November 17, 2005
Front Page

Wolf Creek Ski Area opens

Officials at Wolf Creek Ski Area made a last-minute decision to open the area Saturday, Nov. 12, with only Nova Lift open. The weekend storm brought in 6 inches of wet snow that got Nova running, followed by the Treasure Chairlift Sunday. Wolf Creek hosted 130 skiers and boarders Saturday, and more than 200 Sunday.

Wolf Creek has received over 34 inches of snow since October - less than the area has seen the past few years, but still enough for fun on the slopes. There are a number of early season obstacles, so skiers and boarders are reminded to use caution on the mountain.

All support services at the area - the ski school, the Wolf Creek Lodge and the rental departments - are open along with Treasure Sports.

More terrain will open along with Bonanza chairlift, with details about the additions coming later in the week. Currently, Tranquility, Bonanza Road, Treasure Falls, Mid-Treasure to Legs and other terrain is open for those who enjoy getting out on the mountain to check out the early season skiing. Four inches of new snow Tuesday morning again improved conditions.

Check out Wolf Creek's Web site, for updates on conditions, events and prices, or call 264-5639 with any questions.


County hires oil and gas consultant

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Following a decision made in a September work session to allocate funds for the hiring of an oil and gas consultant, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners formally approved, during Tuesday's commissioner's meeting, a contract between the county and Mike Matheson of Plateau Environmental Services for oil and gas consultation services.

The decision to allocate funds and manpower was originally made in September, and as part of that decision, then Archuleta County Senior Planner Ross Easterling was to spearhead the county's efforts.

However, Easterling resigned from the county in mid-September leaving a staffing void and the county minus a point man for tackling oil and gas development issues. Tuesday's decision to hire Matheson serves to bridge that gap.

In his presentation to the board, Director of County Development Blair Leist said Matheson currently serves as an oil and gas consultant for La Plata County, has experience and knowledge of the oil and gas industry, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and oil and gas development in the area of the Fruitland Formation.

The Fruitland Formation and namely, the Fruitland Outcrop, forms the northern boundary of the vast coal bed methane reserves of the San Juan Basin. Recently, with energy developers eyeing drilling prospects near the outcrop (at least one well has already been sunk), the formation has become the focal point of concern for some landowners living near the outcrop due to what they say are the unknown impacts outcrop drilling may have on the water table and domestic water wells, and the possibility drilling could cause an underground coal bed fire.

According to county documents, Matheson's duties will include: reviewing technical data and reports, coordinating with various county departments on issues of oil and gas development; maintaining communications with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and industry representatives; and advising land owners about oil and gas issues.

The contract term is from Sept. 1, 2005, through Sept. 1, 2006, and will cost the county $17,000.

In other board action:

- The board approved a lease agreement between the county and Cascade Plaza LLC. The approval enables the county to lease office space at 46 Eaton Drive which will be used primarily to house the building and planning department. Other small departments, such as Colorado Works, driver's licensing and veterans' services may also be included in the move scheduled to be completed by Jan. 1, 2006.

- The board also approved a winter maintenance contract with Blue Mountain Ranches Property Owners Association.

The agreement allows the county to provide winter maintenance on private roads within the association, for a fee, for 2006.

According to interim County Administrator Bob Jasper, property owners in the association said they had approached the county, stating they had not received adequate notice regarding the county's recent decision to halt maintenance on private roads and U.S. Forest Service roads.

After meeting with the affected homeowners, the group and the county reached an agreement which resolves the issue of county trespass on private property and the giving of public funds.

The cost for winter maintenance for 2006 is contracted for $500, which Commissioner Mamie Lynch said was far below market value. She said any future arrangements would be assessed at the full rate.

Jasper said, "We didn't set out to do this but we are trying to be responsible."

He added that the agreement could serve as a model for future road maintenance agreements between property owners or home owners associations and the county.


Critical access hospital process moves forward

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

After a full day of meetings with contractors, architects, capital finance companies and CPAs, the Upper San Juan Health Services District board gathered at the Mary Fisher Clinic on Thursday and publicly announced several key components of their plans to build a critical access hospital in Pagosa.

Neal Townsend, district board member, presented the board's choice for contractor and architect. After attending 90-minute presentations from each team, Townsend said, "There were no slackers in the group." Townsend explained each team's common and distinguishing features, then announced the board's choice of GE Johnson, from Denver, as the construction company and Prochaska and Associates, of Omaha, Neb., as the architect. Prochaska and Associates recently designed a hospital in Valdez, Alaska, which can be seen online at

The board also looked at proposals from two CPA accounting firms. The accounting firm will produce feasibility study by analyzing community demographics, growth rates, and the local market for health care. After some consideration, the board chose BKD, LLP, as the accounting firm. The feasibility study acts as the strategic financial component of the overall business plan, and will estimate what the hospital can expect in terms of cash flow.

Expected cash flow will be the primary focus of lenders when deciding to provide the loan necessary to build the hospital. Steve Swank, of Pine Creek Healthcare Capital, LLC, presented the terms of his company's financing. Pine Creek is a one-year-old company which has a partnership with Citigroup. Swank said his company has access to $2.5 billion in capital which it plans to invest in remodeling, renovating and replacing nonprofit rural and critical access hospitals in the next 2 1/2 years. Unlike USDA and HUD loans, which can take up to 36 months, said Swank, Pine Creek can arrange the funding within six months from the signed "Letter of Intent," and have arranged funding in as little as two months. Pine Creek charges a 3-percent financing fee, then maintains a fee-based quarterly monitoring program of the hospital throughout the terms of the loan (generally 25 years). Interest rates will be based on the Municipal Market Data (MMD) index. The terms of the loan and choice of lender will follow the market feasibility study and quotes from the construction firm.

Larry Arthur, of Hospital Management Consulting (the consulting firm the board has hired to help with the process of establishing a critical access hospital in Pagosa) believes the district has been making "good progress." He said his firm has 30 years experience advising 800 community hospitals in 42 states, and is pleased with the progress and "the enthusiasm of the current board." Arthur believes "the viability of the marketplace to support a hospital" is present in Pagosa Springs.

"We've made some big decisions tonight," said Pam Hopkins, USJHSD board chair, summing the meeting up. The board is planning a series of open meetings explaining the project to the community next spring.


LPEA proposes first-of-year

rate increase

By David Waller

Special to The SUN

La Plata Electric Association officials announced yesterday they have given preliminary approval to electric rate increases that will effect an overall revenue increase of approximately 3.5 percent.

The increases will be based on the costs to serve each individual rate classification and will be effective for all rates Jan. 1, 2006. The LPEA Board of Directors made this decision during its Nov. 16 regular meeting, and also approved the 2006 financial forecast recommended by LPEA staff.

A mandatory 30-day comment period must be observed before the LPEA board gives final approval to the increases during its Dec. 21 regular meeting. Advertisements in local newspapers and inserts in LPEA bills will notify members of the increases for each rate classification.

Causes for the rate increases are numerous, but focus on two major areas. First, LPEA's power supplier, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, has again raised the wholesale rates it charges to member co-ops. In addition, LPEA expenses have increased despite companywide efforts to save money. Many of the materials critical to LPEA operations have increased in price. Fuel and materials costs have increased significantly, due to general inflation and due to this past summer's hurricanes.

Tri-State notified LPEA in September 2005 that wholesale electric rates would increase by 4 percent Jan. 1, 2006. This followed on the heels of a 13.8-percent wholesale rate increase Jan. 1, 2005. LPEA's strong financial condition allowed the company to absorb that increase without raising retail rates, but this increase must be passed along to LPEA members.

Of the approximately $4.8 million this increase will generate over the next two years, nearly $4.1 million is for purchasing power from Tri-State and $775,000 is for LPEA's increased costs of doing business. This works out to less than a 1-percent increase for LPEA, well below the annual inflation rate of nearly 3 percent.

Tri-State cites population and economic growth as the main drivers of wholesale price increases, as well as inflation in equipment, materials, supplies and transportation costs. A recent Tri-State plan calls for $5 billion in new coal-fired plant construction over the next 14 years to keep pace with demand for electricity.

The cost of fuels used to generate electricity is also going up. Tri-State predominately generates electricity through coal-fired plants. With the recent spikes in natural gas prices, coal has become one of the cheapest energy sources available. But coal has suffered its own price increases, driven by demand for a cheaper fuel source and significant increases in rail transport costs. The cost of shipping coal by rail to power plants is expensive, but there is no alternative.

LPEA CEO Greg Munro said of the increases: "Across the nation, energy prices are all rising - electricity, natural gas, heating oil, they're all going up. Fortunately, electricity hasn't gone up anywhere near as much as we've seen for other energy sources. Still, we know people are getting hit with price increases from all sides, so we'll do our best to keep cost increases down by continually searching for cost savings and efficiencies. LPEA's staff created aggressive cost containment plans for 2006. The driving force behind these plans is to spend money only when necessary or when it results in an economic return."

Munro added that LPEA will work to help members save money on their overall energy costs. "We plan to increase our energy efficiency education efforts and other programs involving ways our members can save money on energy bills."


 Inside The Sun

Continuing a great tradition: the Sisson Library

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The first literate civilizations in Mesopotamia built them.

The Romans, at their peak, boasted nearly 40 and they have been part of human culture and learning for centuries.

They are libraries, and following the grand opening celebration, Pagosa Springs has a brand new one.

The ceremony, held Saturday, Nov. 11, in the parking lot of the remodeled and redesigned facility drew about 100 Pagosans and was capped by speeches from library volunteer and library historian Kate Terry, project architect Dennis Humphries, library director Christine Anderson, Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon and Archuleta County Commissioner Mamie Lynch. The speeches were followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony during which Lenore Bright and Joan Rohwer, in honor of years of library service, snipped the silk and led those in attendance to the grand opening celebration inside.

During their speeches, Lynch and Aragon described their deep roots in the community and the role of the library in their lives - both reminisced about days past when the library was a very different place.

Aragon said he remembered the library when it was near the river, north of where Tequila's restaurant now stands.

"It wasn't much bigger than a chicken coop," said Aragon.

He said the town and the library had come a long way since then, and that the new library was something he was extremely proud of.

"This is one of the nicest changes that has happened to this town," Aragon said.

Lynch said she was staggered by the remodel and the changes she discovered in the renovated building.

"Excited is not the word. I was set back on my heels when I saw what was inside," Lynch said.

Upon entering, one of the first improvements the visitor encounters is an L-shaped bank of 13 new computer terminals, whereas the old library housed just three. Opposite the computers lies a special, semi-private area devoted solely to junior fiction. The space is furnished with its own lounge chairs and a couch "for reading and hanging out."

Children's librarian Barb Draper said the old junior area had been mixed with the children's section, but now preteen readers have a place to call their own.

Architecturally speaking, one of the most stunning additions is the main reading room, whose northeastern walls are made up of floor to ceiling windows affording tremendous views of downtown Pagosa Springs and the San Juan Mountains beyond.

While no one would argue the views aren't stunning, perhaps the most heralded addition is a separate and private children's reading room, complete with an area of tiled floor for arts and crafts projects where children, Draper said, "can get down and dirty."

Along with the physical expansion of the building, Library Director Christine Anderson said library services and resources will gradually expand too. Patrons will find a broader selection of audio books, large print books, selections by international authors and, of course, interlibrary loan capabilities.

But Anderson's vision for the new library extends beyond the services or resources offered within the building's walls.

"I see the library as the hub of a many spoked wheel," Anderson said.

She said the Sisson building would act as the core, or central hub of all library operations and programs, with the spokes being ideas and plans for expanded community outreach services such as a book mobile, a spelling bee, comparative literature groups, and all ages reading programs, such as a monthly, family reading night. Although these ideas are still gestating, Anderson said one of the first official outreach programs is an intercultural, interfaith holiday program scheduled for Dec. 17.

"Our goal is to integrate ourselves into as many community programs and agencies as possible. We want to be complimentary to other services out there, not compete," Anderson said.

As one example, she said she hopes to obtain grant funding that could combine the Meals on Wheels program with library services. And Anderson said there is a definite need to bring library resources to residents in outlying areas such as Chromo, the Blanco River area and Arboles.

Another facet of Anderson's vision is to tap into the intellectual foundation of the community by creating an environment that draws in even more volunteers with academic and personal experiences that would add greater depth and dimension to library programs and services. Anderson said cultivating a large cadre of library volunteers is absolutely essential both in the present, and in providing core services and in the future as the library expands programs and outreach services.

Anderson said she views libraries as one the cornerstones of intellectual activity, and through programs offered at the main Sisson facility, or through outreach services, she hopes to provide something for all interests, age groups and cultures represented in the community.

"In the age of Internet access, libraries must be vibrant, active, community cultural resources. They are a home for community intellectual activity and should stimulate learning," Anderson said.

Although Anderson has a clear idea of the role she hopes the Sisson library will play in the future of the Pagosa Springs community, she understands the road ahead is full of challenges.

One of the first is to finish unpacking boxes full of books and to complete the move-in process. Beyond the physical effort of getting everything settled in its new home, Anderson sees a full schedule of grant writing, program organizing, coordinating volunteers and simply managing the day to day business of running a library.

However daunting these tasks may seem, Anderson is motivated and unfazed.

"I am fascinated by the challenges that are represented by a growing community and I am fascinated by the challenges presented in developing outreach services," Anderson said.

And for Anderson the effort is worth it. She said the most recent incarnation of the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library represents the continuation of a fantastic human tradition.

Throughout the centuries, she said, libraries have played a prominent and unique role in society, providing education for its patrons from birth to death and the tradition can be traced back to Mesopotamia and the first great civilizations of Sumer and Akkad.

Although the story of our local library is not directly linked to the birth of civilization in the Fertile Crescent, it is nevertheless a story steeped in more than a century of local history.

Originally, the library was founded more than one hundred years ago as a project of the Woman's Civic Club. Since its birth, it has been supported throughout the decades by numerous families, organizations and countless individuals and has provided invaluable services to its patrons.

In her opening remarks, Lynch described libraries as places where individuals can find solace, escape and intellectual adventure.

But Lynch said libraries transcend the individual, and serve a vital purpose in the fabric of the community, our culture, and in society as a whole.

"The library is democracy at its finest. It discriminates against no one," Lynch said.

Throughout the celebration, while listening to comments on the building's design or added features or improved services, one common theme rang clear: "If it weren't for Lenore Bright and her vision, tenacity and perserverance we wouldn't be here today."

Bright played a vital and active role as library director and chief fund-raiser from 1983 until her retirement in January 2005.

When asked about her future role in the library, a smile crept across her face and she turned slowly and pointed to one of the lounge chairs in the main reading room with views of snow capped San Juan's off in the distance and said, "I'm going to sit right there, next to those windows in one of those comfortable chairs, reading and enjoying the view."

Pagosa intermediate team second in Diogenes Knowledge Bowl

By Gail Hershey

Special to The SUN

Pagosa Springs Intermediate School's sixth-grade Knowledge Bowl Team No. 3 took second place at the Diogenes Knowledge Bowl meet, Saturday, Nov. 5, in Durango. The meet was hosted by Miller Middle School and organized by Dean Garland, a teacher at that school.

Out of 36 teams, the Pagosa intermediate team placed and the junior high team nearly did, tying for third place, but getting ousted by Cortez No. 2 in the elimination round.

The Pagosa Springs Intermediate School took three teams to the meet. Although the other two teams did not place in the top three, they competed well. The intermediate team is coached by Gail Hershey; the junior high team's coach is Pam Levonius.

Knowledge Bowl team members are: Brooke Hampton, Tyson Ross, Silas Thompson, Nate Bard, Elliott Harwood, Charisse Morris, Laura Bell, Alex Fortney, Danny Shahan, Jonathan Shirk, Moses Audeta, Austin Miller, Eli Velasquez and Kyle Anderson.

ACHS students continue good works in community

By Danielle Sullivan

Special to The SUN

Fifteen Archuleta County High School students helped move hundreds of boxes of books from storage into the newly renovated library last week.

The students, participants in the Service Learning/EPYCS class at ACHS, chose the library move as one of their volunteer projects for the semester. Students found the project to be strenuous, but rewarding.

Service Learning/EPYCS student Josie Montoya, explained that she enjoyed the library project because "it was fun. I enjoyed getting to help out and feel good about doing something good for the town."

"Doing something good" is the purpose of the Service Learning/EPYCS class at Archuleta County High School. The class is devoted to teaching students the benefits of philanthropy and volunteerism in the community. Each student is required to complete a series of lessons on citizenship skills. The lessons cover topics such as learning to tolerate differences, helping others effectively, and overcoming prejudices and discrimination. Students are also required to complete several large group service projects and participate in a semester-long individual service project. Students are currently serving at the Methodist Thrift Store, Seeds of Learning, Pagosa Springs Junior High School and Head Start. They have also completed large-group projects at the Humane Society, Seeds of Learning, and San Juan Basin Health flu clinic.

The Service Learning /EPYCS also operates the EPYCS program. EPYCS, or El Pomar Youth in Community Service, is one of the nation's largest youth philanthropy programs. The program participants commit to raising a minimum $500, and the El Pomar foundation provides an additional $7,500, for a total of $8,000 to give back to local non-profit organizations. Through participation in EPYCS, students learn the fund-raising and grant-making process, as well as the value of community service and philanthropy.

In the last two years, the club has given money to Seeds of Learning, Casa de Los Arcos, Whimspire, Big Brothers and Sisters, the Humane Society and several other organizations. EPYCS students have already raised over $600 and identified their grant recipient mission statement.

Announcements for grant applications will be made early next year, and non-profit organizations related to arts and culture, family services and child/adult education are encouraged to apply for grants ranging from $150 to $2,000. The students will also consider granting money to other non-profits that provide services in the community and southwest Colorado region.


Junior high all A and B honor roll

The following Pagosa Springs Junior High School students made all A's and B's on their report cards.

Eighth grade

Emily Greer, Presley Payne, Nahtanha Sell, Gary August, Denise Bauer, Jessie Bir, Seth Blackley, Paul Hoffman, Kala Matzdorf.

Also Wesley Ricker, Shevi Tunnell-Hunt, Sean Vick, Desiree Ewing, Dakota Ross, Edgar Torres, Amie Webb-Shearston, Jordin Frey, Michael Heraty,Tamra Leavenworth, Haley Malesic, Nicola Shaw, Ryan Stahl, Riley Aiello, Michael Flihan, Ashley Taylor, Samara Hernandez, Kara Hollenbeck.

Amanda Oertel, Mary Brinton, Victoria Espinosa, Kiaya Humphrey, Joshua Jones, Casey Meekins, Taylor Shaffer, Kevan Calhoun, Courtney Hudnall, Bridgett Brule, Rose Quintana, Lauren Silva, Preston Dale, Michael Gallegos and Dennis Scoggins.

Seventh grade

Cheyann Dixon, Shea Johnson, Magan Kraetsch, Mele LeLievre, Joshua Long, Viridiana Marinelarena, Kaitlin Mastin.

Also, Dakota Miller, Kimberly Rapp, Sarah Stuckwish, Christopher Brown, Kenneth Hogrefe, Tiana Johnson, Kelsi Lucero, Erika Pitcher, Hope Krogh-Forman, Caitlin Mueller, Roxana Palma, Michael Sause, Daniel Armbrecht, Brittnie Kraft, Taylor Loewen, Brittan Mechanic, Jordan Neuleib and Alex Selph.


Free avalanche awareness session Friday

There will be a free avalanche awareness program Friday, Nov 18, from 7-9 p.m, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

The program is produced by Mark Mueller of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center's Wolf Creek Pass Avalanche Forecast Office. The talk is free and will cover basic avalanche safety information. All interested winter backcountry travelers are encouraged to attend.

Evaluations, CSAP results occupy school board

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

The Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education met Tuesday, Nov. 8, and the primary topics of discussion included public and self-administered board evaluations, recent board election results and the 2005 CSAP (Colorado State Assessment Program) achievement results.

In the first third of the three-hour meeting, members of the board discussed various concerns reflected in board performance evaluations returned from members of the administration, staff and public. The annual surveys were completed by those attending prior meetings, and are used in measuring outside opinion on board conduct and how it handles affairs relevant to local education.

While the general consensus suggested the board has performed well over the past year, a few items caught the attention of board president Mike Haynes. Concerns involving things like strict adherence to meeting agendas, allowing time for adequate member and/or audience input and speaking loudly enough for the audience to hear, were considered, and remedies suggested. Once finished, the board engaged in its own evaluation, discussing strengths, weaknesses and matters with room for improvement.

As the board completed evaluations, its attention turned to focus reports, action items and various policy discussions. From there, candidate interviews for the District 4 director vacancy were scheduled, but with one of two applicants interested in the opening unavailable Tuesday, the board postponed interviews until a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 16.

The special meeting was called, in part, to seat recently-elected board members Matt Aragon and Linda Lattin, and to fill the District 4 vacancy. Earlier this month, Aragon, running unopposed, was reelected to his post in District 1, and Lattin defeated Ray "Butch" Mackey in a race for the District 5 seat. Following official certification of election results (also Wednesday, Nov. 16), the new board will appoint the successful applicant to the District 4 seat. Once new board members are sworn in, the full board will elect new officers and choose representatives to various state education organizations.

Though not part of the original meeting agenda, Assistant School Superintendent Bill Esterbrook was asked to share this year's CSAP achievement results, a discussion which may have actually been the highlight of the meeting.

Generally speaking, CSAP is a state testing program which measures performance levels in reading, writing, math and science among students in grades three through 10. It also provides area educators a means of comparison between local student academic achievements and those of students in other parts of Colorado and the nation.

To illustrate a comparison between this year's results and those of 2004, Esterbrook provided handouts containing charts and graphs depicting the percentage of students achieving "Advanced" and "Proficient" performance levels in each of the two years. According to the handouts, the number of students at those levels increased in 2005 by 4-percent overall, with positive gains seen on 18 of the 25 tests monitored.

In reference to the seven tests suggesting decreases, Esterbrook explained that as students advance from one grade to the next, certain tests are notably more difficult, and those appearing to show declines are actually consistent with the norm. He assured the board that all local performance levels are above, or compatible with, statewide trends.

Esterbrook's graphics included another comparison that, when taken at face value, appeared to indicate a significant learning gap between minority (Hispanic) and majority (Caucasian) students. Again, comparing the percentage of students (from each group) at advanced and proficient levels, the raw numbers seemed to reflect greater achievement among students in the majority group. However, the comparison appears flawed.

According to Esterbrook, the minority group is only about 18 percent of the total number of students tested by CSAP. Because the performance of an individual student in a much smaller group can potentially influence overall group results to a considerably higher degree, the comparison would only be valid if the groups were of similar size. This is especially true in a small district like 50 Joint.

