January 6, 2005
Front Page


Public comment on draft vision plan

is slated Jan. 13 in community center

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The public will have a second crack at commenting on a conceptual master plan for downtown, Jan. 13 at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

Two hours have been blocked off that night, 6-8 p.m., to allow for pubic comment on the draft plan, meant to provide a development vision for the future of downtown, prepared by consultants Hart Howerton. The firm was retained by the Community Vision Council, a partnership of representatives of public and private interests in town.

The plan encompasses an area stretching from the high school to Lewis Street and from the junction of U.S. 160 and U.S. 84 to the elementary school. It attempts to address, among other things, traffic concerns, commercial development, continued improvement of parks and rivers, concepts for beautifying entry and exit points in town, parking and pedestrian movements.

Angela Atkinson, CVC executive director, said the goal of the hearing is to obtain additional feedback from the public. The agenda will most likely include a brief overview of the process used in creating the proposal and a definition of the purpose of a master plan.

It will also be an official opportunity for the vision council to hand the proposal to the town for further consideration.

Town Manager Mark Garcia said once the master plan proposal is in the town's hands, it will be sent through a regular public process for possible adoption, beginning with a review by the planning commission. The number and extent of additional public hearings will be determined by the process and the scope of the feedback received on the 13th.

As that happens, Atkinson said, the vision council will be working on developing design criteria to accompany the plan. Design criteria set review and architectural requirements for future development.

The design criteria would be taken through a process similar to the one used for the master plan prior to consideration by the town board.

"CVC would initiate the process and fund the project, assisting the town in public processing and then 'donate' the design criteria to the town," Atkinson said.

Garcia said both the master plan and any accompanying design criteria approved by the Pagosa Springs Town Council, with changes made through the public process, will become part of the information used in constructing a comprehensive plan for the town over the next 18 months.

The town is currently advertising for a consultant to take on the comprehensive planning process. Proposals are due Jan. 31.

Drawings of the draft downtown master plan are available for review at Town Hall and online at www.communityvision council.org. DVDs of the first public hearing on the downtown plan, conducted in November, are also available at Town Hall.

Anyone unable to attend the planned meeting may send comments to:

- Community Vision Council, P.O. Box 3997, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147; or info@communityvision council.org.

- Town of Pagosa Springs, P.O. Box 1859, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147; or townadmin@centurytel.net.

All comments must be submitted by Jan. 31.



County renews invitation for courthouse proposals

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

If at first you don't succeed ...

For the second time in as many months, Archuleta County commissioners unanimously agreed this week to invite proposals regarding the potential sale and relocation of the county courthouse.

The board originally instructed staff to develop and advertise a request for proposals inviting courthouse bids and related plans for the establishment of new county facilities in mid-November.

But due to what was referred to by Bill Steele, county administrator, as "a snafu," official advertisements for such never made it into the local media.

Steele indicated the county had received one related proposal despite the omissions, but that the proposal had subsequently been withdrawn.

As a result, a consensus was reached to re-initiate the process Tuesday, and the board indicated responses to the forthcoming request for proposals will be accepted until at least early February.

According to documents distributed to board members this week, the county will "accept proposals from parties desiring to participate in one, two or all three of the following components of a relocation process" as follows:

- sale of the existing county courthouse, a building comprising "approximately 42,900 square feet of usable floor space, including a partial basement level";

- construction of a new administrative offices facility to be located on roughly five acres of county-owned property on Hot Springs Boulevard, legally described as "Parcel 2, Fairway Land Trust Subdivision.

The target size of 40,000 square feet will be used for consistency among proposals, "however the final size and layout will be determined by the county";

- relocation of the county sheriff's department, county courts and jail "to a new 'criminal justice center' facility." Interested parties are advised that a target size of 90,000 feet will be used for consistency among proposals, that final size and layout will be determined by the county, and are to assume the site for the new facilities will be owned by the county.

In addition, the request states "the county will entertain proposals that provide administrative and/or a criminal justice center on a leased, or a lease-purchase basis."

According to Steele, the request "is written very vague to encouraged developers to exercise some creativity in what they propose."

Those interested should also note that existing covenants forbid construction of a new jail facility at the Hot Springs Boulevard site.

Further information may be obtained by calling Steele at 264-8300, or by writing to him at P.O. Box 1507, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147.



Cool down heightens sewer woe

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Cooler temperatures have renewed Pagosa's struggle to keep its sanitation system in compliance with permit limits.

Ammonia levels are the problem, Sanitation Supervisor Phil Starks told the district's board Tuesday. The Pagosa Springs Sanitation District Board is made up of the members of the Town Council.

Cooler temperatures have meant a decrease in microorganism function in the three cells, Starks said, affecting ammonia. Ammonia levels have increased as a result of a recirculation system put in place in the fall to address problems with biological oxygen demand and levels of suspended solids. Biological oxygen demand tests the amount of food or wastes to be digested by biological agents in the lagoons.

Starks said recirculation efforts stopped about two months ago, but so far have had little impact on ammonia levels. On the advice of the engineer retained to assist with plant problems, Starks also tried a microorganism treatment at a cost of $2,000. Ammonia levels dropped, but not enough to bring the district back into compliance.

"It's a tough situation," Starks said. "It's not something you can just flip on a light switch and fix."

The fix the district is really gearing up for is a new treatment plant - an enclosed mechanical system allowing for much broader control - at a cost of around $2.1 million.

Discussions on construction of a new plant began in March 2004 when the district received a letter of "significant noncompliance" from the state after tests showed the current plant failed to meet permit conditions ten different times over nine months.

In response, the town hired an engineer to design both a temporary fix and the new sewer plant. They also retained a consulting firm to determine what rate increases would be needed to cover costs and maintenance of a new facility.

Following recommendations from the consultants, the district board approved a 2005 budget in December that included a 30-percent increase in sewer rates and a 50-percent hike in plant investment fees. A second increase in fees is planned in 2006.

Town Manager Mark Garcia said the fee increases were calculated to cover the debt service, plus operation and maintenance on the new plant. Grants and, possibly, low-interest loans will be sought to cover the remainder of the cost of construction. The search for such funds will begin, "as soon as possible," Garcia said, and likely start with inviting a representative from the Colorado Department of Health to assess the situation.

Until then, efforts to bring the plant into compliance will continue.

Tuesday, district board member Tony Simmons questioned Starks about possible penalties if noncompliance continues.

Starks said it appears as long as the town continues to make efforts to improve the situation, the state will hold off on enforcing penalties. He is required to file a discharge monitoring report with the Colorado Department of Health monthly. The report tracks a series of 10 tests results covering: biological oxygen demand both inflow and outflow, acidity, total suspended solids inflow and outflow, ammonia levels, oil and grease, residual chlorine, fecal coliform and total flows.

So far, Garcia said in an interview Wednesday, the town has not received any additional letters from the state regarding compliance issues or penalty enforcement.

"It appears our hands are tied," board member Stan Holt said.



 Inside The Sun


County survey completed; findings to be presented Jan. 12

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

It was less than desired, but should be adequate nevertheless.

That's how Archuleta County Building and Planning Department staff are describing participation in a countywide survey that will be used in the creation of new county land-use regulations.

The survey, which was available in online and hard-copy formats for nearly two months after being initiated in late September, asked residents to weigh in on a variety of regulation issues that will be used to evaluate future development proposals within five proposed county "planning districts."

The county had hoped to receive a combined total of at least 833 responses from all districts, and efforts to boost survey awareness and participation included mass mailings, public workshops and advertisements in the local media.

In the end, the county received 777 submissions, a total that reflects a shortfall of 56 responses.

Of the five proposed planning districts, only one - the Pagosa Lakes District - met and in fact exceeded the desired response rate.

The target figure for responses from within the Pagosa Lakes District was 190; total responses from the district amounted to 372.

On the flip side, results from the "Southwest District," which includes the Arboles area, indicate a total of 50 responses were submitted, a mark well shy of the desired number of 151.

Likewise, survey results from the "Southeast District," which includes Chromo and the Upper and Lower Blanco areas, show a submission total of just 77 while the goal was to prompt at least 134 responses.

Final tallies from the "Northwest District" and "Northeast District" were also less than ideal, yet participation within the proposed northern districts was a bit more favorable than in the southern counterparts.

For example, submissions from the Northwest District, which includes the Aspen Springs and Chimney Rock areas, amounted to 131 while the desired total was 179.

Similarly, the established minimum hoped for from the Northeast District, which includes Holiday Acres and Loma Linda subdivisions, was also 179. Responses from this district totaled 147.

But according to Marcus Baker, associate county planner, the shortcomings in response totals will not render the survey findings invalid.

"The fact that we're 56 surveys short is really not a major concern," said Baker.

"We knew going in that even if we received the desired numbers from each district, eventually we would still have to make certain judgment calls," he added.

Citing the Pagosa Lakes District as an example, "We received 372 surveys, but there are still a number of what I'd call 'answers in question,' and a few areas where responses were split 50-50," said Baker.

Due to mainstay elements such as sampling error and invalid answers, "We knew the survey could never be perfect," said Baker.

"But it was designed to be another tool for gathering public input, and I feel like we've gathered enough useful information to allow us to move on and make recommendations to the planning commission," added Baker.

"And the number of results we have should carry a lot of weight," he concluded.

As for a breakdown of responses from within each district, Baker will present an analysis at the Jan. 12 meeting of the Archuleta County Planning Commission.

The session is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. in the county courthouse meeting room.



Planning Commission

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission will open a regular meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 in the county commissioners' meeting room in the county courthouse.

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission agenda includes:

- Call to order/roll call at 7 p.m.

- Election of officers.

- Other business that may come before the commission.

- Adjournment.

The Archuleta County Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 12 in the county commissioners' meeting room in the county courthouse. Public comment is welcome and encouraged.

The Archuleta County Planning Commission agenda includes:

- Call to order/roll call at 7:15 p.m.

- Election of officers.

- Update on Archuleta County Land Use Survey. All surveys have been counted and each district has been evaluated for its validity. The planning department will present their findings to the planning commission.

- Review of Dec. 8 planning commission minutes.

- Other business that may come before the commission.

- Adjournment.



Learning will put a spring in your life

Archuleta County Education Center is excited to announce its spring English as a Second Language schedule.

Beginning and intermediate ESL classes are being offered as well as beginning computer for the ESL student.

There will be several one-day classes which include parenting the infant/toddler, preparing for preschool, parenting the elementary student, parenting the junior high school student, parenting the high school student and library skills for the whole family.

Is the job market passing you by because you don't have a high school diploma?

The center is offering GED classes to help prepare students for the GED tests. Wally Lankford, GED coordinator, is available 1:30-3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday. Registration can be completed 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you would like to register for these classes or need more information, call the center at 264-2835.



New year, same unsolved fiscal problems


Rep. Larson's Report


As I go into the new year, I continue to focus on issues that need to be addressed in order for Colorado's economic health and well-being to improve and for our citizens to have confidence in our future.

The past three years have been an extreme test of our resiliency and ability to work together for change ... with that quality - together - not always apparent. The elections are behind us but wounds are still tender and sensitive to occasional flareups that lead to outbursts of emotion.

I find that most of my constituents are ready to move on, but there are a few who want their pound of flesh. I refuse to focus on the past because only the future holds all of the promise and hope so necessary for our region and state to thrive.

There are so many issues to be addressed this coming session and clouding my sense of drive and purpose with old, unchangeable conflicts can only be disruptive, divisive and nonproductive. I am urging my colleagues and constituents alike to put the past behind us and look for constructive and fruitful solutions that we are truly known for in Colorado and that will benefit all.

The first issue the Legislature must address is the incongruent constitutional amendments that have created the so-called fiscal train wreck we are still facing. I am interested when citizen groups ask me to come and talk to them about the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) and what it does. I say "interested" because the elected officials of this state no longer set tax policy in Colorado ... the voters do. And when I have asked each of these groups if they truly understand all of the nuances about TABOR as they passed it, almost every one has been honest in admitting they do not.

Yet the Legislature is still looked to for a solution, and I am optimistic that something will be referred out for voters to consider next November. I am hoping with all my heart the voters added one more New Year's resolution to their lists and that is learning and understanding as much as they can about TABOR and how it interacts with other constitutional amendments they have passed.

We are way beyond the point of simplistic regurgitations of ignorant misunderstandings about TABOR designed at doing nothing. This is a complex and serious provision of our constitution that requires sitting down and studying. The voters must do their homework if any legislative proposal is to be successful.

This interim has been very busy and I thank all of my constituents who invited me to meetings and/or coffees to learn about issues around the district. I will begin my weekly articles after the session starts Jan. 12. While I am required to be in Denver from Monday through Friday during the session, I can still meet on Saturdays to discuss legislative issues, if needed. Sundays I try to reserve for myself and my wife, Margie.

My legislative assistant this year will be Brent Lounsbury, a seasonal state parks ranger and EMT who works with my son Kris at Chatfield State Park. Brent will begin his full-time duties Jan. 10 so please do not hesitate to contact us with any issues we need to be aware of during the session. Readers can also visit my Web site www.LarsonColorado. com for up-to-date information and links.

Please remember that your government is not a spectator sport. I need your input and involvement if the system is to work the way it was designed.



New session holds many individual challenges

Sen. Isgar's Report

Happy New Year!

I would like to start this column by thanking everyone who makes this area, our state and country a wonderful place to live. I would like to thank our troops who defend our freedoms, our health care providers, teachers, law enforcement, firefighters and other public servants who give of their hearts as well as their time and all of you that give to those in need here at home and throughout the world. We have so much to be thankful for. It is an honor to be able to serve you in the state Legislature and I appreciate the opportunity you have given me.

Our next legislative session starts Jan. 12 and I have been very busy getting prepared. When the November election returned the state Senate to Democrat control my workload increased dramatically. As the incoming chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee I am working on several bills that pertain to those areas, some of which I will be the prime sponsor on and others that I will carry when they come over from the House. Representative-elect Kathleen Curry of Gunnison will be the chairman of the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee and we have been working together on many of these issues.

She has a strong background in water and will be very helpful working on the water issues that this state must address. It has been a long time (if ever) since both the House and Senate agriculture committee chairs were from the Western Slope. Neither of us prescribes to the "not one more drop" philosophy when it comes to transferring water from the West Slope to the East Slope, but we want to make sure that our current uses and future needs are protected.

I think one of the biggest issues that we must begin to resolve is how we would allocate a shortage of water in the Colorado River Basin and more specifically how we would allocate that shortage in Colorado. If the drought continues this could happen in just a couple of years. But even if this drought doesn't continue there will be others and the demands on the Colorado River continue to grow to where there will be shortages and we need to be prepared.

A couple of weeks ago the Legislative Council staff at the Capitol sponsored a training session for new committee chairs and even though I previously had been ag chair I had missed out on any training since I came in to fill Sen. Jim Dyer's vacancy. I needed to be in Denver anyway so I participated and it was a good refresher on the committee procedures. One of the staff pointed out to me that I will be the only committee chair who had ever been a chair before. This surprised me as I have been in the Senate less than four years. In the House all of the chairs are new because the Democrats control it now and all the chairs are therefore Democrats. In the Senate the Democrats had control in 2001-02 but the chairs were either term limited or in the case of two of the former chairs are now in leadership.

Legislators with major leadership roles don't usually have time to be chairs. My role as assistant majority leader does not preclude me from a committee chair but will add to my work load. Even though the assistant majority leader is a less important leadership role, the rest of our leadership has included me in decision making which was my goal when I ran for the position. I think it is important for someone outside the metro area to be involved in leadership. I will attend a couple days of training next week so that I can be prepared if I have to fill in for the majority leader.

I will be moving to Denver early next week to organize my office, work on bills and attend the training sessions. Stop by when you are in Denver. I enjoy having visitors at the Capitol. It is an impressive building with much history. Look forward to seeing you.



DOT offers 10 top tips for safe winter driving

By Wayne Lupton

State Dept. of Transportation

Special to The SUN

The arrival of winter is a reminder of what draws so many people to Colorado and has kept so many of us from considering anywhere but Colorado home - the champagne powder others simply call snow.

Colorado's snowfall makes for fun adventures at our state's many ski resorts and winter playgrounds, but it also makes for hassles on days when we just need to get from home to work safely and on time. As the 'safekeeper' of nearly 23,000 lane miles of Colorado roadways and highways, the Colorado Department of Transportation takes winter driving very seriously.

We have to.

Your safety and that of your family and friends, as well as ours, depends upon safe driving conditions all winter long.

While the temperatures and driving conditions vary greatly throughout the state, depending upon if you live in the Mile High city or thousands of feet higher in a mountain community, the same winter driving tips are important for every Coloradan to keep in mind.

