January 27, 2005
Front Page


Federal jury awards Bass $800,000

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A U.S. District Court jury of 10 awarded a former local law enforcement officer $800,000 in damages Jan. 21, upholding the claim that his constitutional right to free speech and political association were violated.

Larry Bass, of Pagosa Springs, filed a civil suit against Sheriff Tom Richards, Undersheriff Russell Hebert and Deputy Tim Evans in 1998. Richards remains Archuleta County Sheriff. Both Hebert and Evans have moved out of the community.

Bass contended that he was decommissioned as an Archuleta County Sheriff's Deputy and subsequently lost his paid position as chief of public safety for the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association because a friend of his was running against Richards in an election.

After a two-week trial and a single day of deliberations in Denver, the jury agreed that Bass's First Amendment right to political association and his right to free speech and political expression were violated. They awarded Bass $515,000 in actual damages, plus $130,000 in punitive damages from Richards, $135,000 in punitive damages from Hebert and $20,000 in punitive damages from Evans.

Stephen Long, lead attorney for the defendant, said both actual and punitive damage awards - set to cover both lost wages and resulting damage done to Bass' reputation and marriage - were higher than suggested.

"It's probably one of the largest verdicts in this area for this kind of case in some time," he said. "The jury was obviously taken with seeing that justice was done."

The seven or eight years the case has been in the system, going all the way to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on a motion filed by the plaintiffs, have been "devastating," for both Bass and his ex-wife, Long said. On February 18, Bass' attorneys will file a motion requesting the attorneys fees from the plaintiffs in the case as allowed under federal civil rights law.

Long said the fees will total somewhat more than $500,000. After a judge rules on the motion, the plaintiffs have 30 days to file an appeal.

On advice of counsel and because of a possible appeal, Sheriff Richards said he could not comment on the case or the verdict. The attorneys for Richards and the other defendants were not available until after Sunday.

Citizens respond to call for town economic ideas

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Support locally-owned small town businesses.

That comment was repeated several times at a public hearing on economic development Tuesday night along with: improve roads, support expanded health care services, increase public services and recreational opportunities and create economic diversity to support young professionals.

Cars lined Hot Springs Boulevard and people lined the walls of the Silver Foxes Den meeting room at the Pagosa Springs Community Center to listen to and comment on a presentation by economic development consultants hired by the Community Vision Council to complete an economic baseline study for the community.

Over the next two months, Dan Guimond and Andy Knutdsen, of Economic and Planning Services, said they will study current economic conditions in the community and what possible impacts future commercial developments might have. They will also outline alternatives for paying for public improvements and other costs of growth to be used as part of the background for the comprehensive planning process.

Angela Atkinson, vision council executive director, reiterated that growth in the community is inevitable. Simply projecting out population trends shows that, at current rates, the population could double in 15 years. At the same time, Archuleta County ranks the lowest in the region for per capita income and the average age of the population is getting older.

What that all means for the future is the puzzle the consultants plan to tackle. Tuesday, they asked the public to guide their hand in tailoring the report to Pagosa Springs.

To do so, they gave the crowd 15 minutes to respond to a short handout. Participants were asked to describe a recent Pagosa Springs success story, to list the top three economic issues facing the community, to describe the type of commercial development they'd like to see and to describe public improvements needed to support future growth.

Some recent successes listed were street paving, the Four Corners Folk Festival, businesses like Parelli Natural Horsemanship, The Springs, the construction of the town hall and community center, the students, volunteers and the safety of the community.

On the flip side, some of the economic issues included a lack of health care services, professional jobs to sustain young families, transportation services, water resources, the technology to support new, clean industry and downtown parking.

Comments on commercial growth ran the gamut, stretching from developing opportunities for light industry and higher education to restricting growth to repairs on existing structures only.

"I'd prefer it to stay the way it is," one woman said. "I'd like to see improvements not for aesthetics, but to maintain the small town atmosphere."

Several said in facing all these issues, the town, county and perhaps a more regional group needed to work together both to direct growth and allow everyone access to the benefits.

"We really have to find a way for the people who work in town but maybe don't live there to have a voice in what happens," one man said, pointing out that most of the area population currently lives outside town boundaries.

Another man said a regional government might help Archuleta County recoup the dollars leaking to other communities.

Someone else commented that even with the town and county working together, future development of adjacent tribal lands could have long-ranging impacts.

Guimond and Knutdsen said they would return to Pagosa in March to present the findings of their study in another public meeting.


Rules set for school delays due to storm

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

After considerable discussion with the administrative team, the board of education and parents in Archuleta School District 50 Joint, Superintendent Duane Noggle has implemented a two-hour delayed schedule, effective Monday, when the weather makes road conditions less than favorable but there are prospects for better weather as the day progresses.

Delaying the starting time schedule by two hours will afford school district officials the following opportunities:

- to miss the morning rush hour traffic;

- to allow the highway, county and city crews to more effectively clear the roads, streets and highways;

- to have the potential for warmer weather;

- to provide better visibility for students and staff.

If school is closed or delayed, announcements will be made between 6 and 8 a.m. To hear information regarding school delay or closure parents may:

- listen to the following radio stations: KWUF 1400 AM or 106.3 FM, KOA 850 AM, KSUT 105.3 FM, KPLC 95.7 FM;

- watch the morning news on WB2 or 9 News; or

- call the Archuleta School District Transportation Department at 264-2305 for a pre-recorded message.

No announcement will be made if school is in session within the normal hours of operation. Parents should make sure their child knows what to do and where to go if the school day is canceled or if the scheduled starting time is delayed.

Parents are not to bring their children to school until the scheduled time as teachers will also be on the delayed schedule and will not be available to supervisor children.

On the delayed schedule start times will be:

- high school, 9:50 a.m.

- junior high school, 9:55 a.m.

- intermediate school, 10 a.m.

- elementary school, 10:10 a.m.

Breakfast will not be served, but lunch will be served after students arrive at school and students will be dismissed at the normal time. After-school activities will be held when the school district is on a delayed schedule unless otherwise note in the announcement.

The district will begin implemention of the delayed schedule plan after Jan. 31, should weather conditions require such an announcement.

Notices have been mailed to parents; however, if a parent is in need of additional information, they may contact the district office at 264-2228 or call their child's school.


County OKs Jaycox gravel pit saying it's 'what law requires'

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Jaycox Gravel Pit is a go.

During a 16-minute continuance of a Dec. 15 public hearing Friday night, the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for the controversial project, which is expected to occupy about 10 acres of private property off County Road 975 near Arboles for at least five years.

At the onset of last week's hearing, Commissioner Robin Schiro recused herself from the proceedings, citing a prior business relationship with a project opponent as a conflict of interest.

After Schiro's disclosure came a brief recap of the project's history by Marcus Baker, associate county planner, which was soon followed by a motion for approval from Commissioner Ronnie Zaday.

Mamie Lynch, board chair, seconded the motion, and both commissioners offered thoughts on the basis for approval prior to giving the project a green light.

Acknowledging the high degree of concern and public opinion surrounding the issue, "I'm not here to win a public contest," said Zaday, stating her responsibility in the matter was "doing exactly what the law requires in this."

Based upon the findings and conditions of approval set forth in county planning staff's report on the project, "I feel ... under the law, we need to approve this," said Zaday.

Lynch expressed similar sentiments, telling those opposed to the project, "I fully understand you.

"But I also understand that the county has to have gravel," Lynch added.

And when adhering to the law, concluded Lynch, "We can't let emotions rule what we decide."

Conditions of approval the permit applicant, Pagosa Valley Gravel Products, must comply with include related site and road improvements agreements, dust and noise mitigation and reclamation schedules, among others.

Hours of operation for gravel mining and crushing at the site are to be 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, with equipment maintenance, gravel sales and hauling permitted Saturdays. Permit conditions prohibit activities Sundays and holidays.

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

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

According to a county planning staff report, Pagosa Valley Gravel Products will have the opportunity to reapply for additional permits after the original permit expires.

However, any further applications will be reviewed separately according to county land use regulations existing at that time.


 Inside The Sun


Health Service District works to secure more funds

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A paper trail of cash flow models was the mainstage entertainment at Friday's meeting of the Upper San Juan Health Service District.

The number one hits were familiar tunes: Making it to March, Putting Money in the Bank, Billing Blues and Looking for a Better Future.

Board member Jerry Valade presented a financial model broken down by pay period showing the district falling about $40,000 short of making payroll Feb. 4. Taking up less than half a page, his documents laid out both expenses and cash on-hand.

"This is what I've always wanted to see, so that's what I did," he said.

A second cash-flow model for the district was provided by David Bohl, chairman of the finance, audit and budget committee. It compared, by pay period, the costs of shutting the doors on the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center immediately and keeping the clinic up and running until April 1 when the board hopes to restructure the clinic to get out of the business of primary care.

In both cases, because of past and present problems with billing and collection of patient fees, the district ends up well short of meeting expenses, especially if its $200,000 in overdue debt is included. However, the shortfall is about $50,000 less if the center remains open.

In December, Bohl's committee advised the board to go after an estimated $200,000 line of credit from a bank to push them through until March. The $200,000 represents about three months of property tax receipts coming to the district. Because of the way taxes are collected, the district will not see its first big tax check until March. By borrowing against those monies, they can continue to make payroll and keep things afloat until a financially-feasible long-term plan is in place.

"You have the cash flow to operate," Bohl said. "You just don't have the cash in hand."

When board members approached Citizens Bank in January, they were given only a $50,000 line of credit. The bank asked for a financially sound plan for the future before extending the rest of the $150,000.

Friday, Bohl said, because total tax receipts for the year, split over 12 months allows for $69,000 in tax monies to be used each month, the loan would be 100-percent collateralized, putting the bank at no risk.

"You don't need to give them a plan," he said. "They are not here to oversee your operations for the rest of the year."

Bob Goodman, a district board member who also sits on the bank board, said with the district's increasing debt and continued billing struggles, the bank is simply requesting a model that shows a plan for financial solvency. "They do not want to be the trigger that shuts down the Upper San Juan Health Service District," he said.

Board Chairman Pam Hopkins said the board needed the next two months to consider all the options, including restructuring the medical center as an urgent care or critical access hospital.

"If we are to succeed, we need to consider carefully all the options," Hopkins said in a prepared statement. "There is no need to panic. We can use the next 70 days to investigate all of this. Of immediate concern is the need for a loan."

To move in that direction, Hopkins appointed an ad hoc committee to extend the cash flow models presented and secure the needed monies to carry the district through March 31 when the contracts with the two practicing doctors expire and the medical center can be restructured. In a later interview, Hopkins said the committee, including Valade, Bohl and Karl Irons, were meeting with the bank Wednesday.

It was the first of three ad hoc committees appointed Jan. 21. The second will investigate moving billing operations back in house, and a third is tasked with researching the pros and cons of opening an urgent care facility.

Problems with billing processes have continued even after changing outsource billing companies last fall. After one month of billing for the medical center, the new billing company began requesting changes to the contract because of increasing costs.

"We're making money on the EMS side," business manager Allen Hughes said. "It's the Mary Fisher side we're having problems with." All of the suggested contract changes will increase the bill to the district.

After some discussion, the board decided to reject both alternative contracts suggested by the outsource biller.

"You can't be held hostage like this every week," Valade said.

The board is scheduled to meet again Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at Fire Station 1 on North Pagosa Boulevard. The agenda will include another look at financials and preliminary reports from the ad hoc committees.

Sheldon Weisgraw, a consultant hired to study the feasibility of making the Mary Fisher Medical Center into a critical access hospital, which would allow the district to charge higher fees to some insurance providers, is also expected to be at the meeting.


Commissioners promise new look at waste disposal fees

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Should what went up come back down?

It's a question Archuleta County commissioners promised to consider carefully during a Tuesday night public hearing which addressed concerns over recent increases in county landfill and transfer station fees.

Also on the evening's agenda was discussion of the Chromo transfer station closure.

Since the new fees and closure took effect Jan. 1, the county has received numerous requests to both explain and reconsider the measures.

Accordingly, Clifford Lucero, county solid waste director, gave overviews of each scenario to a courthouse crowd of roughly 40, beginning with a recap of the basis for the previous board's mid-November decision to raise fees.

When the county solid waste department took over management of the county landfill last year, said Lucero, the primary goal was to steer the operation toward self-support.

To gain a better understanding of how to accomplish self-sufficiency, the county hired Golder Associates, a Lakewood-based engineering firm specializing in landfill studies.

A report produced by Golder Associates outlined the need for higher fees, stating, in summary, "The rate charge at the transfer stations should be adjusted to better reflect actual size of load, and to ensure that expenses for acceptance, storage, management and transport of recyclables ... are being properly offset."

As a result, the board approved a fee schedule Nov. 16 based primarily on the "use more - pay more" premise, setting higher dumping rates for the landfill, Pagosa Springs transfer station and Arboles transfer station.

However, despite the significant increases, said Lucero, the fees "are at a level that just covers the cost of operating."

In addition, Lucero stated the current fee structure is temporary, indicating the county intends to switch from "volume charges" to "weight charges" by installing scales as soon as weather permits.

Prior to commentary from the commissioners, Lucero recommended the board consider a fee discount of $5 for senior citizens at the Pagosa Springs transfer station but keep the remaining fees in place until scales are installed.

Commissioner Ronnie Zaday responded by expressing concern for the amount of cash being handled at the transfer stations and landfill, and said she believes more should be done "to encourage our recycling system."

After stating she would like to see construction-related refuse at the landfill limited or eliminated, Zaday suggested a work session be held to further address landfill issues.

"There are some good ideas here," replied Lucero. "They need to be worked out."

Public comments followed, and nearly all who spoke were critical of the new fees, calling them "overstated," "unequitable" and "grossly unfair."

Some complained about the lack of a precise monitoring system at the transfer stations and landfill; some suggested dumping fees based on a graduated scale be considered in the future.

Others labeled the new fees vague, wondering aloud how much refuse is permitted under new minimum charges.

Lucero responded by stating he estimates, on average, up to seven 33-gallon bags of waste can be deposited at minimum charge rates.

Further public comments revealed concerns the new fees will encourage illegal dumping along roadways and excessive burning of trash that would otherwise be hauled to county collection sites.

Disdain for the new rates was not unanimous, however. "I don't think the $10 charge is unreasonable," said Bill Egg, adding he would prefer to see the county maintain volume-based fees rather than charge according to weight.

But such comments were in the minority, and discussion of the Chromo transfer station closure drew additional criticism.

After Lucero cited increased operating/maintenance costs, encroachment use of open containers by out-of-county residents, wildlife concerns and the fact the site was unmanned as major factors in the decision to close the station, several in attendance voiced displeasure with the action.

Most identified themselves as rural residents, identifying the long haul to the Pagosa Springs transfer station and a lack of viable alternatives as major concerns.

Many said attempts to obtain service from private waste-hauling businesses had proved fruitless, while others said the few service agreements proposed by private haulers were simply unfeasible.

In response, Lucero indicated at least one private hauler, Waste Management, is interested in setting up "a staging area" where the county Dumpsters were formerly located.

In conclusion, "I promise you were going to look at all of this," said Board Chair Mamie Lynch near meeting's end. "I am fully cognizant of your situations."

Lynch closed the proceedings soon after, reiterating the feedback presented during the hearing will be seriously evaluated in the coming weeks.

On a related note, a work session for the purposes of outlining this year's goals for the county public works department has been set for 9 a.m. Feb. 3 in the courthouse meeting room.

Bid deadline extended

At the request of Kathy Holthus, assistant county administrator, the board has extended the deadline for submission of proposals regarding the potential sale and relocation of the county courthouse to Feb. 15.

According to the board, the county's official request for proposals will be re-advertised in the coming weeks.

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

Other business

In other business this week, the commissioners:

- at the suggestion of legal counsel, tabled consideration of extending a six-month moratorium on "superstore" development; the issue will apparently be revisited at the Feb. 1 board meeting;

- confirmed Ken Fox, county airport manager, has extended the effective date of his resignation indefinitely;

- granted easements to La Plata Electric Association for installation of utilities at Stevens Field;

- certified the 2004 Highway Users Tax Fund report for submission to the Colorado Department of Transportation; the report lists 530.98 miles of road as eligible for HUT funds;

- referred commentary from Patrick Condon claiming impropriety on behalf of sheriff's deputies during a Jan. 9 incident in Lake Hatcher Park to the sheriff's department;

- tabled a request from AAA Propane regarding an exemption from county lighting codes.


Historic survey centers on South Pagosa

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"How much of early Pagosa is still here?"

Finding an answer to that question was one of the driving forces behind a recently completely historical building survey centering on the South Pagosa neighborhood, Glenn Raby, a Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board member, said Thursday night.

Another goal was to collect the data needed to determine if and where expansion of the town's historic district might occur.

Recently, the town board approved a historic district designation for the downtown business district. That district, Raby said, was perhaps the most obvious and the "easiest to designate." Its buildings were officially researched and documented in 2002 when the town commissioned its first historic survey. A total of 100 properties, encompassing what were thought to be most of the oldest properties remaining in town, were surveyed. Many of those are now part of the downtown historic district and are eligible, as a result, for state and federal tax credits.

The more recent survey, this time considering 50 properties, was completed between February and September 2004.

Consultant Jill Seyfarth, of Cultural Resource Planning of Durango, said properties in the second group were selected because of their age and apparent connection with local history. Forty-nine were single family residences. One is currently operated as a business. As part of the survey, each property was described architecturally, photographed, researched and mapped.

Research on former owners of the property, the original builders and age of the homes was done using tax records, family histories, historical photographs and historical texts focusing on this area.

Seyfarth said the resulting documents, or architectural survey forms, can be a starting point for people interested in finding out more about their homes.

"We try to be accurate, but we know we can't always get it right," she said, encouraging those with personnel records to come inform the town so the information can be properly indexed and recorded.

The South Pagosa neighborhood, Seyfarth said, was impacted heavily by both the lumber industry, and the railroad. Most of the buildings in the area were constructed in the 1900s or the 1950s. The early 1900s correspond with opening of the Pagosa Lumber Mill near the site of today's high school and construction of the railroad.

For years people in Pagosa had been predicting the railroad to come, but it never did. The closest stop was 20 miles away in Pagosa Junction. It was only after Alexander Sullenberger began expanding his timber company north to Pagosa Springs that a spur was funded and completed. The Pagosa Springs depot still stands at 7th and Durango streets, but has been converted into a single-family residence and altered somewhat.

Little remains of the old sawmill complex. Sullenberger's home, which once would have offered him a view of nearly his entire empire remains at 610 Pierce Street. It is one structure, because of its connection with a family that played such a significant role in the development of the town, that might be considered for local historic designation, Seyfarth said.

Seyfarth said of the homes surveyed, only one, 157 7th Street, dating to 1895, proved older than the depot. Several other homes appear to have been moved onto their current site. In the time of lumber mills that was fairly common, Seyfarth said. In other cases, homes that survived the 1911 flood were moved away from the river.

She specifically pointed to three hipped-box style homes on San Juan Street which may have been relocated there after the closing of the Pagosa Lumber Mill either here or in Pagosa Junction.

Hipped-box construction, Seyfarth said, was economical because it required fewer rafters in the ceiling, and its boxlike shape made it easy to move without causing much damage. Of the homes surveyed, nine are considered hipped boxes constructed between 1900 and 1919. Cottage-style homes were another popular building model around the same time. These are similar to the hipped-boxes, but generally include a front porch. Five cottages were identified in the survey.

The second construction boom came in the 1950s following the end of World War II. It was about the same time, Seyfarth said, that property in the South Pagosa neighborhood was released for sale by the railroad. Construction dates of 12 of the homes surveyed fell into this category.

As part of the survey, the consultants considered whether or not properties might qualify for the national register of historic places. That wasn't the case for any in this area, Seyfarth said, but encouraged people to look into possible local historic designation for their properties through the Town of Pagosa Springs. Local landmark designation can qualify property owners for certain state and federal tax credits.

For more information on the survey or results on individual properties, call Tamra Allen, town planner, 264-4151, extension 235.


Fourth-grade college scholarship

competition opens

Colorado fourth-graders have until Feb. 4 to submit their entries for the "Who Wants To Be A College Student?" contest and compete for $20,000 in scholarships.

The program is sponsored by CollegeInvest. The contest provides an opportunity to learn about Colorado history and current events while encouraging studen p ts to get excited about learning.

The contest models itself after the ABS game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" and teaches fourth-graders valuable facts about our state and the world while also providing a chance to jumpstart their savings for a college education.

The program is designed to support the standard fourth-grade curriculum of Colorado history and geography. Students are invited to enter the contest by submitting an essay question, art project or poetry.

