'Triple whammy,' three county employees resign
By James Robinson
Three nearly simultaneous resignations in key county positions last week amounted to what Archuleta County Commissioner and Chair Mamie Lynch called a "triple whammy."
The resignations came from interim County Administrator Kathy Holthus, from the county's administrative assistant, Kathi Creech, and from Julie Rodriguez of the building and planning department.
"I'll be honest," Lynch said. "It's back breaking."
Creech was originally scheduled to leave her position July 1, but said she left June 24 "with Holthus' blessing."
Holthus said she will stay on full time as the interim county administrator until July 31. She said, after that, she would come in on an as-needed basis during the next four months, to help in the transition process.
Rodriguez said she will finish her tenure with the county July 8.
Lynch said, from her perspective, the three resignations had rocked the county.
"Were losing the history of Archuleta County; that's what keeps us functioning," Lynch said.
Collectively, the women had amassed 25 years of experience. Holthus has been with the county commissioners' office for nearly 10 years and Rodriguez has spent almost 11 years in the building and planning department. Creech spent two years in the county clerk's office as the county recorder and most recently in the commissioners' office as the county's administrative assistant.
Although Holthus and Rodriguez said they were not able to comment on their respective situations, Holthus did say that it wasn't her intention to leave at this time.
"It's time to move on and try something new," Holthus said.
Creech was free to speak and she said, "I loved my job, but my personal feeling is that this board is unprofessional, unethical and is rapidly becoming puppets of the special interest groups threatening recall."
She said the commissioners often blamed county staff for the commissioners' own inability to get things done.
"I would hope the board will quit blaming others and will take responsibility for their actions," Creech said.
Under this pressure, Creech said, it was hard to work, and with Holthus filing her resignation, Creech said she did not want to continue working in what she described as a difficult work environment.
She said, "It was a tough decision. I agonized over this."
Commissioner Robin Schiro said she did not know the specifics of Creech's circumstances and she did not want to comment on either Holthus' or Rodriguez's resignations.
Schiro chalked the triple resignations up as inevitable growing pains governments or corporations feel when there is a significant change in leadership.
"This is a new board with a new philosophy and some employees may not agree with the new philosophy," Schiro said.
She said the resignations will be hard on the county and she agreed the women were taking much experience and history with them.
"They are all good employees," Schiro said, "we will miss them."
Commissioner Ronnie Zaday said, "I am sorry to lose all of them. They're all valuable assets to the county with many years of experience. They're going to be missed."
Holthus said she met with the commissioners Monday morning in a work session to seek strategies for filling the multiple vacancies. Lynch and Holthus said funding the transitional period with temporary outside help would be an expensive prospect. Lynch said she feared the costs might overburden an already stretched county budget.
"We don't have the money for what we have to do," Lynch said.
Holthus said during the work session she and the commissioners discussed a number of temporary staffing possibilities.
She said one option might be to enlist the help of the Colorado Municipal League. She said this agency maintains a list of people who are available to work as a county administrator on an interim basis.
She said Colorado Technical Services Incorporated might be another possibility. She said the agency is offering a new service that can provide interim support to counties without a manager or administrator. Holthus said the cost would be $97 per hour and if that option were pursued, Dennis Hunt, a former Archuleta County manager, would hold the position.
Holthus said that hiring a "headhunter" or executive search agency to find candidates to fill two positions - county administrator and county human resources director - was also discussed as a possibility
Lynch said she believed hiring a headhunter would be a sound, although expensive course of action.
"A headhunter can really sort through applicants, someone who specializes in finding those with the right qualifications," she said.
Schiro said agencies that go beyond just collecting resumes, who exhaustively check references, resumes and applicants can be expensive. She said some require one third of the advertised position's first year salary as a fee. She said that using such an agency to fill the administrator and human resources position would put a financial strain on the county.
Zaday said hiring a headhunter or executive search agency would be an expensive but necessary step. "The money's not there, but the money's not there for a lot of things, and we need to get good qualified people in there to fill these positions," Zaday said.
Schiro said advertising for the positions on the Web might be the most cost-effective way to begin the search process.
Zaday said that, although the resignations might make for a tough transition at the county, they would persevere and do what was necessary to get the work done.
Robbery, assault suspects nabbed in Phoenix
By Sarah Smith
After a week of investigation, the Pagosa Springs Police Department located three suspects reportedly responsible for robbery at the First Inn and the assault of the hotel's night clerk last Monday night.
The police department obtained information Wednesday morning concerning a possible location where the suspects were staying in Phoenix, Ariz. Department officials then contacted the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, which was able to locate the suspects based upon information provided to them by Pagosa Detective Scott Maxwell.
April Baker, 24, Victor Archuleta, 20, and Donovan Silva, 24, were arrested shortly before noon Wednesday on charges of robbery and second-degree assault and are now being held in custody in Phoenix.
Two of the suspects had other outstanding warrants - Archuleta for an unrelated assault, from the Southern Ute Police Department; Silva for a parole violation, from the state Department of Corrections.
Police still believe a fourth suspect was involved in the robbery and assault. They have received information about that fourth suspect from an anonymous source, and Maxwell said they are very close to a positive identification.
The fourth unidentified suspect allegedly accompanied Archuleta into the hotel and, with Archuleta, asked the night clerk to enter the room where Baker and Silva were staying, after which the night clerk was reportedly badly beaten.
Although the suspects have been arrested, police are continuing the investigation. They plan to conduct interviews with the three suspects in custody, in hopes of obtaining information that will lead to a positive I.D. of the fourth suspect and tie up all loose ends in the case.
"We're continuing this investigation until we're satisfied that we have all the information possible," said Maxwell.
If you have any information about the fourth suspect, or the case in general, authorities urge you to contact them immediately at 264-4151.
Suit filed against USFS over Village at Wolf Creek
By James Robinson
Colorado Wild, a Durango-based environmental group opposed to the Village at Wolf Creek, filed two lawsuits last Friday against the U.S. Forest Service over their handling of issues surrounding the proposed village.
Travis Stills, an attorney for the group, said the lawsuits, filed in federal district court in Denver, are meant to push the U.S. Forest Service to act in the public interest.
He said the first lawsuit is a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed to combat the Forest Service's alleged "long standing practice of stonewalling Colorado Wild's access to records," related to the village project.
Stills said the second lawsuit, if successful, would block the Forest Service from granting further temporary access permits to the developers without full public input.
The Forest Service granted the developer, Billy Joe "Red" McCombs, and his partner, Bob Honts, temporary access in April.
Honts said the temporary access permit expires at the end of June.
Honts said Colorado Wild has an unsuccessful track record in litigation and doesn't perceive the group's current actions against the Forest Service as seriously threatening the project's completion.
"These guys appear to challenge everything, but they don't win," Honts said.
He said that after studying the legal history of the group, it appeared they excelled in harassment tactics but not in winning court cases.
Although Honts and McCombs have avoided coming under direct fire in the litigation between the Forest Service and Colorado Wild, they have a battle of their own, with Pagosa Springs' Davey Pitcher and the owners of the Wolf Creek Ski Area.
In a lawsuit filed by Pitcher and Wolf Creek Ski Area in Spring of 2004, Pitcher seeks federal action in a contractual dispute between the Village of Wolf Creek and the Wolf Creek Ski Area.
Pitcher said he hopes either via a lawsuit or negotiation the two parties can agree on a development scenario that is acceptable to the ski area and the general public.
He said he was concerned the Forest Service wasn't taking the time to fully analyze the proposed project. He said the original land trade documents state 210 units and 61 out of 300 acres were the parameters for development at the site. He said the basis of those initial plans was to develop an area that was "complementary and compatible with Wolf Creek Ski Area."
From Pitchers' and many area residents' perspectives, the current Village at Wolf Creek plan doesn't meet that criteria.
The current plan involves more than 2,000 residential units and more than 200,000 square feet of retail and commercial space all at an elevation of 10,000 feet and about 30 miles east of Pagosa Springs. Pitcher said the impacts to wildlife, water resources, local economies, highways and the land had not been thoroughly studied.
Pitcher said he has recently been in contact with McCombs and the two have discussed finding common ground and resolution without needing to go to trial.
"We're still talking, in other words," Pitcher said. "But we are prepared to go to trial."
Honts, who is McCombs' front-man for the project, said he was not able to comment or elaborate specifically on the lawsuit. But he said "We would hope that the ski corporation and the village can go forward in a positive way."
Jeff Berman, director of Colorado Wild, and Tom Malecek, district ranger for the Divide Ranger District of the Rio Grande National Forest were not available for comment by the time The SUN went to press.
Forest Service manages 130-acre Rio Blanco Fire
By Pamella Wilson
San Juan Public Lands
Special to The SUN
Fire managers on the San Juan National Forest don't often get an opportunity to manage naturally caused fires in the ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests, especially in summer, which historically, is when most fires in the West occurred.
That window of opportunity opened late last week when lightning struck and started a small fire just north of the Forest Service's Blanco River Campground, east of U.S. 84, about 10 miles southeast of Pagosa Springs.
The Rio Blanco Fire, which began June 23, is now estimated to be about 130 acres in size.
"It is really exciting to have this opportunity," said Ros Wu, fire ecologist for the San Juan Public Lands. "Fire is a process that affects both vegetation and wildlife. For centuries prior to pre-European settlement, fires occurred mostly in the summer. Therefore, understory vegetation, as well as birds and other wildlife, have adapted to frequent summer fires."
According to Wu, local and regional tree-ring studies from the southwestern United States show that low-intensity fires, like the Rio Blanco fire, occurred one or more times a decade in ponderosa pine forests; in the mixed-conifer forests they occurred every two to three decades.
Much like sweeping the floor in your house to control the dust and pet hair, these fires thinned out small trees and cleared the forest floor of pine needles, dead branches, and other flammable debris.
Managing naturally caused fires to benefit the natural resources is known as wildland fire use. With wildland use fires, fire managers have made a conscious decision not to suppress the fire.
"Deciding to manage a fire instead of suppress it is not an easy decision," said Steve Hentschel, fire management officer for the Pagosa Ranger District. When the Rio Blanco opportunity arose, Hentschel pulled together the district resource specialists who manage the range, timber, archeological, water and other resources. As a group they looked at what values might be at risk and how the resources they manage might be affected, both positively and negatively.
"Fire can benefit the forest, but it can also benefit the rangelands and wildlife," said Hentschel. "We're always looking for opportunities where we can benefit more than one resource."
The group also looked at the many social and economic issues involved with this type of decision. They considered the impacts of smoke on residents and visitors, and whether a fire might displace an outfitter or rancher who makes a living off using the forest, even if just for a small period of time.
Tree-ring records show there were certain years when fires burned all across the West, and smoke was a part of everyday life. Smoke from these large fires often impact an area more than the smoke from a local prescribed or managed fire, as we are currently seeing with the smoke from the large fires burning in Arizona.
"Considering smoke and other impacts, the interdisciplinary team felt there were not many reasons to suppress this fire," said Hentschel. "And everyone was excited about the chance to reintroduce fire in the ecosystem."
Wu pointed out that restoring fire to the landscape doesn't occur in one fell swoop. "It often takes a couple treatments to fix the stand structure, but it's always nice when nature helps us," she said. Those treatments could be accomplished by mechanical thinning, prescribed fire, wildland fire use, or a combination thereof. "With a cooler or more moderate fire, like the Rio Blanco, the fire will burn up the litter on the forest floor and maybe take out some small white fir and the lower limbs on ponderosa pine."
When the next fire comes along, the area can tolerate a hotter fire that could torch out a few clumps of trees, creating openings in the canopy. Following one or two treatments in an area, fire managers will feel more comfortable allowing a naturally caused fire to burn in the summer.
Impacts to wildlife during both wildland fire use and prescribed fires are often a concern of many people. "Flora and fauna evolved with fire," she said. "Summer fires interfere less with bird breeding seasons and elk and deer calving times than prescribed fires in the spring."
Prescribed fires, which are fires intentionally ignited by fire crews - often in the spring - may be constrained by requirements to avoid sensitive nesting or calving areas. Regardless of the time of year, Wu feels that the benefits of putting fire back into ponderosa pine ecosystems will usually outweigh the temporary impacts to wildlife and other resources.
"Cooler burns in the spring can also help make a stand more resilient to hotter fires, thereby creating more opportunity for managing lightning-caused fires in the summer," she said.
On Sunday, a team of nine highly skilled fire personnel known as a Fire Use Module arrived to help monitor the fire - both its behavior and its effects on the natural resources.
Module personnel are trained to manage and monitor natural fires, conduct risk assessments, and implement mitigation measures. As trained firefighters, they can also take suppression actions, if necessary. The module is from the Stanislaus National Forest in northern California and will be camped out near the fire.
One of the factors when considering a managed fire is when the monsoon season will arrive, which is typically during the later half of July in southwestern Colorado. "Being just two to three weeks away from the arrival of the monsoons means we won't have to impact our residents with smoke for as long a time period," said Hentschel. "An early thunderstorm could knock this fire out two days from now, or a heavy monsoon rain could stop it in a couple weeks."
Whichever scenario plays out, Hentschel and the district staff are very pleased with the Rio Blanco Fire. "After six days of burning, the flame lengths are still just one to three feet high and we haven't seen any trees torching," said Hentschel. "Mother Nature's cleaning things up in her own way.
Third county road map meeting postponed
By James Robinson
Meeting number three of the county's road map program has been postponed.
The meeting, originally scheduled for June 30, has been moved to July 25, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Extension building at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.
The first two meetings had been presented as public input sessions for creating a county road map.
The map is a required by state statute and, once completed, it would show all roads in the county system and designate them as either "primary" or "secondary." Designating a road as primary or secondary is also mandated by state statute.
Both previous meetings have been clouded and contentious when road maintenance, rather than map creation, became the focal point of discussions. The pivot point in both cases came following a presentation by Dick McKee, the county's road and bridge director.
McKee's presentation outlined one possible road maintenance plan based on a road's designation of either primary or secondary.
The plan called for continued HUTF (Highway Users Tax Funds) funding, Road Capital Improvements and routine maintenance for primary roads. Under the plan, secondary roads in the county system would "receive very little maintenance from the county including snow removal."
The thrust of the plan as presented is "to reduce county road maintenance responsibilities to match projected revenues and expenses." The plan also urged those living outside the primary road system to form metro districts or special taxation districts to meet their road maintenance needs and expectations.
County commissioner and chair Mamie Lynch acknowledged that discussing road maintenance during the previous two meetings was confusing and premature. She said although the two issues are inextricably linked, the county's primary task right now is to create an official road map. Lynch added that road maintenance should not be a topic in the third public meeting.
Commissioner Schiro also said it was difficult to separate the two issues and she said the commissioners are working on an agenda for the third road map meeting. She said they hadn't determined if road maintenance would be a topic during the event.
Following the last road map session, Lynch said she estimated it would take six months to complete the map-making process. With the third meeting pushed back nearly one month, Schiro said the project's completion date would probably get pushed back as well.
Search continues for man missing since May 22
By James Robinson
After more than a month, searchers and law enforcement personnel still have no leads on the whereabouts of 19-year-old David Kramer who disappeared Sunday, May 22, during a camping party on the lower Blanco River near the Blanco River Campground.
After investigating the scene, and interviewing those with Kramer the night of his disappearance, Greg Oertel, director of emergency operations at the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, said they believe Kramer rolled off the edge of a 30-foot embankment while sleeping and tumbled into the river where he was taken by the high water and swift current.
Oertel said an investigation by professional tracking teams from the Rocky Mountain Trackers had helped investigators reach that conclusion. He said the trackers investigated the scene twice soon after Kramer's disappearance and concluded there were no signs of foul play.
He said the area had been taped off and was secure, and believes the trackers' assessment to be accurate.
"We have no leads that suggest anything suspicious," Oertel said.
Oertel said searches have continued throughout June, and that members of the department are continuing on a weekly basis to search the river in rafts and along the banks with avalanche style probes. He said teams have been dismantling snags and piles of river debris in hopes of finding Kramer's body.
Kramer had been living in Pagosa Springs, but had recently moved to Durango.
No fire restrictions on San Juan public lands, but use caution
By Pamella Wilson
U.S. Forest Service
Special to The SUN
For the first time in many years, there will be no fire restrictions for the San Juan Public Lands, which are comprised of the San Juan National Forest and BLM-San Juan Field Office, for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.
According to Fire Management Officer Mark Lauer, "There is a wide array of conditions out there right now. In the lower elevations, especially in the pinon-juniper forests, the grasses are tall and they are drying out, but above 11,000 feet recreationists will still find patchy snow and water running down trails."
The significant rain and snowfall that southwest Colorado received this winter was a real blessing to the drought-parched forests; it refilled reservoirs and ponds and put a lot of moisture back into the trees and shrubs; however, it also brought on strong grass growth this spring.
"Those grasses are what we're really keeping an eye on right now," said Lauer. "These smaller fine fuels can ignite quickly as they dry out, especially the cheatgrass, which turns purple, and then brown, as it dries out."
Thunderstorms during the past week have brought plenty of lightning but only a small amount of moisture to the area, so fire officials urge visitors to the backcountry to be cognizant of their surroundings and use fire with caution, especially in areas with dry grass and dead pine trees. The following safety tips are encouraged:
- Place your campfire away from flammable materials like dry grass and dead trees, preferably in an established fire ring.
- Always put campfires completely out every time you leave camp. Pour water on the ashes and stir until there is no smoke and ashes are cool to the touch.
- Keep fire control tools handy. Make sure that you have a bucket of water and a shovel nearby in case your campfire starts to get out of control.
- Dispose of cigarette butts in an ashtray or other appropriate container.
- Make sure chainsaws have working spark arresters, and carry water, a shovel, and fire extinguisher when cutting firewood.
- Park your vehicle in areas cleared of vegetation, not over dry grasses.
Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday, but leave your fireworks at home if you're headed to the forest. Fireworks are not allowed on public lands.
Sex offenders identified on Archuleta website
By Undersheriff Bob Grandchamp
Special to The SUN
Sex offender information is now available on the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department's Web site. In light of the recent change in legislation, law enforcement agencies can now provide, on their Web sites, information about sex offenders that has previously been available only by personally visiting your local law enforcement agency.
House bill 05-1035, among other changes, now authorizes local law enforcement agencies to post certain sex offender information on the agencies' Web sites.
The Archuleta Sheriff's Department's Web site provides information on sex offenders who live in the county serviced by the sheriff's department and the town police.
The sex offender information will also stay within the guidelines of the legislation, which includes information on adults who have been convicted of a felony crime or two or more misdemeanors requiring registration. The Web site will provide the offender's name, address, photographs and crimes convicted of.
The sex offender information is not meant to be used to harass registered sex offenders. The intent of the legislation is to provide the public with enough information to adequately protect themselves and their children from those persons convicted of certain sex related crimes.
