County denies Petrox compressor site
Plan lacked noise and visual impact mitigation
By James Robinson
Attempts made by Petrox Resources Inc. to gain approval for installation of a natural gas compressor facility in Archuleta County were halted last week when the county's planning commission voted to deny the energy company's proposal.
The decision came during the planning commission's regular Sept. 14 meeting, following lengthy presentations by former Archuleta County Senior Planner Ross Easterling, Mike Clark, president and CEO of Petrox Resources Incorporated, Mike Finney, also of Petrox, and testimony from county residents and concerned citizens.
The proposed facility was to be located on Colo. 151 about six and a half miles southwest of the intersection of Colo. 151 and U.S. 160 , near the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area.
The plan was originally presented to the county planning commission Aug. 10, but was tabled due to the commission's concerns that the plan lacked critical information concerning noise and visual impact mitigation measures and a fire prevention plan addressing the presence of triethylene glycol, and failed to address spill hazards and potential impacts to Stollsteimer Creek which runs adjacent to the property.
During the August meeting, the commission agreed to table the compressor plan until the September meeting, thus allowing Petrox additional time to craft a more detailed proposal with potential site alternatives.
On Sept. 14, the commission received further information from Petrox on the scope and scale of the project, the project's relationship to coal bed methane production in the HD Mountains and measures the company would take under the revised proposal to address the commission's concerns.
Despite Petrox's efforts, the modified proposal still fell short of the planning department and planning commission's expectations.
In Easterling's closing remarks, he called the Petrox proposal a "bare bones minimum type of application."
He said noise, visual and wildlife impacts were of grave concern and said the presence of an industrial facility in an area deemed "low-density residential" by the county would have tremendous negative impact on nearby residents and was not compatible with adjacent land.
"The proposal has a strong likelihood of being materially injurious to the people of Archuleta County."
Following Easterling's remarks, the planning commission said one of its primary concerns was the facility's noise impact and expressed concern the modified plan still lacked sufficient noise mitigation measures.
Planning Commissioner Bob Huff said, "Have you done everything you possibly can to mitigate the noise?"
Clark said Petrox was utilizing the best available technology to meet county and state noise standards and that he believed, based on data provided by a consulting firm, the plan, as presented, met noise regulations and requirements.
"This is a compressor site," Clark said, "and I'm sorry guys, there's going to be some noise."
Also key in the denial decision was the commission's concern that alternative sites had not been fully explored.
Huff expressed frustration that Petrox had not, in its August presentation, provided maps of the project site and its relationship to nearby residents and other gas facilities. He said a map would have been helpful early on in order to help the commission work with Petrox to explore potential alternatives to the proposed sites. Huff said a map should have been step one.
Using a map as a visual aid, Clark ultimately explained the project's relationship to future coal bed methane development, and that he believed the site proposed was the best possible option.
"We're pulled all these different ways. We're a good neighbor, I want to make this work for everybody," Clark said.
During closing remarks Planning Commissioner Dan Aupperle said many unanswered questions remain on noise abatement, spill issues and alternative sites for the facility.
"I think there are some alternatives that have not been explored and could be explored further," Aupperle said.
The commission then moved to deny the proposal based on insufficient information and what they described as an incomplete plan that lacked fundamental details. The decision to deny the proposal was ultimately passed unanimously.
Following the decision, Clark said he believed his company's plan was sound, met the county's requests and requirements and was the best possible site considering the alternatives.
"Nobody wants it in their backyard," Clark said.
But, he added that attitude conflicts with people's expectations to flip a switch or crank a thermostat and have affordable fuel for automobiles and home heating.
Clark said, "They've done a disservice to the county," and he pointed in the direction of the commissioners. He said they had let the interests of a few outweigh the needs of the many.
Fibre optics cut, area goes silent
By Chuck McGuire
Some Pagosa Springs phone services were down for nearly six hours last Thursday evening, and CenturyTel, the local provider, has attributed the cause to construction activity in the vicinity of Pagosa Lodge.
According to CenturyTel public relations manager Kim Valiquette, a fiber optics cable was severed around 4:45 p.m., and phone company crews worked until 10:30 before restoring full service.
"Apparently, another utility working in the area cut the cable," Valiquette said. "Usually we get an alarm when this happens, and CenturyTel people know right away. We dispatch teams to investigate even before customers realize what's happened."
Valiquette wouldn't say what other "utility" might have been responsible for the outage, but a statement from La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) said LPEA and CenturyTel were working jointly to relocate underground utility lines near the Pagosa Lodge, when an LPEA crew cut the line.
LPEA spokesman David Waller said, "Many lines exist in the area, and excavators were using care to keep from cutting lines. The utility lines approximate locations were marked with paint on the surface. The fiber optics line, however, was improperly marked."
Waller continued, "LPEA and CenturyTel are jointly investigating the event to prevent this type of occurrence in the future."
In reference to Thursday's incident, Valiquette said cable repairs took longer than expected, in part because a large backhoe initially used in excavating the broken line was too heavy and began sinking in soft ground.
"Crews had to wait for additional lighter equipment to be brought in before work could safely be completed," she said.
Meanwhile, Valiquette said CenturyTel managed to reroute all 9-1-1 calls, and in case of emergency, remained in constant contact with the Archuleta County sheriff's department throughout the repair process.
The exact number of CenturyTel customers directly affected by the outage remains unclear, but Valiquette suggested the number was at least 2,000, and perhaps as many as 4,000. Evidently, only residential and commercial customers with the "264" prefix were affected.
Surprising to many, cell phone users also experienced service interruptions during the outage. When asked how that was possible, Valiquette explained that, while "wireless" networks commonly utilize radio transmissions between cell towers, they are also tied to wire lines, and when a cable interruption occurs, wireless phones in the same general area are often affected as well.
Road work along U.S. 160, meant to improve access in and out of the newly-constructed Pagosa Lodge townhomes, has been brisk over the past couple of weeks, and several utility companies have been working onsite.
McKee, Schiro argue mag-chloride cost
By James Robinson
Magnesium chloride and the proposed Keyah Grande gravel pit became topics of debate Tuesday during the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners meeting.
In a presentation to the board of commissioners, Public Works Director Dick McKee asked the board to approve an increase in spending for 200,000 gallons of Magnesium Chloride needed to complete the application regimen before winter.
McKee said increased fuel prices had pushed GMCO Inc., the product vendor, to up the price per gallon by 4.26 cents, equaling nearly 43 cents per gallon.
McKee said although the increase had not been budgeted, the road and bridge department had a healthy fund balance in reserve that is kept to help the county weather unforeseeable events such as this. He added that the final application of the 200,000 gallons of magnesium chloride would be used on newly gravelled roads and would help preserve those roadways through the winter.
"I believe it is essential we apply the mag-chloride to these roads," McKee said.
"The cost of mag-chloride will be far less than costs for aggregate loss."
Commissioner Robin Schiro challenged McKee's funding request and called his pursuit of the cost effective alternatives into question. She asked if he had thoroughly sought all available, and potentially cheaper options and sources for the product, such as a dehydrated version of the chemical.
She said dehydrated magnesium chloride could be cheaper to ship and less labor intensive for the county to handle and ultimately apply. And, she said complete research should be done before the county approved further expenses for the liquid form of the product.
At one point, while attempting to respond to Schiro's assertions McKee became flustered with being interrupted by the commissioner and said, "Do Robert's rules of order apply here? I have a letter from GMCO that states exactly the opposite of what you have just conveyed to the public."
McKee said he had consulted experts and said their conclusion indicated the purchase of a dehydrated product was more labor intensive than buying the product in liquid form.
Schiro re-articulated her opinion and said seeking out the least expensive option should be the county's number one priority.
McKee said he would defer to their opinions and stood by his funding request.
McKee said time was a significant factor and that the window of opportunity for applying the product on the roads was rapidly closing. He said product search and delivery would consume that window and the roads could ultimately suffer.
Commissioner Mamie Lynch said, "Time is of the essence. We need to stabilize these new aggregate roads."
Commissioner Ronnie Zaday said, "This year, we need to get done what needs to get done. Robin, are you asking us to delay?"
Ultimately, the funding request was approved two to one with Schiro dissenting.
Tensions continued during the next agenda item, when County Engineer Sue Walan addressed the board of commissioners seeking funding approval for further permitting procedures required to move forward on the proposed gravel pit at Keyah Grande.
In her presentation, Walan said she was not seeking board approval of the gravel pit, but was seeking $7,600 in funding to conduct surveying work, a mineral owner title search and an archaeological survey at the site. All are required steps prior to the sites approval.
Walan said she believes the site's location and proximity to nearby residences made it appropriate for gravel mining and that if all went as planned the proposal for the gravel pit could come before the county's planning commission Jan. 11. She said the nearest residence was one and a half miles away.
Walan said her assessments and test pits indicated the pit could produce as much as 140,000 tons of royalty-free, finished gravel at a savings of between $180,000 to $280,000 for the county.
Schiro then asked Walan if, in addition to test pits, Walan had done drill holes to gain soil samples.
Walan said she had not done drill holes, because it was her understanding the commissioner wanted test pits dug at the site area. Walan said she had dug five test pits in accordance with this request and was confident in the analysis and results of the sampling.
Schiro persisted, and said drill holes were the preferred method of soil sampling. But Walan said she had dug five, 12-foot-deep test holes with a backhoe, a technique and depth which mimicked the process of future gravel extraction, should the site be ultimately be approved. She repeated that it was her understanding that test pits were what was originally requested.
During concluding remarks, Schiro said the project lacked sufficient testing for her to justify to project.
Funding for the title search, surveying, and archaeological study was ultimately approved by a two to one vote with Schiro dissenting.
In other action the board:
- approved a grant contract with the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program for funds to be used at the Archuleta County Airport. The grant awards $198,261 with county matching funds totaling $50,000.
- awarded and moved to sign a contract with the land use consulting firm, HNTB Corporation, to develop the new Archuleta County Land Use Code. The project is on a nine-month timeline and will cost $100,000 to complete.
- agreed to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation in order to receive grant funding totaling $622,800 to be used to rebuild the Juanita Bridge. County matching funds total $168,156 and the project would be completed by December 2006.
Volunteers are needed for Thursday free meals
By Marilyn Moorhead
Special to The SUN
Come eat and be a part of the community. A free weekly meal will be available to all, starting Thursday, Oct. 6 in the Parish Hall.
Serving will begin 11:30 a.m. and last until 1 p.m. each Thursday. Brochures describing the program will be available soon.
All labor is volunteer and much of the food is donated, however donations are appreciated and will be accepted at Wells Fargo Bank. The program is also asking for donations of non perishable items including cups, either foam or plastic, napkins, toilet paper, paper towels, baggies, dishwasher soap and dishwashing detergent, coffee, salt, sugar or other similar items.
Volunteers are needed to help cook, set up, serve and clean up. Volunteers who are interested in helping in the kitchen will be asked to work 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on their volunteer day. Other volunteers will work 10 a.m.-noon setting up and serving or noon-2 p.m. serving and cleaning up.
Children must be at least 12 years old to work in the program. A meeting of all volunteers is scheduled 9:30 a.m. Sept. 27 in the Parish Hall. The plan is for Loaves and Fishes to be a year-round service.
For more information call: 731-4727.
More than meets the eye in new county map
By John Middendorf
What is in a map?
In the case of Archuleta's new wall map available from the GIS department, there's much more than meets the eye.
Using computerized software, the county's GIS (Geographic Information Systems) department has collected an extensive amount of information from dozens of sources and compiled the "Archuleta County General Base Map," a large wall map clearly showing the county's roads, rivers, lakes, land status (including the town, county, private, BLM, Forest Service and Ute regions), neighborhood subdivisions, stock trails, radio towers and more, all overlaid on a semi-transparent, shaded relief map of the area.
That's what you can see.
What you can't see are the hundreds of databases employed when drawing the map. Josh Lowe, head of the county's GIS department and the mastermind of the complex underlying structure, began his work on the county map last fall, when he moved here with his family and wife, Rachel. Lowe graduated from the University of Colorado with degrees in geography and environmental science in 2001 when GIS field was a young and booming field, and in progressive succession gained extensive GIS experience with the Forest Service, the BLM and FEMA, where he helped map the debris of the Columbia Space Shuttle after its disastrous re-entry into the atmosphere in 2003.
The county assessor, road and bridge, transportation, engineering and planning are among the county departments that use geographic information in their daily tasks. The GIS department was set up in 2004 to be the hub for geographic information for the various county divisions, and Lowe was the right man for the job. When he began his task of compiling information, Archuleta County's official map was an outdated 1936 state survey of the county, along with a collection of various plat maps defining individual property boundaries and roads. There was nothing that showed the county as a whole with relevant, current information, and if someone needed information on a particular area, documents from a variety of sources would need to be consulted and verified.
Using a program called ArcGIS, the de facto standard of computerized mapping software, Lowe has steadily managed the transfer of the information into databases called "shapefiles," computer files which store lines, points and regions in a compact vector format (Vectors are concise mathematical descriptions of lines. A "raster" format such as a digital photograph, by contrast, also stores graphical information, but much less compactly).
Shapefiles are nothing new, they have been around for some time in the field of engineering computer-aided design (CAD). What makes the GIS shapefiles different is that they include geographical information that can be used to locate the lines, points, and regions in a global coordinate system, so that many different "layers" of information, such as roads, rivers, lakes, and so on can be stored in different shapefile databases and be combined at will to create specific maps depending on the task.
Lately, Lowe has been putting the finishing touches on an accurate and complete shapefile describing the county roads, which is no small task. Starting with an incomplete 2001 Landmark Geo Services survey, where about 75 percent of the roads were mapped using GPS (global positioning satellite) technology, Lowe worked with Sheila Berger, of the road and bridge department, who surveyed the remaining roads using a handheld GPS unit with sub-meter accuracy. Once mapped, the data is downloaded to a computer and converted to the shapefile format.
Using digital versions of recent aerial photos of the entire county which are so detailed that you can see objects as small as a road sign, Lowe overlays the road shapefiles allowing him to see clearly which roads have been mapped as well as a myriad of unofficial roads including private drives.
"But that's only a small piece of the puzzle," says Lowe.
Once in shapefile format, the GIS software allows each segment of the roads to be classified in terms of ownership, quality, easement status, etc. If the road and bridge department needs to know the mileage of a particular section of county maintained road, Lowe can instantly bring up a GIS map with that information, without the need to consult plat maps or additional sources. Such information is vital for the county to collect Highway User Tax Fees (HWUTF) from the state, for example. Without the GIS database, it would be a "huge complicated calculation," says Lowe.
Lowe has set up the GIS department "with the goal of working with every department of the county and assist them" for any needs they may have, as well as the county's Districts such as the PAWSD and federal departments like the Forest Service. "This is way more accurate than anything we've ever had," says Lowe, who defines his department's role as putting "everyday information into geographical form so they (other departments) can perform their everyday tasks more accurately." For those who need the information in a printed tabled format, rather than a graphical form, he can export the shapefile information into Microsoft Access databases, which then can be modified by other departments, and seamlessly integrated back into the shapefile when needed.
Other layers of the map such as land ownership, subdivisions, lakes, tax districts and township range are similarly based on a wealth of underlying information which can be modified and updated quickly as required by the needs of an ever growing and changing county. Lowe is currently working on converting FEMA flood maps (currently in printed form) to digital information, which then can be integrated into a geographically positioned shapefile, to more accurately access which parcels are within the flood plain.
When it comes to supplying maps to county departments and citizens, Steve Kirk, the GIS specialist who works with Lowe in the small office next to the sheriff's department, is the workhorse of the operation. Kirk has a degree in geography from Fort Lewis College, and likes the challenge of "lots of new things coming up, with a variety of work to apply the GIS program." On any given day, Kirk can be seen making custom maps for both county departments and citizens, the latter of which are charged a moderate fee for custom work. Lowe says Kirk is "a whiz at customizing specific needs."
An example of a current custom map is a collaboration with the county fire department on a community fire planning project. Combining water sources along with the fire department's GPS referenced fuels assessment for various parcels, the end result will be a map that can be used to do a mitigation analysis so the fire crew can efficiently plan brush burning. Currently they are focusing on the southeast portion of the county.
The department intends to publish a lot of the GIS information online, in parallel with La Plata's GIS department's Web site, where databases containing information on roads, parcels, tax districts, water ways, subdivisions and township ranges are currently downloadable. Lowe also plans to create interactive online maps, which can be used to find information on a specific parcel or road, for example. He has currently published the "Interactive Offender Locator Map," for the sheriff's department, showing the locations of current sex offenders in the county; clicking on the location brings up an image of the offender.
Lowe sums it all up with "the improving technology an centralizing information into databases are a benefit in what the county is trying to accomplish." He attributes the beneficial evolution of local information to the county commissioners and administrators, who he says are "very supportive and shows their willingness to move into reliable databases and technology."
Third roads work session slated today
By James Robinson
The third meeting in a series of county road work sessions will be held this afternoon in the board of county commissioners' meeting room, at the Archuleta County building on Pagosa Street.
The session will cover county road and right of way policies and procedures and ways county departments, such as planning and road and bridge, can work together.
The meetings will be held each Thursday from now through Oct. 6 in the board of county commissioners meeting room at 2:30 p.m.
College night coming for juniors and seniors
The counseling department at Pagosa Springs High School will present College Night Monday, Sept. 26, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
This is an information meeting for senior and junior students and their parents. The event is a must for any student contemplating education beyond high school.
Topics covered will range from the insider's view of why colleges accept students to finding financial aid (read free money) to the secret of choosing a college that is right for you. All private-school students and home-schooled students are also invited.
Kiwanis Club of Pagosa invites community to free breakfast/brunch
By Frank Schiro
Special to The SUN
The Kiwanis Club of Pagosa is inviting everyone in the Pagosa area to "What is Kiwanis Club Day."
Throughout the summer, local Kiwanis Club volunteers have been busy taking part in community events, helping local kids and raising money for upcoming club-sponsored benefits. They now want to take this opportunity to give something back to the community and share what the club is all about with everyone.
The community is invited to a free pancake/sausage and hamburger fun-for-all Saturday, Oct. 1, at Town Park, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (or until food is gone).
Yes, all food is free, however, donations will be highly appreciated. All donations received will go toward children affected by the recent Hurricane Katrina disaster through a partner Kiwanis Club in the affected area. After all, Kiwanis is for kids.
As many may have observed during the summer, Kiwanis is more actively involved in the community than ever. Earlier in the summer, the club sponsored a day of picnicking and horseback riding for kids at a local ranch.
The club placed an entry into the always-popular Fourth of July Parade, and followed that up by sponsoring the parking and concessions at the fireworks display. Recently, the local club again sponsored the pancake breakfast at the Four Corners Folk Festival.
Funds raised at these special events go toward the Kiwanis Scholarship Fund and other outreaches to local graduates and children.
Now, Kiwanis hopes all will come out and enjoy the day, the food, friends and families. Also, this is an opportunity for any who attend to know what Kiwanis Club is all about and what the club does for the community.
The club will also accept letters for 2005-2006 funding requests, since October is the beginning of its calendar year. If you have any questions, call Mercy at 731-2855, Carolyn, 731-5618, or Jackie, 264-2251.
Work continues on Mill Creek Road issues
By Chuck McGuire
Another in a series of public meetings designed to resolve Mill Creek Road issues took place Tuesday int a U.S. Forest Service office at the corner of Lewis and 2nd streets.
With Forest Service employees and concerned property owners present, Tuesday's focus was on creating a single "legal" entity that would take responsibility for snow removal from a three-mile stretch of Mill Creek Road this winter.
The stretch in question begins at the San Juan National Forest boundary approximately four miles from the intersection of Mill Creek Road and U.S. 84, and continues into the High West, Mill Creek Ranch, Cimarrona Ranch, and Rito Blanco subdivisions. The entire stretch lies within national forest jurisdiction.
Under informal agreements between the Forest Service and Archuleta County, the county maintained (mainly snowplowed) the road for many years, but recent budget constraints have caused a change in policy. Consequently, landowners requiring winter access are faced with assuming maintenance obligations themselves.
Thus, the need for a single legal entity, such as a non-profit corporation, property owners association, or some form of partnership that will assume snowplowing responsibilities under a special use permit issued by the Forest Service.
While agreeing to issue one plowing permit, the Forest Service will not maintain the road itself, explaining to do so is contrary to its own mission statement.
Increased residential and recreational use, along with higher levels of precipitation last winter and spring, seriously damaged the road and rendered it all but impassible for a time. While Forest officials and area residents explore long-term solutions designed to avoid similar problems in the future, short-term plans include seasonal maintenance performed by the legal entity.
That legal entity will either be comprised of, or at least answerable to, members of a committee of property owners from the various subdivisions involved. It must adhere to a list of organizational requirements, including the creation of an operating plan, acquisition of appropriate liability insurance and acceptance of the special use permit. It must also comply with all Forest Service snowplowing standards.
The Forest Service has asked the committee to create the legal entity within a week to 10 days - not much time - but the real fly in the ointment, at least for some committee members, is figuring out how to pay the costs associated with plowing.
Some of the developments involved have the power to assess property owners for such purposes through their own property owners association (POA), but others have no POA at all, and any financial contributions on the part of respective landowners would be voluntary. And, with many landowners living out of town or out of state, a significant number don't visit the area during the winter months, and few seem willing to contribute to costs providing access for a select few.
