January 20, 2005
Front Page


Downtown plan debated as 'Vision' goes public

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

An idea. A concept. A draft.

That refrain was repeated time and again by facilitators at a public meeting to take comments on a proposed Pagosa Springs downtown master plan Thursday night.

Some heard. Some didn't. The ensuing debate circled not only around the conceptual ideas tacked to large easels around the room, but the very process used to put the plan on the table.

Mayor Ross Aragon opened the meeting before a standing room only crowd in the Pagosa Springs Community Center. He asked for focus. He asked for order. He asked people to get beyond the rumor mill.

"This meeting is about community participation," he said, adding later, "So help me God, we're all doing this because we care about this community."

Town Manager Mark Garcia set the stage for the rest of the meeting which was structured to allow people to attend two of five break-out sessions on different topics addressed in the draft plan. The plan is focused on 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. Ideas address, in part, traffic concerns, commercial and residential development, park and river improvements, concepts for beautifying entry and exit points in town, architectural elements, parking and pedestrian movements.

Town population in the last decade has remained fairly stable at around 1,700 people, Garcia said. Because of how the town has annexed in the past, major growth has centered on commercial properties. Soon, that could all change.

Garcia said in the last few months, the town planning and building departments have seen requests that could mean as many as 250 new housing units - sheltering an estimated 625 citizens - inside the town.

That, Garcia said, would equal a 37-percent increase in population. In 2004, $11 million in commercial and residential growth was recorded inside town boundaries, topping the previous record of $7 million set in 2000.

To address growth, including big boxes, impacts to infrastructure and services, the town has started a comprehensive planning process expected to take about 18 months. The downtown master plan could become one part of that process - if approved at some point by the Pagosa Springs Town Council. That hasn't happened yet. In fact, the council hasn't even considered it.

The proposal was developed by the Community Vision Council, a group of both public and private individuals formed in February 2004 to work on growth issues. It was first presented to the public in November. The goal of Thursday's meeting was to allow the public to comment on specific areas of concern.

That, they did.

Chuck McGuire, who identified himself as a local business owner, said the town was getting, "the cart before the horse.

"I want to know how the representatives on the vision council were selected," he said. "Shouldn't the entire community have a say in the representation?" He also wanted to know what was so broken about the current direction of the town that necessitated the changes proposed.

"This is your plan," Garcia said. "We're going to take it through a town process." At another point he suggested the audience look at the plans as blank sheets ready for the community to comment on, and shape.

"Then turn them over and start from there," one person said.

Some of the most common concerns centered around cost of improvements, how to maintain the historical character of Pagosa Springs, affordability and traffic.

Several people, including Ron Gustafson representing the American Legion, spoke against an idea of closing off Hermosa Street. One of the ideas in the plan proposed reclaiming the pavement as park space. Parking issues and access were two of Gustafson's concerns.

"The elderly don't want to turn left onto U.S. 160," he said.

Garcia said two advantages to the idea would be increasing overall park acres and eliminating the safety concern of crossing Hermosa to get from ballfields to the bathroom.

More questions centered on the county courthouse area. Another idea presented in the master plan was development of a promenade along with commercial and residential structures where the county courthouse now stands.

Mamie Lynch, a county commissioner and a member of the vision council, said the county has known for several years more space is needed, especially in regard to the jail. Recently, the commissioners issued a request for proposals to address both the sale of the courthouse and construction of new facilities. Proposals are not due until the end of the month and no decision has been made.

"They're going to sell the courthouse it sounds like to me," one woman said from the audience.

Traffic issues and a bypass around downtown were also discussed. Among those gathered to talk about the neighborhoods, questions touched on 8th Street improvements, the idea of a commercial center near 1st Street, location of the historical museum and condemnation.

Town Planner Tamra Allen said condemnation is not something the town council is considering. Regarding parks people again discussed Hermosa Street, several safety issues and river restoration. Discussion about the schools, at least in the second session, revolved around safety and location.

"The school board will guide and motivate moving this discussion forward," Lisa Scott said, reiterating that nothing on any of the plans was set in stone, or even in sand. Final decisions on all elements would be made by elected officials through further planning and study.

The need for a "theme" was the topic of conversation in another room. Consultants from Hart Howerton, who drew up the conceptual plan, suggested the concept of a gateway to the national parks, developing that idea using local materials, natural landscaping and some unified architectural styles.

Some suggested some type of consistency might be beneficial. Others spoke in favor of the current hodgepodge that makes Pagosa unique. Still others wanted no change at all.

"We don't want to see all these changes," one woman said. "We moved here to live in a small town, to be free, to live how you want to live. You want to make it like it is in a big city. We need to progress, but progress slowly."

Angela Atkinson, the facilitator of the session, said the master plan is meant to serve the people's needs and to help start a discussion about how the town wants to progress at a time when something proactive can still be done.

"Growth is going to hit Pagosa Springs like a steamroller," she said. "Growth takes that choice away from you."

Several times throughout the meeting people asked if the town charter could be changed to allow a larger segment of the population the opportunity to vote on the future direction of the core area.

"The solution to this is for you to stay involved in the process," Garcia told the group at the end of the meeting. "Let your elected officials know you have concerns with the development."

Now that the conceptual plan has been turned over to the town, Garcia said, it will first be considered by the town's planning commission at another public hearing. That date has not been scheduled at this point.

Written comments on the plan are still being accepted by:

- 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.


Public to get preliminary economic impact report

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The local economy will be the focus of a public meeting Jan. 25, 7-9 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

Economists Dan Guimond and Andy Knudtsen, of Economic and Planning Systems, Inc., will facilitate the meeting. Guimond and Knudtsen are consultants hired by the Community Vision Council to complete a baseline economic study and fiscal impact analysis for Pagosa Springs. Regionally, they are also participating in master plan work in Telluride and consulting on the new Mercy Medical Center hospital in Durango.

As part of the three-month study, the consultants will gather and evaluate data related to housing, jobs, tourism, as well as current and future demand for retail and commercial development throughout the county.

Preliminary data from their research will be presented Tuesday prior to opening the meeting to public comment. Topics for discussion could include: economic impacts of growth, jobs and employment, retail and commercial issues, the arts and cultural amenities, recreation and tourism, and financing and fiscal impacts.

The second part of the commissioned study is a fiscal impact analysis to consider the community's current financial condition against future capital needs. The completed product, expected to be available sometime in March, will also provide a plan that identifies alternative courses of action for the town, including strategies to generate revenues for improvements.

The big box task force, a group of citizens appointed by the town to look at large-scale retail development impacts is awaiting results of the study before making its final recommendations to both the town and county boards.

Angela Atkinson, executive director for the vision council, said the study will help create a blueprint for funding future capital improvements in the town as well as provide much-needed basic financial information.

For more information, contact the Community Visions Council, P.O. Box 3997, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or send comments to info@communityvisioncouncil.org.


Special force halts domestic threat

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A man who threatened suicide after allegedly kidnapping his 3-year-old son was arrested safely following a standoff with law enforcement officers Sunday morning.

According to Archuleta County Sheriff's Department reports, William Hill Cocke, 41, of Pagosa Springs, surrendered peacefully after 90 minutes of negotiations. He is being held in Archuleta County Jail on $100,000 bond on charges of kidnapping, burglary and violation of a restraining order.

The incident began about 10 p.m. Saturday. Deputies responded to a domestic violence call on Lake Forest Circle. Cocke apparently broke down the door of his estranged wife's home with an ax. An argument ensued and Cocke left with his son despite a restraining order.

After interviews, deputies left Cocke a phone message. He returned the call, threatening to kill himself if officers tried to find him.

"Through an anonymous tip we came up with the subject's location," Lt. T.J. Fitzwater said. At that point, a joint Special Enforcement Division made up of Pagosa Springs police officers and deputies was alerted. An assessment was made and negotiations began about 10 a.m. Sunday. About an hour and a half later, Cocke surrendered. The child was unharmed. Cocke was armed with a hunting knife.

Undersheriff Bob Grandchamp said the incident was a prime example of why the Special Enforcement Team was created.

"Our primary concern was the child," he said. "With the suspect's state of mind, and the situation, we wanted the child returned to the mother peacefully and that's what we were able to do."

The joint Special Enforcement Detail is a team of officers who have volunteered time for specialized training in hostage and barricade situations as well as executing high-risk search warrants.


Mary Fisher Center debate continued

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

All hands on deck.

That's what Upper San Juan Health Service District Chairman Pam Hopkins wanted.

It wasn't going to happen Tuesday night at the scheduled regular board meeting. Two board members were out of town on business. One was taking a planned vacation. That left four to debate the district's continuing financial struggles and the status of the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center.

"I think it's just too important a decision for four people to make," Hopkins said. "I think everyone needs to be there." To accomplish that, the meeting was postponed until tomorrow, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. in the board room at Fire Station 1 on North Pagosa Boulevard.

Agenda items will include a review of the district's financial state, a review of outsource billing contracts and staff and committee reports. Based on additional financial data, the board will also reconsider its decision to keep the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center open until at least Feb. 15.

At a special meeting Jan. 8, the board crunched the numbers available and approved a motion to keep the doors open at the clinic until March 31 provided the finances still look good Feb. 15. The board made the decision in part because of a property tax check expected after Feb. 10.

Since then, board member Jerry Valade has worked the numbers yet again and created a model that depicts the district short of funds to make payroll Feb. 4 even with a $50,000 line of credit from Citizens Bank. His model includes covering payroll taxes and benefits and will be discussed Friday.

Should the Mary Fisher Medical Center close as far as the family practice goes, the district remains legally obligated to continue medical oversight for EMS.


 Inside The Sun


Recent winter storm one for the record books

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

It didn't qualify as No. 1, but did put a dent in the record books.

Based on roughly 50 years of data, the third of three winter storms that paralyzed much of Archuleta County from late December through early last week packed enough punch to add another chapter to the annals of Wolf Creek Pass.

An official report to the Colorado Department of Transportation from Mark Mueller, avalanche forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, states the storm accounted for 26 avalanches near the pass, and 14 of the slides reached U.S. 160.

Due to the amount of debris carried onto the highway, the pass was closed from the morning of Jan. 8 until the evening of Jan. 12.

As a result, "This storm is ranked sixth with 1,925 feet of the highway centerline covered," says Mueller.

The report also indicates the storm qualified for top-10 status in the categories of total snowfall and water content.

"Wolf Creek Pass received 69 inches of snowfall with eight inches of water content from Jan. 8 through Jan. 12," says Mueller.

"The 69 inches of snowfall ranks it ninth, but the eight inches of water content ranks it sixth," he adds.

Says Mueller, "This storm can be compared to the major storm of February 1993 in most respects, except that Wolf Creek was closed for less time (this year)," - 96 hours compared to 113 hours in 1993.

Providing a catalyst for the avalanche activity spawned by the recent storm was snowfall left behind by a pair of lesser yet significant weather systems which began to roll over Wolf Creek Pass during the last week of December.

"Snow fell for 15 consecutive days from Dec. 29 to Jan. 12, with 120 inches of snowfall and 14.4 inches of water content accumulating," says Mueller. "This is more than one-third of an entire winter's average accumulation at this site."

According to Mueller, were it not for mitigation efforts, the events of Jan. 8-12 could have occupied a higher rung on the historical ladder.

"A very successful avalanche control mission on Jan. 7 ... probably kept avalanches from being larger by reducing the amount of unstable snow before this final storm began," concludes Mueller.


County explains snow removal policies

By Dick McKee

Archuleta County public works director

Winter maintenance/snow removal is a very important function of the Archuleta County Road and Bridge Department.

Our crew members are dedicated to the task of maintaining the roads under Archuleta County's jurisdiction. This responsibility does not include state highways, streets in incorporated areas (metro districts) or private roads.

An average 3,000 miles of driving is required to plow the roads after one storm. Each equipment operator averages 150-200 driving miles for each storm day, at a maximum speed of 25 m.p.h.

The road crew reports to work at 2 a.m. during snowstorms with significant snowfall to clear the main roads before the community wakes up to start the day, to get to work, school, etc.


The county road right-of-way averages 50-60 feet from the centerline of the roadway. This area is needed for snow storage, drainage and signage. At times it is necessary to plow snow well off the road into the right-of-way to make room for the snow from next storm.

Homeowners and residents should be careful not to place in the right-of-way any landscaping or other objects, which could be damaged by the plows, or that could damage our plows.

The county is not responsible for removing snow piled around mailboxes, newspaper boxes or for damage that may be caused to trash containers, etc. placed within the right-of-way. This is the responsibility of the property owners.


Archuleta County is a thriving community with a great demand on the transportation system. Our main roads are vital to the smooth flow of traffic.

Main roads and school bus routes are our top priority.

Secondary priority is given to main roads through subdivisions, followed by other, lower-volume roads.

Our maintenance responsibilities include all county and public roads within Archuleta County. Due to the size of this area, and depending on the amount of snowfall, some roads may not be plowed the day of a storm.


Homeowners and residents are responsible for maintaining their own driveways and parking areas.

We regret that snow must be pushed off the road into driveways, but there is no choice.

The roadway and driveway entrances will be cleared as soon as time and weather allows clean-up operations to take place, usually two to three days after the storm.

Plowing across roads

When clearing your driveway, either yourself or with the aid of a private contractor, be aware that it is unlawful to push or throw snow into or across the roadway. Your snow must be disposed of on your own property.

Snow pushed into the road not only makes plowing more difficult for road crews but can also cause a dangerous obstacle in the roadway and can be a nuisance to your neighbors.

This law will be strictly enforced, and fines will apply: Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S. Part 3 43-5-301) states: "No person or corporation shall place upon a road, street or highway any object so as to damage the same or to cause a hazard to vehicular traffic. Under this law you can be fined if found guilty, you can also be held liable to any person, unit of government, or corporation in a civil action for any damages resulting there from."

Snow that is pushed or blown onto or across the road reduces the amount of storage used by the road and bridge department, which causes the road to become narrow. Snow left in the road is often picked up by the plow, carried along the street until it reaches your neighbor's driveway, and is then deposited there for them to deal with.


Parking problems are compounded by winter snow and a little extra care should be taken to avoid them.

Roads must be plowed when it snows, and cars parked in the way make it impossible to do this adequately. It is, in fact, unlawful to park on county roads. Your home, apartment or condominium is required to have adequate off-road parking.

A road obstructed by parked cars may not get plowed or the cars may be towed at the owner's expense.

Always remember - slow down and drive according to the road conditions.

The life you save may be your own.


Fire officials seek help in clearing hydrants

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

In the midst of all the white snow, local firefighters are hoping people will help them see red - the red of over 1,200 fire hydrants dotting the district that is.

"We're asking people to get together with their neighbors to shovel the hydrants, to keep them cleaned out," Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Warren Grams said.

All hydrants are supposed to be equipped with a red flag that sticks above the snow. Many times these are bent, Grams said, making it difficult to find hydrants in the middle of the night. Berms piled up as roads are cleared can also bury the small flags.

"We simply do not have the resources to shovel out all the hydrants," Grams said. "We hope people will help us out by adopting their local hydrant and keeping it cleaned out."


Durango schools to host regional education panel

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Durango school officials have invited members of the board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint to participate in a wide-ranging legislative panel Jan. 29.

The Pagosa officials will be among representatives of eight area public school districts and Fort Lewis College conferring with state educational and legislative leaders.

Already confirming they will participate are state board of education members Pam Sukla and Jared Polis, chairman. Also on the panel will be state Rep. Mark Larson of Cortez and state Sen. Jim Isgar of Hesperus.

Panelists have been asked to update boards and superintendents of the participating districts on important issues under consideration by the legislature and/or the state board of education as well as respond to prepared questions that will be provided to them in advance.

Topics such as changes in the state plan for No Child Left Behind, simplifying the state's three accountability systems, raising the age of compulsory attendance to 17, TABOR and funding issues will likely be on the agenda.

The panel will convene at 1:30 p.m. in the District 9-R board room at 201 E. 12th St., Durango.

School visits

Following a successful visit to the elementary school last month, the board last week set its sights for a visit to the high school next Monday where they will divide time in the mathematics and language arts department, then meet with the student council.

The next trip after that will tentatively be to the junior high Feb. 16 or 23 with board members alternating in at least three classrooms to see the program in action.

A visit to the intermediate school will be planned at the next board meeting.

Grant sought

The district board has approved a grant application draft by Terry Alley seeking $125,000 per year for the next three years from the Reading First Grant program.

The amount requested would fund the Read to Achieve and Title 1 programs in Pagosa Springs Elementary School.

Several staffing changes were approved at the same Jan. 11 meeting, including naming:

- Rick Schur as junior high assistant boys basketball coach;

- Dan Bahn as a volunteer assistant high school baseball coach; and

- Kristen Finn, Kitty Lee and Nicolle Looper as substitute teachers.

In other action, the board approved new or revised policies dealing with sick leave, sick leave bank rights, and a long discussed new social studies curriculum.


Request for mail service decision still unanswered

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Confusion still clouds the continued requests for mail service in Pagosa Lakes subdivisions.

Walt Lukasik, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association general manager, told the association board of directors Jan. 13 that despite earlier data from postal officials, the use of individual mail boxes at roadside may not be a dead issue.

He said there appears to be conflicting policies over private mail box usage and between the U.S. Postal Service the county's road and bridge department.

Lukasik said he has written a letter to the local postmaster clarifying the position of the association which asks the postal service to spell out the issues so property owners can be informed of processes necessary for them to be entitled to place individual boxes for mail delivery.

He told the board he had received no answer to the letter but hopes both the post office and road and bridge will provide data which will allow written instructions to property owners.

The problem stems from requests by several home owners for cluster box installation that have been ruled out because of the inaccessibility of sites; and of several homeowners being told they could have delivery to a box at the roadway and their property line while others apparently were denied.

Still others have been told they qualify for free mail boxes in the downtown post office, but are reluctant to make the drive into town and back for their daily mail.

On another continuing issue, the board heard that owners of Village Lake properties lying inside the buoy line are reviewing a draft of an agreement proposal submitted in December.

The buoy line has been removed from the lake for the winter and association staff is awaiting reply from the property owners on the agreement proposal. "It appears," Lukasik said, "some like the proposal and others do not."

In other action, the board:

- heard that 4,720 statements have been mailed to owners for 2005 assessments, the number including statements for multiple properties under single ownership in a single statement. Lukasik noted "some payments already have come in."

- learned the annual audit of association financial activity for 2004 began Jan. 13 with Michael C. Branch the auditor, and completion expected in two-to-three weeks.

- heard discussion of the ongoing "Property Owners Involvement and Input Initiative" and reviewed minutes of the steering group's Jan. 7 meeting. Lukasik said Chris Phillips has been a point person for the group and is developing a mission statement on how to reach property owners and what objectives they are expected to establish. Director Gerald Smith reiterated an oft-stated demand that the citizens develop objectives, not a mission statement. "I don't want to see verbiage going back and forth that detracts from the goal of determining what people want this area to be like in the future," he said.

- on the recommendation of Lukasik, agreed to retain Orten and Hindman of Denver as association counsel for the fifth year, with a $10 per month increase in retainer fee.


Overdue book fines will go to tsunami relief

By Barb Draper

Special to The SUN

Do you have a fine at the library? Do you have overdue books you have been meaning to return?

The week of Jan. 24 - 30 will be a FINE time for you to take care of these obligations.

For this one week, Ruby Sisson Library, in cooperation with American Red Cross and other libraries across Colorado, will donate all money received from fines to the Tsunami Relief Fund.

This is one way we can show our support for other people of the world who are faced with such tragedy.

The immediate American Red Cross focus is on getting lifesaving help to millions affected by the tsunami. This includes distributing culturally appropriate food like rice, canned fish and lentils to millions of people. Safe water and sanitation are priorities and the Red Cross will be rehabilitating water and sanitation systems to ensure that people have clean water and water disposal systems as quickly as possible.

Red Cross workers will also work in the crucial area of disease prevention, vaccinating and protecting millions against measles, polio and malaria, while also helping to provide mental health support for those suffering emotional trauma. Critical relief supplies like tents, hygiene kits and cooking utensils will also be distributed as part of the Red Cross response.

Don't owe any fines?

Interested in contributing a little something more?

Under an agreement with the Red Cross, participating libraries will also serve as a collection point for donations. Please help us help these victims.


County-PLPOA animal pact under extension; two changes pending

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A new animal control service contract between Archuleta County and Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association is being delayed pending purchase of a new vehicle.

In the meantime, the 2004 contract is now on its second 14-day extension after action by the PLPOA board of directors Jan. 13.

The board agreed to two major changes in the contract, expected to be approved by the county at a special meeting Jan. 25.