These tips are especially important to share with teen-agers who are driving in winter conditions for the first time or adults who are celebrating their first winter as a Colorado resident. You can also share these tips with friends and family who visit throughout the snowy months to take advantage of the many winter activities Colorado offers.

Here are 10 simple tips to remember as this year's winter driving season begins:

1. Slow down in winter driving conditions. Most accidents are caused by driving too fast for conditions.

2. Use your low-beams in bad weather, especially when snow is blowing or falling heavily.

3. Don't use cruise control on slippery roads.

4. Remove ice and snow from windows, mirrors and vehicle lights - both front and rear - often.

5. Wash your vehicle after snow storms to remove deicer residue. Make sure to spray underneath your car to clean the undercarriage. While they can be messy, liquid deicers reduce the formation of snow and ice on highways and provide a quicker return to bare pavement and higher driving speeds, ultimately reducing the reliance on chain laws and creating fewer highway closures. Statistics show that the use of liquid de-icer has reduced the number of weather-related crashes. We think that's worth a few additional trips to the car wash.

6. Always wear your seat belt, regardless of how far you're driving or the weather conditions.

7. Leave extra room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you in poor visibility and slippery conditions.

8. The safest place in snowy weather is a considerable distance behind a snow plow, where you'll find the clearest roads and the best traction.

9. If possible, avoid driving in bad weather conditions. Try to stay home until the roads clear.

10. A road that has been treated with liquid de-icer is wet and therefore, may be slippery. It's important to watch your speed, particularly around curves and in canyons.

If you'd like to share these tips with others, refer them to our Web site at www.cotrip.org. You'll find plenty on winter driving as well as current road condition information, or send an e-mail to info@dot.state.co.us and we'll send you a Slick Tips brochure.

Also, keep these numbers handy to check road conditions: 303-639-1111 in the Denver Metro area or call toll-free (877) 315-ROAD if you are in Colorado but outside of Denver.

On behalf of everyone at the Colorado Department of Transportation, but especially our 1,800 maintenance professionals who patrol and clear the highways, we want to wish you a safe and enjoyable winter driving season.



New county board will have plenty on plate

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Tabled. Postponed. Shelved.

Any and all of the above terms apply to nearly half of the items appearing on this week's agenda of the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners.

Since Tuesday's meeting was the last for board members Alden Ecker and Bill Downey, incoming commissioners-elect Ronnie Zaday and Robin Schiro will have plenty to consider after they are sworn in Jan. 11 and take seats beside Board Chair Mamie Lynch.

The following is a breakdown of key issues sure to appear on the new board's upcoming schedules, items discussed, tabled or absent during this week's session.

Jaycox Gravel Pit

Absent from this week's agenda was board consideration of a conditional use permit application for Jaycox Gravel Pit.

After a lengthy Dec. 15 public hearing in which the board tabled a decision on the application, many expected to see the issue on Tuesday's itinerary.

However, Bill Steele, county administrator, indicated this week there are apparently "other matters to be learned" before a final decision can be made.

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 granted.

If approved, the controversial gravel mining and crushing operation will occupy about 10 acres of private property off County Road 975 near Arboles for at least five years.

Special appointments

Postponed during this week's meeting were appointments to the airport advisory committee and Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission.

The airport advisory committee calls for five appointments to include "a Taxiway Bravo hangar owner, airport tenant or user, FBO, airport-related business owner and member-at-large."

As of Tuesday, the county had received at least nine applications from prospective members.

Three seats are open on the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, with at least four applicants expressing interest in serving on the commission.

According to Steele, the county will extend advertisements outlining the openings on both panels.

Landfill issues

Discussed this week were recent decisions by the board to raise landfill/transfer station fees and close the Chromo transfer station.

Citing a continual rise in operating costs and the need to shift operations toward self-sufficiency, the board approved the measures Nov. 14, and each took effect Jan. 1.

During Tuesday's session, the board heard arguments both critical and supportive of those decisions from several Chromo residents, prompting Lynch to speculate a public hearing on the matter may be considered in the near future.

A main element in the board's decisions was a recently-completed report on county landfill operations by Golder Associates, a Lakewood-based engineering firm specializing in landfill studies.

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

Other business

Additional business conducted by the board this week included:

- approving a $55,000 settlement agreement with Corner Store regarding apparent property disputes stemming from the redesign of the U.S. 160-Piedra Road intersection;

- tabling a request to set policy regarding merit raise implementation for county personnel;

- ratification of the 2005 mill levy certification in the amount of 19.751 mills;

- approval of entitlement and easement agreements regarding ongoing county airport improvements;

- approval of a resolution establishing fees for county services;

- tabling consideration of a letter of engagement for the 2004 audit;

- tabled consideration of whether to replace or repair a water truck damaged in an accident last fall;

- approval of a pair of six-month agreements between the department of human services and Mary Deganhart for legal counsel regarding child support and child protection services;

- tabling a request from planning department staff to schedule a public hearing for proposed revisions to county land use regulations.



County airport manager resigns; advisory panel on hold

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Board of Commissioners announced this week that Ken Fox, county airport manager, has resigned.

Fox, who had been scheduled to appear during Tuesday's board meeting, informed the commissioners of his intent to resign in a letter submitted prior to the session.

In the letter, which was read aloud by Mamie Lynch, board chair, Fox thanks the board for granting him the opportunity to serve as airport manager and conveys support for the ongoing improvements to Stevens Field.

In addition, Fox indicates he "would like nothing better" than to see current projects through to the end, "But, for call it 'personal reasons,' this is not possible."

In conclusion, Fox states he will continue to serve as airport manager until Jan. 18.

In response, Lynch lauded Fox for his assumption and management of airport operations during "a time when we were floundering a bit" and expressed regretful acceptance of the resignation.

Lynch then instructed staff to prepare a letter of thanks to Fox, reiterating her regret "that we're losing such a fine person."

Fox, a longtime Pagosa resident and former U.S. Air Force F-15 pilot, became familiar with airport issues while serving on the county board of commissioners from 1997-2000.

Fox began serving as interim manager of Stevens Field in late February of last year, when former airport manager Tim Smith departed to accept a similar position in Fort Collins.

Fox assumed the post of airport manager on a permanent basis May 3.

Airport advisory committee

In related business, board appointments to a new airport advisory committee, tentatively scheduled for this week's meeting, have been postponed indefinitely.

As a result, the county will continue to accept applications from prospective committee members.

According to Bill Steele, county administrator, advertisements outlining the expected duties of interested applicants will now be extended with an amended closing date.

The search for potential members began Dec. 14, when the board voted to reestablish a county airport advisory committee and authorized a related proposal from Fox calling for five appointments.

According to Fox's proposal, members of the committee will include a "Taxiway Bravo hangar owner, airport tenant or user, FBO, airport-related business owner and member-at-large."

As of Tuesday, the pool of applicants included Gene Crabtree, Robert W. Howard, Jim Hammack, Nancy Torrey, Ken Perry, Jim Carey, Gary Cheadle, Doug Humble and William Smith.

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



IMH presents donation to local parent training program

By Mary Jo Revitte

Special to The SUN

In the interest of helping build stronger families in Pagosa Springs, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish recently presented a check for $4,000 to The Incredible Years program.

Father Carlos Alvarez, IHM pastor, handed the check to Mardel Gallegos and Eva Mendoza at a meeting of the Blessed John Marinoni Stewardship Society. The society collects funds to contribute to efforts to help the needy in the parish as well as the community.

The money will provide one year's support to the parent training program. The Incredible Years emphasizes parenting skills known to promote children's social competence and to reduce behavior problems - skills such as how to play with children, helping children learn, effective praise and use of incentives, effective limit setting and strategies to handle misbehavior.

Now in its third year in Pagosa, The Incredible Years program is offered hand-in-hand with Head Start. The program consists of 12 two-hour sessions which include group discussions, videos, books, role playing and home activity assignments each week. Dinner, child care and door prizes are offered at each session to encourage and enable working parents to attend. Twelve to 16 parents are enrolled for each 12-week program.

Evaluation by teachers showed that 89 percent found the program met the goals to help in social development. Eighty-five percent of participating parents said the program provided them with sufficient tools to handle disciplining their children.

One mother of three children - 2, 4 and 6 years old - said, "This class has been helping us with all our kids. They have been getting along better and listening to us. We hardly ever have to discipline them like we use to. This is a very good class and I recommend it to all my friends and family."


State duns county for delinquent audit

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Where is the 2003 Archuleta County audit?

It's a question the office of the state auditor would like to have answered, and soon.

If the county fails to produce the audit before the end of the month, the financial ramifications could be numerous.

For example, a recent certified letter to the county from Dianne Ray, director of local government audits with the state auditor's office, illustrates the potential for future complications.

In the letter, dated Dec. 20, 2004, and addressed to Traves Garrett, county treasurer, Ray cites previous letters notifying the county "of its delinquent status" and indicates her office has "not received a satisfactory response."

Consequently, "... I am authorizing you to hold all funds generated pursuant to the taxing authority of such local government in your possession," says Ray.

"Do not release these funds until you are notified in writing to do so by this office," she adds.

State statute requires submission of county audits or applications for a 60-day extension by July 31.

The county applied for and received an extension in late June, effectively bumping the audit due date to Sept. 30, a deadline that has since come and gone.

Despite the apparent cause for alarm, however, Bob Burchett, county finance director, said Wednesday that the document should be ready to go to the state within the next couple of weeks.

Due to a complete overhaul of the county finance department earlier this year and new financial reporting requirements such as GASB 34, "It's just one of those 'Murphy's law' situations, but the state will have it by the end of the month, for sure," said Burchett.

Burchett indicated he is continuing steady correspondence with both Ray and Chadwick, Steinkirchner, Davis & Co. PC, the firm hired by the county to perform the audit.

Acknowledging a need to expedite the process, "We are wrapping it up and tying up all loose ends," said Burchett.

"We should have all of our necessary financials in hand by Jan. 18," he concluded.

According to Ray, if that schedule holds, the situation will simmer down almost immediately.

"It all depends on the timing," said Ray via telephone Wednesday. "If they get the audit in before the end of the month, there should be no financial impact.

"As soon as they get it here, we'll release the funds and they're made whole, again," she concluded.


Suspect charged in power outage crash

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Evidence left at the scene of a hit and run between a pickup and an electrical box has led police to a suspect.

Christopher Rivas, 21, of Pagosa Springs was charged Monday with careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

A pickup truck hit the junction box in the 900 block of 5th Street Dec. 17, knocking out power throughout downtown for about an hour and a half.

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

A town employee noticed a pickup fitting that description over the holidays and wrote down the license plate. Office Tony Kop followed up on the tip, and Rivas turned himself in voluntarily.

Charges were filed in municipal court.

Dave Waller, La Plata Electric spokesperson, said damage to the junction box caused a power outage from 6:05 a.m.-7:20 a.m. that morning. About 1,039 residences were affected.



New project means more pass

closures starting March 21

Wolf Creek Pass and road closures seem to be a traditional summer couple.

But winter was not a part of the equation - until now.

Colorado Department of Transportation has announced preliminary details of another phase of safety improvements on the U.S. 160 east corridor for the pass.

Like two recently completed projects, this job is part of the state's 28 Strategic Transportation Corridor projects accelerated by bonds approved by voters in 1999.

The department will be hosting public meetings in the region to explain the new phase as soon as a contractor has been selected.

Involved is an area from Big Meadows Reservoir access and extending eastward approximately one half mile toward Lake Fork Trailhead.

Construction crews will be removing rock to widen lanes and shoulders to meet current federal safety standards with work expected to begin in mid-March and end in late fall.

Full closures of the pass will be in effect starting March 21 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights until Memorial Day weekend. Daytime and weekend work (except for spring break in the second and third weeks of March) with 20-minute traffic stops will be in effect during the construction time frame.

Traffic will be stopped in both directions for 30 minutes while blasts are conducted and material on the roadway is cleared. Delays will likely exceed 30 minutes as traffic is cleared in each direction.

Forty additional night closures (10 p.m.-5 a.m.) will be allowed on Monday through Thursday nights, as determined by the contractor, after the holiday.

Details for the project and dates and sites for public meetings will be announced later.

If you have questions contact Nancy Shanks at CDOT (970) 385-1428 or on the Internet at nancy.shanks@dot.state.co.us.



Women's group losing weight using Bible

Every year Americans spend billions of dollars on weight reduction programs and products.

Many are on a search for a quick fix, unwilling to consider permanent changes in their lifestyle.

A group meeting in First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs has discovered the Bible holds the answer to this weight loss epidemic.

By following the First Place weight loss program, a faith-based plan supported and endorsed by nutritionists and physicians, participants have already lost over 500 pounds.

Meeting in weekly support groups, participants follow a fitness and Bible study program centered on nine commitments including regular attendance, daily prayer, regular scripture reading, scripture memory, healthy eating, accountability, fellowship and exercises.

These commitments help members learn to be victorious over past eating patterns and to commit their minds and ultimately their bodies to God.

The 5:30 p.m. meetings are being held on Mondays, with an informational orientation session scheduled 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10 in the church open to all, not just church members.

For more information on the 13-week weight loss program contact members Stacia Aragon at 731-3607 or Ginger Smith at 731-5430.





Forest Service, BLM set planning effort; open houses slated

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have begun the public involvement phase of a long-term plan revision process for management of National Forest and BLM lands in southwestern Colorado.

The joint planning process will produce plans to guide management of some 2.5 million acres of National Forest and BLM lands for the next 10 to 15 years.

The San Juan planning effort is unique in that it conducts long-range BLM and Forest Service planning together.

A public open house will be held this month to offer citizens the opportunity to help identify issues and concerns to be addressed. In addition, a seven-month Community Study Group process will begin this month. Citizens can sign up to serve on study groups, which will be meeting in Durango, Cortez, and Pagosa Springs through the winter and spring.

Fort Lewis College Office of Community Services will facilitate the Community Study Group meetings, with forest service and BLM staff on hand to answer questions. Participants will learn about San Juan Public Lands, make recommendations to the agencies on issues to be studied and suggest appropriate uses for particular landscapes.

A public open house is scheduled 5:30-7:30 p.m., Tues., Jan. 18, in San Juan Public Lands Center, Sonoran Room, 15 Burnett Court, Durango.

Study group meetings will be:

- 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 20, at Koko's Conference Room, Holiday Inn, Cortez;

- 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 25, Student Memorial Lounge, Fort Lewis College, Durango; and

- 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 27, in the library at Pagosa Springs Junior High School.

Those interested in serving on a Community Study Group are asked to make it known in advance of the meetings, so that an adequate amount of meeting materials can be prepared for everyone.

To sign up to become a member of the study group in your area, visit http://ocs.fortlewis.edu/forestPlan or www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan.

For more information on the planning process, contact Shannon Manfredi at 247-7468 or David Baker at 385-1240.


U.S. Forest Service announces winter roadway closings

During winter, most U.S. Forest Service roads are not plowed and do not allow for safe travel with wheeled motorized vehicles. The roads have been left open through December to allow people to cut Christmas trees and to finish cutting firewood for winter.

This week, winter road closures were implemented on many roads, closing them to motorized wheeled vehicles (including ATV's) for public safety, wildlife considerations and to protect road surfaces

However, roads are open to non-motorized uses including skiing, snowshoeing, bicycling, hiking and horseback riding. The roads will remain closed until the road surface can be traveled safely and withstand traffic without damage, generally late spring.

As of Friday, Jan. 7, all forest service roads on the Pagosa Ranger District will be closed to wheeled motor vehicles except:

- Piedra Road, No. 631 to the Weminuche Bridge;

- Mill Creek Road, No. 662;

- Fawn Gulch Road, No. 666;

- Williams Creek, No. 640 to boat dock;

- Nipple Mountain Road, No. 665 to the Echo Canyon Road, No. 029.

- Nichols Draw Road, No. 181 (Jack's Pasture);

- Burns Canyon Road, No. 649;

- McManus Road, No. 663.

- Piedra Alternate Road No. 635; and

- Leche Creek Road, No. 668.

Most areas within the Pagosa Ranger District are closed to off-road travel with wheeled vehicles.

For additional information, refer to the San Juan National Forest Travel Map. You may drive up to 300 feet off the road to park, if you can do so without causing damage to soils and vegetation. Do not leave road surfaces where the ground is wet.

For more information on these or other aspects of the National Forest, contact the Forest Service office at 264-2268, 180 Pagosa St., Pagosa Springs.


State parks officials seek comments on five-year plans

Colorado State Parks invites public comment on the division's draft Five Year Strategic Plan, 2005-2009.

This document will serve as a blueprint for the overall direction, priority setting and policy analysis for state parks in the next five years. The strategic plan is available online at www.parks.state.co.us from the home page or under the "About Parks" section. Those without Internet access can visit any state park, the regional offices in Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Fruita, or call (303) 866-3437 to receive a copy.

