November 24, 2005
Front Page

Town, Corps of engineers hold river meeting

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Mark Garcia, Pagosa Springs town manager, and Julie Jessen, town special projects director, met on the bank of the San Juan River last Wednesday with Kera Hellige, chief of the Durango Regulatory Office of the Army Corps of Engineers, to discuss the town's permit application for river improvements.

The purpose of the outdoor meeting, which began at 2 p.m. and continued past sunset, was "to make crystal clear what the Army Corps wants" from the town for the required ACOE Section 404 permit, said Gary Lacy, of Recreational Engineering and Planning.

The town has hired Recreational Engineering and Planning to design and implement river improvements; part of that task is to provide agencies such as the ACOE with permit information and data. Lacy brought three members of his team to the meeting: Scott Shipley, whitewater design engineer and Olympic kayaker, Mike Harvey, designer, and Andrew Midwood, fish biologist. Mike Japhet, of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, was also present.

Garcia kicked off the meeting by explaining the project's dual purpose to enhance fish habitat and to create a kayak park. He said that three different planning firms for the Town Master Plan each said that the town's current layout "is not connecting to the river." Garcia said that Lacy's design "addresses far more people connecting with the river's edge than for boaters and fishermen in the river."

Throughout the meeting, Hellige emphasized that the ACOE's concerns were to make sure the impacts of the river improvements were assessed properly. The need for grout (concrete) in the seven proposed whitewater structures was one of the ACOE's concerns. Previously, the ACOE has typically approved grouted structures, according to Midwood. Hellige said that the ACOE "was taking a hard look at the use of grout, and that it preferred in-stream structures that were "not permanent and dynamic," allowing "the river to shift."

In the section of river where grouted structures are planned, from the pedestrian bridge to the 6th Street bend, where the whitewater park is "concentrated to a short stretch," Lacy said that the river is already "hardened and unfortunately channeled," confined by parking lots, sidewalks, a resort, a bridge and 6th street.

Based on his experience in building "hundreds of recreational features," Shipley described the dynamics of whitewater structures. Because of erosive forces specific to whitewater structures, he said it was better to build as "all one unit." Attempts to build ungrouted whitewater structures on "higher flow rivers like the Yampa, said Lacy, resulted in "entire collapse." The frequent need for maintenance of several of Durango's ungrouted in-stream whitewater features was also discussed. Emphasizing the safety issue, Lacy also said that because the grouted structures are bonded to the river's bottom, they are the most stable in-stream structure in high flows.

During the course of the meeting, other issues were discussed, such as an analysis of the hyporheic zone (the river bottom region where the river water interfaces with ground water), the "Fishing is Fun" grant (which Garcia said was a separate issue and requested it to be removed from the 404 permitting process), and mitigation aspects.

The meeting also included a lengthy discussion of flood stage. Hellige expressed concern that the whitewater structures would increase sediment deposition behind the structures and increase the flood stage. Shipley has verified using the ACOE's HEC-RAS computer program that the structures will not increase the 100-year flood level, the requirement set by FEMA, but Hellige requested information on the expected change in river level at multiple flows. Shipley said he will provide flow information at a variety of stages.

"Wait a minute," said Lacy, who said in 35 years of designing river features he "never had to do a flood analysis for a 404 permit." Generally the requirements include obtaining all state and local permits, and the town, as a FEMA participant, issues the FEMA 100-year flood permit, said Lacy.

Garcia said that he and the town council felt that there was a "whole level of scrutiny that is inappropriate" regarding this project. Lacy asked Hellige why there were so many additional requirements for Pagosa's project. "Something is completely different here. Is it politics?" asked Lacy.

Hellige said that "everyone is watching this project," and that she had gotten "so many calls" from the upper levels of ACOE about Pagosa's planned river park. To dispel the notion expressed that the resistance was politically inspired, Hellige stated the scrutiny was "mostly because the USGS gauge had been removed." She also added that the ACOE's stance is that the work done in the spring was "not maintenance" of the existing structures.

Garcia said the USGS gauge was not used for adjudication purposes and would not have performed properly after the installation of the new structure. The town has already replaced the gauging station to another location. Garcia pointed to the grouted river structure built across from the Springs Resort and asked, "When does the Corps look at the piles of people enjoying the river this summer versus a gauging station?"

As the meeting ended, Hellige emphasized that she wanted the town to consider "less environmentally damaging alternatives."

Lacy, who plans to provide the ACOE's additional requests for information by mid-December, said there are no existing alternative structures for whitewater parks. He said "The question is, 'do you want (a whitewater park) or not?' It's your town, you tell us."

 

Pagosan gets 12 years in meth sentencing

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Catherine Cline, 41, of Pagosa Springs, was sentenced to 12 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections by District Court Judge Greg Lyman Monday. Cline pleaded guilty to one count of Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine) with Intent to Distribute.

Cline was one of five Pagosa Springs residents arrested in November 2004, following a four-month cooperative investigation by the Pagosa Springs Police Department and the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department into suspected methamphetamine distribution in the community. Police reports allege Cline had been involved in the transportation from California for approximately a year prior to her arrest of approximately half a pound of methamphetamine per month into the Pagosa Springs area.

Timothy Cline, 40, Jesse Gheen, 25, Maranda Allen, 27, and Duane Eddy, 27, all of Pagosa Springs, were also arrested.

According to reports from the Pagosa Springs Police Department and the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, search warrants were executed on two homes, one in the 300 block of North 6th Street and the other on Garnet Court.

Police officers and sheriff's deputies entered the home on North 6th Street about 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19, acting on information obtained through the joint investigation. One subject was arrested at the scene. Three other arrests followed the same evening. A vehicle and a large amount of cash were seized. Officials entered the home on Garnet Court about 5 p.m. Nov. 20, arresting a fifth subject.

Evidence, including undisclosed amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana, equipment for weighing and packaging drugs, drug paraphernalia and papers, and records and ledgers believe to related to the distribution of methamphetamine, was collected from the homes.

According to Det. Scott Maxwell of the Pagosa Springs Police Department, the street value of a gram of methamphetamine in Pagosa Springs was $120, making the street value of a half pound of methamphetamine (sold in gram quantities) $27,240.

On Oct. 17, Eddy and Allen were sentenced in their cases. Allen was sentenced to four years in the Colorado Department of Corrections Community Corrections Program after pleading guilty to a charge of Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute. Eddy received a one-year sentence after pleading guilty to Possession of Methamphetamine, as well as a four-year sentence in the DOC for a separate 2005 case involving possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Timothy Cline's case is still pending.

Maxwell spoke at Cline's sentencing, emphasizing that, in his opinion, methamphetamine has a far reaching impact in the community, being a significant factor in burglaries and property crimes as well as in domestic violence and child abuse and neglect cases. Lyman also commented in his sentencing of Cline regarding the negative effects of methamphetamine he has witnessed in the community.

 

Operation Helping Hand seeks donations

Operation Helping Hand has been assisting our less fortunate neighbors in Archuleta County during the holiday season for nearly 20 years.

Civic organizations and church groups have united to avoid duplication of efforts and to ensure as many holiday season needs and wishes as possible can be accommodated.

Donations of nonperishable food items such as dressing, canned vegetables, canned hams, gelatin mix or any other nonperishable ingredients for a holiday dinner, as well as gift items, used clothing and used household items, can be dropped off at Coldwell Banker or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill, or Bank of the San Juans on Hot Springs Boulevard.

For those wishing to assist by purchasing new clothing, household items or toys, written requests have been posted at both City Market locations and at the Chamber of Commerce.

After purchasing the requested item, it should be wrapped and the request tag attached so that it will be delivered to the correct person. Purchased gifts can be dropped off at the above mentioned locations by December 13.

Monetary donations should be made out to Operation Helping Hand and deposited to account no. 6240417424 at Wells Fargo Bank or account no. 20014379 at Bank of the San Juans. Donations may also be mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Families seeking assistance for Christmas may pick up an application from the Department of Social Services. Forms should be completed and returned by 3 p.m. Dec. 5. For more information, call the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.

Read next week's SUN for more details.

  

Comp plan meeting deals with development

James Robinson

Staff Writer

If the analysts and consultants are correct, in 20 years Pagosa Springs will be a very different place.

Current population forecasts indicate that within that 20-year period the area population will double and the town itself could see as many as 1,000 more residential units and nearly 3,000 additional inhabitants. Traffic, commensurate with the population boom, could increase as much as 15 to 20 times the levels residents experience today.

Directly linked to these issues are questions on the value of parks, open space, the character of neighborhoods, future employment opportunities and what types of industry should drive the local economy. At the crux of the discussion lies the question of how does a town such as Pagosa Springs preserve its quality of life within the context of developing a growing community?

The answer: long range planning.

And that is exactly what attendees undertook during the second public work session for the town's comprehensive planning process.

The comprehensive plan is a long range planning tool that will serve as a blue print for guiding future growth and development in the Town of Pagosa Springs.

Because of the town's Home Rule Charter, a comprehensive plan is mandated by state statute and must be updated every five years. However, the town has never officially crafted nor adopted a comprehensive plan and its 1979 "Plan for Progress" fell short of the mark and was never used to craft formal planning policies. With the town having undergone and endured unprecedented changes and new pressures since 1979, and with many more predicted for the future, the town has identified long range planning as a primary goal and is pushing for completion and adoption of a comprehensive plan.

The process began last summer in a similarly styled, brainstorming session where attendees weighed in on numerous broad issues such as parks, open space, trails, public transportation, design guidelines, neighborhoods, the local economy, and commercial development zones.

The information gathered from that session was then sculpted into a community vision with planning goals that would help guide growth and development in Pagosa Springs well into the future.

While the first session was more general in nature, the second and most recent session, held Nov. 17 in the gymnasium at the community center, was more pointed and attendees worked in small groups on the potentials and pitfalls of three proposed development scenarios.

In the first development scenario, group members were asked to analyze the ramifications of letting development run its course. Under this scenario, no real changes would be made to current development patterns and zoning mechanisms.

The second scenario would focus commercial development in two key areas: downtown and the Pagosa Lakes area. The third scenario would allow for small, multiple commercial centers spread throughout town.

In addition, group members were asked to explore the nature of future and existing neighborhoods, subdivisions, clustering and development on the fringes of the planning area within the context of the various scenarios.

Each option forced the groups to make sacrifices. For example, one option might mean cuts to, or less protection for, parks and open space but would maximize commercial development.

The groups were asked to select a development scenario or to provide themes that could be use to help draft future land use policy.

Ultimately, while no one land use scenario came out the clear winner, two common themes emerged. First, every group advocated the need for long range planning and eliminated the "let development run its course" option. Secondly, attendees advocated the need to find an alternative to U.S. 160 as the primary, and arguably only, artery available to move traffic through and across town.

Talk focused around the potential for a truck bypass, or a number of shorter, secondary routes residents could use to get across and around town.

Parks, open space and a well developed and connected trails system emerged as priorities as well.

Judging by the comments, if one development scenario took precedent, the two commercial center approach seemed to come out on top. With the information gathered at the meeting, staff from Clarion and Associates, the land use consulting firm hired by the town to complete the plan, will distill the comments down into a "preferred land use scenario" which will be presented to the public in February.

The comprehensive plan is scheduled for completion in spring of 2006.

For more information on the plan visit the town's Web site at www.townofpagosasprings.com.

 

 Inside The Sun

School board directors sworn in

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

In an abbreviated special meeting of the Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education last week, two newly-elected district directors were sworn in and another was appointed.

Once the full board was seated, members voted on officers for the following year, and selected representatives to various committees and state education organizations.

While the board meets regularly on the second Tuesday of every month, the special meeting took place Wednesday, Nov. 16 in the Pagosa Springs Junior High School library. Earlier in the day, the November board election results were officially certified by Archuleta County Clerk June Madrid, paving way for the swearing in of Matt Aragon and Linda Lattin.

Aragon, running unopposed, won reelection to the board in District 1, and Lattin prevailed over Ray "Butch" Mackey in a race for the District 5 seat.

Because terms are staggered, members Mike Haynes and Sandy Caves, of districts 2 and 3 respectively, did not face either reelection or term limitation this year.

Before interviewing the two candidates vying for appointment to the District 4 vacancy, contract accountant Mike Branch presented the board with its annual audit for review. The board agreed to study the document and place it on next month's meeting agenda for discussion and likely approval.

The board then turned its attention to hearing statements from, and conducting interviews of, two qualified and enthusiastic candidates, each hoping to be the next director in District 4.

The vacancy in District 4 came about when board vice president Cliff Lucero reached term limitation and no candidates stepped forward for this month's election.

Candidates Ken Fox and Richard Goebel addressed the board, explaining their qualifications and why they wished to serve. Each responded to specific questions posed by board members, after which Fox was selected to fill the vacancy.

Fox has lived in Archuleta County since 1988. His youngest daughter, Susan, is a graduate of Pagosa Springs High School and he currently has three grandchildren enrolled in the district. His wife, Jean, and daughter Tracy, are teachers in the district.

Fox served as Archuleta County Commissioner for four years, was a member of the Airport Authority for five years and served as airport manager at Stevens Field for a year and a half. Fox has a B.A. in political science from the University of Arizona and an M.S. in aeronautical science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Mike Haynes was elected by his fellow board members to serve another year as board president. Sandy Caves was picked as board vice president and will serve as the district's representative to the Colorado Association of School Boards.

Aragon will serve as the board secretary and treasurer, Lattin was picked as the board representative on the District Review Committee and Fox will represent the district on the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

 

Democrat candidate Ritter visits Pagosa

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

About a dozen local Democrats braved the early morning cold Saturday to meet with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter.

Ritter was on a campaign swing through southwestern Colorado, and spent about two hours in Pagosa Springs talking with attendees about issues he would tackle if he is elected as governor.

During the presentation, Ritter said he believed Colorado has tremendous potential yet said, "Recent leadership has not served us well."

He said a shift in attitude and a new philosophy would be critical to guide Colorado into the future.

"We need an investment mentality, we need to invest in people, in institutions and in infrastructure," Ritter said.

As part of this approach, Ritter said he would make K-12, higher education and health care three of his top priorities.

In regard to health care, Ritter said Colorado had one of the lowest immunization rates in the nation and that more than 700,000 Coloradans either go without health insurance or have inadequate coverage.

He said many people, because they don't have proper coverage, use emergency rooms as primary care facilities, thus driving up the cost of both insurance and medical services. He said without a national health care policy, it was incumbent upon states to act, to help bridge the gaps in health care coverage by working to create programs that would provide appropriate health care for its' citizens.

As governor, he said he would create a "transparent process" with all parties, to help address the health care needs of Coloradans.

On education, Ritter said, "There is an abominable rate of kids dropping out of high school in this state."

He said the rate of Colorado high school graduates that go on to college is low as well, and that because Colorado is not producing great numbers of high school and college educated workers, Colorado is "importing brain power from out of state."

"How do we compete in the 21st century without education?" he asked. Ultimately, Ritter said, education and economic development are inextricably linked.

As part of his education strategy, Ritter said he would take hard looks at truancy rates, No Child Left Behind and the Colorado State Assessment Program.

On other issues, Ritter said the recent failure of Referenda D meant the next governor would be facing significant road and bridge funding challenges. He said increasing oil and gas severance taxes may be one method of meeting future funding shortfalls.

Ritter briefly discussed energy development and environmental protection issues and he advocated that the Roan Plateau in Garfield County should be protected from oil and gas extraction and logging. And he suggested a state land purchasing plan to protect open space and watersheds.

"We have a sacred trust with the land," Ritter said.

In addition, he said a smart growth plan and land use planning were critical to Colorado's future and he pointed to the sprawl development between Denver and Boulder as an example of what happens when development is left unbridled, and is free to run its course.

As governor, Ritter said his vision would extend beyond the Front Range, and he would seek input from individuals from all regions of Colorado.

Ritter is a Colorado native and was born on a farm east of Aurora. He attended Colorado State University and earned a law degree from the University of Colorado in 1981. Soon after graduation he was hired as a Denver deputy district attorney.

Between 1987 and 1990, Ritter and his wife worked in Zambia managing a nutrition center.

Upon his return, he worked as a federal prosector in the U.S. Attorney's Office and in 1993 was appointed as Denver's district attorney. He was then elected to the position in 1994, and was re-elected in 1996 and again in 2000.

To date, Ritter is the sole Democratic candidate seeking the governor's seat. Ritter's Republican challengers include U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, and former president of the University of Denver, Marc Holtzman.

 

Cloud seeding program on standby this winter

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

A cloud seeding program managed for the eastern San Juan region is expected to remain on standby this winter.

The program began following the drought in 2002, when Western Weather Consultants, LLC began operating cloud seeding generators in the eastern San Juan region. Currently there are about 17 ground-based cloud seeding generators in place from east of the Animas River to the San Juan drainage, according to Larry Hjermstad, manager of Western Weather Consultants.

The generators, fueled by propane, vaporize silver iodine into the atmosphere, and are operated when natural clouds are present and the winds are moving favorably toward the mountains. The idea is to transport the silver iodine crystals (which are about the same size and shape of a natural ice crystal) into the natural clouds, where moisture condenses on the silver iodine crystals, forming larger ice and snow crystals, which then fall onto the mountains.

The cost of an active, ground-based winter seeding program is about $87,000 for five months, said Hjermstad. Currently, all the equipment is in place and out in the field on standby so "on a telephone call from Pagosa or any other group, we can activate the program this winter."

The cost to keep the equipment in place on standby will be about $5,000 this year, said Hjermstad. Standby costs include insurance costs, permit fees, and the property leases for the locations of the cloud seeders.

The San Juan Water Conservancy District has contributed $1,000 to the standby program, said Carrie Campbell, board member. The San Juan Water Conservancy District's mission is to conserve, develop, utilize, and plan storage for current and future water needs. The district encompasses around 90 square miles around Pagosa Springs, including the Rio Blanco and Aspen Springs areas, according to Campbell.