It is not intended to provide information to the public which could then be used to inflict retribution or additional punishment on any person convicted of an unlawful sexual behavior or another offense. The sheriff's department will aggressively investigate and prosecute those individuals found using the information inappropriately.
Not all registered sex offenders are posted on the sheriff's department Web site. Only those offenders described in the legislation will be posted. The sheriff's department, however, still maintains the complete sex offender registry for the county as well as the town of Pagosa Springs. The list contains all those individuals required by law to register as sex offenders. Anyone interested in viewing the current list may do so by making a request at the sheriff's department and showing proper identification.
Event coordination and sales tax key issues in CRP report
By Leanne Goebel
Special to The SUN
Venues need updating.
Venues are scattered.
Event volunteers and organizers are experiencing burnout.
Events are organized around holidays when lodging is already filled and businesses are busy.
The town needs better gateway markers and signs to identify the historic downtown and develop transportation links between event venues and downtown. There is a lack of communication among event planners. The town has insufficient structure in place for event approval, facilitation, involvement and permitting.
These were the challenges identified by the Community Revitalization Partnership (CRP) Team in a presentation June 9 to a small group of town staff, citizens, the Chamber of Commerce and local event planners.
CRP is a partnership involving the Colorado Community Revitalization Association (CCRA) and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). The town and Chamber of Commerce applied for a DOLA grant to help the community develop a strategic work plan for improving the economic viability of existing special events in Pagosa Springs, as well as a strategy for developing a support network for new events. The Pagosa team included Barbara Silverman from CCRA, Sophie Faust from the Office of Smart Growth, Amanda Miller and Peggy Lyle, both from the Fort Collins Downtown Business Association.
CRP findings were straightforward: The Chamber of Commerce will continue to serve as a mechanism of communication until the town can fund an event or cultural coordinator position. CRP recommended improving the marketing and communication tools including e-mail, Web site and an event calendar; better communication with local businesses about upcoming events and quarterly meetings between the town, Chamber and event planners.
The team suggested the town needs to develop guidelines and requirements including permits for risk management and insurance, parking and traffic, event layout, public safety (including police and EMTs), liquor, waste management, and traffic safety. The Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department should be responsible for keeping a master calendar, implementing usage fees, identifying venues and meeting staff needs. Structurally, the municipality must address the collection and tracking of vendor sales tax revenue and event-related transportation solutions.
"I think [the CRP recommendations] are not unreasonable and I don't think that anyone should be surprised by them," said Julie Jessen, special projects manager for the town. "They came in and gave us a good perspective from outside the box. Our community is quite transparent. We are not complicated or hard to figure out."
"I think they put a lot of thought into it," said Mary Jo Coulehan, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. "Their recommendations ran very parallel to what Linda Hill and Company (the consultant helping create a marketing plan for the Chamber) recommended. Identify what we have and create an infrastructure to support some of our current events and analyze what we need to keep as a community event and what potentially we need to make bigger and better. It's the direction the chamber is already moving in and where we are trying to help the community to the best of our ability."
Coulehan explained that the Chamber of Commerce is trying to become a clearinghouse from a publicity standpoint to let the community know what is happening. They are working to revamp their Web site, highlight events and develop their calendar of events more fully. They also want to create specials and packages for visitors to the area that provide tickets, lodging and special offers from local restaurants and retailers. Coulehan is also trying to expand WinterFest.
"I'm trying to create a weekend that is not weather contingent, or totally balloon contingent," she said. "I'd like to have a winter triathlon and a snowmobile rodeo, and I'm working on getting groups involved that do that. In essence, I become an event coordinator."
Event coordination is the big question that Crista Munro, executive director of the Four Corners Folk Festival, was hoping CRP would address. "I don't think our community is facing a lack of ideas," Munro said, "our problem is making them happen."
Munro was hoping the CRP would make recommendations for creating an Office of Cultural Affairs or an event planning position within the municipality that could be partially funded by an increase in the lodging tax.
"The Chamber does enough," she said. "They are fulfilling their capacity. Is asking them to take on another role the highest and best use of their time? If these things need to be done, then there needs to be a staffing recommendation for at least a part-time employee."
Jessen had a different view. "I think event coordination is a great idea," she said. "Mercy Korsgren, at the community center, is working on event coordination and how the community center can fill the gaps. I know we are looking at the Chamber to fill that gap, but maybe we have Mercy continue to do this. She is already doing this."
Munro's argument about the best use of time applies to Korsgren as well.
"The money is here," Munro suggested. "Money will perpetuate more money. We have to make an investment. When you have an atmosphere in town where you have special events regularly, it helps a town become known."
Jessen agreed with Munro. "I think that special events are definitely one catalyst that brings tourists to small towns. I go to other small towns because of events. They give a flavor of what the town is like."
However, Jessen believes some of the challenges identified by CRP will be difficult to overcome, particularly the venues. "The fairgrounds are run down. It will take money to repair them and I don't think that people realize the necessity of updating the venues. An amphitheater at Reservoir Hill would increase the use up there and still keep it a natural area." Yet Jessen pointed out the town is still subsidizing the community center. "The more the community center is used, the less taxpayer money has to be used to subsidize." Jessen believes it's a marketing issue and that usage fees for the Community Center are comparable to other communities.
When asked about the idea of creating a municipal position for an event planner, Jessen was supportive. "It goes back to funding. I think it would be nice, but first we have to have a semi-organized coalition of event coordinators, event planners, businesses and the community. I don't think it's a full-time position at first, but it is something that would make life easier. There are creative ways to figure out those types of positions."
Munro believes an Office of Cultural Affairs could be the umbrella organization under which all events and festivals fall, instead of each event creating a different non-profit corporation and waiting three years to apply for grant funds, as is typically required. Munro pointed out those non-paid volunteers who work a full-time job and then try to build an event from scratch in their spare time run most events in Pagosa, leading to the burnout identified by the CRP Team.
Coulehan said she could support the idea of an event coordinator in the future. "I think right now it's a little too soon. I think we need to look at what we have and where we think an event coordinator can really help us. I do think that would work well for us."
Another critical issue is sales tax collection. "We currently have no way to know if a vendor is paying their share of taxes," Jessen said. "In other communities, when they control the collection of sales tax, they see a ten to twenty percent increase in sales tax funds. Is there leakage? We don't know. Right now it is confidential information that the town and county get from the department of revenue at the state level."
The first step to identifying and controlling the leakage is to establish business licensing. "We are looking at business licensing in the future," Jessen said. "That will lead to tracking the viability of our businesses. What we have, where is our leakage and then in a couple of years going to sales tax collection."
The final report on the Pagosa Springs Community Revitalization Partnership Team Visit will be available in July and accessible via the Town Web site: www.townofpagosa springs.com.
Groundbreaking set for school district's new MaT building
The board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint will officially break ground for the construction of the Maintenance and Transportation Facility (MaT) July 5, at noon.
Groundbreaking will take place at the high school campus at the construction site south of Golden Peaks Stadium.
Construction of the new facility was delayed for a little more than a year as the district considered other site options, including the purchase of the LPEA facility located next to the high school campus.
When it was clear that the district had exhausted all options, a decision was made to proceed with the original plan of relocating the facility to the high school campus.
The construction of the MaT building is part of the district's master facility plan which was completed in June 2003. The old building at the elementary campus will be demolished to make way for additional parking, parent drop-off and pickup, and bus traffic.
The district administration believes relocation of the MaT facility to the new site will help alleviate some of the traffic congestion at the elementary campus before and after school.
Local blood drives today and July 6
United Blood Services urges residents of Pagosa to "Save a life - donate blood." A blood drive will be held today, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St. in downtown Pagosa Springs.
A second drive will take place Wednesday, July 6, at the senior center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd. Hours for this drive are 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Identification is required of all donors. Donors can sign up for drives at www.unitedbloodservices.org.
DOW presents program on bear behavior
Doug Purcell, Wildlife Officer for the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), will provide a presentation on bear behavior Saturday, July 2. He will show hides and slides, and will talk about black bears and grizzlies.
The program will be of interest to campers and residents of Pagosa country since bears do not discriminate when it comes to food sources. They are as happy to hit the ice chest on the picnic table next to your tent or RV as they are to get into the bird feeder or trash can in your yard.
Unfortunately, neither of those choices is good for the bear.
The presentation is sponsored by DOW and the San Juan National Forest. It will begin at 8 p.m. at the host site at West Fork Campground on West Fork Road, 15 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs via U.S.160.
For information, contact Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268.
Plenty of water, Drakes and caddis - but no fish on trip to Rio Grande
By James Robinson
After a few recent, less than successful outings, I was game for a serious day's fishing, and the word was that the Green Drakes were hatching on the Rio Grande downstream from Marshall Park near Creede.
The drake hatch is predictable and prolific, and if this year proved to be like the last, can be bring hours of intense dry fly action.
I left Pagosa Springs early Saturday morning to meet my fishing companions, Barry Nehring, a Colorado Division of Wildlife Whirling Disease specialist, Karl Johnson, a virologist who co-discovered the Ebola and Hanta viruses and was one of the founders of the Bozeman, Mont. based Whirling Disease Foundation and Ron Hedrick, an aqua culture infectious disease and Whirling Disease specialist at the University of California, Davis.
All three are scientists, respected in their fields and equally adept in the lab, in the field or on a river wielding a fly rod. They are learned men who understand the ways and science of trout - they are hard-core fishermen.
Our tip on the Drakes came from Nehring and Nehring's son, who both know Colorado fly fishing intimately. They have spent countless hours on the state's rivers in research and in recreation and with the Nehrings as our sources, Hedrick, Johnson and I were confident the information was reliable. I left Pagosa Springs confident our collective fishing fates were in good hands.
I decided to fish my way over Wolf Creek Pass, hitting one of my favorite runs on the South Fork of the Rio Grande before meeting my companions near the Rio Grande Reservoir above Creede.
Soon after crossing the pass, I parked, pulled on my waders and approached the stream. The water was high. My gut told me it was too high for fishing, but past experience had proved that casting drake imitations over this part of the river had been successful. Besides, I was obligated to fish. My fate and that stretch of the South Fork had become forever intertwined when last summer, while fishing with drake imitations in the evening twilight, I had an epiphany which ultimately led me to live in Pagosa Springs.
When I stepped into the current, about 1,000 cubic feet per second, I nearly went down. The glass slick surface was deceptive, the water's depth indiscernible. But after a few seconds of scrambling on the slick cobbles in thigh-high water, I found my footing, tied on a large Parachute Adams and began casting. I worked the river slowly, methodically casting into all possible lies and fishing as best as I could under the conditions. After two hours without a strike and no visible feeding activity, I trudged back to the truck, discouraged, but not hopeless, knowing a float trip on the mighty Rio Grande with seasoned companions would bring success and ultimately redemption.
I passed through Creede, and soon after leaving town and within just a few miles of Marshall Park the scene turned biblical. Ominous dark clouds pushed down through the valley, temporarily obscuring the sun, and just as Nehring had said, so did the Drakes.
Big balls of flying, churning bugs rolled above the highway, lumbering like a flying, insect tumbleweed.
As I sped through the swarms, they crashed into my truck and smacked the windshield with a sound like hail pounding a metal trash can lid. I rolled down the window, extended my arm and tried to grab a sample. Carnage nothing but freshly killed bugs but, they were undoubtedly Green Drakes.
With hand, arm, windshield and grill plastered with them, the weekend's fishing looked promising.
Later that day I met up with Nehring, Johnson and Hedrick. We drove up the canyon, past the Rio Grande Reservoir and settled into a cabin which would be their home for the week.
Soon after our arrival, rain and hail beat down on the cabin's metal roof and lighting struck the valley's forested hillsides. We waited patiently for an opportunity to fish, and finally a two hour window came and with it a little, uneventful fishing before dinner and bed.
Sunday morning found us on the river with clear skies, hopeful but concerned. Saturday's rain had roiled a previously clear river. The water was nearly chocolate milk, and locals in Creede said the Drakes would not be found on our float path between Coller and below the town of South Fork.
We shrugged off the news and pushed on, armed with boxes of flies, decades of fly fishing experience and with skilled boatmen, Nehring and Johnson on the oars we were sure to catch trout.
We pushed our rafts into the current and in seconds Hedrick and I were casting like gunners on an anti-aircraft battery. The high water and fast current on the Rio Grande zipped us downstream and to hit the likely lies before they passed, we casted incessantly.
We threw dry flies, dry-dropper combinations, Montana rigs (two dries with a length of tippet in between) and hurled double bead-head wooly buggers into the banks.
Cast, strip, cast, strip, cast, strip, we went, demonic and intense was the pace.
By lunch Hedrick had caught and released two, I was fishless, and our casting arms and boatmen needed rest, cold beer and sustenance.
Just before lunch and during the break it seemed our fortunes would change for the better. We had noticed increasing numbers of adult caddis along the banks and over the main current. While eating, we watched a number of trout rising along the bank to take adult caddis off the surface. Although the action only lasted for about 15 minutes, we re-rigged with dries, and paddled back into the current with renewed confidence.
By about 1 p.m. the caddis hatch evolved from isolated clusters to a full-on plague. We paddled through clouds of caddis, and hundreds crawled over the raft and covered the lenses of my sunglasses.
Surely we would take trout under those circumstances, and Hedrick and I hammered away.
By the late afternoon when we eddied out below South Fork, we had casted hundreds of times without a single trout.
To add insult to injury, while loading the boats and with our day essentially done, the hatch exploded. The sky was tinged with the hue of millions of charcoal-grey caddis bodies. And still there were no signs of rising or feeding trout.
If you go:
The Rio Grande above and below the Rio Grande Reservoir is running fast and high and is extremely difficult to wade. This is particularly true below the Rio Grande Reservoir where flows are at about 4000 cubic feet per second. The river below the reservoir is best fished by boat.
Large, black, bead-head Wooly Buggers caught two fish, while a size No. 14 yellow Stimulator took the third trout of the three-fish trip.
The Green Drakes were in the area of Marshall Park but inquire with the locals in Creede for the most recent information on the location of the hatch.
A size No.12 Parachute Adams is a good generic pattern to fish the Green Drake hatch. More specific patterns, such as a Rio Grande Drake or local favorites might be worth a try.
Life at Chimney Rock examines crafts and survival skills
A weekend festival, Life at Chimney Rock, will be held Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, west of Pagosa Springs.
The fest will feature interactive demonstrations of the crafts and survival skills of the ancestral Puebloan culture, utilized by the Native American people of this region.
Exhibitors will share the techniques of basketry, flintknapping, pottery making, throwing the atlatl (spear), making petroglyphs, spinning animal hair, making and playing the Native American flute, yucca pounding to make rope, and grinding of corn using a metate and mano. All activities will involve hands-on opportunities for visitors.
The fest will be held on the lower "Great Kiva" trail, which is handicapped accessible.
One-hour guided tours up along the spectacular ridge to the Great House Pueblo on the upper "Pueblo" trail, will be conducted at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 and 2 p.m. All tours are included in the park entrance fee.
The entrance fee is $8 for adults, $2 for children ages 5-11, with free entrance for children under 5.
For more information about Life at Chimney Rock, call 883-5359 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit the Web site at: www.chimney rockco.org.
The Life at Chimney Rock Festival is sponsored by the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA), in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, San Juan National Forest. The CRIA mission is "to provide for members of the general public who visit Chimney Rock Archaeological Area an enjoyable and educational experience, which is sensitive to native cultures and to assist the Forest Service in protecting the site. In pursuit of these goals, we shall conduct informed tours of the site, display artifacts as they become available, provide educational materials for sale and present historical seminars and exhibits when possible."
SJOC announces three scholarship winners
By Patti Blide
Special to The SUN
This year the San Juan Outdoor Club has offered three scholarships of $1,000 each to some of Pagosa Springs High School's best.
The scholarship committee made up of Gary Hopkins (chair), Sara Scott and Patti Blide, all former teachers and/or principals, walked away from the interviews literally with tears in some eyes. Yes, the world is destined to become a better place what with the likes of Christopher Nobles, Kelli Ford and Jesse Morris. We want you to meet them.
Christopher Nobles, who started up a Korean martial art (Gumdo = "the art of the sword") here in Pagosa Springs writes: "Martial arts have instilled upon me a great deal of discipline and respect, through which I have witnessed other people in the class change and develop into amazing individuals Š Gumdo has connected the entire class into a large family. We now have schools in Durango, Bayfield, and Aztec. . . In my high school, the teenagers that participate in the Gumdo class are noticeably different than others. They are physically fit, confident, focused, have a sense of purpose, and high morals." Chris plans to attend Colorado School of Mines and to major in chemical engineering.
Kelli Ford, this year's PSHS Outstanding Senior Girl, has been accepted at Fort Lewis and Colorado College and writes: "I enjoy activities, I enjoy pushing my boundaries, I enjoy challenges, and love meeting new people Š I believe helping my community comes down to small continual habits and ways of life we create for ourselves. I went for a walk the other day. I strolled five miles down Four-Mile Road on an evening walk to town. While walking, I picked up trash and periodically deposited it into people's trash cans along the way. There was never a time I didn't have trash in my hands. I learned something. I learned that helping maintain my environment does not have to be a righteous, labor-ridden endeavor. It can be something as simple as taking a walk." Kelli plans to major in archaeology.
Jesse Morris, who enjoys class ranking of No. 1, with plans to attend Colorado College writes: "In my junior high years, I was part of an organization that lobbied for bills affecting youth in my state. This experience turned me away from childhood dreams of being president and instead placed me on a path towards becoming an environmental lobbyist in the Congress of the United States Š Being a lobbyist in a private environmental firm enables you to work with every single senator and representative on critical issues, ranging from regulation of state parks and their related activities, to the fund allocation of taxpayer's money to alternative energy sources Š I would be making an impact on communities around the country, not just the one I live in." Jesse plans to major in international affairs, political science and environmental issues.
Public input sought on drilling proposal
The San Juan Public Lands Center is accepting public input on the scope of issues to be studied in an environmental analysis of a proposal by Petrox Resources, Inc. to access private minerals leases within the San Juan National Forest lands in the Fosset Gulch area of the HD Mountains.
The project involves drilling two coal-bed methane wells on private mineral estate under National Forest land and constructing 380 feet of road to access one of the drill locations. The wells will be flow tested for a period of two to three months, at which time a decision will be made to put them into production or to plug and abandon the wells and reclaim the site.
The proposed activities would take place this summer.
The Forest Service is required by law to provide reasonable access to private mineral estate and does have discretion over the location and design of facilities or the use of National Forest roads.
Public comments on the scope of issues to be considered will be accepted until Tuesday, July 5, 2005. Written comments may be sent to San Juan Public Lands Center, 15 Burnett Court, Durango, CO 81031, to the attention of Walt Brown. Oral comments may be provided by calling the Public Lands Center at 247-4874.
Comments will be used during preparation of the environmental analysis.
Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record for the proposed action and will be available for pubic inspection.