All comments must be received by Jan. 21.

The strategic plan was developed through a year-long process involving a strategic plan advisory committee, a strategic planning team, park employees and interested constituents. The general public was also invited to a series of 18 "Have a Say in How You'll Plan" town meetings held throughout the state in early 2004.

More than 350 Coloradans provided input on the future of Colorado State Parks through these meetings and online comments.

Through the planning process, five key findings that impact state parks were identified and incorporated into the strategic plan.

1. Demographic trends: Colorado will continue to be one of the fastest growing states in the country with an expected 47 percent increase in population over the next 20 years.

2. Public health: Obesity rates have doubled for adults and tripled for children since 1980. It is now considered to be the No. 1 health concern in the country.

3. Environmental factors: Planning for potential environmental stresses such as drought conditions and wildfires while effectively managing parks, providing recreation opportunities and generating revenue.

4. Public impressions and preferences: Research indicates that state parks enjoy one of the highest approval ratings of all state government agencies. To continue this positive impression, public demand to care for existing facilities, develop more trails, create less-developed backcountry experiences, provide interpretive programs and environmental education, and wildlife watching opportunities will need to be met.

5. Economic impact: Each vehicle visiting state parks spends almost $66 within 50 miles of the park, generating over $200 million annually for local economies around the state.

Attracting more than 11 million visitors per year, Colorado's 41 state parks are a vital cornerstone in Colorado's economy and quality of life, offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the state. Colorado State Parks manages more than 4,000 campsites, 57 cabins and yurts, encompassing 246,000 land and water acres. In addition, the division manages statewide recreation programs including: state trails program; vessel registration and boat safety; snowmobile and off-highway vehicle registration; commercial river outfitter licensing; natural areas; and youth outreach and volunteerism.



No understanding

Dear Editor:

Mr. Bennett, many fantastic colours but the picture has a mustache.

I believe your view of others and it's related advocacy for change is missing an understanding that the opposing forces are "naturally" present without ascription of right or wrong. Rather you elect to frame a religious-motivated wish with political quotes and ill-fitting laden titles.

May I offer the following reflection of the basic premise of a conservative or liberal.

"The two stoic philosophers, Cicero and Seneca, whose teachings profoundly influenced later Christian writers, depicted the state of nature in somewhat various manner. Cicero deals with the state of nature in which originally reigned equality and perfection and from which existing law developed owing to a gradual process of degeneration. Seneca, speaks of a state of nature less perfect but which at least contained the germs of development toward perfection." (J. Goebel, Columbia U., 1923.)

As regards alleged ascriptions of facism to some of our founders, you may wish to reread the following ... "It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution." (A. Hamilton, Federalist Papers, 1787.)

Our founders recognized the futility of stone (concrete and steel bridges) edifices as perpetual guarantees of anything. Rather they offered the greater strength and trust of self-evident ideas and rights of man. As long we only confront each other's ideas, to survive as a democracy, the founders had to and, we must ultimately put our active faith in "vox populi," however discomforting the pendulum of developments.

The essence of political freedom is the right to fail, which is actually complemented by the religious presumption of a flawed man. They are "naturally" separate but aligned forces of our society ... locks are for honest people ... laws for those who refuse to accept locks religious absolution for those who wander morally. Demanding religion dominate publicly is a wish for disaster. Ironically you have already achieved your goal as most of our common and criminal laws do stem from the 10 Commandments and Old Testament (you know ... one could associate liberal tendencies to believers of the latest New Testament without their being right or wrong ... just teasing).

Dave Blake


District dilemma

Dear Editor:

Some questions are being asked about Upper San Juan Health Service District. Most of these are from folks who thought this new board, with a historic mandate, would go in and quickly fix the problems.

In political movements and election campaigns most people assume the highly divided sides over-speak their positions, making the other side sound as bad as possible. The entire time some of us were writing letters to The SUN and speaking out against the board and its management, some harsh terms and strong accusations were made.

We did not over-speak and, as it turns out, we didn't know the full depth of the debts and problems. This is why the new board didn't go in, make sweeping changes and fix it all. The problems are just too great and lasting.

It is now clear the previous board got themselves in a bad position and could not find a way out. They continued to evolve their chosen path hoping some miracle would save them. It didn't!

They insisted at monthly meetings, in expensive newsletters, and in weekly letters and advertisements in The SUN that everything was OK and getting better. Actually, the district was going deeper and deeper in debt and incompetence was running rampant at every level. The board and management squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting poor decisions. What extreme shame!

The new board inherited a system nearly shut down, a string of huge and unknown debts and expensive and unbreakable contracts. The ambulance service scrapes by while the once-thriving and vibrant Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center sits virtually empty.

We were reduced to ruins at a time when progress was needed to keep up with county growth; sad.

The county health system was severely damaged and it will be a long time before it recovers. The former employees were equally devastated. The ultimate toll in human misery and personal and family disruption involves hundreds and is unknowable but enormous. We lost some very talented people and good neighbors. Let us pray for deliverance from ever having an aberration like this in our county and lives again.

It should not go unnoticed that the recent "bailout" was close to the amount of money the previous board, as their last act, gave three employees for severance pay. These were the employees who took the district to ruin. Not a single one of them or anyone on that board has said "I'm sorry" to the community. All that can be said to them is - may God have mercy ...

So, the answer to most of the questions I've had is: Give the new board and management a chance. They are working hard and meeting at twice the rate of previous boards. They are trying their best to learn, design a new system and overcome the frustration of not being able to wave a magic wand and make everything better.

Bless their hearts for being willing to do this job.

Norm Vance


Community News

Fifth annual United Way Ski and Save Day Jan. 12

By Kathi DeClark

Special to The PREVIEW

United Way of Southwest Colorado, Archuleta County is excited to announce that Wednesday, Jan. 12, is Ski and Save with United Way Day, hosted by Wolf Creek Ski Area.

This is our fifth annual ski day for United Way, and we need your support.

In return, you can ski for only $33 for the entire day. (Half-day passes don't contribute to United Way).

It is a win/win for all of us. This will be a fun-packed day and the snow is superb this year. There will be free rentals at Ski and Bow Rack in Pagosa Springs, and free demos from Switchback Mountain Sports.

This is a good time to try those new skis that you have wanted to buy.

Please consider joining us Jan. 12 for a good cause.

This year's chairpersons for United Way are Dick Babillis and Bonnie Masters.

Dick said, "I have had the opportunity to meet with the agency directors and see first hand how our money is being spent. They are accountable for using the money for its designated purpose. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to serve and help to make a difference. Won't you please help us to meet our goal? We are still approximately $6,000 short of our goal.

"By giving to United Way of Archuleta County, it empowers you to help your own community and neighbors."

Having dedicated volunteers, like Dick Babillis and Bonnie Masters, Don and Mary Mckeehan, Don Thompson, Sam Conti, Lori Doles, Bob Eggleston, Carman Hubbs, Lisa Scott, Lois and Jere Hill, Nancy Schutz, Will and Kristie Spears and Gene Crabtree lead and direct United Way has helped us to get this far. We still need your support. The greatest gift is the gift of giving.

United Way of Archuleta County supports 15 different nonprofit agencies in our own Pagosa Springs community. The money raised here stays here. The following agencies benefit from United Way funds:

- Archuleta County Education Center, where training and career/academic counseling for adults and adolescents is offered.

- Big Brothers and Big Sisters offer positive adult mentors for boys and girls.

- Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, providing guidance for our young people.

- Community Connections is designed to keep families that have a family member with a disability in their homes.

- Archuleta County Victim Assistance provides 24 hour services for victims of violent crimes.

- San Juan Basin Area on Aging provides senior nutrition programs, as well help with home chores and transportation.

- Seeds of Learning is our childcare center that provides resources and education for the very young and their families.

- Housing Solutions provides weatherization for low income homes to save energy costs.

- Southwest Youth Corps provides youth employment and training.

- The VOA-Safehouse, is available for the women of Archuleta County at no cost to them.

- American Red Cross providing disaster relief in times of fires or other natural disasters.

- POC-Pagosa Outreach Connection Providing one time emergency assistance.

- Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center offering crisis mental health services for the working poor.

- Habitat for Humanity building affordable housing for families in need.

You can see how many lives we can touch with your donations. Please try to join us at Wolf Creek Jan. 12. We need your financial support to get to our goal.

When doing a presentation for payroll deductions this year, a man came up to me to tell me "thank you for supporting the American Red Cross Disaster team in Archuleta County." He relayed, "The American Red Cross helped me and my family when our home burned last year in Pagosa Springs."

It is comforting to know we are contributing to our own welfare here in Archuleta County. What a wonderful fact to know that we are helping others.

Bonnie Masters said, "After talking to Carmen Hubbs, at Victims' Assistance, I was touched by how many people we can help. I was amazed to learn how many ways we could be victims and in need of their help. Any one of us could become a victim. I am so proud to be able to support these programs in Archuleta County. It is because of people like you in our community that we can make our goal."

If you are unable to join us, you can send your tax-deductible donation to United Way of Southwest Colorado, P.O. 4274, Pagosa Springs, Co. 81147.



Unitarians' annual meeting slated Sunday

The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold its annual meeting 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 9, following a 10:30 meditation service.

In addition to electing new steering committee members, voting on the 2005 budget and discussing other areas of business, the Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented to the Pagosah UU individual recognized for outstanding selfless service to the Fellowship.

Friends of the Fellowship are invited to join in the discussion, but only members may vote. Members who are unable to attend are asked to sign a proxy and give it to an attending member so the vote may be counted.

The annual meeting will be held in the Fellowship's new permanent home in Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign.



Nominations open now for southwest

not-for-profit awards

Nominations for southwest Colorado's "Not-for-Profit Director of the Year," and "Not-for-Profit Success Award," are being accepted.

Nominations must be submitted by March 1 and the winners will be recognized at the 2005 Southwest Colorado Celebration Luncheon March 14 in conjunction with Colorado Nonprofit Week.

Previous winners include the Southwest Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross, Durango Latino Education Coalition, Paulette Church with the Durango Adult Education Center and Virginia Howey with the Pinon Project.

Nomination forms are available by contacting Operation Healthy Communities at 382-0585.



Pagosa artist completes Houston airport project

By Erin K. Quirk

PREVIEW Columnist

It may surprise some Pagosa Springs residents to learn that a lively cadre of performing and visual artists live and work right here among us. Most are inconspicuous and will discreetly zip off to New York or LA for an exhibition of their work one day, and teach our yoga classes another.

Kate Petley, a slim and thoughtfully intense Lake Hatcher resident, is one of these artists.

Petley has been noticeably absent at her popular yoga classes recently. That's because she has been busy with the installation of her latest work, a 62-foot long, nine-foot tall, public art piece in the brand-new, massive customs terminal at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

The piece, entitled "Air Drops," at first glance, looks like giant glass panels with geometric glass-art shapes inside, but in fact is made of Plexiglas, film and resin. It will greet international travelers with generous blue and lavender circles that appear to be moving down the long piece in a fashion Petley calls "big, rolling bounces."

Three years ago, Petley was one of 10 artists chosen from a field of hundreds to welcome the many foreigners passing through customs in Houston with her vibrant, inquiring vision. The terminal itself is 900,000 square-feet and is set to open later this month.

What makes Petley's work so unique is not necessarily the medium. In fact, Petley moves through her mediums as a skier through powder. She sculpts, draws, paints, photographs, builds living art spaces and creates giant installations like the one rising in Houston right now.

Last November, three of her works on paper were selected for the bimonthly publication, New American Paintings. The book is a compilation of 40 winners of an open studio contest, recently conducted in 14 western states.

In all her work, what matters to Petley most is drawing the observer into overlooked events, emotions or activities.

"I'm interested in exaggerating the small things," Petley said. "The thing you don't notice can be bigger or more important than it would otherwise be."

For instance, in a piece called "Drop Spread," another of Petley's Plexiglas and resin works, the circles are a mélange of lavender, magenta and violet, layered over a deep purple base. While enjoying the flood of color, you begin to notice what Petley really intends you to.

"Drop Spread" when viewed in proper lighting casts shadows on the wall behind it that look like colorful bubbles, puddles and raindrops lighting up the wall. Petley says she uses beauty to "jumpstart an emotional reaction" to the piece and then encourages the intellect to follow.

"I want my work to snap the mind to attention after the visual senses take their fill," she says in her artist's statement.

Petley explains her vision like walking down the street playing with your shadow.

"Sometimes the shadow is more interesting than the object," she said.

Petley added that we all take our sight and perception for granted. Therefore, there are artists who spend their whole careers challenging what people believe they are seeing. She said that type of work requires tremendous technical mastery.

So whatever the medium, Petley is driven to play with our perception.

A few years ago, The Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe and an alternative museum group called Diverseworks in Houston, hosted another of Petley's giant installations called "Inhale."

At the exhibit, Petley filled a warehouse with 35 inflated, latex weather balloons suspended from the ceiling. The balloons, six to eight feet in diameter, were designed to fall right at the viewers' knees and rise well over their heads, bathed in soft red light. Visitors to the quiet exhibit said the feel was womblike and breathing. Petley said the piece was interactive because as visitors would move between balloons, the balloons, attracted to the static electricity, would follow them.

In an interview with the Center for Contemporary Arts which hosted the Santa Fe show, Petley noted that one small boy ran around the room "laughing ecstatically" as the balloons just grazed the top of his head.

"It was amazing," she is quoted saying. "It was a totally unmediated reaction."

Petley said the balloons, especially bathed in red light, felt like human skin and were a "perfect metaphor for the human condition." She was especially pleased when a group of students lay on the floor for an hour watching the giant spheres drift above them.

Born in New York and raised in Houston, Petley moved to Pagosa Springs with her husband, Mark Purvis, six years ago. She fell in love with the Rocky Mountains as a teen-ager and graduated from the University of Utah. After living in Texas for much of her adult life, she and Purvis made the conscious effort required to move to a rural, mountainous and dramatic place like Pagosa.

For her the decision was a good one.

"I need to be in nature, I need that deeply," said Petley adding that she can happily live in Pagosa and travel to urban areas for her work. "That's a healthier choice for me."

Petley is an avid skier, a hiker and a yoga instructor in town. She also just returned from a three-week spiritual retreat in India. And while these are important parts of her character, her work is not necessarily about them. However, her dedication and love for color and nature is clear in her studio and her pieces.

In 1991, Petley was awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation for a piece she entitled "A Requiem for Huge Oaks."

As the story goes, the Texas highway department was planning an expansion of Highway 71 between La Grange and Austin. Along the route were many ancient oak trees - some up to 400 years old, she said.

The medium was photography and began with the grandest of those trees. Petley said the tree was so massive, two homes could fit under just one side of it.

Petley bound the giant tree with six-inch thick mooring ropes. The ropes gave the appearance that the tree was either being secured or viciously pulled down. A photographer captured the image and Petley grafted it and 20 others onto old car windshields she scavenged from a junkyard in Houston.

Why windshields?

"That's how we see things," Petley said with a hint of cynicism. "You know, just whizzing by."

The oak tree issue was a hot one in Texas. Petley said schoolchildren were writing letters and the public outcry on behalf of the trees was huge. While some of them were saved, sadly the giant one that hangs on a windshield in her living room was not. She gets a little wistful when she speaks of it.

As for her next project, Petley is clearly excited. While leaving out details on the work itself, she is submitting a public art proposal for the Flight 93 Memorial. The memorial will stand in the field in Pennsylvania where, September 11, 2001, Flight 93 was hijacked and crashed, killing everyone aboard.

Over 2,000 artists and architects from all over the world are expected to compete for the honor of memorializing the site. Petley will be one of them.

To view more of Petley's work visit www.artistsregister.com and enter her name.

Computer classes, life-saving skills at ed center

Computer classes designed to expand your knowledge and increase your productivity are now being offered at Archuleta County Education Center.

If you are tired of wasting time trying to learn by trial and error, these classes will help you become skilled in software applications quickly and efficiently.

Upcoming classes include Microsoft Excel, Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, QuickBooks, Windows XP and many more.

The center is also offering first aid and CPR classes which cover the basics from breathing and cardiac emergencies to treating injuries.

If you have previously taken a first aid or CPR class, now is the time to check your card to make sure it isn't expired. Take this opportunity to learn lifesaving skills.

To register or for more information call the center at 264-2835.


Six candidates vie for spots on Chamber board of directors

The Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce annual election for new members of the board of directors is underway and ends at the Mardis Gras Ball Jan. 22.

Chamber members can cast votes at the Visitors Center or at the Mardis Gras Ball.