The changes include an increase in the monthly service charge to PLPOA from $2,716 (there was no increase in 2004) to $2,905, plus 15 cents per mile traveled in the subdivisions which constitute the association; and the purchase by the county of a new truck for the job, with 75 percent of it's use specifically within the association bounds with a monthly use fee for the truck of $268.

Under the pending agreement the county would own, insure, maintain and provide a garage for the new vehicle. The agreement regarding the truck would be a five-year pact meaning a use fee payout for PLPOA over that time of just over $16,000, in addition to the annual service fee and the mileage charge.

What does PLPOA get for that money?

Statistics for 2004 give some idea of the load in the member subdivisions.

For example, in 2004, 56 reports were taken in the county and 48 in Pagosa Lakes subdivisions.

Those reports led to 67 dogs impounded from Pagosa Lakes and 66 in the rest of the county. Five cats were impounded from Pagosa Lakes and two from the rest of the county; Five cruelty cases here handled in association cases and three elsewhere; 68 dogs were returned to Pagosa Lakes owners and 48 to others in the county; 99 verbal warnings were issued in Pagosa lakes subdivisions and 56 elsewhere in the county; 33 written warnings were issued in association incidents and 23 in the rest of the county; 266 miscellaneous contacts were made in association territory and 169 elsewhere; six summons were issued in Pagosa Lakes and seven in the balance of the county; and 144 calls from dispatch were made to the animal service officer for incidents on association properties compared to 139 in the balance of the county.

At the request of Walt Lukasik, general manager, the board granted him the authority to sign the extension agreement and to make commitment for the contract when the county is ready since that point will come before the next regular board meeting.

Association treasurer Fred Uehling will verify the terms are as presented before sign-off is made.


Thirty-three with perfect marks top IS honor roll

Ten fifth-graders and 23 sixth-graders with perfect 4.0 averages lead the Pagosa Springs Intermediate School Honor for the second grading period.

Heading the all-A list released Thursday by Principal Mark DeVoti were fifth-graders Matthew Baker, Leslie Baughman, Zachary Bramble, Edgar Garcia, Mary Haynes, Samantha Hunts, Natasha Medici, Austin Miller, Kristi Plum and Silas Thompson.

Recording perfect marks as sixth-graders were Amanda Barnes, Briana Bryant, Kayla Catlin, Gabrielle Dill, Andrea Fautheree, Trace Gross.

Also, Shaun Jackson, Shea Johnson, Joshua Long, Kelsi Lucero, Zachary Lucero, Viridiana Marinelarena, NaCole Martinez, Dakota Miller, Danielle Pajak.

Also, Crystal Purcell, Kimberly Rapp, Sandra Salas, Erin Serrano, Garrett Stoll, Sienna Stretton, Sarah Stuckwish and Alisha Turner.

The honor roll also included 47 other fifth-graders and 45 sixth-graders on the A-B list with no grade lower than a B for the nine-week period.

Fifth-graders listed include Mattie Aiello, Kyle Anderson Andresen, Jesse Aragon, Sydney Aragon, Sigifredo Araujo, Moses Audetat-Mirabel, Tiffany Bachtel.

Also, Nate Bard, Laura Bell, Sarah Bir, Zachary Brinkmann, Evan Brookens, William Brown, Torey Bybee, Keegan Caves, Kyle Danielson, Brooklyn DuCharme.

Also, Alexandra Fortney, Brandy Fowler, Zoe Fulco, Whitney Gallegos, Dylon Garcia, Brooke Hampton, Skylar Haynes, Alexandra Herrera, Sierra Hewitt.

Also, Zachary Irons, Bryan Miller, Charisse Morris, Dane Murdock, Desiree Pastin, Eurisko PeBenito, Daniel Puskas, Reahna Ray, Michael Reynders.

Also, Julio Rodriguez, Samuel Romain, Tyson Ross, Kelsy Sellers, Destiny Soto, Tori Strohecker, Mariah Vasquez, Eli Velasquez, Terrell Wagner, Cheyann Walker, Jennie White and Rebecca Zeller.

Sixth-graders on the A-B list were Rhyana Allison, Kelsea Anderson, Luke Baxstrom, Angela Brousseau, Christopher Brown, Ashley Calhoun, Ryann Charles.

Also Denise Espinosa, Michelle Garcia, Chanlor Humphrey, Mitch Johnson, Tiana Johnson, Trent Johnson, Hope Krogh-Forman, Mele LeLievre, Taylor Loran, Irene Madrid, Cody Madsen.

Also, Trace Maltsberger, Christopher Martinez, Kaitlin Mastin, Michael Mathias, Tayler McKee, Caitlin Mueller, Rocio Palma, Roxana Palma, Cy Parker.

Also, Mareyna Pillard, Erika Pitcher, Rache Prather, Ernest Romero, Paige Rosebeck, Randell Rudock, Rebecca Schaefer, Shelby Schofield, Rachel Shaw.

Also, Joseph Shovelton, Justine Smith, Kayleen Smith, Paige Swinehart, Jefferson Walsh, Maegan Walters, Thomas Watkins, Nicholas Zeller and Ashlyn Zubillaga.


Planning Commission

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission will open a regular meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, in the county commissioners' meeting room, in the Archuleta County Courthouse.

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission agenda includes:

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

- election of officers;

- adoption of bylaws;

- other business that may come before the commission;

- adjournment.

The Archuleta County Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, 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;

- adoption of by-laws;

- trails plan amendment;

- 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 its findings to the planning commission;

- review of the Dec. 8, 2004, planning commission minutes;

- other business that may come before the commission;

- adjournment.


Blood draw slated here Jan. 27

Recycle Life -- give blood.

That is the plea from United Blood Services as it looks toward the only scheduled local draw here in the second half of January.

Donors will be 2-6 p.m. welcomed 2-6 p.m. Jan. 27 at Mountain Heights Baptist Church, 1044 Park Ave.

Remember that current identification is required of all potential donors.

And, you can sign-up for drives at www.unitedbloodservices.org


Historic building survey focus of meeting tonight

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

It's time to take another peak into Pagosa's past.

Tonight at 6 p.m. the public is invited to Town Hall for a presentation of findings of a second historic building survey within town boundaries.

Jill Seyfarth, of Cultural Resources Planning, of Durango, was hired by the Town of Pagosa Springs to complete a second round of historic surveys using about $11,000 from a State Historic Fund grant.

About two years ago, an initial survey of historic structures was done on about 100 buildings in town, including those on Pagosa, San Juan and Lewis streets. This is a follow-up, focusing in general on the South Pagosa neighborhood from Sixth to Ninth streets. Some other properties, including the Pagosa Springs Intermediate School, were also surveyed.

"This was an attempt to identify the building trends in the area, significant architectural styles and to get a grasp for the history of the South Pagosa area," Town Planner Tamra Allen said. "The original depot and a sawmill were in this general neighborhood."

Copies of individual surveys will be available to property owners from Allen at Town Hall following the public meeting. For more information, call 264-4151, Ext. 235.



An asset to all

Dear Editor:

Speaking for the Library District Board of Trustees, we are saddened by Lenore Bright's retirement.

She has made a choice that is in her best interests and we wish her many fulfilling and relaxing days in her retirement.

Lenore has been and will continue to be an asset to the library and the community in many ways.

She has generously enhanced more lives than she could ever know.

Lenore and Gil moved to Pagosa in 1980 and she immediately became active in the library.

In 1983, while the library was still located in Town Hall, she was hired as director. Without her superior organizing skills, gracious demeanor and tenacity, we would not have the facility we have today.

And without her dedication to the director's position, we would not be pursuing the expansion project currently in the works.

This board wishes to express gratitude to the entire staff whose competence and dedication to the library will carry us through this transition period. Staff has stepped forward to assure that the library will continue to operate smoothly.

Shirley Iverson and Peggy Bergon will share the interim director position with solid support from staff members Barb Draper, Jackie Welch, Nancy Cole and Phyllis Wheaton.

Planning for the expansion and renovation of the building is on track. The board of trustees is working through the review and approval process as we anticipate an early spring construction start.

Joan Rohwer, John Steinert,

Glenn Raby, Scotty Gibson,

Kerry Dermody and Jack Ellis


Given the business

Dear Editor:

Last Thursday evening I attended the town meeting scheduled for the public to review the proposed town plan. It was immediately obvious that the strategy of the meeting was to focus concern on the details rather than the big picture. Words were used to describe the plan such as possible, optional and eventual. More appropriate adjectives might be immediate and devastating.

Pagosa Springs is already under siege from David Brown a California developer who has purchased much (maybe most) of the riverfront and downtown property. Already, longtime businesses are closing. Buildings are standing empty. Evicted tenants are scrambling for new locations. The developer, incidentally, is also the money and driving force behind the community plan.

In an effort to conceal this fact, Mark Garcia, town manager, blatantly evaded and ignored repeated questions about the financing of the plan and the Community Vision Council itself. Eventually he resorted to telling the crowd that this information was available on the town Web site although this was patently untrue.

Lisa Scott, in charge of the "schools group" also emphasized the fact that the future of the local schools was up to the school board and their appointed task force. She failed to disclose that this task force was an adjunct of the CVC and that she was the chair.

No one can argue that Pagosa Springs doesn't need a long term plan or that we can avoid growth by sticking our heads in the sand. Town officials and spokespersons, however, are promoting as public a plan bought and paid for by the same billionaire currently buying up our town lock, stock and barrel.

Pagosans, this is not a community plan. This is a business plan and just guess who is being given the business.

Kelly Carson Evans

Editor's note: Mr. Brown is a Colorado resident. The town has not yet acted officially on proposals reviewed at last week's meeting.


Tear up Pagosa

Dear Editor:

Here we go again. Let's tear up Pagosa.

Now it's our schools, shops, etc. You say they're inadequate but they've been there since I can remember. We all went to school there.

As for being inadequate, all the millions you're spending could be spent to repair the sewer, etc.

There's other places for parking (in the middle of town, that's not appealing).

This is a very beautiful town. Let's keep it that way, a town, not another city. That's what makes Pagosa Pagosa, it's uniqueness. Most of you came here because it wasn't a city. Why change what's not broken?

P.S. You're breaking our hearts. Happy Valentine's Day.

Louise Gallegos


Good samaritan

Dear Editor:

On Jan. 5, we were in a one-car accident on Yellow Jacket Pass. The vehicle we were traveling in, slid on an ice patch and rolled down a steep embankment, landing upside down in the creek.

A very good samaritan, Gary White, of Pagosa Springs, was first on the scene. He immediately came to our assistance and waited with us until help arrived. We wish to publicly thank him for being kind and compassionate to total strangers. Here is our thank you letter to Mr. White:

Dear Gary,

Your unconditional concern for us when we were in a single-vehicle accident is a gesture that we will never forget. There is hope for mankind because of your kindness which helped us cope with our ordeal. We are deeply humbled because you made sure we were kept warm by having us stay in your pickup until emergency vehicles arrived. You also offered words of encouragement which eased our stressful feelings of dealing with the accident. We are sure that you had pressing matters but you chose to stay until were in good hands. We have told the members of our families, friends and associates of our accident and we always include your assistance. Thank you so much.

Our daughter-in-law and her child are doing fine. I am also doing fine. Marti still has soreness in her neck from the whiplash but eventually it will go away. Not only did we survive but we will not suffer long-term physical effects. Needless to say the vehicle was totaled.

May God bless you and your family.


Jerry and Marti Gilmore

Kayenta, Ariz.



Dear Editor:

I attended a meeting last night here in Pagosa Springs and it was brought up that in Pagosa we have our own Prince Harrys.

Where? Here at Pagosa Springs High School.

We have a great Jewish family here in Pagosa and their children attend the high school and the junior high school. These kids experience swastikas in the yearbooks from other Pagosa students. Also, the daughter experiences a very tough road at the junior high school from other students.

This behavior is pretty sad, and totally unnecessary. I would ask the parents in the community who have kids in our schools to be very aware that this is going on; to make sure that it is not their kids participating in this behavior; and, if it is, that they take the time to explain how hurtful, harmful and hateful this behavior is.

Also, I am sure our budgets do not allow us to visit concentration camps, but the Web supplies plenty of that information for parents to share with their children.

Let's welcome the diversity in Pagosa and keep it here.

Sue Liescheidt

Editor's note: The father of the youngsters mentioned in your letter was contacted. He indicated the matter was brought to school officials and that he was satisfied with the way it was handled, describing the schools' response as "professional, with the proper amount of concern." It was determined the incidents were not an example of hate crime, a conclusion with which the father agreed, but rather the actions of people who have not been exposed to a diverse population.


The cornerstone

Dear Editor:

While we are joyful for the entire Bright family that our beloved Lenore will finally get some well-deserved rest, we are heartbroken to know that she will no longer be the rock we have all known has been sustaining the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library.

It just occurred to me - she will always be the cornerstone.

With great affection,

Mary and Eva Loudermilk

Klamath Falls, Oregon



Dear Editor:

Again, the left fail to use real fact in their letters, and instead blurt out the same deceptive liberal rhetoric that lost them the election. Mr. Buslepp's unoriginal claim that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction is, in my mind, still open for debate. What's even more ludicrous is his statement that America was attacking a nation (Iraq) that "isn't attacking anyone."

Where were you when Saddam savagely slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own people, over 1 million Iranians, and over 1,000 Kuwaitis? Is this not the same brutal tyrant who has defied 17 U.N. Security Council resolutions over the past 12 years? Is it not the same man who offered $25,000 to each family of suicide bombers in hopes that it would increase amount of attacks? (Associated Press, "Iraq Pays Palestinians Compensation," 9/13/02).

If the liberals had had their way, that same man would still be free and rampant in the Middle East. Thanks to President Bush, he is now in captivity. I thank God that dangerous terrorists are being brought to justice. Does the fact that bin Laden's recent videos warn America against voting for Bush tell us something? If the most deadly and sought-after terrorist is in hiding because of America's forces and is angered at President Bush, is that not a positive sign that we are doing something right?

Mr. Morris' claim that Bush is ruining Social Security is a joke. There are so many problems with Social Security right now, that if something is not done, the whole system will cave in on itself. Today, even the oldest baby boomers are still four years away from claiming their benefits. Political experts predict that the Social Security program faces a shortfall of over $12 trillion (National Review, Dr. Michael Tanner, head of Social Security Cato Institute Project).

The only way to close the deficit would be to cut benefits 27 percent by the time today's 25-year-olds retire. Does that sound like a Social Security plan? I believe that President Bush's statement claim that Social Security is on "the road to bankruptcy" is right on (presidential weekly radio address, Jan. 15, 2005).

The only way to save Social Security in the long run is to reform. The sooner the liberal left stop trying to sabotage the president's actions, the sooner we can actually move forward as a nation.

Zach Mayne


Writer's response

Dear Editor:

I read Franklin Anderson's letter last week with much interest and feel a need to respond.

I have a great respect for Franklin, have been in his home, and listened attentively as he talked authoritatively about Pagosa Country history. His family has contributed much to local history.

Many years ago, I had the special pleasure of drinking coffee at the Elkhorn a few times with Franklin's dad, Lloyd. Lloyd was government trapper in this area for many years and probably knew the local mountains better than any man before or since. I wish my brain contained Lloyd's knowledge of our local natural environment and its inhabitants.

Franklin's pointers concerning the history of Fort Lewis College in Durango are undoubtedly correct. That being said, I feel compelled to make the following comments concerning my article tracking the events controlling the movement of Fort Lewis, an Army camp, from Pagosa Springs, to Fort Lewis, a college campus, in Durango.

My article was aimed at newcomers to the area who are unlikely to be aware of the connection between the two Fort Lewis institutions. I never intended to write a history of either. Consequently, I painted the movement from Pagosa to Durango in broad strokes, with as few details as possible.

If I erred, it was in glossing over certain points and transitions without taking the time and space to include details. Frankly, I have no interest in the history of Fort Lewis College after it ceased to be an Indian school, circa 1911. I'm sure it is a fine school and books written by historians Robert Delaney and Duane Smith contain all of the facts concerning the college anyone could want.

I apologize that my decision to hurry past many of the details of the school's history caused concern, especially among those who know that history and identify with the school.

At the same time, I think it important that local citizens interested in local history be aware that Fort Lewis College is the product of a circuitous path beginning as an Army post at Pagosa Springs.


John M. Motter


Good for people

Dear Editor:

Last Thursday evening's Community Vision Council meeting certainly evoked a lot of emotion in those who attended.

Whatever one may think of the plan presented, it has proved to be a wonderful thing for the people of Archuleta County.

Why? Because we now have 200-300 people who are truly interested in this planning process, and who might just participate in helping shape the plan as the process moves forward.

One of the most common complaints I heard was that this wasn't the people's plan, it was someone else's. True enough, and perhaps the town should consider taking a small step backward in the overall process. Invite people to come to new meetings where people can provide input on how they see the Pagosa of the future. Such a step would allow for input from those who feel they have not been heard.

To make these meetings meaningful, the town would promise to add this new input to the plan that it now has stewardship over. Consider for a moment how many people would have attended these input meetings had the CVC and its plan never existed. Few if any, I suspect. So we have the CVC to thank for getting so many people interested in participating in the planning process as it moves forward.

We should look at a comprehensive plan as a sort of zoning overlay. Once completed and adopted this plan provides clear, enforceable guidelines on the types of development that can or cannot occur in any part of Town.

This is perhaps the best way to help shape the future look and feel of Pagosa in a way that works for us, not just what some developer and his lawyer want to do with the town. Refining the plan the town has inherited from the CVC, will lead to a comprehensive plan, if I heard Mr. Garcia correctly.

Those voices in the community that like things as they are and want to leave well enough alone, perhaps haven't taken a road trip in Colorado in the past 20 years. Personally, I am surprised that more change hasn't come to Pagosa sooner.

All you have to do is look up the pass to see what happens when someone with a lot of money wants to put their vision of Colorado right in our backyard. Next time it may be right in the middle of downtown. If we the people are to have any say over the future of Pagosa, then we need to be prepared to work constructively with the town towards a viable comp plan, to ensure the character of our town in the future.

And we need a refined version of the CVC (now town) plan so we can pursue grant funding and other mechanisms to build the public places we want. If you care about Pagosa's future, then be prepared to participate.

Chris Philips


Right to leave

Dear Editor:

I think a lot of folks in our great country are getting pretty tired of worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.

Since the terrorist acts of Sept. 11, we have experienced a tsunami surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others; Tough!

The American culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought one objective - freedom. Whether the "left" like it or not, the commitment of our founding fathers is once again the calling of our time.

I really don't care if the ACLU and liberals in this nation are upset because "In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, ultra-intelligent, mega-mouth, political rallying cry.

We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this fact is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools or in any public office/place. If God offends you, then I strongly suggest that you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. No one will ever change that fact. Ya might want ta earnestly chew on that certitude for a spell - then lovingly swallow.

Should Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't particularly like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change.

This is our country, our land and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and all of us are allowed every opportunity to do so. Even the "Julia Childs of Journalism," with his mega word, encyclopedic offerings, has a hebdomadal coterie and purveys exaggeratedly Lilliputian "Food for Thought" unfit for table consumption.

So, once you are done complaining, whining and griping about your crossword puzzle, our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you to take advantage of just one other profoundly regarded American freedom - the inalienable right to leave.

Jim Sawicki

Editor's note: Oh the irony: All those long hours, all that effort spent scouring the dictionary ... only to stumble on a common name. It's Julia Child.


Sad, helpless

Dear Editor:

Having just returned from the CVC public input meeting at the community center, I am sad, disheartened and feeling pretty helpless.

I do not live in Pagosa Springs, but I work there. Since I live outside the boundaries I have no real say-so on what is happening to Pagosa.

This letter is a plea to everyone living in Pagosa Springs, who loves their home, their land and their town. You must attend every meeting of this group and let them know your feelings. Above all, a final plan must be voted on by the voting public in Pagosa Springs, rather than a Town Council.

This is one whale of a lot bigger than whether or not a Wal Mart comes to town. Wal Mart is way on the back burner now.

Pagosa Springs will be and is now losing it's very soul. Pagosa Springs, as we know it, will soon be history, with all the drastic changes. They say we need these changes due to growth. They, meaning all the fancy hired authorities who do not give one hoot about the soul of a town.

Look at Pagosa now. Enjoy. Breathe it in. Look at it until your eyes hurt. Soon it will not be Pagosa at all. The name will have to be changed to what it will become. Perhaps Smithville, but more than likely Brownsville.

Mary Lou Sprowle


Leave it alone

Dear Editor:

Christopher Columbus ignored the Indians and "discovered" the land they were standing on.

So it is with planning committees, "... people from elsewhere ... big city things." I, too, say leave it alone.

H. (Bones) Spaulding


Community News

Film Society will review 'Storm Boy'

At its 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday, Jan. 25, the Pagosa Springs Film Society will screen and discuss the 1977 Australian movie "Storm Boy."