Nature is God's greatest temple
By Chuck McGuire
I haven't attended church in some time, and don't consider myself religious per se, but I am, nonetheless, deeply spiritual. Perhaps similarities between the two are greater than their differences, but in my own personal quest for knowledge and purpose, I have yet to find the same sense of spiritual fulfillment in an assembly of devout parishioners as I have in the hallowed halls of nature.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against organized religion in any of its innumerable forms, nor do I advocate one manner of worship over another. In fact, I feel the vast array of man's religious beliefs as expressions of spiritualism are inherently good for all. But in the few years before my childhood baptism into Christianity, and in the many years since, I have had difficulty grasping the concept of an all-knowing, all-powerful deity while seated and singing hymns in a tangible man-made house of worship. Certainly, the ceremonies and sermons are genuinely moving and often quite powerful, but for me, religion is intensely personal, and spiritual restitution is never greater than that attained in the primordial sanctuary of wild and untouched places.
In part, Webster defines religion as "a belief in a divine or superhuman power or powers to be obeyed and worshiped as the creator(s) and ruler(s) of the universe, and expressions of such a belief in conduct and ritual." In the broader definition, he emphasizes "any specific system of belief and worship."
In defining the spiritual, he speaks of the soul as distinguished from the body or material matters. He suggests those of a spiritual nature are characterized by the power of the spirit and an idealism showing refinement in thought and feeling.
Both religion and spiritualism imply beliefs in supreme powers, but the real difference in my understanding is method. While I won't attempt to analyze the wide-ranging field of religious ideology, or the possible existence of a single and all-powerful god, I do acknowledge that different systems work for different people, and each appears to achieve similar results. Therefore, I feel religious methodology is of lesser importance than spiritual principle.
In my own life, religion was imposed upon me at a young age, and I was expected to embrace it as taught by those in church who preached doctrinal interpretations of the Bible. In suit and tie, I attended Sunday School, read the scriptures, and tried comprehending the imponderable values set forth in a formal setting, complete with rich tradition and cathartic rituals. Looking back, I was commonly confused and consequently, utterly bored.
Even as I struggled with religious schooling in my youth, I also failed to fully grasp the sense of wonder that enveloped me during my early days in the woods. I relished in the quiet and the mysteries of life surrounding me, and I knew that emotionally, I felt different there than at home or on the school playground. But several years would pass before I realized that even back then, I was discovering a spiritual connection with the universe, and with God.
Today we live in the age of travel, advanced communications, and high technology. We work long hours accumulating material wealth, and if there's time, we engage each other socially. Our burgeoning population has crowded our cities, yet we rush everywhere, tired, impatient in traffic, and intolerant of others. As we poison the air and waterways, and deplete our natural resources, the world is a shrinking place where we now look to science for all the answers. Incredibly, of the hundred thousand years of our human existence, this has only come about in the past century or so.
It's not surprising that on weekends, we flock to parks, rivers and lakes, forest campgrounds, or remote mountain getaways. We are frazzled, disjointed, and in desperate need of renewal. For most of us, we find it in these outdoor havens where, if even briefly, we can escape the constant drone of industry and the pressure of round-the-clock commerce. We seek quietude where the only sounds are spawned by the movement of wind or water, the tuneful melody of a meadowlark, or the soft hum of insects. We hope for solitude without dialogue, and perhaps most of all, we yearn for time to think and reflect, time to meditate in reverence of The Spirit.
For me, and for many I presume, only time in the immaculate order and consummate beauty of unspoiled nature can evoke a true spiritual experience. For, everywhere we look, and in the complexity of everything we see, there is evidence of perfection and balance, a measure of harmony unequaled anywhere in our synthetic human society. No wonder nature moves us emotionally and spiritually, no wonder we talk to ourselves Š and to God, whoever or whatever He may be.
The religions of the world are as varied as its people, but each looks to aspire to the same understanding. Even as form and definition are often at odds, the quest for knowledge and reason are at once universal. With this in mind, there seems no right or wrong way in seeking divine enlightenment, or a relationship with God.
As we are all given to making our own mystical choices, mine has evolved to something vaguely similar to the native peoples of our continent. Perhaps Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa) described it best in his book "The Soul of the Indian" (1911) when he wrote, "The worship of the Great Mystery was silent, solitary, free from all self-seeking. It was silent, because all speech is of necessity feeble and imperfect; therefore the souls of my ancestors ascended to God in wordless adoration. It was solitary, because they believed that He is nearer to us in solitude, and there were no priests authorized to come between a man and his Maker."
He goes on to say, "There were no temples or shrines among us save those of nature. Being a natural man, the Indian was intensely poetical. He would deem it sacrilege to build a house for Him who may be met face to face in the mysterious, shadowy aisles of the primeval forest, or on the sunlit bosom of virgin prairies, upon dizzy spires and pinnacles of naked rock, and yonder in the jeweled vault of the night sky. He who enrobes Himself in filmy veils of cloud, there on the rim of the visible world where our Great-Grandfather Sun kindles his evening campfire, He who rides upon the rigorous wind of the north, or breathes forth His spirit upon aromatic southern airs, whose war-canoe is launched upon majestic rivers and inland seas-He needs no lesser cathedral!"
Too much pay?
I attended the public roads hearing held June 15. I was amazed at the number of people who did not get to speak because of poor handling of speaker sign-up. Most of the people speaking had questions regarding cost of maintenance, access by school buses, access by emergency equipment and why we can afford some level of maintenance on secondary roads now, but not after July 1, 2007. This covered most of my concerns, but did not answer several important questions.
Why are we paying three commissioners $41,000 plus benefits and they can't come to the meeting prepared to address the purpose of the hearing. Commissioner Shiro said they were not "privy to the handouts prior to the hearing." Then who reviewed and approved these handouts prior to the meeting? Are these the same handouts used at the June 2 hearing? If the staff cannot produce materials and get them reviewed, then we need new staff. Chairwoman Lynch stated that the purpose of the hearing was to produce a map of county roads that is now required by state law. Then why did they use criteria that was based not just on usage, but also on maintenance? I only heard one person mention a road shown as secondary should be changed. Most were concerned with the definition of primary and secondary being used to determine how the maintenance will be done in the future.
My research found that in Eddy County, N.M., a rural county of approximately 1,300 miles of roads, shows the highest commissioner salary is $20,654. They serve about 51,000 people, spread over 4,100 square miles. I know that Archuleta County does not have that many people and has less square miles. So what are we getting for our money? We received no information on why we are projecting a shortage of funds in the future when construction is booming in the Pagosa Lakes area alone. The assessor said that more people are using the roads, thus they are deteriorating at a faster rate. If more people are using them it is because the tax base is increasing. Why can't this increase be applied to roads? Mr. McKee said that agriculture and recreation are the two main businesses in Archuleta County. What about the hundreds of home owners who purchased property here in order to use the recreation opportunities all around us? How many million dollar homes will people buy if they can't access them in the winter months, even with 4-wheel drive? Why wasn't the transportation route of the school buses factored into the map? Where is the input from law enforcement and emergency services?
It's time that the taxpayers wake up and pay what our commissioners are worth. We could use what we save for snow removal.
We did not get the right questions answered June 15. On June 30, 2005 I'll be there, will the county commissioners be prepared? I hope so.
Editor's note: the June 30 meeting has been postponed to July 25.
Judging by the prevailing rhetoric, there is a widespread misconception that upgrading and maintaining to acceptable standards the road on which a person lives would solve his road problems.
The truth is that we all do most of our driving on other roads. They are public roads. We can and do use any and all of them as we choose, unless they are in a gated community.
Three regular sources of money specifically designated for use on the county roads are the Highway Users Tax Fund, part of the property tax levied by the county, and part of the sales tax revenue distributed to the county. These funds and others earmarked for roads should be used for maintenance of all county roads. The type of road and the level of maintenance must be determined by a central agent. Otherwise we will have chaos.
Last November the Board of County Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 2004-64, "A Resolution of the Board of County Commissioners of Archuleta County, Colorado Establishing the HUTF Inventory for Roads." Exhibit A lists by name and number 518 "2004 HUTF Roads." Exhibit B lists by name and number 200 "Non-HUTF Roads." A logical inference is that the county acknowledges ownership of all 718 of these roads by listing them in the resolution.
The document, "Archuleta County Primary and Secondary Road System," distributed at the June 2 and 15, 2005, hearings lists 31 roads as Primary and states that all other county roads are Secondary roads. Again by inference, the county acknowledges ownership of 687 Secondary roads. That is 96 percent of all county roads listed in its 2004 HUTF report to the state.
It is ridiculous to claim that 96 percent of the county's roads don't qualify as Arterial, Collector, Recreational or Agricultural. And even those that don't qualify for one of these classifications should receive snow plowing and some maintenance.
At the June 2 hearing, one speaker recommended that the county design a plan with public input that will take care of all of the county-owned roads.
He recommended that they figure out what such a system would cost to establish and maintain, then present it to the taxpayers and see if we will support it. If it is properly designed and enthusiastically presented and promoted, it would deserve our support. If it is not approved by the voters, the county commissioners then would be justified in taking the pessimistic approach they have taken so far.
In the more than 30 years that home rule has been available in Colorado, one should wonder why only two counties have adopted it. Several years ago, some of us looked into county home rule. Among other negatives, people in the Colorado Division of Local Government told us that while home rule worked okay for municipalities, it was not recommended for counties.
If county officers (treasurer, assessor, clerk and recorder, sheriff) were appointed, they would have primary allegiance to, and do what those who appointed them wanted (probably commissioners) and couldn't care less about the people.
Where would persons, experienced in those jobs, be found to appoint at what we could afford to pay? It seems much more desirable and appropriate to have elected local persons doing those activities. In any event, the state has training available for the various county officers. If we don't like elected officers, we can recall or vote them out. We couldn't do that with appointees - we'd be stuck with them.
If there were five commissioners and three of them got together it would require public meeting notice, which wouldn't be any different now when two of them get together. And think of the extra cost of two more commissioners. Such money could be much better used for other needed county purposes.
Under home rule, state statutes must still be followed for assessing, elections, vehicle licensing, treasurer and sheriff duties. Public pressure and electing good officers is the only way to make the county government more efficient. Changing the system gives no assurance of improvement. Home rule for the county seems like "throwing out the baby with the bath water."
County home rule is not a panacea. Public involvement with the present form of county government is the best solution.
Very sincerely concerned,
Fred A. Ebeling
As a part-time resident of Pagosa Lakes I wish to make several suggestions with respect to the future general Pagosa area airport operations.
In my full-time small town community, a two-year battle between home owners and "recreational pilots" using our local airport was settled. Major issues such as approach and departure flight paths, minimum altitudes, noise abatement and a good neighbor policy by pilots were finally resolved. The approach and departure flight patterns were changed with FAA approval.
The new patterns allow for aircraft to land and take off with the least impact to developed areas. This also mitigated some serious safety issues should an aircraft crash on immediate approach or landing. One major problem identified early on was that the local resident pilots stacked the airport advisory board and only passed on recommendations to the town government that were beneficial to the wishes of the local pilots. After much resistance by the local pilots' association, some non-aviation residents were appointed to the airport board to give a full community perspective to all airport operations. This has proven very successful and resolved many conflicts between homeowners and the local aviation community. Some had to be gently reminded that all taxpayers pay for the airport and that it is not the exclusive turf of recreational flyers or flight training schools.
Most property owners may not be aware that their home values can be impacted by being in proximity to even a small rural airport and that Realtors are required to notify prospective buyers that a potential property purchase may be located within the "airport influence zone."
Hero or hazard?
I will be most interested to see David Brown's subsequent plans for "protecting and guiding" the downtown area. Demolishing half a dozen historic and usable buildings seems to me a curious first step. Will Mr. Brown prove to be a hero or a hazard?
Supports the plan
When I attended both public meetings on the new county road plan I heard many suggest that the county should and could continue to maintain our roads as they have done in the past. That would be the system where some county property owners and taxpayers have their neighborhood roads maintained and others, many others, do not.
If we second-class residents don't like that, we should just form our own metro districts and maintain our roads ourselves. Be careful what you wish for.
Let me give you a possible future you may not like. It's 2010 and the county continues to maintain roads as they did in 2004. Most, if not all of the Pagosa Lakes area is part of a metro district and our roads are finally pretty good. However, road maintenance costs continue to climb and the county is finding it difficult to keep up. The solution, of course, is to increase the mill levy to cover those increased costs.
Are you getting the picture here folks? You've created a huge voting block that will never increase their taxes so the county can continue to maintain your neighborhood streets. You'd probably have to form a metro district.
The proposed county road maintenance plan may be disliked by just about everybody, but at least it creates parity between property owners and I support it on that basis alone. With everyone in the same boat it may finally be possible to get voters to approve an increase in our taxes to have a county maintained road system we will all be happy with.
Out of control?
Roads and maintenance is a concern I'd like to address and ask all of you to write to our county commissioners with your concerns, as well.
Our area is known for big snowfalls.
Road maintenance, snow removal for public safety is needed, without question.
We pay taxes - sales, property. All my life these taxes have gone toward road maintenance. I ask why is there a question, where will monies come from, or what will taxes need to be spent on?
The county needs to care for roads, as simple as that - not the suggested individual metro districts with repeated cost, energy, equipment, etc. This is a county issue, let it be that.
Nothing I've heard or read records magnesium chloride cost. Snow removal is a much bigger need for public safety. Cut the magnesium spray and put the monies towards snow removal, maintenance.
We choose to live on a dirt road, then we live with it!
I did read that someone said do not expand new county subdivisions' road maintenance. Well folks, look at it this way and ask, Is this county's growth out of control?
Not goofy, not blue
While I often read Mr. Isberg's "Food for Thought" article and every so often find some amusement in doing so, I take offense to his stereotype of vegetarians as goofy and blue. My wife and I have belonged to the "ovolacto" tribe for nearly two decades and neither of us has turned blue. I have been known to be a bit goofy, but so are many carnivores that walk the streets of Pagosa each day! And do we really want to use intelligence as a factor in determining what we do and do not eat?
I do, however, agree that more people should know what happens to the animal that ends up as a slab of disembodied flesh in a plastic blanket and styrofoam bed. As Karl observes, a little more respect for the animals who give their lives to please your palate should be encouraged. It might even lead to an outbreak of compassion, which can only make our world a better place.
In closing, let me just say that as a former carnivore, my life has not been deprived by my decision to limit my comestibles to items which do not require the slaughter of sentient beings. I do maintain an open mind, however, so Karl, call me if you decide to try filet of Labrador retriever and maybe I will join you!
Fourth of July Festivities
Friday, July 1
Carnival - across from Town Park
Western Heritage Benefit Dance, county Extension Building at the fairgrounds - 8 p.m. to midnight
Saturday, July 2
Carnival - across from Town Park
Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival - Town and Centennial parks, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo - 2 to 6 p.m.
Sunday, July 3
Carnival - across from Town Park
Cowboy church service, Red Ryder rodeo grounds, 7 a.m.
Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo - 3 to 6 p.m.
Pagosa Springs High School Reunion - Pagosa Springs Middle School Gym - 6 p.m. to midnight
Monday, July 4
Fourth of July Parade - 10 a.m.
Carnival - across from Town Park
Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo - 4 to 2 p.m.
Fireworks and entertainment - high school Sports Complex
- Food booths open - 5 p.m.
- Games and activities - 6:30 to 7:30
- Music by Hot Strings - 7:30 to 9
- Fireworks - Dark
- Post fireworks dance
Doing what you love - Rada Neal
By Erin K. Quirk
There's a famous adage that states: if you do what you love the money will follow.
Pagosa Springs pianist Rada Neal is counting on that every day as she sits at her piano, writes music and sends off a few more CDs to radio stations from Texas to Singapore.
Neal is a one-woman marketing team for her original solo piano work. She currently has 24 radio stations playing her songs and is on the verge of publishing her third CD of what she calls "new age/classical piano."
Upon hearing the term "new age" it's tempting to think of Neal's music as something accompanied by triangles or maybe chanting, but that's not it. Neal's sound is far more Henry Mancini than Yanni. Deeply influenced by Mancini (think "Moon River") Neal says she can't write a song without melody. Her work might be loosely compared to that of George Winston, and while she doesn't bristle at the comparison, she doesn't think it really fits.
"It might seem similar to what I am doing," she said. "But I am more cinematic than George Winston."
Neal was born in a Yugoslavian refugee camp in Germany in 1950. When she was seven weeks old her parents moved the family to America. A few years ago, Neal and her sisters uncovered a diary her mother kept from that time, written entirely in German. They had the document translated and discovered that on the flight from Germany to Scotland to Canada and finally to the United States, her mother was ill and could not feed her. She fed her hungry child water on the planes to keep her quiet.
Neal is understandably proud of her immigrant parents who owned three properties free and clear in their lives and put four children through college without kin or English to help.
"My mom was an amazing woman," said Neal, who said her mother was her greatest inspiration. "She spoke seven languages. She left home at 17 and never saw her family again."
Neal's love of music was obvious early, but she claims it was a talent gifted by her mother. She was studying the violin by age 7, but when some neighbors, who were moving overseas, left a giant piano behind, Neal got her start at piano. Her mother encouraged her.
Neal's mother owned a small store and her father worked in a steel mill. Every Saturday her mother would pull $3.30 out of the register and give it to her to take the bus to her piano teacher's house.
"The going rate for piano teachers at that time was a dollar, so I had an expensive teacher," Neal said, marveling at her mother's commitment to helping her learn to play. "She knew I loved it. She had a passion for music too and I think she knew I could teach it to her."
When her mother was 40 years old, Neal taught her to play the piano.
Neal graduated with a bachelor's degree in music and taught music to elementary school children for 20 years in San Diego. Two years ago, Neal and her husband moved to Pagosa Springs. Her home and studio are situated in just the right place to guarantee unfettered, permanent views of Pagosa Peak and her attendants. Out her kitchen window Chimney Rock stands in the distance. Her two Shih-Tzus, Romeo and Chico, are her constant companions in the tidy downstairs studio, which is home to a second grand piano, her keyboard, a computer and notes of encouragement from the radio station managers who have heard and played her music. Neal happily points out the utter silence in her studio.
"It's just so beautiful and peaceful here, I just love it," she said.
Like most artists in Pagosa Springs, Neal is awed by the natural world just out the front door. She recalls heading out to cut down a Christmas tree one winter and the astonishment she felt at the total silence. Paraphrasing a friend she said "the snow was so heavy it just muffled everything."
Neal began expressing that wonder a few years ago by writing her own music. As a younger woman, she wrote very little as she believed there was so much good music already written. Now she feels just the opposite.
"I didn't know I'd be writing so much," said Neal who loves to find a good poem and set it to music. "The more I write the more I want to write. I didn't realize how much I wanted to do this."
As a result, her music is getting more complex and the emotion she feels from good poetry, found either on paper or out her front window, translates well. One piece, entitled "At Nightfall," is alternately melancholy and sprightly. It bursts out of her grand piano like a soundtrack for little lovesick forest creatures who dart through dark rich ferns and dripping trees chasing one another.