Six candidates are competing for three seats on the board. Following are their profiles:

Robin Auld

Robin Auld has been part of our Pagosa Springs community since moving his private law practice here from Durango in 1990. His practice focuses on what he refers to as "leprechaun law" (e.g. the little people). He has been active in Rotary Club, serving on its board of directors and as chair of the International Service Committee. Auld has made trips on behalf of Rotary to orphanages in Moscow and Honduras.

Prior to his activities in Pagosa, Auld served on the board of directors of the LaPlata County Youth Home in Durango, the Hilltop House Community Corrections Center and also served Snowdown as its legal counsel for 10 years. Auld helped incorporate Snowdown, organized their bylaws and served as master of ceremonies for the Snowdown Follies in Durango two years in a row.

"Archuleta County has grown from 5,000 people to over 12,000 people in the past 15 years," said Auld. "Fortunately, our Chamber of Commerce responded creatively to this level of change and continues to be very proactive in encouraging a highly involved business community we all enjoy being a part of. As a member of the Chamber board of directors, I will encourage our Chamber to continue its positive, upbeat contributions."

Mike Branch

Michael C. Branch has lived in Pagosa Springs for 23 years. He has a CPA practice and has been involved in commercial and residential real estate in our community.

Branch's wife, Berkey, has worked at the Ski and Bow Rack for nearly 20 years and their three sons all attended school in Pagosa. Branch has been involved with the Archuleta Economic Development Association, Archuleta County Scholarships in Escrow, the Methodist Thrift Shop, the school's booster club, the Community United Methodist Church, Downtown Merchants Association, and has assisted in fund raising for most all of the local civic organizations.

" I feel that what I would contribute to the board is my knowledge of the history and financial aspects of the Chamber," said Branch. "For many years, I was the independent auditor of the county and in that position audited the Chamber's spending of the county lodger's tax. I served on the Chamber board for three years; after that I contributed my time as the Chamber's independent auditor providing reviewed financial statements. I am very familiar with its budget process and will work hard to examine all aspects of fiscal responsibility to see that the Chamber continues to get maximum results from its limited income.

"I believe, as most of our 700 members do, that the Chamber has been the most effective user of the lodger's tax and I will fight to keep those dollars. As the accountant for over three hundred local businesses and individuals, as well as the auditor now or in the past of most of the governmental entities within our county, I have a good feel of both the economic and political pulses of our community. This will help me help the Chamber work with all aspects of our community."

Jody Cromwell

Jody Cromwell moved here four years ago from Prescott, Ariz. Prior to that she worked as a financial planner in California. While living in Prescott, Cromwell owned a catering company, Caper's Catering and Event Planning, for 12 years. Previously she owned and managed two retail sales businesses.

Presently she is in the mortgage business at MortgageONE located inside the Bank of Colorado and has been working in the community for the past two years. Jody has also owned a design business in Prescott and currently owns Design Elements here in Pagosa Springs.

"For the past four years I have worked with developers and builders in and around Pagosa Springs," said Cromwell. She is an avid fly fisher, horse person and one of the founding members of the Pagosa Springs women's fly fishing club "Ladies In Wading", which has approximately 30 members. Cromwell is a Rotarian and has been involved in community service, working with the Archuleta Education Center tutoring inmates at the county jail for their GED equivalent, in after-school programs at the ed center, in reading programs at the elementary school, in Rotary highway clean-up, Salvation Army Christmas "Ring The Bell" at City Market, and with a drive to provide Christmas boxes for our soldiers - mailing more than 50 gift boxes. She said she loves every minute of it all.

Cromwell stated she has great marketing skills demonstrating imagination and vision and the ability to make decisions. She relates well with a wide range of people and is respected by her peers. She wishes to become more involved with the community and how it is growing and developing.

Judy James

A third-generation Pagosa native, Judy James returned to Pagosa more than 20 years ago.

James has seen Pagosa grow and change. She is the proud mother of two sons and proud grandmother of two grandsons. Her father was one of the founding members of the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. Her mother was a founding member of the San Juan Historical Society, was instrumental in bringing the San Juan Historical Museum to the community and was featured recently in The SUN's "90 Years in Pagosa Country." Both parents served on many other boards as well.

Following this family tradition of community service, Judy is currently a member of the Pagosa Springs Town Council, the town planning commission and the Casa de los Arcos board. A lifetime member of Beta Sigma Phi, James has also served on the board of the San Juan Historical Society, the Archuleta County Planning Commission and the board of Community United Methodist Church. She was also a Scout leader and a founding member of the Downtown Merchant's Association.

Judy's background in business includes San Juan Supply, a family-owned building supply, hardware and feed store for more than 30 years. She also ran a snowmobile rental business, was a partner in a gift store and worked as a teaching assistant at the elementary school. Currently, Judy works as the office administrator and a licensed Realtor for Four Seasons Land Company.

She enjoys the small town atmosphere, the friendly people and the beautiful area in which we live. "I have watched Pagosa grow and change. The Chamber has grown with the community as it moves forward. I am honored to be selected to run for the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Don McKeehan

Don and his wife, Mary, are native Coloradans. They moved to Pagosa Springs in 1992. Through their business, Old West Press, they became active in Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce. Together, they have served eight years as Chamber Board members.

Don said he is honored to be nominated to the slate of candidates and, if chosen, will proudly serve on the board. However, because he has previously served as a director, he encourages you to consider selecting from the other nominees. He firmly believes the Chamber is strengthened by the fresh ideas and dedication that new people can bring to the board. He noted the other five nominees were selected to run because they can bring a wealth of experience to the position and he believes any of them would make a good choice for the 2005 board.

Joe Steele

Joe and his wife, Lillian, have lived full-time in Pagosa since June 2000. They built their home here in 1996, knowing that they would eventually retire here.

Since retiring, Joe has served as a Chamber Diplomat and is an active member of Archuleta County Search and Rescue. He has also been active in his church and in other local activities. Joe enjoys the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing.

Before retiring, Joe spent seven years teaching public school in Oklahoma and New Mexico. He worked nine years with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a teacher and principal. Joe also spent 21 years with the Department of Defense in Plans and Programs. While in New Mexico, he started a jewelry business in his spare time. Joe and Lillian have been active in the antique business for over 20 years and are part owners of Main Street Antiques here in Pagosa.

"We chose Pagosa Springs for many reasons," he said, " but one of the most important was that it provided us an opportunity to give back to the community. We have traveled in most of the United States and have never seen a Chamber as active as the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. I would consider myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to serve on the board."


Learning will put a spring in your life

Archuleta County Education Center is excited to announce its spring English as a Second Language schedule.

Beginning and intermediate ESL classes are being offered as well as beginning computer for the ESL student.

There will be several one-day classes which include parenting the infant/toddler, preparing for preschool, parenting the elementary student, parenting the junior high school student, parenting the high school student and library skills for the whole family.

Is the job market passing you by because you don't have a high school diploma?

The center is offering GED classes to help prepare students for the GED tests. Wally Lankford, GED coordinator, is available 1:30-3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday. Registration can be completed 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you would like to register for these classes or need more information, call the center at 264-2835.


Local Chatter


Wield a mace, keep order in the House

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

The mace is an ancient symbol of governmental authority adopted and used by the U.S. House of Representatives to restore and maintain order in the House.

The mace is a staff 46 inches in height consisting of 13 thin ebony rods representing the 13 original states and topped by a silver world globe that is surrounded by an eagle with spread out wings engraved in silver. The mace weighs 10 pounds. It is carried by the sergeant at arms. When the House is called to order the sergeant at arms places the mace on the cylindrical pedestal of polished green marble at the speaker's right. There it remains while the House is in session. When the House resolves into Committees, it is moved to a place by the desk of the sergeant at arms.

When the first session of the U.S. Congress convened in New York City in 1789, a resolution was adopted to appoint a sergeant at arms whose duties would be to attend the House during its sitting and assist the speaker. He would have a proper symbol of his office to be born by him. The proper symbol approved by the first speaker was the mace.

The House has used three maces. The first one was destroyed by the British when they burned the Capital in 1814. A replacement of painted wood served until a reproduction of the original was made. It has been in use ever since.

Although there have been few recorded House instances of the mace being used to restore order, it has been used many times: when a member becomes disorderly and is beyond the speaker's control, the sergeant at arms on an order from the speaker will lift the mace from its pedestal and confront the member with it, and in the case that two members might get into a fight, the mace is used to confront them. And the speaker has directed the sergeant at arms to pass up and down the aisle with the mace in hand. The respect for the mace as a symbol of legislative authority is great that the member(s) immediately come to order.

As to the history of the mace: It originally began as a weapon of war with a handle on one end and a star-spiked ball on the other end. This was used in Europe by the cavalry as late as the 16th century when it assumed civic duty during the Roman Republic. It was an axe bound in a bundle of rods and carried by appointed magistrates when the emperor was not present. It was the symbol of the consul's authority.

After the fall of the Roman Republic, England's House of Commons was established. In the early days when the king was not present (because of increasing duties) he sent the mace. It represented the king's presence and was carried on the floor with great pomp.

And so the mace came to us. If one watches C-Span - or another national TV program and sees the opening of Congress, one can see the sergeant at arms carrying the mace.

Fun on the Run

Belief is all you need, part of James W. Moore's "Some Folks Feel the Rain Others Just Get Wet."

A man was lost while driving through the country. As he tried to read a map, he accidentally drove off the road into a ditch. Though he wasn't injured, his car was stuck deep in the mud. So he walked to a nearby farm to ask for help.

"Warwick can get you out of the ditch," said the farmer, pointing to an old mule standing in a field. The man looked at the haggard mule and looked at the farmer who just stood their repeating, "Yep, old Warwick can do the job."

The farmer hitched the mule to the car. With a snap of the reins he shouted, "Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull, Warwick!" And the mule pulled the car from the ditch with very little effort.

The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule and asked, "Why did you call out all of those other names before you called Warwick?"

The farmer grinned and said, "Old Warwick is just about blind. As long as he believes he's part of a team, he doesn't mind pulling."


Senior News

2005 membership brings great business discounts

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Get your 2005 Archuleta Seniors, Inc. membership in January to take advantage of all the great discounts provided by our local businesses for only $3 a year.

You need to be 55 years old or older to be a member, and we will have volunteers here to help sign you up!

When you sign up the first two weeks of January, volunteers will be here 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Call during the second two weeks for membership hours.

Membership is not required to participate in the lunch program or any of the activities offered at the Den.

Participating businesses are:

Best Western Lodge; Leo Milner, Chiropractor; Choke Cherry; Bonnie Thrasher; The Springs; Barbara Conkey-Eagle Eye Inspection; Flying Burrito; Edelweiss Needlework; Fred Harman Museum; Healing Waters Spa; Market Value Appraisal; Methodist Thrift Shop; Music Boosters; Pagosa Veterinary Clinic; Piedra Car Center; Rainbow Gifts; Ski and Bow Rack; Slices of Nature; Squirrels Pub and Pantry; Studio 160; The Spa Motel/Pool; and Wolf Tracks.

Andy Fautheree will be here at noon Friday to help anyone who has questions about veterans' benefits. Patty Tillerson will also be here 11 a.m.-noon that day to check blood pressures. It's Dawnie's birthday, too!

Our Medicare Counselors return to the Den Monday, Jan. 10, to assist anyone with Medicare questions. They will also continue to help you sign up for a Medicare drug card.

Flute concert

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, Jessica Walsh will play Native American flute and we are excited to have her here.

Jessica has performed on transverse (modern) flute for 20 years. Her duo with guitarist Allan Alexander went to the top of the charts at mp3.com and held the No. 1 spot in seven categories simultaneously.

To date, she has authored nine music books published by ADG Productions of California. Eight are available for transverse flute, each with an accompanying CD. The ninth book, "Music for Native American Flute, Vol. 1," also with accompanying CD, will be available in February.

Since her recent move from New York back to Pagosa Springs, Jessica's interest in the Native American flute has grown. "These flutes have beautiful, unique voices that go straight to the soul," she says. "They are like living things. They also feel and smell wonderful and are a delight to look at."

Fascinated by the thought that the flute is at least 70,000 years old (as evidenced by the finding in recent years of a flute made from a cave bear's thigh bone), Jessica now enjoys playing and teaching others to play all kinds of flutes, including ocarinas.

Odds and ends

On Jan. 13, we'll be heading for Durango. Suggested donation for transportation is $10. Sign up in the dining room.

We all need to be "goofy" every once in awhile - this month we'll do it on Friday the 14th by wearing the goofiest hat we can find. You can decorate one, create a new one or just wear one you think is dumb. A prize will be awarded to the goofiest hat winner.

Health concerns

How does regular exercise benefit an aging body and mind?

"Regular exercise offers benefits across a wide range of health conditions and problems," says Dr. Steven Blair of the Cooper Institute, "from cancer to various types of gallbladder disease, plus heart disease and diabetes. Perhaps most importantly, exercise can preserve function and independence.

"There are few things you can do that have a more profound effect on more bodily systems than exercise." says Blair. "When you do vigorous exercise, every body system revs up: metabolic, biochemical, hormonal, temperature regulation, function, cardiovascular respiration. We were meant to be active animals. It's our natural state. By being sedentary, we put ourselves in an unnatural state.

"Studies from Tufts University show that you take older adults into the weight room and you push them. They don't die; they double and triple their muscle strength and throw away their walkers." says Blair.

"If exercise was going to kill people, it would have killed that group," she said. "Yet they literally had no adverse events. It's a myth that older adults are fragile and cannot exercise. We are continually discovering the effects of physical activity. This amazes me, as we thought we knew a lot about these effects already."

Research is growing and showing that physically active older adults are less likely to have dementia and cognitive decline. This is interesting, because there are a lot of unanswered questions about the impact being physically active has on cancer, where test results tend to be more positive, than negative. And more research reveals the positive outcomes physical activity has on gallbladder disease, depression and other mental health aspects, plus sleep quality-an issue of potential significance to older adults.

As we better understand the benefits of physical activity, we find ourselves going back to John W. Rowe and Robert L. Khan's "Successful Aging." Yes, we see a lot of usual aging. But we also see this large potential for successful aging. Who knows what we may accomplish in the next decade? As history shows, society changes when change is set in motion. Excerpted from ICAA Newsletter


Friday - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; blood pressure check, 11 a.m.-noon; veterans' benefits, noon;

Monday, Jan. 10 - Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 11 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; basic computer, 10:30 a.m.; massage and healing touch, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 12 - Jessica Walsh will play the Native American flute during lunch, 11:45 a.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m

Thursday, Jan. 13 - Durango trip .

Friday, Jan. 14 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Goofy Hat Day, noon.


Monday, Jan. 10 - Roast beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetable blend, whole wheat bread, and peach/apricot compote.

Tuesday, Jan. 11 - Meatloaf, cheesy potatoes, green beans, pineapple and whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, Jan. 12 - Pizza, cauliflower, garden salad and apricots.

Friday, Jan. 14 - BBQ chicken, boiled potatoes, broccoli, whole wheat bread and pears.


Chamber News

Have you seen Beaudreaux and Thibodeaux? Tell 'em to come in for the Mardi Gras Ball

By Mary Jo Coulehan

PREVIEW Columnist

Happy New Year!

Oh yeah, as I write this column there is a hint of snow out there. Let's keep it coming for a great 2005 for everyone: ranchers and sports enthusiasts alike.

I personally would like to see it just dump because I have lots of plans for Winterfest in February!

But before we get to February, let's start with some events in January, namely the big one: The Mardi Gras Ball.

To get you in the mood for a little Southern hospitality, I searched far and wide in the bayous of Louisiana and finally found the famous friends: Boudreaux and Thibodaux. And they were there with their friend, Pierre.

So I asks them to come to Pagosa Springs to help us throw one big fete. They came on out and they done been here a while and just aren't too sure of this here beautiful part of the country. There ain't no swamps!

Well, they were out at Williams Creek Reservoir tryin' to find some crawfish when Pierre found dis bottle. He brought it to da camp dey built there and opened it and, lo and behold, a genie popped out and said, "I grant three wishes and since there are three of ya'll, you each get one wish."

Since Pierre found the bottle he got the first wish. Pierre said, "I am from Breaux Bridge and I wanna go back home." So den he was back home. Then Thibodaux said, "I am from Galliano and I wanna go back home too." So den Thibodaux was back home.

Well Boudreaux, he has to think a while, but then he said, "You know sha, I'm kinda lonely, I wish my two podnas were back here!" So it looks as if we might still have Boudreaux, Thibodaux and Pierre around for the annual Chamber meeting. But you'll have to see next week if we have more stories from the boys!

Well while they're out fishin' in the pirogue that they brought, I have to make plans for our festivities, and so do you.

The annual Mardi Gras Ball will be held Saturday, Jan. 22, at Montezuma's Restaurant. We will be combining business and pleasure at this event.