Additionally, the minority group generally consists of students of "Hispanic" origin, but that includes children who have grown up locally, speaking English, Spanish or both, and children who have recently relocated here, many of whom only speak English as a second language, if at all. Again the comparison is unreliable, because the language barrier presents challenges to minority students not confronted by majority students in an English-speaking society.

Of course, school administrators understand the flaws in making such comparisons, and even as state officials tend to maintain their significance, local authorities are more focused on elevating the performance of all students. As Esterbrook put it, "As we employ our best teaching practices, thereby allowing all students to improve, the perceived learning gap automatically shrinks on its own."

The "best practices" Esterbrook referred to are shared methods of classroom instruction acquired by the school administration, through collaboration with teachers and administrators of other state school districts. According to Esterbrook, when classroom testing, CSAP results and other means of measuring performance reveal areas of concern, administrators and teachers promptly analyze their methods and make necessary adjustments, thereby assuring use of the best available practices.

At the close of his discussion, Esterbrook explained that ongoing studies of the current curriculum, coupled with analyses of the annual CSAP results, lead to constructive responses in problem-solving, and provide continued improvement in classroom teaching techniques. As examples, this year's CSAP reflects a need for developing ways of raising math performance among students statewide, and locally there is new emphasis on increasing reading skills.

Upon completion of Esterbrook's presentation, the board took a short break before retiring to executive session for an annual review of Superintendent Duane Noggle.


Airport meeting testy, commission chair resigns

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

At an intermittently disputatious Airport Advisory Commission meeting, Bob Howard, chairing his last meeting, opened with a public question-and-answer period. Nine pilots were present in addition to the airport commissioners.

To the local pilots' chagrin, Airport Manager Rob Russ presented a bevy of newly developed regulations. Several of the measures were stated as necessary to accommodate the private jets expected to make use of the new runway.

Russ announced that the midfield apron (where the new FBO building and fuel farm are located) would not have aircraft tie-downs. Smaller aircraft, because of their light weight, generally need to be tied down when left unattended, as a strong wind can flip them over. Larger (and heavier) jets, by contrast, can be parked unattended without tie-downs, according to Nancy Torrey, Avjet base manager. "To prove the point for the need for tie-downs," said Torrey, "last Friday's storm moved two planes, turning them 90 degrees. Luckily there was no damage."

Russ said he didn't want the smaller planes cluttering up the midfield apron for maneuvering jets. Pilots requiring tie-downs, said Russ, would have to park their planes at the north ramp, which has no direct access to the midfield apron.

According to the pilots, in a typical situation of a plane fueling at the midfield apron, Russ's plan would require a "tug" to tow planes via the runway to the north apron (apparently, once a plane's engine is turned off, a "hot start" is problematic). Alternatively, an Avjet fuel truck would need to travel on the runway to the north ramp to service a parked plane needing fuel. Both scenarios would tie up the runway for up to 15 minutes, according to Torrey, and "there is a safety and liability issue when a vehicle other than an aircraft is on an active runway."

Another issue was Russ's proposed security measures. Part of the assurances made to the FAA as part of the airport's C-II certification is that the entire airport will be secured with a perimeter fence, so that animals (and people) can't interfere with aircraft takeoffs and landings. Russ presented a complex system of multiple security cards and man-way cipher codes for various users of the airport. Apparently, those with hangars at the south end (taxiway Bravo) of the runway would not have access to the midfield apron entrance, and vice versa. Visiting pilots would only have access during normal Avjet operating hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during peak summertime weekends), or would be required to pay an Avjet "after-hours" fee to reenter the airport. At times during the question and answer period, Russ responded to different scenarios with inconsistent explanations, further confusing the crowd.

Bob Jasper, interim county administrator, who had entered the meeting in the middle of the discussion, explained the need for security to the pilots, and said, "it's not the same old airport in this post 9/11 world."

Harold Gibson, a pilot with 68 years flying experience in both WW II and the Korean War (which included shooting down a MIG-15) said, "All this security just keeps out the honest people." Gerald Pearson, airport commissioner, said that the security measures as proposed by Russ "excluded users by a complex, idiotic security system."

At one point order disintegrated and several pilots made statements out of turn. An exasperated Jasper stood up angrily in response to a pilot's "snorkeling" behind him, and threatened to take his staff (Russ) and leave. He said the crowd was "like a rat pack" and the discussion "an inappropriate exchange of information."

Howard clarified that the initial portion of meeting was specified on the agenda as a public input session, and that it was "the only opportunity for the pilots" to interact openly with the airport manager. "One-on-one (with the airport manager), you get incomplete or inaccurate answers," said Howard. Following Howard's clarification, Jasper apologized and the meeting proceeded more calmly.

Jasper explained a "loose end" regarding the airport security system. A 45-acre parcel located between Taxiway Bravo and the main runway, owned by Rebecca Gisburne, of Carefee, Ariz., lies within the airport security perimeter. Apparently there is a conflict with FAA security assurances and an existing legal easement over Taxiway Bravo into the property, creating some "concern and potential dispute about easement and road access" through the security fence, according to Jasper.

Elmer Schettler, airport commissioner, then presented a report on the progress of the events committee, which has compiled a mailing list of 1,314 people and businesses, including 199 airport managers and 145 FBO managers in the Southwest, as well as 740 local businesses. The committee is planning to produce a color brochure to send to those on the mailing list announcing the airport's expansion. All work was done with sponsor funds and donations.

The remainder of the meeting involved a discussion of airport fees and charges. Jasper began by explaining the nature of county enterprise funds (the airport is managed by the county as an enterprise fund). TABOR, explained Jasper, allows enterprise funds but requires no more than 10 percent governmental input (from the general fund). Because of the debt service, capital outlays and excess expenditures over revenues, the airport enterprise fund's reliance on general funds has been much greater than 10 percent in recent years. Jasper expressed desire for the airport to at least pay its operating expenses. For 2006, operating expenses (including salaries) are expected to be over $300,000, with revenues only expected to be around $125,000 (without creating additional fees and charges), said Jasper.

Jasper then presented a proposed rate sheet on new landing and tie-down fees. In response, Pearson made an argument that the 5-cent per gallon fuel fee would increase as a result of increased use expected with the new airport. Still, assuming 16,000 operations in 2006 with 660,000 gallons of fuel sold, that would amount to only $33,000 (total), much less than Jasper's minimum goal of a $100,000 revenue increase in 2006.

Howard noted that the expected $81,000 in 2006 property taxes (from the hangar owners and the FBO) were not accounted for in airport revenues. Jasper then clearly dispelled the notion that property taxes can be used for airport accounting purposes. Property taxes, Jasper explained, mostly go to "schools and other taxing entities." He agreed that a case "could be argued" for the general fund property tax percentage conceptually offsetting airport expenses, but it would amount to roughly only a third of the total tax sum.

The commissioners agreed to perform a survey of similar airports around the country to determine a fee schedule for various airport services, and will present their findings at the next meeting scheduled for Dec. 1. Jasper then left the meeting, ending his attendance reminding those present, "As unpleasant as all this has been, we got a nice airport out there. One day we'll look back and say, 'By golly, we've accomplished something.'"

Howard then announced his resignation as the AAC chairman, and distributed a letter that he had sent to the county commissioners and to Jasper prior to the meeting. In the letter, Howard mentioned his Sept. 12 "scathing" evaluation of Russ, after which he heard nothing from the county commissioners or from Jasper. Howard said Russ had "set out about attempting to discredit the individual advisory commission members," and concluded that "either you don't believe me or you believe me but you don't care." Howard ended the letter to the commissioners by explaining that he was "resigning in part in protest of the apparent blithe acceptance by you of Mr. Russ and his behavior and in part due to your treatment of the AAC."

In other airport matters, on Tuesday the county approved an increase in match funding for a state of Colorado Aeronautical Board grant from $24,840 to $40,309 for an automated weather observing system (AWOS) and for continuing improvements to the midfield apron area. The total grant amount was increased from $124,202 to $161,236, with the county requirement to match 25 percent of the funds. The AWOS broadcasts weather data to help meteorologists, pilots and flight dispatchers prepare and monitor weather forecasts.


Town holds public work session tonight

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

As part of its effort to gather citizen input to be used in the drafting of a Comprehensive Plan, the Town of Pagosa Springs is hosting the second public open house and public work session at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, in the community center.

The meeting will be broken up into two sections. The first section will bring attendees up to date on the planning process through interactive displays and a presentation of a draft of the plan's vision, goals and policies. During this time, attendees will have an opportunity to discuss the progress of the plan to date, and will be able to provide comment on issues integral to the planning process.

The second section will involve small group work sessions where attendees will explore different and potential development scenarios, including the ramifications of maintaining the development status quo.

Following the small group work sessions, staff from the land use consulting firm Clarion Associates, will take the community's input, distill it down, and return to Pagosa Springs at a later date to present a "preferred alternative" development scenario.

Representatives from Clarion Associates, will be on hand during the work session to guide attendees through the process. In addition, staff from the transportation consulting firm, Fehr and Peers, will present traffic issues related to the individual development scenarios.

During the work session, attendees will explore land use concepts, the role and location of residential and commercial zones and property, and the incorporation of open space, parks and trail systems.

The Town of Pagosa Springs is required under the tenets of its Home Rule Charter to update its Comprehensive Plan at least every five years.

Through public input and planning, the Comprehensive Plan works to develop a community vision, and will ultimately be used as a blueprint to guide growth and development for the next 20 to 30 years.


Pagosan dies in one-car crash

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

A Pagosa springs resident, William A. Ryan, 76, was killed Monday in a one-vehicle rollover accident west of Pagosa Springs.

According to a Colorado State Patrol report, a Subaru Outback driven by Augusta Ryan, 70, of Pagosa Springs, was travelling eastbound on U.S. 160 near mile 119 on Yellow Jacket Pass. The car went off the right side of the road, striking a delineator post, then spun, traveled across the road and off the left side, then returned to the roadway and rolled three times, partially ejecting William Ryan, then went off the right side of the road, rolling one more time down an embankment before coming to rest on its wheels facing west. From the initial point of departure from the roadway, the car traveled 638 feet.

Augusta Ryan suffered serious injuries and was transported by ambulance to Mercy Hospital. William Ryan was declared dead at the scene of the accident by Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht. Both occupants of the vehicle were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident.


Annual Turkey Trot set for Thanksgiving Day

Mark your calendars for 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24. Get ready for the day's feasting by running five miles or walking two miles in the annual Turkey Trot.

This event is being put on by the Pagosa Porpoises in order to raise funds for the Pagosa Lakes Swim Team.

Early registration is $20 for individuals, $50 for families of three or more. Sign up at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center. The entry fee includes a T-shirt. Race day sign-up is $25, or $60 for families of three or more. Early registration is recommended.

Everyone is invited to run or walk and participate in this fun event. The race starts at the recreation center and there are prizes for the speediest trotters.

To top off the event, a bake sale will take place, allowing you to pick up Thanksgiving dessert for the dinner that awaits you and your family.

Help support the Pagosa Springs Swim Team by signing up for the Turkey Trot. The Pagosa Springs Swim Team is also looking for more swimmers. If you are interested in having your child join a great local program, call the recreation center for more information at 731-2051.


Schiro named to Colorado Republican women's board

Pagosan Robin Schiro was elected by the Colorado Federation of Republican Women (CFRW) to the group's board of directors for a two-year term, 2006-2007.

As a member of the Archuleta County Republican Women's Club of CFRW, Schiro was elected to fill one of the three CFRW board members-at-large positions. The duties of members at large are to serve as chairman of one of the following committees: the Awards Committee, the Fund-raising Committee or the Public Relations Committee, and to serve at the pleasure of the CFRW president. Schiro was chosen to serve as the chairman of the Fund-raising Committee. This is the first time a member of the Archuleta County Republican Women's Club has been elected to serve as a CFRW Officer.

CFRW is one of the largest women's political organizations in the state with 2200 members and 48 local clubs statewide. CFRW is an affiliate of the 100,000 member National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW). NFRW is the largest partisan political organization in the United States. All active members of CFRW clubs are members of NFRW.

The grassroots organization recruits and elects Republican candidates, advocates the Party's philosophy and initiatives, and empowers women in the political process. The objectives of CFRW are:

- To foster and encourage loyalty to the Republican Party and to the principles for which is stands.

- To promote an informed membership and electorate through political education and activity.

- To increase the effectiveness of women in the cause of good government through political involvement.

- To facilitate cooperation among the CFRW, the NFRW, the Republican Women Clubs and the Republican Party organization(s).

- To work for the election of Republican Party nominees;

- To assure the neutrality of CFRW elected officers and unit presidents who shall not support nor oppose any candidate in a Republican Primary or intra-party race.


LEAP applications available until April 30

Over 320 households in Archuleta County were approved for the 2004-2005 "Low-income Energy Assistance Program" (LEAP).

LEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services, is designed to help with winter heating costs, but is not intended to pay the entire cost of home heating.

To be eligible for benefits, the applicant's household income must not exceed 185 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Income means gross income from all sources received during the month before the month of applying for assistance. The household is responsible for submitting proof of all income.

In addition to financial requirements, households must pay heating costs to a utility or fuel supplier, or have their heating costs included in their rent. Proof of heating costs or rent is required. For example, a household that heats the home with propane would need to submit a bill, ticket or invoice from the propane supplier. If the home is rented and the landlord pays the propane, the household would need to submit a rent receipt or lease showing that propane is included in the rent. When possible, benefits are paid directly to the utility company or fuel supplier.

Colorado households must include at least one U.S. citizen or legal alien.

Income guidelines are as follows:

Household size vs. monthly income

1 - $1,475

2 - $1,978

3 - $2,481

4 - $2,983

5 - $3,486

6 - $3,988

7 - $4,491

8 - $4,993

Each additional - $503

The Archuleta County Department of Human Services will accept applications through April 30, 2006, for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program.

Persons are interested in receiving LEAP benefits must fill out a LEAP application. Applications can be picked up at the Archuleta County Department of Human Services office at 551 Hot Springs Blvd. (the office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.), or can be obtained by calling (866) 432-8435, or going to the Colorado Department of Human Services Web site at



What is a soil conservation district?

By Heidi Keshet

Special to The SUN

Many of you are familiar with the metal signs you see on a cross-country drive, the ones that say "Entering Such-and-Such Soil Conservation District," but have you ever stopped to wonder, just what is a Soil Conservation District?

It all started in the 1930s, during the Dust Bowl period. The disastrous loss of farmland, livelihoods, and the suffering of many Americans, made it clear to the federal government that something had to be done.

Many beneficial organizations were formed to help our nation during that time. The Soil Conservation Act of 1935 was created to develop and implement soil erosion control programs. This act established the Soil Conservation Service, now called Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). You can see the sign for the NRCS on our office headquarters on Piedra Road, near the airport.

In May 1937, the state Legislature passed an enabling act which established soil conservation districts in Colorado. Soil conservation districts were to direct programs protecting local renewable natural resources. Our state established this district in 1947 to practice and promote good land stewardship practices. Several conservation agencies coordinate their efforts to form the San Juan Conservation District (SJCD). It is one of 77 districts in Colorado.

We at the SJCD care about conserving our natural resources. We want to partner with you in conservation of your land as well. It doesn't matter if you own a city lot or a large cattle operation - everyone can play a part in conservation of soil, water and other natural resources. The SJCD establishes and implements programs to protect and conserve soil, water, prime and unique farmland, rangeland, woodland, wildlife, energy and other renewable resources on local, non-federal lands. Many of the landowners within Archuleta, Hinsdale and Mineral counties are members of the San Juan Conservation District, but how many of you know just how important the district is?

In a future article, we will discuss what the SJCD has to offer the people of Pagosa Country.

The SJCD is always looking for help and support from conservation-minded individuals. For more information on how to get involved with district activities, call 731-3615.


Catch and Release

Please: Have respect, leave no trace

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

There's no better way to ruin a day hike than to discover a trailhead littered with trash and piles of human excrement. That is the story of my weekend. Let me elaborate.

With the exception of a few days, I'd been cooped up and kept out of the mountains for almost a month. I'm not a hunter, and with thousands of hunters roaming the forests, that's the last place I wanted to be. No amount of blaze orange on me, or my dogs, made it seem safe. Instead, I stayed home, split firewood and did chores.

But Sunday came and with it a window of opportunity, a break between the rifle seasons, coupled with warm weather and blue skies. I couldn't resist; I had to get out.

I'd used the same trailhead near the start of the hunting season, and decided to go back again. The trailhead lies near a stream, and the possibility of some late season angling made the area more enticing. Also, there was a jeep trail I could walk to keep me and the dogs clearly visible, just in case anyone was still out shooting.

The trailhead and parking area provide access to the San Juan National Forest and, as far as trailheads go, was relatively pristine back in mid October. The scene last Sunday was drastically different.

The first visible difference was the lack of people, four-wheelers, horse trailers and trucks. In short, the place was deserted. The second obvious difference was the trash and wreckage that had been left behind - plastic bottles, rotten food, mountains of horse manure, a torn down Forest Service fence and yards of toilet paper amidst a mine field of human excrement.

To say I was disgusted would be an understatement. To say I was furious would be inadequate. To say that whoever left the trailhead in that condition is a complete moron and is not responsible, nor mature enough to be allowed to use the backcountry would be dead accurate.

What were they thinking? The problem is they weren't. They are either too stupid to be capable of rational, analytical thought, or they are too arrogant to care. I'm always one to give people the benefit of the doubt, so maybe they just didn't know any better.


If you use the backcountry, it is your responsibility to know the rules, to know what constitutes appropriate behavior, to practice leave-no-trace outdoor ethics, to "pack-it-in and pack it out;" and at the core of these principles is how to take a sh** in the woods.

It's a fundamental principle, requires no specialized equipment, the technique is simple and taps into our basic animal instincts. And for anyone who spends time outdoors it is a skill that is absolutely necessary to learn.

You start with a simple cat hole. Many books on the topic say to dig down six inches. I say go a little deeper just to be safe. Toilet paper is not necessary because the forest provides a plethora of useful material. Mullen, for example, beats Charmin any day of the week. Whether you use forest materials or toilet paper they both have to be buried. When you are done, fill in the hole. I always place a heavy rock on top just for good measure.

But these are probably just wasted words. I'm assuming those that trash trailheads and leave their waste for others, would actually take the time to read. I'm also assuming they actually care. I'm probably wrong on both accounts.

Perhaps in their mind the forest is theirs for the using in whatever whey they see fit - whether it be tearing down fences for four-wheelers or horses because they're too lazy to walk, to dumping trash, to leaving an elk carcass after severing the head, to rot on the ground.

They are probably the same kind of back country user I met one afternoon while fishing in northern New Mexico who stood washing his four wheeler in one of my favorite trout streams, lamenting the fishing just wasn't the same. I wonder why?

Times have changed. The backcountry is inundated with unprecedented numbers of users, from hikers, to backpackers to hunters, fishermen and horse packers. With the increase in numbers it is incumbent on us all to tread lightly, to take only what we need, or better yet, nothing at all.

The true outdoorsperson does not leave carnage and wreckage in their wake. The true outdoorsperson respects our wild places and leaves no sign of their passage.


High Country Reflections

Poaching is a serious crime, and we are all victims

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

You may not realize this, but you've been robbed.

In truth, you've recently been victimized on numerous occasions by bald-faced thieves who greedily take what they will, regardless of how it affects you or your family.

I know, because I too have been offended. In fact, we all have.

That's right. You, me and all the other citizens of our fine state have repeatedly been ripped off by unscrupulous crooks whose only motivations in life seem to be easy money and the fulfillment of some twisted egotistical yearning that, to them, defines skilled woodsmen or consummate hunters.

Naturally, I'm referring to poachers - indiscriminate killers of wildlife, big and small, both game and non-game.

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), "studies indicate that poachers kill almost as many animals as legitimate hunters do during legal seasons." They go on to say, "If poachers kill even half that number each year, the problem is serious because they are stealing game from licensed sportsmen, robbing businesses and taxpayers of revenues generated by hunting and depriving us all of a valuable resource - our wildlife."

Unfortunately, thieves steal more than just specified game animals every year. They also kill endangered, threatened and non-game species, as well as individual animals that might otherwise be considered game, but are afforded special protection in designated areas.

Just a few weeks ago a couple of radio tracking collars turned up mysteriously, hinting of foul play in the disappearance of two federally protected lynx in southwest Colorado. Of course, no one can assert with absolute certainty that the animals were killed, illegally or otherwise, but both collars had obviously been cleanly cut away, and no traces of the cats that wore them have ever been found.

Further fueling suspicion, the first of the collars had apparently come from a male lynx born in 2004, and once removed, was surreptitiously placed in a mailbox in Silverton. The second, which was located a day later in a snowfield near Missionary Ridge (20 miles northeast of Durango), came from a female known to have born three kittens earlier this year. Just a few days before it was found, signals showed the mother cat was alive and active, though sadly, in light of her strange disappearance, her dependant kittens are much too young to survive on their own.

Another incident earlier in October resulted in the illegal killing of a moose calf near Hightower Mountain on Grand Mesa in western Colorado. The DOW began introducing moose to the Mesa just last January, and prior to the opening of this year's big game rifle seasons, sent letters to hunters with limited elk licenses for the area, and posted hundreds of signs, all warning of the presence and protected status of moose on the Mesa. Nevertheless, following three hours of campsite interrogation, Earnest "Dean" Deaton, 64, of Los Gatos, Calif., finally admitted to shooting the calf, and was subsequently issued four different citations.

Making matters worse, the day before the hunting season opened, DOW volunteers visited Deaton's hunting party, and gave them a flyer explaining the distinguishing characteristics between moose and elk.

"They told us (during the interrogation) that a few minutes after they got the flyer, a pair of moose walked through their camp," said DOW District Wildlife Manager Renzo DelPiccolo. "This certainly wasn't a case of hunters that weren't aware that moose were in the area."

Deaton eventually waived his right to trial, paid $6,384 in fines and was assessed 55 points against his hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado. A total of 20 points can result in a long-term suspension and in Deaton's case, an administrative hearing will yet determine whether, or for how long, his privileges will be suspended.

Poachers kill without concern for an animal's status. Their actions are calculated and intentional, and a majority believe they are invincible and will never be caught.

According to John Bredehoft, DOW public services administrator and former chief of law enforcement, "Most wildlife violations are deliberate acts, not accidents. Poachers know when they are breaking the law, and ego drives a lot of their actions."

Arrogant poachers risk jail time, huge fines, a loss of hunting privileges and loss of the right to possess firearms (if convicted of a felony), but Bredehoft believes such conceit often helps law enforcement catch up with them. Now, investigators looking into a case concerning the unlawful shooting of five sandhill cranes are hoping he's right.