One song, titled "Mirror Set Me Free," was based on a poem written by her sister, Sonja. It chronicles the struggle we face reconciling our inner lives to our outer ones. The song indeed sounds heavy with that conflict.
Neal has a log book on her desk that lists all the radio stations she has contacted trying to get some airtime for her music. She spends a lot of time researching her market on the Internet. Like many local artists she has found that creating music is one thing and selling it is quite another. However, Neal is happy with her choices and assiduously works to expose her music.
"I just have faith I am going to do something," she said. "Something in me tells me I have to do this."
For more information about Neal visit her Web site at www.pianopassions.com.
Guitarist Steve Rolig at next American Roots fest
By Paul Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW
Heard any good ragtime blues lately? Come hear Pagosa's own Steve Rolig at the American Roots Music Festival, Sunday, July 24, in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Steve will conduct a workshop on how to play finger-style guitar at 4 p.m. and he will perform at the 6 p.m. concert.
Steve is an exponent of early American blues and ragtime guitar styles. He is also a builder of high-end guitars and performs on guitars he has made himself.
About his music Steve says, "My first interest was just finger style in general, and then it gravitated more toward blues, folk and ragtime, and that's where my interest is now. I love to resurrect some of the old songs - play songs that haven't been played widely for 50, 60, or 70 years - and bring those out." Rolig is fascinated with the history of the blues, and he's always researching the roots of this American musical phenomenon.
Rolig was struck by the overwhelming desire to take up guitar in 1970 after he went off to college. With many years of piano, saxaphone and vocal training as a foundation, he developed a love for the instrument that continues to this day.
Besides his wooden steel string guitar, Steve performs on a more unusual instrument in the world of guitars - a resonator guitar. Developed in the late 1920s as means to boost the guitar's volume, the body of this instrument is made of metal. Steve is one of the guitarists bringing this unique instrument back into circulation.
Also performing at American Roots Music Festival are Larry Elginer, Steve Rolig, Kimberly Judd, Alissa Snyder, Paul and Carla Roberts and others.
Here's the July 24 festival schedule:
- 4 p.m. - ragtime blues guitar workshop with Steve Rolig.
- 5 p.m. - community potluck social
- 6 p.m. - evening concert
Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $12 for families. Children are admitted free of charge.
Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Avenue in the Vista subdivision of Pagosa Lakes. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Blvd. Turn north on Vista and left on Port.
The festival is produced by Elation Center for the Arts.
For further information, call 731-3117.
'Art to Music' combines forms for unique experience
By Leanne Goebel
Special to The PREVIEW
"I came tonight because I was fascinated with what I might do," John Graves said following a compelling experience at the Shy Rabbit Studio Saturday, June 18.
Billed as "Art to Music," the experience was part visual art exhibit, part concert and part performance art. Graves, the 70-something former musical director for "The Betty White Show" and accompanist to Rosemary Clooney and Rudolph Nureyev, did something he has never done before - spontaneously compose and perform music in response to a work of visual or three-dimensional art.
The artwork of 10 regional artists - Bruce Anderson (photography), Jeanine Malaney (watercolor), Rick Unger (oil), Shaun Martin (acrylic), Carole Cooke (oil), Sabine Baeckmann-Elge (oil), Tanya Hester (ceramic sculpture), Ray Martinez (photography), Eric Cundy (colored pencil) and Pat Erickson (transparent watercolor) -- were selected from 46 submissions. Local man about town, John Porter, made the selections. (He refuses to call himself a juror, as is common in art circles.) Porter selected work he thought told a story - a story that could be translated into music.
The art works were diverse in medium and topic, capturing a range of emotions and themes - from the intense emotion of "Turned Away" by Shaun Martin, a 12" x 12" figurative painting of a woman, her back turned to a man, the angst and passion of a recent argument clinging to the deep, dark red hues coloring the canvas, to the whimsical watercolor painting by Jeanine Malaney of "Albert Squirrel," a gray squirrel holding an acorn between his hands. The music for "Turned Away," included dramatic minor chords filled with emotion. For "Albert Squirrel," Graves' fingers scurried over the keyboard with as much energy and whimsy as a scurrilous rodent.
Graves studied each piece of art, his eyes focused on the canvas or sculpture, his fingers nimbly finding the keys by rout. This was something he didn't anticipate. "I expected I would look at the work of art and then play music, but I found I couldn't take my eyes off the art," Graves said, acknowledging that the mesmerizing element of the art made for less than perfect keystrokes. Few in the audience noticed.
"I keep getting chills up my spine," Denise Coffee whispered to her husband Michael. The Coffee's are the co-owners of Shy Rabbit Studio.
Forty-five minutes later, Graves had created 10 original compositions inspired by art.
After a brief intermission, Graves answered questions from the audience.
Yes, the titles had inspired some of the music, particularly the first work of art presented, "Summer Blues," by Bruce Anderson, a dramatic photo printed on canvas of lightning flashing across an intense lapis sky, or "Sarah's Dance," a sensuous acrylic painting of a partially nude belly dancer by Sabine Baeckmann-Elge. Graves quipped that he had played piano for years at a Jewish delicatessen and was familiar with the traditional chabad niggunim. While each composition was impromptu and original, Graves acknowledged that every performance, every piece of music played before was integrated into his performance. The most challenging artwork for Graves was the three "Hybrids" sculptures by Tanya Hester, whimsical ceramic creatures, a cross between cactus and tropical flowers, with human faces.
Upon viewing the artwork in the showroom, Graves commented that he wished the lighting had been better, because he didn't see the snake coiled up in the skull of "Desert Hallucinations," a colored pencil drawing by Eric Cundy. Many audience members were puzzled by Graves' selection for "Chimayo Girl," a photograph of a young girl standing with her mother, leaning against a tree. They were expecting flamenco or mariachi and not the achingly soulful music Graves played.
Nine of the 10 pieces of art were for sale with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the artist. Each buyer will receive a recording of the music inspired by the artwork. A video and audio recording of the event will be posted on ArtsNetwork at http://groups.yahoo.com/ArtsNetwork and the ArtsNetwork Blog at http://thegroupsblog.blogspot.com.
What Graves did was inspire an audience of more than 90 to experience music and art in an unusual and unique way. An experience he said, he will never forget and hopes to have again.
Open house to honor longtime Pagosan Gilbert Davidson
A celebration is planned for a well-known Pagosan, to celebrate his, and his family's, 42 years in Pagosa Country.
The summer of 1963 found Gilbert and Evelyn Davidson preparing for a year-long adventure in Pagosa Springs. Recently graduated from college, they deserved this break. They left the panhandle of Texas assuring family and friends they would return next summer.
Gilbert's adventure was pretty cut and dried. He would hunt and fish; someone had to "bring home the bacon." Evelyn, on the other hand, would teach because of her love for children. Within the month, both had teaching jobs!
When school was out, they kept their word and returned to Texas. They told friends and family they had fallen in love with Pagosa and could not leave. The next summer brought them a new joy. They became parents. Terry Paul was soon joined by Jimmy, Ronny, Kelly, Richard and Brigette.
Gilbert found himself trying different things to provide for his ever-growing family. He left teaching after five years to become a banker. A couple years later he and Bobby Lord joined Jim Watkins as partners at Wolf Creek Industries. For over 15 years, they provided many of the logs for homes in and around Pagosa as well as all over the country. As the kids began heading off to college, the house seemed too big and too empty. It would not be empty long. In 1986, Davidson's Country Inn Bed and Breakfast opened. It was the first B&B in Pagosa and one of the first in Colorado.
Gilbert has been active in the community in many ways. He was on the school board for nine years. He served at church in various positions of leadership for about 30 years. You will still find Gilbert at wrestling tournaments and other school activities cheering for the home team. He has seen good times and bad times hit his community, his friends and his family. In the early '90s cancer raised its ugly head and struck Evelyn. They faced this like they faced all their adventures. They leaned on each other and they trusted God. The cancer dealt a fatal blow to Evelyn's body but it couldn't touch her soul or spirit. Her passing remains a great loss to Pagosa and to all who love her.
Gilbert rallied and continued life without his best friend of over 34 years. It was the summer of 1996 that he discovered a new best friend, Nancy.
Nancy and Gilbert are still hosting those who find themselves drawn to Pagosa but they are planning a return to Gilbert's original idea of adventure very soon in the place he has called home for 42 years.
An open house is planned to celebrate Gilbert's 42 years in Pagosa. It will take place Sunday, July 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. Friends, old and new, are asked to attend and help celebrate.
Avoid road construction, take easy route to see 'Oklahoma!'
By John Graves
Special to The PREVIEW
For years, the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters have talked about producing Oklahoma!, but complications of scheduling and availability have somehow always forced a postponement.
Well, the wait is over. Opening tomorrow night, July 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium, is a full-scale presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic cavalcade of unforgettable music, dance, comedy and drama.
Performances will follow at the same time and place July 2, 7, 8, and 9.
Getting tickets early, or at least getting to the high school early to purchase tickets, is always a good idea, but it is especially important for this show, since the primary road to the school is closed for construction.
The easiest way to get to the school is to take Hot Springs Boulevard past Town Hall, make a right turn on Apache Street, drive over the bridge, then make a left turn on 5th Street, (the first left turn opportunity), and that will take you to the back entry of the high school parking lot.
Reserved seat tickets may be purchased at the Plaid Pony in Pagosa Springs. They are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors over 60, and $6 for students and children.
For tickets or more information, call Michael DeWinter at 731-5262.
In the words of the late Ed Sullivan, this is a "really big show!"
Special date, place for UU service and picnic
By John Graves
Special to The PREVIEW
For the annual Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Independence Day service and picnic, Ilene Haykus will present a program entitled "Fighting Words For A Secular America," based on an article by author Robin Morgan. Morgan writes, "When George W. Bush and his Cabinet members invoke the 'Christian Fathers of our country,' the Founders must be picketing in their graves."
Direct quotations from Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are offered to explain the rationale for our Constitution's separation of church and state and give us the historical evidence needed to defend a secular America.
This service, beginning at 10:30 a.m., will be held at the Haykus home, with the potluck picnic following the service. Some shade will be available, but sunscreen and hats are suggested. In addition to food, please bring a chair and your own plates and eating utensils. A grill will be available and beverages will be provided by the Fellowship.
To get to the Haykus residence, take U.S. 160 to Hersch Avenue; from Hersch, take the third left on to Spring Court, then follow Spring Court to the end and you're there.
For more information, call Phyl Daleske at 731-4589 or John Graves at 731-9863. Remember, there is no service at the Fellowship Hall Sunday, July 3.
The year 1776, the most difficult in our history
By Kate Terry
There are many histories written about the founding of our country and among my favorites are A.J. Langguth's "Patriots - The Men who Started the Revolution" (1988), and Catherine Drinker Bowen's "Miracle at Philadelphia - The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September, 1787" (1968).
And now we have John McCullough's history "1776," just recently released.
I'd like to start off quoting from "Patriots" - one of the anecdotes having to do with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
John Hancock had cautioned the other delegates, "We must be unanimous. There must be no pulling different ways. We must all hang together." To which Dr. Franklin replied, "Yes, we must indeed all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately."
When the delegates signed the Declaration, General George Washington and his army were based at New York and things were looking bleak. The move to New York - as history proved - was a disaster!
But, as McCullough wrote in "1776," he makes this reference: "The Declaration itself would be no more than a declaration without military success against the most formidable force on earth."
There were thirteen colonies, each with its own constitution: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Not only did they have their constitutions, they had to abide by the wishes of their people. And there were the differences in culture, the north differing from the south in attitudes, etc. Historians call the documents rooted upon the Declaration, Bill of Rights and Constitution - the whole thing - a "miracle."
And Bowen's "Miracles at Philadelphia" says that it is a surprise that all the delegates survived to maturity "because the streets in Philadelphia were filthy and diseases (typhoid, malaria, smallpox and diptheria) were rampant."
As John McCullough said on Tim Russert's TV program last weekend, "Yes, September 11, 2001, was the worst day in our history, but the year 1776 was the worst time in our history."
And he said that, if today's media had been the media then, we would not have the United States.
Washington was losing all his battles and enlistments were running out. The time was bleak. But Washington never gave up and neither did his men. The colonies were made up of fighters. And, as we remember what July 4 stands for, we can remember this time in our history and fly our flags proudly.
The Rev. Bob Pope, rector at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, will be guest speaker at the July 10 meeting of the Archuleta County Genealogical society. The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. in the Family History Library at the LDS Church. He will talk about the times surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Fun on the Run
The man, a big-time sports fan, was watching a football game with his grandchildren. He had just turned 75 and was feeling a little wistful.
"You know," he said to his grandson, "it's not easy getting old."
"Don't worry Grandpa," the youngest said cheerily. "Maybe you'll go into overtime."
Patriotic Sing-along kicks off holiday events schedule
By Mercy Korsgren
Come to the Community Center tonight, 7-9 p.m. for the second annual Patriotic Sing-along and dessert potluck.
What a fabulous way to start this weekend's celebration of freedom and patriotism! Be sure to attend this memorable event. This community-wide prelude to local Fourth of July celebrations guarantees an evening of patriotism and fun for everyone. The main purpose is to honor our local veterans and active duty personnel. They will be asked to introduce themselves and identify the branch of the military to which they belong.
The program is free to the public and free flags provided by the Chamber of Commerce will be given to all who attend. The final list of participants is: Archuleta County Fair Royalty, American Legion Post 108, Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus, Sounds of Assurance, Jody Cromwell and Susan Crump, Chamber of Commerce, P.S. I Love Red Hats, John Graves, Jessica Greene, Jerry Arrington, Gene Tautges, our local Veterans Service Office, other volunteers and the community center.
The patriotic songs that our local talents are preparing include songs from the different branches of the military: "Anchors Aweigh," "The Caissons Go Rolling Along," "Over There," "The Marines' Hymn" and "The U.S. Air Force." Jody Cromwell and company will lead the songs. The Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus will lead the sing-along to the tune of "This is My Country," "No Man is An Island," "God Bless America" and a Cohan medley ("Yankee Doodle Dandy/Grand Old Flag"). Sounds of Assurance, Susie Long and Judy Patton will sing with the crowd's participation "America the Beautiful," "This Land is Your Land" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
The American Legion Post 108 will parade the colors followed by community singing of the "Star Spangled Banner" to be lead by Jessica Greene, a visiting a capella singer.
Kids, are you ready? Come on the stage and answer the following question: "Why do we celebrate July 4 and what does it mean to you?" This is your opportunity to share your knowledge about our country and about patriotism. Children ages 7-12 or anyone courageous enough to come to the stage is welcome to join and win prizes.
Following the program, the audience will have time to visit with friends and neighbors as they enjoy a dessert potluck. The community center will provide hot and cold beverages. This program is for the whole family including visiting guests. Show your support and wear something with red, white and blue. For added fun, three attendees with the most colorful and patriotic attire will be chosen as winners.
We are thrilled to provide this opportunity for the entire community to gather as we begin the celebration of our national heritage.
A United Blood Service blood drive will be held July 6, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. We invite all those who can donate blood to come during this time.
Did you know?
The Archuleta County Red Cross, a branch of the Southwest Red Cross Chapter based in Durango, is alive and active. Look for their trailer full of supplies on the south side of U.S. 160 on Put Hill. The community center is one of the designated shelters in our area in the event of a disaster. Other facilities involved are the junior high and high school gymnasiums, the Vista Clubhouse, and several church-based facilities.
Local advisory board members are Edie Corwin (chairperson), Kathi DeClark, Frank Elge, Gloria Haines, Mercy Korsgren, Kathy Saley, Art Schaefer and Robbie Schwartz. The Disaster Action Team (DAT) is responsible for providing food, shelter, clothing, medications and other needs of families evacuated from their homes due to a disaster. Anyone interested in volunteering, call Edie at (303) 903-4083.
Computer lab news
The senior's class is fun and very helpful according to the members who come every week.
"I just have to remember how to apply what I learned today," said one student.
Becky is very good in teaching the seniors at a level they can understand. I sat in on the class two weeks ago and saw a group amazed by the copy, cut and paste function. They are anxious and just can't wait to see what Becky will have the following week.
The question-and-answer session is becoming very popular. Again, Becky is doing a wonderful job filling the computer knowhow needs of our community. Thank you, Becky.
Free programs/activities needed
Do you have a special talent or hobby that you would like to share - singing, dancing, arts and crafts, cooking, foreign language conversation group, coffee mornings, sports, etc.? We're looking for volunteers interested in forming any of these interest groups. Someone even asked me about the possibility of starting an Irish/Scottish dancing group for fun. Give me a call, 264-4152.
Activities this week:
Thursday, June 30
9 a.m - 3 p.m. - Pierre Mion painting workshop
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. - Building Blocks 4 Health
7 - 9 p.m. - Patriotic Sing-Along night and dessert potluck
Friday, July 1
9:30 - 11:30 a.m. - Twins Club play time
11:15-11:30 a.m. - Seniors walking program
Saturday, July 2
10 -12 p.m. - Waldorf Parenting study group
Sunday, July 3
9 a.m. - noon - Church of Christ Sunday service
9 a.m. - noon - Grace Evangelical Free Church service
2 - 4 p.m. - United Pentecostal Church service
Tuesday, July 5
10:30 a.m. -noon - Seniors computer class
11:15 - 11:30 a.m. - Seniors walking program
1 - 4 p.m. - Computer Q&A
7 - 8 p.m. - Democratic Party meeting
Wednesday, July 6
8:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. - Kelly Law Firm deposition
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Wednesday bridge club
10 a.m. -1:30 p.m. - United Blood Drive
7 - 8 p.m. - Church of Christ Bible study
Thursday, July 7
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - PAX Christmas in July auction
4:30 - 5:30 p.m. - Building Blocks 4 Health
The gym is open everyday, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon for walking and open basketball, except when reserved for special events. Call 264-4152 for information and to reserve a room. The center needs your input on other programs and activities you would like to see happening here. If you have ideas, tell us about them.
The center is a non-profit organization under the umbrella of the Pagosa Springs Public Facilities Coalition (PSPFC) and managed by the Town of Pagosa Springs. It provides space for the Archuleta County Seniors Program, Pagosa Springs Arts Council, Teen Center and other groups and organizations in the community. Rooms are available for rent to anyone or any group on first come first served basis. There is a nominal charge to rent a room and monies collected pay for the utility bills and other operating costs.
Have your party or meeting here. We have very affordable rooms for small, midsize and large groups. A catering kitchen is also available. Tables, chairs, a portable stage, a dance floor and audio visual equipment are available too. The center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. Call 264-4152.
Lost and found
Please check at the front desk if you're missing something that might have been left at the center. We'll hold lost and found items for a month, and then all unclaimed items will be donated to the local thrift stores. Call 264-4152.