Those attending Tuesday's meeting agreed to work toward resolving financial concerns, and will meet again at the same location, Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 6 p.m. The public is invited.
Local man, 27, killed in motorcycle, truck collision
By John Middendorf
Jacob Egg, 27, of Pagosa Springs, was killed Sept. 15 when he collided with a truck and horse trailer while riding his Kawasaki 400 cc enduro offroad motorcycle on the Upper Blanco Road.
According to a report by Cpl. Randy Talbot, Colorado State Patrol, Egg was riding east at an estimated 55 mph on the dirt road when he entered a right uphill turn. The westbound truck pulling a horse trailer, driven by Michael Ferguson of Pagosa Springs, was also entering the curve.
A 96-foot skid mark indicated to investigators that Egg tried to avoid the truck and trailer, but was unable to control his motorcycle. On the apex of the turn, Egg collided with the truck and, immediately afterward the front of the trailer "He was probably killed instantly," said Talbot of the cyclist, adding that he "suspects alcohol was involved."
Talbot said Ferguson, the driver of the truck, "did all he could to get out of the way," and partially drove off the right side of the road into a ditch before coming to a halt about 50 yards past the point of impact.
A driver passing by with a cell phone called the authorities at 5:39 p.m., and an Emergency Medical Services crew arrived at 6. The Archuleta County Coroner arrived shortly thereafter whereupon Egg was pronounced dead at the scene.
The section of road had recently been maintained by the county with magnesium chloride and is in good condition, according to Talbot.
Additional charge filed against jailed Pagosan
By John Middendorf
On Sept. 19, the Pagosa Springs Police Department charged 19-year-old Pagosa Springs resident Jason Snow with burglary.
Snow was already in custody at the Archuleta County Jail on other burglary charges, and was booked under the new charge.
The charge relates to a burglary of the San Juan Motel in November 2003. In that incident, force was used to gain entry into the game room / laundry room at the motel and a bill changer machine was pried out of the wall and stolen.
The machine was valued at $1,250, and an additional, undisclosed amount of cash was inside the machine.
According to Det. Scott Maxwell, new evidence in the case was recently obtained, which included the recovery of the bill changing machine stolen from the motel.
The machine was recovered from a wooded area about four miles outside of town. The Pagosa Springs Police Department was assisted in the investigation by Det. George Daniels of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.
Snow is being held at the Archuleta County Jail accused of a total of six burglaries, with a bond of amount of $45,000. All of the burglaries Snow is being charged with were burglaries at local businesses.
Town to begin comprehensive plan neighborhood meetings
By James Robinson
The Town of Pagosa Springs has begun hosting a series of neighborhood meetings as part of its ongoing effort to develop a Comprehensive Plan.
The neighborhood meetings allow residents the opportunity to discuss issues and ideas pertinent and perhaps unique to their area with town and comprehensive planning staff.
Topics for discussion at previous meetings have ranged from issues and ideas for pedestrian movement, parking issues and architecture ideas. The meetings are designed to provide a forum for neighborhoods and residents to be directly engaged in the comprehensive planning process.
The next two neighborhood sessions will occur Sept. 28 and Sept. 29.
The Sept. 28 meeting will be 7 -8:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 551 Hot Springs Boulevard. Those living in residential areas from Piedra Road to Fourmile Road, including residents of Piedra Estates, Crestview, Pagosa Hills and Rock Ridge can attend the meeting.
On Sept. 29, 5-6:30 p.m. those living or conducting business along the west U.S. 160 corridor from North Pagosa Boulevard east to Great West Avenue can attend the session, also to be held at Town Hall.
The drafting of a Comprehensive Plan is mandated by state statute and, once completed, will provide a 20-year blueprint for managing growth and development in the Town of Pagosa Springs.
Some of Katrina's orphaned dogs heading here; help needed
Any day now, 100 dogs orphaned by Hurricane Katrina will be flown into the La Plata County Airport to find foster homes.
In one night, over 700 stranded animals were collected from New Orleans canals and disaster areas and taken to overcrowded temporary shelters. Some of the dogs are destined for temporary homes in southwest Colorado until they can be reunited with their owners.
Robbie Schwartz of the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs was recently contacted by a local supporter to coordinate with a volunteer effort to fly stranded dogs to foster homes.
The dogs will fly in via jet chartered by Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens and his wife, Madeleine.
Christine Penrod, Madeleine Pickens' sister, is working with the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs and Dogster's Fund Spay and Neuter Program of Durango to place the dogs.
The rescue project is being called Operation Care for a Pet. As soon as they exit the plane, the dogs are going to be checked in, microchipped, tested for heartworm and vaccinated. Then they need to get into foster care.
Many area rescue groups, veterinarians and supporters have stepped up and offered services, foster homes and donations. Hill's Science Diet has supplied food for the dogs. Some local veterinarians have offered medical assistance for the dogs.
Initial care for the dogs could add up to as much as $100 each. To fund this, Operation Care for a Pet is requesting donations. They also need contributions of collars, leashes, crates and other dog-related items.
In 24 hours, the operation received more than $1,500.
The dogs will be cataloged and their photographs will be taken and placed on the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs' Web site www.humanesociety.biz, and on a special national pet rescue Web site. Owners can then identify and claim their pooches.
Continental Airlines has offered to fly dogs back to their owners, Noah's Ark-like, two at a time.
Dogs that have not been claimed after four to six weeks will be offered up for adoption locally. Foster parents will have the first opportunity to adopt.
To offer help, a foster home or to volunteer, contact the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs at 264-5549. Checks, designated "Katrina Relief" can be mailed to PO Box 2230, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. All pets in foster homes need to be current on their vaccinations before mixing with the rescue animals.
Planning commission cancels meeting
The Archuleta County Planning Commission will not meet as regularly scheduled Sept. 28.
The Archuleta County Planning Commission is next scheduled to meet Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.
Colors changing low to high; peaks expected in 7-10 days
By Ann Bond
Public Affairs Specialist, San Juan Public Lands Center
The annual changing of Autumn colors in southwest Colorado has begun in some areas more than others.
Hints of change are occurring uncharacteristically in the lower elevations rather than higher. Small amounts of color have been reported throughout areas such as Vallecito along County Road 501, and on U.S. 550 throughout the Purgatory area, Coal Bank and Molas passes.
In the Wolf Creek area on U.S. 160, only cottonwoods and some oak are experiencing change. Telluride has not had significant color change, although it has been reported that trees undergoing change are brilliant yellow.
In contrast, Lake City, on Colo. 149, is reporting their "peak" in color. Creede, also on Colo. 149, but south of Lake City, has indicated 50-60 percent change. Silverton (U.S. 550) is at 75 percent, and farther north, Ouray is at 50 percent.
If you are going over toward the Rio Grande Forest, particularly off Park Creek Road (Forest Service Road 380) traveling toward Platoro Reservoir, or coming up from Chama on State Hwy. 17 to Primary Forest Service Road 250, color change has been reported at 30-40 percent.
Lake City and Silverton areas are the recommended viewing areas at this time. Even without the colors, the backcountry offers incredible views and some lingering wildflowers to enjoy: asters, goldenrods, fleabane and gentians are said to still be out in many spots. Remember that this time of year is unpredictable for weather, especially at the higher elevations.
Bring extra water, appropriate clothing for weather changes and rain gear.
Temperatures can vary from low 30s to high 70s depending on time of day and elevation.
From recent observations reported throughout the San Juan National Forest, peak viewing periods have begun at higher elevations as in Lake City and Silverton. Expect changes to occur more rapidly as we progress toward October.
Trees currently turning: Aspen, oak brush, cottonwoods.
Please contact the San Juan Public Lands Center at 247-4874 or check out our Web site www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan for more information.
Ducks Unlimited banquet is Oct. 1
By Nolan Fulton
Special to The SUN
The outdoor sports are some of our most cherished traditions. We pass our knowledge and skills on to our children and hope that they will enjoy the natural world as much as we do.
Along with learning to hunt and fish, one of the most important things that we can teach our kids is to give something back to the resource. For more than 65 years, hunters and others have been giving back through their support of Ducks Unlimited.
That support has led to more than 10 million acres of wildlife habitat on the ground. Attend the local DU banquet on Oct. 1 at the Pagosa Lodge and help preserve habitat for ducks and other wildlife.
For information or tickets call Nolan Fulton at 264-2660, or Tracy Bunning at 264-2128, or Dan Aupperle at 264-2235, or Scott Kay at 264-4539.
SLA plans annual breakfast Sept. 24 at Hershey Ranch
The Southwest Land Alliance will hold its annual breakfast meeting 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Hershey Ranch on Snowball Road.
Everyone interested in conserving local open space is invited to attend. The SLA board members will serve guests a pancake breakfast with the trimmings followed by the SLA annual meeting and discussion of activities of the organization.
After the meeting hikes will be offered to parts of the beautiful and historic Hershey Ranch.
The Southwest Land Alliance is committed to conserving the beautiful open land in our part of the Rockies. The Alliance holds over 12,000 acres in conservation easements - land owned by private parties but legally committed to preservation in its natural state.
The role of the SLA is to assure the land under conservation easements is protected into the future in the form owners have asked to have it kept. For more information on the breakfast or the work of the SLA, call 264-7779.
Friend or foe, the great horned owl is master of the night
By Chuck McGuire
One clear and cool September evening, just after sunset, Jackie and I walked a gravel lane near home when suddenly from behind, a great horned owl flew directly overhead. The imposing figure soared in absolute silence, gliding but a few feet above, and upon entering our field of view, momentarily startled us both. Then, abrupt as it appeared, the great bird turned and quickly vanished into the gathering darkness of a nearby glen.
An exhilarating and mystical moment, it came at the time of day when light rapidly fades to shadow, a growing chill in the evening air has us zipping our jackets, and all the world seems hushed and still. It came from nowhere, without warning or our awareness, and for an instant we imagined what terrible fate might have befallen us, had we been lesser mortal beings.
Sometimes called "Tigers of the Air," great horned owls are the largest and most common of 13 owl species recorded in Colorado. Males stand about 23 inches, with females somewhat larger. Both sexes have similar mottled gray-brown markings above, with dark gray horizontal barring below. Their soft fluffy plumage lends the appearance of a much larger bird, and serrated, primary wing feathers allow utter silence in flight.
As nocturnal birds of prey, all owls have acute hearing and eyesight. Prominent facial disks conceal considerable ear openings which are located asymmetrically on either side of a large head. This unique adaptation allows detection of a broader range of sound and efficient triangulation for precise location of even the slightest murmur. Moreover, their big eyes have a high ratio of rods to cones, which capture even the faintest light and provide excellent night vision. With powerful curved bills and sharp talons, they are formidable nighttime hunters.
Great horned owls mostly hunt (and nest) in thick wooded regions where the heavy forest provides ample small game. Of course, they will leave the woods from time to time, particularly if a nearby farm offers domestic fowl as a supplement to their regular diet of wild birds, mice, rabbits, squirrels, skunks, bats, weasels, ducks, insects, and earthworms.
Observed in thick cottonwoods along Colorado's eastern rivers, or dense conifer forests of the sub-alpine zone, great horned owls inhabit nearly every wood lot between.
Nests, which may be used for many years, are found in juniper trees, towering cottonwoods, and various pine, spruce, or fir. Owls will often use nests abandoned by hawks, squirrels, and crows, or simply nest on the ground. Nesting earlier than most other birds, mating begins by mid-February, with the male presenting captured prey to the larger female. Upon acceptance, she lays two or three white eggs, and to protect them from the cold, begins immediate incubation. Chicks hatch in mid-March, with both parents supplying the groceries.
Great horned owls are as large as the largest hawks, and are more powerful birds. Given their physical attributes and early nesting behavior, they have preference over nest locations, and other raptors aren't able to evict them. Too, the owls can hunt or defend themselves equally well day or night, giving them an edge over diurnal hawks that might otherwise dispute their dominance.
Without a doubt, their steadfast character and nighttime prowess have contributed greatly to the countless myths and legends associated with owls throughout recorded history. In various cultures they have held great spiritual significance, while in others they have unjustly caused fear and foreboding. Few other creatures have invoked so many different and contradictory beliefs.
In early Indian folklore owls represent wisdom and helpfulness, and possess powers of prophecy. This same theme recurs in Aesop's fables and in Greek myths and beliefs. Athene, the ancient Greek Goddess of Wisdom, was so impressed by the great eyes and solemn appearance of owls, that she honored them by designating them her favorite among feathered creatures. Thus, owls were protected and inhabited the Acropolis in great numbers.
During the Middle Ages in Europe, on the other hand, owls were connected to evil and were considered inhabitants of dark, lonely, and profane places. As associates of witches, their sudden appearance out of the darkness, when people are blind and helpless, linked them with the unknown. The eerie call of an owl in the night brought about apprehension and anguish.
Owl mythology among Native American tribes was no less diverse. To the Apaches, dreaming of an owl signified approaching death, while Cherokee shamans valued them as consultants who could bring on sickness as punishment. The Kwagulth people of the northwest coast believed that an owl represented both a deceased person and his or her newly-released soul, while the Kwakiuti Indians were convinced that owls were the souls of people and should never be harmed, for when an owl was killed, the person belonging to the soul would also die. Arizona's Pima Indians saw owls as winged carriers who flew the souls of the dead to the spirit world, and the greatest among them was the great horned owl.
By the 18th century, the social and biological aspects of owls had been carefully documented through close observation, and many of the old superstitions began to fade. By the 20th century, here in the west at least, owls had again attained a positive standing symbolic of great wisdom.
Observing owls in their natural habitat is always a rare and delightful experience. Their stationary posture and mottled appearance allow them to blend perfectly with the surrounding environment, and visually locating them is often a matter of luck.
I vividly recall one cloudy afternoon many years ago when, as a young surveyor working in the Midwestern hardwood forests of the Mississippi River delta, I excitedly pointed to a great horned owl roosting on a large oak branch. A colleague and I marveled at its size and uncommon beauty for several minutes, when suddenly my coworker exclaimed, "Look higher, about 10 feet above him and to the right!" There, perched on another stout branch was a second owl of almost equal size. Both sat motionless, staring at our every move, and as we casually walked around the tree, only their heads slowly turned to follow.
Owls are necessary and efficient predators, and by the light of day their solemn appearance suggests humility and great wisdom. Nevertheless, whether socially or spiritually coveted, or feared for their so-called supernatural powers, to many lesser woodland creatures, great horned owls are menacing shadows in the gloom of night.
SBA reality check
On the heels of recent distorted reports about a special post 9/11 loan guarantee program administered by the SBA, it's time for a reality check.
In the interest of setting the record straight, let me point out the SBA had a disaster recovery, low-interest loan program in which it directly made loans to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Every eligible loan applicant in New York City and across the country who qualified for a loan under this program was able to receive one. There was ample funding. There was no competition between small businesses for this money, as implied by these articles.
Separately, Congress pursued legislation to respond to the needs of small businesses across the country which through no fault of their own were adversely impacted financially by 9/11. This resulted in the Supplemental Terrorist Activity Relief (STAR) program. Through STAR, small business could obtain loans, guaranteed by the SBA, at commercially available interest rates.
The SBA implemented the STAR program openly as Congress mandated and it was a success. In fact, many small businesses have stated they would not have made it after the economic downturn caused by 9/11 without these SBA-guaranteed loans.
Finally, because of these articles and misrepresentations, small businesses that received these loans appropriately are unfairly being dragged through the mud. The real "outrage" would be if this sensational reporting also causes them to lose customers. That would truly be a second injury.
Hector V. Barreto
U.S. Small Business Administration
I want to congratulate Tim Bristow and Suzy Bruce and second their comments about the problem we have in the county this year.
A lot of my friends and I believe we can't wait for the next election to get some commissioners who will do something besides cat fight among themselves, bad mouth the folks in the county and show total lack of leadership and responsibility.
Almost every department in the county appears to be in turmoil. The interim county administrator is doing his best to hold things together but he will only be here until the end of the year.
He will probably be blamed for everything that is going wrong due to decisions, and lack of decisions by the BoCC prior to his arrival, namely the road department and the airport management.
We need decisions by the BoCC for the different departments to implement, not just leave them to make their own. We need leadership!
Chuck Kelley's decision to enlist a friend to "ghost" his own letter was certainly wrong, but at least he apologized. When can we expect an apology from the lunatic who keeps persuading Dave Blake to sign his name to these sporadic, barely coherent eruptions of crackpottery such as appeared in last week's Letters?
N. G. Constan
This is a warning to all Pagosa Springs residents and visitors who sport a pro-Bush bumper sticker on their vehicles.
On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 4, at the newer City Market, my car was scratched and stripped of my pro-Bush sticker.
I contacted the manager of City Market, Rusty, who was very polite and kind about the whole matter. Go, Rusty.
However, I must share my feelings about this whole mess. I am a law abiding, taxpaying church going individual who believed in freedom of political choice and freedom of speech.
I feel deeply saddened by the fact someone decided that their political choice was reason enough to damage someone else's personal property - property my hardworking husband and I are still making payments on.
We live in America, a country under terrorists' attacks, natural disasters and numerous other troubles. Criticizing, pointing fingers, not to mention vandalism, accomplishes nothing more than those problems themselves.
Can't we all see it is the way we "do unto others" during these trying times that causes even more difficulties and pain?
Can't we all agree that if we respect one another and another's political choice, and don't forget their personal property, we will mend our country a lot faster.
P.S. Does anyone have an extra pro-Bush bumper sticker?
Paula L. Fritzsche
This is in response to last week's letter on fluoridation.
I would challenge the writer to take a spoonful of any liquid, swish it for a minute in his mouth, then spit it back into the spoon. I assure him it won't be the amount he put in. How could he say using a fluoridated mouth rinse could pose no harm as long as it is not swallowed? Swallowing or absorbing, it is still getting into your system.
PAWS' decision to stop fluoridation is not revolutionary. It is, however, a decision on the forefront of a major awakening that what we have been told for over 50 years is simply not true. The CDC, FPA, etc., have based their position on data that is 50 years old and paid for by the very industries producing this toxic waste product used to fluoridate our water. There has never been a scientific study that has found anything good on fluorosilicates except done by those profiting and wanting to promote it. Fifty years of misinformation repeated enough that it has become truth to many like you. Studies that prove standing policy wrong rarely get advertised. And especially if it makes the federal government agencies look bad.
Fort Collins Technical Study Group that studied fluoridation was a joke. It was easy to pick apart what they wrote to try to sway the establishment to keep fluoridating. Riddled with words and phrases like, not likely, assumes, uncertainty, additional research needed, absence of our findings and admits other sources of fluoride exposure are not included in their study. One sentence says, "The absence of our finding any conclusive evidence that drinking water fluoride exposures causes other potential health effects does not prove that fluoride can not cause other potential health effects." Lots of rear covering, in other words.
There have now been three deceased horses and five living horses scientifically, positively diagnosed with chronic fluoride poisoning in Pagosa by a world authority at Cornell University, Dr. Krook.
An article has been submitted to the Quarterly Journal of the International Society for Fluoride Research by this scientific expert for review by the cream of the crop of scientists studying fluoride. This will be Dr. Krook's 16th published peer reviewed article on fluoride poisoning.
The July 2000 JADA cover story reminds every dentist that fluoride incorporated in enamel during tooth development provides no significant reduction in the incidence of tooth decay. Dentists admit that pits and fissures are the most prevalent places for decay. This would not be the case if indeed fluoride works as touted. There would be no cavities. In 2000 the surgeon general issued a "first ever" call to attention in response to what was noted as a "silent epidemic" of dental problems in the U.S.
Looks to me like fluoride is failing badly and the truth is being realized. Wake up and see the truth. Forced medication of any type is un-American.
I want to compliment John Middendorf for the best one paragraph description of a meeting I have ever seen. (Healthcare District, Thursday, Sept. 8, Pagosa SUN - second paragraph). It was sheer prose and almost Faulknerian. I am sure he sent quite a few of us back to our dictionaries. Nevertheless, it should be kept and reused as it describes beautifully many a different board meeting I have attended in Archuleta County.
It was an exciting meeting especially as the board seems headed toward a local hospital and rural health care clinic in conjunction with our local doctors. It is nice to see all parties heading in the same direction which will benefit our population.
I do have one not so small correction to make. I said in the meeting that we need 40 percent (not 30) of our population to be Medicare in order for this plan to work well. So far all data points in this direction; but I thought we needed to recheck it and other finances before moving on too far down the path. It seems the present board is doing just this.
Looking forward to more prose from John.
It was heart warming to see our own Archuleta County Commissioner Robin Schiro's picture in last week's Pagosa SUN ( page A9) attending the Republican women's convention in Nashville, Tenn.
The workshops that were available to the attendees were also quite impressive; anger management, conflict resolution, motivating your staff, and many more. These courses will be invaluable to her work here in Archuleta County. One reporter did note a strange piece of fashionable shoulder ware on some of the attendees. It looked very much like a carpetbag.
Regarding the resignation of the county's public works director, Mr. Richard McKee:
Although it is always unfortunate when any employee feels he or she is working in a hostile environment and that the staff are being belittled, I must state that having attended the majority of public meetings and sessions with the road and bridge department and county commissioners, I have never heard or witnessed any statement belittling the job performance of any road and bridge employee or lack of appreciation for such individuals. In fact , Commissioner Schiro has frequently praised those working in this department for their performance.