Festivities will start at 6 p.m. with lots of southern style/Cajun food and a cash bar available. We encourage attendees to dress up in Mardi Gras style as there will prizes given for the best female and best male costume. We will also be giving away a yearly membership to the person who gets "the baby" from the piece of King Cake being served.

There will of course be party favors and masks given out at the door when you arrive.

One of the important aspects of this annual meeting is the business part. We need to elect three new board members to replace three members vacating slots. If you do not come and vote at the Chamber, you will need to vote the night of the ball. You are allowed one vote per business.

There is a biography of each candidate at the Chamber and there will be information on each candidate the night of the ball. The biographies, with candidate photos, are in this week's PREVIEW, as well.

We will also be giving out the awards for Citizen and Volunteer of the Year, Pagosa Pride and perhaps a special recognition award.

Lots of fun is planned and tickets are available at the Chamber. Advance tickets are still $25 and tickets at the door are $30 per person. This is a great time to meet, greet and promote your business at Pagosa's premier party - not to mention good food and good fun.

U-Way Ski Day

With more snow now at Wolf Creek, it is time to plan a little fun and a little giving of the heart for United Way's Ski Day Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Lift tickets that day will be $33. Wolf Creek Ski Area has once again agreed to donate the proceeds from a full day of skiing to United Way where all the funds collected stay here in Archuleta County. "We are only $6,000 away from our goal" Kathi DeClark, local United Way coordinator told me. If you have a day when you can choose to ski, please make it Jan. 12 and help us raise the much -needed funds.

Italian cooking

On Jan. 15 is "The Art of Italian Cooking - Strictly Pasta" sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. Chefs Diane Toman and Fran Jenkins will be showing how to do pasta right with hand, machine and purchased pasta, appropriate sauces, Parmesan cheese tasting, and the wines provided by Plaza Liquors. Last time Diane and Fran's cooking class sold out, so call the PSAC at 264-5020 to see if "Strictly Pasta" still has space available. Tickets for the class are $45 for PSAC members and $50 for nonmembers.

And although not in January, but right on the cusp, is the annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest at Moonlight Books. Entries will be accepted at Moonlight Books until 5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2. The reception is 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. More information and rule sheets may be obtained from Moonlight Books right on Pagosa Street or the PSAC located in Town Park.


We have no new members joining us at the Chamber this week but quite a few renewals.

The name of this business may be new to you but the type of business is the same.

Anco SW Insurance is now Mountain West Insurance.

The First Inn of Pagosa returns as a member.

Signing up with both entities is the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs with the shelter facilities and the Thrift Store. The animal shelter is located on Stevens Lake Road off of Piedra Road.

Rounding out the renewals this week is the Hanosh Agency.

We thank all those businesses that have rejoined our Chamber this past week.

Well, I need to go and see if I can find Boudreaux and Thibodaux and have them help me find some of that fine accordion music for the Mardi Gras Ball.

Until next week, au revoir cher.


Veteran's Corner


Transportation a privilege, not a perpetual right

Andy Fautheree

SUN Comumnist

Veterans in Archuleta County are fortunate to have a well-established and reliable VA health care transportation system for those who do not have adequate transportation of their own, or are in need of assistance for a vehicle and volunteer driver.

We are one of only a very few counties in all of Colorado that has this assistance available for our veterans. We have been blessed with a history of this successful program dating back many years. Some of my preceding Veterans Service Officers kicked off the program a long time ago, and it has continued and improved down through the years.

Vehicle grants

Through grants obtained by the Pagosa Springs American Legion through the Colorado Veterans Trust Fund and due to the generosity of Archuleta County government we have been fortunate to obtain brand new vehicles for this program.

I am working with the Pagosa Springs Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization this year to obtain a grant for another new vehicle to replace one of our existing vehicles that is now reaching high mileage.

We also hope to obtain some funding to help offset the high cost of traveling to Albuquerque VA Medical Center and other long distance health care trips that require considerable fuel and overnight accommodation considerations.

A privilege

The Archuleta County veterans health care transportation program has become such an integral part of veteran services in our area that its availability is easily taken for granted. Sometimes what is an available assistance or privilege becomes so much a part of a program, that it can be confused with a "right."

As we kick off the New Year I think it provides a good opportunity to review the VAHC transportation vehicle policies.

Not an exclusive

First, there is no exclusive use of the vehicles by any individual or individuals.

I assign the vehicles and schedules. The schedule of use is made on a first-come, first-served basis.

The newest vehicle is generally scheduled for the long distance trips such as to Albuquerque VAMC. In some cases weather is a determining factor. If more than one veteran has a VAHC appointment on the same day and place, a "Share-A-Ride" is a requirement for scheduling use of the vehicle.

Schedule maintained

In all schedules, the vehicles are required to be returned on the scheduled date. Our schedule is often so tight the vehicles are in continuous use by many veterans. Failure to return the vehicle at the agreed time and date could jeopardize another veteran's health care appointment.

It is each assigned user's responsibility to return the vehicle clean inside and out, with a full fuel tank, ready for the next user. Obviously sometimes it is impossible to wash and clean the vehicle due to late hour returns or inclement weather. But, it is that user's responsibility to take all measures to fulfill the responsibility. Voluntarily cleaning the vehicle at a more opportune time is always a consideration.

Special cases

However, sometimes circumstances prevent fulfillment of these responsibilities by an individual user perhaps because of financial or health reasons. However, the next user must still fulfill their obligation of use, regardless of how the vehicle was previously used. All effort is made for each to fulfill their obligations, but sometimes it is impossible. But that is not sufficient reason or the next user to fail their obligation.

The obligation begins anew with each user. Of course the current user of the vehicle should report to this office any deficiencies of the previous user. Each user and trip is required to be entered in a logbook in each vehicle

No smoking policy

Also important is the policy forbidding any smoking or tobacco use of any nature in the vehicle.

Likewise, no pets are allowed in the vehicles. Many of our veterans are highly sensitive to contaminants. Besides, it is against Archuleta County policy to smoke in a county vehicle.

Spouses or friends are welcome to accompany the assigned user, as long as they also abide by the rules. I must have a signed driver waiver and valid Colorado driver's license for all those planning to assist in the driving duties.

It would be a shame to restrict use of this wonderful veterans' program because of failure to abide by the terms of the "privilege" of using these vehicles.

I hope we can all continue to work together to make our veterans program successful in meeting all of our veterans' needs.


Don't forget to call or stop by my office with your VA health care appointments for the "Share-A-Ride" program. Help a fellow veteran who may be going in the same direction, to the same VA facility. Give me a call if you can provide transportation or need transportation. I will keep a calendar of who is going where and use it to coordinate this important program.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is at 400 S. Camino Del Rio, Suite G, Durango, CO, 81301. Phone number is 247-2214. Albuquerque VAMC phone number is (800) 465-8262.

Further information

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


Library News

Use facts tell a growing tale

By Lenore Bright

SUN Comumnist

We had our annual inventory, cleaning party last week.

Mary Jo Coulehan catered a luncheon for the many volunteers who came to finish up the counting.

Some of the figures we need to turn in for various reports include this list: We issued 1,146 new library cards during 2004; we checked out 76,372 items; 11,296 people used the computers, (that's an average of 41 people a day). We have 29,528 items in our collection. We added 1,146 new ones; 40 volunteers gave us 2,378 hours of work. We borrowed 665 books from other libraries and we loaned 200. The summer reading program involved 288 children. The value of our collections is approximately $585,037.

The staff and volunteers look forward to serving you better in 2005 with a new facility.

New writing contest

The American Library Association and the British Broadcasting Corporation are sponsoring a short story competition to encourage people to discover and develop their creative writing skills by inviting them to write a 2,000 word short story inspired by the themes of "The Canterbury Tales."

In January, BBC America will air four exciting contemporary interpretations of Chaucer's originals. Each tale has been updated to reflect society today with such themes as the cult of celebrity and obsession with youth.

The writing competition is open to emerging writers 18 years of age or older. Competition opens Jan. 8. Deadline is Feb. 21.

Come in and pick up an entry form. Further details and full competition rules can be found on the entry form.

New book

Lisa Scott and Carole Howard sent over a copy of Vol. 3 of the "Best Cookie Recipes in Pagosa Springs."

Each year Lisa hosts her annual Christmas Girls' Night Out and Holiday Cookie exchange. And the fruits of this gathering are ours to share, thanks to these ladies.

Holiday greetings

Ann Van Fossen and Mary Loudermilk send greetings to all.

New year's thought

We join libraries across this nation that share this belief: "We are not afraid to entrust the American People with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehoods in an open market, is a nation that is afraid of its people."


We are grateful to the following for adding to our building fund: Will and Christie Spears in honor of Jackson and Evelyn Spears, Michael and Susan Garman, Jo Bridges, Ralph and Lois Gibson in honor of Judi Toomey, Patty Sterling in memory of Lee's birthday, Woman's Civic Club of Pagosa Springs, Lisa and Bob Scott, Daniel Senjem and Nancy Fryer, Col. and Mrs. William Storm III.

Our thanks go to these folks for keeping us in material: Sonja Hoie, Ellen Lukasik, Maria Moore, Donna Mozingo, Robert Thomas, Gayle Broadbent, Don Macnamee, Carole and Bob Howard, Paul Matlock and Michel Mesker.



Arts Line

Prepare your prints for photo contest

By Doris Green

PREVIEW Columnist

Happy 2005!

At the writing of this Artsline, snow is falling in Pagosa and it is time to get out your art medium and capture the beauty of Pagosa Country.

A new year, a new Artsline writer - but first we want to pause and pay thanks to Leanne Goebel for being our volunteer Artsline writer in 2004. I'm sure you have enjoyed her creative writing skills. We appreciate the time and effort dedicated to the writing of this column.

We also give special thanks to Pagosa SUN for its community service in providing us Artsline space, free of charge.

Artsline is coordinated by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. Our focus in 2005 will be on local artists and local art events. PSAC supports all art activities in Pagosa.

For inclusion in Artsline, e-mail information to PSAC at psac@centurytel.net. We would love to hear from you regarding suggestions for Artsline.

Events in surrounding areas will be included when deemed of interest to our readers.

PSAC is a volunteer organization and our volunteer writer going into 2005 is Kayla Douglas who moved to Pagosa in 1995 from Atlanta, Ga.

Kayla is a watercolorist and Arts Council member. In 2004 she participated in our PSAC Docent Program, which is our distinctive name for volunteer work at the gallery in Town Park. Kayla sold her first watercolor painting, "Luscious Pears," at a July exhibit in the gallery.

Art of Italian cooking

This one will fill up fast! Saturday, Jan. 15, join Diane Bouma and Fran Jenkins for "Strictly Pasta: The Art of Italian Cooking" at Bear Mountain Ranch, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 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 24 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 psac@centurytel.net. 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 formally 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

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 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 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 has turned into quite a social event. Put the date on your calendar now.

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).

FLC workshops

Fort Lewis College office of Extended Studies is offering a number of classes this winter.

Contact the extended studies office for more information at 247-7385 or e-mail extstudy@fortlewis.edu. Below is a short list of 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.

PSAC Calendar

(All PSAC classes and workshops are held in the arts and craft space in the community center, unless otherwise noted.)

Jan, 15 - Art of Italian Cooking (Strictly Pasta) 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., $35 per student (watch for possible date change).

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

March 9, 10, l1- Intermediate Watercolor Workshop with Betty Slade, "Seasons in Poetry," 9 a.m.-3 p.m $120 per student.

March 17-18 - Beginning Oil Painting, "Nuts and Bolts of Oil Painting," with Betty Slade, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. $80 per student.

April 14-15 - Oil Painting, "Nuts and Bolts Two," with Betty Slade, critiquing work from March class and new paintings, $80 per student.

May 12-13 - Oil Painting, "Nuts and Bolts & More," with Betty Slade, continuing work in progress, learning more painting techniques and beginning new paintings, $80 per student.


Food for Thought

In the wake of the holidays, a Goinfre wades

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer




Or, if you speak Esperanto: Je via sano!

How about Iechyd da!

Or, Kampai!



Or a hearty L'chaim!*

However you chose to express it Dec. 31, it was "cheers" and off into a new year.

Thank goodness the holidays are over.

I've had all I can take.

Didn't want 'em, tried to avoid 'em, got slammed.

It happens every year: Try as I might, I end up wrecked by the holiday experience.

I admit it: My attitude is largely responsible for my condition. I have a tendency to get a bit tense, then compensate by overdoing things. This year, it's going to take me a couple weeks to recover from the trauma.

My demise always connects to food and drink. The French have a traditional hierarchy of gastronomy and my annual holiday plunge from grace mirrors a downward trip on that scale. At the peak is the Gastronome. Next down the ladder is the Gourmet - he or she who qualifies as a connoisseur of foods and wines (I like to think I fit in nicely here, when I am in balance). Next down is the Friand, or epicure. Below that is the gourmand, whose chief pleasure in life is eating. One step down the stairs is the Goulou, or glutton. In the basement is the Goinfre, loosely translated as "greedy guts."

The hierarchy reflects the stages I descend through as I wither under holiday pressure. Where once a proud Gourmet stood, by holidays' end a mess of greedy guts reigns. When I feel stress, I eat and drink. When I feel a lot of stress

This year, the process of my undoing began with the Christmas dog fight.

My youngest daughter, Ivy, was in town and she came with a guest - her English bulldog, Cheese. Or, as she calls him, "Karl's grandson."

I can't tell you how pleasant it is to watch Cheese and my Lab Arnie roll and tumble through the living room, hair and slobber flying in the air - to hear the sound of glass breaking, etc. The only response I can muster is to eat and drink.

Then there is the yearly battle of the Christmas tree. This amps up the stress level and speeds my problem along.

The gals in the family want a tree put up and decorated shortly after the Fourth of July. Me, I have no desire to put an ancient Germanic fertility symbol in my living room. To me it's no more than a highly decorated torch, ready to spontaneously combust at any moment.

This year, I stalled the production until Dec. 20. Once the tree was up and the ornaments hung, it gave the dogs something additional to destroy. I ate more, I drank more.

Add to this the nonsense that attends the giving of gifts. Another factor contributing to the erosion of my stability.

Every year, I sit down with my bride and exact an oath: We will hold our spending to a mild roar, buy the daughters and our granddaughter, Ipana, some reasonable gifts, purchase small tokens of affection for other close family members and call it a day. For ourselves, we promise to negotiate and come up with a single purchase that satisfies a practical need.

You know, something practical like a monster-size flat-screen TV with a surround-sound home theater system.

Every year we look each other in the eyes, we sound sincere, we vow solemnly to abide by our decision.

Every year our resolve crumbles.

"You know," says my daughter, "no matter what she says, Mom could use a leather coat and she told me she really wants a new jacket with removable fleece insert."

And me? Well, I desperately need an iPod. Ivy gladly passes this information to her mother.

So much for promises, eh? The stress mounts; I eat more, I drink more.

Oh, and another problem: It turns out our computer is too old to run the software needed for an iPod. There's only one solution: Buy a new computer. The weight begins to break me; I go again in search of food and wine. My head is stuck in the refrigerator so often my hair freezes.

The spending, the broken promises, the dog fights serve to seat me in the engine of my ruin. I am distressed; I eat and drink myself into a stupor. I am on the glidepath leading to a hard holiday landing.

Happens every year.

The last leg of the descent begins with the chateaubriand at Christmas dinner. Kathy, Ivy and I eat the whole thing. We OB. We are hit so hard by the beef hammer we fail to notice the dogs tussling on the leather couch. Several bottles of bordeaux help us along.

The next day, I am in overdrive. I pound out a couple of turkey cutlets then roll them around a stuffing of ciabatta crumbs, egg, pancetta, mushrooms, herbs, garlic, onion and chunks of provolone. I make a sauce with white wine, parsley, herbs and butter. Wine? Oh yeah, lots of it. Pinot noir? Sure. A couple bottles? Why not?

I check myself for signs of jaundice before I go to bed.

The dietary mayhem continues all week. Ivy and Cheese depart for some serious partying in West Hollywood and Kathy and I head to Denver to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Here is where the coup de grace is applied. I am on a steep, slippery slope and there is no stopping me.

We decide to visit a favorite Chinese restaurant the night of our arrival. We cripple ourselves with sea bass in black bean sauce, one of the best versions of sesame chicken on the planet, a platter of crab and cheese wontons. Wash that down with a riesling. Or three.

The next day, I get to work in daughter Aurora Borealis' kitchen, making breakfast. I rarely eat a huge breakfast.

Except during the holidays. When I am plunging from Goulou to Goinfre.