Hjermstad is also expecting a cost-share contribution from the Southwestern Conservation District, based in Durango. The Southwestern Conservation District was created in 1941 and serves nine counties in southwest Colorado with the purpose of taking actions necessary "to secure and insure an adequate supply of water-present and future," according to the Web site, www.waterinfo.org. Lynn Herkenhoff, Southwestern Conservation District manager, considers cloud seeding "a service that you pay for." The district has contributed funds in the past, and will "certainly cost-share again in the future, if needed," said Herkenhoff.

Western Weather Consultants also receives funds from Colorado Water Conservation Board, which is a statewide organization created in 1937 in order to maximize utilization of the state's water resources, protect Colorado River Compact and other entitlements, and to hold instream flow and natural lake level water rights. The Board also has flood and drought programs. Last week, the board authorized $75,000 for a revolving grant fund specifically for cloud seeding programs in Colorado, according to Joe Busto, weather modification permitting officer for the board.

In addition, Hjermstad said that he expects cooperation from the Lower Basin states for his Rocky Mountain operations, which includes a Telluride/San Miguel program and a western San Juan program. "For the first time in Colorado River history a lower basin entity has considered working with upper basin entities to participate in cloud seeding programs to augment the whole river system," said Hjermstad. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is one of the entities from the lower basin states expected to participate, said Hjermstad.

Hjermstad compares cloud seeding to "doctoring," where a cloud is manipulated so it "thinks there are more ice particles, which fall out as snowflakes." According to Hjermstad, the process can cause clouds to produce 10 to 30 percent more precipitation than clouds without human intervention.

 

Shoe boxes leave Pagosa for the world

By April Holthaus

Special to The SUN

Operation Christmas Child has been a huge success this year, due to all who packed so much love into a little box to touch the heart of a child.

More than 675 boxes left Pagosa Bible Church relay center on Monday for Durango to be shipped to the Denver Processing Center.

From there, they will be delivered via truck, ship and possibly donkey to parts of Mexico and South America. Over 4,000 boxes will also be distributed from Albuquerque to groups on reservations in New Mexico.

If you did not have the opportunity to turn your box in before the Nov. 20 deadline, there is still time to get them to Nancy or April. Call 731-5901 or 731-9832 before Nov. 30 to arrange to have the box picked up.

Thanks go to all who participated in this annual project - to the many Pagosa residents, 10-plus churches, the Boy Scouts and Key Club, Rotary Club, the Pagosa Lodging Association and many other businesses and donors. Your comments on how much fun you had finding all the little items to pack, and making them fit in a shoe box, and how much joy you got from thinking of a little child opening your box, is what Operation Christmas Child is all about.

Pagosa Springs Rotary Club awards teacher mini-grants

By Livia Lynch

Special to The SUN

In 2002, the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club added a new program to its already significant array of donation efforts within the community.

The new program, called the "Teacher Mini Grant Fund," was created to provide funds directly to local teaching staff for classroom projects, equipment and/or materials that cannot be paid for within the normal budgets of local schools.

The mini-grant program has grown since its inception in 2002, and now provides 10 grants each year of $200 each. A total of $13,520 has been awarded to 44 teachers over the past four years.

Previous scholarship recipients have included teachers at the elementary school, intermediate school, junior high and high schools, as well as teachers at the alternative high school and local private schools.

Grants often sponsor innovative ideas and provide years of use and benefit to hundreds of students and teachers. The mini-grant program allows Rotary to impact the community by positively affecting the quality of education. Funds for the mini-grant program come from member donations and fund-raising efforts by the local Rotary Club.

This year's 10 mini-grant recipients are: Mary Ann De Boer and Danielle Sullivan from the Archuleta County High School (alternative high school); Cathne Holt, Jean Fox and Brooks Lindner from the Pagosa Springs Elementary School; Sheri Bahn from Our Savior Lutheran School; Heidi Keshet, Lisa Hudson and Jenine Marnocha from Pagosa Springs Intermediate School; and Curtis Maberry from Pagosa Springs High School.

 

Natural gas prices go up in Pagosa Country

Kinder Morgan, Inc. filed its annual Gas Cost Adjustment (GCA) last month with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for its Pagosa Springs service area and the new rate went into effect Nov. 1, 2005, with the increase to be reflected in the following billing cycle.

The filing reflects an expected increase in projected market costs for natural gas during the period that began Nov. 1, 2005, and continues through Oct. 31, 2006. In accordance with state law, the company recovers the cost it pays to purchase natural gas on behalf of its customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis, without realizing any profit or loss. The GCA mechanism ensures that customers pay exactly the same amount that the company paid to purchase natural gas for them.

Dan Watson, president of KMI's Retail Group, said that the increase in natural gas prices is being driven by the same laws of supply and demand that affect other commodities. "The price of natural gas on the open market has increased steadily over the past few months and experienced a significant jump during the past few weeks, mainly as a result of the hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Disruptions in production and the transportation infrastructure in the Gulf Coast region served to increase the value of natural gas produced in the Rockies, which supplies most of our Colorado customers."

For customers in the Pagosa Springs service area the new rate is $1.12029 per one-hundred cubic feet (CCF). Based on annual usage of 1,000 CCF, the typical household will now pay about $1,120 instead of $746 for their natural gas service. As a result of the increase, residential customers who typically use 182 CCF in January (when bills are usually the highest) will pay approximately $68 more, an increase of about 50 percent, for the natural gas portion of their bill in January 2006, compared to January 2005. The typical small business using 549 CCF in January would pay roughly $206 more, an increase of about 50 percent, for their natural gas in January 2006, compared to January 2005.

"Despite the increase in prices, the rates Colorado customers pay for natural gas are significantly below the national average and supplies are adequate to meet the needs of customers," said Watson.

"Even so, we're committed to doing all we can to help our customers and have taken some steps on our own to stabilize gas costs and minimize the impact to customers."

A large portion of the remaining winter supplies will be purchased within pre-determined price limits, which will protect Kinder Morgan customers from continued natural gas price volatility during the upcoming heating season. For the 2005-06 heating season, about 68 percent of the annual gas supply purchased under the company's plan is price stabilized using these tools. Although it is under no obligation to do so, the company has implemented the pricing program with the approval of the PUC for the benefit of Kinder Morgan customers.

In addition, the company is educating customers about the options available to help them keep their energy costs in check, including: budget billing to stabilize bills; setting thermostats back, especially at night or when away (each degree represents a 2-3 percent savings on heating bills); installing weather stripping; closing doors to rooms not being used; and inspecting the heating system to ensure it's operating efficiently.

Eligible Kinder Morgan customers may apply for assistance through various state and federally funded initiatives like Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), which is administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services, and Energy Outreach Colorado.

 

County considers future of downtown parcel

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

It is a deal that sounds too good to be true - nearly two acres of prime, downtown Pagosa Springs commercial property for a dollar. With that kind of investment, who can go wrong?

Well, the truth is, many people could have, but in this case, it was Archuleta County; and that $1 deal has turned into a $1,000 headache, maybe even a $20,000 or $30,000 headache, possibly more.

The property, located adjacent to U.S. 160 on the south side of the highway between 9th Street and 10th Street was deeded by the county to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) in the 1950s and was to be used as a site for a CDOT maintenance facility. In those days, the site was on the outskirts of town.

According to Reagan Robb, former Archuleta County administrative intern, CDOT used the property as a maintenance facility until the early 1990s when they vacated the property.

After CDOT's departure, the property sat abandoned for about 10 years, and was ultimately deeded back to the county in 2001. The price was $1, along with CDOT's assurance the property was clean.

Soon thereafter, according to Robb, the county sought to cash in on their investment and a potential buyer - Vectra Bank - came forward.

As the bank began the pre-purchase research, they discovered there was more to the property than meets the eye. The property had a history and suspect environmental concerns were lurking beneath its surface. Vectra Bank, unwilling to shoulder the financial burden of an uncertain clean-up operation backed out of the deal and the county was stuck. The word was out that the property was a lemon and in its environmental state it was not marketable. The county, lacking the funds for an environmental assessment or clean up project relegated the issue to the back burner.

Once there, the property and its surrounding issues remained in stasis until last summer when Robb procured a grant through the Colorado Brownfields Foundation that would fully fund an environmental assessment.

Paul Hoffey, of the consulting firm Erler and Kalinowski Incorporated, the group hired by the Colorado Brownfields Foundation to undertake the assessment, came to Pagosa Springs Friday to present his findings to county staff.

The good news Hoffey said, is that the former CDOT site "is not a Superfund sight." In fact, Hoffey said, he believed the obstacles would be fairly easy to surmount depending on the county's development goal for the property.

Hoffey recommended the site be "capped and covered," and used as parking lot or commercial structure in order to mitigate clean up costs.

In Hoffey's presentation, he explained that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Division of Oil and Public Safety had issued a "no further action" statement in regard to site clean-up relative to the site's three underground storage tanks.

During Vectra Bank's investigation of the property, it was revealed that, despite a partial clean bill of health, solid waste had been buried on the site, and that the waste was still of environmental concern. Yet CDOT stood by the state's "no further action" statement to justify its clean property assurances and stated it would not clean up the solid waste on the site.

In a letter to the county dated Feb. 4, 2004, CDOT stated that they had already expended significant sums of money on cleaning the site, had received a clean bill of health from the state regarding the underground storage tanks and would not spend further to clean up the solid waste. They argued that the waste probably predated their occupancy of the site.

Unfortunately, Hoffey said, the county has little recourse in situations such as these, and the financial burden and responsibility for the clean up rests with the current property owner - in this case, Archuleta County.

Following Hoffey's presentation, Interim County Administrator Bob Jasper met with Archuleta County Commissioner Robin Schiro, Archuleta County Commissioner Ronnie Zaday, Archuleta County Engineer Sue Walan, Robb and Pagosa Springs Town Planner Tamra Allen to identify short term priorities and to brainstorm future uses for the sight.

It was generally agreed site clean-up was the first priority, and that grant funding would be pursued through the Colorado Voluntary Clean-Up program.

If grant funding could be procured, site clean-up could cost the county as little as $2,000. Without grant funding, and depending on where the waste must be hauled, clean-up estimates range between $25,000 and $50,000.

Once the clean-up is complete the county can then proceed with either site development or the sale of the property.

Ideas generated for future site development included additional parking for the library coupled with park and trail connectivity to the library, a town or county parking facility, or commercial use. Following the session, Schiro suggested a paved skateboarding and rollerblading park. Ultimately, access on and off of U.S. 160 will play a critical role in determining future possible uses for the site.

Allen said that the property provided an important gateway location to the town. She said careful consideration should be undertaken in any future development plan to preserve the sights integrity and the view corridor.

 

DBT&emdash; a life-changing therapy

By Mia Jordan

Special to The SUN

I have a story to tell.

I have a mental condition called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). The psychology field has researched and found that most cases of DID are a result of childhood trauma. This personal fight began for me when I was young.

I think many would be surprised at the lack of treatments available to mentally ill patients here in southwest Colorado. After my experiences with lack of proper help, I am an advocate and supporter of a class being held locally, concerning Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Let me give you more information on DBT classes and my personal experience.

In my search for help with my disorder, I experienced an incredible healing process here in Pagosa Springs. It was a slow process, but very productive. I was attending two to three days of therapy with a local psychotherapist. Through our frustrations and the stresses caused by multiple hospitalizations in Pueblo and Farmington, New Mexico, my therapist obtained information on a class being held downtown that might help me in my situation. I was having many issues, including self-harm, suicide thoughts, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks and out-of-control emotions. I requested more information about the class and I was told that there was a local DBT class provided by Southwest Colorado Mental Health.

At that time, I had never heard of DBT and still felt all the hopeless emotions overwhelming my life. I decided to find out more about the treatment and consider entering the class.

The hopelessness left my life soon after.

What does this class cover and how could it help you? The following will give you some of the basics.

What is DBT?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a treatment designed specifically for individuals with the symptoms I outlined above. It was designed around Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) but has been found to help an array of symptoms that are included in other disorders. The pioneer of the treatment is featured in "Women on the Edge," an article in the August 2005 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, which includes an interview with Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment developer, Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D.

This treatment consists of three main modes of treatment - individual therapy, skills group and phone coaching.

With the individual therapy I received weekly sessions that were around an hour in length. I also was required to attend a two-hour skills training class in which four sets of important skills were taught: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. The group setting allowed for emotional support not normally found in a hospital setting. Also, with the individual therapy we were assigned coaches who would remind us of skills we could use in daily events.

The classes require dedication, which I found very hard in the beginning of the course. Gradually, I saw a change in my attitude and emotional state, and I found myself looking forward to learning new skills, working on mindfulness and visiting with others in the group. I realized that everyone had issues to face - although we all had very different life stories. I felt we gave to each other many useful tools in sharing our experiences while focusing on learning the new skills put before us. We also formed a bond that helped us be more insightful concerning our judgments of each other and those around us. This helped me as I strove to build my life again and meet new people.

I was able to use the skills I learned in DBT and live my life more fully. I saw changes in how I dealt with people on a daily basis and how often I was able to use the skills that I was learning in the class. The individual therapy allowed me to draw deeper into myself and talk about where the skills could be put to use more fully and the struggles I was facing daily where I was not currently putting my skills to use. I filled out a weekly diary card and this allowed both my coach and me to track habitual emotional states, responses to distress, and how often my new skills were being used.

Through the many classes, homework assignments and coaching sessions, I slowly learned these important skills that I have carried into my life. I cannot say I have fully healed from the events of my past, but I can say that DBT has changed my life significantly and created a strength in me that did not exist. I am more spiritual, although that is not the focus of the DBT class. I find I have more responsible behavior and this helps with both my home life and my business. I am more emotionally balanced and now have proven skills that I can use when stress does arrive.

I have realized that everyone deals with stress, but not everyone knows how to handle it properly. The skills I left with - mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance - have helped me form a more balanced and healthy way to live my life. It has made my life worth living. How many others in Pagosa Springs seek to obtain this very goal?

If you are interested in more information regarding DBT classes or wish to dedicate time to learn new skills for your life and healing, contact Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center at 264-2104 and ask for Robert Woods or Peter Dybing. Or visit the Web site www.behavioraltech.com for more information on how this treatment can work for you or your loved ones.

 

Bell ringers collecting now

By Jim Haliday

Special to The SUN

It's that time of the year - when the Salvation Army seeks kettle donations.

Salvation Army bell ringers are all unpaid volunteers who stand in the cold collecting money to help the needy in Archuleta County. This money is distributed throughout the year to help with expenses such as auto fuel and repairs, dentists, doctors, food, insurance, lodging, medicine, rent, travel and utilities.

The Archuleta County Division of the Salvation Army has 2-percent operating and overhead expenses, which means that 98 percent of donations go directly to helping people. Hopefully, this encourages more donations because donors realize their money is being well spent.

If you would like to help ring bells from Nov. 20-Dec. 24, call 264-2182, Ext. 212.

If you would like to make a donation by mail, payable to "The Salvation Army," the address is: The Salvation Army Archuleta Division, P.O. Box 1567, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147-1567.

The Salvation Army has distributed approximately $25,000 to the needy in Archuleta County since 2002, thanks to the generosity of wonderful folks.

 

Russ Hill wreath order deadline Nov. 25

By Lori Moseley

Special to the SUN

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Community United Methodist Church.

If you have not placed your order for Christmas wreaths or table arrangements at the Russ Hill Memorial Bazaar, please hurry. Friday, Nov. 25, is your last day to place an order. The order desk will be open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Daily, 40 to 50 workers volunteer their time and talents. Area residents are welcome to visit the workers as they create wreaths and table arrangements. The wreaths are produced thanks to the mechanics of wreath-making machines that clamp the fresh greenery onto wire rings. Dedicated artisans decorate the wreaths and create lovely table arrangements.

The church is located at 434 Lewis St. in downtown Pagosa.

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. Stop by the church to see a wonderful display of these items and place your order. For further information, call the bazaar order desk at 264-4538.

 

Fund established to aid local infant

A fund has been set up at Citizens Bank in Pagosa Springs for Trey Lloyd, the son of Kenny and Pam Lloyd of Pagosa Springs.

Trey is 18 months old and has just been diagnosed with leukemia. He is currently at St. Luke's Presbyterian Hospital in Denver, undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments administered by the oncology team. Trey is expected to be in the hospital for four to six weeks.

Any other correspondence will be graciously accepted at (970) 731-5740.

 

 Outdoors

Christmas tree permits on sale now

Christmas tree permits, which allow you to cut your own Christmas tree on public lands, are now on sale at National Forest/BLM offices and selected retail outlets in southwestern Colorado.

A permit, which costs just $8, allows you to cut one tree up to 20 feet tall for personal use.

This year's permits expire Dec. 31. Permits come with a brochure that explains regulations and offers helpful tips. National Forest/BLM offices also sell maps and offer free advice on the best areas for tree harvesting, and the best species of tree to cut.

Permits are on sale at the Pagosa Public Lands Office, 180 Pagosa St.

Call the San Juan Public Lands Center at (970) 247-4874 for up-to-date information on road conditions (National Forest/BLM roads are not snowplowed) or go to: www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan/conditions.

 

Catch and Release

Profound luxury, staggering beauty

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The calendar on my desk tells me I must wait one month for winter to begin. The thermometer on my porch says otherwise.

The mercury reads 20 degrees and I look toward the river. The trees along its banks stand naked, slate grey, stoic and silent in the dawn. They, like me, have begun the long wait.

I look north, and the sun has just illuminated Pagosa Peak, but there is no solar comfort yet here in the valley. The dawn on my porch is coarse and hard as granite.

I coax the dogs outside and the dalmation scoots off the porch, hits the frozen ground and starts to shiver and tap dance. She's not keen on cold weather.

The Australian shepherd has ample fur and begins checking the yard for the scent of deer and whatever else has passed in the night. He trots along, nose to the ground, steam pouring from his nostrils in long white jets. His silver fur shimmers in the gradually building light.

The cocker's out next. He has no fear of the cold. His coat has grown long and wooly and he hunkers down, fixes his gaze, and with absolute seriousness, heads through the brush for the river.