Fifty children whose entries are selected will win $100 starter account scholarships through CollegeInvest, which offers a variety of 529 college savings plans to Colorado residents.

The program will culminate with a special game show-style event at the Denver Zoo April 30. There, 20 fourth grade finalists from across the state will come together for a fun learning experience and a chance to win an additional $750 each for their CollegeInvest savings account.

Students may enter at home with their parents or in class by logging on to wwww.collegeinvest.org. Simply click onto the "Who Wants to Be A College Student?" link on the left side of the screen. Entries must be postmarked by Feb. 4.


Melanie Kelly is new county GOP chair

Melanie Kelly is the new chair of the Archuleta County Republican Central Committee.

She was named to succeed Pat Ullrich when the committee held its monthly meeting Jan. 19.

Tabbed to replace Don Long as vice chair was Bob Moomaw. Both incumbents had voluntarily stepped down.

In addition, Mojie Adler was reelected secretary and John Bozek reelected treasurer.

Discussed at the meeting was a proposed aggressive fund-raising campaign for this political cycle in order to adequately support local and state Republican candidates.


Feb. 1 blood draw at Silver Foxes Den

Make a contribution to your fellow man without spending a dime - donate blood.

That's the theme for the first week in February for United Blood Services, the community blood bank for the Four Corners area.

The first drive of the month locally will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1, at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center, 451 Hot Springs Boulevard.

All potential donors must show current identification. You may sign up in advance on the Internet at www.unitedbloodservices.org.


Humane Society tabs new officers

After the organization's annual meeting Jan. 18, the board of directors of Humane Society of Pagosa Springs met in executive session to select new officers.

The 2005 board and officers are:

John Nelson, president; Lynn Constan, vice president; Cheryl Nelson, secretary; Linda Lawrie, treasurer; and directors Donnie Gooch, Janet Karn, Allen Layton, Gary McNaughton, Richard Miller, Rex Shurtleff and Karen Thomas.



 High Country Reflections

A heavily treed lot will host new home

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

If all goes according to plan, Jackie and I will move into a new home around the first of March.

Of course, as they say, "never count chickens before the eggs have hatched," but at this writing, the house is in its final stages of construction, and it appears, upon the satisfaction of just a few logistical details, that the bank may actually hand over the money.

We'll see.

But assuming the winds of fortune are with us, the home is a fairly modest, well-built structure on an average-sized residential lot in the Pagosa Lakes area. When fully completed, it'll have an attractive low-maintenance exterior, and a nicely-finished interior with three bedrooms, two baths, and two gas fireplaces. And, while the prospect of having a brand new home is exciting enough, we're also happy with the particular lot upon which it sits.

Facing southwest, the site doesn't offer especially striking mountain views, but it is awash in direct sunlight throughout most daylight hours. While on a gravel thoroughfare, the driveway is only about a hundred feet off a paved primary road, which, with the warmth of the sun, makes the gravel street's "mud factor" more tolerable on all but the sloppiest spring days. Another paved road parallels the rear of the property but is several yards uphill, and noise from its relatively light daytime traffic is of little concern.

Certainly, the lot's most appealing features are its number and variety of trees. In late autumn, when the builder first invited us to look at the place, the house was little more than a lumber skeleton on a concrete foundation, and much was still left to the imagination. As we wandered from one corner of the sub-floor to the next, mentally visualizing each room, its finish, and the views from every supposed window, I kept seeing trees.

In front, outside the guest bedrooms, a dense grove of Gamble's Oak obscures views of the street, and lends privacy to that side of the home. The oaks continue along the northwest side, toward the adjoining vacant lot, and just beyond, scattered ponderosa pines stretch high into the sky. To the northeast, between the house and the upper paved road, a good mix of sprawling oak and towering pine fills the backyard and road right-of-way, and on the southeast side, between the house and the one next door, a thick stand of tall pine, white fir, and Rocky Mountain Juniper all but completely block sight of the neighbors'.

Because the lot slopes from back to front, the oak are perfect in the front and side yards, where their density affords ample privacy up close, yet their low profile allows unobstructed views of the more distant forests, mountains, and mesas to the south and west. While considered deciduous, they keep most of their leaves over the winter months, and as sometimes thick, almost impenetrable brush, they provide essential cover for smaller animals like snakes, rodents, and rabbits. Of course, typical of all oaks, their acorns are an important staple for Red Squirrels.

Of the conifers, or cone-bearing trees, the ponderosa pine has long been a favorite. As a tall, stout, and stately tree, its yellow-orange bark and long, deep-green needles stand in colorful contrast to the dazzling blues of a Colorado sky. Like most conifers, the ponderosa bears both male and female cones, and on warm spring and early-summer mornings, as the male cones shed pollen, a definite and delightful "pine" scent fills the air. On hot afternoons, as the intense rays of a high-country sun send thermometer readings soaring, thick boughs of the ponderosa pine cast vital shade and help hold temperatures to acceptable levels. Meanwhile, as even the slightest breezes sing through its needles, Abert's Squirrels are nesting, feeding, and rearing young among its branches.

At first glance, I mistook the white fir for a blue spruce, but upon closer examination, they're actually worlds apart. While overall color and appearance are somewhat similar, especially in bright sunlight, spruces have short four-sided needles that are fairly stiff and sharp to the touch. The flat fir needles are appreciably longer, much softer, and are typically quite fragrant when crushed. While the bark of a blue spruce is deeply furrowed throughout, that of the white fir is only moderately furrowed at lower reaches, and strikingly smooth higher up. Of the bigger trees in the yard, the white fir is the largest, patently outstretching even the tallest ponderosas.

The existence of Rocky Mountain Junipers suggests a kind of transitional climate in the neighborhood, probably in part, attributable to its warm southerly exposure. Normally more suited to dryer environs than the firs or even ponderosas, junipers have tiny berry-like cones, shredded bark and exceedingly dense wood, and they grow ever so slowly. Some will actually live 2,000 years or more, and with two or three at roughly 30 feet in height, those in the yard are certainly older than any of the other, much taller, trees. In fact, the firs, and many of the pines, doubtless gained early strength in the shade of the enduring junipers.

In November, during one of our early visits to the house, Jackie and I discovered a petite Rocky Mountain Maple standing firm among the pine and Gamble's Oak to the northeast. A small deciduous tree, its smooth trunk is gray, its frail limbs are reddish-brown, and its broad leaves turn red-orange late in the year. While officially just beyond the lot line, it is in plain view from the living area and master suite, and should add a stunning touch of color to the scene next autumn.

Reflecting back on our few years in the desert, Jackie and I have agreed that the site of our next home will include "real" trees. It will be in the mountains, and it'll be in, or near, Pagosa Springs. Of course, we're hopeful that this new place will be the one, but even if it isn't, the winds of fortune are forever shifting, and we're here to stay.



Bush disasters

Dear Editor:

As if the obvious disastrous results of the Bush first term of deception and misjudgment were not bad enough, his second term scheme is even worse.

The administration accepts no accountability, while ignoring rules of war, worldwide treaties, and even our own laws that prohibit the misuse of taxpayer money to promote their own agenda.

"Paid for" advertising that looks like news commentary was used to mislead the public on the prescription drug program, the No Child Left Behind program, and now is being used to enhance the mis-perceived Social Security crisis.

To instruct Social Security employees to "spread the word that the system is in crisis" verges on threat. Typical "scare the people and we can do anything" tactics! Aren't we smart enough to see through these lies?

The Bush administration's only plan is to exacerbate the gap between the very wealthy and ordinary people. Look at the facts:

The much touted prescription drug plan benefited no one but the big pharmaceutical companies.

The tax cuts that were supposed to boost the economy simply gave $148 billion to the richest 1 percent who in Bush's own words "don't pay taxes - they go to lawyers to find loopholes." And he wants to make these cuts permanent.

Personal incomes are frozen. New jobs pay much less than previous jobs lost while nothing is done to stop the outsourcing of American jobs or to stop the illegal cheap labor from flowing in.

Claims of support for education are simply tantalizing rhetoric, underfunded, and cut Pell grants that make college affordable to middle and lower income kids.

Now his attack on Social Security, the bedrock of American values, he wants to funnel into Wall Street, which has shown just how unscrupulous and risky it can be. Financial management firms would stand to gain an estimated $940 billion in new fees while adding trillions of dollars to our debt that will already take generations to recover!

The push for Global Economy should focus on bringing third world countries up, not pushing successful, comfortable societies back to the old serfdom system. Is this what Bush means by "ownership society"?

We all better watch carefully.

Nina J. Adams


Dumb decisions

Dear Editor:

It is with great sadness that I have read the articles about the potential closure of the Mary Fisher Clinic.

While it is regrettable, it is the inevitable result of a long series of dumb decisions made by the prior board and professional administrator.

As many readers will recall, the prior board brought in a professional administrator to correct the lax employee attitudes and business practices of the clinic. While these may have seemed like serious concerns if you were in New York City, they are a fairly normal part of the Pagosa lifestyle.

With all of the tact of Attila the Hun, she instituted a series of draconian measures to correct the perceived problems.

Unfortunately, the result of her actions was the resignation of the professional staff in the spring of 2003. While there were numerous extensions of their departure date, in the end the professional staff left the clinic along with their decades of patient knowledge and personal relationships.

Rather than simply leaving town, they entered private practice in Pagosa and the clinic hired a new professional staff. These two events sealed the economic fate of the clinic.

While the new staff was highly professional and skilled, visits to the clinic became impersonal. Rather than seeing the doctors with whom you had developed a deep personal trust and bond, the clinic became a Doc-in-the Box. As a result, a large percentage of the clinic's patients followed the doctors they had known and trusted for years to their new practices, significantly impacting clinic's revenues.

Although 2004 witnessed the departure of the professional manager and most of the board that hired her, the problem remains the same. Without the revenues for the departed patient base, the clinic cannot afford the number of professionals required to provide any form of 24-7 coverage. While the citizens of Archuleta County voted to replace the board, they have not voted with their feet and health care dollars by returning to the clinic.

Hence, it is difficult to envision any action that the new board could take that would forestall the closure of the clinic in its present form. Moreover with the closure of the Mary Fisher Clinic, it is difficult to anticipate that Pagosa will be able to attract the people required to sustain the growth to realize our grandiose development plans.

H. Pat Artis


Liberal path

Dear Editor:

It's sad that some people use the word "liberal" as a profanity, as though to be a liberal is dishonorable, unpatriotic, especially considering that when our nation was founded democracy was a new, liberal concept. There were no other democracies. To a tyrant liberalism is dangerous. Consider the "cleansing" of the liberals from Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Franco Spain and today in Myanmar, to name just a few places.

Have Americans forgotten what the word means? My Oxford Modern English Dictionary lists under "liberal": (1) ample, abundant. (2) giving freely, generous. (3) open-minded. (4) for general broadening of the mind. (5) favoring individual liberty, free trade and moderate political and social reform. The American Heritage College Dictionary adds, "Open to new ideas for progress and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others." Profane ideas? Has America changed that much?

Believe it or not, I once called myself a conservative. I grew up in the third generation of a solid Republican family in Grosse Pointe, Mich., the "silk stocking" district of Detroit and still a solid bailiwick of Republican conservatism. Thankfully, I had high school teachers who emphasized old-style critical thinking and constructive criticism.

This set me up for when, 20 years later, I was introduced to the writings of two Lutheran theologians, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Reinhold Niebuhr, in an adult study class in a Presbyterian church. Bonhoeffer: difficult, dry, tough academic; Niebuhr applied Christian theology to real life. I learned many things from these men, two of which I believe apply here.

Bonhoeffer tackled the distinction between theological conservatism and theological liberalism. A theological Christian conservative, he contends, tries to mold his life on the ethical teachings of Jesus, without fanfare demonstrating their intent in his actions, while the theological liberal, needing justification, feels compelled to manipulatively use passages or quote verses of scripture to cover for his ego, lifestyle, behavior or stance.

Thus the theological conservative becomes the political liberal and, conversely, the political conservative, in the purest sense of the term, stands 180 degrees from the Lord's teachings. Who else but a liberal wimp would whine that we should turn the other cheek, love our enemies, do good to those who do evil to us, or all the things listed in Isaiah 58, paraphrased by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46?

Only a liberal in that day would say you should treat the person next door, or at the next desk, with the same respect we'd like to receive ourselves, whether we do or not. Tragically, the zealot, Judas Iscariot, never grasped His ethical concepts. For me, there is a tight connection between them and the dictionary definitions above.

From Niebuhr a short observation for thought, that those who stand to be hurt the most in the end by tyrants are frequently the ones who most fervently support them.

This was my path. Gratefully, I call myself a liberal.

Henry Buslepp


'Brown Springs'?

Dear Editor:

I have heard so many local comments about Mr. Brown's land purchases and what might the newly acquired Pagosa be named.

I find it disheartening to hear names like "Brownsville, Brownsvillage, or Browntown."

Pagosa is known for it's now famous hot springs and with keeping that in mind, maybe "Brown Springs" would be a more appropriate name. Has kinda a nice ring to it, don'tcha think!

M. Christie


Cultural sin

Dear Editor:

For a change, it was a pleasure to read the Shepherd's Staff column, the one written by Dr. Vern Barnet. Finally, a preacher who doesn't condemn children to burn in hell until the end of time for the sin of being born in another culture.

For all of you who may be thinking of taking up Mr. Sawicki's offer to leave town, I suggest you don't pack your bags.

Over the past 20 years, Mr. Sawicki has often suggested I should leave the country. While have told him I appreciate his generous offers, he has never sent any tickets. I suspect he knows that troglodytes never leave their caves, except to cash their Social Security checks. In a few years this trip will be unnecessary as there won't be any Social Security checks.

Of course, I don't fret, as I can live quite comfortably on Pinon Bark Beetles and the medicine I brew from juniper berries. But what are you urbanites going to do when the country is covered with golf courses and condos.

Perhaps Mr. Sawicki's friend "Julia Childs" has the answer?

Bob Dungan



Puzzled taxpayer

Dear Editor:

As a long time resident and taxpayer of Archuleta County, I recently received my tax bill for the current year. I notice that the fifth highest amount of our taxes goes to the Upper San Juan Health District.

What happens to our tax dollars if the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center closes its doors?

Don't state of Colorado statutes govern this taxing district?

My father, Paul Decker, was on the original board of directors and oversaw the construction of the first Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic in 1959, so you can understand my concern.

Judy James


Chamber concern

Dear Editor:

As a past, and now current member of the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, I would like to thank those who attended the annual meeting on Saturday, Jan. 22. For those who did not or could not attend, we missed you and hope to see you at the next annual meeting (if not sooner).

If you did not attend for a reason that the board needs to know about, please let us know so we can see if we can do something about it.

The board needs direction too, and that direction comes from the participation of its members. Please let us know if you have comments, suggestions or complaints.

Don McKeehan


Invading our life

Dear Editor:

Do we have short memories, or what? It's been a little over 10 years since we voted against closing Hermosa Street when a swimming pool project was proposed in our Town Park.

We got signatures against the idea, had an election, and won. Do we have to go through this again? Can't the VIPs in charge of our town come up with better ideas that don't invade our way of life?

Why not meet with the local people and let us help decide what would be better for us, not for the wealthy, greedy outsiders that come, mess up, then leave us in a bind.

Let's come up with a plan that doesn't destroy what we have in place. I'll be glad to help.


Mrs. Reuben R. Marquez

Editor's note: Public meetings have been held to review plans, with comment allowed. Local government will also meet to consider any plans that might be implemented inside town boundaries. The public is notified of times and locations of said meetings and anyone who wishes has the right to attend.


Narrow vision

Dear Editor:

Pagosa Springs has its own brand of political correctness, and for any newcomers to the town, here's a short primer on it.

First, be against outsiders. In order to do this, forget the fact that you, yourself, moved here from somewhere else. Or if you were born and raised here, forget that your parents or grandparents came here from somewhere else. If someone comes to Pagosa with plans you don't like, find out where they're from and label them a "Californian" or a "Texan" or wherever they may be from.

Second, be against all forms of development. In order to do this, overlook the fact that our local economy is one of the poorer ones in the entire state. Forget that our local hospital is nearly bankrupt. And when you drive through the junkier areas of town, just close your eyes and try not to cause an accident.

Third, repeat the words, "Not in my backyard." As you do so, conveniently forget that if your neighbor owns the property next door it's his backyard, not yours. And feel free to say, "Not in my backyard" even if the backyard in question is a 30-minute drive away and in another county altogether.

My point: Pagosa belongs to all of us. Let's not presume we can tell folks in a nearby county whether we "approve" of their plans or not. And let's be open to considering other visions even if they don't match our own narrow ones.

Britt Muhlig

Editor's note: We do not have a hospital in Archuleta County. It is the Upper San Juan Health Services District that currently faces budget problems.


Ignorance of fact

Dear Editor:

Once again Sawicki has chosen to demonstrate his ignorance of American history and has claimed it as "documented fact."

He claims "Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation..." but if he had paid attention to his eighth-grade history books he would have known that the founding fathers of this nation were known for having lived in "The Age of Enlightenment" and primarily subscribed to Deism, believing in God and His creation in heaven and earth but without any form of divine intervention thereafter.

Some were arguably (gasp) atheists and denounced Christian practices altogether (I can only imagine the immediate reaction this will cause in the extreme religious right as they clamor to have stickers printed to be placed in school history textbooks stating that this, too, is only a theory).

Above all, our founding fathers resoundingly believed in the "separation of church and state." This country did not ever, as Sawicki claims, adopt the motto "In God We Trust." The United States Treasury started putting that on currency in the 1900s because there was not enough gold and silver in the reserves of the United States Treasury to back paper currency with.

This is what is fundamentally wrong with the extreme political right. If the facts don't suit your objectives or views, just make something up and enough people will go along with it because the truth means that they may have to question some of their long standing and deep rooted beliefs and that is just too difficult to accept sometimes. Those who don't "get on board" are blasphemers and unpatriotic.

Entertaining the thought that our highest ranking leaders are misleading us to achieve their own agendas is very difficult because the overwhelming majority of Americans are humanitarians who believe in a free and just world and would like to believe that their political leaders have and exercise those same instilled values.

I want to know when it became unpatriotic to protest or even question how our government is representing its constituents. This should be the pinnacle of a healthy democracy.

This is what a great nation was truly founded upon. Not the "if you think, act and look like I do then you're an American, otherwise you can go somewhere else" attitude exemplified by Sawicki.

Unfortunately, this is the resounding message delivered by much of the political right. The Bush Administration has done everything in its power to quash any form of dissent both within the administration and within its constituency.

Perhaps Bush never read "The Emperor's New Clothes." The citizens of this great nation owe it to each other, to themselves and to the rest of the world to make rational and informed decisions based on the truth, regardless of their religious or political party affiliation.

Scott Pierce


Community News

Grant program for nonprofits open in Pagosa

By Doug Bowen

Special to The SUN

The Education Center and Archuleta County High School will again sponsor nonprofit sector grants this year with assistance of El Pomar Youth in Community Service programs.

The El Pomar program was created in 1991 to introduce high school students to the importance of leadership service, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. It initially involved nine schools in the Pike's Peak region.

It has since expanded to reach 134 high schools in 18 regions and this is the eighth season for the local alternative high school.

While involved in the program, students not only learn how to gauge the needs within their communities, but are actually given the opportunity to participate in philanthropic activities.

Each El Pomar participating school, after completing a $500 fund-raising challenge, receives a $7,500 grant to distribute to nonprofit and school organizations that fit their mission statement.

Since 1991, participating students have raised more than $400,000 and with El Pomar Foundation's contribution, has awarded more than 5,500 grants totaling more than $8 million to improve quality of life in communities across the state.

Last year grants totaled in excess of $1 million and are expected to do so again this year.

In 2003-2004, ACHS students, awarded over $8,000 in amounts ranging from $800 to $2,500. Recipients included Seeds of learning, Colorado Housing, Inc., Pagosa Springs Music Boosters, Archuleta County Education Center and Humane Society of Pagosa Springs. The same base award amount will be available in Pagosa Springs this year.

Grant applications must be submitted by Feb. 10. The applications are available to non-profits with 501(c)(3) status and are available on the Web at www.elpomar.org. Click on Leadership for Tomorrow and continue by selecting EPYCS. Nonprofit directors may contact Doug Bowen at the education center for assistance with the grant application.


Pagosa photographer a regular contest entrant

By Erin K. Quirk

PREVIEW Columnist

Every year about this time Pagosa Springs throws its arms around its photographers.

Whether it's black and white, landscape, wildlife, digital or film, photographers of all stripes are invited to participate in the annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest at Moonlight Books.