The cranes, designated in Colorado as a "species of special concern," were found by a birdwatcher last March. All had been deliberately shot and left to rot near a stock pond outside of Mack, a tiny Grand Valley town west of Grand Junction. While initial reports provided little information about the incident, an anonymous donor at once offered a $2,500 reward, then soon doubled it to $5,000, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. The reward is in addition to $100 offered by Operation Game Thief (OGT), a statewide program which allows those reporting wildlife crimes to remain anonymous.

Sandhill cranes are marvelous rust-colored waterfowl with long legs and a very long neck. During their spring and fall migrations, they fly in large V-formations or long lines, and their trumpeting calls can be heard for miles. The San Luis Valley is a major stopover and at peak migration, as many as 17,000 birds will frequent the area. A sunny April day at the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge can be an unforgettable experience.

Wildlife officers have made several arrests in Colorado this year, and a long list of indiscriminate thieves have wound up paying thousands of dollars in fines for their illegal and unethical pilfering of our wildlife. Most have also lost hunting and fishing privileges here and in 19 other cooperative states, and many have had to forfeit weapons, motor vehicles and hunting equipment.

Needless to say, DOW officers can't catch every poacher in Colorado, but with all the advanced investigative techniques employed today, including decoy and undercover operations, detailed crime scene investigations, DNA and ballistics analysis, forensic science, aerial surveillance, solid training in observation and questioning, and tips from legitimate hunters and anonymous informants, more crooks are answering to justice all the time. In fact, of the more than 5,000 citations issued every year, less than seven percent are dismissed, and only 0.1 percent are found "not guilty."

Criminal poachers are not poor people trying to feed their families. In fact, putting food on the table is one of their least common motives. According to the DOW, poachers kill for the thrill of killing, to lash out at wildlife laws, or for profit. Of course, in the process they are depriving us - you and me - of one of our most precious natural resources.

As concerned citizens, we can help slow this endemic behavior by reporting suspicious activity to our local law enforcement. If someone is hunting out of season or at night, or they have taken more than a legal limit of fish or game birds, they are poachers and should be reported. To contact OGT, call 1-877-COLO-OGT toll-free. Verizon cell phone users can simply dial #OGT, or you can e-mail OGT at OGT also graciously accepts tax-deductible contributions, and if you call, they'll tell you how.



Insidious movement

Dear Editor:

Major news organizations across the United States are capitalizing on the 2,000th death of our military members in Iraq. Each member that was killed, starting from 1,980, was another tally and emphasized to create news. Tastelessly, they began to solicit the military personnel in Iraq for interviews when they met their threshold of the 2,000th. death. These sad preparations combined with late October reporting on the subject illustrates the morbid and warped sense of journalism today.

The conflict that is occurring throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, France and the rest of the world shows the effects of terrorism and how devastating it can be if left unchecked. The media has done everything in its power to try and discredit the current U.S. Government. What is happening is aiding and abetting the enemy. Whether we are Republicans or Democrats our way of life is being threatened by a subtle movement to destroy our freedom.

Are our politicians being held accountable for their actions? I say no. Senators Kerry, Kennedy and Gore, and Madeline Albright, all expounded on the weapons of mass destruction in the 2002-03 timeframe. When President Bush mentions them - the press capitalizes on his statements and calls him a liar. What about the others, there has been no mention of their statements or anything to refute them. We have a very liberal press that seizes every opportunity to try and bring down our current government. Why? We have the best of everything in this country and yet our press leaks sensitive information to the public and the world to discredit the United States. Yes, we are all victims of these vicious attacks on our government. Our tax dollars are going to foreign countries that are advocating and supporting anti-American activities.

The media plays up each and every death and gives Ms. Sheehan all the publicity on her crusade to interrupt and discredit our military in their quest for freeing a suppressed country. We are making tremendous headway in establishing a democratic government in a very strategic area of the world. Yet, our press does not capitalize on all the good we are doing to stabilize and free oppressed people. They bring out every negative aspect but none of the positive gains. Have we forgotten 9/11 and the over 3,000 people lost at the hands of these same terrorists. What has happened to our memories? As I said, this is neither Democrats or Republicans; it is an insidious movement by a few to destroy our way of life.

It is time to reflect on our military and what they represent - the United State of America. Voice your support, and let your politicians and the press know how you feel.

Very respectfully

Franklin W. Anderson



Dear Editor:

With secret CIA torture chambers around the world and turning suspects over to countries that ignore the Geneva Conventions, what distinguishes America from the terrorists is its adherence to the values, qualities and basic human rights we proclaim we fight for.

Or has torture become the fallback response to failure in the White House?

On behalf of President Bush, backed by the president's threatened veto, Vice President Cheney requested the CIA be exempted from McCain's bill just passed in the Senate outlawing torture by the U.S. Keep in mind, the CIA has "covertly" asked the White House not to be given this exemption.

Robert David Steele Vivas, CEO of OSS.Net, Inc., former Marine and spy, the foremost international proponent for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and multinational information-sharing, called for Cheney's resignation, and for an end to presidential pardons of criminals on their own staff.

"It is my personal view, based on a comprehensive review of open source information about Dick Cheney's actions over the past twenty years, that he is unfit to be Vice President and that he has betrayed the American people in so many different ways, most blatantly in orchestrating the web of lies that led us to invade and occupy Iraq, that he must resign before Christmas, or face a massive public investigation," Steele said. "I will personally sponsor a public Wiki on Dick Cheney, with sections on his role in giving weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein; his role in defeating the National Security Act of 1992 that would have prevented 9-11 if implemented; his role in supporting secret deals with the Taliban on behalf of energy companies interested in a pipeline; his role in manipulating and manufacturing false information that led America into the most costly war of this era; his role in mandating torture and secret prisons as well as the violation of the civil liberties of our citizens; and his general role in manipulating legislation so as to rob the poor and the middle class, and transfer wealth to the richest Americans that are his benefactors.

"It is also my view that Congress must seek popular support for an end to Presidential pardons of the criminals on their own staff and within agencies that practice torture at the behest of the White House. Presidential pardons of former presidents, vice presidents, and members of the White House staff must be done with the approval of a majority of the Supreme Court, and be subject to public scrutiny. Congress must have the option of overturning a pardon by a two-thirds vote.

"The White House and Congress have disgraced America. Dick Cheney must resign, and he and others must understand that the public will not permit them to be pardoned for proven crimes."

Steele is right about the gang in the White House; but they got there because we vote on party lines and don't measure the individual. "Enough is enough" is the new Democratic slogan. I agree, but say vote for the best individual regardless of party, religious pomposity or their endlessly repeated "comfort tapes." Let's get the government America deserves.

Dave Blake


Responsible consumers

Dear Editor:

Each hurricane season we are bombarded with the stories: the greedy profiteer taking advantage of the defenseless consumer by inflating the price of goods to levels that the public cries are not fair.

The price of gasoline in Pagosa has been hovering near $3 a gallon for months, and I've overheard many discussions calling for the government to step in and take action. But is price gouging really the malevolent beast we've made it out to be?

In the event of a natural disaster, production is severely restricted and the laws of supply and demand dictate that this tightening supply will cause an increase in price.

More importantly, capitalism implies that a business can sell its goods at the highest price consumers are willing to pay. Everything has a price and consumers must assign values to each good in order to determine whether or not they will make a purchase. Consumers are not required to buy gasoline; nor are they entitled to it at a price they can afford. While, admittedly, doing without gasoline leads to a decline in the standard of living; this should be expected and accepted as a barometer of actual conditions.

Unfortunately, price controls are implemented with blatant disregard for the businesses who supply the goods. We cannot forget that suppliers have also been adversely affected and are raising prices in accordance with the market.

For example: After enduring the effects of three hurricanes, Service Station X in Pensacola raises the price of gasoline from $2.05 to $3.70. The manager of the station determines the increase is necessary after speaking with suppliers and learning that because oil production in the Gulf has been halted, he will be charged a much higher price for the gasoline supplied to his station. Furthermore, because of damaged roads and other factors, his supply will be drastically restricted in the coming weeks. The manager knows many people will place a high value on gasoline and if he leaves the price at $2.05, his supply will diminish immediately, forcing the community to endure an extended period of time with no gasoline for any purpose, at any price. However, if the manager raises the price to $3.70, many consumers who do not depend on gasoline will naturally choose to buy less, allowing for the most appropriate allocation of the limited supply of gasoline in the community.

Political rhetoric and short-sighted consumers have contributed equally to create the stigma attached to price gouging. We all need to do our part in becoming more responsible, informed consumers. We simply cannot continue to blindly maintain an ideal standard of living while ignoring the factors that determine such. By continuing to live beyond our means, we are steadily turning small, natural fluctuations into severe, long-term economic crises and even our de facto bailout, government price control and subsidization will be unable to save us.

Matthew Diehl


Breach of trust

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to Jim Sawicki on an exceptionally well written letter urging us to honor all veterans. He is right.

I quote Vietnam vet Kenneth "Larry" Stephens: "I do support our troops, and as a demonstration of that support, I will speak out and fight vigorously against the abuse of our troops and the failure of honesty in this administration by their deliberately hiding the true human cost of this war."

The Office of the President holds no greater responsibility than protecting American citizens, including military personnel. The president violated this ethical value when he sent troops into harm's way for a pre-stated agenda of the Neo Cons and the Pax American. That is treason, for which he should be impeached. The lies of his administration, the manipulation of facts, the deletion of contrary evidence all constitute a grave breach of trust with the very citizens he took an oath to protect.

Cristy M. Holden


Perverse science

Dear Editor:

To my opponent. It is your right as an American to have your own opinion. I ask others to make their own opinion knowing that the FDA has never approved fluoride and asking why the FDA now requires fluoridated toothpaste to carry the poison warning.

You have never seen the x-rays or photos of Pagosa horses' leg bones split down through the center showing how the fluoride accumulation was taking over the bone marrow (part of the immune system), the accumulation on the outside of the bones of fluoride and in the joints (arthritis). You never saw the microscopic magnification of bone slices of our horses showing what Dr. Krook from Cornell University calls mosaic bone (osteoporosis) from fluoride replacing calcium. You have not seen the roots of teeth being exposed of even young Pagosa horses from the deterioration of the facial bones because of fluoride deposits in the bone. You have not seen new permanent teeth less than a few months old cracking and chipping from dental fluorosis all from drinking fluoridated water. You have never asked to see such blatant proof of fluoride poisoning in the reports of Pagosa horses or in the flesh. Selective research never reveals the whole truth.

Let's look at this subject logically. What do the promoters of fluoride have to gain? Municipalities pay between $180 to $200 million each year to buy fluoride for fluoridating water. It would cost at least two times that amount for these industries to dispose of it at toxic dumps specially for toxins like fluoride. What part of this financial situation do you think these promoters want to stay in? Being able to sell their toxic waste over the last 60 years, they've saved billions of dollars while spending only a part of that to promote fluoride, pay for studies to say what they want them to say, advertise those studies, pay lobbyists and a lot of unmentionable things to get their toxic by-product sold so they didn't have to pay to store it. This is high finance and deception in its highest state. The only way this pollutant's reputation has been maintained is by the perversion of science. What has been spread by the proponents of fluoride is utter and absolute fraud.

What do I or any of the opponents of fluoride have to gain? Not money, nor fame and certainly not the time and effort used to get this word out of what has been scientifically proven. Fluoride is poison. I do have better things to do with my time than campaign against something that is just my theory. Since receiving not one, but eight positive scientific diagnoses of fluoride poisonings in Pagosa, I would be wrong in not warning people.

Because you choose to not believe what has been proven does not make it not so. Again, I suggest you read the "Fluoride Deception" by Christopher Bryson to read the recently declassified top secret government information on fluoride that has been suppressed since the 1940s. It's a page-turner.

Cathy Justus


Ignorant act

Dear Editor:

I have lived in the Pagosa area for seven years, and last evening I witnessed one of the most ignorant acts I've seen since arriving here.

Apparently, this Pagosa resident hit a deer on the highway late on Nov. 8, brought the body up into a residential neighborhood after dark and gutted the deer, leaving the remains by the side of the road.

I have lost two dogs in the past to pancreatitis after they ate rotting guts, and therefore had to keep my dogs who are still alive kenneled until the remains could be eaten by the responsive ravens, magpies and coyotes - all of which showed up to clean up the mess! I have cats who are now, of course, threatened by the presence of these coyotes that normally would never come into this neighborhood. Two other neighbors have children - also with a clear and present danger now.

I realize this is "open range" out here, but I really question the intelligence of a person who would do this. Would he do it in his neighborhood, where he lives? I think not!

This is not an out-of-state hunter. This is a resident of Pagosa. I'm sure he wouldn't have taken the carcass to the area in which he resides, putting domestic animals nearby in jeopardy - to say nothing of the esthetic results.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his lack of thought about the repercussions of his actions. What a mind. He must be proud.

Jill Ruthven



Dear Editor:

When I purchased my Pagosa Springs SUN last Thursday, I was surprised and disappointed to find that the only place I found information about Veteran's Day was in the Veteran's Corner near the back of the PREVIEW section. Our veterans deserve better!

Although my husband and I are both veterans with 55 years of Army and Army Reserve service between us, I am writing this letter as an American. The military men and women who serve our country now and who have served our country in the past deserve our recognition and thanks every day, but especially on this day that is set aside for such recognition.

Many organizations and people in our community worked hard to show appreciation for our veterans, but these special observances were hardly mentioned in the newspaper. The Pagosa Spring SUN is always so good about its promotion and coverage of local events prior to their happening. Don't you think our veterans deserve the same kind of recognition?

To me, the front page should be splashed in red, white and blue and include a story about the special observances planned to recognize our veterans' service and sacrifice - before the fact, not after. Maybe next year you could do better.

Betty Schwicker


Great event

Dear Editor:

First of all, I would personally like to thank all of the eighth-grade students who participated in the Veteran's Day Breakfast. I've lived in the Pagosa Springs area for nearly 11 years and served Uncle Sam's Navy for 23 years, and this is the first time I've attended one of these breakfasts.

The sheriff of our county, Tom Richards, invited me to attend this event with him, and this was one of the nicest times of my life, just listening to these great young people we have here in our community, both the girls and boys had some of the most interesting questions that were propounded to the sheriff and myself. This is true testimony as to the educators we are so fortunate to have here in Pagosa Springs and especially teaching our young adults.

This was so very interesting that Sheriff Tom and I were conversing about on the way home after the fine morning meal, the way these young adults would listen to your responses was utterly mind-boggling. They would approach your table in groups of two to four and ask each of us questions and patiently await the answers. You could almost hear a pin drop while awaiting your answer. Then they would be off to another table, while you're awaiting the next group of eighth-graders.

As this was all taking place, another young person would excuse themselves and ask if they could freshen your coffee, refill your O.J., or just go back and get something more for you to eat.

The parents of these outstanding young adults also need a pat on the back, as well as their teacher counterparts, the educators can't do it all by themselves as we all know who have raised children ourselves.

This is an event that I, for one, hope our county does not neglect, as our senior veterans were very well appreciated by one and all in our most receptive community center building.

Thanks to each and every one who helped out with this endeavor.

Bob Sprague


Community News

Russ Hill Memorial Bazaar set for

another year

By Lori Moseley

Special to The PREVIEW

The 42nd Annual Russ Hill Memorial Bazaar opened Monday, Nov. 14.

For the next three weeks, the church will be transformed into a colorful workshop.

The proceeds from this bazaar make it possible for the church Supper Fellowship group to support the ministry in the church and the community. Last year, over 750 wreaths and 175 table arrangements were made, netting a five-figure profit. Originally, the purpose of the bazaar was to raise funds for the needs of the church. However, in recent years, as the name of our church indicates, the Community United Methodist Church has contributed over 50 percent of its profits from the bazaar to over a dozen nonprofit organizations in our town.

Between 40 to 50 workers will gather daily through Dec. 2 to make these beautiful holiday decorations. Volunteers from the community are welcome to come and work - we can always use more creative elves.

Hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. Also, we will be open Tuesday evenings Nov. 15 and 22 from 6-8 p.m. The prices for basic wreaths of pinecones and red velvet bows are $19 (8-inch inside width) and $27 (14-inch inside width). Table arrangements begin at $15.

Come visit our halls, decked out with lovely wreaths and beautiful arrangements. Deadline for wreath orders is Friday, Nov. 25. A maximum 750 wreaths will be made, so get your order in early.


New show opens Nov. 19 at SHY RABBIT

SHY RABBIT is proud to host its inaugural "Artists' Invitational and Open Juried Exhibition," Nov. 19 through Dec. 17, on display in the Showroom and the Space @ SHY RABBIT.

An Opening Reception will be held 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19.

This ambitious exhibition highlights the work of four remarkable Invitational artists, together with juried entries from 15 uniquely talented emerging artists. The juried portion of this show is the product of a call to artists that went out in October, which resulted in the receipt of nearly 80 entries from 24 artists residing in Pagosa, Durango, Salida and elsewhere.

After careful review by a jury committee, several works by 15 artists were accepted for inclusion in the show. The committee would like to thank all of the talented artists who submitted their work for consideration, and also acknowledge their valuable contribution to the creative process.

Featured in the SHY RABBIT Showroom will be the work of acclaimed photographer, Emilio Mercado, whose work is inspired by master still life painter, Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin, b. 1699. Mercado's light painted photographs capture objects in their purest form.

Additional invited artists are contemporary painter Sarah Comerford, known for her thought provoking large scale oil and gold-leaf paintings; mixed-media artist Susan Andersen (MarSan), recognized locally and internationally for her fine assemblage art; and installation artist Shan Wells, known most recently for his impressive "Moments Project," located on the sidewalks of Durango.

An artists' round table will follow on Sunday, Nov. 20, from 1-4 p.m. Featured speaker will be Durango artist and instructor Shan Wells. All are welcome.

SHY RABBIT is located at 333 Bastille Drive, B-1 and B-4, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147. For additional information, call 731-2766, or e-mail


Gala Gallery Tour to feature 12 stops this year

By Marti Capling

Special to The PREVIEW

The third annual Gala Gallery Tour sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Art Council has doubled in size. What began in 2003 with six participating galleries has grown to 12 galleries in 2005, and it all happens 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2.

Ticket prices remain the same as last year: $8 for PSAC members and $10 for others, and tickets are now available at the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books and WolfTracks. The tour is self guided and galleries can be visited in any order.

The Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park Art Gallery, located five miles south of town on U.S. 84, joins the tour for the third year. This gallery features an extensive collection of Southwestern and wildlife art, with original works by Charles Denault, Wayne Justus, Gary Morton, Bob Molin and Andrew Warrington. The gallery also has prints by local artists Milt Lewis, Claire Goldrick, Wayne Justus, Rebekah Laue and others. There is wildlife photography by Marvin Cattoor and Harry Bowden, wildlife originals on feathers by Darlene Raes and Theresa McCullum, wildlife acrylics on leaves by Ed Spears, the unique hand-turned aspen vessels of Will Dunbar and rock paintings by Syl Lobato.

Will Dunbar and Syl Lobato will be the featured guest artists for the evening and refreshments will include fresh shrimp, relishes, cheese and crackers, sweets, and hot cider, compliments of owner Vimmie Ray.

Lantern Dancer Gallery and Gifts, in the River Center, specializes in an extensive collection of contemporary Southwestern jewelry, Native American and western art, and collector's pottery. Featured artists include Claire Goldrick, Darlene Raes and the late Sue Weaver. Potters include Case Grandes, Norman Lansing and Clifford Fraqua. Signature jewelry is available from Tommy Singer, Calvin Begay and Alfred Lee. New owners Doris and Walter Green will be serving poached salmon, champagne punch and wassail.

Back Door Collectibles, owned by local artist Patricia Black, is located at 150 Pagosa St. No. 5 in the Village Market shopping area behind Satori's boutique. This eclectic gallery features original paintings, prints and note cards by local artists Pat Black, Donna Wagel and Sandy Applegate, as well as antiques and many unusual items for the home and garden. Sandy Applegate will be on hand for the evening along with Pat, and mulled cider and other refreshments will be served.

Just off Pagosa Street at 145 S. 2nd St. is Soledad's Art Studio and Gallery, where local artist and instructor Soledad Estrada Leo shows her paintings, and conducts art classes for students of all ages. Horses are some of Soledad's favorite subjects and are often depicted with a spiritual quality. She also enjoys painting people and frequently does commissioned portrait work. If you haven't visited this cozy studio gallery, be sure and stop in for some holiday refreshments.

Gather up your friends and neighbors and plan to visit these galleries and seven others that will be detailed in the coming week. Get your tickets early before they're gone and be part of another festive weekend in Pagosa.


Boosters put finishing touches on 'A Christmas Carol'

By Dale Morris

Special to The PREVIEW

It's all coming together!

After almost seven weeks of rehearsal time, the singing, dancing and acting are joining forces with the orchestra, supported by a bevy of technicians managing lights, sound, costumes and sets.

Each rehearsal brings Michael Demaio's familiar story of "A Christmas Carol" closer to performance level. Final touches are being added to costumes and sets; sound and light systems are programmed to the show.

Our performers, some novice, some experienced, continue to develop their characters who will come to life in "Londontown." Our cast of 37 includes Cassie Lewis, Lily Hester, Hannah Hemenger, Brisa Burch, Julia Nell, Juniper Willett, Andrea Fautheree, Anna Ball, Keyton Nash-Putnam and Hannah Sarnowski.

We invite you all to experience Scrooge's journey past and future, and his ultimate celebration with Tiny Tim!

"A Christmas Carol" will be presented at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. with a special matinee Saturday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12, $10 and $6 and are available at the Plaid Pony (731-5262) or at the door, although advance ticket purchases are recommended.

For more information, please check out our new Music Boosters Web site at www.Pagosa Music


Har Shalom family Shabbat tomorrow

Following is the schedule at Congregation Har Shalom for November and December.

Friday, Nov. 18 - Potluck dinner and family Shabbat with Consecration, led by Jesse Hutt, 6 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 9 - Family Shabbat, 6-6:30 p.m., followed by potluck.

Friday, Dec. 9 - Adult Shabbat service, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 10 - Judaism 180

Saturday, Dec. 10 - Havdallah, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 11 - Annual meeting, 10 a.m.-noon.


John Graves featured at Pagosa Song Fest

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

John Graves will accompany several fine vocalists, as well as lead a few choice sing-alongs, at Pagosa Song Fest 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

To say that John Graves has had a varied career is to put it mildly. He likes to joke about himself as a man who couldn't hold a job. But as a man who follows his interests like a jazz player improvises a solo, Graves has used his boundless creativity in his remarkable life journey as TV and movie producer, college professor, and performer.

Being a local celebrity, and the subject of numerous articles, we'll avoid the usual mention of Graves' association with name-brand people like the fact that he accompanied such singers and performers as George Burns, Jimmy Durante, Redd Fox, Rudy Vallee, Rosemary Clooney, and June Christy; and that he played at private parties for Judy Garland, Groucho Marx, Danny Thomas, John Wayne, Jack LaLanne, ABC, NBC and MGM; or that he performed at over 3,000 private parties at all the top banquet facilities in the LA area.