Schiro, a diligent and ethical public servant, does an enormous amount of research herself and has requested of road and bridge and many others involved in issues before the board that they do likewise, thus giving everyone present a better understanding of the issues being presented. It is part of her responsibility as a commissioner to ask for and receive as much detailed information as is available on any given issue. To refuse to provide, or give access to the information she requests deserves investigation from a higher authority.
Commissioner Schiro, as a qualified civil engineer, has the knowledge and training to ask pertinent questions which must be addressed prior to voting, which I am sure the other two would, if they had the same qualifications.
It is unproductive for the county when a commissioner performing her duties in a conscientious manner is berated for doing so. The unbridled energy often displayed at these work sessions and meetings is extremely negative and therefore counterproductive to getting work done.
I would hope in the future that Commissioner Zaday and Commissioner Lynch would redirect this excess energy to solving county problems and stay away from unwarranted derogatory insinuations and public statements which are counterproductive to providing for the taxpayer's a cooperative, effective and civilized board of Archuleta County Commissioners.
My husband and I supported two county commissioners. One a highly qualified civil engineer and another interested in our sadly neglected roads.
Following the Fairfield Bankruptcy Settlement, a portion of the funds were spent by the county on reconstruction of many of Pagosa Lakes roads to Archuleta County specifications with the understanding they would then be accepted for continued maintenance by the county.
Unfortunately, the Archuleta County Commissioners of that period decided (without legally voting) to place a moratorium on accepting any more roads in the county system.
Some homeowners say that general maintenance continued for a few years but about three or four years ago, the non-maintained roads were identified by small bright red stickers on many street signs and general maintenance ceased.
This left most roads of Twin Creek Village with no scheduled maintenance, although I've heard recently that winter preparation and snow maintenance will continue.
Taxpayers in Pagosa Lakes contribute a large portion of Archuleta County taxes. In addition the "windfall" Fairfield Bankruptcy money totaling almost $7 million was under the sole responsibility of Archuleta County, specifically for Pagosa Lakes utilities and road reconstruction.
When regular maintenance of these reconstructed roads was halted - was there any notification to the homeowners? How did they find out that the "County Fathers" would no longer be responsible for this huge infrastructure problem?
The roads in Twin Creek Village West, which we thought were maintained by the county, were not maintained. The roads most traveled have deteriorated in the last 2-3 years. Recent cost estimates to repair have varied from $3,500 to $7,500 to bring two miles of our worst, most traveled roads, up to county specifications. Then will our roads be accepted? Who knows? The tiny red "not maintained" signs on many of the street signs in the county still remain.
The only commissioner, to my knowledge, who is interested in the discrepancies of the past as well as looking forward to a constructive future is Robin Schiro. She asks pointed questions and expects straight answers before she votes yea or nay on a given issue. I do not believe she means to demean anyone.
It saddens me to see the petty bickering obvious to all present expand into out-and-out enmity and actual petitions to remove an innocent and valuable commissioner only trying to fulfill the obligations and duties she vowed to uphold.
Editor's note: Having sat in the commissioners' meeting wherein the moratorium was enacted, we cannot remember an "illegal" vote. Please write and clarify your claim for our readers.
As my friends "Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird" would say on my favorite Saturday morning cartoon channel, "Well, sufferin' succotash."
I was not aware that the coroner was the "most powerful man" in this county. Thank you for that important bit o'info.
Consequently, I'd like to see the coroner execute some of that controlling away. Maybe he could just oust the sheriff to checking cattle brands instead of "arresting him" and quietly take over the department. His resume would certainly qualify him for clearing out the dead weight in the current Archuleta County sheriff's department. I'd vote for that: "Let's roll!"
I am honored that DC Duncan would even consider yours truly a "super patriot." But I just don't believe that I could fill those shoes. How bout an American who believes in America? I could relish that tag.
Mr. Duncan: Commodore Sawicki has managed to acquire his very own Viking ship. Will soon be catching a high tide out of the naval base in San Diego for adventurous ports of call in the Pacific and beyond. I have some heavy oarsmen of the north all signed up. All I need to complete the crew is someone who can keep them all pulling simultaneously. Can you beat a righteous drum? If so, be glad to sign you on for the maiden voyage.
Just one possible drawback: my ship will operate under U.S. Navy regulations; no alcohol allowed on board and only one "educational sermon" on Sunday. Can you deal with the best DC? If so, as old sailors would say, "Welcome aboard ... shipmate."
I stand humbly corrected - to a degree. Sadly, I assumed the Archuleta County Court Judge was a full time officer of the court; he is only .55 time. As an example, La Plata County Judge is full time and his basic salary is $105,513 per year and benefit package.
Since the SUN's editor could somehow pass as a journalist and his primary function is to provide his readers Food for Thought, I was disappointed he didn't tell us what the Archuleta County judge is paid per year. Why not? It's public record. The editor has declared that the Archuleta County judge total reimbursements are less than three quarters of my "erroneously stated 100K per year." I don't think so.
The Durango Court office revealed the Archuleta County court judge is paid $4,836.04 per month as a .55 time county judge and he picks up $1,825.50 per month as a district court magistrate. I believe that equates to $6,661.54 per month or $79,937.48 per year. I'd bet the benefit package is worth, at a minimum, 10 percent of the gross salary; so now we're pushing real hard on 90K.
So, who now stands "erroneously" corrected? By the way, I still contend, even with the current Archuleta County judge/magistrate salary range, "get him up" whenever a bench warrant is needed.
I believe it is important for the citizens of Archuleta County to have accurate facts in order to make informed decisions. Therefore, I thought it imperative that I submit this letter.
On Sept. 6, 2005, Commissioner Lynch responded to a letter from the Citizen Committee for Better Roads. In her letter and meetings following it, she represented that the response was from all the county commissioners. This is simply not factual.
The fact is that I opposed this response. The majority, consisting of Commissioner Lynch and Commissioner Zaday, agreed to the content of this response and to sending it out. I did not. I objected on the grounds that I believe this committee's direct involvement, along with input from all residents of the county, would provide professional, necessary citizen-oriented input toward our road decisions and actions. I also firmly believe that all county roads should be maintained, as they were about two years ago, while a County Road Plan is being designed.
Virtually all activity within in the Board of County Commissioners is based on a majority rules vote. A majority of two determines what will be on meeting agendas. A majority of two determines when meetings will be scheduled.
This board has decided that a majority of two determines if a commissioner even gets information needed to make an informed decision/vote, so this commissioner is finding it difficult to even get the facts on several issues.
A majority of two also determines what actions will or will not be taken by the board and/or staff. If a commissioner is absent from a meeting and the majority denies a requested staff action, the absent commissioner has the right to bring that issue back up at the next meeting and it can still pass with the majority vote. This has been the course of action since I took office. It is my firm belief that the public has a right to know and I will continue to take that stand.
It puzzles me how I appear to be receiving the blame for actions taken or not taken by the Board of County Commissioners, and virtually everything else going on in the county, when it takes a majority vote to make any of these things occur. When nearly every vote is two to one, especially when it comes to crucial road issues, it is remarkable that I am somehow having any influence on the outcome, let alone a negative one.
Perhaps residents of the county need to truly evaluate how the majority of the board is voting, and voice their concerns regarding that. I certainly want all to be aware that not everything that is attributed to the "board" has been approved by all of us. The record is really open to the public. As always, if any citizen has any questions or input regarding how I have voted, or as to what position I truly have on an issue I welcome them to contact me at (970) 264-8304.
Gas prices in Oklahoma are $2.45 and in Mississippi $2.54 per gallon this past week, according to contacts made in those areas.
Our New Mexico refineries have similar delivery distances and those states have comparable gas taxes to Colorado.
What one man can do with a gas pump, another man has to do with a gun. Are Four Corners gas suppliers treating you fairly? You be the judge.
School pix event
The school year is in full swing, and elementary school pictures will be taken Tuesday, Sept. 27. To help parents prepare, P.I.E. is holding a fund-raiser in the school courtyard Saturday, Sept. 24. This event is called, "Clip and a Cookie."
For only $5, one of our local hairdressers will volunteer their time and give your child a haircut and P.I.E. will provide a free cookie! P.I.E. will also be hosting a bake sale that day. This event will be held in the elementary school courtyard. If it is raining, we will hold the event in the school's Multipurpose room. If you have any questions, please call Carrie at 264-9042.
What happened to common sense around here?
Three employees quitting our county government and no one is getting truly down to the nitty-gritty of why or solving the problems.
The only thing we hear is a lot of excuses from elected officials, but no solutions. Have we become a government on a local basis that must study something to death before anyone makes a decision based on common sense?
Even our town is having problems so far as common sense goes. There is nothing worse than seeing our area become what Washington, D.C. is. So completely mired in political lobbying, grand standing serving only special interests and pork barrel politics, it is tough to accomplish anything truly beneficial to all. It has been this way no matter who is president. How sad.
Growth is so far ahead of those in power that they cannot see for the dust. What if the county keeps the current courthouse and builds a justice center. This would move the sheriff's department, the courts and the jail into one center.
Very convenient for all concerned. Unfortunately, the jail is staying full with an average of over 30 inmates and this is a by-product of growth. How many of you realized this jail is so busy? There is no choice in the matter.
The space opened up by moving to a justice center would allow the county clerk, treasurer, assessor, building and planning, and the commissioners to spread out in the current courthouse. There is a second elevator in the jail that would make it easier for handicapped access to those areas. There is the elevator that already goes from the DMV in the basement to the third floor where the courts are currently. Those things are already in place.
The current cells could be used as offices with plenty of room for files in others. The garage area under the jail could easily be turned into offices, too.
Why do we need a new courthouse and justice center both? Why get rid of what we already have in place? No one seems to be thinking about using what is already there.
How come? This would save the taxpayers money and be a wise use of the building.
Please do not organize a committee to study the feasibility of this. Common sense says it can be done and save taxpayers money. What a novel idea for 2005.
By Kate Terry
Southwest Land Alliance annual breakfast, 9 a.m. at the Hershey Ranch at the end of Snowball Road. Everyone interested in conserving local open space is invited to join us for a pancake breakfast followed by the SLA annual meeting and hikes on the historic and beautiful Ranch.
The Ruby Sisson Library volunteers will meet 11:30 a.m. at the Unfortunate Sausage Restaurant.
Free showing of documentary film: "The Greatest Good".
As the Forest Service celebrates its centennial year, a new documentary brings the history of the agency to a broad audience. "The Greatest Good" uses rarely seen footage and photos, sweeping HD landscape aerial shots and dozens of interviews to tell a complex and compelling story of the American land.
The documentary will be shown 2 p.m. Sept. 30 in Pagosa Springs' Liberty Theater. Admission is free. This event is sponsored by the San Juan National Forest and the San Juan Mountains Association at the courtesy of the Liberty Theater. For information, contact Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268.
Day-long Building Inauguration and Celebration at Tara Mandala Buddhist Retreat Center outside Pagosa Springs. Talk by Tsultrim Allione, tour, auction, food, concert/performance by Krishna Das and Zuleikha.
Suggested donation $80. Registration required. Call 264-6177 or www.taramandala.org.
The David Taylor Dance Theatre, Denver's professional contemporary ballet company currently celebrating its 26th anniversary season, will present "Contemporary Classics" 7:30 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $6 for students, and may be purchased in advance at the Plaid Pony.
PALS, (Pagosa Singles) will meet 5 p.m. at the home of Althena Raphael for a barbecue. All singles age 40-plus are welcome to attend Call 731-9129 for reservations before Sept. 29.
All current Cub Scouts and any interested boys in first to fifth grades are invited to an information meeting for Pack 807, 6 p.m. at the Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street in downtown Pagosa Springs. Dinner and fun will be provided. For more information, call Cubmaster Lisa Scott at 264-2730 or Pack Leader Carrie Toth at 264-9042.
Music Boosters open house, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Music Boosters is looking for help in a variety of on-stage and off-stage capacities. Call Dale Morris at 731-3370 for information.
Columbus Day: No school.
The October Newcomer Club social will take place at Farrago's Market, located across Pagosa Street from the Forest Service. The event begins at 6 p.m. Cost is $8 per person. All newcomers are invited; no reservations are necessary. For more information, call Kathy at 731-3857, or Kim at 264-6826.
The Mountain View Homemakers will meet with Barbara Johnson (731-2271) who lives at 164 Blanca Place. Directions: U.S. 160 to South Pagosa Boulevard and go south to Blanca Place; left to second driveway on the left.
Full Moon Program at Chimney Rock: Watch the full moon rise at the Great House Pueblo site, learn about ancestral Puebloans, archaeoastronomy theories, area geology, and enjoy Native American flute melodies by Charles Martinez. Moon will not rise between spires at this event.
Not suited for children under 12. Gate open 5-5:30 p.m. Moonrise 6:35 p.m. Ask about the "early tour" ($4), which starts at 4 p.m. Details at www.chimneyrockco.org. Tickets $15; reservations required. Call 883-5359 from 9-4 daily through Sept. 30 (off-season call 264-2287 or 264-2268). Sponsor: Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, Inc., in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, San Juan National Forest, Pagosa District.
The League of Women Voters of Archuleta County will hold a Candidates and Ballot Issues Forum for the General Election 6:30 p.m. in the Extension Building at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds. Meet the candidates 6:30 p.m., forum at 7 p.m. KWUF radio will carry live coverage.
Major Lunar Standstill Viewing at Chimney Rock: Lunar phenomena when moon rises between two spectacular stone pillars on 18.6-year cycle. As tickets are limited to 24 tickets per event, be advised that this fund-raiser to support native Puebloan involvement at CR event is sold out.
Call 264-2287, Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon for future reservations. Details at www.chimneyrockco.org. Sponsor: Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, Inc., in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, San Juan National Forest, Pagosa District.
David Taylor Dance theater here Oct. 1
The David Taylor Dance Theatre, Denver's professional contemporary ballet company, will return to Pagosa Springs Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
The company will present a program of "Contemporary Classics" in the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium.
This retrospective is in celebration of the group's 26th anniversary season, and will feature a wide variety of some of the best works from the company's extensive repertoire, including Romeo and Juliet Rocks!, Icon, Meditation from Thais, and Afternoon of a Faun.
"Contemporary Classics" is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters, the Xcel Energy Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets for this presentation are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for students. They may be purchased at the Plaid Pony. For more information, call Michael DeWinter at 731-5262.
Boosters announce auditions for new 'A Christmas Carol'
By Dale Morris
Special to The PREVIEW
The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters is again excited to bring you Michael Demaio's "A Christmas Carol" for its holiday production.
We look forward to establishing a Pagosa Springs tradition of holiday shows that operate on a three- year performance schedule. It's time to bring Scrooge, Bob Crachit, Tiny Tim, and London of the 1800s back to life.
Auditions for this magnificent show will be held 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Sept. 29-30 in the band room at the high school.
Music Boosters anticipates a cast of approximately 35 performers, and are looking especially for adult men and women. We also need young adults and teens of all ages, with additional opportunities for children.
Performance dates are Dec. 1-3 in the evenings, with an additional matinee Dec. 3.
Please come prepared to sing one verse of an audition song from either "Christmas Carol" or another musical. An accompanist will be provided. Dancing and script reading will also be part of auditions.
For more information, call Michael DeWinter at 731-5262.
Open house for prospective Boosters members
By Dale Morris
Special to The PREVIEW
Music Boosters is looking for volunteers.
Whether a veteran of Music Boosters productions over the past 15 years, or a newcomer to Pagosa, come to the stage at the high school Oct. 6, 6:30-7:30 p.m. and meet our folks.
We are looking for help in the following areas: performance, musicians, production assistants, stage managers, backstage crew, technical sound and lighting, set designs and construction, costuming, design, sewing and management, logistics and storage, fund-raising, marketing and web design support, advertising and publicity poster and program design and distribution, and so much more.
Come share your skills and talents with us and experience the adventures of theatrical production and performance.
Our next show is "A Christmas Carol," by Michael DeMaio, Dec. 1, 2 and 3.
For more information, call Dale Morris, 731 - 3370
Church of Christ King's Kids returns Oct. 5
"I'm in the Lord's Army" will be the theme for the annual King's Kids program beginning Monday, Oct. 5.
King's Kids will meet 7-8 p.m. every Wednesday through Nov. 2 for five weeks of Bible study sponsored by Church of Christ, 27 Lewis St., to help children learn more about God's word and grow into better young people.
All children, two years old through sixth grade, are invited to attend.
Several local teen-agers and adults have been making preparations to teach the various age groups each evening. Activities for the classes will include singing, Bible study, games, prayer, crafts, refreshments and a visit from the always lovable puppets.
On the fifth and final evening, an awards night will be held.
The Joy Bus will run to provide transportation in the downtown area.
For more information, transportation or to enroll, call the church building at 264-2552 or Dorman Diller at 264-4454.
Unitarians' guest to discuss problem of death and dying
Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold a service Sunday entitled, "Solve the problem of death and dying: Develop the art of living and life."
Guest speaker will be Constance d'Angelis, a practicing attorney for 22 years who has settled in Pagosa Springs where she has founded The Living Law Institute for Transforming Conflict.
She points out: "There is an immense fear around the concept of dying. Death of the body is inevitable. Is there any way to get beyond this fear? By recognizing our inherent unity with all life and one another, accepting each other and ourselves, and encouraging spiritual growth, we can develop the art of living a peaceful and worthwhile life."
The service and Children's Program begin at 10:30 a.m. The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall is Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbrier Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.
Study of mountain lions a tie-in to Pumas on Parade
Sinapu and the San Juan Mountains Association present "Mountain Lions in the West, Natural History, Conservation and Co-Existence" 7 p.m. Sunday in the Pagosa Springs Community Center.
Speaker is Wendy Keefover-Ring of Sinapu.
The West's red-rock canyon country, rugged foothills, and piñon-covered mesas provide critical habitat to mountain lions (Puma concolor).
A highly charismatic species, mountain lions (commonly known as pumas, cougars or panthers) are an icon of the southern Rockies. No wonder: Sleek and majestic, cautious and cagey, mountain lions evoke myriad mythical associations.
Last July, SJMA unveiled 29 puma sculptures - a "pride" of Pumas on Parade.
Appropriately dubbed public art for public land, the project has focused on teaching resource and wildlife values, supporting SJMA's ongoing public land stewardship programs, and showcasing local artists.
Now, as these fine art felines disperse to individual dens, there is still knowledge to be gained about their shy, unsocial nature and predatory ways.
Mountain lions are a magnificent symbol of the power of nature and the promise of protecting the environment.
Attend Sunday's presentation to learn more about mountain lion natural history, how Colorado manages its puma population, and skills necessary to coexist successfully with this large native carnivore. Log on to www.sjma.org for more information about Pumas on Parade.
Arts Alliance explains goals. county mission
By Dale Morris
Special to The PREVIEW
The Pagosa Springs Arts Alliance, a non-profit organization, was formed a year ago through the dedicated and concerted efforts of community volunteers committed to the establishment of a performing arts center in Pagosa.
The Arts Alliance was formed through the collaboration of representatives from the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters, Friends of Performing Arts, The Arts Council, the Town of Pagosa Springs, Archuleta County, the Education Center and other interested community members.
These volunteers have been actively pursuing their goal for the past year to establish the organization's mission, vision, goals and purpose. What sets this group apart from others is their passion and focus for giving back and being in service to their schools and community.
The Mission of the Arts Alliance: The Arts contribute to the color, energy, melody and meaning of life. They are essential to the enrichment of our community and its economic development.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Alliance creates opportunities to advance artistic excellence in an outstanding mountain setting that draws people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to embrace the Arts. Their vision strives to help establish the Arts as a regional, cultural and economic focal point for the community and to provide a gathering place for engaging experiences that will touch the human spirit.
The goals of the Arts Alliance include the construction and management of a performing arts center, an arts education facility supported by a cultural arts endowment fund, and an eventual performing arts college.
We are excited about the future of performing arts and education in Pagosa and what the Arts Alliance's work will mean to our community, our schools, and our people.
Anyone with an interest in supporting the possibilities please call Susan Neder, president of PSAA, at 731-4735.
Loaves and Fishes returns in October
By Kate Terry
Last fall when flu shots were given at the community center, a few women (volunteer cookie and juice servers) conceived the idea of a food kitchen in Pagosa Springs.
They met and lined up things needed, specifically a food source and a place.
City Market offered to provide the meat, the bread and the baked goods. Immaculate Heart of Mary Church offered use of its Parish Hall. The program was in place.
The women called it "Loaves and Fishes." Its purpose is to serve the hungry, the lonely and seniors with a free meal and to do so in a friendly environment.
Loaves and Fishes opened Thursday, Jan. 6, and was open every Thursday from then through March - the cold months .
Loaves and Fishes served its purpose. The first person through the doors was a man named Doug. He was followed by stragglers and, when the doors closed in March, nearly 200 people were being served a wholesome meal.
The program was a success. The women who envisioned the meal had been rewarded.
Loaves and Fishes is not sponsored by any church or other organization but its members will be volunteering during the year. One does not have to be affiliated with an organization to volunteer.