Now in its 17th year, the contest serves as an outreach to encourage local photographers to display their work and perhaps win a ribbon or two. The event has been so successful over the years that, for three weeks, the little bookshop on Pagosa Street will play host to more than 200 entries.

The contest was developed as a way to expand the definition of artist and involve a greater community of them. The event's host Jerry Rohwer, who owns Moonlight Books with his wife, Joan, said a lot of people aren't good with oil or watercolor.

"But a lot of people have an eye and a camera," he said.

Pagosa resident and photographer Patricia Francis is excited about the contest. She has entered her landscape photography for about 15 years and one year took home three blue ribbons and a red one. Happily the red ribbon was second to her own blue-ribbon photo.

Francis, a mother of four grown children, says she always had a creative spirit bubbling within her, but wasn't sure what her medium should be. She dabbled in dance and music but wasn't passionate about either. Her four children kept her from thinking too hard about it though. As her children grew she realized that her passion lived in capturing moments of light on objects and that is where it has stayed.

"It is so nice to be at the age where I have the luxury of pursuing the right side of my brain," she said.

Her experiments with light and landscape can be seen on the walls at Wolf Tracks Bookstore and Coffee.

The sweet red barns of At Last Ranch and a soft focus look at orange aspen trees grace the walls over coffee sippers' heads. One of her more impressive pieces, which is not currently displayed at Wolf Tracks but has won a blue ribbon in the photography contest, is entitled "Autumn Blaze."

The photograph is classic Colorado and makes you catch your breath. It is simply of a barn and a cottonwood tree. But to Francis, the important thing is not what you take pictures of, it's how.

"It's all about the light," Francis said. "Just like painting, you capture the reflection of light on objects."

The barn in "Autumn Blaze" is in South Fork and Francis had seen it many times. However, she knew the only way to photograph it was in the early morning light.

On an early trip to Denver, she got her chance. It was a clear San Luis Valley morning and the sky was already the deep Colorado blue that photographers love, especially with yellow cottonwood leaves splashed against it. But the magic is in the sunlight which falls on the old, wood slats of a sleepy horse barn. The wood looks as though it has just been scrubbed with Murphy's Oil Soap and polished right before Francis took the picture.

Like all artists, Francis has a vision for where she'd like to take her work. She said, were she a young woman again, she would definitely be a photojournalist. Francis, an intrepid traveler, has shot her work in New Zealand, Alaska and Italy among other places. She is also an avid fly fisherwoman and though she loves to fish, she will take a break if the light gets right on the river bank.

Not only does she love photographing landscapes, but she lights up when talking about shooting portraits - especially of children.

"Even the shy ones have a way of romancing the camera," she said.

She likes the work of Anne Geddes, who is famous for placing bunches of babies in baskets with flowers and photographing them. Francis has a vision for something similar but more spontaneous that captures the child in their natural state. A children's book filled with her art and words is another dream on the horizon.

Although she has been actively working on her craft and selling her art for about 13 years, Francis says she is still learning. She especially enjoys going out photographing with a friend because she learns from other people's eyes and feels not a hint of competition.

"Two people can take a photograph side by side and it won't be the same," she said.

She is an avid photography student and said a weeklong intensive course taken in Santa Fe was her biggest boost as an artist in the medium she loves.

"It never feels like work," she said. "It always feels like play."

Other local photographers may wish to take advantage of the photography seminar being hosted in conjunction with the contest.

Howard Rachlin, a Durango photographer and the judge of this year's contest, will host a seminar 9 a.m.-noon Feb. 5 at the Pagosa Springs Community Center's South Conference Room. The cost is $5 for entrants of the contest and $10 for those not entered.

The contest also hosts an opening night reception on 5-7 p.m. Saturday Feb. 5 at Moonlight Books. Rohwer said it is a good opportunity for entrants to talk with the judge and other photographers. He calls the event the "highlight of the winter season."

The contest runs Feb 5-26 . Entries will be accepted until 5 p.m. Feb. 2 Moonlight Books has entry forms and contest rules and guidelines.


'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.


Red Shoe Piano Trio performance to benefit Silver Foxes Den

By Musetta Wollenweber

Special to The PREVIEW

Treat yourself to a "red hot" evening of music with the Red Shoes Piano Trio, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Restoration Fellowship hall, 264 Village Drive.

Proceeds will benefit the "Silver Foxes Den" as well as the Fort Lewis Scholarship Fund.

The Red Shoe Piano Trio was formed in the fall of 2003 at Fort Lewis College in Durango. The trio has performed throughout the region to delighted audiences, and was described as "red hot" by the Durango Herald.

The trio is dedicated to performing the great standards of the repertoire, while avidly championing contemporary compositions. The members of the trio - Mikylah Myers McTeer, violin; Katherine Jetter Tischhauser, cello; and Lisa Campi, piano - are currently faculty members at Fort Lewis College where they maintain active teaching and performing careers.

McTeer is concertmaster of the San Juan Symphony and assistant professor of violin and viola at Fort Lewis College. She was previously a violinist with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. She received her doctoral and master's degrees from the University of Houston's Moores School of Music, where she studied with renowned violinist Fredell Lack.

During her time in Houston, Dr. McTeer regularly performed with the Houston Symphony and the Houston Grand Opera and was assistant concertmaster of the Woodlands Symphony and principal second violinist of Houston's Orchestra X.

The Moores Piano Trio was the silver prize winner at the 2000 Carmel Chamber Music Competition and a finalist in the 2000 Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition. McTeer has performed internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary.

She spends her summers performing at music festivals throughout the United States and Europe, including the Spoleto Italy Festival, the AIMS in Graz, Austria Festival, the Oregon Coast Festival, the Ernest Bloch Festival in Newport, Oregon, and is a nine-year member of the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon.

She received her bachelor's degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studied violin with Roland and Almita Vamos. She was also a four-year-member and co-captain of the Oberlin College varsity women's soccer team.

Katherine Jetter Tischhauser earned the master's of music and in 2002 the doctor of music degree in cello performance from Florida State University after receiving both the bachelor of music degree in cello performance and the bachelor of arts degree in applied mathematics from East Carolina University.

Tischhauser did her primary musical training with Selma Gokcen, Andrew Luchansky and Lubomir Georgiev. She has also performed in master classes of Janos Starker, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Channing Robbins, and Stephen Doane.

Tischhauser's chamber and solo experiences include performances with the International Cello Festival Master Classes in Kronberg, Germany, the Killington Chamber Music Festival, the Alfred Chamber Music Institute, the Florida State New Music Festival, the Red Shoe Piano Trio, the Alexander Murray Recital Series, and the Tischhauser-Shelly Ensemble. She was the cellist for the award winning Camellia String Quartet for two years. In the position of principal cellist she has played in the Florida State Symphony Orchestra, the Showcase Chamber Ensemble, and the San Juan Symphony. Other orchestras Dr. Tischhauser has been a member of include the Tallahassee Symphony, the New Carolina Sinfonia, the Tar River Orchestra, the National Opera Company Orchestra, the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra, and the Santa Fe Symphony.

She is currently associate professor of cello and music theory at Fort Lewis College. In addition to her duties at the college she actively teaches in the Four Corners area through private lessons at Katzin Music and the Conservatory Music in the Mountains. Recently she recorded an album, "Down on the Beaten Road," and is performing with the acoustic rock band, Formula 151. She is the secretary of the Colorado ASTA with NSOA chapter and is an active clinician regionally and nationally. She has done extensive research on contemporary techniques in string literature and cello pedagogy.

Lisa Campi is the assistant professor of piano at Fort Lewis College where she performs, accompanies, teaches private and class piano, theory and history. She was previously an assistant professor of piano at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, Wash.

Campi has performed and adjudicated throughout North America, and has given lecture recitals for such organizations as the National Music Teachers Association. She has played recitals for the Chautauqua Institute in New York, the Scotia Festival of Music in Nova Scotia, for CBC radio, for the National Public Radio on WBFO: for the "Opus, Classics Live" series at the University of Buffalo, and for the "Piano Bench" series on KPBX, Spokane Public Radio. A native of Silver Spring, Maryland, Campi received her bachelor's of music from Indiana University, her master's from the University of Maryland, and her doctorate from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Rebecca Penneys.

Campi was the pianist for the Taliesin Piano trio which participated in the National Endowment for the Arts/Chamber Music America rural residency in Blytheville, Ark., and which founded the concert series, "Composers, in their Own Words."

Campi has founded, directed and adjudicated for the Four Corners Piano Competition at Fort Lewis College. She also currently serves as the keyboardist for the San Juan Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs as the pianist for the Red Shoe Piano Trio of Fort Lewis College. She is a vigorous advocate for the music of our time, has performed a wide range of solo and chamber works by leading contemporary composers, and has been associated with several modern music ensembles, including "Ossia" in Rochester, N.Y., and "Zephyr" in Spokane, Wash.

Tickets are available at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center, Plaid Pony and the Chamber of Commerce. Adults are $12, children 12 and under $10, seniors with membership cards $10.


Fund drive underway for Boy Scouts

A drive is underway in Archuleta County to raise funds for local and district Boy Scout programs.

The drive seeks donations for the Great Southwest Council of the Boy Scouts of America and, through that, to the Mesa Verde district and local packs and troops. The Council was formed in 1920 and has served Scouting in Archuleta County since that time.

Local Scouting programs are conducted in conjunction with community organizations, including local churches and civic organizations, and make a concerted effort to provide programs for any and all local youngsters interested in becoming Boy Scouts.

There are currently two Cub Scout packs in Pagosa Country and two Boy Scout troops. As part of the Council, the Mesa Verde District serves more than 200 Scouts each year in Archuleta County, with each of the last few years seeing an increase in numbers.

Local goals related to the fund-raising project are to increase the number of Scouts in the county by at least 4 percent in the next year and to organize a Venturing Crew for young men and women, ages 14-20.

Funds raised are used for a number of services and projects: professional Scouters who provide training and guidance for local volunteers; a full range of training opportunities for volunteers supported by a variety of high-quality reference material; camp facilities for a comprehensive summer program and that are available to district troops year round; a communication network linking volunteers throughout the Council; a Council service center providing support in record keeping, membership, event registration and access to uniforms, equipment, literature and other resources.

The Council has used its resources wisely and, as a result, has received the National Quality Council Award each year since 1996, reflecting its growth in membership, its sound financial management and the fact that over two-thirds of units in the Council earn the Quality Unit recognition.

The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America, shared by the packs and troops of the Council is "To promote, through cooperation with other agencies, the ability of youth to do things for themselves and others, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance and kindred virtues. In achieving this purpose, emphasis is placed upon its educational program and the oaths, promises, and codes for character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness."

Individuals and businesses throughout the area are being contacted by a group of volunteers as part of the local fund-raising effort. Anyone wanting to donate to the local Boy Scout program can call John Hostetter at 731-6353.


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.

There is no charge for the event. For reservations, call Carolyn Church at 731-6338 days or 264-6465 evenings.


How Pagosa became the music center of the San Luis Valley

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

For over 36 hours last weekend Pagosa Springs became the instrumental music center of the San Luis Valley.

No, that's not a typographical or geographic knowledge error.

How did it come to be?

Here's the short story.

Two years ago Lisa Hartley, music director for Pagosa Springs schools, was in contact with band leaders from the San Luis Valley in connection with developing regional programs.

One suggested to her that she should hear their honors band.

"What honors band?" she asked.

Well, she was told, "We select the top junior high musicians from the San Luis Valley, put them together as a single unit, and hold an annual public concert in one of the schools to display their talents."

"I want in," said Hartley and the geographic connection to the San Luis Valley was created.

Last year Pagosa Springs sent a small contingent to play in the honors band. But for Hartley, that wasn't enough.

JoAnn Ruybal of Centauri, who helped coordinate the weekend appearance here, said Hartley volunteered, "Pagosa will host the concert next year."

That was this past weekend.

Band students from Centauri, Ortega Junior High in Alamosa, Monte Vista, Sargent, Moffat and Sierra Grande junior high schools traveled to Pagosa Springs for the event.

For many, said Ruybal, it was their first trip to this side of the mountain range.

And coordinating the effort was a major job for her because all the musicians, save the Pagosans, stayed overnight in Pagosa preparing for the Saturday concert.

Prospective band members from participating schools had submitted audition tapes before Christmas and the honor band leaders spent weeks listening to them and picking the ones they felt best represented the music talents they were seeking.

Until Friday, however, they had not played together.

Ruybal said the musicians rehearsed 1-5 p.m. Friday by sections - woodwinds, brass, percussion, etc. - and again 6:30-8 p.m.

And then, 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, they met for the first time as a complete band, working together on timing, blending instruments, and working with a guest clinician who would direct their concert.

Kathy Winn Baisdon, now a Pagosa Springs resident, was that clinician. She grew up in the Panama Canal Zone where her parents were federal employees.

After graduation from high school, she came to the United States where she earned a degree from North Texas State University School of Music where she concentrated on organ and bass horn.

Her 28 years of teaching experience includes choral music on the Texas-Mexico border and elementary school music in northeast Houston. Her last 14 years active teaching were as Bridge City junior high band director on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. Her classes produced 13 sweepstakes awards and a sixth place in Texas honor band competition.

The concert, before a crowd of about 200 in the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium, featured "Monterey March" by Pierre LaPlante; "Balladair" by Frank Erickson; music from "Pirates of the Caribbean" by Klaus Badelt, arranged by Michael Brown; and "Sousa on Parade," arranged by Mike Story.

The band, numbering 70, included eight from the host Pagosa Springs school district:

Audrey Legg, Rachel Jensen and Julia Nell on flute; Anna Ball on clarinet; Jackson Walsh on trumpet, Zane Gholson on trombone and Alex Baum and Drew Portnell in the percussion session.

Thus, for one weekend, Pagosa Springs was the junior high instrumental music center of the San Luis Valley.


Waltz and bolero on dance club February schedule

In Step Dance Club will have a little different format in February. Due to a general class request, there will be a continuation of waltz for the first two weeks. Then members will be introduced to and dance bolero in the last two sessions.

All meetings will be at the usual 7-9 p.m. at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave., Feb. 3, 9, 17 and 24. There will also be extra practices 3-5 p.m. Feb. 6 and 27. Monthly club dues are $40 per couple or $20 for individuals. Dancers without partners are welcome.

The romantic bolero is the slowest of the Latin dances. It combines controlled movement with dramatic expression to the music. The bolero has the same Afro-Cuban roots as the rhumba and was born in Cuba toward the end of the 20th century as an heir to the Spanish bolero.

It was greatly influenced by Cuban and Spanish folk dances such as danzon and beguine. The bolero has some different characteristics from its Cuban relative, the rhumba. Its long sweeping side steps and use of rise and fall creates a softness that makes this dance unique among the rhythm dances. The expanding and contracting dance position makes a very dramatic and romantic statement.

The bolero is usually played in 4/4 time, and its tempo is slower than that of rhumba. While rhumba music is very rhythmical, the lyrical bolero sounds more like a Latin ballad.

For more information call Deb Aspen, 731-3338.


Children's Chorale sets Jan. 31 sign-up

The Pagosa Springs Children's Chorale has set Monday, Jan. 31, as the registration date for spring season participation.

This registration and orientation will be 5:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Community United Methodist Church.

Any children between ages 6 and 14 are welcome to join the chorale. Rehearsals begin Feb. 11 and continue through May, 2-4 p.m. each Friday in the same fellowship hall.

Children participating must be able to read at a first-grade level. A reasonable monthly fee will be charged. Tentative activities include workshops, day camps, cooperative events and concerts with area children's choirs. Concert dates are yet to be announced.

The chorale began in 2004 and is directed by Sue Anderson and Rada Neal, both degreed music teachers with over 40 years teaching experience combined.

Some of the chorale's previous performances included spring and Christmas concerts with the Community Choir, caroling at the Chamber of Commerce tree-lighting, a joint performance with a local taps group and singing at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center.

The chorale welcomes any child interested in sharing the joy of singing. For further information contact Anna Harbison at 264-9060.


Gray Wolves cookbook member distribution set

By Carole Howard

Special to The PREVIEW

The Gray Wolf Ski Club cookbook committee will be at the Sisson Library in Pagosa Springs 1-4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31, and Friday, Feb. 4, to distribute members' prepaid copies of the club's newly published recipe collection.

As well, a small number of additional cookbooks will be available for sale to members only at $10 a copy.

Due to extraordinary demand by club members, we are unable to make copies available for sale to the general public. However, the Gray Wolves have donated a copy to Sisson Library so those unable to purchase it can have access to this special recipe collection.

Gray Wolf members are known to be excellent cooks, as evidenced by the delicious and creative food they bring to club potlucks and picnics. Three hundred of their recipes are included in this collection. Interestingly, 71 men contributed their own or family recipes. As well, there are recipes from three members' favorite restaurants in Pagosa Springs - Isabel's, JJ's Upstream and Dionigi's Italian Cafe.

The professionally published cookbook is a 3-ring binder with a padded and laminated hard cover. It has full-color dividers with tabs, a table of contents, an alphabetical index and sections on cooking tips. Its full-color cover painting is an original Tom Antonishak.

Another special feature of the cookbook is a built-in plastic bookstand. It stays in the back of the book until you are ready to cook. Then you open up the three rings, take the stand out, put it on your counter and place the cookbook in it for easy reading of the recipe while you are preparing it. After you've finished cooking, you can return the stand to the back of the cookbook for handy storage. It also can be used with any other cookbook in your collection.

The $10 price of each cookbook does not include the cost of postage or shipping materials, so copies must be picked up in person at the library or from a cookbook committee member - Scottie Gibson, Carole Howard, Fran Jenkins or Yvonne Ralston.

The Gray Wolves are able to sell these elaborate cookbooks at this low price because they were produced at cost as a service to members, not as a fund-raiser.


Hearts for Horses benefit set Feb. 4

LASSO (large animal support southwest organization) will conduct its annual "Hearts for Horses" benefit 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at Montezuma's Restaurant.

There will be a silent auction, great food and good fun at a cost of $50 per person.

Please make reservations by Feb. 4 by calling 264-0095 or 264-2264.


Local Chatter

Hi! I'm Miss Crystal Meth

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

The Pagosa Springs SUN has just finished a series, "Narcotics Relating to Crime." This poem about the narcotic Crystal Meth written by Samantha Reynolds has been submitted to Local Chatter for publication. It is in the same line of thought as the series.

Ms. Crystal Meth

I destroy homes. I tear families apart. I take your children, and that's just the start.

I'm more valued than diamonds, more precious than gold.

The sorrow I bring is a sight to behold.

If you need me, remember: I'm easily found. I live all around you, in school and in town.

I live with the rich. I live with the poor. I live just down the road and maybe next door.

I'm made in a lab, but not in one like you think. I can be made under your kitchen sink.

Or in your child's closet, and even in the woods.

If this scares you to death, it certainly should.

I have many names, but there's one you'll know best.

I'm sure you've heard of me: my name is Crystal Meth.

My power is awesome. Try me and you'll see. But if you do, you may never break free.

Just try me once, and I might let you go. But try me twice, then I'll own your soul.

When I possess you, you'll steal and you'll lie. You'll do what you have to, just to get high.

The crimes you'll commit for my narcotic charms, will be worth the pleasure you'll feel in my arms.

You'll lie to your mother, you'll steal from your dad.

When you see their tears you must not feel sad.

Just forget your morals and how you were raised.

I'll be your conscience.

I'll teach you my ways.

I take kids from their parents. I take parents from kids. I turn people from God. I separate friends.

I'll take everything from you; even your good looks, and your pride.

I'll be with you always, right there by your side.

You'll give up everything; your family, your home, your money, your friends.

You'll be all alone.

I'll take and I'll take, 'till you've no more to give.

When I finished with you, you'll be lucky to live.

If you try me, be warned: this is not a game.

If I'm given the chance, I'll drive you insane.

I'll ravage your body. I'll control your mind.

I'll own you completely. Your soul will be mine.

The nightmares I'll give you when you're lying in bed, and the voices you'll hear, from inside your head.

The sweats, the shakes and the visions you'll see;

I want you to know these are your gifts, from me.

By then it's too late, and you'll know in your heart that you are now mine, and we shall not part.

You'll regret that you tried me. (They always do.) But you came to me, not I to you.

You knew this would happen. How many times were you told?

But you challenged my power. You chose to be bold.

You could have said "No," and then walked away.

If you could live that day over, now what would you say?

My power is awesome, as I told you before.

I can take your mother and turn her into a whore.

I'll be your master and you'll be my slave. I'll even go with you when you go to your grave. Now that you've met me what will you do? Will you try me or not? It's all up to you.

I can show you more misery than words can tell.

Come, take my hand, and let me lead you to Hell!