During his 35-year career as a TV and film executive and producer, Graves worked with outstanding composers, conductors and arrangers such as Henry Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith, Gil Melee, John Scott Trotter and Nelson Riddle.

In writing about the gratification of performing music, Graves says, "A player's personal satisfaction is often combined with genuine amazement at the level of artistic achievement he or she attained in a soaring moment of inspired creation." Certainly Graves must have also experienced some of that personal satisfaction when he was supervising television shows such as Bonanza, I Dream of Jeannie, Ironside, The Man From Uncle, Then Came Bronson, The Debbie Reynolds Show, The Monkees, and others. And what a soaring moment it must have been to have afternoon tea with Katharine Hepburn at her home in Beverly Hills; and the delight of having Eric Sevareid as a guest in his home for three days; and to have the honor of visiting Lord Bertrand Russell at his home in Wales!

But this article isn't supposed to be about other celebrities, but our celebrity: John Graves. It's about the man who retired to Pagosa in 1996 as professor emeritus of mass communication; the man who came here to continue his life as an ad lib solo; the man who has been very active in Pagosa's show business scene as performer, producer, writer, consultant and mentor.

(We take you now to Porterville, Calif. The year is 1936.)

The scene: On the stage of a magnificent turn-of-the-century vaudeville theater (now a movie-house), is a young boy seated at the Steinway grand piano. He shows up every Saturday to play music during the Mickey Mouse Club - a live performance that precedes the cartoon, the serial, and the matinee. Of course the boy gets a free ticket for being one of the performers, so there's no problem returning next week for another gig.

Fast-forward: we find the same kid, now he's 14, and performing music at most of the dances in the county. He and his talented high school musician buddies have a corner on the market, since the older musicians have been drafted. His teenage bedroom walls are covered with photos of bandleaders and their groups. He can name all the jazz greats and sidemen in every picture. Music is his consuming interest, and he travels all over the area to hear the touring bands play their one-nighters.

Throughout high school, John Graves performed two or three nights a week. He continued performing through his years in college and, after graduating, went on the road with a small comedy band, replacing Stan Freberg. Besides playing for dancing, they did three floor shows a night, and Graves was featured as a deadpan comedian. After another tour with a band called "Rick Fay's Krazy Kats," he settled in Los Angeles and started a family while earning a living playing in piano bars.

For the next nonlinear installment, you are invited to join the wonderful John Graves as he continues to improvise his way through life - at Pagosa Song Fest 7:00 p.m. this Saturday at Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Also on the bill are Oteka Bernard, Kathy Isberg, Jeannie Dold, Pamela Novack, Sharman Alto and David Snyder, June Marquez, Sue Anderson, Melinda Baum, Susie Long, Judy Patton, Paul and Carla Roberts, Harvey Schwartz; and the Pagosa Springs Jazz Ensemble, with Larry Elginer, Kimberly Judd, Janna Voorhis, Bill Norton, Barbara Witkowski, Suzy Bruce, Pam Spitler, Joe Davis, Gary Cheadle, Don Weller, Morgan Anderson and Shirley McGee.

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. in the Vista subdivision of Pagosa Lakes. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Boulevard, turn north on Vista and left on Port.

Tickets for Pagosa Song Fest are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children under 18, and will be available at the door. Bring a dessert to share, if you wish.

Pagosa Song Fest is produced by Elation Center for the Arts.

Call 731-3117 for more information.


Sue Anderson at Pagosa Song Fest

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Sue Anderson is a musician with a tremendous dedication towards her art and a profound commitment to helping children develop their musical abilities.

"Music is a way we express our souls and our spirits," she said. A devoted participant in the local cultural scene, Anderson will sing at Pagosa Song Fest 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Joining Anderson at Pagosa Song Fest will be Oteka Bernard, John Graves, June Marquez, Pamela Novack, Kathy Isberg, Melinda Baum, Jeannie Dold, Susie Long, Judy Patton, Paul and Carla Roberts, Sharman Alto and David Snyder, and Harvey Schwartz. Also appearing will be the Pagosa Springs Jazz Ensemble, which includes Larry Elginer, Bill Norton, Barbara Witkowski, Suzy Bruce, Pam Spitler, Kimberly Judd, Joe Davis, Gary Cheadle, Don Weller, Morgan Anderson, Janna Voorhis and Shirley McGee.

Anderson is the founder of the Children's Chorale and a popular piano and voice instructor in Pagosa Springs. She started playing piano at 6 years of age, while growing up on a farm in rural Illinois. "I started accompanying at our little country church as soon as I could reach the pedals," she said.

By the time Anderson was in seventh grade, she played piano to accompany school choirs, instrumental soloists and combos. She played flute and French horn in the school band, and created a vocal trio that performed from seventh-grade through high school, winning top awards in state competitions.

Her school's strong emphasis on the importance of music in education propelled Anderson's music interests. "Even though it was a small school, over half the kids in high school were in band. We also had a really high percentage in choir. Music was very important," she said.

Anderson earned her degree from Eastern Illinois University in music education with a piano major and an emphasis on choral conducting. While at college, in addition to accompanying, she played in the symphonic, concert and marching bands, conducted choirs, was selected to sing in EIU's "Chamber Singers," and performed in musical productions.

"I have always had a deep desire to share music with young children," said Anderson. Her first teaching position was in a small, rural school in Illinois where she taught music to elementary through high school students. Later, she moved to Colorado and taught in Woodland Park and Manitou Springs. Wherever she went, she created successful music programs through her perseverance, enthusiasm and skill.

She began working as choir director at Pagosa Springs Junior High School after she and her husband, Larry, moved here 10 years ago. The choir traveled to Denver where it won top awards in interstate competitions. While at PSJH, she also directed musical productions of "Tom Sawyer," "Scrooge" and "Annie," continuing her tradition of introducing musicals to her students throughout her career.

Beside her dedication to music education, Anderson has been deeply involved with music in the community. While teaching in the Front Range, she sang in the Colorado Springs Chorale and was accompanist for a women's choir called the "Song Spinners."

Locally, she has played for Music Booster's productions and directed Mountain Harmony. She served on the board and as accompanist for Pagosa Springs Choral Society, and was one of the founding members of the Jazz Ensemble.

Two years ago, Anderson founded the Children's Chorale, a program now consisting of two choirs, which she directs with Rada Neal. With close to 40 members, the Children's Chorale offers an exciting opportunity for young people to learn to read music and develop performing skills.

Anderson is encouraged to see the development of the arts in Pagosa. "I believe music should bring elegance and fuller appreciation to our lives," she says.

Come hear Sue Anderson and the many other talented musicians at Pagosa Song Fest Saturday at Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. What better way to usher in the spirit of Thanksgiving than upon the wings of song?

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. in the Vista subdivision of Pagosa Lakes. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Boulevard. Turn north on Vista and left on Port.

Tickets for Pagosa Song Fest are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children under 18, and will be available at the door. Please bring a dessert to share, if you wish.

Pagosa Song Fest is produced by Elation Center for the Arts.

Call 731-3117 for more information.


High school Key Club talent show Friday

By Heather Andersen

Special to The PREVIEW

High school students are planning to wow you with their skill and wit 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at a combined talent show and comedy stand-up night in the high school auditorium .

This one-of-a-kind performance will display a variety of acts including dances, vocalists, instrumental solos, stand-up comedy, and more, all from a variety of very talented high school students.

A panel of high school judges will rate the acts based on how impressive and entertaining they are.

Hosted by the high school Key Club, the talent show is open to all community members and will be a fund-raiser for the club.

A $2 donation is requested and refreshments will be sold as well.

The Key Club uses its funds to aid local, national and international organizations, including Operation Helping Hand, hurricane relief and UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund).

Come ready to be dazzled and driven to laughter by local teens at their finest.


Family Knight draws 600 to school

By Stephanie Jones

Special to The PREVIEW

Close to 600 people enjoyed Renaissance Family Knight at the Pagosa Springs Elementary School last Thursday evening.

The evening was hosted by Partners in Education and was chaired by Jennifer Pitcher.

Students and their families were eloquently greeted at the door by Queen Faber on her Royal Thrown and then were directed into the castle's dining hall by Lady Mary Hart. Lady Joanne Irons arranged a delicious meal of chicken, corn on the cob, celery, carrots and ice cream. Lord Krueger and Lady Redmon entertained throughout dinner with fabulous flute music. Lord Tony Simmons donated a keg of Sarsaparilla for the event.

There were arts and crafts, and several games and activities in which everyone could participate.

Lord Krueger and the fourth-grade classes performed a finely polished sword dance. Students made hair wreaths, coats of arms, helmets, pendants and masks. Students played games with special guests Lord Noggle and Jester Debbie Ray.

Lady Felicia Lansbury Meyer entertained the crowd with the story of the legend of the Red Cross Knight and his journey with Princess Una through the land of monsters and fairy folk. Special guests from Lady Hunts' fifth- and sixth-grade class helped portray the tale.

Family Knight was held in conjunction with the Scholastic Book Fair, which runs to Nov. 17. The entire community is invited to shop the wide variety of children's book, and proceeds go toward educational programs and materials for the elementary school. Past years' proceeds have purchased Accelerated Reading Program materials, library shelving, computers and a digital camera.

Family nights are part of an outreach program sponsored by Partners in Education. It is a way for P.I.E. to give back to the student body and their families; creating a fun filled evening for the entire family to enjoy.


Pretenders among

El Pomar award finalists

Pagosa Springs' family theater company, The Pagosa Pretenders, is among the finalists for the prestigious El Pomar Foundation Award of Excellence for its ongoing productions of family theater in Pagosa Springs.

Susan Garman, president of The Pagosa Pretenders will represent the local theatrical company at the Nov. 17 awards banquet to be held at the Colorado Springs World Arena.

The other two finalists in the Arts and Humanities division are the Martin Luther King Museum of Pueblo and Music in the Mountains from Durango. The winner of the award will be announced at the banquet.

Accompanying Garman will be board member Lonny Low and former president of the Pretenders, Carol Anderson.


Found object show at SHY RABBIT, meeting Nov. 20

SHY RABBIT invites all interested parties to participate in "Primarily Found Objects," an open group show, Feb. 18 through March 15, 2006.

Opening reception is 5-9 p.m Saturday, Feb. 18.

This is a non-juried exhibition open to anyone wishing to express themselves creatively using a minimum of 60-percent found objects and incorporating at least one of the three primary colors. This show is not theme restricted, but works must be tasteful and appropriate for gallery display. Participants are encouraged to explore their creativity by assembling found objects into unique and interesting art forms, and are also encouraged to stretch the boundaries of the definition of "found objects."

Space will be limited. Displays will vary in size, and will be designated on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants may choose from available floor, wall, shelf or pedestal displays.

Cost to participate is $20. SHY RABBIT will retain 30-percent commission of sale price. The Showroom and the Space @ SHY RABBIT will be open regular weekend hours following the opening reception. Awards will be given to two participants creating the most compelling and unusual works using found objects, and they will also receive free passes to upcoming January 2006 workshops.

To find out more about this unique group show, please attend the artists' round table at SHY RABBIT 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20. Application forms and space designations will be available at that time.

SHY RABBIT is located at 333 Bastille Drive, B-1 and B-4, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147. For additional information, call 731-2766, or e-mail


Thanksgiving dinner Sunday at First Baptist Church

By Sarah Hadwin

Special to The PREVIEW

First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs will host the fourth annual Thanksgiving Celebration Dinner for the community beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20.

This event is sponsored by the Missions Committee, the "First Fruits" outreach of the deacons and by a number of members of the church.

Each year the church invites those who will not have the opportunity to celebrate the Thanksgiving season with family members, those who are in assisted living homes, those who may not be able to provide a meal on Thanksgiving Day and those who wish to have a wonderful meal with friends and neighbors of the community.

A delicious meal is prepared by members of the church and is free to those who attend. Any person or family who desires to come may call the church office at 731-2205 and make reservations for the dinner.

This outreach program is a way in which the church can help the community celebrate the blessings the Lord has provided in the past year.

Special music will be provided.


Childhood tale highlights need for Christmas gifts

By Jack Delyria

Special to The PREVIEW

It was early December 1961. The Vietnam war was still in the future, Jack Kennedy was in the White House and the country was on the move. Prosperity was common for most folks. The single income family was still the norm and TV shows were innocent.

The Great Depression was still in our memory, but comfortably far away. The rationing of the war years was a thing of the past and we saved tinfoil more for the fun of it than because we had to.

But in some homes the Depression still had a grip. Kids went to bed hungry and cold; their favorite toy a cast-off broom cut short as a stick horse with a bad mane. I knew a boy whose family was going through such a time. He comes to mind when I think of Christmas toy drives. Let me introduce you. He stands just knee high to a grasshopper and has a flaxen shock of blond hair that sticks out in odd angles all on its own. He has thick glasses and big buck teeth. His coat is thin and patched and his gloves are cast off socks, the parts with the holes bunched up against the cold and damp. His shoes have cardboard from the back of a Big Chief notebook stuck in them to cushion his feet from the stones that come through the hole worn in the sole. Slush and water are hard on Big Chief notebooks.

He was 6 last year and he is not really anticipating Christmas. He looks with longing at the Christmas catalog. He likes the Lincoln Logs and the Davy Crockett rifle. He knows that Santa won't be stopping by his house this year because he suspects there really is no such thing as Santa. Last year he was suspicious about it because even though he sat on the man's lap the year before and told him what he wanted, just one present, not very big so as to fit in the sleigh, he had gotten a pot holder from his sister. He knew it was her because she blabbed about it and he overheard.

Last year he told his older brother about it and the explanation was that Santa didn't stop because they never left any milk and cookies out for him. That seemed a bit unfair because they didn't have milk and cookies for themselves so how could they share? Not wanting to be lacking in hospitality he went out and dug up some frozen dirt with a kitchen knife and spoon and made three nice mud cookies on a plate. He stirred a little flour into a glass of water and set that out as milk. He hadn't intended to really have the old boy eat mud so he had his brother write a note explaining the ingredients and advising Santa to use some magic to make the stuff real before he ate any of it. Lacking complete trust in his brother he hid himself behind the couch close to the oil stove and kept himself awake by pinching himself on the arm. He sure didn't want to make Santa mad with that mud. By morning he had a black and blue arm, a broken heart and had lost his faith.

As chance would have it, his teacher thought it would be a fun activity to ask the children what they were asking Santa for this year. When it was his turn he dropped his bomb in the field of innocence. What? No Santa! There were jeers and recriminations from the hard core faithful and weeping from the fence-sitters. He was kept in during recess to explain himself. He figured the teacher was sad to hear about Santa because she was crying a little bit when she released him to the playground.

The day they were leaving for Christmas break his teacher handed them each a colorful present for Christmas. He ripped his open immediately to the shock of his classmates.

His buddy jabbed him in the ribs and whispered "Hey dummy, yer supposed to wait 'til Christmas." Apparently the teacher didn't think so because she told them all to open their presents right then. It struck him that she must still be sad about Santa because she had tears in her eyes when it was his turn to be hugged goodbye.

Christmas Eve was OK despite the Santa letdown but that was a year ago and he was pretty much over it. Mom was going to read the Christmas story and then make them all a cup of blackberry tea before bed. And tomorrow he would get to see if his brother liked the book mark he had made for him.

At about 6 p.m. they heard the wail of a fire engine and they all crowded around the window to see the only lights they were likely to see this Christmas. The fire truck turned onto their street and stopped in front of their house! A big fireman jumped out of the truck and ran up to the door, coat flapping, boots flopping and a fire axe clutched in his brawny fist. He banged on the door with gusto and Mama ran to the door to see what was wrong. "Mrs. Baker?" he asked in a booming voice. "Yes" Mama said in a little voice. At that point he turned and hollered at the truck, "OK Joe this is it."

Joe jumped out of the back of the engine with a full Christmas tree all decorated and it even had a stand! More firemen piled out with box after box all wrapped in bright paper. There was food too. Not just a scrawny chicken that had given its all for the meager meal they had planed but a huge turkey way too big for their pan. But that was OK because they brought a pan. There were potatoes and yams and cranberry jelly. More food than he had seen in their house in his whole life. There were thick green wool blankets with a big US stamped on each one. There was a new winter coat for each of them and new gloves, scarves, and stocking caps. There was one whole box just for him.

"Can I open it Mama?" he asked "Sure Honey, I guess so" she said. The box was so big that when he reached down in it he fell in and came up in a pile of stuffed animals and a coon skin-hat!

When the firemen were finally done bringing in the presents and food he ran to the big one and latched onto his leg and squeezed. Even to this day he can smell the smoke, sweat, leather of that big wonderful man. At that moment he made up his mind. He may not believe in Santa but he definitely believed in firemen.

This Christmas you can be part of something wonderful like that.

The Grace Evangelical Free Church is sponsoring a toy drive for the kids of our town. You may not be going through hard times, but you can bet some of our fellow citizens are. Their kids didn't create the situation they find themselves in, they just have to live in it. For a kid there are few more difficult things than a Christmas with no presents under the tree.

Please bring your new or gently-used toys and clothes to the downtown City Market 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 3. We will wrap them for you and determine what age is appropriate for the gift. We are collecting for kids of all ages so don't forget the older ones. They may be wearing their grandfather's pants but they are still kids inside.


UU's present 'Guest at Your Table'

As the season of Thanksgiving approaches, The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship invites you come to their service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, with your stories of gratitude to share. Long-time member Ilene Haykus, who is spending this year in Sedona, Ariz., is returning to lead this special service.

The program will also introduce the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee's program, "Guest at Your Table," as a way to share our bounty, celebrate UU values, and partner with the UUSC to change the world for the better. The "Guest at Your Table" program provides aid to marginalized, neglected and politically oppressed communities.

Founded in 1939 to rescue victims of Nazi persecution, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is an independent human rights organization whose work is grounded in UU principles and is made possible by the activism and generosity of more than 39,000 members and supporters.

A Thanksgiving potluck feast will follow the program. Turkey will be provided, so please bring the trimmings: veggies, salads, and desserts.

The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall is Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.


Local Chatter

Pagosans play in Durango Youth Symphony Dec. 3

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

The Durango Youth Symphony has recently been organized and three of its members are from Pagosa Springs.

The first concert is Saturday, Dec. 3, at Fort Lewis College in the Roshon Recital Hall in the Stage Hall Building. Tickets are $5 for adults and $1 for students.

Mikylah Myers McTeer is the founder of the youth symphony. She is the artistic director and assistant professor of violin and viola at Fort Lewis College. The youth symphony is being sponsored through a Ballantine Grant and Fort Lewis College.

There are 33 musicians. They come from Pagosa Springs Bloomfield, Farmington and Cortez, as well as Durango.

Auditions for new members will be held Monday, Dec. 5. Call McTeer at 247-7439 if interested. She will tell you the time the auditions will be held.

All members of the youth symphony from Pagosa Springs are juniors in high school, and all are recognized music performers locally.

Chris Baum is concertmeister. He is the son of Melinda Baum and Don Weller.

Charlotte Rizzo plays first chair violin. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Rizzo.

Kimberly Judd plays second chair clarinet. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Voorhis.

A concert in spring 2006 is planned.

Around Town

The opening of the remodeled Ruby Sisson Library on Saturday was special. The place is awesome.

Pagosa Springs has always been a literate community. It has been a haven for old-timers, as well as newcomers. As far back as 1983, 55 percent of the county's populace held library cards, and today's statistics can't be far off.

Every single person who worked on the project is to be commended. Congratulations!

And thank goodness it didn't snow at the opening.

Fun on the Run

"I had the toughest time of my life," the man said.

"First, I got angina pectoris and then arteriosclerosis. Just as I was recovering from these, I got tuberculosis, double pneumonia and phthisis. Then they gave me hypodermics.

"Appendicitis was followed by tonsillectomy. These gave way to aphasia and hypertrophic cirrhosis.

"I completely lost my memory for awhile. I know I had diabetes and acute ingestion, besides gastritis, rheumatism, lumbago and neuritis.

"I don't know how I pulled through it. It was the hardest spelling test I've every had."


Community Center News

Another adult dance coming Friday at center

By Mercy Korsgren

PREVIEW Columnist

Get ready to do the two-step, swing, rock and a little roll tomorrow night at the Thanksgiving Dance, 7:30-10:30 p.m.

The dance is sponsored by the community center.

Last month's inaugural dance was such a success, we have decided to make it a monthly event. A big thank you to Becky Herman for taking the picture in last week's paper - she captured the action perfectly, and ticket sales are booming.

The dance is BYOB and therefore an over-21 event. Soft drinks, coffee and snack mix will be provided. Our DJ this month will be Will Spears, who guarantees a wide range of music to get us all out on the dance floor. Tickets are $5 each in advance and $6 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the community center and reserved tables are available.

If you would like to help keep these dances rolling, call Siri Schuchardt, volunteer chairperson, at 731-9670. Or call the center at 264-4152 for information about this program.

Veterans' breakfast

Yes, the junior high school students under Mr. Scott White did a fantastic job honoring our veterans by serving them a delicious breakfast. Many of our veterans, including my husband, enjoyed the pancakes, eggs, sausages and bacon. And, most of all, the camaraderie with the youth.

Thank you junior high school students and Mr. White for this wonderful program.

Italian cooking

This program culminated with antipasti and portobello mushroom ravioli. What a colorful and superb presentation.

The women did a great job preparing the antipasti and the ravioli, with Edith's coaching. My mouth was watering just looking on the plate of antipasti. I'm sure it was delicious.

The members of the class, all women except one, loved and enjoyed it. As a finale, the group were invited to a lunch date at Edith's home in Chromo. By the time you read this article, they've already had the feast in celebration of Edith's birthday. Happy birthday, Edith (Nov.17).

Grazie, Edith, this was a great program. Thanks, too to husband Dave for sharing Edith's culinary expertise and for all his help. Edith plans to volunteer again next summer.

Yoga class

It's Thursday - yoga day with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon.

Yoga provides an excellent grounding in proper relaxation techniques; powerful, deep abdominal breathing and the yoga postures and exercises. Deep abdominal breathing will help cleanse and nourish the body; this connects the body to the solar plexus where tremendous potential energy is stored. Through specific breathing techniques this energy is released for both physical and mental rejuvenation.

All are welcome to join this free program. Bring a towel or yoga mat and dress comfortably. Call 264-4152 for more information.


"It was another successful meeting of the Community Scrapbook Club with Allison Wylie of Creative Memories," said Melissa.

Allison demonstrated how you can get more scrapbook pages done in a shorter period of time using the Creative Memories borders, stickers and journal boxes. She also gave a brief overview of the products they carry from punches, paper, cutting tools, several sizes of scrapbooks and more.

There were people working on their albums while others designed and assembled their Christmas cards. It was a very productive meeting.