The current moves slow in viscous undulations over boulders and along the shale cliff, and gravel bar. Its passage is burdened by ice and slush, and small bergs bob lazily in the main current. Winter, by my reckoning, is here.

I watch the river for a few minutes then herd the dogs and we head back to house. On the way, I stop at the pond and toss a rock the size of a new potato onto its frozen surface. The stone lands with a thud and skitters across the ice. The sound resonates with permanence. The ice is unscathed.

I turn from the pond, flip up the hood of my jacket, ram my frozen fingers deep into my pockets, and finish the trip back to house. With the dogs back inside, I'm in the truck and driving to work.

Upon entering town, I pass the San Juan Motel and spy a lone tent in the camping area near the river. Its green fabric is tinged white and the canopy sags under the weight of a heavy frost.

I scan the area and realize there is no car, motorcycle, truck or bicycle. It seems a bit unusual, and I wonder if the person sleeping inside is traveling on foot. Or, perhaps they're up early and have taken their vehicle and have gone for an early breakfast. I suppose it doesn't matter, the fact is they probably spent a cold night in the tent, and perhaps the tent is all the shelter they've got. Perhaps sleeping outdoors is all they can afford, and how many in our community face such circumstances? I contemplated the tent and started thinking about my own life and everything I should be thankful for.

I live in a small, simple house, but it's a house nonetheless. With the woodstove and three dogs it stays cozy and is a far cry from sleeping outdoors in a tent. I've got a little over a cord of wood bucked and split, but in a pinch, I can flip a switch and have heat on demand.

If I choose, I can eat three hot meals a day, enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and smoke a cigar for dessert. I can sit around the living room, reading or tying flies while the mercury plummets and the snow flies, or while rain and hail lash the earth. What happens outdoors, from inside the sanctuary of my cabin, is of little concern.

If I choose to go outside, I have a decent pair of boots, wool socks, a warm coat, gloves, a wool hat and long underwear. Being outdoors is play time, not a grim reality, not a question of survival, nor a night where I am forced by circumstance to sleep in a tent along a frozen river bank.

So this Thanksgiving, what am I thankful for? I'm thankful for the profound luxury of my life and I'm thankful for the staggering beauty around me. I'm thankful for health, a home, hot food, family, friends, dogs, a wood stove, warm clothes, fresh air, sunshine, and a decent fly rod and wild places to cast in and wild trout to cast to.

There are so many things we think we need, and most of us have far more than we know what to do with. Perhaps this Thanksgiving, we should be thankful for all that we take for granted, and try to remember that some live with barely enough.

 

Letters

For the better?

Dear Editor:

I always enjoy John Motter's column, even though I sometimes do not fully agree. It brings back memories of stories that my grandparents told me.

The picture of the Walker Ranch really had me reminiscing. We always called it the Corrigan Ranch. Jim and Elsie Corrigan had a dairy there and provided most of the milk for the town of Pagosa Springs. They had two children, Francis and Margaret. The dairy was a family affair but also employed others from town. That was in the days when milk was delivered in glass bottles in the early morning. Francis helped milk the herd and then delivered the milk before going to school (and today's children think they have it rough).

A little more about the Corrigan Family: Jim Corrigan had married Elsie Stevens and John Stevens married Essie Corrigan. These families had a lot to do with the early history of Archuleta County - Stevens Field and Fairfield Pagosa (north side of 160) was eventually owned by John Stevens. They were agriculturists and understood the words "hard work." Running a dairy required long hours from early morning milking, to separating the milk and bottling it, and washing bottles and separators for the next milking. In those days there was no pasteurization. It was normally whole milk and a little cream on the top. Pasteboard caps would pop up in the winter, if you never got it in before it froze. The Corrigan children were very successful in their endeavors. Margaret became a high profile educator. Francis started a propane business which is now Bob's LP.

Francis married Barbara Frost and they had two children - Jim and Jean. Francis passed away some years back, but Barbara still resides in Durango. There is a lot of history about how families contributed to the welfare and economy of Archuleta County. The dairy also provided milk to the creamery run by Raymond and Fay Brown, who also happened to be neighbors of the Corrigans.

In the early days, Pagosa Springs was a self-sufficient community.

They had a slaughter house run by Morris Hyler, as well as ranchers butchering their own beef, lamb and poultry and selling them directly to the store's butcher shop. Ranchers would sell cream and eggs to carry them through the summer months until their crops could be marketed. Guy Cotton provided ice during the summer, which was put up in the winter at Cotton's Hole at the east end of town on the San Juan River. There were several sawmills, including Belarde Brothers that provided lumber to the area.

All that has changed and we are dependent on the outside to provide all the essentials. A lot has changed and sometimes you wonder if it really is for the better. One of the biggest changes however is the business work days. Saturday used to be the busiest day of the week and the stores and bank would stay open late to accommodate the people who came to town in their wagons to shop and visit with friends and neighbors. Their were two dance halls that held dances every Saturday night. The ranchers would spend the night and then go back to their homes Sunday after church services, some with large headaches. Yes, times have changed and so have the people. John, keep up the good work.

Franklin Anderson

 Cut here, raise there

Dear Editor:

Did you notice?

This past Friday, Nov. 18, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut $700 Million from Food Stamp programs. That same day, House members voted to give themselves a raise of $3,100 each, a cost of more than 1.5 million dollars. How do these people sleep at night?

Cristy Holden

 Welcomed hunter

Dear Editor:

I have just returned from my fourth year of elk hunting in Pagosa Springs. While I have always enjoyed myself, this year was especially rewarding. While I was unsuccessful in bagging my elk, my stay was very rewarding.

Soon after arriving on Friday I learned a business deal I had been working on for a year required I fax my signed contract to my agent. I was desperate. Not knowing where to start, I stopped by an office where Harold Kelley not only allowed me to use his fax machine but offered his cell phone to call my broker. He then agreed to open up his office on Saturday early to allow me to get my response.

I was overwhelmed by this man's courtesy and kindness. When all was completed Harold refused to take one penny for the use of his equipment.

I have learned that the folks in Pagosa Springs really do "Welcome Hunters."

I shall return.

Buddy Hulsey

Canton, Georgia

 Keep it roadless

Dear Editor:

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule was adopted by the Forest Service during 2001 after an outpouring of public support in the most extensive public outreach process any federal agency has ever undertaken. Citizens from all points of the political spectrum wrote letters, made phone calls, and spoke at 600 public meetings the USFS held across America. Of the 1.6 million comments received, 95 percent favored protecting roadless areas.

The Forest Service also found that almost 80 percent of the traditionally conservative residents of states like Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming favored the rule, and six Western governors - representing Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming - have criticized Bush's plans to trash the rule. It's also worth noting that these last unprotected roadless lands in our National Forests contain less than 0.2 percent of the U.S. timber supply.

More than 36,000 Coloradans commented on the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (with more than 90 percent in favor), which provided protection from logging, mining, and energy development on more than 4.4 million acres of the last remaining unroaded lands in our state's National Forests.

Regardless, the Bush administration threw out the rule, without holding a single public meeting. The initial Clinton rule drew the most public comment of any such rule, and more than 90 percent of the comments were positive. The Bush rule drew nearly 1.8 million negative public comments, which Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey concedes constituted more than 95 percent of the response.

Coloradans should wholeheartedly support keeping all of our 4.4 million acres of remaining roadless areas roadless, just as God created them in the first place.

David A. Lien

Colorado Springs

 

Community News

'A Christmas Carol' returns to local stage

By Dale Morris

Special to The PREVIEW

Three years ago, when Music Boosters decided to start a holiday tradition by rotating the same several productions, we had no idea "A Christmas Carol" would come upon us so quickly.

There are advantages to doing the same show the second time around - we use the same sets and props, same costumes; our directors are familiar with the music, the script, the staging and choreography.

But it really is a whole new show - our cast is different, our musicians are varied. We have 37 performers, with only six returning to the "Christmas Carol" stage. They are: Honor Nash-Putnam, Darcy Downing, Keyton Nash-Putnam, Candy Flaming, Sierra Hewett and Don Weller. Darcy reprises her role as the Ghost of Christmas Past, sharing a beautiful duet with Scrooge called "Ancient Vision." Don joins his fellow businessmen once again with a rousing rendition of "Jacob Marley's Dead!"

Danielle Jaramillo, who portrayed Mrs. Fezziwig previously, will be managing the curtains and flys for us. Shawna Carosello, who performed as one of the social workers in 2002, is playing trombone in the orchestra. Scott Farnham, who delighted us with his portrayals of Bob Crachit and old Mr. Fezziwig has been designing and setting lights for the production. Honor Nash-Putnam, a freshman at Pagosa Springs High School, will be performing the same role that his father, Jon Nash-Putnam, played three years ago, that of the Ghost of Christmas Present.

"A Christmas Carol," by Michael DeMaio, willl 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. Advance reserved seating ticket purchases are recommended.

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

 

Annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair Saturday

By Nancy Green

Special to The PREVIEW

If you're looking for an easy way to buy unique and beautiful gifts this holiday season, be sure to check out the seventh annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair at the Pagosa Lodge this Saturday.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m more than 40 local artists will provide an array of treasures and gifts for everyone on your Christmas shopping list.

Offered at this year's fair will be handmade alpaca, sheepskin, mohair and fiber clothing, including warm winter scarves, mittens, gloves, sweaters, vests, hats and slippers. Some of the artists also raise the obliging sheep and alpaca for the wool needed for their products.

Christmas decorations, including wreaths, pine cone baskets and trees, ornaments, cards and gift boxes will help put you in the holiday mood.

Speaking of good moods, chocolate always works, and this year there are two booths featuring homemade chocolate treats, fudge chocolate cherries, hot chocolate, chocolate mousse pie and more that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Not a chocolate lover? Homemade pies, cookies, dip mixes and chili spices will also be available. Come early, the food always goes quickly.

Homemade soaps, lotions, salves, bees wax, skin care products and bath salts are always great gift ideas. Bookmarks and journals will be offered as well as copper art and candles.

Men are sometimes hard to buy for at Christmas. Wooden cribbage boards and other games are great gifts, as well as wooden pens. A picture put into a burnt wood frame will kindle fond memories all year long, and other decorative items might go well in his office.

We certainly don't forget the women at this show, and jewelry is always a welcome gift. Many different styles of jewelry will be offered, including beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Sterling silver pendants and earrings will be in the show and there will even be an artist demonstrating the art of wire wrapping throughout the day.

Fine art will be represented in several venues. Original paintings are always popular, and several artists will display their photography. There will also be quilts, place mats and embroidered items.

There will definitely be something for everyone at the Holiday Arts and Crafts show Saturday.

 

Russ Hill wreath order deadline Nov. 25

By Lori Moseley

Special to the PREVIEW

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Community United Methodist Church.

If you have not placed your order for Christmas wreaths or table arrangements at the Russ Hill Memorial Bazaar, please hurry. Friday, Nov. 25, is your last day to place an order. The order desk will be open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Daily, 40 to 50 workers volunteer their time and talents. Area residents are welcome to visit the workers as they create wreaths and table arrangements. The wreaths are produced thanks to the mechanics of wreath-making machines that clamp the fresh greenery onto wire rings. Dedicated artisans decorate the wreaths and create lovely table arrangements.

The church is located at 434 Lewis St. in downtown Pagosa.

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. Stop by the church to see a wonderful display of these items and place your order. For further information, call the bazaar order desk at 264-4538.

 

Community choir presents annual holiday concerts

By Sue Diffee

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Springs Community Choir has been working since early September with 90 singers from age 15 to 80, preparing a variety of music for the annual holiday concert.

The program will include sacred, secular, gospel and jazz music. It will open with the "Other Side of the Mountain" quartet from Mountain Harmony Women's Barbershop Group. They will sing "Let It Snow," "Christmas Dreams" and "Christmas Chopsticks." Members of the quartet are Natalie Tyson, Pat French, Robbye Reedy and Nancy Smith.

The concert will last approximately 90 minutes and will be performed Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and at a 4 p.m. matinee Sunday, Dec. 11. The community center, 451 Hot Springs Boulevard, will be the location of this year's concert. Seating will be limited, so it is suggested you arrive early.

Want to Honor or do a memorial for a loved one? Honorariums, either "In Honor Of" or "In Memory Of," to be printed in the program, are available. Contact Valley Lowrance at 731-9184 for information.

All community choir concerts are a gift to the community. Tax free donations are gratefully appreciated.

 

Film Society to screen and discuss 'Indigo'

The Pagosa Springs Film Society will be screening and discussing the feature film "Indigo" at its Nov. 29 meeting.

Stephen Simon's "Indigo" stars Neale Donald Walsch, who was also co-writer with James Twyman. This film of faith, family and an extraordinary child won the Audience Choice Award at the Santa Fe Film Festival.

Dealing with the well-documented phenomenon of Indigo children, this film weaves the journey of a troubled family with the search for an understanding which can bring them together. Deepak Chopra called it "the hottest film since 'What the Bleep.'"

The screening starts at 7 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. A suggested $3 donation will benefit the Friends of the Library. The UU Fellowship Hall is Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbrier Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign.

 

New show through Dec. 17 at SHY RABBIT

SHY RABBIT is hosting the "Artists' Invitational and Open Juried Exhibition" through Dec. 17 in the Showroom and the Space @ SHY RABBIT.

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.

SHY RABBIT is located at 333 Bastille Drive, B-1 and B-4.

For additional information, call 731-2766, or e-mail shyrabbit01@aol.com.

 

Grace Evangelical toy drive Saturday

By Lorna Medici

Special to The PREVIEW

The young people in this community are getting very excited about helping out with collecting toys for the Grace Evangelical toy drive. We are joining efforts with Toys for Tots. The Pagosa Candy Store downtown gave a big container full of stuffed animals. The Airport Self Storage is providing a complimentary unit to store the toys until Christmas Eve.

Here in Pagosa Springs, about a month ago when the students in a classroom were told, "For homework, please measure things at home," a girl yelled out, "But, I don't have anything at home to measure. We are poor, we don't have anything!" The other day, when the students were told about the toy drive Dec. 3, a boy blurted out, "Is this for kids like me?" Embarrassed, he said, "Well, I mean for kids like us?" There are some great needs in this community. Please be generous this Christmas season. These toys will be delivered to kids who live in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.

If your family is struggling this year or you just lost a job and Christmas time is going to be a hardship, come by the toy drive at the downtown City Market Dec. 3 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and fill out a form. We would like to help you.

This Christmas toy drive is sponsored by Grace Evangelical Free Church.

 

Purchase tickets now for PSAC gallery tour

By Marti Capling

Special to The PREVIEW

If you haven't purchased your tickets for the third annual Gala Gallery Tour set for Friday, Dec. 2, head to the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books or WolfTracks and buy them now. Just $8 for Pagosa Springs Arts Council members and $10 for all others will purchase a ticket for an evening of fun and festivity.

Last week's article featured highlights offered by the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Gallery down U.S. 84, and Lantern Dancer Gallery and Gifts, Back Door Collectibles and Soledad's Studio and Gallery, all located in the east U.S. 160 area.

On the West end of town, Karen Cox has reopened her framing business, now named Taminah Frame Center, located at 2343 Eagle Drive. Karen handles the giclees and prints by local artists Milt Lewis, Wayne Justus, Pat Erickson and Claire Goldrick. In addition you'll find jewelry by Michael Michaud, Sarda, and the Elegant Ranch collection, and a new line of decorative mirrors from Italy. Karen will be serving her special hot apple cider with caramel and whipped cream.

Closer to town, Rainbow Gifts is located at 611 San Juan St., where Brenda Eaves invites you to peruse the three stores within a store. Gifts, rocks and minerals, and metal art can be found, in addition to the pottery of local Native American artist Norman Lansing. As a special treat there will be live music by Jessica Walsch, who will also display her collection of Native American flutes along with her instructional book on how to play the Native American flute. Brenda also promises coffee, tea and home baked goods on her refreshment table.

On the other side of 160 you can visit or revisit Wild Spirit and Pagosa Photography, hosts of November's Chamber SunDowner. Wild Spirit Gallery, home to nearly 200 pieces of art, features original works by local artists Carole Cooke, Pat Erickson, Sandy Applegate, Wayne Justus, Pierre Mion, Claire Goldrick, Randall Davis and June Jurczak. Owner Ken Patterson and gallery director Jean Magnelli invite you to enjoy the collection of original paintings, etchings and sculpture. As a special attraction, December's featured artist, Jake Gaedtke, who fuses his passion for the outdoors with his passion for creating art, will demonstrate his talent from 3 to 7 p.m. You may want to begin your tour early at Wild Spirit, observing the techniques that Jake uses. Aspiring artists and art students will be especially interested in this opportunity to learn from a professional.

Right next door is the Pagosa Photography Studio where Jeff and Laura Laydon invite you to sip on coffee and liqueurs while enjoying Jeff's photographs of people and places in Pagosa. Beautiful antique furniture pieces and antique stoves by Ron Schaffer compliment the cozy interior.

Around the corner at 448 Pagosa St. is one of Pagosa's newest galleries, featuring the bronze sculptures of Roberto and Ana Garcia. While visiting The Crucible and enjoying wine and cheese, Roberto will be glad to explain what's involved in the bronze casting process, which he does at his foundry in Aspen Springs. This talented duo has produced a wide variety of sculptures. Current projects include the Stations of the Cross for Immaculate Heart of Mary's new building site on South Pagosa Boulevard.

Also on Pagosa Street is Moonlight Books, where owners Jerry and Joan Rohwer feature the paintings of local artists Denny Rose, Ginnie Bartlett and Jean Smith, as well as photography by Bruce Andersen, Lili Pearson and John Taylor. While munching on pizza and sipping wine, you can listen to recorded music from the Putamayo World Music collection also sold at Moonlight Books. Proceeds from two of these CD's will go to Hurricane Katrina relief funds.