Fun on the run

The man overheard his 9-year-old son on the phone with a friend discussing a computer-simulation game. The game involved creating a family, a house for them to live in and so on. The youth, an old hand at the game, gave this warning: "Whatever you do, don't get kids. They don't bring in any money, and all they do is eat!"


Senior News

Memberships are still available

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Memberships to Seniors, Inc. are still being sold at the senior center 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. every day we serve lunch.

If you are at least 55, come in and take advantage of the great discounts offered around town. Find out about the scholarship programs to assist with medical needs as well. Membership is only $3 a year.

Our next Durango trip is scheduled Feb. 10; the suggested donation is just $10 for the transportation. Sign up at the desk in the dining room.

Goofy Hat day Jan. 14 was pretty goofy and three prizes were awarded. Beverly Arrendell won most adventurous, Lee Carrannante won best prepared and Mae Boughan won most creative.

A big thanks to our judge, Liz, from Victim Services. Fun was had by all and the kitchen staff was caught modeling colanders and a Viking hat adorned with interesting ornaments.

Do you want to play with little ones at the community center on Wednesday? "Pagosa Brats" are playing in the gym 10 a.m.-noon Wednesdays and could use some grandparents to hang out with them. Just sit and just enjoy their antics if you like, or interact. But feel free to come in and say hi on Wednesday mornings.

A message from the transportation department: Out of town medical shuttles to Durango will be available Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting in February. Be sure to schedule your appointments accordingly. The suggested donation for medical shuttles is $40; Archuleta Seniors Inc. members, $20. For information, call 264-2250.

About 1.25 million people in the U.S. suffer heart attacks every year, and about half of these occur in persons who are already known to have Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). For men and women with CHD, the risk of a heart attack is five times higher than for people of the same age and sex who do not have CHD.

Dietary guidelines: Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat. Some kinds of fat, especially saturated fats, increase the risk for coronary heart disease by raising blood cholesterol levels. Foods that are high in saturated fat include high-fat dairy products, fatty meats, lard, palm oil and coconut oil.

In contrast, unsaturated fats (found mainly in vegetable oils) do not increase blood cholesterol. Be careful of trans-fats, which also raises cholesterol. Foods high in trans-fat include those high in partially hydrogenated vegetables oils, such as many hard margarines, shortenings, cookies, baked goods, processed foods and crackers.

- Excerpt from Colorado Dept. of Human Services

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

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., seniors age 55-plus who celebrate a birthday in January will only pay a dollar for their meal on the 28th. Patty Tillerson will be here to check your blood pressure from 11a.m.-noon Friday, so come in, check your pressure and eat cake with us.

The Seeds of Learning kids will be here Feb. 1 to sing to us at lunchtime. They also give out hugs afterward, so be sure to be here. Unfortunately, we will not have massage available that day, but Penny will be back Feb. 8.

Bodil will be back Feb. 4 to talk about "Spiritual Death and Dying Issues."

During her years of naturopathic clinic service in Europe, she got into helping people getting over a sorrow. Later, her knowledge expanded due to her own near death experience. She states, "In my early health practice, I had a client, a woman, who came to me for other health problems, but it turned out these problems were caused because of her sorrow of losing her husband, who died just a month earlier. I counseled her for about a month and we did a lot of talking about her husband's death. All these sessions opened up her view of dealing with sorrow and reminded her to let go and move on with her life. She said that if she had not had this time talking with me, she would have been in a depression for years, getting sick and dying herself. Instead she was now able to continue her life in loving remembrance of her husband."

Come in and hear more of what Bodil has to say at 1 p.m. in the lounge.

Our computer instructor, Cindy Gowing, has regretfully informed us that Feb. 1 will be her last day as our instructor. Cindy has graciously been volunteering her time the past few months to several beginning computer seniors. Our folks can now identify a mouse, right click, left click, locate and use the on and off button and have beginning Internet skills.

We can't thank you enough Cindy for your time and patience. We wish you well in your new adventures.

So now we have a void that will be hard to fill and are seeking the next caring volunteer who would share some basic computer skills with our seniors. Our classes are Tuesdays 10:30-11:30ish, if you or someone you know would like to volunteer please contact the Den office at 264-2167.

The Red Shoe Trio is returning once again to delight us with their music at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8. Be sure to bundle up and head on over to the Restoration Fellowship located at 264 Village Drive. Once there you will find Mikylah Myers McTeer with her violin, Katherine Jetter Tischhauser with her cello and Lisa Campi playing the piano. Tickets are available at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center, Plaid Pony and the Chamber of Commerce at $12 for adults and $10 for children age 12 and under and seniors with membership cards. Proceeds will benefit the Den and the Ft. Lewis scholarship fund.

The AARP sponsored Tax-Aide program is returning again this year. This service is offered via IRS/AARP trained and certified volunteers who reside in Pagosa. The program is free and confidential and is provided for low and moderate income people. There is no age restriction; but reference is given to seniors who request it.

The service includes tax form preparation or review for federal, Colorado, and sometimes New Mexico returns. E-filing is available. If someone has prepared their returns but has a question they may come in for assistance.

The Application for the Colorado Property Tax, Rent, Heat Rebate Program will also be prepared when appropriate. Colorado residents for all of 2004 (brief absences OK), who are over 65 or a qualifying widow(er) over 58, with income less than $11,000 single or $14,700 married, and who pay property taxes or rent and heat are usually eligible. If the 2003 application has not been filed we can assist with that this year, too. A disabled person for all of 2004 may be eligible; regardless of age. If you are unaware of this program but think you might qualify please come in to ask us about it. Usually, you will not be filing federal or state income taxes

The program is for individual income tax returns. No corporate returns will be completed. Individuals with income from wages, or 1099s, social security, pensions, interest, dividends, and some stock sales are eligible. If rental property or farm income (past a 1099-G ) a paid professional taxpayer should be prepared. No Schedule C with inventory or depreciation.

Appointments may be scheduled via the sign-in sheet in the cafeteria or on a space available basis during the Thursday sessions beginning at 9 a.m. Feb. 3 in the Arts Council room. Sessions are each Thursday through April 14.


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

Monday, Jan. 31- Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 1 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; basic computer class, 10:30; Seeds of Learning kids sing, 11:30; no massage today.

Wednesday, Feb, 2 - Canasta, 1 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 4 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; veteran's benefits, noon; Spiritual Death and Dying Issues with Bodil Holstein, 1 p.m.


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

Monday, Jan. 31 - Salmon patty with noodles, mixed veggies, broccoli salad and sherbet.

Tuesday, Feb. 1 - Eat a good meal before donating blood today: Sloppy Joe on a bun, scalloped potatoes, broccoli and carrots and spiced applesauce.

Wednesday, Feb. 2 - Pasta and meatballs, tossed salad, garlic bread and plums.

Friday , Feb. 4 - Beef Stroganoff, green beans and rice and dessert.


Chamber News

Chamber of Commerce presents annual awards

By Mary Jo Coulehan

Sun Columnist

Thanks to all who attended the annual Chamber meeting and Mardi Gras party. I hope everyone had a good time. I know I did. The favorite part of my job was announcing the winners of all the awards. So here are the results:

- Citizen of the Year: Mercy Korsgren.

Mercy is currently the director at the Pagosa Springs Community Center, President of Kiwanis, past vice-president of Kiwanis, Red Cross Disaster advisory board and team member, and so much more. Mercy was away in the Philippines when the award was announced; however, I got to surprise her Monday morning.

- Volunteer of the Year: Lisa Scott.

If I were to list all of Lisa's volunteering activities, I would not have any more room in my article, so here are just some highlights: United Way advisory board member, Pagosa Springs Enterprises board member, Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo board member, steering committee for Music in the Mountains and director for the Family Festivo, CVC committee, co-leader for 4-H Clover Buds, many more activities that involve her three young children, and so many more community activities. Congratulations to both of these winners. The awards are well deserved.

Pagosa Pride Winners

The Pagosa Pride Awards are given to businesses in our community that have improved their building or grounds. Outgoing Chamber board members vote on the businesses using a point system. The winners this year are: High Point Winner, Jann Pitcher Real Estate with the other winner being the westside City Market. Honorable mentions went to: Todd Shelton for the development of the westside Citizens Bank Plaza, Dionigi's, The Pagosa Springs SUN and Pagosa Health & Fitness - better known as "The Club." Congratulations to these businesses for helping to improve the look and image of our community.

New board members

I am pleased to announce your three new board members slated to serve on the Chamber board for the next three years.

The winners are Don McKeehan, Judy James and Jody Cromwell. I would again like to thank the other candidates - Mike Branch, Joe Steele and Robin Auld for running. The voting was very close and I would have been happy to work with any of these dedicated individuals. Perhaps we can snag them to run again in future years.

I would also like to thank outgoing board members Sally Hovatter and Bob Eggleston for all their help, not only decorating for this event but for all they have done for this organization the past three years. I would thank Don McKeehan, but he's staying on and I'll thank him again in three years.

What a great job The Pagosa Lodge did of servicing our event. The menu by Trudy Gomez, chef at The Lodge, of catfish, crab cakes, chicken and sausage gumbo and more was oh-so good. Everyone was raving about the food.

We still have not found the baby hidden in the King Cake baked by Pagosa Baking Co. The cake was delicious. But either someone swallowed the toy baby or it just did not get reported. You get a year's free membership so, to those of you who took pieces home, I hope you find the baby.

Here are a few more people who gave of their time to make this event beautiful and fun: Marlene Jorgenson of The Pagosa Lodge, Jessie Formwalt, Toby and Renae Karlquist, Tony and Nancy Gilbert, Patty Renner, Angie Gayhart, Scott Asay, Ron and Sheila Hunkin, Dick Babillis, Bonnie Masters, Darlene Wilkins and Dawn Thomas. I'm sure I have missed a few people, and for that I always blame my blonde hair. However, I appreciate all the help we received throughout the event. For those of you who were not able to attend, we'll be planning another fun event for next year.

Upcoming events

There is no rest for the weary, so pull out your calendars and start marking some events down.

"The Quiet Threat"

On Friday, Kiwanis will sponsor a free spaghetti dinner and guest speaker at the community center. The speaker is Lisa Carman and she will be talking about "The Quiet Threat - Child Sexual Abuse." Lisa will share her family's compelling story and will help others to understand the facts about child sexual abuse and what we can do to protect children.

Doors will open at 5 p.m., dinner will be served 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Lisa will speak 7 to 8 p.m. Day care will also be provided. Facing the issue and talking about sexual abuse is the first defense against sex offenders.

Winter fun

The Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad (a Chamber member) has their Snowdown Balloon Rally Brunch Saturday. Winter fares will be in effect as you watch the mass balloon ascension in the Valley and enjoy complimentary pastries, coffee, and champagne on board. For more information, you can call the train at 247-2733.

Wolf Creek Ski Area will host the Mardi Gras race 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. The race is free and open to skiers of all ages. Don't forget that there are more local appreciation days coming up. The next one is Sunday, followed by Wednesday, Feb. 2. Lift tickets will be a whopping $22 and no ID is required. Such a deal.


The primary events for Winterfest this year will be held Feb. 12 and 13. Of course each day starts with a balloon mass ascension at approximately 8 a.m. This year the balloons will launch on both days from the Fairfield area, behind the Pagosa Lodge. If you are interested in sponsoring a balloon, give Liz Marchand a call at 946-2859. There are so many businesses that make this rally a success. Special thanks to the lodgers who donate rooms to put up the pilots. Sponsoring a balloon also helps your business as the pilots get informational packets about Pagosa and places to go and places to eat. So give Liz a call to be a sponsor.

Continuing on Saturday will be the snow sculpting contest. Last week I said it might be at Town Park. I was wrong! We will need water for molding the snow so we will have to move the event. I believe that we will have enough room to have it here at The Chamber. We have had it here before, and it just looks great and we have water. There will be cash prizes for the "Best Individual" and "Best Group" entries. The entry fee is $20 in advance and $25 the day of the sculpting. Sculpting will begin at 10 a.m. and judging will be at 3 p.m.

Examples of past sculptures are: a man in a hot spring bath, a butterfly, an igloo and a dragon. So gather your church group, civic club, a bunch of friends, or just yourself and come on out and show your talent.

Then, Saturday evening, right about dusk 5:30-6 p.m. weather permitting, there will be the annual Winterfest Balloon Glow. Sponsored so far by Taco Bell/KFC and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad this event is one of the most beautiful scenes in Pagosa next to our natural beauty.

Tethered balloons are lighted by the propane heat blasts that of course raise the balloons. Their shapes and designs are all lit up. What a sight! "The glow" will also take place behind The Pagosa Lodge. As I mentioned before, make a night of it and enjoy one of our fine restaurants. Besides, Winterfest is right before Valentine's Day, so treat your sweetheart to a special evening.

After mass ascension Sunday morning and a little brunch, travel on out to the High Country Lodge for the "Almost Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race." Racing starts at noon. Your sled must be homemade and it must have brakes. There will be $50 cash prizes for the fastest sled and most creative sled. The entry fee is $15 in advance and $25 the day of the race.

For those of us who are not brave of heart and just want to watch the zany sleds, High Country Lodge will be providing free hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages. They have sponsored this event for years, and I just kiss Dick and Kathy Fitz's feet for hosting this event. And we even have good snow this year! So come out sled, watch and have a good time.

Another event I would like to have is a Broom Ball Tournament. So, I am looking for referees. If you know the basic rules of hockey, then you can ref a broom ball game. You do not need to have ice skates for broom ball, only sneakers, no cleats. You also need to have a broom. If you are interested in playing in the tournament or can referee, give me a call here at the Chamber. If you cannot get a team together, give us your name and we will see if we can add you to a team. The event, should there be enough participation, will be held Sunday, Feb. 13.

So this will be a very busy weekend for everyone. We will be posting a schedule of events, so be on the lookout for the information.

Free tax preparation

The volunteer Tax Return Preparation Program will again be available to our community beginning Feb. 3 at the community center. This is a volunteer-manned tax preparation program for low to moderate income taxpayers of any age and those with disabilities who may need assistance in preparing basic tax returns. There are sign up sheets at the senior citizen's dining room at the community center. Details of the services are on posters at the community center, the library, and the post office, or call Bob Henley at 731-9411. Anyone interested in volunteering should also give Bob a call. Training is available.

Members and renewals

We have one new member to welcome aboard this week. Brian Fulbright with Fulbright Construction, Inc. joins us with his business where he works with masonry, tile, executes remodels and general contracting. He is proud to say his work is where craftsmanship and dependability come together. If you are in the market for any of these services, give him a call at 731-9289.

Are you ready now? We have 15 renewals this week. A new record for me, so here we go,

Two churches come back into the Chamber fold. One is Mountain Heights Baptist Church and the other is St. Patrick's Episcopal Church.

Whispering Pines Development Company with Pat Alley at the helm rejoins.

Airport Self Storage on Piedra Road also returns.

San Juan Saunas bring back Becky and Jim Dorian as members.

Kathryn Heilhecker, the always lovely and queen of chamber referrals rejoins this week with her Jafra cosmetics.

Jim Hallock with Earth Block, Inc. comes aboard again with his very environmentally friendly construction.

The old landmark in town, The Malt Shoppe, also returns.

Your local AAA service is located in Durango and re-ups as a members.

Pagosa Realty Rentals manages both vacation and long term rentals and is back as a member.

Also back is DVD Monster, a great service for all you movie monsters.

Alspach's Antiques join us again.

Reach for the Peaks with Liz Marchand joins the Chamber again.

Elk Meadows River Resort renews this week.

And last but certainly not least, we have Top Lab Consulting Services.

We have lots of talent here in Pagosa. Give us a call at the Chamber should you need a service and let us recommend one of our great members.

Until next week, let's hope for some snow on the ground for our upcoming Winterfest activities. I'll see you around town.


Veteran's Corner


More on VA health care eligibility

Andy Fautheree

SUN Comumnist

Nothing is more confusing in the VA health care eligibility process than the financial "Means Test" and how it affects enrollment or co-pay requirements.

All veterans enrolling in VA health care must provide their financial means information unless they are 50 percent or more VA-rated service connected disabled. Since probably less than 5 or 10 percent of Archuleta County veterans fall into this disability classification most are required to provide this information for initial enrollment or on an annual basis for continued eligibility purposes. This information is usually required on the anniversary enrollment date.

As I have often repeated in this column, prior to Jan. 17, 2003, virtually any honorably discharged veteran could enroll in VA health care. However, after that date the VA-based enrollment on VA-rated, service-connected disabilities or income limitations due to the increasing demands on the VA health care system.

A veteran with any rated service-connected disability can enroll in VA health care. If the disability is below 50 percent, they may be required to pay a co-pay fee for any services not associated with the disability. In some cases it may be for only for prescription drugs, or it also may be for doctor visits and specialist care.

Low income

If the income threshold is below a certain level, the eligible veteran may not be required to pay any co-pays and receive the services at no charge. The financial means test is normally based on the previous year's income. In some cases if a veterans financial situation has dramatically changed because of severe loss of income a special hardship of normal requirements can be applied for.

Geographic Means Test

The VA uses HUD's "low-income" geographic-based income limits as the thresholds for VA's Geographic-based Means Test (GMT). In other words the GMT may not be the same for Las Vegas, Nev. and Pagosa Springs, as an example.

Income limits

For Archuleta County the GMT income limitations for enrollment in VA health care is the following:

- veteran alone - $28,950;

- veteran with spouse - $33,100;

- veteran with spouse and one additional dependent - $37,200;

- veteran with spouse and two additional dependents - $41,350.

And so on, with additional dependents.

Also a factor in the GMT is "out-of-pocket medical expenses" for the veteran, spouse and dependents. An applicant would list a total for all out-of-pocket medical expenses that can include medical, dental, drugs, co-pays and supplemental insurance (including Part B Medicare costs).

Medical expenses

From the total medical expense there is a deduction similar to declaring medical expense to the IRS. Of the total declared expenses the following deduction (subtract from total medical figure) is made:

- veteran alone - $495;

- veteran with spouse - $648;

- veteran with spouse and one additional dependent - $732;

- veteran with spouse and two additional dependents - $817.

And so on, with additional dependents.

The balance would be deducted from income for net income considerations.

Assets considered

There are a number of other enrollment criteria that include assets of real estate other than primary residence, net worth, and cash or investment (IRA) assets.

VA health care eligibility and priority level (1-8) is determined when benefit and eligibility specialists enter the enrollment (1010EZ) or Means Test form (1010EZR) information in the computer.

This information should only be considered a general guideline. I encourage all veterans to come and see me for a complete explanation of this information and assistance with enrollment and/or annual Means Test. I can save you a lot of time and trouble since I have computerized most of your veteran's information.


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 that may be going in the same direction to the same VA facility. Give me a call if you can provide transportation or need transportation. I will keep a calendar of who is going where to coordinate this important program.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 400 South Camino Del Rio, Suite G, Durango, Colorado 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 Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-8375, the fax number is 264-8376, and e-mail is afautheree@ archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, 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

Celebration for Lenore Feb. 27 in high school Commons

By Barb Draper

PREVIEW Columnist

We invite all of you to attend the community retirement celebration planned for Lenore Bright, 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27.

It will be held in the Commons Area of the high school. In the event of a storm (of course we always try to plan around Mother Nature) there will be plenty of parking spaces and easy access to the building.

The party plans include fun, music, good friends, good conversation, remembrance of good times and a chance for you to personally show your appreciation to Lenore for all that she has done for us during her years at the library.

A fine idea

Remember, you can take care of your library fines this week while helping others at the same time.

Our library, along with many others throughout Colorado, in conjunction with the Red Cross, is donating all money collected from overdue fines through Jan. 30 to the Tsunami Relief Fund. A big thank you goes out for your participation in this project.

Next week we'll let you know how generous you have been in supporting those people who so need our help. In addition to this financial benefit for others, we appreciate the return of some overdue and "lost" books being put back into circulation this week.

Writing contests

We have just received information about the 11th annual Young Writers & Illustrators Contest sponsored by Reading Rainbow.

There are separate divisions for children in kindergarten, grades one, two and three. This sounds like a lot of fun for kids with imaginations who like to write and illustrate their own stories.

Deadline for this contest is March 18. Come by and ask any of us for the entry form and all the details.

And - for adults 18 years of age and older - have you been thinking about the contest Lenore wrote about a few weeks ago, the one offered by BBC America and inspired by portions of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales"?

The entertaining Tales have been presented Saturdays in January. For this particular contest, the writer of the best short story inspired by a theme or character(s) from Chaucer, will win an Apple iBook. The deadline for these entries is Feb. 21. We still have flyers with all the details available at the circulation desk.