I'm out of my mind. I whip up French toast with thick hunks of cinnamon-raisin bread, soaking the pieces for 10 minutes or so in beaten egg before they are cooked. The toast is sprinkled with a bit of sweet vanilla powder before syrups and preserves are slopped on. I prepare some thick-cut organic bacon and giant patties of a breakfast sausage Aurora has purchased at a neighborhood meat market. We have fresh strawberries and blackberries, slices of a bizarre melon that costs an arm and a leg. I gorge. I expand. It is a suicidal response to holiday stress, the thrashing of a drowning man.

Oh, but that's just the start.

At noon, I truck off to my sister-in-law's place. It's time for the Swedes to make their mark. The New Year's feast is a response to a genetic switch that flips in anyone with Nordic heritage within a week or two of the winter solstice. At this time of year, a descendent of Vikings feels two primary urges. The first is to make plans to paint one's self blue, wait for a break in the ice and sail off in search of prey. The second is to slaughter whatever can be found within walking distance of the smoke-filled sod hut, mince it, mix it with some spuds, onions and spices and stuff it into a length of hog gut.

It's time to devour a yard of two of Korv, the classic Swedish potato sausage.

And that is precisely what I do. I do not forget to dip bread in the liquids left in the Korv kettle and devour the mess standing at the stove.

I also manage to put down a pound or so of assorted cheeses and a terrifying number of my sister-in-law Jo's unbelievably tasty homemade dill pickles. Swedes like dill, you know?

Should be enough, don't you think?

But, no. Not when you are crushed by holiday stress.

I don't go so far as to demand a heaping helping of surstromming, but I might as well, as far off the deep end as I've gone.

For those of you not of the Swedish persuasion, surstromming is the ultimate Viking food product - one guaranteed to make you want to murder Irish monks and burn their monasteries. Small fresh herrings are put in wooden barrels and brined. They are removed after a couple days and their heads and guts are removed. Back into a barrel they go with more brine and they are left out in the stunted northern sunlight for several months while unspeakable things happen to them. What happens to the Swedes who devour them is equally unspeakable. But, at least the fishy remains are consumed in the company of plenty of aquavit and beer.

I can't hold to that standard, but it's the tail end of the holidays and it's time to finish my destruction with a flourish.

I'm off to my brother Kurt's house, to help cook dinner. I've already taken in enough calories to fuel the Ethiopian cross country team for six months and, determined to body-slam the nadir, I am ready for more. I am eating to dull a mighty pain.

We go on the prowl for materials and end up at a fancy, high-end, aren't-we-precious-and-natural market. This kind of market prices its goods in relation to the number of late-model luxury cars in the parking lot. If, say, an average 70 percent of the autos in the lot on a given day are Mercedes and BMWs, then everything in the store costs 70 percent more than it would anywhere else. At this joint, half the customers arrive in a Mercedes, the other half are young, whole-grain types. The girls wear black clothing, sport multiple piercings and tattoos, wear postmodern hairstyles right out of the '90s (severe bangs and henna, anyone?) and the guys favor greasy dreadlocks and goofy knit reggae caps. Perfect, given my dark mood.

My brother and I scope out veal shanks, pondering osso bucco, but niece Kelsey recoils at my description of the joy felt when devouring a big-eyed calf named Blinky. We settle on overpriced organic boneless chicken breasts.

My brother announces he has a bottle of sweet marsala, so we decide on the old standby - chicken marsala (which I will prepare). We'll pair it with roasted vegetables and a large salad (left to my brother). We buy mushrooms for the chicken dish (cremini, button and shitake) some heavy cream for the sauce and a tub of salty kalamatas to go with a wedge of aged asiago and a small wheel of brie.

Kurt, Kelsey and I labor in the kitchen and I wax poetic about the power of marsala. I tell them I recently wrote about the wine, printing a simple chicken marsala recipe in my column. I cook with wine frequently but I rarely use fortified wines. Every now and then, I use some dry sherry in a Chinese sauce, but Marsala is usually the ticket.

People used to drink this Sicilian brew like they drink Port and sherry. It comes in three basic types - sweet, demi-sec and dry - and several different grades. Nowadays the concoction usually ends up in food, including several notable desserts - tiramisu and zabaglione for example.

For laughs, I taunt my brother and niece with a recipe I intend to execute once I return home. I have two fine tournedos in the freezer and I'll thaw them and pound them thin. I'll mince a couple shallots and some parsley. I'll purchase the triad of mushrooms and slice the fungi. I'll mince and mush several cloves of garlic. I'll procure some high-grade beef stock and have a spoonful of demiglace and a tablespoon or so of tomato sauce at hand. And, of course, there'll be a stout measure of marsala ready for action.

The flattened tournedos are seasoned with salt and pepper then coated lightly with seasoned flour.

The mushrooms are sauteed in butter and oil until they give up their moisture and begin to get toasty. They are removed from the heat.

Into a blend of butter and olive oil goes the meat, over medium-high heat. The meat is browned on both sides. Care must be taken not to overcook the tournedos and the meat is removed to a heated plate while the shallots are popped into the pan for a moment or two. The pan is deglazed with the marsala and beef stock is added, along with the tomato sauce and a wad of demiglace. The mix is reduced as the fond releases from the pan. In goes the garlic, mushrooms and parsley and, as the reduction reaches the back-of-the-spoon-coating stage, the meat is put in and knocked around in the sauce. The final touch: seasonings are adjusted than a splash of heavy cream and a wad of butter are swirled in as the pan is taken from the heat.

We finish our dinner preparations, we drink wine, we eat, we tie into a cheesecake for dessert. We play several rounds of Scattergories. I am useless: I have lost the ability to remember words - the alphabet makes no sense to me.

The next morning as I prepare for the drive home to Siberia with a View, I find unimpeachable evidence the holiday damage is done, again. I take out a pair of pants I bought just before the holidays, the pants reflecting my steady weight loss since midsummer. I try to put them on.

It is like stuffing a watermelon into a sandwich bag.

I rush to the bathroom and look into the mirror, checking myself for signs of jaundice.

I make a rare resolution. As the new year begins, I am going back on the straight and narrow, rising like a phoenix from the holiday ashes.

As soon as I eat the tournedos and finish off the last of the marsala and heavy cream

Ma Zadoroyve!

*"Cheers" around the world.

In order, from top, excluding Esperanto:










Education News

Ed Center can help give year good start

Livia Cloman

PREVIEW Columnist

Start 2005 out right. Learn how to operate your new computer. The Archuleta County Education Center coordinates a wide range of community education offerings including computer classes, first aid and CPR training and general interest classes.

Computer instruction ranges from the beginning level with "Getting Acquainted with Your Personal Computer" to advanced level spreadsheet and database programs. All levels of instruction, as well as a large variety of popular software applications, are offered throughout the year. Call the center for more information 264-2835.

Elementary students

Each afternoon, beginning at 3:15, Room 15 at Pagosa Springs Elementary School comes alive. Young students come rushing in, ready for a snack and recess before starting the extended hours activities. These young students will pair up with a teen-age student for tutoring/homework help or go off to an enrichment class for that afternoon.

Enrichment classes are led by local individuals desiring to add to a young student's school experience in the areas of art, dance, music, science or foreign language instruction. Starting in early January we offer classes after school Monday through Friday.

Call the Education Center today to learn more about all of our "after-hours" classes at the elementary, intermediate and junior high schools. For information call 264-2835.

Community College

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is also a perfect time to take college credit courses.

What's more, students still have time to sign up for spring semester classes that Pueblo Community College's Southwest Center will be conducting in Pagosa Springs starting in January.

The classes offered for spring semester are: Science of Biology, Administration of Early Childhood Care and Education and General Psychology II.

All classes will be held at Pagosa Springs High School during evening hours Jan. 10 through May 7. To register or for more information, call Margo at 247-2929.


Extension Viewpoints


Cooperative Extension implements fee-for-services program

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Today - Shady Pines Club meeting, 7 p.m.

Jan. 7 - Cloverbuds meeting at community center, 1:30-3 p.m.; Entomology Project meeting, 2-3:30 p.m.; Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting, 2:15 p.m.; Goat Project meeting, 3 p.m.

Jan. 9 - Oil Painting Project meeting at Evi Minor's studio, 2-5 p.m.

Jan. 10 - Cultural Food Project meeting at Community United Methodist Church, 3 p.m.; Food Units 1 and 2 Project meeting at Community United Methodist Church;

Jan. 10 - Pagosa Peaks Club meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 11 - Rocky Mountain Riders Club meeting, 6 p.m.; Jr. Stockman Club meeting at Haven's residence in Chromo, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 14 - Colorado Kids Club meeting, 2 p.m.; Beef Project meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Check out all posted project and club meeting dates at www.coopext.colostate.edu/archuleta/calendar.htm.

Colorado State University Cooperative Extension is launching a program to recover costs of services, due to state budget limitations for the organization. The program will implement user fees for clientele to recover costs.

Traditionally, most services provided by Cooperative Extension have been free of charge to the public as part of Colorado State University's land-grant commitment to providing information and education to people living in Colorado.

"With reduced state appropriations to Cooperative Extension's budget, new revenue sources are needed to maintain quality programs and services," said Milan Rewerts, director of Cooperative Extension. "A structure for the fee program has been developed to allow appropriate flexibility in services delivered by Cooperative Extension to clientele around the state. The program will recover costs by charging fees for educational opportunities."

Local Cooperative Extension agents along with county government officials will determine specific fees for each program within their geographical area. However, a consistent approach or formula will be used to determine fees across the state. Some programs, such as education provided to food stamp recipients, may continue to be provided without additional charges. In addition, waivers will be provided for people unable to pay fees.

The cost recovery and user fee program has been implemented with financial targets for the next three years, beginning with a target of up to $300,000 statewide by June 2005. The fees will be used to support operational costs, technology, supplies and support educational resource development within Cooperative Extension.

Pesticide applicator tests

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is offering 14 locations across Colorado for individuals interested in testing for their license as a commercial pesticide applicator. The testing is one step in becoming a qualified supervisor or certified operator in areas such as agriculture, turf and ornamental, and structural pesticide application. Here are the dates closest to Archuleta County. For more locations contact the extension office at 264-5931.

The cities, locations and dates are:

Alamosa - Alamosa County Offices, 8900 Independence Way; Tuesday, Feb. 15.

Durango - CSU Extension/Fair Grounds, 2500 Main Ave.; Tuesday, Feb. 1 and Wednesday, March 23.

The testing fee is $100 and each site is limited to 10 applicants. Reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments must be made with the Department of Agriculture at least one week prior to the test date. Dates will be cancelled, if there are less than four registrations seven days prior to the testing day.

All tests are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. unless otherwise noted. Test administrators will wait for registrants and walk-ins at the site until 10 a.m. Contact Mary Jo Dennis at (303) 239-4148 to register for testing.

State animal ID project

Colorado is one of the few states in the country to implement a pilot project on animal identification before the national program is instituted.

The goal of the ID project is to track the movement of livestock rapidly in cases involving infectious animal diseases. The first step is to register ranches, or premises, in a national database where an animal can potentially be associated.

"We want to be on the forefront of this program because its impact and benefit to agriculture are tremendous," said Wayne Cunningham, state veterinarian at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "We were fortunate to get a grant that allowed us to get a head start and begin implementing a statewide ID program in May."

In conjunction with Colorado State University (CSU) Cooperative Extension, several town meetings are planned to discuss the program. These are the two times which will serve Southwestern Colorado. If you have any further questions contact the extension office in your area.

- Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. Cortez, Montezuma County: Calvin Denton Room at Empire Electric;

- Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. Durango, LaPlata County Fairgrounds.

During the meetings, representatives will be on hand from the Colorado Department of Agriculture and CSU as well as producers who are participating in the pilot program.

"The meetings will give producers a chance to talk with others who have already tested the equipment and process," said Cunningham. "It's important for us to answer any questions and concerns producers have, so the complete implementation goes as smoothly as possible."

At this time, there are 30 beef, sheep and elk producers as well as three CSU herds involved in the pilot program. More than 3,000 animals have been tagged, and each animal is given a unique code. Using electronic devices such wands, the radio frequently identification number can be scanned easily and quickly when an animal is sold to track its movement, whether into the food chain or across state lines.

At each town meeting, technicians will also be on hand to help producers register their premises on-line.

Pagosa Lakes News

On-ice activities are fun, but require safety awareness

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

It's January, we're in the middle of winter, and the lakes are frozen. You start to think the frozen surface is part of terra firma.

Not so.

Please exercise caution and be very prudent when enjoying your favorite activities on the lakes. Many of our folks enjoy ice-fishing, others enjoy cross-country skiing around the perimeter of the lakes and some gung-ho property owners have even cleared snow off the top of the ice for ice skating.

All these activities are enjoyable and part of living and thriving in Colorado during the winter.

However, don't overlook a very important detail. Make sure the ice is thick before venturing out on the lakes. The ice needs to be at least six inches thick, solid and clear.

An ice auger is the best way to determine ice thickness. Drill a hole close to shore and then more holes as you go out farther to test ice thickness. Ice augers aren't expensive and are available for a reasonable price at most local sporting goods stores.

On our four local lakes, make sure you stay at least 75 feet away from the aerator openings in the lake. The PLPOA has installed a number of aerators on each lake to oxygenate the water and allow for a healthy fishery to thrive during the long Colorado winters.

Dogs are attracted to the open water around the aerator where the waterfowl hang out. Watch your dog and watch your children to stay only on safe zones.

If you see unattended young children out on the lakes, please call the PLPOA office or the sheriff's dispatch at 264-4131 immediately. Unattended dogs on the lakes will be impounded by the animal control officer. Better an impounded dog than a dead one.

PLPOA members are needed to fill member vacancies on the Environmental Control Committee. The ECC is created by the master declarations of restrictions and is composed of three standing and four alternate members appointed by the PLPOA board of directors.

The principal function of the committee is to review and approve (or disapprove) plans, specifications and related details for any structures, additions or improvements to be constructed or maintained on any lot.

The committee meets 8 a.m. the first and third Thursday of each month in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Interested applicants are invited to submit a written application. Application forms can be picked up and returned to the administration office at 230 Port Ave.

Business News


Biz Beat

Torry Hessman owns and operates HTI Builders. Hessman has a bachelor's degree from the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at Kansas State University and has years of experience in the design, drafting and construction fields.

HTI Builders specializes in Structural Insulated Panel homes, which provide a high degree of energy efficiency, as well as straw bale homes. Post-and-beam and log homes from HTI offer the rustic cabin feeling.

In all cases, HTI Builders strives to construct energy-efficient homes at an affordable price, providing in-house drafting and blueprinting services to customers. HTI Builders is also ready to complete drafting and blueprinting services for local builders.

Call HTI Builders at 731-3373.



Preview Profile

Pam Levonius

Eighth-grade reading teacher.


Where were you born?

"Louisville, Kentucky."


Where did you go to school?

"I went to Fullerton, California, Eastern New Mexico University and University of Northern Colorado. "


When did you arrive in Pagosa Springs?

"June 2001."


What did you do before you arrived here?

"I was a language teacher in Roswell, New Mexico."


What are your job responsibilities?

"Teach vocabulary, spelling, reading skills, as well as how to read novels and word problems."


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

"I enjoy having a student say, 'Wow! This is the first book I have ever finished.' The least enjoyable aspect is trying to motivate the unmotivated."


What is your family background?

"I have a husband to whom I have been married to for 35 years. I have four children and three grandchildren. My husband and I are also each the third of nine children."


What do you like best about the community?

"I love to stare at the contrast between the blue, blue sky and the sparkly, snow-covered bare tree branches as I drive - make that slide to school many mornings. I love the seasons and how the beginning of each one brings different emotions."


What are your other interests?

"Reading, scrapbooking, sewing, plants, and I love writing."


Cards of Thanks


Walter family

The family of Dakota Walter would like to thank everyone for being so kind and generous in our time of need. Thank you and God bless.

Clancy Walter



Muñoz - Sanders

Mr. and Mrs. Alfonzo Muñoz of Fallon, Nev., are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Renee Elizabeth, to Wesley Charles Sanders, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Sanders of Pagosa Springs. Renee is a 2000 graduate of Churchill County High School and a 2004 graduate of Grand Canyon University. She is teaching elementary physical education in Buckeye, Ariz. Wesley is a 1998 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School. He is a pilot for Mesa Airlines in Phoenix. A March wedding is planned in Fallon.





Marine Corps Sgt. John W. Hermann, son of Debbie Hermann of Pagosa Springs and Greg Hermann of Tucson, Ariz., is one of more than 2,100 marines and sailors assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

That unit recently joined the 15,000 service member sweep of Fallujah, Iraq, and has since committed to ensuring the security and stability in the cities Kandari and Nasar Wa Salam.

Members of Hermann's unit have conducted more than 120 patrols, 13 platoon reinforced raids and a company reinforced search of Kandari. Most importantly they insured that the 1st Marine Division did not have to worry about their rear supply routes and communications during the fight in Fallujah.

