in long hours at his job so when he retired he was asked the obvious question, "How has your life changed?"

He replied, "Well I get up in the morning with nothing to do, and I go to bed at night with it half done."


Senior News

Center meetings are filled with valuable data

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

We had a grand holiday party Dec. 10!

Seniors Inc. brought in cheese and crackers and other snacks before our meal and several sweet volunteers brought other yummies, and we also had a lot of gifts to give away, thanks to Bonnie from Slices of Nature.

Many of our folks also participated in a fun gift exchange. And to top it all off, we had fun singing along with the holiday music.

We had an informative morning Dec. 14 with the assistant director of the Archuleta County Victims' Assistance Program, Liz, here to talk to us about elder abuse. Musetta followed up with a video on identity theft. Many folks stopped by the office to thank all us for the much-needed information.

These are important topics to understand, so if you missed it, give us a call and we'll get you the information.

Medicare counselors will be available Dec. 27 to help you sign up for the Medicare drug cards. Don't miss out on the opportunity to receive a discount on the drug card for those who qualify. Our counselors are here to help you determine if you qualify and also guide you through the process of choosing the Medicare drug card that is right for you. Anyone who does not have health insurance that covers prescription drugs should apply for a card. Drug card applications must be received by the drug company by Dec. 31. If you haven't applied yet, be here Dec. 27 - don't miss out!

We had a LEAP presentation at the beginning of the month and Mary Ann left us a couple of forms to fill out if you need assistance with your heating bill. You can also inquire at human services for more information.

This will be a short week between Christmas and New Years; we will be closed Dec. 24 and 31. We'll see you next year!

Natalie Shelbourn from Kinder-Morgan will be here around lunchtime Dec. 27 to ask your opinion about donating to Colorado Energy Outreach. She will explain all the details and wants your opinion, so come in and tell her what you think.

Penny won't be here this week for massage, but you can expect her next week again doing her healing touch.

Since we will be closed the last two Fridays of this month, we will celebrate our December birthdays on Wednesday, Dec. 29. We will have a wonderful meal that day and cake as well. Come join us.

This is a report of the meeting on Friday, Dec. 10, from Beverly Arrendell, president of the board of Archuleta Seniors, Inc.

At the board meeting Judy Cramer reported that our membership has exceeded 900.

Jim Pearson and Don Hurt gave their report on the Area Agency on Aging meeting in Durango. Mary Lou Maehr reported on the Regional Advisory Council on Aging meeting also held in Durango. These two groups are responsible for government funding provided to our center.

The Upper San Juan Health Service District is considering the hiring of two emergency room doctors, according to Don Lundergan, the board representative to the health district's board. The health district has pledged $5,000 to the psychiatric hospital which is still in the planning stages. The hospital will be located in Durango.

Musetta Wollenweber, our center director, takes charge of senior transportation beginning Jan. 1.

The program for seniors at Arboles is growing. The group has been named Silver Foxes Den, Southwest.

Arrendell congratulated board members for keeping their focus on ways to help seniors in our county and for their cooperative spirit throughout the year. All agree that this has been a successful year for Archuleta Seniors, Inc.


Friday, Dec. 24 - Center closed.

Monday, Dec. 27 - Medicare counseling, noon; Kinder-Morgan survey, noon; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 28 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; basic computer, 10:30 a.m.; no massage today

Wednesday, Dec. 29 - Richard Simmons exercise video, 10:30 a.m.; celebrate December birthdays, noon; canasta, 1 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 31 - Center closed.


Friday, Dec. 24 - Center closed.

Monday, Dec. 27 - Meatloaf, boiled potatoes, beets, whole wheat bread and peaches.

Tuesday, Dec. 28 - Tuna salad sandwich, tomato soup, pears with strawberries and cookie.

Wednesday, Dec. 29 - Braised beef, noodles, spinach, tossed salad, whole wheat roll and apricots.

Friday, Dec. 31 - Center closed.


Chamber News

Plans afoot to make our services more user-friendly

By Mary Jo Coulehan

PREVIEW Columnist

If I could get a dollar for every time I have heard recently "where did the year go?" I could retire a wealthy woman.

Maybe not so wealthy because I would have to pay out a lot of money too for uttering that same phrase

However, ain't time flying by? I have already been at this new position for a month, and as I start to settle into my job here at the Chamber, I would just like to thank everyone for being so supportive.

You have made me feel welcome, despite how much we all miss Sally. For this next year, Morna, Doug and I plan on bringing you continued support, information and ways to hopefully make the Chamber more user-friendly for your business or organization.

So, for the next couple of weeks I will be letting you in on some upcoming plans, activities and enhancements here at the Chamber and around town.

Don't forget

If you're stuck on the gift giving selection, don't forget that we have Pagosa Perks here at the Chamber.

These coupons, in $10 increments, can be used at any chamber-affiliated business. The recipient can choose to spend the Perks at the business or service of their choice and the business treats the coupons just like cash or a check. A list of affiliated businesses accompanies your coupons.

A win-win gift there. And remember, we have these Perks all year round so you can give them for birthdays, as welcoming gifts to friends, as congratulations or just because.

You have until noon Dec. 31 to purchase a raffle ticket for the United Way-sponsored private hunt down in Chama for the 2005 season.

Raffle tickets are $20 and only 1,500 will be sold. You can call us for more information or purchase your tickets here at the Chamber, at the downtown Citizen's Bank, or Old West Press or charge them by phone at 946-2057. The drawing is Dec. 31 at noon in the Visitor Center.


I committed a terrible faux pas reporting a participant for the Parade of Lights last week.

The correct entry for the limousine service was Brynwood Limousine, not affiliated with Montezuma's Restaurant in any way as I reported, but owned and operated by Chrissie Brynwood. We're hoping to get more information on the business in the near future.

Upcoming events

Mark your calendars now for the Chamber of Commerce annual meeting/Mardi Gras Ball, Saturday, Jan. 22.

Festivities will be held at Montezuma's Restaurant. There will be lots of cajun/creole food, beverages, a chance to win a Chamber membership for a year, awards, the ousting of three chamber board members and the election of three new members. Oh yes, and fun.

Here's the chance for you to put on your best Mardi Gras mask and funky costume and have a good time. We want to mix some business and pleasure and it's a great time to have a party. The business part starts now as you review your six candidates for the Chamber Board of Directors. Of the six, only three can be chosen.

You can vote now with ballots available at the Chamber. Remember, only one vote per business. So I will be reminding you of this piquant event in the weeks to come.

Photography contest

The 17th annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest at Moonlight Books will be held Saturday, Feb. 5.

This contest is open to amateur and professional photographers. If you've never been to this event before, make plans to attend. You will see some amazing talent in this field of art.

There are 15 categories in which photos are entered.

Information on entering the contest can be obtained from the Pagosa Springs Arts Council or at Moonlight Books. I will highlight this event more as the time draws near, but get your cameras out and start matting those photos.

Cooking class

Another fine Pagosa Springs Arts Council-sponsored event will be "The Art of Italian Cooking - Strictly Pasta" with Diane Toman and Fran Jenkins 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15.

They will focus on "strictly pasta," what sauces complement a dish, a Parmesan tasting, complementary wines and sample-sized tastings will be served as the lunch.

Cost of the class is $45 for PSAC members and $50 for nonmembers. The class will be limited to 24 people. Reservations must be made and paid for in advance.

Both chefs are certified culinary professionals, have taught cooking classes previously and are just delightful people.

Contact the PSAC for more information at 264-5020 or stop by the office on Hermosa Street in Town Park.

Calendar of events

You can see there is a lot of activity going on which you need to plan for. Often there is a scheduling conflict.

The Chamber has always had a Calendar of Events in print and on our Web site. You have always had the opportunity to fill out an event form and give us information about your event, so we can inform the public.

We are going to try and make that even easier for you. As an enhancement to our members, the "Event Form" is now online on the Chamber's Web site. You do not have to come down to the Chamber or have a form faxed to you to fill out and send back to us.

Using your home or office computer you can fill out an event form and e-mail it to us. We will then post the function on our Web site and update the printed calendar.

We would like to become a better clearing house for the events that happen in our community and hope that people will take advantage of the enhancement of our Events Calendar. Look us up at www.

New members

We have two new members joining us this week and five renewals.

Our first new business is Ancestral Way Healing Center with Bodil Holstein at the helm. Bodil and JoAnne Long offer a variety of healing modalities including massage, Scandinavian reflexology, Reiki, meditation, intuitive healing and more. They are at 422 Pagosa St. Suite 9 and can be contacted at 903-8800.

Associate member Janis Moomaw joins the Chamber club this week. We really appreciate the fact that individuals, not just businesses, join the Chamber and support what we try to accomplish for our community. So thank you Janis for your support.

Renewals begin with the San Juan Outdoor Club. Edelweiss Townhomes has renewed a membership as has the Ski and Bow Rack.

We are pleased to have FOPA or Friends of the Performing Arts re-up with us.

And once again we have another associate member supporting our efforts, and that would be Judy James. Judy has also graciously put her name on the list of Chamber Board candidates to be elected for a three-year term. Read more about Judy and the other candidates in your newsletter or pick up a bio sheet here at the Visitor Center. And don't forget to vote. That is your right as a Chamber member.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday either here in town or wherever your travels take you. Enjoy those grandkids, get your fill of turkey and sweets, start working on those New Year's resolutions and relish the magic of the season. Hopefully, we'll see many of you around town doing that snow dance!