New books at library provide something for everyone
By David Bright
One of the most popular spots in the library is our new books area. Patrons are always interested in finding out what's the latest addition to our collection. This is where I went to get a handful of books that I hope you will find intriguing.
As a guitar player, I am a big admirer of B.B. King's music. The "B.B. King Companion," edited by Richard Kostelanetz, is a compilation of articles, interviews and reviews about King. Kostelanetz is a long time fan of King. He first interviewed him in the late '60s and has written about the guitarist over the decades. B.B. King is a national treasure. According to the author, "For more than four decades he (King) has been the consummate blues performer. His unique guitar playing, powerful vocals and repertoire of songs has taken him from tiny Itta Bena, Mississippi, to world-wide renown." Now, for the first time, the best information about King's life and career is gathered in one volume. Kostelanetz is the author of more than 40 books on popular and avant-garde music and he recently edited "The Frank Zappa Companion."
For Mack Bolan fans, "Pressure Point" finds Mack and key Stoney Man Operatives searching for the terrorists' stronghold and weapons of mass destruction.
Western readers will enjoy "Dreams of Eagles," by William W. Johnstone. This book tells the story of Jamie Ian MacCallister, one of only two survivors of the Alamo. In the late summer of 1837 MacCallister, with his wife and a small group of friends, pushed deep into uncharted country that would one day be called "Colorado," where survival was a way of life.
Science Fiction Fans will like "Damnation Road Show," from the Deathland Series by James Axler. In the ruins of nuke-shattered America, Ryan Cawdor makes a perilous journey to the future. Cawdor must make a decision about his journey on the path toward humanity reborn - or on the road deep into the hell that is "deathlands."
The television networks are filled with the popular New York, Las Vegas, and Miami CSI: Crime Scene Investigation shows. There is even a Naval Criminal Investigative Service program - NCIS. They are very popular. We have the real thing in the book called "Bones - A Forensic Detective's Casebook," by Douglas Ubelaker and Henry Scammell. Patricia Cornwell writes, "When the terrible truth about a death lies mingled in the soil, or identity is reduced to a single bone, investigators call Douglas Ubelaker Š truly one of the finest forensic sleuths of our time." Among the dozens of true stories in "Bones," there are accounts of homicide and other horrific crimes, solved and unsolved, from Ubelaker's own personal case books and those of the Smithsonian. Bones has over 75 photos and drawings showing reconstructions and computer sketches.
"Bones" is the legendary authority regarding forensic detective work, introducing dozens of different cases from the bizarre ancient burial practices of the Mayans and Aztecs to America's 12th president, Zachary Taylor, who was exhumed and autopsied on the suspicion he had been murdered by his successor, Millard Fillmore. Was he? You must read the book to find out.
Summer Reading Program
Tomorrow, children will enjoy hearing various versions of the story of Cinderella. Due to the carnival in the park, there will be no craft activities.
We thank the following individuals for gifts of materials: Grace Qualls, Charlene Baumgartner, Lisa Peterson, Kathy Isberg, Carol Fisher, Barbara Blackburn, Ellen Jackson, Diane Bower, Susan Ruffing, Robert Wood, Paul Matlock, Mary Mazza-Andersen, Anna O'Reilly and Alice Kelley.
Red, White and Blue Day at The Den
By Jeni Wiskofske
July is a great month to visit the Silver Foxes Den. We have lots of fun activities going on, many people are returning for the summer and there is much laughter to be had when you visit with us. Come on down and check out the "buzz" that is catching on. Join us for the camaraderie, the entertainment and the enjoyment of being a part of something special.
Red, White and Blue Day
On Friday, July 1, we will begin to celebrate our Independence Day by wearing red, white and blue in preparation for Fourth of July. Come decked out in your patriotic colors to show your spirit or just to look a little goofy.
Ice cream social
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! The first one was so much fun that we are going to do it again. The "Den" will host an ice cream social Friday, July 1, after lunch. We will provide the ice cream for 50 cents and you bring in your favorite sundae topping to share with everyone to add to the fun. Music and sing-a-longs will be in duet with our very own talented piano player, Dorothy O'Hara.
Fourth of July parade
The Den will participate in Pagosa's annual Fourth of July parade Monday, July 4, at 10 a.m. If you would like to ride in the senior bus with us and show your spirit and wave to all the parade bystanders, give us a call. We would love to have you join us for the fun.
Save a life, give blood
The Den will host a blood drive Wednesday, July 6, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Call us at 264-2167 to make an appointment to donate blood. Remember, only a little pinprick to you could save someone's life. Be brave, make time, and give something precious. Help save a life.
Yoga - for body and mind
It is never too late to start stretching. In fact, the older we get, the more important it becomes to stretch on a regular basis.
Yoga is one of the best ways to stretch, relax and build strength. Beginning in July, yoga classes will be held Wednesdays and Qi Gong classes Fridays, both from 10 - 11 a.m. in the lounge. Join yoga and Qi Gong to stretch, relieve stress and experience a healthier mind and body.
July mystery trip
Over the valley and through the woods to somewhere lovely we'll go.
It is not too far and it's a beautiful ride, so all aboard for an evening drive. On Thursday, July 21 we will meet at The Den at 2:45 p.m. for our monthly mystery excursion. Cost is $5 per person and transportation will be provided by the senior bus (limited seating) and car pooling. Call 264-2167 to add your name to the list by Friday, July 8, to experience the adventure and the mystery. We promise it will be a blast.
Arthritis self-help class
For people with arthritis, living the most active life with the least amount of pain and disability involves becoming an active partner in their arthritis care. The Den is offering a six-week arthritis self-help course beginning on Wednesday, July 20, from 6-8:00 p.m. to encourage people affected by arthritis to be proactive in their health and well-being.
Anyone with any type of arthritis, or persons in support roles, are encouraged to attend. Class size is limited to 18 participants so please call The Den at 264-2167 for registration and further information. We hope you take advantage of this educational and supportive opportunity to help you overcome some of the challenges of arthritis.
Medicare drug insurance
Have limited income? Social Security can help with Medicare prescription costs. Find out if you are eligible by attending one of the following workshops to gain knowledgeable information on the new Medicare drug card at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center at the community center Tuesday, July 12, at 1:00 p.m. and on Tuesday, July 19, at 5:30 p.m. And remember, if you ever have any questions or need assistance, please visit with our well-informed Medicare Counselors on Mondays at The Den from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Activities at a glance
Friday, July 1 - Red, White and Blue Day. Wear your colors to celebrate Independence Day. Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Veterans' Services, noon; ice cream social (50 cents for ice cream and bring your favorite topping to share), 1 p.m.; Sing-a-long with Dorothy O'Hara, 1:15 p.m.
Monday, July 4 - closed.
Tuesday, July 5 - Basic computer instruction, 10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; SOL kids visit, noon; Canasta, 1 p.m., all levels welcome.
Wednesday, July 6 - Blood drive, please donate and help save a life, 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.; Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; Pinochle, 1 p.m., all levels welcome.
Friday, July 8 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m; blood pressure checks, 11 a.m. - noon; gym walk, 11:15; Senior's Inc. board meeting, 1 p.m.
Suggested donation $2.50 for ages 60-plus, all others $4.50.
Salad bar, everyday - 11:30 a.m.
Friday, July 1 - Chicken tenders, rice pilaf, wheat bread, and almond peaches.
Monday, July 4 - Closed for Fourth of July.
Tuesday, July 5 - Liver and onions, mashed potatoes and gravy, roll, and fruited Jell-O.
Wednesday, July 6 - Pasta with meatballs, bread stick and pears.
Friday, July 8 - White chili with chicken, asparagus, corn bread, and sherbet.
VFW receives grant to help with VA health care trips
By Andy Fautheree
I'm happy to announce the Pagosa Springs Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9695 has been awarded a 2005 $5,000 Grant from the Colorado Veteran's Trust Fund to assist local veterans with transportation and accommodations costs while traveling to VA health care appointments.
The grant will work hand-in-hand with our veterans' transportation program that includes two vehicles for this purpose, both obtained through similar grants from VTF the last few years. The Pagosa Springs American Legion Post 108 used a $30,000 grant to purchase a 2005 Chevy Trail Blazer late last year. A 2003 Ford Taurus was purchased two years earlier, also through the American Legion.
These veterans' organizations work in partnership with Archuleta County government to provide insurance, maintenance and licensing for the vehicles. This office provides a clearing house for scheduling vehicle trips and maintenance.
Typically, local veterans with a valid Colorado driver's license can schedule and use the vehicles for transportation to their VA health care appointments. Veterans from here travel to Albuquerque VA Medical Center, Farmington VA Clinic, Durango VA Clinic, Grand Junction VA Medical Center, and even to the Chama community clinic. Veterans using these vehicles pay their own fuel costs and ensure the vehicle is clean for the next veteran to use.
Our veterans have been under an increased burden lately because of rising fuel costs and lack of overnight accommodations at the Albuquerque VAMC. With the benefit of this latest VFW grant, veterans will be able to get some assistance with these costs. Details of how the money will be paid out to travelers are still being worked out. It is expected this office will disburse the money, acting as the VAHC transportation coordination center. Archuleta County government will be involved, since the grant money is based on "reimbursement" for these veteran travel expenses. However, there will be no cost to the taxpayers to provide the service.
Use of funds
Local veterans are encouraged to contact this office in the near future for further information on how to obtain this assistance. Initial discussions with VFW and the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office have centered on an arrangement that provides the money as a reimbursement for travel expense, or as a fixed amount of monetary assistance per trip to a specific VAHC facility.
A portion of the grant money will also be used to assist with overnight accommodations for Albuquerque VAMC appointments. Albuquerque VAMC no longer provides overnight accommodations for our veterans except for a very few, limited exceptions, in spite of the fact the distance is 530 miles per trip.
The distance to Albuquerque makes it difficult for a round trip in one day once you consider the time spent at the appointment. In some cases, the required health care prohibits the patient from driving until the next day. This forces an overnight stay in Albuquerque, and the VAMC does not provide overnight accommodations. They used to provide overnight accommodations to veterans traveling this distance; that policy ended the middle of last year. Albuquerque VAMC discontinued this service because of budget issues. Some veterans report they have been forced to cancel appointments because they can't afford the travel expense.
A reminder this office is closed this week while I am on vacation. I will return July 5. You may call the Archuleta County Commissioners' office (264-8300) for assistance with VAHC transportation vehicle scheduling. Unless you need a transportation vehicle immediately, please save future scheduling until I return.
Don't forget to call or stop by my office with your VA health care appointments for the Share-A-Ride program. Help a fellow veteran who may be going in the same direction to the same VA facility. Give me a call if you can provide transportation or need transportation. I will keep a calendar of who is going where to coordinate this important program.
Durango VA Clinic
The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 400 South Camino Del Rio, Suite G, Durango, Colorado 81301 (next to Big 5 Sports). Phone number is 247-2214. Albuquerque VAMC phone number is (800)465-8262.
For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Archuleta County 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment.
Photo exhibit opens tonight at PSAC gallery
By Kayla Douglass
We hope you'll join us tonight for the opening of the rodeo photography show by Wendy Saunders, Extreme Emotion of the Ride, 5-7 p.m. at the PSAC gallery in Town Park.
The show features mostly black and white photographs taken during actual rodeo events, including the National Western Stock Show in Denver , the Greeley Stampede and National Western Finals (Las Vegas). Through the photographs, you'll experience rodeo before, during and after the ride.
Saunders has been a photojournalist covering life's events for more than 25 years. She custom prints black and white images in her darkroom (almost a lost art in today's world), then hand selects framing which best represents the image. Each image is from a limited collection of 100 prints.
American Cowboy Magazine featured several of the images in the April 2004 edition. Saunders' images go beyond the "ride" of rodeo, as she photographs moments before and after the ride. For a sneak peak of the show, visit www.wensaunders.com and click the RODEO button.
The exhibit will be on display June 30-July 30, but an opening night reception is always a treat and affords an opportunity to meet the artist. Wendy looks forward to some great conversations, so come and join us tonight.
The Basics of Watercolor for Beginners is again being offered by Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett July 11, 12, and 13 in the community center 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Bring your lunch.
Cost is $123.50 for members and $130 for others. This is your opportunity to learn all of the things you wished you had been taught when you first started painting in watercolor. This workshop will cover brushes, their care and how to use them to make the marks you need to create your own painting; watercolor papers, what surface to use, what weight to buy; pigments, how to mix colors, properties of colors; and so much more about each item of our equipment. Each day will begin with lessons and handouts on a given subject and the afternoon will be spent on creating a painting utilizing the points from the morning's lesson using the overhead mirror and the follow-me format.
This workshop is for adults who have always wanted to try their hand at watercolor but were afraid to attend other workshops. It is a chance to learn to paint with others who are afraid they have no talent, or who have struggled to learn on their own with limited success.
Learn the basics, especially the things you need to know about materials and techniques to begin the process of creating your own works of art. There is lots of individual attention and assistance.
This is the first of three workshops to be offered this summer. Basics II is scheduled Aug. 10-12 and Intermediate I Sept. 12-14. For additional information on the content of the workshop you can call Ginnie at 731-2489 or Denny at 731-6113.
Class size is limited so sign up early at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council building in Town Park or call the council at 264-5020. Materials list will be available when you register.
PSAC annual meeting
The arts council annual meeting was a fun evening for all.
Special thanks go to J.J.'s Upstream for such a wonderful buffet, and to Bluegrass Cadillac Band for the fabulous entertainment. Katie Deshler was ratified as a new member of the board of directors and we said farewell to board members Adrienne Haskamp who has served as secretary and Katrina Thomas, treasurer. Both of these talented and hardworking gals have been a wonderful asset to the arts council and we will miss them as board members, though we hope to have them participating in other ways as their time allows. Thanks Katrina and Adrienne for all your time, effort and talent. We will miss you.
Home and garden tour
It's time to get ready for the next big PSAC event.
If you've been checking the calendar at the end of this column, you'll know that the home and garden tour has been scheduled for July 24. This will be the fifth annual tour, and once again we have five lovely properties scheduled for your viewing pleasure, along with a new feature this year. Flyers will be available soon and tickets will go on sale near the Fourth of July. Mark your calendars, save the date and watch this column for more information
Juried art exhibit
How would you like to win $1000?
That's the first-place award for the second annual Juried Art Show; second place is $500; third place $200 and People's Choice is $100.
Eligibility: Watermedia, oil, pastels and drawings.
All work must be original in concept and must have been created without the assistance of an instructor. All work must be dry, properly framed and wired for hanging. Exceptions are allowed for work specifically intended to be unframed.
Size limit is 4' X 4', including mat and frame. Limit of two entries per artist. All entries must be for sale.
PSAC will retain 30-percent commission on all sales. Artwork is to be dropped off between July 30 and Aug. 1 at Wild Spirit Art gallery. Entry fees: PSAC member $15 one entry, $25 for two. Nonmembers $20 for one entry and $30 for two. Entry form with complete checklist is available through PSAC.
Wild Spirit opens
Wild Spirit Gallery announces its opening Friday, July 1. This 3,400 square-foot visual arts gallery will feature wall art and sculpture of local and nationally known artists. The location is right in the heart of downtown Pagosa, at 480 San Juan St. (across from the courthouse in the former Holy Smokes building).
When we speak of multiple exposures, we mean making more than one exposure on a single frame of film.
Multiple exposures can be used to create many different in-camera effects. One such effect emulates the appearance of fine impressionistic paintings. We will discuss this technique as well as others at this special workshop. A "Guide to Multiple Exposure Photography" authored by the presenter will be provided to those who attend. Topics will include the estimation of correct exposure for making multiple exposure images.
The workshop will take place Saturday, July 9, from 10 to 11 am. Immediately following the workshop, there will be a two-hour field trip to a suitable nearby location to practice multiple exposure techniques.
Bring a camera that is capable of making multiple exposures. This would be a camera that allows specific multiple exposure settings (check your manual), or one that allows an override so that the film does not advance when cocking the shutter. A tripod would also be handy, but not necessary, for the field trip.
The workshop is free to Pagosa Springs Photography Club members. A $10 fee will be charged to nonmembers. If you wish to attend, please send an RSVP to Al Olson at a.c.olson@CenturyTel.net or call 731-9801.
The Arts Council is proud to sponsor Tom Lockhart, well-known oil painter, in his first Pagosa Springs oil painting workshop, set for July.
A Colorado native, Lockhart was born and raised in Monte Vista. His love for nature and the outdoors is evident in his paintings. Striving to convey a feeling for light and atmosphere is always a challenge for any artist, but for Lockhart it is even more challenging because he works in oils, pastels, and watercolors. He enjoys painting his local surroundings but also travels throughout the United States to capture additional images with brush and paint. He travels the southwest canyons of Arizona and Utah and the villages of northern New Mexico as well as the Rocky Mountains and the coast of Maine. He looks for every opportunity to search for new and inspiring subject matter, often painting on location.
Lockhart has been included in many national and regional juried exhibitions and has won numerous awards including Region III Winner for the National Arts For the Parks. He is a member of the prestigious Northwest Rendezvous (NWR), a group of 44 of the country's top artists. He is a Signature member of The Oil Painters of America and Rocky Mountain Plein Aire Painters. He has received the Director's Choice Award and an Award of Excellence at Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters in Estes Park. Lockhart has also been included in the Colorado Governor's Show in Loveland and the Greeley Western Stampede Show. He was chosen by Watercolor Magazine and the Forbes' to paint for a week at the Forbes Trinchera Ranch, and then to exhibit his watercolor paintings in their galleries in New York City and San Francisco. He was named Colorado Artist of the Year for Ducks Unlimited and his art has helped benefit the Colorado Wildlife Society. "Subliminal Drama", an article about Tom, was featured in Art of the West Magazine. He was also featured in Watercolor Magazine's, "Colorado Markings", and an article about the Forbes Trinchera painting trip.
Lockhart has his own gallery and studio, La Casa De Luz, in Monte Vista and galleries in the Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and Maine represent him. To view a sample of Tom's work go his Web site: email@example.com.
The workshop includes the basic fundamentals of design, color, value, mass and perspective. Applying this acquired knowledge to painting the landscape both outdoors and in the studio will make painting easier and more fun. He will help each workshop participant with the specific needs by strengthening their strong points and help improve on their weaknesses. Attendees will enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding area. Lockhart will demonstrate as much as possible. Some experience is required,
All PSAC classes and workshops are held in the arts and craft space at the community center, unless otherwise noted.
All exhibits are on display at the PSAC Gallery in Town Park, unless otherwise noted.