Another of Pagosa's newest galleries, also located in the 400 block of Pagosa Street, is "Puttin' on the Rydz" which features one-of-a-kind custom jewelry designed and crafted by Pat Rydz. The whole building is work of art, with art deco glass painting on the windows by Donna Bower, murals on the walls, and art deco woodwork ¬designs and display cases by Keith Abbey. This is an opportunity to visit the gallery while enjoying refreshments and music by Sue Anderson.

Next week's article will feature Handcrafted Interiors, so stay tuned to find out what Cappy and Monica have planned. Meanwhile, make your plans to attend this festive event, supporting our local artists and artisans.

 

Dec. 12 entry deadline for SHY RABBIT found objects show

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.

Call for Artists and participation forms are available by e-mail request, or may be picked up at the SHY RABBIT. All participation forms must be completed and signed, and should be mailed or hand delivered to: SHY RABBIT, PO Box 5887, 333 Bastille Drive, B-1 (Drop off/Pick up in plexiglass mail box on front of studio), Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

All participation forms must be received by Monday, Dec. 12, 2005, or as available space permits.

 

Local Chatter

How much do you know about football?

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

This column is for those wives and others who don't know anything (or much) about football or how to watch a game. But if they start watching now, they might be ready for the country's most important non-national holiday, the Superbowl game in January!

The goal of football is for a team to move the ball down the field to the other team's goal line by either running or throwing passes. To do this, a team has to make a series of first downs.

A first down is ten yards. The offensive team has four chances to move the ball the ten yards. The first try is called "first and ten." Let's say five yards is covered in this first attempt, so on the second attempt, the call is "second and five." But if the team has been penalized, that yardage is added to the needed five yards and now the call is "second and then." Then comes the third try and the fourth try.

Oftentimes, a team is not making the ten yards and is in "field goal" range. (The yardage depends on the skill of the team's kicker.) The ball has to clear the crossbar between the uprights (the goal) to make three points.

If the team hasn't made the ten points (and a field goal isn't possible) and it's the fourth down, the team kicks the ball back toward the other team and they have the ball.

But if a touchdown is made, it's six points and the team has a chance to make extra points - one point by kicking and two points by running the ball.

Another way for a team to make points is when the defensive team tackles the offense's ball carrier in his end zone. This is called a "safety" and is two points. This doesn't happen many times.

Today, TV stations are doing viewers a favor by superimposing colored lines on the screen to indicate the ten-yard distance needed. The yellow line indicates the distance needed for the first down. The blue line indicates where the ball is as it has moved from the line of scrimmage. If there is any question, the "chain gang" moves in from the sidelines. This is the pair holding a chain ten yards long who moves along with the offensive team marking the need first downs.

There are several officials, but the referee is the boss. He wears a white cap and stands behind the offensive team.

The referee calls the game, the plays and the penalties. Any official can drop a red flag on the field .

Any official can throw down a yellow flag to indicate something wrong, but the referee makes the call.

A first down is indicated by the referee pointing forward. A touchdown, or field goal, is indicated by arms extended over the head. If the play isn't good, the call is extended arms with hands turned down.

There's more to tell about football, and I recommend Joe Steele, a former high school coach who now deals in antiques. You can find him at Main Street Antiques located in the downtown business block, or find him at the Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Lil, volunteer there; they are enthusiastic people.

Fun on the Run

The Wednesday night church service coincided with the last day of hunting season.

During the service, the pastor asked who had bagged a deer. No one raised a hand.

Puzzled, the pastor said, "I don't get it. Last Sunday many of you said you were missing because of hunting season. I had the whole congregation pray for your deer."

One hunter groaned, "Well, it worked. They're all safe."

 

Community Center News

A busy holiday season is upon us

By Mercy Korsgren

PREVIEW Columnist

Happy Thanksgiving.

By the time you read this column I will be with my family in the Philippines. What a great place to spend this special holiday.

I have many people to be thankful for. First, my parents and the whole family (biological), then my friends and family in Pagosa and all my volunteers.

Of course, I would like to thank the Town of Pagosa Springs and my colleagues for all their help, making the community center busy and vibrant. Thank you all.

Free yoga class

There won't be yoga today. It will resume 11 a.m.-noon Thursday next week, with Richard Harris.

With the holiday hassle, this should be a must activity. The benefits are great and feel good even with the hectic schedule you are experiencing during this time of the year.

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

Scrapbooking  

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

Computer news from Becky

Christmas carol lyrics, instructions for an origami dreidel, recipes for standing rib roast and royal icing for your holiday cookies, helpful hints for keeping your cool during the holiday season - these are some of the many topics covered on the Web sites I have recently visited while preparing for the community center's Christmas 'round the world (wide Web), a free, two-hour computer lab session 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 6.

This holiday computer class will cover as many fun, interesting and useful places on the Internet as we can cram into the class time. We will visit some Web sites where the focus is entertainment for little ones. Other Web sites offer free patterns for last minute gifts, downloadable religious and secular music, instructions for fun and easy gift wrappings, and much, much more. Handouts will be available. Please call 264-4152 to reserve your space. If you have questions about computer use, call Becky, 264-4152.

Supper and concert

"We love Pagosa!" You hear this said so often, and some of the reasons for it are the many things to do and enjoy in this beautiful, little town.

These two events are one example. In the spirit of Christmas holiday, the Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs is hosting a two-night chili supper fund-raising event. The dates are Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10, 4:30-7 p.m. each night. Advance tickets are $5 adult and $2.50 children. At the door, prices are $6 and $3.50. All money raised will be used for scholarships and other service projects in our town.

Have your supper here, then go straight to the Christmas concert by the Pagosa Springs Choral Society. Every year, this awesome group entertains the community and they keep you in tune with the holiday mood. The concert dates are Friday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 10, 7-9 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11, 4-6 p.m. The concerts are free, however donations will be much appreciated.

Don't miss these two great events. Both are being held here at the center, under one roof.

New Year's Eve dance

In keeping with our new tradition of monthly dances, the December event will be a New Year's Eve Dance, 9:05 p.m Saturday, Dec. 31. This is your opportunity to dress to dazzle or to come "Pagosa Style". This is a BYOB event for ages 21 and above. Advance purchase tickets are $15 per person, $25 per couple, and $20 per person at the door. Advance ticket sales will be available Monday, Dec. 5 and will continue until 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at the community center. Watch in next week's column for other places to buy your tickets.

Ticket price includes admission, champagne toast at midnight, snacks, and hot and cold beverages. John Graves and Company will provide the music and the group will include Larry Elginer, John's son, Kim, and Susanna Ninichuck. John has confirmed that the group will play a variety of music including slow songs, country western, rock and roll, ballroom and Latin. Join us and dance the night away or simply enjoy listening to the music and visiting with friends. This will truly be a night to remember.

 Center hours

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

Activities

Today, Nov. 24 - Happy Thanksgiving. Community Center office and Teen Center closed today and tomorrow.

Saturday, Nov. 26 - Scrapbooking Club work session, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 27 - Church of Christ Sunday service, 9 a.m.-noon; Grace Evangelical Free Church service, 10-noon; United Pentecostal Church service, 2-4 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 28 - Seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; seniors' bridge club, 12:30-4 p.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; youth basketball games, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 29 - Seniors' computer class, 10 a.m.-noon; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; computer Q & A with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; community choir practice, 7-9 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 30 - Pagosa Brats play group, 10 a.m.-noon; Wednesday bridge club, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; youth basketball games, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Church of Christ Bible study, 7-8 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 1 - Beginning yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon.

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

Family Caregiver Appreciation Month in Colorado

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

The month of November has special meaning for Colorado. Governor Bill Owens has signed an Honorary Proclamation in support of the Colorado Family Caregiver Appreciation Month for November 2005.

The Family Caregiver program works in collaboration with the Colorado Area Agencies on Aging and community services throughout Colorado to offer a system of support for the family caregiver who is providing services to the frail, elderly population of Colorado. This program allows the elderly to age in the comfort of their homes.

If you would like more information on the Family Caregiver Program, you may access information via the Internet at www.aoa.gov or www.caregiver.org, or contact Todd Coffey at (303) 866-2750.

Closed for the holidays

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 look forward to seeing you for lunch at The Den Monday, Nov. 28.

Medicare Drug appointments

Medicare Drug Insurance appointments can be scheduled at The Den on the following dates and at the following times: Friday, Dec. 2, from 9:30 to noon; Mondays, Dec. 5, 12 and 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Tuesdays, Dec. 6, 13, 20 and 21, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Walk-ins without appointments will not be accepted. Call The Den at 264-2167 for an appointment.

Area Agency On Aging

San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging is the regional "focal point" within the state and national AAA network for senior citizens services in the five-county area of southwestern Colorado.

Elections for your AAA representatives will be held at The Den 11 a.m-1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30. You must be a member of AAA to vote in the upcoming elections. Member applications are available in The Den office and there is no charge to you.

America's first Thanksgiving

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.

Museum and a milkshake

It is time for some big city culture in our small town of Pagosa Springs.

So, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, The Den will be going to the famed Fred Harman Art Museum at 1 p.m. The cost is $2 per person (a 50-percent discount) which includes an informative presentation from Fred Harman III, and a tour of the museum.

Fred Harman, who died in 1982, was one of the founders of the Cowboy Artists of America. In addition to becoming one of the country's foremost painters of the American West, he was also the creator of the world-famous cartoon strip "Red Ryder and Little Beaver."

In 1922, Harman was in Kansas City, working at his first commercial art job. He was one of three cartoonists making film ads for a moving picture company. Fred and one of the other cartoonists, Walt Disney, formed their own company but, alas, they went broke after a year. Disney went to California to pursue a career and Harman returned to his beloved Colorado. In 1938, Harman created the comic strip, "Red Ryder and Little Beaver."

Red Ryder became the largest syndicated comic strip in the country from 1938 to 1964. The cartoon strip appeared in 750 newspapers, with 40 million readers. Then came a radio show, 38 movies and 40 commercial products.

Today, the Fred Harman Art Museum displays original Fred Harman paintings, Red Ryder® and Little Beaver® comic strips, and rodeo, movie and western memorabilia.

After touring the museum, we will go for ice cream (it's never too cold for an ice cream treat!). Join us to learn, experience and discover the legendary talent that is right in our own backyard at the Fred Harman Art Museum.

Annual 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 had served 9,002 meals, delivered 2,484 meals to those in need, and provided 4,437 rides. And this does not take into account all 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 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, please 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, your 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 and help those with medical appointments who are unable to drive themselves.

A county vehicle and the fuel are provided for the shuttle. To qualify, you must have good people skills and be a safe driver. A background check will be completed on all candidates. Applications are currently being accepted in The Den office. For more information contact Musetta at 264-2167. Please make a difference and volunteer.

Computer Lab News

By Becky Herman

Christmas carol lyrics, instructions for an origami dreidel, recipes for standing rib roast and royal icing for your holiday cookies, helpful hints for keeping your cool during the holiday season - these are some of the many topics covered on the Web sites I have recently visited while preparing for the community center's Christmas 'round the world (wide web) - a free, two-hour computer lab session 10 a.m., to noon, Dec. 6.

This holiday computer class will cover as many fun, interesting and useful places on the Internet as we can cram into the class time. We will visit some Web sites where the focus is entertainment for little ones. Other sites offer free patterns for last minute gifts, downloadable religious and secular music, instructions for fun and easy gift wrappings, and much, much more. Handouts will be available.

Please call 264-4152 to reserve your space.

Activities at a glance

Thursday, Nov. 24 &emdash;Closed for Thanksgiving Day holiday.

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

Monday, Nov. 28 - Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge 4 fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 29 - Basic computer class, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 30 - Yoga in motion, 10 a.m.; AAA elections, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Fred Harman Museum and ice cream, 1 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 1 - Lunch in Arboles (reservations required by Nov. 29); food drive begins at The Den to help those in need this holiday season.

Friday, Dec. 2 - Medicare Drug Insurance appointments, 9:30 a.m.-noon (call 264-2167 to make an appointment); Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; veterans' services, noon.

Menu

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

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

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

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

Monday, Nov. 28 - Baked potato with broccoli and cheese, biscuit and fruit mix.

Tuesday, Nov. 29 - Tuna noodle casserole, green beans and pineapple tidbits.

Wednesday, Nov. 30 - Roast pork, oven potatoes and gravy, parslied carrots, dinner roll and strawberry Jell-O salad.

Thursday, Dec. 1 - Lunch in Arboles (reservations required by Nov. 29). Beef tamale pie, mexicorn, tossed salad and spiced applesauce.

Friday, Dec. 2 - Oven-fried chicken, potato salad, peaches and cornbread.

 

Veteran's Corner

VA drug co-payment to increase

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

Co-payments for outpatient medicines prescribed through Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities will rise by $1, according to an announcement today by VA. The $1 increase for a 30-day supply of prescription drugs will take effect Jan. 1, 2006, the first change in VA prescription drug co-payments in four years.

Vets stuck again

"Through sound management practices, efficient pharmacy operations and price negotiations that put veterans first, VA has been able to contain prescription drug costs," said the Honorable R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, noting that co-payments paid by veterans will still be lower than similar expenses in the private sector.

Required increase

The increase to $8 from $7 for a 30-day supply of prescription drugs is required by federal law, which bases VA's co-payments for outpatient prescriptions on increases in the Medical Consumer Price Index.

Priority 1 exempt

The $1 increase will not affect veterans who have an injury or illness connected with their military service resulting in a 50 percent or greater disability. Also known as "Priority Group 1" veterans, these patients will see no change in their current prescription drug benefit, Nicholson said.

Other factors

Other veterans with less pronounced service-connected ailments - those classified as Priority Groups 2 through 6 - will see their prescription drug co-pays rise by $1, but their annual out-of-pocket expenses for VA medicine will remain capped. The new cap will rise to $960 per year, up $120 from the previous level. This means veterans in Priority Groups 2 through 6 will pay no more than $960 annually for VA outpatient medicine.

Priority 7 and 8 increase

Veterans who have no injury or illness related in any way to their prior military service - referred to as Priority Groups 7 and 8 - will also see their co-payments increase, but there is no cap on annual payments for outpatient medicine.

Some drugs exempt

Not all prescription drugs will be subject to the $1 increase. Outpatient medications not subject to co-payments include:

- Medication for treatment of a service-connected disability.

- Medication for a veteran who has a service-connected disability of 50 percent or more.

- Medication for a veteran disabled by 50 percent or more for unemployability.

- Medication for a veteran whose annual income does not exceed the amount of VA pensions.

- Medications for health problems that may be linked to Agent Orange for Vietnam veterans, to radiation exposure, to undiagnosed illnesses of Persian War veterans, or for new veterans within two years of discharge after serving in a combat theater.

Share-A-Ride

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 veterans' 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 afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

 

Library News

On Pilgrims and Puritans and other founding legends

By Christine Eleanor Anderson

PREVIEW Columnist

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.

I love it for so many reasons. It was the week of Gram's birthday. It is the week of my youngest sister Holly's birthday. It is a holiday that asks nothing except being with the people I love. It is centered on one of my favorite pastimes, eating. It is a day when the weather usually entices the family, or whatever part of it isn't watching football, for a hike before we come back for pies. And, it is a day to dwell on being thankful for the richness and goodness of our lives.

However, the literature and history of Thanksgiving evoke ambivalence and confusion in my mind. Although there are many children's books about Thanksgiving, there is almost no serious adult literature about it. Louisa May Alcott left us with one effort. After that, however, if one is moved to think about Thanksgiving, thoughts travel to the Pilgrims and the Puritans. In the realm of literature, one must think of our first serious American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who portrayed them in unforgettable prose.

Hawthorne's grandfather was one of those Puritans, and, as Puritans often did, he left a record of his life and times. When Nathaniel Hawthorne finished college in 1825 he went back to Salem, where his widowed mother had secluded herself. He spent more than 10 years locked away during the daylight hours, studying the history and doctrines of the Puritans generally, and the records of his family in particular.

There is more than a little confusion over the difference between the Pilgrims and the Puritans. In "The Pilgrim Fathers: Their Significance in History," Samuel Elliot Morison, one of my favorite American historians, says, "We should drop the misleading antithesis of 'Pilgrim and Puritan' invented in the nineteenth century. The Pilgrims were Puritans; nobody more so."

At Pilgrim Hall Museum, there are people who think a lot about the Pilgrims. One of them reviewed the Pilgrim information in Jacques Barzun's brilliant bestseller, "From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to Present." The reviewer, Richard Talbot, at www.pilgrimhall.org/bookreviewbarzun.htm, takes exception to Barzun's comment, "What remains to be told is often regarded as the one unfortunate blot on the Pilgrim Father's just fame - the witch trials at Salem." Talbot comments that we hang onto the word Pilgrim because we don't want to subject our founders to the Puritans' bad press. He maintains that the people of Salem weren't Pilgrims, that the denizens of Plymouth Colony were a kinder, gentler version of the northerners up in Boston and Salem.

Michael Kammen, in his "Mystic Chords of Memory," points out that the Pilgrim's lack of paper trail allowed the plasticity of meaning and useful malleability needed for creating an "American" tradition. The Puritans, in short, left too much evidence of their darkness for a role in a warm, fuzzy tradition like Thanksgiving. Although Barzun asserts that the witches were hung, not burned, we still don't like this much. And certainly we don't like thinking about it on a national holiday of thanksgiving. We're just thankful the Puritans are gone.

One of the books I came across this last year, while I was studying censorship, was Richard Waswo's, "The Founding Legend of Western Civilization: From Virgil to Vietnam." The historian in me was startled to see the depth of the illusions we've woven for ourselves. Waswo doesn't have much documentation of the kind and gentle side of our background. And the national psyche does not welcome reminders of the harsh realities behind these foundation myths; we are looking for a more gentle vision of ourselves in our holidays, hence we have the Pilgrim decorations with our turkey, not Puritan decorations.

Hawthorne had no illusions about the Puritans, nor does his writing leave any to his readers. As he studied his past he became increasingly critical of the Puritan doctrines and behavior. He learned that his grandfather had, indeed, gone out with others and burned down entire Indian villages, making sure that the women and children died in these forays.