Gray Wolf Cookbook

Last week Kate Terry mentioned in her column that the Gray Wolf Cookbook will be available for sale to the public and for prepaid pick-up by Gray Wolf Club members.

However, we must tell you that due to the popularity and demand by the membership there are no remaining copies to be sold to the public.

But, we do have one copy that Carole Howard, club president for 2005, brought in for us to put into our collection. The recipes in this book help confirm the rumor that one of the outstanding attributes of a Gray Wolf member is the ability to cook. Many of the recipes printed here are for items presented at the club's potlucks.

When someone puts his/her name on a recipe to be widely used locally, you can be sure it is one of the best. The first recipe I tried from the book was for one of the soups, and it was wonderful for a snowy day. Fortunately, there was enough left to bring to the library in my brown-bag lunch.

This cookbook will be shelved in our "new books" section for 90 days, after which you can find it with all our other cookbooks.


In addition to the Gray Wolf donation we received materials this past week from the Baumgardners, Peggy Case, Jean Crutchley, Gerlinda Ehni, Judy Horky, Lauren Huddleston, Crista Munro, Beverly Warburton and Landry Ward.


Arts Line

Slade's workshops help artist provide poetry for the eye

By Kayla Douglass

PREVIEW Columnist

Seasons in Poetry: They say poetry is to be finished by the hearer.

The artist should give freedom to the viewer to complete the subject in thought and emotion. Come join the class and be surprised how colors or a simple line will define the subject. In order to paint loosely and control the paints and water on paper, an artist must know the rules, then he or she is free to break them. Students will complete two paintings a day. First day - winter landscape and winter still life; second day - fall landscape and harvest still life; third day - spring/summer flowers and summer still life.

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

Betty 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. In 40 years in the art arena, Betty has attained success in many areas of the arts. She has written and published several books, note cards and prints. She has 10 years experience in owning and managing art galleries. Currently she manages her own publishing company, 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, and 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.

Attention watercolorists

The PSAC Watercolor Club was formed in the winter of 2003.

Pagosa watercolorists meet at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month in the arts and craft space at the community center. The rooms are available to us for the day and we each contribute $5 for the use of the space. The venue for the day varies with watercolorists getting together to draw and paint. We sometimes have a demonstration of technique from a professional watercolorist or framer. Sometimes a few people bring still life's or photos or just projects they want to complete.

Come join us, bring your lunch and your watercolor supplies for a fun day. The next meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 16.

Photo contest

With a submission deadline of 5 p.m. Feb. 2, it's not too early to begin preparing your prints for the annual PSAC photo contest. A generous list of categories ensures that you, too, have a photo to submit to this annual contest. Categories are: domestic animals, architecture, autumn scenic, general landscape, patterns/textures, sports, flora, people, up close, winter scenic, black and white, wild animals, sunrise/sunset, special techniques (any type of manipulation), open (any picture that doesn't fit other categories).

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

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

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

Contemporary artist

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

If so, contact Jules Masterjohn at 382-0756 and join DECAF (Durango Exhibitions and Contemporary Arts Forum).

Seeking artists

The Pine River Library in Bayfield 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 wish to display your artwork, call Chrissy Moiseve at 884-2222. She will be happy to fax you an art display request form, will discuss their requirements and answer questions you may have.

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 library staff is 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 a bevy of classes this winter. Contact the Extended Studies office for more information at 247-7385 or e-mail extstudy@fortlewis.edu. Below is a short list of cultural offerings:

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

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

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

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


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

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

- Feb. 16 - Watercolor club, community center, 10 a.m.

- Feb. 19 - Drawing with Randall Davis, community center, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; $35 per student.

- March 9-11 - 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, community center, 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 - 2005 PSAC annual meeting.

- July 24 - PSAC Home & 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

Baptisms galore, in the service of science

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

There is a very old tradition, now nearly forgotten, that I indulged for a few days last week.

In the interest of science, I tested a theory: The baptism of wine.

I was reminded of the theory when I bought and read a delightful little book by Ben Schott: "Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany."

Schott notes this archaic French tradition and illustrates it with a quote from Hillaire Belloc. I suppose, as with many such traditions, one could trace the roots of the practice back to some odd Roman rite. Oh, those wacky Romans.

Here's the theory: You've got red wine. Want to make it better? Baptize it.

Sprinkle a drop or two of water into the first glass poured out of a bottle of red. Only that first glass. The wine in the glass, and in the glasses thereafter, until the bottle is empty, is all the better for it.

In theory, a fine wine will be rendered supernacular by the event, i.e. a wine so incredibly good that every last drop is drained from the glass. In theory, an average wine will be transformed by its baptism into something noticeably above average - terroir and skill undone by a blessing.

I'm just the guy to test the theory. I was trained early in the ways of the skeptical investigator. My predecessors - much more competent than I - were hardheaded pragmatists. They believed you define a problem, you establish a goal and devise a method of moving toward that goal that is, at all times, subject to change as it is shaped by the emerging realities of the situation.

Perfect plan for a scientist like me.

So, I decide to approach the baptismal theory via classic scientific method. I create my hypothesis, then devise my test.

My hypothesis: Despite the lovely allusion and its deep roots in Western civilization, the baptism does not improve the wine. I figure this is a pretty safe bet. I like science, I dislike failure.

My method: Baptize bottles of red wine on five consecutive nights - each bottle in the $12-$20 price range - and determine through the application of my superb tasting skills if the quality is amped up to the $30-$40 range.

First on the docket, a Penfold's medium-grade Australian shiraz.

I pop the cork, pour a measure, hit it with two drops of water, let it oxygenate a bit, then sip.

Alas, no transformation. Nothing supernacular. It's still a medium-grade Australian shiraz.

Not to say I don't drink every last drop. You can't let the stuff sit around, after all.

Next night, I baptize a medium-grade Napa blend - a Coppola claret. I sprinkle, I drink. Nice stuff, at the price.



Kathy drinks a bit of the Coppola, but I finish the rest. I drink three glasses with dinner, in the company of a mess of powerful chile verde enchiladas, topped with a fried egg. The yolk runs into the chile and the resulting combination is spectacular. The wine: still average.

The third night I decide to conduct a more formal baptism. I'm not all that well acquainted with the actual ceremony, but I've seen photographs. Kathy is off doing something theatrical so I lower the lights, pop the iPod earphones in and dial to a bunch of monks singing Josquin's "O virgo virginu." The haunting music sets the mood. Nobody's going to convince me the grand tradition of the castrati died out three centuries ago. They may not snip orphans like they did in the old days, but they're finding these semi-guys somewhere. Perhaps in West Hollywood.

I do a few elegant and esoteric hand movements above the cup as I sprinkle the droplets into a glass of Maleson bordeaux. Make no mistake, this is end of the trail as far as palatable bordeaux is concerned, but it is a 2001. If anything can show the effect of a sturdy baptism, this is the stuff.

The first glass is mighty good, all things considered. But improved significantly over what I've experienced of the Malesan in the past?


The other five glasses are about the same. I wake the next morning with a tongue that feels and tastes like an unlaundered wool sock.

The next night, it's a bottle of pinot noir, from the Russian River Valley. I drink it with a thyme-stung chicken dish in which thighs are browned then braised in a mix that starts with pancetta and a mirepoix and is bulked up with a smidge of tomato paste, stock and vegetables - carrots, pearl onions, garlic, bits of potato, peas, olives.

The wine is OK. And it stays OK despite the addition of the droplets. I drink it all. Waste not, want not.

One last try on night five: A Qupé syrah - a very nice California take on one of my fave varietals. I fetch two bottles, same year. I expand my method, responding to the shifting character of the examination.

I will open both bottles, baptize one, not the other. This will provide me a solid base for comparison. Kathy is gone again, so I am left alone with science, in pursuit of truth.

Again, I try music: Mozart's "Agnus Dei." I'd light incense but Kathy has allergy problems.

The last thing I remember, after three glasses of the baptized Qupé, and three glasses of the unbaptized Qupé is that I could discern no difference. I also remember telling the dog how much I love him, again and again. I cried as I watched a cellular telephone ad on TV. I know for a fact I lost one of my shoes because my left foot nearly froze when I locked myself out on the deck.

But, one suffers for science. I had proven, to my satisfaction, that the French are halfwits, prone to all sorts of nonsense, ready to believe just about anything as long as it satisfies their ego needs. Just like the rest of us.

And there is a bonus: Science is full of surprises - offshoots of the primary investigation that bear unexpected fruit. A delightful aspect of my research is the verification of a venerable standard, also repeated in Schott's book.

I prove conclusively that Thomas Nash's types of wine drunk, created back in the 16th century, are right on the money.

The source of Nash's list is a Talmudic parable in which Satan offers to help Noah plant his vines. Satan slaughters a lamb, a lion, a monkey and a pig, then pours their blood on the vines. The message: with one glass of wine, you are mild, like a lamb. With two glasses, you are like a lion, prideful. After a third glass you are chattering like a caged, neurotic monkey. After a fourth glass, you are wallowing in your own wastes, like a pig.

According to Nash, imbibe enough and you ensure entry into eight stages.

There is Ape drunk, where you get loud, wahoo without reason and sing off key.

You are likely after that to be Lion drunk - bold, argumentative, aggressive, king of all you survey.

How about Fox drunk, where you become crafty as all get-out?

Or Sheep drunk? Plenty smart, cocksure actually, but mysteriously unable to express your superiority outside of a plaintive bleat or two?

Then there is Maudlin drunk, where you radiate love of your fellow man, full of magnificent, expansive feeling.

Slug down some more and you are Goat drunk, up on the hooves in pursuit of amour (but unable to do anything about it in the unlikely event your search succeeds).

Feel a bit tired, somewhat sluggish, more than a bit queasy? You are Swine drunk, and ready to drive the porcelain Cadillac.

And, finally, overdo it big time and you are Martin drunk - where you drink yourself sober again.

I've reviewed my notes; I guarantee the accuracy of Nash's types.

And I can verify the wisdom in an admonition to seek the mean - to eat and drink moderately. Baptize the wine if you must, knowing now it is a bogus idea. But don't drink the whole darned bottle of wine after the ceremony. And eat something when you drink.

Cook with wine too, the baptized and the heathen alike.

I have another bottle of the Malesan and I intend to use a third of it to produce a sauce to go with some tournedos. I can use filet mignon if I want, halving the steaks.

I propose to do something unspeakable to the meat, in a sacrifice to the sauce. I'll take the tournedos or the halved filets and pound them out between sheets of waxed paper until they are about a quarter-inch thick. Then (purists, cover your eyes) I am going to season them with a bit of salt and fresh-ground black pepper and dust them lightly with seasoned flour. I'll brown them off in a mix of oil and butter over medium-high heat, about a minute on each side, then remove them to a heated plate.

Into the pan go a bit more olive oil and butter and some minced shallot. A minute or so later I'll deglaze with a hefty measure of the wine, scraping the pan, allowing the alcohol to evaporate. I'll toss in some finely minced garlic and some thyme. In too will go sauteed, sliced mushrooms - a mix of crimini and a couple types of rehydrated dried wild mushroom. The water from the rehydrated mushrooms goes in, absent sediment. I'll hit it with some beef stock and a wad of demi-glace.

As the sauce reduces, I'll check the seasoning and adjust if necessary, taking care to go easy on the salt - as a reduction nears completion, any salt in the mix is concentrated. At the very last moment, I'll plop in a knob of butter and swirl it as the pan is removed from the heat. I'll also amalgamate a teaspoon or so of coarse mustard into the sauce at the last moment (perhaps homemade, as I am working to develop my own blend). Will I add a splash of heavy cream at the last moment? I don't know.

The meat rests and is ready for its warm and tasty blanket.

The remaining wine should be as ready as a $15 wine can be.

No need for baptism.

But, you know, I bet a baptism would work on a Mouton Rothschild.

Anyone out there want to subsidize a bit of science?

I'll hire castrati to sing at dinner.


Extension Viewpoints


Take precautions when purchasing firewood

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Jan. 31 - Deadline to declare livestock project, 5 p.m.

Feb. 2 - Fair Royalty meeting, 6 p.m.

Feb. 3 - Shady Pines Club meeting, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4 - Food Preservation project at Jean Brooks' residence, 3:30 p.m.

February 4 - Entomology project, 2-3:30 p.m.; Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting, 2:15; Goat project, 3 p.m.

Feb. 7 - Cultural Foods project at Methodist church, 3 p.m.; Food Units 1 & 2 at Methodist church, 4 p.m.; Livestock meeting, 7 p.m.

Feb. 8 - Outdoor Cooking & Living at Methodist church, 3 p.m.; Rocky Mountain Riders Club meeting, 6 p.m.; Jr. Stockman Club meeting in Chromo, 6:30 p.m.

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

Colder weather means more firewood sales as consumers try to reduce their heating costs. "The best advice is to buy wood from a reputable dealer," said Kristin Young, chief of the Measurement Standards Section at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "Before buying in bulk, it's important to be familiar with the amount of wood in a cord."

When purchasing wood in bulk, consumers should obtain the seller's name and business address. Bulk firewood sellers in Colorado must provide a receipt with this information as well as the price, amount and type of wood.

For bulk sales, firewood is sold by the cord or fractional cord. Wood that is sold in bundles is measured in cubic foot or fractions of a cubic foot. A cord is a neatly stacked volume of wood that equals 128 cubic feet. For example, one cord equals a stack of wood that is 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long. Firewood cannot be sold using terms such as truckload, face cord, rick, fireplace cord or pile. Prepackaged firewood bundles are inspected for net contents and labeling compliance.

Bundles must be properly labeled with quantity, wood type and contact information of the responsible party. The actual amount of wood must be at least the volume declared. Department inspectors verify compliance at retail locations throughout Colorado.

"Each year, we investigate numerous complaints involving misrepresentation or mislabeling of firewood," said Young. "We don't want consumers to be cheated, so it's important for them to be knowledgeable about the product as well as the business they are buying from."

Contact the Measurement Standards Section at (303) 477-4220 with questions or for help in disputes regarding the sale of firewood.

Reducing BSE risk

Additional random testing of feed manufacturers will begin this year to reduce the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly referred to as "mad cow disease," in Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture will take random samples, using feed microscopy to specifically screen them for ruminant materials. Feeding cattle products that have such prohibited materials is attributed to the spread of BSE in countries such as Europe.

"We have been very diligent with our BSE Rule inspections, but this is just one more way to ensure we are being very thorough in our efforts," said Chandra Hardwick, feed program coordinator at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "Although feed microscopy is an extremely time consuming process, it is still the gold standard that agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration use to test for prohibited materials."

If a feed sample is found with any prohibited ingredients, an investigation will be immediately conducted on the manufacturer's ingredients, processes and records.

In Colorado, the Feed Program ensures quality, safety and efficacy of commercial feed, as well as integrity in the marketplace, through the enforcement of the Colorado Commercial Feed law. State inspectors conduct random and directed feed sampling as well as product label reviews at all stages of feed manufacturing and sales in Colorado.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a chronic degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of cattle. First diagnosed in 1986 in Great Britain, symptoms include changes in temperament, abnormal posture, lack of coordination and difficulty rising, decreased milk production or loss of body weight. The incubation period, when an animal becomes infected until it begins showing signs of the disease, is from two to eight years. At this time, there is no treatment or vaccine to prevent the disease.

Contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture at (303) 477-0081 for more information on the Colorado Commercial Feed Law or visit www.ag.state.co.us/ics/Techserve/Feed/BSEInfo.html.

Pagosa Lakes News

Time to start getting in shape for the Aug. 6 Pagosa Lakes Triathlon

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

Triathlons aren't nearly as hard as most people envision them, but having a training plan and starting early on the plan will get you on the right track to success.

With the Pagosa Lakes Triathlon scheduled Saturday, Aug. 6, you'll have six months to get ready for this annual event.

Setting a realistic goal is step one. There's no sense striving for something and finding down the road that you don't have the time, energy or motivation to follow through to completion.

Everyone has a different level of "realistic." Most people can train for and successfully complete a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon. An ironman triathlon or even a half-ironman triathlon is a whole different matter. The Pagosa Lakes Triathlon is made up of a 7.2 mile run, a 14 1/2 mile mountain bike ride and finishes with a half mile swim in the recreation center pool.

Now, let's put things in perspective. You've never done a triathlon but would like to start. Use a local event; avoid air travel and the hassles of taking apart your bike to fit into a bicycle case. Although the multi-sport air travel vacation is a great getaway ideal for the veteran, it's not the best choice for a beginner. It's best to keep things as simple as possible if you are a beginner.

Start small. Events that attract competitors in the thousands are too overwhelming for a first-timer. The Pagosa Lakes Triathlon registers an average of 80 participants and that puts us very close to our limit as the four-lane pool will accommodate not many more.

There's a lot to be said for an indoor pool swim for your first triathlon. Swimming in a lake or open water with lots of other people is difficult for first-timers. Chances are you'll be crowded, bumped or kicked. Some of that happens even in a pool but at least water clarity is good and you can stand aside and collect your senses or catch your breath if needed.

While swimming can be one of the most intimidating parts of a triathlon, it can actually become one of the easier legs with some practice. But unlike running and bicycling, learning to swim well requires a much greater emphasis on technique than endurance. I wasn't a good swimmer and I got some help in learning how to swim correctly by joining the masters swim program. Or you can take a lesson. Once you get some guidance, spend a significant amount of your swim time practicing drills, rather than swimming endless laps. Your endurance will come with time, and the drills will do wonders to make you a better swimmer.

The tendency is to stick to the sport you are good at, and just get by in the others. You can finish a race this way, but you'll have more fun and do better if you try to improve your techniques in your weaker sports.

While running may sound like the easiest sport, at least when it comes to technique, if you don't come from a running background, it can be tough to train for the 7.2 miles in our local triathlon. My best advice is to take things slow. Don't worry about distance when you're starting. Shoot for running by time - say 20 or 30 minutes. If you can't run that far, just keep moving, even if it means walking. You'll eventually be able to run the entire distance.

To avoid injuries, don't increase your mileage too drastically. The general rule of thumb is to avoid increasing your mileage more than 10 percent a week. Once you're comfortable running 45 minutes to an hour, you can start running tempo runs - shorter runs at your projected race pace.

The key to a good bike leg is to spend lots of time on your bike. The days have been balmy enough to allow a midday ride. Otherwise, a stationary bike or a trainer on which you can mount your bike works just as well. Try to mix in a long easy ride with a shorter ride followed by a short run each week. You'll need to refuel on the longer rides. An energy bar with a drink is perfect.

Veteran triathlete Scott Anderson is willing to meet with first-time triathletes to answer questions and discuss training schedules. If you are interested in competing Aug. 6 and would like to tap into Anderson's knowledge, please call the recreation center at 731-2051 to get your name on a list.

Date and time of the first meeting will be announced at a late date.


Danny Drummond

Danny Dale Drummond of Pagosa Springs passed away Sunday, Jan. 22, 2005, at age 60.

The son of Judge Dee Drummond and Cleo Fae Underwood Drummond, he was born Dec. 28, 1944, in Seattle, Wash.

He was a graduate of Kansas State University, Salina campus, and was a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.

He married Susan Bigler on June 20, 1965 in Gypsum, Kans.

Mr. Drummond was retired from Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M. He and his wife had moved from Albuquerque to Pagosa Springs in 2002. He enjoyed woodworking, softball, fishing and assisting underprivileged children.

Preceded in death by his parents, he is survived by his wife, Susan Lu Bigler of Pagosa Springs; a son, Daniel Scott Drummond of San Diego, Calif.; and two sisters, Judy Fae Erickson of Grand Junction, Colo., and Donna Elaine Wilson of Lenoir, N.C.

A memorial will be held 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, at French's Mortuary, Wyoming Chapel. Interment will take place at a later date in Gypsum, Kans. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to All Faiths Receiving Home, 1709 Moon N.E., Albuquerque, NM, 87112.

 Joel D. Givens

Joel (Jody) Dennis Givens, 62, of Horseshoe Bay, Texas, went to meet his Lord on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2004, at Llano Memorial Hospital in Llano, Texas.

Jody was born Nov. 6, 1942, to Clarence Givens Jr. and Martha Layne Givens in San Angelo, Texas. Jody graduated from Midland High School in 1961. He attended the University of Colorado.

Jody joined the Navy in October 6, 1964, as a mustang and advanced to commander when he retired. He graduated from Nuclear Power School in Bainbridge, Md. in 1966. He received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle. He graduated from Nuclear power submarine training in 1973. He received a master of Science degree in systems technology from Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., in 1983. He was promoted to commander in 1988.