Loaves and Fishes is a community effort - strictly a community effort - an effort to be proud of.
Although the meal is free, some want to donate money. Wells Fargo has an account for the program and one can donate to the account.
But lots of donations are needed.
Loaves and Fishes will open again this year at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, in the Parish Hall.
Fun on the run:
Rebecca and Jacob.
Jacob, age 92, and Rebecca, age 89, living in Florida, are all excited about their decision to get married.
They go for a stroll to discuss the wedding, and on the way they pass a drugstore. Jacob suggests they go in.
Jacob addresses the man behind the counter, "Are you the owner?"
The pharmacist answers, "Yes."
Jacob: "We're about to get married. Do you sell heart medication?"
Pharmacist: "Of course we do."
Jacob: "How about medication for circulation?"
Pharmacist: "All kinds."
Jacob: "Medicine for rheumatism and scoliosis?"
Jacob: "How about Viagra?"
Pharmacist: "Of course."
Jacob: "Medicine for memory problems, arthritis, jaundice?"
Pharmacist: "Yes, a large variety, the works."
Jacob: "What about vitamins, sleeping pills, Geritol, antidotes of Parkinson's disease?"
Jacob: "You sell wheelchairs and walkers?"
Pharmacist: "All speeds and sizes."
Jacob: "We'd like to use this store for our bridal registry."
Cajun music, dance is Wednesday feature
By Mercy Korsgren
Cajun Music and Dance, 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Listen and dance to Cajun music provided by John Gwin on his accordion. He invites other accordion players to join him. Call John, 731-9666.
Cajun dance steps fall into three broad groups: waltz, two-step and jitterbug. But when you go to a traditional Cajun dance hall such as La Poussiere (The Dust) in Breaux Bridge, La. you will observe that there is actually no wrong way to dance to Cajun music. The important thing is to get on the dance floor and "pass a good time."
I was on a trip to Montrose and Grand Junction via Silverton and Ouray last weekend and the fall colors were fabulous. The beauty of the changing color of the mountain vegetation is so uplifting. We are so blessed to be in this beautiful part of the country with four distinctive seasons.
This weekend would be the best time to see the fall colors near Silverton and Ouray. If you don't want to drive that far due to gas prices, Plumtaw Road toward Pagosa Peak may be ready in two weeks. Enjoy the colors!
Every Wednesday 10 a.m.-noon. Bodil Holstein, our new volunteer is heading this group. I hope there will be enough interest to form a club. For now, the purpose of the gathering is to freshen up the group's German language skills, to dance the waltz and others, and to get together once a month for social over an Austrian or German meal. So, mark your calendar for the next meeting, Sept. 28. Those interested but for whom the meeting time/day is not convenient, call 264-4152 or call Bodil at 903-8800.
Italian cooking class
The scallops/linguini with lots of garlic and onion in marinara sauce was delicious. The tomato, fresh mozzarella and calamata olive salad with fresh basil drizzle and fig balsamic vinaigrette dressing was delightful. The preparations were simple and easy, yet the presentation was superb - very colorful and very appetizing.
This week's menu is braciole (stuffed meat rolls), meatballs stuffed with mozzarella cheese and Italian sausages, all cooked in tomato sauce and served with rigatoni pasta. Edith will prepare all of the above at home since braciole needs two hours to cook in the sauce. She will then demonstrate in the class how to stuff and brown the braciole prior to adding to the sauce, and how to mix and form the meatballs. We will not do the sausages in class, as there is little preparation for this.
The class is limited to 10 people and, though it's full right now, I encourage those interested to call 264-4152 and ask to be on the list for alternates.
This week has seen the beginning of another beginning computing class for seniors. We had show-and-tell when we looked at different kinds of computers, keyboards, mice, and other peripherals. A short amount of time was spent on learning how to clean your hardware, what cleaners to use and what not to use, especially how to deal with dirty LCD screens. There was also a computer box (known sometimes as a CPU) open for all to see just what's inside. It helps, on occasion, to look at a computer carefully, to examine it and to realize that it's not as scary as it might seem at first glance.
One of the things Becky emphasizes in these beginning computing classes is that it's pretty hard to mess up your computer. Of course, if you know how to do it and you are determined to cause problems, you can completely fry your system. But if you aren't sitting there at your computer with malicious intent, you probably won't do any harm. A few colors might be changed, some icons could get moved - but probably nothing that can't be undone. If you're not sure about what you are doing, call Becky or stop by and she can talk about whether or not it's an OK idea.
The class members talked about some important terms to know: hardware, software, firmware, freeware and shareware - what are all these confusing terms? Then we tackled the whole Windows thing - what is a window, what's a taskbar, how to open programs, what are the four ways to close a window (not necessary to know, but fun).
A partying we will go.
Community Halloween partying, that is.
Yes, it's time to plan for our second annual Halloween Party, 6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31. It is free.
We invite anyone - individuals, schools, non-profit groups, businesses and other groups to participate in this fun and most popular event of the year. The center will provide the space, you take care of your booth including decorating, prizes and manpower to run it. Those who participated last year and are interested again this year will be considered first. Remaining booths will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Kiwanis Club will again provide free hot dogs, chips and drink. So, call now to reserve your spot, 264-4152.
The center has new hours. 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; Friday 8 a.m.&endash;5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. We encourage everyone, especially those interested in basketball, volleyball and computer use, to take advantage of the new hours of operation.
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 interest groups. Call me, 264-4152.
Activities this week
Today - Italian cooking class, 10 a.m.-noon; Chimney Rock potluck, 5-9 p.m.; Colorado Housing, Inc. meeting, noon-6 p.m.
Friday - Victim Assistance program meeting, 8-9:30 a.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; open basketball, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.; seniors' bridge club, 12:30- 4 p.m.; Victim Assistance program meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m..
Saturday, Sept. 24 - Drug and Alcohol Education class, 9 a.m-.5 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 25 - Church of Christ Sunday service, 9 a.m.-noon; Grace Evangelical Free Church service, 10 a.m.-noon; United Pentecostal Church service, 2-4 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 26 - Seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; seniors' bridge club, 12:30-4 p.m.; Building Blocks 4 Health, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 27 - Seniors' computer class, 10 a.m.-noon; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; intermediate school teachers' work session, noon-4 p.m.; computer Q & A with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; adult volleyball, 6:30-9 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 28 - Legal depositions, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Wednesday bridge club, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Austrian/German gathering, 10 a.m.-noon; Church of Christ Bible study, 7-9 p.m.; Grace EV music practice, 7-9 p.m.;
Cajun Music and Dance, 7-9 p.m.
Thursday Sept. 29 - 8 a.m.-5 p.m. County Municipal Judges' conference, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Italian cooking class, 10 a.m.-noon; high school cross country pasta night, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Lost and found
A camo jacket has been found here. We'll hold lost and found items for a month, then all unclaimed items will be donated to the local thrift stores or discarded. Please check at the front desk if you're missing something that might have been left at the center. Call 264-4152.
Need a place to have a party or meeting? We have very affordable rooms for small, mid-size 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.
Medicare drug insurance plan can be confusing
By Musetta Wollenweber
I recently returned from a conference with the Colorado Association of Nutrition Service Directors in Glenwood Springs. One of our main focuses was on the Medicare Drug Insurance plan that will begin in January 2006.
I cannot impress upon you how important it is to become educated on this confusing subject. Remember that our SHIP volunteer counselors are here to help you every Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. As the application process approaches in November we will begin to schedule appointments to give you the one-on-one assistance you will need. Meanwhile, we plan on scheduling information sessions to assist you in making decisions and plan to speak on KWUF.
Decisions are absolutely necessary or you could be penalized in the long run, so don't let your indecision cost you extra money. Get informed! If you know of someone who is confused, or you yourself are confused, you are not alone. Remember, each and every one of our SHIP counselors has attended training provided by the State Division of Insurance and we'll help you.
Medicare for drugs
Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit consumer alert: SSA contracts with private companies will place follow-up calls to individuals receiving low income subsidy applications.
The Social Security Administration has mailed the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (Form SSA-1020) to almost 19 million potentially eligible individuals.
As part of its effort to reach all people who qualify for the extra help, Social Security has contracted with NCS Pearson, Inc. and its partner, West Corporation, to conduct follow-up telephone calls to individuals who have not responded to the initial mailing of the application.
Be aware that these vendor calls, as well as the potential follow-up calls from Social Security Administration (SSA) staff, present an opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to solicit personal information, which can lead to identity theft. Note that NCS Pearson and West Corporation staff cannot enroll individuals over the phone or ask for any personal information. If requested by the consumer during the telephone call with the contractor, follow-up calls will be placed by SSA staff to facilitate completion of the low income subsidy application over the phone.
Seniors should be made aware of the following:
- These contractor calls are occurring.
- They should verify whether follow-up calls by SSA staff are legitimate prior to providing any personal information over the phone by calling back to a pre-printed SSA phone number.
- They should also be aware that the SSA will not enroll them in a specific plan, only assist them in completing the application for the low income subsidy.
- Ideally, consumers will be proactive and complete the application before they receive a follow-up phone call.
Agencies can assist seniors by letting them know who can help them complete the application.
Information from the SSA online fact sheet:
The vendor will follow a closely monitored script designed to remind individuals about the importance of completing and mailing the application back to Social Security if the individual is interested in filing.
The vendor will make the calls Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. according to the local time zone for the beneficiary's area code.
The vendor will ask individuals if they have received or completed an application, encourage them to do so if they are interested in the extra help and offer to have Social Security call to assist them if necessary.
If individuals need another application, have specific questions about the application or need assistance completing it, the vendor will arrange for Social Security to provide any needed follow-up.
Social Security is committed to safeguarding personal information and will not be giving the contractors any Social Security numbers or other personal information besides the name and last known address of the beneficiaries.
The vendor will not ask for any personal information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, income or resource information, etc.
When these calls are made, the callers will clearly identify themselves as employees of NCS Pearson and the West Corporation calling on behalf of the Social Security Administration. If a Medicare beneficiary receives a call from someone claiming to be a Social Security employee and is at all suspicious, they should:
- Ask the caller for their name and telephone number to call them back.
- Hang up and call Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to confirm that the call is legitimate.
Q: Will the representative from the West Corporation ask me to provide them with any of my personal information?
A: No. The contractor is authorized only to find out if beneficiaries have received or completed an application and to encourage them to do so if they are interested in the extra help. However, you may be asked to verify your current address if you want another application mailed to you. In fact, this is one way you can be certain the call is legitimate. The contractor has no need for any personal information.
Q: What should I do if someone calls and claims to be a Social Security employee?
A: Unless you have completed and mailed an application, submitted an online application on Social Security's Web site, or indicated to the contractor that you would like to talk to a representative from Social Security, you will not receive a call directly from a Social Security employee. A Social Security employee will only contact you if:
- There are questions on the application that were not answered.
- There are answers that cannot be read.
- There are discrepancies between answers on the application and information we receive from other federal agencies.
- You tell the contractor or another Social Security partner that you want someone from Social Security to help you complete an application over the phone.
- You tell the contractor you have questions you need answered by Social Security.
Q: What should I do if I'm suspicious or not comfortable with someone who claims to be an employee of Social Security?
A: If you are at all suspicious, you should:
- Ask the caller for their name and telephone number to call them back.
- Hang up and call Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to confirm that the call is legitimate.
Country Western Day
Howdy pardners! Dig out those cowboy boots, purdy skirts and hats and come join us at Country Western Day for lunch Friday, Sept. 30. We'll have a prize for the best dressed country western Silver Fox. Yee haw!
Hey, September babies, we'd like to help you celebrate your birthday Friday, Sept. 30. For those of you celebrating this month and are age 60-plus, Seniors Inc. has graciously discounted the price of your meal this day to just a buck.
Your local council on aging, better known as Archuleta Seniors, Inc., will hold its annual election 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10. All paid members are encouraged to vote and if you are not a member come on in and join, membership is just $3. Please note memberships will not be available on election day.
On Monday, Oct. 3, your board invites you to stop in and meet the candidates at 11:30. The following are running for office:
- President - Jim Pearson.
- Vice-President - Mary Lou Maehr.
- Secretary - Joe Nanus.
- Treasurer - Kathy Betts.
- Board Members, (vote for 3) - Laurie Church, Judy Collins, Jim Estell, Helen Hoff, Patty Tillerson and Linda Veik.
- Arboles representation - Bob Tearnan.
Fall color hiking
Experience nature's wonders Tuesday, Oct. 4, as we enjoy a five-mile roundtrip hike in the fall colors on the Cumbres Pass Continental Divide Trail. The hike is pleasant and pretty, beginning at 10,000 feet and reaching a height just above 10,300 feet with ups and downs along the way. We will stop about 2.5 miles out at the Wolf Creek crossing, a lovely bubbling stream with two very nice waterfalls and a great place for lunch. Sign up with The Den office by Monday, Oct. 3, to participate in this outdoor adventure.
Nancy Cole, a hiking leader for the Gray Wolves Ski Club and the San Juan Outdoor Club, will be our trip leader. Meet at The Den at 8:20 a.m. and we will leave promptly at 8:30 with carpooling being our mode of transportation. Wear comfortable hiking boots and bring a lunch, two liters of water, rain jacket if necessary, and wear layers for comfort in case of temperature changes. Enjoy a day in the outdoors and discover the beauty and the majestic scenery of the San Juan Mountains in the fall.
Have you ever wanted to learn the graceful technique of fly-fishing? Well here is your chance. Ski & Bow Rack will be offering fly-fishing casting lessons 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, in the gym at the community center. Then it is time to practice your technique in the great outdoors with a fly fishing trip the following week 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, on our very own San Juan River.
Cost is $20 with all the equipment and instruction included. (The required fishing license is $5.25 which can be purchased at Ski & Bow Rack.) Sign up by Oct. 7 at The Den office. Fall is a great time to relax and enjoy the rivers with a fly rod.
A grand presentation
David Scherer, local author of the novel "The Legend of Standing Bear," will be at The Den 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, to describe his experience with the Grand Canyon which inspired his book. Learn how the plot of this story began and evolved from the author's point of view.
Scherer is planning on sharing some of the life lessons he learned while hiking over 5,000 feet out of the Grand Canyon along with his journey exploring the depths of the great chasm. Join us for this inspirational presentation and discover the overwhelming impact this natural wonder, the Grand Canyon, can arouse.
This is a Web site that will help people find where and how to replace vital documents, including their Medicare cards: www.firstgov.gov/Citizen/Topics/Public Safety/Hurricane_Katrina_Recovery/Vital_Docs.shtml.
Also, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a hotline for crisis counseling. By calling 1-800-273-8255, people who are in emotional distress or suicidal can call at any time from anywhere in the nation to talk to a trained worker who will listen to and assist callers in getting the mental health help they need. People will be provided with immediate access to local resources, referrals and expertise.
Senior of the Week
Congratulations to Eleanor Jones, our Senior of the Week. Just in case you have no idea what I'm referring to, Dawnie Silva (kitchen director) draws a number every Friday and the lucky winner eats free the following week. Be sure to join us Fridays and see if you'll be the next lucky Senior of the Week.
Activities at a Glance
Friday, Sept. 23 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15; Bridge 4 Fun, 1 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 26 - Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; gym walk, 11:15; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 27 - Basic computer, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15; blood pressure check ups, 11:30 a.m.&endash;noon; Canasta, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 28 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.
Friday, Sept. 30 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15; Bridge 4 Fun, 1 p.m.; Country Western Day (dress appropriately) and celebrate September birthdays.
Suggested donation $2.50 for ages 60-plus, all others $4.50.
Salad bar every day - 11:30 a.m.
Friday, Sept. 23 - Roast Beef, red bliss potatoes, mixed vegetables, wheat roll and cherry cobbler.
Monday, Sept. 26 - Turkey sandwich, tomato soup, seasoned green beans, wheat bread and almond peaches.
Tuesday, Sept. 27 - Scalloped potatoes with ham, chopped spinach, perfection salad with apple and a wheat roll.
Wednesday, Sept. 28 - Chili con carne, zucchini ole, corn bread and cantaloupe.
Friday, Sept. 30 - Chicken fried steak, garlic potatoes and gravy, cauliflower and broccoli, drop biscuit, apples and birthday cake!
Comprehensive look at VA entitlements
By Andy Fautheree
First, a couple of catch-up news items for veterans.
Most of you know by now that the information about VA ID cards being made at the National Guard Center in Durango reported in this column a few weeks ago was in error. My mistake: It was for Military ID cards only.
My friend Leroy Garcia, head of the Albuquerque VAMC Benefits and Eligibility Dept. came to my rescue, and traveled all the way up to Durango from Albuquerque VAMC with the VA ID Card equipment that first weekend.
Leroy went way "above and beyond the call of duty" to give us this assistance.
Secondly, I was reminded that the Pagosa Springs Fire Protection District also provided escort to the deploying troops as they passed through our community a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure there are other persons or groups that took part in the "community spirit" sendoff for these troops that may also be unnamed, but their patriotic display was certainly seen by many, especially the waving and smiling troops on the transportation vehicle. Thank you one and all for participating.
VA and entitlements
The following information came from long time friend and fellow Veteran Service Officer Mary Newman in Douglas County, Ore. I thought it was very good information and should be passed along.
Veterans who have received "good" discharges from the military services are eligible for various entitlements from federal, state and local agencies. We will cover information next week concerning additional entitlements you may be eligible for if the VA rates you for compensation or pension.
Consider this a rather broad overview and most individual benefits have very specific application forms and supporting documentation that may be required.
Entitlements for veterans who have no disabilities:
- Medical care at VA facilities - veterans must enroll. When VA provides care, VA will provide the following (currently funded) co-pay services: Prescription drugs ($7); outpatient care ($15); specialist care ($50); inpatient care (about $875 1-90 days). VA cannot fill prescriptions from private physicians.
- Home loan guaranty.
- Plot at National Cemetery. Opening and closing of grave. Gravesite service. Free.
- Veteran's license plates (Colorado currently charges $25 for special veteran plates in additional to any other associated vehicle costs).
- Pension for widow or dependents upon death of veteran. Income limits; may include funds for nursing home/foster home care. (Wartime service is required, but does not have to be in combat nor overseas).
- Employment services: See Colorado Workforce Center.
- Civil Service Preference, 5 points.
- Veterans' Group Life Insurance - apply within one year of discharge.
- Total disability income provision insurance rider may be purchased (before age 55). Provides monthly income when veteran is totally disabled for at least six months.
- Waiver of premiums on all VA policies should veteran become totally disabled before age 65 and remain so for at least six consecutive months.
- Dental care within 90 days of discharge.
- Education benefits. Must use within 10 years of discharge. (New GI Bill - must have contributed to MGIB, some other restrictions.)
- Alcohol and Drug Treatment. (Inpatient VAHC Rehab centers require enrollment in VA health care - other VA resources or vet centers may provide outpatient rehab).
- Vietnam Veterans (PTSD, Agent Orange, diabetes, hepatitis) plus AO Registry.
- Persian Gulf Veterans. Illness information. Persian Gulf Registry.
- Medals and awards.
- Copies of discharge documents and other documents.
- Registry of discharge documents free at any county clerk's office.
Again, this should only be considered a very broad view of entitlements for veterans with no service connected or other disabilities. Certain restrictions or eligibilities may depend on the individual circumstances or military service.
Part 2 next week
Next week: Entitlements, veterans with service connected disabilities.
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.
For information on these and other Veterans benefits call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office on the lower floor of the county courthouse. Office number is 264-8375, fax number is 264-8376, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment.
Feed them, and they will come
By Karen Kauffman
Feed them, and they will come.
I've been told that's the motto for the volunteers at the library. Social beings that we are, we love to get together and share our recipes as well as our stories and experiences.
Mo Covell, our beloved volunteer coordinator, says that "sometimes we only see the volunteers at the potlucks and the Christmas party." Once our library is reopened, adding an additional 3,000 square feet, we will need all of you back, ready to participate in this delightful experience of a new library with lots of new opportunities.
Our traditional volunteer program has been to have volunteers come in whenever they want to and shelve the books, help customers in anyway possible, and generally assist the staff via computer work, etc.
We are now planning to have three types of volunteers: including those who are willing to commit to a specific day and time and those who will "drop in" when available. Additionally, our director, Christine Anderson, is planning to set up a Volunteer Brain Trust for programming activities to reach out to the community.
What this will do is implement outreach programs to segments of the community that have been underserved. If we can get committed volunteers on a regular basis, we will be able to organize our programs and rely on them to assist the library. We will provide more extensive training where required or desired.
When I came to Pagosa Springs, almost a year ago, I first went to the library to use the Internet and get my e-mails, staying in touch with friends from "back home." Shortly thereafter, I became a volunteer and got to know so many of you right away and certainly felt like part of the community very quickly.
In fact, my very first experience with snow was when I left the library after shelving books for an hour or so. Being from California and never in the snow, I had decided that I would choose my first driving experience in the snow - however, that wasn't to be. As I walked outside and saw this white stuff drifting down and around me, I nearly screamed in delight! Oh my goodness, it really is snow Š and I made it home safely.
Mo first wandered into the library some 11 years ago when she got tired of emptying boxes. She and her husband had just relocated to Pagosa Springs and she was bored, didn't know anyone and wanted to get involved ... and get involved, she did Š first at the library, the Humane Society and other community activities. That's how it all starts, getting involved and getting to know your neighbors. That's what makes the difference between a community and a town.