When he finished absorbing this American past, he started writing. And of all of his prolific, wonderful work, "The Scarlet Letter," about the Puritans, is his most famous and memorable.

I read "The Scarlet Letter" in high school. Still, when I listened to a series of American literature tapes about Hawthorne, passages of that book came back to me as if I had read them yesterday. "Hester could not help questioning, at such moments, whether Pearl were a human child. She seemed rather an airy spriteŠ."

Can there be any higher proof of the greatness of an author than his burning in your mind, rather like the scarlet letter itself, an imprint that is with you forever?

The library will be closed Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following. Have a thoughtful, peaceful and thankful holiday. I'll post my pie recipes on the Web site.

Arts Line

Get ready for gallery tour, classes and workshops

By Kayla Douglass

PREVIEW Columnis

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council's third annual Gala Gallery Tour Walk is next week: 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

Due to other commitments Randall Davis has been unable to teach this class the last few months and we are pleased to have him back in December.

The class usually meets the third Saturday of the month. Randall planned to teach it the first weekend of December, but has had to reschedule it for the second weekend, on Dec. 10.

The class 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 Watercolor Club

The PSAC Watercolor Club was formed in the winter of 2003. Since that time, Pagosa watercolorists have met at 10 a.m. the third Wednesday of each month in the arts and craft space at the community center. The rooms are available to us for the day and we each contribute $5 for the use of the space.

The program for the day varies: Some times we have a demonstration of technique from a professional watercolorist or framer; other times a few people bring still lifes or photos or other projects they want to complete. Come join us, bring your lunch and your watercolor supplies for a fun day.

Due to the holiday season, the meeting in December will be held Dec. 14. In January it will go back to the third Wednesday of the month.

Photo club meeting

The Pagosa Photography Club will meet 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec, 14, in the arts room at the community center.

This month's program will include a roundtable discussion about problems and solutions for scanning negatives and transparencies into digital files.

Photo competitions are held at each club meeting. The two competition categories are the theme category and the open category - where any subject is allowed. This month's theme is "Multiple Exposures." Members may enter one print in each category. This is a reduction from the number allowed in the past. Ribbons are awarded in each category to the top three prints as voted by the members.

The photography club meets the second Wednesday of each month during the club year from September through May. Current paid-up memberships for 2004-2005 will remain in effect through May 2006. Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend the first meeting at no charge. Any and all are invited to join for a modest annual fee. For more information, contact club president Jim Struck at 731-6468 or jim@perfassoc.com.

Basics of watercolor

The Basics of Watercolor for Absolute Beginners is being offered by Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett, Jan. 11, 12 and 13 at the community center, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bring your lunch. Cost for the workshop is $150 for PSAC members and $175 for nonmembers.

This is your opportunity to learn all of the things you wish you had been taught when you first started painting in watercolor. This workshop will cover brushes - their care and how to use them to make the marks you need to create your own painting; watercolor papers - what surface to use, what weight to buy; pigments - how to mix colors and properties of colors; and so much more about each item of equipment.

Each day will begin with lessons and handouts on a given subject and the afternoon will be spent creating a painting utilizing the points from the morning's lesson, the overhead mirror and the follow-me format.

This workshop is for adults who have always wanted to try their hands at watercolor but were afraid to attend other workshops. It is a chance to learn to paint with others who are afraid they have no talent, or who have struggled to learn on their own with limited success.

Learn the basics, especially the things you need to know about materials and techniques to begin the process of creating your own works of art. We'll have so much fun as we learn. And with two instructors, there is plenty of individual attention and assistance.

This is the first of three workshops, with other offered later in the winter. This is the only workshop series Denny and Ginnie will teach in Pagosa during the next year. Basics II is scheduled Jan. 25-27 and Intermediate I is scheduled Feb. 8-10. For additional information on the content of the workshop you can call Ginnie at 731-2489 or Denny at 731-6113. Class size is limited, so sign up early at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council building in Town Park or call 264-5020. Don't forget the PSAC gallery is on winter hours, with limited personnel there Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. So leave a phone message if no one answers and we'll get back with you as soon as possible. Materials list will be available when you register.

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.

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.

PSAC calendar

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.

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

Dec. 10 - Drawing with Randall Davis, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., community center, $35.

Dec. 14 - Watercolor club, 10 a.m., community center.

Dec. 14 - Photography club, 5:30 to 7 p.m., community center.

Jan. 11-13 - Beginning Watercolor, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., community center.

Jan. 25-27 - Beginner's II Watercolor, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., community center.

Feb. 8-10 - Intermediate Watercolor, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., community center.

Artsline is a communication vehicle of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. For inclusion in Artsline, send information to PSAC e-mail (psac@centurytel.net). 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

Tots and Mary: a new era in community events

By Karl Isberg

PREVIEW Columnist

I got a Tot.

What you got?

Wake up, Pagosa: There's a new event in town and, by next year, it's going to be the primo winter extravaganza in this part of the world.

Bigger than the Parade of Lights. Bigger than any of the humdrum, ordinary holiday entertainment - the plays, the concerts, the open houses.

Guaranteed.

This baby is going to put Pagosa on the map.

We're talking national, international.

Intergalactic.

It started innocently enough - as most monumental happenings generally do - with an offhand remark.

Chris was detailing his frightful ineptitude in the kitchen, noting the very few items he could produce at the stovetop. Let's see Š there was breakfast. Pancakes, eggs, crud like that (though, admittedly, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, isn't it? That's what my old man used to say as he poured two fingers of Johnny Walker into a glass of milk, polished off the concoction and toddled off to work).

Chris' biggest, self-proclaimed culinary accomplishment: Tater Tots. Guy loves 'em. Knows the kids intimately.

Ah, the Tater Tot. Invented in 1953, according to Ore-Ida propaganda, by the legendary Golden and Nephi Grigg as a means of using the shreds left over from the French fry production process. (There is controversy in the Tot Universe, however: Some say a mysterious Mr. Gheen, of the Ore-Ida research and development division, was the genius behind the product. Ah, well, there are arguments about the authenticity of some of Fra Angelico's paintings, too. So it goes.)

It is reported by industry flacks that Americans now consume at least 70 million pounds of Tots every year. What is that, nearly four pounds per person? Since I don't consume any of the little brutes, that means someone, somewhere, is gobbling down eight pounds per annum. I know my wife never eats them. In fact, hardly anyone I know eats them. For crying out loud, there must be some enormous folks out there, hidden behind locked doors and shuttered windows, gobbling down highly processed potato products day and night!

Then, Chris bragged about a Tater Tot casserole he makes.

Big mistake. He was immediately challenged. No way potato by-products, manipulated beyond recognition, can be an ingredient in a palatable dish. Prove it.

Chris brought a sample of the casserole to work at The SUN. It was unbelievably ordinary - Tater Tots, ground beef, Velveeta cheese-like product.

I took a bite. Terri took a bite. James took a bite.

"I can beat this with my eyes closed." "You call this food?" "My dog can do better than this."

Following the flurry of nasty remarks, Chris responded: "Oh yeah, you think you can do better, do you? Show me!"

The gauntlet was thrown.

Thus was born the Inaugural Pagosa Springs SUN Tater Tot Casserole Cookoff. November 11, 2005.

Talk about creating a tornado of activity. James worked up an entry form, we developed a set of rules, the date was set.

The rules: A contestant must use three ingredients: Ore Ida Tater Tots, ground flesh of choice, and Velveeta cheese-like product. Beyond that Š Katie bar the door, anything goes.

Included with the entry form was the fascinating history of the Tot mentioned above (including the perplexing Gheen controversy), an intriguing history of Velveeta (a "shining example of Americans' love for processed foods," incorporating Colby and cheddar cheeses, salt and "emulsifiers") and a sheet describing the signs of a heart attack and the steps to be taken prior to the arrival of emergency personnel.

I arranged a panel of distinguished judges: Archuleta County Commissioner Mamie Lynch (a Velveeta connoisseur), Pagosa Springs Chief of Police Don Volger (Mr. Meat), ace journalist James Robinson (raconteur and former manager of a French restaurant) and stellar high school C-team volleyball coach , former resident of Hollywood, Calif. and all-round wonderful gal (so I thought) Ivy Isberg - who claims she has eaten in more world-class restaurants than the entire population of the county combined.

By the entry deadline, there were 14 contestants lined up to battle it out for the top three prizes. One of contestants was a dog, since we had not thought to limit the entries to humans.

Me, I pondered the possibilities: Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish? Canned soups, in the grand, trailer-park tradition? Velveeta in the mix, or used as the primary ingredient in a sauce? Dare I use demi-glace? Tots incorporated? As a base? Baked, then deconstructed and used to top a melange of some sort?

I knew simplicity should be the rule: Nothing too fancy, nothing layered, no ramified tastes and textures. This made perfect sense.

But, I couldn't help myself.

I'm a dilettante, after all.

I got cute.

And it would have worked, but for the Domaine St. Martin La Garrigue.

You see, I decided on a ground turkey molé, topped with a cilantro-kissed and crisp Tot topping, blanketed with a Velveeta/chipotle sauce.

Mmmmm. Olé.

I procured the ground turkey, I bought some chicken stock (I had chicken demi-glace for fortification). There was half a bottle of molé paste in the fridge and an onion, a red Bell pepper and plenty o' garlic on hand. I sauteed the turkey, browning it slightly for flavor's sake, removed it from the pan and sauteed sliced onion and pepper. I popped in a couple cloves of minced garlic, a wad of molé paste and diluted it with the fortified stock. I put the mess over a low flame and retired to the basement with the bottle of La Garrigue.

Big mistake.

I got totally engrossed in an episode of MTV Cribs wherein Li'L Bow Wow was showing us his rec room and I was drinking straight from the bottle of Domain St. Martin La Garrigue and Š well, I came to my senses (or one of my senses), and I smelled something.

Something wrong.

Something burning.

Oops.

I tried to convince myself all was well as I tucked the wreckage in a Tupperware container, but I knew better.

The next day, contest day, somewhat clearheaded, I removed the debris from the fridge, reheated it and knew immediately I was in trouble.

What to do?

I had a pound of extra lean (but hormone-free), ground beef available and I pressed the flesh into service.

Bad idea.

The lean beef didn't go with the molé sauce. The meat dried out when it hit the heat. The molé paste did not meld with the ill-suited blend of chicken stock and dry beef. The mix tasted like shoe polish.

I baked the tots and, instead of forging ahead with the chipotle sauce (why waste a can of chipotles on this mess?) I tore up the tots, added small chunks of Velveeta (which, incidentally, is a food group unto itself) and used the mix as a crust which I toasted under the broiler.

What a disaster! But, arrogant to the end, I figured no one else was going to do any better. I believed I was in the running. After all, what can you do with a Tot?

Turns out, the contest proved the Tot is a flexible food product, open to miraculous manipulations. The casseroles (with one exception) were all interesting, some spectacular.

The judges sampled the entries then adjourned to my office and engaged in heated conversation, Lynch occasionally hurling objects at Isberg, Robinson taking notes, Volger threatening the use of handcuffs and Mace.

Finally, a decision.

All the judges agreed No, 61 (my entry) tasted like cheap dog food.

I was hurt. It wasn't cheap.

The rest of the entries were rated anywhere from good, to "I'd serve this to an in-law" to "incredible."

And incredible - first place&emdash;- went to Toby and Renae Karlquist. My friends. Who I told about the cookoff.

My friends.

Geez.

Second place went to Chris.

The deceptive churl.

He whipped up a spectacular crab-based medley (probably cost $80 to make) that missed first place on a technicality: That the dish was properly described as an "appetizer" rather than a "casserole."

The winning recipe: T & R's Smokey Tater Tot Casserole.

I hate to admit it, but it was a stunning creation. And, if made according to instructions, more remarkable yet due to a rider involving a mandatory Bloody Mary.

Ingredients:

6-8 fresh carrots, sliced

2-3 cups Crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 large, sweet onion, chopped

1 16-ounce pack of hot Italian sausage

1 16-ounce brick of Velveeta Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product

1 8-ounce pack cream cheese

1 32-ounce pack Ore Ida Seasoned Tater Tots

15-20 ounces (1/2 bottle ) Mr. & Mrs. Ts Bold and Spicy Bloody Mary Mix (You can see this one comin', can't ya?)

2 tablespoons Espanola ground red chile

4 ounces smoked green chiles

2-3 pickled jalapeno peppers

Lime pepper

1/2 stick butter (God's ingredient)

Step 1: Mix Bloody Mary with remaining Bloody Mary mix, and drink.

Step 2: Mix Bloody Mary mix, cream cheese, Velveeta, smoked chiles and Espanola red in large sauce pan and liquefy over medium heat. Add lime pepper to taste, Cover and reduce heat.

Saute onions, carrots and mushrooms in butter until soft, add to sauce.

Brown sausage, add to sauce.

Reduce sauce 10-20 percent.

Bake Tater Tots per instructions on package. Cover bottom of 9x12 baking dish with layer of Tots. Ladle sauce on Tots until dish is nearly full. Crumble remaining Tots and sprinkle over top of sauce. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Add sliced jalapenos to top. Serve. Preferably with another Bloody Mary.

T and R's Ultimate Bloody Mary

2 ounces Absolut Pepper Vodka

16 ounces Mr. And Mrs. T's Bold and Spicy Bloody Mary Mix

5-8 shakes Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

5 shake Cholula Hot Sauce

1/2 teaspoon horseradish

1 lime, cut in half

1 Vlasic Tabasco Flavored Kosher Dill Pickle

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 jalapeno-stuffed green olives

Lime pepper

1 celery stalk.

Combine vodka, Worcestershire Sauce, hot sauce, horseradish, garlic dill spear and olives in large drink tumbler. Stir thoroughly. Squeeze 1/2 lime into tumbler. Add lime pepper to taste, Add Bloody Mary mix. Stir thoroughly. Add ice cubes. Squeeze remaining 1/2 lime on top. Stir. Enjoy.

And try not to pitch face first into your serving of Tater Tot casserole.

I ate way too much following the announcement of the award winners (Coe Scott took third with her south-of-the-border medley, replete with salsa fresca.) I was bloated and I was distressed.

I took my daughter aside.

"Come on, couldn't you have worked a little harder for the old man? Huh?"

"No chance, big guy. That was the worst pile of #!** you ever cooked. I was embarrassed. But, hoo boy Š that smoked chile casserole was something, wasn't it? And that crab. Wow!"

I took it like a man. I wrote my daughter out of my will and resolved to improve before next year's contest. You get thumped, you retreat, lick the wounds (if you can get to them) learn the lessons, figure a new strategy, come back stronger than ever.

There's always next year.

I can see it now: We're going to need the community center, there'll be so many entries. We'll have the high school cheerleaders there. The first annual event might even make the Farmington television evening news.

I'm not sure what I'll cook.

But I'm certain I'll win.

Bloody Mary, anyone?

 

Extension Viewpoints

Coffee is a source of antioxidants

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

Nov. 24 - Office closed

Nov. 25 - Office closed

Dec. 1 - Shady Pine Club meeting, 7 p.m.

Dec. 2 - Cloverbuds at community center, 1:30-3 p.m.

Dec. 2 - Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting, 2:15 p.m.

Attention: Professionals who work with ranchers or farmers with arthritis.

There will be a freeAgrAbility & Utilizing Arthritis Resources for Ranchers and Farmers with Disabilities workshop in Durango Nov. 30 and in Cortez Dec. 1, each meeting from 1-4 p.m. Lunch will be included at noon.

Those who should attend include: occupational therapists, physical therapists, cooperative extension agents, vocational rehabilitation counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers, pastors, physicians, nurses, chiropractors and home health care providers.

Register no later than one week prior to the workshop. For more information contact Bob Fetsch at (970) 491-5648, Wendy Rice (Durango) at 247-4355, or Tom Hooten (Cortez) at (970) 565-3123.

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

Persons interested in participating 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 begin Tuesdays starting Jan. 3 and will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Class size will be limited.

Coffee and antioxidants

More Americans get most of their antioxidants from coffee than any other source a recent study revealed, regardless whether the coffee is decaffeinated or regular.

According to the National Coffee Association, half of Americans are coffee drinkers. Antioxidants are promoted for their health benefits including protection against heart disease. In this study the antioxidant content of 100 foods was analyzed and compared to a USDA database on the contribution of each type of food item to the average estimated U.S. per capita consumption. Taking into account both frequency of coffee consumption and amount per serving, coffee came out far ahead of (descending order) black tea, bananas, dry beans, corn, red wine, lager beer, apples, tomatoes and potatoes.

The study's author, Joe Vinson, Ph.D., at University of Scranton (PA), does caution that, though a food may contain a high level of antioxidants, the absorption and utilization by the body is dependent on little understood factors.

It is probably safest to say that antioxidants have the potential for health benefits including protection against heart disease and cancer. On the flip side many coffee drinkers claim coffee gives them their caffeine jolt helping keep them alert and awake, but they may also complain of stomach upsets and jitteriness.

Vinson is not promoting coffee consumption beyond one to two cups a day because it contributes little to the day's total nutrition. He reminds us that consumers are not eating enough fruits and vegetables which overall contribute many more nutrients to the diet than coffee, including vitamins, minerals and fiber. Considering serving size alone without taking frequency into account, dates, cranberries and red grapes are at the top of the list of fruits high in antioxidants.

Check out our Web page at www.archuleta.colostate.edu for calendar events and information.

 

Pagosa Lakes News

Take precautions, and enjoy outdoor winter activities

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

Well, it's Thanksgiving and we'll be running the Turkey Trot tomorrow in good weather, on dry roads and wishing in our hearts for that blessed white stuff to start falling. Real winter weather as we know it in Pagosa is not here yet, so there's no excuse to put your sneakers in hibernation. Get them ready for tomorrow. The Turkey Trot starts at 10 a.m. from the recreation center and registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Walk or run, as you wish - two miles for the walk and five miles for the run.