He served aboard several ships during his career including Captain of the USS High Point, PCH-1, a research vessel in Bremerton, Wash. He served as chief of operations under the admiral aboard the USS Carl Vinson, CVN 70. His last tour was as executive officer of the USS Ouellet, FF-1077, Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group five, San Diego from 1983-1985. He retired while serving at Coronado, Calif., in December of 1991 to Horseshoe Bay, Texas, where he played golf and made many friends who will miss him.

Jody is survived by his parents Clarence, Jr. and Martha Layne Givens of Pagosa Springs, Colo.; three sons, Kery Givens and wife Shannon, grandson Tristan, granddaughter Robyne of Idaho Falls, Ida.; Kris Givens and wife Holly, grandsons Jackson and Nathan of Stafford, Texas; Jaime Givens of Billings, Mont.; and brother C. Layne and Linda Givens of Sugar Land, Texas.

The United States Navy conducted a ceremony of burial at sea as he had requested. The family held a memorial service at Christ United Methodist Church on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005, in Sugar Land, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Disabled American Veterans, Attn.: Larry Geddie, 6900 Almeda Rd., 1033, Houston, Texas 77030 To the Memorial of Joel D. Givens.

You are invited to share words of comfort sent to lgivens@hal-pc.org.

 David Gundling

David A. Gundling left us on Jan. 22, 2005. He passed away at the Veteran's Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M.

David is joining loved ones who preceded him in death: his son, David Raymond; his mother, Dorothy Gundling Bischof; father Phillip Gundling and stepfather George "Mike" Bischof.

He leaves behind his loving wife and friend Carol; daughter Christina (David) DiPierro of Hoffman Estates, Ill., and her three children, Joey, Jessica and Samantha; daughter-in-law Lynda Gundling and her children, William Ray and Danielle of Schaumburg, Ill.; a sister, Audrey (James) Cook of Montrose, Colo., and her son Jesse; a brother, Dennis (Kathy) Gundling of Coto de Caya, Calif.; and a brother, Greg Gundling, of Denver.

David and Carol moved to Pagosa Springs from Des Plaines, Ill., in 1981. They made many friends throughout their lives in Pagosa. David wanted to be remembered as the "caring, hard-working man in the cowboy hat."

He loved our mountains and the beauty of the area. After his long battle with cancer, he is now at peace.

For the benefit of David's family, a memorial service will be held at a location in the Chicago area to be determined at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the local Veteran's Service Office where they will be utilized for local veterans in need. Send to Archuleta County Veteran Service Office, PO Box 1507, Pagosa Springs CO, 81147 and earmark for Gundling account.

 David B. Hahn

David Beecher Hahn, 80, of Harvard Avenue, Pagosa Springs, formerly of Kittredge, Colo., died Jan. 22, 2005, at Pine Ridge Extended Care Facility in Pagosa Springs.

He was born Oct. 17, 1924, in Willimantic, Conn., son of the late Ray L. and Elizabeth S. Hahn, formerly of Niantic, Conn., and Cortez, Fla.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II in Germany and remained with the occupation forces as part of the Army Corps of Engineers during the reconstruction, earning the rank of first lieutenant.

Upon returning stateside, he completed work on his bachelor of science degree in engineering from the University of Connecticut, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. Having remained in the Army Reserve, he was recalled for active duty to serve overseas in Germany during the Korean Conflict.

Mr. Hahn's career as a civil engineer specializing in the design of public water systems was spent primarily in the Dallas, Texas, and Denver, Colo., areas. He was instrumental in design of the water and sewer district in Kittredge and also served as president of the Kittredge Sanitation and Water Association 1975-2000. He was active in the Kittredge Civic Association and was a member of the Fraternal Order of Masons.

A brother, Roy L. Hahn Jr., preceded him in death. Surviving are two sisters, Elizabeth H. Banker of Greenville, S.C., and Jane H. Franklin and her husband Robert of Manchester, Conn. Mr. Hahn had no children but will be remembered and missed by his many nieces and nephews.

Pagosa Springs Funeral Options has charge of arrangements and there will be no calling hours. Contributions in his name may be made to Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, 269 Pagosa St., Pagosa Springs 81147.

 John Earl Rieck

John Earl Rieck, 62, died Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2005, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango.

Mr. Rieck was born March 12, 1942, in Plainfield, N.J., the son of Arnette and Jean Rieck.

He was a professional firefighter and chief of the Plainfield Fire Department. When he retired to Chimney Rock, he continued his career by serving in the Pagosa Springs Fire Protection District.

He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Diane of Chimney Rock; his mother, Jean Clark Dow of Venice, Fla.; a stepmother, Marie Rieck, Bridgewater, N.J.; a brother, Tom Rieck of Boulder; two daughters, Judi Ann Cooke of Bloomsbury, N.J., and Debi Ader of Summerville, N.J.; a son, John Earl Rieck II of Bedminster, N.J.; two stepdaughters, Stacie O'Brien of Bridgewater, N.J., and Jennifer Fitzgerald of Brick, N.J.; a stepson, Jeff Blazier of Fords, N.J.; and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Saturday, Jan. 22, 2005, at Hood Mortuary Chapel, Durango. Mr. Rieck's brother, Thomas A. Rieck, officiated; along with services by the V.F.W. Post No. 4031 of Durango. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Pagosa Fire Protection District, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd., Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


Business News

Biz Briefs

Rotary tsunami fund

The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club continues to do its part to help in the relief efforts for the Tsunami Victims.

An account has been set up at Citizens Bank in Pagosa Springs to accept donations.

Jann Pitcher, president of Pagosa Springs Rotary Club said, "When you think of how fortunate we are to live here in this beautiful area and how devastated that beautiful region of the world is today, it makes my heart ache. Rotary International is all over the world helping those in need. Won't you donate to the relief fund today?"


Lukasik certification

Walter A. Lukasik, general manager of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, has been named a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) by the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM).

He joins more than 4,600 CMCA certificants nationwide who have demonstrated the professional knowledge that is so important for managing condominium and homeowner associations and cooperatives.

He has been general manager of the PLPOA for five years. His past experience involved the management of various owners associations and numerous aspects of the real estate industry. He had been a Colorado Licensed Real Estate Broker for 30 years as well as a Colorado Certified Residential Appraiser for over 25 years.

To obtain and maintain the CMCA credential, a manager must complete comprehensive course work, pass a National Certification Examination, adhere to the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct and take continuing education courses to recertify.

Professional managers provide administrative, operational and managerial counsel to community association boards. They typically are responsible for managing budgets and contractors, directing association personnel and overseeing compliance with association covenants and restrictions.


Biz Beat

Dr. Glenn Rutherford

Dr. Glenn Rutherford and his wife, Cathy, own and operate Pagosa Smiles, located in a new facility at 51 David Drive, just north of the intersection of U.S. 160 and Piedra Road, between Rio Grande Savings and Peppers Restaurant.

Dr. Rutherford has practiced dentistry for 25 years and has been in Pagosa Country for 10 years. Pagosa Smiles offers sedation (for the fearful patient), cosmetic dentistry, implant restoration, crowns, dentures and invisalign braces.

Stop in and visit the new facility and make an appointment while you are there. The office is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and one Friday each month. Phone 731-3627 and visit the Web site at www.pagosasmiles.com.



Cards of Thanks


Fix-It-Free Day

The second annual Computer Fix-It-Free Day was a great success: 12 technicians helped to repair over 25 computers for individuals who braved the snowstorm, and might otherwise be unable to afford to get their computers up and running.

Thanks to Lois and Mellane Lee for scheduling and coordinating the event.

Thanks also to the Humane Society for donating computer parts, hot coffee and soft drinks, and Robbie Schwartz in particular, who volunteered her time.

Linda at Daylight Donuts donated delectable donuts for dunking delight.

Shamoon Mohtheshum with KFC donated a huge chicken meal with all the fixin's.

The Pagosa Springs Community Center donated the conference room in which the event was held - thanks to Mercy Korsgren and her team for their help.

The Pagosa Springs SUN publicized the event, which otherwise no one would have known about.

A special thank you to the technicians who selflessly gave their time and talents to those in need: Alan Bunch, Natalie Carpenter, Brad Carey, Larry Dick, Sam Matthews, John Middendorf, Mark McGowan, Ken Sarnowski, Gabe Cersonky, Kristi George, Frank Simbeck and Peter Welch.

We'll be back next year, tentatively scheduled Jan. 7, 2006.

Kurt Raymond


Tsunami donors

The Pagosa Hot Strings would like to thank our area banks for their generous donations to aid UNICEF tsunami relief. The Following area branches each donated $200; Bank of Colorado, Bank of the San Juans, Citizens Bank, Wells Fargo Bank. Fort Lewis student organization SPOT raised $760. The Hot Strings played to a capacity crowd at the Fort Lewis College concert hall on Friday, Jan. 21. Following the tsunami tragedy the Hot Strings decided to send all of their proceeds from this previously arranged concert to UNICEF tsunami relief. The Grand total to be presented by the Hot Strings and these other sponsoring agencies will be $3,200. Once again thank you all very much!



I would like to thank my family, relatives and friends for the prayers, calls and visits during and after my surgeries. Special thanks to Archuleta County Road and Bridge crew and everybody at Jackisch Drug.

Thank you and God bless you.

Gary L. Baldwin


Villalobos family

I would like to send a special thank you to all the wonderful people of this community who helped my family and me during my husband's recent illness.

Thank you to all the students of Pagosa Springs High School, intermediate school and junior high school who participated in "hat day" to collect donations for us.

The money collected helped offset our monthly bills during a time when neither of us was able to work.

The outpouring of concern and love and prayers was overwhelming and will never be forgotten. We are so blessed to be a part of this community. Thank you so much.

Jesus and Matilda Villalobos

and family




Melanie D. Cowan of Pagosa Springs received her master's degree in educational media at the University of Northern Colorado's fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 10-11, 2004.


Michael S. Arries, son of Don and Terry Arries, graduated magna cum laude from Fort Lewis College with a major in accounting and a minor in computer science. He is listed in the 2005 edition of Who's Who Among College and University Students. He is currently on staff at the college in the budget office but plans to go into full-time ministry later this year with Campus Crusade for Christ.


Navy Seaman Recruit Matt E. Mesker, son of Michelle D. and Mark L. Mesker of Pagosa Springs, Colo., recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Mesker completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

Mesker is a 2003 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School.


Kyle Kamolz is the latest Pagosa Country Boy Scout to receive his Eagle award. Kamolz is a member of Troop 807.



Pagosa Springs High School junior Chris Baum is a member of the Colorado High School All State String Orchestra. Selected as part of a statewide audition process, the junior will participate in rehearsals in Boulder beginning Feb. 10 and in a concert Feb.12.


Sports Page

Buikema's defense walls off Centauri; Pirates win 45-42

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Emily Buikema will shyly tell you she missed two free throws and missed her only two field goal attempts.

That's true.

But her defensive play forced Centauri out of "her zone" and into firing away from three-point range Saturday and paved the way for a 45-42 Intermountain League opening season win for the Pagosa Springs Pirates over the highly-touted Centauri Falcons.

Buikema was totally dominating inside, finishing the night with nine rebounds, six at the defensive end, and five blocked shots, the factor which kept the Falcons firing from long range.

That 20-shot fusillade from a team that lives and dies on the trey, was successful only six times, producing 18 points.

It was somewhat reminiscent of the Great Eight state playoff game last year when Pagosa, a three-time loser to Centauri earlier, knocked the Falcons out of championship contention with a 52-46 upset win that sent the Pirates into the Final Four.

Saturday's matchup of the perennial IML contenders started as if both intended to break scoring records.

Pirate senior forward Lori Walkup drove the lane for a pair. Junior point guard Liza Kelley drilled a trey to hike the margin to 5-0, but Centauri would come right back.

Afton Witten scored on a short jumper and Amanda Gylling hit a charity toss and a reverse layup to knot the count.

Caitlyn Jewell scored with a turnaround jumper from the right side of the lane to put Pagosa on top again but Lacey Cooley, fouled shooting a missed trey, hit three at the stripe to give Centauri the lead at 8-7.

Junior forward Caitlin Forrest answered inside for Pagosa on a drop pass from Kari Beth Faber and Pagosa led 9-8. Gylling was fouled on a rare drive into the lane for Centauri and sent the lead back to the Valley visitors 10-9.

Walkup, on a pull-up jumper made it 11-10. Then Faber converted both ends of a one-and-one from the stripe to give Pagosa a three-point margin.

Just before the buzzer, Walkup dialed a charity toss and the Pirates led 14-12 after one.

Kelley and Buikema keyed a 14-9 second period for Pagosa but it was senior guard Bri Scott who got them started, stretching the lead to 16-14 (after Gylling converted a short jumper) with a baseline drive and turnaround jumper.

Buikema began her one-woman fly swatting performance early in the period, stuffing Witten cleanly and taking the ball out of the hands of Janette McCarroll as she rose for a jumper.

But the Falcons fought back with a trey by McCarroll cutting the lead to 18-16 after Kelley had converted a layup and foul shot for Pagosa.

Witten got a pair from the line and Resa Espinosa added one to whittle away at the lead.

Jessica Lynch converted a pair at the stripe for Pagosa and Buikema drilled four in a row from the line. Gylling answered with a single free throw but Pagosa wasn't done.

Kelley drove the lane for a lay-up, was fouled scoring, and hit the charity toss to give the Pirates a 28-19 lead at the half.

Centauri launched a barrage of treys in the third, hitting three, but still trailed by seven heading to the fourth.

To get there, Espinosa, Cooley and McCarroll each hit a three, McCarroll and Sheena Sutherland each added a field goal and Lucia Muniz a charity toss.

Pagosa in the period got four more from Scott with two from the line and a 12-foot jumper. Walkup hit two at the line, Kelley drilled an 8-foot jumper and Jewell twice reverted to the spin move out the lane for baskets.

The stage was set for a classic IML in-your-face finish and the fans were not disappointed.

The Pirates had only one field goal attempt in the period, a trey falling short by Lynch just before Jewell scored from the line and then committed her fifth foul on the ensuing play.

Two more times, however, Buikema turned away Falcon shots and dominated the defensive boards so the visitors got no second chances.

McCarroll and Wynona Miller each converted a field goal and two free throws for Centauri in the period, but Pagosa went to a ball control offense, forcing Centauri to chase and foul.

Scott made them pay, hitting four from the stripe to make the margin 45-41 with just 46.9 seconds on the clock.

The Falcons threw caution to the wind, launching four more unsuccessful treys from way behind the arc.

And as the buzzer sounded, Pagosa up 45-41, Buikema was two feet off the floor to block a final effort.

As pandemonium broke loose in the Pirate crowd, the Centauri coach was on the floor imploring officials to award foul shots.

And, in fact, a foul had been called on Buikema. A two-shot foul.

Centauri coach Dave Forster, looking forward to the possibility of the two teams tying for a league title, a situation in which point difference in head-to-head matchups is one of the tie breakers, won the argument.

His shooter missed the first and converted the second and Pagosa had knocked off the sixth-ranked Falcons 45-42.

The two teams will meet again Feb. 11 with a 5:30 tipoff in the revenge-hungry Falcon aerie in La Jara. For the time-being, however, the Pirates are at atop of the IML with games this week at home against Monte Vista 5:30 p.m. Friday and Bayfield 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The latter is a change from the original schedule having the Pirates in Bayfield Friday for a 4:30 p.m. contest. The game in Bayfield has been rescheduled for Feb. 18.


Scoring: P-Lynch, 0-1,0-2, 2-2, 2; Scott, 0-2, 2-6, 6-10, 11; Walkup, 0-0, 2-2, 3-8, 7; Kelley, 1-3, 3-4,1-1, 10; Faber, 0-0, 0-0, 2-2, 2; Buikema, 0-0, 0-2, 4-6, 4; Jewell, -0-0, 3-6 1-3, 7; Forrest, 0-0, 1-2, 0-2, 2. C-McCarroll, 2-7, 2-6, 2-4, 12; Witten, 0-1, 1-3, 2-2, 4; Espinosa, 1-4, 0-1, 1-4, 4; Muniz, 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, 1; Miller, 0-1, 1-2, 2-5, 4; Gylling, 0-0, 3-6, 4-6, 10; Sutherland, 0-0, 0-1, 0; Cooley, 1-6, 0-1, 3-3, 6. Total fouls: P-23, C-24; Turnovers, P-14, C-13; Rebounds, P-31, C-15.


 Ladies stung 44-38 by Scorpions as spirited comeback falls short

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

There were hints Thursday that the team might be ready for a big turnaround.

But Pagosa's Lady Pirates had dug themselves one field goal too deep to make the complete comeback and dropped a hard-fought 44-38 decision to the Farmington Scorpions on the latter's home court.

Even in absorbing their fifth loss in 11 games, there were new signs of fight in the squad, some serious evidence of serious intent to challenge opponent defenses.

In fact, after being behind 10-12 points most of the night, they battled back to within two twice in the fourth period, had a chance to tie or take the lead, but lost two key starters on fouls down the stretch.

Senior forward Bri Scott gave Pagosa an early 2-0 lead driving the right lane for the lay-up.

The Scorps Leane Irvin matched that and Toni Platero gave the home team a 4-2 lead. Pirate senior center Caitlyn Jewell came back with a drive to the rim for a 4-4 tie but the rest of the first period was Farmington's as Pagosa went on a seven turnover spree.

Platero got her second basket on a Scorp drive off a Pirate handover, junior guard Sara Elledge matched that drive moments later, then Briana Talavera also fired in a Farmington deuce.

The 12-4 first period Scorp lead quickly became 15-4 in the second when Dominique Bitsilly hammered home a trey and it climbed to a 13-point margin when point guard Kaley Welsh dropped in a pair of charity tosses.

From that point on, however, it became a give-and-take contest, the Pirates cutting every so gradually into the lead but never quite getting over the hump.

Scott answered the Bitsilly trey with one of her own and twice Jewell, working on drop passes from Emily Buikema on the high post, went to the rim for scores.

Bitsilly answered with a pair of pull-up jumpers but Buikema forced in an offensive rebound putback with two defenders hanging on for the free ride -- and no call.

On the ensuing play Bitsilly scored again on a defensive mistake leaving the lane open for her.

Scott and Lori Walkup each added a charity toss and Sable Sloman answered with a putback for Farmington to put the halftime score at 25-15, seven points gone off the Scorp lead.

That margin would hold through the third period, each team scoring only eight in the frame.

Elledge struck first, with a trey from the left wing.

Scott and Walkup in succession converted fast break efforts for Pagosa but Bitsilly scored inside and was fouled by Jewell. She converted the free throw for a three-point play.

Coach Bob Lynch drew a bench technical for Pagosa when he went on the floor to protest what he felt were unjust calls against his team. Bitsilly missed the first of two but made the second.

Jewell got two back on a strong move to her left hand but Talavera matched it. The frame's final marker and the first score of the game for Pirate point guard Liza Kelley cut the Scorp lead back to 10 at 33-23 as the buzzer sounded.

A trio of free throws by Grimes and Patero (2) hiked the lead to 36-23 before the Pirates began a spirited surge.

First, Jewell knocked down a fast spin shot out of the lane to her left and Buikema drilled a pair from the stripe.

Then Walkup cut the margin by three, fouled while driving and scoring a lay-up from the right baseline and converting the free throw too, cutting the lead to 36-31 with 3:15 to go.

Moments later she hit two more from the stripe after a single free throw by Talavera and Farmington still lead 37-33.

A free throw by Grimes made it 38-33 but Pagosa's Kelley made a big dent in that with a trey from the right wing that cut the Scorp lead to a single basket at 38-36.

And then she almost brought Pagosa all the way back. Stealing the ball at midcourt she drove uncontested for what could have been the tying score - and blew the lay-up.

After a basket by Grimes. Farmington led 40-36 with 1:19 left. Again Pagosa cut the margin to two, this time off a pair from the stripe by Scott. The Pirates, however, would get no more.

And Farmington converted four late free throws as Pagosa had to foul to get the ball back.

The key to the loss, and the one constant element the team had been working hard to correct, was the turnover rate.

Pagosa had 26 for the game compared to 12 for their hosts. Pagosa shot 13 of 41 from the floor for 31.7 percent. Farmington was only slightly better hitting 16 of 49 for 32.6 percent. Pagosa was 10 of 13 from the line, Farmington 10 of 19.

The win moved Farmington's record to 10-5 for the season and left Pagosa at 6-5 and looking for the start of its conference season against Centauri hoping to build on the big comeback.