June 30 - July 30 - Wendy Saunders photography exhibit
July 7 - Oil painting with Betty Slade, 9 a.m., Blanco Dove Retreat, $35
July 8 - Watercolor painting with Betty Slade, 9 a.m., community center, $35
July 9 - Multiple exposure photography workshop, 9 a.m., community center
July 11-13 - Beginner I, the Basics watercolor workshop with Denny and Ginnie, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., community center
July 20 - 23 - Tom Lockhart oil workshop, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., community center
July 24 - PSAC Home and Garden Tour
July 27 - Watercolor club, 10 a.m., community center
August 4 - 31 - Juried Art Exhibit
August 29 - Sept. 1- Joye Moon plein aire watercolor workshop, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Community Center
September - Celebrities Cook for the Arts and art auction
Sept. 1-29 - Watercolor club exhibit
Sept. 1 - 28 - Juried Art Exhibit
Sept. 29 - Oct. 31 - Fine woodworking and Betty Slade student oil painters exhibit
October - Artist Studio Tour
November - 2005 Gallery Tour
December - Possible Festival of Trees in conjunction with the community center
Artsline is a communication vehicle of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, courtesy of the Pagosa Sun. For inclusion in Arts line, send information to PSAC e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.
Hurting some friends with food
By Karl Isberg
I had to get even with them.
They are dear friends, but they had to suffer.
Roy and Mindy were in town for a visit.
They were at my place for drinks and dinner.
I wanted to hurt them.
Since they are such valued friends, I intended to hurt them with some very good eats.
Why the lust for vengeance, the desire to inflict such oh-so-sweet injury?
Simple: they deserted me and Kathy. Left us in the lurch. Flew the coop.
Roy and Mindy used to live here in Siberia With a View, and I thought we were all so happy. What a fool I was. I must have seemed a total idiot - nothing unusual, mind you, but in this case the display was beyond poignant, with the four of us getting together on a regular basis, me babbling aimlessly, full of myself, drinking way too much wine, being way too clever in a pathetically superficial way, all the while assuming these pals of ours couldn't live without this.
Roy worked at The SUN as a staff writer. He covered girls' basketball and the school board. He skulked around looking for stories and wrote a mighty fine column on film. He was and is, very skinny. He was, and is, my only very skinny friend.
Mindy did this and that, including work as a secretary at the elementary school, abusing what was, in reality, a set of mighty impressive skills. I should have sensed she was less than content, should have interpreted her incessant muttering as something other than a manifestation of tree pollen allergies, but I was too busy babbling aimlessly.
They owned a three-legged St. Bernard. They lived in a quaint shack out on Fourmile Road. Roy had fled a job as a tenured professor at a nice little college in Florida and he and Mindy settled into the alpine life here in Siberia With a View. Could life be any better?
As far as I was concerned, our friendship was so profound we would eventually accompany each other to the same rest home, where we would trade the same story, over and over and over, as we sat in a cozy cluster on the veranda. Until we died.
Bottom line: the two of them synchronized perfectly with me and Kathy.
Then, kablam!, like a luxury yacht hitting a sand bar, the whole kit and kaboodle blew apart and went to the bottom. The skunks were out of the culvert, and I was the last to know!
Roy and Mindy left. Went back to Florida - to the heat and humidity and the big insects and the hurricanes - got real jobs, with salaries commensurate with their abilities.
Now, they're back for a visit, and acting like their desertion was no big deal. Like we're still the best of chums.
But, no, there is a price for leaving. I have not enjoyed babbling aimlessly while alone (Kathy won't listen to me, we've been together 33 years). There is tax to be paid, some bruises to be healed.
I resolved to gain my satisfaction with food.
I got the idea of food-based revenge while planning a dinner for Roy and Mindy. One naturally turns to the grill during the summer months, thinks of cool, fruity things, ice cubes, etc. But, absent serious jerk chicken or pork, or some monstrous, chile-laden marinades and mops to dress hunks of flesh, there is not much chance to do damage with grilled foods. Plus, I haven't taken the cover off my grill, haven't given a thought to using it. Grilling requires I go outside to the deck. I don't like to be outdoors; there are bugs out there.
I went through a list of hurtful foods and failed to come up with anything that can be prepared indoors without adding heat to an already uncomfortably warm atmosphere (after all, opening doors and windows to cool things down is tantamount to being outdoors).
The things I do well, dishes that can put a serious whup on someone, need long, slow cooking on the stovetop or in the oven.
Then I realized the addition of 10 degrees to an already hot house would only increase the discomfort felt by the occupants. It is a bonus! Roy and Mindy will come to the dinner dressed somewhat respectably. I, on the other hand, can waddle around clad only in a pair of baggy plaid shorts. No need for shirt or shoes. It's my house. Plus, with as much body hair as I have, they'll think I'm wearing a sweater.
So, ambient air temperature problem solved, what would it be, foodwise?
Obviously, with no access to things like sea urchin roe, stinky unpasteurized French cheese or organ meats from exotic species, I was not going to deal a blow with the mere idea of an ingredient. Flavor would be my hammer.
No question, I'd have to overload these two goofs with chile.
I could dust some flesh with seasoned, dried ancho power and cook it, but that's small-caliber action.
There's always curry, in one incendiary form or another. It was ruled out; lacking the ingredients for a proper, volcanic vindaloo, I would be forced to temper the blow, to bank the fire of the chile with coconut milk. And I was in no mood to bank the fire.
A common chile verde would do the trick, but I'd have a difficult time disguising my intent. They might cut and run before I got my revenge.
There was no time to do a proper adovada or a carne asada. I could whip up enchilada torta but I was out of my favorite Espanola red and I was not stooping to something of lesser quality and character. But, heavens, some chorizo and onion bedded between the corn tortillas, each layer kissed with cheese and that hefty, earthy red Š a poached egg on top of the stack ... ahhhh.
Nope, it had to be a braise.
I chose pork. Kathy was out of town so there would be just three of us. I scurried to the store and purchased a small pork loin. I bought two large white onions, a head of garlic, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, a pack of corn tortillas, a bunch of cilantro, a lemon, a lime, a large jalapeno pepper, a package of vine-ripened tomatoes, a large can of pinto beans, some greens and four large, ripe avocados (and, surprise, I found ripe ones - not the usual window breakers!).
I hustled home and began to put together the mother of all gut bombs. My pals have been mincing around with Florida cuisine - whatever that is - and this beast was going to feel like an alien pod growing inside the body, gnawing its way to freedom through the abdomen.
I washed, seeded and chopped the tomatoes. I diced some white onion then crushed and minced a clove of garlic. I chopped a bit of cilantro and threw the three ingredients into a bowl. I halved then seeded the jalapeno, taking care to leave some of the white membrane in the pepper - that's where the heat is concentrated. I finely diced the pepper an took care to wash my hands after. I added the pepper to the mix and squeezed in the juice of a lime, added a bit of salt and pepper, stirred, covered and refrigerated.
I thinly sliced a whole white onion, opened the can of tomatoes, chopped half a bunch of cilantro, peeled and minced seven or eight cloves of garlic.
I sauteed the onion and when it was translucent and soft, in went the garlic. A minute or two later, in went the tomatoes and enough chicken stock to eventually cover the meat. I added a healthy amount of dried oregano and a significant wad of ground cumin, some salt and some pepper. In went the cilantro and I brought the mix to a simmer.
Then, just as I prepared to free the loin from its tubular confines, the phone rang.
It was Mindy.
"What time do you want us to come over?"
I told her.
"Do you want to go somewhere to eat?"
"No," I said, barely able to conceal my enthusiasm. "I'm gonna make something for you guys. It'll be just peachy."
"I suppose this is the right time to tell you, then."
"Huh? Right time? Tell me what?"
"Roy and I have given up eating red meat."
Aaaaarrrgh. I stared at the beautiful hunk o' pork sitting on the kitchen counter. I was tempted to remind Mindy that pork is "the other white meat," but she's pretty darned smart and there's little chance she'd fall for it.
I went into mental overdrive. "No prob, Sweetie. See you at six."
I covered the pot and turned the heat to low. I tore out of the house and rocketed back to the market where I picked up two packs of boneless chicken breasts.
Back home and in the kitchen, I washed, dried and trimmed the chicken breasts, hit them with some salt and pepper and, after a couple minutes, I gently lowered them into the simmering bath.
Then Š the heat.
Every green chile aficionado knows that frozen green increases in potency over time. This is not apocryphal. And, this day, I had in my possession a tub of Bueno green - roasted, peeled, chopped and "Hot." It had rested in the freezer compartment of my refrigerator for more than six months, emitting "Hot" like a pile of plutonium emits deadly radiation.
I emptied the contents into the pot, added a tablespoon of hot ground red (store-bought but, in this case, acceptable), put a top on the pot and shoved it into a 350 oven, anticipating a two-hour turnaround.
The odor that filled the house was terrific - deep, fragrant. It smelled "Hot."
About a half hour before Roy and Mindy were due to arrive, I washed some greens and dried them. I emptied a can of pinto beans into a saucepan and put it over low heat
I peeled, seeded and roughly mashed the avocados then added the juice of half a lemon, some salt and pepper and covered the mix with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic on to the surface of the guacamole to retard oxidation.
I found some terrific bleu cheese in the fridge - a bribe from a friend. I removed it from its package and set it on a plate on the counter to let it catch its breath. I had some oil-cured olives and sesame rye crackers to complete the snack offering. I popped the top on a fantastic, low-priced California red blend (I'm not going to tell you the brand because I want it all to myself) then sat back, sipped a bit of the red, scarfed down an olive or three, and waited for my victims to arrive. Up they rolled in their rental car and the fun began.
We sat on the deck pounding down the red, gobbling the bleu, the crackers, the olives. I was impatient.
I zipped to the kitchen, pulled the pot from the oven and put it on a burner, medium high heat, to reduce the braising liquid. While that happened, I cranked up the heat under the beans, evaporating the lion's share of the liquid in the pan. Then I mashed half the beans, put them back in the pan with the whole beans, added a pat of butter to the variegated mess, and seasoned with salt and pepper.
When the braising liquid was nearly gone, I shredded the chicken breasts with two forks, working on them in the pot. I tossed the chicken with the remaining liquid to moisturize the mix, tasted and adjusted the seasoning, adding a teensy bit more oregano for brightness and a bit of salt.
I steamed a stack of corn tortillas, wrapping them in a barely moist towel and zapping them for two minutes in the microwave.
The salsa fresca, the guacamole and a bowl of shredded Mexican cheeses went on the table; we each fashioned a couple soft tacos and, glasses replenished, we dug in.
At first, they pretended they liked it.
They had to - they are my friends.
There were beads of sweat on their precious brows. They knew they were in trouble, but they forged on, prompted by too much wine and enormous guilt.
Then the chile endorphins kicked in and they each had second helpings, the coup de grace. They were caught in that curious, contradictory cycle that chile heat produces. I hurt but, oh, it hurts so good that I feel pleasure so I have to have more so I can hurt more, etc.
Just as I knew they would be.
They were feeling pain.
Just as they should.
I had done my work.
But, the great thing about revenge by food, is the satisfaction persists - especially when chile is the weapon of choice.
Just wait till tomorrow.
Deal with those pesky aphids
By Bill Nobles
July 1 - Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting, 2 p.m.; Goat Project meeting, 3 p.m.
July 4 - Office closed.
July 5 - Livestock Committee meeting, 6 p.m.
July 7 - Entomology Project meeting, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Shady Pine Club meeting, 7 p.m.
Check out our Web page at www.archuleta.colostate.edu for calendar events and information.
Dozens of species of aphids (also known as plant lice) may be found on shade trees and woody ornamental plants in Colorado. Aphids are small insects, typically less than 1/8 inch, although some may be almost 1/4 inch long. Colors range from bright orange or red to dull gray. One common group, woolly aphids, produces an abundance of flossy, waxy threads that cover their bodies. Aphids feed on plants by sucking plant sap from the leaves, twigs or stems. When abundant, aphids remove large quantities of sap, reducing plant growth and vigor. This injury is most common with stem- or trunk-infesting aphids, such as the woolly apple aphid and juniper aphid. Aphids feeding on developing leaves also can produce leaf curl injuries. This is most frequently observed on snowball viburnum, honeysuckle, plum and ash.
Most aphids excrete large quantities of a sweet, sticky substance called honeydew. At times, excessive honeydew dropping from trees can be an extreme nuisance. Also, sooty mold fungus may grow on the honeydew, producing a gray, unattractive covering of the leaves. Sooty mold is not damaging to the trees except when it covers leaves and temporarily reduces photosynthesis. Ants often are attracted to honeydew and feed on it. Ants may even tend aphids and other honeydew-producing insects (certain scales, leafhoppers, treehoppers), protecting them from natural enemies such as lady beetles and lacewings. Often the presence of ants crawling up trees or on foliage indicates that large numbers of aphids or other honeydew producers also are on the plants.
Typical aphid life history
Most species of Colorado aphids overwinter as eggs on specific types of woody plants. Eggs hatch in the spring. The following spring and summer, forms of the aphid sometimes move from overwintering plants to other plant species. Summer aphids consist entirely of females that give birth to live young at a rate of one to 20 per day. The newly hatched aphids can complete their development within one to two weeks, after which they begin to produce more aphids. Consequently, aphid populations may increase rapidly, with several generations occurring during the growing season. At the end of the summer, both male and female aphids are produced. They mate on the overwintering host plant, and females lay eggs.
Many kinds of insects naturally prey upon aphids. Most common are various species of lady beetles (ladybugs), green lacewings, syrphid flies and small parasitic wasps. Under many conditions, these beneficial insects provide effective control of aphids. Before applying any insecticide, check the plants to make sure these natural controls are not already reducing aphid numbers. Sometimes ants interfere with these natural controls. Excluding ants with sprays, sticky bands, etc., can allow biological controls to be effective.
When natural enemies are not abundant enough to provide aphid control, insecticides sometimes are needed to prevent plant injury. For most aphid problems, particularly those associated with leaf curls, insecticides that move systemically within the leaf or plant provide the best control. The most common systemic insecticide available to homeowners is Orthene (acephate). Cygon (dimethoate) also may be available as a spray for use on evergreens. Some insecticides can be applied to the soil and taken up by the roots of the plants. These are called systemic insecticides. The most recent, Imidacloprid, is sold under the trade name Bayer Advanced Garden Tree & Shrub Killer Concentrate. (Merit is the trade name of imidacloprid used by professional tree care companies.) It is applied as a drench over the root zone. An older and much more toxic soil systemic insecticide that is still available for some ornamental plant uses is DiSyston (disulfoton). DiSyston is sold as granules or in plant food mixtures for soil application.
There are several insecticides effective for aphid control when sprayed on plants. Perhaps most effective are those with systemic activity that allows them to move through the plant. Acephate (Isotox, Orthene) is the most widely available systemic insecticide. Dimethoate (Cygon) is less commonly available and is mostly used for aphids on evergreens. Other insecticides used as sprays that have activity against aphids include insecticidal soaps, malathion, and esfenvalerate.
Many of the aphids that curl leaves and produce problems in spring originate from eggs that remained on the plants during winter. Before bud break and egg hatch these eggs can be killed with sprays of horticultural oils. Such a use of oils is often described as a 'dormant oil' application, since it is applied before the plants produce new growth in spring. On smaller trees aphids may be controlled by use of high pressure sprays of water. Hosing plants can also remove the sticky honeydew that aphids excrete. Call the Extension Office at 264-5931 for more information on aphids and other types of insects.
Down to one
The Archuleta County 4-H Program is in need of one more Livestock record book judge, specifically for the horse category. Anyone familiar with 4-H and horses who wants to volunteer as a record book judge is welcome to help this year at the Archuleta County Fair. The judging is twofold: an interview with the 4-H member and then evaluation of the 4-H record book. The interview process takes place at the fair Sunday, Aug. 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. We provide breakfast and lunch for the judges. If you think this is something you or someone you know would be interested in, please call Pamela at the Extension Office, 264-5931.
Summer swim lessons are 'ginormous'
By Ming Steen
The response from families with young children for summer swim lessons has been so "ginormous" that only sessions five and six have a handful of openings left. With the first four sessions filled to capacity, the recreation center pool has been a very happening place. We apologize for not being able to offer more sessions - due to overall crowding during the summer. Let us know if you want your child to be enrolled in swim lessons in the fall and winter, when the facility is less crowded.
"Ginormous" tops my non-dictionary word list, now. This spring the editors of Merriam-Webster dictionaries got more than 3,000 entries when, in a lighthearted moment, they asked visitors to their Web site to submit their favorite words that aren't in the dictionary.
Some of the proposed words even gained multiple submissions so the editors came up with an unofficial top 10 list.
First place went to "ginormous" - bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous - followed by "confuzzled" for confused and puzzled simultaneously.
If you can't let out a "whoot" at all these newly-created words, then you must be a "lingweenie" - a person incapable of making up new words - placed 10th.
The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association annual meeting will be held this year Saturday, July 30. Balloting is from 9 to 10 a.m. and the meeting starts at 10 a.m. Mark this date on your calendar.
Given a population that seems ever more determined to hold onto its youth, plus the proliferation of full-service spas, it seems that Botox treatment may well represent the noncutting edge of a new trend. A recent industry publication for health club operators tout a one-stop facility: exercise, scrub, massage, Botox.
If Juan Ponce de Leon were alive today, instead of searching for the fountain of youth, he might well be battling wrinkles and the other signs of aging at his local health club.
From one perspective, these clubs are providing a service that their members want, but it's hard for me to accept. I espouse feeling younger through the process of natural and safe life-style changes. Remember, this is also the same person who, in a previous column in this paper, advocated brushing your teeth when you crave a snack and it's not close to meal time. I am a bit extreme.
You go ahead and have the Botox treatment, the body scrub and while you are at it, throw in a teeth-whitening. It's too much of a stretch for me.
In celebrating Fourth of July, celebrate freedom and the gift of making personal choices.
The recreation center and the PLPOA administrative office will be closed Monday for the Fourth of July.
Emmry Kate Anderson
Local teachers Amber and Morgan Anderson announce the birth of their daughter, Emmry Kate. Born June 14, 2005, in Durango's Mercy Medical Center, she weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 19 inches long. Big sister, Kendyl, is happy to have a real baby to love.
Summer excitement feel it in the air
By Mary Jo Coulehan
You can really feel the summer excitement in the air.
Music in the Mountains patrons and volunteers were treated to a spectacular evening of magnificent music and environments of the natural and man-made kind Saturday, June 25. The combination was awe-inspiring. Throngs of people occupied Town Park June 26 and river enthusiasts of all kinds - kayakers, fishermen and rafters - conveyed their excitement about potential activities to come on the San Juan River flowing right through town.
And the Fourth of July activities haven't even begun yet.
I know I say it time and again, but as I attend these different events, it just makes me realize how lucky we are to actually live here and enjoy the natural beauty that is at our doorstep. Don't miss out on all that is available to you this summer. And with that lead-in, let's again review all the activities that will make up the Fourth of July holiday here in Pagosa Springs.
Thursday, June 30
Start out the holiday with the reason for the season and attend the annual Patriotic Sing-a-Long at the Community Center starting at 7 p.m.
This event will surely make you proud to be an American. There will be patriotic songs to sing, events for the children and a special power point presentation honoring our own Pagosa Heroes who are serving in the armed forces. At the end of the program, there will be a dessert pot luck sponsored by the Red Hat Society. There is no admission charge and this is the event to get your patriotic juices flowing.