Veteran's Corner

Discount lodging available for AVAMC vets

Andy Fautheree

SUN Comumnist

I would like to wish all our Archuleta County veterans, families and friends a happy holiday and that you may all enjoy good health and a prosperous New Year.

We should also take a moment from our busy schedules especially at this time of the year to give thought for our soldiers and sailors in harm's way in many far-flung corners of the world.

I know many of you continue to share my concerns regarding the lack of overnight accommodations at the Albuquerque VA Medical Center (AVAMC).


I think we are the "orphans" of the AVAMC system. I was called about six weeks ago by Joe Dean, AVAMC assistant director, regarding accommodation concerns that have been raised through our letters and e-mail to high-ranking officials. Dean and I had a good discussion of the accommodations problem and other communication problems between our part of southern Colorado and AVAMC. He frankly admitted and apologized that we were kind of off their radar. I have just now received his latest AVAMC accommodation information.

Advocacy meetings

He told me they have a bimonthly meeting of Veterans Advocacy personnel, such as Veterans Service Officers, with AVAMC officials. Neither I, nor the La Plata County VSO to my knowledge, were ever invited to attend these conferences. Seems like they just kind of forgot about us clear up here in Colorado. I do plan to attend these meetings, as time allows because of the distance involved.

I feel like this lack of awareness of our distance and location is also the case when it comes to accommodations policies for veterans who must travel from extreme distances such as Archuleta County and La Plata County. They pretty much think of "in state" travel when making these decisions. In fact, Dean was not aware that Montezuma County was also part of the AVAMC system.

Lodging list

Dean sent me a list of Albuquerque lodging that will provide discounts to veterans who have appointments at the center. The list did not give actual lodging prices. The figure I have heard hearsay is about $40 plus lodging tax for overnight accommodations.

He also supplied me with a clarification of the accommodation policy in regard to veterans who do not have the financial means to provide or pay for overnight lodging for AVAMC appointments.


Dean said, "Lodging exceptions can be requested by VA specialty care physicians if they believe the veteran requires an extended stay close to the VA for medical monitoring and follow-up treatment. Physicians can refer veterans to Social Work Service for an evaluation of their financial resources and their ability to pay privately for lodging. If it is determined that the veteran must stay overnight for medical reasons (by the physician) and he/she cannot afford to pay for the hotel (by Social Work Service) an exception can be made by Social Work Service to have the VA pay for the lodging."

How to request

"Veterans should request this referral from their physician if they feel they qualify for an exception," he said.

He (and AVAMC) continue to mention transportation systems such as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) transportation vans as a transport resource. I have repeatedly told them those resources do not exist in our remote locations. The last word I heard from La Plata County is that their VAHC transportation system was at a standstill because of policy and procedure problems for volunteer drivers.


Archuleta County is fortunate we do not have similar problems. Our transportation assistance is unique and available. We have two vehicles available for use by veterans who do not have reliable transportation of their own or are in need of assistance and volunteer drivers to their VAHC appointments. To my knowledge this assistance is not available in La Plata or Montezuma counties.

The complete AVAMC information as outlined here is available at my office for anyone that needs further clarification.


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 located 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 264-8376, e-mail is 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

Traditions may be a sign we're all of one kind - humankind

By Lenore Bright

SUN Comumnist

Do you remember your childhood holiday celebrations? This time of year offers the chance to study other ethnic traditions and give your children a sense of their ancestry.

"Parenting Matters," the publication sponsored by Colorado State University has a discussion of holiday traditions that made sense when you or your children were younger but might not be appropriate now. There are tips on ways to create new and meaningful ones.

People, worldwide, celebrate many special days during the month of December. These religious days are most often linked in some way to the winter solstice. This day produces the least number of daylight hours in the northern hemisphere, and the most nighttime hours in the southern hemisphere.

Some Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on Dec. 25. Other Christians do not celebrate this day including the Jehovah's Witnesses. Some others do not because the symbols and practices are of pagan origin - holly, ivy, mistletoe, Yule log, the giving of gifts, and decorating the evergreen tree.

Buddhists mark Dec. 8 or the Sunday immediately preceding as the day Buddha achieved enlightenment. Jews celebrate an eight- day festival of Hanukkah, or the Feast of Lights. In Iran, Shabe-Yalda refers to the rebirth of the sun. Many Native Americans observe the winter solstice and the rituals differ from pueblo to pueblo. The Hopi's ceremony lasts for 20 days. Atheists often observe the solstice. Winter solstice celebrations are also part of the cultural heritage of Pakistan, Tibet and China. It is believed that many medieval Catholic churches were also built as solar observatories.

Kwanzaa is an African American celebration that is not religious, nor a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time to reaffirm African-Americans, their ancestors and culture. Kwanzaa means "first fruits of the harvest."

Monotheistic religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism tend to view time as linear starting with creation. These followers believe there will be an end of the world some time in the future. Other religions see life as circular and repetitive and their rituals guarantee the continuity of nature's cycles.

The ancients recognized the winter solstice as a turning point and began to herald it as the day that marked the return of the sun. The Mesopotamians may have been first with a 12-day festival of renewal designed to help the god Marduk tame the monsters of chaos for one more year.

Perhaps our impulse to hold onto certain traditions today - the candles, evergreens, feasting and generosity - are echoes of a past that go back further than we ever imagined. Maybe this impulse is another sign that we are all of one kind: humankind.

Holiday closings

The library will be closed at noon on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Monday, Dec. 27. Whatever your belief - we wish you all season's greetings.


Thanks for materials from Cristy Holden, Michele Smith, Kay Grams, Dave Payne, Russ and Betty Freeman.

Our building fund is growing thanks to Jim and Margaret Wilson in memory of the Ross brothers; Jackie Schick in memory of Chuck Hartong and Gene Schick; Judy James in honor of her mother, Virginia Decker, on her 90th birthday; Jeff and Jan Hester in honor of Ross Hester; Jean and John Taylor in honor of Pagosa Country Pioneers Lillie May Carlin, H. Ray and Genelle Macht; Donald Logan and Patricia Howard in honor of Carole and Bob Howard; Elizabeth Muegge, Beverly Warburton, Beverly and Dean Stansell, Bruce Muirhead in memory of Mary Muirhead; Robin Auld in honor of Charlotte Auld; the Richard Walter Family in memory of Nellie G. Walter; and William and Marjorie Hallett in honor of their daughter, Katherine Rembert.


Arts Line

NEA approves four Fast Track grants in Colorado

By Leanne Goebel

SUN Columnist

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the winners of Fast-Track program grants of $10,000.

In Colorado, the Fast-Track grants went to:

- Council Tree Pow Wow & Cultural Festival of Delta which presents an opportunity to share American Indian dancing, singing, drumming, and visual arts by both local artisans and others from throughout the United States;

- The High Plains Environmental Center of Loveland, to support Nature's Eye, a series of photography workshops and seminars, including a juried exhibition and associated publication. Regional photographers will instruct adults and students in nature photo techniques, culminating in a publication and an exhibition;

- OpenStage Theatre & Company, Fort Collins, to support the Mythologica radio series, an original dramatization of myths and legends from around the globe, produced by volunteer Colorado artists, and broadcast on community public radio stations. CD sets will also be distributed free to agencies and libraries that support the blind residents of Colorado.

- Opera Colorado, Denver, to support co-commissioning and the Denver production of a chamber opera with Hispanic themes by Robert Rodriguez. Outreach efforts will focus on attracting Hispanic audiences, and will include a tour to schools in the Denver metro area.

Drawing with Davis

I forgot to mention Randall Davis' drawing class this month. My apologies to Randall and all you drawing students out there; somehow the message was misplaced, but I know the class is every month. My oversight.

Mark your calendars for Jan. 15 when Randall will continue his drawing class at the community center. The class is open to all levels and is highly recommended by students who have participated in the class. The class is all day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $25 PSAC members and $30 nonmembers.

Strictly Pasta

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" x 36" in a barn wood frame. The painting, donated by Justus, is available for sale at Taminah Gallery in Pagosa Springs. All proceeds will go to help pay medical bills for Dan Appenzeller, co-director of the Four Corners Folk Festival who has been battling throat cancer for over a year and is under aggressive treatment.

Dan is doing well, but his medical bills are astronomical, 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.

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).

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. Call 247-7385 or e-mail This is a short list of cultural offerings:

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

"Grant Writing," Jan. 22.

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

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

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

Artist opportunities

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

The juror for this year's exhibit is Krista Elrick from Santa Fe, an accomplished documentary photographer, who holds a bachelor's and master's degrees in photography. She will select work to be presented in this exhibit as well as choose the award winners. For more information, see

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

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


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

Jan. 15 - Drawing with Randall Davis at the community center 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Feb. 5 -PSAC Photo Contest opening at Moonlight Books, 5-7 p.m.

July 24 - Home and garden tour.


Food for Thought

An old man trapped in the pod, with no way out

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

I'm ready to work up a storm, but hold on just a sec.

I'm trapped in a pod and I'm taking a trip into the not-so-distant past.

A musical trip.

Chaka Khan.

"And I was flyin' through the stars, I hoped this night would last forever. Ain't nobody, loves me better "

Oh yeah, I'm transported. The Chak had it, didn't she? Chunky and absolutely gorgeous in that "My, isn't she ripe and exotic" sort of way. Pipes times ten.