Scoring: P-Lynch, 0-1, 0-1, 0-0, 0; Scott, 1-23, 2-6, 3-6. 10; Walkup, 0-0, 2-5, 5-6, 9; Jewell, 5-11, 0-1, 10; Buikema, 1-2, 2-2, 4; Forrest, 0-2. 0 Kelley, 1-2, 1-7, 5. F-Welsh, 0-1, 0-2, 2-3, 2; Platero, 0-0, 2-3, 2-2, 6; Elledge, 1-3, 2-4, 0-2, 5; Bitsilly, 1-2, 4-8, 1-2, 12; Slowman, 1-3, 2; Irvin, 0-1, 1-5, 0-0, 2; Talavera, 0-1, 3-8, 1-2, 7; Grimes, 0-0, 2-5, 4-8, 8. Total fouls: P-18, F-20; Rebounds, P-26, F-24.


Pirate wrestlers beat Durango, drop dual to Bayfield

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Pirate wrestlers were 1-1 in dual meet action during the past week and, with a dual at home tonight and a tourney Saturday at Ignacio, they enter the last phase of the regular season prior to the regional tournament.

Pagosa was victorious in its dual meet at Durango Jan 20, beating the Demons 48-30.

The meet began with a match at 140 pounds and Pagosa's Ky Smith pinned Joe Esquibel in the first period to give the Pirates a 6-0 lead.

Dale August got the start at 145, against Calvin Brevik of the Demons. August had been out of action for several weeks with a back injury and was able to eke out a 10-8 decision in a well-balanced match.

At 152, Paul Armijo continued to impress, pinning Kyle Steed in the first period of the match.

Durango forfeited matches at 160 and 171.

Marcus Rivas, still hampered by a shoulder injury, overcame the problem, and Alan Rea, nailing the fall in the second period at 189.

The Demons forfeited at 215 and 275, then made up ground at the lower weights getting victories at 103, 112, 119, 125 and 130.

The meet ended with a Pirate victory as Raul Palmer continued his winning ways at 135, beating Daniel Orris 5-2.

"It went just about as I expected," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "We had injuries (most notably to seniors Daren Hockett and Manuel Madrid) and I had to adjust our lineup. As a result, the meet didn't really give us an indication of how well we are doing."

Noting the way in which each team's strengths clustered at opposite ends of the weight classes, Janowsky said "Durango's lower weights are coming on pretty good and they had an edge on us there in terms of experience. They're weaker in the upper weights where we have the advantage. In a way, it was like two separate meets."

Not so Jan. 25 when the Pirates returned home for an Intermountain League dual against Bayfield. This one featured two evenly matched squads and the match was either team's to win.

When the dust settled, Bayfield captured an entertaining meet, 33-32.

The evening featured a sizable and vocal crowd and some close matches.

Janowsky again faced the prospect of making lineup adjustments, with Hockett back but Madrid still missing from the roster.

The meet began at 140, with Palmer moving up from his customary 135 to face Joseph Vajin. The Pirate nailed two takedowns in the first period and gave up a single escape to go ahead 4-1. Starting down in the second, Palmer put the pedal to the metal, escaping then taking control with three takedowns and a three-point near fall. He led 14-3 going into the final period. At that point, it was the game of take the man down, let the man up, trading two points for one in each exchange. It worked three times before Palmer scored a final three-point near fall to end the match with a 23-6 technical fall.

Smith moved up to 145 and battled Jake Zink. But not for long. Smith took Zink down and got three back points. He let Zink up, took him down again and pinned the Wolverine one minute, 43 seconds into the match.

Armijo continued to roll at 152. The senior shot a single to score the first takedown of the fight then let Eric Yarina up to set up another takedown. Yarina's shoulders went down at 1:55.

The Pirates lost matches at 160, 171 and 189, but saw team points go on the board following a rugged match at 215.

Bayfield's Brandon Luter doesn't show much on offense at 215, but he is mighty hard to score on. Pagosa's Bubba Martinez battled throughout the match where the wrestlers stayed on their feet most of the time, working for an advantage. Martinez got the best of Luter in the first period, leading 2-1. Luter's escape in the second tied the score 2-2. In the third, Martinez started down and escaped to score a point, then was awarded a point when Luter was called for stalling. Martinez returned the favor with a stall and time expired with the Pirate ahead 4-3. Pagosa led in the team score 20-12.

Bayfield got wins at 275, 103 and 112 and went ahead 27-20.

Orion Sandoval put three points on the Pirate side of the scoreboard with a dramatic 10-5 decision, fighting off a pin in the last few seconds of the match after forging a 10-0 second-period lead against Roy Westbrook .

Hockett returned to action at 125 and did what has become custom for him: scoring a takedown, letting Dylan Simons up, scoring another takedwon and pinning Simons at 1:10. Pagosa trailed 33-29.

The final match was a fitting end to an action-packed night.

Paul Hostetter moved up to 135 to fight Jordan Larson and the Pirate produced one of his best performances yet as a varsity wrestler.

The junior trailed Larson 5-4 after the first period. The wrestlers started in the neutral position in the second period and Hostetter nailed the takedown. He let Luter up and took the Wolverine down again, then repeated the sequence. With another takedown, the Pirate went in front at the end of two periods, 10-7.

Luter escaped to start the third period. Hostetter took a shot a Luter's ankle, missed and was taken down. The Pirate was awarded a penalty point, then escaped to lead 12-10. If Luter got the takedown, the match would go to overtime. If Luter got the takedown and back points, the win would go to the Wolverine.

It didn't happen.

It was Hostetter who scored with the last takedown of the match to secure the 14-10 decision.

"For the most part," said Janowsky, " I thought we did what we could do. We split matches with Bayfield 7-7. With one thing or another a bit different, the result might have changed."

The intensity displayed by his athletes pleased the coach. "The guys wrestled hard," he said, "and they wrestled well. We're working hard to pick up the tempo and I thought our guys carried the fight Tuesday night."

That acceleration in tempo will have to be evident tonight as the Pirates fight their final IML dual of the year in the PSHS gym against the Centauri Falcons.

"The meet tonight will be much the same story as Bayfield," said Janowsky. "They'll forfeit to some of our better guys and it wouldn't surprise me to split with Centauri, with the result coming down to bonus points." Action against the Falcons begins with junior varsity matches at 6 p.m.

Saturday, the Pirates travel to the Ignacio Invitational and the last regular-season competition of the year.

"I expect the IML teams at the tournament - us, Bayfield and Ignacio - will be the contenders, along with Piedra Vista," said the coach.

Tourney matches start at 10 a.m.

Following the competition at Ignacio, the Pirates have nearly a week to prepare for the regional tournament Feb. 4 and 5 at Monte Vista.


'Ringers' affirm roster for Ambassadors tilt

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The SUN

Co-captains Troy and Cody Ross have submitted the team rooster that will meet the Harlem Ambassadors in the much anticipated game Sunday, Feb. 13.

Having survived a strenuous elimination process the following players - the Pagosa Ringers - will represent Pagosa in the high school gym at 5 p.m.: Yul Wilson, Rok Wilson, David Snarr, Jon Forrest, Les Lister, Wes Lewis and Charles Rand.

This is an event for the whole family. The show features high-flying slam dunks and dazzling ball-handling, with comedy routines uniquely led by the woman star of the show, K.B. Buckner, the "Show Basketball Princess." She competes against opposing men players on a nightly basis and represents a great positive role model for young girls. The Pagosa Ringers will have their hands full with this one.

The stop in Pagosa to benefit the Pagosa Springs Community Center is part of the Ambassadors' tour of Europe, Asia and North America. But Pagosa is not the only extreme in playing locations for their show basketball games. They have set a number of records. Among these historical extremes are:

- highest elevation show basketball game: Leadville, Colorado 10,152 feet, Feb. 2, 2003;

- southernmost show basketball game in Continental United States: Key West, Fla., multiple games, most recent Jan. 13, 2004.

- westernmost show basketball game in United States: Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kekaha, Island of Kauai, Hawaii, multiple games, most recent, June 16, 2002;

- Northernmost show basketball game in United States: 33 miles north of Arctic Circle, Kotzebue, Alaska, Dec. 11, 2004; and

- nearest show basketball game to the Equator, 5 degrees north, Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia, May 26, 2001.

Dale Moss, president and general manager of the Harlem Ambassadors, had the following answers to this question about the team's travel:

What part of the Harlem Ambassadors do you take the most pride in?

Moss: "I am extremely proud of our relationship with the United States military. It's a program that I have personally had a hand in building up. I think at last count, we had performed at more than 80 different American bases all over the world. That kind of makes us the 'Bob Hope of the 21st Century.'

"That includes the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines; we've even performed for the Coast Guard in really isolated places like Kodiak, Alaska. The team has been through the Balkans entertaining our troops in front-line locations in Bosnia and Kosovo.

"They love us at Pearl Harbor where we have played in this incredible old arena that hosted Elvis way back in the day. Our people have toured Korea and Japan each of the last two Decembers. During that holiday time it means so much for the troops in those deployed areas to get a taste of home with our truly American basketball show. During this past season we made our first trip to the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where we entertained the military guarding the captured Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces being held there. I think it's safe to say that we do more entertainment programs for United States military worldwide than any other entertainment organization.

"The player truly does become an "Ambassador" in the communities we visit."

Businesses and individuals have the opportunity to help sponsor this event.

For more information call the community center at 264-4152.

Watch for more details about the game in the following weeks.


Scant competition brings some fast fun race runs


With only nine competing on the female ledger and 21 on the male side, competition was somewhat lacking in Wolf Creek Ski Area Fun Races Jan. 22.

Lucy Redd of Pagosa Springs ran the girls' 9-11 race in 31.30 seconds; Jennifer Miller of Pagosa posted 37.45 in women's 31-35; Pat Morgan sped down the slope in 33.89 in women's 60 and over.

In only two age brackets was there female competition. In girls' 12-14, Stephanie Atkins of Monte Vista was first in 30.80; Kala Matzdorf of Pagosa second in 36.59; and Alison Hart (no address) third in 40.48.

In girl's 15-17, Natalie Atkins of Monte Vista was first in 31.20 and Chantalle Rizzo of Pagosa Springs second in 39.40.

In each the three young boys' brackets there was a single entry. Derek Wolffe of Los Alamosa, N. M., in the 3-5 bracket was timed in 32.91; Roger Wolffe of Los Alamos was at 31.67 in 6-8; and Deed Scott of Pagosa ran 39:70 in 9-11.

In boys' 12-14 Seth Rizzo of Pagosa was first in 30.8, Kyle Monks of Pagosa second in 33.77; and D.J. Snider of Pagosa third in 41 flat.

Kale Seis of Albuquerque, in boys' 15-17 was clocked in 39.65. Men's 21-25 was an all-Albuquerque affair with Justin Montgomery winning in 31.07, Sam Wood second in 36.95 and Dustin Montgomery third in 39.18.

Similarly, men's 31-35 was a Tulsa, Okla., showdown with Allen Wright first in 27.53 and David Statler second in 30.23.

Men's 41-50 went to Chris Philips of Pagosa in 25.5 with John Redd of Pagosa second in 26.5 and Paul Orr of South Park third in 28.16.

Men's top time went to Mike Evans of South Fork in 25.42 in the 51-60 bracket. Gary York of Albuquerque was second in 26.70 and Bill Morgan of South fork third in 27.27.

Men's 60 and over was an all Pagosa race with Dave Bryan winning in 27.29, Dick Bond second in 28.9 and Bryant Lemon third in 30.42.


Pee Wee wrestling data session slated Feb. 2

If you have a child between 5 and 14 who is interested in learning the fundamentals of wrestling, you are invited to attend an informational meeting 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2 in the junior high cafeteria.

Pagosa Pee Wee Wrestling Club will conduct the session to cover general information regarding the program and give interested parents the opportunity to register their children early.

For more information call Lanette at 731-3121 or Shonna at 264-6968.


Reporter's error misidentifies mom

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Let me set the record straight right away. Lynda Johnson is one heck of a cheerleader. But she is not the daughter of her coach.

In last week's article about Johnson's experience at the All-American Cheerleader Camp, I misidentified her mother.

She is the daughter of Renee Johnson, not of cheerleader coach Renee Davis. The latter was formerly also known as Renee Johnson.

When preparing the article, I forgot to ask the spirit team member who her parents were. I called the school and got the name. My steel (perhaps rusty) trap mind linked it the coach.

I apologize to all involved.


New girls' softball association seeks support personnel

Organizers are looking for motivated individuals who would like to be a part of the new Southwest Colorado ASA Girls Softball Association.

The association is in need of board directors, coaches, sponsors and people interested in becoming ASA Certified umpires (income producing positions).

Call Maddie at 264-6835 for information, or attend the next organizational meeting scheduled 6 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Lone Pine Custom Millwork office, 81 Greenbrier Drive, Unit A. The office phone is 731-4912.


Pirates flog Falcons for 61-35 IML win

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Sometimes a basketball game can be a lot like poker - begin with a full house and a flush, and odds are you'll walk away a winner at the end of the night.

That notion held true Saturday for Head Coach Jim Shaffer and the Pirates during a 61-35 win over visiting Centauri in Pagosa's Intermountain League opener.

The rivalry drew the largest crowd of the season, thus far, to the PSHS gymnasium - and the Pirates got the home fans involved early.

After Pagosa took the tip, junior Paul Przybylski dialed senior Caleb Forrest's number for an alley-oop jam along the right baseline to give the Pirates a permanent lead at 2-0.

Pagosa then used a menacing man-to-man defense to further the lead, getting a deuce from Craig Schutz and four from Forrest via a slam and two in the lane that put the Pirates up 8-0 with just over three minutes to play in the first period.

Centauri's Estevan Armenta eventually put the Falcons on the board with a deuce at 2:35, but Forrest and Casey Schutz combined to outpace the visitors 6-1 in the final two minutes and the Pirates led 14-3 with one quarter gone.

Casey Schutz hit both ends of a one-and-one to open the second frame, then Przybylski stole for two to counter a deuce from Centauri's Rope Vernon to make it 18-5 Pirates with six minutes left in the half.

The Falcons cut the lead to single digits in the following minutes before Casey Schutz converted an assist from Forrest, then buried a trey to put Pagosa in front 23-12 at 3:45.

Sophomore Jordan Shaffer got the next Pirate points with a layin after an inbound steal, and Forrest added two at the foul line to give the home team a 27-12 edge.

Senior Otis Rand earned a trip to the line and sank one of two for Pagosa's final point of the frame, Armenta answered with a baseline jumper, neither team scored in the final 1:45 and the half ended with Pagosa up 28-14.

The Pirates held Centauri scoreless for the first three minutes of the third quarter after going to a zone defense, stretching the lead to 35-14 with four from Forrest and a trey from Craig Schutz.

Vernon struck for a deuce at 4:55, but the Falcons trailed 43-16 two minutes later due to a combined eight from Forrest, Przybylski and Craig Schutz.

Rand put home an assist from Craig Schutz to complete a 10-0 run, Armenta buried a trey for the Falcons, then Rand and Forrest each got two in the paint in the final minute to give the Pirates a 49-19 lead after three.

With Pagosa now on cruise control, Shaffer began to pull his main cast at the start of the fourth, and Armenta tallied the first five points of the quarter before Craig Schutz scored with a reverse to make it 51-24 at 6:10.

Kyle Sowards and Craig Schutz traded a pair of free throws in the following minute, Centauri's Tyler Armstrong inked a deuce, then Pirate sophomore Adam Trujillo drilled a 15-footer to put the home team up 55-28 at 4:32.

After Sowards scored with a put-back at the three-minute mark, Pirate senior Kerry Joe Hilsabeck hit sophomore Casey Hart for two on the break, then sank a pair at the line and Pagosa led 59-30 at 2:05.

Greg Shawcroft and Chris Ruybal put together a late, five-point run for the Falcons, but the books closed with Pagosa on top 61-35 after Trujillo hit freshman Cody Bahn for a final Pirate deuce with seven seconds to play.

Forrest led Pagosa with a game-high 20 points, while Craig and Casey Schutz each added 11 points to the win, which pushed Pagosa's season record to 11-1 (1-0 IML).

Przybylski led in assists with five, followed by Forrest with four and Hilsabeck with three.

Commenting on the victory, "I thought we got untracked a little in recent weeks, so it was nice to be able to play well again," said Shaffer after the game.

"We said before the game that we wanted to send a message - that we're the team to beat in the league - and I think we did that tonight by playing hard and getting after people."

Shaffer was especially pleased with the way the Pirates were able to cut down on turnovers; Pagosa committed just 11 against the Falcons after averaging over 25 per game in their prior two contests.

"You know you're going to have some turnovers because Centauri really clamps down defensively and tries to make the game as ugly as possible," said Shaffer. "But I thought we responded to pressure a heck of a lot better tonight, much better than we have been."

With respect to what the Pirates must do to maintain front-runner status in the IML, "We just have to stick with what we've been trying to do all year - getting better each week as the season moves along," concluded Shaffer.

The Pirates' IML schedule this week features back-to-back home games, with Monte Vista coming to town Friday and Bayfield visiting Saturday. Game time for both contests is 7 p.m.


Scoring: Forrest 7-15, 6-6, 20; Craig Schutz 3-7, 4-4, 11; Casey Schutz 3-6, 4-4, 11; Hilsabeck 0-0, 2-2, 2; Przybylski 2-3, 0-1, 4; Shaffer 1-4, 0-2, 2; Rand 2-6, 1-2, 5; Ormonde 0-1, 0-0 0; Hart 1-1, 0-1 2; Trujillo 1-1, 0-0 2; Martinez 0-1, 0-0, 0; Bahn 1-1, 0-0, 2. Three-point goals: Craig Schutz 1, Casey Schutz 1. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 19. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 25. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 13.


Pagosa Springs Recreation

Guidelines for parents in developing a sound coach-parent relationship

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

Research is clear that when parents and teachers work together a child tends to do better in school. There is no reason to think that it is any different in youth sports.

The following are some guidelines for how parents can contribute to a coach/parent partnership that can help the athlete have the best possible experience.

1. Recognize the commitment the coach has made: For whatever reason, you have chosen not to help coach the team. The coach has made a commitment that involves many hours of preparation beyond the hours spent at practices and games. Recognize the commitment and the fact that he/she is not doing it because of the pay! Try to remember this whenever something goes awry during the season.

2. Make early, positive contact with the coach: As soon as you know who your child's coach is going to be, contact them to introduce yourself and let them know you want to help your child have the best experience possible this season. To the extent that you can do so, ask if there is any way you can help. By getting to know the coach early and establishing a positive relationship, it will be much easier to talk with them later if a problem arises.

3. Fill the coach's emotional tank: When the coach is doing something you like, let him know about it. Coaching is a difficult job and most coaches only hear from parents when they want to complain about something.

4. Don't put the player in the middle: Imagine a situation around the dinner table, in which a child's parents complain in front of his/her about how poorly his/her math teacher is teaching fractions. How would this impact this student's motivation to work hard to learn fractions? How would it affect his/her love of mathematics? While this may seem farfetched, when we move away from school to youth sports, it is all too common for parents to share their disapproval of a coach with their children. This puts a young athlete in a bind. Divided loyalties do not make it easy for a child to do his/her best. Conversely, when parents support a coach, it is that much easier for the child to put his/her wholehearted effort into learning to play well. If you think your child's coach is not handling a situation well, do not tell that to the player. Rather, seek a meeting with the coach.

5. Don't give instructions during a game or practice: You are not one of the coaches, so do not give your child instructions about how to play. It can be very confusing for a child to hear someone other than the coach yelling out instructions during a game. As in No. 4 above, if you have an idea for a tactic, go to the coach and offer it to him. Then let him decide whether he is going to use it or not. If he decides not to use it, let it be. Getting to decide those things is one of the privileges he has earned by making the commitment to coach.

6. Fill the emotional tanks of the entire team: Cheer for all of the players on the team. Tell each of them when you see them doing something well.

7. Encourage other parents to honor the game: Don't show disrespect for the other team or the officials. But more than that encourage other parents to also honor the game. If a parent of a player on your team begins to berate the official, gently say to them, "Hey, that's not honoring the game. That's not the way we do things here."

8. Most importantly, fill your child's emotional tank: Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to be there for your child. Competitive sports are stressful to players and the last thing they need is a critic at home. Be a cheerleader for your child. Focus on the positive things they are doing and leave the correcting of mistakes to the coach. Let them know you support them without reservation regardless of how well they play.

- These guidelines are adapted from "Positive Coaching: Building Character and Self-Esteem Through Sports," by Jim Thompson, the founder and leader of the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Adult basketball

Our 2005 Adult Basketball Leagues start in February. The managers' meeting took place Jan. 24 but you may still enter teams. Get your teams together now for this exciting, adult league. Men's recreational and competitive and women's leagues are now forming; new teams are welcome. Call 264-4151, Ext. 232 to place your team on the 2005 schedule.