So, how about getting involved with us once again. We are planning a High Tea and celebration of our reopening 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16. John Graves has graciously accepted our invitation to play for us and it will be a fun time and a chance to get reacquainted with us and the library.
Let us know what kinds of things you enjoy doing. Some of the opportunities we have available will be checking in videos, being sure they are rewound and viewable; shelving books, of course, perhaps gardening, working with teen-agers, children and/or seniors; computer work; storytellers.
Perhaps you have an interest in working in the Hispanic or another cultural community. Director Anderson will be taking over the volunteer coordination. Come in and fill out a form if you want to be a volunteer so she can contact you, interview you and utilize your talents!
Remember that volunteer hours must be logged because it is so important to show heavy community support and involvement when we make grant applications. Therefore, always log in your hours; it is also important to the fund-raising ability of the library.
Please stop in and get a volunteer form, even if you have volunteered in the past, so we can update our records. Also, we can use help now in preparation for the move to the new library such as weeding out old books, etc. Will you be one of our volunteers? We hope so.
Woodworking, student oil exhibit opens Sept. 29
By Kayla Douglass
Pagosa Springs is home to many woodworkers who design and construct a wide range of products including furniture, turned bowls, carvings etc.
PSAC will again sponsor an exhibit where Pagosa's finest woodworkers can show their newest wares, emphasizing a balance between art and craftsmanship.
The exhibit will include bowls, wood turnings, book ends, clocks, sofa tables, a corner cabinet and period furniture dresser.
In addition to the woodworking on view, Betty Slade will have works from her oil painting students on display as well. Betty began teaching oil painting through PSAC this past spring in a three-day workshop. She has continued teaching classes throughout this year. A number of her students will be displaying their oil paintings for the first time at this exhibit.
The Fine Woodworking and Betty Slade Student Oil Painting Exhibit starts Sept. 29 with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. and continues through Oct. 31. Please join us for the opening reception, or stop by during the exhibit to view local art on display.
The members of the watercolor club have been exhibiting watercolor paintings at the art gallery in Town Park. Come join us to view the work and encourage local painters.
The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 28.
The watercolor club meets the third Wednesday of the month at the community center and all watercolorists are encouraged to attend.
This is the first year for a calendar produced by local artists with subject matter reflecting Pagosa Country.
Our 14-page full color calendar features images for the 12 months, as well as a cover image. Works featured are from local artists Bruce Andersen, J. D. Kurz, Jan Brookshier, Sabine Baeckman-Elge, Jeanine Malaney, Jeff Laydon, Ginnie Bartlett, Claire Goldrick, Barbara Rosner and Tom Lockhart.
The 2006 calendars are available through the Arts Council at a price of $9.95 plus tax for nonmembers and $8.95 plus tax for members. They make great Christmas gifts.
Fall photo workshops
Bruce Andersen will lead two photography workshops and field trips to celebrate the splendor of autumn in the Rockies.
The first is a late afternoon and evening auto tour 4 p.m. to dark Sept. 24 . The specific location will be selected as fall color progresses; Plumtaw Road is the intended destination. Participants will meet 4 p.m. at the community center, regroup into carpools and will caravan through the mountains around Pagosa, stopping frequently for photo ops and on-site instruction. A picnic dinner is included. The cost is $45.
Bruce will again lead the popular "Chase the Train" and Conejos River trip Sept. 29 and Oct, 1. Now an annual event, the group will meet in a classroom setting at 7 p.m. at the Shy Rabbit Studio, 333 Bastille Drive. A slide presentation will offer tips for fall color photos, plus lighting and composition ideas for the field trip.
The group will reconvene Oct. 1 and caravan to Chama where members will watch and photograph engineers readying the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad for the trip over Cumbres Pass. Once the train is underway, the group will set up ahead of the train in scenic locations to photograph the historic train as it makes its way through the fall color landscape. Once over the pass, the group will shift focus to the Conejos River valley and photograph their way to the tiny hamlet of Platoro where they'll be treated to one of the best and biggest hamburgers around. Participants should plan all day for this outing. The cost is $125 and includes a coffee break in Chama and the late lunch in Platoro.
Shutterbugs of all experience levels and with either film or digital cameras are encouraged to attend. The workshops are supported by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, Pagosa Photo Club and Shy Rabbit Studio. A 10-percent discount is offered to Arts Council, photo club and Arts Network members.
Contact Bruce at 731-4645 or email@example.com to register or obtain more information. Space is limited for both outings to ensure quality instruction.
PSAC is pleased to announce a watercolor workshop with well-know artist Pierre Mion whose illustrative works have been exhibited worldwide and are included in the NASA Fine Arts and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's collections. Some notable clients are: The National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Magazine, Look, Life, Popular Science, Reader's Digest, Air and Space Magazine.
The workshop will be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4-6 in the community center. Bring your own lunch. Cost for the workshop is $240 for PSAC members and $265 for nonmembers. Pierre wants his students to find out the joy and excitement of watercolors. He intends to give them his techniques of step-by-step ways to achieve a finished painting. This class is for all ability levels and will involve one-on-one instruction. The theme is fall subjects and Mion will provide photos to work from. Class size is limited to make your reservation now by calling PSAC at 264-5020. After reservations are in, Pierre will contact each student regarding a supply list.
Pagosa artist Betty Slade will teach a workshop Oct. 13-14, designed to help participants create cards and gifts for the holiday season.
Participants are encouraged to use watermedia, gouache or acrylic paints. The class will be held 9 a.m.&endash;3 p.m. in the arts and crafts room at the community center. Cost is $70 for members and $80 for nonmembers. Call PSAC at 264-5020 to sign up, or for questions contact Betty Slade at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pine River Library (Bayfield ) welcomes artists of all ages to display their art work. Painting, drawing, photography, fabric art, wall quilt, weaving, tapestry, jewelry, beadwork, sculpture, pottery, ceramics, woodwork, glass art, stained glass, metal art, and silversmith are welcome.
If you wish to display your work, call Chrissy Moiseve at 884-2222. She will be happy to fax you a display request form. Art is displayed for two months, so work to be displayed November and December must be received no later than Oct. 31. Art displayed may be available for sale, and while the library staff is not involved in the sale of artwork, they will refer queries about the purchase of artwork to the artist.
Draw with Davis
Due to Randall Davis's schedule there were no drawing classes scheduled in August or September. He will resume his one Saturday a month class again in October. Stay tuned for time and date.
All PSAC classes and workshops are held in the arts and craft space in the community center, unless otherwise noted.
All exhibits are shown at the PSAC Gallery in Town Park, unless otherwise noted.
Sept. 1-28 - Watercolor club exhibit.
Sept. 24 - Photo workshop with Bruce Andersen 4 p.m. &endash; community center.
Sept. 29-Oct. 31 - Fine Woodworking and Betty Slade Student Oil Painters Exhibit.
Sept. 29-Oct. 1 - "Chase the Train" photo workshop with Bruce Anderson
Oct. 4 &endash;6 - Watercolor workshop with Pierre Mion.
Oct. 13-14 - Betty Slade Signature Card and Gift Workshop 9 a.m.-3 p.m., community center.
October - Artist studio tour.
November - 2005 gallery tour.
Arts Line 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 (email@example.com). 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.
If you've got a party, you've got a problem. Solve it.
By Karl Isberg
This has to be said.
There is a reason. Trust me.
Granted, what follows is not what you'd expect in a column about food but, as regular readers know, we often range quite a distance in order to finally arrive at the subject of cooking and eats - two of the four most important things in life.
Let's get right to it.
A hundred-pound yellow Labrador retriever with projectile diarrhea.
To be precise: A ninety-pound yellow Labrador retriever who weighs one hundred pounds before he experiences an episode of projectile diarrhea.
Let me add this further element to our gruesome equation: light-colored carpet in the basement.
When you juxtapose these factors, what do you get?
Yellow Lab (big) with horrifying intestinal difficulties plus light-colored carpets in new house equals monster problem for Karl.
Well, Karl discovers the EPA Super Fund-quality disaster in the basement after wife, Kathy, takes off for work.
This leaves Karl with interesting options to consider.
1. Pretend he did not notice hideous and incredibly foul-smelling Super Fund site and, well, lie about it when wife calls him on the phone at 5 p.m. "You're kidding! Oh, no, sweetie. What a terrible discovery after a long, hard day at work. I wish I could scoot home and help you with it, but I'm swamped. I'm a newspaper editor, you know."
2. Do a slapdash job and remove the bulk of the waste. Leave a note indicating dog has been severely chastised and banished to the patio. Promise to rent carpet cleaner to, hopefully, remove the stains. In particular the grotesque and unbelievably large brown stain right next to the piano where Kathy teaches her piano lessons.
I analyze the odds and quickly realize death is going to be involved in either option. It is merely a matter of choosing who will die.
With option 1, Kathy will immediately detect my feeble attempt at deception and her ire will be amplified by the fact I am trying to divert her rage to a helpless canine who innocently ate something rotten while in the woods. I would die the cruel, violent death.
With option 2, I am seen as a knight in somewhat tarnished armor, i.e. one who attempted to rectify the situation but failed (remember stain next to piano). I mitigate the consequences by promising to rent a carpet cleaner. The dog dies a cruel, violent death. - innocent or no. Deservedly so.
I go for No. 2.
Believe me, scooping up nearly liquid Lab poop without exacerbating an already loathsome problem is no easy feat!
I kind of succeed. Kind of.
Now, Karl, you ask, what does this Lab poop situation have to do with fine dining?
The answer: In this case, everything.
At the moment my nose alerts me to a crisis in the basement I'm sitting on the living room couch, sipping a third cup of a powerful breakfast blend, taking some notes concerning the menu for my daughter Ivy's birthday dinner.
Coming up this week.
The tyke has eaten in some of the best restaurants in the U.S. and Europe, a few in Central America. She knows food. She, no doubt, expects something exceptional - nothing overboard, but a dinner worthy of her time and attention. She's a chip off the old block and, like her older sister, Aurora, she is oppressively discerning when it comes to chow. I should never have introduced them to high-quality food. I should have taught them that Cap'n Crunch and Hungry Man dinners are the apex of the dining pyramid. But, it is too late - the damage is done.
The relation to the Lab poop?
It illustrates a common problem.
Often, when you have your back against the culinary wall and are expected to perform - party, family gathering, business guests, the president etc. - something gets in the way, makes the process more difficult than it should be.
You gotta fight your way through some Š Lab poop. Literal, figurative, it doesn't matter; you've got an obstacle to overcome.
So, instead of finishing my menu, completing my list of ingredients and setting my prep schedule, I'm shoveling Š you know what.
I'd selected the starters and the protein for the dinner when the intestinal Hindenberg burst into flames in the Lakehurst, New Jersey, that is my basement. I'd decided to bake some cheeses (Brie and bleu? Camembert and goat cheese?) in puff pastry as an appetizer - serve it with bits of baguette. Perhaps some olives?
The protein in the main course? No problemo. It'll be 2 1/2- to 3-inch thick tenderloin, grilled medium rare, except for Kathy's. Her's will be put on high heat an hour or two before the other steaks are cooked. She prefers cinders. The meat will be prepared in the simplest fashion: a slick of olive oil, Kosher salt, cracked black pepper.
The Lab poop dilemma halts my ruminations just as I consider a simple green salad - maybe toss in some tomatoes, some oil-packed olives - with a vinaigrette with minced shallot and a flip of Dijon. I was just about to consider sauces (critical for Ivy) and a side dish or two when the Poop Express jumped the tracks and short-circuited the whole affair.
When I get home that evening, I try to sneak in the house and retreat to a locked room, but Kathy catches me. We have to steam-clean the spots on the rug; she has a piano lesson the next day.
So, my rhythm is totally destroyed. I have to return to the groove two days after the fact of Arnie's Chernobyl-like disaster and struggle to finalize the menu.
Not too hard of a decision to make. Ivy loves a Gorgonzola cream sauce, thick and redolent of garlic and moldy goodness.
And a Cabernet reduction with wild mushrooms, amped off the register with a teeny bit of tomato paste, tons of garlic, thyme and a major wad of veal demiglace.
How about a yam puree, kissed with a bit of nutmeg, silky with butter?
Some creamed spinach?
All sound good, but something is missing. Something loaded with cholesterol - an artery ripper. Something that can carry the load of the sauces better than the humble yam.
It takes a while to come up with the options, due to the fact I've been thrown off kilter by the diarrhea episode - a reality Kathy seems determined to keep alive. She is hovering over the carpet next to her piano. She calls me into the room every five minutes or so to stare at the carpet with her. She is obsessed. Me. I don't see a stain. At least not a profound stain. And what stain I detect appears to be in the image of Helen Keller. I don't smell anything. Much.
I get back to business.
Finally Š a breakthrough.
Either a savory custard, freed from a ramekin and set afloat in sauce. Or, a floor-tile size square of a savory, cheese-riddled bread pudding, likewise bobbing on a sea of sauces.
Either side dish is an easy gem to polish.
I opt for the bread pudding. It has a pretentious, man-of-the-people edge to it.
There'll be four of us at dinner, so I need enough bread pudding for six.
First, a pound of high-grade sourdough, cut into cubes.
For the custard: five or six eggs (depending on size), a cup of heavy cream, a cup of half and half (or whole milk, if one is timid) a bit of kosher salt, a bit of pepper all beaten to death. The bread cubes are mixed in and the mix is left in the fridge for several hours.
I want this side to be loaded with goodies so I opt for onion, leeks, garlic, a blend of sliced mushrooms (button, Cremini, Shitake, etc.), perhaps a bit of diced red Bell pepper, for sure a diced, roasted poblano or two.
On the herb side - a bit of thyme, a bit of sage.
To ensure the vehicle is gunky enough to precipitate a call to 911 - cheese. In this case up to four cups of shredded, top-of-the-line cheddar or jack.
The sliced whites of two large leeks and one sliced white onion are sauteed in olive oil and butter until soft, eight or nine cloves of minced garlic added for the last three or four minutes cooking time. The mix is removed from the pan, in goes a bit more oil and butter and the mushrooms, which are cooked over medium high heat until they lose their moisture and start to brown. In goes about a half cup of a dry white wine and the herbs, and the wine is reduced until only the essence remains. Taste, adjust, cool. Add to bread along with about half the cheese.
Butter a 10x12 or so baking dish and add the mix. Cover with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or so.
For dessert - profiteroles with the highest fat butter pecan ice cream available and a substantial slosh of chocolate sauce.
I consult my pal, James. On his advice, we're starting with an Oregon Pinot Noir I've had in the rack for a year. Then, with the meat, it's on to a bottle of Bonny Doon Heart of Darkness.
I'm pretty proud I've overcome adversity and devised a darned nice menu.
I tell Ivy what's planned for her birthday dinner.
"Hey," she says. That sounds nice Š but average. How about changing plans, but spending the same amount of money? Why not heat up some Hungry Man dinners and let's drink a couple bottles of Veuve Clicquot?
Now, if we can just remember not to give the Lab any Hungry Man leftovers Š
Radon program set for real estate professionals
By Bill Nobles
Calling all real estate professionals:
The radon and the professional program to be held Monday, Oct. 24, is designed to assist real estate professionals in handling radon issues to satisfy both buyers and sellers.
Attendees will receive four hours of continuing education credits approved by the Colorado Division of Real Estate. The program will be held 1:30-5:30 p.m. in the Pine Room at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.
Program size is limited so assure your spot with registration prior to Oct. 18. The cost for the program is $25.
For additional information you may pick up a form at the Extension Office or contact Wendy Rice at 247-4355.
We want to hold a Master Gardener Program January &endash; March in Pagosa Springs. We must have at least 20 confirmed participants for this program.
Basic CMG training consists of 60-plus hours of classroom instruction with topics ranging from managing irrigation to landscaping with native plants.
Content is focused for the home gardener (non-commercial) audience. However, 30 percent of the students are employed in the green industry and use the classes for career training.
Cost per student will be either about $125 and 50 hours of community service or $400 with no community service commitment.
If you are interested in attending this program, contact the office at 264-5931.
Cattlemen's Day will take place at the Small Farms and Ranch Conference located at the San Juan Basin Research Center in Hesperus Sunday, Oct. 2.
The program will begin at 10: a.m. and includes topics such as PAP testing for Brisket Disease, Bovine Respiratory Disease and low stress cattle handling. There will be a $10 charge for Baxtrum's Chuck Wagon Lunch.
This program is sponsored by Basin Co-op, IFA, La Plata County Cattlemen's Association, Archuleta County Cattlemen's Association, Pfizer Animal Health, Agritek Feeds and Small Farm and Ranch Conference.
For more information, call (970) 385-4574.
Check out our Web page at www.archuleta.colostate.edu for calendar events and information.
Jacob Egg, 27, died Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005.
He is survived by his parents, Bill and Lisa Egg of Pagosa Springs; a brother, Joshua of Longmont, Colo.; a sister, Morgan Egg of Pagosa Springs; and his grandparents, Ray and Darlene Stevens of Oklahoma City; Faye Ruth Egg of Cuero, Texas, and Ann DuPlisse of Granbury, Texas.
Funeral services were 11 a.m. Wednesday Sept. 21, 2005.
Pallbearers were Joshua Egg, Isaiah (Bogie) Lucero, Shane Mathis, Wiley Sales, Christ Stahr and Travis Stahr.
Minister was Father Carlos of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church of Pagosa Springs.
"Jake, 27, brought so much joy into our lives. He gave us the gift of love we will forever treasure in our hearts. He was loved and he unconditionally loved his family, his friends, and his trusty companions Bear and Chloe. Jacob was protector of those he loved and those in distress.
"Jacob was born to fish, hunt and sleep under the stars. His training began at age two when his Momma took him to the lake, turned a can over for him to sit on and helped him put his line into the lake where he patiently sat for hours waiting for a fish. His passion for fishing and hunting grew when Jacob made his home in Pagosa. His friends helped Jacob become a real 'Mountain Man.' Those who rode, fished or hunted with Jacob have so many stories to tell of their adventures. We laugh and never tire at hearing them.
"Jacob renewed his commitment to Christ and completely surrendered his life to Him. We pray for his unborn little girl. Our hearts are broken, but the heartache turns to hope when we think of Jacob living on in her.
"Jacob, we celebrate your life today. The memories are so precious. You are alive in our hearts and on this spot we feel your spirit soaring. Your compassion and love will be our guides as we lay you to rest among the rivers, lakes and mountain tops you so loved. Your spirit will flow in these waters and we will forever feel your gaze upon us. You will protect us from harm and help us to understand how you would want each of us to cherish and honor you for the love and immense joy you brought to our lives."
"But now this is what the Lord says "he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine."
Put a balloon (or 55) in the air
and you'll find joy everywhere
By Mary Jo Coulehan
Special to the SUN
We couldn't have ordered better weather for either the morning balloon flights or the Saturday evening balloon glow.
The crowds came out for our Colorfest events and all in all, I do believe that we had a very enjoyable weekend.
We thank Reach for the Peaks and the more than 55 balloonists who participated in this year's balloon rally. We thank Christine's Cuisine for serving up a very tasty barbecue dinner for the Friday night community picnic and the two groups - Wildflower and Bluegrass Cadillac - for providing some great entertainment. We thank the Ladies in Wading for hosting the fly fishing contests Saturday, and the Colorado Springs Corvette Club for giving us some pretty snazzy cars to view, also on Saturday.
We will thank so many people who helped make the Colorfest Wine Tasting Festival a success. I particularly want to thank your Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the staff for all their hard work. I get the credit, but it is this whole group that puts the machine in motion. The board members took time away from their businesses and worked on their time off to make this event happen. The reports are that everyone liked the new park venue and the participating restaurants and caterers: Isabel's, Farrago's, Pagosa Baking, Wildflower Catering, and Jody Cromwell and Sharon Crump gave everyone some great food to munch on while tasting the various wines.
We thank Southern Wine & Spirits for making the wine recommendations and providing the supply of wines. John Graves and his magical music was an added touch to the wine festival event. His music from the countries that the wines were from was such a great complement. The balloon glow was just spectacular after having been absent for two years. Pagosa Street was packed with viewers and everyone felt the magic in the air and cheers were evident when all the balloons lit up together. We also thank JJ's Upstream for hosting our first Colorfest Champagne Brunch. Boy, those crepes were "to die for."
Most importantly, we thank Mother Nature and the powers that be for providing us with the weather to perform all these fun events. We couldn't have specified any better conditions, and the harvest moon rising Saturday night just put the icing on the cake.
Thanks to the community businesses and individuals for continuing to allow these events to occur. We know that it takes a lot of sponsorships and sometimes puts a strain on your business when it is still a busy time here in Pagosa. Community: look at the posters and the sponsors who are listed. Thank them for their contributions and involvement. We are so lucky to have so much involvement in this town and to have the events that we have.
If you liked or even missed this year's Colorfest activities, just wait and see what we have in store for you next year!
SunDowner sign up
Mark your calendars for 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3, when the Chamber doors will open for Chamber businesses to sign up for the 2006 SunDowner schedule.
You must be a Chamber business to host a SunDowner, but anyone can attend the after-hours parties. Several businesses (like in an office park) or a partnership of Chamber businesses can also host a SunDowner. All must be members though.