But, wait, here's something that tops that: Aretha, "I Say a Little Prayer." I listen to it four times, those backup singers filling me to the brim.

Now, I've got to get to work.

But wait, here's a live version of "Flight Test," by Flaming Lips.

"I thought there was a virtue in always being cool "

Yeah, me too. But, like so many things that are obvious prior to inspection

No, stop, I can't be doing this. I need a propellant, to push me back on task, into a productive orbit. I've got a job to do and, with my perilously short attention span in the face of a gigantic wad o' music, I am not in a labor groove here.

Hey, look what I found. How about Frankie Goes to Hollywood? A bit of wreckage given up when disco hit the rocks, a brief onslaught of quirky glam. "Relax, don't do it, when you want to go to it."

I'm movin' and groovin'. In my chair. I am one of the great chair dancers of my generation.

I need to slow down here, I've got work to do.

Give me something narcotic: aural morphine. Country music. Garth Brooks: "Red Strokes."

"Thundering moments of tenderness rage."

Ah, that's better.

Now, to work.

I need to plan a couple menus for the holidays, something other than the chateaubriand I intend to roast Saturday.

I've got to hit the books, pore over some classics, dip into new work I haven't read yet.

Gotta get something going. Ivy, my youngest, is in town with her bulldog, Cheeseburger. I'm working on getting my oldest, Aurora Borealis, and granddaughter Ipana to drive to town for at least a couple days. Gotta come up with something interesting; these gals know their food - they've eaten meals on too many continents, in too many snazzy joints, for them to fall for something halfhearted. They don't cut you any slack. The pressure is intense.

But, this music. I can't concentrate. The problem: Ivy gave me her iPod and provided some rudimentary instructions concerning its use.

Look: here's Annie Lennox, "Walking on Broken Glass."

I have to hear it; she's got a heck of a voice for a Brit.

Wait, wait you're kidding! Astrud Gilberto? "The Girl from Ipanema?" I say "ahhh."

I can't help myself; I'm out of control, constrained only by the alphabet.

Here's Beck. I have to listen. No, no, go back. In the alphabet, in time. The Beatles. I'm being a sap, but not too much of one. I mean, there's "Let it Be," for instance, as lovely a pop song as was ever written. But I'll listen to something off the beaten track: "One after 909" or "Dig a Pony."

I've got to put together my menu, but the pod has me in its digital grip. This mother is tough.

You know, I hear a lot of disdainful talk about Beyoncé. Obviously the naysayers have not spent a lot of time with "Crazy in Love." Beyoncé seems like a nice girl, you know? True, we're not talking Nobel material here, but she knows more words that rhyme with "crazy" than just about anyone in the universe, Really.

I need to get a grip. I have things to do. I require something Nordic, something Bjork. Something "It's Oh So Quiet." I love it when she screams over the trumpets. But it is little help; nothing is happening in terms of the work at hand.

I can't shake the pod; it's sucking the life out of me.

What are these kids listening to these days? Heavens to Betsy!

Perhaps the secret is to up the tempo a tad, get somewhat hypnotic, control the nervous system. The Chemical Brothers? No, I get snared by the pseudo- intellectual lyrics of "The Golden Path" and I'm not making progress menuwise. Fortunately, the song lasts only five minutes or so. I try "Naxalite" by the Asian Dub Foundation. No go. Nine minutes of no go.

There's always DJ Danger Mouse and the inimitable "99 Problems." A scatological whiz, the Danger Mouse. I can't imagine his mommy taught him to talk this way. It's hard to concentrate on recipes. He knows more words that rhyme with well, never mind.

I gotta tone it down here. Eminem, there's the ticket. "Lose Yourself." This is one sincere, sensitive lad. The song involves something about throwing up on a sweater. This is the kinda guy you want your daughter to bring home. It's nice to know artists possessed of huge talent and skill are being amply rewarded for their efforts.

Speaking of effort, I must get centered. I've been trying to deal with this menu dilemma for three hours now and I've made no progress at all.

I'm stuck inside Ivy's iPod. The playlist is eclectic, and long; there are more than 500 songs on this palm-sized digi-miracle. I've got the headphones on and I'm sitting in front of the computer, cookbooks spread all around me. I can't get away from this insidious little beauty. It's got the sound claws in me, deep. I gotta make a break.

But first, a smidge of Guns N Roses, that wacky Axel. "Welcome to the Jungle." Four and a half minutes well spent, and I'm still off track.

Kathy comes to the door. She's saying something to me; I can see her lips moving but Slash is in the middle of his solo and, well, I just don't want to miss it. I like to picture him in my mind as I listen - him with that stupid hair, those tattoos and that nonsensical hat. I want to be just like him when I grow up. I'm dancing up a storm, in my chair.

Now, it's obvious Kathy is yelling. She looks upset.

I take the headphones off but I keep them close so I can listen to Axel Rose screech at the same time Kathy attempts to communicate with me.

"Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games "

"Karl, what on earth are you doing? I can hear that racket in the front room. You said you were working in here and all I hear is noise."

"Gonna bring you to your nuh nuh nuh nuh knees "

"Axel Rose, honey. Guns N Roses. Big hit back in the '80s. Remember? Axel, Slash, the gang?"

"Karl, turn that thing down. I'm amazed you haven't injured yourself. I can't believe it: All you've done is listen to music at eardrum ripping decibel levels?"

"What's that, honey? Come again."

OK, I figure things will tone down if I go deeper into the alphabet.

"Let me try a couple options," I yell as Kathy leaves the scene. "I'll be hard at work in just a mo."

The Killers' "Mr. Bright Side" is not going to do the trick. I listen to the whole thing just to see if they lower the volume.

They don't.

Kathy grows impatient. She is back at the door saying something else to me but I can't hear her. From the expression on her face, it is not complimentary.

I have no idea who Leonardo's Bride is, but their song has some woman crooning in catatonic fashion and there's an acoustic guitar in the background. They sound like they grew up Lutheran.

Kathy is pacified. She shakes her head and leaves the scene.

The moment she is out of sight, I'm off to Massive Attacks' "Unfinished Symphony." Not interested, so why waste time when I can head directly to Ministry's "Stigmata?" This is five and a half minutes of nerve-jangling buzz.

But no help with the menus.

Kathy is back at the door, gesturing wildly. She is making throat-cutting gestures. Her eyes are bugging out.

OK, OK, How about Nine-Inch Nails? That zany Trent? "Closer?" It starts calmly enough. Kathy leaves again. Good thing she can't hear the lyrics. This is not Perry Como.

I need something to slam on the brakes, throw me into focus.

Oasis. "Champagne Supernova." It does the trick. My head stops vibrating for a sec and I hit the books.

Veal, How about infant cow? Veal cutlets - they've actually had them at the store recently. Veal cutlets with wasabi butter, as related by Rainer Zinngrebe in his book "beyond fusion." The meat is simple - seasoned, browned in olive oil in a pan over high heat then thyme, rosemary and a handful of garlic cloves, skin on and crushed, are tossed in with the meat. The pan is popped into a 450 oven and the cutlets are roasted for about 10 minutes then turned and roasted five minutes more. At that point, a thick round of wasabi butter is put atop each cutlet, the pan is returned to the oven long enough for the butter to melt. This is a compound butter: unsalted butter, wasabi paste, mushed anchovy fillets, chopped thyme and parsley, salt and pepper. The mix is rolled into a three-inch diameter log and refrigerated. No cutlets? I got tournedos I cut a week ago. They'll do.

I'm on kind of a roll but, hold on a minute, bronco. Listen to this! Outkast. "Hey Ya!" I am infected with a sense of utter exuberance. I play the darned tune four times.

I notice it's dark. The sun has gone down. I sat down to do these menus at noon.

I need to take a shortcut. Not on the music - on the food. I need something familiar -Chicken Marsala, maybe pound the paillards out to where they can be browned on both sides then folded over a filling of sauteed shitakes and cremini, with some kinda cheese, fresh herbs, butter. I saw something like this on an Olive Garden commercial.

Oooh. PJ Harvey. There's a centered gal for ya. "The Wind." Whale's voices, etc.

Kathy shows up at the door again and informs me, via darned effective sign language, that she is going to bed.

She also makes a gesture that indicates how she feels about me. Arnie and Cheese are sleeping on the floor next to me. Is it that late already? Time flies when you're involved with a project.

Never too late for Prince. Don't you agree? That baroque, cuddly little rascal.

And there's Puddle of Mudd, Ivy's pals from LA. Gotta listen to "Blurry" just cause their my daughter's friends.

I'm to the S's. You know, when you take the time to listen, Rod Stewart did some decent work, despite his haircut. And it's true: the first cut is the deepest.

I'm kinda disappointed with the Stones selections. Nothing from "Between the Buttons," which I argue is one of their greatest early achievements. I move on.

I need to make a trip to the bathroom, but I'm glued in place by Shalamar's "A Night to Remember." The disco beat can wear on you, but a taste now and then it's only five minutes, after all.

And who can resist a trip to the '60s? Sly and the Family Stone. I close my eyes. I get misty. I smell patchouli oil. Everyone is unfettered, jiggling, free. "One child grows up to be somebody that just loves to learn, and another child " How true. How very true.

The Space Monkeys don't help me, neither does Stereolab. It takes me twelve minutes to learn this.

I have a job to complete. I reluctantly speed past the Talking Heads.