The next meeting will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26. The final 2005 meeting will be Dec. 10. Come join this fun, creative group. If you have any questions, give Melissa Bailey a call at 731-1574.

Aus-Ger Club

This social and informative group met last week for breakfast here at the center. They had to eat cold rolls because the kitchen was so busy with the junior high school students and the veterans' breakfast.

Ten members were present and discussed future plans. The group decided not to go to Swiss Chalet in South Fork Nov. 25 for fear of snow at Wolf Creek Pass. Instead, they will go to the Buffalo Inn at 11:30 a.m. since the chef there agreed to prepare an Austrian-Hungarian meal for the group. Call Bodil, 903-8800, for more information.

Computer news from Becky

The free Beginning Computing class for seniors will be ending in the next two weeks. Another one will start Jan. 3.

The whole series of classes is planned for eight-10 sessions on Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon. The number of sessions can vary depending on the need for repetition. Or, sometimes class members ask for specific topics to be covered.

Recently, for example, there was a request for a session on using ebay and another request for some help in using the Internet for genealogical research. These requests can be covered in extra class sessions or on a small group basis if only one or two people have an interest.

Call the community center, 264-4152, if you are a senior and would like to attend the beginning class. Class space is limited to 10 so each participant can have his or her own computer to work on.

If you are not a senior and need beginning computer skills, or if you want to learn how to use some specific software program such as Excel or Publisher, or if you just want to know how to download and install programs, I will put together some work sessions for specially requested topics. Let me know by Nov. 30 what your needs are, and I will try to put small (two or three people) groups together. These groups can be scheduled for daytime, evenings or weekends, depending on your needs.

All classes and computer help given in the lab are completely free of charge. We do, of course, greatly appreciate donations to the center.

A couple of months ago, my son sent me a link to some astonishingly detailed aerial pictures of my house. The pictures were on Google Earth, which I had heard of but never used. Since then I have been noticing that local and national TV news programs often use Google Earth to illustrate news stories. I'm happy to report that you too can access this site and the enormous amounts of information to be found there. Even better news is that there is a free version - not as much information, but frankly, more than most of us can absorb. Go to and check out their home page. There you will find information on the three versions available. The $20 Plus version might be of use to those of you who are gadget-loving GPS device owners. Before you begin downloading, however, click on the link to the right side of the screen - Will my system run Google Earth? Here are the minimum and recommended system requirements to run the program. There are even instructions to help you determine what kind of video card is in your system.

Since I have installed Google Earth on all the computers at my house, I have been surprised at how often the program is used. I sent driving instructions (Albuquerque to Phoenix) to a friend. I showed a high school student how to access pictures of the earthquake area in Pakistan for a class report. One of our computer lab users is going to Hawaii in January; she used Google Earth to choose a resort for her stay. Please let us know if and how you are using Google Earth. We would like to pass along your experiences.

Next week, I will talk more about the security problems which can and do keep track of your surfing history. If you have questions about computer use call Becky at 264-4152.

New Year's Eve dance

Another Pagosa tradition has begun.

Yes, on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 9:05 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. the center is sponsoring a festive dance. This is your opportunity to dress up or come Pagosa style. Join us and dance all night long, or just enjoy listening to the music.

This is a BYOB event, hence it's for those 21 years and older. We will celebrate the New Year with a champagne toast at midnight. Champagne, snacks, and hot and cold beverages will be provided by the center. Tickets in advance are $15 per person/$25 for a couple, and $20 per person at the door. Advance tickets will be available until Dec. 30 at 5 p.m.

John Graves and company will provide the music. John has confirmed the group will play a variety of music - slow ones, country western, rock and roll, ballroom dance music and Latin music. The band will include Larry Elginer, John's son and Susanna Ninichuck. This is an evening not to be missed. Purchase your tickets early and save some money.

Thank you

Thanks to John Gwin for entertaining the crowd with his accordion during the recent Cajun music and dancing session. The group enjoyed the evening and we hope to see John sometime in the future for more Cajun music. Thanks, too, to Deb Aspen and her group - they always fill the dance floor.

Also, since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I want to thank all our volunteers for their help and support. Without them the center wouldn't be able to offer the programs and services we do. Kudos to all of you.

New hours

To better serve our community we have extended our hours of operation: Monday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. We encourage everyone, especially those interested in basketball, volleyball or computer use, to take advantage of this new hours.

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.


Senior News

The history of Thanksgiving Day

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

Throughout history, mankind has celebrated the harvest with thanksgiving ceremonies. For America it all began on Sept. 6, 1620, when 110 Pilgrims set sail for the New World from England on a ship called the Mayflower. After 65 days, they sighted land and finally settled in Plymouth (named by Capt. John Smith). The first winter was devastating with less than 50 of the 110 Pilgrims surviving.

On March 16, 1621, what was to become an important event took place, an Indian brave, Samoset, walked into the Plymouth settlement. The next day, he brought his friend, Squanto, who spoke very good English. Squanto's importance to the Pilgrims was enormous and it can be said that they would not have survived without his help. He taught them about medicinal plants, how to plant crops including corn, and tap maple trees. The harvest in October was very successful and the Pilgrims found themselves with enough food to put away for the winter. The Pilgrims had much to celebrate. They had built homes in the wilderness, they had raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, and they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. They had beaten the odds. The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. Exactly when the festival took place is uncertain, but it is believed the celebration was for three days in mid-October.

The following year the Pilgrims harvest was not as bountiful, as they were still unused to growing the corn. During the year, they had also shared their stored food with newcomers and the Pilgrims ran short of food.

The third year was even worse and brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields. The governor ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rains came. To celebrate, Nov. 29 of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

Luncheon at Vallecito Lake

In the summer of 1977, Ron, the eldest son of Virginia Jackson, drove to Lake Vallecito to have a look at property for sale. He phoned home encouraging her to make the purchase of Semke's Steakhouse.

Two days later, Ron was tragically killed in an auto accident. Virginia and her three remaining children were devastated and nearly abandoned their future plans for the restaurant. Then they decided that going forward with the endeavor is what Ron would have wanted. So, Virginia proceeded to put her Farmington home on the market and purchase what was to become Virginia's Steakhouse.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, The Den will make a trip to Vallecito Lake to have lunch at Virginia's Steakhouse to experience the splendor of the facility and its beautiful surroundings.

Pajama Day

It is Pajama Day at The Den Friday, Nov. 18, so just jump out of bed, don't change those clothes and come on down to The Den for lunch. Keep those PJs on so you can win a prize for the most authentic sleepwear display. Hair rollers, slippers and bath robes look great and there will be lots of prizes for those who participate.

Remember, the sleepier and more comfortable you dress, the better the chance you'll get your photo in the paper. On Friday, pajamas are the style, because here at The Den we are really wild.

Free movie

Our movie at The Den 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, is "Something's Gotta Give," rated PG-13. Sixty and still sexy, Harry is having the time of his life wining, dining and romancing women half his age. When he meets a young auctioneer and agrees to go to the Hamptons with her, he's convinced he's in for a sinfully fun weekend. Plans go awry when her playwright mother stops in unannounced, and Harry soon discovers there's nothing wrong with&emdash;and plenty good about&emdash; acting your age. Please join us for free popcorn in the lounge while enjoying this comedy.

Francisco's Thanksgiving feast

Francisco's Restaurante Y Cantina, located in historical downtown Durango at 619 Main Ave., was first established in 1968. With pride in their Hispanic background and cultures, the Garcia family decided to serve Mexican food using old family favorites. Soon people were lined up out the door waiting to eat. Twenty-nine years and four expansions later, Francisco's Restaurante Y Cantina has grown from only seven tables to 80, with a seating capacity of 250. Now, Francisco's Restaurante gives back to the community each year with their annual free Thanksgiving meal.

On Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 1 to 4 p.m. Francis Garcia and family will be offering a free Thanksgiving feast. Free transportation will also be provided for those who need it with limited space available. (Yes, I said free meal and free transportation!) Please make your reservations at The Den by Friday, Nov. 18, to obtain your tickets to participate in this holiday luncheon. Join your friends for a free day and let's celebrate a Thanksgiving tradition.

The Den's Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is a time to offer thanks, a time of family gatherings and holiday meals. It is a time for turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.

The Den will observe and celebrate Thanksgiving at noon Wednesday, Nov. 23, with a thanksgiving feast at lunch. And the best part is that you don't even have to leave your seat. Volunteers will serve you this splendid meal while you relax, visit with friends and have the chance to be together during this special time. So come one, come all, and help us be thankful and celebrate the friendship, the bountiful food and the pleasure of being a part of our extended family here at The Den.

Birthday celebration

If you are age 60 or over and your birthday is in November, comedown to The Den Wednesday, Nov. 23, for a delicious lunch and celebrate your birthday. It will be a Thanksgiving feast and Seniors, Inc. has graciously agreed to pay for a portion of your birthday meal, so it will only cost $1 for a holiday lunch and fun festivities.

Closed for the holiday

The Den will be closed Thursday, Nov. 24, and Friday, Nov. 25, for Thanksgiving Day and Archuleta County Heritage Day. We hope you enjoy your holiday weekend and we will look forward to seeing you for lunch at The Den Monday, Nov. 28.

Fund drive

The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center has been growing rapidly this past year. Our meals and transportation services, our membership, and our activities have increased tremendously. As of September 2005, we have served 9,002 meals, delivered 2,484 meals to those in need, and have provided 4,437 rides. And this does not take into account all of the activities that are now available at The Den, like the enjoyable Mystery Trips.

As you can see, we are a great support to you and our community. Please help us to continue our excellent service while continually improving to meet the needs in our ever-growing community by donating tax deductible monies to the Silver Foxes Den. If you would like to send a donation, mail it to Silver Foxes Den Senior Center, P.O. Box 1507, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147. Any amount is greatly appreciated. We thank you for your contribution, you support and your patronage here at The Den.

Volunteers needed

The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center has an opportunity for you to make new friends while you donate your time for our senior citizens.

Make an immediate impact on someone's life and volunteer as a driver for medical shuttles to Durango to help those with medical appointments who are unable to drive themselves. A county vehicle and the fuel are provided for the shuttle. Must have good people skills and be a safe driver. Applications are currently being accepted in The Den office. (A background check will be completed on all candidates.) For more information contact Musetta at 264-2167. Make a difference and volunteer.

Prepaid phone cards

The prepaid phone card industry is rapidly growing. More people are buying and using the cards and some problems have been reported. Consumers can avoid many of these by checking a few things out in advance. Ask if the retailer will stand behind the card if the telephone service is unsatisfactory. The prepaid phone card industry is highly competitive. Beware of very low rates, particularly for international calls. They may indicate poor customer service. Look for disclosures about surcharges, monthly fees, per-call access, and other fees. For example in addition to the rate-per-minute or unit, some cards add a surcharge to the first minute of use. Others charge an activation fee for recharging cards. Check on expiration dates. Most cards expire one year after the first use. Look for a toll-free customer service number. If the customer service number isn't toll-free or displayed, it may be difficult to contact the company if you have a problem with the card. A busy signal on the customer service line may be a tip off to a rip-off.

Be sure the card comes with instructions that you understand. Make sure the card comes in a sealed envelope or has a sticker covering the PIN. Otherwise, anyone who copies the PIN can use the phone time you've already paid for.

Computer lab news

(By Becky Herman.)

The free Beginning Computing class for seniors will be ending in the next two weeks.

That means another will be starting just after the first of the year, on Jan. 3. The whole series of classes is planned for 8-10 sessions on Tuesday mornings, 10 a.m. to noon.

The number of sessions can vary depending on the need for repetition. Or, sometimes class members ask for specific topics to be covered. Recently, for example, there was a request for a session on using ebay and another request for some help in using the Internet for genealogical research. These requests can be covered in extra class sessions or on a small group basis if only one or two people have an interest.

Call the community center (264-4152) if you are a senior and would like to attend the beginning class. Class space is limited to 10 so each participant can have his or her own computer to work on.

If you are not a senior and need beginning computer skills, if you want to learn how to use some specific software program such as Excel or Powerpoint, or if you just want to know how to download and install programs, I will be putting together some work sessions for specially requested topics. Let me know by Nov. 30 what your needs are, and I will try to put small (two or three people) groups together. These groups can be scheduled for daytime, evenings or weekends, depending on your needs.

(All classes and computer help given in the lab are completely free of charge. We do, of course, greatly appreciate donations to the center.)

Activities at a glance

Thursday, Nov. 17 - Lunch served at the Catholic Church in Arboles, noon (reservations required by Nov. 16); $1 birthday lunch celebrations in Arboles; Medicare counseling in Arboles during lunch; Virginia's Steakhouse luncheon at Vallecito Lake.

Friday, Nov. 18 - Pajama day at The Den (great prizes for the best PJs); qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Seniors Inc. board meeting, 1 p.m.; free movie at The Den.

Monday, Nov. 21 - Medicare counseling, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge 4 fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 22 - Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.; a Thanksgiving feast at Francisco's Restaurant in Durango, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 23 - Yoga in motion, 10 a.m.; The Den's Thanksgiving meal and celebration, noon; $1 birthday lunches.

Thursday, Nov. 24 - Closed for Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Friday, Nov. 25 - Closed for Archuleta County Heritage Day holiday.


Suggested donation $2.50 for ages 60-plus, all others $4.50.

Salad bar every day, 11:30 a.m.

Thursday, Nov. 17 - Thanksgiving meal and $1 birthday lunch celebrations in Arboles (reservations required). Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, whole wheat roll and pumpkin cake.

Friday, Nov. 18 - Clam chowder, veggie medley, cottage cheese pineapple salad and oranges.

Monday, Nov. 21 - Macaroni and cheese, stewed tomatoes and baked apple.

Tuesday, Nov. 22 - Spaghetti and meat sauce, green beans, garlic roll and orange wedge.

Wednesday, Nov. 23 - Thanksgiving meal and $1 birthday lunch celebrations. Roast turkey, stuffing, cauliflower and broccoli with cheese, cranberry mold, wheat roll and pumpkin bar.

Thursday, Nov. 24 - Closed for Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Friday, Nov. 25 - Closed for Archuleta County Heritage Day holiday.


Veteran's Corner

VA will not review PTSD files

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will not review the files of 72,000 veterans currently receiving disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Insufficient info?

On May 19, 2005, VA's Inspector General reported on an examination of the files of a sample of 2,100 randomly selected veterans with disability ratings for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The IG cited insufficient documentation in the files and a dramatic increase in veterans filing for disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder since 1999.

Administrative mistakes

"We have now just completed our own careful review of those 2,100 files cited in the IG's report,'' said the Honorable R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. "The problems with these files appear to be administrative in nature, such as missing documents, and not fraud."

No longer reviewing

"In the absence of evidence of fraud, we're not going to put our veterans through the anxiety of a widespread review of their disability claims,'' Nicholson said. "Instead, we're going to improve our training for VA personnel who handle disability claims and toughen administrative oversight."

Appropriate disability

"Not all combat wounds are caused by bullets and shrapnel," Nicholson added. "We have a commitment to ensure veterans with PTSD receive compassionate, world-class health care and appropriate disability compensation determinations."


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

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 400 South Camino Del Rio, Suite G (next to Big 5 Sports). Phone number is 247-2214. Albuquerque VAMC phone number is (800) 465-8262.

Further information

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


Library News

Bookmark art on display at newly opened library

By Christine Eleanor Anderson

PREVIEW Columnist

Do you remember your first art exhibit? The first one in your adult life: you went into the museum feeling that you were going on a great sophisticated adventure, and came out convinced that you were part of the cultured world?

No? Well, neither do I.

My great-aunt, Myrtle, who taught me and my sisters to read when we were about 3, was an artist and an art teacher. She painted in oil, and on china, as many women in the Victorian period did. But there were no art books in her big house. Nor were we encouraged to paint, or develop artistic talents or read about art. Nor were there discussions about art. My brothers and sisters and I each ended up with a gold-rimmed plate with the letter "A" painted onto it, our only vestige of her proclivity.

When I visited local watercolorist Denny Rose in her home a couple of weeks ago and saw the lovely paintings that she and her students had created, I felt a sense of envy and admiration. Many people in this community have developed their talents through the classes taught by Denny and her business partner and co-teacher Virginia Bartlett.

Also lovely is the fact that Denny offered her art and drive to the Library at the Library Volunteer luncheon in December 2002. She and Lenore Bright, former Director, put their heads together to begin to make money for our new building expansion by starting the Bookmark Art Project.

Denny offered her watercolor, "A Day in Town Park," as the first of the bookmarks in the series of collectible bookmark art that has raised over $7,000 for the library. Inspired by her example, volunteer Jan Brookshire became the second local artist to offer her work, a photograph, "Up Four Mile Road." Ginnie Bartlett followed with an oil painting, "Autumn at Treasure Falls."

Community artists began to fall in line for the project. John Taylor offered his photograph of three local flowers, "Pagosa Country Gems." Inspired by the columbines at the county fair, quilter Helen Bartlett produced a pastel runner of stylized fabric columbines.

Bruce Andersen's photograph, "Pagosa's Winter Guardian," a study of a bald eagle perched high in a dead tree, with blue sky and snow covered crags in the background, became the next offering, followed by Paula Bain's oil, "Snowmelt Cascades Over Silver Falls." Another photographic landscape, an especially enigmatic one, "The Face in Chimney Rock," by Lili Pearson became part of the parade.

Sandy Martin, one of Denny's watercolor students, and also a quilter, produced an appliquéd quilt, "Skiing Wolf Creek," for the project. The colors are as clear as a ski day in bright sunlight. Looking at it makes me want to be up there in the snow with the little skiers schussing down the hills. The quilt is a joy to behold.

"Wolf Creek Bighorn," Jeff Laydon's vibrant photograph, catches the silhouette of one our local denizens against its rocky home turf. And, a newcomer to town, Sabine Baeckmann-Elge contributed her oil of Pagosa's namesake, "Healing Waters," to the growing line of bookmarks. Suzan Joy, a local illustrator of children's books, gave her lively watercolor, "Balloons Over Pagosa" to the project effort.

Amy Rosner added her delicate spring suggestion, "Aspens on the Blanco," a water media collage. Lenore Bright became the owner of the original of Randall Davis' oil painting, "Downtown Pagosa Springs," so smitten was she with his contribution to the bookmark art. And, finally, Milt Lewis' watercolor, "Pagosa Peak," was the last of the additions to complete the bookmark series.

Denny did the work of computerizing the art, then turned the pieces over to Library Volunteers to cut, laminate, hole punch and tassel. The bookmarks have been sold for $3 apiece at the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books, Hodgepodge, the art center, the Library and at special events such as the Woman's Civic Club Bazaar. Purchasers tuck them into gift books, letters and give them as souvenirs to guests. They are a nice little present to add an original local touch to any gift. There are only a few left and they can be requested at the library desk if anyone wishes to purchase them.

There is also one piece of art in the series that wasn't turned into a bookmark, but a postcard: trustee Joan Rohwer's stained glass, "Archuleta County-Circle of Seasons." This magnificent work is on permanent display in the entrance of the library and can be viewed at any time by anyone who looks at the ceiling. The postcard also carries Joan's poem of the same inspiration.

At the reopening and ribbon cutting for the new library Saturday, Nov. 12, Denny and Ginnie gave tours of the original art, which is on display at the library for a short time. We thank them, and all of the participating artists, for their time, dedication and contribution to fund-raising effort for the renovated library.

We invite all of the public to come to our first big art exhibit, the first one of the new Page 1 in the life of the library, the one we won't ever forget.


Arts Line

Drawing class returns in December

By Kayla Douglass

PREVIEW Columnis

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council's third annual Gala Gallery Tour Walk will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2.

Participating galleries are: Wild Spirit, Pagosa Photography, Moonlight Books, Taminah Frame Center, Handcrafted Interiors, Lantern Dancer, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park and Gallery, The Crucible, Soledad's Studio and Gallery, Back Door Collectibles, Rainbow Gifts and Puttin' on the Rydz.

Galleries will be decorated for the holidays and ready to provide a festive atmosphere with refreshments, door prizes, live or recorded music, and may have guest artists available to meet and greet.

Tickets are $8 for PSAC members and $10 for nonmembers, and will be available at WolfTracks, Moonlight Books, and the Chamber of Commerce. NOTE: Tickets will not be sold at the PSAC Gallery, due to limited winter hours.

This is a great way to kick off the holiday season, gather some unique ideas for your holiday gift giving, and support the local art community. It will be a very festive evening for all.

Drawing with Davis 

Mark your calendar for Saturday, Dec. 3. Due to other commitments Randall Davis has been unable to teach his drawing class the last few months and we are pleased to have him back in December.

This class is usually the third Saturday of the month, but in December it will be held the first weekend of the month.

Drawing with Randall Davis begins at 9 a.m. and usually finishes up around 3 p.m. at the community center.

If you do not consider yourself an artist, that's OK. You won't be lost; Randall gives a lot of one-on-one attention as well as an excellent step-by-step demonstrations. If you have never attended one of his classes, it's a treat to see what you can produce in a day under his guidance.

All you need to bring is a large sketchpad, a few drawing pencils; preferably a mid-range No. 2 or 3 and a 6 in a bold lead and in a hard lead, a ruler, eraser and an attitude to enjoy the day. Bring your own sack lunch, since you'll be having so much fun you won't want to take the time away from drawing to go get one.

It's best to make a reservation through PSAC, 264-5020. The gallery is on winter hours now and is only staffed a couple of days a week, but someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Space allowing, walk-ins are always welcome

PSAC Workshops

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council sponsors and manages workshop in the arts and crafts space at the community center. From the outset, the Arts Council has been a partner in and supporter of the community center.

We started the workshops in 2002 and they have grown substantially since that time. We service the arts in the community and the community has responded favorably to this program. It gives those who want to teach a chance to do so and at the same time gives our residents a venue for learning something they have always been interested in - whether it is watercolor, acrylic, oil, drawing, drama, photography, etc. The space also provides a home for the photo and watercolor clubs and serves as a meeting location for various other groups.

If you are interested in teaching a workshop or class, secure a workshop application form at the gallery in Town Park (264-5020) or download the form from our Web site, Pagosa-Arts.Com. If you are a resident and have ideas and suggestions for a class or workshop we haven't offered, please let us hear from you. The Arts Council's mailing address is: P.O. Box 533, Pagosa Springs, Co., 81147 or e-mail at

Gift calendar

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.

Don't forget the gallery is on winter hours. Feel free to call ahead and reserve copies to be picked up when we are open: Tuesday and Thursday 11-2. Calendars are also available at The Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books and Lantern Dancer.

Join the PSAC

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council is an organization that helps ensure a flourishing and diverse community by enriching lives through the arts.

The privileges of membership include: Involvement in membership activities,; involvement in the community; socializing and participating in the camaraderie of the arts; discounts on PSAC events and workshops; recognition in Artsline and listings in PSAC Artist Guide and PSAC Business Guide.