While Pagosan John Graves was the executive producer in charge of Feature Films and Television for the South Australian Film Corporation, he supervised development of this poignant story of a boy, his aboriginal friend, and a pet pelican from a novel into a feature film, but had to leave South Australia before it was finally produced.

Costarring with young Greg Rowe in this beautiful family feature is David Gulpilil, a 15-year-old aboriginal unknown, who came to instant worldwide acclaim in Nicholas' Roeg's 1971 classic feature, "Walkabout."

David went on to international renown, not only as an actor, dancer and musician, but as an organizer of acclaimed troupes of traditional aboriginal artists and performers. He's even the author of a number of popular children's books. Gulpilil now lives in Ramingining, his homeland in Australia's Northern Territory, where he still works, writes, advocates for reform, and teaches as a respected tribal leader.

Since another costar in the film is a trained pelican who is instrumental in a shipwreck rescue, a training program for this species had to be created. It seemed that no one had attempted to tame a wild pelican for a movie before, so there were no established procedures for what turned out to be an almost insurmountable challenge. Graves will discuss this and other production problems following the Tuesday screening.

The meeting will be held 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.


Hot Strings ready to move into big-time Newgrass

By Erin K. Quirk

PREVIEW Columnist

Growing up in a band that played it's first gig before all the band members reached fifth grade, certainly has advantages — an established fan base, an invitation to play venues that adult bands would kill for and the possibility of dating teen-age groupies without fear of reproach.

But three of the four members of the locally beloved Pagosa Hot Strings are in college now.

At a time when their contemporaries at Fort Lewis College are starting to play music in each other's basements, The Hot Strings have just returned from Nashville, where they worked with one of the top guitarists in the "Newgrass" genre to finish their third and most progressive album to date.

"It's time to buckle down and bite the bullet and start working like the professionals do," said the band's 21-year-old, national-champion mandolin player Josiah Payne, who first picked up the mandolin at age 11.

In December the band, which includes Pagosa Springs High School student Carson Park on the fiddle, Jared Payne on the guitar, Josiah Payne on the mandolin and Lech Usinowicz on bass, spent a week in Nashville working with Pat Flynn and Brent Truitt.

Flynn is best known as one of the top session guitarists in Nashville and one of the founding members of New Grass Revival, a band that included Sam Bush, John Cowan and Bela Fleck.

Truitt is the mandolin player for the Dixie Chicks.

Both men helped the Hot Strings produce their new album, "Uncharted," which is due out in May.

The album, bursting with new, original music, is the band's first new release in four years. "Uncharted" signals their shift from a young bunch of regional pickers to a group of serious musicians mining some unexplored, creative territory in the world of Newgrass.

"We do believe we have something to offer," said Usinowicz, who has played the bass since he was six.

"If anything it's where our hearts are at," 19-year-old Jared Payne added.

Most Pagosans are somewhat familiar with Folk, Bluegrass and Newgrass music due to The Four Corners Folk Festival, which fills Reservoir Hill every Labor Day with vans, busses, kids, mandolins, tents, gorp and festival chairs. But unless you are paying attention, these different styles can get a little confusing. Here's a primer:

Bluegrass music is a traditional, American style based on stringed, acoustic instruments. It is characterized by a "high lonesome sound" and accompanied by fiddles, banjos and mandolins. It was developed largely by musicians Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs and recently popularized in the mainstream by the film "O Brother Where Art Thou." Alison Krauss and Union Station have also garnered a lot of attention for their traditional Bluegrass sound.

But like all art forms, Bluegrass was bound to evolve based on the creativity of the diverse regional cultures playing it. Two of Bluegrass' progeny are Newgrass and Jamgrass, which use the same instruments but welcome elements of rock, jazz, reggae, Irish traditional and blues.

The Pagosa Hot Strings fit the Newgrass category. Jamgrass is also a bluegrass derivative, but features long, Grateful Dead- and Phish-like solo instrumentals. Bands like Yonder Mountain String Band, The String Cheese Incident and Widespread Panic might fit this category.

Folk music, a wider more general category, is a relative of Bluegrass as many of the same acoustic instruments are played but just to a different tune. Bob Dylan, James Taylor and Gillian Welch might fall in that category.

Dan Park calls The Hot Strings' career "illustrious but brief." Park is father and uncle to Carson, Josiah and Jared and manages the band. Up until last spring he was also the band's bass player but decided to step down to round out the band with a fourth young, talented face, the 22-year-old Usinowicz.

"Having the Dad in the band kind of puts a pallor on it," Park said smiling. "It's hard for the groupies to flock."

Seventeen years ago, Park and his wife, Juanalee, started attending Folk and Bluegrass festivals. Juanalee, Park said, had a deep desire to play the banjo. Upon adopting Carson, she dedicated herself to doing it. At age six, Carson began to learn the fiddle. Anyone who has been to Folk and Bluegrass festivals knows that children there learn to play roughly at the time they learn to read.

After a family tragedy, Carson's cousins Jared and Josiah came to live with the Park family. Dan said he, Juanalee and Carson were all immersed in traveling to Bluegrass festivals and playing and hoped Jared and Josiah would want to as well. As time passed, Park realized that learning the mandolin and guitar were healing for the two boys and they mastered the instruments quickly.

The trio of boys played their first "gig" at the bus stop at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and made $300 doing it. They were 9, 10 and 12 years old at the time. Four years later they opened the show.

"They were playing well beyond their years," Park said.

Still, the "cute factor" was a big reason for their invitation to play festivals that adult bands can only dream of like Telluride and Rockygrass in Winfield, Kansas. Not only was the band playing these festivals, but they were winning best band awards at them. As their growing audience knows, the cute factor may have got them in the door, but their talent kept them there.

Now, Park says, the band is on the cusp and it's time to decide for the members to decide if their passion for their music can fuel them on a long road in a tough industry.

"This would be the time to take the shot," Park said.

The band has seen a lot of change and is continuing to grow with it. The arrival of Usinowicz on bass, Park and the original band members say, has been seamless and good for their creative growth. Usinowicz is classically trained on bass and sight-reads music, whereas Park and the Payne boys play by ear.

"With us living together," Josiah said. "We have evenings to jam and it opens Lech up to playing by ear."

"And it gets them involved in theory," Lech added.

Working with Flynn, one of the band's musical heroes, was also a major highlight in their brief and illustrious career. Usinowicz said it was a "little intimidating" walking into the Nashville studio and seeing the Grammys and the Platinum Album on the wall, but the band soon got over it and got to work. Flynn's expertise and vision had a major impact on the album and the band is eager to hear the final product.

"He really changed the songs and made them unique," said 18-year-old Carson, who was crowned the Colorado State Fiddle Champion at age 12.

"It's music coming from you in the most pure and best form it can be," Josiah said about Flynn's influence. "That's exciting."

The new album, which the band will showcase Friday at the Fort Lewis Community Concert Hall, is a major symbol of The Hot Strings' "coming out" and their plan to make it as professional musicians.

In addition, the concert is also an opportunity for the four young men to help raise funds for the victims of the Tsunami in Southeast Asia. All the proceeds from the event will be sent to UNICEF's Tsunami fund and will target specifically suffering children and orphans.

As far as making the choice to play professionally and make their mark on the music world, Josiah said, "I can't think of anything better to do with my time."

The Pagosa Hot Strings will play Friday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Fort Lewis College Concert Hall. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for FLC students. The Hot Strings can also be heard on KSUT, 105.3 FM, at 12:30 p.m. today, Jan. 20.


Ancient Cultures changes classroom to arts workshop

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Anyone passing by teacher Leeann Skoglund's classroom this spring could be in for a big surprise.

Instead of students seated in orderly rows, studying or listening to a lecture, one might catch a glimpse of something a bit more unusual.

That's because for a few weeks each year, sixth-grade social studies class at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School transforms into a lively, performing arts workshop called Ancient Cultures.

Ancient Cultures is a collaboration between Pagosa Springs Intermediate School and Elation Center for the Arts, a locally based nonprofit arts organization dedicated to the preservation of the folk heritage of music and dance from around the world.

As a component of social studies Skoglund's class, Ancient Cultures extends the content of the curriculum by involving the students in an exciting performing arts immersion in which students learn music, dances and stories from several cultures they are studying.

The arts truly have an important role in supporting the curriculum and motivating students. According to Skoglund, "This program goes way beyond anything you can do in the classroom with just books and maps. By combining the arts with the regular school program we're able to provide an incredibly valuable learning experience."

The culmination of this innovative arts in education program is an elaborate stage production in which all Pagosa sixth-graders perform for the public in the high school auditorium.

The production is a unique blend of music, stories and dances from around the world, with over 120 students wearing elaborate, colorful costumes. This year that performance will take place 7 p.m. May 13.

"Students come away from this program with a multisensory understanding of social studies," according to Mark DeVoti, intermediate school principal. "They get a chance to relive ancient history in a way I've never seen before. Thanks to Leeann Skoglund, our very talented and creative social studies teacher, and Paul and Carla Roberts, who are really helping to redefine arts in education, students are able to take what they only used to get in textbooks, and bring it to life."

Based on the premise that there is no better way for students to develop a feeling for different cultures than by experiencing many forms of artistic expression, the purpose of this program is to provide an inspiring, creative experience for students to develop their artistic potential and teamwork skills, as they gain a greater appreciation for other cultures.


Community choir schedules spring concert rehearsals

The Pagosa Springs Community Choir will begin rehearsals Feb. 1 for the group's spring concert.

Rehearsals will be held Tuesday evenings at Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St. The first rehearsal will begin at 6:30 p.m. to allow time to sign up and receive folders and music.

There will be a $20 donation for the music (which is tax deductible).

All other rehearsals will begin at 7 p.m.

Concert dates are Friday, May 6, and Sunday, May 8, at the high school auditorium. Concerts are the choir's gift to the community.

If you or anyone you know are interested in singing with this group, contact Sue Kehret at 731-3858 or come to the first rehearsal. The choir sings a variety of songs, including old favorites, contemporary, secular, show tunes and jazz.


Award winning Durangoan named photo contest judge

By Bruce Andersen

Special to The PREVIEW

Howard Rachlin, founder and president of the Durango Photography Club, will judge the 17th annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest Saturday, Feb. 5, at Moonlight Books.

Rachlin specializes in photographing the Southwest and the Four Corners area. Meet the judge, view the photos and vote on the People's Choice award at the opening reception from 5-7 p.m.

Always looking for an opportunity to capture unusual images, Rachlin uses unique techniques to create more memorable photographs. He often returns to a favorite spot at different times and seasons looking for the uncommon rather than the standard shot. He looks for images that others might miss.

His award-winning work hangs in homes across the country and has been published in Durango Magazine. His photographs have been shown in many galleries and shows in the Four Corners area.

Howard joined the "digital revolution" with one of the early one megapixel cameras. His next digital camera was a 2.2 megapixel model with a 10x zoom and all the capability of his film SLR. Soon after, he sold his SLR and hasn't used film since.

He relies on two different high-end digital cameras for most of his work. He prints his photographs using an Ultrachrome process on archival paper with an expected life of up to 75 years. This way, he has total creative control over the quality of a print which also exhibits superior resistance to water, fading and smudging.

Howard shares his knowledge and experience with members of the Durango Photography Club which he formed in February 2003. He also provides digital photography consulting and training on a unique one-on-one, hands-on basis.

Rachlin will present a seminar 9-11 a.m. Feb. 5 in the community center's south conference room. Cost is $5 for contest entrants, $10 for all others. Preregistration and payment at Moonlight Books is appreciated or participants can pay at the door the morning of the seminar.

The open discussion style seminar will address composition, resolution settings, things to look for when purchasing a digital camera, portable hard drives for field use, neutral density filters and special effects.

Complete rules and submission guidelines are available at Moonlight Books. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Feb. 2 at Moonlight Books.


Music in the Mountains offers five Pagosa programs this year

By Carole Howard

Special to The PREVIEW

Now that everyone has 2005 calendars, Music in the Mountains wants you to save the dates for this summer's five classical music events which will bring world-class musicians to Pagosa Springs, include a free outdoor family community concert back by popular demand, and feature the first-ever performance in Pagosa of the full festival orchestra under a much larger tent seating 350.

The first event will be an elegant benefit with a reception and concert hosted by David and Carol Brown at BootJack Ranch in their fabulous glass-roofed Aquatic Center 5-9 p.m. Saturday, June 25. Guests will enjoy sumptuous hors d'oeuvres on the outdoor patio, followed by an intimate piano recital.

Attendance is limited to 125 guests. Cost is $175 per person. Funds raised will help support classical concerts as well as children's scholarships and musical events in Pagosa Springs.

More classical concerts

Three additional classical concerts will take place in July and August, also at BootJack Ranch:

1. On Friday, July 22 Pagosa welcomes internationally famous violinist Vadim Gluzman, whose performance will include Bruch's "Octet" at 7 p.m. Gluzman has been lauded by critics and audiences as one of the most inspiring, dynamic artists performing today. Cost of this concert is $40.

2. On Saturday, July 30 pianist Aviram Reichert will perform Beethoven's piano concertos No. 3 and No. 5 at 6 p.m. with the full festival orchestra. Reichart, who has won numerous awards and performed with major orchestras in Israel and Europe, wowed Pagosa audiences when he played here the last two summers. This is the first time we will have the full festival orchestra playing in Pagosa, in a larger tent seating 350. Cost of this concert is $50. (Note the earlier starting time and Saturday date.)

3. On Friday, Aug. 5 Antonio Pompa-Baldi brings his piano mastery back to Pagosa. Having performed with orchestras around the world and in the PBS "Concerto" series, he too was a great hit with local audiences the last two summers. His performance at 7 p.m. will include Schumann's "Piano Quartet." Cost of this concert is $40.

"Peter and the Wolf"

In addition, in response to popular demand after last summer's successful event, Music in the Mountains will host a free outdoor community concert for "kids of all ages" and their families at Town Park 11 a.m. Thursday, July 28.

Highlight of this event will be "Peter and the Wolf," a work created by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev to teach his children about the symphony. Each character in the story - Peter, his grandfather, the wolf, a cat, a bird, a duck and some hunters - is represented by an instrument and will be acted by local children. Last summer this concert drew almost 600 people who were amazed at the professionalism of the young actors and the first-class costumes designed by Michael DeWinter. Several other youth groups also will entertain the crowd, as they did last summer.

This is the fourth consecutive summer that Music in the Mountains, the classical music festival now in its 19th season in Durango, will offer musical events here in Pagosa. Chairman of the committee organizing these local events is Jan Clinkenbeard.

"We're incredibly lucky to have first-class musicians who have performed to rave reviews around the world come to Pagosa to play for us," Clinkenbeard said. "Thanks to the Browns, we will enjoy this music in a spectacular mountain setting at the foot of Wolf Creek Pass.

Full orchestra to perform

"This summer we're especially pleased to host the full festival orchestra. This will be a special treat for everyone. Even with more than 50 musicians, we promise to keep the same informal, intimate feeling that has made our concerts so special in the past."

Clinkenbeard pointed out that there has been a modest increase in the price of the tickets this year. Even with the boost, she said ticket prices pay for only a small portion of the cost of the concerts.

"That is why our benefit fund-raiser and the contributions we receive from individual donors, businesses and other larger organizations are so crucial to our Pagosa festival," she said. As well, all of the planning and organizational work is done by Clinkenbeard's local volunteer steering committee composed of Melinda Baum, Mary Jo Coulehan, Mike and Lauri Heraty, Carole Howard, Crystal Howe, Teresa Huft, and Bob and Lisa Scott.

For more information on the benefit, please call co-chairs Teresa Huft at (970) 946-2988 or Maribeth Hill at (970) 731-3234. Tickets for the paid concerts will be available April 1 at the Chamber of Commerce.

To be put on the mailing list for the concerts and future Pagosa Music in the Mountain events, call (970)385-6820 in Durango and specify that you want to be on the Pagosa Springs mailing list.

Since its debut in Durango in 1987, Music in the Mountains has grown to become one of the best summer music festivals in the country. With 2005 being the fourth year concerts have been held in Pagosa, community support is broadening and the performance of the full orchestra should involve new people in the local classical music scene.


'Living A Victorious Life' theme for Christian Women's Retreat

The 8th annual Christian Women's Winter Retreat will be held Feb. 4-6 at Sonlight Christian Camp near Pagosa Springs.

The theme this year is "Living A Victorious Life."

Featured speaker will be Peggy Joyce Ruth, founder of Better Living Ministries, a ministry of the Living Word Church in Brownwood, Texas, where her husband is pastor. She is a gifted Bible teacher and author.

She will be joined by her daughter, Angelia Schum, who with her husband pastors the college department at Living Word Church and manages two Christian radio stations which are part of the Living Word Church's ministry to the Brownwood area.

As mother and daughter, Peggy Joyce and Angelia encourage and challenge women to move into a deeper understanding of the Word of God and make it a part of their daily living.

Kathy Koy, Pagosa Springs worship leader, will lead music worship during the retreat.

The cost is $95, which includes two nights lodging and five delicious meals.

Call Dori Blauert at 731-9458 or Laura Manley at 731-4052 for further information or to register.


Cupid Classified can make your Valentine smile

By Annette Foor

Special to The PREVIEW

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and, if you're like many people, you're stumped on trying to find that perfect gift, or you don't have a lot of money to spend.

The solution is right here.

Send that special someone a Cupid Classified. For only $6 you can let your loved ones know how much you care. A Cupid Classified is a unique and fun way to tell someone you love them or appreciate them.

You ask, "What is a Cupid Classified"? A Cupid Classified is an ad printed in the classified section of The Preview of The Pagosa Springs SUN. It is a section set aside each year and is printed the Thursday before Valentine's Day. The ad can be poetry or prose: words from the heart, expressing your feelings. A Cupid Classified is always the right size, it's not fattening, doesn't wilt, can be cut out and kept indefinitely, and it expresses your love like nothing else can.

A Cupid Classified is perfect for your children, grandchildren, grandparents, parents, friends and your pets. Don't forget that special neighbor who helped dig out your car in the snow months, or brought your wandering dog home, or watches your home while you're out of town. They deserve a Cupid Classified of their own!

Don't delay, there are only a few weeks before the deadline so start composing your Cupid Classified and deliver it to The SUN office. Cost is 30 cents a word, with a minimum of $6 per ad. The deadline for the Cupid Classifieds is noon, Monday, Feb. 7. Forms for the Cupid Classifieds are available at The SUN, the Humane Society Thrift Store, Humane Society Shelter and the Chamber of Commerce. Or, simply write your special classified on a piece of paper and bring it to The SUN office. Make your check payable to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs.

For many years, The Pagosa Springs SUN has donated the space for Cupid Classifieds and also donates all proceeds to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs toward our community spay/neuter programs. That means your Cupid Classified will bring you benefits twice over: first when your loved ones read it, and again when it helps to prevent unwanted litters in our community.

For more information about community spay/neuter aid, contact Sheila Farmer at 731-4771. Or log onto the Humane Society Web site at www.humanesocietyof pagosasprings.org.


Kiwanis' guest will address 'Child Sexual Abuse: The Quiet Threat'

Pagosa Springs Kiwanis will present "Child Sexual Abuse: The Quiet Threat," a lecture by Lisa Car- man, and a spaghetti supper Jan. 28 at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

Doors open 5 p.m. Dinner will be served 5:30-7 and Carman will speak 7-8 p.m. Child care will be provided.

Carman shares her family's compelling story and helps others under stand the shocking facts about child sexual abuse and what we can do to protect children.

Learn how to:

- recognize the behaviors and manipulations of sex offenders;

- talk to children about the threat of sexual abuse;

- provide children with self-safety strategies;

- take the power away from sexual predators.

Talking about child sexual abuse is the first defense against sex offenders. It's time to talk.

For reservations, call Carolyn Church at 731-6338 days or 264-6465 evenings.


Healthy growth for Pagosa is Unitarian topic

On Sunday, Jan. 23, Laura Lewis, executive director of Operation Healthy Communities, will present a program for the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on healthy growth in Pagosa Springs.

She will explore measures to assure that sustainability becomes an integral part of growth.

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

Event sponsors sought for Harlem Ambassadors' return to Pagosa Springs

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The SUN

Pagosans will soon be treated to an evening of wholesome and hilarious family fun on the basketball court - the internationally-known Harlem Ambassadors.

Last year's event was the highlight of the winter season and a major fund-raiser for the community center, which sponsored the event. The Ambassadors will challenge our local team, the Pagosa Ringers, Sunday, Feb. 13, in the high school gym.

For the past five years, in 200 games a year, the Harlem Ambassadors have played their magic around the country and internationally to help raise funds for nonprofit organizations. In addition to the fun, the group also seeks to foster racial harmony and promote the values of staying in school and off drugs.