SunDowners are held every month except for January (because of the annual meeting) and September (because of Colorfest). They are also held the fourth Wednesday of every month except for November and December, when, because of the holidays, they are held the third Wednesday of the month. So identify the month that you want - it is always good to have your first, second and third month preferences - and come on down to the Chamber and sign up.
The more specific you are with the month that you want, the earlier you may want to get in line to secure your choice. Bribery is sometimes accepted by the other businesses in line, so you may want to come prepared to stand in line with extra coffee or doughnuts! It is an October morning, so dress appropriately.
Land Alliance meeting
You still have a few days to make reservations for the Southwest Land Alliance annual breakfast and meeting held at the beautiful Hershey Ranch on Snowball Road. The meeting is open to current and new members and will take place Saturday.
Breakfast begins at 9 a.m. and the meeting at 11. Hikes for attendees will also be allowed on the ranch from noon on. Seating is limited, so call in your RSVP to the SW Land Alliance office at 264-7779.
Not sure, but you may still be able to make reservations for Saturday's Lunar Standstill program at Chimney Rock. The gate opens at 10 p.m. and is locked at 10:30. Tickets, if available, are $50 and the program is open to those over 12 years old. The program lasts over two hours. Call for information at 264-2287. If this month is sold out, plan to attend another program in the upcoming months. Chimney Rock is well-deservedly getting some national attention, so don't miss out on this rare event occurring right in your own backyard.
The local Democratic Party will have a chile supper Friday, Sept. 30, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Hall on Lewis Street. State Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, will be the evening's keynote speaker. You can call John Egan at 264-5455 for more information.
Heads up businesses: the Colorado Municipal Judges will have their fall conference here Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The last time Pagosa played host to these dignitaries was in 1997. Over 100 participants attended a prior conference in Beaver Creek.
The reason I am mentioning this conference is that restaurants should be aware of potential increased influx of business and be appropriately staffed. While there are over a hundred attendees, many participants also attend with spouses in tow.
Members will be on their own for dinner Thursday, Friday and possibly Saturday. They will also be on their own for lunch these same days as well. Spouses will be on their own for shopping during the daytime hours.
The meetings will be held at the Pagosa Springs Community Center and the host hotels will be the Springs Resort and the Best Western Oakridge. Let's put our best Pagosa foot forward and welcome this group with the hospitality that our community is known for.
Our first new member this week is really an old member and one with a lot of history in this community. LaQuey Funeral Home, 421 Lewis St., is back at its original site. Jerry and Kevin LaQuey, the new owners of Pagosa Funeral Options are relatives of Ben Lynch, who was the owner and founder of Pagosa Springs' first funeral home. I won't go into a lot of detail, but for more information, let me refer you to the very interesting article written in the Pagosa SUN in the June 9 issue. The current funeral home is refurbished and located in the original building and at the original site as the 1939 funeral home. We welcome the LaQueys and their commitment to building relationships. For more information on the funeral services they provide, call 264-2386.
Coming on board with another new business, is Cody Ross and Pagosa Auto Parts. Pagosa Auto Parts has that wonderfully renovated Bank of the Southwest building in downtown Pagosa Springs. Their parts inventory has greatly expanded and they offer lots of auto and machinery parts and auto accessories. It's easy to stop by and see them, or call 264-4127 to see if they have the part that you need in stock.
We also welcome Jim Morris and Bristlecone Learning. With offices both here in Pagosa and North Carolina, Jim travels the country offering training and consulting work with medium to large businesses to build better teams, develop leaders and bring out the best in their employees. If you were lucky enough to attend the Handling Difficult Conversations session he recently held, you can attest to his training expertise. If you weren't able to attend, perhaps the Chamber will be able to secure him for a future class. Businesses: If you set some money aside to have your staff trained in communication and empowering issues, you will well reap the rewards of your investment. Give Bristlecone Learning a call at 731-3382 for more information on his training menu.
We end our welcomes this week with renewal members, Dan and Sandy Gnos.
Thanks again for everyone's support over this past weekend's Colorfest festivities. While the major events are winding down for the season, remember, we still have a busy community with the Judicial Conference and hunting season is upon us. If you are going out hiking, remember to colorize yourself and any animals appropriately. We thank the sportsmen and women for patronizing our community and wish you a successful hunting season.
Next week, highlights from the Governor's Conference on Tourism I attended Sept. 19-21.
No Biz Beat this week
Five more weeks
Well, after seven weeks of this brace and not being able to spend much time on the computer or telephone, I want to take time to thank everyone for the wonderful outpouring of prayers, cards, calls and support I have received over the last weeks after my horse riding accident.
I want to thank the quick response of the EMTs and I heartily agree that the pain of the backboard is almost as bad as the pain of the injury.
I did break the C2 and will be in this brace for approximately five more weeks. I want to thank everyone who has helped me attend all of the meetings as I know no one wants me driving while I'm not able to turn my head.
Haven from storm
We came to this area from New Orleans as a safe haven from our devastated homes. My husband and myself, his daughter and her 5-year-old son.
You have opened your arms and hearts to provide us with a new place to call home, provided us with necessary items to make our lives a little more bearable.
We want to thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts. We especially want to thank the following people, churches, organizations, and businesses for all they have given to us: the Shelton family, John Erickson, Pat Shepard, Tina Bryan and Family, the Flihan family, Andrea McGinen and family, Boudreaux family, Bud and Interior Dreams, Pine Ridge Extended Care Center, Methodist Church, Bob Goodman and Goodman Department Store, Scott and All-Clean Carpet Cleaners, Mesa Propane and Pagosa Springs Elementary School.
Margaret and Jimmy Fenerty,
Coleen and Christopher Weigand
The Colorado Springs Corvette Club would like to thank Pagosa Springs for its support of our charity car show Saturday Sept. 17. We had a huge crowd to enjoy the "Pagosa Perfect" weather and see our cars. All of our shows are to raise money for charity and it was gratifying to see Pagosa so supportive. Colorfest Weekend made it even more special. Thanks to The SUN, the Chamber of Commerce, parks and rec, the police department, the merchants who allowed us to display our flyers and anyone else we are forgetting. Most of all thanks to the residents who attended the show. Having lived in Pagosa for three years we know only too well how fantastic a place it is. We appreciate the support and look forward to seeing you next year.
Barb and Joe Ewing
Valerie Ann Growney and Christopher Kim Cannon are pleased to announce their marriage on April 9, 2005, in the rose garden of the historic Rancho Guajome Adobe in San Diego with his fellow Marine officers performing the Sword Arch at the traditional military wedding ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Robert and Lorraine Growney of Shoreham, Vt. The groom is the son of Thomas and Sun Ji Cannon of Pagosa Springs. She graduated from the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, Calif. He graduated from the University of California, Davis., and the U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, Quantico, Va. He is a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Pendleton, Calif. The Maid of Honor was Ms. Cindy Growny, sister of the bride. The Best Man was John Canon, brother of the groom. The reception was held at La Casa con Los Pescados, a private home in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif. They honeymooned in Napa Valley, Calif. Their future residence will be in Alexandria, Va.
No Engagements this week
No Anniversaries this week
No Locals this week
Pirates nab 3-1 IML win from Ignacio
By Karl Isberg
They're shorter. They're less experienced. They're slower. They're missing one of their best players.
So, how does the Ignacio Bobcat volleyball team come to Pagosa Springs and win a game against the Pirates?
The Pirates win it for them.
And the Pirates do it with a bevy of errors that hand over unearned points by the basketful. The mistake bug has bitten Pagosa each match so far in the season, and the sting was significant against Ignacio.
While Pagosa struggled at times Thursday, the bright side of the picture is that Pagosa emerged a 3-1 match winner (25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 25-12), boosting the Pirates' Intermountain League record to 2-0.
The Bobcats got an early 2-0 lead in game one, thanks to two Pagosa errors. The Pirates then seemed to get in the groove as Caitlin Forrest ran a slide and put a tip over the blockers. Forrest went to the serve and stayed there for five points.
Pagosa could have, should have, steamrolled from that point but instead, committed error after error in the passing and hitting games to allow the Bobcats to stay close.
Ahead 9-7, the Pirates got a point on a Bobcat serve mistake and Iris Frye served up two aces as part of a four-point run. With her team ahead 18-12, Pirate outside hitter Liza Kelley put two consecutive cannon shots to the floor and it looked as if the Pirates would sail to a sizable victory.
But for the errors - four in a row - that allowed Ignacio to move within four, 20-16. A Bobcat serve went out, Forrest aced a serve and a Bobcat hit was out. A Pirate hitting error surrendered a final point to Ignacio before Kelley killed from outside and Emily Buikema crushed an overpass to end the game.
Of Ignacio's 25 points in their second-game win, 17 were gifts courtesy an unfocused Pirate six. Time and again, Pagosa gave up batches of points with poor passing and serve receive. Following four consecutive giveaways, the Pirates trailed the Bobcats 22-19, after holding a 19-18 lead.
Buikema came up big, putting a short backset from Kim Canty to the floor, but a serve-receive mistake and a hitting error put Ignacio on the edge of the win, 24-20. Pagosa refused to go down easy: Forrest killed from the middle and Ignacio committed a hitting error. The Pirates were within striking distance ... but couldn't strike. An Ignacio free ball dropped between flat-footed Pirate defenders and the game was over.
The Pirates appeared to be in high gear at the start of the third game. Kelley scored with a left-handed tip and Danielle Spencer crunched a 1 in the middle. With the teams tied 3-3, Buikema killed and Kelley went to the serve. The senior stayed there for five points, serving an ace, killing from the back court and watching as Buikema and Spencer stuffed an Ignacio attack, and Buikema put a ball to the floor from the right side as part of what would be the left-handed senior's best night on offense to that point.
Once again, Pirate errors gave away points and the Bobcats closed to 13-9.
Forrest killed and Frye hit two aces (two of 17 the Pirates would hit in the match). With a Bobcat hitting error, the Pirate advantage widened to 17-9. From there, it was a back-and-forth affair to the finish, the teams trading points and the Pirates getting kills from Kari Beth Faber, Spencer, Canty and Forrest.
Finally, in the fourth game of the match, the Pirates began to click, in particular creating a quick transition from passer to setter to hitter, leaving Ignacio scrambling to keep up. But it would not happen until the Bobcats were handed a 6-4 lead with five of the points as gifts from Pagosa. With the serve and a point following an Ignacio hitting error, Forrest scored with a stuff. Buikema served an ace then hit a second serve that rolled over the tape to the floor. Ignacio scored but gave up a point with a serve error.
Faber moved to the back wall of the gym and proceeded to confound the Bobcats with long serves, difficult to see and to handle. Faber stayed at the serve for seven points. During the run, Forrest killed off a slide and Kelley put a ball down from outside.
Ignacio scored an earned point with a soft shot over the block and got a gift on a Pirate hitting error. Forrest responded by putting a 1 to the back corner of the court, then hitting an ace. Ignacio got a point on a Pirate hitting error.
Then, two things: Pirate blocks were up and the attack accelerated, with Canty at the serve. Jennifer Haynes nailed a quick set off the block in the middle then came back to score a second point on a putback of an overpass. Ignacio flubbed a pass and Haynes and Canty scored with a block. Ignacio gave up another point and Canty hit an ace. The Pirates were up 24-11.
A poor Ignacio pass off the serve went over the net and dropped like a dying duck between three Pirates but there would be no more points for the visitors. Kelley came up behind a fake hit in the middle to score off the block and end the game and match.
Coach Andy Rice was concerned about the fact his Pirates could not finish the Bobcats earlier in the evening.
"We let a team hang around in our own gym," he said, "a team we clearly could have swept. We can't let that happen."
Rice said he thought the match showed "a step back for our quick offense - too many sets were too low and too tight and our hitters were under the ball. That forced us to go outside and we were more predictable. It was not our best night on offense."
On the positive side, Rice noted, "We served at a pretty high percentage and our blocking seems to be improving. We were pressing a little better. And, we didn't give up. We put the foot on the gas in the third and fourth games and did much better in the fourth. Emily Buikema had a good night, hitting two-fifty (.250) with 10 kills and Danielle (Spencer) is hitting four hundred. Faber's serves in the last game gave Ignacio trouble and I have to single out Kim Canty's attacks and Liza's (Kelley) and Iris' (Frye) passing in the second half of the match."
The Pirates continue with IML action Saturday with a home match against Bayfield. Varsity action is set for 7 p.m.
Pirates shocked by Falcons, now 2-1 in league play
By Karl Isberg
According to Pirate volleyball coach Andy Rice, Saturday's match against Centauri saw his team "come as close to playing our game as we have yet this season."
The problem: Centauri upset the Pirates in the PSHS gym, 3-1.
The main reason: mistakes. Too many errors that, in a rally-scoring format, cost valuable points. The bottom line: When you hand an opponent anywhere from 12 to 17 unearned points per game, it is tough to win a match against a well-coached and drilled team.
And it is tough to win when one of your starting senior outside hitters - likely the best hitter in the Intermountain League this year, and arguably your team's best passer - suffers a knee injury during warmups that knocks her out of the contest and, without some luck, out of competition for the foreseeable future.
So it was that Liza Kelley, one of the keys in this year's faster-paced offense, was unavailable for duty against the Falcons - the second Pirate, along with junior setter Erin Gabel, to be felled with a non game-related knee injury this season.
It is still a match the Pirates could have, should have won.
But for the errors.
While Rice struggled to find a replacement for Kelley, trying out a series of other players as the match progressed, his team hung in with perhaps the best play this year from its two starting middle hitters. Both Caitlin Forrest and Danielle Spencer ran the quick attack as well or better than ever, in tandem with setter Kim Canty.
And senior right side hitter Emily Buikema came on strong again, as she has for the last three matches. The 5-11 left-hander pounded the ball when she got the good set and led the team with 12 kills against the Falcons.
And yet, it was Centauri - playing the typical Falcon tip-heavy game on offense and coupling it with a tenacious back-court defense - that prevailed.
The teams traded the lead in the first game until, tied 13-13, the Falcons received three points courtesy Pagosa mistakes, gave up a point with a hitting error then put two more on the board to Pagosa's one - with a single point on a tip and one on a Pirate receive error.
Pagosa came back with a gift from the Falcons and a stuff by Canty and Spencer. Another Falcon hitting error made it a one-point game. Pagosa tied at 22-22 and a Falcon ball hit long gave the home team a 24-23 lead. A Pirate serve error and a player into the net surrendered two points and a 24-23 lead to Centauri. A Falcon serve went out and Canty hit an ace.
Pagosa needed one point to win. Instead, a Falcon tip, as predictable as the sunrise, fell to the floor. A Pirate overpass was capitalized on by the Falcon middle and the rare quick attack from Centauri ended the game, 27-25. Pagosa gave up 14 unearned points in the contest.
The second game went to the Pirates 26-24 and the home team donated 17 points to the Falcons with errors.
Pagosa went out to a 5-2 lead with kills by Buikema and Faber from the sides, a kill of a quick set by Forrest and an ace by Kelley, who returned to action for several exchanges.
The advantage disappeared as the Pirates gave away three points with mistakes and two Falcon tips went to the boards. Midgame, the Pirates forged ahead 19-15 with Buikema killing to the far corner and Forrest hitting an ace, then stayed ahead 20-16 as Spencer nailed a 1 and Canty hit left-handed off a fake jump set.
Centauri then went ahead 23-22, scoring only one point in the run, getting the others gratis from the home team.
Canty again swept the ball down with the left hand and a Falcon into the net put Pagosa ahead by one.
The lead didn't last. A Pirate hitting error surrendered the 24-24 tie. Then it was Centauri's turn to err. A serve went into the net and it gave the Pirates another chance to take the win. An ace by Canty sealed the deal.
In game three, the Pirates got the 6-1 lead then gave away four consecutive points with sloppy play. The teams stayed neck and neck to 14-14 when three straight Pirate errors gave the Falcons a 17-14 advantage. Pagosa finally tied at 19-19 as an Iris Frye serve receive fell to the floor on the Centauri side of the net. Frye then stuffed a Falcon attack and Forrest did the same.
Another successful Falcon tip, however, put the Falcons two ahead. Forrest came back and killed off the pass. Centauri 21, Pagosa 20.
A serve error surrendered a point to the Falcons and a hitting error gave Centauri its 23rd point. The Falcons tipped for a point and were poised to win, but a serve error gave the home team new life. Spencer and Faber stuffed a Centauri attack and it seemed the Pirates had some momentum. It wasn't to be: A weak Falcon hit rolled along the tape then fell to the floor in front of Pirate defenders. Pagosa lost the game and, in doing so, gave up 15 unearned scores to the Falcons.
In the final game, won by the Falcons 25-22, the number of Pagosa giveaways was 17.
Pagosa led 12-9 and 14-10, but allowed the Falcons to stay close. With a 17-14 lead, the Pirates allowed the visitors a five-point run, only one point earned, with a stuff. The Pirates would play catchup the rest of the game. And wouldn't catch up.
Centauri led 24-19, getting points on a kill off the block and an ace. Pagosa made a run with a kill from outside by Faber and a tip by Buikema. A double hit by the Falcons gave the Pirates their last point. A Falcon kill off the block ended game and match.
Despite the loss, the play of his middle hitters pleased Rice.
"I was surprised we were able to run the middle that well," he said, noting that a consistent attack from the middle is predicated on a threat from outside. "Plus," said Rice, "Kim Canty got in the air (for jump sets) better than she has all year." The junior setter had an excellent match, with 40 assists, 10 digs, a solo block, two kills and 18 of 25 serves for points.
The loss leaves the Pirates (2-1) one game behind the Falcons in the IML standings with Bayfield coming to town Saturday for the first of two regular-season matches. The Pirates are now in the position of having to win every remaining IML match, hoping that someone, anyone, manages to beat Centauri, if Pagosa is to advance automatically from the district to regional play. It is a tall task but, with the improvements Rice sees in his squad, and the strong probability improvement will continue, the task might be doable.
The Pirates tangle with the Wolverines at 7 p.m. Saturday night, in the PSHS gymnasium.
Kills: Buikema 12, Forrest and Faber 9 each, Spencer 7.
Ace serves: Faber 2
Assists: Canty 40
Solo blocks: Forrest and Spencer 2 each
Digs: Frye 19, Canty 10 Faber and Spencer 8 each, Forrest 7.
Stodgy Pirate soccer team snakes way to 3-1 win in Center
By Richard Walter
They played 18 minutes Thursday in a lackadaisical stupor, constantly beaten to the ball, not recognizing set plays, and letting Center control play with long booming outlet kicks.
And then, the real Pagosa Springs Pirate soccer team arrived in the San Luis Valley.
The balance of the contest in Center became a lesson in ball control, speed set attacks, and a constant wearing down of the host team.
The result was a 3-1 Pagosa victory. But the win was just part of the story.
Pirate Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason keeps finding new talent to toss into the matchups in the Southwest Mountain League. Two of them, Zel Johnson and Jacob Bandy, were particular standouts.
If you were asked to describe their style of play, "intense" would be the best single word.
But it was more than that. Both wanted the ball, both wanted to contribute, and both dashed into and out of openings like a pair of water snakes who just graduated to the big pond.
Do not believe for a moment that Center is a bad team. With Moises Jeminez, Marco Maldenado and Luis Rodriguez as the firebrands, they brought the game right to Pagosa and gave as well as they took early in the game.
With Matthew Ticas in goal joining Rodriguez in power kicks out of the deep it was apparent their coach felt his wing speed could beat Pagosa downfield to these over-the-crowd boomers - and for a while it worked.
The Pirates seemed to find themselves regularly back on their heels, watching the ball sail overhead.
Only some marvelous deep defensive sweeping by Paul Muirhead, the seemingly omnipresence of the "little spies" Javier Hurriaga and Thomas Martinez, and the goaltending of Felix Gutierrez was keeping Pagosa close.
In fact, Pagosa was outshot 14-3 in the first half
The Pirates did have the first two scoring opportunities, a breakaway by junior striker Caleb Ormonde on which an offside call negated play and a fine stop on Muirhead by Ticas.
It was he, in fact, who made it look like a long day ahead for Pagosa. He leaped to the bar for a stop on Ormonde and stopped a free kick from 25 by Muirhead.
Center's Carlos Perez, meanwhile, was peppering Gutierrez with shots, including the game's first goal, at 8:46, a ball that caught Gutierrez too far out of net. Next came a brilliant save by Gutierrez on a dive far to his left. Then there was another stop on a crossover move on a pass from Maldonado and Perez then frustrated himself with a stop and go cut over the middle and a kick that sailed over net.
The real Pirates apparently began to see the light as time ran down in the half and the usual suspects - Muirhead and Ormonde - combined for a Pirate goal at 35:18 and the score was tied.
This one came on a Muirhead steal just inside the zone, a left cross to Ormonde who keyed right back to his running mate but stayed headed for the goal where Muirhead found him for the assist.
The issuance of three yellow cards, two of them to Center, marred the early minutes of the second half, but also seemed to cast some doubt into the Center attack.
Again, the play was intense in midfield, with Kevin Smith, Derek Monks, Kevin Blue and Max Smith carrying the bulk of the inside ball possession fight for the Pirates.
In the meantime a Muirhead free kick was stopped, Ormonde was blanked on a left-footer and was wide left on another effort.