Workshops and exhibits are sponsored by PSAC to benefit the art community.

Membership rates are rates are: Youth, $10; Individual Senior, $20; Regular, $25; Family Senior, $25; Regular, $35; Business, $75; Patron, $250; Benefactor, $500; Director, $1,000 ; Guarantor, $2,500 and up.

PSAC sponsored events include:

- Gallery exhibits in Town Park, May - October.

- Art workshops and classes, arts and craft space, in the community center.

- PSAC annual membership meeting.

- Annual Pagosa Country Calendar.

- Annual juried art exhibit.

- Annual photo contest.

- Annual home and garden tour.

- Annual gallery tour.

- Periodic artist studio tour.

- Watercolor club.

- Photo club.

- Summer youth art camp.

- Arts and craft tent, Four Corners Folk Festival.

PSAC divisions include: Pretenders, our Family Theatre Group and San Juan Dance Festival.

We value our membership and appreciate your support. If you would like to be a member, call 264-5020 or e-mail (

Local artists wanted

The Pine River Library (Bayfield) welcomes artists of all ages to display their artwork there. Painting, drawing, photography, fabric art, wall quilt, weaving, tapestry, jewelry, beadwork, sculpture, pottery, ceramics, woodwork, glass art, stained glass, metal art and silversmithing are welcome.

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

Artwork is displayed for two months. Work to be displayed January and February must be received no later than Dec. 31. Artwork 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. There is no fee charged to artists. This project encourages the artistic and cultural interest of the community by providing a showcase for local artists


CowParade is the world's largest premier public art event.

Beginning in Chicago in 1999 CowParade has traveled the world in the past six years and has the distinctive tradition of taking art out of the museums and onto the streets for people of all ages to enjoy.

The Cows are coming home to Colorado's Cow Town to turn the streets of Denver into a forum for public art, creativity and innovation.

Would you like to be one of the artists selected to use a cow for a canvas? CowParade Denver is accepting proposals from artists who wish to participate in this public art event. Artists whose designs are selected for exhibition will be provided with a life-sized, blank fiberglass cow form and will be paid a $1,000 honorarium upon completion of their painted cow. As one of the event's nonprofit partners, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival will be managing the artist application process. Online applications are available, with a Dec. 30 deadline, at

Winter hours

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park is now on its winter-hours schedule. Hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Voice mail and e-mail are checked regularly, so please leave a message if no one is available in the office.


All PSAC classes and workshops are held in the arts and craft Space at the Community Center, unless otherwise noted.

All exhibits are shown at the PSAC Gallery in Town Park, unless otherwise noted.

Nov. 16 - Watercolor club.

Dec. 2 - Gallery Tour, 5-8 p.m.

December 3 - Drawing with Randall Davis - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. community center, $35.

Artsline is a communication vehicle of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. For inclusion in Arts line, send information to PSAC by e-mail at We would love to hear from you regarding suggestions for Artsline. Events in surrounding areas will be included when deemed of interest to our readers.


Food for Thought

Man versus the smartest rat in the universe

By Karl Isberg

PREVIEW Columnist

There's a rat above the ceiling, and the nasty beast is driving me crazy.

OK, crazier.

Perhaps it's not a rat. Maybe it's a squirrel of some sort.

It's a rodent, I'll put money on that.

And, it's driving me crazier.

I hear it up there, above me, scurrying around, hauling junk from one end of the place to the other. Setting up housekeeping between the joists.

Getting ready to mate, no doubt emitting the pheromones necessary to attract a mate, to produce an army of similarly irritating rodents.

As I twist and squirm, I feel like a retired and extremely poor bachelor living in his squalid studio apartment in a tacky urban complex, listening as a pierced and tattooed 22-year-old illiterate with pants down around his pubes moves his mega-watt, 2,200 decibel sound system into the space above and cranks up the latest 50 Cent CD to glass-shattering levels.

It's party time, dude!

Sheer hell.

I gotta kill this rodent.

I'll have no peace until this despicable animal's lifeless, ain't-gonna-reproduce-indiscriminately carcass is impaled on a sharp stick and displayed at the entry to my driveway - a gruesome but utterly clear testament to my manliness and superiority.

A warning to any other rat that thinks about taking up residence between my ceiling and floor.

I hate this pest, and I am in a murderous mood. A mood made even more intense by the fact the rodent seems smarter than I.

Considerably smarter.

How else could it escape the Tub of Death?

When I first hear the irritating lout doing its unspeakable business above my head, I waddle outside the house and quickly discover my tormentor's point of entry into my space. The little jerk has gnawed its way through the exposed insulation near the front door, where stucco meets bare ground. A spot I neglected to patch, yes, but

The crafty little #&**!#.

I am sitting in my office struggling to come up with my weekly column when all hell breaks loose above me. The racket quickly becomes unbearable; I become incensed. I am, after all, a fiercely territorial being. How dare this furry creep invade my turf? Me, the product of eons of evolutionary wisdom, the fine-tuned product of a design far too grand to comprehend.

I immediately plan his, or her, demise.

How will I dispatch this bold invader, this interloper?

Perhaps a .22 rifle, with me lurking quiet, dressed in camo, motionless outside the hole in the wall, waiting for the awful beast to exit my home. Kablam!

But, knowing my aim, I would merely wound the loathsome critter, allowing it to drag its miserable, mangled carcass back inside the house, there to die and rot between ceiling and floor, emitting horrid odors for a month or so.

I face the same prospect with poison, or a pest bomb. The hideous thing rots in an unreachable spot, filling the house with the smell of the abattoir. I could stand the smell for a couple weeks; Arnie, my yellow Lab, would love it.

Kathy would demand a divorce.

I telephone my pal Ronnie. He, after all, once taught high school biology and he regularly reminds me "I'm a scientist, and you're not."

"The Pail of Death," he says. "Definitely the Pail of Death. Toby found it on the Internet when he did a search for rat-killing strategies. Works like a charm. Worked for Toby, worked for Susie and Larry. It's the ticket, Karl."

It's a gem of an idea - despite the fact it doesn't work for me.

Get yourself a five-gallon tub. Get yourself a plank. Get yourself a bunch o' sunflower seeds. Get yourself a mess of water.

You fill your pail three-quarters full of water and place it near the rodent's entryway. You place the plank on the lip of the tub, creating a ramp for your adversary. You put a trail of sunflower seeds on the ramp, leading to the lip of the tub. You cover the surface of the water with seeds and you disappear.

The Pail of Death.

Theory: The beast nibbles its way up the ramp, spots the buffet waiting a couple inches below, greedily leaps to the food and say good night, mama.

All that remains is the disposal of the dead antagonist and ten or fifteen bucks worth of wet seeds.

The Pail of Death.

My foe eats the sunflower seeds leading to the lip of the pail, looks at the seeds covering the watery grave, thinks "Just who do you think you are kidding, fat boy?," and returns, sated, to its comfy nest.

So much for the Pail of Death.

I then procure a "Have a Heart Live Trap."

The accepted theory: You entice the vermin into the wire trap then take the little fella into the woods and relocate him - giving this blessing of nature, this equal miracle of creation, a new home, a new lease on life.

My theory: When you have the rat in the trap, you can shoot it without chasing it or, better yet, you can take it to the lake and drop the cage in the water (perhaps doing a Saddam number on the rodent - waiting till it has nearly drowned then bringing it back above the surface, there to taunt it one more time before lowering it to its certain end).

I call an exterminator on the phone. He's "booked 24-7," but he advises me to bait the trap with a piece of shiny tinfoil on top of which rests a mound of partially frozen peanut butter bearing a nice, shiny dime.

"They can't resist the shiny stuff," he tells me. "The foil and the dime will get them every time." (I see the guy in my mind's eye: He's wearing bib overalls. He has three teeth left in his head, drives a battered van and smells like toxic chemicals.)

I come out the next morning to find the trap unsprung, the peanut butter devoured, the tin foil shredded and left at my doorstep and the dime gone.


I'm dealing with the Albert Einstein of rodents!

I figure I need a more sensitive trap. I get one and, again, I bait it with the peanut butter-foil-dime trio.

I leave town.

And Einstein makes his mistake.

Ever been on the road and received a late-night phone call from your spouse?

Not one of those calls in which your beloved tells you how much you are missed, how much you're wanted back at the old love nest.

Rather, one of those calls from a spouse who is dealing with a large rodent in a trap?

I have.

Seems Kathy comes home, whistling a happy tune, finished with her work week and she finds a rat, in a cage. And the rat is pooping all over the front porch.

"There's rat poop everywhere! What have you done to me?"

After a few minutes of calm discussion during which I promise to dispose of the rodent, I bid my sweetie adieu, confident I will have my foe waiting for me, incarcerated, vulnerable, when I return late the next day.

Then, it hits me: Why go for the immediate gratification? In other words, why simply eradicate the rascal?

Why not eat him?

I take out my laptop and hit the Internet.

Bingo! I find a bevy of rat and rodent recipes.

Seems there's a run on rats in Cambodia, what with the fear of avian flu. Rat meat sales have skyrocketed. Those wacky Cambodians are big on skewered rat, basted with dark soy and brown sugar, grilled over coals produced from exotic woods. I imagine the little boogers struggle a bit when you put them on the skewers, but if the heat is right, the struggle should be brief. Thankfully, there's not a lot of hair on those Cambodian rats. Nothing spoils a good feed like the smell of burning hair.

Cane rat is currently de rigeur in Congo.

How about baked rat, stuffed in the style of the Romans, with minced rodent flesh, pine nuts, pepper, anchovy paste, et al?

And it seems rat was a fave in Paris during the siege of the Franco-Prussian War. The eviscerated and flayed rats were marinated in a paste made of olive oil and garlic then grilled over burning staves procured from shattered, ancient wine barrels.

Sounds tasty. A bit of coarse ground mustard and a Chambertin should round out the menu, eh?

Apparently, rats can be grilled, baked and fried (brown butter and walnuts). But braising seems the preferred method.

I like to braise things. My dilemma: Whether to waste any of my precious veal stock in the preparation.

Alas, I get my hopes up, only to be let down when I return home.

"It's gone," says Kathy.

"What? Gone? How did that rotten little !#**^*%%$!!! get out of that cage?"

"It didn't escape. I let it go."

"What! You let it go? HowIwhaa?"

"I talked to my sister and she told me to run a garden hose from the car exhaust to the rat and gas him. Then I talked to someone who trapped a rat in their house and took it to the lake and drowned it."

"Ahhh, nice work. Thought of that one myself."

"But, I couldn't do that. The thing was so frightened. And, after all, it was in a Have a Heart Live Trap."

"Oh for Pete's sake."

"Then, I had a brilliant thought. You remember_ _ _ _? If you recall, I hate her with a passion unknown to most human beings."

"Ah yes, the evil _ _ _ _."

"Yep, that's her. Well, I remembered I needed to let the rat out a long way from the house or it would come back. And I remembered _ _ _ _ lives all the way on the other side of the highway."


"So I put the cage in the back of my car and I drove to her house. That rat made a lot of racket. Thank goodness it couldn't poop any more."


"I tried to let the rat out in her yard. I worked on that cage for fifteen minutes but I couldn't get it open."

"So what did you do?"

"I did what you do in any emergency: I went to the fire department. They took care of it for me. They got the cage open and it scampered away."

So, I had peace, at last. No revenge, but peace.

On Kathy's orders, I filled the rat hole with steel wool. I built a rock barrier in front of the steel wool. I went around the house with stucco patch and sealed every crack I could find.

I can work in my office now, absent the incessant scurrying and scratching. I can rest assured I don't smell rat urine (it's a pair of socks in my gym bag). There is no legion of little rats growing to maturity between floor and ceiling, ready to gnaw their way to freedom and food in my kitchen.

But, you know, rat with dark soy and brown sugar sounds so darned good. I have plenty of skewers and a nearly full bottle of propane on the grill.

I wonder what if I set another trap at the front of the house?

With shiny tin foil, frozen peanut butter and a dime?


Extension Viewpoints

Pay close attention to child's television choices

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

Nov. 18 - Cloverbuds, community center, 1:30-3 p.m.

Nov. 22 - 4-H Livestock Committee meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 24-25 - Office closed.

Red Books

The 2006 Integrated Resource Management Red Books are now available at the Extension Office for $5. These books contain gestation tables, death loss code, salving ease score, pasture usage, breeding and herd management information, tables and places to record information along with a yearly calendar and place for address or phone numbers.

Master Gardener apps due

Those interested in the upcoming Master Gardener Program in Pagosa Springs need to have applications turned into the Archuleta County Extension Office by Dec. 1, with a form of payment for the program fee. Classes will take place 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays starting Jan. 31. Class size will be limited.

Children and television

Researchers have conducted thousands of studies measuring the impact of violence portrayed on television and its effect on children and teenagers. American households have their television sets turned on an average of seven hours per day. As a result, children are watching three to five hours of television each day. By the time they turn age 13, they've witnessed 100,000 acts of televised violence, including 8,000 depictions of murder. Prolonged exposure to television violence has been found to influence children in the following ways:

- Children who watch violent television shows, even just "funny" violent cartoons, were more likely to hit playmates, argue and disobey.

- Children often identify with certain characters, victims and victimizers on television and imitate the violence they see.

- Watching televised violence has been found to be the single greatest factor contributing to aggressive behavior in children.

- Researchers have found that watching televised violence may desensitize children to real world violence and teach them that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems.

- In addition, children who are heavy viewers put less effort into school work, have poorer reading skills, play less with friends, have fewer hobbies and are more likely to be overweight.

Taking control

Parents can greatly curb the influences of television by instituting a few guidelines.

Set limits - Limit the amount of time spent watching TV and encourage children to spend time with friends, on sports and hobbies.

View programs they choose - Watch at least one episode of each program that your children watch. This allows you to know what they're watching and discuss it with them. Ban programs that you find too offensive and restrict viewing to programs that are educational or encourage cooperation, helping, and caring.

Pre plan program schedule - Use a TV Guide or newspaper to determine in advance which shows are appropriate for family viewing.

Interpret what you watch - Use the TV to express how you feel about difficult topics such as violence, divorce, sex, honesty, and love. Teach children to question what they watch, which will also help reinforce your values.

Violence on television - Disapprove of violent episodes in front of your children. Refuse to let children see shows known to be violent and change the channel or turn off the set when something offensive comes on. Explain what you found offensive about the scene.

Point out that although these actors are not really hurt or killed on screen, in real life this type of violence results in pain or death. Discuss what causes TV characters to behave in violent ways and that adults rarely solve problems in this same manner. Discuss non-violent alternatives to solving problems.

Resist advertising pressure - Children age 8 and younger do not understand that the purpose of advertising is to sell products. Also young children have trouble distinguishing between ads and programs; yet, the average child may see more than 20,000 TV commercials each year. Teach your children how to identify sales hype and become smarter consumers.

Structure viewing time - Keep the television and video players out of children's bedrooms, and turn off the TV during meal times.

Keep a time chart - Make an effort to balance your child's viewing habits with other activities. Before watching TV, let your child choose from a list of alternatives such as bike riding, reading, homework, chores and playtime with friends.

Remember, a balanced "diet" of entertaining and informative television programs is like a balanced diet of food. Both help contribute towards the healthy development of your child.

Check out our Web page at for calendar events and information.


Pagosa Lakes News

Breaking from tradition on Thanksgiving Day

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

The Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot is definitely getting a lot of attention.

Registrations are rolling in, especially from families who are planning to either walk or run together. There's even a family rate for registration - $50 early registration and $60 the day of the Trot. Individual registration is $20 (and $25 on Turkey Day).

Since Thanksgiving has traditionally been a day spent with family and friends, consider adding the Turkey Trot to the day's schedule and invite family members, friends and neighbors to join you.

Registration forms are available at the recreation center and all proceeds will benefit the Pagosa Lakes Swim Team. The race will start at 10 a.m. from the recreation center parking lot. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The choice of a two-mile walk or a five-mile run is yours to decide.

What better way to work up a ravenous appetite for the feast later in the day. As for the feast in my home, in a defiant show of resistance, I've decided to serve Peking duck. Thanksgiving is the one day when you can safely know weeks in advance what you will be having for dinner, and what your neighbors will be having for dinner even what they'll be having for dinner a few states over.

A full menu makeover on my part misses the point of this iconic meal; my family will expect certain dishes. Everyone expects certain dishes year after year. That's the beauty of the holiday - and also the thing that threatens to make it monotonous.

But a little shake-up of some of the classics will freshen the whole event. A duck instead of a turkey, and why not? Just this morning, while I was picking up heavy objects and putting them back down, Martha Stewart appears on the TV in the weight room. She's baking "turduck," a combination turkey breast fillet and Peking duck fillet.

I don't like pumpkin pie, but I do prefer to eat my pumpkin in a soup - pumpkin soup with a suggestion of Chinese spices will pique my appetite. Yams with marshmallow are always left to languish in the refrigerator days after Thanksgiving. But why not cook yams the way my mother fixes them - slabs of yams dipped in a light batter and deep fried before being baked in a rich five-spice sauce. And there's no reason to pass one more platter of those soggy green beans. I will instead do a quick stir-fry of whole tender green beans with julienned Chinese sausage.

The result will be a range of dishes with a hint of tradition and an eye on what's evolving in cuisine.

Thank you, Martha Stewart, for getting me thinking about duck and launching a whole new take on Thanksgiving dinner around the Steen table. There's no question that the benefits of exercise are numerous. Sure got my synapses firing. I did not have a clue what I was going to write about this week when I walked into the weight room. Now I have had a strenuous workout, a column for this week's publication written, and a fusion menu for Thanksgiving dinner set.



Ava Olivia Quintana

Steven and Brooke Quintana of Farmington, N.M., are happy to announce the birth of their first child, Ava Olivia. Ava was born at 5:38 a.m. Oct. 3, 2005, at San Juan Regional Medical Center. She was 7 lbs., 15 ounces and 21 1/4 inches long. Ava was welcomed home by her maternal grandparents, Patricia and David Hauschild of Arboles, and paternal grandparents, Sharon and Joe Quintana of Pagosa Springs. Also welcoming the new baby was her uncle, Mark Quintana, of Manchester, England, and aunt and uncle, Brielle and Scott Rubenstein of Pagosa Springs, along with cousins, Holden and Gryffin. Many other family and friends were happy to finally meet the new addition to the Quintana family.


Edward Bomkamp

Edward L. Bomkamp, 97, of The Hampton at Clearwater, Clearwater, Fla., was born Dec. 12, 1907, and died Nov. 15, 2005.

Born in Chicago, Ill., Edward moved to Clearwater from Lombard, Ill., 36 years ago. He was a supervisor for Western Electric Co., Cicero, Ill., and a member and past president of the Telephone Pioneers of America Club in Dunedin. He was a Catholic and member of Espiritu Sancto parish. He is survived by two sons, Thomas E., of Pagosa Springs, and Raymond W. of Redding, Calif.; a daughter, Dianne M. Lake, of Pinole, Calif.; 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. A funeral mass will be celebrated at Espiritu Sancto Saturday, Nov. 19, at 10 a.m.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation in his name to Children International, PO Box 219413, Kansas City, MO 64121.


 Business News
Chamber News

Holiday events galore in weeks ahead

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

As I was traveling home from my excursions two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to drive through Cuba, N.M.

This town is ready for Christmas, already lit up and decorated for the holidays. A little too early for my blood, but the holidays are closing in on us very rapidly.

We do have some events to mention, so let's get started.

Before going into the future, I want to mention something from the past. Congratulations again to the new and improved Ruby Sisson Library and everyone who made this facility happen. The staff, the board, the volunteers, Lenore Bright and everyone in between ... you rock! We are so lucky to have a facility of this caliber in our community and in a special location that complements our community. Take some time to see the new building, all the new space and the improvements.

Thanks to all the volunteers at the Immaculate Heart of Mary fashion show. It never ceases to amaze me how talented and hard working these women are. From those who make the decorations and arrange for the models and participating fashion merchants, to those who prepare the food and everyone who helps set up and tear down the function - you are awesome.

It warmed my soul to see so many of the people at the fashion show wander over to Pagosa Street and hit all the shops. I heard several ladies mention they were either in shops they had never been in or hadn't been in a long time. I hope the merchants had a successful holiday sale day and that everyone continues to have a very good season.

We're working with the downtown merchants to stay open later for the Parade of Lights Dec. 9. We'll keep you informed about all the specials that evening.

Christmas wreaths

We've ordered our wreath for the Chamber. Have you ordered your wreath or centerpiece yet?

If not, you still have time to go down to Community United Methodist Church and place your order. Volunteers will take greenery orders until Friday, Nov. 25. You can either stop by the church on Lewis Street or call 264-4538 to place your order.

Also, remember, only 750 wreaths will be made this year. These fine greenery works of art can be shipped, and they make nice gifts with a little bit of our state included in every masterpiece. I admire all the talented individuals who work so hard cutting and arranging the greens, and those taking all the orders as well. This is such a giving community tradition.

"A Christmas Carol"

We continue our salute to talented individuals by reminding everyone to attend the Music Boosters' adaptation of Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol."

Performance dates are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, Dec. 1-3, with all performances starting at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium. They have also added a matinee performance Saturday, Dec. 3, starting at 2 p.m.

You can purchase tickets at The Plaid Pony or at the door: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for children or students.

We hope to warm up the singers' voices here at the Chamber Dec. 3 as several participants will entertain the crowds at the lighting of the Chamber building during Christmas in Pagosa. The staging, the costumes, and the talent of "A Christmas Carol" is something that you just don't want to miss.

Gala Gallery Walk

If you're not attending the musical Dec. 2, you need to attend the Pagosa Springs Arts Council's Gala Gallery Walk.

This fun event is celebrating its third anniversary and the participating galleries are really in the holiday mood. Please refer to the Artsline column in The PREVIEW for more details.

You can purchase tickets here at the Chamber, and at Moonlight Books or WolfTracks at $8 for PSAC members and $10 for nonmembers. The tour starts at 5 p.m. and continues to 8 p.m. There will be refreshments, door prizes and music at each gallery and many guest artists will be present. Some of the galleries included this year are: Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park and Gallery, Lantern Dancer Gallery, Back Door Collectibles, Soledad's Studio & Gallery, Handcrafted Interiors and Taminah Frame Center. I'll mention more participants next week.

You never know what you might acquire at these great local galleries, and it is a perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit, especially considering what is in store the following day.

Christmas in Pagosa

Get ready to enjoy more sights and sounds of the holidays as the Chamber of Commerce lights up the Visitor Center and welcomes Santa to his home for the evening Saturday, Dec. 3.

Children of all ages can come to the center for cookies, warm drinks, entertainment, a confidential visit with Santa and photo opportunities, starting at 3:30 p.m. As the evening rolls in and the weather cools down, snuggle up with your loved ones and watch us flip the switch as we bring thousands of lights aglow for the season.