The team is coached by Ketrick Copeland and led by a new Show Basketball Princess, Krataura Buckner. During the 2002-2003 season Krataura led the Cowgirls of Hardin Simmons University in Texas to an ASCU title.

This native of Wichita Falls, Texas then went on to be the student assistant coach during the next season. The Harlem Ambassadors had been watching KB (as she is known by) and in 2004 asked her to join the team.

When asked if featuring a woman player was a bold move, Dale Moss, president and general manager of the Harlem Ambassadors, replied, "Actually, it wasn't bold at all. The women show players are one of the things that make our presentation unique. The woman show player is the player who initiates the comedy routines, goofs with the other team, annoys the referee and interacts with the fans. Of course, one of the oldest forms of humor is joking about the differences between men and women. Having a woman at the middle of all of the fun creates an entirely different comedy dynamic. Plus, because our games are competitive, girls and young women get to see our women players competing against, and beating male opponents. It has a great empowering effect on the girls in the audience when they see a woman taking control on the court."

The Harlem Ambassadors are consistently judged as younger, fresher and happier than some better known shows, which supports their motto, "it's not your grandfather's basketball show." Ask anyone who saw the event last year and they will tell you that this is not to be missed.

Between now and Feb. 13 the community center will be seeking event sponsors. For $100 sponsors will be included in subsequent press releases, will be treated to special seating at the event and will have the satisfaction of knowing they helped to bring a very popular event to Pagosa Springs.

At the same time, the local team sponsors, Buckskin Towing and Troy Ross Construction, will be selecting and training our own Pagosa team, the Pagosa Ringers.

Watch for details of this event weekly and for more information, call the community center at 264-4152.


Local Chatter

How Sisson Library got where it is now

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

Many people have said, "Lenore Bright is the Ruby Sisson Library." And now that she has retired, I think that people who don't know would like to know the history of the Sisson Library.

This Local Chatter column was written Feb. 4, 1999. It covers some points of the history.

"The idea for a new library began in 1983 when the Pagosa Springs High School was modernized and its library, a wooden building, was given to the town for a 'new' library. A grant was applied for and the building was moved to Town Park. Because head librarian Pat Pool and her sons had decided to move to Denver, Lenore Bright was hired as assistant librarian and fund raiser for the 'new' library. Pat got the first job she applied for and Lenore was promoted to head librarian. About this time the insurance company refused to insure the building because it was in the flood zone, so the grant was refused. The issue was dead, but Lenore and the board decided to revamp the existing facility. Gil Bright (Lenore's husband) headed up the physical part of the job. He and Lenore called on their friends and neighbors and revamp they did.

"But it was becoming evident that the library was out-growing Town Hall (and that Town Hall needed more room) so Lenore and the board began to 'dream.' The Sisson Library is the result - funded by donations, fund-raisers and grants. Neither the town, nor the county contributed any money. But the real heroes are Lenore and Gil Bright for without their strength, courage and ability, the library would not be."

The move to the new Ruby Sisson Library was made during a snowstorm in 1989, but the volunteers persisted. The library soon began to win awards. It was a beautiful example of what a library should be.

Sports report

If you are a basketball fan, you should like this story. Last Friday Wake Forest University beat North Carolina University in basketball. Wake's team's main weakness has been a 65 percent free throw average, but in Friday's game they made history. They had a go at 32 foul shots and made every one of them. This makes it the ACC record. The NCAA record is 34 of 34.

Around town

Diana and Jerry Martinez are now back in Pagosa Springs. They are in the telephone book. Diana was instrumental in raising money to build the Sisson Library. The first fund-raiser was at Milt Lewis' Wagon Wheel Art Studio. She was one of the early presidents of the Friends of the Library and the one who started the Good Neighbor lunches sponsored by the friends. And Jerry was a county commissioner.

Fun on the run

Sarah was reading a newspaper while her husband was engrossed in a magazine.

Suddenly, she burst out laughing.

"Listen to this," she said. "There's a classified ad here where a guy is offering to swap his wife for a season ticket to the stadium."

"Hmmm," her husband said, not looking up from his magazine.

Teasing him, Sarah said, "Would you swap me for a season ticket?"

"Absolutely not," he said.

"How sweet," Sarah said, "Tell me why not."

"Season's more than half over," he said.


Shepherd's Staff

M.L. King showed value of study of other faiths

By Dr. Vern Barnet

Consulting Minister, Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Pagosa Springs

After completing his doctorate at Boston University with a dissertation on the thought of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman (one of my teachers), in 1959 Martin Luther King went to India and talked with Gandhi's followers, including Prime Minister Nehru, "not as a tourist, but as a pilgrim."

King, whose civil rights movement began in 1955 and ended with his murder in 1968, wrote, "While the Montgomery boycott was going on, India's Gandhi was the guiding light of our technique of non-violent social change."

When King was 6 years old, Gandhi said, "It may be through the Negroes that the unadulterated message of non-violence will be delivered to the world."

In tracing this history, we discover the irony that Gandhi himself claimed his Hinduism only after being stirred by the writings of a Christian, Leo Tolstoy. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith has shown, Tolstoy himself was converted to non-violence and social service by the Christian story of Barlaam and Josaphat, a retelling of an earlier story from a Muslim source, which in turn received it from the Manichees, who had recast the story of the Buddha, successively called Bodisaf, Yudasaf, and Josaphat. And earlier versions suggest Jain or other beginnings. Thus our celebration of King's wisdom has ancient and universal origins.

Just as Gandhi matured in Hinduism by discovering Christianity, King was strengthened in Christian love by respectful study of the Hindu. King remained Christian. Gandhi remained Hindu. Conversion was unnecessary because they stretched and enlarged their own faiths. Our encounters with those of other religions may lead us to deeper powers of our own heritage, which is really an intertwined, universal story, as King's example shows us.

Here is the gist of Gandhi's satyagraha, "truth-force:"

- Make no distinction between process and goal. Tactics used must exhibit in the present the spiritual nature of the future goal.

- Lack of involvement betrays community.

- See the truth in one's opponent and the demonic potentials in one's own position.

- We must be as pure as we ask others to be.

- The process, the community, is not complete until wholeness is restored among all "adversaries." The goal is to be at peace both with others and with ourselves.

In his famous "Letter from Birmingham City Jail," King outlines four steps of a non-violent campaign:

- collecting facts to determine whether injustices exist;

- negotiation;

- self-purification;

- direct action.

The "means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek." This is why those engaged in direct action were repeatedly asked, "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating? Are you able to endure the ordeals of jail?" and so forth.

One of the most interesting applications of the Gandhi-King understanding of community is found in the work of a former writer for Jerry Falwell, Mel White, who has since acknowledged his male partner. (See http://www.soulforce.org.) White lists five "soul-force" vows:

To seek the truth, to live by the truth, and to confront untruth wherever I find it,

To reject violence,

To take on myself without complaint any suffering that might result from my confrontation with untruth and to do all in my power to help my adversary avoid all suffering, especially that suffering that may result from our confrontation.

To control my appetite for food, sex, intoxicants, entertainment, position, and power that my best self might be free in doing justice, and

To limit my possessions to those things I need to survive, using them to help make things fair for all.

Many injustices around us damage and degrade community - in our town, in the nation, in the world. The "Beloved Community" Kin envisioned is still to be realized. The Beloved Community is made not by protecting ourselves at all costs from injustices around us or by blaming others for them, but by helping to make them visible in such ways as to affirm our relatedness even to those who do injustice, and to pull them with ourselves into a more just world.

The encounters we have with those of other religions may lead us to hidden powers of our own heritage, which is really an intertwined, universal story. As King's example shows us, an encounter with another faith can stimulate and deepen our own. If the only religion you know is your own, you don't really know it at all. The Christian may become a better Christian, the Jew a better Jew, the Buddhist a better Buddhist, by recognizing and embracing the difference expressed within our common humanity, sharing the planet's fate.

King, Gandhi, and Pandurang Athavale married Asian and Abrahamic themes. CRES works to integrate their vision with insights of Prima faiths. As the physicists move toward a single comprehensive explanation that unites gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the weak and strong nuclear forces, so a spiritual "theory of everything" honoring the sacred in nature, self-hood, and society is the search CRES hopes to excite.

Building community - with the environment, within the many "selves" in each of us, and with one another" - is a profound response to the gift of life we enjoy. The wisdom of responding to duty as an act of friendly playfulness may be the secret of unending bliss.


Senior News

Time to donate blood, renew memberships

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

We were pleased to have Jessica Walsh here Jan. 12. She played her Native American flute for us while we ate lunch and answered questions about the many instruments she played.

Everyone was very enthusiastic about Jessica coming back, so keep reading the Senior News to find out when she will return.

It's time to donate blood again. We will host a blood drive at the community center 10:30 a.m -2 p.m. Feb. 1. Call 264-2167 to sign up.

We are showing our free movie Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. It's "Cocoon," a wonderful movie about older folks who discover a way to be young again. Popcorn is only 25 cents.

Dee Butler will be here Jan. 26 from 12:30 to 1 p.m. to present "Healthy Habit" for hair, skin and nails. She will talk about the importance of diet, positive lifestyle and show us hair and makeup techniques. Be sure to attend this presentation.

We will be celebrating January birthdays on the 28th. If you have a birthday this month, come in and have lunch with us; we will serve cake with the meal and give you a birthday card. We have a special gift for you from Archuleta Seniors, Inc. Those of you who celebrate a birthday in January will only pay a dollar for your meal. We will also have Patty Tillerson here to check your blood pressure 11 a.m.-noon Friday so come in, check your pressure and eat cake with us.

Renew membership

Get your 2005 Archuleta Seniors, Inc. membership in January to take advantage of all the great discounts provided by 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 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 & Bow Rack, Slices of Nature, Squirrel's Pub & Pantry, Studio 160, The Spa Motel/Pool and WolfTracks.

Keep your balance

Every year in the U.S. hospitals admit more than 300,000 people for hip fractures.

These hip fractures are often caused by falling. Improving your balance can help to reduce your risk of falling and, consequently, reduce your risk of fracturing your hip. Strength and balance exercises are often very similar, because strength and balance are closely related. Doing regular strength exercises will also help to improve your balance. Try the tips below next time you exercise to help increase your balance at the same time.

Usually, standing exercises require you to hold on to a table or a chair with both hands for balance. Next time try holding the chair or table with only one hand. After you progress and feel comfortable holding on with only one hand, try to hold on only using one finger. Next, try these exercises without holding on at all. Even if you do not hold on at all, make sure the table or chair is close by to grab if you lose your balance.

Another way to improve your balance is to do "anytime, anywhere" exercises. For example, while standing in line at the grocery store, or waiting for the bus, practice standing on one foot. Then alternate and practice standing on your other foot. Keep track of how long you can stand on one foot without losing your balance. As you feel more comfortable standing on one foot, try to increase the length of time you can stand on one foot, and then the other foot.

These exercises are great because you can do them as often as you like. Also, the more often you practice balance exercises, the more your balance will improve and your chance of falling will decrease. Another plus to these exercises is that usually when you are in line somewhere, there is a counter or sign pole close by, so you can grab it if you start to feel yourself losing your balance.

- From Colorado Department of Human Services


Friday, Jan. 21 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; free movie day, "Cocoon," 1 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 24 - Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 25 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; basic computer class, 10:30; massage and healing touch, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 26 - Beauty, barber and body care with Dee Butler, 12:30-1 p.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 28 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; blood pressure check, 11 a.m.; celebrate January birthdays, noon.


Friday, Jan, 21 - Pork chop suey, brown rice, cooked cabbage, cookie and banana pudding.

Monday, Jan. 24 - Lasagna, tossed salad, Italian vegetables, breadstick and fruited Jell-O.

Tuesday, Jan. 25 - Tuna macaroni salad, carrot raisin salad, cheddar biscuit, spiced applesauce.

Wednesday, Jan. 26 - Baked ham with raisin sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans with almonds, whole wheat roll and cranberry mould salad.

Friday, Jan. 28 - Oven-fried chicken, potato salad, steamed carrots, biscuit and peaches.


Chamber News

Icons make it possible to replace them

By Mary Jo Coulehan

Sun Columnist

I hope everyone is ready for a great Mardi Gras party Saturday. However, before we talk about Mardi Gras, I need to impart a thank you to a very special person.

I know a shock wave went through the community when Lenore Bright announced her retirement from the Ruby Sisson Library. I also know what it is like to replace an icon. The great thing about the icons who are vacating these important positions is why they are icons. People such as Sally Hameister and Lenore Bright are such dynamic women, each in her own way. They have put heart and soul and passion into their jobs to make our community a better place. They worked selflessly, instituted programs and established guidelines to make someone like me look good.

Lenore Bright is one of the most generous, organized and trusting persons I have known. She developed our library from a tiny facility to where it is now and it is soon to be more. She brought us into the computer age, found ways to raise money to keep improving the library and easily doubled her core of volunteers. You can never replace Lenore Bright, but someone will follow her and do well because she, in her generosity, has set them up to do a good job.

We will miss you Lenore. Thank you for all you have done for Pagosa Springs and the services that you, your staff, and your volunteers provide to all who live and visit here.

Mardi Gras

Now back to the festivities at hand. Boudreaux and Thibodaux have worked hard all week putting all the finishing touches on Saturday's Mardi Gras Ball at The Pagosa Lodge. However, they do have to head back to Louisiana for their own Mardi Gras festivities soon. Their tradition is such that they will go door to door and collect food from all the neighbors and make a wonderful gumbo that everyone will then share. What a great idea. We will just gather 'round and eat, no preparation necessary.

The Chamber's Annual Meeting/Mardi Gras Ball will start at 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available at the Chamber for $25 in advance. Cash, checks, or MC/Visa is acceptable for tickets purchased at the Chamber. They will be $30 at the door the day of the event.

Boudreaux made sure there would be chicken and sausage gumbo, crab cakes, fried catfish and more for your eating pleasure.

Thibodaux had Trudy at the Lodge make some wonderful pralines and lemon bars, and Kathy Keyes at Pagosa Baking has been busy dyeing sugar to put on the King cake. Remember, one piece of the King cake has a toy baby in it giving the recipient one year's free membership to the Chamber.

While costumes are not required, they can be lots of fun and have we had some zany ones in the past. A prize will be given to the best male and female costume. We will be handing out beads and masks at the door in case you can't bring your own.

The meeting part of the festivities will also be fun - not your typical meeting. We will be say good-bye to three board members: Sally Hovatter, Bob Eggleston, and Don McKeehan. We will announce the Citizen of the Year and the Volunteer of the Year, the Pagosa Pride recipients, and give one or two special awards. Upon registering at the door, you will be voting for three incoming board members. There is only one vote per business, and we do keep track of your votes.

Candidates for incoming board positions are: Jody Cromwell, Robin Auld, Mike Branch, Judy James, Joe Steele and Don McKeehan. Your vote is very important, so if you cannot attend the function, come by the Chamber and cast your vote for three of these wonderful candidates.

You can end the evening Saturday by moving just down the road to Montezuma's Restaurant where dancing to the Dutton Ditch Blues Band begins at 9 p.m. and anyone attending the Chamber meeting will be given a 20-percent discount on all drinks. It will be a fun-filled Saturday night.

Planning future events

Here are a few more events you need to be planning for (who said there is nothing to do in Pagosa?).

Winterfest: Feb. 12-13

We actually have some snow this year and are going to try to add more events to our Winterfest calendar.

Rumor has it we may have close to 50 balloonists attending this year's Reach for the Peaks rally. If you are interested in crewing for a balloonist, show up at the launch site behind the Pagosa Lodge on either day at 8 a.m. It is lots of fun and the crews are great. If you would like to be a sponsor, contact Liz Marchand at 946-2859.

On Saturday, Feb. 12 around dusk (5:30 -6 p.m.) there will be a balloon glow behind the Pagosa Lodge. If you have never been to a glow, it is a must. Of course, the glow is contingent on weather conditions.

Sponsors so far this year are KFC and Taco Bell, and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Thank you for your generosity. Since the glow will take place on the west side of town, make an evening of it by planning dinner afterward at one of our fabulous westside restaurants.

Saturday, Feb. 12 during the day, we will resurrect the snow sculpting contest in Town Park and there will be cash prizes for the "Best Group" and "Best Individual" entries. The entry fee for this event is $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event. Sculpting will begin at 10 a.m. and judging will begin at 3 p.m.

Then, Sunday, we will have the "Almost Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race." Once again our great sponsors at Best Value Inn/High Country Lodge will host the event at their location on U.S. 160 East. They will provide hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages for all attending. Your sled must be homemade, no store-bought sleds or inner tubes. The entry fee is $15 in advance and $25 the day of the race. You must also have brakes on your sled. There will be cash prizes for "Fastest Sled" and " Most Original Sled." Racing should begin around noon.

More events are being planned for this festival and you will see information in the weeks to come.

Members, renewals

We are so lucky to continue to have new members join us every week and to have so many renewals come back on board. Here are this week's additions.

We have new member Jeff Bouwer, an independent associate with Pre-Paid Legal Services. He offers a prepaid legal membership that helps you prepare for the legal services you need most as well as offering an identity theft shield. There are also services monitoring your credit report. For more informational, Jeff can be contacted at 731-9828.

Another business, joining us from Creede, is Continental Divide Services, Inc. Moira or Don Howard offer year-round fun with Jeep, ATV, and snowmobile rentals and tours. They offer lodging and package discounts. With hundreds of miles of trails available, you may want to take a weekend getaway to Creede. So far away, yet so close. Give them a call at 719-658-2682.

Joining the ranks of Chamber members is Isabel's Restaurant with Yale Espoy at the helm. Isabel's is at the corner of Village Drive. and North Pagosa Boulevard. They serve eclectic American cuisine from 5 to 9 p.m. daily except Sundays, with a wonderful seasonal menu (the wedge with blue cheese is one of my favorites), a full service bar, martini and wine lists and outdoor dining when the weather cooperates. Intimate dining or parties are available and serviced beautifully. Give them a call to reserve some space (Valentine's Day is coming up) at 731-5448.

Renewing this week is Village Interiors/Carpet One and Pagosa Ski Rental. Also renewing is board candidate and businessman, Joe Steele.

Another out-of-town agency rejoins us this week, Durango Credit and Collection.


Veteran's Corner


Make sure health care status is up to date


Andy Fautheree

SUN Comumnist

The New Year is a good time to think about maintaining your VA health care status.

Preventative medicine

Perhaps you are feeling fine, haven't felt a need to make a VA health care appointment for some time. It's easy to put aside our health needs when we are feeling good and have no current medical issues. But as the adage goes, preventative medicine is the best cure (or something like that).

Anyway, I urge all of my fellow veterans to make an appointment with the VA for a annual physical if you haven't had one in more than a year. The doctors can often detect something you might not be aware of, that could head off bigger health problems down the road.

Maintain eligibility

It is important to maintain your current patient status with the VA health care system. If you do not use it for several years, you could be dropped from active patient status, and may have to reapply under new rules. Or, it may be difficult to get into the VA clinic you want because they have a full patient load. That happened a couple of years ago with the Farmington VA Clinic and we had to scramble to get new applicants into other clinics. Luckily, the Durango VA Clinic finally opened to relieve the pressure.

Grandfathered status

Generally speaking, I have not found any patient to be dropped from the VA health care system because they did not continue to use the service. Once enrolled a veteran is "grandfathered" into the VA system. However, I have been told there is a remote chance under certain conditions a grandfathered veteran could be dropped, but the rules appear to be varied and vague at this time. If a veteran was ever dropped from the system, he would then be required to reapply under the Jan. 17, 2003, guidelines, which have income and asset limitations, if the veteran does not have any service-connected disabilities.

How to transfer

I'm often asked how to transfer to the local (Durango) clinic. All you need to do is call the Durango Clinic, 247-2214, and request to transfer to their location. All of the VA clinics are on a common computer data base and they will find you in the system and make the necessary changes to the VA.

Means test important

A reminder also to be sure and complete a VA financial Means Test each year. This ensures uninterrupted appointment scheduling. Failure to provide this information for most veterans could result in denial of VA health care services until it is completed.

The Means Test requires previous year's income from all sources for you and your family, out-of-pocket medical expenses that can include medical and dental, prescription drugs, supplemental health insurance premiums and any other medical costs that were not paid for by any other source. Cash assets such as bank account balances and investments, secondary property ownership and the like are also required. The only enrollees not required to provide this information is those with 50 percent or more service connected disability.


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

Durango VA Clinic

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

'Someday' is no longer vague; salute to Lenore planned

By Lenore Bright

SUN Comumnist

"Someday ..."

A vague term, isn't it?

We think about things that will happen "someday," just not right now.

"Someday" is when we at the library thought Lenore would retire. We knew it would happen. She had alluded to it every now and then.