MEU's are built around a reinforced infantry battalion, a combat service support element, a reinforced helicopter squadron and a command element.

With its complement of fully integrated air and ground forces, Hermann's unit is ready to conduct real-world operations including amphibious, helicopter and boat raids, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, noncombatant evacuation operations and humanitarian assistance operations.

Hermann joined the Marine Corps in May 1996.


Sports Page

Cold Pirates cool visiting Bloomfield 47-39

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

After 10 days without practice one might have expected the Pagosa Springs Pirates to be dull in the opener of their first game of the new year.

Perhaps frigid would be a more apropos word than dull. The way the ball was clunking off the rim and backboard, you might have believed it to be frozen.

Still, hosting a shorthanded Bloomfield Bobcats squad (only eight players suited for varsity action) and keying off the early inside play of 6-2 senior center Caitlyn Jewell, Pagosa built a 9-4 lead after one period.

But by the halftime mark, they had frittered away all but one point of the lead on stone-cold seven-for-22 shooting from the floor.

The Pirates were up 5-0 before Bloomfield could find the range, four of those coming on strong inside moves by Jewell. Senior forward Bri Scott added a charity toss, junior guard Liza Kelley a deuce off a give and go with Jewell and Kari Beth Faber canned a pair on an offensive rebound putback.

Bloomfield's first period scoring came on a field goal by senior guard Breana Casaus and two free throws by senior forward Marieanna Yazzie.

Caitlin Forrest broke her scoring drought with a right-hand hook in the lane to open the second period and Melissa Maberry boosted the Pirate lead to 13-4 with a pair from the stripe.

But Bobcat coach Ann Stewart had an answer on the bench and before the Pirates could find her on the floor, diminutive senior guard Ashley Pine had poured in four straight field goals, darting beneath the much taller Pirate defenders. She would end the game as its leading scorer, netting 14, all in the second and third periods.

With the Pirate lead trimmed to 13-12, senior forward Lori Walkup drilled a 12-footer to hike the margin to three but senior guard Amanda Gay drilled a trey for Bloomfield and the score was knotted.

Jewell got one from the charity stripe, fouled while shooting, and junior forward Emily Buikema stretched the lead with a six-footer in the lane off a drop pass from a driving Scott.

Casaus answered with a deuce and the Pirate lead was down to 18-17 at the half.

A 29-22 second-half Pagosa margin spelled the difference in the game as shots clanging off earlier began to fall sporadically.

With Kelley and Jewell working give-and-go moves off the high post, Pagosa moved out to a quick nine-point lead, each nailing a pair of field goals and Kelley chipping in one from the stripe.

Casaus and Pine each answered with a pair of field goals for Bloomfield and Jasmine Cecil added one before Buikema answered for Pagosa with a rip-down rebound and a power move to the rim.

Another senior guard, Jasmine Cecil hit a field goal for the Bobcats, was fouled shooting and got the old-fashioned three-pointer on the play.

Faber, working strong under the basket after Jewell got in early foul trouble, scored a pair from the stripe after two inside rebounds and Forrest added another from the charity line.

Again, a strong early burst by Pagosa had been whittled down and the Pirate lead at the end of three was at 32-28.

The final stanza was a resurgence of the until-then silent Scott, assisted by Kelley and Forrest who pulled down five of her game high 10 boards in the period.

Taking only her second trey attempt of the game, Scott drilled it to open the period. Then she stole the Bobcat inbound pass and fed the driving Kelley who pulled up for a sweet 6-foot jumper.

Forrest drove to her left hand inside and was fouled on the move as the ball bounced, rolled and finally dropped in. She hit the free throw, too, and the Pirates seemed to be on a roll.

Junior forward Allison Charley came off the bench for a pair of quick Bobcat field goals and Cecil and Casaus each added one.

With 4:26 left Pagosa's lead stood at 41-31.

But the Bobcats wouldn't go away. Casaus picked up her tenth point on a reverse lay-up, Cecil added a field goal and Yazzie got her only marker of the game from the field.

Pagosa's final six points, and the last six of the game, all came at the line.

Scott drilled five in a row as the Bobcats fouled to stop the clock and Jewell added one from the stripe.

For Pagosa it was a 15-for-48 night from the floor for a .320 percentage. Bloomfield was 16-for-45 from the floor for a .355 percentage. The difference came at the stripe where Pagosa was 16-for-25 and Bloomfield six-for-9.

Pine, coming off the bench, was the game's leading scorer with 14. Casaus for Bloomfield had 10 as did Pagosa's Jewell and Kelley. Scott had nine for the Pirates.

The game sets the stage for a return engagement Friday with the Aztec Tigers in Aztec with a 7 p.m. game time. Pagosa lost to Aztec 62-52 in the final game of the Wolf Creek Classic early in December on a 19-for-62 shooting night.

Tuesday's victory hiked Pagosa's record to 5-2 on the season. Following the trip to Aztec Friday, Pagosa goes to Kirtland Central in New Mexico for a 5:30 p.m. game Jan. 14 and entertains Alamosa at 5:30 p.m. the following day. Then they go on the road again against Farmington, in Farmington, at 7 p.m. Jan. 20.

They will open Intermountain League play against co-favorite Centauri in Pagosa at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 22.


Scoring: P-Lynch, 0-2, 0; Scott, 1-2, 0-5, 5-8, 9; Kelley, 0-2, 4-9, 2-2, 10; Walkup, 1-7, 2; Maberry, 0-1, 0-0, 2-2, 2; Faber, 1-5, 2-4, 4; Jewell, 4-10, 2-4, 10; Buikema, 2-3, 4; Forrest, 2-5, 2-4, 6. B- Casaus, 5-8, 10; Cecil, 2-4, 1-2, 5; Charley, 2-4, 4; Gay, 1-3, 0-4, 0-1, 3; Pine, 6-7, 2-2, 14; Yazzie, 1-5, 2-2, 4. Rebounds, P-37, B-15; Fouls, P-10, B-19.


Pirate wrestlers host duals and tournament this week

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Now, things begin in earnest.

With the start of the 2005 portion of the high school wrestling season, the Pirates are at the start of what will be a hectic race to the finish line - that line being the state tournament at the Pepsi Center, Feb. 10-12.

The season is abbreviated this year, due to scheduling conflicts at the Denver facility, so some serious action will be packed into the month of January.

That action begins tonight as the Pirates travel to Ignacio for the first of the season's Intermountain League dual meets - against last year's IML champion.

The IML regular season title is decided on the basis of a series of dual meets, with each team clashing one time with the other four teams in the league. The Pirates and Bobcats are set to square off at 6 p.m. in the Ignacio gym.

Other IML meets are scheduled with Monte Vista (at Monte Vista Jan. 13), Bayfield (at Pagosa Springs Jan. 25) and Centauri (at Pagosa Jan. 29).

With the first league dual out of the way, the Pirates will face significant competition when they come home Friday to host the Rocky Mountain Duals. This year, the Pirates will fight duals against two teams in a field consisting of Espanola, N.M., Bloomfield, N.M. and Taos, N.M. Opponents will be decided immediately prior to the meet.

The action begins at 6 p.m.

Saturday, the momentum builds as the Pirates play host to 15 teams at the annual Rocky Mountain Tournament. Teams attending this year are: Alamosa, Centauri, Bayfield, Monte Vista, Ignacio, Center, Espanola, Bloomfield, Taos, Del Norte, Kirtland, N.M., Aztec, N.M., Piedra Vista N.M. and Monticello, Utah.

Matches start at 10 a.m.

The home tourney is one of three tournaments set in the 2005 leg of the season, not counting the regional qualifier Feb. 4-5.

The Pirates compete Jan. 15 at the Alamosa Invitational - traditionally a small but intense affair - and Jan. 29 at the Ignacio Invitational as a tuneup for post-season action. There is a chance coach Dan Janowsky will take some if not all his varsity to a tournament at Center Jan. 22.

Left scattered across the rest of January are a series of dual meets, including those noted above. The Monte Vista meet Jan. 13 includes Florence, often a Class 3A power, providing the Pirates a chance to dual outside the league.

A trip to Durango is set for Jan. 20.

The Pirates were back in the practice room Monday, following their holiday break. Some weight was lost in the process.

"We had a real good workout Monday," said Janowsky. "We saw a lot of tired boys leaving the room. The harder we go at this point, the better, but it is impossible to cover all the bases before we get to real competition. No one Saturday will be one hundred percent, conditionwise, but that doesn't mean it won't be great wrestling at the tournament."

After the weekend's action, athletes should be back in the groove, rounding into shape for the stretch run in the season.

"After Saturday," said the coach, "our guys should have seven or eight matches under their belts. This week should be a good refresher course for us - about what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong."


Pirates' pre-IML slate ripe with challenge

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The holiday break is over, and it's once again time to hit the hardwood.

After nearly three weeks away from official competition, head coach Jim Shaffer and his Pagosa Springs Pirates have spent the past few days tuning up for the 2005 portion of their schedule.

At 7-0, the Pirates are the top-ranked Class 3A team in most state polls, and are also the early favorites to take the Intermountain League crown. (The Pirates open league play at home against Centauri Jan. 22; game time is 7 p.m.)

How will the Pirates prepare for defense of the IML title? For starters - three straight contests in hostile environments on the road.

The return to action begins tomorrow, when the Pirates head south to New Mexico for a re-match with the Aztec Tigers, who will undoubtedly be looking to avenge a 71-41 road loss to Pagosa Dec. 12. Game time is 8:30 p.m.

The following day, the Pirates trek west to face the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers, who rank in the top 10 among Class 4A squads. Saturday's tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Jan. 14, Pagosa travels across the border to face the Kirtland, N.M. Broncos, who fell to the Pirates 55-43 in Pagosa Dec. 18. Opening tip for the re-match with the Broncos is set for 7 p.m.

The Pirates play their first home game of the new year the following day, but the competition doesn't fall anywhere close to cupcake caliber - Class 4A Alamosa comes to Pagosa for a 7 p.m. showdown.

With four high-quality opponents looming on a stretch of schedule that spans just nine days, the Pirates will be afforded a thin margin for error if they hope to keep their unbeaten streak intact.

But thus far, Shaffer's crew has proven "reload" rather than "rebuild" should be the term used to describe a team that has overcome the loss of four starters and eight seniors from last year's Pirate squad that went 22-2.

To illustrate, the following is a breakdown of how individual Pirates currently rank in key statistical categories when compared with the top 50 players in Class 3A.


Led by senior Caleb Forrest, whose scoring average of 21.7 points per game ranks No. 4, the Pirates have three players on the top-50 list.

Joining Forrest on the list at No. 13 is Pirate junior Craig Schutz, who averaged 18.3 points per game in Pagosa's first seven contests.

Holding down the No. 36 spot for Pagosa is junior Casey Schutz, who has pumped in an average of 12 points per contest thus far.


The Pirates have no fewer than four names occupying the list of assist leaders, with junior Paul Przybylski currently topping the ranks with an average of 6.14 assists per game.

Not far behind and in the No. 2 slot is Pirate sophomore Kerry Joe Hilsabeck, who dished out an average of just under five assists per contest.

At No. 22 on the list is Casey Schutz, who has been good for three assists per game, and senior Otis Rand ranks 42nd among assist leaders with an average of two assists per game.


Two Pirates rank in the top 10 in rebounds, with Forrest in the No. 3 slot with an average of just under 10 boards per game.

Joining Forrest near the top of the list is Craig Schutz, whose average of nearly eight boards per game puts him in the No. 8 position.


Forrest and Przybylski rank No. 35 and No. 38 on the steals list, respectively, as each is averaging just under two thefts per contest.

Blocked shots

Forrest rejected more shots than any other Class 3A player before the holiday break; the 6-8 senior's average of four swats per game is currently tops in the state.

In addition, Craig Schutz's average of one rejection per contest puts him at No. 45.


Girls' softball organizational

meeting Jan. 11

An organizational meeting will be held 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11 for those interested in establishing a Pagosa Springs girls' softball program.

The meeting will be at Lone Pine Custom Millwork, 81 Greenbriar Drive, Unit A. Lone Pine is the official sponsor for the Pagosa Springs Girls Softball Steering Committee.

For more information or directions, call 264-6835.


Pagosa Springs Recreation

We need more volunteer coaches

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

We Need You!

The good news: We have many more families living in Pagosa Springs, which adds more and more numbers to all of our youth leagues.

The bad news: We do not have enough new coaches to fill the needs of our youth.

If you have an interest in coaching, please step forward. We will help you, train you and equip you with all that is necessary to coach our youth. If you would like to help, please let us know.

Over the years, as a collegiate coach, I loved to find articles to see how other coaches approach their sports. Since the mission of our youth leagues in Pagosa Springs is to teach fundamentals and have fun, an article I read by Al Skinner, basketball coach at Boston College, seemed to put coaching children in perspective.

The purpose of youth sports is fun. If it's fun they'll practice more, improve and success will follow. Of course, kids need criticism to correct mistakes, but there's a way to deliver the message so kids can hear it. Youth sports coaches and parents should smile 90 percent of the time.

Youth sports are about kids having fun - fun by their definition, not yours. Ninety-nine percent of everything that is yelled from the sidelines in youth sports is blather. The best coaches never raise their voices. In coaching children less is often more. Young children don't need to be warriors.

Coaches are there to teach, not to build a dynasty. Coaches should see themselves as role models and teachers, and good teaching in youth sports means endless encouragement. Remember Fun is No. 1!

Interested in coaching? Call 264-4151, Ext. 232 or e-mail m.gabel@centurytel.net.

P.S. Happy birthday, Maggie!

Youth basketball

Youth basketball practices are continuing and our opening day for league play will be Saturday.

Schedules are available at Town Hall and will be listed on our Sports Hotline today. We are looking forward to some great competition.

For more information call concerning youth basketball, call 264-4151, Ext. 232 or call the Sports Hotline at 264-6658.

Coaching information

Coachyourkids.com was started by a young father who saw a need for good information and products for parents and volunteers who find themselves coaching (willing or otherwise) a youth sports team.

To access information for your particular team contact Coach Your Kids at Coachyourkids.com. Remember, if you have coaching experience or would like to learn how to coach and spend quality time with your children contact us at m.gabel@centurytel.net

Open volleyball

In an attempt to continue to offer adult volleyball to the Pagosa Springs community, the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department will host open adult volleyball 6-8 p.m. Mondays starting Jan. 10.

This is a change from the fall when open volleyball was played Wednesday nights. When we accumulate enough participants for a league, one will be formed. Please continue to contact friends and neighbors and sign up now for this exciting sports league.

Open basketball

Our 2005 Adult Basketball Leagues will start up in February.

The managers' meeting for adult basketball will take place 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, in the Town Hall conference room.

We are planning open gym nights throughout January. Start putting your teams together now for this exciting, adult league. Men and women's recreational and competitive leagues are forming now; new teams are welcome!

Hiring referees

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department continues to seek individuals interested in officiating youth and adult basketball, starting this month. High school students may apply. Compensation is $10-$25 per game depending on age group and experience.

For additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs, or to express concerns, contact

Myles Gabel, recreation supervisor, at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Pagosa Springs Parks

A wish list for park projects donations

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. And, while I am at it, I would like to list a few wishes for 2005.

If anyone reading the following list can fulfill the wishes, please feel free to call or e-mail me at the numbers listed below.

Parks and recreation would like someone to donate:

- cash or services to install sod on the proposed soccer field and youth baseball field. Sod applied in August would allow us to use both fields in September 2005. Otherwise we are looking to seed, and it looks like we could not use the facilities until the fall of 2006;

- 2 7/8 inch drill pipe, no limit. We are in need of drill pipe for fence and for safety features on our skate park;

- backing for our 2005 Fourth of July fireworks show. We need approximately $7,000 from the private sector to put on a show comparable to last year's;

- more volunteers to work on the sports complex. Anyone wanting to pledge time or equipment to help with the cause, please call. We are looking to stretch our $200,000 grant received for the first phase;

- financial donations for the river restoration project and extension of the River Walk, and for park improvements.

If you have special interests in any capitol improvement project that the Town of Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department is involved in, please call me. We are in need of so much and projects like these do not happen without the public's support.

Painting, trail work, coaching, umpiring, adopting a park or a street for monthly clean up, are all ideas for you to consider.

As our youth sports programs continue to expand, we need parents or volunteers willing to coach. We currently have a need in our 9-10 youth basketball league. If you have any basketball background or would like to learn, contact us immediately. Also, anyone interested in coaching in our future youth baseball or soccer leagues, we need you.

Thank you for your time. Call 264-4151, Ext. 231, or e-mail joelisterjr@centurytel.net with fund raising ideas or pledges on your favorite project.