Friday, July 1
It's a treat for children of all ages. The carnival has come to town. This is the first night of the carnival in Town Park. Outside of the fireworks, I think this is the most exciting time for the children.
At 8 p.m. at the county Extension Building, Tim Sullivan and the Narrow Gauge will bring their country and western boot scootin' music to Pagosa Springs. You can purchase your tickets for the Western Heritage Event Center Benefit Dance at the Chamber, Goodman's or at the door. Tickets for the dance are $25 per couple, $15 per person, or $5 per child accompanied by a parent. Not a lot of opportunities to dance lately? Come on out and enjoy yourself!
Saturday, July 2
The day marks the start of the Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival and the Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo. The arts and crafts festival will begin at 9 a.m. and go until about 6 p.m. Vendors selling craft and food items will fill both Town and Centennial parks.
The Red Ryder Rodeo begins at 6 p.m. Tickets for the rodeo may be purchased at Goodman's, the Chamber or at the gate. Adults are $10 and children 12 and under are $6. The rodeo will be held at the Red Ryder Rodeo Grounds, adjacent to the fairgrounds on U.S. 84.
The carnival in the park also continues, starting at about noon and lasting into the night.
Sunday, July 3
The shopping extravaganza continues in Town and Centennial parks at the arts and crafts festival. Remember, there will be food in both parks this year, so you have no excuse not to continue to shop and you can get the nourishment to provide the energy for the walk up to Pagosa Street where you can continue your shopping at our local businesses. The park vendors will open up again at 9 a.m. and stay open until about 6 p.m.
The Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo begins at 6 p.m. There will be mutton busting every night of the rodeo.
You can also still attend the carnival in the park. There are lots of rides, and what is a carnival without the chance to get sick from eating too much cotton candy?
Monday, July 4
This day, of course, is the culmination of the holiday weekend. Kick off the day with the traditional Rotary Fourth of July parade. Assembly for the parade is at the high school parking lot starting at 9 a.m. The parade will begin on 8th Street at 10 a.m. and it travels down San Juan and Pagosa streets, ending at 2nd Street. Please observe a couple of rules: You can hand out candy or goodies, but there should be no throwing of items from the floats; no air horns and no water guns or sprayers.
The final session of the arts and crafts fair will go until about 4 p.m.
The Red Ryder Rodeo will starts at 2 p.m. The rodeo attracts contestants from all over the region; don't miss attending.
Then, you can leave the fairgrounds and head straight on over to the Sports Complex at the high school and stake out that perfect spot to watch the fireworks.
Starting at 5 p.m. there will be food booths available should you choose not to bring your own picnic dinner. The food will consist of tasty hot dogs, hamburgers and the like, as well as some sweets to pacify the kids of all ages. Starting at around 6:30 the town will host games for the kids. Then, at around 7:30 p.m., Josiah, Jared, Carson and Lech, better known as The Hot Strings, will perform in concert until about 9 p.m., when it is time to watch the fireworks. We are always honored that, as the Hot Strings grow in national popularity, they continue to offer to take time out of their schedule to play for our Fourth of July festivities. We'll take them as long as we can!
Of course the evening will climax with the yearly fireworks. One is never too old to enjoy these sparkling displays.
There are lots of activities to entertain family and friends and you'll still have some time to enjoy that reunion or barbecue at home in the backyard.
We have three new members and seven renewals this week.
Let's welcome Bill Reeve with Reeve and Associates, Inc. Reeve and Associates offer commercial office furniture for either the office or home - sleek, reasonably priced and there's lots to choose from. This home business is set to meet your office needs. Give Bill a call at 903-9334 to set and appointment. We also thank Kathy Calderon with the Pagosa Springs Welcoming service for referring this business to the Chamber.
We also welcome Casey McCauley, with Fairfield Resorts. He offers the same great timeshare services and knowledge that Fairfield is known for. Give him a call at 731-8000 to obtain timeshare help or if you are interested in purchasing a timeshare here in beautiful Pagosa Springs.
And then we have Jim and Marlanna Amato joining up with us with Clarion Mortgage Capital. Jim and Marlanna are full service mortgage bankers and have been since 2001. They offer a variety of residential and commercial loan packages. As independent brokers with Clarion Mortgage, Jim and Marlanna have a home office with low overhead and the service of a husband-and-wife team. Give them a call at 731-4888 to inquire about mortgage opportunities. It's still not too late. We're glad they are now also with the Chamber team.
Leading the renewal category this week are Mike and Lauri Heraty (past Chamber board member) and The Source for Pagosa Real Estate.
Tucked away just west of town is another renewal - the Hide-A-Way at Pagosa Pines RV Park and Campground.
We welcome back Kim Colby and Old Town Gifts and another long-timer, Jeff Greer and Summit Ski and Sport.
Also welcome back to John Hostetter who leads the Wells Fargo Bank team and to Rendezvous Books and Art, with Camille and Judith Cazedessus.
Closing out this week's renewals is Spencer for Hire Drafting Service.
I know many residents will be entertaining family and friends in our great community this weekend. Why don't you start your holiday celebrating the reason for our freedom at the Community Center and end the holiday in awe, observing the glitter of the season and the fireworks.
Whatever you do, enjoy your time, and those of us at the Chamber remind you to have a safe yet fun Fourth of July. See you around town!
The Springs Resort
Val Fulco, left, bath house supervisor, Denise Israel, resort manager, and Joyce Fletcher, assistant resort manager, lounge by the new pool at The Springs Resort. The Springs Resort is owned by Nerissa Whittington and Keely Whittington-Reyes.
The Springs Resort boasts 18 soaking pools of naturally hot therapeutic mineral water terraced along the banks of the San Juan River in the heart of Pagosa Springs.
On June 20, The Springs Resort opened two new, cool, non-mineral water pools, bringing the total number of pools to 20. Deemed as a family-friendly area, the new pools (swimming and jacuzzi) also offer guests giant screen movies after dark on select nights, all summer long. Designated adult-only pools now provide quiet and relaxed soaking experiences as well.
Hotel guests always enjoy complimentary 24-hour access to all pools which are open 7 a.m. daily to the public. Local discounts are available with I.D. and $7 locals' passes are good all day every Tuesday.
The Springs Resort is located at 165 Hot Springs Boulevard. Call 264-4168 for the hotel, 264-BATH (2282) for the bathhouse, or visit www.pagosahotsprings.com.
Somer A. Evans
West Texas A&M University named more than 1,200 students to honor lists for the spring 2005 semester. Of that total, 325 were named to the president's list and 953 students were named to the dean's list.
Students named to the president's list must have a grade point average of 3.85 or better on a 4.0 scale and carry a minimum class load of 12 undergraduate hours.
Area students on honor lists: Somer A. Evans, Pagosa Springs, sophomore, pre-vet medicine.
Amber Mesker, daughter of Mark and Michele Mesker of Pagosa Springs, graduated from Colorado State University. She completed her four-year college studies with a degree in technical journalism. She has taken a position at Clear Channel Radio and will be living in the Denver area.
Pagosa gymnasts score well at state championships
Pagosa Springs Gymnastics competed last week with 14 teams from throughout Colorado at the state championships at Aerials Gymnastics in Colorado Springs. The three-day event brought out the top gymnasts in the state.
Competing in the first session for the Pagosa Optional A Team were Casey Crow, Danielle Pajak, Gabrielle Pajak, Toni Stoll and Re'ahna Ray. Gabrielle Pajak had her best competition of the season at the state meet, bettering her all-around by more than a point and a half.
There were 21 gymnasts in the child division, and Gabrielle placed third with a score of 35.95. Gabrielle was also the state beam champion with a 9.3, placed second on vault with a 9.25 and fifth on floor with a 9.1. Stoll was also in the child division, placing fourth on the floor with a 9.2 (her highest score on the floor this year), sixth on beam with a 9.0 and eighth on vault with an 8.8. She also received a medal in the all-around, placing seventh with a 35.40. This was Stoll's best all-around score for the season, beating her last score by .5.
In the junior division, Re'ahna Ray and Danielle Pajak competed with 21 of their peers. Ray placed eighth on floor with a score of 9.25. She also placed ninth on bars with an 8.5 and ninth in the all-around with a 34.85. Danielle placed 14th in the all-around with a 34.40 and seventh on vault with a 9.0. This was Danielle's first 9 of the season and to receive it at state is quite an accomplishment.
Crow had her best performance of the season with her highest all-around, beam, vault and floor scores of the year. She placed sixth in the senior division out of 21 girls with a 35.25 also placing second on beam with a 9.20, seventh on the vault with a 9.0 and seventh on the floor with a 9.05. The Optional A Team also brought home a fourth-place team trophy, only 1/10th of a point from third place.
Competing in the second session for the Level 4 team were Salara Vanderbeek, Caitlin Cameron and Becky Riedberger.
Riedberger scored personal bests on the beam and floor exercise. She brought home the bronze medal in the senior division, scoring a 36.175. Riedberger was the state floor champion with a 9.425 and placed second on beam with a 9.25.
Vanderbeek placed sixth in the all-around out of 22 girls in the junior division with a 35.90. She also had a personal best floor score, placing fifth with a 9.35. Vanderbeek placed eighth on bars with an 8.8 and eighth on beam with a 8.9.
Cameron had her best competition of the year bettering her all-around, floor, beam and vault scores. She placed seventh in the all-around with a 35.65 in the senior division against 23 girls. She also placed fifth on bars with an 8.8, sixth on beam with an 8.8, eighth on floor with a 9.0 and ninth on vault with a 9.05. Cameron got her first two 9s at the state meet.
The Level 4 team brought home the fifth-place team trophy beating out five other teams with larger rosters.
Competing in the final session in the Optional B division were Shelby Stretton and Raesha Ray.
Fifty-three of the state's upper level gymnasts competed in three age divisions. Stretton and Ray competed in the junior division against intense competition.
Stretton received the bronze medal on the floor exercise with an all-time, personal high score of 9.70. She also placed sixth on vault with a 9.50, seventh on beam with an 8.50 and sixth in the all-around with a 36.40. Stretton also topped her all-around score for the season by .7 of a point.
Ray was on the award stand, placing fifth on her best event - bars - with a 9.10. She placed eighth on vault with a personal best of 9.45 and scored another personal best floor score of 9.25. Ray placed 12th in the all-around with a 35.45.
High Peaks volleyball team competes at Reno Festival
By Myles Gabel
High Peaks coach
Special to The SUN
The High Peaks Volleyball Club arrived June 24 in Reno, Nev., after an 18-hour drive and the players found themselves among 22,000 other volleyball athletes at the opening ceremonies of the 2005 Volleyball Festival - an Olympic style event sponsored by USA Volleyball, with a staged opening walk into the stadium, an olympic torch ceremony and, finally, a concert by teen sensation Mario.
First day of competition pitted High Peaks against the numbers 3, 24 and 28 ranked teams in the tournament. It was a tough day with many highs and lows. Although the team was close in many games, with many fine individual performances, it was 0-3 for the first day of competition.
The second day was more productive in the win column with High Peaks winning four matches and losing in the championship seeding match of the day. Play started at 8 a.m. and ended at 3:30 p.m. An exhausted team left the tournament's third day with an overall record of 4-4
Following another second-place pool finish, with a record of 5-7, the team ranked 77 out of 125 teams Tuesday, heading into the final rounds of competition.
The team has been able to experience a variety of high-level volleyball action in the first three days of competition. They have had to find a level of play that exceeds my and their expectations. Many players have stepped up and played at an amazing level. We look forward to continuing this high level and hope they will carry this experience with them in their high school and, hopefully, college programs.
Lamar college coaches to conduct Pagosa baseball camp
July 8 and 9 will be special days for Pagosa baseball players.
Scott Crampton, head coach of the Lamar Runnin' Lopes college baseball team, and Donny Alexander, the team's pitching coach, will hold a two-day camp at the high school baseball complex.
Having missed the Junior College World Series by only one game this past season, Crampton is widely recognized as one of the best college coaches and teachers of baseball in the country. His teams consistently compete for trips to the J.C. World Series and many of his players extend their careers in baseball at the Division I college level and in the pro ranks.
Alexander, well-known for his coaching tenure in the Farmington Connie Mack circuit, has quickly established himself as one of the top pitching coaches in the college ranks, guiding his pitching pupils at Lamar to set numerous school records in recent years.
Areas like Pagosa Springs are rarely able to attract coaches of this caliber to do camps. Some say this is the first baseball camp of its kind in Pagosa's history.
"We couldn't be more excited about this," said Dan Bahn, president of the Pagosa Baseball Club, which is sponsoring the event. "The stars have really come out in line on this one. We started contacting coaches way back in March, right in the middle of their seasons. We knew it would be a challenge. Some of these coaches earn about 50 percent of their income doing camps in the summer, and Pagosa just doesn't have the number of kids nor the incomes to provide the dollars necessary to bring a guy like Coach Crampton here. So, we went in from a different angle, selling the coaches on the idea of doing a camp at a vacation destination. Fortunately, our first choice in coaches - Coach Crampton - liked the idea of bringing his family to enjoy everything Pagosa offers during the camp."
Bahn added that this camp serves as a testament to the "cool" things this community can do for its youth "when we all work together. From David Hamilton paving the way for materials for the field, to Charlie Gallegos volunteering his time preparing the field, to Dave Cammack, Roland Caler, Jimmy Henderson and the rest of the Pagosa Baseball Club folks organizing the event, to Myles Gabel getting the word out to the kids - these folks are the stars who came in line to make it happen. The superstars here are the extremely generous local business people whose contributions to Pagosa baseball not only made this camp possible, but also make summer baseball a reality for our kids. We send our huge thanks to everyone."
The camp will consist of three sessions, divided among junior and senior league players. The first pitching session, for senior players age 13 and older, will begin July 8 at 8 a.m. and end at noon. It will cost $20. The second session, "Skills, Drills, Scrimmage," for ages 8-12, will begin July 8 at 1 p.m. and conclude at 4:30 p.m. It will cost $20. The final full-day session (13 and over only) will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, and conclude at 4:30 p.m. Cost is $35. All participants will receive a free camp T-shirt and are encouraged to bring water in addition to their baseball gear. Hot dogs, snacks, and water will be for sale at noon both days.
Registration materials can be picked up and completed at the offices of Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate, (ask for Dave Cammack). Registration will be limited and the deadline for a guaranteed place in camp is July 1. Once the camp roster is filled no other registrations will be accepted.
For more information, call 731-0084.
The pursuit of happinessŠan inalienable right
By Myles Gabel
No one really thinks it is a bad thing to have fun, do they?
In fact, most people agree that fun, however one defines it, is essential to happiness. And happiness, as proclaimed right up front in the Declaration of Independence, is one of our basic inalienable rights.
Over 200 years ago when our forefathers guaranteed our "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," those words gave every citizen a new expectation that happiness was for everyone, not just the rich, famous or privileged class.
Historically, public parks and recreation programs have been a critical part of our heritage locally, regionally, nationally and even globally. Born out of need, park and recreation programs constantly evolved due to changing cultural, societal and demographic demands and desires. Why, then, are park and recreation budgets, staff and programs so small?
Beyond fun and games
Often people are unaware of how vital recreation and leisure are to the quality of their lives. While fun, happiness and play are vital to growth and development, the expanded role of public parks and recreation is more critical than ever. Whether we know it or not, programs, services, events and opportunities offered by local, state and national park and recreation agencies positively impact many areas of our lives and society as a whole.
Parks and recreation services are an integral part of every community. Research indicates that leisure services deliver personal, social, economic and environmental benefits to our communities throughout the United States. Remember the "pursuit of happiness" is your inalienable right.
Go for it!
As Plato said: "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."
Resources: National Recreation and Park Association
Fourth of July
Please join the recreation staff for exciting fun and games at the Sports Complex starting at 5:30 p.m. July 4. All sorts of games for all ages of kids will be available, with prizes for all. Come early, get a seat for the fireworks show and send your kids over to the recreation department Fun Booth.
Youth soccer signups will begin July 5 and continue through July 29. The youth soccer season will start earlier than in past years, beginning Aug. 15 and running through the end of September in order to avoid cold October weather and less sunlight. Pick up applications at Town Hall after July 5 or go online at townofpagosa springs.com to download an application. Age groups are 5/6, 7/8, 9/10, 11/12 and we will attempt to form a new group of 13/14 (seventh and eighth grades) if interested. Call the recreation department with any questions - 264-4151 Ext. 232.
Adult soccer is back. Anyone interested in playing coed adult soccer, please go the soccer field adjacent to the Pagosa Springs High School football stadium every Tuesday at 6 p.m. If you need additional information call the Town of Pagosa Springs Recreation Department and have your name placed on our team lists.
Information concerning the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department may be found by calling the Pagosa Springs Sports Hotline at 264-6658 or logging on to townofpagosasprings.com and going to the Parks and Recreation link. All schedules and upcoming events are updated every Monday morning.
For any questions, concerns or additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs, contact Myles Gabel, recreation supervisor at 264-4151 Ext. 232.
Town departments prepare for holiday activities
By Joe Lister Jr.
For the past 15 years or so Park
The Fourth of July parade and fireworks show have become annual events in the town of Pagosa Springs and our street and parks and recreation departments are preparing to do their parts.
This year, Dennis Ford will head the fireworks show, and we have planned a great schedule at the Sports Complex for the public's enjoyment.
- 4 p.m. - parking lot opens, Kiwanis Club will be in charge of parking and the town picnic. Donations will be accepted for parking and there will be moderate prices for all picnic items.
- 5:30 - food and soft drinks will be available, bring your blanket and chairs to get your spot at the picnic, concert and fireworks show. If you need special assistance with parking please call me in advance for handicap parking designation.
- 6-8 - games, provided by the recreation department.
- 7-dusk - music by The Hot Strings.
- Dark - "Star Spangled Banner" by Nikki Kinkead, fireworks.
- 10-midnight - Dance music by Sugar House. This rock and roll band will play some of your favorites by Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and others. Stay, let some traffic clear and dance with us after the fireworks.
A special thanks before the Fourth goes out to the entire town staff, Pagosa Springs Police Department, Kiwanis, all firework volunteers and sponsors for this year's show. We will thank them individually in next week's paper.
Many hours of planning goes into this event, and we hope everyone has a fun and safe Fourth of July.
This year, Donna Sanders will head a group of volunteers to help with one of our biggest headaches - trash removal.
In years past, we have tried different arrangements and there always seemed to be room for improvement. Cliff Lucero Jr. and Archuleta Solid Waste will help this year by installing two, 20-yard Dumpsters for all the trash generated by the Park to Park Arts and Crafts Fair and the fireworks show.
Donna has taken the lead to help Jim Miller with trash patrol Monday, July 4, from 11 a.m.-6: 30 p.m. A group of volunteers has been scheduled to assist the parks crew. I hope we can keep this "adopt-a-park for-a-day" tradition going; it sure is going to help. Thanks, Donna, for putting this together and working with us so graciously.