Back to real winter in Pagosa; it's cold weather and if you continue to work out outside, you'll be burning more calories since more energy is required to keep your body warm. Most people love to hear that magical phrase, "you'll be burning more calories." It translates into "I can lose more weight" and/or "I can now eat more."

Spending time outdoors has plenty of appeal for many folks and I'm one of them. Exposure to light is important to me as it provides my body with a good source of vitamin D and it fends off the gloom and sluggishness of mind and spirit that comes often with prolonged periods of being indoors.

Walking and running outside in the winter is not only very doable, but it's more challenging than using a treadmill. You're at the mercy of the terrain outside and you can't lower the intensity of your workout as you can in the recreation center. Don't misunderstand, I'm not trying to turn away customers but I'm trying to encourage embracing options.

Some folks find winter horrid. They hate the cold, they hate the boredom, they hate the shorter daylight hours. Shake it off by embracing winter. Take up a new sport.

Cross country skiing and/or snowshoeing are both easy sports to pick up. They require no expensive equipment purchase and there is little risk or skill involved. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. And cross country skiing is easy to learn and can be done even around the meadows in your neighborhood. Gear can always be rented at first while you give yourself a chance to check out the new sport. Invest later, after you feel more comfortable with the sport and are ready to make a commitment.

If you are walking or running al fresco, use shoes with good traction, and remember the acronym COLD - keep clothes clean (sweat accumulates in clothes, interfering with ventilation and friendship), avoid overheating, layer clothing and keep dry. I like wearing three layers - an outer layer shell like nylon or Gore Tex to guard against wind and sloppy wet snow; a middle layer of fleece or wool for insulation; and a synthetic layer that wicks moisture away from my body. Cotton is a poor choice.

Keep your hands and head warm as your extremities are most vulnerable to the effects of the cold. Polypropylene or smart wool socks both insulate and draw moisture away from your feet. You know, don't you, that as much as 40 percent of body heat is lost from an uncovered head. If you're bald, well, the heat loss is probably more.

I wear sun protection whenever I'm outside and that's even with my darker complexion. You need sun protection, even in the winter, or I should say, even more so in the winter - especially if you are in the snow, which reflects 80 percent of UV radiation right at you.

No advice from me is complete without "drink plenty of water." I cringe when I hear my two children tell their friends to drink plenty of water. What have I done? But seriously, if you're working hard, you are going to sweat and you must rehydrate or your body will punish you. Have fun this winter.

The recreation center will be closed on Thanksgiving Day in celebration of a day of thankfulness and time with family and friends. We'll be back to serve you on Friday at 6 a.m. so you can get a jump start on burning your Thanksgiving meal.

The PLPOA offices will be closed Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25.

As you gather around the table with the people you love, give some time to remember our men and women in Iraq, folks who have suffered loss as a result of the recent hurricanes, and our neighbors in this immediate community who are suffering from ill health.

 

Obituaries
William Ryan

William Allen Ryan, born Mar. 7, 1929, passed away on Nov. 14, 2005.

William is survived by Augusta, "Rusty," his wife of 48 years, and his seven children: Patrick, Margaret, Timothy, Kevin, Dymphna, Christopher and Karen; and 11 grandchildren.

William lived in Pagosa Springs since 1996, and was an active member in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish and The Knights of Columbus. Rosary was held at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, 2005, and mass was held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 19., 2005, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Pagosa Springs, with Father Carlos Alvarez celebrant.

A private viewing was held Friday afternoon at the La Quey Funeral Home.

The family is asking for donations to be made to the Father John's Prayer Garden fund at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in memory of William Ryan.

 Business News
Chamber News

Saluting outgoing board members

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

There is a lot of time to talk about all the events that will be coming up in December, so I would like to take a break from event reporting this week, get on my soap box and say goodbye to three very important individuals affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce.

For the past three years these individuals have given time, talent, humor and good will to their fellow board members and the community. They all have businesses and families and, chances are, we have rooked these family members into working a Chamber function or two - or 10 - over the years.

These are your outgoing Chamber of Commerce board members.

First on the list is Scott Asay. Sometimes I don't know how this man keeps a very busy chiropractic business, a family with two small children, this board and all his other activities all going at once. Scott is so committed to his patients and will arrange his schedule around them all the time. In my short time working with him, I am so impressed by how he listens to the dialogue around him and then makes his recommendations. This talent must come from listening to his patients. Needless to say, all comments are not serious and often an off-handed remark comes out of his mouth and, before we know it, that quick-witted idea becomes the basis for a project or theme. Scott is always Johnny-on-the-spot for ideas, decorating and presenting a new way to look at how we do business here at the Chamber. His spirit, thought process and humor will be missed.

Then we have Angie Gayhart to say goodbye to. Not only has Angie been a board member for three years, she also has been a Diplomat for the Visitor Center for 9 years. Angie knows just about every angle of this organization. It is not unusual for Angie to return from a trip where she has traveled with her daughter's volleyball or basketball team and brought me an idea or something that she saw and liked and thought we might be able to incorporate. Always looking out for us, that girl! Angie is almost always the first one to be there decorating for an event, helping to gather volunteers, working the event or coming up with ideas. Her broad range of community involvement from business to volunteering expertise lends itself to insightful commentary at our board meetings. Always generous with her time and thoughtful of other people, Angie's bright spirit and contagious laugh will be hard to replace.

Last but not least is the leader of the pack, our outgoing president Toby Karlquist. When they were doling out the creative brain cells, Toby sure got more than his fair share! He can take one of Scott's ideas (or anyone else's for that matter) and just run with the ball. He has been a pillar of strength and fairness for me during my initiation process. The beauty of Toby as a board member is that we really got a two-fer in this deal. Toby's wife, Renae, is at every event working just as hard as he does (sometimes harder?). Toby brought great business sense, creativity, fairness and, of course, that humor to his leadership role and to the board these past three years. Always giving of his time and talent, I appreciate his leadership this past year in his role as president.

These three individuals have been working for our community and have served our organization well. Three new board members will take their place. But as the outgoing depart, they do not depart completely; they will leave a little bit of their presence and spirit with our group. Thank you Scott, Angie and Toby for all your hard work and the fun you brought to this team.

And, with board members in mind, don't forget that starting at the beginning of December, ballots will be available to vote in three new board members. The slate of candidates will be announced in the December newsletter and in my article at that time. We will also run a profile of the candidates in The SUN as well.

You will be able to vote up to Jan. 21 and at the annual meeting on the 21st. There is only one vote per membership and you must come to the Chamber to vote or, again, vote at the annual meeting. We hope to see lots of members at the annual meeting as we welcome three new board members and say goodbye to three, celebrate the citizen and volunteer of the year, announce the Pagosa Pride Award winners, have some great food and beverages, enjoy a show put on by the Bar D Wranglers, then stay a little longer and have some fun dancing.

Awards

It was 1996: As I sat in the back of a restaurant, Sally Hameister proceeded to expound on the "gifts" this person had bestowed on our community as the first Volunteer of the Year for Pagosa Springs. She then honored me with this award and a very glittery pair of roller skates.

I cannot even begin to tell you of my shock (and it still stays with me today) at having received this award and to think that someone had even thought to nominate me! I got to share this honor that year with Terri House and Shari Pierce as they received the Citizen of the Year award for their work with Operation Helping Hand.

Committed people volunteer because they want to help or make a difference with no expectation of reward or recognition. I was so excited when I got to pass on the glittery roller skates (now updated to a pair of glittery roller blades) to last year's Volunteer of the Year, Lisa Scott.

From 1996 to the present, there have been so many deserving citizens who have received these awards. Keep this honor going by taking five minutes out of your life to recognize someone or someones in this community who you feel have made a difference for our community or have unselfishly donated their time for the betterment of our area.

Volunteer and Citizen of the Year forms will be included in this quarter's newsletter or you can pick a form up at the Chamber. We can even fax you one. However you receive the form, take the time to recognize someone you see who gives of their time and talent. Even if your nominee doesn't win the big award, just to recognize that person and say "Thank you, I appreciate your efforts," is a tremendous gift. Five minutes!

Memberships

Once again, some very cool new members and great renewals this week.

Actually, keeping with the theme of making a difference in our community, many of the renewals this week are non-profit organizations. Let's start off with the newbees, though.

First off, we have the new restaurant at 121 Pagosa St., Kip's Grill and Cantina. Kip's has fresh baja-style tacos, including mahi fish tacos, grilled chicken sandwiches, elk and buffalo burgers and a full bar. All this tasty food is served in a casual atmosphere that makes for a great gathering place. Winter hours will be 3 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. We welcome Kip's Cantina to our community with its great new menu.

Now here is a clever new business. Creative queen, Lynne Killey is the head bee of Queen Bee Sauce. Queen Bee Sauce offers fun, simple skin care products and accessories of all sorts. She has bath sauces, facial sauces, body sauces, lip sauces and more, all with natural products, delicious scents and sensuous textures. You can get a feel and smell for these products at a Queen Bee showing Saturday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pagosa Lodge. Lots of giveaways and samples at this show and these "treats" make great gift giving ideas. Check out the Bee's Web site at www.QueenBeeSauce.com or give Lynne a call at 731-3690 to speak with the Queen Bee herself!

The last new member for the week is Liquid Graphics, run by Ray and Kim Hamilton. With over 10 years of professional experience in web development, Ray and Kim can do anything from Web design to PHP programming, to e-commerce. Logo design and content management are their specialties. Check out their Web site, www.ligquidgraphics.com, to find out more about their talents or to shop the site. These talented individuals can also be contacted by calling 731-2722. And, of course, thanks to Kathryn Heilhecker for this referral to the Chamber. Her SunDowner card is in the mail. Remember, even if designing a Web page or a new image for your business, you can shop Pagosa first. We have some very creative people in this community.

First restaurant on the renewal list this week is Hunan Chinese Restaurant located at 180 E. Pagosa St.

Then we have one of our landmark restaurants, The Junction Restaurant, owned by TL Shumaker.

Also among the renewals this week is Bernadette Garcia and that terrific shoe store, A Shoe or Two Plus.

A longtime Pagosa business renews this week: Saul Furnishings.

We have a Durango member renewing a membership - Budget Blinds with Toni Stansfield-Huwek.

As I mentioned, we now have quite a few non-profit organizations renewing this week. We have PACK — an independent grassroots group of citizens dedicated to promote positive change in the community.

Also, the Pagosa Springs Film Society.

And we welcome back a neighbor of ours right next door, in Town Park: The American Legion Post No. 108.

Another neighbor renewing this week is The Pagosa Springs Arts Council. This active arts group supports all art activities in Pagosa Springs.

One more neighbor here on Hot Springs Boulevard is the Pagosa Springs Community Center, headed up by Mercy Korsgren

Rounding out the renewals this week is August Venderbeek, an associate member. Having previously been a member with A Rainbow's Den, August renews and sent a a very nice thank you note for keeping her in the information loop. We appreciate her renewing as an associate member, and staying in the loop.

Once again, thank you to the outgoing board members and I need to remind everyone to vote for the incoming board candidates and fill out those citizen and volunteer of the year award forms. Watch The SUN for a schedule of upcoming holiday events, clip it out and post the clipping on the fridge or at another prominent spot, so you won't miss a function!

And, since it is the Thanksgiving week, I would like to thank everyone again for their generosity, words of encouragement and support over this past year. I could not have a better job - promoting the town, the organizations and the businesses that I love. Remember, we are always growing here at the Chamber and can only do so with input from the community, both positive and constructive. Thank you, Pagosa.

 

People
Cards of Thanks
Bramwell

Since this is the time of year to recognize our many blessings to be thankful for, I want to personally share some of mine. I am very thankful for all of the good staff at Pine Ridge Extended Care, especially Mary Brooks, Administrator, who have been there for Mom and Dad, Virginia and Floyd Bramwell, since 2000. Thank you Mary, for leading in the continued care of Mom since Dad passed on, standing by her in the difficult hours.

I want to thank their church family, members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. You have been there from the beginning and have continued your love and caring of Mom. Thank you for recognizing Mom as the anchor for the church. This has been such a blessing for her. Your love and kindness goes a long way.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the family and friends who have given so much love to Mom and Dad through the years, and your continued support of Mom. Dad was almost 92 years old and Mom will be 90 years old December 23.

Marvel Bramwell

 Housing Solutions

Housing Solutions for the Southwest would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and would like to thank the community for all the support received during the past year.

We would also like to thank the following partnership groups that work with us throughout the year: Advocacy for La Plata, Family Center, Women's Resource Center, Southwest Center for Independence, Volunteers of America Shelter and Safehouse and Thrift Store, Methodist Thrift Store, Community Emergency Assistance Coalition, Pagosa Outreach, Pinon Project, Home Supply Store, Humane Society Thrift Store, Human Services, the Regional Housing Authority, county commissioners and city governments.

 Seeds of Learning

Seeds of Learning would like to thank PBS Heating and Air, from the bottom of their frosty toes, for fixing our furnace. Thanks to Gordon and Jason, Seeds was only closed one day because of furnace failure. Seeds would also like to thank PBS for donating all the parts and labor. Thank you so much for your prompt response and commitment to getting us up and running!

Lynne L. Bridges

 Talbot

The 2005 Pagosa Springs Fun Day Rodeo Series has completed a 10th consecutive season. A record number of contestants from Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, Durango, Ignacio and Chama, N.M., competed for fun and prizes last summer. The support and contributions of the following make the series an annual success: The committee members of Pagosa Springs Enterprises; Bob Goodman; Andy and Don Weber; Debbie and Pat Candelaria; J.R. Ford; Fern, Donnie and Duane Shahan; The Pagosa Springs SUN; KWUF Radio; Wes Lewis; Trudy Kremer; Lori Lucero; the late Sharman Denison, and Sam Knowlton. Thank you to all those who work so hard contributing their time and efforts on rodeo Sundays: Al Flaming, Richard Rafferty, Jack Rosenbaum, Marie Vest, Diana Talbot, Claudia Rosenbaum, Rochelle Shahan, Misty Talbot, Charmaine Talbot, Sommer Evans, Diane Evans, JoLynn Rader, Brian Williams and Ryan Montroy.

Randy Talbot

 

Locals

Brynne Nash

Brynne Nash, daughter of David and Catherine Brackhahn of Pagosa Springs, graduated in May from San Juan College in Farmington, N.M., with an associate degree in nursing. During her studies, Brynne was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Student Nurses' Association. She is now a licensed registered nurse and is employed by San Juan Regional Medical Center in their nephrology/urology unit, caring primarily for patients with kidney failure.

 

Sports Page

Pirate wrestlers motivated and working hard

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

There are 43 athletes out for this year's Pirate wrestling team, with three wrestlers back after state tournament appearances last season.

The squad has been divided into lower and upper classmen groups, with each group practicing separately for the first couple weeks. Head Coach Dan Janowsky and his assistants, Roger August and Cody Backus, have been putting the wrestlers through their paces, watching, analyzing.

What kind of season will it be?

There's certifiable material returning in the persons of 12 wrestlers with some varsity experience. From lightest to heaviest, they are: Travis Moore, Josh Nelson, Orion Sandoval, Paul Hostetter, Ky Smith, Justin Moore, Matt Nobles, Reynaldo Palmer, Josiah Burgraaf, Dale August, Bubba Martinez and Joe Romine. Last year, Martinez took third place in Class 3A at 215 pounds as a junior; Smith and Nobles competed at the state tournament.

"We've got a fairly good number of guys with varsity experience," said Janowsky, no doubt comparing this team to others he has coached in his long career at Pagosa Springs High School. There have been veteran teams that did well, and some that did not.

So, what kind of season is it likely to be?

Janowsky reported the first week of practice left him with some positive impressions, and some questions.

"It's got me going a little bit," he said. "I don't really have a feel for it yet. We've got a fairly good number of guys with varsity experience, but the first question is whether we will have to keep one or two of them out because they are at the same weight. Or will they spread out? We've got pretty good dispersion from 140 pounds up."

So, how will it go?

"There'll likely be some newcomers at the lower weights," said Janowsky. "We've got a lot of able bodies in the wrestling room - some good freshmen and some good kids who were in the running last year, who will contend for spots."

And?

"As far as our seniors go," said the coach, "they're motivated, a tight bunch. All of them obviously have goals that are pretty high. They're on line, they're sharp. They push each other when someone is lagging."

All good signs. But, pointing to what?

Apparently, it's hard to say at this juncture, in specific terms. But, in general: "We're not going to be easy for anybody," said Janowsky. "Our older guys know their way around and they're fairly mature. They'll form the core of a pretty solid team. Right now, the team's conditioning is pretty good, especially with the older bunch. They care about what they're doing and they know what to expect. Our practices have been competitive so far, with a lot of wrestling, a lot of conditioning, a lot of high-speed drilling. I've been working them hard."

So, for now, no predictions. The coach has seen too many teams, been through too many seasons to hazard a guess at this point.

Another week of work, another glance at the wrestlers' weights, more hard work - then, maybe, it's time to consider the chances as the first tournament of the season approaches, Dec. 2, at Rocky Ford.

But, then, predictions are rarely made by wrestlers. Wrestling is a sport with a very short horizon line - immediate, singular, internalized, harsh in its realities, ultimately demanding of the athletes, yet possessed of sublime and subtle aspects when practiced at the highest levels. The best teams and individuals survive and shake out of the mix as a result of a combination of intense discipline, fervent commitment and long years of experience.

The one thing that can be said at this point in the process is Pagosa has a great tradition and the current athletes work within it and work to extend it, as have their predecessors.

And, this year Š

 

Bramwell qualifies for another National Finals Rodeo

Forest Bramwell, native Pagosan, has qualified for his fourth National Finals Rodeo to be held Dec. 2-11 in Las Vegas, Nev.

The rodeo features the top 15 money winners with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for the year in the seven events of bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Bramwell is ranked number 11 in bareback riding.

The nightly performances will be televised on ESPN.

Bramwell's 2005 highlights include:

- Won the Lewiston (Idaho) Round-Up.