You'll enjoy the precision and delicate sounds of the Community United Methodist Church Bell Ringers inside the Visitor Center. Outside, some of the cast from "A Christmas Carol," the Children's Chorale and the Ladies Mountain Harmony Choir will entertain, starting around 4:30 p.m. We've been working on a sound system so that you can hear the music this year.

The lighting of the center should take place around 5:30 p.m. after Santa hears his last request and comes outside to give the go-ahead to turn on the lights. Come out for the treats, entertainment, warmth of family, friends, and beverages and partake of one of the many celebrations that make our town so special.

Events on Dec. 9

Application forms are ready to be picked up for those families, organizations and businesses that want to participate in the Parade of Lights Friday, Dec. 9. There is no entry fee, and you have a chance to win $100.

Prizes of $100 each will be given out to the best and brightest in the family, organization and business categories. All it takes is some creativity, lights and long johns.

I know a lot of people stay in their cars to watch the parade, but get out of those vehicles because many of the merchants on Pagosa Street will stay open late and offer specials and warm drinks to paradegoers. How magical is this - strolling down Pagosa Street doing some holiday shopping, sipping warm cider or cocoa, and watching a parade with lights at night?

The parade starts at 6 p.m. so you can finish up your day at work and have time to come out and be in the parade. Businesses can even complete a full day of work (bummer) then gather the group and meet on 6th Street. Stop by the Chamber for your form, or call us and we can fax you a parade application. Then, after the parade, roll on down to the community center where members of the Kiwanis Club will serve their traditional chile supper, starting at 4:30. You can eat early, then go to the parade. Serving will stop at 7 p.m. when the Community Choir will present its holiday performance. The Kiwanis chile supper and the Community Choir will be at the community center again Saturday, Dec. 10 , same times.

If you have too many parties to attend that weekend, don't miss the last performance of the Community Choir Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. This will be a weekend with lots of activities. Take time to enjoy the magic of our town during this holiday season by attending and/or participating in the Parade of Lights and all the many other festivities.


We have one new member this week and a slew of renewals.

Our new member is Dave Leibson and Digital Assets. Dave provides Web design, photography, advertising and graphic design to make your advertising or Web page design a matter of one-stop shopping. If you're looking to create or update your Web page, give Dave a call at 731-3589. You can also go onto his Web site to see his work at We welcome Dave and expect to see lots of his work out there.

Leading the charge of renewals this week is Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs. (I want to thank them again for helping to sponsor the beer booth at the Colorfest Wine Festival.)

Dr. William Thornell and Pagosa Dental renews this week.

We go from the east end of town to Durango for other renewals, starting with Bruce Spruce Ranch, near the start of the climb to Wolf Creek Pass. Next, we travel to the other side of the county and welcome Louise Jagger and Chimney Rock Restaurant, Campground and Gift Shop.

Our final renewal is Flexible Flyers Rafting, in Durango.

We have two associate members renewing this week - Chuck Schildhauer, and Earl Greenwood with Adventure Real Estate.

Now for our non-profit renewals this week. Starting off the list is the organization that will be bringing us "A Christmas Carol," the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters. Then, we have the Pagosa Ranger District, San Juan National Forest. We also have the dedicated volunteers at the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center renewing their membership. Finally, we welcome back the League of Women Voters.


On a sad side note, I hope whoever took all our pumpkins that decorated the Chamber Visitor Center has a great baking season.

Maybe someone got confused and thought we were the local farmer's market since the theft took place at night and there was no one here to direct them to the nearest store. These were really large pumpkins, so they should yield lots of pumpkin pulp. As a trade-off, feel free to drop off some pumpkin pies or bread or muffins once you process all our pumpkins; maybe we can share those items with our visitors at the center.

As for everyone else, I hope you are getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday festivities and the family and friends that may be joining you. We're fresh out of pumpkins though, sorry!

Wolf Creek Ski area is open and we need to be a little more diligent in performing our snow dances to guarantee another successful ski season. Let it snow!


Cards of Thanks

Many heartfelt thanks to those who stepped up to contribute to the post-Katrina emergency truck drive to Louisiana, especially Mastercorp, Pagosa Food Bank and the Ignacio Middle School students, as well as the many Pagosa citizens. You make us proud.

Judi and Caz Cazedessus

 Fashion show

The ladies of the fashion show from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish would thank the many people and businesses who helped make this such a successful event.

It is impossible to thank all involved but we can't miss the merchants who gave us prizes, and clothing and jewelry to display.

Our models were fabulous, the food delicious and the Tuscany decor sent us to Italy for an afternoon.

Especially enjoyable was the music provided by John Graves on the keyboard and Barbara Witkowski's beautiful renditions of Italian music. Carole Howard's commentary was enjoyed by all.

This would not be the sell-out that it always is without the publicity we receive from the Pagosa SUN, KWUF radio and the Chamber of Commerce, which also sells our tickets.

Padded chairs, purchased with previous show funds, made the afternoon much more comfortable.

Last of all, we appreciate all our workers and especially the folks who purchased tickets.

Joan Slavinski and Yvonne Ralston, co-chairwomen


Partners in Education would like to extend our deepest thanks to all of the volunteers who made Renaissance Family Knight at the elementary school possible: Jenifer Lister, Joanne Irons, Terry and Jennifer Alley, Cathne Holts, Jeanne Simpson, Julie Greenly, Ron Doctor, Felicia Meyer, Dave Krueger, Sharon and Chris Crump, Jody Cromwell, April Holthaus, Kim Moore, Steve Wadley, Joe Donovan, Cynthia Sharp, Cathy Carter, Carolyn Riedberger, Karyn Smith, Andrea McGuinn, Brooks Lindner, Pam Lister, Sue Iverson, Chlorinda Trujillo, Allison Wylie, Sara Scott, Ms. Hunts class, Kathy Harker, Rita Harbour, Scott Allen, Lilli Pearson, Jacki Goodenberger, Kate Lister, Jennifer Alley, Kathy Faber, Chris Pitcher, Tony Simmons, Mary Hart, Debbie Ray, Dave Krueger and fourth-grade sword dancers, Joy Redmon, Jennifer Lilly, Julie Greenly, Kurt Raymond, Michael DeWinter and the Music Boosters, Mrs. Pierce, Mrs. Reinhardt, Mrs. Shaffer, Kate Lister, Eva Manbeck, Linda Ball, Tomi Fredendall, Pete Gonzales, Christie Spears, Cathy Carter, Andrea McGinn, Jennifer Lilly, Jennifer Lobato, Rachel Early, David Dunmyre, Phillip Romine, Mary Hart, Shawna Kop and Karl Irons.




Air Force Senior Airman Darnell C. Strausheim is currently deployed overseas at a forward operating location in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Strausheim, a fire protection journeyman with three years of military service, is normally assigned to the 14th Civil Engineering Squadron, Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.

He is the son of Gerald Strausheim of Mead, Colo., and Judy Crews of Pagosa Springs.

Sports Page

Cross country team ends successful season with ceremony

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

The camaraderie, the fun, and the pain and suffering of running 3.1 miles every weekend at an all-out pace were celebrated at the annual cross country awards ceremony at the high school Friday.

With over 100 people in attendance, Coach Scott Anderson called the event "a great cap of the season," with everyone leaving "with a big smile on their face." J.D. Kurz presented a slide show of his photos from the year, and Emilie Schur and Heather Dahm showed a movie they had produced from footage of the year's events.

The girls' team was recognized for winning the Intermountain League championship for the third year in a row. Schur received a medal for the Runner of the Year award for the league and Schur, Jaclyn Harms and Laurel Reinhardt received their All-Conference certificates for their top places at the Oct. 15 Monte Vista league championship meet.

The six boys and six girls who went to the state championships, as well as Adrian Young, were each given their varsity letters at Friday's event.

Among the many runners recognized for their efforts during the awards ceremony, Anderson awarded Gage Lovett and Oyla Kostash (an exchange student from Ukraine) the "Monster of the Year" awards, for biggest improvements in their time over the course of the season.

Anderson calls the girls' team "the end of an era," with some of the top runners moving on to college next year, and despite the high expectations at the state championship, they "gave us what they had, and did great, progressing throughout the year," said Anderson.

Of the boys' team, Anderson said "We finally got a real guys team to work with. They have set the bar for the future, and (like the girls) will soon be one of the premier 3A cross county teams out there."

Anderson said the awards event solidified the whole season and the team, reminding the runners of the teamwork and camaraderie of the season, and in 10-20 years, "that will be the stuff they hold on to."


Varsity Boys: AJ Abeyta, Travis Furman, Orion Sandoval, Chase Moore, Logan Gholson and Aaron Miller.

Varsity Girls: Emilie Schur, Jaclyn Harms, Laurel Reinhardt, Del Greer, Chelsea Cooper, Heather Dahm and Adrian Young.


Sept. 3 Bayfield: girls first place, boys second place.

Sept. 10 Leadville: girls first place, boys second place.

Sept. 17 Durango: girls second place, boys fifth place.

Sept. 24 Pagosa Springs: girls second place, boys second place.

Oct. 1 Mancos: girls second place, boys second place.

Oct. 8 Aspen: girls fourth place (first 3A team), boys sixth place (third 3A team).

Oct. 15 Monte Vista (league championship): girls first place, boys third place.

Oct. 22 Pagosa Springs (regionals): girls second place, boys third place.

Oct. 29 Colorado Springs (state championships): girls sixth place, boys 14th place.

High Peaks Volleyball Club sets Sunday meeting

By Myles Gabel

Special to The SUN

Are you the athlete just beginning to learn the sport of volleyball?

Are you the athlete trying to make next year's school volleyball team?

Are you the athlete looking for the "edge" in order to impress your coach and break into the starting lineup? Or are you the athlete with long range goals of competing in the sport of volleyball at the collegiate level?

If one of these descriptions fit you, High Peaks Volleyball Club will provide you with the fundamentals, background and skill level to reach your goals!

High Peaks Volleyball Club will hold a meeting for all girls, in fifth to 12th grades, interested in playing club volleyball in 2006. Come to this informative meeting with your parents to discuss all aspects of this exciting USA Volleyball-sanctioned club program.

Even if you are participating on a school sports team now but plan to join High Peaks Volleyball Club at a later time this coming year, come to this first meeting to gather all of the information you need.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Please see your physical education teacher or go to the main office at your school for a High Peaks Volleyball Club flyer.

For additional information, call Myles Gabel at 731-1711.


Gridiron Pirates complete successful 2005 campaign

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The 2005 Pagosa Springs High School football Pirates completed yet another outstanding football season, finishing a decade-best 8-2. This is also the second consecutive year Pagosa has gone undefeated in Intermountain League play, at 4-0.

Even though the Pirates ended their season in the first round of the state 2A playoffs, there are many statistics that highlight a successful campaign.

This is the seventh consecutive season the Pirates have made the playoffs.

The Pirates outscored their opponents 297-181.

They recorded three shutout victories.

They held six opponents to 14 points or less.

Five opponents were held to total net yards of 250 or less.

They averaged more than 300 yards total offense in six games.

They beat 3A Alamosa for the first time in almost 20 years.

Four opponents made it to, or are still in the state playoffs.

The beginning of the season looked like a Pirates' juggernaut with shutout victories on the road at Gunnison (29-0) and Montezuma-Cortez (21-0). The 3-3-5 defense installed by new defensive coordinator Shawn Tucker was working.

But someone scheduled the 4A Montrose Indians. Montrose came to Golden Peaks Stadium with a new coaching staff and a new attitude. The faster, bigger, stronger Indians outmanned the Pirates and won going away, 56-12.

But that same someone scheduled Taos, NM. The Pirates took out their frustrations from a week earlier and dismantled the Tigers 38-14.

Week five was the "ugly" game. Luckily the Pirates saved their ugly game for a struggling Bayfield Wolverines team that was winless going into the contest. The Pirates' defense and special teams scored 24 of 31 points in their third shutout victory.

The game of the year came in week six. The football gods seemed to be on the Buccaneers' side this year when a late interception preserved a 29-24 victory over the Monte Vista Pirates.

The game of the decade was next. The Pirates finally put together a complete football game in week seven as they outclassed a 3A state playoff-bound Alamosa Mean Moose team, 44-21. This game was one of the best to watch (especially for Pirates' fans) as both teams put on an amazing offensive show. This was the first victory over the Mean Moose in almost 20 years.

In week eight, the Pirates were thinking of November playoffs when they let the Ignacio Bobcats hang around until late in the second quarter. Pagosa scored 21 unanswered points in the last six minutes of the first half to finally put away the scrappy Bobcats 35-14.

In week nine, the Pirates refocused on the opponent. The Centauri Falcons came to Golden Peaks Stadium with an upset and potential playoff spot in mind. The Falcons scored first but the Pirates would not have anything to do with their scheme. Pagosa scored 28 unanswered points to overpower the Falcons 28-7 and go undefeated in league and win a second consecutive undisputed IML championship. The win gave the Pirates a first round 2A state playoff game at home.

And then the playoffs came. The Pirates ended their season in a tough first-round loss to Holy Family from Broomfield.

Among 2005 opponents, 3A Alamosa, 2A Holy Family and 4A Montrose have all advanced in state playoff action.

Head coach Sean O'Donnell reflected some very big highs and lows in a season that most coaches and players would give anything to have. "Our season seemed to peak with the Alamosa game. We had made it through a tough game with Monte Vista and our kids came to play. All phases (offense, defense and special teams) came together that night and we beat a good team that is still alive in the 3A playoffs." He went on to say "after that game we started getting some injuries and then our luck ran out against Holy Family."

O'Donnell was quick to say how proud he was of the team and the season. "Our objectives are always to win in the playoffs but 8-2 is a pretty darn good season. I'm proud of the way our seniors played and wish them well. We have a good group of juniors and sophomores coming back so the Pirates should have another fine season in 2006."

He added "the number of players has been decreasing so we need to encourage the junior high and freshmen kids to play football." He also encourages athletes to play other high school sports during the off season.

Uncertainties for the 2006 season are the coaching staff and the make up of the Intermountain league (IML).

The IML will be realigned next year, in football only. Ignacio will move down to Class A for football but remain Class 3A in all other sports. This means that other high schools in the area will move into the IML. Buena Vista, Salida and Lake County will return to the league next season, after an absence of more than a decade.

The makeup of the coaching staff for 2006 is still to be determined. O'Donnell was supposed to step down for the 2005 season after being named the high school assistant principal. He stayed on as head man because he felt that "it was important to be with the group of kids we had and maintain consistency. We had been with many of them for four years."

O'Donnell pointed out that "our staff worked well together and I was pleased with the addition of Shawn Tucker as our defensive coordinator." He also praised the efforts of Mike Kraetsch, Scott White, Randy Sorenson, Dan Janowsky and Bryan Looper.

Discussions will be ongoing with the current staff and the high school administration to finalize the direction as early as possible.

One thing is certain for the 2006 campaign: The Montrose Indians will not be on the schedule.


Mandatory youth basketball assessments Saturday

All youth basketball players signed up in the 9/10 and 11/12 divisions of the Town of Pagosa Springs Youth Basketball Leagues will undergo mandatory skill assessments Saturday morning at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

This assessment day will allow coaches to watch all players and begin the process of placing youngsters on teams. All players signed up for this year's league must attend this assessment day.

Times are: 8- 9:30 a.m. for players in the 9/10 division; 9:30-11 for players in the 11/12 division.


Pirate volleyball to 'set the bar high' next year

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

The 2005 Pirate volleyball season came to an end with a fourth-place finish at the Region A tournament in Colorado Springs - a season first-year coach Andy Rice will use as a foundation for the future.

The Pirates encountered several obstacles on the way to a 10-13 record, second place in the Intermountain League and second place in District 1.

First, and perhaps most disruptive, were injuries. Two serious injuries to starters - one that took the Pirates' starting setter out of the lineup prior to the first match of the season, the second a knee injury to a key, senior outside hitter at midseason. Both injuries slowed the Pirates' ability to adapt to a new, faster style of offense instituted by Rice.

Second was a schedule filled with difficult opponents, including a number of Class 5A and 4A teams, and featuring an Intermountain League with greatly improved programs - most notably the league and district champion Centauri Falcons who beat Pagosa in every meeting during the season and post-season, for the first time in more than 12 years.

The Pirates graduate only four seniors this year: outside hitters Emily Buikema, Kari Beth Faber and Liza Kelley, and middle hitter Caitlin Forrest. The four were standouts throughout the year. "Each of our seniors came through and carried us at different times during the season," said Rice.

What Rice will have next season is an abundance - probably an overabundance - of seniors, with five juniors listed on this year's varsity and four others participating as swing players in some varsity action.

Juniors Kim Canty, Erin Gabel, Iris Frye, Jennifer Haynes and Danielle Spencer were on the varsity roster. Mariah Howell, Lyndsey Mackey, Kim Fulmer and Alaina Garman found their way into varsity action as swings. Thirteen Pirates earned varsity letters this year.

Rice also has two sophomores who saw some varsity action this season in Camille Rand and Laci Jones.

The positive side of a difficult season: the fact that younger players got the chance to experience the speed and intensity of varsity play. Also, the fact that Rice was able to give most of his young players a chance to face the eventual 3A champs, Colorado Springs Christian, at the regional tournament.

Junior varsity players under the tutelage of Kristen Hentschel had a winning season and several sophomore and freshman players made strides that will put them in position to contend for varsity or swing positions next season. C team players, under coaches Norma Shaffer and Ivy Isberg, also made progress and many will advance in the ranks next season.

"We need to look at this season in terms of great experience," said Rice. "We all learned a lot. Our players learned a great deal about the game, and a great deal about themselves. I learned a lot about the girls and about the team process."

If anything characterized the season for Rice it was the manner in which all members of the squad played their parts. "I'm proud it was a team effort," said the coach. "We had thirteen players earn letters and there wasn't one who didn't contribute.

"We also had a great experience at regionals," said Rice. "We were able to visit the U.S. National Team (at the Olympic Training Center), and we played against some top competition and, now, our kids really believe they can do it."

Rice also commended the attitude of his players. "I am so impressed with the character of our kids," he said. "They are great kids - with a new coach and a new program, they never complained. They were always receptive to change, they came in and practiced hard and they played hard. And now we have a good, solid core of returning letter winners. I've already told them it will be a fight to see who emerges to play next season. It'll be a good problem to have. We'll be deep, and we'll set the bar high."


Pirates return experienced soccer team in 2006

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Considering that, from the start, the Pirate soccer season was regarded as the proverbial "rebuilding year," the outcome was more than pleasing to Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, his charges and their fans.

Not only did the Pirates take to the pitch with a relatively inexperienced squad, they did so to face a series of difficult opponents during the 2005 schedule - many of whom went on to the playoffs in their respective classifications. The Pirates handled that schedule well, finishing the season with an 8-8 record.

Further, the full power of the Pirate offense did not materialize until the latter half of the schedule when two prolific offensive talents - sophomore forwards Shon Webb and Chavolo Ortiz - donned their jerseys and joined their teammates.

What the team accomplished was a trip to the Sweet 16 in Class 3A. Though the journey ended with a loss to eventual No. 2 Faith Christian, the lessons will be invaluable.

The senior leadership that steadied the young Pirates and steered them to a better-than-expected finish consisted of three players - Paul Muirhead, Derrick Monks and Kevin Smith. Kurt-Mason was effusive in his praise of his team leaders. "These guys were steady," he said. "Our seniors maintained the positive attitude throughout the season and that contribution was a big part of our success." Muirhead was cited with the team's Most Inspirational award and was voted captain by his team mates. Monks was the co-winner, with sophomore Kevin Blue, of the team's Most Valuable Player award.

Next year, the rebuilding should begin to pay its dividends, with a wealth of talent returning. Starters back next for their final season include Max Smith and Tad Beavers. Other starters back, along with Webb and Ortiz, will be Caleb Ormonde, Thomas Martinez, Keith Pitcher, Blue, Mike Schmidt, Felix Gutierrez, Tesh Parker and Alex Baum (winner of the Most Improved award this year).

"We'll have an experienced team next season," said Kurt-Mason. "As a result, we'll be looking for more composure on the field and more confidence in our play. We'll also be looking to score more goals. This season, we scored 22 times and allowed our opponents to score 50 against us. We need to reverse that next year - bolster our defense and score more goals."

The year was a valuable one, said the coach, and certain characteristics developed that will bode well in the future. "This was a learning experience for everyone, players and coaches," said Kurt-Mason. "We had a young team that never gave up, that kept in it to the end throughout a tough schedule. They stayed in there against some very tough teams. It was a good building year. We went into the bracket of sixteen teams seeded at fifteen and that will be a good springboard for next season."


Pagosa Springs Recreation

Keep sports in your child's life

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

Twenty-million kids register each year for youth hockey, football, baseball, soccer and other competitive sports.

The National Alliance for Sports reports that 70 percent of these kids quit playing these league sports by age 13 - and never play them again.

According to Michael Pfahl, executive director of the National Youth Sports Coaches Association, "The number-one reason (why they quit) is that it stopped being fun." With figures like these, it's time we rethink how we present youth sports to kids. With that in mind, here are some key points to remember about your kids playing sports.


Focus on the element of play in any sports activity you introduce to very young kids.

Make it fun. Don't burden them or concern them with competition, keeping score, and rules. Get them running, kicking, throwing, catching ... and laughing. Use equipment that suits their bodies and coordination levels (toss a beanbag instead of a ball). Adapt games according to their abilities. Always offer encouraging words for all their efforts.

Elementary school

Sports psychology expert Rick Wolff, author of "Good Sports," stresses that parents of kids ages 5-12 need not be concerned with their child's excellence.

Wolf advises, "The key here is having your child develop a sense of passion for the sport."

Parents and coaches need to be aware of what kids can accomplish at their differing developmental levels - physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially. Many kids lose their passion for youth sports during these years because they feel they can't live up to their parents' and coaches' expectations.

Middle school

Kids start dropping out in big numbers at this stage.

Playing sports loses its enjoyment for them and "fun" takes a back seat to winning. Pick-up games and just "playing for fun" should be encouraged. The key at this vulnerable stage is to keep them playing the sports they enjoy - if not on school or youth teams, then informally with friends. Not being on a team does not mean they have failed as an athlete. It just means that they have to find other pleasurable ways to continue enjoying their sports.

High school

By this stage, it's usually the successful high-school athletes who play both school sports and outside competitive-league sports. There are just so many positions to be filled on competitive teams.

But what about kids who still love to play sports but can't because of their demanding academic, social, and work lives? Parents need to remind these kids of the fun they have playing these games and help them to find time to play them with family members and friends. Helping your kids stay connected to the sports they love now can encourage them to remain physically active throughout their lives.