How about a big slab of what they call "turkey cutlet." Butterfly the thing, prepare a stuffing of prosciutto, ciabatta crumbs, egg, provolone, herbs, whatever else comes to mind or that surfaces from the deep recesses of the fridge. Salt, pepper. Roll the thing up, tie it, brown it and roast it. I hate turkey, but it'll work. What do I care when there's music in the world?

I need help. I can't shut this thing off. It's gotta be one in the morning. I search the play list, increasingly agitated. There! The Berliner Philharmonik. "The Holberg Suite, Op. 40." And the "Valse Triste, Op. 44." What? "Finlandia, Op. 26." Well, maybe not. But, the "Peer Gynt Suite"? Sure. It 's so goofy, it works. It'll bring anyone down.

Sweet mercy. A minute or two of Grieg and my core temp clicks into the normal zone. I can see clearly again.

Yes, veal cutlets with wasabi butter.

The Marsala paillards, the sauce made with sauteed shallots and garlic, a chicken stock deglaze, chopped parsley, sauteed mushrooms and serious reduction. A measure of Marsala. Maybe a touch of heavy cream.

The stuffed turkey roll. Roasted root vegetables.

And some winter squash ravioli, with ricotta. I can actually buy real ricotta now at the store. I'll make them, yes I will. I'll do it because I've found Mozart on the pod. Jupiter. I'll make them, with sage brown butter and some fresh-grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

What? Bartok?

I'm back.

I'll serve the chicken with homemade spaetzle and since I don't have the genuine article spaetzle press, I'll push the sluglike things through the bottom of a colander. Right into the boiling water.

I take the earphones off.

Free at last; 246 selections later and I'm free at last.

Only one thing to do before I go to bed: make out my Christmas wish list.

Let's see.

I don't want much.

Maybe an iPod.

And the phone number of someone who's downloaded everything off "Between the Buttons."


Extension Viewpoints

This holiday, give children the time they need; cut stress

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Friday, Dec. 2 - Office closed

Friday, Dec. 31 - Office closed

Gift giving is a part of the holiday tradition for many families. The greatest value of exchanging gifts is the togetherness a family enjoys. Rituals help families create their identity, defining what makes them unique and what to expect in "our family."

When considering December holiday celebrations, consider the environment in which we form our expectations. We try to choose the perfect gift for each person on our list. This expectation may be driven by the desire to feel appreciated, and to have the person receiving the gift appreciate our efforts.

Consider the age of the child receiving the gift - the developmental stage and the influence of peers. Some families make a list of gift suggestions. Explain to a child that a list does not mean that he or she will receive what he has listed.

Children can learn to express thank you as a part of accepted social behavior. Adults can model the behavior, remind the child of what to say and affirm the child's actions. Preschoolers can understand positive reinforcements such as hugs, smiles, laughter and the attention given to gifts they have chosen or made.

Increased stress

A perfect move for adults during holidays is to give children the time and attention they need. Try not to overbook the holidays with activities and be flexible. Be realistic and reduce stress so all can enjoy the family's time together. Dare to let go of traditions that no longer are enjoyed.

Successful stress relieving tips include:

- stretch the food preparation or activities over a longer period of time;

- lower your level of household cleaning;

- make decorations easy and appropriate for children.

Parents who experience less stress would be a nice gift to give children this holiday season.

When adults recall their childhood holiday memories, often the fondest memories are of the times spent together as a family. Allow family members to express their priorities for the time spent together. Be flexible and nurturing. Keep your humor and sanity.

Gift giving guidelines

General rules for family gift giving for lasting memories include:

- Do not try to outdo each other or make comparisons. Discuss what is a reasonable price range and agree to make gift selections within this price range.

- Avoid materialistic overspending.

- When one child is receiving gifts, consider gifts for the other children in the home. Brothers and sisters of the new baby or stepchildren do not want to feel forgotten.

- Avoid forcing a contribution from each family member to present a group gift to a relative. Let people give what they can.

- Accept the desire of individuals who prefer to open their gifts in private.

- Provide for the needs of blended families. Consider that children may be at different houses, or may have to participate in new traditions and will miss the situations of past holidays.

- Be inclusive. If you want to include friends or family members of different faiths and traditions, consider gift exchanges after Dec. 25, perhaps as a New Year's celebration. Gift giving is about appreciation of a loved one or friend. It is about being appreciated as an individual.

Say thank you

Encourage children to write thank you notes to learn social skills. A note to a distant relative allows the child and the relative to feel important and loved. A note written to local community organizations or to corporate sponsors who lend support to the children's activities provides a sense of a caring community. To help your child write a thank you note, keep these considerations in mind:

- take a positive approach;

- make the writing fun. Provide supplies that are creative. If the child cannot write, have her draw a picture of herself with the gift.

- give the child a choice of times you will help him write the thank you note. Inadequate time, feeling hungry or tired, or switching from a favorite pastime to do the writing are conditions to avoid;

- keep instructions simple. Suggest a phrase, or start a statement and let them finish the thought in their own feelings or plans for the gift;

Write thank you notes yourself. Children learn to be courteous and responsible from their parents.

Change rituals

Consider the burdens that may fall on those who suffer from health or other limitations, changes in geographic locations, economic hardships, the addition of new members and the loss of loved family members. One generation's wishes should not take precedence year after year, try to consider all generations for the sake of family harmony.

If the traditions feel like obligations, eliminate what is no longer enjoyed, or share the load with others. Sometimes tradition outlives its usefulness or evokes resentment or boredom. If your family chooses to celebrate the holiday differently from the past, let the other family members know in advance.

Visit our Web site at and happy holidays from your friends at Archuleta County Cooperative Extension.

Pagosa Lakes News

Enjoy peace, joy and hope as you create memories

By Ming Steen

Sun Columnist

When it comes to entertaining and gift giving during the holidays, I've never tried to be an overachiever. I gravitate toward the simple. To borrow author Garrison Keillor's words - "A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together."

I celebrate the reason for Christmas and shop 'til you drop is still a foreign concept for me. It's more like shop 'til you drop too much money, or stress yourself out buying gifts. How can that be fun?

It may be better to give than to receive, but it's far more stressful. And expensive.

In a 2003 Gallup poll, Americans said they planned to celebrate spending an average of $793 on holiday gifts. By the numbers, here's the picture. Americans spent $18.5 billion shopping online during the 2003 holiday season. The average holiday shopper plans to spend $1,220 this year, up 45 percent from 2003 according to the National Retail Federation. Heck, I didn't know our economy is doing so well.

I love Christmas; don't get me wrong. I enjoy decorating the house, baking goodies to share and buying sensible gifts for my children and friends (like a year's supply of high quality, self-wicking athletic socks or brand new snow tires or that global positioning system for the hunter in the family, etc. you get the gist). The overwhelming pull of the holidays is the buy, buy, buy. It gives me purchase anxiety.

Christmas unwrapped gives me yet another post-holiday anxiety. What do I now do with that new set of coffee mugs when the kitchen cabinet is already overflowing with beverage holders?

My favorite is experiences that create memories that have little to do with things bought, but with things taught, created and shared. And, of course, the most important component, the closeness of the people you love.

This holiday season gather in your hope to preheat a memory, fold in old friends with new and bake a good day (and be prepared for some major clean-up after). Don't forget that the recreation center staff is doing likewise. The facility will close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and all day on Christmas. The PLPOA administrative office will be closed Friday, Dec. 24 and Friday, Dec. 31. Regular business hours will be maintained at the recreation center during the New Year weekend.

Back to the issue of buying experiences, let me address this to parents of school-age children. This afternoon as I write this column, three teens wanted to get into the recreation center by forcing entry through emergency exits. This Christmas please consider purchasing a pass for your child - something they can use throughout the year in a safe, healthy environment with their friends. It will be a gift that could help guide your child on a positive track through the rest of his/her life. (You might also consider throwing in a pair or two of self-wicking athletic socks.)

Have a blessed holiday season. May peace, joy, hope and health be yours during this time and throughout the New Year.


Michael Marshall

Michael P. Marshall was born Dec. 22, 1952, to William and Maurine Marshall. He was welcomed home by his older sister Connie (Constance). He spent his youth in Houston, Texas.

He attended Texas A&M University where he received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering in 1974. He then began his medical career by first attending Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and then completing his internship and residency at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics. He accomplished subspecialities in both free flap surgical training at Memorial Hermann Hospital and basic techniques in microsurgery at University of Miami Medical Center.

He was an orthopaedic general surgeon at the University of New Mexico in Los Alamos until 1993. It was during this time that he met Carol Lynn Weber, who was to become his beloved wife. They were married May 28, 1994.

They moved to Kansas City, Mo., where he was an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery until 2000 at which time they transferred to Lubbock, Texas, so he could take on the role of associate professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Beginning in 2004, he was named Residency Program Director.

His accomplishments in life were many. In addition to honors in the medical field which included the UMC Health System Endowed Chair which he was awarded last month, the Paul Meyer Award for Outstanding Orthopaedic Educator and the Outstanding Resident Teacher Award, he will be remembered fondly as a patient advocate and an accomplished aviator, sailor and carpenter. He'll be remembered most fondly, however, for his kind spirit, his generosity to those in need, and his love of family and devotion to his beloved wife Carol and cherished dog Molly.

He died Dec. 17, 2004, and is preceded in death by his sister Connie Lengefeld and survived by his wife, Carol, parents Bill and Maurine, nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Michael Marshall Memorial Fund, 4414 82nd St., Suite 212 PMB 101, Lubbock, Texas, 79424.