When she told us Jan. 3, "I am going to retire ..." we were thinking, "OK after groundbreaking ... or after the new building is completed."

But when she finished her sentence with "and this is my two-week notice," our thoughts quickly turned to our own needs. For a short period of time we lost track of Lenore's point of view and her needs.

Just think, she's been looking out for Archuleta County residents and our library needs since 1980. That's roughly a third of her lifetime! She's done this with sincerity, humor, grace, love and devotion.

We ask, "Where would our library system be without her continued guidance and influence?" We all know the answer to that.

Anyway, it's time for Lenore (and let's not forget Gil) to move on to another well-deserved phase of their lives - to sit on the deck and enjoy the wildlife and beauty of Pagosa; to pick up the quilting project; to play more bridge; to go fishing; to read more books without feeling rushed; to do all those "someday" things,

When we worried about picking up the slack (and we all know there will be a lot of it) and managing all the details until a new director is place, she said in her confident manner, "You'll be fine."

And we will! Lenore has taught us well. She leaves us secure in the knowledge that we have indeed been fortunate to work with and learn from a lady we all love and admire.

So, when she quietly slipped out the back door last Thursday afternoon (when she probably thought none of us were looking) we thought to ourselves, "You're not getting away that easily." Plans are underway for a communitywide retirement party to be held in late February. Details will follow and you are all invited.

Winter driving

A thought has been on the minds of many since the recent snowstorms. What to do? What not to do?

We thank Bob Woodson for his donation of a timely video on this subject: "Driving Snow: The Keys to Winter Driving."

It is available for you to check out and view. And, while you are waiting for your turn for the video, remember to use caution and allow yourself plenty of time to get where you are going.

Tsunami relief

Efforts on behalf of the tsunami victims have also been in our thoughts.

In response to the tremendous needs of those whose lives have been devastated, Sisson Library is joining other Colorado libraries and the Red Cross to make a donation.

For the week of Jan. 24-30, all fines collected from those with late/overdue materials (and any other monetary donations you wish to make) will be donated to this effort. A separate article on this effort is in today's SUN. Please return your books, pay your fines and support this worthwhile cause.


We thank Peggy Cooper, Ray and Teddy Finney and Mary Hannah for recent donations to our building fund. Thanks also to those who have donated books and other materials: Lynn Constan, Phyl Daleske, Kerry Dermody, Bob McClatchie, Paul Matlock, Carol Milliken, Vivian Rader, Rice Reavis, Charlene Stipe, Jeff Versaw and Bev Warburton.


Education News

Winter is time for expanding your education horizons

By Livia Cloman Lynch

PREVIEW Columnist

With winter setting in, are you looking for a way to spend your time indoors?

The Archuleta County Education Center has a number of indoor activities lined up for January and February. If you have a fifth- or sixth-grade student who is working on their science project for the upcoming science fair, but needs a little help, we are offering a class just for them.

Students can get help with their research and project, gather material for their display or construct their exhibit display. This class will be held 1:30-5 p.m. Friday. There is no charge for this activity.

Cooking is a fun way for your children to learn about other cultures around the world. Our upcoming Cooking Around the World class for fourth- through ninth-graders is sure to be a winner as kids learn to prepare different recipes for foods from far away lands. This class is scheduled Friday afternoon, Jan. 28, with a $5 fee.

Do you need first aid and/or CPR training for your work or leisure? Is your certification about to expire? The Education Center is offering training classes on a variety of dates and times to allow all of those interested to participate.

We have four-hour evening sessions Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 25 and 26 and again on Wednesday and Thursday, March 2 and 3. If you prefer full day sessions or weekends, we are offering eight-hour classes on Saturdays, Feb. 12 and March 12.

For elementary age students, we are offering a variety of after-school activities in January and February. These classes include Spanish for Kids, Kids in the Kitchen, Art Projects, Creations and our Fun Friday Afternoon. These classes run 3:15-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 1:15-5 p.m. Fridays.

The Education Center also offers adult education classes such as English Language for Non-English speakers or GED classes for those seeking to complete or further their education.

The Education Center is also the place to come for a wide variety of computer classes. We offer classes in many of the necessary software applications used in business today. So, if you want to learn or expand your skills, we have the class for you.

Don't let yourself become snowbound this winter. This is an excellent time for you or your children to learn something new or expand your horizons. Call the Archuleta County Education Center at (970) 264-2835 or stop by our office at 4th and Lewis streets for more information.


Arts Line

Twenty-nine educated in art of Italian cooking

By Kayla Douglass

PREVIEW Columnist

The Colorado Sky was cerulean blue, the vistas were breathtaking with snow-capped mountains in a panoramic view.

Bear Mountain Ranch, Fran Jenkins' kitchen, was the setting for the Pagosa Springs Arts Council's Art of Italian Cooking. Twenty-nine people were served a menu that took three hours to prepare.

The menu included Italian cheese torta, pasta soufflé, handmade and machine-made pasta, fresh tomato herb sauce (the herbs were from Fran's greenhouse), pesto sauce, spaghetti alla puttanesca alla Napoletana, penne with vodka, torta Fregolotta with Val Serena Vin Santo dessert wine and a Parmesan tasting.

Fran Jenkins and Diane Toman co-taught the class. Bobbie Miller of Plaza Liquors made the Italian wine selections that included Corvo Red and Corvo White. The PSAC volunteer helpers were Lynne Killey, Lora Laydon, Doris Green and Jeff Laydon.

Class evaluations included "Wonderful in every way," "I loved this class," "What fun!" and, "It was a total experience."

The Art of Italian Cooking was the second in a series of "Art of Cooking classes." The first was the Art of French Cooking. Both of the first two classes sold out. The next class will be the Art of Thai Cooking, with the date to be determined.

The classes are a fund-raiser for the Pagosa Springs Arts Council and the teachers and helpers volunteered their time.

From the PSAC board of directors a very special thanks to all.

Betty Slade workshops

Local artist Betty Slade has four workshops scheduled this spring. The first will be a three- day intermediate watercolor workshop in March.

Slade is an artist in the true sense. She began working in oils in 1965, then pursued watercolors, acrylic and pastels. Beginning with art classes at New Mexico State University, Betty continued with private instruction with some of the finest artists in the Southwest.

With 40 years in the art arena, Betty has attained success in many areas. Betty has written and published several books, note cards and prints. She has 10 years experience owning and managing art galleries. Currently she manages her own firm, The Hi Slade Publishing Company.

A 30-minute television daily program, "The Colors of his Heart" was designed to teach the word of God through her art. It shows her love for the Bible and the arts. Her southwest "Women of the Wind" series in originals and prints is well known, is seen on the Princess Cruise Line and hangs in many private collections.

Betty and her husband, Al, run the Blanco Dove Center for artists and writers. Anyone interested in seeing Betty's work or staying at the Blanco Dove may contact her at bslade2@pagosa.net.

Betty desires to share her knowledge and stir the artist heart in others. Whoever enters her personal world will have their creative awareness heightened and will be gently encouraged to exercise the gift that lies deep within their soul.

Contact PSAC at 264-5020 to sign up for her workshops. Dates, times and fees are listed below in the calendar section.

Drawing with Davis

Drawing with Randall Davis is scheduled 9 a.m. Saturday at the community center. If you have never attended one of his classes, it's a treat to see what you can produce in a day under his guidance.

This class is for those who think they can't even draw a stick figure, as well as for those who have been drawing for years. All you need to bring is a note pad, a couple of drawing pencils; preferably a mid-range No. 2 or No. 3 in a bold lead and in a hard lead, an attitude to enjoy the day, lunch and, in my case, an eraser.

It's best to make a reservation through PSAC, 264-5020. Space allowing; walk-ins are welcome.

Photo contest

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

With a submission deadline of 5 p.m. Feb. 2, it's not too early to begin preparing prints. A generous list of categories ensures 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).

Any photo has a chance for a ribbon. It doesn't matter if it's a simple matted print or an elaborately framed, large enlargement. Judges look at the overall impact of the photo.

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

The opening reception is scheduled 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. The annual reception has turned into quite a social event, so 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).

Seeking local artists

The Pine River (Bayfield) Library welcomes artists of all ages to display their artwork there.

Painting, drawing, photography, fabric art, wall quilt, weaving, tapestry, jewelry, beadwork, sculpture, pottery, ceramics, woodwork, glass art, stained glass, metal art, and silversmith work are welcome.

If you want to display your artwork, call Chrissy Moiseve at 884-2222. She will fax you an art display request form, will discuss their requirements and answer your questions.

Artwork is displayed for two months. The artwork to be displayed the months of March and April must be received no later than Feb. 28. Artwork displayed may be available for sale, and while the library staff members are not involved in the sale of artwork, they will refer queries about the purchase of artwork to the artist. There is no fee charged to artists.

This project encourages the artistic and cultural interest of the community by providing a showcase for local artists.

FLC workshops

Fort Lewis College office of Extended Studies is offering classes this winter. Contact the office for more information at 247-7385 or e-mail extstudy@fortlewis.edu. Below is a list of some of the classes:

- 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 at the community center, unless otherwise noted.

Jan. 22 - Drawing with Randall Davis, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., $35 per student.

Jan. 25 - PSAC board of directors meeting, 5 p.m.

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

March 9-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.

June 23 - PSAC annual meeting.

July 24 - PSAC Home and Garden Tour.

PSAC supports all art activities in Pagosa. For inclusion in Arts line, send information to PSAC e-mail (psac@centurytel.net). We would love to hear from you regarding suggestions for Arts line. Events in surrounding areas will be included when deemed of interest to our readers.


Food for Thought

A depressing trip to the archives, knee deep in debris

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Naw, I didn't write that. Not me.

Someone must have hacked into my computer and altered my files.

There's no way I could have produced this; it reminds me of an entry in a mental patient's diary.

Dear heavens, what was I thinking?

Wow, I'm surprised I wasn't fired for writing this one.

This is an embarrassment and, moreover, it was trotted in a public forum - printed in a newspaper.

Do they still ride people out of town on a rail? If so, would someone check my backside for rail marks?

There should be some kind of protection from stuff like this - a professional writers' organization that polices the industry and acts in the public interest to prevent someone from publishing this kind of crap.

I'm reviewing my old columns, written for The SUN.

I've penned more than 500 of them.

Reading them is painful.

That's a problem with printing what you write: you produce an archive, a record of the abuses drifting in your wake.

I'm on Day 14 of reading old columns, confronting evidence at the scene of the crimes.

I mean, really, there's no way I devised a method for doing quadratic equations that involves crudely drawn cartoon characters. Is there?

And my design for uniforms for property owners association covenant control inspectors? Wasn't the reference to National Socialism and Himmler a bit much?

Being aroused by female competitors in a lumberjack competition is pathetic, but telling everyone about it? And the roller derby fixation, the Manichean reference, the Ode to Spandex - was that necessary?

Taunting phone solicitors in the days before the No-Call law? Was Nafisa really bothering me that much? Why belittle a single mother of two in Baltimore, trying to eke out a meager living with late-night work in a fetid boilerroom?

Inventing a weird illegal-alien spy for a devious foreign government named Ping and putting him in our back yard, reporting to his Khan about our eccentricities? What's that all about?

Writing a "Year in Review" column that reviewed the year ahead? Lashing out in libelous fashion against upright citizens of Siberia with a View? Shame on me.

What was I up to when I attempted to extort an industrial-size drum of rice pudding from the Kozy Shack corporation - a fine New Jersey business? They never harmed anyone.

I've extolled the virtues of street food while bragging shamelessly about extraordinarily expensive dinners at fabulous restaurants. What a thoughtless buffoon.

I thumbed my nose at readers, gloating about exotic establishments in far-off places, about menus that stagger the imagination, hammering away with exaggerations, rendering fact flexible.

Talk about arrogance: Coming up with a Top 10 of eating experiences and selecting No. 1 as macaroni and cheese simply because I enjoyed a mess of the divinely inspired carbo and fat concoction while viewing "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Who really cares about German pants?

Who needs a graphic description of the awful effects of a nasty virus when reading about pork tenderloin?

All this reflects on a basic question: What the heck do most of the things in these columns have to do with food?

What does Nietzsche have to do with food? The guy was infected with a monstrous STD and confined his dining thrills to consomme and crackers.

The Human Genome Project, insane theories about a lab beneath Archuleta Mesa where mutants run wild on Level 7 and food?

What, exactly, is the connection between a Studebaker Golden Hawk and lobster thermidor? I'll tell you: There isn't one.

I get increasingly distressed, the more of my old columns I read.

It doesn't help that I'm drinking a cheap but juicy Bonny Doon blend as I scan the files. Three glasses into today's project, I struggle to remember why I'm reading this junk.

Oh, yeah, I recall now - I'm trying to put together a book of food writing.

Ego has the best of me, as usual. I've taken a single, incidental comment made by a stranger and blown it totally out of proportion. I have a tendency to do that.

I bump into the guy at the grocery store.

"Say, aren't you Kraft Tisbrag?"

"Yes, I imagine I am. You can call me Kraft."

"Love that stuff you write with the recipes in it. It's usually real close to the want ads in the paper, and I read those ads every week. Heck, you oughta be a writer. You ever write a book?"

"Me no write a book, ever."

"Well, you oughta. Somebody would probably buy one."

To a precariously balanced soul like me, a trivial exchange like this quickly inflates to a demand that I satisfy a global hunger for my work.

So, I'm reviewing material.

Dear heavens, this is sad.

I open another file. Therein I find myself setting a musical program for my funeral then, with no tangible bridge, crossing into a poorly composed recipe for Chicken Marengo.

I open another file. Utter pretense. Overblown, self-important crud gilded with Latin aphorisms. (There is one I treasure, though, since it applies to the health and food Nazis: Qui Medice vivat, misere vivat. Very roughly translated: To live for the doctor is no life at all.)

I can't grasp the relationship between Jimi Hendrix's "The Wind Cries Mary" and a bay scallop quiche. No doubt I thought there was one when I wrote the piece.

These are the ravings of a dimwit and I don't resent any of you who have shamed me for the trees that have died, needlessly, so drivel like mine can be printed and distributed. I see what you mean.

Who out there knows who Soutine is? Who cares? What does Soutine have to do with food? A hint: Not much.

Why pick on Canadians? Why the cheap jokes about pemmican? Canadians are sensitive folks and don't deserve a thrashing.

A paean to the corn dog? Jesting about something scientific like feng shui? What was I doing?

Why would I call theater people "pinheads?" And how could I forge a link between theater people and Swedish meatballs? Oh, wait: This one is accurate.

What gives with the recurring enmity regarding food magazine layouts? What's the problem with smiling dilettantes holding fake parties in improbably luxurious homes, overlooking (take your pick) perfect beaches, perfect ski slopes, stunning skylines?

And the recurrent theme of the triumph of the machine, the dominance of computers, the tyranny of devices. What's the deal? What does it have to do with food?

I pour another glass of wine. I open another file.

What's funny about veal? One minute, there's a teeny calf, wide-eyed, ready to romp in a pasture; the next thing you know, you've tying into a wad of scallopini. What's amusing about that? Especially for the calf.

There are entirely too many references to sausage, and way too many in close proximity to snippets from Leviticus 11.

Too much nastiness concerning tofu.

Way too much discussion of television cartoon characters and the oppression of the underclass on police documentaries. The term "wife-beater T-shirt" shows up time and time again. And what justifies a detailed treatise associating plutonium, nuclear bomb triggers, psoriasis and pancetta?

I've been at it all day. The sun is setting and the glass is drained, literally and figuratively. I'm depressed. My review reveals me to be a shallow, self-indulgent goofball. In a world plagued by insurmountable problems that demand our sustained, serious attention, I've suggested finding relief in a veal rib steak.

I must change my life. I'm 58 years old; the clock is ticking.

First up - stop reading. My blood sugar is at the nadir and I'm ready to fall off a psychic precipice.

I need to eat something.

I search the fridge and I find boneless chicken breasts and Boston lettuce.

There's a white onion and garlic. I have a bit of cilantro, some chicken stock, a bag of outstanding Espanola red. I locate a pack of corn tortillas in the bottom drawer, but they're dry and stiff and they go into the trash.

A can of pinto beans emerges from the cupboard, as does a can of diced tomato. There are some cherry tomatoes on the counter right next to one of those creepy, watery avocados you get during the winter months.

The chicken gets diced, as does the onion. I mash up five cloves of garlic and chop a bit of cilantro. I saute the chicken and onion, adding the garlic last to avoid burning it. I sprinkle on some of the red, a bit of oregano and cumin and add a half can of the tomato, allowing it to cook for a while and sweeten. In goes stock and some of the cilantro (the rest I reserve for later). I cook the mix until the sauce tightens and I adjust the seasonings.

I take the cherry tomatoes and put them on a baking sheet, splatter them with some olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper. I roast them for about five minutes in a very hot oven, close to the burner. The smoke alarm goes off.

I heat the beans, reduce the liquid, season them then pulverize them with my hand blender, adding a smidge of butter to slick them up.

The avocado gets sliced; some jack cheese is retrieved from the refrigerator and shredded.

Into a lettuce leaf goes some of the chicken, a slice or two of avocado, a couple of the roasted cherry tomatoes, a mess of cheese. Beans on the side.

I could have gone curry with the plan, substituting chickpeas for the pintos, a yogurt-based sauce with cucumber for the cheese. I'd use unsweetened coconut milk and a ton of garlic and fresh ginger in the curry. I make a note to try it soon.

The meal works; I feel a whole lot better about myself and my lot. I feel smarter. The eating thing really works.

What I need to do is figure how I can produce more income, allowing me to amp up the quality of items in the larder — strengthen my safety net.

Perhaps I'll write a book.

If I remember correctly, lots of folks have been asking me to do it.


Extension Viewpoints


New dietary guidelines will help Americans make better food choices

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Friday, Jan. 21 - Cloverbuds at community center, 3 p.m.; Rabbit Project, 2 p.m.; Entomology Project, 2-3:30 p.m.; Poultry Project, 3 p.m.

Jan. 23 - Oil Painting Project at Evi Minor's studio, 2-5 p.m.

Jan. 24 - Cultural Foods Project at Methodist church, 3 p.m.; Food Units 1 & 2 Project at Methodist church, 4 p.m.

Jan. 25 - Outdoor Cooking/Living Project at Methodist church, 3 p.m.;

Jan. - Livestock Committee meeting, 6:30 p.m.

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

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman have announced the release of the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005," the federal government's science-based advice to promote health and reduce risk of chronic diseases through nutrition and physical activity.

The sixth edition of "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity. This joint project of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture is the latest of the five-year reviews required by federal law. It is the basis of federal food programs and nutrition education programs and supports the nutrition and physical fitness pillars of President Bush's HealthierUS Initiative.

"These new dietary guidelines represent our best science-based advice to help Americans live healthier and longer lives,'' said Secretary Thompson. "The report gives action steps to reach achievable goals in weight control, stronger muscles and bones, and balanced nutrition to help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Promoting good dietary habits is key to reducing the growing problems of obesity and physical inactivity, and to gaining the health benefits that come from a nutritionally balanced diet.''

"The new dietary guidelines highlight the principle that Americans should keep their weight within healthful limits and engage in ample physical activity," said Secretary Veneman. "The process we used to develop these recommendations was more rigorous and more transparent than ever before. Taken together, the recommendations will help consumers make smart choices from every food group, get the most nutrition out of the calories consumed and find a balance between eating and physical activity."

Eating a healthy balance of nutritious foods continues as a central point in the dietary guidelines but balancing nutrients is not enough for health. Total calories also count, especially as more Americans are gaining weight. Because almost two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and more than half get too little physical activity, the 2005 dietary guidelines place a stronger emphasis on calorie control and physical activity.

The dietaryguidelines, based on the latest scientific information including medical knowledge, provides authoritative advice for people two years and older about how proper dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. The 2005 dietary guidelines were prepared in three stages. In the first, a 13-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee prepared a report based on the best available science. In the second stage, government scientists and officials developed the dietary guidelines after reviewing the advisory committee's report and agency and public comments. In the third stage, experts worked to translate the dietary guidelines into meaningful messages for the public and educators.

The report identifies 41 key recommendations, of which 23 are for the general public and 18 for special populations. They are grouped into nine general topics:

- adequate nutrients within calorie needs;

- weight management;

- physical activity;

- food groups to encourage;

- fats;

- carbohydrates;

- sodium and potassium;

- alcoholic beverages;

- food safety.

The dietary guidelines provide health education experts, such as doctors and nutritionists, with a compilation of the latest science-based recommendations. Consumer-friendly materials such as brochures and Web sites will assist the general public in understanding the scientific language of the 2005 dietary guidelines and the key points that they can apply in their lives. To highlight those points, a consumer-oriented brochure accompanies the 2005 dietary guidelines. USDA's Food Guidance System also will serve as a tool to educate consumers on the dietary guidelines for Americans. The Food Guidance System, currently called the Food Guide Pyramid, is undergoing revision and will be released in the spring 2005.