Reference: Carleton Kendrick Ed.M., LCSW is the co-author of "Take Your Nose Ring Out, Honey, We're Going to Grandma's." He offers individualized personal coaching for parents of adolescents.

Assessment day

Assessment Day for all 9/10 and 11/12 players who signed up for the 2006 Youth Basketball League will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Times are as follows: 9/10 year-olds, 8-9:30 a.m.; 11/12 year-olds, 9:30-11.

In order to be placed on fair and equitable teams all players must attend this assessment day.

Soccer photos

If you bought extra photographs of little Joey or Susie playing soccer, your pictures are now available at Pagosa Photography. Stop in at 480 San Juan St. in downtown Pagosa Springs or call 264-3686 to speak with Jeff Laydon about delivery of your photos.

Hoop Shoot

The 2005 Elk's Club Hoop Shoot will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, at the community center. This free-throw shooting contest will award every participant with a Hoop Shoot T-shirt. Winner of our town competition will go on to regional and state competitions later in December and January. The 2005 Elk's Club Hoop Shoot is free to all participants and you may sign up on the day of the event.

Adult volleyball

We have had great turnouts for our open volleyball nights. Anyone still interested in playing coed adult indoor volleyball should call the recreation office at 264-4151, Ext. 232. We are currently on hold for facilities to open up, but will continue open volleyball in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.


If you have a background in basketball as a player or coach, we need you.

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department is hiring referees and scorekeepers for the 2005/2006 youth basketball season. High School students through adults welcome. Training given. Pay depends on experience, certification and the level of the games you officiate/scorekeep. Contact the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department at 264-4151, Ext. 232, if interested.

Sports hotline

Information concerning the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department can be obtained by calling the Pagosa Springs Sports Hotline at 264-6658 or logging on to and going to the Parks and Recreation link. All schedules and upcoming events are updated every Monday morning.

Additional information

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.



Over and over and ...

If you read Legacies, compiled by Shari Pierce, you may have no-ticed it: Certain concerns and efforts repeat themselves in Pa-gosa Country. You read nearly every week about Pagosans dealing in the past with problems similar to those we face today.

Ninety years ago: Debate about building a new bridge, concerns about the sale and use thereafter of public lands.

Seventy-five years ago: Scurrilous behavior by juvenile delinquents.

Twenty five years ago: Talk of an enlarged medical facility, news about a drug bust, problems with the water supply, construction of subdivision roads, a downtown improvement plan.

These were concerns for our predecessors - perhaps not accompanied by the shrill and often self-important sense of alarm we experience today, but viable concerns nonetheless. As they are for us.

A glance at the past reveals several things: First, obviously, that certain issues regularly emerge in a slightly different guise. As populations change and the economy shifts, problems thought solved come back to haunt us. Wear and tear, and growth put pressures on the system. Where it is weak, it breaks; when needed, it must be built anew.

Politically, our way of life has always required friction, the clash of ideas, personalities and interests. Then and now, we find division, ego battles, sharp talk. We see pressure from groups of "experts" who haven't the courage to run for office themselves. The situation was, and is, an accurate representation of the state and character of the community. As they did in the past, we will move on, making use of what is productive, despite the noise.

Our glance backward illuminates the many times work was not completed, or was not finished effectively, reminding us of the need to tend to business now. We realize we are at a critical point: Unlike in the past, when projects and problems may not have been as pressing, recent rapid and unprecedented growth makes it necessary we actually follow through on plans, complete our projects. Or we will pass them on in more difficult form.

When we turn back from the rearview mirror we realize, contrary to the blather spouted by the know-it-alls, the county is moving forward, slowly - for example,on the road problem. Not to a solution that pleases everyone but to a point where it becomes incumbent on many of us to do what our predecessors did not do: Deal with the problem ourselves - with more money to the county, or by taxing ourselves to contract to get the maintenance and plowing done after this next year.

With county land use planning, we can take an important step forward, a step that should have been taken 50, 30, 20 years ago. There is still time to deal with many of the nasty side effects of growth. We are taking steps now, slowly.

In terms of downtown development, the car is on the track. Contrary to the inaction that followed plans made in the early '80s, the process is moving forward. With an eye on private property rights as well as to the welfare of those displaced or adversely affected by the changes, we might emerge in better shape than before, with a commercial and residential environment of greater quality, an enhanced ability to attract revenue and provide the jobs needed to benefit an entire community.

It pays to review the news from the old days. Over the last nine decades, the pages of The SUN contained indications of the dreams, the enterprises, the realities in Pagosa Country. Those pages give us an idea of what went right, what went wrong, what was done and what went undone - lessons instructive as we deal with these most interesting of times.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

When you got a nickel's worth

By Richard Walter

SUN Columnist

Please deposit five cents for the first three minutes.

That was for a pay telephone call.

Those phones are a dying breed. Too many have been ripped from their tethers by those with too little to do or a gnawing need for "phone change."

And, when was the last time you saw a complete phone book in a pay phone kiosk?

A call for a nickel? Yep. But that was a long time ago. Today you're lucky in the big city airport to find one where you'll spend less than a dollar ... and that's just to reach an operator ... often a technologically created tinny voice which is basically unintelligible.

Sure, the cost of everything has risen over the years. The newspaper is no exception. But we strive to provide a legitimate product at the least possible cost.

The pay telephone, however, seems to have become a relic of the near past. Replaced by cell phones, cordless phones, pre-paid phone cards purchased at the supermarket, and by people who need a historic decoration for their living room or home office.

Gone even earlier were the old party lines.

I recall my grandmother in Pagosa Springs had a wall phone in the kitchen - after years of rejecting the intrusion because of the cost - when several of her sons were in military service.

No call coming in was private. Oh, yeah, you had your own personal ring - maybe two shorts and a long - dialed by an operator at an office on Main Street (now called Pagosa Street) downtown.

Everyone had their own ring, and everyone recognized each other's ring. It wasn't unusual to be talking on the phone and find someone else was listening intently ... and offering commentary on what was being said.

Perhaps it was boredom, a genuine sense of concern for the neighbor's well being, or just a need to know.

Sometimes there'd be a real emergency and you had to break in to a party line conversation and plead for them to clear the line.

There were probably a dozen other homes on Grandma's line and each of the families was instructed on how to recognize a call was for them.

Today, in the age of electronic modernity, we have instant communication from anywhere in the world. We have pictures live from the war zone.

There is no need to eavesdrop on your neighbor's phone call from her boyfriend, or a cousin in Iowa, or a boss wondering where the tardy employee is.

In this era of literal reality, everyone knows everything. Just ask them.

One of the best read features in this newspaper is the Whaddaya Think seen on the editorial page every week.

It is a sounding board for public opinion on a wide variety public questions and people are awesome with their knowledge of current events.

In the days of the party line, smoke signals weren't too far removed from the communications network. But if you really wanted privacy, most of the party liners would grant it.

I defy you to find that degree of privacy today. It just can't happen. Somewhere, somehow, an electronic big brother is monitoring you.


90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 19, 1915

The newest school district is No. 16, having been voted upon and carried unanimously. This district will provide school facilities, which have long been lacking, for the children residing in the vicinity of the Sam Sullenberger, Harold Selby, Foertsch, Ross and other ranches. Another score for Co. Supt. John Q. Vermillion, who is making a record in his efforts to see that no child in the county shall go without educational facilities.

Prof. Luke Rock desires to inform the public that he has reorganized the Rock orchestra and from now on will be ready to furnish the best of music for entertainments and dances.

For a nice Christmas present, send some friend or relative the Sun for one year.

 75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 21, 1930

While full details are lacking, a serious altercation took place at Arboles Tuesday, when Lee McGee and Roy Shaw, both residents of that community, engaged in a lively battle which involved the employment of a hammer and monkey wrench. The trouble is said to have arisen over Arboles school matters, Mr. McGee and Mrs. Shaw being members of the school board and Mrs. McGee a teacher in the Arboles school.

It started in to storming last Friday and has snowed or rained ever since until this morning, when it turned cold. There are now from six to ten inches of snow in this section.

Whitney Newton shipped out 27 cars of cattle, over 600 head, to the Denver market Sunday.

 50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 17, 1955

Local residents will find that they can save money, travel and time by doing their Christmas shopping at home this year. The local stores have a really fine stock of merchandise for Christmas that will soon go on display. Their prices are competitive and they stand behind their merchandise. It will be a lot easier to shop at home than drive many miles over snow roads, pay parking tickets or feed nickels into meters, do business with someone who doesn't know you and doesn't care whether or not you are satisfied after leaving the store.

The coming election for the proposal to issue bonds to buy a new fire truck is an important one. Every eligible citizen should immediately register for this election and should plan to vote.

 25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 20, 1980

Interested citizens Tuesday heard details of a study for improvement of the business section of the community. The concept would extend the plan to take in the entire business section of the town rather than just the downtown.

A block grant application for $1 million has been authorized by the Town Board and the Town Manager is preparing the application. The grant is for the purpose of a two-year improvement program for the southwest section of town. It is for funds to replace and install new water lines; to rehabilitate housing; for parks purposes; to acquire land for a medical center; to improve and pave streets; extend geothermal lines and for other purposes in the same type of improvement.


Students in Stitches

Intermediate school projects featured nationally

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

The thought of quilting might summon a mental picture of a sweet-hearted grandmother stitching love into a warm blanket for her grandbabies. But, what if the grandchildren were doing the stitching themselves?

Mary Kurt-Mason, a teacher at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School, bridges the generational gap when it comes to quiltmaking - choosing a theme quilt for her class each year, based on curriculum.

Kurt-Mason wrote an article about her quilting adventures for American Quilter magazine that will be released this month. Many of the quilts made by previous classes will be featured in full-color format, and every quilt she's made with a class is discussed.

"I heard about using quilting to teach geometry at a math workshop, and I thought it sounded fun," said Kurt-Mason, who began the quilting journey with her third-grade class 14 years ago. Thirteen completed quilts later, Kurt-Mason is beginning work on an ABC button quilt with her special talents class.

"I'm always amazed at their creativity," said Kurt-Mason. "Most people expect stick-figures from students, but their art can be very sophisticated."

Kurt-Mason and her students have produced some award-winning fare. The quilt named "African Stories," produced by her 1998-99 fifth-grade class, won the Colorado Quilting Council's Award of Excellence at the Archuleta County Fair. Each quilt has been displayed at the county fair; some have been displayed at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, as well as in the Colorado State Capitol.

The students design each quilt square in a variety of ways. Construction paper cut into triangles was used to choose the designs for the third-grade quilt "Wild Winners' Quilt," while graph paper aided in the construction of "African Stories."

Some quilt squares were sewn by students themselves, such as those compiling "Stampeded of Stars," "Spunky Street" and "No Worries." Other squares were appliquéd such as those comprising "An Inordinate Fondness for Insects," and then sewn by Kurt-Mason or parent volunteers.

To make collaborative squares, the students rearranged designs until each in the group was satisfied - no voting was allowed. Class-designed quilts were made by voting on each new phase ("Wild Winners' Quilt") or by collaboration, where each student felt satisfied with design, rather than a majority rule ("Hot! Hot! Hot!"). All materials for the quilts were provided by Kurt-Mason.

Kurt-Mason has been discussing a display of all the student quilts for the International Quilt Show in Houston. If the display is approved, it will appear at the show in October 2006. All 13 of the quilts are currently in safe storage, and are brought out for display at shows.

"I'm amazed at what a beautiful job they did," said Kurt-Mason of the staff at American Quilter. Copies of the Winter 2005 edition of American Quilter can be obtained at Edelweiss Needlework Chalet in Pagosa Springs (where orders are currently being accepted), the Durango Quilt Company, Borders Books and Music, Joann's Fabrics and Hancocks, or by calling the American Quilter Society at (800) 626-5420.

Kurt-Mason is currently writing a book that will feature all the quilts created by her classes.

The quilts, and the students who created these masterpieces are:

"Wild Winners' Quilt," third-grade, 1991-92: Brandy Hamblin, September O'Cana, Azucena Nevarez, Shilo Moore, Derek Bell, Raymond Cundiff, Chris Read, Michael Gustavson, Michael Preuit, Daniel Crenshaw, Anthony Maestas, Jimmy Cardenas, Gretchen Bergon, Chelsea Sanchez, Andrea Ash, Michael Angelo, Brent Slough and Jordan Mustill.

"Blast Off!," fifth-grade, 1993-1994: Adrienne Crider, Cody Dean, Elis Eaklor, Rebecca Jackson, Albert Martinez, Audrey McBride, Shane Parker, Tony Rivera, September O'cana, Merenda Romine, Ryan Souza, Nathan Stretton, Thomas Thomas, Kyle Levitan, Erin Lister, Angie Lucas, Christine Martin, Kelli Patterson, Kes Pena, Chris Read and Darin Richey.

"Stampede of Stars," fifth-grade, 1995-1996: Jason Chavez, Matthew Lattin, Jesse Trujillo, Jeremy Hill, John Kyriacou, Caleb Bergon, Ceth Carnley, Brandon Rosgen, Erin Prokop, Melissa Carothers, Jordan Rea, Travis Reid, Michael Dach, Jared Payne, Sean Connell, Sheena Dietrich, Darien Lujan, Sarah Riley, Billy Roeder, Ashley Snow, Kyle Frye, Matthew Mesker, Travis Blesi, Zeb Gill, Ashley Wagle and Jayme Lee.

"African Stories," fifth-grade. 1998-1999: Emilie Schur, Charmaine Talbot, Emmy Smith, Rebecca Goodrich, Averey Johnson, Cody Pack, Jim Guyton, Brea Thompson, Alisha Sellers, Brandy Logan, Josh Mills, Emily Buikema, Daniel Aupperle, Derrick Monks, Kelly Freudenberger, Beth Lujan, Jonathan Alger, Makayla Voorhis, Roxanne Lattin, Justin Moore, Michael Joy, Matt Nobles, Collin Smith and Efrain Marinelarena.

"No Worries!," fifth-grade, 1999-2000: Gunnar Gill, Christian Theys, Jonathan Cartrette, Justin Tatum, Claire Versaw, KaTrina Reese, Hayley Goodman, Jenny Tothe, Ryan Montroy, Phillip Romine, Tad Beavers, John-David Heinrich, Lyndsey Mackey, Melissa McGregor, Katelynn Little, Brittany Bryson, Teresa Silva, Laurel Reinhardt, Saber Hutcherson, Josh Stuckwish, James Martinez, Jessica Lynch, Iris Frye, Peter Dach, Jacques Sarnow and Corey Goodrich.

"Hot! Hot! Hot!," fifth-grade, 2000-2001: Chance Adams, Ashley Angell, Maddy Bergon, Caleb Burggraaf, Dan Cammack, Garret Campbell, Kylie Corcoran, Kaytlin Ehardt-Aguilar, Rebekah Farmer, Brook Galesic, Tamara Gayhart, Darren Goodwin, Del Greer, Josh Laydon, Lauren Loewen, Daniel Martinez, Marteece Mattoon, Keith Pitcher, Amber Ricker, Jason Smith, Cela White and Corey Windnagel.

"An Inordinate Fondness for Insects," fifth-grade, 2001-2002: Nathan Trowbridge, Cassidy Stahlnecker, Chris Sherley, Heath Rivas, Joie Zielinski, Xander PeBenito, Camron Jensen, Audrey Martinez, Jessica Martinez, Daniel Roeder, Alicia Cox, Mat Brown, Zel Johnston, Ethon Tatum, Aleisha Young, Aniceta Gallegos, Julie Maez, CJ Cartrette, Patricia Stevens, Myron Voorhis, Andy Abresch, Devin Whomble, Don Ames and Jacob Bandy.

"Spunky Street," fifth-grade, 2002-2003: Nicola Shaw, Boone Stahlnecker, Cody Whittington, Julia Adams, Jordan Caler, Jacob Lucero, Trent Maddux, Casey Crow, Bridgett Brule, Felicia Salas, Rapheal Sisneros, Denise Bauer, Art Murrietta, Eric Tatum, Eli Fairman, Victoria Espinosa, Jordan Frey, Sarah Sexton, Mary Ramirez and Josie Snow.


First Baptist plans

Thanksgiving dinner

First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs will host the fourth annual Thanksgiving Celebration Dinner for the community, 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20.

This event is sponsored by the Missions Committee, the "First Fruits" outreach of the deacons and by a number of members of the church.

Each year the church invites those who will not have the opportunity to celebrate the Thanksgiving season with family members, those who are in assisted living homes, those who may not be able to provide a meal on Thanksgiving Day and those who wish to have a wonderful meal with friends and neighbors of the community.

A delicious meal is prepared by members of the church and is free to those who attend. Any person or family who desires to come may call the church office at 731-2205 and make reservations for the dinner.

This outreach program is a way in which the church can help the community celebrate the blessings the Lord has provided in the past year.


Local blood drive today

United Blood Services will hold a blood drive 1-6 p.m. today, Nov. 17. The drive will take place at Mountain Heights Baptist Church, 1044 Park Ave. An ID is required of all donors. You can sign up for the blood drive at www.united


Volunteers needed for science fair

The San Juan Board of Cooperative Services is looking for volunteers to help with judging and other aspects of the 48th annual San Juan Basin Regional Science Fair. The 2006 fair will be held Thursday, March 2 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango, and is open to students in grades 6 through 12 from Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties. For more information, contact Sheila at 247-3261, Ext. 222, e-mail at, or visit the Web site at


Meet Bill Ritter

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter will be in Pagosa Springs Saturday and he's inviting the public to hear his views and share their concerns. Meet Ritter from 8:30-10 a.m. at Farrago's at San Juan and 2nd streets.

Ritter is currently the only Democratic candidate for governor. For more information, contact the Bill Ritter for Governor Campaign at (720) 350-8370. A no-host breakfast will be available during Ritter's visit.

For information concerning Saturday's breakfast meeting, call John Egan at 264-5455.

Stanford-Cal Big Game Party

All Four Corners Stanford alumni and students, families and friends, and UC Berkeley alumni are invited to a Stanford-Cal Big Game party with live telecast, Nov. 19. The party will be held at the home of Orris and Ann Flattens, in Durango. It begins at 4:30 p.m. with the kickoff at 5. Contact the Flattens at 259-0971, or Bev Warburton, 731-0343, for more information and directions. Bring afternoon football food to share and $3 for the club party kitty.


Pagosa's Past

Cold, dismal days at Fort Lewis

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Fort Lewis' existence in Pagosa Springs as one of the U.S. bastions against a possible Southern Ute uprising was short lived.

Troops marched into Pagosa Springs in October of 1878 and commenced construction of a fort many supposed would be home to as many as 10 companies of cavalry and infantry troops.

By the end of 1880, only a small maintenance cadre of troops remained in Pagosa Springs. By the end of 1882 all of the troops were gone from the fort and it was officially abandoned.

Many events of interest occurred while troops were here. With the troops stationed in Fort Lewis gasping in the grasp of almost unbelievable cold, the following letter was sent to the Assistant Adjutant General, Department of the Missouri in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, dated Feb. 8, 1880, from Geo. Sharkey, commanding the 15th Infantry at Fort Lewis:

"Sir, Referring to your endorsement of Jany 22 referring to the endorsement of the Chief Q. M. of the Department made upon communication of the Post Quartermaster Fort Lewis, Colo., I have the honor to state for your information that the thermometer after daylight in the morning registered at this post Dec. 25th 36, Jany 31st 39 and Feb. 6th 41 below zero. (Motter... BELOW Zero). There is no minimum and maximum thermometer at the Post.

"Winter set in Nov. 17 and it has been continuously cold, snowy weather since then. The last snow fell Jan. 27, 28, & 29, over 36 1/2 inches - thermometer at 7 a.m. today 26 below zero.

"I think all the issues and allowances for the Fur latitude should be made here. I make this statement that the severity of the climate may be known and the major discomforts of the present winter be avoided."

Following the forgoing letter was this letter sent to the same authority by Capt. Sharkey Feb. 10, 1880.

"Sir; I have the honor to request that a General Court Martial be convened at this post for the trial of prisoners now in confinement.

"Attention is respectfully invited to statement of persons in arrest or confinement in which it will be noticed that men have been in confinement awaiting trial since August 1879.

"On account of the large numbers in confinement at the post filling the Guard House to its fullest capacity and the long confinement of prisoners we have, I have temporarily restored them to duty awaiting trial.

"There are now on duty in the Garrison and Camp the following officers subject to Court Martial Detail ... Capt. J.H. Bradfow, 19th Infantry; Capt. Geo. Shorkey(Sp. ?), 15th Infantry; 1st Lieut. C.M DeLuny, 15th Infantry; 1st,. Lieut. Geo. F. Cooke, 15th Infantry; 2 Lieut. A.R. Paxton, 15th Infantry; 2 Lieut. A.Mc. C. Ogle, 19th Infantry."

Plans to move Fort Lewis from Pagosa Springs to a site further west were already in progress by early 1880. Maybe the cold weather had something to do with the desire to move. Maybe the cold weather filled the guard house. Troops locked up in the guard house would be warmer than troops outside performing one of myriad required tasks.

A short time later, but still during 1880, we learn the post commander is unable to provide information as to the intent and purposes of the dreaded Utes, the reasons for the Fort's existence. In a letter dated March 11, 1880. Capt. Sharkey replies in answer to the question concerning the Utes, "Immediate steps will be taken to procure the desired information, at the present I am not in possession of any information bearing upon the subject."

More next week bearing on the reasons for moving Fort Lewis from Pagosa Springs.





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Clear weather predicted for Pagosa this week

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

National weather agencies are consistently predicting clear weather in Pagosa for the following week, with highs in the high 40s and lows in the 15 to 20 degree range.

In contrast, the Farmer's Almanac, which predicts weekly weather a year in advance using a secret formula based on sunspots, suggests that November will be a bigger than average snow month for this region. With only about a quarter of an inch of November precipitation in town so far, all falling during last Friday's storm, we'll still need over an inch of precipitation to match the Almanac's prediction. Using a common rule of thumb of an inch of rain as equivalent to about 10 inches of typical snow, expect a big snow dump before the end of the month. That is, if the Farmer's Almanac is to be believed.

Last Friday's storm, in addition to bringing 0.22 inches of rain, produced a peak gust of 42 miles per hour, the highest gust of the year so far. Last week the temperature peaked at 65 degrees on Nov. 10, with a high of only 39.5 degrees on Tuesday. Lows were consistently below freezing, with a temperature of only 13.5 degrees measured at 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

Sunrise is currently 6:13 a.m., with sunset at 5:32 today. The waning moon will rise at 7 p.m. tonight, and will rise about 55 minutes later each successive night.

Fun weather fact of the week: The highest seasonally cumulative precipitation of snow ever measured in the world was on Mount Baker, Wash., during the 1998-1999 season when the area received 1,140 inches of snow. Last season by contrast, Wolf Creek Pass Ski Area received 535 inches.