- Won the San Luis Valley Ski-Hi Stampede (Monte Vista).

- Won the Ute Stampede (Nephi, Utah).

- Co-champion at the Rodeo of the Ozarks (Springdale, Ark.).

- Won Lehi (Utah) Round-Up.

- Won the Daines Ranch Rodeo (Innisfail, Alberta).

- Co-champion in the Wrangler Tour round and won the aggregate title at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros (Tucson, Ariz.).

 

Lady Pirates open with optimism

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The 2005-2006 Pagosa Springs High School girls' basketball season is here and the optimism high for another big season!

Fourth-year head coach Bob Lynch welcomed 34 players (16 vying for varsity spots) to practice Nov. 14, with an objective to better the performance of last year's second-round 3A state playoff team.

"We have a fine group of returning players and we are really excited about this season," said Lynch.

The excitement starts early when the Pirates host Alamosa and Durango Saturday in their first scrimmage of the year. Even though it is a scrimmage, the 4A Mean Moose and 5A Demons will be a good indicator for Lynch. Tipoff is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the PSHS gym.

The Lady Pirates then compete at the Buena Vista tournament Dec. 2 and 3.

Teams participating in the tournament, besides Pagosa, include the host team 3A Buena Vista Demons, the 3A La Junta Tigers and 4A Alamosa Mean Moose. Pagosa will play La Junta Dec 2 at 4 p.m. and face the other two opponents Saturday.

On Dec. 9 and 10, the Lady Pirates host the Wolf Creek Classic at the PSHS gym. Other girls' participants include the 3A Gunnison Cowboys, the New Mexico 4A Aztec Tigers and the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers. Pagosa opens with Gunnison at 6:30 p.m. on Dec 9.

Following the round-robin Classic, the Pirates have one game before holiday break - Dec. 16 at Kirtland N.M.

The Pirates continue preseason play after the break with a Jan. 7 contest at Bloomfield N.M.

On Jan. 13, Pagosa will have a return match with Kirtland before they travel to Aztec N.M. Jan. 14.

Intermountain League (IML) play begins Jan. 20 at Bayfield. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

The full season schedule is printed in this issue of The SUN. Read next week's SUN for player profiles and prospects.

 

Pirates scrimmage Saturday, start season at Buena Vista Dec. 2

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Oh the smell of the gym and fresh varnish on the hardwood.

How many players and fans have been waiting since last March to experience them again?

Well the Thanksgiving holiday is here, Christmas is just around the corner - and it's time for basketball.

The 2005-2006 version of Pagosa Springs High School boys' basketball is here. Coach Jim Shaffer welcomed 34 potential high school all-state selections (16 vying for varsity spots) to practice Nov. 14.

The bar is set high, with team and staff hoping to better last year's third place finish in the 3A state basketball championships.

This year's Pirates will have to learn quickly, as their first test will be Saturday when the 5A Durango Demons come to the PSHS gym for a scrimmage. Even though it is a scrimmage, it will be a good test for Pagosa and an early indicator for Shaffer to look at his depth chart. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

There won't be a lot of time to analyze the results, as an aggressive preseason schedule kicks in.

The Pirates travel to Buena Vista next weekend (Dec. 2 and 3) for the annual Buena Vista tournament. Others teams in the boys' tournament, besides Pagosa, include the host 3A Buena Vista Demons, the 3A La Junta Tigers and 4A Alamosa Mean Moose. The Pirates' first opponent is La Junta, Dec. 2 at 5:30 p.m.

The weekend of Dec. 9 and 10 is the annual Wolf Creek Classic hosted by PSHS. Other participants in the boys' bracket include the 3A Gunnison Cowboys, the New Mexico 4A Aztec Tigers and the 4A Battle Mountain Huskies. Pagosa's first tournament game is against Gunnison, Dec. 9 at 8:15 p.m.

The remaining preseason schedule, before the holiday break, includes away games at Farmington N.M. and Piedra Vista N.M., Dec. 19 and 20 respectively. Both contests are set for a 7 p.m. start.

In early January the Pirates get three home games before the Intermountain League (IML) schedule begins. Pagosa will host Montezuma-Cortez Jan. 8, Kirtland, N.M. Jan. 13 and Farmington Jan. 14.

The first IML game is Jan. 20, at Bayfield. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

The full season schedule is printed in this issue of The SUN.

Read next week's SUN for player profiles and prospects.

 

Final results for 2005 Fun Day Rodeo Series

The Pagosa Springs Fun Day Rodeo series completed the 2005 season with a Nov. 6. awards banquet.

This year's final standings, with top finishers in each age group, are:

- 5 and under: first, Dillon Weber; second, Rachael Bauer; third, Deann Schaaf; fourth, Makeely Garcia.

- 6-8 age group: first, Morgan Schaaf; second, Lane Schaaf; third, Payton Shahan; fourth, Emily Bauer; fifth, Kelton McCoy; sixth, David McRee.

- 9-11 age group - first, Katelyn McRee; second, Rowdy Sanchez; third, Kelsi Lucero; fourth, Hunter Williams; fifth, Cecilia Yocum; sixth, Cody Snow.

- 12-14 age group - first, Waylon Lucero; second, Marissa House; third, Chad Shaw; fourth, Raesha Ray; fifth, Beth Lucero; sixth, Breann Decker.

- 15-19 age group - first, Charmaine Talbot; second, Ryan Montroy; third, Hailey Archuleta; fourth, Chelsea Montroy; fifth, Kylie Corcoran.

- 20 and over age group - first, Lori Lucero; second, Trudy Kremer; third, Jessica Brown; fourth, Tim McRee; fifth, Tracie McRee; sixth, Sara Wood.

 

High Peaks club continues volleyball tradition, season begins

What are you looking for in a volleyball club?

Are you the athlete just beginning to learn the sport? Are you the athlete trying to make the school 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 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, located in Pagosa Springs, is a United States Volleyball Association-sanctioned club program. High Peaks Volleyball Club offers volleyball players in Pagosa Springs attention to every detail that is important to the training of young athletes, a training environment that makes it fun to learn and a team philosophy designed to make every individual athlete feel they are important.

A member of both the Rocky Mountain Region (Colorado) and the Sun Country Region (New Mexico and West Texas), High Peaks Volleyball Club travels to play a competitive schedule in order to allow players many playing opportunities and experiences. In 2006, High Peaks Volleyball Club travelled to Reno, Nev., to participate in the 2005 Volleyball Festival, the largest girl's sports tournament in the world. Over 22,000 girls competed in this national event.

High Peaks Volleyball Club is directed by Myles Gabel, who has been in the volleyball ranks for 30 years - 19 years as a collegiate volleyball coach. As the head volleyball coach at San Diego State University, New Mexico State University and Whittier College, Gabel's teams averaged 20 wins per year in each of his coaching tenures. As an assistant and associate head coach at the University of Southern California, Gabel was an integral part of four national championship teams. Gabel is certified by both the FIVB (Federation Internationale de Volleyball) and USAV (USA Volleyball). He has directed and coached numerous USAV club and high school programs. Gabel is a Nike Volleyball Clinician and spends time each year coaching and directing volleyball camps and clinics around the country. He is currently the recreation superintendent for the Town of Pagosa Springs.

"Our basic goal at High Peaks Volleyball Club is to meet the needs of the junior volleyball community." Gabel said. "This past year over 80-percent of the players who formed the nucleus of the high school and junior high school volleyball teams played for High Peaks Volleyball Club."

If your interest is in the real possibilities of competing at the collegiate level, Coach Gabel also uses his expertise as a top coach and recruiting coordinator from the college ranks to help athletes and parents gain valuable insight in the area of college recruiting and college scholarships. Last year, Caitlyn Jewell and Lori Walkup received full athletic scholarships in the sport of volleyball to attend CSU Pueblo.

"High Peaks Volleyball Club gave me the skills and knowledge that helped me first land a scholarship and then allowed me to start as a freshman," said Jewell.

The mission statement at High Peaks Volleyball Club is to provide a positive, competitive and disciplined environment, emphasizing volleyball fundamentals, skills and techniques, while fostering the development of good character, high moral and ethical standards for the future volleyball athlete. Over the past four years, High Peaks Volleyball Club has met these standards.

If you are interested in finding out more about the High Peaks Volleyball Club call Gabel at 731-1711.

 

Pagosa Springs Recreation

Making the most out of a busy schedule

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

Today's sports parents play chauffeur, chef and schedule-keeper for their children. If it's Tuesday, the kids are scarfing sandwiches on their way from soccer practice to a baseball game, as Mom reminds them to change uniforms.

Each day brings a fresh slate of after-school activities, not to mention weekends packed with games. And homework must figure in the mix too. Is this nonstop routine healthy for our kids? Or are we doing them - and our family structure - a disservice with all this shuttling around?

A long-term study by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research found that the time kids spent playing structured sports increased by 25 percent from 1981 to 1997. They eat fewer dinners with their families and take fewer family vacations. Perhaps most significant, our children join in fewer family conversations each week.

This erosion perplexes any sports parent straining to keep up with his or her kids and also keep a family healthy. The challenges only multiply when you have more than one child. Yet despite this hectic reality, your athlete can enjoy the best of all worlds - and you can maintain your sanity - if you and your community take these proactive steps:

1. Check with your school or recreation department to see if a master calendar of events exists. If not, help create one. Many local organizations will try to limit each sport's practices and games, as well as coordinate between sports, to reduce scheduling overlap. That way kids (and parents) don't have to sprint to the next event.

2. Though carpooling requires some planning, local organizations recommend it to reduce the strain on parents. Talk to other parents on your team about setting up a schedule. At the first practice, survey parents to see who'd be willing to participate.

3. Kids who learn to budget time when they're young become better students. But it's up to you as parents to help teach them how to balance homework with sports commitments. Also enlist your children's coaches to help spread the message: Schoolwork should always be a priority.

4. What about those treks to away games? Make the most of them. Road trips give you valuable time to get to know your children and homework can be worked. Start a conversation by complimenting their recent play. You'll be amazed how chatty your kids become when talking about their sports.

While no easy solutions exist for juggling young athletes' schedules, take heart that organized sports offer your children a wonderful thrill. They'll grow in ways they never could sitting in front of a computer or TV all afternoon. That doesn't make your routine any easier, but it does make it worthwhile. Hang in there!!

Reference: "Sports Illustrated for Kids"

Soccer photos

If you bought and paid for 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 pictures.

Elk's Club 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 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.

Referees/scorekeepers

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 and adults are welcome and training is provided. 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 may be found by calling the Pagosa Springs Sports Hotline at 264-6658 or logging on to townofpagosasprings.com and going to the Parks and Recreation link. All schedules and upcoming events are updated every Monday morning.

For additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs, contact Myles Gabel, recreation supervisor, at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

 

Editorial

A very generous place

Thanksgiving Day. A holiday that focuses many of us on thoughts of those aspects of our lives we find pleasing, satisfying. It causes us to reflect on what we value, on those we love, on positive and fortunate conditions and circumstances. On our blessings. To this extent, the holiday - a distinctly American occasion - is unusual: There are no gifts, other than a meal and one anothers' company.

Beyond the blessings of family and friends, the day causes us to reflect on our surroundings, on our community, our physical and social environment.

We are thankful we live in such a beautiful place. One hears comments about the physical beauty of this place so often it is easy to become immune to the genuine nature of the remarks. The physical beauty of Pagosa Country and its environmental value are things we should all work to preserve. We are blessed to have it within our power to help guide and shape the changes that occur here.

We are thankful to live in a community wherein, despite regular and sometimes garish conflict, people truly care about things political, spiritual, cultural; where they debate the issues, engage the processes, labor to achieve compromise. We are thankful to experience a situation that allows for the battles, that provides real means to real ends - all largely defined by those who participate.

We are also thankful to live in a community that is generous, to a fault. Thanksgiving is a watershed event, marking the start of a period characterized here by charity and good will, a time of year when numerous community organizations and individuals put the engines of their best intentions into high gear, creating and working with programs designed to help the less fortunate among us.

Food drives, toy drives and other charitable activities highlight the season that begins with Thanksgiving. The most notable of these programs is Operation Helping Hand - a coalition of individuals, civic organizations and church groups now nearing its 20th year.

Operation helping Hand 2005 is well underway; Friday, Nov. 19, the organization provided food boxes and turkeys to 98 Pagosa Country families.

Now, the organization is setting its sights on the Christmas season, working to assist neighbors who seek help: Folks down on their financial luck, children of single parents, the physically and mentally challenged, senior citizens on restricted incomes, victims of domestic violence - anyone and everyone who needs a boost during what can be a difficult time of year.

Families and individuals apply for assistance by filling out an application available at the Archuleta County Department of Social Services, in Town Hall on Hot Springs Boulevard. Forms requesting assistance (food and gifts) for the upcoming season must be completed and turned in to Social Services by 3 p.m. Dec. 5.

Those wishing to contribute to the effort can do so by taking nonperishable food items, new or used clothing and household items and new toys to the offices of Coldwell Banker, the office of Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate or the Bank of the San Juans. Those wishing to purchase new clothes, household items or toys can find written requests for items posted at both local City Market locations. Monetary donations can be made to Operation Helping Hand and deposited in account No. 6240417424 at Wells Fargo Bank or account No. 20014379 at Bank of the San Juans. Donations can be mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Each year, this effort and others remind us of what is best about Pagosa Country. We are thankful for the chance to reflect on those things that define our community better than any controversy, problem or complaint.

Karl Isberg

 

Pacing Pagosa

A turkey shoot on Put Hill

By Richard Walter

SUN Columnist

"They're havin' a turkey shoot up on Put Hill. Wanna go up an' watch?"

That was more than 50 years ago.

I didn't want to watch turkeys being shot, so I thought maybe we should go and try to stop the slaughter.

Little did I know that they weren't really shooting turkeys. They were shooting targets and turkeys were the prizes for the best marksmen.

I use that anecdote as a means of looking again at the changing face of Pagosa Country. The turkey shoot was held about 200 yards off U.S. 160 along Piedra Road.

Targets were aligned against the base of the hill where now stands the structure housing the various enterprises of Rising Stars.

There were no churches where the two now stand along Majestic Drive, which also did not exist.

Neither did the cluster of motels, restaurants, business and financial offices and service businesses now flourishing across the area.

Put Hill, in fact, had a lone business, the old store owned by the Belmear family on the curve where U.S. 160 swerves from north to westbound.

There was no Pagosa Golf Club with its manicured greens, no major lumber companies with coded and neatly arranged stacks of building materials, no strip malls and no stop lights.

There was no Pagosa Lodge, no Village Center Mall, no fast food restaurants. In fact, Pagosa Lakes may have been only a glint in an entrepreneur's eye and the John Stevens Ranch was still just a ranch, not yet a scene for movies and the drawing card for big money it was to become.

Downtown Pagosa Springs, surprisingly, looked much as it does today ... some of the structures still exist, others have been modernized and still others are replacements. The bridge across the San Juan River, which once carried San Juan Street to its eastern end beneath the water tower on Reservoir Hill, was still there and beneath its rusty beams one of my favorite fishing spots produced great catches of Rainbow and Brook.

The Spa was Pagosa's outdoor swimming pool, where those youngsters who didn't learn to swim in the river at Cotton Hole found instruction and fun if they had 50 cents to spend.

There were hints of growth ahead. My friend Jim Sopowinik and I were lifeguards at the outdoor pool during our 15th year. His father was a heavy equipment operator who did a lot of ditching for water to drain into Sullenberger Lake west of Piedra Road. On days off from the pool we accompanied his dad and watched as the drainages took shape.

This was the real beginning of Pagosa Lakes. Sullenberger became, I believe, Lake Pagosa, the jewel of early development of the Stevens ranch.

Bicycles, much as they are in some seasons today, were still the main mode of transport for we teens still under driving age.

Archuleta County had a population of about 3,500 as I recall, with about 1,400 of that total in the town of Pagosa Springs itself.

It was the Pagosa I could not see changing.

 

Legacies

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 26, 1915

Henry Born, owner of Born's Lake up the river, made a shipment of nearly a half million brook trout eggs to the state fish department Monday. Up to date this makes about one million eggs taken this season from this famous lake. Mr. Born informs us that he can take several million more if the fish department demands them.

The new post office called Debs, located on the B.O. Thayer ranch in the upper Piedra region, will be open for business in a few days with a mail service twice-a-week from Pagosa Springs, with B.O. Thayer as postmaster and R.B. Walker as carrier.

The biggest hog killing ever pulled off in the county occurred at the Judge Hayden ranch north of town, when 33 head of grunters bit the dust in one day.

 75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 28, 1930

Over 400 male trout, of the rainbow and brook variety, were placed in the San Juan River Tuesday at the Laughlin Bridge. The fish ranged in size from 6 to 22 inches, and were surplus stock from the Haviland Lake above Durango, which is owned and controlled by the state fish and game department.

With cold weather at hand it behooves every resident to be on his guard to avert loss of property by fire &emdash;a regular winter's occurrence in Pagosa Springs.

The recent snow storm brought Juanita about three inches of snow, much less than in other parts of the county. Coal hauling and other traffic however is practically stopped for the present.

 50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 24, 1955

Chains have been the fashion for just about everyone living off the highway since the snow. Most side roads and town streets are pretty muddy and the warm days sure are making the snow disappear. If it soaks into the ground enough to give us a good moisture content to pile up more snow on, it should make for good crops next year.

Rabbit hunters, pheasant hunters, duck hunters, etc. are reporting fair luck this year. Hunters should remember that shotguns are potentially more dangerous than high power rifles. National statistics show that more hunting accidents that claimed lives this year were caused by carelessness than any other cause and that a majority of those killed were killed by shotguns at a distance of less than 25 yards.

 25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 27, 1980

Three directors for the Dr. Mary Fisher Center will be elected in December. The board of directors there is currently planning to hold a county wide election after the first of the year for the purpose of obtaining voter approval for the establishment of an area-wide hospital district, although no hospital is presently planned.