The 2005 dietary guidelines and consumer brochure are available at: www.healthierus. gov/dietaryguidelines.

Pagosa Lakes News

1,000 perch produced in ice derby

By Larry Lynch

PLPOA Property and Environment Manager

An estimated 115 ice fishermen and women, boys and girls turned out for the third annual Hatcher Lake Winter Perch Tournament Saturday.

The weather was beautiful and ice conditions were perfect for a great day of fun and fishing.

Folks were scattered around the lake looking for hot spots and soaking up some sun as anglers caught over 1,000 yellow perch with $600 in prize money awarded to six winners in two categories - most perch caught and largest perch caught.

Prizes, including new fishing poles, reels and other ice fishing gear, were awarded to the winning kids in two different age classes as well, making this a family event.

The overall winner in the most perch caught category was Doug Burkholder with 180; second place went to Ron Geers with 175 and third went to Steve Paradill with 169. Joe Rivas Sr. won in the largest perch category and second and third place went to Don Tweet and Gary Rowe. The first-place prizes were $150 in each category; second place was $100 and third-place winners received $50. All ticket revenue is used for prizes in these Pagosa Lakes sponsored events.

In the separate kid's tournament the winner in the 12-16 age group was Chris Moody with 61 perch caught; the second-place winner was Brad Gore with nine and third place went to Nicole Vincin with eight. In the 11 and under age group Ethan Brown was the winner with 28 perch; second place was Dillon Martinez with 21 and the third place winners were Carter Walsh and Zach Brown who tied with 17 fish each. Winners in the kid's tournament all received a nice piece of ice fishing-related tackle.

We would like to thank the Upper San Juan Search and Rescue Department and the Pagosa Fire Protection District for helping keep an eye out on everyone last Saturday. They were also able to take advantage of the day by practicing some ice rescue techniques in one of the large aerator open-water zones on the lake. Hopefully nobody ever needs this service, but if the need does arise these dedicated men and women are well trained and know what to do.

The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association will sponsor a second tournament next month on Lake Pagosa. Tournament day is Saturday, Feb. 12. Tournament tickets are $5 pre-purchase and $7 on the day of the event. Kids 16 and under are free and will compete separately for great ice fishing-related prizes.

Tickets will be available beginning Monday, Jan. 31, and will be sold at Ponderosa Do-It-Best, the Chamber of Commerce, the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center and the Pagosa Lakes administration office.

We plan to combine this event with the festivities of Winter Fest that weekend.

The event will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You can call the Pagosa Lakes administration office at 731-5635 for more information.

The upcoming event on Lake Pagosa is coincidentally close to Valentines Day, the following Monday. What better way to show that someone special you love him or her than to take them ice fishing during this special weekend. Catching a mess of yellow perch for supper combined with some biscuits and a salad has romance written all over it.

Seriously though, yellow perch are one of the best eating fish you'll find anywhere; they are a member of the walleye family and if you've ever had walleye you know what I'm talking about.

The perch in Lake Pagosa are going to be much bigger than the ones in Hatcher Lake and the perch fishing through the ice on Lake Pagosa has been outstanding this year.


William Rohrer Jr.

William "Bill" Rohrer Jr. of Pagosa Springs died in his home Friday, Jan. 14, 2005.

The son of William C. and Lydia Belle Locke Rohrer, he was born Feb. 1, 1940, in Gentry, Ark. He married Janet Marie Lundquist in Denver April 19, 1969, and he and his wife moved to Pagosa Springs in 2001.

Prior to moving, he had attended the University of Denver, was in the United States Navy and had retired after 35 years service from the Denver Water Department.

He was an active member of his church. While living in Denver he attended New Life Fellowship (Judson Memorial Baptist), faithfully served as a longtime nursery worker, treasurer and KidsClub worker, and also served as an elder and an usher.

He was well known by children as well as adults and touched the lives of many. Bill enjoyed gardening, reading and model railroading.

He is preceded in death by his parents William and Lydia Belle Rohrer. Survivors are his wife, Janet M. Rohrer, his son Karl A. Rohrer and a daughter, Karen A. Rohrer, all of Pagosa Springs.

A memorial service was held 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2005, at Mountain Heights Baptist Church with Pastor Bart Burnett officiating. Interment of his cremains will be at Fort Logan National Cemetery in the spring. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Mountain Heights Baptist Church, PO Box 4429, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


John E. Rieck

John E. Rieck, 62, a resident of Chimney Rock, died Jan. 18, 2005, in Durango.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at Hood Mortuary, 1261 E. 3rd Avenue in Durango.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Pagosa Fire Protection District.

A full obituary will be printed in next week's SUN.


Business News


Sweet success: The candy man moves from tent, to 'shack' to thriving confectionary

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Looking for the perfect gift to let that special someone know exactly how you feel?

Bill Goddard and Connie Bunte have a suggestion: try a half-pound bag of "Elk Poop."

Such an offering is sure to result in divorce or breakup, you say?

Then you'd better opt for the full pound bag ... and throw in a few "Bear Piles." Maybe even some "Deer Droppings," just in case.

If you're taking such advice literally, reconsider.

Goddard and Bunte own and operate The Choke Cherry Tree/San Juan Chocolate Company, a delightful confectionary housed within a quaint chalet on U.S. 160 west of town.

In addition to the traditional notions of employing an exceptional staff and putting customer needs above all else, Goddard and Bunte maintain another simple business philosophy: "Have fun."

Thus the references to "poop" and "piles" - tongue-in-cheek brand names for the popular blends of nuts and chocolate-covered caramels they've been creating and marketing in Pagosa since 1999.

In the past six years, store visitors have occasionally blushed at the sight of labels denoting contents such as "Baby Buffalo Chips."

However, even skeptics are often unable to resist the store's fine selections of homemade candies, which aren't the only temptations offered at The Choke Cherry Tree.

What has blossomed into a growing candy business originally began as a humble produce stand on Put Hill in 1995.

And many of the store's shelves reflect the modest history of the enterprise, bearing an assortment of homemade jellies, jams, fruit butters, honey butters and syrups.

Initially, it was a simple operation; Goddard would haul in fresh produce from Grand Junction via pickup truck and market the goods beneath a pop-up tent.

The fledgling business moved indoors in 1998, when Goddard agreed to lease a small, wooden "shack" from which to market his fruit products.

"That first summer, we used it primarily for stocking produce," said Goddard. "The following year, we started with the jams and jellies - really anything we could seal off and label."

With no culinary facilities on site, Goddard traveled back and forth to the Upper Blanco Area, where he was afforded the opportunity to use the kitchen at Snow Wolf Lodge to perfect his wares.

Bunte relocated to Pagosa from Palisade to assist with Goddard's endeavor on a permanent basis in 1999, and the foundation was set.

By summer of 1999, customers were begging for more sweets - specifically, candies - and Goddard decided to oblige.

"I told Connie, 'If I can make jelly, I surely can make candy,'" recalls Goddard.

So Goddard and Bunte began to research the process of candy-making, purchasing nearly 20 books on the subject and eventually deciding to experiment with caramels.

At first, the couple bought bulk caramel in slabs, but later decided it would be cheaper to produce it themselves.

According to Goddard, those first production trials were rather touch-and-go.

"Let's just say the first few weeks, the bears down at Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park were doing really well," said Goddard. "I made some god-awful messes."

But in the end, Goddard effectively struck gold.

"I knew I had the right combination," said Goddard, "when a woman came into the store one day, took a bite of caramel and said, 'Oh ... my ... god!'"

Soon after, sales of "Grandpa Bill's Old-fashion Homemade Caramel," which is sold plain or with almonds, pecans and walnuts, began to soar.

The rise in business prompted relocation to larger quarters two years ago, and the store's product lines have expanded accordingly.

To this day, however, "The caramels remain the biggest seller we have," concludes Bunte.

And demand for the sweets is sometimes global; orders have been sent as far as Iraq, Asia, England and South America.

But while candy may be their mainstay, Goddard and Bunte strive to keep a multitude of fruit-based products on hand, as well.

Jam and jelly flavors range from traditional favorites such as blackberry and peach to eclectic combinations like strawberry rhubarb and raspberry plum.

There is even a variety of "hot jams" sure to satisfy eccentric tastes, spreads featuring jalapeño peppers paired with the likes of peaches, apricots and plums, to name a few.

Other rare finds include huckleberry jelly, marionberry jam and, of course, choke cherry jelly.

Fruit syrups contain real fruit, are free of flavorings and extracts and include customary tastes such as peach and blueberry, as well as novelties like tart cherry, strawberry rhubarb and raspberry rhubarb.

Honey butters are sold in eight homemade varieties, including cranberry orange pecan, cinnamon and peach amaretto pecan.

The selection of eight available fruit butters, which appeal to the calorie-conscious because they are made with less sugar than jams and jellies, includes apple, pear, peach and sweet potato.

For those with spicier tastes, The Choke Cherry Tree also carries myriad salsas, hot sauces, barbecue sauces, mustards and relishes.

Also in stock are vinegars, oils, dressings, marinades, pickled olives and garlic.

Rounding out the savory inventory is a quality selection of cocoa and cappucino mixes, soup and dip mixes and countless specialty and seasonal items.

Whenever possible, the store will shelve goods made in Colorado; a glance at a few product labels indicates originations such as Silverton, Palisade, Pueblo and Crested Butte.

But ultimately, customer satisfaction is the goal and "quality, not point of origin, determines whether an item is carried."

The Choke Cherry Tree is open daily. Store location is 4760 West U.S. 160; hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Cash, checks, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover are accepted.

To place an order by phone or inquire about store products, call 731-4951, (800) 809-0769, or e-mail chokecherry@frontier.net.

For more information on The Choke Cherry Tree's product lines and prices, visit the store Web site at http://chokecherrytree.com.


Biz Briefs

Self-Employment association names

local representative

Robert G. Williams has been named the new membership representative in the Pagosa Springs area for the National Association for the Self-Employed.

The association was formed in 1981 by a group of small-business owners seeking the kinds of benefits and services then only available to large corporations.

With full-time representation in Washington, D.C., NASE gives members a strong political voice and the negotiating power that comes with group size.

For example, NASE has used its voice to fight for reduced estate taxes on small businesses, increased deduction of health insurance for the self-employed, the home office deduction, Social Security reform and clarification of independent contractor status.

To learn more about NASE and benefits it offers, call Williams at 946-8006 or log onto www.benefits4colo.com.


Two new aides for mental health

in Pagosa Springs

Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center Inc. in Pagosa Springs has added two staff therapists.

Myron Carr is the regional youth/family support therapist working with Department of Social Services to meet individual and family counseling needs.

Robert Woods is the agency's new emergency services/child and adolescent therapist.

The center is at 475 Lewis St., downtown, Suite 104. Call 264-2104


Biz Beat

Riverside Health Practices

The providers at Riverside Health Practices announce the opening of a new paradigm in health care for Pagosa Springs, in offices located at 103 Pagosa St.

Scott Anderson DC, left, has 20 years chiropractic experience with extensive training in orthopedics and treatment of sports injuries.

Mary McClellan is a licensed massage therapist with 16 years experience doing deep tissue massage with acupressure in medical settings.

Susan Kuhns is a certified nurse practitioner with a 15-year history as a family practice health provider. She has extended her services to focus on women's health care and has additional training in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Robert Brown M.D. has an extensive background in family practice and emergency medicine, and has been trained in medical acupuncture.

Nathan Masters is a national board-certified massage therapist offering medical massage and oriented body work.

Call Riverside Health Practices at 264-2218 or 264-2604.



Cards of Thanks


Bake sale support

The Archuleta County Education Center and coordinator Jenine Marnocha would like to thank generous Pagosans, Daylight Donuts, City Market and hard working Youth-to-Work students Tera Ochoa, Kacey Tothe, Cheyenne Spath, Tom Dang, Myron Voorhis, and Ron Toland for adding $150 to help Save The Children of the tsunami disaster through our bake sale. Thank you.




Mike and Susan Neder are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Emily Susan Neder, to Ken Linck of Flagstaff, Ariz. The Neders are even more thrilled that the couple has decided to elope to Las Vegas, Nev., on March 19. Stay tuned for more information on a summer party to honor the newlyweds here in Pagosa.



Ms. Peggy Ralston-Poma, Mr. Lou Poma and Ms. Mary Joe Schilling announce the engagement of their daughter, Victoria Irene Poma, to Captain Colby Dewayne Hoefar, U.S. Air Force. The bride to be was born and raised in Pagosa Springs, and graduated from Kansas State University in 1991 with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. She has since made a career as a Real Estate Broker for the past 13 years. The groom to be is the son of Mr. Terry and Mrs. Janet Hoefar of Haslett, Texas. Captain Hoefar was born in Oklahoma City, Okla., and graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1995 with a degree in civil engineering. He is currently serving at the Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs. The celebration and wedding with immediate family and very close friends is planned June 11 and will take place in the Weminuche River Valley at the historic Poma Ranch. The couple will reside in Colorado Springs.


Sports Page

Pirates drop Alamosa 58-47, host Centauri Saturday

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

There's no place like home.

After an absence of nearly one month, Pirate basketball returned to the Pagosa Springs High School gymnasium Saturday night.

And in its final contest leading up to this week's Intermountain League opener, the home team did not disappoint.

Led by senior Caleb Forrest and junior Craig Schutz, the Pirates beat Class 4A Alamosa 58-47 to improve to 10-1 on the year.

However, one area of alarm for Pagosa Head Coach Jim Shaffer in an otherwise impressive win was the turnover column, which reflected 25 Pirate miscues.

"I thought at times we played well and made it look easy, but at other times we turned the ball over three or four times in a row," said Shaffer after the game.

"So I'm a little concerned with how we've been taking care of the ball lately," he added. "Early this year, ball control was one of our strengths, but that's kind of gone south on us in the past two games."

But despite an abnormal number of giveaways to the Mean Moose, the Pirates were rarely in danger of relinquishing the lead after gaining control of the contest near the start of the second quarter.

The Mean Moose controlled the tip and forged an early 4-0 lead, but five points from Forrest to answer a jumper from Alan Kitchen made it 6-5 Alamosa with three minutes gone in the opening period.

A deuce from Jason Espinosa put Alamosa up three, but the Pirates tied the game at 8-8 with a free throw from Craig Schutz and a put-back by Forrest.

Espinosa responded with a trey, but Forrest booked eight straight, including a pair of consecutive three balls, to give Pagosa a 16-11 lead at 2:20.

Alamosa battled back to 16-15 with two apiece from Spencer McDaniel and Josh Streeter, but the first quarter ended 17-15 in favor of the Pirates after a late free throw from Forrest.

Pirate senior Otis Rand opened second-frame scoring with a deuce off a dish from Paul Przybylski, then followed a trey from Forrest with two inside to make it 24-15.

Then sophomore Jordan Shaffer hit both ends of a one-and-one to give Pagosa an 11-point edge before Kitchen and Whit Znamenacek combined for five straight to cut the gap to 26-20 at 4:05.

Craig Schutz scored off a baseline assist from Casey Schutz to match a deuce from Alamosa's Carlos Casanova, both teams got sloppy with the ball, then Forrest and Casey Schutz provided the final five points of the period and Pagosa led 33-22 at the half.

Forrest's deuce in the paint was the first Pirate bucket of the third, and Espinosa put the Mean Moose on the board with a jumper at 6:25.

Then turnovers marred both teams' efforts to score until Craig Schutz kissed off the glass at 4:10 to give the Pirates a 37-24 advantage.

The lead soon swelled to 41-24 on two apiece from Casey and Craig Schutz, then Kitchen ended Alamosa's lull with a trey that was followed by a three-point play from Casanova to pull Alamosa within 41-30 at 1:45.

But the now-pressing Pirates got a late drive from Przybylski to cap a 7-0 run, and the third quarter ended with Pagosa on top 48-32 after an Alamosa tip fell true at the buzzer.

Craig Schutz scored off an assist from Forrest to open the fourth, then Alamosa put together a 10-point surge to make it 50-40 halfway through the period.

Forrest was lost for the remainder of the game during the run, exiting at 3:56 with what was later diagnosed as a bruised back after landing awkwardly on an attempt to swat away a shot by Streeter.

Despite the loss of their leading scorer, the Pirates proceeded to outscore their opponents 6-1 in the ensuing minutes, managing a 57-41 lead after a three-point play by Craig Schutz with 1:19 to play.

Then Shaffer added a free throw to Pagosa's total after a jumper from Espinosa, Alamosa scored four down the stretch and the Pirates improved their season record to 10-1 with the 58-47 win.

Forrest finished with 24 points and nine rebounds to lead Pagosa, while Craig Schutz added 16 points and seven boards to the winning cause.

Przybylski and Casey Schutz topped the assists column with five apiece, followed by Rand and Forrest with two each.

Reiterating the concern over turnovers in a postgame interview, "With league play starting this week, we have to be mentally tougher than we were tonight and take better care of the basketball," said Shaffer.

"We're going to get back to practice this week and work on being smarter with our passes," he added.

"If we can cut down on the turnovers, I think we'll be in good shape," Shaffer concluded.

The Pirates, defending league champions, will open their IML season at home Saturday against the Centauri Falcons. Action begins at 7 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 8-18, 5-6, 24; Craig Schutz 7-13, 2-4, 16; Casey Schutz 0-10, 7-8, 7; Hilsabeck 0-1, 0-0, 0; Przybylski 2-3, 0-1, 4; Shaffer 0-5, 3-7, 3; Rand 2-4, 0-2, 4. Three-point goals: Forrest 3. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 15. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 32. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 13.


Pirates hang on for 59-55 win over Kirtland

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Head Coach Jim Shaffer's Pirates must have felt like supermodels at a construction site.

Nearly every move they made Friday night during the second half of their 59-55 win at Kirtland, N.M. was met with a whistle.

Especially trying for the Pirates were the final eight minutes, which saw four Pirate starters foul out while Pagosa repeatedly struggled with a stifling Kirtland press.

Meanwhile, the Broncos were wearing the paint off the floor at the charity stripe, eventually whittling what had been a 19-point Pirate lead down to two.

The end result was a fourth quarter lasting longer than most celebrity marriages, but thanks to key free-throw conversions from Pirate sophomores Kerry Joe Hilsabeck and Casey Hart, an apparent disaster was narrowly avoided.

Except for a collision that temporarily forced Pirate senior Caleb Forrest to the bench with a bloody nose, the opening minutes of the contest were rather even-keeled; the teams stood tied at 7-7 with four minutes left in the first frame.

Things began to fall Pagosa's way when Pirate junior Craig Schutz completed a three-point play at 3:18, then senior Otis Rand sank two at the line to give the visitors a 12-7 lead at 2:14.

Forrest announced his return to the lineup with a thunderous jam on the break less than a minute later, then he and Rand combined for the final three points of the quarter and Pagosa led 17-7 after one.

Craig and Casey Schutz got two each to extend the lead to 21-7 early in the second, Kirtland's David Vigil and McKay Hathaway answered with six, then Forrest buried a trey to make it 24-13 Pirates at 3:05.

Kirtland's Josh Black hit a deep three to cut the margin to eight, but a reverse jam from Forrest followed by a late baseline jumper from sophomore Jordan Shaffer to counter a lone Bronco free throw had Pagosa up 28-17 at the half.

Pagosa began to outpace the Broncos in the third behind an opening trey from Forrest, two from Rand on an assist from Paul Przybylski and a trey from Craig Schutz at 4:50 that put the Pirates in front 36-21.

Frequent whistles were a concern for Pagosa, but the Pirates were able to build the lead to 40-21 with a free throw apiece from Hilsabeck and Shaffer followed by two at the line from Rand with three minutes left in the frame.

Rand and Pirate sophomore Caleb Ormonde combined for six to offset a half-dozen from the Broncos, and at the end of the third the Pirates held a 46-27 advantage.

Then came the deciding quarter and an aggressive Kirtland press, and the Pirates began to unravel.

After a pair at the line from Kirtland's Ryan Bunion, a 10-second call on Pagosa resulted in a trey from Black and the Broncos trailed 46-32 with 7:15 to play.

A free throw each by Przybylski, Bunion and Ormonde made it 48-33, then Kirtland's Donovan Tanner canned a trey to narrow the gap to an even dozen at 6:10.

Rand hit Forrest for two to put the Pirates up by fourteen, but the scent of a possible comeback began when Forrest drew his fifth personal with five minutes remaining.

Kirtland's McKay Hathaway and Chris Pyne got the next Bronco six, Przybylski and Schutz got two each at the line, and the Pirates held a 54-42 edge at 3:54.