Open basketball

Get yourself and your team ready for the upcoming adult basketball season. Adult open basketball will be held at the Pagosa Springs Junior High School 6-8 p.m. starting Feb. 3 and continue every Thursday until our leagues begin in mid-February.

Hiring sports coordinator

A new post will give an assist to the recreation supervisor in delivery of recreation programs, services and facilities and will implement recreation programs such as youth/adult sports activities, camp and instructional programs. The person selected is responsible for being on-site during programs and making decisions as necessary; provides work direction to temporary staff and volunteers; serves as primary communicator between temporary staff in the field, program participants, referees/umpires and facility users while communicating rules of conduct and play. This is a part-time position, 20-25 hours per week, at $10-$12 per hour.

Completed cover letter, resume and town application must be submitted to Town of Pagosa Springs, PO Box 1859, 551 Hot Springs Blvd., Pagosa Springs, CO 81147-1859. Applications may be obtained by calling 264-4151, or from the Town's Web site at www.townofpagosasprings. com. Application deadline is 5 p.m. Feb. 11.

Youth basketball

Schedules are available at Town Hall, online at townofpagosasprings.com and are listed on our Sports Hotline at 264-6658. For more information concerning youth basketball, call 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Hiring officials

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department continues to seek individuals interested in officiating youth and adult basketball, youth baseball and/or adult softball. High School students may apply. Compensation is $10 -$25 per game depending on age group and experience. Call immediately if interested,

With questions and concerns, or for additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs, contact: Myles Gabel, recreation supervisor at 264-4151, Ext. 232


Pagosa Springs Parks

Fund-raising begins for cottonwood sculptures

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Council met Jan. 19 and, as part of the agenda, heard a presentation by Julie Jessen, special projects coordinator for the Town of Pagosa Springs.

Her presentation dealt with a meeting earlier in the month with woodcarver Chad Haspel and Parks Maintenance Supervisor Jim Miller.

She reported the meeting concerned old cottonwood trees in Town Park. The tree maintenance program and liability concerns related to the old cottonwoods. This brought about discussion about removing them and instead of leaving stumps, it was recommended we incorporate artwork where once a majestic tree stood.

Haspel, a sculptor, presented a portfolio of pictures from past works, including tree carvings in the area of the Missionary Ridge Fire.

The board listened, then voted that I and staff should pursue funding for the addition of this artwork to the park.

Now starts the fund raising for the carvings. We need approximately $4,000 for four carvings, two in Town Park, and two in Reservoir Hill Park, where a stoic pine tree fell to a lightning strike. A 12-foot section of that tree was preserved with this idea in mind.

If fund-raising goes well we would look at one more carving on Reservoir Hill and all carvings could be done by September.

Pictures or renderings can be seen at Town Hall in my office.

If anyone would like to donate or be on a fund-raising committee, do not hesitate to call.

Tower negotiation

The Parks and Recreation Council has approved a counter offer to Alamosa PCS, a tower company that represents Sprint. We have received an offer from the company for space on Reservoir Hill, but will counteroffer a value and a lease that would protect the town for the next 25 years.

The tower would be tall enough to handle other customers, and the ability to have more rent receipts from one pole is an additional value we are trying to protect.

Negotiations will continue with hopes of solidifying a lease before the spring thaw.


Analyze it, again

Let's take another look at TABOR. Our elected representatives will deal with the amendment now they are back in session, busy considering $342 million in cuts the next two years and a refund of more than $600 million to the taxpayers, and laboring to create legislation that can remedy the problem. Voters will analyze TABOR many times before we have a chance to decide on changes to this difficult law.

TABOR is a lazy person's law. Why? Because it is likely the majority of people who voted for it did so to duck the responsibility of personal political action. They did so because they bought a set of seductive concepts. First: the laudable idea that taxpayers should approve all tax increases. Second, that any yearly increase in government spending should have a ceiling on it. Third, that once that ceiling is met, excess revenue should be refunded. And, we believe, because of an attraction to the often-correct notion that elected officials and government administrators are out of control held in company with the incorrect idea that the answer is to handcuff legislators economically. The vote did not reckon with the effects of an economic downturn.

Now that we've experienced an upturn in our state's economy, it turns out we've hurt ourselves. Things are not getting better in terms of our ability to provide effective, basic services. Our roads are fast going to ruin; programs that serve all of us have been cut and will be cut again. Court systems suffer from budget problems while caseloads increase. State-owned buildings and holdings are fast falling into disrepair.

Our state's economy is on the upswing and problems built into the structure of TABOR are obvious. The tax and spending measure continues to push the state deeper into a bleak situation.

The primary problem is the inability of the state budget to ratchet back up to revenue and spending levels needed to meet demands that come with growth and the erosion of infrastructure. The problem is compounded by the fact the state's cash funds are growing.

The revenue in cash funds produced by special fees comprises an increasing portion of total state revenue. Revenue from cash funds is combined with general fund revenues to create the overall amount limited by TABOR. But, cash funds are dedicated funds, not available for discretionary use, The result: As the cash fund revenues increase, the amount of revenue available for general spending decreases and more revenue tabbed by TABOR to be refunded to the taxpayer spills out of the budget.

As times get better and cash funds produce more revenue, the ability of the state to provide services with the general fund continues to drop as long as yearly revenue and spending increases are strictly limited.

There are some who continue to support TABOR offering the excuse it renders government lean and more efficient. It does not. It starves government and makes its operation, for the greater good of the citizens of the state, increasingly difficult.

Those who rant about irresponsible spending on the part of our legislators, who tout TABOR as the only way to rein in this tendency are wrong, and lazy. The way to rein in bad government is to elect competent representatives.

That takes energy and sustained political action.

The only way to get rid of a constitutional mistake is to go to the polls and change it - to allow the state to keep and spend revenues, capping the level at that of a year immediately prior to the downturn (2001), enact a simultaneous income tax cut, retain the rights to approve all tax increases. And, after, to be ready and willing to vote rascals out of office when they fail to spend our money wisely.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Some believe they're immune

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

When I participated in extracurricular activities at Pagosa Springs High School, there was a written ethic which must be followed: No drinking or smoking.

Drugs were not even dreamed of at that time and so methamphetamine was no problem.

It was a simple commitment: Student to sport, or band, or glee club, or drama group.

There were no ifs, ands or buts if you got caught. The penalty was simple. You were off the team - for good for that season. No second chances, no excuses, no letter from mom or plea from dad to get you back in good grace.

If you were dismissed as an underclassman, you got one more chance. You could go out the following year (not the following sport) with a whole set of performance rules designed just for you - and your parents.

I saw it happen once. A primary player on one of our high school squads was caught. He was through then and there.

I bring this up because rumor is rampant that both athletic team participants and others from local schools have participated in recent drinking parties at homes where the parents were absent.

Rules being what they are, a student cannot be cut from a sport or disciplined for the action unless he or she confesses - or is actually caught in the act.

Parents are cautioned every year, more than once, to "be aware where your children are, who they are with, and what they are doing."

It is their responsibility to instill in their children the rights, wrongs and consequences of teen life. What they do later as adults is their own business; but it all begins and is tempered by what they do in the high school years.

Violating team rules hurts not only yourself but your team. That is the key word, team. You must work together to succeed in sport. You must work together to succeed in cheerleading. One wrong move can get you or a teammate seriously injured and, if you are under the influence as a minor, your family could be held financially responsible for any damages to property or any injuries to others.

Parents often deny their child was involved in any wrongdoing, perhaps defending a right to in-house discipline so Johnny or Jane won't have to miss the thrill of the crowd's roar when they perform well; or suffer the rule of justice for breaking the team code.

To say there is no substance abuse problem in the community is like a hen laying eggs and hiding them so no other farmyard critter knows she's capable.

Wearing inappropriate clothing is often a signal of something else going on in a teen's life. If school officials repeatedly have to call a child's home to request new wardrobe be brought to them, something is wrong - at home and in school.

No sense of priority, responsibility, dependability or success is borne in drugs or alcohol.

What they do offer is a route to growing distrust by friends, teachers, coaches, and finally the parent who becomes no longer willing -- or able to cover for their child's behavior.

It is not too late to prevent a fellow classmate from being injured or killed; it is not too late to stop drug-drinking parties. But all must care.




90 years ago

Taken from The Pagosa Springs SUN files of Jan. 29, 1915

A meeting of the citizens of Chromo was largely attended Saturday to discuss the whys and wherefores of a telephone - a good move in the right direction.

That old gallery phrase, "How grand and noble it is to work for others," in these progressive days is written different - the "for" is left out.

The new telephone cards of the local company are now out. Those having phones will please call at the central office and get their copy.

If the farmer wishes to benefit by the high prices that eggs are certain to bring next fall and winter, he should begin to get ready at once. The way to have eggs late in the year is to hatch pullets early, says the agricultural department.

 75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 31, 1930

The Hersch Merc. Co. will on Feb. 1st discontinue the entire grocery department in order to make more and ample room for the dry goods department. An inventory is now being taken and the store being rearranged in preparation of the change, which will take several days to completely effect. The company has been handicapped for some time in properly displaying its complete line of dry goods, but now hope to not only accomplish that purpose but to give better service than ever.

During his three years as sheriff of Archuleta County, Frank Matthews as made the remarkable record of obtaining a conviction in every case which he personally investigated and signed the complaint in the courts of this county.

 50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 28, 1955

The weather the past week is by far the coldest of the winter. The mercury here at the SUN office dipped to 25 below a couple of nights and the forest service had even colder readings.

The tow trucks sure do a rushing business here these cold mornings and so do the water pipe thawer outers. The lack of snow on the ground makes it pretty cold on water pipes and basements.

One of the most noticeable improvements going on this winter around town is the new building at the Spa. This building will contain four units and is another big improvement in tourist housing. The Giordano's are putting in a lot of time and effort on improving the property and it certainly shows it.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 28, 1980

Base depth at Wolf Creek Ski Area went well over 100 inches for the first time this winter early this week. Wolf Creek always leads all ski areas in snow depth and the new snow this week should make for some fantastic skiing this weekend.

The storm this week brought snowplow operators about as many problems as anyone could want. The number of vehicles left out in the street, out in the road, and on the highway was large. This very definitely worked a hardship on the snowplow operators, made for inefficient plowing, and left some roads and streets in far from desirable conditions. If motorists will move their cars when plowing is in progress, the result will be much better road conditions following the storm.



Twin Miracles

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"The best Christmas ever," for one Pagosa couple means a lot of sleepless nights in the new year. It probably means more than a few sleepless nights over the next 18 new years.

Just 12 days before Christmas, JaNae and Brent Christians received a call from an adoption consultant they hired in October.

Twin boys were waiting for them in Tulsa. Could they catch a flight out?

They could and did, returning to Pagosa Jan. 4 with one-month old identical twin boys - Kelton and Kaylor.

"The whole thing behind it was just a miracle," JaNae said.

The Christians' only daughter, Faith, born 13 weeks premature October 15, 2003, died April 20, 2004, just days after doctors told the couple their little girl was finally out of the woods.

They began considering adoption a few months later and were told the average wait was five to six years. Prepared for that, they began the process in October using a consultant from Colorado Springs to help them wade through the red tape.

They thought, of course, about a little girl, a baby under two if possible. They decided to be open to sibling groups, and to biracial children. And, although they considered foreign adoption, they were leaning toward helping out a child from the U.S. if possible. They budgeted, prepared their profile book for moms considering adoption and set in to wait.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, a 36-year-old woman agonized over the fate of the twin boys she carried. She was ill, and the father was not in the picture. It wasn't supposed to be possible anyway. She'd had her tubes tied. Her ovaries had shrunk. When she first told doctors she suspected pregnancy, they thought perhaps her breast cancer, then in remission, had returned. While she carried the babies, tests revealed congenital heart failure.

Late in pregnancy, she decided to give her babies up for adoption and began looking through different profiles. Pages and pages of families wanting babies. Letters to her. Descriptions of prospective parents. Pictures of their town, their home, their pets, families and favorite activities. Time and again, the birth mother told the Christians during a conference call, she returned to the pages on Faith. Faith who was conceived after two miscarriages. Who was the joy of her parents' lives despite "overwhelming" health problems stemming from the early delivery, including being fed through a tube.

"I believe God put me here to have twins for you guys," the twin's birth mom said.

The Christians flew to Tulsa December 15 to see the boys. They wanted to find out if they felt a connection. They wanted to know, for sure, if they were ready. They still can't bring themselves to go to Faith's gravesite. Or to put up her pictures, including one showing Brent's wedding ring on her tiny leg. JaNae was still in grief counseling. And they were told so little.

The boys were born five and a half weeks premature, not uncommon in twins. JaNae said seeing them so tiny in big blue carseats brought back sudden memories of a little girl born at just 1 pound, 15 ounces. A little girl who struggled for six months to eat and to breathe. Whose lungs weren't fully developed. Who spent three months in the hospital and three months at home. A little girl who died in the car seat next to her mom on the way to Durango.

"Just seeing them so small," JaNae said. "It just seemed too good to be true."

It was love at first sight. They were small, yes, but healthy.

"We thought it would be easy from that point," she said. Only then were they told the birth mother would have 10 days to finalize her decision. The Christians had specifically avoided adopting from states that allowed the birth mother time to change her mind. They just knew losing another baby was something they couldn't handle emotionally.

So they waited, taking the boys to a pediatrician who spent two hours making sure the boys were healthy and then charged the Christians nothing for the visit. Ten days passed, more red tape was surmounted and the Christians family - now double in size - was in Iowa with Brent's family for Christmas.

They came home to Pagosa Springs Jan. 4 where friends and family have helped the couple make the transition from two to four.

The boys, now somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 pounds each and stretching over 19 inches long, have their days and nights a bit confused. When one wakes up, so does the other. When left to sleep together, the boys will hold hands, even suck each other's thumbs.

And, Brent said, "They're eating machines. We recently switched them to soy milk and they love the taste."

"The checkbook still hasn't gotten used to it," JaNae said with a laugh.

"We're so into them," she added. "We cherish every single day." They try not to worry any more than other parents and to laugh at the little things - like mixing up their names after a bath.

"When they're together it's easier to tell them apart," Brent said. "When they're apart, it's more difficult." They've taken to using a little nail polish on a tiny toenail to help.

Of course, when both boys are crying in the middle of the night, they want to pull their hair out.

"Our idea of fun is going to bed and getting some sleep," Brent said.

"For more than two hours," JaNae added. Both have worked their schedules to be home for an extra day and grandma picks up the other three while mom and dad attend to full-time jobs in real estate.

Family and friends, both said, have been lifesavers, offering to sleep over on occasion and give the Christians a break.

Their joy is evident.

They talk to the boys about their big sister. Her struggles. The joy she brought. They also plan to tell them about their birth mom and the sacrifices she made. And the joy she brought.

"We'd love to take the boys to meet her one day," JaNae said. "She's given us the coolest gift anyone could give us."

Merry Christmas, Christians.


FCC license tests will be given in

Pagosa Springs

Exams for FCC amateur radio licenses will be given in Pagosa Springs 1 p.m. March 5.

The amateur technician license allows HAMs to operate on certain UHF and VHF voice frequencies using mobile, handheld and fixed-station equipment at far greater ranges than the popular, license free FRS and GMRS radios. The Morse code element (optional) also allows operation on certain high frequency bands.

The exams are rarely administered in Pagosa Springs. Anyone interested should contact Duncan Lawrie, 731-3565 or e-mail at Duncan@Lawrie.com before Saturday. A non-refundable $14 payment is required in advance by check or money order. Special arrangements can be made for those with disabilities upon prior notification.

The licenses allow HAMs to use local repeaters which greatly expand the range of communication; linked repeaters expanding range statewide; and Internet-radio links allowing worldwide communication.


 Girl Scouts are selling cookies

through March 20

Get that sweet tooth ready.

It's Girl Scout Cookie time. The young ladies began their annual campaign Jan. 14 and it continues through March 20.

For close to 90 years the Girl Scout Cookie Program has helped girls develop skills they'll use throughout their lives. Girls 5-17 learn how to work together as a team, set goals, and develop plans for reaching those goals. They also cultivate a sense of business ethics, public speaking and interpersonal communication skills and acquire knowledge in marketing, money management and customer service.

Pagosa area scouts are members of Chaparral Council which serves 6,800 girls and 2,500 adults in five southwestern Colorado and nine New Mexico counties.


Pagosa's Past

A name is a name, but the pass may not be the same

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

How did Wolf Creek Pass get its name?

By the time the road we know as Wolf Creek Pass was being constructed circa 1915-1916, the creek followed by the road on much of its westward descent was named Wolf Creek. It is fair to assume the pass received its name from the creek it follows.

That leaves us with the question, where did Wolf Creek get its name? I don't know the answer to that question. I am convinced, however, that one old story passed down from pioneer times and often titled "How Wolf Creek Pass Got Its Name," or "The Naming of Wolf Creek Pass," is incorrect.

I'm not going to repeat the entire story. The substance of the tale is that a pioneer wagon train was crossing the mountains at a pass. While camping atop the pass near a creek a man named Wolf was killed by another man and buried near the spot. The creek, and maybe the pass, was named for Wolf. Names included in the story are real pioneer names. Descendants of the pioneers named still live on the Pine River near Bayfield. They are reputable, estimable people. I don't know them, but I know people who know them.

Favoring the story are the reputations of the pioneer family and the timing of the event, circa 1877-78. Factors working against believing the story are the terrain over Wolf Creek Pass and the fact that the present road known as Wolf Creek Pass was not opened until 1916. I have seen no record of any other wagon train crossing Wolf Creek Pass or of the route even being used as a pass. Old-timers I have talked to, people who talked with people who entered Pagosa Country during pioneer times, that is to say the 1870s and 1880s, are unanimous in asserting that wagons could not have been brought down Wolf Creek prior to construction of the highway.

Still, the mystery of the story remains. Most old stories have at least a germ of truthfulness. A glance at a map of the Cumbres Pass area provides us with a possible answer. Right there, up on top of the Cumbres Pass area is another Wolf Creek. The timing, 1877-1878, matches the time when wagons first started crossing Cumbres Pass. Could it be that the story is true, but actually refers to a crossing of Cumbres Pass? For now, I tend to believe Cumbres Pass was the route followed by these hardy pioneers. Cumbres Pass, incidentally, was no piece of cake to cross during those years.

Old stories illustrate the resourcefulness of Army troops bringing wagons across Cumbres. These were wagons with larger wheels on the rear than on the front. The soldiers rearranged the wheels, putting the two small wheels on the uphill side of the wagon and the two large wheels on the downhill side, thereby facilitating travel.

Pioneers crossing the mountains with wagons had to be resourceful. The best of roads in those days were scarcely more than trails. Trees and rocks were moved out of the way if necessary. Little scraping or leveling was done, just enough to allow passage. Only the larger streams had bridge crossings and those bridges were constructed of materials at hand. High water often rendered even the bridges useless.

A number of tactics were employed. Sometimes cargo was removed from wagons and carried past difficult passages a piece at a time. Wagons were dissembled and moved a piece at a time, then reassembled. Various combinations of horses, cattle, and or logs were attached to the back of wagons to reduce speed during descent.

Pioneers entering Pagosa Country with wagons during those early years faced unbelievable challenges before construction of roads across Wolf Creek Pass and Cumbres Pass.

More next week on Wolf Creek Pass.



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Return to winter predicted through weekend

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Think spring? Think again.

Steady doses of sunshine and above-average temperatures have been the norm across southwest Colorado during the past week.

But according to the latest forecasts provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, Mother Nature is about to remind Pagosa Country that winter is still the season.

And the strongest reminder is expected today, as snow and rain are likely throughout the day and into tonight.

Daytime highs should reach into the low 40s, while evening lows are predicted to drop into the 20s.

Scattered rain and snow showers should continue into Friday; highs are expected in the 30s and lows should fall into the 10-20 range.

Saturday's forecast includes a 20-percent chance for isolated snow showers, with highs predicted in the 30s and lows projected in the teens.

Sunday and Monday call for a mix of clouds and sun, occasional flurries, highs in the 30s and lows around 10.

The forecasts for Tuesday and Wednesday indicate partly-cloudy skies, a return to daytime temperatures in the 40s and evening lows in the teens.

The average high temperature last week in Pagosa Springs was 51 degrees. The average low was 15. Moisture totals for the week amounted to zero.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 121 inches, a midway depth of 112 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" at and above timberline and "low" at elevations below timberline.

According to SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan Basin, as of Wednesday, was 173 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 170 cubic feet per second last week.

The river's historic median flow for the week of Jan. 27 is roughly 55 cubic feet per second.