The family can be contacted at (806)793-1046.


Garold L. Rome

Garold "Gary" L. Rome, 65, a resident of Pagosa Springs for 25 years after coming here from Kansas, died Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2004, in Albuquerque, N.M.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Deanna J. Rome, a son, Darin A. (Laura) Rome and grandson Damian S. Rome, all of Pagosa Springs; a sister, Karen (Gary) Ginther of Goodland, Kan.; brothers Gaylon Rome of Alma, Neb. and Richard (Nancy) Rome of Irving, Texas; and several nieces and nephews. Mr. Rome was preceded in death by his parents.

He recently retired from La Plata Electric Association Inc. after 16 years of service. Mr. Rome was a member of IBEW Local No. 111, Unit 26A. He was an avid horseman, loved the Colorado mountains, enjoyed hunting, helping his fellow man and his community.

Cremation has taken place and memorial services will be held at a later date.

Arrangements were by French Mortuary, Albuquerque.


Victoria Thomas

Victoria Thomas, a resident of Durango and formerly of Mancos, passed away at her daughter's residence in Durango Dec. 17, 2004. She was 95.

Funeral services were conducted 2 p.m. Tuesday in the New Life Assembly of God in Mancos with Pastor Leroy Cowart officiating. Interment followed in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Mancos. Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made to your favorite Christian charity or organization.

Victoria Ruth Thomas was born Feb. 27, 1909, in Gooding, Idaho, the second child of Ruth and Guy Worden. Her childhood was spent in Gooding and later the family moved to Nyssa, Ore. Upon completion of high school she attended college at La Grand, Ore., at the University of Oregon where she graduated with a teachers' degree. On May 15, 1932, she married Francis J. Thomas and moved to Denver where three children were born to them. She thoroughly enjoyed being moved from engineering project to engineering project by the government.

Mrs. Thomas taught fifth grade at the State University in Potsdam, N.Y. In 1959 they both retired in Grand Junction, and later moved to Mancos. Mr. Thomas preceded her in death in 1996.

Her life pointed her whole family and many others to Jesus Christ.

Survivors are her children, Frances Hays of Fruita, Fredric Thomas of Cortez; Donna Marie Rowe of Durango; nine grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.


Business News

Biz Beat

Trophies for Tomorrow is owned and operated by Joe and DeAnna Hoyle. They specialize in trophies, plaques, acrylic awards, medals, ribbons, name badges and ad specialties. The Hoyles have been in the awards business for over 15 years and are excited to be in Pagosa Springs to offer the community quality recognition items.

Trophies for Tomorrow offers fast service and a full line of economy trophies as well as corporate award and gift items. Trophies for Tomorrow is located at 2035 Eagle Drive Suite 101. Stop by and receive a free gift. Store hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 731-0955.



Preview Profile

James H. Layne

Bus driver, Archuleta School District 50 Jt.


Where were you born?

"Redlands, California."


Where did you go to school?

"Springdale, Arkansas."


When did you arrive in Pagosa Springs?

"November 21, 1993."


What did you do before you arrived here?

"I was a carpenter."


What are your job responsibilities?

"Transporting little darlings to and from school safely."


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

"I enjoy my job when the kids sit down and stay quiet. It's least enjoyable when they don't stay seated and it's noisy."


What is your family background?

"I have a wife, three stepchildren, three other children, 11 grandkids and seven great-grandkids."


What do you like best about the community?

"I like that's it's a small town."


What are your other interests?

"I am an active Jehovah Witness."

 Cards of Thanks



As Operation Helping Hand wraps up the 2004 holiday season project organizers are left to find a way to thank the remarkable community of Pagosa Springs for its overwhelming generosity. 

Just 10 days before we were scheduled to distribute Christmas gifts and food to 203 families, a plea was issued to members of our community to dig deep into their hearts and help us even more than they already had, as we tried to assist a record number of people this year. 

We were humbled by the response from individuals, schools, churches, organizations and businesses that, in the true spirit of Christmas, reached out to ensure 336 children, 271 adults and 55 seniors citizens would have gifts and food for their holiday.

Our sincerest thanks to all of you!


Great party

Bill and Sue:

Thank you for a wonderful and filling Christmas party.

Your hardworking crew and friends at Piedra Auto Care


Casa de Los Arcos

Thank you to Judy James for the beautiful cheese and meat tray, to an anonymous donor for the lovely Christmas ornaments for our tree, to Helping Hand for the Christmas food and presents, and to Kyle Blair and Patty Patterson for picking up the Helping Hand boxes and delivering them to all the apartments.


Molly O'Brien Johnson and all the residents at Casa de Los Arcos.


Aided with opening

N.O.R.A. would like to thank the following businesses for a successful grand opening:

Hot Stuff Pizza, N.P. Shell for refreshments, Slices of Nature for coffee, Pizza Hut and Pagosa Baking Co. for snacks

Steve Sewell


Wantusiak - Rosenberg

Guess what happened Dec. 13, 2004? Liz Wantusiak and Rob Rosenberg got engaged. Congratulations.



Leonard and Marian Rice

The 50th wedding anniversary for Leonard and Marian Rice of Pagosa Springs was celebrated Nov. 27 in Mesa, Ariz. Given in honor by their children and grandchildren, it was hosted at the home of their son and daughter-in-law, Jon and Julie Rice. Other children are daughter Sue and husband Steve Schneider, daughter Cindee Smolenski all of Scottsdale, Ariz. and daughter Debbie Rice of Pagosa Springs. The couple have 13 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Friends and family came from near and far to help make it a memorable occasion. The Rices are originally from Minot, N.D.


Sports Page

Hockett takes first-ever Warrior title for Pirates


By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

It's been a long time coming.

A very long time.

The Pirate wrestling team has a champion at the Warrior Classic.

Daren Hockett became the first Pirate to take a title at the Warrior, winning at 125 pounds and doing so in decisive fashion.

The senior did what no Pirate has done - including a string of eventual state champs - by clobbering five opponents and giving up only one takedown at the two-day tournament in Grand Junction.

Friday, Hockett opened his quest with a 12-0 major decision over Chad Tomes, from 3A Roosevelt.

Hockett's second opponent was David Lopez, from Montrose. While the Pirate beat his man by six points Coach Dan Janowsky says Hockett seemed tired from the long road, as did his teammates. The matches Friday were the first two full matches Hockett has wrestled this season.

Following a night's rest, it was a very different story.

First up, in a quarterfinal match, was Jaime Lopez from Natomis High School in Sacramento, Calif. A well regarded fighter, Lopez could not stand up to Hockett's aggressive and technically skilled style. The Pirate won a 13-5 major decision.

"I was really pleased with how Daren attacked at the end of the match," said Janowsky. "We were ahead by two points at the end of the second period and Daren won by eight. He gave up his only takedown of the tournament when he stood and backed up to adjust his headgear. I think we can count on that not happening again."

Hockett came into the Warrior the No. 3 seed and faced the No. 2 seed, Meeker's Cody Clark, in the semifinal. Clark was a rough customer, the second-place finisher in last year's Class 2A state tournament, but Hockett got a takedown and back points early, then pressed the tempo. Clark ended up with four escapes and found himself on the short end of a 14-4 major decision.

That left only Nathan McDowell, a state placer from 5A Chaparral High School. Unlike Hockett's other matches, this one was not as fast paced in terms of scoring, with the Pirate holding a slim 2-1 lead at the end of one period.

"The critical moment came at the end of the second period," said the coach. "Daren hustled hard and got a takedown with three seconds left and went ahead 6-2."

The Chaparral wrestler chose the top position to start the final period, but could not turn Hockett and, in fact, was called for stalling. "Daren was shooting at the end," said Janowsky. "He stayed aggressive throughout and won 8-2."

The Pirates, as a team, scored 68 points and finished mid pack in the final standings. Three other Class 3A teams finished ahead of Pagosa: Olathe, Roosevelt and Monte Vista - a fact that does not distress the coach. "We finished a little behind them, as expected at this point," he said, "but within striking distance."

The Pirates got no points at 103 and 112, without an entry at either weight.

Orion Sandoval fought at 119 and the junior was 2-2. Following a first-round bye, Sandoval lost his only Friday battle to Olathe's Brandon Gray. The Pirate came back strong Saturday, however, whipping Phil Abeyta from 4A Mullen with a 17-2 technical fall. He won his next match, pinning Cache Morgan of West Jordan, Utah, before ending his tourney with a slender 5-4 loss to Joey Barney from 5A Fruita Monument. "Orion wrestled better and better as the tournament went on," said Janowsky. "Two and two at the Warrior is a good deal."

Paul Hostetter got his first starts at 130 and lost his two matches on Friday, eliminated from competition.

Raul Palmer entered the tourney seeded fourth at 135 and finished the event 4-2.

"Raul wrestled well," said the coach. "He competes in a very tough weight and won four of six matches for us." Palmer got a tech fall against Brian Russell, from Natomis. He beat Wes Yarnell from Olathe, pinning his man at 2:36 then wrestled Thunderbird's Brian Parman , winning 11-9 in overtime. Palmer got a 20-4 tech fall over Shane Smith of Paonia. A loss to Daniel Cramblett of Moffat County kept Palmer from placing.

Junior Ky Smith also performed well at the Warrior, going 2-2 at 140.