But Pagosa lost Craig Schutz to foul trouble in the hectic next minute, the Bronco press continued to take its toll and the Pirates were unable to counter five straight Kirtland free throws that cut the lead to 54-47.

Then a foul behind the arc sent Rand to the sideline and Pyne to the stripe, and the resulting free throws made it 54-50 inside the three-minute mark.

Bunion trimmed the lead with a free throw at 2:39, then Przybylski gave the Pirates temporary breathing room with a pair of charity tosses at 2:06; Pagosa led 56-51.

Pyne kept the home crowd on its feet with a trey less than 30 ticks later, however, and the Broncos trailed by just two at 1:40.

The Pirates were able to spread the floor on their next possession, and eventually drew a foul that netted two double-bonus free throws for Hilsabeck at 1:04.

But Pyne hit one of two at the line after drawing a fifth personal from Przybylski, and Kirtland was within three with 35 seconds to play.

A Pirate turnover on the ensuing possession gave Kirtland a chance to tie, but the Broncos failed to convert and Hilsabeck came away with the misfire and pushed ahead to Hart, who was fouled with 13 seconds to play.

The first attempt rimmed out, but Hart drained the second cleanly, boosting Pagosa's lead to four.

Kirtland could not find the range before time expired, and Pagosa escaped with the 59-55 win.

Forrest led the Pirates with 19 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Craig Schutz and Rand with 10 points apiece and six and five boards, respectively.

Craig Schutz led in assists with four, followed by Przybylski and Hilsabeck with three each.

Though the Pirates recorded 27 fouls on the night, of greater concern to Shaffer was the number of turnovers Pagosa committed - 31.

"This kind of thing happens at all levels; we're not the first basketball team to give up a big lead," said Shaffer after the game.

"But we had a huge panic attack and didn't react very well to situations where we needed to be smart and careful with the ball," he added.

"In the last two minutes, I thought we were probably cooked," said Shaffer. "But those free throws at the end were huge because it made it a two-possession game, and the way Kirtland shoots the ball, a three-point lead isn't a safe bet."

In conclusion, "It's not a pretty win - but better than the alternative, and it gives us a lot to work on (this) week," said Shaffer.

The Pirates begin defense of their Intermountain League crown at home Saturday against Centauri. Game time is 7 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 8-13, 0-0, 19; Craig Schutz 3-6, 3-3, 10; Casey Schutz 1-11, 0-2, 2; Hilsabeck 0-2, 3-4, 3; Przybylski 0-1, 5-8, 5; Shaffer 2-4, 1-4, 5; Rand 2-6, 6-8, 10; Ormonde 1-2, 2-6 4; Hart 0-0, 1-2 1. Three-point goals: Craig Schutz 1, Forrest 3. Fouled out: Forrest, Craig Schutz, Rand, Przybylski. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 14. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 42. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 27.


Orange Bowl performance highlight of her trip

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Lynda Johnson has returned to Pagosa Springs from Miami, Fla., with a greater appreciation for her fellow cheerleaders around the nation.

Picked as a participant in the 2005 All-American Cheerleader camp, Lynda spent six days in Miami working with 560 other top spirit practitioners to enhance her skills and learn new ones.

Asked what she thought was the outstanding part of the experience, she said, "The biggest thrill was being part of the team which performed at half time of the Orange Bowl game."

But even more enlightening to her, she said, was seeing that the degree of preparation necessary for all the work in camp, "wasn't much harder than what our coach puts us through in Pagosa."

Being part of the overall All-American mystique was "great," but she said learning how others prepare for the rigors of participation "gave me new ideas on how to improve my own performance."

A Pagosa Springs High School junior, Lynda is the daughter of Pirate cheerleader coach Renee Davis.


Morose Maroon Moose flailed 53-22 by Pirates

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Mean Moose seems too debasing a term for the Alamosa High School girls basketball team.

In fact, the Maroons (the other acceptable name) were more mild than mean on a visit to Pagosa Springs High School Saturday.

They came into the Pirate's cove with a 4-6 record, two consecutive losses, and a group searching for its own identity.

They did not find it on this side of Wolf Creek Pass.

But the demise was slow in coming as the Pirates seemed lethargic in the opening period and by its end had fashioned only a 6-1 margin.

That came on field goals by senor center Caitlyn Jewell and junior forward Emily Buikema and a pair from the charity stripe by junior point guard Liza Kelley.

The lone Alamosa marker was a charity toss by sophomore Kate Morin.

The Pirates' cold spell held into the second period as they hit only three of 12 attempts from the floor, one a trey by senior Bri Scott. Kelley and senior Lori Walkup each added a field goal and Jessica Lynch converted a pair from the stripe.

The Alamosans did finally score a field goal - in fact, two - in the second period, one each by Morin and Megan Faucett to accompany single free throws by Erica Bussey and Crystal Loch.

Bad basketball makes unusual statistics. Alamosa, for example, was two-for-12 from the floor in the first half and Pagosa only slightly better at five-for-20.

The 15-7 halftime lead for the Pirates was evidence of both a smothering Pirate defense, and both teams doing their best impressions of "The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight."

The Pirate lethargy came to a screeching halt in the third period as they erupted for the biggest single quarter outburst of the year.

Scott got it underway with a driving layup, was fouled as the ball went in, and calmly created a trey the old-fashioned way.

Jewell took a back pass from Kelley and drove to the rim for a pair before Walkup went on a three-basket spree adding six to the Pirate total.

Loch fired in a long three for Alamosa to ease the sting momentarily, but Pirate guards Lynch and Kelley then took turns beating the Alamosa defenders to the rim for fast break field goals.

Rebekah White notched her first field goal for the Maroon but Pagosa had more missiles in the silo.

Fresh off the bench, Kari Beth Faber went inside for two buckets. Kelley added another and Caitlin Forrest scored on an offensive rebound putback and added a charity toss.

At the end of three, numbers on the scoreboard were reversed - 41-14 in favor of the homestanding Pirates.

White scored for Alamosa to open the final frame but Buikema answered with a bucket for Pagosa.

Junior forward Stacy Bervig, blanked all night by Pirate defenders, finally got a field goal but Jewell answered for Pagosa on the next possession.

Loch hit for Alamosa, but it was to be the visitors' final point of the game.

The Pirates, however, were having fun, now. Kelley drove the lane and put up a jumper. It didn't go but she was fouled and went to the stripe to drill a pair.

Moments later, standing wide open at 22 feet she let go her second trey attempt of the night and saw twine ripple as it swished through.

With time running down, it was Walkup to close out the scoring, hitting an eight-foot jumper on the left side for the final points in a 53-22 Pirate victory.

Coach Bob Lynch, who had benched the seniors the night before in Kirtland, N.M., was pleased with the output from the whole team Saturday, discounting the atrocious first half shooting percentage.

For the game, Pagosa was 21-of- 45 from the floor for just over 46.5 percent, their best mark of the year, as they hiked their record to 6-4. Pagosa was nine-of-16 from the charity stripe.

Alamosa took only 15 shots from the field in the game, converting eight, for a better than 50 percent mark. The Maroons were just five-of-17 from the free throw line and were outrebounded 23-9.

Forrest was Pagosa's leading rebounder with five, four offensive. Walkup and Buikema each had four, two at each end. Scott was the game leader in steals with five, and Lynch the assist leader with four.

Pagosa has one more non-league encounter, a 7 p.m. contest tonight in Farmington, before opening the Intermountain League season at home Saturday with a 5:30 p.m. tipoff against league co-favorite Centauri. The Falcons were at the Saturday game after disposing of the Bayfield Wolverines in their league opener.

In other IML weekend action, Monte Vista, a two-time loser to Alamosa earlier this month, defeated Ignacio.


Scoring: P-Lynch, 1-2, 2-2, 4; Scott, 1-1, 1-4, 1-1, 6; Kelley, 1-2, 3-9, 4-6, 13; Walkup, 5-8, 10; Faber, 2-3, 4; Jewell, 4-8, 0-2, 8; Buikema, 2-3, 1-3, 5; Forrest, 1-2, 1-3, 3. A-Bervig, 1-1, 2; Bussey, 0-0, 1-4, 1; Faucet, 1-2, 0-2, 2; Lock, 1-1, 1-4, 1-4, 6; Morin, 1-1, 3-4, 5; White, 3-5, 6. Total fouls: 16 each team. Turnovers, P-16, A-24.


Revamped lineup provides spark but Ladies lose 58-41

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

He promised a shake-up in the starting lineup and coach Bob Lynch was true to his word.

Three regular senior starters for Pagosa Springs were sitting on the pines at the beginning of Friday's Pagosa vs. Kirtland face-off in the Bronco's arena.

One regular starter, junior point guard Liza Kelley and one part-time starter, junior center-forward Caitlin Forrest got the opening call along with junior forward Kari Beth Faber, sophomore guard Jessica Lynch and sophomore forward Kristen DuCharme making her first varsity start.

The coach had informed senior parents prior to the action that it would be taking place and that it was intended as a wake-up call for those veterans who seemed to have been in a recent daze.

Forrest put Pagosa up first with a spinning move in the lane on an assist from DuCharme. Then Kelley drilled a long trey from the right wing and Pagosa was up 5-0.

In fact, with sticky defense early, the Pirates held the defending New Mexico state Class 4A champions scoreless through the first 3:13.

Devin Diehl broke that spell with a pair from the charity stripe and McKenzie Crum cut the Pirate lead to 5-4 with an offensive rebound putback.

Kelley got one back on a free throw and then drained her second trey to put Pagosa up 9-4. Diehl answered with a Bronco deuce and with just over two minutes left in the period, Lynch put his seniors on the floor.

C.J. Hogue drove the lane, canned the layup, was fouled by Pirate center Caitlyn Jewell, and cut the lead to one at the quarter break.

Lynch chose to leave his regular starters on the floor in the second period but they responded with an 0-5 performance from the floor. In fact, only Forrest was able to score from the floor for the Pirates in the period.

Diehl and supporters, meanwhile, went on a three-point safari, pounding down four in six attempts, three by Diehl and one by Christy Yazzie, and the Pirate lead disappeared in a flash.

By the halftime break, Pagosa was down 28-13 with the only other Pirate markers in the period being single free throws from Kelley and Faber.

For Kirtland, Yazzie added a deuce, Johnsell Charles matched it, Hogue hit a pair from the stripe, and so did Diehl.

The latter, averaging 23 points per game on the season, was to finish with 27, the same number she put up earlier in the week in a three-point loss to Durango.

Pagosa came back in the third period, outscoring the home team 15-11 to cut the deficit to 39-28 after three periods, with the seniors finally getting on the boards. Walkup got the drive opened with consecutive steals leading to a pair of points at period's start.

Bri Scott fired in six points in the frame, her total for the game with two coming at the line. Lori Walkup added a field goal and three from the stripe and Kelley and Emily Buikema chipped in a pair of field goals.

But Diehl was dialed in and countered the Pirate outburst with four field goals of her own while Yazzie added one deuce.

Pagosa gave the Broncos a run for their laurels early in the fourth, outscoring their hosts 6-5 to cut the lead to 44-34 with half the period gone.

The surge came on a pair of inside drives by the 6-2 Jewell and a second Faber free throw.

Diehl countered with a left-handed hook in the lane and a pair of charity tosses. Kelley matched that output and Walkup dialed a deuce to cut the margin to 8.

But that was as close as Pagosa would get. Crum took over for Diehl with four from the stripe and added a field goal. Hogue got her second field goal, Yazzie converted two from the stripe as did her sister, Kaitlyn, and Tovih Begay ended the Bronco charge with her only field goal of the game.

Kelley drilled one more field goal, giving her 16 points on the night, but she was the only Pirate in double figures as Kirtland capitalized on Pirate mistakes in the second half for a 58-41 final margin.

A look at the statistics gives the first and third periods to Pagosa, the second and fourth to Kirtland Central. The margins, however, were much bigger for Kirtland in their prime periods.

Pagosa also sabotaged its own cause with 18 turnovers compared to only five for the Broncos, and only one of those in the second half.

Amazingly, Pagosa outrebounded Kirtland, but only 24-22, paced by Scott with five defensive boards and Forrest with five total, four offensive.

Pagosa shot only a fraction over 28 percent for the night, with 12 for 42 from the floor and only nine-of-16 from the charity stripe.

Kirtland Central, on the other hand, was 19 of 43 from the floor and 16 of 19 from the charity stripe, where the real game margin occurred.

The win moved Kirtland to 12-3 for the season and the loss dropped Pagosa to 5-4 with one more road game - Thursday night at Farmington - before the Intermountain League season opens with the Centauri Falcons coming to Pagosa for a 5:30 p.m. contest Saturday.


Scoring: P-Lynch, 0-4, 0-2, 0-0, 0; Buikema, 1-3, 2; Scott, 0-1, 2-7, 2-4, 6; Walkup, 0-0, 2-6, 3-3, 7; Faber, 0-0, 0-0, 2-4, 2; Jewell, 2-5, 4; Forrest, 2-4, 0-1, 4; DuCharme, 0-2, 0-1, 0. K-Diehl, 3-7, 6-7, 6-7, 27; Crum, 0-0, 2-3, 4-4, 8; Hogue, 0-0, 2-6, 2-2, 6; C. Yazzie, 1-2, 2-8, 2-3, 9; Begay, 1-1, 0-1, 2; Charles, 0-1, 1-1, 2; K. Yazzie, 0-0, 2-2, 2. Fouls: P-14, K-18. Steals leader, Walkup, 5.

Wrestlers fare well at Alamosa tourney

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

How resilient are they?

Pirate wrestling coach Dan Janowsky wondered that about his wrestlers prior to his team's appearance at the Alamosa Invitational Jan. 15.

Considering a tough loss to Monte Vista Jan. 13 and a lengthy list of injuries, Janowsky was concerned his team would not be ready for action at one of the rougher tourneys of the season - one at which the Pirates were the sole 3A entry in a field of ranked 4A and 5A opponents.

There were positive signs: following the loss at Monte, wrestlers were in good spirits and, at a Friday practice, they worked hard - a characteristic this group of athletes has exhibited from the beginning.

"I was wondering how the guys would respond to our loss at Monte Vista Thursday night," said the coach. His concern did not prove out, as the team placed fifth in a rugged nine-team field, behind winner Montrose, Alamosa, Delta and Douglas County, and ahead of Rampart, Thunder Ridge, Pueblo East and Aztec, N.M.

"When it was all over," said Janowsky, "I thought we had an above-average performance for us at this tournament."

Two Pirates placed second in their weight classes: Paul Armijo, at 152 pounds, and Bubba Martinez at 215.

Janowsky described Armijo's first match, against Bryant Hunter of Montrose, as "exciting. Paul fell behind Hunter and was closing in on him when he caught him in a headlock." Armijo scored with the third-period pin.

A 9-4 decision over Eldon Vannest of Delta advanced Armijo out of the semifinal into the bout for the championship.

That match was against the defending 4A state champ, Mike Gallegos of Alamosa, and the champ won out with a 20-5 tech fall.

"I think the second-place finish was a great sign," said Janowsky. "Paul is a good athlete and he's been training hard. He's a competitor and he knows how to win."

Martinez drew a bye in the first round then fought a rough customer in the semifinal - David Gurule of Alamosa. "Bubba got behind," said the coach, "then fought his way out." When the match ended, Martinez had the 8-6 decision.

In the final, Martinez lost to Jake Finnegan of Montrose.

Two Pirates captured third place at the tournament.

Daren Hockett was third at 125, starting his day pinning Luke Weitzel of Delta at 1:01. Hockett then dropped to the consolation round with a 9-6 loss to David Lopez of Montrose.

In the consolation semi, Hockett rebounded, pinning Scott Burchfield of Aztec at 3:36.

In the battle for third, Hockett defeated Tommy Valdez of Alamosa 10-3.

Raul Palmer took third place at 135. The senior started strong, pinning J.D. Wolf of Aztec at 1:05.

A 10-6 loss to Shawn Sanchez of Montrose put Palmer on the mat with Andy Trujillo of Pueblo East. Palmer dispatched Trujillo, pinning him at 1:52.

Third place was the Pirate's when he pinned Peter Cook of Rampart at 3:57. The win left Palmer with a 4-1 record in matches at Monte Vista and Alamosa, four of the wins by fall.

Fourth place at 140 went to Ky Smith.

The junior started with an 11-4 decision over Nick Shafer of Pueblo East.

A loss to the eventual tourney champ, Jason Wilton of Thunder Ridge, threw Smith into consolation and a fight against Brandon Garcia of Delta.

Smith nailed a 17-2 win over Garcia but lost the fourth-place bout 3-2 to Michael Woodruff of Montrose.

Other Pirates won matches and earned points for the team at Alamosa.

At 112, Josh Nelson was 2-2, pinning Shawn Delmez of Thunder Ridge at 2:46 and getting the fall against Brandon Cordova of Pueblo East.

Manuel Madrid started well at 145 with a 16-1 win over Brandon Quintero of Pueblo East then, injuring a hamstring in the consolation semifinal, he was forced to surrender an injury default.

Matt Nobles got a victory at 160, nailing a fall against Troy Angsten of Pueblo East at 3:03.

Joe Romine pinned Kyle Manhart of Thunder Ridge at 275.

"In a lot of matches," said Janowsky, "we were losing decisions where the week earlier we lost major decisions or lost by a tech fall. Compared to Thursday (the loss at Monte Vista) we were often coming out ahead in the third, not the other way around. We had kids who didn't win, but they got a lot of mat time and they wrestled hard."

The problem now is twofold: first, there are injuries; second the season is rapidly drawing to a close.

"We're beat up," said the coach. "We've got more injuries than usual. They're not season-ending injuries, but they are hampering our performance and our ability to practice."

This week might be the only time to allow those injuries to heal before the remaining IML dual meets, the Ignacio tournament and the regional tourney that set the stage for state.

Tonight, the team is scheduled to make a trip to Durango for a dual meet against the Demons. Saturday, a trip to Center is in the offing.

"I'm still not sure who I'll take to Durango and Center," said the coach. "I'll wait to the last minute and take our injury situation into consideration."

The match at Durango is set to begin at 6 p.m. Action starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Center.


Pirates lose IML dual to Monte 38-33

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

A week of extremes for Pirate wrestlers began Jan. 13 with a 38-33 Intermountain League dual meet loss to Monte Vista.

The loss put Monte Vista in the lead for the league title and threw the Pirates into a battle with the three other teams in the IML - each of which hopes someone else knocks off the leader.

In one respect, it was a disappointing loss for the Pirates - the team, as a whole, was not competing at peak capacity and, but for a successful match or two, could have defeated the host team.

It was encouraging for the same reason: the team did not perform near its best, leading to the notion the Pirates can be far better when the important cards are on the table, at the regional qualifying meet in three weeks.

The dual began at 140 pounds where Pagosa's Ky Smith lost a tough match to Omar Gonzalez, 7-5. Gonzalez came back from a 5-2 deficit in the third period to score the winning points.

Manuel Madrid, nursing a sore hamstring, lost to Monte's Joe Kelso at 145.

The Pirates' first points came from Paul Armijo at 152. The senior beat Zack Scholl 3-2.

Matt Nobles scored maximum points with a pin at 160. Nobles put German Gutierrez's shoulders down at the three-minute mark.

Justin Moore fought a tough and experienced opponent in Clayton Weaver, and lost his match at 171.

Pagosa edged up on Monte with points on forfeits at 189 and 215.

In a move guaranteed to make his wrestler tougher, Coach Dan Janowsky put Bubba Martinez in at 275 to face Keeton Roosen. Martinez, the Pirates' 215-pounder, tops the scales at around 205. Roosen brings a full 275 to the dinner table each night. Martinez wrestled Roosen well before succumbing 5-2.

The Pirates on the light end of the weight classes got the team to within striking distance.

Shane Lloyd pinned Pablo Mascarenas at 1:25 in a match at 103.

At 112, Josh Nelson lost to Zack Trujillo and Orion Sandoval lost his match at 119 to Justin Prieto.

Daren Hockett lost his first match of the season at 125. Hockett battled Kyle Francis and the wrestlers were tied 3-3 going into the final period. Francis got the takedown, Hockett got an escape but Francis managed to tie up Hockett's wrists when the wrestlers were on their feet, thwart any attack by the Pirate and eke out a 5-4 decision.

At 130, Paul Hostetter lost a match to Quentin Burke.

Raul Palmer began what would be an exceptional weekend with a fall over Kyle Cooper in the third period of their match at 135.

"We got beat a lot in the third period," said Janowsky. "Our guys looked tired, looked slow. Actually, both teams seemed a little tired after a long week and neither team wrestled its best. But, we're a lot better than we showed. We started off pretty good then faded in some of our matches. It looked to me like mental fatigue rather than physical fatigue. Maybe we're overtrained at this point, but you have to take that chance; you can't taper for every meet. We just didn't rise to the occasion and we need to remember that, when you get down, you have to find a way to win."