At 56:58 Gutierrez reinjured a stained groin muscle and was replaced in net by Mike Schmidt and he was tested immediately. Jeminez drilled one over his head and when Center got the ball back, tried a high corner shot. Schmidt went high, came down and rolled with the ball cradled in his arms.
Just 12 seconds later Pagosa had the lead, this time getting a "carry through" goal from Muirhead after a steal and perfect lead pass from Max Smith.
Perhaps Pagosa's most spectacular offensive move of the game came on the next play. Max Smith intercepted a Center outlet at midfield and crossed cleanly to Hurriaga breaking down the right wing. Two steps later Smith had the ball back and keyed a drop pass to a racing Ormonde who was stopped.
But Pagosa wasn't done.
With just under two minutes left, Bandy came from nowhere to repulse Jeminez and in the same move controlled the ball. Two steps to the right and a looper lead put Ormonde in perfect scoring position.
Center mounted several desperation drives as time ran down, each of them stopped by a different Pirate.
First it was Alex Baum tackling an attack out of bounds; then Tadd Beavers, Tesh Parker and Keith Pitcher blocking Viking drives.
Pagosa will host Basalt in Golden Peaks Stadium in a noon non-league game Saturday.
Scoring, 8:46, C-Perez, unassisted; 35:18, P-Ormonde, assist Muirhead; 57:10, P-Muirhead, assist Smith; 57:58, P-Ormonde, assist Bandy. Saves: P-Gutierrez, 8, Schmidt, 5; C-Ticas, 12; cards, yellow, 3-C, 1-P.
Pirate defense slows, can't stop Telluride
By Richard Walter
Telluride's Miners are a deeply veteran team on the soccer field this year.
And with experience, generally, come some gems on the playing field.
On a windblown Telluride home field Saturday both teams got to see both outstanding offense and defense played against them.
In fact, had it not be for a single mistake 10 minutes into the second half, the squads might still be battling.
In all the scoring plays it was seniors who led the way.
For the first 17 minutes, both teams teased to attack, checked deep, and worked to specific patterns.
Telluride's sophomore Ryan Yeager got off the game's first shot, a drive sailing wide left on the shortened Telluride field.
But it was Pagosa's Kevin Blue who had the first chance for goal, a direct kick from 30 yards that missed high left.
Defenses crashed and crushed, tackling balls away, beating foes to the focal point until 11:18 when the Miners took a 1-0 lead on a power drive up the middle by senior Steve Hilbert.
Pirate keeper Felix Gutierrez came out to make the first stop, but not cleanly enough to keep possession and Hilbert drove right over him to the net for the score.
At 11:20 the Pirates took another blow when sophomore midfielder Thomas Martinez went down in a heap in a sideline scrum and had to be carried from the field. He did not return to play.
Junior striker Caleb Ormonde was the next would-be Pirate scorer. Taking a center pass from senior Paul Muirhead, he surprised the Miner defense with a move to the outside and a crossing shot that was flagged by Miner keeper Walter Kvalc.
Gutierrez was yellow-carded for "retaliation" and went out for a rest with sophomore Mike Schmidt replacing him.
At 11:24 the Pirates were on attack again. Ormonde, floored by a blindside tackle, hit the left post on a free kick and newcomer Jacob Bandy (second varsity appearance) was short with the rebound shot.
Then it was Blue knocking on the shaft entrance. Working from right corner to left, he suddenly cut back to the middle and ripped one that sailed just over the crossbar.
Pagosa got the tying break on the quick thinking of senior Muirhead at 30:17.
With the Miners caught lolling back on defense, Muirhead got a quick start play. The officials placed the ball for his 30-yard direct kick and he quickly hammered it home before the Miner defense was set.
Score 1-1, the same kind of defensive battle raged for the next 10 minutes, leaving the squads linked at the half.
As if planned in 10-minute intervals, there was no early second half scoring, defenses holding sway, particularly at midfield for both teams.
Then the break.
On a Pirate foul, Telluride sophomore Jesse Lamb was awarded a free direct kick from the top of the box. With the Pirate defensive wall playing against the prevailing north-south wind gusting over 30 miles per hour, Lamb found the upper right corner and the lead went back to the hosts, 2-1.
Just 2:20 later the sophomore, aided by junior Lance Kipfur, scored again for a 3-1 lead in the 32nd minute.
Still time for another comeback, but it was not to be as the Pirates went to a pressure, "not panic" attack.
Freshman T.J. Smith, firing his first varsity shot, was wide low right; impressive defensive sophomore Javier Hurriaga was stopped by Kvalc on a breakaway; Muirhead was stopped on a bullet from the 40; Hurriaga was stopped again; and Muirhead was blanked from the left wing, a play on which he was injured but refused assistance, walking off the field by himself with a severe limp.
Then the buzzer and the Miners had a hard-fought home win in the Southwest Mountain League, an obviously tougher conference this year than in many of recent vintage.
The win gave Telluride a record of 4-2 overall, having lost to big schools Montrose and Durango.
Bayfield is hanging near the top with a 3-1 mark built on wins over Cortez JV. Center (3-1) and Bloomfield, N.M.
Ridgway shows a lone loss (3-2) to Pagosa, but records should be more complete than that by now.
Crested Butte, the pre-league favorite of most coaches, is not listed in the various sports reporting services. The Vikings have, we know, defeated both Bayfield and Pagosa.
The Pirates host traditional state power Basalt at noon Saturday in Golden Peaks Stadium and then are idle until hosting Bayfield 6 p.m. Sept. 30.
Scoring: 11:18, T-Hilbert, unassisted: 30:17, P-Muirhead, unassisted; 50:52, T-Lamb, free kick; 50:54, T-Lamb, assist Kipfur.
Girls' cross country tops Bayfield for second in Durango
By John Middendorf
In competition against some of the larger high schools of the area, the Pagosa Pirates held their own at Saturday's Durango Invitational cross country race.
The girls, again led by Emilie Schur, with a time of 20 minutes, 14 seconds, came in second overall behind the 5A Durango Demons, beating the 3A Bayfield Wolverines.
It was the Pirates' first-ever race on the 5-kilometer course in Durango, which started at the football field at Ft. Lewis College, ran around the campus, then ended on the track field for an exciting finish.
Among the boys, AJ Abeyta had a good race, leading the team, and coming in 11th overall at 18:19. This was an all-out race at Durango's 6,500-foot elevation, with fewer hills than the preceding races of the season.
"Most of the guys hit a wall at around two miles," said Coach Scott Anderson. The Durango race is noted as a "speed course," in contrast to last week's course at Leadville which is considered a "strength course" involving "much hillier" terrain at 10,000 feet above sea level.
Anderson said the boys' performance, coming in fifth overall, was "just fine this week; next week we'll expect them to hang with the pace a little longer."
Overall, it was a beautiful day to run. Anderson says he's "really happy with where we're at in the season." The girls' win against the strong Bayfield team was unexpected, and Anderson is confident the boys will "get back into the chase," and continue to be strong performers in the upcoming races.
Next week's race is here in Pagosa, with many of the top rival 3A teams competing. The action begins 9 a.m. Saturday at the golf course on one of the most "spectator-friendly" courses of the season, with best viewing reportedly in the vicinity of the maintenance barn.
"One" aplenty and some weird happenings for lady golfers
By Lynn Allison
Special to The SUN
A game of "Ones" was chosen by Pagosa Women's Golf Association for league day action Sept. 6.
The ladies played the Piñon/Ponderosa courses and only the scores from Piñon holes 1, 6, 7, 8, and 9 and from Ponderosa 2, 7, 8 and 9 counted.
At the end of the round, the ladies tallied their totals less one half of their handicaps for the aggregate score for these nine holes. Par for the nine is 35.
Marilyn Smart garnered first place with a 31.5; Barb Lange was second with 33; Lynne Allison was third with 33.5 and Carol Barrows was fourth at 34.
The association featured a low-gross, low-net format on the Meadows/Ponderosa courses Sept. 13. This layout has a 71 rating.
First flight winners were Marilyn Smart, first-place gross with an 84; Josie Hummell, first-place net with 68; and Jane Day, second net with 69.
In the second flight, first-place gross went to Marilyn Pruter with a 95; Carole Barrows and Doe Stringer place second and third net with 69 and 71 respectively.
The shot of the day went to Sheila Rogers.
Her tee shot on No. 4 Meadows saw two objects go airborne, the ball which sailed over the lake and landed just short of the green and the club head of her hybrid 3 iron which landed in the middle of the lake.
It was a very comical and bizarre scene for all.
The next team match at Pinõn Hills has been rescheduled for today, with the Pagosa team still holding the league lead.
Indians score revenge win; Scalp outmanned Pirates
By Randy Johnson
Special to The SUN
A full harvest moon and a capacity crowd showed up at Golden Peaks Stadium Friday night as the 4A Montrose Indians came to town to face the 2A Pirates in the home opener of the 2005 season.
It seemed like the perfect night for football.
Unfortunately the Pirates (2-1) were outmanned as the Indians (3-0) scored on all six possessions in the first half to make it 42-6 at intermission and then coasted to a 56-12 victory.
What a difference a year and a coaching change made at Montrose. New head coach Todd Casebier has his team looking bigger, faster and stronger than a year ago when the Pirates beat them in Montrose. Casebier made another important change by moving senior Tyler Rawlings from wide receiver to running back.
It all started on the opening kickoff. The Indians' Preston Neal returned the kick 93 yards to the Pirates 2 yard line. On the next play, senior running back Nate Coca ran it in for the TD and it was all downhill from there. To make matters worse, Pirates' H-back and kicker Daniel Aupperle was injured in the second quarter and did not return. His status for this week is good.
If there was any good news for the Pirates it came in the second half when they played the Indians close at 14-6 but the damage was already done.
The Indians' ground game was awesome as they gained over 450 yards on 48 carries and six touchdowns. Senior quarterback Landon Hornbeck was a perfect four of four passing for 122 yards and one TD.
Rawlings, in only one half of play on offense, had 88 yards on five carries and one touchdown. He also caught two balls for 47 yards. Hornbeck carried three times for 20 yards, two went for scores. Junior Quinton Haynes had 82 yards on fourteen carries. Backup quarterback/defensive back and kicker Patrick Stevens had an interception return for a touch and kicked eight extra points.
The Pirate rushing offense was held to 114 yards on 25 carries. Senior Josh Hoffman carried the attack with 14 rushes for 100 yards and scored both Pirate touchdowns.
In the Pirate passing game, junior quarterback Adam Trujillo had 11 completions on 16 attempts for 116 yards and two interceptions. The receivers were led by senior Paul Przybylski who caught seven balls for 74 yards; junior John Hoffman one for 26 yards, senior Craig Schutz one for 11 yards and junior Kerry Joe Hilsabeck one for 10 yards.
The first quarter was all Indians. Their first score came after the kickoff return with less than a minute off the clock. The extra try by Stevens made it 7-0.
Montrose had three more possessions in the first quarter all culminating with touchdowns. The first was highlighted by a 62-yard scamper by Rawlings to the Pirates' 3 yard line. Hornbeck's keeper, followed by Stevens' extra point, put the visitors up 14-0 with just over eight minutes remaining.
A Pirate fumble quickly put the Indians back in good field position on the Pagosa 22 yard line. Four plays later, Montrose hit pay dirt again on a 3 yard run by Rawlings. Stevens' kick made it 21-0 with still over six minutes remaining.
On the next possession, the Pirates were driving but a second turnover gave the Indians the ball after Hornbeck intercepted Trujillo. Montrose used six plays to go 75 yards and the TD. On the drive Hornbeck hit Rawlings for a 40 yard gain to the 7 yard line. Hornbeck called his own number again for the TD. The point after brought the score to 28-0 to end scoring in the first.
The Pirates had a four play drive going on an 8 yard Trujillo pass to Przybylski to end the quarter.
The Pirates kept possession going into the second quarter on the Indian 38 yard line. Przybylski had another completion but Pagosa turned the ball over on downs.
The Indians' first drive started on their 20 yard line. Three plays later and a 70 yard catch and run from Hornbeck to junior receiver Chance Halverson put them in the end zone again. The score read 35-0 with just over 10 minutes left.
Another series of mistakes by the Pirate offense gave the ball back to the Indians on the Pagosa 30 yard line. A six play drive, capped by Haynes' four carries and a 3 yard touchdown by junior Jeremy Byrnes put the visitors up 42-0.
At the four minute mark, the Pirate offense finally came alive. Pagosa used a nine play drive to score. Josh Hoffman had a run of 14 yards. Trujillo hit Przybylski for 7 and 22 yards. A diving 26 yard catch by John Hoffman put the ball on the 2 yard line where Josh Hoffman punched it in. The run try failed leaving the score at 42-6 to end the first half.
The Pirates received the kickoff to open the second half on their 43 yard line. After two runs by Josh Hoffman for a first down, Pagosa quickly went four and out on an incomplete Trujillo pass to turn the ball over on the Indians' 30 yard line.
With 9:16 remaining in the quarter and Stevens in at quarterback, Montrose used a fifteen play drive and over six minutes of clock to reach the Pirates' 10 yard line and a first and goal. Haynes and Stevens were the workhorses with six and five carries respectively. The Pirate defense finally came to play and held the Indians on fourth and goal.
With the ball on their 10 yard line, the Pirates seemed to have a drive going with runs by junior Corbin Mellette and Trujillo. But the drive was short-lived when Stevens, playing at defensive back, intercepted Trujillo and ran it back 23 yards for the TD. Stevens kick gave the visitors a 49-6 lead to end the quarter.
Pagosa received the ensuing kickoff on their 35 yard line and quickly went three and out.
Montrose used a nine play drive, all by rushing, to score again. Haynes carried four times for 31 yards while Stevens had one for 10 yards. Junior Adrian Gallegos, one of eleven Indian running backs used on the night, scored from 5 yards out. Stevens' kick put the score at 56-6.
The Pirates' final possession was the best of the evening. With 3:20 remaining, Pagosa used a five play, 75 yard drive to score. Josh Hoffman had two 11 yard runs followed by a run of 7 by Hilsabeck. Trujillo hit Przybylski for another 22 yard gain. Josh Hoffman finished the drive with a great 30 yard run to score. The run after was no good to end the scoring at 56-12.
The Indians ran out the final three minutes of play to end the game.
O'Donnell said his charges were not ready to play this game, pointing to a week of poor practice and lack of intensity.
"These kids needed a very high level of intensity to compete with a good Montrose team," he said, "and for some reason it wasn't there. It's hard to play catch-up to a team with good athletes. We'll see how the kids respond in practice and hopefully they will use the experience to improve. Turnovers hurt momentum again."
Fortunately it is still early in the season and it wasn't a league game. A good team can use this as a learning experience to get better going into October and November. A good team will also forget what happened, step up the work in practice, and move forward.
The Pirates host the Taos Tigers Friday night at Golden Peaks Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.. The Tigers are coming off a loss to Monte Vista last week and will be ready to play.
With luck, another capacity crowd and a rejuvenated Pirates team will show up for this one.
In other IML action last week:
Class A Dolores (3-0) def. Bayfield (0-3) 38-20.
Centauri (3-0) def. Class A Sanford (1-2) 18-12.
Ignacio (2-1) def. Class A Norwood (0-3) 42-0.
Monte Vista (2-1) def. Taos, NM 42-12.
Pagosa Springs (2-1) vs.Montrose (3-0)
Score by Quarters
Montrose 28,14,7,7 - 56
Pagosa Springs 0,6,0,6 - 12
11:48 Mon - Coca 2 yard run (Stevens kick)
8:04 Mon - Hornbeck 3 yard run (Stevens kick)
6:35 Mon - Rawlings 3 yard run (Stevens kick)
01:55 Mon - Hornbeck 7 yard run (Stevens kick)
10:12 Mon - Halverson 70 yard pass from Hornbeck (Stevens kick)
4:06 Mon - Byrnes 3 yard run (Stevens kick)
1:27 PS - Josh Hoffman 2 yard run (run failed)
1:27 Mon - Stevens 23 yard int. return (Stevens kick)
6:53 Mon - Gallegos 5 yard run (Stevens kick)
3:20 PS - Josh Hoffman 30 yard run (run failed)
Truett Forrest wins men's championship
By Bill Curtiss
Special to The SUN
The Pagosa Springs Men's Golf League held its 36-hole league championship event Sept. 7 and 14.
Truett Forrest won the championship flight with a score of 144. Second place went to David Lynch at 157. Jim Miner's score of 134 won first-place net, and Fred Campuzano came in second net with a score of 142.
In the first flight, David Prokop scored 161 to win first-place gross and Ray Henslee's score of 179 captured second-place gross.
First place net went to Norman Utz with a score of 131 and second to Jere Hill who scored 147.
Helping the injured athlete cope
By Myles Gabel
The mental side of athletic injuries: "A guide to psychologically rebounding from injury," Part 3.
Coaching/parenting strategies for helping the injured athlete cope.
Be empathetic - Let your athletes know that you understand what they are feeling and having to go through. Understand where their anger, frustration and disappointment comes from and allow them time to mourn. Do not expect them to just "suck it up," "shake it off and "be strong!" Instead, let them have their feelings without indulging them in self-pity. Your genuine empathy and caring will go a long way towards strengthening the coach-athlete relationship and aiding the healing process.
Work with self-esteem
Understand that the injured athlete has just suffered a major blow to his feelings of self-worth and is therefore feeling quite vulnerable. Let him know in both your actions and words that you still value him as a person, not just as an athlete. Do not avoid or act disinterested in that individual. Remember, it is your responsibility to reach out to him, not vice versa. You are the "qualified adult and professional." You must act like one. Far too many coaches completely ignore the injured athlete, which ends up truly destroying his already shaky self-esteem. Reach out and help that athlete feel important and valuable.
Give team role
Help the injured athlete fight their feelings of worthlessness and identity confusion by giving them another role on the team. Assign them a job as "assistant coach" or consultant into team functioning. Seek out their opinion and "advice" during practices or competitions. In fact, your injured athlete may have some valuable insight into the inner workings of the team. Make him feel important and that he still has a vital role to play on the squad.
Insist that the athlete continue to function as an important member/part of the team. Assign other athletes on the squad to monitor the injured athlete's involvement and to intervene whenever that athlete begins to withdraw and/or isolate him/herself. The coach can have a powerfully positive impact on the injured athlete's feelings of inclusion. Be there for him and do not allow him to withdraw.
Let athlete know care
Increase contact and communication with the injured athlete. Call him if he is unable to show up at practice. If he is recovering from surgery, visit him in the hospital. A little of your time at this point in the recovery process will dramatically help ease the emotional and psychological pain that the athlete is experiencing.
Whether it's limited physical or purely mental, let the injured athlete know you expect her to continue her training, however modified. When possible, assign her a special workout that fits the limitation of her injury. Take an interest in her "training" and regularly check on how it's going.
Help the injured athlete understand that excelling in her sport demands a tremendous amount of success and life skills that she has already developed and that she can learn to transfer to other areas in her life. Clearly spell out for her what these areas are and help her begin to see their application in other arenas.
Seek a professional
If the athlete is seriously depressed (has lost interest in activities, shows changes in eating and sleeping habits, or is having suicidal thoughts or feelings), it is critically important that you refer him/her for professional counseling. If you are particularly concerned about your athlete, you may need to play a forceful, advocate role where you enlist the parents' aid in helping their son or daughter get the professional help that is needed.
Athletic injury, whether temporary or permanent, is and always will be a painfully disruptive and uncontrollable interruption in an athlete's life. If you follow some of the guidelines put forth in this article you can speed up the rehab process and lessen the psychological and emotional pain that normally accompanies most athletic injuries. Keep in mind though that the rehab process is more often times than not very slow and painful.
Understand also that when you as an athlete first get back out there on the field or court you will naturally be preoccupied with worries about hurting yourself again. Don't be alarmed by this. Fear of re-injury is absolutely normal. It's also pretty common for the recently recovered athlete to find herself mentally replaying the injury over and over again in her mind's eye. This tendency to focus on "what you are afraid will happen" will distract you from the task at hand and leave you performing physically tight. In this condition, you're actually far more vulnerable to re-injury! To counteract this natural tendency, discipline yourself to concentrate on what you want to have happen, not what you're afraid will. Focus on what you need to do in order to execute perfectly. While this may be far easier said then done in the beginning, discipline yourself to maintain a positive focus on your performance.
Reference: Competitive Advantage - nationally known experts in the field of applied sports psychology
Youth basketball is right around the corner. The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department will be sending out registration forms through the schools starting in October.
Plans are for 5/6 and 7/8 youth basketball to begin in late October and continue through early December. Then, 9/10 and 11/12 groups will begin in early January. We need coaches and sponsors , so begin the thought process on how you can help this great league.
We had a great turnout for our first open volleyball night. Anyone who is still interested in playing coed adult indoor volleyball should come to the community center gymnasium 7 p.m. Wednesdays. We will continue open play for all skill levels and will discuss the formation of a volleyball league.
If you have a background in soccer as a player or coach, we still need you.
The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department is hiring referees for the 2005 season. High school students through adults welcome. Training is given. Pay is $10-$25 depending on experience and certification level of the games you officiate. Contact the recreation department at 264-4151, Ext. 232, if interested. Sign up now.
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 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.