"This was by far his best wrestling," said Janowsky. "He really went at it." Smith defeated Colton Tracy of Uintah, Utah, with a pin at 3:38, then beat Ronnie Gooden of Durango with a pin at the two-minute mark.

Dale August, a sophomore, was 0-2 at 145, ending his tournament Friday, as did Manuel Madrid at 152.

Junior Matt Nobles finished the Warrior 2-2 at 160. Nobles defeated Dylan Hill from Cortez with a first-period pin. He beat Cameron Webb, of West Jordan, 12-8. "Matt's last match was like Ky Smith's last match," said Janowsky. "He fell behind a bit (to Jordan Titoni from Pueblo Centennial) was working hard and closing the gap, and just ran out of time, losing 11-8. But, it was a good sign for each of our guys: They were going up against tough, physical kids and they weren't giving up."

Marcus Rivas was 1-2 at 171. The senior beat Chris Turnbull of Roosevelt. Rivas trailed and got a throw at match's end to win 7-5.

Josiah Burgraff saw his first varsity action at 189 and was 0-2. "It was Josiah's first time out on the varsity and he puts out a lot of effort for us," said the coach of the junior.

Bubba Martinez was 1-2 at 215. Martinez beat Kurt Nuynt from Natomis with a pin at 3:28.

Jakob Reding was 0-2 at 275. "I saw a lot of positive things from Jakob," said the coach. "He wrestled the eventual champ from West Jordan and did some good things. The same thing when he wrestled the guy from Cortez."

While the Pirates will see the inside of the wrestling room at the high school on several occasions during the holiday break, they will not take to the mat against opponents until school resumes and they face Ignacio, at Ignacio, in an Intermountain league dual meet Jan. 6.

Janowsky intends to use the practice room time in productive fashion, capitalizing on the positive things he saw at Grand Junction, and working on the shortcomings.

"I'm pretty happy," he said. "Friday at the Warrior, I was a little concerned. It was a fairly typical Warrior for us - we looked tired, sluggish. But the guys who survived to the next round wrestled well on Saturday. Very competitive, very aggressive.

"So far I see us having a problem with the fact we control the tempo of many matches up to the final stages, then do something to give up big points. We need to work on that. But, we haven't been giving up as many pins and we are wrestling to the end of the match. That's how you give yourself a chance. We're definitely on the right track."


Pirates at 7-0 after 55-43 'ugly' win over Kirtland


By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

If you're most teams, when an opponent holds you to 20 points below your scoring average, the end result is often a loss.

But if you're the Pagosa Springs Pirates and your head coach is Jim Shaffer, you learn to adapt.

Take Saturday night's Pirate win over Kirtland, N.M., for example.

Prior to the Pirates' home-court clash with the Broncos, Pagosa was averaging 75 points per game.

Kirtland employed a slow tempo, stifling zone and strong press to limit the Pirates to 55, yet still fell by 12, losing 55-43. Why?

In summary, "I guess to say we found a way to win ugly tonight is the best way to describe it," said coach Shaffer after the game.

Ugly? Perhaps, but effective nevertheless.

And there was nothing unattractive about the 26 points Pirate junior Craig Schutz pumped in during the win.

After Pagosa controlled the tip, senior Otis Rand put Pagosa in the books first with an assist to Craig Schutz that gave Pagosa the edge 20 seconds into competition.

Pagosa led 6-3 at 5:05 after Josh Mack followed suit for the Broncos, Craig Schutz answered with two at the stripe and Rand kissed in an offensive board to offset a free throw from Kirtland's McKay Hathaway.

Then Kirtland's Chris Pyne, who caused headaches for Pagosa much of the evening, knotted the score with a trey before Pagosa senior Caleb Forrest got four straight to lift the Pirates to a 10-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Forrest put the Pirates up six early in the second quarter with two off a dish from Rand, Pyne matched it with two free throws, then Casey Schutz and Rand knocked down two apiece at the line for a 16-8 Pirate lead at 6:38.

Craig Schutz upped the margin with a free throw, but Pyne answered with a blend of deuces and treys, scoring 10 straight to put the Broncos in front 18-17 at 3:20.

The lead changed hands twice in the next 30 seconds as Forrest worked inside for two, then Jamar Hall put Kirtland on top 20-19 with two in the paint.

But a trey and subsequent deuce from Craig Schutz put Pagosa in front for good, and the Pirates led 27-20 at the half after sophomores Jordan Shaffer and Kerry Joe Hilsabeck notched the final three of the frame.

Pyne stayed hot from the field with a trey to open the third quarter, Casey Schutz matched it the old-fashioned way, and Pyne countered with a deuce to make it 30-25 with two minutes gone.

But Craig Schutz would ink nine straight via a put-back, four inside off feeds from Rand and Paul Przybylski, plus a trey, and the Pirates led 39-25 at 4:32.

Varian Woody ended Kirtland's cold spell with a deep three ball, but scores from Craig Schutz, Casey Schutz, Rand and Shaffer had Pagosa up 47-28 with 90 seconds to play in the period.

Bryan Bunion canned a late three for Kirtland, but the Broncos trailed 47-31 to start the fourth.

However, a rabid Kirtland press began to take a toll on Pagosa early in the final frame, and the Pirates would not dent the scoreboard for the first six minutes of the period.

Meanwhile, the Broncos spent the better part of the quarter converting numerous Pirate turnovers into 10 straight points, trimming the lead to 47-41 with 2:26 to play.

Shaffer broke the ice for Pagosa by hitting one of two at the stripe at 1:59, but Kirtland edged closer, cutting the lead to 48-43 on two charity tosses from Pyne seconds later.

But the Broncos would get no closer - Rand buried both ends of a one-and-one trip to the line at 1:42, then Hilsabeck hit a wide-open Craig Schutz with an inbound pass at Pagosa's end with 40 seconds to play and Pagosa led 52-43.

Craig Schutz added a trio of free throws down the stretch, and the horn sounded with the Pirates in front by a final margin of 55-43.

In addition to Craig Schutz's game-leading total of 26, the Pirates got 10 points from Forrest, seven from Casey Schutz and six from Rand.

Rand and Przybylski were top assist-givers for the Pirates with four each, followed by Hilsabeck with three.

The victory upped Pagosa's record to 7-0 heading into the holiday break, a stretch that will keep the Pirates out of official competition for nearly three weeks.

After the win, "Kirtland's a very good basketball team - we got a little bit passive against the press, and they took a lot of things that we normally would get away from us," said Shaffer.

"We couldn't do what we wanted most of the night, but I've been telling the kids we have to be able to win different kinds of games and it was nice to see them get a win under adverse circumstances," he added.

With respect to his team's effort throughout the first seven games of the season, "Obviously I'm happy with what we've been able to do, and also maybe a little bit surprised with the fact we're 7-0," said Shaffer.

"But we have a really tough schedule waiting for us the first two weeks we come back, and a lot we can improve on," he added.

"And the goal is to be playing our best ball at the end of February," concluded Shaffer. "If our game was perfect now, I'd be a little worried."

Pagosa's schedule resumes Jan. 7, when the Pirates travel south to face the revenge-minded Aztec, N.M. Tigers.


Scoring: Forrest 5-8, 0-0, 10; Craig Schutz 9-16, 6-8, 26; Casey Schutz 2-6, 3-3, 7; Hilsabeck 0-0, 1-4, 1; Przybylski 0-1, 0-2, 0; Shaffer 2-3, 1-2, 5; Rand 1-3, 4-4, 6. Three-point goals: Craig Schutz 2. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 14. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 26. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 15.


Pirate big men key 75-55 win over Piedra Vista


By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Throw the ball inside, watch the scoreboard light up - repeat as desired.

Such was the recipe Friday night for head coach Jim Shaffer's Pirates against a well-coached, disciplined squad from Piedra Vista, N.M.

Converting a steady supply of low-post dishes from their Pirate teammates, Caleb Forrest and Craig Schutz combined for 37 first-half points as Pagosa forged a 46-33 halftime lead, eventually winning 75-55 on its home floor.

Though the final score might suggest otherwise, the Panthers were no pushover, and kept the Pirates scrambling throughout the contest, especially at the defensive end.

From the onset, it was evident the Panthers' strategy would be to seek opportunities from behind the arc, either by spreading the floor until a good look emerged, or penetrating and kicking outside.

The ploy proved effective in the game's first minute, but because they were unable to handcuff Forrest and Craig Schutz in the paint, the Panthers soon had to rely on the deep ball to play catchup.

After Pagosa took the tip and 2-0 lead on a pair of free throws from Forrest, the Panthers' erased the deficit on a deep trey from Joey Jaramillo.

Craig Schutz answered with two on a baseline dish from Paul Przybylski, but Piedra Vista took the lead right back with a three by Alan Buyok.

The advantage would be the Panthers' last: senior Otis Rand found Forrest inside for a three-point play, then Forrest and Craig Schutz combined for the next Pirate 11 and Pagosa led 18-11 with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter.

The gap widened to 26-16 as Kerry Joe Hilsabeck stole and hit Rand for a deuce, Forrest added a put-back and two at the line and Craig Schutz got two in the lane with an assist from Przybylski.

Forrest hit two free throws after a technical foul call against the Panthers, Jaramillo nailed a late trey, and the first quarter ended 30-21 in favor of Pagosa after Casey Schutz hit Forrest inside for two with four seconds to play.