A heavy snow storm arrived here the first of the week leaving up to 12 inches of new snow. The snow started falling around midnight Sunday and continued through Monday. Indications as the SUN goes to press are that another storm may be moving in.

Wolf Creek Ski Area opened Wednesday of this week with some excellent skiing conditions and better than three feet of snow at midway.

Features

Pagosa's Mion in Rockwell Museum exhibit

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

Pierre Mion, nationally renowned illustrator and resident of Pagosa Springs, was honored to have five pieces exhibited in the recent "National Geographic: The Art of Exploration" display at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

"The Art of Exploration" displayed 100 pieces of original artwork printed in over a century of National Geographic's publications. According to the Norman Rockwell Museum Web site, "the National Geographic Society's illustrators have taken readers to places beyond the reach of a camera's lens on journeys of the imagination to destinations that can be seen only through the artist's eye Š helping us to understand our history and the mysteries of the natural world." Mion is a marquee artist of the exhibition, which will show the paintings from Nov. 12 through May 2006.

"It was a lot of fun to see all of the [huge paintings] - great stuff," said Mion of the show. "These paintings were printed the size of a National Geographic page, but most were originally done on very large canvasses." Mion enjoyed visiting with fellow artists and reliving a small piece of his once very public lifestyle. He also delighted in joining in on practical jokes in the same fashion he and his comrades shared before he retired. "We had a good time&emdash;we really did."

After the opening of the show, Mion addressed a Massachusetts teacher's group that meets monthly at the museum. He discussed the journey of science to art, as well as his working relationship with Norman Rockwell, arguably the most famous of American illustrators.

"Norman Rockwell called me person-to-person one Sunday morning in 1966. The operator said, 'Mr. Mion, please.'

"'Speaking,' I replied.

"'Go ahead, Sir,' said the operator. Next, a man came on the line and said,

"'My name is Norman Rockwell. I'm an illustrator.'

"'Yeah, right,' I said, 'And I'm Mickey Mouse.' I was really sarcastic. I mean, this was like God calling [me]," said Mion.

Rockwell explained that he was working on three pieces that would depict the then proposed manned space flight to the moon and the lunar exploration. Rockwell told Mion he had seen his work depicting space in National Geographic. Mion was given a byline for the illustrations, as well as a short biographic paragraph. Rockwell simply called information and requested Mion's number.

"I was sure it was a joke," said Mion, "I hoped it was truly him, but I wasn't really sure," given the practical jokes he and his friends often played on each other. Rockwell told Mion he needed some advice and offered to fly Mion to his studio.

Rockwell was creeping up on the deadline for his three space paintings and offered Mion the option to "ghost paint" a lunar craft lifting off.

"Norman Rockwell had never had a ghost painter before, nor has he since," stated Mion. Rockwell was so pleased with Mion's work in gouache (opaque watercolors) that he matched his work's colors with Mion's, rather than Mion matching Rockwell's. "It was the best publicity I ever had - being tied to Norman Rockwell on a project," said Mion.

Thus began over a decade of collaboration and friendship between Mion and Rockwell. "He was friendly, open and warm," said Mion, "There was nothing snooty about him at all."

Rockwell recommended Mion to IBM for a project advertising their part in the lunar missions. The advertising firm representing IBM was very selective and "they were 'mother-henning' the hell out of it," recalls Mion. The president of IBM was delighted with the piece and hung it in his office for over a year, then donated it to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. It is one of eight works by Mion displayed by the Smithsonian Institution.

Mion is best known for his works depicting outer space, although his portfolio encompasses a wide variety of work from landscapes and seashore scenes to portraits. He worked on many projects for NASA with numerous astronauts, including Michael Collins, Buzz Aldron and Neil Armstrong; the crew on the first lunar touchdown.

Mion became a freelance illustrator in 1960. "I had a wife and a baby at home, two hundred dollars in the bank, and no clients," said Mion of his bold venture into the freelance world.

Mion was hired by National Geographic in 1961, beginning a 38 year working relationship with the magazine. Mion's work was pictured in the magazine in varied sizes, from partial-page depictions to multi-page foldouts and large inserts.

"I traveled all over the world for them," stated Mion, including a month-long diving adventure in Monaco with the famed oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau and a tour in Vietnam to depict combat art. "They offered me a staff position, and I turned it down," said Mion. "A few years later the art director passed away, and they offered me that job, but I wanted to illustrate, not direct a program." Mion has been a freelance artist for 45 years.

Other clients of Mion include Look Magazine, Life Magazine and the U.S. Postal Service, for whom he has designed a dozen postage stamps. He has works displayed in the NASA fine arts collection and has painted murals for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Mion decided at 12 years of age that he was going to be an illustrator. His father was an architect by trade, as well as a fine artist.

"I designed with my dad for years," said Mion, "He was my main teacher until I went to college." Mion attended the Corcoran Art Gallery School of Art at George Washington University. "At college, I discovered that if you can learn to paint the human figure, you can pretty much draw anything."

Upon graduation, Mion "went door-to-door to various studios, and none of them would hire me," he said. "They would say, 'Don't call us&emdash;we'll call you.' My first job was with the U.S. government. They'll hire anybody."

Mion worked in the Pentagon designing charts used by officers for training purposes. "To make a living as an artist, I was very versatile. You have to be to make a living at it." Mion was at the Pentagon for 10 months, then moved to another government agency where he developed his own program.

Mion was then hired by Creative Arts Studio, the biggest and best-known studio in Washington D.C. "I bluffed my way into the place," said Mion of his entrance into the illustration department. After a two-month review period, Mion was told by his supervisors that he had natural talent, but his skills needed work. He could move to the technical drawing department, take a cut in salary or leave the company altogether. Mion chose to stay in illustration. "I was a little embarrassed, but I had a job. So, I started to relax and things began to click."

Mion studied his craft with a passion and within two years he became the art director of Creative Arts Studio. Within a few years, he left the studio to begin his 45-year freelance career.

Mion has lived in Pagosa for the past nine years. His studio walls are covered with illustrations and fine art pieces, as well as photographs of him in race cars. Mion was a driver for 16 years - racing formula cars and motorcycles, and road racing. He won two national road racing championships and three regional championships. He and his wife, Sandy, now enjoy four-wheeling on some of the roughest terrain in the West. "My wife says that I spent sixteen years going as fast as I could - now I'm driving as slow as I can.

"I've never really retired," said Mion of his art. He continues to take commissions for work, but simply thrives on the creative process. As he states in a short biographical sketch: "While my main goal is to satisfy my creative drive, I have a strong need to both inform and please other people with my art. Great joy for me is capturing the fragile beauty of our planet."

 

Wolf Creek work suspended

Wolf Creek Pass was free of construction delays beginning at 5 p.m., Nov. 22, as crews suspended activity for the winter.

Two-way traffic was reinstated on the half-mile stretch of U.S. 160 east of the Big Meadows Reservoir access road. Commercial vehicle restrictions in place during construction were also lifted. "We would like to thank motorists for their patience during this year's construction," said Craig Black, CDOT project engineer. "We look forward to returning next spring and are on schedule for project completion by summer 2006."

 

ABATE holds charity toy run

ABATE of Colorado - District 8, Durango Fun Center and Project Merry Christmas invite everyone to the 2005 Toys for Tots Toy Run. The date is Sunday, Nov. 28.

The group will assemble at Fun Center Cycles, 29603 U.S. 160 East, beginning at 10:30 a.m., and head toward the Durango V.F.W. around 11:30. Cost of admission is a new toy worth at least $10, or $10 at the door. There will be food, music, laughter and door prizes. Ride your scooter, drive your car or saddle up your pony, but come join in support of Project Merry Christmas.

 

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 six 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 sciencefair@sjbocs.org, or visit the Web site at www.sjbocs.org.

 

Pagosa's Past

Pagosa the wrong site for Fort Lewis

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

We've been writing about events and times bearing on the settlement of Pagosa Country circa 1877-1885.

In particular, we have focused on the building of Fort Lewis in downtown Pagosa Springs starting in October of 1878. Even more recently, we've discussed events leading to the movement of Fort Lewis from Pagosa Springs to Hesperus in 1882.

Some of the names involved are big time for students of U.S. History, particularly the Civil War and the Western Indian wars. We have Lt. Gen. Phil Sheridan commanding the Army of the Missouri with headquarters in Chicago. Sheridan visited the San Juan Country and Pagosa Springs in 1880 to obtain answers to the question, "Where is the best place to build a fort or forts to contain the Ute Indians?" On his correspondence, Sheridan is referred to as the "Lieutenant General."

Much of Sheridan's correspondence was sent to "The General of the Army," General Wm. T. Sherman. I'm no Civil War history buff, but I know that by the close of the war, General and later President Ulysses S. Grant relied heavily on Sherman, who commanded the famous or infamous (depending upon your allegiances) march to the sea through Georgia. Sheridan was Sherman's right-hand man.

Both officers were heavily involved with the final warfare against a variety of Indian nations following the Civil War. Both were heavily involved in the selection and then abandonment of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs in connection with the Ute Campaign. For a time, Pagosa Country was at the forefront of both men's military planning, not to mention the Secretary of War and President of the United States.

By mid-1880, almost everyone agreed that Pagosa Springs was not the place for Fort Lewis. The commander at Fort Lewis admitted he didn't know for sure where to find the Utes; he was certain they weren't pitching their tipis near Pagosa Springs. In accordance with orders from above, Capt. Sharkey hired a civilian scout by the name of Tom T. White (I'd like to know more about White) to find out where the Utes were located and "what are their purposes and intentions." It took White several months to complete his reconnaissance. At first, the gist of Army thinking seemed to be that a post was needed on the Mancos River (near where it dumps into the San Juan River) and a second post near the confluence of the Uncomphagre and Gunnison rivers. The idea was, a fort was needed both north and south of the San Juan Mountains. Ute bands were located north and south of the mountains.

South of the mountains were the Weminuche, Moache, and Capote bands. Directly north of the mountains in the general vicinity of Montrose were the Uncomphagre Utes, headed by the well-know Uré and his wife Chipeta. Uré is Spanish for arrow. The town of Ouray is supposedly named for Uré. Uré was instrumental in calming down the White River Utes following the Meeker Massacre, also known as the Milk River Wars. He was one-half Uncomphagre Ute and one-half Jicarilla Apache. The Uncomphagre Utes often wintered near Cimarron, sort of a central point for the Jicarilla during those days.

It should be known that most Indian groups though known by white men by only one name such as Ute, Apache, Sioux, etc., were made up of several independent bands. A problem for the Army was not only to identify the general name identifying any particular Indian, but also to identify the specific band. Much confusion and much injustice were caused by taking reprisals against a band that had no involvement with the situation precipitating the reprisal. The number of Ute bands also complicated administering treaty regulations. Which of the many bands of Utes took part in any particular treaty? If they didn't take part, could they be expected to abide by agreements they, particularly, had not made? Moache Utes could not speak for Tabeguache Utes, etc.

We have already named five separate bands of Utes. In addition, distinctive bands of Utes lived in the Duchesne, Provo, Sanpete and perhaps other areas of Utah.

And so the dilemma of determining where to place forts to control the Utes was not a small problem. The problem involved several months of research.

At first, a decision was made to build a fort on the Mancos River and another on the Uncomphagre/Gunnison confluence. Troops camped at the Mancos site, ordered building materials and workmen, and the new post was underway by mid-1880. The Uncomphagre site was also thought to be a done deal and a lumber mill was order for building a post at that location.

Finally, based on recommendations from Brig. Gen. Hatch, then commanding the Department of New Mexico, the site was moved to Hesperus on the La Plata River a few miles south of the old mining town of Parrot City. By the fall of 1880, construction was launched on the Hesperus site.

More next week on Fort Lewis and Pagosa Country.

 

Pagosa Sky Watch

Mars, Venus and The Summer Triangle

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The moon is waning crescent tonight, and according to data from the U.S. Naval Observatory, 42 percent of its visible disk will be illuminated.

Moonrise will occur at 11:53 p.m. Nov. 23, and the moon will set at 1:20 p.m. Nov. 24. The moon will rise again on Nov. 25 at 12:52 a.m.

Thursday's sky watching begins about an hour before sunrise, and early risers can use the moon as a landmark to explore the constellation Leo, the lion.

Looking southeast, the moon will be settled just below, and about midway along the torso of the lion and this location provides a convenient starting point to begin observations.

Moving to the right and above the moon, sky watchers will find the head of the lion outlined as a sickle-shaped group of stars that resemble a backwards question mark.

At the bottom of the question mark, and almost in line with the moon, lies the constellation's most prominent star, Regulus, "the little king."

Regulus is a magnitude 1.4 blue-white star about 77 light years away.

From Regulus, the lion's head connects to its hindquarters via a line of stars that appear just above the moon. However, moonlight may obscure this portion of the constellation.

Finally, to the left of the moon lies the lion's hindquarters which appear triangular in shape.

Between Regulus and the lion's hindquarters is a region particularly rich in distant galaxies. Star gazers wishing to explore this area will probably need darker skies than those on Nov. 24, but the effort can be rewarding - two galaxies in particular, M65 and M66 can be discerned, with powerful binoculars.

Following the morning's show, Thursday's sky watching resumes just after sunset. During the early evening, throughout the month of November, sky watchers will have an opportunity to observe an alignment of Venus, Earth and Mars and thus witness the design of our solar system first hand.

At the center of our solar system lies the sun with the planets orbiting in concentric circles. Mercury orbits closest to the sun, followed by Venus, Earth and Mars. Between Mars and the gas giant planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune lies an asteroid belt. Pluto, the farthest planet from the sun, orbits on a unique elliptical path, travelling through the outer reaches of the solar system.

Although many of the planets are visible at different times throughout the year, it is unusual for them to align themselves with Earth such that the sky watcher can appreciate the nature and organization of our solar system. This month, however, provides an exception.

Throughout November, in the early evening sky, skywatchers can simultaneously view Mars and Venus, our two closest planetary neighbors.

Begin skywatching at dusk and look first to the southwest, where, about mid-way up from the horizon lies Venus. Venus will be the brightest, and most obvious object in that part of the sky, burning bold and bright white. When observing Venus, skywatchers are looking toward the sun and the center of our solar system.

After locating Venus, shift your gaze to the east, almost directly opposite of where you located Venus, and look for a smaller, burnt orange object somewhat higher in the sky. This object is the planet Mars, and views in this direction point the sky watcher in the direction of the outer limits of the solar system. The skywatcher's position on Earth, provides a unique vantage point, and although not in perfect alignment, lies in the middle, of this planetary arrangement.

Once you have located Mars, return your gaze to the southwest and use Venus as a landmark to help you locate a popular asterism - the Summer Triangle.

The Summer Triangle is comprised of three stars from different constellations: Altair, from the constellation Aquila, the eagle; Deneb, from the constellation Cygnus, the swan; and Vega from Lyra, the harp.

Although known as the Summer Triangle, the asterism is clearly visible beyond the summer months. The difference between now and the summer is that during late June and July, the asterism appears later in the evening and takes a position of greater prominence high in the eastern sky. During the fall, the asterism shifts to the southwest, is seen just after sunset and is lower on the horizon. In either case, the Summer Triangle is prominent and can help star gazers navigate the night sky.

To view the asterism, begin by relocating Venus. From Venus, travel up and slightly to the right to the next bright object in the sky. This object is the star Altair. To ensure you've located the correct star, look just above and just below Altair for its companion stars, Tarazed and Alshain respectively.

From Altair, travel slightly higher and to the right, or west, to Vega, the next star in the asterism. Vega burns a brilliant, blue-white, is the fifth brightest star in the sky and should be easy to locate.

Traveling higher in the sky and back slightly to the left is Deneb, the final star in the triangle. Deneb also burns blue-white at a magnitude of 1.2.

The Summer Triangle spans a significant portion of the sky, so don't expect to find these stars close together. However, because each individual star is bright and prominent, the asterism is readily apparent and should be fairly easy to discern.

 

Weather

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

11/15

40

17

-

-

-

11/16

45

14

-

-

-

11/17

49

15

-

-

-

11/18

47

18

-

-

-

11/19

51

19

-

-

-

11/20

51

15

-

-

-

11/21

58

17

-

-

-

Possible change in weather next week

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Expect mostly sunny and mild weather over the holidays, with some clouds moving in on Saturday night offering a slight chance of snow, then clearing again for Monday. Temperatures should be trending cooler with highs in the 40s, and lows in the teens.

A storm system is predicted for the final two days of November, next Tuesday and Wednesday. Matching the Farmer's Almanac regional prediction of an above average precipitation month translates to 10-15 inches of November snow.

Last week we had zero precipitation in town, and no new snow reported up on Wolf Creek Pass either. Yet the ski area remains open, with an 18-inch snow base on the summit and "early season obstacles" on the slopes. Forty-percent of the area is open, with three chairs and the kid-friendly Magic Carpet lifts open.

After the fun of gathering with friends and family, this weekend might be an opportune time to make some preparations for the winter months ahead. Preparing an automobile safety kit for the potential winter blizzards is recommended. At a minimum, pack some extra warm blankets, a flashlight, and a small snow shovel in your car. If you get stranded you may need to dig your tailpipe out, as a common killer is carbon dioxide poisoning from a blocked tailpipe when people run their motors to stay warm. Additional items may include food and water, snow boots, a bag of sand, some flares, and a NOAA weather radio.

On this day 485 years ago, the Mayflower dropped anchor at Provincetown Harbor after 65 days at sea. After a month of explorations of the surrounding region, the decision was made to found the colony at Plymouth, in the bitter cold of winter. Thomas Dudley wrote in 1630 that the first winter of 1620-21 was "a calm winter, such as was never seen here since." Despite the relatively mild conditions, almost half of the original passengers and crew of the Mayflower died from the cold and disease.

In the early years, winters were a dreaded season, taking many lives. Nevertheless, most early Pilgrims wrote favorable reports in letters to relatives in England, preferring to persuade other settlers to come to America than to dwell on inclement conditions.