No Column this week
The system takes two
At times, it seems like we are driving past the scene of a terrible car crash on the highway. We know something bad has happened. We try not to look Š but we have to. We can't help ourselves. The carnage is captivating. However, just as a spectator rarely sees all there is when observing the aftermath of a collision, we can too easily come to quick conclusions about what is happening to our county government. A traffic accident is nearly always revealed as more complex than imagined once it is examined by an investigator. So it is with the pileup we call Archuleta County.
Granted, there is a lot of damage, but nothing lethal has occurred, regardless of the wails from many an unschooled bystander. Since the seating of the current county commission in January, things have been accomplished, daily chores tended. Unfortunately, more emotional events have stolen the stage.
First, openly adversarial relationships in and between county offices.
Second, the resignation of key county employees.
Third, a set of problems, with scant funds available to help solve them.
Fourth, a collection of residents, most relatively new, whose expectations are grossly out of touch with the realities of rural life, whose understanding of the situation is often uninformed.
No doubt, our commissioners are not working well together. We have lost a county manager, an interim county manager, key planning personnel and a public works director who, regardless of the chorus, was beginning to make progress in a virtually unwinnable battle with a road system that, to begin with is ill-defined and, moreover, was torn to shreds by an unusually difficult winter.
The commission, even if in harmony, would have a difficult time filling vacant positions while keeping pace with a schedule to rework the road system and prodding development of a county land-use plan.
Now, again, the specter of a recall of a commissioner is rearing its head. A recall petition was submitted to, and its form approved by the county clerk Sept. 7. Petition supporters have 60 days from that date to collect signatures; the clerk then has 10 days to verify the signatures; a 15-day period follows in which challenges can be mounted to the petition. If the petition passes muster, the county has 45 to 75 days to mount a special election. Petitions must be circulated by those wishing to be considered, at the same election, as possible replacements for a recalled official.
We express here our opposition to the notion of recall. Our reasons are simple. First, the cost of an election, as much as $30,000.
Second, our conviction that those who now have the answers should have stepped up and advanced their candidacies last year. We elected our current commissioners. We get what we deserve. Pressure them, browbeat them but, remember, they had the courage to run and serve. Others didn't.
Lastly, we object because of the nature of the system. Our county commission is a three-person board. It takes two votes to move on any given issue. We believe two of three commissioners should be able to reach a reasoned compromise on an issue. Two commissioners can, in the clear light of day, make progress in solving the county's problems - and we emphasize that all discussions and decisions must take place only in a public forum. We believe two can think things through, pick a new county administrator, find another planner, spur the land-use process and make significant progress on an overwhelming road problem - despite the howling in the background - and serve us well.
Forget the recall. Put pressure on our officials, demand effective compromise from those willing to seek it and let's move forward one step at a time.
How does a town get a name?
By Richard Walter
All across Colorado there are names - rivers, mountains, communities, for example, that seem to deny any cause for the name.
Take for instance, Sawpit, a small town on Colo. 145 in San Miguel County between Placerville and Telluride.
William Bright's splendid Third Edition of Colorado Place Names simplified it dramatically. In the early days of mining town development lumber was a key need. A sawpit was a pit in the ground used by a two-man crew to saw lumber. A log was placed over the pit and two men worked a huge saw - one from above and the other below.
There are other names people apparently just couldn't get enough of, one right at home - Wolf Creek. We have ours and the pass to go with it. But did you know there are twelve other streams in Colorado known officially as Wolf Creek?
Any of you who have traveled the scenic route from South Fork to Creede have passed Wagon Wheel Gap and no doubt wondered about the name.
Bright's research tells us it is derived from discovery of a huge wagon wheel found at the site, ostensibly left by the Baker prospecting party of 1861 on their way out of the mountains.
As horses were obviously an important part of that development of the Colorado of the old west, it is natural to find the horse name in many locations. But how many?
Bright says there are 18 streams in the state called Horse Creek, eight others called Horse Gulch and six peaks named Horse Mountain. Horseshoe Lake is the name of five bodies of water in Colorado and there also are three streams named Horseshoe Creek. There are three peaks named Horseshoe Mountain and a Horsetooth Peak.
Because of the state's reputation for shiny nuggets brought in from the field and made into the best of jewelry, the name "Gem" might be expected in many forms. But only Gem Village, west of Bayfield, has the word in its name.
On the other hand, the military history of the state is widely covered in names - Fort Carson, Fort Garland, Fort Collins and Fort Lewis.
Add to those Fort Logan, Fort Lupton, Fort Lyon, Fort Morgan and Fort Vasquez and you get the idea our settlers needed a lot of protection.
Some of our communities obviously were named for people dear to another.
One example is Virginia Dale, a Larimer County town apparently named by the community's founder, Joseph A. (Jack) Slade, for his wife. Others are named for events which took place there. One example is Troublesome on U.S. 40 in Grand County. The name appears apropos because Bright's research indicates it came from names (?) given it by soldiers who were forced to make long detours to cross the stream.
And there must have been some people with a funny bone who pioneered in Colorado.
We have a Toonerville in Bent County apparently named for the "Toonerville Trolley" in a nationally syndicated comic strip created by Fontaine Fox.
Finally, if you have trouble with strife of the day, we have a town for you - Cope.
90 years ago
Taken from SUN files of September 24, 1915
Honey Boy Jim Walker, the famous bee breeder and raiser of the now famous "Mountain Blossom Honey," was up this week from his Piedra River apaires taking orders for this year's crop of the succulent sweet at $5.00 per 60 lb. can of separated honey, f.o.b. Arboles, Colo. Freight to Pagosa nominal. Cheapest and grandest food on earth.
As an example of public spirited newspaper support, we cite the fact that Dr. A.J. Nossaman carries and pays for 7 subscribers to the Sun - for friends and relatives in the east. Besides patronizing home industry to the extent of giving the Sun his job work. Would that there were more like him. We certainly appreciate it.
75 years ago
Taken from The Pagosa Journal files of September 19, 1930
It now seems certain that Wolf Creek Pass will not be reopened this year.
County Clerk Johnson left for Denver the first of the week to meet Mrs. Johnson, who is returning from a visit to Europe.
Mrs. Juanita Cordova Jaquez, who has been employed in the Hersch Merc. store this summer, will leave soon for Alamosa to attend the Adams Normal School this winter.
County Clerk Johnson and Justices of the Peace Hatcher and Day, who made the official count of the primary election, found a few errors or changes from the unofficial count, but nothing sufficient to make any changes in nominations.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of September 22, 1955
The first killing frost of the fall hit Pagosa Springs Tuesday night when the mercury skidded to 22 degrees after a three day rain. This is the first severe frost thus far this fall in town and chilly nights can be expected from here on out. This fall has been a wet one with 3.22 inches of rain in August and nearly an inch so far this month.
Work is now underway for the installation of the new Pomalift Ski Tow at Wolf Creek Pass Winter Sports Area. The cutting of the timber in the area for the tow and ski runs is almost completed. The specification drawings for the installation of the tow have arrived and are in the hands of the committee to install the tow. The Forest Service Permit for the use of the area has been approved.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of September 25, 1980
Television reception in this community is in serious financial trouble, primarily because users won't help pay for the cost of the operation of the TV translators. TV reception here is a project of the Lions Club and a special committee has been set up to keep it in operation. There is no way that the payment of a $20 annual fee can be enforced, except to rely on the honesty of residents. Last year right at 50 percent of the local TV users paid their fee. However, because of the benefits and value of TV reception the Lions Club kept the system operating. The point may have been reached where this is no longer possible, and if that is so, the translators may have to be turned off. If all fails, the community may have to exist without the three Albuquerque channels.
Coal bed methane extraction ...
Its environmental impact in Archuleta County
As Archuleta County grapples with the environmental implications of future energy development, three key factors will ultimately shape the future: coal bed methane, the HD Mountains and a forthcoming decision by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management on, if, and how coal bed methane can ultimately be extracted from the HD Mountains Roadless Area.
Although concerns about the environmental impacts of new compressor stations, pipelines and coal bed methane wells travel into the county, beyond the boundaries of the roadless area, coal bed methane exploration and extraction within the HD's has largely overshadowed many other environmental concerns and has become a flashpoint for debate.
Concerned citizens and environmental advocates say the roadless area within the HD's is a unique and pristine wildlife habitat that should not be open to energy exploration.
Those in the energy industry argue the opposite. They say the area has untapped potential as a coal bed methane source due to its location within the San Juan Basin and its proximity to the Fruitland Outcrop, a geologic feature which is known to produce coal bed methane. Furthermore, they argue that they hold leases to develop the energy resource and have a right to exercise those leases. The recent signing of a new national energy policy encouraging domestic energy production, strengthens the industry's claims.
But what is it that the industry proposes and where would the brunt of coal bed methane development and the potential for environmental impact in Archuleta County occur?
According to a draft environmental impact statement published jointly by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, the portion of the proposed project area lying within Archuleta County comprises about 34,000 acres, the bulk of which lies within the HD Mountains Roadless Area.
Currently, the area is true to its namesake and is largely a roadless, lower elevation mountain range 25 miles east of Durango, straddling the Archuleta and La Plata county lines.
According to the draft environmental impact statement, the area represents the intersection of the Colorado Plateau ecosystem with the southern Rocky Mountain ecosystem and the result is varied biologic landscape. Grasslands and pinyon juniper woodlands mix with extensive stands of Gambels oak and significant stands of old growth Ponderosa pine. Canyon areas and riparian zones add to the mix, and it is due to this varied biotic landscape that the area is valuable to many species of wildlife. Elk, deer and various bird species use the HD Mountains as a migration corridor.
Walt Brown, the environmental impact statement team leader said, "The elk and deer populations are growing and are in good shape."
According to the statement, the area also provides critical autumn black bear habitat, and the entire project area lies in the middle of the largest fall black bear habitat in both La Plata and Archuleta counties.
The area within Archuleta County, in addition to providing migratory corridors and large game habitat, is also home to the Ignacio Creek drainage.
According to an Ecos Consulting report, the drainage has been proposed as a special research area and is home to two threatened and endangered species, the Mexican Spotted Owl and the Southwest Willow Flycatcher. Brown called the Ignacio Creek area "very pristine" and said the implications of the industry proposal to build an access road up the drainage and to sink wells into the stream valley were "very serious and significant to that area."
In addition, due to the remote wilderness-like setting of the roadless area, various user groups have listed the HD's as an important recreational resource for horse back riding, hiking, mountain biking and hunting. Due to the area's inherent, wilderness-like qualities, a portion of the HD Mountains proposed for coal bed methane development was designated a RARE II (Roadless Area Review and Evaluation II) Roadless Area by the U.S. Forest Service in 1979. This designation allowed roadless areas greater than 5,000 acres on National Forest land to be considered for wilderness status. Ultimately, the HD Mountains were not recommended for wilderness status and reverted back to multiple, use including oil and gas leasing. But despite the preponderance of oil and gas leases, the area remains largely roadless today.
All told, the six key industry players: HEC Petroleum, XTO Energy, Petrox Resources, Elmridge Resources, Exok and BP America, hope to drill 140 new wells in Archuleta County. According to maps published in the draft environmental impact statement, as many as 60 would be sunk in the roadless area.
In addition, under the proposal, additional access roads would be constructed in the roadless area (about 100 miles total in the entire project area); combined with disposal wells (seven in the entire project area); at least two compressor stations (14 total compressors on 11 new sites in the project area); and 17 total miles of gas trunk line which is used to move gas from compressor stations to the transmission pipelines.
Current estimates place the project on a 40 year time line with five years slated for initial construction.
Brown said, "The area has high potential, but there is very little information on the books on how productive the HD's might be."
According to the Ecos Consulting report, in the early 1970s the United States Geological Survey identified the HD Mountains as a viable source for oil and gas development. The area was open to leasing from the mid 1970s to mid 1980s but many leases were not exercised because drilling in the HD's was deemed not economically feasible due to the area's topography, remoteness and the depth of the coal, which is, in places at 4,000 feet and the pressure of overlying rock prevents the gas from escaping. However, new industry technologies may make drilling and resource extraction more feasible and less environmentally harmful.
Brown said after analyzing the comments submitted for the draft environmental impact statement, two common threads of concern emerged. One was the question of impacts along the Fruitland Outcrop, the other was the development of coal bed methane wells and ancillary facilities in an unroaded area.
Brown described parts of the roadless area as "steep, rugged, erosive and unstable."
He said understanding the impacts of building roads in such an area and impacts on wildlife and water quality were central to the environmental impact statement.
The impacts of drilling near the Fruitland Outcrop has been observed in La Plata County, where county officials have enacted legislation to prohibit drilling within one and a half miles of the outcrop.
Brown said there appears to be a correlation between increased drilling near the outcrop and problems with methane seepage and the depletion of springs, seeps and water wells. Exploring the possibility of spontaneously combusting coal bed methane fires due to water depletion in the outcrop is also being considered during the draft review process.
Although there are a number of environmental factors for federal land management agencies to consider, the fact of the matter is that the county has no real jurisdiction over drilling on federal lands.
The county, through the conditional use permitting process can regulate facilities, such as compressor sites, on private land, but it is up to the federal agencies to ultimately decide the fate of the HD Mountains Roadless Area.
Brown said that although the official commenting and response period is over, "through the NEPA process, the door is never closed." He said if someone brings a new and pertinent issue to the table, it will be considered.
Brown said the agencies are revising the draft to form a final environmental impact statement. That final draft is due out in December or January. He said that at least 30 days after the final statement is issued, two records of decision will be filed, one from the Forest Service, the other from the Bureau of Land Management.
Pagosa's topography thrilled army engineer
By John M. Motter
We have been quoting from a description of Pagosa Springs and its surroundings compiled in 1878 by Lt. McCauley, an Army engineer. It should be noted that 1878 was the year settlement of the town of Pagosa Springs began. It was also the year construction of Fort Lewis began on what later became the town's main business block.
Of the topography of the area, McCauley wrote:
"The immediate locality of the principal springs is upon the east side of the river in a contracted valley or park, about three-fourths of a mile above the bridge crossing of the river by the road to Animas. The main spring, considered by many to be the only or actual individual one 'all others being subsidiary thereto' together with a number of others, including outlets and principal openings may, for convenience, be termed the group of hot springs, all of which 'nineteen in number' have a temperature above blood heat. They lie in the angle made by a sharp bend in the river upon its left bank. Upon the opposite side less than three fourths (?) of a mile distant and nearly south from the main one, is a group of cones, three in number, upon a small bench above and adjacent to the river, all of a temperate degree.
"Less than half a mile down the river, a small creek from the east flows into the San Juan, which tributary has been named Ojo Frio from the number of cold springs at various points along its banks. Near its mouth is a small open area, below which sharp mesas and masses of vertical rock of Cretaceous age 'all with timbered summits' close in upon the river, forming a cañon, which is inaccessible, or has not been explored by anyone as far as known.
"Above the mouth of the creek a line of short rolling hills runs nearly due north, with increasing steepness above, their height several hundred feet, heavily wooded with pine upon the upper slopes. These with rolling hills upon the west side, some with sharp escarpments advancing to the stream itself, limit and contract the valley of the river in this immediate vicinity to an area of a few hundred acres.
"Up the river, beyond and east of the range of steepest hills, embraced between the San Juan and Ojo Frio Creek, is a large and gently outspreading valley on a bench above the river, finely grassed, with an area of several thousand acres, all of which can be easily irrigated.
"Timber is abundant, being chiefly cottonwood, limited of course to the river bottom, and the great pine of the Pacific slope, abundant upon nearly all of the hills. Of its lesser vegetation, constituting the usual underbrush along the larger rivers of that section, as alder, willow, and a border of wild currants was observed along the edge of the great sloping deposit of calcium carbonate or carbonate of lime, west of Spring 17. They formed an agreeable accession to our table when there encamped during a reconnaissance in 1877. Its flowering botany is the usual one indigenous to the altitude and southern trend of the mountain slopes, with some accessions due to the proximity of heated waters. The plant observed in largest numbers was the delicate and beautiful blue flower, commonly called the American flax, which thickly clustered with slender, waving stalks, covered the angle between the hills and the river north of the main spring in July, 1877."
Motter's note: When McCauley speaks of Ojo Frio Creek, the stream he refers to is today's Mill Creek.
Autumn Equinox today, constellations abound
By James Robinson
The moon is waning gibbous tonight with 74 percent of the visible disk illuminated. The moon's last quarter will appear Sept. 25.
Today, Sept. 22, marks the date of the Autumnal Equinox, or the first day of autumn. On this day, the sun will rise directly in the east and will set directly in the west. The result is that everyone on earth will experience a 12-hour day and a 12-hour night.
The Autumnal Equinox, like the Harvest Moon, is used to mark an important transition in seasons, but stars and constellations can also be important indicators in marking seasonal transitions.
As we inch gradually into autumn, the constellations Andromeda and Cassiopeia will take greater positions of prominence in our night sky. By mid-October, both constellations will appear almost directly overhead.
Andromeda is the celestial representation of Queen Cassiopeia's daughter. According to the mythology, Andromeda was chained to a rock to placate the sea monster Cetus. Before she was devoured, Perseus came to her rescue and turned the monster to stone with the severed head of the Medusa. After the heroic deed, the two ultimately married.
The constellation, although somewhat faint, is marked by three key stars: Alpheratz, which marks the head of the chained maiden and makes one corner of the Square of Pegasus; Mirach, which marks Andromeda's waist and Almaak which represents her foot.
Although the constellation Andromeda might be difficult to discern, her mother, represented by the constellation Cassiopeia, is much brighter and makes a distinct W-shaped grouping of five stars in the night sky.
By 10 p.m. today in Pagosa Country, both constellations should be fairly easy to locate. First, locate the Big Dipper Asterism in Ursa Major. Ursa Major will be found far north in the sky and just slightly to the west. Locate the dipper and then follow the asterism's pointer stars, Dubhe and Merak to Polaris, the North Star.
From the Polaris, look slightly south and to the east, for W-shaped Cassiopeia. Traveling just east again, lies Andromeda. Andromeda makes a faint V-shape, and its three main and brightest stars, Almaak, Mirach and Alpheratz can be traced downward to the corner of the Square of Pegasus.
While tracing down the length of Andromeda, keep a keen eye on the area just slightly north of Mirach, the second star along the constellation. In this area of the sky lies M31 - the famous Andromeda Galaxy.
The galaxy is a spiral galaxy much like our own Milky Way, and is the most distant object visible to the naked eye. Although naked eye observations reveal the object as a whitish blur, binoculars will bring out more details and with a telescope it is possible to discern the galaxy's spiral arms.
Astronomical observations indicate the Andromeda Galaxy is more than two million light years away, but that it is approaching our own Milky Way at the rate of seven million miles per day. As the two objects approach, the result could be an intergalactic collision resulting in the creation of many new super massive stars. These stars, would form and die, relatively quickly, their deaths marked by tremendous supernova explosions.
Once the collision is complete, astronomers believe the two galaxies will have merged creating an entirely new, elliptically-shaped galaxy.
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Fall charges in as summer beats a quick retreat
By Richard Walter
Tonight, err the moon has ris'n,
fall sneaks in and plants
its seasonal kiss on our brown
Known as the Autumnal Equinox, it is the dividing season between summer and winter; the one in which crops are harvested and supplies laid by for the cold days ahead.
In the ancient cycle of the year, this was actually the second harvest; the first having occurred Aug. 1 and is known as Lammas. As methods of agriculture became more uniform and sophisticated, the autumn harvest was moved back until the last possible growing time was completed to maximize its size.
As such, the Autumnal Equinox became synonymous with not only the completion of the harvest, but also the end of summer ... and sometimes the tricks of spry little fall grinches (around Halloween) to hamper the way.
You won't have to wait long to see the new season's impishness in action. It can be beautiful one day and miserable the next.
On the first day of fall today, for example, the forecast says scattered thundershowers through the day with a high of 69 with the showers ending during evening and a low of 43. Winds will be light at five miles per hour and chance of rain is set at 30 percent.
Friday could be a carbon copy according to a variety of weather sources. Old Farmer' Almanac, for example, agrees with a continuation of periodic showers, a high of 72 and low in the low 40s.
Let's hope Saturday, the play weekend, fits the forecast - mostly sunny, high 70, and a cool and clear night with a low of 41.
Sunday will keep up the nice weekend scenario with mostly sunny skies, a high of 68 and a nighttime low of upper 30s under clear skies.
It could all change dramatically for next Monday's (Sept. 26) weather call which says a nighttime freeze is due. A daytime high of 67 will be accompanied by scattered thunderstorms before late night clearing opens the way for the first below 32-degree night of the new season. We've already had our first sub-freezing day but it preceded summer's demise.
Having now set you up for the vagaries of fall to come, let's take a look at data for the past week and wonder how we'll remember it when icicles hang from the eaves.
Highest temperature recorded locally in the last week of summer was 78.5 at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday; the coldest 31 degrees at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. There was no rainfall in the week and just 1.46 inches to date for the month of September. Highest wind recorded in the week was 20 mph at 3 p.m. Sept. 16.
The Autumnal Equinox marks the beginning of shorter days and longer nights. We gather with friends to strengthen our spirits in preparation for the passage into winter. But it is a time of thanksgiving, for on the other side of that dark winter - is spring.
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