Drive down 5th Street and see approximately 4,000 cubic yards of top soil we will use on our 16 acre park site, located across the street.
County road and bridge crews were available to move all the dirt, because they were at a standstill with their mag-chloride project. All the drivers and operators worked nonstop for three days.
Davis Engineering has been leading the way in the planning and organization of the park construction.
It is so exciting seeing and feeling a part of the development of a park. With all the tearing down and rebuilding going on in town, it is a great feeling to be part of building something for the public. I can only dream of how this park might look in 20-25 years. The much-needed park space will be home to a multi-use turf area, outdoor classroom, river walk and youth baseball/softball field. It will truly be the cornerstone for all our parks and recreational activities in the future.
At this date we are probably a little off schedule. We are trying to piecemeal the costly items of the project because our figures from the engineer came in a lot higher than the original estimates, requiring a lot more ground prep. Top soil costs have also changed and set back some of the bid process.
South Pagosa Park
Plans are being drawn up as we rethink, and possibly redesign and build a more usable multi-purpose park at the current BMX location. The number of bicyclists utilizing the BMX park is very low, and the town would like to look into other uses for the area.
Research shows that, in April 1995, the county commissioners voted to deed this property to the town. The vote was encouraged by a group known as the "South Pagosa Park" committee. Founding members were John F. Perea, Clifford Lucero Jr., Virginia Chavez and Mark Bergon, and all lobbied Archuleta County for this property to become a park.
Years later, the park was built with use of GoCo funds, followed by a heavy push for a BMX park. The organizers of the BMX park were very successful in getting it built, however the Bmx trend slowed down and the use of the park is now limited.
The parks and recreation Staff has been asked to look into other uses to make the park more multidimensional. We plan on having a rendering before Aug. 1. We are excited to see this moving forward and will keep everyone posted.
Parks and recreation council
The meeting scheduled June 22 was postponed when we could not get a quorum. We will reschedule a meeting after the Fourth of July.
The biggest news regarding the council is that David Hamilton plans on stepping down after 15-plus years of service. His new position as principal at the high school will not afford him the time to sit on the board. David has been very instrumental in the development of parks and provided well thought-out opinions concerning our recreational needs.
Thank you, David for all your support and years of service.
A civil dialogue
With uncertain times in Pagosa Country, as ideas flow like wa-ter and passions are enflamed, it is too easy to take the low road in the public dialogue. We need to remind ourselves of the value of civil discourse, of the uselessness of rude behavior, mean-spirited attacks and verbal assaults on persons.
There will be too many opportunities for this kind of behavior in the near future. We face some significant problems - physical, economic, social, political. We are riding a wave of growth and development and facing the changes it brings. Many people are upset, and those among us who care are laboring to find solutions. We take different paths to solutions and, without restraint, we veer to an abusive course.
But nasty discourse cannot help us; negative approaches will not serve us.
In particular, there is no call for attacks against the person - for unproductive arguments aimed at an individual rather than an idea. These too often take the form of comments tinted with emotional content, none of which conveys a constructive idea.
The insult comes because an ad hominem attack renders victims one-dimensional, dehumanizes them. Take, for example, recent comments about former county commissioner Gene Crabtree, One may not agree with the former commissioner's policies or recognize achievements by the commission during the time he served, but an attack on those grounds solves nothing. And it ignores the fact that the man is a valuable resident of Pagosa Country - one of the most generous souls among us, a man who has contributed much to the community, given freely of his time, energy and money, who is a paragon of civic involvement. We miss that truth when comments are negative in character. And, it should be noted, Crabtree's letter to the editor last week, contrary to comments by his critics, is nothing but positive in tone, bearing specific suggestions concerning our road problems. Agree or not, he made an attempt to suggest a solution - as he did when in office. That is more than many of his critics have done.
We say there is a measure of respect due to those who serve in public office or in the public employ. No doubt this assertion irritates those for whom an attack satisfies a need for self-aggrandizement. But, when all is said and done, public servants like Crabtree and our current commissioners, Mamie Lynch, Robin Schiro and Ronnie Zaday, exhibit something many of their critics do not - the courage to put themselves on the line. They are brave enough, and concerned enough, to step into the sights of those who haven't the character to expose themselves to relentless public scrutiny and the pressures of service. Lacking hard proof of corruption, we should assume our elected officials act in accord with they think is best for the community. Whether we agree or not, we owe them courtesy. And we must ask of those who attack them, What is your propose, what are your positive contributions to the dialogue, when do you serve?
The same respect should be shown those in the public employ. Recent attacks on county employees are uncalled for. Criticize plans if you will, lambast a system and its priorities, but recognize the individuals at the core of the system likely want to do what is best, what is most effective, want to do their jobs as well as they can.
Personal attacks get us nowhere. Self-serving diatribes solve nothing. With what we face, we need conflict, yes - but a conflict of ideas, of opposing solutions, positive in nature, aimed at resolutions that serve the greatest number of us in the greatest possible way. We must be civil if we are to do this.
A few good men set our course
By Richard Walter
In the good old days, they say, July 4 was the most important holiday of the year. Historians will tell you it got even more attention than Christmas.
What they won't tell you is that it was much easier to celebrate Independence Day because you didn't have to buy gifts for a lot of people when you couldn't afford it ... firecrackers were a lot cheaper and a lot more fun.
Still, there's a sense of message missing in the analysis. Where would either of the holidays mentioned be, in this country, without the other?
Independence Day, the Fourth of July, was the culmination of a sequence of events ostensibly based on desire for religious freedom and which led to the founding of the nation.
Religious freedom gave people the right to worship as they pleased, wherever they found the need to do so.
I read not too long ago that there are in excess of 15,000 different "religions" in this nation with members worshipping as diverse entities as the God of Christians, the Allah of Islam, the Buddha of Buddhism and assorted objects such as snakes, specific types of trees, sky colors and just about any object or visible diversion one can imagine.
That might be considered real religious freedom.
But July 4 celebrates the birth of a nation escaping the bondage of another land its people, in great part, had fled from; a nation which sought to preempt liberty and the pursuit of happiness guaranteed in the new country's now revered Declaration of Independence.
These lines penned by Thomas Jefferson tell the story of the founders' wisdom:
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Capitalizations are in the author's original).
Jefferson and the other 53 signers saw human freedom as the goal of a new nation they were creating, one based on equal rights.
John Adams, for example, wrote:
"I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth."
Another was the erudite Benjamin Franklin who authored hundreds of oft-remembered and quoted commentaries but none more apropos than, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
That set the course for a new nation to follow, one it has steered through all the turbulent seas of freedom-based national identity.
We've had good leaders and bad. We've been misdirected and lied to. But the nation has maintained the course set by those 54 men.
Jefferson also said: "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
On a day with freedom threatened around the world, actions of July 4, 1776 still ring true.
90 years ago
Taken from The Pagosa Springs SUN files of July 2, 1915
We, the Class of 1915, being about to leave this sphere of life in full possession of a sound mind, do make and publish this, our last will and testament here before this large number of witnesses, all other wills heretofore made by any member now being revoked. We, the Class as a whole, will to the School Board of District Number One our sincere affection and thanks for having chosen three of the most capable teachers in their power to find: Mr. Powell, Miss Putnam and Miss Crews.
Dr. B.D. Ellsworth and Forrest Sparks went to Allison and other points last week, the doctor on professional business and Forrest in the interest of the Pagosa Springs Motor Co.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 4, 1930
The forest fire hazard on the San Juan Forest and adjacent forests is now unusually high, and warrant utmost care with fires on the part of the public. The shooting of fireworks in the National Forests is strictly prohibited under federal law. Due to the lack of rains, high winds, and low humidity, conditions are very serious in forested areas according to a statement from the Forest Supervisor's office.
During the past week several fires, caused by the failure of smokers to extinguish cigarette butts before throwing them away, have occurred in the forest.
Correspondents and contributors to the Sun must submit their items not later than Thursday evening of each week to insure insertion.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 1, 1955
Saturday and Sunday will see the largest Red Ryder Round-Up ever to be presented in Pagosa Springs and advance indications are that the largest crowd to ever attend a rodeo in Pagosa Springs will be on hand to witness the two-day rodeo and two parades.
Gene Autry's Flying A Enterprises has bought up the television rights to Fred Harman's Red Ryder comic strip and will shoot the series in color in time for fall delivery. Flying A is currently casting the series, which will be shot at the Red Ryder Ranch in Pagosa Springs, in Eastman color. First prints will be ready August 1.
To help reduce excessive rates of infant mortality among the county's rural residents, a Well-Baby Service will be established in Pagosa Springs.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 3, 1980
Governor Dick Lamm and Regional Forester Craig Rupp have proclaimed emergency restrictions for all national forests in Colorado. The extremely dry conditions that exist make fire danger very high and there have already been some major fires in Colorado. The restrictions are in effect here and violation will bring a summons to court.
Red Ryder Roundup time has arrived here and the big celebration gets underway tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., with a giant parade. Worthe Crouse will be honorary Grand Marshall in recognition of his many civic donations and civic leadership. Rodeo events and horse races will start at the Red Ryder Roundup grounds and an exciting program is scheduled for both Friday and Saturday.
By John Middendorf
Pagosa's first annual river celebration, the Celebración del Rio San Juan, was a festive occasion.
Hundreds of people attended the Town Park event, which began early Sunday morning and continued until late into the afternoon. "It was an awesome turnout, and awesome fun," said Doug Large, one of the organizers.
More than 50 people took advantage of discounted river trips, most of them experiencing the thrills of rafting for the first time. Walker Powe, wide-eyed and dripping wet after his first raft ride, summarized, "On a rating of one to ten, I'd give it a ten!" and then related the details of each exciting "drop-off" and the wave that "peeled over me and Brendan," (the guide of the raft).
Powe's enthusiasm prompted Kevin Hughes to send Powe off for a second trip down the river, free of charge. After his second trip, Powe, aged 10, asked tellingly, "How old do you have to be to be a river guide?"
The first of five friendly competitions, the "Kayak Sprint" was a close one. With a bold start, John Haner finished first, followed closely by Anthony Doctor, who caught up after being the last to leave the eddy during the "Le Mans" start.
Organized chaos reigned at the Le Mans start of the raft race, with six rafts jockeying for position and bouncing around in the Cotton Hole eddy after a running start from shore. "Elbows and heels were flying at the launch", said Large, who came in last in his Cataraft, with a grin and the claim that he was running "sweep" for safety. Jerry Hilsabeck won the race, with Jerry Rohwer in second.
The kayak freestyle and kayak "joust" were self-judged events, with participants all agreeing that everyone was the winner. Doctor and Kelly Ralsten performed some great tricks in the water and, during the joust, kayakers playfully guarded their positions in the surf wave to the cheers of crowds under the Hot Springs Boulevard Bridge.
By far the most popular event at the river celebration was the Rubber Duckie Race, with 86 entrants. Kids and adults alike were caught up in the excitement as they ran along shore looking for their number as the small yellow duckies cruised through the rapids. But the race was over in minutes, and only after the kayakers had collected all the duckies with fish nets was it determined that No. 33, owned by Chris Nobles, and No. 34, owned by Natalie Carpenter, came in first and second.
Two bands played throughout the day, beginning with the polished String Theory and Guests and ending with the Flying Elmos, both local bands playing many original songs. The bands' instruments and sound board were powered solely by solar-charged batteries.
More than 60 prizes and gift certificates generously donated by local businesses were given to event participants and raffle winners. The beer started flowing at noon, and people feasted on burgers, and fish tacos with Jim Porch's popular and secret salsa recipe.
The Celebración del Rio San Juan fund-raiser T-shirts were sold out by early afternoon, and many participants made additional donations for next year's event, to which all this year's proceeds go. Organizers thanked the Town of Pagosa Springs and all those who contributed to and participated in the celebration.
A fun time was had by all.
Building a fort in Pagosa Country a complex process
By John M. Motter
The initial establishment of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs presented special problems.
As we learned last week, settlers had already squatted on government land planned for use as the fort building site.
On top of that, it was late October and winter could come any time. A fort had to be constructed and supplies obtained to feed men and horses through the winter.
Commanding the new cantonment was Capt. W.T. Hartz of the 15th Infantry. A Lt. Paxton, with a small detachment of the 15th Infantry, had arrived at the proposed site a few days before Hartz. Here is what Hartz discovered when he arrived in Pagosa Springs, as contained in a message sent to the commanding officer, Fort Garland, Colo., and dated Oct. 30, 1878.
"Dear Sir: I have the honor to report my arrival here late on the evening of the 28th. I find that Lieut. Paxton has a large hackel or stockade building for dirt roof 110 x 18 feet in the clear two thirds completed, also a building 20 x 30 feet for his own use, as they are nearly finished. I will him to complete and occupy them. His company will then be comfortably housed and the other work can then go on without interruption. In the meantime I will take part of the working force and go on with the cantonment, and the buildings above mentioned can then be used for storehouses, hospital, or other similar purposes. These buildings are, in my opinion, too near the Springs, and on the northern exposure. By crossing the river 'a good ford' there is a fine bench about 20 feet above the river with fine Southern exposure, overlooking the river and Springs, it is a little further from water, but in my opinion every way a more desirable location for the cantonment. As soon as the General arrives we will determine on the location. In the meantime I will be getting logs cut, lumber and other materials delivered, and will push the work as hard as men at hand, about 20 in all ,and limited facilities will permit.
"I enclose a list of Q. M. (supplies, tools, etc.) property required, and as I find other wants, I will promptly notify you by letter. If you want regular estimates in approved form let me know, but am very short of clerks, and will have to be very busy outside looking after the work. Have directed Major Peabody to purchase and deliver 100 tons of hay, and the lumber and shingles as per your estimate. I have also authorized him to furnish the troops with fresh beef at reasonable market rates until such time as a regular contract can be made. I will furnish you copies of my letters of instructions to him by next mail, probably by this if time will permit.
"The post office is about a mile below the Springs. Mail once a week."
In separate letters dated Oct. 29, 1878, Hartz ordered hay, corn, beef and building materials. The building materials included the following: boards and shingles; inch boards 12 feet long; 2 x 8, 13 feet long; 2 x 6, 14 feet long; 2 x 4, 14 feet long; 2 x 4, 17 feet long; and 150,000 shingles.
Hartz also ordered a "complete outfit for a blacksmith shop," including bellows, anvil and necessary tools, a fair assortment of iron and steel of various sizes suitable for general work in the repair of transportation, plus a small assortment of wire.
By Nov. 6, Hartz requested three mechanics from Fort Union, N.M., stating they were "very much needed at this place."
As we will learn in next week's article, ordering supplies is not the same thing as receiving supplies.
It's July 3, let's hit a comet with a Volkswagen
By James Robinson
Moon: Today the moon is moving through its waning crescent phase and Pagosa Springs sky watchers may be lucky enough to locate a lunar feature whose location is of some interest to astronomers.
By about 1,000 million years ago, heavy impact cratering and the subsequent, maria-creating volcanic outflows, essentially ceased. Since that time, except for the odd impact, the moon has orbited the earth seemingly cold and lifeless - that is, except for transient lunar phenomena, (TLPs).
Transient lunar phenomena are marked by reddish glows or obscurations that occur from inside certain craters and from near the edges of some maria.
Due to the propensity of TLP's in the area around the crater Aristarchus, this crater and its' vicinity are of particular interest to astronomers.
Aristarchus can be located in the upper left quadrant of the moon, on the far left, about midway between the moon's equator and upper edge. It appears as a light grey to whitish spot amidst a sea of charcoal grey maria.
TLPs have been observed by amateur and professional astronomers, and although their origins are debated, many believe they are caused by the release of gases from the moon's core.
Persistence, luck and a steady pair of binoculars or basic telescope may allow sky watchers a rare view of a seemingly inexplicable lunar occurrence.
Throughout the week, Venus, Mercury and Saturn will still form a relatively close cluster low in the west/northwestern horizon about 30 to 45 minutes after sunset.
Although the planets will have reached their tightest convergence between June 23 through June 29, they will continue to appear close together and are easy to locate.
Venus, the brightest of the trio, can be found in the center of the group. Mercury can be located to the right of Venus and Saturn to the far left.
Stars and constellations
At 10 p.m. Pagosa Springs time, the star Antares will hold a prominent position in the southern sky.
Part of the constellation Scorpius, the scorpion, Antares (alpha Scorpii) is a red supergiant 400 times the diameter of the Sun. It's name is often translated as "rival of Mars" and this is most likely due to the star's reddish-orange color which resembles that planet.
According to the mythology, after Orion boasted he could hunt down every animal on Earth, a displeased Zeus sent Scorpius to kill Orion. The rising and setting pattern of the two constellations, Orion sets as Scorpius rises, depicts Orion forever fleeing the scorpion.
Scorpius is one of the few constellations that truly resembles its' namesake, with it long body with Antares at the heart, and a long, curved stinger tail.
Once sky watchers locate Antares and the scorpion's tail, they will be very near to the heart of our own Milky Way galaxy. This is a particularly rich realm of the nighttime sky with open clusters, such as M6 the "Butterfly Cluster," M7 and numerous double, triple and even a quadruple stars. Many objects in this fascinating region are discernible with binoculars or the naked eye.
Antares can be found almost due south from Polaris, and low in the southern sky.
NASA's firework show
Amateur and professional astronomers worldwide will be glued to their telescopes, hoping for a glimpse of NASA's first ever, astronomical fireworks show.
On the Fourth of July (actually 11:52 p.m. July 3 in Pagosa Springs) NASA will attempt the first ever hyper speed impact between a space probe and a comet.
After a journey of 173 days and 268 million miles, NASA's Deep Impact Spacecraft is on a collision course with the comet Tempel 1. When the Volkswagen Beetle-sized spacecraft nears the comet, it will launch a coffee table sized impactor craft into the path of the comet where the two will ultimately collide.
The comet, which is about half the size of Manhattan, is hurtling through space at about 23,000 miles per hour, or about 6.3 miles per second.
When the impact craft slams into the racing comet, scientists predict the crater produced by the collision could range in size from a large house up to a football stadium and from two to 14 stories deep.
"In the world of science, this is the astronomical equivalent of a 767 airliner running into a mosquito," said Dr. Don Yeomans in a press release. Yeomans is a Deep Impact mission scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Upon impact, NASA scientists believe a plume of ice and dust will be ejected from the comet's core and the delivery craft will be able to collect data from the plume as it flies by.
The data collected will provide scientists a view into the core of a comet where material from the creation of the solar system remains virtually unchanged.
Deep Impact Principal Investigator Dr. Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland, College Park said in a press release, "The last 24 hours of the impactor's life should provide the most spectacular data in the history of cometary science. With the information we receive after the impact, it will be a whole new ball game. We know so little about the structure of cometary nuclei that almost every moment we expect to learn something new."
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