As far as a chance at the IML title, decided on the basis of a round of dual meets with the other IML teams, Janowsky thinks the Pirates are still in the running.

"We left the door open and Monte walked in and took the meet and the lead. Now we have to win our other duals and hope someone knocks off Monte Vista. But, we also have to remember there are more important things ahead. We set our sights on the regional and state tournaments."

Florence, originally scheduled to fight duals at Monte Vista against the Pirates and the hosts opted out of action Jan. 13.

The Pirates are scheduled to travel to Durango tonight for a 6 p.m. dual with the Demons. Saturday the team will attend the Center tournament which begins at 10 a.m.


Pagosans bow the title line

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It may not be a recognized hotbed of archery competition, but Pagosa Springs now has seven state award winners, including two record-setting champions.

Eight Pagosans competed Jan 8-9 in the Colorado State Archery Association championships in Denver.

Top performers were Steven Melendy, a 13-year-old who captured first place and set a state scoring record in bow-hunter freestyle competition.

Mason Laverty of Pagosa Springs was third in the same competition bracket.

Also winning a first-place trophy and setting a state scoring record was Lynn Constan in traditional bow competition.

Kathi Huddleston captured first place in adult female freestyle competition and Jay DeLange took the first place trophy in men's freestyle limited.

Not to be outdone, Sally DeLange, Jay's wife, was first in women's freestyle limited and Lynn's husband, Nick, was second to Jay in the men's freestyle limited.


Pagosa Springs Parks

Plan for the future; nothing stays the same

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Last week, while looking through the town board archives of minutes from different eras, it was interesting to see the problems and the concern of the community have not changed.

In the '50s and '60s the main source of revenue was the sawmills and, later on, it was water diversion projects that kept the town's populace able to rent and own homes and put food on the tables.

There were very few tourist dollars and few county tax revenues to pay for roads and other services, because the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions did not yet exist.

In the minutes from one of the meetings in the '50s the board directed the chief of police, Sam Post, to find someone to mow the park for the annual Fourth of July celebration. They also approved $500 to buy a used state patrol vehicle from Salida, with a whole $20 set aside for gas, food and lodging on the trip over to pick up the car.

The trash service bond for all the trash pick-up was $300. Water and sewer was a great concern, as were mill levies.

Fifty years later the No. 1 source of income for the town is the same as it is throughout the state - tourism. Only $65,000 in the town budget now comes from property tax; the rest of our budget comes from sales tax revenues and that means a lot of that revenue is generated by tourists.

So, to do out part and protect our main revenue base, our board is trying to envision some of the future needs for parks and recreation. We are trying to preserve open space, parks, and river recreation to keep the tourists coming to town. The town and county benefit from them spending their tourist dollars here.

Our town leaders must realize the cost of looking into the future, and start preserving open space, and dealing with the maintenance of capitol improvements.

If everyone does their part, the experience the tourist and the locals will enjoy in Pagosa in the future will be just as memorable as it is for those of us that remember the "good ole days." In 50 years or so these days will be the "good ole days."

So hang in there, open your minds and ask questions, because the rumors are raging. And just know, nothing ever stays the same. Just ask the old-timers.


Stick to the plans

Many reactions following last week's Community Vision Coun-cil meeting have been cathartic and extreme. Emotions are running high among those opposed to the plans and/or the planners. We are mindful, however, of the fact that plans are not policies and the best plans are malleable; second, we take issue with some of the reasons for the more exaggerated reactions and urge involvement and vigilance on the part of those who will be affected by changes that, in one form or another, at one time or another, are inevitable.

It is unproductive to focus on personalities, to pursue ad hominem arguments. There is edgy talk about "people with money" buying property, seeking to develop it, but we remember it is people with money who purchase property and are willing to take a risk - yes, for their own gain - who are the foundation of our economic system. The old commercial buildings in downtown Pagosa Springs were financed and built by people with money; the replacements will be as well. Those with the ability to spend their money have the right to do so, and have the right to profit by it. At this point, it is plans, not people, that should be analyzed.

The fact that some who seek to develop a community master plan came from somewhere else is irrelevant. Most people reacting to the plan came here from somewhere else, many in the recent past. It is not where a council member, developer or builder comes from that matters, it is the quality of ideas that is important.

It is naïve to lament change: There is no halting it and no denying the economic viability of this community can be strengthened by careful, coherent development. Look around: There are properties and amenities that can be improved, structures that should be replaced. It is obvious much of the clutter here was created with little or no attention to the whole. To those who complain that Pagosa will be destroyed we submit there are parts of Pagosa that should be replaced with something better. This will happen, sooner or later, with a plan or without. We believe it is best to shape change in accord with a master plan approved and constantly modified by elected officials and their constituents.

These things said, we also believe a gap must be maintained between government and the private sector. The relationship between public and private is of concern at every level of our society when business is done and plans are made involving the two sectors. When lines blur, the little guy gets hurt.

Members of self-appointed groups are not elected by the people as their representatives. That such groups can produce plans and finance the creation is perfectly acceptable, even laudable. That such groups might act in place of government or in the stead of elected officials and duly appointed commissions is unacceptable. Government has a broader charge than private interests - tending to the greatest good for the greatest number, protecting those who cannot protect themselves, seeing to it that everyone abides by the same rules, whether a plan or project be large or small. It is also the task of government to make sure it has the tools - staff and regulations - to deal with change within its sphere.

These are our concerns: details of plans, their susceptibility to change based on input of those affected, and governmental accountability - not personalities, not who has money, not the rights of private businesspersons. We wait for local government to take the next steps, to see if the process that takes us from plan to policy is open to input from anyone who might be affected. And we remind voters that government is theirs, and theirs to change if it does not function on everyone's behalf.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Flight of fancy was but a dream

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Everyone, I suspect, has a persistent dream.

Whether yearning for wealth, luxury, the ideal mate or some unattainable gratification, the dream returns again and again.

As a child mine was flight.

I could fly, really fly, in these real as life episodes.

I don't mean fly as in an airplane or deep space probe. I mean fly, like a bird - or Superman.

But my dream was so real I often believed it.

I once tried to fly out the loft of George Bryan's mother's barn in Ignacio and landed perfunctorily on my backside with a "Whoa, Nelly" type of cry.

But the dream wouldn't go away.

I could fly over the town and swoop down on friend or enemy. I could buzz the trees and challenge the real birds to an air duel.

One of the best things about being able to fly was a suddenly acute sense of knowing where fortune lay. Fortune as in loose change, errant greenbacks. From my flight path above I could spot all the lost lucre.

It was a simple matter to dive down and scoop it up.

Once, in flight, I spied a friend and circled around letting him see how well I handled the aerodynamics of a dream world. When I yelled at him he ignored me. I dive-bombed him with a wadded up dollar and still he refused to acknowledge my presence.

How was I to know it was just a dream? Everything was so real. It was no effort at all to take off, no problem landing, and the view was spectacular.

When my father's boss, George Anderson, secured one of the first single-engine aircraft ever in the Ignacio area, I got to go for a ride. It was just as if I were still flying on my own.

I tried to explain how I knew where and how we were to approach the makeshift landing field; that there was a ditch just beyond the ridge that could pose a problem if the taxi distance was too short. George and Dad just looked at me and shook their heads.

But me, I was lost in flight.

With that background, you would think I would hanker for a role in aerial service of our land, or at least as a death defying high-altitude aerial circus pilot.

But after making an aircraft carrier landing as a passenger in a Grumman S2F, something happened to the dream. As the pilot went into his approach I looked down. The carrier, no larger than a matchbox, seemed to be trying to run away from us. Little did I know the skipper was heading into the wind so the flight could be slowed by the same air current. There is no way, I thought aloud, that he can land this thing on that tiny moving object.

But land it, he did. And in ensuing years I made the flight several times, once by helicopter. But never again did I fly on my own, not even in a dream.

There may be an embedded message in this concern about flight. Perhaps it is that everyone needs a dream, an escape from reality, if only while asleep.

And who knows, you may awake from your dream and find a handful of change and crushed cash. Only you will know the source.




90 years ago

Taken from The Pagosa Springs SUN files of Jan. 22, 1915

Otto and Lawrence Snow killed two large mountain lions and a lynx cat on Devil Mountain Saturday. The hides are unusually handsome.

Rex Hott and Mr. Chase stopped at Wm. Dyke's Tuesday evening enroute from O'Neal Park where they had vaccinated 250 head of cattle. Three head died with blackleg last week.

Every community - and Pagosa is no exception - is inflicted with a few self-styled high brows, who, having made an ingnominious failure of everything they undertook, including their own lives, are continually pumping their insidious rhetorical wisdom into the minds of those who carry more business brains under their toe nails than the whole bunch of viperish disturbers.

 75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 24, 1930

The snow is reported to be nine feet deep on Cumbres Pass, and we have no report concerning Wolf Creek Pass.

Wednesday morning dawned with the lowest registration of the present winter, which ranged all the way from 35 to 44 degrees blow zero in Pagosa Springs and vicinity.

The state highway snow plow, which was put into service on Pagosa Street last week, has made a decided improvement in providing a means for traffic to continue on the city's main thoroughfare.

The debris of the disastrous fire, which last week destroyed the Laughlin Store, Pagosa Bakery and Little Manhattan Cafe buildings, is now being removed.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 21, 1955

Catholic guild members and their husbands held a special meeting on Sunday night. Purpose of the meeting was discuss needed repairs and improvements on the Parish Hall and Father Bernard Rotger's living quarters. Several men in the parish expressed enthusiasm for a new parish hall rather than spend money on the present building. An investigation committee was appointed. Mr. Belarde stated that should the committee decide upon a new building he would start the ball rolling with a donation of $500 worth of lumber. Mr. Vic Poma, Mr. James Jones, Mr. Percy Chambers and others followed suit with substantial pledges of cement blocks, building cement, cash grants and skilled labor.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 24, 1980

Citizens Utility, the company holding the natural gas franchise for the town, has notified the town that it considers a proposed geothermal heating system a threat to the value of its gas distribution system. The company said that it will seek damages when and if the system is constructed.

A larger than usual number of plats and various requests were heard by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission at its meeting Monday night. The commission also heard that the Colorado Review Process on a proposed ski and resort area on the East Fork of the San Juan River was proceeding as scheduled.

A snowstorm last weekend left several inches of new snow, but this was followed by more clear weather.


Serving Justice: Courts consider volunteer program

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Justice may be blind, but in Archuleta County she's searching for the hand of a few volunteers - about 15 to 20.

It takes an application, a background check, about 20 hours of training and a commitment of six to 12 hours a month to qualify. Possible benefits include a savings to the community and better services to the victims of crime. No experience necessary.

That was Archuleta County Court Judge Jim Denvir's pitch to a couple dozen people gathered for an informational meeting Tuesday at the courthouse. On the agenda were presentations by a law enforcement representative, a district attorney, Denvir, victims advocates and a parole officer The goal was to explain the current system and how volunteers might fit in.

The combined effects of population growth and state funding cutbacks mean, "less resources are coming to bear on what is becoming a greater problem in this community," Denvir said. The problem is crime. Increasing crime. In 2003, Denvir saw about 100 felony cases cross his desk. In 2004, that number leaped to 154 felony cases.

Assistant District Attorney Dondi Osborne said trends are similar throughout the sixth district which includes Archuleta, LaPlata and San Juan counties.

Meanwhile, resources are lagging. Steve Brittain, court administrator for the Sixth Judicial District said funding cuts force the court to function at "87 percent of demonstratable need, based on case load." That equals a loss of five clerk posisions, 1.5 probation positions and a clerical position.

Denvir said in Archuleta County probation services are only available in felony cases. In misdemeanors where a suspended sentence is imposed, sentencing requirements might be monitored twice in a 12-month period - once at three months and once at the end of the timeline.

That, Denvir said, does little to push someone to complete the terms of their sentence, little to help people get the treatment they need in alcohol or drug abuse matters and little to encourage a move out of the court system.

That's one hole in the system he hopes to plug with volunteers. The other has to do with assisting victims in criminal cases, cases prosecuted not only for the victim, but for the people of the State of Colorado.

"We can have an effect on the community," he said. "We can take steps to address the issues as opposed to complaining or leaving it up to someone else."

Denvir went on to say that the criminal justice system as it is does some things very well, including: handling a great number of cases fairly efficiently, assigning punishment for convictions and protecting the rights of defendants.

That certainly doesn't mean it's perfect. Because of the way the system works, good or bad, Denvir said, victims sometimes fall through the cracks as attorneys and judges weight the immediate concerns for all involved.

"That's not because anybody in the system is necessarily insensitive to victims," Denvir said. Timelines, plea agreements, a packed docket and confusing rules sometimes leave those who reported the crime out in the cold with no one specifically assigned to track their cases, advise them of their rights or lead them through the process.

With no money to hire people to fill in those holes, Denvir is hoping to find it at his fingertips. In the next month, he hopes to put together a start-up group of volunteers. These volunteers would help administer the program and oversee the two main objectives - monitoring sentencing requirements for first-time offenders and assisting victims.

Eventually, Denvir said, he'd also like to see the start of a volunteer mentor program and perhaps mediation.

According to a release by the Court Volunteer Services Division of the National Judicial College, over 7 million people nationwide served as court volunteers from 1959-1999. Related surveys estimated the civilian volunteers prevented over 3 million convictions and saved taxpayers billions of dollars.

A side-by-side study of two cities of about 100,000 people - one with volunteers and one without - showed recidivism, the number of repeat offenders, was greatly reduced using volunteers. Of course, the numbers also showed a huge increase in the amount of services available to a probationer.

The city without a volunteer program was staffed with one full-time probation officer and one half-time secretary. Direct service to probationers was an estimated three minutes per month. In that scenario, almost 50 percent of those placed on probation over five years became repeat offenders.

Add in 500 volunteers and direct services to the probationer jumped to 6-12 hours per month. The number of repeat offenders over nearly a five year study period dropped to 15 percent.

It's not clear what the statistics would show here, Denvir said. In fact, he was unable to locate a volunteer model program anywhere in the state. However, it is clear adding to the pool of resources can only help.

"Even as war is too important to leave to the generals," Keith J. Leenhouts, director of the volunteer division of the national judicial college, wrote, "so crime is too important to leave to probation officers, judges and other professionals. We need to be involved, all of us, working together."

Applications for court volunteer positions are available at the county clerk's office in the Archuleta County Courthouse.

Anyone interested is strongly encouraged to attend a second training session Jan. 25, 8:30 a.m.-noon in the county courthouse. The session will focus on sentencing options and compliance issues. Denvir said prospective volunteers will be asked to spend four to eight hours attending court to finish off their training.

Helping hand needed for a helping hand

On Sunday morning, Jan. 16, Father Bob Pope, the new priest at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, awoke before dawn to find that the home next door to his motor home that he and his wife, Alice, had been building, was ablaze.

They had moved most of their belongings into the house. Despite the valiant efforts of Upper Pine River Fire District personnel, the home was destroyed. It appears the Popes have lost everything.

Father Pope is known to many in Pagosa Springs through the work he has done with Habitat for Humanity. Many have asked what they can do to help him and his wife.

A bank account has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank, 50 Harman Park Drive, in the name of The Father Bob Pope Assistance Fund. Or, checks may be sent to St. Patrick's, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd., Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, earmarked for Father Bob Pope.

Questions may be directed to Bob Woodson at 731-389 or St. Patrick's at 731-5801.


Red Cross disaster training

scheduled Jan. 29

The Southwest Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross will host two free disaster trainings Saturday, Jan. 29:

- Introduction to Disaster, 8:30-11:30 a.m.; and

- Family Services, 12:30-6:30 p.m.

These free courses will provide fundamental information about disasters, the community response and the role of Red Cross Disaster Services. It will also provide you with the information to serve as a family service caseworker, working with families whose lives have been impacted by a disaster.

Classes will be held at the fire station, 191 N. Pagosa Boulevard.

Preregistration is required. RSVP by calling 259-5383.

Lunch is sponsored by Cooks Back Country Bar-B-Q.


Pagosa's Past

Summitville gold strike opened to Pagosa routes

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

Folks today take Wolf Creek Pass pretty much for granted, summer or winter. Closure of the pass due to snow blockage has occurred infrequently over the last half century or so.

Time was when Wolf Creek Pass was closed throughout the winter. Before that, before there even was a Wolf Creek Pass, folks had to follow other routes to reach Pagosa Country during winter. For the most part, until the Denver & Rio Grande narrow gauge railroad crossed the South San Juan Mountains and reached Durango in 1881, folks didn't make the effort to come from the outside into Pagosa Country during winter.

As we discussed last week, the preferred entry routes into Pagosa Country prior to settlement were from New Mexico up the Chama River Valley or though an assortment of cañons ending on the San Juan River near the Aztec-Farmington area.

When gold was discovered at Baker's Park near Silverton in 1860, travel routes into the San Juan Basin began to change. Because gold had been discovered west of Denver prior to 1860, much of the impetus to explore the San Juans came from that direction.

Prospectors pressed deeper into the mountains from that 1859 Denver strike, pushing into South Park, Leadville and the San Juans by way of Lake City, Ouray and Del Norte. A major immigration route passed up the Rio Grande River through Del Norte and crossed the mountains by way of Stony Pass to the gold fields along the upper Animas River Valley. Another route moved from Lake City across the Divide and into the upper Animas.

Two relatively new routes passed through Pagosa Country. One, fed by prospectors working rich gold ores at Summitville on the headwaters of the Alamosa River, crossed from Summitville over Elwood Pass and down the East Fork of the San Juan River to Pagosa Springs. A second route crossed the San Juan northeast of Chama at what has become known as Cumbres Pass.

When the Army built its fort in Pagosa Springs in 1878, the preferred route between Fort Garland in the San Luis Valley and Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs was the Elwood Pass route. In fact, the Army surveyed that particular route expecting to use it to supply the new Pagosa fort. That reckoning failed to take into account tremendous winter snow accumulations on the South San Juans. Consequently, Army supplies to Pagosa Springs went from Fort Garland down the Rio Grande River Valley to Ojo Caliente then back up the established Chama River Valley route to Fort Lewis.

By 1881, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad reached Durango, changing the delivery of supplies and people to the San Juan Basin, including Pagosa Country. The route followed by the railroad across Cumbres Pass became an important wagon route.

Nevertheless, the mountain crossing by way of Elwood Pass remained in use as a wagon route. In fact, the Elwood Pass route began to receive annual state appropriations of money for its maintenance. In addition, at various times through those early years, mail to Pagosa Springs and other points in the San Juan Basin seemed to come by way of Summitville and Elwood Pass.

Through all of the years just discussed, there is no record that Wolf Creek Pass was ever even considered as a pass. There is some evidence that travelers followed the valley of the South Fork of the Rio Grande or other routes from that direction on their westward moving ascent of the San Juans, then dropped down by way of Windy Pass to the West Fork of the San Juan and thence westward. Never is there a mention of coming down the valley of Wolf Creek. In fact, in its primitive state, Wolf Creek would have been impassable for wagons and nearly impassable for mounted horsemen.

There is a story from pioneer times concerning the naming of Wolf Creek Pass. While some have thought this applied to the current Wolf Creek Pass, I don't believe it could have happened. There is also a Wolf Creek along the Cumbres-Toltec Pass route and I believe the events of this story happened on that route. More about Wolf Creek Pass next week.



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Blue skies expected through early next week

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

For those still recuperating from snow-shovel shoulder, the latest Pagosa Country forecast holds promise.

According to reports provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, blue skies and moderate temperatures should prevail across southwest Colorado through early next week.

The most pleasant in the predicted string of sunny days should be today, with highs approaching 50 and lows settling into the teens.

Friday through Sunday call for mostly-sunny skies, highs in the 40s and lows ranging from 10 to 20 degrees.

Monday calls for continued clear conditions, highs in the 40s and lows in the upper teens.

The forecast for Tuesday includes the chance for occasional afternoon clouds, highs in the 35-45 range and evening lows in the mid to upper teens.

Increasing clouds are predicted in Wednesday's forecast, along with a slight chance for scattered flurries, highs in the mid-40s and lows in the teens.

The average high temperature last week in Pagosa Springs was 39 degrees. The average low was 5. Moisture totals for the week amounted to zero.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit snow depth of 127 inches, a midway depth of 119 inches and year-to-date total snowfall of 252 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 "moderate," with pockets of "considerable" danger at and above timberline.

According to SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan Basin, as of Wednesday, was 182 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 80 cubic feet per second to a high of approximately 135 cubic feet per second last week.

The river's historic median flow for the week of Jan. 20 is roughly 50 cubic feet per second.