Craig Schutz tallied Pagosa's first four points of the second frame, Buyok added two for the Panthers and Hilsabeck followed for a deuce as Pagosa managed a 36-23 lead with 5:55 to play in the half.

Buyok and Derrick Smith got the next Panther five, but a trey apiece from Casey Schutz and Przbylski put Pagosa up 42-28 at 3:35.

Then Craig Schutz scored after an offensive board, the Panthers got five down the stretch, and sophomore Jordan Shaffer tipped in the Pirates' final two of the frame; Pagosa led 46-33 at the half.

The Pirates temporarily went cold from the floor early in the third, but got back in the groove after the opening two minutes and held a 52-38 advantage midway through the quarter due to a combined six from Forrest and Craig Schutz.

Assists from Hilsabeck and Przybylski led to baskets from Forrest and Shaffer before a trey from Casey Schutz hiked Pagosa's edge to 59-45 with under a minute to play in the stanza.

A Panther turnover gave Pagosa a late opportunity with 17 seconds remaining, and Casey Schutz made good on the chance, hitting Craig Schutz underneath for a deuce at the buzzer to give the Pirates a 61-45 lead with one quarter to play.

Forrest scored the first point of the final period at the line, Craig Schutz banked two inside and Rand converted an offensive board as the Pirates stretched the lead to 66-48 at 5:30.

Then Forrest tallied a pair of buckets in the lane and a trey from the top of the arc to account for the next Pirate seven, Buyok sank one of two at the line and the Panthers trailed 73-49 with 3:02 to play.

Piedra Vista was able to slow Pagosa's scoring pace in the final three minutes, but the Pirates buttoned up on defense and the Panthers suffered equally at the offensive end.

After Buyok surged for Piedra Vista's last six markers, Casey Schutz hit a pull-up from 14 feet out for the final points of Pagosa's 75-55 win.

Forrest led all scorers with a season-high 34 points and snared 11 boards, while Craig Schutz added 20 and 10, respectively.

The top spot in the assists category went to Przbylski with eight, followed by Hilsabeck with four and Shaffer and Craig Schutz with three apiece.

The win improved the Pirates' season record to 6-0 heading into Saturday night's showdown with Kirtland, N.M.


Scoring: Forrest 12-18, 9-11, 34; Craig Schutz 10-18, 0-0, 20; Casey Schutz 3-5, 0-1, 8; Hilsabeck 1-4, 0-0, 2; Przybylski 1-3, 0-0, 3; Shaffer 2-4, 0-0, 4; Rand 2-2, 0-0, 4. Three-point goals: Casey Schutz 2, Przybylski 1, Forrest 1. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 25. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 28. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 16.


Pagosa Springs Recreation

Coaching is more than just teaching the sport

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

The question that usually arises in the recreation realm when it comes to the idea of good sportsmanship is this, "Where do athletes learn unsportsmanlike behaviors?"

But there is a more pressing question for sports leaders, What is the role of sport in nurturing sportsmanlike or unsportsmanlike behavior?

It is contended that the choices made by an athlete to engage in sportsmanlike conduct depend, in part, on how the sport is structured by administrators, coaches, parents, and fans. Some dimensions of sportsmanship are as follows:

- a full commitment to sport participation;

- respect for the rules and officials;

- concern for social conventions (such as feeling OK even if you lose a contest);

- respect for opponents;

- avoidance of the winning-at-all-costs mentality.

Children learn moral behavior from engaging with others, watching the behaviors of others, and/or being taught ethical behavior.

Sportsmanship attitudes and behaviors are learned in a like manner. Just being involved in sport alone is not sufficient to ensure that participants will learn sportsmanlike attitudes and behaviors. Rather it is the "social interactions that are brought on by the sport experience" that will determine the benefit of sport to our young athletes. Achieving that benefit requires that designated leaders within the sport take action to teach ethical and moral behavior in sport besides teaching the fundamentals.

From: Bredemeier, B.J. and Shields, D.L. (1986). Moral growth among athletes and nonathletes: A comparative analysis. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 147, 7-18.

 Youth basketball

The draft for the 9-10 and 11-12 divisions of Youth Basketball was held Dec. 13. With 15 teams in these divisions, we are looking forward to some great competition. 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 department will offer open adult volleyball 6-8 p.m. Mondays, starting Jan. 10. When we accumulate enough participants for a league, one will be formed. Please continue to contact friends and neighbors and sign up now.

Open basketball

Our 2005 adult basketball leagues will be starting 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 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 any questions, concerns or additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department Adult or youth sports programs, contact Myles Gabel, recreation supervisor, at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Pagosa Springs Parks

Grant award brings calls from would-be bidders

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

With word out that the Town of Pagosa Springs was awarded $200,000 from the Great Outdoors Colorado, (GoCo), the managing trust for the Colorado Lottery, resumés and phone calls have been coming into the parks and recreation offices from landscape architect offices from all over the state.

We plan to put out a request for proposals some time after the first of the year. For now we are busy with Davis Engineering trying to work out the planning stage of the project, which includes infrastructure layout, drainage and overall layout of the whole park.

After this is complete we can plan the scope of service to be provided by the contractor who receives the bid for building the first phase of the park.

In the first phase we plan on irrigating, installing electrical service, grading and seeding the soccer field and the softball/youth baseball field. We hope the money received will go a long way, maybe even further than budgeted. With in-kind participation with the town street crew, and possible equipment help from the county, we hope to stretch our spending dollars as much as possible.

My first thought was that we could get sod placed by August, enjoy the monsoon rains, get a good root setting and play on the soccer field by September. Now we are looking at seeding both fields due to cost of sod.

I would like anyone interested in forming a sod fund-raising committee to please call me. Call if you have some ideas on fund-raising, or if you would like to be on a committee call 264-4151, Ext. 231.

Holiday wish

I would like to wish our volunteer coaches, sponsors, referees, team mothers and all the parks and recreation staff a safe and happy holiday season.

Thank you all for making 2004 such a success. Every little job has to include the whole staff, so this thank you goes out to everyone. Without this teamwork, we could not put on these recreation programs for the public.

To all the participants, thanks for the smiles and letting us experience your first hit, your first basket, your first butterfly catch in the middle of a tee-ball game. All these memories are what make our job enjoyable.


Citizens need a gift

The citizens of Colorado need a Christmas present - a chance to change TABOR. Best case: we see progress on a plan soon and give ourselves the gift at the polls. There are rumblings in Denver a vote will come next fall. It might only be a question of the form the proposal will take, given our newly elected Legislature.

Many of us now realize we need to make modifications in order to stave off additional funding trouble and its consequences. We are in a no-win situation, and have been since our economy went into recession then began to rebound - while our population continued to grow. As demand grew, TABOR would not let us keep pace. It is predicted revenues will rise more than expected. Normally, this is good news. But, with our budget bully hanging around the playground, Colorado will reach the mandated limit on the amount of money that can be kept and refunds will have to go to the taxpayers, while budget cuts are made. That's $286 million to be cut this year and next at the same time refunds totaling more than $600 million are sent out. Unless something changes.

Rep. Mark Larson describes the current budget situation as "still grim. TABOR is TABOR, and we have to fix it."

Talk of temporary fixes centers on the debatable idea of selling the state's share of tobacco settlement funds for at least $800 million, but something greater is needed.

Gov. Owens has seen the light and finally has a plan: secure the lump sum payment of tobacco funds; relax the TABOR revenue limits; put an issue before the voters in November involving a retain-and-spend provision to allow the state to keep and spend $500 million of what would otherwise be refunded to taxpayers, with $100 million used to secure bonds for transportation needs; a reduction of income tax to 4.5 percent, saving taxpayers money on the front end.

A good starting point but only that, considering many legislators have concerns about securitization of tobacco funds and are convinced there should be neither a cap on the amount of excess revenue to be kept and spent nor a time limit put on a retain-and-spend provision.

We need the help fast. Legislators have cut $1.1 billion from the state budget in the last four years, with additional serious cuts looming. And yet, the state's growth puts increasing demands on state programs - more than TABOR can fund.

Currently, little if any general fund money is spent on highways in the state. CDOT has an enormous shortfall weighing on its 2030 Plan and our highway infrastructure is in decline. The state is responsible for 2,358 buildings with little or no money to deal with capital improvement or control.

Seventy-six percent of the annual state budget is set by constitutional mandates. Of the remaining 24 percent, a substantial amount goes to higher education. The rest is left for all other agencies and programs. TABOR allows only a 6-percent annual growth in appropriations and that is probably only enough to fund the population-driven increases in mandated spending.

Retain and spend can ease the crunch, as can a change in the revenue limits. And for TABOR fans, we remind them the amendment allows approval of a retain-and-spend provision with a simple majority vote - without identifying it as a tax increase. The 6-percent TABOR limit on growth of appropriations could be kept in place while allowing retained excess funds to be used for critical needs such as highways. The voters' right to approve all tax increases should stay cemented in law.

Our legislators need to move quickly, while a spirit of cooperation reigns, to give us the gift of choice.

Who knows, a year later, perhaps we change Amendment 23.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

If only they knew, he thought

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The grizzled old man, hunched forward, leaning into the driving snow, a ragged scarf wrapped down from an ear-flapped hat to cover his nose and mouth.

Car after car passed him, none even slowing to see if he needed a ride. If only they knew, he thought to himself.

As ice began to freeze in his beard, he pulled off a tattered glove to wipe it away, his wrinkled hands chafing from the cold.