On the wire, no Net

Early Monday morning we heard the dreaded words: "No one can access the Internet. And we can't get any e-mail." No Net? No e-mail? What are we going to do? We went in an instant from purveyors of information to hopeless victims of a broken technological system.

Utterly hopeless. And wracked by anxiety.

Why the problem, the fear? The problem is caused by the fact that newspapers, among others, rely on the Net, on access to certain Web sites. When the Net is not there, a major river has run dry.

Granted, many, if not most sites on the Web are unreliable - blog swamps leaking inaccurate and unchecked gas, little more than chat rooms where opinion and fact are confused and no attempt is made to verify information. But, there are exceptions, sites where riches wait, like the encyclopedias of old, books lining the library shelf.

More important is e-mail. Here at The SUN we now receive a significant amount of the material via e-mail. The majority of the letters to the editor that appear in our pages come to us as e-mail messages, as do many of the press releases that make their way to print. With one or two exceptions, our columnists e-mail their work to us each week. We receive photos via e-mail, as digital files to be put in a photo system that is now itself exclusively digital. The Web, and computers, have made in-house transportation of material from one form to another ridiculously simple, eliminating the need for full-time typesetters.

Kurt hustled down to the office Monday and fixed our problem; by late morning, we were back on track. But the event brought several things to mind - all related to our growing dependence on this technology. It occasioned a meditation on our vulnerability in the face of the importance of computer-based information systems.

Those of us who own computers and are on the Net are connected to sources of information that are produced haphazardly and with little skill. If we are not careful, we are in a dumping ground that pays little heed to fact. Our politics, our perceptions of community and environment, our familiarity with the characters jockeying for position in public life, are all prey to this influence.

Our commercial interests are swayed by spam, the more gullible among us responding to requests from the aether, in some cases surrendering our identities and our money. Cyber tricksters load sites with false fronts, holes into which we are urged to fall. We are promised university degrees, careers in law enforcement, low interest mortgages. We are offered cheap medications and the purveyors of porn infiltrate our cyber lives.

More important, we rely on services that themselves depend on advanced technologies and systems. How secure and safe are these systems in an age wherein a well-educated 14-year-old has the ability to understand their inner workings? What of our banking and financial systems, our utilities, our government, transportation and defense systems?

We exist in a complex and paradoxically thin information-based social environment. We are drawn close to one another in this cyber world, perilously close at times. Yet, the majority of us are increasingly distanced from the source of this dimension in our lives, unable to understand, much less work on, the technologies that make it possible.

With the prospect of a Luddite- or terrorist-induced disaster very real, we hope there are some among us who keep up with the trends, glad there are those able to fix the machines when they break, safeguard the systems on which we rely and, in some instances, on which our lives depend.

But now, we must close and e-mail this file to the office.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Questions anew for our future

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A new year means new challenges for us in Archuleta County and Colorado. Many of the problems of 2004 are carried over into the new anum and many more distinctly our own are likely to arise as we head into the second half of the century's first decade. Will we, for example, get a new set of planning guidance principles for the county or will we continue, under a new board of commissioners, to struggle within to find a common ground for progress? Will the town of Pagosa Springs keep on track to its new vision of what it should be even as it fights to address upgrades demanded in sewer service to meet basic current demands and state health mandates? Will there be an even more definitive move to consolidate downtown properties in the hands of a few owners as those already ensconced in low-income housing scrape to find affordable new lodging before all the area is placed out of reach of those who have lived here for decades? Can a Pagosa Springs-Pagosa Lakes community with in excess of 50 eating establishments (including those which sell prepackaged sandwiches, etc.) find a core of local customers to keep the establishments going even when the tourist seasons wane? Can the wear and tear on regional roadways be controlled without further deterioration of traffic surfaces under the heavy loads of incoming trucks, massive SUVs and more and more long beds pulling a trailer pulling a boat or jeep or other form of off-road transportation? Can the area's designated campgrounds handle the flow of those seeking areas for outdoor life? Can the areas not designated for camping, but subjected to it just the same, stand up to the flow of terrain boots and 4wheelers? Can our schools meet the mandates of state and federal government and keep from going on the "endangered" list with more new controls and more new programs telling us how good we are - and at the same time, how bad we may become as education providers. Will the costs of existence finally reach the point of no return? Many local families, even with two and three members working, have trouble breaking even at the end of the month. Will wages for them ever reach the point where a monthly savings deposit is more than a dream? Can the Pagosa Country we've learned to love continue to be a viable seat of life for us? Will many be enticed to sell their properties to the handful of buyers already accumulating vast holdings? Example: 1,200 properties changed hands last year in Pagosa Lakes alone. There are questions at the state level, too, questions in all the departments of government about how to meet the demands of the populace while acceding to the limits of the funding provided to meet those demands. There are the questions of a nation mired in an unpopular war, a nation which appears to be far overextended militarily, a nation which bears little semblance to that we have come to love. Let's hope there as many answers as there seem to be questions.




90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Jan. 8, 1915

Arrangements are underway to place the New Era on the high plane it formerly occupied in this community. After a grind of seven years, now nearly ten, the editor hoped to retire from country newspaper work three years ago, feeling that we had reached that age where it would be suicide for us to continue doing all the work - editorial, reportorial, mechanical, janitorial and business - of a thriving newspaper. But our plans to cut loose without too great a sacrifice did not and have not materialized and in view of the fact that there is a demand for the New Era as it formerly was, we are striving to complete plans to that end. We must ask the indulgence of our friends and well-wishers for the few weeks longer that we are compelled to issue a paper that needs vast apology.

 75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 10, 1930

The town board Monday passed an ordinance regulating dance halls in Pagosa Springs, including a raise in license from $20 to $50 per year, and providing for the closing of all dance halls at midnight regardless of the day of the week, with the exception of New Year's eve, Fourth of July and Armistice nights.

The first real snow storm of the winter set in Sunday and has been in progress, more or less, ever since, with the result that the passes are new closed for the remainder of the winter, so far as we can learn. A sudden drop in the mercury yesterday morning also gave us our first real cold weather, 26 degrees below zero being reported.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 7, 1955

The New Year has started off with a bang weather wise and it may be a long snowy one before spring. It is a little hard on a few people but generally speaking the moisture is very good for the county.

It would seem that a town this size could provide a place for smaller children and their sleds. Most towns close off one street for coasting and it works very well. The children are going to coast, and if a street could be closed off, a terrible accident might be prevented. If a suitable street is not available, surely a little work some place on the side of Reservoir Hill would make an acceptable coasting hill. This is a project that would be a most worthy one for any club or organization in the community.

 25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 10, 1980

Snow started falling in this area Monday and about four inches of new snow in town by late Wednesday. Snowfall up on Wolf Creek Pass during this storm totals 42 inches.

An observation well that was drilled two years ago by the state started leaking this week and has caused some problems. The well is located at the rear of courthouse and was part of a test drilling program seeking geothermal heat. It is not, however, part of the proposed geothermal heating system now being engineered for the town.

Skiing is excellent at Wolf Creek Ski Area with plenty of new snow and the best base of any ski area in Colorado.



Model helps meet needs of struggling readers

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Getting students the help they need, faster.

That's the goal of a special education model being tried with students struggling with reading in Pagosa schools this year. It's not a separate program, but a different approach sanctioned by the federal government to help children struggling in the classroom.

In the past, elementary special education teacher Marty Borges said, a discrepancy model was used across the country. According to that model, when a gap between what was expected and what was occurring with a student was noticed, a team came together to determine if that child could qualify for special education services. It meant many meetings, legal documentation and the attachment of a certain "label," a specific, diagnosable problem, before services could be accessed.

Those students who didn't meet the appropriate discrepancy fell into a gray area. They might improve and catch up, or continue to fall behind.

"If it goes on a couple of years, say with something like reading, which is taught in the younger years, all of a sudden they could qualify for the services, but by then it might be too late," Borges said.

Under the new model, the teacher's time and effort goes into problem solving for the student rather than defining the gaps.

"The idea is, if a kid needs help, let's get them help," Borges said.

It begins with the child study team, Kahle Charles, elementary school principal said. The team consists of two special education teachers, the school counselor, the school psychologist, an administrator and a regular education teacher.

"When a student is having a problem in the regular classroom and a teacher has attempted a variety of strategies without success, the child study team will meet," Charles said. The child is assigned a mentor - one of the team members - and an intervention strategy is outlined working with the classroom teacher.

Currently, with the program focusing on reading, this could include adding a literacy block to a child's schedule, providing easier curriculum, more reading with a mentor and suggestions for classroom instruction.

Goals are set and weekly assessments are charted to determine progress.

"The biggest advantage is that the child gets the correct help faster," Charles said. Again, the child study team isn't new to the school, but the way they're operating is. "Our whole goal is to get kids not only the appropriate help, but in the cases where the child is qualified for special education or Title 1 services, our goal is to graduate them out of those programs and we're seeing some of that happening."

Borges agreed. "The model has a lot of potential to look at and touch upon more of those kids in the gray area." Since the beginning of the year, one student has tripled the number of words read per minute. Another, reading at a second-grade level in September, is on track to be reading at a fourth-grade level by the end.

Of course, in some cases, students may need help beyond initial interventions. At that point, a full special education evaluation and referral can still be done.

Assessments done now, Borges said, can travel with the child from school to school so that problems can continue to be addressed where necessary.

Under the old method, a child might be tested three or four times a year with results coming in six months apart. That didn't allow teachers much time for adjustment. Now, Borges can chart progress weekly on the students he monitors weekly. Goals are projected. One-minute reading tests are administered. Three or four times a year the baseline is reassessed. All together, he said, it will paint a picture of what works and what doesn't for a student that's much more useful for those trying to provide help.

"We get the results like that," he said, snapping his fingers. It's also clear, readable and something concrete to be able to share with parents. "It's a lot more efficient, and has a lot more potential to address the needs than the old laws."

Another advantage to the new model is implementation doesn't mean a lot of added cost to the district.

It does mean extra time.

Observation, after-school meetings and reviewing assessments have all added to the child study team's workload, Charles said. So far, he's heard no complaints.

"They're really going above and beyond," Charles said. "They're putting in a lot of effort to see that these kids get the help they need."

That's easy to do, Borges said, when something works. Of course, the program will continue to be adjusted as needed. It's still very new.

This new approach to intervention is coming to local schools from the federal government as part of revisions to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act first passed in 1975. Full implementation over all subjects is expected to take four or five years. Already, special education teachers from all the schools have attended several trainings.

An attempt is also being made to schedule a visit from Dr. Mark Shinn for later in the year. Shinn is a professor of education at the University of Oregon and a nationally recognized expert in curriculum-based management.


Asian tsunami relief project in junior high

The Pagosa Springs Junior High School Student Council is inviting each child in Pagosa Springs to donate a dollar to help children victimized by the tsunami in Asia.

Collection cans are in the office of each school building and in the public library. The money will be sent to the International Red Cross.

The project ends Friday, because the need is greatest now.

The student council will match the first $100 collected with a $100 donation. If each child gives a dollar, Pagosa's gift can be significant. Home school and private school students may donate at the public library or the junior high office.

For additional information, call Sally High at the junior high, 264-2794, Ext. 483.

Financial aid seminar set Monday

The counseling department at Pagosa Springs High School will present a financial aid seminar for all seniors, juniors and their parents 7-9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 10.

The program highlights important information about obtaining financial aid using the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for college, trade school, tech school, university, etc.

The program will feature financial aid expert Judy Ransom, from College Invest. She will be co-presenting with the financial aid officers from Fort Lewis College and Adams State College.

This meeting is a must for senior students who are going on to any kind of school after high school.

There is no sign-up sheet or registration forms; just show up. Home-schooled and private school students are welcome to attend.



Backcountry horsemen meet tonight

Four Corners Backcountry Horsemen will meet 7 p.m. today at the La Plata County fairgrounds in Durango.

The Horsemen provide volunteer services to the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and others.

The night's program will be a planning/breakout session to brainstorm projects and events for the coming year.

Membership stands at 186 and prospective members are encouraged to attend.

The Feb. 3 meeting will be in the Presbyterian Church on Mille Street in downtown Bayfield.


Pagosa's Past


Humans have trod Pagosa Country since last ice age

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

Pagosa Country Anglo settlement has been a fairly recent occurrence when compared with the rest of the nation.

Once a year, a sketch of the events leading up to Pagosa Country Anglo settlement seems to be in order.

Give or take a year or two, the first Anglo homes in the vicinity were constructed in 1876-1877.

I use the term Anglo settlement because I have a problem with the oft-repeated claim that whites settled or conquered or tamed the land when the first wagon train filled with East Coast settlers rattled into town. That would be the 1876-1877 date already mentioned in this column.

Those Anglos were, in fact, walking on land already trod by Ute and Navajo and other Native Americans for several hundred years. The fact that the land was uncivilized or unsettled would have been news to those first occupants, who seemed to know their way around pretty well and thought the intensity of natural resource alteration and consumption was just fine.

Even Hispanics from Nuevo Mexico, though they had not made permanent homes on the land, were well acquainted with Pagosa Country.

According to archaeologists, the human race has occupied at least parts of Pagosa Country pretty much since the last ice age, circa 7-10,000 A.D. Pieces of worked stone have been found along the East Fork of the San Juan River and in other mountain passes.

Before the Utes and Navajos arrived, Anasazi almost certainly occupied benches along the San Juan and Piedra Rivers back to the time of Christ, maybe sooner.

Current thinking is that Navajo and Ute arrived in the Southwest, including Pagosa Country, maybe one or two hundred years before the Spanish. That would date the first Navajo and Ute presence in the 13th or 14th century.

The earliest confirmed, for sure, Spanish entry into Pagosa Country that I know about was the Juan Rivera visit in 1765. There are indications that Hispanics from New Mexico might have traded with Indians in Pagosa Country prior to 1765, but almost certainly not as soon as Coronado in 1540 or even Diego de Vargas in 1692.

During the early 1820s, fur trappers from the United States worked the San Juan and its tributaries for beaver furs.

At about the same time, New Mexico Hispanics commenced trade with California Hispanics over a land route passing through Pagosa Country. Fur trappers moved along the same route to reach trapping sites in Utah and the Northern Rockies and even California. A few Anglo California settlers with roots in the United States followed the same route to California.

The first written description of Pagosa Country by an Anglo (U.S. citizen) was made by Capt. John Macomb of the U.S. Army following an 1859 tour. The land route between New Mexico and California was now known as the Old Spanish Trail. Macomb's task was to determine if the route was suitable for a transcontinental railroad. It wasn't.

Macomb's presence was made possible by the Mexican American War fought in the mid-1840s. As a result of that war, the United States acquired all of New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah and Nevada, and the western half of Colorado. Texas abandoned its independent status and joined the United States at about the same time, but not necessarily because of the war.

In any case, following the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, trappers, miners and immigrants to the West Coast fanned out across the Rocky Mountains.

In 1860, prospectors discovered gold in the San Juan Mountains near today's Silverton. That discovery precipitated the events leading to construction of those first Anglo cabins in Pagosa Country in 1876-1877.



Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture











































Weekend snow may augment winter storm's totals

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Still searching for an achievable New Year's resolution?

Suggestion: "I will spend more quality time with my snow shovel."

Thanks to recent winter storm activity across Pagosa Country, such notions should be easily fulfilled before the weekend.

Between Monday night and Wednesday morning, areas near town received as much as a foot of new snow.

At higher elevations, snow totals were measured in feet rather than inches.

For example, Wolf Creek Ski Area received nearly four feet of fresh powder within the past seven days, including 22 inches between Tuesday and Wednesday alone.

And forecasts for the Four Corners region provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction indicate snow levels may continue to rise into next week following an expected lull in heavy snowfall today.

Highs today should not escape the 20s; lows are predicted to range from zero to 10.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday call for mostly-cloudy skies, a 30-percent chance for snow, highs in the 30s and lows in the 5-15 range.

The forecasts for Monday and Tuesday include a 20-percent chance for snow, highs in the upper 20s and lows around 10.

Wednesday should bring highs in the 30s, a 40-percent chance for snow and lows near zero.

The average high temperature last week in Pagosa Springs was 39 degrees. The average low was 23. Moisture amounted to 2.63 inches.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit snow depth of 94 inches, a midway depth of 87 inches and year-to-date total of 159 inches.

For updates on snow and road conditions at the ski area, visit the Web at www.wolfcreekski.com.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is "high," with increasing risks probable due to ongoing snowfall.

According to SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan Basin, as of Wednesday, was 137 percent of average.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture describes regional drought conditions as "moderate."

San Juan River flow through town ranged from a low of about 85 cubic feet per second to a high of approximately 205 cubic feet per second last week.

The river's historic median flow for the week of Jan. 6 is roughly 50 cubic feet per second.