A pair of dogs straying from the nearby subdivision barked, sniffed knowingly, but stepped back into shadow when he turned toward them. A light flashed on at the first house inside the development and both dogs scampered back as a voice called them. The woman saw him and quickly turned away.

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

He continued on, lights of a small town inviting him into the valley along a river. Spires of churches reached the sky, painted by the heavy snow.

His path carried him past them, past a crowd entering one, arms filled with gaily wrapped gifts, past two small children who regarded him with furtive looks and quickly turned away. He trudged onward, a small cafe beckoning. He stood at the door reading a menu in the window. Suddenly the woman inside hung a "closed" sign on the door and closed the blind.

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

As the snow deepened beneath his step, he felt the chill of water inside, seeping through holes in the soles of the long-worn boots lined with scraps of cloth to ward off the cold.

He saw a thrift store operated by a church and stood looking in the window at the varied goods available. It was closed for the day. Two women exiting the store after turning out the lights saw him and moved quickly to the outer edge of the sidewalk.

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

A theatre's marquee advertised a holiday film, the star playing the role of a grown Christ child. It seemed everyone not at church was trying to get in. A long line waited to buy tickets. They crowded closer to the wall as he passed by.

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

His bones aching from the cold, his path becoming less clear as the storm intensified, the man stumbled around a curve and ran head long into one headed the opposite way. The other man, flustered, picked himself up and chastised the man to "Watch where you're going you old reprobate."

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

He moved on, a service station with bay aglow to light the purchase of fuel lay on his left. He stopped, looked in the window and the young woman inside beckoned him in.

"You look like someone who could use a hot cup of coffee," she said. The grateful man agreed, accepting her service. "It is as I said in Matthew 15:40: 'Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,'" Christ told the woman.



90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Dec. 25, 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. 27, 1929

We daresay that there were few places at this clime and altitude that the game of golf could be indulged in on Christmas Day, as was done at the Sunetha course near Pagosa Springs Wednesday. Several enthusiasts partook of the sport - and how!

Our tropical weather continues with no sign of abatement at this writing. Both Wolf Creek and Cumbres passes remain open, and all highways in the San Juan Basin are reported in excellent condition.

The city coffers were enriched to the extent of about $80 yesterday, when a citizen contributed to Police Magistrate Hill for a little celebration of his own.

E.M. Taylor on Dec. 17th purchased the former parish house of St. Edward's Church, located on Lewis Street.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 24, 1954

We have received a copy of the trade journal that carries a story about the two Dell Publishing executives that visited the Red Ryder Ranch this past summer. It is a nice story and carries several pictures of Fred Harman, the Red Ryder Ranch and this locality. It is impossible to estimate how much wonderful publicity this area receives because the ability and efforts of Fred Harman. This one article will undoubtedly be the cause of several families visiting here sooner or later. Each year there are several such articles and it is not unusual here at The SUN office to have people drop in and say they made the trip to Archuleta County after having read an article about Red Ryder and the Red Ryder Ranch.

 25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 27, 1979

A snowstorm hit here last week, leaving close to a foot of new snow, but there were no extreme cold temperatures. Snow started falling again Wednesday morning and is continuing as The SUN goes to press Wednesday night. Indications are that this may be a major storm.

Archuleta County saw changes, progress, development, and growth during the year of 1979. It also saw a record snowfall winter and almost a record dry summer season. There was a school election, much construction, many new residents arrived and building was almost at a record pace.

Two more police officers have resigned and this again leaves the town without a police force. Four officers have resigned, three within the past ten days.



Merry and Bright

Five of the 13 winners selected in this year's Colorado Dream Homes residential lighting contest represent the south side of downtown Pagosa Springs.

The judging was done Sunday night, with each judge voting from 1 to 10 points for an entry - 10 being the highest and the possible best score being 140 points

Sponsors say it was "another tough year of judging."

First place and the top prize of $500 (131 points) went to Kathie Lattin of 435 S. 10th Street; second and $200 (118 points) to Jerry Lucero, 274 S. 7th St.; and third place, $100 (115 points) to Mamie Gallegos at 8th and Zuni Streets.

Honorable mention awards of $25 each went to Dan Winter, 157 S. 8th St. (108 points); Oliver/Martin, 47 Antelope Drive (106 points); Sutherland, 968 Ute Drive, Aspen Springs (96 points); Keyawa, 985 Meadows Drive (95 points); Martin, 130 Antelope Drive (83 points); Schick, 4186 E. U.S. 160 (77 points); Daigle, 127 Pineview Road off U.S. 84 south (74 points); Clemens, 65 Bunker Ct. (676 points); Carpenter, 2095 Park Avenue (49 points); and Woolsey, 440 Apache St. (47 points).

This was the 10th annual home lighting contest sponsored by Colorado Dream Homes and they thanked all participants who "helped to make our community a little brighter with Christmas spirit."

 Pagosa's Past

After leaving Pagosa Springs Fort Lewis became a school

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

Fort Lewis College in Durango has evolved along a winding path, traipsing the years from its inception as an Army post located in today's downtown Pagosa Springs to its current elevated position on a mesa overlooking downtown Durango.

We've documented some of those steps over the past few weeks. The Army post moved from Pagosa Springs to Hesperus on the La Plata River circa 1880-1882.

With the threat of serious and bloody Anglo-Indian confrontation gone, the fort was converted into an Indian school where Ute, Navajo, and Apache youth were instructed in some of the ways of Anglo culture. By 1911-1912, the various Indian nations had schools closer to home and so the building and grounds, still located at Hesperus, were donated to the State of Colorado.

The plan was to create a state-operated vocational, agricultural, and industrial school on the premises. To that effect, administration of the school was placed under the Colorado Department of Agriculture and $60,000 granted for operations and maintenance. Indian students were to be admitted without paying the tuition requirement and to be treated as equals of whites.

Despite a rocky start because of quibbling with the state treasurer about appropriating money, the school opened its doors during the fall of 1911. To be accepted, students had to be at least 15 years of age and to have successfully completed eight grades of schooling. No tuition was charged in-state residents. Out of state residents paid $20 a year. The fee schedule included $5 for an entrance fee, a $1 cooking and sewing fee, and a $1 carpentry fee. A boy could buy a uniform for $15. A girl's gym suit cost $5. Board and room was set at $16 per month with another $1.50 estimated for laundry. Needed books were sold at cost. Paper, pencils, and other personal supplies would not exceed $4 per year.

During 1913-1914 and over the next few years the study curriculum included courses in raising crops, caring for animals, repairing farm machinery, animal diseases, entomology, with some English, geometry, and other academics thrown in. The school ran a fine dairy, raised crops, and so added practical agricultural training to class room teaching.

I believe I have heard of several Pagosa Springs students who attended Fort Lewis College when it was a high school, including (I could be wrong, I'm trusting my memory to conversations perhaps 30-35 years ago) H. Ray Macht and Archie Toner. In fact, on Page 22 of Dr. Robert W. Delaney's history of Fort Lewis titled "Blue Coats, Red Skins, and Black gowns," Archie Toner is pictured along with other 1922 graduates.

By 1916, the school also offered a course called "Rural Teacher Training Course," to prepare aspiring teachers to pass teacher examinations.

During the years between 1911 and 1932, Fort Lewis Agricultural School amounted to a four-year, agricultural high school. In 1932, just prior to the Great Depression, change was again in the wind. By 1933, most communities in the Four Corners Area had high schools. Local high schools were much less expensive than Fort Lewis.

And so, in 1933, in order to survive, Fort Lewis opened strictly as a college. The school had offered some college courses prior to that year.

More next week on Fort Lewis, from Army camp to college campus.



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White Christmas? Forecast says chances are slim

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Snow still blankets higher elevations, but those dreaming of a white Christmas closer to town might want to reconsider.

The holiday weather outlook for Pagosa Country suggests dreaming of a "mottled Christmas" may be more appropriate.

Though forecasts provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction point to a 30-percent chance for scattered flurries today, the snow chance dwindles to almost zero until early next week.

Mostly-cloudy conditions are predicted through this afternoon, with highs expected to range from 10 to 20 degrees.

Skies should begin to clear by early evening, with lows plummeting to anywhere from minus 5 to minus 15.

Friday's forecast indicates a nominal chance for snow, occasional clouds, highs in the 15-25 range and lows ranging from 5 to minus 5.

Christmas Day calls for mostly-sunny skies, highs in the 30s and lows between zero and 10.

Clear skies are expected to continue into Sunday, with highs predicted in the 30s and lows forecast in the single digits to teens.

Monday and Tuesday should bring increasing clouds, a 30-percent chance for snow, highs in the 30s and lows in the single digits.

The snow chance rises to 40 percent for Wednesday; highs are expected in the 30s while lows should drop to near zero.

The average high temperature last week in Pagosa Springs was 43 degrees. The average low was 13. Moisture totals amounted to zero.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit snow depth of 59 inches, a midway depth of 50 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 listed as "moderate."

Avalanche danger in the Wolf Creek area is described as "low" with pockets of "moderate."

According to the latest SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan Basin is currently at 104 percent of average, down from last week's mark of 117 percent.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture describes regional drought conditions as "moderate."

San Juan River flow through town ranged from a low of about 80 cubic feet per second to a high of approximately 130 cubic feet per second last week.

The river's historic median flow for the week of Dec. 23 is roughly 55 cubic feet per second.